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Entrepreneurship

Meet Kevin Zhang, the eCommerce Entrepreneur on Pace to Do 20 Million in Sales His First Year

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Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Zhang. Kevin is an eCommerce expert and is on pace to do 20 million in sales this year with his various stores. We talk about eCommerce, his journey, and much more.

Hey Kevin, what do you do?

Kevin: I’m a 23-year-old, serial eCommerce entrepreneur. I specialize in building apparel and accessory brands from scratch and scaling them into sustainable businesses. I also provide strategic advice for businesses that are looking to improve their digital performance. I’ve worked with organizations ranging from luxury fashion boutiques to household brands that do 9 figures a year. Since starting less than a year ago, my team and I are on track to generate $20M in our first year.

How have you scaled your stores so quickly?

I believe the single thing that sets me apart from a lot of very talented individuals in the eCommerce space is my addiction to automation. It’s easy to get complacent once you build your first 7-figure business, I wasn’t. I invested a lot of my time and resources into finding and training great people so that I could free up my own time. This way, I can spend the bulk of my day focused on high-value activities that contribute to growth. At this point, I don’t have to worry about the day to day operations of my business because of the team that I’ve built around me – I spend all day either perfecting my understanding of digital strategy or developing new concepts that help my business scale.

What business models interest you other than dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a great way to start learning eCommerce and building wealth. I don’t think many individuals execute the dropshipping business model better than my team and I, but the problem with dropshipping is that there isn’t very long-term enterprise value. The products aren’t proprietary and there isn’t a lot of brand equity that’s being built.

I’m currently working on building eCommerce brands that have a lot more long-term value and higher ceilings but are very cash-intensive.
I use my dropshipping brands to fuel these long-term projects. Since dropshipping has made me so financially secure at my age, I can afford to invest a lot of time and resources on “home run” concepts that may not make any money for a few years but have the chance to be the next Dollar Shave Club or Bonobos of the eCommerce world.

I’ve got some cool things that are in the works right now. Excited to show them to the world in a few months.

What keeps you motivated?

I’m someone with very big dreams and goals. I reflect on where I am right now. I think about where I want to be. I understand that there’s a gap between the person I am right now and the person that I want to be. I want to make sure that before I go to sleep every night, I can honestly look myself in the mirror and tell myself that I’m a step closer to making my wildest dreams come true. That’s all the motivation I ever needed.

How have you leveraged personal branding?

I’ve been very active within the eCommerce community in being very willing to share valuable insights for free. While many others charge for their expertise and advice, I like to put it out there without cost because I love the discussions that I’m able to create and also really enjoy empowering others. As a result of doing this over and over again, I’ve been able to build a name for myself within the community. This has resulted in a lot of learning experiences and business opportunities that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. For example, many of the clients I have worked with (some of which are 9-figure household brands) have reached out to me instead of vice versa.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I led my team to generate $20M in sales in my first year as an entrepreneur. In 5 years, I hope that I will have built or helped build a billion-dollar eCommerce brand that is defining the industry in the same way Dollar Shave Club, Away, and Bonobos did.

I’m also very passionate about eCommerce education and created Generation E as a movement to inspire and empower new waves of entrepreneurs. All of the content I provide is free and we even invest our capital and resources to help members that show promise. We already have 700 members and have plans to invest $200K within the next year in businesses created by our members. In 5 years, I would love to have elevated thousands if not millions of more aspiring entrepreneurs. I would love to know that I contributed to changing the way people think about eCommerce education. Unfortunately, there are so many scams and misleading content in the space right now.

John Danes is a 19 Year Old Entrepreneur from Nashville, Tennessee. After being expelled from high school, John went on to start reselling rare sneakers and clothing. Not only did he see success in business, but he learned many lessons along the way. Now, he is the CEO of 99MEDIA, which is a top digital marketing company in Nashville. He is also the host of top 100 business podcast, The No Excuses Show, where he has interviewed millionaires and influencers all over the world.

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Entrepreneurship

To Being Perceived As Crazy To Being Asked How He Did It With Connor LaRocque

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What’s your backstory? 

I was a goofy C student in high school and a prankster. I was always into hip-hop so I dressed like a gangster to stand out and hide my fears. I was literally terrified growing up but I never showed it because I had a big mouth. My brother and all of his hockey mates used to beat me up. I was a punching bag, which leads me to become a martial artist. I’ve practiced and trained the art of Muay Thai for over 10 years now. 

I competed briefly and was blessed to have had the opportunity to train with some of the best kickboxers in Canada. I even got to be the punching bag for Team Canada who was fighting in the worlds. The best part was that after all of those beatings from my brother and his hockey mates, I always have a smile on when facing adversity or in hardcore training situations. I feel that they conditioned me to never be broken. This leads me to write 2 books, one bestseller called “Mindset is Everything” which formulated my philosophy and helped me launch a successful brand as a speaker and author. 

From C student to now having published more books than most of my teachers gave me the confidence to take on the world. I didn’t want to be just another speaker and didn’t fit into the societal norm which leads me to become a full-time entrepreneur. All those years of prank phone calls really helped me when picking up the phone and selling! Knocking door to door in -40 helped build grit and character.

I’ve been blessed through my failures to have grown a 6-figure marketing agency (SocialRise) today that focuses on lead generation. I also do coaching now and help young adults and entrepreneurs become leaders and they monetize their brands to generate leads. 

Ultimately my life’s mission is to help people build self-sustaining platforms for the rest of their lives. We are building the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders and Canada and I am excited to be at the forefront as one of the top millennial leadership experts throughout our proud nation!  

 

What made you decide to choose this career path? 

I didn’t want to be another lawyer. I know some friends who make great lawyers and are meant to be. However, as for myself, I have always been someone who wants to go down a different path and create my own. Entrepreneurship is the perfect avenue to create a life by design. 

I’ve always been good at communication and sales! Two of the most important things in my opinion when it comes to business. Like I always told my students, you can either work for a company or corporation, or you can OWN the company or corporation. I am all about extreme ownership and entrepreneurship provides me an opportunity to take full control of my life.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When we started our first business selling door to door we had so many doors slammed in our face that when we finally got in someone’s home and we’re sitting at the table we were like deer in the headlights. I was so good at pitching at the door when we sat down at the table I had nothing else to say. I had already told them everything. It was a rookie mistake!  

What I learned was give enough to peak someone’s interest, but always have a few moves in your back pocket to close the deal. You’re always going to get objected so have as many angles as possible.

 

What do you think makes your company/personal brand stand out? 

I’m Canadian! No, but really being a Canadian in a competitive US market is a great advantage because it gives me an opportunity to show our culture and how we do business. What I teach “how to monetize your brand to generate leads” takes a different angle then just basic lead gen. Our system allows you to align with some of the biggest charitable brands in the world, give them donations, and leverage their networks. It’s pretty awesome! 

At the end of the day, I’m just being me! Some crazy, hardcore, lover Canadian dude! 

 

What’s a quote that you live by? 

“Everyone told me I was crazy, to tone it down, to slow down. Now those same people are asking me how I did it.” 

Connor LaRocque

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Entrepreneurship

Judge Graham: The Man Behind Huge Digital Agency Exits

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Judge Graham. Judge is a veteran in the digital marketing space and has exited from multiple agencies for hundreds of millions of dollars. We talked about how he got started, his experience, and more. 

 

 

  • Hey Judge, what does your experience in the digital marketing space look like? 

 

 

Judge: After making a high 8-Figure exit from one of my agencies, I moved on to another agency and replicated my processes and helped sell that agency for a 9-Figure exit.

 

 

  • How did you position your agencies to sell?

 

 

Judge: A few pivotal things I teach on were key to positioning to sell. The first is recurring revenue. If your business isn’t generating recurring revenue, you won’t be able to sell it for a lot of money. The second is culture, I worked relentlessly to build a rock-solid culture in every business that I am involved with.

 

 

  • Was selling your agency always the goal? 

 

 

Judge: It was always the original goal to make an exit from my agencies. When starting, your positioning is much different if your ultimate goal is to sell.

 

 

  • What shifts have you seen in digital marketing?

 

 

Judge: I tell all my consulting and mentorship clients this today. In 2019, digital marketing has progressed so much, that we live in the best time to start an agency. The marketplace has become much more educated, and the software has become much easier to use.

 

 

  • What would you tell an agency owner just starting out?

 

 

Judge: Find a good mentor, and position your agency to sell. 

 

 

  • If you were to start an agency today, what steps would you take to secure another big acquisition? 

 

 

Judge: The same process I took in the past, build recurring revenue and a great culture and stop selling tactics, sell revenue.

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Entrepreneurship

How a Kid Selling Lemonade Turned His Entrepreneurial Habits Into A Lifestyle

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When you observe a major corporation, you most likely see the logo, the product or service they sell, or their marketing ploy. Take Apple, for instance. The iPhone, the MacBook, the classic minimalist design of their storefronts, or their iOS software are the first things that come to mind when the company is brought up. For Henry Westbrooks, he sees the innovator, or the Steve Jobs, behind the creation of the brand. Henry is fascinated by the concept that being an entrepreneur puts power in your hands as the creator. His fascination has lead him to multiple ventures in the business world, and has become massively successful as a result. 

Henry is a licensed realtor in Southwest Florida, the founder of iGrowClub, a digital marketing agency focused on helping clients grow organically on social media to reach their target audience and scale, and is the founder of the Health & Wealth Show, a podcast that focuses on health, wealth, love, and happiness. He has even found success in e-commerce business models, and has affiliates earning between 6-8 figures using the model. His intangible skills include door to door sales, where he has generated millions as a solar energy consultant, high ticket selling, and turning people into repeat customers through building value and pitching products. Henry is without a doubt a well rounded, dedicated entrepreneur who is making waves in the industry. But, Henry’s passion and dedication to making his own way in the business world is nothing new. 

As a child, Henry was already dedicated to selling and working for himself. During his school years, he would sell lemonade and Pokemon cards at a roadside table, host garage sales, and sell food or magazines whenever he could to make money. He was fascinated by seeing money stack up, and has always aspired to becoming wealthy and successful.

His actions speak louder than his words when it comes to Henry’s dedication. After graduating from the University of Buffalo with a BA in Communication and working for corporate radio, Henry was all in on following his passions and becoming successful. He drove from New York to Florida to start his real estate venture right after obtaining his real estate license. After getting involved in the real estate game, he was presented with an opportunity to sell solar across the country in California. Without hesitation, he accepted the offer, packed his things, and drove cross country to take advantage of the opportunity. 

On top of dominating the solar industry, Henry has grown a stellar personal brand and helps brands and companies grow their brands by helping them to identify their mission statements, handle the marketing, and helping with brand development. But, like all successful endeavors, Henry is cognizant of the slow process necessary to gain traction and momentum. He’s very open to detailing the processes he’s gone through to reach his level of success. 

Henry knows that the path to success happens one day at a time. There have been many early mornings and late nights, sacrifice, failures, and changes in his mindset. Finding success as an entrepreneur requires a ton of effort, patience, and grit, and Henry possesses all of those attributes, and his work ethic and drive has allowed him to work at his goals day in and day out to find success in his businesses. The reward of building something that not only generates revenue but helps people is well worth the early days of uncertainty, Henry says. A massive key is maintaining faith in the baby stages of a company, as your big break could come just a few days after you feel like quitting but decide to keep pushing forward.

Today, Henry has a massive amount of knowledge and the skills necessary to be successful. But, starting out, he wished he knew two key pieces of advice: Invest in yourself, and be aware that it all starts with you. You need to take on good debt that results in cash flow, believe in yourself, make daily progress, and trust the long term process. Anyone can become successful once they acquire the right mindset and work ethic, and no one believes in that idea more than Henry. 

Henry can be reached on Instagram @henryaaronwestbrooks, or via email, [email protected]

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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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