Todd Snively has an extensive history in a wide variety of occupations. Todd was a highly successful commodity trader in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. After moving on from the financial trading scene, Todd decided to lend his skills and expertise to selling customer returned goods online and eventually on Amazon. By the end of 2009, he was making millions through his new occupation. He now operates Expert University, which is an educational platform that teaches users how to sell effectively and successfully on Amazon.
Todd was able to answer a few questions we had about Expert University and his background as an entrepreneur.
Hi Todd, in your opinion, how important was your early career in the financial world in terms of developing your skills on Amazon?
It was impressed upon me how important it is to have an accurate set of accounting books. Most of my core Amazon business is run by my management team now. The insights and early warning bells all come from my being able to read my financials like most people read the newspaper. When I consult with people wanting to start any business, especially selling on Amazon, it all starts with laying that proper foundation, getting the accounting right, from day one.
Why did you decide to start Expert University and what was the primary motivation?
In many ways we’ve failed our young folks by allowing them to go deeply into debt with student loans. Most times they graduate from an institution of higher learning and still do not possess the most basic skills necessary to even reconcile a checking account, much less run their own business. Expert University gives everyone a chance to really learn how to do business the right way, with a primary focus of generating profits as quickly as possible. My primary motivation is to give anyone who desires to be their own boss the proper training that will actually deliver on the promise of financial and time freedom.
So far in your career, what key lessons have you learned about business and life in general?
There have been many lessons, but some of the keys ones have to do with quality of life. What I mean is that finding balance has been not only the most difficult thing for me, but, at the same time, the most important. At the same time you have a vehicle that allows access to freedoms that people who work for others may never have, like the ability to control what you do with your time and finances, but it can’t be at all costs. People have said that it seems like I get a lot done in a short period of time, and it’s because I set realistic goals and do something every day to move towards those goals. Also, I always schedule time for myself and my family and I remember what’s really important to my family, and that’s quality time with myself.
What do you like most about selling on Amazon?
The time, location and financials freedoms. Amazon provides an amazing opportunity to earn significant revenues for just about anyone. It can be done from just about any where in the world and started with the smallest of budgets. Once you understand all the intricacies of the opportunity and how to best earn and grow profits, it will amaze you that such a business exists for anyone willing to put in the work and execute. The entire business can eventually be outsourced/in-sourced like I’ve done and you literally can spend just ten minutes a day as the CEO making sure your company is healthy and growing.
How do the courses at Expert University help users develop their knowledge of the Amazon platform and business in general?
I like to tell folks that selling on Amazon is a lot like playing a game. If you have the best strategy, the best tools, knowledge of the rules, then you are going to do better than anyone else. You’re going to “win” the game. Our courses are designed to take people where we find them and get them generating profits in the shortest possible time so they can become experts at this game of selling on Amazon. Everyone gets world class support from a community of other students who have already accomplished what the new member is trying to accomplish. They are learning from folks that started with nothing on Amazon and now are operating business generating millions of dollars in revenue.
In your opinion, what would you say are the three most important skills required to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Resilience – you have to be able to get back up when you get knocked down. When you are running your own business you are either dealing with an issue, have just finished dealing with an issue or are about to have to deal with an issue. It’s how you handle yourself at each of those stages and when you’re in between those stages that help determine how successful you’re going to be.
- Positive Mental Attitude – this may not be a skill, but it sure is something that’s required. I believe it was Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re absolutely right.” And the same rings true in running your own business. You need to keep your attitude positive at all times. Problems are just opportunities to shine. Negativity is the breeding ground for failure.
- Time Management – there will be times when at the end of the day, you just didn’t get it all done, and first of all, that’s okay. Second, there will always be tomorrow, but it’s still important to realize that managing your time and maximizing productivity is a skill set that needs to be sharpened. The faster and more effectively you can get meaningful tasks completed, the quicker you’ll reach your goals.
Todd, thank you for your time!