I’m a big tracking girl. I love tracking my stats. Since I started 10,000 Customers, I have all my sales calls stats in a neat little spreadsheet called “Dialling Stats”. In there, I monitor how many dials, conversations, pitches, objections handled and sales I’ve made since the beginning of the year.

It’s awesome and it allows me to run a better business.

But what I haven’t been tracking, and what I think I probably should have been tracking, is the number of times people say things to me.

  • I’m going to grow my eCommerce business organically through social media
  • I’m reading tonnes of free content online, I’ll be able to figure it out on my own
  • I’ve listened to every podcast on eCommerce, I know what you’re talking about
  • I’m doing all the things, all the time, it’ll build momentum

Maybe you’ve said some of these things before too. I know I definitely did with my first company, Trefiel.

And it’s easy to believe that all of those things are true, right? Because if you haven’t ever built an eCommerce business before, you don’t know what it involves. You also don’t know what it’s going to require of you.

That’s precisely the problem.

The problem with eCommerce is that everyone talks about how easy it is and no one talks about how easy it is for them.

What I mean by that is –

If someone has ten years of copywriting, marketing and advertising experience, then they find or create an awesome product and sell it, isn’t it more than likely that they’ll have a far easier time than someone who has never done any of those things?

The answer is yes.

And in ten years worth of copywriting, marketing and advertising practice, don’t you think that there is a degree of mastery and excellence that cannot be conveyed in a single blog post or a one hour podcast interview?

The answer is yes.

And if you map your own experience and business results against the likes of the expert we’ve been talking about, isn’t it easy to see that you’re at the very beginning of your journey and skillset?

The answer is yes.

The problem here isn’t your business. It’s not your product, it’s not your idea, it’s not your brand. They’re all fine and mostly irrelevant, to an extent.

The problem in your eCommerce business is you.

To be clear, it’s not your fault.

  • It’s not your fault you’ve never done this before and you don’t know how to fix it.
  • It’s not your fault that your copywriting sucks and you don’t know how to get better.
  • It’s not your fault that the content you consume doesn’t apply easily and contextually to your business, leaving you feeling more confused than before you listened to it.
  • It’s not your fault that you feel more lost and confused with each passing day (and the complete lack fo sales).

You’re also not alone.

This is a problem I’ve seen in thousands and thousands of eCommerce businesses all over Australia this year. eCommerce created over $11,789M revenue in 2018 in Australia, and is growing rapidly. Because of this, it has huge amounts of potential to impact the world – from a negative, environmental standpoint and from a positive, cause-driven perspective.

I mean, just look at the way the model can scale – you can expect to get over 10,000 customers in your first year if you know what you’re doing. And market saturation is next to impossible because of the tools we have available for jumping from niche to niche to niche.

It’s one of the reasons I love the business model so much – you can do so much with it.

Now you might be thinking –

“Holy crap! 10,000 customers is exactly what I want in my first year. Woohoo, I’m rich!”

Or you might be thinking –

“Hang on a second, I’ve been in business for years and I still haven’t had 10,000 customers. What am I doing wrong?”

And this is the reality of women who are attracted to eCommerce – they either think it’s going to fall out of the sky or they’re so far in that they feel hopeless because it’s really not doing what it should. The problem is that most of the women who are attracted to eCommerce have never sold a thing in their life. And most of them have crippling sales fear and avoidance… which is half the reason why they’re attracted to eCommerce in the first place.

Maybe that’s the case for you too.

Maybe you thought you’d get away with not having to sell things if you started a product business. Maybe you thought it’d be easier than it actually has been.

But it hasn’t been what you expected, has it?

You might never say it out loud to anyone ever, but sometimes you really doubt whether you can actually make this thing work. All evidence points to that not being possible, and the more you soldier on and listen to all the things, the less likely it seems to be a reality… right?

Here’s the thing –

  1. I can keep being nice Lucy and telling you “it’s not your fault”, “it’s the experts who lied and said it would be easy (for them)” and “of course you’re not getting anywhere, because how could you?”
  2. Or I play Aunty Lucy and give you some tough love.

Which would you prefer?

If you choose option 1, I’d definitely recommend hitting that close button right about now because you probably aren’t going to like what I have to say next.

If you are actually serious about building an eCommerce business that:

  • Replaces your full-time income
  • Supports your family
  • Creates an amazing lifestyle
  • Allows you to travel
  • Gives you control over how you spend your time

The very first thing you need to deal with is yourself, because you are 100% the very person that will stop yourself from having all of those things.

And we can keep going around and saying “it’s not your fault, you don’t know what you’re doing” but the reality is, it is your fault. You are the CEO of your company and everything wrong or broken with it is your fault.

So, let’s be real with each other. Because if you had any idea what the fuck you were doing, you wouldn’t be reading this, correct?

Successful product owners don’t read my content. Unsuccessful ones do.

And the sooner you accept that, the more likely it is that you’ll actually be successful. Because it’s only through responsibility and ownership that we can deal with our problems. That’s why your eCommerce business hasn’t been fixed with all the crap content you consume and listen to.

It isn’t fixed because you haven’t accepted reality. You don’t know what you’re doing wrong because you’re not being honest with yourself.

So let’s play with this, right?

Let’s say you did accept reality. Let’s say you thought to yourself –

“You know what? Lucy is right. I suck.

I’ve been hiding behind this screen, posting on Instagram multiple times a day, feeling sad about my lack of progress, hiding my results from my friends and family and not wanting to reveal just how badly it’s going. I’ve been listening to crap, free content that does nothing to help my business but takes up hours of my day in the hopes that it will reveal the secret.

But I have to accept that the secret to everything I want and dream of, is what I’m not doing in my eCommerce business.

  • I’m not becoming a better salesperson.
  • I’m not becoming a better writer.
  • I’m not becoming a Facebook Ads gun.
  • I’m not investing into myself.
  • I’m not engaging in coaching from someone who has done exactly what I want to do.

There’s a reason I can’t fix my eCommerce business and that reason is me. I don’t know what I’m doing and I need help.”

It hurts, doesn’t it? I personally find accepting the responsibility of something that I’ve been denying stings like a fresh burn and makes me want to reject it. I understand what you’re feeling right now as you read this, but I need to be honest with you.

This is the only way to fix your product business.

Because what I’m going to do now is propose something to you that’s going to be twice as scary as accepting responsibility for your shortcomings and deciding to do something about them.

I built my first skincare company to 10,000 customers in 18 months. I then took everything I knew about it, created a process (The Plan for 10k) and started coaching women in eCommerce how to do the same thing.

What I’ve learnt in the last 5 years of being in the industry is this –

eCommerce is not a pursuit of excellence or mastery.

You don’t become a really good eCommerce founder. You don’t become a master of eCommerce.

You become:

  • A paid advertising gun
  • A cashflow and inventory logistical genius
  • An excellent manager and leader
  • A skilled and persuasive copywriter
  • A system- and process-driven operator
  • A strategy and business-minded CEO
  • Plus a whole other set of skills which we’ll talk about in another post

And eCommerce is just the category you get placed into because of the model of your business.

Or perhaps an even better analogy is that eCommerce is the recipe, but the many ingredients of what makes a successful eCommerce business is what you truly master.

How many of those are you currently actively working on mastering?

…..

Crickets, right?

You’re probably getting really good at posting things to Instagram three times a day, responding to automated comments on your posts and posting in Facebook community groups, trying to hustle up a sale.

Am I close? It’s okay, you don’t need to tell me I’m close. I already know it because the data from my sales calls in 2019 doesn’t lie.

Here’s my proposal to you –

What if there was a very clear, formulaic approach to building successful eCommerce businesses? And what if the reason you haven’t found it online in free content is because no one else has built it into a process?

That’s my truth and that’s what I do.

I liken it to when someone goes to a therapist for help with whatever stress they’re currently experiencing. There’s, again, a very clear and simple approach to helping them overcome that problem in their lives.

The therapist and patient have a relationship that’s built on trust, understanding and expertise. They create a real relationship, create an expectation of results through explanation and then they use the treatment to create tasks and goals for the patient to create actions around. Ultimately, the patient finishes the treatment with higher quality of life and a reduction in their symptoms.

So too with your situation and your business.

Right now, what you’re trying to do is deal with a very problem that you don’t have the knowledge or expertise to overcome. You’re trying to do it by consuming information from people you barely know and who don’t give you context because they aren’t in your business. You’re overlaying one strategy you heard on a podcast over your entire business and crossing your fingers.

You see “Facebook Ads Expert” and “Organic Instagram Growth Specialist” and think that’s what you need.

But it’s not what you need. Yet. Those are underlying issues and will need to be dealt with, for sure. But they fall underneath another two issues which you haven’t even touched.

Think about it like this –

If we go back to the therapist-patient dynamic, there’s a model called a Contextual Model which explains how good psychotherapy works.

 

So you can see that there needs to be three pathways within the therapist-patient dynamic in order for the treatment to be successful:

  1. A real relationship,
  2. Expectation of results through explanation, and
  3. A treatment to create tasks and goals for actions to be created around.

A successful eCommerce founder needs three pathways to be active in order to be successful as well.

They are:

  • Close contact with someone who has done what you want to do
  • A clear strategy that shows you how to achieve the results you want
  • Tasks and goals that you can use to create real business action

How do you get that when no one in your inner circle is starting a business, let alone an eCommerce business, let alone built one to 10,000 Customers?

You don’t. And that’s why coaching and community are so important.

In all the literature on successful people who have mastered their craft, mentorship or coaching is one of the key elements of becoming excellent. Without it, there is no feedback loop. And without a feedback loop, there is no progress.

Because let’s look at this realistically, right?

If you’ve never built an eCommerce business before, how can you:

  • Come up with a clear strategy that shows you how to achieve the results you want?
  • And create tasks and goals that create real business action and progress?

The answer is you can’t. It’s actually physically impossible.

Just like in the therapist-patient dynamic, a coach brings the expertise in overcoming the client’s problem. But it can only be done if there is trust, understanding and respect.

No amount of free content is going to fix your eCommerce business’ problems.

And while we’re talking about you building a successful eCommerce business, no amount of practicing in a vacuum without proper instruction and feedback is going to get you to where you want to be.

I know getting feedback can be difficult (and sometimes painful). It can feel like you’re taking a beating at times. But feedback is essential to improving.

Athletes don’t train without coaches, so why should you?

The problem is though – and I can hear you asking it now – how do you choose a coach? There are people all over the internet talking about how they made their millions and how you can too, but what strategy should you use? And how do you know what strategy is going to work?

Largely, the method is irrelevant and I can tell you this from studies on effective psychotherapy – that is a therapy where the patient gets a result that they want from their treatment.

If you look at the studies on what makes therapists more effective than others, there are many defining factors but the treatment method is almost 100% irrelevant.

It’s the same with eCommerce. There are many ways to build an eCommerce business to 10,000 customers in 12 months, and the strategy that takes you there is largely irrelevant.

The more important question you should be asking is not “what strategy is going to get me to where I want to be?” but –

  • Can this coach understand me and my problems?
  • Can I trust this coach?
  • Does this coach have the capacity and expertise to help me?

Because having the right coach is a lot like getting effective treatment from a therapist –

The treatment or the strategy won’t work if you don’t first have trust and understanding with the therapist or coach.

They call this the therapeutic bond, but if you distill this down it’s mostly about whether two people – one who has large amounts of expertise and one who has very little – understand each other enough that the inexperienced person can submit to the expert’s process.

Can I trust this coach enough to submit to their process?

Because if you can’t, there’s literally no point in you engaging with a coach. You might as well keep fucking around on your own and not getting anywhere – you’ll get the same results with a coach you won’t bend to.

And I say this from a place of experience because I have a coaching business that helps women like you building really successful eCommerce businesses. It’s the biggest problem I see with people who cross paths with 10,000 Customers. They won’t submit to the process we recommend for scaling an eCommerce business.

I’m very grateful for what I’ve built in the last two years. I’ve had some really great clients who have been hugely successful and built incredible businesses in the last 12 months. I’ve had some really terrible clients who did literally nothing I told them to and haven’t gotten any results.

Is that reflective of me and my process? No.

I mean sure, I’ve gotten a lot better at teaching what I know and will continue to get a lot better as my process becomes more streamlined. But if you’re clever, you will have already noticed this – my successful clients got the exact same information that my least successful clients did.

The difference is the level of engagement –

  • My hugely successful clients have bent the knee and submitted every single step of the way.
  • And my least successful clients have argued and resisted until I had enough of the situation and asked them to leave.

I don’t pretend to like these situations, because I’m an optimist at heart. I always see the potential of someone and am hopeful about what I can help them achieve. But if they can’t see that (or don’t want to), there’s not a lot I can do to help them do anything.

People think that a coach will hold them accountable, but the reality is that no one can hold you accountable except for yourself. I can’t make you do anything. And there’s no amount of money in the world that will incentivise me to try to do that.

To be fair though, I understand why they resist and argue and fight. They’re in pain.

  • Their business isn’t successful.
  • They’re struggling to make it so.
  • They’re terrified of the very thing that would help them do that (sales).
  • Their cashflow situation is fucked.

Does that make it right? Hell no. But I think we can all resonate with that feeling, because at some point we’ve all been there, right?

Maybe you’re even there right now.

But given that you’re reading this (and you’ve made it this far), you’re also the kind of person who wouldn’t bite the hand of the person that fed them, right?

That’s the key difference between someone who actually does manage to change their eCommerce business and someone who doesn’t.

When I was researching this article, I found this really interesting study about pain tolerance. It said that holding the hand of a loved one (or even having them in the room), can make it easier for you to tolerate pain and manage negative emotions.

I realised that one of the core components of my client’s success is that during particularly stressful (aka painful) times in business, they don’t lash out at people trying to help them. And that, in turn, makes them excellent coaching clients, because they take that base-level trait and engage in coaching.

Which means they then have someone they trust to be with them through the business journey and it actually makes it even easier for them to manage themselves because of that.

It’s not just my clients, it’s me too.

Since my coaches walked into my life at the start of the year, there have been many, many ups and downs. Good cash months and bad cash months. Great personal life months that helped my business grow and hard personal life months that impacted my business.

Throughout it all, I’ve felt completely supported and like “everything is going to be okay”. You can’t put a price on that in business and I don’t. It doesn’t matter what I pay them, because I get more peace of mind and help, that it seems cheap – no matter the price of the program.

And I know pay them over a hundred thousand dollars a year.

This is arguably one of the most important distinctions when you look at choosing an eCommerce coach. You’re not just looking for someone who’s done what you want to do.

If they’re worth their salt as a coach, they will have engaged extensively or are engaging in coaching for their own business.

Do you really want a coach that doesn’t submit to the same process you’re expected to submit to? No, I didn’t think so either.

Unfortunately, most people think they can get away without a business coach. They think they can figure it out on their own. They can’t.

Think about it like this –

We wouldn’t expect an athlete to train and compete under high-pressure stakes, like the Olympics, without a coach.

So why do we expect ourselves, as business owners and athletes in business, to compete under high stakes and pressure to win, without a coach?

There’s a disconnect there and it’s because you don’t see yourself as an athlete.

But let’s look at this objectively, right? You are.

  • You compete in the marketplace every day.
  • You train to become better at the skills that give you more success in competition.
  • You need to perform optimally when it counts to have success.
  • You don’t know the exact path to get to where you want to be.

I bet you’ve never thought of yourself like that. And to tell you the truth, most eCommerce founders don’t.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about the eCommerce industry since starting 10,000 Customers, it’s this –

Most of the people who are attracted to eCommerce lack the discipline of an athlete.

  • They think it’ll be easy (it won’t).
  • They think launching the website will be enough (it won’t).
  • They think they can hide behind a screen and not sell things (you can’t).

And to be quite frank with you, those beliefs are literally the reason most women in eCommerce won’t make any money. Ever. But there are some people who are successful, and there’s definitely a pattern I’m seeing in my most successful clients.

  • They’ve treated themselves like athletes already.
  • They played competitive sports as a child.
  • They competed at University for high grades,
  • They won the game of finding a job without any experience.
  • They rose to the top of their career (or are on their way there).

Those are definitely the key characteristics of people who are successful within my client circle.

And when I see that in someone, I know that eCommerce isn’t just a fun side hobby where they might one day make money. They take it seriously, they want to get better and they want to be successful.

But… they need help.

And there’s no shame in engaging help to get to where you want. In fact, that’s the kind of decision that must be respected.

Because it shows dedication, commitment and determination. And those traits in a woman as a CEO of a company equal success.

You just need some help going in the right direction. You need someone who understands what that’s like. You need someone who has done what you’re trying to do. You need someone who you can connect with and trust.

Your business needs therapy and you need a coach.