Like many people who want to be their own boss, you might have had moments in your life when you thought you should take the mainstream road and pursue a more “practical” career. If you’ve ever had these entrepreneurial doubts, you’re not alone. Being an entrepreneur is not the right decision for everyone but if you’re like our next guest, world-class entrepreneur and Amazon marketing strategy coach, Anik Singal, the fire to be the master of his own destiny burned too bright to be stomped out.
Anik went from running a lemonade stand in the third grade to later unleashing his life-long entrepreneurial spirit to create Lurn, a leading online and offline entrepreneurial consulting service with 96 employees and three offices worldwide. And he’s here to share his journey, business insights, how to find your passion while selling on Amazon, and many other thought-provoking topics that are sure to interest anyone with an itch to be the master of their own destiny.
In episode 32 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Anik discuss:
- 00:30 Anik’s Story
- 03:30 How Anik’s Entrepreneurial Journey Started
- 05:05 Making Money While He Slept – His Life-Changing Moment
- 06:35 His “Hollywood” Moment – When Things Went Bad
- 08:40 Anik’s Business Rebirth – How Lurn Was Born
- 10:20 His Business Model – Providing Real Value And Service
- 11:40 Insights On Entrepreneurial Best Practices And Mindset
- 14:30 The Importance Of The “Loss Leader” Concept
- 16:00 Core Constants – Strategies That Still Work Today
- 17:40 What Is Your “Why”?
- 20:20 Anik’s “Why” – What Motivates Him
- 22:05 Insights On The Artificial Intelligence Opportunity
- 28:40 Is There Entrepreneurial DNA Or Can It Be Taught?
- 31:00 Are You An Intrepreneur?
- 32:35 Following Your Passion vs. Selling On Amazon
- 37:50 Finding Your Passion While Selling On Amazon
- 43:50 Anik’s Podcast – The Fighting Entrepreneur
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Bradley Sutton: World famous Anik Singal will give us his story and his journey to selling hundreds of millions of dollars and give us insights on what he thinks the future holds for Amazon sellers, entrepreneurs, and, a new word for me, intrapreneurs.
Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, everybody? Welcome to The Serious Sellers Podcast. I’m your host, Bradley Sutton. I’m very, very honored today to have Anik Singal with me today. Anik, how’s it going?
Anik Singal: It’s going well man, how are you? Thanks for having me. I’m excited. Let’s do it.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. For those of you all out there who don’t know Mr. Singal, he is one of the foremost experts on being an entrepreneur out there and he has hundreds of thousands of students that he has helped teach, and he’s made hundreds of millions of dollars. And we’re very honored to be able to pick his brain a little bit over the next few minutes here to see what can help the rest of us who are trying to maybe become an entrepreneur on Amazon. Because well, Anik’s background is not on Amazon, but there’s a lot of principles that can be applied. And so first of all, for those who don’t know your story, it’s an amazing story. Could you let us know how you started, especially how you started from $100 to your name to basically becoming a multimillionaire, losing it all again, getting it back? It’s a great story that I’d love to hear from your mouth.
Anik Singal: Yeah men. That depends on how long we’ve got. I’m going to turn the timer on here cause otherwise, I go way too long. So I got started when I was in college, and here’s the deal: I had a bit of an entrepreneur in me—well a lot of entrepreneur in me since a very young age. But I’m Indian. So really everyone around me who was wealthy, who drove nice cars, owned big homes, they are what? A Doctor. Right? So I just looked up to one of my cousins, and I just wanted to have what he had, and he was a doctor, so I thought I’ll be a doctor. So, even though I had that very successful entrepreneurial venture in third grade as the neighborhood lemonade stand, I let it all go, and I went and studied really hard, got great grades, got into an amazing university, full ride, full scholarship, pre-med, all set. I was on a one-way ticket to Ivy League med school, and it’s just a few days into school, literally few days into freshman year, first semester my eyes open and I said, “What have I done?” I’m miserable. I don’t want to do this. I can’t get up and go to another bio class. And no disrespect for doctors at all. They’ve saved my life many times. My family’s full of them. I love them, but it just wasn’t for me. Now, what am I going to do? And it’s too late. And so I tried to just go through with it. And until sophomore year, I remember a moment when my friend, we were doing study hall and we’re just studying together and she just closed my book and she said, “That’s it. Get out of here.” I said, “What do you mean?” She’s like, “Go home and talk to your parents.” “I want to, what are you talking about?” She goes, “You’re miserable. I can’t take watching you this way anymore.” So I remember that night, I drove home and talked to my parents. They are so amazing. They didn’t agree with me, but they said they will support me. And that was a huge thing. And I don’t know man, I just switched. I just did it. It was really difficult. I lost my full scholarship. My parents had to step up and pay for university, pay for everything. They’re amazing. They did it. I moved to a different university. I joined the business program, super excited. Finally, I feel “Oh, I’m vindicated.” This is what I want. I get a weekend to business classes, and I got the feeling coming back and I’m like, “Oh I hate this too.” And I remember how petrifying that was because I thought I’m destined to be a college dropout. I lived in my parent’s basement. And I was so worried. So I said, “What do I really want?” And I said, “I don’t want all this theory in classes. I want to go do.” I want to actually go do something. I’m sitting here learning, and everyone’s so excited about getting a job that will pay them 30 grand or whatever a year. I don’t want that. I just want to do something now. And so I turned to Google, and I typed in the following words, I said, “How to make money?”, right? Most cliché thing I could’ve done. And then Google does auto-suggest and says “online”. And I’m “Okay. Why not?” So I click on that, and it led me to this journey for 18 months of just nonsense. I went through one thing after another. I don’t even know why or how I made it through that 18 months. Because of that way—
Bradley Sutton: Are you still in school during this time? Or did you drop out?
Anik Singal: No, no. I’m not a dropout. My parents would’ve killed me. I stayed in school. The school was back up. I wasn’t just in school. I actually took a job as a financial planner. I was working a job about 20 to 30 hours a week. I was taking a full load of classes, and I was researching how to start my business online. So I was sleeping about five hours a night tops. I was not going to happy hours. I was not going to parties, none of that; I was legit just hustling. All right, at 18 months, I tried, I tried, I tried, I tried, I failed, I failed. I don’t know what got me through—it was something divine that got me through. I don’t know what it was. And finally, I had a moment where I had seen some success. I had that one night where someone actually helped me, and I was about to quit. I was literally up to my quitting point and that was my last night. If this doesn’t work, I’m done. I’m going to go get myself a good job or something. And that night I made 300 bucks while I slept and that was the most life-changing moment of my life. And that was it. To save me from having to quit after that, I started to grow even though I was still in college. I did graduate; I got my degree. My grades slipped a ton the last year cause I was making money. I was busy building a business. By the time I graduated, my business was doing over half a million a year. My own father said to me when I had great job offers—by the way, I had all these awesome Wall Street jobs offers—”Don’t take a single one of them. Don’t do it. Do what you’re doing.” And I grew that; I got into an incubator program, and I started doing more and more and more digital marketing, digital publishing. I was climbing the ranks and before I knew it, I had 96 employees. I had a 10-million-a-year business. I had three offices worldwide. It was the dream, right? The story, the I-want-to be on entrepreneur magazines cover story, and 2008 happens. The market collapses, everything folds and nothing happened to our industry. So I’m like, “Oh wow, keep going in, double down, keep building and keep growing.” By 2010, it was a late impact on our industry in the digital publishing entrepreneurship world, and I fell apart. I mean, it was crazy, I had such a high burn rate. Next thing I knew, I’m not even joking. I went from making millions, traveling first class, speaking on stage for Tony Robbins to $1.7 million in debt. My parents had to mortgage their home for me. I owed AmEx, VISA, local bank. I owed my best friend his entire life savings. I took money from everybody, and it was the worst time of my life. I would not wish that time upon my worst enemy. It was that bad. I got very ill. Start having internal bleeding. I started drinking. I’m telling you, it was a Hollywood moment. I’ve actually had that moment one night where people would hound me for money. I escaped. I went to a local little motel in Goa, India. Nobody knew where I was. I’m not even joking. This was an actual Hollywood moment. I had a bottle of whiskey in the corner of a motel. I was lying there on the floor, and it was thundering and storming outside. How much more filmic can you get? And that was my life. That’s what it had become. And so I had this moment where my lawyers told me, “Hey man, that’s it. Declare bankruptcy. It’s time to call it quits. You can’t get out of this.” I’m looking at them, and I’m like, “Who am I going to tell? Who am I going to declare bankruptcy to?” My parents, they spent their life paying their home off, and now their home is on the line because of me. Nah, not happening. So as bad as it was, my sense of accountability to those who had put themselves on the line for me held me strong. And I just went back to the basics. I remember that one night where I was closing down my final office. It was one of the saddest moments. I built that place with my hands, and it was the last night my parents helped me move out. I told them, “Listen, can you just leave me here alone for a few hours?” I just want to kind of be alone in the place before I give the keys over. Nine o’clock at night, and I just hit the whiteboard. I had a big whiteboard wall in front of me. I just stopped what went wrong. I’ve got to figure this out, and I just had a beautiful mind moment. I’m writing all over the wall everywhere. And finally a step back and looked at it and I’m like, “That’s it”.
Bradley Sutton: Sounds like another movie, Hollywood moment right there. The mad professor has almost gone crazy, and they’re just scribbling nonsense on the wall. So—
Anik Singal: Yes, yes. And it looks like that if you saw it the next day. It was three hours of scribbling, though I didn’t get home until 1 – 1:30 at night that night, and I discovered some of them was basics of basics that I had walked away from. And that night, I made a decision not to declare bankruptcy, not give up. I’m fixing this. So I went from a team of 96 to six people. I went back to the basics. I’ll just shortcut this. It was quite the ride, but 16 months later, I was back on top. I paid everybody every penny back with interest, and I was back on top of it. That was when I got done paying my last debt. I remember that moment when I actually issued the last check. I said to myself, “Okay, now I get to build a new me. I get to determine why I fell into where I fell into, what were the mistakes I made, who am I?” Literally that question. Who am I? What am I? What am I doing? What is the business I’m building? And that was where Lurn was born. I figured out what my mission was, what I wanted to do, and I’ve been working on it ever since then and been blessed, and the business is booming and everything is growing, and I’m surrounded by amazing people and now I’m here with you.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Now did you completely pivot away from what had made you your initial millions? Was it completely different? What you’ve been doing since then? Did you just have to kind of tweak a little bit here or there?
Anik Singal: It’s funny. So I went back to the basics. I went back to digital publishing the way I had done it to get up to 10 million a year in business. And what had happened when I hit that 10 million in business, right, is we get bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. We got the golden touch complex, especially when you’re that young that’s successful. So I thought everything I touch, everything I do, Bam, it will be successful. So I started trying to build this educational platform when I don’t know a darn thing about technology. I don’t know a darn thing about coding. I don’t know anything about that kind of business. My business was so different, but I thought “Whatever, throw money at it; hire people.” That’s how I got to 96 people in three offices worldwide. And so I had deviated completely away from that which was working, and so many of us do this. In an attempt to scale, we started to diversify. While we diversify, we stretch ourselves too thin. While we do that, we add on new projects that are exciting, that are impulse driven but that we have no back history on, or know anything about. And those projects take time away from the core business that got us to where we are, to begin with. And so I went back to that core business, and I went back to it with the right heart, the right mind, with the right goals, not money driven, but driven about service and helping people, and actually putting out good products, and the rest kind of seem to take care of itself. So yeah, until this day, I’m focused on the basic, but you know what? Now, today, I have my educational platform. It’s an evolved idea from what it was eight, nine years ago, but I have it. It’s done. And even now I’m slowly pivoting my business model over to it. As I collect data, as I learned, I’m not going to just rip up what worked and has been working to go run after this new dream. I’m doing it safely and I’m doing it smartly. And it’s been tough, it’s been a challenge, but it hasn’t been life-threatening.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, no more sitting in the corner of a hotel with some whiskey getting. No movie moments like that anymore; I take it.
Anik Singal: No, not at all. Not even with my friends on a night out and none of that.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. There you go. All right. Now here’s a question. You’ve tasted success twice. Once, it looks like the mid-1990s to early 2000 and again this decade. What do you see from those times to this time? Are there things that are still working? Obviously, markets change needs, customer behaviors change, but what in your experience has been a few of the constants, either positive or negative, as far as what entrepreneurs can look out for?
Anik Singal: Sure. Okay, so there’s a lot of difference actually, from even 10 years ago to today. First of all, the level of competitiveness in almost anything you’re doing. your competition is through the roof, and it’s making you really level up your game. You can’t just exist anymore, right? Same thing on Amazon, right? If you launched a product on Amazon, six, seven, eight years ago, you could just put it up and that was probably enough marketing. Have a good product, put it up, good rankings, kind of come on their own. I remember because I had put up products back then. But today, you can’t do that, and you got to be strategic. So that’s the first thing. Today, some of the old cliché advice still applies, but serve, know your mission, drive value—these are all important. But you’ve got to layer a whole another level of strategy on top of it. My role now as a CEO, as an entrepreneur, I spend 90% of my time strategizing than I ever do execute, which is cool, which is fun, but I’m a better executor. I love doing digital marketing, I love building businesses, but you can’t skip or ignore strategy. You can’t just come out with something anymore and put it up and think people will find it. It doesn’t work. The second big thing that’s changing that everyone’s got to learn and adapt to, is we have so many more tools and software. Look at Helium 10 for example, it doesn’t exist 10 years ago. Now, if you’re trying to sell on Amazon and you’re not using the tools that your competition is using, you’re not using the automation that your competition is using, you’re going to lose. So that gets part of the strategy, right? What are all the different tools, automation, communication tools that you could be using with your customers? They’re highly, highly, highly important now. Last but not least, this is a big change actually from again, 10 years ago to today. Just because you got a customer, doesn’t mean you have a customer. So you can get customers, you can convince someone to buy something from you once, but customers are bouncing ship left, right, front and back. How are you going to keep them? How are you going to serve them? What are your other product offerings? And that leads into probably the next big thing that’s changed. If you’re someone who’s going to be building a business right now, and you’re going to be acquiring traffic, you’re going to be doing content marketing, you’re going to do paper click, you’re going to do digital, display advertising, YouTube advertising. Well, you’re playing in that competition field. What’s happening is the cost of advertising is getting bid up to such a degree that it is true, Economics 101, supply and demand. And what’s happening is, you’re not going to make a profit in most cases on the upfront. You just are not at scale. You’re going to have to be willing to bleed money up front. So, this concept I’ve been teaching my students now for almost 5 years of a loss leader is highly, highly, highly, highly important. And most businesses never think about that. So it’s not important. It’s not enough to just have one product. It’s not enough to just have two. It’s not enough to just have a low ticket or a mid-ticket. You’ve got to really think through your offerings and you’ve got to start thinking in lifetime value, 30 60, 90 days. What can you bleed? How long can you go? What’s your cash flow? That’s where the strategy comes in. And I’m telling you, even the smallest of smallest Internet businesses now have to understand, learn and build their business with these things in mind. And 10 years ago, you could– tell me I did. I didn’t understand any of this stuff and I was making millions.
Bradley Sutton: I hundred percent agree with you. I think those are very important that people don’t need to know about things, even on Amazon, 5, 6 years ago there were no tools like Helium 10, but you could still make a lot of money. Now it’s kind of hard to do without the tools. Everybody else is using the tools. But so these are some of the things that you’ve seen definitely have changed in the last 10 years. But what is maybe a couple of the constants that not only were important 10 years ago important today, but you see as 10 years from now it’s still going to be something that’s important.
Anik Singal: So some of the constants that are always going to remain, that were important for me, at least in my business 10 years ago to today. Something like a funnel. Even if you’re selling on Amazon, thinking through the different products, how many products you have and how many times can you dip into that customer. That was a big part of why I grew so fast 10 years ago and it’s a huge part of why I sustained today. A customer acquisition model. That was a little bit okay. It was still important 10 years ago. It was just easier. Today it’s a little bit harder, but it’s even more important than ever before. But that’s a constant remain. What are you going to do to attract your customers? Customer communication, right? What is your communication channels? Well, how are you actually engaging with and communicating with your customers? And then the last piece that I think has remained very constant that a lot of people never talk about it, because not sexy to talk about it. But one of the areas where when people ask me, “What are some of the things that have led to your success or some of the core things you think that is the reason why you’ve had so much success?” I learned really, really fast. I think the name of my company Lurn isn’t irony, it’s probably by subconscious design. I learned really quick, I’m always learning. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so instead of turning around and watching TV, I picked up my phone and I said, “I need to learn more about artificial intelligence. I’m behind.” So I started reading two hours of binge reading blog posts on artificial intelligence and I can tell you right now, you could put me in a room of people and I don’t know enough about it, but I could probably carry my weight. It’s because of the way I learned things. So 10 years ago, that’s what I was doing. That’s why I was getting ahead. I was always out there learning. I was ahead of the market, and I’m not as a head today as I was back then because I get bogged down with some of the operations of the business, but I am getting back to that. That’s still a constant when you talk about the core belief pattern of how are you serving your customers, why do you exist? I know this sounds so cliche, but let me ask everyone listening right now. Can you just please tell me this? Why do you exist? Is it, do you really exist because you want to sell that spatula on Amazon? Is that your core existence? Is that why you’re here? Because I’ll tell you right now, you won’t make it long. Guarantee. You won’t make it long because someone’s going to happen. So why do you exist? What are you doing? What’s your business? What are you serving? What’s your mission? What’s yours why? I didn’t have it 10 years ago and I can tell you right now, that’s why it fell apart. That’s why I was $1.7 million in debt. I have it today. It oozes out of me. You can’t spend more than an hour, without me saying it and I wish I had it back then. But that’s a constant. That was probably there a hundred years ago, just as much as it is today. The challenge though, right, is Microsoft did a study in 2015 and found that the average attention span of a human being has now gone down to 8 seconds. 8 seconds. That’s less than a goldfish, which is nine. So what’s happening now is that we might all think we have and know our why, but my question is, are you holding onto it? Because there are so many distractions in your life. We are so much more connected. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo. Not Yahoo, but who uses Yahoo anymore? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, YouTube. Joe’s here making signals at me. What are you doing?
Bradley Sutton: It starts with the why.
Anik Singal: You can do on the why side. What are you up to? Basically, the bottom line is this, right? We are so much more connected. We have so much more noise. We have so many more people bringing opportunities to us and we love opportunities. Entrepreneurs are like, “I want to do that, want to do this, I want to do that.” Yeah, you got to learn to say no. So the thing is, you got to know your why. That’s been a constant, but it’s so hard.
Bradley Sutton: What’s yours why?
Anik Singal: My why, I have two of them. All right. My first why is I want to empower 1 million entrepreneurs to build a successful business. Now, let me explain to you why. Because I want to change the world. I want to die and I want to know the day I die that I changed the world. I mean it. I want the world to be revolving differently because I existed on this planet. But it’s so hard to do that if I do it myself, it’s damn near impossible. So what do I do? I can go out and build a million entrepreneur army. I can impact a million entrepreneurs who can go on and impact the world. That’s easy, right? If a million people working together towards one mission. We will impact the world. You can’t impact the world. So I want to be there to inspire, empower, and connect a million entrepreneurs. The other mission that I have that I work towards every day with my wife that just means the world to me, is I want to take a million children before I die. I want to know a million children in this world who live in underprivileged areas got an education, received an education, thanks to the work or thanks to something I had done. That doesn’t mean they went to one of my schools. Maybe I gave a talk somewhere and it inspired someone else to go build the school, whatever it is. But we do build schools. My wife and I, we build schools in the slums of India. We have seven schools now. We’re serving over 800 children. And we’re getting there, and we’re going to get there at one kid at a time. And you know what? Here’s what happens when I wake up in the morning, right? Here’s the deal. I’m very well off. I am wealthy right now. I have my dream home. I have my dream cars. I even have Joe’s dream car. He said that was a low blow. I have a dream woman. I married the most perfect woman in the world. I have an amazing family. I have everything. So I could wake up tomorrow morning and just say, “I’m good. I don’t need all this stress. Why do I need to do this podcast? Why do I need to get up? Why do I need to go deal with all this stress?” I get up and do that because, for every day or every hour that I sleep in, there are at least one or two or three or four or ten people in the world that didn’t get what they were going to get in their life because I was too lazy to get out of bed. And, I’m telling you when your why goes that deep, you just can’t help but make something happen.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, it’s a great motivation. But you mentioned just a couple of minutes ago about last night you wanted to study up on AI that made me think of something. So, we talked about, what’s changed before, what stayed the same, but what about, over the last 10 years. But what about the next five years or so? What’s next? In other words, what do you see as some trends, or what does the future hold for eCommerce or marketing? Is A.I a big factor in it, or what else?
Anik Singal: Huge, huge. Such a huge factor. As of the two hours of research I did last night, I’ve already determined my next company after Lurn has to do something with AI because I can’t be left behind. It’s almost downright creepy. I’ll tell you when I got really interested in AI, and then I’ll explain to you how I think it’s going to impact over the next few years. So I built this platform, right? It’s an entrepreneur’s platform. We have a quarter million members in it. We’ve got over 70 courses in there. And it’s getting a little bit overwhelming. It’s like how do we know what to send to who, and who wants what and all of this, and for last year or so people would be AI. And I’m like, “what does that even mean?” Right. Okay fine. Whatever. Ignore him, right? Well a week ago I went and googled something and I was researching, I can’t even remember the topic now, but I remember the creepy thing that happened the next day. So, I’m googling something, I’m researching something and I must’ve been clicking links. I don’t know what I clicked. The next day I get an email from Cora and it said still interest–. It was either still looking for, or still interested in. And it had my actual search embedded there. I cannot tell you my heart stopped and I stared at my phone, and on one side I was so excited because actually, I was still looking for that. And actually Cora had a great link in the email, and I was very excited that they had delivered that to me. On the other side, I was fricking scared. This is frightening. I go to Amazon, I get emails from Amazon and it’s almost uncanny how they time things. There are things I bought 30 days ago that Amazon just knows this would be up for reorder, about this many days. And they messaged me, I buy a book and they messaged me the next book and how many times have I bought more books because they were spot on. It has become crazy. I sit, and we have chatbox sequences, we are using ManyChat, and I’ll sit and watch. Sometimes it’s kind of creeper, but just sit and watch people communicating with it. They’re having a live conversation. It’s crazy.
Bradley Sutton: They don’t even know that they’re talking to a bot?
Anik Singal: They don’t even know. And we had someone walk into the Lurn. Our Lurn center here, or facility for entrepreneurs. Someone walked in yesterday, literally walked in and said, “I’m here for Anik.” And of course, my assistant happened to come in. She’s like, “What do you mean you’re here for, Anik?” I don’t see him on the calendar, who are you, whatever. And he’s like, “No, I’ve got a message from Anik he asked me to come here.” And we could not figure it out until all of a sudden one of our team members was, wait, we have a chat box sequences, something like what he just said and we checked in, and sure enough, was a chat box sequence, and it just blew me away. And as I was researching this man, here’s what’s going to happen. Yesterday, so here’s what I saw. Lowe’s, I don’t know if you know that. That’s a home department store.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. We got that out here too.
Anik Singal: Yeah. So Lowe’s is a home depot type of store. They just initiated their first what they call Lowe bot. It’s in San Jose and it is an automated employee. It walks around the entire place. It knows where every single item to the Barcode is. What human in the world will ever be able to do that? And every night it re-indexes all items. So at night, it walks around and it re-categorized as the entire store. So if you moved something throughout the day, it catches it at night and re-maps the next day. You walk up to it, it talks to you. You say, I need screws and it has a screen and it brings up things. What the heck? That’s amazing. Then I was researching more how was e-commerce going to get impacted? Target made a deal with Pinterest. I don’t even know this, where now if you have an image on Pinterest and you want to find a product like it on Target, you click something and pops up the target website and they show you all the things that are similar to it. There’s image reading, voice recognition, there’s chat recognition. There is the whole predicting, right modeling people just look at what Facebook is doing when we build a lookalike audience inside of a Facebook ad campaign that is artificial intelligence at the up tenth level. No one talks about it as AI, but it is, it’s complete AI. It’s creepy AI because it’s compiling tons of data and predicting who, and those are our best audiences are we run ads to those lookalikes and they’re the best. And so I believe, I don’t think we’re going to lose humans altogether. Okay, so I’m not quite there on that conspiracy theory side yet, but I will tell you that the consumer will win. I’m telling you this, the consumer’s going to get faster service, better service. They’re going to get what they want. They’re going to get quicker. Our attention spans will go from 8 to 6 seconds, but we’re just going to get in this place where we can do what we want. Did you see that Google released? The CEO of Google did this and it was absolutely amazing. It went viral on Facebook where an automated voice. It’s virtual, it’s an automated assistant—AI assistant. He asks it to call and make a haircut appointment or a dinner reservation.
Bradley Sutton: Yes. Yes. I saw that. I thought I was, “Is this real?” I was like, this cannot be real.
Anik Singal: It’s happening. It’s actually happening. So for the listeners who don’t know what we’re talking about, there’s a live conversation. He says, “Hey, I want to get a haircut tomorrow. Can you call, make an appointment.” And this thing calls the number. Alive human picks up on the other side, and the voice says, “I need to make an appointment with so and so tomorrow.” And the other person says, “well, what time?” “Well, between 3 and 5?” And it’s like, “we only have a 5:15 or a 4:50.” I don’t remember the exact ones, but it’s like, “okay, sure. What’s your name?” “I’m calling for my boss, it’s blah, blah, blah.” Okay great. It’s confirmed. And then it sends a text message to the person who asked for the appointment. And I’m sitting there thinking, “Oh my God, look how much easier can life be if all I had to do was an audio recording and said, make me an appointment to this. And it just started doing it. This is where we’re going. Search is going to become automated. I made a list of 18 things. It’s literally 18 things that we can implement in our platform with AI, and that we get to work towards and it is just going to make the experience of our members 10x better. So I’m still on the side where AI is amazing. I see all the benefits. Haven’t quite seen the part where robots take over yet, but let’s see. Give me a few more days.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, we’re not exactly a terminator level or eye robot. Hey, you never know. Just switching gears a little bit, being an entrepreneur, I’ve heard both sides of the arc before. I’m curious to see what your take on it. Is this something that needs to be in your DNA? Does it take a certain kind of person to have that entrepreneurial mindset or can someone learn to be a successful entrepreneur?
Anik Singal: That’s a really good question. So I answered this when I wrote my book Escape. I created this quiz. Okay. And, you go through, it’s about 20 minutes. You answer a bunch of questions and at the end, it gives you what we call an E-score. Your E-score is rated on a zero to a hundred. And it tells you basically converts into a percentage and it tells you how likely you are to succeed as an entrepreneur. And what I say is if you’ve got a 25, you’re basically 25% likely to succeed as an entrepreneur. So ideally, it’s probably not the best course of a career for you. And that E-score is determined quite a bit by who you are, how you think. And those are a lot of times, those are coded things in your DNA, but in your psyche. They are developed by the time you were 12 years old, and they are what they are. And until you go through a clinically, crazy event in your life, you may not change that. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be an entrepreneur. So here’s the deal. I’ll tell you this, I’m a pretty hardworking guy. I’m smart and I’m hardworking. I’m usually willing to put in whatever hours are needed. If I want it to be a physicist, I believe that I could do it. It would take me very long. I probably wouldn’t be the best by far. I ain’t going to win no Nobel prize, most likely. But I could do it. I could probably get to a point where I could make my way around a lab and be a physicist, but it’s going to take me forever and I’m going to hate it and it’s going to suck, and I’m not going to be the best. So should I be a physicist or could I be a physicist? There are two different questions. And so I think the question is, can entrepreneurship be taught? Can anyone be an entrepreneur? I think so, yes. Now there are many kinds of entrepreneurs. There’s a solopreneur, there’s a contractor, there’s a consultant, and then there’s the guy who goes out and builds the next Facebook or the next Google. Right? And even in those stories, most of the time you will see different management, different skill sets, different people come in at different stages of those companies. So the real question to ask is, do you want it bad enough? If it’s not naturally your inclination, are you willing to put in the extra work, or would you perhaps be happier and more successful as an intrapreneur? That’s another big term that we talk a lot about. An intrapreneur is something every single one of us who works here at Lurn. We’re intrapreneurs because at Lurn, you get to kind of own your own little department and you get to run that department. You get to be the leader of it. And so you have the freedom and you have this, the fun part of being an entrepreneur, but you’re doing it under the umbrella of a larger organization that supports you from HR and funding. And you don’t have to deal with all that operational mess. So there’s this whole world right now that’s just blossoming. For example, I bet you didn’t know this though Sony PlayStation was invented by an intrapreneur. Google Gmail, invented by an intrapreneur, Ad-sense invented by an intrapreneur, the like button on Facebook invented by an intrapreneur. Most people don’t realize this. That’s why these Silicon Valley companies now, they’re moving towards making all of their employees’ intrapreneurs. Google gives you 20% of your time to do whatever the heck you want. It’s just, it’s owned by Google. Whatever you create, it’s owned by Google, but you can do whatever you want. You can work on anything you want because they want you to be an intrapreneur. So I think I have a very long answer to a very short question. I think anyone can be an entrepreneur. It’s what type of entrepreneur and how much work are you going to put into it. And the real question should be, do you want to be an entrepreneur? Is that the right step for you? It’s not the right step for everybody, that’s for sure. It’s not right for everybody.
Bradley Sutton: Right. Oh my God, that was a great answer. I think I learned a lot. You can learn a new vocabulary word: intrapreneur. That’s something I could say that I’ve never heard before. Now along the same lines, another question for you, for entrepreneurs, the kind of standard suggestion as, “Hey, do what you’re passionate about or what’s your passion you’re going to excel at it.” Your passion is you want to help to teach entrepreneurs. And so, Lurn is obviously a great outlet for you to achieve that passion, right? But a lot of our listeners, they’re Amazon sellers and it’s a different story with Amazon. You could be completely passionate about iPhone cases, but you would completely fail if that’s what you try to do because your passion doesn’t mean anything because there’s so much competition that is not something great to sell on Amazon. At the same time, 5 years ago garlic presses were the cliche thing that you could make millions of dollars on, but I guarantee you nobody is selling garlic presses could say before then, “oh my passion is garlic presses. I live and breathe garlic presses.” And that’s why they were successful. So my question is then, for an Amazon seller, where you have to go into different niches that you may not even know anything about, let alone be passionate about. How can you be successful selling something, or in a niche that you really don’t have that fire or that passion for?
Anik Singal: You’re asking some good questions. They’re going to have a long answer for this one too because I’m very passionate about taking a question of it. All right. I can tell you right now, most very successful. Okay. So it’s very, very, very politically correct to say, “Do your passion, do what you’re passionate about.” Okay, but we’re not going to be politically correct because I don’t care for that. Every major successful entrepreneur that you talk to, I’m going to say 95%. Ask them what their first venture was, and ask them their level of passion for that venture. And I can tell you right now, most of them, I don’t know, just did it to get something going. And so my first successful venture, I was selling as an affiliate, a Black Hat software for SEO that was wrong. It worked. It was great, but I knew innately that a few months from now, Google would catch on. Unfortunately, we’re not smarter than the thousand PhDs that they hire, and I wasn’t passionate about it, but it made me my first money and then it allowed me to do the next thing. And then there was a point at which I became an SEO consultant. I wasn’t passionate about it, but I made really good money, and at one point, it allowed me to have enough funding to go off and do the next thing. And so it was a long journey to where I got to learn where now, yeah, passion, I’m passionate, but I got a bank account that allows me to support that passion. I can come in and take some risks and do something crazy. I can have my friends look at me and say, “Are you nuts?” And it’s like, “Yeah, I am. But the worst-case scenario for me, I’ll be all right.” So when it comes to the Amazon Seller example that you used, I will tell you an exact conversation I had with one of my best friends yesterday that’s not an Amazon seller, but he’s very, very successful Shopify seller. And we had this conversation because he’s stretched way too thin; he’s doing seven things. And he started to have that kind of losing that love affair with his business. And he said, “What do I do? How to help me.” And I started asking him questions. I said, “Well, what about this thing? What about this thing? What about this thing?” And then when I got to his store, his Shopify store, I’m telling you, his voice went, “Oh, I love that. That’s one of my favorite parts of my day.” And I said, “Are you serious? Do you really not see where your focus and time should be going?” And he said, “I guess.” Now the thing is he sells, I don’t want to give away his product, but he sells, let’s just put it this way, a product that he doesn’t even use, or couldn’t even use. Okay. Before him, it’s nothing to do with him and he’s not passionate about it. But when you know what he’s passionate about, he’s passionate about the process of building the store. He’s passionate about the process it takes to get that product to rank really well and sell crazy on Facebook ads. He’s passionate about the idea of this birthing process of having nothing becomes something that he could sell for a few million dollars. He’s already started having offers coming in. He’s passionate about mastering, and tracking, and learning, advertising and ROI, and always staying ahead of it, and researching, and learning it. So he’s passionate about the process behind it and the product doesn’t necessarily have to be the passion, but I know him and I know what’s going to eventually happen, is the skill sets he’s learning while he’s developing this store are going to eventually be applied at some point in his life towards something he’s deeply passionate about. Whether it be a nonprofit project or whether it be a big business he wants to launch. And I think the same thing for most people that are selling on Amazon. My first product I sold on Amazon, I can tell now because it’s complete, don’t even try to go into this space, was that HD antenna. All right? Who even uses that? When I started selling this thing, I’m like, “What the heck? What part of the country are people still using antennas on top of their TV?” But it sold like crazy. So what did I do? I sold more of it that wasn’t passionate about it. But you know what I was passionate about? I was passionate about learning how to do an Amazon business so that I could teach my students. I was passionate about testing the idea so that I could say with full confidence that it works. And then when the product didn’t sell anymore because Amazon decided to release their own brand and put it right above mine, I walked away and said whatever. And then I launched the next product, which I also wasn’t passionate about because it was silicon baking mats and I don’t bake. By the way, if you’re thinking I’m releasing golden nuggets on, do not go compete in these spaces because they’re completely annihilated now. But, it was, I loved the process man. I loved the process of negotiating with a seller in China and learning something there. And I love the process of figuring out how it’s going to get shipped here. I loved the process of figuring out how to get labels put on it for FBA because it was new. And I can talk about it now, right? I made a movie in my life once you can go to YouTube and type in Lethal Commission, you’ll see an actual James Bond spoof film with a proper film crew. We did the stunt scenes. I actually did the scene where I blow up a car while I’m walking away. I mean, it blew up behind me. I was awesome. Was one of the most epic, two weeks of filming in my life. And then it’s listed on IMDB. I’m considered a producer actor now. And it was the most diabolical failure as a marketing test. I mean, it was a total wash, didn’t work at all, but it was one of the favorite moments of my life because I learned so much from it. So I wasn’t passionate about the movie. Come on, I made a spoof of fricking Casino Royale. How good was it going to really be? But, I think about the time that in 30 years from now or 40 years from now, I sit with my grandkids, and I tell him about the time their grandpa made a movie. And I can talk effectively about how films are made. So passion, it doesn’t have to be the product. Think 10 levels deeper. Find the process, the part, the mission. There’s got to be something. And as long as what you’re doing can connect back to it and help fuel it, you’ll always have the energy and fuel you need to move forward.
Bradley Sutton: It kind of what you said. I don’t know why my brain thinks like this, but it made me think of the same, “Don’t hate the player,” but then it’s opposite. It’s “Don’t love the product.” Love the game, love the process and be passionate about the process as opposed to getting married to a certain product. And then it sounds like that’s the secret to success. So one last question. We’ve already gone way over time than we usually do, but I’m just so engrossed in this conversation, I don’t want it to end, but on lurn.com for years, you guys have had courses on anything from Facebook Marketing to building lists and funnels. And now just now in the last month or so you decided to start teaching people about Amazon with actually a mutual friend of both of ours, Dave Kettner. And so my question is, why now? Why did you wait until now? Or what did anything inspire you to say, “Hey, we need to start going into Amazon because some people might say, “Well, it’s kind of late, isn’t it?” But why now?
Anik Singal: Sure. So, first of all, yeah, we do have tons of amazing courses at lurn.com. It’s spelled L-U -R-N.com, and it’s free to join; just go there and sign up. We have 250, 2000 people now that are in it. It’s awesome. We’re building the greatest entrepreneurial community in the world. The funniest answer to your question is that I didn’t wait two years or I didn’t wait this many years. I started talking to Dave about this three years ago. It just was 20 things going on. I don’t think it’s too late. I think it’s too early. I think Amazon’s just starting to show what they’re going to do. I mean 56% of our audience is worldwide. I think those guys were just waking up to it, but the truth really is, I know how to do Amazon, but it’s not my main focus. I’m a digital publisher at heart. That’s who I am. That’s what I love to do. I love to teach, and so I wasn’t going to be the guy who filmed an Amazon course. I didn’t have the credibility, and honestly, there were only maybe two or three people that I felt I could even work with. Dave was one of my favorite people in the world. He is one of the kindest, nicest, most awesome people you’ll ever meet. And we were just waiting for the right time where our timelines would collide. And they happen to collide a few months ago where we started working on this epic program together. So yeah, if you go to lurn.com, L-U-R-N.com, there’s actually a free Amazon boot camp in there, and it’s a free course. It’s absolutely free, no credit cards, nothing. It’s just teaching Dave’s style. And then, there is a paid course as well. You can choose to upgrade if you want or not. But, I don’t think it’s men–
Bradley Sutton: And by the way guys, in both of those, Helium 10 is featured.
Anik Singal: Absolutely Helium 10 is a core fundamental of what Dave uses to find products. Listen, when you say Amazon—when people say Amazon—it might be too late. Dave sat in front of me here at the Lurn center and I gave him a challenge. I thought he would push back. I was like, “Hey Dave, one of the bonuses for the product we do, I want to give away 50 product choices and I want to refresh it every month or whatever. So that students have a kind of a starting point.” And he’s like, “Okay, I’m like, really? 50.” He’s like, “Yeah.” I’m like, “When can you have it by?” He’s like, “I don’t know, 4 or 5 hours.” What? And that guy goes and sits in the corner, of course, logs into Helium 10, and starts going away at things, comes back 4 hours later. “You found 50?” He’s like, actually I found 56; I pulled six out for myself. And I’m, “Oh Lord, how can someone say it’s too late?” If you could still find 50 opportunities in 4 hours, and 6 are so good. He’s like, “I ain’t given these up.” Yeah. So. It’s not too late, but you know, we still have so many topics that we need to cover. Now, we’re trying to build a behemoth that would have every topic that an entrepreneur could ever hope or wish for the covered inside of lurn.com. It’s going to take us years, and we will be doing this 10 years from now and I’ll still be loving it.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. All right, so we mentioned lurn.com L-U-R-N.com. Also, you dropped knowledge through other means. Can you tell us about the book that you wrote last year as well as your podcast, so our listeners can tune in?
Anik Singal: Yeah. Thank you. I wrote a book called Escape: The Four Stages of Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur. Very proud to have had Daymond John from Shark Tank write the forward to it; he loved it. We’ve sold, I don’t know, 50,000 copies at this point. It’s done super well. It really just gets into the mindset. It truly gets into the mind of an entrepreneur, thinks of it this way. It’s the thinking flow rich of an entrepreneur and it’s available for free. You can go just pay to ship. It’s at escapebook.com, E-S-C-A-P-E-B-O-O-K.com. You can check it out on Amazon. It’s got, I think, close to 405-star reviews. People love it. So I’ve been very blessed with that. My latest and my greatest true passion as of last few months where we were really devoting a lot of time and attention is our podcast. So you can go to iTunes and go type in The Fighting Entrepreneur, so fighting as infighting, and then an entrepreneur. You can also go to anikpodcast.com that’s A-N-I-Kpodcast.com. See it there. We’re rolling out awesome episodes. I can truly tell you. So the mantra of that podcast is I only interview people that I can learn from. So you can imagine I’ve been doing this for 15 years, so if someone’s got nuggets that they can teach me, most people will find it mind-blowing. It’s been growing leaps and bounds and love doing it. So get the book at escapebook.com. Get your membership at lurn.com for free, and then hop on over and join us at The Fighting Entrepreneur Podcasts.
Bradley Sutton: Anik, thank you so much for giving us your time. You’ve definitely dropped so much knowledge on us and even myself. If I had those standards as you for your podcast, you still would’ve definitely been one of my guests, because I learned a ton from you. So I appreciate you coming on here, and I hope one day in the future we’ll have you back again.
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