eCommerceFuel

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

A team of 40 virtual employees across multiple brands. Sounds like a dream team, but a lot goes into managing a large virtual team. Ezra Firestone of Smart Marketer shows us how he currently manages his businesses and builds his teams virtually, including how he determines who he needs to hire and how he keeps his employees productive and organized. Ezra weighs in with the current tools and strategies he uses to keep his team efficient and highly-successful.   Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Ezra Firestone of Smart Marketer)  Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, Andrew here and welcome to eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. And today, I have a returning guest on the show. He sort of hasn't been on for a while. I've been just relentlessly going after his PR man. I keep getting turned down over and over and over again. And finally got through, and have the pleasure of introducing Mr. Ezra Firestone back as a guest. Ezra, how you doing man? Ezra: I'm doing great man, happy to be here. I can be difficult to get a hold of. I'm kind of a hermit. But no, I'm super excited to be back on your show. I think you've got the best show in the game so, happy to be here. eCommerce All-Stars Andrew: Thanks, man. Your gate keepers are brutal, dude, you know. I'm just kidding. You've got an event coming up which I want to talk about off the bat, eCommerce All-Stars? Ezra: Right off the bat, all right. Thanks, man. Andrew: Yeah. Ezra: Yeah. So you know, obviously, we do eCommerce and we love to share what works for us. And so our community has been asking for a long time for us to put together an event where everyone could kind of get together, get to know each other, and we could go in-depth over the course of a couple of days. And my experience has been that there's really no better way to experience, sort of, a jolt, a boost. What's that stuff in when they put in cars, like in the movies, and you press the button and you go really fast? Andrew: Nitro. Ezra: Yeah. There's no better way to have that experience in your business, to nitro it, I don't know if that's what you call it, but then to kind of let... Andrew: Maybe that's probably not nitro. That's actually probably not the right term. Ezra: Okay, whatever it is. It's like... Andrew: But yeah, all right. Ezra: We're internet nerds. We're not, you know, pop-culturally literate. But to sort of let go of the rest of your world for a little bit, step out of your routine in life and step into a couple of days where you just really focus on your business and the connections that you make and the people that you meet. And it's just been really beneficial to me over the years. And so we've always kind of done events. This is our first one in a while. We're going to make it a yearly thing. We're really excited about it. Andrew: Yeah, and in eCommerce All Stars, you're doing it in San Diego, I think, and it's in August. I actually...kind of ironic we're talking about it because it is already sold out, but you're doing a live stream of it for people who are interested in just catching the information, right? Ezra: Yeah. You know, if you want to have that same experience but from home, you can join the live stream which I think is cool. You know, I always love when I can't make it out to an event or an event sells out, to be able to get the live stream and get access to the content. So we will be doing that. You can check that out at smartmarketer.com/allstars and we'll do it every year, in San Diego at this time. So hopefully, I'll catch you at next year's, live.

Direct download: EP155ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:Entrepreneur Profiles -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

You can buy anything online, but that doesn't mean every niche is a profitable one. Today we spoke to three different pioneering niche merchants from our community to talk about their seemingly impossible niches and how they've managed to turn them into full-time enterprises. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your hosts Andrew Youderian and Laura Serino of eCommerceFuel.com, Chris Bosdal of TastyWorms.com, Josh Manley of IronFenceShop.com, and Will Samuels of EveryNappy.co.uk) The Full Transcript Will: I was worried about putting myself out there. You know, being the nappy guy. I actually have that on my business card for Every Nappy. It says, "Will, nappy guru." And that's fine. I think you can just sort of own it. Laura: Dried meal worms. It's a niche within a niche within a very popular niche online, the pet industry. Chris Bosdal is the owner of TastyWorms.com where he sells dried mealworms. Here's Chris. Meal Worms as a Viable Niche Chris: I started to grow these meal worms myself in our garage basically. And we quickly ended up with more than we could possibly use. So at that point in time, I kind of realized, hey, you know, this could be a business. These things grow pretty darn fast and we were spending hundreds of dollars on them, and now we have hundreds of dollars' worth of worms. So let's try to sell them to some people. Laura: Tasty Worms originally went after animal rehabbers for potential clients, but they quickly found out that despite having the need, they didn't have the money to purchase from them. Dried meal worms aren't cheap. A 10-pound bag costs around $90, so around the same per pound price you'd pay for a really good steak. Chris: We didn't really know who the customers would be, I guess is the problem. So yeah, we started up an eCommerce site with a product called Drupal and we started buying some Google AdWords and yeah, we quickly learned that that was also bad. We were basically, you know, paying money to not get any customers. Laura: eBay helped them find customers. They started to build their base simply by slipping in paper into orders that reminded them to visit their website instead of just their eBay store. Chris: I remember saying that when we got started, if we could make one sale per day, I would be happy, right? Because, you know, it's an extra $5 or $10 in my pocket or what have you, right, that $150 a month, I'd be happy with that. Now if we got one sale a day, it would be a complete disaster. Laura: After two years, Chris was able to quit his full-time job to work on the business. Chris: The problem with insects, even if they're dead, they have or had eggs. And insect eggs are notoriously hard to destroy. So there's always that possibility that there's something alive in there, you know. And sometimes you'll even find that with like if you purchase flour, or wheat bran, or oatmeal at the store, sometimes it will develop moths or beetles. And that's the same type of problems that we could run into. So yes and no. They're not considered alive but they are, you know, you can't just ship them to any old country you feel like. You Really Can Find Anything on Amazon Laura: There are definitely restrictions when you're dealing with selling insects online. For instance, their model can only ship to the US, but not overseas where customs are strict. One place they can ship to, an Amazon warehouse. Chris: I would say that they restrict dried insects less than they restrict chocolate. Laura: Their original commitment to welfare and rehabilitation for animals sets them apart from other sites in their niche. Setting Themselves Apart From Other Sites Chris: What makes us stand out is that first of all, we offer discounts to anybody who's like an AZA accredited member. That's the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If you're a licensed animal rehabber,

Direct download: EP154ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

Wondering what it's like to sell your business? Or how much you can actually make through passive investments? Both are more complex than you might think, and it pays to hear from someone who knows both. Ian Schoen of TropicalMBA.com and the Dynamite Circle answers questions about recently selling his own small business, the idea that passive investments can build substantial wealth, and building entrepreneurship communities. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Ian Schoen of TropicalMBA.com) Andrew: Hey guys, Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerce Fuel Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. Today on the show, I’m joined by Ian Schoen from the TropicalMBA blog and podcast. He’s also one of the men behind the Dynamite Circle, which is a private community for location-independent entrepreneurs. I really always enjoy talking with Ian, and our conversation today covers a lot of different topics. We talk about his recent business sale, we talk about how to invest money. Both of those topics are a couple of episodes that I really enjoyed from his podcast recently, and we can get into those. And then finally, we talk about running private communities. We both run private communities for entrepreneurs and talk about some of the challenges, some of the things we really enjoy, get a little bit inside baseball on that. It’s not eCommerce specific per se, but if you're in the community or it’s something you’re interested in, hopefully it’s something that you enjoy. Ian, you and your partner Dan recently sold the business, congratulations sir! Ian: Thank you. Yeah. Andrew: Are you sick of talking about it yet? Ian: No, I’m not, I’m not actually. Andrew: What caused you guys to sell? Ian: Oh man. Well, I think essentially what happened was we started the business in 2008 – at the time I think I was about twenty-five, twenty-six years old, and you know that was a long time ago. I feel like I’m a different person than I was then. You know, I felt like I wanted different things out of my business and my life, and we just kind of reached an interesting point. I think one of the feelings, one of the emotions that I had at the time when we decided to sell was that it’s all been like high-fives and good times, essentially. I mean, there was some growing pains and whatnot, but we never missed payroll, there was always plenty of cashflow, it was just really good times. And I thought, "let’s just leave this on a high note, ‘cause I’m not super passionate about the business anymore, and I don’t wanna fake it to my employees anymore that I’m not into this business, so let’s just leave it on a high note." Ian's Insight Into Selling His Business Andrew: And you said you wanted different things out of your life and your business – what specifically were you looking for in terms of change, things that the business wasn’t fulfilling, apart from the passion aspect and selling at the top – which makes a lot of sense – what was that underlying thing you kind of alluded to? Ian: I think just change in general, you know? Like I said, I started the business when I was in like my mid-twenties and quite some time had gone by, so I just wanted to see kind of what other options were out there, you know? I felt like I had conquered that business in a way, or at least the skill set, and for me and I think a lot of small business owners, that’s kind of what you do, right? I mean we were selling like hospitality equipment and although I was passionate about that in the beginning, it became more about the process of doing business. So through the process learned SEO, learned ad words, learned how to manufacture products in China, learned how to build a team of fifteen. So kind of all these things that I wanted to learn in that business I learned; I just didn’t feel like there was much...

Direct download: EP153ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

New post from The eCommerceFuel Blog:

The dynamic duo returns to help answer listener questions. Today we tackle a wide range of topics from how to structure your business joint ventures to what the best sources are for buying and selling eCommerce sites. If you've got questions, Andrew and Drew have the answers. Subscribe:  iTunes | Stitcher (With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Drew Sanocki of Nerdmarketing.com) Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I'm your host and fellow e-commerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey guys, it's Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in to the show. Today on the show, going back and doing a round of your questions, reader questions from the blog and online, just doing a random grab bag of questions we thought were interesting to tackle. And joining me to really answer all these... Drew: The tough ones. Andrew: The tough ones. I'm going to take all the softballs, Drew, and hand you off all the really, the ones I have been stressing out about. The men, all the hard answers, Mr. Sanocki, how are you doing, sir? Drew: Good. How are you? Andrew: Good, good. Drew, things in New York well? Drew: Things in New York are great. It's getting warmer and spring is just around the corner. Andrew: And you recently sold Karmaloop, correct? Drew: We did. I did not, we did, but yeah, that was a quick turnaround. We bought it out of bankruptcy last summer and just sold it a week ago to a sneaker retailer on the West Coast. Andrew: That's fantastic. Congratulations, sir. Drew: Thanks. It was a great chance to really try out a lot of the things that I preach on my blog, and they work so it was a good case study. Andrew: Yeah, well, you mentioned that a lot of the tactics and things you talked about at your talk at ECF Live which we'll link, well, it's available to all eCommerceFuel members in the community, but a lot of the things from that talk are the things you used to really turn that retailer around. Drew: Yeah, that's right. One of the first things I did was I talk a lot about figuring out who your best customers are and then building the business around that group of customers. And I spent about a month doing that at Karmaloop, and once I figured out who that group was, the next step was really developing the marketing campaigns that kept those customers around, acquired more of them and kept them buying. So that took about a year to implement and it worked. We brought it from a money-losing company, month-over-month losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, to about break even and that's when we sold it. Andrew: That's awesome. Well, congratulations, sir. That's a pretty big accomplishment. Nice little cap in the feather, that's really cool. Drew: Thanks. Andrew: All right, sir. Should we get into some questions? Drew: Let's do it. "In skincare, do you start in-house and small or go straight to China?" Andrew: So the first question we've got is from Matt, and Matt says, "Hey guys, listen to the podcast and love it. I'm looking at starting a store with beauty and face care products similar to Nurture My Body which is Bill's store, but in a different vertical. If you were starting a business like this, would you immediately try to set things up with a Chinese supplier and have them develop formulas for you, or would you do everything small in-house to perfect the formulas first? A little stuck on which avenue is the best to try and pursue." Drew, what are your thoughts? Drew: I don't really know a lot about this kind of production, but it seems like you'd want to do something like this domestically just to figure out the formulation before you deal with sourcing anything from overseas.

Direct download: EP152ECOMMERCEFUEL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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