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EPISODE 377 90 mins

Johnathan Price Leveraged his Personal Brand and Social Platforms to build a $20M/ year Passion Business in 5 Years

About the guests

Johnathan Price

Kunle Campbell

Johnathan Price is the CEO and Owner of Down4sound Shop specializing in topics for fellow entrepreneurs who want to turn their passions into a legitimate businesses. He went from running his business out of his parent's attic to a $20 million organization within 5 years. His down-to-earth approach to sharing his passion for car audio has also helped him grow a YouTube channel to over 300k subscribers.

On today’s episode, Kunle is joined by Johnathan Price, Founder & CEO of Down4Sound, a YouTube eCommerce company that serves car audio enthusiasts from around the globe.

Success is not made overnight. Johnathan Price proves this adage. At an early age, his parents taught him that hard work and consistency create success and that kind of success is more fulfilling. Chopping cotton at the age of 14, a truck with a loud bassy noise piqued his curiosity until it became his hobby. After a nudge from the universe, Johnathan created Down4Sound, a company with a $20 million annual revenue.

Originally, Jonathan created Down4Sound as a means to do something he is passionate about and catering to fellow car audio enthusiasts. Now, Down4Sound has been the fastest-growing car audio distributor in the history of car audio. Starting on YouTube and with the help of the right mentors, Johnathan creates videos that primarily show his passion for car audio with selling only as a secondary motivation.

This episode is especially inspiring as Kunle and Johnathan talk about his humble beginnings, a bundle of words of wisdom and encouragement, Down4Sound’s team, supply chain, revenue stream, and content creation that would truly captivate customers. This is an amazing episode for aspiring entrepreneurs who need a gentle nudge to start a business they are passionate about.

Here is a summary of some of the most important points made:

  • Hard work and consistency are the way to success.
  • To be able to maximize the growth potential of a company, a great team is needed as one person can’t do it all the time.
  • “You don’t have to be brilliant to become a multi-millionaire or to do $20 million a year in revenue or whatever it may be. You don’t have to be brilliant or go to college for it. If you can find a mentor, that is huge.”
  • Johnathan was selling merchandise in shows until he got the idea of starting Down4Sound when customers asked where and how he built his own car audio system.
  • Find a great mentor who has been in the kind of industry you want to build a business.

Covered Topics:

On today’s interview, Kunle and Johnathan discuss:

  • Learning Hard Work and Perspectives
  • Growing Passion for Car Audio Systems
  • Genesis and Evolution of Down4Sound
  • The First 1000 Customers
  • From Apparel Selling to Actual Audio Products
  • Moving from Mississippi to Nevada
  • Focusing on Down4Sound
  • Johnathan’s Secret to Success
  • Down4Sound as YouTube eCommerce Business
  • Investing Time and Resources in Social Media Platforms
  • Johnathan’s YouTube Formula
  • Johnathan’s Growth Team
  • Thoughts on Expanding to other Marketplaces
  • Down4Sound’s Status in the US Market
  • Down4Sound’s Private Labels
  • Down4Sound’s Supply Chain


    • 07:14 – Learning Hard Work, Consistency, and Perspectives
      • He came from Greenville, Mississippi.
      • He was taught hard work at a very young age.
      • He made money by selling candy in school and also got a full-time job chopping cotton.
    • 16:48 – Growing Passion for Car Audio Systems
      • His interest in car audio systems started after seeing and hearing a truck playing music with a loud bass.
      • While going to his first technical job, chopping cotton, he encountered another truck playing music with loud bass and asked him where that noise was coming from and what it was.
      • On his 15th birthday, his dad bought him a brand-new Chevy Z71.
      • He started experimenting with speakers and amplifiers with his Chevy.
    • 27:38 – Genesis and Evolution of Down4Sound
      • The reason why Johnathan started Down4Sound is to serve people who had a demand for these audio systems.
      • He went to shows for fun without knowing it was paving the road for Down4Sound.
      • In the social media space, it started with Facebook pages for bass heads or core audio fanatics where people posted about it.
    • 32:52 – The First 1000 Customers
      • “The first one is the most difficult I would say because you don’t know what you’re doing.”
      • The “Down4Sound” name was crowdsourced from Facebook.
      • Johnathan started selling shirts or merchandise as a means to support the business he is starting.
      • He put the shirts in a trash bag and sold them to shows.
    • 38:43 – From Apparel Selling to Actual Audio Products
      • While selling his merchandise, people started asking where he got his sound equipment.
      • He was partially sponsored by companies that sell sound equipment.
      • After a few people asked about his sound/audio equipment, he got the idea of selling car audio equipment.
    • 41:30 – Moving from Mississippi to Nevada
      • “I was what a lot of people call a failure to launch.”
      • He met his fiancée, Jessica, through Instagram. He moved to Nevada for his fiancée.
      • He was fired in July/August when he planned to move to Nevada and was pushed to focus more on Down4Sound.
    • 49:18 – Focusing on Down4Sound
      • He wasn’t able to get a 9 to 5 job so he was pushed to focus on Down4Sound.
      • After about 6 months, the business started to make sense for Johnathan, and was confident that he can manage to make it grow.
    • 53:57 – Johnathan’s Secret to Success
      • Johnathan does what he loves and makes money out of it.
      • “Being passionate about it and the consistency.”
      • “You don’t have to be brilliant to become a multi-millionaire or to do $20 million a year in revenue or whatever it may be.”
      • He also advised finding a mentor that is experienced in the space you want or need help on.
      • Scottie Johnson, the owner of XS Power Batteries, is Johnathan’s mentor. Johnathan was selling their products before.
    • 01:00:16 – Down4Sound as YouTube eCommerce Business
      • “People feeling like they know you on a personal level before you even start trying to sell them something is massive.”
      • YouTube is a huge help for Down4Sound, especially at the starting stages.
      • “If they have a business or are thinking about starting a business, they need to have online outlets for it, whether it’s for a landing page for people to figure out what your business does.”
    • 01:01:35 – Investing Time and Resources on Social Media Platforms
      • Johnathan also does live videos and giveaways on Facebook.
      • Johnathan’s advice for people who don’t want to get on camera, “The more you do something, the more comfortable you’re going to get at it.”
    • 01:05:19 – Johnathan’s YouTube Formula
      • “When I first started my YouTube channel, I was sharing content there that was from the shows that I was going to. I didn’t have anything to sell.”
      • “The problem is when a person feels like you’re only trying to sell them stuff, this is going to turn them off.”
      • When Johnathan started focusing on Down4Sound, his YouTube started to slide down. When he started putting a bunch of product videos or ads, people were getting turned off.
      • Johnathan’s ratio on how YouTube videos should be rated is 10 to 1 with entertaining more than educating.
    • 01:11:07 – Johnathan’s Growth Team
      • “A team is everything.”
      • Johnathan wanted to do everything by himself at the start to avoid mistakes until he started making mistakes himself.
      • His mentor told him he needed to get help and get team members.
      • “If you ever want to get past $2 million, you have to duplicate yourself 3 times, 4 times, or 5 times. Continually grow your team.”
      • He also hired and invested in an SEO Specialist to help him and the company grow.
    • 01:16:25 – Thoughts on Expanding to other Marketplaces
      • Johnathan is currently only working on the BigCommerce website but is working on “having a feel” for other places like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and others.
    • 01:17:23 – Down4Sound’s Status in the US Market
      • Down4Sound “has been the fastest-growing car audio distribution to my knowledge in the history of car audio.”
    • 01:18:56 – Down4Sound’s Private Labels
      • “For the longest time, we only sold other brands of products.”
      • When a partner couldn’t provide any more of one of the products that Down4Sound was selling, they stopped providing it but Down4Sound created their own version of that and it became Down4Sound’s first own product.
    • 01:20:58 – Down4Sound’s Supply Chain
      • 80% of their supply comes from China.
      • Down4Sound has daily orders from other countries like Netherlands and Australia.
      • Johnathan had never been to China.

    Lightning Round:

    Q: Are you a morning person?
    A: Yes, I am.

    Q: What’s your daily morning routine like?
    A: My morning routine is consistent. It’s important to have a morning routine. My morning starts at 3:45 in the morning.

    Q: What time do you go to sleep?
    A: 8:00 to 8:15. Early to sleep and early to rise.

    Q: Are you in sports?
    A: No, I’m not.

    Q: What book are you currently reading or listening to?
    A: The Carnivore Code. It’s about the carnivore diet where people eat meat and there are studies on that.

    Q: What’s been your best mistake to date? By that, I mean a setback that’s given you the biggest feedback.
    A: Probably trusting people too much and too fast. Giving them too much responsibility too fast has burned me a lot.

    Q: If you could choose a single book, resource, event, or gathering that has made the highest impact on how you view building a business and growth, which would it be?
    A: I enjoyed Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. He’s an ex-Navy Seal or a previous Navy Seal. You can apply that to anything. Taking extreme ownership over anything that happens to you no matter what is great. That was a good one for me.


  • Hard work and consistency pay off.
  • When experiencing difficulties or pain, learn to seek other perspectives to shed light or more understanding of your own difficulties or pain.
  • “It’s all about investing in yourself. As you continue to grow, you invest in your team members as well because that’s an extension of yourself. It’s important.”
  • Down4Sound is the fastest-growing car audio distribution in the history of car audio, growing in a matter of five years with $20 million annual revenue.

Links & Resources:

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On this episode, you’re going to learn about a YouTube influencer to eCommerce industry. It’s even bigger than that. It’s a great episode you don’t want to miss.

Welcome to the 2X eCommerce Podcast. This is the podcast dedicated to digital commerce insights for eCommerce and retail teams. Each week, on this podcast, we interview commerce experts, a founder at a digital-native consumer brand, or a representative from a best-in-class commerce SaaS product. We give them a tight remit to give you ideas you can test right away on your brand so you can improve commerce growth metrics such as conversions, average order value, repeat customers, audience size, and ultimately your gross merchant value or sales. We are here to help you sell more.

This episode is an interview I had with Johnathan price, he’s the Founder and CEO of Down4Sound Shop. It’s a phenomenal story and here’s why. The dude grows up in Alabama. He is comfortable. He’s in a ’95 and then he picks up a passion and it’s car audio, it’s a side project, and then he has to make a move to Las Vegas. From then on, he grows his passion with more content and with more in-person events. He merges his in-person experiences with content online and he keeps growing it till he changes warehouses a few times.

Eventually, he’s running a $20 million plus in revenue profitable business in Las Vegas with his partner and team. It’s over five years old. He’s just getting started. He’s down to earth. He gives us a story so what to expect and his beginnings and what he’s doing now. We get into the content. How does he approach content on social media? What’s his main social media channel for garnering an audience and building community? What else does he do outside of content creation to drive more revenue? What is the expected return from the revenue he typically gets?

It’s a phenomenal story. He’s down to earth. He doesn’t claim to be the smartest person in the room. He has massive EQ and he leverages off the back of emotional intelligence. I enjoyed it. This episode was about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Enjoy the conversation if you want to learn about an entrepreneurial story.

They have their own brand. They’re not necessarily only distributors. They have their own brand and it was a new thing they started to develop and that has changed their numbers. If you want to learn about a D2C entrepreneur story and you want to understand that fine intersection between content and commerce, this one is for you. I shall leave you and catch you on the other side. Cheers.

Johnathan, welcome to the 2X eCommerce podcast.

Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been looking forward to this one. Let’s start with your backstory. Where did you grow up? How was your childhood? Why did you do what you do? Let’s go back to your childhood.

I come from a small town in Greenville, Mississippi. The town was 15,000 people, nothing major. A little country town and a lot of farming. Farming was one of the biggest things there so a lot of people worked on farms. Let’s go back before my first job. When I was a kid, my dad was always teaching me hard work. He always told me, “You can have anything you want in this life as long as you’re willing to work your butt off for it.” I’m like, “Okay.” As a kid, you’re like, “I hear it.”

There’s a picture that I have that’s pretty cool. There’s a lawn more as we call them. There’s a push mower and I’m a little kid and there are two different levels to the thing that you push on. I was tall enough to do the lower level. My mom was behind me pushing the top one. I don’t know how old I was, I would guess 3 or 4. I was pushing this law mower with my parents. Even way back then, that was teaching me I need to do something to get a reward for it. At this young age, I was starting to cut grass.

As I got to be 6, 7, or 8 years old, I was cutting my grass at the house, that was my job. I was doing that. I started helping my dad wash his vehicles at the house and everything. Eventually, my neighbors would be driving by and they’re like, “Johnathan, how much to cut my grass?” I’m like, “$5.” This is common for kids, when you’ve never had to buy something or trade the hours of your life for dollars, you don’t know what it’s worth. You’re like, “I don’t know what I’d charge for this. $5.” They’re like, “Okay. Come cut my grass.” Everybody was charging $15 or $20 at that point. They’re like, “What a deal.” Before I knew it, I was cutting ten people’s yards on my street. I was 6, 7, or 8 years old.

At that time, we had a snow cone or ice cream man that would come around the neighborhoods and sell candy or ice cream. I’m like, “If I could make some money, I could get my favorite candy.” That was the reward at that time. It wasn’t so much the money, it was me wanting to be able to get some treats from the snow cone man. That was how my entrepreneur mindset got started, my business mindset.

I’m like, “This is my own business. I’m cutting grass. Nobody’s my boss. I had to be sure to cut these people’s grass once a week.” I did that for a while. I always had that as a side hustle as I call it. Throughout my whole life, I would always cut grass when I lived in Mississippi. Obviously, it’s seasonal but I would always do that because it was a source of cash income. I always did that up until the time that I moved to Las Vegas.

You’re in Las Vegas now. When did you move?

It’s been over 6 or 7 years now so it’s been a while ago. When I was a kid, started growing up, and became a teenager, I always did little things here and there to make money on my own even when I was at school. This is like many entrepreneur stories. When I was in school, I started seeing people or kids my age. These little toys would come out or they would come to school with these different candies. I saw those in Walmart, Costco, or whatever in the bulk bags. I’m like, “If I could buy the bulk bag with the money that I made cutting grass, I could take it to them and I can sell it for $0.25, $0.50, or $1.”

I started making money selling these individual candies instead of the big bag. I got in trouble at school because you’re not supposed to be selling stuff even if it’s candy. I got in trouble a couple of times. I was always trying to do it. The way that I figured out how to keep doing it was to sell it before you got to school or after school. I was doing it on the bus on the way to school. I rode the public bus to school. I would sell this stuff on the bus. When we’re going home, I‘d sell it after school. I was making money that way. That was probably 6th, 7th, or 8th grade.

Shortly thereafter, I got my first full-time job, which was chopping cotton at a farm in Mississippi. This was my first paid job trading hours of my life for dollars. It was some of the hardest work that I’ve ever done and it shaped me into a more aware and appreciative person. I always preach to people that perspective is everything. If you think your life is bad, there’s somebody out there that has it way worse.

Let’s say we work out and our legs are sore, you’re like, “My legs are so sore. This sucks.” There are people out there that don’t even have legs. They can’t even walk. They’re paralyzed from the neck down. You have to do a perspective check. Be grateful for you having the pain in your legs because there are people out there that can’t even have that ability, they don’t even have them.

This gave me that perspective of everything that I did from there forward. I wasn’t out in the sun all day long in the Mississippi Delta. It’s humid weather, 100 degrees. You’re there with this hoe tool and you’re chopping cotton, you’re cutting rows of cotton out so they can do different testbeds, or cutting weeds out.

You’re cutting cotton out of the crop. You’re taking it out of the crop and harvesting it.

Not so much harvesting it. Sometimes you would chop actual cotton plants all the way down so they could have different rows of cotton to test. Other times, you would be cutting the weeds or everything that wasn’t cotton out of there so it was just cotton. At the end of the day, your hands would have blisters all over them or be bleeding.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. When I sit at my desk now, I’m like, “This is crazy to be here now.” It gives me that perspective to think of my first job when I was chopping cotton out there and doing this hard labor as a job. That’s what shaped and molded me in my childhood to make me appreciate things and give me that perspective like, “You have it good now. You’re doing a good job.” When I first started, it wasn’t at all like this. It was different.

My parents were great parents. I never went without but they always taught me the value of $1 through working. I wanted my first dirt bike, a bike with an engine on it, and my dad was like, “You can have it but you have to pay for half of it.” I’m like, “This thing’s $1,000 but I don’t have that much money.” They always made me pay for half. I have a daughter. If you constantly give people things and they don’t have to do any type of work for them, they might thank you and appreciate it.

How much do they appreciate it if you keep showering people with this stuff and they don’t have to work at all for it? They don’t know what it took or how many hours of your life you had to trade to get that to give to them. They don’t know. They just say thank you but the value of it is not as valuable as if they had to work all that time to buy it themselves. They’re like, “I had to work eight months to purchase this. I traded a lot of my time to be able to get this.” They taught me hard work and the value of $1. They taught me to be a respectable individual, have manners, and everything like that.

When did your interest in car audio systems begin to emerge?

This is a good story too. I have a whole book of stories that I can bring out. When I was 12 or 13, I couldn’t drive at that time so I was riding with my mother and we pulled up to a red light. This person pulled up beside me and I heard this noise and I’m like, “What is that noise?” I’m looking around and my mom’s mirror is shaking on her window a little bit and I’m like, “What is going on? What is that?” My mom’s like, “That loud bass, I can’t stand that stuff.” Being a teenager, I’m like, “That’s so cool. I love that.”

I didn’t even know bass existed. I’d never heard it before. I didn’t know about it because I was a kid and my parents weren’t into car audio like that so I didn’t know about it. I look over and this guy has a truck and it looks nice, it’s customized, and I’m like, “That’s so cool.” I remember what the truck looked like. That got my interest piqued in car audio wondering about it.

Fast forward a year or two later, in Mississippi, back then, you could get what was called a hardship license. It was a driver’s license but you can only drive during the hours of 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM only to go to work. Yes, you could work at 14 back then. There wasn’t any law saying you couldn’t work at a younger age.

You’re mowing lawns at 7.

I’m talking about my own paper like you’re working when you’re cutting grass. When I was going into my first technical job of chopping cotton, I was on my way back one day, I was sitting there, and I hear this noise again and I’m like, “I don’t remember that. Where’s it coming from?” He pulls up beside me and I’m looking at him, like, “This dude is so cool. This is awesome.” He pulls up and I’m like, “I’m going to follow this guy and see where he goes so I can ask him what is that.”

I followed him for miles around the town and when he eventually pulls into a gas station to get gas, I pulled up beside him, I go over there, and I’m like, “What is that? What makes all that noise?” He’s like, “It’s my subwoofers in the back.” I’m like, “What is that?” He’s like, “Come over and check it out.” He opens the truck and shows me and I’m like, “That’s so cool. It’s the coolest thing ever.”

He’s like, “Do you want to hear it?” I’m like, “Definitely.” I get in there and I get my first experience with a cool car audio system. That was the day that I was hooked. I’m like, “This is the coolest thing ever.” Ever since that day, I’ve been hooked on car audio. It’s cool how it’s been progressing and stuff. I’ll never forget that day.

Did you have to get a car first? Did you experiment with your parent’s car? How did you start to experiment?

Another funny story, I was 15 and I had been driving for a year but I was using my dad’s truck and he didn’t want me doing anything to it. He’s like, “Leave it alone. Don’t mess with it.” I’m like, “When I get my own vehicle, I’ll start customizing it the way that I want it to be.” I wanted a Jeep to be my first vehicle. Before I was even able to get one, I was writing down on paper, “I’m going to do this customization.” I was drawing pictures of my dream Jeep. I was doing all this. I had it all planned out and I’m like, “When I get my Jeep, I know exactly what I’m going to do to it.”

It was my 15th birthday, my dad ended up coming home. I’m riding the bus, I come home, and my dad’s home. I remember pulling up in front of my house that day, I look out into the driveway, and there was a brand new Chevy truck sitting out there. I’m like, “Whose truck is that? Did dad get a new truck?” I didn’t see my dad’s truck. I go inside and the truck was a Chevy Z71 or a Chevy four-wheel drive pickup truck, the nicest one.

At that time, in Greenville, Mississippi, if you had one of those, you are the king of the town. It didn’t get any better. People knew who you were. It’s somebody that has a Lamborghini now. In a small country town, if you had a Chevy Z71, you were the Lamborghini owner. I get out, I’m walking in, and I’m drooling over the truck as I’m walking by.

I go inside and I see my dad at the table and I’m like, “Dad, whose truck is that?” He’s like, “It’s my friend’s. He went out of town. He wanted me to watch it for him.” I’m like, “That truck is so awesome.” He’s like, “Yeah, it’s nice.” I’m like, “Yes, sir.” He’s like, “Do you want to get a look at it? He left the keys with me in case I needed to move it.” I’m like, “For sure.”

Perspective is everything. Click to Tweet

We go outside and we’re looking all around the tires and all the different features and stuff and he opens it up, he’s like, “Get up there and get behind the wheel and see what it feels like.” I get up in the truck and I’m holding on to the steering wheel in this dreamy moment, this euphoric moment. I thought this was the coolest thing ever.

I’m sitting there and he shuts the door and he’s watching me drool over the vehicle. I’m like, “Dad, I can’t believe how awesome this truck is.” He said, “Do you like it?” I said, “Yeah.” He hands me the keys and he’s like, “It’s yours.” I probably sit there for five minutes. It gives me goosebumps. I remember that day like it was yesterday. It impacted me. I started crying. It makes my eyes water because I remember that feeling that flooded over me at that time. It was a moving time for me.

A quick little tidbit, on October 1st, 2022, I gave him a brand new GMC Denali ultimate pickup truck for his birthday. I made a video of it and it’s on my YouTube channel. I made a video of that giving it back to my dad because he gave that truck to me when I was 14. When he turned 70, I gave him an $83,000 truck for his birthday.

He was able to experience the feeling that I felt. He was speechless. He was choked up. It was amazing to be able to do that. That came from hard work and consistency. I went off on a little tangent there. When I got that truck, I ended up doing my first little experiments with speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, and stuff.

Did he know the purpose of that car? That car was instrumental to you getting into car audio. Did he purchase it specifically for that purpose?

He did not. At that time, they didn’t know. I didn’t know how much I loved car audio at that time either. I thought it was cool but I didn’t know what it was going to snowball into. He didn’t know. He just wanted to give his son something that he was never able to afford or have as a kid. He has a story of his own. He’s the true American success story. He moved over here from Germany when he was 7 years old.

He didn’t speak any English. There was a war going on over there. They barely escaped to be able to move over to Kentucky with my grandfather that lived in Kentucky at the time. They lived in a one-room shack. There were seven of them in a small one-room place with dirt floors. They bathe in a tub with water and no hot water. Hard beginnings.

He was not speaking English when you move over here. You didn’t have a device in your hand that you can say, “Translate this to English so I can talk to these people.” He had to sit in a schoolroom for years hearing these different words and putting together what they meant so he could eventually speak English. He had a difficult start to life. He taught us hard work and consistency but he always wanted us to have more than he did.

I understand that too. We always want our kids to have a better life. When we experience hardships, we’re like, “I don’t want my kids to go through that. I want them to have a little bit nicer vehicle, a little bit nicer house, a nicer school, or whatever it might be.” It’s subconsciously programmed into us to be that way.

It can get to a point where it’s toxic. People talk about generational wealth. It sounds great but it can also be a curse. Let’s say a person inherits $10 million, it’s almost like a person winning the lottery. What happens to most people that win the lottery? They go broke within a year. They don’t have any physical hard work or anything that it took to get there. It was a windfall that fell in their lap. It doesn’t mean anything to them. They’re like, “Let’s spend.” They’re like, “Crap, it’s gone.”

It can be the same thing when you leave a big inheritance to your kids. They blow it all and within a couple of years, they’re like, “Where did that $10 million go?” It’s gone. You can’t get it back. I view it a lot as the same thing. If you don’t teach them the value of $1, hard work, and what it takes to get there, if you don’t make them work for it somewhat, it won’t mean anything to them. They won’t know how to manage it and how to keep it.

Down4Sound Shop, what was the genesis of it? How did you evolve to where you are now? You’re a $20 million brand. You’ve moved warehouses three times. You’re in a huge warehouse space. I checked out your seller reviews and product reviews, a sterling customer service. You guys are doing a terrific job today. Where did it begin? How did evolve quickly?

Getting started is something that takes a lot for me to say. I didn’t realize it until later that I was selfish. When I first got started, I thought I’m going to do all this myself. When I first started the Down4Sound thing, I’m like, “I’m going do all the inventory. I’m going to process all the shipments.”

Why did you start Down4Sound?

The reason why I started Down4Sound was to serve these people that had this demand. I would go to these shows and people would ask me, “Where did you get your stuff from?”

When did you start going to shows? Why did you start attending shows? Where was the Chevy at the time?

I had a bigger system in that vehicle. I got out of the car audio for a while when I went to college because I was a poor college kid, broke, and couldn’t afford it so I had to sell my stuff. I got out of it for a while. After I got out of college, I missed having bass in my vehicle so I started doing another system. I still have this vehicle, which is a Chevy Tahoe. I started doing that. I started going to shows because I enjoyed going to shows. I didn’t know at that time but I was laying the foundation for Down4Sound to eventually come. At that time, I was going to hang out with friends and have a good time. I wasn’t selling anything.

You’re attending the shows as a consumer. You’re looking at what’s the latest gear out there, “Let me see what’s there. Let me evaluate. Let me catch up with like-minded people and have fun.”

It was just for fun. I wasn’t even thinking about selling anything. I wanted to go there and be the average show-goer. You have people that go to concerts and are like, “We just want to go hang out in the concert and have a good time,” and then they leave. You have people that eventually get obsessed with the concert and they start thinking more in-depth about it. They’re like, “How do all these speakers get set up? I would like to set the stages up for these concerts. I want to be that person that’s on the stage singing.”

Some people, probably 1% to 5%, get inspired to do these other things. Back then, when I was going, it was just to be going and just for fun. Now I know that was slowly starting to pave the road for Down4Sound to eventually be built. I didn’t have any idea that it was going to be what it is today. I just wanted to go to shows because it was fun.

At that point in time, what year do you think it was? Was there social media? Were you also maintaining a social media profile? Were you on forums? Was it the time of online forums? Were you essentially taking your interest from trade shows and with friends online? How did it look like?

Back then, there was this thing called MySpace.

I remember that one.

Some of your readers know what that was. It was MySpace at first but it was in the transitioning days when more people were starting to transition off of MySpace into Facebook. Neither one of them was that popular. The most popular thing was people having forums online. On a certain website, people would post their statuses in these different rooms or different sections of the website. People hung out on forums.

Let’s say you were doing a different modification to your vehicle, you could post a little title and post pictures and people would go in there and comment like that. After a couple of years, Facebook started to grow like crazy. More people started posting it on their Facebook pages and then people started making Facebook pages for bass heads or core audio fanatics. People started posting about it on there. That’s how it started with the different things there.

Let’s talk about the beginning, the initial time. How did you get your first 1,000 customers?

The first one is the most difficult I would say because you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re like, “I need to buy this for this.” When I was going to these shows and people started noticing that I was getting bigger and bigger, they would ask me, “Do you have any shirts, any apparel, stickers, or some sort of merchandise that they could buy to support you?” I’m like, “No, I don’t have any t-shirts, stickers, or anything like that.”

That sparked the idea in my head, like, “Maybe I need to have some t-shirts. I’ll go get some t-shirts made.” I didn’t even know the name Down4Sound at that point. I’m like, “What am I going to put on the t-shirt? I don’t even know what to put on the t-shirt.” I posted on Facebook, “I’m thinking about starting a car audio brand, company, or something. What are some cool names that people can think of? These five different ones are cool. If you have an idea, post it in the comments.”

We ended up coming up with the name Down4Sound and I’m like, “That has a good ring to it, Down4Sound.”It flows off the tongue good. It has a good jingle.” I’m like, “We’ll go with that. I’ll put Down4Sound on the t-shirt.” That’s how I started it. That’s how I came up with the name. Eventually, I went to a local t-shirt store and I’m like, “I want to get some t-shirts made with Down4Sound on it.” They’re like, “Okay. What size?” I’m like, “I don’t know.”

They also said, “There’s a minimum of 30 t-shirts.” I’m like, “30 t-shirts? I haven’t even sold one. Who knows what the next size of person is going to be that asks for a t-shirt? What if I can’t sell these t-shirts? I’m going to be stuck with them and I don’t know what to do with them. I’ll waste all this money.” There was that fear of buying the wrong-sized t-shirts. What if I couldn’t sell them? I would be wasting all this money. I’m going to go broke. At that point, the younger you are, you can go broke over and over and figure it out. You eventually figure it out.

I was also fearful of selling people stuff. I didn’t even want to tell people that I had shirts for sale. For whatever reason, I thought it was embarrassing to sell somebody something. I was fearful. I’m like, “I’ll take these to the show.” I took it in a trash bag. I put all of those 30 shirts that I ended up buying into a trash bag and that’s how I transported them. I’m like, “I’m not buying a plastic tote, that costs money. I can get a trash bag out of my parents’ pantry for free.” I put them into a trash bag. I take them to the show and I’m like, “I’m only going to sell a person this if they asked for it.”

At that show, two people asked if I had t-shirts. I’m like, “Yeah, I have t-shirts.” They’re like, “How much?” I’m like, “I don’t know. Do I sell it to them for the same thing that I paid for it to start the name? Do I make a little bit of profit?” At that time, I was only ordering 30 t-shirts. The price of the t-shirt is a lot higher than if you order 500 t-shirts. I was paying $14 for this shirt. I’m like, “$20.” They’re like, “Okay, here you go.” I’m like, “That was easy.” I’m like, “I made $6 and I didn’t even do anything. I gave them this and they gave me the money for it.”

I still wasn’t telling anybody that I was selling anything because I thought it was embarrassing. My mind started turning where it was making sense of what was happening. Those first few customers, that’s how they happened. The further we got down the road, the snowball kept going. I’m like, “If I want to make more money, I need to start telling people that I have the shirts for sale.”

I wouldn’t tell online. Only when I went to shows when somebody would get in my vehicle and listen to it. I’m like, “I got some t-shirts and stickers if you want to grab some to support me. I’d appreciate it.” “Okay, here.” I sold out all my t-shirts at the time that I decided to start telling people that I had these items for sale, “Okay. Cool. Here.”

I left there with $500 in my pocket. I’m like, “This is awesome. How did that happen?”At that time, I was working all week to make $300. That’s how it got started. My first sales were that way, through word of mouth, or me starting to tell people when they got in my vehicle. If you have a product or service, you need to be vocal about it, and you need to let people know. If you don’t, how are they supposed to know?

That is the takeaway, for sure. It was in person. You’d crafted a story. There was a bit of reciprocity there where you’d show them the experience and they appreciated that experience. The timing was right. You said, “Support me. I’m doing this. I’ve put all this together. You’d not get this experience anywhere else. Support me,” and they did. How did that transition from apparel selling move to actual audio products? By that time, people knew you around the circuit. Were they asking you? How did you even sell to them? Was it in-person and then on the website?

I wasn’t telling anybody that I sold t-shirts or stickers. At that time, I didn’t even think I was going to be selling car audio like amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers, and stuff like that because I thought you had to have some degree to do this. I thought you had to go to college for business to be a business owner. I thought about all these things.

The more that I went to shows and told people about the t-shirts and the stickers, they eventually started asking, “Where do you get your equipment from?” At that time, I’m like, “You go to their website or contact them and they’ll get you set up with some equipment, whatever you’re looking for.” I was partially sponsored by these companies. I might have got a 20% discount or something like that. A person sponsors you because they want you to tell people about them so they can get their ROI. You’re telling people to purchase from them so they make their money back off of giving you your discount.

I was telling people, “You go to Sundown Audio,” whatever company I was telling them to go there and purchase or call them and purchase. The same way with the t-shirts, people are asking me, “Do you have any t-shirts or stickers for sale?” After 4 or 6 times, people are asking me, “Where do you get your amplifiers from? Where do you get your speakers from?” That 5th or 6th time the person asked me that, a light bulb went off in my head, “I could be selling these people this stuff. I could be offering this. They have a need and I could be filling it. I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m going to figure it out.”

The products that I was running at that time, I’m like, “Maybe I’ll send them a message. I’ll hit them up and ask them, how do you become a dealer? How do you go about selling stuff?” I messaged them and they’re like, “You have to set up a dealer account. It’s a $5,000 buy-in.” I’m like, “I don’t have $5,000. How do you do that?” That’s how it got started. Like the t-shirts, they were asking for the equipment side. I’m like, “I can start selling these people this stuff.” That’s where the little snowball started and it turned into the monstrous snowball that it is now.

Your fiance was in Las Vegas, Nevada. When did you make the move from Mississippi to Las Vegas? How’s Las Vegas changed running an eCommerce business?

If you don’t make them work for it, it won’t mean anything to them. Click to Tweet

A little bit of a backstory on that too, I was what a lot of people call a failure to launch. There’s a movie called that and it talks about a guy that lived with his parents forever and would never move out. I was that guy. I stayed with my parents for two reasons, one reason is that I love my parents a lot and I never had any arguments with them. My dad worked out of town a lot. I’m like, “I could stay here and help my mom around the house and keep the yard cut.”

It’d be mutually beneficial. I could save money because I wouldn’t have to spend as much on rent. I was paying them a little bit of rent so it was a win-win. It’s all good. That also brought along comfort. When you’re in a comfort bubble, it’s almost like having a 9:00 to 5:00 job. You have that comfortable income. You know that every week, you’re going to get paid. It’s the same thing. I was there. I was comfortable. I’m like, “Why would I want to leave here? Everything’s good. I’m cool with this mediocracy that I have going on.”

I ended up meeting my fiancee, Jessica, through Instagram, believe it or not, while I was going to Vegas for a car audio convention that was going on. I didn’t even know she lived in Las Vegas. It was a total fluke that I found out that she lived in Las Vegas while I was in Las Vegas. One time, she was checking into a place called LVAC, a gym. I found out it’s called Las Vegas Athletic Club. I’m like, “Are you in Las Vegas?” She said, “Yeah.” The rest is history. That’s how we ended up meeting.

The further that things got, we started to fall in love. We ended up taking things more seriously. She was out of a prior relationship and she had a daughter. I didn’t have anything that was tying me to Mississippi other than my parents and my sisters. I’m like, “I can’t ask her to move to Mississippi.” One, moving from Los Vegas to that part of Mississippi, your opportunities go way down of what you can do and what you can achieve.

Las Vegas has a million people and a million different businesses going on so there are tons of places to work and there are tons of different things to do. I can’t realistically say, “If you want to be with me, you need to move to Mississippi.” That’s when I made the decision that I would be moving to Las Vegas so I did and it ended up being the greatest thing that happened because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I moved to a place where I had never lived before. I didn’t know anybody. I’m not going to lie, I was scared.

Another thing. I had this great plan. I had been working at this place, pumping gas at an airport into airplanes. I had three years of vacation time. I had this grand plan, “I’m going to finish working this year. When the year starts over and I get my three weeks of vacation, I’m going to use all that vacation time to move everything to Las Vegas and then I’ll tell my boss I’m quitting and I’m not coming back. This would be a great plan.”

In July or August, I ended up getting fired. Imagine how that will derail your plans in life of you going from your main source of income to nothing. I’m scared. I don’t know what I’m going to do. That ended up doing two things for me, it made me take Down4Sound way more seriously and it also made me start going seven times harder for Down4Sound. My back was up against the wall. You hear about the people saying the bird getting pushed off out of the nest and you better start flapping your wings or figuring out how to build an airplane on the way down if you don’t want to crash. That’s what it did.

At the time, I was scared and mad that this happened to me. I was playing the victim mentality for a little while. I’m like, “I’m too good of a guy for this to happen to me.” It ended up being a blessing in disguise and pushed me into, “I can make this happen. I just got to figure it out.” I ended up moving to Las Vegas.

Even when I moved out here, I was looking for a job at an airport to be my source of income and to make me comfortable. I wanted that 9:00 to 5:00 because I didn’t know if Down4Sound is going to work really in its infancy stages. I’m like, “I don’t know if this is going to work. This could be bad.” I’m like, “I’m this guy moving in with his girlfriend at the time and she has a job and I don’t even have a job. I’m a bum. I’d be homeless if it wasn’t for her.”

With a deep passion though and with a dream.

For sure. There are a lot of women out there with these dreams and they don’t go anywhere. I move out here. Another thing is I never got a call. I knew that I had ten years of experience in filling up airplanes with fuel and in the aviation industry. I knew that I would be getting a call. I’m like, “Other people are applying for the job and they don’t have any experience. I got ten years of experience. I just quit doing this. Hire me. These people will be calling.”

A week goes by and two weeks go by and no calls. A month goes by and no calls. I’m like, “This is rough.” I also wasn’t making that much money. That pushed me. It was a little nudge to make me take Down4Sound even more seriously because of that reason. I’ve never wanted to be a person that mooched off of somebody or the system or anything like that. I always wanted to bring value and work for stuff. That’s how it got started. That’s how I transitioned into moving to Las Vegas.

Moving away from all the comfort and everything I’ve ever known, the people I’ve known, the community, and the town, knowing all the streets from everything. You know everybody. When you live in a town of 15,000 people, you know everybody. You know the color of their socks. There are no secrets, it’s everywhere.

When you get picked out of there and you get dumped into a city of a million people, it’s a totally different atmosphere. You don’t know anybody. If you have a problem, who are you going to call? You don’t know anybody. You can’t call anybody besides your fiancé. Is she going to help you change a flat on the side of the road or work on your truck? Of course, not. That pushed me even harder to do even better and work even harder to make Down4Sound a better thing for me and my family.

When did you officially figure out that Down4Sound is the thing and your focus? What metrics did you see that this is it?

It was probably after I moved out here. That’s probably over 6 years ago. I’m like, “This is starting to make sense. I’m starting to make a little bit of money. I’m not going to die. I’m going to be okay.” It started making sense on paper and in my head that I needed to keep pushing this. Before that, I was hoping that I would have somebody else hire me. I was hoping that I could get an easy source of income to make me comfortable.

I was still going to try to continue growing Down4Sound. Who knows if I would have gotten a job and like, “We’re starting you out at a higher rate of money.” I may have been like, “I don’t need Down4Sound anymore. That’s too much work.” Being an entrepreneur and starting a business, the first few years are the most difficult.

At that time, with the difficulty being super high and the return being super low, if I got hired at a nice salary, I could have been like, “Forget this Down4Sound stuff. I’ll go work over here and make a good living and work my 8:00 to 5:00 and be good.” Luckily, I never got that phone call from any of those places that I applied for. It made me realize that I needed to keep pushing Down4Sound. After about six months, I was like, “I can make this work. I can keep being consistent.” The more I was consistent, the more it continued to grow and snowballed and now we’re here.

Consistency and discipline are pillars. Looking at your skillsets, what do you think has been the major reason for your success? Over five years ago, you were at zero. In 2022, you’re at $20 million in revenue and you’re profitable, you’re doing well, you’re thriving, and you’re a national brand. You have 500,000 YouTube followers. You have over 100,000 Instagram followers. You’re a star in your own right in the social space. What do you think has been the one skillset you applied to grow this brand that you’re hugely passionate about?

You said it right there, being passionate about the thing that you’re doing makes it easier. There’s a cliché saying, “If you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life.” I heard it for the longest time. You hear it but it doesn’t hit you because you don’t know what they’re trying to say. Once you do get to do something that you love to do and you’re like, “I’m making a lot of money doing this. This is fun. This is awesome.”

Many people get into something that they don’t enjoy. They just have to make a living so they put up with whatever they have to put up to make a living to continue growing or keeping a roof over their head and food on the table. Being passionate about it and the consistency. I’m not the smartest person out there by any means. I would say I have average when it comes to smarts. Some people that I get interviewed by say, “Don’t say that about yourself.” I’m like, “I’m being honest. I wasn’t anything special in grade school or any type of schooling. I was average.”

Which is okay. It’s EQ that matters.

That’s what I want people to get. You don’t have to be brilliant to become a multi-millionaire or to do $20 million a year in revenue or whatever it may be. You don’t have to be brilliant or go to college for it. If you can find a mentor, that is huge. You can learn so much from them. It’s harder to get a good mentor now. There are a lot of people out there claiming to be mentors and they haven’t done anything in their life.

They’re like, “I’ll be your mentor but I haven’t grown any type of business.” They read somebody else’s course and they’re trying to say that they know all these things. Find a person that has been in your space and has been there and done it. If you do, that can speed up your process or figure things out on your business so much. It can also save you millions of dollars and them sharing the smallest amount of information with you.

Who was your mentor?

A guy named Scottie Johnson, the owner of a company called XS Power Batteries. He was one of the companies that I started selling their products for first. He was my mentor, my initial one. I got a couple of other ones but I have a great relationship with him. Still to this day, we have a great friendship. He was in town for a trade show and we hung out. It’s always a good time. He’s been a huge mentor of mine and he help point me in the right direction and shared this information with me that I didn’t know before getting started in the business.

The thing about mentors these days is many people don’t want to do mentorship because you have so many time wasters out there. Everybody claims that they want to learn how to run their own business or they want to learn how to be an entrepreneur or get into business. Let’s say you go to a successful business owner and you’re like, “Can you tell me how to start a business and all these things?”

You’re like, “I’ll take time because I want somebody else to be successful.” You take hours and hours of trying to teach these people the ways to get started and to do these things. The next thing you know, they never do anything with it. You spent all this time sharing with them and it went in one ear and out the other. You’re like, “I wasted all my time trying to help you and you didn’t use it at all.”

After that happens to business owners or entrepreneurs a couple of times, they’re like, “I’m not doing that anymore. I’m the one with all the information. I’m the one with all the success. Why do I need you to be wasting my time?” After a few times that people are doing it, they’re like, “I’m not going to do that anymore because I don’t want my time wasted.”

There’s a funny saying that he’s my second dad. I always wanted to make dad proud. I wanted to be that guy that didn’t waste his time, listened to him, took his knowledge and applied it, and became ultra-successful because of it. It helped me with that. That’s been the thing, having a mentor. The consistency thing, I harp on that a lot.

I’ve seen many people come and go not just in the car audio but in different business spaces. They’ll work hard for a little bit but after six months, they get burnout or they don’t like it anymore. They got into this space to make some money and then they’re not making any money or they’re not making what they thought they should be so they quit. Your huge breakthrough is usually right on the other side of your biggest obstacle. When you decide to quit, your huge breakthrough was right on the other side of that. I’ve always continued to push and go to the next level.

Would you say Down4Sound is a YouTube-powered eCommerce business?

It’s a huge help. Especially starting Down4Sound, it was a massive shot in the arm as people call it to get it started because it gave me this huge audience of people to interact and engage with and being able to do that. People feeling like they know you on a personal level before you even start trying to sell them something is massive. I can’t tell people how huge that is. If they have a business or thinking about starting a business, they need to have online outlets for it whether it’s for a landing page for people to figure out what your business does.

If you can sell products and ship them, they need to be able to order them there. If you have a storefront first, you are selling there. That’s another source of income for your business if you have an online source for it and they need to be able to contact you about things, purchases, different products you might not have listed, and stuff like that. YouTube and all the other social media outlets.

All the other social media. Which of the social media platforms do you invest the most amount of time and resources on?

YouTube, to date, has been the most popular one that we’ve invested the most amount of time on. Now, Facebook. We do Facebook Live videos. They get a good amount of engagement. Years ago, I started giving back to the community. we do giveaways on Facebook. I’ll start a YouTube video, like, “We got a new product, come check it out. By the way, I’m giving one away if you want to enter this giveaway.” Anybody can do this.

It’s difficult for some people because they don’t want to be on camera. I also tell people that they need to get on camera. The more you do something, the more comfortable you’re going to get at it. The first time you get on camera, you’re going to suck and I did too and I’m still not perfect at it. I get stuck on words I say “uhh” a lot. People know that you’re being genuine. They know you’re another person like them. When they see you mess up and you laugh at yourself and you’re like, “I can’t get this right.” You start laughing at yourself and everybody’s like, “It’s cool to see that you’re a real human being. You’re not just scripted.” They have even more of a connection with you seeing you get started, in my opinion.

People need to have their social media stuff going and do a live video. I don’t know why I keep going to plumbing for some reason. Start your page and the first time you go live, you may have one person watching you maybe. If you’re lucky, you’ll have one person watching you or watch your video. That’s one person that wouldn’t have ever seen that. What if that one person is like, “I could use that plunger that he’s talking about. That thing is awesome. I’ll buy one.”

Doing that one thing or that one video made it so they might now know about you. If they comment on it, it’ll pop up in other people’s news feeds, and stuff like .that Facebook will start distributing it. If you never make that video, if you never do that, there’s never going to be a possibility. You’ll never know, it could be a viral video of you talking about a plunger. You do something funny and people want to share it with all their friends. They find out about you about that.

Talking about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, that’s what it is. When you’re first starting, you are so uncomfortable about it and you’re stuttering and you’re like, “I hate this.” After you do it twenty times, it’s like doing something else twenty times, like, “I know how to do this. I remember this.” It becomes second nature.

The more I was consistent, the more it continued to grow and snowballed. Click to Tweet

We started doing these giveaways and giving back to the community. The way that we get people to engage and interact more is we’ll talk about their product and we’ll tell them, “If you want to enter into this giveaway, there’s no purchase necessary but you have to share this video publicly. You have to come back here and like the video and comment that you shared the video.”

It takes you five seconds of “work” and you’re entered to win this $500 amplifier for absolutely free and with no purchase necessary. We’ve got a ton of engagement doing that. The potential upside for them is massive. They can win a $500 amplifier for taking five seconds of work. This has been an awesome thing that we’ve implemented and we have done great with that.

Your YouTube channel has amassed over 186 million views. There are some entrepreneurs reading this right now who’ve been shuffling their feet and hesitating about wanting to get on YouTube. They don’t know what to say and they don’t know what to do. Do they sell? Are they helpful? What’s been your approach? What’s your secret formula? There’s a fine line between being a creator or publisher and selling stuff. How have you sort of merged that creator bit with 500,000-plus subscribers and the selling bits, which is growing Down4Sound through YouTube?

There’s a fine line there. I’ve learned a lot. I haven’t been perfect in the way that my approach has been but that’s entrepreneurship. You’re figuring things out along the way. I make mistakes every day but always try to learn from them and become better. When I first started my YouTube channel, I was sharing content there that was from the shows that I was going to. I didn’t have anything to sell. More people wanted to follow that. They’re like, “This guy is sharing what he’s doing in life and it’s interesting. I’ll subscribe.”

As time went on, we started selling more products. I’m like, “I can sell a lot more stuff if I keep making videos about the stuff that I sell.” The problem is when a person feels like you’re only trying to sell them stuff, this is going to turn them off. They’re going to run away from you because they’re like, “You sold me a couple of times but I’m sick of buying stuff from you. I don’t have any more money. What am I supposed to do? I don’t like just watching product unboxing videos.”

I’m always talking about this but as Down4Sound continued to grow and it was on an upward trajectory, I was spending more time with that. For a while, my YouTube started to slide or backslide. It was going on a downward trajectory because of me spending so much time on Down4Sound and growing Down4Sound because the revenue generator was way better than the YouTube revenue. Secondly, when I started putting a bunch of ads or a bunch of product videos up there, it was turning a lot of people off.

My engagement on the videos started going to go way down as well. My view rate started to go down. I’m still paying the repercussions for putting too many product videos out there and trying to sell people so many. Even in our offseason when there are no car audio shows and/or there’s nothing to do with my vehicle, my vehicle usually stays in the Southeast in the United States. I live in the southwest area. I don’t have the vehicle to do any cool videos with, it’s like a double whammy.

I don’t have any good content to put out. The content that I do put out is selling stuff. It’s a double bad thing in a way. Some people are appreciative of it and they like it but it’s a way smaller amount than the people that just like the cool videos of playing my system or going through. People like it when I take my vehicle, which has a 150,000-watt system in it. It has over 100 speakers in it, 9 and 18-inch subwoofers.

Is it called Neo Hoe?

That’s it.

It’s a 2-million-view video of you driving through Las Vegas. You’re terrorizing Las Vegas with Neo Hoe.

That’s what people like. They like those types of videos. The other ones, you take the vehicle when you go through a drive-thru of Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, or something like that and play it and the workers go crazy and everybody inside goes crazy. That’s what they like to see as far as views.

They want to be entertained. It’s that fine balance of educating and then entertaining them. What do you think is a ratio? Is it 4 to 1, 4 entertainment videos?

It’s probably 10 to 1.

We would average 100,000 plus views on YouTube for the majority of the videos and now it’s not anywhere near that but I know why and we talked about it, that’s why. That’s the price that I paid. I turned people off for a while because I was doing too many videos of products and trying to sell people stuff so it turned people off. My views per video went down. Now I have to work again in engaging people like, “He has good videos. He’s going into shows again. He’s not just trying to sell us all the time.”

Once you turn people off, it’s hard to turn them back to trust you that you’re not just going to be trying to sell them all the time. I’m trying to be a little more sub-tool about me selling stuff. We put a little ad at the beginning or the end of the video, like, “If you need any car audio, hit up Down4SoundShop.com.” It’s not like, “Here’s a speaker. Here are the functions.” You’re talking about a speaker for five minutes straight.

It’s quite robotic. You’re running Big Commerce and doing pretty well. What does your team look like internally at this point in time? Do you work with agencies? Are you serious with things like SEO? Do you buy media on Facebook? How does growing the business look like and your team?

A team is everything. When I first got started, I was selfish in a way because I’m like, “I’m going to do all the social media posts. I’m going to make all my own videos. I’m going to order all the products we’re going to sell. I’m going to store all the products. I’m going to ship all the products. I’m going to do everything myself because I’m not going to make any mistakes. I’m going to make all the money.” It’s basically me. I’m selfish at the time. The further it went along, what did I start doing? I started making mistakes. How am I making mistakes? Everybody makes mistakes. It’s being human.

What did your mentor say when you were at that phase?

He was like, “You need to get help. You need to get team members.” I’m like, “I got it figured out. I’m a hard worker. I’m consistent. I can work and I’ll figure it out.” I was wrong. It took me time to figure out that I was wrong. Being a single person, like solopreneurship, being a one-man band, you can only do so much being one person and that’s basically it. As one person, how much revenue, and how many shipments? If you worked every hour and didn’t sleep all day, how much money could you physically make by yourself?

It’s a mirage.

Maybe $2 million in gross revenue and make it happen. If you ever wanted to get past that, you have to duplicate yourself 3 times, 4 times, or 5 times. Continually grow your team. I started doing that. I started getting different team members. You start getting people to do the tasks that you don’t like to do the most or that you’re not that good at. Even if you do like it at the time, how much of your time is it consuming?

As far as SEO and everything like that, I was doing that, or I was attempting to do but I ended up getting a guy on my team. He came to my office and was like, “I see what you’re doing. I could help you a ton.” I’m like, “I’ve heard a bunch of you.” People hit me up all the time saying their social media experts and SEO experts. He’s like, “I’ll work for you for free for either a month or two months and you can look at the results. If I don’t bring you any type of win, no strings attached, we’ll go our separate ways.” I’m like, “Okay.” He did. I saw the return and the rest is history.

He goes to these different courses and conferences to make sure he’s on the latest and greatest, on the up and up on all the different changes. We know Google and all these pages are always changing their analytics and what they look for and it’s ridiculous. He does that, that’s his thing, and he kills it. I’m like, “I’m not spending any money on advertisements because I have such a good organic reach.” He’s like, “Let’s spend a little bit. let’s see what the return comes back as.” That started. He showed me the return and I’m like, “That makes sense.”

We went from not spending any money on advertising between Facebook, Google, and Instagram, all these different pages. We ended up spending $350,000 on ads. I’m like, “That’s a lot of money. I have to know the other number.” What ended up coming back from that is $3.6 million. Most people don’t get anywhere close to that. It’s all about knowledge. That’s why I’m like, “I’ll pay for you to go to these conferences and learn the latest and greatest information so we can get good returns on it.

It’s all about investing in yourself. As you continue to grow, you invest in your team members as well because that’s an extension of yourself. It’s important. It’s a huge help to do paid advertising if you know how to do it properly. If not, you can waste a lot of money. You could spend that $350,000 and maybe get $400,000 back or maybe not even get $300,000 back.

Do you sell only on your Big Commerce website? Are you direct-to-consumer? Do you also have a presence on other platforms or marketplaces such as Amazon?

Currently, we do only sell on my Big Commerce website but we are in the works of having a feed to other places such as eBay, Amazon, Walmart, and all these other things. That’s in the pipe as well. We’re constantly learning. We’re constantly expanding and trying to become better. I tell them, “I don’t want to get into a space and be okay edit.” I want us to dominate what we’re doing right now and then we can like jump into these other little categories. Amazon and eBay are not little.

What’s Down4Sound’s positioning in the United States in terms of car audio eCommerce sites? Is it top? What’s your positioning in the US?

It’s been the fastest-growing car audio distribution to my knowledge in the history of car audio. There are a lot bigger companies out there but they’ve been doing it for 80 years. To grow how we have in such a short amount of time is unheard of. I talked to some people that own these other companies that have been doing it for a long time. Some of them do a lot more revenue than we do. Some of them have been doing it a lot longer than us and don’t do a 10th of the revenue we do. Some of them have a lot of respect for me and some of them hate me a lot because they’re like, “Who’s this guy think he is?”

“Why are you taking take my lunch?”

How are you going to come in here and dominate this place and blow up? We’ve been trying to do this for 30 years and haven’t been able to get over a million dollars a year in sales and you come in at five years and hitting $20 million a year in sales.” It’s all in perspective and how people look at it.

Do you have any private-label products that are from Down4Sound?

For the longest time, we only sold other brands of products. We had something happen with one of the vendors that we were selling for. We were selling a lot of their products and they had this particular amplifier. It sold like hotcakes. We were selling them like crazy. One day, they’re like, “We can’t sell you those anymore.” I’m like, “What?” They’re like, “we don’t have enough to sell you. We have to have enough to sell ourselves.” I’m like, “What do you do right here?” I decided to come out with our own version of that amplifier.

I contacted the factory and we made a lot of changes and made it different from anything else on the market and introduced the product as the Down4Sound JP23 amplifier. We introduced that as our first product and it took off. I’m like, “This is awesome. It’s cool.” That’s where the snowball started. Now we have probably 15 different amplifiers and about 15 different speakers. We have batteries. Have you ever read a book called Blitzscaling?


That’s happening. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the book until a couple of months ago. I had seen I was already on the trajectory but I was taking too long to roll it out. I’m like, “Let’s do this and this.” We’re Blitzscaling right now.

That is your value because you’re vertically integrated. Now you’re selling your own brand and you’re controlling your supply chain. It’s a phenomenal story. Is your supply chain in China? Do you get most of your things from Asia? Do you have local suppliers? What does it look like?

It’s probably 80% from China. It’s pretty heavily based in China. We do get some from Korea and some in Vietnam. A small amount from here in the United States. Another funny thing, a lot of people here are like, “I want USA-made everything.” “That’s going to be four times as expensive. Do you still want it?” “No. Nevermind.”

Have you been to China?

Not yet. I had a couple from China visit me because we had that big conference or trade show. A couple of them came by. That’s something that’s crazy as well. Almost every day, we’re having international orders. We have Netherlands and Australia. It blows me away when I see these come across. I’m like, “This little guy from Greenville, Mississippi is reaching people 10,000 miles away.” You’re able to reach these people and trust you enough to purchase something from your store and trust that they’re going to get it 10,000 miles away. It’s unbelievable. That’s the power of the internet.

It is the power of the internet. You don’t miss out. Don’t miss out the passion, the consistency, and the dream, they all come hand in hand and that’s what makes a difference. I’m going to be mindful of your time, Johnathan. I have to confess that I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. I didn’t think it was going to stretch this long. People reading up to this point are still quite interested. Before I let you go, I’d like you to get into our lightning round section. I will ask you a question and if you could use a single sentence to answer each of my questions, it would be fantastic.

Let’s do it.

Good stuff. Let’s get this started. Are you a morning person?

Yes, I am.

What’s your daily morning routine like?

My morning routine is consistent. It’s important to have a morning routine. My morning starts at 3:45 in the morning.

What time do you go to sleep?

8:00 to 8:15. Early to sleep and early to rise. It wasn’t always like that, it was backward for a long time. I found that the vast majority of successful people are early risers. I’m like, “Let me do that.” I had to make the transition to doing that. I wake up at 3:45. I go into what we call a spa room, it’s a room where we have some different gadgets and stuff in.

I lay on a massage/heating pad where I do 3 to 5 rounds of the Wim Hof Method deep breathing exercises while doing red light therapy. I have a thing that comes over the top of me and I do red light therapy. When I’m done with the front side and the deep breathing meditation, I flip over on my front and do my back with the red light. After that, I get out and walk out and I have a deep freezer. If people follow my social media, they’ll see me getting in in the mornings.

Right after that, I go get into freezing cold water that’s usually around 32 degrees, it got ice in it. I sit in there for a minimum of three minutes to do cold exposure. These are hormetic stressors that make your body do amazing things. It releases a lot of amazing things on top of deep breathing exercises. From there, I get out. Since you’re super energized when you get out of a freezing cold body of water, I go into our gym and do some resistance training for around 30 minutes. That’s my morning routine.

You’re jacked. I’ve seen your biceps.

I have a whole other thing about trying to take my health more seriously because the thing about entrepreneurship as you start making more money, you start eating out more, and you start making bad eating and health decisions. Before I knew it, I was 40 pounds overweight and it was not good. I saw the results of that. I’m like, “Let me fix that.” I’ve been taking my health a lot more seriously over the past couple of years.

The next question is, are you in sports?

No, I’m not.

Why did you hesitate?

It’s not my thing. I understand people love sports and like to cheer on a team and everything like that. I’m not big on watching TV either. We got a new house and renovated and we got this big TV and I’m like, “Why did I do that?” A house is bigger so you had to get a bigger TV. We don’t watch any sports or anything like that. I‘ve never been a big fan of it. I’ve been to some games. While it’s cool and I can appreciate people’s love and passion for it, it’s not my thing.

The same here. What book are you currently reading or listening to?

The Carnivore Code. It’s about the carnivore diet where people eat meat and there are studies on that.

What’s been your best mistake to date? By that, I mean a setback that’s given you the biggest feedback.

Probably trusting people too much and too fast. Giving them too much responsibility too fast has burned me a lot.

If you could choose a single book, resource, event, or gathering that has made the highest impact on how you view building a business and growth, which would it be?

I enjoyed Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. He’s an ex-Navy Seal or a previous Navy Seal. You can apply that to anything. Taking extreme ownership over anything that happens to you no matter what is great. That was a good one for me.

Johnathan Price, JP, as some people call you, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the 2X eCommerce Podcast show. For people who want to find out more about what you guys do in Down4Sound Shop, it’s Down4SoundShop.com. Johnathan, you’re active on all socials. It’s been phenomenal having you.

I appreciate it. I enjoyed it too. If a single person out there takes a single nugget and applies it and it makes their life better, my job here is done. If a million people will take it and do something with it, that’s completely amazing.

That’s impact. Thank you.

Thank you. I enjoyed it.

About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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