EP 12 - Liz Herrera - The Importance of Investing in Yourself
|Awesomers Origin - We'll talk to an Awesomer about where they came from, the triumphs and tribulations they have faced and how they are doing today. An Awesomer Origin story is the chance to hear the backstory about the journey our guest took on their road to become awesomer. These stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway is that awesomers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, creeds, colors and every other variation possible. On your awesomer road you will face adversity. That’s just part of life. The question as always is how YOU choose to deal with it.|
In 1999 at 22 years old, Elizabeth Herrera (Liz) ignored the well-trodden path of the traditional system and instead created and opened her first E-Commerce store. Within 12 months, she had made her first Million dollars in profit. This is indeed a phenomenal feat for a young, minority woman with no business pedigree nor virtual experience; however, achievements like this are typical if not underachieving results for Liz.
Despite frequent discouragement from friends and family who did not believe in the industries Liz explored, she herself has never strayed from her journey as a de facto entrepreneur. In fact, she has always been comfortable showing the world exactly who she is without regard for others’ opinions about her decisions. Furthermore, because she has always acted in the direction her heart insists, Liz has made her Millions many times over in various industries.
Known for her eccentric personality, energetic presentations, warm humor and relentless ability to inspire a storm of excitement in the crowd; 'Hurricane Liz' Herrera is an internet entrepreneur and former Top 20 Online Poker Earner in the World whose forte is recognizing opportunity in the online marketplace and quickly seizing it.
After unexpectedly losing her millions in poker to the bankruptcy of online poker sites on April, 15th 2011 (Black Friday), Liz began on Amazon by liquidating products out of her own house. By the end of 2011, Liz began generating a substantial income online by taking advantage of the Amazon FBA seller platform to private label and sell her own products online. Leveraging her ability to recognize undervalued opportunities, Liz continues to grow and scale her physical product businesses on Amazon into 7-Figure per month revenue generating businesses. In fact, her brands and companies continue to be more successful than ever in 2018.
Elizabeth is also known for her sharing and Pay-It-Forward philosophy in life. Taking on apprenticeships and mentoring hundreds of people, Liz spreads her wealth of knowledge to all who are willing to learn. To list a few of her achievements: Liz was featured in Jared Tendler’s The Mental Game of Poker, she has taught on several popular YouTube channels with hundreds of thousands of followers (such as the Tai Lopez Show), and is a prolific keynote speaker for events such as Mass Conversions Live, the Ten Pillars of Wealth, the Amazon Millionaire Summit, Private Label Movement Summit, and more. Furthermore, Liz is known to have an exclusive inner circle of expert internet marketers and entrepreneurs who invest a collective 8-Figures per Year into research and development to make sure that her students have the most up to date information on Amazon.
Today’s awesome guest talks about Poker, Pokemon and E-commerce.
On this episode, Steve introduces Liz Herrera, an Awesomer who ignored the well-trodden path of traditional systems and who instead created an opener for one of the first E-commerce stores. Liz also shares some memorable stories, words of wisdom, and valuable tips including:
Why you should start building a team no matter where the journey is.
Achievement should be measured against your own benchmarks.
The positive results of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.
And why you need to invest in yourself and find the right mentor.
So let’s hear this exciting episode and learn from Liz’ story, struggles and successes.
Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.
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1.23 (Steve Simonson introduces today’s guest, Liz Herrera.)
Steve: This is the Awesomers.com podcast number 12 you can find all the show notes at
Awesomers.com/12 now. Today my very special guest is Liz Herrera and in 1999 at just 22 years old, Liz ignored kind of the well-trodden path of traditional systems and business, and she instead created an opener for the very first E-commerce store and within 12 months she made their very first million dollars in profit. That's right! Not just sales. This is indeed a phenomenal feat for a young minority woman with no business pedigree, nor virtually an experience at that age, I mean who among us had experience at 22? However achievements like this are not typical for the extraordinary Liz Herrera. Now despite frequent discouragement from friends and family who did not necessarily believe in the industry. Liz was exploring, she didn't stray from that court journey to become an entrepreneur. In fact she's always been comfortable showing the world exactly who she is without regard for others opinions about her decisions and that's an Awesomer mentality for sure. Now because Liz has always acted in the direction her heart insists, Liz has made her millions many times over in all kinds of different industries. Liz Herrera is an internet entrepreneur, a former top 20 online poker earner in the world's top 20 by the way and her forte is recognizing opportunity in online marketplaces and quickly seizing upon it. After unexpectedly losing her many millions in poker due to the bankruptcy of the online poker sites back in April 15th of 2011 also known as Black Friday for Liz, she began on Amazon liquidating products out of her own house. By the end of 2011, Liz began generating substantial income by taking advantage of the Amazon FBA seller platform. She continued to grow and scale her physical products businesses into seven-figure per month revenue generated businesses. That's per month everybody, in fact ,her brands and companies continue to be more successful than ever right now. Liz is also known for her sharing and pay it forward philosophy and life that's not my sure appreciate about her taking on apprenticeships mentoring hundreds of people. Liz spreads her wealth of knowledge to all who are willing to learn. Liz has been a featured speaker at many big events like Mass Conversion, Ten Pillars of Wealth, The Amazon Millionaire Summit, Private Label Movement Summit, and many many more. Liz is known to have an exclusive inner circle of expert internet marketers and entrepreneurs who invest and collected eight figures per year into research and development that's eight figures into R&D everybody. So it's a great pleasure to have Liz Herrera on the Awesomers.com podcast.
Steve: Welcome back Awesomers. Here we are again Steve Simonson coming out to another podcast for you and I've got a special guest today, Liz Herrera.
Steve: Welcome Liz, how are you?
Liz: I'm great Steve. How about you?
Steve: Well you know I get along, I get by. I'm always great happy to be alive and thrilled to have you on the show today. And I can't wait to share your story with some of our listeners who have already heard some great stories, but yours will stack in the top ten for sure. That'll be awesome.
Liz: Well, thank you for that Steve. I'm actually pretty excited about it. I like to always refer to you see, whenever I feel like something bad happened to me in business, I think about all the stories you told me, and then I feel suddenly so much better.
Steve: Yes that's right if anybody has a story about loss and failure I can one-up them. Yes that's my mission.
Liz: that's one of the reasons why I was so inspired to get on your show here, and be part of it because as I said before, every time I think I paid too much for something or I feel like a knife stabbing me in the chest - I think about one of the stories you told me, suddenly instantly I mean...
Steve: Yes I've had whole sets of ginsu knives planted at one time, yes no problem. I'm always here to make you feel better. Well that's great I'm appreciating having you on the show and maybe just catch up with the listeners. Where do you live now and what do you do kind of in general terms? We've already given the little introduction but you know give us a general outline.
5.23 (Liz gives a brief introduction about herself.)
Liz: Sure, I live in Miami Florida right now. So I love beautiful Miami. It's so nice and warm. But I'm actually originally from Texas where I started somewhere around 1999 selling Pokemon cards of all things. I kind of got in my first big trend by selling Pokemon number one on the streets and then eventually I took it online. I actually used that junky thing they call a college degree to program my very first website it was done in all HTML. I didn't have a clue what I was doing at first but I put it up there, and I learned Google advertising at the time. So that very first thing I learned was Google advertising. As you know back in those days like 2000, 2001 Google barely even came out so it was kind of almost like anyone could make money using Google ads. So I started running Google ads to my website and just hit it really hard, got very lucky because I really didn't know what I was doing at first but I clearly could tell that I had some sort of knack for marketing. I was already using live chat I was already giving a free handout, a free lead magnet without actually even knowing what all that meant. I just gave it out and I kind of just got I was in the right place at the right time. Sort of what we expect in with Amazon right now - if you're at the right place at the right time sometimes you will get lucky if you're out there and you're just actually implementing things and trying it out. So that was my first foray into E-commerce in early 1999 to 2000. And since then I've done a lot of things in between but at some point I found my way back in the E-commerce, back now in Amazon. I also do Shopify and dropshipping. Really, I'm a true entrepreneur. I think we all have shiny object syndrome but it really goes down to being able to systemize all those things, really being able to take action and not really have to be the one taking the action.
Steve: Yes boy, I tell you that is always the solid takeaway. No matter where the journey is, if you don't start to build a team then you are going to be doing a lot of work yourself. And ultimately for me, not sustainable because I don't like to do all the little pieces of the puzzle. I appreciate that update. That's wonderful and we're going to dive into that the present day a little bit more. But first we're going to talk a little bit about where you begin but we're going to do that right after this break so we'll be right back.
Steve: All right. We're back again Liz Herrera joining us today. We're talking about kind of her origin story. Where did she begin and kind of get started and so Liz I always like to start with where were you born?
8.23 (Liz talks about her origin story.)
Liz: I'm actually born in El Paso, Texas so it's kind of a city right along the border and not the most safest place to be born with especially when you have a sister city called Juarez, Mexico, Steve, which is as we know one of the drug laundering or drug cartel capitals of the world. All sorts of deaths and crazy things happen in Juarez but you know when I was born, it was safe to just be able to cross over into the border. And so we literally would walk across and go into the border. There's a lot of cheaper commodities over there and we would do a lot of grocery shopping there, we would do a lot of eating. So of course I love tacos. Tacos is one of my favorites.
Steve: Yes, that's hard to argue with. Yes!.
Liz: It is its own food group, Steve. A lot of people don't realize that but it is its own food group. So it was really difficult thing growing up in that kind of environment primarily, because I'm the product of two blue-collar workers. My dad worked at UPS, my mom worked in retail her whole life and me wanting to be an entrepreneur I would always walk around at the wrong places. I grew up in the worst part of El Paso, called Segundo Barrio which basically means the first. It's like the ghetto, it's the worst possible place right along the border. I would picture a kid walking around the neighborhood and people asked me what do you want to do with your life and I tell them that I want to be an entrepreneur and I want to make millions of dollars and drive Lamborghini and they're all basically like picture the cholos, Steve. Picture the grungy cosmos Mexican movie you could think of.
Liz: With Mexican gangsters and everything. That's the kind of neighborhood I would walk around. These guys would constantly laugh at me, make fun of me, do things like that but I really didn't give a crap what they said to me because I kind of already had it in my mind. That I was put on this earth for a reason and I could pretty much try out and do whatever I want. That was part of being an American right? It was part of being excited about being born into such a wonderful country that we're born into.
Steve: Yes, it is a lucky break of course me being a sheltered person as I am the closest hardcore cholo movie I could come up with was Up in Smoke. I hope that's on point.
Liz: Well that's close enough you know, because Cheech Marin does a really good impression of a Mexican gangster you know he is Mexican but I can just see him with his hood and his pants pulled up really high. That's the kind of environment that I was basically walking around, you know a bunch of guys smoking weed and doing stuff like that sitting out there and their bikes. I came to the realization - should I really take advice from these cholos who are just standing around all day playing basketball or riding their bikes? Are these really the guys that I want to think about giving a crap what they have to say about me in my life? And the clear answer was like no. Why would I care what this guy's telling me that I can and cannot do? Makes no sense, you know kind of like paying attention to your couch-potato relative who tells you that your form is wrong when you're doing some weight lifting, why would i listen to him?
Steve: Very good point. Yes it's like you must consider the source of your information it is striking that even at a young age you were able to kind of see kind of through that. Did you mention your parents for a blue-collar background. Wow what did your dad do again?
Liz: My dad still to this day works for UPS so he's been working for UPS for over 30 years. He's been blue-collar, interestingly enough my dad has an MBA so he's got a Master's in Business Finance but he still makes more money working at UPS so he's never actually left that job.
Steve: Some of those jobs especially when you have the nice tenure that he must have at this stage that can add up very nicely and how about your mom. What kind of work did she do?
Liz: My mama did a lot of retail work. So she went from retail store to retail store she usually managed retail stores so that was kind of like my first glimpse into what takes stuff. I operate manager or day-to-day retail operation and I knew that selling things was the best ticket so that was kind of like the first inclination I knew I wanted to sell something.
Steve: Did your parents kind of realize you had this entrepreneurial bend early on.
Liz: I think they realized that Steve. I don't think I've actually ever told you this story but it was probably when I was 10 years old and there was a knock on my door, and my mom opened the door. It was two men in suits that needed to speak to somebody, and what ended up happening and I kind of actually don't remember this story. Mama had to read, tell me the story because I was about nine at the time. What ended up happening is I had to do a report on countries that I would like to visit and reasons why I'd like to visit them. So I got some ideas that China was an up-and-coming place for like manufacturing and it was during the Cold War. And so I started to write to China Steve.
Liz: And what ended up happening is the FBI showed up in my front door because there was concerns about the number of times that I'd written to China. But the reason for that was they were just being very responsive everything every time I wrote them they would respond and they were actually sending me paraphernalia about things that are going on like trade that's going on in China. They sent me some items, they were sending me all sorts of things this was like straight from the Chinese government. So they were even then the ones that were like hustlers. They were out there corresponding. It wasn't Alibaba at the time. It was a mail it was a lot of waiting time in between but once the FBI found out why all the writing and happened in China. My parents weren't that happy with me so they took away my computer because I was typing to China, and so they took away the computer which at the time was I think a Kaliko or an Atom it was something so prehistoric I can't even imagine it.
Steve: Oh yes the good times. Yes the 8-bit memories are always a good one so that it's amazing story that you had the foresight to talk to China. You're trying to get some kind of trade deal going at nine or ten and then the FBI apparently seeing the shipments or the mail that was happening decided to come and see what this 9 or 10 years old is up to. Amazing.
Liz: Yes, well they have no idea. I was nine or ten years old. They were actually there trying to see if it was my parents or somebody in the family that was doing it. And when my mom called me from my room to come back over and she asked me have you been writing to China? it was like yes and then they're like, why have you been writing to China? And I was actually just writing to China because of the reason I was trying to find out what was going on in China. That's where I had read in the library that things were shifted in going towards so it was just like my idea. Let me try and figure out how I could connect with these people and surprisingly they were super responsive because I wrote to a couple other countries but no response. And it was partly for the report partly for the interest because I was also writing to Australia and I think Australia or another country they responded, but it was two countries. China being the most responsive that I continued to correspond with and that gave some sort of like red alert.
Steve: Wow that's amazing but so it sounds like your parents went from mildly unamused to no computer for you.
Liz: Yes so that was pretty much the start of. I had to figure out another obsession in the meantime and for me that would have been, I got into some sports, but I kind of got sidelined for a little bit. But at some point it just came back. It couldn't take the entrepreneur at of me.
Steve: Yes, it's hard to beat that out of the wiring. I have to say so did you go to university after your fun little FBI experience?
Liz: Yes, I actually got a scholarship to play basketball. So I played basketball at a UTEP which is the first University, we won a national championship for the men's basketball team under Don Haskins. He was a legend in the city of El Paso and I played. So I knew Don, he was a friend of mine and may he rest in peace now. But it was a pretty good division one University and I got a scholarship to play there. So it was pretty good but I quickly realized even though I was pretty good at basketball that I wasn't going to make the kind of money that I envisioned making and so after a year I quit the team and I decided to pursue being an entrepreneur, but my parents made me agree to still get that college degree because they wanted me to have something to fall back on.
Steve: Yes, we have all heard of the fallback speech at one time or another. But you did actually reference your degree now that I recall saying that you use the kind of the HTML knowledge or some of that knowledge to put your first site together for the pokémons. Yes, my daughter hates when I say Pokeman. I do it on purpose.
Liz: I actually went to college like I'm not sure if you've seen the movie Tommy Boy, but in the movie Tommy Boy tells his dad lots of people go to college for seven years and the response from his dad or the guy David Spade, “Yes, they're called doctor.” Who's on the seven-year doctorate plan at the University of Texas El Paso and that's basically what I finished off with. And I got a degree in computer science. So that's what I was able to code my very first website which is the only computer language I learned other than ones that are dead now like basic and C+ and C# or whatever it was at the time but HTML. It still kind of works even though you got a lot of great editors well.
Steve: Yes, back in those days everybody was listening. It was difficult to get things to line up on the page let alone you know the idea of inserting videos or complex layers or whatever that they we can do today. So very different time that's for sure. So tell me after University did you have kind of a what I call a proper job? But you know a nine-to-five kind of thing or something traditional or did you go right into leveraging your pokemon idea?
Liz: No well I was in college and going through college you know there were certain things that I would still like doing on the side. So I had a couple like small part-time jobs but nothing lasted longer than a couple months. Among one of them was, I was a blackjack dealer for a short little stint and that kind of gave me the idea for starting to play some poker and I'm trying to think what else. I also had a small stint in Capital One, and it was interesting because it was at that time that I was like you know what why am I doing this? Let me just take a shot and just start my own thing and when I went to actually tell my manager that I was going to quit which I hardly been there for that long but I don't always wanted to perform as best I could so I was one of their best sales people on the phone. He said to me, “Why would you want to do that? This is a fantastic company with amazing benefits. Why would you want to leave this company?” And I said, “Hey! how do you know that I can't start my own capital one?”. I giggled about it, he laughed about it, and years later I still have friends who work there. They let off everybody at that Center so it's like clearly the right decision. It was just a fear factor thing at the time. The world's gotten used to making a little bit of money and was kind of afraid because I was still doing my sites. I was building sites, learning how to build sites getting them up and running but I didn't want to let go of having that guaranteed income on a week-to-week basis.
Steve: Yes I think we've all had the alternative view to go, alright well I could you know kind of keep plugging the meter using this income source or what have you and everybody finds their own path. But at some point the balance tips in a certain direction. It sounds like it tipped for you so. Was it a defining moment that you point to all right well this is really when things took off for me or when I the you know the gas pedal was finally pressed down you can recall?
Liz: You know, I think it was just finally I had to leave the job and I was super young. I didn't really have anything in reserve, you know didn't plan about anything like that. So that's what was so scary as people often say have this many reserves that way you could be comfortable until you start making some money. I think I just said screw it, I don't! I'm not going to go with any reserves. I'm not going to go with anything. Let's just see what happens. I think at that point it kind of lit a fire under my ass. Whereas like. I realized now I've really got to do it because I've got at that time, I had some debts that I had to pay, had some credit cards that I had from college where I ended like I lost that scholarship side to pay books and things like that. And so I was basically put at a point where I had to make money. I had no choice or else I wasn't going to be able to meet up to those obligations so I think that was the defining moment where I realized like when you're an entrepreneur you cannot rely on anything other than yourself.
Steve: Yes, it's like a high wire artist without a net. You got nowhere to follow so just deal with it.
Steve: Yes I like that. That's very good and so how about we're going to come to your present day here soon enough but as you've know, you've gone on over time obviously from the Pokemon times and the Coleco computer times up until now. Is there a big lesson that you've kind of formulated in your mind that you you know it's something that you like to share with people or at least you recall for yourself for its own benefit?
21.33 (Liz talks about important life lessons.)
Liz: That's a tough question to answer but I'm going to say that big lesson, life in general is one big lesson and you have to take little bits from it and kind of create your own. It's almost like you have to see the clues that it gives you. So for example you might get into selling Pokemon right. And what I learned from selling Pokemon was I like to tell people my version of accounting was I can clearly see a little gift with the baby where he's like F accounting. I had no idea what accounting was but at some point I didn't understand budgets and things like that and I screwed it up and that business ended up being with a bad business partner. There were certain lessons that I took from that, now I could move forward and use into my current business. So even though it would seem like to someone that it was a huge failure because it didn't work out and at the end of the day all I got was a paycheck from it. It wasn't like I could sell that business. It kind of like all the lessons that I learned went into my next website. Where now I knew how to run some ads. I made mistakes in that business but now I could take the lessons from running those ads and put them in my new business. So even to this day, Steve, I think the big thing is even to the state I still make a ton of mistakes, day in and day out. Now it's the way that I react those mistakes that will define me as an entrepreneur and as a person because I can either choose to correct them and move forward or whine about them and keep thinking about them to the point where it bothers me.
Steve: But so many good things in there. First of all, it’s the recognition that you know the choice of how we deal with adversity or challenges is completely our own. And that's you know as I like to use the nomenclature, you know the Awesomers we're going to go ahead and figure out the lessons that need to be learned. We're going to fail fast however you want to think of. It doesn't matter if there are challenges, opportunities, failures but as long as we're learning that's equity. I talked a lot about this concept of you know, if you're building something build it. There’s equity and there's tangible equity. This is like I can go sell a business and it's worth something tangibly or there's intangible equity which often includes that intellectual equity and every lesson that we learn especially the parts that don't go well is massive equity. It's really a great thing to see you still leaning into that. There are many many failures I've had in my times. And those lessons as long as they pay dividends of not making the same mistake multiple times they're highly worth that.
Liz: I think right, absolutely so that's my big tip. I mean you probably heard this time and time again but I'll say it from experience. Try not to make the same mistake twice and you'll learn it'll pay dividends as you said in the long run.
Steve: Yes for sure, very good advice. How about you know, I know that you're a super optimistic person and that you're always upbeat and even have nicknames that you conjure up yo know acts of God hurricane for example. I know that you have a very positive outlook but was there ever time where you kind of “Gosh this is too much for me”, or “I want to give up”? Or just you were down and was just like I don't know if I have the fight left in me. You ever faced that?
Liz: You know, I don't think I really have. I think being an entrepreneur a lot of us are faced with that every day in the terms of like I got too much on my plate right now. It feels like I get stuff done but never enough. I think it's a feeling that everybody naturally has in general particularly being an entrepreneur. But I've never been to that point where I'm like I'm just going to give up because I cannot see, there's no logic in me that shows that working for somebody else is the right thing because now you're relying on pawns. Somebody else is making it all work out for you and that cannot be good. Take Capital One for instance. If I had stayed there, relied on Capital One, in two years I would be out of a job. So I've really never relied on anyone except for myself and I understand that at times it's coming to that understanding, knowing that at times I will be overwhelmed at times. I will be in over my head or what it feels like being in over my head but at the end of the day the number one thing that I'm grateful is, I'm grateful to be alive. So always twist things around like that and say well. We talked about that event we were at and I was like I spent half a million trying to find a sourcing, the right sourcing agent. I'm like, shit I can't believe I spent that much money I must be a total freakin idiot. I spoke to you, “Oh well. How about the time I lost two million dollars?” That instant I felt so much better because I was like I must be doing something right because it happened to Steve. Then there was those other guys that had also spent a million dollars trying to find the right sourcing agent. So I was like if they're doing the same thing that I'm doing I must be doing something right wo I'm going to keep going. But through that time I could have been there and I could have been extremely upset and pessimistic about life and like, oh my life sucks, this sucks and that sucks. Particularly when we're in a social media type of world where we see everybody posting all the fantastic things happening to them on social media you know. That's all unbelievably, for the most part, the image craft. You know what I mean?
Liz: It sometimes can make you feel like that about your life but at the end of the day, you should just be grateful for the fact that you get to breathe then take another breath, and you're healthy and you're good, and you've got a very very comfortable life. If you're a smart entrepreneur which I'm sure most of the people listening to this are smart entrepreneurs.
Steve: Well, that's the path of getting together, the freedom or the options and really that's what it's about. Awesomers are always on that path and you know I think that so-called attitude of gratitude is a great place to begin. There's a lot of guys who fall into that Facebook culture, that I have to refer you know back to jail. John Lee Dumas talking about he calls a compare and despair right? And that's what normies do. Normies want to you know, that guy got to go on this trip, but that guy got to do this, and this guy she accomplished this whatever. Of course everybody as you said is just putting the positive things that are happening on Facebook. They didn't say, oh today I got pulled over for speeding ticket. Or today you know I was late on the mortgage. Today you know I got this lawsuit filed against me. All these lightning bolts are still going to happen. And so it's better to compare and prepare from my standpoint you know. It's like if you like to see, you don't feel jealous of the person traveling to Tahiti go “Hey I do like the idea of Tahiti. Let's figure out how I can go to the Tahiti.” And I think most of the people who really decide to take control of lives will have no problem figuring out how to engineer that outcome, and that's what you've done. You just figure out what you want then you engineer a way to get there. It's that fair to say?
Liz: Right yes absolutely. I kind of try not to look at what anybody else is doing. It's kind of like as you know when Amazon first started there was lots of people posting screenshots of how much money they were making, how much money they were bringing in. That obviously brought an influx of people into there. But once you get in there you realize there's a lot of other little nuances that you have to deal with and while it seems like all fantastic and glamorous at first, at the end of the day it's still going to be work. Work is work and you're still going to have to do things in order to make them happen but I can't remember going back to my poker career as part of my life that I didn't mention. I was all often at first I kind of started seeing these image craft things because people would post like days where they'd make a hundred thousand, or twenty five thousand, and what I quickly notices nobody ever posts when they get their ass kicked. You know it's something that is common. It happens probably fifty or forty seven percent of the time. If you're winning poker player you get your ass kicked. However they're not posting that forty-seven percent of the time and it's similar thing in life. It's just something that you have to get accustomed to and I'd like to just lock it out, block out what's happening in the wood the rest of the world and try to do the best that I can potentially do and I just kind of look at my results and try to improve on those results whether that is on a daily weekly or monthly basis.
Steve: Now it's a really good advice you know. Achievement is measured against your own benchmarks. competition is where you're looking in the external world. And it's great to beat a competitor but when you have friends that you know you're comparing yourself to or this or that, it's just not a winning formula in my opinion. Let's talk about the the poker career if you don't mind a little bit, because I found it very fascinating when we last discussed this. First of all, how did you get into the poker arena? Because I think that's interesting on its own right.
Liz: Yes I'm not sure if I've ever told you the story, but the crazy thing is I had a site called Simsbanker.com people can look it up on the Wayback Machine. That was a million dollar site where I would sell virtual currency at the time for Sims Online and World of Warcraft, all sorts of games. Again I wrote a computer program with my degree. So I actually did kind of use my degree a little bit and I had like 20 computers in my house running this program. And so when I did that, a guy happened to pay me and pokerstar his money and it was a $50 order he paid me $50 in Pokerstars Money and so I had $50 so I said to myself, huh let me just try it out and see what happens. So I took that 50 I lost everything but $11 and I started to look at some training. I joined a tournament for $11 and I won the tournament so I won $50 again. So now I had $50 to start with and so I took that $50 and I ran it up to millions of dollars and I never had to deposit again ever. So it was both the combination, it was mostly skill.
Steve: Absolute skill!
Liz: I came obsessed with it. The first part would have been like luck but as soon as I started to play it I kind of realized the potential, so I starting to just become obsessed with poker and I would read everything I could consume, everything that I could and pretty soon before I knew it I think in 2009. I was one of the top 10 online poker earners in the world and I was actually the only female in that list, so that was pretty.
Steve: It’s not surprising that you'd be at the top you know of these types of lists. And you know people don't realize but, this is not a round of, you know it's a millions of fun, or millions of dollars and you know it got really really big at a time, and then a little lightning bolt showed up.
Liz: Yes, well are you referring to Amazon as lightning bolt?
Steve: Lightning bolts are usually bad.
32.16 (Liz talks about poker and the lightning bolts she experienced along the way.)
Liz: Okay that part, yes well unfortunately the DOJ shut down all the poker sites and it's called Black Friday and since I was playing such high stakes I had to have a high amount of money on those sites. So they shut them down, a couple of them declared bankruptcy. I lost a lot of money to a couple sites that declared bankruptcy. A couple of them helped it. I think about three or four months ago I got a check from Full Tilt which was a total surprise, it wasn't Full Tilt, I think it was Ultimate Bet or absolutely. I think I've gotten it a year before that so it was not having this money for years and years. I'm at the time I was living in a 5,500 square foot mansion and basically I lose my job, cars, the house everything I was living a crazy life and I had to release that and eventually sell it. And I still had condos and apartments and all sorts of things that I had to get rid of because I was in a cash crunch and it was a terrible time but it taught me a lot of lessons. And you know I kind of looked at it, it was kind of another one of those light under my fire situations because for the previous couple months I'd been planning my exit. Because I knew that I was not happy with the rollercoaster. There were days where I won $100,000 and days where I lost a hundred thousand, and so it was a crazy ride but I had never had a losing month ever but it was very stressful. So about 11 to 12 weeks of never having a single losing month is pretty amazing in itself but I knew there was time to pick another career. So I went back to my roots and E-commerce and it just stumbled upon luck that my mom was trying to start selling on Amazon so I started to help her and that's kind of how I got re involved in e-commerce.
Steve: Amazing! Yes that is very interesting. You know time changes a lot of things you know at one time that the online poker was a magnificent business and huge huge business and then you know for whatever reasons you know everybody can argue about the different reasons. But mostly the onshore guys didn't want people betting offshore and so that's when the government steps in. And it's one of those unplanned things that causes big problems for the people involved. It's such an amazing accomplishment that you have so if anybody tries to play poker against Liz they will lose.
Liz: It's you know a game of skill. It might take awhile before they lose, but my story was featured in the book which is actually a really good poker book, it’s called the Mental Game of Poker. It's really good for the mindset. That was my sports psychologist for. We worked together for six years. So now we've been friend for over ten years and he's really the guy that after I began working with him, connecting what he and I worked with into the business world just made things click. Basically people always think I run with a horseshoe up my ass, like I get so lucky. Well again it's going back to this collection of life lessons that I've managed to mold together, a lot of them being from him. Then now I take forward and put in every career I actually get into so whether it's Amazon or dropshipping with Shopify or anything like that, I know I could make it work just because of all those like life lessons and his advice.
Steve: Yes, that's such a good perspective. I will put that book in the show notes because that's certainly going to be on my reading list. There's so much concentration that comes in with poker and no doubt that is that intellectual equity we talked about earlier right. You get to take all that equity with you no matter what happens in the meantime. How about a best day have you ever looked back at your professional life and done a victory lap on a particular day or a particular event that you care to share?
36.03 (Liz shares the best day in her professional life.)
Liz: You know I've got a lot of events that have happened that have been like really great. I just got cast into Think and Grow Rich 2 movie so that was like I was more excited about getting an IMDB credit.
Steve: Nice! Yes, now you get in the union the whole thing, alright.
Liz: That's more excited about than anything and so I think I've got a lot of those but honestly, it's going back to being grateful and just being a happy person everyday. Every day that I'm alive and I feel well and my family's good and I feel like just grateful and I feel like it's a victory. Every single day that I did to live on this earth so I think when you approach things from that perspective, you're just going to be a genuinely happy person.
Steve: Yes I like that a lot. Every day can be a best day that's for sure. Before we cut kind of to the your vision of the future and kind of where things are going either for yourself or for your businesses and so on...how about a tool just kind of a tactic or tool app something that you use day-to-day that you find to be invaluable to your goings on? Does anything jump to mind?
Liz: Wow I don't know. I got to be honest, the last time I spoke at the Amazing event somebody asked me, give me what your morning routine is. Everybody was answering like oh I look at stats, I check stats, I do this and that and my actual was response was like first I roll out of bed and I put my ninja suit on, but the fact of the matter is the number one thing that I do on a daily basis and I try to do it at least once a day for at least an hour is I network. So I would actually say it's something like Zoom for me so I try to keep in contact with people in develop relationships because at the end of the day information gets passed around through the relationships that you have. All these things that work on Amazon or new launch strategies and stuff like that even in business. I'll work from the relationships that you develop. I probably spend about an hour a day whether it's doing a podcast like this or texting somebody that I haven't spoken to in a while just to catch up with them, but I think a lot of what works in business is a hundred percent relationship. The reason I've reached level of success that I have is because of the relationships I have in place. While some people would be expecting would be like an Amazon tactic. I hate to disappoint but the fact of the matter is I get those tactics from the people that I have relationships with and I speak to here and there every day.
Steve: Yes again, we talk about relationships so often and people often lose sight in this technological world that you know human relationships still matter and actually and we can leverage the technology as an Awesomer. You may find yourself facing a challenge and you'd be grateful with what you have. Relationships are really amazing so with that we're going to take a quick break and we will be right back.
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Steve: Okay we're back again Awesomer.com podcast coming to you live again with Liz
Herrera and boy we've dug through a lot of good stuff so far. But we're going to talk a little bit about the future, and I always like to have the guest prognosticate a little bit then say you know, what does the world look like in 5 years? What does the world of E-commerce look like or selling on Amazon your own business maybe even you personally? Do you have any vision of five years ahead that you care to share on those fronts?
40.05 (Liz shares her vision five years from now.)
Liz: I see Amazon is getting slightly, little bit more difficult so it is important to be in those right networks, to know the right things to do. I do see Shopify, dropshipping also it's getting a little bit more tough with with Facebook ads and things like that but I do see an expansion on other platforms that is working really nicely right now, namely Walmart. I see Walmart making a big move to get some more presence. We've heard a lot about Google. Google trying to make a move into here and I wouldn't imagine it'd be far-fetched to think at some point Facebook will or somebody else that already has a big platform will make a big push so I see a lot of expansion happening. But I still see Amazon as being still that central hub that's still going to work particularly if you do things slowly and steadily over time a lot of people really want instant gratification so they think that they jump on Amazon as a hope to make instant millions which is what they're being sold nowadays. But the fact of the reality is it's going to be something that has developed slow and steady over time. So while expansion could help you particularly to other countries, if you still stay on Amazon USA which obviously I would advise that, it's going to be a slow and steady build and the reward is going to be there for people that are willing to do that as opposed to wanting instant gratification. So for me personally that's kind of what I'm doing. I'm focusing a lot more on the current brands that I have as opposed to launching anything new in the meantime. In the future I'll still be expanding, but it's just putting that focus on building these slow steady brands, knowing that it's going to take a tremendous period of time and that's pretty much what my plan is for the next five years in the E-commerce space while still just getting better at paid ads. I think paid ads are still one of the most important things that you can learn as a business owner and I don't see many people willing to do that. Amazon PPC is going to be it's pretty huge, if it's not already pretty darn huge but I see a lot of rules-based automation. We were talking about this before the call. That's going to become even more important people that have that will dominate and obviously that's going to drive some cost up. But if you're not staying into what's working technologically in in terms of PPC and things like that, you're definitely losing a huge piece of the pie out so I would strongly recommend as a business owner if you haven't learned that aspect yourself, it's probably a pretty smart thing to either outsource to somebody who knows what they're doing or learn to do it yourself. I can't begin to tell you the possibilities and the rewards that you will gain if you actually learn how to do it yourself though, a lot of people aren't willing to do that.
Steve: Well I'll be fair about, it not everybody's capable of it to the level you are, to be quite honest. So I do think that the knowledge that they should procure visa vis sponsored products or Adwords or any of these kind of platforms is really critical as a leader. You need to understand how these platforms work. But you take for granted perhaps your level of sophistication because not everybody can think in the the same way that you do. It is very high level thinking. That doesn't mean that everybody can't take advantage of it. Like you said you can hire it out there's tools that can help you. One of my axioms, I don't really remember what axiom number it is, 15 or 16 but it basically says, you don't have a real business until you can pour money in the top of the funnel and have profit come out of the bottom of the funnel. Anybody who thinks that the magic pixie dust of organic this, whether it's on google or Amazon or any other platform is going to last forever, they're just making a mistake. The platforms are in the business of monetization. It happened at Google right. We used to be able to get absolute SEO dominance and not that that has gone away entirely I'm not trying to say that, but it was so easy to manipulate SEO in the old days and I had some companies, we had the entire front page. That first ten results, not to mention the sponsor product results. We owned all that real estate and it was amazing. But then the animals, the menagerie of pain that Google created started coming in and Panda and Penguin and all these other things, Hummingbirds. I don't know there's so many of them, they're just killing me. I used to enjoy the outdoors and animals in general but now, I just don't like them. But the point is that once those changes happen, the magic pixie dust of organic search to run an entire business kind of evaporated and many businesses went out of business as a result. Anybody on Amazon who's relying on the A9 algorithm and the pixie dust of organic search, just know this. My prediction is, all those will be paid spots. Google used to say they would never do paid spots but more and more of what they're doing are paid spots. There was just, I think I don't remember Google or Amazon that just did a patent for basically a paid and organic result being combined. In other words if you rank high on the organic side and you're paying money that's going to get a natural lift. And so it's a very intriguing process but I couldn't agree more that you have to learn how to pay money to get business that's what a true business model really looks like. And man that leverage is huge right? Isn't that where you get the formula right you want to pour money more money in right?
Liz: Yes absolutely like you said there's some people that won't want to do it it's boring like I just happen to like it but at least get informed to know enough about it, where you're making an educated decision. When you hire somebody because I see so many times in fact, I was just at one of the masterminds, I'm in a $25,000 mastermind, and a guy there was talking about how he paid somebody to run their remarketing ads. And this is a big company. I'm talking about big company paid somebody to run their remarketing ads and he charged him far too much. He made them no money and I'm like thinking how could he make you no money when your name is so big already and he's a guy. I don't have no idea what he was doing. He was doing everything wrong so that just happened from his inability like, he didn't know exactly what it was but he got all these promises so he went and hired the guy. So at least be little bit educated about what it is that you're hiring so you can hire the right people. Because you don't want to hire somebody that's uninformed or that doesn't know what the hell they're doing just because you're uninformed is what I actually meant to say. That's my advice and what I would recommend people do in that situation.
Steve: Yes boy there's such a big difference between delegation and abdication right.
The delegation is “Hey I've vetted this resource, I've asked the right questions, I have these measurements in place that are visible, they're transparent and they're regularly checked upon. Maybe it's weekly or what-have-you. And then there's abdication which is “I don't know how to do this or I don't like to do this you go handle it and don't call me I'll call you and just send me money.” and you know you can just do the math, on which one works best right. There's no doubt that if you abdicate things which is most often where our comfort zone has ended. We're uncomfortable with accounting or uncomfortable sponsored products, or logistics or whatever that area is and all of us have those, that's where we tend to kind of abdicate too quickly and that's really where you have to double down on making sure you understand the parameters of the choices. Making you understand the KPIs that are important to measure and then setting yourself up and whatever management team you may have involved to measure, and keep track of those things as you go, that's wise words from you. Okay let's turn our sights over, do we find you online? Do you sell some brands online? Do you do any other things online at this moment?
Liz: You know Steve I kind of like in general, I'm kind of marketing like, I'm taking a step in marketing my personal brand. If anything I learned in the actual poker lesson is diversify your income, which was a huge flow to me at that time. So I had a lot of people have told me on in terms of my Amazon brands, why would you want to take some time off and not really work on those and work on your personal brand and that is because of the fact that at the end of the diversity is the best way to actually be out. Well I do have quite a few Amazon brands. I'm steadily working on those, that somebody's steadily working on those for me. But I'm not adding or expanding this year. I'm kind of taking that year to work on my personal brand so a lot of the stuff that she's been doing are related in the internet marketing space. Like building funnels for people. We build a lot of funnels, we do a lot of webinars which i think is an area that not a lot of people have explored is which is selling products on webinars particularly supplements and skincare because you can obviously bundle them. We've been doing a lot of webinar building, a lot of site and funnel creation. We just did a launch for Tai Lopez which went really well and Alex Mayor of Mentor Box. So my company has largely been involved in kind of building a general overall agency that can help not only with Amazon niche but as well as like just internet marketing type needs for businesses. That's been going extremely well for us so that's the primary focus and the thing that I've been working on for the past year so.
Steve: I love it. How do we find, make contact with that agency?
Steve: Oh look at that, that's pretty clever.
Liz: ibuildyourbrand.com is the name of the site. The other thing that I wanted to mention to you is, you've mentioned something really interesting a minute ago, about being uncomfortable. In fact some of our biggest clients have been put in an uncomfortable spot. I was at one of the masterminds that I speak to, we have something called a 10-minute talk that usually people prepared months and months in advance and I had shared a bit with the whole group that so many of them were which was just this is the way we remarket. We remarket in a very different way and I shared this tip with everybody and they were so taken it back that they asked me to do a 10-minute talk in two hours and so I was put in a very uncomfortable situation but there's no way I'm going to decline that type of opportunity even though I could very well be embarrassed in a room full of people, which are I'm telling you the thought leaders of the world. Among them were like Jason Sadlin and people like that. Of course I took on the challenge. I took being uncomfortable and I presented to them the 10 minute talk that I came up with in the past two hours. And as a result, I got so much work from that particular talk and I got hired by several people and I got the chance to now speak at the end of the year event. As a result of being uncomfortable. So for people that haven't embraced being uncomfortable, uncomfortable is usually your fear. It's talking to you and telling you like you can't do this or self-doubt. But if you put yourself in an uncomfortable situation often enough, there's going to be times where you come out of that a victor, and to the victor come the spoils. So I highly encourage whatever it is that you've been putting off, because of that uncomfortable feeling you just get out there and just own it. And as I said before you would be surprised at your results because you will genuinely figure it out.
Steve: Why again I love those little bits of knowledge that are flying through here. The discomfort zone is really where the progress is made and so I couldn't agree with you more than pushing through that. And often on the other side, you find not that much you know there really wasn't that bad and and the upside of it it can be phenomenal. I hope that Awesomer who are listening at home are paying close attention. The idea that you know this is mentioned a couple times, you know networking, relationships, masterminds. these are things that she's doing and investing in to be sure that she stays at the top of her game and when you hang out with other people who are at the top of their game, it kind of forces you to get better. It's the old saying of you know, you're the average of the five people around you. Having the five people around you who are extraordinary Awesomers, boy that's that can't be a bad for the math, that's all good, all the time so kudos to you. Let me ask you just any final words? That little gold nugget that you dropped a minute ago, you know it was pretty good but any other final words of wisdom that you might have for the listeners at home who are wondering what they should do next?
Liz: No, I think they're all in the right place. I mean they're listening to you which as I said anytime I feel like something's really bad, I go listen to one of your stories. This guy really knows what he's doing if he blew it.
Steve: Oh my gosh. Yes!
Liz: They are definitely in the right place. They found the right guy to listen to, they found the right guy to talk to. I get a lot of knowledge bombs that I've heard you speak at, we're talking about $10,000 events. The final thing is that I would say is, a good education in this business, a lot well a lot of people would look at it and say that it's not cheap, you know there's a lot of offers that are over ten thousand dollars. But realistically think of what you paid to go to college. I can tell you for one, that I still have something every month that I got to pay. It’s called the student loan and it's it's not cheap when you tally it all up together. The amount of money that you invest in your education to improve yourself right now is very minimal compared to how much you actually put to go to college and now think about how much that college degree is worth to you. If you want a million dollar business, you're probably going to have to invest quite a bit of money in yourself, but it's all money well spent when you find the right person, a quality person that you can take it and learn from. They're in the right place Steve because they're following you. So that's my last bit of advice, find the right place to be in, and spend some money on yourself instead of buying yourself that purse or guys the bike, the exercise bike. Just get out there and do some walking and spend some money instead, of educating yourself and your future, especially if you want to succeed in this online E-commerce business. It's very easy, it's very doable and actually quite easy. If you follow the right person to just listen to what they're telling you to do and put yourself in those uncomfortable situations enough the time.
Steve: Yep well I appreciate the kind words, and I really do support that core idea of investing in yourself. I can boil back so many times where it's like we spent beyond our comfort zone. We did things that, maybe if we were being more conservative, we would not have done. Yet sometimes those paid off, other times they didn't honestly. But as I think you talked about the the poker numbers you know, if you can get 45 to 47 percent of those decisions to be good, you're going to be a big player and I always broke it down with this math. In my organizations, I always encourage people to make as many decisions as fast as they can because of the principle I call Occam’s Razor and not that I coined the phrase, but you know the the simplest answer is usually the right answer. It's just go as fast as you can. Five are going to be so so decisions, not that great. And ten are going to be good relatively good decisions, but five are going to be phenomenal choices and it's those five at the top of that curve that will pay off in a big way. It's only by doing so many decisions so fast that you get through that quantity of good decisions to come out so I love it. Thank you for joining us Liz. It's been really a great pleasure to have you today
Liz: Yes thank you very much Steve. We finished right on time. My cat doesn't shut up right now.
Steve: I can't hear your cat, but okay! There you go. And for Awesomers out there listening, we will be right back.
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Steve: I always enjoy my time with Liz. She is such an amazing person, an entrepreneur and you know her stories from childhood onwards about how she kind of became who she is, is so inspiring to me and I hope it is for you as well. This has been Awesomers.com podcast episode number 12 and again to access all the show notes you go to Awesomers.com/12 and you can find out all the details. This is definitely something that you want to playback from time to time because not only is Liz entertaining she's also so informative.
Well we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.