E258: What It’s Like to Work for Mike and DaveJune in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
Over the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard a handful of podcasts recorded in the Philippines. You’ve heard from Mia and all our employees, including Abby and Muffins.
If you’ve listened to episode 256, these ladies talked a little bit about their specific responsibilities for EcomCrew. But what distinguishes them from the rest is the fact that they work directly for Dave and me.
So, I wanted to get them back on the podcast and hear their perspective on what it’s like to work on the brand and for the ‘EcomCrew Guys’. Mia didn’t leave the room soon enough so she’ll be making a cameo on this episode too.
Taking the initiative
I’m the type of employer who doesn’t want to micromanage so I value initiative in the members of my team. The ladies had to pick up this skill and hone it while working for the brand and now have confidence and autonomy in their tasks.
First time in Hong Kong
As you all know, I love to travel. I also enjoy it when I’m with first-timers in a favorite city. Hong Kong is certainly that city. Last April Abby and Muffins were able to join us there for the EcomCrew Mastermind and check out the booths in the Global Sources Summit. It was their first international travel and I daresay they both had a great time.
Listen to the full podcast with these awesome ladies of EcomCrew.
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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 the 258th episode of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to ecomcrew.com/episodenumber to get to the show notes, in this case: ecomcrew.com/258 to get to the show notes for this episode if you wanna leave us a comment, we love seeing those.
And speaking of comments, our favourite comment is to get a review on iTunes of the ECOMCREW Podcast. If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to go over there and do that. This is my monthly or quarterly plea for reviews, I don’t do it too often because I know you guys are sick of hearing about it, but it really is important for us, we’ve only gotten a couple of hundred reviews, and we have tens of thousands listening so the ratio is quite small.
You get these podcasts for free, we don’t want anything in return for them, we don’t even take advertising on them to make it a more enjoyable experience but if you have an opportunity to leave a review, even if you go over there and are honest and leave a 1 Star review and tell people how awful this podcast is; we still appreciate that too.
Every review does help, so if you have a minute, set yourself a reminder when you get a chance, when you’re back on your computer to go over to iTunes and leave us a review, it really does mean a lot to us.
I read every single one of them, at some point, I think we’re going to do a whole episode on just the reviews – some of them are just awesome to read. It really is neat seeing how we’ve helped people, how people tell us that we’re their favourite eCommerce podcast, how we’ve helped their business for the better, how they’ve taken our strategies and implemented them. That stuff never gets old folks, and if you have a chance to leave a review, I really would appreciate it, and so does Dave.
Alright, so today’s episode is going to be Abby and Muffins! Man, what an awesome episode this is, its actually Mia in the room with us as well, its kinda funny because Mia was in the room, thinking it would be fun for her to kind of creep on the eComCrew guys and enjoy how much they were twitching in their seats having to do a podcast and then I looped her in on it, so she’s learned her lesson to get far away from the microphone every time there’s an opportunity now, but I think its a cool dynamic here, these guys are pretty honest about what its like to work with Dave and I.
So you get an inside opportunity to see what its like to work for us. I know its tough, I mean we’re definitely those “type A”, bouncing around entrepreneurs, and even worse that we have two different philosophies on how to do things when it comes to just about everything actually, which is an interesting dynamic.
For instance, I’m more of a perfectionist while Dave’s more of a “let’s just get something up there and get it done”. A lot of times, I do like the minimal viable product thing but I also take pride in what we’re doing, especially with eComCrew, I think that the standard is much higher so when I see things that aren’t perfect, it drives me absolutely insane where it doesn’t drive Dave as insane because he wants to get it up there, he has this saying about the enemy of perfection being perfect, or something along those lines, I forget exactly how he says it but it drives me nuts because I disagree with it but we learn to coexist in this world and its good to have a Ying to your Yang so that’s definitely cool, but when you’re an employee stuck in the middle of all that, that can be difficult so you have to hear about that and just kinda what Aby and Muffins are doing in their roles.
The reason I like to do these types of podcasts is, first of all, to give them the recognition that they deserve. I wouldn’t even want to do eComCrew like legitimately, I’d just turn it off and walk away from it if it weren’t for Abby and Muffins. We have a new employee now, Ben, who I think will be equally as important to the team, but especially Abby, I mean if she– like I think I would just turn off the microphone, call it quits on the podcast, I’m actually not even joking, these guys keep us in check, keep all the stuff that we don’t wanna be doing off of our plates, really help keep things organized, and just doing a better and better job of all of this.
So it wasn’t for them, again, I’d just– it’d make life miserable and so, you get an opportunity to see what they do, and how you can integrate remote employees into your business as well and rely on them as much as we do to make your business better and that’s one of the things I’d really like to advocate because these are low margin businesses that we run, and if it isn’t for these types of employees, we just wouldn’t be able to run the company that we do and operate at the level that we do because it just would be mathematically impossible otherwise.
So since we’re working in a globalized world, why not take advantage of that? We’re sourcing stuff from overseas, why not work with individuals from overseas as well? And its a great way to be able to level up in so many ways, these are incredible people. So anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this episode and even if you have no interest in remote employees, it’ll be fun to see the dynamic of how it is to work with Dave and I, so enjoy this episode and we’ll talk to you soon!
Mike: Hey guys, and hello again, from Cebu in the Philippines. This is my last official thing I’m doing here in Cebu before heading home and packing and heading to Japan tomorrow. I haven’t really thought about the trip to Japan much because we’ve been busy here in Cebu and I don’t really want to leave, its always kind of sad leaving, its been a great two weeks with my staff here and we wanted to do something a little bit different for this last episode here, recording in the Philippines, here in Cebu. We have Abby, and Muffins with us here in the room, they are our trusty assistants for EComCrew.
We first hired Abby, almost like 2 years ago now and she is the one behind the scenes who edits all the podcasts, and does a lot of coordination and Muffins is Abby’s superhero assistant and also our assistant, but basically, the idea was that when it got to a point where it was more than Abby can handle, we’d hire some help, and Muffins has been instrumental in that.
And we also just had them join us in Hong Kong for our Hong Kong Mastermind. So today, we wanted to talk about the things nobody ever wants to talk about, which is how sausages are made! What happens behind the scenes, and what goes into EcomCrew, but also we had a cool topic of What Its Like to Work for Mike and Dave. We don’t talk about that a lot on the podcast, we talk about, well, we get all of our VA’s in the room and we’ve done these episodes where they talk about the things that they do for us but very rarely do podcasters give an opportunity for the people that work for them to talk about specifically, what its like to work for them and I often think about this actually, its funny that this topic came up, because man, what a challenging environment its gotta be, like just working for me.
I am a difficult person, I think, to work for, in some respects, I think great in terms of, I’m a people person, I always think about my staff first, I want to make sure that their thoughts are being conveyed and that we’re doing right by our employees and things of that nature. Just always, going out of my mind– or going out of my way to make sure that those things are being addressed.
I would say that the challenging parts are that I’m kinda like a ping pong ball, bouncing all over the place and hard to nail down, hard to get response sometimes from email especially because I hate E-Mail, definitely Basecamp, I’m not good with that either. They skype me or text me, I usually get instant reply because I’m always available at all hours, as long as it doesn’t generate e-mail, and then, y’know, typically when I have an idea, I’m impatient and I want it done now.
All these things, are things I think that could make it difficult, and then you throw in another type A personality entrepreneur like Dave Bryant into the mix who has his own set of things, he’s going to be challenging to deal with, its a triple A Archaic I guess, with all these things. So, I thought it’d be fun and in these guys’ own words, even though I’m in the room so they probably won’t be as honest as they could be but I think it’d be fun to hear about what its like to work for Mike Jackness and Dave Bryant. So, I’m going to turn it over to Muffins, and Abby and let them talk about that for a little bit.
Abby: I don’t even know where to begin, its like the past two years went by in a flash, and at the beginning of it, I was someone who expects my boss to reply to me right away, and if I have a question, that they can answer me right away, and now I’m someone who learned how to listen to my own intuition on what they would think is like the best thing and somehow, it kinda worked out, I don’t know how it happened but basically that’s how I summarise the past almost two years working for Mike and Dave.
Muffins: I would say that at first it was a bit intimidating, to be honest. Not because, as you said you guys are always very nice to us and very polite and all that, but I guess its the– I felt that it was intimidating in the sense that, at the very start I already felt there was a need for us to rise to a certain set of standards, I mean, when I got hired, I already had that feeling so being thrown into the work itself made me feel even more so, and that eventually turned out into a sense of intimidation but eventually as time progressed, and I got used to the daily workings of being a part of EComCrew, it got, I wouldn’t say easier, but it certainly got a lot more manageable for me personally to be able to deal with the task that I was given and to be able to anticipate what needs to be done and what was expected of me.
Abby: Its kind of funny cause when we first hired for the next VA, the first thing I always tell them is “when you work here, there’s not a straight up process for you to follow”. So the process is like, there’s no process so you have to be able, you should be someone who’s able to easily adapt to that kind of workflow and that kind of environment and yeah, that’s basically how it is.
But its not bad in a sense, because its not a 100% chaotic but Mike and Dave have a lot on their plate, so their attention is divided to a lot of businesses and if you’re given something that’s kind of chaotic, and you’re able to learn how to organize that…
Muffins: …and make sense of it.
Abby: Yeah, its a skill that’s very valuable when its developed and I remember when during the Color It sale, can I talk about this? During the Color It sale, I remember how chaotic that was when 4 of us in the team had to transition under a new owner and there was a point there that one of them had to step up and lead.
And it was kind of hard between them to think who that person would be, because its a big job and it happened so fast, there was no time to think about it, to be trained for it. For Muffins and myself, its not like we’re praising ourselves, but for us, it’s like what we’ve been doing on a daily basis, and we just realized at that point how much we’ve grown.
Mike: Yeah, I think that’s all really valid and awesome points and its interesting hearing from a different point of view and its interesting because y’know in certain parts of our business, you mentioned, there’s not really a standard operating procedures and things are just a little bit less structured but obviously on the other side of our business with Terran, we try to make it less like that, I mean, we actually take the time to write out the procedures and we want people doing that, but we have someone else that helps manage that whole process which is Mia, that really helps make sure that those types of things are being done.
But on EComCrew’s side of the house, that’s a whole lot harder to do because EComCrew is just evolving and changing and what are we going to do, write a standard of procedure for how to edit a podcast? It probably isn’t something that’s worth the time to do, although we could definitely be more structured, I’m not trying to defend myself in any way, shape or the form and the only thing that you guys both mentioned is not getting replies right away, just do it.
Sometimes that’s actually on purpose, we want people who can do that, I want people who are just going to do it, very rarely but basically never, I don’t wanna say never because never is a big word but its a pretty rare circumstance that someone takes the initiative to do something or they “just do it”, and we’re going to jump down their throat for that. I mean, we want people that are going to do it, we want them to do it. I’d rather have someone do something and make a mistake than do nothing at all, because then, nothing’s getting done. As long as you’re not making the same mistakes over and over again, that’s probably the most important thing, I think that where you can go wrong in life is if you make a mistake, and don’t learn from it and then, repeat the same mistake and then don’t learn from it. I see a few of those things that happen in my life, which is usually getting involved in too many things, that’s an entrepreneurial mistake a lot but typically, if I burn myself on something and put my head on a hot stove, I won’t do that again, and I think that’s pretty important.
Another thing that you guys mentioned was the Color It sale which we actually talked about on a couple of these other episodes that have come out the last few weeks here, and I think its a great example of, you just never know when the next opportunity life is going present itself for you.
I use a couple of sayings a lot which one is, “Always train your replacement”. If you’re always training your replacement, you always have the opportunity to grow into the next things and not just be worrying about your job and only doing those things and being defensive and having other people help you, I’ve seen a lot of really weird things happen over my career. I think its best to be showing other people how to do stuff and being a team player and always rising to the occasion. In that way, another saying that’s out there is just “you create your own luck”.
I mean there’s obviously luck that happens in life and some things are truly just a matter of just pure luck, luck of the draw in some ways, I’ve seen these crazy videos on Youtube of life defying, almost death videos like where a train derails and a guy is standing there and misses him by 1 inch, I mean that’s just pure luck that you didn’t get run over by the train but in a lot of things, you create your own luck, I mean I feel like in my life, in my career that yeah, I’ve been lucky in certain things.
The online poker business I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and same thing with ECommerce, I mean to be in a situation where this presented itself that we’re in a period of time where that this is even possible is luck, but the rest of it is all “I’ve created that luck” right, I mean its been hard work and taking huge bets and buying the right products and creating the right staff and the right environment and just doing the right things along the way. That stuff’s not lucky, that’s just perseverance and hard work, so definitely interesting to hear thought processes from Abby and Muffins from behind the scenes.
But since this was actually a suggestion from Mia, in terms of what its like to work with Mike, I thought it’d be cool to bring her into the conversation because she’s in a totally different world when it comes to this, she obviously works for me, in a very different capacity, its interesting because Abby and Muffins are kind of these two independent people on an island almost by themselves in our organization.
They’re here in the same building, we take them all to the same events, they participate in all the same benefits and we want them to feel like they’re a part of Team Terran but its also probably a little awkward for them in a lot of ways because they’re not really working under Mia, like they kinda do, I mean, Mia’s here to manage them and help them but its not the same as the rest of the staff, everyone else doesn’t really ever talk to me directly, although they’re more than welcome to just Skype me whenever they want, I think they prefer to go through Mia for this stuff in the most part but Abby and Muffins are going to contact me directly, they basically work directly for Dave and I and so the only other person who has that relationship is Mia. So Mia, let’s talk about what its like working for me.
By the way, there are two people in the room that are very, very happy about this right now because its like an inside joke about who can get more podcast minutes and its actually like, the people wanna be on the podcast less because its intimidating for them so this is actually pretty funny but yeah, let’s get Mia’s take on this.
Mia: I should have left the room!
Mike: So you had an opportunity.
Mia: I had the chance to leave the room, but I wanted to stay, I guess that was the biggest mistake of the day.
Mike: You had the chance. This is what happens.
Mia: So how it’s like working for Mike, its kinda like Baptism by Fire. That’s how I would describe it, but I just realize that I kinda thrive in that type of work environment. I didn’t know that before, before how I work was that okay, I was just receiving all these instructions and I just did what I was told to do, so when I worked for Mike, first of course, I worked as a VA, I think that was 3 years ago, I worked as a VA first for Terran and there wasn’t any process yet, so I was working under another employee that was in the Escondido office, I wasn’t working directly under Mike, so she was giving me all these instructions, it kinda made work easier, because when Mike gave a “okay this is what we’re going to do” and he’s going to set a meeting with the Escondido office and that person who was working there at that time, gave me all these instructions and it was all laid out.
But then for reasons, I really don’t know why, but she had to leave the company, so I had to work directly under Mike so he gave me all these instructions and so it was, it had some adjustment period but then I guess I caught on pretty quickly, where I just figured out how to do things on my own and yeah, so there’s no really, like… Of course, the first thing that we do when we start at Terran is go through the Digital Marketer training right, and Mike at day 1, he lets you know that if you have any questions at all, you can skype him or e-mail him anytime and its true. You really can do that, even if it is 11pm or even 12am their time, he will answer.
But if he asks you to do something, he doesn’t spoonfeed you so he doesn’t tell you “okay, this is what I want you to do, here’s step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5”, he doesn’t work that way. When he gives you something to do, he expects you to figure it out how to do that. And I learned a lot with that kind of work environment.
Three years ago, I wouldn’t think of myself being in this position, managing a team of 8-9 people, well, before it was more than that last year. I couldn’t even imagine doing that, and it was all because of the work style that Mike had. He is always ready to help when you need it, but he expects you to also do your part of the job and yeah, that’s how I learned how to do things, Google was my friend.
I even talked to the team about this, like when Mike told me, “Okay, I think I want to build a team there in Cebu. Look for a VA, a Graphic Designer”, and then that was it. It was up to me, I hadn’t done that before, like interviewed people, so I really researched what are the good questions to ask during an interview and Mike was there doing the final interview, and I saw him do it in person when he came here to Cebu, so that was like my training and from there, I figured things out.
I set up all these tests that the applicants need to go through, like there was a first interview and then a second interview, and then, we had to edit it as I thought maybe it wasn’t that effective, we tried to change it so we definitely learned as we go, and this is what’s now the culture at Terran. We had a meeting about this last week, where the team said we are very good at winging it and it brings out the best people, because you don’t get spoonfed, and you really get tested and only the best survives here at Terran. That’s why we’re an A Team, because only the best are now left at Terran, and they perform really at their most excellent. So yeah, that’s how it is working with Mike.
Mike: In some ways, its kind of funny to like listen these three talk about this a little bit because I did work in a 9am to 5pm job, well, I wish it was 9-to-5, it was more like 8am to 9pm kind of job but the thing is I didn’t really want a manager breathing down my neck either and so, a lot of times you provide an environment that you wouldn’t work best in yourself and I realize that not everyone is set to operate in that environment which I think is why there needs to be a layer, like I know that the people who work under Mia would have a heart attack if they worked directly for me.
They just would not survive but they’re really great employees, I mean, they’re really amazing employees but they need that extra direction, and they need people working for them. I always try to talk about this as well, I mean there’s a lot of stuff out there about y’know in politics or whatever where if you just work harder, earned more money, or whatever you can make to survive, but the reality is that society needs a little bit of everybody to get by. You need the waitress at the restaurant, the busboy, the chef, the person that cleans the dishes, that takes out the trash, cleans the bathrooms, all these different people and the manager and the owner. If you think about the relationship like that, there’s only really two people who are at the top of that level.
The people who are working at the other positions are awesome people and they do a great job, and we really need them, so I mean, making sure that someone like Mia is in place to manage those other types of people that wouldn’t work as effectively directly for me necessarily but has someone like Mia supervising them and then for me, the only way that I’m ever going to function in a company like this is, is if I have someone like Mia and Abby and Muffins who are the types of personalities where they can just get stuff done on their own.
And accepting what they do like what the projects that they complete, and it might not be exactly the way that you would do it, or not even exactly the way you would want it all the time but sometimes it’ll be 90% as good and that’s fine, sometimes its 110% better than what you would make, but you can’t criticize every single thing all the time, let them do their thing in their own way.
There’s often, many different ways to skin a cat and let them be independent. Otherwise, if they’re constantly waiting for direction from you, you’re not really delegating. Its going to take more time and the whole idea of having employees is to just let them get things done. Provide the structure and the support, and let them get the stuff done and so that’s the typical way that I like to imagine that’s exactly how I like to be when I was at my last job, like I really didn’t need a manager.
I could have probably run the whole company if I needed to or at least, the things that I was in charge of, and didn’t want someone telling me every little detail about how to do what I was doing, realizing that there’s lots of other people that worked in the same company that would have felt way differently.
And I think that everyone works in different environments, you have that personality chart, I would definitely skew way differently than a lot of the people here and that’s fine too. Cool, I think I’ve had enough about picking on me and what its like to work for me and all the weird idiosyncrasies that I have, one of the things I do want to talk about real quick with you guys, Abby and Muffins, was the Hong Kong Mastermind.
We really wanted an opportunity for you guys to come over there, all these things happen at different parts of the world, most of them are in the United States, so things like-, I’m ready to go to Seller’s Summit, which would be awesome to have you guys come see something like that or Global sources speak, which you kinda got to go do that. ECommerce All-Stars, some of the other stuff I go to, its just hard to get to those parts of the world but its actually relatively convenient to get to Hong Kong from the Philippines, there’s a direct flight, they’re relatively, reasonably priced and we thought it would be an opportunity for you guys to really see behind the scenes, in terms of the different types of entrepreneurs that comes to these things, the level that they’re operating at, the types of questions that they have, the types of things that we’re able to do to positively impact people’s lives which is, for me, what it’s all about these days and you can talk about it all you want, you can read the inbox all you want from an email perspective but I think until you see it in person, its hard to really appreciate it.
So now that we’re on the other side of that, I’d love to hear from your guys’ perspective, what you thought of the mastermind?
Abby: It was pretty cool, because y’know you can read about how to run an e-commerce business, like I can listen to Mike all day talking about how to run an ECommerce business but its more real, when you see the people actually ask their questions and you see their facial expressions. Some of the people there are new to the business and some of them are desperate to get their business to succeed. Its really a surreal feeling when you actually see them ask a question, you see how those people collaborate and usually, at least for me, as what I’ve learned, most businessmen don’t like sharing their ‘secret sauce’ to other business people, and its weird and a good feeling too, to see those 20 people in that room actually share ideas, help each other out and yeah its kinda cool, seeing faces to the names we’ve been emailing.
Muffins: Yeah, the word “real” is right, because prior to that, personally for me, I didn’t really have a full grasp of what a Mastermind is or how you go about doing it, but once you’re there and in the thick of it and observing it, you do get a sense of how helpful it is especially for those in the business who are relatively new and have literally no idea how to go about marketing their products.
There are a few, a handful of the people in the Mastermind who had awesome products and great ideas but they lacked the marketing skill, or they lack perhaps, some SEO knowledge on how to further that particular product, how to get it more out there and for them to be able to join a mastermind, such as the one we attended, for them to be able to get insights from peers in the industry and how they can go about it is, I think, a very great opportunity for them and for us, watching on the sidelines is a great learning experience as well, and we met Dave for the first time, that’s another plus!
Oh, another plus would be to watch you guys (Mike and Dave) do it live, to watch what millions, well I’m saying this moving forward, there’s going to be millions of fans out there in due time, so to see you guys in action and to see what the deal really is, why they love EComCrew so much, so that was really awesome.
Abby: Yeah, its a good thing to see in person. When you do the Under the Hood, you talk to people, what I mean is when I see you in person, you’re lost advising these people, its like you really feel like how knowledgeable and how you guys love this thing so much, and also we saw how opposite you and Dave are.
Muffins: That’s true!
Abby: Because I don’t know if you guys know, but Mike likes things done perfect, but Dave likes things done fast so like, how do you meet their standards? You have to do it quick but you have to do it perfect.
Mike: What’s his saying? Don’t let the enemy of something be the.. What was it? Hopefully you guys know about that.
Abby: Yeah, his favourite motto aside from “revenues are vanity and profits are sanity”, there’s another one. Its “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough”. That’s what he always says.
Mike: Yeah that definitely drives me crazy. I had to bite my tongue, I mean I don’t need it to be perfect perfect but he just doesn’t even need to be remotely perfect, as long as its done. Just release that article, just put that thing out and yeah.
I mean, I’m more of a perfectionist, when I see things in our business that aren’t done the right way or the perfect way, which is– that’s a consequence of doing too many things, and growing too fast, and at some point you just have to accept it, but now that we’re in this “less growth” phase, and more just “get things done the best way possible”, I see it all a lot more and its driving me crazy and Dave would just be like “yeah whatever man, its good enough”.
I don’t know, I always tell this story, and I think its really true, and its actually a story that my ex-boss told me at my old job which I used to hate all his stories but this one really resonated and I’ve been more of a storyteller myself these days but he would talk about how horses at the Kentucky Derby would run the race and the horse that wins gets a million dollars, the horse that comes in second might only get half a million, the horse that comes in third might be a quarter million and for merits, its barely anything but like the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, is a nose a lot or half a horse length and really the point is that, if you just kind do it half-assed, then its hard to win, and the extra last little bit of effort, the extra like, last 1%, the hardest part is what often distinguishes you from being a winner and not a winner, and the last percentage curve of that is where all the Hockey Stick Growth comes from, if you look at a chart of people who do it “just good enough”, they’re gonna fall somewhere in the middle of that and you look at the people who are obsessive, who work really hard, and go the extra mile, and gets the stuff done, they’re the ones who become really really successful in life, like really, really successful.
And they aren’t necessarily winning by that much, right, it’s like that extra nose in the horse race, and those people aren’t willing to put that extra effort in so yeah, it definitely is a difference in personality and its interesting because we’re obviously both successful, and I think that Dave has a lot of good things going for him in life and we’re great friends.
And its just interesting how people approach things differently, but for me, I kinda like take the approach of the MVP product to start with because I’ve learnt that you can put too much stuff into it to begin with and get to the end of the finish line and realize that you just had a bad idea.
But typically once that MVP product thing is done, and I know it’s going to work, I wanna take a step back and get the thing done as perfectly as it can be. You know I think that the stuff that we put out is a reflection of us and when people look at our work, especially with something like EComCrew where its so public and it isn’t perfect, and it isn’t done right, and we’re not doing the things that we’re teaching or telling other people to do, its embarrassing.
So I think that the bar is even higher for us because of those things. We tell people, create a contest flow, or write an article about this, that or the other, or whatever it might be, send out emails and if our emails or our contest flows or our things have errors or aren’t done right, I think that’s a bad thing and we want to make sure that we’re doing as good of a job as we can.
So it is interesting, when Dave says that stuff, I do my best to bite my tongue and let him manage that particular project in his way, in his style, and I create an environment for Abby and Muffins, which I think is super important because what can really happen, is it becomes really awkward where you got one person saying to do it this way and the other person saying to do it a different way and then it just becomes a miserable work environment so I’ve done my best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
At least, consciously, I’m thinking about it, I mean, obviously if there’s something that Dave says to Abby or Muffins that I don’t know about it then that could be weird. But if I see Dave say “just do it, put it out”, even though I’m biting my tongue, I wanna respond saying “No, no”, but we try to just let them do their thing. So, in some respect Dave is right, but it is interesting, so…
Alright, one last thing that I wanna talk about, we were just talking about the Hong Kong Mastermind, what was your experience in Hong Kong in general? It was both of your first times for leaving the country.
You know, one of the things that’s really fun for me in business and in life is to provide opportunities for people to experience cool things, and hopefully there’s more stuff like this we can do in the future but I can, kind of, remember back to the first time I left the country, it wasn’t all that exciting, I was going from the US down to the Bahamas, so that wasn’t as interesting as maybe going from Philippines to Hong Kong, but I think it’ll probably be more like when I went to Europe for the first time, and just how overwhelmed I was, and excited and what a culture shock it was!
Its the same world but a completely different world all in the same and you still have to realize how different things are around the world. How was it, coming from the Philippines, getting your first passport, going through immigration for the first time, getting on the first subway and a train and going to a country like Hong Kong, coming from the Philippines?
Abby: My God, it was crazy! Since you know, its our first time going out of the country, it was our first time going through immigration and we were warned by our teammates who’ve been to Hong Kong, that the immigration officers of the Philippines are pretty strict, so we prepared papers that we thought “we’re not gonna need this, but just in case”, and then when we got there, they needed that and asked for more and I was like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know” and the immigrations officers told me that “okay, we’re gonna let you pass”.
But once you get to Hong Kong, their immigration officers are more strict than us, so its not going to be on us if you don’t complete this trip, so we got passed the immigration and when we landed in Hong Kong, we got lost at the airport, but that’s another story. So, when we got to the immigration area of Hong Kong, I was sweating, and nervous, and I was scared (they’d think) that “Oh My God, because they see that I’m nervous, I might get deported! Because they might think I’m hiding something” and I was really nervous, so when it was my turn to go to the immigration officer, he just took my passport, gave me the slip and let me go. What, that’s it?! I can’t believe it, I don’t know why… That was an adventure in itself, and Muffins, you can tell them how we got lost at the airport.
Muffins: So, you know, we’re used to very small airports since this was our first international travel and we kinda thought that everything was on the same floor, so we’re kinda just walking around where we got off the plane, thinking that at some point in that immense, immense building or that floor, we were going to find the baggage counter where we’re going to find immigration and then at some point, we went down the stairs and found a train.
And I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, so they have a train that goes directly to Macau here. Okay, so this isn’t the way”. So we went up, and us being groggy, up at 2am in the airport at 3, so we weren’t at our sharpest at that time, I would say so we went back up, we asked the guy at the concierge for directions and so he said for us to take the escalator down, and well, effectively we read the sign and it said, to make the long story short, the train was actually what we needed to take to go to immigration and eventually, to baggage claim so that was a thing!
And we made Mike and Dave wait for us, for like, an extra 20 minutes…
Abby: Just because we didn’t read the sign.
Muffins: We were overwhelmed at the airport.
Abby: Its crazy that you had to take a train just to get to the other terminal and when we saw the city, it was totally different from what we’re used to here, and everyone was walking!
Muffins: Right, that’s the other thing! That was like, somewhat of a culture shock, as any Filipinos would well know, who are listening to this, we don’t have enough sidewalks in the Philippines, and in Cebu. So we were shocked to find a lot of walkways and a lot of pedestrian areas in Hong Kong, at the very least.
Abby: Because if you try to walk here in Cebu City, it would seem like the vehicles are trying to kill you. So you avoid walking…
Mia: Mike’s had his firsthand experience.
Abby: Its not that we’re lazy, its not that we always like driving or riding…
Mia: It probably is!
Abby: But when we try to make the effort to walk, its like a life hazard.
Muffins: That’s true! Its dangerous, its weird but its dangerous to do that here.
Abby: Yeah, and when we got to Hong Kong, it was like a walking paradise.
Muffins: Yeah, we walked everywhere!
Abby: We walked a lot.
Muffins: It was fun.
Abby: And yeah, the buildings are tall, and everywhere you look, there’s a good scenery and people are partying.
Muffins: (laughs) That’s another interesting part of our stay.
Abby: Our alarm clock was the sound of bottles breaking, because we stayed at a party district, but overall, it was awesome and I think we’re trying to go back there again, because y’know, 5 days wasn’t enough.
Muffins: Yeah, not nearly enough.
Abby: Yeah, to experience everything..
Muffins: Yeah, but I think I speak for both of us when I say that if we were to travel for the first time, this would have been the best way to do it, right? For us to be given the opportunity to go outside of the country and have us do that for free, and then get to experience what eCommerce is like along the way, I think is a really great opportunity overall.
Abby: Yeah, and both of us are shy because we’re filipinas, that’s who we are and its intimidating to be near those people because you know how successful they are, but when you talk to them, you actually realize that most of them are down to Earth and very friendly. Sometimes, it does feel kinda awkward, but later on, when you talk to them, they’re actually very interesting and very friendly people.
Mike: Cool, its awesome to hear you guys’ first hand account of the trip to Hong Kong, it was awesome to have you there, and being able to play tour guide for you guys and help you get from the train station to Hong Kong…. if you thought that the ride in the airport was confusing, just getting downtown from the train station was probably, significantly more confusing, so fun doing that. Glad you guys were able to make it and its interesting to hear your account also, of the people that came to the event, and just people in eCommerce in general.
I mean its definitely the thing that keeps me wanting to do it. I think I’m at a point where if I didn’t like the people, I’d just be done with this. This business is stressful, and just business in general is stressful, but the people are awesome. I think back to the online poker days where I didn’t want to talk to anybody that was in that business.
There were very few exceptions, one of who has become my best friend, Grant, another who I was really great friends with, we kinda just lost touch over the last couple of years but I hope to catch up back with him, Jason, but we were just so different in a sea of people that were just, I don’t know, I’m not gonna use a bunch of nasty words to explain these people, but it just wasn’t the types of people that I wanted to be hanging out with.
They weren’t really willing to help you, they were probably willing to stab you in the back at any moment to make an extra buck, vs the people in eCommerce who are in general, just willing to go out of their way to help, they’re really great people, they’re very grounded, and just awesome people and obviously there’s outliers to that in everything but the vast majority 99% of people in eCommerce are awesome to hang out with and talk to and commiserate with and all these different things.
And so I take it upon myself to make sure that we stick with eCommerce and do more stuff in eCommerce and mostly in a way that helps those people that need it the most in this business, which has been a lot of fun so I think that’s going to do it for this episode. I think Abby and Muffins and Mia, you can probably hear a huge sigh of relief in the background, think of a really big balloon deflating right now, they’re like “Ahhh”.
They get so tense doing the podcast, but the thing is just like anything else, if you keep practicing and keep doing it, you can get better at anything. We were talking about this in terms of speaking earlier today, when I was speaking at events, it used to drive me crazy. I never really wasn’t that nervous to do podcasting because I always felt like it was just me in a room, and as the podcast grew, just from my mom listening to the tens of thousands that are listening today, it just didn’t really seem like much.
And even today, it feels no different because its the same microphone, in the same empty room, so podcast was never really wasn’t that stressful. Speaking in a room, if you put all the people that listen to our podcast, you can fill a stadium now and that would be really crazy, like just speaking in front of a stadium of live people but not nearly as it would have been before, so I think these are really great life skills that these guys are learning that they probably don’t appreciate now but at some point in the future, they will when something else approaches them in life where they aren’t shy to be on camera or on a podcast or speaking in front of a group of people and I think everyone else should approach their fears and conquer them and do these things.
I often think about Dealisandre pushing me to do it, so I wanna encourage all of you to do something he told me, which is sometimes you gotta do things that make you a little uncomfortable. Alright guys, that’s gonna do it for this episode so until the next one, happy selling and we’ll talk to you soon.
Mike: Alright guys, that’s gonna wrap it up for the 258th episode of the EComCrew podcast. They keep ticking by, heading towards 300, which will be a good milestone to hit later in the year. If you wanna get to the show notes for this episode, ecomcrew.com/258 and we’d love to see your comment and again, please leave us a review if you get a chance to on iTunes, it means a lot to us. I hope you guys enjoyed the dynamic between Abby, Muffins and I and Mia, our special guest for this episode and until the next episode everybody, 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.