Max Abreu’s Million-Dollar Seller Secrets
Max Abreu along with his partner, Garlin, have been able to build tremendous business practices over the last four to five years. That’s why we were so excited to have Max come on the podcast and share with us how they’ve been able to have this phenomenal success with multiple Amazon businesses! Don’t miss this episode!
Hey everyone, hope you are having a great Friday. This is Andy Slamans from Amazing Freedom, bringing you another real seller in the 100 real seller series. I’m very excited to talk to Max Abreu.
I’ve know Max now for over three years. Unfortunately, because of the busy-ness probably of both of our businesses, I haven’t been able to talk to him in a while. So I just had a chance the last 15 minutes catching up with him. And the conversation has been phenomenal.
I’m already learning things from what he’s doing in his business. I know that you’re going to learn things as well during this interview. So if you are watching this live or if you’re watching or listening to the recording, highly encourage you to put everything away, get your notepad out because you are going to see some tremendous business practices that Max along with his partner Garland have been able to do over the last four to five years.
So Max, thanks so much for joining us today. Taking time out of your busy day to share with us about how you’ve been able to build phenomenal businesses.
For sure. And thanks for having me, Andy. It’s been way too long. So excited to be here.
Awesome. So Max, we usually just start the interviews with just basically sharing, like how you got started selling on Amazon.
Yeah. So I started I started, I would say it’s around in 2013 or 2012 somewhere around there. I was, I was still in college and I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that people could make money online from their computer. You know, back then it was way more uncommon than what it is right now. And so I was like, man, if I could just make money from anywhere in the world, that’d be super cool.
And so then I just started researching, you know, just how to make money online. And FBA had basically just started to kind of pick up some steam and so I would just research everything I could. And then I started, you know, going down to stores and playing the arbitrage game, you know, start with textbooks and then moved on to toys.
And then the real catalyst for me was being able to meet someone who was doing exactly what I was doing, but they were about eight to 10 months ahead and they were already doing it full time, you know? And so that was kinda my epiphany, aha moment to be like, okay, that’s, I know what I’m going to do once I graduate. And if he could do it, I can do it, you know?
Awesome. Now that person, was that your current partner or was that somebody else?
No, it was somebody else is a good friend. He was, he’s actually, he actually just came to visit us recently. He’s based in Texas and he’s, he’s just been an awesome guy. He was he was a great mentor in the early days, just cause I didn’t, you know, like he didn’t, he didn’t owe me anything and he was always willing to help. And for that, I’m, I’m forever, forever grateful.
Awesome. Is he still in online sales?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s still doing it. He’s doing more, you know, just just arbitrage. But I’m trying to convince them, you know, that to make the leap over to a private label that was part of his visit here. But yeah, he’s still doing it.
Well. So let’s talk a little bit about partnerships. And so how did, how did the relationship with you and Garland start that you guys decided to work together?
Yeah, so Garland and I, we swam together in college, so we were roommates. You know, we were classmates and we were teammates. And so when I was starting on my journey of figuring this stuff out he was obviously living with me and seeing me bringing all this, all this product and whatnot. And he would always help.
He’s just always been an awesome guy, so he would always just come with me whenever I would ask or help me with boxes and things like that. And then when it came time to graduate, I was, since we both swam, I was still swimming and I was still swimming for my country and I wanted to try to make the Olympics. So I told I told Garland if he was interested in being my business partner and that he would kind of put in more hours until I was done swimming. And then and then after about a year and a half, you know, when I would give up swimming when I’d be back and putting the same amount of hours. And so he liked the idea, he said yes. And so we moved to Florida and then started the business and never looked back.
Oh man, that’s awesome. You, you know, a lot of times partnerships can be tricky, but it’s interesting, you know what you said there. So it sounds like there was a real foundation of trust that you had with one another. You know, give us some insights on what you’ve seen. Obviously being in the business world for a number of years. Like how, how do you think, you know, what are some of the reasons why your partnerships work so well?
Yeah. You know, it took, it took a while for me to realize what you just said as far as like how partnerships are tricky and whatnot. We just, everything always just flowed naturally. And I think obviously it was, it was based on trust. It was based on being able to hear each other out. You know, being transparent with each other, knowing that the other person’s got your back no matter what the other person’s willing to work just as hard or harder than harder than you are.
And so knowing that that was the foundation, but it was only like a couple of years into our partnership where we started hearing from people saying, ‘Oh, that’s amazing how you guys are still partners or, or man, that’s crazy. I can never make it work.’
And you’d hear horror stories and then we would talk to each other being like, man, we’re pretty, we’re pretty blessed and pretty grateful that we have what we have. Cause it turns out it’s, it’s pretty rare apparently.
So, you know, I go into local business meetups and you know, genuinely like always the horror stories have to do with partnerships, you know, like the bad breakup. So it’s cool, you know, seeing what you and Garland had been able to do and that it is available and out there. Right. If you pick the right partner
For sure, for sure. Especially if you find some that complements you know, does, has traits that you don’t have, you know, and you both see the value in each other. I think that’s, that’s really important.
Cool. So let’s dig in a little bit to you. You started selling on Amazon and you were re-sellers. It’s actually the, the way that I recommend when folks are kind of interested in selling on Amazon, unless they’re really well capitalized, I recommend them to go the re-seller route.
So talk to us a little bit about, you know, what you were doing and then you know, some lessons that you learned along that route.
Man, there’s a lot of lessons. But yeah, just, just started going to stores, you know, and buying stuff and then bringing it back in shipping and out to Amazon. We would call it just, just feeding the beast, you know, trying to find more. Cause once you realize it’s just about finding more products and that’s all you try to do, right?
And so very quickly we realized that Hey, we need that. We didn’t hire people that can prep so that we can continue buying. Right? And then we said, okay, how can we multiply ourselves? We need to hire people that are able to buy with us and then completely replaced us. And so I was always about trying to try to do more, right?
Because we saw the opportunity, we saw the industry where it was going in and we saw that like, Oh, what other business do you have the ability, you know, to just double month over month. And, and so we really saw that and ran as fast as we could.
Now as far as lessons, there’s, there’s just so many. We made every mistake under the sun. You can imagine, you know, we’ve been suspended probably three or four times. And just a lot of lessons with dealing with people, right? As you start hiring people, you know, cause I’ve never had a job and neither has Garland. And so we’ve had to learn all these things. And so a lot of them managing people, you know, how to compensate them, how to motivate them. All those things came with pretty hard learning lessons. So,
And, and just to give some folks a perspective that are listening or that are watching this when we’re talking about the Garland and Max reselling and if you’ve never resold before, you might get an idea like, well man, can you really make any, what we’re talking about here is millions of dollars and, and you and I and Max both know other sellers. This is what they do full time.
And you know, they sell between seven and $10 million a year, you know, basically just reselling. So you know, it’s not like, you know, you’re making a dollar here or a dollar there. You know, when you begin to build the systems like you and Garland built, you are literally generating, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash flow, you know, every couple of weeks. Correct.
For sure. Yeah. The very selling. I mean we you know, I think that the, the most that we scaled it was to, would, it would be two years ago, we did 8.8 million in sales and that was basically just reselling. But we’re still part of a mastermind that focuses only on reselling. And we have a guy in there that is, I think that, I think he did 20 plus million last year, just reselling and mostly mostly you know, retail arbitrage, which is crazy to get to that point. So, yeah.
Yeah. Like why like watching you guys and I was able to watch you guys kind of grow, you know, over the last four or five years. And I would always be blown away, you know, by the numbers that you were doing. But it was all because, you know, if I’m just doing it by myself, I can do a million, maybe 1,000,005, especially retail arbitrage. But in order to really get to those numbers, you have to create the systems and the processes like you guys created. Which is interesting. And we’ll get into this a little bit.
So tell us again, talk to us a little bit about that mindset. Cause I think a lot of sellers get stuck, you know, they’re trying to do everything themselves, but you saw the opportunity and what I often say is, you know, we’ve seen the greatest wealth transfer in the last 20 years. It literally trillions of dollars from retail to online sales. Probably in the history of the world, there’s not been a greater wealth transfer.
So you and Garland were doing this, you’re doing everything yourself and you’re like, Oh my goodness, you know, we need to figure out the systems and processes. So tell us a little bit about how that works and, and why for those of us that are maybe doing 500 or a million, why we need to get to that level?
For sure. For sure. Well the the thing is like for, for me it was about looking at, looking at other people, right? And, and seeing like, okay, if I’ve got a target where they’re at, and if I look at, you know, Jeff Bezos, right? If he’s not, you know, he’s not stuck doing everything himself, you know, to get to certain levels. It just demands, you know, a team and a way of doing business to where you have to delegate things. Right?
And the beauty of it is once you, once you start doing it and once you, once you properly do it, you’re able to see that building out a team and handling some of these things off. There’s, there’s actually people that can do whatever you thought you were gonna do, way better than, than what you could’ve ever done. You know? So that’s just, and you’re, you’re only going to get there if you actually test it. Right. And let it go. And being okay with failing and empowering other people to make decisions.
And then just understanding that, you know, you’re in a position to steer the ship and you’ve got, you’ve got all the tools to lead the people in the right direction, you know, and being, being extremely accountable. That’s another thing. Just being able to say, Hey, anything that happens, I can, I can be accountable for, you know, basically my fault. It’s my business, you know, even if it’s the person, the other person that I put in charge, you know, it’s my fault that I put them in charge of that. Maybe they weren’t ready, maybe they weren’t the right person. And so just understanding that it’s just, it’s just, that’s, to me, that’s the only way to build true wealth, right? You need to own certain things and you need to have teams to, to be able to help you do that, you know?
No, that’s awesome. That’s good. That’s great information. And you know, I probably, that’s probably what I see the most of Amazon sellers get stuck at. They either just want to hold on to everything or they don’t trust, you know, that they can build those types of systems or like that doesn’t come naturally. Like I’m sure that you had to do some type of a learning or you were researching, you know or, or, or networking with other folks. Like you know, share with us a little bit about that mindset. And then I think, you know, if we can, we’ll talk a little bit about how now you are also adding in, adding in another source in model private label to your business. So just talk a little bit about that. Like how, how did you kind of figure that out? Like you want to be at that investor level?
Yeah. So I think networking, you know, for us has been just humongous, you know, see, because once you, once you realize that a lot of people in our space are just regular folks, you know, you can, you can look at that. Or at least for me, I’ve always been competitive, always been far as scrolling or nodding. You know, we, we believe we can do whatever we set our minds to. And just seeing people finally meeting them in person at conference conferences, seeing what they’re doing. A lot of the times our key takeaway is like, we could do that. You know, you should be passing them, you know? And so that, that really helped. Right. and so seeing how other people were doing it, but we just saw that other people had a team of people in place and we said, okay, we got, we’ve got to get good at this. You know,
You know, it’s, it’s fascinating that you just said that cause I just started thinking about myself. I come from a blue background. My dad worked for the railroad, you know, all of his life. And so, you know, just until the last probably six months, the kind of mindset that you’re talking about. I, I’ve always just seen myself as a blue collar worker and not necessarily able to get to that level. So it is, you know, is that kind of what you’re sharing with us? Like I’m interested to hear like what kind of your background is like, you know, where you blue collar, where you, where your parents at that investor level, where Garland’s parents at that investor level?
Garland’s dad owns his own construction company. So and then you know, we share the trait of being sports people. You know, we both swam competitively. And so we have this this confidence, like really deep down inside of us that if we see other people doing it, we know we can get there 100%. You know?
And, and you know, my, my family, my mom is also an entrepreneur, so she has her own business back home. So that’s, that’s our background. But the, I think the mindset is just, just realizing that you can’t do it yourself, you know, and at some point something has to change. Now I’m, I’m even more stubborn than, than Garland was as far as delegating and what not.
For me, I love to learn, right? I’m, I’m, I’m obsessed with learning. Learning is just awesome for me, so I like to understand everything before it gets delegated. Whereas Garland, Garland is, loves decision-making, right? He he’s, he’s comfortable with being in the top and being able to say yes or no making those hard decisions, but he’s all about getting the right people in the right place, you know? And so that’s, that’s really his skill set is finding the right people for the right job.
And then I guess my skill set, it was more about understanding how things work. Right. And somewhere in there, you know, with the give and take, because you don’t want to delegate too early, you don’t want to delegate too late, you know, somewhere in there with a lot of give and take a lot of arguments or we kind of find a, a good medium and, and it works.
That’s awesome. So if you just join us, this is Max a Abreu, we are talking about how him and his partner Garland have been able to scale tremendous Amazon business started out primarily doing reselling which is one of my recommended ways of you just starting on Amazon. And now a segue to and it probably tested a few sourcing models, but earlier before the interview started, we are talking about you’re, you’re pretty excited about a private label brand that you’re building. So if you don’t mind just share with us a little bit about that.
Yeah. So you know, we, we really started going heavy in private label last year. We already had private label products in the past. Right. But that kinda goes to back to the same point that I was saying earlier about surrounding yourself with the right people and being at right networks and mastermind. We joined this mastermind where 95% of the people were private label sellers, right. And and it, it was a mastermind that you need to do at least a million dollars a year to get into. Right. And so we were there, but we were there because of our reselling numbers. Most of them were all private label.
But being in that group and seeing how people were having seven, eight figure exits, you know, just two years after starting their business and it was just month after month was like, Hey guys, sold my business, you know, this and that. And just seeing the numbers that they were generating. It just made us realize first and it made us want to absorb as much information, but as made us realize that there was a better way of doing things. You know, with the reselling side there was there was a limit for us. You know, there was, there was no way we could sell our business for, you know, 15, $20 million. It would just be very, very hard. And we were seeing people do things like that.
It just a matter of year and a half, two years left and right. And so by us seeing that, we said again, like, Hey, we’re, we’re in the wrong space. Even though we felt, you know, quite a scalable team and all this kind of stuff, we need to go there. You know, and we’ve been guilty throughout the year of, you know, chasing the shiny object syndrome. I think every entrepreneur does that, you know. But, but this was just to, it kind of, it took a little bit of a conscious decision to step back our efforts. And that’s why I said like in, in 2 years ago, we did a like 8.8 million in reselling. Then the year after that we dropped to, I forget, I think, I think last year we did like 6 million or 7 million on the reselling side, but we did it consciously because we said, Hey, let’s just tighten this ship reselling. Let’s make it as profitable as we can and let’s learn as much as we can about private label and let’s really try to grow and blow this thing up.
And ever since we’ve made that conscious decision, it’s just been, it’s been incredible. I mean private labels already surpassing and the profitability at the reselling and it’s scaling tremendously. You know, we, we’re, we’re looking at launching anywhere between four to eight products a month with a potential of $300 a net a day. That’s kind of our standard and we’ve been, we’ve been way more on track, you know, so if we finish the year, it’s really exciting how things are going, you know, and it just, it gives us the ability to sell, you know, private label gives us the ability to sell a brand, the business very little overhead. And it’s just, it’s just a much much more appealing business model.
That’s awesome. So I don’t know if you know them or not. It’s a couple married couple. They created this kitchen brands called Willow and Everett. They’re from Austin and they, I, I, I’m not sure what they exited out of that brand for it, but they grew it to like four to 6 million, probably a year. They sold it and started another brand. He posted it on his wall and within, it’s probably about 18 months, less than two years. They scale that to $10 million already, cause he just posts on his wall. He’s looking for a logistics manager. And when I saw that, that wow, incredible.
And I love what you said. And those of you that are watching, listen, you need to hear this. When you go to these Amazon conferences, you’re going to meet people. And this is for me, one of the things that encouraged me that I could sell on Amazon, cause I actually had a lot of self doubt cause I’d never been in the business world. I was a human service guy. But when I saw people like they were like me, they’re kind of average intelligence, you know, but they had grit, you know, they make common sense decisions. And when I saw them being able to do this, I kinda thought the same thing. I’m like, look, if they can do this, I can do this.
And it kinda gave me a confidence, right? Seeing, you know, and what they’ve been able to do with that first brand and then how quickly they’ve been able to grow because they have the systems and processes. I’m sure that they’ve learned what that first brand. So, so talk to us now, kind of where you’re at. We shared a little bit pre-interview where you’re trying to get to that investment level because that’s, that’s really where you can begin to generate wealth, right?
For sure. For sure. I think that, you know, if you’re talking about, you know, building long-term wealth and being able to build something for legacy, you need to own things. You know you, you cannot trade your time for money if you want to get there. Right? And so now we just tried to own as many different things as we can, right?
One of the things that we’re looking at doing this year is just strategic partnerships, right? Because we’ve got we’ve got our systems down to where it’s we can bring on someone where we bring in the information, right? And they, they bring in the grit and the execution and where you bring in the systems. And now we have some, some ownership, some equity in that.
So I think that, you know, the real wealth builders, you know, they tend to own multiple things, multiple businesses, and it’s like, how do you think people like Tony Robbins or I dunno, or Jeff Bezos for that, like how do they have 10, 20, 30 businesses?
You know, it’s, it doesn’t make, they’re not super heroes that, you know, have a pulse on every little thing that’s going on. You know, they were just able to make the right decisions at the right time. And, and sort of being conscious about that. It’s just I’ve been, I’ve been learning to make bigger decisions. Right? And also value my decisions more because that’s, that’s what you want to get to, right. To a point where your decisions really matter and you’re making not too many decisions but important decisions every day. So
That’s awesome. So again, this is Max Abreu. He will we might have a, an email that if you’re interested in kind of what, what he’s doing more, we’ll, we’ll post that at a later date. Right now him and Garland are definitely busy building both sides of their business. And so I appreciate if you’re watching this, don’t send messages to Max. If you want to get a hold of them, send a message to me and then I can check on that.
Max, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day. Been so exciting watching you and Garland grow exciting watching you get married. How long have you been married now?
Almost two years.
Yeah, two years. I love in the married life and I know you shared a little bit with me pre-interview that you’re hoping to travel some this next year. So that’s exciting to see. Thanks so much again for joining us, sharing with us that valuable information.
Hope you guys are enjoying these interviews. Hope you enjoyed this interview. Do you have any comments or questions? Post them below this and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. Max, thanks again. Have a great rest of your Friday and I look forward to seeing you and Garland just continue to take off.
Thank you. Thank you guys. Don’t, don’t give up on the opportunity, guys. If you’re listening to this, you’re, you’re in the right space. You’re doing the right thing. Amazon is still an amazing opportunity, even after all these years in getting more competitive, you name it, but it’s still, like Andy was talking about the transfer of wealth that’s still happening. You know, don’t take it for granted. Do your best to surround yourself with the right people and you’re going to get there.
So thanks Andy for having me. God bless you, man.
All right, thanks. Take care man.
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