E204: A Follow-Up to the Stress Episode (Listener Comments)December 10, 2018 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
We’ve been talking quite a lot about the stress that comes with running an ecommerce business. In fact, in our last episode I talked to Dr. Sherry Walling, an experienced psychologist, about how entrepreneurship can be an addiction and how this can lead to stress and that experiencing that feeling of loneliness.
This episode is a follow-up to Episode 192, where Dave and I discuss our stress points in running an ecommerce business. We got so many comments about it that I thought it best to come up with a follow-up.
So, here we are.
In this episode, I read some of the best comments we got from our listeners – what stresses them out and how do they cope with it.
Listen all the way through to the end. I’m sure you’ll relate to many of the dilemmas mentioned and can learn from the de-stressing techniques these listeners have shared.
Registration to EcomCrew Premium is now closed but, you can still learn from us through our suite of free courses. There’s a total of 20 videos covering ecommerce topics like Importing from China and Building a 7-Figure Business. Find more information on the link below.
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We’re also launching giveaway during the holidays so like and follow our Facebook page for the latest updates.
Finally, if you enjoyed listening and think this episode has been useful to you, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: This is Mike and welcome to episode number 204 of the EcomCrew Podcast. So glad to have you guys with us today. If you want to contribute to the show notes and leave a comment, you can go to EcomCrew.com/204 to do that. And ironically, as I talk about that, this episode is spun out of comments that we’ve gotten from a previous podcast that we did. And honestly, it’s pretty rare for us to get comments. It’s one of the more frustrating thing as a podcaster because you have people listening on one medium, and they don’t really ever switch over to another medium.
We know there’s like tens of thousands of people literally listening to the podcast because we have those stats, but very few of them ever come over and leave a comment on the blog. And I really wish people would do that more often because we love hearing from podcast listeners. But there was a podcast that we did that obviously resonated with people because we had a bunch of comments come in. And it was the episode that we did about stress, and we’ll link to that in the show notes, if you want to go back and listen to that episode. It wasn’t that long ago, just a couple of weeks ago.
And so, I wanted to do a follow up on this because if this many people replied in with their own words and their own comments, I figured that there has to be an exponential number of people out there that felt the same way. Because reality is that in a lot of things in life, if someone speaks up, and they’re angry about something, that means there’s at least 10 other people that feel the same way. And the same thing goes for if someone is happy about something, it might be there’s 10 more people out there that feel the same way.
But I think in podcasting land, it might even be in the order of magnitude of like 100 because again, it’s really difficult to get someone that’s listening to a podcast in their car and they might have a thought about, oh, I need to go leave that comment when I get back to the office or wherever it might be. And they just kind of forget and go on their day, and that’s the way it probably goes for most of them if you even have the thought to leave a comment at all.
So again, seeing how many people came and left comments about this was interesting and made me feel like it was important to let their voices be heard so you guys can understand that you’re not alone in stress when it comes to running an e-commerce business, or really any business. So, I want to read five comments that came in over the last couple of weeks since we’ve done this podcast episode and add some color commentary.
Before jumping into that though, I just want to tell you guys again about EcomCrew Premium giveaway that we’re doing in the month of December. Go to EcomCrew.com/giveaway and you can earn yourself an opportunity to win an annual membership to EcomCrew Premium which is worth almost 1500 bucks. And it’s the only way to get into EcomCrew Premium in December because we have it closed throughout the rest of the year. So one person is going to get lucky, get added to that and we look forward to helping them and their business and grow in 2019 along with all the other premium members. So, EcomCrew.com/premium to check that out. And besides that, let’s get into the intro so we can start talking about stress.
All right guys, so here we go with episode number 204 talking about a follow up to the episode that we did about stress. Some of these comments are really good. They’re all a little bit all over the place. But basically people either emailed in or left a comment on the actual podcast episode on the show notes with these particular comments. And again, some of these things are just kind of like all over the place. But I wanted to read some of the stuff that came back in.
So this first one here is kind of comical the way that it was written but LAX flooding stopped my container from being picked up, port makes me pay extra day of storage even though trucks can’t get in, my other empty container can’t get moving back to the terminal, trucker charges me a dry run storage, port charges me fees for not returning on time, #stress. It’s just comical to me because this is stuff that we’ve all been through, right? I mean it’s crazy how outside factors can affect your business so much.
I mean rain in LA which doesn’t happen very often slow down the containers coming out of the port, but that’s becomes your problem and the fact that not only can you not get your goods into Amazon or wherever you’re trying to get them, but then the port charges you money because they won’t let you come pick it up which is just like just the ultimate and funny — not funny ha, ha but the other kind of funny. It’s quite comical. And yeah, this is the type of stuff that does stress me up probably the most is the things that are out of my control. I think I do a pretty good job of dealing with stress things that are within my control.
But the things that are out of my control, rain in LA, Amazon shutting a listing down because of some hazmat crap that isn’t really true, or some type of product review or some customer complaining that they got something that we sell as used even though we have a list that is new which is obviously not true. They’re just looking to get free shipping back. And having to deal with the repercussions of stuff like that, that’s out of my control, that’s the stuff that’s stressful. Everything else can be planned for and dealt with. But the things that are out of your control crop up and you can’t plan for them at all. So I thought that was a pretty funny and good comment.
All right, the next one here came from a Premium member and we were having a conversation back and forth and he mentioned this, and I asked if it was okay to share this in the podcast which she said it was. And I thought it was a cool comment because it’s something I want to talk about here for just a little bit to help shed some light on this basis. Hey, Mike. I recently finished reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, a book that you mentioned in one of your podcast. First of all, I really enjoyed it and I want to thank you for sharing it. But also it kind of puts things in perspective for me.
I’ve been struggling with launching our first product on Amazon and I figure it’s due to lack of experience. And I’m way off of 10,000 hours. So it’s not a big shock. I’m currently thinking I should consider modeling the journey yourself, Greg Mercer, Scott Voelker and Ryan Moran have taken to get to where they are, instead of just jumping into creating a product and trying to sell it. I think it would be beneficial to have more of a background and skills like you guys are with other marketing and background there. I’m wondering if I should be putting more time into these.
So, this is something again, I just want to talk about real quick. Again, I do recommend this book by Malcolm Gladwell. It was a book that was recommended to me a long time ago. And for those of you who haven’t read it, the gist of it basically is that in order to be really great and excel at something, you need to put 10,000 hours into it, no matter what it is. And if you put 10,000 hours into just about anything, you can become an expert on it. Playing the guitar, learning a foreign language, being an entrepreneur, selling on Amazon, becoming an accountant, learning how to be a chef, whatever it is, you can just pick really just about anything from the sky.
If you put 10,000 hours into it, you can become an expert almost in anything. And if you do the math on this, it’s basically just shy of five years of working on something full time, to be focused on nothing but this one thing for five years working 40 hours a week, it’s 2080 hours a year, you’ll become an expert in it. And I agree with this assessment. That’s why I think that this book is so good. And a lot of people, in fact most people give up before hitting this 10,000 hour mark and consider themselves a failure. They don’t want to put in the hard work, or they hear other people doing it and take for granted the hard work and the lessons that they’ve learned.
That’s one of the things that I always try to instill when doing this podcast. I talk about how e-commerce is hard work. I talk about how long we’ve been at this. And is somewhere along the last year, I started to kind of feel like Neo in the matrix when everything just — or when I started getting really good at tennis, everything just kind of slowed down and it became so much easier for me because I had all that experience. And I’m at that Crossroads now with e-commerce. So it’s been just over five years and I feel like I’ve gained that experience to be able to do that.
And one of the things that we look to do at EcomCrew both with the blog and the podcast and also with EcomCrew Premium is try to accelerate that learning curve for people. A lot of things that we talk about here are things that I screwed up, right? I mean, I’m one of the few people I think that wears my heart on my sleeve. I’m very open and honest about things that have gone wrong. And hopefully that just helps someone not make that same mistake. There’s a certain number of mistakes you’re going to have to experience yourself. I always equate this to the kid that wants to put his hand on the stove and the parent is like, no, no, don’t do that because it’s going to burn you. It’s going to hurt. But the kid has to put his hand on the stove and realize that it does burn before they really understand and don’t do it again.
So I mean, a lot of things in life take a self realization; that aha moment and you have to have self buying before you’ll actually believe that, whatever it is. I mean, again, a simple example of putting your hand on the stove. But maybe it’s don’t source electronic products because they’re more complicated or whatever other piece of advice we might get or give to people. A lot of these things I’ve learned because I’ve been through it before. When I talk about the types of products to launch, things that don’t have a shelf life, things that people are passionate about, things that have really good margin, not to compromise on this stuff and to make sure it checks all the boxes because there’s always another product.
There’s always another train that’s going to pull into the station. And the initial excitement of getting an e-commerce or launching a product or getting into a business will wear off. And once that does, the reality of whatever it is that you’re doing will set in along with the regret. And again, hopefully some of what we talk about here can prevent you from doing that. Maybe you can shortcut this to 8,000 hours or 5,000 hours. But no matter what, you’ve got to put in the 10,000 hours.
And this is also one of the reasons why I tell people, get started right now; go find any product even if it’s your first product, I think you just need to get started. Or whether it’s going on the Target or Wal-Mart to the discount aisle and finding something to buy and opening up your Amazon account and getting started, or just getting something off of AliExpress or Alibaba, even though it might not be the best product long term, just getting started, learning how to open your account, how to set up all the settings, how to print labels and how to create inbound shipments, create a listing, deal with Amazon customer support, deal with customer support from your customers, and how they respond to that stuff. How to send out emails asking for reviews or doing coupons, or doing Amazon PPC, there’s like all this list of stuff that you can start learning, start taking off these 10,000 hours right away.
And yeah, there’s going to be a lot of stress going through this period. But there is no way around it in my opinion. I think you have to put in — you have to be willing to put in the hard work otherwise, you shouldn’t be in business, that this is not for you. I mean, it’s definitely quite a bit of work running a business and a lot of learning experience. And once you get to that point, sticking with it and really realizing the fruits of your labor. I mean, it’s a similar thing to maybe being a doctor or something where you’re putting in the 10,000 hours to be at school and residency and all this stuff, and you’re getting paid nothing or losing money really during those years but you make all the money after you’ve completed your 10,000 hours.
So, that’s where we’ve seen the bulk of our profitability come in, because we have put the 10,000 hours. And both David and I have. And I think that that’s why we’re successful at this point, because we have put in that work. And unlike a lot of other people that don’t ever talk about the failures and the things that they’ve done wrong, again, we do try to do that to help communicate that through everything that we do. So, I thought this was an awesome email that came in and I just wanted to read that and communicate that because our student was feeling stressed about this.
And my advice to him was to get into something that you are passionate about and I’ve talked about this on the podcast before. This is something we’re going to be making a shift; personally I’m going to be making a shift for this in the 2019 and beyond, getting back in the things that I have immense personal passion for. I love ColorIt and a lot of the things that we’re doing at this company. We’ve been able to put up some impressive numbers. But the reality is, is that I’m not in the coloring.
So like for me, the brand doesn’t mean the same as it did when I was doing something to do with poker or if I was doing something to do with tennis or hiking, backpacking, or traveling, the things that I really, really enjoy doing. Minimalism is another thing I’m really into these days. I would relate to that more and it would feel a lot less like work if I was in those things. And I’ve also — key point here, I’ve already put in the 10,000 hours into those things. So, you got to come to the table with something that you have experience with and I was lucky in the fact that I was able to by brute force get through that with ColorIt, but I still had to put the 10,000 hours. And so, I still don’t relate to a customer in the exact same way that a really passionate colorist does.
So, I think that this is important and something that you want to be thinking about in your own e-commerce career and just business career in general. This is was why EcomCrew comes so naturally to me because I put 10,000 hours into affiliate marketing and content marketing and now also podcasting and speaking, and other things like this, but also in helping people. This is just a natural personality trait for me. So over my life, I spend way more than 10,000 hours doing these types of things without ever getting paid for it. So it’s kind of cool now as a part of the monetization angle that we’ve had with part of what we do with the EcomCrew that that can come to fruition. But come to the table with something that you’re a natural at, or that you spent your 10,000 hours at, and not try to fit a square peg in a round hole.
Okay, enough about this particular email, because we’re going to spend all of our time on just this one. So let’s move on to the next one here. So the next thing that came in was, I have been a full time entrepreneur for six years now. And after being super stressed out the last – I’m sorry, the first two years I have learned the hard way that almost everything you said in this podcast, so how do I prevent stress? I start off every day with meditation. I use the Muse app and headband. I’m not sure of headband as I’ve heard of Muse app; I guess they work in conjunction with each other.
Then I do the Miracle Morning, which I believe is a book with exception of the exercise part. I go to the gym three days per week. I swear by the Miracle Morning. If I didn’t do it, I feel cranky and irritable all day. I also have no screen time between 6pm and 7pm in our house; we play and read books with our three and six year old boys. So this person, this gentleman has some great advice here. I mean things that have worked for him. And I think everyone has to deal with this stuff in their own way. But the way that he prevents stress again, is by meditating, something that a lot of people have told me to do. And something I do want to start doing in 2019 at some point. I need to the force myself to do it.
These are the types of things that end up happening because I have other things going on that I probably prioritize the wrong things. I think that try meditation is something that I want to give a shot. So I’m going to commit to this person that I’m going to get the Muse app and give this a try no later than the first quarter of 2019 so I can report back on how this is done. The Miracle Morning, I believe, again, is a book. I have this vague recollection of meeting this gentleman who wrote this book. I thought it was more about getting up early, really, really early. Sometimes, like 4am and doing all this stuff before the sunrise is basically before the average person is getting up and doing things. But it might be about something else. So I need to go back and refresh myself on that. But I’ll check out Miracle Morning.
And also I love the suggestion of no screen time. He does it for an hour. I want to start doing it for way more than an hour per day. Apple has now added this screen time report which I love. It’s frightening to see how many hours I spend on my screen. It’s also frightening to realize, as I realized that as it’s happening when my phone buzzes, dings, or whatever it does to notify me that there’s a message, I can’t help but look at it. It’s just like this instinct just as much if there was a meteor flying towards my head. I turn and look at the screen right now, no matter what I’m doing. I could be right in the middle of a sentence talking to somebody, and it distracts me and I end up looking at it, something that I definitely want to spend more time focusing on not doing and in starting maybe with an hour per day of just putting the phone in a drawer and not looking at any screens could be a very helpful thing.
So All right, cool. So the next person here says, well, I’ve been stressed because I recently came to realize that my niche and product that I’ve chosen and spent nine months building, designing, and learning the general business does not seem to be viable. I’m going to send my analysis over to the students email address for the Premium members that you guys give out for your guidance. But I’m feeling a bit lost and I’ve already prepaid for my Premium membership, so I want to take advantage of it and use it. But I don’t know how I missed the data six months ago. Honestly, I think this is a case of the market changing during the time I was sourcing and designing, which took too long as a newbie. So that’s my stress point now, I don’t know what to do next.
So I did respond to this Premium member. The response obviously, is private. So I’ll leave that bit. But I can give some general analysis here of just stuff again, I think that a lot of people run into. So it’s important to see that others run into this too, because what happens is, a lot of people are out there talking about how easy it is just to go find some random product, look on Jungle Scout for an opportunity, just filter by X, Y, and Z, and then A, B and C, and you hit a button and magic comes out of it. And you just go source that product and you’re going to become a millionaire. That is not how it works.
And I think that this curve is getting worse and worse, because there’s lots of people consuming that same information, which is really good. I mean, it’s really smart, really good. I mean, Greg is a really great friend of mine. He’s put together an amazing piece of software. He has amazing content around this stuff. But what ends up happening is people read the content and don’t adapt to it in any way. They just want to be learning and follow the exact same thing. And that’s fine if you’re early to the party. But at this point, that party is kind of coming to a close. So it requires doing some different stuff, differentiating yourself in some way.
And that’s a lot of stuff that we talk about in our course. Like, how can you differentiate your products? How can you make them better than everybody else? How can you build a brand and loyalty and all these different things around what you’re doing? And another thing that I think that’s important to add like I was saying just a few minutes ago, is making sure that you’re in a niche that you personally relate to. It’s something that again, I’m going to be working on. I’m excited now with some stuff in 2019 about this on the podcast. We’re a little bit early to mention it yet, but I do think that this is really important. I really do.
I’ve changed my philosophy on this. I used to think it didn’t really matter because we’ve had success with it not mattering. I mean there really isn’t a lot of stuff that we sell that I fully relate to and we’ve been successful. We’ve sold upper seven figures of stuff this year. And so it’s somewhat hypocritical to say that it’s important, but you can be successful at something and also realize that something else is important at the same time, and that’s certainly the bucket that I fall into right now. I think that the realization is that during times of adversity or times that I don’t necessarily want to be at the office and doing some stuff at some times, all that stuff comes easier when you’re doing something that you absolutely love to begin with.
So that’s my advice for this, and to stick with it that the guy who wrote this and I already kind of talked about this. But back to that 10,000 hours thing again, I talked to him about the whole concept of an education and working towards those 10,000 hours. I’ve talked about this exact example on the podcast before. It’s socially acceptable to spend 1500 bucks a year on EcomCrew Premium to further your education. It’s socially acceptable to spend $1,000 on a Sellers Summit ticket to go to Miami for the week and meet lots of amazing entrepreneurs, and go to a conference and another 1,000 or maybe $2,000 on travel expenses between the airlines and the hotels and the food and everything while you’re there, and the drinks etc.
So that’s all socially acceptable. But to say that you spend some time developing a product and you put $5,000 into it are going to lose some money, for whatever reason people are embarrassed about this type of thing. And I think you shouldn’t be. I think that you should include this into your education budget and in the school of hard knocks budget. At least for me, this is how I learned the best. I mean the school of hard knocks are the things that have ever really taught me lessons in life and how to be successful in e-commerce, and how to not be successful because I’ve been in the not part. And then focusing on the things that that helped me that I can pivot to not make the same mistakes, I think that that’s important.
So hopefully, this was something all you guys can relate to again, that’s the whole idea behind reading this stuff and talking about it. So, the last one I want to read here is this comment here which is what stresses me out good question, inventory, late ocean freight shipments, tariffs increases, and FBA fees due to product retention re-measurement for instance, staff, sales dips, bad reviews, competition, sales tax, I can go with a few more, but I won’t. I’m learning that I have to step away from the computer and have quality time with my family. I try to work out three to four times a week to distress.
Sitting in front of your computer and just stewing over these things, sitting there being less productive, just wasting time staring at the screen, which is a trap that a lot of us get into when we’re in a stressful situation is actually very counterproductive. So you’re spending more time away from the things that you really wish you were spending time with and it’s just actually counterproductive. So, these are all things that are mostly out of your control but you also learn from. I mean inventory is something that I stressed out about nonstop. I mean, this is just something that’s a part of the territory, late ocean freight; this is the second person to mention this and this freight shipments, tariffs, and all these other things.
Focus on the things that you can control, prepare for the things that you can’t control, and also prepare for the worst and expect the best. And most importantly with this is continue to find ways to carve out time for yourself, your friends, and your family. And this is the thing that I’ve done a really good job with, which has been hard for me over the second half of 2018, something again I’ll be talking a lot more about as 2019 comes into play. But I look at a couple of things I mentioned as examples. My wife and I went to Las Vegas this Thanksgiving to hang out with our friends for Thanksgiving. It was about 16 of us or 14 of us at this intimate get together, our friends that are basically like we’re all like family.
But in previous years, I put the business in front of that really important moment of our lives every year where it’s something that continues to build friendships and also helps detox your mind to be away from the business for a bit. And I’ve decided to put that stuff first, putting those friendships and personal things before those other things which in reality, what I found out is it actually really helps the business. It isn’t actually counterproductive to the business. It’s actually made our business better by me being more focused and happier and etc. and feeling like I’m getting away and doing these things.
So at the same token, as I was talking about Thanksgiving for the first time in five or six years, whatever it’s been, we’re going back east for the holidays for Christmas and New Year’s. Actually, we’re going to be back in San Diego for New Years but we’re going to be going back east visiting my mom and dad and other friends that are on the East Coast as my wife and I both grew up on the East Coast, putting that stuff first, instead of making excuses. It’s easy to make excuses of why you can’t do this stuff. It’s super easy to make excuses because doing these things is hard.
it’s just as hard as running a business, getting on an airplane and sitting in a really tight confined space for five hours when you fly a lot, and it’s not enjoyable and dealing with delays and having to pack winter clothes which I’m not used to wearing because I’m in San Diego. And that just the whole travel day of getting to the airport, getting to my parents’ house which is a couple hours away from the airport and having to deal with the stress of when we do go back east, everybody wants a piece of our time and having to budget that out correctly and not hurt someone’s feelings that we weren’t able to get together with them or something, all these different things that kind of go on, it’d be easy to like, yeah make an excuse I got to work, and everyone kind of understands that. But over time, you’re hurting those relationships and also hurting yourself.
So, I love how this person here talked a little bit about that here. And I think that if you continue to do more of that stuff, it will actually help you more than harm you. So all right guys; that is the end of the questions we got. Again, if you want to go to EcomCrew.com/204, add more to the conversation about this. We would love to hear more comments about this. Leave us a comment. We definitely love to hear what you have to say. I think that again, this is something that everyone deals with, and the better you can get at dealing with it and balancing things out more the better off everyone around you will be which is why I thought it was prudent to do a follow up episode on this.
Don’t forget to go to EcomCrew.com/giveaway to sign up for the giveaway to have a chance to win a EcomCrew Premium membership for 2019, entire year you’ll get premium access. It’s worth almost 1500 bucks. With that we give you unlimited email access to us, you get all of our pre recorded training stuff. And this is not a sales pitch because EcomCrew Premium is not open, so it’s just something cool that we’re giving away in December 2018. So if you’re listening to this podcast before the end of the year, go to EcomCrew.com/premium — sorry EcomCrew.com/giveaway to win a chance or have a chance to win a membership to Premium. Again I’m getting tongue tied here at the end of this episode. All right, sorry guys about that, but any rate until next time, happy selling and we’ll talk to you soon.
Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.