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Entrepreneurship

How To Automate And Optimize Your Online Business With Melisa Vong

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With online businesses growing I wanted to interview an expert on automating and optimizing online businesses. Melisa Vong is that expert and I got the chance to interview her. Here’s what she had to say:

Hey Melisa, can you tell us a little about who you are?

“Who am I?” Now that’s the million dollar question we all ask ourselves! I guess it all depends on who you ask. If you ask my mom, she’d tell you I’m her pride and joy. My business partners and social media friends on the other hand might think I’m some internet entrepreneur living her best life, my clients might think I’m some Amazon FBA expert or E-commerce wizard, and to my hedgehog I’d be his savior and reliable food dispenser. I like to think of myself as a fierce serial entrepreneur who inspires people to chase their dreams and help take their businesses to the next level through strategic branding. On a more tangible note, own and operate several e-commerce brands within the health and wellness niche as well as beauty space. Additionally, I provide consulting services to brands that wish to expand their retail presence into the Amazon marketplace as well as assist in brands that need a helping hand to scale up their current Amazon strategy.

Can you give us a look into your background story?

For me, the hustle started young. When I was in second grade, I would take my allowance money to the flee market and purchase these “surprise bags” which would contain 4 to 5 little trinkets or toys in them for $2. I would then sell them for $1 to $2 a piece, netting me a pretty profit to do it all over again or buy other inventory like chocolate bars to sell. When my parents separated, my mother had to support me and my sister on her own so at 12 years old I went out and got my first job which was going door-to-door selling newspaper subscriptions for my local newspaper. I wanted to help in any way that I could and watching my mom work so hard to provide for us really lit a fire under me and instilled a hard work ethic like no other. She is a huge inspiration for me and is also a huge health nut which is what put me on the path of creating my own botanical based skincare company while I was working in car sales. Fast forward, I was able to quit my job to go full time with e-commerce and now own multiple businesses within the wellness and beauty space and also help others launch and scale their own brands which has become my main focus right now.

What are the benefits to automating your online business?

The largest and most obvious benefit is time and energy freedom. It should be no surprise that when you have someone else take over tasks that you once performed, you have the opportunity to focus on what matters most in business which is making the strategic decisions to grow and scale your business and of course, yourself. You are the captain of your ship and as an entrepreneur who is practically addicted to growth, metrics, and generally getting sh*t done, it’s easy to forget that we all need sleep, a good diet, exercise, and a healthy mind. Sacrificing the latter for the former seem like a good idea at first, but you soon come to realize that your resources are finite and that you are not a superhuman. Automating a business not only allows you to shift from more of the smaller day-to-day tasks to the bigger strategy plays, but it allows you to actually take time for yourself to ensure that you are operating at the highest level and maximum potential.

What are some important tools entrepreneurs should take advantage of to help automate their online business

With the internet and its vast amount of resources available to us at our fingertips, it’s hard to sort through which ones are actually useful and which ones are just glorified apps you download and use once. When it comes to building an e-commerce brand or business, here are some tools or platforms that show promise and have proven to be effective with automating your e-commerce or Amazon business:

Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) – If you have a brand or sell products online, you may want to look into putting or selling those products on Amazon as well to help automate a lot of your supply chain and other important aspects of your business. For example, Amazon will handle shipping your products to your customers so you don’t have to worry about packing them and fulfilling orders manually, printing and applying shipping labels, and driving to your local post office to ship the products. Another benefit is that Amazon also handles a lot of the customer service for orders placed on their platform. When a customer has an issue, they usually reach out to Amazon directly, especially in cases where a customer hasn’t receive their package because it was lost or stolen.

ManyChat – What’s more automated than an automated messenger bot? You can use ManyChat to build full blown funnels for product launches, review campaigns, customer service, influencer onboarding and more! The open rate for chat bots range from 15 to 60% whereas the average email marketing rate is about 4% which shows huge potential for anyone leveraging chat bots.

Feedback Genius – Having the proper email messaging sequence is super important to maintain good customer service and ultimately get organic feedback and reviews from your customers. To help automate your Amazon messaging sequence so that you don’t have to manually send emails every time a customer makes a purchase, you can simply set up automatic emails through Feedback Genius and watch the reviews roll in while mitigating negative ones.

Tasker – If you have an Android, Tasker is a great app for automating basic tasks on your phone. For example, you can program Tasker to log into your Amazon account every 3 days, take a snapshot of your inventory levels, and have it send you or your supply chain manager an email with the photo attached.

Trello – This isn’t so much an automation software but it’s a good platform for project management and communication between departments. You can create cards with details on a specific task or project that needs to be done and move it through the different checkpoints until it has been approved by the appropriate parties and completed. I personally use this to communicate with my website developers.

Where can our readers find you on social media? 

Instagram @melisa

Jourdain is the CEO and Co-Founder of a Branding & PR Agency called Beast Media. Where he focuses on helping Influencers and Entrepreneurs get their message out through Personal Branding and PR. Jourdain also shares his expertise on entrepreneurship, branding and PR by contributing to publications like Disrupt, Succeed, Future Sharks, BuzzFeed, Thrive Global, WealthLab, Kivo Daily and more!

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Entrepreneurship

Interview with 17-Year-Old Entrepreneur Sebastian “Sebas” Moftakhar

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The Vault Melrose Co-Founders Sebastian Moftakhar, 17, (left), and Rami Eadeh, 31, (right). Courtesy of Ben Norouzi.

Although most other 17-year-olds are satisfied with just focusing on school, Sebastian Moftakhar has already founded a retail storefront in one of the most prime locations in Los Angeles with his partner Rami Eadeh. The Vault Melrose is a sneaker store and recording studio located on Melrose Avenue, frequented by celebrity names like Swae Lee, Jake Paul, Madeintyo, SOB X RBE, YBN Cordae, Lil Mosey, and others. Moftakhar also throws parties and events in Los Angeles each generating 5-figure revenues with live performers under his brand “310.” I had the chance to interview him to learn his story and to share the strategies behind his success.

 

When did your entrepreneurial journey start?

I had always liked sneakers, but it was an expensive hobby to have. In the sixth grade, my parents told me that they wouldn’t fund my sneaker obsession any longer. The only route I had was to pay for my own sneakers. I figured out that every weekend high demand sneakers were selling out and reselling for more on the resale market. I saw that I could take advantage of this opportunity to make money to afford my own sneakers. I would buy three sneakers, then sell two of them and that profit would pay for me to keep the 3rd. I decided to scale this model and made a business out of it. I called it Snkrs Supply. I started selling rare sneakers and clothing to the other students at my school and in the area as well as celebrities and athletes. I became known as the “sneaker plug” and had every “hypebeast” coming to me for every release. I also sold on Facebook Groups and my website.

 

What businesses are you involved in today?

My time is split between running two businesses, the first being an event company called “310.” I host events and parties in Los Angeles bringing music artists to perform, and charging approximately $20 a ticket. We provide unforgettable and enjoyable experiences. I have a whole team of people helping with these events from a DJ to a professional security team to multiple different photographers.

Next, my partner Rami Eadeh and I created a sneaker reselling store within a music recording studio located at 7372 Melrose Ave and combined the popular cultures of both hip-hop and fashion into one community space located in the mecca of “The Culture.” We frequently network with artists and celebrities providing them with studio time and sneakers. It’s great that we found a way to combine these two worlds and I hope to create more joint experiences like this in the future.

What other activities are you involved in?

I had a big passion for basketball. I’m on the Varsity team at my school, and I dedicate a large portion of my life to it. I’m also News Editor and Business Manager of The Student Voice, my school’s newspaper, and President of both Entrepreneurship and UNICEF Clubs. I’m able to manage getting good grades in school, participating in extracurriculars, and running my businesses by having really good time-management skills and a lot of passion.

 

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

People are often stuck in the trap of believing their goals are impossible or require too much work to achieve. They have a mindset where they think they will either succeed or fail. You have to have a growth mindset, where instead of worrying about failure, think about it as an opportunity to learn and grow. With this mindset, you take each failure you’ve had, examine and learn from it, then try again. Most entrepreneurs fail several times before they get it right. So take a chance and chase that seemingly impossible goal, the worst thing that can happen is you’ll learn something.

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Entrepreneurship

From Broken Relationships To Whole Relationships

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I had a quick chat with Stefanos Sifandos who merges the best of eastern and western methodologies and philosophies to promote balance, sacredness and joy in life. Using integrative techniques and methods, Stefanos has created programs, models and systems to enhance the quality of your life, your intimate relationships and in essence bring you closer to your potential. He transforms you to become the better you. I asked him a few questions about success and here is what he had to say.

When was the first time you tasted success Stefanos?

I first tasted success when I chose to ‘do the work’. When I chose to get real with myself and realise that my life wasn’t where I wanted it to be. When I became willing to explore my painful past and committed to growth and to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. That commitment was my first taste of success.

Many individuals fail to “do the work” or even start so congrats! What is your end goal with this?

I feel successful in my service and business now. I simply want to continue to expand this. I want to continue to expand because I believe in my message, my service and that people want to be more connected, intimate and bonded in union. We are searching for deeper connection in relationship to self, to others and to ideas and purpose. I believe in the tools I offer people and truly believe it is my path to serve others in this way. My ‘end goal’ is to serve humanity and Earth at the highest possible levels – creating global systems that transform the way we govern ourselves and bring us greater evolutionary peace.

Thank you for taking the time to chat Stefanos! Do you have any words of wisdom for readers at home?

Whatever you do in life, be willing. Be willing to look at the tough stuff, be willing to venture in to the unknown, be willing to celebrate your wins, be willing to share, to be ‘wrong’ and be willing to believe in your dreams.

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Entrepreneurship

Social Media Mogul in the Making: Julian Reeves

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I had the opportunity to talk to Julian Reeves who is a creative executive that transitioned from being a freelance video director to a software company Co-Founder. Growth X is built on the premise that content conglomerates like Google, YouTube, & Instagram can provide entrepreneurs with significant incomes – even more than mainstream corporate jobs. I asked him when he really tasted success for the first time and here is what he had to say:

When was the first time you tasted success Julian?

The first time I tasted success was when I started dropshipping in early 2018 right before it became super mainstream. After running a massively successful influencer campaign, I generated $10K in 48 hours from a women’s clothing store I had built a week prior. This was my first time making a dollar online and I’ve been hooked since. In terms of a way to make money with the least startup costs – ecommerce was in a world of its own. I knew from there I would become a millionaire from the internet.

That is amazing! Not many people have that drive like you do. So, why do you want to be successful and what’s your ultimate vision of success for yourself?

I want to be successful so that I can make my imprint on the world. If you look at all the major pieces of culture: Adidas, Gucci, Dell, Audi, Forbes, Bacardi, Fendi, Ferrari – all of these companies are someone’s last name. At this point in time I’m one of the only entrepreneurs with ambition in my family. My family has never seen massive entrepreneurial success before, and being that i’m living in one of the most progressive technological eras EVER – I want to be the one that leads the charge. My ultimate vision of success is financial freedom and time freedom. Not being a slave to the company i’m running, but consistently traveling and impacting different parts of the world. Creating a massive influencer network with the top athletes, musicians, politicians and business leaders and curating partnerships between uncommon entities.

Now what is your end goal Julian?  

My end goal is to own a venture capital (vc) firm that invests millions into numerous startups that are making changes in society. Beyond money, I know that children are the future. After I’ve reached my financial goals I want to buy my own island – similar to Tony Robbins and Kanye West and really create a new society. Natural foods, fresh water, removing the super toxic parts of American society and attempting to build my own utopia. I feel like that’s what legacy is in its truest sense. If I can leave an impact in the form of a new way of living and a new generation of people I’ll feel like my job is done.

Thank you so much for sharing your story Julian! I know this will motivate and inspire others. Do you have any last words of advice for others?

For anybody who wants to be the best at what they do, you have to be uncommon amongst uncommon people. You have to find who works the hardest and work even harder. The world is good for rewarding mediocrity and that’s why I constantly urge people to get uncomfortable. Do something everyday you hate doing. Wake up earlier, eat that salad, don’t look at social media for 12-24 hours. If you take anything from this, take risks. Get used to being uncomfortable and finding peace within that. Become obsessed with being the best and don’t compare your path to anyone else’s.

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.

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