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A Front Row Seat to my Life as an Entrepreneur: eCommetize

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Over the past two months since the start of 2016, I have been focusing my content on the Four Pillars of Startup that I carefully created last summer. Throughout my columns, I have given you a glimpse into my life as an entrepreneur, but I haven’t revealed the full picture. If you’ve joined my email list, it’s a different story, but let’s assume that you haven’t done that yet. Key word being yet.

In this column and in upcoming writing, I’d like to share an update on one of the two new businesses that I am founding in 2016: eCommetize. I’ll focus on the small victories that we have been able to celebrate, where we have struggled the most, and how it has been impacting me as an individual.

Look out for areas where I ask for your help. Any experiential advice is greatly appreciated. 

My Life as an Entrepreneur: eCommetize

The Initial Problem

I first started thinking about eCommetize in October of 2015, but I had no real idea of what it would become. In my free time, I had picked up a side job building an eCommerce website for a new connection. It was exciting because I was forced to learn and create an eCommerce website on WordPress using WooCommerce and a variety of other plugins. It was something I had never done before.

The deal was that I would develop the store, form key drop ship relationships with suppliers, and then manage the growth of the store. My new connection and first client had built a massive community on his website raking in over 1,000,000 page views per month. He always knew that he wanted a store to complement the content that he was producing, but he had no idea how to build and run the store.

I found myself in an entrepreneurial position wondering if there were other site owners with a similar problem. Hmm.

At the time, I had quickly filled my time and we were quickly approaching the holiday season where my energies would be needed both on the new store that I was creating as well as the first eCommerce business that I built on the Amazon Marketplace. I had to finish the store before Black Friday hit and my life became consumed by customer orders. I had no time to ponder on the question that kept popping into my head late at night.

Research and Discovery

After the dust settled in January and I became more in control of my life once again, I started brainstorming the problem that I had coincidentally discovered with my good friend and business partner, Zack Schwartz. Since the decision to drastically downsize our first venture, we knew that we wanted to start something new, but the right idea hadn’t come to us yet.

Using the Four Pillars of Startup, we dug deep into the idea. We discussed the business model, the potential market, our distribution strategy, how we would work together, and what it could become in the future. We met with mentors in the Orlando area sharing the idea and tweaking certain aspects until we felt like it all felt right.

Through discussions with other site owners, our brainstorming, and the advice given to us by our mentors, we finally felt like we may have an idea that could stick. It was right in our wheelhouse. I had just learned how to build a fully functional eCommerce store using WordPress and WooCommerce. We both had expertise in procuring supplier relationships. And we both had years of experience running the operations of a multi-million dollar eCommerce business.

The logical step forward? Put our heads down and get started. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

The Small Victories

It’s been a full 2 months of research, discovery, and building. We’ve hit many road blocks, but we’ve also worked hard to further validate the need in the market. Below are a few of the small victories that we have been able to celebrate. As a startup entrepreneur, small victories are your savior in the founding stages.

  • Successfully registering our idea as a business in the state of Florida
  • Receiving regular feedback from customers that this is something they are interested in
  • Discovering that there is already a booming industry for our potential customers: online influencer marketing. In the past 5 years, handfuls of online influencer marketing agencies have popped up around the world to connect online influencers with brands. A huge validation of our idea.
  • Signing our 2nd client that meets our ideal customer profile.
  • Adding 5 clients to our sales funnel with the potential of being signed in the next 2 weeks
  • Launching eCommetize.com
  • Setting up a company bank account and credit card
  • Creating roles and responsibilities for each of us. Has been a huge accomplishment allowing us to make significantly more progress in different areas of the business.

As you’ll read over the next month, many of these small victories are a part of starting any business from the ground up. When we started in January, we planned for all of these small victories to happen. It was simply up to us to make it a reality.

Where We’ve Struggled the Most

Life as an entrepreneur also brings hardships. They tend to leave a bigger mark on your mental focus and require you to spend more time on specific aspects of your business that you wouldn’t have expected. Here are a few that have been stumping us since we’ve launched.

  • Creating our elevator pitch.
    • **Seeking your help! How do you explain the following in one sentence…
    • eCommetize is a company that works with online influencers to help them add an eCommerce revenue stream to their existing site/community. eCommetize develops the store to the design of their current site, build drop ship relationships with top brands in their niche, and then manage all of the operations of the store. Do I still have you? We have no upfront costs and we pay the influencer 10-20% of each sale generated through the store. Those are margins 2-3x what affiliate marketing programs are currently offering online influencers.
    • We’ve tested over 25 different pitches and are starting to hone in on what is working best, but we’ve also discovered that it varies dependent upon the individuals knowledge of eCommerce.
    • If you have any idea or questions, post them in the comments section please!
  • Finding the best way to reach the influencers
    • These are people that receive tens if not hundreds of emails every day. Are phone calls better? How do we get our product in front of the right people?
  • Finding the best methods to optimize conversion rates on the store once it has been built.

How It’s Been Wearing on Me

Let me start by saying that there’s nothing worse than researching and contacting over 100 potential clients and receiving zero responses in the first two days. Womp, womp, womp. That happened to us as we kicked off our sales efforts and it was quite disheartening. It can wear on you quickly and make you start to think the worst.

Is this actually a legitmate business idea?

Did I jump into this too quickly?

Is there potential for this to grow?

What if we fail?

The Roller Coaster Effect

When starting a new business, these are common thoughts that run through your mind because of the uncertain situation that you have decided to place yourself in. I’ve grown quite accustomed to the roller coaster effects of life as an entrepreneur, but it doesn’t dull the highs and lows that occur everyday.

Every entrepreneur will tell you that building a business isn’t easy otherwise everyone would be doing it. And it’s not just a cliche. You have to commit yourself to an uncertain future until it starts to become certain. As odd as it may sound, I live for it. While I hate the empty feeling in my stomach when we hit a low, I love the idea of never really knowing and always having to fight it out.

The Learning Curve

eCommetize has been a challenging venture thus far because of the learning curve that we are going through to fully understand our target market. We know that we can create the store, get access to the products, and manage the operations, but we’re struggling to sell it to the right market. Again, I enjoy the learning curve because it feeds my need to take in new information on a daily basis. When I’m not learning something new for too long, I get restless and feel empty.

Optimism Is Key

I’m still quite optimistic about the growth potential of the idea behind eCommetize. Recently, I have even seen an opportunity to craft a completely new niche market defined by what we offer. I’m excited to set up our second client then sign up 2 to 3 more for the upcoming months so that we can learn more about how we add true value to our customers.

The first year of starting a business is one of the hardest because of the constant battle you face in your own mind. You question your life as an entrepreneur and try to create reasons why you should give up. I continue to tell myself to be patient and look forward to who we could become if we execute as according to our strategic plan. When you give yourself a glimpse into the future, the short term becomes worth it.

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This is the type of content that I release in my email updates. Stay in the loop with the growth of eCommetize, FreeeUp, and ConnorGillivan.com by signing up today.

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About Connor Gillivan

In the past 10 years, I’ve started 7 businesses & built two to $10M+ in annual revenue, teams of 30+ & an exit in 2019. Today, I run SEO & growth for my 4 B2B companies while teaching millions how to make SEO simple.

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Article Comments

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    March 9, 2016 2:58 am Reply

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    • Avatar photo

      Connor Gillivan

      March 13, 2016 10:38 pm Reply

      Heyy! Thanks for the comment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the content. More than happy to answer any follow up questions you may have.

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