I’d like to introduce our October cover guest, a successful entrepreneur, my friend, Evolver, a great source of motivation, Ekim Kaya. He is the Tai Lopez of his country. He is a hard-working man who was the first person in Turkey to talk about and initiate the trend of Amazon dropshipping and creating an additional source of income. I refer to him as a hard-worker because his success is not a coincidence.
Before I moved to the US a few years ago, I got to know him through his YouTube and Instagram videos just like everyone else. Back then he was in the US and I was in Turkey. I didn’t personally know him. During my first year in the US, we coincidentally met in person at my birthday as he happened to be one of the best friends of a friend of mine. We are both Turkish, though Ekim moved to the US a few years before I did. With an intention to generate some additional revenue he purchased Tai Lopez’s training. The investment he made in that training back then paid off for itself as Ekim has now become someone who enjoys living in a New York high-rise and driving a Lamborghini. Certainly, this was not a quick and simple process. As a matter of fact, his journey of personal growth is exactly what we talked about for this interview.
I asked all about his journey and he responded. Hope you enjoy reading this!
You’ve made a name in your home country as someone who’s been educating people on running an ecommerce business in the US, but could you kindly introduce yourself for our readers in the US?
I have the heart of an entrepreneur and the mind of an engineer. In the early stages of my career as a network engineer, I realized that I’m not able to focus on executing routine tasks. But in a 9 to 5 job, you simply can’t say “this task is too boring for me, I wanna do something else.” So I had to create a new reality where I could set my own rules. That’s easier said than done of course. It took me a lot of trial and error, but I finally succeeded with e-commerce. Now I’m helping other people with starting their own online businesses.
How and when did your US adventure begin? How has this journey transformed you?
I’ve been dreaming of living in the US since high school. After college, I came to Virginia for my graduate studies. Followed by New York, Los Angeles, and back to New York again.
I think America is the best place to pursue your entrepreneurial endeavors. Considering the business-friendly environment and a culture that rewards risk-takers, this country definitely made me feel welcomed. And I think it’s not about the ease of doing things, but finding the courage and resilience to keep going even when you’re feeling down. So I definitely appreciate being here, I’ve learned a lot.
When and how did you start the ecommerce business? Back at a time when you were not yet a recognized figure in the business, what encouraged you to invest in this?
My software business went bankrupt after trying to survive as a “zombie” startup for 11 years. Then I started looking at online income sources trying to make ends meet. I took on some gigs on freelancer websites, but that wasn’t so exciting as they were not scalable. That’s when I discovered youngsters in their 20’s were creating wonders with an e-commerce model called “dropshipping”. Since this business model required little to none upfront investment, it made sense to give it a try and I succeeded. Then I decided to share my “secrets” with my followers because there was literally no information available in my native language back then. It took off, and in three years, I was able to reach more than 10K students. Then the business model has evolved from online courses to consultancy, where we do the heavy lifting for our customers.
Of your continually improving services, could you tell us about your latest offering in automation?
The new automation program has been successfully executed by some US-based businesses for the last couple of years. This is a “done-for-you” kind of business where the customer isn’t expected to do anything except for an initial investment.
We help them start an LLC, open an Amazon account, find profitable products, and handle the fulfillment and customer service on behalf of them. This is truly a passive-income and makes much more sense in many ways compared to other e-commerce methods. Our difference is that we do it in a way that’s 100% compliant with Amazon’s rules and regulations, so there’s minimal risk involved. In less than two months, we were able to sign more than 70 clients for this program.
Even though you have established yourself as a businessman, you seem to focus quite a lot on personal development as well and share pieces on this subject with your followers. I personally know quite a few people you’ve inspired. What’s the source of your energy, driving your motivation?
Thank you for your nice comments. Well, the first step is always the hardest. That’s why people are always hesitant to take it. And over the course of three years that I’ve been teaching financial independence, I have realized that you can’t really “convince” people. All you can do is demonstrate your results, and let them decide if they want to change their reality or not. One thing that I’m sure about, is that taking this path is not for everyone. Because most people choose to stay in their comfort zone over trying to change their life for the better. I’ve spent so much time creating content about self-awareness, motivation, and inspiration, but when you see that a Lamborghini video gets 20 times more views, you understand that there’s little you can do to change the people who are not ready to so.
My motivation comes from the fact that it’s much more satisfying to hear someone being grateful for quitting their 9 to 5 jobs thanks to your support, than being an Amazon seller. That’s why, I’ve been doing this full time for the last three years, even though it sometimes drains my energy to deal with people who are too cynical.
You discuss money frequently, so let’s hear a bit about your relationship with it.
Just like a rock star has perfectly put it: “Money is important only when you don’t have enough of it.” Scientific papers support the evidence that the difference money makes is marginal after a certain amount, and personal satisfaction comes mostly from the sense of connection that humans have in their relationships.
Another quote from Jim Carrey supports this idea: “I wish everyone could get rich and famous and everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that’s not the answer.” My current goals -in terms of the metrics that I want to hit- are mostly about the number of lives that I want to touch and transform. All of my mentors have been through a similar transformation process, even in most cases, it starts with monetary targets.
What does “to thrive” mean to you?
To be able to fulfill your potential, to become the person that you were meant to become. Leveraging your personal traits to change the world, leave a dent in the universe.
What kind of tools and devices do you like to use in your daily life? (tech or non-tech)
I have an iPad mini just to read books, in order not to get distracted by notifications I get while I read on an iPhone. I’m using a tool called Roam to take mental notes and build a mind map. I also have an Apple watch and an Oura ring to track my activity and sleep. Regarding the non-tech ones, a Nespresso coffee machine and my humidor are my must-haves for my daily routines.
Your favorite places and fashion brands?
I would say Los Angeles and Istanbul are two of my favorites following New York. I also like Tulum for getaways.
I prefer a few brands even though my favorite one is Massimo Dutti. I don’t believe in investing in fashion. And I prefer Omega watches.
Books, movies, speeches that inspired you?
Oh, I have so many inspiring books, it’s hard to come up with a brief list. So I would recommend to check out my Goodreads list online. I try to read one book summary per day with my Blinkist app. And I can definitely recommend Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech. The Pursuit of Happyness and Family Man are my two favorite movies.
The first milestone with the automation program is getting to 1000 stores. By then, we’ll have gone global and take one more step towards the goal of changing the world through e-commerce. Considering that e-commerce represents a mere 10% of the whole retail even in America, the potential is huge and we’re so excited!
And thank you for the opportunity to share it with your audience.