In-Depth with Ivelin Demirov

In-depth with Ivelin Demirov today going over his startup selling CDs to leaving the country to break into ecommerce, the inventor Father’s influence on his products and the move to software to help solve people’s problems.

  • Has many patents
  • Seven figure seller
  • Numerous Kickstarters
  • Holds Gurus to account
  • Head Honcho at Rivercleaner

What did you Parents instil in you as a child?

  • Mother was a teacher and always pushed Ivelin for perfection
  • Father was an inventor and a hacker in a way, hacking frequencies on the radio
  • Ivelin is a product of them both
  • Living in a communist country back then so no importance on money but all about excellence
  • Doing thins to excellence was important
  • Later in the day Ivelin realised money was important
  • Parents didn’t like talking about money, they just had enough for living
  • Money was never important, a doctor and a waitress had the same salary
  • Ivelin was willing to put in more work to get more out of life – but in the country that was not possible which is why Ivelin left
  • There were big limitations on credit card transactions and money transfers in the communist country

What was your earliest entrepreneurial or first business?

  • First business was a typing tutorial on a CD sold in his local town
  • Ivelin’s Father was independent  back in the day and he didn’t like to have a boss – so Ivelin got this from him at an early age
  • Started his first ecommerce in 2000 and it was difficult to accept payments
  • Left the country to get citizenship elsewhere to get to run that business with an established bank system and credit cards to make possible to get the business running
  • Was this a successful business?
  • It was a complete failure back then – it went nowhere but Ivelin just had the desire to have something on his own
  • He worked day and night on that business and it eventually failed as he had no experience and didn’t have anyone to ask
  • He was working on intuition and posting content but no-one could see his output

What were your learnings from that Failure?

  • Learnt that a business is not only dependent on the quality of the work but has many other variables in place
  • For this one it was visibility for people to see your work to be able to respond to it
  • The cycle of the CD tutorial was running all the time
  • THis was the business still running that made all of Ivelin’s attempts at other businesses possible
  • He was still selling this course and it had orders coming in all the time
  • If this first business had not succeeded the nhe would probably have given up on the other attempts and more quickly
  • It was still running until about 5 years ago
  • Ivelin left the country and left it to his brother and a partner and Ivelin forgot about it but it was still running for many years
  • A lot of people try an on-line business, fail and then give up
  • The CD business gave Ivelin the feeling of success and so knew he could do it and he just had to replicate it one more time

A Business Book that has influenced your life and why?

  • Biggest influence came from Ivelin’s Father and a partner of his that took him under his wing
  • Ivelin had mentorship, a living example adn a proper education
  • Most influence probably came from a life not a book
  • What advice and values were instilled
    • To be different and offer more value for money
      • In Bulgaria you had to be creative as you didn’t have a lot of money to put into anything
      • Bringing more value to the customer without spending more money
      • Deliver something in the eye of the customer
    • Change the way you are thinking about stuff – think different
      • Give the feeling you get from a premium product but on a budget

Most important daily habits?

  • Realising the problems that people have
  • Every day Ivelin’s Father would make Ivelin write on the poster on the wall one problem that was noticed in that day that people had
  • Develop the awareness of noticing these problems was the skill
  • By spotting problems you are able to identify opportunity
  • What’s the most important skill you need to develop?
    • Build you awareness about problems
    • It only take a month or two to develop the habit
  • You start to see problems all around you and then you think about how to resolve them
  • You make other people happy because you’re making other people’s lives easier
  • If you can do that you can benefit from everything else

Health habits?

  • Ivelin’s Father was a Yogii back in the day
  • He was very advanced and really deep into breathing and cleaning – would be seen as hardcore these days
  • Ivelin was introduced to Yoga very early
  • Mother pushed into sports from 5 years old – tried every sport imaginable
  • Ivelin did a lot of sports until he came to Canada
  • Today still does exercise every day – pushups and chin ups
  • Pay a lot of attention to Health – the way we eat influences the way you feel and think
  • What you put in your mouth affects your brain
  • For 4 years Ivelin was gluten free – never ate bread or cereal that contained gluten
  • One day Ivelin had pizza with his kids and started eating gluten again so as not to restrict his kids
  • Ivelin felt it instantly- his brain was foggy
  • Had done 9 kickstarters in 2 years and that’s a lot of work
  • Was full of ideas on the time – as soon as you start eating sugar and gluten then your brain shuts down
  • If you are raised eating these then you will never know the effect it is having on you
  • Eat no dairy and very little meat, main diet is vegetables and fat (coconut oil and Gii)

What is your biggest weakness?

  • Time wasting and trying to perform better for many years
  • Still find easily distracted and have to ask himself if this is the best way
  • DIstraction is probably the biggest problem Ivelin has
  • Working around this is to work on multiple projects as the issue was working too long on the same product
  • This helps cut down the distraction of working on one task
  • Trying to train his brain to focus on achieving this rather than using tools like clocks or software to limit social media access, etc
  • Natural behaviour of the brain is to wander and go to different directions
  • Some people have more ability to stay focussed longer on one task
  • Work with a lot of programmers and it’s rare to see programmers that can be creative at the same time – difficult task to change your brain from one state to another
  • Ivelin has to split the day in two – start 6am and work until 3pm and stop
  • Rest of the day can be creative and no working on the businesses
  • Morning time is the best time – more organised and more focussed

Greatest setback and how you came back from adversity?

  • Had a time where every single endeavour started failed
  • Could not understand why they were failing
  • Was putting in lots of hours but it kept failing
  • Many years had to pass until Ivelin realised it was a problem in his thinking
  • Tried to blame events around himself but it was the thinking that was failing
  • Had to change his behaviour to start thinking positive about himself
  • As soon as you start believing your not something you are already not achieving
  • Ivelin believes that everything you do comes back to you and effects you in some way
  • Never allow himself to have negativity about something
  • If something negative happens then ignore it or turn it into a positive event

Most common advice you give to people?

  • Never give up
  • Find another angle – people don’t fail and keep thinking about how they fail
  • Successful people keep looking for the right angle – what is the ‘other way’ of doing this and eventually you find the right way

What advice should people ignore?

  • Ignore negative people around you
  • Negativity can be contagious and you start talking like the negative people around you
  • Some people are more productive than others – if you find you are not that productive then you need to put in more hours

When did you discover Amazon FBA as a business?

  • Was selling books in the beginning on Amazon around 2010
  • Then people started talking about physical products and Amazon started
  • FBA and Amazing Selling Machine (AMS) started it for Ivelin
  • Did not invest anything in the training but was aware of the concepts, it just gave Ivelin more of a hint to go after the process of selling

How much capital did you invest in your first FBA business?

  • The first investment was probably like $200
  • Product was 11c to manufacture as it was a custom design product – doing stuff that doesn’t exist on the market
  • Was a printed product and inexpensive to make but the design on the print was completely new on the market
  • Free to import as it was printed on paper and so no duty on it for shipping
  • Import into US for $25 and cost $250 to manufacture and was selling for $19 a piece
  • Image that margin and Ivelin was ecstatic seeing the profits from this product
  • Created multiple of these products in different niches
  • It has now died and not selling that product anymore
  • To this day there are still many opportunities like that for people that ask how much money do they need to start
  • Print items can be inexpensive to make and just because of the content can be lucrative
  • Main work is in creativity and solving someone else’s problem and not the material of the product
  • If you sell something that solves a problem then it’s easier to sell
  • Also, you have a purpose in life and are still doing something good for humanity (rather than selling fashion)
  • Ivelin sells products that are consumables and still solve problems

Selling off Amazon?

  • Selling in retail and other marketplaces
  • Because the products are niche there are local stores that are niches and Ivelin sells his products to these stores
  • Profits are a little lower as stores take 50-60% and Amazon is like 30%
  • There are so many of these stores around the world, some of the products sell better in the stores as on Amazon the search volume is too low and they don’t sell well
  • Getting constant orders from these stores from many countries in the World
  • Just because of the nature of the product, the way it looks and the way it works
  • This is not possible with some products in Amazon
  • These products when people see it they realise they need it
  • But difficult to describe the product until you see it

Walk us through your workflow process

  • Everything that you’re doing you encounter problems
  • If you do more stuff in your day you meet more problems
  • Trying to do more stuff each day to spot more problems – but got plenty now
  • Just through Ivelin’s awareness he can think it through and research the market to define a new product
  • Early in the day Ivelin was trying to get into products
  • Always thinking about how he can solve a problem in a different way
  • Researching the market to see how others are solving the problem and then look at how to solve it in a different way
  • Go away and prototype a product and get it tested in-depth
  • Then go to manufacture
  • Do 3D design and CNC milling to create the product
  • Try to get lots of feedback from wider areas on the product by seeking out communities around the product/problem to test and verify it
  • If there is no large community then Ivelin probably can’t sell the product
  • Go to the communities and show them his product and get feedback on it

Tell us about a product failure?

  • Ivelin has had many of these
  • Not sure if it’s the search volume, even if you don’t have a lot of search volume you can drive people to your Amazon landing page
  • You can show people the product on Facebook and send them to Amazon
  • Main problem with these was not doing proper in-depth research and going with gut feeling instead
  • Rather than going with data and research and taking it to other people to see what they think, if they are not excited then Ivelin drops it
  • You might get yourself excited about your product but that’s not always a good thing
  • Follow data and not your gut

Biggest win for your Amazon Business so far?

  • Creating a new market as it’s the hardest thing to do rather than going into an existing market
  • Creating a new market is Ivelin’s biggest win and gets most excitement about

Where do you see your AMazon business in the next two years

  • Always ready for his Amazon business to die tomorrow
  • Have multiple accounts and many other channels to sell in-depth through
  • So no long term vision on Amazon
  • A long vision for the product itself in-depth
  • Even if it’s selling on the street to someone with that problem – they will still buy it out of Ivelin’s hands

Planning and exit for the business?

  • Ivelin is prepared to sell a lot of the brands as they are separated as entities and companies
  • It is structured to be sold and Ivelin is thinking about exiting some of the brands
  • Has about 105 separate brands with about 700 products
  • THe team is 16 people that work on the Amazon and Retail business
  • And there is a team on the software business

The Software Business In-Depth

  • The Amazon software is Rivercleaner
  • The first software business was in 2001 selling clipart images
  • After that business the 2nd was was exited in 2005
  • With that money Ivelin started a number of software businesses
  • Exited a couple of them and started and Amazon business
  • Currently now with his Ivelin invests in Real Estate as well
  • Software is similar in that it’s solving a problem for someone

Importance of Networking

  • Very important as meeting people and talking to people in-depth opens your eyes to many things
  • People have different background and approaches to different things
  • Just talking to them gives you so much
  • Started doing masterminds and meetups on Clarity
  • Speak to over 400 people on the phone in the last 4 years
  • You see the patterns, build contacts, find new friends
  • This also keeps your fire going and beat the low moments
  • Not an easy task working with people
  • So the more people you keep in contact with the better you understand the human psychology in-depth
  • Means you can better interact with others and employees and people
  • Life becomes easier when you understand the motivation behind people

What is the worst advice you have heard given to Sellers

  • Any advice from a one-hit wonder is bad advice
  • People in their 20s start teaching others can be bad advice
  • It takes more than one success in business to be able to give advice
  • You need a lot of failures and in-depth experience to be able to give the right advice to a person
  • Everything changes all the time – there is no one guide that will give success

What good advice would you give Sellers?

  • Always be different
  • Amazon’s first FBA meetup in New York to today all they talk about is Innovation
  • Always innovate and think different
  • Try to help people through innovating

The Orange Hat Summit and Masterminds

  • Montreal in Sept 2019
  • The Summit is annual anda small number of 100 people to maintain the interaction
  • Have small groups of 10 people in each, working together very hard and very interactive
  • Amazing to see high level sellers and how they do stuff in-depth
  • The summit is larger but again for very advanced sellers, more technical stuff
  • Not a motivational type event at all, more on the technical side and focus on innovation as well on Amazon
  • Specifically on ranking and getting reviews
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Ivelin’s not selling information to these groups – giving them information, making them aware of something so they can work on it together to solve the problem

Seller Sessions Live

  • Ivelin is in London
  • Giving a different view on how you can increase your visibility on Amazon for organic and PPC
  • It’s in front of your eyes but you’ve never realised it
  • You will be amazed when you see it
  • A different approach to optimise listing that gives very big results
  • People can apply these changes quickly and see results the very next day

Complete the sentence….

  • Amazon is…
  • …an opportunity, up to you if you want to take it or not

Last Word?

  • Tell everyone to try to innovate, make someone else’s life easier and no-one can beat that – no other business


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