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Unicorn Innovations’ Jeremy Adams: Ad Revenue

February 9, 2020

Unicorn Innovations offers groundbreaking solutions for e-commerce brands that obtain massive amounts of customers and generate traceable revenue through online paid traffic channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube.

Jeremy Adams is the CEO of Unicorn Innovations.

Unicorn Innovations is a customer acquisition agency that has generated hundreds of millions in traceable revenue through online paid traffic for some of the world’s largest brands. They also offer university level education in customer acquisition for small businesses or marketing departments. And for growing businesses, those looking for investments, or an investor looking for a smart opportunity, they work with companies and investors to build growth into their investments.

Learn more about how Unicorn Innovations can be your solution through ad revenue by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on  Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go. You, Jeremy Adams, you are the CEO of Unicorn Innovations. Thank you so much for joining us. Yeah, thanks for having me. So Jeremy, beyond Unicorn, you've been involved in marketing, particularly online marketing for quite some time. You've got some relationships. I think some folks who listen to this podcast are probably be pretty interested in particularly Kevin Harrington the work you've done with Pat Flynn because You kind of give us a back, you know, just a quick overview of your background and your skill set. So

I actually, I refer to myself as a generalist, but I'm probably a marketing leaning generalist, it's like, I kind of am self taught and I just over the years have done enough to where I feel like I can like be kind of dangerous at something. And then I found it find a partner or, you know, we find a team member or whatever the case is, but I started my first real company and 22 we're a manufacturing company, but I learned how to market that company online. So I just, again, I wasn't an expert, I don't think anything but I built a basic little site started learning some foundational information about SEO and content creation, we started getting some leads from there, and then after we start generating some revenue, I got some way smarter people to handle that for me. And that's just how my mind sets.

So in 2012, you launched, you launched prestige food trucks, so you're designing these Custom food trucks and then it looks like so you made an exit on November 2018 tell me how you grew that company.

So it's one of those stories that is a pretty interesting story and looking back out and it's such a blur because I don't know how the heck it happened. It definitely was not because of my me being super smart or intelligent I gave a lot of the credit to 20% of it to me just not getting up and 80% of it to there is just a giant demand in the marketplace for food trucks if you recall last 10 years food trucks have really taken off and I mean the amount of calls we're getting from big companies even unfortunately we got the name prestige food truck so it just sounded really crappy site that we before we even built the truck I I don't tell a lot of people that's right just like copy and pasted some some pictures from my competitors and stuff like that. And I I tried to be as authentic with it as possible. I wasn't like exactly saying this is what we build. It's just like this is what we can build, you know, but we got it. Order on accident from my partner in someone's just like hey can you like build us a food truck and just like entrepreneurs do commonly they say yes too much and we agreed to to build it and while we were building that we obviously made a million mistakes but one good thing we did do is like we might as well try to see if this is a legitimate business opportunity. So I prestige food trucks com was open bought the domain and the time we're building a truck because it took a few months to build it's like building a little house and there's a lot that goes into it. We got the website up a food trucks back then again online. It was like the wild wild west so even Oh, yeah, a couple of months, we started ranking for some pretty high volume keywords because there just wasn't that much competition in before we finish the first truck. We actually got our own the second one somehow and from there, we just kind of grew naturally people would call in place the order and they would wire us and obscene amount of money. Believe it or not to probably like half the customers, like never even visited our shop and the average truck was over 100 grand. So it's just it's really interesting to think

oh my gosh, Wow, did you Gosh, I can imagine what a fun kind of like be the behind the scenes on overhauling trucks and turning them into food trucks. I mean that right there is like a cool reality series I would totally watch. Did you do much of that?

Yeah, we actually a couple different I don't even know what they'd be called. I may be production companies had probably like 10 reached out over the years to do a reality show on us. I would say a few we had serious conversations with one in particular ended up shooting a pilot and everything and never and never move forward. Sadly, so I don't know if it would have been a flop or not. But yeah, it definitely was interesting. And probably the biggest thing was I gave it my all like I never purposely would mess someone up truck up, but I was just so inexperienced and what I was doing like even me getting 100% was just still kind of half assed and subpar. And that was the biggest learning lesson for me. We ended up about three years into the company, we merged with our biggest competitor or like me, not our biggest but one of our biggest competitor who is the exact opposite of me. They they've been building since 2001. They just work they got a beautiful new warehouse and a great team. They just were having a hard time keeping orders flowing. So that's why I shudder at so as a perfect match. I wish I would have did that since day one. I mean, so slice and all a lot of people and listen to me, just partner with smarter people out of the gate and stop trying to do everything yourself. I mean, that would be so much more money and I would have been sued a lot. Alas, I totally

agree. You know, our experience with all my influences. We partner with so many other agencies, PR firms, marketing firms, SEO firms, and we don't do what they do, and we do you know, we've we've pinpointed three things that we do really Really, really well. And those are the only three things we do everything else, we just go ahead and refer that to someone else. And like, do you do paid traffic? Nope. But I know someone

who does.

Matter of fact, I know some guys in based out of Orlando that know a lot of things about that. We'll get into that in a second. I wanted to ask you before we move on, is where do you think the food truck industry is today compared to where it was like, say, five, six years ago?

Yeah. So there's not like any detailed report that I've seen, or backs up what I'm saying this is just my pulse because I, you know, I had my company prestige food trucks, which we ended up selling to a specialty vehicle manufacturer down the road in Indiana, which worked out really well. That was much larger than us and they did all different types of vehicles. So it was a perfect acquisition for them. They they actually do all the you know, the Kona ice trucks. Do you ever see this like the Kona ice Yeah, little trucks at fairs and stuff. So the car company that bought us does all those trucks so ended up they were like five miles down the road from us like what are the what are the chances

and Indiana is like the RV capital of the world to in terms of Yeah, manufacturing wreck rail cars,

which is it's actually

crazy. So to think about that and this is just like a little side note about our card, if you don't know about it is that when the economy does well, the RV industry does well and as most people probably know there's a kind of a shortage in the world or in the country for skilled labor. electricians and plumbers are at a high demand right now because everybody wants to go to college and get like a liberal arts degree whatever it is we're doing so the wages and l car when we got out of the business were just insane just in like five years. I mean, RV companies will literally pay people like I'm not exaggerating. $40 an hour to like clean the artist like just like a final clean and prep in with overtime. So if you think you're making money $40 an hour for like a, that's not even skilled labor. That's just because that's how in demand labor was. And that's how many Arby's are being purchased in a good economy because people can buy Arby's like I don't know if you know this but you can get like a 20 year mortgage essentially in an RV where your payments only $600 a month for really nice. So they're pretty affordable for the masses. So a lot of people apparently have been buying Arby's and that really made it difficult for us to stay competitive because we're at our height, we're right at almost a $10 million company and we just can't compete with a billion dollar plus RV manufacturer with from the same label. So that's another story of how we got creative to to attract labor. But the the lot of the corporations are getting into it now, which is actually good. A lot of the bigger companies are getting into it not as a revenue generation source per se, but as a brand awareness and marketing to me. Yeah, you're a competency if you're a restaurant that wants to stop Being part of festivals being just showing you the advertising where your target demo is, you know what better way you can have a shitty look intent or like a big beautiful food truck. Like what's going to represent your brand better, right? Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Who do you know some of the chains that are that are doing food trucks now

a lot. I mean, if you go to price the future calm like, we build trucks for like, again. I was like a 23 year old kid closing deals with like big companies, which is just insane. Looking back, but now Outback Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, Taco Bell, just just tons of big companies over the years. Fuddruckers amazing. I'm leaving some out, but I think the brands we work with is on that that main page.

Wow. And even the US Navy, which I'm excited about.

That one was a little bit different. So anybody that hasn't worked with the government, it's like this really long like bidding process. Hey, all right. You don't even pay you till after you complete the unit which is literal. Early insane, which is another reason that like, a bigger company to acquire us, there's so many government opportunities that we had to turn down because just the cash it took, yep, most small businesses, if they're like, Hey, we want five units and say they wanted like these super immaculate trucks that were two 300 grand. So if we're at a 20 25%, you know, gross margin, like we're putting hundred 50 to 200 grand each of these we need a million dollars in capital just to complete that order. And it's just, it wasn't realistic for us. So yeah, it could have been a lot if we had, you know, that that type of capital backing


Now. So Jeremy and your work, then obviously, you know, things are going pretty well. I know you've done some work with locally, goodwill. And thank you for doing that, by the way, which just a wonderful organization does so much good in the community. A friend that became a part of their marketing team. And so I became aware of a lot of the you know, what a great impact they have, but You eventually you develop all this skill set. And you form another company called unicorn innovations and explain why you did that. So you kind of touched on it with your business earlier, just focusing on a couple things, right, just being laser focused. So we had an agency with Kevin Harrington that we started, I think in 2014 2015. I was officially started we're working on some projects with him or though that it's a blessing and a curse, right mostly a blessing to work with a guy like Kevin and adds a lot of credibility. There's a lot of deal flow opportunities, lots of people want to work with us, right that one of the curses though we just took on way too much business and we took mon the wrong types of business. We were interesting, a full service marketing company offering content creation, website development, social management, ad management, like if they were going to pay us we probably would have said yes. So now which worst thing you can do as a company looking back at it at the top We thought it was great. But looking back at it, we realized that that was a mistake. So we we ended up for multiple reasons. And we're still on good terms. We still work with Kevin on a couple different projects, we ended up exiting our agency with Kevin and started unicorn. And we wanted to exclusively focus on paid advertising because we we thought that was where our core genius and skill set was. And that ultimately is where the biggest earning opportunity is. You can't maybe you can charge someone a bunch of money to build a website, but I didn't really want to be in that game. If you're able to produce results on the advertising opportunity, whether it's with retail, they turn equity, or whatever the case is. So that's really been our focus driving revenue for companies through paid advertising. And that's worked out really well for us. And from that, Max kind of for about a year was thinking about launching a course. So he ended up just kind of launching and we didn't know what to expect, because I guess he was just frustrated that there's a lot of like gurus in the space that Putting out these courses I really didn't have experience and again from that blessing slash curse with all the business we got working with Kevin, we had tons of experience managing all different types of accounts under the sun, right? So we took that experience, put it into a course and then our training started taking off so and that's doing really well we actually just released our new program called paid traffic training, which is also an amazing start. So you know, our company is twofold we're very selective, but we work with brands and help them scale for ads as well as we have our mass market offering which is our our different training programs. So so just to kind of cover so the you've got to on the training side of it, you've got paid traffic training, and then unicorn Academy. Now would these be for someone to be able to then manage their own paid ads in house or would this be someone would follow this course, so that then they could become skilled and then offer them certainly offer their own services as a business. That's a good question. So I would say our customer base right now is made up of about 50% ecommerce store owners, 40% agencies and consultants and then like 10%, like miscellaneous, like local small businesses and stuff. So yeah, a lot of you know, half of our customers are ecommerce store owners that are looking to just improve their existing efforts, and they take the trainings and then they implement what we're teaching them. And then another 40%, which is almost another half is agency owners and consultants. I mean, this is knowledge that we're teaching them to then help their clients with or charge. And you know, from that we've been very fortunate. Max works really, really hard and always over delivers, I mean, the amount of like, positive testimonials and like, life changing results we've received through video testimonial emails and stuff like that. Yeah, it's aggravating. I mean, it's, it's in the hundreds. So it's, it's really exciting and we've been fortunate to take all our knowledge headache, trial and error. You know, success and failures and wrapping up a training program and help people.

And Jeremy, I'm in terms of like where we are. So it's, you know, getting toward the end of 2019. Where do you see paid ads today? Like what's working what's not working, maybe compared to a year or two ago because, sadly, I think a lot of the training that you see today is based on what was working two years ago. And that's not necessarily what works well today, from what I understand I'm not a guru and there's been I've talked to enough people to know that the ball moves a little bit and paid ads

hundred percent and that's By the way, and this isn't a plug for what we're doing. But it's kind of one of the reasons why we shifted our new our our page or unicorn Academy is more premium is step up, and then we down the road, we're going to be launching some other other higher ticket things but we switched everything to a monthly subscription. And then the main reason we did that it's twofold. Everything's on to a monthly subscription now, like how many things that you subscribe to, that's monthly. I mean, it's just the consumers are just comfortable with that now, which is, which is good. But the the other thing is that the ad platform in the marketplace is constantly changing. So we know we needed to offer something that every month we could update our core. So part of our program, it's multiple live trainings, access to our premium group, which is tons of good content, access to other people that invest in themselves, which is really important. And then we have our all of our course and all the different modules which we update and add things to every month. So we wanted to have something that was constantly living, breathing and evolving. In regards to specifics. I would say it's just like at a high level. It's a mindset of focusing on customer lifetime value in front end profitability. It's extremely, extremely difficult to be profitable from the first order nowadays, especially at any scale, like some people be like, I have a forex row as I'm like, well How much are you spending five grand a month? It's like, Well, you know, you know, barely have a business there. You know, once you start trying to actually build a business to, you know, multiple millions in revenue or higher, no, no one that we know that spending six figures plus, or that we manage spending four or five x row ads just isn't realistic, you know. Now, a realistic target is a, if you can break even and make money on that second, third, and fourth purchase. That's how you're going to win. So just having that lifetime value as a focus and another thing running, unless you have an absolutely amazing product or offer, which most people don't, most people may but it takes time to explain that to people unless it's like a super viral product or just something that's just like unbelievable. Running traffic to an offer page. cold traffic to an offer page also is very difficult now because yes, the costs are just getting inevitably more expensive. So you have to start running ads that comply with that, you know, more top of funnel brand awareness, building credibility. Then after they're familiar with your brand and have some trust, and you start driving them to an offer page, as well as the again, depending on what you're doing, who are about to start, like testing our free trial offer like which is going to be our audience that it's just going to be for a warm audience that hasn't purchased but we're just getting creative like I would rather have our warm audience that we've already invested a bunch of money in and offer them some sort of free trial that has a rebill than like continuing to try to like banging our heads against the wall and trying to convert cold traffic you know, so we're just really trying to get creative. It's a lot easier to sell existing customers or even existing warm prospects items then constantly focusing on like that new customer, the new shiny object Awesome.

Well, Jeremy Adams, you are the CEO of unicorn innovations based here in Orlando. So love celebrating a fellow Orlando and Adam not sure if that's the word, and then also the founder of prestige food truck. So it was a thank you so much, Jeremy. I really appreciate all of your time.

Yeah, my pleasure.

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