There is no such thing as work-life balance, everything is life.
Eric Toczko is the Founder and President of ShineOn.com, a New Jersey based jewelry manufacturing company founded in 2016. ShineOn Jewelry produces its jewelry completely in the USA by a team of 30 hard working mothers, but ShineOn is just as much a technology and E-commerce company as it is a jewelry company.
As struggling entrepreneur, Eric Toczko started his business from a basement in Brooklyn, working all day and sleeping on a bare mattress at night. Through persistence and fate, Toczko’s business succeeded, but not without first being met with major challenges and once in a lifetime experiences. One of those experiences involved raising a significant amount of venture capital, only to have the business sabotaged and almost lose everything.
Determined not to fail, Eric Toczko mastered digital marketing and E-commerce, quickly grew sales, fired the entire staff of the company, pivoted the business to meet his more ethical vision for the brand, hired 30 mothers in New York at fair, living wages, and has successfully cemented his comeback. Eric works tirelessly towards leaving a legacy of empathetic insights into the pains and pleasures of entrepreneurship.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I saw a gap in the market for the on-demand jewelry production, which would allow digital marketers to create and sell jewelry with zero upfront cost and zero risk, thereby unlocking cashflow for them to scale their ads and offers.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I have the same routine every morning which includes 90-120 minutes to myself and involves exercising, cold showers, tea and meditation.
After that I re-prioritize and decide what the most important things to do that day are, and shift my calendar around to ensure I get those done.
If I go to the factory- I always take 10 minutes to hang out with the group of mothers our organization employees and see what’s new with their kids, the town, and to ask them what the newest and coolest designs are.
Then I will meet with my creative and seller management teams to see which projects they are working on.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My management style is a little different, I like to create a “farm system” for ideas. I train my key employees to think like startup founders and spend most of my time showing them how I think about the future and current projects. Over time these employees naturally start coming up with their own ideas for new products and lines of business which we then verify together through actual testing. Of course, I train them how to execute on these ideas as well.
What’s one trend that excites you?
How on-demand manufacturing is creating incredible new opportunities for digital marketers to sell physical products.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Fasting for up to 24 hrs at a time. I feel it dramatically increases my focus and creativity, and has a bit of a spiritual element as well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
1. There is no such thing as work-life balance, everything is life.
2. 90% of the things we worry about never come to fruition.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I like to get vulnerable with employees and partners very early in the relationship. I want them to feel that they can open up and be their weird selves around me.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Creating remarkable products and offers. And by remarkable I mean, that people actually leave “remarks” about them.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We blew $1 Million in a year on a business model that had very little margin. It was like lighting a duffel bag of cash on fire.
I had come to learn that no matter your business is, it comes down to the nuts and bolts; specifically, margin and cash flow. Your creative ideas are totally worthless until you understand this.
Originally we were creating our jewelry products expensively in Thailand, and it took up to 5 weeks for the customer to get their items. We started scaling up fast and our first $5 Million in sales were not profitable to us in any way. The business was burning cash fast and we were down to our last 200k.
I took a hail mary in October 2017 and took the last of our cash and bought a few machines and setup a small jewelry production operation in a small town in Hackettstown, NJ. Over a year we learned how to profitably create a super high quality piece of jewelry within a production time of only two days. ShineOn has now become known worldwide for having the highest quality on-demand jewelry with the highest profit margins.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Anything related to longevity or anti-aging.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a $30 reel for my Macbook power cord. Allows me to travel cleanly without any access cord flying around.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I highly recommend Monday.com. It is like Slack but for project management.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless classic and you will learn more about business by reading this than any MBA course.
My reasoning for this is that I have learned business is mostly about how you treat others and influence them, and there were no schools teaching that to us when we were growing up.
What is your favorite quote?
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Entrepreneurship can be a battle with your own emotions.
- The best thing you can do yourself or your business is improve your brain health.
- You need to take time for yourself in the morning without distraction, the rest of your day is serving others.