In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Nachman Lieser, the founder, and CEO of ConnectBooks, a leading eCommerce and Amazon accounting software, shares his life’s journey into eCommerce.
Understanding the back end of your e-commerce business can seem daunting and intimidating at times. But if you want to grow in a healthy way, it is something essential that you need to know. Yoni Mazor from PrimeTalk discusses the intricacies of accounting for Amazon sellers and for other e-commerce entrepreneurs.
In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Nachman Lieser, the founder, and CEO of ConnectBooks, an e-commerce accounting software with the simple goal of organizing your business data in such a way that you can make the best decisions for your company. ConnectBooks has created a niche market for themselves by focusing exclusively on third-party sellers. Built by accountants, you can be sure that this plug-in software will work for you in the most effective way possible.
Nachman Lieser talks about his humble start to how he created his accounting company, all before his 30th birthday. So if you’re a third-party seller, or a budding entrepreneur, or even someone with an interest in the back end of the business, then this episode is for you!
Click the link to learn more about ConnectBooks.
Click the link to learn more about GETIDA Amazon reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below:
Yoni Mazor 0:05
Hi everybody. Welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today I have a special guest. I’m having Nachman Lieser. Nachman is the founder and CEO of ConnectBooks, which is a leading e-commerce accounting software. Nachman, welcome to the show.
Nachman Lieser 0:21
Hi Yoni, thanks for having me on the show.
Yoni Mazor 0:23
Our pleasure. So today’s episode is going to be all about you. All about the Nachman Lieser story. So you’re gonna share with us who are you, where are you from, where were you born, where’d you grow up, how’d you enter the professional world. So I guess without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Nachman Lieser 0:40
Amazing. All right, so my name is Nachman Lieser and I’ll start off a little bit with my background. I grew up in Brooklyn, attended orthodox schools throughout my, right, elementary and then we go high school. After that, you know, got married and, you know, as in the orthodox community we got married young, I started to work very early on in my career.
Yoni Mazor 1:08
So well how old were you when you got married for example?
Nachman Lieser 1:12
I was 20.
Yoni Mazor 1:13
Very good. And you said Brooklyn, which part of Brooklyn?
Nachman Lieser 1:18
Yoni Mazor 1:19
Borough Park. Very good alright so you were already 20 years old, you grew up in Borough Park, you got married and where’d you start working?
Nachman Lieser 1:27
So what happened was…I was…I was learning at that time, you know, studying rabbinical college and stuff like that after my marriage usually, that’s the custom in our tradition that we were like, for I say like a year or two after you get married, so it’s like a half year after I got married and I was still learning and at some point you know financial difficulties got very hard and my spouse was not able to continue working so I had to start looking for a job immediately.
Yoni Mazor 1:57
Hold on, so the first years of your marriage you were mainly focused on studying to become a rabbi and rabbinical college?
Nachman Lieser 2:03
Yeah, it’s not studying to become a rabbi. I think it’s just plain studying and it’s just you know it’s basically like staying in school to a certain extent, but after you get married like another year or two it’s just custom. that the way you’re, you know, especially get married so young you’re setting up your life for the future and in the orthodox tradition it’s, you know, like if you’re setting up your future it’s better to stay in school like for another year, you know, and you know, it’s not like the school I mean they’re very easy-going it’s different, but you know just at least your head is focused on your studies and stuff like that for the first year or two of marriage when you’re laying the grounds.
Yoni Mazor 2:41
Yeah share with us, with the audience, like, you know, especially the audience that’s not really too diverse in the Jewish world, right in the Jewish orthodox world, so in the studies what do you study? what kind of topics you guys cover or what’s the mindset at least?
Nachman Lieser 2:56
Everyone is different, you know what I’m saying? there are these big communities in Lakewood, these communities in Brooklyn, depends on the type of, you know, there’s a lot of different sex, sects in the orthodox community, so depends on what type, you know, liquid they focus more on one on different topics you know in other places they focus more you know we focus a lot more on the Talmud or words, whether it’s studying the actually the Jewish law, you know getting all the laws and interpreting it and getting in very detail and stuff like that.
Yoni Mazor 3:28
And what was your major so to speak what was your main focus?
Nachman Lieser 3:32
As I said before, we didn’t have any…my major, was more like in the Talmud, but it’s wasn’t you know, there are two parts. there are some people that go in and get married you know they get married and they like can stay 10 years. I actually have a friend who got married the same time as me and he just actually spoke to me I spoke to him last week and he’s like oh I’m starting to work now, I mean you know he was able to pull it off 10 years. something that I wasn’t able to do but some people go into master and you know they attend to come out something else most of us know like we just go a lot for like just a year or two just you know as I said it’s very different when you’re all day in work, and your head is focused let’s say or you’re a politician or you’re a journalist or you’re busy doing accounting, when you come home at the end of the day and you want to like you know just relax and you want to have a little conversation, a little cup of tea, where is your mind going to drift first? is your mind going to drift into politics? is your mind going to drift into the stock market? Is your mind gonna drift in business? Is your mind gonna drift on vacation? Or your mind is gonna just maybe about a little bit about the Talmud or about you know tradition and
Yoni Mazor 4:39
Let’s talk for a second, to just expand a little bit on the horizons of the audience. So, correct me if I’m wrong, so the Talmud is essentially the commentary right? The job of the, you know, the rabbi’s, Jewish rabbis about oral Torah right? The Torah is like the script that we got from Moses right? And that was in writing. But there’s also the Oral Torah, which was passed from one generation to another orally, verbally until it was finally written down. And then the Talmud came in as a major, major project of commentary on it. So we can really understand the nuance of, you know, the faith, the traditions, the laws, the rules. And it’s very, very rich, very diverse, and very challenging because there’s a lot of conflicts inside. Really, the art of the conflict is really laid out in the Talmud, where you have opinions, ideas, and how do you settle them? How do you convince one side, convince the other side with their, I guess, philosophy or take on it, or commentary on it, and sometimes they agree that somebody wants a conflict that sometimes they just agree to disagree, and there’s no resolution? So it’s the fact that once you dive into that world, that becomes a very fascinating project that you see how, you know, the Jewish traditional mind works, in terms of challenging each other disagreeing or agreeing, or, you know, agree to disagree. So this is you saying, once you go back from a hard day at work, your mind is not necessarily in sports, politics, stock market, it’s more about, you know, my, my faith, my traditions, and, you know, my history, my, the connection that we have to the past, that’s what you want to have more in your mind, then. Then other things, was that kind of the mindset that?
Nachman Lieser 6:17
Yeah it really, it depends really, where your head is all day. And you know, if your head is all day in tradition, and you know, studying all those other stuff, you know, you’re a different person, that different kind of person, you’re not going to be this wild animal down the street, because you’re, you’re indoors, you’re studying, you’re thinking of being a human. It was just interesting, as you were like describing more about the Talmud, just one very interesting quote of the Talmud, which in today’s days is, you know, it’s a little different. But they said when they used to argue a lot back and forth, and these are great sages, and they would argue bitterly, and you know, try to prove each other right or wrong, back and forth all day. But when you came into this, to the synagogue and the place where they were studying, you would think that they’re better enemies, because of the way they were fighting with each other, but when they left, they were very, they were good friends. And there was never such a thing in when they were agreeing or disagreeing. That was a personal matter or something that they were insulting somebody. It was they agreed, they disagreed, but it was all about the lows all about the Bible all about the Talmud, and once they were out. They were friends, you know, there’s no, there are no issues.
Yoni Mazor 7:26
Brothers, yeah, they’re brothers, where they unite their understanding that this is all done for, for a higher purpose. And this is on an intellectual level, it’s nothing personal, it’s intellectual. You know, very much like two lawyers, you have two lawyers in a court arguing for their clients, usually, for the lawyer’s end, they don’t take it personally, they might get very heated on one another, you know because they’re trying to basically win the case.
Nachman Lieser 7:47
And it’s hard to see, it’s hard to see. If you have a case like a serial killer, and you have like two top lawyers fighting with each other, that they should go out for coffee 10 minutes later, after the court case. To be honest, I don’t know if I will, if I would, you know, I have to have a high profile lawyer, I don’t know if I’ll be happy to be talking to the other lawyer.
Yoni Mazor 8:07
Well, I’ll tell you this much. My father is a lawyer. And I know that sometimes, you know, he’s assigned to a case, and then he has to argue it. And then a very good friend of his, a lawyer from school, even the school days is on the other side. So they do the best for their clients. And they bitterly, you know, fight over the case. And then once it’s done, there’s still friendliness. So friends is not an intellectual professional level. You know, sometimes it’s not the case, sometimes you have a totally different lawyer you never heard of, and then you really don’t like their style. And then you might have a personal feeling about it. But any case, just to borrow a little bit from the world of, you know, lawyers, sometimes you have those elements wherein court, when it’s the case being debated one way or another can be that doesn’t have to be a murder case, can be also financial case of, you know, I want to get $10 million from the insurance and you’re suing for 100 million dollars, and you’re fighting over a certain amount of money, but you’re doing it passionately on a professional level. Once the argument is done, and they go out and have some coffee together. It’s all good. It’s all in good faith. So just to borrow a little bit from there, like you’re saying, it’s never a personal thing. It’s more on the intellectual level once they get out of the synagogue, all right. The (Hebrew word) they call it, they’re good to go just as a brother, as united as one, especially with the faith. So this is kind of the world you surround yourself, you know, growing up and also especially after you got married to make sure you have that, continue to continue that mindset. And that was important to you. And I guess also for your family and your wife as well because obviously, she supported it. So this is kind of the backstory of how you entered the world as an adult to take us to the next station. You did two years of that and well what happened next?
Nachman Lieser 9:36
So it wasn’t 2 years. That was on the plan for two years, but like six months after I got married, as I started bearing certain financial difficulties because I, you know, we got we get paid for learning at some points, you know, we get something but it’s very little, and then my wife was unable to continue working to unforeseen circumstances.
Yoni Mazor 9:57
Oh, so she was working? When you got married?
Nachman Lieser 9:58
She was working, yeah, she was working.
Yoni Mazor 10:03
And you’re paying for this college or the rabbinical college was actually
Nachman Lieser 10:06
Yeah yeah but they pay nothing. They pay like maybe four or 500 a month. it’s nothing but it’s…when you get married and you know you’re living in a one-bedroom apartment and you don’t have any expenses, you know, it makes it easier. So I was, I started, I had to start looking for work from one day to the next, and I saw I just couldn’t make it and it’s not like I was prepping for anything. it’s not like I had six months to prep, two weeks to prep. I started to scout out and started to look for a job. so I’ve put up my resume and I can say I probably sent that out to over 100, definitely emailed that over 100 places, went to a lot of places, and didn’t even get any interviews to be honest.
Yoni Mazor 10:48
And what year was this when you launched out the resumes, you were basically in the street looking for a job…what year was that?
Nachman Lieser 10:55
Correct just when i was 20. So I got married right when I turned 20, and I was like 20 and a half like at that point.
Yoni Mazor 11:02
Yeah, but which year? Like 2000 and? 2011. You for the first time I guess for yourself you were, you know, shipping out your resumes, trying to score a job.
Nachman Lieser 11:15
Yeah and now I live in a suburb area, Muncie, New York, which is like 30 miles north of the city. Today it’s a very built-up place, it has changed a lot in the last four or five years especially with a good economy and also the city has been booming as well a lot of people are moving out of the city because prices are going crazy high in houses and stuff like that. So today the suburb is completely different, I would say it’s almost like a city where we live today, but when I got married here, you know it was nine and a half years ago, it was like half a desert. I don’t know. Past 8 o’clock there are no stores open, you know, there were very few businesses here, they weren’t that many businesses, the economy wasn’t booming, we only three years after 2008. It was a slow economy, everything was slow. so it was really hard at that point to go out and make a living. Would it have been the same if you know somebody like gets married you know starts to look today for a job its way easier? I mean, first of all, there are way more, many businesses…
Yoni Mazor 12:20
today in Muncie, where you live, Muncie is like 30 minutes north of Manhattan you know it’s they call it upstate a little bit you know it’s really also the border with the state of New Jersey today is much easier because the city is more robust more, you know, larger population more businesses that are there.
Nachman Lieser 12:40
I mean, right, I’m saying there is COVID going around and there are those industries that were hardly affected by COVID and you know people still claiming unemployment but I’m saying pre-COVID yeah? Pre-COVID was no big deal to get a job. Even now with certain industries you know, certain industries are back to normal e-commerce is back to normal you know there’s a lot of retail you know some can somewhat get around that the restaurants were actually hit hard. But I’m saying put COVID aside, you know, today it’s, in terms of getting a job, today it’s definitely easier than it was, you know, in the past.
Yoni Mazor 13:14
Take us back nine years ago, you were filing your resume, and what happened?
Nachman Lieser 13:17
So nothing. I wasn’t really getting too many job offers. Went to this, I call, I reached out a few places you know try to get somewhere and first of all, they weren’t that many jobs, you know, like when I want to the listing in the local papers to look like for a job, there weren’t that many, like wasn’t like today, it’s like maybe five-six pages, like full of small ads. Then was maybe one or two pages.
Yoni Mazor 13:40
And what were you looking for? What did you feel you can do or?
Nachman Lieser 13:43
At that point, nothing, anything, and everything was what I was… I just needed to cover.I had like two weeks left to the first and you know I needed to pay rent.
Yoni Mazor 13:51
Wow. Okay, so what happened?
Nachman Lieser 13:54
So what happened was I had a friend who had a…he had a taxi company and he was kind of more like a taxi that we service in the community here and he kept on making me crazy and told me listen you know come drive me and I’m like no I’m not doing this and he’s like just come. And then it came to a point where like I was, I had to make a decision you know? Either I’m going to miss the rent payment or I’m just gonna you know get into this taxi car and get it done. And then he called me up and he’s like listen I got now another new vehicle. If you come now you’ll get it and I was like okay I’m gonna come. So I ended up getting in there getting into the car and you know driving around i..my hours were…I had to do 50 hours a week we started off at eight o’clock in the morning I had to be ready you know because people got to get to the office at nine, so that was one of our busiest hours and then we would go roughly till went to six o’clock sometimes a little later sometimes they were open till 10 maybe something.
Yoni Mazor 14:59
How did people usually get paid for driving? Is it tips-based or is it hourly-based?
Nachman Lieser 15:01
No, so it was commissioned-based. We had, at that point the company was pretty new, was a new concept in our community to have like a car service from the community, so they tried to, you know, given that the driver should make money. So they used to give us 50% of what we earned. So let’s say if I were to bring in $1200 a week, I would get $600 a week.
Yoni Mazor 15:24
So they dispatch you? But somebody calls in for a ride, they dispatch you?
Nachman Lieser 15:28
They had, yeah it was livery service. They weren’t, we didn’t really pick up by stands, you know, stuff like that. It’s not like you look, like, it’s people called in the company had ads, the company has ads running all over, and people would call the dispatcher and the dispatcher would look on the screen and usually what they would try to do is they will see your dropping off and let’s say in this location they will try to get your call like from a minute from there so that’s how you don’t drive around empty right? So that would, that was the dispatchers, that was their job all day to get all the calls, and then we just had to drive and take people all over.
Yoni Mazor 15:59
How long did you stay in this position?
Nachman Lieser 16:02
So I started this position and I was, just like, I’d say around six-seven months and then I, at some point, while I was in the position, it was pretty hard then I was thinking you know what I can do? and what type of normal business can I go into? I was thinking of all different angles as you know and something that stuck with me was accounting and I decided that I want to really go more for a profession. I didn’t really have at the moment any money to open a business or didn’t even have the kind of experience or anything necessary. I mean, I remember even thinking of doing like a car rental company or something like because it wasn’t really too many the name wasn’t really anything in the neighborhood but then I was like, you know, even how do you begin like I mean what I know today is different than what I know that but you know like when people know the business doesn’t even think about financial accounting but even before that like just to get all the legal stuff and everything. it was just too much. so I didn’t like to get anywhere with it and then I decided to start you know getting for accounting and that’s when I started to work, you know, my ideas of going to school and you know learning you know of our profession and that’s where I that’s when I started to think about it. so while I was thinking I had an issue that I was working way too many hours to go to school so I came up with an idea to get a CDL license and do some school bus driving.
Yoni Mazor 17:32
CDL license? What’s that?
Nachman Lieser 17:35
Uh, commercial driver’s license. Yeah, so I ended up going for a commercial driver’s license. and the commercial driver’s license, i was able to, you know, they had a schedule that where you can drive you basically you work for a school, so the schools, some schools, you know, they get through the government, you know, they get on the buses, you know, the district the school district gives and gives on the buses, and then there was a lot of private schools. especially the private, you know, where you have private schools where they have their own busing. so now they’re on busing, they need somebody, you know, to be available eight o’clock in the morning, you know, pick up the older kids and then there are smaller kids that are a little later and then you got to do a couple of shifts on the way home. so what they’ll usually do is they’ll pay you like a full-time salary, but you’re not really working more than like five hours a day. so you’re starting off in the morning at eight o’clock. wasn’t really for the future. I wasn’t looking, like, to be a school bus driver for a job. but I was looking for the next two years to go to school, so I figured, you know, like, if I can wake up in the morning at eight o’clock and you know me to wake up earlier but I’ll start driving at a finish at 10 and then I get a break for four hours.
Yoni Mazor 18:39
So essentially you’re able to earn the same kind of amount of living, but work much significantly fewer hours and that opened up space for you to actually study, you know, a profession and become an accountant or…smart okay very good.
Nachman Lieser 18:52
And then what happened was is that the day I passed my road test, I mean how to take the road test like three times because commercial is not a simple test, each road test takes an hour, so finally I passed the road test and my manager from the office calls me up and says listen I want to talk to you. So I said okay I got into the office. He said we’re looking to get in another dispatcher in the office. I think you would be the right fit. Do you want to accept the offer? so I think at that point you know it’s I was sitting on the road during the day, by the way, it’s very annoying, and to be honest, these days when I’m driving, I mean, I really don’t drive too much because my office is like a block away from my house but you know if I go to the grocery or Sunday or anytime I’m driving and a taxi guy wants to cut me off or he’s in a rush I always let him go because I really feel pain from these people. it’s not easy sitting on the road 10 hours and you know they’re like they’re rushing to drop off the customer so they finish the call early so they can take the next customer they make an extra $2. and it’s frustrating and you’re like just sitting and taking your easy time because you’re not working on Sunday or whatever you’re not doing and this guy is just getting all upset.
Yoni Mazor 20:03
You’ve been there, you’ve done that, so you have appreciation. You know, you open up the way for them. that’s very nice.
Nachman Lieser 20:08
Yeah so what happened was at that point I was like, I had enough of sitting on the road 10 hours a day especially driving local the same streets over and over. So i was still thinking of doing you know the bussing, but when I got the offer to do something in an office I figured it’s gonna be way easier for me even if I have to put in like you know nine to six hours but at least I come home at night I’ll you know be able to study and stuff like that.
Yoni Mazor 20:33
And did they pay the same or they paid a bit more?
Nachman Lieser 20:36
No, they paid more but it was very different with salary requirements, you know, there are times when the car service industry is very slow, especially in our, you know, parts like, you know, the car service is really more, it was more like servicing the community. I mean we picked up anybody but typically, you know, was the community, the people like to use us we have times, you know, like let’s say for example in the summer, we have like the three weeks from when the temple was burnt where people don’t really party and people don’t do go swimming, people don’t go attractions, we don’t go anywhere, there are times where it was really hard you know.
Yoni Mazor 21:10
Lemme just help out a bit here, you know, so yeah during the summertime usually there’s about three weeks that the orthodox Jewish people they kind of remember the days where there used to be a siege and destruction of the temple, yeah there are two temples that we had and both they got destroyed in the same day historically, which is you know a wonder of its own. but there was a siege of three weeks that led to the destruction of the temple and those three weeks that’s when we kind of you know since that siege became about three weeks that’s when the temple got destroyed in those three weeks usually lands on the summertime we keep it easy we tone it down, we don’t, we don’t have weddings, we don’t have parties, we just you know, to commemorate the destruction of the temple, so saying those you know during those three weeks in the summer that’s when the big you know business for the car service became much much slower because you know there’s no swimming pools, no party, no…so much less traffic so to speak and less business for you guys to do right?
Nachman Lieser 22:04
Yeah and if you’re working a commission-based salary and you have to knock out 50 hours a week and sometimes you’re just sitting in a car for about half an hour doing nothing like what can you do? There’s nothing I was able to do. It’s not like you know I’m not, it’s not like I’m a salesman. I gotta knock on another 20 stores. I’m just relying on, you know, what it is. So it was easier to go into, you know, to go into the office and I wasn’t sitting on the road anymore. So I decided to give it a shot. So I ended up switching over into the company and I became a dispatcher. Dispatcher actually is a very difficult job. At that point, our computer system was pretty good but I’m saying we didn’t even have tablets yet we still had radios and we didn’t have any major sophistication. It was more like it was a database and access and basically what I had is every time a person would call in, I had a list of like 30 other drivers on the road and I would need to memorize where every driver was dropping off the next call in order to be able to give good service to people, like tell them okay I’ll have a car in like 5-10 minutes and some people just say listen I don’t have anything before an hour so it was kind of very hectic and when it gets
Yoni Mazor 23:13
You had to do the uber calculation like the GPS right? Where is he located? So you become like a real, like a radar so that can be very challenging and daunting because you’ve got to keep chasing the next one and the next one. Okay, so how long did you stay in that position of a dispatcher? What was the next station for you?
Nachman Lieser 23:26
I was there for like another six months as a dispatcher and then what happened was, as I was in the dispatch, I was working with the office, the boss didn’t live in Muncie, he lived more upstate in Monroe, that’s like 30 minutes north from Muncie. So they had another location in Monroe where the boss used to work and he would run that location. Then he had a manager which came, which ran the Muncie location, where I was working. So we sat together in one office with a manager you know like when I went out for lunch or if the phone lines were a little bit quiet, there was also another dispatcher so I was able to like you know just go away for a couple of minutes. We used to talk a lot and we became very good friends and he relied a lot on me and if, you know, if he couldn’t come in one day he would, you know, ask me, you know, what’s going on? Where are the drivers are up to? What things are doing? So I ended up, you know, getting some type of, you know, good relationship with him and he is the owner of the company and he has two locations. One in Monroe, one in Muncie right? So in the Muncie location, we had the manager, so the owner never used to come to the Muncie location, he’d come like once a month. So at that point I used to, but I used to talk a lot with a manager, so since I was in the office, I had the opportunity but you know the Muncie office and the location where I was working I had the opportunity to get to know the manager on a personal level and he got to know me on a personal level and it’s not just about the person, was about my responsibilities and you know I was if they needed anything extra whatever they need to contribute, you know, I was always there and I was a good resource and I did a good job. What happened was the manager himself started a different business with a partner, a packaging business. And they, his original plans were more than the partner would run the business and he was the money guy, he had some money put away, which he invested. At that point, he decided he can’t move forward as his partner. And they decided to part ways and he took over the business. So once he had his own packaging business where he basically makes bubble wrap, like, if you go to Walmart, do you want to ship something out, you know, you got to buy some bubble wrap, that’s he buys the ingredients, he has machinery that he brought in, and he, you know, puts together that wrap. So he decided to take over the business. And he wasn’t really, he wasn’t capable anymore of managing, you know, this car service company, because the car service company, you know, got to be there eight o’clock in the morning, and we closed at 10. And there was a lot of work. And also, dealing with drivers is not the easiest. They’re not, you know, the…whatever. So it’s kind of like…
Yoni Mazor 25:59Tough crowd.
Nachman Lieser 26:01
It’s a tough crowd because it’s not an ideal job that the person you want to work with, you know, if you’re working, for example, you know, like today, where I’m working in an office, it’s the people who I choose I want to work with and I can pick you to know, people with, cause they’re skilled people there. We were talking about unskilled labor, so it makes it 10 times harder. So at that point, he decided he had to leave. So the owner s