Every one of us on this planet runs on the same 24 hour clock. What we do with our time defines us.
James Yanyuk is an American entrepreneur, born in 1995 who graduated University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) Commonwealth Honors College. James graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a concentration in Artificial Intelligence. While a full-time student, James founded Berkshire Trade – an Amazon company. He became an FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) seller and jumped on the wagon at the right time. As an Amazon seller, he gained insight of the eCommerce mega platform and how it works on the backend. Daily tasks, challenges, bugs, problems & other programmable instances stood out to him as a Computer Science major. He constantly worked on various developments to make selling on Amazon more efficient, this led him to later develop a breakthrough software that thousands of Amazon sellers use today: Vendrive. A CRM tool that changes the game for managing workflow, obtaining product analytics and serves as a redesigned dashboard. Yanyuk’s interests evolve around software development and the virtual world. He does love to maintain a strict fitness schedule, so he is not a complete nerd. Living healthy and staying fit is a big part of his life. In 2018, his dreams grew bigger and the immense knowledge he obtained through experience was ready to pour into a new mold. Aura, an even more powerful tool for Amazon sellers that acts as an artificially intelligent software, fully automated, responsible for repricing limitless quantity of products. James believes that this new company will open a door of endless possibilities to selling online on various eCommerce platforms. Managing SKU’s will suddenly be a breeze and the sellers’ focus be shifted on marketing their products. James Yanyuk teamed up with Artem Martynyuk, another entrepreneur, to take Aura off the ground. Let it be no surprise if you come along James Yanyuks’ name on the news amongst other big names, such as Elon Musk & Jess Bezos.
Where did the idea for Aura come from?
The repricing tools currently on the market were lacking in both features and scope of their roadmaps. I knew I could apply my skill set in Computer Science and Machine Learning to build an intelligent repricer that could learn from and adapt to sellers on the listing level to better optimize your profit margins. I also have plans for implementing a Private Label pricing tool, to find the optimal price point for new products entering the Amazon marketplace.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day begins at my warehouse, where I either handle an incoming shipment, arrange for pickup of an outgoing shipment, or handle returned merchandise. Once that’s out of the way, I shift over to my home office where I work on developing Aura and coordinating with my team remotely.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I take advantage of my skill set in full-stack software development. With the skills I’ve learned through obtaining my degree in Computer Science, I’m capable of building out scalable web and mobile apps. I can take a project from the stage of design and software architecture, to polished product with a full dev-ops pipeline and testing in place.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend of Artificial Intelligence excited me. It’s the frontier that will make products more intelligent, efficient, and and autonomous in many cases. Machine Learning will change the world, and we’re starting by applying this technology to the ecommerce industry.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I use Google Calendar to structure my week and will review the schedule of each day the night before to make sure I can jump into a productive workflow that following morning. Blocking out time for deep work sessions also helps me solve tough problems and work through development at a quick pace. Coffee certainly helps as well. 😉
What advice would you give your younger self?
Just do it. There were many ventures I was looking to start at a young age, but I was always nervous about timing and doubted my capabilities. What I’ve learned is everyone starts somewhere, and it’s best to pick one simple idea and then iterate on it as you go. As an added bonus, you have far fewer obligations at a young age. No mortgage to pay or kids to bring to Soccer practice. So just go for building that next app, or starting that service business you’ve been thinking about starting. If all else fails, it will have been an incredible learning experience along the way that you won’t get anywhere else.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
One of my important truths is that wealth is measured by your control over time. Every one of us on this planet runs on the same 24 hour clock. What we do with our time defines us.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read. As stereotypical as it may sound coming from an entrepreneur, books – or their many alternative forms – are the key to knowledge. Start with reading a book a month on a topic in entrepreneurship, business, or technology, as see where that takes you.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Building an audience, engaging with it, and developing a product around the common pain points that we heard has been a strategy that has worked well for us. This way you start with the problem, and work your way up to a solution. A common pitfall for many looking to build a product or start a business is starting with a solution, and then deciding whether the problem it was originally meant to solve is significant enough.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One problem I had was perfectionism, which led to poor time management. At times, perfectionist tendencies can and the attention to detail that they bring can make your product stand out from the rest. Other times, it can lead to spending too much time on insignificant functionality or details. Perfect example would be spending a few hours going back and forth on the style of a few buttons in our app. Knowing where time is best spent in the grand scheme of things is critical, and I’m now better able to move on and focus on the bigger picture as I build out tools for Amazon sellers.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m a firm believer in the fact that execution is everything. An idea is just that – an idea. Here’s one that I’d love to see built out. A platform for managing virtual assistants. Remote work is taking off, and only recently have people begun to take advantage of virtual assistants to delegate tasks. Those who do see the incredible ROI once they build out a good system for managing their virtual assistants. There needs to be one platform where you can track the hours of your VAs, communicate with them through voice and text chat, have conference calls, build our project management pipelines (think Trello), and have a system where you can search for and hire pre-vetted VAs. I’d subscribe.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A membership at a local fitness club. Maintaining a regular exercise routine gives you more energy throughout the day, and boosts memory, alertness, and more. It also boosts your level of endorphins which are proven to help manage stress. Having a busy schedule as an entrepreneur, while wearing many hats, I find this critically important. At a time, I also balanced working on my business alongside completing a bachelor’s degree. Managing stress was definitely a priority.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I mentioned this earlier, but this definitely goes to Google Calendar. Scheduling has increased my productivity tenfold. Any meetings, appointments, or personal obligations will be scheduled in immediately. I will also try and plan for the following week. I set deadlines for myself, as well as goals, and make sure to review progress towards their completion at the end of that week. I also try to plan for the following day on a more micro-level the night before, that way I can jump straight into a productive day the next morning without any anxiety about what needs to be done.
What is the one book that you recommend everyone should read and why?
I highly recommend everyone read “Zero to One“. It quite literally lays out a roadmap for how to build the future. It’s a short read, but will change the way you look at building a company. It goes over topics such as creating economies of scale, and highlights the importance of network effects.
What is your favorite quote?
“You want to be extra rigorous about making the best possible thing you can. Find everything that’s wrong with it and fix it. Seek negative feedback, particularly from friends.” – Elon Musk
This falls in line with my drive to build the best possible experience for our users. Soliciting genuine feedback, however difficult it may be to internalize at times, is a key factor to success. Use that as your roadmap.
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