What It's About
When the attic gets drafty, this engineer gets to building and creates a million-dollar side hustle in the process!
Words of Wisdom
Using feedback he’d received from customers, Mark created a handful of other energy-saving products. To this day, products that come from direct feedback are Battic Door’s best sellers.
Not sure how to expand your product line? Ask your customers—they'll be sure to tell you what they want!
Believe it or not, the Battic Door website starting generating sales from Day 1. Mark had no idea how people were hearing about it without him doing any marketing, but he went with it anyway.
Notes from Chris
Episode 474Let’s take a trip back in time: The year is 2002. The internet is nothing like it is today. E-commerce is really just starting to get off the ground. And Mark Tyrol is a construction engineer. He tests and certifies building materials—and he loves it. But there’s something he doesn’t love, a problem he sees all the time. Attics. They’re never sealed properly, they always let in air from the outside, and they tend to cost homeowners hundreds of dollars per year in lost energy from heat or air conditioning... even if they don’t realize it. Mark’s own attic wasn’t any different—and it really bothered him. So, one weekend, he created a foam cover for his attic stairs that would provide at least some level of insulation. Almost overnight, his electricity bill went down. It was so simple, yet so effective, and he knew he had landed on something that others would want. So Mark started working on a website during nights and weekends. He wasn’t sure it would work—he was far more of a technical guy than a marketing one—but he figured it was worth a shot. Being a construction engineer who dealt with materials on a daily basis, Mark had a pretty good idea of where to look to find a manufacturer for his product. He talked to a few in his area and signed an agreement with one: $5,000 for the first batch of product. In late 2002, Mark launched his website (yep, 15 years ago) and new side hustle: Battic Door. The only product was his Attic Stair Cover, priced at just over $100. Mark called his friends, emailed the link to his coworkers, but really didn’t really do much else to market—largely because he didn’t know how. And yet, somehow, Battic Door received its first sale that same day. Mark doesn’t really know how, but for the next several weeks he actually had a fairly steady stream of roughly 3-4 sales per week. By the end of his second year, Mark was generating roughly $50,000 in sales annually. Using feedback he’d received from customers and fellow engineers, he’d created a handful of other energy-saving products. These products included a draft stopper for your chimney, shutter seals and covers, and even some energy efficient pet doors! By the end of "Year 4," Battic Door was generating over $200,000 annually. In 2012, after ten years in business, Battic Door had its first $1,000,000 year. In 2016, the business had its first $2,000,000 year—and sales have hovered around there ever since. But despite the growth, Mark never left his engineer day job. He loves it. The year is now 2018. The internet is used around the world. E-commerce has spread far beyond what most people could have imagined. And Mark Tyrol is still an engineer—still, but probably not for long. He’s beginning to crave more time with his wife and kids—and, thanks to Battic Door, early retirement from his day job is now on the horizon.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Battic Door: Leave drafty attics and windows in the past where they belong—get your upgrade over on Mark's website!
- Chicago Architect Creates Mini-Blind Repair Tool: It takes a long time to get to market, and success doesn’t come cheap—but this mini-blind “prescription” now earns an extra $15,000 a year for its inventor
- Engineer Invents Bestselling Pocket Tool After Getting Locked Out: After getting locked out of his apartment, a software engineer creates a pocket tool that sells 500,000 units and now employs 17 people
- Clothing Store Salesman Invents Baby Harness, Earns $100k Per Year: An innovative salesman creates a baby harness that benefits both parent and child, all the while creating a six-figure side income for himself
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