Podcast Description

In this podcast, Manuel is being interviewed by Athena Severi, the founder of China Magic and co Founder of Titan.

She’s also known as the Goddess of Networking.

Manuel kicks off Athena’s new podcast by sharing with us:

  • An insight on his background
  • His beginnings with selling on Amazon, and
  • How one of the biggest keys to success in today’s business world is observation

I hope you enjoy the podcast!


Podcast File

How I Got Started: An Interview with Athena Severi

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Podcast Transcription

Jimmy: Hey, guys. My name is Jimmy. I’m the Associate Creative Director for Manuel and AGM Agency.

And in this podcast Manuel’s being interviewed by Athena Severi, also known as the goddess of networking, which is pretty awesome.

So Manuel, he kicks off Athena’s new podcast by sharing with us an insight on his background, how he started selling with Amazon and how one of the biggest keys to success in today’s business world is observation.

So check it out.


Guess Who’s Doing the Interview With Me

Athena: Hey everyone. This is Athena Severi and you are listening to my very first podcast.

I’ve been being told for years that I should be doing a podcast and the reason for that is I absolutely love to connect with amazing people.

I love to expose other people to these brilliant people, and I’ve traveled the entire world connecting with some of the most incredible entrepreneurs who I happen to have one of my favorites as my very first guest, who I’m going to introduce you to in just a second, but thank you so much for being here. Very excited to have you.

And as a surprise, our very first guest is Manuel Suarez. Manuel is a really good friend of mine. In fact, he’s my brother and he is a marketer, a genius.

He is the Facebook Ninja. Manuel, thanks so much for being here on my very first podcast.

Manuel: It’s such a pleasure to be here. I think this is something that we’re going to go back in time and I’m going to be so proud that I was a part of Athena’s very first ever podcast interview.

Athena: I love it.

Manuel: That’s super exciting. I love it.

Athena: Okay. So Manuel, for those of you that have been under a rock and have no idea who you are, can you tell them a little bit about your journey, your story.


How Have You gotten to where you are At Now?

Manuel: Well, Athena, I’m a little bit obsessed with the business world and I worked really hard, but it wasn’t always like that. I come from a very intense background that had drugs involved, criminality, and for many years I was not a success. So when they talk about self-made, I’m the perfect example of that.

Athena: Yeah.

Manuel: I think my entrepreneurial journey begins somewhere around 2013 in which somebody talked to me about… I was broke as a joke. I had gone bankrupt in 2010, lost my house. I was part of the economic collapse of the United States.

I lost the first house that I ever bought in Florida.

Athena: Oh, man.

Manuel: So I had to rebuild myself. I was an employee for most of my life. And then in 2013, I was presented with the Amazon opportunity.

Athena: Yes.

Manuel: At that point, it was kind of all weird to me because I thought that Amazon was doing all this selling themselves and then I realized that it was people like us selling stuff. So it was a big awakening.

There’s a lot of things that happened to me because at that same time, I just decided to learn about social media platforms. So I was learning about Amazon. I was learning about social media. I couldn’t stop obsessing over it, which is, I think it’s a good quality by the way.

Athena: Absolutely.

Manuel: I think any entrepreneur that’s obsessed can go a long way.

Athena: Yeah.

Manuel: And a lot of people are going to tell you that you’re working too hard. Have you ever been told that?

Athena: Yes. There’s this weird idea that you have to sit on an Island by yourself and like veg out to that scehdule thing. And I don’t believe in that.


Is Life Really Too Short?

Manuel: Right. Or the life is too short, or that you have to enjoy life and all those things. That’s not the way I see things. I think you have to go and create your life.

And at that point, I had, in 2013, I had three kids already. They were little and I didn’t have any survival and I was having a tough time so I decided to learn about it. A year and a half later, I had a booming Amazon business. I was selling bedsheets on Amazon. It was $600,000 in sales monthly.

A combination of opportunity on a market that was not yet too crowded with me obsessing about understanding how these platforms work and getting good with marketing.

At the same time, I started building my dad’s business which is NaturalSlim, which we have an international business now in nine countries.

But at that point, in 2013, my dad was also in a very tough spot with his business only in one country, which is a very small Island called Puerto Rico that has 2 million people. And it was bankrupt also. Not one person. The Island was bankrupt.

It’s part of the United States, but it was in a very deep, deep financial hole.

So I just applied my observations. I mean, one of the things that I can tell you, Athena, that you’re aware of in the business world:


One of the key ingredients is observation.

You have to be able to observe what’s happening.


Like for example, if I still decide to build my business the way that my grandfather built his business in 1980, I’m going to lose all my money.

Athena: Right.

Manuel: I have to know what’s working today and what’s not working.

Athena: That’s right.

Manuel: You have to observe. And I decided to observe. And doing that, we got my dad in front of a camera. He started doing videos. At that point he was a 63-year-old man thinking that he was crazy because he was talking to the camera to no one.

For about a year, he talked to himself and nobody was paying attention. But then, two years in, content started growing on YouTube. And today, fast forward to 2019 as we are recording this first podcast which is so exciting, we generate 25 million views every single month.

Athena: That’s incredible.

Manuel: Across social media. We’re in nine countries. We’re generating $50 million a year. I have my own Amazon booming businesses. I teach people about using social media platforms and it’s become an obsession of mine to… I’ve always been a talker. I know you are too, right Athena?

Athena: Yeah.

Manuel: We like to talk.

Athena: We do for sure.

Manuel: So for me, it’s been like a natural thing to become a teacher, just because I like more the idea of helping people than making money behind a screen.

Athena: Of course.

Manuel: Even though I know how to make money, I know how to build businesses, I know how to grab an Amazon business from non-existence to make it a booming business producing a lot of money, I still enjoy more the process of teaching others, how to use these platforms.


From Being Broke to Helping

Athena: So tell me a little bit about that transition. So you went from broke to creating your business and helping your dad to achieve success. And then when did the transition happen from you being obsessed with this topic to then helping others to achieve success? When did that happen?

Manuel: That’s a great question. It’s 2019 as we’re recording this right now. My first ever, let me tell you how it happened. One thing that I preach throughout my content is that I don’t talk about something unless I walked it first.

Athena: Right.

Manuel: Firm policy, alright?

I’m not going to teach anybody about a particular subject unless I have myself traveled that road. And now I feel confident that now I can teach it.

Athena: That’s huge.

Manuel: That’s not the same around the world. A lot of people are talking about things they know nothing about. I mean,


You have business consultants that don’t have a business.


Manuel: You know, like it’s a reality, right? I like to travel the path first. I traveled the path for years since 2013. And by 2017 I got so good at building businesses. My dad was already booming. I realized that, oh my god,wait a second. It seems that I’m good at marketing.

Athena: Yeah.

Manuel: I decided to look at myself and realize that what I had – knowledge, my marketing mind was not normal.

Athena: Right.

Manuel: So at that point I had one of my mentors, his name is Ben Cummings.

Ben Cummings – Successful eCommerce Seller and Life-long Entrepreneur

Manuel: I was a student of his and I was a really good student of his. And at some point, I had kept on communicating to him, which again, it’s like, I can tell you that if you want a hot tip for expansion, always over communicate. Communicate a lot.

Athena: And give. You’re such a giver.

Manuel: Give. Give value.

Athena: Yes.

Manuel: Absolutely give value everywhere that you can. I know you too, Athena. You go and you meet with people and you help them. And you connect people to other people and you look at power and then you look at other power and you connect those powers.

That’s what it’s all about.


You’re giving and giving and giving

And by doing that, that is the surest way of one being able to build an empire. So I had this teacher who I kept on giving value to. Hey, look at what I discovered. Hey, check this out. That I would send emails just hoping that one day he would open them. I didn’t know that he was already opening them up.

And one day he reached back out to me in 2017. It was the end of 2016 actually. And he reached out and he said, “Manuel, would you be willing to come and talk to my students on the seminar? We got an event in Las Vegas and I will let you go in for free. I’m not going to pay your plane ticket, but hey, it’s a $10,000 event. I’ll let you go in for free.”

So I said, yes, absolutely. I was so excited about it. At the same time I was very, very scared about it because I hadn’t thought of myself as a speaker at that point, which again is something that I can tell you that every successful entrepreneur along the way has doubted himself many, many times.

Athena: I agree. And I think you, at that moment found a superpower that you possess, that you might not have realized before when you took that room and you started educating them and you had a real impact and you saw that impact.

And I could tell just from the way that you speak to people with so much passion and so much care, that that really is your ability. And it’s absolutely incredible.

Manuel: Totally. I appreciate that Athena. I actually got on stage. For about five seconds, I wondered what the heck I was doing there.

Athena: Yeah. We all feel that way.

Manuel: I seriously considered… Those five seconds felt like 10 minutes. I seriously considered I’m getting off stage. It was only 50 people. I was going to talk two days back to back to 50 people and then to another different 50 people. But I didn’t even know what I was doing there.

I didn’t have the speaker personality that I have right now. I’m a speaker right now. Everybody knows that I’m a speaker. I speak in front of bigger audiences. I’m going to speak in front of 2,500 in two months. Right?

So I’m already like, I mean, it’s still frightening, that’s the reality. But at that point, 50 people was very, very difficult. And I didn’t believe that I had it. I went in there, I delivered a presentation. And then I had a line of people asking me questions afterwards. And I’m like, wow. It seems like I did a good job.

So that just kept on going and I never stopped learning. I have kept on pushing every single step of the way, which I believe that as a teacher, it’s a mandatory thing. A teacher needs to continue educating himself. Otherwise, especially right now in this social media world and this online digital world we can actually go out of actuality very fast and become irrelevant if we don’t pay attention to what’s happening in the changes.


I Am Always Learning

I have an agency right now before 50 staff and a lot of people. So we have a lot of clients, very high expectations. So I’ve got to keep on learning, which for me, it’s a great thing because it keeps me progressing forward.

I know that I have people that expect to get the best so I’m always learning and I’m always learning from my students.

I’m getting power from them. I’m not only flowing power to them. They’re giving back to me quite a bit because I’m always learning things that I should be making sure that I pay attention to along the way

Athena: It makes sense. I actually, on that note, I wanted to ask you a couple of things:

  1. It’s 2019 July. What are a couple of things that you think people should be paying attention to -some different trends.
  2. And then, also, give me a couple of things that you feel hold true consistently that no matter what year it is, that it’s just a couple of things that you think are very valuable lessons that you’ve learned that hold true.

Manuel: Totally. I’m very, very obsessed with opportunities and taking advantage of the things that we’ve been presented with.

I can tell you that a couple of years ago, as I was discovering what are the things that I should talk about and people should take more advantage of, I became a Facebook guru and that became my obsession so much so that I dubbed myself, the Facebook Marketing Ninja.

Athena: Get it, Manuel.

Manuel: There you go. If Facebook stops working next year, I’ll probably rename myself whatever the next platform is. But right now, anybody that has a business, whether you have an eCommerce channel, an Amazon business, you want to generate some leads, you want to get more attention, no matter what, you need to be obsessed about understanding social media platforms. Particularly we’re talking about Facebook, we’re talking about Instagram, and Messenger.

These platforms right here are presenting us with an opportunity to capture attention – unlimited attention – for us to grow our businesses.

An Amazon seller for example, I can tell you that I know you have Amazon sellers that listen to you. An Amazon seller can use social media to get better positioning on their products, on visibility.

Why? Because it feels like 2019 is a year in which we’re going back to the roots of capitalism. What do I mean by that?


Whoever controls the most traffic

wins the game.


Throughout ages since the beginning of business, it was about who can get the most people to walk into their stores. Those are the businesses that grow.

Same thing is happening with social media right now. A platform like Amazon already recognizes the power of social media and how important it is.


They call that

Authority Traffic

Which means that traffic that’s coming from social media is being rewarded by the Amazon algorithm more than anything out there.

Athena: Right.

Manuel: So I’m using my Amazon brands, I’m using social media to get better positioning on Amazon, to get at the same time branding for my brands. So it’s like two birds with one stone. I do branding and I get more visibility by ranking products on Amazon utilizing the power of social media.

So there’s platforms right now that I can tell you that are the cheapest ones to advertise on. And those are Facebook and Instagram. Still today.

Probably for the next couple of years it’s going to continue to be the case as compared to doing YouTube advertising or Google ads, or as compared to your own website.

The best traffic source right now is going to be social media. And I recommend that anybody becomes obsessed about using these platforms because they do present you with an opportunity to capture this traffic so you can grow your business.

And one thing that I’ve been talking about a lot recently is that most people, I can tell you that the main thing that causes consistent communication to be successful for a business is that if you go to a shopping mall, to a hotel, if you go to any party, any family activity, a restaurant, people are generally doing one thing:


These people are

consuming content.

They’re not creating it,

they’re consuming it.


How To win the game?

You become the 1% that’s actually creating it.

Athena: Right.

Manuel: You are using these platforms that our ancestors never had access to. And you’re pressing a couple of buttons that our ancestors were never able to advertise for free, first of all.

Athena: Of course.

Manuel: They had to pay for magazines, radio, newspapers, flyers, promo. They didn’t have any of this stuff. We have access to these platforms. We can press a few buttons. We can reach the masses unlimited.

So a key factor to growing a business is to do abundant traffic, abundant content, videos, Facebook. I know you do a lot of that.

Athena: Yeah.

Manuel: Facebook lives, Instagram posts, stories, Facebook stories.

Actively and obsessively do a lot of that. And that’s going to feed your ecosystem and help you grow your business.

Athena: I love that. Because that’s going to stay consistent no matter what the trends are. You just need to be kind of in the know of what’s happening.

Manuel: Be very alive.

Athena: I love that.

Manuel: Yeah.

Athena: Awesome. Okay. So just last thing. If you could give a message to these guys, like a lot of the people that listen to this, they’re entrepreneurs, you know, some of them are very successful in their journey. Some are beginning their journey.

But if you could just leave them with a bit of a mindset or something that you would love to communicate to them, that you feel will kind of help them with their journey, what would that be?

Manuel: Realize the opportunity that we have in front. That’s the first thing. I do a lot of seminars and my number one goal always, always, always is to help them wake up to the opportunity. Just help them wake up.

Because if you don’t wake up, you cannot live life, right? Every single morning in order for you to go and execute and do your work, if you want to go to the beach, if you want to eat, you have to wake up.

Athena: Right.

Manuel: Nothing in life happens unless you wake up.

Athena: That’s right.

Manuel: So, the first thing that you have to do is wake up to the actual opportunity that has been presented to us and do something about it.

And just like me that I woke up six years ago and I said, ” Oh my god.So you can actually build your own business using Amazon? Wait a second. I didn’t even know that was possible.” I woke up and then I didn’t stop. Because once you wake up, then you systematically learn something new every day and you inevitably grow. It becomes a process.

After you wake up, after you realize what the world is presenting to you, then it becomes a combination of learning and implementation, learning, and implementation. And then if you actually implement something, you’re not always going to be successful. There’s going to be a lot of failures along the way. And that’s something that an entrepreneur has to learn to deal with.

There’s a movie that we all know that has a quote that I use a lot from Rocky Balboa. In one of the films he was giving a speech to his son. He’s talking about how:

It’s not how hard you get hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and stand up and keep going.

Athena: That is so huge, Manuel.

Manuel: And that is entrepreneurship at its best.

Athena: Absolutely. Okay. Well on that note, thank you so much for being on this podcast. We’re going to have him on our podcast more talking about very specific tactics and things, but on this first one, I wanted to give you a perspective of the kind of people that we’re going to be having on this podcast. And I’m just so excited about this journey.

I’m so excited to take all of you along with me on this journey, so you can connect with just absolute brilliant minds. Thank you again, Manuel, my brother. You’re amazing. And look forward to the future guys.

Manuel: Awesome. Thanks for having me. Athena.


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