#569 – How To Scale Your Amazon Business

Join us for an insightful episode where we sit down with Christi Michelle, an expert in scaling Amazon businesses and the founder of The COO Integrator. Christi shares her fascinating journey from running an Amazon brand management agency to becoming a fractional Chief Operating Officer. Discover how she blends visionary ideas with tactical strategies, and hear about her comprehensive competitive analysis of 25 brand management agencies, revealing the importance of understanding unique value propositions. Christi’s wealth of experience provides valuable lessons for e-commerce entrepreneurs looking to scale their businesses effectively.

In another segment, we explore key strategies for measuring business health and scaling effectively. Learn how to assess your business’s performance through crucial data metrics like PPC statistics and P&L statements. Understand the significance of evaluating employee performance and fitting within your organization. We also discuss Tony Robbins’ 10 life cycle stages and their relevance in identifying your business’s current strengths and weaknesses. Practical tools such as the EOS organizational checkup and core values exercises are highlighted to help you align your company’s direction and goals for balanced growth.

Finally, we tackle the challenges of managing remote teams and maintaining productivity in the e-commerce world. Discover strategies for fostering a strong company culture and maintaining relationships. Learn the importance of holding productive meetings that drive progress without creating unnecessary busy work. Additionally, Christi shares her transformative experience at a two-week water fasting retreat in Costa Rica, offering insights into personal growth through struggle and simplicity. Whether you’re looking to scale your business or find balance in your entrepreneurial journey, this episode is packed with actionable advice and inspiration.

In episode 569 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Christi discuss:

  • 00:00 – Scaling Amazon Businesses With Expert Guidance
  • 04:34 – Brand Management for Major Brands
  • 08:03 – Business Evolution and Maturity Stages
  • 09:32 – Measuring Business Health and Scaling
  • 14:27 – Navigating Amazon’s Rising Costs and Fees
  • 20:11 – Key Role of HR in Business
  • 21:03 – Effective Remote Business Operation
  • 23:52 – Creating Constructive Meetings for Company Culture
  • 25:33 – Costa Rica Spiritual Retreat Experience
  • 29:20 – Business Growth and Simplification

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

So many Amazon sellers don’t treat their Amazon businesses like a real business. So, we brought on somebody today who’s an expert in this and she’s helped countless number of businesses really scale up, and there’s going to be great points that you’re going to be able to glean from this as well. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think. What was your gross sales yesterday, last week, last year? More importantly, what are your profits after all your cost of selling on Amazon? Did you pay any storage charges to Amazon? How much did you spend on PPC? Find out these key metrics and more by using the Helium 10 tool Profits. For more information, go to h10.me/profits. Hello everybody, welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I’m your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show. That’s a completely BS-free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. And I’m still here recording in Spain, Madrid, Spain. I’m here at the Avosk office and we are here with somebody who has not been on the podcast in like two, maybe even three years, over three years Christy in the house. How’s it going?

Christi Michelle:

Hi, doing well. How are you?

Bradley Sutton:

I’m doing just ducky. I recorded Leo earlier today, but he did his presentation already, so I was able to ask him some stuff on it. But I don’t know what you’re going to talk about yet, so I’ll ask you that in a little bit. But since it’s been so long since you’ve been on the podcast, what in the world have you been up to?

Christi Michelle:

I think the last time I was on I was running an Amazon brand management agency, and so that was the first one that I was running at the time. And after that we merged, slash, sold to a larger agency where I was the head of operations as well. We had about 100 clients, about 90-ish employees, so really kind of scaled up, which turns out that’s kind of my forte, and I was there for a little while and then I left and apparently, I just can’t get enough of the agency world. So, for the last about two and a half years I’ve been running what’s my new agency? The COO Integrator, and so I am a fractional chief operating officer. So, it’s that second in command. It’s the one that says, OK, here’s the big vision of what the visionary wants, the CEO wants, and OK, now how do we turn that into tactical strategies that we can, implement and get everybody rowing in the same direction? For so I do that.

Bradley Sutton:

Hold on. So, you’re the CEO of this company or you’re, like, a CEO of many companies.

Christi Michelle:

I’m the CEO of my company, my agency, but I play the role of the COO, which actually quite works for me because I’m a good blend of both the visionary and also the integrator. I like taking the really big concepts. That’s a lot of fun for me, but I need to distill it down and make it very practical, set some goals around it, and I use a lot of my business strategies to make sure everything gets executed. So, it’s both.

Bradley Sutton:

Went out to dinner last night and I remember you Vincenzo was there and you found out he worked at a PPC agency and you’re like, oh man, a couple of years ago I did I looked into like 25 PPC agencies was it?

Christi Michelle:

It was a brand management agency. So, I was trying to do a competitive analysis. I wanted to understand. So, one of the things that I think a lot of companies, especially when they’re getting started or they’re so kind of single focused you don’t realize that they don’t understand their unique value proposition. And so, what makes you different? Why, if I were looking at two different agencies, why would I choose yours over someone else?

And most folks, unfortunately, they’re oh, it’s you know, we’ve got great customer support or we’re so good with our clients, and it’s very generic and they all kind of say the same thing. And so, I really wanted to understand okay, well, who are my competitors in the space? And I find it to be a very non-competitive space in the sense that we’re all very friendly, it’s very open. What I love about the e-commerce space is that it has kind of that good feel to it as an industry personality. But theoretically, these are my competitors and I wanted to see, well, okay, what are they offering? What do they charge, what are their contract terms? So, I really, I called dozens of them and I just said, hey, this is what I’m doing. I’m just I called dozens of them and I just said, hey, this is what I’m doing, I’m just what’s unique about you? I just want to know these different things. So, it was a competitive analysis. It was just sort of a landscape.

Bradley Sutton:

And you know, obviously you don’t have to mention any names, but what was just some things that stuck out to you about, I don’t know, maybe price point or something that you saw was a hole in the industry or something that everybody had, or what were some of your big takeaways, I guess, like I’m asking.

Christi Michelle:

You know that most companies actually did have something that was quite unique. I would say more than half the companies. They would tell me something and I’m like I haven’t heard that before. That’s really unique, like that is. Do you know that as unique to you? So, in a way I was kind of helping them with their marketing like go ahead and highlight that. So, some folks you know they would specialize in major brands like big Fortune 100 company kind of brands. That’s not typically what an Amazon brand management agency, but if you think about it those are. Most of those companies are kind of dinosaurs so they don’t know how to kind of pivot and get online. So that was a unique one. A lot of companies had different contract terms but most of them were a flat fee plus once you had a certain point. Then we take a percentage. Unique ones were maybe it was a contract they just go month to month, and other ones they said we just went two years because we’re going to invest with you. So really, I think knowing what those are, what your differentiators are and what’s important to you, can help you, I guess, decide what type of clients, your ideal client, who you want to go after. Some clients are just like I just want to test this out, is this going to be good? So, they would probably want to go with an agency that has a lower fee and month to month contracts. But other ones who want to deep dive, they know they’re going to invest in this, they know where they want to go build that partnership. So, it helps, you kind of weed out the clients that you do want and get rid of the ones that you don’t. So, I don’t know what really stood out. There was a lot.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, now let’s just flip the script a little bit. I’m an Amazon seller, I’m new or I’m big, I’m a seven-figure seller, eight-figure seller? Who is the persona or what type of person should be looking for a brand management agency as opposed to you know what? You probably should just try and handle things on your own at your stage.

Christi Michelle:

That’s a loaded question. I would say that it actually depends on your personality type. So, there are people who want to understand there’s a level of control that says I want to bring all of this in house, I want to bring in an expert who is a good PPC expert, someone who does graphic design. I want it to be so customized because it’s my business. If that is your personality type, you probably want to build in house. But if it’s not and you really just want kind of the simple life, you can find a partner partnering with an agency that has all of that already in-house. I would go that route. But it really depends on how you want to run your business in general. So, it’s more of a personal decision on your lifestyle. With that there is an influx point, especially because, like I said, a lot of agencies will have sort of a flat fee to start with for the first 90 days or whatever, and they get to a point and they say, okay, wait, we expect to build traction at this point.

Christi Michelle:

So, from that we want to, once we hit this threshold, we want to flip and we want to take a percentage of sales. Well, that’s fantastic, especially if they’re doing a really good job. But if you go from doing, 50,000 in sales and then a hundred thousand in sales and then 500,000 in sales, and suddenly you’re doing millions in sales that you know taking 5% or whatever that is, at some point you’re going to be paying the agency hundreds of thousands of dollars that it makes more sense than to just bring it in house. So, there is a scaling point that I would say unless you’re super comfortable and you just love working with them and you don’t care to give away that percentage as long as you don’t have to think about it, because clearly, they’ve done a good job, then at some point you would probably want to bring it in house.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, all right. Now I think, looking now I remember looking at the title of your talk today like wasn’t one thing about helping people scale, all right, so we have listeners of this podcast, from newer sellers all the way to maybe seven, eight figure sellers. What are some? I know a lot of the stuff you talk about is targeted, you know, depending on their exact persona, but maybe there’s some general things that you could, some tips that you can give out about, because I think everybody wants to scale, unless they’re just like trying to do this in their hobby. That hey, I’m very happy at my level of the rest of my life. My, my day job is this. That’s probably like 3% of people. I think 97% wants to scale. So, what are some tips you can give?

Christi Michelle:

It’s very customized because it depends on where your maturity of your company is. And so, I use the word maturity and the evolution of your business because most people say, well, I’m a million-dollar company or I’m a $5 million company or I’m a $40 million company, that really doesn’t matter, because I’ve had clients that are 40 million, I’ve had clients that are 2 million and they’re at the same stage. They experienced the same influx of issues. So, I like to identify them. So, Tony Robbins has a really good. He has a really good model that’s called the evolutionary 10 stages of your business and it starts literally from like a child. It’s like birth. You have infancy, you have toddler, teenager, young adult, and then you’re in your prime and then eventually, at some point things always kind of deteriorate and you kind of go down that path. So, I like for people to be able to identify where they are. That helps them understand what their bottlenecks are. Able to identify where they are. That helps them understand what their bottlenecks are. So, one tip would be figure out where do you stand like, where is your evolution of your company and what is it going to take for you to go from a teenager to a young adult, or a young adult to get to you when you’re in your prime. So, understanding that about yourself. Another thing that I would say is most companies, you’re just very focused. Most people don’t understand this. If you didn’t get an MBA, you don’t understand all the facets of business, right? They think, well, I’ve got a product and I’ve got a or a service. This is what I’m doing. Understand that if you want to scale, you kind of need to do it. The best way to do it is very, is as balanced as possible, and so another exercise that I do is based off of EOS, which is the Entrepreneur Operating System. They have a model. So, this is that’s a business blueprint.

Christi Michelle:

Every company should be working from a business blueprint, and so, if you can do that, there’s a several questions that kind of prompt you well, how well are you in each of these categories of your business? So, you can say, okay, well, how is my data measurables Like? Do I know what I’m measuring? Do I know what my PPC statistics are? Do I know what my P&L looks like? Do I know what my turn rate is? Do I know? There’s lots of things to know. So, understanding that category, understanding your people. Do I have the right people? Have I hired you know? Are they doing the best that they can? So, there’s lots of different ways that you can measure the health of your business. You can take it as a 20-point questionnaire. You can go to EOS I think it’s called; I don’t know. You can download it for free. In five minutes, you can kind of figure out sort of like a general health of your business. That will also tell you OKAY, here are the areas that I’m unbalanced. These are my strengths and these are my weaknesses. But as you want to scale, you want to scale as balanced as possible. Also, understanding different personality types. You start off as the visionary of your company and different visionaries and I kind of have had several different buckets that I would put them in. But there’s different visionaries, create different problems, create different solutions and problems in their companies. So, you get the ones that are.

Christi Michelle:

They’re just very what is it Gregarious? Like, very like outgoing and big and let’s try all the things, and they don’t have a big sense of risk. They don’t have a correct sense of risk. They go above and beyond and that’s really fun. They’re usually very grateful. They’re a lot of fun to work with, but there’s very little. The opposite side of that is they don’t come with a lot of accountabilities they just trust you. Yeah, go do the thing. I like you. You seem smart, let’s go. And they won’t’ve that type of leader. Understand what your strengths are and also understand what your weaknesses are. Right, because that can create a lot of uncertainty in your employees, and a lot of employees love you, but they just feel like they’re constantly concerned about what’s happening with their job. So, I could go down a whole rabbit hole on different personality types, but those are the things is understood who you are, what you bring to the company and kind of the health of the business overall. I mean there’s tons of tools out there that in five minutes. I love doing workshops because I want people to learn about themselves, where they stand relative to who they are, what they bring to the table and you know what they’re going to need to balance them, because everybody has strengths and weaknesses.

Bradley Sutton:

Now I’m looking here. I’m guessing this is part of, like, your workshops that you’re going to be doing,

Christi Michelle:

Yes.

Bradley Sutton:

Or is this a handout that people are going to have?

Christi Michelle:

Yes. Okay, very tactical hands-on.

Bradley Sutton:

Maybe you can describe some of this so that people can maybe do this at home even without you. At least get started on this framework here.

Christi Michelle:

Sure, well, I mean, I kind of did mention a little bit, so I would look up Tony Robbins. So, business mastery he has the 10 life cycle stages of your evolution of your business. So, if you can look that up, he kind of gives a definition, as I said earlier. So, you have birth, you have infancy, you have the toddler, you have the teenager, you have the young adult. What are those? What are the pros and cons of each one of those? So go look that up and if you could do that, read there, help yourself identify. Once you identify, let’s say, you figure out that you’re in a teenage stage. That’s a very exciting stage. It’s also one of the most dangerous stages and a lot of people get stuck there, a lot of visionaries get stuck there, and so I won’t have time to go into detail about it. But if you are able to identify yeah, that kind of sounds like where I am going ahead and look at what the next stage is after that. What is it going to take for me? So, the teenager stage I think it’s usually fun and reckless, right? Teenagers? I think of them as driving 100 miles an hour down the highway that they’ve got their sports car because cash flow at that point is less of an issue. But they say yes to everything and they don’t know how to say no. Everything looks like an opportunity, so they pull resources from everywhere. It’s very unfocused. So, I think about that teenager driving 100 miles an hour down the highway. If they take one wrong turn, they could seriously wound the business. They don’t really recognize that. There’s a sense of overconfidence with that. So, if you look that some of those are usually the signature problems that you have as a teenager, then look and see okay, well, what is it going to take to get to be a young adult? And I kind of like quote that as a young adult would be a rebirth. You grow up right. You’re like okay, we have to have some responsibility. We’re going to bring in some professional staff at this point. We’re going to so anyway. So really good way.

Christi Michelle:

Another thing that I have here, as I said, sort of this grading. I turn it into sort of a wheel exercise so you can kind of self-grade. And it’s the EOS, I think it’s organizational checkup. Go there, it’s 20 questions, it’s Likert scale one through 10. Grade yourself. You can share that with all the other people in your company, so that you get a collective grading for everyone. And it comes back and it says okay, well, your score is a 57 out of a hundred. Okay, well, what areas do we need to work on? So, it will quickly highlight for you some of those pieces. But I core values exercise, creating your one page, your business blueprint. Who are we? Where are we going? Why are we doing what we do? What makes us unique? What’s our ideal client? Really, building on a business blueprint? Because when you look at going back to the stages, if you look at the when you’re in your prime, this is like, this is like Apple. I mean, there’s just, there’s a. You just know that they come out with excellence at all times. Right, and you can be in your prime for decades. You can be in a prime for a long time. When you understand what that looks like, you want to strive to get to those levels of like. What’s the pros of each one of those? So, self-education.

Bradley Sutton:

Taking it back to, I think, something that is at the top of mind of a lot of Amazon sellers nowadays. You know you started selling on Amazon and kind of like the glory days where you could just like fall into making tons of money by accident, not even knowing anything. You’re doing right Nowadays I’m sure you talked about this with Amazon sellers. I think I see so much more fear and anxiety over all the new fees that Amazon has. You know rising PPC costs, rising logistics, this and that and now many people are stressing about how I mean not only just how to scale, but just how to stay afloat. And so, some of your successful people you talk to what are their characteristics or what are they doing to? Because it’s still very viable to make money on Amazon. So, what are the successful people? How are they navigating all of these fees and increased costs?

Christi Michelle:

Well, first of all, they’re treating it the successful ones are treating it like a holistic business. It’s not just I’m going to throw up a product, make some money and then maybe I figure out a little bit of PPC with that right. There is an evolution to actually truly building something like a business, and so I say that in tandem. When I think of truly building a business, it’s you have to look at all aspects, so it’s not just the single focus of what are my resources within the Amazon or e-commerce space. So, for example, so when we talk about fees, one of my clients you know is has nothing to do with this, but it overlaps he gets the best rates on UPS and FedEx that you can imagine. Okay, well, maybe we can’t. If you’re doing FBA, then you can’t necessarily use those right, because you’re not going to get better fees. But if you are diversifying and if you are going, if you want to do FBM or if you want to do Shopify and you want to go to other places, those fees you can offset them by getting unbelievable discounts for those and you can kind of offset the cost of what Amazon is rising by decreasing the costs of other platforms in your Shopify store, let’s say. So, that requires that you step out that you would not know that this person, this type of service exists, because it’s not really talked about here, because most people go FBA if they’re going to be selling on Amazon. But being resourceful and looking at just look at the problem plainly Okay, amazon fees are going up.

Christi Michelle:

What is my? If you look at your balance sheet, if you look at your P&L and you say these are all the costs that are associated with my business, what are ways that I can offset each one of these? Like I look at it, I like put my little MacGyver hat on and I’m like, okay, what else can I do? What else can I bring to the table? What else is working in completely different industries? What are they doing that I can kind of take and then bring that over into my space? So, I say two things. They treat it like a business, like it’s holistic, it’s not. I’m not just selling a product. They know that they’re building a brand, they know that they’re trying to. And if they try, if they know in two years they’ve got their vision, two or three years we want to sell for X amount, okay, well, you start working with folks, that will help you kind of get you set up for a sale. We’ll do that a year and a half in advance. There’s some brilliant tactics for how you can set for decisions you need to make today that 18 months from now will greatly pay off so that you can find the right buyer. So, these are all different ways that are just it’s not just looking at selling a company or your business, it’s what are all the resources that you’re going to need in the future. So, thinking in advance, treating it like a business and looking for resources outside of space.

Bradley Sutton:

I think what you said is important, because there’s a lot of Amazon sellers, I would say that this is probably the first business they’ve run. Maybe they came from the corporate world or they came from working a nine to five and so they don’t have that experience. And there’s a tendency, it’s because it’s such a different beast, on one hand, where it’s like, oh no, it’s not a real business, but then all of a sudden, they’re like wait, this is a business doing seven figures a year. In your experience, when you first talk to people like that, what are they doing wrong? As far as not treating it like a business, like what’s the most common things that you’re like, okay, we got to get this fixed right away, okay.

Christi Michelle:

Okay, I’m going to answer this in sort of an evolutionary piece. So, most people, when they start a business, it’s just you in your basement or wherever, and you’re selling either your product or service, but probably your product, right, if you’re not going to do an agency style and you figure that out. So, you go through that and it’s just you, it’s you’re trying to do everything, and then you kind of get that going and then maybe you hire a customer service person or maybe you hire someone to help you out with the day-to-day operations. Okay, let’s bump up the sales, let’s do the marketing, let’s get in some PPC how else can I get a lot more sales? So, then you switch your focus next to the department I’m going to put that in air quotes the department of marketing and sales, and you try to figure out let’s pour some gas on this. We’ve got your product and service. Then you have your marketing and sales, okay. So finally, then we’ve got that flowing, we’ve got that going, we know what we’re doing there. Oh crap, I’m making a lot of money. Now, what’s my P&L look like? What’s my balance sheet look like? What does my profit look like? What is margins? What is this about? So, then you start taking okay, do I have the right people? Okay, am I like doing the best that I can, and do I have a high turnover? So, then it gets to HR. So, my answer is actually HR.

Christi Michelle:

People ignore HR because in the evolution, it’s the last, it’s, we call it like crisis by management by crisis. Most, every one of those stages you’re saying what’s the biggest crisis that I need to focus on? So, HR doesn’t feel like it’s crisis, but it actually is like the underpinning of everything. So, most people ignore HR. So, one of the very first things that I do when I come in is I say what do our people? What does it look like? Do we have the right staff? Do you trust your people? Because a lot of times they’ll hire someone but they don’t trust them and so then they micromanage them and they never let them flourish. And then you have it keeps growing and growing and growing. And then you have this owner who now has like 15 employees. They’ve technically become successful, but they’ve got golden handcuffs because they can’t leave, because they haven’t figured out how to actually delegate and trust. That is one example.

So, when I come in, the first thing I do is. I say what does HR look like? Because usually and, by the way, the whole time, whether you’re doing the you’re, you’re doing your product surface, your operations, your marketing sales, your finance, you’re still hiring people along the way. But that always tends to fall on the visionary, which most people didn’t go to HR school. They don’t know how to interview, they don’t know how to hire the right people, they don’t know how to manage and make sure that they’re setting those expectations.

Christi Michelle:

So, I tend to think of that as I will come in first. I’ll look at HR, because I know that that’s one of the number one thing that’s going to make or break a company. But it feels like it’s the underpinning. It doesn’t feel like it because it’s not so much a big crisis loud thing usually, but that’s the underpinning and it always falls on the visionary and that’s not necessarily going to be their forte. So, if I can teach them how to do that and we can kind of clean house and get the right people in the right place and get the systems and all of that, that’s typically what I see.

Bradley Sutton:

All right Now. You and I were just talking to elevator about. How Helium 10 are remote company. I would say nowadays most Amazon businesses as they scale and become a real business, it’s almost all remote. Either they’re hiring people within the United States remotely or in most cases hiring people from other countries, be it Philippines, Pakistan, et cetera. What are some things that Amazon, business owners can do to. In a remote lifestyle where they can just make sure, hey, everybody’s on task. Like Helium 10, we started as an in-office company so it was easy for us to know like oh wait, this person is slipping when we run remote or like we know what. But, Amazon sellers from day one. They’re kind of a remote company. So, how do they structure it to make sure that it’s still operating as a well-oiled machine, even though maybe they’ve never even met some of their employees in person?

Christi Michelle:

Sure. I mean, I think it’s a really good question. I think there’s a lot of challenges the people have because it’s not a natural state if you think about humans and how it all interactive with each other coming from villages that living, but this is very new thing. Covid did not help but it really exacerbated the fact that we so I would say the same way that you would handle a social situation if you moved away from your friends and family you, it takes effort. You actually have to put in conscious effort to reach out and create a relationship with. You can’t like, if you moved away and you have all of your best friends and your family that lives back in your hometown, you no longer it’s not. You have to actually put in the energy and effort to ask them how they’re doing, see what they’re up to, have constructive conversations. When you’re in person, you just don’t really think about it. You kind of take it for granted. You’re like, oh, I’ll just go bump into you at the water cooler. Hey, just pop in my office. That kind of thing. It’s so much, it happens kind of effortlessly. It takes effort to actually maintain relationships and you have to build. You kind of have to rebuild your social skills. So, I would say that, from a culture perspective, is that you need to figure out what that looks like. So, I have a lot of clients where we’ll implement. Just, you know, we do like happy hour Fridays where everybody, at three o’clock or four o’clock, we’re like hey, let’s all get on here, we’ll share, we’ll do trivia, they’ll do things. So, there’s lots of things you can do from a culture perspective.

Christi Michelle:

But in terms of just operations, of business, cadence of meetings and I say that carefully because I think a lot of people roll their eyes, I have a lot of meetings, lot of meetings. A lot of people roll their eyes at me because they hate meetings. Most people hate meetings because they’re not productive meetings. I, like I said, I am a hands-on, tactical person. I don’t want homework after a meeting. Don’t make me do anything. As soon as we’re over the phone, I’m done, I did my job. So, the moment that I get on meetings, I know what we’re working at, I know what we’re trying to solve and if it’s, we don’t know the answer. I’m building a matrix. I’m building, we’re typing it out, we’re having a constructive conversation and leading it. I’m constantly monitoring people to say okay, what are we trying to solve? You have this question how can you get our audience to solve? What do you need to move forward? So being you just have to be more cognizant about having constructive meetings. So, it’s a lot more communication in that sense. But that more communication does not need to be waste of time.

Christi Michelle:

I think a lot of people have that sort of this equals that? Not true at all. Just have productive. So, learn how to have. So, I had to summarize one. Decide how you want the culture of the company to be and put an effort to make sure that that happens, that you are making building relationships again, whether that’s a happy hour, you guys do like a weekly, like shout outs or something like that. And then the second one is learn how to have productive meetings. Learn how to have constructive meetings where you actually get work done during the meeting while everyone’s together. They can put in their input if that is needed. Learn how to have constructive meetings that you don’t have to have a lot of busy work on the other side and then you guys are learning and building and growing together, which just creates more camaraderie.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome, awesome, all right, any last words of wisdom like a message you want to get out to Amazon sellers around the world here, what can you help them with? Like I sometimes call this like a 60 second strategy, but I’m not going to tie you down to a certain time, but just anything you want to close this out with.

Christi Michelle:

Oh goodness, I mean I think I’ve harped on the fact that treat it like it’s a business. Truly, if you’re not working on a business blueprint, you know EOS is a good one, it’s. It’s a limited. It’s very, very good, but it’s limited. There’s, you have system and soul. There’s lots of different ones. Get like, find, a business blueprint to work from, because most people don’t understand strategic frameworks and it’s not anybody’s fault If you didn’t go get an MBA, if you didn’t know this, but you have the entrepreneurial spirit. You do have to educate yourself on how to run a business. So, treat it like it’s a business, that there are all different components and aspects to it and I think that you will find that scaling and growing and educating you will be more balanced and less stress and you’ll have less of those true deep pitfalls that I see a lot of people having.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, one more thing. At dinner last night I kind of got a little bit of this. But Boyan was telling me you went to Costa Rica and you didn’t eat food for like two weeks or something. So, tell me a little bit about what prompt cause? You never. there are some people out there who are I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus, but like the whole very spiritual and touchy, feely and yoga every morning, and let me go find my, my inner priestess, or whatever.  You never struck me as that kind of person, but so I’m wondering what prompted you to do this retreat, what did it involve and what did you get out of it?

Christi Michelle:

So, funny that you said that, and I don’t think that I used to be, but I’m happy to openly admit I’m actually quite a spiritual person. I’m not a religious person, but I am a very spiritual person. And so, what prompted it? Two things I could say. We grow by the most through our struggles, and I’ve read this in a lot of different places and people talk about I wanted to go do something that was challenging. I wanted to do something that pushes you, because in this particular retreat I was in Costa Rica, definitely out with the bugs. Every night I had to look for spiders and scorpions and snakes. In my bed, on top of not eating at all, you had a one job and that was to drink as much water as humanly possible.

Bradley Sutton:

So, I was doing you ever have those things in your bed?

Christi Michelle:

Not in my bed but, I definitely have a situation a very large spider that was a.

Bradley Sutton:

Crossing Costa Rica off my bucket list.

Christi Michelle:

But it’s so beautiful there, but you’re there and it’s. You know, I meditate a lot, I mean. So, I thought I was. Oh, I’m just going to go there, I’m going to meditate for a couple of hours every day. I’ll take some naps. No, you had one job to do and that was to drink as much water as possible. So, I was drinking up to 1.75 gallons a day. But the thing is, when you’re not eating, when you’re not eating, you’re not replenishing the electrolytes, so you have to drink 16. You can’t drink any more than 16 so that you don’t flush it, so it’s little sips. So, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, so from 7 am to about 10, 10.30 at night, all you have to do is drink, and you’re not supposed to. There’s no internet, there’s no WIFI, there’s, I mean, you can have your phone, but there’s nothing that you can’t, like you know, download anything. No one tells you physically purging. Most people that went there I was very different. Most people who went there had very much had cancer, had different things. Cleansing of your body is. It’s fantastic. I recommend anybody research what fasting like water fasting can do. It’s one of the best things I think you can do for your body, but so there was a combination of wanting to kind of do a good cleanse, but it challenges you mentally, emotionally and physically to be uncomfortable, to be in a space you don’t have any.

Christi Michelle:

Most people use food for comfort or to repress I mean, we all do it right or to repress some feeling, or to kind of just enhance. I mean we use food almost like it. I mean it truly is kind of like a drug where you don’t have that to rely on. So, then you’re sitting there by yourself, no one really to talk to, nothing to entertain you in traditional ways. You’re stuck with your thoughts and you go through a lot through that. So, I like to do pretty strong challenges and so that was one of my big challenges for this year. Can I do it? And I would probably not ever do it again, I mean, unless I got very, very sick, and I thought this would. If I did, I thought that would be the best thing that it could do. But, it’s just to, to challenge myself, to grow to do something different.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, cool. All right, man, we’ll see. I’ve tried a lot of different things. Maybe, maybe I can try that, just minus the scorpions and snakes and spiders. Yeah, all right. Well, how can people find your company, or are you out there on the interwebs these days?

Christi Michelle:

I am in fact on the interwebs. I think that we have so I am right now. So, my main is I’m the coo integrator that is my agency, so that’s just coo for chief operating officer, the coo integrator, that is my website. And right now, I mean, the truth is I I’m extremely fortunate that I do have a backlog of clients. And, funny enough, I don’t really scale my company of all the things. Who don’t she helps people scale, but she doesn’t when you’ve had so many companies and you’re responsible for hundreds, you know dozens, if not a hundred, plus people there comes a point in your life where you’re like I think I’m just good with keeping things simple, but you kind of have to go through that to appreciate this. It’s kind of like water fasting you have to go without food before you can appreciate the food there. but yeah, so I’d love to. I usually do free analysis with people, thank you, thank you, just to kind of help them and I can point them in the right direction. So, I’m always just kind of happy to help guide people, and anymore now I spend some time on boards of companies and I do other investments and things. So, I love the game of business. I’m always happy to talk about it. So please reach out to me, Christy, at the CEO integrator, and I’m happy to chat.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Well, hope to see you sooner than later and I don’t have to travel around the world just to be able to see you. Like Karen Spade,

Christi Michelle:

Yeah, going to Europe, right All right, we’ll see you guys in the next episode.


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Director of Training & Chief Evangelist

Bradley is the Director of Training and Chief Evangelist for Helium 10 as well as the host of the most listened to podcast in the world for Amazon sellers, the Serious Sellers Podcast. He has been involved in e-commerce for over 20 years, and before joining Helium 10, launched over 400 products as a consultant for Amazon Sellers.

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