Interview with Jesse Mecham - Founder of You Need A Budget

You Need a Budget

1. You've come a long way from creating a simple budget for your own use to becoming an Enterprise UltraCart Merchant, how is the business going today?

The business is growing tremendously. We're on track to double revenue again this year, and we couldn't be more excited that people are seeing the value in our budgeting method and software, and telling their friends about us.

2. It seems that now more than ever people are understanding the need for solid financial planning and tracking, but these have historically been placed in such lowly categories as diets, and workouts. How do you communicate your value proposition to prospective customers?

It's really all about communicating the benefits to our potential customers. Nobody wants to go into credit card debt, everybody wants to save for the things they care about. We just let them know that we have a method, and a great tool to help them implement that method. Our Four Rules help people feel very empowered that they can change, and change for good.

3. Most people don't realize that when you're running a software company there is more and less than packaging and shipping a product out, can you provide some insight into how your ultracart system works with your software?

Ultracart integrates nicely with our website, and handles all of the transactional stuff for us. Our flagship product is our software, which uses a unique digital license key that UC stores and then distributes when the orders are processed. We've written a script that pings the UC API and gets us pertinent data for our CRM, so we can continue to follow up with the customer and make sure everything's going well for them.

We also sell a tangible product, which is a beautiful printed workbook that teaches customers the method in a very tangible, step-by-step way. We use a fulfillment processor for this, and basically taught them how to use UC to easily integrate with Endicia's Dazzle product and ship on our behalf. It's working great.

4. You have a great website, its very clean and easily readable and at anytime its easy to either signup for a demo or buy the full product. I've read your testimonials and your product definitely helps people. So how do you help people buy your product?

Probably the biggest thing we do to help people buy our product is to educate them first. We don't educate them on the features of the software, but rather on the method that we teach. We want to change the way they think about their money, so we offer a free nine-day course, free live webinars (almost daily) and a very vibrant online community that supports each other in their efforts to find true behavior change when it comes to personal finance.

5. What do you think sets your product apart from other budget software?

This may be a bit redundant based on the prior question, but because we focus first on educating people, the software tends to sell itself. That educational emphasis that we put on every interaction with our customer is our biggest differentiator among the plethora of other budget software options available.

6. You mention that you are married with 5 kids and you run You Need A Budget as well as getting in some golf rounds. How can you do all that?

Well, I have an awesome wife, so that's a big part of it :) But I keep to a pretty strict work schedule, and religiously follow the GTD (from David Allen) method of task management. I've found that if I truly focus on getting the important things done, the rest of the stuff kind of takes care of itself.

Right along with that, is the fact that we have an awesome team, where everyone is a self-starter, dedicated to their craft, with a very sincere care for the individual customer. As hokey as that sounds, we hire for that, and it's helped us grow tremendously.

7. Just five years ago I spoke with you on the phone and the company was doing well. Today I'm talking to you and the company is doing great and getting better all the time. What are some of the things that you've done right to help you get to this point?

To go along with the above, we've hired the right people. It can be a slow and arduous process to find the right person, but it's an area where there is no room for compromise. No hire is MUCH better than a hire that doesn't fit with your culture.

One other characteristic of our company that has driven growth is the ability to stay no. Some channels just aren't worth the effort. Some projects aren't worth the hassle. They may even appear profitable, but the hassle factor is enough to keep us away. Staying focused on doing one thing really well has allowed us to stand out in the marketplace.

8. I notice that after I browsed your website I saw ads on a few more marketplaces and search engines afterwards. How do you accomplish that?

We use Google Adwords to do remarketing. It's a very profitable way to recapture attention. We don't run the campaign ourselves, but use a company ( for it, and they do a fantastic job.

9. Final Question - What can you tell new UltraCart merchants about doing business online to help them succeed?

Hire carefully and find your single competitive advantage and run with that forever.