Click HERE to be taken to the article: “Chris Yeakey of Black Caiman Media: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” published by Authority Magazine (Authority Magazine, 2021). Option to read the article on this blog post below.
You’re going to need a strong work ethic. As an entrepreneur, you have to consistently put in the time and energy — even if that means sacrificing time doing things that you enjoy. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and in order to get there you must be motivated and wake up everyday with intention and determination.
Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Yeakey.
Chris Yeakey is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about helping others build e-commerce businesses from the ground up. Since beginning Black Caiman Media (link: https://blackcaimanmedia.com/) in 2018, an agency that specializes in launching new and existing brands via Amazon, Yeakey has helped many entrepreneurs build profitable companies.
Yeakey’s professional journey began in 2012 selling commercial real estate. While maintaining his regular 9-to-5, he spent his 5-to-9 feeding his entrepreneurial goals, learning the ins and outs of building an e-commerce business through Amazon. He built three profitable e-commerce companies on Amazon each in under a year within the beauty, clothing accessories and household items categories.
Amazon isn’t going anywhere and it’s a great supplement for people in need of extra cash or those who are interested in building large profitable businesses. Understanding this, Yeakey launched “Amazon FBA Fast Track Masterclass” in 2021 to share his knowledge with others who are interested in starting their own Amazon FBA business.
In addition to his passion of helping entrepreneurs, he is passionate about raising his daughter Everly, real estate development and traveling.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
My professional career began in commercial real estate, an industry I loved, but like every typical entrepreneur I was tired of being in an office every day with restricting hours. I was desperate and ready to make a career change when I discovered Amazon FBA, which proved to be a great way for many people to find their niche in online sales on the Amazon Marketplace. I launched my first private label in 2016 as a side hustle while still grinding in commercial real estate. After 10 months, I was able to make the jump to selling on Amazon full time. I fell in love with learning how to grow and scale my business and I was making profits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without having to clock in. Fast forward to 2018, I launched my own consulting business to teach other inspiring entrepreneurs like myself the ins and outs of selling on Amazon.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
When my first product that I built on Amazon brought in $30,000 a month in sales. I heard of the e-commerce mammoth that is Amazon FBA Business, and I took a shot at it selling eyelash products to beauty professionals — a very niche market. I didn’t expect to get the profits I ended up receiving in just 6 short months. That was my first “Aha Moment”. Immediately following, I began researching products that had an unmet demand on the Amazon marketplace to stand out from competitors. I went from one Amazon business to three in just a few short years. My second “Aha Moment” was when friends, colleagues and other hopeful entrepreneurs started asking for advice and I realized that there was a demand for the skillset. That’s when I started Black Caiman Media and as of next month, I’ll be debuting my “Amazon FBA Fast Track Masterclass” (stay tuned)..
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
Natural born. As a kid, I always found ways to make money on my own. From selling candy at school, to chopping firewood in my backyard and selling it to people during winter months. As long as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed strategizing and taking risks in order to get to rewarding ends.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
My daughter when she was first born. I knew I wanted to create a lifestyle where I could make money to support her without being an absent workaholic.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My diverse experience in products sold across so many industries. Over the course of six years in business, I’ve sold in the following categories: Beauty & Health, Tools & Home Improvement, Sporting Goods, Kitchen & Bath Fixtures, Clothing & Accessories, Toy & Games, Home Improvement as well as Vitamins & Dietary Supplements . Not only do my clients spread across a wide range of industries, they also get to tap into my experience and learn how to become a successful business owner on Amazon FBA. I spent hours researching, watching YouTube videos, attending multiple courses and carrying out many trials and errors while working alongside some of the top professionals in this space in order to get to where I am now. My agency, and my clients’ success, is the outcome of my hard work.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Risk-taker. In 2016, I left my six figure job to start my own amazon business without knowing what the outcome would be. This risk was significant to me because it put me in a tough financial situation but ultimately led to my financial freedom.
- Always willing to learn. After long grueling hours at the office, I would come home and spend 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. just researching and educating myself on all things Amazon FBA Business.
- Believe in yourself. When I started my new business, I didn’t know if I would be successful, but I didn’t allow myself to have doubts. I went into everything with confidence. In 2018, my daughter was about to enter into this world and I had multiple Amazon projects, a new house and a family to provide for. Things didn’t look so great at the time…typical entrepreneur setbacks. I didn’t let the hardships get the best of me, however, and I stayed confident for my daughter’s sake. I believed in myself and that was enough to push me through that difficult time and end up on the other side.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Honestly, I probably got loads of unwanted advice from naysayers, but I learned quickly to tune them out. All the advice I do take is from people I trust.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
Create a work culture where everyone is confident and comfortable with communicating.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
I would advise other business leaders to deliver the service or product they are marketing at the highest level possible. The easiest way to build trust, credibility and authority is by providing your clients with exactly what you said you would. Clients will refer your business to others if their experience with you was excellent.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Competition. It’s as simple as that. And it drives me.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
One of the most common mistakes I have seen CEOs make when starting a business is not understanding their financials. It is very important to know how to manage your cash flow and achieve your target profit margins. Many businesses fail because they don’t know how to spend their capital properly.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
As an entrepreneur your success or failure is determined by the decisions you make, which can lead to dramatic highs and lows. Every entrepreneur will make decisions that will sometimes lead them to failure and other times to success. This is different from a “regular job” because your decisions as an employee are limited to what the employer is guiding you to do. The result is always the same as an employee because you were instructed to make those decisions and they do not have a direct impact on you.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
My first client was in the sporting goods industry. He tapped into my services because he had an already existing business on Amazon but saw very little traction. We dove in, created a better listing, worked with better manufacturers, received reviews and changed their entire business model. In only a few short months, the company saw groundbreaking results. It took a lot of work in the beginning but the workload became slower because the platform started doing the work for the business. My client was a father of young children, so it meant a lot to me when he shared that his Amazon business was finally at a place where it was earning him a much greater income to support his family, and also giving him more one-on-one time with his kids. Being a father myself, I knew how important this was.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Oddly enough, the time I felt unusually low as a result of my business was from not knowing how to handle the growth of my own company. I’ve actually heard this from multiple entrepreneurs that have started their own business and found themselves out over their skis. I was extremely overwhelmed with work and struggling to figure out how to be more efficient, all while juggling the new father’s life. I saw that the quality of my work was decreasing because I was spread so thin.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
I took a few weeks and focused solely on creating effective standard operating procedures. This led me to hire my first employee to offload work. I immediately turned around the business and now it’s something I help clients with.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
Number One: You need to be able to accept failure and learn from it. This is extremely important because as an entrepreneur you will inevitably fail more than once. Being able to grow from your mistakes and respond differently in the future is key to becoming your own success story.
Number Two: You’re going to need a strong work ethic. As an entrepreneur, you have to consistently put in the time and energy — even if that means sacrificing time doing things that you enjoy. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and in order to get there you must be motivated and wake up everyday with intention and determination.
Number Three: In order to successfully ride the emotional highs and lows of being an entrepreneur, you need to have a vice. Whether that’s playing sports, going for a hike, cooking or swimming, it’s essential to have an outlet. Prioritizing time in your schedule for exercise and other activities will improve your mental health and productivity.
Number Four: The fourth thing you need to successfully ride the emotional highs and lows of being an entrepreneur is leadership. You have to be confident in your vision and be capable of making decisions. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly making decisions while planning for future ones.
Number Five: You need the ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Your weaknesses are someone else’s strength, which is why it’s important to delegate tasks to those individuals.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is the ability to adapt to any unexpected changes or circumstances in your life. Resilient people are assertive, competent and capable of making difficult decisions that ultimately lead to better outcomes.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
Growing up, my main passion was playing football. While in college I suffered two major knee injuries back to back. Having to deal with the pain of rehab after two surgeries for 24 months and relearning my body was very challenging, but I was determined to get back on the field and play my senior year of college football. I was able to do that.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
It’s a mix, but I tend to stay more positive. Past situations prove to me that more times than not, things always get better. I keep that in mind and ride the wave.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
As the leader and owner of the company, having a positive attitude can make the experience with your clients much more enjoyable. Everyone loves to be around positive people, and the same goes for your team. The workplace is much more enjoyable when there is positive energy involved.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” — Michael Jordan
How can our readers further follow you online?
Instagram — @blackcaimanmedia
LinkedIn — Christopher Yeakey
Twitter — @cyeakey37
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!
Authority Magazine, 2021. Chris Yeakey of Black Caiman Media: How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being…. [online] Medium. Available at: <https://medium.com/authority-magazine/chris-yeakey-of-black-caiman-media-how-to-successfully-ride-the-emotional-highs-lows-of-being-177ab3225952> [Accessed 6 December 2021].