Coran talks with Nate about selling his Amazon FBA business after its rapid growth to becoming an investor and making sure his team was looked after in the process. They also dig into life after the sale and its meaning.
- The beginning of the journey
- Asking the right questions
- Growing the business
- Deal structure
- Becoming an Investor
- Entrepreneurial fire
- Creating and nurturing a Team
- What Nate’s doing now
Mentioned in this episode:
- Seller Plex
- Derek Sivers (CD Baby)
- Blacksmith Entrepreneurship Camp (or Sovereign Academy)
We are live today on Truth About Exits. I have my good buddy Nate Ginsburg on the podcast. I've been trying to work to get Nate to talk about some of these topics for quite some time now. Excited to get you on here mate and introduce you to our audience. Nate, thanks for joining us.
Hey Coran, thank you for having me. I share your excitement and getting to dig into whatever we get into here.
Awesome. Just as a little bit of a high point why you might be interested in this podcast episode and to highlight what you might want to look out for on this interview. Nate has been traveling the world for quite some time, so location independent. He has started, exited a number of companies and also is an active investor in a number of other companies and also we'll get to what he's doing now. Some would say a full cycle entrepreneur starting and exiting. There's a lot to talk about here. But mate I'd love to start with where you and I actually met. We met in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in the north of Thailand. We had a conversation. Do you remember the first time we met? It was at Warmup cafe.
I remember hanging in Chiang Mai I guess now this was like more than five years ago and I'm not sure if I remember the specific Warmup.
I think we were walking back towards our conference or something and we kind of met at a DC gathering and we were walking back and happened to be walking together and I'm pretty sure this was the first night. We were kind of kicking back and forth, “what are you doing?” and “what are you up to kind of thing?” I remember you saying I've got some affiliate stuff and I've got some other stuff that you had five or six things going on. I was like oh wow okay that's interesting. Maybe trying some stuff out or not really sure what's working but it was like okay, cool. We were building an e-commerce business at the time and we didn't really know what we were doing either. It's kind of okay were getting started but that was to consider where we started from to where we are now is kind of super interesting.
Yeah. I mean I think I do remember the walk back in Santee Ham to wherever we were staying. At that time I did have a few affiliate sites. I think you also might've had some like SEO stuff going on. I was doing some kind of random freelance marketing or project management and definitely was trying to figure things out. I guess things have changed or progressed a lot over the last five years. I know for us both and it's been super cool to from then both of us are doing whatever we were doing and now to this, I mean to be able to be friends through throughout the whole process and our journeys and now coming back together here now in similar spaces. It's been a crazy journey.
Absolutely. Do you remember how or why you got into selling products for Amazon in the beginning? So the FBA stuff? Yeah I first got into being an entrepreneur or trying to be an entrepreneur maybe six or seven years ago and like you mentioned when we met I was doing okay. I was making a little bit of money supporting myself and was traveling. That was kind of the first goal but that wasn't the end goal. I was definitely had aspirations and wanted to do something bigger and hence I was trying a bunch of stuff at the time we met and it was going okay but none of it really seemed to be that big opportunity or like the opportunity to really grow or take things to another level.
I was continuing to try things and had a lot of friends are/met a lot of people in the community that we're doing different e-commerce stuff drop shipping as well as then a Amazon FBA. I had tried pretty much everything else that had seemed like it could have been a decent opportunity. Then FBA kind of started to like, just started to know more people that were having some good success with it including some pretty pretty close friends and good friends that were so generous with their time and sharing their experience and knowledge. I mean not just encouraging me but explaining how that business model works and really just like what to do. I gave that a try and it started going better than any of the other things that I had going on or that I had tried. A couple months in it was clear that this was going to be the thing to focus on and to grow. That's how I kind of got into got into FBA and it was just working on building and growing that business as much as I could.
Awesome. Yeah, it's when you get that initial traction when like you said, okay, this is the thing. Typically when it's working, it's going to happen pretty quickly. Derek Sivers talks about this with a CD baby where he was trying to be a musician and get his band out there that this CD baby thing, it's just super easy. It just worked and worked pretty quickly. That's one thing is once something takes hold in the beginning that's when I went okay I should double down on this and focus on it. But one thing you did mention there just in passing that I really want to highlight something that I've been impressed to watch over time, is your ability to be able to ask questions and engage with people and seemingly get them to just share everything with you straight away. Obviously you may or may not have some strategy behind that but I'd be interested to find out do you have a framework that you consciously think of or is it just honestly being curious and curious about what other people are doing?
Yeah, a great question. Yeah, I mean it's something like that if there's anything to credit to I dunno anything that I've achieved so far are I'm sure will achieve. It's from having the opportunity to learn and learn from other people. I mean I've always been a really curious person. I remember when I was young, I would just always ask a lot of questions and as I got older I still was very curious. Especially as it’s like one of my favourite maybe be like my favourite thing to do or in the world. I’ve had interesting conversations with interesting people. When I meet someone then or now and if they're doing something that I think is interesting or is new I'm just genuinely really curious.
I ask a lot of questions and stuff I've learned is that people generally like to talk about themselves and I’m genuinely interested. I just ask a lot of questions and they're generally happy to talk about what they're doing and how they got there. I've also kind of over the years I guess become comfortable asking questions that other people might be too shy to ask. I mean I would usually preface it with something if you're comfortable sharing I'd love to or I'm curious to hear like, what do you pay x or what kind of margins do you target? The questions that I think are important and I’m genuinely curious about and just kind of having the I don't even know if it's like courage but just asking questions that some people might not ask. Something that I've actually found is that people actually like getting the like harder or like less surface questions and I think it's actually helped build a lot of really strong and great relationships by just like asking good questions to people and then I mean they're usually pretty interesting and then we become friends. We just kind of keep talking and have the opportunity to keep learning.
I'd call that a superpower mate. It isn’t something that people anyone can build as a skill but that's definitely a superpower. I think there's nothing worse than small talk in the world. There's too much of it. yeah. That's awesome. That actually segues perfectly into getting your first investor on board. It was a mutual friend of ours who invested in your company while it was in hyper growth mode. Did that come about through conversations or did you directly say, Hey, I'm looking for capital. How did all of that come about?
Yeah, good. Another good question. It was interesting when you talk about that kind of hyper growth period and I remember with my business there was like a four or five months stretch that sales were doubling every month. I mean it started the first month it's like July. It was like $1500 in sales and then August, it was June I dunno, 1500 and then it was three or 4,000 and then it was $10K and then it was $20K than it was $40K. Then it was $80K. Coming into the holiday season. I don't remember what year maybe it's 2015. Yeah. 2015 and 2016 and came into our first like six figure sales month which was like oh that's awesome.
Super exciting. I mean it is awesome. It was awesome. But I remember also like looking at my bank account and being like, Oh wow, like I'm selling all this stuff but basically had the same amount of money in my bank account as when we met in Chiang Mai the couple of years before. I was thinking like, okay, this is all great but maybe I could or should take some chips off the table. I was like the goal wasn't to sell $100K a month. I mean not that wasn't a goal but the goal was also have more than $10K in my bank account with that in mind I was kind of thinking about this stuff a little bit and just maybe do I sell or sell some of the brands or what could I do to give myself a little stability and breathing room around the same time, our mutual friend had recently exited, had a pretty substantial exit. We'd been friends the last few years as well hanging out in Vietnam and we're just friends and stayed in touch. Anyway, we were both back in Vietnam this was like I think in January after that our first big holiday season and we were just catching up. I think I just kind of mentioned I mean I had no idea if for that there was any interest and I was kind of mentioned oh the business has been going good. It's growing and I'm thinking about maybe selling some or selling a brand or something to kind of take some chips off the table. Our friend also kind of casually mentioned like oh I'm looking to invest in some businesses. Then that was kind of the start of what kind of became this sorta a dance so to speak over the next kind of couple of weeks, I mean I think it was probably over the course of the next month or so that we came to an agreement. I sold a 49% of the business and was able to get a little more than a $10K into my personal bank account.
I remember your brother Jeremy Posting about the deal after a little bit after. I think he was saying how proud of you he was and that was really nice to read. But also having been alongside you in Chiang Mai in those early days, I was so proud for you and then for that to come through that's amazing. But I would love to dig into with what you can reveal. Obviously with whenever talking exit says a lot of confidentiality involved feel free to talk as much or as little as each topic as you'd like to. But I'd like to know some mechanics here because a few years ago I started trying to get some of our clients to think about taking on an investor instead of a full exit. Most people I spoke to were saying, oh I don't want to give up equity. I'd just prefer to sell the whole thing. I could see with some of the brands, some of the businesses we were talking to the trajectory and where it was going. For me it was like crazy to see that just prefer to sell the whole thing. Sometimes that is the right case. Obviously as an entrepreneur, that's the best thing is it's your asset. You can do whatever you want. What was the thought process for you for selling 49%, and then after that the transaction happened, how much of that cash did you actually keep and how much of that cash was earmarked to go back into growth growing, growing that business?
Sure. I mean some of my thinking was first our friend that invested was one of the most successful business guys that I knew also just a super good person as well. Very successful in his career in businesses. I mean I think I'm still young but I was younger and some of us were talking a little bit about before we started recording of this whole the long term view and I was thinking on a long term horizon, would my life and career be in a better place if I went into business with this very successful friend?
That could increase my chances for or the opportunities for long term success. Fast forward me and that person who invested in my business we've now partnered on a number of deals together. Our business relationship has certainly continued. Also part of it was to get some cash off the table put some money in my bank account e-commerce is expensive and growth is expensive. That was certainly a factor not the only or the biggest.
I think maybe the biggest one actually was kind of like the opportunity to think bigger and it was cool getting that in different kinds of conversations as we led up to the deal. As well as thinking about it in general being able to take some chips off the table. It kind of gave me the opportunity to think bigger and swing bigger. Since I had more security or stability it gave me more confidence or it just kinda gave me the confidence to think bigger and swing bigger because I already had some sort of financial foundation. A combination of I think all those things that led me to be interested in selling the little less than half of the business then I guess also the I don't know, maybe the last thing is that I retained control and so I was able to get some cash and it was clear in the discussions that this was still my business.
I was still going to run the show. We could talk about stuff and bounce ideas or whatever but I knew that I was supported in the decisions that I made and what direction I wanted to take things. I was still able to retain the freedom to run the business how I saw fit, of course still interested in input and ideas and feedback from my partner. I still had the freedom and opportunity to run the business and grow it how I thought or wanted.
Did that open up more access to capital for you as well or were you just using the cash flow of the business?
Right. Yes, I guess another reason why I was interested as I thought that it would open up more access to capital and this wasn't something that was actually, I don't remember if it was explicitly discussed when we were coming to the initial agreement. But I definitely thought like, oh, all right this guy has a ton of money and e-commerce growth requires cash and okay. Maybe down the line this could open up access to capital. Then to answer it or I remember one of your questions from just a bit before is the money that the sale price went into my bank account. I sold 49% for x and that went into my personal bank account. Then we both like recapitalize the business with I don't remember how much but put some money back in for kind of operating, income and that was kind of where the money went.
Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. You don't always hear the full story on the mechanics, so appreciate your sharing that. Then just real quick before we get into the exit portion is what happened next financially revenue wise. The business continued to grow and we continued to have a pretty strong next year. I mean I think it ended up like doubling in the next year around or something like that which then kind of put us in an interesting spot come around a year later. One of the thoughts or hopes of bringing on that investor was like, oh well this guy's had a really successful career and found a lot of great opportunities and maybe this would lead to more good opportunities for me and our business. Fast forward about a year was catching up with my partner on trying to call I was in Vietnam, I don't know where he was. It was just kind of mentioning and it's kind of crazy. I just got back from a family trip, the family trips are interesting because you're not really working. We had a bunch of different car rides and I was just thinking a lot about business and direction.
I was like I wonder maybe like down the road maybe like a Chinese person would be a good buyer. We have this business, have this asset oh I bet like Chinese people they could be a good buyer. Anyway, I wasn't really acting much on that but it was catching up with my partner and he had previously sold a few businesses to this big Chinese company. I mean we were kind of catching up and then he just kind of mentioned by the way that company might be interested in buying our business. What do you think? I was interested, basically like three days later I was on a plane to China to meet with the business and the CEO, long story short came to an agreement to sell. We sold the USA side of the business for a just under a million dollars. I guess how that came about.
Wow. In just over a year, maybe a year and a half, you went from doing, I forget the first number, the first number I remember was around four and a half or $15K in revenue. A year and a half later or a year later, not even a year later, you sold half the company and then you sell the whole company for a $1MM, just under a million a year later. That's a pretty quick turnaround from getting something that started working to taking some chips off the table to take even more chips off the table. That's a pretty awesome story. Do you still own the European piece of the business or outside of the US because he said this was just the US right?
Yes, still have the EU side and just tend to a little explanation of why we sold the US one. We had a bunch of products launching on the EU side. I dunno then not like it wasn't really at a place where we could sell versus where the US side which had just kind of been, I mean we weren't as aggressively launching products there it was more just kind of running and profitable. It made that easier and more attractive acquisition. The other side wasn't really at a place to sell and I did end up keeping that as well as keeping most of my team that was running those businesses.
That's a pretty awesome result. Normally when there's an exit that happens you lose the cash flow. To keep the cash flowing piece of the business even if it wasn't as profitable or maybe even not profitable at the time. At least there was cash flow generating machine that you got to hold onto. Taking chips off the table creates an interesting problem we’ve had this conversation with a number of our clients. Once the mindset change happens, once you have go from having cash flowing in to a pile of money in the bank depleting that does some things with your head. It's a different problem to have. Could you talk a little bit about how that changed your approach moving forward and then getting into some of the investing stuff as well?
Yeah. After we had the exit I still had and was working on the EU side of the business but it was kind of something I thought that, just thinking more like longer term about what direction do I want my career to be going in? I had enough or got some money not enough to retire not that I would want to but enough to buy myself some kind of time and thinking about honestly like a lot of really challenging questions. What should I do, what am I good at, what's important? What do I like, where should I go? Who do I want to be with? Wrestling with these like existential questions. I had gone the previous year and then went again the following summer and attended The Blacksmith Camp or Sovereign Academy put on by the Sovereign Man community. I mean that both years that I attended that camp are like super, super impactful learned a ton. The mentors there are still some of the smartest entrepreneurs that I've ever had the had the opportunity to meet and learn from. It was like at that camp that summer that kind of got me thinking more about being an investor myself and I mean the mentors they're very successful and experienced investors. I learned a lot and got really inspired and after that summer. New is interesting.
The switch of thinking all right I want to be an investor. A lot of it was mental, self talk and imposter syndrome and it's like, oh well I couldn't be an investor. I don't know what to do or I couldn't do that. Then kind of a shift just got to be like, why not? I want to do this, why can't I do this? After that summer, one of the things that I kind of learned, well started to learn is if you want to be an investor one thing about having some capital is you’ve got to find a deal.
That kind of became like a big project after that summer was like, all right if I want to be an investor, I got to find a deal. All right, first started looking at monitoring stuff on all the brokerages and looking at tons of prospectuses and that's cool. We saw a lot of businesses and I definitely learned a lot, just looking at different prospectuses and seeing what's available. One thing that I kind of also learn to realized was that and understandably the overwhelmingly the businesses that you find on brokerages with the nice prospectus they're going to be fairly or appropriately priced.
They're going to have somewhat of a standard of how much profit the business makes and how old it is and what kind of business to get. There's somewhat standard valuation process for businesses that you'll find from a broker or on a marketplace. One thing that I also realized was that I was shooting for trying to find better deals than normal and that I didn't really have, I had some capital but didn't have enough where I was just going to throw it at something and just kind of be a passive investor. I was trying to get outsized returns from the capital I invested.
Then the way that I thought that I was able, in order to do that I had to generate my own deal flow and find some opportunities. They weren't just going to come nicely wrapped and handed to me. I had to go out and find and create those opportunities. That became the next kind of project or thing and I started putting myself out there, did a bunch of podcasts and talked about my story. In a lot of this stuff talking about what I believed in and some of this looping back to the decision to take on an investor and still where I'm at now and in my career. I'd rather get a smaller piece of a bigger pie. I'd rather work and collaborate with really smart people. Find the one plus one equals three opportunities. I don't know, I guess the older that I've gotten the less ego I think that I have in whatever I'm pursuing. When I was younger it was like I had something to prove or I thought I had something to prove. I wanted to do this myself but I can relate to that for sure. Moving forward I just came more confident or mature at where I was at and what opportunities I wanted. Instead of trying to keep it all for myself, why not work with other super smart, awesome and talented people and go after a bigger pie. Just having more fun doing it and accelerate your learning curve and the growth.
That stuff that and I started talking about that as well on these different podcasts and just keeping my eyes open for whatever might be an opportunity to invest in. That was something that I also like a lesson or something that I took away from Blacksmith Camp that summer it was like move forward with the first best opportunity. That's something that I've definitely learned or a change of thinking from when I first started to pursue investing. At first I thought all right, I’ve got to go on all these podcasts and I’ve got to do all this to market myself and grow my brand and get all this deal flow. Once I'm getting all this deal flow, then I'll find an opportunity. What I've come to realize is that with deals it's like a one to one sort of thing. You don't need to have a hundred deals coming a week all you really need, I mean it’s certainly that would be useful and it does depends on what sort of scale you're trying to invest or acquire but all you need to move forward. You just need one right opportunity. Fast forward a little bit I was having some conversations and kind of exploring some stuff towards the end of 2016 end of, no end of 2017. I was chatting with this really awesome guy Brent who had an Amazon PPC, a small Amazon PPC agency.
I knew Brent because he actually had done some consulting for me and my business. I knew he did good work really stand up guy. I mean it was in a space that I was familiar with Amazon PPC. Back at the beginning and talking about the courage to ask the questions. At a certain point we were talking and then it just kind of ask like, Hey, might you be interested in exploring some sort of investment partnership sort of thing. Brent was open and interested. That started the kind of dance over the next few weeks or a month or so or whatever to come to an agreement. He actually invested in that business with my previous or other business partner who invested in my business. We came to an agreement to officially move forward early last year.
Okay. Could you talk a little bit about the deal structure there? Is that 100% equity? Is it a debt structure? Is there any sort of payback? Well, whatever you can reveal publicly.
I mean it was a 75% cash down and again and we had a similar structure to when I sold part of my business. It was like a minority. It was a large minority share but Brent was still the boss and the owner and he had the final decision. It was ultimately his decisions and I mean still is. It was like 75% cash down with a 25% earn out over the over the next year and kind of loosely based off of their revenue or sales targets in there but admittedly I mean with all of the deals that I've done and I mean certainly have and continue to learn a ton about each of them. I think I get better at how deals should be structured or this or that. We find at its core is a lot of trust and trust that they're going to hold up their end of the deal and continue to run the business. I'm going to hold up my end. The dynamic also in which I really enjoy is I'm not just a passive investor as I mentioned earlier I don't have enough money to just be a passive investor. My role is more of an investor advisor. I'm certainly not a micromanager but want to help where I can. I’ve gotten different team members of mine or that I’ve worked with to help support the business that I invested in.
Being involved or clued in, getting on calls every week or so and catching up. Especially, being clear on what the quarterly priorities are. I mean it's something that I really want to be involved with and Brent's cool with that and I mean it's cool. We actually, I think recently just passed the one year kind of like official mark cause we kind of like came to a verbal agreement and then it took maybe another month or two to get the documents sorted. We just recently passed the one year mark and I'm super proud and excited to say that the business is going super good.
It's more than doubled the size that the team has grown. The business has transformed from when I first got involved. It's been like overall great. I mean Brent's the man and the business is doing awesome. My understanding is it's just been like a good situation for everyone and the businesses continues to be on a really exciting trajectory. That's kind of been the well was that was the first deal that I’ve gotten involved with as an investor.
That's a good milestone one year of officially being the investor. What other stuff have you or have you looked at it or invested in the after that one deal?
A couple of things that I kind of learned or continue to learn about investing and then also just kind of happiness and what I want to do. I mean the investing stuff's cool and I enjoy it. Generally it's been going pretty well but I also realized that it was important to me to have my own thing. There were times last year where I'd wake up and I'd have more money in my bank account then I ever had before. I’d have a clear schedule it'd be like a Wednesday and I'd do some yoga, I'd eat a healthy lunch and then I kind of have the rest of the day free.
You think that that's the dream but then when you're actually there it not. I mean it's nice sometimes but I've definitely come to realize that for personal happiness and well-being. I really I get a lot of satisfaction from achievement and moving things forward. I've realized that it's way less tied to actual amount of dollars generated from certain activities. I mean I like making money is awesome and closing big deals are good opportunities or big sales. That's great but I've also realized that for wellbeing and happiness and peace of mind it's like equally or differently but also really impactful making progress.
Having something that you are building and working on and being able to make progress on moving this thing forward that you want to be. We'll come back to some of that more later but to get back to your question then about additional deals. Last summer we saw this Krypto website that became for sale on a marketplace that again my same business partner that invested in my business, that we both invested in the PPC business saw the site and I had I guess like a lot of people gone pretty deep into the crypto scene and it was like looking for another business for me to run and be more involved with.
An investor advisor came across as crypto website that we bought and I was kinda running that for a while. We thought we bought at the bottom of the market and of course the market kept going down. I mean each of the deals you learn so much from all of them and about stuff that you might not think that or not what you intend to learn. For a while that was good, just to have something to do and an opportunity to connect with other people and find different opportunities. Like we've talked about I love talking to people and meeting new people and exploring opportunities with people.
I like to have a new thing to explore opportunities. That was cool but again fast forward, I mean with the market continuing to go down, I realized that this isn't going to be my next big thing for me either. I started getting back to my roots. What do I know? What do I enjoy? All right I love entrepreneurship and online business and location independent business and distributed teams. That's the stuff that I've really enjoyed about any of the businesses that I've been involved with and as well as the DC community. Which is how we know each other.
Before you get into that because that's a perfect segue into what you're doing now. Just hang on two seconds there. I want to circle back to something. You mentioned that entrepreneurial fire is how I would call it. When you had a free schedule it was numbing. It was nothing. There was no edge. There was no, I firmly believe that as an entrepreneur you need the way we're wired we need risk. We need a chance of failure to actually move forward. That’s the only way you get the result. You see some success there was risk involved. I think that's how we're wired. We need uncomfortable situations. We need risk. We need that as much as everyone thinks, especially with Amazon, right? If you have an Amazon based business your income is single source. It comes from Amazon. That can go away and from time to time it might, so there's a fear of loss there, but there's also the reward of the upside. It's like a double edged sword. I think that's what you were experiencing there. I've definitely experienced that up multiple times over the last few years as well. You get that reminder whenever you think you're comfortable and your set you just can't stop. It's that you need that friction in your life. I think to move forward and feel alive.
Totally. Something to quote a good friend of mine, my buddy Alec, and I were chatting about some of this stuff and kind of talking about this new business that I've been working on. He's like you said that people need to be assigned or have the right challenges in order for them to shine. I think that's it's so true we need to have the right opportunities in order for continued growth and moving more towards whatever your potential is. I was continuing to look for that after I made these couple of investments. I made another investment in another friend's business. This was at the end of last year. That was all cool had a few of these investments but again we're still looking for the next thing and the next opportunity and challenge that would allow me to keep growing and building. Give me something to make progress on. This was at the end of the last summer still kind of thinking of what opportunities there might be. I mentioned when we sold part of the Amazon business I kept my team. I really like what I enjoy the most in or some of the things I enjoy the most in business is hiring a team building and company culture.
I just think it's such an amazing opportunity and situation that we live in that I can be here in Bali and I can hire people in Russia or the Philippines or Mexico or America and to have the opportunity to work with a distributed team and tap into the potential of working with people across the globe is just like some of the coolest stuff that I just think it's so cool. The benefits that I've enjoyed being able to work and grow businesses while traveling all over the world. That stuff is what I'm really passionate about and I just think is so cool. I really care about my team.
These are people that have worked for me for a couple of years and I’ve visited them. I know some of their families. These people are really important to me. I mean they're amazing they were pretty much running the Amazon businesses for me all the stuff that I'll admit I'm not super skilled at many things maybe like you mentioned I like asking questions. But in terms of I don't know, finance or operations or if it's anything my skill is like finding far better people and more capable people than I am and empowering them and getting them into the right roles to run the business better than I would.
I had this great team, really well trained. They'd been working in my ecommerce businesses for multiple years really good people and I wanted a big motivator for me was like I wanted to continue I felt a responsibility and I was driven to find more opportunities not just for me but for them. I wanted to be able to provide good opportunities for them now this year, next year, long term. It kind of got me thinking I have this great trained team and the workload on the capacity on the EU business wasn't keeping everybody. We had capacity, I didn't want to fire the team because as I've said they're really important to me.
I want to find opportunities for them. I started thinking and I was like I wonder if there were some other people that wanted help with the things that I originally hired them for. I started floating the idea to some friends and pretty quickly found someone and I was like we can handle your supply chain and finance. Do you enjoy doing those things? He was like no. He said this was exactly what I need. That became our first client or customer for this new business.
Over the next few months found a couple other opportunities to support a few of these other businesses and to this point they've all been friends of mine. I mean I said or alluded to but all the best opportunities for everything in my life have come from the amazing network and community of people that I have the good fortune to know or be a part of. This business being no exception was able to find a handful of different businesses or people that wanted help with the services that we were offering.
For them I thought, I mean it made sense to me. I thought it was a pretty compelling pitch. All right you do whatever you enjoy products or branding or JB or marketing, whatever the fun stuff that you enjoy and that you're good at. Great you focus on that and let us handle all the stuff that needs to get done but isn't going to grow the business and isn't particularly fun supply chain making sure your goods get from where they are to where they need to be and staying in stock. Some of the finance stuff that again is a necessary piece, especially if you ever want to sell or you ever want to explore taking on investment.
You just need to have accurate books and cost to goods and P&l and all this kind of stuff that is necessary to run a business but isn't going to grow the business. We found some interesting opportunities supporting friends of mine and their businesses and allowing them to offload and delegate some of the stuff that they didn't want to do. Moving forward we've found some more interesting opportunities now supporting some larger businesses. It's been interesting and we're kind of I mean the business is pretty new and we're definitely trying to figure out the long term vision and what the best opportunity for us to add value and receive value benefit for everyone long term.
It’s been cool. We've been finding some interesting opportunities with these larger businesses that we’ve start doing x and then they're happy with the work. We've got an amazing team. Great people that really know what they're doing. A big benefit of working with us is that we scale really well because we have a great team, we have a great culture, we're really good at hiring, we're really good at training, we're really good at onboarding and for these businesses I feel like all right. We're going to be adding on x accounts every month and I was like all right, great. The more the better. All right, we need you to make a hundred product listings in two weeks. All right, fine, whatever just bring it on, whatever it is we can handle it.
That's pretty amazing. We deal with a lot of groups that are out actively acquiring brands and businesses and that's when we were talking before we hit record how much of a pain point that is. Oftentimes I find that the buy side over estimates capability and it may not even be they just may not know until they're actually running a business what it takes to run an Amazon based brand. Maybe they're trying to focus on acquiring as many as possible but when it comes to operating, they really have to run to keep up with that.
I think that that could be a really interesting space because that's such a pain point of knowing, not only knowing Amazon but knowing your logistics supply chain and the finance side as well as helpful, especially when it comes to cost of goods. Even some of the large deals where we're prepping to take to market right now the finances are always the biggest roadblock to getting accurate numbers to take to market as is our number one pain point ourselves. I might talk about that after the call. That's awesome. I want to get to what the company's called?
It's called Seller plex.
What would be the ideal client? If I'm listening to this episode and I think I need help with logistics, I need help with finance, maybe I'll reach out. Is it just go to the website or is there some thresholds of what type of client would be best?
It seems like right now we're developing like two different buckets of kind of ideal customers and still figuring out which one it is or maybe it's both. On one hand is like small teams or solo founders or sellers that are getting traction and want to expand their operations. But they don't enjoy or aren't as experienced with the hiring and training. Also in some of these areas like supply chain and finance that I personally don't know very much about. For them it's like, all right if they're growing and expanding and if they love launching products and marketing but they don't get particularly excited or don't have the experience hiring, training and managing and all that kind of stuff then I think we're a good fit because we've got a ton of experience, processes, systems and SOPs instead of them trying to like hire and train and onboard someone on their own team. They can hire us and we basically train and onboard them and get them set up with a lot of these systems that we've built from running our businesses and now we get some really cool experience and exposure working in other people's businesses too, just get really good systems and processes and foundations for those businesses, say on this like a million plus revenue. I mean our services start on the low end, a couple thousand dollars a month.
It's not for someone if they're trying to find a $500 a month VA to do Dah, Dah, Dah. We're very skilled and experienced and you get that from working with us. I mean, I guess if you're a smaller business and you are willing to pay more, that's okay. Our services start at around a couple of grand a month for the solo brands and then on the other side. As I said more recently I guess like maybe like most interesting or potentially exciting is this opportunity to work with bigger brands and funds. I think that a big maybe our biggest strength or asset is our ability to scale and for us I mean certainly could be a challenge but we can handle one, two, five, ten whatever the workload. I mean at this point I’m confident that we can effectively scale and grow our team to manage whatever that is.
Again we've got a really strong place where we're starting from because the team has expanded the last few months but we still have got a lot of great experience and a lot of smart people. That's some of the other benefits that any of these businesses get from working with us. Maybe one or two people are the point of contact or project managers for the supply chain work or the finance work or something. Also that we're actually finding a lot of people have a big pain is like catalog management, dealing with seller support and listings get this or that. We've got great people that just know how to fix those issues. When you're working with us it's like you don't just get Mina or Karesa or Ivan or you really get the knowledge base and support and training of this entire team.
I was talking to a group actually, I've been talking to them for about a year overall and they have about 10,000 skews that they manage. Talk about catalog management. That's a nightmare optimizing all those listings is a pain point for sure. Then obviously the logistics on the other side as well but is there a size you mentioned two, three, ten you're talking about brands or companies there that you could onboard at one time. Is there a skew limit? If someone has 100,000 skews and obviously that would take some time but is there a comfortable level do you think at this point?
I mean, I recognize that the bigger the project or scope certainly would be a challenge. I'm not going to say that we can do any and all of these things tomorrow but I'm confident that we could figure it out. I'm not saying it would be like without challenge and my team to when the first one of these big reseller business that we work with and we were kind of doing this and then all the sudden like I had a call or one person on my team was like, Nate they just gave us this huge project they need 50 listings done and they want it done by, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. I was like alright it's okay. Calm down we can do this. We'll figure it out. Fast forward and we were able to figure that out and we did have to bring on some additional help. We did have to get better processes and organizations in place to be able to do that. But as we do whether it's creating or optimizing tunnel listings at scale or whether it's onboarding and getting organizations set up in place from businesses that are required that I'm learning and realize as you've alluded to a lot of them are a mess.
Their books the finances are a mess, the invoices and the POS the way that the structure is just really messy. We've got systems for how we track and manage inventory, reorders and coordinate this and that. How we keep track of all the files that need to be organized so that you can calculate accurate cost to goods so you can have accurate finances and just so that stuff's organized and you. Again that's not to say that's our workload has increased and as we've gotten more experience and exposure to these bigger scaled projects. Our organization keeps getting better our hiring and training keeps getting better.
I mean, back to your question, I would see it as big of a project. I would just see that as a big challenge and opportunity and I mean I don't know at this point what the time frame is. If you wanted 10,000 listings tomorrow that would be challenging. But if you needed 10,000 listings in ike two weeks or a month or whatever it is we've got a really good organization and training in place. Maybe we need to hire 10 people and we can scale the work just by hiring more people because we have good training, systems and processes around how to do a lot of these things.
I think that's amazing. If your eyes are glazing over when we're talking about finance, you should definitely reach out to Nate. I'll get some help with that but the biggest takeaway from your story from my perspective at least is to see where you've come from an as an outsider looking in like week catch up maybe a few times a year if we're lucky or once a year maybe. Then we do calls and stuff. I'm constantly observing from the sidelines. But what I've seen as you've managed to capitalize on the opportunity and it's not bouncing from one thing to another. It's looking at what your building, looking at your skill set, being real with yourself, being true to who you really are and what you like. Then scaling that and this business, there's so much passion when you're talking about this. I love the fact that you're building this field team essentially to give them more opportunities and you're seeing opportunities, problems in the marketplace where your team can help. You're literally hunting for opportunities for your team. I think once you step outside of your own needs, your own day to day, your own financial security, once you step out of that and start doing something bigger that has more meaning and has more potentially more people involved, it's more rewarding. You're responsible for more people and there is more friction there but also more reward. It's pretty awesome that you've come through this whole journey. I really appreciate your time today to talk about this because I'm just a fan. I'm a fan of what you're doing.
Well I appreciate I mean all that and the kind words. I mean the feeling is certainly a mutual. It's crazy thinking back I think I remember we were chatting one time specifically after I gave a presentation on how to do Pinterest marketing or something and catching up with you and whatever you were doing. Fast forward and we've spoken about this before and it's just been amazing to be on this journey together and to see where your business has gone has grown and direction it's going in and the opportunities that you're looking at and pursuing now, super inspiring and amazing. It's an honor and a pleasure to get to share my story with your audience and on your show. Just looking forward to more opportunities to hopefully get to work together and support each other in who knows what but whatever down the line. Like you said I know both of us like taking this long term view on how can we add value what sort of assets can we build or hone to find good opportunities for the long term.
Long-term is where it is at and thanks for those kind words too. Awesome. How can people reach out to you?
If anyone, I mean it's curious to chat about any of this stuff. Any of the services that Seller Plex might be able to support you and your business as well as the investing stuff. I just enjoy and am happy to chat about that too. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or we're finishing up the website. Hopefully we'll be done soon and it's pretty much done. But yes, sellerplex.com and email@example.com. I'm happy to chat, happy to connect, love to connect with new and interesting people and just appreciate the time and the opportunity to share and chat. We'll have to do this again.
Yeah, absolutely. I've got so much more I want to talk about with your event. We'll have to save that for another time. Oh, I'll make sure all of those links are in the show notes and if you don't mind I might put a link to your Instagram and Instagram stuff is pretty impressive. Working on that yoga for a while and yeah it's impressive.
Yeah. If you like a yoga and handstand and some travel pictures. Would love to follow and love to connect Instagram, email, Facebook, anything really.
Awesome. Cool. Well thanks so much for jumping on the show. I hope. Well, I know people will get a lot out of this episode, so thanks so much for coming on and we'll definitely have part two coming up shortly.
It sounds good Coran and thanks a lot.