Sandeep Kella is the Co-Founder and CEO of Assembly, with vast expertise on SaaS tools geared for starting, growing and running Shopify, Amazon and e-commerce storefronts.
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Assembly – eCommerce in one place. eCommerce growth platform powered by software, community, and data.
3 Value Bombs
1) As an entrepreneur, it is possible to be successful and live a happy and healthy life simultaneously.
2) E-commerce will consistently grow over the next few years.
3) Start your business now. Don’t overthink it. Starting a business nowadays has become a lot easier.
ZipRecruiter: When you post a job on ZipRecruiter, their matching technology finds qualified candidates and invites them to apply! Try it for free at ZipRecruiter.com/fire.
HubSpot: Listen, learn, and grow with the HubSpot Podcast Network at HubSpot.com/podcastnetwork!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How E-Commerce is Unlocking the Inner-Entrepreneur in Us All with Sandeep Kella
[1:42] – Sandeep shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- He believes that having balance in life is much more gratifying and sustainable. As an entrepreneur, it is possible to be successful and live a happy and healthy life simultaneously.
[3:10] – Sandeep talks about having a balanced life as an entrepreneur.
- He grew up in Michigan.
- In college, he started a couple of businesses and focused on acquiring companies.
- He learned about e-commerce, and that lead him to create Assembly about two years ago.
- He has three kids, and it is important to him that he spend quality time with them.
- He is working on having more fun and cultivating the things that he enjoys.
[5:46] – What is Assembly, and what are you building at Assembly?
- Over the last ten years, starting a business has been more accessible.
- Assembly is a business app that helps entrepreneurs have a better user experience to focus on what they love to do.
- Assembly will help you save time and money.
[8:13] – Sandeep talks about the first business that they got involved with.
- They acquired Helium10.
- It is excellent software, and it has an incredible community.
- They inspire people to become an e-commerce merchant, and they give their clients tools to be successful.
[10:02] – A timeout to thank our sponsors, ZipRecruiter and HubSpot!
[12:21] – Sandeep talks about the rapid growth of e-commerce.
- E-commerce will consistently grow over the next few years.
- The pandemic helped the growth of e-commerce with the growing demand in the online market.
- It created more opportunities for building a sustainable online business.
[14:16] – Sandeep shares the opportunity e-commerce presents for small businesses, merchants, and solopreneurs because it’s democratizing the entrepreneurial playing field.
- It is easier to start a business nowadays, but it is challenging to sustain it.
- The job of an e-commerce merchant is to find a product that has potential, and focus on building customer experiences and your brand to acquire more customers.
- Assembly helps merchants on the logistical and back end side of things so they can focus more on building products and marketing.
[16:14] – Sandeep’s parting piece of guidance.
- Start your business now. Don’t overthink it. Starting a business nowadays has become a lot easier.
- There are a lot of resources available now to help you get started.
- Assembly – eCommerce in one place. eCommerce growth platform powered by software, community, and data.
Shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs On Fire brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network with great shows like my first million today, we'll be focusing on how e-commerce is unlocking the inner entrepreneur in us all to drop these value bombs. I have brought Sandeep Kella into EOFire studios, Sandeep is the Co-Founder and CEO of Assembly, with vast expertise on SaaS tools geared for starting, growing and running Shopify, Amazon and e-commerce storefronts. And today a nation we talking about building assembling what a look means, actually build a SAS product like that.
How e-commerce has been on fire and what do you need to know about it? And so much more when we get back from thanking our sponsors ever wish you had a mentor to help improve your customer experience and scale your business. HubSpot's new podcast, the shakeup with Alexis Gay and Brianne Kimmel has you covered. I love it because it shares how real people are building real businesses in very unique ways. Listen, learn, and grow with the HubSpot Podcast Network at hubspot.com/podcast network. According to Forbes, a lot of businesses are set to go on an epic hiring spree and all of these businesses where you opening means that millions of jobs will need to be filled. So where do they turn to fill these roles? Fast ZipRecruiter. And right now you can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address.
0 (1m 23s):
ZipRecruiter.com/fire. That's ziprecruiter.com/fire. Sandeep say what's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
1 (1m 43s):
John, thanks for having me. The thing I believe is that our society glamorizes entrepreneurship creates this image that you have to kill yourself and sacrifice everything to be successful. And I just fundamentally disagree with that. I think having balance in life, whether it's with your family, your friends, along with your work is, is much more gratifying and sustainable. And I think the problem is you don't really hear a lot of stories about, you know, a founder or a CEO of a company and how they're a good parent at home or how they're good spouse. You just kind of hear about how they work themselves to the bone.
1 (2m 25s):
And I, I disagree with that notion and I think balance is really important. And I think portraying entrepreneurship in that extreme way actually discourages a lot of people from entering into entrepreneurship, which, which I think is wrong because I think I, I think you can't have balance you can't, you can be very successful. You can do all of those things and kind of live a more happy, healthy, and happy life
0 (2m 49s):
Sandeep. But I do think you're right, that we don't hear enough of those stories of entrepreneurs who have achieved that type of balance you're discussing, but guess what I, you on the mic brother. So why don't you take a second and share your story? So Fire Nation now has some inspirational stories in guidance in journeys to guide them
1 (3m 11s):
To be clear, I'm still working on that balance. That's something I think about every day, but you know, my background was grew up in Michigan immigrant parents who had started all sorts of businesses. And I I've always, you know, after college, I, I started a couple of businesses. I've worked in finance for a little bit, but I always always gravitating towards this weird intersection of building companies and also acquiring businesses. And that's where I spent the greater part of the last decade was just acquiring businesses and billing them. And it did it all bootstrapped and it all personally with my business partner at the time and learned a lot along the way.
1 (3m 52s):
And one of the things I learned was about this thing called e-commerce, which led me to starting assembly about two years ago,
0 (3m 59s):
Before we move into assembly. What exactly would you say your day to day, week to week looks like, like talk to us about the type of balance. Have you been able to achieve to the level that you've achieved it thus far?
1 (4m 13s):
I have three kids who are all in elementary school and preschool, and it's very, very important to me that I don't look back and regret not being around for or parts of their lives. So it's, it's a constant struggle for how to be more efficient with my time so that I can be home and at a reasonable hour and also be present, which I think is the bigger, bigger challenge. But, you know, it's, it's something I prioritize and, and try to schedule around, you know, a couple minutes ago, my, my son was here for the last three hours, just, just being at the office so we can, we can hang out, even though I was working and I try to do as much of that as possible.
1 (4m 55s):
0 (4m 55s):
Sometimes even just being in the same room can mean a lot. You know, he's doing his thing, you're doing your thing, but of all of that, like, you know, some things do drop off. So if you just had to be honest with yourself right now in Fire Nation, like what's one area of your life that you're like, you know what, over the next six to 12 months, I'd like to achieve more balance here.
1 (5m 14s):
I think it's trying to have more fun personally. It kind of, I feel like my life has been consumed by work and family, and I'm trying to find more time to do things that I enjoy and starting to cultivate things that I enjoy. So that's definitely been put on the back burner for the last 10 or so years. And I'm, I'm trying to bring that back up.
0 (5m 35s):
I mentioned this in the introduction and you mentioned it briefly in the last section assembly, what is assembly? What are you building at assembly ends? What is the why behind assembly? Let
1 (5m 47s):
Me start with the why. Yeah, if you look back 10 years ago to start an e-commerce business, you needed tens hundreds of thousands of dollars to get set up. You had to hire engineers. It was very, very time and cost intensive. And over the last 10 years, the friction to starting a business has been completely removed. So what used to take weeks months, tens of thousands of dollars you could get started in a matter of hours under a hundred bucks, whether you're selling on Amazon or Shopify or Walmart or big commerce. So the friction has been completely removed now, which has been fantastic because it's opened up entrepreneurship to all sorts of people who otherwise wouldn't have exposure to it.
1 (6m 31s):
But when that has come this explosion in the number of merchants, whether they're selling on Amazon or Shopify or whatever the platform is, and they need help. And they, they started their business with this idea of selling this product that they're passionate about. They didn't start it thinking about inventory management and advertising campaigns and attribution and all of these different things that are a reality and a necessity is succeed. And so what they're using is a bunch of disparate software solutions to help them run their business. And I saw that firsthand. I saw merchants big and small juggling 10, 15 different apps.
1 (7m 12s):
There's literally 6,000 different e-commerce software solutions out there. And seeing that was what led us to start assembly. And what we're doing in very simple terms is we are building and acquiring the picks and shovels them that serve the e-commerce industry. And we're bringing them together to create a better user experience for merchants. So they can focus on what they love to do, which is create great products and create happy customers. And we can help them save time and money by managing all of the software Fire Nation.
0 (7m 46s):
Think about this who made money in the gold rush. It was people that sold the picks and the shovel. So don't always just think of, oh, what's like the gold right now that everybody's rushing into. And everybody's doing all at once. Maybe there's great ways to surface those people that are rushing to do those things. So of all the things at assembly right now that you guys are doing with the picks and shovels analogy, what's one of your favorites. You can give a little quick rundown of the
1 (8m 13s):
First company that we got involved with and we acquired was a company called the helium 10 and helium 10 is one of the leading software solutions for Amazon merchants. We have over 60,000 customers in leveraging our products and what I love so much about what helium 10 is built and what we've been able to do is it combines two things. It's, it's great software, but it marries that with this community. And I, I know community is like a fluffy term that people throw out there, but it, it really is core to everything. We have a, you know, a hundred thousand person, Facebook group, multiple podcasts, you know, doc, a documentary series.
1 (8m 53s):
We just rolled out an influencer, an influencer network. We have content YouTube series. And all of it is in service. Teaching someone, teaching an e-commerce merchants, something new inspiring people to become e-commerce merchants. And then we've got all those software to help them. But I think I'm very passionate about that merger, that, that convergence of community and software, I think HubSpot has done a fantastic job of this and bringing these two things together. And I think it's a trend that we are heavily focused on at assembly is how do we teach someone something and then give them the tools to be successful,
0 (9m 31s):
Teach someone something, Fire Nation, and then provide them the tools to be successful. I mean, I love how you just close that down with that phrase, because it really is that simple. At the end of the day, it looks at all the different ways that Sandeep and assembly in general are looking to disperse this knowledge through podcast who documentaries through a lot of different areas because he's using that be everywhere approach. And we have so much more coming up for our nation. When we get back from thinking our sponsors, there are some things in life that I like to pick out myself. So I know I've got the ones that are best for me, like an avocado from the markets or my next pair of running shoes. What if you could do the same thing for hiring choose your ideal candidate before the even apply.
0 (10m 15s):
Now you can thanks to, ZipRecruiter's invited to apply. And right now you can try it for free at ziprecruiter.com/fire. How does invite to apply work? Well when you post a job on ZipRecruiter, they send you the most qualified people for your job. Then you can easily review the candidates and invite your top choices to apply Lauren Web SVP of talent acquisition at min doula health raves about ZipRecruiter's is to apply. She says, I love that feature because we have a much higher follow-through rate. If I invite candidates, it's easy for me and easy for them. In fact, according to ZipRecruiter's internal data jobs where employers use ZipRecruiter's invite to apply, get on average two and a half times more candidates, which helps make for a faster hiring process.
0 (10m 55s):
See for yourself, visit ziprecruiter.com/fire to try ZipRecruiter for free that's ziprecruiter.com/fire. One more time. Zip recruiter.com/fire. ZipRecruiter. The smartest way to hire customer expectations are at an all time high. So when a prospect or a customer reaches out, it's important that everyone across your organization has the context. They need to deliver a personalized and helpful experience. And because conversations with prospects and customers are going to happen across all sorts of channels and teams, it becomes increasingly important to be able to manage all those conversations in one place. That means giving your sales team visibility into marketing emails that are sent in customer service teams, having visibility into conversations that happen during the sales process.
0 (11m 35s):
We both know that when messaging isn't aligned, it can create a frustrating experience for customers who might feel like they're constantly repeating themselves or that your business just isn't a fit for them. Lucky for us, HubSpot has a tool to help us manage everything under one central CRM platform. HubSpot integrates with your inbox to automatically save and store email conversations, allow reps to record calls, right from within HubSpot, gives your teams a universal inbox to tackle live chat, inquiries, emails, Facebook messages, and more, learn more about how you can scale your company without scaling complexity at hubspot.com Sandeep e-commerce has literally been on fire for some time now. So talk to us about the rapid growth of e-commerce and what do we, as entrepreneurs need to know about e-commerce e-commerce
1 (12m 21s):
Was always going to grow when we started assembly. It was already you that, you know, I think at that time e-commerce was about 10 to 12% of total retail in the U S and in China, it was about 30%. And our view was always that over the next 10, 15 years, the U S would look more like China and e-commerce would be 30 plus percent of total retail. And as we all know, what's happened in the last year, it's just, it's just pulled that demand forward. You know, you've got people like my parents who never bought anything online, who, who had to, or forced to adopt buying things online, and it's now become part of their routine. And so when that demand that's pushed online, you've seen just a proliferation of people who have, who have different ideas, who realize that it's actually not that hard to get started in selling something online today.
1 (13m 14s):
And you've got brick and mortar businesses. Who've had to adapt to the circumstances and start to sell online. And so it's led to this explosion in the number of merchants. There's more than 6 million merchants selling online today. And it's created all sorts of opportunity and all sorts of complexity, right? In the past, you could just sell on Amazon. You could just sell on Shopify. You could sell on Walmart, but customer's preferences are changing and you can, you can buy products anywhere. You can buy it through Instagram, you can buy it through Facebook, you can buy it on Tech-Talk. And so the complexities of running and building a sustainable e-commerce business has only increased, right?
1 (13m 57s):
And that's, that's, that's where we're really trying to help simplify things so people can manage it.
0 (14m 3s):
So let's talk about this specific opportunity for small businesses, for merchants, for solopreneurs. Like, what is this opportunity and how is it just democratizing the entire entrepreneurial playing field at the exact same time?
1 (14m 16s):
Think about it this way. When you buy something on Amazon, how often do you know where, who who's behind that? Right. Many people just think it's Amazon, but the reality is it could be a large brand. It can be proctoring gamble. It could be, you know, someone in their house who had a passion for a particular idea and is selling it online today. And so it's, it's become easier than ever to start a business, but it's challenging to sustain it. And, and, and so if you think about it, the job of an e-commerce merchant is find a product that they believe there's an opportunity in and focus on acquiring customers, right?
1 (14m 60s):
Building experiences, building your brand so that people want to consume your product. It's very simple. It's find the product and figure out how to get it out there. And, and we try to help simplify everything else, all the logistics, all the backend, so that, so that merchants can, can focus on product and marketing.
0 (15m 20s):
So there's this whole new world of opportunity that's out there because of the shift that's been happening. I mean, his son deep shared his parents have completely new buying habits. I mean, I can't even tell you the things that my parents are talking about now that they never would have talked about, you know, as recently as 18 months ago. And it's just their whole new level of competency. And this is just bringing a whole new generation that probably was just going to skip them or never even get to them in the first place is now it's forcing like the boomers and that age group into this as well. Not to mention, you know, people like my nine year old niece now who never has never known anything, but this world, and that's going to continue to be the case. So with all of this being said, Sunday, take the microphone and take us home.
0 (16m 2s):
What do you really want to make sure Fire Nation gets about what you have going on over at assembly about the opportunities that exist in the world when it comes to e-commerce and just a world that we live in today, I
1 (16m 15s):
Would really encourage people who have thought about doing something on their own to just get started. You know, the friction has been removed and don't overthink it, you know, focus on an area that you've got an interest in. And there are so many tools, so many, so many courses out there, whether it's our own through, you know, companies like helium brands like helium 10 or others, but there's, there's so many resources at your disposal to get started. And, and you know, that friction is gone. And I think as we've all realized with the pandemic, people are evaluating, you know, side hustles, other things they can do to bring insight income.
1 (16m 55s):
And I think there's a, there's just so much opportunity to get started today. It does. It's not as hard as you think it's, it doesn't require as much capital as you think it doesn't require you to sacrifice everything. You know, your family, your friends, everything else that you can do, you really can balance all of this and it, it's not going to take 10 years to get there. And so that, that's what I would stress is it's, it seems daunting, but it, if you think back to, you know, 20, 30 years ago, it was so much harder back then, and today you can get started very quickly, very little dollars and be successful.
0 (17m 36s):
Now, if you would want Fire Nation to learn more about what you have going on over at assembly, where would you send them? How can they connect with you? Break it down,
1 (17m 44s):
Go to our website with assembly.com. You can see the different brands where that we, that we have on our, our umbrella. And we're constantly adding new products, new features. And I would really dig into the training and the content piece that we have, because I think, I think your, your audience would get a lot of value out of that and how to get started
0 (18m 4s):
Fire Nation withassembly.com. That's withassembly.com. And you're the average Fire Nation of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with Sandeep and JLD today. So keep up the heat, head over to EOFire.com, just type Sandeep in the search bar. And the show notes page will pop up with everything that we talked about here today. That is S A N D E E P and Sandeep. I want to say thank you for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side so much. Hey, Fire Nation today's value bomb content was brought to you by Sandeep and Fire Nation.
0 (18m 47s):
Over the last decade, I've interviewed more than 3000 of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, and I've created a revolutionary 17 step roadmap to your financial freedom and fulfillment. And I put it all into my first traditionally published book, the common path to uncommon success personally, endorsed by Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. The Common Path to Uncommon Success is the step-by-step guide is the, you need Fire Nation to achieve the lifestyle of your dreams. Visit UncommonSuccessBook.com to order your copy today, and I'll catch you there, or I'll catch you on the flip side ever wish you had a mentor to help improve your customer experience and scale your business. HubSpot's new podcast, the shakeup with Alexis Gay and Brianne Kimmel has you covered.
0 (19m 30s):
I love it because it shares how real people are building real businesses in very unique ways. Listen, learn, and grow with the HubSpot podcast network at hubspot.com/podcastnetwork. According to Forbes, a lot of businesses are set to go on an epic hiring spree and all of these businesses where you're opening means that millions of jobs will need to be filled. So where do they turn to fill these roles? Fast zip recruiter. And right now you can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address. ZipRecruiter.com/fire. That's ziprecruiter.com/fire.
1) The Common Path to Uncommon Success: JLD’s 1st traditionally published book! Over 3000 interviews with the world’s most successful Entrepreneurs compiled into a 17-step roadmap to financial freedom and fulfillment!
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