Jana Krekic | Founding A Global Ecommerce Translations Empire
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA and recorded LIVE at the Prosper Virtual Show 2020, Jana Krekic discusses founding a global Ecommerce translations empire, YLT Translations and she shares her life's journey into eCommerce.
Getting your e-commerce business into the global marketplace can be a tricky proposition given the barrier of language. But there are companies out there who can help you scale and grow your business into the global empire you’re always envisaged. Yoni Mazor from PrimeTalk discusses how to utilize language skills and translation in your e-commerce endeavors.
In today’s interview, PrimeTalk sits down at the Prosper Virtual Show with Jana Krekic, the founder and CEO of YLT Translations, a translation company that helps Amazon sellers expand into new markets in thirteen different countries. YLT has helped many companies grow their online businesses by using a personalized, tailored approach, which always puts the customer first.
Jana Krekic talks about her beginnings as a budding concert pianist in Belgrade to her decision to start her own company based on her love of languages. If you’re an Amazon seller who wants to expand into new marketplaces but you’re stumped by the language barrier, then this episode is for you!
Visit YLT Translations for more information.
Learn about GETIDA's Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. We're actually talking to you live from the Prosper show, the Prosper Virtual show. It's really, really exciting. Today we're having a special guest. We're having Jana Krekic. And Jana is essentially the founder and CEO of YLT Translations, which helps many, many Amazon sellers worldwide. You know, make, creating listings in multiple languages and setting them up nicely, so they're fully optimized for selling, Jana, welcome to the show.
Jana Krekic 0:35
Hi, Yoni. Thank you so much for having me on. Let's pretend that we are in Las Vegas right now.
Yoni Mazor 0:40
Easy to pretend, easy to pretend. A lot of good folks, a lot of good vibes. I already met so many sellers. They're reaching out from all over the place. So it's fun. It's fun. I wish this whole pandemic will end as soon as possible. So we can meet physically, everybody, and have the good old times again. But in the meantime, we're going to focus on you, Jana. So today, today's episode is going to deal all about you. You're gonna share with us who you are, where you came from, where'd you grow up? Where'd you go to school, how did you begin your professional career? So I guess without further ado, let's start from the top. Where are you from? Or where were you born?
Jana Krekic 1:12
Yeah. So I'm born and raised in Belgrade. In Serbia. It's a really small country, southeast Europe. And whenever people ask me like, wow, Is it cold, like during the winter? I'm like, Okay, I think people think I'm from Siberia, which is up north, like close to Russia. But it's likely five hours by plane from there. So we're basically closer to Greece than we are close to Russia. Right?
Yoni Mazor 1:36
And Greece is pretty warm, right? So it’s pretty good.
Jana Krekic 1:36
It's, I mean, there's like four seasons. It's very warm during summer. We have autumn it's like
Yoni Mazor 1:43
Do you guys have a beach at all?
Jana Krekic 1:44
No, unfortunately not. No.
Yoni Mazor 1:46
So you're surrounded, like Switzerland, surrounded inside of Europe enclave?
Jana Krekic 1:50
Exactly. Like we used to have like a beach. Well, it was like a big Yugoslavia and but Croatia to the seaside. So you know they are there. They’re the fancy ones, where Beyonce and Jeff Bezos stay when they were in Croatia. But no, in Serbia, we don't have anything like it. We just have beautiful nature, that's it.
Yoni Mazor 2:06
That's awesome. You're born and raised there. And you went to high school there as well?
Jana Krekic 2:11
Yeah, I went to high school there as well. But like ever since I was a kid, like my parents really wanted me to, you know, to learn languages. And I went to a British kindergarten. I was surrounded by little British kids. And that's how actually... I started learning English. And I used to speak until I went to the States for the first time during high school because my aunt lives in Florida, I used to speak with a British accent. And then once I landed on Florida, I was just like, Hell no, I'm gonna like speak like them.
Yoni Mazor 2:41
You gotta catch up on your Americana real quick. I'll share with you a little bit... I'll share with you. It's funny, you mentioned that you had an English accent like British, because my wife is originally from Russia. When she first came to the States, she had a very British accent because I guess the schooling that they had there, were fairly quickly she had to work on her Americana. So I guess you guys experienced the same thing. Which is pretty cool. Go ahead, sorry.
Jana Krekic 2:59
It's exactly, exactly like so in schools, you would actually learn you know, English, you know, British, like the British accent. So it's very weird that somebody from Serbia, like go from this part of Europe to kind of embracing the American accent, you know, without like traveling there. So I was always fascinated with languages and I actually went to high school in Belgrade. But I went to two different high schools. I went to regular high school then I went to the musical high school. So basically from, 8 am to 2 pm I'll be in my regular high school and from 3 pm to 8 pm. I'll be in my musical High School. And I really love that I was always like…
Yoni Mazor 3:37
You played an instrument or you were singing songs?
Jana Krekic 3:40
No, I suck at singing. It's so I'm like, that's I was wanting to be like Adelle or something. But like, I was a really good performer. I was playing the piano for 15 years. And I was actually really gifted because I went through my high school just like, you know, I finished it in two years. So when I was 16, I actually graduated from high school. The musical high school.
Yoni Mazor 4:04
Did you start with a teacher for 15 years piano?
Jana Krekic 4:07
Yeah, it was. I mean, I went to the elementary musical school and musical High School. So actually, like, my whole life, I've been going to like, you know, like, two schools at the same time. But I always enjoyed it. I always had like energy to do multiple stuff. Like my parents didn't even have the, you know, the energy to be like, you know, what's next for you? Yeah, I went like figure skating. I like studied a little bit of German when I was a kid. So I was wanting to do more and more and more different things. And
Yoni Mazor 4:40
I have to ask you this though. Right now in your house, do you have a piano or a keyboard?
Jana Krekic 4:45
Right now I don't have the piano. The piano is at my parent’s place. It's like a big concert piano. So I absolutely...once I move to a bigger apartment, I definitely want to have the piano over.
Yoni Mazor 4:56
That's what happened with mine. Same thing I want to share with you this. So I took piano for six years. But I played for many years because I was a part of a band growing up. So when I first came to America for many years I was in an apartment, I didn't have space. So my piano was in my parent’s place. But my dream was when I get my house, I get my piano. And I finally did, I was very, very, very happy. So I wish you the same to get it very quickly.
Jana Krekic 5:17
Thank you so much. That's probably one of the best wishes somebody could have wished me so thank you so much for that.
Yoni Mazor 5:22
Creates a lot of joy, a lot of positivity in the house, so it’s really good.
Jana Krekic 5:26
Absolutely. That's something that will fulfill me in my life until I get kids. Exactly. So that's like, one of the most important things in my life was, you know, playing the piano because I went, I went to do competitions, I had solo concerts, you know, I was a well-respected pianist for, for my age, I was like 15, and like doing all of that, at that point, because I had a really good ear to hearing for music and for languages apart from singing, I just decided, you know, like, maybe I should give it a go. And I should try and pursue my music career. But the problem is, it was that you know, I was very, very young, like, at that point, the most important thing for me was to get drunk and go out with my friends. And on the other hand, you would have to practice for six and seven hours, which I regularly did, but at one point, I'm like, Do I really want to do this in my life? And but in the end, as I decided to, to go to the musical conservatory when I was 17. And I got in, but like, and you know, but after six months, I was just like, I don't really want to do this in my life, you know. And at that point, I only had the piano in my life. And I was being so well organized, because I was going to two different schools at the same time for my whole life, which helped me a lot later in life, especially, you know, with business and everything else. So like, the worst thing for me is when I have a full day, without anything, like free time, during the whole day, and only one thing to do, because I will never do that one thing because I have too much spare time. I like when I have like 15 impossible deadlines during the day. That is what I feel comfortable with. And that is why I've created for myself.
Yoni Mazor 7:09
So what year did you, I mean, how old are you when you discover this? 17. You realized you realize your style, you realize your forum, and where did it take you next? So what do you, I guess you went to university in Belgrade or?
Jana Krekic 7:22
I went back and I finished the regular high school with my friends. And then at the end of high school, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. And I like people just like, you know, they were 18, they're like, I'm going to be a lawyer, I'm going to be an economist, I'm going to be this or that. And I was like, I don't know what I'm going to be. Can I have some more time? But like in Serbia, like it's usual, like, I know like in the States, and then in Europe, people take like a year off to travel and you know, explore. But in Serbia, that's not the case. And so I knew that I had to do something with my life. And then like, I was like back to, you know, back to the drawing board, like so what am I good at? Languages, you know, music, and I was like, Okay, so I'm not going to study English. I'm not going to study like German or something that it's known to, you know, to mankind. And then one day, I was watching a TV show about Norway. Now at that point, like, there was like, 15 years ago, and like, people just knew it was very cold, you know, and nobody was even traveling. There was not...
Yoni Mazor 8:15
What did you discover about Norway in 2005? What did you discover about Norway that made you come and say, this is something for me, you know?
Jana Krekic 8:22
You’re right. So I was watching the beautiful nature of the fjords. And I was like, Wow, this is so breathtaking. It's an amazing country. And I was like, God, it's so expensive to live there, there must be a good job opportunity if I could learn the language, which probably nobody knows there's around like 5 million Norwegians over there. And I'm like, I could learn the language and try to move there and to live there. Because I always wanted to live abroad in my life. And I'm like, I'm just gonna, you know, create a better life. And with that thought, I decided I'm gonna do and like give it a shot for the Norwegian, which nobody ever heard in my life. Like, I remember, I listened to some rap music in Norwegian just to like, hear the, you know, the language, which turned out to be like this crazy dialect nobody even speaks so...
Yoni Mazor 9:12
Skol. What’s skol mean? Skol? That’s cheers. Yeah, I know that at least.
Jana Krekic 9:18
Yeah. Well, that's good. That's the essential
Yoni Mazor 9:21
I’m trying to cheer you for your decision in Norwegian. Score, you know, skol!
Jana Krekic 9:24
Skol. Yeah. And you know how you say hi, they say, hey, so, you know...
Yoni Mazor 9:28
That’s easy, yeah. How do you say Norway in Norwegian?
Jana Krekic 9:32
Yoni Mazor 9:33
Jana Krekic 9:34
Yoni Mazor 9:35
Norge. Yeah. It's a pretty cool language. I like it. I'm watching Lillehammer, full disclosure, Netflix Lillehammer. Great show. I'm picking out Norwegian, happens to be the Jana has the whole Norway store, which is awesome to me. I really understand what you're saying. Okay, so you decided you're going to learn Norwegian, where did you study Norwegian? In Norway or back home?
Jana Krekic 9:53
No, actually, like, you know, first of all, like, you know, it was such a disastrous decision to like, tell my parents I wanted to study Norwegian out of all languages. No. My dad is an engineer. My dad is an economist. Like my grandparents went to university so I was kind of disappointed to choose to do that.
Yoni Mazor 10:12
They were shocked. They're old-fashioned. They expected something, you said, Nope, whatever you expected, scrap it up. The completely new world I'm gonna open up for myself, but that is foreign to you. But I expect you to wish me luck somehow, you know?
Jana Krekic 10:24
Exactly. And they were like, No, of course, we wish you the best. And then I heard them like backtalking with some friends of theirs being like, she's going nuts. She’s gonna do this Norwegian, like, she's insane. And I told them, I was like, Look, I have a plan. And it's gonna work, trust me. And this is what I told them. They're like, whatever. But I think they were kind of hoping that like after the freshman year that I would just change my mind and like, transfer to another language or maybe go to a different university or something. But that didn't happen, you know. And also my friends, they were all shocked. You know, I was a really good student.
Yoni Mazor 10:57
So everybody kind of got the shock effect, what actually happened? You studied in Belgrade or you moved outside? What was the station?
Jana Krekic 11:02
After that, I studied in Belgrade. And surprisingly, so Belgrade has got, they won the prize of being like the best Scandinavian department for languages outside of Scandinavia. Yes. So it's like a Scandinavian department. And that was amazing. We had like, all the best professors coming from Norway, like the tempo was like, so so fast, that like, after their freshman year, I went to spend my summer in Norway, and I could be fluent in Norwegian, which is absolutely insane. After a year...
Yoni Mazor 11:33
One year you're basically able, you're able to adopt the language and utilize it?
Jana Krekic 11:37
Exactly. I could read books, I could just talk to everyone. It was insane. And I was just like, shocked by like, what you can do in a year. Yeah, it was. And it was just really, you know...
Yoni Mazor 11:47
So this is what year? Is it 2006 already?
Jana Krekic 11:50
Yeah, it was 2006. And I was like, um...yeah, 2004, this is when actually I'd...so 16 years ago. So 2005, I was ready, you know, to speak Norwegian. And then I started learning German as well. And so I was being fluent in German, but after like, two, two and a half years, it was not that, you know, little, but it was really good. And then I kind of started planning my thing. Like, how is this like, let's search for jobs in Norway, blah, blah. And then what happened is like that, the head professor from our department, he got into a very big argument with basically the university in Oslo and they canceled their scholarship for this year. And that happened to me because they would...
Yoni Mazor 12:31
Hold on, so you were supposed to go to Norway, with a scholarship and due to politics, essentially, got canceled?
Jana Krekic 12:39
Yeah. Yup, due to politics it got canceled. And till the end of my, my bachelor's degree, we didn't get any scholarship or anything. And that's unfortunately what happened. And but I traveled to Norway, like, you know, by myself, I wanted to explore to find, like, every possible opportunity. And I really, like well, used every single, you know, way to just the brush up my Norwegian, and to be the best, you know, language tutor ever. At that point, I started like teaching a little bit, you know, random people, like the friends from Belgarde who wanted to move there. Because Norway is very interesting, because it's a very rich country, but they don't have a big population. And they don't have a lot of highly qualified people, a lot of people over there, they don't go to university, they're not highly experienced and highly qualified. So Norway has, unfortunately, to import, like, you know, Chief operations for oil companies, doctors, medical staff, they lack all of it. And so that opened a really good opportunity for a lot of people from Europe to go and travel there and to work and earn, like three times more salary.
Yoni Mazor 13:44
And so let me get this straight, let me get this straight. So essentially, Norway, it's a pretty small population country, but it's very wealthy. So due to lack of human capital, as well as we call it, where you need very highly skilled people, they have a shortage, they open up jobs and opportunities for people for the best brains and talent from all over the world to come up. So you found an opportunity, especially for European people, to be able to help them learn Norwegian and penetrate, into, you know, the industries in Norway, and, you know, succeed over there. So that was kind of the flow of the track you're going into?
Jana Krekic 14:17
Yes, I was just like, I'm gonna try this, like with people from Serbia and like, see how it goes.
Yoni Mazor 14:23
So you started the first circle with Serbian people?
Jana Krekic 14:25
Yes, the first circle, Serbian people. And it was, at that point, I was just happy that I could help someone. And I'm like, Oh, my God, I changed this person's life. And that was so rewarding for me. And at first, I just wanted to try so I can see if I can succeed in this or not, it was not for the money. It was actually for my pleasure to see if I could actually, you know, transmit what I've learned to other people.
Yoni Mazor 14:48
So essentially, you find the direction. You laid a track and you said, this is going and going well, so you helped a few people. What was the next station? Because we have to eventually get to YLT, I want to get there.
Jana Krekic 14:58
Yeah. Like, yeah, and then after that, like I got a job at this like a call center, it was a Danish outsource company for Belgrade. And they asked me, you know if I could just work for them, and I'm like, I don't know Danish, I know Norwegian. They're like, you can speak Norwegian, and then you know, we will learn Danish.
Yoni Mazor 15:17
If you can speak Norwegian, you can learn Danish, you’re hired.
Jana Krekic 15:19
Yeah, sorta, I mean, but you have to learn Danish. Like Swedish and Norwegian are quite similar, but Danish is way different. And so I started working on this call center under a fake name. So my name is Heidi Larson, not Jana, no, it was Heidi Larson. And I just pretend I was in Copenhagen, working for this, but it was my first job. It was super well paid for Serbian, you know, salary conditions. And I was like, over the moon of happiness. And at one point, I moved to Chicago because my ex-boyfriend lived there. And of course, I could not live off the salary from this Danish company, this company was in a startup mode, there were like four of us. And there was like only a call center, which is very important, which is going to lead to the YLT later. And then I moved to Chicago. And then I understood that I could not live off my so-called Danish, Serbian salary. And I started just browsing stuff like this is the first moment when the freelancer.com started, like, you know, working, had only a couple of people. And I decided I'm going to like put an ad and also content like stock oil, look oil. I already know what companies were big in Norway, and I started offering services like teaching their corporate clients, teaching Norwegian to them. I was certified and I was cheaper than Berlitz or any other schools.
Yoni Mazor 16:30
Hold on, let me get this straight. You basically relocated your life from Serbia to Chicago, because you had a partner over there. And so you're getting paid to live in the United States? Your Danish salary was not enough. So you kept that job where you're in a calling center for, you know, a Danish company, but you said, you know, what, let me try to find other clients, essentially, that I can help with languages and increase my income.
Jana Krekic 16:53
Right, exactly. And so at that point, I had like, over 40 students, and they were all like, top-notch, like, like, executives or spinal surgeons, or, you know, they were, like, really amazing people to work with. It was absolutely unbelievable who I got in contact with, and I still treasure some of the contacts to this day, you know, like, they, you know, they write like, how are you, happy birthday, and you know, and so on, send Christmas cards, and it's really beautiful. And but at that point, the Danish company started growing and growing and growing. And at one point, they turned out, it turned into like, the leading e-commerce in northern Europe. And
Yoni Mazor 17:32
So you're doing, you're working a calling center for a Danish company, but that's not the company? The company itself was an e-commerce company?
Jana Krekic 17:39
It was an e-commerce company, right.
Yoni Mazor 17:41
What year did you get in there?
Jana Krekic 17:43
Yoni Mazor 17:47
So 2008 and along the year, they were growing because e-commerce as we all know, that's what we all hear. And we're in the Prosper show live. You know, it was growing. So you start with this company, and but itself, the company itself was growing so much that I guess it brought them up more opportunities for you to grow with them?
Jana Krekic 18:03
Yeah, absolutely. And, my boss was like, we have to have you here in Copenhagen and blah, blah, blah. And I was like, really...
Yoni Mazor 18:11
So they told you to get out of Chicago and come to Copenhagen?
Jana Krekic 18:13
Yes. And like, they're like, they said, like, we're gonna let you keep your name, you're not gonna be Heidi Larsen anymore.
Yoni Mazor 18:18
And get your real name back! We’ll call you Jana.
Jana Krekic 18:21
I was finally “Best regards, Jana Krekic”, you know. It's not like, I know, I got to keep an eye and they promoted me and like, and I don't know, like, I stayed at the company for about eight years. And at the end of, you know, the, like, last three years, I was the Chief Operations Officer for the whole company. They had 400 employees that were the leading e-commerce webshop in the whole of Europe, I traveled for work. They sent me to Russia to build a Finnish branch of the business all by myself. And like, in six months. I did some unbelievable things. And then, you know, this is how I learned everything.
Yoni Mazor 18:59
You were there from 2008 until when? Until which year?
Jana Krekic 19:00
2008 until 2016.
Yoni Mazor 19:03
Oh, so 8 years you were there. Full growth, full power and e-commerce. And you started with customer support, I guess, customer service calling center, and then all the way up to business development, global expansion, you know, expanded into Russia itself. That's unbelievable. You did it in what, six months you said in St. Petersburg? Yeah, it was probably a challenging, tough experience. But nevertheless, you did it. And what, what happened in 2016? what transpired? What was the next station?
Jana Krekic 19:30
So the company grew very, very big. I did basically like I was very happy to get hired when it was just a startup. So I got to go through like all the departments. We did, we did SEO before it was called SEO, like so many crazy things. And at the end, like I was like, okay, so I did so many, you know, things that I didn't think I was capable of. And then I just knew that you know, I think I should do something for myself because, at one point, you're like, my boss was not that appreciative of anybody in the upper management. People were getting really sick of it and tired as well as me. I was there for a long time.
Yoni Mazor 20:07
Sounds like politics again, it sounds like politics crept in again.
Jana Krekic 20:10
Oh, so yeah, politics, but it was like a political one person, you know, didn't involve anybody else in politics. Yeah. Yeah. It's like a privately owned company. So like an owner is the guy and he just wanted to be, he never wanted to delegate. He just wanted to be in like, everything he. I swear to God, he never slept. I mean, he was a brilliant man. But he made a lot of bad decisions when it comes to people management. And this is what I'm...what I thought, like, look, Jana, I like I think you should build something yourself. Like I had this amazing knowledge of e-commerce. I literally know how to build e-commerce from scratch with like, 7000 euros, I swear to God. And I helped a lot of people because I was also doing some consulting after I quit my job. And this is also where I got first to like to know about Amazon. I mean, about the buy box. Like they did that like 10 years ago when there were not that many people.
Yoni Mazor 20:58
So this Danish company was also involved in selling on Amazon.
Jana Krekic 21:01
Yes, they had 100,000 products on Amazon when I quit my job.
Yoni Mazor 21:04
Amazon US or Amazon UK or Germany.
Jana Krekic 21:06
They were...They were...they like, e-commerce was spread around 15 different countries. And Amazon was like on the old marketplaces like the US, and like those 4 at that time, European marketplaces. And this is where I saw, like being into languages and all, and this is where I saw like, you know, the potential when we did the translations for like different marketplaces, we didn't have a lot of time to devote to Amazon. But I thought that we should like do more keywords and stuff like that. And I decided to take and be like the key account manager for Amazon just to play around because nobody is paying special attention to Amazon. And this is where I saw my chance. I'm like, I'm just gonna play around with it. And nobody's gonna give me a hard time because they don't actually care about this. And I saw really, some really, really good results. And then you know, 2016, I was like, look, I think I should definitely put an end to this. At that point, I met my current partner. There were like six months before I should quit my job. And then...
Yoni Mazor 21:59
Hold on, let’s talk about geography. You were still in Copenhagen at that point?
Jana Krekic 22:01
No, at that point, there were offices in Copenhagen and Belgrade. So I was like, basically going back and forth on the line between Copenhagen and Belgrade. So I met my partner in Belgrade, he now runs a PPC agency. But you know, he gave me this little additional push, because I didn't have the guts to quit my job for three years. I'm not like a risk-taker, I don't change my life overnight, blah, blah, blah, you know? And this, like, what they, what they tell what they say, I think, Gary, we said that it's like, it takes 10 years to be an overnight success, you know, and this is exactly what it you know, it took me longer than some other people. But then once I risked, you know, that was the best decision I made in my life. And this is actually how YLT was born, I continued with corporate clients in Norwegian until I could, you know,
Yoni Mazor 22:47
So hold on. So did you call it YLT from the get-go? And what is YLT? Give us a little bit of an explanation about it.
Jana Krekic 22:53
Yeah, it's a really, it's a good story about that. Because, um, even though I worked for this, like e-commerce for so many years, I was not so smart for myself. And so I just decided this to be like, YLT Translation is as it will be for “Jana Linguists Team”. This is what it was for. Because at first we were focused most on e-commerce translations and less on Amazon. And then I chose that name without checking, you know, like the rankings and everything on Google. And then once you will type YLT or YLT Translation, the Bible showed up as the first result. It was the young literal translation of the Bible. So in the first days, on my website, people would come and be like, what is this Matthew to John 21:50? And I was like,
Yoni Mazor 23:37
Jana Krekic 23:39
Yeah, so it was very stupid. But then like, once we like, and then we do e-commerce for the first year. And then I just thought that you know, if we niche down, people love when you niche down, you know, to like, certain things. And I'm like, let's niche down to Amazon, I can just feel that this is like a really good potential that we should use. There are not that many competitors at the time, maybe just four or five, which are
Yoni Mazor 23:58
And this is 2016. Correct?
Jana Krekic 24:01
Yes, this is...2016 is when I bought the domain name and everything. And then 2017 is like when we did like e-commerce translations. And then towards the end of 2017, I decided to niche down to Amazon only. And I was like, you know, I think it's better because there are fewer competitors over there. Like, I don't think people know how to do keyword research. When they do the listings. I checked the listings, it was a big mess. And I'm like, let's just do it. And then I decided to rebrand that into “Your Listing Translations”. And this is what today YLT stands for, and so the...
Yoni Mazor 24:34
YLT is Your Listing Translation? Nice. Very good. Yeah, that's a pretty real wild story. I like it, though. Yeah, so it was 2017 you really lay the tracks down for a while to two, because you calibrated saying Amazon that said, This is what I'm gonna focus on. This is where I'm gonna excel and grow from there. And what was the journey? What was the like? Who were your first clients, I guess, what was the station that you took?
Jana Krekic 24:56
Well, I remember it was 2017. It was December. We just got our first email. It was from Katie. I would always remember that it was for Katie, she was in beauty products. And she was like, I would like for you to translate one, my, one of my listings, I want to try out your services. And I was like, Oh my God. And at that point, like, it was me and two other people. And I was just like, Oh, my God, oh, my God. And I was like, I was so happy that I think it was distracted the whole day. I think it didn't even reply to her email, you know, I was just...
Yoni Mazor 25:27
Wow. You were walking on the clouds. But what was the request, which languages?
Jana Krekic 25:32
They wanted to just do the German marketplace.
Yoni Mazor 25:34
German Amazon Marketplace?
Jana Krekic 25:36
Yes. And I'm like, right, this is it, this is what we're doing. And then I didn't have any full-time, you know, translators. I had, like two friends from university, who were, you know, they're studying in Portugal. And I was like, let's do it. But they didn't have anybody for Germany. So I called some people, you know, like good recommendations, and blah, blah. I trained them literally, like, in three days, how they should do stuff. And I'm like, Okay, let's do it. And I mean, didn't think it through at all. Because I just really think that once you do something, yourself, it doesn't matter how much experience you have working for somebody else. It's completely different. When you start something and start working for yourself, when
Yoni Mazor 26:12
When you own it that touch is completely different. You have, I guess there's much more passion and drive when you actually own it.
Jana Krekic 26:18
Absolutely, absolutely. And nothing works as you are used to and you know, you have to come up with procedures yourself, your SLPs, KPIs, all of those. And I was so so happy about that. It was like the first plus thing. And then like little after another, I decided that I think it was a good idea that I am now my Chief Operations Manager. And now there's like, 43 of us. 43 in the team. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 26:43
So the team is ready from 2, 3 people from your first I guess order to translate something to German within a span of three years, you guys exploded to form a team of 43?
Jana Krekic 26:53
Yes. And we do over one, and we do over 1000 listings a month to whole world marketplaces. Yes. So we decided to post and answer questions like in the Facebook groups. And I would just really literally like, like, not, I don't like Facebook, it was off, like a lot of time. But I'm like, I had to do this for business. And I would literally like to live in these groups. And I was like FBA warriors, ninjas, you know, it was like one of these groups, and I would just, like, live and breathe like these groups and like, answer people's questions. And this is actually how we got our first clients. And then in February 2018, we got, you know, 10-15 requests, like per month, like we were, you know, they're getting more and more like, I actually like, was starting to get like some decent revenue, you know, from the listings and clients. And then the turning point was when I was applying to speak at this conference, virtual conference, whatever I was just trying to try for someone to get me in a video. So like living in the States taught me that you just really have to knock on the door, if they close it, you knock again, if they close, you knock again. And that's really, really important. Because when you're from Serbia or you have this Balkan or Eastern European mentality, you're taught that this is very embarrassing for you to do. So if somebody says no, you just walk away and forget that that happened. And never ever talk to this person. So like, the States taught me a very valuable lesson for that.
Yoni Mazor 28:21
In the United States? You're saying, in the US, you basically, absorb the mentality of “no is just another station until you get a yes”?
Jana Krekic 28:29
Exactly. And that is the most valuable lesson I think I've learned in my life. And the number two was to delegate. But this was the number one and how I've used that is that like, I wanted to contact Augustas from Orange like he organizes all the major events.
Yoni Mazor 28:45
Augustas Kligys, Orange Klik with a K. Anybody wants to look it up a great guy. Great organization. Yeah. So what happened with Augustas?
Jana Krekic 28:51
Yes. And I wanted to like to get into his video, like 10 minutes promotional video to his audience, I'm gonna get like a couple of hacks. And so I called him and he was like, YLT? What is that? And he was like, you know, this is a really funny guy, but I didn't know him at that point. But he was like, What is this? And? And it was like, well, we are a translation agency. And he was like, No, I don't think so. And like, it was like such a horrible conversation. And I was like, Oh, my God. Like, you know, yeah, absolutely. I'm like, you know what, I'm gonna try again. And then I sent him an email like next week. I'm like, Hey Augustas! What do you think if I give you like a, you know, like a, just bullets, like bullets from my presentation of 10 minutes, maybe you can go through it. What do you say? He didn't reply. He's like, I'm busy. I don't have time. And then I just, he said, No, to me, I did something like we're really good friends now. And I mentioned this to him, like last year at this conference. And I told him like, you said No to me five times, you said five times now. And then the fifth time I talked to him, I'm like, just give me a chance. 10 minutes. If it's shitty content, don't publish it. So he published the content and things went viral, literally, like we got, like 10 clients overnight just after the video was published, and after that, he invited me to his first-ever European conference in Prague. And that was my first live event. And then literally, like, things started rolling from March 2018. Down, you know, up to our alley, definitely. And then people started, you know, noticing me because I speak about a different topic that people would think that translations are always trying to, like, you know, think of like different things and, and I was not, I never considered myself a public speaker. Like I was a performer, I played piano with an orchestra in front of a huge audience. But when it comes to speaking about business, I'm like, Who's gonna listen to me? Like, why am I relevant? It was horrible. It was like, the worst thing ever for me. And then I was just like, let's just do it. And I'm like, just you have to do it, I'm gonna push myself like, Well, here you are, you are in front of the audience. Now you have to do something.
Yoni Mazor 31:04
In other words, you got out of your comfort zone, you know, is essential and vital for the business, and what is the business? You help others, right? You helping others with their needs, especially with language needs, and optimization needs. And the trigger for you to, you know, enable that for yourself for your life, and for the help of the sellers. Plus, all the help for your entire team because you're trying to grow a team, you gotta get out of your comfort zone. Put yourself in the spotlight, in the limelight, and make it happen. And thank God, I mean, it seems like you, you did phenomenally well, with reaching out and I think you have a lethal combination. First of all, having the character. It's I think it's very evident that you know, you're bursting with energy and very positive is very, very powerful. But you can do it in probably five languages, or more. How many languages do you speak right now?
Jana Krekic 31:47
Yeah, I speak six languages.
Yoni Mazor 31:51
Lethal. Like I said, lethal. You’re like a...if I take the energy that you have multiplied by six, but your energy is like enough for like five people or more, multiply by six is like you alone, it's like 30 people, you know, relaying messages all over the world with a lot of energy for e-commerce players who need help with their translation.
Jana Krekic 32:06
So you know, what's the best thing ever, because like my….I parted ways with a company and my boss really hated that, he didn't want me to leave. And we kind of didn't end up like a being, you know, kind of friends, you know, at the end of the whole story. And then what happened at the very same Prague conference, like the first conference I ever spoke at, was that I got this Danish guy approached me and he's like, we really love your content, we would like for you to speak at our event in Copenhagen. And at that point, I had no idea what they were doing. And, and it turned out to be that they're like, one of the members of the Danske in the States like the Danish E-commerce Chamber of Commerce. And it was like a close event for like, 30 biggest sellers. And they invited me over there, I decided to speak in Danish. I was like, let's just do it. Because I was like, I did like, you know, the Prague conference. I could do like Danish, it was like, so that was beyond my comfort zone. And not uncomfortable, like, super uncomfortable.
Yoni Mazor 33:04
So once again, about the business, about speaking to others, and in Danish.
Jana Krekic 33:08
Yeah, exactly. And what I did, I just go there, and my boss as well showed up. Yes. And I was like, and when I didn't know this, and when I saw him, I was just like, I was shocked. And I'm like, No, no, and I'm like, this is what he wants you to be. He wants you to be scared. And like, you're not going to be, and I just kept watching like a different direction. And now like I want to, whenever I talk, when I feel nervous, I always focus on people who nod with their heads, and are smiling and that may be three persons from the whole audience.
Yoni Mazor 33:39
And that's enough to fuel you. And give you the fuel. That was the fuel I agree. 100%
Jana Krekic 33:43
I just talked to these people. And that helped me a lot. And you know, after a while, I kind of started feeling more and more confident when people are approaching me, like, you know, I got like, last year I did like over 20 conferences from places like LA to China. And I even got paid to talk and you know, it was just an amazing experience. I honestly cannot believe that, you know, I've spoken in front of so many people and share my content and people actually want to know more and you know, they come to us and they become a client. And the first thing when I got this presentation like when I made this in Prague, I also got my presentation like I've got a lot of questions and a lot of really good feedback. And my presentation was voted best after Kevin King’s presentation because you know, Kevin King! I was so honored to like get like you know, such a highly ranked presentation
Yoni Mazor 34:36
Yeah, Kevin King. Guys once again. So it's funny because Kevin King, we had him on the show. Great guy. Look into his story. We had Augustas Kligys. Great guy. We had him at the show also. So look at the story. Now we're very, very lucky and privileged to have Jana so yeah, definitely... Kevin King is really up there if you came second to him, it's like you really being number one because it is very, very hard to top Kevin. He's like a ball of everything. You know, it's a knowledge skill, different dimensions.
Jana Krekic 35:01
Yeah, it was such an honor to be like, right, you know, like the second to Kevin King, he was such, especially being my first conference. And then after, like having people come over and ask me questions and like, giving me feedback and stuff like that, I was just like, so happy because I could see that people could apply that to their business, and could scale their business. And I'm always into, like, you know, giving good content, and you're welcome to try it out yourself, and a lot of people do. And then they tell me, like, thank you so much. Your Excel formulas really helped me to find those international keywords. And this is also like how I feel very happy because I also help them and I know that they're gonna remember me for sure. Other than having this really super aggressive sales approach, which I personally don't like. I always think it's better to give good content because people will remember you better and they will refer you...
Yoni Mazor 35:51
Value, it's all about value. The moment you spread value. That's all itself. Sometimes you obviously need to knock on somebody's door, say, Hey, I'm here, but the moment they touch and taste the value and they recognize it usually does all the magic. Okay, so we got 2017, end of it, put you into gear 2018 into YLT Translation, when you hit the Prague event, it was in March 2018. It's basically like a volcano explosion where you became a worldwide sensation in terms of reaching out and presenting in multi-languages. And, and growing your business, growing your staff, growing your team, and growing other businesses. And now you like you mentioned, a team of 44 of more than 40 people, more than 1000 translations, and optimization of listings every month, which is like a factory. But yeah, how do you keep quality?
Jana Krekic 36:42
We have what I like to call a two-step verification system. Earlier when there was like, you know, three years ago, there were like four of us. We just had one proofreader, and that was it. Or you know like somebody check-in, but now we have like team leaders for each language. Basically, when somebody sends out, you know, on the ASIN, it goes to those team leaders, they take care of their own languages. There's like every language has a team leader, like 11 team leaders. And then, you know, the translations go back to the team leaders, they send it to the first set of proofreaders, where they correct or not, it goes back to translators, they correct it or not or they give their feedback. Why do they use this or not? Then it sends to the second set of proofreaders which I think it's very important, I think it's super important to have different proofreaders because different proofreaders mean probably different style or a different choice of words. But what...if it's like 90% good for both proofreaders, it's probably very, very good.
Yoni Mazor 37:37
So essentially it’s like A/B testing on the mindsets of people because people, you know, different people sometimes have different angles or different variations, or different, you know, nuances. So it's so you do have the ability to do large-scale A/B testing through, you know, your staff, because that's the way it's kind of structured.
Jana Krekic 37:52
Yeah, exactly. And it's also important because of localization, as you said like the local nuances are probably even more important than, you know, just regularly than translations. And then of course, because we use keywords, and sometimes when you put a keyword in the natural flow of the language can be lost, and the translators don't have to, you know, just to notice that because they're like, into translations, and it's very different. And then when the second proofreaders are done, then it all goes back to a team leader. And they double-check the keywords once more. So we make sure that everything is in order, and all the top keywords are used. And we always like to mark the keywords in red, which I think is very user-friendly. And that way, you don't have to be a master in languages to see where we placed the keywords, you know, because it's good enough that we had like three or four keywords like in the title and first two bullets. And then you can check and we also provide the keyword list with a search volume. So you can see what we use.
Yoni Mazor 38:49
Essentially what you provide is visibility to the clients and where you're kind of trying to optimize. And they can actually, you know, what, throughout the visibility gauge and see how you guys are actually making an impact.
Jana Krekic 38:58
Yeah, exactly. And then there's something...because a lot of like sellers, they kind of forget to tell you what's important for them. So it happens that we deliver something and they're like, Oh, no, this is not what I had in mind. And I'm like, sure no...
Yoni Mazor 39:10
Focus, focus, focus. Focus is really the focus. So you build a mechanism that, you know, just in case, you know, there's a misunderstanding, or there's misunderstandings or is...a lack of focus. It's calibrated. This is what it is, is the visibility, and that you know it you don't get sidetracked.
Yoni Mazor 39:27
Yeah, exactly. And what I've also learned through the business is that you really have to just ask the right questions to your client before you start any sort of work. Like you know, like this, for instance, like what, uh, what let's be on the same page, like what is your I don't know, like, what's your best practice or what how do you like see back in search terms, do you want to do like related search terms or, you know, and but this is everything, something that you just have to learn from experience. So now we don't get revisions and stuff like that because we tend to talk and hop on a call with the client and just understand what they want. And especially because like whatever we do, our service is very, you know, tailored to the customers. So whatever the customer wants, we can do it. And we can tailor that. And of course, we can revise it until you're absolutely happy. But as I said, like I think it's for every business and every service provider, important to ask the right questions like, maybe they don't fill out a form or a questionnaire to understand the client, everybody, everybody's products are they their babies, and they have like a different treatment of their product than any other service provider.
Yoni Mazor 40:31
Right. Essentially what you want to do as an organization is lay the structure right? Once again, lay out the structure, which makes every transaction a turnkey transaction for you. Yeah, the clients, everybody's understanding what's going on, everything is well thought out. And therefore it's a smooth transaction. It's pleasurable, hopefully, because it's, you know, there are many, many other components that tell us to do, you know, and then when you facilitate, it makes it smooth and fast and effective. It makes it a very pleasurable event. And hopefully, as they grow, they'll come again for the next product. So there's exactly a partnership between you and the clients. All right, awesome. Listen, so far, it's been ballistic. It's been amazing. But we're gonna have to come to a close. So, Jana, I want once again, to remind everybody, she's at YLT right now, you know, servicing Amazon sellers from all over the world and creating growth. I congratulate, and I congratulate you on the tremendous success. And I wish you many, many more years. So we're gonna finalize the episode, and we're gonna do with two parts. The first part will be is if somebody wants to reach out and find you, where can they go? The second will be is what is going to be I guess, the message, your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Jana Krekic 41:37
Well, I just think that you should,
Yoni Mazor 41:40
First, where can they find you?
Jana Krekic 41:41
Oh, yeah. So like our Facebook page YLT Translations, we have a lot of really good content about traditional marketplaces, new opportunities, it's always fresh and new. So make sure to like our Facebook page. And of course, our website YLT (dash) translations dot com. Or you can reach out to me directly on Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn or whatever, wherever you want.
Yoni Mazor 42:02
Awesome. Okay, the message of hope and inspiration. Let's do it.
Jana Krekic 42:05
The message of hope and inspiration. So like, if you listen to my story, and I'm just, I'm just a girl from Serbia, from a very poor country, not even part of the EU. And I've had some dreams, I've had some big failures and you know, even bigger dreams, but at the end of the day, if I could build something out of nothing, and I'm not even like in the west of Europe or let alone from the States. I don't think anybody else has an excuse to not...not start building their empire today. Especially nowadays I think e-commerce is, you know, blooming as e-commerce shopping has never been higher. So if you guys want to get into e-commerce, this is the right time to do it. If you think it's stupid if you think it's going to be you know, not if you're not going to be you know, successful or good enough or people that are laughing You just do it. And that's exactly why you should go into the e-commerce space. If you are afraid this is the right sign that you should definitely do it.
Yoni Mazor 43:01
Awesome. Amazing. I couldn't even say it better myself. So Jana, thank you so much. For, you know, for sharing your story with us. We wish you much, much more success. I wish we had more time and we might have to do this again because I feel like there's much much more. And anybody that stayed so far with our live event. Thank you for sticking with us. We wish everybody to stay safe and healthy. Until next time.
Jana Krekic 43:22
Thank you so much, Yoni. Have a good one.