Interview With Mike Perillo

Nick: (00:04)

Hey, what's up, everyone. This is the Million Dollar Sellers podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet Today we've got Mike Perillo on the call. Did I say that right, Mike?

Mike (00:15)

Yeah, you did, man. You're all good.

Nick (00:16)

I always wanna say it like, I always wanna make it fancy like Periyo or something like that, man.

Mike: (00:24)

Yeah. It's just Perillo, nothing fancy there.

Nick: (00:29)

So, man, I know you've been in MDS for a little while. You and I actually met at an arbitrage-focused conference a couple of years ago in Chicago.  And I think I had a different MDS hat on and you came over.

Mike: (00:44)

That's exactly how I recognized you, that's how I was like, "Whoa, that's an MDS hat. What's up." And then at that time, I wasn't... I didn't... there were so many people in that group, I didn't know who was who but I met you, and then yeah. We've worked together on some stuff, so it's been a lot of fun.

Meet Mike Perillo

Nick: (00:59)

Yeah. Yeah. That was, that was a cool experience, man.  I didn't expect to see anyone there with it in such an arbitrage focus. 

Yeah man, I mean, for those of the... for those listeners that don't really know you just go ahead and introduce yourself a little bit and we'll go from there, man.

Mike: (01:16)

Yeah. As you mentioned my name's Mike Perillo, I've been an MDS I think since like 2017. I got in through Brandon Young. I was at, I think I was at ASD Las Vegas and there were a bunch of us smashed in an Uber going somewhere. Mentioned something about a Million Dollar Facebook group and I was like, "Wait, what?" And at the time I was doing...

I think I was doing about 1.5 mill. So I was like, I didn't know something like that existed, you know, that's cool. And I got in and stuff, but the way I got started I probably got a little different story than everybody else.

Mike Perillo: Following the Print-On-Demand Route

Mike: (01:50)

I didn't really go the arbitrage route like a lot of people or wholesale. I got in through print-on-demand and that's been kind of... I'm still, I think I'm still kind of one of the, I don't know, pioneers of it. I started doing it in 2006. I was working at Google as an IT tech and I was commuting like an hour and a half each way. And I was like, man, I need to figure out how to make more money 'cause I had a bunch of debt. I think I was 24 at the time.

I had done side IT work like building computers for people, but the problem was, that nobody was gonna meet me in the Denny's parking lot at like 11:00 PM at night to buy a computer off me. So kind of the mantra was, "Man, I need to figure out how to make money while I sleep."

A Passion For Fixing Things

Mike: (02:34)

And I had a little bit of experience in fixing broken equipment, like all kinds of things, but not really printers, but I bought a broken large format printer that could print these giant posters off Craigslist. And I figured out how to fix it, which was... it took me like a month or two. And at that point, I didn't even know how to print, I didn't know how to use Photoshop.

I had no idea, but I figured all that out. I got the thing to spit out something interesting. And then I started selling on eBay in 2006 and what ended up happening is, maybe like once a year or twice a year, like my friends would come to me and be like, "Hey, you can print on coffee mugs, can you... or “sorry, you can print on posters can you print coffee mugs?”.

And I'd be like "Gimme like three weeks" and I'd go out and I'd buy broken equipment and bring it home. I'd figure out what was wrong with it. I'd fix it. And then all of a sudden I'd figure out how to make a product out of it. And it was like at the time the goal was to just maybe open a print shop or something. But I wanted to... the way these machines work is you gotta keep 'em printing or else the ink dries up the machine's dead.

So I figured out these stupid designs I could launch on eBay and they worked and I would sell a couple a day and then a couple became like 10 and then a couple became like 50 and then a couple became like a hundred and I just kept repeating this process. So... and I was still working full-time up until about 2011. I'd been laid off a few times cause the IT world out here in Silicon Valley was kind of like that.

From Silicon Valley To A Full-Time Business

Mike: (03:57)

And in 2011, I was like, "You know what, I'm just gonna do this full-time." I had friends and family working in the business and some... like a few employees at the time and I'm like, "All right, let's try to give this a shot." Let's see what we can do. Cause we were doing, like I said, we were doing at that point—we were probably doing like a mill, maybe like 1.2, selling $20 t-shirts and $20 coffee mugs on Amazon and eBay at that point.

So it's kinda like, "Okay, well let's see how this goes." And then yeah, they just kind of kept going. We can get into later what happened after I came into MDS, but yeah, that's kind of the initial story. I think I started with... actually, I had a partner originally I had put 200 bucks in and that's how I started this business and he put 200 in and then maybe like four months after that, I ended up buying him out because he didn't have time to do any of this stuff.

So then that's kind of how it came to be.

Selling on eBay

Nick: (04:46)

Nice, man. Have you ever tried anything entrepreneurial before? Or was this your first shot? I mean, I had sold computers and stuff like that. Like probably when I was... I think when I was in college I was kind of into... I was really into music and stuff. So I tried to get a wholesale account with BOSS, which is a stomp pedal brand for a guitar, but the margins were awful.

I had nowhere to sell 'em and online was kind of a thing, but the prices on eBay for this stuff were so low and I was like, "I'm never gonna make any money like that."

Building Computers As A Kid

Mike: (05:22)

But yeah, I mean, over the years I did a lot of computer fixing, building machines for people. When I... I remember when I was like 14, I tried to get a job doing IT work. I would call companies around here and be like... cause I was really good at computers. I built my first computer when I was like in second grade, so...  And then when I was in like sixth grade the school hired me to redo all their computer systems and everything.

Back then it was like 46 Windows machines, not really any internet, I think they were dialing into something. But yeah, so maybe a little bit of an entrepreneurial bug. My dad, my dad was like that too. He's a Jack of all trades. He had his own business, but he never had a... he never had a brick-and-mortar. He always did everything out of his house.


Nick: (06:08)

Well, man. I've got... my son is in second grade and he's not building any freaking computers, so we're gonna have to have a talk.

Standing on His Father’s Shoulders

Mike: (06:16)

Yeah, my dad was an electronics tech, so he used to take me to these... they're like electronics flea markets. They call them swap meets and we'd have to get up at 4:00 AM and drive two hours. It's like, you know, you get out there and it's 6:30 in the morning. It's cold, I'm a little kid and I'm running around, trying to find a motherboard for my computer.

And everybody was always pretty cool cause I was like a little kid so I was like an anomaly. They were like, "Wait, are you buying for your dad?" And I'm like, "No, I need this 46 motherboard”. “I've got eight megabytes of RAM at home and I need this" and they'd be like, "Okay". So I don't know if that helped, maybe I got some deals, but that's kind of how I started in that tech field.

It's weird.

Nick: (07:02)

That's pretty cool, man. I always love digging into the origin story cause I feel for a lot of us, you know, we're kind of born with these talents, this mindset, and then, you go to school and they try to fit you into that school box and put that path in front of you. And then, most of us try to go down it, but then at some point, those of us who have those thoughts and that drive and those talents, we kinda break outta that box. One way or another.

Going Beyond The Four Walls Of Education

Mike: (07:36)

Yeah.  I do have a four-year college degree, but even doing it I knew that it wasn't... it was literally for a piece of paper to like...  When I was... I graduated high school on a Friday and the Monday after I went to work for a dotcom as an intern, and then I went to college for... it took me five years because out here, everything is in parts that it was really hard to get classes.

I got a degree in business administration with a concentration in Information Systems, but even doing it while doing IT work, I really knew that it was just like a piece of paper. It would probably help me later in life for the job. And maybe there were some structural things in there, but I had already... I went to private school, I was an Eagle Scout.

So that kind of... that hard-working, organized thing had already been instilled in me, not to mention my dad is an incredible person and he is very organized. So I kind of inherited some of that too.

Mike Talks About His Business Operations

Nick: (08:37)

Nice, man. Yeah. That's a pretty cool experience. And now you've... I know you have a pretty big operation with what you do at work.  We've done a couple of things together and I've gotten a little bit of insight into how you work. I mean and it seems like it's even hard for me to put it into words, but, I mean, you've got some pretty big things going on and I know you had... then you have some warehouse issues, things got shut down during COVID and you didn't... you moved somewhere.

You've done a lot in the past year, right?

Mike: (09:09)

Yeah. We've... the thing with demand and having a physical space and doing it yourself is you have to have the facility size to do it. And Amazon is very volatile. You can go from nothing to literally blowing up.  And it... like out here real estate doesn't really follow that model. They want you to sign leases for like three to five years and it's just like impossible, but I mean we've done it.

Dealing With Flood Twice

Mike: (09:35)

We've moved a few times, we've had quite a few setbacks even prior to COVID—this one facility that we were in got flooded twice in nine months by a broken fire hydrant... two different fire hydrants in the complex, which I don't know if anybody's familiar with water damage, but like one time if you're on it and you get... your facility gets full of water by an inch, an inch and a half, usually you can dry it out.

But the second time was pretty bad. We had... I just landed in Vegas for ASD and had like three employees with me. It was a Friday night and the fire department called me at 10 o'clock at night and was like "Yeah, somebody hit a fire hydrant."

We've moved a few times. We've had quite a few setbacks even prior to COVID. This one facility that we were in got flooded twice in nine months by two different fire hydrants in the complex.

Like, "Oh no." So that was the second time; that one was kind of bad. That one ended up forcing me to eventually move outta that unit because they... there was mold and they wanted to cut into the walls and we were already pretty cramped in there. It was difficult.

Coping Through The Pandemic

Mike: (10:26)

And then yeah, COVID hit last year and it was like something none of us had ever been through like, "Can the government really shut us down?" Like "what happened here?" "Are they gonna compensate us?” We got orders to fill and like, "What's gonna happen." And we manage... navigate that. We got an exception for… after a little bit to operate from the county but nobody really knew it was going on.

It was just kinda like a reality check. And it... that point I kind of came to a realization that I was trying to do too many things. Yeah, I was trying to do... in the print-on-demand world there's design so I've gotta make artwork, you gotta sell this stuff on something like a t-shirt, a coffee mug, a wallet, whatever. And then we had to print it. And I mean, that's like a manufacturing process. So I'm running design, distribution, and manufacturing.

And we had like no time to do anything. So I remember we were getting ready to move out of our facility. We were kind of done, we were trying to downsize a little bit because of COVID and everything. And I got this idea, I was... we sold a bunch of equipment to a buddy of mine, and me and my Ops manager actually delivering it and stuff and setting it up for them.

And, I remember at the end of that day, we were so exhausted and I was like, "Should I just throw this print part of it up on Facebook marketplace?" I was like, "I don't think anybody will buy it, but maybe" and long story short. Yeah, like two MDS guys actually hit me up—Sorry if you're watching this or listening to this—and my buddy, Travis Ross from Colorado, who I had been talking to and who had had previous experience in the print-on-demand world, hit me up.

Selling A Part Of The Business

Mike: (12:10)

Long story short, I ended up selling 90% of the entire print operation to him in Colorado and all this happened right before Q4. So, that is literally the worst time. Like he wanted to be up and running for Q4 and it was like September and I'm like, "I don't know, dude." And we somehow—I mean, we're known for this like we make things happen—so we made it happen.

Like me, my Ops manager and another woman from out here that we just kind of randomly hired to help in Colorado, we landed in Colorado on like November 1st to set up an entire print operation, which, you know, it's 3,500 square feet of equipment, materials, and everything. And we managed to get 'em up and running. I think like the first week we had like 50% of the operation going.

And then the second week we got the other 50% going. So, crazy story though, man, it was like in August of that year it was like... COVID was still kind of crazy out here in California. And by November I was sitting in Colorado and I had never really been away from home for more than three weeks, at the longest. So we spent three months there getting him up and running and he's doing really well and now he's fulfilling our stuff.

So we're focusing more on projects, other little avenues of business that we wanted to do that we just couldn't get to. So that's kind of where we're at now, I'm still doing design, we're still doing distribution, I'm doing a little bit of account management, and I've got some new projects in the works too, that kind of workaround Travis and his operation. 

He owns that fully now. So it's kinda like a little drop-ship model. It's weird because we kind of plowed the road, we figured out how to make all this stuff, and literally, we just went there and were like, "Here's the stuff, here's how you make it.” You know, "Here's how you can manage the operation internally", you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And then okay, "go and make improvements you want." So pretty interesting little path he's made, he's made some improvements. I was just there last week just to check in and work on some other stuff that we had going on and he's made some improvements. So it's kind of a little success story, I kind of sold a big portion of the business and then he's taken it and he's done more things with it.

I'm like, "Man, I'm impressed." You know, "This is cool for like six or seven months like you did really well."

Mike Speaks On His Strengths In The Business

Nick (14:51)

That's cool. You were able to make that happen and still fit it into what you're doing now, and take some stuff off your back and just focus on where you want to be. Do you enjoy doing more of the design aspect of it? Is that something you personally enjoy doing?

Being The Design, Funny, and Tech Guy

Mike (15:01)

Yeah, I mean, yeah. I was never great… I mean, I'll be honest, I was never great at manufacturing. I'm not Six Sigma certified or anything like that. I'm at IT and logistics and things that I can do well, but I've always been kind of the design guy, the funny ideas guy, and the tech guy. So I enjoy blending all three of those together to be successful.

So I have kind of an IT background so for the longest time we have like a dev on staff and so, me and the dev would write little tools that could do things like launch millions of products on Amazon easily without having to do much work. And you know, as far as the funny t-shirt aspect of it I probably should have told the story at the beginning.

When I was a little kid, I remember around the time I was building computers and stuff, like after I got good at that, I was like, "man, I wanna make t-shirts and stickers." And I always had funny things to say, needless to say, I failed at that point and had no idea that later in my life I would actually be doing that. And there was no... I forgot after a while. And then I was like, "Oh, I'm gonna be an IT manager in college."

And then, I fell backward into this printing thing so now it's kind of crazy.  It's like this thing when I was a little kid, I got put on hold there and 20 years later I'm doing it. And it's pretty insane, it's kind of a crazy journey, but yeah. So yeah, I mean, that's kind of where it's at.

Print-on-Demand With A Twist

Nick: (16:37)

Nice, man. That is cool. So what are some of these things you guys do that's unique with the—like you mentioned—being able to throw up a bunch of listings at once? You created some of these tools like I'm a little bit familiar with. I used to do some dropshipping and when figured out I could do bulk uploads of products I was like, "Wow, this is it."

I mean, I can literally clear out thousands of units or SKUs overnight and put in new ones, and get pretty creative there. What type of stuff are you doing that might be helpful to some other people?

Automating Processes

Mike: (17:13)

Well, the one thing I would say is, never look past the developer because a lot of things that you're doing, you could automate. So for us, once we had a little bit of success on Amazon, we were originally building all the product mockups and everything ourselves and Photoshop. So we'd take the funny phrase, here's the blank coffee mug, we'd put it together, file saved.

And after a while, I was like, "Man there's gotta be a better way to do this." So me and my developer worked out a way that it would do it automatically. We could take lists of text designs that we had saved and run this thing overnight and it would literally—the input would be a list of funny—just picture a list of funny sayings. And then we'd have 15 or 20 different types of coffee mugs, different colors, and things start and…

He wrote this thing and would basically start it. By the time he came the next morning, you'd have all these mockups generated organized, and ready to go. And then at that point, we're still kind of using a lot of Excel manipulation like search and replace and make the spreadsheet and then upload it to Amazon. But you know, at some point… I forget, I think around 2016, Amazon changed a rule or something, which is beneficial to us.

And I was like, "We need to write a CSV generator", so basically something to make all those files so we didn't have to do it manually. So me and… I did it incredibly quickly, maybe 30 days. And we had the... we molded both technologies together so what you would do is you'd put in input a list of funny sayings, and then you would literally get all the mockups spit out in and uploaded to like a… we have a web server.

So like everything was in the Cloud and then you'd get a CSV ready-made, ready to go. So if you had an idea, you could quickly go from concept to product on Amazon in an hour with this tool. Since then we've built a few other things, we built something called... I dunno, can I drop name-drop services here?

A New Business Model

Mike: (19:08)

So we built a service called 3PL custom which… it kind of got killed a little bit by COVID because we were supposed to launch it the day before everybody went on lockdown. We were supposed to go to a conference and all that, but essentially we built this kind of system and we spent about a year on it where we could take other private label sellers’ products and imprint and do personalization on them.

So Amazon has a segment called Amazon Custom where a buyer can come in, they can type in text that they want or whatever the product is you've set up and then that order goes wherever you want it to.  It can go to... I was... we were the fulfillment partner, but we built this whole thing that would literally go from that all the way into our system.

So we could personalize it and 3PL custom was... we'd store your products, kind of like FBA, when you got a sale, we'd pull it off the shelf. We already had a premade template and everything that we, kind of, set up ahead of time for you, that was part of the onboarding process. It's like, "Okay, here's this toiletry bag. Here's what we can do with it.”

We can laser engrave it, here's what we suggest based on our experience, and what people might want on it and we'd set up the font and everything. And literally, it was kind of like an evergreen product as long as you kept sending us products. So yeah, when you got a sale, it would automatically route to us for that SKU. We'd pull it off the shelf, we didn't print it and we'd ship it to your customer.

So then we kind of put it on hold, we were in the alpha stage right around the time that COVID hit. So I'm hoping to get that going again, even with Travis, 'cause you know, it's kind of the same situation. But yeah, the software was all built-in and such for that. And we're... I'm about to start a new product or a new service. It's a lot simpler.

It's a print-on-demand, alley-cat art package complete with flat files to upload. So a lot of people are trying to either get into business or maybe they're already selling on Amazon and they want passive income too, like a little thing. So what our product is, is basically like a set of funny designs like I was talking about, made into products like coffee mugs or t-shirts and a flat file that you can buy for a flat price.

So maybe like 90 bucks and you get like 3000 SKUs, you upload it, you sign up with... we're partnered with Travis, make your mark design. And he can basically get the orders automatically and fulfill them for you. So it's good for two demographics; one is like, maybe you want to get into business, but you don't want to go the arbitrage route.

Or you're not really interested in going to Walmart to scan a bunch of stuff. This is literally like a turnkey, like a business in a box and then it's slow enough that you could spend 90 bucks setting it up on Etsy or eBay or Walmart. Or if you have an Amazon account, you can learn business by doing it. You get customer service emails you'll have to answer.

And then, we have all kinds of guidance and stuff like that too on what to do if things come up. So that's the... that's something we're gonna launch probably in about a month. And yeah, like I said, partnered with Travis and got a couple of people ready to roll into alpha and the beta on that. And it's really... it's just using those tools that my developer and I built back in 2016.

The image generator was in 2013, and the CSV generator came in 2016, but instead of handing off or making that a product, we decided to just kind of do it as a service for people. So yeah, that's kinda where I'm at now.

Finding The Right Dev Guy

Nick: (22:48)

And if anyone… like I've always... I get a little obsessed with trying to automate stuff. I'm not good. Like I don't know how all that stuff works like to do it myself. What type of person, what type of skills should someone look for if they're looking for someone who can be their development guy, if they were gonna put a job description together or something, who would they even be looking for?

Mike: (23:14)

The first thing I would highly recommend because it’s a skill that changes a lot is coding. It can go from one language and at one point to another language.

Look Within Your Network

Mike: (23:23)

So, if anybody has any friends that are in the tech world, that's where I would start to ask. But essentially, when we look for a developer or if we... I mean, mine kind of fell on my lap. I worked for the guy 12 years before now. So I knew him, but essentially if I had to start over, I'd say, you want somebody that's not super green out of a tech college, but you also want somebody that's not been in the game for like 20 years.

Because they may not have a newer set of skills. The best developers are somebody that's been doing it for four or five years. They kind of learned the past, they've learned the present, and they know where it's going in the future. And somebody that can build full-stack, which just means they could build the backend tool, they could build... the website would be good.

A lot of times those are segments of... guys can have a specialty in building tools that really aren't meant for the general public and then guys are good at building websites. The front end—the interface with the backend tool, whatever it's doing or there's full-stack, meaning they can do both. Mobile developers are huge too, but a lot of times.

I mean the unicorn would really be the full stack developer that also knows mobile, like Android and iOS, that would be the unicorn.

Consider Hiring Freelancers

Mike: (24:38)

If you could find that person that had been in this for like five, or six years. So that'd be your best bet on a developer, but I mean, there are all kinds of guys out there. You don't really have to hire a full-time person either. There are plenty of project developments out there overseas and here. So it's not too hard to find people.

Nick: (24:56)

Imagine that's something like, you might be able to find a guy on Upwork or Fiverr or something that specializes in that stuff.

Mike: (25:03)

Yeah, and you just have to think like, okay, is this... a lot of people will try to find an existing tool to solve a problem, but maybe it really is something that tools out there don't fix.

You don't really have to hire a full-time person either... There are plenty of project devs out there overseas and here

And then you kind of just evaluate like, "Okay, is this something small or is this a massive project with... " A good rule of thumb is if you're gonna need a project manager, it's probably gonna be a massive product or a project. So if it's something like you're tired of dragging this over here and having to do this and that, that's something more like an Upwork guy could probably do for you.

Nick: (25:38)

Nice. Yeah. Right now where I'm at in our business is just making sure all of our operating procedures are solid. And then I found a guy on Upwork who I... he doesn't call himself like a full script or that full stack developer. He is good with scripts and I think he mentioned RPA language and some other things I just want to check out those processes and just see what he can do.

Mike: (26:05)

It sounds like that would be what you would need. That sounds like more of a backend developer, if he's building scripts and things that can do like that, that'd be more of a backend. Those guys aren't really like UI-focused. 

So like if you ever build forward-facing products for somebody else, like MDS or like what Leo does—those tools— you're gonna want a UI/UX guy to be able to tell you like, "Hey, don't put this button here because it's bad, it's crowded over here and over here you have nothing." Those are the guys that you would want if you ever went to the front end on that kind of thing.

But yeah, your guy sounds like a backend script, whatever.

A Little More About Automating Processes

Nick: (26:46)

Okay. Yeah. That's my current... that's the one thing I want to figure out, man. And the thing I struggle with is not knowing what's possible or what's not possible. But it sounds like... and I'd love to get your opinion on it. Like, what's your take on that? Do you think people can automate way more than they think they can? Or are there some hard-set limits that people should be aware of?

Mike: (27:18)

I mean, you can do a lot of things as long as you can explain to a dev where you're at and where you're trying to get to and they'll tell you the best way to go. It's kinda like asking for directions, right? Like if I'm somewhere and my GPS is dead and I need to get somewhere, I'm probably gonna ask somebody else like, "Hey", that knows the area, like "I need to get to this lake, where do I go?"

And as long as they're familiar, they're gonna be able to help you. Development work and things like that, it's the same thing. Like, they'll give you an initial consultation or be like, "Okay, I think I know how to do that", and then, you can always phone a friend too.

Like I said if you've got a tech friend that knows like me, right, if your guy tells you something and you're like, "I'm not sure if that sounds right" you can always call me; so always use your resources when it comes to that.

Nick: (28:07)

Cool. Yeah. I'm hoping a year from now, man, I've got quite a few things automated in the business, hopefully.

Mike: (28:15)

Yeah. We had a lot of projects and only one dev. So a lot of the things—and you kind of help with this—we sent a lot of stuff off to VAs too, just general VAs. Instead of building a tool to do something, just have this VA for like four or five or 6 dollars an hour, click these two buttons every day, and things like that. So, I mean, you can automate it with technology or you can automate it with people, it just depends.

We tend to... kind of the day-to-day stuff, now we're working, we're using VAs more for that but if it's something that's gonna build us income or it's something that maybe can't... isn't just clicked, but really needs to be built that's where we would use the developer and the automation for that kind of thing.

Nick: (29:03)

Nice. Cool. And you still have your guy on staff? It sounds like.

Mike: (29:07)

Yeah. Actually, through all this transition, he ended up working for another company, but he does side work for me. And we debated getting another developer, but right now we're like, "Not at this point." We've got these tools built like the POD instant thing, which is the art package and then 3PL custom; it's like now we just kind of want to get that off the ground.

But if there's an issue he can help and he does. He works evenings for us or Saturdays when we need him.

A Deeper Look Into The Business of Personalization

Nick: (29:37)

So with your... with the project you're working on, where you do this customization for other people, can you guys do the wall art type stuff, like the phrases that someone would put on something they would hang on their wall?

You can do that stuff too.

Mike: (29:58)

Yeah, I mean there are six… Well, long story short, there are about seven different ways that we can personalize something. And it's... depending on what the application is, that's where our expertise comes in.  We can look at an object, like a toiletry bag or a stuffed animal or something like that, and be like, "Okay, you want to use embroidery for the stuffed animal or the toiletry bag?

We're gonna laser or engrave it." Or like the signs you have behind you, if you want to do personalization and things like that, we could do that kind of printing. I don't know, it really depends on the specific application of it. So, I'm looking at all the stuff behind you, books and cups, and even the microphone you have, we could actually personalize that if you needed to, we could print right on that.

So small form factor things are kind of where that comes in. And you know, personalization is pretty huge. And right now with Amazon, it's still a little difficult to navigate. We have expertise in it, but all the cool things in business kind of happen where people don't want to take the time or put the effort into it, and then all of a sudden explodes.

And the cool thing about personalizing is, let's say that microphone that you're speaking into costs like 50 bucks, well, if I can put somebody's name or brand name on it, I can probably charge $150 for that same microphone. And printing on it is gonna cost maybe 10, 12 bucks in shipping, so the profit margin for personalization is huge.

You can charge 2, 3, or 4x retail price for something when you can literally make it personalized for somebody. It's like a unique one-of-a-kind thing.

Nick: (31:31)

That's pretty cool, man. I'm glad you mentioned that cause I think this is something that could potentially be pretty helpful to Amazon sellers. Maybe there's a lot of sellers that are... they have products and they haven't really thought about this personalization thing. Maybe by getting hooked up with you, they could really add another income stream to their business with what they already have going on.

Different Products You Can Personalize

Mike: (31:56)

Yeah. And we have enough experience to be able to tell people like, hey, I can't personalize your supplement bottle and nobody is really gonna care. But if you've got home goods or something along those lines—home goods are huge for personalization, depending.

Maybe you sell like a set of dish towels, right, and you're bundling those and sending them into FBA and maybe you've never thought about, "I wonder if anybody would ever want the family name embroidered on that" or whatever. Like ’home is where the heart is.’

Those are the kinds of things that people could go in and type or that you could set up in a pre-made design, you could have a design where it's got a basic element maybe a family name or a family crest, and then some sort of symbol underneath it. Well, the symbol would always be the same, but the family name would change.

And when you personalize that, that's exactly what would go on that dish towel.

So there's all kinds of routes and yeah it's a good second stream of income for a set of products that you already have. It's like FBA, we do an initial thing. we say, send us three of whatever it is, if you have variations, it doesn't really matter. We need the objects in our hands to see, feel it, and see what it's made out of. And then we're probably gonna wreck two or three of 'em just to figure out what the best options for you are.

And then once we get that done, then we'll come back to you and be like, "Okay, here's what we can do for you." "Here's your price per unit, here's your general shipping cost, here's what it would cost to store it." Our storage model... the pricing model used to be different from Amazon and we do also tell you like, "Hey, I don't need 10,000 units, please don't use this like a regular 3PL like, send a hundred units of this."

And we think this is a good starting point, that's maybe like two months of sales for this personalization product. And then we'll give you the flat files and help you walk through how to get this into your account because it really becomes a second ASIN. So the way it would work... the best way to do it is if you have an FBA product that is solid, you turn that into a parent-child.

So you have your FBA child ASIN, and then you have your personalization—which would be FBM that would come to us—and we would do that through software. But the nice thing is they'll find… typically they’ll find your product through your FBA. You know advertising or that typical order flow. But when they get to the page and see that they can personalize it, and maybe that's like 2x, 3x price, then they're like, "oh, that's super cool."

I could buy this one or I could buy this one personalized, a lot of times the people would buy the personalized one and they'll spend that extra money, and then you'll make your original profit plus the personalization profit.  So it's pretty neat how that works.

Nick: (34:49)

That sounds exciting, man. It's definitely got me thinking about a few things in my business that could... but correct me if I'm wrong, did you say you guys had something for people that don't have products as well?


Mike: (35:02)

Yeah, that's a little thing we're launching called which—that's just basically—it can go both ways.

Like I said, it can go for people who wanna learn how to sell online. It's really straightforward.  Basically, you get a turnkey set of products that you can upload to Etsy eBay Walmart, or Amazon, and it's passive income. So if you get a sale, that sale routes to somebody who prints it. So imagine "home is where the heart is" on a coffee mug in a design, right?

We made the "home is where the heart is" design, we put it on the coffee mug image for you, so you'd have that on Amazon. Then with a quick sign-up through Travis to make your mark design, he can tie into your Amazon account and only pull when that order sells down to his system and he'll do the printing and the direct to your customer via FBM.

Nick: (35:59)

So he's actually holding the product?

Mike: (36:02)

Yeah.  He holds the blanks, you don't have to do anything. That's why this is kind of a cool idea. The only initial upfront investment besides maybe the $40/month Amazon would charge you, is that the art package, which might be the cheapest one we're gonna sell is probably like 90 bucks. And so he gets all the art, he gets everything he needs from us to be able to print that product.

When it sells, you get everything, you need to upload it into your account and sell it.  And we've taken precautions, one of the tools we bought is like a trademark check thing to make sure that absolutely anything we give you at that point in time is not trademarked, but there's guidance on, "Hey, June 16th or 17th, this was good", but you'll want to follow up or make sure and that's part of the learning how to do it.

If you wanna do it too, everything has a learning curve, and even when you get in business; it's kind of a cool thing, cause it could go both ways. It could be for something that maybe wants to learn to sell on Amazon but doesn't want to go to Walmart and scan and do our arbitrage.

Or it could be for people who already have an existing selling business, maybe they're not in the print-on-demand game, but want to be, or just want passive income to... extra money that you didn't really have to do anything for is always cool. So, if these things sell and these designs are popular and they sell, you know, you are encouraged to put more up.

Or maybe it's just like a set of passive income streams that has a pretty decent profit margin, probably 25% by the time you're done. So not terrible at that stuff.

A Business Idea For Kids

Nick (37:31)

Yeah.  I think this is a great opportunity if you're a business owner and you've... obviously it's good for business owners in general. But it's got me thinking like, "My son could do that." Like my son, he's nine, almost 10. Like he could realistically pull this off. Especially with me helping him out and consulting with you, I think you're on some cutting-edge stuff, man.

I mean, this is gonna become a big thing eventually because, I mean passive income, who doesn't want that? Like that's never gonna go away.

Mike: (38:06)

Yeah. And you brought up a really good point about kids and stuff like that. I know Eddie Levine, one of our friends who was in Chicago, he used to do stuff with schools. And so something like this would be great for kids—high school kids—and like, "Hey, you can be an entrepreneur, we'll help you get into it.” Here's how you get started. And then you can learn the ropes as you go and you know, we'll guide you along that way."

So even though it's like a service for art, it's probably gonna have largely an education model that could follow up too. We could partner with schools and things like that. High schools and colleges would be pretty fun. Yeah, that's a good idea, dude. I hadn't really thought about the kids’ thing, but that is a really smart idea and that's a good way.

I always wanna give back so that would be an awesome way for me to be able to give back or get younger entrepreneurs into the field. And even though doing the speaking gigs and stuff for that, my goal has always been... I made a ton of mistakes and I don't want to… I wanna help people not make those mistakes. I don't want you to be me, I want you to be better than me, I want you to do things differently.

And I've always been a fan of that model where I really never try to reinvent the wheel.

Giving Back by Helping Others

Mike: (39:27)

I try to learn from others and build on top of that. So MDS has been great for that. There are many guys in there who have had the same journey, even though we're on different paths, they've all had many experiences that are helpful. Like a lot of times when I hit a wall, I'll literally go to MDS and I'll hit the search bar and I'll try to find somebody that had the same issue, and nine times outta 10, I'll find somebody and it's so wide, which is cool too.

MDS is great for that kind of thing and I'm not trying to plug MDS or... I know I'm on the podcast, but it's like anything you want, you usually find diet tips, exercise tips, selling tips, advertising tips, PPC, anything you can think of literally, stock trading, all this stuff. MDS is branched off and it's so awesome to have that community, but yeah, that's a great thing. You learn from others and that's kind of how you go.

Mike: (40:27)

And that's what I wanna do—is I wanna help people get into business. I wanna make sure they don't make the same mistakes I did.

Nick: (40:33)

Yeah, man. I agree with a lot of what you said there and going to the business that you're coming out with, being more of a business education, that was my whole intention when I... that was actually why I was in Chicago at that event for the arbitrage blueprint, it was my standard operating procedures for doing arbitrage. I was very adamant that "Hey, I'm not an Amazon guy, I'm not teaching you how to sell on Amazon.”

“I'm using reselling as a vehicle to teach you how to run a business", was my whole idea, like an arbitrage business system. Because when I look back on my journey, arbitrage taught me how to run a business. I was in the weeds, I was doing everything, had to learn a bunch of different things, and it's just like you said, it's mostly just a bunch of mistakes and then figuring it out. And I was the same thing, man.

I don't want everyone else to go through this stuff that I went through.

Mike: (41:40)

POD is an interesting model because it is kind of the same as arbitrage. And it's got its own risks and it's got its own rewards. But it really could be like passive income or an educational journey for people to get into. People ask me what I do and a lot of times I say like, "Oh, I'm an e-commerce seller", but in reality, I've been like the print-on-demand guy.

I was doing print-on-demand before print-on-demand was even a catchphrase. So, it's crazy. But yeah, it could ride the same way as arbitrage did for people who want to get into this and maybe don't want to drop $10,000 on a wholesale or a private label product. So just another avenue in, I mean, we're probably just all creating more competition for all of ourselves, but who cares?

Nick: (42:33)

There's not enough of us selling stuff for the amount of people buying stuff.

Mike: (42:39)

Yeah. And a lot of the... one of the things I've been looking at, and I've been having a conversation with a friend, Barbara Bochan, a lot lately is, we use this analogy of like gold rush and we're in their painting for gold and maybe we should be selling the shovels and then maybe we should be selling education on how to use the shovels. So that's where a lot of these little things...

I'm trying to solve problems and get people more into the print-on-demand world but also solve a problem too. As we said, with the 3PL custom service, you might have a product that's dying or maybe is doing really well and you wanna figure out how to make a separate income stream without having to source another product or create another product.

POD Instant is great for people to get into the print-on-demand business without even having to actually get into the print-on-demand business, but learn business. So it's kinda like we're selling the shovels at this point and I think I feel like everybody eventually graduates to that.

It's like they either get into selling the shovels or they get into selling education on how to use the shovels, like doing account management and consulting and things like that, would be along those lines too.

A Sneak Peek Into His End Goal and Retirement Plan

Nick: (43:49)

Yeah. I agree, man. It definitely seems to be just a natural evolution as a lot of people want to give back and help others, or maybe they just wanna make a butler of money, whatever the case may be. Whatever, but man, that sounds like a super cool operation. I definitely am gonna put some time to hit you up about that. I would like to get involved.

But so what's the endgame for you, Mike? Like, why are you in all this man? Like where do you want to be in life? 5, 10, 15 years from now, are you gonna be sitting on the beach with your Corona as you mentioned, or what man?

Mike: (44:29)

So that is hopefully my end game. I definitely don't wanna be that guy who's selling education when standing in front of a Lamborghini. Like if I've made it that far, I wanna be outta the public eye. But yeah my goal at some point has been to… I'm 39, I wanna retire by the time I'm 44, that's my goal.

And I want my life to be the Corona commercial from back in the day where you're sitting on a beach, got your beer next to you and you're just enjoying life at that point. Can I do that? We'll see, I'm gonna try to get there. Can I do it mentally when I get there? That's gonna be another problem. I might get to that beach and be like, "I could open a bar here."

Then I'll call you and be like, "Hey, do you wanna give people surf lessons?" And maybe that's in Puerto Rico where all of our friends are soon to be going. And I'm kind of jealous but yeah, that's the goal. I want to build a few things up and maybe I'll keep some of them or residual and maybe I'll sell some of 'em off or maybe I'll sell off the whole thing.

But I do wanna enjoy life at some point. I've spent about the last 15 years working my butt off and I was really happy to sell to Travis. Like that portion of it. I probably should have done it a long time ago because it did cost me a lot of stress and problems, other problems in my life. And I learned a lot. Okay. 

Let's just say that, the amount of things that I learned that came out of that was an immense amount of knowledge and experience. And I don't regret it, but you, at some point you gotta say like, “Hey, this is too much.” And you like, “Hey, like I'm going down the wrong road here. And maybe I've deviated really far and it's okay. It's going well, but I think I could do better.

And for me, I think that things that blend, as I said, software and automation and services and helping people are probably more of where I want to be for the next five years than panning for gold. 

Nick: (46:38)

Nice, man. Yeah. I'm with you, man.  It would be great to... I mean, I have the same dreams, just being on the beach, hanging out with my family, hanging out with my friends and just enjoying life, man. I wanna make it happen as quickly as possible. I didn't stop and do it took me a while, I was like figuring out how much money I wanted to make.

Like I was just kind of grinding, grinding, grinding, making money, making money, and just, it hit me one day. I was like, well, how much, what do I really need to do? What do I really want to do? Which is, you know, like... 

Living Life To The Fullest

Mike: (47:12)

What do you really want to do? Yeah.

Nick: (47:15)

Yeah. Whatever I want to do at the moment, that's how I want to live life. Just being sporadic and traveling and surfing and meeting new people and going to all the great events that MDS puts on, that's really what I want to be doing more. More so than having 20 million in my bank account or whatever it may be. Maybe the 20 million is part of what I need to make that happen, but setting that target and saying, "All right I'm good.”

I'm gonna take my foot off the gas here a little bit, and kick it on the beach and hang out.”

Mike: (47:52)

And wealth can be attributed in two ways, right? It can be attributed to experience, or it can be attributed to money. I mean, if you are able to have a business where a lot of things are done and you've gotten to the point where you're not working in your business, maybe you're not even in your business, you're just kind of overseeing it, then you can go out and have these experiences.

You can go to these MDS events, or you can go on vacation. Your system runs the same. I mean, I would call that a huge wealth right there. Maybe you're not making a million dollars, but you're making enough, you're million dollars net a year, whatever, but you're making enough to do what you want to do. And let's face it, most of us just wanna leave the country and travel to other places.

And it's expensive here, but it's not as expensive everywhere else. So maybe we don't need as much money as we would think we would need. But I like your idea of, I wanna just be comfortable. I wanna be able to do what I wanna do. And that doesn't mean owning a private jet or going back and forth from here to Paris once a week, that just means being able to do whatever I want to do within reason, live within my means, and be comfortable.

And, for me, I think experiences are, to me, they're worth a lot more than a ton of money. Like you said, I want to go live on a beach. I want to go, I wanna go learn, I don't know how to surf. Even up from California, I wanna learn to surf or I want to go hang out with my friends and talk about million-dollar ideas all the time and dream about things and maybe put new things and put new paths forward.

So that's kind of, what's worth it for me is, yeah. I mean, yeah, these days, I work from home, I make designs. I mean, I'm happy doing that, but I'm kind of also thinking about the other things I could do, keep my eye on that 44-year-old retirement and hoping that I can get to it and that I can have an exit strategy at that time and then do whatever I wanna do.

If I wanna start a bar on a beach and live like that, then that's what I'll do. But yeah, that's important to set those goals, but it's also important to realize that money isn't everything. Sometimes those experiences are worth more than money can do. Yeah. I've been trying to live that mantra for a while. I just segue real fast. I read the Four Hour Workweek, maybe two hours… two years ago—not two hours ago—two years ago.

And I've really, at that point you saw me—I think, because we were trying to find me VAs and stuff—I was buried and I was miserable and, I think I've come a long way to be happier with life and be content with the way things are going. And all of it kind of is really focused... and I've read a few other books that I can't remember right now, but a lot of it is based on going out and having experiences.

I mean, even living in Colorado for three months with one of my employees and one of my friends that came to work for us, was great. On the weekends, we would go do all. We literally would take many road trips, every weekend to go check out different parts of Colorado and do things like hike and go to the zoo in Colorado Springs and check out speakeasies.

And that experience, I couldn't put a dollar amount on it. I mean, it was just amazing at the time. And, I wanna do more of that. 

Nick: (51:05)

Yeah. Yeah. It's a different feeling of fulfillment when you're out in nature, looking at something you really... it's just kind of awe-inspiring and breathtaking. Money just kind of has that, it's an excitement but then you kind of get hooked on it and you want more and then you're chasing it.

I think I've come a long way to be happier with life and be content with the way things are going.

The experience vibe is definitely different. you're satisfied and you're not, you're present at the moment it's kind of hard to explain it. But yeah, I remember when I went to Colorado and was snowboarding. I was in Steamboat Springs and, I would just stop somewhere and just stand there and look and just be like, “Wow, look at that mountain all the way over there that snow cap mountain” and just completely blown away by it, man. 

Those are definitely the things I love doing. And I wanna give my kids that too.

Mike: (51:57)

Yep. I have a side goal that I've set. I don't know when I'm gonna be able to do it.  I was gonna try to do it after I sold everything, but I've not seen a whole lot of the U.S. I've been stuck going to major cities like Vegas Seattle and Chicago.

But, I kind of want to do a six—I call it a six-month road trip where I literally kind of just drive across the country super slow with kind of a loose plan and stay in crappy hotels and Airbnb, do it big sometimes, and sleep in the car or whatever. And, one of my ideas is to kind of like trying to find ways... there's shared work that you can do. Like, I can go to some farm in Montana and build them a website and they'll give me lodging.

I kind of wanna do that and I figured it would take me about six months. I'd probably roll some baseball cuz I'm a huge baseball fan and football fan, so roll some state into it. But yeah, one of the big goals of that is to really just stop and talk to locals and be like, “Where's the best bar around it." Where's the best place to get a barbecue? And kind of have that interaction.

So I was kind of thinking if I ever did this, I'd be— I'd hit up MDS and be like, “Hey, anybody need a house sitter? Just let me know where and when, and I'll be there. I can pet sit. And then “Hey, before you leave, tell me a couple of places to check out in town." And I do that all for free just to have experience. So it kind of goes back to that experience thing. 

But that's a little side goal I have besides the retirement at 44. It’s like, I'm on a road trip around the country, and then I've listened to a ton of podcasts and people that end up going to New Zealand and then doing that in New Zealand.  So who knows that could definitely happen there, but it could be another little experience thing. And yeah, again, it's as long as my business is running without me.

I check in once a day and check emails and, “Okay, we're working on this, work on this." And then I can go off and do what I want. That'd be really awesome. So that's kind of the next, I think small little milestone of living life that I'm trying to get to.

On Travelling and Creating Memories

Nick (53:54)

Yeah. That's a good one, man. I love that. You mentioned the different aspects of travel, cuz that's how I like to do it myself. I can get bougie and stay somewhere nice. But when I went to Salvador for a surf trip, I stayed in the crappiest hotel. I came home and there was a roach on my bed. I was like, oh my God. That one kind of draws the line.

You mess where I sleep, then I get a little weirded out. But it had...

Mike (54:20)

It's a story though. Right? And I love stories and I mean, that—not to quote Donald Miller—but stories are the lifeblood of all of us. I mean, how many times have you gone to a party or even MDS? It's like you listen to somebody's story. That is incredible. yeah. That is an awesome story.

And it's like that, “I was in a bungalow and there's a cockroach on my bed, but I had the best surfing ever and it totally made it worth it like that." Stories are amazing for that kind of stuff.

Nick (54:51)

Yeah, man, I love it. I love it, man.  And then we went to Nicaragua and stayed somewhere a little nicer and had the full treatment and stuff. But yeah, I like all the different aspects of it. I like to experience everything.

Mike (55:09)

I'm with you though. Don't mess with where I sleep.

Nick (55:12)

Yeah. Don't mess where I sleep. When I woke up, I thought I had a nightmare.  It was one of those dreams where you think it's real, you're in the situation. And I thought the bug was crawling up me. I freaked out. I woke up all my friends. I was like, it's back, it's back.

Mike: (55:30)

That's hilarious.

Nick (55:31)

Yeah. It was a good time, man. Well, Mike, dude, it's been so much fun chatting with you, man. Before we go, I have a couple of quick questions for you. And then we'll wrap up. All right, man. All right. Okay. , let's see here.

Mike (55:48)

I feel this is a quiz

A Successful Seller vs an Unsuccessful Seller

Nick: (55:51)

What do you think sets a successful seller apart from an unsuccessful seller on Amazon?

Mike: (56:01)

That's a really good question. Someone who's willing to put in the time effort, the energy, and also uses their resources. So, I mean, we all think that we can write a perfect description or detail bullets or whatever, but if you get too confident, you get too arrogant in that you can kind of destroy yourself.

So using your resources, as in reaching out to friends or even just doing the research yourself and then not thinking that this is an instant millionaire business, cuz it's not. The harder you work, the more money you make. So I think that what really sets the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful is hard work, using your resources, phoning a friend, and putting in the time.

Mike Perillo: One Advice I Dont Agree With

Nick: (56:47)

Yeah. I agree, man. When you identify what type of leverage you have and in those levers, you can pull to make things move a little faster. That's really where you can really scale your business effectively, man. I agree. All right. What is one piece of advice you hear in the business world that you do not agree with?

Mike: (57:12)

Man, that's tough—these are tough questions, dude. Lemme think

Nick: (57:16)

I'm sure there's something you've heard and you're, “Ah, that's bulls**t”

Mike: (57:23)

Let me think.  I mean, those... gurus out there that stand behind Lamborghinis kind of bother me a lot. “Oh, you can make $10,000 a day with one month's worth of work." No dude, that's... there is no way. Unless you land a unicorn and win the product lottery, which is what I call having a good pro... when you have a killer product, you win the product lottery.

Yeah. However you got there, you got there, but nine times out 10, of giving 10 grand to some dude standing in front of a Lamborghini, you're not gonna win the product lottery idea. Yeah. It's a bad idea. You're gonna end up with a warehouse full of fidget spinners or something. 

Nick: (58:05)

Yeah. It costs a lot less to rent a Lamborghini for the day than to buy it... 

Mike: (58:10)

Yeah. So that's one thing where I'm like, “ This is… nowadays." I just, man, I just wish that people would not fall for something that. And that's what bothers me too... those are the people that I want to head off at the past. Right. And it's, no, no, no, no, you don't need to spend $10,000. Just buy this art package for 90 bucks and I'll get you, I'll get you going.

And then I will help you find the resources that you need to get where you need to go. Don't pay that dude 10 grand, please.

Working on New Habits

Nick: (58:42)

Right on man. Right on. Let's see, we'll get one more in here. What's one habit you're working on right now?

Knowing When To Cut-off

Mike: (58:53)

Hmm. I have a lot of things I'm trying to work on right now.  So I think for me, I don't know if it's a habit, maybe more of a life-balance kind of thing. Several years ago I was probably a lot of people in this industry and I would check email at night and if there was something at 9:00 PM at night, I would go to my computer and furiously try to fix it.

At some point, I figured out those 9:00 PM emails are trying to get an ASIN reinstated. It didn't do anything at that point versus doing it the next morning. Yeah. So I've become very good at cutting off and walking away. So at the end of the day, when I'm done, I'm done. I don't look at work emails again. If I decide that I wanna work, later on, I will make that decision. 

And then also make sure that I'm working on something that I enjoy right on. I think these days I've kind of got that covered, but now I'm trying to blend a balance, which I hadn't had for a long time because I was so overwhelmed—which is a balance of spending time with family and friends, a balance of work and a balance on mental health exercise and eating and cooking and things like that.

And just enjoying all three of those, making sure that everything I do is enjoyable for me as best I can. I mean, we all have things that come up, and we all have days, but my goal has been to make sure that those days that are awful are few and far between. So yeah, just having that life balance, I would say is a habit or something that I'm trying to work on now.

I've got a pretty good thing going. Gyms are still gyms, just out here, they're open but you had to wear a mask until yesterday or two days ago. Okay. So I haven't gone to the gym, but, when I was in Colorado, sadly, I got COVID actually in the middle of January and I was stuck there for two weeks. O

Once I got better and once I got my breath back and once I got back out here, I've made sure that I started walking and making sure I've got a Fitbit watch. So I made sure I've been doing 10,000 steps a day. I think my record right now is 120-something days of 10,000 steps a day. So that's kind of the extra. I mean, I'm not going to the gym, I'm not running.

I'm a little, I'm getting a little older. So my ankles and my knees, aren't being very favorable, but one thing I can do is still walk. So I make it a point every day to walk. Actually, lately, I've been working that into my morning routine, cuz it's been getting a lot harder, and hotter out here, so I walk outdoors. But yeah, I've been trying to get that 10,000 steps in a day, and, yeah, I'm on a 120-day streak or something like that.

And it's been tough. I mean seven days a week, 10,000 steps that means I gotta go for at least an hour walk a day. If I'm doing a lot of computer work that day, I gotta take an hour. But that's when I do... I listen to podcasts and audiobooks. That's where I do all that stuff. So even though I'm walking and exercising, I'm also doing some sort of mental building.

Sometimes I'll just listen to music though. Sometimes you gotta detach, but yeah, most of the time it's... I've got a podcast going. I'm listening to somebody's podcast, especially business stuff. So yeah, that was a long answer to... 

Nick: (01:02:21)

No, no man. I think it's solid. And it's something that people really need to listen to. If I were gonna say a piece of advice, I don't agree with the business world, it's the whole work harder thing; work harder, work harder, work harder.  It's... Dude, I'll take a good night's sleep over working hard any day because I'm gonna be sharper, smarter, faster. 

I'll outperform any guy who sleeps two hours a night or something. You know what I mean?

Working Hard But Taking Breaks

Mike: (01:02:52)

I mean it's hard work. Yeah. It's hard work, but you gotta take breaks too. And you gotta know where your limits are at.

And as you said, don't mess with my sleep. Same with me. Make sure I get eight hours of sleep or seven hours of sleep at night. I take vitamins, exercise, and mental health, and I'm sure all of us started that way. We just work 16 hours a day and yeah.

We are burnt out by month four, and it's just at some point I'm sure if you have... have hit that point, you're going to where you're burnt out and you're like, I gotta take a step back here, but yeah.

Work Smarter

Nick: (01:03:24)

Yeah. And some people don't know that's their only option. Right? They only think about working harder and they're not exposed to this other stuff out there that can help them work smarter. And still, and sometimes, well usually it has a better impact than working harder. I think it's one of those things I heard someone say the other day, what got you here won't necessarily get you where you want to go.

And hard work got us this business, but when I started my business, I didn't... I wasn't married and I didn't have three kids. Right. So now I've gotta change it up and I gotta work smarter. So I think it's important for people to hear that, especially from people on this podcast because, hey, you're not just Mike, some guy on the podcast.

You're Mike, the million-dollar seller that's started multiple businesses and has overcome COVID and overcome his place being flooded twice. You're not just some guy on the podcast, yeah. So I think it's important for people to see, “Hey, I don't have to drive myself into the ground. I can approach this a little differently and still achieve what I want”

Mike: (01:04:35)

And I missed a good portion of my life making that mistake. I missed a lot of my late twenties and early thirties because I was trying to design a new product or trying to figure out how to get Amazon to forgive me for something or whatever you wanna call it—late nights? And I think, yeah, I said I read the Four Hour Workweek two years ago, and it kind of changed my life.

Once I listened to it—and even though it's not exactly—it just made me realize, I gotta make a change or I’m gonna be dead before I'm 40.  I'm gonna burn myself out and then I'm gonna have a stroke or heart attack, something's gotta change.

So one important thing to kind of consider too is if you've got a family, you've got kids or... for me, I don't have kids and I'm not married and maybe the business was the issue there, but I still have my parents and my parents were involved in my business. And at some point, I took a step back and I was like, this is affecting them. My dad was stressed out about my business.

My dad had to go to my shop one Friday night at 11:00 PM. It's a 30-minute drive from where he lived. And he had to deal with everything cuz I was stuck a thousand miles away in Vegas and he was there till three, four o'clock in the morning, dealing with the people, trying to clean up the fire department.

Importance of Work-Life Balance

Mike: (01:05:56)

He went home, he slept for two hours and then he had to go back and I mean, I did everything I could, but I couldn't get on a plane. We got on a plane at seven the next morning. And so we got there around nine, but it's affected… Things like that can... even though you may not even realize it, it affects people around you too.

And you wanna start considering that when you're kind of thinking about working these 16 hours a day cuz it could be affecting somebody else. Maybe you're not around or maybe you are, or maybe they're involved in your business too. And there you're mentally bringing them down too. So I think, I really think, especially with entrepreneurs and where we are carrying all the liabilities, a work-life balance is so important.

You have to have that and you... if you don't, man, the things that could happen and the things that could— you could affect other people in a negative way is just kind of scary. And you just don't wanna see that. You don't ever wanna get to that point. 

Nick: (01:06:59)

Yeah, man. Lots of words of wisdom, Mike. Man, I appreciate you sharing that with the audience. Hopefully, it'll really resonate with someone and they'll make that change that they probably know they should. But man, thanks for coming on. I've really enjoyed this conversation and I'm gonna go ahead and put it out there. Me and you a few years from now, you got the bar, I'm doing the surf. It’s happening, man.

Mike: (01:07:27)

Let's do it. I'm down. We can hang out with all of our friends in Puerto Rico that are out there and, I'll get 'em drunk and you'll teach 'em how to surf, which probably isn't a good mix. But you teach your surf first. You teach 'em how to surf first and then I'll get 'em drunk and we'll yeah, we'll be good. And then we'll all decide on some crazy business idea and then we'll be back into the thick of things.

Nick: (01:07:50)

Yeah, that's gonna happen for sure.

Mike: (01:07:53)

For sure. Yeah. For sure. With all of us. Hey man. I appreciated being on. This is a lot of fun. I had a great time talking to you too.

Nick: (01:08:03)

Yeah. Me too, man. It's been great chatting with you and I'm gonna reach out about your print-on-demand stuff, man. I think that's super interesting, and I want to get involved, so I'll be hitting you up about that. And for anyone else that's interested before we sign off, why don't you let 'em know where they can find that stuff again if they are... 

Mike: (01:08:21)

Yeah, sure. The three PL, the personalization is, that's for the part if you got a private label product and you want to get into personalization on it, that's where you would go; there’s a contact form on there. It goes into our system and we can reach out. The other kind of service we're starting is That's the thing where you can pretty much start a print-on-demand business with little investment and get going.

Make and create passive income for yourself, or maybe learn how the business works and you kind of have an interesting and reasonably cheap way to get into business.  

Nick: (01:09:04)

Nice, man. Yeah.  And I think that sounds great. So if any of you guys are interested in that, make sure you go check that out right now. And I'm sure you'll get some good advice from Mike and his team and who knows where it'll take your business. Yep, right, Mike, thanks, man. It's been good chatting with you and I'll be talking to you soon, man. Thank you.

Mike: (01:09:24)

Sounds good. Thank you.

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