E-commerce Queen: Went From Waitressing at 22 to ​Owning a 7-figure Empire at 23

  • Photos by:
    Lauren Lee
  • Published on:
    May 6, 2019
  • Reading time by:
    8 minutes
E-commerce Queen: Went From Waitressing at 22 to a ​Owning 7-figure Empire at 23 womenontopp Womenontopp.com lauren lee money bunny

Lauren Lee is a Girl Boss e-commerce superstar who founded six multimillion-dollar e-commerce brands. At 23 (yes, you read that right!), she founded her first multi-million dollar company that became a nationally recognized brand, even partnering with the original shark from ABC’s Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington. She owns Ladybossglasses and five other e-commerce brands AND counting!

As an entrepreneur, there’s no better time to seize the opportunity to build a multi-million dollar, or even a multi-billion dollar, ecommerce store. However, this is a pipe dream for many entrepreneurs who are working toward reaching that mark. Some keep struggling for years.

The problem? There are so many ways to make money and to generate sales but there’s no defined path that can lead to a sustainable business that’s growing in revenue month after month.

You can either take your own journey of discovery, trying various tactics, or strategically approach growth, just as Lauren Lee did and continues to do so with her e-commerce brands.

In a sea of eCommerce entrepreneurs, people often stumble across successful business founders who dove into unknown waters of eCommerce. Lauren Lee is one of those extraordinary founders, an incredibly, business-minded woman. Today Lauren Lee shared with us her strategy and the path that helped her build million-plus e-commerce brands.

What led you to begin your first online business?

People always assume that “successful” people always had this tremendous self-confidence, assurance about their abilities, and crystal clear game plan. I had none of those! I was just out of college, experiencing my own “quarter life crisis.” I knew desk work in an office wasn’t for me, and I knew I wanted to be my own boss. But that was it! It really all started out as a pipedream. I thought, “At worst, maybe this can be a fun hobby. At most, it can change my life.” 

The latter happened. Now, after launching five successful eComm stores, I’m able to personally walk others through the steps I took (www.moneybunny.co). I think MoneyBunny courses have turned into my favorite business, because NOW I get to see OTHERS experience huge successes! 

Have you always been entrepreneurial?

Always! My youngest entrepreneurial memories were starting the “Monkey Ears Club” with the other neighborhood 8-year-olds, planning and running a kids magazine when I was 13, and starting my first online “business consulting” company at 16 (I even googled “how to sound old” so no one on our phone calls would suspect I was 16; not sure it worked). 

When starting your online business, what were the legal issues involved?

Thankfully, I work in eCommerce, which is still a beautifully unregulated gold mine. Get in before the feds do, ya’ll. The time to make your fortune is now! 

What 5 steps would you advise and give our ladies who are starting their own online business?

I tell people in my MoneyBunny courses all the time: 

  1. Get out of your own head. Don’t wait for perfection, move your feet. The only way to get where you want to be is to begin, even if you aren’t sure it will work. 
  2. Find a mentor. This isn’t a journey you can do alone. I’m happy to be a resource on Instagram or through more formal channels of mentorship (www.moneybunny.co). 
  3. Pick ONE product that you love. So many of my clients pitch me on ideas for stores with 100+ products, and I just can’t deal! Find one amazing product. That’s it! Simple! 
  4. When thinking about the product selection, pick something YOU use in YOUR every day life. Don’t try to sell what you think is trending; sell what you think will improve lives like it’s improved yours. 

Starting all by yourself, when did you start to delegate your work and how did this all go? 

I began delegating about two months in by hiring a fulfillment warehouse to package and ship out my orders. Best decision I ever made! When you’re selling thousands of items a day, you can’t be a control freak. You have to get help! 

So, the key thing is to split responsibilities. Yeah?

Absolutely. Especially as you scale. The larger your business gets, the MORE help you need to build and grow. 

Would you say you have to have specific potential needs in order to start as an entrepreneur? If so, what are the specific potential needs?

There are no limitations or situations that would bar someone from becoming an entrepreneur. I’ve seen eComm millionaires made at age 12. Seriously. Anyone can do it. You don’t even need a college degree. 

Could you suggest three guidelines for the individual who is entering the field of e-commerce?

  1. Stick to what you know. If you’re a girlie-girl, don’t try to sell men’s Harley-Davidson gear. If you’re a yogi and wellness guru, don’t try to sell eCigs. Passion sells. Use yours. 
  2. Simplicity is key. Too many stores have too much of everything: colors, graphics, products, etc. Simplify! I love black and white stores, minimal products, easy to understand text and logos. Don’t scare away your customers by being too loud. 
  3. Worry about ONE THING: Making money. Until you start making sales, stop wasting money on what “traditional” businesses try to get set up first: legal documents, formation, professional graphic designers, social media experts, etc. Sales before everything! 

What are your goals currently? As in vision and mission?

My goals are to double my empire in the next six months. The way things are heading, it looks like this is a perfectly reasonable goal to set. Even though I coach students, I’m still a full-time eCommerce entrepreneur. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, even though an early retirement sounds alluring. I always have to stay busy and purposeful!

If you had an extra 6 hours in your day, what would you do?

Sleep, hon. 

What’s your 1 number one secret sauce to building a multi-million dollar business?

Asking myself this one question: 

Would ____ work on me? 

Meaning: 

Would this ad work on me? 

Would I buy this product? 

Would I see this webpage and think, dang, I need to have that? 

Would I follow this brand on instagram? 

You are your own best customer. So everything you do should be in service to the idea that if you’d buy it, someone else will too. 

Now we know you show some of your revenue stats on social media, not many would do this. How do you deal with critics or negative responses? 

Yes, I DO post how much money I make on Instagram! So many people freak out. Some of it’s jealousy, some think it’s bragging, some people are genuinely concerned for whatever reason. 

My thinking is this, plain and simple: we live in a new era. 

People don’t believe you can legitimately make half a million dollars in a month. They’re so conditioned into the belief that you have to slave away for a dollar. I’m here to shake. That. Up! When the haters be hating, it’s because they have something to react against. And I’m proud of that something being half a million dollars a month. I just wish they’d harness the power of social media and create their own wealth. I want this life for everyone! 

We know that you are using social media as one of your marketing strategies, have you tried a strategy that did not work at all in the past, what strategy would you advise someone to leave behind? 

I’ve tried throwing money into Facebook ads. That didn’t work. Not because facebook sucks, but because I did it too early. I didn’t have enough pixel data to make the ads profitable. I go into this extensively in my MoneyBunny courses. If you’re tempted to turn to Facebook when you’ve just started, DON’T. Wait until you’re established with a few solid months of sales. 

Tell us about a time when a customer didn’t like your work, what did you do about it?

Customer service issues are prominent in eCommerce startups. It’s to be expected; especially if you’re in an apparel or accessories brand. Don’t worry about it! Just hire an amazing customer service team to take care of them if the requests exceed what you can take care of yourself. Each interaction is an opportunity to grow and polish your brand even more. 

What sacrifices have you had to make as an entrepreneur to become the person you are now?

The “sacrifices” that most people make weren’t really “sacrifices” for me. Going out, partying, Netflix, stuff like that; were never really things I did to begin with. It’s all about setting healthy habits for yourself. I preferred to work on my business than participate in most of the “time wasters” out there. Not that you shouldn’t have fun! I think balance is key. Just remember what’s important. 

You built 7- figure brands and you are free from the 9-5 life. How do you spend your days now? 

I spend my days traveling, working at cute coffee shops and restaurants, working out, making friends with other eComm entrepreneurs, and going on walks with my dog. I can work in the mornings, or in the evenings, both, or not at all. The freedom is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. 

Being a successful entrepreneur as a woman, does it make it harder to date with men? What advice would you give to successful women who are having hard time dating?

Well first things first: most men will always be intimidated by strong women. Even the right man might get his ego bruised every once in a while. It’s ok; to an extent. I think my advice is to look for red flags like a bull in a ring. Seriously. Does he put down your dreams? Does he take credit for your success? Do you feel like you can’t live up to his standards? Chances are, you’re feeling that way because of his insecurities. Being intimidated by you is one thing; and it’s fine, because you’re a badass. But actively working to bring you down is another. Red flag! 

For those who don’t know about ‘Money Bunny’. What can we expect from the course?

MoneyBunny is a relaxed, 30-video interview series that goes through the steps of starting and running your own eCommerce store. It’s for the beginner who needs a way out of their 9-5 or wants to start up as a hobby. It’s a fabulous overview of how I got started, the tools I used and continue to use, as well as best practices for brand building.  

We all have our good days and bad days. What is your typical bad day and typical good day look like? And how do you stay motivated all the time?

Remember, the words you speak become your reality. Some days I can’t help but think “I’m not good enough, I’ll never make it to my next goalpost, I’m gonna go broke eventually, agh, why didn’t I become a doctor.” I guarantee you, you’ll have thoughts like that too. But I absolutely REFUSE to verbalize those words. If you ever talk to me one-on-one, I am the MOST successful, the most in tune and aligned, the most ready for my blessings to flow abundantly into my life and pocketbook. At least, in my own eyes! I refuse to acknowledge my own insecurities because I believe you’ll attract what you verbalize. 

How would you describe your work style while running your businesses? 

I get in a zone, I never leave a project halfway done. Focused. Everything else can wait; it’s time to get work done. 

How do you want to improve yourselves in the next year? 

Finances is just one part of life; and I’m looking for more balance! I am loving getting to travel and experience new things. This year is all about experiences and relationships for me. It’s time to even the scale. 

What is your best advice for those about to embark on the field of e-commerce?

The Nike Slogan, honestly. JUST DO IT. 

Tell us about your proudest achievement? 

I’m proudest of the hardships I’ve overcome to get to a healthy, happy place in my life. Many people don’t know that I was homeless throughout my high school years. My father went to prison and my mother is still dealing with a slew of issues from that time. I think being a child of an incarcerated parent, hopping from friend’s house to friend’s house, gave me a sense of insecurity about what was possible in my own life. It haunted me for years. Now, I’m free of that; and living out my own truth, knowing that my parent’s choices aren’t my choices. 

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Freedom! The ability to inspire others to live their fullest life! Producing quality products that improve people’s wellness and happiness! The list goes on! 

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

One of my eCommerce businesses that I launched actually tanked pretty quickly. I learned that I just didn’t have the bandwidth to run so many different companies without the right infrastructure in place; employees, strategy, standardization. I re-grouped, this time with the right structure; and now we’re on our way to a million dollars!

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One thought on “E-commerce Queen: Went From Waitressing at 22 to ​Owning a 7-figure Empire at 23

  1. I am so impressed and so inspired by Lauren Lee, thank you for sharing. What really stood out to me was her sharing a piece of her story about having an incarcerated father and a mother with a slew of issues, and the challenges this placed on her. I think there is so much power in us sharing our story, and it’s beautiful that she took the hand she was dealt with to motivate herself to do better and understand that she is NOT her parents! I personally have had to deal with similar issues, so this hit home for me. I will be looking into her eCommerce business course, and will definitely be buying some stylish Ladybossglasses! Women empowering women through the power of sharing, thank you.

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