3PL & Shipping During The Pandemic (Plus Bonus Story Pack) with Marshall Taplits

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast0 Comments

This lockdown has been going on over a year – and today we have a double header for you – Marshall Taplits from Ship It Done shared on our GFAVIP mastermind session last week, and we wanted to take his sharing session and make it a podcast – as it was so good! FYI the Q&A afterwards is member only and not included in this recording.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Introduce Marshall

    When did he first go to China, and his return to USA

  • How Logistics has evolved in the last 1 year

    As a seller, and also as a 3PL, what has he noticed?

  • Discussing the March 2020 Amazon warehouse incident

    How Amazon stopped receiving non-essential items last year.

  • Challenges for new sellers with limited IPI (inventory performance indicator)

    The 200 unit limit for new sellers and how that is affecting everyone.

  • Using a 3PL + Amazon FBA

    What to do to balance and adjust?

  • Going OmniChannel

    Amazon made us go multi channel, and how we can adjust.

  • About Marshall’s company - Ship It Done

    He is a director there and how is it all going.

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Marshall Taplit’s VIP Page
Ship It Done
√ Visit our GFA partner – Mercury – for US banking solutons for your ecommerce businesss
GFA VIP Mastermind

Episode Length 38:10

After the session, we have a bonus STORY session – audio only – with just Mike on the microphone sharing about all the stories of people going through COVID and pandemic and lockdowns in this cross-border trade community. So many stories and nightmares – many would not come on the podcast to share so we are taking this as a Mike on the mic session sharing these without revealing their identity.

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Show Transcript


[00:00:00] Oh 348 Global from Asia today. We’re talking about shipping in 3PL during this pandemic that seems to never end. And, a little bit of a bonus storytelling of friends and cross border business associates that have been through quite a year after the main show. Let’s tune in today, 348. Welcome to the Global from Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down, into straight up actionable advice.

[00:00:35] And now your host, Michael Michelini. Again, thank you all for listening, viewing, watching. How’s my hair? I’m going to do my favorite stuff with the audio only later. The old school stuff, but today we got a little bit of a snippet. We had a great GFAVIP mastermind session. Marshall Taplits came on, ShipItDone.com.

[00:01:00] Friend of mine. He’s a China Veteran, American in China veteran. I think 17 years, one of the first friends I made in Shenzhen back in the day. And he is, he is back in the States and he set up a 3PL and he’s still a huge Amazon seller. And he’s giving us some insights of his perspective. He landed there right before the pandemic started and they’d been doing some interesting things.

[00:01:24] So we’re gonna talk about, you know, a little bit of the, the crazy things that happened in the last year. You know, the restricted shipping into Amazon in March 2020, and you know, things of adapting and evolving and omni-channel, and, and, you know, inventory decisions and strategies for distribution. And just to get a little bit of it, you know, some, some stuff was happening at GFAVIP masterminds, and then after we’ll do audio only just with me on this microphone, no video.

[00:01:54] And I’m going to share maybe four or five, six stories that I wish I could get them, on the show, these people, but they’ve been through traumatic experiences the last year. And I just feel like I want to document this and share it with, with you all. I mean, it’s been what a year, what the last 12, 13 months has been for a lot of, so many of us, our lives, our businesses have all changed.

[00:02:16] So let’s get into the interview with Marshall Taplits, Ship It Done 3PL. Logistics in this pandemic world, let’s go. Mercury.com, thank you for supporting us, sponsoring the Global for  Asia community and this podcast. They are a great solution for USA banking. If you are an international entrepreneur wanting to sell in the US or to businesses in the US or anywhere, honestly, you can get a US bank account.

[00:02:42] We got so many people ask us on this blog and podcast for the last five, six, seven years, and we’re happy to have a partner with us. And we also got a special bonus at globalfromasia.com/mercury. You can then read. I’ve made a little video showing how I applied. We use it for our Amazon business and you also get a little bonus while, while it’s still available.

[00:03:02] Check it out and thanks in advance for supporting the show. All right. We have a good group here and I, I think there’s others that could come up on stage, but we’re going to go to table mode after. So this is a GFAVIP mastermind session. Today, we’re going to be doing more like Q and A, ask me anything, just talking about some of the trends in supply chain and 3PL with, you know, Amazon e-commerce just in general and now I have with me a really good friend.

[00:03:32] So like a China friend from my first days and the first year in China for me, Marshall Taplits. It’s 17 years and he lives in China right. You said, what was it? 15, 17. 17 years. And you’ve recently moved back state side. And what’s interesting for today, you know, you’ve been an Amazon seller, you know, you’ve been an internet marketer, you know, you’ve done everything.

[00:03:56] You’re, you’re entrepreneurial, you’ve done all kinds of businesses, which is really fascinating, which you can talk about so many things, but today you’ve been doing Amazon, I dunno, like five, six, six years. Since 2000, the company, the main one is since 2016, I started selling on eBay in 1998. I checked, Oh, wow.

[00:04:17] That’s that’s really, to me, I was E-bay. Oh, so you’ve got me there. But that’s great Marshall. So, so today, you know, I think we’ll just have a conversation about what people are. A lot of people asking about, you know, we thought it would be a good topic. Sorry. I just have to correct, the record is 2002. When I graduated high school, not when I went into high school.

[00:04:36] No problem. It’s still very early. It’s still got me beat, but by, so you, so your back stateside now, what is it a couple of years now? I think January of 2020. So just as COVID was hitting, we had like two or three days during Chinese new year before everyone came back to Shenzhen and everyone had no idea what was going on at that time.

[00:05:00] And the options were to stay, to leave because the border was shutting. And we had already planned the following year to move to the U S and, you know, we had got a house and everything. So we were in a weird situation where we didn’t really want to move, but we were, you know, kind of set up to. And anyway, so we just went for it.

[00:05:18] So we wound up here and then. Yeah, I mean, similar to me and everybody kind of just wound up where they were in a way, same, same. I’m a deep in mainland China now, Shenyang, wife’s hometown. No, you kind of get dragged here for the Chinese new years, once in a while, you know how it is. And then it’s a, it’s been over a year, long Chinese new year, but yeah, so everybody’s, yeah, everybody’s stuck where they are now.

[00:05:44] And you know, we’re doing these online masterminds where everybody’s trying to adjust and I still get to connect. And, but of course e-commerce has been booming. Right. You know, like. Unbelievable. Yeah, Do you want to share some of what you’ve been seeing? I mean, since, I mean, I remember how scary it was when Amazon stopped receiving shipments in March, mid-March, 2020.

[00:06:06] Right? That was well, I think, I think the, the interesting part is, you know, the, from the supply chain perspective, so we already know like costs were going up in China and it was getting harder to find good buyers and you needed higher MOQ and you know, it was all. It was all there, but it was kind of evolution.

[00:06:24] Right. But, but with the supply chain stuff going on now, it’s, it’s, it’s really, you know, a container, it can be $8,000 at the wrong time. You know, you can get stuck if you’re going to Europe, but, you know, and the PSU has, I mean, you know, the, the, the West coast of the United States is completely backed up and Amazon is not making it any easier with their limits and all this.

[00:06:44] So, you know, it, it was hard enough to run the business, you know, just as an Amazon seller, And just assuming your your freight forwarder could get you there kind of B2B and have you, you know, have a warehouse, that, that dealt with it or shipped it in directly or whatever you needed to do. But, but now it’s just a way complicated, you know, you’ve got to manage, got to manage all the things that are changing all the time and you can’t manage them all.

[00:07:09] And, and so what I think is people are starting to go look for alternatives. And, you know, I don’t know how long I’m allowed to talk for it, but I can keep going. If you have another question. Yeah. I think maybe I could keep some questions. So, so yeah, I mean, so, I mean, I told some of the people here that I’m using, you’re just getting started with your service.

[00:07:29] I feel that we’ll have to use third party fulfillment. Now, like you said, the limitations of Amazon, right? So what’s like, I guess what’s a common trend you’ve seen with, with sellers, you know. Now with the, I think the big one is the Amazon emissions. Right. You know, so, so what’s the, how does she use. I’ll do my best to, to do not self-promote because of, that’s not the purpose of this.

[00:07:54] I just want to share my, my expertise, but you know, the with the Amazon sellers who are just getting started, especially, are really having a tough time because they have like, they’re only allowed what, 200 or something now items, for new items. So if you’re not, if you’re not big, you already, you know, need a 3PL whereas you didn’t need one before until you were better

[00:08:19] But now, like if you, if you only ship 200 to Amazon, you’ve gone through a whole lot of work. For what I mean, you’re you have no ammo, you’ve got no product. If it’s, well, you’re out of stock and if it doesn’t sell well, you know, you don’t have any ammo to give them to giveaways and pushes and whatever else you want to do to launch the product.

[00:08:38] So, so yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s really tough. And so it’s pushing people right into a three PL and, you know, they find out very soon from there, unfortunately, that. The cost of the 3PLs in California are very expensive for obvious reasons and, and even worse, they’re not e-commerce, you know, specialists, specialized and, and, you know, they don’t know an ASIN sticker from an FMU events, SKU sticker for, from, from a carton label.

[00:09:06] You know, they, they don’t have a clue and, and, and you’re not even getting the same people that are working on your things, you know, and, and the processes are not. So it’s causing a lot of problems and a lot of extra costs for people. It’s a real problem. Yeah. Yeah. So like, I’ll share my strategy, you know, we’re still just getting started.

[00:09:25] We’re going to do like 40, 40 different listings at once with a factory, a partner in Thailand and yeah, I mean, like you said, the limit right now is for new sellers and Amazon is 200 units is called IPI, right? Inventory performance indicator. And they, they don’t let you send more because they want to see how your sales are.

[00:09:46] Right? So once your sales kinds of improves, they’ll let you put more or send more into Amazon to sell. So, so what we’re doing is we’re, we’re sending stuff to Amazon directly, and we’re also sending stuff to you to hold. And then, you know, it’s actually making me think I would, would talking about this, you know, It makes you almost go multi-channel from the beginning because you already stuffed somewhere else.

[00:10:15] Ready to go. So, you know, you might as well like put on your website or sell it B2B.

[00:10:24] This is where, every problem has an advantage. Right. And, you know, I was just reading an article the other day from a, I forget the guy’s name, but the dollar shave club, a founder who sold to what was it? Not Unilever, but one of them for a billion dollars or something like that. Anyway, So, you know, he was the first with the DTC that direct to consumer model.

[00:10:45] But where he just said, forget it. I’m just going to make a website and I’m going to put ads up and I’m going to sell it, you know, directly on subscription. But he said today, if he were to redo his business, he says, everybody does that. That’s the easy part. The hard part is going omni-channel from the beginning.

[00:11:00] And that is how you get successful in, in today. And I thought about that and I was like, yeah, because I thought about my, my e-commerce company, that, that we’re also an Amazon seller and I thought. Wow. What it took to get multi channel multiple channels was really a challenge. And it’s still a challenge.

[00:11:22] And even all our other channels, there’s still only, you know, 8% of, of Amazon. So, you know, but Hey, that’s growing, right? I mean, that’s still almost 10%, at least you’re you’re, you’re breaking away from just Amazon. Even if it takes a few years. So yeah. I mean, the benefit, one of the benefits of going with a 3PL in the beginning is you’ve got a pile of your, of your products, a separate system out of Amazon that you can fulfill from, you know, you can change things like if, you know, you need stickers changed or, you know, something checked a 3PL is going to be way easier to deal with than Amazon.

[00:11:55] So, yeah, so it’s, it’s a, it’s a downer that you have to, you know, invest in the extra infrastructure upfront, but it’s an upper that, that you’re omni-channel from, from the beginning. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, almost seems like, but then Amazon does it because it’s going to force them to have, you know, we’re all going multi-channel we’re not like we’re going to be more diversified.

[00:12:14] We’re forced to be diversified. So yeah. I mean, even force you to have a website to get brand registry, right? So you already have to have a website with a website up for it to be a brand. And so you might as well at least try to sell, you know, and then of course it’s cheaper. Obviously, you know, your rates are most 3PLS are cheaper than Amazons, right?

[00:12:34] Obviously first for fulfilling orders and warehousing, obviously. It. Yeah. It’s, it’s cheaper and, and especially storage and things like that. Like, Amazon has a lot of miscellaneous fees here. Right. So, you know, you could say, Oh, well our fee a little bit more for this, but then you say, yeah, but we collect the return for dollar.

[00:12:50] Let’s say, you know, they they’ll charge you the full seven 50 outgoing, you know, as an incoming as if it was the same amount of work. And then they’ll put your bad product back on the shelf. So that they can send it out again so they can give three or four times as it goes through. Right. I would never, we would never do that.

[00:13:06] W we would make sure that your product is fine when it came back or we wouldn’t sell it again. Right. So it’s an, it’s just a different level of, of care. And to your point about Amazon, I think personally, they’re, they’re slowly pushing the 3PL sellers out, because I think eventually they’re going to be needed to make a choice between having their own brands or being the marketplace.

[00:13:27] I think just like India already made the law. I think they’re going to, I think there’s going to be a law eventually something like you can’t be the platform and the, and the seller. And if that happens, then Amazon’s going to have a choice. And at that time, you know, why not stick with your own private label brands they’ve got, I don’t know how many, but tens of maybe if not hundreds of them already, we don’t even know all the names they’re hidden in the system.

[00:13:51] Just like, you know, just like it is like ours are. So I think that Amazon is slowly pushing people out of their warehouses, but it’ll take a few years. So yeah. I mean, like you said to talk to you, so yeah. India said a law that you had to the Amazon couldn’t be both like a broker and a dealer almost just like stock trading.

[00:14:11] You can’t, you can’t make your own trades and also trade for customers. So that’s a little bit, a little bit scary. You’re maybe thinking that Amazon probably would choose to sell their own products. Then, then, then like sellers, third party sellers. That’s just my opinion. I mean, I’ve, I haven’t read that anywhere.

[00:14:31] I don’t think it’s going to happen quick and I don’t think it would be abrupt. Like, I don’t think sellers need to worry about that right now, but, but they do need to worry about being omni-channel because regardless of whether eventually there is no such thing as Amazon FBA, or even whether it’s just harder and harder or more and more expensive to compete.

[00:14:49] I think everybody’s talking at least for two or three years now about the importance about not being only dependent on Amazon. And it’s very hard not to be. I mean, I can tell you, we have really tried. I mean, we, you know, I, I, I work. I work in and I’m part of a, well, I don’t work in any more, but I’m part of a top 5,000 sellers.

[00:15:10] So we do a fair bit of volume and, you know, it’s just, you know, it’s just tough. It’s just tough. The, the, the advantage, I’m just trying to think, like it took us years to, to move to omni-channel and there weren’t really the tools available at that time. Now there are more cart integrations, you know, there’s more 3PLs that can operate with orders coming in from different places.

[00:15:33] So it’s like, you know, just like it’s a hard to get started on anything, you know, the, the tools are all there now. So I think if you’re going into the business now, or if you’re, you know, all Amazon, it’s, it’s really, really, really the right time to be pushing your, your own website, whether it’s just Shopify or something else.

[00:15:53] And even though it may seem like a lot of effort for, for the value, because it’s only going to be a small trickle of sales, but you have to have something. And, you know, at the end of the day, you know, all things grow with time, right. And, you know, just keep watering your plants and you’ll be there. You’ll get 10% of your business, you know, 15% of your business, 20% of your business.

[00:16:14] And then at least you have that. And then regardless of what is going on with Amazon, you know, you starting these other levers and that puts you in the position of power, and then you can even take your business to different 3PLs, you know, depending on how you’re being treated and even set up multiple 3PLs in different areas of the country.

[00:16:32] To fulfill, you know, more quickly there’s a lot you can do with a 3PL so I see a question. So are you saying using your own website and sell via 3PL I’m saying that most people start on Amazon, but because of Amazon’s inventory limits, then you kind of 3PL almost straight away, which is not something that you needed in the past until you were bigger.

[00:16:54] So now that you need a 3PL pretty much in the beginning, anyway, I believe the strategy is to go omni-channel as quick as you can which means to get on your own website and get on Walmart and get on anything else that you can, so that in time you are a brand across channels. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. So, so yeah, just, just to recap, book recap, basically.

[00:17:18] I mean, Amazon, during the COVID crisis started really limiting inbound shipments because their warehouses were full. They had delays receiving, obviously the whole world has been like. Going through a lot with the Corona virus. So, but they were really seem to open it back, back up too much. You know, they’re still messing with this thing called IPI inventory performance indicator.

[00:17:41] And what they do is especially new sellers, they limit you to 200. So like, like I mentioned earlier, like I’m, I’m starting a new brand and. You know, we opened the Amazon account, which is already a huge leap to get an account open, you know, just even get an account and, you know, and then you try to send, send stuff there, but they limit you to 200 units, which isn’t a lot, it, you know, like at least hopefully it gets enlist a really expensive item, but so, so yeah, like I, I work working with Marshall to send, so I send direct to Amazon for the 200 units from Thailand and then send some other.

[00:18:17] Maybe containers or other, you know, overstock or other more stock, but then what the point is, why just let it sit there like a warehouse. Why not actually sell from there? Why not actually ship sell on your Shopify site? Why not sell on Walmart? Why not sell on other forms? So that’s, what’s been happening this year, especially.

[00:18:36] So that’s why Marshall has been, you know, how’s business people are, you know, I know you’ve been working with you, do it yourself and you also have clients, you know, how, how, how is it going? Yeah, it it’s, it’s gone. I mean, that’s, it’s taken off, which is, which is good and bad. I mean, it’s, it’s good that, you know, we’ve got the business it’s it’s bad because the reason the need is, is because of all these problems with COVID and Amazon and all that, what I find is that most of the customers really want to be on the West coast.

[00:19:03] They export from China and they just. You know, they’re used to going to California and they don’t really care, you know, what’s going on and it’s, and it’s quicker, you know, and it’s traditionally cheaper, but so that’s understandable. But what we’re finding is a lot of customers that are in as is on the West coast are contacting us and saying, can we move our stock to you guys?

[00:19:24] Because we want to fulfill out of Shopify and whatever, and you guys can do that. In addition to holding our stock, our current warehouse can. And our current warehouse stock, you know, like the per order fees are very expensive. They’re not FBA experts. They’re just a regular warehouse. So by coming to Pennsylvania where we are, you know, it’s the complete opposite side country.

[00:19:48] So it’s, you know, it’s much easier. You can come into the port of Baltimore, you can come into the port of New York. It’s not backed up. You know, we’re three and a half hour drive. The storage costs are a fraction. You know, the labor costs are a fraction. So if you need a base, you know, just like you’d rather be in your hometown, you know, in China then in Shanghai.

[00:20:06] You know, if you’re trying to save money and get yourself going, it’s it’s. It’s the same thing with this. It’s like, if you’re, if you’ve already got a high volume, you know, high profitability product that you’re fulfilling successfully out of California, that’s great. You know, but, but if you’re getting started and you, you know, you don’t want to have as much cost and you don’t care that it takes two more weeks to get here initially.

[00:20:30] Once it’s here. It’s great. And then we found that the customers are happy with our system, that they can see their inventory. A lot of the other warehouses, they don’t give you inventory access, unless you’re much bigger and they make it like a whole IT production, you know, for like $500 to get you going.

[00:20:46] And. I just create an account in our WMS. Right. And they, you know, give you a login. So it’s just a different feeling that I think our customers are understanding now, you know, or they understood from the beginning is just that, you know, we know what we’re doing, we’re doing it for ourselves, you know, as much as we can and, and clients has been great.

[00:21:05] And also if you’re exporting from India or Pakistan or, or Europe or anything like that, then going to the East coast makes sense. Regardless, it’s a straight shot. Okay. Awesome. I think I want to maybe have more time with the network, the table mode. I mean, that’s what makes these really special, but I thought we would just do a little, little bit to giving everybody here a background.

[00:21:25] I think we’re going to move to table mode now. For, for networking and Q and A, and you kind of hear and know other people in the group and what they’re working on there. Some are, some are different sellers or some are in the software and services. So I think we can do that. Before I do that, I did say I would make an announcement today to people in the membership.

[00:21:45] We’re going to try something new in May. We’ve been doing these like every couple of weeks for, for a few months now. And what we’re going to basically compact these into one day per month. At least we’re going to test in May. You’re also invited to be partof this or give me feedback, but basically we’re in what we did.

[00:22:03] Cross-border matchmaker before we’re going to do cross-border matchmaker online. I don’t want to move the summit to be online. But basically we have these online events once a month, or let’s just try May, May 21st Friday. So it’ll be because the times are so hard, but we’re going to try 6:00 PM to midnight on.

[00:22:25] China time, which will be 6:00 AM. I know it’s early for, you know, it is already early for you, but 6:00 AM to East coast time. So the idea is we’ll have like three or four sessions like this, you know, like where we can have some experts, some, some people in the industry sharing, and then we’ll go into table mode.

[00:22:41] And then we’ll go back to us new new. So that’s where it’s gonna be like matchmaker. So we want to take people in a membership. We want to take them on our community and we want to spotlight them instead of doing this, like every couple of weeks where it’s, it’s a small, small session, we’re going to have like a more high impact.

[00:22:56] Once a month session starting next month, May 21st cross-border matchmaker.com. So I just want to make sure I make that announcement. I can collect feedback from everybody in the table mode, but before we switched back over to make that announcement. So also last thing for the, for the thing, of course, Marshall, you know, how can people find you shipped on.com?

[00:23:15] Right. Yeah, that’d be, that’d be, that’d be with that ship. It done.com. You can just contact us through there. There’s a contact form. If you just have questions, there’s a create account or a button. If you want to create an account, all the pricing. Is there pricing as always is dependent on your specific situation.

[00:23:32] So if you have any questions or something, you know, doesn’t make sense, just let us know. Yeah. We’re happy to help. Okay. Thank you so much, Marshall. So just stay right here. We’re going to switch into table mode. Okay. Just like before, gfavip.com. I liked the name. Some people think we’ve got to make some kind of cool elite circle or something, but it’s about the VIP.

[00:23:54] If you enjoy these free podcasts, free content, free newsletters, et cetera, and want to get more involved with me and others in the community. And as well as support financially, this, this show, it is much appreciated. We do try to have member benefits and we have these masterminds with, would deal with Marshall and other sessions.

[00:24:10] And we’re continuously looking for ways to think and reward these members. It’s a fair price as well. So check it out at gfavip.com. Thank you in advance. Thank you, Marshall. Thank you so much. I was happy to have him on the show. And then we did some live Q and A again, and we’re trying to give bonus and value to our supporters, our GFAVIP members.

[00:24:33] Thank you for those that are supporting there. Of course I love giving off free content, free information here, but we are, you know, trying our best to make a good balance and feedback from any above you is appreciated. Okay. So. Hope you got some ideas there, you know, you got to basically got to go multi-channel from day one, or at least be ready for it.

[00:24:58] Amazon kind of even forced us since a little bit scary, but we’re on our own. We’re big, big boys and girls, right? When we got to fend for ourselves. Let’s go into the second section. This will be audio only. I think this will be a good one. I’m going to spend a little bit time. I might rant. There’ll be a little bit of a longer blah-blah-blah session, but I’m going to give some stories and some insights of what I’ve heard and experienced them all.

[00:25:25] You guys know my story, but some other crazy stories, people getting married, you know, Some much dramatic deaths. Some, you know, businesses changed some separation from families, visas, et cetera. So it’s a, it’s, it’s an interesting one. And I’m going to share anonymously because I can get them to share with us on the show.

[00:25:47] So I hope you enjoy this special little bonus. I want to kind of document this for everybody and let’s all appreciate that we’re making it through this in, you know, really crazy year. Okay. Let’s do this. I’m on the mic. I’m on a microphone. Don’t get a video on me. I still prefer audio only. I feel more of a connection.

[00:26:11] Get your hot Cocoa, cup of cocoa and marshmallows lessons. There. Some stories, some war stories. I love this community. I love this international business world and, you know, we all knew there would be risks, traveling away from our home countries, you know, opening up companies, making business relationships, making friendships, you know, love relationships, having children, you know, structuring companies, investing apartments.

[00:26:41] So I have a few stories, you know, over the last year or so we have had some people sharing with us, their, their, their stories, but some have really juicy ones that just, they just don’t want to come on. So I feel like it’s been over a year since the pandemic started and I keep hearing these crazy stories and I feel like they should be shared.

[00:27:01] So, I can’t share their names and I’m trying to not share identifying information, but, let me, let me just go down the list I have here. Okay. Maybe something you won’t be able to figure out. Some of these people I’m thinking, but I’m going to try. I want to try to share without revealing information. A lot of people do business in Southeast Asia and in mainland China.

[00:27:28] I mean, myself included. I, I was in Thailand for awhile and Philippines for awhile. And I was so lucky to make it into China just before the border closed. I mean, they only gave us two days notice, so. Friend one member one, or, you know, community member one, he was, I think it was Chinese new year holiday in some islands in Southeast Asia.

[00:27:59] And of course the pandemic came and he wasn’t sure. Should he go back or not? Or should he wait, myself included? I was in the Philippines thinking the same thing. Do I wait? Do I go? So he waited and similar timing as me, he came back, but he didn’t pick to fly into mainland China. He flew into Hong Kong, which many of us, especially down in South China and Shenzhen and Guangzhou area often fly to Hong Kong, you know, figure due to quarantine there and then just cross over.

[00:28:33] So he lands around the same time as me in late March, 2020. And we’re actually talking, we were having calls about our quarantine differences and, you know, trying to keep us both occupied and positive. And then I don’t know what day it was, but there was an announcement that the China, mainland China, Hong Kong border was going to be closing in.

[00:28:58] I think it was like they gave us two days notice and he was in quarantine and maybe like halfway through his quarantine. So we were talking about I’m like, man, I don’t know what he can do. He’s like, I can’t get out of quarantine and I can’t go. So he couldn’t go. And he’s like, well, I guess they’ll open a border soon.

[00:29:23] He was trying to get somebody to give them a job, to get to China. He was trying to, you know, Figure out how to get married to his Chinese girlfriend. So he could go in, he was trying to figure out business deals, paperwork, you know, meeting all these people in Hong Kong. I was making some introductions, nothing seemed to work.

[00:29:45] You know, he did a, an online MBA. He, he had apartments in Shanghai and Shenzhen. He had to lose his apartments. He had to ask friends to move out of his place because he don’t want to keep paying rent. [00:30:00] He, you know, I think something happened with his job in Shanghai, you know, just continued. And now he somehow got into Shenzhen recently and he is getting married to his girlfriend and going to Australia.

[00:30:20] Total life change. I mean, can you imagine this? I, I maybe we’ll get them on the show. I guess if you know him, you know the story. But that’s just an amazing total life changing. Like you have apartments in Shanghai, you’re traveling between there, you know, your girlfriend and friends in Shenzhen, and you’re working in Shanghai.

[00:30:40] You go down Southeast Asia for Chinese new year, Island hopping and then your life changes. Your job, your apartment, your things, then you get married, immigrated to Australia. You do a whole new job or career. I mean, man reinvention right there. Right story too. Again, it’s kind of hard to not self-identify in some.

[00:31:11] You know, another, you know, Westerner doing business in Shanghai, also going between Vietnam and Shanghai or China often doing supplier verifications has a, you know, work visa in China. But isn’t sure about how long to get quarantined there. He’s in Vietnam at that time, has been in Vietnam, which has been somewhat safe.

[00:31:42] And then, If he doesn’t go back China soon, his work permit will expire because I think it’s a yearly thing that you gotta renew and you gotta do it in person, or if you don’t do it, you’ll lose it. And it’ll be really hard to get another one. So he’s like thinking, do I go back to China now, go through a quarantine and get kind of stuck there just to keep my work permit active so that I can continue to remain in China because he has an active work permit. Or does he let his work permit

[00:32:14] Cancel. And then he cannot get back into China for a very long time. This is a discussion I had on my birthday last week with him. So he’s deciding, do I go back to trying to go through quarantine so I can keep a work permit to be able to go into China? Or do I stay in Vietnam and lose my work permit and not sure when I can go back to get back to China, That’s the decision. Story three, Chinese new year story.

[00:32:46] Again, went down to Australia. Pretty cool place, I haven’t been. He does a you know, basically English, English kind of teaching in, in China, Shanghai. And, you know, usually though it would be a short-term like, you know, shutdown, you know, like a lot of us in March, you know, February, March, April, you know, maybe come back April, May.

[00:33:10] He’d been in Australia for a long time. He was doing online classes for students through his school. And finally they paid for him to come back and they must’ve paid a lot, but he’s back. I guess it’s kind of a boring story, but you know, for a long time, he wasn’t sure he was like, you had a nice picture.

[00:33:30] Let me see a picture, he was at the beach in Australia. That’s maybe a soft one. Okay. Story 4 another friend, a Chinese, he’s a European,I won’t go too much. He’s in Vietnam, no in Thailand went down for, for work. I think he had projects there. Training and consulting. And his wife is Chinese and China.

[00:33:58] I won’t say the city and he has a daughter. And he also wasn’t sure when to go back or how to go back. And he’s been stuck in Thailand still. He doesn’t have a work permit, but he has real estate in China. He has a wife. He has a daughter, a young daughter, I think, you know, five or eight years old or less.

[00:34:19] He can’t go back. He is so angry because he says he speaks full Chinese. He’s lived there for 15 years. He has a Chinese wife, a child, a real estate, and he can’t come back. I’m losing track of how many numbers stories on Mon. So I’m not going to say the next number.

[00:34:43] Next one. He was in China during the pandemic. Wasn’t able to continue to renew his visa also is married to a Chinese or now married to a Hong Kongese. So that’s the difference. Married Hong Kongese in China with three children, went to Hong Kong and quit. Can’t get back, started working in Hong Kong, you know, Just trying to adapt, waiting for the border, open, waiting for the Port to open.

[00:35:20] Finally, he’s going back to London literally like last week or two weeks ago, he messaged me. He’s not sure which vaccine to get. So he got the Western vaccine sort of Chinese vaccine and went back to London is probably going to try to figure out how to get his wife and children there.

[00:35:41] Okay. Trying to think. I think that’s maybe enough stories for today. Let me know what you think of that little bonus session, but it’s just,  this trauma, you know, it’s like trauma, trauma. I mean, I can’t say the last one. I know, but as he is a little bit of a hearsay,but as a friend of a friend and he was separate from his family isolated somewhere, you know, I don’t think I’m much other family and he killed himself in Hong Kong.

[00:36:12] Recently, maybe a month or two ago, he just, I dunno, maybe it was also financial problems separate from all of his family and loved ones. I don’t know much more details, but he, I don’t know how he killed himself, but he did. He did because my good friend, I don’t think this is BS, but I’ll leave that as a last story.

[00:36:33] But yeah, I mean, we just gotta, we just gotta stay strong. I know. Like I said, I love this community. I love these people. We’re, we’re we’re international business people. We love traveling. I love meeting new people. We love dealing and it’s high risk, you know, who would have thought that borders are closed or so many other friends are still separated from their loved ones, their friends, their business partners or employees.

[00:36:56] It’s really an unbelievable time. It’ll be in the history books for a long, long time, but we have to stay positive. We have to. Keep our humanity, you know, and we will, we will get through this and we will be stronger. We have to just believe that. So I hope this session has been interesting to you in this troubling time.

[00:37:21] Maybe this meets here, any scary stories, maybe. Maybe you feel better maybe in this weird way, but we’re all going through so much. Okay. You know, financially, business, families, you know, for me, I’m kind of feel somewhat stuck here. I could try to, you know, get a family for somewhere else, but quarantines, airplanes, you know, long-term visas schools, were all kind of seemed stuck for a little while, so we just gotta stay strong.

[00:37:48] All right. It’s Mike Michelini, Global from Asia podcast over and out. To get more info running an international business. Please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com. That’s www.globalfromasia.com. Also be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

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