Andrew Morgans | How Hard Work & Creativity Leads to eCommerce Greatness
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Andrew Morgans, Founder & CEO of Marknology discusses creativity leads to eCommerce greatness. Andrews owns a leading eCommerce agency, and he shares his life story and his unexpected way into eCommerce.
From his early childhood growing up in Africa and other parts of the world, on to working for MasterCard, all the way to discovering the power of eCommerce and never looking back. Learn how Andrew's rich and colorful background along with his passion to innovate helped him face business challenges successfully and experience continued growth.
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Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazur 0:05
Hi, everybody, today I have a special guest. I have Andrew Morgans from Marknology who is the founder and CEO of Marknology, which is a leading e-commerce agency. So, Andrew, thank you so much for coming to our show and being with us today. Today we're gonna, you know, touch your story and what's what are you about? Because you're definitely an interesting character that's out there in the e-commerce space, doing some amazing things. So first of all, you know, how are you? How's everything?
Andrew Morgans 0:34
I'm great. Thanks for having me on the show. I'm excited to be here. You know, we've been a partner we've been to for a while. And it's fun to do some content together. And I'm all about this as an influencer, getting the chance to be. I really only like to push things or even refer to things or mentioned things that I'm actually about. You know, so having a partner on a podcast and being able to push that lines up perfectly. I'm super stoked to share any value that you guys bring with my e-commerce network.
Yoni Mazur 1:06
Well, in today's session, the value will be actually you, what are your story? We wanted to get to know you. You know, yeah, what's authentic about you and how you got to this space. So, you know, let's, let's get, you know, without further ado, let's get right into it. You know, tell us your background where you're from your journey into the professional world and the world of e-commerce. Shoot us your game.
Andrew Morgans 1:28
Andrew Morgans 1:29
I don't know if he knows how long-winded I am. That's a loaded question. Take your time. Okay, so my answers are a little bit interesting. I was actually born in Montreal, Quebec. And then before I was three years old, I was living in Cameroon. My parents marooned
Yoni Mazur 1:49
in Africa. Yeah. Cameroon Africa. Yes.
Andrew Morgans 1:51
Wow. We're French missionaries. That's why they were in Quebec. They were there seven years. I think learning French and immersion school.
Yoni Mazur 2:00
How's your French by the way?
Andrew Morgans 2:03
It's horrible. So I'm, I live in Kansas City. So in..
Yoni Mazur 2:07
How's your Cameroonian? What's the language over there? Cameroon..
Andrew Morgans 2:10
Cameroon, Cameroon. They speak English and French.
Yoni Mazur 2:13
I got okay. So no, like native language over there.
Andrew Morgans 2:16
So I guess if I speak anything, it's really like pidgin English. And I'm not going to do that for everyone here. But you know, imagine a kind of surfer lingo with some Ebonics that kinda end up with pidgin English. That's why it's really cool. So, Cameroon, then, and back and forth, we would come back to Kansas City, even for small amounts of time and raise money. See family,
Yoni Mazur 2:38
Kansas City has two states, right? There is Missouri and the other half.
Andrew Morgans 2:40
And yeah, Missouri and Kansas. So it's already part of you, and I'm in Missouri, but I literally can walk to the state line from my office. So I actually have an apparel company as well. Okay. And, you know, some fun things we do with that brand is just uniting Missouri and Kansas, were one city, you know, we're one, we have some, you know, the streets might disagree with me in some ways about the differences, you know, between the two cities, but the people, you know, you're Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, we're all the same, we're the same, we go through the same things together.
Yoni Mazur 3:17
So, the message of the brand is, you know, basically, a board is just a lot on the map. But we're still one as a culture as a society as humans, we're all one. That's pretty much my message.
Andrew Morgans 3:25
Exactly. I mean, I'm wearing an equality shirt for the show today. Just to, you know, somewhat subtly tell people what I'm about, you know, growing up in Cameroon, Botswana, Moscow, Russia, Congo until 2001. I was 16 years old, and Congo when we came back, crazy, crazy upbringing in regards to perspective and exposure and seeing, you know, 99% unemployment in the city of 12 million people in Kinshasa Congo. Well, you know, it's just perspective, you know, and so as an entrepreneur, and I think I've always I've leaned on a lot of that, that I that perspective, I had when I was younger, to understand that I'm privileged to be able to work hard, and opportunities everywhere around me when there's people around the world that don't have opportunity. And for me, it wasn't just like, you know, a blog that got to me and emotional or, you know, something like that, a movie, it was like, real life, you know, these are my friends. These were like, kids I grew up with, like, very real relationships. So, I didn't know that early on, you know, as a young man...
Yoni Mazur 4:30
It was probably natural as it is for any child to grow up, I guess. Yeah, in retrospect, you definitely have an incredible upbringing, which is unique with your point of view that I've probably never met before. And and I've seen, I've seen people I've met some people around. So yeah.
Andrew Morgans 4:49
Being a missionary kid, especially in places as dangerous as Congo, Congo is very, very dangerous that it was a war why we were there. And I won't take too long on this but like, you know, had friends that I was shot. I was kidnapped for a day with my father.
Yoni Mazur 5:04
You were kidnapped for a day with your father.
Andrew Morgans 5:06
I was the rebel officers picked us up.
Yoni Mazur 5:12
So let me just start to barge into this but tell me just for anybody listening, you know, enlighten you know, our knowledge about this what was the war there? What was it? Who's against who and how did you get involved by being kidnapped?
Andrew Morgans 5:23
Okay, so it's a long story and please know and hold me to facts with history right?
Yoni Mazur 5:28
Just a nutshell like the, you know the dumbing down a bit?
Andrew Morgans 5:32
Well, there was, um, you know, a few years before that there was the war in Rwanda and the Hutus and Tutsis and they were, you know, racial tribes.
Yoni Mazur 5:41
Two tribes. Yes.
Andrew Morgans 5:43
Made by Belgians in the past, and so divided these people, and then they hated each other, and they were killing each other, the losing army. Guess where they went to Congo? Okay, so they rebel against the jungles of Congo. So a lot of countries around Congo, it's one of the biggest nations in the world, as far as land and you know, rain forests and things like that. So surrounding countries as they have wars, those losing armies run into Congo, and it creates a very dangerous environment, because it's not just Congolese, it's, you know, all the nations around it. And so, you know, they teamed up with some Congolese rebels that wanted to change things in Congo, because Congo has been under one of the worst dictators in all of the time named Mobutu. He had been taken out, but there's a new leader and the people weren't happy, right? So 99% unemployment in the capital city, you can kind of understand why. And so the rebels were, you know, coming for the city coming for the government. And we were in the capital city, it was too dangerous to leave the city to go into the jungle at all. You know, there are a few Marines there in the city, but not really protection, things like that. So why were we there, the President was killed? Rebels took the city. It was a wild time, right? It was wild..
Yoni Mazur 7:05
So basically, you got to kind of buy the rebels.
Andrew Morgans 7:09
I think that these were just unpaid soldiers. I'm not sure if they had aside, even I think they have just had guns and weren't getting paid and saw an opportunity and took it,
Yoni Mazor 7:22
Did they get paid?
Andrew Morgans 7:25
They didn't get paid big..
Yoni Mazur 7:27
They got something that was a simple business transaction is like, you know, we've seen these people that foreigners maybe have some sort of value we can get by holding, you know, holding him up for a while. I think that worked out.
Andrew Morgans 7:39
I think that that could be the case. And one, you know, one can't really say But I would also say that, you know, we're going through crazy times right now, right? And people are literally scared to be near some people sometimes and you know, just different things. And there was a lot of that fear, then, you know, just desperate times call for desperate measures. And you know, if you have a gun and power and you know, those, there's, there are people there, there are people on the other side of the world that live with a different code than all of us. And you know.
Yoni Mazur 8:11
Andrew Morgans 8:12
People who can use children for soldiers and things like that. They don't think they were not even in the same mindset as them, you know...
Yoni Mazur 8:18
For you know, any, you know, here in America, it's pretty much these kinds of concepts and reality, a reality of life. It's, it's like outer space, really. So you really experienced something that is very, very different.
Andrew Morgans 8:32
Very much like outer space, very hard to relate, you know, I find myself relating with immigrants, I find myself relating with foreigners, I find my
Yoni Mazur 8:39
Underdogs in general, I would say.
Andrew Morgans 8:41
Anyone that's had a hard time, you know, because how can I explain something as wild as probably only read in a book, you know, soldiers might relate to me, but I wasn't a soldier. You know, I was a missionary kid, right? 16 years old, or whatever. So, I mean, that's one story, but there was a lifetime in Africa. Right. And I think
Yoni Mazur 9:01
Your upbringing is pretty much a whole book that could be written, but, you know, let's, let's, let's get forward into, you know, being brought up by the world as the Saudis of the world and to professional life business.
Andrew Morgans 9:16
Yoni Mazur 9:17
So with the shops, you know..
Andrew Morgans 9:19
Africa goes to Hawaii goes to University, and I started going to school in Hawaii. And then a family emergency. We had moved to Hawaii after Africa is a good transition spot for us. And then after Hawaii, we moved back to Kansas City. And when I moved back to Kansas City, I finished my degree up computer science degree in networking and security. And I got a job right. I've been touring playing music for four years. I leave that part out.
Yoni Mazur 9:48
What do you play which instrument?
Andrew Morgans 9:50
I play bass. Nice. I play bass and I was in we were a pretty big band, you know like we would tour played 96 shows one
Yoni Mazur 9:57
One year, wow.
Andrew Morgans 10:00
That's a lot of shows for you know, for someone in school and working on there and supporting them so..
Yoni Mazur 10:04
That’s pretty much that third of the year. It's very intensive.
Andrew Morgans 10:06
Yeah, it was, but it was actually my first business I think.
Yoni Mazur 10:10
Andrew Morgans 10:11
I was doing it full time, right I was creating shirts and branding and products, songs or products, right and merchandise merge merchandise, we were booking shows I was b2b relationships. It was branding it was, you know, efficiencies and systems when you're traveling on the road setup takedown, we were creating checklists, and you know, all types of stuff, I didn't really realize it was my first business. But I think that it taught me a lot about branding and marketing that I've, that I've, like, leaning on. As I've grown my own business, I think.
Yoni Mazur 10:43
There are two key elements there, obviously, the entrepreneurship of, you know, creating accessories and marketing, you know, materials and products. But the second thing will be your ability to perform the confidence needed to perform out there. Because, you know, by doing that, you're able to, you know, put yourself out there and in all these dimensions, and connect. So this is a very, very powerful instrument for the digital age to put yourself out there and make it and have some sort of underlying product or service that represents that they can connect to immediately as soon as possible. And then they get the value out of it, because you know, it solves whatever it needs they have. And obviously for you, it provides a stimulus for productivity. So you can, you know, let your art and also make an income, which is also important these days.
Andrew Morgans 11:29
No, I couldn't agree more. I mean, during this time, like before, graduating college, like I've been a professional painter, or to a surf shop working in a warehouse, you know, obviously a professional full time musician. You name it, I've done the work, I've been a landscaper in Hawaii, you know, like not scared of hard work, you know, and we're having that second or third job. Probably much like a lot of other immigrant families, you know, that are just doing whatever it takes.
Yoni Mazur 11:59
This is interesting, you see yourself ultimately, as an immigrant at this point?
Andrew Morgans 12:02
If I'm allowed to define myself, mentally Yes. I know, as I'm the weirdest mix, I'm a white African soul, you know, with, you know, finances and kind of learning America's culture at 17 years old, that's when I started learning the culture. I relate to that, at least.
Yoni Mazur 12:23
At this point, because effectively you were out of the game, I guess, the Western world or the American game or the society game up till 17, you're just completely away. So you have to kind of pick up very quickly from that point on.
Andrew Morgans 12:37
It’s backward, you know like most people fight to have these rights or, you know, the freedoms that we have. And people will fight for generations, they are here for their families, and I was someone that was born into that privilege and born into those blessings. And then, you know, took our knowledge to the world, so on, you know, through my parents. So just meaning like, it's kind of backward to be a, you know, white American, a white male, American boy, I'm going to those places that everyone else is trying to get out of just a weird perspective, but something that's been great for e-commerce and entrepreneurship and, and all of those things.
Yoni Mazur 13:15
Okay, so, your first actual business was, you know, the music business being in a band, what was the next step for you?
Andrew Morgans 13:21
So I got a job at MasterCard global, as in a knock, which is a Network Operations Control. So monitoring a lot of banking networks, was kind of a cool kind of sci-fi a little bit, you know, high security. And pretty, you know, it's a prestigious job for a young guy out of school. I was making more money than I ever had, but I was miserable on the inside, I was bored. Within a few months, I'd kind of learned the ropes. And you just sit around watching cops with subtitles and wait on, you know, networks to break and I'm not an I'm not someone to just watch and react. I think I'm more of a creator and a builder. And so I'd gone from playing music full time and touring and traveling and being poor, right but being free and creating revenue, having money, more financial stability, but being just dead on the inside and not being fulfilled. So after that job, I took a jet for my first e-commerce job.
Yoni Mazur 14:24
What was it? What was the first start-up?
Andrew Morgans 14:25
I was employee number three, they hired me because of my experience, you know, and my personality. I think my experience with computers is not e-commerce, right? And they said like if MasterCard hires him, we'll hire him kind of thing. And we put car parts online. So it was like, you know, eight years ago or so. You couldn't even really get car parts online. You had to call the shop, tell them your car, you know, get a part number. Then they would tell you what to order. You go pick it up, you know it Wasn't it like, you could go and browse and buy and like those kinds of things. So I was, I won't take too long. But this is really where I learned e-commerce the hard way I was I was contacting manufacturers getting you to know, part lists, or calling mom and pop shops that didn't even have stuff online, you know, getting their products that come to where we were, we take photos of them to write product descriptions, and put them up and we'd be the only one that had access to this outside of calling these people and, and our websites grew like crazy. And Amazon grew by over a million dollars that year, and I knew that I was the one finding all these parts, putting them all up, you know.
Yoni Mazur 15:37
This was 2012?
Andrew Morgans 15:41
This was 2011 to 2012.
Yoni Mazur 15:44
Alright, so essentially, you're jumping to start up, you help them map out the catalog, so it to put into their own.com website. And additionally, also, you know, open the offerings out on Amazon, quickly that the same trailing year, you guys broke the million-dollar revenue mark with Amazon and assume the website also was getting traction.
Andrew Morgans 16:03
Yes, it was just growing. What I was doing, is essentially taking 1000s of like parts and using Excel and concatenating descriptions and bullet points and, and things like that for content that had never existed, you know, large category,
Yoni Mazur 16:18
Large catalog activity, just aggregate everything and put it out there and give it a push.
Andrew Morgans 16:23
So if you understand how Amazon works with a lot of templates and e-commerce works with templates and uploading products through that type of stuff, I was kind of placed early on in you know, without giving I wasn't being given a calculator I was being given like go figure this out kind of old school way. But I feel like it gave me a very strong foundation for how e-commerce works.
Yoni Mazur 16:45
Yeah, the framework of mass data which is content and essentially in its heart this content you're describing a product and utility of a product although it's not so attractive as fashion products you know, you're selling car parts like you said to give you the foundation so later on if you have to aggregate all that data to make it more appealing what would that you know, appeal of you know, fashion brand that was easy to do because the technical level you know, really how to do the aggregation of everything.
Andrew Morgans 17:11
I just knew if it was going to be a hard project or easy project based on like creating something from scratch you know, now right and we were doing everything from drop shipping from some of the biggest like you know, car part manufacturers to private labeling our own product from China to buying from distributors, more like a wholesale relationship, we had a mixture of kind of all three things going.
Yoni Mazur 17:37
So you had a nice triangle, a nice delta. Where you guys resell, private label, wholesale.
Andrew Morgans 17:42
And so I was, you know, I was lucky to be in kind of the driver's seat at a young company, trying to help them figure all this kind of stuff out and all those problems. Though it was growing, you know, the boss is happy, you know, but also I'm working crazy crazy hours. And you know, just having a blast doing it. But once I discovered e-commerce after having gone to school for networking, I was just like I was in e-commerce. To me, it's, it's the name, the reason for the name for my company. It's the mixture of marketing and technology, it was, you know, the marketing and the creative side from like, let's say the band, right, and music, side of Andrew. But then the technical side of what I went to school for and what I like, you know, my dad grew up, like, I was probably 678 years old building computers with my dad from scratch. So like, being around computers and technology was very comfortable for me. You know, intellect-wise, even though I liked the creativity side, e-commerce to me was like, wow, I get to use both of these things. And you know, for work, this is awesome.
Yoni Mazur 18:48
So kind of embodies infusions, what you stand for, which is, you know, marketing and branding stuff, along with the knack for technology. So but you're pretty much you're, you're kind of the poster boy for that feature, right, in a way. Okay, so you were doing great, I guess you tasted the forbidden fruit or tasted the apple of e-commerce and the power that has behind it, and what was the next step for you?
Andrew Morgans 19:13
Yeah, so I, I, I'll be honest, like, I never I didn't even know what the word entrepreneur meant. This space was new to me. I didn't know that it existed before I stumbled across it. So for anyone listening, like I didn't have this massive plan, you know, the plan was to make it as a musician. The backup plan was this degree I got as a backup plan. And now I'm using it, you know, so I left a startup, I actually moved to Tampa for that startup. And so I went from Kansas City to Tampa, and then back to Kansas City in 2012 13, I think so. I started working at a company called us toy company, and they're medium-sized retailers. Quite a bit bigger than our startup and they hired me as an e-commerce manager. So I was a brick and mortar, or they had eight stores, five brands, you know, we were trying to grow e-commerce. So they did a lot of catalog business, actually. And if anyone's in this listening, as been in business, that's a huge, huge problem to solve transitioning from a buyer base, that's probably aging out and using catalogs to now using your catalogs, just look you up online to make that purchase. And, you know, attribution of all those things. It was a problem to step into for sure.
Yoni Mazur 20:40
Got it? Okay. So you went to that company, and you were infected? What would you accomplish with them?
Andrew Morgans 20:45
Okay, so the CMO CIO was really sharp. And he knew that we needed to focus on e-commerce, brought me in just as dedicated resources and said, hey, let's figure this out. I really want to grow eBay, Amazon, the website, affiliate marketing. So I came in and started giving all those areas attention. And really, I mean, while we saw growth, and I could talk about e-commerce all day, we had been on Amazon for several years, sewing about 2 million. And we grew to 3.3 million that first year I was there.
Yoni Mazur 21:18
Nice. 60 Bumper.
Andrew Morgans 21:20
Yeah, right. And when you're the only person doing the work, you know, it's you, you can be part of a team in a different career, where there might be 10 of you, and you're all collaborating. And I'm not to say the guy shipping the product and also helped me in e-commerce. That's not what I'm saying. But I mean, like,
Yoni Mazur 21:36
Well, as far as for you what I guess ultimately led you to spread your wings and and be on your own right, that's pretty much the underlying message here. All right. Well, for the second time, how you import your direct import, just generates distrust, right? And that gives you the confidence to know what, let me give it a shot on my own. See where how far I can get some exactly,
Andrew Morgans 21:56
I think I'll give you a little bit more detail right there. So it was a combination of driving an hour and traffic each way to work. It was a combination of my family living in Florida for the last seven years, I'd stayed in Kansas City in my band, and then it just moved down there for one year for that job, and then moved back for this opportunity. I hated only seeing them, my mom, two weeks out of the year, as someone that traveled and, like freedom. It was like, cool job. But you know, they're, they're not really innovating. I want to be somewhere that's growing me, I'm super passionate about this, just send me to training, send me to something, you know, I want to grow. And I wanted to compete with the best e-commerce people is what I wanted to do. And I knew that I would be left behind if they didn't invest in training. You know, I still hadn't thought about a business at this point. Okay, it was just the best at what I'm doing. But I was a quality of life. You know, I was losing two hours a day to traffic. And you know, there were small things like the work environment and culture, right? There was not someone not investing in me and growing me. Because I'm growing them. For sure. Right. So that's fine. But are they growing me back? I was going through a divorce at the same time. That was part of the reason Florida and coming back home. I was depressed, you know, but I'm a very positive person in general. And so I was, I was upset, I was pouring myself into work. And this is where the light bulb went off. In my head. I was reading a blog, a financial blog that talks about getting your finances in order and different things, and you guys help businesses, you know, with their finances on Amazon, I'll give you a little plug there. Right. But, uh, for me, it was how do I get like, you know, I want to get savings and I want to be secure and financially set after this divorce and like, you know, can take control of my house, you know, so to speak,
Yoni Mazur 23:49
Your household income, let's put it this way more financial.
Andrew Morgans 23:52
Yeah, but I've always had side hustles and things like that. So I was reading these blogs. And they said, This time, instead of going to be a bartender, picking up a side job thing like that. Pick something that furthers your career with the knowledge or like something you'll need down the road, whether it's like volunteering at an accounting company, or volunteering here or work, do things like this. And they linked out to some sites like Upwork, and he landed. And I built profiles there. And you know, within a week, I had been applying to some jobs. And this is like, you know, six, seven years ago, this is really where agencies or brands or companies would find anyone that could help them on Amazon. Okay, so it wasn't the same landscape as today, just to let you know. And so I was doing jobs there. And yes, sometimes.
Yoni Mazur 24:41
What you're saying basically, is the ecosystem of agencies, e-commerce agencies, as we know it today. Kind of starting it started evolving, realizing they are an agency back in those days about seven years ago.
Andrew Morgans 24:53
Yeah, they weren't Amazon agencies, there was a website there was traditional marketing. There was Like, but no one mess with them that I'm telling you, I was almost too early. I was almost too early, really, um, there just wasn't enough buy-in, you know, all parts weren't there, brands weren't being told at conferences everywhere to Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. So it was like just this guy out here, you know, for a couple of the brands that were like, they wanted to be on Amazon like I was their guy.
Yoni Mazur 25:23
Just to give some sort of perspective, you know, as hard as it is maybe to believe today, Amazon was kind of up and coming seven years ago, it was kind of bigger, you know, kind of a big deal for e-commerce.
Andrew Morgans 25:39
And online retail is always back a lot of people back because Amazon was difficult.
Yoni Mazur 25:44
I mean, now Amazon has its challenges today. But when you say difficult, what do you mean? Like? What's the difference from today?
Andrew Morgans 25:51
The differences between then and today, and I can get real passionate about this.
Yoni Mazur 25:56
Just in a nutshell, from your perspective, just a high level, right?
Andrew Morgans 25:59
Amazon had gained customer trust by guaranteeing two-day delivery, okay, and the way that they got all these products on their platform, let's start with at least we're starting the story after the books, okay. But like, the way that they got all these brands on their platform was sales reps, from the vendor central side, reaching out to these big brands and saying, hey, you have to do nothing different than you've already done, just send us pallets, but more like a wholesale b2b relationship type of thing. We're going to put you on our platform called Amazon, we're going to write you a check for $100,000 with inventory that will make it easy. And they got tons of business brands all over the nation. They got all these businesses through vendor Central, and they were shipping out in two days, you know, to customers and building trust.
Yoni Mazur 26:44
Yeah. Revolutionizing retail, you know.
Andrew Morgans 26:48
Right. And then through the years, what's changed is the ability to brand on the platform in a huge way more control to the sellers and was given at the beginning, when it was on the vendor side, they've like started leaking these seller tools and visibility and things like that. And so back then brands didn't, they have a relationship with Amazon, but it was just like a PO like a vendor like everybody else. They didn't really understand what this platform was. Does that make sense? That makes sense.
Yoni Mazur 27:26
Yeah, that makes sense. Basically, for them was just another retailer, you know, we've been placing the orders to get paid and move on. Nevertheless, the interesting evolution of Amazon is that they kind of democratized all these tools, and said, You know what, we'll make it all open up in Nv available in our amazon seller central platform, which is for third party sellers. So they can kind of figure it out, and bring it to such a utility, where they're kicking the butt out of everything, even Amazon themselves because third-party sellers right now are accounting for what 60% of Amazon's revenue. It's just ballistic because there's so much talent and creativity and entrepreneurship behind all the sellers and all these rounds operating. But with the power of Amazon's ingenious tools and ability to give visibility and outstanding how-to shark thing is a massive explosion that is devouring retail, period online, and brick and mortar, you know, back then Amazon was online, I know 10 20%. Today, it's almost 50% online retail and it just growing massively today. And now more than ever, with the crisis. Amazon is definitely one of the biggest winners of this, you know, this turn of events of the day.
Andrew Morgans 28:32
Everyone sees it differently. But like I've helped hundreds of businesses grow. Like I've helped hunt local businesses, big businesses, I've taken small players and mash them up with some of the biggest giants on the Amazon platform. And you know, anyone can create a system. And there's going to be people that come along and try to optimize that system. Right. And so, you know, I've seen that whether it's been photog and it's like, you know, and the same thing with the publishing world, right? You have independent publishers that can dominate Amazon, unlike ever before in the history of publishing books, as they had the ability to do that. And the older publishers now can't compete with indie publishers because they don't know how to use this platform. Right. So the third-party sellers are really just as I learned the platform, vendor central is kind of like an easy staples button, hit the red button, take checks, you know, baseline maybe probably the same information that's on your website if you have one. And Seller Central was so much more than that. It let me understand every process of Amazon. Let me control my warehousing inventory. Let me control my follow-up emails to customers. Let me run promotions like a store. It's like if you're in a brick-and-mortar space, it's like you went from having a distributor that you had is a Walmart like you have no control over where he puts you on the shelf or like how he displays you or when he stops. You are Like you're just at his mercy, right? And then you went to be like, well, the distributor works for you. And you get to tell him exactly where you want to be on the shelf. And what visibility one, what promotion you want to offer this week. And I mean, it's a game-changer.
Yoni Mazur 30:15
Yeah, it's all digital, too. So it's so turnkey, just, it's an amazing evolution really.
Andrew Morgans 30:21
Yoni Mazur 30:21
It's historical, even.
Andrew Morgans 30:24
I agree. And I'm loving being a part of it. And, for me, it's like, I like to break these things down. Because I talk to business owners that are very intelligent about business, they understand business, they've been in brick and mortar tradition for four years. What I need them to understand is how to take everything that they know, right about their business, or about marketing, about relationships about, visibility, and placement, product placement, and all those things and then take that digital. I'm there to help them be like, Look, it's the same principles, I'm operating on the same principles of business. I'm just taking it digital. And there's this platform right here that has specific rules. And if we follow them, and optimize them where we can, we're just gonna explode.
Yoni Mazur 31:09
Ultimately if you have a good product, you will explode.
Andrew Morgans 31:12
That's assumed we're like, yeah, we're starting with the baseline.
Yoni Mazur 31:16
Some, some players out there just forget about that basic, I'm aware, your product has to be viable, and some sort of a certain quality and utility and you know, you'll do well. Alright, very good. So I guess this is the point, you know, when Yeah, you were working for the toy company, you had your personal challenges that as well, you know, had to take over your household income and financial, you know, under control, what was your what was at the point where you broke out? And cradle Marknology? Well..
Andrew Morgans 31:42
I got on UpWork right. Like I got on these Freelancer sites to supplement my income. I started doing little projects, but I was making, you know, four or $500 a week and working on a little project for a brand. And I, you know, raise time to come at the last company, I got 20 cent raise, you know, after making 1.3 million on one brand, and a lot more on others, I was like 20 cents at a time is going to take me a lifetime to get even a three week vacation. Right? So that's $400 a year if you add that up. And I was making that on a weekend. And so you know, these little things I started being like, what friends do I have that are own a business or that know anything about business? I kind of want to just talk about this, I have, I got a couple of clients on up work that was like, hey, instead of just this project, will you stay on for you know, like, on a monthly basis and just help me with anything I need? And I was like, okay, you know, and so having a full-time job, and then a side hustle that's making me, you know, 500 $1,000 a weekend was like, Wow, this is amazing. I'm someone that has lived very frugally my whole life. So having that type of income was just like a lightbulb to me. And I built a few more of those clients, I worked I had one pivotal moment where I worked with Adidas through UpWork, and I was just like, how is it that this company is one of the brands I admire the most in the world big, you know, so much visibility and they still need someone like me to help them. It was just like, why do they need me, you know,
Yoni Mazor 33:08
It’s a signal for the revolution and your, you know, they just gravitate towards the talent. So as far as I understand from you, you know, you're the patchwork of your side, hustle slowly but surely, becomes essentially, bigger and bigger and bigger, right?
Yoni Mazur 33:29
It snowballed into a full outfit where you can spread your wings and say, that's it. This is me, this is my office, this is my business. I dominate this, I control this, I'm accountable for this.
Andrew Morgans 33:41
It’s like people not knowing anything about Amazon but wanting to, and then me having the answers change the dynamic to where instead of the leaders of my last companies like needing to go to a big webinar conference to trust me. You know, these people, I had helped them with a problem. I fixed it, and I had trusted with them, no matter how small it was, I had trust. And so when I was suggesting things to do on Amazon things to try, we were winning. And you know, we just kind of carried that momentum. I got enough clients to pay my bills on a monthly basis and I left us toys. I left US Toys, it was a year. That was 2014 15.
Andrew Morgans 34:28
Andrew Morgans 34:28
So Marknology is going on your sticks. Um, nice. It was just me and it was actually my brand, the brand manager of us toy at that time left with me and we started Marknology she helped me a ton in the early years with taxes and accounting and logos and you know, all those kinds of things that I needed that I had no experience with the business. My dad was a missionary, and I was in debt. That's why I was doing this side hustle, right? I was good with finances. I just love Love had a way of teaching me a lesson. And so, you know, I was like, I would love to help her and she definitely helped me grow in those early years. And then I bought her out several years later. And so I'm the only founder now, but definitely, it was just me and her in those early days.
Yoni Mazur 35:17
So she helped basically creating the infrastructure, the elements of infrastructure, maybe you had some oversight, you know, fill in the void, you know, make sure the structure is solid and sound, and it's built out and what things were were comfortable for both sides, you bought her out, and now you know, you, you run down with it. So
Andrew Morgans 35:36
I mean, that was essentially where we put our focus, I say Marknology was created. And our focus became, I saw the troubles that US toys was having around getting their sales team, you know, onboard, it was their salesmen selling to resellers are putting products on Amazon and battling their e-commerce department, I didn't understand this, it was bad business, it was, you know, I didn't understand why you would have people on the same team fighting, like over sales, and it was like bad business. And he saw the conflict of interest and, and sort of speak conflict of interest. I'm like, you know, if I was a sales rep, you guys would be eating from my territory, right? You guys would be in my territory right now, like stealing my sales? Well, how is this okay? Like, get your resellers off of my stuff, you know, and this is the eCommerce Department's area, you know, and so I was having those conversations internally there. And realizing that businesses, lots of businesses, we're going to have the same issues and challenges and conversations internally. And I took a lot of what I learned at us toy into Markknology, as what are we going to do as a service. And we're going to help the brands that want to listen, the key ones wants to listen to fix their businesses on this platform of Amazon, and then even bigger e-commerce in general. But we put a focus on branding as Amazon released feature by feature by feature that allowed you to do a little bit more, we focused on that. And I focused on building a team, where I felt like a lot of other agencies would just grab, like an Amazon expert that worked there something and add them to their team. But it was a marketing team with an Amazon person. Or as an Amazon consultant, I wanted a whole team that knew lived, and breathed Amazon. And we're like not coming from something different than this. But we're like, you know, learning these things here. So I mean, I failed all the time, they don't get me wrong, I failed all the time.
Yoni Mazur 37:30
That’s the best way to win, the best way to succeed is basically testing and experiencing all these failures until they stop, and then it just mastered the game. But not just you, every teammate in your team, you know, experienced the same thing, and you guys become in a way, such a strong fist together, you know, it's like, all these fingers. But when you clutch it together, it's much more powerful. That brings out the value and the dominance that you guys have to succeed and excel in what you do. But that being said, where you guys today, what's your current position in the marketplace? You know, you guys have been in the game for five years? You know, you're like you said you're able to create the team spirit and team expertise. They're all pretty much masters of what function they're focusing on. And why is it positioned for you today? Where are you today? And what would you like to go actually,
Andrew Morgans 38:17
Well, we're growing in spite of COVID we're growing, I've definitely had my challenges around it, you know, late payments, you know, like some shrinkage, you know, agency shrinkage, but you know, growing as well, we launched Fulfillment by Marknology, which is 3 PL services this year. Kidding. So you have an outfit for, for logistics, we do, we moved into a new location, and it just made a lot of sense. I don't want to take too much time talking about that because I don't want to sell it. But you know, just being able to cut our owners out of the middle between us and they're outsource warehouse anyway. Like, we'll just take care of that. And they don't even have to do the thinking behind all that. And instead of me having to educate 4550 plus three females around the nation, and get them up to speed on what's going on on Amazon.
Yoni Mazur 39:06
Just tell my team, you know, and it's interesting. So consolidation, and by doing that, basically it's more holistic, it's like
Andrew Morgans 39:15
Yeah, exactly. We got to be more aggressive to try new things like let's try it three buyers try a variety pack. We're the ones already suggesting it on the front end as your strategist.
Yoni Mazur 39:24
The bundling all the bundling and kits. Yes, yes.
Andrew Morgans 39:27
Exactly. A lot of money in that profit margin, right. Yeah,
Yoni Mazur 39:31
I agree. I know some players out there that are a key function for them is the ability to create all these specialty bundles, which creates such a unique offering.
Andrew Morgans 39:42
It's hard to compete and that is unique. The value proposition becomes the bundle right or there are their savings passed down by buying more than one and I think people in e-commerce are conditioned on buying in bulk even if it's two or three that's bulk. When it used to be bulk was like Costco. Now bulk is too For, right versus just that single? Um, so I mean, honestly, I feel like I've been around e-commerce and Amazon, since all this is like it comes from nothing, right? Like, I mean, those things didn't exist. And we were doing that type of stuff on eBay. And, you know, what is FBA, no one knew what FBA was and what you know, dropshipping has come and went, in my opinion, you know, if you're getting into dropshipping now you're behind the times like, you know, there are other things now. So, you know, you talk about like, one of the key points we had for today was, what were the challenges? Well, the challenge was being too early, like, you know, when it's one thing to convince people to be on Amazon, and then convince them to work with you. Now, I don't have to convince them to be on Amazon, it's just working with me, it's a huge difference. You know,
Yoni Mazur 40:47
That's true, I didn't think about that. It's funny, because your way of looking at things, it's like your Charles Charles Darwin, looking at evolution, but you're in the game, it's like he Oh, he kind of looked it looked at afterward, but you're like it in the middle of it, or in the midst of it, you're able to kind of recognize what's going on, like you said, and it's thoroughly if it's just too early for them to understand, you have to convince them and put some effort there. But you know, pass forward toward a few years later, it's like they're coming to you because they already know that they, you know, this is where the value is, this is where the gold rush is. And it makes that aspect for you a bit easier, less imperfect, to say, hey, well, you need to be on Amazon, that's already in the mindset.
Andrew Morgans 41:24
They've already made that decision. Right?
Yoni Mazur 41:26
Right. And you can move on your capacity and your resilience into saying, you know, what, I'm going to be now a few steps ahead of the game, I'll create a three PL center. Okay, so I can, you know, create even more efficiency in streamlining for my clients, and then offer the kids. So one thing leads to another in terms of evolution. So now you're kind of an active participant, which is unique because you have the ability to mold your future and carve it out with your understanding of what's going on, which is an incredible position to be in, it's pretty. And I think it does connect to your colorful background, you know, all these
Andrew Morgans 41:56
elements that make the box a little bit and having the confidence that like, you know what I can do anything I set my mind to. And if I can do anything I set my mind to and I can think outside the box ideas? Well, there we are, right? And I say the challenges have been, you know, I'm bootstrapped, I bootstrapped everything.
Yoni Mazur 42:17
I’m gonna say bootstrap every step of the way. 100%.
Andrew Morgans 42:21
I think that's a testament of my upbringing as well, you know, and, you know, bootstraps, you know, finding talent, you know, because it has to be taught here, right?
Yoni Mazur 42:33
I think in developing, as you said, it's not only that, you're able to find it, you because you, I think you mentioned that, when you're an organization, you felt like you're not being developed, that affected you. So I think you took that lesson and said, you know, for my team, I'll make sure they're there, they keep on developing themselves, you know, because they'll feel better and good, we're gonna have better synergies, and that's going to trickle all over the place. And in terms of the value to the clients,
Andrew Morgans 42:55
You're right, you're right, I haven't put it in those words, but I 100% agree, I feel like that was what was missing. I was having to self teach myself everything at these companies, from MasterCard, you know, through self-taught. And it wasn't that I wasn't thankful for the jobs I had, I just wanted to learn more, I wanted to be the best one who's doing anything for those guys, those companies that want to be the best guys or girls, right? Like, if you're like, Man, I'm just here and I want to be really good at what I do. And like, you know, I've had to learn, you know, the challenges mainly have been Andrew Morgan's challenges, less than business challenges, like, I don't, I didn't know how to communicate, I didn't know I'm a creative, I wasn't extremely organized, I'm creating a system out of nothing. That is very hard. You know, for someone that's not a certain type of brain, you know, like, you know, left brain, right brain. For some people that come on the other side of that type of thinking, some of this personal development, things can be intense, you know, like, self-awareness, at a high level, because you're now guiding a ship that has, you know, 14 employees by multiply by 50 brands, and maybe the brands that have three or four employees that we talked to, it's massive quickly. And how do you keep track of, you know, scaling a services-based business which they say is one of the hardest businesses without
Yoni Mazur 44:25
Without undermining the quality? That's the pretty much the challenge How do you scale your offering and to keep the same level of quality or if at all, keep raising the quality that's what Amazon is so incredible, well, they, they don't only that, it's not only that they keep growing, they always improve their game the quality instead of two day shipping, the past year, then she just one day shipping, or Amazon Prime now they keep on innovating and innovating and innovating on such a massive scale. just unbelievable.
Andrew Morgans 44:50
Innovation is the key. My friend, I talked to businesses all the time that are like, well, I don't want to put this on Amazon like someone might copy it or knock it off. I'm like, innovate again, innovate again. Write this, it's a
Yoni Mazur 45:01
Good point, don't be afraid to put it out there. And as you recognize the thread coming, if you're gonna have to keep on editing, and that is the element that's going to secure your business anyway. And sad. So you have to put yourself in that position. Because if you don't, and you try to hide in the cave, it's just a matter of time.
Andrew Morgans 45:15
Exactly. It's a matter of time. And that's how I ran my business. And that's advice I give as well. Eventually, someone will knock off or do what you've done better. So best to just keep moving forward, like, you know, Walmart and all these other marketplaces. Sure, maybe they take a little percentage of Amazon here and there, probably because they're not focused on it anymore, because they're focused on the next big thing, right. And it's giving someone time to catch up. Sure. But they're working on the next thing. They're working on Whole Foods. By the time Walmart figures out FBA, they're working on, you know, real estate and cars by the time someone else figures out food, right or grocery. So try to run my business parallel with the business that I'm optimizing for. And, you know, I didn't do e-commerce or social content as an agency where a lot of agencies do because it's easier to stay busy with work. Because I couldn't find good partners, and I wanted to be an expert at a thing. So I, The advice I'd give here is like, know what you like doing, you know what? quality, you got to keep Hi, know what you can outsource to like a partner like a cheetah, right? I think it's a great service. And it's something that like, could I, you know, try to figure this out in some systematic way. Sure. But I don't want to,
Yoni Mazur 46:30
What you're saying is we recognize your core competency, acknowledge it, keep developing and nurturing it to grow it, because it's gonna be hard or hard to compete with you. Once you do that. Well, anywhere you see that you can just simply outreach again and connect with, you know, other service providers, a partner or a strategic alliance, do so you'll find it much more powerful.
Andrew Morgans 46:51
I honestly believe you're only as good as your partners, like, you know, and you lose, you lose relationship if you refer someone out. Or you try to set somebody up with something, and then they get subpar service or subpar, you know, experience, experience. So for me, as I held it, I think we stayed small for a long time, because I was very careful with that very, very, very careful with that I wanted to keep if anyone ever had something to say about my technology was going to be good. That was my you know, that was my, my mantra.
Yoni Mazur 47:22
It's very, very, very, very important for any brand even if they leave...
Yoni Mazur 47:29
No matter what, if they have anything to say, even though they left for whatever reason, they still have something good to say.
Andrew Morgans 47:35
And part of that was not taking on too many partners that I couldn't keep control, you know, keep track of. And I saw in my masterminds and businesses, I was like studying like this was happening in their business, they were outselling me they were getting more value per client, they were like, their top line was higher, like everything that if I was comparing would have been like, you know, depressing. But for me, it was like, You know what, while all these things are still challenges, what I do have is my quality is very, very high. And so I'm just going to keep rocking that, or Hey, you know, and try to figure out the rest of this stuff. So tons of challenges. You know, obviously, we talk about those all day, maybe a separate podcast, but there's a ton of challenges, I think just focused on, you know, focus on that, that main thing that quality, and providing value, I'm always trying to provide value, I think you talked about innovation and innovation and value go hand in hand, whether it's let me make your life easier by you know, providing this or providing this or providing this. But also I'm innovating and I'm trying to be a company that's like, doing things that others are not, and pushing that space. And a lot of times that means failing at it, right. And anyone that's doing business with me has to understand that I'm someone pushing innovation, and there's going to be things that just like Amazon comes out with that don't work. And then you know, some things that work in the same way. As a company, I want to be that.
Yoni Mazur 49:02
Amazon giveaways, for example, they canceled that about a year ago.
Andrew Morgans 49:06
I tried it in the past, it doesn't work. You know, it worked. But it didn't work to such a scale,
Yoni Mazur 49:07
They say, you know, this is a billion-dollar thing for us. Maybe it's a $100 million dollar thing. It's not a complete, measurable outcome. But you know, we're looking at the billions. This is simply the scale that we live on. So statistics that we wiped that out, yeah, just I mean,
Andrew Morgans 49:21
Amazon themselves, call me, you know, like, what, through the partnership through different relationships and ask me and brands with us, how is an international expansion for you? You know, what is it like, as an agency owner, how are you? Like, what strategy Are you using on the streets, so to speak with, with your brands, like, you know, what are the challenges brands are having, like, what is your strategy for this? What is your strategy for that, um, so Amazon's still learning and when you realize that even these things that look great, amazing Polish are still learning and still listening to the lower level people beyond so to speak? You know, they're still listening to the feet on the ground what's going on, it's a great example of you know how to be a business owner how to be a leader like you know, continue to listen down continue this is the spirit
Yoni Mazur 50:10
e-commerce even if Amazon is signaling that this is what you need to do keep your eyes and ears on the soldiers on the battlefield. This is the spirit of e-commerce because that's where you get to know the authentic and Reality of Things, for better or worse, and then you're able to, on a high level strategically, move along. So in a really in a nutshell, I want you to like a little short message of resilience for anybody listening with the COVID-19, I think you touched most of the main points of that, I have to kind of you know, streamline it to a few words is, you know, focus on your core competency, right, whatever it is, you're good at, keep keep keep at it and develop it. Stay innovative. Okay, stay flexible. And like we just said, Now keep your ears and eyes attentive of the reality of things. Even though you're looking at the skies, make sure you're still grounded on earth. And so you can be able to steer the elements of the battlefield and stay successful at it. But, you know, if you want to add the last one last point for the, for the listeners and viewers out there about COVID-19 message of resilience.
Andrew Morgans 51:07
Before we just take a little bit of time, I think everybody has already by this point, right? But like, it's a personal thing, as much as the business thing, take a little bit of time and feel those emotions, feel the stress, you know, feel we're all anxious, everyone's nervous, you know, everyone's going through something. So it's okay to feel that. But then as the leader of your life or your business, whatever the case is both, you know, it's bigger than you and whatever you're feeling like for me, I have a family of employees, you know, the real family works with me as well, you know, and so I can't do anything, doing anything is not an option. It's not quitting is not an option. You have to be relentless in the pursuit of your goals. And, you know, if you are relentless, if quitting is not an option, then when there is no like, well, we just can't, or I can't figure it out, you have to figure something out. And you learn the art of the pivot. And when you learn the art of the pivot, you can truly, you know, be flexible. Find another way to make money, find another way to utilize what you already have here to do something else. You'll still be here when everything clears. And that's my goal. And all this is you know, hopefully, you've got partnerships or someone you can reach out to, you know, that can kind of give you some advice or mentorship as well.
Yoni Mazur 52:30
There's plenty out there, there's plenty of out there. Don't be afraid Don't go, don't go Don't get locked in the cave, do a little bit of outreach, you'll feel a lot of warmth and welcome because it's bigger than all of us. And we have to stick together as humanity as humans really.
Andrew Morgans 52:42
Yeah, for me, I'm a true competitor. I'll be honest with you, I just live in breath competition, and must be in my DNA. I don't really know. But I know why it's stressful. It's it's the odds are very real. It's a very serious time for a lot of people in a lot of their businesses and my heart goes out to them. And anyone that needs my help, please just feel free to reach out and take a call.
Yoni Mazur 53:07
Alright, where are they? Where can they find you here? Give yourself a little shout-out while working Yeah, Andrew.
Andrew Morgans 53:11
Marknology calm would be great to set up a meeting or some contact info if there's anything I can help you with when it comes to e-commerce, definitely free phone calls just as you know, just to chat about what's going on. But you know, this is a time for real entrepreneurs to shine. This is our time right now. And anytime there's chaos, there's an opportunity and I'll tell you that I'm seizing mine and I hope you use these toys as well.
Yoni Mazur 53:39
This is like you're saying this is the age of the pivot and if you feel in trouble pivoting reach out to Andrew you know he'll already refer a warm word or even a business relation or pivot into music you know if you want to talk some music Andrew is the guy to reach out to history this word also well this or you know you
Andrew Morgans 53:58
Yeah follow me social like I love I really love I am I still run my own stuff like I would love to reach out and make friends with anyone that's as passionate about this space and business as I am you know we've worked with 300 businesses plus on Amazon I've seen a little bit of a lot of different industries and always looking to learn more so yeah, I'll stop it there but you know, love to love to connect with anyone.
Yoni Mazur 54:22
Awesome. All right. Thank you so much, Andrew for coming in today and for your generosity, this is a feature story. I find it very colorful, very unique, very amazing and I really appreciate you knowing you are taking the time to share it with everybody. So really all the best to everybody watching. Stay safe, stay healthy.