One of the greatest pieces of advice we ever heard was that you should only take advice from those whose lives you would happily swap yours with. Conceptually, I think we all get the idea that if you want to be good at something, then you should try to get advice from someone who is already good at something. Whether that is personally, or through their books, videos etc. There is so much noise out there in the entrepreneurial world though, that it can be difficult for someone getting started to figure out what advice they should take.
Gary V, Grand Cardone, Elon Musk and many other successful enterpreneurs will tell you that if you want to be successful in business, you need to be willing to work the 100 hour weeks that it takes. While others like Tim Ferriss from “The 4 Hour Work Week” will tell you that working less is the answer.
In our experience, they’re all correct. If you want to be a billionaire (like the first three I mentioned) then working four hours a week is not going to cut it. But if freedom every day means more to you than a massive net worth, then you need to be careful about how much you listen to these guys. They are wildly successful in business no doubt, but keep in mind that Elon Musk has been divorced three times, and at his own admission does not have much of a relationship with his five children.
You might be tempted to then say, “Okay, I won’t take relationship advice from Elon Musk, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take business advice from him given how successful he is in that part of his life.”
But of course, if the only way he knows how to be successful in business is at the expense of his most important relationships, then you really need to question whether or not you can take business advice from him. Now if you don’t care about personal relationships, then go right ahead – we’re not here to tell you how to live your life. Having said that, there’s no need for you to hang around here, as we can’t give you the advice you need to go and live that life.
So this is where you really need to sit down, and create a vision for the life that you actually want. We can tell you right now that if you go down this path, there is no separating your business life and your personal life. They will always be linked in a way that having job isn’t. Only once you’ve figured out how you want to live your life, and why you came to a site like ours in the first place, can we tell you whether or not our advice will be a positive or negative influence on your journey.
So What Are We About?
When we started out in 2006, our only real goal was that we could choose what we did when we got out of bed in the morning. We didn’t want anyone else to have control over our lives. We also didn’t want a business that would have control over our lives either. We want a business that would give us the control. A big ask!
We also love to travel, so we wanted a business that would allow us to have location independence as well. We chose online retail, because although physical products have the challenge that they need to be stored and shipped, they also had many advantages that most people don’t realise. The physical side of it scares a lot of people off, which creates a high (percieved) barrier to entry that lowers competition. Also, most physical products are evergreen, in that no matter what changes with technology, people who buy vases will still buy vases, and the format in which they do so has not changed that much in the 10+ years we’ve been doing this. In the same time period, the way in which people absorb information (and their expectation of how much they are willing to pay for information) has changed tremendously.
We’ve have been completely job free now since 2007, and not only did we achieve the life we wanted, but we now have hundreds of thousands of dollars in income (profit – not revenue) from multiple online stores, have lived in many different countries, and travelled to many more (even our three year old son has now been to 19 countries). We don’t say this to brag, but to give you a picture of the kind of life our advice can get you.
We are not billionairres and never will be. We do like nice things as well as nice experiences, but would give them all up long before we ever gave up our time freedom.
So Why Do We Do This At All?
This is a very good question. If we’re making the money we say we are from our ecommerce stores – why do this? Well, it actually started in 2012, when Tess became the Alibaba.com Ambassador. After speaking on stage at one of the many events they flew her to, she spoke to one of the many people who came up to her afterwards. One of them was a lady who had sent $10,000 (basically her life savings) to a supplier in China via Western Union. This is such a basic no-no, that Tess was quite upset. She skyped me that night and told me the story, and I sat down in front of my computer in Bangkok, and 12 hours later (the same night) the first draft of “Retail Rebellion” was born. That book as gone on to sell thousands of copies (and no, you don’t make any money from selling books!), and hopefully help thousands of people to not make some basic errors when starting their ecommerce empires.
After that, we would start getting requests from people who had read the book to meet up, and be mentored. Since then we have mentored and coached many people in their ecommerce businesses (for free because we loved it – and were naive). After a few years though, it became very obvious that people, even when given the exact same information and advice, will go on to have very different results. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, as this is true for everything (diet and exercise is a perfect example).
We also reached the point where we were spending far more time helping other people with their businesses rather than coming up with new ideas for our own (or even just spending time with ourselves and friends and travelling – the very things we started these businesses to do). At the end of 2017, we decided to up and leave Australia again (although we’d only back there for less than a year) and go clear our heads. We spent 2018 travelling the world, and when we came back, were here for less than a week before we already had two strangers who “organised” us to have a coffee with them. We’re still not very good at saying “no”!
This is why we launched this site, and why we now charge for our services. We love helping people with their businesses, but now recognise that not everybody is made for what we do (or at least not everybody is ready yet). We don’t want to waste your time, and we are also extremely protective of our own time too. The money separates the serious from those that aren’t. As the late great Jim Rohn used to say, “I don’t need the money. I take the money, but I don’t need it.”
What’s The Difference Between Who Makes It And Who Doesn’t?
A combination of internal motivation and desperation. You need a very strong reason to succeed, and looking at our life and saying that it would be “really cool” to have this life ain’t gonna cut it. The difference between those who make it through the first few years and those who don’t, is simply that those who make it have some kind of internal need to make it work. Deep down, they don’t have a choice but to keep going. We had 7 years of making an average of $400 per week from our stores until we figured a few things out. And that was after I was offered a $160,000 per year Air Traffic Control position. Could you keep going through that? In your thirties? Without knowing if you’ll ever make it? Mentoring and coaching is not about someone turning you into a a successful person. It’s about someone helping someone who is already a truly motivated and successful person get to their next level much faster than they could do on their own.
The successful people we have helped have done it much much faster than we ever did (much to our chagrin…), which is why we keep doing this. But you need to come ready, and if we feel that you are not ready, then we will always reserve the right to refund your money, and let you go onto something that might be a better fit.
How Do I Know If I’m This “Successful Person” You’re Talking About?
We have many “successful people” that work for us and with us. In fact, it’s a requirement. We realise though that everyone has their own definition of success, so it makes sense for you to want to know what our’s is. A successful person in our eyes, is someone who does their best at whatever it is they do. If they dig ditches for a living, they dig the best damn ditch they can. What makes them successful is that they don’t do it for the Boss. They don’t do it for the company. They don’t do it to impress their co-workers or out of competition. They do it because they want to be able to look themselves in the mirror every day and say that they did their best, because that is where they get their self-worth from.
This is the number one factor we look for when hiring for our own businesses, or when choosing someone to coach or mentor. You don’t need to be a great leader, or come up with great motivational speeches for people like this, because they don’t do a good job because you’re a great leader – they do it for themselves.
How did you feel when you just read our definition? Is this you? Or is this something you might need to work on for a while? That’s okay, you can definitely change, but when you take on a business, you need to be at this level already. No one (not even us) can be there with you at every moment. In the hard times when you are working every day and spending money on products and marketing, and not making sales, you need to be able to keep going, and keep giving it the best shot you can. Not because of us, but because of you.
What You Want And What You Need
It’s also important to realise that when you are starting out, or are in the early days, all you want to know are the mechanics. You don’t want to hear another speech about “mindset”, you just want to hear how to rank your site in Google, or how to source product without being scammed. One thing we found out from coaching, is that while the mechanics are super important, at some point, we need to teach you how to become an entrepreneur yourself, rather than just teach you the strategies and the tactics that are working right now. You also need to know that your individual life/family situation will massively affect your entrepreneurial journey as well. We have helped people with no kids in their twenties, couples with young kids in their thirties, a couple in their forties, and even some people in their fifties. They all come to use with massively different backgrounds, baggage, and situations. This has to be talked about just as much as the mechanics, so if you do work with us, don’t expect to keep your personal life personal.
So What Next?
If you think some of what we have learned over the last 14 years might be useful to your situation and where you’d like to be. We’d recommend checking out our free video series here or on YouTube here.