Arlen Robinson ([00:03].256)
Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast, everyone. My name is Arlen and I am your host. And today we have a very special guest, Ben Leonard, who is a renowned figure in the ecommerce landscape and the mastermind behind, where he shares his extensive expertise in growing and successfully exiting ecommerce businesses. With a track record of building, scaling, and selling his own successful online ventures, Ben brings a wealth of practical insights and strategies. His journey is a testament to the potential of ecommerce and serves as an inspiration to entrepreneurs and marketers alike. Join us as we explore Ben’s unique approach to business growth and learn how to navigate the challenging yet rewarding world of ecommerce. Welcome to the podcast, Ben.

Ben Leonard ([00:57].513)
Good to be here, Arlen. Thanks for having me.

Arlen Robinson ([00:59].448)
Yes, and thank you for joining us. Yeah, I’m really excited to talk to you. I think this is gonna be an awesome conversation. Most of the listeners and viewers to our podcasts are either e-commerce business owners or digital marketers. And everybody, on the pulse of what everybody’s trying to do is of course grow their business. And then of course, at the, I guess you can say in the back of everyone’s mind is, all right, if I do grow it to a certain point, how do I exit?

when is the right time to exit and how do I go about doing it? Because a lot of people are, I guess you can say serial entrepreneurs and they’ve got a lot of ideas, you know, in their head, a lot of things that they want to get going. But, you know, in order to get on to bring to life other ideas, you got to sunset one company and then start up something else. And so I know you’re going to enlighten us a little bit about how that works based on the experiences that you’ve had. But before we do get into all of that.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today.

Ben Leonard ([02:04].085)
Sure, yeah. I didn’t have the most conventional route into e-commerce or being an entrepreneur. So for listeners, you can probably guess from my accent that I’m from the UK, and to be precise, I’m from North East Scotland. And where I’m from is oil land. So small city called Aberdeen. It’s the oil town of Europe, really.

So it was almost inevitable that I’d end up in that industry. But also growing up in Scotland, it was pretty inevitable that I’d get interested in nature because it’s so beautiful and wild. And I got into marine ecology. So I studied zoology and then ecology and I was a dolphin expert. And I ended up working in the oil and gas industry, helping oil companies get greener. And I generally enjoyed it, but I was a small cog in a huge industry and I felt like something was missing.

My grandparents had been entrepreneurs, but it kind of skipped a generation. I didn’t know that I was supposed to be an entrepreneur. In 2012, I had an idea to start a fitness brand. And I did absolutely nothing about it because…

We grew up in society thinking that entrepreneurs are other people, right? You know, you go to school, maybe you go to university or college, you get a degree, you go work for the man, you retire and you die. Right. That’s pretty much what society teaches us. Entrepreneurs are other people. They’re inventors. They’re people with business degrees. They’re people who inherited a ton of money. And so I just kind of told myself that I wasn’t the person to, to develop that fitness brand. But then in 2016, I got really sick with a heart problem and I’m fine now.

but I had to stop work and I had to stop my fitness hobbies and I was pretty miserable. And that was the catalyst that kicked me into action. I needed something to do whilst I recovered. And so I started this fitness brand really as a hobby. And what was a hobby turned into a really good side hustle, which then led me to, as I recovered, quit my job, grow that business. And three and a half years later, we were doing $6 million per year in revenue.

Ben Leonard ([04:08].293)
And I sold it in late 2019 and, and now I’m still building brands and I’m helping others. And I’ve, I’ve just written a book and I’m helping people sell their businesses and I’ve become embedded in the e-commerce world because I absolutely love it.

Arlen Robinson ([04:22].932)
All right. That’s good stuff. That’s quite a story. You know, I think what I want to kind of focus on is, I mean, you kind of glossed over it, but that’s not something that’s easy to, easy to achieve. You’d mentioned growing a business from zero to, I believe you said, three million. It was that correct in sales in just, was that three years? Yes.

Ben Leonard ([04:45].727)
Six million in three years.

Arlen Robinson ([04:47].072)
million in three years. Yeah. So that’s, that’s not easy to do. You know, there’s a lot of businesses that are struggling to get there to even just get to the 1 million point and can’t do that. And so I know in order to do that, there probably were a couple of key things that you did that really grew or exploded the business. Um, because of, as everybody knows, everybody listening to this podcast, we’ve gone through, you know, hundreds of different marketing strategies and growth strategies and, um,

you know, so there’s a lot of things that you can do. So what were the, what would you say are, I’d say two key strategies that you employed, you know, early on in that business, the fitness business, that really laid the foundation for your successful growth.

Ben Leonard ([05:30].117)
Yeah, I think that where we are now, we’re constantly bombarded with these quote unquote gurus on social media, peddling, you know, get rich quick schemes, frankly, or trying to make it all appear so easy that we focus too much on trying to hack our way to success that we forget the solid business principles that have existed for decades, if not hundreds of years, but we just need to apply.

to our modern e-commerce businesses. And I think that the most important one is quality, quality across the board, quality of product, because you can’t out market a bad product, quality of customer experience, so that people will enjoy using the product and want to keep coming back to your brand, and quality of service, so that people will trust you and your brand and stay loyal to you. So I think that was probably number one. And then number two, I think was,

treating the business like a real brand, rather than like a side hustle. I think it’s okay to say, well, I’m gonna start the business on the side because I can’t just quit my job. That’s absolutely fine and normal. But when we call it a side hustle, in our mind, we’re immediately putting a ceiling on what it can achieve. Whereas actually, if we say, well, this is my business, this is my ambition, this is my dream, I’m starting it on the side now, but eventually it’s gonna become my full-time gig and I’m gonna grow this into an entire product empire.

When we have that kind of mindset, we’re much more able to allow it to flourish, right? And what we need to do is say to ourselves, we’re not just selling stuff on the internet, we’re building real consumer brands that look and feel and behave like our own favorite brands do.

Arlen Robinson ([07:16].868)
Yeah, yeah, really, for sure. Yeah, it’s, I think a lot of times businesses get caught up on the driving the sales, getting more customers, creating this funnel. And of course, all of these things have to be done or else, you know, the business will die. Of course, it’s like, it’s you almost become obsessed with the growth aspects of it. And then you forget about the

business itself. And then the bottom line is, you know, your business is to service your customers, provide them with a good product or service. And you know, that’s really where it all has to come down to a lot of times, I think businesses forget that.

Ben Leonard ([07:58].789)
Yeah, I think you’re right. I think they get stuck on the hamster wheel of acquiring customers and forget about their existing customers. And if only, you know, so many times I see brands, well, not even brands, businesses, they don’t even have a real brand identity, lose money, leave money on the table, because what they’ve done is they’ve acquired a customer and they’ve done all the hard work to do that. But then they haven’t given that customer any reason to ever come back. Whereas, if you…

develop a relationship with that customer, whether that’s through your social media, through your email marketing, through your YouTube channel, through your podcast, whatever it might be, constantly delivering them helpful, compelling, engaging, useful content that makes them know, like and trust you. Then if they bought widget A from you to solve a problem, five months down the line, they need to solve another problem, they’re going to come and get widget B from you. But if you don’t do that, they’re going to go somewhere else because they’ve already forgotten you exist.

Arlen Robinson ([08:54].088)
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Now kind of getting back to your fitness brand and the growth that you got, that you achieved with it, was there something, was there a specific point, a pivotal point that you did something, a specific strategy that kind of turned the tables for the business and then you saw that kind of hockey stick type of growth, was it something that you did, a point, or was it more just organic growth?

Ben Leonard ([09:22].021)
Um, no, there were a few key things. I think that made a difference. I think when you’re launching a new business, it’s all very, it can be in any way quite chaotic build the plane while you fly it right by the seat of your pants and that’s absolutely fine. Like, I don’t think it’s fair to expect entrepreneurs when they start out to have like the most slick organized business with beautiful SOPs and a wonderful operations manual. But I think once you’ve kind of.

got into orbit launched and things are kind of ticking over and you’ve got a moment to kind of step back and, you know, have a cup of coffee, right? And take a deep breath. That’s when you want to change your mindset from this kind of slightly chaotic, very exciting launch mode to more of a growth mindset where you say, right, to, to scale this thing, I need to build a slick machine that scales. That can pump out new products, can service our existing customers, can produce tons of quality content. And that.

Ultimately, one day is going to be something that somebody wants to buy. And that means building out the systems and the processes, building out the team. Um, and, and one of the things that I think a lot of people forget is managing the kind of boring business side of it. Everybody. People start, a lot, people start an e-commerce brand often because they’re passionate about a particular thing and they want to build a brand around it. Like, you know, they like.

They like caring for bonsai trees. So they start a brand of bonsai tree care accessories. Wonderful. But doesn’t mean that you’re going to understand business. And so this is where they fall down. They, they find products that kind of work on paper, but they fail to properly validate and they find themselves running out of money. So I think it’s, it’s getting into that growth mindset and getting into that business mindset and understanding your cashflow, understanding how you’re actually going to make this.

this slick machine work. So I think that’s really crucial. Once you kind of reached orbit, it’s taking that step back, sitting down and looking at this and saying, right, how would a real large corporation treat this and treat it that way, even if you’re on your own?

Arlen Robinson ([11:31].648)
Yeah, yeah, definitely. It’s, yeah, always kind of keeping sight of those things, I think is really important. I’m always also kind of a huge advocate of lessons learned and learning from your failures and mistakes. I think that’s where you really grow. And so, in your process of scaling your business, what would you say are some of the biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Ben Leonard ([11:49].682)

Ben Leonard ([12:01].713)
Yeah, I mean, I made a lot of mistakes. I still do. I think that I can give you a few specific examples, but just more generally, before I do that, I think it’s really important that we keep up with adapting. I think it’s all about being adaptable and nimble to adapting to trends. You only have to look at some of the classic examples of organizations that fail to do this, right? Nokia, Motorola, Blockbuster, Kodak.

Not only did they not keep up with trends, they refused. They literally buried their hands in the sand. They pretended that it wasn’t happening. But e-commerce is evolving so fast. We have to try new things fast. So for example, TikTok shop is blowing up now. We have a responsibility to our business to try it out. If it’s not for you, fine, but at least try it out. And then just in terms of specific examples of challenges.

I learned an important lesson quite early on in my business and I’m so grateful that I learned it. Here’s what happened. I thought I could save a few bucks by registering my trademark myself. And I was so smug when I got my trademark registered. Because I was like, oh, I saved lawyer fees. I just did it myself for a couple hundred bucks. But about a year later.

I was getting some free intellectual property legal advice down at the local library. There was a legal firm giving out some free advice, kind of giving back. And it turned out my trademarks were weak. They were flimsy. I left the brand wide open because the depth of the coverage of my trademarks wasn’t sufficient. And so I coughed up and I paid to have them read them professionally. And that lesson taught me that cheap is expensive and expensive is cheap. In other words, it pays to invest in getting things right the first time.

And I’m glad I learned that lesson when I did, because not long after I developed a new product and I protected it with a patent. And that product was going really well. It was disrupting that entire vertical. It was a thick bar training adapter called Beast Grips. And I received a letter one day. I got home from my day job. I hadn’t quit my day job yet. And there was a letter on my door mat. It looked quite official. And I opened it. I couldn’t read it.

Ben Leonard ([14:20].689)
It was all in German. But I could recognize a photograph of my product. I could see attached to the letter a copy of my competitor’s patent. And I could read the numbers and it said 50,000 euros. And I panicked. But by this point, I’d learned that cheap is expensive and expensive is cheap. So I called my expensive lawyer. And she soon figured out what was going on. These guys were trying to bully me out of business.

Arlen Robinson ([14:47].659)
Right. Yeah. Hmm.

Ben Leonard ([14:49].821)
They weren’t even German. They were Canadian, but they were suing me in Germany and in German because that happened to be one of the places I was selling. They were scared of the fact that I was disrupting the market and they were trying to bully me out of business and they accused me of infringing their patent and I wasn’t. So I took them on and I won. But if I hadn’t learned the cheap is expensive and expensive is cheap, I probably would have tried to either fight my way out of it myself and lost or just given up and stopped selling my product.

Arlen Robinson ([15:05].54)
Hmm. Okay.

Arlen Robinson ([15:18].328)
Yeah, yeah. Great story. Thank you for sharing that. And yeah, I like that. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before. Cheap is expensive and expensive is cheap. Yeah. As a business owner, I see where business is in, you know, how you went down that route. I’ve gone down that route before where you’re, you’re looking at a cost savings upfront and you’re like, okay, you know, I’m going to do this myself or I’m going to, instead of, uh, you know, going the more expensive route, getting a professional, getting the trademark done, you know, through a lawyer.

I’m going to do it myself. So initially you’re like, okay, it looks right, but down the end of the road, you can pay, you definitely pay for it. And it seems like in most cases, you will eventually pay for it. And so, yeah, I can see where that comes from.

Ben Leonard ([16:01].753)
Yeah, I think so. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of bootstrapping.

Ben Leonard ([16:10].609)
So that matters too, but I think when it comes to certain things and intellectual property is one of them I don’t scrimp and there’s also the other factor that people don’t talk about enough called the sleep at night factor Right, even if even if it’s cost me more and perhaps I know in the back of my mind I might have saved a few bucks by doing it myself or getting someone cheaper to do it If it makes me sleep better Then fine. I’ll pay a bit more

Arlen Robinson ([16:21].144)

Arlen Robinson ([16:33].632)
Yeah. Right. Exactly. Yeah. That’s and that’s something that I think is, um, you almost can’t put a price on that. There’s the sleep at night factor, like you said, because there’s certain decisions that you can make where, you know, if it’s not the right thing, it’s, I mean, it’s going to always eat at you. And then, you know, you won’t have a good night. So it throws off everything. You know, you won’t, you’re always going to be worrying about it. You’ll be up at night, um, trying to figure out was that the right move to make. So yeah, I think that’s, that’s very important.

Ben Leonard ([16:41].925)

Ben Leonard ([16:57].845)

Arlen Robinson ([17:03].064)
Not a lot of people put a lot of emphasis on that, that sleep at night factor, but it goes a long way. Now, speaking of trademarks, that kind of all ties into a company’s brand. Everything that you see is related to that company, their logo, their messaging, slogans, all of that stuff can be trademarked. Now, when you were going through your process, your business journey, and the journey that you’re still on with the business that you have,

How do you feel and how important do you feel that brand development actually has been in your overall growth strategies and are there any specific tips that you can provide as far as building a strong brand specifically in the e-commerce space?

Ben Leonard ([17:50].621)
Yeah, brand is so important. It was so important for my first business and still now going forward. And I think part of the reason it was so important for my first business is so many of my competitors were just selling stuff on the internet. And they weren’t developing a brand which people could connect with and feel any affinity for. So brand was huge. And you know, a strong brand not only differentiates you from competitors, but it also builds customer loyalty, right, which is key for sustainable growth. So I think

Part of building your brand is understanding your audience. You gotta know who your customers are and what they want and how they think. And this then guides every decision you make. Does this fit through the lens of what makes sense to my customers, what they want, what they need, what problem they have to solve. We need to be consistent in that so that our brand message, our tone, our visuals, everything is consistent and makes sense. This helps build recognition and trust so that people kind of come to understand what they can expect from us.

I mentioned quality earlier and of course, quality products and quality customer service should always be part of effectively your brand promise, so to speak. And then it’s about engaging with your customers and building relationships with them, responding to their comments, asking for their opinions, showing appreciation for their support. All of that matters. And when you do that in an authentic way, that really resonates with customers because nothing sidesteps the competition like authenticity.

And this all takes time. Like it’s, it’s not, people don’t do this often because they think they can hack their way to success and just, you know, run some ads to their store and you know, they’ll make bank that kind of works short term, but in the long term that won’t pay off, but it’s the compounding effect of showing up every day that a year, two, three, four, five years down the line is actually going to, going to make a difference. I also think it’s important that we actually understand what we’re talking about when we talk about branded.

A lot of people have different ideas about this and they’ll argue quite passionately on the internet about it, but I ultimately think that we’re all roughly getting at the same thing, which is this. To me, or at least the way I like to teach it to e-commerce business owners, building physical products brands, a brand is a group of products or services, if you like, that solve problems for a group of people. And branding is how you make those people feel. And marketing is how you tell them about it.

Arlen Robinson ([20:18].554)

Ben Leonard ([20:19].253)
So in theory, you could have a great brand, like quality products and great branding. In theory, they, you know, everything that your brand does makes people feel a certain way. But if your marketing’s not very good, it might as well not exist because you’re not effective at telling people about it. And I think if you can get that right, even just a couple of percentage points ahead of your competition, that’s how you win.

Arlen Robinson ([20:32].642)

Arlen Robinson ([20:45].324)
Yeah, that’s a great way to look at it. It’s because he has a lot of things into it that’s going to dictate the success. And yeah, you can have a strong, strong brand, great brand recognition, but your sales suck, your marketing sucks and you’re not pulling in the customers. So yeah, I can definitely see how. Yeah. It’s, um, you know, it takes all of these things together to really, you know, drive, uh, you know, your growth. Now I’m shifting gears just a little bit as at the beginning.

of the episode I talked about, of course, covering the whole life cycle. And you’ve obviously covered the whole life cycle of bringing a business and e-commerce business from inception all the way to exit. And so for e-commerce businesses looking to exit, what steps would you say that they should take to prepare for a successful exit? And how do you even know when is the right time to sell or if it’s the right time to sell?

Ben Leonard ([21:38].869)
Yeah, it’s quite a conundrum and a lot of people don’t fully understand this until it’s too late. So the first thing I would say is even if you have no desire to sell your business for a very long time, start thinking about it now. That doesn’t mean it needs to consume everything you do, because of course you need to keep running and building your business, but dedicate a bit of time to it and here’s why. When you sell your business, ask 99.9% of people who’ve sold an e-commerce business, they’ll tell you the same thing.

the most money they ever made from their business came on the day that they sold it. So if you add up all the historical earnings you’ve paid yourself, anything you might get in the future out of like earn our deals or profit shares and compare that against what you’re going to get the day you sell the business, what you get the day you sell the business is going to be more than 50%. It’s going to be way, way, way more. So for that reason alone, it’s worth thinking about now. And then it’s about

Remembering that it’s not all about what you can get for the business It’s about whether somebody else actually wants to buy it You can’t sell your business unless somebody else wants to buy it from you You might as well understanding what they want, right? So we step into the buyer’s shoes and and what they want Is basically this they want a strong brand with a Base of loyal customers who will keep supporting that brand into the future who are eagerly waiting for you to launch new products

Arlen Robinson ([22:46].61)
Right. Yeah.

Ben Leonard ([23:07].253)
who will happily restock their old products, who will fiercely defend your brand, who will follow you on social, subscribe to your YouTube channel, perhaps listen to your podcast, whatever it might be. Because that provides sustainability, okay? As opposed to just some, you know, selling junk on the internet, which anyone can do. And why would they buy your business if they can just go sell junk on the internet as well? Then they want growth. So they wanna see that your business has been growing in the past.

and has growth opportunity for the future. That could be launching new products that you’ve already developed. That could be getting onto more channels. That could be international expansion, for instance. And you wanna see at least 20, more like 30% year over year growth at least. We wanna see profitability. So we wanna see margins of at least 20%, but more like 30 is where it gets more exciting. And we wanna see a low risk business. So that means…

You have intellectual property protecting your business. You’re not in like new fads or unregulated products or dangerous products or that kind of thing. And a business which is highly transferable. So they can pick it up, pick up all your systems and your processes and your software and your team members and drop it into their existing setup and run with it. And when you understand what the buyer wants and you start optimizing your business for that,

Arlen Robinson ([24:28].238)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Ben Leonard ([24:36].213)
then you’re at a good spot.

Arlen Robinson ([24:37].672)
Yeah, yeah, that’s pretty straightforward. It I mean, it’s number one, putting yourself in the shoes of the buyers, of course, is key there and always really looking at. All right. If I were somebody out on the outside looking in, then yeah, OK, what’s the upside for me to acquire the business? And we look at it like that. You can kind of see how it’s you, you can kind of really see that you may need to.

put your business in kind of a different position before you even think about selling because you know, it’s of course you can sell at any time and you know, you may be able to get a particular buyer that you know, sees these shortcomings in the business, but may be willing to still try to get your business at a discount. So it’s obviously you’re not going to get the best bang for your buck if you don’t, you know, do all of this due digital diligence and kind of look at the outside of the business first. So I

Yeah, I definitely see that. That’s, that’s very, very important. So it’s, it’s almost like there can be definite times in the business lifecycle where it’s probably just not a good idea to sell. I mean, you could do it, but it’s not ideal. So I, I definitely see that.

Ben Leonard ([25:48].213)
Oh yeah.

Totally. I mean, a lot of what I do with, so I co-founded a brokerage firm called Econ Brokers. So we help people plan their exits. But, you know, the number of conversations I have with people, which are where we say, where I say to them, well, actually, no, we’re not going to help you sell your business yet. You’ve got work to do to get there, right? We could take it to market now and it might sell. But why would we do that when we can help you sell it for way, way more?

Arlen Robinson ([26:10].848)

Ben Leonard ([26:19].477)
six, nine, 12, 18 months from now, whatever it is, if we just go and fix this, this, this, and this, and we know how to do it, and we can help you do it, why do that? Unless there’s some crazy mad rush to like fire sell your business, it’s better to get it right through having the business, A, set up properly so that it’s attractive to somebody and they wanna pay you more for it, and B, we take it through a thorough mature M&A process. You know, there are websites out there where you can,

Arlen Robinson ([26:32].932)

Ben Leonard ([26:48].149)
like list your business, kind of like the eBay of businesses, which when you do that, you’re effectively saying that I don’t care about my business and it means nothing more to me than, you know, a garlic press on Amazon, right? Rather than actually taking it through a real mergers and acquisitions process and getting it ready to sell and getting what you deserve for it, which in many cases is life-changing money, which is really cool when you see that happen and you see people’s lives transformed that way.

Arlen Robinson ([27:01].277)

Arlen Robinson ([27:17].676)
Yeah, yeah, that’s incredible. It’s a good way to look at it, you know, for sure. Well, Ben, as we get ready to wrap things up, I wanted to see, based on your experiences, what are some emerging trends that you think will significantly impact e-commerce businesses in the future? I know there’s a lot going on. We’ve got AI technology. We’ve got all of the changes that are going on in supply chains. But what would you say are some key trends that

really are going to see an impact for e-commerce.

Ben Leonard ([27:50].357)
Sure. I mentioned one before, which was a TikTok. So TikTok shop, I think, is absolutely blowing up. I think we all need to at least test it. And I’m really intrigued by not only that, but the link up that’s happening very, very soon, kind of now. Some people have access, some people don’t. Between Amazon and Facebook, we’re running Facebook ads direct to Amazon, and you can actually track the attribution, not just Facebook, Instagram as well. So meta.

Arlen Robinson ([27:53].837)

Ben Leonard ([28:19].957)
So that’s really interesting. It’s fast buying products within social media. I think that that’s huge. And then the other one that I think is quite interesting is the ability of AI to allow us to personalize products very, very quickly through hooking that up with 3D printing. 3D printing technology is only getting more advanced. So more and more advanced and complex products are getting 3D printed.

closer to us, combine that with personalization, and then combine that with the insanity of drone deliveries within an hour. And what we’re going to see within the next few years is going to be absolutely mind-blowing, in many ways very exciting, in many ways slightly scary. But that’s outside of our control. So all we can do is see what comes along and try it out.

Arlen Robinson ([29:00].162)

Arlen Robinson ([29:09].432)

Arlen Robinson ([29:15].764)
Yeah. I like that. Yeah. It’s then that’s the thing. It’s just like with anything, anytime I’m talking to people about marketing, it’s just every, everything in under marketing is trial and error because you don’t know how these certain tactics or strategies is going to impact your business. Like you mentioned, Tik Tok shop, definitely, you know, who knows, you know, there may be a market for, you know, a business that’s listening to this. It may be a good thing for them, but for others, you know, may not work. May just fall flat. You may burn money.

but it’s definitely worth a shot because yeah, you never know. Not to say that you need to try everything under the sun because as we know, there are a million things under the sun that you could try. So you still have to be fairly strategic in what you try. But as these emerging trends come out, yeah, I definitely think you need to do a little bit of due diligence to see, okay, if you have an indication that it could work for the business, then definitely, yeah, I’d say move forward.

Yeah, that’s, you know, from what you said, yeah, definitely some great pieces of advice for sure. Well, Ben, this has been an awesome conversation. I’ve definitely learned a lot based on your experience and the experiences that you’ve been having with businesses, empowering them to have success. You know, this is, I know a forever journey, but I know it’s a great one. And it’s good to know that there’s people in your space that have learned a ton of lessons

sharing those lessons learned with the e-commerce community as a whole. So, you know, thank you for joining us. This has really been quite impactful. But before we do let you go, if you don’t mind sharing one closing fun fact with our audience, our listeners and viewers, just so we can get to know you a little bit better. And if you don’t mind.

Ben Leonard ([30:57].653)

Ben Leonard ([31:09].333)Sure, yeah. I kind of hinted at this earlier a bit, but yeah, I was a professional dolphin nerd. So where I live in northeast Scotland, we have the… So you’re down in Florida, right? So you have bottlenose dolphins there. Well, we have them here too, but they’re way, way bigger because they’ve got so much blubber and fat to protect them from the cold. And so when I was at university, for my thesis, which I had to submit…

Arlen Robinson ([31:15].541)

Arlen Robinson ([31:21].145)
Yes. Right correct. Okay.

Arlen Robinson ([31:31].853)

Ben Leonard ([31:38].421)
I studied the local population of bottlenose dolphins. So if you’d asked me then if I would end up building and selling e-commerce brands, I would have said, what’s e-commerce?

Arlen Robinson ([31:41].892)

Arlen Robinson ([31:50].364)
Okay. Wow. Gotcha. So you went from a dolphin nerd to an e-commerce entrepreneur, successful e-commerce entrepreneur. Okay. Awesome. Yeah. I didn’t know there were dolphins at that part of the world. And interesting. How big do they actually get?

Ben Leonard ([31:52].245)
That’s my fun fact.

Ben Leonard ([32:00].341)
Yeah, I’m still a dolphin nerd, but just not professionally.

Ben Leonard ([32:10].037)
Big like the the big males are like over four meters Yeah

Arlen Robinson ([32:13].708)
Wow. Okay. Yeah. That’s wow. That’s almost like the size of a whale. Yeah.

Ben Leonard ([32:18].741)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I suppose it’s probably the size of like a young killer whale.

Arlen Robinson ([32:23].04)
Yeah, exactly. Very interesting. Yeah, I had a unique experience back in September. They have an attraction here in Orlando, Florida. It’s a place called Discovery Cove. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that, but yeah, you get to have kind of an up-close experience with the dolphin. They kind of take you in this. They have professional trainers and everything. This particular experience at the place is where the whole concept is revolved around where you…

Ben Leonard ([32:34].293)

Arlen Robinson ([32:51].212)
get in the water, it’s kind of like waist deep. The trainer tells you about the dolphin, of course, all while feeding it fish. And the dolphin comes by, you get to stroke it, things like that. And then at the end of it, the dolphin can pull you along. You kind of hold on to its top dorsal fin and its side fin, and it will pull you through the water. So I did that in September. It was kind of a birthday treat for me. And yeah, it was quite an experience. Yeah, I definitely learned a lot.

You know, it’s a really cool, really cool thing.

Ben Leonard ([33:22].293)
Yeah, they’re incredible animals. Yeah.

Arlen Robinson ([33:24].16)
Yeah, yeah, definitely for sure. Well, thank you for sharing that Ben, appreciate that. It’s awesome talking to you. And lastly, before we do let you go, if you don’t mind sharing with us and our listeners and viewers, the best way for them to get ahold of you. And if there’s anything you’ve got going on that you’d like to promote.

Ben Leonard ([33:42].645)
Sure, yeah. Well, I’ve just written a book called Quit Stalling and Build Your Brand. So you can get it on Amazon. I heard that you can buy stuff on that website. So yeah, Quit Stalling and Build Your Brand. It’s a roadmap from idea all the way to exit for e-commerce. So it’s timeless business principles, but applied to our modern e-commerce world. So my hope is that this will be valuable for somebody who’s just starting or somebody who’s doing eight figures. I think there’s a ton of gold in there.

Arlen Robinson ([33:48].761)

Arlen Robinson ([33:53].108)

Arlen Robinson ([34:10].04)

Ben Leonard ([34:12].021)
So I’m really proud of that. So I’d love it if people check that out. And then if you wanna contact me, I’d love to hear from you. I’m on social, all my social handles are Ben Leonard Pro. So Instagram, Twitter, X, Facebook, and I’m on LinkedIn as well. Just search Ben Leonard on LinkedIn, and I’d be glad to help. Oh, and if you want advice on planning your exit, that’s at

Arlen Robinson ([34:32].706)
Okay, awesome.

Arlen Robinson ([34:38].932)
Okay, awesome. Well, we’ll be sure to have all of those links within the show notes so people can check you out there. So definitely encourage people to get your book and then connect with you if they would like to take you on as far as some e-commerce business consulting. So it’s been awesome talking to you, Ben. We really appreciate you coming on to the e-commerce marketing podcast.

Ben Leonard ([35:01].077)
Thanks for having me.

Podcast Guest Info

Ben Leonard
Co-Founder of Ecom Brokers