Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hey there! My name is Scott Bartnick I’m a serial entrepreneur, an engineer, and the founder of the Five Day Startup. I’ve created several eCommerce and service businesses OtterPR.com and I recently launched my fifth successful brand.
I founded the Five Day Startup to help other like-minded entrepreneurs find success and break the 9-to-5 work cycle. I wanted to do more than just work for someone else. The Five Day Startup allows me to follow my dream and help others do the same. While learning the eCommerce industry, I became frustrated by making simple mistakes along the way and having no one to consult. As I excelled at eCommerce and Amazon, I started offering my skills to others, because I knew other beginner entrepreneurs were trying to overcome similar obstacles and difficulties. By offering consulting services, I began to help others reach my level of success.
At The Five Day Startup, we sell eCommerce and Amazon consulting services as well as Shopify development. We focus on tools that make eCommerce professionals successful and help reduce their workload. As an engineer, I also specialize in operations management, fulfillment, and automation.
I started The Five Day Startup in 2018. I expected to make 1 million dollars by December 2020 before the world was impacted by COVID-19, which has affected some of my primary revenue sources. Even so, I still expect to gross $500,000+ by the end of the year.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with a Bachelors’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering. After graduating, I started my engineering career with Eaton Corporation, a power management corporation based out of Dublin, Ireland, and a Fortune 500 company. I began as an Electrical Sector Intern and secured a permanent position once I completed my internship.
I then worked as a Continuous Improvement Manager, Quality Supervisor, and Sales Engineer with their Leadership Development Program, where I led various projects that helped to advance Eaton’s mission and further develop their communication and customer service. I learned valuable knowledge and skills in customer service, operations management, quality, and sales at Eaton. Although I valued my time and experiences with them, I started yearning for something more.
When I began soul searching and seeking more out of life, I started by asking myself one question: What will I regret when I’m 80-years old? For me, the answer was simple: taking the easy route and not discovering the unknown. The problem with the unknown is that to explore it, I still needed funds. So, before putting in my notice, I had to develop a successful plan that would enable me to live my dreams. After some research, I learned that I could live in Southeast Asia for about $10 a day.
I became obsessed with learning about various remote opportunities and how to make money online so I could travel and make money at the same time. Although there are a plethora of options, I kept coming back to eCommerce. I began by learning all of the ins and outs of drop shipping, which is a supply chain management method that is beneficial for those who don’t want to own inventory. Instead, they transfer a customer’s orders to the retailer, supplier, manufacturer, or wholesaler for the order to be fulfilled. As an engineer, eCommerce and some aspects of entrepreneurship were new to me, but I used my previous experiences to build a successful business model. Once I earned my first $1,000 of profit I was ready to place my first inventory order.
The services offered at The Five Day Startup grew from an internal need. Every time I had to do something for my business, my goal was to get so good at it, I could offer it as a service.
As soon as I was able to leave Eaton, I launched several new products on Amazon, but not all were successful. Some of my first products were meal prep containers and an outdoor children’s game called lawn darts. Unfortunately, both products had quality concerns and ultimately failed. This was the first lesson of many for me with e-commerce. I used this to learn and understand more about supply and demand, quality control, and e-commerce overall.
This failure led me to struggle financially and I quickly realized the need to focus on a service business. It was at this point that I started working on my social media branding. I started my Instagram growth business and also grew an understanding of social media marketing. I quickly adapted to this new environment and grew to have more than 100 clients. Thanks to my new success with social media marketing, I was able to recover financially, continue my world travels, and invest in my next big project.
After my next successful product launch, I doubled down on Amazon, spending months learning everything I could to ensure I was successful in the future.
Now I focus on finding new products and consulting on eCommerce and public relations at Otter PR, a firm that I co-founded.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
The services offered at The Five Day Startup (Amazon consulting, Operations Management, Paid Per Click Ads, and more) came from years of trials and experience. When I made mistakes, I documented what happened and found out how to stop it from happening again. I’ve created a detailed playbook, checklists, and calculators for all my clients to prevent them from making the same mistakes, whether it be freight issues, unexpected fees, recommended services, or something else. I have done everything I can to eliminate potential roadblocks for my clients.
The services offered at The Five Day Startup grew from an internal need. Every time I had to do something for my business, my goal was to get so good at it, I could offer it as a service. That motivated me to slow down and learn everything I could about the process.
My first few clients actually came from traveling and my lifestyle. I would meet people on the road, or they would find me on Instagram and ask for help. At first, I did most of the services for free, but as my demand increased, I started charging for my expertise.
As far as selecting my services, I wanted to specialize in what works best for me, and that’s eCommerce and Amazon. I built all my services around Amazon because I knew I could offer the best results for my clients.
Describe the process of launching the business.
The Five Day Startup has been a side project for me. I’ve always used my other successes to sell it. You can see some of my stories on YouTube & Instagram, where I have over 40k followers. In the last couple of months, I’ve really focused on this business as COVID-19 brought a slow to my main source of revenue. Thankfully, it has replaced my primary source of income and helped me to have great experiences helping others.
As for funding, my story is unique because I self-funded all of my businesses. The core of The Five Day Startup is centered around a drop shipping business that I transitioned into a private label brand. I didn’t invest any money and began with dropshipping products. Once I earned enough money, I was able to do a custom manufacturing order and create a brand around that product. Since then, I have been able to maintain my standard of living and grow my brands.
Jump in feet first and don’t start too big. Make sure you can afford what you’re doing and do something you love and do well.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I tried many techniques to find new customers for all my businesses. Amazon has been my best eCommerce tool, and Instagram, until recently, was my most successful tool for services. I have grown all of my accounts combined to over half a million followers! I did this through an automation service with The Five Day Startup that I created and offered to clients. The service automated outreach and maximized views.
With Instagram growth not being a viable solution anymore, I’ve had to focus on new ways to find customers, including email marketing and word of mouth.
Along my journey, I tried many services to attract new customers, including text message marketing, messenger funnels, paid ads, and Influencers. There is no one size fits all solution to digital and social media marketing. What works best for one product or brand may not work for others.
Now, I use a mix of techniques and focus on creating good content and driving traffic to that content. Some times that will be with paid ads, emails, text messages, live events, and PR with Otter PR. You have to find a mix of what works best for you and leverage each channel properly.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Currently, I am the sole consultant at The Five Day Startup and I outsource some tasks like graphic design to experts that I have worked with for years. As we continue to grow, I look to onboard new consultants.
My short term goal is to bring on more consultants and provide a better service. In the long term, I prefer to focus on my eCommerce products and build sustainable brands.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Starting my first business was painful. Everything was new and overwhelming. There are so many tools and services out there. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and scammed. My first website cost me over $6,000, and it was terrible. I ended up rebuilding it six months later. Now I can develop a “$6,000” website in a few hours.
Once I launched my first product, sales were slow. I spent much of my time on manual outreach and building a brand from the ground up with no funding. What took me six months in the beginning, I can do in less than two days. The learning curve is insane and it’s why I started The Five Day Startup. I want to be the resource I wish I had when I first started.
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is the best way to start is to jump in feet first and don’t start too big. Make sure you can afford what you’re doing and do something you love and do well.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
There are so many great tools out there, but I do have a few favorites. Amazon is a massive tool for me and the paid-per-click (PPC) service. I’m also a fan of Shopify, ManyChat, Helium10 & Activecampaign.
It’s easy to get lost in all the services and monthly subscriptions. Make sure when you select software, it genuinely makes a difference for your business, and it’s something that you need. I recommend only getting one new software at a time and learning it thoroughly to get the best ROI.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The most influential book for me was The 4-Hour Workweek. Like many others, Tim Ferriss has made a huge impact on my life. I started the book, with no interest in being an entrepreneur and was a full-time engineer.
After completing it, I started my first business a few weeks later, and since then, I’ve traveled the world and followed the nomadic lifestyle. Things rarely have a significant impact on your life, but this book did and it has led me down a path that was completely different than what I had expected just the year before.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Online shopping is at an all-time high. Especially now, in the time of quarantine, eCommerce is a booming business with infinite opportunities. There are plenty of people to purchase your product, but how can you be successful? Below are my seven secrets to eCommerce success.
- Set Realistic Goals
- Find a product you want to sell
- Ensure the highest level of quality
- Get your finances and cash flow inline
- Master one sales strategy at a time
- Look for a good mentor
- Don’t go for a home run your first-time at-bat
Entering eCommerce is a challenging and rewarding job. The steps above can help you maximize your potential.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I’m always looking to hire good salespeople, consultants, and talented writers. These skills are needed daily and help me scale.
Where can we go to learn more?
The best way to reach me is through my website, where you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation. Make sure to provide details about your business as I will only accept clients that I know have the potential to succeed.
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