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237: 50 Team Members & Growing: How this Former Fighter Pilot Built a Unique Business

Posted by Austin Brawner on February 4, 2020


One of the keys to successful growth is hiring a team that keeps the business running, whether the founder is there or not.

Over the last 14 years, Cory Bower, founder of Aviator Gear, has built a multi-million dollar business with a team of 48 full-time employees.

When Cory was in the Air Force, he saw a need, launched a company, and to this day uses some of his military systems and structure to keep things running smoothly.

It’s always a pleasure to chat with Cory, and I hope you enjoy our conversation about growth, hiring, and critical tools for success.

Episode Highlights

  • 5:55 Introducing Cory Bower and the birth of Aviator Gear.
  • 8:12 The unique custom nature of Cory’s products.
  • 10:20 Cory’s journey to becoming a fighter pilot.
  • 13:53 Transitioning from fighter jets to ecommerce.
  • 16:05 How Cory applies lessons learned in the military to his business.
  • 18:42 The team structure Cory’s built that lets his business run even when he’s not around.
  • 23:55 Engines for Aviator Gear’s growth over the last year and how they communicate about the custom nature of their products through different parts of the funnel.
  • 26:43 The role Cory wishes he would have gotten off his own plate sooner, but why you have to have balance as you grow so the wheels don’t fall off.
  • 29:18 Tools Aviator Gear uses to keep things running smoothly.
  • 35:07 What it looks like to hire and manage a 50-person team.
  • 39:29 Cory’s learning process and how he finds useful information to help his growth.
  • 42:07 Do this simple thing right now to be more productive.

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Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. What is up? I mean, we always ask people what's up, but you can always hit us up to tell us what's up, anytime. Email, Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.

I feel like we've had increasing amount of reader contact or listener contact, which has been awesome. Hearing on Twitter, hearing on email of, "Hey, heard this." I had an Australian SEO consultant that apparently recommended the podcast the other day. I was like, that's awesome to somebody I've never met in Australia. So thank you for that.

Austin Brawner: Love hearing feedback from the podcast on Twitter. It's a great place, always on Twitter. Just kind of in the conversation. There's a lot of noise on Twitter.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Oh yeah.

Austin Brawner: But it's a great place to get into and love to hear from you guys there. I'm fired up today about our conversation because we are going to be talking to somebody who has really built a business deliberately over the last 14 years that has a lot of experience building systems. Super unique individual who I got the pleasure of getting to know earlier this year and have been working with for the last year or so. I'm always inspired by our guest, and today's conversation was no exception.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. I think anybody that comes, like Cory, from a military background where it's about procession specifically in the Air Force too that there's... As he says on this podcast, there's a flight plan. You plan for it. You look at it afterwards. You assess what happened. And anybody that has that background and that experience is going to bring a really, really cool perspective to business and executing and understanding it.

The other thing I really like about Cory is he's a student. He always is learning, and he's always soaking up information. So on today's podcast, he talks about his journey, talks about the growth of the business with his wife, talks about how they run things, how they've managed to be 40 employees now, and how they've managed to really keep this thing running and humming and growing.

So let's go ahead and welcome Cory to the podcast.

Cory Bower: Well, thank you. I'm excited to be here too.

Austin Brawner: Yeah, man. We've gotten to chat and gotten to know each other over the last year, and we have given our guests a little bit of a background on you. But why don't you take about 30 seconds to a minute and tell us a little bit about yourself personally and a little bit about... Just give us a kind of overview of your business.

Cory Bower: Okay. Well, I kind of got bit by the flying bug when I was younger at an air show in Billings, Montana. I still remember my dad took me there, and I kind of looked up and saw a performance and I said, "You know what, I think I'd like to do that."

So I figured out how to kind of work that way back and said, "Okay. I'm going to go to the Air Force Academy, go to pilot training." So then that all worked out, and I was selected to fly the F-15. So went through all that training. My first assignment was in Japan at Kadena Air Base, and when you're a young pilot in a squadron, that new guy or gal is in charge of buying all the stuff, all the swag. So your tshirts, your patches, your mugs, your stickers, all that kind of esprit de corp morale stuff. And in the Air Force, he's a snack officer or a snacko. In the Navy, it's the mess officer. Called different things, but all the military flying squadrons buy the exact same stuff.

So when I was there in 1995 before there was really too much of internet or eComm, I was thinking, "Man, why doesn't somebody just put all this stuff in one place and make it easy?" So fast forward 10 years, about three more flying assignments, and then now it's 2005. We do have eComm, and I did that.

I got everything together, found the 10 things that most of the military flying squadrons like to purchase, and then I went and sourced the best suppliers all over the world, give them a free design, and we launched it'll be 14 years here in about two weeks.

Andrew Foxwell: That's a long time. I mean, you've been in business a long time, and I think that's very, very cool that you took your professional and personal passion and saw an opportunity right out the gate.

Can you talk about the product selection with Aviator Gear because I think that's important context for the audience that you do some things that are... Well, actually most of the things you do are custom, and most of the things that you're doing are specific to that person. So can you talk about kind of what that looks like and how you landed on being able to customize each of those things?

Cory Bower: You bet. So you kind of think about it with a military flight suit, a lot of people can kind of picture Top Gun. So with your military flight suit, you got your embroidered patches. So we do those for official uniform items as well as morale patches or thud patches, deployment patches.

So we'll do free designs. So they'll come to us and we've got a huge team of graphic artists and designers. And we'll take their ideas that's jotted on a cocktail napkin and bring it to life and make a patch out of that. But then that same artwork, we can put on a t-shirt or we can put on a sticker or we can put on a wooded plaque.

So we try and stay laser-focused on about eight products. So we've got embroidered patches, challenge coins, which are metal tokens that look like actual currency, but they're more for awards and recognition.

And then we've got a series of wood products where we have it factored in the Philippines. So we do custom airplane models. So let's say a civilian doctor has his own Cessna, he can take a picture of it, send it to us, and we will make an exact replica of that airplane out of solid mahogany wood painted with his exact details, tail number, put his name on the side of it. So those custom wooden products round out our product mix.

Austin Brawner: It really is an incredibly cool business that you've built and something that's so unique. I've worked with a lot of different clients, and your business is really, really interesting and unique. And what Andrew mentioned, the custom aspect is so, so cool.

I want to start by talking a little bit more about your military background because we talked about it briefly, and then you mentioned a couple of really cool things. You were one of the very few people in this world who is actually flown solo in a $60 million aircraft.

When you went to the Air Force Academy, did you kind of have your eyes on being a fighter jet, a fighter pilot? And how competitive is it? Because I know a lot of people go to the Air Force Academy, and not everybody gets to fly in an F-15. What does that journey look like?

Cory Bower: I kind of reverse-engineered it. When I was younger, in middle school, I kind of said, "Well, I want to fly fighters." So to be a fighter pilot, you need to go to pilot training and do well. So to get to pilot training, the best entry is going to be Air Force Academy. So I knew I had to get to the Air Force Academy. So each one of those I was incredibly blessed it worked out.

I grew up in Wyoming, and then just jumped down there to Colorado. So just getting into the Air Force Academy is a selection process. And then once you get into the military, it's pretty much merit-based. And that's one of the cool things about the military is everything's a number, and it's performance-based. The academy gets the most slots for pilot training. So I was very fortunate to get one of those slots and then went to pilot training in '92 after I graduated.

Then once you get to pilot training, it's a year long. And that is also merit-based. So when you get at the end of pilot training, they rack and stack you. And here's the number one person, here's the... And it goes all the way down, and then they have, "Okay. These airplanes are available." And the number one person gets their choice, and then it's number two, and then it's number three, and then whoever picks at the end, they get that airplane that is there.

So it's really cool how that worked. I wasn't number one, but I was number two. Fortunately, the number one person took the plane that was my second choice, so I got my first choice, which was the F-15C. And then went over to Panama City and spent six months learning how to fly the Eagle.

Andrew Foxwell: So cool. So cool. That's awesome.

Cory Bower: It was really cool. I look back at it. I did 21 years in the Air Force and retired in 2013. And I look back at it, and it was, again, I was just so blessed and so fortunate to get to do that and to get to fly for so long and do some really, really neat things all over the world. And then get to transition to this entrepreneurial journey and basically kind of start from scratch and learn it as I go.

Austin Brawner: That's where we met was in this entrepreneurial journey. I think one of the things that stands out to me right away after meeting you is that you've built an incredible life for yourself with this business. You and Amanda are always traveling, doing really cool things. But I'm sure it wasn't always this way, especially when you were trying to transition out of the military, get your business going for the first time.

Can you talk a little bit about your transition from the military? I think you said it was in 2005. What did that look like? You're flying fighter jets all over, and then you say, "Oh, we're going to start an eCommerce business." What did those first couple years look like for you as you started building the business?

Cory Bower: When we started in 2005, it was truly the nights and weekends. So finding an eCommerce platform, there was no Shopify back then. So we found a cart that was customizable and we went with it. It was truly nights and weekends.

My wife Amanda came on board in 2007 right after we met, and so then it was she and I. And we continued to grow and then in 2010 is where, because I was in Florida Air National Guard at the time, I was able to transition to more of a part-time role. And so then I could spend a little bit more time on the company. Amanda's also working on the company. And then we had our first hire, which was right around 2011. So then it was the three of us for another couple years. And then we just slowly brought on team members and grew it.

So when the time was for me to transition fully out of the military in 2013 and retire, then it was just full steam ahead scaling the company.

Andrew Foxwell: I think what's interesting is you start right out of the gates. I guess when hearing you talk about your military career and then transitioning into eCommerce, one thing that comes to mind in terms of a question is like, what out of the gates are the similarities and big differences between the two because I feel sometimes the eCommerce world is like the Wild West, and I feel like the military is very, not rigid's the wrong word, but very kind of has a certain things that you do and what you don't do.

How do you apply that discipline to eCommerce generally? And then I want to get back to kind of your personal mission of building up the brand. But I'm curious of you being in both worlds.

Cory Bower: You bet. Probably the best thing that I carried from the structure of the military to business and eComm is the ability to look at something, take it apart, and then say, "Okay. Here's the mission but here's the little break out of the tactics we're going to do to achieve that mission." And really break things down and do them in smaller bites. And then go back and look at what you did. So in the military, and especially in the flying community, we brief before we... So we mission plan, of course, and that's hours. And then we brief for an hour, and then we'll go fly for about an hour and a half. But after that hour and a half mission, we'll debrief for three to four hours long of that hour and a half mission.

So what we try to do is... Well, for our successes and the things that we didn't do quite as well, we go back and we look at it. So we have that loop that we built into the DNA of the company for the last 14 years where we don't just do it and move on. We do it, look back at, see what we did well, what we didn't do so well, make an adjustment, and then move forward.

So that is again the systems theories back from Michael Gerber where you build a system but you always come back and you tinker and you tweak and try and make that iteratively better every day.

And I love that quote that somebody had 1% a day. If you just improve your company or yourself 1% a day, shoot, that's over 300% a year. And that tiny, tiny little iterative changes make a big difference over the long term.

Austin Brawner: That's really fascinating. It's definitely something that you can tell when you get to know a little bit more about your company that's something that you've been working on, and you can tell you've been making these changes and improvements over time.

One of the things that I recognize is that you're an expert at building systems and building teams, and you've been doing this for a while. And have built this organization that is able to kind of run with you at the helm but also without you if you're not there or not in the mix all the time.

Can you kind of describe the organization and your team and what that looks like, how it all structures together just to give people some context of kind of how you've built this team both in the US and abroad?

Cory Bower: You bet. And that is my goal that I kind of start every day with is how do I make myself less important in the company because again the company that can run without the founder or the person at the helm is a more valuable company and it's a company that has more viability over the long term too.

So when we try and do that, the people that started with us, they've just been able to grow with us. And when we have seen potential, just keep moving them up and up. So right now I have... Amanda and I take care of the big picture and the strategy and looking at making sure that we try and look six months down the road. And then we've got our number two guy, David, who's in charge of operations. So he is the day-to-day, and he is the person who has his finger on the pulse. And then we try and break our products into three different departments.

So we've got a department for patches and coins and stickers, and then we have a department for all of our custom wood products. Then we have a third department that's our apparel, so that's our screen printed t-shirts and our embroidered polo shirts and our lanyards.

So each of those departments has a supervisor or a leader leading those teams, and then those teams are designers. So they talk with the customers. So some people would call them sales reps, but we call them designers because they're really just trying to reach into the customer's head, pull out that idea, and then turn it into graphic art that we can build a product off of. So they're the one-on-one, talking to the customer and then they are the ones that create the invoice and quote it and actually get it made through production. So that's how we're kind of set up.

Then we really try to, because the artwork is the heart of what we do, we try to really keep everybody in the loop because a person that makes a patch, that same artwork can go on a t-shirt. So everything just lives in Dropbox, and that is the heart of the company really is all that artwork that we create day in and day out, because it is free artwork.

So when we come in and offer the customer free design, we want to get it created, show it to them, keep them excited, and then once they buy a patch, we want them to come back and buy a sticker. And then we want them to come back and do t-shirts. So that's the structure.

And then we have a six-person admin team also that does all the nitty gritty to get all the products up on the website because we want to make it very easy. When they do make that patch, that person who purchased that patch for the organization probably is not going to be in that job six months later. So we hang it on our website so that person who comes in to replace them when they run out of patches, they can just hit Google real quick if they don't remember Aviator Gear made their patches, and go, "Oh, there it is." And grab it and make it very easy for their reorder.

Andrew Foxwell: So I think hearing you talk about all of this, I think one of the big things is, again, going back to that customization. I think in tandem this year or in the last 365 days, you've also grown. The business has grown, and I think it's important to point out that it's not an easy thing to do. I think that a lot of the growth and discussion of growth that Austin and I take part in and kind of bring people on the podcast to talk about are products that are not mass products, but they're not custom like yours.

So if you look in the last 365 days in terms of the growth that you've had in the company, along with the customization side of the business and how you've continued to scale those processes, what are the engines for that growth?

I mean, obviously Facebook and Instagram maybe plays a part in that. Email maybe plays in a part in that. What other things have you done SEO wise or anything else that's really helped to get that growth really kind of get that flywheel spinning I guess?

And then the second and related question is how do you translate the customization of the products? Because I think that's a challenge too, which is how do you get them on board to understand either bringing them in via leads first and converting it from there. I think that's a really big part of the business and unique to you.

Cory Bower: You bet. It's just been this year that we got really deliberate with our marketing. So went to one of Austin's email intensives about a year and a half ago when we were just brand new to Klaviyo and he helped us get started. Then we had most of our marketing outsourced to agencies at that time, and they were able to get us set up with Google on this paid search and shopping, got us a really good starter foundation there.

We weren't doing very well with paid social, so just this year we, with Andrew's help, were able to bring on a fantastic ad buyer with David Herman who is doing such a great job communicating exactly that, Andrew, is here is a custom desktop model and it can be your airplane. And it will look exactly like your airplane. It'll be the exact colors. It'll be sitting no a base with whatever you want on it. So he's been able to help us communicate that on Facebook and Instagram.

And then on the Google side with Patrick Kenny, we were able to get the communication for the people that are searching for something. And they go, "Yes, that's the patch I need." And it drives them right to the website. So that's been amazing.

Klaviyo is a big part of the mix. So that brand awareness and explaining what we do because there were so many companies out there that it is just pull it off the shelf and ship it to you. We are more of a lead generation at the top of our funnel.

So we're more like a service company at the top of our funnel, which is explain it to them, and then they fill out a lead that says, "Okay, here's my name and my email and what I want." And then we get back to them and say, "Okay. Here's how it works. Here's the design journey." And then once we get it designed, here's how long it's going to take and how much it's going to cost.

So once we get to the middle or the bottom of the funnel, then we've already kind of already had that face-to-face, one-on-one communication with the customer, and they're starting through the production journey of that product.

Austin Brawner: As you've gone over this last eight to 10 months, really on this journey to expanding the Facebook ads and email, what are some of the things that you have learned during this process of kind of expanding and growing? And is there anything that you wish you had known earlier as you expanded into these different channels?

Cory Bower: We were really fortunate to, with Austin's help, bring on our first direct marketing hire and his name is Jason Franz. And he's been an unbelievable hire. For the last six months, I have then been able to offload a lot of that marketing to him.

He came to us from Shopify with a good, a really solid experience in digital marketing. So although I wouldn't want him to have started any earlier because I might've missed Jason, I would have hired a single person in our company that is focused on marketing because I had done sales and marketing for the 13.5 years, and I needed to take that hat off because it got to be something I was holding the company back because I didn't have the time and the bandwidth to dedicate to it. So that was a great decision that we made six months ago.

It would've helped the company if we would've made it earlier. But also, we weren't quite ready on the production side either. So when you have marketing that's working well, that is a very great problem to have. But you got to keep up on the production side too. And since it's so labor-intensive when somebody comes and wants to design a patch, we had to stay up with the hires and the training side of it so that we don't start losing out on quality and customer service and customer satisfaction.

On the backside, we don't want the wheels to fall off on production just because our marketing is what's working so well. So I almost want to keep the bridles holding back the horse on the marketing side to allow us to scale on the infrastructure side so I keep those in sync and not let one get away from the other.

Andrew Foxwell: When you logistically go through... You talked about 1% better every day. You talked about a lot of the outsourcing you have done, to have people handle different things. What tools are you using or how do you even handle where all these orders stand, the customization of these orders? Just because it is so different than I would think others, and I would think logistically that's got to be a challenge.

You have artwork in different places. Are there tools that enable this to... I mean, obviously there are tools. Probably you're using them, but what are the kind of unique angles that you're taking to make sure that you're keeping track of all this and making sure that things are going out in timely fashion and pieces like that? Because you have to take mock-ups, and then you send them to the client too, and then they approve them. So there's a lot of back and forth there. I'm just curious how you manage all of that as quickly as possible.

Cory Bower: You bet. It's I forget what book the author said that basically every time you double your revenue, you're going to outgrow your systems and your platforms. So that's one of the things that Amanda and I try to do is stay ahead of that bow wave.

So Dropbox is great for us because of all of us, we don't have any brick and mortar. So all of us, and we've got 48 full-time and two part-time. So 50 of us all work remotely, and remotely being pretty much from home or a coffee shop. So we're very cloud-based. We're a complete virtual company. So since we're all over the world too, that asynchronous communication is very important. So we rely on email. We use Slack in different places in different departments. But we pretty much rely on email, and we don't talk on the phone very much at all.

Our customers trend into their 20s because those are the young people that are joining those military squadrons in their early to mid-20s. So they don't want to talk on the phone either. So that works out really well. We can communicate via email.

So Dropbox being cloud-based, we brought that on pretty much at the beginning of our company, and that is the heart of our company and where we keep all of our artwork that we can share within. And then we have a promotional product software. It's from the promotional product industry, and it's called OnSite and by a company called ShopWorks. We've been using that for almost 10 years, and that's taking care of the accounting side and creating the invoices and assigning the designs to the products and everything. So that's been great.

But our newest super, most exciting platform that we're bringing on is Pipedrive. We have not had a CRM. Of course, we have Klaviyo, which is the heart of our marketing. But we haven't had a production CRM until just about three months ago when we selected Pipedrive, and now each one of those designers is going to have that dashboard to see the stages of each of their products because each one of our designers is going to be taking care of 30-40 projects at a time.

And those are going to range from an inquiry that they were assigned from somebody that's filled out a lead gen form two hours ago, all the way through they just submitted it to production. And they have been, before Pipedrive, everybody's kind of had their own spreadsheets or they did it in email. So this is an exciting time for us because it's finally going to give us a place to see everything and exactly where everything is staged through the design lifecycle.

Austin Brawner: I think that consistency to be able to dive in and analyze, back to what you're talking about, the systems of who's performing well, who's maybe not performing as well, or not even that necessarily. But what systems are working, what systems aren't working. You can improve them will be huge.

Cory Bower: Yeah. It's going to be really great too for our training because of our 22 designers we're going to be able to see who's doing something really well from the metrics and go, "Okay. What is your secret sauce? What are you doing differently than all the rest of us?" And that we can pull that out and cross-pollinate it to the rest of us. And we can all learn from that.

And then we all can also see if somebody's struggling somewhere. That is probably not their fault. It is probably a lack of training that rolls all the way up to me because it's my responsibility to not only resource everybody properly so that they can do the best job but also to train them well so we can identify, it's that you're doing anything wrong, it's probably just we identified a gap in your training that we can go in and repair really. And then you're off running and able to continue to do well for your customers.

Austin Brawner: For people who are listening that are thinking, "My gosh. I run a company. I've got five employees. I can't imagine what it's like for 48 full-time employees." Could you talk a little bit about how you hired that many employees? What that has looked like, and how you found to have success with hiring employees virtually who you've, in many cases, I think in most cases, you probably have not met personally?

Cory Bower: That's right. And one of the things looking at it comes from, again, my military background is pushing everything as far down and decentralizing it as much as possible. So we try to push decision making as far down, as close to the customer as possible. So when that designer is working, and oops, mistake or something happened that the customer had a less than great experience, that designer is empowered to be able to do a monetary fix or give them 50 extra patches or do something else for them.

So that gets that decision making down there at the lowest level, closest to the customer, and that allows then the supervisor... They might just get CC'd on an email. Designer doesn't need to ask permission. They just CC, the supervisor goes, "Okay. That sounds good." And we just keep moving along. So we're trying to make decisions very, very, very low, and then allow that hierarchy to stay very, very flat.

So when we bring people on, usually what our experience has been is we say, "Okay. We need another designer. We need another admin person." We just put the word out to our folks, and they usually know a brother or a sister or a cousin or we've got two husband and wife teams. We've got a brother/sister team. We've got tons of cousins and friends.

Actually, we've only sent out two ads if you count hiring marketing when we brought Jason on board. But we've only put one ad out to hire a graphic artist named Raymond, and that was about eight years. So it's been friends and family. And what we have found is if our Aviator Gear person vouches for them and says, "Hey, I think they're going to be a good fit," then they're already kind of vetted for the culture and already vetted for the work ethic and the aptitude that it needs for that job because they've already kind of explained it to that person. So we just haven't had any bad hires that way.

And then what we've really tried to become deliberate about this year is structuring our training. And when we're smaller, we could just have somebody shadow virtually somebody else and kind of learn the ropes. But as we got bigger and bigger, now we start to need and we're building training programs where we can take a designer through a four-month program. And instead of having them just wrap their lips around a fire hydrant and say, "Start drinking," we now are able to give them a four-month structured training program so that when they're done at the end of four months, their full up and able to take care of the customer.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. I think growing it, you've been able to do what they need to be able to do. You enable them to make decisions independently, which is huge, and obviously the training, as you said, big part of it. And you strike me too as someone that I think when you talk to different business owners, you can kind of tell right away which camp they fall into. You clearly fall into the learner camp. You're a student first.

And you feel that there's... I know because we work together that there's always an opportunity to learn more. You're referencing different books you've read. And it's amazing the amount of information that's out there for people to learn from.

One thing I'm just curious about is how do you go about the process of learning? How do you go about in finding information that's going to be really useful for you? Because I think you always go through a diversity of sources. And how do you kind of think about that?

Cory Bower: Before it was, over the last 10 years let's say it's always been just kind of the great books and got through those, and then you wind up kind of branching off from a Michael Gerber and finding something else and then branching off from there.

But recently, I would say in the last year or two, it's been mostly podcasts like this and Medium articles and Twitter references. So somebody that I follow on Twitter and admire, they'll reference some type of learning that I'll jump on for that.

So I want to stay very much a generalist now, and we're in a position where we are able to hire specialists. And those specialists are going to... I love the T-shaped marketing type of paradigm where if somebody can be really deep on one thing, but then they can be broad on the generals. And that's what I want to try and do as we continue to build our team out is now we can actually find somebody who's a rockstar at this, bring them on, and I now can, for example, with marketing with Jason who's got my 100% trust. I can talk to him on a high-level vision, and then just get out of his way, just make sure I resource him correctly. And then turn my back because he is going to knock the hide off the ball.

Austin Brawner: That makes a lot of sense. I think just from our talks and getting to know each other over the last year, I feel like your attitude and the way that you approach things is one of the biggest parts, one of the reasons for your success. And I would love to hear just kind of, as we kind of wrap this thing up, what's one thing that, I don't know, somebody listening who is kind of listening to this whole interview, what's something they can go takeaway from your finding to be successful or a tip, something that they could takeaway and implement and just put to work that has been successful to you in the last six to eight months?

Cory Bower: I would say the cycle of coming back and looking at the debrief, like I was talking about. So many of us, especially the young companies, everything's moving so fast and you literally have 12 different things, 12 different hats that you're working on that you're going to do marketing for 15 minutes, and now you're going to do production. And now you're going to work on the website for a half-hour, and that is necessary. And that's really all you're going to be able to do for a while.

And I guess for me, just in the last couple years, it's been to structure my day. I've learned a lot from you, Austin, on how to be deliberate about my time, and so when I look back at the first five or six years, it was I was just bouncing back and forth to everything. But now I'm able to carve out time, and I say, "Hey, I'm going to be doing this for this 30 minutes." And then I'm going to give myself a break because I need to be around mentally six hours from now.

So that is something that I have been finding success with or I'm deliberate about my day, and I'm going to give it this much time. And I know I'm not going to get done, finished with it, but if I set a limit on it, it'll keep me out of the rabbit holes. So I know that that 30 minutes is not going to finish that task. But I got the whole week to do the task. I'm just going to do 30 minutes a day for five days and that's two and a half hours.

Austin Brawner: I like that. It's something very easy to forget that 30 minutes is actually a good chunk of time. If you can stack 30 minutes together consistently over a week, you get a lot of stuff done. I think it works really well for building triggered emails.

If you're struggling in automation, that's a really good way to approach it where it's like we're just going to spend 30 minutes a day automating something. If you do that every day for three months, you're going to have automated a lot of stuff in your business, and you'll be able to raise kind of the floor of how well your business operates.

Cory, this has been a lot of fun. Thank you for coming on and chatting with us and sharing your story. It's always inspirational talking to you because I see what you've built and just the level of dedication you've put into it to create something very deliberately that is... It's a generator of success for a lot of people, for your entire team, including yourself and Amanda. So want to say just thank you for sharing with us. And if anybody's listening and they would like to learn more, connect with you, what's the best place to actually direct them to?

Cory Bower: You bet. I'm still kind of old school. So my email address is That's T-R-A-P. And I'm also on Twitter @TrapBower.

Andrew Foxwell: At least you didn't say it's your email Trap@aol or something. So you're good. Emails not that old school. You're solid.

Austin Brawner: What is trap, by the way? Is that military?

Cory Bower: I had one though. It was. It was my call sign when I was in the Air Force.

Andrew Foxwell: Awesome.

Austin Brawner: Nice. Cory, thanks so much, man.

Andrew Foxwell: Thank you, man.

Austin Brawner: I really appreciate it.

Cory Bower: Thanks, guys.

Austin Brawner: Hey guys, it's Austin. And if you've been loving the podcast, you got to go check out That's where I work one-on-one with my clients to help them build faster-growing, more profitable online stores.

I've got coaching programs and workshops that we host all over the world. Would love to have you come check it out. If you're a fast-growing eCommerce business or you want to be a fast growing eCommerce business, you got to check it out. That's the spot for you.

We go more in-depth than we do in the podcast with comprehensive trainings and coaching to help you scale up. Check it out See you there.

Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. What is up? I mean, we always ask people what's up, but you can always hit us up to tell us what's up, anytime. Email, Twitter. We'd love ...

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