When Sophie Howard, a diplomat from New Zealand, went on maternity leave, she decided to put her spare time into launching an Amazon business. She never dreamt she’d be selling it for $1 million only 18 months later.
Sophie Howard didn’t see her maternity leave as a ‘break from life’ but rather as an opportunity to create a lifestyle she always wanted for herself and her growing family:
She was looking for a business model that worked for her and came across the idea of selling on Amazon: “I liked Amazon as the best option from among many e-commerce models - I didn’t want it to be client-based or involve much face-to-face. I just wanted something that was a real business and not too gim- micky. Amazon ticked the boxes for being low-cost to get into and it suited my skills - I quite liked the idea of scouting around for products.”
In no time at all, Sophie had joined a course on how to set up a business on Amazon and familiarised herself with its subtleties.
The next step was to figure out what her business was going to be and what she was going to sell:
Sophie’s business was profitable from the first month and within the first year she had made over $1 million. Enjoying the start-up stage of business creation, and certain that she didn’t want to turn it into an empire, Sophie began to consider selling it: “I was talking to a friend of mine, a broker who sells digital businesses, and I’d just tidied up my finances for the year end tax. I showed him my numbers and he said: ‘I’ll get you seven figures for that tomorrow’ - and he did!’ Sophie had cashed in at its peak; she gave the buyer about 80% of the 400 products she had and kept 20%, seeding three new brands on Amazon.
Having achieved early success, Sophie decided to take a break to think about the next step on her entrepreneurial journey and moved to Bali for three months with her family. On the look-out for a mentor, it was here that she met Roger James Hamilton, a social entrepreneur and futurist:
Crystal Circle is a high-level mentoring group for entrepreneurs led by Roger and Sophie shared the same values as its community: not only growing wealth, but focusing on freedom and creating a fulfilling lifestyle. “Working with me, Roger really focused on how easy it is to slip back down when you’ve had a windfall and have some money in the bank. He told me: ‘You need to grow assets; cash for today but wealth for tomorrow.’”
Sophie began to see her Amazon businesses as assets and, with Roger’s help, she decided to focus on building another, faster stream of income - coaching, which would run in parallel with her Amazon business and cover costs such as her team, expenses and her salary.
Roger remembers: “Sophie’s Amazon business expertise was a value she could leverage. She was inspired by the Crystal Circle community and learnt how to become a mentor, put together mastermind groups, and provide VIP coaching, so she was quickly earning a six- figure consulting fee.”
Sophie then put together an online course comprising eight modules on how to run an Amazon business, and her one-to-one coaching fees soon went from $5K up to $10K. Now she is fading out one-to-one coaching in favour of her new model - Product University:
With a fast and constant cash flow, Sophie could continue developing multiple brands on Amazon. However, she couldn’t do it all on her own.
Roger remembers: “She was running everything herself, so we looked at setting up virtual teams and other Amazon businesses that didn’t need so much of her. She had to gain time and freedom and start to think really differently about the impact she could have.”
By hiring a full-time virtual assistant, IT support specialist, researchers, a commu- nity manager, and a marketer, she freed up her time and was able to focus on growing her partnerships:
Sophie now runs multiple Amazon businesses, with her most successful currently hitting seven figures. She has just developed a herbal tea to rival the booming nootropic ‘cognitive function’ drug trend on Amazon, and has a partner project in Auckland - to create a platform, which puts artisans in touch with consumers. To top it off she’s developing a B2B Amazon course and is writing a book to help aspiring entrepreneurs through the challenging early stages of starting
What is the lifestyle that you want to have and what business model should you consider pursuing to achieve it?
How could you secure a constant cash flow that would allow you to develop other projects simultaneously?