Focus and Finish Your Journey: Insights from Brad Parker on Scroll Sessions Episode #6


Welcome to our latest blog post where we delve into the fascinating conversation from the Scroll Sessions Podcast, Episode #6. Our special guest, Brad Parker, joins hosts Dan Page and Shane Hickenlooper for an insightful discussion on entrepreneurship, the tech industry, and the journey to success.

About Brad Parker

Originally from Florida, Brad Parker moved to Utah about a decade ago, marking a significant shift from the boat business to the tech industry. His journey is one of innovation and determination, leading him to establish Private Auto, a platform revolutionizing private vehicle sales.

From Boats to Tech: A Journey of Innovation

Brad’s initial career in the boat business laid the foundation for his foray into the tech world. His venture in the yachting industry, particularly in tech solutions for medium to large yachts, was both challenging and rewarding. This experience ultimately led him to create Private Auto, akin to Venmo for private vehicle transactions, simplifying sales and purchases outside conventional banking hours.

Embracing the Cold and the Mountains

Moving from Florida to Utah was not just a geographical shift but also a lifestyle change for Brad. Adapting to the colder climate and moving away from the ocean was challenging, but the mountains of Utah grew on him, offering a beautiful and conducive environment for both personal and family growth.

The Leap from Family Business to Personal Passion

Brad shares a pivotal moment in his journey: the decision to not take over his family’s boat business. This choice stemmed from his growing passion for technology and the realization that there was more he wanted to achieve. This epiphany led him to start Yacht Closer, a tech company that revolutionized the boating industry by digitizing the sales process.

The Significance of Focus and Finish

One of the key takeaways from Brad’s story is the importance of focus and determination. He emphasizes the necessity of concentrating on one’s goals and persistently working towards them. His mantra, “Focus and Finish,” resonates throughout his journey, highlighting the importance of dedication in the path to success.


Brad Parker’s journey from the boat business in Florida to pioneering a tech company in Utah is a testament to the power of embracing change, pursuing passions, and staying focused. His story is not just about entrepreneurial success but also about the personal growth and insights gained along the way.

Podcast Transcript




Brad we’re excited to have you here on the podcast today my name is Dan and


I’ve also got Shane here today too uh Brad will you just give us a little bit


of an intro about who you are and what you do yeah so Brad Parker


the originally from Florida moved out here to Utah about 10 years ago but uh


I think my my initial career started in the boat business and then I got into Tech and I’ve been in tech for a little


while um was actually in Tech in the yachting industry we were like the LegalZoom and


DocuSign of uh you know medium to large yachts and uh so that was an interesting


journey and uh and then today uh run private auto so we make it we’re like the venmo of private vehicle sales we


make it easy to buy and sell cars privately do the bill of sale do any dollar transaction right in the parking


lot even on you know weekends and holidays and that’s huge I saw a a


little video that you guys had put out about how you can do transactions on weekends and holidays and I always buy


cars private party like I hate dealerships so every time I’ve done that


I’ve actually had a moment where it was a Friday afternoon I was trying to sell a car and I couldn’t I had to wait till


Monday buyer build and then I had to go find a new buyer and it was just kind of


a nightmare so when I watch that video I was like this is a really cool product yeah that makes total sense coming from


Florida to Utah though that uh it’s quite the jump the weather it took me


about four years to get used to the cold yeah uh it took a while I never thought I could live away from the ocean uh you


know I mean even being in a boat business I used to be like uh so we we would do customer trips I would even


take I used to take customers to the Bahamas for two three weeks in the summer yeah take them diving fishing you


know island hopping in their boats and then so I did anyway move into the mountains uh I never thought I could


live away from the ocean but the mountains have grown on me it’s it’s it’s beautiful out here it’s been great


for the family too yeah so you’re like a Florida native though like you’re born


and raised in Florida so my family a couple of my brothers still there my my parents still there yeah okay get back


fairly often to visit so what what made the jump to come to Utah then from where


you were at um so at that point in my life I was um


um so I started in in uh you know I was it was a family boat business and I was


running one of our dealerships in in Daytona Beach okay and and actually yeah


so this is this is one of those personal stories where at that point I started yacht closer which was my the tech


company um and um that whole transition right there


um my father actually expected me to take over the family business I kind of realized through this journey that


um it wasn’t for me yeah there’s more out there I wasn’t passionate about it you know it was a grind you know the


retail grind and and we did well uh but it was a grind and I kind of realized this wasn’t the the job that I wanted


for my family and it and at that time I was kind of dabbling with software and um anyway kind of fast forward a little


bit um decided to uh really jump in you know both feet into a software business and


just take a risk starting my my own Venture um but um you know really the move to to


Utah was one of those ones that just didn’t make sense yeah um I had already got some investment uh into the yachting


business uh we had already started you know growing and Utah’s a landlocked


state first of all so you’re in the Boating business you think you need to be kind of close


to the ocean no I I mean honestly I think you know through my journey I think you


know two of the pillars for me has been um and I think everybody needs something they need some kind of rock to hold on


to for me it’s been Faith and family those are the two that I think give me the drive to get through anything in


life and and I think the the transition from Florida to Utah was one of those decisions that it did not make sense on


the surface yeah um but we felt uh that it was the right thing for the family uh my wife and I


and even our kids three little kids at the time felt that that was what we were supposed to do even though it didn’t


really make sense um I even had investors that were pretty upset like hey we just invested in this


company for the yachting industry you’re going and you’re moving to Utah yeah it makes no sense um and so but anyway the the story


played out well so wow it still all worked out so in yachting the software


company that you owned was pretty much DocuSign and bill of sale for yeah right


that’s right yeah and financing yeah yeah so it was which was kind of Preparatory to get me to what we were


able to do today but um yeah so it was like a um prior to this that whole


industry was uh paper print scan and fax so you know in bigger Yachts sell like


real estate and so it’s you know and there’s like broker in the middle and there’s uh all a different series of


contracts offer agreements listing agreements acceptances yeah um but it was all paper print scanning


facts so we we basically brought it all you know to the cloud and then bolted on


a bunch of you know workflow and and pieces to it and then yeah we eventually had Finance Insurance warranty and we


had a title agency where we did all the registrations on the boats and Yachts yeah so yeah especially I think for uh


High net worth individuals that you were dealing with I think probably they appreciated the the ease of transaction


at that point I’m sure kind of coming in and disrupting at least that space just


a little bit Yeah Yeah well I mean it’s and I think this was another lesson for me I think it was um I realized that


most of the best ideas are within five feet of your daily routine so that whole business model was so I used to desk the


deals at the the dealership and then I I helped start a a yacht brokerage business for our our family business


but it was it was the biggest pain point at my desk you know doing the dealership deals there was some software for that


even you know may not have been great but there was software for that but there was nothing for this segment of the industry


um and it in it and it was the biggest pain point for my day desk in the deals and doing all the


paperwork um so anyway that that’s that’s where there was um it was a pain Point within


five feet of my desk every day and you just knew hey there’s got to be a better way to do this yeah that’s right yeah


that’s right well and so I think selfishly I started the business like I was like I gotta figure this out I mean


I started out with like 20 PDFs to talk to each other and like you know all kinds of little tools just to kind of


like try to accelerate it then I was like oh man I need to get some developers on this like we got to create something and then and then as I looked


around the industry you know there was nothing and I was like oh wait a minute maybe other people need this yeah there


was no fancy business plan there was no market research I was just solving my own problem yeah sometimes like you said


like it’s within five feet of your own uh you know your own area that you’re in or your own workspace and that’s where


those best ideas come from because you’re solving a problem for yourself and hopefully that also means other


people have the problem and then you just discovered that hey like there’s really nothing else out there like this


let’s go for it I feel like it takes a certain type of person though to want to


do to look outside the box like that even though it is right in front of our faces and usually it comes from a place


of I don’t want to do the same thing over and over and over again for the rest of my life at least I know that’s


how it was for me I just thought I still get uh critiqued for being like man why do you turn everything into a


business new business opportunity I know I know better than most people about your ideas so I can testify to that but


I think that may speak to your situation of uh you know you were working for your


dad’s dealership is that yeah how many dealerships were there under that umbrella we had two locations one in


Orlando one in Daytona Beach and you ran one one of them right yeah so the goal


was or your dad’s goal was for you to take over that dealership that both dealerships the whole business yeah


family business so what was it I mean that’s a setup for a great uh career


right what was it that pulled you away from that or wanted to pull you away from that that’s a good question I I


really became so passionate about technology I mean that was a time I mean not now I’m going back to like 2006 2007


it you know even when like apps on the App Store yeah it was just starting coming out it was like back when


everybody was like a new app came out like everybody was on it checking it out yeah


um and and so I think I became fascinated with with technology um and I think in a way too within


um you know I I consider myself more of like an entrepreneur you know when I was


there it was like always finding ways to like why do we do it that way especially in a better family dealership where like


you you have a lot of the same people they’ve been doing it the same way for you know 20 30 years and they’re afraid to offend each other because it’s their


family you know and so especially when I had and I give a lot of credit to my dad I


mean I think uh if if I was in his place would I have put as much trust as he did


in me and I’m like gosh like I I love him for that it’s it’s amazing how much


trust he put in me to run that dealership at I think I was 28 when I


took over that dealership um those are hard-hitting people that you work with yeah yeah yeah and dealing


with a lot of money requires do that I mean like you know I give him credit too because like I had to go work somewhere else for two years before working for


the family business and even when I came back to work for the family business I was just in sales and it was 90 plus


percent uh commission so you had to you keep my pay was no different than


anybody else right to sell um and so fortunately I did pretty well with that proved myself


um and so I earned a lot of respect from the team you know to even go into that role yeah


um but um but I think it was uh always the drive to wait a minute there’s got to be a way better way like why do we do


it that way some days I would go camp out in the parts department and just watch like watch paper flow watch phone


calls watch what they do after stuff and it’s like whoa like wait a minute why do we do it that way yeah there’s got to be


a better way yeah for sure well that’s interesting and then really I think the the the best ideas come from 100


watching right like just experiencing what’s going on in the business and and


other people’s businesses and then figuring out ways to just solve that and I think it looks it seems like the


entrepreneurship within your own you know your own families company like led to everything else and helped you


explore you know every aspect of what you were going to turn what eventually came private auto you


know into yeah that’s awesome so when it comes to uh this initial technology that you built


the software that you built and got investment in you grew that for how many years were you working on that we we


went we started building it in like 2010 made some mistakes you know we we you know one step forward two step back I


mean all that stuff that you know people go through and they try to start a business especially in software and uh


all developers are the best and you don’t know they’re not the best until you’ve spent a lot of money or wasted a lot of time oh man that’s good that’s


good that’s a good one-liner that’s very very true so very true uh there may be some that are offended by that but that


that’s just the way and it’s hard you know someone has an idea and they want to get a developer but anyway yeah so


um I forget yeah no we were just asking like so you started you started this uh


boat kind of financing company got into the uh the software piece of your


business 2010 yeah so we started building in 2010 we went live in 2012. okay okay so two


years you got investment in your first before that I honestly really only got a couple couple checks


um my main investor was somebody that I sold a bunch of boats to yeah you’re networking with probably all of your


investors yeah you’re selling so you got a really good Network which was a cool you know experience in of itself it’s um


and I didn’t know any I didn’t I never like here in here in like Silicon slopes it’s


like you’ve got all the proper pitch decks and fundraising it’s like I didn’t know any of that stuff yeah you know but


you didn’t know people I just invited them to go like have some tacos at some hole in the wall Mexican restaurant and


and just you know just share the idea with no no pitch no presentation no


nothing and uh and at the end of the day he’s just like I like it let’s do it


that’s awesome and epic and there we win you know um and yeah he was our main investor and


and off we went and and really that and there was a couple other checks that we got


um but um yeah we bootstrapped the business um and and it was one of those where


yeah I know I was Road Warrior I mean I you know I think the first 400 accounts


I signed up personally wow um and just hitting East Coast West Coast Eastern Seaboard you know hitting all the


brokerage companies and it was uh it was a grind so yeah to talk a little bit about Yacht Sales and how that’s


prepared you to get to where you are today because closing those first 400 deals and working with dealerships


primarily is that Who You’d approach Brokers the Brokers Brokers because they’re the ones with both ends these


are tough people right like I would assume that a broker or somebody in the yacht industry or boating industry uh


would not be hard to work with but hard to convince


um so was coming from that industry being a 28 year old doing sales for uh


your dad’s Yacht company or boat company was that boats yeah more pleasure boats and pleasure boats yeah so what did you


learn about cells along the way that you think made you successful at closing those first 400 deals


um well a couple of things I think uh I even managing the dealership and managing people I I became fascinated


with like personality profiles um and understanding personalities


um I’m still learning that today and still trying to understand people better and learn how I can work with people uh


better but I think that was that was that was one of the main contributors um the second one for that industry it


is such a tight-knit niche industry yeah um had I not had I been some software


company that came flying in and and was like hey I got some new solution for this industry heck no you’re not gonna


you know get any traction with some of these Brokers um but fortunately you know our family


name and being in the business and being in Florida uh I I’ve done a bunch of deals with a lot of these bigger


brokerage houses it was a game of strategy in the beginning it’s you know there’s some people that I knew where I


could just call them up instantly and be like hey will you check this out for me and give me some feedback yeah come on down you know and then and then I knew


if like okay if I get you three on board then I can get you three if I get you then I can get you six it was all about


who you knew oh that’s right and then when you go to the next one it’s like oh did you hear oh yeah yeah so and so yeah


they jumped on board last month and oh yeah so and so and then I just started name dropping and then there and then because then it’s a it’s a game of like


oh well so-and-so’s doing that I better do it you know yeah of course so that’s kind of how I got the initial momentum


oh that’s awesome so yeah 400 classic sales classic sales guy classic sales


guy that’s the pest control guy that comes around United but I think this was more well here’s the other difference


too I was an industry Insider yeah you already knew the business so it wasn’t I was I wasn’t coming in blowing smoke on


anybody yeah no and they got that right away they knew that I understood their business I understood their pain points


and I think that’s the difference I mean sometimes I’ve helped out with some of the entrepreneur groups that like the


college is out here and whenever someone’s like you know I’ve got this great idea for this like industry way


over here that I have never worked in I have no like Insider knowledge with I have never personally felt the pains in


it it’s like um that’s going to be tough go work in the industry and keep working on your idea yeah you know that’s very


similar I mean with when we started doing white label it’s why we did white label is because we understood the pain


points like we totally knew it and it made it so much easier easier to sell it yeah and to deliver because we you could


touch on those exact things that were gonna make a difference yeah connect with your audience yeah yeah it was very


easy for us to approach our leads and say we know that you struggle with this


because we used to spend thousands and thousands a month with agencies and get poor results and we hated every second


of it it was never transparent you know we learned that same thing with you in the Boating industry of I know that it’s


all facts and paper phone calls and that I’m sitting there watching all day back


and forth these papers move and that helps a lot so really I think uh


something very valuable from that is once you were able to get the seat a


seat at the table you brought immediate value and they understood that you had something of value right that was kind


of the concept you just knew you the first step was to get in front of their face yeah and then and it takes years of


experience to gain that confidence I I think right I guess how do you feel like you gain that confidence to be able to


pitch these ideas to these people and I guess make a difference I mean it’s it’s


everything it’s an evolution of like just your journey so had I not you know had a chance to you know run a


dealership or be you know ingrained in the business know the business know the brokerage side know the retail side


um there’s no way I’d be able to you know even I wouldn’t even thought to even start a software company like that


yeah you know having not immersed myself in that industry and really understood


the pain points and then to be able to talk to those customers having gone through those pain points myself


I can can uh you know instantly relate and connect with them did you ever have people in the software


industry because as you started to grow this did you ever have people in the software industry almost take a similar


uh approach to you saying hey man like you came from boats like don’t try and


build this we we could build something better like sticking stay in your lane did that ever happen and as far as


people yeah any big people coming in in private auto or in software in general say like hey


don’t try and jump in our category no I mean no no that hasn’t happened I I think there’s probably people that that


maybe think that but um no um but I think that’s because of the


background with what we did I think it gave us a unique perspective to do something different in the Auto industry


yeah that they never saw yeah because most of the companies trying to do what we do right now were designed by car


people and they set up designed by dealerships they’re designed by dealerships and


really the uh you know the the services going after the private sale all they


are just set up like a traditional F and I office and there’s people behind the scenes moving money doing paperwork but


you can’t scale that in a 8-10 million you know unit plus volume uh private


sell market so let’s get into that a little bit because so my background I used to work for before starting


this I I sell their desert digital media stuff uh yeah I worked in advertising in


classifieds and Rec vehicle but I didn’t work in cars cars was this huge


Department you know there was a lot of good there was a lot of bad they came through it so I’m interested explain


because we got a lot of people from Utah that will listen to this explain the difference between private auto and KSL


cars because there are a few very specific things that you guys do differently yeah so KSL and and dozens


of other out there all they do is advertise yeah they put they put pictures on a website


um and it’s a way for buyers to say hello that’s it there’s no more there’s no more functionality beyond that you know


private auto is the first company that you can actually list you can negotiate with a with it’s basically everything


after that so when you go to meet up with that person to verify their identity and make sure you’re not


dealing with scammers um and then you can actually do the bill of sale right on your phone and the I


mean the the significant piece that we created we’re more of a fintech you know the we look like a Marketplace on the


the surface yeah but we are more of a fintech um because technically we’re probably


the only company that I can think of right now that I could go meet you on a Saturday evening at 5 PM or something


and and do a deal for 10 20 50 100 000 on whatever car in the parking lot and


you legally take custody of those funds in that very second and who’s processing that loan is it you guys that process


the loan so two different things so there’s just a the transfer if I have the money and I want to buy you a car


cash yeah it’s right it’s just to be able to transfer those funds you can’t do that today outside of banking hours


yeah even during banking hours I I so if I would call the threshold Maybe


um our sweet spot would be everything over ten thousand dollars you know if you’re buying something for other under 10 grand or I’m sorry under five grand


use cash app use venmo use a payment app fine yeah yeah um some people may bring cash cash to


the table but even that’s not very safe you know after maybe 10 grand yeah that’s right it’s not safe for buyer or


seller to you know roll up with a bunch of cash like that um but it’s at like 10 grand and above


that’s when it’s like all right all right well what do we do now like okay we go go to your bank and we go meet up


or yeah you know even today cashiers checks there’s a lot of fraud with that yep um and so I mean going back to pain


Point within five feet it was uh After exiting my uh the the the the yachting


software company um I was buying a car for my son I bought a 2007 uh Toyota FJ Cruiser I met the guys


he was stoked yeah I’m sure and met the guy in like a Smith parking lot at uh it


was like eight or nine p.m at night I’ve lived this same experience so many times I’ve sold my car the same way and it was


I think it was like 14 Grand you know but it was like okay we wanted it oh cool we did a little test drive in the


parking lot there and then it was just like okay well then we had to like kind of anyway didn’t work to meet the next


day and then we had to wait till the following anyway to go meet up at the bank and then kind of do the transfer


right at the bank yeah and that’s where it was like okay knowing what I know now from what we did before and workflows


transactions there’s got to be a better way yeah if I want what you have and you have title in


hand I want to buy it right now you can take an Uber home I’m gonna take your car and I’m out yeah total awesome


that’s what you can do at private office yeah so cool yeah if they don’t have the


title in hand do things get trickier if they have a loan on the car yeah so we don’t solve for that we do solve one


scenario of that right now um the good news within the private sale Market you know if you kind of look at


the different layers there’s probably about eight to ten million Private Sales that happen a year within that like a a


good chunk of those people do have title in hand even as you look at classic cars cars that you know people typically have


title in hand and a lot of those are cash deals yeah um where you you may not be financing some of those older cars


that are over 10 years old or something like that um so there’s like millions of cars where okay like we have an instant


solution for it right out of the gate um we already have financing that we’re doing behind the scenes we haven’t


started marketing the that yet but we’re going to revolutionize you know how you even finance a uh a privately purchased


car but in that scenario our banking partner will pay off the loan send the


proceeds to the bank to get access to the title and then any proceeds would go to the seller directly in that


transaction oh wow that’s pretty cool and that yeah as I say that that’s the biggest pain point for I think most


people for at least that have a loan out on the vehicle you know yeah I think uh


one thing that I learned working at was uh


they had a lot of problems in the car space one would be that and I had a


friend have this issue just this past week he’s selling his car on KSL right now and they he gets a lot of dealers


that message him and offer him uh under value for his car and that was something


that I thought was really interesting about private auto is you have vetted sellers and buyers so I know that if I


go and post there I’m not gonna have dealerships reaching out to me and off lowballing me on my car right yeah I


mean hey could a dealer go in under a personal name or whatever and and reach out to you they could you know but um we


do uh deter and get rid of the scammers out of the gate I mean yeah it sounds like you and I both had experiences so


every time I put a car on a Marketplace or you know like KSL it’s like the first five people that reach out to me are


scammers yeah you know and the thing that I hated about that too was like ah they got my cell phone number it’s like


it always bugged me yeah and that’s another thing about private auto you don’t share your personal contact


information with anybody um and so you’re you’re communicating through the app


um and you don’t have to share any of that with the other party how did the marketing approach uh come up for


private auto what because you started this company based off of this idea and actually before that question


um how did you get this going like you had this idea for private auto you were still doing uh your yacht business right


you’re you’re no I exited uh well we got acquired in 2017. okay um and then I


stayed on board with the company that acquired us through early 2020. okay


um and then that’s when you know I exited there and then um and then yeah so but I’ve been I’ve been


thinking about the private sale for quite a bit yeah um and uh always been on my mind and it


was after I bought you know the car for my son then it was just like then it was real again it was like oh my gosh it’s


time there’s got to be a way to to solve this so in the beginning I kind of flew solo for the first year


um because are you a developer yourself you know oh no no no no I don’t know a thing I’m the idea guy I’m the guy that


frustrates the developers yeah yeah for sure it’s a developers nightmare so you flew


solo on this idea though and how did you get this idea going so long well I think it was more exploratory you know is what


I was doing in the beginning because I I hired a Dev shop and and because the the the piece about the like the money


movement none nothing else mattered until we solved the piece about the money movement it was at that time too I


looked around like why has no one else done this why has it and I went and like investigated like how does venmo work


what what is the nuts and behind the scenes like how does the money move what are the regulations what are the red


tape and so I kind of like did a deep dive through all that stuff and then I like Anyway long story short I came to


the conclusion that oh wait a minute I think I think I figured out a way how this has to work


um and it would require a custom banking integration with a Traditional Bank yeah


um and so anyway kind of hired a Dev shop to to really start focusing on that


because if we couldn’t really develop that technology then nothing else mattered because everything else is nice


to have IDE certification yeah it was just like another Marketplace really that’s right the finance stuff made you


stand apart yeah yeah no just the the movement of money being able to move High dollars instantly any day anytime


um you know which which was the the hard part so you at this point you were still


uh you were kind of doing whatever you wanted right exploring your next option or were you still on board no I was I


was I was now kind of just like looking for the next in limbo in between yeah yeah so I was had a lot of time that’s


when the best ideas well I think another thing too I I’m


guilty of dabbling in uh crypto quite a bit too I’m a little bit of a crypto nut on the side and so I think understanding


how blockchain works and how movement of money there is so instant so fast yeah


and and there’s uh enough Security in place where it can be safe that’s what


frustrated me about the traditional USD rails where that doesn’t exist in USD in


time it will exist everything will be on the blockchain yeah um but but right now it’s not so that there was a void in


like doing deals in USD instant on the spot and I saw something do you accept


cryptocurrency on your platform yeah so um it doesn’t actually go through our


platform it’s more in that case it’s more aligning buyer and seller interest so if I’m a seller and I say yeah you


like here’s my car I’ll take private auto pay I’ll take you know Bitcoin uh or whatever and if a


buyer comes along is like oh wait a minute yeah no I’ll do Bitcoin then then we can just use our normal wallets to


just do that transaction you would still use private auto to negotiate you know confirm the deal the VIN you know the


price you’d sign the bill of sale but then when it gets to the payment piece because we both elected you know to like


oh we’re just going to do this you know Bitcoin then it’ll prompt both of us like hey go ahead and use your wallets


and do that right now um because you can also choose to do like split payment you could say like


hey you know we’re going to use 80 private auto pay but then not all the last thousand bucks like hey I’ll just


do it in Bitcoin or whatever and so you can choose to do that and it’ll it’ll trigger private auto pay for the 80


percent and then it’ll say okay hey you guys do the remaining balance and then confirm when you’re done that’s really


really cool how I mean how did you uh I guess go to market with this did


you release an MVP style product first like in in 2020 in 2021 or did you just


wait to have like the full thing developed and then launched it um


well two two well two things maybe to address your marketing question so I’m glad I listened to somebody a lot


smarter than me um that’s our goal with this and I started a Content plan back almost when


the idea started very cool we started having you know writers uh develop content and just laser focus and I had


uh you know just um some SEO experts go and like analyze


long tail keywords and and that there was all these like long tail keywords that the big players weren’t focused on


and so we just laser focused on those like how to sell my car in Utah privately how to buy a car from a


private seller how to transfer money in a private sale um so we just started building a castle a


really cool all these long tail keywords and that just became a process that that you know we’d pump out I don’t know 10


to 20 articles a month we were pretty heavy on it uh in the beginning


um so once again hoping that this whole product is going to work yeah for sure like covering the product in parallel


and then I think once we got the product to um once there was really a light at the end of the tunnel and I really and


it was at the point where oh my gosh I need some help um so then it was uh all right let’s bring the squad back together yeah


um so my my CTO who worked with me before he came on board um uh another uh you know my current CPO


she worked with me you know before um and and there’s a few other people on the team that worked with me before that


we eventually kind of came back together and and then that’s really cool and I mean and you’ve


had some I think Shane and I were just watching some of those videos that you have on your website and on LinkedIn and


stuff how has I guess video become an important piece to Market uh private


auto yeah the video has been fun um so we’ve we’ve embraced video quite a


bit and we’ve pumped out a lot of videos yeah um not all of them have been on LinkedIn but a lot of them are for our paid uh


you know social channels and so whether it be Instagram or Facebook or if you’ve done a little bit of Tick Tock but our


main you know uh success has been in Facebook Instagram


um but um yeah the videos have been great uh to really bring to life the pain points for sure and to try to


resonate with like you know just the Real Pain points that people deal with and they’re like oh yeah like like if we


can spark that emotion it’s like success yeah oh yeah totally oh yeah like I feel like I would need that or I needed that


like a month ago and now I’ll remember next time yeah you know to you to use private auto I thought I saw a video you


did you were actually in the car it was probably like a friend of yours or something and you lose a Porsche you’re


literally going through the whole process with him and you were saying I just thought it was really cool I was


like you’re sharing doing the actual app obviously at the same time that you’re doing the transaction it was a cool way


to just see it in use I immediately understood what you were doing yeah that was actually the first deal and that was


uh and so that was a legit oh cool that was a legit Real Deal oh that was awesome and so I started that one on


link I actually I just solicited it on on LinkedIn okay I I started there saying like hey we want to test out you


know I want to be the first one to test out our software who has something you know to buy yet to sell and uh and and


Alex uh who responded he had that sweet 911 uh Carrera did you buy it yeah yeah


no that was a that was a real deal right there wow that’s awesome it was like one of


those deals too where it was like the true MVP of the product and for sure and I don’t know like the real behind the


scenes of a software company it’s like oh man you’re scrambling you’re like everyone’s like hoping it like hoping


there’s no bugs and it’s like oh like hoping it works in the back


no I mean we do a lot of there’s been lots of testing but still it’s like that first real deal but no it was uh you


know that was a legit deal and a high dollar deal it was in the uh one of the parking lots up there and uh um you know


the Traverse Mountain so oh my gosh see that’s so cool it’s cool that it was in a parking lot it happened that fast too


yeah I was gonna mention and that it was you that that was actually you that bought it yeah I drove you for like four


or five months yeah that’s totally epic I was like if you’re not running that as an ad you should yeah because it’s cool


that’s a really cool story we had we had watched some of the explainer videos too and when you were bringing up that video


I thought that first video Even though what was that filmed on a phone or was


it filmed on an actual camera yeah no no uh uh Hemi our our uh our our our our video guy he’s he’s awesome by the way


he was literally balled up in the background yeah he was balled up back there or just


like getting the shot but that’s really cool it just makes me think high production isn’t always necessary for


some of the best content that we get right people just want real raw like authentic stuff I mean they want to


understand how the product works and these explainer videos are very helpful and you have the actor and the actress


there that do a great job yeah but I thought that main video that for and now


to know that that was you buying it just is phenomenal we’re gonna link that in the show notes so that’ll be really cool


I love that just amazing what I was gonna say part of that too wasn’t really like for the show of the vehicle but it


was more um I think the point of me picking that vehicle was that deal was impossible


before private auto a hundred percent that deal was impossible you don’t show up in a parking lot and decide to buy


something at that price tag yeah in the moment I mean that’s like you you can’t


call your bank and say hey can you just instantly wire money to so and so at this point or and here’s their in you


can’t do that no yeah you can’t you can’t buy something like that but now you can with private auto and that’s


amazing I feel like there’s use cases even outside of Auto for this in the long term I don’t know if you guys have


considered ever expanding in that direction what’s next for private auto you’ve


added in this Finance piece is there any things that you’re seeking out in the future I think from uh from a matter of focus


we’ll be focused on auto out of the gate and even down down the road a little bit more


um but we’ll be all Title vehicles ATV RV motorcycle we’re going to go back into boats yeah


um and uh yeah so we’ll hit all those verticals very cool being in the rec vehicle space I mean especially in Utah


it’s a huge deal I mean in the Mountain West yeah wreck vehicles I think probably any in Florida too a bit big


wreck Vehicle area same with the Midwest I guess but in the United States wreck


vehicles are a huge deal sold privately yeah most of those are sold privately


yeah that that’s me so with private auto how did you guys acquire your first 100


customers versus your next thousand


um so really um that’s when it was


um interesting to see how the content strategy in an SEO strategy started


playing out at the right time um so I mean anyway we we started


building organic traffic I think we were already at around maybe 15 20 000 uh you know visitors to


our site a month was it all blog at the time all blog all blog you just hadn’t released the product yet no no we had


like a website really general info but no no product was live so I think maybe maybe we’re 15 to 20


000 unique visitors at that point so we we were already building an audience before we had a product and I think


that’s one of the mistakes a lot of companies make today they they kind of like put all this effort into building a product and going live and then they


just start taking you know paid media I mean it’s like taking a bag of cash and


chucking it on a fire you get a little lift but then it’s gone it’s gone it’s just gone instantly and so you know then


then we brought in the paid media strategy so we kind of created a foundation created a base of of some


organic traffic uh and we continued the the efforts that we did there and we continued to this day


um but now you strategically start seeing what works what doesn’t what people are what people like what content


then we wrap our paid media strategy around the knowledge that we already have based on how people are interacting


with our content and instead of cash on the fire it becomes gas that’s right that’s right and then yeah I mean yeah


yeah obviously you need to use do the the paid media strategy and do the paid search paid social


um but now we we we have a Clear Vision as to where that money needs to be


directed based on what we’ve already learned from the people visiting and and consuming our content that’s really


really interesting and I mean we’ve seen that we’ve seen it play out with a lot of our clients that have built like a


massive organic following and then just launch products that Their audience wants yeah like it works every single


time like with without fail um and I think it’s it’s a good a really


good lesson and it’s interesting because you know scroll we’ve built our our base


unpaid and now we’re jumping into or like organic and building our own brand right so we’ve kind of done the opposite


but we’ve seen you know it works both ways there’s two ways to go about it but I think there’s a lot of value by


starting with that organic base yeah because you learn so much without burning as much cash yes because that’s


the other thing like like today I think you know right now I think we’re at about maybe 80 000 visitors a month just


from our organic uh content that’s amazing and and then if you just you know what’s the equivalent of that and


paid a lot a lot a lot of money depending on where you’re thousands of dollars well no you I mean you could be


that could cost you forty fifty Grand you know to generate that same traffic and paid what startup can afford that


you know what’s that gonna what’s that gonna do to your your your burn rate your Runway yeah and and so I think it’s


key to survival um really having a strategic content plan with any business and now content


has become so much easier too like my wife launched a business and she used to


have me write all of her essays in college and I didn’t graduate from college


um because she just can’t get six pages out in a decent an amount of time it’s


really hard for her so chat GPT comes out yeah and she can say now I can write


content and she literally uses it the way I believe it should be used which is I want this to have my voice but I need


help getting enhancing yeah right 100 so so cool to hear that and


you’re the second person much smarter than me to tell me that that approach is


a good approach in this week we’ve we had Jay Davis on and yeah he’s the


founder of pillowcube and creatively and he brought up the same thing that building that content base specifically


newsletter blog yeah uh up front can provide so much value so I think that


that’s so profound because when we started scroll we were just two dumb kids and I mean he was smart we’re still


kind of two dumb kids but he was smart we were one dumb kid one smart kid but


he uh and we didn’t know what we we were doing so we just called a bunch of


people out of you know Hometown values magazines have you seen those Val packs


oh yeah yeah we just started calling those people and we were like hey how’s this working for you basically and we


obviously were testing the market we really wanted to say like is this working for you well we’ve got a better


solution it’s digital marketing let’s get you out of the mailer so let’s get you into stuff that’s actually trackable


yeah but we would have done it completely different if we were to start today I mean we threw hundreds of


thousands of dollars at paid media and it has turned into good results for us but man if we would have uh built


backwards and said hey let’s build with this organic content plan yeah first


we’d be leaps and mountains ahead of where we are so I think that’s great advice to young entrepreneurs and just


people trying to start something and don’t make the mistake like we toyed around with Organic and the idea of it


for a very long time and just never did it yeah you know we just never did it hence this podcast that’s why we’re


doing it now in it and it’s uh it’s it’s harder than you think it is as you


already know yep um you know it’s sometimes with


um I don’t know like sometimes like I immerse myself at the beginning of every new like Department you know so for


example content um really trying to more so to learn it understand it I want to understand what


like what’s happening what should happen um and then eventually you get the right people to to fill in and really take


over and run it um but especially with the content like I’m just so grateful for you know


learning from other people and and and and where if if I did it myself I would


have been like oh let’s go after like used car for sale like you know these big monster key names that’s right but then it’s like no no no


no no go way down here go after the ones that are only generating like 200 500


you know searches a month and go after like hundreds of those


um and and then you like build up a castle and then once you like you’re an authority on the topic then you go after


their big key names yeah and you actually get those key names fast yeah once you already have that that


Authority so it’s like it’s cool now to see it actually play out because like


there’s new stuff that we inject into the you know on Google today that it’s only a matter of weeks and it’s like


it’s fast yeah to compete against and are you Nationwide right now yeah did


you start in a certain geographical area to test it or did you yeah yes and no I mean we in terms of a mark


marketing yes we started just in Utah from a marketing person so all the blog content was targeted towards like no


Blog blog content you know kind of from from day one we like like had a plan like the amount of


content that we would have per state and replicated it yeah that was cool all of them and then have a number of kind of


like National Universal you know pieces that aren’t you know state-specific yeah


we’re SEO guys I get I get that I get the silo I know it was silent everything


off the way you explain it I’m like you sound like 20 calls we’ve had with our bigger customers where we say this is


the approach and you’re saying that exact approach so it’s so cool to hear that that’s worked so well for you yeah


we have a couple food bloggers that we work with and it’s the same situation right if they go take a certain long


tail keyword uh for example like 50 best birthday cake designs yeah yeah those


has 20 000 searches and yeah nobody’s focusing on it because they all want like birthday birthday cake designs you


know or whatever so yeah it’s very I mean we’ve done the same thing with six sister stuff is probably the one you’re


thinking about but now you know they rank for hundreds of thousands of keywords get you know a couple million


hits a month and now we’re going after the big boys we’re going after you know


uh you know all kitchens amazing some of these are bigger you know people that get 50 million plus searches a month


because they only go after that the head head turns but anyways um so first couple hundred customers


then came from all the organic blogs that you guys did yeah yeah and I think some of the the LinkedIn stuff that we


did did yeah like a little bit you know it got some good reasons that’s amazing yeah was that all organic LinkedIn that


you were doing yeah yeah no we didn’t do any paid LinkedIn amazing to see what LinkedIn can do for businesses oh yeah


yeah huge it was really helpful um but um yeah so the first batch of


customers came from that and then and then really I would say we try to keep it simple and and so for


example 2022 we launched in the summer of 2022. Oh Wow Fresh then yeah yeah


we’re new and and so our 2022 is all about traffic awareness and so honestly


didn’t care about listings didn’t care about care about like conversions from that point of view um and not everybody’s buying and


selling privately yeah it’s more like and so we were just hitting the awareness gas pedal and and our Focus


that was our one Rally Point so when it came to decisions on how to spend where to spend um did it create traffic that that was


all we cared about um and I think as a business what I you know our goal was to


I would much rather build an audience I’d rather be fishing out of a stocked


fishing pond than be sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a piece of bread you know waiting a week or


month for someone to come test it out yeah that’s what we did that’s why we focused on traffic first now come


January 1 all right now we’re focused on reducing customer acquisition costs we’re focused on conversions and so now


it’s all a game of product pricing product pricing all you’re doing is tweaking and to see what’s converting


um and so that and that’s been fun that’s where we’re at you know today we’re making little tweaks and then a


meet and seeing the immediate impact of that because we have enough people coming to the site to test fast yeah


that’s interesting we were just talking about this like building building a basically a massive audience and then


converting the audience like it just makes way more sense in the in in the long term


um and you get so it’s the user feedback piece is huge because otherwise like if


you’re in the middle of the ocean with this little tiny piece of bread right what are you going to have a great white like come up and like basically just


snatch you up and then you don’t get a test you don’t get all these other and the feedback from that one bite may not be the the best exactly exactly but I’d


rather you know you’d rather get all of that feedback um and then create something or then


make the tweaks that are necessary to get the conversions right well and I think it prevents you from wasting money


too so for example when I look at so we’re over I think we’re around 150 000


unique visitors to our site right now uh including paid in organic um so when I look at that it’s like wait


a minute like we don’t need to be putting the gas pedal if we can’t figure this out based off of that much traffic


yeah then then we are not going to be successful at a million views or 2


million views we’re not going to be successful so now all of our focus is dialing in conversions based off of the


existing traffic once we get that dialed in all right now let’s double down on the paid but yeah until then there’s no


reason to to spend more money on marketing at all yeah I think that’s such a good way to word it because we


try and over complicate things so much in business and that to me just reminded


me of growing up I was a musician and I think it’s a very similar uh pattern


where I got the opportunity to go and play at the Gateway in Salt Lake before City Creek existed cool and asking I


would go I’d open my guitar case and set up a little system and I’d start playing and if you gather an audience then


obviously you’re doing something right if and then all of a sudden you know you open the guitar case if they put in


money you’re doing something really right yeah so then maybe think about putting a CD out there in the future


that they could buy too right I think marketing and business can be over complicated and sometimes data can ruin


your your vision um but when you look at it simply and just say if I was standing in a room and


I pitched this and an audience gathered right then now what’s the next step okay


should I start selling CDs to this audience like so I think that’s a great thing to consider one more yeah yeah


start simple and grow it from there because there’s no point in wasting the


time to make something super complex yeah if no one’s gonna bite it yeah or if you’re or if your audience is too


Niche that it just it’s not worth the time and effort yeah you know and but I think that is the it comes down to with


content you guys have chosen to focus on content first and there there’s a opportunity cost there 100 because


you’re you spend the time and effort into the content and definitely money maybe you’re not burning it as fast with


paid but you’re definitely spending time and uh and money into organic oh yeah


yeah so it’s expensive yeah but I think even developing just uh I don’t know I


kind of just use the word flow a lot um I I if there’s any point in the


business where someone is like like oh I need help or I need like okay well who


does this next or whatever it’s like you know you don’t have flow um if if the ability to go from idea to


execution without anybody in the middle needing like that it stops for any


reason waiting for this to get approved or that um you have a problem yeah your business


internally needs to be just as scalable is what you’re trying to do on the external for your your customer it’s


almost like to in my mind that’s like I I love that strategy of it too it’s


almost just as important and just as exciting and fulfilling for me to know that I can do something with zero people


or one person that you rested the companies there in Lehigh take 10 20 and 50 people to do


um giving me satisfaction yeah 100 yeah yeah totally especially here it’s so


competitive here well and the fact that Tech has been overstaffed for so long yeah no I think um


um so many people they they think to throw people at pain


points before stopping and innovating um and and sometimes that’s and that’s


the problem with having too much money yeah so if you if you get too much you know VC funds or whatever it is


the the the first thing A lot of people do is put people at pain points yeah you know oh we need this department we need


all these people we need more people to carry my golf clubs you know yeah no and


it’s but sometimes it’s like wait a minute wait a minute stop like what tools could we use off the shelf without


having to develop it ourselves that are that are simple scalable low cost that would actually connect this this and


this and you know or it would solve that pain point right there or we can automate x amount of our process using


this it’s like you know how many times do people just stop and like like analyze it that way


um I think that side of it is really exciting for me I love to like I love like new tools that like just just


alleviate pain points um and so but there’s so many Cool Tools nowadays that just streamline the back


end of a startup yeah um and and it’s it this is an exciting time to start a business it is so much


easier to start a business nowadays than it used to be you know with with with tools that take care of HR admin you


know just uh you know accounting and and so many different functions where you


know you needed people for it before yeah whereas now it’s like TurnKey when I saw your face light up when you


brought up chat gbt and I was like oh I bet uh I bet Brad here is an epic user


I dabbled with it my son uses it a lot but uh yeah yeah it’s pretty cool tool I


mean it’s it’s definitely gonna revolutionize digital marketing that’s that’s for sure and they just released gpt4 which is like


10x better than gpt3 so pretty cool I mean you always have people that are


kind of anti-some of the new stuff when it comes out or you know this that but at the end of the day it’s like hey how


can I you know I think the way I look at is how okay that’s cool how can I embrace it to accelerate what I do yeah yeah it


may not be you know it may not be a hundred percent applicable you know like chat GPT it’s like you know okay are


there SEO people that are going to be scared it’s going to take away their job you know I don’t think so I think it’s going to be an accelerator for their


business you know for them to that you still need finesse you know you still need to do strategy you still need you


know some of that uh you know human intervention that kind of goes on top of it but you can use that to create you


know the the the core of what you need and then you know accelerate your


content flow with the right people and strategy oh yeah I love that our copywriter freaked out when I sent her


chat GPT in a really good way like it was like basically she’s like oh my gosh


I can do 10 I literally can do 10x the output yeah that I that would have like


I can a blog post that would have taken me with research like two hours I can now put it out in a half an hour even 20


minutes and it’s good yeah it’s good content it’s not like you know it’s basically anyway it’s just really cool


it’s been able to AI should enhance like your current workflow it should


give everything you need to like exponentially increase what you’re able to do at least that’s at least I think


the way it should be used if you’re using it to replace something um or maybe replace people it I don’t


think in the long term it’ll be a good replacement in some Industries for people yeah okay unless we give them


brain it’s hard to get the robots brains I love it but um one thing that you said


about new tools and how you love them when we first started to make some money with scroll we thought oh we need we


should look into softwares that could help us and very quickly it was 2500


bucks a month in software and then five thousand dollars a month in software yeah and now we’re to a point where we


love to look at software and say okay wait are we paying for three softwares where one of them does these other two


tasks really well and I actually find that pretty fun too and we’ve been playing around with that a lot lately so


I well and nowadays there’s so many like the New Kids on the Block the uh like these new little upcoming software


companies that are a fraction of the cost they actually have a better user interface I mean like there’s lots of


Legacy software out there you know so be careful about hiring some of these people from the big tech companies that


are used to using their legacy software um and and then they want to uh you know


you know Embrace that within your startup no no no you know out you know there’s so many like low-cost high value


tools that do just as much or more as some of these you know Legacy software out there yeah I think that’s a great


Point well Brad I guess to pull it all back to


um and maybe wrap up the episode today what what if what advice would you give


to young young entrepreneurs young people that want to start uh and their


own maybe their own agency maybe it’s their own startup what are the pieces from your story that you feel would be


really valuable for them to start their businesses yeah good question I think um you know


jump in you know just jump in and and jump in an industry jump in in a a particular vertical that that you think


you like and really find what you’re passionate about um I think that’s one of the things in


the beginning I thought like oh my gosh I have to learn all this stuff no like if I if I started over again I’d be like


I’d find my swim lane and then I’d double down on my superpower you know find the strengths that you’re good at


Double Down on it and then surround yourself with the people who compliment you know the areas or or you know you


know the strengths that you need to do your business but I mean I think that’s one thing you know find your superpower


double down on it but you kind of have to get your hands dirty jump into an industry find find the pain points that


are close to you that you can experience firsthand and then um


and I think the other thing too is um actually there’s a saying in my family we use it quite often focus and finish


I love it and uh you know with even just taking out the trash you know it’s like squirrel you know it’s like yeah yeah


you know focus and finish that was me but I think it’s yeah but it’s so applicable in business I think I think


um you know it is the road between idea and execution is a very very long road


and if you don’t have the passion the persistence to just focus and finish


that Journey there’s no way you’re gonna you know cross that finish line um and so anyway those are just some


things I think about a lot and even have to remind myself all the time like all right Brad get back on track like no no


don’t get distracted by those shiny objects over there like you gotta nail this first before you open door two


three and four and until you get momentum right here don’t even think about opening up those other doors yeah


so I love that and I think that’s a fantastic way to finish today focus and


finish yeah well I think that to me I that just is everything that I think but


can’t put into words and that so we’re just very grateful that


we’ve been able to have you on because to us it’s like Consulting uh we feel


like we learned so much and that that concept to me is like wow that you just


put so simply something that I feel like I struggle so much with which is that idea to execution


and um a lot of times I’ll sit down with people or go to lunch with people that have ideas and I’m like cool do


something and then let’s actually go to lunch and have a serious conversation about this but you just simplified it


into three words you know the idea to execution we’re trying to create a mural in our


office it’s now literally going to be this these two words focus and then we’ll have you come sign it


okay and we’re gonna have Brad just sign his name on it I love that that’s harder


you’re in marketing world you’re all over the place oh my gosh very true yeah but no thank you so much for coming on


it it means the world send us an invoice for the Consulting yeah that’s awesome


um and yeah we don’t really have an exit but this is a good time for you to kind


of plug yourself and plug your business so where can people find you uh where can people find private auto who’s it a


good fit for yeah yeah no so uh uh yeah just uh we we make it easy to you


know we’re like the venmo of private vehicle sales we make it easy to do that transaction in the parking lot uh sign


the bill of sale and uh transfer funds all on your phone um the cool thing is it’s a hundred


percent Tech driven and uh and and you can do it between two people and not have anyone outside telling you what to


do um and so anyway yeah I know it’s easy to list and


actually the other thing too we’re the first Marketplace that exists that you can pay later so you can actually list your car and


only choose to pay the fee if your car sells the reason why is we’re the only Marketplace that actually has a


transactional portal so check it out I like it that’s very cool and where where can people find you where are you yeah


oh LinkedIn yeah LinkedIn is probably the best place yeah but uh yeah so LinkedIn simple awesome great well


thanks for coming on really appreciate it thanks guys appreciate it [Music]



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