Episode 177 Featuring Connor Curlewis

How A Freelancer Became An 8-Figure Business Owner

How A Freelancer Became An 8-Figure Business Owner

In today’s episode, we talked to Alex Fedotoff, founder of eCommerce Scaling Secrets, a consulting company committed to training every eCom entrepreneur & business owner to scale their business, make more money, and have more impact in their lives.

Find out how he started his ecommerce journey, from working in a factory, doing freelancing on upwork, and eventually owning a business and scaling it to 8-figures. Discover his hiring strategy, best practices for working with employees and employers, and how to do the thing that you love.


Growing up in Ukraine

Connor: You were a bit older then, so I wanted to ask, like, what are the fundamental differences between Ukraine and the USA in terms of like business culture, social culture? 

Alex Fedotoff: Oh, man. I mean, Ukraine is still like it's very far like behind, you know, kind of like from pretty much every like standpoint. So like US has this like forward thinking, you know, like new ideas, new technologies, kind of like a lot of the innovation, whereas like in Ukraine you have that, but it's like 10 times less.

So yeah, for me, I was always like, you know, kinda like was inspired by like what's happening here, you know, and kind of like trying to learn as much as possible. Even like, well, not being here. And then two years ago we just decided to move here right before COVID hit. 

Connor: Yeah. I actually did a similar thing. I moved back from London two years ago because of COVID. So what was it like growing up in Ukraine as a kid? Was it still in the Soviet block? 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah, I was born like 1990 and Ukraine left like Soviet union, like 1991. So kind of on paper it was still like Soviet union. Yeah, man. It's kind of like, you know, when the country is just like developing, I don't know. It's kind of like when you go, like, and you see there's like such like vast differences, you know, like when the country is like the buildings, the businesses, like how they operate in general, like everything is so like behind, you know what I mean? It's just like, and now it was war. I mean, it's just, you know what I mean? It just like back to square one, hopefully they'll rebuild it. 

Connor: I mean, it's kind of, yeah. I hope that it's a completely new way of life afterwards and I hope that the war ends as soon as possible. It's really just outrageous. 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah. It's crazy. 

Connor: How was the war affected you? You obviously have family still there?

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah, we took our parents out, like me and my sister we basically evacuated them and like send them to Canada. So they're in safety. But like when I was living in Ukraine until like 2014 and that's where the first war, I mean, this war kind of like started like long, long time ago.

And that's where it just like, started, you know, it's like, same as you probably like you just choosing the environments, you know what I mean? Like we're living in like day and age where it's like, you know, if I don't want to live in this country, I want to live in this country. Like you just making those choices and you just relocate.

Things he learned from moving around

Alex Fedotoff: I seen a lot of people, they just kind of like stock, like, or, I mean, there's a, from Syria country and they like didn't want to move or like they, you know, they just kinda like getting through accustomed to like their environment and their like circumstances, which I was saying is, you know, is a major factor.

Like, no matter what you want to do is like, I mean, you have freedom to move like, and you have to move. You have to relocate, you have to change environments. You probably would have to change your friends, your social circle, you know? So I think those things like is the price of what you want to do like, you know, so I moved from Ukraine, like 2014. We move to Poland. Then we moved to Malta. I don't know if you're familiar. 

Connor: I've been around Eastern Europe a little bit. 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah. Yeah. So we live in Malta, like in Switzerland, Then I moved to Poland and then I moved to United States. Just kind of like looking for a better environment, you know, for business, for family. Yeah, just kind of like moving around all the time. 

Connor: So I've moved house 18 times now and I totally agree with what you're saying. It's something I've always thought is like, you know, the birds migrate in winter. But humans always stay in the same house, whole lives, you know? And it's like, nature is saying, yo, like, you can just go somewhere else. You have different thoughts, different experiences and different perspectives. So in that time, and even now, like what sort of things have you learned from moving around? 

Alex Fedotoff: Mostly like those learnings I say they come from like people because oftentimes, like, let's say you're moving to a new area. Now you got to kind of like know the neighbors are kind of like get, you know, kind of like get connected with people and looking backwards, like all of the major shifts, all of the major kind of like progress we've done like in business and in life, mostly have been correlated with getting to know someone then acting with someone like messaging, someone, having like lunch with somebody. Like attending like a mastermind, attending like an event, you know, meeting someone it's like mostly has been related to that. And so these, like these, they kinda like amplify that. 

So like, for example, like you're running a business and you have like a specific challenge. Now you're trying to resolve that challenge. You meeting some people that are operating similar businesses. Maybe like already resolve that challenge and that can share the solution with you and the, like, those things, like you're looking at kind of like, so jacks where it's like always those things that, you know, kind of like make the biggest impact. Yeah. That's probably was the biggest like lesson from like relocating. 

Connor: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. That's actually something I think about e-commerce quite a lot. Like I used to be a chef and I'd meet lots of people, you know, customers always coming up and say, That was awful. Why did you say, why did you cook me this? Oh, they say, thanks, thanks for the meal. 

But when you're in a e-commerce business, like it's quite rare that you like meet your actual customers, you know? So I always have this dichotomy of like, you know, is a brick and mortar store going to earn you less money, but I you're going to have a better life maybe in your community you're doing like more change. It's a bit more local. But obviously you're very deep in the e-commerce space, but what do you think about that? 

Alex Fedotoff: I haven't seen a lot of my customers, you know, like we've sold, like man, at this point, it's way above. Like last time I checked, I tried to kind of with calculated because we have many brands and many like stores and many stores, we have sold their clothes. I mean way above like one and a half million like customers, which I mean on the big, on the big scale it's nothing, you know, it's like, United States has a population of 300 million. So it's not a lot. 

From my perspective, like e-commerce gives you, that gives you those tools to like reach a lot of people. And, you know, if you have like a live changing product change, those people lives, like when they're on the big scale, which you can definitely do, like local kind of like in the local community. And you can connect with people like one, one e-commerce just allows you to do it that on a much bigger scale.

His ecommerce journey

Connor: When did you start making online stores? How many of you made? Tell us about that. 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah. So I started was e-commerce probably year, like 2015. I was working like as a freelancer, so we moved from Ukraine to Poland. Like, no, no job. Like, I didn't speak language. We didn't have even like these us, like, you know, no, no, no way to go basically. No, no, nothing to do. 

And like, found some job in a factory. I didn't want to continue that way. You know, it was very like labor job. You dirty like all day long. So I didn't want to do. And I'm like one day, I'm just like, Hey, I don't want to lose this anymore. I had my closest in the back. It very dirty everyday. Like, cause we were making these like cups from like from a clay and like, you know, it was like a wrap. Like you literally brazing like dirt, it's insane.

And so I called the guy, like I'm not coming, I'm not coming tomorrow to work. And like, and that's it, you know? Just finished there and then like what I do now. And so it started was a pretty much as a freelance. So, you know, just like there was a spot, some called e-lance now it's upwork, I just signed up, I didn't speak English. So I had to kind of like learn that as I went and just copying, like, you know, people having their like job districts. And I would like to change few words and like, you know, pretty much started from there. 

And that's where I first got in, like, into like e-commerce. More on the service provider side. Started working with businesses and some of them were like e-commerce. I didn't even know that you can have like e-commerce, but I didn't even know like, oh, there's a good business. You can be located here, your customer can be located here. I mean, I was buying stuff from Amazon before, but like, I didn't, you know, occurred to me that you can be the one, the person that actually behind that, that actually sells that. 

And so that was a big mind shift and I'll try that process. I met actually that guy, literally, he was from UK too. Very sharp guy. He was like very young at that point. Like he was like 18 or 16 and he started this like drop shipping store. And then he hired me because I, you know, I positioned myself as like Facebook advertiser. It was year like 2016 or so. He hired me as through on his ads and pretty much I was seeing like, so he's buying his product, like on Ali express, like for $2 and he's selling it here to Facebook ads for like $15. And I'm like, okay, I know where to buy it. 

Alex Fedotoff

And we started advertising in like first months, we hit like $300,000. Second month, like $500,000 in revenue. So it's scaled up pretty, pretty nice. And I'm like, I know exactly how to do this, so why would I do it for him? You know, like, and so I started to with my store and so that first store on a scale from zero to like 4 million, $4.1 million in sales in like 9 months. Watches, like these were like watches like free plus shipping watches, you know, these kind of like watches it look good, but they're like very poor quality. And they're like from China, obviously, you know? 

So like their cost is like $2, $3 with shipping to customer. So you can kind of like assume the quality of that watch. But people are buying them, because we positioned them as like free plus shipping. So it's kind of like, you don't pay for he product you pay for shipping, but the shipping would be like $12, but people would pay like gladly because they thought, oh, wow it's like such a cool watch. I only have to pay for shipping. And so we sold a lot of those and so that was a big you know, kind of like shift, from doing service provider and then some service provider into like actually more like a business owner. So yeah, that was pretty, pretty interesting experience. 

Connor: Yeah. That's awesome, that's so inspirational. You just, you know, on Upwork didn't even speak English and then you go for it. Just learn the ropes.

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah, man. It's like, I think it's like back against the wall. Like I didn't want to go back to Ukraine. Like I think you've got to have, like, I don't know. Maybe that's how I operate. Maybe that's how everyone operates, but you've got to have like, got to have something that's like, you just don't want to go back to like or you got to have some pain, like, you know, cause humans are very simple. I mean, I mean, humans are complex, but like they do things for two major reasons. Right? One is like eliminate pain. Right. And the second is to gain pleasure, right? 

Let's say you scrolling Instagram or I'm scrolling Instagram. And that cell like that, you know, sends like a, like a dopamine. You have like entertaining, like you're watching the videos, like on, on the TikTok. It's like a dopamine, it's a dopamine. That's in entertainment. It's funny. It's emotion. Right? 

So humans, humans are wired it's like, you know, those two ways. So a lot of the big kind of like, even like you look at the big, like how people immigrated, like from one country to another, a lot of the times is pain.

You know, even like United States, like how the United States, well, I mean, it's immigrants, you know, coming from different countries coming from absolute zero, there's nothing, you know, they're kind of like, what did they even do? And they coming from pain, even like, you look at the like movies about Mafia, right? People were moving from Sicily. Not because like, you know, just like they had nothing else to do. They move because like the mafia there in Sicily was very, very bad. Those people were like, there were like abusing people and killing people.

So that's why people were running from there to America, like, you know, 19 beginning of the 20th century. So that was a pain that motivated people to move. Not, not a lot of those people are in like in a government that positions a lot of their kids, grandkids, you know, are well and established. Or like I'm in Miami here like a lot of people from Cuba, also Cuba was like horrible place. Like when, in sixties, you know, came to power. Like, you know, a lot of people just fled now they establish here, you know, like now they'll also have businesses here and they're doing well for themselves. But a lot of the times, I mean, most of the times, you know, we're just motivated by these two powers, like size or pain, you know, where we are moving away from pain or, you know, we are more in towards pleasure, which basically it kind of like in society. 

If you train the person to kind of adjust, give them those like very easy. I mean, everything is so easy. Like in a developed country, it's like, it's so easy to get access. I mean, you turn on like Netflix. Pain. I mean, pleasure. Like it's, it's like dopamine. I mean, it's like, you know, it's like 10 seconds then I mean, you have video games, you have, you know, social media was all of the like content. That's very like enticing and like clickable and like. Yeah. And then just consumes our attention. Like, oh, I just want to watch this like one video, one tutorial and like three hours later. Oh, wow. Wow. What happened? You know, so they know how to suck you in, but that's, you know, that's how human not humans operate. 

Yeah, I think the important thing is kind of like to realize that like, no one is perfect that we all kind of like, you're not like exempt from this, you know, that like, and so just knowing those things now, you know how to like motivate yourself and how to get, you know, let's say you want to get, you want to accomplish something, then you putting some things in place. If I don't do this, you put some punishment. Right? Okay. So if I don't do, let's say, you know, we have a deal. Okay. I have to, like, I don't know, I have to lose like 10 pounds or 10 kilograms by this day. Or otherwise I'll pay you like $10,000. You know, now I have a pain associated with it, you know, I don't want to pay it then thousand dollars now I'll do my best to, you know, to do what I need to do. So I think understanding that psychology first of all on yourself is so crucial. 

Connor: Yeah. That's probably an excellent place to start if you're doing anything. My first job was a cleanup boy at a butchery. 

Alex Fedotoff: Oh man. Geez. 

Connor: And that was, it's like what you were saying in the factory job. Like you were just dirty all the time telling in blood and like bones, like bits of muscles. Wow. When I went there, I just knew, like, I shouldn't be doing this. So it's like, your mind is saying like, you need to change this. And it wasn't like that bad. Like I'm sure there's worse jobs definitely. 

But I guess people listening to this, if they have something that they can move away from, then that's just going to be more inspiring and get that thing that they want to do start it. But it's actually hard because as you say, like, most people in the developed world, they're not really running away from anything that's too difficult. Like everything is so easy. 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah, man. It's like, okay. Even like you're on a business, right? Like let's say you're on a business and like you mismanage it. Or, you know, something happens. Even the bankruptcy laws, they're not that bad, you know, like, you know what I mean? Like in my country, I mean, that was, you know, different. If you borrow money from someone and you don't get, you don't pay the money back. I mean, it's much worse than that. You know, there are no laws.

In developed countries, you really have to like find either it's like, kind of like on a positive side, like, okay. So kind of like, what drives you? Like what, you know, maybe you want to just like, better life for your family or finding that like the reason why you want to do it. But at the same time, yeah, I think finding like a pain that associated with not achieving what you want as extra factor for you to actually achieve it.

Connor: Yes. It's, I mean, it's going to be difficult to sort of key that into your life, but if you can, then it's going to be very beneficial. Yeah. It's kind of like the fall of the Roman empire. They were at the beginning, you know, very tough, very battle hot. And then they would go and do things that they hated. But then slowly through centuries they become kind of like, oh, we like wine and we like the slippers and the robes and everything sort of falls apart. 

Alex Fedotoff: That's such a good idea. That's such a good example, right? I mean, you see that like was United States versus China, you know, I think China is working a lot harder than us. Maybe, that's just my, like assumption, but I think as the whole culture is different. Like they're pushing people harder. Like, I mean, not in a good way. It's like, I mean, it's coming to this country, but like, you know, it's extreme. Yeah. It's extreme. It's definitely extreme. But I mean the output, I mean, their output is a lot higher, you know?

So the economy is like probably like in 10 years, their economy will surpass American economy. Yeah, we'll see. But I mean, that's that just like different cultures. So I have partially that like, like Eastern European that like kind of like Soviet like mentality where it's like, no matter what you just do it, just keep going. I think that's very beneficial. And also like now it's Western as well, like where it's like, okay. Maybe like not to try to work harder, like let's work smarter, which I say, I think both are like combination of both is. 

His hiring strategy

Connor: How does that come into your consulting company now? 

Alex Fedotoff: I mean, first, like we hired, we hired a lot of people from like Eastern Europe. We can operate with that type of mentality where, you know, we're a direct to people. People can take their feedback. They can get better because of that feedback. And then also, I mean, we have some team members that kind of like, they're like American, you know, they're Americans and they come in, was this like, was like some innovative ideas, you know, on how to do sinks and how to do things differently.

You know, for me personally, I mean, I have this like evolution, which like, before, let's say even like how I was connecting with my team, that was more like, hey, you know, we have to do this, this and this. And then like, hey, why this is not done, you know? And like kind of like more because the whole culture, like Eastern Europe, like Ukraine and Russia, it's more like a suppression. It's like, no one is asking you what you're saying. Just get it fucking done. You know, like it's a different. 

And so whereas like in United States, it's like, okay, so what are you saying? You know, kind of like, how would you resolve it? And it's different, more like collaborative, you see that even like I was reading about this and it makes so much sense. So now there's like a war between like Russia and Ukraine and like in Russia, it's like, it's so interesting. I mean, obviously they have the fire power, they have a little big tanks. They have all of the like guns and stuff like that, but I mean, they have like, very like vertical kind of like a hierarchy. 

So it's like let's say some general on top says, okay, so here's what we've got to do. We have to do this, this and this right. Then no matter what, like, I mean, all of the people, like now I'm kind of like on the bottom, they like do it, right? Like, hey, okay. We have to get to this point and we have to, like, we have to shoot here, here and here. But the problem was that is like the battlefield always evolves. Right. And the battlefields are not like always created equal, you know, some battlefield there, you have some mountains, you have some, like, you know, more like flats, you have some rivers, you have like different kind of like factors.

And so if you it's like, if you kinda like continue to do exactly what being told, it might be totally wrong. Because like, you're not adapting to the current environment that's happening versus like your friend has adopted a lot of things from like developed countries armies where they work in a more like smaller decentralized units. So there's like few people in that unit. And you know, they kind of like operate in the more like, independent way, more like adoptable.

We wanted to go this route, but actually this route seems like dangerous based on the current circumstances. So we got, let's go this route. And so they're adaptable because of that. So that's more like a vaster and kind of like, you know, like mindset. And so that's, you know, that's the thing that the big difference kind of like, you know, that's why, like the, eventually the cold war was lost by Soviet union because it did bring a lot of that innovation. 

So in our business, that's basically what we do. Like we were trying to just get everyone's ideas on how we can do certain things better with bringing in like consultants for our e-commerce business, for our consulting business, you know, people that have actually achieved what we want to achieve. And we asking their opinion to kind of like, just learn the best practices and not trying to like figure everything out, like by ourselves, because that's like the most expensive thing. 

And I think that open-mindedness is so important, kind of like that your way is not necessarily like the best way. There might be some people that just have like a better way. And as long as you're open minded, you willing to learn, you'll be making a lot of progress.

Connor: And that's brilliant. Wow. That is like the best. I really agree with that. A hundred percent. Yeah. I just directed a short film. It just makes me think a bit like is something I've learned from being a filmmaker is like, you will have the producer and the director and they always like, they're very authoritative and like, you don't want to listen to them cause they really elitist. But then they say, Yeah, it doesn't make any sense. You go, hey, sorry, please, cause you maybe do it like this. 

And that's something that I did in my short film I just made is like, I said to everybody, we had a small group, maybe 20 people. And at the beginning of the film, I said, anybody, no matter if you're just here for half an hour, if you just hit to do one small job, I want you to come to me and say, I just saw something that's wrong. Actually, a more clear example is I made a documentary on Monday for a client and the client himself said, hey, the microphone is in the shot. And I just said, thank you. And I move it. I'm not going to be like, oh, well I'm the director. So just let me do that job. I mean, I would have been an idiot to do that. So what you're saying is very, very valuable. 

Alex Fedotoff: That's a good point. That's a good point. Yeah, I think it's yeah. Cause I was, you know, kind of like always curious about these companies that are like, let's say there's like a company, you see this, like, I mean, these are like unicorns, right? Like the company started, like, let's say this year, like they get funding, like let's say hundred million. And then like three years, the company is sold for like $1 billion. And you think you're like, wow, geez. You know what? These people know that I don't know. Right. Like obviously, okay, there is money. Right. But I mean, raising money is like half of the half of the, you know, business. It's like, okay, you raised money, but now what to do with it.

But they bring like the best people that they can find for each, like for each. Right. Like, so they don't start flat. I was watching this like interviews, like Jeff Bezos. Right. And he's like, I dunno, what year was that? And like the journalists, like asking him, oh, it's like, he's saying, okay.

We are considering like getting into like cloud industry and this industry and journalists like, oh, like, how do you even like, want to do that? I mean, like, you have no experience that in this. And he's like, you have to understand that, you know, if they're coming some industry, like we're not coming, like, you know, flat, like we are coming, like, and we are getting the best people that have already like, had experience in this industry that have done things that we want to do.

And then we're giving those people, like all of the necessary tools and resources, so they can do like, even by their sayings. And that just makes so much sense. Right. Because that is a shortcut. Right. Like how, like some businesses go from like zero to like hundred mill in like two years and not their business, like never go like past like a hundred thousand dollars a year, you know, because like, as much as we like to saying that we are smart. And like, and kind of like, we all have ego and stuff like that. It's only when it's collective like intelligence, when you bringing like great people, like together that everyone brings something to the table and compliments each other. This is where amazing things are happening. 

Secrets he teach from his eCommerce Scaling Secrets

Connor: Is that probably one of the secrets that you teach in e-commerce secrets? 

Alex Fedotoff: Team building is one of the, like, I mean, we have people like, you know, I mean let's say one person, like one business owner, like works very hard structures like we have one client that had like one virtual assistant and he was operating a business. He was doing like last year, he's done like $7 million in revenue, pretty much him and his assistant. Like, that's it, two people. And so this year, just like two weeks back he sold his business for $3 million cash, basically like just one employee. 

A lot of on certain stage, I mean, you can get to certain level by yourself. No questions about it. I mean, you can grow like a seven figure business by yourself. Maybe it was on assistance for sure. You know, like I did it, like, I know so many people that did it, but then at some stage it's like, you can only do so much. You only have so many hours in a day and also you cannot be good at everything. Right. You got to like kind of like let other people do what they're good at so that you can focus on higher level activities. 

And so that's one of the things that you know, we help entrepreneurs with like, once it get to certain stage. Okay. So how to hire, when to hire, who to hire, and pretty much putting those people in place in their business so they can like dispatch and they can have more free time. They can focus on higher level stuff. 

Connor: That's a great point. That's kind of what you did when you jumped on upwork. 

[00:30:09] Alex Fedotoff: Yeah. I mean, first you've kind of like jumped and like, you're trying to figure it out. And like, you kinda like, you know, you're doing a lot of things strong, like, cause you don't know what you're doing, but then eventually it's like, you, you got to evolve, you got to like, okay, so you kind of like reflect on yourself again would have this, but then, I really suck at this, you know, so, okay. So who can I bring? What can compensate for my all like deficiencies. And then bringing in those people. 

And so I started as a freelancer myself, I was working like 16 hours a day, like 18 hours a day, like kind of like you know, that's also maybe part of that, like Eastern European mentality. Like you can work like zero long hours. Very hard, like doing some stupid stuff, like stupid tasks. But I mean, putting a lot of work in, but then at the same time, you know, I burn out, you know, like, I'm like, oh, I can't do this anymore. I don't wanna do this anymore. I don't want this. 

And so that's the stage where you start hiring and when you hiring, like probably first you hire you, you want like get right. Like you probably will be hiring. But you got to still like, even if you do like phone hires, so, which is inevitable, I think you still have to kind of like, just learn from that and just continue to look for people because oftentimes, you know, one of the things that I remember I hired this person, you know, so our e-commerce business, like e-commerce business was blowing up. I was just like here and I'm like, okay, let's hire this guy. And like I say, he can do stuff better than me. You know, and instead of like, kinda like properly training him and keep keeping him accountable. 

Okay. So here's what needs to be done. Okay. Do it, you know, and like, and that didn't work cause you know, like two weeks in I'm seeing, you know, our revenue has dropped, like it's a disaster and I'm like, okay. You know, fired the guy. And it was very painful, you know, to do that because like that just, you know, there's like a human brain has this like inconsistency, consistency. So it's like, you don't want to be like, that's why, like for instance even if someone is in a bad relationship, like abusive relationship, they don't want to get out of that relationship because it's kind of like, aw, but you know, I know him for so long time and it's like, I've been doing this for so long time. Like, why would I, you know it's okay. Maybe he'll change, maybe she'll change. And like, usually people don't change. So. 

But like, I think so, like when you building your team, most likely you will do those, like hiring mistakes and, but it's okay. You know, you do them as long as you learn from them, like next, your next hire hopefully we'll be like smarter. Like we'll be by their higher than you did before. And so, as long as you do that, kind of a gradual evolution, because for me, what happened, like I hired that person and it didn't work out and then like, I don't want to hire anyone. I will work, like delay just dropped and like, and like, you know what I mean? It just like trying to push it. Okay. And then I guess another breaking point, because you know, you only can work so much and then like, okay, I have to hire someone. 

Alex Fedotoff

And then you hiring someone to hopefully do better decisions. So for me, like, I mean we hire, so like last year, and I mean, last year, I already had experienced, you know, like last year, like I hired it's probably like seven people in like this year, from the beginning of the year. And we probably let go like six people. And like, you know, I think that just part of the game, but every time it's faster, I think what's more important. It's like every time it stops there. 

Sometimes, you know, you hire someone, you keep them like three, four months and then you figure out that's not good. And then you decide to keep them for another one, two months. Now you just wasted six months versus like, okay, it's due four weeks. If there's some red flags, you know, it's better to just kind of like split ways. So this person just got it and like, okay, you know, learn from that. And just next time do it smarter. But at least you're not wasting time, which is, you know, you never can get it back. 

Connor: Bringing it back to myself about the short film, I had a director of photography. They in charge of the camera and the lights and the first guy I brought on every time we talked about the film, he wanted to change my idea, you know, but I wrote the film. I have the consistency bias and I'm like, he's a good guy. I've worked with him before. It will be fine. We'll make it work even though every meeting he was like, I don't think you should do it like that. And maybe it will be, it would be better if it was slower. And I go, but I've been making this thing for, I've been writing this film for so long and I just want to do it my way. And then I bring on a new director of photography and he just says, whatever you want to do, I'll do it. And he did it so well and it looks so beautiful I'm so happy that happened.

Yes, absolutely. I can send it to you. It's based on my experience as a bartender and it's just a simple, simple story, but I wish I'd heard about the consistency bias first because I definitely held onto the first director of photography for the too long. 

Alex Fedotoff: Oh man, we all have egos, you know, like it's heavy. He goes have this, like all of these biases, you know, I think like this, like pain, right. Which comes down back to pain, like pain it also teaches you something, right? Like, let's say, for example, for me, like I had this, like, so I wouldn't, I was working in a factory, you know, I was, that was a pain, you know, and like, I never want to work like a labor job anymore, like in my life, you know, or like lay there on, like, I was still like, as, as I was starting as a, as a freelancer, I was like, looking for jobs. I got the job at a software company. 

And I was like a sales sales guy and like, they basically, I mean, they basically fired to me, like sort of for like no reason. And like that is like very unpleasant emotion and I'm like, I will never, I never want to have this like pain again. So when these painful experiences happen, you know, as long as it's kind of like we learned from that, but, I mean, I don't know how to even like your place, those experiences, right? Like how can you read about this in a book, right. Will you take it seriously? Will you take it to the same extent as when it was such an emotional type of, kind of experience and it got to you like so much? Like, you know, so I don't think you can replace it. I think we all have to eat our portion of shit.

Connor: Yeah. I agree. I don't think, I don't think it's a hobby cause you can read the best books and learn everybody's mistakes beforeyou but it's about being able to remember that mistake and realize that you're in that mistake at the time. That's another layer to be it's quite difficult. 

Alex Fedotoff: On the other side of that is like I was reading about somewhere, like so you're not, let's say you're not experienced at something while you're trying to learn. You make mistakes and then over time, no matter what you do, I mean, like you getting bothered at it, getting bothered at it until you bother out of getting better. Yeah. And that at some point, like you might sing that you've seen it all. You you've, you've done it all. Like you've done all the mistakes. This is the way this is the only way it's works. I know it works. This is it. Oh man. 

Like pretty much the whole like kind of like evolution to whole life is like, it's a fight, you know, it's like, not even the fight, but it's like trying to find like, trying to take full advantage of, of, of like of your capabilities, if your brain, while not being like, like afraid to it. You know, like, cause it's wants to, it wants to fuck you up in so many different ways. Like, and so just being aware of. At the same time you aware like that other people also have all of these, like, you know.

Connor: That is hard to remember. 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah. That's the video game, man. 

Connor: Yeah. Yeah. You think that everybody's perfect. And when they make a mistake, it's like, hey, why did you do this? 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah, yeah. I was thinking like, I wasn't even like, cause you know, for instance like when you build a company, It's like, I mean, you hire a lot of people. Like we have like 40, 40 people in our camera now, but it will just, people are not created equal. Right? All of these people, like some people you have to, you have to talk about like this way. Some people have to talk about like, in this way, some people, you have to be more direct. Some people you have to be more soft with some people you have to like, I don't know, have like weekly calls. Some people you might just have like one call. Every like six months, you know, then they're like, basically self-sufficient, that's kind of like adaptability. 

I think one of the most like important like factors, like some, one of the most like important like qualities to like adapt to different like personalities and being able to kind of like collaborate and still make things work. Kind of like what was different people not treating people like before I was saying, I saw. You can just treat everyone the same. Okay. So here's the task. What needs to be done when it needs to be done? Just like very direct, like, very like, and this is why this was not done because, you know, because maybe some people need more explanation because some people maybe need examples. 

Some people maybe need like role playing. Some people need like more like, I dunno, case studies, like they kind of need to understand about, some people need more coaching. Some people need more mentoring. Some people learn about things differently. Some people are bothered with numbers. Some people bother with creative. Some people bother with like sound like where it was voice or like some people bother with like other means of communication. Yeah. I think being like flexible and understanding. Everyone is like different things, such important. 

Scaling brands to seven and eight figures

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah. That's our special like say even like six fair, like, so someone does, like, let's say 30, 50k per month, we helping them to scale to like 200, 300, 500 per month, some 1 million per month kind of not starting the visit. Like, I mean, starting the business. I mean, it's not our core kind of like special league. We usually like to buy the business at a certain stage and then to grow and also do the work with people that already have some momentum, just one kind of what's going up.

Connor: I mean, from this conversation today, it's pretty clear to me that you know how to evolve things and learn new things.

Alex Fedotoff: I might need something simple. It's one thing to say and other things to do, you know, I'm kinda like, I'm all saying the battle, like every day, trying to get better. Doing a lot of things wrong, you know? Like it's like everyone can say something, right. I can say something. And it sounds like, you know, like, I know what I'm talking about. Like, you know what I mean? But like, oh yeah. Like to get in shape, you have to go to the gym like three times a week and like eat this and this. And like, I can, I can disperse advice like this. I know, like I read like two books and like, I can be like an expert. 

But then another thing, whether you can execute it on a daily basis. I was, I was struggling like, man, like I came from like from Europe to United States. I dunno, maybe it's food or something like worst quality here. So I gained like, like 20 kilograms of fat, like very fat. And tried to lose it like two years. I couldn't lose it, but I was like, yeah, it's like, kind of like try these supplements, try different sayings. And it kind of like, yeah, I've read a few books. I know what they need to do with, you know, it's not like kind of like urgent. And then I just hired the coach and he doesn't give me.

You know, it doesn't give me the ability to single. He's just like, okay, you come here this time, you gotta be here. I paid him for like, you know, for like months upfront, like two, two months upfront, I paid it. So now I'm made it. And now, now I have to actually do it, you know? But like, there's a big difference between like, talking about something and actually doing it. And, and then there's another difference between like doing it consistency. There's like a certain layer. So I say what people kind of like a lot of people that in our industry, like that have figured out like, like even dropshippers, you know, they figure out like how to sell it, for example, theory on how to sell something.

But then they having issues with actually fulfilling. Like, you know, you can sell the product, you can market the product, which is cool, but then you have to actually deliver the product, make sure it's good quality and make sure the shipping times are acceptable. So, and there's a big difference between these things. Yeah. I don't know if that makes sense. It's kind of like. 

Connor: That makes complete sense. The dropshipping business isn't going to be necessarily consistent. Yeah. And you have to keep that momentum going. 

Alex Fedotoff: Yeah. And you have to also evolve that business, right? Like kind of like drop shipping to drop your shipping business today won't necessarily be like successful drop shipping business tomorrow. Like, I mean one Facebook update or like, you know, so the business has to evolve. That's that's daily evolution that everyone should kind of just embrace, you know, what do we have good times? Everyone has good times. 

When you have good times, it's like, oh yeah. It's like, oh, it's a bullet. And it's like we enjoy it. And like and it's all good. But then when we have like bad times, this is where like, like you realize that even like during, like for your, for instance, you know, I know a lot of people like e-commerce space. They scale few stores. They make like million, 2 million, 5 million to buy a Lamborghini life is good. Then move to Dubai. You've probably seen those. Right. And that's it. Life is good. Right. But then what happens? 

I mean, things don't last forever, you know, like two months and like something happens and like, this is not old, like, and now there've been like, kind of like chilling and not really looking to like evolve. So as say life in a way it's like, it's this like consistent like pain, like consistent like struggle. You know, if you, if you look at it that way, that's I'm trying to look at it this way like not to get complacent. Cause that's the worst thing. Especially if you, once you've had some, some sort of like success, it's easier to get, to get complacent.

So you have to find another mountain to climb, you know, like mountain to climb another challenge. Find another pain, but then it's consciously kind of like forcing yourself to do uncomfortable saints because you know, like it's just like to get to the next level. It's like doing things that you probably haven't done before. And that's like those things that was probably getting embarrassed, like at some point that like, ah, you know, that's why most people are just that's fine. That's just so good. You know, you're just like, there's no effort. There's no sacrifice. There is no pain associated with it. 

Lessons he learned from his family

Alex Fedotoff: It's probably, yeah, that's my mom's like, so I grew up who was at my mom, cause like she was, you know, we're like very poor and like she had to go like, she basically, she was abroad. Like I was like from the age 7 till the age of like 15. And she was working as basically as a nanny, like as she was taking care of like older people, you know, and one thing she said, like, I remember like, I mean, she still she's still alive. 

But like, I remember she, she said like, she was working like was like wealthy families, like all their older, like families, but there were like wealthy people and, in Israel and she said that those people had like a lot of gold, a lot of like, oh, they're like free people. You know, a lot of cash said that like, those people were like leaving kind of like gold or like some, some like a jewelry, like on purpose and some places just to, just to check if she would have begging them, she, she never took anything. You know, she never, she never took anything from them. She worked with them like for, I don't know, five, five years. 

And then like, I mean, they died. I mean, there were look old, like above like 80 years old or 90, like very old. So they died, but that's the reputation that she had. Like, you know, that she was good with them. She maintained that. And like she found like when, when they died, basically she found another job, like was in like three days. And I think that thought talking to me like a lesson to them, like, you can fuck up many sinks, but like, if you fuck up your reputation, that's it game over. Like that's, I mean, obviously, okay. Like there's just like Jordan Belfort. I mean, he scammed a lot of people. Like now he has podcasts, no one cares anymore. Right. 

But like, I mean, he has a lot of great stuff. He has a lot of great strategies, tactics and stuff, but, but like, I mean, that's kind of like a pass this over time. But I dunno. It's like, I think that like reputation in general, it's like, okay, you can make like $50,000. Can you make a hundred thousand dollars? Okay. But like, whether that same, like worse, like the ruin, your reputation, like a lot of people do as this right now was like NFTs, you know, these projects like sketchy projects, like crypto, like is that even like war set, like, you know what I mean? 

And so I think, yeah, maintaining your reputation. Like, no matter what, I don't think I have like any, anything, like maybe I said something to someone, but it's like, I just, I don't think I have anything to kind of like, do all, fuck I regret I done this and should not have done this. Like, I mean, maybe a little sinks, but I was saying that's important thing to kind of like, cause then like, I mean, if you have a reputation over time, that gives you like lots, lots of like opportunities. Yeah. I think that's probably the biggest, the biggest one. 

Connor: Yeah. That's a really, really nice lesson. 

Alex Fedotoff: In any industry, you have your reputation, right? People know you for something, obviously. It's like, it's kind of like, you can build this reputation for it for many years, but like also you can join it, like in was one bad like situation, you know what I mean? It's like one bad case. I had like conflicts with my mom and it was my dad. And like, I was like, oh, it's like, I don't care what people saying. But like, indeed, like inside, you know, I'm like, I was just saying this to kind of like, make them angry, kids do, but like, yeah, inside, I think there's like some how to say the moral, like, but all mature, like kind of like where, you know, what's good and, you know, what's bad. 

And I mean, you're trying to do like, what's good. Like you try not to do what's bad. It's like, I think every person was like, was decent. Like upbringing kind of like knows those limits. You're not going above them. Because even like, in that moment, I was watching the interviews like Jordan Belfort is like, said the way he got into like those like massive scams is like, oh, check. I mean, it didn't like, I mean, it didn't start like massive scandal, like hundreds of millions of dollars that they scam, like investors. It's like one saying, oh, maybe it's like, oh, maybe it's just like, oh, I'll just, I would just tell them like thousand dollars force this. Oh, they buy it. Okay. There's no pain. There is no consequence, right? Oh, okay. Next time it let's do it like $5,000. Okay. No pain, no consequence. Okay, cool. Let's do it. Then let's do a hundred, this, a meal. And then it goes from there. 

So the human, like another like thing human habits. Like yeah. Especially with those kinds of like things that have like consequences. Like there's no consequences for bad sane. Humans will continue to do them. It's like in Singapore, I don't know if you've been to Singapore, so you just spit like a chewing gum on the street. Yeah. I've heard that, you know, there's a sentence, right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's, it that's easy, right? I mean, don't chew it on the street, like, you know, keep it through yourself, you know what I mean? So it's like, I think that's how humans operates. There are certain things that like the consequences, like how they call it, like the carrot and the stick. I think that's where that's old school, but that's just like, okay, don't do this, do this and incentivizing the good behavior.

Connor Curlewis
Connor Curlewis

Former Content Producer

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