As an entrepreneur, you need to hire great people, trust them and delegate tasks to them. Without the ability to do this, you will never be able to scale and your business will always remain small.

 

Ethan McAfee is the founder and president of Amify, an Amazon strategy partner that delivers a specialized suite of services to maximize brand exposure. Previously he was the Director of Research at Ramsey Asset Management and an Associate Equity Investment Analyst at T. Rowe Price. McAfee has a Masters from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I was an investment analyst that covered internet stocks for 11 years. In 2009, I witnessed Amazon become the “mall of the internet.” I saw how Amazon allowed demand for niche products to be aggregated thought to myself that sales of niche products could be big enough to start a business.

At the time, my parents played a sport called Pickleball. They couldn’t find the products at local stores, so had to buy them on the internet on ugly looking websites. I identified my market and started out selling Pickleball equipment on Amazon

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up at around 8 a.m. and go running before heading into the office. To make my time productive, I have structured weekly meetings that follow the EOS method to hold people accountable and move teams along. As CEO, I try to focus on three to five big projects at a time that change the future direction of the company. Most often, these include things like fundraising, business strategy and hiring plans. Other than that, I try to delegate operational tasks to people who are better at them than I am. Most days, I go out to dinner, do a bit more work, then go to bed.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas come from getting your hands dirty. If we have a big project, we will break it down into its smaller components and make incremental improvements to all parts. It’s much easier, and less overwhelming, to break things down than take the 10,000-foot view.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The quicker delivery of online products is exciting. It used to take a week to get products delivered. Then it went down to two days and now the trend is moving toward one day or even an hour.

With internet retail now totally only 10 percent of overall retail sales, when you get all your products delivered within one hour, will you ever need to go to a retail store?

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur, you need to hire great people, trust them and delegate tasks to them. Without the ability to do this, you will never be able to scale and your business will always remain small.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Your gut is usually right, it just might take a long time for what you sense to play out. Oftentimes my gut says something should work … I go to work on it and go through many short-term failures, but continue on, only to be proved correct after a lot of struggles.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Selling products on Amazon is actually really hard and competitive. Many people think they can have a side hobby of selling items on Amazon and making money and while that might have worked in 2010, it doesn’t any longer.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Join a peer group such as Entrepreneurs Organization or YPO.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Every quarter we develop five main goals for the quarter and report back every week on how we are progressing. It’s easy to get so distracted by the day to day activities that you forget about the big picture. I recommend focusing on your focus.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Wanting to say yes to clients, when I really needed to say no. When we were a small company, clients were hard to get and we wanted to say yes to all their requests to keep their business. Over time, we realized that this made it difficult to have numerous clients as every client wanted things done differently. As we grew, we became experts in our area this allowed us to change the mindset from asking what clients wanted to giving our recommendations.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Virtual Reality (VR) education is going to be a big thing. Kids could do VR education with much more immersive experiences than reading a book or going to a classroom

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Bombas socks. I never realized how important having amazing socks makes you feel all day, and it’s for a good cause.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use an app called Clear that’s a simple to-do list. It allows you to keep track and prioritize different items. I put all my tasks on the app, and nothing feels better than checking them off the list. It really holds me accountable to myself to make sure I am not falling behind.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The E Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber. The book describes how you need to think about growing your business from one individual to many and how to hold people accountable through making it clear who is in charge of what task.

What is your favorite quote?

“For every action, imagine whatever you choose to do is going to be on the front cover of tomorrow’s newspaper and your closest friends and family members are going to read the story” -Warren Buffett

Key Learnings:

  • Your gut is usually right, it just might take a long time for what you sense to play out.
  • As an entrepreneur, you need to hire great people, trust them and delegate tasks to them.
  • Structured weekly meetings that follow the EOS method is a great way to hold people accountable and move teams along.

Connect:

https://goamify.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ethanmcafee/