Reflecting on the Amazon FBA business (PLUS Ecommerce Gladiator Book Release) with Cadrian Chan

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast0 Comments


This show will be going online while day 1 of Cross Border Summit 2019 is happening! It will also be while Mike is handing out signed copies of his fourth book – Ecommerce Gladiator to those in attendance.

So today’s show is part of the launch of this new book – Ecommerce Gladiator – and we bring one of the partners of the business that was built during this program – Cadrian Chan. He was the main investor and there from beginning to acquisition. We discuss how things went, what we both learned, what would have been done differently, and what was accomplished, enjoy!

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Cadrian’s experience in the Ecommerce Gladiator

    He shares how he felt about the whole business experience.

  • Working with online teams

    His experience working with, building, and coordinating fully online

  • Differences with Chinese sellers

    How chinese sellers and foreign sellers are different in operations

  • Decision Making in the Company

    The democratic system, the weekly calls.

  • Investing More money or selling out

    What is the best option – as when you grow, you need more dough!

  • Tapping the Global From Asia List

    How many times we had to go to the email newsletter and other options for Ecommerce Gladiator

  • What we accomplished

    What was made, and done

  • What would be done differently

    If it was done all over

Thanks Cadrian

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Cadrian’s Testimonial:

“I want to give a big thanks to Mike for having me here and also for doing the e-commerce project together. It was an awesome, really great experience, I of course I learned a lot about doing e-commerce business. This is my first e-commerce or FBA business in fact and also doing business in China in general.”

“I learned a lot on how to being organized or working with people 24/7 all through the internet. We had Freelancers and VA’s and yeah, it requires a totally new set of skills. So it was, sometimes, it’s overwhelming to be honest, but we got through a lot of the obstacles and I was very happy when we had our first product on Amazon selling and yeah, I just think it was amazing.”
Cadrian Chan

Episode Length 26:47

Thank you for taking time Cadrian and sharing. It was awesome!

Download Options

Show Transcript

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Episode 276 of Global From Asia podcast.  Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight-up actionable advice and now your host Michael Michelini.  Thank you, everybody for choosing to download and listen to this show. It will be going online

[00:00:25] On day one of Cross-Border Summit 2019 October 22nd 2019 be a very special day actually six six years Global from Asia was born in Bangkok and I have a circle and October 22nd 2013. This domain was registered and the podcast maybe wasn’t recorded but was planned to be a Hong Kong podcast and Hong Kong is under a.

[00:00:53] Huge Monumental lifetime modern news right now think you can check that out for yourself. And the show has been quite through quite a bit and I am really excited to announce that we have our fourth book or well mine or ours. I call it ours the E-commerce Gladiator book for those of you that listen to the show over the years.

[00:01:19] You may have heard some of our Para Living or Sisitano story. And we have made that a Kindle book. I wrote it over the years and been, of course you can listen to the podcast but this is more like a story and learning all put together in one about a hundred and eighty Pages book. I’ll be signing those for those that were able to make it to cross-border Summit

[00:01:43] this year we’ll also be launching it if you’re on our email list, you’ll be getting a special email about that today. You can also check out our site or e-commerce Gladiator.com. But I’m really excited about today’s today’s episode and I am on a, I’m on the move trying to get this one intro done while I’m in Bangkok at on my circle and I’m heading to back to the summit but I was able to squeeze in interviews one of our main investors of the well first E-commerce.

[00:02:10] Gladiator series or Para Living or Sisitano, wherever you want. Cadrian Chan. And we went through the whole process of the acquisition and it was a little bit a little bit stressful the last month or two of that deal and it’s in the book too.  Cadrian checked it out. And I always thought it’d be fun to bring him on and kind of reflect on what we learned and what what we could have done differently and different perspectives.

[00:02:36] And you know, he’s the he was the big money guy put in twenty five thousand dollars. So it was really awesome and. Is happy and we’re still friends after so that’s the best part and I think we all took a lot from this business opportunity and I really appreciate everything. So I’m really happy to have our book launch podcast e-commerce Gladiator.com/book or search on Amazon, really appreciate your support.

[00:03:02] It’s just a fun little book a little bit of our story and also learning tips for people. But without further Ado, let us go with Cadrian. Are you looking to sell your Amazon business? Are you looking for opportunity to invest in Amazon businesses? You maybe don’t want to get your hands dirty be a gladiator in the arena like e-commerce Gladiator.

[00:03:23] So check out Alpha Rock Capital.com. They, we, I am a shareholder. I sold my business to them. They. Gladiator we’re talking about today and I joined as director of marketing or content or the connector dude. If you’d like to have them take a look at your business. I course could help you or we have an amazing team of investor relations and others that would love to consider you trusting your money with us or your business with us.

[00:03:52] Check it out at Alpharockcapital.com. They will also be sponsoring cross-border Summit and this show really mean they they support me to support everybody. So if you. This show definitely consider thinking them and Alpha Rock Capital, bye-bye.  Thank you Cadrian for hopping on this special edition for the podcast.

[00:04:10] The book is finally live. It’s been a couple months since acquisition and everything and we’ve been talking it was a pretty intense couple of couple of weeks of of that process. But yeah, I think like you just said we don’t have a script today. It’s kind of kind of like you had said you would. Or you maybe just share some we can just share what we learned and what how about the how the process went.

[00:04:37] So if you want to start with where we were. Sure, I’ll just freestyle because there’s no script. But first of all, I want to give a big thanks to Mike for having me here and also for doing the e-commerce project together. It was a an awesome really great experience I of course I learned a lot about.

[00:05:04] Doing e-commerce business. This is my first e-commerce or FBA business. In fact I’m also doing business in China in general. I actually had a chance to I build a tech startup engine before but it’s a totally different business you deal with very different people in the tech business. I mainly deal with the programmers and we spoke to.

[00:05:33] Programming language that wasn’t a lot of cultural or language barrier. It was very different in e-commerce business talking to the suppliers. Yeah, the all the negotiations it was very new for me because I was from engineering background so but but most of all, I think the this is a very unique experience.

[00:06:02] Because we’re, our team is a fully remote company, so I learned a lot on how to being organized or working with people 24/7 all through the internet. We we had Freelancers and VAs and yeah, it requires a totally new set of skills. So it was sometimes it’s overwhelming to be honest, but we got through a lot of the obstacles and I was very happy when we had our first product on Amazon selling and yeah, I just think it was amazing.

[00:06:55] Yeah, we went through quite a bit was 2 years. If you can believe it since we started till till the you know the acquisition so it was sorta 2017. I remember the calls with the team at the beginning. Remember I was traveling to a beach Town. It was kind of. Had bad internet. I don’t know my wife had some beach house rental and we were doing these calls with yeah like.

[00:07:26] We had Jack in the US and Roland and Europe and Meir, You, Me on like Hong Kong, Shenzhen or China, you know, and it was it was really crazy that we can actually put this company together. All right fine. And yeah, all these there are so many people I guess for me. I feel like that was one learning bit.

[00:07:49] I think we had too many people which sounds weird because usually more people is good, right or I don’t know. How do you think do you think it was? What do you think of the amount of people on the team? I think it’s okay sometimes. In the meetings it can be a bit overwhelming because more people means more opinions.

[00:08:13] Yeah. So sometimes when it came to voting I had to try to balance between some some like over time. I think we  treat each other really like friends, but when it comes to voting time. Sometimes we might be in heated argument. I still remember. Yeah, I can’t remember. Yeah, and it’s crazy because at as far as I was still working in the bank and that sometimes I had to actually hide in the corner for the calls and for the call to became a heated argument is it’s kind of embarrassing and that time mmm.

[00:09:02] I see if you remember like us the first couple of months. I mean, I feel like there was like that often. I can remember there was a lot of differences we would have I remember there was a choosing the product or the category then, you know like decisions about suppliers. Well, yeah that product category.

[00:09:31] The Moka pot is still hard. I mean we’re still working with that factory after the acquisition and it’s just still a long lead time and it’s just so long to get it shipped out and it’s it’s definitely challenging. But yeah, I I do feel like there was probably too many people at our early stages.

[00:09:54] where Meir and I think. I think mayor said it to me says I’m to Democratic or I’m to I was always trying to get people to vote for everything and he says we didn’t need to have everybody always vote on everything or that that many things. So that’s what caused some of the confusion was people were voting all the time when maybe we didn’t need everybody to be involved in all of the decisions that had to be made.

[00:10:23] I think about Personnel one thing if we started over again, so we had five people but we didn’t have a single person based in Yiwu where our suppliers are based.  So if we chose the electronics as as a one of the category, then it is better because we have people in Shenzhen. But we didn’t know in advance that we’re going to pick the supplier in Yiwu so that there was one problem for us as well true.

[00:11:03] But at the same time I know when mayor I thought of this idea we were we wanted to be fully remote. I mean most Amazon sellers are not in China ever or maybe this come for the trade shows or they just come out for you know sometimes. But a lot of sellers never even go to the factory, so I don’t know if that had to be a requirement for the business.

[00:11:31] I’ll be honest. I’ve said it in the book. I think we’ve talked about hardest part was we didn’t really have anybody really dedicating majority of their time on this for because you know, that was always I think one of the main main issues. There was a part-time or halftime, but you know if dedicated would have probably helped quite a bit, you know moving it Forward faster and maybe that person wouldn’t have had to have so many votes.

[00:11:59] I think maybe it was because of my leadership people would wait until every the weekly call like the Sunday night call. Actually we’re talking about the time we’re talking now is almost the same time as our weekly calls we had but I think what happened was people would just wait until weekly call to report what they were doing and to ask questions of what they were.

[00:12:21] You know, how had to get input on so I think maybe if there was less, how do I say, you know, I think we’re doing people are just waiting for calls to make decisions. And where maybe you mean someone to take ownership of each like the the whole product. I guess yeah. Well, I think people are nervous, of course, you know investing money or make a decision about money want everyone else to maybe be on the same page.

[00:12:55] Maybe it’s something we should be more clear about in the in the contracts or in our agreements that things could be made by one main person. But you know, I like I think we’re talking a little bit. Well, I think it’s me being harder on. Yeah, like you said we did pretty good. We launched we built a team all around the world, would we did Source Products?

[00:13:16] We did get sales. We did launch we did do every part of the process and we grew a brand and I think we accomplished mostly what we did. So it was,  it was definitely an exciting time and and.  I think also we probably would have needed to maybe raise more money to buy more stock. You know, I think. I had been talking to others on a team at the end, you know to grow we could have invested more product or and then to grow more product line in that category, right?

[00:13:53] Yeah. Well, I think in the end like like you said maybe sometimes each person looks at the other partner and because we’re a new so for some decisions maybe for example, if we want to put more Capital as like maybe I if ex-partner is going to put more Capital then maybe I’ll follow so because like at least for me, I’m.

[00:14:21] A bit inexperienced in you’re evaluating e-commerce projects. So sometimes I I follow suit or after other partners’ opinions. I think it’s kind of related to the, we said earlier. There’s no one to like with a lot of confidence or to to take ownership of something. Yeah, I think that was it. I think maybe we should have been more clear who can make the decision and and and if it was okay, you know, and of course people are afraid to lose money, you know, like it’s a fear that everybody has what if I picked a wrong product.

[00:15:06] You know, I think that’s why a lot of times people don’t start selling on Amazon or start selling online because they do got to make that initial Investments and risk of capital for product. Alright, so we’re at the point where we feel like we’re in a good category and he’s, these were finding some some traction and ranking and so we could have added more products added more to the business.

[00:15:30] So that is one way I think a lot of times people do sell their company when it gets to the point where they got either invest more money either borrow or or take their funds or get invest other investors. And of course, I could have gone to the Global from Asia email list. We had done that a couple of times to get partners and other people to join like Phil and Mark and others.

[00:15:51] I could have done that again, but I just.  yeah, I think we had discussed that as well. But you know, of course, I think there’s any decision sellers need to make at what point do they want to deploy more capital investment more double down or you know find other Alternatives, right?  So so basically, yeah, we had done a couple of years and we were some turnover management.

[00:16:24]  You know, a lot of people came and go I mean, I was always nervous people like you would get nervous, you know, like Jack stepped down after only just a few months. It was It was kind of scary, you know, like he had his reasons he went home but that was pretty pretty pretty pretty quick into it.

[00:16:41] And you know, we had we got Phil in and you know, you know, we did squeeze, Lorenzo is always tough because I was. He had always want to get involved since the application process which I put in the book and in the you know, he’s a he’s a you know, that was always what I think you know me. I’m a podcast.

[00:17:00] I’m a blogger. I’m a podcaster. I like to bring people together and you know, he was really engaged with the content and really wanted to help and had a lot of work yet already started to do for the business Of Amazon selling so that was you know, I did feel like we kind of I kind of squeezed him in and we’re trying to make it work and then there’s another person and there’s people leaving and there’s people coming but yeah, actually a lot of the Chinese sellers that I talked to said too many people is not not good and you know, like just need to take action I think.

[00:17:43] Especially I think Chinese sellers do that. They they don’t hesitate too much They, they look at data. They make a decision to invest money into product. They sell they look at the data, you know, it’s not very emotional. It’s not it’s not very drawn out. I don’t know if you, if you feel that have insights or thinks thinking about that.

[00:18:04] I think Chinese sellers they firstly them really good at numbers and. A lot of them are quite analytical and as you said they’re not afraid to gamble. So this also related to what we talked about earlier. Sometimes we’re not sure about something and we probably spent too much time discussing before making a quick vote. Exactly.

[00:18:36] Because this is related to the remote company as well because but probably there are too many people but I think the main reason is it’s sometimes hard to together or five people online. Of course, we had a set date and time for the meetings, but sometimes there are connection problems. I remember we tried using wechat in the beginning.

[00:19:05] For some reason is this the connection wasn’t stable and it’s creating a lot a lot of annoyance because like if one guy dropped out and he of course he thinks he got missed out right and then we have to like reiterate our thoughts again, and then like keep on this Loop before we do the voting so sometimes it’s annoying.

[00:19:34] Yeah, I think I think it’s not the fault of anyone or the team structure is it’s just like sometimes technology is not stable as expected. Oh, yeah, I mean going back to Chinese sellers, you know, we had some Chinese seller active sellers. I wanted to be part of this program when I first launched it and people are applying but they didn’t like the idea of doing online.

[00:19:59] They actually wanted us to work in their offices in Shenzhen like almost give us a separate office space and say if you had joined and others had joined. They said, oh you can move in you guys can all just work here. That’s what they were doing. And they said they know how to do Amazon ready. They just wanted us to help with the creative part and the marketing part and the English of course and influencers and overseas.

[00:20:24] That’s what they were Trying to get us to do and you know, I said Meir was, you know, kind of guiding me in this process. Like I say in the book, I think you know, and I just said no we want to do this kind of online, it’s only we want have Chinese sellers. We want to kind of have his at least International.

[00:20:43] We were thinking be cool to have like a local Chinese people on the team, but.  You know, it didn’t work because they just they just want everybody in the office. It said you know. They just feel like it wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t that way. But on the other hand, I think all of us wanted to have a have a new product line like I mean I’m saying this like we’re all wanted this project to be so like a startup.

[00:21:13] I remember you talked about this. We all have to entrepreneurial spirit. So we want to make something new. So also this is this can be made into like a case study so it can be replicable for for other Sellers out there for reference it’s so it’s kind of different paths paths. If you go into an existing existing business office and like do a regular nine-to-five job, you know, exactly but it also goes back to the cultural differences, you know family.

[00:21:55] not family, sorry, I hear your kids. I know you got we gotta cut this call. Sure. I got my kid. I’m here to to take care of the kids myself. My wife is in Xianyang. So we are wrapping up anyway, but yeah, I agree we but that’s just back to the difference is always people talk about Chinese sellers.

[00:22:11] They don’t want to work online they want everybody to work in the office. They call it 9-5 or anything. They work harder than nine to five to write but you know in the office, honestly, I think that might have actually helped because you know, there were times where it’s hard for everybody to communicate clearly and and things did go a little bit slower like you said, but I don’t know.

[00:22:31] I feel like I’m a little bit hard on myself for us. I think we like you said, I think we did pretty good. And of course I try to keep it real as possible in the book about. The Ups or Downs, like I called it the gladiator from the beginning. You know, it’s it’s true. I mean if this I feel like I’m has on sellers or e-commerce sellers or people taking a risk buying a product taking inventory shipping into a warehouse like on the other side of the world hoping that they sell it hoping nobody shuts down your account hoping customer their Rank and proves, you know, that that takes guts, you know, that takes that takes, you know confidence and.

[00:23:11] And we did a great job. So thanks Cadrian I mean, thanks a lot. It’s awesome. And yeah, hope you enjoy the book and I’ll. I’ll get it have actually when this show’s online, I’ll be at the cross-border summit. It’ll be happening when I’m when I’m the shows online and all will have print copies for people that are there and I’ll also get one for for you.

[00:23:38] Of course, man, and it was awesome dude. So so thank you. Thanks for thanks for taking me. Yeah, thanks for taking a risk and a part of the whole taking part of this crazy adventure and. Well, we’ll keep on talking about everything then right? Keep me posted. I’ll see you again later. Sure. I’m a content creator.

[00:24:01] These podcasts have been things I love to do and ever asked me to make content for them. If you’re interested in getting content creation services. We have content Investments.com little bit of a site that supports this show we have an amazing team put initial other things together. If you’re just a different packages and services.

[00:24:18] You can check it out. We have a great management team there LJ, Mark and others www.contentinvestments.com. Thank you Cadrian for sharing. And you know, I was really nervous. I think this this whole this whole eCommerce Gladiators series or it was a real business. It wasn’t just a podcast content series, but it was really stressful for me.

[00:24:44] Honestly. I was on a you know is my name on the line, you know using my reputation here, you know, I’ve been doing all these podcasts for all these years and. Trying to keep everybody happy. I love being the host. You know, whether it’s a cross-border summit is happening as the show is being published or.

[00:25:03] Putting people together for an E-commerce Gladiator series. I I do believe we are going to do another e-commerce Gladiator style series. And now I’m partner at Alpha Rock Capital making content. We have a podcast also Alpha Rock to check out. The whole team is here in Bangkok we’ll also be at the cross-border summit.

[00:25:25] I’ll probably bring marking them up stage while I give out these books to people. So thank you everybody. It’s just been an amazing amazing journey two years. Of doing that and there are so many names. We dropped a lot of names in the in the book try to put real names real businesses. We use to try to help out anybody that’s supported with their services or their support.

[00:25:49] It’s just so many people. That’s what I think. Believe is bringing together a real community of people. So if you’re able to download the book on Kindle or your probably, let you download it off our website eCommerce Gladiator a.com slash book. We’re also working on some other content for that site little mini site for the book in the series.

[00:26:12] So thank you all for your appreciate you listening. I wonder if you’re listening this far along. Anyways, I’m going to go back to another conference and I will be in a conference for like 2 weeks straight making deals, making Connections get more guests for this show. Alright. Take care everybody. Bye bye to get more info about running an international business.

[00:26:34] Your 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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