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7-Figure Problems

7 Figure Business Problems for eCommerce Store Owners

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I just recorded a podcast with Chris Reynolds from the Entrepreneur House… he asked a bunch of good questions, but one of them that stood out was “What is a problem that you see many 7 figure business owners facing?”

I had two answers, because it really depends on what type of eCommerce business the person owns.  If they’re importing / manufacturing / holding inventory the main issue I see people struggling with is managing cash flow as rapid growth requires tons of cash.  It’s worth talking about, but that’s a topic for another day.

Today I want to talk about the #1 problem that I see new 7 figure drop shippers make… 

7 Figure Business Problems SHOW NOTES

Hello everybody, Anton Kraly here from eCommerce Lifestyle and welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast. Today, I’m coming to you on a rainy, what is it, Wednesday mid-afternoon from New York City, still in Manhattan for about another month.

Been here for maybe a little over a month already, month and a half. And so far I’ve been loving it. I mentioned it before but I just have a sublet here for the summer so that my wife and myself and our baby can just enjoy New York and really kind of get a break from the heat as well in Austin, I think, in Texas where we live it was like 110 degrees yesterday, which is crazy. I hope everyone’s keeping cool out there

We’ve been just enjoying it out here even though it is raining today. Lots of fun things like going to different museums, and I went to the Arctic Monkey’s show in Queens last night so just a cool place to be, a lot going on. And another great thing about it is the community here. So lots of entrepreneurs, lots of people doing big things.

One of my friends, Nate, you might know him if you’re listening to this. He’s spoken at our retreat before and he’s been at our events before. But he introduced me to a guy named Chris Reynolds and that guy does a podcast and I think it’s called the Entrepreneur House or he might have just changed the name because of getting in trouble with Entrepreneur Magazine. But he does a podcast where he’s interviewing 100 different 7 figure business owners that have location dependent businesses.

Common Problems with a 7 Figure Business

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One of the questions I was asked in a recent podcast interview one question that really stood out: “What is one problem that you see many 7 figure business owners facing?” And I think it’s a great question because, obviously, I’m in contact with a lot of other eCommerce store owners.

On his podcast I gave two answers because it really does depend on what type of eCommerce business that the person currently owns. If the person has an importing business where they’re either manufacturing items or they’re just holding inventory somewhere then the main issue that people at the seven figure level face and struggle with that I see all the time is cash flow.

Because when you’re growing a 7 figure business that requires inventory, you need a lot of cash, especially if you’re rapidly scaling it. That’s a conversation for another episode. Definitely something that’s worth talking about. But, again, it’s a whole different discussion.

What I want to talk about now is my second answer that I gave to that question and that’s the number one problem that I see almost all new 7 figure drop shippers make. And really what it is is that they’re not bringing a team around them fast enough. So, I’ll discuss in this episode the different roles, when I think these people should be brought in and what they should be responsible for.

And let me just first say that the whole 7 figure business thing it’s really not and it’s a milestone if you’re not there yet, you should definitely celebrate and be proud of yourself when you get there. But it’s really not that much.

It’s like $83,000 a month in sales and especially if you’re following the Drop Ship Lifestyle system and you’re selling high ticket products it doesn’t take many sales to get to, again, whatever it is $83,000 a month in sales to have a seven figure store.

Let’s say you get to that level and you’re doing 20 something percent net profit and for the sake of having round numbers, let’s just say you get to that level and your business is netting $20,000 a month. So you have $20,000 a month left over in your bank account at the end of every month adding up another $20,000 every month.

How to Create a Successful 7 Figure Business

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I mentioned in the previous episode of eCommerce Lifestyle, of this podcast, how you can future proof your business and kind of like what you can do if you’re at that level or if you’re at you’re just starting or if you’re netting $200,000 a month, doesn’t matter. But I went through a whole bunch of things that you should be doing to make sure that your business can be sustainable and be around for years to come.

If you haven’t listened to that one yet go back because that’s when I talk about different things like taxes and really the paycheck to paycheck mentality and how to not run out of money and how to stay on top of things to be able to adapt to the market.

A lot of people that are brand new to this whole thing they figure it out, they build their store. And again, they’re netting that $20,000 a month right. They’re at that level. If you’re used of living paycheck to paycheck let’s just say you have that $20,000 so after taxes maybe you have, what, 12 or 13.

Now, it’s easy for 7 figure business owners to think like, “Okay, I made it now.” And they get the fancy car and they get a better apartment and they travel a lot and they party a lot and then the money is just gone. That’s not at all where you want to be putting that money, and again, that’s where I see the biggest mistake happening. That’s where people think like they’re on top of the world, they’re some kind of supernatural power that can’t be touched and they just go and spend all their money.

What you want to do when you’re at that level, again, netting $20,000 a month or so, you need to make sure that you take less for yourself and invest more into your team. So, literally hiring people to help you.

There’s a few reasons that you have to do this but first is just for sustainability. If you want to be able to, again, adapt and grow you’re going to be the one that has to do that. And if you want the time and the head space and the mental clarity to do that you cannot be in the day to day of your 7 figure business every day because you just won’t have that time. In that scenario, the very best you could do is maintain, but again, not grow.

How to Hire People as a Solopreneur for Your 7 Figure Business

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If you’re going to start hiring, you’re in this space right now, here is the order in which I recommend bringing people on. For the first thing it’s the support role, right. You need someone that’s handling support. That means inbound emails, that means live chats, that means Facebook Messenger, that means phone calls. Basically every way you allow people to communicate with you, you need someone that’s responding to them. And again, the reason this is going to allow you to, basically, continue to grow your business is because it’s going to keep your customers happy, it’s going to free up your time, and it’s going to allow you to focus on the big picture and look to the future.

Now, for this role, the good thing is that it’s very repetitive. Meaning that if you’re running your traditional type of eCommerce store, support is going to answer basically the same type of questions over and over again. Is this item in stock? When does it ship? What’s my tracking number? Can I get a discount? The same type of questions.

And because of that you can outsource this role or you can hire for the support role on a website like onlinejobs.ph which I love. It’s a great place to hire quality candidates from the Philippines. And for maybe 3, $400 a month you can get yourself a quality, full-time, virtual assistant that manages all of your support. And again, for $400 a month. And even if you went on the high end like 5, $600 a month, listen, if you’re making $20,000 a month net it’s an expense. You get to write it off, don’t just think, “Oh, I’d rather have that money, and you know, I’ll do my emails every day.” No, pay someone to do that because it’s not just going to free up your time but it’s going to allow you to use that time into growth. So, that’s the number one hire. And again, even though you can do everything technically, because there are enough hours in the day for you to do it all that does not mean you should. Hire this person as soon as possible. Get them on board. Again, I recommend onlinejobs.ph to find them and set them off on their way. Again, this is something anyone from anywhere in the world can do.

Now, the next role that I think you should hire for, again, even at that $20,000 a month net once you’re there I think you should hire someone and they’re going to wear a lot of hats but when you’re a small business that’s how it works. You want to hire someone that does all of your content marketing, all of your social media management and starts to take over your paid customer acquisition from you.

That’s a lot for one person to handle but, again, when we’re small we can’t have the luxury of hiring three people, one for each of these roles. You can have one that does it all. And listen, I’ve done this in all of my businesses and what will happen is as you grow and you get to $30,000 net, 40,000 net, 50,000 net and so on and so on then you can start breaking these into different roles.

But at first, you want one person that’s going to handle your content marketing. By that I mean putting together your blog posts, putting together your emails, your social media management. By that I mean making sure that your social media pages are active and have different things being posted to them consistently. And then your paid acquisition.

I wouldn’t just hand everything off to someone new right away but you’ll start training them on how you set up Google product listing ads, how you reach out to different influencers you want to work with and they can start taking that on as well.

To have this person hired, I don’t recommend going somewhere like onlinejobs.ph even though you probably could find someone there. For this what’s always worked best for us is hiring someone as a marketing assistant. Okay, so that’s what we call this role, a marketing assistant. And the reason that really makes perfect sense is because when you hire this person they’re going to basically be taking over things that you’re doing. Because you’re doing the content marketing right now, you’re managing your social media, you’re doing paid acquisition, and this person’s going to be there to assist you with that marketing. And the goal is as they learn more and as they become better then they’re going to step into a role of maybe content manager. Or maybe they’re going to be your social media manager or maybe they’re going to be your paid acquisition manager. But at first, they’re going to be a marketing assistant where they dabble in everything and you see where they really shine.

The way that this has worked best for us is we hire them, it’s an entry level job. So, you’re not looking for any kind of specialist. But we hire them as entry level. We train them with our courses, so good news here, I have Drop Ship Lifestyle and then I have all of our courses on eCommerce Lifestyle. So, we put our marketing assistants through our trainings and then they basically get to work.

What I would recommend for you, same thing. Hire this one person, bring them in with the only thing that they should have as a entry level position here is really a passion about what it is you do and the desire to learn everything they can.

If they want to learn then it doesn’t matter if they don’t know next to nothing about marketing yet because all you have to do is train them yourself or put them through courses like eCommerce Lifestyle courses and they will be able to do all of this better than you because this the only thing they are going to focus on.

And by the way, if you want help with things like content marketing and social media management, we have a brand building course that’s going to be coming out soon. So keep an eye out for that. It probably will be there, I don’t know, in the future when you’re going to be listening to this. But if you go to ecommercelifestyle.com and click on courses you could see everything available there. And when the brand building course comes out, which is all about content marketing and social media management, you’ll find that there.

Which Tasks to Outsource in a 7 Figure Business

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Those are the two roles. Again, number one, get that support person in place right away. Number two, get your marketing assistant who’s going to handle your content marketing, your social media management and start to at least help you with paid acquisition until you feel comfortable enough to pass the baton and let them take it over more full time.

Once you have those two people in place and things are rocking and they’re rolling and things are growing. And again, you get from $20,000 a month net to 30, to 40, to 50, to 100 wherever it is you’re trying to go as you get up there.

Once you get to the point where you feel like, basically, stressed out all the time that’s kind of where I realize I need to hire. Once I feel like I’m not happy anymore and I’m doing too much and things are almost breaking because there’s just not enough hours in the day. Once that happens, then you want to hire your third person and that person is a business manager.

Now, this person is really going to take you out of the business more and really free up your time to allow you to do things like, again, adapt and find what’s coming next and to be able to take your 7 figure business to double it to be able to not just be in the day to day. So, your 7 figure business manager is going to oversee your support person or maybe people at the point you’re bringing them on. Maybe you have two support people at that point.

They’re also going to be, same thing, managing and monitoring your marketing assistant or by the time you hire them it may be your content marketing person, your social media manager, and your paid acquisition specialist.

Your business manager is also going to be looking for opportunities for collaborations. They’re going to be reaching out to other partners that you could have in the eCommerce space. They’re going to be hiring for different roles.

They’re going to be building out different SOPs for your 7 figure business and they’re going to be making sure that everything is running as a well-oiled machine should. So again, you don’t have to be the one that’s day to day micromanaging. Okay, they could be that person while you adapt and focus on what is coming next.

It’s very easy because I know, when I first hit a million bucks in sales, and when I was first making the $20,000 or so dollars a month it went fast. And back then I was not spending it on these people and building a team around me. Back then I had that mindset still of why would I pay someone $2,000 bucks a month? Why would I try to find someone that’s going to do this all for me? I can do it myself, I only have to work four or five hours a day. I don’t need these people. But the truth is all that did was hold me back because I just was spending my time doing small tasks.

When I did work I get on the computer, I would go to the inbox and I would see a dozen or so inquiries from customers. I’d respond to them, then I’d go, “Okay, well what kind of email do we want to write this week? What do we want to post on social?”

When I say we, back then it was me, so I would literally do it and that’s what I would spend my time doing. And I did this for about a year. And again, I was making good money but it wasn’t the right mentality. Because, if I had someone doing all of those for me I could focus on opening new stores, getting new suppliers, finding new traffic channels and actually been able to grow things a lot faster.

I’ll tell you, I actually wrote a blog post about this maybe four years ago now and I think it’s called Top Five Tips for Outsourcing Customer Service. But when I first made that shift and I went from basically just being a 7 figure business owner who did everything to having a support team for my business to support our customers, everything changed, it all became clear, and I just thought why didn’t I do this sooner?

So if, again, you are at 7 figure business now, or if you’re putting a plan in place for as you scale up there, this is the people that you want to have or I should say these are the people you want to have. It’s going to make a huge difference. It’s going to make your customers happier, it’s going to make you have a huge weight off your shoulders.

Finding Help for Your 7 Figure Business

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I guess the final thing I’ll say is once you have this new freed up time, don’t just use it to only be playing golf or traveling or messing around because you have people running your business. It doesn’t mean you should work any less or you should work any less harder. It just means, again, you should spend your time on the future, on planning, on bringing new things into the business that are going to make sure that you are around in the future. And make sure that you’re a leader in your market, in your niche, in your industry.

Guys, I hope you found this one useful. I’m going to wrap this up just by saying if you haven’t went to ecommercelifestyle.com yet, go there, click on episodes. You could see our entire back catalog, every episode I’ve ever recorded. That’s also where you could see our courses and where you can engage with everything.

And please do me a favor, if you’re listening to this right now on iTunes, on the podcast app, please, please, please go in there and rate this thing because that really makes a big difference between … or should I say for how many people see this and how visible we are in the podcast player.

If you’re listening to it on iTunes, again, please go in, click ratings and reviews. Leave a five stars if you got value from it. And yeah I greatly appreciate that. Thanks again everybody, and I’ll be back shortly with another episode of eCommerce Lifestyle. Talk to you all soon. Bye.

 

  • Matt Scott says:

    Great podcast and sound advice Anton–thank you.

    Question: Where do you recommend searching for a marketing assistant? I had someone in this role that we found on OnlineJobs but as you mentioned, I don’t feel this platform has the most suitable applicants.

    • Anton says:

      You’re welcome, Matt!

      We’ve found our best Marketing Assistants by using Workable[dot]com and then advertising the job through them on sites like LinkedIn and InDeed. We’ve also had good success by hiring off Craigslist.

      One thing I should note is that we do not outsource our marketing to overseas employees. While that may be possible, we’ve had better results hiring people who are from the states for these roles.

      Hope that helps,
      Anton

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