#010 The Perfect Blend: Find Your Why, Grow Your Ecommerce Business & Maintain Your Mental Health

Today we are talking to Adam the CEO and Co-founder of Blend Commerce - a Shopify agency specialising in turning ideas into reality. Blend are driven by success, with a mission to help Shopify entrepreneurs achieve significant and sustainable growth. Blend Commerce’s Motto is Clarify. Create. Convert. Which we will go into more detail on in the show! We also touch upon finding your why with Simon Sinek's approach, the 4 hour work week with Tim Ferris' method and whether it's really possible or if we even want that! All of this plus some chat about mental health and ensuring we protect ourselves when we start to experience business growth.
Find us: 

Krissie Leyland  0:00

Hello and welcome to the MindfulCommerce Podcast, a place where we talk to ecommerce brands, service providers and developers who care about protecting our planet. I'm Krissie.

Rich Bunker  0:11

and I'm Rich. We are your hosts. This podcast is an extension of the MindfulCommerce Community.

Krissie Leyland  0:18

The MindfulCommerce Community is a safe place for ecommerce brands and experts to connect, collaborate and explore opportunities to work together to unleash the power of e commerce as a force for good.

Rich Bunker  0:30

You can join by going to mindfulcommerce.io and then clicking "Community". See you there!

Krissie Leyland  0:36

Today, we are talking to Adam who is the CEO and cofounder of Blend Commerce, a Shopify agency specializing in turning ideas into reality. Blend are driven by success with a mission to help Shopify entrepreneurs achieve significant and sustainable growth. I love Blend Commerce's motto, which is "clarify, create and convert," which we will go into more detail on in the show. So hello, Adam. It's great to have you here. How are you doing?

Adam Pearce  1:08

Yeah, very good. Thanks, Krissie. Thanks for having me. I'm really pleased to be on here.

Krissie Leyland  1:13

Good, great! It's always nice to hear that you're pleased to be on the podcast. So do you want to start by just telling us a bit about how Blend Commerce came about? So I believe you're running it with your brother-in-law, which is interesting.

Adam Pearce  1:29

Yeah, so shout out to anyone else who is in business with their family, because it's good and it's hard too. But yeah, just a detail about how it came about. So my business partner, Peter, who is also a brother-in-law, he started out developing Shopify stores about seven or eight years ago. We'd always talked about going to business together. He was banging on about Shopify, and how it was this great thing that was allowing people to have ecommerce stores. He said they're all these people in the US and Canada that were building out these stores and making really good money from it. I just kind of brushed it aside and said, "yeah, whatever...  it's just another fad." People were already already use Magento for ecommerce. I was actually managing a Magento store at the time. I didn't really kind of think much of it. Then, probably about a year into developing, it really started to pick up and Shopify started becoming more mainstream lexicon. When I looked at it, you know, having the fact that I was actually owning a Magento store at the time, I started realizing what the opportunity was.

Basically what happened was that I was a sales and marketing director for an educational app company. We had been talking about this idea of going to business. I said, "Look, I've worked with agencies before, and what really annoys me about agencies is that I can't get everything that I need done under one roof. Because I come from marketing, while Peter came from development, that's how we came up with the idea with Blend Commerce. It's the idea that we are blending both development and marketing in one. So that's where the cheesiness of "Blend" comes in. We now trying to be the on demand digital department for companies. A lot of growing businesses, they think about recruiting, but actually trying to recruit a developer, a designer & a marketer: there's a lot of costs with that, as well a headache in that. Basically, we just come on essentially, as that automatic department that you can then talk to, and get everything you need from one team. So yeah, that's how we came about.

Krissie Leyland  3:46

Perfect. I love that. It's like blending your two brains together, as well, so not just your creativity from the marketing side, but also like the geeky techie side as well, which is perfect. Yeah, it's such a headache trying to find all the unicorns in the world, isn't it? So if they're all in one place, that's perfect. So I recently saw that you went through a bit of a rebrand and a new website so you want to talk a bit about that? That'd be cool.

Adam Pearce  4:19

Definitely. Well, we are you know, not unlike any any other business, we imagined what our business should be like... And it always gets to a point–and we get this with our own clients–where we go "Look. Actually, what we will be pretending to be or what we were aiming to be initially is not actually what we are." So we've been through a few different versions of websites now. The first ever website that we did, it was very copy heavy, it was very tongue in cheek... A little bit rude sometimes. That was kind of "our take" at the time, that we want it to be very different. But the problem is that people weren't really going to take us that seriously. We got some really good clients but I think a lot of people couldn't see through the fact that we were very jokey & that we had a lot of means on our site. It just didn't really fit in with the kind of customers that we were working with.

Fast forward, coming out two years after we launched our initial site, we then sort of started obsessing about this. It was actually a financial services company: They got this really cool looking black and green thing and we decided that we wanted to have that. But again, I'm not saying with the Average Joe's of the Shopify world, but we're definitely a company that values each other and has got a very strong team mentality. So that black and green at the very start was trying to be a little bit too "too cool for school" and that just wasn't us.

So we actually went through a process with our head of design Stephan to look at a different brand archetypes. Now, if you're not familiar with brand archetypes, have a look on our website, blendcommerce.com, there's a really great blog in there. Essentially, what brain archetypes are is looking at different parts of your company as a personality. While going through quite an in depth process of working out exactly who I wanting to be, we landed on the fact that we were: the Everyman, the Sage and the Hero. You can kind of look at that a little bit like  an aeroplane: so the hero is the body, then we're tipped on the wings by the everyman and then on the other side there's the sage. I won't go into too much detail but when you look at our site, if you understand archetypes, hopefully you'll see that that's what we're looking for.

That was the main purpose of going through that rebrand, because we wanted to make sure that people see us as that helpful, honest, and really direct company that is going to help people rather than the typical very skinny looking site that is very flashy, and has got big brand names all over it. That really isn't us. So we wanted to make sure it reflected what we do as a company. I think the other thing as well, Krissie, is that our site is also on Shopify. It always has been, always will be. Ultimately look, you know, Shopify wasn't made for for service-based businesses, but there's definitely capability of doing it. We want to show that with our own website, some of the things that are possible with a Shopify store.

Krissie Leyland  7:26

That's so cool. So for example, when you do win a client, do you do the payment system through Shopify or is it just purely fo a front end website?

Adam Pearce  7:40

Yeah, we actually used to sell our services through the Shopify payment system. We're going to be bringing in more productized services in the next 12 months. So we'll go back to using Shopify for that but in terms of, larger scale projects, we do that externally at the moment.

Krissie Leyland  7:58

Yeah, probably makes more sense. Did you notice a difference in the types of clients that you were attracting after you did the rebrand?

Adam Pearce  8:10

Definitely. I think that the thing was, is that with the rebrand, we also made sure that our tone of voice was right. Obviously, you know a lot more on this than I do, but that was the thing: making sure that we were talking in the right way to our customers. That was also things like podcasts that were on & social media, just trying to make sure everything was aligned. I think now, as a result of that, we've definitely seen the kind of clients that we're looking for. We work best, really, with clients that are doing 100k a month plus, or maybe just below that. So helping us to get in front of those type of people was a big part of that rebrand. Yeah, it definitely has made a big difference.

Krissie Leyland  8:55

That's so cool. So the guy that you went through that process with, was he kind of like helping you to understand who your customers are and the way that you want them to feel? Was that part of the process as well?

Adam Pearce  9:09

Definitely. Stephen, our head of designed delivery, he actually came in at a great time. Because we were looking to do this and we actually tasked this to Stephen as his first first project. So you didn't kind of have that issue you've got you know, when we're usually in a company for over six months, and you get a little bit blinkered in terms of what the company is really about. So Stephen came in with a real power of sort of fresh eyes. So if you have an opportunity where someone is coming into your company, even if they're not a designer, I think it's always worth you talking to them and then getting their opinion of what they think you should actually be doing. Obviously if that's not possible then using someone external thing is a really good move because what we would have resulted with with just me and Peter, or me and the existing team, I know would have been a very different to what we've got actually today.

Krissie Leyland  10:05

You're always too close to your business to really know if what you're seeing is actually making people think what you want them to think about your business, if that makes any sense. Yeah, that sounds really cool and it's a nice process to go through, isn't it?You get clarity on who you are and the types of people that you want to work with. One of my favorite things in business! So let's move on slightly to your services. So what are your core services at Blend?

Adam Pearce  10:46

The easiest way to think about it is: we offer something that we call the on demand digital department. What this means is, as a business owner, it's likely that you are going to be facing a particular problem. Whether that is that you feel like your conversion rates too low, you feel like actually, you're not selling in the right markets or you perhaps, are at a point where your your average order value stagnated. I think with those problems, it's not just development. What you're actually going to need is some strategy, some design work, some development work, and you're gonna need some marketing work too.

So when you work with us, we are actually going to take a look at your business first and say, "Right. Number one: what's the problem? Secondly, what are the things we think needs to be done? And thirdly, in what order they need to be done it? Off the back of that then, what we then do is say, "Look, you're going to need this amount of time from development, this amount of time from design, and this amount of time for marketing to do these things. We will then set a goal, which will be related around solving that problem and then we'll just keep on reviewing that. Now we don't go down the route of doing sort of large projects. We prefer to actually kind of say to client, "Let's solve the here and now issues and then let's build on that, from the growth."

If you look at that as a model, it is slightly different to what a lot their agencies do. I always talk about an example: a few years ago, I bought a very nice, flashy car. When I bought it, I went into the garage, I asked for all the additional bells and whistles. So all the tech in there, the heated seats, all that jazz. I think after a month, what I realized is that I probably used about 10% of that stuff and it started to frustrate me that I paid all this extra money for Sat Nav, when the Sat Nav was crap, and I could've just used my phone. And I think "No, if you think about a website, it's exactly the same thing."

Ultimately, when you're having a website, you want it to get from A to B. So if you focus on solving that core problem that you've got–which might be low conversion rates, so that's your A to B–as time goes on, and you get more data and you've experienced using that site, you can then work out what bells and whistles you do need to actually add. That's the way that we work as a company. We'll have that time to sort of get settled in and then after we'll add the things that we actually do need to add, rather than just going for the add ons from the immediate start point.

Krissie Leyland  13:32

Yeah, that's so nice and probably less overwhelming as well. Because even so with the MindfulCommerce Directory, we found it really hard to give our developers and designers the exact thing that we wanted straightaway. We were like, "Oh, I don't know!" It wasn't until we got something launched, like an MVP site, that we went, "Oh, it would be really handy to have this, this and this." Yeah, so to start off small and have one goal... I like that and the bit at the beginning too when you set your goals. It's just really nice. You like wake up every morning go, "Right, how am I going to work on this, with whoever I'm working with, to reach that goal?" I guess that's part of 'clarify', which is one of the goals that we're going to work towards. Then, "How are we going to create it and then convert?" So, how does that process work if I was a one of your clients?

Adam Pearce  14:41

The "clarify, create, convert," we just felt that it summarizes exactly what we do. So the initial call that we tend to have the clients is all about clarifying, "What exactly is the problem?" I think that the interesting thing is that when when you look at a problem, typically clients can say, "We don't feel like we're selling enough." But when you drill down on that, what you're actually finding is what they're really saying to you. And that is: we have this product that we thought was going to be an absolute winner and it's not selling in the way that we thought it was. But we do have other products that are selling well. So rather than actually saying, "Well, let's try and fix that product that we thought was going to sell better. Let's ramp up on the product that is selling very well but it's not maybe kind of a sexy product that you wanted to sell, and then get your growth in that way." So I think that clarification process is kind of flipping the mindset a little bit here saying, "What actually can we change and what is the real problem?" So that's the first thing.

The next thing then in terms of the "Create" is to say, "We've got the problem, you know the cause of that problem, and now we actually need to start putting things into place that are going to actually changed that situation." Again, we don't want to necessarily go in and change everything overnight, but what we do want to do is make some smaller changes to see if we can get them to that convert point. Then basically, we're just going to loop that process around again. So, we've had three months, we clarified it, we created something, we converted. Now, let's go again and say "What are the problems now?" So it might be that once you've done that change the site–so maybe you've got new landing pages, what we're finding out now is actually the email signup rate on those pages is not as high as we need it to be because we know that email, for example, is a very good sales channel. So again, starting up that process again. It's these kind of small, iterative changes that are going to get you beyond that threshold of that 100k a month. I think that's where, a lot of our clients get a little bit sticky, because we always tend to see there's a bit of stagnation, 82k - 110k a month. Once you can get beyond that, that route to 500k a month is actually a lot smoother.

Krissie Leyland  17:00

Oh my god, I love it. I love how you talk through that it's so nice. I bet you're really good at sales.

Adam Pearce  17:07

I don't do sales anymore too much. (laughter) The reason it sounds quite polished when I say it to you, isthat its something that we've been doing a lot of work on Krissie. I would definitely recommend anything by Simon Sinek, "Start With Why". It's a little bit cliche, I suppose in a way but a few months ago, and my business partner actually did a very short workshop with with Team Simon. I think it was about $29–so, super cheap–but what it did is it helped us get our 'why'. What we did with that is that we then translated that into the "why" for our company. By having that, we can ask, "When we're doing something, does it align with that reason of why we get out of bed in the morning? If it doesn't, then that's not do it." I know, it's probably sounds like I've got a lot of conviction to it–and I do–because I see how the things that we're doing are aligned to that particular 'Why?'

Krissie Leyland  18:10

I absolutely love that. Is that the guy that wrote the book that is in blue writing ("Find Your Why")? What's his name?

Adam Pearce  18:24

It's Simon Sinek. There's a five minute version of his very famous TED Talk, where he talks about "the why, the how, and the what?" So what he says is that a lot of people are very good at explaining what they do. So if I go to a party or networking event, and someone says to me, "What do you do?" Well it's very easy: "I'm a CEO of a Shopify agency, based in Warwickshire." Well, frankly, who cares? But if I said to someone, "Look, what I want to do, my why is that I want to inspire people, so that actually everyone can achieve what they're capable of." Then if you get a few more raise eyebrows, "Well, what do you mean by that?" That's actually my 'why'. So if you kind of have that as your center point, not only can it then generate better conversations face to face for also marketing, but also then it makes you a lot easier to then differentiate yourself from other people. That's the big piece of what we've tried to do, both as individuals but also as a company.

Krissie Leyland  19:32

Wow. And is your 'why' as an individual the same as your 'why' in business.

Adam Pearce  19:40

So we've basically got two very different peopleat the head of our company, me and Peter. We're also very big into this thing called 'Insights Profiles', which basically looks at how you as a person & your personality aligns to particular colors, which represent different moods and activities, things that you're doing. So you can read more about the insights profiles but I think, me and Peter are very different. Now Peter's 'why' is more about being able to solve problems quickly to empower people to work rapidly. So his is quite different to mine. What we've done is that we're working on a company at the moment & we're there [at the 'why'] I think. But we're changing it slightly, because as more team members come in, we want to make sure that our company 'why' is aligned. So it needs to be something where everyone in the company cam feel like they're part of this. That 'why' is reflective of what people actually get up in the morning for. But equally, we can convert that into something that clients can then actually say, "Yes, I want to work with these guys for that reason!"

Krissie Leyland  20:49

Yeah because then they're aligned, hopefully, with your 'why'.

Adam Pearce  20:54

Absolutely. I'd recommend for you to do a session as a team. You know, we did one with our team probably about three months ago. The key thing that came out of our session on the 'why' with the team was that all of us had been in a situation in our lives where someone had told us that either we weren't good enough, we couldn't do something, or we weren't allowed to do something. That was a common theme that was coming across from everyone. So for me, it was the fact that when I was at schools in a careers lesson, my teacher leaned over my shoulder while I was looking at Accenture, which is a consultancy company. He said, "Oh Adam... they only employ the best people there!" From that point at 16, I was like, right, "screw you, I'm going to prove you wrong." And I did.

A lot of people on the team had similar stories about parents, colleagues, friends & family that had told them that they couldn't do something or weren't allowed to do something, and they went on to prove them wrong. That's where we're going with our company wise: If you've been in that situation, where you faced adversity or people trying to put up roadblocks to where you want to be, then actually we're a great company to work with, because we've experienced that. We know how to move past those roadblocks. That's the similar thing that clients have, they get to a certain level, and they think, "Actually, the market is telling me that we can't go any further." We'll actually, screw that. You can! You just got to work out different ways of how to get there. That's how we aligned our 'why'.

Krissie Leyland  22:32

You know what, that's amazing and that was literally touched me? I recently published an episode, just a bonus random one, talking about my experiences and why did I end up in business? Well actually, I think it's because in school, I had a bit of a shit time and had people telling me, "You can't do that. You're worthless. You're this, you're that." And it's like, actually a can! Now my 'why' is to inspire other people to just follow their dreams and do what they want to do, because they can. One of the reasons why I love Shopify is because it gives lots of people in different situations access to business.

Adam Pearce  23:23

I completely agree. I think that's what I love about it too, Krissie, because I think the nice thing is with Shopify: most industries are 50, 100 or 200 years old, for example. We're talking about an industry here that in effect is less than 15 years old. You haven't got the old boys club that you get in finance, management software–where I used to work–or in teaching, which again is an industry that I used to be in. So everyone's got that opportunity to not feel like they're being judged. We all get imposter syndrome, I agree, but I don't think it's as prevalent in Shopify, because we are all new to this industry. It's a new thing that we're doing and we've all got a damn good right to be here. So yeah, I completely agree on that front.

Krissie Leyland  24:15

Oh my god. I didn't expect you to like bring that up but I totally, totally agree. I actually also love Toby's little story, you know, snowboarding stuff. Then I can relate to that about surfing and whatever. It's just also giving people freedom, like you said, we're all in this at the beginning of something. Even though I still get massive imposter syndrome, it's about finding your niche within it anyway and then telling the world.

I need to like, take that in. So going back to your process of getting clients beyond the 100k a month threshold, do you wanna like just talk about how you have helped any particular clients to do that? And what that looked like?

Adam Pearce  25:21

Yeah, certainly. Typically speaking, when we work with a client, they've got a particular problem that they're trying to solve. Here are a couple of different examples: One is that we had a company called Due West that we work with, who are a clothing brand based out in Canada. The main thing for them was that they were seeing that their sales started to stagnate.

The reason for that was that the they had a very strong customer base and those existing customers had stopped buying at the rate they were before. Trying to acquire new customers, of course, is costly, and then the profitability of your sales is then going to go down. So the main thing that we focused on with them is really twofold. One is that, first of all, they haven't refreshed their website for a very long period of time. And also, because they have brick and mortar stores, there wasn't this alignment with the brick and mortar stores and the online shop. A lot of people were shopping in store and online. Or they have a lot of tourists who come in and shop in store, and they continue to shop when they're back home. So the main thing for them was that we need to do a redesign of the store. And it wasn't about, you know, basically fundamentally changing what was happening on site.

The first step was actually, we just need to make sure that the brand looked the same consistently through the store, so that the site actually has some alignment with the brick and mortar store. The second thing was that on their email marketing front, they again needed to do the same piece of work there. So those are basically the two key things that we did. What basically happened with those guys was that after three months, they increased their sales by I think 45%. So it had the the impact that they wanted and now we're still working with those guys to basically say, "Right, we've got the actual branding right now. People are interacting better, but what can we do to actually push them to buy more." So I think that's kind of a good example of look, where you've got an issue, you're using two different mechanisms to actually change it. You're looking at the conversion, and then right, we're back at that clarify point.

Each time, it's not just necessarily about "Just go and do a redesign." for example. It's not just about that. I can't really share with you about particular clients that we do work with but it goes a lot further than the actual online store. You know, it can be about internal relationships, within members of staff or members of the team. It can be about delivery processes. It can be about taxation issues... all these things that we're not experts on. But if we can identify it, and then we can put them in touch with someone who can help them, then actually, that then does have a trickle down effect to their sales. Because if you've got a situation where you know, two members of your leadership team aren't necessarily seeing eye to eye, but we can come in, and actually, by going through the process of working with you, get you to work better.

Then there's a lot of, I guess, unexpected changes that happen when clients work with us. Ultimately, they trickle down to the bottom line. So I think that's the important thing to know here: from my point of view, when you work with an agency, ultimately they should be looking at you as a business and not just a website. And I think that's the kind of thing that a lot of clients like is that the website is just actually an asset. It's not their business. There's a lot of things that go behind that website that are really important to try and tackle as well.

Krissie Leyland  29:00

That's so true. Cool. I've never heard of an agency doing that actually. But obviously, the Shopify partnerships is really valuable as an agency, because you can do that–as long as they live up to what they say that they're going to do, because then obviously, it will come back to you, if not. Then that helps to grow your client's business, and they'll eventually come back to you anyway. So that's interesting. I was just thinking about the client, that you sorted out the website and the branding for, and then I think you mentioned email... So how do you tend to get a potential customers from the website onto their email list and then sell stuff through email?

Adam Pearce  29:57

Yeah, good question. The thing at the moment for us, and the thing that I just absolutely love, is a product called Octane AI Shop Quiz. What this does is that you can actually have on your site, a quiz that will ask that person a set number of questions that you want to ask them. So, when you think about a quiz, we always probably think like the Facebook quizzes where you work out what Disney character you are. I'm not talking about that but the principle, I guess, is the same. Let's say, for example, you're a beauty brand. If you can ask them a series of questions about their skin type, the age or lifestyle, and then also ask for their email address, what you can do is then recommend them a particular number of products that you think they should buy, there and then on the site, but what you've also done is you've collected that data.

Now we use Klaviyo with all of our client and because you can integrate, obtain our shop quiz with Klaviyo, all of that data then get stored on that person's profile. So let's say for example, Krissie, you complete that on my beauty store. Then,, I find out about your skin type, your age group & your lifestyle. If you buy when you complete that quiz, great. If you don't, by no problem, because I've collected a lot of data about you that I can then personalize that email marketing to you. So it might be that, maybe for example, you're telling me you've got dry skin. So then I'm gonna send you an email that says, "Here's three great products for making sure that you get more moisture into your skin." Personalize without kind of feeling like, "Hi, Krissie, you must buy these products!" A lot of people do, but that doesn't really work. So, in terms of getting people to sign up, that is my hot tip for the moment, certainly.

Krissie Leyland  31:48

That is so cool. I love it. Can you do that for a normal website?

Adam Pearce  31:53

Yeah to be honest with you Krissie, well, I I've actually been talking about using it for our own website. And look, let's say if someone wanted to join the MindfulCommerce Community, you could create a quiz that would basically ask a series of questions that would assess if they're a good fit or not. If they were a good fit, you could then recommend them to apply. If they weren't a good fit, you could say please join our waiting list, you know, and kind of go through that way. So that that would be a way I would say to use it for you.

Krissie Leyland  32:23

Oh my God, I'm sold! I'm doing it. That is awesome. But I was also thinking, like, you know, if I'm a brand, I'm a sustainable brand, you could ask, "what are your values?" So: what's important to you? Are you vegan? Do you need plastic free? Like that could be the quiz! The quiz could be: What do you care about? That's just great. We can just personalize everything and then that's not spammy. While you would think it's less spammy because it's actually interesting to that person who's reading the email?

Adam Pearce  33:02

Absolutely, I think the other thing is while you can do with it is that if you were looking at sustainable brands, people would be interested in different paths. If we were talking about environmentalism, sustainability, mindfulness... If you then were selecting that then naturally, you're interesting in those different things. You could then send a guide, PDF, or an ebook related to each one of those different streams as a result of completing that particular quiz. So yeah, I think there's a bagload of opportunities with that.

Krissie Leyland  33:41

I literally want to put it in my search bar right now. How much is it? Just interested.

Adam Pearce  33:48

Um, I believe it starts at $29 a month. And then I think if you convert someone to a sale, they charge you literally cents for each conversion. There's an enterprise plan, which I think is probably into the high hundreds.

Krissie Leyland  34:09

Nice. I was on clubhouse last night at 10pm, like in bed–or was it 11? I don't know, it was really late. Anyway, the Octane AI CEO was talking. It was really interesting, I loved it. So now just in my head, I'm gonna have to probably invest in them.

Adam Pearce  34:35

It's definitely worth having a listen to Ben Parr, who's the president. And then there's also Matt Schlicht as well, who's their CEO. Those are two people definitely worth following.

Krissie Leyland  34:46

Yeah, I think that was the guy. I think it was Matt or maybe it was both of them. Anyway, are there some pointers that you would give to those who aren't quite on the 100k mark. Is there anything that they can kind of do in-house, apart from Octane AI and Klaviyo that can get them to the 100K, and then maybe they'll work with you.

Adam Pearce  35:14

To answer you, the biggest question that people ask me is: "I've got x amount of money, what should I spend it on?" Nine times out of 10, if you're not going to be working agency, I would say photography. It's one of those things that, honestly, is one of the biggest reasons for slowing down sites. So the mistake that some people make is that they'll go out, and they'll source a photographer that then put the huge high resolution images on the site. They'll see the conversion rate goes down and say, "Well hang on, what's going on here?" The reason will be is because those images are too large.

So first things first, everyone who's listening: if you do have a Shopify store, go and check your site speed. If it is poor, use one of the many free tools that are out there that you can use to actually reduce the size of images. But if you've got images, you know, where they're different sizes, you've got different backgrounds, you haven't maybe got consistent angles on all of your images, all these things are a real turnoff. There's been a lot of studies done, the real in-depth white papers produced on this. Photography is always one of the things that has an impact. So if you're able to pay for some decent photography, then I would say definitely, it's worth doing that.

I think the other thing too, is that if you're trying to drive that traffic, and you haven't got a lot of cash at the moment, try new things at Facebook groups. They can be a really fantastic way of not only driving people to your site, but also as well, a lot of market research. We have a company that we work with that actually sells candlemaking supplies and the very first thing we did with them is that we set up a Facebook group, which is all about candle making in the UK. From that, we learned straightaway what kind of products people are interested in. We understood what problems they were going through. We understood what they didn't like about the competition. So all of that was a really good thing to do. Look you know, starting a Facebook group is easy to do. You know, it will take time to build a community up around it but if you are low on cash, that's a great way to work out what you need to do next. It will give you that roadmap you need to grow.

Krissie Leyland  37:29

Completely agree. On the photography side, oh my god, it's the worst. If somebody's got terrible imagery and it's all different sizes, and Higgledy Piggledy... oh, I'll click off straightaway. Also, one thing I was thinking then is, with photography and resolution, if you lower the resolution, it not only increases site speed, but it reduces your impact on the planet, because you're taking less energy. I talk about this all the time but it's basically: solve your site speed and also help the planet. With the community thing, of course, I totally agree. There's tons out there like, eco pod. And also, at MindfulCommerce, we're going to build a second directory that will be completely free where brands can get listed and stuff like that. So yeah, there's so much out there but that was really good tips from you. Thank you! So have you worked with any brands who are trying to be better for the planet? And if so, what are those projects like?

Adam Pearce  38:55

Yeah, definitely. So there's one I wanted to talk to you about in particular. A company that actually basically sells supplies to a particular hobby–I don't want to say too much because I don't necessarily want to give too much away here–but the issue they're facing was that the owner of the company was very, I think, cognizant about packaging. He was seeing what Amazon were doing, in terms of sending out these huge boxes with very small products inside–and sometimes, you know, three or four levels of packaging within that. With his company, he wanted to bring down the cost of shipping for his customers, but he also wanted to reduce actually the amount of wastage and his carbon footprint with each of that shipping.

Now, one of the things that we were very keen on doing: "How do we basically indicate to someone that when they purchase something, they're not doing this in a very sustainable way because of the way that that product needs to be packed?" So we actually built them a tool that will allow people to build a box so that they could actually visually see the space that was left in that box.

BrewDog did this very well. So if you go and order beer from BrewDog, if I put six cans of my favorite beer in there, they're actually going to show you on the screen, that your crate, your box, is still got six spaces in there. Psychologically, that's quite powerful because you say, "Well, okay, actually, I'm being a bit wasteful here. I could actually get more in there rather than waste that space." Actually, also with that, they also do a down sell on it where they recommend that you buy less. So that actually you're reducing the amount of waste in terms of packaging. So I think that's a project that we've been really pleased with. And we're actually diong something else with another brands about just being more efficient with that packaging. So I think that's an important one.

Krissie Leyland  41:01

Wow, that's cool. One thing that I just thought of then is, if you've got a brick and mortar store as well, and you've put things on the shelves, if you could make your packaging ready to be shipped, if that makes sense. So it's already, like in a box. I don't know if I'm making sense here.

Adam Pearce  41:33

I think that what you're saying is that then you don't have to completely repackage or repurpose your product. So then, it makes sense, from an operations point of view, from a sustainability point of view, from a cost point of view. It's got to be ready to go and I think that that's exactly the right thing to do.

Krissie Leyland  41:54

Yeah and that's actually really cool of BrewDog to do that. Also, I was thinking, "Oh, I've got room for six more. Okay! But then does that increase how much you buy, so it would increase average order value as well." But then you said that they encourage you to buy less, which was quite interesting.

Adam Pearce  42:20

I mean, I think on the one hand, you could say, "Well, look. You're increasing the carbon footprint by adding more products." But it also depends on your products. BreweDog, for example, I think they're even carbon negative now, definitely carbon neutral. But if you then got an associated carbon footprint with that delivery, then actually, as a proportion, that level, you're actually being better, because you're then not gonna have that other order on top of that, to then give the extra that you would have ordered in a second order. So I think it kind of depends on the way you look at it, but it's kind of win--win. You know, from an environmental point of view, but but also from a sales and business growth point of view as well.

Krissie Leyland  43:09

Definitely. Cool. Love it. I was super excited to see that you had read "The Four Hour Workweek" by Tim Ferriss. I personally get stuck in my work zone, I can't get out of it but I'm trying to not work as much, like give myself time outside for doing nice things and spending time with my friends. So have you experienced burnout before and is there a way that you were hoping to combat that... or?

Adam Pearce  43:44

Yeah, I've 100% experienced burnout. The thing is with the four hour workweek book, I'm nowhere near a four hour workweek at the moment. What I have done is though, that I we only now work Monday to Thursday, so I'm getting close to it and that's basically my business partner. I think the main thing that that book taught me is that actually, if you can put structures into the way that you work, you can work a heck of a lot more efficiently.

For example, one of the things he talks about in the book is, checking your emails twice or three times a day. We've all been guilty of opening your laptop at eight or nine o'clock in the morning, spending 45 minutes responding to emails, then feeling tired and getting a coffee, then basically, killing that morning. The one thing that I got from the book is that I also do this "eat the frog" thing where you're going to be your biggest task of the day, the first thing. So I generally work from quarter past seven in the morning, till half past four in the afternoon. From quarter past seven to half past eight. I'm smashing something out that I need to do. Like I need to do a finance analysis, and I've done that, it's out the way. Then I can go and check email. Because you feel like you've accomplished something, you're also then more efficient with your time, so I think that's kind of the one side of it.

So in terms of burnout, I don't mind admitting that I still suffer from depression. I've medicated for depression for probably about four years, along with kind of a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy. The thing is with this is that, a lot of the mental health issues that I had were exacerbated by burnout but obviously, not the root cause of it. I think I'd say that if anyone is listening, number one, if you ever want to talk about mental health to me, find me on LinkedIn. I absolutely would love to talk to you about it and tell you about some of the coping strategies that I've used & tend to use.

But I also think having that awareness that is actually something that's real, and not like you're being a flake, which is how, you know, some people will tell you if you've experienced burnout. Everyone will have something that indicates when they're burning out. It might be the fact that you're not sleeping as much or it might be the fact that you're not being able to make decisions. So look around at those warning signs, and if it gets to that point, then literally take a step back. Because ultimately, wherever your business is now, or wherever your job is right now, wherever it is that you're doing, it can stay at that place for the time being. It doesn't need to be pushing forward, and you're not going to lose where you are, and what you've achieved so far. So if you do need to step away from it for a week, two weeks a month.

In my case, I basically had three months out to figure out what the hell I wanted to do in life when I had my big, I would say, a sort of meltdown–but after that point, you can pick up on the things that you've done. So I don't think it's that case, you think like I've got to get over it. If you are that point, just say, "Look, my mind is just devoid of ideas. I'm not enjoying anything. I'm not taking any benefit from anything that I'm doing." Then just step back from it, and just say, "What are the things that truly make you happy? What are the things that really don't make me happy?" I actually did this one because I actually had a breakdown when I was a teacher. I just completely was in beds in tears in a ball for probably about a month.

When I got out of that process, that period, I actually got a piece of paper and I wrote down the pros and the cons of things that I liked and the things that I didn't like about my job, about my relationship, about my life, about our friendships, and I looked at all the things that I didn't didn't like. Then what I did was that I looked at it said, "Is there a job where I can get more things that I like that I dislike, and what are the things that I disliked that I can actually remove from my life, or I can actually make better? The result of that: certain relationships or friendships that had, I got rid of. Certain things that I did, I got rid of and never did again. Certain things I know that I need to start doing, I start doing. So for example, running, exercising with a thing that I never did that I now do religiously. And that helps me with my mental health and avoid that burnout. So that will be my tip.

Krissie Leyland  48:33

That is amazing. Wow. Thank you for sharing that. It's also really brave to like talk about that kind of stuff. Yeah, normally whenever I feel burned out, I just can't do anything. I'll just sit on the sofa, sat there going, "I don't know what I'm doing my life!" But then, yeah, you just have to take a break. That's what I'm trying to teach myself is to, like you said, take a step back and just think, "you know, what do I enjoy doing?" and then just do more of that for a little bit. So for me, I have to go surfing or just be in the sea and then come back to working when I feel positive again, and ideas are coming in my head again. So, I think that's really powerful. And how you said to write down a list of all the things that you like doing and all the things you don't like doing and then what can you get rid of or delegate as Tim would probably say? Yeah, love it. So... do you think it's actually possible to reach a four hour workweek?

Adam Pearce  49:59

Good Question. I wonder, you know, whether actually, it is possible because I think delegation is something that I think I've learned to do better, I'm still not great at. I'm too much of a control freak but ultimately, that's going to be the thing that stopped me from doing that. And for me, when I initially started thinking about this, that thought the four hour workweek was like, "that's going to be amazing!" But actually, what I realized is that that's not actually what I want. And it might be that actually, for you, it might be the same: "well actually, I just want to work mornings, or I want to work four days a week, because I want to do this particular thing."

So I think the main thing for me & my business partner, Peter: two years ago, we both set it up, we would love to not work Fridays, because at that time, both our wives are both expecting children. We said, wouldn't it be amazing, while they're not at school, from birth to four, to be able on a Friday to then go out to the zoo for a day, or go and do something fun with them, or take them horse riding, whatever it might be. That's what we realized will make us happy: to have more time to that with our family. So it could be possible, but I also think there's no point putting that pressure on yourself because, ultimately, is that the thing that you really want to do? I think I for if I was in four hours a week, I would just be a wreck.

Krissie Leyland  51:44

If you just did four hours a week, you'd just sat there itching thinking "I need to work on that!" because you like what you do it. That's why you choose to be in the business that you're in. But I really liked it when you said, that progress that you've made isn't going to just go away and you don't always have to be working towards the next thing and the next thing... which is what my mind tells me quite a lot the time. But yeah, I don't think I could do four hours a week either.

Adam Pearce  52:16

No, I think it would drive me crazy.

Krissie Leyland  52:20

Oh, gosh. Well, I just love that book. But also there's Rob Moore's. Love that one. What's it called?

Adam Pearce  52:34

I don't know but again, he's he's very active in Clubhouse.

Krissie Leyland  52:40

"Life Leverage," I think.

Adam Pearce  52:41

Yes, that's it.

Krissie Leyland  52:43

Brilliant book, you should read it. So yeah, I think we've covered quite a lot. I'm very conscious of your time, it's 11 o'clock and we did have technical difficulties at the beginning. So I guess one final question would be: I'm really excited that you are officially on the mindful commerce directory... When I approached you with this, what was it that you were the most excited about?

Adam Pearce  53:16

I think the main thing is for me is that the way that you set this up, Krissie, is the fact that around the issue that we've got in the world is that there is a lot of shaming going on, around not being sustainable. What I liked about this is that you you're not basically saying with this directory, that you have to be completely 100% sustainability in everything that you do. What you're saying here is that let's start taking steps to be more sustainable. And that's what really appealed me to it.

It's the same with me and my company: I feel like we are fairly sustainable in some things that we do. You know, we don't do travel, we work remotely, all those kind of things, but there's definitely things that we do buy for the company that are sustainable. And that's fine. I'm not gonna lie that we are 100% perfect.

I think that's the thing here for brands and also for agencies. I feel that a lot of brands are scared about going down this route, because they feel they have to be 100% focused towards being sustainable and it's not the case. You can start small and start thinking about the actual impacts in your business. It's not also about saying, "We've got to do all these things, and it's going to cost us 'x' much." It's actually about saying, "You can be more sustainable and actually help yourself become more profitable, which is something I know that you know, quite a few brands, like Dr. Will's, for example, have found that sustainability is actually helped their bottom line as well. I think that's when it starts going a bit more of a two way conversation rather than something to be dictated to like some of the other kind of discussion and discourse that's out there on sustainability.

Krissie Leyland  55:05

Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? I think we just wanted to make it really open and just to be more of like facilitating a conversation. Like you said, definitely, there's no such thing as being 100% sustainable but there are things you can do like small things that have a big impact or have a big difference in the world, like even as simple as downloading ShoppingGives, which is an app that helps you to give back easily as a ecommerce brand. And like you said, it then comes back to your bottom line, because your customers will have more trust and loyalty and yeah, that's another episode but I'm super excited that you're part of it. Thank you.

Adam Pearce  55:53

We really appreciate being part of it, thank you.

Krissie Leyland  55:56

Welcome! Actually... this is my final question: Where can people find you?

Adam Pearce  56:03

Yep. Cool. So if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, just Adam Pearce. If you want to find out more about Blend Commerce, just go over to blendcommerce.com and you'll find lots of different useful blogs on there. You've got to the one about brand archetypes that I mentioned. You've got different things about Shopify apps, and things like mental health, a little blog that I've written recently. So quite an eclectic blog over there so yeah, go and take a look and let me know what you think.

Krissie Leyland  56:30

Perfect. Thank you so much. And yeah, thank you for your time today. It's been great.

Adam Pearce  56:37

No problem. Thank you!

Krissie Leyland  56:38

Thank you!

Rich Bunker  56:39

We hope you enjoyed the episode today. If you did, you're probably like being in our community. There's a whole host of exciting things going on.

Krissie Leyland  56:46

So don't forget to join by going to mindfulcommerce.io. Click on 'Community' and register from there.

Rich Bunker  56:52

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