How would you recover from being liquidated by the tax man? Adam recovered by building 3 new eCommerce sites (episode 139)

Adam Watson has been in eCommerce for 16 years, after starting selling on eBay when he was 18, and in his own words has “made just about every mistake going along the way, and had some great success”. Right now he has 3 sites, and they’ve launched since August 2016, and have a combined turnover of £450,000 per year. That’s an impressive start, especially when you consider that last year, due to an accounting error Adam lost everything.

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hollywood mirrors podcast
About the business

Getting Started

When Adam was 18 years old and in university, he found that it wasn’t for him and dropped out. However, he still had student loans to pay, so he started attending trade shows and buying things to sell on eBay. He sold everything from children’s battery-powered cars to Viagra. He then opened a brick and mortar store with his mother selling furniture. After about 18 months, they decided to open an online store. That took over, so in another 18 months, they shut the store down to focus on their online store.

Accounting Error

When Adam was implementing a new accounting system, he discovered that his accountant hadn’t been calculating or paying the VAT from his Amazon sales for the past five years, as they had been unaware that the company was registered in Luxembourg. Although Adam was honest and came forward about it, HMRC didn’t cut him much slack. He had to either pay all the VAT taxes back, or liquidate. He couldn’t pay, so he was forced into liquidation, and 13 years of work was just gone.

It took him a few months to work through the shock and array of emotions, but eCommerce was the only thing he knew and he loved what he did, so he went straight back into it.

Blank Slate Opportunity

Although the liquidation and loss of everything was a terrible blow, it was also a chance to start over with 13 years’ worth of knowledge and experience. He had been on Magento, and when he began again, he switched to Shopify. He kept the high margin products from his previous business and focused on those in his new businesses. He went from a team of 10 to a team of 4, reducing the manpower necessary to do sales, and began outsourcing things like pay-per-click.

Listen to learn why Adam prefers Shopify and why it’s okay that he’s no longer allowed to do business on Amazon.

The Keys to His Growth

The top three keys to growing his new businesses quickly have been:

  • getting Google shopping optimized,
  • being savvy about SEO,
  • and advertising on Instagram.

Listen to learn why pay-per-click is best left to the experts in Google shopping campaigns, and how he used Alibaba to find his suppliers.

Most Awesome Thing Right Now

Since the backend is all sorted, the businesses are arranged so that Adam can start adding in different niches very quickly when he wants to without affecting the day-to-day running of the businesses. The opportunity is the most awesome thing.

Top To-Do’s for Growth in the 2018

Adam is looking to take his mirrors onto the B2B side with bathroom retailers and the like, which is not something he’s done before. To get started, he’s implementing some ideas from host Chloe Thomas’ book [easyazon_link identifier=”1999878809″ locale=”UK” tag=”ecommmaste-21″]B2B eCommerce MasterPlan[/easyazon_link], and he’s already made some phone calls to get it rolling.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Instagram influencers

Listen to learn tips for how to get started with finding and compensating Instagram influencers.

Tool Top Tip

  • Brightpearl

Start Up Top Tip

  • Research the competition and see where you can fit in. Find out what you can do differently or better than your competition. Look at keyword difficulty and the per click costs. Find something you can achieve quickly, with good margins.

Interview Links

Want even more ideas for growing your business in 2018?

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