How Tragedy Creates Opportunity with Brian Miller

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast0 Comments


I love sharing stories. Those who have hung out with me in my younger and drinking days knew I would share long and crazy stories to anyone who would be patient enough to sit and listen at the party. Today, it isn’t my story – it is my friend Brian Miller’s story.

A fellow American who came to China seeking adventure and treasure, today we have him sharing about that journey. The rollercoaster ride of being an entrepreneur is hard, but especially when you are doing it on foreign land. Brian shares how he got started, how he got scammed by his main customer, and how he prevailed to make a business that is growing and generating income. Let’s tune in.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • The start of the journey

  • 2008 Crisis,
  • College graduation
  • Go to Spain to teach English
  • Visit friend in Taiwan after English
  • My buddy said this is where the future is, so I basically went to Taiwan to see what it was all about
  • Plan to stay for 2 weeks Leads me to live in Greater China for almost a decade
  • Learn Chinese, work for the Chinese government for 5 years, doing manufacturing and import / export to the US.
  • Told my friends that I was learning Chinese to go to mainland china and do business
  • My friends laughed at me because they said I’d probably only really be able to teach English there.
  • This created the fire in me to prove them wrong
  • Made a huge bet on China in 2009 and it turned out I was right.
  • Scholarship to learn Chinese, in Beijing
  • Flew to Beijing, thought it would be like Taipei and it wasn’t at all, polluted, tons of people, and it was something way different than I expected.
  • Smog Beijing
  • Study every morning, work for free in the afternoon, and spend every night writing Chinese characters.
  • Had $1,000 left to my name when I finally found a job working for a Chinese State owned enterprise
  • I worked for the Chinese government for 5 years and was on the other team. Managed all their export to the North American market
  • I realized a year or two into it that this is my moment to learn all necessary skill to help people manufacture in China.
  • Started Amazon FBA with a friend on the side, was tired working at the state owned manufacturer and even though the FBA business wasn’t profitable I left and moved to Shenzhen to try it full time
  • I left and as FBA generated some more cash I used that money to start a sourcing company.
  • Started on upwork, took a bunch work from clients and this where I met one of the clients that pivoted my business to logistics
  • Accepted every project I could and took a small upfront fee with commission on the purchase of goods, and effectively started working for free for month for different clients
  • My good friend, constantly told me that I hate money. I felt so dumb
  • Sign contract with a large dropshipper, with same commission deal and start working on their project for months with essentially no income.
  • Successful e-com company with 20 staff and were 7 figure business looking for new suppliers, and newly developed product to add to their product line.
  • Structured again so I never got paid upfront
  • After 4-5 months they want me to set up a fulfillment center for them in 3PL in China. I took the work,
  • I trusted him we set up the fulfillment center for 3-4 months, 2 weeks before we were ready to go live he walked away from the contract.
  • I had a full functioning warehouse in China with no customers, and 0 shipments.
  • I knew what e-commerce companies wanted/needed and instead of shutting it down that it would be way more advantageous to create a service for FBA and e-commerce sellers to manage their global shipments.
  • Reach out to everyone friends, family, and basically anyone I had an email address for.
  • Now we have built software to run the business and have many customers that we serve by shipping to FBA or for their own websites.
  • What I learned

  • Value time
  • Charge enough
  • Take deposits
  • Diverisify customer base
  • Do the exact opposite of what I did
  • China Advice

  • Good partners with good information
  • Come to China, meet people in person
  • How to connect

    Ways to reach Brian

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Easy China Warehouse
√ 2019 3PL Comparison Guide(coming soon)
Cross border Matchmaker event

Episode Length 41:31

Thank you Brian. I love it when we just let it all hang out. Why do we need to stress by making things look easier than they are on the internet. Let us show the battle scars and encourage others to get into the arena of business and do it! But if you think it will be easy – stay at home. Thanks for listening, cheers.

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