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#343 – Inspiring Stories From Four Young E-commerce Entrepreneurs

Today, we welcome back four teenage eCommerce sellers from SSP #222 to follow up and see what are they up to. Business exits, hiring employees, and education.
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49 minutes read

A while back, Bradley interviewed four teenage E-commerce entrepreneurs to share their inspiring stories on how they got started and found success in selling online. You can listen to that episode here. Today, we welcome them back on the show to see what are they up to nowadays. You’ll be surprised that each of them now has gone in their own direction. From big-money business exits, starting a new business, hiring 25 employees, changing their education goals, dealing with mental health issues, and more. Whatever your age may be, there’s always a lesson to learn. Listen to the very end, this is a good one!

In episode 343 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Jake, Salih, Makayla, and Salman discuss:

  • 02:00 – Updates On Jake’s Business
  • 05:40 – Moving Product Through Shopify, TikTok, And Snapchat
  • 06:10 – Making $500,000 On A Brand Exit In Senior High School
  • 07:50 – Sex Or Chocolates? Why Not Both?
  • 08:50 – Launch Strategies And Influencer Marketing
  • 10:15 – How Did They Find Influencers For Their Campaigns
  • 15:50 – Jake’s Advice For Young Entrepreneurs
  • 18:30 – 10th Grader Making $30K A Month Doing Arbitrage
  • 20:43 – 16-Year Old With His Own Stock Account
  • 23:00 – How To Get Rid Of Counterfeit Claims
  • 26:30 – The Current State Of Arbitrage On Amazon
  • 27:30 – Salih’s Goals For His Amazon Career
  • 28:00 – Makayla Is Now Focused On Her Education
  • 29:00 – Bradley’s Perspective On College Education
  • 30:00 – Mental Issues And Burnout Put E-commerce At The Back Seat
  • 35:00 – Listen To Makayla’s Podcast
  • 35:30 – 17 Years OId Salman Has 25 Employees For His Agency
  • 39:30 – Making An Average Of $20,000 Per Month
  • 40:00 – Salman’s Mindset About Education
  • 41:00 – How Does He Manage His Employees
  • 41:30 – Sharing His New Amazon Strategies That Work
  • 42:00 – What Are Salman’s Future Plans?  

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

A year and a half ago, we did an episode. We got to know four teenage entrepreneurs with inspiring stories. Today, we’re gonna follow up to see what they’ve been up to, including big money business exits, hiring 25 employees, completely changing their educational goals, and more. 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 Amazon or Walmart world.. And, you know, a while back, we did this episode that inspired people of all ages, but I took four teenagers who were at different stages of their educational and their career goals. And we brought them on to hear their stories. You know, we had somebody who was from a country where culturally just young people don’t really work. It’s not, you know, the father is the only one in the family who is supposed to earn money and he had a lot of obstacles to overcome despite his age. You know, we had somebody else who was super young, like a freshman in high school who was making time for retail arbitrage and grossing hundreds of thousands of dollars on that on Amazon.

Bradley Sutton:

We had somebody else who started their own business on TikTok and it was just completely blowing up and going viral. And we had another individual who was starting a business at an early, early age of like 13 with her sister who was even younger and then grew that into a bigger business. And also some other endeavors. Now, each of them are coming back on the show and each of them have gone their own directions in completely different ways. So some of them have doubled down on what they’re already doing. Others, they completely changed course and are doing something completely different. Others had some issues, mental health issues. They had to like kind of like approach and acknowledge and deal with. And what’s the moral of the story here, guys? Yes. These are young people, but it doesn’t matter your age, these things that they’re going through.

Bradley Sutton:

Any of you who are listening in and out there could be going through. So I know that this is gonna be an episode that all of you guys can hopefully get inspired on. And if you’re older, you know, if you’re not a teenager or you’re not a young adult, you know, don’t tune out, you know, if you’re 30, 40, 50, 60, what’s holding you back, what obstacles do you have? Do you have mental health issues? Do you have educational drawbacks? Do you have cultural issues? You know, do you just have like an issue where you can’t really dream as big as you once did? Well, guess what these young people have those same issues because these are things that affect people of all ages. So I want you guys, your takeaway to be from this episode, Hey, if this17 year old or this 20 year old can overcome it, why can’t I? So stay till the end guys, this is gonna be a great episode.

Bradley Sutton:

Don’t forget if you’re listening on Apple Podcast or Spotify, please click somewhere on the podcast page to leave us a review. We would appreciate it greatly. Let’s go ahead and hop right into the interviews. All right. We’ve got Jake here. Now, Jake if you remember, from the first episode he had started, you know, with that entrepreneurial bug, even a way back when he was in middle school. All right. And then he, while still in high school was kind of like a tycoon out there with this legging company. Talk to us more about how the legging company ended up. I saw from like Instagram and things, you had exited outta that company, but real quick recap on how you got into that and like what you built it up to as far as like monthly gross revenue, and then what ended up happening with that brand.

Jake:

Sure. Yeah. So the whole thing started just trying new dropshipping products and whatnot. Leggings just happened to kind of stick back in late 2019 as TikTok was coming up. One of my good friends and investor at the time, Nico Precos, I considered him more of a co-founder he invested money in the company very early on, and then we grew it to, you know, we had a few months that were greater than a hundred thousand dollars in revenue although it wasn’t totally sustainable just considering its drop shipping at the end of the day. There’s nothing proprietary about it. So we run that for like a year or so. We eventually exit in March, late March of 2021. Yeah. And during that time I hired my now current co-founder under Oliver Vocado, and now we are running this new company, which I’m sure we’ll get into.

Bradley Sutton:

How did you secure somebody to buy it? Like, were, were you shopping it around, like, Hey, you know, this is for or sale, or where you just, you know, being approached organically by people wanting to buy the brand or what happened there?

Jake:

So we had a broker who kind of searched around for buyers.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, are you able to say like approximately how much, you know, a deal like that went for, like what your take was from it? Or can you give us an idea?

Jake:

I think I might be under an NDA, but I think it’s the better half, a million dollars for the sale of the company.

Bradley Sutton:

So when it went down, you were still in your senior year of high school, right?

Jake:

I was. Yep.

Bradley Sutton:

What did you do when you got that check?

Jake:

I didn’t do anything with it. I think I—

Bradley Sutton:

I knew you were gonna say that.

Jake:

Well, I did do one thing. I got a CFA and just told ’em to invest it, I guess. But yeah at the time we were already building the next thing, so I just, I kind of knew exactly what I wanted to do with the money. So it was really no difference between getting and not having it the day before.

Bradley Sutton:

So now we’re like a year and a half later, so you’re in college now?

Jake:

I am, yes.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. So, you know, typical question, some people wanna be like, wait a minute, you’ve got all this money, cash, and everything, and you’re obviously successful. Why you still wanna go to college?

Jake:

Well, I’m gonna take a gap here next year. But it was definitely important to my parents and, and me also that I at least experienced the first, you know, six months to a year.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. So you exited their brand. It’s not like, you’re like, oh, I’m done with being an entrepreneur. How did you come up with your next idea? Or is this something you had been planning for a while already?

Jake:

Yeah, so I actually saw this TikTok video. It was about these, it was these two couples trying sex chocolate. This was a much smaller brand. They were brick and mortar. I don’t think they sold directly to consumer at all. And it was just not a pretty brand everything from the look of the website to the product alpha it needless to say it didn’t work. So we kind of thought that we could take our own packaging kind of bring our expertise that we’ve gathered from light with influencer marketing and light PPC on Snapchat. And take this new product concept that we know is a great idea. It was just executed so poorly.

Bradley Sutton:

Sex chocolate. That’s like chocolates that have kind of like Aphrodesiacs in it or something, or what?

Jake:

Exactly. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

What was your launch strategy for this? You know, so like, this is completely different than how you did leggings. You started out you know, doing a lot of it in influencer marketing, which maybe I’m sure you did here, but it was like drop shipping and things like that. You can’t really drop ship your own brand of chocolate. So, how do you guys approach this launch  this brand launch?

Jake:

Well, you know, it, it kind of does feel like dropshipping in a sense. And that’s because we spent the first year in RND just building out our supply chain. So that means like getting a 3PL getting these different co-manufacturers, there’s a lot more organization structure that goes into it, but, you know, we never just like drop shipping, I mean, we still never touch the product if we don’t want to. Interesting. it’s all in other of people’s hands. So I guess the launch strategy, well, the launch strategy was a little different from something like light because we couldn’t run PPC. Because there’s a lot of like ad restrictions comes with Aphrodesiacs. So yeah, my partner’s very good a influencer. I give ’em full credit for when it comes to building out those campaigns. And yeah, we together, we basically just built out this influencer system at a much larger scale than we did at light. And we launched it, I think within the first month or so we sold out of our first batch a product.

Bradley Sutton:

How did you get influencers? Like how did you find them and then what was your pitch to them to get them involved? You know, since obviously, this is a brand new brand, it’s not like you’re some big name brand that everybody knows about.

Jake:

Right. So, yeah, we definitely had trouble with that in the beginning. I think just getting influencers to respond to us. We use like TikTok Creator Marketplace, for example, just to get in touch. And then we kind of approached each deal a little bit informally or something that you know, we would get their number for example, and text them. Right. And that would kind of be the structure of the deal. There wasn’t too many processes or like official guidelines that they had to follow at first. It was kind of like that, but then we kind of realized that influencers want more flexibility in what they post. So we kind of just try to be relatable an try to give them flexibility in what they will one to post.

Bradley Sutton:

So what was your budget, you know, before you made your first cent, you know, obviously you had to invest in branding, you had to invest in websites, you had to invest in product, you had to invest in maybe upfront payments to influence. I’m not sure. What did you have to put in before you even saw your first cent out of this brand?

Jake:

So me and my partner each put in like 20K I think we spent probably 35K total before selling a product.

Bradley Sutton:

And now let’s fast forward to April 2022, like what, what’s your monthly gross sales, like March, February, like what have you been able to scale this brand to so far?

Jake:

It’s it’s good. I mean, we’ve sold, I don’t know about like exact figures, but we sold out and there’s been a lot of like you know, the conversion rate is less because of that. We’re we have to put people on pre-order as we sold the first 3000 units, and now we have about eight or 9,000 pre-orders after that. So that definitely like–

Bradley Sutton:

Have you made up that 35 grand investment then?

Jake:

Yeah. Yeah, we have.

Bradley Sutton:

Definitely. Okay.

Jake:

Yeah. So–

Bradley Sutton:

I’d imagine the profit, margin’s pretty nice on something like this.

Jake:

Yeah, it is. And it only gets better as we have more scale. 

Bradley Sutton:

You keep your manufacturing USA or where is this being made?

Jake:

So we manufacture the chocolate in the US, the ingredients are from New York and I believe Connecticut, all US-based, and then the packaging is China.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. That makes sense. All right, cool. So the brand is called Tabs, right?

Jake:

Yes.

Bradley Sutton:

Have you tried to put it on Amazon at all, or this is a hundred percent again, Shopify?

Jake:

So yeah, I don’t think we want to go into Amazon just because when you think of, and I know very little about Amazon, but–

Bradley Sutton:

Let me just tell you right now, people are searching for it on Amazon. If you type in like tabs, you can see tabs, chocolate, tabs chocolate sex bar, all, all this stuff I’m gonna definitely look into. Matter of fact, I’m gonna check Helium 10 right now to see if there’s search volume here. What the actual search volume is, but that’s pretty amazing that brand new brand people are already searching for it on Amazon, but I know that’s like a, you know, multiple products and things like that’s kinda an issue, right?

Jake:

Yeah. And we don’t wanna cannibalize our sales. I mean, if we can sell directly to consumers through our website, we’d rather do that than try to compete with, you know, other brands on Amazon.

Bradley Sutton:

Yep. So what’s your goal now for this brand? Like, did you start this and on day one, you had an exit in mind, like, Hey, I’ll just wanna get, or is this like, you know, I’m just gonna keep this brand you know, forever?

Jake:

You know, it’s, so it’s so early that I’m not entirely sure. I don’t think, I mean, probably not gonna be doing this for the rest of my life, but I mean, we definitely see the potential and we wanna, we wanna fully take advantage of it while we have it. So definitely for the next few years. And after that, we’ll just play it by ear.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, cool. Cool. Well you know, what’s some advice out there, you know, we talked about that the last episode, you know, other young people who are, are, you know, maybe in your shoes, they’re freshman in college, or they were in high schools, like when you started. And they’re like, Hey, I kind of have the entrepreneurial bug, you know, maybe I don’t have $35,000 lying around because I made a huge exit, you know, but I want get into this entrepreneurial life, like how can I get started? So what kinda advice would you have for them?

Jake:

Well, for, for me, at least it didn’t start like, you know, after, after starting light, like even before the Len company, before I had the 35 K to spend on, you know, this new venture that foundation is built off so many failed dropshipping stores. Since, you know, the beginning of high school, I’m a freshman in college now, so it’s been like four or five years. So I guess, like, you know, it’s just kind of cliche, but just keep trying, like, it really just comes with experience. And you know, as you fail more, you learn so.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, well, Jake, it’s really inspiring to see all that you’ve accomplished. And, you know, we’re not trying to tell everybody, Hey, if you’re,16, 17, 18, 19 years old, you’re gonna have the, the same kind of success as Jake, but just shows what’s possible. You know he didn’t come from some, some family that was already, you know, billionaires in the know Shopify space. And so he was kind of like handed some this whole plan on a platter or something like that. He’s pretty much the definition of self-made. And so if he can do it, you know, you guys can also have similar success out there too. All right. And Jake, if anybody wants to reach out to you or at least your brand find you on the interwebs, how can they do that?

Jake:

So my Twitter and Instagram is at @jkelwn. We’re at @tabs on TikTok and Instagram and then tabschocolate.com is the website.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. So, Jake, thanks a lot for joining us. And I might need a sample of that chocolate. Not saying, I need it, but you never know. I just wanna for testing purposes, you know, I just wanna check out your product packaging and things like that. But anyways, Jake, thanks a lot for joining us and let’s reach out in a year and a half and see what new brand you’ve started then.

Jake:

Let’s do it. Thanks, Bradley.

Bradley Sutton:

Right now. We got Salih up here. And Salih you were the youngest one the last time we had you on the podcast. You were only 15 at the time, I believe. How old are you now?

Salih:

I’m 16.

Bradley Sutton:

16 now. Okay. So still in high school?

Salih:

Yeah, I’m in10th grade, a sophomore.

Bradley Sutton:

10Th grade. All right. So, you know, going back to your backstory, you know, you had started doing things like, you know, iPhone repair to make money. So, you know, you had that entrepreneurial bug before and then got into arbitrage and then you just had some like ridiculous, you know, sales months. I’m assuming this is when you were like a freshman or in eighth grade or something like that. Where there was a Q4 where you did like two, almost $300,000 of gross sales in arbitrage, you know, now fast forward, like a year, year and a is arbitrage, like what you still like doing, or have you pivoted at all? Or what are you doing these days?

Salih:

I’m still doing arbitrage, but I’m not putting a whole, like I’m doing decent numbers close to like 30, around 30,000 a month at revenue, which okay is as crazy as what I was doing before, but I’m putting in a lot less work. So I’m happy about it. Well,

Bradley Sutton:

Were you getting like burned out all I like found out that you didn’t really have enough time for school when you were trying to keep those heavy big numbers or sustain them?

Salih:

Necessarily, I just wanted to try other businesses and so like job shipping and Etsy, like I was working on other shops, so I just had Amazon.

Bradley Sutton:

So what kind of job shipping are you doing now?

Salih:

Shopify. I found my own product. I just created the store, so I’m working on ads currently.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And then Etsy, that means you’re actually making your own products or,

Salih:

Yeah. Yeah. So like woodworking that kind of thing. I enjoy doing it. So I was like, why not give it a shot?

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. All right. So it’s not like you’re spending less time on your businesses. It might even be more, it’s just, you’re diversifying instead of it all having to be arbitrage.

Salih:

Yeah. And I’m also trying to do more that, like I’m trying to not put most of my time into Amazon, cuz if I can work on something else at the same time, then you know, I wanna be able to have multiple streams. And so if I just put all my time towards Amazon, I could create a pretty good stream there, but there’s also other things I wanna try that are a little more interesting or a little more fun in a way.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. Okay. Now, you know, back in the day, when we had you on the podcast last, you pretty much all the money or the profit that you’d make you just kind of put back into the business, especially, that’s actually kind of important when you’re doing arbitrage, cuz you gotta have capital to keep the flywheel going. But is that still the case or have you done anything like, you know, started buying a car or rewarded yourself at all with some extravagant purchases now that you’re, you’re fairly well off for somebody of your age?

Salih:

No. I try to stay away from that. Like, you know, there’s still a lot more I could do with the money that I have. And so I’m trying not to buy something that’s gonna set me back for a bit, you know what I mean? So like, maybe smaller purchases, like a computer and that type of thing, but nothing huge. Like I’ve been putting a lot of my money to my stock account and my, and working on, you know, the other businesses that I’m trying.

Bradley Sutton:

Are you able to get like a stock account as a minor or do you have to have it like in a parent name or something like that? Yeah,

Salih:

I have to have it in like a parents’ name. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

So how, how much money do you have in invested in that?

Salih:

I have around 22,000 around that much in my stock account.

Bradley Sutton:

How do you decide like are you putting a little bit every month or it’s just based on how much money you make or are you set like a set amount or like, Hey, every month I’m gonna just deposit this there and or how did you decide how to do that?

Salih:

It’s more of just like, that would be a smart idea having a schedule, but it’s just whenever I have money, that’s sitting in my account. That’s just like, it’s been sitting in my account for a while and I haven’t touched it, then I’m like, what am I doing with this money? Like I should do something with it. And so I just send it over. So it’s not very consistent, like me sending money in, I’ll just send in a certain amount when I don’t need the money. So like, if it’s been sitting in my account, then you know, I’ll send it in and I’m not a buying anything like trying to day trade or anything. I’m just buying long term modes.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. And how, how much do you currently have invested in arbitrage? So like what’s like an inventory that you’ve bought that you just haven’t sold yet? Like, do you have a certain amount that you try and keep it to like, Hey, I’m not gonna go too far above or below a certain number.

Salih:

I try to spend close to like around 10,000 a month in inventory. Not saying that, cuz usually when I buy the inventory, it takes a while for it to get checked in and forget sent and everything. So it covers up that like if I have sent in 10,000 and then send in another 10,000 like it’ll just keep on rolling in a way like I’ll always be getting sales so.

Bradley Sutton:

Any drawbacks in the last year from that? Like, you know, have you gotten any counterfeit claims or any like kind of like L’s you’ve taken in the last year as far as the arbitrage goes?

Salih:

Yeah, not really like counterfeit claims and stuff, I’ve gotten a couple on my account, but you know, I’ve gotten rid of ’em and so those.

Bradley Sutton:

How’d you get rid of them? What did you show?

Salih:

I send them my receipts, like whatever, like my purchasing receipts and all that. So those haven’t been a huge issue for me. I try to get rid of as fast as possible. And so I can just keep on moving in a way. Makes sense.

Bradley Sutton:

So arbitrage, you got the dropshipping, you said like just on your own, you liked doing woodworking and that’s what gave you the idea about Etsy or how did that come? Idea come about?

Salih:

Also, I tried Etsy last year and it was while I was doing Amazon, so I was doing Amazon a lot, like I was doing, putting in a lot more time in to Amazon. And so I tried, I got a couple of sales and I just got completely lazy to make ’em and then like, just time went by and I just canceled the orders and, you know, shut down my account. But now I have a little bit more time, so I’m deciding to try it out and starting off decently.

Bradley Sutton:

And is that profitable or is this more just like I’m just having fun, like have you calculated that out? You can actually make money based on whatever you pay for the materials and stuff or, or are you just doing this as kinda like a passion project?

Salih:

No, I’m doing like 40 to 60% profit margins. So it’s just this harder to make ’em. And so, you know, like currently, since it was my first couple orders, it obviously took me a long time to make ’em, but you know, like I’ve been seeing improvement. So like the first order took me like close to three hours to make. And then the second order, it was like two hours. It was a little over two hours and like I’m getting better and better. So that like, I feel like I could definitely get this like under an hour. And so if I can make one project an hour, that could be like $70, $80 an hour a profit and so.

Bradley Sutton:

So then what’s an example of a kind of product that you’re doing and then like how you decided to come about it. Like did you do product research first or you’re looking on Etsy? What other people were doing or like, Hey, I can do that. Or did you just come up with a random idea yourself?

Salih:

No, for this pro for the first project that I started with, I paid for plans. So someone else had already made this item, but they weren’t selling it on Etsy. And so I bought their plans.

Bradley Sutton:

How in the world do you find something like that?

Salih:

On YouTube.

Bradley Sutton:

Youtube, huh? Interesting

Salih:

Yeah, it popped out to me and I was like, this is something people would buy. So I purchased their plans. It wasn’t, they usually don’t charge a lot, maybe less than 10, and then it tells you everything you need to do and how to do it.

Bradley Sutton:

Interesting. Interesting. And is there competition on that exact thing or is it where you like the first one on Etsy, with this exact product?

Salih:

It’s like the first person selling this product in this, you know, that looks like this, you know what I mean? Cause they’re, I’m selling a planter like planter boxes and raise planter boxes and whatnot. And so I’m the first person to be selling this like certain planter box with this design, but there’s plenty of other planter boxes all over. So it’s just, this, this is I guess, unique in a way, cuz nobody else is selling this exact same.

Bradley Sutton:

And you’ve already made some sales just starting from scratch, you know, without any, like it’s not like you’re doing Google ads to your Etsy store or something like that.

Salih:

No. Yeah. Etsy has a built-in marketing thing. So like you can put a daily budget and they’ll like to sponsor you on Etsy search. I’ve tried that out. That didn’t work a whole ton for me, but Etsy also does offsite ads for you as well. So if you wanted to, you could do that.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. What, what’s the status of, you know, going back to arbitrage? Like how would you classify that today? You know, as opposed to the last time you were on the show in like early 2021, is it still as easy to make money or is it harder to find profitable of products? Is the inventory shipping issue still an issue for you? Or talk about how it is now compared to how it was last year?

Salih:

Last year it was more cuz it was COVID it was just super easy. Cuz you know, there’s a lot of product supply chains, things were messed up and so there’s a lot of products then there’s still plenty of products. There’s still, I know plenty of people who are making, you know, six figures or more a month in revenue from just doing arbitrage. And so it’s still live and well, like people are still making money. Like there’s definitely plenty of opportunity there. I haven’t been taking advantage of it myself, so.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. You still got you to know, a couple more years of high school. So what’s some of your short and long term goals for what you wanna do.

Salih:

I think it, some of my goals is that I just wanna get like Amazon to be doing consistent numbers and get the wholesale on Amazon. So the woodwork business is also another one and there’s just whatever. I also have a couple of other hobbies that like, I want to turn into businesses in the future, so.

Bradley Sutton:

Just cool. Okay, cool. So words of wisdom, you know, since you’re the only one left in our group or still like in, at least an American high school. So, so there’s some American kids out there they’re still in high school wondering how they can get started, you know, but still juggling their entire, you know, course load and things like that. What’s some advice you can give them

Salih:

For people wanting to get into Amazon specifically then, you know, use books is just such a good option to getting into Amazon. It’s a low entry. Like doesn’t require a whole lot of capital. It doesn’t require a whole lot of anything just going to their stores and getting books. It’s very simple and it’s very like you can make a lot of money off of it. And other than that’s pretty much all I have for getting into Amazon or, you know,

Bradley Sutton:

Use books. All right. Cool.

Salih:

Yeah. Use books. It’s really the best way and the way a lot of people I know have started including myself.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Next year, let’s see what you’re doing. Maybe you did Etsy this year and drop shipping next year. Who knows maybe you’re going on Wayfair or Shopify or who knows what you’re gonna have. So it’d be always, it’s always interesting to catch up with you and see what you’re doing. So wish you the best of success in the future. And then if people wanna, you know, find you on the IUB, how can they see you out there?

Salih:

My Instagram is @iamsalihesa and also have a Ted talk, which is the same. I also have a Twitter, which is the same. So if anybody has any questions on how to start Amazon, you know, just shoot me a message. I’ll try to respond to you. I will respond to you. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Love it. All right. Well, thanks a lot. And we’ll see you next year.

Salih:

No problem. See ya.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Now we’ve got Makayla here now. Makayla, I think if I’m not mistaken, you were the oldest one that we had at the time of our recording on the last one you were 19. Are you now 20?

Makayla:

Yes, but I turn 21 next week, so.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So, you are, you are 21. I would assume that you don’t drink though anyways. No. Yeah. So if you don’t drink 20, pretty much, you know, being 20 and turning 21 has very little meaning like, like 20 is the major milestone there.

Makayla:

But I am excited to turn 21 because it’s been on my bucket list to make vanilla extract and you use vodka and vanilla beans to make it, so I will be going and getting alcohol, but it’s that for consumption.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. There we go. There we go. You gotta have different goals here. All right. Now, you know, you had started e-commerce when you were early teens, you know, like 13 14 and I think you, you did a lot of stuff with your mom and then also your, your sister. But then when you were coming on the podcast last year, you know, you, you were doing like webinars and things like that, but I believe you were kind of as a starting or you were in your second or first year of college or as they say in other countries, university. So ha have you still been able to have the time to be doing, you know, your entrepreneurship, or has that kind of taken a backseat to your studies? What’s been going on the last couple of years.

Makayla:

So sadly that has taken a backseat for college and classes with the marketing degree that I decided to try and get the classes were a lot harder and went a lot different than what I thought they were gonna be.

Bradley Sutton:

I’m assuming that your family is supporting you while you’re in college and helping out. So it’s not like, oh, you stop your side business is now you are, starving every night because you have no money to eat. It’s not like that situation, right?

Makayla:

No, no, no. So to give a little background, I live alone, but I’m a very extroverted person. So I’ve had to go grab a couple of jobs that help me fulfill that extroversion. So I’ve got money coming in that way. And then I’ve got money that I’ve made in the past, saved up for this experience in this part of my life. So I’m okay. My parents help me out every once in a while, but not a ton, but I still have–

Bradley Sutton:

Also, so it’s like the money you saved up from your previous e-commerce and entrepreneurship you saved, and then that’s what you’re using to also sustain yourself as well, along with new jobs.

Makayla:

Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Yeah. You know, if you’re an extrovert being in e-commerce sometimes is not exactly, you know, the best outlet for that because you, you’re not really interacting with people that much. Okay. Interesting. So, what I think it’s important, you know, like don’t want people sometimes maybe have heard about my story on here or hear me talking about, you know, college and things like that. And to say like I’m necessarily Antico I’m kind of like the person is like, Hey, it’s not for everybody. And you can definitely have success if you don’t go to college, you know, traditionally like, this doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail, but at the same time, I don’t wanna sit here and say, oh no, you shouldn’t go to college or, or it’s not a beneficial thing to do, you know, for, for everybody. So, so here’s a case where, where McKayla, you know, started, you know, young and was all into e-commerce. But you know, she made the decisions like, Hey, I wanna level up, get this marketing degree and you know what? I need to step away for e-commerce a little bit guys. There’s nothing regardless of your age there’s nothing wrong with taking a break a little bit. I, if you gotta take care of other things, cuz the last thing you want to do is get burned out. And I’m assuming that you could probably see the writing on the wall. Like if you would’ve kept up your schedule and then now with all this extra workload of homework and stuff, you probably would’ve got burnt or something.

Makayla:

Okay. So are you okay if I like share the story of everything?

Bradley Sutton:

Share it, share, share, share. Sharing is caring.

Makayla:

When I first moved out, I was like going super hard with everything that I had going on. Definitely got burned out and that’s why I had to pause my e-commerce and other coaching programs that I had. Oh you

Bradley Sutton:

So you did get burned out. It wasn’t like you foresaw it. It actually happened. Okay.

Makayla:

Yeah, totally happened. Had some mental health issues kick in and so over the last couple of years I’ve been really trying to focus on myself. Definitely took like a year and a half for me to even realize that that was going on. And I was dragging myself through all this of basically banging my head against the wall and couldn’t figure out what was happening. And my parents had to be like, yo, hun, this is what’s going on. This is what we see. Like, let’s get you some help so that you’re not acting like you’re not stuck in this forever. Cause in my brain, I was like, oh this is adulting. This is what I just have to live with and deal with. And it was depression, burnout, anxiety, and all sorts of other things that kind of just came onto my life. And the only reason why I went to college is because God told me to go to college, to come up here, to try and get around some kids who think the same way I do as in marketing and business. And we are no longer going for the marketing degree. I am going for my life coaching certification.

Bradley Sutton:

Oh, what certification? I’m sorry.

Makayla:

Life coaching.

Bradley Sutton:

Oh, okay.

Makayla:

Yeah. Yes. So I will be switching schools here in the next little bit and doing life coaching.

Bradley Sutton:

Guys, there’s another lesson right there. You know, especially young people, you start out in something and you might be all motivated for it. But then if you’re like, Hey, if this doesn’t feel right don’t be like, Hey, I started this, I gotta finish it. You know, no matter what, even though it’s gonna make me miserable, you know, I remember something about you is even a couple years ago you were doing like, I don’t know if you called it life coaching, but you were doing this kind of like webinars to kind of like empower youth or something like that. It was almost on this, on the lines of life coaching. So I’m assuming this has always been like a passion of yours then?

Makayla:

Sort of. So I was teaching kids how they can start their own business online without investing a crap ton of money and having to build a website and all that stuff. And since these last couple of years have been hard on me and my soul. I’ve been talking to some of my other friends. It’s kind of been a struggle transitioning from a teenager to an adult and having to function by yourself without having some parent guidance always there and was in a church meeting one time and they had this life coach come in and I was like, how funny would this be? Is if this was my life changing moment, seeing this life coach up here talking and I was like, ah, shoot, this is my life changing moment. This is what I wanna do. So I can help other teenagers like transition and realize their potential and not have to fall into that rut that I got stuck in and that some of my other friends have gotten stuck in. So I’ve always loved like trying to help people in some sort of way. But now I feel like I’ve got a solid idea of how I can do it.

Bradley Sutton:

Excellent. Excellent. Hey, I like it, you know, following your passions and doing what feels right. And it’s not always just a matter of, oh, you, I love standing in the middle of an igloo. And so that’s why I’m gonna do the rest of my life. You know like, I don’t know, I’m just throwing random stuff out there, like, and I’ve always been with the philosophy of, if you can do the perfect kind of job is if you can do something that you love doing so much that even if you weren’t paid for it, you’d probably pay to do it just because it’s so fulfilling to you. And at the same time, it changes people’s lives. You know, I used to do that with the Zumba fitness when, when I love Zumba and now I’m being paid to do it and helping people lose weight and change their lives. And now I’m doing it on Amazon. I used to pay to use Helium 10 and now they’re paying me to use helium 10 and, and inspire people and, and change their lives financially on Amazon. So that is pretty, pretty cool. All right. So what’s the future hold for you? Now, how long is this certification going to take? And then can you already see how you’re gonna use it as soon as you finish?

Makayla:

Yeah. So I’m debating between two of ’em right now. One of ’em I believe is like six months-ish. So both of the programs have year long access, so I could focus on the certification for a year.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. I love it. Completely different than our other experiences here, but it just goes to show that, Hey, there’s no one formula to success. There’s no one secret to success guys, where everybody has to take the same path. Love this a lot. So if people wanna find you, follow your journey in the interwebs or, you know, podcast, social media as whatever you wanna give out, go ahead and let people know.

Makayla:

Okay. So I just started a podcast guys. It’s been so much fun. I absolutely love it. My dad raises about it every time he listens to an episode. So you know that it’s good. It’s called If I Were 20 Again, it’s on Apple. It’s on Spotify. Then if you wanna follow me, I’m on Instagram and Facebook. It’s @makyla.prince. Not on TikTok though, so.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. In a week now you could be your own guest on the podcast. Like if you were 20, I guess

Makayla:

I Know.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. All right, Makayla. Thank you so much for coming back and wish you the best of success in your journeys.

Makayla:

Thank you so much. Thanks for letting me come back on.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Now we’ve got another guest from the other side of the world. Salman, Salman. Welcome back. How’s it going?

Salman:

I’m amazing. Thank you.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Now you also were of our younger guests that we had on last time. So how, how old are you now?

Salman:

I’m still 17.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, you weren’t 17. Last time you were 16. The last year it’s been over a year.

Salman:

I was16 last time.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So it’s been over a year. All right. So are you still in high school?

Salman:

Yep. This is my last year.

Bradley Sutton:

Now are you going in person or is it all virtual or how is your school set up?

Salman:

I’m actually homeschooled cause you know, it’s really hard to manage school with all the Amazon stuff going on.

Bradley Sutton:

Now you weren’t always in that, right?

Salman:

No, I wasn’t always on school just from the past few years.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now let’s talk about the Amazon side, you know, last time we talked, I mean on this podcast, you know, I know we’ve obviously talked since then. You and I, but you, you had started to mean kind of like a virtual assistant for many Amazon sellers and helping them with things from product research, to listing optimization and things. But now as they understand you kind of got bigger. And so now you’ve expanded and actually hired a number of employees even as well. Right?

Salman:

Yeah. I’ve got 25 employees.

Bradley Sutton:

25 employees. So go back to that first one, like what made you hire that first employee? Like, was it just, oh my goodness. You know, I’m having to turn down clients or opportunities because I just don’t have the time and bandwidth to do it myself or what happened there.

Salman:

I actually always had bigger plans. So the first time we got on the podcast, before that I actually launched my own company. And from there, since I was getting so many clientele for different services, so thought why not, I offer all of these services under one roof so that even if a client comes to our door, he doesn’t have to return to someone else for something else. So we are offering all in one solution. So he doesn’t have to waste his time or money on somewhere else.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So 25 people you’ve hired what’s, what’s the average salary of somebody you hire.

Salman:

The lowest salary right now is $250. And the highest salary right now is a thousand dollars.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And with all these, you know, with this now new overhead though, you, you still are able to obviously make money yourself I’m assuming.

Salman:

If I tell you the revenue for last month, we did $20,000 and we are planning a forecast of 22.5 this April. So yeah things are pretty good.

Bradley Sutton:

Excellent. Excellent. And now all of this is the way that you get money. Is any of it kind of like, you know, percentage of sales of your clients or everything is just like strictly project based?

Salman:

It is.

Bradley Sutton:

Which one?

Salman:

I would say 25% of it is based on percentage from our clients’ profits and the rest of 5% is based on salaries.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Okay. And interesting. Now when are you finishing high school? Is it this year or is it next year?

Salman:

It’s in about three months.

Bradley Sutton:

Three months. Okay. So you’re like what we would call a senior in high school here. So what, what is gonna change, if anything, about kind of like what you’re doing when you graduate week? Cuz I would assume that now you’ll have more time now. Are you trying to go to university or now are you just gonna focus all on the business?

Salman:

Actually, I’m a student of all levels here in Pakistan. So over here after all levels, there’s another level that’s called A-Levels. So I have to give around two years to that and after that, I can go to university.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So it’s still like school is not finished. Yeah. Maybe you’ll get a little bit of a break and then start again.

Salman:

A-Levels is more like a college. Okay. So school’s gonna end a college will start and then university,

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, you know, there’s no right or wrong here. But I’m just curious, you know, you’re doing pretty well, like more than probably even just, you know, 95%, 99% of the population would normally revenue wise already. So what is the motivation behind continuing the education? Cause you know, some people do education cuz it’s like, Hey, if I don’t do this, I’m never gonna be able to have a decent income. But what about you, what’s your motivation for continuing on to like say, Hey, I’m still gonna go to school.

Salman:

To be honest, there is no motivation. There’s a certain mindset. I’ve always believed that education has nothing to do with how much you earn or what job you’ll get or whom you’ll marry or whom you won’t marry. Education is for your personal grooming. It’s for, you know, making yourself feeling worthy that I have achieved something. So that is my main reason for continuing my education.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now how do you manage 25 employees? Like, do you have, you know, like managers do you have human resources who do hiring and monitoring things like that?

Salman:

I have human resources. I do have one manager, but we do 50-50 of the work.

Bradley Sutton:

OK. What’re some, some new strategies that you found along the way that maybe you can share like something that’s working in one of the aspects of how you help Amazon sellers that maybe you can share with the rest of the audience.

Salman:

So recently we tried this Pinterest and TikTok marketing and it was a blast. About two months back, we made 105 pins on Pinterest with someone on fiber. And we managed to gain over 60 orders for that particular product in just one hour, it wasn’t helping the ranking, but it did help us sustain. So it’s very good.

Bradley Sutton:

Were those paid posts or those were just organic posts that you did?

Salman:

They were paid. They were paid.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. All right, cool. What, what’s the, what’s the future look like for you? As far as on the, you know, you see what your plans are for the edge side, but how are we gonna grow your agency? What are your goals there? Like if we have you on the podcast in a year or two, what would you like to be able to tell everybody of what you’ve achieved?

Salman:

Well, right now my focus is on asset building. So apart from Amazon, I’m into real estate a little bit. I have NFTs and all, so my core–

Bradley Sutton:

So real estate, like, are you buying houses or buildings or what are you trying to do?

Salman:

Not houses yet. They are too expensive.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. So what kind of real estate are you getting into then?

Salman:

No, the actual estate, you know, buying apartments or houses, that type of stuff.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. But so that’s what your goal is. You’re wanting to get into that. Okay. I thought you were saying you were already.

Salman:

I always wanted to, you know, own a dealership for cars, have an agency that deals in all kind of properties and all. So I’m getting there very slowly, but at least I’m getting there.

Bradley Sutton:

I like it. I like it. Now, what do your parents think of all your success lately?

Salman:

They’re pretty, I, for someone my age doing all of this, but they never say anything. They’re just happy. I just know it, they’re happy.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Cool. Cool. So any maybe, you know, plans to visit overseas or maybe come to US to visit any time soon?

Salman:

I am a huge fan of traveling though, but with my time schedule, it’s pretty hard. So I’m planning a trip to Turkey this July. And after that, maybe in three to four months, I’ll try to come to the USA.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Well, that sounds like good timing, because remember, in September, we’ve got the Sell and Scale Summit in Las Vegas, the biggest event for Amazon sellers. And I think that you would really have a great time, what would be a great first time to United States go to Vegas.

Salman:

We’re going to Vegas.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah, that would be a great first trip, right there.

Salman:

Really great memory.

Bradley Sutton:

It’s really great to see what you’ve accomplished, you know, especially at your agent and guys, you know, make sure to listen to the old episode. It’s not just about the age you know, Salman have to overcome a lot of like other barriers due to the culture that he’s in where, you know, it’s not like you know, maybe United States or Europe, where, where kids get a job from an early age, you know, it’s a very different set up over there and he had to overcome a lot to achieve what he has. So it’s really great to see you what you’ve done. And alright, the next time we talk then, all right. Maybe, I don’t know about the car dealership yet, but maybe an apartment building or something. Let’s see. So then the next time that I visit Pakistan, maybe I can stay in one of your units there.

Salman:

Oh, for sure. For sure.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. All right. Thanks a lot. All guys there, you have it, you know, we just heard from four young entrepreneurs and a lot of takeaways from this, but one of the important things is that there’s no just one pathway to success, right. You know, Jake is doubling down on what he’s doing. You know he’s sold his business and now he’s started over again. And now he’s having a lot of success and he still wanted to get some of the college life. So, you know, he’s going for a year. You know, it’s a college Salih kind of took a step back a little bit from arbitrage. He’s not doing as much as anymore. And he’s doing something he’s more passionate about and started his own Etsy, business, but he’s still crushing it making way more money than any of people in his high school.

Bradley Sutton:

I’m sure who have an afterschool job. We have Makayla who was like, you know what? I’m burned out. I am burned out from school and my e-commerce businesses. Something’s gotta give, let me take a step back from e-commerce for just a little bit working my mental health and switch my educational goals and do something I’m more passionate about. And then I’m gonna, you know, pick it back up, you know, nothing wrong with that, guys, nothing wrong with pivoting in life Salman, he’s been doubling down. He’s like, Hey, I’ve accomplished a lot as a virtual assistant. I want to expand out. So what am I gonna do? I’m going to go ahead and hire a team so I can, you know, help more people and expand my business. You know, you guys who are entrepreneurs, you might need to hire somebody instead of trying to do everything yourself.

Bradley Sutton:

So I hope you’re inspired as I am. You know, I wish I had this kind of drive when I was, you know, 16, 17, 18 years old. You know, I don’t regret, you know, the all the choices I made or anything like that, but it’s really inspiring I think to see younger people who are crushing it, because sometimes we as adults we wanna put a bunch of excuses in front of us, right. Of why we can’t do something, or I’m too young for this. I’m too old for this. I’m too poor for this, or I’m too busy for this or this or that. These guys all had very similar obstacles even more. And they found a way to overcome it and get through it. So that’s what I want you guys to do as well. So I hope you enjoy this episode and we’ll see you in the next one.


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