In the six years since graduating from Sy Symms School of Business of Yeshiva University, Donny Lowy has authored seven business and investment books including The Guide for Penny Stock Investing and Secrets of eBay. At the same time he has created a network of five wholesale and closeout search engines and five mortgage search engines. He may not be a Jewish doctor or lawyer but i’m sure he’s making his mother proud. In an exclusive interview with Jew Central, Donny Lowy shares his secrets.
Jew Central: You started your career at a young age, how did you get started? What challenges did you face because of your age and how did you overcome them?
Donny Lowy: I started by chance when I was in the process of graduating from Yeshiva University. At the time I was in the process of looking for a job, along with thousands of other college graduates across NY. After interviewing at a few jobs I realized that before I lost the opportunity I wanted to try to see if I could succeed in business for myself.
At this point, five years down the road, I have endured challenges, and have had to adapt to changes in the market while looking for new opportunities, but overall I am happy with the outcome so far.
As far as my age, I never let it interfere with my desire to succeed. I was never impressed by the fact, or indimidated, just because someone was older than me or had been involved in business for a longer period of time.
If anything, by being young and new to business I have been able to stay motivated and be open to new business ideas. Remember, the way someone treats you is the way they treat their customers, so if you meet someone who is kind of difficult, start thinking of how you can reach his customers.
Believe me his customers will thank you and appreciate you once you meet them.
JC: You’ve already written seven books in six years while running multiple business- what tricks do you use to get the most out of your time?
DL:The most important advice I could give anyone is to be extremely persistent and to never let yourself become discouraged. If you ever lose faith in yourself you might as well give up.
I have always seen that people who consistently work at making their business succeed end up succeeding. And this is true even if their initial business, or job for that matter, does not work out the way they wanted it to.
Always keep plugging away until you win.
Make sure to ignore all negative feedback. It usually is a result of envy.
I strongly believe that Hashem will help us with what ever we undertake and that every challenge is really a blessing in disguise.
It says in the Gemora, that if a person tells you that he tried but he couldn’t you should not believe him. That means that if a person does try he or she will achieve what it is that they are trying to accomplish.
I realize that this takes a great deal of faith in Hashem in order to accept, but I also believe that Hashem helps us according to the level of faith that we have.
If I was to give any lasting advice to anyone it would be that they should immerse themselves in accomplishing their goals with a firm belief that Hashem will help them succeed regardless of how difficult the task, project, or goal might seem to be.
JC: What do you consider the most important factor(s) to your success?
DL: A strong level of guidance and support from my family, especially when I first started out in business. I would never have had the courage to start a business, or to continue in business, unless my family had strongly encouraged me.
When I first started out in business I decided that I would learn every day and strictly give 10% of any earnings I had to charity. I still believe that this is the only reason that I am actually able to have any level of success.
When the dot com bubble has burst and many web only businesses folded. How do you think web only sites can be profitable?
The key to running any successful business, especially when that business is located in a marketplace that has had a strong failure rate, is to focus on an existing need within a closely defined niche.
I own and manage a network of wholesale search engines, www.WholesaleQuest.com,that provide a steady flow of buyers to wholesalers and distributors. This was a need that I
discovered as a consequence of being involved in the closeout and wholesale business. By connecting sellers and buyers in a fragmented market that has always depended on connections, I was able to provide a true service for an existing need in the marketplace.
The key is to finding a well defined market niche and seeing what the true needs are for that market. The focus should be on what the market really needs, and then on how to best deliver that product or service. The apparent need will not be the true need, so it is important to always keep delving deeper until you have come up with what the true need, or needs, of the market are. I believe that this is really the secrets of doing business online.
JC: What are the special challenges serving the Jewish market?
DL: Bringing unity among Jewish people. I think that there is an overwhelming demand for products and services that will bring Jewish people together. This is especially true in regard to Kiruv, Marriage, Jobs, and Security.
In the coming years we will face challenges as Jewish people which will depend on having a strong sense of unity in order to overcome them. Even from a religious point of view, many of the challenges that we face as Jews are a result of the invisible barriers that separate different types of Jews.
This need and demand also presents unique business opportunities for those who can find ways to bring Jewish people together.
JC: What other online or offline companies do you look up to and why?
DL: I always admired the way my grandparents ran their bakery, Chiffon’s, because they always put the customer first, and always believed in being honest and running a business with integrity.
They faced many challenges from competitors and were always able to outlast them because the loyalty and admiration that they had from customers.
I can think of many stories where they stayed open late so someone could pick up a cake for a surprise engagement party, or kept the doors open a few minutes on Friday afternoon for a customer who was running late.
I even remember when my grandfather, at well past 60, baked challas himself for a charity that needed them.
In return I believe that their customers reciprocated by giving their loyalty to a business that really cared about them.
I try to keep this approach and attitude in business because I know that at the end of the day, my customer is really the one who will decide whether my business will succeed or not.
JC: What advice would you give to other Jewish people who want to succeed?
DL: Daven (Pray) every day, learn, and give a full 10% of your earnings or profits to charity. While many people are looking for a silver bullet this is the real way to ensure that you will succeed in life.
You can find numerous sources including Pirkei Avot that will support this.
JC: Who are the people you look up to and why?
DL: In addition to my family I look up to and admire all of the people I have met at OHEL over the course of years. OHEL, which offers residential facilities to children and teenagers from challenged families, is lucky to be able to be there for some of the most special individuals I have had the privilege of meeting.
If you ever need any motivation in life, or you are worried about your circumstances, all you have to do is see what an amazing attitude and motivation the kids at OHEL have. No matter what their personal circumstances are you will always see them with a strong positive attitude and with a strong determination to make it in life.
I also greatly admire all of the staff, volunteers, and foster families who are there for the OHEL kids, may Hashem bless them with everything they will ever need.
JC: What books do you recommend?
DL: I recommend that you read all of my books! I also recommend reading The Millionaire Next Door. If you read between the lines you will discover plenty of valuable information.
JC: Any other comments?
DL: I would be more than happy to be able to provide any guidance, suggestions, or ideas to anyone who is interested in starting a business, or is currently involved in business. You can reach me directly by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org