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How Janine Do and Brian Lejeune Exited for Seven Figures and Became “Quiet GIants”
Janine Do and Brian Lejeune are both members of Blue Ribbon Mastermind, a mastermind group for high-earning e-commerce sellers. As pharmacists-turned-entrepreneurs, Janine and Brian have bought and sold their own online businesses, with their latest seven-figure exit taking place over the pandemic. They are also the stars of the upcoming “Quiet Giants” episode three.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- The story behind Brian Lejeune and Janine Do’s mid-pandemic exit
- Brian and Janine talk about filming the third “Quiet Giants” episode
- Brian and Janine’s entrepreneurial backgrounds and how they transitioned into e-commerce
- How has Brian and Janine’s seven-figure exit affected the way they run their brands now?
- The importance of mastermind groups for solopreneurs
- Janine and Brian share their advice for entrepreneurs who have just bought an FBA business
- Should you outsource your advertising?
In this episode…
Are you curious about e-commerce entrepreneurship, but don’t know where to start? Whether you’re an established entrepreneur in a different field or an e-commerce expert looking to buy your first FBA business, this episode has the strategies and advice you need to take the first step and start growing a profitable online business today.
Janine Do and Brian Lejeune weren’t always the successful e-commerce entrepreneurs they are today. In fact, they both started out as pharmacists, dreaming of a different career. Then, with no money or support, the two dove into entrepreneurship—and have since come out on the other side as seven-figure exit planners. So, what is Janine and Brian’s advice to entrepreneurs on how to effectively grow, and ultimately exit, a successful e-commerce business?
In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley sits down with Janine Do and Brian Lejeune, successful entrepreneurs and members of the Blue Ribbon Mastermind group, to talk about their advice on successfully growing and exiting an e-commerce business. Together, they discuss Janine and Brian’s background and path into entrepreneurship, the details of some of their profitable exits, and their advice for entrepreneurs looking to break into the e-commerce world. Keep listening!
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Quiet Light
- Joe Valley
- Mark Daoust
- “Quiet Giants” on YouTube
- Brian Lejeune on LinkedIn
- Blue Ribbon Mastermind
- Walker Deibel
- Acquisition Lab
- Buy Then Build: How Acquisition Entrepreneurs Outsmart the Startup Game by Walker Deibel
- Click Happy: Your Guide to a Meaningful Life & Career in the Digital Era by Molly Pittman
- Quiet Light Podcast email: [email protected]
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Quiet Light Brokerage, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.
There is no wrong reason for selling your business. However, there is a right time and a right way. The team of leading entrepreneurs at Quiet Light Brokerage wants to help you discover the right time and strategy for selling your business. By providing trustworthy advice, effective strategies, and honest valuations, your Quiet Light advisor isn’t your every-day broker—they’re your partner and friend through every phase of the exit planning process.
If you’re new to the prospect of buying and selling, Quiet Light Brokerage is here to support you. Their plethora of top-notch resources will provide everything you need to know about when and how to buy or sell an online business. Quiet Light offers high-quality videos, articles, podcasts, and guides to help you make the best decision for your online business.
Not sure what your business is really worth? No worries. Quiet Light Brokerage offers a free valuation and marketplace-ready assessment on their website, quietlight.com. That’s right—this quick, easy, and free valuation has no strings attached. Knowing the true value of your business has never been easier!
What are you waiting for? Quiet Light Brokerage is offering the best experience, strategies, and advice to make your exit successful. To learn more, go to quietlight.com, email [email protected], or call 800.746.5034 today.
Hi, folks, it’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals.
Joe Valley 0:29
Hey folks, Joe Valley here at Quiet Light Brokerage and one of the hosts of Quiet Light Podcast I am a partner at Quiet Light. As you all know by now, we are an online business brokerage firm. I’m also a serial entrepreneur I’ve built, bought, and sold over a half dozen of my own companies. And I’m old, I’ve been self employed since 1997. Some of you in the audience probably weren’t even born then some of you might have been in grade school. I did join Quiet Light in 2012. And since then, I’ve sold about 100 million in transactions for Quiet Light clients. And I just want to 12 advisors on the team. Our latest just joined us he’s a Shark Tank alumni cut a deal with Robert. And he’s coming along doing really well. You’ll learn more about him in 2021. If you can imagine that’s this year. Now that this is airing, and he’s a great addition to the team. Today’s episode is brought to you by Quiet Light. We are a small to middle market m&a advisory firm focused on online businesses only. Everyone on the team has built, bought, or sold their own online business and now active advisors as well to entrepreneurs seeking their own exit. Before I introduce our two guests. Today, I’d like to give a shout out to Ezra Firestone and the Blue Ribbon Mastermind Group. Our guests are members of the Group that’s how we met Quiet Light has been sponsors, sole sponsors of Blue Ribbon mastermind for several years. And if you are considering joining a Mastermind in 2021, check out the Blue Ribbon Mastermind group there’s a tremendous amount of value with very successful entrepreneurs that share their stories and help other members of the team as well as they’re always shares his own business experience and examples to the businesses that he runs as well. Now, on to our guest today, we’ve got a repeat guests of Quiet Light Podcast, Brian Lejeune and Janine Do, they’re also strangely enough entrepreneurs who have built bought and sold their own online businesses. They’re actually quite qualified to join the Quiet Light team. But they’re too busy running and other operations and buying other businesses and being movie stars as well because they spend some time with our cmo our documentary producer Chris Moore, shooting “Quiet Giants” episode three that is airing shortly through the Quiet Light YouTube channel. Brian and Janine, welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast. You both sort of grimaced and smiled when I said movie stars. Was it because Janine’s the real star Brian or the the other way around?
Brian Lejeune 3:07
It was the first time I got to wear makeup.
Joe Valley 3:10
You got to wear makeup. That’s only the first time Come on. Tell us the truth. Oh, come on.
Brian Lejeune 3:14
No, I didn’t actually get to. You didn’t.
Joe Valley 3:16
I heard you’re barefoot the whole time though.
Brian Lejeune 3:18
I was definitely barefoot. I’m barefoot right now. If you must know.
Joe Valley 3:23
Go ahead show.
Brian Lejeune 3:23
Nah. I’m often I’m often barefoot.
Joe Valley 3:31
Alright. So folks, Brian and Janine, part of the Blue Ribbon Mastermind group. I saw it in that multiple events over the course of a couple of years, not just Blue Ribbon, but they they travel as part of their entrepreneurial life, they get up and go whenever they can, and get to write it off through the business. So it’s a wonderful life in that sense. But they had a business, you can listen to prior episodes of the Quiet Light Podcast, where we went in depth about their business that they sold. It was in actually it was in March of 2020.
Brian Lejeune 4:08
Joe Valley 4:09
And if I recall, just a quick refresher for the people that are listening for the first time. It was a multi seven figure deal. You own the business for two and a half years maybe. And you made most of the money on the exit because it was growing so fast that you were just taking, as Janine said, You’re wiring all the money to China just to get more inventory. Right. Exactly. Where’s the money in your own bank account? But the money hit the day before or the day after the pandemic hit and everything was shut down? Right?
Brian Lejeune 4:41
Yeah, right at that same week. It couldn’t have come at a better time
Janine Do 4:45
The stock market literally crashed. 20% that same day.
Joe Valley 4:49
Talk about pizza. At least it was you didn’t it thankfully we didn’t close earlier. We had some struggle closing because of a lot of different things. Again, folks in depth, just google Incredible exits, Janine and Brian, and you’ll get the full story. We’ll link it in the in the podcast notes as well there. No, that solves that problem. But it’s good that we didn’t close early, because you might have put that in the market and then lost 20% pretty quickly. Right? Although you might have done some other things with it. So again, folks, they had a business that took off like a literal rocket ship, and sold it and has since then, now bought two additional online businesses. If my math is right, you would start at one before you had an accident that that’s still running. And then you bought two you bought them. Both require light, oddly enough, and thank you very much. One that you close yesterday with Walker that is in a different niche and a little different, comfort level for you, but you’re entrepreneurs and you’ll work through it and figure it out, I’m sure. But let’s let’s just talk about the movie star status. Because, you know, your full story is really going to be told in that short film that Chris produced with you. But to recap it quickly, educational wise, you’re not both trained entrepreneurs, you’re both pharmacists, by training. Do you have I know one of you? Do you both have your masters or PhD? Help me out with reminders?
Janine Do 6:22
I have a doctoral degree he just has like, you know, just a five year degree.
Joe Valley 6:27
Do you require that he calls you Dr. Do?
Janine Do 6:31
Joe Valley 6:32
I never have. Would you like me to do that from now on?
Janine Do 6:41
All you need is fun.
Joe Valley 6:43
She needs fine. Okay. Dr. Janine, I like that, actually. So both incredibly well educated both from the pharmacy field and then you jumped into this crazy Amazon space and business took off. Brian, I know that you had other brick and mortar retail businesses before you were in the online space, right?
Brian Lejeune 7:05
Yes, I think you’d beat me by a year I started my entrepreneur journey. 98, 98. Purchased my first business
Joe Valley 7:12
and you’ve got gray in your chin too. So it’s just it’s it’s if you if you if you’re an entrepreneur before the year 2000. You’ve got to have some brand new chin, even if you color it. It’s I think it’s a right. Yeah. It’s a rite of passage.
Brian Lejeune 7:28
Yes. All right. So most of most of those businesses as well, I thought, you know, so I did start a few on my own, but I bought a lot of them, built them up, sold them off, had one for almost 20 years. So yeah.
Joe Valley 7:43
So entrepreneur wise, do both of you guys come from a lot of money and you just use family money to buy these businesses and build them? Not? Not at all actually, right? Debt wise, Janine, you’ve got your PhD. That’s pretty damn impressive. But you had how many hundreds of 1000s of dollars worth of student debt?
Janine Do 8:05
It was 197,000 when I graduated, yeah.
Joe Valley 8:09
Wow. Did you pay that off with the sale of the business?
Janine Do 8:13
That’s our goals, but I’m not sure what we’re doing with that. Yeah, I’m having so much fun buying more businesses to work on. My student loans like 5% are much rather use my cash and buying you know, a brand new I can flip for like 100 times.
Joe Valley 8:31
You just said buy and build, we are promoting Walker’s book at the moment because I know you closed a deal with him yesterday. Maybe it’s just a title that people have said enough that he stole it and put it on the cover of a book. And now everybody says buy and then walk or die.
Brian Lejeune 8:48
It’s the greatest business hack there is.
Joe Valley 8:53
just buying one. Yeah. So now let’s talk about that as serial entrepreneurs and documentary movie stars, “Quiet Giants” three. Three is what we shot. It’s airing this week folks go to you’ll see it in your inbox everyone but go to YouTube and just Google just search for “Quiet Giants” Three, it tells Brian Lejeune’s full story with where they grew up, where they spend their time what they do in their hobbies, and gives much more background about where they came from in order to become successful exit printers, if you will, serial entrepreneurs and and now running 1 to 3 different brands or brands. And I’m sure you’re not quite done yet. But let’s talk about the filming of it. Was it just awesome to sit around for 12 hours a day and be told where to go and what to say? Was it Was it fun? Chris is a fun guy. He must have made it fun.
Janine Do 9:55
Brian Lejeune 9:57
No the following around doing kind of what we love. That was that was fun being filmed, awkward but still fun. So getting out in nature, we were hiking, we’re going out to eat. So it’s not like we’re doing anything stressful. Sitting down for the interview a little stressful. Yeah, yeah.
Joe Valley 10:14
Is this is it much less stressful because you don’t actually have a guy with a camera in your face. You’ve just got your computer in your face. And we’re filming this too. Is this is this isn’t stressful compared to that though, right
Brian Lejeune 10:26
- Very different. Yeah. The lights, the camera, the different camera angles. Yeah, making sure every piece of lighting is perfect in the background. And you tried to kind of keep your focus and yeah, it’s challenging. Yeah.
Joe Valley 10:40
But you didn’t have a great person interviewing you for the film, whereas now you do big difference. Right? That could be
Brian Lejeune 10:47
Yeah, we won’t tell Chris.
Joe Valley 10:49
Janine Do 10:50
Yes. Of course.
Joe Valley 10:53
Absolutely. Thank you. Alright, so you spent 12 hours a day filming with Chris I think.
Janine Do 11:01
Brian Lejeune 11:02
it was three, but two full days.
Janine Do 11:08
And then the first day was interview time. The second Tuesday was 3 days.
Joe Valley 11:14
And it was telling each of your stories on where you came from and wrapping it up with the successful exit of one of your businesses. Yes.
Brian Lejeune 11:22
Yeah. We went back to our hometown childhood homes, my middle school. So yeah, we were way back.
Joe Valley 11:31
For those listening in the audience. Where are each of you from? Where did you grow up?
Janine Do 11:36
I grew up into projects in Roxbury, Mass.
Brian Lejeune 11:39
I grew up in Massachusetts.
Joe Valley 11:42
Okay. I’ve been to both and then the city of sin. Once you go out know, once you’ve been in, what is the saying go out, go out the way went in that never go out. Yeah. And the projects in Roxbury, just off Huntington Avenue, man that area, you know, I’ve been
Janine Do 12:04
prepared to get robbed. So you know, just be be prepared. You ever go there. Don’t walk around by yourself either.
Joe Valley 12:10
So I went to college at Northeastern University of Utah. Now, for those listening. And they have a co op program at Northeastern University and being the slacker and entrepreneur that I was, I didn’t want to be fancy corporate job. So I took an assistant manager job at Cajun Joe’s fried chicken and biscuits. And it was across from the Mission Hill church up in Roxbury. And, you know, to get home at night, you walk down the hill and connect with Huntington Avenue and you get back that way, call a cab if you had money, and I really didn’t. And one night it was late, it was tired. And I decided, I’m just going to cut through. And by cutting through cutting through the projects. And so I’m a white kid walking through the projects, preppy college, white kid walking through the projects at at nine o’clock at night, 10 o’clock at night, actually, it’s probably more like 11:30 because it was a fast food restaurant. And I got picked up by the police because they thought you know, I was a drug dealer. And now I’m just walking home. I work right there and I just I go to college and Northeastern, and you guys, you stupid ass kid in the car. You’re gonna get killed kid. And he’s right. I was a stupid fool. And I was tired. But I was young and invincible. I would certainly never do it today. Is that Is it about where you grew up in that area? Janine? Was it in that?
Janine Do 13:34
Yes. So you know, you’re talking about you being a white kid. Now imagine being a five foot tall, skinny little Asian girl 12 years old walking home from the bus stop. It was really scary every single day, every day
Joe Valley 13:48
I would imagine. Well folks, you could check out where she grew up and some of the things that she went through in the film and how impressive it is, you know, the the background has stopped told a little bit more in terms of your family and the educational success that you’ve had that each of you have had. And then the daring chutzpah if you will to step away from that and jump into the entrepreneurial world both of your your family’s How did they feel about you abandoning the educational aspect and what they worked so hard for you to get to to to leave and go into this crazy world of online businesses?
Brian Lejeune 14:38
Still questioning me all these years later. It was always any family events so I left pharmacy to kind of start brick and mortar stores so tanning salons, gyms cafes, that type of thing. Any any time ago brought up it was a still doing that tanning thing. Are you still running that? You know? When are you going to go back to pharmacy You know, it didn’t matter how well I was doing how good my life was, they always kind of at my extended family, everything, it was always sort of that same thing. Are you gonna be a pharmacist again? Yeah, you’re worried about leaving pharmacy, you know. So it’s funny,
Joe Valley 15:15
it’s a need to understand what you were really doing
Brian Lejeune 15:17
no, and they still don’t know, now they really don’t understand. Because now they can’t see a store that you know, it’s very different.
Joe Valley 15:24
Now you don’t work at all. You just you’re at home barefoot all the time. That’s right. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Now what about you Janine you come from a, you know, a different culture from folks that came in originally from a different country. And I know that, you know, my grandfather came over on the boat when, he was from Greece, when he was 17. He didn’t speak any English. And there was a certain work ethic and a certain way to do things. And that was it and getting an education and then completely abandoning it was not what he would have allowed my father to do. How did your parents and How have your parents reacted to these choices that you’ve made in this world that you’re in now?
Janine Do 16:01
Well, at the time, I made the announcement, I was still living in the basement with my parents at the age of 34, divorced with two kids, two and three years old. So yeah, my dad threatened to kick me out. And my mom threatened to never babysit again. And she was literally shaking. Like, my mom doesn’t get mad. Like, she never gets mad. It’s really rare to ever see my mom mad. But she was so upset. She was standing there with her by her weight, and she was shaking. When she told me I’m never babysitting for you again. And I just thought it was funny, because what kind of threat is the grandmother threatening to numbers? You can even make sense, right? Um, you know, we came to this country, my father, you know, growing up was always, you know, Doctor, engineer, Doctor, engineer, lawyer. Those are like our options, right? Doctor, engineer, lawyer, he’s like, drilled into us. That’s the only thing that we can do get good grades. So we all did you know, all my siblings. With five pharmacists, we have a dentist with like, six, seven doctor degrees, my family and my parents, which is really weird. And this is why I don’t understand why he couldn’t understand where I’m coming from. They have a business. And because of their business, and the success that came from the business, we’re able to get out of the project, bought a house, he bought a brand new Lexus. And he was so proud of that thing. He was like watching it every single day, which I’m pretty sure he was supposed to be. So I didn’t understand why he couldn’t understand that I wanted to do business. But I guess to my father, it was like, This is my last resort. I am a blue collar worker. If I could, I would rather be an engineer or doctor. Like that’s the way he saw business. It was his last resort because he couldn’t do anything else. That couldn’t be like a doctor of some sort. Right? Um,
Joe Valley 17:57
yeah, there’s a certain level of security with that compared to, you know, running the restaurant and being entrepreneurs like you are today.
Janine Do 18:03
Joe Valley 18:05
So how do they feel now that both of your parents understand the success that you’ve had? And maybe not Brian, you just said they still don’t understand it, right?
Janine Do 18:15
They don’t understand what I do. You know, when I say I’m working on the computer, they don’t get data, they still don’t understand e commerce. However, they do see, you know, I have a nice home. I’m home with my kids all the time. So now my little brother just started in Amazon. He’s also a pharmacist, also do an Amazon like, a couple weeks ago, my brother in law has started his own Amazon, not sure how that’s going. And my older brothers, who’s also a pharmacist, also wants me to teach him how to do Amazon. So they’re coming around.
Joe Valley 18:45
Yeah, that’s more work for you. It’s like you’ve created this disease in the family where everybody’s
Janine Do 18:51
just like shut up about it.
Joe Valley 18:54
When you’re when you’re timing wise. How, how many years has it been since you guys have been, you know, more or less 100% focused on online businesses?
Janine Do 19:10
Yeah, so I quit my job April 28 2017. And went full time into Amazon.
Joe Valley 19:18
So less than three years for both of you. And we’ve had a seven figure a multi seven figure exit. And now you are running three other brands and you’ll be able to do that again. Because now that you know that now you know what it’s like to build an exit. Do you as you’re operating the three brands that you have now? Are you operating with a mindset of Okay, well, you know, when it gets to this level, if we choose to we can exit Do you see that? That’s a lot of where the value is for you is it changed your mindset as an entrepreneur?
Brian Lejeune 19:55
Yes or no. So where do we still run them as if we’re keeping these businesses. So we like our goal with, especially with the ones we’ve purchased. We purchased two brands that were unprofitable brands, but had a lot of really good work kind of behind them. So like creative assets, very good branding, a lot of history. So both brands that we bought were more than 45 years old. But they weren’t ever able to kind of like make that turn of taking this business, it’s generating a lot of revenue and making them profitable. Right. And in, in both cases, it seems like their goal was that giant exit, and it was, we need to grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, we need to kind of put all all of our efforts into the, you know, the assets of the brand, and the creativity and the branding itself, which they did awesome jobs at. But we’re losing money every single month. So when we take over a brand, that’s kind of our first thing is we need to make this brand profitable. And even if that means scaling back on revenue, we’re going to kind of take a step backwards, we’re going to figure out our cost of goods or advertising shut things off what we need to build back up with the with a brand that we’ve purchased in April, we’ve been able to do that without losing any sales. I mean, it was we intended to, to lose sales, because we shut ads off, we really like said, okay, we need to start over, we need to kind of base this from, we need profit every single day, every single sale. And, and we’ll do that as we grow. And we still look to exit, but we really focus on profitability over growth. And that’s,
Joe Valley 21:44
that’s an important way to look at it. Because that’s actually what brings value. This is not a SaaS company that is, you know, growing and eventually will flip to a multiple of revenue. business that’s, you know, doing 40 million in revenue with 40% of its recurring that will eventually flip to a multiple of revenue, either we’re talking about e commerce, business businesses, brands that you’re promoting and selling. And it’s got to be a multiple of that bottom line. Right. But there’s still, I’m sure you see it every day is such a big misconception.
Brian Lejeune 22:20
That’s not everybody’s thinking they’re growing these brands, they’re throwing money into them. They’re getting investors and outside money to grow them for this giant exit. Whereas they spent five years losing money. Yeah, and then the changing there. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yep. And we end up picking them up for pennies on the dollar, you know, and it’s,
Joe Valley 22:43
now you guys have each other to work with and off of each other. For those that are individual entrepreneurs that are out there, how important are the mastermind groups, like, you know, what I mentioned in the opening here, which is Blue Ribbon mastermind, how critical is that for somebody that’s, you know, on their own, as opposed to you guys, in your opinion, where you’ve got each other?
Janine Do 23:08
Well, entrepreneurs, you know, none of your friends who understand what you’re doing, that’s a very, very solo journey, almost. So you definitely do need that for, you know, for the friendship level support, but also valuable things that we share, like you mentioned, as risk group, and everyone shares everything. And sometimes it takes us one strategy, you pick up 100 different strategies and try them all. Sometimes all it takes is for one of them to work to really take your business to the next level. So you know, being part, we’re part of multiple masterminds, because we recognize how important that is.
Joe Valley 23:48
Yeah, you feel the same way, Brian? You, you’ve got you’ve got it’s interesting, you’ve got different personalities, and I’ve seen you at these different ones, and you gravitate towards different people and you’re some Brian, you’re often quiet, Janine, you’re talking to people, it’s, you’re learning different things, and different things for each other as well. Like, Brian, between the two of you, as you’re operating a business for those. How do you do it together as a couple? Do you have specific roles in the business and you kind of stick to your lane a little bit? Do we do crossover? So that’s it. Okay. That’s That’s how life is all right, gentlemen, do you listen, Brian,
Brian Lejeune 24:29
that was a case things wouldn’t get done. It’s actually completely the opposite.
Joe Valley 24:35
Well, I do know, for those again, go back to the original podcast I did with Brian Lejeune. There was a fateful day when you went out for ice cream. And Brian said, No, no, no, no, you got to we got to buy more inventory than that. And just I’m going to recap it and you guys tell me when I get it wrong. But you you had launched this brand and a couple of months and it was taking off and you thought I’ve got to buy more and And you went out, you talked about it. And Janine, you laid it out for Brian, he said, This is what we’ve got to do. Embrace it. No, scratch that you need $100,000 worth of inventory.
Janine Do 25:11
So I was trying to map out 10,000 here, 2000 here. 5000 here. 10,000. There, I had like a two month plan. And this guy tries to tell me no $1,000 right now,
Joe Valley 25:23
right now. And it’s a ballsy move. courageous, brave, incredibly foolish if you had failed, maybe, but you had a path. And it works. By again, folks go to the other one. But Janine. She She did it, she raised raised about $100,000 in five days. So everybody that’s out there is saying there’s no money available? How do I get more Janine had a way of doing it? timing it all properly, so that she could get it from a bunch of different resources. So go listen to it, we’re not going to talk too much about it. But it’s pretty incredible. courageous, and both of you, and brave, taking action and getting that done. So that’s, that’s just incredible. What do you guys as you look forward? What do you see for the two of you in the next couple of years? Are you going to just focus on what you have now and building those up and making them as you said, Brian, as profitable as possible? Or do you think you’ll, if the right things come along, that might be a good add on a boat could bolt on you, you buy more build the value of the business? What do you think’s gonna happen? Do you have a plan are you just sort of winging it
Brian Lejeune 26:39
and sort of winging it, because if you asked us three months ago, we wouldn’t we weren’t looking for another brand to buy. Yeah. But we’re always looking. So we open up every Quiet Light email. And sometimes I’m scared to request info because I don’t want to be too interested. Because we’re busy. And when we had the brunt of the previous brand that we sold, it was pretty much 100% Amazon business, so the workload of that was a lot less than now. Now we’re doing Amazon that’s kind of really, we’re at like 30% Shopify on one brand. And then the brand that we just bought is not even on Amazon, so so our workload is changed, education is changed. So we’ve had to learn a lot of things, and we still do 95% of all of the work ourselves. So we we have one VA that answers some customer service emails, we That’s it, you know, it’s it’s really us. So we keep saying, you know, keep laughing like 2021, it’s gonna be British year, because this year we had, we had like, stockouts, we had changed manufacturers multiple times. One of the, you know, major parts of our brand, we just never got to restock after June, like mid June, and we were still having like record numbers. And so now we’re starting to like, look forward to 2021 we’re, we’ve kind of solidified some, some new vendors and we’ve got our pricing down, we’ve got quality up like everything’s really starting to come together.
Joe Valley 28:19
in the, in the mastermind world when you’re looking forward like this, if you’re if I know that with Blue Ribbon, they’re more established entrepreneurs, because there’s a minimum to get in and join the group with some of the other mastermind groups that you’re in, or folks that are just starting out that are listening to this and it let’s say they just bought something they just bought an FBA business. Do you have two or three pieces of advice that you would give them if you’re having, you know, an ice cream? Well, I think
Janine Do 28:53
the Facebook group that’s kind of where I started the Facebook group, I think a few years ago, like 20,000 members when when I was first in there now, I don’t know when the last check was but I’m pretty sure this over like 100,000 members in that group, which are Helium 10. Got it? Okay. Well, that’s Um, I think they call it FBA High Rollers group, I don’t mean has changed was run by the people of Helium 10. Very, very helpful people in there a lot of beginners, some intermediate, but the whole group just really supports one another. So I definitely recommend that for sure. Okay. And listen to podcast just while you’re driving podcast, on the podcast, on the train podcast on the airplane podcast. Just listen until we can no longer learn anything new. And, you know, for me, I’m still learning. So this is so much information out there. I’m always listening to some
Joe Valley 29:47
podcasts. So I you know, in that regard learning, like, as you said before, you know, if you’ve got 100 ideas, and one of them takes off, it changes your business dramatically. How do you choose which ones to implement? Because there’s So many opportunities and so many strategies, I’ve seen people to shut down, because they’re so overwhelmed that they want to do everything, but they get so overwhelmed with trying to do everything. And they don’t do anything really, really well. Yeah, advice they have right in that regard.
Brian Lejeune 30:17
trial and error that gets it gets easier now we’ll listen to things. And instinctively, we know some of the things that are being talked about. Just don’t work. A lot of people teach with theory. And you can almost tell some things aren’t put into practice and you hear a lot of things, especially in the Amazon world, it’s sort of like the Amazon’s very specific the Amazon FBA compared to like having your own brand. And then a lot of times, you’ll hear things that I can just send you off into, like such a wrong direction. But I don’t know if I have any really good advice except for I guess, do your research. It’s trial and error, though it’s trying to focus on I think your biggest wins, like there’s, there’s a million strategies that you can try, but you got to we always look at like, what’s gonna actually increase revenue? What is going to increase profit, you know, so try to kind of narrow it down to the, what’s going to give you the biggest wins? And do you?
Joe Valley 31:23
Do you narrow it down as well to what is within your current skill set? You know, because he don’t want to promote yourself to your own level of incompetence, and trying, right, just kind of blow up. Yeah. Do you in just thinking about that dude, gravitate towards the things that are within your comfort zone? Are you constantly stepping outside of your comfort zone?
Brian Lejeune 31:46
I think a pretty good combination of both. I mean, I think we definitely always gravitate to where we’re comfortable. But like with these new brands, where we’re forced to step outside that and if it weren’t for like Blue Ribbon and stuff like that, where we can just lean on people that have done it, seen it, then then we’re just probably throwing money and trying every strategy out there and wasting a lot. Yeah, even just learning, like, what tools successful, you know, shop owners have are using and stuff like that, and which ones are not good little tips that you pick up that, you know, sometimes we’ll install an app on our Shopify store blindly trying things and it’s
Janine Do 32:30
not we try it out, that didn’t work for us. So all right, I’ll try something else. Um, but if there’s one thing I say you should always do by yourself, is advertising. I would never outsource advertising, I tried that a couple of times, didn’t work out. So good. So you know, for those of you out there with the intention of wanting to outsource this and outsource that, they want a piece of advice I can say is do not outsource your advertising on any part.
Joe Valley 32:57
And what platforms are you advertising on now?
Brian Lejeune 33:01
You Yeah, it was on Facebook, Google. So the three main ones, but at the very minimum, like you have to kind of get the grasp of it on your own first, because once you outsource, you don’t really have sort of a benchmark. And we even though we keep preaching this, and we try to really fall true, we, we outsource some stuff on our new brands, and we gave it a try and we so bad, one bit to work. And we ended up taking back over after giving it three months and but if there’s certain things that they do, right, and if we didn’t know what we could do on our own, we wouldn’t really have any gauge of like, are they doing good? Is what they’re telling us true? Like, is this gonna eventually just work out? You know, miraculously. And I
Joe Valley 33:50
think that’s a great piece of advice. I know that I always did my own. I never got any really great training, though I learned by trial and error. You guys do the same, but through the mastermind groups that your members have, you know, I know, do Blue Ribbon Mastermind members get access to all of the Smart Marketer courses.
Brian Lejeune 34:10
They get access to everything that Ezra produces. Yeah. And so there’s Yeah, so
Joe Valley 34:14
that’s incredible. Yeah. Molly’s got Click Happy up there. So I’m on my mantle over there. You know, that’s all
Brian Lejeune 34:21
I’m forcing both of my kids to read that. Are you really yeah one’s 21, one’s 23 I keep giving it to him like he’s just read it just understand it, you know, cuz they’re both still in college and they’re still on the graduate get a job and I’m like,
Joe Valley 34:35
Alright, I need to grab the knowledge. Yeah, I gotta do this without breaking anything. Here’s my, my Christmas carolers thing. It’s January now for people listening. So it’s before Christmas. So the book is Click Happy by Molly Pittman. And Molly is now the CEO of Smart Marketer and this is your guide to a meeting. full life and a career in the digital era. There’s your face there, we do actually get some people that watch on Facebook or not Facebook, YouTube. Okay, so I have it, it decorates my mantle, but I haven’t read it yet. So like your kids, Brian, I’m going to actually read it, I’ll read it over the holiday. So when we chat again, come January and “Quiet Giants” three has launched and you guys are able to say, Dad, Mom, just watch this. This is what I do. And we can talk about click happy, and you can quiz me on it to make sure I’ve actually read it. And then I’ll quiz you to test that. All right, it’s always always a pleasure talking with you, too, you know, as far as, okay, I’m going to plug the book, right. So folks are tired of me. I always have to say this. Walker, I hope you listening. I’m no Walker. But I did write a book. And it will be published, as you all know, in April. And as you said, Thank you for the blurb in the book, the acknowledgement, that at first I was an advisor, and now we’re friends. And I want everybody out there that’s listening. That is an entrepreneur that is thinking about exiting their business someday is to, to not ever hire an advisor, that is just a salesperson trying to get a commission out of them. Because that’s the last thing that we think of at Quiet Light, the first thing we think of is how do I help these people understand what the value of what they have is, and then get them through that entire process. So that the next exit you have is going to be a hell of a lot easier, smoother, the preparation, the march towards it will be cleaner, and you become an exitpreneur. Right. That’s the name of the book, The Exitpreneur’s Playbook. So thank you for the blurb. Again, I am no Walker. And I know you just bought your last business from Walker. So it’s even a deeper inside joke for the three of us. Check out Buy Then Build as well, because we’ve plugged it and it is a fantastic book for the buyers in the audience. by them building Walker has also the Acquisition Lab. But this is about Brian and Janine and the success that they’ve had as entrepreneurs going from, you know, being pharmacists, to being on online entrepreneurs who are now at least Janine’s family is starting to understand and follow in her footsteps. And now, Brian, your kids are reading Click Happy. It’s funny how it all is intertwined. And we’re all interconnected. We’re not in islands anymore. Even though we’re we’re more remote than we’ve ever been, in this entrepreneurial world, working from home as we are now. But we’re almost in many, many more ways interconnected because of the connection with as the connection with Molly and other mastermind groups and walk around. It’s just it’s just the way it has to be. So for the introverts out there like me, like I know, Brian is, I mean, would you consider yourself an extrovert?
Janine Do 38:05
I’m an introvert. People make me tired?
Joe Valley 38:09
definite sign of an introvert. That’s right, you go to event you got to go home, go to sleep. Take a nap in the middle of the day. Mastermind Groups are not just for the extroverts. And they’re great places to meet and connect with people that are very like minded. So find one join one. Check out “Quiet Giants” Three. with Brian and Janine. It’s coming out. Right around now when this is airing. Lastly, lastly, and Mark and I just started to do this. Please give us a review. Take a look. Give us a review. Give your comments. We’ll give you some feedback. We’d greatly appreciate that in 2021. Brian and Janine, as always, thank you again for putting up with me and spending more of your time in a sense promoting Quiet Light. Thank you so much.
Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast subject or guest, email us at podcast at quietlight.com. Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.