Kellianne Fedio | An Amazon Exit & Financial Freedom – Can It Be Done?
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Kellianne Fedio, founder of Amazing Exits, a resource center for Amazon sellers who want to perform an Amazon exit & financial freedom, by selling their Amazon business, and the host of her own podcast “Amazing Exits”, shares her life's journey into eCommerce.
Your e-commerce business is likely one of your largest assets. But do you know how much it’s worth right now? This is something many e-commerce sellers struggle with: understanding their bottom line. You’ve put so much of yourself into this business, and you’re thinking you want to exit, but you don’t know the value of it. Yoni Mazor from PrimeTalk discusses how to properly understand the value of your business so that you can make the most profitable exit at the time that’s best for you.
In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Kellyanne Fedio from Amazing Exits, a podcast that provides e-commerce entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow their businesses and then plan their exit strategies. Amazing Exits has helped many e-commerce sellers get maximum returns for the sweat and blood they’ve invested into their online businesses.
Kellyanne Fedio talks about her dramatic transition from high-powered civil litigation attorney to full-time mom to million dollar Amazon seller. If you’re an Amazon seller who is interested in growing your business, or you want to learn how to evaluate your business, or perhaps you’re ready to sell off your business, then this episode is for you!
Visit Amazing Exits for more information.
Learn about GETIDA's Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today I'm really excited to have a special guest. I'm having Kellyanne Fedio. Kellyanne is the founder of Amazing Exits. Amazing Exits is a resource center for Amazon sellers who want to sell their Amazon business. You can find her and tune into her show or podcast show also called Amazing Exits. So I'm really excited, Kellyanne, welcome to the show.
Kellyanne Fedio 0:30
Thanks so much for the wonderful introduction, Yoni . It's a pleasure to be here.
Yoni Mazor 0:34
All right, awesome. So where are we finding you now? Where are you based out of?
Kellyanne Fedio 0:38
I am in Redondo Beach, California, which is in, it's called the Beach Cities, within LA County. So it's an awesome place to live. Awesome place to raise kids, live by the beach, live that whole beach lifestyle. So very fortunate to live here.
Yoni Mazor 0:52
I envy you. I do envy I'm here in New Jersey.
Kellyanne Fedio 0:54
I'm from New Jersey. I'm from New Jersey!
Yoni Mazor 0:56
Well we’ll get to that! We’ll get to that! Don’t spill the beans! Okay, so yeah, actually, you started to kind of the background story. So today's episode is gonna be all about you. This is gonna be the story of Kellyanne. So you're gonna share with us your background, you know, who are you, where you're from? Where'd you grow up? Where'd you go to school? Graduated, begin your professional career? So I guess without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Kellyanne Fedio 1:19
Sure. Well, I was born in New Jersey, northern Jersey, in a town called Belleville.
Yoni Mazor 1:25
Yep, not too far from here.
Kellyanne Fedio 1:27
Not too far from Newark. But I have such fond memories of New Jersey and still go back there to visit as often as I can. So all of my relatives on my mom's side of the family are all from the east coast.
Yoni Mazor 1:40
They still also in Belleville, the whole family? Or they're scattered around New Jersey?
Kellyanne Fedio 1:43
They’re scattered around between different areas and townships in New Jersey, and then New York as well. So I was just back there last year, and you know, would be making a visit this year. Just depends on the whole COVID situation. So I do like getting back there. I've always loved the East Coast, but I'm definitely a California girl now. We moved out to California when I was about seven, but then we moved back and forth a few times. So...
Yoni Mazor 2:08
What was the reason? Your parents? Their work? Or?
Kellyanne Fedio 2:11
Yeah, my dad was a math teacher. He's from the Middle East. And he was a math teacher. And he wanted to start a business. So he thought that he could just try starting a business in San Francisco. So that's where we first moved, when we moved to California was San Francisco and he opened up a deli, really close to the entrance of Chinatown.
Yoni Mazor 2:31
Hold on, I’m a little confused. You mentioned he was a math teacher, so you were teaching math and running a business?
Kellyanne Fedio 2:35
No, he decided he didn't want to be a math teacher anymore, because that's not how he was going to, you know, make his way in life and support a family.
Yoni Mazor 2:42
And he immigrated to the United States?
Kellyanne Fedio 2:45
Yes, he did. He's from a country called Bahrain.
Yoni Mazor 2:48
Oh, wow. Yeah, of course. It's a very wealthy, it's a very wealthy….It's a very wealthy kingdom.
Kellyanne Fedio 2:56
It is a wealthy country. It's a wealthy. He did not come from wealth, he came from poverty. He was raised as a missionary, his grandmother was a missionary. And so ...
Yoni Mazor 3:05
By missionary you mean Christian?
Kellyanne Fedio 3:06
Yes. She’s Christian, actually,
Yoni Mazor 3:08
Got it. Okay, so it was, so they were in a Christian mission in Bahrain. And then when she finished the mission, they moved back to the states or what was the...
Kellyanne Fedio 3:16
No, she never moved. So he moved with his mother, my grandmother, and also his brother and sister followed. So they were the ones that made it out. And I think his, you know, uncles and a few other relatives had also moved to the United States. So yeah, so he's lived here for a long time, but still has that heavy Arab accent.
Yoni Mazor 3:37
Nice. So my father, full disclosure, is from Tunisia, not too far. Okay, from Northern Africa, Tunisia, but he, they went away from Tunisia when he was two years old, and they went to Israel. I was born and raised there. And after I finished my military service, I moved to the States, you go to school, but my mother is American. So I was oh, you know. So I always have family here and felt very natural for me to come back. And so you also had the family here also, right?
Kellyanne Fedio 4:04
Yeah. So my mother's American. She was born and raised in New Jersey. So my dad was, I think, in getting his master's and he met my mother. And, you know, they said,
Yoni Mazor 4:17
Same as my parents. Yeah, my father was doing his master's, he was...to be a lawyer, and he met my mother and university. So Middle East, with an American...Middle East with an American.
Kellyanne Fedio 4:28
So well, they didn't stay together. You know, they divorced. But, you know, that's 50% of the population in this country, really? So..
Yoni Mazor 4:35
Yeah, but you're still here with us. So you're, you're you're pretty much the story here at this point. So that's good. Okay, so you were seven years old, and you're bouncing back and forth between San Francisco there's a deli, but what made you come back? The deli? There was another deli here or?
Kellyanne Fedio 4:49
No, just back to New Jersey, just not sure where we were going to, you know, really plant our roots. So ultimately, we ended up staying in California and we moved out of San Francisco to the North Bay. And so I spent my high school years in Northern California. And then after that, I went to college in Sacramento. And then I went on to law school, also in Sacramento and then practiced my early part of my career, which was being an attorney. I practiced law for 10 years, all in Sacramento, all in northern Cal. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 5:21
Wow. So you're a lawyer by trade, right? So what kind of law?
Kellyanne Fedio 5:24
I was a litigator, civil litigation.
Yoni Mazor 5:26
Kellyanne Fedio 5:27
Yoni Mazor 5:28
Tell me a bunch of cases. Give me a few examples of...
Kellyanne Fedio 5:34
Well, I can tell you the types of cases I worked on. So I did a lot of, on the civil side, it's mostly insurance defense work. So you're basically hired by an insurance company to represent their insureds that are sued. So I did a lot of medical malpractice, I did a lot of construction defect cases, a lot of personal injury cases. So you know, a lot of them with pretty catastrophic results, you know, people who were killed or anything, you know, they're trying to hold someone liable.
Yoni Mazor 5:57
And this is in California or nationwide?
Kellyanne Fedio 6:00
These cases were in California, mostly that I had, but, you know, because obviously, you have to go to court, wherever the venue is, and that was in California for those cases. So yeah, we were a big firm in Sacramento, but it was solely based in Sacramento, a big civil-lit firm there.
Yoni Mazor 6:18
You got it. And you said, the 10 years you worked there, what were those years?
Kellyanne Fedio 6:22
What were those years? The actual years? Yeah, I can't do that. Because that's gonna reveal my age. And I never reveal my age!
Yoni Mazor 6:27
Maybe you started when you're nine years old?
Kellyanne Fedio 6:29
No, no, it was a long time ago. Let's just put it that way. And
Yoni Mazor 6:33
I want to know, because I want to know, which year you hit the, I guess, the Amazon world, that's
Kellyanne Fedio 6:37
Okay. Well, no, I can fast forward to that without divulging my age. So I'm a Gen X’er, or that'll give you some clue. But I practiced law for 10 years. And then towards the end, of the tail end of the career, I met my husband, and we got married and had our first daughter. And then basically, my life changed forever in terms of “oh my gosh, I cannot be doing this career and raising a small baby”. And I tried to hang on for probably about, I think it was about 18 months, working, you know, as a civil litigator and dropping my daughter, who was just a baby, off to daycare, I think I only took like five weeks off maternity leave, it was crazy. And so I was pretty miserable in my career after having kids, it just wasn't something that I could see myself doing forever, and not really seeing my daughter. So I was really fortunate that I decided to just leave the practice of law, I tried something else for a while for a year in a different, whole different area of law. And so it was kind of hard for me because I went from being a litigator, and you know, like Senior Associate at my firm, to like now starting something new. And I still found it to be just too taxing. I just didn't have a lot left of me when I would get home at the end of the day. And my daughter at that time was just a baby. And all that was going through my mind was okay, well what about when she gets older, and she's in school, and she needs me for, you know, help with her homework? And stuff...How am I going to help her when I'm so exhausted getting home from work? So well,
Yoni Mazor 8:02
And what about your husband? He’s also tied up at work most of the day?
Kellyanne Fedio 8:05
Yeah. My husband started out as a physical therapist, then he got into bio, pharmaceutical sales. But then that led to his new career, which is in medical device sales. So he's in sales, which is very stressful and taxing. He's amazing at it. And he does very well. But it's still you know, it's trading your time for dollars. It's a lot of work.
Yoni Mazor 8:26
So it's a tough, tough point to be on. Because you've invested so much into your career. You said 10 years in litigation, it’s no joke.
Kellyanne Fedio 8:33
It isn't, it's not easy to walk away from something like that. So back at the time, I can remember that being like, such a hugely monumental decision. I mean, it was not something that I just decided one day, I mean, this took me like almost two years to finally decide because it was like, I spent my whole, you know, young adult life, not only pursuing the education, doing the career, and your whole identity is wrapped up, and that my identity was being a lawyer. So it was really, really difficult to think, Okay, how am I going to reinvent myself now, you know, I'm in my 30s. And I have, you know, a small child, and, you know, we want to have more kids. So it was, it was a hard decision, but I'm so grateful that
Yoni Mazor 9:11
So deep down in there, you think there was a shift, realizing, okay, I'm an attorney, I'm a lawyer, I'm a successful career woman, but essentially, I want to be a mother, I want to be, you know, that was kind of the internal shift inside. So this is pretty much where I rather prefer being, even though I invested so much into that, I rather invest more into being a mother. Because with this, you reap endless dividends, you know, by raising good humans into the world. And hopefully, they're, oh, they'll bring more humans and you have grandkids and you grow. And that just there's generations to come. And I guess, I guess your natural, you know, inner being, you know, push you to that direction and didn't take, you know, two minutes or two to two months, it took a course of 24 months, you mentioned about two years. So your transition into a position will hopefully enable you to become more of a mother the way you see but nevertheless, I guess, still do business or have an income. So, you mentioned that you did a year off with, I guess another firm or another type of, you know, legal work. But what was the next station after that?
Kellyanne Fedio 10:11
Well, it was actually just focusing on being a mother. So at that point, after quitting law, I didn't have any grand plans of what I was going to do. In fact, all I knew, all I wanted to do was to just be a stay-at-home mom and be able to raise my children to, to at least when they went off to elementary school, and so that was my only plan there. And I enjoyed every minute of it. And, you know, never saw myself, I always, you know, my whole teenage years and college years, I always was like, oh, I'm gonna be this attorney, and I'm gonna be, you know, this high powered, you know, career woman. And that was always my identity. And once I had my first daughter, it just really changed. And...
Yoni Mazor 10:49
I think the reason we're able to make that change, because you achieved that, you achieved, you knew what it was like to be a successful career woman. But I guess you didn't know you're what was the, what would be like to be a successful mother. And that was so important to you, as you made the change. But I guess, another angle on this, you can probably always come back to litigation, it's not something that, you know, that's completely gone for you, you know, a year from now, or 10 years from now, if you ever get the passion again, you have the training, you have the experience, and you is and the moment you have the mindset, you can probably go back to that. So it's a calculated, you know, bet or gamble or not even a gamble. It's just your life, it's the decision was a calculated decision.
Kellyanne Fedio 11:24
Yeah, and you're absolutely right, I could go back to it, I can't, in a million years, imagine that I ever would. But if I wanted to, I could go back to it. Or I could do something, you know, within the realm of law, I mean, I love the education, I love the skill sets that I developed, becoming an attorney, being very analytical, being able to analyze tons of information and have to make an argument and a conclusion from that information. So that's all served me very well in the future. But, you know, I really was, I don't want to say just a mom, but I, I was blissfully a mom for several years, you know, had another daughter and just spent, you know, all that time with them in their formative years. And there I was, I'm just so grateful for that. But there came a point where yeah, I was like, Okay, I'm ready to get back to something, you know, my mind needs stimulation, you know, obviously, we could benefit from having another source of income. And so that's when the whole entrepreneurship bug just kind of hit me. And I didn't know what form or shape that was going to take. I researched and dabbled in a lot of different types of business models, but I knew that whatever I was going to do had to be something I could do location independent, that I could do it from a computer, so it had to be something online. And it wasn't far from having that realization that I realized, okay, e-commerce is really the industry that I want to get into.
Yoni Mazor 12:47
Now, so I guess, how many years were you, I guess, that time period of being a mother was how long? That stretch?
Kellyanne Fedio 12:53
Um, I would say probably about five or six years, because then I had my second daughter, and then, you know, once they were both off to first grade-ish is kind of when I started dabbling in all this new stuff. And you know, it...I did, I did it all, just like most people, I go down that whole trail of starting something, starting an internet-based business, you know, affiliate marketing, blogging.
Yoni Mazor 13:18
So what year did you actually get into the beginning of doing online business?
Kellyanne Fedio 13:24
Um, I would say probably, like, in terms of making money, probably it wasn't until 2013.
Yoni Mazor 13:33
Seven years ago, you actually started generating, you know, income or substantial income or significant income?
Kellyanne Fedio 13:42
When I first started, when I first started out, I started out dropshipping. And so I was doing online arbitrage. And I was actually making a really good amount of money, but it still felt like a job. It felt like I was, you know, trading, what
Yoni Mazor 13:55
And what was the model? Basically, you're selling on eBay, Amazon, or just Amazon? Or what was the…?
Kellyanne Fedio 14:00
At first it was mostly eBay. But then I started selling on Amazon as well. But I was just drop shipping from, you know, every other site where I could see that there was an arbitrage play there.
Yoni Mazor 14:08
So you actually did between sites, not like suppliers, because I know some of them are that they find a few suppliers and they get access to their catalog and they do drop shipping. Did you do that as well? Or?
Kellyanne Fedio 14:17
No, I didn't, I didn't do that. I didn't do that model. I did start going down that road. But I realized pretty, probably within six months of just having that sense of Okay, I can actually generate money online. That's what it took for me to really become hooked. And so I was able to do that. But it didn't feel like a real business. Right. It wasn't something that I created. And so I really knew that I wanted to create something and then I really do look at it as kind of being Kismet that I received an email from a very popular course through one of their affiliates called Amazing Selling Machine.
Yoni Mazor 14:51
Kellyanne Fedio 14:52
Yeah. And it was ASM and it was all about, you know, how to create your own brand and sell on the Amazon platform and So
Yoni Mazor 15:00
And what year was that when you got that email notification?
Kellyanne Fedio 15:02
It was two, I would say 2013, 2014. Yeah. Because...
Yoni Mazor 15:07
So like 6 months into the online retailing mix, you all suddenly get, you know, presented with this opportunity with Amazing Selling Machine, also known as ASM. That did wonders for many, many entrepreneurs out there throughout the years. So you took the course? I would assume?
Kellyanne Fedio 15:21
I did. I did. And I was in a great group of other entrepreneurs that...
Yoni Mazor 15:25
Was that the first class? I do believe it was the first year right?
Kellyanne Fedio 15:28
No, this was….I was in ASM3. So there was, I believe, obviously, ASM 2 and 1. And then before that, I think it was called, like, Amazing Money Machine or something...it was called something else. So
Yoni Mazor 15:39
‘Cause I know many good generations or a good class, I came in 2013. I heard him a lot. You know, I'm already familiar with a lot of that. That class of 2000,
Kellyanne Fedio 15:48
The graduating class
Yoni Mazor 15:49
Yeah, it seems like, there was a good...the good year.
Kellyanne Fedio 15:52
Yeah. So I mean, that's when really this business model of, you know, creating a brand selling physical products through the Amazon channel became like, super, super hot, and it, it really hasn't died down, it's still something that a lot of people are trying to cash in on as far as teaching the model. But the challenges and the things that you need to do to be successful certainly have evolved over the years since 2013.
Yoni Mazor 16:19
The platform has completely become much more demanding and much more sophisticated, robust in terms of all the inputs needed, and so many levels to make it a successful journey for entrepreneurs. But 2013, you take the course, you pivot into, you know, creating your own brand, your own private label. And then you I guess, you found a supplier to source products and then get a trademark and started selling your, your own brand. And that happened or that transpired around 2014 already?
Kellyanne Fedio 16:45
Yeah. 2014. I launched my business in August, my first product. And by that Q4, I had hit seven figures in revenue with my first product.
Yoni Mazor 16:59
Hold on, hold on. So within what, 90 days, you already had seven figures?
Kellyanne Fedio 17:02
Yeah, I'm pretty crazy. I know, it was pretty crazy, completely unexpected. And luckily, the supplier that I found for my first product, and I ended up sticking with him for a very long time, but we just developed this really good relationship early on. And he was able to supply me with products without me having to pay for it until at least 30 days after. So that's how I was able to fuel that growth in the beginning.
Yoni Mazor 17:29
So were you rotating your goods faster than 30 days? The moment is within a week or two?
Kellyanne Fedio 17:34
Yeah, I mean, it was because I was air shipping the product at that time. And so the, you know, I launched in August, but that Q4, the product just really took off. It was in a relatively, at that time, I would say low demand niche, but I just knew that I was a product that I could build a brand around, that it could be my flagship product. And I just had a hunch that demand for this product would increase over time. And so...
Yoni Mazor 18:03
What was the price point of the product?
Kellyanne Fedio 18:06
Nowadays, it's around $14…$14/$15. But back in those days, and the good old days, I think when I launched it was around $18. But at Christmas time I was selling it for like $28. So pretty crazy margin
Yoni Mazor 18:21
Pretty comfortable price for any consumer. So it's probably appealing to the brand market. Alright, so 2014, you had seven figures and take us to August 2015-16. Well, what happened there?
Kellyanne Fedio 18:33
2015 and 16, or definitely interesting years in terms of figuring out, okay, how do I grow this? And so of course, one of the things that I focused on was introducing new products. And I had a lot of failures, actually, after that first product, a lot of products that I would say were base hits, but they weren't home runs. And I guess that made me feel like a failure. But then over that time, I would say in those two years are really where I started to evolve in terms of really focusing on building a brand and not just having a product-based business. And so I put a lot of time and energy, resources, and financial resources into actually branding. I hired a branding consultant. I, you know, decided that I wanted to build a brand. I mean, I knew that my brand was serving women, and it was women's lifestyle, but what kind of specific things would it support and so I really needed help and some definition around that. And so a lot of money was spent, a lot of time, and you know, redoing the website, and all that kind of stuff, but I think it really paid off. And then it allowed me to really focus on that avatar of the customer who I was serving. And so from there, it was, you know, continued growth, but yet there were some peaks and valleys along the way. And then I would say probably about three years in is when I started to realize or at least think about Okay, what do I want long term from this business and why? And that's when I started to consider exit planning for my business.
Yoni Mazor 20:09
So this is already 3 years into the mix. So it's around 2017. Right? So, you know, the two, three years after you launch. You're basically you branched out into I guess your dot.com. Your own dot.com website to generate sales there. Did you also expand it to eBay, Walmart, other platforms? What kind of...when you said marketing and branding, how did it manifest itself? Or what was your strategy there?
Kellyanne Fedio 20:32
Well, it didn't manifest itself in a big way in terms of dollars. So I put a lot of energy and resources into redesigning like the logo and the look and feel of the brand and the packaging for my products, and the website looked beautiful. But when it came time to actually driving traffic to, you know, my own website, or generating traffic off of Amazon, I tried a lot and failed a lot and realized, okay, this is not my skill set. And unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the right partners or service providers that did have the skill sets, to you know, I mean, I was all over the place. Shiny object syndrome. Okay, I'm going to try SEO, I'm going to try Pinterest marketing, I'm going to try, you know, eBay, I'm going to try this and that. And that year that I did all those things, it really took away from what Paul and I, my partner, who I like to call the golden goose of Amazon, and what I had learned and studied and got good at was creating a brand and leveraging the Amazon platform to get that brand out to market, my skill set was not in retail, it wasn't hot in driving Facebook traffic to my Shopify site. And that's really where kind of the decision coincided that maybe I don't want to develop those skill sets, maybe that's not what I want.
Yoni Mazor 21:53
I want to help you out a little bit, because I do want to stress out that in exactly those years, you know, 2014-15-16-17, even 18, that's when Amazon started swallowing the dot coms. You know, so on the one hand, you're already in the ecosystem of Amazon, and you're swimming with the stream, and you, you know, you're getting great, great results. But on the other hand, you tried to kind of swim against the stream, which is Amazon. And I think that's part of it, it's not because of skill set, it's not because of the sheer aura and magnitude of Amazon, which is you know, creating itself. Now Amazon, for every 50 cents that goes into online retail is going to Amazon, where in 2014, it was maybe 30 cents or 25 cents. So Amazon was able to grow and you were kind of trying to, you know, bite against that force. And that force is definitely stuff that not just you struggle with, as Target, ask Walmart ask anybody online where they have billions of dollars worth of marketing spend, and they have all the skills as needed. But they were basically being carved away by this gorilla called Amazon. So just to put in perspective, hopefully, that eases up a little bit of the pain...
Kellyanne Fedio 22:58
Yeah well, you're being very generous in there. Because I, I really have always blamed myself like back then there was so much internet marketing going around about you have to get off of Amazon, like it's way too risky. You know, you can't put all your eggs in one basket, you have to diversify all these courses and masterminds about building a true e-commerce brand. Like you're not a real brand if you're just selling on Amazon, you're not a real business. And that got into my head and made me feel deficient as a business owner as an entrepreneur that I don't have a real business. Um, and so that got to me, and I would say that I wasted time on online ish, a lot of shiny objects for at least a good year and my business suffered because of it. It really did.
Yoni Mazor 23:41
Right. But I guess the good news is that you were able to discover, or set up with the exit strategy, where you discover that by all means, if you have a seven-figure Amazon business, you can make a significant exit because it's a significant asset to have, okay, and significant business to have in your hands that can reward you for all the blood and tears that you invested into it, and have a meaningful, hopefully, liquidity event. So now let's turn I guess to 2017 when you enter the journey, a journey of setting up an exit.
Kellyanne Fedio 24:11
Yeah, well, that's when I just started, started my early exit planning, and that I realized I finally became comfortable with I'm just gonna double down on what I know. And that's the Amazon channel, right. And I'm also going to now instead of focusing on top-line growth, which I had always been focused on, I'm now going to focus on the bottom line, the actual net profit of my business, which I think entrepreneurs in this space now are starting to realize is super important. If you're going to sell your business, you have to have a good bottom line. But back in those days, it was all, and still to some extent these days, it's all about bragging about the top line, right and that is completely meaningless. It doesn't matter in this space if you're going to sell your business or have an asset to sell. So I really focused and hunkered down in 2018 on my bottom line, knowing that in 2019, I would then go to market and be able to show those critical last trailing 12 months a really solid profit.
Yoni Mazor 25:11
Amazing. I mean, this is, I think you also did a right on time, I think, you know, 2019 was also a breaking year for a few players. The most notable one, I guess, would be Thrasio and they formed themselves around 2019, realizing, hey, we can raise a lot of money by all these brands that are doing extremely well on Amazon, you know, cash the owners out, but then, you know, create a massive portfolio of all these brands where they can we can leverage the power of our, our infrastructure, and our in our purchasing power, all the efficiencies that that a large organization can streamline. And once again, you are the right timing, so
Kellyanne Fedio 25:50
Well, there’s still great timing, you know? In Amazing Exits, what my partner and I are really trying to do is to get into sellers' heads that you have a very valuable asset, even if it's if all of your revenue is generated on Amazon, you have a very valuable asset. And many people want that asset, including the Thrasio’s of the world. And of course, Thrasio now has lots of competition, right? Um, and that, in order to sell that asset at the maximum price, you need to know your numbers, and you need to plan for it. And not that you can't sell it and make some money. But this could be the most, the biggest financial wealth-creating event of your life. And so don't you want to sell it for maximum value? So in order to do that, you have to be educated. And I really took the time to educate myself on all the factors that went into making my business more valuable and wanting to get maximum value for it. And I realized during that process that these resources aren't out here for sellers like it's all about how to sell on Amazon, right? It's not how to sell an Amazon business.
Yoni Mazor 26:57
Yeah, how to grow revenue, how to grow revenue, next launch, launch next product, which is growth-minded, which is...this is what eventually is supposed to create the bottom line, which will with all the sellers are working for because I haven't yet met the seller, which is a nonprofit organization, you probably might have. Right, so if all that while working for profit, you got to make sure there's profit. So of course, hopefully, you were really successful in launching and creating revenue and bringing life into the form of your organization as a revenue-generating organization. But I'm, you know, hand in hand with you on this one, you got to know the numbers to the brim, making sure it is really effectively making a profit to you. So that's the first win, you can have a good life, right? You have a good income, you can actually be yourself as an individual. But once you get, you actually maybe want to sell or exit or maybe your passions want to take you to either a different industry or even in the same industry with just a different product line, you have that opportunity, especially if your numbers are in line. And you're thinking internally about how to stay in a profitable organization or profitable business that makes it almost like a turnkey event. They come into your numbers, trailing 12 months, you know, you're efficient, you're just efficient. You're not overspending on sourcing and not overspending on advertising, you're not just hiring halfway of your family just to throw money around at people and you know, you move you know, this, this chair from one place to another. So you think you like, you know, like you're operating your business as if you were an investor on your own, which you are because you're invested in yourself. And that's probably the best place you can invest yourself, you know, yourself and hopefully, you'll do it the right way. But it's gonna get very rewarding if you want to cash it out. So what was your story, I guess, you plan for a year or a plus to set this up? And what was the next step?
Kellyanne Fedio 28:43
Well, I planned for about a year in advance, which I would highly recommend that anybody do if they want to, you know, really get educated. It's hard for sellers now because there are all these aggregators in the space, right? And they are, you know, ready to buy your business. And that presents a great opportunity if you know your numbers, and you're ready, but a lot of seven and eight-figure Amazon brand builders and entrepreneurs do not know their numbers, and they do not know what their business is worth. And I've worked with them and I continue to work with them. And
Yoni Mazor 29:13
Give me a few examples of you know, somebody that seven, eight figures, how does it look like internally when you look at the numbers? And what are they...
Kellyanne Fedio 29:21
A lot of seven and eight-figure sellers don't even have bookkeeping in place, they don't even have a bookkeeper. They're just you know, keep they’re just keeping things in their head or they look at their bank account. It's shocking. And you need to be tracking what your bottom line is, or you know, what's other called solid discretionary earnings or EBITDA. It just basically is a fancy way of saying your net profit plus any add-backs, like what is the value of your asset, probably your biggest asset that you have, like if you're planning for the rest of your life, for wealth building and for legacy planning, you're looking at all your assets. Maybe you have some money in a traditional 401k, maybe you have money invested in real estate, maybe you have money invested in the stock market, but what about your business that's another investment, and yet you don't know what that's worth? But you know what everything else is worth you know? So you need to know what your business is worth at all times and it's not that hard to figure it out you just have to have the right bookkeeping in place you need to be doing accrual accounting bookkeeping you need to have a good CPA, preferably a good CFO that can help you part-time, the chief financial officer that can help you with cash flow planning, with forecasting, with budgeting, all that kind of stuff. You have to have a financial plan and the one thing I want to bring up here that...I hate using scare tactics so this is not meant to be a scare tactic but, so many of us have seen such phenomenal success on the Amazon platform whether we started back in 2013 or today and see you know phenomenal year-over-year growth. Well, that growth is not going to last forever every business is going to start to decline after some time. And once you start declining it is too late in terms of getting maximum value for your business. Can you sell your business? Probably but you're not going to get maximum value at it so you need to be always knowing what the value of it is and doing forecasting to know okay like I think I’m going to keep growing here but once I’m almost at my peak is that's the time to listen because that's when you're going to get the most value out of the business. And I really see the industry is going to consolidate even more over these next few years with all these aggregators buying up these businesses, there are very sophisticated players with lots of capital in the market that are going to be running these businesses. So if you think you can just continue to grow your brand forever, that's not going to happen. I'm sorry. So there is going to come to a point where you're going to plateau and if you're going to sell it, you definitely want to sell before you plateau.
Yoni Mazor 31:38
So I guess when you have visibility in your own organization and you can really, on the EBITDA level or making profit level, you can really recognize that you're breaking records that might be an indicator on its own. It’s hey we had a record-breaking year that might be the trigger point which you say okay I’m you know the height of the Everest, you know, looks great from here and it gives you at least that opportunity to say oh look at this, I made so much money this year, profit right? But at least at that point you sit down and say do I think I can actually give it, take it to the next step or I feel like you know we're kind of peaking which is cool you might you know plateau or decline but maybe you have in your toolbox an option of an exit. At least you have that opportunity that ability, which, as you said, it can be a life-changing event where you maybe cash out, there's a big liquidity event, you might get a few million dollars into your bank account and then, you know, the world is really open to you at that point. So having that internal visibility and really knowing and aggregating your numbers and feeling you know this is a record-breaking year or saying this is, you know, we're still growing but I can see in another year or two or three that we can probably touch and then reach the next peak. So maybe it's not the time to sell because you can clearly see it because it's data-driven. It’s not just you know your heart feeling if you really data-driven in this industry you can recognize these trends hopefully you'll be able to make educated decisions and play it out on the basis of a scenario where you experiencing the growth and the profit as it keeps hitting your pocket. But that profitability might get constrained. It can be for many endless reasons it could be market demand, just organic right? It could be competition it could be marketplace regulations it could be other marketplaces you know I can list this on and on but visibility is tremendously important when and when you mentioned to me that there are seven eight-figure sellers who have none of that, that is a huge banner or a huge mission that you should be undertaking at this point, helping them out because hopefully, it'll be a positive change into their lives. But I guess the question for you will do you make an exit eventually or did you have that? So let's touch that, so a year, year, and a half, you're preparing the numbers, and what happened then?
Kellyanne Fedio 33:43
Yeah and so I listed my business in 2019 and used an investment banking firm to help me. Some people use brokers, some people use m&a advisors, you know, some people just sell on their own so I chose to go with this very good lower middle market investment banking firm to help me sell my business, they did a phenomenal job and found a great buyer for me. And the deal went through and we closed in February of this year so right before COVID hit the deal closed so...
Yoni Mazor 34:17
Okay, so what was the timeframe from the moment you put it quote unquote on the shelf right? Do you put it for sale? How long was that?
Kellyanne Fedio 34:24
It was about eight months, which is longer than the typical timeframe. So I’m with my deal the buyer was using SBA financing and unfortunately, the particular bank that he used, we’re pretty sure that it was their first e-commerce deal and some banks just don't understand these e-commerce transactions, so there was just a lot of confusion and overwhelm I would say in that whole process that elongated that process so that was not ideal. But I really do attribute that to being just that particular lender you know. I recommend to all sellers and buyers of businesses that they get SBA pre-qualified. And you know, we've had like resources like that on our podcast, to find out these lenders that really do know how to value these FBA businesses. So anyway, that's why it took so long in my deal. But it all worked out in the end. And yep, at the time, right after COVID hit in March, I felt so...such a sigh of relief, like, wow, I'm so grateful that I sold this before COVID. But the owner, the new owner of my business, my former business, has seen tremendous growth. And so it's all working out for him and his partners. So that's amazing. And it makes me super happy.
Yoni Mazor 35:41
Yeah, historical in your indeed for e-commerce. So if they did tremendously well, they made a, you know, a great buy, it's a win for you, for them. So I guess my next question will be after making your successful exit, first of all, congratulations. So I guess, having this experience, that's what led you into Amazing Exits? This whole experience, by saying I had so much of an unknown process to handle, maybe I can alleviate that to the one, you know, that comes next after myself.
Kellyanne Fedio 36:11
Exactly. It was during the process and my searching for resources, that made me realize there's a real lack of cohesive resources out there, especially coming from the side of the seller. I mean, there's, there are brokers out there, they put out good content, there's Trasio’s, they put out content, you know, there's content coming from all these resources, but what about from just a regular old seller who's not a broker, you know, putting up this information. And so, I, you know, at that time, though I would just do, I'd always done consulting all along, you know, just through word of mouth, helping different sellers with...
Yoni Mazor 36:49
Consulting in your Amazon e-commerce years?
Kellyanne Fedio 36:52
Yes, just helping different brands, you know, grow their business and such. And so I figured, you know, I'll just, you know, through word of mouth, I'll just have a few consulting clients that, you know, people that want to, you know, know that they want to exit within the next 12 to 24 months, and I can help them not only grow the value of their business in the meantime but also, you know, position it and hook them up with the right resources to sell. And then talking about it with my good friend, Paul Miller. He's, you know, considered an exit in the past, he had a very high point in his business, where would have been the ideal time to exit but he didn’t have the...
Yoni Mazor 37:23
Paul is your partner, sorry to cut you off. But Paul is your partner with Amazing Exits, or your partner also with your own brand?
Kellyanne Fedio 37:31
No, no, he's just a partner on the podcast, Amazing Exits. But he, with his brand, is going through exit planning. So we decided to come together, and really provide these resources together to sellers, because it's something that he's going through now, I've already been through it. And so we want to be an advocate for sellers, to make sure that they're getting all the right resources that they need to sell their business, and, you know, to make it as streamlined as possible. And so that's our mission with our podcast is really just to help sellers. And, you know, everybody's going to be different and require different services, require different types of hand-holding throughout the process. And so we want to just be there to share education and advice, you know, on what the best options are. And ultimately, the seller decides what the best option for them is.
Yoni Mazor 38:23
So it's fair to say that you're at a point where you're in a passion business?
Kellyanne Fedio 38:27
It is a passion business, for sure. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't want to generate revenue. We're not a nonprofit. So we're a passionate business. But it's...but what's one of the most amazing things about selling my business is that you know, so much of our net worth was tied up in that business. And now that we had a liquidation event, having that money go into your bank account is life-changing, even if it's not complete financial freedom, like kick your heels up on a beach and never work again, but it's financial independence, it's financial security. And so it lets you go on to do projects that you do feel passionate about. And you have no idea maybe how you're going to make money in the beginning, but it'll just all work itself out because you're passionate about it. At least that's what I think. Yoni Mazor
Yoni Mazor 39:10
Yeah, I agree. Because I think you're, the passion that's driving you is the ability to positively impact organizations and people's lives. And essentially, if you keep doing it and doing it right, it's gonna grow on its own and you're going to reach a point where you have so much of it, is just going to, you know, generate income one way or another, it could be through consulting, or you know, brokering or whatever comes along, but yeah, I think, yeah, thank God, you're in a great position here.
Kellyanne Fedio 39:36
Yeah. And it allows me to have the bandwidth to pursue, you know, I'm really heavy into real estate investing. So I now have the bandwidth to pursue that. I do want to start another brand. So I'm deciding whether I want to buy one and actually teach my daughters, finally get them going with e-commerce and maybe buying a brand and starting it, or starting from scratch with them. I would love to acquire a bunch of brands and do my own little roll-up just like the aggregators do. So I have all kinds of things that I wanna do.
Yoni Mazor 40:03
The options are open, your options are open, and that's what allows you to keep it open. The fact that you had a liquidity event, so you're thinking wide, you’re thinking open, you're thinking deep because you're saying to your daughters, that's already...Wow, that's taking it to the next level, give them the ability to touch the industry that is, you know, the most groundbreaking right now, you know, it's, it's innovative, it's just growing by the second. And it's, I would say, I would argue that you know, just as good as a college degree, you know, to...
Kellyanne Fedio 40:33
Oh absolutely. I couldn't agree with you more. Ecommerce, you know, in my opinion, is just the best industry to be in, there's so much growth potential, it's just still getting started, it's still in its infancy, it got accelerated a bit through COVID. But I think the latest stat I've read is that online retail is still only 15% of all of retail. So I mean, we're just getting started. So..
Yoni Mazor 40:53
So much more to go, it's gonna go to 16-17-18-19. And if you're listening to this, and you're in this industry, hopefully, you are, you're in a good spot, you're in the right ecosystem. So keep working, working hard, pay attention, stay, you know, keep your focus going. Know your numbers, know your numbers, like, you know, like, ask me what the time is, you already have a watch, you know, so what's, what's a watch? Nobody, you never heard somebody say, What's, what's a watch, right? So if you’re that seller that doesn't even realize what's bookkeeping, it's like me asking you what the time is. And I tell you look at your watch and say, what's the watch? It’s clueless, just being clueless. So you cannot afford to be in that position, where you're an Amazon revenue millionaire, but you might be even losing money by just extending it because your sales keep growing, but you still, you're just still losing more and more every day. So, you know, I truly connect to that. Alright, so let's do a quick recap to see where we are. All right. Born and raised in New Jersey, you know, bounced a little bit between the West/East Coast but eventually settled in, I guess, the San Francisco area, that's what you also kind of graduated, then you kind of transferred into the Sacramento area, you know, you got your law degree, about 10 years into the mix, then you start a family and realize, you know, my purpose at that point, or my mission and passion is to, you know, grow my family, which you did for about five, six years. And then you did your research, which is, I guess, a crucial moment. You explored your options, you kept an open mind, and you were able to clearly identify the opportunity with e-commerce. Okay, you dived into that, you started small with the, you know, drop shipping, but you took, you know, you got this email, just, you know, simple as an email that comes to you right, right to your inbox, with this opportunity, Amazing Selling Machine, you know, you can create your own brand on the, on the Amazon platform online, which you did, you sourced it, you hit immediate success, which is, you know, this is unbelievable, this is really good. Beautiful strike, I guess it was not a strike, a home run at the first, which you're able to sustain for a few good years. And then once again, you're able to think open, think wide, you know, what are my options? What are my possibilities? And then realize that there's an option to actually know your numbers and, you know, align your business in towards, towards an opportunity to cash out your Amazon business, which on its own has its own asset that's worth a lot and you successfully did, so after more than a year of planning you were able to set the grounds up, it took about 8 months, and then you cashed out. And that led you to once again think open, say okay, now how can I help others? How can, maybe, I can help my family, my new generation. And this is where we're kind of where we are today. But you’re putting a lot of focus into having Amazing Exits as an available resource to sellers out there. I would say the difference between you and other aggregators or brokers out there is you were able to really put the goggles of the sellers into the vision of things, you know, yourself and Paul, which is interesting and very relevant for sellers to have that perspective. So thank you for that. So this is kind of where we are now. So thank you for sharing it. It's been a tremendous ride, at least for me, I think I learned a few good things. So now we have the body of the episode, we would like to kind of finalize it with two points. The first one will be that anybody wants to reach out and you know, learn more about you, where can they find you? And the last thing that will be what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Kellyanne Fedio 44:20
Oh boy. Well, in order to reach me, you can find me on Facebook, you can find me on LinkedIn, you can find me at Amazing Exits, or you can go email me directly: kelly at amazing exits dot com. I'm most active as far as social media on LinkedIn. So that's a good place to connect with me and message with me. And words of wisdom and inspiration for entrepreneurs? You know, that's a tall order. But what I'm going to say here is that if you've built an e-commerce business and it is growing and continues to grow, you are sitting on a hugely valuable asset and know what that value of that asset is at all times. Know what it's worth because that's most likely your most valuable asset. And you want to know what that value is and be able to sell it for the maximum amount that you can when it's time for you.
Yoni Mazor 45:10
Got it? Yeah, so that's definitely inspiring. You're working day and night right now on your I said, your machine that's called Amazon Seller Central. This is the most expensive and most important machine that you probably have right now in your professional business life because that machine generates income right now. But nevertheless, if you wanted to capitalize more on this machine, there's that opportunity to sell. It's just growing by the minute, but it's not going to grow unless you realize that you're going to have to set up the machine and know exactly what the components are within that make it the best machine and there can be that it just generates more and more profits. Where, in other words, it's efficient. So I guess that's the main, you know, focus on that, take it with you. Hopefully, this inspiration will get you to more positive destinations. So Kellyanne, thank you so much for that. Thank you so much for everything. I wish you and Paul continued success with Amazing Exits the podcast and the show and hopefully, it's gonna turn out into some sort of a platform for many sellers to rely on. Thanks again, everybody for listening and watching. Until next time.
Kellyanne Fedio 46:10
Thanks, everybody. Thanks, Yoni.