#SpotLITE Blogs: Ocean Morgan on Navigating the E-commerce World Against All Odds
Ever find it daunting to talk to industry professionals and entrepreneurs? You’re not alone - we get that it isn’t easy to speak directly to highly qualified personnels you barely know, so we’ve started #spotLITE Blogs, where on a biweekly basis, we interview an entrepreneur about their journey and how they’ve dealt with all struggles they’ve had. Let us know of any questions you’d like us to ask just so that we can help you make the most out of these!
Written and hosted by Sara A., an incoming second-year Sauder Student
Hey Ocean!! I’m Sara - okay so let’s start with the basics!! Tell me about yourself and how you got started :)
For sure! Hi I’m Ocean and I’m currently a senior at USC. In a nutshell, when I was 8 years old, I googled how to make money online and created my first Paypal when I was 6 years old. By the time I was 8, I was making 20$ every other week through my own website through something called affiliate marketing. I used to also write articles online about gaming tutorials, which was something I really enjoyed. Fast forward a few years, when I was 14 years old, I created my own LLC. When I graduated high school, my youtube channel had about 65,000 subscribers and 5 million views! But at the time I wanted to focus on college so I shut it down!! I also cofounded a clothing company called Geistwear which was a passion project for me! And as of December 2019, I founded my own marketing agency called Kaivent Media.
You gotta do what you gotta do!
That is extremely impressive. You named a few companies you started. Do you want to tell us a little bit about them and the inspiration behind?
Yes definitely! I created my own gaming channel because I genuinely enjoyed playing video games - when I was around 3 or 4 years old, my dad got me into it. Since the start, I’ve been building that acumen of making money, so since I was really good at certain gaming videos, I monetized them and I knew I loved sharing my knowledge with an audience. I created Geistwear in 2018 when I was in 2018, while interning abroad in Switzerland. It was an extremely spontaneous decision and I just hit up my cofounder who was in Wisconsin to start something new. It was a clothing brand and we both had a mutual problem that we just didn’t like what we got at the store, it was too much like we had to fit into the cookie cutter shape. We’re both women of color and we had definitely thought about this idea a lot before delving into it. And my third startup, Kaivent Media that I just recently started is a work in progress - I’ve currently got 2 clients (one closed yesterday!), but the reasoning behind this was being able to pay for rent on my own during college. So it was more of a financial security type of thing. But honestly, I love what I do!
No one was going to hold my hand.
How have you dealt with rejection?
When I was in my freshman year, I had 0 internships, and this really made me feel like a failure. I was really bummed after that, maybe because I built an acumen in the business world having started many ventures at a young age. So that year I went back to Hawaii, my home town and worked in a shaved ice shop that paid 8$ an hour. That’s when it hit me - College was a different game. No one was going to hold my hand. So that’s when I made my own personal website through github and built up my portfolio. And when I got back I actually did end up getting an internship. So the moral was to take your own initiative and keep pushing!
College was a different game.
Any advice for students who want to start up something on their own?
I’m actually working on a blog launch and sending out the free pdf very soon about this exactly! But my advice would essentially be to follow online business models that are already working. The reason I would suggest looking into online businesses is just because there’s barely any upfront cost and you can definitely get started remotely!
Do you think finding something on your own is better than confounding? Was it daunting?
It really depends on how you work with people. For me when starting Geistwear, having a cofounder was amazing because of the financial security. We were able to split the costs evenly and pooled all our internship money to make it work - that helped front the startup costs. However, we did separate for a while because she was an architecture student who was extremely busy which created a lot of tension. This was really sad just because we were really close friends and tying it to a business really tested it. However, we’ve worked through it and are back and bigger than ever! But honestly, I think it depends on the person and how they work with different people. How did you find the resources to start on your own?
What are some mistakes you made along the way that could’ve been avoided?
Haha that’s a good question. For me I think it’s that in business, you don’t need to make everything formal. When we founded the LLC in California, they took $800 away in taxes. It felt really bad because it was like everything that we earned was stripped away from us. So i think the big thing would be you don’t need to make EVERYTHING legal haha!
Using all of your internship money was a risky move. How were you so confident that the business was going to work?
I think at the time we were quite naive to be honest haha! We just got really lucky I think. Because Geistwear was an apparel brand I think a lot of people did end up buying it and we made around 1000$ in revenue. So I think the biggest thing was to be as resourceful as possible and make it happen. You gotta do what you gotta do!
Honestly, I love what I do!
How did you handle adversity and doubt?
That’s a big one. I’ve had people come up to me and say that’s “cringe” but you have to realize not everyone will have the same mindset. But there’s this phrase, “celebrate the process”, and I really urge everyone to do that, because every struggle you go through makes it all the worthwhile. Every barrier you conquer makes the successes all the better.
Thank you so much for taking the time to be here!
Make sure you connect with Ocean on her linkedin! And below are some links you guys can check out to keep up with Ocean's top tips! She recently posted 7 start up ideas on her blog, make sure you check it out on her blog!
Kaivent Media (Digital Marketing Agency) - link
Geistwear (E-commerce Brand) - link
Ocean Morgan (Blog) - link
Ocean Maria (Vlog/YouTube) - link
Thank you so much for reading! We really hoped you gained something from Ocean's wealth of experience and her best advice! We wish her the best for Kaivent Media and Geistwear! Stay tuned for our next blog :)