The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

INTRO Hello Everyone. A newcomer from South Korea :)

Lee Taerim

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 11, 2018
5
7
16
Hi FASTLANERS!


I'm Lee, from South Korea, and writing this thread to introduce myself. How do I start...

Let me start with my life or my score? so far.


I'm a male, 35 years old, an amazon.com seller (UK too, DE recently launched - actually losing money from here now lol), selling common goods, but not buy-box-war products. (I am the only seller of what I sell)


Ok this will be a long thread since I want to share what I have done and how I finally got here - I will try to include everything I experienced till I got here, with the perspective of money(yes, my first view), time (and I got to be able think money and time at the same time) and the value(yes, value - I got this thought from the book FASTLANE and UNSCRIPT).


I'm a believer of 'dots connect' (which is announced on Steve Jobs speech - I guess all of you know) - I majored in architecture, which basically get to learn basics of taking pictures, working with photoshops and illustrations etc. and had a chance to work with US army as KATUSA (here, I was able to learn English - I put extra effort that's true because there was nothing else I can do anyway as a soldier). Oh I'd learned how to play drum and how to drive a bike, and had fun from freshman.

There, I saw my friends using eBay and got to know that I can buy snare drums way cheaper on eBay or websites selling instruments because US post (wherever it is, even in South Korea) is regarded as US territory - this means I only pay domestic shipping + no taxes.

It was my start of earning 'money' - I purchased 1 or 2 for myself and soon realized I could sell them here in Korea, YES! cheaper than most of sellers. I did sold several snare drums, earned some pocket money. (well it violates tariff rules and things but at that time I just had no idea about what they were haha)


After graduation, I wanted to be a graduate school student, but no money. So I decided to earn money first, chose a job as a personal tutor of math and english (thanks US army!).

For the first year while teaching my students, I had a chance to be a drummer of a small band, performing here and there with little little money (but it was ok it was fun). And then I got a crush on my ex-girlfriend wearing all kind of punk stuff (like black leather jacket, spiked converse an so on) and was lucky enough to start dating with her. She always purchased spiked goods online and I also kinda started imitating her. I think I read 'purple cow' at those time.

And suddenly, eBay! If I can buy drums from US, why not sell those from Korea to US? or maybe Canada? wherever. I got excited about the idea and started real rough market search to have a meeting with the owner of punk clothing online shop. (well at that time I can really say I had no idea about what I was doing, only one Thing in my mind ' I CAN SELL THESE')

To think now, it was a miracle that they accepted my offer - I only had some images from eBay, some numbers... anyway I started to learn about what I need to know or have, to sell on eBay. I purchased one or two books about eBay (it was late 2010), opened an account on paypal (that was annoying as hell at that time! why asking for my gas bill?? lol), contacted my local post office, bank and so on.

Basically my eBay selling started with only,,, um passion? but I thought it was fun - the best moment I remember was, I think it was my first sale after many many struggles.

My eBay shop grew slowly, but firmly, and it became a big big time-consuming JOB. I received so so many questions, so many lost items (OMG Italy is a blackhole country), Even if I did not ship actual products at that time (from the first start, punk shop owner agreed that they ship actual items if I pass them order informations - later later I knew what it is called we did at that time. It was drop shipping)

Then a book hit my head ->4-hours-work-a-week<- . YES THAT'S IT! This was the time (I remember it was late 2011 or early 2012) I started realizing money+time perspective, but in a BAD way.

I started categorizing all the questions possible and tried to make templates so I can just switch buyer's name or products name, with pre-typed answers, fix my email-check time like once or twice a day and so on. And that was also the time I hired my first VA from Elance.com (which now is upwork.com).

Thanks 4HOURS!! life seemed A LOT more beautiful, with more free time, less work on eBay. Haha. That was a BIG mistake. I started not checking emails often (like, sometimes not even 1 time a day), not logging in, not checking competitor's price and quality of listings, just check sales and be happy and stuff. I did not realize what was happening with my eBay shop but it was slowly dying - What happened with my glorious 4 HOURS???

I desperately started my own shop, learning to use wordpress and themes (my first commerce theme disappered from envato market 3 weeks after I purchased lol I purchased a JUNK! - 2nd purchase was better though lol), started all kind of SNS to promote my shop (reddit, tumblr, instagram, even facebook page), I even sent actual mails(paper leaflets created by me with infinite inkjet printer) to tell discount promotions by using order records .

ALL of them did not work. My boat already was sinking deep into ocean bed and there was no way I could save it after it started going down.


I had to completely give up my punk clothing business on... maybe 2014. At first I blamed my glorious 4HOURS. And then, I read the book again and I could understand what I only could see when I first read it and what I have missed. Tim Ferriss (author of 4 hours work a week) did not just turn his business into 4hour job - he created a big enough self-evolving engine already before he could get out and make it a 4HOUR business (incredible earning/hour). I only saw the result and believed that I will be also saved. I had to admit that I did not put enough effort (money, time, passion whatever) on my business - it was a job I created and it could not survive without me.


From early 2012 (when eBay started sinking while I did not know), I started helping my cousin who was selling promotional items, or dealing with wholesalers. His basic strategy was to put his products on BIG BIG (like 1,000pages) book with all kind of promotional products and wait for call or find phone numbers on internet and call them to promote products. It was a common way to promote the kind of products he deals with (yes, promotional - large quantity like at least 100pcs of anything you can imagine like lighter, ball point pen, scarves cups socks whatever it can be a small gift)

I also started calling potential buyers (mainly small offline shop owners)... no way it was too slow and time-consuming, not an effective way! Why not just visit offline shops with actual product? I was using my scooter to save time when I teach my students (I was in SEOUL, packed city, so scooter was fastest way to teach and move to next student), and I even loved to ride my scooter! Hey wait just products? I cannot give 50 samples to 50 shops (scooter is not that big) - why don't I make some promotional leaflets and give them? It was an easy thing to make a fold-twice-A4 leaflets because at that time I was struggling with eBay business, making actual postal envelop-sized leaflets.

It worked. Because nobody(promotional products sellers) actually visited offline shops, and even free samples!? It really worked and I kept getting new buyers everyday. And then... I realized my body is just one and I cannot visit all the shops in this Country. Mails! domestic mail fee was like 15cents per envelop, less than 10% of what I did for eBay (KOR to US postal mail) and, it arrives quick like 2~3days after I toss envelops to post office workers. I started gathering addresses (when lucky, phone numbers too) of potential buyers and started,,, yes I spammed, but not just a white envelop, envelop itself has product photos and prices on it (had to deal with post office because they had their rules about how envelops should look).

Not like my eBay, my cousin's business grew to the size like never before (my record : sell approx. 10,000 pcs 1 day) and it also gave me some money and freedom because I did not have to stay in one place (I spam, wait, receive order call and toss it to my cousin). I quit my job as personal tutor on late 2012 and got a small office (which I did not need at all lol - just liked how myself looked sitting in the office between tall tall buildings, growing some plants, brewing coffee.)

Maybe on late 2013 or so, I realized it was toooo late to come back to graduate schooling. I kept earning money and it became bigger (my first salary was 350USD on 2010, FEB. as tutor). There were 2 problems - I knew I would not be able to earn money like now even if I get architecture master degree + I had nothing, NOTHING left in my pocket - yes I spent everything I earned. WOW! I also had an accident at that time while driving my manual bike(sold scooters, kept buying and selling bikes, spending money on borrowing BMW R1200RT or something with cost of 250USD per day, yes I was like a slave of spending) on a night, got thrusted on the ground, my rib broken(it was a miracle I just broke 1 bone).

I sold all the bikes I had and got a small car, went down to the city I am now living (my cousin was there) to find out what I might be able to do, while still selling cousin's goods. it was 2014, APR. Upon arrival, I announced my cousin that I will switch my market from domestic(KOR) to global, which he also agreed because me and him both started seeing the domestic market to be shrinking (to be honest, first reason was that I did not want to keep doing his job, I wanted to start my thing).

It was tough days from there - I had no ideas about global trading, products I knew was only from my cousin (only source I could get products from), so many so-called common things (I have to have a homepage, I have to be seen big (PRESIDENT on my name card and so on...) I have to have my own named emails like XYZ@ABC.com or something like that, skype ID blah blah).

I visited almost every business fair I could attend, joined B2B sites like alibaba (and many others), sending sales offer emails, trying to get a sales broker on US or wherever by digging VA sites... I spent 2 years with almost no result. I had to go to fountain nearby to get free water, keep eating ramen to save spending (funny thing is that I did not give up on my VW polo, which was my first car)I kept reading books but don't remember much.

On the end of 2015, I got to know amazon jumpstart program held by amazon korea (they have been a company recruiting and helping 3p sellers - Korea online market is a hell, too tough for amazon to directly enter yet) and joined amazon world, admitting that 2 years of my struggle was not that successful (it was a PAIN to admit that).

Once I admit I might know 'NOTHING' about 'NOTHING', I might be just lucky so far, I was able to see the things I could get help. Most were books. With book listings by time order, I would end my long self introduction.

Purple Cow -> 4 Hours Work a Week -> (after I admit that I know "NOTHING") 4 bank book (Korean book, a great book to introduce what finance is 'I realized why I got no money left on my hand) -> Rich Dad Poor Dad (and 1 more books from Robert Kiyosaki) -> The E-Myth Revisited -> 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (and some more books from Al Ries) : money time business finance, yes many many good things I did not know before, I could understand -> FASTLANE + UNSCRIPTED.


Now I have 1 big word in my heart. VALUE.

My goal now is to do my 1st retire within 5 years from now.

I hope I can create enough VALUE to the world (or at least people on my country) so I can achieve my first goal.

Thank you M. J. DeMarco, for these great books, and the forum I could take time to look my life back.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
29,194
100,605
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
Thank you M. J. DeMarco, for these great books, and the forum I could take time to look my life back.
You're welcome! Thanks for the intro.
 

Hyeon-ho

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Apr 12, 2018
3
5
16
여기서 한국인을 뵙다니 너무반갑네요!! 거의 처음보는 거같아요. 원래 포럼에서 이렇게 긴글은 안읽는데 한국분이셔서 다 읽어봤습니다. 앞으로도 건투하시고 함께 성장해봐요

Hi Taerim. I'm korean, too. I'll pray for you.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
L

Lee Taerim

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 11, 2018
5
7
16
감사합니다 현호님! 여기서 한국인을 뵙다니 저도 반갑습니다 ㅎㅎ
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.


Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom