Always be closing. That’s the mantra. Shortened to ABC means always being prepared to pitch to other people, potential clients, and potential customers. Jacky Chou learned this early on and is turning it into an art. As some focus on one project at a time, entrepreneurs like Jacky Chou, Elon Musk, and Ev Williams are launching multiple projects almost simultaneously.
Hailing from Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and with a typically Chinese work ethic, Jacky Chou focused on his language and the piano. At the same time, other kids played sports and video games. After moving to Canada, he went to high school in Richmond before graduating from British Columbia with a B.A.Sc. in electrical engineering.
It was during his studies that Chou got one of his lightbulb moments. Many creatives start with a single spark, be it an idea, a gap in the market, or a book. For Chou, it was a challenging exam. The night before, he did what many of us would do – he Googled an escape plan.
In his case, it was a simple query – “how to make money online.” Whatever the search engine gave him that night stayed with him, for he never pursued a career in electrical engineering. Instead, he moved to Berlin to take up an internship in mobile marketing.
The rest, as they might say, is ABC. As he learned the industry, Chou worked his way up the company until he was ready to go his own way.
His first venture focused on dropshipping. This is where a company, or individual, rebrands merchandise and other goods, then has the manufacturer ship the goods directly to the customer. It’s easy to organize but takes start-up costs, a good website, marketing, and patience.
Jacky Chou needed this too. In the beginning, his venture lost money. Most do. It started with a $3k loss, but he soon turned his company into one, which generated a 30-40% profit margin. This meant, within a short time, he was generating $250k in revenue per month.
As you might guess, this got him noticed, and soon he was selling the dropshipping business to a private equity firm for an unknown fee.
Always be closing. Not content to settle there, just like Musk and his reusable rockets coming on top of his electric cars, Chou was looking for new ventures and new investments. He bought, improved, and sold digital assets via his company Indexsy. Two recent acquisitions have included Laurel & Wolf and Towing Less.
His work did not end there, though; he also has a direct-to-consumer homeware brand. He called Far & Away, even as a start-up, Chou found success. Customers and investors flocked to the company’s Kickstarter, generating $75k and an additional USD 150k in angel funding.
This being the 21st century, and much like the ultimate hero’s journey, Chou has gone on to mentor. He’s posted advice to drop shippers and offered to consult others – passing on the valuable lessons he’s learned as he continues to develop his ventures.