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251 : Mark Le Vine – Bubblefast is a great example of growing a business on Amazon, Ebay and other channels

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I brought Mark back to talk us through what really happens when you grow a business on multiple channels. And it is magical. Well that is when it goes right. And no surprise it doesn’t always go right. Mark walks us through with real numbers to help understand what can be. Great story from a great guy.



Marks previous interviews 14 , 130


Mark’s email

Mark’s Telephone # 877-599-SHIP



Gaye’s Million Dollar Arbitrage List


Scope from Sellerlabs



Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)

Stephen:                             [00:00]                     Want to jump in here and just bring back up episode 250 Toys for Tots campaign put together by Sellar lambs. It is such a great opportunity. I was with the seller on Friday. Their team is working on it. I’m very very excited. This is a chance for you to use the skills that you personally have developed. You’ve got sourcing muscles not many other people have it. And this is a chance where we can take and use our skills to help those less fortunate. All the information is on episode 250 such a great cause. Kick back give back give back this time of year thanks hope your Q4 is going good. It’s

Stephen:                             [00:40]                     a great time to be selling and sell a lot. Watch your repressors. I just got whacked on one last$15 a unit. I didn’t lose I lost in profit because I should have blocked one wasn’t paying attention so please do me tell you about a couple sponsors you know scope from solar labs. If you’re not using it to even just to take your wholesale accounts of course you got to use a for private label. Right. You need to understand the keyword you want to understand a key word go look at your competitors get their keywords and then use them. That’s smart business right because they already have proven that proof of concept but take the same approach to your wholesale accounts make sure that those key words are in there. If not upload those changes many times you can but many times you can take advantage sculped from Sellar labs go to several labs dot com slash scope used the code word momentum save a few bucks get a few key words get your listings found.

Stephen:                             [01:35]                     Got to find that keyword and scope will be the product that will help you. There are solutions for e-commerce Charron logger. You know again you hear me talk about her because she is my account manager she has been doing a great job. Again I had some stranded listings and I notice them down there on the bottom right hand corner. They’re gone. I look back and they’re gone and I see stuff submitted. I see stuff return. It’s such a great process because I don’t have to pay attention. I can pay attention to the other parts of our business solutions for e-commerce slash momentum. I’ll save you 50 bucks.

Stephen:                             [02:07]                     Lowest price she offers. And you still get the amatory Health Report. Take a look at it set up for 2018. Now tell Karen I sent you. When you think about Q4 lists and hope you don’t use them just Q4 for Hope you use them all year long again you want to learn how to fish right. And so the best thing to do when you’re buying the list is look at what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and then figure that out on your own. That’s the approach that gay lesbian uses and a million dollar arbitrage list. It is closed for the rest of this year. However I have asked them and they have said they would do it if there’s an opening. They will pull from the waitlist. OK so I have the link out on my site on this episode that will have a link that will take you right onto the waitlist.

Stephen:                             [02:55]                     So get on the waitlist if there’s something that your interest maybe she’s going to give you a 7 day free trial so there’s nothing to lose. But then once you get in there take advantage learn how to fish right sharpen your tool you know sharpen your skills I guess is the right phrase I should use. OK so again I have that link out on this episode. So jump out there and get on that list. You know go daddy and grasshopper are both national sponsors of the show. I’m very fortunate. I have a third one coming on in February very excited about that. But go daddy. I use them. This was somebody who had a great idea for and for a domain and I’m like.

Stephen:                             [03:32]                     Use my link. Save 30 percent 30 percent yes they pay me. We all know that. However 30 presents real I use it myself because I want to save the 30 percent. So let’s try. Go Daddy dot com slash momentum right try Go Daddy dot com slash momentum and you’re going to save 30 percent grasshopper’s the same deal. Try grasshopper com slash momentum and you’re going to save 50 bucks. I saw somebody else just signed up for it. The service makes you a pro.. All of a sudden your business has a phone number has a vanity phone number you can kind of create your own one if it’s available but you don’t need a second phone. And I think that’s the big thing it’s not Google Voice which is choppy Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. This is professional stuff. Press one for customer service press two for my Amazon account manager which we go to Karen’s team. I mean this is a great opportunity. So it’s Try grasshopper dot com slash momentum. Say fifty bucks. Welcome

Cool voice guy:                  [04:29]                     to the e-commerce momentum. Good. We focus on the people the products and the process of Commerce selling today.

Stephen:                             [04:37]                     Your host Stephen Peters and welcome back to the e-commerce supplement upon cast. This is episode [2:51]. Mark Levine Yes the bubble first guy is back. And I brought him back for a specific purpose because I’ve been seeing a lot of people talking about getting back out on multiple channels. The time is now and I know it’s fourth quarter and everything is going crazy but you’ve got to be planning for 2018. And I think bubble fest is a perfect example. And Mark has such a great story it helped tell it are a way to tell it about getting and developing and selling on other channels according to him. He could add another channel in seconds now because of the systems that they put in place. Man I just hope you hear this. I really think it’s so powerful. I’ve seen some other people talking about struggling and blocked on Amazon. This is another option. And Mark has a plan and has done it and it can tell you how.

Stephen:                             [05:35]                     Going into the podcast. All right welcome back to the e-commerce moment a podcast excited about today’s guest repeat guest episode number 14 and actually I’ve had him on number 130 and this will be the third time and I think it’s the timeliness is the reason that I asked Mark Levine from bubble fast to come on back on. Welcome back Mark.

Mark:                                    [05:54]                     Thanks for having me again.

Stephen:                             [05:56]                     I appreciate you coming on. And it well it is I learn something every single time. But for me this issue about multiple channels is hot again. I mean it’s really becoming hot again. It seems like it keeps coming and going in waves and it was like oh you’ve got to get on the air you got to get on Amazon. And in our show we were talking a little bit. My experience with Chicago which you and your wife and Marken are rich and nicely put on was fabulous. And you know I have no problem talking about it it was awesome because a couple of hundred people and it’s such an easy place to get to Chicago from. Pretty much most of the U.S. I told Rich this story as I was leaving I was literally checking out. There was a gentleman there and he recognized me.

Stephen:                             [06:42]                     I forget his name. I apologize but he was from California. I’m like oh wow I’m thinking wow that’s a pretty long way to go and I said why did you come. So when I heard him on your podcast and I knew it would be a place I can go meet people I said well did it live up to its expectations. He said Steve it was like the clouds opened. There was something that he learned. I don’t know what it was. We didn’t get a detail because I was leaving but he said it was like it’s going to move my business forward and I’m like oh my god that’s so powerful for me to think that I introduced him to your little world and then you guys blew his mind. Isn’t that cool.

Stephen:                             [07:15]                     That’s awesome. And the fact that it wasn’t the right area. I guess every year and this year the biggest number in 50 forgets are either for 56 percent of the people there were not.

Stephen:                             [07:31]                     So the perspectives they come right that get expanded right. Your perspective gets expanded and so that’s very exciting. And you had some unbelievable speakers there. I mean really talent. I mean real depth of talent and so it was so inexpensive it’s so convenient. The hotel was very inexpensive relative to the places that we all travel right. I mean I had a great experience. And

Stephen:                             [07:53]                     again you know here’s the thing and this again one of the reasons I asked you to come on was my observation that there were a lot of long term larger and largest relative ebay sellers there. That’s what I noticed quite a few and a whole bunch him. We’re trying to figure out this thing called Amazon. Is that fair.

Stephen:                             [08:15]                     It’s it’s it is it is fair not complete but it is fair. Right. So there is a lot there is. These conferences have been springing up art every year there’s just more and more conferences to go to. And most of them have the word e-commerce in their title. But for the most part it’s all about Amazon true and e-commerce Chicago truly is about e-commerce across the board. We talk about Amazon and we talk about eBay. We talk about Wal-Mart we talk about jet we had somebody there talking about Shopify right. Try to get somebody to talk about actually. But you know we’ll try that again for next year. But it’s the one place where you can truly go and hear about all of the different diversifications in e-commerce that you can go to examine all of your different possibilities. So yeah it’s there are a lot of people are looking for alternatives.

Mark:                                    [09:15]                     This group that counter-counter group comes from a Amida group in Alko village called the Chicago area eBay and e-commerce meet sellers meet up group. And it does come from a base of eBay sellers starting like 10 12 years ago. So there is an eBay base in the group itself and that’s why you find a lot of the attendees. There have been longtime ebay sellers and every year they come to look for alternatives and Amazon has used to be the wild west where anybody could just jump in and you know sell on Amazon and make a lot of money. Amazon no longer is the wild west. It’s very controlled is very over controls right now. And so the pendulum has actually began to swing a little bit the other way where people are starting to reconsider coming back to e-bay or going to ebay for the first time or even better you know looking at Wal-Mart injera and Shopify as alternatives to e-commerce and you’ve got to get as much exposure to the different platforms as possible because Amazon is so tough. You

Mark:                                    [10:28]                     never know when you’re going to get the listing suspended your account suspended. You have all your eggs in one basket and if you don’t have diversification you’re out of business.

Stephen:                             [10:39]                     So let me let me suggest this now and I think I’m right. Haven’t been a long time large ebay seller for a long time. All the changes up until maybe last year haven’t been that material. Now listing on ebay is a thousand times easier than what it used to be. Right. My opinion used to be very complicated. All the third party hosting all the third party software you had to have. It was very complicated and they’ve definitely made it a tremendous amount easier it’s a database right so they’ve definitely worked hard on it up until I’d say the last year though.

Mark:                                    [11:14]                     All the changes in the systems statement all the changes on eBay have not affected our business that much. That’s significant because I got stuff that I’ve been selling for that many years where I bought 100 of them or whatever and it’s just a vending machine type of thing. However on Amazon one month could be maybe too much maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit but a couple months. The volume of changes on Amazon equal all the changes on eBay. Up until this point up until with the like it said the last year or so when they changed leadership or what have you. And so this is where I was going that’s why I wanted to have you on bubble fast cells on multiple platforms and has for a long long time. And to me that’s a very big accomplishment and I think more people want that.

Mark:                                    [12:02]                     However you know I’m thinking about those big eBay sellers and they’re trying to figure it Amazon put it you know just when they start to dial it in. It changes exponentially again. And then you got down again. And and as you said it’s it’s controlled it’s almost overcontrolled at this point again. So that’s where I wanted to go with the conversation was thinking about is that no matter what you need to be on multiple platforms. And I think bubble fast is a good example of someone who’s been on a team that’s been successful for a long time. And if you’re comfortable would you share. What percent of your sales are sold by each platform. If that’s if it’s too personal you don’t have to.

Mark:                                    [12:42]                     But if it’s fine. We are we’re actually it’s the numbers are a little bit convoluted because we’re actually running two separate businesses power fast. We’re shipping supplier business and doing sort of shipping supplies on Amazon and so on e-bay and then we have a whole separate business that grew out of doing FBA. So one business is directly on Amazon that’s what it was intended for. With a lot of new roles and a lot of the new restrictions we’re not doing 100 percent Amazon anymore.

Mark:                                    [13:14]                     Maybe we’re doing 85 percent of Amazon and maybe trackers on e-bay and we’re And there are five or whatever in that Wal-Mart Jadick things that we’ve just brought in to that side of the business.

Stephen:                             [13:28]                     So you know 80 to 85 percent will say is there’s right now for a company that was specifically created to be 100 percent FBA and let’s stop for a second because I don’t want to lose that.

Stephen:                             [13:41]                     So the that’s the newer business that was going to be 100 percent FBA because you didn’t want to add more stress on your warehouse. Is that why. What was the thinking.

Mark:                                    [13:51]                     Well the real reason for making a separate corporation for the MPAA business is sales tax nexus. So anything gets in Natters warehouse or Amazon if we just sell one item to that state anything that we share in eyeballs has only as one warehouse area in Illinois. And if we were doing FBA for all the other type of goods and we had nexus with Amazon and any any ball fast that was shipped to that state would be subject to sales tax rules of that state. So to avoid doing that we created two separate court rules that we created new corporation just to deal with the was outside. So that nexus one was on business does not affect sales tax Well okay.

Stephen:                             [14:41]                     And so. So that makes perfect sense. However now you’re suggesting that you’ve moved back on that direction just a little bit 15 percent but still 15 percent is 15 percent right. Almost 2 out of 10 they’re backing off of that. Why to first Sify that business too. I mean I know the answer is going to be dusty but I just want to get to that.

Mark:                                    [15:03]                     There’s a lot of reasons you know the obvious ones are vast. So there is there is there is gaming there is brand restriction.

Mark:                                    [15:13]                     There is you know intellectual property issues. You go out and you buy something from a wholesaler and then your tools tell you it’s ok it’s on Amazon you sell it on Amazon and it shuts down that listing because it’s an IP intellectual property of my location. Now you can do all of this inventory the Amazon has created the environment for us to go out and sell it to the marketplace. So we’ve started to sell our Wal-Mart and Jet and and we’ve been selling on ebay since the beginning. You know part of the reason is because Amazon is forcing us to do that because they want to allow everything we purchased to be sold on the marketplace. That’s me over control part eventually I think the pendulum is swinging back the other way hope hopefully will ease up a little bit but we need outlets where the inventory that we buy from Amazon that we are no longer are selling.

Stephen:                             [16:09]                     GRAHAM Well I was going to ask how hard is it for you. A mature business. You guys are considered mature. You’ve been in business a long time. You’ve got a lot of established policies procedures staff trained all that kind of chance. How hard is it or was it for you guys to start diversifying being more mature of the business.

Mark:                                    [16:30]                     Extraordinarily easy. A no brainer. It just makes business sense doesn’t matter if your online business business or not it’s just if you’re an investor in a stock portfolio you’re always taught to diversify. It’s the same theory you can’t have everything in one place because of that one place goes away you go away. So it’s been important since the beginning to make sure that we have you know extend a motion that we have no diversification set ways. So the best way to raise that is the beginning.

Stephen:                             [17:04]                     If if another marketplace opened up Steve’s junkyard and it was like the best thing since sliced bread and you say this is the future would it be easy now given what you’ve been able to do to add another marketplace to your to your model.

Mark:                                    [17:20]                     What makes it easy to get in the market places are mostly are third parties that facilitate implementation for getting into third party into other marketplaces. A jet and Walmart are not easy marketplaces to get on or to create listings. There is tough vetting and that jet doesn’t even have a central dashboard. Wal-Mart does but it’s not so easy. So you find third party companies like Coke merchant for example is who we use and they download your inventory from Amazon for example you know set up the new categories for in other marketplaces like Wal-Mart and Jetton that upload your spreadsheets into them. So for a small amount of money it’s almost hands off and hands free. And so it makes it very very easy with other economists who specialize in those marketplaces to diversify.

Stephen:                             [18:19]                     So as long as they adapted to Steve’s junkyard you’ll be able to adapt instantly. That’s fair.

Mark:                                    [18:25]                     And there’s no reason why John John wouldn’t want them to be that right. Absolutely. Win win because you need you need. You need the values you need. You need the inventory.

Stephen:                             [18:35]                     Get your FBA business. I want to talk about bubble fest itself. I’m going to ask this question because this is burning in my brain. I’m just thinking about this year How different has it been. Maybe it’s not from when when you guys started you know and and there’s a story about how they get started go back and listen episode 14. It’s an amazing story. You will be in tears as I am. But but how different is it today. I mean when you look at the percentage of the business you know versus how much of it was eBay how much it was your own web site and how much of it was Amazon I guess way back then if at all versus It is now. And is it continuing to evolve. Because I think that that’s a precursor a predictor of where the markets are going. Maybe

Mark:                                    [19:21]                     share or so in Deathstar in 1999 by showing a single roll of bubble on ebay and eBay was the business at the time pretty much a hundred percent. But early on a Web site a Belfast website was developed because you want it as much as possible having your own website because there’s very little fees there’s nobody going to kick you off and they’re your customers and to your customers that’s very very important. I mean we still have some customers ordering off our website since 91 classical. The problem with creating your own web website is you’ve got an image story but you don’t have fires. How are they going to know where you are. That’s always been the issue since day one and it continues to be that as people try to find ways to get online presence the day I’ll get back to my best.

Mark:                                    [20:16]                     Today I’d definitely recommend going to shopping carts like Shopify for example that are very inexpensive and very easy to set up your own website. The end Shopify integrates which with almost any other third party out there that’s that’s what makes them so appealing. And you can get asked to do just about anything you want to make to customize your website very easily and then you find a specialist that can help you create Facebook ads that direct people directly to your listings on Shopify and you’ll have all the control we didn’t need do the background first of all because Shopify didn’t exist when we did a lot of shopping until we found a shopping cart that worked best for us and honestly bubble wrap and boxes and things like that. It is not what I would call the sexiest product in the world.

Mark:                                    [21:08]                     Its what we would call the picks and shovels of industry. We are online sellers selling to other online sellers so they need our product but they still need to know how to find us. So early on we developed relationships with our buyers by sending out a monthly newsletter called bubbled reefs. And in that newsletter we would start out with a little brief tidbit about each one of our kids and family members like just the one line blurb. Then we would talk about maybe what’s new in Belfast and then maybe the very bottom would say this is what’s new this month here’s your promo card or whatever but we really got our customers engaged in a life of bubble fast and it’s family. And so you know you know our kid is 16 and we need a buyer or a car so we’re running a sale this might help us by our kind of car.

Mark:                                    [22:00]                     You know we would get e-mails like who and who are we helping to put the college no this month. And we still have the same engage with those customers over the years. And that was very important to us early on in that. And we got involved in a myriad of Facebook groups about online selling. We got engaged with them we gave each Facebook group their own promo to the bubble fans website. So it was a value to that group and basically everybody get our marketing for us just by being engaged in the groups on Facebook. So they more than 50 percent of our business is either through a website or emails or from car orders more than from say a way I’d say 60 percent is not going different.

Mark:                                    [22:52]                     Not Amazon Amazon and eBay still play large roles in our business. We still have Sprint customers to our business but we do everything we can. We go to maintain relationships with our customers are either callers on the phone which Rob and I are still the only two people that answer the phones. We engage in our customer as we say here even if we don’t buy anything. We

Speaker 11:                        [23:16]                     have a shipping supply question give us a call and we’ll help you out. And the word spreads. And so it’s just it’s all old school marketing you know shaking hands answering questions. Networking that has never changed and that never will. So

Stephen:                             [23:33]                     you’re down to about 40 percent of your business coming from either eBay or Amazon because. Well let me ask you Is it because of the marketplace changes and competition and things like that.

Speaker 12:                        [23:48]                     Or would you credit the majority of it to the bootstrap marketing that you spoke of the majority of it is the bootstrap market and competition is fierce than ever. But when people talk about us and their groups even if we don’t know about it and they say you know they know us personally because we go to conferences we meet people they know that we’re a family of a business we know they know that we’re selling it just like they are. You know they’re not you know just the number two hours you know or just a name and a lot of people can talk to us ask us questions. Other people recommend gas because we’re still true to who we’ve been since 1999 when the whole world was tremendously different.

Stephen:                             [24:35]                     Well let me ask you this and see if you’re going to be a hypocrite or not. Do you have a Shopify site for your FBA business to separate from bubble fast. Do you have a dedicated third party site to sell your merchandise. We

Mark:                                    [24:50]                     are working on several different Shopify sites.

Mark:                                    [24:56]                     She was worried that if we are working on the ads on Friday for our burn bubble fast businesses we have some way of helping us develop like two or three sites are in the works right now. One of them is well known that I really live and active. But I mean if you want to find me ahead. But we were actively working on getting Shopify website up and running for our Amazon type merchandise.

Stephen:                             [25:25]                     Okay so you’ve got a plan right and this is where I wanted to go. This is why this is where I really wanted to go.

Mark:                                    [25:31]                     So do you think the bootstrap guerrilla marketing that worked so well for you to build a bubble fast to what it is today right to take a successful company to make it really successful. Is it possible is that your plan with your Shopify site.

Mark:                                    [25:51]                     The show by scientists are going to be. Well fast we waited. So it’s going a little bit different so after we get the sites up and running then we will be hiring somebody to help us do some directly targeted Facebook ads to bring people to those sites.

Stephen:                             [26:11]                     So you get what I’m going though. I want to know is it possible do you believe that you can replicate what you’ve done. And I get it that it’s different you’re selling sneakers now. Not bubble wrap and then tomorrow you’re selling rolling pins and garlic presses and barbecue and whatever it is right. Is it possible though to create enough of a market place by doing exactly what you what you’ve done in the past. Now it’s not maybe going to conference it’s Facebook ads or it’s a blog post or it’s videos or whatever it is. Is it possible. And if so is that how you’re helping. I want to make sure we help people go there because it’s just not building a site and then set it and forget it right. Like you said there’s no traffic.

Mark:                                    [26:53]                     You’ve got to. So the answer to your question in my opinion is absolutely yes. OK. You can put yourself out there as an expert in your industry. And that could be gone into conversations that could be Facebook groups which are slanted. So I think that less of an impact. I myself am learning the power of Instagram and how much engagement how quickly engagement can take place. Social Media Marketing is here to stay. You just have to stay on top of it and in front of it. And you know it’s never been a good idea to get a Social Media Marketing. Stop stop stop. It’s always been and always will be about engagement be there to be the expert and offer your assistance. Be a nice guy nice gal that’s going to be there to answer anybody’s questions. People will again make referrals for you and get people to go to your site.

Mark:                                    [28:01]                     Everybody feels good about helping somebody else. That’s just human nature. And so if you are the person that helps somebody else they want to pay for help somebody else and they’ll bring them to you and to me that’s just that’s the way we create a business. I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I think it makes perfect sense. It’s their values may change. That’s why I say it’s important to stay time in front of the changes. But you still have to engage in some way.

Stephen:                             [28:31]                     So when I look at our plan for ourselves my wife and I are business the logical place that we were going is of course the Shopify site but we’re looking at a third party inventory management system because as one of the biggest challenges we have is trying to manage inventory across multiple platforms because we’re also a pretty large self-fulfilled model. There’s lots of there’s lots of software to do merchant or to do FBA fulfilled but we’re actually a self-fulfilled model also. And I don’t want to change that. I think that that’s going to be a competitive advantage long term especially on the East Coast where we’re located. And so we’re thinking okay we’re going to find an inventory management software. Right. Get that up and running with the Shopify store and then merge out on these other platforms. And so we’re we’re going to spend our time this year learning is exactly what you’re talking about is the social media you know taking advantage of all these social media platforms in the right way because as you said you know that’s the engagement that’s the place that you can be the sneaker expert.

Stephen:                             [29:32]                     While being in the kitchen expert while being the gardening expert right end the bubble wrap and they’re shipping expert. Correct. Absolutely. Yes. So that’s our plan. And I said so where I wanted to go where I wanted to end up with is that while you’re at that e-com Chicago conference and you’ve got to play off the strengths that you have you know Jeff Cohen and I just did an episode it’s coming out this will be after it about toys for tots. And he’s like look Steve imagine all these thousands of sellers.

Stephen:                             [30:08]                     You and I know that are experts at getting a great deal and exponentially duplicating their revenue because they can buy for$15 and sell for$100. And so if they take in make that$250 contribution in cost they can give you know a fifteen hundred dollars worth of toys to Toys for Tots. And he’s like you know that’s that’s a skill set that we’ve all mastered and if we could use that for good look good we can do. And I’m like so then I think about that large group of larger ebay sellers and that’s not a negative. I mean I I think that that is a skill set because they’ve done all the steps that somebody who just went into FBA is missing and they don’t understand all the little things it takes to get that process done that some day they might have to do learning it early I think is an advantage but if they take those skills now and then add in these other couple of little skills that we were talking about they can adapt to any marketplace and we’ll have a very strong competitive advantage going forward.

Stephen:                             [31:07]                     Is that fair.

Mark:                                    [31:09]                     If you a step further. Yeah you need to find your strengths it because that’s what you’re the expert at. And

Speaker 13:                        [31:18]                     that’s what you know and that’s what you can have other people now but you can’t pigeonhole yourself into just your strengths because then you won’t move forward. So on the periphery developing and your strength is you need to keep an open mind and go out of your comfort zone in little pieces not dive into something brand new you’ve never done it before. Do it you know but do a little bit what you don’t know at a time. And then as you don’t know those things and do them then you begin to know those things and then you become an expert on those things as well which will help you diversify even more and you keep rowing yourself in concentric circles in your knowledge and your ability to grow your business and you’re building out and you’re building out and you’re building out.

Stephen:                             [32:06]                     Love it though. Love it love it love it. OK. So let’s close with this. I think we got where I wanted to go which was again to look at an existing business a more mature business who says hey I need to diversify. He builds off a second platform with a plan. Your plan changed. You didn’t fail your plan change and you’re saying hey wait I can back this off and cover some risk by using other platforms. There are tools I can use. You’re not a young dude Mark. You’re about my age. We can figure this out at this age. Therefore anyone could figure it out. Right. And that by by doing that you’re not pivoting you’re not giving up on anything but you’re like you said you’re not pigeonholing yourself. So I think all this is very good solid advice and a very good example. Hence the reason I wanted to have you on on what could be. So I want to close with this. How does somebody develop a plan.

Mark:                                    [33:01]                     You know we’re sitting here talking a whole bunch of options and a whole big picture thing. Can you close out with an idea how to create a plan to move forward.

Speaker 14:                        [33:10]                     Is that too much to ask. No. Didn’t mean that but you get what I mean is if it’s not a five second answer.

Mark:                                    [33:20]                     So with that we’ve grown very well over the last 18 years but our growth wasn’t overnight. Our business model our growth model is more like the tortoise and the hare. We don’t speed in ever anything in affairs a lot at the end. We do slow stay conservative knowledge based growth and we do we don’t we don’t have analysis paralysis but we do enough research in advance to make sure that we’re headed in the right direction.

Mark:                                    [33:55]                     Is there something that’s going to help our business grow. And we do small investments at a time so that we can afford to fail and then we’ll learn from that failure and reinvest in something else. So we always dip our toes in the water before we jump in and make sure that we’re heading in the right direction because we were jump into something that we don’t necessarily know a lot about. And sometimes the best way to learn is to get it not just research research research it’s important time you’ve got to protect your money and get involved.

Speaker 13:                        [34:28]                     And so you learn by doing. But we try not to do too much too fast at once.

Stephen:                             [34:35]                     And that helps our road to be sure and steady although not as fast as other people may like and that’s why we never recommend you know quit your day job today and go on line tomorrow. Keep your day job for you know enjoy your side income is enough to support you and make sure you have a good hold in your business that if something should happen to it you have alternative avenues to go. Because once you quit your job you never want to go back. So make sure you have a backup plan.

Stephen:                             [35:08]                     I think it’s perfect. I love the way you describe the concentric circles so take that circle and expand it a little bit expand it a little bit and expanded a little bit and rather then make it a giant you know leaps. Those small changes over time consistently will give you where you want to go. Perfect. I think we got to right where I wanted to go. I knew you were the perfect person for it. I really appreciate it because I think it’s a good demonstration of what could be and I love the analogy with the tortoise. Over time you can make sudden changes. But boy that’s risky. Calculated small changes and I’m sure not every change you’ve made has been successful right. I’m sure there have been bunch of things you started down in like whoops don’t want to go there or we didn’t enjoy that right.

Mark:                                    [35:49]                     Absolutely but because we don’t go all in. Up front if it goes those failures we don’t get don’t get sustain us but we learn by them and we’ll do better next time. Something similar but we’ll know what to make different. So every failure is we experience. As long as it doesn’t put you out of business.

Stephen:                             [36:10]                     Love it. OK. So somebody has a follow up question.

Mark:                                    [36:13]                     Best way to get to the bubble man well babble fast that count is a good way to get us. You can email me I will answer it personally. Mark R.K. at last count we have a toll free number. It’s 8 7 7 5 9 9 ship as age.

Stephen:                             [36:35]                     I see you in a plug in March. Companies not a sponsor or anything like that but we use them however long time they’ll do custom stuff or help you work through a problem. If you have a shipping problem which you will and you’ll have a need is a perfect sounding board to talk to and they will take your call so I have all those links in the episode. I just appreciate you taking the time and I appreciate your being so candid. Because it looks easy. I know it’s not. It’s a long game and if you build a business for the long game you can be as successful as bubble fast and of course you have to add Robin in there because she’s the brains of the operation we all know that.

Speaker 14:                        [37:13]                     So OK. I appreciate thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success. Take care. My pleasure.

Stephen:                             [37:21]                     If there’s one thing that certain changes have happened and it’s happening right now. Right. So take advantage of this. I really think this is powerful. It was so timely for me I’m like Who can I get. Mark Levine because they’ve done it. You heard stats. You can do this. This is such a great opportunity we’re so lucky to be at this time. E-commerce momentum Don’t forget my sponsors and don’t forget the toys for tots campaign. I know I’m pushing it but man it’s such an awesome thing because you guys have skills. I know. I know. I’ve seen it blow me out of the water. And yet you can give back in such a meaningful way. It’s 250 bucks you get a free shirt. Jeff will give me a shirt to send him a note send me a note whatever it is and we’ll get it to you. It’s an awesome time. E-commerce will M.Com episode 250 for the toys for tots. Take care. Thanks

Cool voice guy:                  [38:08]                     for listening to the e-commerce momentum blog as bobolinks mentioned today can be found at combers dot com under episode number. Please remember to subscribe and like us on iTunes.




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