In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Gilad Freimann, CEO of VAA Philippines joins us. Gilad discusses how to outsource & grow an Amazon business using virtual assistants. Gilad is the founder and CEO of VAA Philippines, a sourcing and training agency for VAs.
Having your own e-commerce business can be exciting and exhilarating! And it can also be exhausting. Knowing when you’ve reached your limit and need to outsource in order to continue to grow is essential for continued success. Yoni Mazor of Prime Talk discusses when the right time to hire a virtual assistant, or VA, is and why it’s necessary if you really want to see growth in your business.
In today’s episode, Prime Talk has teamed up with Gilad Freimann, the founder and CEO of VAA Philippines, a training and sourcing academy for virtual assistants. VAA uses an extensive and thorough screening process for its carefully chosen team of VAs and then trains them intensively and periodically so that they are always up to date on the latest happenings at Amazon. They also pair up Amazon sellers with a VA that will surely be the right fit for their business. Their VAs are experts in all things Amazon, social media, and even graphic design.
Gilad Freimann shares his journey from Navy officer to ski instructor to Amazon seller and the experiences that led him to create VAA Philippines. So if you’re an Amazon seller struggling to keep up with the demands of owning your own business, then this episode is for you!
Learn more about VAA Philippines!
Learn more about GETIDA’s Amazon reimbursement solution software
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 Gilad Freimann. He is the founder and CEO of VAA Philippines, which stands for Virtual Assistant Academy, Philippines. They are basically a sourcing and training agency for VAs. Gilad, welcome to the show.
Gilad Freimann 0:26
Hey, how are you? Nice talking to you and thank you for having me.
Yoni Mazor 0:31
A pleasure. Where are we finding you? Where are you located in the world?
Gilad Freimann 0:35
I'm located...well this is a good question because usually when people talk to me I'm either in the Philippines or on the way from or to the Philippines. Now because of this Corona thing, I'm in Israel and I'm staying in Israel until they open the sky. So yeah, I live in Israel.
Yoni Mazor 0:50
So right now we're catching you in Israel but you live the line of Israel slash Philippines, which is pretty unique of its own, we're gonna get to that very soon. Yeah, this episode is gonna be all about you: your story, your background, where you're from, how’d you end up in e-commerce and what's going on with you in regards to your current position. So without further ado, let's jump right into it. Go ahead.
Gilad Freimann 1:13
I was born in Israel, in Jerusalem. I grew up in Israel all my life and for some reason, I did not start this you know, I went to the military after school.
Yoni Mazor 1:24
So when you're 18, right, you're 18 you went to the IDF Israeli Defense Force. That's pretty much a common story which, full disclosure, I share also. Me and Gilad we actually went to the same place in the army, which is the Israeli Navy, so shout out to the Israeli Navy. You were on you know, we call it (speaking Hebrew).
Gilad Freimann 1:43
I was at the Naval Academy which means that I signed when I was 18, I signed for like seven years to be in the Navy and became an officer there and then extend until I was 25, and then maybe serving on battleships.
Yoni Mazor 2:02
So, three...the mandatory three years wasn’t enough for Gilad, he signed up for an extra four, so you did seven full years in the IDF Israeli Navy I salute you, you know, you did a good job. Way to go.
Gilad Freimann 2:13
Thank you, thank you. And then I had to decide if I wanted to stay there or if I wanted to go out. And I wanted to go out. I wanted to do more things and I went like everybody in Israel, I went on a one-year, you know, hiking around the world. I went to South Africa, visited almost all the countries in South Africa for a year, like hiking, traveling, and came back and this is when I...well I'm in the same time, during that time I also started studying in the university like e-commerce University they call them the Open University major so basically, it's today I see that already there I thought it is much easier to do things online and then being present with them.
Yoni Mazor 3:00
So hold on, what year is this? What year did you end up, I guess, leaving the army and coming back from the trip and starting what? You went to the Open University in Israel and you actually took classes in e-commerce?
Gilad Freimann 3:13
Business Management at the Open University, which already opened my eyes through like understanding how easy it is and how nice it is to work online and that and how how there are so much to grow over there and understand.
Yoni Mazor 3:29
And what year was that when you started the, you know, school?
Gilad Freimann 3:32
2005 I think this is when I started, so it's a long time ago.
Yoni Mazor 3:38
15 years ago, you went to school and you open your horizons towards the internet or e-commerce?
Gilad Freimann 3:44
A little bit but it didn't go directly there. I actually love...my biggest love is skiing actually. And I wanted to become a ski instructor. I love to teach people and this actually comes together when we'll talk about the Academy of VA but in the beginning, it was all meant to become a ski instructor actually.
Yoni Mazor 4:08
Skiing for snow right? Snow skiing in a hot country like Israel? Talk about impossible.
Gilad Freimann 4:15
You know, I went...I have family in the states, in California and they are ski instructors as well. So the plan was to go there and teach and in the end I found myself working as an employee of a ski company. Believe it or not in Israel
Yoni Mazor 4:29
In Israel? Wow.
Gilad Freimann 4:31
Yeah, yeah. But they don't, you know, they don't send people to ski. It’s a tourism company. So they send people out to the ski areas.
Yoni Mazor 4:38
So they take Israelis and they set you up in Europe somewhere in the Alps to go ski, pretty much right?
Gilad Freimann 4:44
Exactly. Yeah. So I loved it. These years I went over there, in the beginning, like, to escort people that come to ski and can make sure that everything's okay but.. the idea was really to develop with the company and to negotiate the deal. And find the resorts and find suppliers and we need to develop the company in other countries and I was located in France. I lived over there for like five, six years.
Yoni Mazor 5:13
Did you live in France because of the job? The job took you to France? Wow. Five, six years. And which area of France?
Gilad Freimann 5:20
The Alps, you know, Leon and Grenoble, are all in the South not too much south, but that areas of the high Alps.
Yoni Mazor 5:29
Wow. Beautiful. Probably the landscape was probably...if you look back, it looks like a dream.
Gilad Freimann 5:37
Yeah. Yeah. And then I was skiing every day or and on the weekends. And it was a it was great.
Yoni Mazor 5:42
So it sounds like you fulfilled your dreams too quickly. A little bit.
Gilad Freimann 5:45
Yeah, yeah. But you know what, then I realized that it's...maybe it's my dream, but I'm not living my dream because I'm not doing it. It's not my own. I'm working for somebody else. And then actually, this dream starts to become a job. And then you don't enjoy it as much because you'd have to do things, you have to do this. You have to do that. Even when you're skiing. There's always somebody Okay, who's calling you to death and they're doing it for somebody else. So it already started to convince me that I have to find another path. And this is pretty much when e-commerce hit me. I ran across a book called...it's a very long book, but I completely disagree with it now, but it was opened my eyes. It's called “Four Hours a Week”. I don’t know if you heard about it.
Yoni Mazor 6:37
Yeah, I just heard about it from Isaac Smith a few episodes ago on Prime Talk. Yeah, it's not actually... it's not published yet, the episode. So once it is, it's gonna be the second hit. If I get it one more time. A third hit, I'm gonna have to try to read it. To see the pattern. Yeah, “Four Hour Workweek”.
Gilad Freimann 7:00
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I thought, Wow, you can do that. And one of the things he said over there, and I hope my employer, my former employer that I had don’t hear this, and they said, okay, you should find a job that allows you to work from home, while you're still working for the company. So you have more time to start developing other things, like starting to develop your own business, because eventually you want to stop working as an employee and becoming your own boss. So I did that.
Yoni Mazor 7:29
So that influenced you to take action, to take real action after five, six years of, you know, working for somebody else. But I essentially I don't wanna say you made a mistake, but realizing that, you know, trying to fulfill your...taking your hobby, which is skiing, and making it, you know, your source of living, I guess, in a way, it created a dischord where it's not fun anymore, it kind of takes a soul out of your, your passion, you know, which is skiing. So I read this book, and then you realize, you know, now I can balance it. Now I can somehow probably maintain skiing, my love and passion for skiing, educating and combine it with something that I could do from all this time, generate my own business and, you know, achieve a whole new life.
Gilad Freimann 8:11
Yeah, exactly. I'm there. And I think that you can, I mean, this is what I do now, but that you can combine the love of the hobby with your job, but if it's you, if it's your business, if you create it.
Yoni Mazor 8:28
Yeah, for sure. You are stuck in an element where it's your hobby, it's your passion. But you know, at the end of the day, it wasn't yours. So either you try to make it yours or you reinvent yourself, but it seemed like you reinvented yourself in a way.
Gilad Freimann 8:38
Exactly. And then I heard about e-commerce. I heard...it started with eBay.
Yoni Mazor 8:43
And what year was this? What year when you realize eBay, e-commerce and you read the book?
Gilad Freimann 8:48
Yoni Mazor 8:50
About seven years ago?
Gilad Freimann 8:51
Yeah, Yeah, seven years ago. And then...and my brother started doing this. He lives now in Bangkok, Thailand, but he started doing eBay and they told him to do this and I would move on so and I started doing that as well. And they were already really like, charming and interesting how you can work from home and you can develop. And I'm starting to understand the mysteries of e-commerce. But it was not quite that. I mean, I was looking for something else except for...because on eBay, it's like mainly drop shipping you buy it from here you sell it there. So it was not really what I was looking for. I was looking for something which would allow me to be more creative and do my own stuff. And then around the end of 2014, beginning 2015 and this is when I met Amazon.
Yoni Mazor 9:48
So for two years, you were kind of playing, you know, dabbling around mostly in eBay. 2015 you realize that you know, you discover the Amazon power and what? Do you start buying and selling products that you found? You were private label?
Gilad Freimann 10:04
No, i, it was already a private label from the beginning was already. On Amazon, it was already a private label.
Yoni Mazor 10:08
How'd you find your products? How did you source them?
Gilad Freimann 10:11
So it was a course that I took in Israel, which is very similar to the ASM in the United States, it was a very early time and Amazon was not so much after when they launched FBA. And I know that so, over there, they were really like the simple criteria of how to find the right product and how to do it. And the competition was also very different. So I remember I found a product, it was a hammock, camping hammock, and then took pictures with a cell phone, you know, and put it and posted over there. And it sold, you know, and then took a picture of just a package without even the product, you put it on me, the main picture. And so
Yoni Mazor 11:00
These were the scrappy days of Amazon. But I want to stop for a second and try to understand something. 2013 when you mentioned that, is that was pretty much you when you started having a side gig or you completely said no more. This is what I'm doing. E-commerce.
Gilad Freimann 11:13
Alright, so it was a side gig still. The time that I said “Okay, goodbye I'm leaving” was pretty much the day after my first sale on Amazon.
Yoni Mazor 11:29
2015? Right? So Amazon was the busiest start with eBay dabbling. Once you hit Amazon. made your first sale, everything started clicking, you're confident enough to spread your wings. That's pretty awesome.
Gilad Freimann 11:41
Yeah, I knew that. I'm not earning enough. You know, it's not big enough, you know, to really living Yes, sustain me but it was already big enough for me to understand this is different from me. But this is different from like doing dropshipping. This is my own thing. I created it, the packaging, everything, and then you see the potential in it. And then I said, Okay if I continue now to juggle between the regular job and that, it will not go. And I think that's also something that a lot of people are always questioning themselves. When should I...when should they cut?
Yoni Mazor 12:19
Yeah, it's, it's a tremendous question. There is so much on the line, your living, your livelihood, your income, your family, your kids, there are so many elements, it's not easy, you need to be really brave and have a leap of faith. Doing it. Even if you see numbers, even if you see sales, even if you see profit, there's no guarantee it's gonna continue. As you mentioned, there's a lot of competition out there, and it evolves over time. So it was a brave moment for you. And let's see what happened.
Gilad Freimann 12:44
Well, I think that actually what I learned from this, and it's, it's my lesson, I think, that's what happens is that when you feel until you feel that your back is to the wall, then you're not pushing yourself to the limits. When you start to feel that that's it, I resign and from here, there's no there was no. Next that will help me. So that moment, then you start to push yourself, you start to be more creative, you start to think of other ways, and then things start rolling in when you're playing it safe at the same time. And then you're not actually pushing yourself, you're trying to slowly see okay, maybe we'll do and but they don't invest as much time in it because you're already working on the place. Eventually, I would have even done it before, and if I think about it now. But then it was risky enough to stop after the first sale. That's the way I thought.
Yoni Mazor 13:38
Interesting point. I appreciate that. Yeah.
Gilad Freimann 13:41
So yep. So then I started selling and selling on Amazon. It was me and my wife by the way, I didn't mention it before.
Yoni Mazor 13:47
So both of you quit or just one of you?
Gilad Freimann 13:50
She quit. She quit before me. She...we actually met in the ski company. So we met, we worked together in the same place, and she was the head of customer service department.
Yoni Mazor 14:03
She was also in France, in the France office?
Gilad Freimann 14:05
No. She was in Israel. I was in France, and we communicated together with...
Yoni Mazor 14:09
Long distance relationship?
Gilad Freimann 14:10
Yeah. Yeah, it took like, almost a year we're communicating like that until we actually met and clicked.
Yoni Mazor 14:20
Oh, so the relationship started remotely and only a year after physically you guys met?
Gilad Freimann 14:25
Yoni Mazor 14:26
Wow. That's remarkable. Okay, yeah.
Gilad Freimann 14:29
And then she stayed with me in France for a year and then we came back. She was still working with this company, but we already worked together and...
Yoni Mazor 14:40
So she, when she quit her job, she quit her job in that company? Or was she already a different company?
Gilad Freimann 14:45
No, she quit her job in that company as well.
Yoni Mazor 14:47
So you guys were still bundled up with that company all the way to your, you know, journey into e-commerce?
Gilad Freimann 14:55
Yeah, so she left and then there was only me supporting. But we know we were not married then and didn't have any kids so it was okay.
Yoni Mazor 15:02
Got it, it wasn't as dramatic because there's no kids in the line?
Gilad Freimann 15:05
Right. And when I quit, it already started to be more serious than that, but we knew we have to push it out before it's gonna be too late and then we were both on it. We were both on Amazon and doing e-commerce and developing the brand and grew very fast. And there were many sales and it was growing and they were really happy for me
Yoni Mazor 15:31
How many aces did you guys develop?
Gilad Freimann 15:33
So we started with just, you know, the single hammock and then there was a double hammock and we found every...Then there was this launch...gear launch thing, you know, what was this gimmick that he did? You know you did like this?
Yoni Mazor 15:47
Yeah, and you try to catch...it looks like a comb. You know, it's, you try to put air in it. And it creates like almost a hat, like a witch hat, you know?
Gilad Freimann 16:00
Yeah, and then you lay on it, you know, and it looks like so friendly, and take it to the beach with you. So yeah, so there was that and...many other, like camping stuff there. And everything sold. And, we learned a lot about e-commerce. And we actually decided that, you know, even though we're both available, I mean, we were full time on this. So we have all the time in the world. But it's not right for us to do everything ourselves. I think that was one of the smart decisions that we made then to realize ahead of time for us that we should not take it to the limit, when we just cannot do it anymore.
Yoni Mazor 16:42
I want to stress out something, I find something here very interesting. You're saying, when you both quit your job, your back was against the wall, that was the moment of truth for you. And both of you as a team, you did above and beyond possible to make this thing work. That was a very, it was a necessary element. Once that's established, you establish the business you can see, you know, it's established, it's going somewhere, that is the point where you say, you know what, now is the time to grow, and how do you grow it? You outsource, you need further help. So you know, you create something that is larger than you. But nevertheless, that gives you the ability to do it long term and not burn yourself, actually achieve higher success and stuff like that. So anybody listening to this, you gotta understand that the early beginning, it has to be your push, you have to push it, you have to create this reality, you've got to create it, you know, make it happen, make it a reality that the numbers are coming in, the sales, the growth. But once you hit that moment, and you feel like you know, there's something out there more for you, there's more potential, that's when you got to pretty much start reaching out either to VA, or source income, whatever it is, you got to open up, there's always that element of should I open up or not, you know, should you keep it to myself, because it created all this success? And how can anybody else help me make the system so special? I know there's sometimes a struggle like that internally, you know, for entrepreneurs, but this episode is more about the message to make it clear during the beginning on your own and then open up and you should probably open up. It's inevitable. Yeah, let's continue with the story.
Gilad Freimann 18:08
Yes, so there are actually two points here that you mentioned, the first thing is to decide like, should I give it to somebody else? And that's actually something that I talk a lot with other people. It's really strange that what is so obvious to us in the real world, let's call it like that, like the world outside of e-commerce outside of online. So over there, I mean, if you start your own business, then you would know from the very beginning that you have to outsource certain jobs.
Yoni Mazor 18:42
Components or... Yeah, jobs, tasks, whatever.
Gilad Freimann 18:45
You're going to open a restaurant, you're going to have to hire like waitresses and cook and everybody you cannot do everything yourself, okay? Because physically you cannot be in the same place at the same time.
Yoni Mazor 18:55
So that especially if you want to build volume, if you want to be tiny, tiny micro that's one discussion, but it's never the case. For more once you taste that success, you know, you always want more because why not fulfill your potential?
Gilad Freimann 19:07
Exactly. So it's really obvious to us when we start a business and you put so much money on the line and you know when opening a restaurant and opening a business doesn't matter that you purchase or you rent a place, you pay the salaries of that many amount of people before you even receive your first dollar. So you know that you have to invest but when people go, you know, ecommerce to online, then suddenly things you know start to blurry and they see okay, I'm here. I'm in front of the computer, I can do it myself. You know, I can do customer service, I'm just answering this and I can learn how to do graphic design so I can stay here and also and they get trapped in this thing that it takes all their day and they forgot that this is not what they started for. They start to, you know, work in the business becoming all the employees of their own. Instead of you know, thinking, Okay, should I really do it because it's a trap, it's just in front of you. So why not doing it.
Yoni Mazor 20:06
It’s almost like a golden cage, it's a cage made out of gold, because you see the revenue, see the numbers. But what I do find interesting, what you're saying is that, compared to traditional businesses, the advantage of e-commerce is that after you taste success, you see the results, you have to put money up front, then you start delegating. In traditional business before you even make $1, one penny, upfront, you paid so much, even if it's just yourself in the restaurant, you got to buy the equipment, the material, there's so much upfront investment. And it's still you're probably gonna have to get to these employees out there and just to open your restaurant, you're gonna have a probably a team of a few people, no guarantees, here, you kind of you can play it in probably in reverse. Start on your own, be scrappy, do everything you can do, see the results, see that the numbers are coming in, then start you know, hiring the cooks and the waitresses, what are all these tasks that have to be fulfilled? inside your organizations? Slowly but surely, there's there's...
Gilad Freimann 20:59
Right? So I'm a big fan of knowing what you need to do and do it yourself before you delegate to other people. And other people asking me like talking to me. They want to hire a VA and I asked them, okay, what's your experience on Amazon? They say, No, I just, I'm just starting, I don't know anything, I wanted to be able to do it for me, because I don't have time because I'm married because and you know, this is not the way to work. I mean, you need to do it yourself in the beginning, you need to know what you want to achieve and what you want to give you know the things therefore to do. So yeah, definitely go in and do it yourself, get your hands dirty, and know how to measure people. But after that, I think from my experience when talking to a lot of sellers taking VAs from us, and especially like big companies, you can see that the ones that are treating their e-commerce business as if it was a regular business, then they do it right, because they know that they have to put up front. So they start a business from the beginning, they could know they know their stuff, because it's not their first time selling on Amazon. But they know that from the very beginning or really, really fast, they will have to take VAs to do customer service and shipments and all that. So they could still focus on growing their business. So they're not waiting until they cannot do it anymore. They know from the very beginning that they have to invest before getting the first...
Yoni Mazor 22:21
They're more able to see what's coming in, already prepare the infrastructure to write whenever the high traffic comes in the bridges and the roads that they already have in place are handling depression low, which is why you need resources for that, you know, two resources understanding is coming, and how it's coming. And also financially, you have to do it. Let's get back to the story that these were, you know, just solidifying points of I guess what's coming next in your story, which I would assume that you have to start growing and get some outside help.
Gilad Freimann 22:49
Right. So then we decided that we're gonna take our first virtual assistant, find her or him and and, you know, start delegating the things that take so much time and effort. And this is when things start to become complicated. I read a lot of, you know, articles and Facebook, and they're like, what should you do, and then I posted an ad, it was an online job and some other places like Facebook websites for VAs and so on, I realized that I want to hire from the Philippines. And then I chose the map. And the problem was actually not to find a VA, the problem was to decide who is going to be our VA because we had like 500 people applying in like in the first day, you know, and so we started getting all these messages and they're and they're all got...
Yoni Mazor 23:46
You got overwhelmed. Yeah, we're over supply and demand.
Gilad Freimann 23:49
Everybody's saying Hi, I can be your VA. I have experience. I know this. I know this has been for years that I've been doing this and that and then you read their CV is like everybody looks perfect. And then started to, as I said, it’s complicated. So we put all the effort into reading like dozens of CVs or hundreds even and starting to interviewing them. And it took us a while and a lot of effort. And in the end of it, we found the perfect match. And we were really sure like okay, this, she's really nice, and she knows everything she has experience and she's, you know, the CV is great. And then she's directors, and then we spent another like about a month training her from scratch about Amazon. So I gave her all the knowledge that I knew and related to her job like how to do customer service, how to read shipping plans, how to communicate with Amazon and checking the listings and so on. So all these things that I told her and she started working for us after a month of training and which I paid for hours of work. So, um, and after a month we started working. And about two weeks after I sent her a message, like, Hey, how are you? Can you do this? And then she didn't ask for that I realized that like, the day after, okay, she's still not answering what's happening and, and I tried a phone, I tried this Skype. And, no response...then took me like several days. And okay, she's gone. And she's gone not because something happened to her, but just because, you know, she decided that she doesn't want to do it anymore. And in the Philippines, it's accepted for some people, you know, just to cut, it's online, you know, they don't have to go to the office and sign anything you know, or speak to you on the phone, they just disappear. And that's it. And this is what happened to us. And this was a blow. This was a real like, uh...
Yoni Mazor 25:47
A shock. It created a shock in your mindset?
Gilad Freimann 25:52
Yeah, first of all, because you understand all the time that you spent for nothing like reading all the CVs. And if you try now, to go back to the other people that you were thinking about, they were not relevant anymore. They were not available anymore.
Yoni Mazor 26:05
Right. And so yeah, you put tremendous resources into finding, training, and creating the one that you feel most comfortable with. And it was a total failure at the end of the day, because it wasn't long lasting. And it's a sense of disappointment, great disappointment based on the expectations that you guys had. So I guess what was the birth of that? What then trigger? What did it trigger afterwards?
Gilad Freimann 26:29
Well, first of all, we had to understand that we, we continue to look, I mean, a lot of people say Okay, you know what, forget about it, it’s too much of a hassle, I can do it myself. And then they go back to the circle of this trap, they do everything themselves. But we knew it, this is not the direction that we want. And we had to go all over this process again. And yet this time, we're a bit more clever. We had some ideas of how to better find the VAs. And then and then we realized that if we know how to do it right, if you have the experience, I mean, the second way that we took was already better. And yet she was still not the one. And we had to let her go and training starts all over. But we were already prepared. And talking to other people at that time that they were hiring VAs, we understood this happens quite often. I mean, VAss they disappear. They don't answer, there is all these typhoons, and internet problems. And you know, a lot of people are not happy from working with VA. And they say, yeah, this happens all the time. And, but once you start to see that there was some kind of a structure, some kind of a way to overcome these problems to understand the way that these people work, to understand that there's a different culture over them. And they look at things differently than you, then you could find good VAs and you could train them correctly, and you can make them feel like they want to stay with you. And once you have this figured, then the sky's the limit, because then you can multiply and have several years working for you. And then things really
Yoni Mazor 28:06
You scale your business, you find them, you find that there are good teammates to scale your business, which is a pleasure once it does click properly. You know, it's a great thing. So, okay, you're able to overcome your own challenge, and then find the right one, cuz you’re saying “the one, the one”. You found the one. How did that give birth to VAA?
Gilad Freimann 28:26
So she continued to work with us on the Amazon business. But at the same time, because we heard so many people talking about this. So we said, okay, we have now some knowledge that we can share with people. And maybe this could be a good idea to try something new, maybe we can develop another business, maybe there's another opportunity here. Because I think that when people are saying like, okay, when you're going to Amazon, and it's a shame that people when they store it on the end, they find the product, they try to sell it, it doesn't sell, then they go and they leave and that's it. But the idea will be they always say don't give up not giving up is not just don't give up after the first product. It's once you're there, once you have more and more confidence in what you do, once you know more and more things and opportunity starts to rise. And this was an opportunity and something that we found because we were there, because we sold on Amazon, because we knew and the more you're into it then the more opportunities you have. So this was an opportunity and we started VAA.
Yoni Mazor 29:30
Nice. So you started the VAA what year? Got it, so 2015 you’re in the game, running between that timeframe. You're growing your own Amazon business, you had all the challenges of finding a VA, you did find a good VA, and then you seize the opportunity you know all the mistakes, all the trouble, all the pain that we felt and learn from it and overcome it. Now we're going to open that opportunity for the rest of the world and all the e-commerce players out there and in 2017, almost two years ago, you open up VA. Tell us, you know, take us quickly on the journey since 2017 to now. Growth. What happened? How's it going?
Gilad Freimann 30:11
Well, we started with you know, we call it the first batch of trainees...
Yoni Mazor 30:19
First class. Yeah, yeah, first class, batch is for like for, you know, for your factory, you have a product and you put in a pallet. But you have a school, you’re educating, definitely class. Yeah, that's the way to go.
Gilad Freimann 30:31
So that was the first class and I was that instructor. And this time, it was not to introduce one person, it was to teach and filter a team of VAs. And, and I did it really all by myself, and really doing all the excels and looking at each person, and validating and so on, and applying everything I learned from then until then. And then I found the best in the class. And she became my manager. And the proof that it works is that today is three years after she's still our manager, you know, she has tons of experience now working with VAs and Amazon sellers. Her name is Liz, and she's been with us from the past.
Yoni Mazor 31:13
And so she took leadership and you were able to find good partners along the way, you know, to take leadership and manage it's a great thing to have.
Gilad Freimann 31:20
Yeah, and then and then we saw VAs so we found the first team of VAs, we filtered them, we trained them. And then we found the first for sellers to the needed VAs. And the beginning was Israelis because I was in Israel.
Yoni Mazor 31:39
For you, it was like, I guess the domestic market was a natural ground to start with, you know? Look around you, who can who needs help, you found that you know, yeah, exactly. Basically, Amazon sellers based out of Israel, but nevertheless they sell on Amazon Europe or Amazon US, correct?
Gilad Freimann 31:54
Right. Exactly. Most of them sell on the US.
Yoni Mazor 31:58
Yep, got it.
Gilad Freimann 32:00
Yeah. And then we started to develop. So in the beginning, it was really like basic training, then we started to advance and create better and better training process and create additional training. So what we do now, for example, is that there is the basic...there is not it's not basic anymore, but there is the initial training that takes about a month that we teach the VAs everything they need to know about Amazon. But after that we continue as we are an academy, actually. So we continue to support these VAs with extra knowledge all the time. So every month, we're creating new tutorials about either what updates on Amazon and or other stuff that’s in those softwares and programs that are relevant to Amazon sellers. So the VAs they continue to develop and become more and more professional. And because we're looking for those that will stay with us for many years. And this is also something that keeps them with us because they always continue to develop, they always continue to grow more, so they're not stuck in one place.
Yoni Mazor 32:59
So they're growing, they're growing along with their sellers in the whole industry. Basically the school that you created, it's a very unique school because it's hyper-connected to the dynamics of e-commerce, especially on Amazon, which is so fast paced, you know, everyday things change and update, and you're able to streamline that quickly into the curriculum, you know, the materials that they learn, and just basically, part of the philosophy is that, you know, we're gonna have the foundations, but there's always that opening to be ready for the things that get updated and change and adopt that as soon as it happens. So, you know, the students are, are used to that, right? The students and VAs that you and your team are used to that mindset, which is the healthiest mindset you can have in e-commerce because it's such a fast growth, unchartered industry, which you know, it's so open, wide open for anybody to participate, that because of that, it's so many changes that happen all the time. The teams that you create and the VAs you create, that talent that you harvest over there, just a customer is customized to that mindset which is the perfect thing. So it creates a powerful synergy between the sellers, which are your clients, and you know, the team that you have of VAs.
Gilad Freimann 34:08
Right and then the more fascinating thing I will say is that I discovered the more you develop the VAs and I mentioned that before then they're the more they are connected to you and your company. And that's really like a big reason for a lot of VAs to disappear. That's the reason that my first VA disappeared.
Yoni Mazor 34:28
That eliminates the original sin. The original sin is that what happened was no connection and we thought I thought there's something going on between us. Another romantic level on a business level. Yeah, I guess it wasn't so. But here you create a complete reverse effect of that we're there and they're saying this is where they want to be. This is where they're enjoying. This is where they feel confident and enjoy being in there looking forward to what's coming next. So they're not going anywhere.
Gilad Freimann 34:51
Right and today it goes much more than that. I mean, we celebrate their birthdays, we send them cakes, our staff, we have nine people in there in the company. That's our managers in the Philippines. So they visited with the VAs in the Philippines and they go out together and, and suddenly they feel like they're a part of something big. And this makes them safe, makes them feel happy. They're happy from not just from their salary, but really from being a part of something, not just somebody working from home, waiting for you to decide if you want, if they should continue to work with you or not the day after, and then they do the same. They just decide, okay, find something else, like they quit. And they really feel like a part of something, this is a huge difference between a VA working from home by himself or herself and what we tried to do.
Yoni Mazor 35:36
Awesome, I think it's great, you're seeing what's going on in the market, and you are creating a family culture, to answer these growing needs. But, but all the participants involved the sellers and you're trying to fulfill their needs, but obviously, you know, you're the service provider and your resources, which are your people, your team, you know, you you grow it together, it's, it's a remarkable task. It's visionary. And it's great to hear that there's such a function available out there for sellers, because it is challenging, it can be really frustrating. And once you have that ability to eliminate that frustration completely, that's a gift. So that's pretty cool. All right, we're gonna have to start wrapping this episode up. So I guess I'm gonna do a quick recap to understand what I got from now. And then we're gonna go to the last part of your message of hope and resilience for anybody listening. So went to the army instead of three years did seven years a long, hard route. After the army, you got your education turned into pursuing your passion, which was skiing, right? You took a job into that, it wasn't your own business, you did that for a few good years. You were able to meet your future wife together with her you before you guys married, you guys decided to get married you you pretty much explored that the world of e-commerce and especially Amazon, he saw you know, you did all the efforts to the initial effort to get started, the moment the numbers came in, and it was real, you quit your job you that kept growing, and then you realize, you know, we have to scale it up, we have to outsource and get some further help. From that: failure. You know, that experience, the first experience was a failure. You learn so much that it creates a, it opened up your mind to understanding there’s a whole big opportunity out there for you. And that opportunity creates more opportunities for sellers out there right now is anybody listening to this episode? You know, this, if you need help with that, there's an opportunity for you out there to get help. And the kind of help that is really plugged into what's going on. It's, that's the most important thing. It's connected to the source of things, what's going on, because things change fast and all the time. And you want to have something that's sustainable and dynamic. So I guess this is the need that you're feeling? Was that kind of a good quick recap on the story of Gilad? So that's great. So we really, we really appreciate that, you know, he took the time to share this with us. And now I guess, you know, to quote to close it off. Message of resilience, what or message of hope for entrepreneurs out there listening?
Gilad Freimann 38:00
Well, first of all, I mean, Corona or not Corona, I think that one of the things that are super important is, and they say it’s so tacky I know, don't give up and continue. But continue doesn't mean that you know, you do this thing over and over again if it fails and fails But once you're in the niche, and what once you've decided this is where you go, don't give up and go back to where you were, okay? Because it means also like if you are now on Amazon, or if you're working with a VA, and it doesn't work out, continue this way. Because once you start something, then you learn so much during this. So every failure is an opportunity for learning something more and finding other opportunities. So this is like a huge thing. And in this Corona thing also I think that don't let go of your VAs. Like I'm talking to the people that are already hiring VAs because this is the people that I usually talk with everyday on Amazon, and I love them, we think okay, now, there's some problems, who knows what's going to happen. But working with a VA is the thing that will actually make your business grow. And if you let go of this, then it's pretty much like letting go of a big part of your company. And so I think that the way to do it is understand that this thing is more until on and don't give up and stay on the way. This is what happened for me during the story that we talked until now. We haven't several times actually. But you should always keep preparing for.
Yoni Mazor 39:31
So the message of resilience is something that you live through, you know? Got challenged, you experienced failure, instead of going back to exactly the place you came from, you tried to identify the opportunity that's in front of you because of the failure and embrace it and use it to overcome and move on to the next challenge and achieve success. I think that's a great message. It is so authentic. It's really coming from you and from your experience. So which is awesome. You can never get a wrong. Great. So Gilad, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. It was a pleasure. Wish you and the whole team on a global level a much-continued success. Hopefully, in a few more months or years we'll have you again to see where things have, what places have taken you. So maybe we'll have you again. Until then, you know, stay safe, stay healthy. Goodbye, everybody will be enjoyed.
Gilad Freimann 40:15
Thank you very much