Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers Podcast. Today we have Ephraim back on the show. This is his second time coming on. Always good to chat with you man and excited to sit down with you for a little bit today.
Good to see you, Nick. It's always good to have a good conversation and you're the type of guy that we could always have deep conversation and really understanding on different topics. So I'm really honored to be with you and have this topic going.
Cool man and I'm excited kind of what we queued up here for the conversation, talking a little bit about community and the impact that it can have on us as individuals as well as our businesses and talking about some cool things that MDS members Greg have done with your service, Tactical logistics to help create a smooth flow for that shipment supply chain process which we all know is a headache.
That's one of the biggest headaches in the business and sometimes one little thing can make a big impact because of what that allows you to do because you were able to access something. So we'll talk about that later as well because I think there'll be other members and listeners just interested in taking advantage of those things.
But just in case those that haven't met you yet or don't know about you, why don't you just do a quick intro about you, Tactical Logistics, your experience in the world of Amazon, and what you're working on these days?
Sure, so my name is Ephraim. I'm the Chief Logistics Officer for Tactical Logistics Solutions. A little bit about my background is I was an Amazon seller from 2011 till 2017. So in the early days of Amazon, when things were a lot easier than selling today and at that time I was using a 3PL, I was using freight forwarders, I was using truckers to get from product into Amazon, and a customs clearance agent as well to clear my customs.
A lot of times I felt like you have to deal with different parts of the puzzle and everyone is a different company, it was really difficult, or sometimes things got delayed because you didn't have that seamless connection between all the different services. So when I joined here, we were just a 3PL for major retailers and we tried to figure out what could have a niche that makes us different than others.
I mean, there are thousands of 3PLs, there are thousands of freight forwarders, truckers, and like that so we decided we're gonna be like an end-to-end service provider for Amazon sellers so we became a licensed freight forwarder, we import your product, we're a licensed customs broker so we clear customs, we pick up your goods, we warehouse it.
We have two facilities in California, and one in New Jersey, and then we drip feed into Amazon as needed so that's basically the scope that we created. The reason why I'm so passionate about doing what I do is first of all helping sellers and something that a lot of people don't know much about or don't know the complexity of logistics. We were able to see COVID the complexity of it when there was all national news, when things were going crazy, pricing was out of whack.
Then things were delayed so a lot of people were actually able to see first time what logistics is all about, what goes on the backend. At the same time, our price structure, which I created was simple, so that you could really know your profitability because selling online, and selling on Amazon is very different than when you sell to Walmart or Target.
Walmart, Target, you sell it for a dollar. You know what your cost is. That's all it is. But when you sell on Amazon, things change every day. There are different fees. It's longer in storage, less in storage so our price structure is a very simple price structure so you can really know your profitability on what my cost is per unit. Having it in a 3PL, importing it, and dripping feed into Amazon makes it a really good experience for Amazon sellers to have a good handle on their business.
Awesome man. Yeah, it’s always great to have someone who knows what sellers really need and has been on that side of the table and come up with a solution for those specific things. I think that’s why a lot of MDS members have been using you for a long time. How many clients do you currently have that are from MDS?
I think we're closing into 50. I'm not coming with that number. Then we started when I first met you, I think we were at six or seven. Now we're close to 50 so that's a big number.
Amazing, man. That's yeah, that's amazing and I see what they say about your company and the group, right? Nothing but good things to say. Some members have spoken about you guys at the events and stuff like that which is great and for those that are listening that aren't MDS, they're kind of getting a taste of what the community offers, which is like working with a proven provider.
If an MDS person says something or recommends somebody, you really take their word for it because the trust is there immediately when you're inside of MDS. That's a little taste. They could reach out to you and know that they're reaching out to a provider that's really going to get the job done and be able to take care of them.
Yeah, definitely. In the MDS group, trust is the key. I've seen it. I've been to many MDS events and you see trust is number one there so to gain the trust of the group, it takes a lot of effort, but I'm really happy that we are in that position where we are, that we can really help them grow. MDS members do a lot of vetting so they make sure before they make a decision, whatever they do to their business, most of them are serious business entrepreneurs.
They're not like, hey, let me try this out to see how it goes. They really do their due diligence and make a decision so it's really great to be part of this group and be able to help.
Yeah, and I think that touches on something else. You mention them being serious about what they try, trying another provider trying another software. In the MDS community, when I was doing the partnerships very regularly every week, I could see how the partners were getting that wrong. Some of the partners, right? They'd be like, oh we're going to give them this offer.
We're going to give them 20% off or we're going to do this free training and I'm like, they need more. Why should they stop something that's already working for them and then take the time to learn your tool, your strategy, your definitions of things, and then they have to train their employees on all that right? You have all these other things that they think about that you don't see in the solopreneur kind of just getting started on the Amazon journey.
I think that's where you came up with that MDS offer saying you would actually share in some of the costs and the burden associated with switching to another provider because this is one of the more difficult switches to make too, in my opinion.
Yeah, there's a joke I always tell people, a trucker or a freight forwarder, you date them, right? You try them out, they don't work out, you go to another one, easy. In a 3PL, you got to marry them, or you’re married to them and you love them or you divorce them, you hate them. For someone to be in a 3PL position, they really need to feel trusted that their product is good, they know what they're doing, things like that.
For someone to leave a 3PL, it is also a big deal because it's expensive, it's a headache, it's hard, it's not an easy transition. That way you felt that a lot of people, I have a hard time making that decision because of that reason, so we tell like, hey, you just review the rates, see if everything makes sense, you understand everything, and whenever you decide that you wanna make that switch, you can give it over to your staff, our staff takes over, and then we’d split the cost 50%.
Basically, whatever the cost is, we'll eat 50% of it. You only pay 50%, so it's not that of a huge deal. When you get a transfer, sometimes it could cost you 10, 15, $50,000 to really make a huge switch if you have a lot of product on 3PL or even 10 truckloads could be a couple of thousand dollars so it's really important for them to know that transitioning is not as bad as it is as long as you have the right people holding your hand and making that happen.
Right. Yeah, that's such a great offer. It makes sense in my opinion to offer good quality clients, the help to make that transition. So yeah, we've touched a little bit on the community but why don't you tell us a little more about what it means to you if you've been getting more involved I could even talk a little bit about what my perspective as a member and how involved I have been since I joined like in 2017.
Yeah because I've seen you come in and start to get involved and now you're committing to all the big main events. You're attending the chapter events, you're really coming in strong and engaging with the community.
Right. For me, I've been in the Amazon community because e-commerce is a community after all. Since 2011 I've met probably hundreds or thousands of sellers and service providers over the years and for me, it is a second family to be part of such an amazing community where everybody's here to help each other out. But when you're a seller, right, and you have an issue, you could go on a random Facebook group from Amazon sellers to ask and then you might get a good answer.
You might get not a good answer. Somebody might screw you with an answer because they don't know what they're talking about so the beauty of being within a community, in a community, that's what basically MDS is. It's a community of really smart entrepreneurs where everybody is here to help each other out. At the same time, they have experienced their growth, how they got to where they got to.
They all have a lot of experience in their hands because they're all experienced sellers. When somebody comes new to the group or somebody is on the group for a while and has a problem that he never bumped into, he knows he has a community, a family I would call it, where they could actually reach out, and then people are actually genuinely there to help them because they know each other.
They care about each other and they trust each other, so that's what I love about MDS community and what I love about community as a whole is feeling that part. It's like, yeah, it's all about business life balance, right? It's beautiful to have a family of your own. That's amazing, that's number one. But number two is you wanna do business, but at the same time where you get that family aspect to the business, you can't get better than that.
I mean, I'm sure there are many stories we could talk to many MDS members. I'm sure you have spoken to many of the MDS members where their lives have changed. I mean, I've spoken to some MDS members who since they joined, became new people in their personal life, in business life, and in growing as a business. It's something that really is close to my heart and I love being part of it.
Part of our values as Tactical is community so I'm really a strong supporter of that and I love being part of a community like MDS. I've been to many events and every event I go to, it just becomes stronger. That bond becomes stronger and stronger. We’re like we all have each other. We're all here for the same reason. We're here to help each other out.
One person is growing on Amazon, the other person is helping an Amazon seller grow. Regardless of what that service is, and what they do, it's just beautiful to be part of it.
Yeah, MDS really is the perfect kind of family mastermind group to be a part of for a variety of reasons and you mentioned family and community and those things that it makes me wonder if you ask chat GPT to create the perfect mastermind community, it would be MDS, right? Because you get the best. They've got your back. You always know if things go wrong, I can always ask for help in MDS but at the same time, they're not going to enable you either.
Right? If you're just not working hard or your work ethic sucks, or you're just not doing what you're doing, that's not really going to fly. Whereas I'm sure some of us can relate to being involved in a family dynamic lifestyle where there's some enabling going on, there's some confusion about how someone should be treated, and what the problem really is.
In MDS you really don't have that. Everyone's performing at a high level and there's that baseline of performance kind of established where you're not really gonna run into that problem unless someone's really going through something serious in their life and that's a different story in that case. But yeah, it really makes you want to be the best version of yourself really.
If you start masterminding with these people and putting together accountability groups with these people, that takes my performance to the next level because I'll let myself down on some things, but if I commit to something to a group like that, I'm going to take that even more seriously in some cases that I committed to something.
Definitely. I've seen it many times where you could really feel that vibe. People hold their friends accountable for certain things like, hey, did you do that? Did you get it done? Did you try it? How was the experience? Things like that. I've seen that by being at events where people genuinely really hear about them. But at the same time, it's like, hey, we're in a group, a community where we have certain standards that we live by, and let's do it, get it done.
The motivational part, getting people motivated to certain things, you only have that in the community. If you're in a solo basement and you sell on Amazon, you don't have a community that can really help you. You could get burned out. When you're a part of a community, you don't have that. Because if you have a problem, you have others you could talk to.
You know so many people with different dynamics that could really help you. Sometimes the personal stuff, sometimes it's business stuff, and sometimes your business is pulling you down and affecting you personally. All of that, we have that experience like we did now. I was at the chapter in Miami and we did the Wim Hof experience. That was something that Wim Hof's experience is something that really it's for your inner self.
It's your inner body, it's your inner feelings, anxiety, stress, everything like that that's really affecting us personally, not only business. Being part of that and doing that together as a community, as a team was amazing. It was an amazing experience and you could just really see people talk about certain things that they struggle with. That was really somewhere where we had 25, 30 people talking about it and just helping each other out and just motivating each other.
Part of the Wim Hof experience is doing an ice bath where it's brutal for the first couple of seconds and everybody's cheering each other on to do that for the experience of it. What you feel after that is that you feel like you're completely clean. You're stress-free, things like that. It was really beautiful to have that experience at a community level.
Yeah, and I think that's one of the great things about it too as well is you're able to blend that. What it really is to me is just my personal life, and who I am as a person. It's not my work life and my home life. Who I am at work and who I am at home. I always thought that was ridiculous to me. You always heard that growing up from just about everyone.
In my head that just sounds stupid. It doesn't sound right. Why would I wanna be someone else because I'm doing this job that I don't even like? Most people around me were just kind of complaining about where they were in life so that's a lot of what I heard and I was just like, why are you choosing to do those things or look at things that way?
Why not do something like this where you get into ice-cold water for three minutes, focus on your breathing, you lower your heart rate? You're directly improving your ability to handle stress and be under control in stressful situations and that helps every aspect of your life. It helps you work better. It helps you be a better father, a better husband, a better brother, whatever it is, right?
These are biological things that impact every single one of us no matter who we are. You can learn these things and leverage them at work. MDS does such a good job of blending all that together because it's also a platform for the members to express themselves. We had an idea to do the Wim Hof experience and someone led it and we made it happen. We've had the Japan trip and there are other experiences being planned that allow us to do those things.
There's one part of the community where you guys have a group and anybody that has a question or anything related to business, people are always there to help each other out or anything new, changing, pivoting, things like that. But then you have the side where MDS has its chapters and events and the summit is where the whole experience is way different than you go to any trade show or any mastermind.
It's a blend of personal like we just spoke. Personal and business, personal and business. The first night at the summit, we have this meet and speed, right? Most of the questions are a personal question, a business question, a personal question, a business question, where that's so much more important for somebody. If you need help, right?
If you have an issue, it's not only business where that's your issue, it's all about it. If somebody experiences and learns what Nick is all about like as a personal person, as a guy on the street, and then as a person in business, right? When you get that understanding of who you are, of who I am, who the other person is, your way of helping them is so much more different than just asking a question like, hey, I'm having an issue with my listing. Amazon did this and that, or how do I do this and that?
It's way different because you know me, I know you so it makes things so much more seamless. You get a better connection and you get better help with that. That’s what I love about being part of this community.
Yeah, the ability to troubleshoot something significantly faster is pretty insane. I’ve seen questions where it’s taking me months and even longer to figure something out and you see someone in the group ask it and minutes later someone answered it. Man, it took me 90 days to figure that one out. This guy just answered it in 90 seconds. Yeah, so it's crazy. Such a great group to be a part of. How was the ice bath for you? What was that experience like for you? Walk us through it a little bit.
Yeah. There are people who know me a little bit from the MDS group and they all understood for me that Ephraim is not the type of guy that does these things. He's not going to do it. He's playing the game. He might, but he's not gonna do it. For me, I was the last one doing it actually. I was next to the instructor and he started from the other way around who was gonna do it because we were doing sets of three people at a time.
I was the last person, the only person that was gonna do it and the trainer goes up to me like, Ephraim you're gonna do it. I was like, I can't. Me and cold, I can't handle it, and I’m just you know, I'm going to do it, and the experience after that was amazing mentally. I was so proud of myself for doing it at the same time but the feeling of your brain not always controls you.
You have an option where you could tell your brain, I'm going to be doing this to make me better as a person. We could take that lesson from anything in life. Sometimes you feel you're hijacked because your brain is telling you something. But if you really want to do something, you go for it and then your brain realizes that, hey, you actually went for it.
Now the brain has to figure out, now that I did, let me get through this. Right? The same thing with ice. The first 20, 30 seconds, no I'm getting out, and some people did run out after 30, 40 seconds, they couldn't handle it. 30, 40 seconds in is when your brain realizes that you're in the ice cold water, you're here. Now your body starts warming you up and you practice breathing and that clears your mind, your brain of any stress, or any toxic information that you have had in your head.
Whatever is going on in your life, it just really gives you a new, I would say a new beginning. I was as calm as I’d been the whole day that day. Even the next day I still felt that certain sense of peace. That was really amazing because I'm in a logistics world. There's always chaos, there's always things happening. It's never a calm day, but that really was an amazing experience.
Also having MDS members cheering you on, being part of it, being proud of you for doing that, supporting each other. It was just amazing.
You gotta get one in your office, man. I know you have room for one there at the warehouse.
Definitely. Plenty of room.
Yeah, I thought about building one. You can build one. There's a guy on YouTube for a thousand bucks showing you how to build one. Those things are getting so trendy right now. I was looking on Amazon right when they rolled out that new feature where they tell you how many are selling every week. There was some expensive bundle on there and the guy had sold a thousand in the past week or something.
I was like holy crap man. Looked like some good money to be made there, but yeah, that trend is just blowing up right now. I want one of those things that is at my house. I'm really into the cold and the heat, and when you mix them together I got some really good benefits when we went to Japan on the snowboarding trip with all the MDS guys and we were in the Onsen after snowboarding. We're in the hot bath.
They had a dry sauna too though, and a cold plunge. We were hitting that and I wouldn't be sore the next day. Just the recovery was so much better than I had ever experienced but then the cold on its own has so many benefits and the heat on its own has so many benefits that I think it's worth experiencing both by itself and letting your body go through that warming up process or that cooling down process.
If you jump from one to the other, you're interfering with that, but there still seems to be that recovery benefit. I think it's blood flow man. If you think about it, you're pumping your blood vessels with hot, making it expand and cold, making it contract.
Yeah, it's all about the breathing technique and your mindset because before the Wim Hof, we did the breathing exercises and we did the first exercise was how long can you hold? You breathe in and you breathe out and how long can you hold your breath like not to breathe in or out? I did around 30 seconds and I couldn't do it anymore. After we did the Wim Hof breathing exercises, I was holding it for two minutes.
It just shows you basically by breathing, you're really putting in oxygen to your blood where your blood doesn't need you to breathe for a couple of minutes. It's insane how much control we could have in our bodies through a breathing experience. It was amazing.
Yeah, that's great, man. I love hearing that stuff. I'm so into those things. The way I work out now has a lot of breathwork involved. I could talk for another hour about it specifically, honestly but I won't do that. Let's, let's start to wrap up as we get near our time here, man. I know we wanted to mention what some members were able to do with Tactical Logistics just by having an API connection, right?
That's what we mentioned earlier something like that, it's one simple thing that a provider can do, but it opens up a world of possibilities. One of our members, Gregg, uses you guys and he talks about that. I know you talked a little bit about what happens there. You said it’s fully automated, right? You don’t do anything.
We have one of our customers, who’s an MDS member. His name’s Gregg Alper. Basically, he created in Airtable, exactly how he did it, I'm not sure, but he has basically everything automated from his freight forwarder to everything, what's coming in on a shipment, going through Airtable into our system, what we're supposed to receive, and then any orders that he needs to replenish on Amazon as well automatically.
We would rarely see an email from any one of his companies checking on anything because everything is automated. The order comes in, the labels come in, it gets done, it gets shipped out, and everything is automated. That's the craziest that I've seen made into an automation where someone really has a really successful business and he literally does not have to get involved in his logistics.
That's impressive. But then we have other customers there is, I think one of the MDS members is part of SKUPREME. I think he's a seller and he created software as well where they also have a couple of customers that are fully integrated with our software where all their projections, whatever is coming in, whatever needs to go into Amazon.
Click of a button, their software creates the order and Seller Central pulls it through our system. The order comes in. Literally, you don't have to really go into two systems and anything like that. Our API connection is open. It's a very simple deck so anybody that knows a little bit about technology or has inventory software, it's a very simple and easy way to integrate with that.
Part of being an MDS member is you have access to a lot of entrepreneurs who are really technology savvy, where they know software, whereas they have created software on their own for their own business, or they're really knowledgeable with that. To do that, not a single other community, we have multiple other customers that have integrations, but to the extent where MDS member has the ability to learn that, I think is extraordinary.
It's amazing how somebody's biggest headache and challenge is completely automated.
Yeah. Imagine not sending an email, or checking in on a shipment, right? Imagine that.
Exactly. That is really impressive. When most Amazon sellers are not logistical geniuses or savvy or know much about it, most of them will tell you what your biggest headache is logistics because I know how to build my product. I know how to do Amazon advertising. I know how to sell products. I don't know how to control and manage my logistics so that's really an amazing experience. Somebody could really automate that.
Part of the perks of being an MDS member is having the ability to connect with people who really know what they're doing.
Right on Ephraim. Well, thanks for coming on and just letting us know about your company, your experience, and your involvement with MDS and looking forward to more events with you and getting you on the podcast again, and thanks for being such a great partner to the community.
Thank you, brother. Always happy to be with you and talk with you.
Same with, same to you Ephraim. Talk again soon, man.