How John Sanders Achieved His Personal Rags to Riches With Quadra Marketplace

How John Sanders Achieved His Personal Rags to Riches With Quadra Marketplace

From pizza delivery to 7-figures in sales, John Sanders has overcome language barriers, financial disasters, and multiple business failures to get where he is today. To understand Quadra, one must first understand John, his life, and his mission.

Growing Up In Brazil

John Sanders, a co-founder of Quadra Ecommerce, was raised in Brazil, between the ages of five and eleven. His parents met when John’s father was on a religious mission in the area. After his religious service period ended, he reconnected with John’s mother and they married. John was born in the United States but the family moved to Brazil during John’s formidable years.

When John turned 11 his family moved back to the United States, which provided a unique challenge for John: the only language he knew was Portuguese. John looked like all of the American kids he was going to school with and they expected him to understand them perfectly. Faced with their expectations and the reality that he didn’t understand a word of English, John was forced to adapt and learn English or be left behind by potential friends.

From an early age, John learned skills such as resilience and the true value of effective communication. He often attributes the lessons he learned during these experiences to his future successes while building the Quadra Marketplace from the ground up.

The Infamous 2008 Recession

By the time of the 2008 recession, John had gotten married, graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Marketing, and had a job selling software to homebuilders. However, disaster struck his personal life, as it did for thousands across the country when the recession hit. John was laid off and couldn’t find work to provide for his still-growing family.

John made several plans for how to make money and provide for his family, including contracting work and starting a business. John’s debts continued to climb even as each venture John started failed. Eventually, John had to humble himself to do something he’d never thought he’d have to do: spend his nights delivering pizzas for the local Pizza Hut.

 

For John, delivering pizzas was humiliating. Here he was, a well-educated, entrepreneurial, and motivated man and he was delivering pizzas just to make ends meet. John clarifies that “there is no shame in providing for your family and doing the hard work.” But for John, delivering pizzas was a real low point in his life. He felt like he’d failed and those feelings were compounded when he looked at his classmates and friends who were all thriving in well-established careers.

 

Enter Teespring

In 2013 John heard about a selling platform called Teespring. Teespring is a print on demand platform that allows you to sell t-shirts without holding any inventory. John took an internet training course about how to sell print on demand t-shirts on Teespring and got excited about the concept. However, when he pitched the idea to his wife she was less than enthusiastic about yet another business venture that could lead to nowhere. Because of this, John made a deal with her, he got 30 days to make a sale, or he quit trying to sell print on demand products forever.

By day 21 John was starting to get worried. With no sales and his deadline coming up he saw the death of his dreams fast approaching. John decided to lean on his heritage a little and made a Brazil-themed t-shirt. Somewhere in that third week, John made his first sale, and then he made another and another. 40 Brazil-themed shirts later and John had successfully proved to his wife, but more importantly, to himself, that his dream of selling products online was possible.

“You can still go for your dreams no matter what your situation is in life.”

–John Sanders

Quadra Marketplace Is Born

John kept selling with Teespring and eventually got big enough that the company lined him up with a mentor to show him the ropes. During this time, John’s big question was about unique products. In the print on demand space, less so now, but certainly at the time, the only selling options were shirts and mugs. John thought these products were great, and they were certainly earning him money, but he kept wondering about other products that could fit the print on demand model.

In 2017 John met his future business partner, Scott Carpenter. He pitched the idea of creating a platform that would be home to a large variety of print on demand products for sellers to take and sell on their own websites. Scott liked the idea, and together they started the long journey of making the Quadra Marketplace a reality.

Along the way, John and Scott met their third business partner, Brian Rueckert, who owned a laser engraving business selling laser-cut products to national parks. With Brian’s manufacturing experience he was a great fit for the team of Quadra founders.

The Quadra founders used their Ecommerce store, Urban Forest Woodworking & Design, to fund their work on the Quadra Marketplace app. The store also served as a way to test that Quadra Marketplace was working, because a large majority of the products sold on Urban Forest are on the marketplace’s catalog.

The Product That Changed Everything

In early 2020 this strange virus called COVID-19 was starting to make headlines. After supermarket aisles were emptied of toilet paper overnight, Brian came to John with an idea to sell a Christmas Ornament shaped like a roll of toilet paper. John agreed that Brian should run with the idea but didn’t think it would go very far. “…I’m like, this things ugly–looks like a whistle–it’s not going to do anything…We put it on the website and I didn’t even launch any ads on it.”

Like most people in early March of 2020, John thought the COVID-19 virus was going to be a passing event. Eventually, John looked at the sales on Urban Forest and was shocked to find that dumb little toilet paper ornament had made several sales–all without ads. So John started running ads and between March and April of that year they “…made close to a million dollars on just that ornament.”

With the success of the toilet paper ornament, as well as a few other products, the team was able to fund Quadra Marketplace using just the revenue from Urban Forest. Now, two and a half years later, Quadra Marketplace is live with close to 500 users and is about to close negotiations with its second and third manufacturers. The Pro subscription for the app comes with monthly training sessions that are provided live so viewers can ask questions to both John and Brian. Replays are always available and the topics vary from print on demand specifics to tips and tricks about scaling your business.

John was 44 when he first had the idea for Quadra Marketplace. The previous ten years of his life had been filled with financial problems and multiple failed business attempts, but John maintained that “it’s never too late to go for your dreams.” It took him five years to accomplish it, but John has successfully become a 7-figure Ecommerce seller and the co-owner of an up-and-coming print on demand marketplace. In an effort to help all those dreamers out there who believe it’s too late, John has made it his mission to not just create a marketplace, but to teach people how to make money using it.

“There were some people who made their first online sales ever. And for me that’s been the most rewarding thing. I look at those stories and I just smile… for me it’s not about selling product, it’s about seeing other people succeed.”

–John Sanders

While John’s life is a far cry from where it used to be, he’s never forgotten the steps he had to take to get where he is now. As a daily reminder that anyone, from any situation and any age, can make it, John still drives the same car he delivered pizzas in over a decade ago.

How Outsourcing Allows You To Become the CEO of Your Own Company

How Outsourcing Allows You To Become the CEO of Your Own Company

John Jonas, the founder of Onlinejobs.ph, met with Quadra founders, John and Brian, for a podcast interview to talk about how outsourcing can ease the burden of running any business.

In 2006 Jonas hired his first Filipino worker and it was then that he started to grasp the power of outsourcing work. Jonas says outsourcing took him from business owner to CEO.

“You don’t become a CEO until you start paying someone full time.”

-John Jonas

It started with one full-time Filipino employee but from there Jonas built up a small team of all Filipino employees. After working with them for a few years, the vision for his future changed. Jonas set out to build a website to more easily connect small business owners to Filipino workers. Today Jonas, working hand in hand with his Filipino team, has succeeded in creating the largest Filipino outsourcing website in the world.

What Can Outsourcing Do for You?

There are only two things people talk about in terms of spending:

Money and Time

For Jonas his time meant more to him than the money he was making working his 9 to 5 job. Jonas decided to quit his programming job to start his first business. His goal was to decrease the time he was spending at work and increase the time he spent with his family. As you can imagine, it didn’t work. “I quit working my full-time job to live the dream of working 24/7.” After months of working around the clock, Jonas realized something had to change. Outsourcing was his solution.

Today Jonas works an average of 17 hours a week–effectively realizing his goal of spending as little time at work as possible.

For Jonas, the first step to achieving his goal was hiring a full-time employee. In the beginning, it took even more time to train the employee to do the job he wanted to be done. However, after his employee was fully trained, Jonas found he’d saved himself hours of work in the long term. His process continued with one Filipino employee after another until Jonas achieved the lifestyle goals he’d set up for himself.

How Not To Approach Outsourcing

1. Outsourcing Tasks You Cannot Do Yourself

Jonas says one of the worst pieces of advice he’s ever received is to “stick with what you’re good at and outsource the rest.” The reason behind this is that you can’t manage something you don’t understand.

Jonas’ alternative advice is to only outsource what you feel confident teaching to someone else. He often gets pushback on this idea. It’s what you’re good at, so shouldn’t you keep doing it? Jonas’ response is, “it’s cool to get things done your way, but it’s better to get things done.” His point is if you are going to scale your business you simply cannot do everything yourself. To shift from small business owner, Jonas says, you need to start delegating tasks. This will allow you to shift from the doer to the overseer.

2. Approaching the Hiring Process With Your Own Worries

When business owners are first starting to Outsource work, there are some natural concerns and fears that accompany the decision. To name a few:

  • How do I know if I can trust my employee? They could steal my ideas.
  • What if they don’t follow my instructions?
  • What happens if this employee turns into a waste of time?

 Jonas had all of these concerns himself. He even found that all of his concerns were realized through his experiences with workers from other countries. When Jonas heard about Outsourcing from the Philippeans, he was on his last straw.

Jonas approached the Philippines with little hope of success but what he found was a culture of people who wanted to work and work for him. People who didn’t want to start their own businesses, who wanted to learn and grow. People who valued stability and would do anything to maintain a long-term position.

During his years of experience working with Filipino workers, Jonas has changed his approach to hiring overseas workers from the Philippines. It is no longer about his concerns and fears but about theirs. “…they have the same feeling as you do, but their feeling is stronger than yours.” Here are the same questions from above listed from the other perspective:

  • How do I know if I can trust my boss? He/she might not pay me.
  • How will my boss react if I make a mistake?
  • What will happen to me if this job doesn’t pan out?

3. Looking for a Skill To Be Filled

Jonas’ final advice to all business owners looking to hire a Filipino worker is to remember that you are not hiring a skill, you are hiring a human. Your focus shouldn’t be, how can I trust them, it should be, “…how do I gain this person’s trust?”

From Jonas’ experience, Filipino workers want to have long-term positions and they will do things to ensure they keep their job. However, if you aren’t treating them well, they will leave. Jonas says this is critical. You can’t yell at them when they make a mistake, you can’t expect them to do it right the first time they have ever completed a given task.

“If you go into it with the attitude of how do I gain this person’s trust in me, you’ll find just an amazing experience in talent and loyalty and honesty…”

-John Jonas

What Losing 80lbs Taught John About Being A Better Entrepreneur

What Losing 80lbs Taught John About Being A Better Entrepreneur

What does weight loss have to do with being a better entrepreneur? For John Sanders, it was the life-changing principles he learned during his 9-month weight loss journey that impacted every other aspect of his life, including how he ran his business.

John learned that there are three life changes he needed to make to lose weight:

  1. Consistency
  2. Self Confidence
  3. Be Present

After implementing these lifestyle changes to his weight loss journey, John found he’d been applying them to the rest of his life as well and doing so made him a better husband, father, and entrepreneur.

Consistency

As John started to lose weight, he noticed that without consistency nothing would happen. “You can’t just say ‘well I’m gonna watch what I eat this week and then for the next three weeks not’.” To lose weight you have to get a routine and stick to the routine every day and “…it’s the same thing with business.”

John started by getting organized. He needed to nail down his vision and a plan for how to attain that vision, but after that, it was all about consistently working and consistently executing the plan.

Self Confidence

When most people think of self-confidence, they’re thinking of feeling good about themselves, and “that’s part of it.” However, John uses a different definition of self-confidence. He says, “self-confidence is just making and keeping promises to yourself.”

That’s it. If you can make a promise to yourself and then fulfill that promise, your self-confidence will grow. The other part of these self-promises is that they must be attainable. You can’t promise to lose 80 pounds up front, it doesn’t work. But promise to start with a 15-minute walk a day? That is doable.

In the business world, it’s as simple as promising to talk to 5 investors a week or create 1 new product design a day. It doesn’t matter what your promises are, once you’ve made and kept them, your self-confidence will increase and so will your productivity.

Be Present

We’ve all had that moment. You’ve had a long day, you come home and you don’t want to do anything. You go to the cupboard, open a bag of chips and finish it before going to bed that night. This is exactly the kind of scenario that John used to face.

“I was just mindlessly going throughout my day, not being present, you know, and that right there, I can tell you, is why I gained so much weight.”

Finding a balance between home and work life is challenging. How do you separate your business from the kids and the kids from the business? For John, it was a matter of changing his mindset. He taught himself to be fully present in every situation–the good and the bad. Because everything passes, “[I] let myself get present, let myself see [the situation] for what it [was], instead of just constantly reacting to it.”

For John, it was a matter of slowing down, accepting the moment, the stress, the anxiety, and letting it move on. By being present he was able to accept things that happened to him a lot easier and once the emotion had moved on he could make a conscious and present decision about how to move forward with his business, family, weight, and more.