Shawn Chhabra is an Immigrant from India, a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Book Coach & a Podcaster at WGL.FM
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3 Key Points:
- Don’t lose your courage. When times are hard, keep moving and keep going.
- Take responsibility for your decisions
- Dedicate time to helping others
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Time Stamped Show Notes:
- [02:00] – Shawn was born in India and watched his parents run a store to provide for their family
- [03:18] – Came to America, married, and studied for his MBA
- [05:05] – Shawn generates revenue from a wholesale electronics business
- [06:08] – Shawn also coaches emerging entrepreneurs
- [07:41] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Moving to Indiana to start his first job – and being laid off after 90 days when the company went under
- [09:27] – “I didn’t lose the courage. I thought: if someone’s kidney fails, they go for dialysis. I decided that I could find a solution and find another job.”
- [11:28] – “If you’re in motion, you stay in motion”
- [12:23] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Opening a wildly successful restaurant – then using the profits to buy an email list where he could buy and sell used laptops.
- [18:06] – Biggest weakness? – “I trust everybody”
- [18:30] – Biggest strength? – “I take responsibility”
- [19:12] – What has Shawn most fired up today? – “Dedicating time to helping other people: I’ve published a book called Get Published, Get Noticed to help people generate authority ”
- [22:06] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I wasn’t born”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “People will take you seriously only if you look, act, and behave like them”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I learn something new every day ”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – A handwritten ‘thank you’ note
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Broadcasting Happiness
- Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter is taken care of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – Run around and find people like JLD and try to partner with them to sell my coaching
- [26:25] – Parting piece of guidance: “Be authentic. Make the right decisions before anything else.”
- [26:55] – Connect with Shawn at wgl.fm/fire and receive a free pdf and audiobook copy of Get Published, Get Noticed.
- [27:12] – Receive 30 minutes of free coaching with Shawn
Shawn: Yes. I'm prepared; I'm ignited; I'm on fire.
John: Shawn is on fire. And, he's an immigrant from India; a serial entrepreneur; author; book coach; and, a podcaster at wgl.fm. Shawn and his wife own a wholesale iPads and computer business. Shawn also helps non-writers get published for credibility. Shawn, take a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse into your personal life.
Shawn: Well, the first thing, John, I love the coaches like you – inspiring people like you and Kate. I'm your biggest fan. I'm the biggest fan of Kate. That's the first thing I should – before I introduce myself.
John: Well, thank you for that, brother.
Shawn: I'm really – when it comes to my personal life – I'm happily married to a very patient, very supporting wife [Inaudible] [00:00:48] Chhabra. And, my beautiful wife and I have four amazing children. They're all grown up. They're all well-settled. The youngest one is in pre-medical at UCLA, and my three elder daughters are already graduated, and well-set.
Really, my background, for your audience, is divided in two parts. One is like my background from India; one for here. So, I tell in short I was born in a very small family, small town in India. My parents have a very small grocery store/convenience store, and I was exposed to that, maybe, when I was in the 5th grade. So, from there I have seen business firsthand. How they were hiring; firing; and how they were taking care of their customers; how they were making money; and, how they were going from that little thing and feeding my five sisters – and, we were two brothers – a family of seven, plus our parents. So, I grew up from there.
And, I did my engineering from there because I came from a poor family, so I wanted to come to a place were I could have more financial success, and so that my kids could have a better future. So, my wife, and her parents, and her brothers were already in America, living here for about five years earlier than that. My wife, when she was ready, decided to go an buy – come on, not buy – find a husband in India. So, I was the lucky one picked. I came to America in 1988. I did my Master's in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.
I had my first job in Indiana. I got laid of – short story – in like 90 days. They lost a vendor or one of their funding sources they had. After that, we will share the rest of the story of how I became an entrepreneur, and where I am today.
John: Well, Shawn, I'm excited to have you on for a number of reasons. No. 1, just your energy, your enthusiasm, just your excitement and happiness in life, I think, is something that a lot of people get a lot of understanding and excitement from because not everybody just has that kind of internal fire naturally like you do. So, I think it's really cool that I'm bringing you into the Fire Nation Family here. I'll never forget the day that you asked my the question. You said, “John, I listen to your podcast. I love your show.
But, would it ever be possible for me to launch a show; to launch a podcast? Because, I feel like I have so much to share, but I have an accent. I don't speak perfect English. Are people going to shy away from me because of that?”
And, I actually came back and said, “Shawn, people are going to listen because of that. Because, there are so many people who think they don't have a great voice, or who have an accent, or have something that's holding them back.” In Fire Nation, when you can step up and say, “Listen. I'm not perfect.” I can tell you straight-up right now, me JLD, I am far from perfect.
But, when you can step up and say that, and say, “Listen. I'm not going to be perfect. I'm not going to be great, but I'm going to get better. I'm going to deliver value to you,” people resonate with that. And, they're drawn toward that. And, Shawn is a great example, as you're going to hear from his story, going through it.
But, Shawn, before we get into some more of your story, we like to start things at the present time. So, today, how do you generate revenue in your business?
Shawn: Me, and my wife, and our employees run a wholesale, plus the online retail iPad, iPhone, computers, consumer electronics business that is at laptopuniverse.com. We have also created a reverse e commerce that is Buy-back Queen – because my wife is queen to me – so I reverse it as buybackqueen.com. There, end-users can go to my website, and they can, in real time, ship the price, print the free shipping label, and ship their equipment to us – iPad, iPhone, or what ever. And, the day we get it, we pay them on PayPal or what ever way they pick online. So, that is a kind of buy-back. There we buy, and that way we are able to resell that used product to less fortunates.
In addition to that, the other business I run that is more like my passion – I love to help people. I love to coach new emerging entrepreneurs – And, since I met you that first time – I'm just trying to convert that into my full-time income. That's where I am right now. So, these are the two ways that I make money.
John: I love the journey that you've been on, Shawn. You know, from that small town in India – which, by the way, we've talked about this, Fire Nation. I spend four months back-packing India. It's a country that I really love and hold dear. It's such an amazing culture, with amazing people. And, you know, Shawn is a great representative of that. I just love where you're going. Let's be honest. You're not a spring chicken. Shawn, how old are you right now?
Shawn: I'm 57 years old, and I'm younger than you.
John: Shawn is 57 years old, Fire Nation. Here he is, and he is still learning. And, he is still excited. And, he can't wait for that next journey that he's embarking upon right now. And, this is what I love. Listen, I started my journey at 32 years old. Now I'm 36. Some people don't start when they're teenagers, or in their 20s, or even in their 30s. Sometimes it's 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s. But, the reality is: Why not live the life you want to live now? And, that's what Shawn is just taking hold, and that's why he's on EOFire.com, because he's making huge strides and doing great things.
But, Shawn, you've had some tough times, too, brother. You mentioned getting laid off after 90 days because something that you had now control over. And, that's tough. And, that's going to happen in life. But, what would you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. Shawn, take us to that moment in time, and tell us that story.
Shawn: Think about that. An immigrant from India comes to West Virginia University. I have a wife, and my daughter was newly born, 3 months old, a kid in school, and I found a part-time teaching job in the school. I got 100 percent tuition waiver, so I did my Master's with almost not investment. I graduated. I got my first job in – a small corporate – in Indianapolis, Indiana. I left everything behind, and loaded everything in my car, and moved to that place. I rented a small apartment, and actually in 85 days they lost all the money they were going to get from the bank. So, I got laid-off.
It was a Thursday morning. My boss called. He said, “You don't need to come because I'm going to lay you off tomorrow. So, why don't you stay home.” I remember that day I was in the kitchen – and, my wife can witness that I literally sat on the floor when I was talking to him. And, I think about that, just instant – and having three family members, including me, just a three month old job. In the apartment, what did I have? I had little things, and no savings in the bank. Nothing. I just thought, “I'm just going to lay on the floor and die today.”
I was there. That was the worst time because I lost everything. What I didn't lose was I still had a little three year old baby in my arms, and my wife with me, and I didn't lose the courage. I said, “Today I'm in the kind of situation like if somebody had maybe bad kidneys. So, if somebody's kidney is failing, what do they do? They go for dialysis. So, their dialysis is not different from me going to look for odd jobs.”
Then I thought, “What do they do?” They go out and start looking for the [inaudible] [00:09:11] so that they can take it to the next level. So, I thought, “Well, maybe this is an important thing in disguise. I need to go to the dialysis – which means do some odd jobs, and look for a better opportunities because I was a born entrepreneur, so why even look for another job?” That was the worst day, I should say, at that time, but today I think that was a blessing.
John: “I didn't lose the courage.” Shawn, I love that phrase that you use. You are on the floor. You're ready to curl up in a ball, and go to sleep, and never wake up. But, you said, “I didn't lose the courage.” You still had your three-year-old. You still had your wife. And, you had then that realization at that worst moment that, “Hey, just like somebody can go get dialysis, I can do my own type of dialysis with my life, with my business, with my career, and I can make this happen.”
Fire Nation, when that mindset shift happens – when that realization just dawns upon you – the world is your oyster. Just absorb that. Shawn's gotten knocked down more times than we can count, and he's gotten back up every single time. A smile on his face – maybe not right away – but, a smile has soon appeared on his face, and he's gone forward to bigger and better things. And, like he just shared, he now considers that a blessing. So, Shawn, that's my big takeaway from your worst moment. Just sum it up for us real quick, in just one or two sentences. What do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from that really difficult moment in your life?
Shawn: They should get this: I'm an engineer, so you know the first law is if you're in motion, you stay in motion. If you stay at one point, you are just dead. So, I'm sitting in the car. I have gas; I have GPS; I have everything. But, if I'm not moving in any direction – wrong direction or right direction – it will not take me anywhere. So, unless you are moving, you can not take any action. You can not go anywhere. If you follow Newton's Law, you're in motion, and if you just start peddling a little harder, you will start accelerating, and generate momentum, and go to the next level.
John: Fire Nation, I really want you to hear these words, what Shawn is saying. The only bad action is inaction. So, don't take inaction. Take action. Now, Shawn, we are going to shift to another story. This one is going to be an AH-HA moment; an epiphany; a light bulb that you've had at some point in your journey. And, Shawn, you're a smart guy. You've done a lot. You've had a lot of great ideas. But, what's one of those greatest AH-HA Moments that you've had? Take us to that moment, and tell us that story.
Shawn: Actually, I'm going to break this AH-HA moment into two. One is an AH-HA moment that was really an AH-HA moment. I was jumping. But, the minute I achieved that – I have a personality where I want something I achieve, and after that I don't give a damn. I want to get to the next higher level. So, the next higher one is like – everybody at Fire Nation watching us and listening will be jumping. So, the thing is think about that. The person who doesn't have a kidney is looking for a kidney.
Shawn: “What I need.” I am doing odd jobs, or dialysis, and I'm just supporting my family, but at the same time I'm thinking, “What next? What next?” I made a list of people. I can just look around. Who are the kidney donors possible? The people that you know, or the people around social media? Family? Friends? Start looking for that. And, eventually I was able to convince somebody to give me like $40,000.00 so that I could open a small business. They said, “Why don't you open a small restaurant?” I said, “What if I lose all the money?” They said, “Then you don't owe me anything. I have so much confidence you will not lose.”
So, I started looking for a location for a restaurant. We found a perfect location. We went to the landlord. The landlord said, “Hey, man. You came from another country. That's the unfortunate thing with you guys. You start with zero credibility.” I said, “Damn. Should I sit on the floor again, or should I stand and think, 'I can figure this out.'?” So, then, I was able to convince a local guy, who had a full-time job somewhere – I convinced him to give me another $40,000.00, and signed the lease, so now I had double the money, and we opened the restaurant.
So, four months later I just bought him out because we were making so much money. It was such a high profit business, I opened the doors. I didn't even have enough employees. I didn't advertise. I opened the doors, and there were like 100 people waiting outside. Hey, there were only 40 seats in my restaurant. It's such a small restaurant. So, that was like an AH-HA moment when I found a kidney donor.
But the next level was when I started working in that environment, I said, “Damn. I'm an intelligent guy, Two degrees, and I'm working and dealing with all these kitchen people, and all that. The rest of my life for me, and my family, and all of that. I don't want to live in this environment. I want to take it to the next level so that I can be surrounded with genius, and smart, and wiser people like John Lee Dumas.”
John: Oh, Shawn. I'm blushing.
Shawn: So, how I did that that time – I saw the internet came – so, I started buying and selling used laptops on eBay. Very simple. One person in my garage – not even in the basement. Just in the garage, and – what do you call it – half of the laundry room.
Shawn: I used to have a headphone, and sell, and support, and buy, and sell, and buy, and sell.
John: I can totally see you doing that. That's great.
Shawn: So, the real thing happened like this. I thought – I had to figure out how the guy who's selling to me is buying cheaper than me, and the people who are buying from him are selling somewhere else, and not on eBay. So, one day I was having a conversation with him, and somehow I convinced him to help me. So, he said, “Okay. You have to pay me.” I said, “Of course I have to pay you. I don't have a house. I can't like sign my house to your name, but what ever money I have in the bank, I'll give you.” So, he said, “I'll give you the email list of 5,000 people I have ever sold a product wholesale to wholesale,” – and another 5,000 who he had ever tried to buy. So, he said, “Shawn, any time I need to buy, say, 100 laptops, I send an email to this list: Hey who has this Dell; this brand; this model laptop I'm looking for? I have a customer.” So, five or ten people will call, and he'll buy it.
The next morning he is sending an email to the other list, “Oh, by the way, I have this. I know it's in short supply, but I have it. Is anybody interested?” So, people will start calling, and who ever pays him the money, he just doubles his money the next morning.” So, he sold me his email list. That was the biggest AH-HA moment that I was really jumping – from the basement, and I came upstairs and was dancing in the kitchen.
John: It's like being given the keys to success when you have these AH-HA moments, Fire Nation. All of a sudden Shawn literally saw the light. He saw what that path was going to be where he could really take his [inaudible] [00:16:21] from that one on one – from being on support in his garage – to where it could be a bigger and better business from a simple mindset shift, “Hey. Email list.”
Now, Shawn, let's kind of wrap this up for Fire Nation. What do you want to make sure our listeners get from your great AH-HA moments?
Shawn: No.1, they should always have a kind of bug in their head, “There must be a better way. There must be a next level to everything. How do I grow to that level? What should I do? What am I missing?” If there is anybody who is even 1 percent more successful than you, just look around and figure out what they're doing, and probably you will be 100 times more successful than them. But, you have to – it's like everybody says, “Fake it 'til you make it,” but I really say, “No. Fake it, and you will make it.”
John: I love that. And, it really stays on the theme, Shawn, that we've all been talking about. You just have to take action. The only bad action is inaction. You will never start moving if you never start moving. So, you need to look around; take that action; make those mistakes; learn, pivot, adjust, and drive forward.
Now, Shawn, what is your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Shawn: My weakness? I trust everybody, and I think like every honest person believes and trusts all other people around. And, that is my weakness, and I have no regrets. A lot of people have cheated me, but I still plan to live the rest of my life that way.
John: What is your biggest strength?
Shawn: My strength is like – one is I take responsibility, and I blame nobody for any failure, or any problems, and I am as authentic as possible.
John: It's so important, Fire Nation. This has been the theme over the past couple of episodes of EOFire.com. Taking Responsibility. Like, I can point out an entrepreneur who's not going to succeed right away when they start talking about blaming others for their failures, and they start talking and complaining about this and that. It's an entrepreneur who steps up and takes responsibility for everything that has to do with them and their business. Those are the entrepreneurs who make it.
Now, Shawn, you have a lot of cool things going on, brother, but what's the one thing right now that has you most fired up today?
Shawn: I'm so fired up on something I'm going to share because that it's so satisfying it satisfies my soul. I love to help people, so I'm going to dedicate a lot more time helping others succeed, and just learn something. What ever I have done in my life, if I can teach them more, I can help them grow in business, or as a person. So, I actually launched a book called Get Published, Get Noticed. And, the subtitle is Author means Authority. So, I have a book coaching program. I'm going to teach them; help them. If they can become more credible, the can be seen like an industrial explorer, and they can make more money. Money is not everything, but if you're not making money, your personal life is not that good.
John: Right. Now, where can Fire Nation find out more about this book?
Shawn: Getpublishedgetnoticed.com, or the can go to EOFire.com and search for Shawn Chhabra.
John: What a great guy. And, Fire Nation, Shawn is going to be dropping value bombs galore, in the lighting round, so don't you go anywhere. We're going to take a quick minute and thank our sponsors.
John: Shawn, are you prepared for the lightening rounds?
Shawn: Yes, very well prepared.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Shawn: I was not born at that time. Once I was born, I was already fired up, ready to be an entrepreneur.
John: Love it. What is the best advice you've ever received?
Shawn: Actually, I have to read this. This is from my father, who died about 15 years back: “People will take you seriously only if you look, act, and behave like them. This does not mean that you have to compromise with your values. Just focus on doing good things, and eventually success, yes, success and money will follow you.”
John: Wow. Wise words from your father, Shawn. What is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Shawn: Every single day I teach and preach that habit to all of my employees here at computer business. When I'm working all day I tell them, “Educate yourself. Learn something every single day. And, the personal growth is key to the success, including financial success.” And, I also say, “Manage your money. You become the master, you know? Not the slave to money.”
John: I love that. Share an internet resource, like Evernotes, with Fire Nation.
Shawn: Well, I'm from another planet, so I have to share something different, which isn't very expensive. It costs one minute, and no app, no software, no internet source can replace this. I call it: a hand-written thank you note – a hand-written appreciation note.
John: A hand-written thank you note. Fire Nation, I just looked at my left when Shawn said that, and I have hundreds of these hand-written notes on my wall, and I'll tell you they mean more than any email that comes to me with thousands of words, or what ever it might be. These hand-written letters – they do mean the world.
Now, Shawn, if you could just recommend one book for our listeners to join Get Noticed. Get Published on our bookshelves, what would it be, and why?
Shawn: The Freedom Journal, but in addition to that, the other book – which you should say, “Shawn, don't recommend your Get Published. Get Noticed, and don't recommend my Freedom Journal.”
John: Yeah, Shawn. Absolutely. You know, I love you to death, brother, and the fact that you would say this means the world to me, but don't say, “Get Noticed. Get Published,” and don't say, “The Freedom Journal.”
Shawn: Okay. Okay. So, after that, the next book – I interviewed Michelle Gaylon.
Shawn: She is the wife of Shawn Acor, and they work with Oprah on Happiness Program. So, their book is Broadcasting Happiness, and I can explain to you why, if you want.
Shawn: See, we are all broadcasting energies, positive or negative, right now. Think about that. You and me are –
John: Very positive.
Shawn: – sharing energy; happiness. At some point it can be negative or positive. So, consciously, or unconsciously, we are broadcasting energy. So, she calls it Broadcasting Happiness. But, really, I have another angle on that. Like, I ask you or anybody else – my wife, or my friends, “When you're walking somewhere; when you come, what else comes? What else arrives in the room when you come?” So, there is always something – some wisdom; energy; some emotion. A lot of times you see somebody walk in the room, and everybody just shuts up.
John: Yeah. Shawn, this is the last question of the lightening round, but it's a doosy, brother. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have; your food and shelter is taken care of; but, all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Shawn: I'll be running around and finding people like JLD, and trying to partner with them to sell my coaching so that I will try to see, “What can I sell immediately for my immediate income, and how can I convert it into long-term income, like selling online, offline, or mastermind coaching?” That's what I'll be doing.
John: Well, Shawn, I have no doubt that JLD and this brand new world will give you a big bear hug, and say, “Brother, let's do this,” right?
Shawn: Yeah. Thank you, my friend.
John: Shawn, let's end today on fire, with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say, “Goodbye.”
Shawn: Okay. So, the first thing I say is, “Be authentic. Fear nothing. Make a decision, and work towards making it right. Don't focus on money because money is the byproduct of what ever you do successfully and wholeheartedly. Money will follow. But, the whole point is you should pursue your passion because your passion is priceless, and always listen, and subscribe to podcasts like EOFire.com.”
John: And, what's the best way that we can connect with you?
Shawn: The best way is go to wgl.fm/fire. And, they can get a free audio book of Get Published. Get Noticed, and free media book. So, I'll give them both of those. They can also get 30 minutes of free one on one coaching from me, absolutely no obligation, nothing to buy. They can go to anywhere – any of my websites/fire.
John: Wow. I mean, Fire Nation, the offers here are incredible. I'm going to go over them again, but I want to make sure that those of you who are listening, and you're connecting with Shawn on any kind of level right now – this guy is offering 30 minutes of free coaching. This is a 57-year-old immigrant from India who's been through a ton of awesomeness, of not so awesomeness. He has a lot to share, and he is just a man who is just looking to help. He's looking to add value to your world. So, Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with SC and JLD today, so keep up the heat of the EOFire.com.
If you just type Shawn in the search bar, his page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today; all of the links that we've been chatting about; and, of course again, that call to action – wgl.fm/fire. That's Whiskey, Golf, Lima Dot Foxtrot Mike Slash Fire. Wgl.fm/fire. Fire Nation, you want to get over there. Get these bonuses. Get these gifts that Shawn has gotten for you; has prepped for you. Have that 30 minute call with this man. You will have just a mindset shift – an AH-HA moment. It will not be a waste of your time, I can promise you that. So, get over there. Take action.
And, Shawn, I want to say from the bottom of my heart, brother, “Thank you for – No. 1 – being you. And, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today.” For that, we salute you. And, we'll catch you on the flip side.
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