015: Building an E-Commerce Empire with Chad Rubin

015: Building an E-Commerce Empire with Chad Rubin

After being let go from his comfortable Wall Street position during last decade’s recession, Chad Rubin turned his family’s vacuum company into the successful online retailer Crucial Vacuum, turning it into an eight-figure business in just seven years. He is also a top 250 Amazon seller and the co-founder of operations software company Skubana. On top of his business ventures, Chad is concerned with the environment and sustainability, planting trees to compensate for the paper used to make his companies’ air and coffee filters.

In this episode, Chad discusses his path from Wall Street finance to ecommerce, the benefits of direct-to-consumer retail, and why mentorship is so important to him.

Also: head over to the Do Well & Do Good Facebook community to vote on which non-profits nominated by our guests should receive 10% of Dorothy’s agency profits.

 

Show Notes:

  • What is Chad most excited about in his life right now?
    • Building his businesses, specifically Skubana.
  • Why didn’t his parents’ brick and mortar vacuum business inspire him to become an entrepreneur?
    • Parents lived beyond their means and were always struggling to pay rent while every other parent in town had successful careers in finance.
  • How did he go from working on Wall Street to selling vacuum components online?
    • Was overworked on Wall Street, and meanwhile parents’ company was walloped by Walmart.
    • Started researching ecommerce and convincing his parents to sell their parts online.
    • Eventually let go from his finance job, which opened him up to pursue online retail.
  • What was Chad’s mindset when he was laid off?
    • Was rattled because he had just proposed to his now-wife, but quickly took retraining and development classes. Saw an opportunity to help out his dad.
    • Views being laid off as a blessing.
  • What advice does Chad have to those who have been laid off?
    • Hard to feel good in the moment, but you can start looking for opportunities that your job previously closed off to you.
  • What beliefs about money did Chad’s family instill in him growing up?
    • Parents were always preoccupied with paying the bills, which taught him the value of money.
    • Still kind of paranoid about money, which is a good source of drive but can also cause anxiety in other aspects of his life.
  • What has motivated Chad the most to achieve financial freedom?
    • Initially he needed to pay rent and the bills, but also not wanting to replicate what it was like growing up.
  • What’s one of the biggest misconceptions that Chad thinks young people have about achieving financial success?
    • That you ever slow down; even successful entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for new avenues for success.
  • Were there moments that Chad wanted to give up and go back to his old job?
    • Yes, but they were only fleeting moments.
  • Did Chad have to deliberately work on his mindset and stay positive?
    • Yes, and he actually outsourced his warehouse division to cut down on personal and logistic stress.
  • What is the common approach to selling on Amazon, and how does it differ from what Chad teaches in his book?
    • Amazon marketplace has 2-3 million sellers, like a very large digital flea market; instead, Chad sold direct to consumer, cutting out the middleman.
  • What are some similar direct-to-consumer companies?
    • Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club, and other common podcast advertisers.
  • Does Chad think ecommerce is a good path for those looking to get out of the 9-to-5 rat race? And if so, how can they identify good opportunities in the marketplace?
    • Understand that ecommerce is only 10% of all retail sales right now. There’s a lot of ground that can be capitalized on.
    • If your venture does take off, you need to start working on your next before someone copies and improves on your current one.
  • How has risk-taking played into Chad’s success?
    • He has an appetite for risk, because despite the dangers there’s greater benefit.
  • Does he find fulfillment through work or outside it?
    • Yes, despite the risks and how time-consuming it is.
  • Is there any difference in the kind of challenge Chad faces with Skubana compared to ecommerce?
    • Yes; ecommerce is primarily buying low and selling high; in software, you spend money simply building and improving.
  • What role has mentorship played in Chad’s own professional development and now that others look up to him?
    • It’s good to have advice from people who’ve gone through similar professional struggles, and feels good to give back to those who come next.
  • What cause is Chad most passionate about?
    • Teaching and mentoring those in need and at risk, specifically through the National Federation for Teaching and Entrepreneurship.
  • Why does Crucial Vacuum plant a tree for every one thousand filters sold?
    • The filters are made from paper, so it makes sense to give back that way.
    • Thousands of trees have now been planted thanks to this initiative.
  • Who has been the most impactful person in Chad’s drive to do good?
    • His sister.

 

 

  • What are the best piece of advice Chad has for our listeners?
    • Understand what is it that you’re looking for, write that in a note to yourself, and read it again when you are in that line of work to ensure you’re still on the right path.
    • Try to solve a problem with your work.

 

Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nomination:

“NYC Mammas Give Back is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that provides infant essentials and support to agencies and shelters in the NYC area serving homeless pregnant woman and families and children (ages 0–5) at or below the poverty line.

“NYC Mammas Give Back provides a means for moms in the New York City area to support other moms and their families in need. We are made up entirely of moms who volunteer their time to this cause, regularly collecting, sorting and delivering a variety of new and gently used baby items for families in need. We also provide self-care services to the women we serve, as well as support for special events such as baby showers and holiday events held in conjunction with our partner agencies across the city.”

About NYC Mammas Give Back

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About the author, Dorothy

Dorothy Illson is the founder of Needle's Eye Media, a full-service Facebook advertising agency. She's also the host of Do Well & Do Good, a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of people who have created financial success and leveraged it to increase their positive impact on the world.

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