There’s an old saying in business that the first person up a hill often takes all the arrows. Simply put, pioneers or product innovators are most likely met with certain death or failure, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or startup. 56% of product innovators die trying to be “first to market.” Understanding that the odds were stacked against us, and knowing that we would be met with a high probability of failure, I still decided to climb that hill knowing that, if we were to succeed, we would be creating an entirely new subcategory in the eCommerce landscape by creating Profitable Turnkey eCommerce Stores. We certainly were not the first to create the phrase “turnkey stores,” but we were the first company to truly provide the customer base with a proven model and formula of starting a store and receiving immediate sales. We condensed 19 years of eCommerce experience into pre-packaged bundles so that anyone, regardless of age or experience, could operate and run a successful eCommerce store.
With perfect timing, the moment we reached the pinnacle of that hill and planted our flag in the eCommerce space as the innovators of the market, arrows began shooting our way. Being an innovator in any space simply means that you’re able to identify and capitalize on an opportunity that no one else is yet able to see. Therein lies the problem. Because no one else is able to see the opportunity, there is no blueprint, no map, no guide and no data to help charter the course. You must trust solely on your intuition to navigate through the journey.
History Truly Repeats Itself
If you study history, you may be aware that the first colonists to reach America were a group of entrepreneurs called the Virginia Company. These entrepreneurs took great risks by sailing to the unknown land of America. Soon after accomplishing their goal of finding success with silver and gold, winter came, killing half the colony with famine, drought and illness. The irony of this tale does not escape me. They were the first to colonize this unknown land with vast opportunity and potential. But, the colonists had no idea how to operate and navigate the foreign land, causing half of the settlers to die. This is the innovator's dilemma.
Moment of Clarity
Being first to market in any industry comes with a great burden. Not only do you have to be the first to figure out a proven business, you also have to educate your customer base on the product or service they are purchasing. At Hiremyteam, we had to learn this painful lesson the hard way. 95% of Shopify store owners fail and 77% of them don’t even make it to their first sale. What these glaring failure rates prove to me is that the customer base truly does not understand the product they are purchasing. Let’s have a brief second of honesty and admit that we’ve all seen those youtube videos with the young kid in front of a Ferrari or Lamborghini telling you how he made $1,000,000 last week and how you can do that too. These videos are plastered all over the internet and most of the market has fed into that narrative. When I listen in on some of the calls from out sales team, I’m shocked by the questions from some of potential clients, my favorite being “Is there any guarantee if I sign up?” I almost want to yell at my salesperson and tell them to reply, “NO, guaranteed income is called A PAYCHECK!” My reaction to this comes from a space of personal sacrifice. I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars and I’ve sacrificed almost 20 years of my life to figure out how eCommerce truly works. I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours banging my head in front of a computer to carve out a path in this space. Through my struggle, however, I found clarity.
This is a real business
When we first started HireMyTeam, one of the roles I played was to talk with upset clients and help them understand the process of selling online. Most of my time was spent explaining the implementation process, different marketplace policies and overall marketing strategies. I’d have wonderful calls with these clients and feel like they were truly starting to understand the space.But, one week later, they’d be back on my calendar and I’d be having the exact same conversation with them from the previous week's call. After 6 months of this, it was obvious that the marketplace needed education. When people buy an online business, they’re buying into a dream or an ideal that they’ve conjured up in their minds about working from the beach and making millions of dollars while doing so. At some point down this journey, however, an interesting thing happens, almost as though the client has an epiphany of some sort. They realize that they bought an actual business that involves real work. They realize that running a successful business is painful, scary and unpredictable.
Take the Arrows - The Conception of HMTU
As a company, if we were to survive the innovator's dilemma, then we would need to embrace the fact that we were going to have to take the arrows and educate our client base in the process. We needed to have thick skin, swallow our pride and educate the marketplace the correct way. There was no way around it. We needed to create a University to help people understand the complexity of what they were purchasing when they were purchasing an eCommerce business. As an industry leader, the burden was on HMT to create an online school that set the bar for eCommerce education and go into detail about every step and process needed to become successful in the online space.
Our goal is to help our clients understand that, at the end of the day, you’re purchasing a business. Your success rate is directly correlated with your business acumen and the amount of knowledge you have in the space you chose to enter. HMTU takes the approach of “build while you learn,” a concept that has served me well over the last two decades. Hands on experience is key to education. By building a store in real time while following the instruction of the HireMyTeam University staff, we hope to help you avoid the pitfalls of failure that most people fall into when attempting to sell online. To my innovators and explorers, take the arrows and embrace the pain. Let the screams of ignorance serve as your fuel in climbing that hill. Understand that being first to do anything comes with great criticism and it’s those who endure and push through that achieve greatness. Take the arrow and will yourself to escape certain death.