Show notes for this episode:
Hey, how's it going? It’s Ollie here. Very warm welcome to the eCommerce Freedom podcast. So today I wanted to talk about the dream, the dream. This is probably something that you're after - this dream that you have of working full time, running an online business, quitting your job, not having to do the nine to five thing anymore, being your own boss, being able to work from anywhere and making this stuff actually happen.
I wanted to talk about what it's really like once it actually does happen, just so you have a bit of a better understanding of the reality of what it's like, because you've obviously seen on YouTube, on Facebook, in your emails or in your inbox.. There's a lot of people out there, a lot of marketers out there, who really do know that this is your dream.
They know that this is what you're looking to do. To run a business, to be, you know, living life on your own terms, to be able to travel, to be able to have more money, all these things. And a lot of people really, really blow up this dream, you know, and they really sell the stream and they exaggerate the things that you can do, obviously, because it's exciting to see the potential.
You could potentially buy a Lamborghini and a mansion and a jet and all this stuff. I'm not here saying you can't do that stuff. But quite often, what this does is this distorts the reality of what it's really like when you actually do have a business and you might get a slightly warped perception of what it's really like to run a business full time.
So today I wanted to just talk a little bit about what it is really like based on my experience of now doing this and running a business full time for the past five years. So you could get more clear about it. And I think rather than trying to dampen your expectations, I think by being real with you and just being honest about what it's really like, I think you might actually get even more excited because you'll know that I'm not just trying to sell you on some dream and exaggerate everything, but I'm being real and just telling you what it's actually like.
And if you really want to do this, this will excite you even more so before we get started and I break down my experience and how it's actually been, I want to make a point. And the point is, look, I wouldn't do anything else with my time. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. Like for me, this is the old tumor dream running this business, and running businesses online and having my own business like this, this is perfect for me. I couldn't imagine it being any better than how it is right now.
And it's so funny. Cause when I was younger, growing up, the teacher would ask around the classroom asking you what do you want to be when you grow up? Like, what's your dream job. Every single time the teacher asked us, I would always say, I want to be a rock star. I want to be a rockstar. I want to be a famous musician. That was my dream. That's what I wanted right when I was younger.
But now I can genuinely honestly say that, look, I still make music, and I'm actually starting to release music independently over the past couple of months. If you go to Spotify, type in megareach - one word - megareach, you can hear some of my tracks.
I'm still so passionate about music, but I can genuinely say that if a major label came up to me and said, you know, here's an advance for whatever, it might be 250 grand or whatever, we're going to pay you to make albums to tour and to basically be a professional musician.. I don't think I would take that deal. I don't think I would take that deal because I know that having that lifestyle and doing all those things associated with being a professional musician, which is like a lot of people's dream, is to be like a rock star or you know, a famous, famous artist.
A lot of those things you have to do take away from your freedom. You have to do stuff on other people's schedule. You have to tour, you have to travel around the world, going from country to country, to country, or you have to get your releases done by a certain date, by a deadline, that someone else has set for you. You have to do interviews. It's like, it's basically like having a job when you work with a big label.
I can honestly say I don't think I would take a huge contract from a label in place of running this business. So that's my point. I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing right now.
But with that in mind, I want it to just be real with you today and just talk about what it's actually like and what my experience is like. So you have a bit of a clearer picture. Because it's not perfect. It's not like I'm eternally happy 24/7, everything goes perfect.. This is real life after all. And I wanted to break it down for you.
So the first thing is, there's an analogy I was thinking about recently. The first thing I wanted to tell you was that it's not easy. This is something that you probably already knew, but I just wanted to make it absolutely clear. It's not easy running your own business. It's not effortless. In some ways it's harder than having a job because when you have a job, I'm sure it's challenging and stressful and you do have to work extremely hard. I'm sure you do.
But there's a certain level of certainty there. When you have a job, you know, there's a certainty that you're going to get paid those wages at the end of the month. In a business there's none of that. I could get paid zero at the end of this month. There’s a possibility for that. I could get paid zero. If something went horribly wrong money could be completely cut off and I wouldn't have any extra income coming in. I'll just have the money I have now and the sales wouldn't happen and I wouldn't get any extra cash. That could happen.
In a job, you don't have that fear. So, you know, it's not easy. However, that's what makes it so unbelievably fulfilling. And that's what makes the challenge so much fun.
The analogy I was thinking of earlier was doing what I'm doing right now, running my business online with both the coaching and the ecommerce, all the stuff I do feels kind of like when you were at school and you'd be in someone's lesson and the teacher was really, really engaging. Like, you know, you had some teachers who were just like extremely dull and you would dread going into their lesson because you knew it was just going to take forever. The time was going to like stand still. And it was just like the most painful experience.
But then you had some teachers where you knew the lesson was going to be really engaging. You were going to be using your brain. Like they were going to be entertaining. It was going to be fun. But also you were there to learn and there to grow. And it's not like you were just laying on the beach, drinking mojitos. That's kind of what it's like running your business. It's not easy. It's not lying on the beach and doing nothing and having money just fly in.
As much as some people want you to believe it's like that, it's not, but it is incredibly fulfilling and fun. And yeah, it's like those lessons you'd go to in school where the teacher was engaging and the time would just fly by because you were just really in flow with the lesson. And it's fun. That's what I feel like on a really good day of running my business. Just not easy, but it's super, super engaging, fulfilling, and fun. And that's one of the reasons I love it so much.
So that's the first thing I wanted to let you know. Let's go on to point number two. The pay potential when you have your own business, how much you can earn, is unlimited. It's unlimited. So, when you're in a job, there's brackets of income. You can earn if you get promoted, or if you perform better, maybe you'll have bonuses, things like that. But quite often your income is sort of limited. It's sort of limited.
Maybe if you're in sales it's limited to the leads you get. Maybe it's limited to the amount of hours you can put in during the day, the amount of calls you can do. You are kind of limited, right? Maybe it's limited to the pay that you'll get if you get promoted and you have to go to a higher up role, maybe it's limited by that.
When you have a business, there is literally no limit. There's no reason why you couldn't be running a business that's making, say, 20 million a year. That's doable. You can do that. So this is something that's very, very, very real. And I think this is what keeps me motivated.
Actually, if I knew that my income was going to be exactly the same every single month for the next five, 10 years, maybe with a tiny incremental increase at some point, I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't run a business. One of the reasons I love this is because I know I can take it to any level I like. I could build an eight-figure business. I could build a nine-figure business if I really wanted to.
As it happens, I don't really want a business that big, I wouldn't want to be managing a business that's doing a hundred million because if you look up what a CEO of that size business is doing day to day, generally when you get to that level, the freedoms that you had when you had say, a six or seven figure business, a lot of them have been stripped away.
You're so busy. You're so engaged. You have so much responsibility at that point. And you have so many people to take care of. It's almost like it's worse than having a job because it's so crazy. And some people love that, but I don't think it's for me.
But that's something to think about, this unlimited pay potential. It really does motivate you to just work harder and be better. And it's something that's very real about having your own business.
Point number three is that it's flexible. It's very, very, very flexible. And this is a very real thing, and this can actually be a good thing and it can be a bad thing. So let's start with the positive. Having a flexible working schedule really as flexible as it possibly could be. Cause I'm the one who decides when I work, it can be amazing because I can start work whenever the hell I like, and I can finish work or whatever the hell I like.
Usually I start working really seriously sort of late morning, maybe 11:00 AM or 12:00 PM. That's usually when I really get started and I usually finish maybe eight, 9:00 PM. That's just when I like to work. And you can schedule your day however you like. And I don't work weekends. I used to work weekends. I used to work Monday to Sunday cause I love doing my business so much that I thought, well, why, I don't need a day off, this isn't really work. Like I said, it's like being one of those really engaged lessons with an amazing teacher. Like why would I, it's so fun. I want to do this all the time.
But after about two years of doing that, I realized that you do need a bit of time to rest, take your mind off the business. And if you just take two days off each week, when you come back on Monday, you're fresh, you've got new ideas. You don't get burnt out and you just perform better in those five days than you would with a never ending week. That just goes on throughout the whole year and with no break.
So it's great because you can arrange your own calendar. Like if I want to, I can block off any day I want. Like next Wednesday, if I want, I could just block off the whole day and just have an entire day to myself. I could go out, I could go to the cinema. I don't even know if the cinemas are open right now. But I could, right. I could go to the gym, go to the spa, could go out to the park. I could block off a week and go on holiday if I wanted to at any point.
You really can do this stuff when you control your calendar, you can do anything. I could just decide to maybe work a full four-day week if I wanted to, or a three-day week. I could restructure my business to the point where I could just work three days a week and have those days be extremely efficient so I get all the stuff done that I need to, and have four days doing other things.
These things are all possible when you run your own thing, this is a very real benefit, but it can also be a negative thing because when you have flexible working hours and you can basically work as much as you want, at least for me, sometimes I can overwork.
So for example, last week I ran a webinar. And you may have been there. You may have seen the invites and at least seen the promotion of the webinar. And it was an amazing session last Thursday. I started it at 9:00 PM Swedish time or 8:00 PM, UK time, and I finished at about, 10:40 Swedish time. 9:40 UK time. So it was about an hour and 40 minutes long.
Everyone on there was really engaged. It was a really fun session. I came off the webinar at 10:40 PM. So almost 11 Swedish time. And I was exhausted. I was done, right. I had a whole day of work. Now I did this live webinar, which is basically like a live performance where you're public speaking to hundreds of people sometimes for like almost two hours. It takes it out of you, doing that kind of thing.
As much as it's fun, it really is quite tiring. So I'm exhausted, I finished the session and I went to just check my support tickets. I wanted to check my support desks. I was like, just wanted to check anyone had any questions after or any issues or anything. And I was greeted with 60 tickets. 60 people had emailed me and I was like, hang on a minute.
Surely something's not quite right. And I started to read these tickets, every single person who had messaged me and said they couldn't get into the webinar. And I found out that basically I had sent out the wrong webinar code. I'd sent them some code or some other session that was ran by some woman called Emily. I think she was talking about gratitude and I had sent out the wrong code in all of the emails reminding people about the masterclass.
So the reason this happened is because I just crammed in way too much stuff last week. And I was just way too overworked. I was doing calls all day. I was managing the business. I was doing product research. I was trying to manage my brand. I was switching over the financial backend of my business. I was managing new marketing campaigns. I was ramping up ad.
You're doing way too much stuff because there's no limit to how much you do when you have your own business. Because I was getting so burnt out and so tired, obviously when I was writing the emails to put the code to tell everyone how to log in, I must have just made a simple mistake just because I was so tired and I didn't have time to double check it.
So that's an example of how things can go wrong because everything is so flexible. So one of the things you have to kind of learn when you're running your own business is what's the right schedule for you, but how much should you work? What is too much work? What is not enough? And you know, I do have days where I'll finish maybe a bit early and I won't have any other tasks to do. And I feel like I kind of didn't really do enough that day, you will have that feeling sometimes.
And it's kind of different because the only person who's going to be affected by this, if you don't work, is you. You just won't earn as much if you don't do the right things to build the business. It's not like someone's going to have a go at you for not doing any work or your boss is going to have a go at you, but it's just you. You just make less sales, or you annoy your customers if you don't do something you were meant to do for them.
So that's something you have to learn, like what is the right amount of work and what things do you need to focus on when you are working to make sure you're not just doing loads of work and it's actually getting zero results. This is a skill that you actually start to really develop and finding the balance sometimes can be a little bit tough. But like I said, having the flexibility is a real blessing. And it's one of my favorite things about the business, alongside being sometimes a little bit of a challenge.
Let's talk about thing number four. Thing number four is the fact that you deal with people when you're running your own business. You deal with people. Now, it doesn't matter if your business is 100% online. You don't have a retail store, or you know, a physical like gym or a physical place where customers come into the premises.
Even if it's a hundred percent online, I wouldn’t assume that your business is not going to involve any people. Without people, there is no business, there's no customers, there's no staff.. People are an integral part of any business. They are the business really. It's just a bunch of people interacting with each other and services and goods are being exchanged and also money is being exchanged. It's all the business is really, whether it's online or offline, doesn't really matter.
When you have a business, you have to deal with people and it's more personal. When you work for someone else and maybe you'd get a customer who's disgruntled, or maybe an employee, or if you're working for somebody else, a colleague, or someone who's below you or above you, and they're disgruntled, it's easier to separate the work from your personal life.
And it's easier not to take it personally because let's say you work for, I don't know, let's say you work for Apple and you're selling the products and someone's calling you up and being like, I hate this MacBook it's just, oh, it's doing my head in this thing's designed badly and I want a refund and it's just awful and the person who designed it is just terrible and blah, blah, blah.
It's very easy to just detach from that envelope when I didn't design it, I didn’t make the product. As far as Steve Jobs or whoever came up with the concept, and then it's the design teams and you know, it's, yeah.. you can detach from that. And so it doesn't get to you when a customer's being rude. I mean, it can certainly upset you, but it's not quite the same.
But when you run your own business, if you've created the products and you put your heart and soul into the products and you genuinely know they're great. And your whole life has gone into this.. if a customer's rude or rips into the product or is unfair, it hits you on a different level. And you have to know how to deal with that.
Dealing with people can be challenging in all different areas of the business. Like also when you have employees, again, it's more personal. Because it's your business, if they mess up or if they do something which is going to upset the customers, then it's your products that they're dealing with and it's your brand that they're dealing with.
So their screw ups affect you more than if it was just someone underneath you that you're managing when you're working for someone else's company. So this can be a challenge, but here's the thing, right? When you're running your own business, you can do things on your terms. You can do things on your terms.
I don't know if you've seen Seinfeld. This classic, the best episode of Seinfeld in my opinion, is The Soup Nazi episode. If you haven't seen this, I really would recommend you just go and watch it. It's called The Soup Nazi. And it's about… apparently it’s a real soup restaurant in New York, and there’s this guy there who used to run it who's like, I think he might be of Middle Eastern background, has a mustache, not a Hitler mustache, a normal mustache.
And he served soup. But everyone used to say, there are these journalists and stuff who used to go to the soup restaurant and it'd be like a takeaway thing. You get your soup and you have to line up. And they used to say he's a Nazi. You basically just have to go in very politely, ask for your soup, right. Step to the left, collect it, take the bag, pay, and then leave.
He doesn't allow any conversation. Like if you complain, he's going to blow up at you. Someone once got bread with their soup and then the second time they didn't get bread. And then they said, oh, I thought it came with bread. He exploded then. And so he got this reputation of being a Nazi. They called him The Soup Nazi.
So the Seinfeld episode was about this guy called the Soup Nazi and they did a whole episode on it. And I think it was the most famous episode. And now the actual real Soup Nazi dude hates Jerry Seinfeld for making this episode about him. Even though he made him famous and actually blew up his business. Anyway, hilarious. But the point is that Soup Nazi dude can be like that because it's his business.
So you might have to deal with people, but you can do it on your own terms. You can be like a Nazi if you want to. But I know people who do actually have very strict, very, very strict rules with how they engage with customers in their business. And that's just how they want to do it.
I know people who book phone calls, meetings on the phone, and they will start the meeting at like seven minutes past three, or like 24 minutes past three, because they expect you to be there exactly at the time the meeting starts. And if you miss it by a minute, you don't get the meeting. And that's obviously because the person doing that, doesn't like people who can't keep the time and the point is they can do that because it's their business and that's how they like to run things.
You could be super relaxed. You could say, well, yeah, you know, we're gonna meet up at four, but you can meet up say 10, 15 minutes later. It doesn't bother me. That's cool. I think you could do that as well, if that's your style. But the point is like, you get to control how you interact with people, you get to control what kind of manager you are. You can have staff. You get to create the culture in your business.
Obviously a business that's run well has a culture of hard work, of industrialism.. industriousness, I guess, is the word, right? Everyone's focused and serious and is target-driven and does a great job. But you've got people like the guy who manages Innocent Drinks who says, you can wear whatever the hell you want to work. And they've got grass inside the building and they've got like a ping pong table and they've got a bar and loads of games and stuff inside the office, people are wearing onesies and things.
Me personally, I would hate to who work in a place like that. Like if I'm trying to concentrate on my work and I can hear a ping pong table behind me, I'd want to punch them in the face. I can't concentrate. I need a certain environment to do more well, but the point is, you know, that's his thing and that's cool. And he can do that and I can do my thing. I can do my thing.
But for example, when I'm really focusing, I tell my girlfriend I need to go into Hitler mode. Now especially if I'm writing, like if I'm writing an email or doing some copy for a listing or something like that, I need to go into what I call Hitler mode, which is where I sit in a room silence. No one can disturb me because if I'm focusing on something as energy consuming as writing something, copywriting or something, I have a squirrel brain anyway, I am so easily distracted.
If I have to put all of my focus into that, I'll be like Jack Nicholson in that film The Shining. If someone keeps coming in and interrupting, it takes so much time to get back into the zone and focus what you're writing on. It takes ages to get the thing done. And I find it infuriating. I need to go into Hitler mode and that's how I like to work.
And if I was working in an office or something, I probably wouldn't be able to do that. I'd have to work in the environment they want me to work in. And I would find that very challenging. That's probably one of the reasons why I can't be in a job. I don't think I could do it. I'd find that really hard.
So look, you do have to manage people and you do have to work with people, whether it's customers, employees, or whatever, but you get to manage them on your own terms. And that's what makes you amazing. Right? That's what makes it so freeing. That's a very real part of running the business.
And you know, some of these things, like in the beginning, you're going to get a really wrong, you're not going to know how you like to deal with people too well. You're not going to know.. you're going to let people kind of mess you around a bit. Cause it's your business. You're going to be too nice or maybe too mean depends on your personality.
But then you'll kind of learn as you move along, how to do this stuff. It takes a bit of practice when you're running your own thing to get into a rhythm of how you want to work, how you interact with people, and how to set these kinds of boundaries. And it's something that takes a bit of time.
Maybe if you're older than me, you've got more life experience, then you'll be better at it sooner. I don't know. But yeah, it's something it's something to think about, but that's like a very real thing of running your business.
And then final point. Point number five is all about learning skills. It's all about learning skills. A lot of people think that running your own businesses is about flaunting about jets and Lambos and all this nonsense. Which, you know, part of it is like part of it is about having an incredibly cool lifestyle and being able to basically do what you want and having the potential to get very wealthy like that as part of having a business, if you're good at it, for sure.
But your average person who runs extremely successful company probably spends about 1% of their time in a jet. You know? And that's when they're in between meetings. Cause they need to go from one part of the world to the other, not just in the jet for fun, they're in the jet because they need to be somewhere quickly. They're probably in the jet feeling extremely stressed because who knows getting sued or, or whatever, right?
Business isn't being in a Lamborghini, like most successful business owners spend 99% of their time sitting at a desk doing work, right. Probably at some point tearing their hair out. Other times, feeling very energized. That’s running a business. It's not the jets and all that stuff. That's just like a very tiny part of it.
Even if you do have like a multimillion-pound business. What it is about is learning skills. That's the most important thing with this business for me, like in the first five years, like from 2014, end of 2014, beginning of 2015, when I really got started and things started to actually take off up until now, right? 2020. Those five years for me, my main skills I was learning was sales and marketing.
Now, if you spoke to me in maybe 2012, 2013, I knew nothing about sales and I knew nothing about marketing. I was probably the most useless marketer on the planet. If you saw some of my attempts at writing a sales page back in like 2013, 2014, I mean, it's just shameful.
But you know, everyone's got to start somewhere. I was terrible now I'm really good. And I can say that with confidence, not because I've studied some course or because I have a huge ego or anything it's because I know that my sales marketing genuinely created millions of pounds in sales.
So I have a license now to say, look, my staff works because if it didn't, I wouldn't have made any of this money, but that was my focus on the past five years. The next five years for me, my skills that I'm focusing on are going to shift. They already have, like this year I took the foot off obsessing over marketing and sales because they're important. But if you're only good at certain skills, rest of your business, just, you know, it puts like a brake on your business.
It's almost like having a car with only three wheels. Like how fast can you really go? If you have a car with three wheels, like yeah, you can upgrade the engine. You can put more fuel in, you can use nitros and all these other things, but the cost still going to have a real limit on how much, how fast it can go. And sooner or later, it's probably gonna end up in flames, same with your skillset.
But if you're only good at marketing sales and you're not good at the other stuff, or if you don't have people around you who can make up for that, then your business is going to crash and burn.
So now my main skills I'm focusing on are creating systems, managing people and managing finances. And that's a whole other skill set, which, you know, I'm not terrible at those things. I've had staff, I've managed lots of, you know, expenses and money and things, right. But they're not my strong points. They're my weaker points. So I know now that's the skills I really have to focus on.
I bet the point is whatever it is, skills and the main thing, right? If you're going from nothing to getting your first sale on Amazon, for example, then your focusing on the skills of being able to get that first sale, whether that's finding your first product, whether that's creating your first shipment over, that's a little bit of copywriting to get the listing done. Bit of maybe photography to get the pictures done, advertising. These are all skills. That's basically marketing skills right there.
Product selection is kind of a marketing skill because you're learning what niches and opportunities there are in the market. It's basically marketing right then when you've got your first sale and you want to get to say, I don't know, let's say you've got a few products now. And you know, you're finding it difficult to keep up the inventory levels while waiting in between Amazon payments, right? Then the skill I will transition from marketing to needing to learn a bit about financial management forecasting and that kind of thing.
Again, you're learning skills. That's what being in business is really about. It's about learning skills and the faster you can learn new skills and understand which skills you need to know and, and actually learning them the quicker you can do that. The faster you'll hit your goals like that is really the answer.
And, you know, the most successful people on the planet, aren't the luckiest. There is elements of luck when it comes to business. Like you can certainly get lucky, but you can get lucky and make some money, but you can't get lucky and keep the money. I think that's the difference.
The people who make a lot of money and keep a lot of money and stay successful for like more than like, you know, a few months have been successful for say five, 10, 15, 20 years, really it comes down to skills. They will have the most skills, the most sharp and skillset to take any of the billionaires on play. Like Jeff Bezos is extremely skilled at the things he does, which now is different from what he did say 20, 30 years ago.
Now it's more really overseeing a brand, scaling one of the world's biggest companies on the planet, managing things like PR and you know, for him, it really is a question of scale. Now that is really his skillset. But the point is the thing that's enabled Amazon to grow is him having these skills. And then that trickles down the people he manages doing the things they need to do because he is skilled at selecting those people, and growing the businesses down to his skills, right?
His skills at managing shareholders, getting in investment, making big financial decisions, dealing with the press, you know, stuff like this. These are skills he clearly is very, very proficient at, and that's why Amazon is so big.
So, I hope that's painted you a slightly clearer picture of what it really is like to live the dream. What it really is like to build a business. I definitely want to deter you away from hoping it's all just going to be passive income, kind of sitting around, money just flying in, because Amazon is just this magical thing that makes you loads of money or any other business opportunity you might see people touting that it just makes you loads of money like that. It's just, it's ridiculous. Like, do you really think that that's how it works?
It's easy to fall into the trap because some people make it seem so romantic that the money is going to just fall down from the sky into your lap the second you buy their program. And unfortunately, a lot of people sell programs that way it's very effective clearly but I wanna remove that. I wanna, you know, make it clear that that's not what it's about. And the fact that you listen to my stuff probably proves that you know that already, because I don't really tout that dream too much. Right.
But equally, while it's not, you know, money raining down from the sky, it's not, you know, a slog, a hard slog, right. It's actually one of the best things ever. And I wouldn't do anything else. I couldn't think of anything that would be better than doing this. And that's why this is so exciting.
So hope this has given you some inspiration, giving you a bit of a, maybe clarity on what this is really going to be like. And there's always like, if you want some help, just go to ecommercefreedom.com and there's a button there you can press that will enable you to book in an Amazon Accelerator call. And that's a call with me and you can apply for that call, but the call with me, we can have a chat and we can talk about maybe how I can help you actually make this stuff happen.
By the way, now's the best time, because you might be able to launch a product in time for quarter four, which, I mean, you don't know what quarter four is like until you experience it. It really is crazy. Like people just go absolutely mental on Amazon. I've seen some of the craziest stuff like products to selling for silly money because people just won't, they don't care anymore. They need their Christmas presents and stuff. So they will spend anything, especially on Black Friday, even though you're not, you don't have a Black Friday sale people just program to spend money.
Anyway, hope this episode was interesting and I'll catch you on the next one.