In-depth With Anthony Lee

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Anthony Lee is in-depth on his background and what has got him to the success he enjoys today. We talk through humble beginnings and eating hurricane relief box food rations for lunch, no money for hot water to bathe his daughter and the seedlings of Zonblast and the achievement in formulating Slingshot.

  • Innovator on Ranking on Amazon
  • Published author
  • President of Six Leaf (formerly Zonblast)
  • Posts on Amazon trends are legendary
  • Body popper extrodinairé

What did your parents instil in you as a child?

  • Mother and Father were very different
  • Father has always been an entrepreneur – education and hard work are the most important thing
  • Working your butt off t oget somewhere
  • Mom was more structured and always being on time is important

Earliest Entrepreneurial memory

  • Late bloomer – not the lemonade stand kid
  • Was in early 20s when got bitten by entrepreneurial bug
  • Many years after 1st job at fast food chicken joint at 14 years
  • Kenny Rogers Chicken Roasters
  • Anthony impaled the chicken onto the spit
  • Had to quit as Anthony marinated the chicken in a toxic brew and it got on his clothes and Anthony’s Mom could not handle the smell any more and Anthony had to get another job

Is Education and School important?

  • Anthony did not go to College – was a dropout
  • Not big on the school structure
  • Acquiring skills is important but don’t think the traditional school system is going to give you the results
  • Know plenty of people who never got a degree but know how to do a million different things
  • Focused education on skills acquisition and creative problem solving skills

First meaningful job?

  • Had so many as moved around a lot
  • Not really meaningful work in the workforce
  • Was a waiter and bartender for many years
  • Learned a lot in that work
  • As an introvert in mid-20s loathed the idea of networking and saw it as a sham
  • When he tried he was the first to put out the sales pitch
  • Difficult to separate relationships nad networking
  • Restaurants helped to develop social skills
  • Had a child at a pretty young age so had to make it work
  • Danny loved Anthony’s blog posts in Will Tjernlund’s private Mastermind group in 2015
  • Got into Amazon end of 2014

How did you land working on Amazon?

  • Everything changed when Anthony was 19 and his oldest daughter was born
  • Joined the military National Guard
  • While in training you’d get $4-5k
  • Met and older hippy dude with future plans to get into real estate investing
  • That was the moment Anthony got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug
  • Hated the idea of selling stuff (Dad was a sales man)
  • As soon as Anthony left the military they moved to Atlanta Georgia

Multi Level Marketing

  • Looking for work and see an ad for a business opportunity
  • Anthony gets sold on multi-level marketing by a guy
  • A solid decade of trying MLM and was in like 11 of them and could not make it work
  • MLM was the only way Anthony knew of being an entrepreneur
  • That was Anthony’s break and wanted something different for his family
  • Working the restaurant was wearing Anthony down working nights
  • Knew he was decent at writing – spent a year and a half applying for freelance jobs
  • One guy hired him as he had experience and got a day job as a copywriter
  • Working weekends still as a waiter and know he wants to be an entrepreneur
  • Saw a video from Ryan Moran on Amazon FBA and Alibaba
  • Talked of making your own product not competing with Brands and if you’re a good copywriter then it’s all good
  • This was the tipping point
  • Anthony went and got 3 credit cards and maxed them out to bootstrap his business

Ryan Moran and Zonblast

  • The video was from an affiliate for ASM video for the Ryan MOran ‘Tribe’ course
  • Anthony had to sign up for ASM to keep in with Ryan’s Tribe weekly calls and Anthony was one of Ryan’s more active students
  • Jumped far ahead of the other students in the first few of weeks
  • Did the first shipment asa sea shipment and figured it all out and got inventory before anyone else did
  • Copywriting was all you needed back then – with a good listing it was all good
  • Selling 30k per month within the 1st month
  • Anthony was the ‘example’ that Ryan liked to use
  • In the 1st six months Anthony was doing really good
  • Ryan’s approached Anthony and suggested he should start ‘consulting’ and Ryan helped negotiate Anthony’s deals
  • Brought Anthony 4 clients from his Girlfriends ex-clients
  • Gave enough money to Anthony that he could quite his day job for het week (kept serving on weekends as wasn’t sure it would be a success)
  • Anthony started working with Joe Junfola who founded Zonblast at the suggestion of two other members of Anthony’s little Tribe group
  • Was in business on his own in 2 months and the first help Joe needed was copywriting and Anthony worked with Joe
  • Anthony was pulled into Zonblast 2 months after it was created and he helped scale and systematise Zonblast tail end of 2014

First Launches

  • Reason why things grew so quickly was because it was so easy
  • A blast lasted one day and that was all that was needed
  • Able to get reviews as no such things as verified and non-verified reviews
  • Sending people emails was giving upto 70% Review conversion
  • Were doing this Zonblast product for own products and then others
  • No advertising as ranking was happening – it was so easy
  • This was before SaaS and they were writing emails by-hand
  • Then templated the emails and started coding to help automate it
  • Brought in developers and automated some of the processes
  • This was when ‘heatseeker’ came out – mimics search and buy activity on Amazon
  • Company grew really fast and probably wasn’t a good thing as could not figure out longer term products and services for Sellers

Engineers came in

  • Joe kept the teams separate in the beginning
  • Started with one full time engineer in the beginning
  • The team became Joe’s team and that was end of 2015

Around 2016 – Growth

  • Things started changing
  • A lot more competition as others started catching up with the software
  • Anthony’s own products were feeling the competition
  • Had to figure out how to deal with competition personally and in the business
  • Anthony moved into Software as well
  • Had always had a vision for providing solutions for ecommerce sellers (not just Amazon)
  • Can’t move away from Amazon as that’s where the money is at….
  • The ToS changed and algorithms changed so contact activity and maintenance of the software
  • Was taking all of Anthony and Joe’s attention

Issue with the Development Team

  • Anthony and Joe had an issue with the Development Team
  • Had some disagreements
  • A split was inevitable
  • A software company and the dev team said they were leaving next week
  • Scrambled and brought on a new team of developers and the right time to re-brand
  • Had a couple of ToS changes too which created a lot of flux
  • People just don’t know how to interpret the words
  • Amazon cultivated a culture of fear
  • Zonblast was too intimately associated with Amazon

Rebuilt Everything

  • From the architecture upwards took 9-10 months
  • Finally had something that would offer other services to Sellers (Facebook integration, code distribution)
  • From Service Only to  SaaS

Diversification and SaaS

  • More attractive to buyers is a SaaS business – better multiples to a service based business
  • New services are:
    • Bridge – communication between Facebook and Amazon – Anthony pushed for this (before Facebook took away analytics for custom audiences), really useful for people that want to create look-alike audiences
    • Code Courier distribution – promotions are part of running a brand on Amazon,not everyone wants to give over control. Started as coupon distribution , then URL and code distribution but now ultimate goal for this is to put Zonblast out of business.

Something no-one else knows?

  • Anthony is an ex-hip-hop dancer and loves Techno music
  • Listens to dance music at the gym

Name a Business Book that has influenced your life

  • Influence the psychology of Persuasion – a mindshift for Anthony

Biggest influence in your life?

  • Many different people have influenced in small ways
  • A single person is Anthony’s eldest daughter who was the impetus for starting Anthony on his journey
  • Seeing his daughter grow keeps Anthony humble and knowing he doesn’t know a lot really

Three important habits?

  • Listen to at least a chapter or more of an audiobook a day – make the time to do this every day
  • Stop work for an hour and hangout with his youngest daughter – make time for family
  • Obsessed with To-Do lists as keep Anthony organised to keep on task

Invest in Health

  • Was super physique for a while – not so much now
  • Constantly aware if achieving health goals or not
  • Have some glutenous nights in Taiwan now so constantly re-vamping diet with fruit, veg and raw fruits
  • Used to do bio-hacking back in the day
    • Approached by a guy to write a book
    • Wrote a Book called ‘Get Limitless’  inspired by the movie ‘Limitless’ with Bradley Cooper
    • Taught Anthony the Research Techniques that he’s using now
    • Studying how to enhance your mental state
    • Researching Monks, meditation, Diet and Nootropics and Transcranial Stimulation with electricity
    • Created a YouTube channel and put circuits to his head and run electricity through his head while playing games to test performance
  • There’s a culture in Amazon people to push themselves hard to deliver for their Amazon business

Biggest weakness?

  • Probably ‘self-talk’ in my head
  • Suffer from severe lack of confidence in ‘Business’
  • Second-guess myself way too much and can have negative impact
  • Got to check yourself sometimes to realise it’s going on
  • Remember these are just thoughts

Darkest Hour just before dawn?

  • Two of them that Anthony goes back to and keeps him grounded
  • In Atlanta
    • Could not afford the gas bill and stove did not work and no hot water
    • Had to buy a small Walmart heating eye to warm hot water for the bath to bathe his daughter and then once she was done he jumped into the tub
    • After this Anthony moved back to Alabama and in with his parents was things were going South
  • Living in a trailer
    • Could not afford the natural gas and had no heat
    • Slept in daughters bed to keep her warm in the Winter
    • Remember lying i nbed and staring at the ceiling and say ‘I must make a change’
    • This was probably a year before Anthony watched that Ryan Moran video and started making the change

Biggest comeback from Adversity?

  • Within that year period at it’s worst, had a job that did not make money
  • Was on food stamps for food, had hurricane relief boxes donated for food in the trailer
  • The bounceback from that was epic – was eating tuna and little pots of fruit from hurricane relief boxes for lunch everyday
  • Figured out how to make it better – Managed to earn enough and get out of debt, put money away to invest in the entrepreneurial endeavour – turned everything around
  • This was all done on willpower and hard work – this got him through to getting Amazon started a year later

Most common advice you give to people?

  • Always test everything – in anything
  • Applies especially to running ads and doing business in general
  • Why? – because it doesn’t matter if you were born mediocre you can still be consistent
  • “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”

What Advice should people ignore?

  • Anyone trying to sell you the idea that they have figured out the magic way to make everything easy should avoided
  • Too good to be true then it probably is

What has been your biggest Win/Accomplishment?

  • The Books were good
  • Anthony’s most proud of the stuff put together with Bridge and Six Leaf
  • Biggest recent win was when Anthony formulated the Slingshot method – added $20k monthly revenue for the business

Where do you see yourself in the next 2-5 years

  • Reduced dependence on Amazon dramatically
  • While it’s an effective channel it is a headache but want to build own asset on Shopify
  • In 2-5 years want to be fleshed out and profitable
  • Would trade $20-30k / month Amazon account to a $7-8k Shopify account to get off Amazon to avoid the hassle
  • See a lot more focus on Messenger marketing as see this as the future as single best platform for real person to person psychological marketing

Who do you rate in the community for putting the work in and why?

  • Want to give props to Liran – he has earned Anthony’s respect in how he composes himself and handles his audience and gives information
  • Props to Casey Gauss with a hell of a brain on him – admire him and the stuff that he does

Seller Sessions Live in London

  • Covering the Messenger Marketing
  • More Psychological stuff – similar to copywriting
  • Funnels and bot flows
  • Psychology and Influence to help with conversions
  • Talking through testing too

How has Networking helped you in the last 2-3 years

  • This interview is a prime example
  • Knowing Danny has put Anthony on the microphone and giving exposure all the time
  • In MLM Anthony was taught that networking was to meet people to be able to leverage in some way to your advantage
  • Networking is just relationships and can be strategic at times but genuine friendships
  • If you can lend a helping hand then great and if your need help you ask your friends
  • Anthony calls himself reclusive but has daily digital friends who hit him up to ask how he’s doing
  • Having people that want to talk to him every day is amazing

Paying it Forward

  • It’s a good way to put it
  • Don’t know it’s paying anything, Anthony just likes the conversation and sharing knowledge
  • Not a personal mission to go out and change everyone’s lives
  • Just a normal Dude and if he can help than that’s fantastic
  • Try and answer every query as don’t want ot be a jerk

Amazon is…

  • …a great opportunity for some people.