Warning: this book cannot make you rich.
Probably not the blurb you were expecting for a book about making money online, was it?
But there is a reality that you need to be aware of: there is no book on earth that can give you the Golden Ticket. The idea that you can print money from a magical money vending machine (“put $1 in, you’ll get $4 out!”) is a lie. It’s a lie spread by internet marketing “gurus” who have a vested interest in your belief in it. More belief in the lie = more seats sold in their “masterclass.”
So, what’s the truth?
You need to learn the fundamentals. In How to Start and Grow an E-Commerce Business, we’ll teach you the time-tested principles of entrepreneurship and digital marketing. We’ll show you the framework that thousands have used to create brilliant businesses, since long before the dot com boom. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to scale, this book was compiled with you in mind.
But this book cannot make you rich. It’s up to you to find it within yourself to apply the fundamentals to the real world. We’ll teach you the steps, point you towards the right resources, and encourage you to take action. However, at the end of the day, the task of building a great business lies on one person’s shoulders: yours.
If I said anything else, I’d just be another guru, spreading the lie…
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have always had a deep seated desire to start a business. When I finally discovered the world of e-commerce and the amazing opportunity that it represents, I knew I had to compile my notes and share my method with the world.
My father is a self-made man. He started with nothing—no money, no prospects, no business degree—and built a formidable financial advisory and wealth management business over a 40-year period. If you can’t tell, I’m pretty proud of him. From the time I was young, he encouraged me to study entrepreneurship and pursue building a business of my own. And so, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a deep-seated desire to create something. At a young age, I fell in love with the idea of being my own boss, achieving financial freedom, and avoiding enemy #1, a 9-5 desk job, at all costs.
As a high schooler, I vividly remember sitting in the guidance counselor’s office for mandatory career advice. Across from a prickly middle-aged man in a tweed suit, I listened impatiently. He dutifully droned on about some of the most popular career paths in medicine, business, engineering, and science.
Reaching the end of his 15-minute soliloquy, which I am sure he had given dozens of times that day, he looked up at me pointedly over his glasses. “Now, what careers interest you, Charlie?” Confidently, eyes wide and tail bushy, I made my reply. “I want to be an entrepreneur.”
I’ll never forget his response. He chuckled (rather derisively, I thought), and said, “So, you mean you want to be unemployed?”
I huffed and puffed my way out of that meeting, feeling attacked but all the more determined. If only I’d known then how much wisdom was in his words!
But off I went, working hard in high school to complete the challenging International Baccalaureate program (which, in a nutshell, is like taking all AP classes, on steroids). I applied and got into the University of Notre Dame, which happened to be the nation's top-ranked undergraduate business school at the time, where I majored in Accounting. My minor? Entrepreneurship.
I have to disrupt the fairy tale for this part of the story: I flirted with a few business ideas here and there, but for the most part, I abandoned my entrepreneurial pursuits in college. Like many others, I became engrossed in a party-first mentality and lifestyle. I remember Freshman year feeling like some bizarre never-ending summer camp, but with booze… lots of booze. School itself was secondary in priority to dorm parties, sports, girls, and the pursuit of all things ‘fun’.
Now, I’m a bit dramatic. I always have been. So, let me rein it in here for a second. I love the University of Notre Dame. I learned a great deal in college and made lifelong friends there.
But my misaligned priorities certainly resulted in negative consequences that are hard to ignore. My faith in God gave way to a fascination with agnosticism and naturalism, my sense of purpose evaporated, and my outlook on life became more than a bit dreary.
Underneath all that, I still knew that I wanted to start a business. It was always there in the back of my mind like a seed that had taken root. But I didn’t seem able or ready to act on it.
College inexplicably came to a close after a four-year whirlwind, and I was filled with apathy. Without contemplating my career choice with much gusto, I landed in Management Consulting. It was the path of least resistance: I liked the idea of business travel and the avoidance of a ‘routine’ desk job.
I moved to Chicago and roomed with some of my college buddies. Adapting to “real life” was a heck of an adjustment. Unfortunately, I felt unfulfilled at work and my mental funk continued.
Until… well, it ended.
I met Paige in 2016. Forgive the trite truism, but she was truly a light to me in a dark place. To make a very long story short, I met Paige in 2016, was baptized in the name of Jesus in 2017, engaged in 2018, and married Paige in 2019.
In the midst of getting acquainted with God, the course of my life simply reversed. My behavior shifted drastically. I stopped wasting time destroying my mind and body with drugs and alcohol. I began forming habits that led to growth and peace as opposed to stagnation and depression. And the funniest thing happened, I became obsessed with the idea of helping other people.
Pausing for a second here. A few short years ago, I would have laughed at the suggestion that I would become a Christian. Now, while I hope I’m not offending anyone by doing so, I feel compelled to mention it. I suppose “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”.
In any case, that’s about the time I began to see my Management Consulting job in a new light. I took inventory of the skills I was gathering in that season, knowing that something bigger and better was on the horizon.
In addition to Project Management experience, I unexpectedly developed some technical know-how as well. Most of my time was spent designing and building web applications for the legal departments of large corporations using a workflow automation platform called Onit. If that means nothing to you, don’t sweat it. Before I risk falsely portraying myself as a computer scientist, let me be clear. My coding knowledge is paltry at best. The important takeaway is that I got pretty good at mapping out business processes and designing systems around them. More about “process improvement” in the next chapter.
Realizing that I could use my weekends for something besides partying, I reignited my desire to start a business. I began to obsessively read and research with every spare moment that I could find. I went down more than a few rabbit holes that ended up being fruitless, but that’s part of the fun.
On a related side note, I’ve always been fascinated by how the internet has changed and is still changing every facet of society. Though we don’t really think of it as such, the internet is still a new phenomenon relative to human technological history. One thing I see clearly is that the playing field has dramatically flattened because of it. The ‘Digital Revolution’ will go down as the biggest force of globalization in history.
The single most comprehensive library of information ever assembled is available at our fingertips and accessible with incredible speed. (And yet, we mostly use it for scrolling through social media and sharing memes. But that’s a whole other conversation.) Today, there is greater parity of information through the internet than at any other point in history. You can learn anything you want to, faster than any prior generation was able.
Along with many other people, I believe this great flattening of the playing field can be realized in the business world. To start a business, you don’t need to take out a loan to rent a building and open a brick-and-mortar store. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and a willingness to work hard. I think that’s just amazing.
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