Build an Ecommerce Team to 8 Figures with Fernando Cruz
Build an Ecommerce Team to 8 Figures with Fernando Cruz

Building an Ecommerce Team to grow to 8 figures on Amazon

Intro: Fernando Cruz of Marketplace Ops and Pixelfy – who supercharge Amazon sales for brands by managing their accounts.  Fernando and Nick built a business by learning to build an ecommerce team. They currently have  40 team members in their 8 figure business

What’s the starting point with  building an ecommerce team?

It is important in the early days to understand the process.

But frankly Fernando doesn’t really document things

He’s more people and team-oriented.

Focus on your strengths! If you’re not process-driven, you can hire someone who is!

In this case, you may start to build an ecommerce team earlier rather than automate processes with software

How did you start to build your ecommerce team?

About 7 months in. It was someone in the Philippines.

It was driven by the tasks that were taking up Nick’s time (Fernando’s business partner) Nick was handling customer support and Fernando was aware that wasn’t a great use of  his time.

First principle of outsourcing for Amazon: Set a value on your time

There are things that only owners can do

  • Financial planning
  • Strategy
  • Hiring

These are all high value tasks

For example, finding another product that would generate $500 profit a month is a very high value task.

Gradually Increase the value you set on your time as you build your ecommerce team

Fernando’s barrier was $50 an hour value

Because of valuing his time

Then pushed up to $100

Now it’s around $500 per hour

Specific tasks were possible to learn but would we do it as well and would it be fun. For example hiring a photographer!

What to outsource first for Amazon

There are a lot of repeatable tasks.

They have an assigned value and complexity.

Simple/lower value tasks:

  • Customer support
  • Admin tasks

More complex tasks would be:

  • Product development
  • Sourcing

How did you find the faith that you would produce than your ecommerce team cost?

They outsourced at $80K USD a month revenue, which was probably a bit late. The business was profitable at that point so could easily afford the cost.

It was clear Nick could use his time better by then.

How did you hire your 2nd team member?

They took a step back and asked themselves

“What are going to be the big levers for growth?”

The answers were:

  1. Product development
  2. Sourcing, logistics planning

So they were the next two hires in CA, USA

They helped standardise the process for product development.

Fernando enjoyed this but had to fit it into his time.

They would need operational support so they

Over the years, Fernando has got a bit lazier about figuring out processes!

Most tasks and responsibilities will recur. It’s better to bring someone on

Fernando is good at getting something off the ground not in a super structured way.

He then hands over to his team to structure and refine processes.

The hiring journey – how Fernando’s ecommerce team grew over time…

When to Hire specialists for your Amazon team

You start off by hiring for potential.

Now it’s much easier to bring someone in with the right background

Next phase

Brought in people below team in CA and they became managers.

This is where they really started to see improvement.

It elevated the roles of the people in CA to management and let them focus on strategy and process and how to scale to 10-20M

Early 2016 – hiring in the USA

Why hire in the USA for your outsrouced team?

The people in CA had some mutual friends and good backgrounds.

They didn’t really know if they could hire high level people in the PH.

Nowadays they are more confident in this.

They were more focussed on hiring admin tasks overseas.

More and more they started hiring more and more PH team members.

Financial struggle in 2017 – had to do layoffs

Mid 2017 Laid off part of team in USA (from 7 to 4 inc Fernando and business partner nick) and part PH.

There was a moment of epiphany (Agug 2017) maybe 8 peopleand they realised the people in PH with a lot of experience were way better than US. Then there was the decision to only hire overseas.

Moving from “Good enough” to “excellence”

They should think about them as if they were being paid $50K USD a year.
That really focussed on hiring A players

Headhunting top Filipino workers

They tried to grab people from big co’s in Ph

So someone who is commuting 4 hours a day in Manila

They place value on family so this is big

And also you offer them

  • More resp
  • Autonomy
  • Startup culture

Team hyper-growth

Then they got up to 15 people

Then hired a part time recruiter and went up to 50-60 people within 12 months.

They put in managers and a proper org chart.

It was a lot of process.

There were people they didn’t need but financially it was sustainable.

They could have done a better job of automating.

Fernando Working 40 hours a week and doubling most years

What do you ascribe the business growth to?

A huge part of it was the team.

It’s just focussing on the right things. Fernando saw people focus on Shopify and they had a good product for Shopify eg consumable. And they can triple business in 12 months.

Others try to build Shopify with a low price point, non consumable product. They waste 8 months and come back to Amazon!

F knows some people who have scaled in supplements but they don’t really know their numbers. But their margins are so hire say 48-52% so they don’t focus on that. They just focus on finding super high margin products and ranking them on Amazon.

Planning your strategy is so important.

Advice around team to scale from 7 to 8 figures

Biggest tip in building a team for your business

Hire a right hand person as early as you can afford it.

As soon as you can afford someone, hire someone who was a manager or director or a VP in another company. Whether Amazon or not.

They can really speed up your development as a business.

Fernando has never run a company bigger than this. So he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. So this person has really helped them navigate as they’ve grown.

CEO coach – anything from 2-5K a year. Really helped.

Really good books on Scaling help too:

Traction by Gino Wickman (Amazon USA link). Amazon UK link here

Scaling up By Verne Harnish (Amazon USA link). Amazon UK link here

Get out of the day to day low value tasks

  • Get an EA (Executive Assistant) as soon as possible
  • Get meal plans delivered
  • Minimise cooking or cleaning
  • Automate using Zapier

How do people get in touch?

[email protected]

What marketplace ops do

Work with up and coming fast growing brands to grow on Amazon.

Turnkey solution

Strategy

Set up Manychat funnels

Optimize listings

For other interviews with Fernando by Michael:

Scaling to 8 figures in 5years on Amazon

Other interviews on eCommerce Team building with Michael:

Outsourcing Basics with Nathan Hirsch

How to outsource Amazon Tasks with Nathan Hirsch

Other internet resources on eCommerce Team Building

Building an eCommerce Team  by IRP Commerce

What It Takes to Build an eCommerce Team From Scratch by ScaleFast

 

Watch my full interview with Fernando Cruz