Danny McMillan of Seller Sessions talks about how East London found success in Amazon FBA.
This Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Danny McMillan - Founder of the Seller Sessions Podcast discusses how he transformed his life and found success in the world of Amazon FBA.
Seller Sessions is the largest Amazon FBA and Private Label podcast for Amazon Sellers. It is the first of its kind and offers no-nonsense, and straight-to-the-point Amazon insight and up-to-date information. Seller Sessions is published 3 times per week and often breaks new trends in the industry.
Host Danny McMillan is a world-renowned public speaker and veteran Amazon Seller. Danny is also the co-founder of DATAbrill. DATAbrill manages Amazon PPC and advertising automation for 6, 7 & 8 figure Amazon brands.
Danny also works with Amazon in the UK to provide webinar content for their 3rd party sellers. Each year he hosts Seller Sessions Live, the annual conference for Amazon Sellers in the UK. The event brings in the world's best speakers on the cutting edge of marketing on and off of Amazon. He is also the founder of SellerPoll, the official annual awards for Amazon Sellers and Brands.
Get $400 Free in Amazon FBA Reimbursements with GETIDA.
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Everybody, welcome to another episode of Prime Talk today. I'm really excited to have a really, really unique and special guest. I'm having Danny McMillan. Danny is a lot of things. And a few of those things, just for you guys, to brush up your brains. So he's the founder and host of Sellar Sessions, which is, the largest podcast for advanced Amazon sellers. He's also the founder of Seller Poll, which is a very popular award, one of the main awards for Amazon, and the Amazon seller community. He's also the co-founder of DATAbrill which is an Amazon PPC technology company. And he is in charge of a few more things. Well, he's probably going to share with us during our conversation today. But Danny, welcome to the show.
Danny McMillan 00:45
Thank you for having me. A pleasure, really.
Yoni Mazor 00:47
So today's episode is going to be the star review the story of Danny McMillan you can share with us everything you know, who are you? Where are you from? Where were you born? How did you begin your professional career all the way to where we are now. So I guess without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Danny McMillan 1:04
So I was born in East London. Anyone who knows the Bow Bells, which is East London, so that makes me a bit of what they call Cockney. If you are from the UK, you understand what that is. People joke about her Jason and lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and stuff like that.
Yoni Mazor 1:22
That's where you're from?
Danny McMillan 1:06
I'm from East London. Yeah. So I moved out as I got older, I moved out to Essex but born from London. Farber from Hackney, my mum's from Poplar, and grandparents are from there as well, you probably tell by my voice. So yeah, I don't know where it really starts. Didn't do well, in school. I left school, barely could read and write. I was always like a grinder. You know, like I had paper rounds and worked in everything from about nine years old. So I always had that work ethic that was instilled in me.
Yoni Mazor 2:00
What were your parents doing for example? Give us the context of your background.
Danny Mcmillan 2:05
Well, how do I put it, that's an interesting one. My dad left me when I was very, very young. So my mom was the main thing in my life in terms of foundation. Yeah, foundation, you know, had some stepfathers along the way, etc. But yeah, so should you know, childhood is your childhood, you, you get on the new you do that. I did leave school, formal education. So I have no exams behind me or anything like that. I barely could read and write when I left school, I wasn't very active in school on net side wonders.
Yoni Mazor 2:46
When did you leave school? How old are you over the year?
Danny McMillan 2:49
I left school when I was 15. And the reason why I was on a life support machine. So 15 and three months you're able to work? Like officially right? So at the time, I was dating a girl and I went and done some work for her father, at the British Gas building in London, service, suspended ceiling, partition walls, and everything. Like that kind of work. So mainly in office blocks and stuff that you can do. On a week weekend. It's all very legal, aboveboard cuz you have to wait 15 three months in order to be able to be paid and go through the government and do it the right way. So I was doing that as weekend work. And what happened was I pulled down a sheet man a guy Garret were working and it was like a wet floor area. What happened was half a ton of plasterboard collapsed and fell on top of me. So I have half a pound or have half a ton? Yes. plasterboards in glasses. Yes. So they come out that the massive boards that we would have to run them upstairs. So what you do is you read the sheet roundup to protect them, as I've pulled down the sheet on the board to come over and have landed on top of me and I'm like, it's okay, give me a little while, and everything else, but they called an ambulance and I was taken to St. Bartholomew's hospital. And then I went on to a life machine. So they did emergency surgery. So four broken ribs, collapsed lung, liver, laceration, broken diaphragm, broken and broken ankle, and I had like 10% chance of living, but they said, look, you know, it was a fire report for you. So I was in life support for about three days, two and a half days. And so yeah, so that that took some time to recover. Obviously, we've broken ribs, you're usually public and bedside for broken three or four broken ribs. And so that took about eight or nine months to get through that recovery. So the route I was on as a child was, you know, I was on the council stay and you know, you in different crowds and stuff and....
Yoni Mazor 5:09
What was the year when you got hurt and when you got injured?
Danny McMillan 5:15
I think it was 1991. Right. So that would have made me in that period it was in August I think it happened. It was summer. My birthday is November. So I was 15 years old. So Born in 75. So yeah, it was around 1991.
Yoni Mazor 5:34
So you're 15 almost 16 already, after recovering. What was the next station that used to go back to school? Or was it...
Danny McMillan 5:39
No, no. So I never went back to school to complete school because obviously, I was in recovery, not that I would have completed school. I'd been suspended and stuff from school a few times.
Yoni Mazor 5:49
What was the reasoning, just to brush on that a little bit was a reason for you to get suspension grades, or was it? What happened then?
Danny McMillan 5:56
And what happened was I was overweight as a child, and both on both occasions, especially on the second occasion, so I would get bullied at school. And then they got to a point that one day there was a kid called Egg his name was always nickname was Egg. And I'd come in because I was bunking off school all the time and I came in and he said to I'm just gonna come beat Danny up and he can swing. But I've done boxing since I was younger. So I've always been kind of look, I'll retreat, but when it's on, it's on. So bullying was more verbal and stuff like there are a few things but in boxing you, you learn to fight, right. And so he came in and he went to attack me and I stood to the side and just took him cleanout. And he was on the floor and he's a big lump come upon his head. And we called him Egg, and his nickname was Egg. So he looked like he had a big egg on his head. And the pe teacher didn't like me at the school anyway, he said we're going to get Danny out. I need you to come in and da da da. So I was never expelled but suspended a couple of times. But that was Yeah, school wasn't something that I enjoyed. And being able to barely read and write. I wasn't attending lessons. And so there was no point in going back to do anything.
Yoni Mazor 7:19
Right. It wasn't your mold. You found it early on. And that's not your mold.
Danny McMillan 7:24
Exactly. And then I had various different jobs being unskilled you know, I used to work the markets, Romford market and some of the markets in London. And so I wasn't going anywhere, you know, living in our council place, with my mom. And, but what the been on life support machine. What that did for me when I woke up is like, I really wanted to do music. And it didn't matter what he was going to take, but I'm going to do music. And I remember right into my local MP. And he basically wrote back and said you should be a carpenter because back when I was an MP, like the, you know, like the local mayor and stuff like that it's a local government. And so you write to people like see if there's any funding, back then engineering schools were like, three or four grand a term and being from a single parent on the Council of State, he can't afford that kind of thing, then people would turn around and say to you look, just can't get a proper job can leave the music thing alone. And, but obviously to means because it was like, What do I do, I'm going to end up either dead or in prison. If I carry on the route I'm going and where I was. So I had to make that change. So I left home at 17 and I got some, you know, usual manual labor kind of jobs and stuff. But then I landed a job at a record company. And by the time I've got to when you're 17 Yeah, Rosie, when I left home at 17 right, I've done various different jobs. I met my wife, I think when I was yet 19 18 19 and then I landed a job very light, low-level record company, local area. And nobody was around 1994-1995 ish year round 94. So then effectively that started everything off and because I put into a claim for my accident, I was able to claim a claim on the insurance. So that took four years to go through. I was on my second record label by then I'd worked at one place and move to another year worth mentioning artists or now what do you mean I come from the world of dance music. So dance music isn't like your pop charts and everything else. But you know the if you were the drum and bass and hardcore and stuff like that, it was the second label called Strictly Underground Records, which was one of the formative like Jungle Drum and Bass. What was the name? Strictly underground record recording. Yeah, so that was one of the record labels.
Danny McMillan 10:16
It's a movement right so you've got an underground you've got dance music you've got like mainstream house music and then you've got drum and bass and then you've got your back then you had speed go age and there's a hip hop, you know, like in hip hop, there's an underground and then there's the mainstream so you've got the same thing with dance music as well. And so what happened to accumulate with that by the time I got to the second record label should be underground. I had a situation where the money came through for my claim. It was for 11 and a half 1000 pounds with that 11 half 1000 pounds. I put the deposit down on our first home which was in a place called Harold Hill but it was slightly 48,500 pounds for this house. Again, it was on the Council of states.
Yoni Mazor 11:06
Let me get this straight so the claim from the injury when you're 15 kicked in and it took about four years you got 11 and a half 1000 pounds you bought a house close to 50 pounds so you put about 20% down?
Danny McMillan 11:16
No no no I put I think I put about three grand down but the rest of it I spent on studio equipment so I could learn to engineer a home so worked in his day job but being in the music industry that's like a foot in and then I went and bought studio quick most people waste their money right especially in 19 so bought the house for me and my wife You know, we were already married back then you got married? No, no, no, we didn't get married to we're coming up to 20 years in July. But we met when I was 19 and chose 18. So we bought the house we'd already been living together renting and stuff, but we bought a house and invested the money in the recording equipment. So I could learn to engineer and I set up a small record label for myself. So I've put through all the money went back into the business so I didn't put a big chunk of money down. But that was probably one of the best decisions earlier in life that I did make because I set my first business up. I was working daytime in an industry that I wanted to do. And I'll put roots down with my wife with a property you know.
Yoni Mazor 12:24
Nice very good mix. I'd say this is the next station.
Danny McMillan 12:27
So for now what happened we got to 1998 and you know the labels doing well. I'm traveling around the world with the label. We're going to places like the Miami winter music conference who went to the medium conference to Hong Kong before it was you know. We headed back to Hong Kong that year, back then that was 1999 I think that Yeah, I'm not sure no, actually the Hong Kong I think was 96 when they handed back 90. 97 was the first time I went to Miami the music conference when I got there. I'm getting a shiver down the spine now. So when I got there, I heard all this Florida breakbeat music, right? So you know it's 130 BPM and it was like, This stuff's not in the UK and you know like things can just happen for reasons so I get I was already writing record reviews for Record Mirror and so I'd get free records when you write reviews. Yeah, you obviously you're going to give your honest opinion them but you'd be on the main list for these PR companies your record. When I got home from Miami when I'm like this music or got to do something about it. One of the promo companies dropped an album called Coastal Breaks by a guy called Adam Freeland. Now he was the figurehead of that music. And then I've got a record called a place called Asad sent by another guy called Ronnie Pilgrim. And so I managed to meet these two guys, just as I got back from Miami before there's a burgeoning scene. And what happened was, I had all my experience working at strictly underground weird kiss compilations, drum and bass speed. Garage house IP for compilations says well versed in putting CDs together and doing campaigns and we're running radio ads or he was running a radio to hold the door to PR and promotions and stuff around it. So it was a vehicle and they also did vent revelation at Wembley as well on New Year's Eve. So we were kind of really involved at a young age. I've got to learn all this stuff from dealing with the media. I'm sending out records, I'm on the phone trying to plug to get things locked in. And then at night, I'm in my own studios. So what was happening, I was making records around that same time. And I spoke to these guys. I said, Look, I've just made this breakbeat record. At the same time as simpleton cooks label Fatboy Slim, slim label, not himself. We'd like to put that out. And then I went back to Randy. And I said, he said, No, no, no, I want to put it out. And then I went to a label called Kicking Records. And I said, Look, I want to do a compilation is called New School breaks, right? So this was running, mixing the compilation mean him compiling it and using our experience together. So he was the figurehead, the front end. And they also have a night called frictional, of barber in London, which was sold out down the road, you know, it's like one of those legendary kinds of events within your genre, it was packed. We had left field come in called Cox or the big name from the dance world, you probably don't know half of these people.
Yoni Mazor 15:47
It’s all news to me. I'm learning a lot. I'm catching you know, catching what I can do, right?
Danny McMillan 15:52
The synergy of the story is that when things just come together, right, so you're in Miami, you hear this music, you get home, an album drops on your lap, a vinyl drops on your lap, and you're like, wow, we got to do think about and it wasn't a thing then. Then we dropped an album called New School breaks and it exploded. We're all in the press music magazine. Mix mag magazine.
Yoni Mazor 16:15
That was your label, the one that you own, or the one you work for, just to clarify that.
Danny McMillan 16:18
The one that I end up going to work because, what happened is when we dropped that album, Kicking Records, offered me a job off the back of it and said, Look, you've done really good You brought this out into it. And they're ready to turn around, so he said to me, look, come and work for me. Don't go and work for him come work for we'll build this we'll do this thing together. And both of my decisions at that time is very good. Because I could have gone the Fatboy Slim route, which would have never had this, this won't be part of my life.
Yoni Mazor 16:46
So Fatboy was more corporate side because that's a big, that's actually a record I recognize.
Danny McMillan 16:52
Exactly so he's mainstream. So you're gonna remember him, but for me is that I went with my gut and it was like, this is a new scene, right? I'm turning down Fatboy Slim, but not him himself. His label. I'm turning this opportunity down to invest in this person. There was no scene, there's none of that. And what happens when we drop New School Brakes, effectively, we help create a community, right of people that want to make this forward-thinking breakbeat music with a bracing twist on it. This is before dubstep and everything else that came along. So we're kind of trying to pioneer this, the sound and exploded across the press off the back of that, I was able to them come to market myself with what I do. And my sound was much more melodic. So I had my own kind of own sound. And people used to call me the book on the book of m’break be which is a DJ which is the famous drum bass DJ. I don't know if you've heard him, but it’s that kind of liquid funk kind of sound. I was into the more melodic…
And say what was your nickname book and what the book of m’break be (inaudible)?
Danny McMillan 18:05
Yeah, so a drummer, you know, where people like to refer something to someone to say, Oh, they sound like this, or they're a bit like that. And so that's what happened was, whereas everyone else is doing like the heavy bass line, kind of more hard edge stuff. I was doing more the liquid melodic musical kind of thing. And so there weren’t many of me doing that sound right, right. Yeah. pioneering all the way. So then I dropped an album called New Shapes n Breaks. For me that exploded my career as a DJ to fly around the world internationally. And so who was featured like in DJ magazine was in 1999 also or ? This is 99. So 98, so we dropped New School Breaks in 1999. We dropped new shapes in breaks my album, and that meant that I exploded. So what was happening is I was working behind the scenes support and Rennie then it was my time for the come up you know, so I dropped my album on the same label kicking records because this seemed what I done. I said Look, I want to present saying no, will you back me on this you've seen my track record what we did with and I said let’s this go for it, we put it out and for me, it took off and DJ magazine voted me as a DJ to watch in 99 one to watch so they do who's to come next year kind of thing. So I've become one to watch. And I also got voted the number 3/3 best compilation of the year behind pick Tom and Josh week. Nice. So that was really the real kind of foundation and kick off by believing in something trying to see what's there and take your risk rather than going that route of that's the safe route. But I have a feeling about this. You know when you get something you probably when you set your company up you know that feeling as an entrepreneur. When something's right we'll get into the Amazon story later. There was something right there. We’ll get into the Amazon story later.
Yoni Mazor 19:56
Yeah, there's a flame. Yeah, you feel the heat? So you wanna...
Unknown Speaker 20:02
Yeah, yeah, you get a click. So from there from 1999 to 2001, or done 19 tours of the US, landed a show on kiss 100 I was remix in records like new order with my various different recording partners and stuff. And then around 2002, with Limewire coming in 2001 of that in the things collapsed. I mean, what happened? What happened was, we had Limewire, so everyone was downloading. So as an independent record label, the way that you make your money is you put records out on your own label and you sell vinyl, right? You put a mix CD out of that vinyl, so you make money on CDs, HMV, Virgin our price, and all that kind of stuff. And more importantly, you making money from your DJ. So I had a kiss FM show on a weekly basis. So I've got syndication where I can play my own records and other people's records. And the bigger your records are more responsive the dance floor is promoters are more likely to book you and record companies then want to pay you to remix records. So you'll go from not knowing anyone to get in paid 510 grand to remix New Order or do you know and what happens is hype is built and on that train that you on. That determines the amount of money you can make as a DJ. So I've never made any hit records, never charted. But I made some reasonably big underground records with various different recording artists we've made like as collectives, right? Yeah. So we had, you know, tracks played on Kiss One, like on Kiss Radio One, and things like that. And I've DJ’d on the radio. Does anyone have BBC? Yeah, yeah. BBC Radio One. So a good friend of mine is Annie Nightengale. I hosted the Breaks Power walked with her for about seven years. So this the reason I know about her Ward now, and I host this one is because for six or seven years, I was the host, every year of fabric in London of the brakes poll, awards Nice. Yeah. And we've got Seller Poll for the seller community yet. So make sense. So I understand the dynamics of voting, the issues that you face because it polarizes opinions, you've got to know how to take this on. Every year, it becomes more and more difficult, because people don't always admit it, but they get more competitive at it, city awards don't want that. But it gets really competitive. And people complain and everything else. Right. And so you are not in a position to do anything other than do the awards and just get on with it. You know, I mean, so
Yoni Mazor 22:47
Yeah, it's a lot of politics involved, you got to stay neutral somehow and keep that.
Danny McMillan 22:51
So I only get called Switzerland in this community anyway, because I'm, I don't get up in people's businesses, right? If someone's got a problem over there, I don't have a dog in that fight. And I always make it clear to people look, I take sides. It's nothing to do with me. That's your business with them. So some people see that as a cop-out. The way I see it is that you can be excluded and ostracized by not taking sides. But the moment you waver, that's where the problem comes. So the way I see is, look, if someone's good to me, and we have a good relationship, I'm not going to go off to this camp over here. Because that isn't fair on that person. Because we've got a good relationship, who for me is like, war is bad for business. Unless you're selling guns, but yeah. And I suppose at the age of I'm 45. Now, at the age of 45, have already done the music industry, I've had to deal with big egos, and issues and stuff like that, as you get older, you just mellow out. It really doesn't matter. I know, it matters to individuals in the politics that go on between people. But it's not my job, or to take it on to me. So I show love. And I show respect to everyone. And I always say to people, my door is always open. I don't do shout enough my platform and stuff. Like if there's an issue, pick up the phone, let's break bread. Let's take care of that.
Yoni Mazor 24:21
Like I want to go back to the point where he said a melted down, it was 2001 or 2002 when your industry...
Danny McMillan 24:26
2002 it kind of collapsed. So just after I traveled just after 911. So a lot of my touring was based on going to the US. So I'd go from a Wednesday, DJ Friday, Saturday, and then fly home Sunday, and then I'll do that alternative weeks for a period of time. So I'd done about 19 tours when 911 clicked in and they started up in security and everything else and what was going on with the economy. It almost dropped overnight from that September 11. I done a tour a couple of times after. But I remember going out on the 19th of September and I'm in the been in. Where ia it Charlotte, and I go out Oh, yeah. And I remember speaking to people, and they were like terrified. And so why do you get on the plane? What's going on here? Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 25:18
So yeah, so then so 911 water-cooled off your halo, your whole industry, and whatnot.
Danny McMillan 25:22
No. no, what happened is that when you ride in a wave, you hit its peak. So I picked there and it was only down from there has still operated in the industry. But it wasn't the same. It took the wind out the sails, you know, over a period of time, the gigs started to slow down. I then moved into teaching music production, audio and engineering. I retrained the two best colleges in London, which is...
Yoni Mazor 25:48
This was 2001 or 2002?
Danny McMillan 25:51
Yes, 2003 456, and seven, in that period there. I was still DJing. I still have my own studio. It wasn't, I wasn't doing as much. So I would take time off teaching, like one of the first things I did do in 2002 to 2003. When that, like what happens, when the, and this is why I always say to people you can't be entitled. I remember I think it was mid-2002. Right. I had, 911 came around. I had put an album out. I've done a joint venture with a company called Castle Communications. So it's like a mini-major over here in the UK. And the albums didnt perform as well they should my gigs slowed down from 911 and then Kiss FM dropped me all within the space of 90 days. The Fairweather friend thing kicks in. Do you shoot me because you're not as hot as you once were? And I remember doing my last big tour. This one's a bit more of an extended tour. I got off the plane. I went home. I showered and then I went down to Forts in Dagenham and started to work in trailers because that was what I needed to earn money. So I've gone from game paid a few grand to gig, DJ into from anywhere from 500 to 2000. depends if it's Thursday, Friday, Saturday night to normal the bigger raves and stuff. Go from there rocking a dance floor to then going under a trailer and repairing trailers at Ford Motor Co in Dadgum in f1 Motor Company and working for a friend of mine under the trailer until I worked out what the next thing. So I've had a few times in my life where you're up here and then you go down here then you got to build up so I've had more comebacks than Mike Tyson basically. So that period there I then started teaching but I worked with underprivileged kids so I was back in East London over by Westham near a football club. Team, by the way, making sure good. So we got you under the bow bells. You can't start supporting Liverpool summer. So I then started working there part-time I was able to move my studio in there, like equipment. So when they took on because he literally was an entry to employment. And so what we're doing, we're taking kids off the street. And we're like getting them to do music, educating them maths, English and stuff like that with the hook of music, and then getting them back into employment. So I have done things like a mum will come down to me and her son. I won't mention his name, but there's her son Charlie. But before that he came to his mom came to me the courses fall she went looked down. He's walking around with a stab vest on he's already been stepped up. All he knows is music, can you take him in so I begged the owners of this company, let's bring him in. He's talented and everything else. So he done really well. And then he charted about two-three years later and we've got there are a few success stories like Drum and Bass DJ called Chrissy Chris who's who was on Kiss FM then he moved to Radio One and one extra. And he's now worldwide from Bass Star.
Yoni Mazor 29:19
There’s an old saying, Listen, Judaism or my country where you save a life, you save the world. That's pretty good.
Danny McMillan 29:25
Yeah, I mean, this is the thing. And for me, it was like, I know what they're going through. I know what it's like to be chased. I know what it's like to be beaten up. I know what it's like, you know, it's more intense than it was, where I was, because even though I was in East London, I'd moved further out. But I had kids where they will come in and I'd have to take knives off them where they have. mopeds turned up like drug dealers turned up on payroll because we had the payroll rock down as well. People tried to rock the studio.
Yoni Mazor 29:59
So I didn’t realize London was that rough? It sounds really aggressive.
Danny McMillan 30:02
Look in London now I think there are around 300 gangs and there's a turf war that goes on, but no one knows about it. It's a bit like subculture is a subculture is that seedy underground. The undertreated is the underclass, I'm an underclass guy. I come from the council state. And these, these are kids that their kids are having kids, you know, their parents are drug dealers. And so they've come up through this mash-up of influences and everything around them, you know, and it's bad. The gun crime and knife crime in London is terrible now, but the media don't report it. Because it's like, what it's like Compton is like these different places where every so often pops up on the news. Yeah. But they are the underclass, they're treated as the underclass and not recognized. And so, what I learned about kids like that, you know, the attitude is, if you think I'm shit, I'll act like shit. And they've got a mentality that has to have this narcissistic show around them to protect themselves. Because if they're not in the game, they're going to get beaten up. So what you do is you have music, music, it's been the freedom to a lot of people. This is why boxing is a working-class sport. You know, you have a word of a bully, who got served up in the ring, when you went to the gym and straightened out into a decent human being, or you were the bullied, where you learn to protect yourself. And then people respected you. Yeah. So so I could resonate with these guys. And I'd already been there, seen it, and done it. I've been around a wall, they see the tours, they see me engineering in the studio. So I could actually talk to them, as someone from East London who's slightly older, who want, who they wanted to do what I had done because you have to with these kids, you have to prove yourself, right? You have to show them the kiss shows, you have to show them the record, they might not like the music, they said it was shit. But they respected my game, they respected that I've been there seen it, and done it. So when I say to them, stand in front of the mic, do this, you know, look at your cadence, adjust here, you earn their respect. And when you tearn their respect, you could get them to sit down to do math, English, and then you could get them to b willing to work, help turning them into good young men, or at least attempt to take them out of that environment. You know.
Yoni Mazor 32:21
Strong stuff, man sounds like you got to do a Hollywood movie about this. It's really good. It's really admirable. Okay, so 2007, you're doing it about 2007, or what’s the next step here?
Danny McMillan 32:32
Yeah, so 2002 - 2003, I left that area of working with entry to employment, and I stepped up. So what I wanted to do is do more about engineering and work at a pro-level. So then I started at a place called Point Blank. So I actually interned there, if you like the sat around all the classes said, Look, I want to join the College, I'm not good enough for you to reach your levels, and allow me to see all the courses for free. And then they started to pay me as a tutor. So they're not on there. And then there was Alchimia, which was more what we call high brown more the lab coat, big SSL mixing desks and stuff like that. But Point Blank was more of your music production inside the box, you know, logic, some speakers and the keyboard and just using mainly soft synths and software. Whereas when you got to Alchimia as hardware as compressors, samplers, he said, How can do a cameo? How can be a, unfortunately, that's closer to college now, but that used to be a college where you going to be like nine grand a term, you know, and then people will work with proper engineering studios after so I learned my trade in a went up and went up and went up and went up. And so what happened was when I was at Point Blank, one day a guy came in, he's from the gold district Hatton Garden, right. It is a big Jewish community there and down in Hatton Garden, get on with a load of guys around there and he had an All right. Oil, gold refinery. And he said to me, Look, I really like we do and he was in the music industry. I want to set up a music community around that time it was my space. And Facebook hadn't really taken off. This was 2008. Yeah, so this was 2008. So mid-2008. I want to start a music community. We had Bebo we had my space when it's full-fledged,
Yoni Mazor 34:27
Let me get this straight his Jewish guy. What's the name of this Jewish guy?
Danny McMillan 34:30
Oh, he's not. He's not Jewish. But I'm just saying we're in a massive Jewish community Hatton Garden is the gold district. So that's what I'm saying is like where we were, to is a massive Jewish community.
Yoni Mazor 34:42
Butt what industry was he working in?
Danny McMillan 34:46
Oh, it was a gold refinery so you would take your gold and they would melt it down.
Yoni Mazor 34:50
So he’s from the gold business, but he has a passion for music. That friend?
Danny McMillan 34:53
Yeah, yeah, passion for music and so did his partner. And what he was saying to me is Look, I want to build an online music community. I said, what the F do I know about the internet? And he went, don't worry, you will learn, right? And so then what we did was the stupidest thing in the world were everything to everybody even got featured in TechCrunch. Magazine. So what we did was, we went in stealth mode for 13 months to build something that no one wanted. We hadn't tested it. In 2008, the advertising industry collapsed, because there was a lot we, you know, is hitting the what's the word for it though...
Yoni Mazor 35:32
What's it called, the housing collapse?
Dany McMillan 35:35
Yeah, the recession. The recession kicked n 2009. Right, so we had an advertising model is a site called rythmics.com. And what that was, so it was an integrated magazine with a social network. And like a magazine, and you know, and so effectively, what we're trying to do is like a MySpace, but make it into like a music magazine and, and would serve, like display advertisement. It was a disaster. I mean, I didn't know anything about SEO or anything at that time. So literally, we launched and no one came. Because you know, is like, you go on the internet and, and this is where I got my baptism of fire. So I spent two years trying to hold on to a team, trying to learn everything as fast as okay, holding off the owners from shutting down, dealing with internal politics. I was working seven days a week, you just ended up burning out. And then we ended up shutting that down. The 31st of August 2010. In the end, like, obvious, like the boxer that had done nine of the 10 rounds. It's almost two years. Yeah. into the mix. Yeah, two years, we lost half a million. And yeah, and then from there was that was like that period. From there. You know, like, suddenly you are unemployable. Right. So in the music industry, people knew about you know, back then, you know, Spotify was getting off the ground back then. And, but the music industry like none, and now we're trying to try to keep CDs in play. And you know, and like they were trying to fight off the internet.
Yoni Mazor 37:11
You got Pandora, You got Spotify.
Danny McMillan 37:14
Yeah, those two at the same time. Pandora came before Spotify. Spotify is now dominant in the market, but Panora was the first. And so we're the kind of music industry meets the tech industry. So we had what we call Silicon Roundabout, which is old. Yeah, rather than Silicon Valley. That's where 200 or so startups with a very small, you know, and so we shut that down. And I had to lay off the team, help them write their CVS, hit my black book, make sure they all got jobs, made sure they got employed. And then I got shifted over to this studio project. And it's like, look down, comes and head up a studio project. It's a skate park. And a recording studio and sky. Yeah, yes. types, that so they had a studio with an internal skate park in the school, as well. Cool. So we launched that. But leading up to time, this is where it kind of got tricky for me, because 31st of August, we shut down Rhythmix losing half a million, you know, tough, two years taken hide in basically trying to keep everything because. But you know, it's still a lot. Then, in November, we lost my son, and then the following July, I lost my daughter. And by the time we got to that point in the summer, I then moved to another job. I won't go into any graphic details of this job. But basically, I went in somewhere, and it was vaporware. I lasted seven months there, I'd had enough once I see what's going on under the hood online. I don't want anything to do with this, toxic, I didn't want to touch it.
Unknown Speaker 39:06
Hold up so all of this transpired in 2010?
Unknown Speaker 39:11
2010, August 2010. We shut Rhythmics down, then in November we lost my son, then in 2011 in July I lost my daughter, and then I then went and worked for this web start-up company. And at that time, I was back in employment rather than self-employed and we had accumulated a lot of debt. We've done IVF and all sorts of things. So effectively, I had to remortgage my house so that we didn't go personally broke. And the only way to do that was to be paye so I was there for this company. By the time I got to this company, I just completely had enough. So I kicked the chair over with Fuck this. I'm not selling my soul, not dealing with ethics. So I walked out, never went back. But that day All I had was the shirt on my back, I went home seat on the bed, and started building on my laptop started to build various different websites just trying different things like. I had a 30-day window to find the mortgage money because I had nothing. And what the company did was try and sweep me up. And one of the hardest things I had to do was when he sent the money, he sent me to lots of wages like it was like to keep my mouth shut kind of thing. I sent it back. When you're broke, and you're sitting there to me that was blood money.
Yoni Mazor 40:45
Hold on, let me get this straight. So you had a stake in the company that's where you had to mortgage your house?
Danny McMillan 40:51
No, I was an employee. I was an employee in that company, right. But because I wanted to remortgage my house, I have to show finances by going from self-employed paye because I was paye for a period of time. I was then able to remortgage when I remortgage or reduce that otherwise would have had all of this debt with everything going on, and just some kind of water. So they are the parts where they sewed together if I didn't take employment there. I don't know where I'll be. So yeah, I think I think go bankrupt, but obviously close to not being able to pay for anything. So we consolidate the debt by remortgaging the house, which is why it's important. When you buy a house at 19 years old, it can get you in trouble, right? Yeah. And so then what happened was, I just got home, started building various websites, I've gone from building everything to everyone to being extremely focused, doubled down on AdWords. And so I was launching just a landing page with text on it telephone number, run PPC, see if it works. I've gone from being in stealth mode for 13-14 months to building a business based on the responses like a Lean Startup aspect. This is why I've got quite a good conversion optimization skills. So I studied conversion optimization because I went from one extreme to another. So it was like if one took off then as a business. So I would launch low to these to find out which works mainly were service-based businesses. So I ended up building various different sites and just eking along for the business. This is 2012 already?Yeah, 2012 then I got to 2015 March 31, 2015. I found Amazon. The only reason I found Amazon is because I was looking to reverse engineer marketplaces. I started on eBay. And bearing in mind, I don't drive. Yeah. And this all goes back to 19 years old. Shiro bought the car, I bought the house, because you will you're just trying to get through, right. And when you're DJing and you're partying, you're not gonna drive anywhere. So I never learned to drive and I still don't drive to this time. I'm going off subject now. Where am I with it? Okay, so 2015, yeah, so this comes to the driving part. So 2015. Effectively, what's happened is, I've looked at eBay, reversed engineered, they're gone out the garden, took some pictures, got some crap around the house, bagged it all up, walked to the end of the road, right? Bear in mind, I've been working at home for years to go to the post office, got to the end of the road, the post office is shut down. And I'm thinking I can't get on the bus every day to be taking stuff to the post office. Right, So I came back with the towel between my legs, went back on the eBay forum, and found Amazon FBA, and boom it all started from there. It all basically started from there. I was like, this is it. This is what I've been looking for. That was March 31. So what I then did in May, I went to an Amazon meetup. And that's where I know a lot of the community now because that first day in May you see these faces in the UK, a lot of those people were in that room. So from there, I launched the in the UK, tested free products. And I was really into , what attracted me the most was the PPC side of things. And even if you go back to late 2015, I was one of the first people to spot the correlation between a sell-through PPC and ranking. And so I'd done a video in 2015 still upon online now, and that's what really got me going and because I think when people come to Amazon like they may be really good at branding they may be good at sourcing or Something like that. My thing was PPC and it already introduced it in the summer. So in 2015, I launched three products in the UK, testing the water, then scrapped and then went straight to the US and on the anniversary of my son's birthday, I then launched into the US the first product and then it kind of rolled from there, you know, and then we're doing a lot of events here in the UK, we're selling out. So we're doing meet-ups some more teaching people, what we've learned is all free. And so we come out, come up with a model, we come up with model mania entity at the time a guy, and it was like, let's put on a free event. Do really good content, get a sponsor free booze free pizza. But they're no. And so what happened, we ended up having full events, they've sold out stuff not sold out, there was free entry there, then we started putting on double events. And then people weren't showing up because people were putting their names down first and not showing. And I'm thinking this is just not working out me and Anthony parted ways. And then in 2017, finished January, started Seller Sessions.
Yoni Mazor 46:06
Seller Sessions is your you know, podcast show, it's a benchmark show for the sales community. So basically you took all the physical events you guys did, and you package it into a podcast...
Danny McMillan 46:17
I split with the partner we do for the physical events and decided to do Sellar Sessions originally with another guy, Richard, at the same time. And the way Sellar Session started was in January, we were doing webinars every couple of weeks. But then the platform kept falling over. So what happened was we'll do a webinar, and you're building an email list from that webinar. So you can message those people again for the next webinar, right. So we were getting through them and then people were contacting from hotel rooms, and it was just falling over. So it was a nightmare. And we're growing very slowly at this point. And so then we decided, Okay, let's set up a YouTube channel, use lists that we've got from the webinars to send people to the YouTube channel to watch it there. So within my home weekly on the YouTube channel, and we'll grow in single digits again. And it's okay, we're now 30-40 episodes in, let’s do a blog and he rewrites the show notes for it and launched a blog. So we've done that a little bit more.
And it wasn't until October we formed a really good idea let's do a podcast and then have like a fucking rocket ship. Growth month on month, so if you have to find your market and where they sit and so we're going along very very slowly and it was the very last piece of the puzzle you know.
Yoni Mazor 47:41
You’re finding, your finding, when you click the click you mentioned when we fire it off and took its own course, in its own life. But it the show from the get-go was always live?
Danny McMillan 47:50
At the time no no. The only reason it became live and then published the podcast is when COVID started and I went on a rampage and done like 77 days in a row because it was like one It keeps me stimulated and accountable on a daily basis. And we can keep a one Chin up Do you know I mean like given some content, stuck at home and this do mindset and it allowed us to really not go wrong. I'm jumping ahead of the story here. But now is it was always pre-recorded event other than the very first webinar.
Yoni Mazor 48:21
Yeah. It was like a lifesaver for the sellers back at the peak of the pandemic whenever.
Danny McMillan 48:27
Yeah, well the live stuff, We’re still doing it four days a week now. So we had Izabela on Mondays. But yeah, so in that period of time, obviously building the Amazon businesses, I started to speak on the road and travel around. And then in 2018, I met Ellis when I was speaking in Germany now. Ellis is one of the algorithm experts behind the algorithm for Jungle Scout, the data scientist, and the algorithm. So he pitched me the idea of doing a PPC company. I'm like, do you know how competitive this is? Since 2009, but I was like, I don't know about this, you know, I didn't want to get into the software after with a startup. But everything else I want to be really focused. He said, Look, what we can do here. We can deal with 10s of 1000s of SKU's not a problem. You know, we write all over. He writes all the technology with the now with the engineering team. But he's the head architect of everything. So what we agreed is that we'll start Databrill. And it'll be very much focused on people with large set skills so that we create a blue ocean, we're in our own end of the market. And then it kind of developed over time. We've got people with fewer SKU's. But what we'd focus on is the less 1% or less which is the seven-figure sellers and brands. And let's go from strength to strength we grow every year, build out the team. On constantly on the technology side is like a lab. You don't I mean in what we do.
Yoni Mazor 50:00
Binary, binary, always got to keep refining.
Danny McMillan 50:02
Yeah, I mean, he's just mind-blowing, like working with Ellis is incredible. And so I built a business around him, you know, it's very clear relationships that we got. And I love the fact that we're trying to push the needle, you know, and we're very focused on the type of clients that we, take on. So, you know, DataBrill came around that period, still launching products in the US then moving back to the UK to speed up the story a bit again. Then 2019 started Seller Poll, touring around as a speaker who around Europe, the world, and stuff, don't sell a poll. Then last year and in 2019, we've done our first, I'm losing the dates because of COVID 2019. With Sellar Sessions, live it exploded like it was sold out. That's when things started to ramp up. We had everyone coming over from America if you put a bomb off in that room, you know, because we're bringing in all the American speakers and even people flying over like Steve Simonson, who wasn’t speaking but just want to be there because they see what's going on. And that was a real turning point because I wasn't sure whether, how well that would be received. And then after, after that, we did Seller Poll 2019 and 20. I'm losing the dates now. So yeah, two, two years. Yeah, two years in a row. Yeah, we've done two Seller Polls. Now, two Branded by Women, we'll get to in a moment. And we're about to serve up the second set of Seller Sessions. So Seller Sessions should have taken place on May the seventh last year, it's sold out in three weeks. And that's less, maybe less next two weeks. So all we're doing is putting on a sold-out event. So that's really special for us. Because now like in the UK, what I want you to do is try and like bring everyone in and show people look, it doesn't have to be super expensive. Like what normally people will do is they'll fly in one person and try and justify, whereas me weird Anthony Lee, even in Denver have Casey Goss, Paul Hart, they're just endless, long list of people. Because for me, I just want to put on the very best. And sometimes I'll forget myself and forget about profits, cloud, my focus is to build something magical. And then work out. Are you going to do the profits later? But so first, that's all my show. And then into last year, I was gonna do Branded by Woman at a live event in London. But then I spoke to Jana Krevic. And she said you should do it online. Everything's on lockdown. And so in six weeks done our first summit, I hadn’t done a summit before. Yeah, yeah. So we've done the first Branded by Women in May and then we did the last one, a couple of months back. So that's, that's two now. I'm rolling out a current brand that I've got in the UK because they're going to be launching into the USA soon with a new brand that we've sold six products. And the goal behind it is, I want to document it for the podcast, but I want to exit in 24 months. I want to go through all the pain and suffering. So we've built a great team. But I want to show people a great team isn't enough. Perseverance, resilience is more than is what you need to really start to make these things fly. And people know that selling on Amazon can be really tough. And it depends on you know, whether I've got mates doing 200 million a year, you know, and as low as five figures, it ranges and the stress levels go up and up and down. But you've got to be relentless. And so I think an average Amazon business exit in three years and eight months. I want to do in 24. But I’m probably going have to, you know, work to my soul is bleeding to get over that line. But that stuff, like, I need a challenge.
Yoni Mazor 54:08
Hey, you need to condense almost four years into two years. That means being more aggressive and more intense about the whole operation.
Danny McMillan 54:17
Yeah, being intenful. How you going to launch, where you're going to launch, how to use additional markets to show that growth and stuff. So, be more focused in around that. So we're trying to solve a couple of problems in the market as well as bringing key angles. Ari, who's world-renowned as part of the sourcing team so the advantage of having you know, built a great relationship with people in the industry has allowed me to get access through the podcast as well as play a big role in that.
Yoni Mazor 54:48
Gotcha. I want to package a few things in sound like how many components you involve, as you know, as we speak right now, right? So your retailer, right? You sell online. Yeah. And you have you know, PPC technology companies. Yeah, right? You have, you still do a regular SEO as you started 2012 that's already faded away?
Danny McMillan 55:07
So I've got three businesses. I call one the conference business, one the Amazon businesses, and then the agency split into three. So under the conference businesses, Seller Sessions Live Branded by Women and Seller Poll. Then the Amazon businesses branch, and then we've got DataBrill, the agency.
Yoni Mazor 55:27
Got it. Beautiful, alright, so I want to package a whole story real quick to see if I got it all correctly. Thus far, born and raised in East London, 1991 15 years old, you know, experienced the life-changing injury, or half a ton of material fell on you're on life support. And then in 1995, you started working in the music industry, right? And then 1998, you have the opportunity to create your label, you bought the house, you bought your own equipment, and then took 98 until about 2001 ish, almost 2002 that was kind of the peak moment for you the industry, then it started to collapse after 911. And then you mentioned to the educational world, you work for this organization from 2002 all the way to 2007, helping you know, you know, basically your own kind right in the East London area. And then around 2007-2008, you wanted to get into the social media world internet world and went to this venture, it kind of collapsed, you know, half a million dollar got lost and then you had to kind of reinvent yourself and you were floating around from 2010 or about 2012 and then you're doing most of the vapor business but 2012...
Danny McMillan 56:36
I wasn’t doing the vapor business. I ended up going in and it's like this is vapor. I’m off.
Yoni Mazor 56:42
You may have to wrap the vapor business really quickly. 2012 you finally hit the world of e-commerce it came knocking on your door and swallowed you in, and you're really able to explore with all that you accumulated all these years combination of organizing events, credit cultures, educating others just, connecting things and credit technology all these elements came into effect and the right space at the right time. And it really boomed and mushroomed up from there. So once again like I mentioned you have the technology company you got the conferences company and the retail and company which I do congratulate you for all of these accomplishments. Did I get it correctly so far? Yeah, great. Thank you. Nice. So this is the episode. This is everything we got and I want to finish out with two points. The first will be if somebody wants to connect with you or reach out working to find you and the last thing will be what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Danny McMillan 57:30
Okay, first one is Danny at sellersessions.com or just check out the podcast and the answer to your second question. Be relentless. Never give up. Never, never, never give up. Like no matter what happens you bite down when on gum shield and you go again always have a big belief of setbacks make way for comebacks, and I’ve had many.
Yoni Mazor 57:56
Yeah, take it from you when you get punched in the punch bag. You know like Mike Tyson, you get back to the ring until you win. Beautiful. Alright, Danny, thank you so much. I hope everybody enjoyed. Stay safe and hope everybody the next time. Thank you