Episode Summary

In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Kevin Sanderson shares his journey from Selling on Amazon to helping Amazon sellers. Kevin is the Founder & CEO of Maximizing Ecommerce – A Leading Educational network for Amazon Sellers, talks about the trails that led him into eCommerce. 


Kevin was born and raised in Dallas Texas. He got an early internship offer at Disney which eventually turned into a full-time job. He worked at Disney resorts in Florida for 8 years and transferred to working for the legendary Gaylord hotel nearby. In 2015 he began selling his own brand on Amazon. 


His Amazon business steadily grew over the years until Kevin was able to leave his day job and gain financial freedom in 2018. Today he continues to focus on selling online and assisting other entrepreneurs to expand their eCommerce businesses. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, and start in e-commerce, this episode is for you!


Find out more about Kevin Sanderson & Maximizing Ecommerce:


Find out more about GETIDA Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.


Find the Full Transcript Below

Yoni Mazor  0:06  

Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of prime talk today. I’m really excited to have a special guest. I’m having Kevin Sanderson. Kevin is the founder and CEO of maximizing e-commerce, which is a leading educational network for Amazon sellers. So Kevin, welcome to the show.


Kevin Sanderson  0:22  

Yoni. It’s a pleasure. Thanks for having me. Glad to be on Prime Talk.


Yoni Mazor  0:26  

Oh, pleasure. Really? Where are we finding you? Where are you based out right now?


Kevin Sanderson  0:30  

So I am in Florida, palm city. So I was raised in Dallas, Texas, did two internships when I was at Tech at Walt Disney World and decided I want to work at a magical place. My dad backtracking a second, he had spent his whole college career worrying about the Vietnam War. So he basically got to not get drafted because he was in college. But then when he got out of college, then he got drafted. So he coached me my whole life that because you know, in the 90s, when I was going into college, that the world seemed pretty peaceful. 


Yoni Mazor  1:11  

Subscription, no conscription, no mandatory service, right?


Kevin Sanderson  1:13  

There’s no mandatory service. There’s no, you know, if you don’t go to college, you’re going to go into the Army or whatever the case is. I was like, why don’t I try this, you know, give Disney a shot for a season and so I liked it. I went back and then after I graduated, I end up working there for eight years as a manager. My last job working physically…


Yoni Mazor  1:31  

Where was the actual job located? You’re in Texas all the time for Disney working?


Kevin Sanderson  1:36  

No, no, actually, like they put you up in an apartment complex, just right outside Disney. I worked the first time…


Yoni Mazor  1:44  

Disney California Disney. Oh, sorry, Walt.


Kevin Sanderson  1:46  

Disney World in Florida. So I worked at a resort called the Caribbean beach. At the time. It was like one of the biggest hotels in the country. I worked in the food court there. And then when I went back, I worked. They called it an advanced internship. I guess they wanted to make it sound sexier. Basically, I was working at what they call a casting because everyone is a cast member. So it’s basically like the human resources for hiring. Because Disney, the interesting thing is actually the largest single-site employer in the world. I don’t know how we got so much into Disney here. But I guess I opened the door. 


Yoni Mazor  2:19  

I can’t get it wrong. Is a Titan of industry. So any insights we can get with that will be Oh, yeah, definitely. Pretty cool. Definitely. So did you end up? You know, you graduated college and moved to Orlando, Florida, essentially?


Kevin Sanderson  2:32  

Yeah. moved to Florida. And I enjoyed working at Disney.


Yoni Mazor  2:39  

But you mentioned eight years if I’m correct. 


Kevin Sanderson  2:42  

I was there eight years after college.


Yoni Mazor  2:44  

Let’s tell you know, to just have a little bit of body about Disney. So you started in Disney as something? What was that position? And where did you finish? What position? Did you finish? 


Kevin Sanderson  2:55  

Yeah, so they moved me around as a restaurant manager. After college. I started out basically if you can imagine there are all these little food carts selling you know, things like popcorn and ice cream and soda and stuff like that. So managing that. And believe it or not, that was an eight-figure business for the company. Just in the one theme park. I believe you. Yeah, it’s uh, there was a lot of money changing hands. And I’m sure it’s probably even a lot more. Well, it had been, you know, when there before COVID. But basically, I went to a couple of other different restaurants. One was themes like you were in your mom’s kitchen in the 50s. And if you put your elbows on the table, the servers were supposed to yell at you for it. And oddly enough, that was one of the things that as a manager, like I would get called up to the front because not because like the food was cold, or you know, they waited too long for a table like most restaurant managers deal with the primary complaint would be something like my daughter put her elbows on the table, and the server said nothing. You ruined her birthday. And it was crazy. 


Yoni Mazor  3:51  

Because if you really are right if you Oh, yeah.


Kevin Sanderson  3:54  

Yeah, we really set the expectation.


Yoni Mazor  3:57  

That’s wild.


Kevin Sanderson  3:58  

Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And then ended up going to basically this outdoor food court, I should say, selling all kinds of different things. And then from there, I went into banquets. That’s how I kind of got into the event world. And we did everything from events from three people to you know, 20,000.


Yoni Mazor  4:17  

Wow. So okay, so eight years. Which year? Did you finish that eighth year with Disney?


Kevin Sanderson  4:22  

Started there? 99. And then 2007. So people probably do the math to figure out how old I am.


Yoni Mazor  4:28  

Yeah, besides the point. Yeah, we’re all a while young in spirit. Okay, so 2007. What was your next station after Disney?


Kevin Sanderson  4:38  

I worked at a hotel down the street from Disney. I wanted to get more into the planning side of things. So when I was at Disney, I was more on the execution of the events that were coming in. But there was just something I wanted to be a little bit more kind of up the hill so to speak because the information if you kind of think of it, it kind of flows downhill. You know, sales, sells the dream, and then there’s a service team that handles it. And then there’s an operational team, which is what I was basically on that handles the actual day-to-day running of events. And I was like, I want to do more and kind of like figuring out things ahead of time. So I left the mouse to go to a hotel down the street.


Yoni Mazor  5:19  

What was the name of the hotel?


Kevin Sanderson  5:21  

It was called the Gaylord palms still around. It’s a at the time it was the largest Convention Center in the Orlando area, a pretty big hotel. Gaylord is known for these massive large glass dome atrium hotels, so like there was I want to say something like four and a half acres of atrium space underneath. The glass dome, like their biggest hotel, is called the Gaylord Opryland, which some people may have heard of it used to be called the Opryland hotel.


Yoni Mazor  5:55  

Also, it’s all in Florida. So this is worldwide.


Kevin Sanderson  5:58  

So right now, I think they have they’ve only opened one new hotel since I left. But at the time, when I worked there, there was the one in the Gaylord Opryland, which is Nashville, there are the Gaylord palms, which was in Orlando. And then there’s also the Gaylord Texan, which is in grapevine Texas, kind of in-between Dallas and Fort Worth.


Yoni Mazor  6:17  

So you’re in Florida Are you shifted from all around?


Kevin Sanderson  6:23  

I was just in Florida. So you would think people would move around, there were people like within the company that moves around, but there wasn’t really that much of a culture of moving around within the company. It was almost like at the time. It was like kind of like this like they ended up as they’re opening a fourth hotel. And since then they’ve opened it a fifth. But it was almost like each of the hotels was almost kind of like its own structure. And it’s own, as a separate unit. Yeah, completely separate unit loosely under the umbrella of another company.


Yoni Mazor  6:57  

Yeah, what was your main function over there at the hotel?


Kevin Sanderson  6:59  

So I started out there basically working with, you know, mostly Association groups that people have probably never heard of dealing with some large corporate groups, basically, that would have events, and I would handle like working with them on their food and beverage. And so UAW…


Yoni Mazor  7:17  



Kevin Sanderson  7:18  

Auto Workers, I’m forced to deal with unions, it was more like, the associations that we would deal with would be more like, teachers.


Kevin Sanderson  7:29  

No, no,


Kevin Sanderson  7:30  

I came to learn, there’s literally an association for everything, like, I got a contract for a group that I was gonna be working with. And it was like the coil winding Association. So like, if you can imagine there’s like, these large spools of wire that are used for, you know, telecommunications, or whatever. And there’s literally an association for the manufacturers of like, those type of


Yoni Mazor  7:56  

So essentially, as every industry has, it’s like Association slash Guild, right? Like the guilds.


Kevin Sanderson  8:01  

Yeah, pretty much. And then, you know, there’ll be trade shows, and, you know, the, you know, General Sessions and all these, you know, meetings and whatnot. So, I did that. And then I got promoted to a job managing a team of people, which were basically like, we had these, we call them conference coordinators that they went around, and they checked on stuff. So like, their job was to make sure that like, you know, doors opened on time, the rooms were set properly. So it was really, it was a cool program, they had to make sure that just everything was taken care of, and some other hotel companies started kind of copying it. But that was fun. And then I ended up going into, basically, from there managing a team of people. So I, when I was first started, the company, I was handling the larger groups, handling food and beverage, but then they had a team of people to handle the smaller groups, which in their structure, because it was a pretty big hotel, with something like 300 rooms. So, you know, there might be a group of like, you know, three to 600 people. And it’s still handled by the small team. So what was interesting there is I got the chance to learn a lot about all that could possibly go wrong with events because what ended up happening was, you know, we would have people who, you know, very well-intentioned salespeople very well-intentioned, you know, people that were, you know, operating, and everyone is doing their best, but, you know, sometimes it comes to experience and also, they’re bringing on all these groups and sometimes don’t certain groups don’t play well with another one is trying to like do testing for like, you know, Medical Association and other ones, maybe a sales group. And they’re like splitting a ballroom in half. And so the sales group is probably super loud, lots of loud music, and the other one really wants things quiet. And so dealing with those potential issues and identifying organizational elections ahead of time.


Yoni Mazor  9:53  

Yeah, exactly. Right. 


Kevin Sanderson  9:57  

And you know, they’re both paying customers. So it’s like They both, maybe some of them are wrong.


Yoni Mazor  10:03  

They’re always right. Right?


Kevin Sanderson  10:05  

Exactly. So I get that one was kind of fun because I get to learn a lot about kind of what could go wrong and identifying issues ahead of time and creating processes for…


Yoni Mazor  10:16  

So, your sense as Ron says is to kind of as soon as possible to realize what kind of dynamics are happening during the events. So, you can I guess, cannot control the ambiance and the atmosphere. So, as far as I can tell, you know, for you know, between Disney and Gaylord, you have totally your experiences heavily invested in the experience, you know, experiences and ambiance and feel and mood. And how many years did you do?


Kevin Sanderson  10:43  

Gaylord, about six years, so


Yoni Mazor  10:46  

So we’re jumping into 2013.


Kevin Sanderson  10:49  

So 2012, they got bought out by Mary. Mary I think really wanted to do a good job of buying this brand, because basically, the way it was was Gaylord owned and operated their hotels. And so what ended up happening was, and I think this is all public knowledge. So I don’t think I’m saying anything that’s earth-shattering here.


Yoni Mazor  11:09  

And there it is a company.


Kevin Sanderson  11:11  

Right, exactly. So basically, and this actually should be in Gaylord’s, you know, annual reports and everything explaining what I’m about to say. So basically, what happened was, let’s say they had 10,000 employees. And you know, they owned and operated their hotels, which most people might not realize this if you go to a hotel, and it says Marriott, Marriott, not actually, the owner of that building, Marriott is managing it for an owner. And so there’s some sort of real estate company that owns that building. And then Marriott basically says, We will staff it, will operate it, it’s almost like in reverse with it. Let me help you out.


Yoni Mazor  11:47  

It’s almost like a reverse. Like with McDonald’s. It’s like the reverse of McDonald’s. McDonald’s says you are the operator and you just get the name here with hotels, you know, you’re the owner of the asset, but the hotel, the name operates the actual, you know, actual business. 


Kevin Sanderson  12:03  

You know, I never thought of it that way. But that’s an excellent way to look at it. So you’re basically getting the name and the expertise to run your building for you. And that’s very common in the hotel world. Oh, yeah.


Yoni Mazor  12:13  

So what? Bill Gates owns four seasons, that’s a big luxury brand, right for hotels, I think the Four Seasons, right?


Kevin Sanderson  12:19  

Or does he own that?


Yoni Mazor  12:20  

Yeah, he has a big…No, he doesn’t own it. But he owns hotels that are four seasons, they’re operating in his portfolio, so very wealthy people, individuals, organizations, where they want to invest into the hotel industry like you mentioned that when they have the opportunity to do it with these big brands because not only you get the name of the brand and the whole marketing aura, they actually operate it for you with their you know, their quality establishes very kind of different than, you know, the franchises that we kind of think about when it comes to food and operations of food like a subway, or McDonald’s or stuff like that.


Kevin Sanderson  12:51  

Yeah. So what ended up happening was, all of us who were employees of Gaylord one day became plays of Marriott because Gaylord went from a company with 10,000 employees to becoming a real estate investment trust with like, 40 employees, my department, basically, the convention center wasn’t touched. But what ended up happening was, there was a lot of pressure to cut costs and things of that nature. So to you know, not get too in the weeds on the story. But basically, my level in the organization pretty much got eliminated. So myself and someone else who was kind of like, let’s say, mid-level in the convention center structure, basically, you know, we had the opportunity to go look for other jobs. I mean, they did it very well. I mean, I, I have a lot of respect, actually, for the people that made the decision. It was a tough decision. There are no hard feelings on my end. And in fact, it was actually a kind of felt like a weight was lifted, when the when they told me so basically, what happened was, my boss taps me on the shoulder and she says, Hey, can you join me for a meeting in the conference room with her boss? I thought nothing of it. Because we were having meetings about meetings all the time in the corporate world. And we open the doors, and it’s her boss, as well as across the table was the head of human resources. And she was never in meetings. 


Yoni Mazor  14:10  

Like that’s about the red light.


Kevin Sanderson  14:12  

Yeah, so they kind of both tilted their head. And I could tell they wanted to do the right thing for me. And I think if I had pursued jobs in the company, they would have probably helped me out finding something. But I decided I wanted to try something different because I left Disney because I wanted to do something more on the planning side, but I had that entrepreneurial itch where I wanted to do something closer to like making decisions and growth and you know, really seeing something kind of..


Yoni Mazor  14:43  

Yeah, bug, I call it the entrepreneur bug was itching. Yeah.


Kevin Sanderson  14:47  

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So basically, the short of it was I had a friend of mine who had been talking about how the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare was about to start out so We signed it into law in 2010. But it wasn’t until like 2013, that you could actually start it was really being implemented.


Yoni Mazor  15:06  

The marketplace was pretty much a launching itself. Yeah, exactly.


Kevin Sanderson  15:10  

And so what happened was, pretty much everyone in the insurance business thought it was gonna be the end of health insurance, nobody’s gonna buy health insurance plans. And I remember, a buddy of mine, you know, all of a sudden, he was running an agency and his friend, his childhood friend, like, was basically the son of the owner. And they came to this like, aha moment, like, wait, we’re, we sell health insurance, and the government will help people buy health insurance. So why don’t we help people with this? And so came to realize the insurance companies were going to pay the same commission pretty much regardless of whether the customers paying all the, the premiums were the coverage government’s paying most or all of it. And so, because to the insurance company, it was they were getting the same amount of money either way. So they wanted to bring people on board. And so basically, they said, we’re gonna figure this out. And so they ended up doing really well at it. And it was one of those things that, you know, they ended up buying out the company from the, from the dad, basically, and they became the owners, and then they really took it off after that, too. I mean, they, they’re probably one of like, the most, you know, take off things I think I’ve pretty much ever seen, it wasn’t like, overnight, but it was like, you know, if I compare, like, you know, 2013 to, you know, things that they were telling me in 2019, I’m like, Oh my gosh, that means, they really had taken off. And it was a lot of good strategic moves they made along the way, people they hired, you know, getting ahead of trends of kind of what was happening. 


Yoni Mazor  16:52  

And so you know, so what was your involvement? What was your involvement there? So you’re you partner with them, and you started to work there?


Kevin Sanderson  16:57  

What was the Yeah, so basically, you know, I kind of had the, let’s call it project management, and people management experience, and they kind of needed that. So, I came in there, I started focusing on really training and recruiting health insurance agents. And so it’s the ACA, the Affordable Care Act is very confusing. And there are so many things in it. But really, if you’re selling it, there’s probably you know, it’s the 8020, there are the certain things you focus on, that, if you just ask a few certain questions along the way, you’re probably going to quickly realize, okay, there’s X amount that pertains to the people that really we’re serving. And so if we can identify who those people are, quickly, we don’t have to worry about all the other events because it’s kind of like this.


Yoni Mazor  17:49  

Where’s the heart? Where’s the heart? Where’s the money? Where’s that money? You know, what’s the product? I guess, that cater the broadest? I guess section of the, of the potential clients and you know, focus hard on it and create, you know, growth. 


Kevin Sanderson  18:04  

Yeah, exactly. And so I got the chance to really learn about you know, training and recruiting, and really trying to make something that’s complicated, simple. And, you know, actionable to


Yoni Mazor  18:17  

You know, I call it, I guess my partner, Max, the CEO of GETIDA he calls it you gotta kiss it down. You gotta keep it simple, simple kiss cut. Exactly, KISS. Alright, so that’s basically trans, his whole team to make it a kiss situation for anybody listening. So you take a whole, you know, Swiss cheese, I guess, type of offer proposition which involves healthcare, you know, dumb it down, make it a turnkey decision and do it a lot and scale that up.


Kevin Sanderson  18:47  

Making sure you know, people are doing things the right way, and that they’re heavily regulated. Heavily regulatory, it’s it’s really, at the end of the day insurance is affiliate marketing, but you just have to have a government license for it, really. So it’s just making sure everyone’s doing the right thing, not just you know, for the compliance of the government regulations, but also to you want to make sure people are doing the right thing. At least I was my philosophy of, let’s make sure you know, not everyone’s going to be the right customer. Don’t try to force everyone in it. But if we can identify who the right people are very quickly the value prop. 


Yoni Mazor  19:20  

Yeah, the sooner Yeah, you see what the what’s the glove that matches them? You make it fit and later on? Okay, so 2013, until which year did you stand this position? Basically,


Kevin Sanderson  19:29  

I left that company, late 2018. And it was just one of the things about midway, started getting the feeling like I’m you hear this thought. And I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, because I have nothing but respect for the people I work for. But basically, it was I was watching it in real-time. I’m working hard for someone else’s dreams. And we hear that sometimes as an entrepreneurial meme, so to speak. But I was living it and so I was watching it and I was doing well with it. job. And so I don’t have complaints.


Yoni Mazor  20:02  

What you saying the growth that you did almost five years there, right, and the growth that you witnessed in that phenomenal success. And I guess the material compensation that affected everybody around including yourself, but he saw there’s a difference or distance between your position as a new employee, then I guess the owners or the leaders of the organization, which were probably in or their earnings was, you know, probably even more dramatic or substantial. Oh, he said, you know, maybe it’s a time or an opportunity for me to create my own organization and touch those levels. Was that kind of the evolution there?


Kevin Sanderson  20:32  

Pretty much. You’re very astute, I give you credit for that. So thank you. Yeah, so it was pretty much it’s a good place, and you know, they’re doing well. And you can tell when you’re friends with people, like, you know, the difference in the house, the difference in the cars, the difference in, you know, sort of things.


Yoni Mazor  20:51  

Quality of life is beyond the material, maybe also the sense of accomplishment, you can reward yourself material, but internally, you feel more accomplished, you definitely felt accomplished, from your perspective of being a part of the organization. But if you were to create that organization, or literally lead it from the top higher levels, you’ll probably feel even more accomplished and feel even more a word beyond the material, probably internally,

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