Andy Hopper | Sailing Into E-Commerce Expansion
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Andy Hopper, the founder, and CEO of Global E-commerce Experts shares his eCommerce Expansion story.
Most e-commerce sellers want to grow their online businesses and move into different markets. But, expanding your business into a new country can be daunting! However, if you have the right support and the right help, it can also be a piece of cake! Yoni Mazor of PrimeTalk discusses the things that are necessary when you want to scale and expand your business into a foreign marketplace.
In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Andy Hooper, the found and CEO of Global E-Commerce Experts, a full-service solution provider for e-commerce business owners looking to expand into foreign marketplaces. Global E-Commerce Experts not only help with VAT and customs issues, but they also provide 3PL solutions and account management among many other services.
Andy Hooper shares his personal story from selling clothing to pest control, from sailing and sports consulting to wedding photography, and finally how all these experiences contributed to the evolution of Global E-Commerce Experts. So if you’re an e-commerce business owner looking to expand into a new market, or even if you’re just a regular person trying to decide what that next step looks like for you on the journey of life, then this episode is for you.
Learn more about Global E-commerce Experts!
Learn more about GETIDA’s Amazon reimbursement solution software today!
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today, I'm really excited to have a special guest. I'm having Andy Hooper. And he is the founder and CEO of Global eCommerce Experts, which is a leading global growth agency for Amazon sellers. So if you're trying to expand globally, Andy is definitely the man to see. Andy, how are you? How's everything?
Andy Hooper 0:26
I'm amazing. Yeah, everything's great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for having me on. It's amazing to be here.
Yoni Mazor 0:32
Our pleasure really. Where are you located? Are you in London right now?
Andy Hooper 0:34
Everything's good. Although I am in isolation. Yes, I'm about south, an hour south of London. So, but I'm at home. So I'm self isolating because I've been to the Netherlands to find a new warehouse. And because of that, here in the UK, you can isolate for 14 days. So trying to run a business from home when everyone's in the office is interesting. In all honesty, it's already thrown a few hurdles in the way. But it's all part of the fun of running a business. That's how life goes. So we're all good.
Yoni Mazor 1:07
The life of an entrepreneur. Awesome. Okay, so today's episode is basically going to be the story of Andy Hooper. So you're gonna share with us, you know, where are you from? Where'd you grow up? Where'd you go to school? How did you develop your professional career? How did you end up in e-commerce? So without further ado, let's just jump right into it.
Andy Hooper 1:25
Perfect. So I suppose I'm sort of thinking now. Oh, no. Where did I grow up? So clearly, for most of you, you’re going to know that I've got an English accent rather than a US accent. So that's probably the first place to start. So I'm UK based. And I grew up in a little...in a county just north of London. It's on the commuter belt into London. It's a nice, I started my career going into London...
Yoni Mazor 1:51
Give it a shout out. What's the little town, I guess, the London town that you grew up in? What's the name?
Andy Hooper 1:57
The county is called Hertfordshire, and it's a little place called Broxbourne.
Yoni Mazor 2:01
Andy Hooper 2:03
Yeah Bruxbourne in Hertfordshire. So Hertfordshire is like the county, or the state if you like. I mean, yeah,
Yoni Mazor 2:09
And Brugsborn? What was the name of the other?
Andy Hooper 2:11
Bruxbourne. Yeah, Bruxbourne. Yeah. So big shout out to the Bruxbourne Massive. There we go. It’s gonna be great to see if there's anyone actually, there's in our sort of e-commerce world there listens to different blogs on so if you do I think you should put something below because I think that's going to be cracking.
Yoni Mazor 2:32
Put a comment below and say, you know, Andy, my guy, you know, we’re both from the same club, you know, from the same neighborhood.
Andy Hooper 2:38
They’ll be like, thank God, he got rid of us from Bruxbourne. He moved. Thank goodness.
Yoni Mazor 2:44
London, you can take! Or uh south London, where you located, I think you're in Southampton. Is that true? Or no, it's it’s just me?
Andy Hooper 2:50
So. So I started off in that sort of area. And then I started my career going into London, I worked for John Lewis, which was one of the largest department stores here in the UK, they had a management training scheme. So what we did is I sort of joined them when I left school to do their mat retail management training, because it was, I wasn't sure what well, I still don't know what I want to do. And I think a lot of us can probably vouch for that. So while I was enjoying working in a local shop, and I thought, Well, where do I want to carry on work in a shop where it's got like a global program that can help me do that, at least I know, enjoy. It might not be what I want to do for the rest of my life. But at least this got a decent training program.
Yoni Mazor 3:32
Let's get some perspective. So this is after you finished high school or finished college?
Andy Hooper 3:37
So finished college.
Yoni Mazor 3:38
So where’d you go to school in college, you kind of skipped the whole educational part?
Andy Hooper 3:41
Yeah, that was right into business. I went to Bruxbourne School, which was a school we...it's sort of equivalent to sort of your 7/11 in your, in the States. And I got to the end of school education. I'm pretty vocal. And I like to be doing stuff. I'm not very good at sitting there listening to someone talk at me for hours on end, it just doesn't appeal to my strengths.
Yoni Mazor 4:13
Yeah, the way that I see that you're very good at absorbing, sorry, transmitting instead of absorbing.
Andy Hooper 4:17
What I'm good at absorbing, absorbing the things I want to absorb. Okay, is that fair? You know, more than fair? Yeah. And I think that that whole piece was an interesting piece. For me, I did fine at school I got decent grades, but it wasn't something that I sort of really wanted to stick out.
Yoni Mazor 4:38
I see. You know, at least you got the ability to understand that about yourself, which is very important. Now you know yourself a bit better. I think that's a major thing to say, you know, I know what I like, and I like to know what I like. So I'm going to focus on that, anything else is just noise to me. So let me stay focused. That's one thing. So what was your major? What was the trajectory of your education back then?
Andy Hooper 5:01
Well, so when I left school, I then went to college. And in college, I did a uniformed services program and leisure and tourism course. Because at the time I wanted to go into the services, I was looking, I wanted to be a Royal Marine or go into the Navy. And that was sort of my, the route that I was, I was looking to go down. And what happened from there was when I started going to college, I started finding all the things that we tend to find in life as we grow up. You know, I was finding the opposite sex, I was getting a bit of freedom. I was finding the path. I was finding what we used to call the rave scene, the disco scene, whatever you want to call it.
Yoni Mazor 5:37
This was what year if you don’t mind?
Andy Hooper 5:39
This was 94-95-96.
Yoni Mazor 5:45
That’s cool. What was the music back then? That was Oasis or Guns and Roses?
Andy Hooper 5:49
I was more into jungle and drum and bass. So it was a bit more sort of hardcore if you like.
Yoni Mazor 5:57
Andy Hooper 5:58
It was, it was great fun. And I spent a lot of time going to nightclubs and dancing.
Yoni Mazor 6:07
See you almost skipped the dancing part and went right into John Lewis.
Andy Hooper 6:10
Exactly. Yeah, I, yeah, I used to enjoy a good dance. It was one of those things where it was just great fun. So I went through that whole piece. And in college, my focus was to get into the Navy or the Marines. And then I realized I got down into a position where someone said, okay, I went through the interviews to sign up. And it was basically now a case of you, you've got to go now. Like do you want to go? Do you do or do not want to go? And I think someone said to me, Andy? Do you really want to actually go and have to, you know, do what you need to do, when you wear a uniform?
Yoni Mazor 6:47
And you know, go on a boat or vessel and, you know, conquer the world? The British way?
Andy Hooper 6:51
Yeah, I think that part was okay for me. It was the piece where you do realize that you may actually have to fight someone or physically shoot someone.
Yoni Mazor 7:03
Yeah, engage in battle. Yeah. And to me...happened to me that I was in the Navy, my home country, of Israel. I was in the Navy for three years, and we had a war. And guess what, you know, people got hurt.
Andy Hooper 7:16
And when you're 17-18 years old, going to nightclubs, dancing your friends and finding the opposite sex, you know? In all honesty, that's not necessarily what you want to do.
Yoni Mazor 7:27
Yeah it’s a big discord. I mean, every region with its own battles. Alright, so what was the switch for you if you didn't go to the Navy? And then what happened? What was the next station?
Andy Hooper 7:33
Well, that's when I then thought, Well, I better do something with my life. So that's when I was working in a shop, I was quite enjoying, you know, I had, you know, I was running a clothes shop. Not me, I, you know, I was just running a department of it, an evening occasion. And I was getting a bit of management experience. And they were leaving me to it. And, you know, it was just a Saturday job and an evening job. That's all it was, I was doing more and more time. Now. To be fair, I probably spent more time there than I did at college at times, I was more interested in working than I was in educating myself. And it was because I was educating myself in things that I just wasn't really that interested in, if I'm honest. And I think that will give...if I look at the education I do now to then is completely different. You know, it's because I want to learn and I want to absorb the things I want to learn, as well as then it's someone telling me you've got to learn and you've got to absorb. I wasn't really that keen on it. I think that now is a case of no, I want it. I'm hungry for that education. I'm hungry for the education in the things that I want to educate myself in, not, you know, my son come home from school the other day, he's just started high school, secondary school. And he said, I really don't like science. Like I just don't like it. I'm like, oh, no history's repeating itself.
Yoni Mazor 8:53
Andy Jr. Don't worry though if you're doing all right, he'll be he'll do right though, we do have a jury saying that you gotta educate the child based on his, the tracks that are laid out to him. And if the track is not science it’s something else, you know, encourage him and he'll probably prosper in that route because it's just the right fit. And I think you will probably end up pretty well but we're in the middle of the story. So Alright, so you start working in a shop, kind of a side gig, but you find yourself actually excelling in it, you know, developing and getting some managerial experience. And that was when you entered into John Lewis?
Andy Hooper 9:26
Yeah, so they, they...It's like okay, I need a career. So what do I need to do? So okay, who's the market leader in retail? What's the market leader sort of training program that can help me...Excuse me...that can put me on a path that will set me up for a career in a good standing and John Lewis has got a...you know Price Waterhouse Cooper? PWC? Most people probably would know them. They designed the course for John Lewis and help them to...
Yoni Mazor 9:50
PWC, Price Waterhouse Cooper, the accounting firm? Got it
Andy Hooper 9:54
And this piece comes into a later piece that I'm sure we'll come back to. But they set it up. up. And I then applied for it, you 1000s of people apply for these management training schemes. And we, I was lucky enough to wing it and get myself in there somehow. And that piece really was a solid grounding into work and structure, but also discipline. So for example, one of the things is that if you're late three times, I mean, you get disciplinary, there's no, there's no ifs, buts, or maybes. Like, when you're working in a shop on a shop floor, what happens is, is that you, I sort of ended up becoming a manager. And one of the things was, you know, if you went out to lunch and came back, you had to be back at that exact time, because the next person needed to go to break. And if you didn't, you then set everyone off late. And that created issues.
Yoni Mazor 10:46
Yeah, this is a, this is a dynamics of business where it's rigid, it's about money-making, and you cannot kind of deviate because you're part of a big, I guess, team. And the structure is extremely important.
Andy Hooper 10:57
And this is exactly it and that was a really solid structure grounding base. For me, it gave me the structure of management, you know, it gave me the real life experience of management. And what happened was did the management training scheme, it was 18 months, by 12 months, I've been promoted. And then they I think, just got sort of shoved from different departments, different departments in a degree. And, you know, I went in and, and you stepped up, I knew nothing about the stock. It wasn't about, you're the manager of this department, and you've got to be an expert in this department, it was more about, hey, you're now a manager of that department. You didn't know anything about the stock. But the systems and the processes are all the same. The stock is just, you've then got individuals who are experienced, have been there for 30 years, that know the stock inside out. So work with it. So it was real good grounding from that point of view, you don't need to know anything about what you're managing. What you need to know is the system, the process, and how to get the best out of individuals, so they can sell the stock and work with the stock. I think that was the number one takeaway for me that, as a manager, you don't need to know what you're managing, you just need to know the system and the process, and how to get the best out of people.
Yoni Mazor 12:13
Yeah the protocols and the procedures that make it all work in sync, like a conductor, he doesn't have to know every single note and every single instrument and how to play it, he knows all the players, he knows what's their ins and outs, and he knows how everything is conducted. And he plays on it. So that's great, I guess, experience to get so early on and also built by PWC. Price Waterhouse Cooper, you can really not get it wrong. It's the top of the line on a global level. Okay, so let's, let's put some chronology. So which year are we now? Where are you? You're with John Lewis, you finish this course, a specialty leadership course. Then what was the next station?
Andy Hooper 12:49
So that was 2000. And then from there, I then was like, okay, so where do I see me next going, I was like, sales. Like I was into doing sales and the selling part of the retail, but retail is not known for perhaps having the best salary in the world. So I said, Okay, well if I want a career and I want to develop, and I want to get my own more money or buy a house or whatever, I need to get to the next step. So I saw that the sales roll would be the next step. And it was okay. So where would be a market leader? Who would be a good place to start? And where could I have some fun? Cuz I still wanted to have fun, you know, I still wanted to enjoy what I was doing.
Yoni Mazor 13:27
A healthy positive environment, the business environment at least.
Andy Hooper 13:32
Exactly that so I came across a role for Rentokil Pest Control. So I think Rentokil was a global name in the States as well, if I'm not mistaken.
Yoni Mazor 13:41
I think so. It was like a green logo, if I'm not mistaken.
Andy Hooper 13:44
Yeah. So red logo, red, red, sort of, basically, what it is, is pest control. So I was selling pest control. And you know what, it was one of those things that was just great fun. On top of a solid sales structure, process and system, was just saying that going talk to people, get to know them, build up a relationship with them, and then sell them what they need.
Yoni Mazor 14:07
But this was still a b2b sales? or b2c?
Andy Hooper 14:10
It was both. So the area that I looked after was an area in London that had a sort of...Kentish Town and Camden Town, which is in North London, iI's Kentish Town is a lot more council estates areas. Camden Town is upcoming, it's got, so it's got a number of properties on there when I was there, the properties ranged from 20 million for one house. And then you know the next time you're going to a house in Kentish town which is, you know, it's a council estate.
Yoni Mazor 14:47
$20 million mansions in Camden Town in London, when they place an order for pest control, what's the scope of the work? What's the...how much they pay for that, for example?
Andy Hooper 14:58
It could be literally anything. So you walk in and it could be they had got they've got moths so therefore they need, you know, keep up fumigation if you engage in everything, or they might just have pigeons or they might need. I mean like literally anything could happen.
Yoni Mazor 15:14
So they start from 10,000 pounds, 100,000 pounds to uh..?
Andy Hooper 15:18
It literally could be anything from 300 pounds job to a 20,000 pound job and anywhere in between.
Yoni Mazor 15:23
Okay, but did you ever do some royal treatment to the royal palaces or estates?
Andy Hooper 15:29
Now they're a bit outside of my area, there's no, there's no castles involved in, no palaces on this occasion. The other area I had was something called Euston Road, which was all business to business. So I got both the business-to-business sales and the business-to-consumer direct to consumer type model, which from a sales point of view, you don't always get. So not only have I got the sort of retail grounding of them built on that and then put the sales environment on top of that, which has given me the sort of management and sales experience all into one. And that was amazing. I did really, really well in the sales really, really enjoyed it. But anyone that has worked in sales that constant over and over and over again, you either love or you hate. And I absolutely loved it. Right until the point on a Sunday evening, I was in a pub with my friends. And they said to me, we're going to Faliraki on Saturday. Do you want to come with us on holiday? Which it’s like a holiday place in Greece.
Yoni Mazor 16:25
What was it called?
Andy Hooper 16:26
Yoni Mazor 16:28
Faniraki? Is that like an island in Greece or something?
Andy Hooper 16:31
So Rhodes is the island, Faliraki is a place within in that. So Rhodes is the island in Greece. They said we going now, we're gonna go and work there for the summer. And I was like, You're gonna do what? Like, we're gonna go work there for the summer. Like, what are you gonna do? They're like, I don't know, we're just gonna go and see what happens. We can go to work in a club, we get to dance every night. And we're just gonna have fun. Anyway.
Yoni Mazor 16:53
And What year is this? What year is this, is this 2001?
Andy Hooper 16:55
So this is 2001.
Yoni Mazor 16:57
So you're about a year into the company and all of a sudden there is a plot twist.
Andy Hooper 17:04
I been there for 18 months and this is in my head on a Sunday night. Monday morning, I go to work. I'm there you know, I'm selling and I have a rubbish day. Absolutely rubbish. So I walked into the boss's office at the end of the day, handed my notice in, and said, I'm off at the end of the week. He's like, Where are you going? I'm going to Greece for the year, I'm off for some fun.
Yoni Mazor 17:26
Oh, wow. It was with your friends and a random Sunday in a pub. Your friends are like we're going to Greece for a year. Let's cut it all out and have a good life. Wow.
Andy Hooper 17:35
That was it. And I was in a sales environment. I was earning really, really good money. You know, I was doing really well, I was progressing within the company, you know, hundreds of sales a minute and I was in the top, top 10% with ease. And I was looking to try and get into the top five, you know, within that next six months.
Yoni Mazor 17:55
Yeah the upper echelon of the organization in terms of at least pay. Well, what was the trigger for you to basically do that, looking back? Well, what compelled you to take a break on business? And, you know, push the eject button and fly to Greece?
Andy Hooper 18:10
I think there were a lot of things going on in my head. There was a craving to go and do something different. There was the pressure of sales day in day out. There was the pressure of life's too short what’s going on. Someone in the family had had a breakdown, and you know, it all gone a bit, you know, I'm thinking do I want to spend all my life, you know, like this? Yeah, or do I want to just go and enjoy myself for summer? And just, if I take six months out, I'm going to come back six months time, there's going to be no difference whatsoever. But I've had an amazing experience. So I thought...sod it. Let’s do it.
Yoni Mazor 18:51
Wow. So you went there, how long would you say you’re there? Six months? A year?
Andy Hooper 18:54
So I didn't know...no it wasn’t quite that long in the end. It was about five months. Because my nan was really... you know, I had to come home cuz my nan was ill. You know, she passed away. So I came back.
Yoni Mazor 19:03
And just sorry for the dialect difference. So nan is for your grandmother, yeah? Got it.
Andy Hooper 19:10
Yeah, that's correct. Yeah. So I came back on the ninth...so that I came back on the ninth, on the seventh of September 2001. And we obviously know what happened two days later there.
Yoni Mazor 19:21
Andy Hooper 19:23
Yeah, I mean, it was horrendous. So, you know, life sort of started changing then, like that was sort of a crunch point that lots of things were changing for everyone. And, you know, the economy was changing, things were changing. So I then started looking at, you know, what do I really want to do and, and having spent time away, I didn't really want to go back into an environment that was sales orientated, or ready to just take a step back. I'm going to enjoy time, my friends. And what I really wanted to do was go and teach sailing around the world.
Yoni Mazor 19:54
Sorry, you're saying it's a bit of a what? Sorry. Hold on, you said you wanted to sail around the world and it’s a bit of a what? You got a little bit of cut-off. Sorry, I apologize.
Andy Hooper 20:04
Sorry. Yeah. So what I decided is what I wanted to do was go teach sailing around the world, so not sail around the world, go and teach it. So, I've sailed all my life. And I've got the ability to go and meet the qualifications if you'd like to go and teach sailing, so these are small vessels. So dinghies, so anything up to sort of, you know, 15-16 foot but high-performance boats. Yeah. And I came back from Faliraki thinking, that's what I want to do. I don't want to go back into a sales environment. That's what I wanted to do. So I looked at the market leader, who was the sales component for the sailing company that did sailing holidays in Europe, who do I want to go and work for? So I looked at that market leader and knew in the market there was a company called Minorca Sailing. So Minorca Sailing, I hunted them down in a boat show in January, I went and approached them, and then got a job to go and work with them for the summer that summer.
Yoni Mazor 20:59
And this is the summer of 2002?
Andy Hooper 21:01
- So over that winter, I needed a job. So what I did is I worked in warehouses, and you know, just did temporary work, just working different warehouses, not knowing that. Actually, I didn't know why. No one knows why they do something at the time, do they?
Yoni Mazor 21:18
Not always but there's a purpose usually.
Andy Hooper 21:20
There is a purpose, totally there is a purpose. And what happened was is obviously that warehouse experience I've had you had been, whilst not directly relevant to what we do now, has been pulled out like a fact that knowledge anyway.
Yoni Mazor 21:36
It is foundational to what you do now in terms of understanding and scope of logistics, at least.
Andy Hooper 21:40
Exactly that so I sort of did it was winter temporary work. So then summer of 2001 I went to Minorca, and I taught sailing for six months in Minorca, which is an island
Andy Hooper 21:49
2002 you mentioned? Right? 2002 you’re in Minorca? Summer internship and off you sail, literally...
Andy Hooper 21:57
Yes, I was literally teaching people to sail a dinghy on a daily basis. And I did that for the summer of 2002 to 2003. But it was probably the most amazing experience that I've ever had, outside of you know, family, kids and all that sort of stuff. That ability to teach people on a daily basis, teach them new skills, show them how to do something, they go away having achieved something. And the coaching skills, I learned there is the most important thing I've taken and used in all my life ever since. To be able to teach someone how to do something and then coach them to get better at it. So not only do we teach them to sail, we don't teach them high-performance boats as well. So you go from teaching mythology to coaching mythology as you go through that process.
Yoni Mazor 22:50
I like it, I love it.
Andy Hooper 22:53
Really, really enjoyable experience over the winter, there was no teaching over the winter. So over the winter, I went and worked in warehouses, again, just to temp, just to do a bit of work. I didn't really necessarily need to work, so to speak, I could live with my parents and I didn't have, you know, I'd save that money during the summer. But I had that and those two summers were probably one of the next best groundings I had. I'd had the management experience, I had the sales experience and now had the ability to coach people on a daily basis. And I've always been good at coaching myself. So what worked there? What didn't? What do I need to do to make that better? And because of that, the coaching experience, I've then sort of put a new layer into what I can do in coaching people. And that was really useful and those skills you can use in any walk of life.
Yoni Mazor 23:42
Yeah, so it's skills of helping others and educating them, coaching them, but doing it in a way where it's impactful. And it really creates an ability for them to achieve things in life, it's probably very rewarding on a personal level, because if you know them on a personal level, you see their progress, it is probably very rewarding. There's also a sense of, you know, connection and relationship building and those aspects. Alright, so let's try to sail forward into nowadays, around 2020. But we got to...I want to stop in those stations. So let's try to use a speedboat to hop into the next stations. And to give it a, I guess, a faster rhythm. It's really good. I wish I could do a 10-hour episode. It's really, really good. But I want to get to the rest of things on. So okay, so 2002 to 2003. You know, with the sailing, warehousing. Take us to the next steps.
Andy Hooper 24:27
Yeah, I think I did them when I took sailing and some other locations. I spent a year in Egypt. I went and did Sri Lanka, I did a bit in Abu Dhabi. I did some encounters on the Isle of Wight. And I did a whole load of places, teaching sailing. Absolutely amazing.
Yoni Mazor 24:42
So worldwide, you're literally in the next following years you went worldwide and with the same context of teaching how to sail?
Andy Hooper 24:49
Yeah, exactly that. Not the same company, different companies,
Yoni Mazor 24:52
But the same industry.
Andy Hooper 24:53
Just going around the world teaching sailing. And when I say around the world, it was mainly focused in a bit of further afield. So that was amazing. And then after I finished all of that, I then looked to think about what I need. I need to get a job back at home. Yeah, what do I need to do? Where do I need to….
Yoni Mazor 25:06
And what year was that?
Andy Hooper 25:08
So that was going up to 2006. 2005 into 2006. And then 2006, I got a job with the Royal Yachting Association, which was the…
Yoni Mazor 25:21
The Royal Yachting Association you say?
Andy Hooper 25:23
Royal Yachting Association. So that's the national governing body for sailing in the UK. So British sailing, so their role was to help develop sailing clubs and centres and find the next Olympic athletes further down the line. So you're feeding grassroots level, new kids coming in new people into the sport, so that you can feed an Olympic pathway of people going through. And that's what I then did for the next nine years.
Yoni Mazor 25:51
Very cool. So this is the Olympic scale kind of work. It's pretty good.
Andy Hooper 25:55
Yeah. So that was an amazing experience as well, you know, it was, it was doing something I was hugely passionate, or still am hugely passionate about, is about getting new people into the sport, I fundamentally believe that sport is a key driver for anyone in life, you know? Having the ability to get out, do a sport, get your heads completely out of what you're doing right now. And forget about it all. And do a sport is hugely empowering.
Yoni Mazor 26:25
Even beyond that, on a cultural level, when they say to be a good sport, I mean, so much you know, because sports you that ability, and you appreciate the game, even if you lost a good sport because you appreciate the dynamics of life and things. So it's probably very impactful. So nine years out of that. It's probably phenomenal. Did you guys win any medals in the Olympics throughout the years?
Andy Hooper 26:45
Yeah, we won. We won lots of medals. The UK is the...Great Britain is the best sailing nation in the world.
Yoni Mazor 26:52
So I know there's a reason why there's a saying that the sun never falls down on the British Empire. It is definitely was because they're sailing abilities, basically to sail anywhere and say, it looks like a nice land. Let's put a banner and I say stick stay here for a little while. That did amazingly well with that, I think probably better than any other nation in world history.
Andy Hooper 27:11
Exactly. That Rule Britannia. That's what we say that's the good old British sailing term. It said how does it Rule Britannia? So Britannia was the Queen's yachts when she had a yacht before in one month that she had a superyacht. Basically, that was sort of the long and short of it. So Britannia was the... “Britannia rules the waves” was the thing. So we've done very well in sailing. And apart from America's Cup, which we're still a bit bitter about is the oldest sporting trophy in the world. And we’ve still not won it. However, Ben Ainslie and his team will win that very soon. I'm pretty confident about that.
Yoni Mazor 27:46
Let’s see. You know, I wish them well.
Andy Hooper 27:47
Yeah. So while I was working in that job, I was then hungry to start doing...earning more money. Yeah, I needed….
Yoni Mazor 27:57
And this was around the 2014 2015 days?
Andy Hooper 28:01
Probably about 2010. By 2019, I started to think I need to earn some more money. And I started looking at opportunities to earn money outside of work. I sold silicon watches on Amazon, which developed into another little product. I used to flip things on eBay. I’d be...what else did we do? We looked after dogs, so we’d dogsit. We did car boot sales, we’d buy stuff.
Yoni Mazor 28:25
When you say “we” who do you mean? Who’s your team?
Andy Hooper 28:25
Well, me and my wife. Yeah, we were generating...Yeah, there was one point we...car boot sales, it’s a bit like a garage sale, you go to, you go to a big car park. And everyone's got their worldly goods in the back of the boot of their car, and they sell them to passing trade. Yeah. And, you know, there was one time it was seven pounds to get into the car boot sale. This was 2008, 2009 there's...
Yoni Mazor 28:53
So you’d pay 7 Great British Pounds to enter these events?
Andy Hooper 28:56
Yeah. So this was 2008-9. And what happened was, we had credit card debt, and everything was coming around us. Here we had no money, we were always earning a good salary, had a company car, you know, we had health insurance. And you know, we had all this sort of stuff, the life insurance, all the stuff you need, but it just couldn't earn enough money. We didn't have enough money to get to enter the car boot sale, because all the credit cards have come around us because all the banks have stopped lending money. And at that single point, I said to myself, at no point again in the future when the next recession hits, am I going to be in the same position that I am today. And that position was not being able to afford six or seven pounds. So let's say $10 to go to a car boot sale to make more money. Ok?
Yoni Mazor 29:45
A car boot sale. Yeah, wow, so basically you can't even pay 10 US dollars, seven Great British Pounds to enter a show where you can hopefully make more money because you can buy all these things there...
Andy Hooper 29:54
And at that point, we were going down the back of the sofas trying to find the money. Do you know? We were raiding the piggy bank, whatever. It was a bit of a, you know, anyway, so. So at that point, I said to myself, at no point ever again will we be here and somewhat be in charge of our money so that we can prosper ourselves a better world. And you know, that took a few years to come out, like I started doing other things, I became a wedding photographer. So I did weddings. So that was sort of 2010-11. So I started doing wedding photography on the side, I’d do 24 weddings a year, which I agreed with my employer that I could do no more than 24 weddings, no more than two a month. And that was like my side gig. And that that basically gave me enough cash in the bank to say in 2015, I don't want to work for you anymore. I want to work for myself. Because I want to be in charge of my own money and my own income. And I want to be able to put my own food on my own family's table rather than you take from me how much you're going to pay me.
Yoni Mazor 31:04
Right. So that was a pivotal moment for you in life where you’re saying that's it. I'm jumping into business, I'm gonna be in charge of my own destiny and my economical future. And you made a leap of faith, 2015, and what was the station? What do you do?
Andy Hooper 31:16
So I had the wedding photography stuff already set up. So I carried on doing the wedding photography, but I wanted to set up two other businesses. And I set up one called Lime Sports, which is a sports consultancy business to help sports organizations with business development consultancy, basically, to take small sports businesses that can't sell very well to sell more. In a nutshell. And the other thing that I set up on top of the wedding photography was 3D printing. And what I wanted to do was on your wedding day, 3D scan you sell on your wedding day, not only do you get a photograph of you on your wedding day, you also get a 3D figurine of you on your wedding day, exactly as you are on your wedding day. And they were the two things that I wanted to set up and an off, I went and set them up. And they were an amazing experience to help me into the world of business. And you're going out and fending for yourself, like ...
Yoni Mazor 32:19
You gotta tread your water and take your boat into safe-havens. But because you own it, you have your name all over it. Now it's not that Britannica, it’s the “Andy Hooper-iconic”.
Andy Hooper 32:28
Yeah. And that to me was, you know, was a really exciting time. You know, lots of things were happening. We were doing new business. But the biggest problem I had was the businesses weren't really scalable. They weren't in a position where I was hungry to support businesses, I was hungry to see things grow. I wanted to support the local economy. And I had bigger dreams other than just being, I mean, I say they were businesses, but I was more self-employed. I was more a one-man band doing three things. I was doing the sports, I was doing the 3D printing, and I was doing the wedding stuff. And there's only so...anyone that's been in those positions, I was just hustling, grafting to basically make seven figures, like that was the target, I need to earn seven figures. So off we go, let's do it. Do it, do it, do it. You know when you're just like, I can make this happen? Like, we did. We made it happen without a shadow of a doubt. That's not sustainable long-term. And I wanted something that was scalable. And I could impact people's lives and have a positive outcome, both from an employer's point of view, and the people that we serve. And we weren't doing that. But you know, wedding photography is amazing, it's great, it's a great experience. People say to me, Andy was it not stressful? And I'm like, Yeah, I love that!
Yoni Mazor 33:55
Deadlines, deadlines, your wedding is today, you got to set up shop, you got to be ready have everything in line, it's great. It's a great experience for day-to-day, you know, deadlines, you know, as long-term deadlines, the amount that we're gonna have made a few weeks, a few months, but on the day itself, a lot of components and moving parts. Okay, so 2015, you do this for how long? And what was the next turn of events for you?
Andy Hooper 34:18
So I sort of did that for the next few years. But in the end, coming to the end of that, it was sort of you, I was looking for a scalable opportunity. I was looking for something where I could take it to the next level. And I was at a point in my business where I was like, I just need, you know, I need to find what that looks like. And when I started thinking about what works, what I'd seen had worked, looking online, finding things. What I found was that some of the key things that we're working on growing were 3D printing as a growing industry, e-commerce was a growing industry, and where were the things that I really saw going I was talking to my accountant at the time. And my accountant said, you know, Andy, you know, where do you see yourself going as lab life entities and business consulting, I think that's more scalable. There's more money in that. And I think I can have a bigger impact, the skills are exactly the same. So they put me in contact with somebody else. I did some business consulting for them. And then what happened from there was that an opportunity came out of that business consulting, and they were already working with e-commerce sellers. And I was like, okay, something could happen here. This could be interesting. So this was 20--, late 2016, or 2017. And...
Yoni Mazor 35:41
So your account put you in touch basically with, I guess, an organization that’s immersed in the e-commerce world?
Andy Hooper 35:47
Yeah. And then and then. So from there, I was like, I can, I can see some other things happening here. So I was like, Well, I can see an opportunity here. You know, there are people that are based in the UK, I'm looking at this thinking this is a global thing. What, how, how does this work? So okay, let's look at this a little bit differently. And what are the opportunities? And that's where we then thought, Well, actually, we could expand sellers from the US into the UK, we could help support them when they get to the UK in a step-by-step guide, because when they land here, what’re they going to do? So that balled into an area where we started thinking about where do our skills lie, what do we want to do? And how do you want to grow that and develop that? And I think the key thing was for us was, when I say us, I mean me, like it's the global “us”, global “we”. I think...
Yoni Mazor 36:47
I guess your wife had to kind of give her consent and blessing. So you can include her there also, some aspect?
Andy Hooper 36:52
Yes. And, and that's when Global eCommerce Experts was sort of born. Okay, what do sellers need when they expand? What are the key things that they struggle with? And, you know, I’d already had the experience of selling on Amazon, I've been doing that for, several years, I've sold on eBay and flipped stock and had a really good understanding of what that looked like. So then it was like, Okay, I think I've got an idea. And that's where Global eCommerce Experts was essentially born, you know, by them tapping into some expert knowledge and stuff.
Yoni Mazor 37:29
All the components that you’d gathered all these years, I guess, boiled into a perfect storm. I guess this is what 2017 ish?
Andy Hooper 37:36
Yeah, exactly that so. So 2017, we set up. We looked at you, we started then doing the VAT side of what we did, and basically looking at, because the first thing that sellers need is VAT, that's the biggest stumbling block. And at the time, at the end of 2016, Amazon basically said, if you don't have a VAT number, we're shutting you down. And there's all that sort of scenario that happens. So we started seeing all that happen. Started looking at that and thinking, Okay, that's where the opportunity lies. You know, how do we support these sellers to expand into Europe? And for me, that, the premise of helping people to expand, grow their businesses, if you look at everything we've done in the past year, the management staff, the coaching, developing centers, and clubs into sailing, all of those helping individuals or groups to develop is not, we're not you. Yeah, it's just not to do
Yoni Mazor 38:31
You don’t have to do the day-to-day raft, tread the waters, they do the sellers, but you see all the components around laid out and you're going to help them set the tracks and the right path towards the global expansion. So if they're selling in the US, they gotta come to the UK, set up the tracks, the first layer of the track is VAT, then what's up with your account? Is there any issues, other issues, outstanding issues with your account? Do you need to open may be a category or nation or anything like that? Right, and maybe suspensions on a certain level or account level? logistics, you want to bring your products into FBA in the UK? Where do you go, there are customs duties, which centers? So all this free money? That's what you guys basically step by step helped the sellers layout for building the business?
Andy Hooper 39:12
Yeah, exactly. I think we are developing more and more services as we go. And we've got some great partners to do some of those pieces as well. And I think the VAT was the first part, then the sellers said to us, Andy, we need somebody to put our stock. Where can we put our stock? What do we need?
Yoni Mazor 39:27
Andy Hooper 39:29
So then it was the warehousing, then it was the account management, then it was the translations, then it was the label compliance, then it was then, you know, and soon it’s going to be the customs between the UK and Europe, like Brexit, yeah, every evolving process. And I think that for me, the most important thing for us is, or me, is helping to see things grow. And that's where the, you know, successfully expanding servers into the EU is what we focus on because that's what I do. I'm passionate about, and therefore that passion then develops into the team and everyone else in the business, as they've come on board, cuz part of the ethos or the culture, if you like, of who do we employ? What's right to employees, do people enjoy seeing people develop and grow? Like, that's what we want, we want to see you take your Amazon business, and we want to see that grow and become successful in the EU. And the advantage of what we now do is that we've got a full scope of seeing everything, we see everything from the VAT data through to Amazon account management, Shopify stores, and the warehouse. We've got a full vision of everything that happens, we see where everyone is going, what, what people are doing, and what works. So whilst we don't take your data and give it to anybody else, we can look and see well that's working there. Why is that working? Okay, let's now take that to here and work with this client to make sure they could do it. Over those years, we've developed a framework that says, hey, when you launch in Europe, here's the starting point. And here's what you got to do step by step, you know? And that, for me is the secret sauce to helping people to expand. Because if I take what we try to do in the year, we just about to open a warehouse in the Netherlands, you know, when we are trying to expand into a foreign country, it is a complete nightmare. You know you don't know where to go, you don't speak the language, you don't know who to talk to. And what we want to do is make sure that sellers can come to people they trust, that's going to help them go from here to here, and expand them and support them along that journey, because everyone expands that difference right down. Like, you know, we've got billion-dollar sellers, and we've got 50 to $100,000 sellers that we work with. And they all need different support based on their own individual needs. And the speed in which they scale in Europe is different. Yeah, like translations is a great one. Like at what point does someone need a translation? Well, it depends how quickly you're going to scale, like, there's no point spending money on doing the translations. If you're a small seller, just slowly build. So it's not like, hey, you've expanded. Let's sell you some translations. No, no, I see you're doing this well now, now would be a good time to do some trials that you can use us or anyone else. I mean, you can use us, there are 10 other companies, 20 other companies, you could do it yourself, you know, but if you want someone who’s trustable, who’s got people then you know where to come if you need it. That's, you know, so I think...
Yoni Mazor 42:35
Interesting. So you’re saying that, yeah, every organization, every business has its own cycle and own stages, with its own customized needs. And you guys cater to that, because you're able to use analytics of the all the data that you see, and all the building blocks of experience that you had in the past, and say you're here and to get there, you probably should, you know, walk in these tracks and set up these building blocks. And that's tremendous, tremendous force and strength for, you know, other organizations trying to grow globally, if I had to kind of give a different kind of analogy, you know, if you want to grow into this other new terrain or the new jungle, you know, you can bring a machine and get all the cuts in your hands. Or somebody says, Hey, check it out. There's a bunch of trails, not even one trail, there's a bunch of trails here. You know you can start with one, if it goes well, you're going to make it to your destination, if not, we have another bunch of trails for you, because we built them with others. So you have basically a whole route and highway system inside the jungles to get to all these destinations that each seller is aspiring, or at least hoping to get to. That's awesome. That's great. Okay, this is you know, this is a this was more than plenty. I, you know, I find to kind of touch the past 30 years of trajectory, you know? Yeah, you gotta, you got to college when you realize you, you know, you're passionate about things that you like, and everything else is just noise. Right? You got some nice early experience with Price Waterhouse Cooper and John Lewis right with the department store. And then you head into essentially remember what was the next step? It was a was pest control, right? Yeah, sorry, pest control, and then heading into Greece for a year and then landing into teaching how to sail and then taking that into actually want to do that or kind of around the world as well. You mentioned Dubai and places like that and Egypt, I remember right? And then we said you did about nine years in the big consulting for all the Navy, Navy but sailing activities that harvest Olympic champions. And then along the way in 2008 2009 2010 you started right selling stuff online flipping things, you know, eBay, Amazon, and basically putting your fingers into the e-commerce space. And then all the way to 2015. You're kind of doing that but also doing on the side of photography, which led you from 2015 to 2017, to be self-employed, focused a lot on, you know, the photography, wedding, stuff like that, but doing the 3D printers and also doing the consulting for sports. But all that boiled and cooked into the perfect storm, where were you laid out today, with all these ingredients inside your experience that are very versatile. They do deal a lot with building and building and building and building people big and building organization structures. So SOPs, the standard procedures. And you’ve taken all of that strength, all of that, you know, successful experiences throughout these tracks, and just getting out there to other sellers, other entrepreneurs, but not just you, I would assume that you have a whole team behind you that you, you basically made them in your shadow in a good positive way. And that resonates with everything that you guys are doing. So I bless you and congratulate you on these achievements so far. Now we got to kind of wrap it up. So well, we got to touch on two more things. The first thing was if people want to find you and contact you, where can they find you? And lastly, what is your message of hope and inspirations for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Andy Hooper 45:58
So the first thing you know, where do you find us? Global eCommerce Experts. You can find this website. Google. Do you know?
Yoni Mazor 46:06
Andy Hooper 46:08
Yeah, no, so “global e hyphen commerce experts dot com”. So you can find us on our website, all the usual social channels you'd expect. So you know, that, you know, just searching Global eCommerce Experts, you'll find us on Facebook, Instagram, and all those wonderful...I don't think we're on TikTok yet, because I don't think I've got to the dancing yet.
Yoni Mazor 46:27
Well, you do have dancing experience, you know that?
Andy Hooper 46:33
I don't think no one wants to see that. Okay, so
Yoni Mazor 46:35
Oh ok, so we’ll spare the people.
Andy Hooper 46:37
So that’s that. And my sort of thoughts, headspace for entrepreneurs that, you know, I sort of always think about this in different sort of ways. I think the number one thing is that if you've got a vision and a plan, you can make everything happen. But if things change, that's absolutely fine. I'm on a mission to, basically over the 10 years from 40 to 50, to get to 50 with the ability and freedom to do what I like. So I put a plan together when I was 40, I'm two and a half years into that, giving away my age, there we go, minus the wrinkles. And you know, I put a plan together. That's where I want to be by the time I'm 50. Now, if I put that together 10 years ago, that probably would have changed several times. My thoughts are you need to envision, think about where you really want to be over the next 10 years. I'm not saying you need you, you know exactly what that looks like. You need to think about what you really want to achieve. Mine is knowing that by the time I get to 50, I've got the ability and freedom to do what I want. Now, that could be having loads of little businesses, it could be retirement or sitting on a beach like it can mean anything. If I want to go and teach sailing on a beach again, I can do it. And I think that people need to plan and visualize where they want to be, not necessarily know everything they need in between, and be okay if that plan tweaks if that plan changes. But the key thing that I've done along that route is educated myself on what I need to learn to get to the next step. So in order for me to get to the next step, what do I need to learn to make that happen? To educate me on books, or courses, or podcasts or whatever it might be. All of those different things, you've all got something new, you know, I was crap at school because I didn't want to learn what someone was telling me I had to learn. What I like learning now, 's things that are gonna get me to the next step. And everyone has got something that they want to progress to. So if you take anything away from this is if you know where you want to progress to, go and educate yourself to get you to that next step. And then when you get to that step, think about why you want to get to the next step, and so on. And keep taking yourself to the next step, whatever that might be for you. Because your step is different to mine. And, you know, I don't want to prescribe to you how you should do that. But educate yourself to get to the next step, I have a vision of where you want to get to.
Yoni Mazor 49:07
Yeah, brilliant. So basically, my steps are my steps, your steps are your step, we don't necessarily want to be in each other steps. So there's no reason to also be envy one another or anything like that, you know, you set up your own tracks, you know, have a leap of faith, stay dynamic, open yourself up to whatever you need to learn to get to those destinations. And don't forget to enjoy, you know your life and those steps. It's very, very important to just, you know, take it, take the good and the bad with the right grain of salt and try to enjoy it if possible.
Andy Hooper 49:37
Yeah, I think the key thing for me is you because you're gonna learn from other people's mistakes. But why make mistakes yourself when you can learn from someone else's? It just makes sense.
Yoni Mazor 49:46
Yeah. That's what wise people do. They can either handle issues that are for smart people can handle mistakes, but wise people don't even make those mistakes anyway because they learn from the others. Okay, Andy has been awesome. You did really great. I thank you so much for sharing it was really fascinating. I enjoyed it, every little bit of it. So I wish you many more years of success. Hopefully by the time you get to 50 you achieve your goals and beyond and for the next decade, so stay successful, stay healthy, positive. Thank everybody for listening. Until next time.
Andy Hooper 50:18
Thanks very much, Yoni. Thanks, everyone. Cheers. Have a great day.