John Monarch - CEO of Direct Outbound

John Monarch is a skillful and accomplished businessman that has built numerous successful businesses before the age of 30. As a leader and consultant to many companies, John keeps his eyes and focus on expert service and resourceful ideas that take teams to the next level.

John Monarch found his entrepreneurial ideas early on when creating websites for local businesses in South Carolina. He went door to door to small businesses and restaurants that didn’t have a web presence and offered to build websites for them. This experience polished his craft of creating internet based companies as well as the value of a real “hands on” approach when communicating with clients and customers.

After graduating from Clemson University in 2009 with a B.S. in Physics, John created Direct Outbound. As one of the leading fulfillment operations in the USA, Direct Outbound can ship most orders the same day a customer places them. Leveraging his highly analytical education and sales background, John developed a company that delivers precision and efficiency to his clients across the globe.

When John isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his two dogs by the lake or watching his alma mater play football on Saturdays.

How did you get started with Direct Outbound?  What inspired you to start?

My inspiration for Direct Outbound came from my sales experience in other jobs and just noticing there was a big gap to fill.  I had worked with many companies in the past selling their products and was always curious about the logistics of their operations.

I realized there was a lack of fulfillment companies in the space and decided to give it a try from a spare bedroom I had.  The rest was history, as they say.

How do you make money?

We charge clients a fee for some additional services that are provided.  We don’t mark up our shipping rates, so it helps set us apart from other shipping companies – clients get the benefit of volume rates.

We have been able to lock in great rates based on years of consistent service with shipping partners and negotiating prices.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

It wasn’t overnight, that’s for sure.  It took Direct Outbound a few months to get traction and having clients believe in us.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work?  If so, how did you handle that?

A few months in, we were working to decide if it was worth continuing – it took time to really gain traction like I mentioned.  It was nerve wrecking.

This was even after we rented a small office space for the whole operation and signed a lengthy lease.  It wasn’t easy, but we stuck to it and we’re very glad we did.

How did you get your first customer?

Our first customer was someone we’ve worked with before on other projects.  He knew us well and trusted that he’d be in good hands with his product.   That first customer helped us hone our process internally and sharpen our negotiating power with shipping providers.  It was a large turning point for us.

What’s one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that really works well to generate new business?

Conferences and networking have really been the best source of generating new business.  Never be afraid to put yourself out there.  Also, the ability to take in leads and offer something for free usually gains the trust of many clients we have now.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I think a lot of entrepreneurs have to plan to fail.  Your ambition has to be too big to succeed where you set yourself up for something impossible.  Personally, my team and myself have been able to learn from our mistakes when starting out where many others do not.  Have smart, realistic goals but prepare for the worst.  Planning is everything.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The most satisfying moment in our business was our first hire.  Hiring made it real.  We were employing someone outside of our circle.  We had to train them and get them comfortable with our culture.  We realized we needed the help.  At that moment, we knew we were growing and creating a real company.

What does the future hold for your business?  What are you most excited about?

Right now, I’m most excited about blockchain technology and how it relates to shipping and tracking orders.  Decentralized systems that can confirm deliveries and track shipments without relying on one service provider would help create more trust and efficiency in logistics.

What books have inspired you?

I recently read Originals by Adam Grant.  He’s authored a few good books over the years, but Originals really stood out to me.   It’s essentially about how to fight groupthink and come up with new ideas, practices and processes.

What’s one piece of advice you offer for new entrepreneurs or those considering being an entrepreneur?

First off, you need guts.  Just because you think something is a great idea, doesn’t mean it will take off.  You’ve got to put in the time, make sacrifices, and above all, keep the passion alive and ask others to do the same.

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