Motivating My Staff – Is this Blog Confusing?

In business, motivation by Michael Michelini6 Comments

Some of the staff in Shenzhen have been getting demotivated and wondering what is the future, what is the end goal. I think that is because I have been traveling so much lately….away from the office in Shenzhen. They are wondering what is the future for them, what is going to happen. Am I too open on my blog? Does it scare people away? Friends have advised me not to be so open on this blog, but then again, why else would anyone read it if I didn’t have JUICE!

But let me reflect, its good to do this every now and again…..

I think back, i left usa and my wall street job because i wanted to build my own future. I wanted to do international business. I think it is like the movie “lord of war”, seems so amazing to travel internationally, meet all kinds of people, do deals, get into and out of crazy situations.

China was all over the news in usa, and also the online bar products was too small of a market as well as a company i couldnt buy more shares in due to partners blocking – so i thought it would be good to get to the top of google for china sourcing, use my internet skills I learned from newyorkbarstore, and to travel and do those import / export deals like “lord of war” movie (except not trade arms)

But i quickly learned doing import/export was way over my head, quality control, contracts, and the constant beating on factories to get work done on time. It seemed like it wasn’t using my skills, I was always angry and pushing people to get work done….

But sadly i had burned through tons of cash, and had some product quality issues to refund back….. I also got into expensive product development, mould, patent, trademark with the elctrapour that cost me a boatload of money…

I also got into some other deals, like spyble, because i was passionate about the internet. I realized doing the import/export trading wasnt using my internet marketing skills so much, so bas inviting me to be part of spyble seemed to fit me more….but i couldnt just drop import / export and sourcing in an instant – i had staff and allies i was cooperating with. I was stuck playing both sides, as well as being pulled into newyorkbarstore for accounting and sourcing.

But yea….in early 2009 i downsized (or planned to) to exit the import/export biz and go back to a 2 to 3 person operation. It was a humbling few months……felt like my life was crashing down on me.

As this blog shows, dbr finland came along just at that time and seemed rather quick got into a new deal for saleslion…….i was always a bit hestitant about the deal, but others kept advising how it was a good opportunity and what are my other options – work out of a home office again???? I was a little reluctant, but got into the deal thinking I would be able to still manage the office in China and grow the company as I saw fit.

But due to cultural differences and power / decision making struggles, i had to go off and be independent again late summer 2009….The plan was to get a few larger deals in for web promotion, build a team, and get loadpipe ecommerce and drop ship solutions going……

Then in winter 2009 shadstone took over newyorkbarstore. It required english speaking customer service at nights in china….which shadstone didnt have at the time…..and lead me to the philippines with Marie….and the supply chain mess of multiple warehouses, shopping carts, IT systems, everything. Still a monster to manage and fix to this day.

For loadpipe – Over and over from trade shows to meetings with factories and internet companies in china, the majority is fake products…..seems most ecommerce in china is fake product. Also loadpipe needs a lot of cash for programming and marketing….i am still working on it with a freelance programmer now. I am also working with SKUtouch solutions in USA to assist in growing their RMA business in China, but again, like me, they also don’t want to touch knockoff products.

And it keeps testing my character as a us citizen….in so many ways, especially the risk of legal and my personal brand. so i am always shying away from it. Its a bit like drug dealing I would imagine, buyers want it, beg you to get it for them, people around you are doing it (since I’m in China, i’m surrounded by it), but I know the minute I get involved shit will hit the fan and the world will come crumbling down. I’m an American citizen, I cannot get involved like a Chinese local can – they have an advantage there – the US government or brand companies can’t easily get to them, but easily get to me. So I keep having to tell these businessmen in China I cannot assist them with their fake shoes, sneakers, mobile phones, clothing, sunglasses, etc etc.

This is what I’ve been noticing, learning, exploring over the past few months – I’ve been traveling much more often then ever before, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, various cities in Philippines, Thailand. I am looking for direction, for answers. Also costs in China are running up quickly and vigorously….its not a secret.

So i have been doing a lot of blogging and personal branding……and getting all sorts of various projects in web and sourcing…..and lately offered other managerial positions in larger companies. Its great, and I think this blog has helped develop me as a person, business, and brand. I think it has become my interest to be an independent international businessman. An agent, a rogue, solo. Like the day I came to visit my cousins in Italy, late at night in the train station with a backpack alone…they called me SOLO.

So thats where we are now……maybe like people say i can get investors / partners……but to be honest….I am not clear what i want – and kind of enjoy being independent…..but its much riskier and “seat of your pants” lifestyle.

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  1. Yep, been there, done that. Ever since moving into my new apartment in Shenzhen, I have just been kicking back and taking it easy, trying to recoup and figure out what direction to go in.

    I’ve made my decision and I see Philippines being the future. China is great for manufacturing, assembly, warehouse and logistics. However they’re not quite there yet in terms of marketing, sales, customer service and or “ethics”

    I know you’re wondering why I mentioned ethics. Michael will know, as he is struggling with bullshit and Chinese staff as I am. Fortunately his staff came to him to have a talk unlike one of mine, just up and quit out of the blue. All because I asked if she worked on Wednesday and was so disbelieved that I do not trust her…so she just couldn’t handle, and just quit, suddenly “while” I was out of the country…so yeah, ethics falls along the same line as any industry, the Chinese lack it. And sadly, I’ve known this girl (this worker) for 4+ years.

    I think its mostly because the Chinese have no religion. They had no movies like Disney to teach them right and wrong, love and romance, or even how to think the future rather then just eating today. Nope, none. Only believe in fat baby Buddha and pray for the money gods to bring them mass fortunes by doing business through their moral and ethical ways. Which usually leads to low quality, cheap paint with lead in it, melamine chemicals to fool protein levels, and like Nostradamus predicts the future, I predict there will be more to bullshit to come from the Chinese…

    1. Author

      hey man,
      you’re a bit more harsh and direct and that may not help either……
      it is due to culture, white guys are more DIRECT…..I think you may have been a bit too direct in your tone / question to your assistant about her working or not on Wednesday? I never met her before, but I know many chinese girls who are very sensitive – VERY sensitive to direct questioning….

      and my blog here, maybe its too direct. people in the office getting ideas…getting worried. Maybe i will close the China office and then what will they do? Even though I clearly state that I will keep this office for technical and other china location based operations.

      It really is culture, and we can’t blame them for QC issues 100% …..Chinese are under a lot of pressure from customers to make the product as low cost as possible.

      I have had a few QC issues myself….and of course it sucks, but in a way, it was partly my fault for not stating it EXACTLY as I wanted….because its their culture……its all mechanical… ASSUMPTIONS.

      But yes, I am also worried about the future of China now….I think it will have to make drastic changes these next few years.

  2. Only believe in fat baby Buddha and pray for the money gods to bring them mass fortunes–this is funny,haha,,I never think Buddha is a fat baby,hahah,,^^

    mike,maybe chinese will feel uncomfortable to be open with their boss,also,seldom chinese boss will open to the their staffs.Even in the office,you have little chance to make real friends there.

  3. The boss will worry the sales will take aways happens in many company,,will you worry about that?^^

    1. Author

      sure Jane, everyone has something they worry about losing….

      worker wants to keep job and salary
      boss wants to keep sales
      boss wants to keep experienced, trained worker.

      I agree about Chinese not being open in the workplace – years ago here I would play music, let people talk freely in the office. And the experienced Chinese businessman kept calling me a fool, and that I should not make the workplace a fun place . It has to be quiet, serious, focused.

      And yes, its all about cultures……and it still seems like there is a lot of differences and barriers between the various people’s cultures.

      The world has a long way to go before everyone understands AND respects one another… kinda sad.

  4. Pingback: Maybe Being Open on this Blog is Helping!

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