Ecommerce Blueprint: A Strategic Approach to the Digital Market with Neil Twa

Jan 22, 2024 | Keeping the Hat Full, Learning from the Best, PodCast, Season 3, The Jam Room

The Back-Story

In this episode, Tim is joined by Neil Twa, Voltage’s visionary CEO, who shares the raw trials and triumphs of leaving the security of corporate life for the entrepreneur lifestyle. Neil reveals a trove of strategic wisdom for making an indelible mark in the competitive digital landscape. Together, they dissect the art of crafting offers you can’t refuse and the decisive moves that can catapult you from obscurity to influence. Neil outlines Voltage’s ambitious trajectory and focus on acquiring e-commerce companies, signifying a shift towards a more acquisition-focused strategy. This portion of the conversation guides those looking to understand the nuances of e-commerce and how to identify and capitalize on opportunities within this dynamic field.

Who is Neil Twa?

Neil Twa is the founder and CEO of Voltage Holdings, a company that helps entrepreneurs scale their businesses and achieve financial freedom. He is also the host of the High Voltage Business Builders podcast, where he interviews successful business owners who have made their next million through passive income streams. Whether it’s e-commerce, consulting, real estate, M&A, or anything else, his guests share their stories, insights, and tips on how they built their empires from scratch. You’ll learn how they leveraged systems, hard work, and a passion for business-building to create wealth and impact.

Show Notes

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In This Episode:
(0:00) Intro
(0:09) Neil’s story of success
(1:37) What didn’t go as planned
(7:37) Make an irresistible offer
(10:34) Treat your side hustle as a real business
(19:48) Moving physical products
(23:05) Organizing the jam room
(32:12) Adjusting this gameplan
(35:08) Evolving business
(37:34) What is exciting in his business right now
(40:37) Ideal client
(44:06) How to connect with Neil
(44:48) Outro


Read Transcript

Tim Melanson: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to today’s episode of the work at home rock star podcast.

I’m excited for today’s guest. He is the CEO, co founder and head dishwasher at Voltage. And what he does is he helps people to launch, grow, scale, and exit e commerce businesses. With a specific focus on Amazon FBA. Very excited to be rocking out today with Neil Twa. Hey, Neil, you ready to rock?

Neil Twa: Yes, sir.

Thanks for having me on Tim. Awesome. So we

Tim Melanson: always start off here in a good note. So tell me a story of success.

Neil Twa: So I think one of the most successful things that any business would like to see is when their startup actually goes okay, uh, and makes it to a position where it turns into that life changing, you know, that lifestyle by design. And, uh, I was blessed to be able to work at IBM for almost 5 years, which is great.

And it gave me a lot of, um, knowledge and insights and connections about business and, uh, the world of business at a very large scale. Uh, scale, but, uh, launching my own business and just looking backwards, um, now since the 2007, [00:01:00] when I left to do that, uh, I think that’s one of the most successful times in my business because it’s when the business started, uh, and that is literally, you know, most times people don’t understand that their opportunity begins when their excuses end.

And because IBM gave me an opportunity to take an early retirement. Uh, I don’t think if they had done that, I would ever made it out quite honestly. And so there’s times when these opportunities present themselves and that’s the first success metric is getting off the couch and actually taking the first risk to get going.

And so my business is successful because I took the first risk. Love it.

Tim Melanson: I agree. I got a layoff package from my company too. And that’s what started my business.

Neil Twa: So it’s good for you. Yeah. Good for you. So

Tim Melanson: now not everything goes super smoothly. Sometimes there’s some things that don’t go as well as we would plan.

Yeah, that’s a understatement, right? Uh, but I’m wondering, can you, you know, sort of narrow in on something that really didn’t go super well in your transition or in your businesses over the [00:02:00] last little while and something that we can kind of avoid if we kind of see it coming or, or maybe we can recover from it using

Neil Twa: your principles.

Yeah. I mean, it’s always easy to, I mean, it’s easy now to look back and see the joy and the moments and the timeframe in which I left and got that going. And on this side, it’s some of it’s a little more funny than it used to be when you were living in the middle of it. Um, but as I, uh, got married in March of that year, 2007, uh, just in February, IBM had said we’re, we’re most likely going to do layoffs by June, uh, or you’re going to move to Argentina or we’re going to get your early retirement.

We’ll kind of let you know what’s going on. So I got married, got back from my honeymoon and then, uh, they kind of let us know, Hey, you can, you can go to Argentina or you can retire. I’m not going to Argentina. I just got married. I’m setting up shop in the United States. So, uh, by June I was out of work and you know, the income stopped, but I got a little bit of severance from them from early retirement.

So, okay, we weren’t hurting terribly bad. Uh, but we, you know, married life and I got married at a 32. So I was kind of ready to start a family and ready to kind of move into the next stage of life. And as it turns out by September, we were pregnant surprise. So, you know, first [00:03:00] year starting your business, getting married.

Uh, pregnant, uh, and then about a month after we found out we were pregnant, um, my wife, uh, had a, what’s called a trans ischemic attack, which is a, a mini stroke. And, uh, due to the complications of the pregnancy and stuff, that forced her to bed rest, uh, by December. And so she was no longer working. So on the course of one year, we went from dual income, high earners to no income, pregnant, uh, a sick wife, and, uh, just a fledgling business getting off the ground.

So if I had stopped and someone had told me these things are all going to happen next year and they could have predicted, I may have said, well, I might not want to do this. I might want to go get a job. I might want to create some more stability or whatever. But the fact of the matter is, if I, if, if you could plan that, you know, and know what’s going to happen in the next year after you decide you want to start your business, then, you know, everybody would start their business, but the end result is you don’t.

So we just ran into those series of troubles. Uh, the, you know, in the first year of our marriage, first year of business, having my first daughter, uh, and just getting all of that off the ground. So that was a lot to take [00:04:00] on in the first, you know, 12 to 18 months of our life, our business and our new marriage together.

Uh, and those could have been potentially, you know, killer hurdles in the business and, you know, startups and challenges. But, you know, I’ve been blessed with a, with a wife who really understands, um, that if I’m going to be me and I’m going to do this and I want to go out and conquer the world, that she’s going to be my best, biggest champion.

And so I’ve been blessed to have her as a champion. And we went through those things and continued on. And that’s given us the opportunity to keep this lifestyle and evolve it together now through four daughters. Uh, into this business model that we’ve been doing since 2007. So nothing was perfect on the startup.

Nothing went as planned, not for the first three years. Um, it just didn’t happen and it was about three years into it. And we can talk about maybe some of this later, but, uh, before I really even started to make some break in the business and actually get some traction in what I was doing. So the,

Tim Melanson: uh, so the tip here is pick the right wife,

Neil Twa: pick the right support group.

And you’ll be [00:05:00] surprised. Sometimes they’re not always as close as you would like them to be. And you know, most people are going to look at you and say, Hey, this is the wrong time and the conditions are not great. And don’t you understand the troubles here? And. You’re not going to always find that everybody is in your court and everybody’s on your side.

Tim Melanson: Yeah, and I don’t think that’s gonna be a surprise to anybody who’s listening this.

Neil Twa: I certainly hope not and I certainly hope it’s not the reason you’re holding back because if you want to level up to the group that you want to be in, if you want to get to the business you’d actually like to do, you have to understand a key phrase that was, I discovered later on and became very impactful to me and that’s who you know that gets you there.

And it’s what, you know, that keeps you there. And so it was a thing that I never fully understood in the corporate world until I got out on my own and really understood what it meant to be the business guy, the head dishwasher, the guy who cleans and the last man, uh, standing and the last, the first guy to get up and the one who, you know, really has to dedicate their time, energy and attention, even in the money, of course, to, to making it work and really being tenacious [00:06:00] with perseverance and grit beyond others and finding that tribe who is also doing that.

Or leveling that group up just above you and just figure out a way to get with them. We’ll get in their circle. If you got to buy your way into that circle, get into that circle because you’ll find that they are typically ones who understand these things on an intrinsic level. They have lived them, they’ve battled them, and those are the people you want to be in the trenches with.

You don’t want to be in the trenches with the people don’t understand that this is a battle and we’re all fighting it to some degree at different levels of business.

Tim Melanson: And I would echo that completely. It’s all about the friends that I had, really, at the time. My friends were also my mentors, and I was also their mentor, I guess, in a certain way, too.

We sort of had this mastermind, even though, you know, at the time, I don’t think it I saw it that way, but now looking back, I’m like, oh yeah, of course, you know, I’m looking at what they’re all doing now and they’ve all got sort of businesses on the go and they’re doing their things. And so it kind of makes sense, right?

I mean, everybody supported each other. And, you know, so happens [00:07:00] that maybe that’s something that, Not everybody’s as fortunate to end up in those circles, you know, it’s, it just so happened that I did, um, yeah, but I definitely recommend it as well.

Neil Twa: A hundred percent. Sometimes you have to buy your way for influence and that’s fine.

What it takes to knock on the door. Uh, sometimes you got to give first to get second. And a lot of people don’t understand that.

Tim Melanson: And now that I think about it, uh, I did buy my way a little bit too. Cause, uh, I, I had joined a network marketing company, a multi level marketing company way back when. And you know what?

That was probably a problem. That was probably a start. It was one of them anyway. And maybe it was, well, I’m

Neil Twa: sure it was, I think people don’t recognize. You may have to buy your way into a number of areas. You can’t simply just talk your way into them. When you, when the value of what somebody has in the network, what they wrote, you know, the battle through the connections that they may become trusted.

You can’t just necessarily walk your way into it. So there’s different ways to influence people into that. And one of the ways I tell people who are wanting to get started is, you know, you need to make an irresistible offer. You need to make. [00:08:00] Something that’s a value to the other person beyond if you have a website skill design, if you know how to develop something, you know, you, you go to a business, you say, look, I made you a new legion website and it’s driving leads and I’m going to give you the first 30 days for free of the leads and if you love that, then the next month you’re going to, you know, it’s going to be 500 a month for you to get all the leads that come in through this website.

Build something, give it to them for free, make it irresistible. Why wouldn’t they want free leads from you for 30 days? What if one of them turns into 1, 000 a month in business? Next month, they’re paying you 500. They made a net profit off of the deal and they’re going to want the next leads in the next leads in the next lead.

So I think you just got to look at the audience and business and opportunity and say, what is it not in, well, not what’s in it for me. Right. Because the byproduct of your work and your efforts should be the profits gained from it. But you need to look at who am I approaching and say, what’s in it for them?

And how do I make them an offer? They feel stupid saying yes to.

Tim Melanson: Saying no to.

Neil Twa: Yeah. Stupid saying no to. [00:09:00] Excuse me. I said that wrong. Thank you. I haven’t had all my coffee this morning. Make an offer they feel stupid saying no to. Yeah.

Tim Melanson: Thank you. Yeah. And I, you know, I, I hear you there. You know, nowadays to, I mean, a lot of businesses are mostly digital.

It’s, it’s, there’s a lot of service businesses, probably a lot more than, than, you know, a hundred years ago. And so it only costs you your time. I mean,

Neil Twa: even in small amounts, I mean, you just, the amount of, uh, you know, AI opportunities, the creator marketplace on Tik TOK to affiliate other people’s products by just making 15 and 32nd videos.

And quite frankly, when we got online and, uh, I think we’re roughly the same age, but when 95, 96, 99, you know, those years were coming online, it was kind of a wild west of. What you could kind of figure out, however, a lot of the technology, infrastructure, payment mechanisms and adoption was not there. I mean, we were kind of like standing in the wild, you know, that guy standing in the wild yelling at everybody like, [00:10:00] Come here, look at this amazing thing.

And everybody’s like, you’re crazy. This is not, this is nothing. I even, Bill Gates said it was nothing. Why is anybody going to need, you know, that much storage space? And now it is so prevalent. It is so, Uh, so many opportunities that I think people sometimes get cost, uh, analysis, the paralysis. They just don’t know where to get started when there are so many things they think they could do.

They don’t end up trying any of them. But yet there are so many ways to make money online now. To provide services, provide value, provide products to people, um, that are in demand. And even AI, uh, is a big component of that now. Agreed. So let’s talk a little

Tim Melanson: bit about the money, about the cash flow. Sure.

How, like, uh, so now, you know, one of the things that I, I mean, I think that people tend to know is that, Okay, starting a business, you might be running at a loss for a little while, you know, that, that seems to be something that people kind of get. Hopefully. Is there a limit? Like what, [00:11:00] how do you make sure that you’re not going to end up losing

Neil Twa: your shirt?

Yeah, so, you know, one of the things that I would say to anybody is if you think of jumping out to a business, I would not carte blanche just leave a income producing position until such time as your business opportunity, while started with a side hustle idea, don’t treat it like a side hustle or a hobby business, treat it like how do I create a real business that will ultimately Get what I want.

The motto is do something for three to five years that no one else is willing to do so you can live like no one else can afterwards. So you need to really be thinking that in the first 12 months, can I build a business, sustain my family home, whatever’s going on, and make sure I have the cash flow necessary to get it to profits.

Revenue is one thing, profits are another. Revenue is vanity, profits are sanity, and cash flow is king. So at the end of the day, we want to make sure that you give at least a 12 month window to say, hey, if I’m growing my business and I’m reinvesting everything, For this next three to five year opportunity, then am I [00:12:00] able to sustain my life and business?

What if what I’m doing and have that opportunity present itself and make the change that I’m looking to make? If those are yes, then you’ve got to take the chance. We only have some opportunities. We get older and things get more difficult. Time and family and life and bed you farther into the things that make it more difficult to escape from whether it’s dead or your mindset or you’re in, you know, ingrained position in your corporate or business life, depending upon how you structure that.

I know some business owners who want to change it and they’re kind of stuck in their business. They can’t quite get out of it. They’re, they’re the one that’s dedicated to running the shop and the five people or whatever. And it makes it really hard to make a change. Even if they want to. So when you see that opportunity, you’ve got to figure, you’ve got to go for it at least once if you haven’t, you can’t talk your way into it.

You have to take action. And so many people think that they’re waiting and talking and waiting and, and spending a lot for free, quite honestly. Um, and if you want free, the world of information is at your fingertips. Once again, we did not have all of that in the past. Now there is so much [00:13:00] information and YouTube tutorial videos and training videos.

Things that you can start learning and just gleaning knowledge if you want to go learn about sass, there are programming, uh, systems for like nine bucks a month that will teach you how to become a programmer. Uh, and I’ve put my daughters through some of them. They’re very cool, uh, to see their app.

There’s reading and start, there’s writing opportunities to learn how to become writers. There’s. Opportunities to just start the basic fundamentals of a private label business and understanding what it means to create a physical product that you can sell to somebody else. And so there’s so much information now.

I think that, uh, maybe that it doesn’t help people focus to a certain degree, but I know that I just needed to pick something, I need to pick something. I need to go try it. And not be afraid to fail up, failing up. It’s just a learning curve that leads to experience. And if you need experience, you’re going to have to try something and expect you’re not going to be the best at it.

And then you’re going to expect that it’s not going to go the way you want. And so you’re going to have to keep trying until you make it go the way you want. After three years of struggling through that startup business, it [00:14:00] wasn’t until basically year three, I started the cashflow. Um, and so I was living off some savings and we were living off, um, you know, a little bit of income and stuff.

Uh, my wife was able to go work just a little bit more after the first pregnancy, but then she had to stop by the second. And so we had a little bit of extra time. We left the house we had built and sold it. So we had more time. We had just made the requirement of dedication, uh, and sold one of the cars to do what was necessary to make the longevity, to expand the timeout, to give opportunity.

I think a lot of people don’t appreciate that the time you need to get something done, to figure out how it’s going to go is a time based mechanism. It is literally the time you give it. All business has a bit of luck in it at some point. And it is usually looked at like, you know, uh, an overnight success, but to the person who was doing it, it was 15 years to an overnight success.

And it was basically perseverance through time and energy and attention and money that led them to [00:15:00] have a few luck. Uh, situations because they were setting in the right place because they’d given themselves the opportunity to do that. So by that cash flowing, I was actually for me, it was mobile marketing.

I’d gone online and I’d actually built some consulting and got a few consultants to work within my company at that point. And we were doing some management consulting out into the business world and I’ve freed up my time a little bit more to look at the marketing side of my business. Since I’d been online but hadn’t really used it as a marketing tool, I started to dig into information and knowledge and figure out how to do more online marketing to generate more leads for my business.

And I stumbled across mobile advertising. Which sounds kind of weird now because everybody gets advertisements on their phone, but you know, back in the late 2000s, that wasn’t happening as much and, uh, started to do what’s called affiliate marketing, uh, which was basically, I found a service and a system that was offering a commission, uh, for every sale of their product.

And these would be little sales, they’d be digital downloads, they’d be apps, they’d be installations, they’d be somebody’s email [00:16:00] address for, you know, 75 cents, or it’d be somebody’s app download for a dollar 50 or 3. And if I could generate the traffic for that, I would make the difference. Okay. If it was a $4 deal and I got a $2 commission off of that, then I needed to make sure I made it, you know, a, a sale for a dollar and made a dollar off of each of those, and then repeat that process as many times as you could.

So I found a couple of those. I started to go well and surprise one of my mobile campaigns in South Africa. Uh, and a dating app actually took off like crazy, uh, but it was 300. And one campaigns in before the first one became profitable. So if I’d given up at 299, if I’d given up at 300, I would not have got the first 300 and first campaign to actually make me money.

Think about this for a second, right? And I was thousands and I think even maybe tens of thousands, if I remember correctly, it’s been a while, into debt on my credit card to make that happen. But the moment that it finally started working and I understood what I was doing wrong, and then I understood what I had done [00:17:00] right.

I was able to repeat that process until I was making 1, 000 a day in profit. So all of a sudden, that debt flow and cash that I needed was now cash flowing backwards into my business, and it was covering expenses and paying off the credit cards, and, and I learned a really unique skill set at that point.

So I took it to a couple of other companies and said, Hey, I can do the same thing for your businesses. And they said, sure, give us a try. So I gave them a try and send them some leads and the leads were good. And so I made some deals with them to send them more leads and started helping them blow up their businesses.

But it wasn’t the first campaign, the second, the 10th, the 20th, the 100th time that I tried it. It was, and maybe I’m a little dense, but it was over 300 tries. And from that point, I was now cash flowing a business beyond revenues, right? Businesses start when you make revenues. So. I’d actually gone into profits and from profits, I was able to expand that business into growth.

It’s very important to understand the steps of those business. And that led me into opportunities to meet with new people and try some new trainings and make some [00:18:00] relationships and help expand my business more in depth. And that’s the process of getting to that cash flow that actually led me to Amazon, where in 2011, uh, I discovered you could sell on Amazon because at that point, I didn’t even know you could.

And you could sell on eBay, like a lot of people knew that, uh, and I understood eBay to a certain degree, but I did not understand Amazon and what they were creating until someone showed it to me. And I was like, holy cow, um, this is going to be huge. And at that point, it wasn’t as big as it is now. Uh, it was in a fledgling growth state of moving forward.

And I thought, okay, here’s a new cashflow opportunity. Let’s see what I can do with that. Wow.

Tim Melanson: Well, and I think that probably one of the challenges nowadays is there’s so many options. There’s so many things you can do. Lots of options. Yeah. And it’s just, it’s, it’s overwhelming, but, but I think that what, what I’m hearing from what you’re saying is that in the end.

Um, you know, I, I joke about this, you know, you, you get into business, some, some people get into business because they’re really good at this, whatever skill [00:19:00] that they have. And they’re like, that’s

Neil Twa: right. A specific coach. I have a very specific set of skills.

Tim Melanson: Yeah. You know, they’re, they’re jealous of their boss.

Their boss is making all the money and I’m doing all the work type stuff, right? And then they, they get into business and then they realize really quickly that not a whole lot of time spent doing the thing that you’re actually good at, there’s actually a business

Neil Twa: to run. There’s a lot of other things to learn, like how do I do the accounting and what’s this mean for my income and how do I prepare for taxes and how do I, you know, run operations and other things that are not uniquely universal to all people.

Many of it, much of it has to be trained. And

Tim Melanson: so I think what ends up happening is that it doesn’t matter what you do because chances are you’re not going to be doing it for very long anyway.

Neil Twa: You’re going to find something different in that that will lead you to the next. So mobile marketing led me to building lead generation business, which I didn’t expect I would be doing for online marketing because now it was surpassing the management consulting company that I had before.

And I wasn’t going to need those guys anymore because I was, it was easier to run this operational business than managing people and staffing. Yeah. Right. So then I moved out of staffing into mobile and online [00:20:00] marketing, which is quite different than the two. And so we moved from there into physical products.

And the thing I liked about the world of physical products is I was introduced to that point because Amazon and fulfilled by Amazon or FBA as it’s referred to was about moving physical products to customers. And Amazon does that. It moves them obviously to last mile. And if you’re listening to this and.

You or your wife or significant other or cousin or uncle or sister or somebody probably bought something on Amazon and you may have been buying it two or three times a week. They have this amazing system. It’s a miracle the darn thing even works. And they deliver products to you in two days or less.

And it’s a huge infrastructure now with ships and planes and all this stuff. But back then it was just a bit of a fledgling, van based. You know, system, they were using other logistics companies. In fact, they bought the company that became FBA to turn it into their logistical wing. ’cause all they were delivering was books at that point.

Uh, and then they started to deliver, you know, deliver more physical products into, into 2009. And so by 2011, they were really building that infrastructure and deploying, you know, a billion or more dollars [00:21:00] into that. They’ve since deployed more than $20 billion into that infrastructure. And so I was like, Hey, physical products, what I liked about it.

And for those who understand, I was in a purely digital state, a purely information driven state at that point. And I’ve been in business long enough to understand assets are important, assets that can cash flow, assets that could either become passive or what I refer to as more, you know, almost automated income or the mechanisms that allow cash flow to continue, even if I’m not necessarily, you know, I’m not at the wheel anymore, which is that trading time for money.

Cause I had done that in the management world and even into my own business. Up until that point, I was trading time for money at just higher amounts. And I had other people trading time for money for me. And, but I really wasn’t building assets and cashflow. And so when I saw that you could obviously, uh, understand the concept in its simplest form, I bought a product at one price and I sold it at a higher price and that that’s basically how this works.

And I discovered, well, I can make my own product and sell it for even a higher price and something called a brand. Like, okay, that’s pretty cool. I understand brands to a degree. Uh, and [00:22:00] when I branded, I can sell it at a higher price point. Okay. Let’s do that a thousand times, 10, 000 times, a hundred thousand times.

And I can take my asset of cash and not leave it just sitting there doing nothing. And I can put it into a product worth 5 to 10 times what it’s worth. A physical actual product. And I really like that idea because now I had both the digital component of the online and Amazon product marketplace. Okay.

And I also had a physical asset that I controlled. So that became more of a real business model to me than just a purely digital business model.

Marc Mawhinney: Hi, it’s Mark Mawinney from Natural Born Coaches, and I want to give two very big thumbs up to Tim Melanson and his Creative Crew Agency. I have been using them for a long time, and I am 100 percent happy.

They get the job done right. They’re fast, and they let me focus on my business. I don’t have to worry about anything. So again, I want to give them two very big thumbs up. I have [00:23:00] no problem recommending them. I don’t give testimonials for everyone because my name is attached to it. But I gladly do so for Tim and the Creative Crew Agency.

So use them. You won’t regret it. And good luck.

Tim Melanson: So, um, I hear you have a pretty full house over there. And I’m wondering Can you share with me a little bit about how you organize your jam room

Neil Twa: and how you get? Yeah. So the first child turned into the second, third and fourth, all in about four and a half years.

Uh, I jokingly say that if God hadn’t put a stop to it, naturally we’d probably have eight daughters in our house, uh, because it, uh, it was moving pretty quickly, but yeah, we, uh, we decided that later on as the medical conditions kind of got discovered and we needed to deal with those, that it was much easier to keep my wife and.

And our first child and our second child kind of at home and deal with their food issues and things we need to do medical wise. And so we kind of made the choice to very much change the way our lifestyle was originally designed and moving forward. And we were going to eventually homeschool and keep them [00:24:00] home and I was going to take more of the lead role and kind of leading the home and the family, if you will.

And she was going to take more of a lead role in kind of being the CEO of the household and homeschooling the kids at some point in the future. So we really made a concerted effort to put our life in a position that would give us that opportunity together. And over time, that has been the format of our relationship now.

Uh, we live and moved into 50 acres in the country. Uh, over, uh, over 10 years ago, um, we’ve homeschooled all of our daughters since then. And yes, they’re not socially awkward. Uh, yes, they can do amazing things and yes, they are extremely smart because they get tutored one on one and all of them have been tested above two to three grades above where they are.

My 15 year old is actually in college right now. Uh, so if you want to understand the power and influence of, of. You know, your ability to educate your children. Don’t ever think of that in a scarcity mindset mentality that I’m not good enough. I can’t do it. There’s lots of curriculum. We’re in a homeschool co op with 60 other kids and, and 12 other families.[00:25:00]

And we have a thing every Wednesday we go to, um, that has to do with a group, uh, learning and knowledge and activities and everything from science to mathematics, to baking classes, and even a home school theater co op. And we’ve done three now of those. Uh, with 30 of the kids and put on productions in place, and they’re going to do one this coming quarter, uh, 2024, uh, for Anne of Green Gables.

Um, and so they’ve done amazing things and been out in the world and been on stage and done all these really cool things. And we’ve structured our home in such a way where it is, you know, morning times are for chores, because we do live with animals and we live on homestead and things have to be taken care of, even when it’s cold.

Animals need their water, you gotta go out and make sure it’s not frozen. And, uh, everybody’s got to get fed. So everybody has their specific set of chores for animals and other duties and activities around the house. And then they do their schoolwork and they sit down. And if it takes until two in the afternoon to do that, to finish the correctly, then that’s what it takes.

If they’re done by noon, then they have the rest of the day to prioritize their time. However, they want, uh, they’ll prioritize it with different [00:26:00] things or different learning. It isn’t just going and setting in front of the television. They do activities. They craft, they sew, they do all kinds of stuff. My oldest daughter has decided she wanted to write a book a year ago.

And so she’s been very diligent in doing that. And she’s got enough raw talent that I got her a mentor so that she really honed those skills. And she should hopefully she’ll be 16 in June and looks like probably right around that time. She’ll be ready to launch her first book out on Amazon. It’s a novel fiction.

And so I’m excited to see that go. And she’s been learning in a trade next to a mentor who is a writer. And has some published New York times bestsellers. And so they’re working on that book together right now. So I got her a mentor, which is very important, um, to do to see if she’s really wanting to do it long term and see if that raw talent can be turned into something that maybe becomes an opportunity for her life.

And we go riding horses on Thursdays when it’s not freezing right now, it’s pretty cold. Uh, and we do life together. We travel as a family unit, I think in, uh, about maybe 10 times, uh, since 2007, I’ve [00:27:00] traveled away from my family, um, just for a couple of days at the most. And usually we do things together now as a unit and, uh, the structure has been a blessing.

It has been an amazing gift to our family. It was not easy. Um, it did, uh, come with trials. It wasn’t just all, you know, paved roads of gold, um, you know, it, it, it wasn’t the easiest thing to do and dedicate our time and life to, but now that I have done it and we’ve come to an age where they’re now, you know, 10 to 15 years in age.

Just the fruits of that and being able to say it in the past, I bought my time back with my family and I sacrificed to get time with my family. I will never regret that about anything that I could have gained in this world.

Tim Melanson: That’s an incredibly inspiring story. And I hope more people do it because yeah, the, the public school system and unfortunately I didn’t, I wish I, I wish I had down.

Yeah. You learn a lot about the public school system. It sort of does work, um, at the pace of the slowest student in the class. [00:28:00] And it

Neil Twa: does not work for the bright and shiny people who really have. You know, need and want to be challenged and people are like, well, what do you do when that happens? And the objection is, well, I go get a tutor and I get them, you know, one on one support.

I said, what if you just skip all that? What if you were to become the tutor? What if they had one on one tutoring all the time? Well, I can’t afford that. Well, what if you were the tutor? Well, I don’t have enough education. Actually, I think you do. Um, nobody, everybody needs to be a rocket scientist. Not everybody is cut out to be a lawyer.

Not everybody is cut out to be in business. But everybody’s able to do something and everybody has something of value. You just need to figure out what it is and give them a runway to go find out if they can do it or not.

Tim Melanson: Well, and I think that the analogy can be made with, with, uh, with business in general.

I mean, when you start your business, are you You know, Warren Buffett,

Neil Twa: when you start, or you’re going to end up doing the same thing you started forever, probably not right. Or you’ll adapt something [00:29:00] to it. And what I discovered in the, in the business of Amazon and cashflow and e commerce companies, really with Amazon just being the first channel.

So voltage kind of incubates brands on Amazon first, and we just prove that we can sell it in the largest market in the United States. I mean, by a long shot, and if you can sell it there, you can sell it to all the other people. So with that, it was kind of like, how do I adapt and change this? And quite honestly, it’s changed a hundred times since then.

And in the last decade, we’ve been able to launch thousands of brands, um, and even more products. And all of that is a continued change and maneuver inside of this ecosystem called e commerce. Um, and been able to keep that, you know, for 10 years, I’m not bored. Things change, they’re adapting, you’re solving business problems.

It’s, it’s a new world of discovery and new changes continuously. Uh, in the same framework and vertical and, you know, if you, if you really understand, uh, this concept and it’s something that it’s finally come to me over my thick skull over a long period of time and to, to become something you want to ultimately [00:30:00] become, you need to have multiple influences in that place that can lead you through the multiple areas you’re not strong in and you cannot be strong in everything.

I’m not strong. In the finance and accounting and the fiscal long term management, my business partner is right. He was a, he’s a consummate CFO, operational guy that is his bent. That is his SD personality. We go through disk profile analysis to determine the dominant intrinsic stable comes to conscientious aspects of people’s behavior and profiles.

And I’m a DI, I’m a dominant influencer personality, I am an evangelist, I am not your consummate operational tech, daily, weekly, monthly operator, that’s not where I live, it’s not where I’m bent, and because of that, I’ve found people who are, and they understand they’re not me, and I’m not them, and that’s my wife, she’s the stable list making person, and I’m not, and that’s my business partner, you know, he’s the other half of my brain, and if you can find the kind of people in your business or life, That resonate those things that you don’t have to be strong at everything.

I’m no [00:31:00] longer the guy who’s the smartest guy in the room. I’m not the guy that has to have the answers anymore. And to realize and give up that idea, right? That pride that I have to know all these things I can do all them and I don’t need anybody else’s help is to allow others to come in and do what they’re going to do, be who they are going to be and give them a space that allows them to become that person.

Uh, incubate their skills and knowledge and what they can do and then let them run and get out of their way. And that is one of the things that was really hard for me to finally understand is how to let go to gain by giving to others. And it’s not a terrible concept, but it’s terribly applied in today’s world.

Yeah. And, and it’s that one of those things that I think that if you can grasp that concept, no matter what business you do, no matter what service you provide or product you move, If you’re thinking about the person who’s getting it first and you second, you will actually win in the end. And it’s a basic concept, but it’s very, it’s very [00:32:00] lost.

And so I’ve been able to play in this area where I understand how there’s multiple streams of income that are coming to me and you need on average seven streams of income to become a millionaire. And if you can get any of them into an almost automated state, Then you don’t have to spend hundreds of hours a week managing it if you do it correctly.

Tim Melanson: That’s wow. That’s well, very well said. Sure. Um, now question for you. How did you learn all this stuff? Where, where did this all come from? Like, uh, did you have some early mentors in your? in your career that managed to give you some of this

Neil Twa: knowledge? Absolutely. Absolutely. So, when I got through, uh, college to a degree, um, I had not really wanted to go to college.

Real quick, in the way back machine, I was actually going to go into the Air Force. I wanted to be a fighter pilot. That’s all I wanted to do. That’s what I went through, you know, high school to do. I didn’t fill out the scholarships and applications. I didn’t Get the counseling for what career you want to have in life is I was going to be a fighter pilot.

And by the time I got into the 11th [00:33:00] grade, I discovered that I wasn’t going to fit the profile. But at that point I was already six, four. And the recruiters were like, you’re too tall for this cockpit. You just aren’t going to fit in the fighter. But I was like, Air Force or nothing. And I’m like, Nope, you can fly the bigger planes.

You can fly transports. You can fly a helicopter. I’m like, no, I want to be a fighter pilot. Sorry. At this point, you just don’t fit the profile. Now there’s bigger planes. Fast forward. I could fit the profile now, but then I couldn’t. So I’m like, that was crushing. So in my senior year, it’s kind of like, what do I do now?

I have to re fit the whole game plan. And since I’d been in music since the fourth grade and I had been playing music daily for hours and hours and hours and gone to all state in Oregon and had a history of doing, I started filling out scholarship applications for music. And I landed on a little liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere in Iowa.

Who gave me a full ride music scholarship. And I said, well, I guess that’s where I’m going. So I picked up my bags from Oregon and went all the way to Iowa as a, as an 18 year old kid. I literally turned 18 in February and graduated in May. So I’m kind of like guys in that weird area, right? A lot of my friends turned 18, you know, in the first part of their [00:34:00] senior year.

I didn’t turn 18 till the very last part of my senior year. And then I went out and started that for a while. And the internet came online and I was like, Hey, I’m going to be a musician. And I realized, well, that may end up making me live in a van down by the river, which back then wasn’t super cool. Uh, today it’d be super cool.

I guess that’s the kind of trend. I could have put up an ID account and live streamed myself. And I’d be a, you know, an online live stream millionaire for my van by the river. But back then it wasn’t as cool. And I need to figure out what to do. And so internet led me into the place where I am now. So at the end of that, um, as I left and realized, you know, that this university of hard knocks was basically learning through feelings or experience.

That is just a practice that I developed in life due to need, um, in that way. And so I just kept failing up and failing over and failing through. And, and so I just kept learning and never wanting to stop learning something and never wanting to stop trying something to see if I could do it or do it better.

And if this guy could do it, why can’t I? So I’m going to try it and see if I can’t do it. And then it was just a process of [00:35:00] becoming. Uh, who I am now. So as you go forward, I, as I started to do that business and get three years into it, I’m like, okay, I’m not, I’m learning enough, I’m experiencing, but I don’t know enough who can help me with this.

And eventually found some mentors, a guy who basically helped me understand that sales fixes everything. And there’s an ethical way to sell and there’s a proper way to sell to people that if you can’t sell anything in business life, your software, where now you will not have a company, no matter how hard you try it, they will not sell itself.

Okay. This isn’t field of dreams. Okay. You need to get out there and convince people that what you have is a value and get them to come along for the ride and ethically and morally do it, you know, without being a used car salesman. And you need to figure out how to do that correctly. And then sales fixes everything.

And, uh, so as we grew that out and that mentor grew and then I got into. Later into Amazon and that led me, you know, first three years of the business in Amazon. And I finally made a seven figure business out of it. And we started teaching a few people who were on the side because we set up our systems.

I had a lot of free time and people were like, Hey, how are you doing that? We want to [00:36:00] do that too. And we started teaching groups of people for free. And then basically we’re taking a lot of time teaching people for free. Uh, so we started small groups and little, you know, fees just to pay for the time. To get involved and that kind of evolved into a business, um, that led me into some real relationships and structures and doors open and people were like, Hey, you got to meet this person, meet this person.

And I met Kevin Harrington in 2016 and an event, uh, that we co hosted, um, at an event, about 800 people that we, uh, were in the e commerce world and, uh, kind of struck up a friendship and got to know him over the years and did some business. And he led me into more relationships again, who, you know, that gets you there and what you know, that keeps you there.

Right. And. So I just kept evolving that and doing my best to keep my reputation above board because you can spend an entire lifetime building a reputation and alert it, you know, lose it in 30 seconds. So I was very cautious about how I managed that. And so those relationships led me to more coaching.

And then when I had more capital and I knew that there was something I needed to know over here or something I wanted to learn over there, I’m [00:37:00] like, well, who’s the best guy in our network or person in our network or girl or whatever. And they were like, well, you got to go to such and such because he knows that, or she knows that.

And I was like, Hey, what’s it cost to get an hour of your time? You know, I don’t want it for free. I’m not just going to tap you on the shoulder and pick your brain and this kind of stuff. It’s like, pick your payment. Okay. Well, how much? So that allowed me to open additional doors and, and then structure some relationships with some groups, uh, with, uh, with alternatives to investing.

E commerce is really an alternative investment, uh, what we call wealth without wall street and, uh, has evolved into the business that Voltage is doing today in this space. I wish we had

Tim Melanson: a lot more time because your story is fantastic, but it is

Neil Twa: time for you. I missed a couple of pieces of it that are probably not interesting to anybody else.

But my mom, but, uh, no, it’s a great story,

Tim Melanson: but, uh, but yeah, well, what’s it, what’s exciting in your business? Let’s, let’s go to your guest solo.

Neil Twa: Yeah, well, I mean, in simple terms, I just, I’m honored and I’m going to say this pridefully, I just launched my first book, uh, last Friday. And [00:38:00] so it’s a real book and we took almost a year, uh, to put it together and it launched, uh, January 5th.

So that’s now out on the market is called almost automated income with FBA, and it’s about building businesses and lifestyle by design and building them to an exit profitably. Uh, Kevin wrote the foreword for me. I was honored to have him, uh, write the foreword for the book. I’ve got, uh, 15, uh, targeted experts in the book who work under the same kind of e commerce model we do speaking about the same playbook strategy.

Uh, the voltage developed over the last 10 years. Um, that’s been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in the marketplace. And so that allowed us to kind of compile this knowledge and expertise into a readable format that literally kind of either goes by the playbook step by step to kind of help put your mind around how to build and structure one of these businesses.

So it can be something that in three to five years has a potential generational wealth exit when done correctly and, uh, or skip through if you’re already selling to some degree into the chapter and read some knowledge and nugget bombs in there that will. Uh, you know, [00:39:00] knowledge bombs that will give you the opportunity to learn something maybe you didn’t.

And, uh, so that’s gone to market. So I’m really excited to kind of bring that out more this year. And, um, there’s been well received and we’re, we were just number one new release, uh, on the marketplace for both web marketing, small business, self employment, um, took the top one spots for those and hopefully we can hold onto them for a while, which would be great.

So that’s, what’s really exciting thing in my business right now in this moment. Um, if you ask me like what else am I excited about in the rest of the year, we’ve now gotten to a position where we’ve got some real strong strategic partnerships. Uh, with investment capital groups, now that we’ve built up some of those relationships over time, and we’re going to be buying some companies this year.

So, uh, we’re looking for companies that are more than a million in EBITDA. Uh, we’re selling what’s called solo discretionary earnings, and we’re going to be buying e commerce companies. And, uh, hopefully the first one this quarter is on deck. We’ve got a couple in mind and, uh, we hope to do maybe a couple of those, maybe four of them this year, if we hit our target.

And so we’re going into acquisition mode this year. So we’ve kind of evolved through doing the [00:40:00] business ourselves and continuing daily, weekly, monthly to operate our own brands. We’ve brought a lot of people along with us over the years, um, to learn how to do this under a mentoring and consulting relationship, uh, kind of a bit of skin in the game, as I like to say, uh, believe in putting something forward.

I put a part of my fees are performance based and have to meet certain metrics. And, uh, so I’ve had a number of wonderful success stories. That I’ve been blessed to be a part of with some really great operators and people who really put that perseverance and grit and tenacity to the test by their own nature and found e commerce to be successful for them, which is wonderful.

And, uh, we’re going to keep working with more of them this year as well. And so that’s what, um, I just feel blessed to continue to go another year and the life that I’ve created here with myself, God’s blessed me with this opportunity to be here and I’m just going to keep going forward with it this year and see what happens.

Nice. So

Tim Melanson: who, uh, who would be, uh, the ideal client that would get the most out of working with you?

Neil Twa: So in simple terms, it’s a profile. [00:41:00] Well, everybody doesn’t want to be profiled. I know he just said the big negative word, but at the end of the day, we all have a certain kind of profile of aptitude skill sets.

Some of us are more dominant in nature. Some of us are less dominant. Some of us are feel like we’re more influential than we are. And there’s, you know, some of us are more steady, conscientious people who are just like, you know, give me a path, give me a plan and I’ll just do that. I don’t need to be that guy to person.

I just want to do the class, see it. Follow the plan. So we have everybody take what’s called a disc assessment profile on D I S C. And what it does is it not only helps them understand what’s their business aptitude. It’s not a, uh, I N J F emotional kind of Myers Briggs thing. It’s more about what is your aptitude in business?

Where are your strengths and weaknesses? Opportunities and threats to a degree and then take those and determine, does that fit the best profile of an operator? So best profile of an opera, someone who’s really more, um, has a bit of dominance to them per se, but more steady and stable. They like to know what the daily, weekly, monthly components are.

They understand that e commerce is more of an [00:42:00] operational opportunity. Uh, to move physical products. Maybe they’re like, Hey, I don’t want to be in customer service. That’s great. You don’t have to do a whole lot of customer service. And maybe I don’t want to be twerking on TikTok. Well, you don’t have to do that in this kind of business model.

Um, you don’t have to be the social media brand influencer. So that’s not your thing. This is not for you. And usually they’re people who understand that building a business takes 12 months or more prefer, you know, they really understand real business is done in three to five year metrics. Uh, they understand that, Hey, if I’m going to put a lot of energy and time and money into this business, I know in the first 12 months, if I can get to revenues and I can see my way to profit through months, you know, 12 and 24 and 36, and that gives me a real opportunity to cashflow assets.

Create most, you know, automated income and even make it passive. If an account management team, we have one, uh, can take over a business that’s now being built up and we can turn it into a passive income opportunity for those inside of our group. Um, then they understand the business and growth is time and education, and they’re willing to give it the opportunity that it makes, I know it’s not.

You know, a million dollars in purchases for the [00:43:00] business, but it’s also not a 10, 000 deal to, to start a real company. They understand that capital is a requirement of business and we buy physical inventory and they understand you have to have capital to buy a physical inventory business model and that it is a capital intensive model because of the business like real estate.

Um, and so they, if they understand the real estate and they understand investing and they understand alternatives and wealth, you know, without wall street, and maybe they’re not willing to put a whole lot of money in the stock marketing anymore, and they’re looking for other places to do it. And they’re willing to shave off 15 to 20 hours a week, uh, in a, uh, lifestyle driven mechanism, uh, meaning they can do it when they’re not in their job or on the weekends or whenever they have an opportunity to learn and grow and execute the plan, then they’re kind of meeting some of the criteria.

That’s a part of my best builder profiles. It’s a criteria that allows them to go to seven, multi seven, eight figures in the business and still maintain that same 15 to 20 hour a week workload. Um, that’s what we wrote into the book. Um, that’s the opportunity to do it right, uh, on scale with these new systems and automation and things that are literally just a few years back, weren’t even [00:44:00] possible, um, are now possible to literally operate these companies at scale without employees, have no employees, have no warehouse.

I don’t have that kind of overhead. Um, but we have the opportunity to move packages, um, using Amazon’s infrastructure right to your doorstep. You may even bought some of our products and didn’t know it. I might have,

Tim Melanson: because I do live from my

Neil Twa: house. It’s very possible. So how

Tim Melanson: do we find out about you?

Neil Twa: Uh, you know, I got a short last name.

It is Twa, um, TWA. So you can Google me and you’ll find all my social media stuff. Uh, click over to voltagedm. com. When you find it, that’s voltage digital marketing or dm. com. Uh, the book is on there that there’s a copy of, uh, for 99 cents on Kindle right now, while we’re doing the promos and, uh, maybe changed by the time this was published.

And that’s okay. It’s going to be relatively inexpensive. And then check out the, uh, podcast, uh, VSLs and stuff we got there to tell you a little bit about our business and overview and explain what’s going on with our model. And if you feel so inclined, connect with me, I’m, I’m out there and I’m willing to chat with you.

I don’t have a sales and I’m a marketing team. It’s not how this works. Our groups in our [00:45:00] mastermind and coaching are a by invitation only. So you’d have to talk to me and make sure we’re a good fit and that it’s a good opportunity for everybody. And we have all the expectations clear. Well, thank

Tim Melanson: you so much for rocking out with me today, Neil.

This has been a lot of fun.

Neil Twa: Thank you, Tim. I’m honored. And I appreciate your time. And with me today, and thanks for everybody joining in.

Tim Melanson: No problem. Yes. And to the listeners, make sure you subscribe, rate, and comment. We’ll see you next time on the work at home rockstar

Neil Twa: podcast. Thanks for listening to learn how you can become a work at home rockstar or become a better one.

Head on over to work at home. rockstar. com today.

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