How Did You Get Started on E-Commerce?
Mike’s Blog 094
Back at the Amazon FBA Canton Fair meetup in Guangzhou – always a good chance to connect with people. The coolest part was I bumped into quite a few people who listen to my podcast and watch the video blogs. So sweet of a feeling.
The theme I picked for this video was to ask people how they got started selling online / doing e-commerce / selling on Amazon FBA.
I also got to answer this question at the end of the video. But I have learned quite a few of my friends prefer to read this text blog than to watch my 5 minute video – so I will answer how I started selling on e-commerce in the text version here.
I remember it quite clearly – It was October 2004 – I was helping my buddy Greg with his Mobatech app company on the side while working full time on Wall Street in NYC. I was falling in love with online marketing, server logs, email marketing. So I started getting targeted ads in my Yahoo! Mailbox about internet marketing stuff. One was a “free” lunch and a chance to learn how to open your own e-commerce business by a company “Stores Online” from Utah. I invited Andrew Moran, my roommate and hometown friend to come and he was down to go. Tayan Patel also came, as he was visiting for the (weekend?) or whenever it was.
I don’t normally open myself up to be sold to and put up huge barriers when in those “hotel lobby high pressure sales” rooms but Andrew was so excited. They kept trying to sell us their Stores Online “ecommerce business in a box” for a monthly payment plan over a few years (think it was like 4,000usd total investment in like monthly installments). I was just night signing into this.
We left the hotel and were walking down like 5th avenue in Manhattan and he and I just kept saying “we don’t know what to sell, but we are sure we can make this work”. A block or two more, we stopped – decided we would do it – shook hands on 50/50 and did it.
Walking back into the hotel lobby, they were surprised to see someone come back after leaving – but didn’t have any problem for us to sign off and get on the payment plan.
I was on the tech side, Andrew was on the product sourcing side, and we started. It was a big plastic box with a few DVDs and printed manuals that I watched in our apartment (on those big heavy block TVs) and was writing down tons of notes about 0.01 USD clicks on Google Adwords and trying tons of keywords to see what works. And it worked – I remember the hardest part was finding which products.
Of course this is just the very beginning of a long course of direction that ultimately lead me to living in China. How crazy it is when you think about “what if I didn’t see that Yahoo Mail banner ad on that sales seminar” – but everything happens for a reason and let’s enjoy the life we have and celebrate in the decisions.