Mike Zagare | Talks about Fast Growth from eCommerce to Software & Charity
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Mike Zagare, the Founder of Days Of Nuggets, talks about fast growth and his own online charity organization dedicated to ending child slavery. Mike shares his story working as a physical therapist to becoming an online retailer to a CEO of an eCommerce software company, all the way to creating a charity organization.
With a multitude of activities, Mike shares his approach on how he balances between each activity, and what are the takeaways from his past mistakes. Let's dive into his story!
Find out more about Mike Zagare & Days of Nuggets: https://daysofnuggets.com/
Learn more about GETIDA's Amazon reimbursement solution software.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazor 0:06
Everyone, welcome to another episode of Prime talk. Today I have a great privilege and honor to host Mike cigare. Mike has a great friend and a special person. He's the founder of days and nuggets. It's a charity organization that's dedicated to eliminating child slavery around the world. In addition, also in the United States, surprisingly, there is still child trafficking in the United States. So I think it's a great cause that um, he's the flag banner raiser on eliminating Mike, welcome to the show.
Mike Zagare 0:43
Hey guys. Thanks so much for having me. Yani. How are you?
Yoni Mazor 0:46
Good. You know, I can't complain so far as you know, staying away from practically the world, China keeps it safe. And that's all I have to do. So I guess I'm trying to do right. Well, how are you?
Mike Zagare 0:56
Yeah, doing well, same thing and got more time than ever before. And that can be a really good thing these days, and especially if you got some creative ideas, time to put them into action.
Yoni Mazor 1:06
Awesome. Very good. Okay. So what I would like to do in this episode of pretty much dive in to you, while you're about who you are, where you from, you know, kind of your story. You know, I think, you know, listeners and viewers will find it fascinating. So, go ahead. Tell us. Tell us about Yeah, guys.
Mike Zagare 1:21
So I always lead by saying I'm a recovering physical therapist, and what the hell is a recovering physical therapist, it means that I spent about 10 years of my professional life doing physical therapy, and I did outpatient physical therapy. And then during that time, I started my first business in home physical therapy for seniors. And while I loved treating seniors, I loved their stories. I loved connecting with them. That was why I did it for so long. I couldn't take all of the minutia with the insurances, and was being told what to do by insurances. And it started to feel like I was losing my soul on the job. And I was like, You know what, there's got to be a better way. So my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, I started my own business. When I was 25. started going to networking events. I started learning about marketing and building a business plan and all that stuff. And that's where my first homecare business started. And I recently sold that about two years ago, I had that going up until 2018, I believe, I no longer have a physical therapy license, I lost my license in 2019. When the papers came in to renew I said no way. I am in e commerce now. And I am loving e-commerce. So somewhere along the line, and I think it was 2014 2015. And I was doing really well. You know, fairly well, with my business, it was sustaining my life. I had a modest salary, nothing substantial. I had enough to pay for a coach. And his name is Jeffrey combs. Jeffrey and I worked together for about a year. And at the end of the year, he said something profound to me. He said, Mike, you have a lot of juice inside of you have a lot of energy, a lot of gusto, whatever the heck you want to call it, but you're spinning your plates with this physical therapy business. Now I had all of these therapists all across New York and queens, and they were seeing the seniors in their homes, and it was very hard to manage. And you'd have an influx of cases, and then the therapist would drop off. So you wouldn't be able to handle those cases. And I was spinning my plates and all this drama and all of this stress. And he goes, you have to direct that in a vehicle that's going to be successful for you because this vehicle that you're in, is not a great vehicle. And he goes, I'll never forget this. He goes, I see you in importing and exporting. And I'm like, What the hell do you mean by that going around them from physical therapy? Yeah, right. Right. So these sessions were $500 in session, I'm not so they were expensive. And we are in our last session, and I was not about to renew, I could not afford to renew. So that weekend after he said that I sat down and it sunk in my subconscious. And I was like, What the hell does he mean importing and exporting? I kid you not the next Monday, it was pouring rain. It was so hard and heavily raining outside that I couldn't get to the gym because it was that type of rainfall that was intense. You have to wait for it to calm down. So I go on my couch and I start the scrolling thing. And I get to a Facebook feed that says it's all about eBay. And how to do retail arbitrage on eBay.
Yoni Mazor 4:22
Well, there was this.
Mike Zagare 4:24
This was in 2015, the very beginning of 2015. So I see this and I'm like you know what this is? I bought it hook line and sinker and I got into the whole world of e-commerce and one thing I made a million mistakes. You know I started with retail arbitrage started with online arbitrage retail arbitrage. I closed down the post office because I was too aggressive in order to bring too much stuff to my house. My neighbors were pissed. I live in a condo co-op.
Yoni Mazor 4:52
So, your first taste of e-commerce started 215 and actually started on eBay rather than Amazon, correct?
Mike Zagare 4:57
Yes, little did. I know that He is his, his name is Roger Langella, of course back in 2015. And they start you on learning eBay and drop shipping through eBay. Then as they escalate you to other courses, it's all about retail arbitrage, and you get to buy the online arbitrage course. And then I'm like, you know, kind of figuring out like, this is a lot of work, because I got to go to different stores, and I got to like, go to CVS and scan things. And ultimately, it's more stress. And I don't want a lot of stress. What is the end game here, and it didn't take long to realize that the end game was coming up with your own products. So I was working on so many different things. At that point, I was trying different vehicles, as my coach said, and I'll never forget this. I was trying to really decide what vehicle is right for me. And I had ordered my first product with FBA. And as soon as I asked that question, the doorbell rang. And it was my first sample. And that was like a sign to me, I'm like, okay, I just got my sign. I'm gonna go with FBA. And we were one of the ones that had luck right from the beginning. With FBA, our first product was successful. It piggybacked into our next product.
Yoni Mazor 6:04
Then this was like your own private label, your own private brand, correct. Right.
Mike Zagare 6:08
Yeah. Yeah. So I learned so we
Yoni Mazor 6:10
I assume you already had a team you can have. Yeah, pretty quickly for me with a team.
Mike Zagare 6:17
At that point, I didn't have a team. But eventually, six months later, my business partner who's a lifelong friend of mine decided to join on board. And that's, that's our team. And then we started out. Yeah, well, Mike and Mike ever says, It's Mike and Mike.
Yoni Mazor 6:30
Oh, it's my hair. I think, you know, I've chilled out with my Gaya and this Naga tried to help you with this nugget to set up right.
Mike Zagare 6:39
Yeah, that's actually his brother, his
Yoni Mazor 6:40
Right. So the last? That's what I'm picking up? Yeah. Okay. Yeah,
Mike Zagare 6:43
Matt helped us with these nuggets. There we go. So it's been a great journey since then, we learned the Amazon FBA business. And then we were able to scale our business with advertising. And at the time, if you remember back in 2016, it was spreadsheets and crazy downloads, and there were lots of opportunities. It was a lot easier back then there was also a lot harder to figure out in a way. So we were able to like spend our time and dive into that. And that's the birth of PPC entourage.
Yoni Mazor 7:12
Let me track back once. You started 2015, right? Yes, you had a good run over maybe like a year and the FBA game, the Amazon game, around 216, you already pivoted to advertising?
Mike Zagare 7:23
Yeah. So the way I figured in my mind is there the business had synergy. I can work on one and still work on the other. And that's how I do things. Now I make sure that if I do another business, it's not like you know, physical therapy and e-commerce. It's e commerce. But what other branches of e-commerce kind of like days of nuggets, kind of like PPC entourage everything is like in that general synergy.
Yoni Mazor 7:43
Right. Okay. So yeah, go ahead. Sure. About to be Santa out, how'd you basically scale into that or synergize that into your regular ecommerce activity? Right.
Mike Zagare 7:52
We had a general strategy that was working really well for us, but it was taking a lot of time. And I was at Starbucks downloading reports and figuring these things out. And then I created a blueprint series. And I had no idea I still had no idea about coding like zero idea. I didn't even know what a bug was like when I first started making PVC entourage, the developer said there was a bug, I'm like, What do mean is supposed to work. This isn't working, like what's paying you here, like what's going on. So I had no clue about any of this stuff. But I just had an idea. And I attribute that to getting really clear in my mind about you know, and allowing good ideas to come and then just executing and taking action, and then finding at that time, we found the wrong person. Unfortunately, our first coding team was not the best. But we learned from that. And we were able to grow from that as well. So we found a team to take my ideas and bring them to life. And that's the birth of PPC entourage. And now we have three software tools. We have a management team, and we have a mastermind we have a whole thing going on now at this point.
Yoni Mazor 8:52
So yeah, I want to I want to stay historical though. So 2015, your e-commerce 2016, you already basically started diving into SaaS, Software as a Service, right? In the e-commerce space, which, you know, started with PPC entourage in 2016. What happened to 2017 1819 and now let's, let's talk a little bit about that. So we get to nowadays, and by doing that also kind of maybe touch a little bit, a little bit about your experience as a first as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, but also the challenges. The main challenges you faced along the way to bring you where you are now, which is I hope you're in a good spot, right?
Mike Zagare 9:31
Yeah, well, we're in a good spot, but we've made many mistakes along the way.
Mike Zagare 9:35
I think we want to...
Yoni Mazor 9:36
Yeah, that's exactly why I want to touch some of the mistakes and some of the pain points. How did you overcome them? You know, so go ahead.
Mike Zagare 9:42
Yeah. So 2016 was the best year of business that we've ever had in our entire life. It was amazing and e-commerce unbelievable and it was also really great because not only do we do good and be commerce, we develop PPC entourage and did really well with PPC entourage. And that was awesome. 2017 is when we got to We got full of ourselves. And we made a ton of mistakes. And the mistakes that we made in e commerce was that we went too wide too fast. We tried to take over the world too fast, literally, with different markets, Shopify, all sorts of like Walmart, we went into different countries, we scaled skews all of this stuff. And we didn't really know. We didn't know that some of the skews weren't as profitable as we thought they were. And that kind of led into our learning curve and learning about margins. And that developed another tool. So all of the tools that we've developed, we're from experience from the experience we had with e-commerce, let me get this straight. So you're saying when you expand into other markets, you expanded on the inventory business that you had, meaning the private label business, or you're talking about PPC entourage as a software, or both? Oh, we were always in other markets, a PPC entourage. But I'm talking about e-commerce. I'm talking about spreading ourselves way too thin, with and having trouble with cash flow, because of just trying to expand too far and fast and not sticking to products that were highly profitable. We went for products that were like 10%, margins, 50% margins, but then also, we were chewy, calm, which is like an e commerce site that had these awful terms where they don't pay you until like 90 or 60 days after you sell the product. So you got to ship it over there which takes 3045 days. And the terms are like, you know, terrible, it's not great products or profit. So rather than sticking with what works, we went with everything, we said yes to every opportunity. And unfortunately, that was not a good thing for us, we had to shrink the business substantially. And realize that this was causing a problem. This was causing problems, this was causing headaches, we were just trying to pretty much take over the world way too fast. And that led to like focusing back in just on Amazon, because everything else was a distraction. Everything else was noise.
Yoni Mazor 11:52
Got it. So this is a great lesson. So what I understand from your experience is that, you know, 2015, you come into the game, you know, to the Amazon game, like many others, it seems like anything, any product that you put out there, just simply just, you know, it gets sold out, it gets sold out, and you think you're just making gold, you're making money and making a lot of revenue. And you probably expect this to happen the same way with other marketplaces. And am I dead? Am I dead? But more importantly, in other marketplace, plus the Amazon Marketplace, you start realizing that even though there's revenue, it generates revenue and sales, it's not necessarily or particularly profitable for you, you became basically more enlightened, it's not just about the revenue, not just about the sales, even though you're making millions of dollars in sales. If it's not profitable, or you don't know where the bottom line goes to, you might be taking a hit, you know. So therefore, the first thing you gotta do is see what's going on, you know, do the analysis, you know exactly where the money's going. Right. So how much do you have in the bottom lines? What's the net profit? And by doing that, you know, if you see any issues, any basically losing skews, you wipe them out, right. And if this is skewed, or the main profit generators, you double down on those ways. Was that pretty much the experience of e-commerce play chat? Absolutely.
Mike Zagare 13:08
I mean, I can list out 1000 other mistakes that we made, but in general, that was probably the most costly mistake that we made, just not focusing on what was profitable and expanding too quickly.
Yoni Mazor 13:19
Right. So efficiency, efficiency. Yeah. So you were all over the place, and you basically had no choice but to become, you know, more efficient as a, as a business owner and as a player in the e-commerce space. So that's, that's a, I think that's a huge important lesson. Okay. So this was around to 1617, where you became more efficient, and basically what you do is why you shred the skews and focus on the ones that are working?
Mike Zagare 13:42
Yeah, so we shredded down, and we shredded marketplaces, shredded down skews, we also realized that there was a, what we call margin impact. And we call margin eaters, so they're, they're different things. on Amazon. You have FBA fees, you have return fees, you have promotion fees, you have all advertising fees, all these different things. Either way, it's your margins, we realize that what we want to know is what's leftover at the end of the day, like how much margin do we actually have and as close to 30% as possible was our goal. So we didn't realize this at the time, but several of her excuses you're being overcharged by Amazon by a substantial amount. I'm talking like 30-40% higher than we should have been charged. And we had to spend a lot of time researching this, and it had to do with the package dimensions. Unfortunately, it costs us a lot of money costs 3040 $50,000. So in that year two, we then figured out that it's really important to know how much you're actually making at the end of the day. That top line number needs diddly squat, because at the end of the day, each product has to have its own level of margins. And that's where our second tool came about, which is entourage margins, which is my favorite tool of the suite. Also in 2017, my partner and I are into continuing education, we learn we went to I think it was Capcom back then. Not yet. No, it's cap con. Now it was freedom Fastlane in 2017. And in that they had, like, we came out with so many different ideas. But at the very end of that they had a speaker that was there. And it was a last presentation. And it was from a company, an organization called Operation Underground Railroad. So this was 2017. And there were about four or 500 people in the room, maybe a little bit more at the time, and everyone was captivated and disturbed by what they had to say. So we, my partner, and I started contributing to OUR but it planted a seed in our minds.
Yoni Mazor 15:44
Once again, OUR is Operation Underground Railroad. I want the listeners and viewers, to clutch into that because we're probably gonna lose a bit a bit more as we dive into this topic, which I keep close to heart. I really do appreciate Mike for his ability to put it out there in the e-commerce space. So go ahead. Right,
Mike Zagare 16:04
Yeah, so all you are, was there and they were telling us about child slavery and sex trafficking and how it still exists today. And not only does it exist, it's way more rapid than it ever was, in this day and age.
Yoni Mazor 16:15
What's the numbers?
Mike Zagare 16:17
Millions, millions of kids, anywhere, I've heard between two and 6 million million kids worldwide.
Yoni Mazor 16:22
How many approximately, in the United States,
Mike Zagare 16:25
Hundreds of 1000s of people have people in the United States and they're taken from their homes, they're taken overseas, and they're taken to places where we couldn't possibly imagine the conditions that these kids are living through without family. I mean, I've seen photos of police raids, where they go in and they see, you know, it's disturbing beyond measure. So we started contributing to their fund, and that was cool. But it planted a seed in my mind, you know, if there was ever a time, where I was able to give back, whether that be through my time, money, or energy, this is the organization that I'm going to do it for, because they are making the biggest impact that I think of right now, I firmly believe that our kids are the future of our generations. And without them, what do we have in the future? And this is an egg I can't even begin to imagine. So that was 2017, that those seeds were planted? And then you know, years passed? And do you want to stick a gun to 2018 at this point? Ah, yeah, so 2018 um, you know, if, if there's anything that I contribute to success, I think in my, in my life, it has been focusing in on creativity and getting dialed in with my mindset and dialed in with spirituality and meditation and all that kind of stuff. So I started going a little bit more down that road, I started to meditate a lot, even though I was meditating before starting to focus on it. And for me, I always felt like that helps to clear the mind and allows for great ideas to come in. And then it's just about taking those ideas, like I said, at the very beginning, and taking massive action. Because once I get that sign and I get that feeling that man this is this just feels right, this is where I want to go. It's a pure passion internally, and just take massive action, the action becomes very simple to do. So I started meditating, always taking care of myself, and just continuously taking action. And here we are today, you know, with days of nuggets.
Yoni Mazor 18:28
Yeah, so that was 2018 that was more of a where you find your Zen you know, your Nirvana where you feel comfortable, where you're balanced. And then based on that you took action 2019 to, you know, put a Oh, you are out there right as a more of a central cause and in your business life as well. Not only your spiritual and social life, were you just trying to help us society.
Mike Zagare 18:52
Yeah, and I wanted to bring up the 2018 year of self discovery and Zen and let Joe dispenza work a lot of meditations because I think it led to the days of nuggets campaign, I think had I not done that work. I don't know if I would have gotten that, that message, or been able to bring it to life like I was able to it was like it just just felt so natural. And so right. And it was probably the most rewarding eight weeks of my life during the days of nuggets.
Yoni Mazor 19:19
If anybody's not familiar with these nuggets, let's dive into basically the Epiphany, the moment we had the idea and what it was about, and how to play it out. And, you know, tell us what it is. It's pretty, I think it's pretty cool.
Mike Zagare 19:33
Right? So the sort of setting the picture, you know, we had to two years before learned about Oh, you are and then around the holiday time 2019 we had a little bit of downtime in our business. Everyone was doing what they had to do. We had projects that were in the works. teams are working on things. And I had a little bit of idle time. There was a couple things that I couldn't work on for whatever reason. So every year around that time, I always asked myself how can I control Read this year and in the past, like if I wanted to rate myself, I would give myself a two out of 10 on contribution, literally, like, it's always been my lowest thing, always something I wanted to improve. So this year, I said, You know what, let me do something for our community. I was at the gym, I remember, I remember asking, let me do something for our community, I'm going to do 12 tips in 12 days, that have really helped our management service clients with their PPC, like, what strategies have really helped them grow their business. And then it started to develop from there. Well, 12 tips and 12 days to our community, what about to the entire Amazon community? And what if, what if, if we got all of the influencers to participate as well? Oh, and let's contribute and give back to operation. Underground Railroad. So at the time I had, I put like money into a bucket, little bit each week, it's like $100, a week or so that's less than that into a contribution bucket. And I had about 2020 $500 in the contribution bucket. So I had a choice whether to just contribute the 20 $500 to Oh, you are or to take that money and start a site so that I can raise more awareness for Oh, you are? And that's where the ideas came in. And it also did hit me, what if we had a very easy ask for influencers, which would be a three to five minute piece of golden nugget content. And we're This year, we're gonna stay very strict to that, that's gonna be our USP.
Yoni Mazor 21:31
It's very, very hard for all these. Yeah, just to cap themselves.
Mike Zagare 21:35
Yeah, we're gonna cap every one of them, I'm telling you. So here's the deal, three to five minutes of golden nugget material, and I'm talking about needle moving material in three to five minutes. Something that has even more sales, builds you up spiritually, emotionally, mindset wise, whatever the case may be, but the most essential nugget of information at three to five minutes. So I said, Hmm, that's not a big ask of people, it's not going to take them a long time to do this. Because everyone's got something in their life that they've, that they know is like the top tip, whether it be Amazon related or business related or mindset related or spiritual.
Yoni Mazor 22:14
Just share your needle mover and you know, quick nutshell, you know, right.
Mike Zagare 22:17
So the concept worked really well. And here's what I did, I got like three or five people to agree to it. And then I leveraged their names to get more people to agree with it. I was like, hey, and so on and so on...
Yoni Mazor 22:31
Are you into dropping some names and open up all the other names like a domino effect?
Mike Zagare 22:34
I did. And before you know, we had 85 people who were in the group. Unbelievable.
Yoni Mazor 22:40
Unbelievable. And if I would just, you know, this is like the must be like in the 80s. It did all the celebrities with that song. Remember that? We are the world that Michael Jackson is, I think it was Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. And back in the day, it was well Lionel Richie. It was like Madonna was like the 80s you know, and they put all the superstars together and created a song to raise funds. I forgot what it was for. But it was a, you know, cultural impact. And I think what you did with the, you know, initially, it was called 12 days nuggets. Now we just know what as there are nuggets because you know, you kept it the main idea just to recap, it was taking 12 days and every day, you put up for influencers, right? Yeah. So you know, 12 times four is about 48 tips nuggets, you know, of 48 influencers, but the dad later on popped into 85. How's that?
Mike Zagare 23:35
So we had originally 48 nuggets, but then we had all of these bonus days. So we had about 66 nuggets that went live during the 12 days of nuggets. Then we had a live event right? Yeah,
Yoni Mazor 23:47
It was also the live event that was a great explosion event. That was a snowball.
Mike Zagare 23:50
Yeah. And then we had 84 in the group, we had a couple of people that didn't contribute, but they will next year. So it was an easy task, a really simple ask. But the thing is, the thought process was, it's a simple task, every one of those people has an audience of people that know them. And if we could then rally behind this cause which really the goal behind this was not the nugget, it was the cause of saving children from child slavery awareness.
Yoni Mazor 24:18
Yeah, you read across all these pockets of networks. So this was definitely a multi-network effect that you were able to accomplish by, you know, grouping together more than 80 influences. The main ones at least from space, which I found remarkable. So once again, guys, let's see what happened to Mikey let's do a little analysis. here a little bit of a downtime 2019 from a lot of projects that he's doing as an entrepreneur, or you know, already established, you know, firmly established in e-commerce for about four years, you know, since 2015. And he's like, you know, what, I'm connected to this organization that in 2017, they planted the seed in my brain. Oh, you are operating Underground Railroad, you know, to eliminate Chaucer at slavery because he believes in kids in the future. Hello at a bit of downtime, he talked to a few friends from the industry, you know, said can you give me just a nutshell, a few of your best tips and, you know, record it and put it out there? So it's for a good cause? They said, Sure, yeah, that opened up a lot of doors with all the rest of the influencers, and also he was able to create a series of 12 days in a row, right, in the, hidden about the season. This is like, you know, Christmas season, you know, for, for entrepreneurs and newcomers, that's like, you know, I know, I'm very impressed that they did it, because that's our money time, right, even though was the morning time that I want to say this as appreciation to all the influences that actually contributed. Because, you know, at the heat of the money time, the Primetime, they did, you know, put an effort to put their best tips out there, that was 12 days, which rolled into basically a mega-event that took place around January, right?
Mike Zagare 25:48
Yeah, January 7, was the mega event.
Yoni Mazor 25:50
Right, he did a live event, it was a whole day with more and more influence, you know, trying to contribute their tips and nuggets and their tips, you know, to to, and by doing that, you know, all these multi networks are now aware of, or you are, you know, this purpose is caused. And that was the main idea, that was the main thing. And, and I think it's a very successful, you know, on a financial level, we got what I got to donate, but now it's there, it's established, and hopefully the next rounds will be more impactful, and more and more layers of people will, you know, join the cause and contribute and really help eliminate, eliminate the child slavery. So I think this is the play that you did here was really one of a kind, it's unique, I, you know, full disclosure, I participated also I share a few my nuggets from e-commerce. And, you know, it felt great just to help out in one way or another financially, we tried to help as well. So I really, I salute you at this point, I just, I wanted to, you know, take the moment to salute you for that. And I think it's a great lesson, a really great lesson.
Mike Zagare 26:50
Thank you, I appreciate that. And if the real lesson was that, if you have a powerful cause and a mission, people will get behind it. And it was, that was the most powerful thing. And I think we planted a lot of seeds. And next year, it's going to be a lot easier. But we're also going to step it up. So if you go to the site down days and nuggets, you see the whole site has been revamped and remodeled. It's been improved for conversions because we want to get our donations up next year. And we're going to come up with like the next few months, more sort of like explainer videos about the concepts, we've boiled down the concept to this three to five minutes, top golden nuggets, tips that can move your body, move your business in a good direction, you then do good in your business, and consider contributing to Oh, you are that's it like and we want to boil the essence down right into that one message. And then every amazon seller e-commerce owner out there, hopefully, will know about it soon.
Yoni Mazor 27:43
Awesome, amazing job. Alright, so this was, you know, your experience with a, you know, with rolling out a basically a not for profit, NPO right organization, but, you know, share with us, you know, along the way, I know, we kind of touched a lot of the successes, and a little bit of the failures on the skew level, when you realize you got to make it more efficient. But beyond that, you know, the past four or five years, you know, being in the e-commerce space, and really a truly spirited entrepreneur, you know, I guess dramatic moments of challenges where you feel like, you know, what, I think this happens to a lot of e-commerce, you know, players, it's like, it's too much, you know, this is, uh, you know, the challenges are driving me nuts, or it's, I don't know how it's gonna play out anything you want to share, you know, it can be other than the actual what I call the inventory game, you know when you're selling inventory as a private label, you have the software as a service, right? You're your PPC Entourage, suite, and packages, services, and solutions. And I also have the third layer, which is, you know, the NPO, the nonprofit organization. So along the three lines, you know, feel free to share with us other more challenges that you had, which, you know, you were able to overcome, and somebody can take away some of that.
Mike Zagare 28:55
Right, I think every day is filled with challenges in its own way. I mean, every single day, I've had some really big challenges. And some of them were, you know, things like inventory trouble. At times, it was a challenge for us. I remember one time, we thought we had inventory prepared. There was a miscommunication with our supplier, we thought we had a certain amount of inventory already done. But the materials were just ordered. So we were under the influence that they were done with production. But the materials were just orders we were late on like all of our skews for the holidays, and things like that really suck when it happens in real-time. It's like Oh, shit, but you, you eventually you know, you get over it, you realize that? Okay, What mistake did I make from hit by this? How can I improve? Because it hurts at the time and it does lead to loss business. And then things like I think one of the biggest mistakes was not knowing our margins. That was a really big mistake. From the software side of things, releasing things too soon and not testing things thoroughly enough.
Yoni Mazor 29:58
When you say testing, meaning that there's a lot of volumes to monitor or just more of the bug testing,
Mike Zagare 30:03
Bug testing, you know, being because I, I'm an ideas guy, I fuel the company with ideas. And, well, by the time things come out, I'm already on to the next two or three ideas from there. So I want the things that I came up with months ago to be out already. So sometimes that leads to lack of patience, and just like, you know, so it's like having the patience to really go in there and dive deep into this and think it through before you release it to the public, because we released one tool that was buggy. And to this day, it's not our best tool. So like, things like that I've learned to be more patient. You know, there are so many, the lessons are endless when you really think about it.
Yoni Mazor 30:42
I mean, one of the main takeaways, like you said, you got to cap your fertility, you know, just a few of them in a nutshell. But I see what you're saying. Because, you know, you kind of you pinpointed I guess the two worlds of you know, inventory, you know, not having it ready on time, that's always something that's scary, especially when it's prime time, plus, not knowing a margin, that's pretty much the epicenter of what retail is about, you know, a good retailer, that's what he is really good at, and, you know, being at the right place at the right time and making the right type of margins. And then you pinpointed the second sphere, which is, you know, software, right software, you know, you have all these ideas, all these tools, all these solutions, but and and you, you trust that you have a good setup for releasing it. And once it's released, you feel you, you discover that it was half baked in a way so to speak, right? And how do you deal with that? How do you cope with that? How do you recover from that, because it doesn't matter, it might take a toll on the experience, right of your users, your clients. So, you know, that is pretty much the center of what any software provider needs to kind of be aware or be careful with because you know, the experience is a good why software it takes you to, you know, to the top and when we have a discord where the experience is not so good that can you know, have a negative impact, which it's a might be challenging, how do you recover from that? What do you do? You know, just fix it and move on? or What was your play?
Mike Zagare 32:06
Well, it really depends on the relationship, you have some people we lost, some people stuck with us. But it really led to the journey, also of this year more than ever working on the customer journey and building relationships with our customers. I mean, now, and I think this is applicable to any business that you have whatsoever, I follow George Bryant, who became close with during the days of nuggets. And it's all about those touchpoints with your clients and your customers, whether it be the SAS or e-commerce business, what can you do to provide value to keep them happy, give them that amazing experience from the very beginning. So now we do things like personalized videos like I'll make videos all day long, just to send out to my newer clients, or to catch up with old clients. Even if people leave us, I'll send them a video just to have those touchpoints. And I'm sure there are things you could do like that in e-commerce as well to just get more personalized with your, with your community, and with your clients and give them that VIP experience. So that every single touchpoint along the way in their customer journey, you are giving them a really good experience. And that helps to create like human billboard experience, where they will then go talk to other people as well. So this year 2019, for us, has been so far all about the customer journey.
Yoni Mazor 33:19
2019 or 2020 2020.
Mike Zagare 33:19
Yeah, it's a bit too much too many days to quarantine my friend.
Yoni Mazor 33:25
Like, well, long day, you know, four or five, six weeks, it really does feel like a long day where you know, when do I get to finish it, you know, my day and go out a little bit and take a breath. For sure. So I think it's very interesting what you said, it's, you know, on the inventory, and, you know, sometimes the message is pretty clear, you know, they want some, you know, some utility either out of the product, if they get it, they're pretty happy. But there are things you can do beyond. But on the software level, you know, it's also useful, but you're saying you find it a bit more of a need to endorse them one way or another and connect with them. So so whenever there is maybe a discord because you always try to innovate, right? This is more about innovation when you're doing software solutions. And sometimes they're released might be a little glitchy, if you do whatever it is. But as long as you know, in your ecosystem and your community, they feel pleasure and that they realize, you know, this is the part of the experience that sometimes you never released or an update that might be a little buggy, but it's okay because, you know, this is simply part of the experience, but you do trust the brand, you do trust the service and the functionality and utility and also the ability of this provider to eventually overcome that glitch and make it work. I think that's an important message for entrepreneurs out there in the e-commerce space that are trying to, you know, build out solutions for the seller's community in the e-commerce community because you know, it's an evolution in a way software, it's evolution. We all have our phones and we know how sometimes our phones get the software update, right? If it's Samsung if it's Apple, iPhone, whatever it is. At the end of the day, we trust that they're not doing so even if there's a software out there a bit of you know, a little buggy and glitchy in the first few days or a few weeks, we essentially trust the brand, we know that they're there, they're going to back this up. And because we have such a deep intimacy and pleasure that we get a big utility from our smartphones, you know, it overcomes the bugs and the hiccups along the way. And what you're saying, in a way is kind of, you know, try to establish the same functionality in your business by creating these videos, you know, this hand to hand experience where, you know, there's gonna be updates along the way, it might be glitchy, but they're gonna understand that, which is very important. They need to understand that sometimes that might be part of the experience. And once they do, they just take along and they grow with you together as a part of your community. Absolutely.
Mike Zagare 35:45
You said it well, well recapped for sure.
Yoni Mazor 35:48
Nice. Very good. Okay, now that we all know you disclose that we're still in 2019, even though we're in 2020, because the Coronavirus wiped out your IRA, the whole world, you know, a sense of time, what's your message of resilience for you know, the community out there right now? What can they do? You know, what, especially in particular, what Amazon sellers should do and adapt in light of the COVID-19 impact?
Mike Zagare 36:15
Well, with regards to e-commerce, I think that there's going to be some bumps in the road. Of course, for all businesses, right now, we're experiencing that, you know, some people are selling restaurant equipment. And they're having lots of trouble right now. Whereas other or other people are selling things like vitamins and stuff for your body, your immune system, logo equipment, and all this kind of stuff. So they're experiencing booms. So certain companies aren't doing real well right now. But what I'm getting a general sense of is that people are becoming more accustomed to shopping from home, which is fantastic for us. So while some businesses and niches and category...
Yoni Mazor 36:54
Mike Zagare 36:56
Yeah, might be experiencing some troubling time right now, as a whole people are becoming used to shopping at home now that I mean, maybe that's not good for like general life, and stores and retail, and all that, and our experiences outside of, you know, once we want to get out of our homes, and there may be a different world we come back to, but I think e-commerce is definitely here to stay. And I think we're going to benefit from this in the long run. In terms of resiliency, you know, I gotta be honest, there are days that I still have trouble with quarantine. And you know, everyone's handling it in their own way. Like, for me, it's a lot of isolation. Some days, I feel great. Some days, I feel fearful, you know, there's all sorts of things that are going through, I think now more than ever, is the time to really double down and work on yourself and grow and learn and focus on positive things. And meditate if you can, whatever form of meditation you're into. I think right now that pays dividends, I think it's always going to pay dividends, but especially right now, and keeping a clear mind, while things are very uncertain because there's a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty right now. So I think that will help improve our resiliency to get out of this with a clear mind. And stay creative, stay focused, stay in action, and just keep making the world a better place.
Yoni Mazor 38:10
So let me touch there for a minute, you're saying. So let's break it down into two components. Let's say you're, you know, you're in quarantine, but you know what, everything goes into the job, you're super busy, actually, for whatever reason, you're so busy, you don't even feel the, you know, the impact of the crisis financially or even professionally, that's one component, there's probably some folks out there that are in that stage. And if you are, you know, you should, you should know that you're lucky. But we are the second components of people, which are, you know, you know, they might have their job, they're busy, but you know, at the end of the day, they're isolated, they have a lot of downtimes, they have a lot of downtimes. And when they do, that's when they feel the fear or the anxiety, they know the uncertainty of the future was going on. And you're saying and that point, they should need to kind of jump on their own awareness of saying, you know, what, now, it's time for me to do something that is, you know, productive for my self improvement. It's meditation if it's, you know, you know, if you'd like to play music, you know, you know, you know, buy a guitar or whatever you used to do, just start to develop, you know, look inside yourself, you know, start developing from the, from the inside out, whatever your hobbies are, or interests are, that you always kind of fell, you know, I never have the time to do it. This is the time to do it. You know, it can be for a business purpose or for your own soul or for your own, you know, self indulgence, whatever it is, you know, chat a chat, I eliminate that just sitting down with yourself and be fearful. Just take action, take action on your awareness and, and, and put yourself in a position where it just consumes you, whatever you decide, decide to do for yourself, right for your own needs. So be selfish in a way, you'll find a good opportunity to get a lot of rewards and benefits during this crisis. That's pretty much the main message of resiliency.
Mike Zagare 39:53
Yeah, and you know, I feel it's full transparency. I have found the last six or seven weeks of my bed. To practice ever since this has started has been not as good, it's been not as easy to get into that state, it's been not as easy to focus, there've been lots of distractions, but it definitely helps. And I definitely know that if this is just like any kind of challenge in business, you know, if you can get through this challenge in life, they can come out the other side, stronger, you know, if you can come out of this with a new skill with a new hobby, with a new look with more appreciation with more gratitude for what we did have before, that's a huge win. So just like in problems with the business, I'm going to use this in life in the future and say, Hey, something good is going to come out of being in quarantine. And I pray to everyone in their families as well. That everyone is safe. And I'm sending everyone My blessings from New York, from where's that from the epicenter?
Yoni Mazor 40:51
We're the epicenter. Right. So you in the heart of it, I'm on the fringes. I'm right across the George Washington Bridge and New Jersey. But yeah, all right, right. You know, Mike, I want to really, thank you for taking the time to join us today. Your stories. It's not even one story, the storyline lines in the complexity is it's fascinating to me. So we really want to wish you a lot of good health and these days, stay safe, stay safe and healthy. And, you know, much success and luck with your multitude of activities. And you know, hopefully, next time we chat, we'll be in good times after the crisis. Sounds good.
Mike Zagare 41:29
I appreciate you and thank you so much for having me on.
Yoni Mazor 41:32
You gotta just before we will leave off a guy's checkout days in August calm, right days of August calm. And I'll see what it's all about. If you feel incredible, and you have a little money to donate, please do. If not, you can donate in other ways, you know, providing tips if you really know if you are in the e-commerce game and you know how to make some money out of it. And you have good tips on how to do it. Reach out to Mike, you know, you hope out and you know, you might also get a little bit of a stage to expose yourself out there if you have anything good to offer to the community. So make everybody feel safe, feel good. Signing off.