We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Yee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
The habits that I feel helped me succeed range from common ones you’ll see such as persistence, working hard, etc. to not ones you’ll often see such as being nice and responsive communications. I’ll dig into these below with 10 habits that I believe have helped me succeed.
1) Hard work – I feel like this is one that is what you’ll see every time when you talk to an entrepreneur, but it’s true. The saying goes that entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours to avoid working 40 hours. It’s a true statement for me. The risk/reward goes with this. If you’re not willing to put in the 80 hours a week to grow a business with the goal of making more money than you would have if you worked a Full-Time job, then owning a business may not be for you. Yes, it is risky. Yes, you’ll be working a lot. However, the reward at the end makes all the hard work worth it! The work doesn’t just stop at your core business (product/service ) – there’s still the administrative work, legal work, advertising, logistics, etc. that goes along with all of this.
2) Being persistent – Along with hard work, this one is often seen in the early stages of being an entrepreneur. Things don’t always go the way you plan. You’ll be rejected. You’ll have doubters – sometimes it’ll be your friends or family. However, as long as you believe in your product/service, you’ll do great. I personally love proving the doubters wrong, so that drives me.
3) Adapt to situations – This couldn’t be more true for 2020. Businesses in all industries really had to adapt to the change of lifestyles of consumers due to COVID-19. For us at the Kickboxing Club, our gym had to shut down for indoor classes. We initially adapted by shifting to virtual classes and offering that to our members. Meanwhile, we started developing a mobile app as well to shift our business to adapt to the home fitness industry. We’re currently working on this project, called Kickboxing Club Live, where we’ll sell packages to consumers that will contain a boxing bag, gloves, punch trackers, heart rate monitors, and much more. We’ll offer live classes where we can coach them via the video feed and their metrics will be gamified similar to how Peloton has it. With COVID-19 staying longer than we anticipated, we began offering in-person outdoor classes as well. For my Marketing company, Cloud Gate Media, we always have to adapt to new strategies for ads and client needs as well as adapt to other technologies that are available.
4) Taking Risks – Risk-taking is scary at first, but you’ll get used to it once you find any type of success. Any type of validation feels great when you’re taking risks – whether it’s selling your first product or landing your first client! However, risks are always needed in order to grow and achieve something greater. To touch on this more, the risks should be calculated risks. You’ll have to understand that there are some risks that just don’t make sense. I think having a plan behind every risk is the best way to approach it.
5) Overachieving – I’ve always been one to try to exceed expectations. I think that goes a long way and creates a way for you to not be forgotten. You’ve already won once you’re remembered as someone who can be trusted to get something done and they don’t have to worry about you.
6) Eagerness to learn – Learning was key to starting my first business. You have to wear every hat when you’re trying to bootstrap the company yourself. In the beginning, you’ll often learn the hard way, but still valuable lessons going forward. For me, learning everything I could about Digital Marketing and Advertising, website development, Legal entities, invoicing and HR, and business operations of a fitness studio was critical to my business.
7) Work with the team – I don’t believe in micromanaging nor simply delegating tasks that you don’t want to do. I love being on the ground and working with the team. As I have been on the employee side as well, I believe it says a lot and means a lot when you see the ‘boss’ or your ‘manager’ work with you when things get rough and you overcome difficult situations as a team.
8) Taking time to recharge – Early on when I started my first business, it was tough for me to get a grasp on this. I was always working and hardly took some time away. I always tried to continue developing and see where I can improve business or myself. Yet, I would find myself burned out and realized that I wasn’t getting as much productivity out of myself as I would like. Everybody is different with what it is that ‘recharges’ them. For me, it’s two completely different things. Staying home or doing things on my own like a drive somewhere. But lately, I’ve realized that traveling recharges me. A short weekend trip is sufficient enough for me to be ready for the next week!
9) Being genuinely nice – This one doesn’t seem like a tough one, but it’s just how I live my life. I believe in just being genuinely nice to anyone and everyone. In LA, I feel like a lot of people that moved from out of town always tell me that LA folks are ‘Fake Nice’. They’re nice because they want something from you. That’s not the type of nice I’m talking about. Being nice to people in the stores you shop at, being nice to your waiter/waitress, and helping out others that may not expect it will go a long way.
10) Responsive in communications – This is something that I’ve learned helps and goes a long way. For me, communication is huge. I love transparency, setting clear expectations, and responsiveness. Simple things such as responding quickly to an email or within 24 hours. Or if you’re asked to do something but can’t do it, let the client or customer know that they can expect it to be done by end of day tomorrow or any day you think. As long as that communication is there and you follow up with it, it goes a long way. I have been on the customer side many times with vendors and there has been many times where these vendors lost my business because they don’t communicate well with me or set false expectations.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I have a few businesses – Cloud Gate Media (Digital Marketing Agency), Kickboxing Club Fitness (Fitness Kickboxing studio), Kickboxing Club Live (mobile app to provide Live Fitness classes at home while calculating metrics), and Fish Bone Rope Tie (a product that helps bundle and unbundle items quickly). It all started with Cloud Gate Media as being the company that allowed me to start up the other companies that I currently have. Prior to Cloud Gate Media, I have attempted to create over 5 other businesses that failed. It was definitely not an easy journey.
Cloud Gate Media is a full-service Digital Marketing Agency that helps businesses generate more revenue by getting more leads and/or sell products. I started Cloud Gate Media when I was 25 years old and started with Sugar Ray Leonard as my first client, luckily. Over the years, we’ve worked with national clients in various industries and allows us to better understand the different types of ad strategies that are required.
Along with this, it allowed me to understand the various corporate structures. We have worked with over $3M of ad budget over the years and always have a focus on keeping our clients happy. We have had multiple national clients that have been with us since Cloud Gate Media started!
After having Cloud Gate Media for over 3 years, I decided to start Kickboxing Club Fitness in Torrance, CA with a partner. We focus on 60-Min Fitness Kickboxing Classes where you work on hitting bags and not sparring with anybody. Our goal has been to build a community where our members love coming to work out and work together to achieve the same goal – build confidence and get in great shape while having an amazing time. This would be my first brick-and-mortar business, so there were a lot of things I had to learn along the way. There were a lot of challenges along the way and challenges that we’re still facing as of writing this. COVID-19 has put many businesses in a vulnerable position. In our first year of business, we had to be shut down for 4 months. We’re still shutdown for indoor operations, but we’re operating virtual classes in the morning and operating outdoor classes daily. We have an amazing community of members that have stuck with us along the way and are so appreciative that we are open. We have been a great escape for most people throughout this pandemic to get out of the house, safely, and have a sense of community when that seems to have been lost.
From this, we have begun the development of Kickboxing Club Live (KBXC Live). Kickboxing Club Live is a Mobile App where we host live Fitness Classes where you can participate with Punch Trackers and a Heart Rate Monitor. With those metrics tracked, you’ll be able to compete with others that are taking a live class or a recorded class. We’ll be selling the boxing bags, boxing gloves, hand wraps, heart rate monitors, and much more.
This way, we’re able to cater to the market of home fitness and be able to market nationwide. COVID-19 definitely helped us push to make this business idea come alive. Lastly, I’m a partner in a company called Fish Bone Rope Tie. This is a product that relieves your struggles of tying and untying knots! Used a lot by backpackers, hikers, and military personnel, Fish Bone Rope Tie helps you bundle things together quickly and easily! We have various types for various size ropes and paracord to make it simple!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For people that know me, they know restaurants and bars are my favorite places to take people when exploring the city.
For Food: – Kazunori (or Sugarfish) same company, great sushi – Bestia – Bavel – Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ – Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ – Father’s Office – Leo’s Tacos – Ensenada’s Fish Tacos (South Bay) – Tsujita Ramen – Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles – Cassel’s – N/naka For Bars (most are speakeasies) – No Vacancy – La Descarga – Good Time at Davey Wayne’s – Black Rabbit Rose – Madame Siam – Dirty Laundry – Breakroom 86 – Pour Vous – Normandie Club – Library Bar – JOEY DTLA – Angel City Brewery – 82
Visit/Hang Out: – Arts District DTLA – Staples Center area – Griffith Park – Hollywood – Beverly Hills – Manhattan Beach – Santa Monica – Palos Verdes Hikes
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate the success to friends and family. There are too many names to list out, but my friends and family have always been there to support me through the hard times of starting the business and always being there to support me mentally. They have seen me and been there for me throughout all the failures of businesses that I’ve had and still here to support me with the businesses that I now have to this day. It’s always an amazing ride and always fun to look back and talk with them about the stories of hardships from before to where we are now. My family has always been supportive of me from the beginning and I’ve always been grateful for that. I know that growing up, and especially early on in the days of my entrepreneurship, it was scary for my parents to see if any of the businesses would actually do anything as they have worked corporate jobs for their careers. They never discouraged me throughout my failures and always supported me regardless. I’ll always appreciate them for this!
Website: https://kickboxingclubfitness.com/, http://cloudgatemedia.com/, https://kickboxingclublive.com/, https://www.fishbonefish.com/
Instagram: @kickboxingclubfitness, @cloudgatemedia, @fishboneropetie, @ericyee12
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kickboxingclubtorranceca, https://www.facebook.com/FishBoneRopeTie, https://www.facebook.com/Cloud-Gate-Media-1584715745169229