Marketing to a Wider Audience. Billy Price – from Disability to BusinessRamon Ray
How can you turn adversity into a business that transforms lives? Our guest Billy Price, founder of Billy Price Footwear joins Ramon Ray, founder of SmartHustle.com, to share how his paralysis from the chest down birthed a revolutionary shoe company.
Billy became paralyzed as a college freshman after falling out of a three-story window. His athletic life came to a halt as he dealt with his paralysis. Billy slowly relearned various activities we take for granted, such as brushing his teeth. However, he always needed help putting on his sneakers. He could put on an unfashionable shoe by himself, or he could put on a fashionable shoe with someone’s help.
Billy wanted a fashionable shoe he could put on without any help. Billy Footwear sprouted from this dream. The company produces shoes with zippers. You can fold over the entire upper shoe, so you don’t have to shove your foot into the shoe.
Surround Yourself with the Right People
Billy’s mind initially went to a dark place after discovering his condition. Toxic language floated in his mind as he grappled with lifelong paralysis. During these moments, Billy’s family and friends supported him. They believed in him before he believed in himself.
They helped him escape toxic thoughts. They stayed by Billy’s side as he relearned basic skills. During our interview, Billy cited taking action as the path out of the darkness. Surrounding himself with the right people gave him hope. Once he decided to change and believe in himself, he took action. Billy knew he had value to provide and more things to do in his life.
Understanding how people impact us, Billy surrounded himself with the best staff. He and the company’s other co-founder knew each other for years before starting the brand.
Entrepreneurs should prioritize their relationships and surround themselves with the right people. Build relationships with your community and customers. You will learn how to best serve them and explore new opportunities. The people you surround yourself with influence who you become and how you confront adversity.
Growing Your Side Hustle
Billy and his co-founder Darren Donaldson started Billy Footwear as a side hustle. They both worked 9-to-5 jobs. After getting home from work, they would work on the brand. Billy shared how they would put resources into the business. He explained that putting more resources into your business gives it a greater chance of succeeding.
If you want your side hustle to become a full-time business, you need to treat it like a business. Invest in your business and learn from mistakes along the way. Billy and Darren heavily invested their time into organic growth during the company’s early years.
They continue using organic marketing, but they also invest in Google Ads. Billy explained that they tried Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest ads, but the Google Ads performed the best. Paid ads work better if you build a strong foundation before running the ads. Billy and his team built the foundation before experimenting with ads.
Billy cast a wider net for his marketing to reach more people. Instead of exclusively targeting quadriplegics, he created a shoe that works for anyone. Quadriplegics get a sense of independence knowing they can put on their shoes. Kids see the zipper as a trendy item and like to show off the shoe. Since it combines functionality and fashion, Billy Footwear caters to a broad audience. This branding decision helped the shoe get on the shelves of Nordstrom and Zappos.
RESOURCES from Smart Hustle