Disclaimer: The Transcript Is Auto Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors
Intro: 00:00 From ABC News Radio, KMET 1490 in Southern California, this is BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio, with your host, Tyler Jorgenson.
Tyler: 00:14 Welcome out to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio. I am your host Tyler Jordan and it’s a day I have the pleasure of speaking with Earnest Epps who is one of the current kings of e-commerce because he’s doing something that a lot of people didn’t think was possible and that’s high ticket drop shipping and e-commerce. One of the things I think is really cool about Earnest is he is always willing to teach, share and help the next guy. So welcome back to the show Earnest, thanks for coming out man.
Earnest : 00:42 Hey man, appreciate you guys have a meal?
Tyler: 00:45 So let’s jump straight back. Right, right to the beginning. How did you get into e-commerce?
Earnest : 00:52 Oh Man. Like you want to know about the beginning, beginning man, you guys are more like what are you selling stuff on eBay or like Craiglist. Oh Man. So if we go back to like the real beginning of like E-comm like most people just look at my success from when I started back in 2015 and just like, you know, uh, you guys want to know like, Hey, what does that really start at? Right. And really started back in 2009 I actually got a kind of funny, because I don’t even as most traditional people think about e-commerce, like you see an ad or a line, right? Learn about it. I actually got a direct mail flyer in the mail and it was an invitation to go to an actual live event where they were talking about like how to be able to make money on the Internet. And it was through like e-comm and I was just like, man, that sounds really cool. Like, you know, make money on the Internet, you know, there are no limits, there’s no reach, you know, as far as the limit of the reach. So I was like, okay, once the first event bit. And then at the first event they sold you to another event and you know, I didn’t realize it. I was in like a sales funnel, right? Oh, I went from the first event that was free to the second event that you paid for. And then that event I paid for like a $15,000 package and I had no idea what that guy was doing.
Tyler: 02:04 So let, let’s back up. Like what were you doing before? Who was Earnest Epps before e-commerce?
Earnest : 02:09 Yeah, so right when I had learned about is started to learn about e-commerce, I was working as a marketing director for remodel and company. So that’s what I was doing at that period of time. So I think like where I was at in terms of like most people that are looking to like start a business, become an entrepreneur was the fact that because you know, as what the conversation was getting ready to progress was like I dropped the 15 grand and I didn’t do anything. I kind of like poked at the business. Like I did stuff when I felt like it, not because I should have done it because it was my business. Cause I had, you know, a nice paying job, things were going gray. And, you know, I just had this, you know, side business by most people, uh, you know, Kinda treat and that’s why you don’t really genuinely, I didn’t see any type of success from 2009 or 2015 you know, I kinda quit that on a short after I paid for that program because like, you know, uh, I tried to convince myself that it didn’t work in reality, I wasn’t really kind of working it like most people don’t.
Tyler: 03:10 I think you might’ve been the one that said it the other day on social media. I may have been you, I’ve read you don’t hit your goals at first. Adjust your habits, not your goals. Right. Absolutely. I went through a lot of similar stuff. I mean I’ve been, you know, kind of doing side hustles and websites and stuff since yeah. And probably 2002, 2000, three early, like early days of building it out on html, Microsoft front page and like having to upload the whole thing every time you make an edit. Right? Like all this kind of stuff. But it was always like the side thing and maybe make a little extra money on the side. And then when my, I had a business that crashed and I needed a complete revolution. I think that’s the first time I went kind of all in on one of my e-comm stores and that’s the first store that I had that went to like the six-figure mark.
Earnest : 03:58 Yeah,
Tyler: 03:59 I think people can do a side hustle, but only if it’s a full-time passion, like full-time belief in that they’re going to do it. But what you were saying is like most people start with your story in 2015 but it really started back here and that’s because that’s all like the learning and the changing of belief patterns. What happened in 2015 that said, okay, this isn’t going to just be a side thing anymore. I need to make this work.
Earnest : 04:21 Yeah. So one of the immediate things that happened actually a little bit before 2015 was roughly, I think it was like right around 2013 and you know, I had actually gotten fired working as a, I was a sales director at that point working for a marketing firm and I was managing some really large contracts for some multi-billion dollar companies and life was great, man. Like they were paying for my cell phone. They were paying. My call, are they paying, you know me, rich, fancy cars fly all over the country. I could just swipe the card and indeed all good. You know, I was working my face off while I was working there and I just got fired overnight. Like instantly. Like I, I just, you know, my whole world just came crashing down at that point because I would have never thought that I would have been in that type of position based off, you know, the amount of revenue I was helping the company generate. I mean, yeah.
Tyler: 05:16 Yeah. You weren’t, you weren’t being fired for being slothful or unproductive. She of strategy somewhere in a business that you had no control over.
Earnest : 05:23 Yeah. They just, you know, quote-unquote like wanted to go a different direction. Right. You know, so that literally broke my soul and really for like the next like the year I became extremely depressed. There was, you know, thoughts of like come in suicide just cause like, you know, I just felt like really bad. Like, you know, just being in the situation that I was and I had kids and I wasn’t performing as a man. My fiance was like professionally with what she was doing and I was just like, man, I’m just not, and any value to life at that point. Like, I really just Kinda lost myself worth a little bit, just emoting in like that season in a, it wasn’t until a friend had given me a call I used to work with and he was actually someone that I had trained and um, he gave me a call and you know, just through that call and like he had no idea what I was going through, but he just kind of reminded me a little bit of who I was. Right. And I was just like, wow. Like he’s right. He reminded me of like all the amazing things I did when we worked together and all the stuff that I achieved. And I was just like, man, I need to really like get back to that. Like there’s no reason why I can be performing at the level that I should be. Right. And that sparked enough for me to be able to get to an event where I went to an event and, um, I seen Eric Thomas, who’s a motivational speaker live for the first time and it wasn’t even anything really that he said. It was more so his business partner, he gave like a little presentation before the event started. Oh, like what’s your nightmare? And I was kind of living in my nightmare, but knowing that I really wanted to be able to, well my kids are in a position to where I started to perform.
Earnest : 06:57 Like you know, as they got older that if something came up that I will be able to like really be there for them because my dad had walked away from my family my sophomore year when I was in high school. So I said I didn’t want to necessarily put my family in like at minimum, like the financial position that I had to kind of go through and see and kind of, you know, Phil as I was kinda getting older and stuff like that with everything my mom had to take care of. So, you know, I said, you know, enough was enough after that event and I said I got to do something right. And so I was just like, you know, what the heck do I do? I don’t know what I’m going to do and I’m going to do something. It’s just amazing how like when you make a decision that you really, truly like want to do something that, you know, the universe just kind of shifts a little bit and starts like putting opportunities in front of you. And so, um, it just so happens so immediately, like right after that, I wouldn’t start at a, a a sales companies. I’m kind of modeling what I was doing at the marketing company, right? Going out, getting new contracts. I got a contract with a really big cable company. Like immediately I had it gave me an area in Virginia, DC and Maryland. Um, and that started going really well. And then as I was scrolling through Facebook one day, I seen an ad for e-commerce drop shipping. And I was just like, ah, I remember that. I didn’t make any money.
Earnest : 08:14 You know, I started to dig a little bit deeper because the concept always amazed me. Like, because Warren Buffet, he said a quote once where he said, if you don’t learn how to make money while you sleep, you’re going to work until you die. And I was just like, you know, that quote is always stuck. We’re being like, you know, being able to really genuinely create, you know, opportunity for yourself when you have money coming in on a consistent basis, whether you were putting the time in or whether you weren’t because of that foundation that you built based on the vehicle that you decided to take advantage of. And so I remember that during that season. And you know, I was like, man, let me dig a little bit deeper because I could’ve given myself like, all these excuses as everybody else does. Like nobody makes the money doing that. Sounds like a scam. Or I tried before, oh, my sister’s cousin’s uncle lost his shirt and like all this craziness, let me dig a little bit deeper. So I went to Youtube University, right? And, uh, I started getting educated, right? And, uh, the biggest thing for me was that I started seeing more people like winning as I was a little research and, uh, I was just like, man, like if all these people are creating some opportunity, and I ran across a statistic where show, like with e-commerce at that point in time it was projected to do like $600 billion in revenue just in like the u s but I’m like, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. Right. I understand that there’s people buying stuff like offline. I know people doing it offline. Here’s some numbers that say it’s online. I’m like, I’m pretty sure I can figure out how to get like a small percentage of those people doing those transactions.
Earnest : 09:45 Like I know I could probably do that. Right. You know, at that point I was just like, you know what? Like let’s do this, let’s actually make this thing happen. But the shift was, again at this point was that I’m going to do this for 30 days consistently and do everything from like a bunch of these different courses that paid for cause at that time like, you know, I kind of like most people, like you get into game and you start seeing all these ads. So like, ah, I need to buy something. So I bought like four or five different programs all at once. I went through all the material and I was just like, you know, this whole ecom thing, you know, I see obviously a lot of people focused on selling cheaper products. I was just like, well don’t you have to do the same thing to sell a lower price products as you do to sell higher ticket products. I mean you still got to build a website and you still gotta drive traffic. You still got to find suppliers to fulfill orders. Like all the logistical competencies of the business is the same. But why I focus on like, you know, seeing if I can sell, you know, higher priced product. So that was the decision I had made at that point in time. But back to the thought process was like, okay, I got this business, now let me evaluate really why I’ve never been successful in business at this point. I was never consistent. I was never persistent. I lacked the inability to execute on the stuff that I learned. I never, you know, really just went all in for me like I did for my job. Right. That’s how I was able to like, you know, kind of come up through the corporate ladder pretty quickly.
Earnest : 11:13 You have a young age because I was a marketing director when I was like 22, 23 years old. Right, right. And the company could trust me to do that because of, you know, the results. I was able to get the results. I was able to see him get so forth and so on. As I kind of climb, uh, you know, kinda climb that arena. So I said, you know what one, I give myself the same energy, time and effort, you know, outside of what I’m doing full time. This is business as I would with anything else that I was doing from a full time perspective. Just do that for 30 days and see what happens. That’s, I just made myself a 30 day promise.
Tyler: 11:46 Isn’t that interesting how a lot of people, as an employee you can thrive because all of the dots are laid out, right? You have to go and connect the dots. But you know, hey, if I, if they’d given me the blueprint, if I connect all the dots, it’s going to spell out a decent paycheck. But when it’s your own business, you have to create the dots. And so all of a sudden you’re just left with this blank page. And there’s a lot of really talented people who are phenomenal employees, phenomenal sales directors, phenomenal operators and managers, but aren’t good architects or off, you know, business owners. And so you made a switch right then where you made a, you said, hey, I’m going to go all in. I’m gonna, I’m going to start drawing out the dots. I’m gonna start making it the plan. Right? And now you’re what? You took courses, you took other people’s advice, you went all in. What happened in those 30 days?
Earnest : 12:33 Yeah, so this was September 2nd, 2015 and I remember like it was yesterday. I’ll never forget it. It’s like that day I was like, you know what? Last night this thing happened, I made the 30 day promise to myself and uh, it actually doesn’t even take me 30 days to actually start making money. It only took me 22 days. So I went, uh, I built a site, I did the whole nine yards, like everything you need to do core. And I launched it September 22nd and I had my first sale no less than 48 hours after driving traffic on in that store. And when the sale happened, actually I thought it was a real, I was like, hey, is this like, is this a scam? Did like somebody order something by mistake? It was for like $340. I was like, oh my God. Like I see everybody else getting like $20 $40 orders, I guess. Got One for 300. So I ended up calling the guy like, hey, you know, did you actually order this? Like is he? He’s like, yeah man, you guys gonna send me for my product. But that was just our verification process, you know, you never know. These days on the end of that, I was just like, wow. Because that was the first time I heard the infamous for those that have Shopify stores like to chain. Yeah. Yeah man. I was driving home from church and I was just like, Hey, I like, like I heard the noise. It’s like, what is, I don’t have that ring tone. Like what does that come from? Yeah.
Tyler: 13:54 So a new kind of Hallelujah coming from your pocket. I remember. So I would to kind of a similar thing, I actually went from building, I sat down and built the site from 10 o’clock to about 3:00 AM and then it was just, I mean, one just hobbled together, wordpress site. Right. This was before Shopify and uh, got enough of it put together that it could function. Just followed a basic blueprint, set up a basic ad, went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I had made over 200 bucks. I was like, okay, there’s something to this, right? So for me, there was a significant shift psychologically of the week when those first couple of sales came in. And then it became, okay, how do I go now? I remember I did something that I try to advise other people not to do, which is I set a goal. And once I hit that, I was like, cool. I didn’t reset my goal. Right. And I was like, man, looking back, I left a lot of money on the table. So you’ve grown from having that first $340 sale. What’s your best month now in that same, is it that same store, first of all?
Earnest : 14:56 Yeah. So I’ve been running that store for three years now. I’ve had that store the whole time. I’ve got multiple other ecommerce stores. So on that one, you went from three 40 what’s your best day? Yeah, so my best day was a $12,000 in revenue. So, you know, I did more today then, you know, when I first started just looking back at it to like, I was happy when I did that in a month. So yeah, it’s been a crazy journey now, you know, it’s about 12,000 miles every day. But uh, you know, to be able to see an ad just literally happened the other day. I think it was like Friday or something like that. It was just like, I woke up to like a $5,000 sale and it was like a $2,000 3000 I was like, man, they keep coming.
Tyler: 15:39 I love it because I launched in what I called mid ticket where it was high ticket kind of at the time in terms of, I mean the Internet’s grown in acceptance a lot over the last decade, right? People are willing to go on and spend five grand from a website. They may not have ever heard it would not do that a decade ago. Oh No, absolutely not. Thresholds of comfort. I’ve increased. My average order value at the, when I first launched was like about one 50 which was quite a bit, and it was [inaudible], you know, I was in this supplement space. So it’s a little different too when it’s a product that’s, you know, you’ve got name brands and you got big tickets around, there’s some assumed authority, right, that you get to have by having name brands on your site. Just cool. Well yeah, that’s part of the cheat code of a high ticket. E-COMM is like selling brand new products. I love it. So what would you say, let’s, and I want to dive into a little bit more about built to sell and about what you’re working on now, but just for those people who are listening where like, okay, Tyler nerds just shared their stories about how they made their first couple a hundred bucks. What would you say is step one for someone who’s like, where we were years back and wanting to get that first thing going, what would you give them as that piece of advice?
Earnest : 16:43 Yeah, the first thing really is like, man, you gotta get your mind right. You know, if, uh, I have a little saying where I say a, if your mind day, right? You Grind Day, right? Because you know anything that you do without having the right mindset associated to it is, you know, just as bad as looking at a hamster going on on a wheel. You know, they’re like, man, that Ham says movie. What is just going and going and going all in the same place. So man, you really gotta it, you together first. Like really like what is it that you want and why do you want it? Because the thing is that that stuff is going to happen and life is going to come and smack you, right upside the head. Right? And I’m telling you like it’s always something that’s gonna happen along your journey. I don’t care what kind of business that you run. Assault is going to happen. Payment process is going to like break. You’re going to need to get a new merchant account. You’re going to have a customer complaint, somebody of the charge bag like, man, what is that? Don’t worry. You’ll, you’ll see it at some point. There’s actually a, this guy named Murphy, right? And he has his law Murphy’s law, right? And it says, Hey, anything can go wrong, will go wrong.
Earnest : 17:50 Okay. So Murphy will visit you one day in other this conversation and that God has done till they got Murphy and he’s here right now. So prepare yourself like mentally be ready and really focused on like, why does that you want to do what you do because really like, you know, the, to achieve whatever now for looking at, just like from a financial standpoint to achieve whatever it is that you’re looking at financially. Then there’s multiple examples. I mean, I don’t really care like what arena that you want to be whenever you like looking to sell supplements, physical products, whether you’re looking to run a consulting business, if you want to run an affiliate marketing company, if you want to no, start out offline, you know, McDonald’s, there’s a blueprint. Have somebody out there that’s most likely achieve what it is that you wanna achieve. And I love the quote that Tony Robbins says, he says, success leaves clues. There’s somebody out there that you can model, they get the results that you want to get, you know, but it’s a matter of, again, starting off ground zero saying, hey, like what do I want? Why do I want it? And then, you know, really focusing on what it is that you’re looking to get moving forward from there.
Tyler: 18:55 Awesome. And so tell us about the built to sell course, why you created that and you know what your goals are there.
Earnest : 19:03 Yeah. So a build to sell a, if you guys on those, uh, e-commerce academy that, uh, that I was able to put together and really it’s the whole entire process of what I did to be able to walk away from my nine to five job. I mean, every bit of my journey and all the like condensed version of all the information that’s out there on the Internet, on how to go from zero to being able to, you know, replace replacing nine to five income all in a, in a condensed, you know, easy to learn e-commerce academy. Right. Because I know it was so challenging out this so challenging with all these different people talking about, hey, do this, do that, you know, you should install this app, you should run this type of campaign. And I got it, you know, so condensed and broken down was an easy step by step process that you can be able to walk through and put the pieces of the puzzle together to be able to start your own ecommerce business strategically being able to sell high ticket ECOm products. Uh, because again, I kind of look at that as you don’t want the same energy and effort to sell that $10 product as you are $1,000 product. But you’ve definitely got, you know, a little bit more potential to make a lot more quicker thousand dollar products.
Tyler: 20:08 I always say, like start with the high ticket and then once you have the machine working, you can add in low ticket and other things to bring in more customers to increase your customer base. But starting in that low ticket space is exhausting. Um, it’s amazing whenever I, you know, I see people talking about building their first funnel. They’re like, well, what kind of a lead magnet do I need? What kind of a tripwire do I need? I’m like, man, you don’t need that stuff until your court offers or slamming. Like once you have good products selling a good prices, right. Then you can think about how to bring in more people at different parts of it. But
Earnest : 20:42 absolutely. Yeah. Same thing for fire ticket ecommerce. I tell a lot of people like the success principles that we have are pretty symbiotic no matter what industry that you’re in. Like I, I’ll take in stuff that, you know, I was doing, you know, working on different things from offline perspective and I’ve just kind of married them with like, Hey, like when people do this offline, maybe that, like this would be something cool that would happen online. One of the things, I don’t know if on this video is being recorded, but if it is when I’m holding up here, it’s like a little brochure from like Costco, right? Yeah. They’re, one of the things I do is I keep these marketing materials. They come in the mail magazines and I study know I don’t spend all day doing it but I studied like the layout, like how was this photo position in this picture? How did they add the pricing on here? Did they actually do a slash through the price or is it just saying it’s marked down, you know, what type of font did they use? How did they position like any reverse for our school. I forgot to say was it risk reversal, right. You have any of that on the ad, like know I’m studying all this different stuff all the time. For me it’s like, you know, I know people ask, I seen them posted the other day like how many days or how many hours do you spend on your business? And I’m like, well that’s the wrong question to ask me because I’m always doing something in my business whole day. I’m studying like out of smart water bottle is laid out and what I did it like was it longer to latitude and you got broken English. Like you don’t got to be as sharp as silicon sheds and make money. Okay. But you know what? I really liked one of my VA’s are reasonably high as she is as Sassy man. He’s absolutely crushing it with like lots. Yes. Yeah. No Man. We just kind of grew up like this. Now we’re talking about house. Yeah, that’s right.
Tyler: 22:24 You covered two really good things I want to mention there, which is when you go all in in a business, your entire view changes, right? And you start seeing the matrix of your business. You start seeing like what you just said, your incentives is funnel hacking, your flyer hacking. You’re looking at what works in other things. What are they, you know, most likely a company like Costco is mailing the same type of flyer over and over and they’d run some tests, hopefully. Yeah, right. Most likely. Yeah. Don’t start from zero. Start from where they’re at and start using those positives. And then, yeah, I actually totally, I’m very into outsourcing and you know, using to find people’s strengths, right. To fill into the weaknesses that we have. And I think that’s huge. I think that’s really important.
Earnest : 23:05 So also like the ultimate, like cheat code to be able to go out and get results quickly. It’s just modeling what your competition is doing. So like if it’s like step one on launching a store and you’ve never built a store like, I mean if as simple as something like whether you use a Shopify or WordPress, just model LJ competition is doing it in that particular niche and most likely you’ll be able to see some results and then from there you can start getting creative. So I just have to drop that nugget for people.
Tyler: 23:33 Yeah. I’m a big believer, don’t reinvent the wheel. Right? Start with what’s working and then test to improve. What’s the next big thing for Ernest? What are you working on man? So the next big thing for me is know really just being able to get out in the marketplace and you know, really share my built to sell uh, e-commerce academy with as many people as possible. Cause I know there’s a lot of people really looking to like put the pieces to the puzzle together with Ecom and you know, a lot of things that I said that I didn’t want to do cause one of the questions a lot of people ask me, well you know, all when I get in this program like am I going to get up-sold or is it then all this other stuff to that am I going to need? And no like for me personally, I was like let me get him to everybody, every single thing that I needed to go from zero to multiple six figures. But the eCommerce business right now, if there are different things that you want to supplement, like hey, you don’t want to build your website, you don’t want to drive traffic. Sure Jillian wants to run your business. You want somebody to help you do that and we got opportunities for you to be able to do that. But if you have somebody that says, Hey, I want to learn e-commerce, like I want to start putting this business together, you know, outside of my nine to five, so I can be able to potentially walk away from that and create a, a nice six-figure income for myself. Then that’s what my e-commerce brand academy is designed for. And aside from that, you know, traveling the globe and they can all stages all across the, you know, all across the world.
Tyler: 24:50 So yeah, I see, I see you’re at tons of events and traveling and speaking. I think it’s awesome. The Fun thing is I always ask people, what’s one major item on their bucket list that you’re going to hit in the next 12 months? I know you’re traveling a lot. I never want the question to be a business thing, even though we just said business is always 24 seven but we do this so that we can live a life we want. Right? So what’s one big bucket item thing you’re going to do in the next little while?
Earnest : 25:13 You know, for me, well first of all, for me I like calling it a life list. Not a bucket list. Cause that’s, that’s a little negative. But no. So my life list man, really [inaudible] you know, I’m really focusing on just [inaudible] being able to build out, you know, just a lifestyle for the lifestyle for like myself and my family because I really want to be able to, you know, position myself to where, you know, I can create a roadmap for my kids to follow and for other people I’ll hear in the marketplace, we’ll be able to follow and see more and more people get results. Like, you know, I had one of my clients that I worked with last year who we just reconnected and it was just like, ah, he’s a college student. He’s going into his master’s degree was just like, yeah man. last year I put in everything that you said to do. And you know, I just had my first six-figure malts a little while ago and I was just like, wow man, that’s crazy. Like you’re going to schools and college kid for a master’s degree and he’s already making six figures a month in his business. I mean like, so when he finishes up with school, like we were talking about it today, like he can, no, you can do whatever it is he wants. Like if he wants to, you know, go and be a doctor. If he wants to, you know, transition, it’d be like a professor or something like that, you know, money is not going to dictate, you know, how he has to live his life. And that’s the biggest thing for me is like what am I self and my family have a position to where we can make decisions based on where we want to do that based on the dollar bill. It’s in the bank account. So you, for me it’s just really just digging deeper into that foundation and that legacy because I know I’ll be able to serve and impact more people and I’ll be able to ultimately sell for my spouse. So my family or for you know, the ultimate success or multiple generations.
Tyler: 26:49 I love it. I’ve known you in little while now and I know that those are your motivations. You’re one of the most genuine guys I’ve met out there in this space. And so check out www.earnestepps.com or is it built to sell.com is also your other one, but are builttosell.net all right, so check goes out and I highly motivate you too, interact with their needs to go, you know, see what he’s got going on in his website, learn a little bit more about his story and if you’re looking to get your first thing launched, start there. It’s a great place to go. It is my turn to tell you it’s your turn to go out and do something.
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