When I was 17 years old, I was more worried about getting good grades and meeting girls than starting a business. But Jordan started Laleo.com at the young age of 17 and turned it into a 7 figure business.
What’s even more impressive is that Jordan is now the COO of Wishpond.com which is a very successful Internet marketing company that competes directly with businesses like LeadPages.
He’s a really sharp guy and there’s lots to be learned from both his attitude and his experiences. Enjoy!
What You’ll Learn
- How Jordan guided customers from EBay back to his site in the beginning
- How to compete against Amazon
- How Jordan got people to buy books even after Google launched Google books
- Jordan’s strategy for expanding word of mouth
- Jordan’s Alibaba strategy
- How to use gamification to grow a business
- Jordan’s Facebook strategy
- Jordan’s philosophy on going to college and working a day job versus starting a business
- If you need a website logo or website design, make sure you check out 99Designs.com and enjoy $99 in savings by clicking on this link!
Other Resources And Books
MyWifeQuitHerJob’s transcripts are done by Outsource2Africa.com, an awesome transcription service that is half the price of other competing companies. Highly recommended!
Now if you enjoy this podcast please leave me a review on iTunes, and enter my podcast contest where I’m giving away free one on one business consultations every single month. For more information go to www.mywifequitherjob.com/contest, and if you are interested in starting our own online business, be sure to sign up for my free six day mini course where I’ll show you how my wife and I managed to make over 100k in profit in our first year of business. Go to www.mywifequitherjob.com for more information.
Now before I begin, I just want to give a quick shout out to this episodes sponsor 99designs. Now originally I wasn’t going to take any sponsors at all, but 99designs caught my eye because I suck at design. And in fact when I first started my online store back in 2007, the design for my website was terrible and I had absolutely no idea who to turn to. Now fast forward to today, 99designs is a site where you can provide a description of anything that you want designed whether it be as logo, a web page, a t-shirt pretty much anything and have dozens of designers compete to deliver you the best design possible. And by best I mean that you get to choose your favorite design among dozens of submissions from a pool of over 315,000 designers. So if you are design challenged like I am, I highly recommend that you go over to 99designs.com/mywifequit.
And if you use that link and tell them that Steve from mywifequitherjob.com referred you, your design listing will be bolded, highlighted, given a prominent back ground, and featured before all regular listings so that your request stands out among all of the designers. And in fact this special offer is worth 99 dollars. So if you need a logo, website, t-shirt, business card or anything designed, go to www.99designs.com/mywifequit. Now on to the show.
Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle, so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host Steve Chou.
Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast. Today we are going to be talking to Jordan Gutierrez who is one of the younger entrepreneurs that I’ve actually ever heard on the show. Now Jordan started his business at the age of 17 that grew into a million dollar plus business. Now Jordan exports medical books and supplies throughout Mexico and other parts of Latin America. His company is called Laleo.com and is the Amazon.com for medical equipment in Latin America, and in fact his path has a lot of parallels to the way Amazon.com got started. And today his company is the largest distributor for medical books and medical equipment in Latin America.
Now what’s cool about Jordan is that he ran this company while still being a full time student, and today actually he is the COO of Wishpond.com which helps customers create high converting landing pages, contests and promotions, and you know Jordan`s really got an interesting story because I know when I was 17 I was more worried about girls and getting into college than starting a business, but Jordan is clearly a special guy and with that welcome to the show Jordan. How are you doing today man?
Jordan: Good. I`m good how are you?
Steve: Good, I`m doing really good. So, let`s talk about Laleo.com first you know, how did you come up with this idea and what exactly do you sell?
Jordan: Well, everything started back in 2007. I was 17 at the time, I actually went back to– I moved to Canada when I was 15, so every summer, every break I would go back to Mexico and just try to do something. I was three or four years old, I always got involved in businesses. My first business was– I start selling candies to my friends and then I actually hire my friends to sell candies for me. And then they actually got together and because I was paying them like nothing like two cents per hour, or something like that, they asked for a raise so I have to fire them.
So even since I was like three years old, I have had to be able to strikes and unions and you know fighting with your friends you know. At the end everything ended up really well because, they forgave me and you know they are still my friends, but I’ve always been interested in business and you know making money. Since the moment I moved to Canada I always wanted to do, you know online business because in a way it was the only job I was allowed to do when I was in Canada.
Jordan: So, I tried a lot of things; affiliate markets, selling stuff on eBay. I`m actually a You Tube partner; I teach chess on You Tube and I get like $5 everyday or something like that.
Steve: I`m sorry you pitch what?
Jordan: I teach chess.
Steve: Chess, okay got it. Okay.
Jordan: So I just show you how to play chess and I– good moves and stuff like that. So I try everything and in that specific day I was in Mexico. It was summer and I bought a coffee machine, like a big coffee machine, and then I went to a sub way, I plugged the coffee machine into the public electricity and start selling coffee in the streets. Just you know it was kind of weird because, you wouldn’t see that in the states or Canada, but in Mexico you are just like you know right now it makes sense.
Jordan: And then I was selling coffee and I noticed that I was in an area that was full of builders and they had a different accent, like they speak Spanish, but they have a different accents from different cities. And I asked them why are you doing– what are you doing here? Why are you here? And they were saying that they would come all over Mexico just to get medical books and medical equipment and then they would go back to their home community. I was like why don’t you buy them online? This is 2007, so it wasn’t as easy to buy stuff online as now.
Jordan: And they were like– well there is no way to buy them online. There was something called MercadoLibre, which is Mexican eBay. So that’s the only thing around. I was like okay this is cool, so I actually exited my coffee business making and I sold my coffee machine for like 400 bucks. And with that money actually went to a book store and I bought a couple of books you know I asked for what are the most popular books. I bought them and I put them on eBay. You know to…
Steve: On the real eBay, or on the Mexican eBay?
Jordan: Mexican eBay like…
Steve: Okay got it. Okay.
Jordan: And I actually sold them relatively fast. So, I was like okay this is interesting, this is good business. I bought a couple of more books, I sold them online and I’m like this is cool. So then after that I decided to learn a little bit of html to actually create my own website.
Steve: But, learning html and creating a full website ecommerce is a huge– is completely different, right?
Steve: Right, yeah.
Jordan: In 2007 to 2009 well yeah, the beginning of 2009 I was actually learning how to do everything, how to you know ship books, how to you know do the business. I was also a full time student. In 2009, I actually hired a guy to create my website in osCommerce.
Steve: Okay yeah. That’s actually what I started out with yeah.
Jordan: Yeah, like osCommerce back then was huge. And that was the only you know, the only software that I actually knew back then. So I hired this guy who was a police officer, he decided that he didn’t want to be a police officer, so he started making websites.
Jordan: He didn’t know any coding like he just– he is always [inaudible 07:44] and then there you go.
Jordan: So we got him. I set of the books. I start selling online. I`m sorry I didn’t start selling online; I just set up the website in 2008 and then just start building trust. So it’s like I start telling all my MercadoLibre and eBay customers that I was actually selling directly now. So I started sending them there, I start putting the prices. I start selling some eBooks– some books and little by little I start growing.
Steve: This is your eBay business?
Jordan: Yeah. The eBay business because now we had a website right?
Steve: Okay, right.
Jordan: So I started sending people to the website, when we started growing, I started doing a lot of online marketing. I started reinvesting all the money on adwords, then Facebook, you know all the social media, all the newsletters like optimize everything. I would literally go everyday to the website and look at the website, and just keep optimizing, keep optimizing, keep optimizing and then after a while it`s like it started getting real.
Steve: Let`s take a step back real quick actually. Let`s go into each one of those points. So, while you were selling on eBay, how you did actually get people back to your online store?
Jordan: Well I had to cheat, right?
Jordan: Back then it was really– they didn’t want to give you information.
Jordan: Every the time I would ship a book I would put a, you know a label with the eBook. I would put actually the name of the bookstore and I would try to email them. Most of the email that I used was the name of my book store– sorry of the website. So it was like Libreleo.firstname.lastname@example.org. So they would actually see the full domain. So– it was kind of like not in the– not the approved way to send the users from eBay, because they want them to keep– buying from eBay.
Jordan: But you know a kind of a sneaky way.
Steve: Well actually because when you communicate over eBay, actually the email addresses don’t get shared at all right?
Jordan: Yeah, and also like Mexican eBay is worse, like they would hide. If you put numbers they would hide the numbers. So it`s kind of like– it was hard, but at the end of the day I find ways to actually do it. Like again when you ship the book…
Jordan: A lot of advertising and I would say, hey you know if you buy on eBay it’s like 700 dollars– sorry 70 dollars. If you buy it on my website it`s like 60 dollars, and so I start pushing people from eBay and you know the thing I didn’t like it about eBay is like, I was really-really careful with my reputation and then, I think one day it was something stupid. Like I sent an email and it went to spam and then I got a zero star review, and I was like crying and like I`m never going to sell on eBay again. So it`s like after that I just said, okay let’s do this and just I`m going to go full time on my website…
Steve: So you got one negative review and you decided not to sell on eBay again?
Jordan: Well not one negative review like, I was actually taking care of everything. Like okay everything has to be able to support. We have to have the best support ever. We have to be really-really-really 100% like extremely good at support. You see in a Facebook review you see like ranking is like 4.9, so it`s got like 99% positive reviews at the start. So we were like super-super crazy with support, and then like all of a sudden you get a negative review you go sound like really bad mistake or something. It`s like– I was like literally crying. I was like super obsessed with my website. And when I got a bad review, I was like it`s not possible like, it`s not possible.
Steve: I have been there before, but yeah go on.
Jordan: It`s really-really frustrating, so after that I was like no more eBay. Everything is going to be in our own environment with our own terms, and we have to optimize everything and just make it really really nice and easy for users to buy from us, right?
Steve: Okay, yeah.
Jordan: So after that it was like keep optimizing, when we get start getting sales, then keep trying, trying, trying…
Steve: So how did you get your early sales actually, was that– was it from adwords?
Jordan: We started getting– you know we have a small user base report from Mexican eBay.
Jordan: What we did is we started not sell– like we didn’t sell directly from the website at the start.
Jordan: At first we actually– you actually had to call us to place the order, right?
Jordan: So that actually started building a little bit of more traction, more traction and we actually took– the website was up in 2008 I believe. It took us to 2009, like May 2009 to start selling. So during that time I was actually looking for ways to make money and to actually start getting traffic, right?
Steve: Mm-huh, okay.
Jordan: I really had no idea how to do it. I tried like a lot of things from buying traffic to start paying doctors to put our banner in their website…
Steve: What are some of the things that you tried and tell me whether they succeeded or failed?
Jordan: Facebook, Google ads back worked really-really well. Right now it’s getting super expensive and is not as profitable as before. One of the things we did is– there were a lot of websites that offer free eBooks– free eBooks, right?
Jordan: Those are like shady web sites right. So, what I actually did is actually talked to those guys and offered them some money if they put our banners there.
Jordan: So you know, we understood that piracy was going to be there forever. So like okay instead of trying to just defeat them and like send them nasty letters, let`s just work with them and you know hopefully people who go there, they go there because they don’t have access to the physical book. If we give them access, then they are going to start buying directly from us right? And we optimize a lot for SEO and the other thing that helped us a lot was Facebook.
Steve: Okay, how did you run your Facebook campaigns?
Jordan: Everything started in– we actually started doing ads in 2009– Facebook, but you know again back then it was huge. Nobody knew Facebook as a business, everybody knew Facebook as a user platform not as a business platform.
Jordan: The CPC was extremely cheap. One of the things we did is– what I see Facebook is if your community in the case of doctors, the community of doctors, right?
Jordan: Your lifestyle is around doctors. If you are a doctor your friends are going to be doctors, the friends of your friends are going to be doctors, so everything is around medicine right.
Jordan: There is one thing that keeps people together. So the idea is to find these people, these communities exist and bring them to it to the website. The one of the things we did is– you know from Facebook, is I send them to the website was really easy, we need to give them incentive. So for instance one of the things we did is you know Google eBooks– Google books, back then like my business partner was super scared because of Goggle books, he was like Goggle is already offering the books for free, we are going to be like completely screwed and it`s like…
Jordan: If Goggle is already offering the books for free that’s great for us, like let`s get the book and put it directly in our website. So every doctor would come and will actually read the product base and actually he has the entire Goggle books there.
Steve: So, I`m sorry, so you listed the Goggle books on your own website, is that what you did?
Steve: Got it.
Jordan: Back then it was like why would you give them free eBook of the book you are trying to sell for hundreds of dollars on your website? But for me it’s like we actually want to bring everybody to our website, and then if you want to buy, then they are going to buy right. We even put a lot of publishers, small publishers to actually put their books on Google books because you know like we wanted all the traffic to go our website.
Jordan: So, that was the first one. The other one that we did is we worked really-really hard on targeting. Like our email subscription newsletter.
Steve: Okay, how did you run that, can you give us some more details on that?
Jordan: Yeah so when you subscribe, instead of saying hey you can actually– like all these things are kind of like standard right now. Back then was like impressive. One of the things we did is when you signed up for our website; we would ask you okay you want to subscribe to the newsletter.
Jordan: And then when you subscribe, we would ask you what is your medical field of interest? So we had like 36 different medical fields of interest, right. So if you are pediatrician or a dentist or a general doctor or anesthesiologist or whatever you are, you would actually have your own news letter. And every time we have a book or a new cluster of new books or products related to medicine or anesthesiology or pediatrics or anything…
Jordan: We would send you an email. So the emails were like completely extremely tailored for you. So it`s kind of like if you– if study with [inaudible 15:53] you don’t care what a dentist reads right. So we actually try to be as specific as possible?
Steve: Okay, so how did you do that? Did you use an email provider or was this something home grown?
Jordan: Yeah we started doing– I tried to go there myself, but I couldn’t.
Jordan: When I had I used MailChimp.
Steve: MailChimp okay. So how did you segment everything, did you use the API or because the standard interphase is a little clunky, right?
Jordan: Yeah I just asked him, so it`s like [Inaudible] [00:16:17] and they say at first they would have to write like I don’t know, I`m a student but then at the end I just create a form and then they put their students and then I just exported the list to MailChimp, right.
Steve: Got it. I see, so as part of the sign up form that are pulled down, so then that’s how you segmented your list, is that…
Jordan: Yeah, yeah.
Steve: Okay got it. Okay.
Jordan: Little by little we sell like– download an Excel spreadsheet and just offload it to MailChimp and then– because they could type whatever they want; I have to actually clean all the database. So it`s kind of like a database of 500 people and I have to clean it.
Steve: Got it okay, I understand so you segmented it manually, so you created a different list then– okay got it, all right.
Jordan: Right now it’s a little different because we have engineers and everything. Everything is [inaudible 17:05] automation, right.
Jordan: So based on what you read, based on the books visit, then it’s like okay this guy is interested in these books and then we actually send emails automatically.
Steve: Okay and how do you send emails today, what platforms do you use today?
Jordan: We have our own platform.
Steve: Okay, its custom, home grown.
Steve: Okay got it. How did you run you Facebook campaigns, I`m just a little curios?
Jordan: In the Facebook campaign the first thing we did is– I don’t know if you remember a company called Woot?
Steve: Woot, yes off course, they are still around I think.
Jordan: Yeah but they are not– back then they were like a little bit larger. Before we had like deal of the days we had this company that offer you one day, they would give you a really good price on one product. So what we did is we set up something called a special Thursday, so every Thursday we would have a price of a really popular book at our cost, like we would not make any money, like we would actually lose money on that product that day.
Jordan: And basically we would get all the emails and we would send a blast email and then on Facebook we would put adds everywhere on Facebook and a lot of ads on our normal website. So it’s like everywhere you are going to see this is special day. Like this product is like 40% off like it’s a price, like you need to buy it. And it is like super implosive; I’m based on going viral. So that’s like we use Facebook to attract people to actually see the special Thursday, and then people will start buying and start sharing like crazy.
Jordan: Like yeah. Usually we would– one example there is one book. Normally we would sell like 500 in one year. If we do it this way we would sell 100 in one day.
Steve: Okay. And then did you get their information because they purchased something or did you gather the emails and leads of the people that didn’t buy anything as well?
Jordan: Well mostly people who sign up right. Like even if they don’t buy it on that day we will actually– next time were going to have a larger list. Right, next time we’re going to have a larger list. The only thing that we started doing is we started, like again this is 2010, so people didn’t understand how this worked. We had on the special Thursday what we did with Facebook was, you click on the ad, we started putting Facebook ads and the ad would say hey this is special promotion that is like crazy, it’s only available for fans. And then you have to like to like it, right.
Steve: Oh yeah. They recently took that away right, I think it’s ending soon.
Jordan: They are going to take it away in like three months. But like back then and I wrote, like which one is going like based on like sweepstakes and stuff like that. Sweepstake for Facebook is a lot of that. Like you are going to enter the sweepstake you have to like us.
Jordan: I run back then normally, tabs on Facebook were used for starting and ligating and stuff like that, it wasn’t even HTML, it was Facebook marco. So it was like people were like impressed by that and you know we started growing our fans like crazy. You know back then, fans mattered way more than now.
Steve: Right, I guess.
Jordan: Most of the fans put senior posts right?
Jordan: So that was the first one. The other one that we did is we started doing a lot of things that were– again like a little bit cliché now, but like back then was like super crazy. Like a lot of viral things right. Like we would say okay during the welcome, first welcome, every time Mexico scores, we would give free shipping for the next four hours.
Jordan: One of the things we did is like okay Mexico wins the world cup, we’re going to give 50% of the entire you know the entire book store, for a week or something.
Steve: That’s pretty safe bet though, right.
Jordan: Well it was– we actually have to buy insurance for that one. Like…
Steve: Oh you did, okay.
Jordan: It’s like okay Mexico wins the world cup your company goes out of business so. You are like okay, it’s pretty safe bet, but like it’s better safe than sorry, right.
Jordan: So you know things like that. We also have the– what’s the name of this, the fan of the week. So you go to a website or Facebook and you take a picture with a– we started selling like USBs, like doctor USBs. If you go to our website, to our fan page right now, you are going to see the header is going to be a USB of a doctor.
Jordan: So we started selling those, like people love them. And then we would say okay if you are the fan of the week, you take a picture of that doctor in a nice, you know in a nice picture, or like a nice setting or something and the picture that has the most votes is going to win like 50 bucks of which compray [phonetic] of leLaleo credit every week.
Steve: Okay. So in a way your strategy was kind of based on contests and promotions to kind of make the company go viral, is that essential.
Jordan: Not just on promotions, but the key here is because doctors are really a cluster segment. In like okay if you get one and you are one, then he’s going to tell all his friends. So he’s going to be– really-really-really flood the market. Right, like if you get in you are going to get the entire– all the doctors, all their friends and stuff like that.
Steve: Got it, got it.
Jordan: So our idea is not about contest. Yeah contest play a big part on it, but our main idea is like okay we need to impress them. We need to show them we have a super fast product, the best service, like a service that is never seen in Mexico before. Like Mexico is not a country that is you know, all it done the tourist destination is not like a country where service is super important but it’s like okay, there’s this company, this new company these days called Sapples [phonetic].
Jordan: We need to copy everything they do. So you can’t like- I was also super obsessed with Sapple so the service, the customer’s service. Like it’s not new anymore, but like back then again it was going like oh Sapples. So we have to do like everything to make it like super fast. Like sometimes we just upgrade them for free, sometimes we put– you know upgrade the shipping cost for free. Sometimes we just put like free doctor stuff. Or like sometimes we say hey you know today is your birthday here free shipping, or like get some credit just today because of your birthday, happy birthday.
So more than contest it’s just to impress them, to make them feel like well this company, it’s amazing. Right, to start building a link, and once the link is built, it’s going to be really easy for them to go out and start telling their friends that we are great, right. Facebook allows– and Facebook and tweeter allows to actually do that you know. Another example we do is, we have the designers and our designers do is take hike raids [phonetic], timeline photos. Timeline images are amazing. And you know one of them is like you know not all super heroes need a costume right. And there is like a picture of a doctor, a superhero doctor.
Jordan: and we’re like hey guys do you want to put these as your timeline image? You know feel free to put it. A lot of people like a lot of people use that and put them as their profile picture. And the profile picture has the Laleo logo.
Steve: Got it. Okay.
Jordan: This time they like are getting really-really in touch, really-really built that, really link strongly with them. That was the main goal, my main goal.
Steve: Okay. So if we can take a step back, how did you actually source the products to be sold, like where did you get them from?
Jordan: Well at first I actually, I would– you know people would buy them, then I would buy it. Well I have someone in Mexico who would buy it for me and then ship it. By then leo-Laleo was still growing-growing-growing and there was a part that we would actually be like we have to find a buyer that will supply us with the books. So we find these books, so I say okay.
We have the technology like it was really– relatively all book stores they didn’t have websites or anything. So we actually partnered together and say okay, you are going to supply me the books and costs and I’m going to give you equity, and there were like sure. Like we already have no idea, we are not going to get into the online marketing or anything like that, so that’s fine. So we give you the books and cost, we ship them for you and then you know we are partners. And then at the end of the day they actually– we grew together a lot and we became one.
Steve: So this book store is in Mexico?
Jordan: Yeah, it’s in Mexico.
Steve: So where did they get the books from? Are these American books or are these…
Jordan: Well we have– you know the publishers are American, Spanish, Europeans. They actually buy them, like they were established, relatively established book stores, right.
Jordan: We could buy them directly to them from the source. And then– they are like drop shipping, right.
Steve: Yeah that was the model that you took right. So you partner with the book store, you handle the entire online component, and whenever you got an order you told the book store to ship it and then you guys gave them profit sharing or some sort of equity arrangement.
Steve: Right, okay.
Jordan: But you know little by little we actually start merging more, so then we have the same offices and then we– right now we are the same.
Steve: Okay, so you merged together, got it.
Jordan: Yeah and it’s actually pretty good because you know there was a point that I need someone I could trust to be in Mexico. And if we have a partner– well if I had a partner in Mexico I could actually– all the bills there they could do it right.
Jordan: That would be just carry each other’s technology, marketing, no recharge. So like you know finding good books, finding new books, finding new products, finding all that other stuff right. The thing that I dint know about is books right. So like I didn’t know you know which is a good book, or which one is not going to sell and stuff like that.
Jordan: So I needed the help there. So I think having a partner that actually knows the product and you actually know the business side, it was a really good idea.
Steve: So is– with Amazon in the picture and other companies, how has that affected your company over the years. So you sell books as well as medical equipment is that correct.
Jordan: Boos, medical equipment then we have our own eBook platform, so we developed our own new platform.
Steve: Like a Kindle type of thing you mean, like a platform meaning?
Jordan: More like a bling flick. More like the eBook platform right.
Steve: Like a file format?
Jordan: Yeah file format and you can– it’s online all these, so you down load the eBook, it’s in your computer; it’s in your iPhone, it’s…
Steve: Okay right, but its encrypted in your own encryption format basically.
Jordan: Yeah, but it’s more for– it’s not for reading, because our books aren’t for doctor’s right. Everything is more about like studying and like– it’s more around– like if you read a novel, you just read a novel then you toss it away.
Jordan: It’s more consulting book. So it’s…
Steve: Like a reference book?
Jordan: Yeah it’s more as a reference platform than a normal platform.
Steve: So search is very important.
Jordan: Search is very important yeah. We have to index the entire book, we have to index our cluster books, so yeah.
Jordan: So it’s actually important yeah.
Steve: Okay. So does Amazon offer these books as well?
Steve: They do not, okay.
Jordan: Well they offer the Kindle versions right, but this is more– it’s not about nature, it’s more about education, right, so it’s a little different. In case of Amazon, like we realize that the only way we can beat Amazon and all these big companies is if we actually– well right now we are like the– by far the larger distributor of medical books and medical equipment in Mexico. But it’s like you find a segment of the market that Amazon wouldn’t– won’t be able to compete. And then just focus 100% in that segment and then impress them. Like we want to make it really-really clear that we are the best option by far.
Like there’s– we love them, there’s a link with them, we stand behind them right. Like one of the examples is like, there was some political problem with doctors in Mexico. There were– you know they are like some case of negligence and stuff like that and you know, doctors were complaining and like fighting and stuff like that. So of course we have to stand behind the doctors and like completely be– you know be with them, and started supporting the course. You know they go to, you know to a protest we have to go to a protest, and like be 100% with them.
Steve: Got it.
Jordan: And like actually you are part of their life style right. Being a doctor means that you are actually going to buy books from Laleo and make a little bit from Laleo. It’s part of being a doctor. And at the same time we have to be part of the doctor’s community. So…
Steve: Okay, but in terms of just the product itself, your books have an advantage over the Amazon versions because your format allows for very quick searching of certain medical aspects that a doctor might want to look at, is that correct?
Jordan: Well the platform– platform wise we are more– again like Kindle is black and white, it’s more for reading novels and stuff like that. The platform allows you to highlight like more highlighting.
Steve: Got it, like for studying based features as well, okay.
Jordan: In the physical books we have way larger collection of books than anybody else, better price, yeah. Like you don’t– doctors don’t go to Amazon to buy medical equipment, they go directly to us.
Steve: So does that imply that you have to scan in all the books into your format before you listen.
Jordan: We actually get them directly from the source.
Steve: Okay, so they have– is your format proprietary?
Steve: It’s not okay, all right.
Jordan: It’s using a lot of open source.
Steve: Got it. Okay I understand now okay. So will this model work in the US then. Are you planning on expanding?
Jordan: The goal of our business is to provide medical professionals in the third world, access to technologies and tools only available in the first world right. So having said that, if we expand we would actually use the same model to Latin America and then to developing countries, right. We don’t want to expand it to Canada. Like Canada and the states in the very self, we’d rather actually– you know the beauty of what we offer is like we offer– we are a company that, I think we would be able to compete against any ecommerce in the states like in technology and innovation and all that other stuff.
But we are only focusing on the market that is completely neglected by everybody else, right. So our goal is to keep our sales in the you know developing countries and help those communities and help those doctors and give them tools. And the other day if you fix access to helker [phonetic] tools in the developing countries, you are going to make money right.
Steve: Right, okay. And then Amazon probably won’t even bother because the market is too small to begin with, is that accurate?
Jordan: The market is too small and then…
Jordan: Yeah like I never– I really, honestly don’t care about the competitors, like yeah of course it’s good to have around you know to look at them, but everything is about your client.
Steve: Okay. And in terms of distance inventory, because you carry physical goods too. So how do you kind of manage, how much, how many books to actually carry and stuff. Do you guys have a warehouse?
Jordan: Yeah, right now we have a lot. Like yeah a big warehouse yeah.
Steve: Okay, and so the inventory management, all of that. Are you kind of actively involved in managing that, or how does it work? I’m just curious.
Jordan: The physical goods, that’s actually the partner I have in Mexico right. So down like the shipping part and the managing of the books, I don’t manage that.
Jordan: I actually– the only thing I’m actually involved is buying and selling stuff. I’m importing stuff from china and the states.
Jordan: There’s like special maker equipment or makers who we want to bring.
Jordan: From china and states, then I would have to do all the retail.
Steve: So can we just talk about that process briefly. So how do you find vendors in china?
Jordan: There’s a website called Alibaba.
Steve: Okay, so you use Alibaba, okay.
Jordan: Alibaba, and the states I just Google them. And you know.
Steve: And how has your luck been using Alibaba, so what is your strategy.
Jordan: Find a good price, ask for a small sample and then if the sample is good, you start buying more and then just build a long relationship.
Steve: Okay and do you ever go over there to visit or is it just all over Skype or email.
Jordan: Everything is Skype.
Jordan: Honestly it can turn out even dangerous, like– but again first you ask for a sample, you get the sample and then you start asking for more and more and then you start getting like large orders right. So if you do something it’s like okay it’s going to be really hard. Like it’s– I kind of like propose I make it a long sale cycle, so you know they just want to skawer [phonetic] or something, they just want something quick right. They would never bother to actually you know have a long sale cycle for like five…
Steve: Sure. I’m just curious, since you sell medical equipment; doesn’t that make things a lot more complicated?
Jordan: Yeah. The medical equipment part is like super-super hard to bring anywhere. You know shipping medical equipment to other countries is also really-really complex, you have to you know, follow different countries laws and like different countries– yeah it’s really complicated.
Steve: Okay, and then that’s kind of some of the things that you deal with.
Steve: Do you have any stories where things went bad while you were trying to import.
Jordan: On the import side no, but like mostly the technology side, yeah.
Steve: Okay. Give me an example.
Jordan: I’m not a medical right, I have to code. So I remember when I was I school I went in for some drinks, I went back home. I started coding and there’s like I’m super tired, super drunk, so like okay finished coding, closed my computer and go to sleep. Like I’m sleeping and like 5a.m. I start getting calls. Now what do you want, calls-calls-calls. I see my phone is like ten you know missed calls and it’s like what do you want, it’s like well the entire website is down. What happened? It’s like; oh I go to my website and then like completely braking because of my code right.
Then like I finally actually realized that okay that is actually more important than just me trying to– you know it’s not a project. Like there’s a lot of people that depend on me, so I kind of like stop drinking and stop partying and like that day I got like way more mature for my age. Like I was like 20 or something that day. I said okay I should really focus on this.
Jordan: The other one is I was actually super efficient with my grades right. I wanted to get my GPA in Canada is from zero to 4.5.
Jordan: So I said I want to get three, which is kind of like decent, it’s kind of like 80%. So I did all the math and like okay this semester I need to get this-this-this. I was kind of like, it’s going to be perfect for a three. My last final exam, everything is set up, I just need to get like 70% on this exam and then you know everything is going to be fine. I’m going to be done with the school and like to focus on something else. So two days before the exam I was like okay, let’s just start preparing for the exam. I don’t want to focus on Laleo right now. And then all of a sudden I have a call. Like they call me from Mexico and they say, hey Jordan why do we have a picture of Shakira on the home page? And it’s like– you know Shakira, right.
Steve: Yeah of course, yes.
Jordan: I don’t have a picture of Shakira on the home page. And then I go to the website and there’s a picture of Shakira on the home page. And it’s not even my home page. Like someone actually got into the website, hacked the website and started redirecting all the traffic to a picture of Shakira.
Jordan: So I was like for the next day I just code and like try to find the problem. I had no idea what’s going on. I was like crying. I was yelling calling people like I’m super desperate. And then I finally fixed the bug, fixed the error like you now bash the product. And then the day of my exam I was like completely dead, I just like write the exam, you know hand it out and I failed the exam. So my GPA ended up being like 2.999.
Steve: Okay if we can just sag-way back to Leleo for a little bit. Today what are all the different traffic sources that come to your website and what are like the top three sources?
Jordan: Well kind of like every business, Facebook, Google, and SEO.
Jordan: As I mentioned before we actually have– we connect through either social media or doctors in Mexico.
Steve: Right, okay.
Jordan: And that’s also a good one, a good source of traffic.
Steve: So do you have your own Facebook group or is it just a fan page?
Jordan: Well we have our own fan page group that we actually coded, right. It’s a make sure I have Reddit it. It’s like education website. So I can give you the website. It’s AN…
Steve: You can tag– you can give it to me afterwards and I’ll just post a link to it. So you created a Reddit group as well?
Jordan: It’s not a Reddit. It’s kind of like a place where people just upload on medical cases.
Jordan: People discuss medical cases and if you upload a lot of medical cases you get points and stuff like that.
Steve: Okay, so this is like gamefication of your website.
Jordan: Gamefication of a permanent website, yeah.
Steve: Okay and this is all custom coded I would imagine right?
Jordan: Yeah. So basically again our idea is to actually get the medical community into a website and to use our product for free, and then if they are interested they can actually buy from us, right. One of the things we actually do is, and this is one — it plays a significance source of referral traffic. But it’s also pretty cool like the things that they do there– we have a case of a doctor that have a patient and they didn’t know what’s the problem with the patient, like the patient had a lot of little dots on his arm and he had no idea what was going on. And the reason and they actually found the reason through my website…
Steve: I see.
Jordan: Another doctor come and say okay the problem is he’s a farmer like the problem with being a farmer is you have to carry grains with your arm, right? He was actually carrying the grains with his arms and the pesticides were actually affecting his arm. He actually saved the– cured the doctor because of– cured the patient because of the…
Steve: So your site is also like kind of like a Web MD type thing then.
Jordan: It’s a little more informal because it’s for you know…
Jordan: Doctors giving– it’s a little less informal.
Steve: Sure, sure, right.
Jordan: It’s not a patient asking for a doctor opinion; it’s more like community of doctors just talking to each other…
Steve: Like a forum kind of, right?
Jordan: Yeah like a forum yeah.
Jordan: Like a forum based on you know usually the algorithm for body…
Jordan: And the questions that’s really popular is going to go up, then you can actually send private messages and like you get points if you are– you know you can follow people, you get points if you responded.
Steve: Got it.
Jordan: One actually tried to do it best and you know answer the questions like it’s kind of like educational website or doctor.
Steve: So at what point in the lifestyle– life cycle of your store can you actually pull something like this off, right? So for example in order to create a forum of some sort you need to have the traffic to back it up, right.
Jordan: We didn’t have the traffic, we actually used– for that one to get that up, we actually used Facebook.
Jordan: We didn’t our traffic, so we didn’t use– well again back then it was super impressive, 2011.
Steve: It’s still pretty impressive Jordan come on.
Jordan: Well, it’s not you know, it’s not like right now let’s say we have 100,000 likes on Facebook and it’s gone yeah, okay that’s good but it’s not like wow. Like back then I remember in 2009 we have like 15000 plants and people were like that’s crazy, like that’s insane.
Steve: In the doctor community 100,000 likes is still a lot right? Because the doctor…
Jordan: You know you can– it’s not that hard to see how a website has you know 15,000 likes anymore.
Jordan: So it’s good, but not that good but like we did in 2011 is we fully integrated with Facebook, right?
Jordan: So, if you wanted to log in to product, then you have to connect to Facebook.
Steve: I see.
Jordan: And you know it goes to your feed and you can actually start sharing with Facebook and every time you put a question, they would actually share in your wall, and then every time you get a reward you would share on your wall. And then we started doing a lot of advertising on Facebook. So the way we would advertise on Facebook is we put the question and then if you want to answer the question then you have to go to the website. And people– there are ads that we actually run that are not sales heap, but they are actually based on engagement and you know engaging. And during engaging they actually do much better than Google ads, right? What I see the difference with Facebook and Google ads is like Google ads is you have the intend, you want something, like just sell me something.
Jordan: Facebook what you do is like an introduction through your products. So it’s kind of “hey guys, check this out this is cool,” and you don’t try to sell them anything, you just put it there and then they see you, they see your brand, they see what you’re doing, they see what you represent and then they’re going to go back and buy. So basically what we notice is the revenue from Facebook wasn’t that strong.
Jordan: But what Facebook did was, when we used to run a lot of ads from Facebook, the searches on Google for our website would increase.
Steve: Interesting so was there was this just a co-relation or did you have evidence?
Jordan: Yeah yeah, there was very strong co-relation, right?
Jordan: Basically what happened is like people who see you there, they would play with you, they would go through websites you know check you out and then you would go on Google then search for you.
Steve: I see, so did you try to grab their email address at all with your Facebook ads, or was it purely informational?
Jordan: We actually try to get them to sign up right? Because of the nature of the business right now, you know I would really encourage people to enter the email address, but because it’s an e-commerce, and then really specialized ecommerce, we need way more information than email address, right? We would need to ask for the– the email address by its own is useless because we actually need to know who you are, what products you want.
Steve: Right right, okay for you yes. Okay.
Jordan: But if I wasn’t more general, I would totally use that Facebook, I would totally go for the email. We actually tried to implement the log in and sign up with email only, and then based on what you search, we will actually create a profile, but that’s still in the making.
Steve: Okay and one other question that I had for you which is kind of unique to you. I get this question a lot on my blog, and the question is what advice would you give for young people? What’s your take on going to college versus taking a year off and starting a business?
Jordan: It really depends, like if you get a job like if you go to college there’s two ways you can actually do it. If you study something that is going to get you a job then you are going to end up with a job and that’s about it, right? Maybe you should go to college if you want to study like to become an accountant or something that, go university get a degree and then get a normal job. But you actually want to go into entrepreneurship a job– education like college education is not going to help you that much. Like if you’re going to go into entrepreneurship and you still want to go to college, go and do something that you enjoy doing rather than you know something that is going to get you a job. Like the moment you get a job that is like nice and high paying and you know professional is the moment you’re going to kill then entrepreneurship spirit.
Steve: Okay I would tend to agree yeah okay. So you’re basically saying that if you really want to start a business and you want to go to college you pick a major that you really want to study as opposed to picking a major that is just for the purpose of finding a high paying job?
Steve: Is that accurate? Okay
Jordan: Computer science is always good.
Steve: Yes computer science is always very good.
Jordan: Yeah but like the only thing is like the cool thing– well probably the bad thing of starting like something that is not going to get you a job is that after you get your degree you won’t get a job, right?
Jordan: So you’re going to like force yourself to actually go on you know become an entrepreneur or get a really crappy job, so you better– you’re like super motivated and you start a business or you just end up on star bucks, right?
Jordan: So you know one of the main problems I have which well honestly I don’t think is a problem, but I’m not employable unless you actually employ me kind of like a start up that is moving really first and is doing everything, you won’t be able to get a job, right. Like I’m an entrepreneur, I know how to code, I have a label that is kind of like I know how to really code but I wouldn’t get a job as an engineer.
Jordan: Same with design, probably marketing I’m a little bit better, but you know basically as an entrepreneur you have to know everything about everything, right?
Steve: Right, jack of all trades.
Jordan: Yeah, yeah you have to know it as a level that is well my threshold is say okay, you have to know everything about everything and you can actually know who’s good and who’s bad you know at that.
Steve: Right, yes I agree with that, okay. And so you mentioned that you are an entrepreneur, so how did you end up at Wish pond as the COO.
Jordan: Well, I told you I needed to get a job.
Steve: But the listeners did not hear that story, so…
Jordan: Oh yeah. So basically I finished my degree in economics and then I actually in Canada and the main problem was I needed to get a job to stay in Canada. So I had like a lot of awards, I won to Canadian grove throughout the year and you know a bunch of rewards, but then I have to get a job in Canada. So that was like [inaudible 00:44:46] I was like applying for like really crappy jobs in Star bucks, and like stuff like that that actually you know just have a job and say that I’m working and I could stay in Canada.
But then I went to this company that I have an interview, a chat with the CEO and she actually just hired me on the spot, because I was like super driven and super excited, and like I was showing him all the stuff that I did from the website and all these that I did for my company, and you know he hired me and I was really clear and say you know his name is Ali. You know Ali I’m probably going to spend 70% of my time on my website and 30% of my time you know on the job. And so yeey sure whatever, and then he like little by little in a sneaky way he started like pushing me, pushing me and then like from 37 it went up to like 35% on Wish pond and 75 on Laleo and then like 60-40 and then 50-50 and right now most of my time is on Wish pond.
Steve: Okay, but Laleo is still doing very well, right?
Jordan: yeah, yeah it still but it doesn’t grow as first as the startup anymore.
Jordan: We’ve got you know wish upon growth is you know 20% month over month. Laleo is kind of like [Inaudible] [00:45:57] now is like 12% yearly, so it’s like Marco. Marco itself is like a normal business kind of growth.
Jordan: But still, it’s pretty solid right now.
Steve: Yeah okay cool, so any advice for would be entrepreneurs out there who want to just actually sell goods online?
Jordan: Don’t raise money.
Steve: That’s what this podcast is all about, not raising money.
Jordan: Yeah raising money is– find partners you know try to star gain profit, but yeah don’t raise money. The most important thing that for some reason businesses and technology companies tend to forget is that profit is important; it’s really really-really-really weird that people think that you don’t need to be profitable to actually be successful. A lot of people go with the Instagram model, like yeah you know we can become the next Facebook, the next school, we shouldn’t worry about money, we just have to grow a real base. For me that’s kind of like betting, right like you are actually not building a business, you’re putting everything on the rent…
Jordan: One bet, right? Like even if you actually make it, it’s going to be based on luck right? My suggestion is you shouldn’t try to aim for a business that is going to make you know a million dollar business like 100,000 dollar business. And then once you get there, once you’re profitable, what you should do is just get profit, invest everything on the money and the scale, and then more profit scale-scale-scale-scale, right? So you shouldn’t try to scale a product that is not even highly value based right? Be profitable first and then expand, pretty simple, but you know in this crazy world people seem to forget you need profit.
Steve: Yeah, and based on your story you kind of validated your product earlier on eBay, right?
Jordan: Yeah and I didn’t know what MBP was back then, but yeah I did a lot of MBps. I’m like oh this makes money, it’s like sure just do it. And I never thought, oh let’s bring all the doctors here and let’s give them free– I don’t know, free stethoscopes, and then hopefully one day they will find a way to make money out of them no-no-no. It’s like since day one we were actually making money.
Steve: And so today let’s say you want to sell another product, what would be some avenues where you would try to validate your product?
Jordan: I would create a landing page.
Steve: Using Wish pond?
Jordan: Using Wish pond? I mean the cool thing about businesses right now is that it’s really cheap to start a business, right?
Jordan: If you want to start an ecommerce back then I would have to hire someone to do it. I would’ve spent like even in Mexico standards, it was like $800 which is like a little money, maybe US would be way more, but right now you can just go to like I don’t know what platform you usually use like [inaudible 00:48:38].
Jordan: I would probably use Shopify and just you know set up a test business for $19 a month, see if the market is there, spend like two three 400 dollars to see whether there is some sales based on interest and…
Steve: What would you do, would you drive traffic with adwords, Facebook, what would you do?
Jordan: I would try to do a lot of things like a little bit of adwords, a little bit of Facebook. I would try to write a quick eBook and do some market automation to see where they come back, look at Reddix [phonetic], look at monetization all that stuff. At the end of the day I think it’s more– it’s kind of like a mixture of a blessing and a curse. They’re sometimes driven and sometimes they’re blindly driven, so if a product is not working don’t say “oh maybe it’s not working,” because of you know you spend over $100 and you have no sales, no traction, no nothing. Maybe try to get another one like there is no shame of failing, you try something it doesn’t work, I don’t think there’s a problem, you move on and you keep trying, right?
Jordan: It doesn’t work okay, it doesn’t matter, I’m going to try to keep pushing it, I keep pushing it and still it doesn’t work, and keep pushing it and put more money on it and then like just slippery slope. Just find something, spend a little time and do sort of promising, try to be impartial and just keep doing it, right? Don’t get like– it’s not very– you shouldn’t be a scared of like making mistakes and taking the wrong decisions and make wrong businesses, right?
Jordan: The problem is like when you make a mistake and you don’t want to admit it and use want to keep pushing, that’s when you’re going to have a lot of issues.
Steve: Okay and so in terms of your own personal limit, how do you know when to stop?
Jordan: Well I told you before Laleo I had like a lot of different small businesses, and most of them failed. And you know I actually learnt a lot about them, like I have a gaming website like flash games and make like 50 cents a day, I spend a lot of money on that, well a lot of money as a 17 year old kid, right?
Jordan: Like $200 or $300, I felt like okay no shame; I actually learnt how to code with that. I also have a website if you visit Mexico City we would actually give you like a personalized tour for you– super cheap for like $100 or something like that. You put some money on it, make some money without adsence– again it didn’t work. I bought a lot of his clips from eBay just you know You Tube website, affiliate marketing, pyramid schemes like everything, right?
Jordan: Like try for a few months if it doesn’t work, then okay whatever. I didn’t even say oh I feel like it just it doesn’t work, same thing at Wish pond, right? Like when we started Wish pond we went like a local search product, so we have an app that you can search for an iPad, and it will tell you where you can buy an iPad around you.
Jordan: Which kind of it was a little backwards because everything is moving online, and we say oh no-no you can actually do it, you should actually search on your phone go buy an iPad instead of buying a normal phone. So it’s kind of a little backwards, so it’s kind of like we quickly decided that that doesn’t work and we moved. Then Facebook stores, Facebook stores are like super lame, and people don’t buy on Facebook and we just say okay this isn’t working, let’s move. And you know keep moving, keep moving, keep moving like there’s no shame and your recent approach doesn’t work. And then we actually did well with contest and just again this is good but like what else can we do? I mean contests are like super strong, but like we keep trying, keep trying, keep trying and I think we actually have problem that is bidding a lot of value to a lot of users right?
Jordan: That’s when you say okay, let’s keep pushing here, say with Laleo, when I started selling books and started making money and you know started diversifying and people liking and like there is some connection and people kind of like we love what you are and you are changing something, it’s like okay maybe there is something here and I should actually put more time and effort here, right?
Jordan: It’s really obvious, like you actually see it when it happens.
Jordan: Yeah I think my biggest advice is if you fail just drop it, don’t be scared of failing just be scared of failing and not admitting that you failed, like just keep trying to do something if it doesn’t work.
Steve: Okay, hey Jordan I want to be respectful of your time here, we’ve already been talking for quite a while. If any of the listeners out there want to get a hold of you or ask you some questions, where can they find you?
Jordan: Well my Twitter handle is Jordantk; you can make a follow me there.
Steve: Okay, great all right Jordan, well thanks a lot for your time. I learned a lot and I still find it really amazing that you started all this at age 17, so thanks for coming on the show.
Jordan: No problem.
Steve: All right take care.
Hope you enjoyed that episode, guys like Jordan really make me feel like a slacker to be quite frank. After all I didn’t start my online business until I was well into my 30’s and here is Jordan starting his at age 17. Now I find his story truly amazing and it’s incredible that he’s now the COO of an incredible internet marketing software company called Wish pond.
For more information about this episode, go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode42. Once again I just wanted to thank 99designs for sponsoring this episode, I know a lot of you listening are waiting on the sidelines and trying to get the courage to start your own online business. I also know a lot of you out there run your own business already and know that your website design could be better. Designing a website or a logo is not intimidating anymore thanks to 99 designs, where you can get over 300,000 designers to compete for your design. All you’ve got to do is list your project on their site and within 48 hours you’ll get dozens of design submissions to choose from and from there you can ask for slight tweaks and changes until you are a 100% satisfied with the results. And the best part is that the price is very reasonable and there’s a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
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