After completing her undergraduate degree in software development and working for reputable firms such as Electronic Arts and IBM, Paulina Masson found herself wavering between the decision to stay at her traditional 9-to-5 job or to venture out into the world of entrepreneurship.
It didn’t take much for her to take the plunge.
Paulina started at home. Instead of using her downtime to relax and socialize, she spent her nights and weekends researching all the ways she could succeed as an entrepreneur. Even on her one-hour commutes to work, Paulina listened avidly to podcasts hosted by millionaires and entrepreneurs.
A few podcast episodes later, Paulina was inspired and convinced to enter the startup space.
Paulina has established a stream of successful startups. As an Amazon third-party seller herself, Paulina was frustrated with Amazon Seller Central—a web interface that provides info on a seller’s current revenue. The UX/UI design of the service was terrible and lacked key metrics for sellers like net profit.
The only way sellers could calculate the profit from their sales was by exporting a massive dataset where they had to discount manufacturing costs, shipping, fees, ad costs, sales tax, promos, and other expenses from the reported revenue.
The process was taxing. Being the software developer she is, Paulina created her own dashboard. She called it AMZPing.
What is AMZPing?
AMZPing automatically calculates the exact profit third-party sellers make across all the Amazon marketplaces. The software also tracks other metrics like inventory, top sellers, and trends.
AMZPing helped Paulina take her third-party selling on Amazon to another level, and she commercialized this dashboard so that other sellers could do the same.
Paulina’s altruism doesn’t end there. After reflecting on her career as an entrepreneur, Paulina wants to share three important tips with other entrepreneurs that were critical to her success…
Tips for Entrepreneurs
1. Learn from other entrepreneurs and if you can’t meet them, listen to their stories online.
Your journey doesn’t need to have multiple attempts and multiple failures for your business to be successful. As Masson did, you can gain vital insight just by listening to podcasts. Hearing entrepreneurs and their stories will strengthen your understanding and intuition of what may work for your business.
So, instead of losing money through trial and error, take advantage of learning from others’ experiences.
2. Make a list.
“Even if there are many tasks in total, I know that I am getting to the most important ones first. It feels great to be in control.”
Priority lists are helpful and crucial. Instead of staring at a jumble of unread messages flooding your email inbox, go through each one and prioritize them.
One tip that Paulina uses is tagging all the urgent emails and labeling them by projected completion time. From there, organize the list from the quickest task to the longest one — or the other way around if it works better for you. Next, label which tasks are personal or business-oriented. Then, pile all the tasks that will take less than 30 minutes to complete into one group, and separate them from the longer tasks. That way, when you know you don’t have much time on your hands, you can turn to the list with all the shorter tasks.
“It helps me feel that I am accomplishing many things every day, and I don’t stress about the tasks anymore,” Paulina shares.
3. Leave a lot of time to think.
Create plans, ideas, and strategies yourself, and designate other people to implement them.
Simple tasks like book-keeping, sorting incoming emails, and managing social media shouldn’t be left for the entrepreneur to complete. In the meantime, set at least a few hours a day to think of ways to improve your business. Focusing on strategy will help grow your startup much faster because you aren’t weighed down by menial tasks.
“If you fill up your time with tasks that can be done by someone else, you’re wasting the best resource you have—your mind. You are the centre of your business”
These three tips helped Paulina when she was growing all of her startups, especially AMZPing. Since AMZPing has been commercialized, Paulina has welcomed several opportunities including participating at Corridor Demo Day. The event summoned all major startups within the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor to prove themselves and pitch in front of venture capitalists from North America.
Paulina says that the experience was an array of nervousness, fear, excitement, and later on, triumph. After her pitch — which she rehearsed every three minutes on her way to Waterloo — Paulina connected with several noteworthy investors that she otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity. One of the investors even personally invited Masson to Mastermind’s Investment Breakfast, an exclusive invite-only meeting.
It started with three critical choices — listening to podcasts, making lists, and leaving time to think — and it ended with one opportunity that changed the trajectory of AMZPing.