Failing: A Self-Hurt Guide to Business Success is a detailed account of Anthony Lee’s many excruciating failures that led to eventual success as an ecommerce entrepreneur. Why did we write this book? Because no one really talks about the failures even though going out on your own means you will encounter one after another.
Anthony and I are excited to announce the launch of our newest book, Failing: A Self-Hurt Guide to Business Success! This will be the third book to come out of Reid & Wright Publishing, and while both Bootstrapping books were near and dear to our hearts being the first publications of our fledging company, this one is even more so because it’s about something we’re both extremely passionate about. Success! Or more accurately, success via the flip side - failure.
The experience of being at rock bottom is different for everyone. For some it’s being in the place where the next step down will end your life. For others it’s at a place of total disgust for yourself and the life you’ve allowed to happen. There are varying degrees of each of these, but it’s that place where you personally are capable of going no lower. It’s a scary place to be but a good place to be. Coming from a place of being completely flattened and humbled, the fear of failure is now a moot point. You have failed so totally and yet, here you are. The question becomes, what now?
It’s important to define what we mean by “success.” I’ll tell you right now, to me, success isn’t about how to become rich with very little effort in a short amount of time.
Here’s the thing: I’m over a year in the business that I’m in (importing and selling on Amazon) and I have yet to spend a single dime on myself or my family. Don’t forget, I’m my own boss because I figured out a way to take what I learned building the business and help others do the same. “How’s this going to help me if I want to get rich or at least provide better for my family?” you’re probably asking.
Don’t stop reading yet. I’ll explain.
I haven’t taken any money out of my business because I choose to reinvest everything I make so I can build a legacy for my family.
The book I just published, “Bootstrapping E-commerce: How to Import and Sell on Amazon,” isn’t going to give you the nuts and bolts of how to go out there and make fast cash. This book is the nuts and bolts of how to build something that you own, that you control and that can provide you with stability in the future. How far in the future, I don’t know, and very possibly you won’t know for a while either.
Of course, there are always the special cases. Sellers who have the golden touch and somehow jump into the business and become wildly successful in an extremely short period of time. There are a few who manage this, and maybe you’ll be one of them, but the vast majority of people will stumble a few times, especially if they try to go too fast.
Rather than gamble and plunge in head first, I suggest making solid plans with realistic goals to build something for a brighter tomorrow. I would like to provide you with the construction material to do so. You may not make millions with the information I teach you, but it is completely possible, even probable, that years down the road you’ll find yourself standing on the solid foundation of a life you can be proud of.
– Anthony Lee
When I slow down enough to absorb the things I experience in a day, the opportunities are obvious and I start to act on them. Looking back now, I can see that most of the really good things in my life weren’t planned years in advance. They were little glimmers that flashed through the noise that I happened to grab.
My most recent glimmer was actually more like a flash of lightning. I decided that I would finally to take a weekend trip to New York City to explore. I contacted my brother, booked flights and hotel rooms, and we were on our way. We flew separately from different cities and on my first flight I scooted past a man on my way to the window seat that I’d carefully selected because it was close to an exit, in a two-seat row and toward the back of the plane, which always seemed safer to me.
My point to this is: I put a lot of thought into choosing that exact seat and when I made my selection I thought, this could be a matter of life or death.
I sat down, heart pounding a bit from general travel stress, and said, “Hi, how ya doing?” That was the start of a three-hour-long conversation that was relaxed, interesting, funny, reassuring and inspirational. Both of us marveling that we were talking so much because we were not the talkative types and more apt to plug into earbuds than start up a lifelong…
A lifelong what exactly?
When we left I gave him my card, saying if you ever need a writer, look me up. A week later he gave me a call.
The feeling that something shifted in the universe bringing two people, two ideas, two lives together, is a wonderful one. It’s magic. And if you believe in it, it’s a feeling that can spread to everything you do, turning your work into fantastic success because you have faith. Sound a little new-agey? It isn’t. It has to do with the confidence the right person or right job gives you to trust your instincts. It also has to do with a heightened awareness that allows you to see the details that are going to give you the edge when attempting a new endeavor.
– Dana Barfield
Before the success of my business importing and selling products on Amazon, I had a low point when I lived in a trailer—yes, a trailer. Now, I was very thankful for that trailer because at least I had a roof over our heads. The problem wasn’t the actual trailer but the fact that I couldn’t afford to have the tank filled with gas to heat the trailer. Even in southern Alabama, it can get pretty cold in the winter months, and I vividly remember during one of the colder nights having to sleep next to my daughter to keep her warm. I can’t think of a better motivator for success than that.
So I had the reason why. Now I just needed an opportunity that I could stick with until I met success. When a new form of entrepreneurship crossed my path, I was skeptical. I had tried out so many “get rich” ideas already. Failure makes it hard to keep an open mind, but for some reason I decided to take a look at this last opportunity, and I’m very glad I did.
Practically overnight my mind was opened to a business type I hadn’t yet considered—selling physical products via e-commerce through a program such as Amazon FBA. At that time, I didn’t know that Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) or any other third-party logistics programs even existed. This was a completely foreign concept to me, and, like I said, I was skeptical. But as soon as someone showed me that it was possible to have someone else fulfill your orders and handle customer returns, I realized this could be a gold mine.
I was starting from square one with this concept. I had never considered the idea of importing goods from overseas. I had no idea whatsoever how someone could manage to get their hands on any kind of inventory outside of opening their own factory.
So what did I do? I studied like hell everything I could get my hands on because I had the idea that this was the lucrative business I’d been waiting for.
Fast-forward several months and I’m running an extremely successful business, consulting and helping others run businesses, and lending my expertise to services that assist e-commerce entrepreneurs as well. What? Did I say several months? Yep, I am the quintessential overnight success. However, we’re going to need to talk more about what success in this business actually means. More about that later. Right now I’ll just say that in less than a year I managed to turn my life from the stagnant path it was on to one that was definitely pointed upward. I now set my own hours from home, and the thermostat stays at a very comfortable 73° F, and, most importantly, my children want for nothing.
— Anthony Lee