#165 – Amazon Selling YouTube Superstar, Tatiana James Talks About Balancing Success with Responsibility
When Amazon sellers imagine what success looks like to them, the mental picture that they come up with parallels pretty closely the e-commerce life and times of Tatiana James.
There’s a long list of people that attribute their beginnings on Amazon to having watched one of her YouTube product videos. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes back the Amazon selling superstar to talk about what it’s like at the top of the e-commerce mountain.
Tatiana James became a 7-Figure Amazon seller at the age of 24 and hasn’t stopped since. Now after indulging her love for travel (18 countries and counting), she speaks about the opportunity to build schools in Africa and tells what it feels like to be able to give back.
In episode 165 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Tatiana discuss:
- 03:50 – Leveraging Amazon’s Power and Building a Brand Elsewhere
- 07:30 – Becoming the Bottleneck at Your Own Business
- 09:45 – You Have to Test
- 13:00 – The Power of YouTube (But You Need to Be Consistent)
- 14:30 – Learning Something Twice with Video
- 17:00 – Establishing Trust (and Making a Little Money)
- 20:00 – Putting Her Amazon Money to Work
- 20:30 – What’s a Normal Workday Like for Tatiana?
- 23:00 – Tatiana’s Travel Itinerary – 18 Countries and Counting
- 25:45 – Big Success on Amazon Means Next-Level Fun
- 27:00 – Travel Means Experiencing Different Cultures
- 28:00 – Panama’s Tax Savings
- 30:50 – Recognizing Privilege and Opportunity
- 34:00 – What’s in Tatiana’s Future?
- 35:45 – Investing in Entrepreneurs
- 37:00 – How to Connect with Tatiana
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
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Bradley Sutton: This Amazon selling superstar has been the inspiration for hundreds of sellers out there. Now it’s been a year since we last spoke to her. So she’s joined us to catch us up on all she’s been doing from diversifying her income, to traveling around the world, and even building schools in Africa. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody. And welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the eCommerce world. And I’m very happy to invite back to the show a serious seller we had on– has been about a year and a half ago almost. Tatiana James. Tatiana, how’s it going?
Tatiana James: Oh, it’s doing really well. Thank you Bradley so much for having me on. I’m excited. I always love chatting with you, but it’s been a while since we’ve had a talk. So this will be really fun.
Bradley Sutton: Yes, it will be. It’s going to be great to catch up and speaking of catching up, I know we have a lot of new listeners on the show. So if this is the first time you’ve heard about Tatiana, make sure to go back and check out her episode on the podcast. It was actually Episode 31. You can just go to helium10.com/podcast and search for Tatiana. And you could probably see that Episode 31 and you can get all of her history, and just for those of you who maybe already listened to that episode, but forgot about it. Tatiana was, if I recall correctly was 20, 21-year-old university student at the time when she first heard about Amazon and she was a restaurant server and then started off with just $200, $300 selling and she was able to scale that up. And she actually started even before she was selling products. Tell them real quick. What other aspect of Amazon did you start selling before even the products?
Tatiana James: I first started with publishing books on Amazon. So the Kindle publishing, that was my introduction to Amazon and online business in general. And so I published a bunch of dog training books cause I had a little puppy at the time and it was a subject that really interested me. And so I learned how to kind of navigate the Amazon platform a little bit. And then from there I kind of upgraded to selling products on Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: And that we talk a lot about that strategy because you eventually got it to a place where you’re doing $100,000 to $200,000 not a year, but a month overall and really blew up, especially remembering that episode. You gave us some great tips about YouTube marketing and you’re definitely want to talk about that as you have between your channels, hundreds of thousands of followers. And it was really interesting to see how you leveraged social media to help with your business. But in today’s episode, I wanted to do something different. This is like, I don’t know what episode this is, how many we’ve been through by now. It’s like 170 or so, but we mainly talk about the journey to success and strategies on being successful on Amazon. Now today, I want to do something different and talk about, Hey, once you are successful Amazon, well, what are the next steps? Where do you go from there? I don’t think enough people are talking about that. And it’s important to have goals in my opinion, and for people to be able to visualize how they want their life to turn up. So real briefly, if I’m not mistaken, even when we’re talking last time, you were moving a lot of your sales to Shopify as opposed to Amazon, right?
Tatiana James: Yeah, that’s correct. So I started the business originally on Amazon, which, because there’s a huge opportunity there. You get to leverage all of Amazon’s customer base and their platform. And that was necessary for me because I didn’t have an existing brand. I was kind of a nobody in terms of brands. And so I built my brand on Amazon and built it up to a certain point. And then, I decided to open up my own website and my own Shopify store and sell there. And the reason being primarily, because I just have more control. So on Amazon, it’s not your platform. It’s Amazon’s, they’re not your customers, there’s Amazon’s customers. And rightly so, of course that’s understandable, but as I was building a brand, I realized that it’s really important for me to just have more of a say in my marketing and my return policy, being able to collect more of the customer’s information. And so I started kind of shifting people over to purchasing on my website. And then from there on my website was my primary vehicle for sales were about 80% of my sales, maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit more than 80% of my sales were done through Shopify and the remaining were on Amazon. And I left my Amazon listing and everything’s still open. I just didn’t put really any effort into it. I would restock every once in a while, but I never really updated a whole lot of things. Because I really did want people to purchase on my website a lot higher profit margins for sure.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. And I think that’s important for people to understand that Amazon is great to start. I mean, you’ve got all the existing traffic already there, as long as you’re choosing keywords that there’s traffic for. You don’t have to worry about building up a brand recognition because if you had just tried to start on Shopify, you would have had to do probably 10x the amount of work just to get people to trust your website.
Tatiana James: 100% on that. And that’s the thing, that’s why I hesitate when I say that I do the majority of my sales on Shopify because then people who are listening and say, Oh, maybe I should just start on Shopify instead of Amazon. And I would say, no, I think Amazon is the best place to start. I don’t think that unless you have an existing following, if you have a subscriber count, if you have viewers, if you have an email list where you have a large number of people that you can advertise and market your products to, then fine Shopify could work. But if you’re someone like myself who was building a brand from scratch, didn’t have any kind of audience that Amazon provides such a unique opportunity. And really if I had not started on Amazon, I certainly would not be seen having the business that I have today and seeing the numbers that we’re doing. So Amazon was necessary and I still continue to encourage people to start an Amazon business. Because it continues to grow. Amazon has just– they’re taking over the world, I say, because they’re just growing exponentially. And just providing so many opportunities and so I think it’s the best platform to start on, but eventually you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket. You don’t just want to sell on Amazon. That creates more of a risk and eventually you can sell on Shopify or other platforms as well.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Now, what are the reasons why, as we mentioned, you became so big was because you basically, for your niche became kind of the go-to influencer, your own influencer for your own product. And we had talked about last year that you were trying to– not completely step away, but maybe try and feature more different people instead of you popping up on every single video, how did that work out? Were you able to step away a little bit and feature other people and was that hard to do? Or can you talk a little bit about that?
Tatiana James: Yeah, for sure. I had decided to kind of be the face of my brand. That was a personal choice. And by no means, do you have to do that in order to have a successful business? I would say most people don’t. But I just did that because it was a product that I was already using and it was a product that I knew how to market really well. And I also wanted to save on marketing expenses and I thought, Oh, if I use myself, then I don’t have to hire someone. So, I creating all of the YouTube content if you– every video on the YouTube channel was about with me in it. And I just kind of realized that in some ways, now I’m becoming the bottleneck of my own business because now the business is very dependent on me. And when you’re building a business, you always want to have an exit strategy and you always want to think about– even if it’s your passion and you never would sell your business, you still want to build it in a way that it can become sellable in the event that you change your mind and want to do so. And I just realized that the business is quite dependent on me. And so I wanted to kind of test and see what would happen if I started to bring on other influencers or other customers onto the channel, creating content with them. And so now, I would say the majority of the content, almost all of the content does not include me. Sometimes I post a video every now and then, just to kind of pop up and share something new. But it worked really well and people didn’t seem to mind, they were happy to see some new faces, especially since the products that I sell, they are products that people, that women wear. And women, we’re so diverse in our body types. And so when everyday people are just seeing videos of me wearing the products, it’s just one body type. And so I wanted to have more diversity on the channel. And so that’s worked out really well, actually.
Bradley Sutton: Excellent. It’s good to hear. Now, what would you say though to people who– I think the great majority of us are like that. If we have built a brand and we’re the face, but sometimes you feel like, Oh man, I’m the only person who’s going to be able to do this. How do you convince them? Like, Hey, you can take a step away and it’s actually going to help you, not hurt you.
Tatiana James: Well, I think that’s a funny challenge. I think a lot of entrepreneurs face is that we think that we’re the best at doing something and that if we’re not the ones doing it, that it’s not going to be done well, and that kind of perfectionist mentality. And, it’s just releasing control and not trying to be in control of everything. And just– you got to test things out. That’s how this business works. You really got to test things, you got to split tests, you got to see what works, see what doesn’t work. And sometimes you don’t know until you try. And so that’s what happened with myself with the channel. It was a bit of a risk, removing myself and seeing what happens, but at the same time, how will I know how the audience reacts until I try it? So, you just got to release control and just realize that yes, to some extent, if you’re the business owner, you’re going to be putting in more attention and effort than maybe perhaps an employee and that’s perfectly natural, but it doesn’t necessarily matter. It can be a huge advantage to have other people contributing diversity of ideas, a different perspective. Everyone offers something else, something different to the table. And so, I think it’s just important to not always be controlling everything, because then it’s also going to drive you crazy. And you’re not going to have the time to run every aspect of your business. You have to hire people to help you with different things. And a lot of times when you hire someone, who’s a specialist in one area, say for example, copywriting. You can write your own emails and your own copy, but if you hire someone who that’s what they do all day, every day, they’re going to do a better job at it than you. And so it’s just realizing that and being humble enough to understand that.
Bradley Sutton: One thing that– it seems like you’ve definitely ramped up in the past year. And I think that this is more of what we were talking about at the beginning of the episode about kind of next steps is, I I’ve seen that you’ve really grown your business’ YouTube as far as like– or e-commerce, I guess I should say, not your product base YouTube channel, but where you talk about e-commerce strategy and selling on Amazon and things, I mean, I think you’re up to over 160,000 subscribers on there. So was that a conscious effort to kind of focus more on that in the past year and build that aspect of your portfolio, I guess you could say?
Tatiana James: Originally I started that channel because I was– I had done an interview with my boyfriend at the time, Stefan, and he interviewed me and on how I make $40,000 a month on Amazon in revenue. And that went viral. So that got like, I don’t know, four or 5 million views. And I started getting so many messages on social media, asking questions about how to get started, wanting some help. And I was a bit overwhelmed by that. And so I decided to start the YouTube channel as a way to reach more people. So instead of answering each person individually where most people have oftentimes the same questions, I could take those questions and answer them in video format where I have the potential to reach hundreds or thousands of people. And so that’s how that channel originated. It was never something that I started as a business opportunity. It was just something that I started as a way to be able to help people and to answer questions, but without having to do it on a one to one basis. Because I was just getting so bombarded with questions. And so I just posted regularly and that’s how YouTube works. If you ever started YouTube channel, you just have to be consistent and make sure you’re posting at least once a week a video. And just know what it is that you’re talking about. Talk about a subject that you are quite familiar with and that you have good understanding about. And so I would just share the videos on there and that’s grown a lot in the last year. I think just because it’s I’ve just been very transparent about everything in my business. And I think especially in this industry, selling on Amazon in particular, if you will go on YouTube, a lot of people talk about selling on Amazon, but they don’t actually show you their business. They don’t actually show you their sales figures and behind the scenes and what it takes to run a business. And so there is some sort of lack of transparency to some extent. That’s what really kind of helped differentiate my channel from others because I was sharing those things. And so it just kind of grew organically because of that. And also, I just have more stuff that I want to share. I love business, I love entrepreneurship and I love creating videos about that because in some ways when I create these videos, it’s a way for me to learn something twice. If I have something that I just learned or something that’s really benefited me, when I go into this teacher mode where I’m kind of trying to teach on the subject and trying to share certain concepts, I learn it better.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. That’s really cool. And I think that it’s so important to be able to do something that you’re passionate about and that you’re not just doing for money, but at the same time, I think there’s this stigma out there that I hope changes over time that people who do make money from advertising or affiliate revenue or things like that, that it’s not inherently bad. To me, it’s the ultimate. If you can actually get paid to do something that you would do even without being paid and that you just love doing. I used to pay to do Zumba fitness when I was trying to lose weight and then I became an instructor and I would be paid to it. I shouldn’t have felt guilty for being paid to teach people how to do Zumba. I was helping people, you know? And sometimes I feel like people are reluctant to start YouTube channels, or things like this because they’re like, “oh no other people are just going to be criticizing me that I’m only out for the money.” It’s like, no, there’s nothing to be ashamed of that. As long as it comes from a place– you’re really trying to help people. I don’t know. My philosophy is you shouldn’t be, you shouldn’t feel ashamed to also be able to make money off of something like that.
Tatiana James: Totally. It’s all about how genuine are you being. For example, my YouTube channel, as I said, it wasn’t started as something that I– wasn’t a business opportunity for me. I didn’t see it that way, but really has turned into a business. It’s affiliate marketing. But the thing is that I have a million products and services that I could promote to people. I have people emailing me all the time with different opportunities, different things that they want me to share on the channel. And I would say 98% of the time I turned them down because I’m not using their products and services and I don’t know much about them. And I actually don’t think that they’re going to benefit my audience. And so I care more about making sure that anything I do become– stand by anything I do promote that it’s coming from a very genuine place. And that’s how you establish trust with your audience. And you can’t take that for granted because the moment that you start promoting everything that– every opportunity, people see through that, and they see that you’re just kind of trying to make money off of them. And so for anything that I recommend on my channel, it truly does come from a genuine place of, you know what? This is like you’re in this business. This is a tool that has helped me and it could help you. And that doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. It’s just an option. If you want my recommendation, this is what it is. And I’m not also– I think it’s just like, I’m not attached to the– I’m not forcing anyone to buy from my affiliate link, or I’m not desperate for them to click on it.
Tatiana James: It’s just like, it’s there if you want to click on it and I get a commission from that, that’s great. If not, no problem. And I don’t feel bad about it at all because I don’t think I’ve ever received a complaint from anyone who’s clicked on an affiliate link and then said that they didn’t enjoy their purchase, or my recommendation. For the most part, people are genuinely grateful that they have people out there who can give them these recommendations, because for myself, I’ve been through so many different tools, software, and courses, and so many different things that I’ve had to go through in order to land on the few, on the handful of resources that I definitely enjoy most and benefit from. And so then I just recommend ensure those. And every now and then there’s a new product or service that maybe I haven’t used it before. But I think that, yeah, this could be something really cool that people might enjoy. And then I might promote it and I will be open and transparent about it. And I’ll say, I haven’t tried this myself. This is just something that I think some of you might enjoy. And so it’s just about being open and transparent and not being forceful and just making sure that you also let people know that you are an affiliate for these programs because you don’t want to be shady about it either.
Bradley Sutton: Of course. So there’s two different things that we’ve talked about are already out. You started with Amazon and that grew into a Shopify business. Now we just talked about another stream of income that people can have after they’ve “made it”. I think that people who shouldn’t just start a YouTube channel from day one, necessarily trying to give people advice on what to do with Amazon strategy or e-commerce, if you haven’t done it yet, but you obviously did. What other forms of income kind of grew again, you can trace the origin back to the Amazon business, but how have you gotten into real estate or anything else?
Tatiana James: I’ve gotten into investing. I’ve been– real estate investing– I’m not there yet, I’m studying it, but I really like just kind of stock investing cause it’s so simple. I can liquidate my assets quite easily. I don’t have to worry about tenants and all that stuff, although it’s important to. There’s so many different ways that once you make some money, you want to learn first and foremost how to save it, but then also how to make that money grow so that the money can start working for you. And so I’ve been– when I first started the business, I reinvested all of my profits back into the business so that I could grow more. But then at some point, I decided to pay myself and I would have more money in savings. And so then I started to invest money. And so I’m a big investor in stocks. That’s really powerful because sometimes I like to study different people who have had massive success, or the billionaires in the world and the way I see it is a lot of them, they are entrepreneurs and they run extremely successful businesses, but they’re also investors.
Bradley Sutton: With all these things that you’re doing now, what’s the actual workload for you during a week. I know you have teams working for you. You don’t have to do everything yourself anymore, but you still are involved in a lot of things; the physical product business, your YouTube channels, you’re working on your investments, the affiliate side. During a typical week, how many hours are you actually “working”?
Tatiana James: That’s another hard question for me because it depends. For me, the way I operate and I know this is unusual, but this is how. What works for me is I have– it depends on where I am. If I’m traveling, then I have time off and then maybe I’ll work five hours a week. But if I’m not traveling, if I’m in one place, my home base for an extended period of time, maybe three to four months, then that’s my work time. And so that’s when I’m head down, working every day, all day. And I enjoy doing that. I love to work. I love to create, I love what I do. I love to create new things. And, so those kinds of days I’m working 10 hours, 12 hours, but it doesn’t feel like that because I’m enjoying what I’m doing. And so I’ll do that for three, four months, and not really take many breaks, but then I travel a lot. And so that’s my fun time. And then I take vacations and I take a lot of time off, but I can do that with ease and without feeling anxious, because I’ve set up my business so that when I do take time off, it’s okay. And so, for example, now I’m in Vancouver, Canada. I arrived a few weeks ago, and I have my family, my friends here. Prior to this, I was in Panama for the last six, or I think the last five months, and I was working a lot and I got a lot done. I got more done in the last five months then I’d usually get done in a year. And so I’m quite comfortable now to take off a lot of time, and I’m not spending many hours in my business. Maybe I’ll check in on things in the morning for an hour. And then I just have the rest of the day off to spend quality time with my family and friends, which is really important for me.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Let’s talk a little bit about the traveling and living in Panama and things, cause these are kind of things that people can have as a goal, not necessarily exactly what you do, but just to know what’s possible out there once you are making an income that could sustain this. So I know I live my– at least last year, obviously this year, not much because nobody can travel anywhere, but I live my life vicariously through you and Stefan’s Instagram at times. Can you talk about before the pandemic, the kind of activities you were able to do, I believe you went to Africa and then in other places?
Tatiana James: We love traveling and we knew for the last three years that we wanted to travel a lot and just kind of explore the world. And it was really cool because the fact that we get to do that is such a huge opportunity, such a huge blessing because we both work from the computer so we can bring our computers anywhere. So we were able to work on our business while traveling the world. And so last year, for example, we went to 18 different countries. As you mentioned, we went to Africa, we went to Kenya and Tanzania. We went to Southeast Asia. We went to Europe. We went to– I think actually almost every continent and just really all over and had so many amazing experiences, embraced so many different cultures and met so many phenomenal people. And so that was like, that’s a big part of our lifestyle and we’re really glad to do that. But that’s, I mean, we did that for the last few years, and now we’re kind of tired of traveling. We’re ready to just kind of settle down and buy a home and be in one place for a good period of time, but we’re really glad that we were able to do that. So that’s part of kind of the laptop lifestyle, if you will. It’s what originally attracted me to this business. It’s one of the reasons why I actually started an online business to begin with, because in the very beginning I was, as you mentioned earlier, I was in university and my plan was to work in the parliament of Canada. And I was really excited to do that. And I had never known that people can work from home, from working online and have only businesses. And so when I discovered that and I realized that, wow, this is going to give me this level of freedom that I would just never be able to experience if I had a regular job. That was just really intriguing for me. And so I always have to pinch myself that this is the reality that we’re living in. And the fact that I have this flexibility where I can just wake up and if I don’t want to work that day, I don’t have to, or if I do, then I can. It’s just really, really cool. And I always remind myself, and I’m always really grateful for it.
Bradley Sutton: What would you say– because anybody can travel. My family weren’t millionaires and I wasn’t, but I was still able to go to two other countries at times, but what is one of the most next level things that you’ve done, like an experience that’s like, Hey, it’s because– you wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise, but it’s because of building your Amazon business that you were able to do it?
Tatiana James: We’ve done a lot of cool things. Dubai’s really amazing. If you’ve got money, there’s so many fun things you can do there, it’s insane how next level they are. I remember we went to this high tea place in Dubai on one of these islands. I forget what it’s called, but it was just like, the architecture was just unreal and to be sitting there– it was just like a next level experience. Went to this trip recently last year to Fiji. Tony Robbins has a resort in Fiji called Namale, and it’s a really beautiful resort. And, it’s just– the views are stunning. You can do almost anything you want there. They have scuba diving, they’ve got boating, they’ve got games, they’ve got so many cool things. The service is fantastic. So that was really cool. I mean, just different things. I look back sometimes on my photos, on Instagram and that’s how sometimes I remind myself of all the different experiences that we’ve had. And certainly like you, you don’t need a lot of money to travel. I know a lot of people you can travel with, you can be very frugal. I know Stefan, he used to backpack across Asia and stay in hostels and you can definitely do it without having a lot of money. But if you do have that extra cash, it can be a lot of fun to just kind of experience some cool things like the fine dining, and experience different amazing restaurants and things like that. But for the most part, when we travel, they’re more to just enjoy the culture, and kind of explore the different area, and we’re into museums and different things like that as well.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, one thing you had talked about last year was living in Panama. I know that there’s a lot of high taxes in Canada. A lot of people move to other countries because of that, once they start making more money, especially if you’re like you guys and you’re traveling a big portion of the year and not even at home anyways, well, might as well move to Puerto Rico. Some people do what brought you guys to choose Panama. Is there a way to kind of estimate how much you’ve saved up because of that move?
Tatiana James: Yeah. Originally, the idea of moving to Panama, we didn’t have Panama in mind, but we knew that we wanted to travel, as I mentioned for the last three years. And so we knew that we weren’t going to be in Canada for those three years. If at all, very, very little, maybe a month or two. And so we were paying nearly 50% of our income and taxes. So imagine working six months of the year, and all of that money goes to the government. Now, I’m not saying that taxes are bad. I’m very happy to pay my taxes. Being here in Canada is a great reminder of the beautiful roads, the flowers, how clean it is. There’s a lot that tax has provide and I’m very happy to pay them. And I’m not going to be upset about them, but the fact that we weren’t here and we knew we weren’t going to be here for a number of years, we just kind of realized that it doesn’t really make sense. And so we landed on Panama because actually Stefan had a company there already set up, and Panama’s a great location in Central America. It’s very easy to fly out of because it’s central. And so, it was great for all the travel plans that we have. And then also it’s really great for us as people who have online businesses tax wise, we can save a lot of money. And so that’s what we decided to do. It was a bit of a process to establish residency there, and to no longer be of Canada, but it’s been great. We actually really love Panama. It’s a beautiful country. It’s quite small, but there’s a lot of beautiful nature. There’s the Panama canal, which is, the history is so cool and there’s some beautiful beaches and it’s also quite a business city. So if you go there, if you stay in Panama city, which is where we live, there are a lot of different banks. There are a lot of businesses, a lot of hotels. It worked really well for us with what we do. And again, we did travel most of the times, we haven’t spent a tremendous amount of time in Panama because we’ve been traveling a lot, and savings wise, we’ve saved. We’ve saved a lot of money. It’s definitely been worth it. It was very expensive to kind of set up everything initially, but it’s definitely paid itself off.
Bradley Sutton: What about philanthropy or charitable things you or Stefan– have you guys been able to look into any of that? I know that’s big for a lot of people as selling on Amazon and e-commerce giving you opportunities there as well.
Tatiana James: I can speak for myself, but also for Stefan, we really care about making sure that we’re sharing what has been given to us because we understand a lot of the luck and a lot of the blessings in our life. The fact that we were both born in North America, the fact that we were born in this day and age, we have opportunities that other people didn’t have. So it’s not that we’re any smarter or better or anything like that. It’s just– we’ve been giving a lot of opportunities, and so we recognize that. And we know that people in other parts of the world don’t have those same opportunities. So we want to kind of do our part in how we can contribute. And so, we’ve been a partner with different charities, and we’ve worked hard to kind of help build different schools and houses in different countries in South America, but also in Africa. And we’ve helped build over 15 schools and nine houses. And we’re currently working to support a community where we helped build a school in this community, but right now they need books and supplies because they’re really low on those things. And we went last year to Kenya and we visited that community and we saw how, yes, they have the infrastructure, they have the school, but they don’t have a lot of the supplies that the kids need to really facilitate a great learning environment. So, we’re always fundraising. We always have– if you go to either of our pages, we’re always sharing that this is the charity that we support, and if you want to help contribute, then feel free. But we’re also able to donate a good portion of our income to these charities. So we can also kind of help move things along a lot faster. So it’s been really rewarding. And, we know it’s nothing huge, but we were really happy to do it. And when we go and visit these communities and we see the kids and the families and how beautiful they are, they’re just such amazing people. And they’re so generous. One time we went to Ethiopia, and they know that the company that we were with and they fully supported us and we helped build a school there. And there was this huge party that they put on for us. And the whole community chipped in to put in money to buy a cow, which is very, very expensive for them. And it’s something that they do on very rare occasions. And so they slaughtered a cow and that was a form of respect and appreciation. And so we all celebrated and had cow. And so it’s just really amazing to see how generous they are despite having so little. And so, we’re really, really happy to be able to do a little bit of that.
Bradley Sutton: That’s so cool. Me personally, I love Ethiopian food. Were you able to have the Injera? The bread that you kind of pick up– It’s so good.
Tatiana James: They all eat with their hands and you want to make sure that you’re eating with the right hand. So you’re not eating with the hand that you wipe with.
Bradley Sutton: All these little things that you have to be careful of. Now you’ve already accomplished a lot, but you’re still young, under 30. Now, what’s the next five or 10 years looking like for Tatiana? What are your short term and long term goals? Do you ever see a time where, Hey, you’re not going to be working sometimes a couple of months all day where it’s basically all travel or all just living in another country?
Tatiana James: Stefan and I, we plan to have kids in the next few years, and I know that when that happens, I’m going to definitely be taking a step back from work. The hours that I work when I am doing my work, it’s not something I don’t want to be working like that when I have kids. I want to give them my undivided attention and be there. And so, I kind of see it as– I’m very young now and it’s a great time for me to kind of work and create. And don’t have a lot of responsibilities. We’re very flexible. And so this has been just a great time to just start a business and to scale and to grow. And the next 10 years, I’m still going to continue to grow. It’s just the beginning, but it’s just going to be different. I don’t know. It’s hard to predict what it’s going to be like. And sometimes having plans, sometimes it can be– they might not go exactly as planned. Let’s put it that way. I plan on just kind of having a simpler business and I’d like to invest in other up and coming businesses. At this point, I don’t know if I want to start a business, like an Amazon business or an e-commerce business from scratch. It’s a lot of work and I’m happy I did it. Now I’ve got the funds to invest in other businesses. And I much rather find entrepreneurs that– when you’re an investor. I think you’re not just looking at the product or the business.
Tatiana James: You’re actually looking at the people behind the business who are the entrepreneurs. And so I want to find some really cool people who I believe in, and that also have a great product and a great business model and invest in them and help kind of mentor and see their businesses grow. And I think that will be really fun to do. That’s kind of what I plan on doing in the future, but also continue to make my investments with my portfolio and get into real estate and other kinds of investments. So becoming more of an investors is the way I see things for kind of the next 20 years.
Bradley Sutton: That’s great. Now Tatiana, I appreciate your time coming on here. You’ve been an inspiration to so many people. You don’t know how many people I’ve interviewed on the podcast and just other places. And when we go back to everybody’s origin story, a lot of them were like, Oh, well, I was originally inspired by Tatiana and I saw one of her videos. So, you’ve made an impact in a lot of people’s lives, both you and Stefan, and it’s very commendable. And thank you so much for coming on here. Now, people want to see more of your story and to find out, follow you on your journey through e-commerce, how can they find you on the interwebs?
Tatiana James: You can find me on YouTube, Tatiana James. On Instagram, tatianajames26. I’m also on Facebook. That’s pretty much the only places that I’m active. So you can check me out there and I’m most active on YouTube. So if you want to leave comments, I usually respond to almost all the comments for new videos.
Bradley Sutton: Excellent. All right. Well, Tatiana, thanks again for checking in with us and maybe in 2021, hopefully it’s going to be a better year than 2020 what it’s been so far. But we can see how maybe now you’ll be a real estate tycoon by one year from now. We’ll take a look.
Tatiana James: We’ll see. Bradley, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
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