279 : Mike Olsen – Find an Education in eCommerce and add value to your employer
Mike is very inspiring. His story will emphasize that you can overcome adversity with the right attitude. Success is hard, but a life well lived is even harder. On the other side of both Mike will tell you the well lived life is the much better path. What better way to learn the real in’s and out’s of Ecommerce than working for someone else. Take risks, learn faster and remember to go back and apply what you learn in your employers business. That’s a true quid-pro-quo! That’s how Mike rolls.
Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)
Stephen: [00:00:00] Wanted to take a second and recognize my sponsors this week, you know, Gaye Lisby’s million dollar arbitrage as edge and list group. That’s a mouthful. It is. But guess what? It’s a great opportunity. You can build a big Amazon business. You don’t need a lot of capital when you start. I mean we all started, you know, um, most of it started selling books and then you move into retail arbitrage that is the place that you can turn your money the fastest and online arbitrage. And so by having that skill set, by learning those skill sets, you can get the best bang for your buck. And so gaze group will help you learn online arbitrage. It’s, it’s more than just a list service. They’re going to give you a whole bunch of actionable inventory every single day. Write Monday through Friday. However, there’s also a mentorship that goes on and that mentorship is so important because sometimes it’s great to know what to buy, but it’s more important to understand why to buy it.
Stephen: [00:01:02] But yeah, that’s that. You know, learning the fish are just getting fit. You really want to learn because ultimately you want to strike it on your own and this is a great way to do it. So how about seven days free trial. About a free trial, right? Very, very cool. So it’s amazing. Freedom Dot com. Forward slash is the mouthful. The word momentum. You’ve got to use a hyphen and you put in the word arbitrage. So it’s amazing. Freedom Dot [inaudible], forward slash momentum dash arbitrage, and you’re going to get a free trial in gaze group. You got to tell her I sent you, right? I also have the link in the episode, but it’s such a great opportunity. So she has amazing, amazing. I’m in that group so you’ll see me there and amazing, amazing person who’s there to answer your questions, who’s there to help lead you and help guide you.
Stephen: [00:01:50] And that’s what gay does. She does it every single day. The testimonials are real. Go take a look. You will be blown away and again, it’s a free trial. I have the link on this episode to reach in your seller labs, Jeff Cohen and the team. They have blown me away with this scope project. We use this all the time for our business. We do a lot of private label. We also do a lot of wholesale and wholesale bundles or multi-packs, that kind of thing, which a lot of people do, but we use a scope to help us figure out what are the key words and so it’s really simple. You basically figure out where you’re going to sell, what you’re going to sell, what category, find that lake product, find the top couple sellers and find their keywords. Boom magic. There you go. You copy the best because it’s working.
Stephen: [00:02:39] And guess what? That’s a proof of concept and scope allows you to do that. So it’s seller labs.com, forward slash scope, seller labs.com, forward slash scope. Use the code word momentum and you’re going to get a couple of days free trial and you’re going to save a little bit of money and you’re going to get some free keywords. It’s worth every penny. I’m in that group. Come and check me out. So our labs.com, forward slash scope. Again, use the word momentum solutions for e-commerce. Karen Lunker, great, great, great group. I’ve been using them for a long time and I guess it’s over two years and I’m in there and I pay just like everybody else. Yeah, she’s a sponsor my show, but she makes me pay and I got the same $50 discount that you can get. Oh, by the way, you’re going to get that through my link and my link only.
Stephen: [00:03:25] Oh, and you’re also going to get the free inventory health analysis. Great Way to start 2018, get your inventory in line and Karen will help you do that. We use them for everything basically, uh, you know, long-term storage fees coming up. Guess what, show evaluate. She’ll make some recommendations and I’ll say, yeah, check, check, check, check these out, this return, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And magically it’s done. I love it, love it, love it. I love the fact that they take and get rid of stranded inventory for me. I see it in there. And then next time I go in and it’s gone. Love it. Love it, love it. Got An ip infringement, she’s going to help you work your way through that. This is the kind of service that you get from Karen Locker, that’s solutions for the number for e-commerce solutions for e-commerce dot com forward slash momentum, right? So you’ve got a forward slash momentum and you’re going to save $50 a month, 600 bucks a year by just clicking that link. She pays me. I don’t want to hide that. I never do. I’m always upfront about that, but it doesn’t cost you anything additional and you’re going to get that inventory health report. The only way you get that is through mind link the solutions, the number for e-commerce dot com, forward slash momentum.
Speaker 2: [00:04:39] Welcome to the e-commerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of e-commerce selling. Today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson,
Stephen: [00:04:53] man. Oh Man, I love what I do. I love my podcast because I get to talk to people like our guest today. Welcome to e-commerce momentum podcast, episode 79, Mike Allston man. Oh Man. He got me kind of tingly a couple times in this conversation because he takes us to places that, you know, I don’t think most people were thinking this way. I mean, it’s just so common sense, right? I mean, if you sit, when you hear it, you’ll be like, oh yeah, Duh. But think about if you want to be an electrician, one of the things you have to do is study, you know, electronic, like tronics and you know, all the electrical stuff, but you have to go intern somewhere. You have to go and put in the hours, right? You have to meet the requirements. Well, guess what? If you want to be a good e-commerce seller, you could go work for somebody and learn on the job and invest and give them what you’re all, but you can fine tune it and to hear Mike say it and the benefits that he gets and the benefits they get, it’s just a wonderful, wonderful thing and man, I hope that opens up the eyes for others, um, in ways that you might not know where your path is going. Let’s get into the podcast.
Stephen: [00:06:08] All right, welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. Very excited about today’s guest. I’m know what’s so cool for me is I love when your personal life and your business life and your extra curricular life. I mean there are multiple lives, all kinds of mingle together and meander together. Maybe that’s the best word is meander because I think that life fulfilled is interwoven and the really successful people I’ve seen have figured that out, that it’s not just one all the time. It’s not just the other. There are no clear lines and I don’t think that’s the way life is supposed to be. So welcome Michelson. Welcome Mike.
Speaker 3: [00:06:46] Thank you steven.
Stephen: [00:06:49] Think about that statement. What I just made is that, is that fair to get where I’m going with that?
Speaker 3: [00:06:54] I do and at my age I just turned 50 last year and so I think I’ve started to recognize slash accept certain things are the way they are. I don’t have all the answers, but I think that your interwoven comment is pretty accurate. I just, I just know that a lot of times, call it serendipity, call it fate, call it faith, whatever you choose to call it. I think that you, when you go out and you just do the very best you can, and especially with the intent of either not doing harm to someone else or trying to do good for someone else, certain things just happen that there’s no way you could have scheduled that ending out as completely as it has turned out. Starting from the beginning.
Stephen: [00:07:45] It’s almost like you have to let it happen, isn’t it? I mean, it’s like you’ve got to do your best kind of really do the best at whatever it is. You know. I had a friend who used to say if I had to clean bathrooms, Steve, I be the best. That bathroom would be the best it could be because I’m not going to give anything less. And then magically this stuff kind of falls your way. That’s my experience.
Speaker 3: [00:08:06] In fact, cleaning bathrooms was part of my early, early part before I came to Las Vegas. And um, some family had owned a large, a window covering organization. I owned a cleaning company, we clean bathrooms and one of the comments that was made to me was by a man who created the first credit card modem, his name was Dave Spafford and he lives in Salt Lake City area. And I asked him, I said, so dave, as my little team of girls and myself are cleaning some of these high end homes, what’s the best thing that I could do in making my business? And he said, first of all, Mike, you got to get the rag out of your hand. And basically gave me some business advice on. Yeah, if you want to do well, you’ve got to manage more than new. And that was one of the things that, yeah, serendipitously just kind of really did kind of kickstart me on my way. That was over 30 years ago into kind of winding up where I am today.
Stephen: [00:09:04] So let’s go back though, did you feel that Vegas was, you know, 30 years ago, this is it. I’m going to vegas and I’m going to be a, you know, in the world. Of course not right. Obviously. What will you do when you were in high school? What were you thinking?
Speaker 3: [00:09:21] In High School? I was similar kid. A lot of kids are that have some athletic talent. I played baseball in college and football in junior college as well as baseball, so I thought I was going to be an athlete until I got to that division one level and I realized, holy cow, I’m not going to make a living doing this. How much were you then then that Division One? Um, my high school graduating class was a hundred and 50 and my division one English class was over a thousand. And so yeah, it was, it was a big jump in while I was quote unquote good and there was hustle involved there. I knew that I did not want to sacrifice 10 years to get a possible shot. My Dad was a professional athlete, so I was familiar with the game. It just wasn’t something that interested me and I didn’t have the drive and desire to put the work and effort into being getting to the next level, which at that level, that’s what it is. It’s all. A lot of guys have very, very similar talent. It’s extremely high talent and there’s a very small margin of difference and it usually comes down to work ethic.
Stephen: [00:10:29] So go back to your dad. I mean, so you saw the sacrifices that he made to have that, right? Is that, is that part of the reason you didn’t want to do it?
Speaker 3: [00:10:39] Yeah, it was a little bit. He wasn’t a, a phenomenal athlete. He played football in the Canadian football league and he was, uh, in his day, pretty good, uh, and he could have made a living doing it. He chose something similar, but because of a bunch of friends and their organizations, I was able to travel, for example, to Denver Bronco Stadium visit with the San Diego chargers. My friend, a good friend of mine who’s passed away a few years ago was a defensive back coach for the San Diego chargers. Uh, his name was Jim Wagstaff, so I got to be around the locker rooms. I got to be amongst a lot of these types of people, Chuck Muncie, um, and Dan fouts and these are some older football players and so I was familiar with what the life was like and it didn’t interest me the money, but the lifestyle did not interested in.
Stephen: [00:11:28] Well, that’s interesting. So thinking about that, the gentleman that you’re mentioning, I assume are leaders or people that you admire and look up to or the ones you wouldn’t associate yourself with. How different was the environment from them? Because I, what I would think of, like I’ve read some of the books that some of these coaches have written and some of them are like, oh my goodness. I mean these are true leaders. I mean, and, and trying to build character and all that kind of jazz. Yet however, having seen some baseball behind the scenes or having seen some of the news stories about football specifically, um, there’s, there’s an element working against that. And you could go either way, you know, if you’re susceptible to me that’s not attractive. I don’t want to be around that kind of thing. The leadership’s heart is cool, but that if there’s an element I want out
Speaker 3: [00:12:19] that’s pretty correct and we’re able to be associated with. I was associated with. They in confidence would say, Mike, unless you have a god given talent, and I knew some. I know a lot of professional athletes and there are quite a few who do it for the money. They do it because, listen, this is my job. I don’t want to talk about sports when I’m not here. I just want to go home and most of us are very similar and they understood the trappings and the things that could entice a person to go in a different way than they might socially, religiously or politically believed, but yet you’ve kinda got to walk this fine line to make the kind of money to support your family and to support the things you need to do because that’s just what’s required to do. It’s not necessarily faking it.
Speaker 3: [00:13:07] You just have to do the best you can, but many coaches have witnessed what it can suck you into unless you’re extremely strong in character and you know what you’re doing and can put off the onslaught of the negative stuff that comes with fame and fortune and it just wasn’t. I was totally happy having experiences and coaching little league baseball and doing these things. I didn’t have to have things and the things that would be necessary to have that big dollar a paycheck in order to have those things. It just, it wasn’t me. It’s very mature
Stephen: [00:13:41] to be thinking like that though at that age. That’s a good upbringing. Your dad and mom sounds like they instilled some values and because that’s tough. I mean, you know, especially in the way we idolize athletes or rockstars and things like that, you know, we idolize them. I just, I was somewhere and there was somebody famous or something and it just fascinates me how people, including myself, migrate over to see them. You know, it’s like they’re somebody special and yet, you know, and I guess in some ways they could be in that little piece of it, but that doesn’t build the whole person. I don’t know. It just. That’s cool that you figured that out at a young age. Very, very mature. I’m not so sure I would have been as mature. I don’t have any money talent, so I don’t know. Interesting. OK, so you decide what, what are you going to do then?
Speaker 3: [00:14:33] The first couple of years out of college I wanted to own my own independent insurance agency. This was during an era where you could own your own book of business and be your own person and so some of my family members were in. I was trying to get into it but. But I think I missed the window because at that particular time one of the regulations that had just been altered was that banks could own insurance companies or could own their own book of business. So these family members, rather than being able to start now and build my book of business banks were coming in and buying, buying up these companies that had been independently established for so long and to go work for a prudential, which I did or go work for a beneficial life, which I did. Um, that I enjoyed the financial portion of it. I enjoyed understanding it.
Speaker 3: [00:15:27] I enjoyed it, but I didn’t enjoy going out and necessarily selling it. I was happy selling. I sold flies, fishing flies, you know, my first year of college I had a knee surgery, laid in bed and learn how to tie fishing flies and sell those things to a little convenience stores that I loved. The interaction of selling, completing a sale, moving onto the next one. So I was kind of hooked on entrepreneurial-ism early. I don’t know how great I was, but I had zero problem walking up to anybody and trying to sell them a group, a good product.
Stephen: [00:15:59] That’s a big deal to be young guy, to be able to walk into a place and say, Hey, I’ve got flies in the world and I think you need to carry them and somehow convincing them to do that. Setting up a some kind of wholesale relationship. Right? Or working on a consignment or however it was. That sounds pretty complicated at that age.
Speaker 3: [00:16:19] Well, I learned a lot of lessons. I learned what not to do as well as what to do. One of the things that it’s tough to understand from an audio podcast that you can see in some of the videos and things that I posted. I was born with only two fingers on my left hand and so growing up I had to figure out, OK, if I’m going to pitch, how am I going to keep this mit on my hand? If I’m going to golf and I took the state championship in 1985 in Utah, how am I going to keep this left hand from splitting open and bleeding while I’m in the middle of a tournament and I’m coming down to the 18th hole. So I’ve had to kind of overcome a few different things and I think some people when they have a challenge and they’re unique and they don’t, maybe not necessarily like the spotlight, they’re either going to overcompensate and really go overboard or they’re going to say anyone could put it in your face, will prove to you that I could do something.
Speaker 3: [00:17:17] So that was me understanding myself. Ah, I had to do a lot of that in order to figure that out. So I think that’s where it came from. How much of that is innate? Maybe some, but I know a lot of it was accentuated when I started to prove to myself, yeah, you have two fingers. So what? You can be a division one baseball pitcher, you can be a division one kicker and that has nothing to do with it. And with five sons and they all have their fingers. It’s not genetic. It just weird things happen in life sometimes and you just roll with it.
Stephen: [00:17:48] So you didn’t see it as what the term was back when I was a kid. And probably when you were a kid was a handicap.
Speaker 3: [00:17:55] No, in fact that’s funny that you mentioned that I was playing the state championship in golf and I was walking down the fairway. It was a Monday cause you know, a smaller high schools are not going to be considered real important on a golf course. Maintenance man runs over the Mike my golf bag as we’re playing the, the, the playoff hole, the sudden death, playful. Um, which I later went onto win, but it exploded my bag. I had to carry my bag with the clubs. It didn’t hurt any of them luckily. And somebody come up next to me and said, you swing the club pretty well for a handicap. And I thought, do I, I, my first instinct, which I was Kinda glad was to tell him, you know, really thank you. But then I’m like, do I punch you in the face? And everybody around me looked because they knew my mentality towards w, you know, that particular term. And I certainly didn’t consider myself handicap and we all started kind of laughing because, you know, it was just out of the blue. And I do believe the gentlemen was sincerely trying to give me a compliment because if you see some of the videos that I have posted and I swing pretty well, I learned from some really good pros and it’s just something that I loved.
Stephen: [00:19:01] Yeah. I think, uh, there’s a generational issue that’s still out there. Um, I think of my father in law and some of the things he says and I’m like, Ooh, that is not currently appropriate. Or did you know to be fair, you know, when you think about that his most of his life it was accepted. I don’t want to say it was appropriate because it probably never was, but it was accepted that was the accepted language of the time. And so sometimes it sounds like you took that stuff into consideration.
Speaker 3: [00:19:28] Yeah. You have to really. I think once you understand true intent of people, you know, sometimes you have to forgive. I mean, hey, we’re guys were married, our wives have to deal with this with us. Every day we say things, we have great intent, but it comes out really stupid sometimes.
Stephen: [00:19:43] Yeah. I usually use that male gene a lot. I’m like, Hey, remember man over here, you know, you still got to remember that there was a song for me. I’m still just a guy. Um, OK. So, so, uh, you, you decide that entrepreneurism is going to be your thing and you’re wildly successful every single time. Fair, no entrepreneur and entrepreneurial-ism, but we all see this. But we sit here, and this is funny because I see this so many times people are so afraid to mention that they didn’t, they weren’t successful every single time you hit every single person, if they were honest would say many, many times I’ve failed. And quite frankly, that’s how you learn that my biggest advancements have come from my failures.
Speaker 3: [00:20:31] Absolutely. I’ve failed many, many more times than I have. And I think because I’ve always tried to, uh, excel and try to do my best. Um, you know, I think sometimes we’re a little bit more harsh on ourselves after raising five sons. I have done much more, uh, uh, hopefully in a better light than I did the first one just because you learn what’s really important. When you learn what’s not too important, you learn what to waste your time on, you learn what to focus on and hunker down on. And I think it just, like you mentioned earlier, you just of you just take the good with the bad, do the best you can, have good intent and find something that really drives you or that you might be good at, that you can love and just focus on that and forget the stuff that you might not be too great at.
Stephen: [00:21:22] And that doesn’t mean you’re a failure at it. You might be too great at it, but that’s OK. Right? I mean, to me that’s the best thing. I always say that I tell people all the time, when you learn what not to buy in this business, you have one because you know everything will sell at a given time for the right price to the right person, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good deal, right? Or it’s not worth doing. When you learn why something isn’t right, then it’s like, you know, the clouds opened up and then the boundaries expand is, man, my hands are moving. Nobody could see me, but I make them wonder because I just think that that’s where the real growth is. You figure things out. Um, you started something. It didn’t work. OK, what are you gonna do different while you’re clearly not going to do that again? OK, what’s next? When, when you think about the lessons that you’ve learned, what were some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned that you bring forward and teach to your boys?
Speaker 3: [00:22:17] No. It is extremely valuable to get a handle on the fact that there’s so much that you don’t know and so much that you can get accomplished by letting your team around you understand that you don’t know that you want to learn and that you value their input and that, that particular process. It’s not a bad thing to know something, but be careful not to convince yourself that you know it all, so be, be very open to being wrong and being. Be Open to the value of other people’s input.
Stephen: [00:22:56] No, that’s gotta be really part of Sports. That’s going to be one of the hardest parts of sports because if you’re a stand-out in your high school, right, and you were the guy, they move into a team where everyone is the guy or girl, you know, depending on what sport is, they were all the person from their school and now you’re just one of them. And Man, that’s humbling, isn’t it? All of a sudden. And so that lesson, that’s probably one of the biggest lessons you can learn in sports, right?
Speaker 3: [00:23:27] I believe so. And I believe one of the short analogy to that is there’s a lot of retired professional athletes to live here in some had that have come here and I got to play golf and meet Greg Maddux. One of the greatest pitchers. Yeah. That has ever has ever been around. And one of the things that I wish I would’ve learned this early on in baseball because as a pitcher, I thought my job was to strike every batter out because we didn’t have the greatest infield. We didn’t have the greatest support team, but I learned from Greg Maddox. He said, my job wasn’t to strike everybody out. My job actually was to get everybody to hit a ground ball. It’s the other people’s job to play their position and to fill their, their lane. And I, I, I don’t think that I learned that real early and I’ve learned that, you know, going along, if you want to build something and have the greatest amount of impact, you can’t do it without a team. You’ve got to let your team play their lane and play their position and you’ve got to be OK with the fact that they’re going to feel once in awhile too and they can’t feel like every single failure is you coming down on top of them saying, why did you fail? They Ha. They’re never going to reach their potential unless they can fail comfortably as well. Just like it is with yourself.
Stephen: [00:24:40] It does bother me when we look at others and like looked down her nose at them like, oh, how dare they. And I’m thinking to myself, well, you know, luckily that wasn’t me because it probably was me the time before then. And so that’s a very humbling, you know, that comes with maturity though. I’m, you know, I’m a little bit older than you and, and it absolutely has come later in my life, not earlier on, especially in corporate America. That is not the way it is. You know, that we used to call the sword of Damocles, right? Rolling over your head and man, one mistake you’re out, you know, and now now it’s completely switched because it is so hard as an employer to keep good people because they have so many options. To be fair, it’s a better scenario where they have the upper hand where keeping a good person, you have to treat them well because generationally my boys, they could care less where they work, they wanna, you know, be respected and that kind of thing. They have no loyalty to that company anymore. And so they’re not willing to put up with it. That’s not going to be the right environment. OK, I’ll find someone else. That’s very, very true. Now, so you, you have jumped around doing a whole bunch of other things. When did the ED world start to play into your life? What will you think? I mean, it was the first thing you were thinking about doing in the, uh, in, in some kind of he world.
Speaker 3: [00:26:01] I’m going to say that probably 1996, 1998. I knew that I wanted to be involved somehow. I just had come from an, an arena that I didn’t exactly know how to get into it. I was kind of a self taught nerd and so I didn’t really understand how to go about it, but when I first heard that you could actually, it was legal to exchange your credit card information for a transaction in the late nineties and now it was legal and everybody was terrified and I thought it’s going to change the world. And I knew it was right, but I was involved, had to raise kids, had to get bills paid. So I didn’t really have that early time to just kind of go experiment and not worry too much about bills. I had to kind of keep my nose to the grindstone as was taught to me by, you know, generations before me, but it wasn’t until recently where I could see that the advent of Zappos being here in Las Vegas and what e-commerce was doing and how even smaller entrepreneurs couldn’t make an extremely good living at it and I was learning and adapting and gaining more knowledge and more experience by going and giving away some of my services. I kept telling myself, man, you can do this, and I had believed in myself, so it wasn’t until probably about a year and a half ago that I said, I’m leaving the window covering industry in that world that I had been in for 18 years and I’m going a different direction. That’s going to happen completely.
Stephen: [00:27:28] Completely. Dabbling in it a little bit. I mean, were you. Were you trying to stay and stuff like that? Just having a little success
Speaker 3: [00:27:36] all along the way. I was doing that and I think the big shift happened when it was clear this was probably three or four years ago. It was clear that everyone was going to be buying everything over their phone, not just the internet, but using their phone and that’s when I kind of jumped all in and was like, OK, I’ve got to figure out how now to get my kids through this particular age of expense where now I can go take a little bit more risk and my financial obligations have diminished somewhat and I can start to experiment and grow and use my experience and my knowledge to make it scale faster because I know more what not to do, but I, I know that in within commerce and the ability to purchase, make purchases through these different social media platforms and other things that there’s plenty of people who have good products that just don’t know how to get into the distribution system and get it out to the marketplace.
Stephen: [00:28:31] And if you can bring that and enhance that for them and make their life easier. Value. How about this? Now you’re [inaudible] and um, [inaudible]. So we’re, we’re the Middle Age dudes and I do consider myself middle age. It’s cool to be starting over. However. I mean, I think he made a statement there. It’s really not starting over because I think we have a huge competitive advantage because of all the stuff we’ve learned, so while someone like my, my boys, they know nothing but computers because their whole life they saw it. You and I saw it probably in high school or just about there, but there is a learning curve, but now that learning curve with the phone or with an Amazon or with an Ebay because they’ve made it so easy and all these other companies with these interfaces, that learning curve is generally gone. You now can apply all those things you’ve learned as you said. That’s a big advantage and so my. My comment when I see people like [inaudible], is it too late? I missed it. I’m like, man, you didn’t miss nothing. Just get started. Even at 70, just get started. I was just at a podcast event this past week and the people who are starting podcasts are old people because they want to get their message out and they’re like, can I do, can I do it? It’s like, yeah, sure. Of course you can do it.
Speaker 3: [00:29:48] Absolutely, and what most people don’t realize is what I’m trying to help my sons and the younger generation has realized something I think I’ve always had innate in me that experience, you can go google it. You can’t go google how, what someone has been through their experience and how they lived through that and how that helped them, how that hurt them. That’s something you can’t necessarily find on the internet or if you do, you’re not quite sure if you trust it or believe it, but a person who can speak well, who is engaging to listen to and has experience even in the niches of markets can be extremely successful in the podcast world. I totally agree.
Stephen: [00:30:30] What would you, when you are teaching your boys right now, these life skills, are you saying, well, you need to go to college, get a degree. You need to stand out in a crowd. You need to do this, you need to do that. Or especially with five. Uh, I mean, cause I’m assuming you’ve got an artist and you’ve got an intellect and you’ve got a athlete and you’ve got a lazy kid and you’ve got, you probably have a mix, a plethora, right? I recall those boys. But isn’t that like the coolest thing in your, in your dad’s day that wouldn’t have been acceptable? Everybody’s go, let’s all work ethic, work ethic, work ethic. Now it’s like, hmm, you know, maybe not. Maybe there are other ways to learn. To me that’s a challenge for, I don’t know. Are you able to get past that or do you still have some of that work ethic stuff stuck in you?
Speaker 3: [00:31:23] I think so. I think I have the ability to get past that because I’ve seen the reality of what was important, what was important and what is important now because the ability to get an education and I sat through those business classes in college and I listened to those, those presenters talk about how little their four year degree meant to them. That work ethic to a completely different that you’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to have drive more so now than ever, but I feel when it comes to college education, this is my own personal opinion and my son’s a. they’ve been blessed enough to have grandparents who their educations are paid for, but I am not saying that that’s what they need to do, what the most important thing is to not look back and have regret and so as early as you can, as deeply as you can, if you can go into yourself and say, what really drives me?
Speaker 3: [00:32:22] And that’s hard. As a young kid, you have to be able to ask the question, what do I really love? If I believe that I, you know, I have my own religious convictions, but I’m teaching them basically go be one with yourself. Go out and figure out what really me happy. Don’t worry about dad, don’t worry about society. What do you really love to do and what could you see yourself doing for the next 20 or 30 years? Doesn’t matter company wise, what you might do it with or for or what you might create. What do you really love to do? And start with that, and it doesn’t matter because guaranteed, whatever you start with, you probably won’t end. But if you do that and you say that, I really love law, OK, great. Then there is no other path in our society right now.
Speaker 3: [00:33:12] You got to go to college, you’ve got to take tests, you’ve got to pass exams that qualify you to allow you to do that. The same with medicine. But if it’s not that I don’t think you seriously need to look at a four year degree, but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Find whatever it is that you want to do and work your way backwards from there. Discovering what the best path was possibly going to be to get you to that point, not going to college and expecting that to be your golden ticket because it ain’t happening.
Stephen: [00:33:41] It ain’t happened in and you can’t decide for the next 40 years that you know, this is it. This is all just A. I’ve had a couple of lawyers on that have completely changed their lives. They were law degrees and now they’re selling on Amazon. However, that law degree wasn’t a waste in because they were able to take and apply that and bring that forward. Um, Myra accounting background, right, would be a good one. Right? That would be another one that’s so valuable. Um, but let me tell you, your janitor, I know he went to college, but your janitor janitorial experience, the ability to complete a project, the ability to build a customer, to ability to manage people, to ability, all those abilities are huge advantages and any kind of business, especially in e-commerce business that’s evolving so quickly, the ability to adapt is probably one of the biggest skill sets that’s necessary in this world because otherwise you’re going to end up in the corner sucking your thumb. I describe it because it’ll change today. Like today, we’re going to get notified if some change by some platform outside of your control. OK, adapt and overcome. Let’s, let’s go forward to, I guess, was Ebay your first, like when you said you’re going all in or were you going to go on Amazon? What were you going to do?
Speaker 3: [00:35:01] And so my particular thought process was how can I leverage, again, my experience to get me to where I want to go, get me in the direction that I want to go into fast, track me as quickly as possible. And so what I started to do was immerse myself, learn the platform you have to do that. I might be up and awake by five, but that doesn’t mean I’m not doing things by like [3:30], [4:30] because I just can’t sleep. And so I’m learning these different platforms. I’m learning how to, what hashtags do for you on instagram and twitter and different things that. And so I went full bore into saying, OK, I’m going to learn the platform and hopefully I can find a large account out there that I can use to basically have my education paid for it. I can go take my leadership skills into this platform.
Speaker 3: [00:35:56] And that’s what I’ve done for the blind center. And they’re very clear and very well aware of what my particular needs and desires are. I’m aware that I may not be there forever, but I want to take and set up a system. I’ve doubled their revenue in the last six months and I have the ability to double it again in the next year. It doesn’t mean that I will be there in two years. I’ve made that very clear, but I said, it does mean that I will set up a system that if I get hit by a truck tomorrow, someone can step into my place. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be there 10 years. It’s proven to be a very satisfying thing. It’s very has some potential personally rewarding things from a financial standpoint and I was not afraid to not completely divulge my hand and say, this is what I am. This is what I’m about and this is what I would like, but in the meantime, I’m going to provide you a service and I’m going to make it so that you have somebody who can lead this for awhile and I will not drop you. I will not quit on a dime. I will make sure that when the time comes for a transition, I will make that happen in a way that leaves you much better than where I came from.
Stephen: [00:37:05] What you just said is basically you created your own internship. In essence, you really have to created a real life perfect world because that’s a category that you already knew something you kind of have a heart for. Um, on the e on the selling side, right? Yeah. And then you can go do it for a purpose which is helping those who have a physical challenges, something that probably you could relate to two, and you’re helping them realize they have value. I’m getting the chills. You just gave me the chills. That’s perfect. Um, my community, it’s like a perfect world because so many people say, you know, when can I quit my job? I want to go full time, I want to quit my job. And you created a job and yet you’re full time. They’re giving them a hundred percent. You will find, as you said, fine tuning your skills. You’re learning the platforms, you’re learning what you get the best of everything here. Um, but that’s by design, right, is fly tying, going in and talking to that vendor that allows you to have this kind of conversation. It’s not like you’ve got this big degree of e-commerce. Right? Correct. Where does that come from? Is that, that’s. I think that
Speaker 3: [00:38:27] that does come from my, I guess my upbringing. My Dad was an extremely good athlete and was like, I cannot go back to my town if I go back to my town and see somebody that I have never seen before. It’s automatic. Oh, you’re, what are you must be woody’s boy, because genetically we look so similar just like my son’s do. And he was always known to be a driven person to excel and to want to do the best. My mother very similarly, they always wanted to do their best. And so I think that’s where it does come from. Um, but at the same time, I have learned through some of my different experiences that just doing that for the sake of other people seeing me just try the best I could, was way better than me telling them, hey, here’s the best way you can do it.
Speaker 3: [00:39:15] Here’s the best way to become the best. Just go do the best you can and it seems to be sufficient for everything you can, letting them pay you. You’re actually going in and doing the work. And I think that’s the distinction that I think it’s a genius move. I’ve heard that from a whole bunch of other people. Hey, go work for someone and be clear upfront, Hey, I’m coming in to learn, but I’ll give you everything. Um, and I do plan on doing it. My own win-win, right? That’s a, that’s a really big win, especially if you leave it so much better than when you got there around a nonprofit organization that does receive. We deal with a lot of casinos, a lot of governments, and a lot of high wealth individuals. I’ve been around the block enough to know that those people will see me and we’ll hear about me whether I’m aware of that or not, and if I’m smart I will use that to my advantage and I will say, let me take my skills and let me let me prove it.
Speaker 3: [00:40:16] I just, I believe that it will be appreciated and I doubt that it will be appreciated at this level. Monetarily. I can accept that that’s not a problem, but I can go help someone by being a number two or number three with their group who is already giving many more millions of dollars to the blind center than I could ever go make for them and generate for them and so I’m trying not to be too arrogant and thinking the skills that I’m developing and helping develop for them are going to be the end all be all, but it’s something that I can be a very good lieutenant in the system rather than maybe just a a general or a colonel, but that again, most people would see that as a failure. Right now. To me, this is, again, we’re back to that maturity issue. There’s a maturity that, that being so comfortable in your skin. Um, so let’s talk about what the, uh, the e recycling’s, because I’m sitting here thinking about this. Every community has, how many non-profits, I don’t care what community with my rotary meeting this morning while we were doing was talking about fundraisers for non-profits. And so this opportunity probably exist
Stephen: [00:41:35] or could exist in every single community across the United States and probably other countries if somebody had the vision and the capacity to see it, to do it. Um, and so the blind center recycles electronic goods and it sounds like how long, how long have they been doing that?
Speaker 3: [00:41:55] The actual ebay account has been going for about 10 years and it’s progressed from taking a pallet of computers from Valley’s Casino, for example, that they’re trading out. And then just taking that and directly giving that over to someone else and those particular individuals parted out recycling. Sell it to saying, wait a second, maybe we can create a little more value, extract a little more value if we do a little more work in learning and processing these items. That particular concept has just kind of traveled all the way through and there are other things that I have continued to be able to see as the people who used to do it in my position have now had to manage and be the ceos and do those kinds of things on an administrative level. It left a little bit of a vacuum that I’m able to come in and say, OK, here’s some things that that I can do. I have disrupted their original thinking and thought process, but I’ve said, just trust me. You can fire me if I’m wrong and then we can. You’re no worse off, but giving me the opportunity to prove my points of a direction and let me back that up with hard data later and we’ll go from there and what have you got to lose? Really
Stephen: [00:43:16] give us an example of one that you’ve been able to do where they were doing it this way and now it’s evolved into this and it’s money, fastest growing areas.
Speaker 3: [00:43:25] Sure. Um, to quickly do that, when I first came in, um, one of the things that we had not had was a, an inventory system. You have to be able to track things within the electronics processors and small expensive components can easily be stolen. And so we were having some issues with some embezzlement of some higher level things. I was able to say, listen, um, I had to sneakily say, OK guys, we’ve got to make some changes and some things are going wrong. And luckily some things came to light. We made the changes necessary and we implemented some processes and I said, I know you’ve usually had three listers listing and one of them is your manager of the, of the Eba Department, but I can make you more money by managing the important components and we’ll get someone else in. They obviously started me out paying quite a bit higher.
Speaker 3: [00:44:21] I was able to negotiate and, and at least talk a good game and say I can do this, but I’ve got to pay me a little bit more at first on here’s what I want to do differently given me six months to to prove what I’m doing to be right or wrong. So I’ve taken it from about 35,000 a month in revenue to 70,000 a month in revenue and we actually have probably another, I want to say another 50,000 a month, some hidden value that we’ve not been extracting a as well as we could. And that’s kind of where I want to take it to the next level and by the time we get there and that’s not changing anything different than what we’re receiving and what we’re acquiring out in the marketplace. That’s just looking at the exact value here and saying if we just shift things differently, we can extract value. And so once we plateaued there will have to find different revenue streams. But I’m confident we can. They’ve been very generous to me. They’ve given me a lot of rains and I think I’ve, you know, so far done an OK job doing that no matter what business you’re in, you’re saying, hey, we don’t need more stuff coming in because that’s the first answer.
Speaker 3: [00:45:33] We need more stuff coming in. We’ve got enough stuff coming in. We need to manage it better. Reduced touchpoints, figure out where the value is, spend more time on that and so putting an inventory system, how, how, how difficult was it for the organization to adapt and how do you push through that because I could see a lot of reasons. We’ve always done it this way. This guy’s crazy. We’re not saying we’ve done it this way. You know, that’s a common pushback that you’ll hear from lots of organizations and there’s. There’s a reason for that is because there’s a lot of people who will come in and try to talk a good game and can’t backup what they’re talking about. And so I see the set, I see the skepticism and so someone in my position is smart, not trying to go for the home run.
Speaker 3: [00:46:16] In my earlier days, I would’ve had this grandiose idea and said, let’s do all of this. I’ve learned. Now let’s, let’s hit the single, let’s, let’s not go for this. Sports metaphors is good. So let’s hit the single. Let’s prove you can get on base as prove you can do that. Let’s prove you can get around the basis, um, safely and, and, and let’s, let’s do those things first because they still don’t completely know you. Why should they trust you? Because you don’t mean a whole lot to them as far as your background and your credibility. So I had to be humble and earn my credibility. Um, and that doesn’t happen overnight with a large organization that has a lot of moving parts and they’ve got a reputation to uphold and they’ve got a board members to answer to. And so you need to make sure that you’re doing smart things with your resources and it’s not going to happen overnight. And that person who wants to make change has to be diligent and patient wins. And that is so powerful that it isn’t swing for the fence. That’s one one swing. And that’s it, it’s all these small ones that build up over time. And again, that’s, those are the best players, aren’t they?
Stephen: [00:47:30] The ones that they are, they have the longest careers. Let me say it that way because they’ve been in it and they aren’t just one and done. It’s, it’s long-term thinking about it. Let’s, let’s qualify. This might also sells personally. He’s developed his own personal business, but what’s attractive to me, and quite frankly, the reason I reached out to them is I think you’re proving you kind of can have it all. If you’re willing to make some sacrifices, you’re not going to get rich working in non-profits, right? They’re not going to pay you, you know, legendary CEO salaries in non-profits. But rich is relative. If it’s rewarding, can you get rewarded working in nonprofits? Um, and especially if it allows you to work on your side hustle, which you have a couple of. Um, to me it’s masterful and it’s a life well intention. So what do you do, because it sounds like to me, because you also do some consulting for other companies, you’re helping them bring, I mean this obviously it’s worked for you. You have a proof of concept. I can go in and help your business grow. I’ve doubled this one so therefore I’ve got some proof. What do you do to work on yourself though? Because this looks like it could consume a good portion of your life. It sounds like it does.
Speaker 3: [00:48:50] It can and it will if you allow it. I think what I’ve tried to do is say, OK, what is my end goal? And I mentioned that before my end goal, knowing that I understand what it would take if I want to make a large amount of cash and that’s not nearly as important to me, nor is it as reasonable as living a fulfilling life on my terms and being a good number two because there’s. There’s so many people out there and I think this is what entrepreneurs miss. They want to be the head of the pyramid when there are so many guys. And we could go into all kinds of people that we would see on the Internet and see that we’ve seen social media who aren’t the guys, but so many of those people has so much cash, but they don’t have someone who has the people skill.
Speaker 3: [00:49:41] They don’t have someone who has some leadership skills that can come in and help run systems for them, improve systems for them because there’s always somebody going to have more money. There’s always somebody that’s going to have a bigger house and so sometimes people get trapped in that and sometimes timing and skill all match up at the right time to try to produce a mark Zuckerberg or to produce a steve jobs or different things like that. Not everyone is going to be like that and it doesn’t mean that if someone really wants to be like that, that they should not go for that. Great. Go for that. Be Practical about it and be realistic about it. Be Diligent about it and you just have to understand what it’s going to take. I’ll give you another example. I’ve put on some bike races here in Las Vegas because biking is, once you get out of college and college athletics.
Speaker 3: [00:50:33] I was fascinated that older men and women were kicking my butt in an athletic event in bike racing and I was fascinated so I got into that and started doing all of the different things that that entails except we didn’t have the ability to put on an event and so I put on what was called the Colville Bay classic, which is like a little three day stage race. And in that we had floyd landis, the winner of the Tour de France, who two weeks after visiting our event and racing. Our event is when he blew the lid on the doping scandal. So I got to be kind of around that. That the next year we got to invite a man named Alexi Gray Wall. He run. He won the Olympic gold medal in the road race in 1984 in la. But by the time I had him to my event the year after Floyd Landis, he was homeless and he had a son and he was still a demon.
Speaker 3: [00:51:26] On a bike. So I said, hey, why don’t you come out? Yes, Alexi, this is a PR event. This is a PR stunt and bringing you here. And I was very upfront with him. He wasn’t stupid. Alexi has been missing his front two teeth and he looked everything homeless could be except when you put him on a bike. And then it was world class. But as we were driving I picked him up at the airport in Las Vegas. We’re on my way on our way to the house. We were going out to lake mead where hoover dam and stuff is where we were holding the event and he was telling me about his son. I said, Alexa, give me a statement. Tell me if you were to give your son, um, some advice if he wants to be a professional racer and this would apply to being an entrepreneur if you want to be a number one.
Speaker 3: [00:52:11] He looked out the window and pause for a second and he said, tell him to count the cost. Said it’s OK to do that, but if you want big goals, you just have to understand. And it’s going to be helpful if you know ahead of time, these are gonna be the punches in the face you’re going to go through, these are the kicks in the gut you’re going to receive and he said you’re going to be able to help your son and I can help my son a lot more if they understand what’s coming their way and that way they’re not as blind sighted or is traumatized when you know big things happen when you’re trying to accomplish goals. And so that’s kind of what I. I’ve looked and said, where can I be the most value to mankind given my skill set and the time that I have left. And so that’s how I’ve tried to approach it a very healthy because at this point I’m not willing to make that commitment because he always used to say everything costs something Steve. Everything right? Either time or money or what have you. So let’s apply that now to people who are sitting here struggling because you’re not the biggest seller in the world. Personal sales,
Stephen: [00:53:26] right? Correct. Yet yet you’re still learning, right? Fair. Right. You’re learning every day because you’re in there sharpening sharping with the iron sharpening iron and you get to do for a noble cause, which I’m going to have the links for the blind center because it will blow you away with what they’re doing. Half the staff are legally blind or vision impairment in some kind, which is very fascinating to me because you’re, you’re letting people have value or let them know they have value, let’s say it the right way. They just don’t know it. Yeah. And so, so you can be noble and, and, and you don’t have to be in charge yet. You have an impact. And I love the fact that you’re number three in your comfortable with it because I think that’s just so healthy because I never wanted to be in charge. I just think it’s so smart. But let’s take the people who are stuck because here they are listening to Mike and Mike saying, well, you know, I’m, I’m doing really well and I’m learning this. I’m relatively new at it, but I’m advancing very quickly because I’m willing to make these sacrifices in that. Um, and I would guess you would say you are winning even though you’re not the biggest seller.
Speaker 3: [00:54:36] Yeah, I’m winning because this is my definition of it is because I’ve learned to define what it is that I’m trying to reach, where it is that I’m trying to get to and I’ve tried to work the best I can, which is always being worked on the steps I need to take on a day in, day out basis to get there and realizing that you’re going to take missteps everyday. You’re going to have some things that go off. Course. You’re going to need to get it back on course, but you just, you just can’t quit. But the, the better definition you have and the further out you have it and the better plan that you have to get there, the the easier it is to get there in a quicker manner with, with less trauma and with less frustration and with less headache because you just.
Speaker 3: [00:55:22] You have a vision of where it is that you’re going and that that takes a lot of deep introspection. Everyone has it. Like you said, there’s going to be people listening to this podcast who every breath hurts. It hurts so bad every day because you just feel so bad or something’s happened to you. That’s, that’s there. That exists. I’ve been through that and anybody can do it. If a guy with two fingers can take state in golf and I’m not exceptionally talented, and if a guy with two fingers can go pitch at a division one level and I’m not exceptionally talented, and if I cannot screw up five sons lives because I’m not exceptionally talented, I just, you know, I just keep trying and that’s, that’s the vision of success is just don’t quit, keep trying, keep in there.
Stephen: [00:56:09] And the other thing I’m taking away from this conversation, Mike, is about that, you know, playing for singles. It’s not like you’re not playing to win, right? I mean, ultimately you’re Greg Maddux growed is, is very, uh, a very pointed. I mean it’s, it’s those get them to the ground and then hopefully that person bibles it and then I get to base right? And then the next one, to me that is, I think that that’s just everybody could achieve that if they just keep that perspective gives me the chills again. That’s twice. He gave me the chills. Love it. Well, if somebody has some follow-up questions because they’re going to sit here and say, Whoa, these guys went pretty deep, but these are [2:50] year old 50 year old guys who’ve been there and saying, you know what? I say it all the time because I’ve got friends selling millions. I mean, it’s so much bigger than me. And I’m like, man, I can’t wait. I celebrate with them because it is so awesome for them. But that’s not Steve. And guess what? I’m OK with that and if you think if you want to look down your nose at me have had it. But to me I feel pretty good because uh, I’m going to go see my granddaughter this afternoon. So to me that’s kind of cool. So if somebody has some follow up questions, what’s the best way to get in touch with him?
Speaker 3: [00:57:21] I could probably find me on instagram. I’m Mike also and underscore me. They’re welcome to email me. Vegas Dot Olson O l s e n at Gmail Dot Com. I’m pretty easy to find if you probably googled Mike Olson, Las Vegas, either on facebook or the other platforms. I’m, I’m a pretty open book. They can, they can bug me all they want.
Stephen: [00:57:43] So I’m gonna put your facebook messenger to um, what was the instagram again? Because I did miss that one.
Speaker 3: [00:57:50] Mike Olson underscore m a.
Stephen: [00:57:54] OK. So like, man, this is awesome. I am, uh, I’m blown away and I’m also gonna put the links for the blind center because I think that is just such a cool. It’s a cool cause. Um, I think the model is very, you know, I think there’s a, I think it’s in Philadelphia where the, um, there’s a homeless group or somewhere they make unbelievable cakes. Maybe it’s New York City, I might be messing it up, but they make wedding cakes for some of the top restaurants and it just gives a sense of purpose to. And they’re teaching such life skills. These kinds of things can be done, but it is an easy. It takes real leaders stepping back from running these giant businesses to say, I can make a difference in this small business and look at the lives that you’re impacting and I’m OK taking a role as number three because I can add so much to the conversation.
Stephen: [00:58:45] Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. Thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success. Take Care, man. Oh Man. What a great interview. What a great guy. You know, I just hope a year or two old guy sitting there talking about not living with regrets, not trying to worry about being number one. Um, but, but just hitting those signals as signals a tough for me to say as Mike used that phrase, I just think it’s so smart and just it just plodding along. Or if you listen to the last interview, Todd Lammy, put your head down, do the work and just consistently keep doing it and magically guess what? You have success and success is relative. It’s what you want out of it. But having a clear path, as Mike said, haven’t real defined goals and then you know, that you’re working towards it.
Stephen: [00:59:33] I just think it’s such a smart, smart, smart way to do it. I’m, Hey, don’t forget my sponsors, you know, seller labs with scope. I mean, they’re their conferences coming up to the <UNK> conference and I haven’t seen a lot of information out there about it. But man, Oh man, it’s one of the best conferences that I went to last year. Um, I was most impressed with the sellers and the methods. I’m very tech savvy, very relevant for this conversation, right? Um, but sometimes also a, they sponsor my show, but they have so many great products and I always talk about scope because it’s so relevant for today’s market, you know, finding those keywords is critical. Finding the keywords. If you’re looking to, um, to do a Andy [inaudible], one of my sponsors would tell you, you need to know the keywords of when you’re researching for products.
Stephen: [01:00:19] So you really need those keywords are so important for almost everything they drive. Everything will scope allows you to see that because you could figure out the category you’re going to sell in, you can find a WHO’s number one and you can go see their keywords and then utilize that. Right? That makes perfect sense. When you think about it, utilize what’s working. It’s a proof of concept. It’s already working and you get to copy and then build from there. Or as Andy will tell you, you could use that then to help define products because you now know the keywords you’re looking for, what products connect with that and then you can go from there. So two great sponsors. So a seller labs dot [inaudible], forward slash scope. Use a code word momentum. Save 50 bucks, get some free keywords or Andy Slamon’s group is amazing. Freedom Dot com.
Stephen: [01:01:03] I think there’s still a forward slash momentum. It really doesn’t matter to me. I just want you to join the group. He’s got a great facebook group. It’s massive. Um, the teaching that him and Lee, Ron, hers, corn and Nate Simon’s do and they’re just blow your mind and they gave away so much free information. It’s just a, it’s a very good group and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it. E-Commerce, momentum.com. E-Commerce women. I’m dot com. Don’t forget these links. I’m going to have mike stuff out there, um, with always context stuff. Follow-Up if this interests you and your community, if this is something that could be replicated because I just think it’s genius and I love the idea of somebody else paying for my education. So e-commerce, momentum. Take care.
Speaker 2: [01:01:41] Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at e commerce momentum. Under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on itunes.