I had the opportunity this past week to meet with Alberto Luevano, the owner of Albert Store on Amazon. He openly shared his eCommerce business journey with me. It was a great pleasure to hear him talk about how FreeeUp has helped him build his online team. We talked about this team that has been a central component in the growth of his eCommerce business, and all the plans that he is now able to make a reality. Below are some of the key points that we discussed.
Question: Please tell us about your eCommerce business and the story of how it started.
I started my career as an insurance sales broker. I was working hard and long, then I realized there has got to be a better way. For about a year in 2015, I was selling things for other people on eBay. I then tried Amazon and was blown away by the sales velocity.
This past June, I set up my eCommerce business structure and went full time into selling online. I started out with a wholesale supplier that bought closeouts from large department stores, and I was also doing retail arbitrage. We now have a wholesale and private label business selling products on Amazon and other online sales channels, more as a dropshipping model with suppliers in my local area.
Question: Can you describe where you were with the business before you found FreeeUp?
I believe it’s hard to create a successful eCommerce business unless you know what you are doing. That is just what I did. As I started to get into private label and wholesale products, I quickly found out how much preparation and execution is needed.
Before Freeeup, I was working long hours sourcing products from my vendor and from retail stores, then packing shipments to send to FBA. It was time consuming on manual labor and I found that the sourcing model is not reasonable for sustainable growth. I was already working all the time and I was not and could not grow quick enough.
Question: How did you find your initial experience with the FreeeUp platform?
The first interaction went great. I got in contact with Nathan and told him I was looking to get into private label. The first thing we decided to do was to hire an Amazon Expert. Just hours later, I was introduced to a consultant for Amazon. I shared my goals and we laid plans for executing them. For me this was a shift of all possibilities, because I realized that I can hire anyone that already has the skills to help plan out and create results.
I felt assured Freeeup was the best place to create my online team.
Question: How long have you been using FreeeUp, and how would you gauge where the business is now since you have been using the platform?
I have been using Freeeup for 5 months now and my eCommerce business has not only moved to different ways of selling but it is has also given me the time to work on my business instead of inside of it. I do not have to go out long hours and source products like I used to, or have to worry about how I get this or that job done. I spend the time to start up, and now I can spend time on important areas.
Question: What does your team look like now?
I use all of my workers from Freeeup on an as-needed basis. This is what makes the experience so unique. I have about 9 workers, each in a different area of the business, from website development to social media to marketing. All the workers are the most dependable people I have ever worked with – they do what they say they are going to do, and always communicate promptly. It gives me pride when I talk about my business to vendors because I know it’s possible to get any job done with my virtual team.
Question: Can you share some insights on your journey so far?
I have found my eCommerce business has so much opportunity to grow. I have partnered with 2 manufacturers to drop ship their products, and each have many SKU’s for us to test. We have more wholesale account opportunities for the next year. And I also got experience with private label. In the short amount of time that I have been using FreeeUp, I have become fully planned and prepared, with so much leverage ready to be acted upon. All with the help from the team.
Question: What are the three biggest challenges that you faced in the early stages?
I first could not manage my time with what I needed to get done because I had to get so many things going. It was overwhelming that I would do a task and it seemed that I was getting nowhere.
Question: How has FreeeUp helped you to turn challenges into opportunities?
I can walk into any vendor and say that I have the manpower to increase their revenues online or even sell their products. I have workers in all the areas that must be delegated. Quality is important, and they can either do it better than I can, or I simply don’t have the time to do it myself.
I have got a positive response from advisers because they see that the workers can create so much leverage for a startup like mine. As for myself, I am glad to have got the doing-it-yourself burden off of my back, and I can focus on growing my eCommerce business – and that is an opportunity in itself.
Question: What advice do you have for other eCommerce business owners?
If you want to have a worthwhile business online, I recommend that you have a business plan in place. A plan fires you up as well as the people around you, and your team. It’s groundwork for your business to stay on track to a destination or an end goal. Online eCommerce has so many profitable opportunities. How will you capture that value? And be in a sustainable, reliable market? And be cost efficient?
Question: What are your plans for your business now?
Selling products online will not go away for a while. The industry is clearly on a massive rise. And for regular sellers, it’s getting harder, more noisy, and more expensive to launch a product and be profitable from the start. I plan to keep building my eCommerce business and systematizing parts of the operation. I plan on spending resources on innovating business models online. It’s has been an eye-opening experience finding gaps to start new ways of doing business online.
Want to build your online team so you can leave the details in capable hands and focus on turning your eCommerce business into an ever more profitable venture?
Let us know in the comments below where you are in your eCommerce journey and what you need to push it to the next level!