Not Having a Degree Didn’t Stop Him – Neil Twa
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Amazon is the go-to shopping platform for consumers all over the world. But have you ever considered becoming an Amazon seller? If the answer is yes, you’re going to want to hear what our today’s guest has to say.
Neil Twa is the CEO of Voltage Holdings, a company that launches, operates, and acquires e-commerce brands with a focus on Amazon FBA. An expert at selling through Amazon FBA, Neil is now helping other businesses succeed on the platform and earn up to $100k (or more!) per month through his proven game plan.
According to Neil, there’s a world of opportunities for retailers on Amazon. The trick is to play the game by the rules and focus on branding. He says, “People think in a scarcity mindset, there’s not enough traffic or money on Amazon for me to grow a business. Well, I’ve got repeatable eight-figure businesses that will prove me wrong, there is plenty to be made there when you do it the right way.”
If you want to build another passive income stream, Amazon’s FBA program might be perfect for you. In this episode of the Think Business with Tyler podcast, Neil shares some valuable tips and tricks to becoming a profitable seller on Amazon. Do you need an education degree to become an entrepreneur? What role does your mindset play in your career success? And how to find business opportunities in e-commerce? Tune in to this episode to find out more.
💡 Name: Neil Twa
💡 What he does: Neil is the Chief Executive Officer of Voltage Holdings, a fast-growing acquirer, and manager, of Amazon third-party FBA brands.
💡 Noteworthy: Neil has been selling on Amazon using private label branded products and FBA since 2012. He’s been building online businesses since 2007 after leaving his corporate career with IBM. Today his team helps their clients gain $50-$100k per month (or more!) in their Amazon businesses through an 8 year proven game plan that’s generated over $100M in collective sales on FBA, with millions of units sold.
💡 Key Quote: “After being in the corporate world and traveling 300 days a year with IBM and other nonsense like that, I feel blessed every day to get up and be able to do life by design, which is one of the biggest things about this kind of business model.”
You don’t need a degree to become an entrepreneur, you just need the ability to create. According to Neil, having a degree is useful but not necessary to become a successful entrepreneur. He sees his ability to create as fundamental in his professional journey. Nothing is set in stone in the business world and if you have the right mindset, you can become whoever and whatever you want. “The fun of business is the fluidity of your ability to create […] how can you put two separate things together and make them both work, whether it’s people or ideas or products or whatever. It’s just a matter of standing in the middle and looking at these two things and saying ‘well what are the similarities and how do I bring them together.’”
Amazon is a search engine for physical products. Amazon holds great potential for e-commerce businesses. When Neil realized the power of Amazon FBA, he turned to this platform and started helping brands leverage Amazon FBA to build a steady stream of passive income. Neil talks about the latest trends on Amazon and how the platform is prioritizing brands over anything else. “Amazon really is now showing that it wants brands, and it’s rewarding brands, and it’s giving you a lot of opportunity to be branded. And if you’re selling in any other capacity, all the negative things you’ll hear on YouTube, all the negative things you’ll read about in the forums and stuff are typically people who have not built a business protected their IP and are serious about running it.”
E-commerce offers an array of opportunities. Take it from an e-commerce expert such as Neil, e-commerce is filled with opportunities for retailers. Neil, himself enjoys all the perks of managing an e-commerce business. According to him, when you’re an e-commerce seller, you can go take a walk in the middle of the day or hang out with your family, and the business will continue running. “We can stay out here on the farm and homeschool and yet our business still runs. I think that’s one of the amazing things about e-commerce, at least for my business. That, after being in the corporate world and traveling 300 days a year with IBM and other nonsense like that, I feel blessed every day to get up and be able to do life by design, which is one of the biggest things about this kind of business model.”
Mindset plays a major role in success. According to Neil, everything boils down to mindset. Through bankruptcy, failures, ups, and downs, if you have the right mindset, you can overcome any challenge and still get back up after life gets you down. ”The component of success in business from my experience has really been about mindset, it’s about reframing and refocusing what your challenges are in realizing you’re not alone. There are other people that are facing those challenges they are over comparable and why they may feel insurmountable at the time that they occur, I can guarantee you, if it hasn’t killed you, you can still get up in the morning and fight it the next day. So just remember to keep moving forward.”
“The simple phrase I learned very quickly was it’s who you know that gets you there and it’s what you know that keeps you there.”
“There are constructs around legalities and things you have to follow but other than that, your ability to create and make things is about as infinite as the ideas you can come up with. And so I like that concept that I got into and for others, it makes sense but not for everybody. Some folks need to structure that education, totally respect that, but there’s different ways to get education, there’s different ways to deploy the capital for education and there’s different purposes against it.”
“It really brought me back into realizing we are not an island unto each other, we should not be, although things in the world today are kind of distancing us from each other. It’s not really where we are as a group, it’s not really how we learn as a people, it’s not really how we get connectivity.”
“I think it’s just where we’ve got an ingrained idea that education or that specific track is the only real choice that people have to be successful and I would speak against that today because my own experiences, again with tenacity and a willingness to overcome and your ability to learn, adapt and adjust, you are not being suppressed in the market. If you don’t just follow the degree track or education, I think that’s a misnomer. I think it’s a lot of marketing, from the higher education, to make people feel like there’s not opportunity.”
“You can do about 80% of the data before you go to market but the other 20% is extremely critical and you do not know it until you start selling. So our launch process is over 90 days, we test the products we determine their marketability and predict by the numbers that in 90 days they’re going to hit expected marks or that product goes away and another one comes.”
“People think in a scarcity mindset, there’s not enough traffic or money on Amazon for me to grow a business. Well, I’ve got repeatable eight-figure businesses that will prove me wrong, there is plenty to be made there when you do it the right way.”
“You can yell and scream all day long about Amazon killing your account or doing whatever. If you’re not playing by the rules, or you’re not playing right, you’re gonna get shut down.”
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Neil Twa 00:00
But I also realized that the fun of business is the fluidity of your ability to create. And again, I had a music background, I’ve always loved the ability. I love jazz. I love the fluidity of IT and business. For me it was a place where I could just create and different ways of doing business was how can you put two separate things together and make them both work, whether it’s people or ideas or products or whatever, it’s just a matter of standing in the middle and looking at these two things and saying, Well, what are the similarities and how do I bring them together? And so I really found that was my my place. So without a degree, what happened is I just didn’t fall in to the concept that there needs to be a structured way to apply business. Welcome to think business with Tyler sharing our methods and strategies for success. Join in on our conversations with business owners as we highlight their triumphs and detail how they overcame the challenges they faced while continuing to grow and scale their business. It’s time to think life think success and think business with your host Tyler Martin.
Tyler Martin 01:04
Hey, everyone, thanks so much for listening in on this week’s episode of The think business Tyler podcast show. Today’s guest is Neil twapp. Neil is the CEO of voltage holdings, the company that launches operates and acquires e commerce brands. With a focus on Amazon FBA. Neil is a longtime e commerce expert, helping businesses succeed on Amazon and earn up to 100k per month through his proven sales strategies. According to Neil, there’s a world of opportunities for retailers on Amazon. Neil says success comes when you play by the rules and focus on branding. He shares with us some tips and tricks to becoming a profitable seller on Amazon. In this episode, we chat about becoming an entrepreneur, and whether having a degree is important. Amazon FBA and how it can help you build a revenue stream and why mindset is a key component to success. Amazon is such a large part of E commerce and society as a whole. If you’re looking for new income opportunities, are you want to learn about Amazon FBA? I’m sure you’ll learn a lot from Neil in our discussion. Enjoy this episode. And as always, I’d love to know what you think. Hey, Neil, thanks so much for being on the think business with Tyler podcast show. How’re you doing today,
Neil Twa 02:20
man? I’m doing wonderful. Thanks for asking.
Tyler Martin 02:22
Great. I’m so excited to be talking with you. They’ve been thinking about this conversation for a while. I wanted to first start out what do you do now?
Neil Twa 02:29
Yeah, what do I do now? That’s a question even my mom asks me. What is it? He’s in technical things? Yeah, I don’t do computers. Actually. I work on them. In simple terms. We launched operate, scale and acquire ecommerce brands with a specific focus on Amazon FBA.
Tyler Martin 02:46
Awesome. Can you define what what does FBA yeah Fulfilled
Neil Twa 02:49
by Amazon, if you’re not familiar with it is basically utilizing Amazon’s infrastructure to deliver our products, from the customer support to the warehousing to the truck rolls, they handle a whole lot of that stuff through FBA.
Tyler Martin 03:03
Got it? So I’m gonna circle back on that, because I just have a world of questions and in that space, but before I do that, I know we were talking a little bit before the show started. We were talking about reinventing yourself. Yeah, I’d love to just get into a little bit of a discussion. You were sharing some things in terms of reinventing yourself I think it resonates with most of us we have to we don’t we think we’re set up for life and then life throws curveballs, can you kind of start the dialogue?
Neil Twa 03:27
Yeah, it’s the three to five year plan thing, right? Everybody’s business plan now and get your three to five years. I’m like, holy crap. If I ever tried to follow my three to five year business plan, I would probably go insane. So in terms of reinventing I mean, it goes back to the college days. It’s just one thing. It’s maybe my entrepreneurialism, my ADHD, my ability to not sit still, I’m not sure what. But as I got into the third year of college, I was going after a computer science and business management degree, I started out with a full ride music scholarship, classical trumpet and got to college on that. But then I’m like, Man, internet’s coming out. And I date myself. And I’m like, that’s not what I want to do teach me how to do e comm. And like, we can’t do that. I’m like, crap. So I had to jump into the corporate world, because there wasn’t an education for that point, and how to teach you how to be online. How do we come? So I jumped in the corporate world. And from there, it was never ending reinvention. I didn’t have a degree. So it was about what I could do. And the simple phrase I learned very quickly was it’s who you know, they get you there. And it’s what you know, that keeps you there. So as soon as I could figure out what I knew I was then networking with the right people. I eventually worked and got myself into sprint PCs, right when it launched the first brick mobile phone first mobile phone to market. That company exploded. He chose a 5000s employee. By the time I left there was 80,000 employees. Five years later, just huge, huge tremendous growth and to watch the whole mobile industry explode itself. So added affinity for mobile, I knew it I saw the opportunity. Took that ride into IBM where they picked me up one day and said, Hey, come and go to work for us. And I said, okay, cool. Again, no degree worked in again, who you know, right? So I made good friends with a partner at IBM. And we worked on a project for About a year and he said, Hey, you know what, there’s a job opening, you should come get it. And so I got interviewed in Armonk and I went to work for IBM. So again, still no degree. So I get to work, walk in and work with these amazing people. I was definitely the epitome of the dumbest guy in the room of a bunch of smart people. I always felt that way. And although I learned a lot, and I shut my mouth, and I just listened, and I had to kind of invent myself as the guy who was helping with knowledge and management and business operations, and we did things around search engines and latent semantic search engines and knowledge, learning platforms, and all this really amazing stuff. And I got to work even Adam, our monk for a while where they do so many, like 18,000 pounds a year. So after I left IBM i, they gave me an opportunity to change paths. And I said, Sure, let’s let’s do my own thing. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time, I had a little side hustle with a game server company. And so we talked about reinventing yourself. And now I jumped into management consulting for my own practice, and made IBM a client and went back to work on them and helped to the 20 cent census product. And I was doing mobile lead generation, which I kind of learned during the early days of sprint and stuff about how the mobile networks worked and stuff. And before it was cool. And before you could run a Facebook ad or a mobile ad, we were uploading spreadsheets into the back of the telco sending advertising out into the world and doing dating apps in South Africa was one of my like, biggest offers, right? Who knew so many people wanted to date in South Africa. Once we were cleared about $1,000 a day in profit, we figured it out, right? So as we grew that out, I got more into the physical side of lead generation for companies that had products random series, a funding, learned how the funding world worked, learned about the patent world and invented some things it was a part of powerline technology and transfers the data over wireline and copper, which is a whole nother life, or about reinventing out in Oklahoma, where I spent about 14 years in both the public and the private sector. And then I really found my true passion and ecom. I mean, I’d had that Inkling since I dropped out of college, I just never really got into the mode of saying, you know, can I really see myself being that for more than two to five minutes, because it seems like things were just changing constantly. So I got into driving the physical product space, and you know, physical digital, which is cool, you know, online to offline physical products. And then someone said one day, hey, guess what you can sell on Amazon. I was like, what you can sell on Amazon? I have no ideas back in 2011. I had no idea you could sell on Amazon, like most people didn’t even realize it at that point. It’s kind of common knowledge, I think now. But he said, hey, they got traffic. And you know, you should go check it out. I’m like, cool. I like traffic. So I went over there. And it turns out, it’s a big search engine, a big search engine for physical products. It’s like Google that people buy stuff in 30 seconds. So I thought, okay, that’s fascinating. Like, I got to learn how this works. So when I realized it was like the search engines, I was building an IBM, I spent the better part of about 18 months just playing with the system, learning how it worked. Then we started launching brands and then more brands turned into products. And then it just kept kept evolving into a management company that started managing customer counts. We were mentoring people. And now we are evolving into the acquisition space, where we are buying brands on E commerce, specifically FBA brands in Amazon, and then taking them out to mass market. My team is super senior level. Again, dumbest guy in a room of smart people don’t know how I have my luck here, just constantly changing and evolving. But Kevin Harrington is one of my partners in this. He’s one of the Shark Tank guys. As Seen On TV infomercial guy sold about 5 billion products. He heads up the front end marketing division with his son, Brian. Brandon Adams is in our team. He’s a two time Emmy award winning videographer for a show called success in the city. And he’s got some really senior people around me on my team from my partner for the last eight years. Reed, who’s a very he’s my right hand, man. He’s my other guy. He said none, you know, the i Seems ditzy at times to people I know. I do. I swear I’m not. But he’s that guy who’s level headed logistics operational by the book. Right? Which is not me.
Tyler Martin 08:50
Though, if you don’t mind, I gotta interrupt. Yeah, so many, so many questions. And such a good story here.
Neil Twa 08:55
Got on a rant there, didn’t I? You know,
Tyler Martin 08:56
I so appreciate it. Good stuff. So So what I really want to start Yeah, we got a few different ones. The first one is, you mentioned several times no degree, no degree. Yeah. What’s your philosophy on that? Like? Is that a chip on your shoulder that you don’t have no degree in? You’re going to prove other people wrong? Great question. Do you feel people need a degree to, you know, to excel? I’m just curious, like, because you hear sometimes people are so embedded nowadays to have a degree? Yeah. What’s your take on it?
Neil Twa 09:22
Well, I do happen to know that non opinion. Yeah, market has shifted in the last year or two, many more opportunities are out there where they were, you know, corporations are removed to the degree requirement from most all of the, you know, platform requirements. So that’s interesting to me. No, it’s not against education by any measure. Education is very important. The type of education you need at the right time for the right way. Whether you’re deploying a course level of knowledge, a semester at a college for a specific degree type you’re going after, I mean, you got to get a certification to be a doctor and get your license. You got to go that track if that’s the way you want to go. That’s very important education. But I also realized that the fun of business is the fluidity. Have your ability to create. And again, I had a music background, I’ve always loved the ability. I’ve loved jazz, I love the fluidity of IT and business. For me it was a place where I could just create and different ways of doing business was how can you put two separate things together and make them both work, whether it’s people or ideas or products or whatever, it’s just a matter of standing in the middle and looking at these two things and saying, Well, what are the similarities? And how do I bring them together. And so I really found that was my place. So without a degree, what happened is I just didn’t fall in to the concept that there needs to be a structured way to apply business, there isn’t it’s fluid, really, I mean, there are constructs around legalities and things you have to follow. But other than that, your ability to create and make things is about as infinite as the ideas you can come up with. And so I like that concept that I got into. And for others, it makes sense, but not for everybody. Some folks need the structure of education, totally respect that. But there’s different ways to get education, there’s different ways to deploy the capital for education, and there’s different purposes against it, right? Definitely, you can’t get a mentor in college. I know people think that, but you can’t. And it’s kind of the same way that you know, if you need specific help in math or English, you get a tutor, you get someone who’s very specific to help you with this, right? So there’s, there’s right ways to deploy that. And there are specific ways to deploy it. No one’s ever asked me that question in that way. So it kind of catches me a little off guard.
Tyler Martin 11:24
I’m sorry, that that’s the last thing I want to do.
Neil Twa 11:26
Well, that’s great. I love great questions. But
Tyler Martin 11:28
what I’m so fascinated by about you, I almost like your mark you as self made in a way cuz you’ve, you’ve persevered, you, you know, you know, degree and you didn’t let that stop you. I think there is a little bit, you know, just my two cents observation, maybe a little bit of a chip there. And I think the other thing that I found just incredible, incredible awareness. And I love this this concept is not being the smartest guy in the room. I think whether it’s true or not, it’s irrelevant. I think I think the fact that we think that way or want to be that way, I think is what is another huge part of success. Because if you put really successful, intelligent, smart, whatever you want to call it, people around you open up your world you do by having those people around you it’s a whole different world
Neil Twa 12:10
connectivity, right. And here’s the thing, it’s arrogance, and pride cometh before the fall, we know that right? By having spoken from a big fall, I went bankrupt, it’s a lot of people’s fears, I can tell you, it’s not the worst thing in life that will happen to you. It was a strategic move based on a bad business deal to my lawyers are like you need to get out of this, we’re going to indemnify you the best way to do it is a strategic bankruptcy. And I’m glad sex because the deal fell apart and it went bad. It goes bad. You know, in fact, I read somewhere the other day that average millionaire has at least two to three bankruptcies or more. That’s true. Push the edge of the envelope on a lot of ways you learn a lot of things. And one of those things I learned was obviously arrogance. And pride means I don’t, I can’t know it all, I shouldn’t know it all. I tried to know it all, I thought I could think my way out of it or move my way out of it, when in actuality, I wasn’t listening to the wisdom that was around me. And it was a tough lesson to learn, right? Tough lesson to learn. So when I started to humble myself more and get past that point, and realize I was coming from a broken place at that point. So I was willing to listen, I started to hear others. And because of that there was more of a reciprocal and true connectivity to those around me who were just trying to help me, right, business life or whatever. So I had that hard fall. And it really brought me back into check, a realizing we are not an island unto each other we should not be, although things in the world today are kind of, you know, distancing us from each other. It’s not really where we are as a group. It’s not really how we learn as a people. It’s not really how we get connectivity. And so you know, there is ways to do that, in certain mechanisms that don’t require education. Yeah, I probably do have a little chip, because honestly, as I was gonna get out of that, and go do my thing. I had a lot of people trying to hold me back. Well, a lot of people are really and if I had stayed in there, I probably would have bailed out of college and lived in a van down by the river. But yes, I want to given into that bad mindset, a bad company and bad advice, right? I have a lot of people hold me down, right? Like, this is stupid. You can’t do that. Why are you ruining your education? You can’t jump out, you know, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. So I don’t know if I have a shoulder as much about education or as much as about the whole scenario that led me to like feeling like I had to break out of those Legos and find like, get me out of here. Right.
Tyler Martin 14:15
I think that’s almost a conversation in itself. I was on a podcast the other day someone was interviewing me. And we were talking about starting a business and how my whole family thought I was crazy to leave a very well paying job to do it. And I know you have those naysayers in your life and it’s off course always good once you overcome it, but if you listen to him, your your path could go on a whole different direction. So I think that’s part two really
Neil Twa 14:39
good. Yeah. Well, I think it’s just where we’ve got an ingrained idea that education or that specific track is the only real choice that people have to be successful. And I would speak against that today. Because my own experiences again, with tenacity and a willingness to overcome and your ability to learn, adapt and adjust. You are not being suppressed in the middle If you don’t just follow the degree Traktor education, I think that’s a misnomer. I think it’s a lot of marketing from the higher education to make people feel like there’s not opportunity. And you know, I personally know that there is a ton of opportunity for every person in America who’s willing to fight for
Tyler Martin 15:15
- So true. That’s what makes us so great here. Hey, I want to switch gears. Before we get into the more specifics of FBA and Amazon and your ideal customer. I’d love to talk a little bit about acquiring companies. You said, that’s kind of a new segment of your area. You know, I was looking at websites over the last few years and the multiples on websites, a lot of times the ones that are listed are our FBA type Amazon type websites, they might be private label products, how are you getting space? How are you valuing? What does that market look like right now? I’d love to just get your insight. And what’s your end goal? Once you acquire my I didn’t quite understand. You mentioned you were going to mass market them helped me to kind of explain your thesis there.
Neil Twa 15:56
Yeah, so we have been in the acquiring and selling of these businesses for a while, we just never put them in a specific portfolio with a business oriented goal behind it. Okay. Part of what we do is we, we work with a small group of people in mentoring them to put their business online and scale it to seven and eight figures. In a mentoring capacity. We’re Business Builders first. And we just chose EECOM as our method of business building and we happen to choose Amazon FBA is the way to incubate those products in that marketplace for people who want to buy products in 30 seconds or less we solve the traffic problem and a brand problem by incubating them into Amazon first, right. So once we adapt that we saw that this market had an evolution path, we knew it was going to eventually move in like every market segment moves through growth, capitulation, consolidation in markets grow and change as they get their adoption in bell curve. And we knew eventually, FBA businesses would see the market of EECOM become a channel that’s mature. And we’re witnessing that in the last 18 months, right, it’s taken quite a while for it to get here. So you’re seeing a lot more of those businesses being put for sale, because the market is maturing enough for investor funds, and larger home offices and others to get involved in buying these companies. And just to be very clear, in the last 18 months, 6 billion has been deployed in capital to purchase those Brand Channels, okay, it 2 billion in the last 45 days. That’s how fast this is moving, right? And I was on a call today with an investment group that’s like, Hey, we’re going to invest 50 to 100 million per deal. And they’re like, could you restructure yours just a little bit to see how it might work with us. And I’m like, Well, I don’t know, let me talk to my partners. But it’s just a different deployment. So where we get down to is, you know, our skill sets are a little unique in this way, we’re building these companies, we’ve always thought about building from the very beginning, because it’s always worth more in the end when you do this the right way. And the exit has always been on our mind. So when we formed a portfolios, we formed it in such a way where we give investors a passive opportunity to buy these companies, bring them into our management stack, given consolidations, shared services, operational independence. And of course, the ability to capitalize, grow and have the knowledge base necessary to maintain these companies and grow them up. Getting them in at three to 4x is where the marketplace is setting right now, depending upon how much revenue and profit they have. we’re typically looking at a company, I don’t know how granular you want me to get into the details, your audience is probably like, What the heck is he talking about? Okay, a little curious. Yeah, we’re looking at net profits around 15%, that we can get to 18 to 20% on a business and then grow it from that three to 4x, up to 6x, to 8x. And planning in the next 24 months to acquire 36 of those brands targeted for their mass market appeal. So the Amazon aggregation space where all that capital is being deployed, is typically buying just the FBA channel and their whole what’s called pro forma their business model. And their base case is built off of the concept of just that single channel. Since we’re innovators, and we’re coming to market a little bit later, because you know, the first guy, the first guy up the hill gets the arrows on the back right, is to make sure that we see where the innovation lies. And as any bell curve grows up capitulation, again, as I mentioned, consolidation has not arrived yet. I see it arriving in the next 18 months. And because of that, we’re going to see changes and shifts in the market, we see the opportunity and through my partnerships with this group that is now my senior lead team. We’re going to take those products off Amazon and we’re going to mass market them infomercials though TV, radio ads, QVC, everywhere, right? Because they’re already established brands, yep, they have great sales, they just don’t have household names. And so we’re going to go a little different, we’re going to take that we’re going to base our, our Proform our base case and portfolios off just the FBI channel, which is very strong by itself. It looks very good and 36 months, but then we’re going to add on what we call that blue sky, that evergreen component and we’re going to put in the profits were the main you know, mainstream, the other 70% of people who do retail shopping and online purchase outside of Amazon. So we’re doing it it’s slightly different.
Tyler Martin 19:48
So it’s like you’re gonna put it on steroids, basically. I mean, you’re gonna get on steroids is a good way to Yeah, cuz I mean, that’s awesome. I mean, Amazon brings you a ton of traffic. It brings you a lot of quick sales. But to your point like the world is It’s uh, you know, the only people that get to your product on Amazon are the people that Amazon wants to show it to basically very smart. Yeah, your market somewhat limited. That’s it. That’s fascinating. So I now want to shift gears, let’s talk about your your company is voltage digital marketing, and your website is voltage DM, tell me what you guys do. And in terms of the audience, who’s your target market? How does someone get an entryway into your business? And, and you could potentially help them out? I’d love to go down a lane of talking about that. Sure.
Neil Twa 20:28
Well, just trying to inform but really not sounding any pitchy? I’ll try to show this in plain English, right? We are Amazon growth consultants. First and foremost, we are very good at understanding the market. We have obviously done this for a long time, we have software and tools and build datasets that have launched over 60,000 FBA products between ourselves and our clients. So we have a very good data warehouse to pull from to understand what are the right products and profit margins. And the numbers we should expect as we build a business quarter by quarter and annually by annually. So what we do is we work with folks who really understand the business growth component, and that the exit and the asset driven bottle that is physical products is a great exit potential in 18 months. So we’re looking for people who understand the need to deploy capital in this market, who put up 50 to $100,000 in a year to build a real business model. They understand the longevity, the profitability of EECOM. And they see it as a really serious business opportunity. They might be invested into other things like rental short term rentals, infinite banking, or you know, real estate deals or these kinds of things. And we’re looking for another way to potentially bring up a passive income stream because of the way we do this, it can be passive. For our business builders, we have account manage services that run 100% of our clients account for them. So as they establish and become the CEO, we look for people who obviously, understand 10 to 15 hours a week to build a company is not a big deal, really. But it is a requirement of understanding the market. For those who do I have stay at home moms who are mastering this have 19 year old high school dropouts, I got people who’ve got Golf Course Management degrees in theology degrees, who are experts in high end luxury goods now. And because they launched it really has to do with their dedication to it. So it really gets down to people wanting to understand that if I’m going to deploy a business, if I’m going to look at it almost like a franchise and an incubator model, but without profit sharing or ownership requirements, because we have a phrase in our company, keep it all and keep it small. The goal here is for you to have a runway from launch to exit with voltage from the time you develop and build the brand to the time you can remove yourself from the business passively. And then you can exit it two portfolios. So we really have a full run up for folks who are really interested in serious about building companies with a calm,
Tyler Martin 22:40
so is your ideal client than someone that literally is coming in with nothing and you will work with them to get them started or do they is that an ideal client? Or is it really
Neil Twa 22:50
it is because they haven’t been in the market. And sometimes we get people who take courses and have been a little burned. Or maybe they did things like retail arbitrage or wholesale or online arbitrage with these kinds of things. And they’ve got a little bit of a speaking chip, a little chip on their shoulder, about Amazon and how evil it is and how they steal your brands. And they’ll do their basic brand stuff and all this things. And we speak against that because we’ve never had that problem because we’re operating at a different level of business inside of Amazon. So because of that we don’t see those same issues. We are registered, we’re trademark we have IP within our companies, we structure that foundation, very strong to go ahead and even compete with Amazon, if necessary, in that marketplace.
Tyler Martin 23:29
So you’re creating actually Private Label type products, then your trade marketing and creating a brand and all IP got it do test it first before you go down that lane.
Neil Twa 23:39
You can know about 80% of the data before you go to market. But the other 20% is extremely critical and you do not know it until you start selling. So our launch process is over 90 days we test the products we determine their marketability and predict by the numbers that in 90 days, they’re going to hit expected marks, or that product goes away and another one comes in. So again, you run that business without a lottery mindset mentality. We’re running it by the numbers, no emotions. No, the only time we have emotions is when we’re choosing the brands and stuff. But even then my senior team is experienced in creating the assets. And as we work in an incubator format, people don’t have to guess they just know where we’re going. We’re taking them to Gold Mountain and I’m keeping them out of dry Gulch, which is where everybody else goes. No water and dry Gulch.
Tyler Martin 24:25
Now do you help your client like imagine you have relationships with sorcerers? Do you help them with those relationships and who you can trust and who you can’t trust and just you all that all that world that opens up to when you’re trying to find private label products.
Neil Twa 24:40
I am setting my builders up to replicate my business model to see my companies running as they are right now and to utilize my infrastructure same as a franchise model. The only difference is you don’t have to hire 15 year olds and scoop ice cream on the weekends. Right. This is a business model that allows you to go anywhere. So you use my sourcing agents we have a lot of them a trusted manufacturing system. chains, redundant supply chains, manufacturing, we got the graphics and accounting and structure of business all from the very beginning how to set up your LLC, your taxation, and the whole nine yards, we’re setting you up for an exit. So we want to help you get this business to a point where it will be acquirable. Not everybody understands what that looks like having to acquire or sell a business. But we make sure you know from the very beginning how to structure that correctly. Because ultimately, I’m setting up a pipeline, this is my big evil capitalistic agenda, you ready for it? Where we can buy your company.
Tyler Martin 25:33
Imagine it as being you guys have your so your hands so into it, you pretty much can value it. And you know what’s going on, you know that data, it makes for an easy, easy sale, if someone gets to that stage. So Win win forever. Yeah, what kind of capital if someone comes to you and they go, Gosh, I want to do this, I want you to hold my hand all the way through it. What kind of capital you tell your typical client, they’re going to need to do this,
Neil Twa 25:56
to be very serious our game plan is, is to develop a brand that has at least five products in it. Okay, there’s a lot of reasons for that I won’t go into but it has to do with both the brand recognition but Amazon’s recognition of your brand too. And at the end of that you will typically deploy anywhere between 25 to 50,000. To get everything going and get it off the ground, get it launched, get it validated. At that point, we have Amex Alliance partnerships within our company and other ways to credit these businesses off the business. So we can use other people’s money to scale that company up. So the goal here is obviously to get into the business, get the first capital deployed, and then leverage the capital from the existing sales in your business and the history of the business sales. So you don’t have to keep forking out capital, especially when you know they’re selling. And it’s a very easy way to get capital these days. Yeah. And
Tyler Martin 26:46
that’s a pretty modest investment. Now, do you help the individual literally those five products in the brand, I imagine they probably either complement each other or in the same niche area? Do you help them with that type of analysis and testing? And is that part of your service to?
Neil Twa 27:03
Absolutely man, everything’s run by data points. So there’s about 27 data points that the products have to match up with three very critical ones profit ROI, percentage, and net profit per unit. When those match up or go green on our spreadsheets, literally, that’s a product you can sell on your brand. And there’s a cost to deploy that product, and it literally pops in to the sheet and tells you it’s $1,795. It’s 17,000. It’s $170,920. That’s what it is, right? And then you can determine which of those products to launch in your brand. See, the problem is that people think there’s, you know, the question we get a lot of times is like, What the hell do I sell? Right? Like, like, you could talk about a business all day long. But I don’t even know what that birth product is that if you didn’t freakin sell, we solve that problem, we get you to the point of view, identifying 500 products in 21 days, every business builder does the same thing. Once they take you through those steps, suddenly realize you have another problem. And that is, how much capital and time do I have to deploy all the products that I realize I can sell. Now, it’s actually the different way because we go through a different segment, we’re not selling products that are $25 or less, we’re not caring about bestseller badges and stuff or race to the bottom pricing. We’re finding holes in niches where there’s three to five competitors, and we just dominate them, right. And when I mean dominate, there’s eight figure businesses setting in those people thinks, in a scarcity mindset, there’s not enough traffic or money on Amazon for me to grow a business. Well, I’ve got repeatable eight figure businesses that will prove me wrong. There is plenty to be made there when you do it the right way.
Tyler Martin 28:27
Yeah, I was fascinated. I did a little private label stuff many years ago. And I did these these dog treat pouches. And I went to a bunch of sources, and I had kind of had fun with it, I had a little bit of capital. And I think I ordered about three to 5000. So I had a whole garage full of boxes that my wife definitely didn’t wasn’t too crazy about. But what amazed me is how easy it was to sell them. It was a lot of work. And I didn’t outsource a lot of stuff. I was actually packaging boxes, if you can believe that. To send it FBA, it was a lot of work. It was not fun. And it’s kind of what ultimately said, you know, I don’t think this is something I want to do long term, I realized I could outsource it. But I just, I wasn’t really making a lot of money on it, frankly. And so I got out of it. But what was amazing to it was just how easy it was to sell. I mean, it was just like, they’re just so many buyers just blew my mind. Like they just if you priced it, I mean, obviously I had to give up a little bit of profit, but I could totally manipulate how much I wanted to sell and how fast
Neil Twa 29:23
that is the opportunity for sure, especially in an inflationary situation where you control the pricing. Yeah, you can move with the inflation. It’s a hedge against inflation, which is why we’re so leveraged into physical products, just to be very clear and transparent, right. There’s a lot of opportunity with physical products when you control the retail pricing and you can move with the market. And so there’s huge opportunities for that, especially in today’s segment. But yeah, automation is a huge component. Our businesses are set up to be automated, so we don’t have to manage them more than five to 10 hours a week. The rest of it is completely managed. We have virtual assistants we have no employees anymore. I mean we used to have 12 employees 20,000 square feet of warehouse And we were truck rolling 10 trucks a week. So I know exactly what that looks like. And I don’t ever want to do it again. And I don’t recommend it for anybody. Ultimately, because Amazon has an amazing infrastructure you can leverage, they will take care of all that. And so now we use third party companies strategically through the United States. And then of course, Amazon. And we work on just a little bit more just in time inventory, so we don’t have to package anything in our garages or anything like that. And he did say something a minute ago, he said, three to 5000 units of your little dog bowl, right? Yeah, well, we would have had you do just for those who are listening, we would have had you buy maybe two to 300 units of each color variation of that product, and then go to market, it’s sort of an investment strategy, it’s been deployed in other ways, you set up putting 5 million into one business, you may put a million dollars into five businesses, the goal is at one of those businesses is going to make up more profit and revenue than the other four combined, right. So it’s an investment strategy. So we do the same thing. As we purchase companies, as we deal with deploying products, we’re going to test three, five of these colors, variations, etc, we’re going to find out what the market really wants, once we get the data back, and then we’re going to go hard into that market. And then we’re going to take one of those products and drop them 100 skews down. And the way we do it, you’ll take that vertical and you’ll just go farther, farther into that vertical, because everything at that point is known repetitive and easier to scale. To the point where you can go to seven or eight figures in 12 months or less.
Tyler Martin 31:21
I find that so fascinating. Just how it’s so scientific, in terms of the process. And if you just stay within the kind of within the the plan and the rules, you’re almost I don’t wanna say guaranteed success, because nothing’s guaranteed, but you definitely raise your your odds.
Neil Twa 31:35
It’s more foolproof, I can guarantee you that. Yeah. Is there a guarantee that every product a home run? No, we have no lottery mindset, no scratch and sniff mindset. Right, nobody plays that game in business. If you are, that’s maybe why you’re not in business. We play by the numbers, you get emotions out of the way. And you find there’s a lot of opportunity, I’m pleased that we won’t sell it’s back to the thing you said a minute ago, I think it’s important to mention places we won’t sell, we don’t go into electronics, electronics is super competitive, it takes way too much innovation. And there’s a lot of saturation points. Now on the flip side, if you get in and you got an early or you can get in hard with a lot of capital, there’s a lot of units to be moved, there’s a lot of product to be made, I have some friends that are doing between 1000 to 6000 units a day out of the electronics, but they’re falling into a lot of trouble managing it really at the end of the day. Yeah, we don’t do anything on the scanner in the mouth, because not only Amazon’s compliance, but you get the alphabet soup above you in compliance. And it becomes very difficult. We know that firsthand, because we own a supplement company. Sure. And it was very difficult to manage on Amazon. And there’s a lot of people who will play you know, ethics with their employees. And here’s your policy for ethics. But when it comes to business, they don’t play in the ethics game very well. And they’ll do anything to destroy you if necessary. And so the other place we don’t play in with is clothing, we don’t play clothing, because while they can have good profit margins, it’s a lower volume. It’s a lower volume of movement. And there’s a lot of returns as you can possibly imagine. So I would have thought the returned. Yep, a lot of returns, and it has a lot more overhead. There are good ways to get into it, especially if you have an influencer, or you are an influencer and you have outside traffic and means to move that product, you can now through Amazon’s brand referral program, actually monetize your traffic off Amazon by sending it back to Amazon and making between five to 30% off of those sales and that traffic coming back in through the brand referral program, which is cool, because Amazon really is now showing that it wants brands. And it’s rewarding brands, and it’s giving you a lot of opportunity to be branded. And if you’re selling in any other capacity, all the negative things you’ll hear on YouTube, all the negative things you’ll read about in the forums and stuff are typically people who have not built a business protected their IP, and are serious about running it. They’re typically side hustles you know, this kind of stuff. And they’re flipping products for profit or not really solving solutions. They’re messing with somebody else’s brand.
Tyler Martin 33:50
Is that arbitrage world dead I was so floored, you know, you’re talking about most people know nowadays that that people can sell products on Amazon. The first time I heard about it, like blew me away, because I’m like, wait, people are going to, you know, Walmart and then driving home in their car with a bunch of candy bars, and then they’re put, you know, leaving them in their garage on my way to well, and then then they’re sending it to Amazon to sell it and that that actually people are really doing that. Is that still alive? Or is that died?
Neil Twa 34:17
It is it is I actually have three builders in my group right now who do this on a wholesale distribution model. Similar to arbitration, they’re not shopping their way to Walmart and stuff like that and targets, which is another whole thing. But they are wholesale palliating products and stuff and getting brands they do between each one does about three to 3 million a year, three, three and a half million a year. But why are they with us? They’re building brands, they know that they are operating in a area that’s light to gray. And they know that at some point Amazon is now shutting those accounts down because they simply don’t want the returns the issues, boxes delivered with one product that gets another product I mean, there’s just all kinds of problems that are hurting Amazon system. And it’s becoming a big problem for it. So they’re really getting to crack down and compliance now, in fact, they kicked off a billion dollars in revenue here about a month and a half ago. I don’t know if you heard about this or not, but a security audit when a breach was identified about 200,000 sellers that were doing Blackhat, you know, tactics with Amazon from review, manipulation, to sales, manipulation. 12, major Chinese competitors were removed and to the tune of about a billion dollars taken off of the system, because they we know, and it’s been going on for a long time. But guess what, there’s a new CEO in town, and there is a new VP of compliance within seller performance. And so now things are getting more interesting, right?
Tyler Martin 35:37
Yeah, I know the one where I imagine there’s a lot more sophisticated than this, where they’ll actually just randomly send you something you’re home. And that’s a way they can actually write a review on in the afternoon. Yeah, so there’s a lot more sophisticated than
Neil Twa 35:50
that. Oh, man, there’s some networks of things that blow your mind. If there
Tyler Martin 35:54
is such thing, I almost feel bad for Amazon, because I only could imagine they must have a whole business unit, if not more of compliance type people trying to figure out how the system’s being scammed?
Neil Twa 36:05
Do you have a lot of counterfeit a lot of sellers, my partner did a thing the other day test ordered 10 products from Amazon 10, random different products, he was doing it for a kind of a case study within our group. And he got all 10 of them back, only three of them were actual branded, the other seven were looked like they were branded, but they were actually packaged in a box, and non branded specific. And in one instance, the product wasn’t even the actual product he ordered. So Amazon right now is fighting back. And those of you who maybe are doing that wholesale retail arbitrage stuff, be very careful, because Amazon’s on the warpath, that, you know, keeps up, you’re hurting their market share, you’re hurting their revenue share. And of course, you know, you can yell and scream all day long about Amazon killing your account or doing whatever. But if you’re not playing by the rules, or you’re not playing right, you’re gonna get shut down, right. And we really don’t worry about that. We don’t worry about it. We don’t worry about I was instilling our products because we’re playing in a different level. And we set up everything to make sure that we’re stabilized and we haven’t lost an account in eight years.
Tyler Martin 36:58
Very cool. Hey, I feel like there’s something I’m not asking you here about your business. Is there anything that I’ve left out or anything you’d love to share? Before we get to a couple final questions here?
Neil Twa 37:07
No, I don’t think so. I mean, other than to say that ecommerce is amazing, because I can live on 40 acres in the country. I have a very expensive internet connection, where I am at so that I can be out where I am, and hang out with my family. It’s created an amazing lifestyle business, you know, we can take off for a month and go to the beach, and everything still runs. We can travel, we can do different things we can stay on here on the farm and homeschool and yet our business still runs. I think that’s one of the amazing things about ecom, at least for my business, that you know, after being in the corporate world and traveling 300 days a year with IBM and other nonsense like that. I feel blessed every day to get up and be able to do the life by design. Cool, which is one of the big things about this kind of business model. Yeah. Can
Tyler Martin 37:49
you share something with us from your learnings? And what you’ve experienced that that might help our business life or our personal life? Just a little tip? Do you got anything that stands out that you’re open to sharing?
Neil Twa 37:59
Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, can I said this a minute ago repeated going bankrupt, not the worst thing? Like? It might feel like it’s a diamond, maybe super embarrassing, right? But it’s not. I think at the end, you know, mindset plays a huge role in success. I get asked the very same question a lot of times by folks, and that is, you know, how many people work with you that are successful? And how many people fail? And I’m like, by asking that question, you already gave me the answer. Because the component of success in business from my experience has really been about mindset. It’s about reframing and refocusing what your challenges are, and realizing you’re not alone, that are other people that are facing those challenges, they are over comparable, and why they may feel insurmountable at the time that they occur, I can guarantee you that hasn’t killed you, you can still get up in the morning and fight it the next day. So just remember to keep moving forward, you know, be an action taker be a go getter, overcome those challenges that many people have faced. And remember to keep time as a construct of everything you’re doing. You spend it like your money, spend it wisely, spending it on activities, not productivity, massed as activity. And I see that happening a lot with business owners. Hey, look what I’m doing. When I’m busy, busy, I’m posting, I’m doing all this stuff. And it’s like, Well, did you benefit from that? No. Okay, was it an actual revenue generating activity? Well, I thought so. No, I think that was just more activity. So you know, be very focused on what you do. And remember to keep positive, find joy in the little things.
Tyler Martin 39:24
Yeah, those are some great tips you actually gave us bonus tips there. I agree with you. You know, as a business coach, one of the things that I find comes up so much is there’s a lot of activity, but oftentimes, it’s on the wrong thing. And I love how you say to you know, make sure to revenue activity, or at least a certain amount of time a day that should be on revenue activity. We can get so obsessed with posting social media things and all these things, podcast, whatever you want to say none of them really bring you closer to the gate so that those are some great tips mindset to I could go on all day about that one. It’s one that can either take you over the over the hill or or leave you at the bottom of the hill. Well, it
Neil Twa 40:00
really can, it is a huge difference. And definitely when I talk to folks that I’m interested in working with, because it’s a two way street, I don’t need to mentor anybody I choose to mentor the right one. And, you know, I always ask certain questions to trip them up and see how their emotional status responds to my rejection. Did they reject the concept? Or did they reject me? And it’s a very interesting way to determine whether or not someone is going to be successful in this business or not? Because I can, if I say no to the right people, I get a very bad response. And it kind of self justifies if that makes any sense.
Tyler Martin 40:33
It does, does so Hey, so voltage D m.com. Voltage, de m.com is your main website, you also have another website that’s got an overview video as I N three sixty.com. Now, of course, I’ll put these in the show notes. If anyone wants to reach out to you. What’s the easiest way to do where would you like them to go?
Neil Twa 40:53
I mean, go over to voltage DM, there’s a there’s a training for free that you guys can watch that will cover a lot about what we do in the Business Builders. And there’s a simple call to action there. To literally text me if you think this is a business model you’re serious about you will reach me I don’t have a sales team. Like I said, I work very closely with the people we’re involved in at the business level and the network we’re involved in. So I’m interested in working with serious people, you can just text me the word Tyler, if you want. So I know that it was tracked from this call and make it interesting for those who want to get involved and watch the videos. And there’s some great information in there that gives a little more detail about what we’re doing.
Tyler Martin 41:26
Very cool. Well, Neil, you are a blast to listen to you got something cool going on. I’d love to catch up with you again as you get a little more into the mass market space because that sounds fascinating. I hope you have a great day. I’d love just love the conversation and appreciate your time.
Neil Twa 41:42
Thanks, Todd. I appreciate you having me on sir. Have a great one. All right.
That’s all for this episode of Think business with Tyler. But we have plenty more resources to help you in your pursuit of business excellence on our website at think tyler.com If you’d like to be featured in a future episode of the show, feel free to reach out to us on social media at think underscore Tyler we look forward to helping you think life think success and think business