With online businesses growing I wanted to interview an expert on automating and optimizing online businesses. Melisa Vong is that expert and I got the chance to interview her. Here’s what she had to say:
Hey Melisa, can you tell us a little about who you are?
“Who am I?” Now that’s the million dollar question we all ask ourselves! I guess it all depends on who you ask. If you ask my mom, she’d tell you I’m her pride and joy. My business partners and social media friends on the other hand might think I’m some internet entrepreneur living her best life, my clients might think I’m some Amazon FBA expert or E-commerce wizard, and to my hedgehog I’d be his savior and reliable food dispenser. I like to think of myself as a fierce serial entrepreneur who inspires people to chase their dreams and help take their businesses to the next level through strategic branding. On a more tangible note, own and operate several e-commerce brands within the health and wellness niche as well as beauty space. Additionally, I provide consulting services to brands that wish to expand their retail presence into the Amazon marketplace as well as assist in brands that need a helping hand to scale up their current Amazon strategy.
Can you give us a look into your background story?
For me, the hustle started young. When I was in second grade, I would take my allowance money to the flee market and purchase these “surprise bags” which would contain 4 to 5 little trinkets or toys in them for $2. I would then sell them for $1 to $2 a piece, netting me a pretty profit to do it all over again or buy other inventory like chocolate bars to sell. When my parents separated, my mother had to support me and my sister on her own so at 12 years old I went out and got my first job which was going door-to-door selling newspaper subscriptions for my local newspaper. I wanted to help in any way that I could and watching my mom work so hard to provide for us really lit a fire under me and instilled a hard work ethic like no other. She is a huge inspiration for me and is also a huge health nut which is what put me on the path of creating my own botanical based skincare company while I was working in car sales. Fast forward, I was able to quit my job to go full time with e-commerce and now own multiple businesses within the wellness and beauty space and also help others launch and scale their own brands which has become my main focus right now.
What are the benefits to automating your online business?
The largest and most obvious benefit is time and energy freedom. It should be no surprise that when you have someone else take over tasks that you once performed, you have the opportunity to focus on what matters most in business which is making the strategic decisions to grow and scale your business and of course, yourself. You are the captain of your ship and as an entrepreneur who is practically addicted to growth, metrics, and generally getting sh*t done, it’s easy to forget that we all need sleep, a good diet, exercise, and a healthy mind. Sacrificing the latter for the former seem like a good idea at first, but you soon come to realize that your resources are finite and that you are not a superhuman. Automating a business not only allows you to shift from more of the smaller day-to-day tasks to the bigger strategy plays, but it allows you to actually take time for yourself to ensure that you are operating at the highest level and maximum potential.
What are some important tools entrepreneurs should take advantage of to help automate their online business
With the internet and its vast amount of resources available to us at our fingertips, it’s hard to sort through which ones are actually useful and which ones are just glorified apps you download and use once. When it comes to building an e-commerce brand or business, here are some tools or platforms that show promise and have proven to be effective with automating your e-commerce or Amazon business:
Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) – If you have a brand or sell products online, you may want to look into putting or selling those products on Amazon as well to help automate a lot of your supply chain and other important aspects of your business. For example, Amazon will handle shipping your products to your customers so you don’t have to worry about packing them and fulfilling orders manually, printing and applying shipping labels, and driving to your local post office to ship the products. Another benefit is that Amazon also handles a lot of the customer service for orders placed on their platform. When a customer has an issue, they usually reach out to Amazon directly, especially in cases where a customer hasn’t receive their package because it was lost or stolen.
ManyChat – What’s more automated than an automated messenger bot? You can use ManyChat to build full blown funnels for product launches, review campaigns, customer service, influencer onboarding and more! The open rate for chat bots range from 15 to 60% whereas the average email marketing rate is about 4% which shows huge potential for anyone leveraging chat bots.
Feedback Genius – Having the proper email messaging sequence is super important to maintain good customer service and ultimately get organic feedback and reviews from your customers. To help automate your Amazon messaging sequence so that you don’t have to manually send emails every time a customer makes a purchase, you can simply set up automatic emails through Feedback Genius and watch the reviews roll in while mitigating negative ones.
Tasker – If you have an Android, Tasker is a great app for automating basic tasks on your phone. For example, you can program Tasker to log into your Amazon account every 3 days, take a snapshot of your inventory levels, and have it send you or your supply chain manager an email with the photo attached.
Trello – This isn’t so much an automation software but it’s a good platform for project management and communication between departments. You can create cards with details on a specific task or project that needs to be done and move it through the different checkpoints until it has been approved by the appropriate parties and completed. I personally use this to communicate with my website developers.
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