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Frank Barry, COO of Tithe.ly, on building SaaS for a non-traditional industry
   

Frank Barry, COO of Tithe.ly, on building SaaS for a non-traditional industry

Usually in the world of startups and software, you come across companies selling to nearly every vertical — financial services, hospitality, healthcare, etc.

It’s rare to come across an industry that’s in the early stages of technological adoption. And that’s what initially fascinated us about Tithe.ly.

They’re building software in a traditionally undeveloped market: the church and religious institution space. Tithe.ly is a church-giving platform that helps congregations through software. And as we talked with their COO Frank Barry, we were struck by a few things.

First off, the business has been growing like crazy in a huge market. As of recording this episode, over 700 people per month were signing up for their software and they were well on their way to 10,000+ customers. Oh, and there are over 300,000 churches in the US alone…

But what truly fascinated us about Tithe.ly is that they want to make sure customers really love them. When a new prospect or customer signs up for Tithe.ly’s software, they get a personal call (yes, 700 personal calls per month) from someone on the Tithe.ly team. 

In this episode, Frank talks with Dave about delivering delightful customer experiences, content and early marketing strategies, and how to creatively scale a business.

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In This Episode You’ll Learn:

0:00 Introduction
2:11 Learn about Tithe.ly’s business
4:08 Insights into growth channels 
11:00 Creating exceptional touchpoints with customers
24:34 Lessons learned about SaaS over the last 4 years 
30:28 Salty Six

Full Transcript:

DR: Today we’ve got Frank Barry with us. He’s the COO of a company I hadn’t heard of until they signed up to be a Proof customer. But he’s the COO of Tithe.ly.

And Tithe.ly, their underlying mission is to help people be more generous, and they do this right now by partnering up with churches to help them with their giving platform and help them basically raise money for whatever it is that they’re working on. So, Frank, I’m excited to dig in,

FB: So good to be here.

DR: Thanks for being here.

FB:  I love it, Scale or Die.

DR: Scale or Die!

FB:  Best companies on the planet, showing up right here.

DR: Well there’s really only like two options, you either scale or you die.

FB:  Or you die. Okay.

DR: There’s no middle ground.

FB:  No, absolutely.

DR: So we chatted a few times on the phone. How long have you been a Proof customer? A year?

FB:  I mean at least a year.

DR: Yeah, a year and a half maybe.

FB:  Yeah, probably a little over a year.

DR: You said it a few times and I think each time we’ve talked I was more and more impressed about what you guys are doing. This is not just like a cool little app, this is like a real company, solving a real problem, and growing really quickly.

FB:  You guys were like blowing up. I would see stuff about Proof on Facebook, Instagram, or the like. I was like oh, this is interesting because we’re primarily an inbound, signup on our website, get started kind of business.

And I was like oh, let’s give this a shot. So that’s how we connected. And I think you, it was probably one of your automated emails or something like that, but you were just looking to talk to users, and that’s how we first connected.

DR: Okay, and we hopped on the phone. Very cool, man. It was probably just me. It probably looked automated, but I was back there just hammering about.

FB: You were back there like I’m talking to every single user, everybody that’s out there.

DR: Yeah, we didn’t have that many users, so it was easy to email everybody.

Describe Tithe.ly in your own words, what do you guys do and maybe like where’s the company today? Employees? Metrics? Etc?

FB: Yeah, yeah.

DR: What are you looking like right now?

FB: Our mission is to help churches increase giving, grow generosity within their membership.

Tithe.ly

Tithe.ly’s homepage

So from a church plant, really think startup church — a church of maybe two or three families starting out in a garage all the way up to a big mega-church that’s got 20 thousand people meeting on a weekend, right?

So we try to build products that serve all of those types of churches and everything in between. And we operate in eight countries right now. We use Stripe as our underlying payment system and then on top of that we build all of the technology for churches to do giving by itself.

DR: So if a church, they might say go to this link and you’re gonna create a Tithe.ly account and you’re gonna give that way?

FB: So the church will signup.

So think about us as a B2B kind of company with the C extension, in terms of like servicing church members. You know, we basically build mobile apps.

So think it’s cliche, but think sort of uber for churches or for church giving, right? You have a simple app, it’s built for your church.

The member puts their payment information in here and they can give their gift. Because traditionally, if people don’t know, churches would on a Sunday they pass the plate and people put cash and check into the plate and that’s how churches raise their money.

And Dean, our CEO, loves to sort of talk about it like this.

No business on the planet would exist if they’re only open for 90 minutes once a week. If McDonald’s was open for 90 minutes once a week, McDonald’s would not exist anymore.

But churches are open for 90 minutes once a week — that’s their moment to raise all their money, right? And so people put cash and check into a basket or into something in the back or something like that, and we were like well there’s gotta be a way to do that digitally.

And so mobile app and then that extended into text giving and online giving for their websites and administrative tools. And now it’s sort of a full kind of financial sleeve for churches to raise their money, manage their money, get into the bank account, do a bunch of reporting, all those kinds of things.

DR: Almost all around money and giving?

FB: It started that way. So for the first, call it two years, we’re about four years old as a company. So, the first two years was all about giving. So, you know, digital giving, forms of digital giving.

And then we grew that into custom church apps. So now you can, as a church, I can, if I’m a medium to a big size church, maybe I want to have my own brand, my own identity. So we’ll build you a custom church app, put it in the IOS and Google Play stores and giving will be baked into that. And then just recently about six months ago, we got into the church management side of things.

Tithe.ly's product offerings

Tithe.ly’s 4 product offerings

DR: And acquired a company while you’re doing that?

FB: Yeah, we acquired another company out of Australia. Great company, great team. They’re all with us today having a blast. But that’s more like CRM for churches, it’s called church management. So now we’re, you know, we’re a full sleeve and have plans to add a few more things down the track.

DR: Very cool. You’ve got 65 people right now?

FB: We’re about 65, probably 62 and we’re approaching ten thousand customers on the platform.

DR: Very cool. Are all of those paying or is there a free version?

FB: No, those would be paying customers.

DR: Ten thousand paying customers?

FB: Yeah, and there are two forms of paying for us because we’re really like pay as you go model, so to use the giving product, it’s zero dollars a month, zero dollar setup. You just come on, signup for free on our website, and you’re live in about three to five minutes. Every time you take a donation in, we charge a percentage of that, right?

So, if you use our product and don’t raise any money at all, you pay nothing. If you raise a little bit, you may a little bit.

DR: You take a percentage.

FB: We take a percentage of the transaction fees, right? Much like the credit card industry, right?

DR: Yeah, just a little bit on top of whatever Stripes charges.

FB: Exactly.

DR: Have some deal worked out with Stripe to get a volume discount.

FB: Yeah, that’s exactly right, so it’s all a scale right? The bigger you get, the better the margins you can create for yourself.

DR: Do you have how much you guys process in a month? Do you know those numbers? Do you share those?

FB: No. We do not share that, that’s a good question, but.

DR: Is it a big number?

FB: Yeah, you know we did hundreds of millions last year.

DR: That’s cool.

FB: And we grew about 150 percent every year and hope to do that again this year.

DR: That’s awesome.

FB: So we have the per-transaction fee, then we also have monthly subscription fees for like the church app or the church management platform. But what we’ve tried to do is basically bring down pricing as much as we can in our industry because they’re churches and they’re mission-based organizations and their money should be going to things that are really accelerating the mission and helping people serving people.

So you can pay, for a church management platform, for using some of the better products out there. If you’re an average-sized church you could be paying two, three, four, five hundred dollars a month. And then, we have a flat 50 dollar a month rate. So we have, we tried to bring prices and make them really compelling for every church out there, but that’s the other component of our pricing, is monthly subscriptions.

Tithe.ly pricing

Tithe.ly’s different pricing plans

DR: And how much competition is there in the tech, you know,

FB: Church tech?

DR: Serving church space? Because I think, you know when I first heard about you guys, I was kind of like, you know, this is probably really great guys, they’re probably doing this kind of on the side.

FB: But a real business.

DR: But it’s like, this is like really good — like this is legit tech, legit marketing, like this is like real. And I’m just curious like, is that normal?

Are there a lot of companies that are competitors?

FB: There are over 300 thousand churches in the U.S. That do one and half billion dollars, no, no, no, no, like 125 billion dollars in volume, payments in volume. So it’s actually a massive massive space. 

DR: Totally.

FB: Put that in the context of any kind of B2B SaaS company, and it’s probably bigger than a lot of places that people create niche products to service. It’s really big.

There’s a lot of churches. And it’s really diverse. There are churches of all shapes and sizes and that’s just in the U.S. alone. Maybe double that for the rest of the world. So it’s a really big market.

And there actually are quite a few people doing church management, church apps, church giving, church accounting, church registration, all the things that a business needs. Churches need them in their tailored way. Churches call it church management, really it’s CRM, for churches, but it has things like kids check-in and volunteer management and things that your normal salesforce isn’t gonna really hone in on.

Yeah, so it’s a big place and there’s competition. It’s probably not as competitive as some other places in the B2B SaaS world.

DR: That’s a good place to be then.

FB: Yeah, you kind of have to know the DNA. It’s like if you don’t know it, you can’t just go create a business and be successful.

People are gonna see right through you because there’s a… I went to school for computer science, came out, and my first job out of school was five years as a youth minister. I spent five years, was really active in my campus ministry, spent five years working with junior high and high school kids doing ministry. And everyone in our company is super active in their church. It’s like part of the DNA of the company.

DR: The ethos of like what you get, who you are.

FB: Yeah, it’s who we are.

DR: So, it flows into all of that.

FB: That’s right. People will sniff it out immediately if you’re just trying to make money in the industry.

DR: Yeah, very cool.

FB: So companies like that are the ones that do well.

DR: So, I want to go back to, currently the CEO’s been around for four years. You were just telling me before, you got about 700 churches signed up a month right now?

It was zero back then and you’re the COO, but you’re also the marketing guy. So you’re doing a lot of this. At the beginning you were kind of saying that this is mostly just word of man, buddies, hey try this, try that. But you kind of came on board right after the initial MVP was built out.

What did it look like to start growth, like what were those early growth channels?

FB: I mean, very beginning was Google, Bing, Capterra. That was really the very very beginning was let’s do some small tests.

We sort of revamped the website, it needed some help.

We revamped the signup flow or the funnel in a sense, the signup flow. So we did some work there, and I said okay let’s just run some really simple paid ads and pretty close to that we started going the content route.

So we just started publishing once a week on our blog with no audience, but you know, like I come from a content digital marketing background, so I was like, you just gotta start now. And someday it will pay off, you know what I mean?

And four years down the track, we’re signing up 700 plus churches a month and the content part — the referral and organic search part of our inbound funnel is by far the biggest. Those two places are the biggest for us.

DR: And what were you doing? So you were just putting out one blog post a week?

Tithe.ly blog

Tithe.ly updates their blog multiple times per week

FB: One a week.

DR: And were you like trying to build backlinks and partnerships?

FB: Yeah, I mean just all the scrappy things you do. I knew we needed backlinks, so we started… an informal way was like tons of influencer marketing.

Like just getting to know the people in the industry. Other entrepreneurs in our space and not necessarily all entrepreneurs, but people that were somehow influential, connected to churches, whether they worked at a church or not.

There’s actually a large ecosystem of church entrepreneurs that are doing something. They’re creating content, they have info products, and there’s a lot of that stuff out there. They’re writing for different publications and things like that. So we started real quick on just get to know people and who is out there and what are they doing. What are they interested in? And what are the other companies that are complementary? And just really connecting on Facebook and on Instagram and on Twitter.

And just showing up at the conference for church communicators because church communicators are the ones that are out there like, they’re the sneezers.

DR: What’s a church communicator?

FB: Just the people, like marketing people in the church.

DR: Okay.

FB: The people that are, they do something related to marketing and communications for churches.

DR: Yup.

FB: Right?

DR: Yup.

FB: Churches have those people, too. So it’s like we wanted to get to know as many of those as we could. We were writing.

DR: Were you intentionally getting them to write on your blog?

FB: Yeah, we were trying everything, we were nobody, right? We were nobody, so like what are you gonna write for us? Yes. Yes.

Can I do a guest post over there? Do you want to come and write for our blog? Tons of that kind of stuff. Trying to consistently write on our own blog at least once a week. Now we publish four times a week. So we just grew that over time.

DR: What did that look like to grow over time?

We’re about maybe nine months into kind of saying okay, we’re gonna have content and we’re gonna invest in this and we’re gonna wait for this thing to pay off. And you know, it’s already started to, but not as much as I want.

FB: If Dean were here, he’s our CEO, he’d be like, I didn’t believe Frank at the beginning. No way. But you know, we’re a great team, we all believe in each other, so we just did it. And in year one, was it really doing much? No. In year two would you be like oh my gosh. No. For us, we saw new customer adoption growing every month, just continuously.

We weren’t good at saying, oh, it’s from this channel or that channel or here’s why it’s happening. We weren’t good at that, I still say we’re not excellent at it. We’ve grown a lot.

DR: Almost nobody I’ve interviewed is good at it.

FB: Yeah, it’s a lot of work.

DR: Even the biggest company, their like attribution is kind of like 80 percent data.

FB: It’s hard.

DR: 20 percent.

FB: Yeah.

DR: I think it’s coming from here.

FB: Totally, totally. We’re getting better and better, but yeah, it’s a big task. So, we didn’t have our, we hired our first full-time writer… Probably just over a year ago.

And we just hired our second like a month ago. I mean our marketing team is, really we just put on three new people in marketing and that makes the team five. So we had two people in marketing for three and a half years of the company or more, almost four years of the company.

So it ran really lean and we just focused a ton on content. The first full-time writer, it was like his job was to publish three days a week. That’s your job, just write three blog posts a week. But now, like yesterday, we’re looking, you know we’re always paying attention to what’s going on and so we search for the word Tithe.ly, which in the church, tithe is a word that is used related to giving.

And so if you go to Google organic search, just put in the word tithe, we’re the first result.

DR: Really?

FB: Yeah.

DR: That’s awesome.

FB: It’s shocking, right? You’re like, we beat out Wikipedia.

DR: Really?

FB: Yeah.

DR: That’s amazing.

FB: So for the content people of the world. Although, we’re not getting customers from the word tithe. We know there are not direct customers coming from that search. In Google’s eyes, the more you’re ranking for, the more your domain is known for certain topics, the more you’re gonna rank for other stuff. So, now we’re in the, I don’t know, 300 thousand monthly uniques, or 200 thousand monthly uniques to our blog and growing.

DR: Consistently growing over time.

FB: It’s just growing, it’s like, just keeps going up like this.

DR: That’s awesome.

FB: But it’s four years of work.

DR: So I’m nine months in, so I need to keep my head down.

FB: Yeah, you just gotta keep going.

DR: Ben J., who runs our content, is just relieved right now. We just bought him another of couple years of growth, of time cooking in the oven.

FB: But you know, you want to see the business growing. It’s like this balance of we were good at, I think the other thing that we’re really really good at is our customers really loves us. We talk to every customer that signs up, every prospect that signs up. We get on the phone with everybody.

We did it from, Dean and I were on the phone, every time someone called or signed up on the website, we were on the phone with them.

DR: You get 700 people signing up a month now, you guys are talking to all of them?

FB: Every one of them.

DR: How do you do that?

FB: Sales team. It’s all in the inbound team, we do no outbound, so our inbound team just, now whether or not they actually get a hold of them, I can’t speak to that. We’re trying every single one of them. We’ve always done that.

DR: And why’d you do that? Is that just because you thought it would work or just because you cared more or what made you do it?

FB: I think we just thought it was the right thing to do.

There was no necessarily like this big plan, it was just like if someone comes on, we’re building this thing, we want to talk to you and we want to make sure you have a good experience and you actually become a real customer.

Because you can sign up for our product and kick the tires and not end up using us, you could be shopping, you could be testing something out or whatever. So we just wanted to make sure people had a great experience and got their questions answered and learn the ins and outs. I mean, you know it right?

Like someone might come to sign up, but not necessarily know you can do this or that or how to do it or whatever, so if you can help them. And in our world, talking to somebody, like relationships are king.

DR: So what kind of like, I wanna talk about your funnel here. Because I wanna walkthrough. I know you got Proof on there. I want to talk to you about some of the different conversion points.

What is your funnel? Can you describe your signup funnel?

FB: We have the most painful funnel on the planet.

DR: And then you can describe when you get on the phone call, what happens after that?

FB: So painful funnel. Painful I think it’s done as eloquently as we can.

Look, there’s probably really smart people watching this, so maybe it’s not, but like it’s pretty good. But we’re doing payments for people.

Tithe.ly signup

The first page of the Tithe.ly signup flow

So we have to collect a lot of crazy information when you signup for our product, but we want you to be able to signup on our website and be live in five minutes. Like, you don’t have to talk to anybody, you don’t have to jump through any other hoops, you don’t have to do anything crazy. So that means when you sign up, I have to make you jump through all those hoops right at the beginning.

DR: Yeah, when I was like testing it out, didn’t I have to like enter my bank account number on page two.

FB: We do the standard stuff, name and email.

We need to know your church info — your church name, your church location, we need a location for geo-targeting and things like that.

We need to know where we’re gonna deposit funds. Because we’re raising money, people are making donations to your church through our platform and going to your bank account, so we need your bank account.

And then we need to make sure you’re a legit church. So we need to capture some legal information, kind of a legal representative information, last for digits of their Social Security number, color copy of their photo ID, all during signup. A funnel enthusiast would be like this is death, this is death by the funnel. This is not working.

DR: I’m cringing.

FB: And we, I mean, 700.

DR: And 700 would go all the way through all of that?

FB: That’s full.

DR: Stop it.

FB: That’s full.

DR: I would have thought.

FB: No, that’s completely done. We have thousands that start, like thousands and thousands that start and don’t make it all the way through.

DR: So why do you think that works? What do you learn out of that?

FB: I guess the demand for the product.

What we know in terms of going back to content content content, we took good care of people and then the referral engine started. Pastors and church leaders know ten other pastors, it’s a superb network in different pockets around the world. So they’re gonna tell their friends and they’re gonna tell other church leaders and so giving them a great experience — probably doing what it’s supposed to do, have a great price point. It was easy to get started. We ask for all that info, but in reality, you’re done at that point. You can give a donation to your church as soon as you finish that process.

DR: Yup.

FB: So five minutes later, you’re taking donations and it’s kind of a magic moment.

DR: Yeah. So maybe they’ve heard about you, they trust you, they trust you enough and they know enough about how much they want the product, they’re like, I’m gonna do whatever, I’ll run through a wall.

FB: Yeah, and if they don’t make it through it, we have a sales team that’s calling behind thousands of signups every month and they’re calling behind every one of them or emailing them.

We have some automation stuff going on behind the scenes, too, so we try to get every one of those onto a spot. You might fall out of the funnel, most common-sense step is, “oh, I get to this step, I have to add my banking info and that, either I don’t have it because I’m not the finance person, I’m the pastor maybe, so I don’t have that info or I’m freaked out.”

Like wait a minute, why are you asking me for this? And we try to make sure you’re aware of why we need it. And they know they’re signing up for a giving product, so they know we need to deposit funds into their bank account. But that’s a common fallout step, so we do things via automation to try to help them come back and you know so we try to be smart, but people are calling them, too, saying hey.

Just so you know, blah, blah, blah, like let me help you through this.

DR: Have you guys had any big successful growth from marketing experiments you run over the years and you look back and you’re like man, that really changed our funnel?

FB: Changing the funnel? We actually made the funnel, in some ways, I guess it’s debatable, we made our funnel longer at one point and actually, it paid off huge.

DR: This one is the long one.

FB: This is the long one.

So we had it kind of the steps consolidated a little bit more at one point. Where bank account and legal rep info were on the same screen. Some of the stuff was just, it was fewer steps, more info on each step.

And we just broke it out and made it kind of feel longer, but cleaner, maybe simpler at each step. And that actually changed our conversion rate.

I don’t remember it exactly, but it was like a noticeable difference. The other thing we deal with is people coming to us thinking they’re supposed to make their donation on our website. Our website’s not for–

DR: The end consumer.

FB: The end consumer ends up finding us, so we did another thing where we helped those people know what to do and basically siphoned them off into the right path, which cleaned up the funnel and helped us reduce noise of like our sales team getting donors coming though and stuff like that.

We’ve done all the other, maybe not all, but we’ve done the other things, like I put customer logos, or I put some information about what this is, if I change my headline. We’ve done, but their all incremental, small stuff. 

DR: Yeah.

FB: We have not had any to where it’s like, oh, we did this and then boom. Adding Proof, we saw a difference.

DR: That’s what I was trying to milk out of you. Is there anything you’ve done that has been helpful?

FB: Read the shirt man, read the shirt.

DR: Yeah, anything at all?

FB: And I don’t have the data, we should like have a computer and like look at it.

DR: I can pull up the account right now.

FB: Yeah, do it right here. But that definitely helped because the social proof. When I saw it, I was like oh it’s brilliant.

We use customer little quotes and logos and all this kind of stuff, but not it’s kind of like realtime, so we have Proof on there in two spots. Like on our general website and then we have another version when you’re signing up, so yeah.

And when we ran the split test, you guys launched split testing what six months ago or something like that? So, the split test of with Proof or without Proof.

DR: I should have pulled it up, I forget what your data was. We’ll put a screenshot like below the video.

FB: But it’s better, I just don’t remember what percentage. So I know that’s been a helpful ad.

DR: For four years now, you’ve been growing the company.

What do you believe differently about growing a SaaS company now that you didn’t understand a couple years ago? What have been some of the core fruits or principles that you’ve come to believe?

FB: That’s a good question. That’s a deep one. I think we’ve learned…

I mean from the beginning again, we wanted to talk to everybody, we wanted to interact with people, build the relationships, make it really easy, make it really cost-effective.

We have not changed our pricing, it’s been zero dollars to start, 2.9% plus 30 cents a transaction from the beginning. It’s always been signup online. So I think a lot of those core things actually haven’t changed.

I think we’ve on the sales side, we’ve learned more and more about how to engage with customers. As for me and Dean, the CEO, the COO, doing all that sales activity early days.

Now the sales team does it, so it had to go from our passion and our desire to grow this thing into other people and so I think that pushing that through into the sales team and hiring people that have that same kind of passion, we’ve learned a lot around that kind of stuff and then how to help them be successful. Like what does it look like to sell when you’re not really selling to churches.

DR: Do you have any paid traffic at all?

FB: We do. From the beginning and we haven’t let up on that. We focus mostly on like super super bottom of funnel, like buying intent kind of terms. So for us, online giving solutions, text giving for churches, things that are like, I’m looking for this thing.

We haven’t done any paid traffic for other lead magnets — we still don’t have an email list.

DR: Where’d they go?

FB: They just signup for our product. There’s not, we don’t capture email. We actually have on our blog, as of a month or two ago, where you can put your email in to get updates about our content.

That was a month ago, maybe two. So we have no email list. It’s either you’re signing up to become a customer or you’re not.

DR: Or we’ll see you later.

FB: Or we’ll see you. So that’s also terrible, right? So we know there’s a massive opportunity to do more there.

DR: Isn’t it funny when you’re growing despite knowing five or ten, that you know you’re doing wrong and you just don’t have time to get to them.

FB: That’s exactly right. We’ve known that for years, we have no email list and we’re like we don’t have time, we can’t get to it. But we just brought on another writer and now the team knows like this year, we want an email list. That’s big. Let’s go figure out how to like, let’s create some lead magnets and let’s start getting emails of church leaders and figure out how then cultivate them. You know what I’m saying?

DR: Totally.

FB: So we have plenty to do.

DR: When you think about Tithe.ly, what keeps you up at night?

FB: What keeps us up at night? You know, I think the biggest thing is just taking care of everyone that’s coming in.

DR: The burden of ten thousand.

FB: Yeah, there’s a lot of people signing up and we want everyone to have a great experience. And so, a lot of it is like the sales and marketing teams and they do an amazing job. But we also don’t want to like over higher in those places and all of a sudden have it messing up our customer acquisition costs. We have to be careful.

DR: What do you guys shoot for as customer acquisition costs?

FB: I mean we try to keep it like low hundreds. So if it starts ballooning or our payback period needs to stay sub 12.

DR: Yeah.

FB: We try to make sure that that stays true and although we want to take great care of everyone, we have to make sure the team is right-sized for what we have to keep doing to run a healthy business.

DR: You guys have raised about five million-ish.

FB: Yeah, about five million dollars.

DR: Do you think you’ll raise again, do you have imminent plans to do that?

FB: I mean, we don’t really rule out anything.

We try to run the business really efficiently, like really efficient with capital, never get a bank account that’s struggling. So we try to make sure we’re really efficient. And then, we’re always talking.

Like our partner team is always talking. Should we raise more? What would it look like? What would we do with the money? So we’re always having those conversations and so far, every year or two, it comes time to do something, but I don’t know.

We may do something, but we also. We’re not like dead-set on it. We’re just, let’s see how things are growing.

DR: I think that’s like the healthiest way to think about it. It’s not necessarily like we will definitely raise this money here, it’s like, what would it be used for? What kind of leverage could we get out of that? And like use it as a tool when you need it, but not when you don’t.

FB: Right, right.

Like we don’t just want a bunch of money sitting in the bank account for no reason. And we also don’t want to raise so much that we’re just spending money.

Spending it and not knowing what to do with it or just trying things and not being like, running it really lean helps us to be really smart about how we make decisions and not go overboard.

Shockingly, we don’t have offices. We’re 65 people in three or four countries, most in the U.S., but nobody has an office. Everyone is remote and we started that way and it still works. And helps us to be, that’s another financial thing that helps us keep rolling and not have to have that kind of overhead.

DR: All right man, we’re running out of time, so we’re gonna wrap up.

FB: Let’s do it.

The Salty Six

DR: With the Salty Six.

FB: I don’t know where you came up with the title Salty Six.

DR: I don’t know, but everybody laughs though, so I like it.

DR: It works.

FB: It’s a thing now.

DR: It’s just six rapid-fire questions for us to get to know you more. Some about work, some about outside of work.

Question number one of the Salty Six, what do you do for fun when you’re not working?

FB: Oh gosh, I love mountain biking and working out.

DR: You live in San Diego?

FB: Yeah.

DR: Is there good mountain biking around there?

FB: Super good mountain biking and I got into Orange Theory about a year ago, so I’m kind of obsessed. I don’t know if they have those here in Austin.

DR: Cool, cool. Okay, number two.

Do you have a morning routine? And if so, what is it?

FB: Morning routine. I do, I get up about 5:30, usually read for 30-40, you know, get some coffee, read. I just got done reading a book about habits, that was awesome, finished it yesterday actually. So read for about 30, 45 minutes. The kids get up about 6:30, I have triplet boys, fun fact.

DR: Oh wow.

FB: They’re seven years old, so they get up about 6:30.

DR: Those are your only kids?

FB: Yup, first, second, and last.

DR: Yeah, that pretty much ends it right there.

FB: Yup.

DR: Good thing it didn’t happen like your fourth kid or something. It’s like, you have three and then you have triplets.

FB: That’s right, no that happens to people, but no, so you know, they’re up at 6:30 and then it’s breakfast time. We might be reading a book that they need to read for school or I’m getting them ready, all this kind of stuff, it’s a big–

DR: Yeah.

FB: A bunch of chaos in the morning and super fun. And then they’re off to school by about 7:15.

DR: Okay, that sounds crazy, so 6:30 the morning is over for you.

FB: That’s right, 6:30 it’s over. They’re off to school and then oftentimes I’ll hit the gym after that.

DR: Cool.

How do you focus during the day? You have a lot coming at you, how do you kind of lockdown and do deep work, do you have any tips there?

FB: I mean, since I’m working at home. There’s not a lot of distractions, other than when my kids come home from school. That could be a pretty major distraction, but that helps. There’s no one just coming by.

Slacking, Zoom is how we do everything, so turning that stuff off, right, time blocking, turning it off, it’s probably the biggest thing that helps me.

DR: Cool. Okay. Number four:

What’s a book that has impacted you deeply in the last few years?

FB: The book I just got done reading is the one I’m gonna go with, it’s The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I think it’s amazing.

power of habit

Mostly because it helps you understand the habit, pattern, or habit cycle, so it’s the queues, the routine that you go through, and then the reward that you get. A sort of understanding that, you can start looking at your life and going I got these good habits and these bad habits and start to apply it and sort of engineer the good ones that you want. Super good book.

I just got done with it and kind of want to look for the next habit book, based on reading this one.

DR: Very cool, all right. All right, number five:

What’s the best purchase you’ve made recently under 150 bucks?

FB: Oh my gosh, under 150 bucks.

DR: Could be a little gadget.

FB: I don’t remember the exact price, but my AirPods.

DR: Wow.

FB: Those are like a hundred and–

DR: I think they’re like $159.

FB: Okay. I cheated a little bit.

DR: Okay, we’ll count it.

FB: I do love those things though. They look a little strange.

DR: They actually made it into my everyday pocket. So it’s like I’ve got the keys, phone, wallet, AirPods, every day.

FB: Mine are in my bag right now because I was on a plane, but absolutely. I have them with me everywhere. Like no chords.

DR: It was probably like a month and a half into having them I was like holy cow, these have made it into my pocket. Nothing gets into my pocket.

FB: 100 percent.

DR: Like nothing gets into my pocket.

FB: You have a phone and a wallet and then the AirPod.

DR: Yeah, okay. Very cool. All right, number six. What’s a trait or characteristic you have that has lead to the success that you have today?

FB: That’s a good one. I think competitiveness. I’m highly competitive.

DR: Really?

FB: Yeah.

DR: Where does that come from? You always had that?

FB: I don’t know, I played a lot of sports growing up and you know, grew up in a not so great area.

Played tons of basketball, blacktop basketball, I don’t know if that’s how it started, but definitely through sports and hopefully it’s healthy.

Maybe it’s not. I don’t know what my wife would tell you, but I think the competitive like I want to win and I’m gonna keep working. The work ethic tied to that, because I was always like, you know, I wasn’t like the greatest athlete at every sport, so I always had to work harder. I think those two things tied together, like hard work and competitive drive that comes with that. It keeps you going at things.

DR: Do you guys have any direct competitors that you kind of have the competitive edge.

FB: I won’t mention any names, but absolutely. We have friendly competitors in our industry and we have a great time competing.

DR: Yeah. And that’s what’s fun about it.

FB: It’s healthy, it’s good, we know most of the founders.

DR: And I’m pretty much like business is not like zero some, they’re probably gonna win, I’m gonna win, but it’s like, it’s nice to have a tangible person to compete against because I’m the same way man. I just love to win everything. And it’s like, I don’t actually want you guys to disappear, you’re probably gonna be fine, but I still want someone who I’m tangibly, I can look at and say, I’m gonna crush you.

FB: Absolutely. And those folks exist and over the course of four years, we’ve gotten to know a lot of them. Great people doing awesome things, but at the same time, we want to win. So, I think in a healthy way, the four of us kind of on the partner team all have that.

DR: That’s cool.

FB: And it’s good.

DR: Yeah, it’s fun.

FB: You can compete even in the church world.

DR: Yeah, totally, totally. Very cool man. Well it’s been awesome, Frank. I’m excited for you guys, super cool company. And I’m excited to watch what you guys do from here and hopefully Proof can be a part of that.

FB: Absolutely, thanks for having me on.

DR: People want to find out what you’re doing and look you up on Twitter, where can they find you?

FB: Terrible, terrible.

DR: Because I tried to find you before this to look you up and I couldn’t find anything anyway.

FB: I haven’t updated anything in ages, it’s so bad. I’m probably most active on Instagram.

DR: Okay.

FB: And it’s just @FrankRBerry.

DR: Okay.

DR: Did you want to give out your email?

FB: Sure. [email protected]

DR: There we go.

DR: Perfect man. Thanks for being on the show, it’s been great. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you on the next episode of Scale or Die.

FB: Thanks guys.

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This interview has been edited and condensed.