[quote style=”boxed”]Find a need. Figure out how to solve it. Then do it. A lot of people try to overcomplicate it, but it’s kind of straight forward.[/quote]
Billy Murphy is a serial entrepreneur who’s created several online businesses. He’s a former professional poker player who started , a poker training site, in 2009. In 2011 he started launching and acquiring e-commerce stores, and ended up with about 20 of them. He recently launched , which is an e-commerce training site that helps people create successful e-commerce stores. He also runs the popular blog .
What are you working on right now?
I just launched EcomLab. It’s a video based e-commerce training site to help people launch their own e-commerce stores, and help increase store profits. We teach everything from how to find a profitable niche, sourcing from suppliers, how to buy and sell e-commerce stores, SEO, PPC, conversion optimization, email marketing, and more.
Where did the idea for EcomLab come from?
I started buying and starting e-commerce stores back in 2011. It was hard to figure out everything since I had no experience in that space yet. I spent hours and hours searching for the information I needed, but couldn’t find it all in one place. Fast forward to August 2012, and I made a post on my blog: . I got about 100 emails from people asking the same questions I was asking when I got started. I still didn’t know where to send people for the answers, because what I thought they needed didn’t exist. I decided to look into solving the need by creating what eventually became EcomLab.
How do you make money?
We make money from subscriptions that members pay to get access to our videos. We put out new videos every week, so their monthly subscription gives them access to all new content.
What does your typical day look like?
The first thing I do in the morning is go to the gym. After that, I usually start my work day. I wouldn’t say I have a typical day— really depends what’s most important to work on, which changes a lot day to day with a start-up. I’ll usually take a bit of a break in the evening, and then continue working at night, or doing some reading or writing until I go to sleep.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Find a need. Figure out how to solve it. Then do it. A lot of people try to overcomplicate it, but it’s kind of straight forward.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
More and more people are starting their own businesses. I feel like people are finally “getting it”, that they can create more value, and make more money by launching their own businesses that provide value.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I did some lawn care one summer because I was told I “needed some jobs on my resume”. I learned that doing something you don’t want to do sucks and I didn’t need a job on my resume.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d spend almost all of my time in the beginning focused on acquiring knowledge, instead of worrying about where I could make the most money. Knowledge scales more quickly than money.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen to those you aspire to be like, and ignore everyone else. Most people listen to random people who don’t know what they’re talking about and wonder why they don’t achieve what they want to achieve. A lot of times it’s because they’re taking advice from the wrong people.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Working on too many projects at once cost me a lot of time and money. I sold off a number of projects that weren’t my priority so I could focus more.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Some sort of entrepreneurial hub where only approved information is listed. The “make money” space online is hilariously bad. Most people teaching about how to make money don’t know how to make money. A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs don’t know who to look to for advice, so often they just follow whatever “make money” blogs or articles they come across. A lot of them are suboptimal, or flat out wrong. If there was some sort of hub where every good piece of content was posted to and had to be approved by a board of top entrepreneurs, it’d make it much more efficient for aspiring entrepreneurs to know where to go for good content.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Improve people’s education. To do this, I’d eliminate college, and maybe high school too. People should have to learn real things, not memorize what books teach them. Trying to achieve a piece of paper is producing a lot of really low level thinkers.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I once owned 1 million sports cards.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
I don’t use many tools— I need to start. I like Evernote.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How to Get Rich, by Felix Dennis. It sounds scammy, but it’s not. It’s written by a guy who made a crazy amount of money, and is very open about his experience.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Neil Patel and Noah Kagan, because they’re both extremely smart and produce content that helps entrepreneurs.
Elon Musk — because he’s a good reminder of how tiny the ideas you’re working on are, and the fact that we should try to think bigger.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Yesterday— I watched a funny youtube video. I spent too much time on there.
Who is your hero, and why?
I don’t have a single hero, but I look up to a lot of entrepreneurs who become successful by taking some chances and working hard.
What is the number 1 error most aspiring entrepreneurs make?
They spend all their time trying to figure out how to make themselves money, instead of trying to figure out how to solve problems for people. If they solved people’s problems, they’d make all the money they want.
Why don’t more people take the jump to becoming an entrepreneur?
They incorrectly identify starting a business as risky. They don’t understand that it’s actually much riskier to spend their lives working for someone else who controls their future. The way the math works out, if someone is halfway successful in business they can usually make substantially more money in a business than in a job, both because of leverage, creating assets, etc…
Billy Murphy on Twitter: @BillyMurph
Billy Murphy on Facebook:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.