Entrepreneur by The Oracles
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Jay Wright, founder and CEO of the Ecommerce Equation and co-founder of two multimillion-dollar e-commerce stores. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Jay Wright: I’m an e-commerce growth expert and advisor to a community of over 200 e-commerce business founders. I started my career in finance in 2007 and worked in stockbroking before eventually moving to derivatives trading in London. After the global financial crisis, generating leads was critical to survive and prosper in the industry. So, instead of making endless sales calls like everyone else, I turned to online lead generation.
After a long, cold winter in London, I returned home to Australia and decided to explore my interest in digital marketing rather than jump back into finance. I founded my first company in 2012 and grew it into one of Australia’s premier e-commerce marketing agencies, with three locations and a team of over 30 world-class digital marketers.
After I sold the company in 2017, I ran marketing for the cult children’s book, “A B to Jay Z.” My strategy and execution helped take them from an $8,000 Kickstarter campaign to selling over 250,000 copies in their first year. I then co-founded Alphabet Legends, which released another 20 books and reached seven figures within 12 months. I still work on my e-commerce ventures daily while managing my consultancy, the Ecommerce Equation.
Share an interesting fact about yourself that not many people would know.
Jay Wright: My parents relocated to the Pacific Islands for work when I was a kid, so I spent most of my youth growing up in Samoa and the Cook Islands. It was a great experience that taught me to embrace change and see life from different angles. I recently followed in their footsteps and relocated my family to Bali, Indonesia, so my kids can have the same opportunity to experience different cultures and perspectives. When I’m not working, I enjoy exploring Bali, traveling, and raising my kids.
What excites you the most about your business right now?
Jay Wright: Applying a decade’s worth of learning and experience to help other businesses. Seeing our clients’ rapid, transformational results is so rewarding. I’m also excited that I get to choose the projects and people I work with — it’s not about taking anything and everything on board to survive.
What’s your favorite quote?
Jay Wright: Tony Robbins said: “The only way to become wealthy, and stay wealthy, is to find a way to do more for others than anyone else is doing in an area that people really value. If you become a blessing in other people’s lives, you too will be blessed.”
Robbins has been a huge inspiration and part of my self-education over the years. To me, this quote is one of his most profound concepts and has influenced one of my core business principles: being “client obsessed.” I believe what’s right for the client is best for everyone. I’ve made countless decisions based on what’s best for the client, even if that means sacrificing short-term personal or business gain. I believe this strategy returns tenfold in the future and has been a large part of my success — plus, it creates good vibes.
What was your biggest, most painful failure?
Jay Wright: My biggest mistake early in business was underestimating the complexities of running the back end of a physical product business. After years of working on the front end of marketing and sales, the transition to manufacturing and fulfillment was a steep learning curve.
The first 40-foot container of products that we sent from China to the United States was a complete disaster. I didn’t know about quality assurance inspections or container insurance, so we sent an uninsured, uninspected container across the globe. Luckily, it made it to port, but around 14,000 books were unsellable because they were damaged in transit.
Then we tried to fulfill a backlog of 10,000 presale orders ourselves, driving to the post office one Honda Odyssey van load at a time. It was so slow that we had a terrible customer service problem trying to keep everyone happy. Things are smoother now, thanks to freight forwarders and third-party logistics providers, but that nearly put us out of business.
What’s the biggest common leadership mistake?
Jay Wright: Many leaders haven’t walked in the shoes of the people they are leading. To move others to action, you must lead by example to inspire certainty and demonstrate what’s possible. It’s hard to do that if you’ve never been where your client is striving to go. I would never advise a business to do something I haven’t done myself.
Unless you’ve scientifically tested a strategy or tactic, it’s just an opinion, not true leadership. Before advising my clients, I spend my own money on my e-commerce businesses to see what works. My clients want to build e-commerce businesses that reach multiple seven figures. I have created two. They want to crack the elusive million-dollar month. I’ve made that happen.
How do you evaluate a good business deal?
Jay Wright: To me, a good business deal meets three critical criteria. First, I must be able to leverage my skills to make an impact on the business. Second, it must make sense commercially. Business is a numbers game, and even a rough analysis of the numbers can tell you whether it’s a good or bad deal. Rationally reviewing the commercial model, without emotion, can usually tell me a lot.
Finally, it needs to be a “flywheel” opportunity, a concept from the Jim Collins book, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t.” Good-to-great transformations don’t happen in one fell swoop. Instead, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel until you build momentum and have a breakthrough. E-commerce businesses can be great flywheels if you create enough momentum. Each customer has the potential to buy more or tell their friends to buy from you. Each sale spreads your fixed costs across more customers, so you can spend more to acquire new ones.
Which single habit gives you 80 perecent of your results?
Jay Wright: Being scientific. Numbers don’t lie and can give you superhuman clarity and confidence in the direction you’re going. I analyze the data behind my results and iterate until I find the actions that get the results I want. Then I double down on them with laser focus and ignore everything else, even if that goes against the grain.
What are you working on right now?
Jay Wright: My life’s mission is to help established e-commerce business owners find a clear and compelling path to scale and give them the tools and knowledge to make it a reality. Right now, I’m just helping those in my inner circle. But I’m also creating a forum and community where all e-commerce business founders can connect and access the strategies and tactics that are working.
What is the most exciting question that you spend time thinking about?
Jay Wright: “How can I make it better?” I love this question. It helps me determine how to create a better lifestyle for my family. It also helps me serve e-commerce businesses in their quest to scale by identifying better processes than what’s out there.
This article first appeared in Entrepreneur.