Creating Your Own Opportunity, Finding Mentorship, and Starting Online Businesses with Stephen Somers

I met Stephen Somers a few months back and immediately resonated with his story and his work. He is the CEO and co-founder of Marketplace Superheroes. As you’ll hear in his story, what started as a curiosity and desire to self educate around online business turned into an informal externship, then partnership, and finally multiple new endeavors in online business. He’s so much fun to talk to and I love the mission behind what Stephen and his business partner are doing.

There are so many great take aways from his story. A few examples are how he created opportunities for himself and took risks to go where he could get exposure to the things that he wanted to learn and master.


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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Stephen does
  • Has entrepreneurship always been a part of who he is?
  • His process of letting go of past dreams
  • How his family reacted to his ideas of entrepreneurship
  • The importance of building a network 
  • How to start connecting to people
  • How he started selling online
  • How did he transition from his job to entrepreneurship
  • How he found his business partner and mentor
  • When is the right time to start your dream
  • His approach to partnerships in the business
  • How he handles the business bumps along the way
  • How he handles the temptation to quit when things are hard
  • Where he got the resolve to go on
  • Where he finds meaning in his work

Resources Mentioned:

Stephen’s website

Side Hustle Bootcamp

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau 

The SuperHero Lifestyle Show interview with Dan Cumberland

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan

Steven, thank you so much for joining me. I’m so excited to welcome you to The Meaning Movement podcast.

Stephen

Dan, what an honor it is to be here, really excited to talk and just share more and go from there. Thanks, a million.

Dan

I love it. I have been looking forward to this. I really just have felt like we had just a great connection when I was on your show. I’ll make sure to link to that in the show notes here, so all of my listeners can jump on over there. But just a way to begin. The question I like to start with is, how do you begin to talk about the work that you do know?

Stephen

It’s funny in Ireland here we would say it depends who’s asking, but that’s a bad joke. No, but we do actually do a lot of things now. But really, what I tell most people at this point is that we help people build an online business from complete scratch, even if they have no previous experience. And as I say, as we get into the show today, I think a lot of people that are listening will see that we’ve taken that concept and we’ve really gone really deep with that.

Stephen

We’ve built a number of different businesses and services that service the same audience. And then, of course, we’re building new, different programs and services to further serve people in other areas, which sounds incredibly vague. But I think when we get into what we do in more detail, that’ll all make sense to everybody.

Dan

It will come into focus. I love it. So questions, I think just to get us rolling here, just to rewind a little bit. Have you always been an entrepreneur? Has always been a part of who you are in the world.

Stephen

Yeah. So I’m 34 years old now, just for a little bit of context. And from the time I was very young, I did show a lot of entrepreneurial traits, like I was eight years old and my dad would come home from work and he had these little cuttings from wires in the place he worked in the little cuttings. So they’re all different color, like little tubes. So myself and my brother used to put them on, like a string and make little bracelets and seldom. And I was going around to the neighbors trying to cut their grass for them and stuff like that.

Stephen

So I definitely did things like that from a very young age. I don’t know why. It was just like I wanted to be able to make my own way. And then truthfully, as I got into my teens, I played a lot of music, and I organized a lot of gigs and stuff like that, which you could say was entrepreneurial as well, because we literally would do things from complete scratch. And that was my real goal. I thought I’m going to be a musician. I’m going to make it as a rock star.

Stephen

You might have guessed that didn’t work out. I’m over it now. I wasn’t over it for a long time, but I am over now. But that’s what I did for a long time. I was in my early 20s, and of course, that didn’t work out. I was working in a job as a data processor at the time. And I guess in some ways, I had to remember that I was entrepreneurial because for a couple of years, I got stuck working in this data processing job. Band ended, and I was like, what am I supposed to do with my life?

Stephen

Like, the thing that I thought I was going to do that gave me meaning. There we go. See professional. The thing that gave me meaning genuinely had gone away. And so I had to ask a lot of questions at that point, make a lot of changes. But I don’t get too far ahead. I guess I have been, but I don’t want to be one of those people that says, I always knew I’d be, like, super successful, multimillionaire person. I didn’t always think that even when I was playing music and stuff like that, I really had no idea how to make money.

Stephen

Even when I was in my early 20s and finished the band and was looking for ways to make money, I was, as I say, the Homer Simpson the business because I just literally didn’t know how to do it.

Dan

I love it. I feel like I don’t know. So many people will resonate with your story, especially like having this dream of I assume it’s a rock and roll band. I don’t want to assume the genre. Maybe it’s not, especially when you’re young to aspire to something like that, a creative role. You want to pack out an arena, you want to have a platinum album, whatever it might be, and then it doesn’t work out. And that process of loss, I think of mourning. Maybe even I’d love to hear you just talk a little bit more about what it has been like.

Dan

And you said you’re over it now, but it took some time. I know you said that kind of lightly, but I don’t want to gloss over it because I think that a lot of people end up in those spaces where we have something that we really wanted. And then for whatever reason, we have to face the fact that it’s not going to happen. Well, Sports worked with a few people that were very serious about ballet, and you can only be a professional dancer for so long.

Dan

Your body just can’t handle it and all these different professions, or maybe someone who was doing something and they had an accident or something that they’re not physically able to do it anymore. But I’m curious just to hear a little bit more of that process for you, of letting go.

Stephen

Yeah, it’s true. I was depressed for a couple of years and got really fat and lazy and drank a lot of alcohol. I remember at one point I was maybe, like 21 years old, very young, and I was drinking like one or two bottles of red wine every night because I wasn’t happy. And you’re right. I was in mourning, and I’ve experienced the grief in my life. I was much younger. My brother passed away and stuff like that. So I’ve had a lot of these kind of moments of grief.

Stephen

And I suppose tragedy in my life and definitely felt the same way. I did feel like there’s nothing else really out there for me. And I continue for a long time. And you know, what’s interesting is when I look back now, things changed for me when I started to get into personal development, and the reason it changed was because I became radically honest with myself. And, you know, I realized something. I realized it and it was very interesting because even after, even when I got into the business, I’m in there.

Stephen

When I first started, which we’ll get into, I still was playing some music. And what I was actually doing was I was recording songs and sending them to the States to America. And people were then coming back and telling me what they thought of my son. These professional song critique people. So what was really fascinating was the guy wrote to me and he said, Your songs are like maybe an 8.5 out of Max out of ten for commercial quality, let’s say. But he said, in order for you to build a proper career doing this, you need to be out like a nine or a ten.

Stephen

And he said, I don’t know how long it’s going to take you to get to a nine or ten. It could take you a year. It could take you ten or 15 years. I don’t know. But he’s like, but you’re just not there yet. And I remember when I heard that I actually realized I’m not actually passionate enough about this to continue making no money working in these crappy jobs while trying to pursue this. So I said to myself, I’ve got to go a different path.

Stephen

And I always said to myself at that time, if I didn’t make it a music, I was going to figure out something in business. That’s very broad, right? Because up until that point, I had no entrepreneurial family or anything like that. My parents just to tell everyone listening genuinely. When I told my parents I wanted to play music. My dad, who’s a great guy. He drove me to his best friend’s house who’s, like, a teacher. And the teacher was just like telling me how wonderful it was to be a teacher and how he was getting paid a certain amount of money every year and all this.

Stephen

And it was just like, my parents are very supportive now, don’t get me wrong. But they’ve never seen anything like this kind of stuff before. Same entrepreneurship, never seen it. So here I am. This kids are trying to protect, and I’m coming out with these mental ideas of which they’ve never seen before. Right. And I might have done the same thing had I been in their situation. And of course, we can talk about the journey. I’ve gone on to change a lot of those thought processes and actually educate my parents about some of these things, which is a whole other conversation for when you get a little bit older.

Dan

I love it. Yeah. And it just resonates so deeply with my own story and my own journey. So thank you so much for sharing all of that. I have a background in music as well. And remember an older, maybe kind of a mentor person in my life, influential person just telling me it’s just really hard to make it in music. You really want to do that. And at the time I said yes, but since then have made a similar decision to you and set. Goden talks about that as the dip, right.

Dan

That in every endeavor, this is excitement and this early learning and trajectory where you get really excited about something. But then to really be successful and ready to stand apart and really, to find the success that you’re looking for, you have to go through what he calls the dip, where it’s just a slog of work and labor. If you’re not going to go all the way through that, then you should call it quits early is really one way out of that process.

Stephen

I agree that. But just on that really quickly and we’ll move off then. But just on that point in music, the same as in any other discipline of life. I believe when you align your true strengths, like things you’re good at. And I did a thing, a strengths Finder test, which was brilliant around that time, and I started to see communication and influence and all these different things are actually my strong my strengths. But when you match that with what you’re doing, it’s amazing how fast you’ll make progress and just add to that.

Stephen

If you write a great song, a truly great song with all the tools and ease of share now, like, those songs will travel. Whereas with me personally now, the internet wasn’t quite as well developed at that point. It was this to be an internet, but it was like MySpace really was where the music was, right? Oh, yeah, absolutely. But still in all, like, my songs did not travel like hit song Travels, and that is just another feedback from the universe or the world telling you this can be hard for some people to hear, but it’s just not good enough.

Stephen

And my stuff wasn’t good enough.

Dan

Yeah, it was a hard truth. I want to move on to it because we have so much more to cover. But before we do, just because I feel like this is a really important part of your story for anyone who’s listening, who feels stuck and like, maybe they’ve ended something that they really loved. Maybe they’re in a place similar to where you were. Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for them?

Stephen

Yeah, I definitely do. I think the best thing you can do is a few things I just recommend, and I’m just going to keep this broad because you listing today. Maybe you don’t want to start a business. Maybe you just want to change your career or something like that. I think the best thing you can do is start building your network, people in your network who are doing what you already wanted to do and start to communicate with people. Because as I look back now, having been in the entrepreneur game for eleven years now, it’s been my network.

Stephen

That has been the thing that has connected so many dots for me. So if you’re sitting here today and you feel like you’re powerless, like I did at that point, you just go and start telling people what you’re looking to do and find people on LinkedIn, find people on Instagram and Facebook and just start engaging with their content, start sending them some messages that don’t be annoying, of course, which you’re not going to be because you’re wonderful, but send them some stuff that’s helpful. And so just to kind of tell you about that, the only reason I’m sitting here today talking to the wonderful Dan Cumberland is because I told people I wanted to sell products on the Internet at that time.

Stephen

That was my goal, right? Because I thought it’s the thing I can learn to do, et cetera. And my aunt up in Northern Ireland, which is like 3 hours from where I live now. But at the time I lived in Dublin, she heard that I wanted to do this and she called me and I didn’t speak to her all that often. I just didn’t get to see each other too much. But she rang me and said, Steven, I have a friend that is doing exactly what you want to do.

Stephen

Do you want to meet them? And that’s what can happen in your life when you start to tell people what you want to do when you build your network people, my friends are the answer to all of your answer to all your troubles.

Dan

Genuinely, I love that people are the answer to your troubles. That’s just like such a good mantra, even rule to live by. So thank you for that. And for anyone who’s in one of those places where you feel really stuck, I’d encourage you to to really take these words to heart and even rewind and listen again. It’s really key. So just to connect some of the dots here, so you’re in that data processing role, and let’s just connect the dots from that data processing role to launching your business.

Dan

I know you’ve kind of started down the road there with your aunt. But are there any other kind of movements along the way that we need to touch on?

Stephen

Well, I’m going to embarrass myself now, but, hey, if it’s going to inspire some people, I’ll do it right. Just to say, look, here’s the thing. I studied all the theory of business. I didn’t get a degree, but I did two years business before I moved to Dublin when I was 1718 or so. And in my second year, I got student of the year in this College, and I was a small College. So don’t get excited, guys. I’m not a genius, right? But here’s the thing. It taught me like, I love the theory of business, right?

Stephen

But I had no experience in doing business. So anyway, I have all this theory. I’m reading all all these books, but entrepreneurs and I can probably at that time have taught a summation of what all these entrepreneurs would say, but no practical experience whatsoever, which I think a lot of people struggle from. So basically, what happened was I was like, oh, well, I need to have an idea, like the next Facebook or the next Instagram or whatever. And if I don’t have a big idea like that, I can’t be successful.

Stephen

I’m telling you, I swear on my life, this is what I used to do. And this is embarrassing. I used to sit in that data processing job and type in all these random, terrible business ideas, and if I found one result on Google, I’d be like, another great idea gone. Oh, no. Literally. That’s how clueless I was, because I have this theory. But no. So the problem in general, with business I just want to touch on is people watch Shark Tank or over here. It’s called Dragons Den.

Stephen

So they see, like, big idea, get lots of money, be really successful. But the reality is where things start to change. For me was I read one of Chris Gilbo’s books, and it was the $100 start up. And he was talking about these really ordinary people who had these ordinary businesses, like a PR agency or something like that. Have they started really small and built this thing on the site and then built it up? I know it’s embarrassing, but I never thought about that. I always thought you’ll never build a business like that.

Stephen

So that’s really how I was at that time.

Dan

Just to tell you I love it. And so you’re studying, trying to find your way, thinking about business in a way that wasn’t necessarily serving you and moving you forward? And was it then that we started having this conversation with your aunt and got the introduction?

Stephen

Yeah. And just before that, I suppose my third year at night time, I did night school. I got a diploma in marketing. So I knew marketing was something I really liked. But then in this College course, they just taught you how to be an employee. And I lost interest very quickly not to run, but an employee, by the way, for anybody who’s listening, who is an employee, just for me personally, that’s not what I wanted to do. So I kind of felt a little bit like, well, if you don’t want to get a job, this isn’t really the place for you.

Stephen

So then I started Googling, and this is I made a few errors doing this. I can tell you how to make money online. Now, that is the most dangerous phrase you can possibly type into a search engine because I know that phrase all too well. Yes, the sheer amount of crap that comes back is unreal. Back then, we had things like, I don’t know if you ever remember this program, it was called The Rich Jerk. Do you ever remember this? You ever see that one?

Dan

No, I don’t know this one.

Stephen

Oh, God. Well, I know who the guy is now who created that program? Don’t know him personally, but there’s all these programs like that, right? And just to say, lots of people were successful off of those programs for me personally, though, I just kind of felt like not speaking about that product specifically, but that industry of, like, you can make loads of money by telling other people how to make money and then you’ll make more money and then keep telling people how to make more money. It just felt like a weird scheme.

Stephen

So I got to this place of, like, right. What’s the business I can get involved in? It’s not like that. I can feel good about it, and I can actually get started in it. And so I landed on selling physical products on the internet because it just was the least scammy thing I could find, basically. So at that point, anyway, that’s whenever I’ve been searching for a way to do that property, that’s when my aunt said, I know someone doing that. Do you want to meet him?

Stephen

And I could not believe it. And just to say, when I met Robert, still my business partner to this day, this guy’s, like, six foot three. He’s got a big beard, he loves drinking beer. And he’s a really loud Nordnord guy. And I’ve never met anybody like this fella. But he was to be my mentor, which was like, wow, I can’t believe this guy is my mentor. But let me tell you something, Robert completely changed my life. When I walked into that warehouse after he graciously offered me to come up for a week and work in the warehouse, I saw that it was freezing cold and it was not nice.

Stephen

But you want to know something? There were real products sitting there that his company was selling to real people platforms like Amazon, like Ebay in the UK at the time. Obviously, since then, we do it globally. But that was the start for me. And I just said, I love this. I’m quitting my job. My aunt really kindly said I could stay in her spare room for nine months. She basically gave me to get to a place where I could get out of my own, which I did.

Stephen

And that’s how I got my start. I got fortunate because I said what I wanted to do, and I got in touch with the right person.

Dan

I love it so much. I have goosebumps right now. It’s just such an incredible story. And I love the generosity of both Robert and your aunt to kind of bring you under their wings in some ways. And then also your courage to just say, I’m quitting my job and I’m chasing this wherever it goes. I don’t know where it’s going, but it’s the right direction. I think that that’s something that people need to hear is that you don’t always have to have the whole plan every step of the way, figured out before you make your move.

Dan

Don’t be stupid, right? Don’t quit your job, no savings or anything. But what it sounds like you had is like you felt moved in a direction and you saw an opening, you saw an opportunity that was going to keep you going down that path. And whether you didn’t know exactly how you were going to get there, you didn’t even know exactly where it was going to take you. But you knew that this was the right direction to go, and you followed that curiosity. Does that fit?

Stephen

Yeah, it does. And my mom, she gave me a really great gift. She said to me one time, she said, Steven, I don’t understand what you’re looking to do here. I have no idea if it’s going to work out. But the one thing I know about you is you always figure it out is what she said to me. And that helped me massively when she said that, I just said, yeah, I’m going to go for it. I’m going to go do it. And I’ll just tell you anyone.

Stephen

Listen, look, I was in my early 20s. You got nothing to lose. All right? Really? At that age, you’ve got nothing to lose. And when you’re a little bit older. So I’ve got a two and a half year old now and a house and a wife and everything right. So things change. And obviously you’re in a similar position with an extra kid. It’s like you did different responsibilities at that point. So I understand if you’re listening today and you’re a little bit older, you might think, Well, it’s well for Steven because he was young.

Stephen

But, look, I’ve now coached, like, nearly 10,000 people doing different businesses and, like some people do have to keep doing their job, but they have to find the right thing. And so we can talk about that because the right thing for me. Well, yeah. In fact, I’ll let you ask the next question because I don’t want to go too far ahead.

Dan

But yeah, well, I do want to get there because I think it’s so good and also just also want to say, like you said your mom said, you always figure it out. Like, what incredible blessing that is from a mother. And just again gave me goosebumps just to have that mantra. I guess that’s the word that just keeps coming back to me. But you can tell yourself, you always figure this out so good. Yes. I’m so curious about your partnership with Robert. I really am a huge believer in the power of partnerships.

Dan

That partnership is how collaboration is how every great thing happens. I just want to hear a little bit more of that story and get into more of your expertise around. Hey, look, helping people lost their dreams.

Stephen

I’ll stay here as long as you need me. So no problem. I’ll happily tell you anything as long as you guys want to listen. I’ll tell you with Robert when I met him and he invited me the chance to go up there, I basically said, Look, I’m not going to pay anything because you don’t want, like, a salary or anything. You’re looking for an opportunity. And at the time, I was reading a book which a lot of people have probably read. And even if you’re an employee, that’s your goal, right?

Stephen

Which isn’t like, even if I don’t mean to make it sound that way. But if you don’t plan to be an entrepreneur, let’s say you still should read this book. It’s called The Emit Revisited, by Michael Gerber, which a lot of people have read. It’s an excellent book. And so I read that one and they started talking about systems. Right? And so I’m learning I’m working in the warehouse now. This is just to give you another laugh. And this is true. When I went to the warehouse, I had my normal clothes on, and I was like, yeah, let’s go.

Stephen

Internet lifestyle. Come on. And Robert just looked at me and was like, Man, what are your work boots? And I said, what are work boots? I’ve never owned a pair of those in my life. He’s like, Where are your trousers for working in the warehouse. I was like, don’t have those. So I had to go to a store and buy all this stuff because I was lifting boxes all day in a warehouse. I was packing up orders, going out to people. I did not start at the top or anything.

Stephen

So I was working there and basically said, I’m not going to pay you for this work. But what we’ll do as we go along, I’ll teach you everything I know and we’ll figure out the way. So while I’m reading this book, I’m working in the warehouse. During the day, I took a job in a buyer at night time as a buyer tender as well, just to make sure I had some money coming in. Basically, this book gave me this idea of, like, wow systems. And I looked at Robert’s business at the time because it was he and another business partner at the time running this ecommerce business.

Stephen

And I realized this business has no systems whatsoever. And even though I had no practical experience, remember, I had read so much business theory that I was able to take the theory that I knew match it up with Robert’s incredible implementation skills. And together we started to collaborate and started to see all these improvements we could make to our processes, how we do things. And so the fact that I was educating myself gave me the ability to give this guy value, even though he was further ahead than I was.

Stephen

So that was beautiful, because then Robert and I, we literally would just work together all day every day at the time because they were doing all the fulfillment ie. They were shipping out every single unit to our end customer at the time. It was really busy. We would be working on you, like 1214 hours days every day. But we were just questioning how we ran things, the types of products that we were selling. And basically, together, we realized we actually don’t need these warehouses because there was two at the time.

Stephen

We unfortunately, don’t need all these staff. We can sell our own branded products on Amazon exclusively, and we can actually do it in multiple countries at the same time without having to have all these different facilities that we have. And so basically we decided, okay, we have to restart the whole thing from scratch. We have to get rid of everybody, get rid of all business everything because it wasn’t really successful at that time. It was doing fine. But we wanted great. We didn’t want fine. And so we had to basically get rid of everything, which it wasn’t good for the people working there.

Stephen

But at the end of the day, as an entrepreneur, you do have to look at what you’re trying to do. And so it took us about 18 months and we started from scratch. We put everything we had into it, and we turned around. We got it to nearly 2 million a year in revenues at about a 30% net profit margin. So it was a nice business. We weren’t taking all those profits. Of course, we were reinvesting in new items and stuff like that. But basically for four years, three, four years.

Stephen

It was Robert and I, we didn’t have really any facilities. And we were just making money on Amazon selling our stuff, not just in the UK, but all over the world. Then life is pretty good. I was going to Robert and his family and my girlfriend and their wife. We were heading off to Disneyland every year and Florida and living this off lifestyle. Yeah. Then we want something more after that, which we can get to.

Dan

Yeah. I love it. I love it what an incredible story. I love that you are able to provide value along the way. And really, it sounds like kind of reinvent the business along with Robert, which is just really incredible.

Stephen

And I want to point head something down because it’s important. Don’t believe everybody, that for those three or four years, we were making tons of money and we had no trouble or no problems. That’s not true, because for the first, maybe two years, because Robert’s old business had some debts and things like that, we had to basically pay off because Robert being a man of his word, even though I wasn’t involved in that business. You said, Steven, I know you weren’t involved in that business, but I have to pay this stuff off.

Stephen

I can’t let it slide. So we’re going to have to do it. And I said, Fine, let’s just figure it out. We did that. But basically for I would say a year, at least. Anyway, I was living on, as was Robert, like, no joke, 1000, $1,200 a month, me not even 1000. Robert probably 1200. And he had a family, two kids, and we really were not making money. But then it was just because we were putting everything back in all the time. But of course, all that sacrifice and difficulty, it turned around.

Stephen

And for anybody listening, it’s not because the business model was because of all the past mistakes and the fact we have to be successful if we weren’t successful, like we had nothing. Two of us had nothing. So it was all nothing. And literally, I could talk for hours about all this stuff to happen.

Dan

Which I won’t because it’ll just in those years, were you ever tempted to quit was never like, this is too hard. This is not enough money. I can’t do this.

Stephen

Yeah. Loads of times. I would say, Look, I had to come a long way. Robert is a force of nature. And I suppose people would say I’ve become that way now. But I needed his mentorship as well. When I started truthfully, I was a beginner, and this was a guy that was really helping me caught a lot of years off my learning. But Robert had been there and seen a lot of things before I had. So even when times were tough, he knew it’s going to work out.

Stephen

It’s just going to take time. But I’ve never seen that before. And I remember one time he won’t mind me saying he got a letter from the HMRC, which is basically the IRS over in the UK. And they said to him, you owe 42. Well, let’s see, you owe but $60,000 if you don’t pay it, we’re going to come and take stuff from your home to that value until we get it. And it was like, I’d never seen anything like that before. And I was really like, of course, he was able to figure it out, pay it off.

Stephen

Et cetera. But it was really quite scary. And it taught me a lot. I kind of got to experience what, quoteunquote, business failure felt like for a while with Robert as we were turning things around, which was really valuable. But yeah, I wanted to quit loads, maybe three, four times. I’d say maybe so maybe once a year.

Dan

Yes.

Stephen

But I just knew I couldn’t and I wouldn’t. It was like one to quit for like a day. And then I was like, Nah, just come on, keep going.

Dan

Yeah. And where did that come from? Did that resolve? Where did that come from?

Stephen

I think it was just going back, honestly, going back to my brother passed away when I was eleven. He was 13, just looking back at that and just realizing you only get one shot at this. And if I don’t do this, this is what I said I wanted to do. Okay. It’s hard right now. But when is anything worth doing not hired. And that just kept me going. Honestly.

Dan

Yeah. That’s good. It’s deep stuff.

Stephen

Sure.

Dan

So then tell me a bit. Let’s just finish connecting the dots here from kind of bringing this business, reinventing this business, getting through these hard years and coming out the other side more or less until talking about the movement, from just doing it on your own for your own business to teaching others how to do similar things.

Stephen

Sure. So we were doing it successfully for a number of years at that point. And life was good. As I mentioned all of that. And there was a lot of people teaching how to sell on Amazon at the time. And honestly, when I looked through what they were teaching, I felt like it was a lot of nonsense what they were saying. I just didn’t think it was the right way. I felt it was very Markety, which people will always laugh at because I’m now probably known nearly almost more as a marketer now at this point.

Stephen

But I feel like I’m an ethical one. But anyway, so some of these programs were just not great. And I just felt like Roberts was doing it so long. We had made all these mistakes. We commit the other side successful. And I really felt like we had something to share that was unique in that space. And that was Truthful. And that was really going to help teach people how to do it the right way. Now, with Amazon selling your own private label products, it takes time.

Stephen

And sometimes these other programs were like, promising these massive amounts of income quickly. And I just knew that was all nonsense. So I was like, look, here’s the deal. You can be really successful doing this, but it’s going to take you time. And so I just said to Robert, let’s put our message out there. Let’s go and start helping people do this and then just see what happens. And just to tell you we didn’t have now our group of companies. It’s an eight figure, like $15 to $20 million per year revenue group of businesses now.

Stephen

But then we literally said if we made a total of $300,000 profit from this venture, we would be really happy. We didn’t start with a big thing. We were just like, that would be great because we just said we’re sellers, we’re not teachers. And I guess that’s obviously we still sell, but in a different way with partners and all that. But a lot has changed, like, a lot has changed, which I’m happy to document.

Dan

Yeah. Well, I love that. Unlike a lot of people who are out there in this to make money online space, you’ve actually done it. And that way you’ve been in the trenches. You’re not just telling someone how to do something that you haven’t actually done yourself, but you have skin in the game. And that’s really important to start.

Stephen

And we continue to have skin in the game, which we’ll get in a few minutes.

Dan

Yeah. So I’m curious, just for people who are listening, they’re like, okay, all this sounds really exciting and great, but I don’t know, a lot of people dream about starting a business online. They don’t know where to start. And I’m curious just to get some of your thoughts on what are the first steps? One of the things when someone’s like, okay, this sounds fun. I’ve heard about this kind of private label stuff or whatever it might be. Where do you begin?

Stephen

Yeah. My best business advice for anybody that’s interested in anything, which covers a lot of ground online. But genuinely, this is my advice to you. It’s like, do not go and try and figure stuff out for yourself. I just don’t recommend it nowadays. There’s a lot of people teaching stuff, and unfortunately, online courses have kind of got a bad rap over the years. People all these, like fake gurus and all this kind of stuff. And I’ll tell you something, there’s loads of amazing people out there making fantastic content.

Stephen

And the reason they’re making it is they do make some money from it, of course. But more than that, how else do we learn if there’s no one teaching us? Like, how else do we learn? And if you’re only looking to learn through trial and error, it’s going to take you so long to be successful in business. So I tell people the same advice I told them back then because this is what I did. Go and find someone who is doing what you want to do and do whatever it takes to work with them, like, genuinely, whatever it takes and do whatever they tell you and do not deviate from the plan.

Stephen

And so I call that learning a pre proven process because it’s already proven. And so the mistake is, oh, I have my ego. I’m going to figure it out. I’m going to do all this trial and error. I’m going to piece together all these free videos and try and be successful. Now you can be successful doing that, of course. But the better way is just to find someone who’s done it and learn from them. And it’s the same a private label. So when you do that, the person who has results you’re looking for, who you trust, who’s got results, who’s got other people they’ve worked with, et cetera.

Stephen

It’s all out there online. It’s all documented. You can go and see it, Dan. It’s like just do what they tell you, literally. And I know it sounds maybe obvious or whatever, but it would actually blow your mind down, like we’ve now got, as I say, heading for 10,000 students. And unfortunately, a lot of those 10,000 don’t listen to what we say, and they do try to do their own thing. And whenever they come back and go, oh, yeah. I tried my own way. And when I actually did what you told me, I was successful, it’s unreal, but that’s the way to do it.

Dan

Yeah. I love that something that my wife and I talk about a lot, just even all the details of our lives and how often we end up just by, I think, nature of where we’ve been, not having entrepreneurial families, really like living in a place. I think of frugality and maybe even poverty at times. And coming out of that into a place where our main choice going into any endeavor should not be just to figure out ourselves. But to think about what the time cost is that our time spending our time to save money is often not the best path forward.

Dan

And to put it the other way, if I could join someone’s program who’s going to teach me exactly what I need to do and save me years, maybe more, at least weeks, if not longer, of trial and error and struggle that that’s just so much just so worth the time. And I think that I just hear that in what you’re saying. Don’t just take the trial and error approach. Don’t just try to piece it together all the time, even though it might be hard or scary to make a financial commitment to join something that’s going to take you where you need to go.

Dan

That’s a commitment to yourself. That’s an investment in yourself. And it honors that you have limited time. You have limited capacity to get the most out of what you have and the time you have to give.

Stephen

I agree with all that. And I think the other thing to consider on that point is people say all these things and they’re almost cliches now, right? Like time is more valuable than money. And I almost get tired of it now because it’s like, it’s true. It is true. But most people have kind of heard it so much now it’s almost like Banner Blaines, like with an Advertisement. You don’t even see it anymore. I think it’s the same way with that idea that think about it. Right.

Stephen

Let’s say somebody is, I don’t know your work. It’s like five grand to work with somebody or something like that. Well, the first reaction most people have is, oh, my God. $5,000 or pounds or Euro. That’s a lot of money. But it’s like, hang on a second, right. What if true, truly know that 5000, whatever the currency actually saved you two to three years of your life messing around with something, losing so much money through trial and error. And even if you got one product wrong private label from China and Amazon, literally, that’s going to cost you a couple of $1,000 in a mistake where you can avoid that by just learning the right way.

Stephen

And, of course, for any business, because the other side of time is opportunity cost. In that time, when you were messing around trying to figure this out, you could have been just like getting it done.

Yeah.

Stephen

And I think it’s like it’s $5,000 more viable than a couple of years of your life. And if it is, I’d say you got to review that because again, even if you take $365 and you divide it into $5,000 per day, it’s like, whatever. I don’t know, $15 a day or whatever it is like you could literally go to ten people and ask them for $5 and you’d probably get $15. You kind of have to reframe these ideas and understand your life is so valuable. It’s so valuable.

Stephen

And you have to believe that or you will just one more thing. Don’t focus on the cost, like focus on the game. So if you put five grand something, it’s got to turn into 50, then it’s got to turn into 100. Become somebody who looks at the return, not just the cost, because people who look at the cost never become successful.

Dan

Yeah. Something that I know you mentioned Chris Gilbert earlier. I remember hearing him talk once about something related to this is that you can only save the limit of how much you can save by not spending money is how much you spend. Right? Like, there’s a cap to that. But the limit on how much you can earn through entrepreneurship, through starting your business is limitless. Maybe limitless might be extreme way of saying it, but the ceiling is hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands times higher than what you can say.

Dan

So if you’re applying your time saving money, it’s a better spent earning well.

Stephen

And also consider this Dan if you applied yourself because in a job, some people are trying really hard, right? They’re there and they’re getting the results. But the other side of it, too, is there’s a lot of people myself included? When I work somewhere I was using, like, I would say, 10% of my capacity to work in that job. Right. But then I’d be tired in the evening and stuff like that. I suppose you have to say to yourself, if I was truthfully, it may take me time, but if I was one day able to put all of my effort into improving my own life, improving my own self, my own education skills, and therefore being charge of my career, imagine I was applying the effort I currently apply in my day to day job, plus more effort because it’s something I want to do like you would be so much further on.

Stephen

But the problem for most people is because they don’t have that process. They don’t know the end to end. How do I make a business successful? They don’t have a network. Another thing I talked to earlier on, so they know who they can talk to to make things happen in their business. So in other words, the reason that people are not where they want to be is just down to a lack of resourcefulness and also genuine resources. And that doesn’t just mean money. It’s just they haven’t planted the seeds that are required in order to become a successful business owner.

Dan

Yes, I love that so much. I’m curious for people that are just resonating with what you’re saying. And if there’s action steps that you’d like to invite, I was going to ask us torzana have a couple of other questions I want to get to before we wrap up. I know we’re going up against our time here in a minute, but just for people who want to know more about the program or want to know more about everything that you’re doing to train people up, can you share a little bit more just how they can get involved?

Stephen

Yeah. So there’s a couple of spots you can go to. You can certainly check out Marketplace Superheroes dot com and check it out on YouTube as well. There’s a good lot of videos over there, although we are changing how we do YouTube a little bit, but there’s lots of content over there and also sitehustleheroes. Com you can check out. There are the two main spots that would go and see Marketplace Superheroes is our Amazon training area, but that’s changing too. Like we’re moving into new areas now to improve the skills of our members for another day.

Stephen

But the other thing I want to mention relating to our Amazon business is for anybody listing going, oh, yeah, just another course creator, just to tell you right. We also have a service number of services, but one of our main thing is called superhero freight. So we actually literally built a freight company for our community because the freight solutions out there were useless, absolutely useless for a small time ecommerce entrepreneur. So just to say that if you’re in our community, if they’re not successful, we are not successful because we base a lot of our future genuinely millions of dollars of our own money.

Stephen

And I can also tell you our freight company is not very profitable this year because freight rate spent up 800%. But anyway, sorry for another day, but just to say like that, we are in the trenches with our members. We have a really special community. So if you are interested, go and check that out. And also side Hustle Heroes that actually teaches specific skills. You can go to existing online businesses and also offline businesses and you can offer to them and you can make money doing so.

Stephen

We teach a variety of different skills over there as well, but you can certainly check out.

Dan

I love it so fantastic. I’ll make sure to link up to those in the show notes as well, so people can click on through.

Stephen

Thank you.

Dan

Just a few others. Just kind of your questions as we kind of move toward wrapping up. But I’m just curious with everything with Marketplace superheroes side Hustle Heroes and with the business, what parts of it do you feel like that really make you feel like, yes, this is a job well done. This is work worth doing for me. I’m just curious how you talk about how you think about the meaning behind the work for you.

Stephen

Well, here comes my Miss America moment, right? For what it’s worth, I was probably not going to be called Miss America in a few years. By the way, I have no idea what they’re going to call it, but here it is, like, genuinely, I get meaning when I see people come to me and say, Steven, I have never run a business before. I just sold my first product on Amazon or Steven, I never had a business before. I just got my first client and I’m booking them on the podcast now or whatever it is because we teach a variety of things.

Stephen

That’s what really gives me meaning. And also just to say, we’ve got different teachers now at this point in time in our world because I don’t know everything. I know a lot of stuff. I don’t know everything, but just to say anyway, that’s where I get my meaning. I also get meaning as well, and it’s going to sound almost contradictory, but it isn’t. I’m just being totally transparent with you guys because that’s the only way I know. I love just to see things work, and I love to win.

Stephen

And it doesn’t mean winning at the cost of other people. I just love to win. I love to be like, wow, look at that. We created this new program and it’s great, and it’s going to really benefit people. And yeah, we sold loads of it or whatever, and people really love it. We actually promoted somebody else’s program while back in the crypto world, which a lot of people are like, oh, my God, crypto scam, et cetera. But actually, when you look at it like Pirates are certainly a scam for sure.

Stephen

But when you understand a bit more about the industry, you can see where it’s gone. Et cetera. I don’t want to get into crypto too much. I just want to say that was somebody else’s program. They had skills at the time. We didn’t have. And our community got such a win from that. And that was a huge win for me, because just seeing people win and winning together, that’s where the meeting is for me.

Dan

I love it. Well said. Yeah, you win. You win the Miss America award.

Stephen

Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Cheers.

Dan

This has been so much fun, Stephen. I feel like I could just carry on with you for the rest of the day, but we are up against our time here and just want to say thank you so much for joining me here on the show. And I know that all our listeners will really have so much value from what you’ve said. Here is what you brought to us here today. So thank you so much for the time.

Stephen

Oh, look. It’s been a real pleasure, Dan. I’ve loved getting to know you better. I hope we get to know each other better again. It’s just been a pleasure. And look at listeners. Feel free to request me back any time. I would love to come back on and talk again.

Dan

I love it. Let’s do it. Thanks so much, Steven.

Stephen

Thanks very much, Dan. Bye.

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