In today’s episode, Allan welcomes Jonathan Price. Jonathan or “JP” has turned his passion for car audio into an e-commerce 8-figure business. He is the owner of Down4soundshop.com and in five years, he went from working out of his parent’s attic, to 20 million in sales online in the car audio industry. JP grew his following through YouTube and found a passion for providing top-notch customer service for his business. Allan and JP discuss the importance of fulfilling orders, delivering products on time, and having a personal connection with your customers.
Allan has started and grown several multimillion dollar businesses. His mission is to help you do the same. Welcome to The Business Growth Pod, building the future one entrepreneur at a time.
Hey, everyone, Welcome to The Business Growth pod. I’m your host, Allan Draper. Today, I’d like to welcome Jonathan Price Jonathan or JP, as I’m going to call him has turned his passion for car audio into an E commerce eight figure business. He’s the owner of downforsoundshop.com. And in five years, he went from working out of his parents attic to $20 million in sales online in the car audio industry. So I’m looking forward to speaking with Jonathan. Jonathan, welcome to the show. Man.
I appreciate you having me. I look forward to connecting with you and all of your people as well.
Awesome, man. So I got to hear this story. Let’s start with first of all, where are you located. And let’s hear a little bit about your background, where you got this idea and just kind of tell me the story.
Currently, I’m located in Las Vegas, Nevada, I’m a transplant from Greenville, Mississippi, that’s probably where you hear my country bumpkin accent. So I lived in Greenville, Mississippi my entire life. And the way that it started was I’ve always kind of had an interest in core audio. And I was going to Core Audio shows and kind of dabbling in it a little bit, but also have a an interest or a love for aviation. So I was working at an airport. Basically, I said FBO, like where private airplanes come into, and I was working there. And but I was been working on my car audio system and like doing some little stuff with it, and it started to grow. So as it grew, I would post about it on, I think it was MySpace at the time, like if people will know what that is. So it was kind of in the transition of like MySpace to Facebook. But at that time, Core Audio forums, like if people know what those are, like, instead of MySpace or Facebook, there was forums that were really popular, basically, people would go and share what they were doing with their car, audio builds, or whatever. So I was sharing it on there. And people were like, hey, you need to start a YouTube channel. And I’m like, for what? Like, oh, you’re pretty interesting. Like, I like what you’re doing with your builds. And so I did, oh, what year was it? Probably 1213, maybe 14 years ago. So it was in that where MySpace was kind of fading out. And people were starting to transition over to Facebook. So it’s been about
So I started a YouTube channel, and people started following me on there. And I would go to car audio shows and people would see me at these core audio shows, and I saw you online, like it’s really cool to meet you. And they would listen to my vehicle. And each time that I would go to a show that people that would listen to it would ask me, where do you get your core audio products from. And at that time, I was just sponsored by a few different companies that are more kind of underground brands. And I would just tell them go to Sundown Audio or access power batteries or whatever I was sponsored by at the time, I would tell them to go directly back to their website, because that’s like what you do when your response or you’re supposed to be giving that company a ROI. Because they’re investing in you by giving you a discount or free product, whatever it might be. So it’s your job to get people over there so they can make their money back for their investment with you. So anyway, I was pointing people back to them for a while. And then one day when I was at a core audio, so a very big one. Somebody got him a vehicle and listened to him. They’re like, what do you get your stuff from? And the light bulb went off in my head and I was like, Man, I could be selling these people this stuff. People keep asking me my I mean, I’m growing my following my following is growing, growing, growing. That time I had, I don’t know, just started on YouTube. And I was getting through 30 to 50,000 subscribers, but this subscriber rate was just on fire. So these companies saw that value that I had, because obviously everybody that gets into whatever market it might want to be they want to be sponsored. Like that’s a big deal to people who don’t want to be sponsored. And it was it was a big deal for me but the company started seeing how much value You I had with this monstrous following that I was building. I mean, it was decent at the time, but they saw the potential. So that’s what started the idea of I could be selling these people this stuff. I didn’t know anything about business. I didn’t know anything about sales. But I did know that I could probably figure it out. So that’s where the idea for down for sound like how it kind of started. So I reached out to these companies that I was already being sponsored by. And I was like, hey, is there any way that I can sell this stuff to the people, they’re already asking for it. So if I could sell it to him, that would be great. I can start maybe covering some of my expenses to go to the shows, or what have you. So because at this time, I was definitely living paycheck to paycheck, the normal thing I was my primary role at the airport was pumping gas in the airplanes. So I tell people, and I had a little side hustle of cutting grass. So I’ll tell people, I went from pumping gas and cutting grass to doing what I’m doing now like no miss pretty crazy transition. But it goes to show people that even coming from a very small country town in the middle of cotton fields like you can, if you figure something out, like you can go from working paycheck to paycheck to generate generating $20 million in revenue. And in a single year, like this possible. And I know you know that. But well, I love the stories as well, and everybody has their story. But it’s cool to be able to experience this transition. So as it continued to grow. I met my fiancee here in Vegas. And that’s what brought me out to Vegas, a lot of people like oh, you moved to Vegas to do better sales or what have you. But being a I’m 99.9% online ecommerce sales. Sometimes we have people local stop by and pick stuff up. But it wasn’t a lot of people thought I moved to Vegas just to be in a bigger city of a million people versus 20,000 people. But that wasn’t the reason the reason was for love. So I came out here but no doubt is pushed to me being in a faster paced environment of like Las Vegas has and getting me out of my comfort zone. I know I’ve heard people saying say this, like if you want to really expand yourself, get away from your hometown, at least for a little while, because it’s going to get you away from all your comfort, and it’s going to push you to do even more. And 110% It pushed me to go harder because I didn’t have you don’t have anybody to rely on. I can’t call my dad or like, Hey, can you come help me with this? Like, he’s 1600 miles away, like and I don’t know anybody in Las Vegas other than my fiance. So anyway, that was definitely a huge motivator for me to triple down on what I was doing. And luckily, it worked out for me.
That’s awesome. So let’s talk a little bit about those conversations that you had with the vendors or partners. When you realized, Hey, I’m adding some value to them. I’m advertising, I’m sending them referrals anyway, I’m sending people to their doorstep. Anyway, I should get a cut of this. Tell me about those first couple of conversations when you approach them. And you said, Hey, I’m building this network. You know, people listen to me, and I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I have two podcasts. One of them is in a more niche area of pest control. And I did not create the podcast. And I’m not doing the social media, for people to come to me and ask for referrals for all sorts of stuff. But it happened nonetheless. So people will come to me and they’re like, hey, Alan, who do you use for you know, your bookkeeping, or who you use for marketing and all these things. But I want to understand this process of when you reached out to the sponsors, I think you called them. What did you tell them? What was their reaction? And how did you get down to negotiating the terms and the price and the value of what you were providing them,
it definitely was not easy, because I got turned down by them a number of times, they saw enough value for them to sponsor me. But that’s just like a one time deal. And they may be sponsoring, I don’t know, a 20 or 30% discount on $5,000 in product. So it’s not really that big of a deal. So when I reached out to them, and again, I don’t know anything about business, I didn’t have a business license or like a number to a business license number to to give them I didn’t know I needed any of this stuff. So they’re like this guy. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. We’re not letting him become a dealer because he doesn’t know anything about business. So I got turned down a ton of times they’re like, no, let’s just leave it as a sponsorship or we’re not bringing on any other dealers or whatever. So that happened a bunch and a lot of people will probably give up at that point. They’re like, Oh, this this isn’t gonna work for me. They just keep telling me no, so there’s nothing I can do. But I just it just didn’t sit well with me. So I just kept going back over And over asking them and eventually, they’re like, Okay, we can probably work something out I was. So in my approach, I would tell them like, Hey, man, I’m bringing you a lot of value. Every one of my videos that I’m releasing on YouTube is getting however many 1000s of views, like who else is bringing you this value? I guess it started marinating with them. And it made it finally made sense. So we’re like, alright, we can work something out. Do you have your business license? I’m like, Oh, I’m googling. How do you get a business license? And so anyway, it’s easy as no big deal. So I get one, I’m like, yeah, here’s my number. And they’re like, Okay, so obviously, when you’re just getting started with a company, and I think they had like a three or $5,000 buy in, like you had to buy in a certain amount, the lower the amount was that you bought in the lower your percentage you made was because you’re not investing a lot. So you’re not really getting a lot. So, but me, I’m like, Oh, I’m getting my foot in the door is how I saw it. I’m like, okay, cool. Like, if I’m just making 20% on this sale, that’s better than nothing. And also, I was gonna be drop shipping, everything, I thought drop shipping, everything was going to be the Holy Grail, like, Oh, you don’t have to pay for any warehouse and you don’t have to pay for any employees, you just sit back and collect all the checks. I mean, that’s true for some people. But it was for a little while. But so as the time goes, and start doing more business with them, they start seeing my following is still growing, it goes past 100,000 subscribers, people were starting to follow me more and more Facebook pages, Instagram, Snapchat, like all these different things are following me on. So they’re seeing all this value there for me to be talking about their brand to these people, because they just like you, they trust you they trust your opinion, and what you recommend to them, because they have this personable connection with you from following you online for all these years. So as it continued to grow the and the more exposure was there, they started to sweeten the deal, like their percentage would go up more. And because I was also buying more, they would give me more of a percentage. So getting them more business, they’re giving me a little bit more cut. So that continued to go I mean, even up to where it is today, like now it’s awesome, because we’re on a distributor level or like platinum distributor with some of these companies, because we more business with them than any other company that sells their product. So obviously, they’re going to give us the best cut possible because we’re working the hardest for them. So that’s how it kind of got started. Like I didn’t know anything about business, they didn’t want me to sell for them to Now, fast forward to present day, I’m their number one dealer, and I sell more product for a lot of these companies than anybody else in the history of Colorado. So that’s how I got started.
That’s incredible. I mean, it’s really tough to argue with the benefit that you bring when you’re able to produce numbers like that. When you guys talk about negotiating or renegotiating the price or the kickback? It sounds like you get a percentage of the sale. Is that accurate? Correct? Well,
my business model changed mindset and model change. From that point on, we still drop ship a little bit if we get if we run out of stock on something. But when I left my parents in Greenville, Mississippi, I just started my first body and have like $5,000 in core audio products is all the money that I had at that time. And I was just storing that in my mom and dad’s attic of their house. So it was not a ton. But that’s how I got started. And I kept flipping it over and over. And I ended up starting to store it in a shed in my backyard of own that was my dad’s. And then when I decided to move to Las Vegas, I’m like, Okay, I’ll ship all this stuff out here. And I was going to be living with my fiance, or now fiance, he was girlfriend then. But I’m like, Okay, I’ll just store it at our house. And I’ll just do all my shipping from the house. Because the more that you stocked one, you have more control over what you know you have, because say I would get a sale for this product, whatever product it might be, I will get a sale for it. But when I went to dropship it, they may be out of stock of that product. And the customer would say, Okay, well, I’ll wait till it comes back in stock. But the first thing that they do, they go online and like Who else sells this product, and they find somebody that does have it in stock. And they’re like, oh, I want to cancel my order. And then you go back from that person. So that was a lesson that I learned to the benefit of having stuff in stock and being in control over what you have in stock, can you be able to provide it for the customer. So when I moved out here, I was operating it out of her house a little bit. I don’t know. It wasn’t that long. I had to figure it out. I had to get my first warehouse because I just didn’t have any room to be stocking all this product. So I got my first warehouse it was like 2500 square feet. A couple years later I moved into my second warehouse it was 7500 square feet and then it Two years ago, almost to the day I moved into the current warehouse, and I’m at this 30,000 square feet, it has higher racking so I’m able to go taller, to get more pallet positions. So that’s kind of the transition of the, the business of what it wasn’t my parents added to what it is now in about six ish years. And also, with stocking product, they give you a little bit more margin, because you’re warehousing it for them, they’re no longer having to warehouse it at their place. They’re giving you a kickback, or a little bonus, because you’re warehousing it to your place, and they send you all this product in one big like truckload basically, and they’re not having to ship out all your drop ships, so that’s a lot easier for them to send one truckload to you, instead of 3000 individual speaker shipments that you’re drop shipping. So that’s a couple of bonuses there to like warehousing your own product. I know there’s different people that have different mindsets on like, some people just want to be dropshippers, they don’t care, like they just want to have a dropship model. And there’s like, No, this two hour, four hour workweek just drop shipping stuff. And it may work for some people, but it doesn’t work for median, how much I’m wanting to grow. So that’s kind of what we transitioned into. That’s kind
of an interesting point, because what you’re doing is you’re adding, you have to add this logistical aspect to your business, if you’re warehousing and you’re the one that’s actually fulfilling the orders and, and doing all that your margins are going to be larger it sounds, it sounds like top line revenue, gross revenue is going to be higher. And so that’s the trade off, like, Hey, I’m going to sell more, my margins are probably going to be a little better. Because I’m offering you know, the manufacturers, this luxury of me doing the work for them, you know, where they can just bulk ships to me, and then I fulfill orders. But what I have to pay for that is, you know, I have to actually be the one that’s storing it that’s fulfilling these orders. You know, I think a lot of times this reminds me of, I don’t know if you know who Tony Shea is funny enough, he was operating out of Las Vegas at one point, Zappos, he’s the founder of Zappos, right? The online shoe retailer back before people really selling much online. In his book Delivering Happiness, which I highly recommend, it’s a great book. It talks a lot about company culture, and how to build a company the right way. And Tony passed away a couple of years and really unfortunate situation. But I look up to him, I look to him as one of my business mentors. But one thing that I learned from him was he got to this point with Zappos where he had to decide whether he was in control of the logistics of his company of the fulfilling orders, the warehousing, everything like that. Or if he was going to leave that to somebody else. He reasoned that he was going to do it, even though it was going to be more work, it was going to be riskier for him. But because he wanted to be the one and you mentioned this word, when you were talking about your situation, also, but he wanted to be the one that was in control of that aspect of the business. There were other things I’m sure that he, you know, had vendors or contractors perform. But he wanted to make sure that he was in control of delivering on time, fulfilling the appropriate orders, you know, all of those things, and he was willing to pay for it. And I get this question a lot, where people are like, Hey, should I use like a Customer Service Center, like a third party answering service? Or, you know, should I have somebody else do these aspects of my business? And I usually respond with a question like, Well, do you consider that a core and differentiating part of your business? And if the answer to that question is yes, then you need to do that in house so that you have 100% control over. A lot of people like these drop shippers, right. This is an analogous situation. They’re gonna say, Well, yeah, it’s easier for me, I don’t have the stress of the help. I’m gonna have increased liability insurance, like the real estate that’s involved is a really big deal. And it’s expensive. I’m not have to worry about any of that. And just like, Okay, fine. That’s the way that you’re deciding to go. But realize that you’re losing control over this essential aspect of your business.
That’s correct. Like I said, it’s different. I’m not saying My way is the right way. But this just the right way for me and in the way that I wanted to go with my business. I know that there’s people out there that just strictly do drop shipping, and if they clear 10 Five 10% on their sale, and they don’t even have to touch it, so to speak. They’re cool with it and awesome, but I’d rather do 50 or 60% and me be in control of my products that I have in here. And also like you talked about customer service like we do in house customer service. Because I think when you also do a foreign or third party call center, do they really know your product? Like you do? Like, do they really know? Like, for instance, if I used to do they really know anything about core audio, probably not like exactly, their responses are going to be very vague. And the customer I think, is going to end the conversation with a more negative experience even being on a phone call with that person than they would be if they maybe didn’t get a phone call answered, but they sent an email and got the email answered by somebody here that actually knows how to wire subwoofers, or how to tune an amplifier or whatever it might be. So these people with a call centers, they think they’re just not going to know those details that people were really looking for when they make a phone call to a company.
Yeah, 100%. And there are things that as business owners, we need help with, there are things that we need to pay a third party for. But in your case, I feel like a lot of the value is actually coming from your personal brand, slash your social media following slash reputation, whatever that that is, right people are, they’re buying from you, because they trust you. And if you’re not in control of that, you leave that to somebody else. They don’t care about that connection, right? They’re just trying to do something as efficiently and cheaply as possible. And that could come back to bite you, right? You talked about having the inventory that you need to sell now, and ship now. And they might not care about that. And so I think it goes back to what you’re trying to accomplish, who’s in control of what and how that’s going to affect you. And in your case, where it’s, Hey, people are buying from me, because it’s me, then that is the most valuable thing that you have is that brand. And you don’t want that to get disrupted.
We’ll just write down some notes real quick. So I don’t forget know what I wanted to say about that two pieces of advice that I can give to people. And these things helped me grow my business a lot is obviously the social media following that’s a big thing. But doing two things, one, you just talked about it, the personal connection that you have with people is you cannot put a price on that. When I first started growing my social media, YouTube and stuff like that I didn’t have anything to sell. And that’s when I grew it the most. When people you probably have experienced this, when you use a light come across somebody, you’re like, Oh, I really liked that guy. And then like, a few videos later, he’s trying to sell you something you’re like, Ah, no, no, don’t do that. And like so you. So it turns you off. But so when I first started growing my following, I wasn’t selling anything. So I was just this genuine guy that didn’t have anything for sale. So people, like you said, got that personal connection with me where they’re like, Man, this, this guy was just like me, he’s a country bumpkin guy from ACIP, they didn’t just down to earth and just out there sharing videos of his system or cutting grass or pumping gas and aeroplanes where he’s just a normal guy. So that will establish a personal connection with these people. And that’s why my stuff grew so fast. Fast forward to where it is now. Now doing live videos, there’s two things when we do live videos a lot. And also, like own product releases, and also answering questions for people. This has gotten an awesome response for us. And I go to different business conferences and stuff like that, such as grant cardones, 10x growth conference, I go there, and they talk about these things. When you do like a video about a topic, it could be plumbing, or it can be whatever. But when you put this information out there, like people say how to tune an amplifier, or how to hook up an aftermarket battery or secondary battery, whatever it might be, you put this out there. And not only is it gonna pop up when people Google like how do you install a secondary battery on a core audio system. So you’re gonna be there but you’re telling these people how to do it, because a lot of people are do it your self, people that are buying from us, because obviously they’re buying online, most of them are going to install it themselves. So you’re providing them the product, but you’re also providing them the How To own installing that in their vehicle properly, like so they don’t hook it up backwards, or whatever it might be. So they see there’s that two things of value there of I do. Answering your questions, I do a frequently asked question or rapid fire questions segment where I actually go on there and I ask people, Hey, if you have any questions, like ask them in the comment section, and we’ll go through and pick the most popular ones and I’ll personally answer them for you. So obviously, having over half a million subscribers, you’re probably Holy crap, this guy’s actually going to engage with me. He’s actually going to talk back to me like I’m just a random person on the internet. So this has gotten an amazing response for people to like, Come and interact with me because they know like, I will talk to you, I will like interact with you. Obviously, I can’t do everybody. But they see like that they have a chance like that oh, well comment. So obviously, I’m providing value back to them them commenting on my stuff and liking it is boosting the algorithm, they’re like it’ll, it’ll show up, it’ll be more popular. So we’ve had a great response with that on like YouTube, as far as Facebook, like going live on Facebook. When we’re reviewing a new product, we’ll just give one away, like whatever it might be, I’ll do a giveaway. And in order to enter the giveaway is super simple. Like this video, share this video, comment on this video and obviously follow my page. And Pete like, it blows up like crazy. Like, I mean, we give away stuff, there’s 100 bucks stuff, there’s 2000 bucks, but it’s that value that you’re writing to people. And also I’m answering questions about the product or any questions that people might ask on this video. We have, I think over a quarter million followers on our Facebook page. So there can be a lot of people and they’re on the live videos at times where obviously I don’t see everybody’s questions they’re asking but answering questions as the as I see the ones pop up, I’ll answer them. So again, people are feeling like, oh, this this guy is a business owner, but he also engages with us. You don’t know anybody at Amazon. Like you don’t know anybody at eBay. Like you don’t have this personal connection with them. Like Jeff Bezos isn’t coming on a live video like, hey, hey, bro, he had any questions for me about fulfilling, like all these shipments? You’re not getting that. So anyway, that’s two things that have been huge for us like on growth and also people having that personal connection with you.
Yeah, that’s awesome, man. So as we’re wrapping up here, JP, tell me a little bit about the trajectory, what does the future hold for you and your company? And where can people reach out to you if they want to learn more about what you’re doing?
Yeah, as far as trajectory of the company, I’d love to see 100 million in revenue in a year. Let’s go, we have to get to 51st. But like, long, and you have your different goals, but 50 than 100. That’s a big goal for me, and also helping bringing more people on to my team. I was really selfish. When I first started in business, I thought I was going to be able to do everything, I was going to ship everything I was going to like purchase everything. I wasn’t going to make any mistakes. Because I’m perfect. I quickly realize that like doing stuff by yourself, nobody’s ever done anything great by themselves, it may be good, but you’re not going to be great by yourself, you have to have a team. That’s the business side. As far as people wanting to reach out to me or find me They can find me on youtube or most of the social media platforms under the life of price. And also my businesses down for sound shot and like they can follow me on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook under that. And some people will follow my personal Facebook page, Jonathan price and like, I don’t know, almost 30,000 followers on my personal Facebook page. People want to know, again, they want that personal connection. They want to know this person’s real. This he really goes and gets an ice bath in the morning every morning. This is crazy. Like, like, anyway, just sharing that personal stuff there and people realize that you do also do stuff that they do every day so they get that personal connection. Thanks for joining us today JP and best of luck in the future, my man.
I appreciate you man. Thank you for having me.
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