EP 24 - Huy Q Nguyen - Learning and Exploring New Buiness Tactics
|We'll talk to an Awesomer about where they came from, the triumphs and tribulations they have faced and how they are doing today. An Awesomer Origin story is the chance to hear the backstory about the journey our guest took on their road to become awesomer. These stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway is that awesomers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, creeds, colors and every other variation possible. On your awesomer road you will face adversity. That’s just part of life. The question as always is how YOU choose to deal with it.|
|Huy Q Nguyen is a fitness and martial arts addict that started out as a personal trainer turned entrepreneur since 2013 and have since created a 6 figure per month brand on Amazon, and multiple 6 and 7 figure stores on Shopify.|
What does Huy do today?
Huy is focusing on honing his skills in business development and digital marketing to take his current company to 8 figures. Currently, he is a co-owner of a new venture, www.thebrandcartel.co, focusing on helping developing brands for startups, and entrepreneurs looking to take their brand from selling on Amazon to sell on their own store through Shopify. The Brand Cartel offers reliable A to Z Shopify store set-up solutions and task-based solutions that let us do the building, and the optimization of your store, so you can focus on running your business.
Huy has a great passion for entrepreneurship and believes that entrepreneurs can change the world for the better. Huy also loves to travel, eat great food around the world, spending time with family and connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs.
His favorite quote that led him to success:
“Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune.” - Jim Rohn
Dropshipping on Shopify is one of the easiest ways for beginner entrepreneurs to start their own store.
On today’s Awesomer origin story, Steve introduces us to Huy Nguyen, a young entrepreneur who leveraged the power of Amazon to grow his business. Huy is a global traveler who is now offering services to other sellers to help them start their own Shopify dropshipping store. Here are more gold nuggets on today’s episode:
How Huy traced back his roots to Vietnam.
The number one skill he needed to learn to start dropshipping.
And why it is important to learn and explore new tactics and keep an open mind in business and more.
So join us on today’s episode and find out all about entrepreneurship, dropshipping and Amazon from Huy’s amazing journey
Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.
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1:31 (Steve introduces today’s guest, Huy Nguyen.)
Steve: This is episode 24 of the Awesomers.com podcast and as always you can go find the show notes at Awesomers.com/24, that's Awesomers.com/24. Just use the numbers, you don't need to spell it out. My special guest today is Huy Nguyen and Huy is a great example of a somebody who's young and energized just getting the job done. I really think of him as a classic example of that young entrepreneur who is highly engaged in growing his business in every possible way. By leveraging the power of Amazon using a world-class training that Huy was exposed to early on, he's been able to jump start his online businesses today. He also has a dominant position for his Shopify stores which is a great diversity diversification and he's now offering services to other sellers to help them start a Shopify store that is built around the concept of dropshipping. So the overhead and startup is extra low. Huy is a global traveler, a bright entrepreneur and young and full of passion for the E-commerce business. I've been lucky enough to travel with Huy around the world through China and a number of different events. He’s a great businessman and I'm thrilled that we all get to learn from him today.
Welcome back Awesomers, here we are again today. Steve Simonson coming into your life, talking about what makes Awesomers and talking about another Awesomer origin story. We're happy today to have a good friend of mine. Huy Nguyen with us. Huy how are you buddy?
Huy: It's good Steve, very good.
Steve: Glad that we actually woke him up nice and early because as I understand you are presently in Asia, yes?
Huy: Yes I am, I'm currently in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh right now. So it's about just seven right now.
Steve: Yes, so we get Huy up nice and early which is always fun. Sometimes I get guys to stay up late, sometimes I get up early but we're thrilled that Huy takes the time out to join. And that's a good time to remind you guys out there listening. Why not subscribe and share this with a friend, let them join in on the fun. They can help wake up people too, everybody can get involved in this fun. So Huy before we jump into some of your background, can you just tell us in broad strokes what you do today? What occupy most your time today?
3:31 (Huy talks about what he does currently.)
Huy: Currently, I run an E-commerce business. So I sell on Amazon and I also sell on my own site stores, mostly on Shopify.
Steve: Okay, yes. That make sense. And we'll dive into some of those details a little bit more but I definitely had the opportunity to meet Huy and understand some of the things that he has put into his businesses. And he's for sure an Awesomer, no question about that. We will dive in tomorrow that here in a minute but first we're going to take a quick break.
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Steve: Okay we're back again and today we're gonna do an Awesomer origin story and we're talking to Huy Nguyen. And we want to make sure that we understand where did this Awesomer came from and so Huy can you share where were you born?
4:44 (Huy shares his origin story.)
Huy: Originally, I was originally born in Vietnam and migrated over to Toronto when I was 9. So it's Canada, I mean my father basically sponsored me. He was in Canada first. And been living in Canada for about over 20 years and then now I'm starting to an expand and we're back into Asia.
Steve: Nice, it's fun to watch that progression. And it turns out that somebody's original birth is also their most recent birth. Now that I've done the math. When I said where we were originally born versus where were you most recently, I think we've nailed that one down. How about your parents? Your dad sponsor you, what kind of work did your dad do?
Huy: My dad, originally he was a math teacher back home and then when he moved to Canada he was just a factory worker. And then he started learning his skills and CNC machining and then he worked his way up and eventually open his own company. And currently now he just runs a CNC machining company, services company. And my mom originally was a nurse and so she moved over to Canada. And she had my little brother and then she is basically stopped working.
Steve: Nice, okay. Good for the Awesomers who don't know CNC machining, that's one of the most delicate and precise types of production and factory environments that you'll find. And the big factories with lots of CNC machines are the ones who do lots and lots of detail work and can really do some extraordinary things. These piece of equipment are so amazing these days. So it's a pretty interesting thing. What did your... how about it, you mentioned you have a brother? You said, any other siblings?
Huy: Yes I have younger brother, he's almost literally half my age.
Huy: He's young and he's probably doing universities right now. But he's slowly been running his own store when he was in first year, he's in his second year now and he's getting more and more interested in running online business. So I actually started another business with him on the side and taking him on as a partner just kind of showing him the ropes. So I just have one little brother.
Steve: Yes, sure why not. So when you said he's running a store, what kind of store is that?
Huy: That's a Shopify store. So he got started in dropshipping. A little bit different than when I first thought got started. So he had a general store used some dropshipping on Shopify for a little bit, mainly the money. Now he's all excited. And you want to see do more of it.
Steve: Yes, so it's a funny thing. A lot of times any of us are susceptible when something's working, why not do more of it right?
Steve: Let's take a look, how about any University? Did you go to University yourself?
Huy: For me... I started, I did go to university. I started in college. Originally I was supposed to be doing business at min and then after a year in I realized this is really boring, it doesn't suit me. And at the end of the first year, my grandparents actually passed away so I had to go over to Vietnam and basically left my studies. I mean when I came back I realized it wasn't really me, a lot of changes happen at that time as I was getting kicked out of the house and eventually you realize, okay I have to go get a skill in my belt. And then I went back to college and started doing personal training. So fitness and health promotion and then I basically got a diploma for personal training and I started with that. That was my first official career.
Steve: Interesting, so your first job out of the gates with the training there and so forth was actually in the personal training fitness space. Yes?
Huy: Yes that's correct.
Steve: Yes. I think some of that you probably still carry on today and maybe not as a business but it's certainly a lifestyle for you. Yes?
Huy: Yes, absolutely. I definitely enjoy it. So reason I got started in that is, I used to do a lot of martial arts when I was younger and we were performing and worth it. I've always been obsessed with just training myself and then I realized a what's the better way to just go to those school and learn it the right way and really dive deep into it. I wasn't even thinking. The funny thing is I was in kind of profession, my first objective at the time which is like how can I train my body to be better and then that basically the end of my studies. My girlfriend that time say, “Hey you're actually really good at this, try making some money.” Then that point, I apply for intern trainer for fitness. And then I started working there for a little bit, took on some clients and then it just kind of blew up from there.
Steve: Nice, it is interesting. I think Awesomer should take note that education, we're all about education, we love learning but it has to be in the right format. Right? So some of the people they like the the classroom, the academia. They don't mind sitting in a classroom all day and talking about it. In fact they soak it up, there's guys that I've talked to and interviewed and they'd love to be in that school. There's other guys like myself included that don't like to be in that classroom environment. Yet when we find something we're passionate about in Huy’s case, the fitness, he's all about diving in on the education. Going deep on the learning. So it really comes back to that idea of strengths. What are you good at? What do you like to do and then you double down on those strengths because that's so much more fulfilling for people. So I do find that interesting, the contrast between universities boring but manual, you'll train the heck out of yourself on something you really like, is that how you found it to be?
Huy: Yes, absolutely. So like I said, I wasn't very passionate about learning Business Admin Program, where I couldn't find an application to what I was really interested in. And then when I got into the whole fitness thing, I was all day and night about it. At the time I was actually working a few jobs and put myself through school. So it was a little bit tough doing, try to keep up with everything but because you're so into it and you love what you do it doesn't really matter in terms of how much the workload was. And then at that point I discover sales and then I started switching over like, “Hey, there's some really good ways to make money here.”
Steve: Well, again that lesson of passion that really, that endless fire. It's the eternal flame of energy and if you don't have that passion for whatever you're doing, it's so much harder. The journey is so much longer and it's like carrying a big rock up a hill. I like the old Greek myth about the Sisyphus, had to carry the rock up the hill and not a pleasant journey. So more important to find your strengths and dive into that. You mentioned that you've had a couple jobs. Was there any kind of first job besides the fitness thing that was a proper job, a normal job?
Huy: Before I got into fitness, I learned the CNC machining from my father and I was working for my father for a living. And so you know, hey you know even you're not applying your skills and you're saying I'm doing them just stop you to leave. It was a harsh, it was a harsh time. At that point when I left the house, I have $5 to my knees I was like, ”What can I do to make some money?”
Steve: It’s something like baby birds gotta fly right? You get kicked out of the nest and it's like you better learn how to fly before we hit the bottom.
Steve: Yes that's actually what happened. I was fortunate enough that a friend of mine invited me to her place to kind of hang out for about three or four months. And I kind of get myself back on my feet.
Steve: Oh wow, we'll roll the Bowchickawowow music there for you. That's nice and so it is interesting that problems get solved when problems need solutions. Right? The week before your dad reach the choice of bouncing you basically you were like yes this is fine I can just kind of go along and even if you had latent desires to make changes or to dive into something. There was nothing motivating you, is that true?
Huy: Yes, at that point I was like I didn't have much of a choice at that point. It's either I do something about it or it's gonna be pretty much the end for me. And I have to do pretty much whatever it took to get back on track and because I had been training martial arts for a long time, my teacher at the time always tells me is eventually you're going to have to think on your own and do things in your knowledge. And then the most important thing is being responsible to your action and understanding the consequences. So at that point I realized I guess it's time to go out there and survive, take on life.
Steve: Yes, sure. Well this is not a unique journey. This is commonly referred to as the transition or the tipping point where a want becomes a need. Right? Everybody wants freedom, everybody wants to achieve a certain goal. It doesn't matter what the goal is. Some people want to run their own business, some people want to travel for a living. Who knows what they, want to do but whatever that want is the need has to take its place, right? You need to have a lifestyle of freedom because of happiness or whatever the case is. So wants versus needs is a big deal and there's a lot of Normies in this world who say, “ I want this, I want that, I want that”, but they don't actually do anything to get it right. And Awesomer is like to make that transition is to I need to do this so that I can enjoy the spoils of victory. So it definitely sounds like a very interesting time. How about we're going talk a little bit more about what you do today in detail here in a minute but what are some of the defining moments and who put you on the road or that put you on the road from the time you were going through that kicking out of the nest to today? Where you have some very successful things happening online? And we're going to dive into those more.
Huy: There's a couple of defining moments I would say. My very first defining moment was, I discovered basically sales. Where I've made a whole bunch of sales, personal training. And then funds were introducing me to other kinds of business that had never occurred to me. So I got involved in MLM, I got involved at door sales and it really fascinated me for the fact that you can really good at talking and convincing and persuading and making a sale. And then getting a reward for that. So I actually stopped my personal training out there. About a year and a half working for good life and then I started jumping into literally sales jobs. So I got I got involved in MLM start understanding that business model and then from there I realized it wasn't something for me. And then I was almost back to square one because I wasn't good at sales. At that point I realized it's like holy crap there's so much to learn, there’s so much work. I need to google myself and I was literally not making money for a little bit and I was literally down into right. And then I discovered ASM is, at that point in my mind I said there's got to be something out there for me to be able to work from home, control my own time and be able to do stuff my way. And ironically as soon as I had that thought, a month later I discovered ASM when they first launch. I follow up everything to the team for like a good month and then they finally launched. And then the price came out. I was like, “ What am I going to dig up within three thousand dollars in U.S dollars and by the course”. And I thought the payment system, the financing wasn't available was at one time. It was a one time payment so I missed that launch and I said to myself this is not good. I got to earn some money, so hopefully they'll open again and I'll jump in. And sure enough the second time they open and I jumped in, I followed everything to the tee, I had no experience online whatsoever. I didn't know what affiliate marketing was, digital marketing. I've no idea what was going on. I came in there and I saw all of their lessons to the tee at us and I found my first product. At that point I was working literally three different jobs to save for the business because I have to pay for my rent, I had to pay for my own living at the same time I had to have extra cash capital to buy inventory. And then I finally got my first product to launch and it failed because I had no idea what I was doing. I jumped into vitamin C serum and in my mind was like, “Oh this is going to make me absolutely rich, I'm gonna be amazing at it”. And I literally land flat on my face after three months, three and a half months of working on that brand. And then at that point I was like okay this sucks. Because I just lost a bunch of money, I'm in debt, I got credit card debt, used credit card to pay for the course and I'm also down in debt for inventory cost. And then I say, “ You know what? I'm gonna start over. I'm gonna do another product”.
Steve: So let me let me dive in there for a minute, because this is a very fun journey down memory lane for me anyway. Because I've had many product failures but at the time that the products failing a lot of people kind of get down and they're like, “Oh man this didn't work, this course is bad” or I'm bad or everybody gets into that negative thought process. Was there any time in there that you wanted to give up or it sounds like you were very optimistic, wanted to launch the second product right away.
Huy: For me at that point, I was never thinking of giving up because for me that was my only way out of my nine-to-five right because I was at that point. I was literally doing two - almost two full-time jobs in a part-time because I was still doing over the personal training. I also worked for a bootcamp company and then I had my regular nine-to-five which it was literally jumping in one job to the next. I've done everything from selling cars, to recruitment, to selling baby box.
Steve: I just love the fact that at some point that little bell went off in your head right. You're like I don't want that course, I need that course because it can change my dynamic. Give me what I want to have. And even though you weren't ready on the first time, you prepared yourself for the second time. You leveraged yourself. You did whatever it took to double down on the process that you saw. That was a positive one. And then even after launching a product which didn't go well it sounds like that first one you're still like, yes I could see that, there's still something. So that's why that is a really wonderful level of optimism. So how did you get rid of that first product?
Huy: The first product... I never really got rid of it, that's like I did well. I was lucky enough to find a supplier that was like literally down the road from where I live.
Huy: And I didn't have to buy a whole lot. But it was expensive because I had no idea how to negotiate supplier. I had no idea like what it cost to ship it and it was just a very bad calculated product. The price point wasn't high enough, I didn't have enough and then I also didn't even enough space or enough budgeting for marketing. So I thought I just put a problem on Amazon and it's gonna sell itself.
Steve: Oh boy I tell you there's so many… Listen please not alone in this. People are like oh so stuff on Amazon great and then they say well how do I sell and there's a discussion about that. Whether they decide to do retail arbitrage or wholesale dropshipping or even private labeling, whatever the business model is. But just putting an item on Amazon amongst the millions of other products is not going to sell the product. There's the whole idea of listing optimization and then getting found in search that both the natural search, the paid search results. But that marketing funnel I assume you have a launch process. Is that fair to say Huy?
Huy: Yes, eventually I learned how to watch properly and I started experimenting really and I realized there's so much information out there and I try to understand and learn more and jumping on one or two group discussions and getting ideas from people who been selling really well. When I first started out I wasn't even thinking which is all of my own space and I wasn't really expanding my knowledge or trying to get out there. I was just literally focusing on trying to get that product live.
Steve: That is so interesting. So I think a lot of people find themselves isolated and alone and feel like they have to solve this impossible figurative Rubik's Cube that they've never seen before. In fact they don't even know the shape of it but they think they have to solve it all themselves. But it sounds like you were engaging in communities to try to help find some of the answers. Is that what I'm picking up?
Huy: Yes. So I started messaging people who have been posting results and I was just telling them my struggles and asking them how they got over it. And then they started giving me tips and then I started focusing more on following the proper steps instead of just trying to fast track in and trying to cut corners. And that gave me a better understanding of how that product almost I can down.
Steve: Yes, so we all are susceptible to this idea. I just want more faster better... everybody kind of wants to the easy button as it were. But so many times we talked to Awesomers that have been down the road, we all try to take whatever route the we see is the most logical route and the most efficient route but over time we realize that there's a whole series of steps that make these things predictably profitable right. And that's a true system, a system is when you can put something in on one end and a predictable result comes out on the other. And I know that you've accomplished that goal because you've achieved great heights today and you're still very very young. All of this has happened over what course of time would you say from today to when you first started that training.
Huy: Officially case, I bought ASM. I bought it and I just left the course for almost a year because I did not capital.
Steve: Yes. You need still capital to launch a product right.
Huy: Product, that's correct I have to save up to spend time and save up to launch the product. So if you count the time since I bought the courses about four years but in actually will launch up now. It's about three and a half years just, not even three and a half years probably just a little over three years.
Steve: It's amazing, a well executed and optimistic plan is just a few years later. So before we dive into some of your particulars today or whatever you wish to share was. Did you ever hit a point? Have you so far anyway that were you like this, just went so terrible I just want to give up, I'm done with this, I'm gonna go back to fitness or whatever it is.
Huy: No. I can't say that there was a point where we want to go back. I don't think I would want to go back ever. My biggest moment was when I finally made my second father, when my goal in my head, I've always told myself like I figured out my most minimal requirement to sustain life which is like 5,000 bucks a month. And it was like this is it, this is all I need. So as soon as I achieve $5,000, I literally went to my boss and I can't heat my resignation letter and he's like dude you just got started like a month and a half ago like what happened? I'm just like; I'm done, I'm gonna go focus on this full time and I'm gonna beautiful time and I know it's gonna work with me. And that was a critical moment of my life. When I realized exactly what I want to do and how I want to do it and then at that point going forward I've never really thought about hey let's get back personal training or let's get back to jumping into a job. It is not very critically because I've just been I guess expanding over here. I try to achieve, have a set number of goals over here that I got achieved. And funny enough like sometimes I'll write down a goal and I don't know how to make this possible but somehow the year goes by and I'm just like wow I did it or I'm almost there. And I can see that vision and I can see it happy. So it's been an awesome ride and meeting people like yourself. When I first met you was actually few posts online and I started looking into your information, into what you do, is like this guy's flippin awesome. I gotta jump on this trip. That's how I kind of met you prior to that.
Steve: Yes, I think you're quite right. Well it is an amazing story and it's such a compressed time frame to see how the idea kind of took hold and then you're able to get traction so early. On just a month and a half in and you've really carried on a very open free travel lifestyle. I mean I regularly see you traveling around the world in various areas. Do you have any place that you call home base?
Huy: Home base right now for me is Toronto. Recently, just this recent trip I made some connections. So for anything is, like two weeks ago I just bought a condo here. I was like wow this is like having guys, I wasn't even expecting if the happy and then I got shown around I was like, this seems like a great decision. I just jumped in and I mean I usually just jump first.
Steve: Yes, well I'm a big fan of flying the airplane while you build it. So that works for me for sure. Give me a best day in your career so far, your professional life, whatever it may be. Was there a day where you just looked around and said Wow now this is a good day I'm sure, glad I'm taking a victory lap here.
28:54 (Huy talks about his best day of his career.)
Huy: There's been a few days like that actually but I guess not a best day. But I realize it's like things are slowly panning out too. To what my vision of what my life will be is. When I want my store, my own personal store. We were doing about 14,000 that day and which was based on one product. We control the traffic and I was like wow like I can do this on my own. And it was a great feeling because I was working so hard prior to that. Just trying to figure out the formula and figure out like how the whole running your own traffic store and not be dependent on Amazon. And it was just awesome and I realize it's like I can do this more and have my controller month is of course it's just been dependent on one selling channel. And it was a amazing time.
Steve: Yes. I can imagine this is an important list of our servers out there that no matter what path you choose. It doesn't matter if you say gosh I really like this idea of selling on Amazon or selling on e-commerce in general having more than one revenue stream is useful and it's also a very good diversification of risk. Amazon could be temperamental, even your own sales channels have their ups and downs. And so by putting together a few different pieces of the puzzle you have a little bit more of a sustainable business which again always turns into equity for me. And I've watched, Huy put these pieces together where he's got an Amazon Prime, a label piece, he's got the Shopify sites where he's doing his own stuff and he's controlling both side of this business. And it's scaling pretty rapidly which is the thing that I find really awesome. I love it a lot. So how about any big lesson, any big takeaway that you care to share on your journey so far?
Huy: One of the biggest things was actually starting talking to you and how you're always talking about systems. Because I ran into a big thump or hitting the wall. I realized I'm working a whole lot of hours and things are not getting done and my business actually just totally was stalemate for like a good 4 to 5 months and I'm not producing as much as I liked to but the workload is just getting more and more. And I'm thinking to myself like how do I solve this issue right. And then talking to you, you're always talking about building systems and having things in a systematic way and building teams. So in the past year that's what I've been pretty much focusing on. Building our systems, working my business and then building teams to run the system. So one of the biggest takeaway that I find is definitely building that system not which building out that process that works for you. Everybody functions differently, everybody do things differently and have different processes but the ones that work really well is the one that match your style of work. Some people prefer to work early in the morning, some people prefer to work late in the evening and they have a specific process that they go through. Even subconsciously they don't really pay attention to but once you start paying attention to that you can start tweaking out and building out your own processes. You can save a lot of time that way. It's also going to help you with your preparation process and I want to key things that I learned and everything is, no victory requires preparation, you got to be prepared for her for anything that you do. Have a good plan and being systematic about it to really scale efficiently and executed. I think that's why the biggest takeaway that I have learned through this whole process and I've actually applied that Fremont training. I've applied that through my daily life and I've been seeing consistent results. So for me like that's what's working.
Steve: Yes. That's a very good lesson. I'm glad it is working for you, systems. It's so easy to say the word systems but people don't always fully understand what does a system mean. A system can be anything fundamentally. It can apply to your personal life. I walk around my brain is just wired for systems. And it's like I have to put my wallet and keys in the same spot every time I walk into the house and when I happen to take it out early, my brain just goes follow procedure, follow procedure. I have to put that wallet and that set of keys into the same spot otherwise I know my systems broke and the good news is every time I want to know where my wallet and keys are I go to the same spot. And as small and silly as that example may sound that's the fundamental part of what a system delivers. As I said earlier, predictable result. And systems without people doesn't give you leverage right? Ultimately we can automate as much as we can but people are still the secret to leverage and scale and that's where business equity comes from. So when you take that combination of really well-executed system and as much automation as makes sense and you combine that with really talented people to keep the ball moving, that's when scale can happen. And I think you're poised really for another big break down even though you've already achieved a significant scale and significant revenues. I think you're very close to the next big breakout. So I can't wait to see what happens. Maybe we even talk offline about some of the things my China team has done to help uncover more systematized methods that to help businesses like Huy’s, we're in one of his business models. He relies on products being directly shipped from China to America. Is that fair to say Huy?
Huy: Yes, so that's the dropshipping component. Originally when I first started getting into more into Shopify, the reason I actually jumped into Shopify because I realized I look at all the core skills or the core component that would drive my business and be able to jump into the next bracket and into your scale is basically driving me on traffic right. Like what makes Amazon so successful? It’s because Amazon has a massive amount of readily traffic, as long as you rank your product it's always there but without Amazon you can't get that traffic. So I realized like how my number one skill I need to learn, how to drive my own traffic. That's when I started, I got started Facebook marketing and I was looking at Google, I was looking at all different channels of running traffic and I realized like what I should be focusing on. I was in Facebook because it was easier to learn, a lot of people are having success with it. So there was almost like a proven model, something I should put time and focus in and that's when I got I jumped into Shopify. And originally I will just need regular dropshipping. Well just buying stuff from Aliexpress and then I would dropship it directly to my customers. It was working really well at the beginning because my volume was fairly low. I wasn't doing much volumes. I was learning and it was actually not even making profit for me. At that time it was literally just learning the process of how do I pick product put on my own store and in the process of running ads and then eventually I figure out a process of how to do that efficiently on my own. And then I quickly transferred to a team and then we started testing and more and more products and then found winners and then I didn't realize how fast it came but I was doing literally 10 to 20 sales a day. And then all the side it was like 20 30 40 and then we were doing during Q4 we were doing 150 orders a day and obviously I can't do this on my own, I gotta hire more people right. And then at that point the guys in China are running out of stock because the guys are now exposed. They buy when you buy, he said essentially do what you're doing in China. So then at that point I started contacting suppliers directly and try to make deals with them and try to buy more in bulk and then to ship it directly. It was really challenging at one point because I couldn't figure out who was the actual supplier were in the training companies and I just say it doesn't really matter. It's not about pounding down on the price of that but it's about finding out the numbers that working your business. Where you can offer table and I'll worry about pounding the price down to like its low the lowest. So I started working with more and more sourcing agents. What people would just find products for me and then they would take a card and I didn't care what kind of cop you were taking as long as they were able to meet my price criteria. And they were able to deliver my products. I would run with them. As I started working with that process and I kind of almost trying try it still figured out like what's the better way to do it because there's a lot of errors and a lot of I guess roadblocks doing this process as I'm doing more and more of it. There's human errors, packages get sent to the wrong address. That seems to be the norm and then packages you're taking too long to be sent because of the processing time. So I'm still in the process and still learning how to make this whole process more efficient. But yes, that's actually how it all got started with my own site. Now I do probably bought the private labeling with Amazon but at the same time I do the same thing on my own store. But I try to get the product shipped from China as much as possible. For me it just might call more cost additions.
Steve: Yes, so there's a lot of leverage that comes from holding inventory or having somebody else ideally hold inventory for you in China and then shipping it direct using the E-packet program. I think you can ship to something like 35 countries around the world with reasonable predictability in terms of timing. It's usually one to three weeks, that's assuming good execution on the fulfillment side but there's a lot of details in there that as you start getting that business to scale that's where this some of the challenges happen right. And that's where the systems and the people gotta get fleshed out. You start dealing with hundreds and hundreds of orders a weeks. It can get very complex, very quickly.
Huy: Yes but they're going to be like recently, I told you in the last trip, I mean we've had over 300 orders that were literally sent to the wrong address. I mean it was a nightmare to solve all that. On one side you gotta try to figure the disputes with your supplier, your agent enough. The other one side got to deal with your customers complaining. Hey where's my product and then you got to shell out your own pocket money to resend all those orders, to make sure your customers are happy. So that was a nightmare to deal with.
40:41 (Steve shares more of his dropshipping experience.)
Steve: Yes, but we've all been there. I remember way back in the late 90s, we were selling some products and we had a big sale event and this particular sale event really brought us to our knees. It was one of those times where we were just getting out of the gate. So we ran a big promotion and all of our suppliers ran out of stock, we had no idea where, how to ship products. I mean it was just a wonderful nightmare but it was a pallet of product that we had shipped to New Jersey. It turns out it was one of the guys who was like the Attorney General for New Jersey and he was not thrilled that he did not get his pallet of product. That was a couple thousand dollars and so we didn't know where it was and the shipping companies like; Yes, file a claim and we'll see what happens and we don't know how long that process will take. So we ended up and for the next day era pallet. To the guy in New Jersey which was three times more money than the entire product cost but we just had to learn right. And all of these things are learning opportunities. So before we take a break and talk about the future. Huy, is there any tool or any app or any kind of gadget or gizmo system that you use day-to-day that you feel is your favorite thing or you can't live without?
Huy: For me, currently right now because I run my own ads. I like Qwaya it's basically allows me to run a lot of ads in a very very short period.
Steve: How do we spell that?
Huy: Qwaya is a Q-W-A-Y-A.
Steve: Yes. That seems very clear now that you've said it. So it allows you to run a bunch of ads on facebook really fast.
Huy: Yes so originally I use the Facebook platform and use the power editor and at the beginning when you're only managing a couple of products it's manageable and then you can sit there and run ads. All the reports you get on there but when you start managing multiple stores like I'd ever run five different stores. I just started another, a partner company with friend in Australia. And it's funny enough, I met her at a conference. They were just got along really well, she's like hey let's stick something together. So being able to basically run ads all from one hub you will control all of it in one go. It's huge, for me it's something I can't live without being able to launch 50-100 ads within 20 minutes. It's quite remarkable.
Steve: That is amazing. I can't wait to check that out. We'll put the link in show notes for everybody's benefit out there and that's definitely one that I want to learn about because the power editor has a lot of functionality, a lot of features but boy it just seems like you're doing a lot of clicks to get through there and it feels a lot like torture to me. So I don't like doing it anymore. We generally use third parties or other experts to do that for us but I always like to know the best tools. So thank you. So far it's been a very fun time to dive a little deeper into your background. We're gonna take a quick break and come back and then get a prediction about the future. So everybody stay tuned, we'll be right back.
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Steve: Okay, we're back again and we're gonna talk a little bit more about forward-looking predictive predictions at this point and Huy think about five years from now, what does your business look like? Maybe what is the world of E-commerce look like or Amazon? Give us some prognostications if you will.
45:14 (Huy gives his prediction on the future of E-commerce, his business and Amazon.)
Huy: Now I think E-commerce will still be around definitely. I will sell probably a lot bigger than it is now but I mean the market is pretty deep. There's a lot of depth to it but I think what's going to happen is the landscape will probably evolve more into personalization, more into customizations, being more connected to the customers directly where you can communication to them. As we're seeing the trends now with the chatbots and then I think what it's going to be going is going to be. I think that's going to be the next next big thing where you're going to be able to buy and then have its own environment 3DR, that's where I think it's going to go. But I think currently right now it's still a great time to get into E-commerce, there's just a lot of stuff you can do with it, lots of products you can sell, lots of gaps that you can really build a wonderful business out of it including Amazon. As much as a lot of people say there's a lot of competitions on Amazon but I still think there's still a lot of room to grow. Amazon. Obviously it's not as easy as it was a few years ago when I first got started. You have to approach you with a very strategic approach and have a system in place and have a well strategize method of coaching Amazon to be successful at it. It's no longer we can slap with product writers grads and get it. I'm finding Nick after we have to do marketing now. I think there's still lots of space and competition is not as nearly as much as people may need to be.
Steve: Yes. It is really for people I've been around a long time. Even in E-commerce this would be roughly my 20th year in E-commerce. Literally my first sale was made in October of 1998 and back then E-commerce was less than 1% of the market right. And here 20 years later it's still only between 8 and 12 percent of the total market depending on who you ask and if you include things at retail that would normally be included but can't really be delivered via E-commerce like gasoline and and things like that. So regardless let's just use the number of 10 percent as a round number. It's just such a nascent business, it's just the beginning of that business, it will double to 20% in the next 10 years probably which makes E-commerce an absolute tsunami of opportunity and no matter what it doesn't matter. Even back in the late 90s we had people telling us by the time 2002 came around, oh the jig is up there's no more easy money and this and there's always opportunity. There never was easy money. At the end of the day it all took work, it all took investment, it all took risk and I can't agree more that Huy is right on the money. It will evolve the customization and personalization. It’s a terrific insight that's happening and it's going to continue to happen and the more people are prepared to deal with that I think the higher opportunity they will have.
Huy: Yes, absolutely.
Steve: I agree with you. So Huy tell us a little bit about one of your companies as I recall, you have a business that is now oriented to help other businesses going. Is that right?
Huy: Yes, so this is something brand new I started. Well I started last year with my brother. Was just something on the side just helped me get some income. I guess he was running his own store but he was overwhelmed with schoolwork and he asked me like what for trying you to make some money and I told him well you got to run on stories like well I can't. We started doing sort of like on the side, we're just literally helping local businesses bringing their business online and help them setting up their own Shopify store. I mean I just evolved from there and then he started looking at all the processes that I was doing and I was like hey let's create something, where we can help business people who are already selling on Amazon. I take your stuff over to your Shopify just like the way I do it. So we just started this literally. Just recently putting together our sites almost done like, we haven't officially launched it. Were looking to launch on July. So we're just putting all the components together where we will be able to literally take a brand solely on Amazon and take it over to Shopify a fully done-for-you service well. We will do all the coding, will help you with the placements of your videos, pictures a lot of times for product pages and we'll leave in set basic funnels for you. It's literally an A to Z service that will provide for if you want to, just take your brand from Amazon over the Shopify or if you have an existing Shopify store that you want to improve upon and want to know our system of launching of. How to run the store efficiently. We also have that available. One of the things that the issues that I find that Shopify sellers run into you and even Amazon sellers is they run into little roadblocks and it's just basically technical stuff. So you're on a site unless, you want to change tunnels change your product page, you want to add a second at cart button for example. It's not a difficult thing to do when you just hit a roadblock, you don't want to do it anymore and you just got stopped. If you're like hey what do I do and you don't want to pay too much to get that done because the job is easy and then eventually it never gets done. So what we've came out with it was basically a credit system on our services, where we can buy these credits on a monthly subscription. And for small tasks like that will do for you. So if you want you come to us and you say hey need a second Add to Cart button, we need to move our picture from left to right and we need to enlarge your video or whatever the small task is, as long as we've been an hour two hours, well we will do that task for you. We will get it done for you. If you have a product and you just didn't have time to kind of finalize that product and you have a template, you want to use one of our templates will literally take that product. We'll put it in frontal and then by the time we're done with it you can just blend that directly to it and use it immediately. I mean I just saved your time that way and I've been doing that for awhile now just with my own team but I was thinking why not. After that then I think it would be a very beneficial service especially as an Amazon style. That will finalize your own product on those store and you control your own traffic, what happens to the front end and the back end. I think it's a great addition.
Steve: Yes, the idea of done-for-you versus do-it-yourself is really something i hope guys consider. As much as I want people to be learners and really understand the nature of their business and the key drivers or levers that make their business successful there are other ways of expanding and using experts and third parties to help you cover that ground. It’s always something that I believe in and I highly prefer to find those experts who can accelerate it especially if I can trade a little bit of money for a lot of time right. And that's always the math that people do long term is, let's invest some time or let's invest some money and pick up the time and accelerate our learning, accelerate our progress and that's a good investment. So by the time this airs it's possible that Huy site will be live and we'll be sure that we get it the show notes for everybody. That they can click through and take a look and see his done-for-you service and see how it fits in for their business. So whether you're already doing the Shopify and you want to improve it or whether you are an Amazon private label business that you want to jump on the Shopify, it sounds like his new service will help. That sound about right?
Huy: Yes, that's right. If you have a brand product or an entire line of product you want to sell in your store. I choose Shopify just because for the customer service having and the ease of use versus all the other platform. Shopify, it's been a great partner in terms of what we do and then to eat the usability that how easy it is. It's literally just click and drag and drop. You can't get any more easier than that and to be able to manage one or a store it also requires minimal work. You just got to know what components to set men to manage but other than that I mean like if you have a yellow up you already have the branded store or sort of rain on Amazon, you have a bunch of products, you want just bring it over and you want to run your own funnels to it, what you will do it, will take that entire process for you.
Steve: Yes it's amazing and here he is, he's a young fella, he's already achieved pretty pretty high levels of success especially considering the short time in the business right. Let's call it less than three years or around three years in the business and you've reached annualized sales that are pretty significant and I don't like to give out people's numbers because that's their business but I on behalf of Awesomers out there, I can vouch for Huy. He's running some numbers and everybody would love. And even at a young age getting the job done. So kudos to you Huy.
Steve: How about any final words of wisdom for our Awesomers out there, anything you wish to send out to them?
55:27 (Huy shares some final words of wisdom.)
Huy: But I think if the continual learning isn't really important, as we were just talking previously about the industry always involving the entrepreneur. You should always also have quality and always learn and explore new tactics, to do strategies that are coming out and not be closed-minded based on the one thing that's always been working for you. I mean like it's working for you now but you don't know where that's gonna go if you don't follow the trends, that you don't do both with the industry. I think that's going to be one of the biggest downfalls in your own business and as an entrepreneur. And in being able to kind of explore new channels and explore new ideas, I think that's one of the biggest things that I can tell people and that's how I evolved from just selling on Amazon and then moving over to running my own store, running my own traffic. It's literally... I would probably say my business for doing that.
Steve: Yes, well this is a very good lesson everybody. I hope you're really thinking about this, the idea of being static, means that wherever you are if you just stay the same then ultimately that position will not be as valuable as it once was. You have to be dynamic encouraging kind of continued progress and learning not being afraid. Well it's okay to be afraid but just take the leap anyway. Those are risks that Awesomer should take. So very well done, we appreciate that and for Awesomers out there listening, thanks to Huy and we will be right back.
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Well we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.
Steve: Wasn't that fun? It's just so inspiring to me to hear all these different ways that people are able to break out of that paradigm of normal. Right? The Normies are stuck in that standard paradigm, hey let me go do this I'm gonna get my space in the wheel, I'll be a cog and everybody else will go around with me. But Huy is making a path of his own and as always these origin stories from Awesomers around the world inspire me. Here's a brilliant guy lives in Canada moves around the world all the time in Asia and Vietnam and he's still able to run these businesses and generate new ideas and get things really done. That's what makes Huy an Awesomer and I sure do love the story, I hope you do too. Don't forget this has been episode number 24 of the Awesomers.com podcast and just go to Awesomer.com/24 to find the show notes.