Hello everyone, my name is Josiah Lowe and I’ve been in the Ecommerce industry for the last 7 years. Over those 7 years I think the phrase “we should do consulting!” Has come up 100+ times. I always liked the idea but at the end of the day, I could never get myself to take the plunge. My head was filled with thoughts like: what if the client loses money and isn’t successful? What if the strategies I teach stop working? If I take on clients am I really working for myself anymore? And the list goes on and on.
My point is that consulting has never been my go-to career path. I’ve avoided it all these years because it’s a big responsibility and I have to be 100% confident in the value I’m providing or else I can’t do it. All that said…here I am writing my first journal entry for Mentis Collective. So what changed? Earlier this year when we put this site together, it came from a place of necessity. It wasn’t about making money or building another company, it was about finally feeling 100% confident in what we do and the value that we can deliver. Something I’ve come to realize after years of selling is that if you don’t have authentic belief in what you’re selling, the process sucks and there’s no solid ground to stand on.
The idea behind these journal entries is that people should really know who they are doing business with. A slick website, some impressive numbers, and a 30 minute phone pitch is enough to land clients. And if we were only in the consulting business, maybe that’s all we’d have. But this is personal for us. We’re obsessed with what we do and we love bringing other people into our world. So the goal of these entries is to document where we’re at in our businesses. The successes, the failures, the obstacles, the solutions, all of it. There’s no format to any of these entries they are all just off the cuff. So if you’re already thinking, wow this is a long intro I wonder how long this post will be? I truly have no idea.
What I learned from selling my website:
I have only sold 2 websites in the last 7 years and 1 of them was a couple of weeks ago. What I learned is that the dude got a hell of a deal and I need to adjust how I calculate the asking price and deliverables. A reasonable asking price for an Ecom site is 2x annual profit. In my case the site was 6 months old and the buyer agreed to pay 2x total profit. The thing I overlooked was the value of the infrastructure behind the site. If the infrastructure was just some Shopify drop-shippers and some freelancers, it wouldn’t be a bad deal. But I handed over access to in house teams, systems, and suppliers that it’s taken us years to build. The real value is in the infrastructure because it’s what allows you to run 5 or 10 sites that all use the same model. In hindsight I should’ve listed the business for 4x total profit and spent more time explaining that I was selling the website plus all the systems that have the capacity to scale.
You can’t put a price on speed and reliability:
Oh wait…Amazon already has.
During the pandemic supply chains across the globe got rocked. Prices increased across the board and getting product from countries like China got harder.
Most of my selling career I’ve sold things that are produced in China. The level of customization and low price is unmatched. Not to mention a site like Alibaba makes it very easy. But given the current climate, we switched to selling American made product. Beyond the obvious, there are a couple of reasons we made this switch and we’re already starting to see the benefits.
- An American supply chain is much easier to control and you’re exposed to less variables. You’ll lose margin on the price of the product, but you can make up for it with faster shipping speeds and more product options. An American supply chain doesn’t have to mean 100% made in America. It could mean the base product is made overseas and shipped to a US wholesaler, then decorated or altered in America. By switching to this model we pay slightly more for COGS but carry little to no inventory and have lots of flexibility.
- Facebook and other platforms have started cracking down on shipping speeds. If you’re shipping times aren’t fast enough you will get bad customer feedback scores and ultimately kicked off the platform if it gets really bad. Our strategy with Facebook has been to lean into their changes and optimize our businesses around what they want. With faster shipping times Facebook gives you way better results, it’s simple as that.
Overhauling a supply chain or business model is never fun but sometimes it’s necessary to stay ahead of the curve. Early on one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to keep the business lean and nimble so that you can pivot effectively when the time comes.