A Question for Entrepreneurs: Stay the Course, or Change Direction? – 234
Most entrepreneurs understand that if you’re not careful, your job description(s) will expand to the point where there’s no way that you can do it all. Ultimately, it comes down to balancing priorities and having an ability to really look at your personal skill set with an honestly critical eye.
Today on the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan welcomes Chelsea Cohen, an Amazon seller, copywriting expert, speaker and e-commerce consultant. She’s also the co-founder of SoStocked, a fully customizable inventory management and forecasting software.
In this conversation, Chelsea takes a close look at the way that entrepreneurs are forced to make difficult decisions that sometimes have nothing to do with e-commerce, and addresses the balancing act involved in creating partnerships. Ever wonder what’s involved in the creation of an e-commerce software tool? Chelsea also details the process she undertook in order to develop her inventory software, SoStocked.
How do entrepreneurs learn to delegate and prioritize? Chelsea tackles those questions and more!
In episode 234 of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim and Chelsea discuss:
- 02:30 – “Immediately Taking Action” on Amazon
- 06:15 – An Early Indication that Her Copywriting Had an Impact
- 08:00 – How Did Chelsea Stay Focused on Priorities?
- 09:30 – Helping Entrepreneurs Gave Her a Great Feeling
- 13:00 – Inventory Issues Force Chelsea to Take a Deeper Dive
- 15:30 – Building an Inventory Management SaaS Business
- 18:00 – Finding the Right Partner Made It Possible
- 21:00 – How to Know if a Partnership Will Be Successful
- 22:30 – Building a Software Tool
- 24:15 – A Rebuilt Algorithm Changes Everything
- 28:0 – Managing Multiple Interests AND Scaling Up
- 32:30 – Dealing with Responsibilities to Others
- 36:00 – Chelsea’s E-Commerce Forecast
- 39:15 – How to Contact Chelsea
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Tim Jordan: Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. We have a lot of opportunities. Some go well, some don’t. We have a lot of decisions to make. Should we partner? Should we not? Should we get our family involved? Should we change our business tactics, or the plan that we’re attempting to pursue for our business? Those are the questions that we’re going to ask today’s guest, Chelsea Cohen. I hope you guys liked this episode. Stay tuned.
Tim Jordan: Hi, I’m Tim Jordan and in every corner of the world, entrepreneurship is growing. So join me as I explore the stories of successes and failures. Listen in as I chat with the risk-takers, the adventurous and the entrepreneurial veterans. We all have a dream of living a life, fulfilling our passions, and we want a business that doesn’t make us punch a time clock, but instead runs around the clock in the AM and the PM. So get motivated, get inspired. You’re listening to the AM/PM Podcast.
Tim Jordan: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the AM/PM Podcast. Today we have Chelsea Cohen on the line with us. Chelsea has been kind of cruising around the e-commerce Amazon entrepreneurial space for a number of years, and she’s actually gotten involved in some stuff that she probably never thought she would have been involved in. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to talk about kind of how entrepreneurs sometimes shift, maybe they don’t shift and need to shift and how small circumstances can lead to big opportunities. So Chelsea, if you would give a brief introduction of your entrance into like the e-commerce space, when did that happen and how did that start?
Chelsea: Sure. Yeah, that was about 2014. My husband and I had been looking for a way out of the nine to five. We had tried multilevel marketing before, decided that we weren’t going to try that again. And then beginning of 2014, got roped into another multi-level marketing.
Tim Jordan: All right. So, what were you selling?
Chelsea: We were selling—we were basically selling nothing. We were selling a membership, so like basically discounts we’re selling discounts to anything like to shopping. And then when we paid, it was a hundred dollars for the annual website where we’re supposed to drive people to our website. I realized that you were paying them to have an affiliate marketing website for you. And there wasn’t a lot of savings that was going on. And so it was really a bunch of hot air and we decided that we needed to get out of that pretty quickly.
Tim Jordan: All right. So keep going, sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt your flow there.
Chelsea: Yeah, so then in the, probably about March of that year, March, April, we had heard about the amazing selling machine. This course that people were doing and people who had never sold online before were making a good bunch of money. And we looked at that and said, well, if someone else can do it, if they can do it, then we can do it. So we got into it. We actually ended up buying someone else’s course because we miss the deadline. There was a deadline, it got cut off. So we bought someone else’s course with the permission of the course creators. And so we were a month late, so I just kind of booked it. I thought we were way behind everyone, booked it, got through everything. And before we got to the live event, we had launched our product and we started talking to people, thinking we were way behind everyone. And most people hadn’t even gotten a product. So for us immediately, we had made our first sale before the event and immediately realized that a lot of people weren’t taking action. And that was what kind of set us ahead is that we just continually took action and kind of launched from there.
Tim Jordan: Got it. So you started selling online, did your friends, family, did they think you were all crazy or, I mean, I guess you came from the MLM world of selling nothing.
Chelsea: Yeah, it’s funny. Because my family, I tend to be able to get my family to do whatever I’m doing. So I got my family to get started with it. None of them really became successful. But they all try. They all had a product, they all tried to sell something. And a bunch of our other friends came on board and we had a bunch of other friends who were successful. One of the people that was a friend of ours that we got into the Amazon space. And now she’s off creating events and running masterminds and things like that. So we did bring several people along for sure.
Tim Jordan: So when you took this course, this course is like most courses, it’s a 50 step plan. It’s a follow these paths to this. So it’s very kind of closed. It’s very like siloed, like this is how you make money. Yeah. So were you convinced that this path was the way that you were going to continue to support your family and make money? It was that like what you had in your mind was this very specific business model?
Chelsea: I never really had that in mind. It started working right away. Like our sales started taking off right away. Our product became a best seller and we were able to quit our jobs probably more quickly than we should have, but it was the thing we knew that e-commerce and entrepreneurship and this field was something that we were going to use to pay our bills, and to build our lifestyle. I always thought it was going to be a jumping off point though. When I started with the Amazon business, I said, it’s going to open up big opportunities. And more, I got into working with Amazon sellers and in the Amazon space, the more I realized how many opportunities there were to make money in the ecosystem besides just selling physical products, which I found kind of fascinating.
Tim Jordan: What were some of those opportunities that you immediately recognized? And just in context, that was the same way I started selling. And then I used my contacts in China. I started a sourcing company and shipping company with 3PLs here in the US like we were doing all sorts of crazy stuff that we never expected. But what did you see as some of the other opportunities in the ecosystem?
Chelsea: Well, I mean, I noticed one of the things I recognized was that many of the top sellers had either a course, a mastermind or a software. And so that was something I recognized right away. I never really thought that that was something that I would get into or do. We started helping out coaching people. We got a lot of questions. People were asking a lot of questions. Like I said, we brought a lot of people into this world. And so there were a lot of questions being asked. We kind of became a little like in our community, little minor celebrities. And so we hated continually having to answer the questions over and over again, same questions, but at the same time we wanted to help people. So we put up a free website with a bunch of free videos. Didn’t really know what we’re going to do with it. All we knew was that, give us your email and you’ll get access to those videos. And then, I started talking about copywriting and realized that people within my mastermind, weren’t doing the same thing with copywriting that I was doing. And so that was kind of the first time that I found that there was something different that I had that there might be something there.
TimJordan: Got you. So copywriting turned into a business?
Chelsea: Actually. Yeah. So, I spoke at an event about copywriting, at the amazing selling machine in 2017 and continually was asked by people after that, if I would write for them and I really didn’t want to write for them, I really wanted to just do my own business. And then eventually after six months of being asked, I finally stopped saying no and started saying, well, how can I? And so I realized I had a system, I had a philosophy, I had a way of doing copywriting that other people weren’t doing, and it was very effective and that people would come up to me, having seen my talk and tell me what their conversion rate increases were, what their sales increases were. So I just systemized that. And basically now I have a copywriting agency, a team of copywriters who do that. So that was kind of the first thing that was developed. And it was kind of this thing I fell backward into because I happened to be doing something that people weren’t doing.
TimJordan: So one of the things that I struggle with is allocating my time correctly. I’m very entrepreneurial. I love chasing rabbits and shiny object syndrome. And I feel like there’s a million opportunities to chase. And sometimes I chase too many. I don’t do a few well. So how did you handle that at first? Because you’re selling online, you’re obviously making some money selling products and that takes a lot of time and you had an option to continue 100% focused scaling that, or even things set up like non-monetizable initially websites with content and start a copywriting business. Like how did you sit down and decide, okay, this is what I’m going to allocate my time to do and why?
Chelsea: Yeah. So for me, I mean, it really had to do with the delegation. A lot of the work was delegated and I’m the same way I tend to try to do too many things. But for me, I was kind of getting a little bit bored on Amazon. Like that was one thing that I was wrestling with. So I kind of shifted to something that I was more passionate about, kept my Amazon business going and my husband helping with running that, and then shifting. And it wasn’t a lot of attention because I really wasn’t doing any promotion. It was all word of mouth. And it’s just recently that I have started looking at what promotions can be done. So it’s really been a side thing. And one of the things that I really like about it, running it on the side is just that I am able to give my copywriters work, right. I’m able to give them a lot of additional income. And it’s really nice to see at the end of the year, putting together those 10 99s and seeing how much I was able to pay other people. So I really liked that side of things. And then I liked the side of things of actually helping Amazon sellers. And that was really what I noticed early on and my husband as well, our passion was really helping entrepreneurs. So, selling products online, there’s not that feedback loop that you get with helping someone to improve their business, to be able to maybe quit their job or find more time for family. Those were the things that I was more interested in. So really the shift was not so much, it was more so a shift in terms of my interest and my passion. And that’s kind of what I based it on, including– you got to include the money, the financial side of things, but that was a big part of it for me.
TimJordan: And just to pause for a second, all of you listeners, the reason I think that these questions, this discussion is important is because those of us that are in like an e-commerce business probably didn’t plan to be in an e-commerce business. All right. So I’m going to make some general assumptions. Most of us found this crazy opportunity to side hustle. We don’t come from big brands and then say, Oh, we also need to sell online. Now, most of us, this started as some entrepreneurial adventure, whether it was a YouTube video or a course, or a friend or family that got you started into it. And because we are entrepreneurial, we don’t necessarily have to be married to one business model. Like for me, e-commerce is not just sell this product, Amazon FBA, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, like it’s an entrance into this giant world with a ton of opportunities. And if you are listening to this podcast right now, you probably are very entrepreneur. You’re spending time to learn, like you’re trying to digest information. So I am making some assumptions and keep following my train of questions here, because I think that the questions I’m asking are very, very relevant, very important for all of you that are listening in determining what our priorities should be with the understanding that that priority is flexible. Right? And that we will probably, at some point change our priorities, even the OGs in the space. Like we were talking about my partner Norm Farrar a minute ago. He’s been involved in e-commerce for 20 years and Kevin King and Steve Simonson, but they’ve constantly changed and done different things throughout that journey. So let’s continue. So we’ve got Chelsea and Ari selling online, you started helping people, you gained an audience, you started a copywriting business that you largely, it sounds like outsourced, or you didn’t– you weren’t stuck in the weeds. So continue the story for us from there, the journey.
Chelsea: Yeah. Okay. So that was 2018, beginning of 2018. Around that same time I was having trouble with inventory. I noticed that a lot of the ways I was bleeding money were just inventory mistakes. So things like not ordering on time, or things like ordering too much of something, and taking out a loan to, to order it and then paying on the interest and on the storage fees and all of these little things, running out of stock, they all added up to my profit kind of slipping away slowly but surely. And I realized that I needed to really rain that in and get control of that and stop putting out fires and figure that piece out. And that tends to be something I started to notice about myself when I am really having trouble with something, I tend to dive like straight into it, taxes I’m going to in way early on in my life as I guess an adult, I was terrified of taxes. And so I was terrified of success because I was afraid I was going to make a bunch of money. And then I was going to, owe a bunch of taxes. So I went and worked at an accounting firm and I learned all about taxes. And so now I know about taxes and it’s not a scary thing anymore. And that’s kind of what my approach to inventory was I dove into it and figured out, okay, what do I need to do? Tried a bunch of different software. Nothing was really working for me. It was kind of this, we’ve got the secret algorithm. We’re not going to tell you what it is, but we’ve got the secret algorithm and you guys just trust the numbers. The numbers would work for one SKU, wouldn’t work for another SKU. And so I just decided I needed to figure out how to build this. I asked someone who had a software already. They didn’t really want to go in that direction. And so I basically said, well, I’m going to have to find somebody. And had no idea, never touched software before, never done any of that. And two weeks after I made the decision that I was going to build something, I ran into Dan Fernandez at a small event in Sugarland, Texas, right outside Houston. He wasn’t even supposed to be there. He was a last minute addition. We were both speakers hung out the weekend and he kept complaining that he was so bored and he needed a new SAS project. Sitting here going, wow, I need someone to build me something. So, kind of hooked up there.
TimJordan: Let’s fast forward, just a tiny bit. You now own SoStocked, which is an inventory management tool for Amazon sellers, correct? And what’s interesting is I see a lot of the very successful spin-off businesses from the e-commerce business, but also people that just know the industry are always involved in software, automation, data, analytics, all that stuff is important, but I couldn’t tell you how to even begin to build some sort of tech product or project. I mean, I’m completely clueless when it comes to that. So that was going to be my question is, is how did you do that? And it sounds like you found the right guy, you found someone that knew the tech side and you plugged him in with the need. So, walk me through the process of how that conversation starts. Hey, Dan, I have an idea. Can you build this?
Chelsea: Yeah, well, first of all, I mean, it started over lunch and drinks and we were kind of like, we were all just hanging out and it was an interesting event, a great event. It was a bunch of different types of selling on Amazon. So there were times where we would just kind of be step out when, say the drop shipper was talking or something like that. So it was definitely this two days, very small contained event. And we were basically all hanging out together. And so that was kind of the start of, it was just building a good rapport. And then he just continued to say over and over again that he needed, wanted to do a new project. And we mentioned it, the whole thing. And finally, I was talking to Ari and, Ari bless him. He was, I was like, look, I don’t think he’s interested. And he went back there at the end. It was like one of the last speakers. He went back to Danny. He’s like, look, she really wants to build this with you. And that was the difference is that he thought I wanted him to build it so that I could have it. And he had no idea about how Amazon worked and all that, but he didn’t realize that I wanted to partner with him. And so it was just a little bit of, I, we planted the seed, we, and then it was a little bit of follow up. It was probably two months of follow up where I finally nailed him down and we got on a phone call and he was like, yes, let’s do this. So that was kind of how that went. It was just a matter of convincing him that we were the right people, and we told him a little bit about how we had spoken on various different stages. We’d been on various different podcasts and we had a network, so we had something to build on and we knew how we wanted to build it.
Tim Jordan: Do you think just gut instinct, not talking about yourself specifically, but in this space, do you think that there is a lot more potential for success when people partner with people that kind of make up for their deficiencies, or strong in a way that they’re not, do you think that’s the way to go?
Chelsea: I do. I think you need to be able to read people. Well, I think there are some people that get into a hot water because they don’t read people well. And sometimes you’re too about the idea that you don’t really read the person. And we’ve done that before, where we started getting into a particular product line with someone we met and you need to know when to cut it off. You need to know when it’s not working out. And so, with that particular relationship, we were continually, it was an ethic, there was an ethical point that was out. And so we basically, after a couple of times of trying to press the issue, realize that our ethics levels were different and they had a different set of ethics than we did. And so we basically split, do you need to be able to read the person, and no one to call it quits, but I do believe I know that wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t found the right person, I would not have gone out and found a developer and the developer probably I would not be able to see and understand what they were doing, and all of that. Sol, it really was finding someone to who I could partner with, who already have the team in place. They’ve been working with their development team for 10 plus years. They’ve already had a successful business. And so, finding that right person, it opens up huge opportunities. And I feel the same way with my lead copywriter. If I didn’t have my lead copywriter, I wouldn’t have the copywriting business that I have.
TimJordan: So you’ve had some business partnerships that didn’t go well prior to this, is that what I just heard?
Chelsea: That’s right.
TimJordan: I see so many people terrified of partnerships because they hear of those stories and I have had great business partnerships and I’ve had horrible business partnerships that left me like depressed and anxious and curled up crying. How do you like really think about the timeframe or the merit or the criteria for a new partner, knowing what you’ve known now. And let me back up and put this in context. I see a lot of people that are getting started in the entrepreneurial space and they know that they’re just not good at some things, and they are great at others. So they need to find partnerships. And I have sat in rooms where I’ve sat even in other countries where people spend a few days together and they think, man, this would be great if we partnered up on this, but there’s always the question. Like, how do we know if one, we as an individual are ready for partnerships, or if we’re going to get along with these people, or if we really do create this balance that’s needed and having gone through some successful partnerships and some poor partnerships, what advice would you give to people to start identifying if they’re ready? And if a potential partnership is going to be a good one?
Chelsea: I think it really is about laying everything out. It’s kind of like, you have the verbal contract and then you actually can put it on paper and know how you would walk away from it. Like in this one partnership that I mentioned, they had put up all the money, they had no Amazon expertise. They were asking for us to come in, it was a woman’s product. And so they were basically putting it all up and it, all it was for us was our time. And it got to the point where we’re like, you know what, we could just easily walk away from that one. If there’s money involved where you’re both putting in money and, or your vote both have an asset, and it’s harder to dissolve something like that. I think it warrants a lot more time. You need to, I think, I mean time doesn’t necessarily have to do with it, but I think it warrants thought. You have to really sit down and talk about, okay, well, what are we agreeing to? What are you expecting of me? Or what are you wanting to get from me? It’s kind of like a marriage. A lot of people get into marriage without talking about what do you want me to, you know, what role do you want me to have as a wife? What role do you want me to have as a husband? It’s that type of thing. It’s what role should I have in this partnership? What are you expecting from me that way I can’t disappoint you because you didn’t let me know. And so I think it’s laying down those ground rules and saying, okay, what if we just, what happens if, how do we dissolve this? If it doesn’t work out, how do we see this being dissolved? And I think too many people jump in and they’re too eager. And they are only thinking about the best case scenario and they don’t really have a plan and they don’t approach it from a very sane and strategic viewpoint of actually creating a business partnership.
TimJordan: Yeah. Makes complete sense. So you found Dan, how did you actually start the process of trying to explain to him who’s a tech guy and you not being a technical person, how this product is supposed to look?
Chelsea: Yeah. I first started by sketching some things out. I don’t remember what tool I use. Maybe I use Canva or paint, or I actually, I think I used like keynote or something like that. And I sketched out what the tool should look like, what we should have. So one of the first things I recall doing was a Kanban view of tracking your products from production into shipments and so we have that Kanban view. I also had some stuff laid out in air table. I had originally started to use the tool air table to try to figure out what to do. So even if you go into the software now, a lot of our dashboards are air table based. So you can customize, you can remove columns, you can change the position of columns, you can filter things. So it was really a combination of sketching it out and then also showing how it would look if you had it inside of a Kanban view as well as like an adjustable spreadsheet, like air table.
TimJordan: Is this something that you always felt was going to work? Like once you start this conversation, did you always feel confident that SoStocked was going to be a legit service or legit product that people are going to like, and you’re building money on it? Or was there ever any doubt like, Oh my gosh, this thing’s falling apart.
Chelsea: Yeah. So there was one point, the whole time I had tons of confidence, I always tell Ari, we’re going to be millionaires. This is going to, we’re going to sell it for all this money. And you always want to think that. And so I have that, that belief for the entire duration for the two and a half years, except for one period of time. And it was six months after our initial beta launch. We had a beta launch and we’ve never done a free trial. So we had these guys paying for this beta. They came in and had a very reduced rate. And some of them, we didn’t even know, they weren’t, it wasn’t just friends of ours, we had them paying. And at one point we just kept getting the feedback that the forecast was not working. The forecast dashboard wasn’t working, we always built it on this idea that it was adaptable, understandable, customizable, but it was still using an algorithm and that wasn’t working. So we basically had come to the conclusion that the entire, what was it, year and a half, we had taken to build this forecast. We actually had to start from scratch, rip it out and start again. And we had to hope, luckily we had only launched to 25 people and we had 25 people. We had their feedback. If we had done a free trial, forget it, the bad case would be all over the entire industry. So, that was fortunate. We ripped it out. We redid it. And the person who had said, we’d actually got spreadsheets from people. We said, send us your best spreadsheets. How are you looking at this? Because if you can do it in a spreadsheet, everyone goes back to spreadsheets. They try the software, they go back to spreadsheets and in the space, that’s just basically, and generally the way things go, sellers try inventory software. And then they go back to spreadsheets. So we took spreadsheets and we looked at what is working and what is not working. And we bake that into the system. We redid it, took about two months to redo the forecast. But after that, we put the new forecast in and then word of mouth started taking off. We had masterminds that were starting to refer us. We started hearing the same masterminds over months and months and months continuing to send people to us. And we realized that we had gotten something, right. So it was that point where we had to completely rip out everything that we had created the foundation, which was the forecast. But if we had not listened to the sellers, which is one of the things we pride ourselves on now listening to the sellers, we would have probably been dead in the water at that point.
TimJordan: Got you. So I know at some point, and we keep mentioning your husband, Ari. Yeah. At some point, you had to make the decision to bring your husband in and start helping. And that’s also a conversation that is had a lot of times with people, not just like how do we find partners, but do we work with family? And that’s a tough topic because ideally we want to work with our significant others, with our spouses or even with our children, because that sounds fun, but it’s not always easy. Talk about some of the struggles that you’ve had and then talk about ultimately why it was a good decision to bring Ari on full-time with this project.
Chelsea: I’d say it’s that my husband’s very easy to work with. The only thing since we started as I’m getting more to so stuff, we kind of started being a little bit separate in terms of our work life, I did have to convince him, I had to send some hesitance and him coming in and I was trying to pinpoint, well, what is that hesitance? And finally, he came out and he was like, well, I don’t know if I want to work with you. You’re not so nice. Then I realized that I’m very hard on him. Like I assume that people are going to pick things up like that. And, I’ve been living with the software for two and a half years. And so I had to realize that I have to be more patient because it is your significant other, you often aren’t as patient as you are with somebody else. So that, to me, I had to be cautious of that and realize that that was his main concern, that, and he also likes to be able to get out of the house. And he was afraid that he was going to be so busy that he wouldn’t be able to get out of the house. Because I don’t get out of the house. You know, it’s like, I’m really busy. But, so those are some things is just to figure out what are those concerns, if you have to be willing to be honest, and to be able to accept that those answers and not get upset at hearing another person’s opinion or viewpoint, and to him, he was afraid to tell me that he thought I was mean to him.
TimJordan: Got it. So, you started off MLM, started selling a little bit online, figuring out other opportunities, went through some potentially bad situations, started one company, started a second company that’s still operating right now. And you still sell online right now, correct? So you’re in a position that a lot of us end up in where we have a lot of irons in the fire. How do you balance your time based on prioritization of opportunities?
Chelsea: Yeah. It’s definitely a balancing act. There’s the right now income and then the potential, big income down the road. And so that’s been for me a big balancing act. I’ve had to get better at training people. And I really noticed that that has happened in the past, say, six months to a year of finding good people, knowing what you need to do to hold on to them sometimes. And there are really good people that you can find now, VAs who have lost their jobs due to COVID and are just superstars. And then just, it’s just a matter of being able to take the time to train them. And sometimes it’s just filming a video, sending it to them and then, course correcting as they go through the process. So that’s really been it for me, has been finding those and having that balance, but there is segmentation that has to happen between the stuff that’s paying my bills. And then, the machine that we’ve built, that’s just kind of barreling down the street at top speed growing and is all the potential or the latent potential income.
TimJordan: Got it. So, it sounds like you didn’t really give a very clear answer. So let me ask you this. Is it still up for grabs? Are you still consistently reevaluating this and determining like, what should be my focus? What else is out there? What do I need to dump? What do I need to invest in more? I mean, is that like an ongoing thing in your mind?
Chelsea: Yeah, I mean, for me, SoStocked is the number one for me, but especially because I have business partners, my other businesses probably partner is my husband. So he’s in for whatever we do. But when you have business partners, you have a, I feel like I’ve got a duty to them to be able to make this successful. We’ve all bootstrapped this company and we’ve put years and money into this. So I feel like that’s got to be one of the first priorities. Also as we bring people into the software, there are hundreds of people that then rely on us to improve it, to make it better, to make sure they know how to use it and all of that. So that’s become the biggest priority. I do start to look at what can I dump? What tasks can I do? What obligations do I need to let go of? Right. I’m very good at over committing myself. So I’ve become a lot better at not committing myself to things and not feeling bad about that because have to know what your priorities are, and I guess you have to align your priorities based on what’s most important for me. SoStocked is most important right now, but in terms of what’s paying the bills, it’s– I feel like I’m in this growth stage to a point where I’m making decisions that are for SoStocked, not necessarily for right now, immediate income, but it’s kind of a long game.
Tim Jordan: So you said something that struck a nerve with me and it was talking about others relying on you. Right. So you’ve got partners, you’ve got employees, you’ve got users whose businesses in one facet is relying on your software. Does that stress you out? Because when we think about like the freedom of being entrepreneurial, ideally, it’s the freedom of we can move. We can change, we can drop something if we want to. So you’re sitting here telling me, Hey, I have to analyze what I should dump from my life. But you’re also telling me the way I just perceived what you said is I have this thing riding on my shoulders. And if it gets screwed up, everybody gets hurt. Maybe that’s just my perception. And my brain works. And I’ve done that when I’ve gotten involved in organizations with more people. And I was the head guy and I had investors and I had like, the anxiety was crushing because I felt trapped. I felt like I can’t walk away from this because other people are relying on me for this. Then they succeed. And when things don’t go, well, it’s just debilitating. So how do you– and the reason I’m asking this, you just said two things. You said, Hey, I’m, I’m analyzing what I can dump. I got to be flexible. So then in like the same comment, you said, Hey, all these people are relying on me. How do you balance that?
Chelsea: Yeah. And I agree, because when I first decided that I wanted to find something and then ended up finding selling online, I decided that I wanted something that had time. Was it time? And location freedom, right? Time, location and financial freedom with no clients, employees, or bosses. That’s what I wanted. And I’ve found Amazon, but it’s like eventually if you’re going to grow anything big, you need employees. You’re going to have customers or clients of some sort. Your partner is not really a boss, but you do definitely, there are some things.
Tim Jordan: You have to answer. You’re held accountable.
Chelsea: Exactly. Yeah. So, the thing that I have realized, because that was, I had decided that like 2014, the thing that I realized is that, there’s that cheesy saying, if you want to go, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you know, go with, you know, find, find people or whatever that saying is, and it’s kind of true. I wouldn’t be able to build what I have built if I didn’t have people. And I tried to stay small for too long and just continued to drown. And so it’s when I start bringing people on that, I start to be able to breathe a little bit. And I think that stress is probably just not outsourcing enough. Because a lot of the stress that I have is because I’m doing too many things on my own. So I think that it definitely is something to kind of keep in mind, but I think if you really want to grow something big, you do need to bring people in.
Tim Jordan: I think I agree with that. And if you look at the things I’ve been doing recently, it all lends towards that. Just kind of one of those go big or go home. And the other thing that I’m having to realize is everything that I do with business doesn’t necessarily determine like how people judge me personally, right? Like some things are just business deals. That’s just what they are. And sometimes things don’t always work. I don’t have to take full responsibility and accountability and not for the things that I say I’m going to do. But if I take on a business partner, we try something and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t mean it’s necessarily my fault. Like we have to distance ourselves a little from our decisions. So I think your story is very intriguing. And I think your story could represent a lot of people in the e-commerce entrepreneurial space when it comes to balancing multiple things. When it comes to balancing, working with family, when it comes to moving on to different opportunities, not always bigger and better, but just different when it comes to bad partnerships when it comes to having to dump some things. And a lot of what we’ve talked about has been a little bit scary. Like we’ve talked about some of the stress and the pressure that, but what do you see, like forecasting the opportunity in the e-commerce world for people that want to break free to make a living, build something on their own. Do you think that that opportunity is becoming greater? Or do you think that that ship has sailed a little bit and maybe there’s less opportunity there used to be?
Chelsea: I think in terms of selling, I think it’s definitely, it’s more challenging than it was obviously when it was a little bit more of the wild West. You have to learn more, know more. I think there’s a lot more information and a lot more access to data out there. There’s a lot more tools than we used to have. So in some ways it has become easier to figure out, but there is a lot more noise. I think that it, if someone isn’t dead set on just growing a brand, I think there’s way more opportunity because there are way more sellers and there are way more people coming online. There are way more people shopping online. I mean, especially with what has happened in the past year, there’s a lot more, there’s a lot more market to be had and there’s an even larger market of people who can service those people. And I think that’s a huge part of things like warehouses and services and software. There’s a lot of– there’s an open field for businesses that can be created to meet a need that serves primarily e-commerce sellers.
Tim Jordan: Got you. So you’re standing on a stage right now, and I usually kind of in these podcasts, like this sharing of stage, talking to tens of thousands of e-commerce sellers, they’re all trying to learn. They’re all trying to pick up little bits of information to improve their lives, or their businesses, or their skill sets, whatever. If you had to suggest one book that everybody should read, that book may have been very impactful for you or impactful for others around you. What is the book that everybody should get a copy of and read right now?
Chelsea: I would say The One Thing. The book, The One Thing. It’s about– it busts the myth of multitasking. And for me, that was a big deal. Because I pride myself on this idea of multitasking and the whole premise is what is the one thing such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary. And if you ask yourself that question every day and you just do that one thing, you’re going to move closer to your goal. Whereas if you continue to multitask, you never get anything done. There’s a concept called context switching. And it means basically how much time does it take you to re-shift your attention onto a task when you’re shifting between tasks, when you try to get too much done in a day and you end up getting nothing done. So, made me much more effective. And I think it’s something that we all need to be reminded of on a regular basis. Because I still battle with that.
Tim Jordan: Well, I’ve written it down. I’ll get it. I’ll take your recommendation, but I’ll be honest with you. It terrifies me because sometimes I hate accountability. And just you describing the context of the book, which was focusing on one thing, scares the hound out of me because I know it’s going to make me have to question my everyday actions in multitasking, a lot of stuff. So Chelsea, if people wanted to follow you, find out more information about you, where could they go, where they could find you?
Chelsea: Yeah, I mean, I’m on Facebook, so just Chelsea on Facebook. Chelsea Cohen. You can also find us on SoStocked. Sostocked.com or So Stocked Facebook. I answer the communication in the Facebook messages and reach us there and then I’m on LinkedIn as well.
Tim Jordan: Okay. Thank you so much, Chelsea, for being on. I look forward to seeing what you have coming up in the future and everyone that’s listening, go and follow her, give her a like on her Facebook page, and give us a like on our Facebook page, AM/PM Podcast. Give us a review on whatever platform you’re listening on and we will see you guys on the next episode.