Every new business venture comes with lots of unknowns. Entrepreneurs can do their best to succeed, but often they can be surprised by the results they get, good or bad. Their goal could be to make money and become the next Jeff Bezos or become a rock star entrepreneur like Elon Musk, and they can end up becoming someone completely different.
Money and fame aren’t the only possible outcomes of entrepreneurship, and getting them isn’t the only way to make a business venture rewarding. Sometimes, the rewards are much deeper and more personal, affecting people to their very cores. Kevin Zhang, an eCommerce entrepreneur, and educator, had such an experience.
It could be said that it all started with his first venture, which was a failure. Kevin Zhang, a son of traditional Chinese immigrants, started an online brand that sold purses, something Kevin wasn’t too interested in. After the venture went down in flames, Kevin learned one of the most critical lessons in eCommerce: passion matters.
No amount of research can replace an entrepreneur’s passion for the products they’re selling. Granted, the paradigm in eCommerce is slightly different, especially among those who are new to it; they’re only interested in finding that one product that will go viral and make them rich.
For Kevin, the road to success started when he realized that relying on dumb luck or clinical market research isn’t the best way to understand the product or the people who want to buy it. Passion is where their motivations lie, and it’s also where his drive and understanding come from.
The lessons didn’t stop there. One of the most rewarding things about the eCommerce industry is its emancipatory effect. For example, Kevin saw his parents go from not wanting to enter their email addresses into any website to being eager online shoppers. Even people who are averse to technology will be attracted by eCommerce’s convenience, making them feel less left out.
This emancipatory effect also affects the entrepreneurs who deal with eCommerce. Kevin is a firm believer in the internet being the great equalizer, and he sees eCommerce as a great example of it. People on the other side of the screen don’t know who’s selling to them. Buyers cannot discriminate against the sellers. Anyone, whoever they might be and whatever mix of personal traits they might have, can have a chance at success with eCommerce.
That kind of revelation would be enough to set a person on a new path. For Kevin, it added to the list of things that made him an eCommerce evangelist, spreading the word about the great opportunities that can come from such a simple thing.
Kevin took it a step further, though. The true reward of entrepreneurship just might come when an entrepreneur is in the position to change things for the better. It might start with mentoring a single person and giving them the tools to turn their life around. It could end with helping whole societies move in a direction that benefits all their members.
Kevin is in between the two right now. He is educating people on his approach to eCommerce, showing them the opportunities they can access when they engage in it. It’s gratifying work, as it helps Kevin expose people to eCommerce’s transformative powers.
None of this prevents him from embarking on new ventures, as he recently did with apparel brands HEMPX and Arrowhead Tactical. He can spend time mentoring people while still working in the industry and gaining new knowledge and experiences he can share. As far as rewarding entrepreneurship work goes, it rarely gets any better than that.