How to Hire a Director of eCommerce

(Actively looking for a Director of eCommerce?  Post your job on the eCommerceFuel Job Board where highly qualified eCommerce professionals browse openings for Director of eCommerce jobs.)

We’ve got Mike Jackness of Terran Brands and EcomCrew back with us this week and this time around we’re talking about a valuable hiring move he made: hiring an eCommerce Director.

Mike’s eCommerce Director is now his COO and he walks us through the traits he looks for in hiring high-level positions, what her daily duties include, how she’s paid and so much more.

You’ll learn:

  • The things that stand out to Mike when it’s down to two potential candidates
  • What duties are no longer on his to-do list with a director in place
  • Learn more about Mike’s new courses at EcomCrew

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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Michael Jackness of EcomCrew.com)

Andrew: Welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast, the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow e-commerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian. Hey, guys. It’s Andrew here. And welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today.

And today on the show, part two of a double-header with my good friend, Michael Jackness from ecomcrew.com, a very experienced and successful e-commerce entrepreneur, has a number of brands he has built up over the years, also blogs and podcasts about e-commerce, as well over at EcomCrew. So I had the chance to sit down with him, talk to him.

We did an episode that just aired recently about kinda how we have built our respective audiences. And mainly just wanted to take the opportunity to get him on to talk about his recent experience hiring a COO/director of e-commerce for his business. So Mike, welcome back to the show and thanks for being on again.

Mike: It’s good to be here, man. Another topic I can’t wait to talk about.

Andrew: Yeah, this is something where I feel like maybe I’m just noticing it more. Maybe kinda that the size of stores in our community is just getting a little bigger to the point where it necessitates it, but seems like it’s been more of a common theme in 2017, 2018 where people are really feeling the pinch of saying, “Hey, like I really wish I had a director of e-commerce or a COO.”

COO stands for chief operator officer, someone who you as an owner can hand off a lot of the details of, you know, the logistics, all the things, you know, that you have to do to run a e-commerce business so you can focus on some of the higher-level tasks. And I’m excited to dig into that with you today. Is that something you’ve noticed people talking about more or is it always been there?

Mike: Yeah, I absolutely think it’s because the revenue numbers of the average store owner on eCommerceFuel has been growing, was a part of your State of the Merchant thing that just went out as well, showing us that the average person taking that survey has gone up substantially. And businesses go through different milestones along the way. Like when you’re sub-$1 million, you face one set of challenges.

Like let’s say $1 million to $5 million has another set of challenges, $5 million to $10 million, etc. And I think that more people are starting to get into the zone of, “I have this problem of I’m not Superman. And I’m finally realizing it. And I can’t run this entire thing myself.”

Andrew: Yeah. So I want to really do a deep dive on how you found someone because you have someone in place for this, and want to really understand how you found them, how you got them trained, and kinda the results post-hire and post-training. So before we dive into that, want to say a big thank you to two sponsors that make this show possible. Both are amazing companies.

The first one is Liquid Web. And if you got a WooCommerce store and you want to have an absolutely bomb-proof platform for it to make sure it can scale up with a lot of traffic to make sure that your WordPress core and your WooCommerce code is up-to-date, these are the guys you want to talk to.

Their entire managed WooCommerce offering is engineered around WooCommerce to make it just incredibly fast. And they’ve got a world-class team behind them. Chris Lema, well known guy in the WordPress community, he’s their VP of product. He manages everything there. And they’ve got an incredible team of customer service. I think it already went out, but the episode where I called up and tried to get someone on the tech support phone in, you know, more than 60 seconds.

And it was like 35 seconds. Incredible company. Anyway, check them out, if you’re looking for WooCommerce hosting, they are best in class. And you can do that at ecommercefuel.com/liquidweb.

And then secondly, the team over at Klaviyo. Klaviyo, who makes email automation incredibly simple and powerful. Klaviyo who I used at my retailer too, Mike Jackness uses. And Mike, we were talking about this last episode, kinda looked at a few different options to just make sure you were keeping up with the options in the market, came back to Klaviyo as best in class. I know Jimmy Roberts, he’s our SaaS expert in the community.

And for a little while, he went over into the dark side and tried MailChimp, but ultimately came back because he decided that they were not nearly as robust on a lot of feature sets. Very cool platform. And it is gonna make you money with your customers with lifetime marketing and automated cycles. So if you’re not using them, check them out. And you can get started with a free trial at ecommercefuel.com/klaviyo.

So Mike, in terms of a… I guess what I should ask you first, the person you have now, what do you call them? Do you call them a COO? Do you call them a director of e-commerce? And what do they do for you?

From Director to COO

Mike: Yep. So when we first hired her, her official title was director of e-commerce, but it’s now COO. There’s a long backstory to kinda like why we went down that path, but she was basically hired with being the COO from day one in mind. And that’s her official title now.

Andrew: Let’s go back. You know, you hired her I know this last year. Let’s go back maybe to when you realized you needed somebody in this role. How did you know you needed someone in this role and what did your life look like as a result of not having them?

Mike: Yeah. I mean, I knew earlier this time than I did before because this is not my first business. I’ve been through another fast-paced growth business that we got to 66 employees and 8 figures of revenue as well. So this is the second time I’ve been through this. And another business that got to…had seven figures in revenue. I think the entrepreneur’s dilemma, as I mentioned as we were kicking this off, is that we all think that we’re Superman or superwomen. And that isn’t true.

Like you can’t be good at everything, but you don’t hire someone in the role to be good at every single thing, but yet as an entrepreneur, you think that you can be good at everything. And so that’s… I realized that earlier on, that I have some big deficiencies as a manager and as a business owner, as a person, etc.

And that’s another thing that’s hard to get over is that we all want to think that we’re perfect or that we don’t have weaknesses. And I’m at a point in my life where I’ve realized what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. And some of the things I think I’m good at, I’m probably not good at, but at least I know the things that I’m definitely not good at. And one of those things is being organized and like just on top of like details and doing repetitive things.

And, you know, for me, it’s fun when it’s new and exciting. And then the second or third iteration, by then, it’s a lot less interesting because I know how to do it already. And I just need someone that’s good at doing that to do that in a business. So I knew that I was a road block for our company pretty early on. And it just was a matter of finding the right person.

Finding Someone With A Certain Level of Excellence

Andrew: So was it… It’s funny you mention detail-oriented. What I know about you and this stuff you’ve accomplished, I’d imagine that you’re probably more detail-oriented than you give yourself credit for. Were you getting overwhelmed? Was this more of an issue of, “I know this will help us grow the company more quickly,” or was this a issue of, “I’m drowning. I cannot deal with all this work. I need someone else to come and help me with it?”

Mike: No, it’s an issue of me not being detail-oriented. So it’s funny. Let me tell you the two different things. And this is just a classic example of someone who is basically ADD, like I am. When I’m focused on something, I’m incredibly detail-oriented, probably more than most people. So if I’m, you know, figuring how to launch… We talked about Klaviyo off the top of the segment here. Like when I was learning Klaviyo in the beginning, I feel like I might have been one of the best Klaviyo people like in the world.

I mean, I just got super into it and figured out how all these different segments and ways to do things that other people haven’t even thought of yet, but once I figure that out to do that again, I can never be as detail-oriented the second time around. Like, “Now we just need to do this month in and month out,” is where it becomes a problem for me. So yeah, like when I’m doing it the first time, super focused and detail-oriented.

So it’s basically someone that can like execute the cookie cutter approach and just apply the same level of excellence because I definitely am obsessive about that. Like I don’t want us to do anything half-way. Notice I didn’t throw the curse word in here so you don’t get the “E” symbol in the podcast.

Andrew: I appreciate that. Thank you. I’m not sure if we tag those as we should anyway.

Mike: Nice. But any rate, yeah, I mean, so it was just someone that can handle those types of things. And I knew that this was a problem. I knew that there was no chance on this planet that we were gonna be able to get to eight figures without someone like that in the organization. And we needed to hire ahead of that curve because like if you try to do it at a point where everything’s like completely falling apart, it’s too late. So we were only like moderately falling apart when we hired her. And it’s at least something that she can recover from.

Creating Autonomy For High-Level Roles

Andrew: So when you think of a COO role, director of e-commerce role and kinda interchangeably here, is that someone who…ideally, I would imagine it’s somebody you can bring in and say, “Hey, we need to…” Let’s say for Klaviyo, “We need to get Klaviyo totally built out on this new brand that we have. Here are the broad strokes. Here’s the, you know, eight or nine email flows that I want to put out.

I need you to take that project and execute it within the next two months. Go.” Is that kind of what you envision a COO doing or do you envision them more… Do you need to give… How much hand-holding and, you know, versus autonomy for a role like this were you hiring for?

Mike: Yeah. So for me, it’s more like as I said at this point… So first of all, yes, I think that eventually that’s where we want to be. For right now at the size that we’re at and where we’re at with like the time that I have that I can put into this business, I prefer to figure out some of these like technology parts and like what we want to do.

And once I kind of figured out like, “Go replicate this four times across our four brands,” but also like the autonomy was also when the whole supply side of the business and you making sure like paperwork is being filed with agencies.

And we’re looking at our accounting and financials at a much like higher level than I ever have because she has other experience she’s brought to the table. And you’re just getting better organized and like doing processes. And, you know, so we’re trying to… You know, she’s only been here really like six months at this point. So there’s still… You know, it’s probably gonna take another 6 to 12 months to like fully get into that role. So right now, it’s just kind of fixing those basic building blocks.

Entrepreneurial Spirit Not Advised

Andrew: So you’re looking for someone really who can take your playbook, kind of your eCommerce IP proprietary processes, what you know works, and be able to look at it and replicate it across your brands. Do you think that’s how most people look at a COO or a director of e-commerce, or do you think… Is that pretty common or do you think a lot of people are looking for someone who’s a little bit more really entrepreneurial in nature kind of like how you are?

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I think that you actually don’t necessarily want someone that’s entrepreneurial in nature. That was like one thing I was trying to make sure that we didn’t have as a quality of someone that we hire because I didn’t want them to in two to three or four years be like, “Man, I can go do this myself,” or they have aspirations to do that. So she’s definitely like not in that level.

So it’s someone that’s ultra-responsible in every possible way, but doesn’t have like that bug necessarily like to go to it on their own I think is the quality I was looking for specifically.

Top Qualities Mike Looks For

Andrew: You touched on that one. It sounds like an important one. What are some of the other qualities that were really, you know, up there on the list when you were going through candidates?

Mike: Yeah, I mean, I just was looking for someone that I felt like personality-wise we were going to gel and not butt heads on in any way, someone that was gonna be like strong and motivated. Just like I knew like they weren’t going to be having excuses of why they couldn’t show up to work on time or do things from home or other times or whatever it might be.

This one I felt like was gonna be honest, you know, with as much as I could feel that out in an interview that was gonna like just take the bull by the horns and be able to get things done, that seemed to be organized, you know, things of that nature.

It was a lot of personality stuff that I was mostly interested in more than they have this specific X, Y, Z experience because like who’s gonna have like specific e-commerce experience in this regard? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. So it was more almost everything was a personality type hire.

And she did have some e-commerce experience at a Fortune 500 company developing and having complete supply chain control over a product, which was like the tipping point for me where I was like, “Yep, that’s gonna be the person we’re going to hire.”

Andrew: Yeah. Maybe we’ll get into interviewing in a minute, but how do you…where do you even go to hire someone like this?

Mike: Yeah. So, I mean, we found her on Indeed. Not real thrilled with like the whole job market and trying to find people as it is. I know you’re looking at hopefully helping with this in the e-commerce realm at some point, which I think will be like much, much needed. Yeah, I mean, it was just an Indeed resume. I mean, I interviewed a lot of people. What I had told her and other people through the job interview process is that,

“You know, as a result of hiring whoever we’re going to hire, either one of two things are going to happen over the next two years. Either we’re going to be an eight-figure company or we’re going to be bankrupt. Like those are the only two outcomes I can see here.”

It’s like there’s just a lot of faith in this position. And, you know, through the interview process there was, you know, it came down to like a couple of people at the end. And it was definitely a big decision, but at some point, you gotta make a decision. You can’t have analysis paralysis. You know, I’d be a hypocrite if I did because I always tell people, “I think that’s like the number one thing that people do wrong in business.”

You know, eventually I just kinda knew like, “This is who I want to hire. I’m going to do this. And I’m going to let go of the reins as quick as I possibly can,” which was over just the first couple of months and let her run with it. And it’s worked out really well so far.

The Trait That Might Make a Difference in Being Hired

Andrew: We won’t get too into the weeds on the hiring, you know, early stage. There’s a lot of easy tells to weed people out, misspellings, they don’t, you know, listen to your application instructions, go through, you know, a round of phone interviews maybe and kinda weed people out, but when you get down to two candidates like you were, I’ve been there for a hiring role, it can be really difficult. What pushed you over the edge for the person you hired versus the person you didn’t?

Mike: It’s actually two funny small things. One of them is a small thing. The other one I think was a legitimate thing, but one of them was the lady actually showed up at the wrong time for her interview.

Andrew: This is the person you didn’t hire.

Mike: That I didn’t hire. And I ultimately like could never get over that. Like I tried because she was like an incredible candidate. If I remember correctly, she showed up at 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m. And she just either had read it wrong or I don’t know exactly what it was, but yeah, she showed up at the wrong time. And in her life, I was thinking about statistically, you know, maybe this was like the one time out of a million that she made that mistake.

And just like the most unfortunate set of circumstances. And I was trying to kinda like get over that because she was a really great candidate.

The other thing was that she was… Guess I can talk about this because I’m definitely not going to talk about her name, but she had worked at PetCo as a director of e-commerce there. And like part of me thought that was like really cool. And the other part of me was really worried about just the mindset that you would have at this Fortune 500 type company versus a small company like ours. Like, I mean, it’s a totally different culture here.

Like there is… Like people have titles, job titles, but they’re pretty loose because it’s, you know, you got to throw on different hats, as the saying goes, like all the time. And also, just like the systems are different. Like you do things like completely differently at this level than you would for a half a billion dollar e-commerce company.

And the other thing I thought was interesting was just like the… I forgot the number that she had thrown at me, like what e-commerce was at PetCo, but the number I thought was like off by like a zero. I was like, “Come again?” Like it just seemed like it was too low. That like ultimately worried me. Like the personality part, like I thought that she was incredible. Like she had a just super awesome personality.

She was super driven and really had her stuff together, but ultimately, like what we ended up actually doing, one of the ways that we really broke the tie, was we took both of them to lunch, obviously at different times, with the entire team. And we kinda came back and voted on it. And it was unanimous for the person we ended up hiring.

Ballpark Salary for COO Roles

Andrew: Interesting. Couple questions on salary. One, what is a ball park…obviously, I don’t want you to disclose what you’re paying your current position, but for a range, if you’re comfortable, what kind of salary range based on experience that is going to be traditional for, you know, a COO, director of e-commerce for, you know, let’s say a mid to high seven-figure e-commerce business? And then, when you were hiring, did you set that salary range out front at the outset? I’ve run into real problems hiring in the past where I didn’t.

I made the mistake of not even setting a range. And we got down to two people, only to realize that, you know, someone who potentially I was gonna extend an offer to first time through wanted significantly more than I thought the position was worth. So how did you… What’s the range and how did you approach salary discussions, I mean, at what point in the process?

Mike: Yeah. So the vast majority of this person’s compensation long-term is tied to improvement, just top line revenue like, “What are we doing when you start versus moving forward?” Excuse me. And basically I was like, “Look. Whoever I hire, like I want our interest to be aligned. Like as we do better, you’ll do better. We never need to talk about a raise. And like the number can get out of control. And I want it to get out of control.

Like I want this number to be like life-changing, if we can get it to where we want it to be because I know that it’s only going to happen because of you.” Like, I mean, you know, just being realistic about it. So yeah, there’s a bonus component of basically where we were, like monthly sales of where we were. Anything over and above that, you get X percent of that as a bonus.

Then the base compensation… Other people like listen to this podcast probably. Probably I shouldn’t like really say, but it’s substantial for me. It’s a good salary. The competitive southern California, you gotta be willing to open up the checkbook. I mean, like the bottom line I think there was a couple things I had been struggling with employee-wise here. Number one, like I had never run a business in southern California.

So like my like thought process of what people should get paid was drastically off based on like running a company in Nevada or Dallas or even northern Virginia 10 years ago.

Salaries here are substantially higher. And it’s something I had to like get my head around, which makes it difficult in a thinner margin business, like e-commerce versus affiliated marketing, but you get what you pay for. And now that we’ve… And I’ve never been a cheap person. I just always… You know, I guess I just had like the wrong salary ranges in mind, but like now that we’ve got our salary ranges, I think we’re in line with the southern California range. Like the difference in caliber of people that we have here is night and day.

High Pressure, But Higher Rewards

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, a COO, director of e-commerce position, and again, it’s gonna depend on how big the team is you’re managing, the size of the company, but high seven-figure, you’re looking minimum high five figures, probably low six figures for a salary, depending on experience. Is that fair?

Mike: Yeah, I think probably on the higher side of what you mentioned there. And with the bonus component, and I don’t mind saying this, is that, you know, she could be in mid-six figures, you know, in a few years from now, based on our growth, if we can get to like where we… We’ve already mapped out what we think like where we’re gonna be. And I’m fine with that. Like, again, not being a greedy person, I want someone that isn’t gonna be motivated to leave and go somewhere else, first of all, like if they’re in that position.

And number two, like I want them to be rewarded for all the hard work because like I know… Again, the results for me are binary, giving up the reins of all this stuff and having full faith in them that I’m not kidding when I say, “It’s either like we’re eight figures or zero,” because I think the result, if it doesn’t go well, is that we’re zero. So if it does go well, like they should be taken care of like the way that I would want to be taken care of if I was in that role.

The First Three Months on the Job

Andrew: So you’ve got someone on board, talked about compensation, talk about the transition a little bit and especially those first… She’s been with you for six months now. What did those first three months especially look like? And I know that, you know, training is still gonna be a process for, you know, the foreseeable future, but those three first months especially, how did you… What did you… Maybe a two part question.

What did you expect her to know out of the gates? And what things or habits or practices did you really try to religiously stick to to give her the best chance of success and onboard her onto the organization?

Mike: Yeah. So this is gonna be a long-winded answer because there was a lot to this because there was a lot that kinda went into this. Let me first of all say one other thing that happened from the time that I hired her to when she started because it took her a month to get on board. Very shortly after she started I had read the book, “Traction,” which I’m gonna talk about here just for a minute, but one of the very first things it talks about in the beginning of the book is that like every business needs a visionary and every business needs an implementer.

And to that point, I could never articulate what the exact problem was I was trying to solve until I read that and really realized that is the exact problem that we have here. Like I am the visionary. Like I don’t think anybody would like ever argue that I am a visionary type person. And I am not an implementer. Like that is not my thing, especially once a business gets past a certain size. Like it just isn’t my thing.

So I had an even bigger epiphany like in that time frame of like, “I have to absolutely just give up the reins of this completely and let her produce her own success or failure,” I guess. But like I got out… Like, as you were saying, how do I support her? What do I do to do that? So first thing’s first. I wrote like a really long business plan mapping out of basically everything that happened to this point, how we got to where we’re at. Like, “Here is our brands. Here is what I see us doing moving forward.

And, you know, like I want feedback from you of like where you think things are broken, how we can make them better, like we’re going to implement them.”

And even in some cases where maybe I just didn’t agree, I, you know, just let her do it her way kind of thing. I think that’s important, just for them to have herself buy in and just full trust of it.

The other thing that we did like really quickly is she came to China with us like a month after starting for two weeks. We already had this big trip to China planned and the Philippines. So she got like a crash course in just like how the inner workings of our business happen like over in the Asia and the sourcing side of it, and also seeing our team in the Philippines and having an opportunity to interact with them first-hand and run meetings to like…

She was doing that even in our first month, running meetings over there and just kinda taking the reins.

And since then, you know, the other things that we’ve done I think to help implement success is every Monday morning as religiously as we possibly can, basically unless one of us is literally not in town, 8 a.m. Monday morning, off-site meeting for two hours just to talk about everything that’s going on in the business to make sure that she has time to communicate with me any problems that she has, I can talk to her about things that I would like for her to be working on for the week, etc. Think that’s a really important component.

And then also through this time, we’ve also gone through and implemented the full like traction system, which has been like setting core values and talking about what our issues are and setting a 10-year goal and a 5-year goal and a 3-year goal and a 1-year goal, and then quarterly ROCs. And we go over this stuff and treat it very seriously to where I think the younger me would have constantly blew these meetings off because we’re always too busy.

And now it’s like that’s on my calendar. I stop what I’m doing. And we go do that stuff because it’s super important. And I don’t ever sacrifice that for something else.

And the other thing is like I did a podcast episode myself about this, how I felt like I got fired from my own company. It’s actually a really interesting experience of having to feel like you’re just letting go at a level that’s difficult to do. And I talked about this at length about how I kinda felt like I got fired from my job because she was now taking over all these duties and doing things that I had been doing for many, many years.

And that’s uncomfortable a little bit. But so I feel like I had to take on a new job, which is basically actually running the company, you know, versus being in the business day in and day out on these little mundane details that I shouldn’t be doing and, you know, thinking about our goals and how we’re gonna grow as a company and being more strategic and being the visionary, doing what I’m actually good at, and letting her do what she is good at.

So that is my long-winded response. And hopefully I got to all the things you had asked in the question.

What Is Now Off Mike’s Plate

Andrew: No, it was good. Could you maybe talk about, just rapid fire maybe, what are maybe, you know, 5 to 10 of the things that used to consume a lot of your time that now that she takes care of and you don’t even touch?

Mike: Supply chain stuff, for sure, even though we’re about to actually hire a full-time supply chain person on top of her duties. New product development. Like holy crap, man, like it’s unbelievable seeing the results. Like we came back from China. Perfect example, this is where you can like really see the difference. We went to China last October. And there was a bunch of products that I really wanted to develop.

And looking at things over a macro period of like six months, nothing got done. Like we literally didn’t release any new products because we just were so bogged down. Came back from this trip this last April when she went with us. I actually got the months backwards.

I went last April and by October got nothing done. She went with us in October. Sorry about that. But we came back. And now we have like 14 new products already ordered and in route to California after just one trip over there. It’s like mind-boggling. And, again, it’s because I’m not detail-oriented and I don’t enjoy like staying on top of this.

So what happened is like I’d send an email when I had a few minutes to a Chinese supplier. And they’d respond back when I didn’t have time. And then like it just didn’t get responded to for like a week.

And next thing you know, like a few months went by and like we still hadn’t ordered anything. She doesn’t have that problem. Like this is her job and she’s like on top of this stuff.

From Tweaks to Negotiating Terms

Andrew: Right. And Mike, sorry to interrupt are these off-the-shelf? Knowing what you do, you won’t maybe start from bare bones, but sometimes you will, but a lot of times you’ll take something and tweak it, better materials, things like that. Is she going through that whole process where you can say, “Hey, here’s, you know, kinda the 12 items or, you know, that I’d like to bring in with these changes, go.”

And from there, she kinda takes it, talks with the suppliers, looks at the materials, evaluates the materials. Okay. We’re gonna upgrade it to this material because it sound sense. Okay, negotiating the terms, all that kind of stuff?

Mike: You know, yes, all that. And she also just gets it. Like when I just say like in air quotes like just gets it. Like she’ll look at a product and know like this isn’t what we’re about, right? I mean, she knows like what… I mean because we went kinda through all of this and talked about the products and things that we’re trying to do. And she just gets it. So like she knows that like this isn’t high quality enough or we’re not providing enough value here. Like yeah, so it’s all that and more. And it’s, again, I look at the products that we’re bringing in like I’m just so happy with.

And like all the details are being done. She’s like driving other major products, or I’m sorry, initiatives, within the company. Like we’re right now trying to redo all of our Amazon listings because one of the things as a visionary kinda in testing in the weeds guy is I spend some testing the photography and photographs on our Amazon listings and realize that by using substantially better photography over what we already had…

And please realize that like our baseline was like…it was already really good, we were able to like double our conversion rate and then, therefore, our sales and our organic rankings as a result.

Well, now, like how do we do this across 200 SKUs? And she’s like well into that now and has led the whole team on getting the photography taken and applying the infographic overlays to that and actually getting it uploaded to the site and then doing the split testing, things that I know in my heart would still not have gotten done because I’m not good at making that part happen.

I would have got the first one done because I’m really good at that, like I said, but like I know that cookie cuttering it over 200 more listings would just… I would crash and burn.

Preventing Burnout

Andrew: How many hours a week does she work?

Mike: I would say like between 45 and 50.

Andrew: Okay. So not like… A little more than full-time, but no, she’s not pulling 70-hour weeks.

Mike: I don’t want her to do that. Like, I mean, we’ve talked about this. I mean, she’s a single mom. You know, I want her to come in here, you know, 8 to 5-ish or whatever, but, you know, we don’t have fixed hours here, and take an hour for lunch because I want people to like get out of the office. But like, you know, home time is home time. And like we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.

And my goal is not to burn people out and make them miserable, but at the same time, I want her to check in at home at night and make sure that there aren’t any fires or talk to our Philippine or China team because that’s the only hours they’re there.

And she does do that, but like, you know, it’s after the kids have been in bed and it’s convenient. And it isn’t like every single night, this is like something you gotta be doing for four hours because that just seems miserable. So it’s not like… You know, again, I think I’m a big believer in like don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself. Like I’ve been in that type of a job before and it’s just not healthy.

At the end of the day, are you gonna look back at your work career or your family life and what’s gonna be more important, like 30 or 40 years from now?

Check Out Our Job Board!

Andrew: Mike, I could pepper you with questions for another hour on this, but we got to wrap up in the next five minutes. So first off, thank you for doing it. And you alluded to the fact that gonna be trying to help out with this problem in the e-commerce field.

We actually have already by the time this airs, we’ve launched the e-commerce field job board and with a focus on three things: e-commerce managers like, you know, the COO that you just hired and director of ecommerce jobs, e-commerce digital marketers, people that are doing email marketing, paid traffic, things like that, and then top-notch customer service jobs.

So if you were looking for one of those positions, if you’re looking to become a COO or if you’re looking to hire a COO style employee or team member, a director of e-commerce, ecommercefuel.com/jobs. Check those out. We’ve got listings for those there. And be talking more about that in the future with hopefully get some job descriptions on the podcast, as well, on a regular basis.

Mike’s Courses with EcomCrew

So Mike, before we wrap up here, I know we just covered a lot of tough stuff about, you know, team, COO specifically, but want to touch briefly on some of the courses you’ve got over at EcomCrew. First off, if you’re not listening to Mike and following Mike and Dave’s work over there, check them out. An incredible blog. They write a ton of good content. And their podcast is phenomenal. So make sure you’re following them there.

But you also, Mike, just recently released…you and Dave released a couple courses on three things. Can you touch on those for people who maybe aren’t familiar with them or didn’t catch the last episode we did?

Mike: Yep. Unfortunately, we don’t have a course on how to hire a COO. So I wish I could help with that. Maybe someday. But the things that we’ve done are basic just experience-based. I mean, Dave and I both have companies that are… We built seven-figure companies importing things from China. And we love documenting our stuff along the way. And a lot of the courses, like the mistakes that we did make that we don’t want you to make.

So a lot of the course is that too. But the three courses are importing from China, which is a course basically on exactly that, like all the things that seem so overwhelming the first time you try to import something from China.

You know, how to find a supplier, who do you trust, how do you send them money, inspections, and customs and getting it into the U.S. and all of that different stuff, purchase orders, what to have on there to protect yourself and all these different types of things of how to actually import from China.

And then the second one is how to build a seven-figure brand. That’s something that I’m really passionate about, is developing brands and products around those brands that isn’t just selling a bunch of what I say disparate products. I don’t look at ourselves at all as an Amazon seller. You know, a lot of people are just looking to… Or just a drop shipper or whatever get rich quick scheme type of thing that’s out there these days.

I mean, we’re building legitimate businesses that think have a lot of intrinsic and extrinsic value just based on the brand name itself.

So a lot of that is, you know, how do you pick a niche? What do you want your brand to be in? And make sure that you’re in a niche and not trying to be too over-reaching with your brand and not too narrow so you don’t have enough products to develop long-term, and working on your packaging and your messaging and the inserts and all the different things that go along with that. So it’s a pretty big topic to break off and choose. We broke that down into just that one section.

And then the other one that we’re launching is the how to launch a product on Amazon course the white hat way. I mean, it makes me sick just a lot of the different people out there that talk about that stuff and give information. Like their Amazon business isn’t at risk. You know, they only have upside. They have no downside and telling you to use super URLs or to like use some launch service or whatever it might be.

I think that this is a massive mistake. I think that the day of reckoning with this stuff is coming. Amazon’s going to have to make some pretty bold changes here.

And even if they don’t, like I still sleep better at night knowing that we aren’t doing anything that’s even tiptoeing up to the terms of service line. So the way that we go about it is the white hat way. It’s a little bit more work and it takes a little bit longer, but it’s guaranteed not to get your account suspended or as long as you follow our process and Amazon doesn’t change their terms of service in some way that I’m not aware of, it’s not going to get you in trouble.

Andrew: Awesome. Well, Mike… And we’ll link up to those courses in the show notes, if you want to check those out. And, again, just encourage you, if you’re not following Mike and Dave’s stuff over at EcomCrew, highly, highly recommend that you do. Mike, always fun chatting, man. Thanks for letting me do a deep dive with you on your COO. Hopefully, it helped some people looking to level up their team and get a real key ops person in place. Good to have you on, as always, sir. Look forward to doing it again.

Mike: Definitely. Thanks so much, Andrew.

Andrew: That’s gonna do it for this week’s episode, but if you enjoyed what you heard and are interested in getting plugged into a dynamic community of experienced store owners, check us out at ecommercefuel.com. EcommerceFuel is the private vetted community for e-commerce entrepreneurs. And what make us different is that we really heavily vet everyone that is a member to make sure they’re a great fit, that they can add value to a broader community.

Everyone that joins has to be doing at least a quarter million dollars in sales via their store.

And our average member does over seven figures in sales annually. So if you’d like to learn more, if that sounds interesting, you can learn more and apply for membership at ecommercefuel.com.

And also I have to thank our two sponsors that make this show possible. Liquid Web. If you are on WooCommerce or you’re thinking about getting onto WooCommerce, Liquid Web is who you should have host your store, particularly with their managed WooCommerce hosting. It’s highly elastic and scalable. It’s got built-in tools to performance test your store so you can be confident it’s gonna work well.

And it’s built from the ground up for WooCommerce. And you can learn more about their offering at ecommercefuel.com/liquidweb.

And finally, Klaviyo. For email marketing, they make email segmentation easy and powerful. They integrate with just about every card out there and help you build incredibly automated powerful segments that make you money on autopilot. You can check them out and get started for free at klaviyo.com. Thanks so much for listening and looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.

Want to connect with and learn from other proven e-commerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel private community. It’s our tight-knit vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more and apply for membership at ecommercefuel.com. Thanks so much for listening. And I’m looking forward to seeing you again next time.

What Was Mentioned

Flickr: Jennifer

Andrew Youderian
Post by Andrew Youderian
Andrew is the founder of eCommerceFuel and has been building eCommerce businesses ever since gleefully leaving the corporate world in 2008.  Join him and 1,000+ vetted 7- and 8-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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