Emmanuel Eleyae | More Money, More Problems… and Here Are the Solutions

Emmanuel Eleyae grew an ecommerce business from nothing to $5.5 million in revenue in two years. Along the way, he made a lot of mistakes… but he also learned the most effective ways to reach his target market and effectively manage a growing business.

These days, he also helps other entrepreneurs find success by including the three systems that are a must-have for any ecommerce business. Another key element: remembering that you’re selling benefits… not products.

We take a deep dive into that concept, as well as…

  • The marketing channel that can get a $97 return on $1 investment
  • The 5+ autoresponders you must send to your email list
  • Why virtual assistants usually don’t work out – and what to do instead
  • How to use influencer marketing today and make it worth it
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in This Episode: www.eleyaesystems.com

Episode Transcript:

Joris Bryon: Hey, this is Joris of The Ecommerce Excellence Podcast, and today we’ll be talking to Emmanuel Eleyae. Emmanuel is a true eCommerce entrepreneur. He actually started his career as an army officer, then he made a transition into eCommerce. And I’ll let him tell his story. But what I do want to say right now is that he grew his eCommerce business to almost one million in revenue in the very first year, and five point five million the second year. I think that’s pretty impressive. Emmanuel also advises multiple other eCommerce companies to help them grow. So, I’m pretty sure we’ll pick up a few very interesting ideas to grow your eCommerce business.

Emmanuel, welcome to the podcast, happy to have you here.

Emmanuel Eleyae: It’s good to be here.

Joris Bryon: Cool. Maybe just to start off, can you tell a little bit more about your background? Where you come from in your career, so that our listeners can understand a little bit more about you and how you transitioned from an army officer to eCommerce, and how that played out.

Emmanuel Eleyae: Sure, will do. I’m a 2004 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, finished up there. I was commissioned as an army officer, so I got to become an armor officer and learn about tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, big guns, big guy stuff. It was awesome. I had a great time. I served in Korea and over in Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

And I got out and pursued an MBA in International Management, because I loved to travel, so I got to travel to 24 different countries, learning business and how to do business overseas, internationally. That led me to a role at Amazon. So, I became a fulfillment center manager where I started off as an area manager and worked in the operations side of things, so, shipping of the packages.

In my last role there, I was a fulfillment center manager managing a 1.1 million square foot facility with 700 employees and 30 managers, and we were shipping about a million packages a week during peak season. It was a very intense job, but I enjoyed it. It was fun. I got to learn a lot, and I got to see fulfillment, or eCommerce, from the inside from Amazon, who was doing it at the time, better than anybody else. And even today, they just keep getting better.

But there was an observation I made was, these FBA sellers. FBA had started when I first got there, but it grew quickly. It became a significant part of Amazon’s revenue. I watched these FBA sellers send in product, and we were basically doing the stores, the shipping, the fulfillment, we would build them a mini website, we would send them customers, and they would just sit back and collect a check. I was like, “Man, I’m on the wrong side of this thing. I need to get a product, send it in to Amazon, let those guys handle it.”

So, that’s what happened. My sister calls me up, she said, “Hey, I’ve got this idea for a product. I don’t know how to sell it.” I was like, “Well, I’ve got an idea for how to sell products from these FBA sellers, let’s try it.”

So, that’s what we did, we formed SatinLinedCaps.com. I wanted that SEO juice, it was very SEO to have your name, Satin Lined Caps. We started with just a product, a couple of products. She was sewing them by hand when we started, every time an order would come in. And then, we put the systems in place that I had been watching the other FBA sellers use and we built our own little Shopify store, Etsy store and Amazon, and we got in with influencers, this is influence marketing, and it scaled where we took off.

Our first year of business, we did about $750k, second full year of business, we did about five and half million in revenue, and from there it just kind of took off. And so it was like all right. I kind of felt confident that the systems that I had observed when I was at Amazon watching FBA sellers and doing this with my sister’s company, I was like this is working, so I kind of went off on my own to launch my own agency, and now I do this for other eCommerce store owners, help them scale, so, that’s me.

Joris Bryon: Yeah, well, cool, interesting. So you talk about the systems, what kind of systems are super interesting for our listeners to understand better?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, so for sure the one I always recommend first is email marketing. It is the highest ROI activity. Just published a study that basically every dollar you spend on your email service provider, you make $97 in return. It is a 97 to one return on investment. It’s just the cheapest, most effective form of marketing when you try to acquire a customer or sale to a customer with paid traffic, you have to spend for every touch.

Well, if you get them on your email list you don’t have to spend on every touch, you can just email them almost for free. The price is negligible. So building that email list and then using it, that’s another thing I tell people, is you’ve got to use it. A lot of people don’t want to email their customers very often, at least twice a week, and have at least four or five different autoresponder going all the time.

So, that’s always the first system we’ve almost mandate, any client whether they want us to do their paid ads or web design or web development or influence marketing, or anything. I say build an email marketing, it’s going to be an added in because it’s just so effective.

The second one that I always talk about is a marketing calendar, campaigning. Most folks, Valentine’s Day is the same day every year. But I ask people two or three days before Valentine’s day, “Hey, what are you doing for Valentine’s day?” And they say, “Oh man, you’re right, I need to come up with a campaign, I need to send out an email, I need to.” Like why are you so surprised? Why didn’t they have something ready. I literally tell people, you can plan out your next 12 months of campaigns, today, and have something for every month. Even if you do something different when the time actually arrives, do that. Just plan out something for every month. It makes life so much easier.

And then there’s a third system if I may, I know I could go on and on, my whole company name is Eleyae Systems because I love systems.

But let me give you one more. Is hire a VA, I know people talk about hiring a VA, and it’s kind of difficult and you’ll go through a lot of them, it’s tough but the sooner you start, the sooner you get good at it. When people struggle with a VA, using a VA or utilizing one, they said they wasted their time and they wasted money and they could have done it easier themselves, usually what happens is they don’t realize the actual hidden like trap with VAs. Not that you need to train a VA, you’ve got to train yourself. You don’t know how to delegate. And that’s what people miss a lot of times. So get a VA quickly and start giving them a repetitive task so you start to learn how to handle one.

And I always tell people, hire two or three at a time. So that that way you have a feeling of abundance, rather than scarcity, so now if one doesn’t work out just let them go, and then you just keep recycling them because then you’ll get better at using a VA and delegating repetitive tasks.

Joris Bryon: All right is there any platform where you specifically that you use to find a good VA?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yes, I’ve used a bunch. There’s a couple, UpWork, I use pretty heavily. There’s Ecommerce.expert is another one. And then Fiverr. I wear Fiverr out pretty good too.

Joris Bryon: Okay, interesting. Yeah, you mentioned the first system you mentioned you said like four to five autoresponder. Which ones are those?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yes, sure. So, abandoned cart first and foremost, always have at least two to three emails, you know abandoned cart series. Then a post purchase, so abandoned cart, someone almost bought, they got that far down in the funnel, get them to buy. Then they actually do buy, get a post purchase, at least three emails, and one of the emails, the first email is always thank you for your purchase, then have a brand indoctrination email which is just here’s who we are, here’s what we’re about, have some usage emails in there, at least one or two, usage emails here, how to get the best out of my products.

Don’t put it all in one. Break it up like part one, part two, part three. Because those are very high value and they’re almost transactional emails. Very high open rates, people want to know, how to get the best out of my product.

Then have sharing. Share it on social, social media. Share it with a friend if you have a referral program, have an email about the referral program. And then towards the end of the post purchase sequence, start trying to get them to buy again. That’s the post purchase.

Then you should have a list cleaning campaign. There’s going to be people who are on your email list who don’t really open or read or maybe they got on there and will never buy from you. Have a list cleaning flow that’s really aggressive subject lines, like re colon, or hey, or basically try to get them to open. They’re never opening so you can be more aggressive in this low, have two or three emails where you’re basically saying, if you don’t open any of these emails, I’m going to remove you from my list.

And you can be subtle about it and say something like that, like, “Hey, look, we don’t want to send you information that you don’t want. We don’t want to bother you so if you don’t want to be on our list we’ll go ahead and remove you. But if you do, go ahead and just hit reply or click this button or something and we’ll keep you our list.

And then people who make it through that flow without opening, just automatically remove them from your list. And then one of the most important, if not the most important is a welcome series, or nurture series where this is people who have not bought anything from you. Somehow they ended up on your list, either through active efforts, through like paid advertising or other marketing. Have a welcome series that does a really good job of explaining you as a company, you as a founder, and the products and services you sell but not necessarily in a way that you’re selling and being pushy but in a way that shows the customer a better version of themselves using your product.

So, the idea of let’s use a Snuggy as an example. You’re not selling, oh it has arms that you can put your arms through. What you’re selling is comfort. You’re selling a cozy evening on the couch. That’s the thing you want to be pushing in your welcome series and really letting people see in different ways, here’s how wonderful life can be if you use our products.

So you have a lifestyle images, you can have video at this point. What we do is with our videos, you can’t have a video in an email, it’s just too big. But you can make that into an animated GIF like take a couple snippets of the video and make it into an animated GIF, put it into the email and now you have some life in your email and then they click it and it takes them to a YouTube video or even better to a page on your website where the video is hosted and now they can watch it. I like those to be at least five emails long. If you need what those emails can be, if you run out of ideas, let me know I’ve got a pile of ideas for you. Just reach out to me, email me.

And then we try to get that almost to 13 plus emails in the welcome series.

Joris Bryon: Oh lots more.

Emmanuel Eleyae: You want to keep it, oh yeah. The more the better. And we send at least once or twice a week is our goal for emails.

Joris Bryon: Okay.

Emmanuel Eleyae: So those are the autoresponder.

Joris Bryon: Cool. I like that you included the list cleaning series because usually that’s not what comes to mind when people think about marketing automation but I think it’s a super important one because otherwise your deliverability will suffer and I think a lot of people get hung up on the number of people on their lists but not all are people on your list, are the same of course so I think that’s a very interesting addition here on the series that you mentioned.

Emmanuel Eleyae: That’s a good point, and not just deliverability but I mean you’re getting charged for email.

Joris Bryon: Yeah, absolutely.

Emmanuel Eleyae: It’s a negligible amount per email, but I mean it starts to add up. Like once, we got up to having two or three hundred thousand emails in our email list, having sixty thousand people that don’t open an email that’s a significant amount of money. So it’s good to build that habit when you’re smaller, build that practice in so that when you get bigger, you have that habit in place, and you can clean out your emails and get your costs down.

Joris Bryon: Yep, right. Yeah. So you grow Satin Lined Caps pretty quickly was it only on those systems or anything else that really helped the growth?

Emmanuel Eleyae: I love the set question because it wasn’t only those but I like the idea that it’s not a lot. A lot of people get shiny object syndrome and they try a lot of different things and they want, we tried a lot of things, and almost hardly any of them worked. They were very few, and I’ll tell you what they were.

It was influencer marketing started us off, that was the first one. Then we built a small little funnel where we went for email address capture versus the immediate sell and then email marketing. So those three, so that combination of those three things built our company. And here’s why. So influencer marketing was important for us because when you have a brand that’s new. What do I mean by new? Well, if you try to sell it on Amazon, it doesn’t go. Well, that’s because no one’s really searching for it. So, a product where you need to build demand, and basically explain and find customers, that’s tough.

It’s tough because you have two challenges. Not only do they have to hear about you, but they also have to understand. And that’s a tough thing. If you’re selling a toaster people know right away what a toaster is, a given. Well, if you need to explain that can be difficult to have the time you need to explain, and so that’s why for us influencer marketing and video worked really well because an influencer’s job are to make things interesting. So, we’d send them our product and they’d make the product interesting, and so then we’d, that video would go to their audience and that person has that trust, it’s user generated content in a sense because there’s social proof from the influencer so that influencer says, “Hey, if you want beautiful hair like mine, wear this.” People would sit and watch it and then they would show up at our site and they’d buy it. A certain percentage of them probably about 10% would buy.

Well, what we observed was that what about that other 90%? And so what we’d do is people coming from that influencer video we would send them to a landing page, not straight to our product page because the 10% that were going to buy would also give us their email address and we weren’t losing anything but adding a step in that funnel we were trying to get that extra 90%. So we got about 30% of people to sign up for an email address which was great. We had that 10% that would automatically buy and now we’ve got another 20% that was also on our email list who hadn’t bought yet.

And so then what we would do is take that 20% and put them into a nice long nurture sequence. Where obviously they weren’t high enough intent to purchase from watching the video but now we have the chance to educate them through email. And so we’d get people buying through email. I don’t remember the exact percentages now but it was significant enough to get us to about 40k, sorry, 40 to 80k in revenue. So, just the influencer videos got us to 40k a month in revenue and then adding in this one page, a landing page, got us to 80k a month in revenue in our business.

And then of course, the next year we kept that going, we kept doing that and that was nice, it kept us at 80k a month in revenue but then we added in paid advertising. And that’s when things took off. Because when you’re dealing with search marketing or Amazon, or even influencers, you’re waiting for people to come to you. They have to search. They have to be looking for it. So you’re not in control of when you get your revenue. With paid advertising like Facebook where you’re getting in front of them you’re interrupting them that is contextual, you get to determine when you put your ads in front of people and how much traffic you get and when. Granted you pay Facebook a fee for that service but you’re far more in control and all you have to do is raise your lower budgets to scale up or down the traffic. And that’s when we really started to take off.

Because now we had the building blocks, we had great creative. Great content to use for ads. We had great copy because these influencers had said interesting things for us, so we would just take snippets of that, put it in an ad, take their video, put their face in the ad, well, all mashed up with others and then run those ads to their audiences. It was just a very nice tightly controlled group. And then we would just scale the budget up. And it just worked well. And then we’d run them, those ads to that same landing page we used for influencer that was converting well already that also had the email so now there was this nice type funnel that we were able to use. And that just scaled us. I mean we went from doing 80k a month in revenue and I think that December we had our first million dollar month. We did a million dollars in revenue. Yeah, it was intense, an intense ride.

Joris Bryon: Wow. Impressive. So, you send a lot the traffic first to a landing page and set up like directly to the product page and we tried to capture other email address. Do you have any tips on how to increase that sign up rate on that landing page?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, that’s a tough one. There’s a couple of different ways of the lead magnets. There’s give aways you can do, or contests. There’s of course discounts off like when people have blindness now towards discounts off. If they didn’t want your product, they’re not going to want to even give an email address for a discount off on your product. So there’s no point. But those are usually the ways people do it. Is lead magnet, contests, or-

Joris Bryon: Discounts.

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, or the discounts. It’s a tough one though. So, the way I look at it is, it’s kind of a if people want your product they’ll give you an email address. So I like using email in the reverse like so instead of trying hard to get people to increase sign ups, it’s almost like well, if people aren’t signing up maybe people don’t want the product.

Joris Bryon: It’s okay.

Emmanuel Eleyae: And I use stuff like Product Validation.

Joris Bryon: Yeah, and it’s an interesting way to look at it. Yeah, cool.

So, you also mentioned influencer marketing as a big part of really taking off the business but do you have any particular advice to people who want to get started with influencer marketing?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, don’t. Sorry to bust your bubble. That was one thing I’ve realized and we did influencer marketing for clients years later but that was six, seven years ago we were doing that. And what I’ve observed in spend, it’s expensive now. Influencing marketing the landscape has changed. So to try and make money from influencer marketing, don’t do that.

Joris Bryon: Okay.

Emmanuel Eleyae: But you notice when I mentioned the paid ads worked better with influencers because now I had copy. Use it for that purpose. So the way I use influencer marketing now is not direct response or to make money. I use it as a creative generation, because I’m arbitraging what it would cost me to produce a video. If I go to a production house, they’re going to charge me $2500 minimum to make a video, for the sound guy, the lighting, the cost in the wardrobe, everything. But I go to an influencer with a 40-50,000 person audience on YouTube and they may charge me $500 to make a video for me. Now, while that may not be a great video that you get, you can make five videos for the same amount it would have costed you to make one video.

Now you have five different pieces of content that were made for you that are varying degrees of good, and if none of them are really good, well what you can do is just hire an editor for another $200 bucks and have them make you something interesting. But now you’ve got five different faces saying positive warm things about your product and you have all of that copy and you can now take those and mash them up into new videos, new content and put it on your website put it in emails, running it in ads. So you use influencers now not to make money but to make content, and then, will help you make money.

Joris Bryon: That’s an interesting take on it. On top of that of course you have because it’s someone else saying that you have a great product, it is a lot more creditable to your consumers anyway than when you say it is a great product so it has a nice added bonus.

Emmanuel Eleyae: Social proof.

Joris Bryon: Yep, absolutely. So, what do you believe are like the two or three keys to grow an eCommerce business in today’s environment?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, there’s three specific, the right foundation, follow up, and fuel. So, the foundation is make sure you can take orders. Make sure your cash register works so that’s your Shopify store and I highly recommend Shopify over all of the rest. You’re Shopify store, your order management process, make sure you can ship your product, you know your shipping fulfillment processes. Make sure your foundation is good.

Once you have that, make sure your follow up is in place. So this is your email marketing, this is your retargeting on AdWords, your retargeting on Facebook. But make sure that once you get someone to your site, to your store, you can and they don’t buy, you can follow up with them so have an email address or a pixel, cookie them, whatever it may be so you can follow up.

Once that infrastructure is in place, the third step is the fuel. And now you’re ready to scale. And that’s where the paid ads come in. So that’s Facebook and AdWords. So those are the three to meet in that order. That allow us to, I mean we are able to take clients who are ready and have a good product that there has demand within three months we get them to 84k plus in revenue, that’s that seven figure run rate, like that’s what we specialize in doing.

Taking people who are at about six figures a month and have that foundation in place and getting them to seven figures plus a month in revenue in about three months. Because the building blocks are the same, it’s simple. Just get it working. And so that’s why what you do is important. You notice in that foundation the website needs to convert and so what we always say is if you’re not converting at least two percent, you have one of two, or making the revenue you want, if you’re not at two percent, your website needs fixed. That’s what you guys do, and it’s powerful. You need CRO when you get that site converting.

If you are over two percent, you just need fuel. You need to pour jet fuel on it. Get the paid, you need more traffic. That’s good enough. So, once you start a site converting at two percent, buy traffic. You need more traffic.

Joris Bryon: Yeah, sure. Nah, and I like this simplicity of how you break it up. I mean sometimes you get caught up in a lot of like you mentioned before a shiny object syndrome and you read a blog post today, you listen to a podcast tomorrow, you watch a YouTube video of the day often, and you jump from one idea to the other but you kind of make it sound easy this way.

Emmanuel Eleyae: And honestly, I like to tell people that’s how we built our business. It really is easy. Here’s why I say that it’s easy. Because if people want your product, that’s what people miss. The reason why people get shiny object syndrome is because they decide I’m going to make a product and people will buy it from me if we build it they will come. Well, you’re forcing something on the market that people don’t want.

So if you have that creditable like I know people want this, there’s demand for this, it actually is really easy, remarkably simple to scale the business rapidly. If there’s anything I could leave people with, is that idea … is make sure people actually want the product, that there is demand. Then marketing is easy. It’s just a matter of finding more of those people.

Joris Bryon: Right, yep. So, if you look back at Satin Lined Caps which is now Grace Eleyae. So if you would start over again is there anything you would do differently?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, we’ve made lots of mistakes. And so I say, I always tell people I’ve spent over seven figures on mistakes. Things are just avoidable and that’s a big part of what we try and do now is help people, we help prevent avoidable mistakes like things that are just like don’t do that. So, if the thing that I would do, I’ll give you a couple of things I would not have done and things I would have done.

So things that I wouldn’t have done. I would not have hired a big CPG worked at Kraft Foods, these are people who are big time marketers or brands. Branding experts for big brands like Coco Cola and these kinds of things to come in to a small business.

These are folks who are experts at very big, very national level marketing campaigns and bringing them into a five million dollar company, it’s just going to break the company. They’re used to spending a lot more than you can and not necessarily having to answer for a profitability number or a cashflow number. That was a huge mistake. That was at least a quarter million, half a million bucks worth of spend in PR and all kinds of things. I wouldn’t do that again.

If there was something I could do, I would have focused more on the brand like I was big on not branding and so now we’ve even rebranded. We went away from Satinlinedcaps.com to GraceEleyae.com brought my sister up as a designer. But I fought that for two years. No, I want to just, yeah, I fought it hard. I didn’t want to do anything with design, or branding or any of that but I would tell you there’s a lot of subconscious kind of reactions that customers have and prospects have, man, it just looks nice. It’s just clean. There’s something about that brand and that kind of extra brand equity if you will is intangible but it’s very visible. We get a lot of compliments nowadays on how good the brand looks, and how good the photography looks.

Now, one thing I will say to caveat that, I do think we still did it right. So, I wouldn’t focus on that right at the beginning when I start where I’m investing most of my money. If I’m a brand doing 10k a month, I’m not going to spend 10k on a photo shoot, month one. It just doesn’t make sense to invest heavily in that but once you start to cashflow and you start getting into 40, 50k a month, yeah, make sure you put the effort in to getting a clean, polished look, get a good designer, get a good photographer, a good videographer to upgrade the look and feel of your brand.

Joris Bryon: And why did you fight it so hard and so long, the brand update.

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, I fought it. Because of money, I’m a bottom line guy, I’m an operations guy from my Amazon days. I was like if we’re spending money to take better pictures what’s wrong with the pictures we have. I was so aggressive on not wanting extra to get in the way of the buyer’s journey, that I actually, when we migrated to Shopify the first time from Woot Commerce I didn’t even have a home page. I was like we’re just going to have a category page, it would just be product images, so when people land on our site, there’s just three steps to buy, pick your color, go to the cart, pay us. It’s very much like I want to get as close to revenue as possible. And I was just a little too aggressive with that. It just seemed like an unnecessary expense. It seemed too costly. But after a certain … is this too costly at the beginning. At later stages it is worth the expense.

Joris Bryon: And I get it. Branding sometimes seems very intangible fluff and whereas when you run an eCommerce business, you look at Google Ads for instance, and it’s money in money out and it’s very tangible. And then branding is a whole different story, I think.

Anything else that you would do differently if you were to start over again?

Emmanuel Eleyae: If I’d start over again what would I do differently? The VA thing was a big one. So, I spent too much time working too hard for too long. In those first couple of years and honestly it wasn’t even the money because once we started pulling in 40 to 80k it was just like we have the money to hire someone it turned into I just don’t have the energy. I’m already so busy working and I don’t want to have to train someone and build SOPs and all this kind of stuff. That’s why I recommend starting early because what happens is yeah, you’re going to run out of energy, but things are only going to get worse if you get bigger because you almost grow yourself into more problems. The bigger you grow, the more problems you get.

More money, more problems kind of idea. You need to start it at some point you’re going to have to get over that hurdle and it’s actually simpler than you might think, not easy but simpler than you might think because what happens is you realize, oh, I was just saying it incorrectly. When VAs are a problem, when you’re managing people. So what you need to do is to make sure you have bite sized tasks that you feel comfortable that are repeatable and that’s what you start with. A lot of people want to start with, “Oh I need my site to look better or I need these emails to be made.” Those aren’t the tasks you start with. What you start with is every day, I log into Shopify and check my reports. I want to see how much money I made.

That’s the kind of task you hand off to a VA. Have them email it to you, or we talked about hiring VAs, UpWork, Fiverr, all of that, there’s messages that come in. I would have a VA go into all of those different inboxes copy and paste or screen shot the messages and send me an email with all of those so I don’t have to go each one of those different inboxes to look at them individually.

Those are the kinds of tasks where you don’t even realize that they’re eating up your day but I’m sure an hour or two a day is spent on these kind of routine mundane tasks, it’s just spread out over a 10-12 hour day. So, pull those out and give those to a VA ASAP.

Joris Bryon: Yeah, so that you can actually have some more time to do the things where you make more of a difference than doing all of those small tasks.

Emmanuel Eleyae: Exactly. There’s a con-

Joris Bryon: Or sorry, you go ahead.

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, I was just going to say, there is a concept of your zone of genius. There’s two books I like to recommend for this. One is the Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It talks about your zone of genius versus your zone of excellence, versus your zone of competence, and the zone of incompetence and it really speaks to the idea of you are put on this earth with a certain set of gifts and abilities that are unique to you, and so that’s your zone of genius. But you’re also really good at a lot of things. That’s your zone of excellence. Where you really shine, is when you’re in that zone of genius doing that stuff that only you can do. So you end up doing just doing a lot of other stuff because you’re in your zone excellence because you’re good at it. And that’s how people start to fail and never really truly reach their potential.

So that’s what getting really disciplined about pulling out what you’re just decent at and handing that off so you can focus on what you’re really good at with your genius level at that’s powerful. That’s The Big Leap. And then Essentialism by Greg McKeown, that one talks a lot about saying, no. The power of no, it’s a beautiful thing when you really grasp it.

Joris Bryon: Absolutely, I just read the book actually.

Emmanuel Eleyae: It’s marvelous.

Joris Bryon: Yeah, it is, it is. And it’s very hard to say no sometimes, and but it does work, absolutely. Yeah, so, you’ve been working with quite a few eCommerce businesses, what’s the biggest mistake you see eCommerce entrepreneurs make?

Emmanuel Eleyae: There is one intangible and there’s one tangible. Or I’d say emotional. The first one is an eCommerce entrepreneurs we have been successful in life outside of their business. They were a great corporate career, or they have a wonderful family, or they raised someone, and they think, “You know what, I was successful there, I’ll be successful here.” And they don’t realize how hard this is going to be. Not hard as in muscle it more like just work harder. Not hard that way, it’s there’s a lot you don’t know.

If you think about it in most of our jobs and our daily lives, you’ve spent your whole life training for it. You’ve been in school preparing to be a productive member of society. There is no school for your running your business. We talk about entrepreneurship but every entrepreneur’s business is different. It’s supposed to be. That’s what innovation is all about. That’s what disruption is all about. So, I think the first thing, I’d say is difficult for entrepreneurs is the mistake they make is just assuming it’s not going to be the hardest thing they’ve ever done. And so they start to get really down and almost depressed a lot of times when they’re not succeeding at the pace they thought they would succeed.

And there’s a lot of negative behaviors that come up and they get depressed and they start having avoidance behavior, whatever you’re negative results are, whether you get depressed or you act out, or drinking or whatever it is, that starts to happen. There’s a book called, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horwitz, and it talks about how difficult entrepreneurship is and it’s not for everybody. And so a lot of people end up staying in the game longer than they need to when they really just thought it would be something fun and easy to do. Just get out before you break yourself. Before you really either lose everything financially or mentally, emotionally, physically. Just get out.

Or if it’s really truly what you want to do recognize this is going to take all of you and be okay with it. And just don’t burn yourself out. And protect yourself. Get your sleep, get your nutrition, get your water, eat right, get exercise, have time for fun activities outside of just your business. And plan for the long haul. That’s the first one. I see intangible.

The other one that’s more tangible. We talked a little bit about, so I won’t go too far into it is just they make it more difficult than it needs to be. The shiny object syndrome. They try a lot of different things but at the end of the day it’s about talking to customers, like a lean start up approach, who wants your product? Do a lot of good customer development. Find out who wants it and then just keep talking to them. Keep understanding what they’re pain points are with your product. How much they want to spend for your product, what the right price point is, and keep giving them more of what they want. That’s it. And then keep it simple.

Whether they’re on … if they’re on Facebook, run Facebook ads. If they’re on Instagram, run Instagram ads. If they’re not on digital at all and they’re in your local area stay local. Do AdWords, local ads or go to meetups and provide those products there. Keep it simple and of course, have your big three, the foundation, the follow-up and the fuel. Make sure your sites converting, make sure you have your email marketing in place and make sure you can drive traffic. And keep it simple.

And one thing I want to stress with keep it simple. Here’s what I mean by that. It’s like we built our business to five and half million and didn’t do any SEO. I don’t think … I still think we have terrible SEO. We’ve never really done SEO. That’s what I mean by like keep it simple. You don’t have to be doing everything.

Joris Bryon: No, it’s true about SEO. There’s a lot of companies that start out with it but I don’t think that’s the best way either. You could do it once you have a good running business and you get the beta ads for instance and you know marketing and whatnot but SEO shouldn’t be your first thing to do.

But anyway, I have to say this has been absolutely amazing. I’ve learned a ton and I’m sure this will be very valuable episode for our listeners. We could definitely go on for hours and hours but we’re running out of time. And I want to make sure people know how they can find you and learn more about you. What’s the best place for people to connect with you?

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, sure, hit me up on the site, my website, EleyaeSystems.com and that’s E-L-E-Y-A-E Systems.com. They can reach out to me Emmanuel@EleyaeSystems.com. E-M-M-A-N-U-E-L@EleyaeSystems.com. I always love chatting with people, as you see I’m a little bit addicted to eCommerce. I just love it. I’ve been in the game for almost … over a decade now, I’d say. Yeah, it’s been over a decade. Weird, time flies.

Joris Bryon: It does.

Emmanuel Eleyae: But I just love it. I enjoy it. And I love talking about all steps, sides of it, from the operations side of it because I ran up so much there, manufacturing, to marketing, to web development, all of that, so reach out to us.

Joris Bryon: Great. And thank you so much for being here Emmanuel. It’s been really great.

Emmanuel Eleyae: Yeah, it’s been good. Thank you.

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