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The great Albert Einstein once said that “The only source of knowledge is experience.”
We totally agree. Nothing beats hearing the stories of successful people, the lessons they learned along the way, and how they became who they are now.
The eCommerce Profits Podcast is a great avenue for this—and while we didn’t get to interview Albert Einstein on the podcast, we were still able to invite some pretty influential people in the eCommerce and DTC space.
Though each episode focuses on specific eCommerce success stories, we’ve actually consolidated some of the most valuable golden nuggets we picked up across various episodes.
Here are 6 amazing tips and words of wisdom from the many owners of successful DTC brands we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing:
I. Keep going and keep learning
The most successful eCommerce businesses have different backstories. Some have heart-wrenching stories, while some have more traditional beginnings. What’s common though is how they all kept pushing forward.
“Tomorrow, you’re gonna go forward three steps,” Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint, Inc. says. “We’re gonna keep doing this, and we’re gonna keep doing this.”
As someone who has been named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, Kara Goldin gives a great illustration of entrepreneurship.
Visualize this: Somebody gives you a very large puzzle and tells you to assemble it. It has 1000 pieces and as you start building it, you can’t figure out where the other pieces are. Then someone takes a handful of the pieces from you or gives you new pieces. Kara says it will get confusing, but you’ve already started so you just need to keep going. She gives an even more detailed description in this episode of eCommerce Profits Podcast.
II. There’s no shame in not knowing something
Stormy Simon is not your average leader—she shot up the ranks from executive assistant to branding, Customer Care VP, to CMO, and eventually to President and board member. Over her 15-year career, Overstock grew to almost $2 billion in revenue. What was the secret?
Stormy said that she was that one person in the room who would raise her hand and ask any question that she didn’t know the answer to. She had no time to pretend she knew what people were talking about. This is very valuable advice for budding entrepreneurs who are afraid of being seen as “newbies.”
She was not afraid to admit when she didn’t know something—and she would raise her hand and ask. “A lot of moving, a lot of hustling,” is how she described the entrepreneurship journey.
III. Find a community and make networking a hobby
Did you know that 80% of professionals find networking crucial for career success? Asher Ismail, co-founder of Uncapped (EU revenue-based finance provider) could not agree more.
Asher feels that he was actually lucky as far as eCommerce success stories go. In the group of founders he found himself in, there were already a couple who had built very large businesses and sold a few as well. Aside from the technical stuff, he realized that he actually needed help on a human level—having someone to talk through his problems with. He elaborates more about this in the episode where he was the guest.
Even Nathan Resnick, President and Co-founder of Sourcify, can attest to the importance of networking and being part of a community—even in the early stages of building or conceptualizing a business.
In this episode of eCommerce Profits Podcast, he told Josh that the lever of growth is definitely referrals and inbound.
IV. Invest in people
Something that entrepreneurs have a hard time figuring out is when they should stop doing things on their own. Of course, hiring has its pros and cons—you’ll have an extra hand but at an additional cost.
So what do our successful DTC brand owners have to say about this?
Eddie Maalouf, founder and CEO of 4Media Marketing, emphasizes the need to hire fast, before you think you need to. In this podcast episode, he even mentions that the first time you have to hire someone will be hard. And it’s bound to get harder if they suck or they leave. But it’s going to happen.
Meanwhile, Nikki Mocerino, co-founder and CEO of The Ohn Store, reminds entrepreneurs to invest in people. As a leader, she values her teammates because she knows they are a crucial part of the eCommerce business. She talks more about this in a separate episode.
V. Know what drives you
This one is a bit deep, and the most successful entrepreneurs all have their own stories of why they started and what motivated them.
When Eric Malka, co-founder and CEO of Ingredients, was a guest in one episode, he talked about how you should not focus on money. Instead, you should focus on how to add value to your life and to society by being driven by a bigger purpose.
Brandon Young, an 8-figure Amazon seller, admits that entrepreneurship is really hard. He says it’s important to go out of your comfort zone but also to surround yourself with the right people. He also emphasizes that his wife just really complemented him and that it was the magic sauce for them. You can listen to his story here.
Essentially, Brandon reminds entrepreneurs that it’s not all about the money and the wealth—but being happy and feeling good about chasing after your passions.
VI. Be prepared to fail
No one’s gotten it right the first time. Matt Edmunson is now CEO of a self-branded eCommerce coaching and consulting company. But the journey to where he is now was tough. In this episode, he talks in detail about the different challenges he experienced—price increases, letting people go and supplier issues.
Even Steve Jobs failed. Colonel Sanders failed a LOT of times. You’re going to fail. Have this mindset and learn to deal with failures. At least you’ll know there’s progress.
We were privileged enough to have Leslie Kuster, CEO and founder of Back from Bali, as a guest in one episode. She got most of her encouragement from her parents, who were both entrepreneurs—and that’s why her mindset has always been different. Her dad would always tell her “Just do it, just do it,” and until today, she considers that a really valuable piece of advice.
In short, “just do it,” because you know you’re going to fail anyway. But just keep going, and learn from it.
There you have it—six golden nuggets from some of the most successful brand owners in the DTC space.
Listen to more high-value tips, strategies, and insights straight from top founders and experts in the eCommerce industry. Head over to the eCommerce Profits Podcast for your regular dose of value.