The Lazy CEO Podcast

The Importance of a Strong Business Model

by Sep 9, 2022The Lazy CEO Podcast

Jason BoyceJason Boyce is the Founder and CEO of Avenue7Media, a company that guides brands through the most successful and competitive marketplace in the world — Amazon. They provide tools such as design, research, product development and management, customer service, optimization, and more. Jason’s entrepreneurial journey began with dropshipping sports goods, and through this experience, he started Avenue7Media to help others navigate the cutthroat marketing industry. With nearly 20 years of e-commerce and Amazon Marketplace experience, he is the author of The Amazon Jungle. 

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Jason Boyce shares his experience with the dropshipping business model
  • Tips for adapting to a competitor’s strategies
  • How flexibility can save your business
  • The importance of having a reliable and professional support system
  • Jason talks about overcoming business challenges and moving forward
  • What are the next steps for Amazon as the leading sales platform?
  • Jason’s expert advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs

In this episode…

In today’s dynamic marketplace, it’s increasingly difficult to start and grow a business, especially on one of the world’s leading sales platforms. Brands struggle to create a competitive sales strategy while providing excellent customer service. So, how can small businesses advance to success?

Jason Boyce is optimistic about how brands can leverage the competitive market against large companies. With 20 years of experience in the marketing and sales industries, he understands the challenges of creating a valuable business model to sell exclusive products and generate recurring revenue. Jason advises entrepreneurs on how to navigate the dynamic and volatile nature of building a competitive brand.

In this episode of The Lazy CEO Podcast, Jim Schleckser sits down with Jason Boyce, Founder & CEO of Avenue7Media. They talk about how to competitively navigate the marketing world and achieve success. Jason emphasizes the importance of having a flexible business model, shares tips for adapting to a competitor’s strategy, and what to do when things don’t go according to plan.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by The CEO Project.

The CEO Project is a business advisory group that brings high-caliber, accomplished CEOs together.

Our team of skilled advisors is comprised of current and former CEOs who have run both public and private sector companies across multiple industries.

With our experience and expertise, we guide hundreds of high-performing CEOs through a disciplined approach that resolves constraints and improves critical decisions.

The CEO Project has helped high-performing, large enterprise CEOs with annual revenues ranging from $20M to over $2 billion to drive growth and achieve optimal outcomes.

If you are an experienced CEO looking to grow your company, visit www.theCEOProject.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to The Lazy CEO Podcast where Jim Schleckser author of Great CEOs Are Lazy, and founder of The CEO Project features compelling experts and topics for CEOs of mid to large-sized companies. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Jim Schleckser 0:20

This podcast is brought to you by The CEO Project. At The CEO Project, we work with CEOs to help them grow their business, and our members represent billions of dollars of revenue and profit. And frankly, amongst all of us, we’ve probably made every mistake in the book, including some you haven’t made yet. So if you want to learn from the experience of a bunch of really seasoned CEOs, we’re a great place to hang out in this podcast, but you’re going to hear some of those ideas, concepts, and things that are just going to help you on your journey. If you want to find out more, reach out to us at theCEOproject.com. Or you can contact me personally at [email protected] happy listening. Thanks for joining us today. We’ve got a fun guest today. We got Jason Boyce from Avenue7Media. Hey, Jason. Jason, how are you?

Jason Boyce 1:16

I’m great. Jim, how are you doing?

Jim Schleckser 1:18

Thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

Jason Boyce 1:20

Yeah, my pleasure. Anytime, anything for you, Jim.

Jim Schleckser 1:22

Yeah, thank you, I need my car waxed.

Jason Boyce 1:26

They’ll be right over after this after the podcast afterward. Okay.

Jim Schleckser 1:31

So, you know, Jason, and I’ve known each other for a number of years, that back to his original business that he was started in. And I kind of want to start there. Because I think it’s an opportunity for us to talk about business models and your transition and a couple of other things that are real learning opportunities for all entrepreneurs and CEOs. So let’s start with your original business that you were involved in where you were selling, basically, sporting equipment of various flavors on Amazon. So talk to us about that business a little bit.

Jason Boyce 2:02

Yeah, sure. No problem. The very first business was called super duper hoops.com. And we were drop shipping with a just in time inventory model basketball hoops from, you know, importers and brands and factories in the United States directly to the consumers home, which was a beautiful business. while it lasted that that dropship business was amazing. No inventory, you list it, you market it, you sell it, you send the order to the manufacturer, and then they worry about getting it to the customer. So

Jim Schleckser 2:31

this was not through Amazon. So you were basically just an Order Generation pass the order through done pure basically.

Jason Boyce 2:38

Yeah, pure pure marketing. Exactly. And it was it was heaven. I love that.

Jim Schleckser 2:42

And just to go there. I mean, you were able to do that at a customer acquisition cost that the margin was big enough to make that a profitable business.

Jason Boyce 2:50

Yeah, we it’s a great story. It’s a great question, Jim. We were working with a company called overture, they had this tiny office in Pasadena. They had invented something called Pay Per Click advertising, if you can believe that. And, you know, one of my brothers became friends with someone at that company. We used to hang out with him once a month in their tiny office in Pasadena. That company Jim later got bought by Yahoo. And then Yahoo on behalf of overture sued Google because Google had stolen their technology. And Google I don’t know if they’re still paying a licensing fee. But but they were they paid a lot of money to this tiny company owned by Yahoo called overture for decades.

Jim Schleckser 3:29

Wow. Isn’t that funny? So they bought the company for cheap, but they won a lawsuit and made it all good. Yeah, that’s crazy story.

Jason Boyce 3:35

Yeah. I mean, the Yahoo’s story doesn’t end well. But but but that’s, that’s how we were getting the customer acquisition. It was It was basically a nickel a click. And, you know, we were making 150 $250. And every sale, especially those bigger items. And so the economics were beautiful.

Jim Schleckser 3:52

So this is like the Gary Vee story, right? You were early in the space when it was cheap. And you were able to make a business out of it. Those clicks are probably bid up to very significant numbers now for that particular item. And they economics may not be as good as they were when you were doing it,

Jason Boyce 4:07

then. Well, they’re terrible. Now, over over a five year period, we went from like a Nikola, click to $5. That’s what happens, the bidding process. You know, they made it very easy to be able to get that traffic on first page of search results. But one, one bonus that happened the second year of the business, we got a phone call from Amazon because they had just started the third party marketplace. And they called and said you guys are everywhere all over the search engines. And it wasn’t just Google back then it was you know, Alta Vista, VISTA, whatever.

Jim Schleckser 4:39

Ask Ask Jeeves everywhere.

Jason Boyce 4:43

Exactly. Yeah. So we were everywhere and you know, I don’t even think they knew we were paying Nicola click to be there. But they asked us to sell on this brand new marketplace that they had just launched. We were selling hoops on amazon before even Amazon was and that was so that was that was definitely a bonus but um Yeah, being able to get easy traffic through a bidding process is, is, is difficult because everyone floods into the market, right? It’s up the cost per click, and then you have to be very discerning. And this is the Gary Vee argument.

Jim Schleckser 5:13

He goes, you know, go in early before everybody’s figured out what the clicks are worth and do the arbitrage. And once they figure out what it’s worth, you go to the next platform. So he’s exactly, always go in early, go in hard and then jump when they when it gets bid up to market or above market numbers. So

Jason Boyce 5:29

I never made that Gary Vee connection, but I really appreciate it because I’m a big Jeremy fan. So thanks for that, Jim. Yeah, but yeah,

Jim Schleckser 5:35

I think you’re channeling your inner Gary Vee. It’s great. I love it. I love it. Let

Jason Boyce 5:38

me get my baseball cap.

Jim Schleckser 5:42

So how did you go from superduper hopes to the second business, which was more of a broad based business. And I remember like outdoor ping pong tables and kinds of sporting goods there,

Jason Boyce 5:52

we started to spin off or launch different websites. So at the time, the Google SEO play, and the search engine play was to have very specific verticals, in terms of your keyword structure. So we had super duper hoops, that was our basketball category. Then we started superduper scooters, which was our scooters, and it made sense to have a multitude of unique URLs that, you know, for SEO purposes. And then at some point, Google did a dance, and they changed that equation. And so it became more appropriate and better for your SEO to pull all of those individual URLs into one. And so you know, we came up with a bad name that was hard to say and harder to spell, daddy, because you know, I’m right. Yeah, we were geniuses. And, and you know, at that time, we had the game rooms, we had superduper, game rooms, scooters, baseball, you know, all sorts of others. And we just pulled it under one roof. And started again, still still drop shipping move, probably still drop shipping 90% of our orders, we had a tiny, little tiny warehouse in Tarzana, California,

Jim Schleckser 6:58

how did you figure out that Google changed their algorithm, because they’re pretty secret about their algorithm? And you know, people spend a lifetime and have businesses, I can help you crack the algorithm. And I don’t believe any of them, frankly. So, you know, you said, okay, they change your algorithm. And so we change our model. How did you figure that out? And how did you figure out that what the better model would look like? Because I think that’s something like all of us struggle with, we’re doing the Google dance, but we can’t see the other partner really figure that out.

Jason Boyce 7:25

For me, it was really simple. You know, the outcomes razor, it’s the simplest solution. The simplest answer is usually the right one. We went from page one a search results to nowhere, like overnight. Yeah, we woke up one day, and we’re like, where’s the orders for superduper? I’d say or for designee and they were just gone. And, you know, then we panicked. And we’d had a bunch of friends that we pulled in as consultants to help us with SEO. And they informed us that you know, what had happened is, you know, Google did a dance. And then we noticed also on that first pages of search results, they went from very specific verticals, to the to the bigger, broader company models. And you know, that’s really when Amazon was really starting to take over each of those categories. I have a I have a conspiracy theory, that that am Amazon’s folks talked to Google around that time, because they were all there in Silicon Valley. And they said, Hey, why are you giving these nobodies who’s nobody’s ever heard of this great SEO, you should give it to us because we cut we sell everything but I hadn’t. I don’t have any evidence. Jim. That’s just my own conspiracy

Jim Schleckser 8:30

theory. Do you think there was a there was a meeting at the green turtle in Milpitas? Where this deal got cut?

Jason Boyce 8:35

Huh? Yes, sir. Got? Absolutely. Okay.

Jim Schleckser 8:39

The SEC is not listening. But

Jason Boyce 8:41

it could have happened because I got bigger. They got bigger issues right now. But yeah,

Jim Schleckser 8:46

that seems like dazi was the So okay, so I do tick tock right. So Gary, Gary Vee came to our conference said, Hey, you gotta get on to I already was. And one of the things I see on that is, you know, these get rich quick schemes, right. And one of them is become either for sale by Amazon or dropship. strategy. So you had that. And as the what, why did you stop doing it? You’ve got what everybody is saying, is the model that I can get rich and sit on a beach with? So yes, what’s the disconnect between what I’m hearing on tick tock, and you had this business and you chose not to do it anymore?

Jason Boyce 9:19

Yeah, that what you’re hearing on tick tock is still good for a very short time frame, right. So here’s what happened with us. So we were drop shipping, everything, everything was going great. All of a sudden, Amazon becomes a larger and larger percentage of our business. You know, they still have half of the online market share of goods sold online today. Half. Yeah, Walmart second place was 7%. So more and more of our sales were going through Amazon. And then one day we woke up kind of like the Google Search story. And all of a sudden, all these listings that we were selling on Amazon had we’d lost we woke up one day and all the sales were gone for the day and we’re like, Where did our sales go? We go to the listing and we see Amazon how had taken over our position in our own listing that we had created. And we’re selling our exact same product for 30% less than we could buy it at. And so that’s when I first learned about this concept called the buy box where multiple sellers can sell the exact same thing. Well, we bypass the other competitors being in the buy box, and Amazon just took over the buy box. And like overnight, the dropship model died for us. Wow, that because they went and sourced it in China took they found your supplier, they sourced it there, you’re done. Bingo. Yeah, yeah, they were they actually it was It wasn’t even they didn’t even source it from the supplier in China. Yet. That came later. They went right to Spalding as an example I like to use all the time, they went to Spalding and they said Spalding, we’re gonna buy truckloads of this stuff right into our warehouse and we’re gonna manage sell to us. And, and, you know, our Spaulding rep called us and was just like in tears. We’re so sorry, you guys. We were the number one online seller of Spalding goods in America for like four straight years, they invited us to the NBA All Star Game put us up at a Ritz every year, you know, rode the elevator was Shaq, you know, it was cool. And that’s how, that’s how much business we were doing. And then like, overnight, it died. So Jim, then we went to phase two, right? We had to adapt. That’s what the TIC tock folks don’t get. They don’t know what’s coming next. And so what we did is we went to Spalding and we said, you like us, we like you. You know, customers are complaining about these products that are good sellers, they’d like to make change, happy to glad we would like you to make those changes for us, give us a unique UPC code and a unique SKU. And we want an exclusive sales relationship with you on these. And so we moved from dropship everything everyone else is selling to an exclusive product model. And what was amazing about that, is we did two or three times the business with the exclusive model because we weren’t sharing the buy box anymore with anyone. Right? And so in order to do that, though, Jim, we had to inventory so that’s what we had to learn about. Okay,

Jim Schleckser 12:03

I’m gonna do exclusive, you’re gonna buy the inventory, Binga? How big a change did you need to make for it to go from, you know, standard, Amazon is going to compete to just different enough that I ended up in a different search category,

Jason Boyce 12:17

it didn’t take much. Sometimes we change the color of the base, sometimes we change crank system, sometimes, you know, we change the size of the backboard, just a smidge, like half an inch, it was enough to make the change that by box is really really powerful.

Jim Schleckser 12:31

That is fascinating. So you just so if Amazon comes in and steps into your position, you need to move slightly left or right, and you still can maintain. Exactly interesting, but the downside of inventory. So is that what ultimately blew up the business is the fact you had inventory and the cash needs around inventory.

Jason Boyce 12:49

You know, I’ve never said this publicly. Jim, I’ll tell you what blew up the business and forced us into a distressed asset sale. It was we had investors and on our investors were born kings.

Jim Schleckser 13:02

This is where the story gets good. No, as it not even kidding. The way born kings or like kings are born.

Jason Boyce 13:08

No, these guys were these guys were part of sort of this oligarchy of pornography, businesses online. And we got introduced to them by a friend that came in, you know, they invested, I think, a million dollars, we went from 8 million in revenue to 25 million in revenue in three years. But what these guys also did is they were one of the CEO was doing about $100 million dollars a year in business where he was processing credit cards for the pot business in LA. And actually, in all the western states that allowed the sales of pot so you would order your pot to be delivered to your door, they would swipe the credit card, which is what you can’t do with pot. You can’t you can’t sorry, credit card. It’s a federal it’s a federal law that you can’t do that. And then you would look at your credit card statement the next month and it’d be like tennis rackets rs.com or something like wow. And so they had a federal case brought against them. They lost that 100 million dollar business overnight, they had a clause to claw back a million dollars of their capital on the lending side. And at the worst possible time in our business, they pulled a million dollars out of the business. And then we were like how are we going to pay our suppliers right now so right Wow, we end up selling the assets of the company to a private investor in Los Angeles but it was they kind of they kind of pulled the rug out from under us that it’s a juicy story isn’t it?

Jim Schleckser 14:33

I mean that that’s a great you’re gonna save that for two truths and a lie It’s too late now though. Exactly. Exactly know what’s interesting is that whole porn industry used to be in Southern California they moved out yeah, what’s moved in is grow warehouses so although it used to be studios are now growing pot. It’s you know, one industry like that to another but anyway, interesting. So how did that go down because you know, For those that have never been through, you know, we can’t pay our bills. We got the word distress. What did that look like? What did it feel like? What actions did you take around it? Well, first of all, do you see this gray hair

Jason Boyce 15:11

was that wasn’t there before that happened is that was

Jim Schleckser 15:15

vasti. That gray hair right there? Yeah,

Jason Boyce 15:18

that’s that patch. Right there is bisection. Yeah.

Jim Schleckser 15:21

And I named mine. I named my kids, usually for my kids.

Jason Boyce 15:28

That’s the other side. Yeah. You know, that process that’s like a whole episode in itself almost jam, I’ll try to I’ll try to summarize succinctly, the first thing that I’ll say is you really find out who your friends are when you go through a distress situation like that. And you know who my number one friend was, during that Pam side, Pam Singleton, Pam Singleton, our CEO, group person, she was there for me, every single I’m gonna tear up a little bit. She was there for me every step of the way. I couldn’t, I didn’t have $1 to pay her. And she just helped me anyway, you know, helped me through some really, really dark times helped me structure helped me figure out, pull me out of the clouds that were, you know, gray clouds. And yeah, and helped me see the positive. And, you know, I’m never as long as I live, I’ll never forget her helping me through that very well. That’s

Jim Schleckser 16:16

okay. It was great people. I mean, that’s why she’s one of our partners. And you know, frankly, that’s kind of how we roll as an organization. Right? We’re Yeah, because then, you know, we don’t bail when it gets hard. Right. That’s, that’s exactly the wrong time to bail. So

Jason Boyce 16:31

it’s very unusual. Because I gotta tell you, when I went through this process, a lot of folks bailed and none of my friends and CEOs in the NCL project group bailed. They were all incredibly insanely supportive, including you, Jim. And I just owe the world to you guys. So so let’s start there. Right. Yeah. Well, great.

Jim Schleckser 16:49

Thanks for the little commercial, we

Jason Boyce 16:50

really appreciate it. My pleasure. It’s heartfelt. Thank you. Yeah. And, you know, it’s you. The panic and the anticipatory anxiety about what’s coming is almost the most torturous part. Yeah, once you’ve once you cross over that line of departure and say, Okay, I gotta make some deals. Now, I got to talk to folks and tell them, either I can’t pay him or I’m going to pay him later. And I got to, I got to find someone that’s going to come in here and buy buy up these assets that I spent, you know, a good portion of my early adult life building. And, you know, once you once you have that realization, it’s over, it’s gone. It’s sort of, and you have a great support system, like, you know, like I did with, like, with Pam, and great CEO members like Dale dabbs, who’s now my partner here at Avenue7Media, it got a lot easier. And, and you realize that you realize once and for all that the business is not part of your personal identity, you separate out sort of on an emotional level, and then you just get shit done. And that’s exactly what we did, we went through, we found somebody who was really attracted to the assets, they picked him up, we had a lot of difficult conversations, I worked the phones nonstop for about, I don’t know, four or five straight months, just just telling people letting them yell at me, you know, giving people a haircut on what we owed, and we just got through it. And I you know, I think you may have sent this Jim and certainly Pam has said it to me over and over again. You really You really don’t know how to grow a business until you bury one right on some level and you know, this wasn’t an official bearing of the business because you know, someone else has taken it but but yeah, I mean, you really do learn a lot your anxiety level comes down a lot because you know that it’s not the end of the world like you don’t die with the business

Jim Schleckser 18:45

right you never did a chapter you actually do a structured way of disposing of the assets cleaning out what you could negotiating deals no legal process occurred here right now know exactly did you end up with anything at the end of it or it was wiped there was no wealth left at the end of this thing?

Jason Boyce 19:00

Whatever I ended up with I gave to suppliers. So yeah, so you got you got wiped out.

Jim Schleckser 19:05

It’s interesting. We had a member for a long time Wayne, his name was and Wayne had been through two or three bankruptcies. And his line we had a member who was sort of faith similar to you asset heavy struggling to pay the bills and veins line which they still repeat now years later they go after your first bankruptcy they get easy. know not to say I ever want you to face this again. But I’m just saying the next time you see this, you go, Okay, I know what this looks like. Right? And yeah, they’ll have a different attitude, a different approach. That’s right. You know, you hate that. You don’t want to second guess your life. But if you had a chance to go in the Wayback Machine, yeah. And say I would do this, this and this different. What would those things be around that business? And maybe your answer It was doomed. There was nothing I could do. But you know, I’m just wondering if you had any, it’s like, Man, I should have done this,

Jason Boyce 20:06

you know, if I, the one change that I would have made going all the way back to 2003 Was I would have picked a different category. It was a really different category I, you know, as you tend to do, you look back, especially going through that process and say, What would I have done differently? Yeah, yeah, we built a hell of a business and a hell of a brand. And, you know, we learned a ton, it was like an MBA program times 100. And so the learnings that we got, were incredible and incredibly valuable that you know, that now I’ve translated into the new business. But the one thing that I would have changed, and I say this all the time, if my brothers and I had started selling toothpaste, instead of basketball hoops, we’d be a billion dollar company. Real is it’s a repeat business model. We were selling basketball hoops and cables that no one needed to buy again, forever. Right? And, and, you know, there were plenty of accessories and stuff like that, that we were selling, but that that stuff became super low margin, and it was very seasonal, ya know, 40% of our business in November, December, you gotta be really good at buying inventory, or you’re tanked. You’re, you’re really in trouble. And we had a couple of years where we had some misses. And so, you know, we really got good at identifying best selling products, but I would have gone after a seat, I would have started a CPG I would have started a deodorant company, Jim. Yeah. You know, the products and everything. were fun, you know, foosball tables, air hockey, ping pong, you know, basketball, but at the end of the day, I would have picked a different product line that

Jim Schleckser 21:42

Harry’s razors or something like

Jason Boyce 21:44

that. Oh, what a great model. Yeah, exactly.

Jim Schleckser 21:47

I remember what was the original and Shave Club for Men? Was that the person that did it? I think so. Remember? Yeah, I did an interview with NPR. And we talked about recurring revenue business models. And I talked about that one, because it’s a great model. It’s yeah, description. And you know, broadly, when we deal with, you know, CEOs, this question of business model and recurring revenue. So if there’s one thing, yeah, and you’ve probably heard me say it. But one thing to get right in your business, it’s to get recurring revenue, the more recurring revenue model revenue you have in your business model, the easier you sleep at night, unless you have, the less while you sleep at night. And so you had a 0% recurring revenue model that was asset heavy on top of it, right. So with the changes you had to make, and some of those are like two strikes against you, because your revenue comes off a little bit, the asset just chews you up. And you are constantly in the I wrote an article recently about, if you’ve got low recurring revenue, you’ve got gigantic sales costs. If you’ve got high recurring revenue, you can have modest to low sales costs, because you don’t have to go find your entire revenue stack every single year. So and that’s what you’re faced with. So

Jason Boyce 22:57

yeah, 100%, and the seasonality of that business, yet additional complications. And those are niche categories. You know, the game table business is a niche category, it wasn’t a high growth category, like gaming is, for example, right? It was an old model. And so I just think, I love the products and I love the categories. I don’t love them as a business person. I would never probably start that category because skin.

Jim Schleckser 23:21

Interesting. Yeah. So let’s find something that everybody uses every day. And so Matt instead, right, exactly. Yeah. I had a friend, unfortunately, was a smoker. And he said, what’s the perfect business model? It costs a dime, the LSI. It costs a dime, it sells for $1. And it’s addictive, which is cigarettes, right? Yeah. That’s a perfect business model. Right.

Jason Boyce 23:41

Yeah. Yeah. You know, the killing thing aside, it’s a small problem. You know, you mentioned being able to sleep at night, but yeah, well, yeah.

Jim Schleckser 23:49

Let’s talk about Alright, so you came out of that you probably had sort of some emotional damage, you know, that you had to process as you went through that? How did you move into the business? You’re in now Avenue seven? And maybe let’s start, let’s start with the How’d you figure it out? And then tell us what the businesses too?

Jason Boyce 24:09

Sure, sure. Well, you know, I had a lot of experience driving direct to consumer ecommerce business. Yeah, literally. And I had a ton of experience having success on Amazon, who were top 200, Amazon seller, there’s 2 million Amazon sellers. So we knew the code, I knew that I knew the playbook on how to do that. And, you know, Amazon was on this tear of growth. And I started to get phone calls. And I’d help brands before with with issues because I had learned them the hard way and figured out a solution for it. And so it just sort of evolved naturally where I was helping people and they’re like, Hey, I know you’re done. You’re leaving Daddy, can you help me with this? And I became a consultant.

Jim Schleckser 24:47

Oh, interesting. So just got pulled into it by people knowing your expertise. Interesting.

Jason Boyce 24:52

Yeah. And and I was a terrible consultant Jim.

Jim Schleckser 24:59

Well, but it’s by the way, it’s another terrible business model. Let’s just start with that. But what why didn’t do terrible consultant?

Jason Boyce 25:05

Yeah, it was very hard because ought to have success on Amazon, you have to do 250 Things you need what’s hard for folks to understand. It’s not just another sales channel. It’s another business model. And you need as many people to manage, if not more, in Amazon business, just the Amazon channel, then you do to drive your own direct consumer and sometimes even run your entire business. And so I would say, hey, Clint, do bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah. And then I come back the next month, and they hadn’t even done one because they kind of had the 1000 yard stare. And they’re like, I don’t know where to start. There’s so much stuff I have to do. And so ultimately, I was like, look, look, I get it, you’re running a business. Let us be your fully outsourced Amazon department. Give it to me. You know, I hired a few of my old folks that had left in the Philippines. You know, I heard some really low cost labor who have really smart experienced Amazon operators. And with four of us, we started the fully managed Amazon service agency. So the agency is a little bit of a misnomer, because we literally are running their entire Amazon business, everything from branding, listing, SEO, helping them with inventory management, we don’t warehouse, but we help them with inventory management, we help them with driving traffic to those listings, both internally on Amazon and externally. Customer Service Review management, social media posts within the Amazon, it just everything there’s a list as long as your arm. Yeah, Jim, that we do. And that was just a better model for me. Because it was the way we were able to show the most growth for our clients.

Jim Schleckser 26:45

So two thoughts. One is, you should change the name from an agency, because what you are is a business process outsourcer that’s actually what you’re doing, you’re saying, here’s a whole process a whole bunch of things that have to happen. And we’re gonna take it over for you,

Jason Boyce 27:01

you know, down, Jim, thank you.

Jim Schleckser 27:05

And, but just when you’re thinking about selling, that, it’s got a huge level of trust. And so when you’re selling somebody to let you be their arm of their business, and be them, they got to have a really high level of trust. So just when you’re thinking about bringing on a client, it’s all about the trust, probably you know them or they know you by reputation. That’s what’s helping, as you get beyond the No, you trust you, you’re gonna have to do that some other way in your marketing efforts. So we’re thinking about but your business process outsourcer is what you are loving, and I’ll take over your Amazon process because you don’t know how to do it. And I’ll do it better and cheaper than you’ll ever do it. And there’s a famous line from Jack Welch. She goes, everybody’s back office is someone else’s front office. And you go look, Amazon, for you would be a back office, it’d be a thing you do. For me, it’s my business. And so I’m going to be better than you are always at this. And that’s why you want me to do it for you. Right. That’s the pitch. I think there’s something here that

Jason Boyce 28:02

we’ve been struggling with that because I hate the word agency, because it implies we’re a media buyer. Now we do that. But we do so much

Jim Schleckser 28:09

more now. Your Business Process outsourcer. That’s your BPO we’ll be sending you an

Jason Boyce 28:18

invoice will take care of that.

Jim Schleckser 28:21

I need a ping pong table. So you didn’t really sit down and go, let me come up with the perfect business model and this element. You just said you got pulled into it and said, Well, I guess I’ll do this, right.

Jason Boyce 28:33

Yeah. Yeah, like, gosh, I’m, I’m, I’m pretty good at this. I know a lot of stuff. Because for 17 years, I’ve built a top 200 Amazon Seller business. And it’s really hard to learn this stuff. If you don’t feel the pain and suffering when you make mistakes on that platform. I have something to offer. And it was incredibly meaningful to me as well, Jim, because I was seeing the face of these brands that we were helping fix problems for. And it felt good. Like, you know, so it was just a natural fit, we just slotted I slotted right into this business. Pam was right there with me from the start, and helped help develop a recurring revenue model business with with with skin in the game with these clients. And you know, we’ve had some amazing success stories mazing success stories. Let’s

Jim Schleckser 29:25

talk about the recurring I would say it’s super sticky. Yeah, and it’s repeat, but I’m not sure it’s or is it contractually obliged as well. So talk to me about the model a little bit.

Jason Boyce 29:37

Yeah, we do 12 month contracts and sometimes contractual. That’s good. Yeah, it’s contractual. We do a monthly management fee sort of retainer model that is a base. Yep. The greater of a base or percentage of revenue upside. And so if you come in, you’re already doing a million dollars on Amazon. We’ll we’ll baseline that anything we do above that million dollars, once we start, then we’ll take a percentage of that after it goes beyond that, that base. So we have to cover our costs, we come in at a base that’s reasonable, that covers our costs. But we also have tremendous upside and skin in the game. And we’re highly incentivized to grow our clients profitably.

Jim Schleckser 30:19

And you and you don’t have to normally when you do a gain share model like that you have to worry about the accounting of your partner. But since you’ve got visibility to all the Amazon revenue, you don’t need you know exactly what everybody knows the number it’s transparent, right? Yes,

Jason Boyce 30:33

it’s completely transparent for us access to the account. And we know so we, we trust our partners, and we we pick good partners? Well,

Jim Schleckser 30:41

yeah, but you know, there’s an old joke about accounting, right? You know, you trying to hire an accountant, you say, how do you hire an accountant, you go, Well, what’s one plus one? They say to? That’s not your person. They go, like, what would you like the number to be? That’s your person. Counting is just a little fungible about what’s attributed what’s not. So yes, we trust. But accounting is not as precise of science as everybody would like to imagine it is. So given all that, I mean, you’re and I know you’ve written a book about Amazon, you can see it’s behind you, as I do want to learn from me. But what, what’s next for Amazon? If we, if that’s a channel that we think about using or are using? Where’s this behemoth going next?

Jason Boyce 31:29

It’s a really good question. They’re having some growing pains. They’re still massive. Their growth numbers have slowed down. But if you if you look at that, since 2019, they’re still growing. They just had some hot problems, because when the brick and mortar stores closed, everyone came to Amazon in droves. The the political environment for Amazon has changed a lot. And, you know, I’ve had conversations with folks who are driving legislation often. A lot of a lot of conversations. And there’s legislation in both houses of Congress right now, looking to limit Amazon’s power. They are they’re not a monopoly gym. They’re actually four monopolies. Right? They’ve had a monopoly in books for quite some time now. They’re definitely a monopoly in online e commerce business. They have arguably a monopoly in AWS cloud computing. If AWS shut down tomorrow, our country would cease.

Jim Schleckser 32:29

Absolutely. My son, son works for them on the government side. So yes, told Yeah,

Jason Boyce 32:34

yeah. And then the fourth one, which is interesting, it’s not really a moneymaker for them, but they own the voice recognition software game now too. So they’re massive. They’re they’re a runaway train, the only thing that is going to slow down their growth, and slow down their power, I think at this point, is legislation. Now, does anything get done before the midterms? I don’t know. But I mean, it’s amazing. I went to the UPS store the other day. And I needed to get something notarized for our office in the Philippines. And while I’m sitting there waiting for this person to notarize, three or four documents, six different people came in while I was just standing there waiting for my notarized documents. And every one of them had an Amazon box that may be returning or shipping or delivering. And I was just like, Man, I had a moment GM where I was remembering 2003, when I said to the guy who picked up the phone and called me to sell hoops on Amazon, I’m like, You guys are selling basketball hoops. They sell everything. There are billions of products listed on that platform. They’re not going anywhere. The convenience is bar none. You can find anything you want to buy this at a car gasoline, you can have it delivered to your door next day anywhere. Yep. And and the consumers. I mean, I don’t know if our, our family could function with that. I got two young daughters. My wife works as many hours as I do. Without Amazon. I don’t know how we can function. So I think from the consumer perspective, it’s not going anywhere. If no legislation is done before the midterms that are coming up, there isn’t anything that’s going to stop it and I’m I’m actually I love Amazon. I hate them. I’m concerned about what that means for our country, and future innovation and competition, to be honest

Jim Schleckser 34:18

with you. Interesting. Yeah, it’s surprising, I thought you would have named a fifth which is logistics. Let’s talk they went they went to UPS and FedEx and said, Hey, we want to give you more volume. And they said no moss, you’re already too much of our volume. So they created their own logistics, infrastructure, planes, trucks, long haul everything, Amazon, so they also have a logistics, dominance that’s growing over time. And I think it’s only a matter of time before they let people get onto that platform. We see in a relatively legislation. I live outside of DC. We see the advertising, that they’re targeting the legislators about certain bills and so forth and don’t pass this and so yeah, it’s coming. I do think In this administration, and we’ll see what happens next. But there is a, an undercurrent of trust busting coming. And you might see them come after Amazon and say, Okay, we’re gonna break this up into those pieces you described. Yeah, AWS is a business. Yep. You know, ecosystems of business.

Jason Boyce 35:19

Right. Yeah. You know, it’s amazing. I saw my friends at truist sent over an analysis for me to review recently and they were talking about the logistics capabilities Amazon is adding it by with prime button to your own e commerce website. Wow. Choose did some analysis. They think that’s gonna be a $10 billion business to your point. Exactly. Jim, their logistics, their logistics is they’ve got more trucks, planes, boats, ocean containers than FedEx does by far and they’re not really slowing down. That logistics business is an absolute juggernaut. And I did a podcast recently on my podcast, day two podcast, where I talked to longtime industry veteran, former Amazon guy, James Thompson, we’re talking about Shopify, because Shopify is a platform. They’re really a credit card processor, but they’re also a SAS e commerce system. And they came out and they were so proud of themselves. They were like, we’re going to spend a billion dollars shop Shopify sellers to become a huge logistics juggernaut. First of all, you read a little deeper, that’s a billion dollars over two years. Well, Amazon spent $50 billion during COVID 55. Oh, to build out that logistics network. Yeah, there’s no one that has the intestinal fortitude or the capital to be able to match that. Jim, you’re, it’s it is a fifth, you’re right. I’m going to start adding them at the fifth. Write it down. Jim. That was one of something when we talk well, I just imagine the meeting and Amazon headquarters. Hey, do you hear Shopify is gonna spend a billion dollars in infrastructure? They go, that’s a solid week. Yeah, sure.

Unknown Speaker 37:00

All right. You have to make one comment. Um, because I love this notion of like, they’re gonna have to get busted up into multiple companies. I was at p&g when they made Procter and Gamble sell Clorox because they were too dominant. And laundry, frickin detergent. Yep. And so like, I laugh about the presence of Amazon in our lives, compared to tide plus Clorox. You know what I mean? Like, I think it’s just almost comical, what was going on in the late 80s and early 90s, in terms of trust busting, that doesn’t seem to be moving as quickly in in the E commerce space. So I thought I just thought it was a really interesting, exaggerated comparison. You know,

Jason Boyce 37:46

it’s a great point, Julie, look, the antitrust busters has been asleep at the wheel. I mean, it’s a joke to compare Clorox business to the size of Amazon and Google. It’s just incredible.

Jim Schleckser 37:59

It’s changing. I have a friend who works for justice. And he said it used to be for Hart, Scott Rodino, we would assume that the deal would go through unless there was a reason not to do it. He said, that’s flipped. It’s now it doesn’t go through, unless there’s a good reason to do it. And so you’ll see more activity on preventing these things. Jason, why don’t we Why don’t we end on just sort of your bio as a new entrepreneur that’s thinking about starting a business, what would be your two or three bullet point, advice pieces to young Jason or young Jim or young Debbie or whoever? Here’s the three things need to be thinking about?

Jason Boyce 38:37

Oh, that’s a good one. You know, I have to start with the yearbook. Jim, the great CEOs are lazy. When I read your book, when we first met those many years ago, seven years ago, eight years ago, the line in your book that really stuck with me immediately as an entrepreneur that was scaling fast. You know, I think we’re right at the beginning of that tripling of the size of the business was if you can delegate something to someone to do 70% As good as you can do it, I was totally hung up on this idea at that time, that no one can do this job, or these 15 jobs that I was doing better than I could, right. And, you know, the the flip side of that is what’s the highest and best use of your time as an entrepreneur. And so the two of those together, Jim, have been incredibly valuable for me is I built now my second business or we’re in a again, and we’ve forex and a year, an accelerated growth business again. And that is don’t be afraid to delegate don’t have an unrealistic expectation that whoever you hire is going to be able to do it like you do. You have a very different incentive and it’s okay to make sure they do their job, but they’re not going to be you and that’s okay. And then focus, focus focus on what the highest and best use of your time is. And when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re building capabilities and growth. You need to find To find your ability to be addicted to growth, but don’t grow too fast, you got to grow just the right amount. The final piece, I don’t know if this is four or five, I think I blew up your three but the fourth, the next one, and again, Jim, you and Pam taught me this. Find a really good partner who is not necessarily a partner or an employee who can understand and help you be financially disciplined. Now, you may think that being addicted to growth and financial discipline are you know, are mutually exclusive, but they’re not. To be able to grow a high growth business, you have to be able to have both. And if you don’t like getting into the weeds in details, and looking at the commas and the periods in the accounting, hire someone who lives and breathes that shit, and let them be your financial discipline czar in your business to help rein you in as you want to grow beyond your capabilities. I’d leave it at that and I gotta give you credit where credit is due, no, SEO project, you know, two or three of those things wouldn’t be in my mix. I you know, probably business.

Jim Schleckser 41:05

Thank you. I appreciate that. I was not fishing for compliments, but that’s okay. Again, heartfelt. Well, Jason, this was great entertaining and fun and educational. And as usual, super engaging. I really appreciate your time and your effort on this and wish you good luck. And I’m glad we’re on the journey with you.

Jason Boyce 41:23

Yeah, me too. Jim. I couldn’t have done it without you and Pam and and Dale dabbs. Our president at Avenue7Media thanks so much for having me. Always a pleasure. I always learn something. I got three things I wrote down on my notepad here for me, Jim, thanks and keep up the great work over there. Alright, Jason, thank

Jim Schleckser 41:38

you so much. Thank you, everybody. We’ll see you next time on Great CEO Podcast.

Outro 41:47

Thanks for listening to The Lazy CEO Podcast. We’ll see you next time. And be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes and check out our website www.theCEOproject.com

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