First off thank you for taking the time to get involved in this interview for my readers.
We met very briefly in Bangkok during the Affiliate World Asia conference in 2019 although we didn’t get to speak. I later found out you’re the host of Ecommerce Exits Podcast. We connected on Facebook recently when I enrolled in your Dream Team Hiring Funnel beta training group.
Your online success is impressive, and I am keen to learn more about how you founded, scaled, and exited several 7-figure businesses.
So, thanks again Nate for spending time with me today, and let’s jump straight into this with our first question.
1. It would be great to get some background on where you’re from, your early life, studying, and first jobs.
I grew up in Minneapolis, MN. Pretty normal suburban American life. Both of my parents were transplants from the East Coast which I think instilled in me the idea that we can live wherever we want vs staying where we grow up.
I graduated from university in 2010 which was a terrible job market. I didn’t want to get a boring office job and wanted to travel and adventure so I went to teach English in Korea for the year after I graduated.
It was a great experience. Also challenging.
It’s boring teaching the same lesson 15x a week and being the only native English speaker I’d interact with most weekdays can get lonely and isolating. The job did allow me to travel all over Asia for the first time which was great.
After my contract finished in Korea I went on a backpacking trip around SE Asia for a few months on my way back to the USA. It was during this trip that I met my first ‘digital nomad’ that totally opened my eyes to the possibilities of working online and changed the trajectory of my life/career.
When I got back to the USA I got to work on attempting to build my first online business. The original plan didn’t work, but I was able to ‘fail forward’ and pick up some freelance work which gave me enough income to take off and travel again.
So, in the spring of 2013, I left the USA making a few thousand dollars a month which has evolved into my life and career of entrepreneurship.
2. How did you get into working online? What were your early failures and successes?
I met Andrew in Pai. A small town in northern Thailand. He was the first ‘digital nomad’ that I met and really opened my eyes to what was possible working online. He gave me the idea to build lead gen SEO websites and when I got back to America I got to work attempting to build my first online business.
The only problem was I didn’t have any skills.
But I did know about oDesk (now Upwork) and knew if I could tap into the incredible human resources available I could figure something out.
Fast forward and the Google Panda update pretty much killed my SEO sites, but the skills I learned about internet marketing and hiring allowed me to keep going and pick up some consulting clients as a freelancer.
3. What was your first major breakthrough working online? Can you tell us about your eCommerce business and if you feel comfortable revealing some numbers?
I was still making just a few thousand dollars a month when I moved to Saigon, Vietnam at the end of 2013. This was a huge inflection point in my life/career when I became engulfed and surrounded by the entrepreneur scene in Vietnam. The crew was amazing. Many of the people I met those days are still my closest friends.
It was then that I learned about eCom and selling on FBA from some of the other guys. My freelancing was going ok but I wanted to build a real business for myself. Something that was scaleable. I tried a bunch of different eCom models, a few dropshipping sites, etc. Until I gave FBA a go at the end of 2014.
FBA started slow for me. My first product selling OK but not taking off.
My second product went live in the spring of 2015 and that was the one that really hit as a winner.
I remember in the summer of 2015 my sales doubled every month.
From 3k to 6k to 15k to 30k to 50k to our first 100k+ month in December.
This was a crazy and exciting time!! Also hectic as it was the first time I had to learn how to build and run a real online business.
4. Off the back of your success of building and exiting several 7-figure businesses you now actively invest in a number of ventures with your SellerPlex brand. Can you go into how you invest and help businesses?
After selling my FBA business in the spring of 2017 I had a mini existential crisis. Questioning what to do next, what’s important, what I’m good at. All kinds of good stuff ha.
I realized that some of the things I was best at were seeing the big vision and potential, identifying the big dominos to move a business forward, and building teams to turn the biz into a saleable and sellable machine. And that I LOVE helping and supporting other entrepreneurs.
So I thought I could use my knowledge and experience to help other entrepreneurs as an investor.
I started to explore opportunities to invest which led to my first investment/partnership at the end of 2017. Fast forward and it was going well so I found and invested in my next business a year or so later. Then another. Then another.
All the businesses were growing well and I really enjoy my role as investor/advisor. But realized that I didn’t need to be an investor in a business in order to help support them.
This led me to launch my first training program Dream Team Machine that teaches entrepreneurs how to build their business in a way that serves them. So they can unplug from the things they don’t enjoy, get an amazing team to run the business for them, scale, exit, or whatever else they want.
I believe that business is the best vehicle we have to achieve what we want in life. It just needs to be built the right way. So that’s what I’m helping entrepreneurs with now with my training.
5. Do you invest in other assets? Like cryptocurrency, metals, or real estate?
I got pretty deep into Crypto at the end of 2017/early 2018. After my eCom exit, I dumped a bunch of my cash into crypto that blew up when crypto went crazy. It was a wild time and I made and lost more money than I have any other time in my career.
Thankfully I got out on top (though down a lot from my peak) and learned some invaluable lessons.
The biggest takeaway from that was to focus my investing in areas that I can have an impact on.
Such as other businesses Vs just gambling.
At some point, I’d like to get started investing in real estate. But for now, I’m still focusing on online businesses because that’s where I can have the biggest impact as well as get by far the best returns on my money.
The more I learn about business the more value I can add to other businesses. This means I can have an even more positive impact on my investments leading to greater returns. Plus, I just love business so am happy to be focusing my efforts there.
6. You are about to release your “Dream Team Machine” course, what made your set about creating this course and revealing your superpower?
Well, I believe that business and entrepreneurship is the best vehicle that we have for both sides of Freedom in our lives. Freedom From and Freedom To. Freedom FROM is moving away from the things we don’t want.
For example, freedom from being a slave to a paycheck, doing things you don’t enjoy, building someone else’s dreams, etc While Freedom too is opening up to actualize your true potential. Freedom to do things you enjoy, make an impact in the lives of people that are important to you, fulfillment, etc.
The Dream Team Machine teaches entrepreneurs how to build their business and team so it supports them in achieving both sides of freedom.
This is something I’ve worked hard to realize for myself and want to help others now in achieving the same.
7. I am very much a “Solo Sam” and have struggled with being a “Team Tommy” as a consequence end up doing everything. Can you talk about how hiring a “dream team” can catapult your business growth?
We all have the things we are best at. And that we enjoy. And by focusing on those things we are able to have the biggest impact. By being able to focus on the highest leverage activities we can create more value in our businesses and therefore receive more value in exchange.
Biz owners become bottlenecks when they try to do everything themselves.
It’s a recipe for burnout. And it’s just not scalable.
That’s why it’s so important to build your business and team around you being able to focus on the ways you can have the biggest impact. Your business should be an amplifier for your strengths. And you need the right team behind you in order to do that.
8. In your experience what has been the number one stumbling block by “solo sam” entrepreneurs getting to the next level?
Thinking that they can and should do everything themselves. And resisting delegating. Delegating like everything is a skill. Once you break the seal and start you are on a path to success. Unfortunately, so many entrepreneurs just keep holding on and don’t ever delegate which is a recipe for failure and staying stuck.
9. What’s next for you Nate, any big plans for 2021 and beyond?
I’m focused on creating content, publishing, and the launch of my Dream Team Machine (DTM) program. And I don’t see that changing any time soon. I’m committed to creating and sharing more and engaging with more people that resonate with the ideas I put out.
And then serving and supporting more entrepreneurs through my program. I see DTM as the first step forward on a path I want to walk for my career/life. Sort of the culmination of everything leading up to this point. So excited to get it out there more to support the entrepreneurs that need it.
For anyone interested in more of my content just go and follow me on IG @nateginsburg or Facebook. You can decide for yourself if it resonates with you. It does shoot me a message and says Hi. I’m always excited to connect and support more like-minded people.
You can find out more about Nate’s Dream Team Hiring Funnel course when this is released soon.
You can also reach out to Nate via https://sellerplex.com/.