The Amazon FBA Challenge | Mina Elias
In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Mina Elias - Founder & CEO of MMA Nutrition - A supplement company & The creator of the reality show - The FBA Challenge. Mina shares how he pivoted from engineering to launching his own Amazon FBA supplement brand, and his unique personal journey into eCommerce.
Mina was born in Egypt and grew up in Abu-Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and was educated at high-level educational institutions. In 2011 Mina moved to study at The University of Connecticut in the USA where he obtained a degree in chemical engineering.
After graduating from university, Mina worked in a mechanical company, and a construction company for a few years until the world of eCommerce came knocking on his door. While visiting his family in Cairo in 2018, Mina’s father pitched him the idea of creating his own private label brand for performance nutrition.
With Mina’s passion for working out and training, along with his unshakeable determination and hard work, he was able to launch his brand on Amazon and quickly reach over one million dollars in annual sales.
In 2020 Mina launched PPC University to help Amazon sellers improve their Amazon PPC advertising skills. In 2021 Mina launched a new Coffee alternative brand called CogNuro and is documenting his product launch on Amazon FBA in a new and innovative YouTube reality show - The FBA Challenge.
Find out more about Mina Elias and PPC University
Find out more about The FBA Challenge
Find out more about GETIDA Amazon FBA reimbursement solutions.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazur 0:06
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of Prime Talk. Today I'm really excited to have an amazing guest, Mina Elias. Mina is a really cool and special guy you're gonna learn a lot in this episode, but among other things, he's also the founder and CEO of MMA nutrition, which is a supplement company. A private label brand that he brought up, you know, with his 10 fingers and hands. And he's also the creator of the reality show, the FBA challenge. That is pretty much it. It's a reality show about the launch of a new Amazon FBA brand. It's a cool and special production that is proudly sponsored by GETIDA. Welcome to the show.
Mina Elias 0:48
Thank you for having me, only an amazing introduction.
Yoni Mazur 0:51
My pleasure to have you. So today's episode really is gonna be the Mina Elias episode you're gonna share with us? Who are you? Where are you from? Where'd you grow up? How did you begin your professional career? How'd you end up in the world of e-commerce? So without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Mina Elias 1:08
Alright, let's get into it. So I was born in Egypt. So my parents are Egyptian. My family is there now. They're all you know, living there. And then when I was two, I was...
Yoni Mazur 1:20
Which part of Egypt is just for Cairo?
Mina Elias 1:23
Yeah. Cairo. So yeah, they all live in, like in the heart, like the Oji. Cairo does not like the newly developed areas. And they're all like, within, a couple miles of each other. My mom's family, my dad's family, everyone, and I grew up there until I was two and a half years old. And then my dad got a job. He graduated as an electrical engineer, worked, and then got a really good job in Dubai. So technically, Abu Dhabi, which is like the capital, and so we moved there. And this was before Dubai was what it was, there was no like, the I mean, the highest buildings were like, maybe 15 storeys high and stuff.
Yoni Mazur 2:01
Was that just for context reasons?
Mina Elias 2:03
Yoni Mazur 2:05
So in 1994, you moved to the Emirates Abu Dhabi. Your people kind of know, today, that the buyer, because we're tourists and well known, were saying it was the modest, humble, almost humble beginnings of their economic prize.
Mina Elias 2:18
Yeah it wasn't fancy, wasn't big, anything like that. So really, you know, I grew up there. And as I grew up, you could see like, every single week, a new building was going up. And they had a lot of money. Construction was 24/7, like 24/7 shifts.
Yoni Mazur 2:34
Father as an engineer, so obviously, he helped with that effort. For me, that was kind of no
Mina Elias 2:39
No, he actually changed careers. So when he went there, he started working in surgical device sales. So selling like medical devices for orthopedics and not orthopedic sir. endoscopy, stuff like that. So he did that when I grew up there. It was like an incredible life, it's probably the safest city in the world. You know, and growing up there, though, it's a little bit different, because you don't get any of that family-like vibe that we had back in Egypt.
Yoni Mazur 3:08
Yeah, that warm environment that's surrounding you, it's kind of gone, because you guys essentially are foreigners, and an up and coming country. But you know, it's kind of, you know, the life of an immigrant or a foreigner, so to speak.
Mina Elias 3:19
So it's pretty much an immigrant from day one. And the thing about, you know, Dubai or the UAE is, you are always reminded you're an immigrant, because you can never become a citizen. So all our life, like we
Yoni Mazur 3:32
So you’re saying, there's no like, you know, like America, you have the American dream, there's no like the Dubai and Abu Dhabi dream where you can finally settle or get your citizenship and live the dream over there right.
Mina Elias 3:41
No, Because at any point in time, they can kick you out, they can say, like, you're done, or, you know, there's no job opportunities here for you. And to stay there. You always have to have a job or be in school or something. So you're either there for a reason, or you're out. And so growing up there, kind of like had that feeling that you know, it was always temporary, it was never permanent. And so as you can see, obviously, the reason I'm here in America is because I'm seeking that, you know, permanent stability, which I think I will talk about this more, but I don't think it exists. But anyways.
Yoni Mazur 4:17
Yeah, yeah. That's interesting.
Mina Elias 4:18
We'll talk about that in a second. So anyway, I grew up there. I was in a really good school. It was probably the most strict school in Abu Dhabi. My parents really wanted me to have a good education. But from a young age, my mom was like, always drilling me like memorize this, memorize songs, I memorized prayers, I memorized everything.
Yoni Mazur 4:39
And the school itself was the coasting school for the locals for the Muslim community or were more for the ex-pats like the...
Mina Elias 4:44
No, no. International. So that was one of the beautiful things is I grew up with like 30 different nationalities around me. English, Arabic all the different like Lebanese, Syrian, you know had like Australian what Indian everything...
Yoni Mazur 5:01
A cosmopolitan and like, you know, like New York City and this school.
Mina Elias 5:04
Yeah, exactly. So it was cool because you got that aspect. And then, but early on, you know, obviously you're exposed to a very high level of racism. But it's not like the American racism where like, you know, everyone's like complaining about it over there. It's like, it's kind of like understood, like, Hey, you know, these people will stick with these people that people will dislike and that people...
Yoni Mazur 5:26
More on the social structure level mobile marna social thing, like, you know, there's a society of the natives, which is wealthy is abundance, and everybody else that comes to help them build the country, the foreigners alpers that's a different social class, even if they're wealthy, you know, it's a kind of differently, or maybe it's more on a social level is a more rounded ratio, because you're, you're...
Mina Elias 5:45
It’s exactly like that. It's like social status, like, they will consider like, maybe Indians and stuff like that, like lower, they would consider like, maybe Egyptians in the middle, they definitely would consider like, Europeans or Americans like higher. So it was kind of like, very clear, but...
Yoni Mazur 6:02
Yeah, socio economical is this is you know, from my angles, it looks like socio economical layers that they have over there. And that's how the kind of social structure works there.
Mina Elias 6:11
Yeah. But the school was a very, very tough system. So I used to have 16 exams a week. So if you think about it, there's only five days in the week. So it was literally like, we had weeklies, which were like hour and a half long exams. We had, you know, Ms. I don't know what Ms stood for. But it was like a 45 minute test. And it was every single week you were tested, tested, tested, tested, tested.
Yoni Mazur 6:40
It’s for Amazon selling back then they prepared. You're ready, but maybe...
Mina Elias 6:45
Mina Elias 6:46
But no, no, not that. Not that. But It made me so resilient to that pressure of like, nonstop, you know, being stressed with exams. You know, you get to a point you're like, man, I don't even care. Like I don't know, there's 600 of these.
Yoni Mazur 7:04
Just give it to me, just give it to me. I’m ready.
Mina Elias 7:06
Yeah. And so it was like that. The school was super strict, though. Like, there was barbed wires around the fence and everything. It was a good school. So because it was such a good school it gave me the opportunity to do my APs, which is the American. The SAT’s which is the old levels, which is the British, you know, and a bunch of other things. I even did a math test, the Euclid math test. So I did all of these tests, got good grades, and kind of it was like, Okay, this was, you know, around 2009-2010. I graduated.
Yoni Mazur 7:39
So let's get back. So you started when you were an Abu Dhabi 1995, you're two years old. Yes. And then you write an identity for and so essentially, your elementary school, junior in high school, we're all in Abu Dhabi all the way to 2009. And the same school, one school has like 12-13 grades.
Mina Elias 7:57
From grade one to grade 12.
Yoni Mazur 8:00
Yoni Mazur 8:02
Wow. So you have one facility, one dynamic, one way of doing things, all the way was...
Mina Elias 8:09
There was actually a portion of time. So from grade one to grade six, I was in that school, and then grade six, my dad's like, you know what? Maybe you guys are missing Egypt. You want that family vibe, he sends us to the summer. So the summer of grade five, going through grade six, he sends us to Egypt. He says, try it out. Okay. So we go there, and we spend, you know, summer, summer was fun. It was the same summer, every single summer I was going to Egypt. And it was like you go into the north coast and you go into the Red Sea and your family is here. And now you're going to the clubs. Not the party clubs, the sporting clubs where you can play on the swings and stuff like that.
Yoni Mazur 8:48
Like they can do clubs. Yeah.
Mina Elias 8:51
So you know, it was nice, but then we went into the school year. And very quickly, I realized that this was not for me, like, I missed Abu Dhabi so much more. Because when you're in Egypt, man, it's a third, like, it's a third world country like hard and it starts hitting you. When you're on vacation. It's not hitting you. But when you're living there, it's hitting you. And you're constantly saying the same broken everything versus I was living in this place that was pristine because it was just built recently. So like when I came, everything around me was being built like so by the time I was six, seven years old. It's like six, seven years old, like the stuff Yeah, so...
Yoni Mazur 9:32
It's modern, it's fresh. It's the highest quality. It's International. You know, it's a first-world experience where you know, dabble a little bit with Egyptian educational infrastructure system, where it's, you know, it's a tough system because it's a massive country, over 80 million people. Not all the resources are economical...
Mina Elias 9:51
Its 120 million I think right now.
Yoni Mazur 9:53
Yeah. And I'm saying back then when you're in the 90s 80s. But they grow fast, big families. But yeah, I think There's almost a population of Germany that's like really big people kind of like how big Egypt is, and population and size. But you know, it's limited. And so it's limited by their infrastructure's economic ability to create the top of the world educational system and it tastes a little bit and right away you felt, oh, that'd be I got to go back. And you didn't pivot. You didn't stay on the Egypt track?
Mina Elias 10:23
No, no. I mean, I said it. My mom was unhappy. My dad wasn't living with us, because he had to go back and forth between work. He was in sales. So he's able to maybe like every two months come and visit. But I was like, Dude, this is the worst thing ever. Like I was missing my dad. You know, just, it wasn't good. Yes, I had my grandparents there and my family there. But you know, you think that it's gonna be like the summer but it's not you see them once a week? If so, everyone's got their own thing. And I'm going to on this….
Yoni Mazur 10:53
So how long were you in Egypt in the actual school, a few days or a few weeks, how long until...
Mina Elias 10:57
No no, a full semester so three months,
Yoni Mazur 10:59
So three months,
Mina Elias 11:03
I said, Let's, uh, let's go back to Dhabi. We went back. And then that second semester of sixth grade, as soon as I walked in that school, even though I hated the amount of exams and all this stuff, I was like, man, I feel like I'm back home, you know, and maybe that's because your kid you grew up six years, somewhere, you're like, I don't want to leave this place. But I mean, I looked at the pros and cons. And there really were so many more pros.
Yoni Mazur 11:24
Yeah, it's amazing how when you’re young children can really feel at the end, at the end of the day, they can feel what's a good quality thing, or attractive for them to be because of constant pressure creates diamonds. Okay, generally, when you finish school, when you enter the world, you feel you have all these tools and experience in your pocket to deal with it. As opposed to maybe other infrastructures of schools where it's very lacst, you feel I don't even know how to deal with this. I never got it. I never had to deal with it so you kind of fade away. So I think even when you're young, you're able to, I guess, connect to that and realize, especially when you had the opportunity to compare, you realize what, what was a better track for you. And I think that's very, very wise.
Mina Elias 12:13
And it was crazy, because that's exactly how I felt I was there in that school in the sixth grade. And I was like, Man, this is so easy. This is so stupid. No one's taking anything seriously.
The professor was bringing the dog to class. And, you know, you can walk and run around and...
Yoni Mazur 12:21
Like mini Carnival compared to Abu Dhabi, almost like a carnival.
Mina Elias 12:24
And even though you know you we always hated the strictness of the school and we said, Oh, this school sucks. It's so strict. But then once you experience you're like, No, no, no, this looks like they don't even care. You know. And so, when you feel like that, that care is no longer there. You're like, Okay, I'm okay with a little bit strict, because at least you know, they care about us.
Yoni Mazur 12:45
Yeah, that's a very good point. All right, so 2009 you graduated congratulations. What's your next move?
Mina Elias 12:49
Mina Elias 12:52
2010 I graduated incredibly. I had incredible grades. I had five APS, all five, five, AP exams, all five. I had all my A Levels, all A's, like a level for whatever, you know, just a lot. SAT’s over 2000. So I applied to every single school and top top top like...
Yoni Mazur 13:13
In Abu Dhabi?
Mina Elias 13:15
No, no, no, here.
Yoni Mazur 13:16
You’re targeting the Ivy League schools in United States and probably what other places in the world?
Mina Elias 13:21
Canada, Australia, I got accepted into McGill University of Toronto, everywhere, like all over the world. And so literally, I did not get rejected from a single school. And it was just like, one acceptance after the other after the other with like different levels of scholarships and stuff, I'll see...
Yoni Mazur 13:39
So you see how pure gold that school was for you, the ability to have opportunities around the world and the top top, you know, academic organization. That’s incredible.
Mina Elias 13:48
It was definitely worth it. And so then I'm like, Okay, now, like I said, as a 17-year-old, I have to make the decision. And the problem is, I don't know why, but there is no one there that can help you make a decision. Like, like me, this guy right now. I can help any student make a decision like this, the best decision in their life. But when I was back there, back then, like, really no one helped me, you know, and, and....
Yoni Mazur 14:17
What about your parents? So you were saying you're helping on the family level on the organizational level of the school?
Mina Elias 14:24
Well, no, because I feel like they didn't know anything. And I still don't think they know anything. And I feel like they didn't even, I can detect you know, you know...
Yoni Mazur 14:32
Who’s they? The school that you’re going to the community who doesn't know about anything?
Mina Elias 14:40
My parents. The school didn't didn't really I mean, what are they gonna tell you they don't really care.
Yoni Mazur 14:43
So in general your environment back then why their parents or school or society? Nobody really had the right answers for you? Nobody?
Mina Elias 14:50
Yeah, nobody had any answers. That's the problem. And so the only thing that I knew or that I was being told, oh, go into petroleum engineering. It's a lot of money going to chemical engineering, it's a lot of money going to this. It's money, money, money, okay? So I'm like, Okay, I'm really smart. I'm definitely an engineer. So let me just do chemical engineering. And so I picked chemical engineering. And then I'm like, okay, which University do I pick?
Yoni Mazur 15:18
And even the school you kind of chose your route of where you want to study chemical engineering.
Mina Elias 15:24
Yeah, but based on what? Nothing really no, like, I okay, I know, I can make money somehow.
Yoni Mazur 15:29
There's probably good money in it. Kind of.
Mina Elias 15:33
That’s it, because people kept saying it's good money. I knew what I didn't want to be is like a doctor, for example, because I'm not into that. But you know, and engineering, it kind of very came very naturally to me, but just no one kind of was there for me for that guidance. And then from there, it was like, okay, where do I go? I got accepted into every single school. Where do I go? And there were no answers. You know, it was like, Oh, I heard this is good. This, and my dad would say things like, you know, choose whatever you think is best. I'm like, this is I this is not the kind of answer, though I want, you know.
Yoni Mazur 16:06
It doesn’t make it more simple to choose?
Mina Elias 16:09
Yeah, yeah, let's, let's look at the pros and cons. So I said, Okay, the most logical is Canada, because I owe so let me also give a little bit of context. The whole goal was, I was never going to study in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, because the education system sucked.
Yoni Mazur 16:25
But meaning on the university level.
Mina Elias 16:27
Yes. But the salaries there were incredible. Like I'm talking, you graduate, maybe you make 8k a month. salary.
Yoni Mazur 16:36
Mina Elias 16:37
Yeah. So the only way you can do that is you travel, you get your education somewhere like America, Canada, Australia, London, you get your degree there, you become a citizen of that country. And you come back, and now you've moved up. Remember that socio economic
Yoni Mazur 16:57
Social rank? Yeah, socio economical.
Mina Elias 17:00
I’m not an Egypican anymore, I'm a Canadian or American. So now just now they pay me more. They don't pay me as much as a local from there, but they pay me as high as it gets.
Yoni Mazur 17:10
So the locals even though the locals even though they their educational systems are not as good. They still get paid more?
Mina Elias 17:16
They owm the country so So it's their house.
Mina Elias 17:20
It’s their family, the house wins. So basically, I was like, Okay, I heard Canada was the easiest one to get my, my, you know, citizenship from, I heard that University of Toronto had the third best chemical engineering program in the world. Let's go there. So I reject all the other offers. I accept that one. I go there, I apply for my student visa. And it's taking longer than usual to get it. And I'm going every day and I could walk to the embassy. It's right across the street from me. And I would go every single week, every other day. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. No one was there to kind of step in and be like, yo, we need some like, real actually, what's going on with this application? No one was there like yo, some fishy shit is happening. Maybe you should have a backup, and let's accept this US one too. So we accepted two offers.
Yoni Mazur 18:17
Backup plan. Yeah, yeah.
Mina Elias 18:18
No one no. And that's a lot of who I am today comes back from that, because it's like I was a bird that was thrown out like and had to like, kind of figure it out. So and ended up after the entire summer was over. They said, No, your student visas were rejected because we think you're going to illegally immigrate to Canada.
Yoni Mazur 18:45
Let me step back a little bit. So you're already in Toronto studying or no?
Mina Elias 18:48
No, no, I'm in Abu Dhabi still..
Yoni Mazur 18:51
Oh,You live very close to the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi. You keep touching base with them. But they eventually said no, we are you know, we think that you're going to essentially settle and immigrate to the country.
Mina Elias 19:02
Illegally immigrate, you're going to get your visa to go there and never come back. So I still remember that day. I was walking home with this paper reading the rejection. And I almost got hit by a car because I wasn't looking at anything around me. You know, it's that.
Yoni Mazur 19:18
It swallowed you, consumed you.
Mina Elias 19:21
Yeah. And I was walking home. And then I get home and my parents are like, oh, like what what the hell? And at that moment, I was like, my entire future is like fading from the after all this hard work. I go and I hit up all of the schools they said and they're Ivy League schools. They said it's August, you know, school starting in a week. Forget it, wait a year and then reapply, not even like, you know, we can transfer it, nothing, wait a year and reapply and see if you get in. Okay. And again. You know, this was all me, all of me doing the calls and everything and You know, no one kind of be like, Yo, what the hell do you mean? Like, this is an emergency this, this this, like, if I was Mina I would go told me that yo tell them like you got cancer or something or whatever, like get in that school.
Yoni Mazur 20:13
So today's Mina in 2021 would tell that Mina of 2010 to you know push it there's there's way to push it.
Mina Elias 20:20
Tell them your dad almost died will forge the documents that your dad was in the hospital, get in that university like don't take no for an answer, you know, but back then I wasn't like that. I mean, I was pushy. I was definitely the most pushy of my entire family. But I wasn't as pushy back then, it is a whole different beast.
Yoni Mazur 20:39
So once again, you're 17 years old, you have to give yourself some room, you know, most kids today use their second device like a cell phone or not even think about anything. So I think it's pretty okay even back then for a 17 year old. Yeah.
Mina Elias 20:52
So I'm like, okay, what's, what's the backup plan? My Dad, I'm freaking out. My dad's like, you can go to Egypt. We can get you here in the Petroleum Institute. We can. I'm like Egypt. Forget it. No way. I'm like, we already tried that. This is definitely no. So I went to the American University of Sharjah.
Yoni Mazur 21:14
An American University of what?
Mina Elias 21:15
Sharjah Sharjah? So it's Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, it's like Sharjah is...
Yoni Mazur 21:18
Mina Elias 21:20
Another Emirate, another city. And so it's an American University. I said, Okay, we'll start there. But I gotta get out. So I started there. And then it you know, I, you know, I make some friends or I'm in that, you know, community, and I'm starting to feel what college life is. But every day man, I go to my dorm. And the thing like this university was a massive, massive property in the middle of the desert. There's nothing around you. So it felt like a boarding school. But it was beautiful. But, you know, I was in the dorms and the dorms were gorgeous. But I would sit outside every night, man. And I'm like, just in my mind, like, man, like, Is this it? Like, this is really like after all of this, like, this is where I'm gonna stop. Like, I can't, I can't stop. And so every day, I'm talking to anyone. I'm like, dude, like, what should I do? What should I do? I'm looking for an answer from anyone. And finally, my dad's like, why don't you apply to or hit up the other schools, not the Ivy League schools, the other ones, the ones where they came to my high school, and they like, give me brochures and stuff like that. None of them I was really interested in because they're not there. They're here. I applied and got accepted here. So it felt like a downgrade. But at this point, anything was an option.
Yoni Mazur 22:38
So you’re saying that Ivy maybe next year, right? You know, the ones that aspire to be the Ivy League, and even better for you. They're after you, they're looking for you. Right? They're chasing you, they know you Ivy League quality, but they want to get your talent into their organization, so they can grow in. Because you know, it's a competition even between universities, because there are ranking systems, the more they get, you know, top-notch students, their rankings go up and hopefully, the cameras on Right. They get to be in the Ivy League so and then they came looking for you back then in Abu Dhabi, in your high school, you're getting into high school.
Mina Elias 23:24
So basically, they got like, they've got all of the students with a certain average or more, and they started talking to them, they said, Hey, you know, we know you'd have a 17 or more out of 20 you're like really smart, you can get a scholarship. And I said, Nah, I
gotta get out of here. I'm only going fiver Yeah, now, I'm crawling back. So I hit, I hit the guy up. And I'm like, hey, like, my name is Mina. I wasn't sure if that school remembered me? And he's like, Yeah, I remember you. And I'm surprised that he did. And I'm like, so you know, can I get in, he's like, no worries at all, you don't even need to apply. I remember you just sent an email here, we can accept your transfer credits from your college and we'll take the APs, because the APs are like collegiate level classes, as like, also transfer credits, so you'll skip an entire semester. So at that point, I was like, You know how it is, it's a sign from God, you say it's a sign from God. So I took it as a sign from God. And, I was like, this is where I need to be, again, minimal research on understanding where the school was, what the life over there was, what if they accepted me, maybe there are 100 other schools in different states that would accept me, but you know, you kind of like get like, Oh my god, like.
Yoni Mazur 24:27
Yeah but at that moment, it was a relief. So you just took it with a hug, but so this is already 2010 or 2011?
Mina Elias 24:35
This is like, right up until I flew out to America was in 2011. So I finished my final exams in January of 2011.
Yoni Mazur 24:48
So they did a whole year and already sagia just one semester, one semester. Got it.
Mina Elias 24:52
So the fall semester in 2010. And then by January 2011 finished my final exams. I had applied to the embassy for a visa, I got it in three days and they're like okya...
Yoni Mazur 25:03
US Embassy this time not the Canadian.
Mina Elias 25:05
Yeah, us and I'm like, okay, dude, it's definitely a sign like they accepted me for a three days visa like it's done. I fly out and I look at school. I don't don't do any research because it's like, you know, it's one of those things where you're like, you're so over enthusiastic, you're not calm, you're not thinking steady. So all I know is let me look at Connecticut, New Haven, it's cold, it gets to you know, 30 degrees freezing. You know, in the winter. My mom takes me shopping like a big jumper. We buy gloves. We buy the hoodie, everything. And I packed my bags. Literally two days after my final exams. I packed my bags. I'm on the next flight out. Okay, so no, no winter vacation. Nothing. No time to prepare. I fly out. I got there. I get in the car. And they're like, go to the x x office to get your keys. I get there. I drive. It takes me two hours from JFK Airport to New Haven two hours. The snow is this high. It was 2011 one of the biggest snowstorms. Wow. And I'm driving and I'm like, Damn, man, what is this place? It's crazy. And you don't realize what you're gonna do.
Yoni Mazur 26:27
America welcomes you with its finest North Eastern, you know, snowstorms? That's, uh, that's pretty intense to get to know America this way.
Mina Elias 26:34
Yeah. And I get there. Everything is closed. The buildings are closed. I'm banging on the door of the building that they told me about. And there's no one there.
Yoni Mazur 26:52
What's school? The University of New Haven?
Yoni Mazur 26:47
Oh, okay. All right. So University New Haven, actually not too far from Yale and other Ivy League schools around the world. But it's not Yale, l that's gonna Yeah.
Mina Elias 26:56
So I get there and the police come in. They're like, Dude, what are you doing? And I'm like, I'm like, I'm trying to get my keys. They told me to Come here. They're like, dude, these people went home like five hours ago. Go to your dorm, your resident assistant is going to have the keys. So I get there. Finally, you know, I'm getting settled in. But that first-semester man was rough. Everything was super foreign to me. Unfortunately, the dorm that I was in the suite. The people like maybe one guy was nice, but everyone else kind of like, they would all go into one room. It was like five rooms and one common room, they would all go into one room and like to hang out and drink. And like not invite me. So it was off to a rough start. I even remember spring break. I spent the whole time alone there watching TV shows. So but then I'm like, Okay, I have a new chance to start fresh. This is now sophomore year, okay, I'm no longer anyone knows. No one. I just moved to a new dorm. No one knows me. Right? It's a big university. So now let's reinvent this guy, Mina. So I sign up for a bunch of activities, like helping freshmen move in things like that, to kind of, you know, get a little bit well known/
Yoni Mazur 28:10
So this is already in the second year. You said the first year. You come into the second year? Yeah. You know, you're gonna reinvent yourself, and you're gonna help others. Exactly. And
Mina Elias 28:18
I met this guy, Brian. Brian like a little Puerto Rican guy. And dude, he's like a social butterfly. And I'm like, I gotta be like this guy. So I started like, you know, kind of like emulating him a little bit. And we became very close friends. And then I start having a lot, a lot of friends. And things started getting a little bit better from there. And from there, I started building a little bit more confidence. I signed up for the chemical engineering club and eventually became the president. We actually took our school for the first time ever to Nationals for commercial competition. And then I graduated obviously, in 2014. I was stopped in my class by alot, like I was, I was the number one bachelor's in chemical engineering and chemistry again, work. It's that same work ethic from high school. I kept it up and I always kind of prioritize my schoolwork and then partying and in sports and everything came after. But I was always hitting the gym. That was kind of like my religion when I hit the gym.
Yoni Mazur 29:25
So well. Yeah, the moment, now that you touched it, because I know there's a passion. When did that start?
Mina Elias 29:29
Yoni Mazur 29:30
It started in America.
Mina Elias 29:33
I started off in Abu Dhabi. I started on my 15th birthday when I started lifting, lifting weights. And that has always been a passion of mine. And so...
Yoni Mazur 29:41
Probably not back then. Yeah,
Mina Elias 29:42
yeah, we need to probably touch on that because it's since I owned a supplement company, but I've always been incredibly, incredibly passionate about lifting and I always look at Arnold and I would get these little dumbbells at home.
Yoni Mazur 29:56
Arnold Schwarzenegger in case you guys just came in.
Mina Elias 29:59
Yeah, and I would always like you know, look at my biceps and stuff like that in the mirror. And I always want it to be like that. And the first time I ever watched the movie Pumping Iron, man, I was in heaven. Like, really, that was like one of the best movies ever. And so I also developed a huge passion for supplements. And I can only attribute it to maybe I just always felt like, my genetics could be better, I could be like, there is always maybe a trick or something that I could do to my muscles to make my muscles burn fat faster, that will make me stronger. I was very strong, but it would make me stronger. Bigger muscles. You know..
Yoni Mazur 30:37
So you believe there's a way for you to get an edge. But I want to put that aside for now. Because that's a great passion. And this is something that you build your business with. And we're going to touch that very soon. But yeah, so for context, reason, you know, you put you're the president of the chemical club, you finished the top of your class. You're very passionate already and working in the gym. And that was your 2014. Yeah, I just want to go back. Because you’re almost touching eCommerce. Almost there.
Mina Elias 31:00
Yes, yes. 2014. So 2014, I thought, Hey, I'm the top of my class chemical engineer, the jobs are going to come in. So a few months before graduation, there was nothing at all remotely. So I was like, okay, maybe the jobs are not going to come in, let me start applying. So I apply, apply, apply, apply. Nothing. And and, you know, that's where now I think back and I'm like, dude, you're crazy. If you think employers are going to come looking for you, no one is going to come looking for you, you're going to go looking for them. So finally, I get one interview only. And in that one interview, it's Chemical Safety company, where I'm basically getting formulas, assessing the safety hazards and all of this stuff. What happens if you get in your eye in your mouth in case of emergency, all this stuff, and then writing these documents, it was $35,000 a year, was the starting salary.
Yoni Mazur 32:00
This is fresh out of college fresh out 2014...
Mina Elias 32:03
Everyone is telling me you're gonna start $60-70k or a chemical engineer. I started at 35 while you're still in New Haven, Connecticut, right? in New Haven, Connecticut still, and and you know, I thought that this was the hand that life was dealing me. And you know, again, why I'm so passionate now about this kind of stuff is because I was having a very victim mindset back then. And so I said, Okay, whatever. I started working there, and I hate it. But I say, hang on, because I really needed a work visa. And I really needed to get my green card. So they brought me in one day and I said hey, like, Can you guys apply for the work visa? They said, Yeah, sure. We also want to get you your green card, like we want to help you. And I said, Oh, that's amazing. Like this is exactly it. So I'm like, okay, it's all good. I eat the shit, like eat the shit, come to work everyday, nine to five to computers, to hate your life, it's only going to be two years, you get that work visa and you get up. And so I pushed it, I pushed it, I pushed it. And then I applied for the work visa, the work visa, they give 60,000 people a year, and 250,000 people applied. So I had a 25% chance of getting accepted. I didn't get accepted. So then I'm like, dude, I'm not gonna wait another year to apply. I'm sick and tired of this, I need to figure something out. And I'm just depressed at this job. So at that point, I saw someone had gotten his citizenship from the Air Force. So I applied to the Air Force. And at the same time I quit my job and told my friend Yo, I just need a temporary engineering job. Just and I never quit before I have another job. I always get the job then quit. Very same guy back then. So got the job as a temporary engineer, just so I can quit this while I get into the Air Force. I got accepted into the Air Force everything until the last second. And then Trump shut down the program for the ...
Yoni Mazur 34:01
So 2000? So two years later, we're in those two years you were stuck in that chemical engineering job to safety chemicals.
Mina Elias 34:11
Yep, and that moved me on to the temp job. And then I no longer had the Air Force job. So I was like, I talked to the boss who really loved me. The boss there oved me. But he's like Mina, literally last week, you told me that you are 100% into the Air Force. I hired another guy to replace you. And so I was like, okay, you know, it is what it is.
Yoni Mazur 34:35
You did thing, it’s the right hand the left is giving you...
Mina Elias 34:37
Yeah again, it's the hand. It's that same bullshit story that I kept telling myself. And then I worked there for a year. The CFO did some shady stuff and the company shut down. And so I get all out.
Yoni Mazur 34:50
Sp then your friend that had this engineering position for you, you had to go away and you find a new position or you stay there.
Mina Elias 34:55
No, no, I stayed as a temp.
Yoni Mazur 34:57
Got it. Okay. It crashed and burned. On its own merit.
Mina Elias 35:01
And it crashed and burned down its own thing. And then obviously, I was out of a job they sent Mina, you have three weeks of pay, you can stay, leave whatever the company is going.
Yoni Mazur 35:10
This is early 2017?
Mina Elias 35:13
So now in 2017 I applied to a bunch of jobs, and my friend hits me up. And he's like, dude, there's, there's these people. They're looking for a project manager. It's construction, though he was in construction. He's like, why don't you apply? You know, blah, blah, blah. I said, Okay, cool. You know, I'll apply. I pick up the phone, I apply. She's like, Mina, like, we don't have any opportunities right now. But if we do, we'll get back to you. I'm like, Okay, I'll just send you my resume. Just in case, I send her my resume. And then she sends it. She calls me back. She's like, you want to come in for a meeting? She obviously sees, you know, I am pursuing the top of my class, this, this that all of this stuff. I come in, we have a conversation. She's like, okay, okay, what do you want, if you like, salary, everything? I said, Okay, I want this much salary, this much vacation, this much this, etc? Was that? Okay? Sure. You’re hired. Let me know when you want to start. I said, Okay, let me think about it, I go home. Again, it's a sign everything is assigned. And I'm like, you know, she accepted everything that I wanted, this is a good opportunity. And honestly, maybe at the time, it was a good opportunity. And so I was driving home, I'm very excited to tell my parents, I am going on vacation to Egypt, I come back, 2017 to 2019. Now I start working there. And so I'm again a very aggressive guy when it comes to working. So I started zero, and I worked my way up in that year and a half to 12 million managing and projects. In one day, I made I think $300,000 in profit.
Yoni Mazur 36:46
So what was it? What was the company doing? Essentially give us a little...
Mina Elias 36:49
Civil engineering construction. So we were you know, basically, we would go to school you know, dig up the ground, set the foundations, piping, water mains, electric mains everywhere.
Yoni Mazur 37:00
What was your focus; sales manager? Project manager?
Mina Elias 37:04
Project manager. I manage the project, I would manage the project that would make sure people paid us, I would make sure the project went according to schedule. And they were seeing me build Gantt charts and you know, doing everything and this this this like, all in Excel, and they're like, this guy's like crazy. But I was so into the work that this one guy once pulls me aside from another company. And he says, Hey, man, like, when did you start this company? I said, I never started this company. Yeah. He's like, Oh, he's like, are you like part owner? I was like, no, I'm just an employee. He's like, I've never seen an employee like this in my life, because I like treated the company as my own. Anyways, a year and a half in, I get my masters. I'm now I have a master's in industrial engineering,
Yoni Mazur 37:46
And a Master's also in New Haven.
Mina Elias 37:49
New Haven, same university. I was tight with all the professor's so I've got a lot of like, you know, I got away with a lot of stuff. Like I was able to do everything a lot easier and faster, because of the relationships. But I got my master's and then I went to my boss, I said, Okay, it's been a year and a half, you haven't given me a raise. I have my masters. I know that the guy next to me is making $104,000 a month, a year. And I'm only making $65k. Like, bring me up to $80k. You know, that's like...
Yoni Mazur 38:21
Yeah, that's a modest request. You're saying, you know, bumping a little bit. Let's move on. Let's keep moving.
Mina Elias 38:26
Yeah I’m working 10 times harder than this other guy. And, and she's like, no, the best I can do is move you up to $67,000. I said, That's inflation is 2% a year. What are you talking about? So I said, Okay, cool. And at that point, you know, that was kind of like I didn't know what she's like. She's like, when you come back from vacation we'll finalize the note.
Yoni Mazur 38:48
Is that the same? Who hired you a year and a half ago? Um, that same lady that hired you a year and a half before that?
Mina Elias 38:54
She's the same one. Yeah, she's the boss of the company, the owner of the company. And so I go to I fly to Egypt now for vacation for the summer.
Yoni Mazur 39:01
For the summer?
Mina Elias 39:04
For the summer I'm in Egypt. I'm telling my Dad, I'm like, Dude, what do I do man like these people? Like they're undervaluing me like, she also was on my ass 24/7. If I came in at 7:10am instead of seven, she would say to me, Mina if you come in late again, I will take it out of your personal time off. And then the breaking point I remember was I was driving my car home in the snow. And you know how it is and it was windy backroads and I was literally going 10 miles an hour. And there was this one road there was like this, you know, and so I'm going...
Mina Elias 39:38
And it just slips, slips, slips, boom, hits the side rail. Nothing significant happened, but the bumper broke completely and some stuff in the car.
Yoni Mazur 39:45
It's a company car?
Mina Elias 39:49
No my car. I drive home. I call her and I text her. I say hey, you know this happened. I'm gonna be a few hours late tomorrow. Just got to make sure the mechanic fixes it up. So I can go to work. She says, okay, but I'm taking it out of your personal time. And I'm like, Dude, what is this slavery? And that was the breaking point that I knew. Like, like, I hated this, I hated this employment. I hated working for someone. I hated being someone's slave. You know, and because you technically are a slave, your slave to money, it's different, you know. And so I hated it. So I was on vacation, like I said, in Egypt, this was now 2018, September, September 1 to the 21st. And on the 14th, I was sitting at a cafe in front of a fountain, me and my dad and my mom. And as usual, I was looking at different protein supplements. I was looking at, you know, this and that as always. Yesterday, I just bought a new one, you know, I'm like, this is my thing, this is my passion. I like to try all of these different supplements, and all of this stuff. And so my dad says, What are you doing? And I said, I'm just looking for, you know, a new protein that has eggs, but also tastes good, but doesn't have...I was telling him what to say. He's like, you know what, you would be amazing. If you created an app, an app that brought all of these supplements together. I told them, Okay, first of all, this isn't even a valid business idea, what you just said, I'm a consumer, I'm a consumer of the supplements, well, you just told me doesn't make any sense. And I don't know anything about apps. He's like, Okay, then make your own supplements. And I said, and it took me back, I was like, I'm actually already making my own supplements. I am already you know, buying creatine and beta-alanine, raw and methane and huperzine. And all of this stuff, and mixing it up according to clinical dosage to make this like super pre-workout and squirting like meal flavoring in it and stuff like that. So I was already, you know, doing that stuff. So I said, It's not a bad idea. Let me actually, like, do a feasibility analysis. And, I did a quick calculation, I can buy the raw ingredients, including the bag and the sticker and the scooper and everything for $5. And the market price was $20-25 to $30, some $35. So I was like, this is a no-brainer, man, this is a lot of money here. So I hit up a friend and I said, and then I went into an obsession, a full obsession.
Yoni Mazur 42:11
Okay, well, I just want to capture the moment you're sitting in Cairo with your parents, right, you know, kind of a little bit of a break, you're taking a September, and your father is basically dabbling with you telling you want to I guess, combine your passion have a working hard and doing business probably right and professionally successful, and your secondary passion, which is going to the gym, having a healthy lifestyle and creating your own formulas. Because you know, there's some edge you can get and build your muscle to the top level. So that's it, that's when the merger brought you into an obsession.
Mina Elias 42:44
That’s when I actually believed that this is something that can actually be done like this is actually a good idea. Because my dad is always hitting me. He keeps telling me, why don't you invent something that cools cars down from the inside when you're not, you know, like into all of these things. He's always hitting me with these inventions. But when he finally mentioned supplements, that's when it clicked. There's nothing that I love more than supplements, like mixing them, reading studies about them, everything. So right from there. I messaged the designer. She was a graphic designer from college. I met her in college, but that wasn't a major. I said how much to do a label for me. And she said this much. And then it was $275. I said, Okay, I hit up my friend who was selling t-shirts. And I said, How much does it cost to have a business? He said it's only $400 on Legal Zoom. I said that's it. Okay, boom, paid her for the design, ordered the raw ingredients. And I came up with this formula, because it was an electrolyte powder. For me as an athlete as an MMA fighter. So you know, basically I was on...
Yoni Mazur 43:56
Orry guys, MMA is mixed martial arts.
Mina Elias 43:58
Yeah mixed martial arts. Yeah. So I was a fighter, and I was training every day, intensely sweating, and on keto, you're losing even more electrolytes. So I needed...
Yoni Mazur 44:10
Keto is the diet where you only consume protein?
Mina Elias 44:13
Keto is high fat low protein, no carbs, and you lose a lot of body fat very quickly on that each day, and it was going very successfully for me, but I was literally drinking a cup of chicken broth every day. And then I started just scooping the powder, the chicken broth powder, and dry scooping it and drinking it just to get the sodium in. Because without the sodium, you're gonna, you're gonna be weak, you're gonna be fatigued. You might even get headaches and they call it the keto flu, the ketogenic flu symptoms. And so, I looked online for a supplement that had high sodium, high potassium levels, but there was nothing and I'm like, okay, that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna create a keto electrolyte. And so, I created the you know, the I looked at the clinical studies It took me one day to compile every single study under the sun and make up this formulation, which is the best electrolytes Plus, I took taurine, which is a performance-enhancing amino acid and combine it because amino acids help electrolytes get absorbed by the body cellular absorption. The only other thing that can do that is sugar. So if you have electrolytes alone, you're not going to get absorbed. But if you have it with sugar or amino acids, it will and obviously on keto, you can do sugar. So I said, Okay, let's do taurine. So I already made that formula. Everything was at my house, September 21. I'm back from vacation. The packages are already there. I open it up to mix it. I make five bags, I go print the labels, UPS, cut it out into a sticker, stick it on the back. And then I go to my friends and I'm like, Guys, this new company, they come out with a brand new product. I want you guys to try it and let me know it's gonna help your performance. They're like, Okay, cool.
Yoni Mazur 46:00
Hold on, hold on. So you pitch your business to your friends, but you didn't have a very smooth way saying check out this new company? You didn't tell them it was your company?
Mina Elias 46:08
It was mine. There was gonna be bias. Yes. That's how it is. Yeah, there's always bias. So a little bit to see if we can make it, then we got it. And so they tried it for five days. They're like, Dude, this is incredible. I'm not getting tired. My muscles don't hurt as much and I'm like, okay, so it's not a placebo effect. I'm onto something. And that takes us right up into September, September for like September 28, 2018. So October 10 2018. About like, a couple of weeks later, I incorporate the business and someone hits me up, or I cover up in business and I post about it on Facebook and someone hits me up. He's like, yo, you have this, you know, you have a supplement company. I want you to come and, you know, go to this MMA event, I'll get you a booth, get a banner and get your bags at your product. And we'll have you there for free. I said, Okay, done. So I had three weeks, I went, I'm like, okay, I don't know what to do.
Yoni Mazur 47:07
In the Connecticut area?
Mina Elias 47:09
It was in Rhode Island. The tourist area.
Mina Elias 47:12
I didn't know anything. So I hit up a friend who was working for the Shoe Mart and I was like, What do I do about a website? She's like, Okay, listen, there's a lot of options.
Yoni Mazur 47:22
Working for who, what's the Shoe Mart?
Mina Elias 47:24
Shoe Mart is like a very big online shoe store.
Yoni Mazur 47:28
Shoes? Got it, Shoe Mart.
Mina Elias 47:31
So I'm like, she told me to build it on Squarespace. So I'm like, Okay, cool. I'm gonna build it on Squarespace and build 90% of the website with stock images, and then you know, 10% of the website with like, the 3d render of the product. So you know, it cost me little to nothing. And it wasn't eCommerce or anything. It was just pages, home products. Contact us about us, like, you know, so you couldn't even order but I went to that event. November 2 40. Bags sold 25. You know, I was there. I was pitching. I was like, Guys, this is the best electrolyte supplement. This is better than on its electrolytes. This is better than Gatorade, but no sugar. This is that, you know, and so I pitched it and then a lot of people bought it, but they said, Where can we buy it? Like, I don't have cash now, where can I buy it? My brother could use this. Where can I buy it? And I didn't know what to say. So I kept saying, okay, it's gonna be on Amazon. So, that was a lie. And I think that that lie started when my friend lied to hype me up and said, yo, you're releasing on Amazon soon, right? Yeah, this guy cuz he was trying to hype me up as if this big, big shot company. But you know, I said, Yeah, like, let's go with the flow. '' And that then takes me from there November 2018. To like March of 2019. That's when the deep work happened. That's when like, or at least November 2 to November 22. That's when I was like, how do I get on Amazon? How do I get on Amazon? and November 22nd was my first day on Amazon so-called amazon seller central, told them how I sell on your platform? They sent me an application. I filled it out. You know, got that done. We need an invoice. We need a certificate of analysis that went out to you know, different manufacturers got that done, pulled all of that stuff, sent it to them, got rejected, rejected, rejected, approved. Finally, I'm ungated. I'm good to sell on Amazon. November 22 was my first day. People are like, You're crazy. You launched Black Friday, and I'm like, dude, I don't even know what Black Friday is, I just launched. And from there, I started hitting it hard. My PPC was $100 a day. I was like every single human being in Connecticut that I would see that was that I've ever met. I was like, I'm gonna give you $20 buy my stuff on Amazon and leave me a review. This was before I even was in any Facebook group or knew that courses existed or anything. This was just very fundamental, I looked at my friend Eddie left the review, it said unverified. My friend Vinnie supported me, he bought the product. And he left the review and said, verified I said, I gotta get these people to buy the product. Yeah. I wasn't even thinking about coupons and this, dude, I don't have time to figure out coupons. Here are 20 bucks cash, just buy it. Here are 20 bucks Venmo just buy it so you know I did that, did that, did that took me all the way until March, March. You know, it was eat, sleep, breathe Amazon, in the bathroom, Amazon. On the way to work podcasts about Amazon on the way back to YouTube videos about Amazon at night. Amazon Amazon Amazon, literally like Amazon was painted in my eyes. And that's all I thought about you know, and I was on a routine. I was either working or no, even at work, I wasn't working. I was doing Amazon stuff. I was doing the bare minimum of work. And then Amazon stuff. And then at home, I was doing Amazon stuff. The only thing that I wasn't doing Amazon stuff is when I was working out because you know, that's the only time I couldn't do Amazon stuff.
Yoni Mazur 51:14
And that is also fueling Yeah, even that is fueling your Amazon stuff because that gym passion is creating that Amazon passion because interconnected with the supplements.
Mina Elias 51:22
Exactly, exactly. Because everyone is like oh, Mina, hydrolase, you know, MMA, nutrition, I put my banner big, I took that same banner from the event, and I put it up in the gym. And every day like we would you know when we do warm-ups, I'd see it and I'll be so proud. And, you know, even when I was lifting, instead of listening to music, I had the headphones on a podcast about Amazon. Like I literally consumed the 24 seven. So finally, in March, I got into two nobodies event. They were formerly known as CPC strategy. And you know, this happened when a friend, a friend of a friend or sister of a friend told me, you really need to go to this, they're really good $300 early bird tickets, I bit the bullet. And remember I'm making sure I'm in the negative. All of this is in the negative. I bit the bullet, paid the money, went there aggressively for 16 hours straight. I was consuming, like content and networking. And I was like, yo, okay, you experienced this. Remember how I was with you and Enosh and Eli? Alright, as soon as your talk was done, I want you Oh, this is good. Tell me about reviews. Tell me about this time, it was the exact same thing for 16 hours straight. And you see how you saw I am.
Yoni Mazur 52:39
So I'm going to share with you a little bit as of 2019, I believe, yeah, around November. I go do a presentation in New York City and the headquarters appear near their corporate office. And I do this presentation for 100 plus people, it's all good. But the one that really remembered was you because why you stayed after he's just sent me down to explain this, explain that. I'm like, Oh, you see fire and passion, this guy is probably going places. And then afterward, when we got back to the office A few days later, a few weeks later, you're still around. And then I saw you growing like a beast like a monster in the community and the online community, the groups. So that was very impressive. From my perspective, a little bit of that I kind of tasted you, and that moment, I knew that something was probably going to go big and I’m very, very happy that you made it and you’re still crushing it. Plus now we get the opportunity to work together on more projects. So I want to get to that project before we kind of package the episode. So let's touch on Amazon's success. Logic really quick.
Mina Elias 53:35
Yeah. So anyway, you know, it's now March 2018. You know, I go home. April 31, 2019. I get fired from my job. I'm making $4k a month and profits. I'm like, Okay, I need to, you know, save the money because I need to reinvest in the business. In June, I decided to go on a four-month vacation to Egypt. vacation, aka work from home, go fly, work there. Come back now it's November 1. I'm back in America on November 1. I'm already making $8,000 a month in profit. And that's when that November event happened. I was kind of like, you know, packing my stuff to get into media...
Yoni Mazur 54:15
What event was in November?
Mina Elias 54:17
Yoni Mazur 54:18
Oh, the Payoneer, right? Yeah, that was in November.
Mina Elias 54:21
And that was the last event and then from there. I flew out to California and so December 1, I touched down on December 1 2019. I touchdown in California. I'm making $10,000 a month in profits. And so you know, I'm like okay, this is working now. MMA nutrition was growing, everything was good. And now January 1, someone like I decided to launch another company and that was a female-based brand. I launched that company. I grew it but it was with two partners and that's when I get a taste of, you know, bad partnerships and get a taste of how much I can work and to never hold anyone to that same level. So if I'm ever going to enter a partnership, there needs to be some sort of advantage because no one has ever, I have not come close to anyone who's going to work at the level of work that I'm working at, the work ethic, the drive the passion, I don't burn out, I don't slow down, I'm only speeding up. And because I know how to not slow down. I know my body. I know the tricks. I know how to trick myself forward.
Yoni Mazur 55:29
You know, how to handle the mechanism to be in high performance for long.
Mina Elias 55:35
If I'm working at 90% I notice myself dropping to 80%. I know that I need to do 12345. It gets me back to 100% and it's simple stuff like I like to get this a certain drink. I like to have a certain coffee somewhere. I like to go have a vacation and certainly not a vacation but like maybe...
Yoni Mazur 55:50
Take a break here, take a break there.
Mina Elias 55:52
Yeah exactly. So anyway, that went up and it was burning so much of my energy, and it was taking away from the MMA nutrition business. And so I kind of like eventually had to pull back and sell that in October of 2020. And then one more thing, the only other business that I had going around then was the PPC University. Now that's because I got so good at PPC very quickly. Being an engineer and everything. I started putting out so much free content on PPC. People kept hitting me up with meaner consultation, meaner consultation, I said, you know, as much as I love getting paid for my time, I don't want to exchange time for money. So I created the course. And I said, Here's everything that you need, really, if you follow this, it'll get you 90% of the way, and then if you need my help, then you know I'm there for a consultation or whatever. And that was all that I had going on. And then 2020 it was a year of many many many distractions and you know that that sign that other business this that that and then kind of 2021 I started it fully focused. And now I'm like, everything is aligned, you know perfectly. We started the neuro project. So if you want me to touch on the FBA challenge, basically, I want to keep growing my brand awareness. The reason I do this is I notice people like Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor is not, for example, better than Mighty Mouse.
Yoni Mazur 57:18
Let me help out the audience, this is the legendary UFC fighter, right? What UFC again?
Mina Elias 57:24
Mixed Martial Arts fighter.
Yoni Mazur 57:26
UFC is the league or something fight fighting...
Mina Elias 57:29
something fight fighting this Ultimate
Yoni Mazur 57:31
The Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Mina Elias 57:32
Ultimate Fighting Championship. That's it.
Mina Elias 57:35
Yeah, I forgot the name. So basically, they're both equally good. But McGregor is brand awareness. Personal Branding is way bigger and he gets paid 100 times more. Logan Paul, for example. He's not a boxer. He's nothing but he steps in the cage and you get paid a few million. And it's because his personal branding is so good. So because I wanted to grow my personal branding in the Amazon community and all of this stuff. I approached semer and I said semer
Yoni Mazur 58:00
Let's go so let's take a break. So Samer Brax, give us an idea who Samer Brax is.
Mina Elias 58:06
Samer Brax is an Amazon FBA YouTuber. If we jump back to 2019 like March or whatever. Samer had a Facebook group. I saw a YouTube video of Samer the way he talked. I was like, this guy's a very genuine guy. He's not a salesman. He's not sleazy, like all of the other YouTubers out there. And so I joined his group. And I was so active that eventually we became close friends. And and you know, we were in a group chat together and all this stuff. We're always talking every day. We kept ourselves accountable, me him and a couple other people. He flew out in March to New York City. He said I'm going to be in New York City for the weekend visiting my friend. Let's do a meetup. I went to the meetup, met him there, you know, and we stayed in touch. When I moved to California, he came and visited me in California. We stayed together. And he stayed over at my place. And then in March, we kind of, he came again and I was talking. I was like, dude, we should do a reality TV show, like about Amazon. And so finally I approached him. I said, Sam, I want to grow my personal writing. I want to be very well known in the community. There's two things that will get me there. It's value adding value and drama, because everyone loves drama.
Yoni Mazur 59:24
Everybody does love a good drama. Yeah.
Mina Elias 59:26
And so I said, let's let's do this. You document me taking a product that we both like from scratch, doing market research, product research, sourcing the product, launching the product, creating it, inventing its label...
Yoni Mazur 59:41
Experience and how to launch a product and brand on Amazon.
Mina Elias 59:44
Yeah I said let's take it a step further. Let's launch it on Kickstarter. So all the complainers and the excuse makers that are saying you need money to make money, can shut up because we did it and we'll show you exactly how much it cost and how much we made. And there's always the element of surprise which is that this product could fail. So already we had a twist and we can't even call it neuro we have to call it like CogNuro because there's Neuro and that's infringement because it's too similar so...
Yoni Mazur 1:00:13
Neuro is and you are Oh, that was kind of the name you guys decided to plot twist you have to kind of use a different name because and you are always kind of taken by another company.
Mina Elias 1:00:21
By a Coffee Company, which is too similar. So anyway, so Samaras documenting this entire journey while we take it we don't know if this product is going to succeed or not. This is literally the first sample you know that I got from my manufacturer. It's not even the final sample that you guys are gonna get in the mail. But I said okay, let's, like how can we add the most value, we need to bring in the best of the best to help us on this journey.
Yoni Mazur 1:00:49
Oh, but CogNuro just to be exact. This is a supplement in the form of a powder or pill or?
Mina Elias 1:00:56
It's a nootropic Coffee alternative. Basically what it is for people who love coffee, who love that energy, the boost all of this stuff, but don't like the bad side effects of coffee that high stim, jitteriness, anxiety and also depletes like you're like, like burns your adrenal glands out. So we created neuro, which is the energy that comes from natural Colonna and guarana. Caffeine comes from there, we also added MCT, like coconut cream, because when you combine the caffeine and MCT, you get a much longer sustaining smoother flow of energy, because you know, because it's fat, so it's slow releases it, instead of a spike and crash, we also added nootropics, like lion's mane, cordyceps, and reishi to help focus you know, boost focus, and they're like known very known and famous mushrooms.
Yoni Mazur 1:01:44
So this is a coffee, you know, alternative, you know, that's it's gonna be top of the line. That's the party you guys decide, okay back to the launch.
Mina Elias 1:01:53
Okay, back to the launch. So I said, we need these guides, like in every great story, there's the hero, there's the villain, and there's the guide. I'm the hero, you know, what is it called? FBA Amazon, that's the villain, right? Because they're trying to take your money, is it going to sell, is it not going to sell, and we need those guides. And the guides are people like you people who are maybe an expert Inspector, an expert, a freight forwarding company, an expert, an email marketing, an expert at Kickstarter. So I said, but to get all these people like we need some sort of backing. So we reached out to GETIDA, we reached out to Thrasio, a bunch of other companies like that. And we said, Would you guys be down to sponsor this, your logo is going to be everywhere, we're going to get your brand awareness, you know, you're going to sponsor this whole, you know, adventure and, or, you know, the FBA challenge. That's the official name. And we can use that money to do the things that normally people can't do to show people what can be done, we can pay the consultants to come on and talk about say, Okay, I'm going to consult you for Neuro, I think that for a Kickstarter, you should do this, this, this, this, this, and we have the money to afford it and make it a top of the line experience.
Yoni Mazur 1:03:04
So you know, hopefully, the guarantee your ability to succeed in this, but also do outreach at the same time and make this a valuable, I guess, platform or program for entrepreneurs to hold on to say, Hey, this is how it gets done, because it gives you the insights of what's going on.
Mina Elias 1:03:23
And not only are we just documenting this as a series but also, we created a playbook. And in that playbook, it's a step-by-step procedure of every single thing that we did screen recorded as I did it for our business with links to the resources. So if I use a certain graphic designer, if I incorporated in Wyoming, I have the link where you can incorporate in Wyoming.
Yoni Mazur 1:03:45
On a silver platter, how it gets done to the bone to the core.
Mina Elias 1:03:49
You can do it too, you know, you can go and start your business too. And you start a passion project, you start a business where you're into this, I can use this, you can use this something that you can go out and pitch to the world. Because long gone are the days where you're you can go and do product research and blackbox and all of this dumb shit and expect that you're going to come up with with a product that's gonna make money because the only way right now to make money is to add value to people's lives. And this is the reason that this series is going to make me money because I'm adding so much value to all these Amazon sellers. And with neural, I'm adding so much value to our customers. Because the people who are getting messed up sleep because of coffee. They're not going to have that anymore.
Yoni Mazur 1:04:30
Yeah, full disclosure I cannot even drink coffee. I get jittery, I lose my mind. I can't sleep for like two weeks. So I don't I'm a tea guy. But once again, once your product hopefully is gonna get kosher certification. I'm probably going to be a fan. I'm on it. I'll get the kosher symbol, we'll talk about it after the show. But Okay, so so this is a loss of normal right the coffee alternative also which means it says it's a launch about another private label brand for you, but this is you making spectacular is going to be documented to the brim with the playbook with the programs with the villains with the whole drama Hollywood style. Now you’re in LA Yeah, it's amazing, this exciting stuff. I love it. So I want to kind of package your stories as a quick recap, see what we got so far is about so we can get to the ending part of the episode. Okay, so essentially you were born in Egypt, around two years old, you guys moved to Abu Dhabi, you essentially grew up there entirely right? Your kindergarten, your elementary school, high school all the way to 2010 when you graduate, the environment or at least education system in Abu Dhabi was top of the line, it created a diamond who was constantly putting on the pressure and expecting you to perform to the highest level and you did you prevail, and he did a very, very good job. And then complications came in your ability to get into an Ivy League school, you ended up in 2011 going to New Haven, Connecticut to the University of New Haven, you spent about three, four years over there. And you know, graduated top of your class, you went to the chemical engineering, you got a job with chemical engineering, you're there for from 2014 until 2016 about two years, and then you shift to to work for a construction company, right?
Mina Elias 1:06:11
A mechanical company for that one year.
Yoni Mazur 1:06:14
And for one year, and then if you were wanting to go to th... Oh yeah, that was kind of your temp job, because you wanted to go to the Air Force. That shows down to 16 when President Trump kind of closed the program, and then you hit the construction industry for about two years. But in those two years a big impact is happening in your life where you're able to finally, you know, with the chance meeting with your father in Cairo, you know after blessing with all these ideas all these years finally hits the nail on the nail on the spot. And he says combine your passion to work hard like crazy working harder than any other human. By the way. This is what kind of the description they have for the singer James Brown, the hardest working man in show business owner favorite, so look into that. Oh no, I was just working where he was just owning it. It was the top of his game the more we started to own what he's doing. He became a legend. But in any case, so on what you love, you know, you love how you know working hard and working harder than anybody but you love working out and knowing how to basically change your body your body is a try a shrine, and what do you how do we give it the best ingredients and materials so we can shine even more. So you package all that you start to consume the world of Amazon and the content and what can be done with Amazon so you build your levels of elements and your capabilities all along. Also having the ability to test sample your products with people in the gym, people in the MMA world. And then you launch 2019 you launch the business and then you grow into you know...
Mina Elias 1:07:41
It was in 2018.
Yoni Mazur 1:07:42
You launched a business in 2019 November, right November and Black Friday weekend and then around 2019 that's what really is building itself up as a sustainable business. When you realize okay, I'm making a good earning and then you relocate to California that's around December 2019 I believe. And then 2020 happens you try a few partnerships with a few people and you also create peace at University. And then also the year the pandemic by 2021. We're Neuro when the FDA challenge we're still with the nutrition supplement company, looking deep into the future how to create more value and also enhancing your branding in the community and the world of business. Did I get it right so far?
Mina Elias 1:08:23
That's perfect. And now I know fast forward to fully taking over the entire supplement industry and every all supplements on Amazon.
Yoni Mazur 1:08:32
I know that GNC Yeah, you can buy GNC or sell vitamin Shoppe and you know creator just add I mean as a GNC or Yeah, you know that GNC.
Mina Elias 1:08:42
All my products, my products.
Yoni Mazur 1:08:44
Thank you my stoma friends, you know, don't stop until you know, God comes and says, You know, I think you did enough you deserve a bonus or something. But until then just keep working hard. Alright, so beautiful, amazing, unbelievable story. I love it. I love passion. I love the like, what are the chances, right? There are so many touch elements that are the chances for you to break out of everything that you did. Of course, he is still in the United States living the American Dream entrepreneur making it on his own and affecting the lives of so many others on the consumer level, but also on the business level, which is amazing. Okay, so now I want to kind of wrap up the episode with two components. The first will be if somebody wants to reach out to connect with you and learn more about you, where can they find you. And the last thing will be very shortly because we touched a lot of it. What is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Mina Elias 1:09:27
Cool. So you can find me on Facebook Mina Elias and on Instagram at Egyptian underscore prescription underscore Elias. And then my message to people is two things. First thing, you will only fail if you quit. If you never quit, you'll never fail. I always say this every single time. The only way that you will fail is when you quit because the second that you do, there is a 0% chance of success. But as long as you don't, don't quit, there's always a chance you just keep pushing. Just keep going. There is a chance. And the second thing is to take full accountability for everything. The number one thing that messed up my entire life way back then was that I always thought that life was like dealing me hands, nothing. Life doesn't deal with your hands, nothing is good or bad, you're labeling everything good or bad life doesn't care about you is just happening. Take full accountability, look around you, everything around you is a sum of your actions and the decisions that you made. So the second that you accept that and you understand that every single thing in your life that is happening is a result of your actions and your decisions. Then everything changes because you realize that you're in full control and whatever happens you're in full control of your reaction situation. Then you know the way you handle it the way you know you proceed to solve it. Everything so take full accountability for every single thing in your life. Don't make any excuses because they're never going to help you, and never quit because, the only way, if you never quit you'll never fail.
Yoni Mazur 1:10:58
Okay so two things: never quit. Number two, own it. And take accountability, beautiful Mina, much success in everything that you do, especially when you're under a heavy challenge. It was a pleasure having you I hope everybody enjoyed this episode. Stay safe and healthy. The next time