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Success Story Podcast

Ilya Fedorovich – Founder and CEO of Xeela Fitness | Building a Successful Personal and Company Brand

By April 11, 2023September 24th, 2023No Comments

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About The Guest

Ilya Fedorovich is a comedian and social media personality who gained fame through his YouTube channel, In-Debt, which he started with his friend Dima in 2017. Despite Dima’s departure to pursue a career in Hollywood, Ilya continued to create content for their channel, showcasing his talent for pranks, challenges, and lifestyle videos. His popularity also grew on Instagram and TikTok, and his friendship with YouTube star David Dobrik further elevated his online presence.

Aside from entertaining people, Ilya is also an entrepreneur. He co-founded Fly Plumbing Inc. in 2015 with his friends Brandon Loyfam and Oleg, leveraging his six years of experience in the plumbing industry to provide top-notch services. Although he enjoys social media fame, Ilya values his privacy and keeps his personal life low-key.

Ilya is now exploring the world of podcasting with his close friend Joe Vulpis. Together, they host the Lightweights podcast on Spotify, where they engage their listeners with interesting conversations and topics.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 02:50 — Ilya Fedorovich’s Origin Story
  • 07:49 — Ilya’s Daily Call Volume When Starting Out
  • 09:17 — Building a Winning Sales Mentality
  • 11:35 — Reflections on the Hustle: Would Ilya Fedorovich Do It Again?
  • 14:04 — Lessons Learned About Scaling a Service-Based Business
  • 16:21 — Motivations and Challenges in Scaling the Business
  • 21:54 — Xeela: The Process of Building It from Scratch
  • 28:12 — Expert Advice for Taking Your Product to Market
  • 34:24 — Overcoming Haters and Creating Content
  • 37:10 — Podcast vs. YouTube: Why Ilya Fedorovich Chose the Former
  • 38:18 — From Trading to Restaurant Ownership: A Mindset for Success
  • 41:50 — Ilya Fedorovich on Why He Opened a Restaurant
  • 43:06 — A Step-by-Step Guide to Launching a Restaurant
  • 45:15 — Ilya Fedorovich on the Costs Involved in Opening a Restaurant
  • 47:03 — Earning Back Your Investment: How Long Will It Take?
  • 47:45 — Raising Money vs. Bootstrapping: Ilya Fedorovich’s Experience
  • 50:06 — Ilya’s Advice to His 20-Year-Old Self
  • 52:26 — Ilya Fedorovich on Leveraging Systems for Success
  • 54:35 — What Keeps Ilya Up at Night?
  • 57:09 — The Most Influential Person in Ilya’s Life
  • 58:42 — The Biggest Challenge Ilya Fedorovich Has Ever Faced
  • 1:00:31 — What Does Success Mean to Ilya Fedorovich?

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

business, people, pizza, zillow, money, fuck, started, plumbing, launch, product, netsuite, build, restaurant, shit, podcast, tradesmen, learned, months, side hustle, day

SPEAKERS

Scott D Clary, Ilya Fedorovich

 

Scott D Clary  00:00

Welcome to success story. I’m your host Scott Clary. That success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. Now if you enjoy success story, you’re gonna love some of the other podcasts in the podcast network. One of them are one of my favorite is the hustle Daily Show. It’s hosted by four dynamic hosts, Zachary Crockett Jacob Cohen, Rob litters and Julia Bennett RYLA. Now they speak about a ton of different engaging offbeat business topics tech topics. One of the most recent ones I tuned into was their episode about Amazon pausing HQ to and I can assure you, it’s all informative, but it’s a blast to listen to. They cover a ton of different topics they covered the rising cost of dating, AI news, America’s obsession with air fryers. Trust me you do not want to miss out on this show. It’s a perfect way to keep up on the latest news while enjoying lighthearted, comedic takes entertaining spends on things so please subscribe to the hustle daily wherever you get your podcasts. today. My guest is Ilya Fedorovich. He has over 750,000 followers on Instagram 10s of millions of views on his YouTube channel, and he’s a regular on David dobrik vlogs with 18 million subscribers and over 7 billion views. Ilya is one of the most well known individuals on social media today when he’s not posting on Instagram. He also runs a plumbing company fly plumbing Incorporated, which he grew from zero to seven figures in revenue in two years. He also owns zealot fitness, a startup that provides its customers with the cleanest and best tasting pre workout plant protein and apple cider vinegar supplements. He is a serial entrepreneur. We spoke about his upbringing, we spoke about how he was motivated just to put food on the table when he had to rebuild a plumbing business from the ground up after his family lost everything in the recession. We spoke about some of the tough entrepreneurial lessons that he learned there the importance of sales, the importance of customer service, and how he grinded it out making 100 calls a day to make that business successful. We spoke about how he decided to go into a variety of different products after getting some success and plumbing growing that to over $3 million in revenue per year where he launched Zillow fitness. He launched a podcast it’s monetized he’s dabbled in a couple other things that have just given them some really great life lessons as well as his latest venture which is dough bricks pizza, he speaks about some of the nuances of launching a brick and mortar restaurant and how difficult and chaotic it could be. So let’s jump right into it. This is Ilya Federowicz. He is a social media influencer and serial entrepreneur.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  02:48

Yeah, so I’m originally I’m from Chicago. And out of high school, my plan was to be some sort of entrepreneur, some sort of business owner, because my entire childhood I tried starting businesses, like snowballing businesses and selling headphones or whatever side hustle I can think of. And again, out of high school, I was like, Okay, I want to do something with business, I want to become successful in the business world, whatever it may be. So I went to I went to community college for one semester. And then my best friend and I, David, both dropped out. Second semester, he moved out to California, and I stayed in Chicago. And at the time, my dad, and also at this time at this moment, has a plumbing company, so early on. Unfortunately, it was it was a failing business. And I think we were I think we were like 54 $55,000 in debt. And I remember there being a portrait of our negative balance behind my desk to kind of like motivate us to fucking push and move forward.

 

Scott D Clary  04:07

That’s very motivating, and also fucking demotivating

 

Ilya Fedorovich  04:12

I mean, at the time, we really didn’t have any money and the reason for all that was because in the 2008 recession, my dad had had a very big company very successful. And when all that happened, he was in new construction plumbing, right so after 2008 No one was building anything and everything kind of went to shit and from that moment on, he had a lot of trouble rebuilding what he’s what he’s already attained, right? Because he lost everything. And it’s very difficult to do because it’s lack of morale, you know, it’s it’s it’s a lot of things combines a lot of emotion. And so when you get hit that that hard and almost killed, you know, borderline I mean, like we lost everything lost our house. We can pay for our utilities. I remember this as a little kid, I had to move around a ton. I’m taking the story. Sorry, go ahead.

 

Scott D Clary  05:07

Yeah, no, no, I was gonna say like, like, you’re not like talking about like, okay, so you went from like, you know, 50 million in revenue down to 10 million in revenue. And you had to like furlough, a few people like you, your family got hit hard.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  05:19

Yeah, no, we went from I don’t know what the revenue at the time was, because I was just a kid. But we went from, you know, being pretty well off to zero. I mean, absolute zero. And I know I’m taking the story far right, really far back. But this kind of ties into, into everything that I’m doing now and where I’m at now. So, you know, fast forward to, again, when I graduate, high school, and I dropped out of college, my dad and I have a conversation and we say, okay, you know, we’re not doing so well, obviously, we have no money. Come help me, you know, come help me start a service plumbing business. And, you know, in my mind, I was like, Okay, if this is my opportunity to to attempt to grow something, then I should take it because my other choice was to just stick through school and kind of see what happens. But I took the opportunity. And I joined my dad at the time was just me, my dad and one employee. And we started to we started acquiring customers very, very little by little. And I think the first year of me just cold calling for like, eight months, I mean that I’m not joking every day, just cold calls, because that’s all I could do. Right? I didn’t have any money for marketing. I didn’t have any connections. My dad didn’t have any connections. So we were we were in a pretty shitty situation. But anyways, after after cold calling for about eight months, I managed to acquire a few customers. And I think our first year’s revenue was six or $700,000, roughly. Which is pretty impressive. bad though. Yeah. Being that like, you know, I mean, it’s literally, like 00 experience from me, right? I’m on the phone, not knowing what the fuck I’m talking about. And my only option is to do it, because it’s either that or we won’t have any food. And bear in mind, my dad has a has a language barrier. Because we were all born My dad and I were both born in Belarus. We’re all first generation immigrants. But luckily, I learned to speak English in school, but my dad and my mom still have that language barrier. So it was a lot of me. A lot of me trying to understand how to sell something, learning from my dad translating into English fucking it up. And then, you know, learning more and more as the days went on. So how much

 

Scott D Clary  07:50

how much how many people? Are you calling? How many people are you calling a day like, like, I want to like I want to highlight like the amount of hustle required to take the shit off the ground and the hit 600k In one year in a service business, like what were you doing like day in day out?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  08:01

Oh, man, I just I’m not joking. I just got I just got the shivers from thinking about how many fucking people I called Holy shit, probably 100 100 a day at least. And when I say 100, it doesn’t seem like that much. But if you take into consideration that 100 doesn’t mean just pick up ring hang up, it’s pick up, fucking get to the person, you need to get to speak with them and or leave a voicemail, then you follow up. Like, it’s not just a call, right? It’s a call. And then there’s a procedure after that after every single call, there’s a procedure. So it’s not only about calling, it’s about following through. And so with every call I made sure to follow through. And you know, of those, maybe 2% Maybe 1% called me back. And all of those may be 10% went with us and or try this. So it’s a hustle. Like, you got to understand that most of the time, you’re gonna be told no, and you’re going to be told to fuck off and it’s not going to be pleasant. And yeah, that’s just part of the game. When you don’t have money and you you’re trying to hustle, whether it be cold calling, fucking knocking on people’s doors, meeting people, you’re gonna be told no, a lot, a lot. But you know, when you don’t have an option, and you gotta make money, you got to get down to the grittiness of it.

 

Scott D Clary  09:17

But But dude, like you like, okay, so you, you put in the work. I think that something that’s interesting is like you knew that you had to call people just reach out to people just hustle like crazy. And I feel like when people start a business, they don’t get how much work is involved. So do you think like sales just like is one of the most important things that you could learn as an entrepreneur? And where did you get that mentality from? Like, where did you understand that? If this is it’s just a necessity, I think. But if you could like give advice to young entrepreneurs that are starting out, would sales be like the number one thing that you think people should figure out?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  09:56

Yeah, I think I think when you’re trying to launch a business, it’s sales and customer service. So it’s how it’s not only being able to get to the person you need to get to, but it’s also being being personable, and knowing your product. And at the end of the day, not taking no for an answer, you know, but yeah, I definitely think that that sit, sit, think about sales is it’s interesting. I was never taught sales, right? It’s not like, it’s not a it’s not a YouTube video that I looked up, it’s not something that I read in a book. It’s just, you gotta want it. And I wanted it. And to be honest, I really didn’t have a choice. I was hungry, both physically and mentally. So yeah, you know what I mean? So for me, it was a little bit different, I was put in a situation where I didn’t have an option. But if you, you know, are okay spot. Again, I would say that, being hungry, not taking no for an answer. And just being personable with a customer and really understanding what their needs are, is super important. And also keep in mind, in the plumbing business, I was very lucky, because plumbing is not a want, right? Plumbing is a need. So if I’m talking to somebody on the other line, I’m offering them a service that they’ll at 1.1 110% need. And going into that it’s much easier to sell than a product like a supplement or protein, right where they don’t necessarily need it, because they have 15,000 Different options they can get at any point, but when your water heaters out, or they’re shipping out your toilet, you have to have a reliable person to call. So that’s the difference. You know,

 

Scott D Clary  11:35

do you think do you think I was I, when I hear like how much you hustled it sort of just, it sticks out for me, because I feel like a lot of people that are young in their career in sales in entrepreneurship, they end up getting lazy and they don’t put the work in that is actually required. And I think that one thing that you can learn from your story is how do you if even if you are in a better spot, and you aren’t looking for like the next meal? How do you architect that mindset, that hunger so that you can succeed? Because I feel like when you’re starting out in your career, you don’t want to put in the work. There’s not many people that would jump into a job in a sales job even or starting their own thing and do 100 calls a day, they would try it out, it wouldn’t work, and they’d give up. So I think that that’s something that you should sort of take away from this is the amount of energy and effort that it takes to succeed is absolutely insane when you’re trying to start your own thing. And I think that people sort of gloss over that. And maybe entrepreneurship is a little bit. It’s like sexy, and it’s fun. And the actual energy and hours and time required to succeed at it is not spoken about enough. Like you just said, You got shivers when you thought about how much fucking work you had to do to get this company off the ground? Like question, would you ever do this again? If you know if you didn’t have to do it?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  12:59

Fuck no, no, no, no, never. Yeah, those those days are thank God past me. And there’s Luckily, many different routes that I can take to acquire business now. And instead of cold calling, do I still, you know, hustling grind my way to a new customer? Yes, but it’s a very, very different form, and it’s much less stressful. So no, I would never do it. But sometimes it’s necessary, you know. And it’s, you got to go into it with the mindset of all or nothing. Because if you’re not, if you’re an entrepreneur and you want to start your business, if you know, in your head, that you will succeed, you’re not going to take no for an answer, you’re gonna keep calling until you, you you get what you need, and or you get what you want, then you won’t fail. But if you go into it with like, I’ll try it. If it doesn’t work, you know, whatever, then you’re going to fail, you know, unless you get very, very lucky and people that get lucky usually put in the hard work at the same time. So

 

Scott D Clary  14:04

okay, so you’re so you made 600 In the first year plus minus, how do you scale this out? And as you grew it out? What lessons did you learn about building out a services based business? Why did you not grow this out to a $50 million $100 million organization? What was the lifecycle of the plumbing business?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  14:27

Yeah, so I stayed. My dad and I partnered and we stayed together for I think it was six years, five or six years. And from the first year to the second year, I think we made like 1.8 or two, and then the third year is like 3 million. And we never really we never really went past that. And the reason is, it’s very, very difficult to scale. In a trades business, and the reason is you rely on trades men. Unfortunately, as of right now, there is a huge, huge, huge lack of tradesmen. So, the number one thing to scalability in the trades business, again is tradesmen, when you’re a tradesman, you can’t scale because you don’t have enough people to provide the service. So that was the reason that, that we weren’t able to scale further. Now, if I if I stayed, obviously, I would have figured out a way to do so I would have raised money. And I would have said, Okay, we’re going to post on every single ad, or every single job platform, we’re going to go to career fairs, we’re going to, you know, put a plug in hiring now. $10,000 Bonus, like we would have figured it out. That’s not the problem. The problem is, I was given the opportunity to be able to scale my other businesses and apparently and much quicker. So I saw that I said, Okay, this business is scaled to where it can be as of right now it’s making good money, you know, I can keep doing that. But the opportunity that I have at hand is is going to be able to get a return on my time. Money return on my time much quicker.

 

Scott D Clary  16:22

So when your motive when you when you started this plumbing business, your motivations were literally eat and survive and pay rent. But a couple of years later, motivations changed. So when you started to scale these other businesses, what were those businesses, what were your motivations? And maybe maybe those motivations have carried through today, but what motivated you when you started to go into other avenues.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  16:44

So well my two other avenues right now are Zillow, which is my fitness brand and dovers Pizza, which we haven’t launched yet, but we’re launching hopefully this fall the scalability on those two are different with the product a because a product you don’t require tradesman. Right, skilled tradesmen, I guess that tradesman is like, it’s far and few between. So all you have to have here is money product and marketing. And people in the warehouse, which are much easier to hire than tradesmen. With with the pizza business, it’s a very scalable concept for many reasons. Number one, we don’t have many things on our item number two, my my friend who’s backing it is very well known and, and has a lot of influence. So I’m able to use that to my benefit, right. But I’m sorry, I don’t know if I answered your question. Or if

 

Scott D Clary  17:43

no, it was just like, No, no, you’re you’re cool. Like I get so so you have Okay, so you have the pizza business that you’re going to launch. You have Zillow. I know you have a like a podcast as well. But I meant like what motivates you like what what gets you excited? So yes, scalability, for sure. But there’s like 1,000,001 products that you probably could have taken to market. So when you when you launch Zillow, or when you watch the when you launch the pizza business, like what’s the conversation about like, why are we taking this particular product to market? So when you’re sitting down like, with for the pizza, in particular, you’re talking to David like, why pizza? Like why is that something that you actually want to get behind? Because again, you already have the influence, you can have the money, but there’s a reason why you choose those products you choose those services you take to market like what what is the thing that sort of drives you because you know this better than anyone, if you don’t have that motivation that’s going to carry you through year one, year two, year five year 10. It’s gonna be very difficult, but you have to maintain that. So there’s something that you had in your head, or you were talking about at that table when you first started that sort of pointed you in one direction or the other. And I guess that’s what I’m trying to sort of pull out from you.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  18:46

Yeah, I think this is a two part answer. And the first parts of the answer with Zillow and dove Rick’s with Dove Rick’s we chose pizza specifically. And it motivated us because pizzas are very friendly. And overall known as being a product that makes people happy, right? And I connect that to to David, right. So his videos and his vlogs and whatever he does in his life, make people happy. So I think I connect that with him. And then I also connect the fact that we both love pizza. And it’s just a very, it’s, it’s so it’s such a generic thing to do that. It’s like almost perfect. You know what I mean? Like so that it’s not too specific. It’s like, okay, pizza, anybody can fucking do pizza. But we’re gonna do it the best, you know, we’re going to do the best. And we’re also going to connect again, a person that has a huge following. So people know about this pizza. And this pizza can make them happy and it sounds cheesy. But that’s really what it is like, whenever someone steps into our restaurant, into our pizzeria. I want people to walk out happier than they walked in. And I know that we’ll achieve that by the product that we’ve made by the experience that will provide them

 

Scott D Clary  20:01

That’s a dope ass motivation, man. That’s, that’s good. That’s very good. There’s not like it doesn’t have to be like complex and confusing. It’s just like what gets people excited? Like, that’s, that’s perfect. So I’m assuming, like on the on the zoo. Yeah. I’m sorry. I’m gonna say on the fitness side.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  20:16

Yes. Yeah, so on the fitness side, as weird as it sounds, I love pizza and I love fitness. Right? So I was like, fuck it, I’m gonna do both, you know, I don’t see why not I love I love taking good supplements, I love taking things that I know, are, don’t contain lead, for example, don’t have toxins in them don’t have shit. You know, most products do have. And so I decided to do that because I am the number one sitting the number one passionate fitness person out there like 100%. And so yeah, but I was like, I’m gonna make my own product. Again, I’m gonna make it the best I possibly can. And I’m also gonna challenge myself because my product is plant based, my protein is plant based. Yeah, most plant based proteins are not that good. I’m sure you know. And they’re not that good because of the greediness or the texture, the flavor, or combination of all of them. And so I found a luckily have a very, very good manufacturer that can provide me a very good product. And I went with it, I was like this is this is the best protein I’ve tasted on the market, including plant and whey. And I truly firmly do believe that my motivator for that was getting clean, healthy and tasty protein out to the public, which in turn, makes people happy.

 

Scott D Clary  21:54

When you when you launch these products, we can we can pick up the love for to start, you already have an audience. And I actually think it’s really interesting, you probably have a lot of because you’ve lived it. And you’ve seen the power of personal brand and social and using that as this huge kickoff point for a product. But we can go into that in a second. I just want to understand like the entrepreneurial, taking a product off the ground from scratch. That’s a true product. So then not just like a service or a trade. So when you launched Zillow, what are the different things that you have to think about? Are you going like E commerce? Are you going direct to consumer? Are you going on Amazon? How do you source out the actual manufacturer to make sure that they’re actually delivering a quality product, like walk somebody through the process of what you did when you started obviously, like you can go into like the really the nitty gritty like the granular because there’s a lot of people that are trying to launch different things as side hustles. Like now, it’s not so difficult to find a manufacturer or to drop ship a product. But I mean, to do it successfully is not easy. And I mean, you already have to find the quality product, you have to find some sort of marketing engine, which you have. But then you have to build the website, you have to maybe figure out distribution and to retail. So all these different things are all hurdles, but I mean, you’re figuring it out. And where is the law at right now? And how did you figure it out? Like from the ground up?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  23:19

Yeah, so originally, I had requested samples from about 10 Different plants 10 for manufacturing plants, I tasted all of them. And to be honest, I didn’t like any of them. So then I got connected with a gentleman named Sean Sean my partner currently, and he is a protein specialist, let’s just call him that. I was very lucky to be connected with him. He is the one that handles the recipe for formulation, the manufacturing, the packaging, everything, He has connections for all of that. And he was again introduced me by by another friend of mine. And so after, after I decided that I didn’t like any of these other proteins. I went with him. And he he currently does his own protein supplement line. But it’s it’s a very, very different market that he has, you know versus what I have. So there’s no conflict of interest. And for people that are wondering again, like why why would he do that? The people he serves are very different from the people that I serve. So I went with him. We figured okay, we probably shouldn’t be focusing on spending marketing dollars at first being met. I do have a following my friends have a following and we can utilize that. So that’s what we decided to do off the bat. And I think in the next two to three months we’ll be utilizing paid media and moving into Amazon. And the only reason we’re doing that is because now we understand what power we have and how much power we have. What the ratio? What the ratio of the power versus power and influence versus how much money we can make. So, yeah.

 

Scott D Clary  25:20

Okay, so Okay, so when you that makes a lot of sense. And you went direct to consumer, first, you’re gonna go into Amazon, are you going to try and do retail distribution as well? Are you just basically focusing on like all direct to consumer right now,

 

Ilya Fedorovich  25:34

I would love to do retail. The problem with retail is that you obviously sell wholesale to retail. And you know, I’m selling a product that 30% 40% less. So it doesn’t really make sense right now. If I had the opportunity at hand for a big box retailer to come in and give me a really good offer, on my terms, I would do so but I just don’t have that leverage right now. To make a good deal, so when I do have the leverage, definitely, I think if I were you,

 

Scott D Clary  26:09

I was gonna say how do you not have the leverage yet? Because like, I feel like if you shot and I’m just spitballing now, like, take the market business ideas. But like, if you had like, if you shot this around to retailers, and you said, Hey, listen, I’m going to put this product in your store. And then look at we’re gonna do this huge marketing push, and you’re going to be seen by like, 3 million, 4 million, 5 million people because you have that immediate exposure. Do you think that would like put negotiating terms in your favorite?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  26:39

It would, the problem is I don’t have three to four or 5 million people seeing this. You know, David, again, my partner in Andover X pizza. He helps me you know, push Zillow, I push it myself. I have friends push it. But at the end of the day, the influence is solely based on me and my my audience is not three, four or 5 million people could it can get their own point, you know, based on our our socials or Tik Tok and our Instagram. Yeah, but we just don’t have, we’re really new, we don’t have that power quite yet. A person that was able to do that very successfully was Logan, Paul and prime. Now, obviously, you know, he’s much bigger than I am. So he can pull that off. And, and I can’t I just I don’t feel confident in doing it. Now, that’s not to say that I can’t get into retailers. I just don’t think that they would take me as seriously. Right now as they would in a year or two, where I come in, and I really show some big numbers. And I say, Look, we’re fucking big. You know what I mean? Like this? Are these are our terms? Yeah. And if I were to do something right now, I would really just be a flex, because it’s cool to be, you know, in a Walmart or if again, 711, or whatever the case is, I think it’s cool to do that. But on the it doesn’t help your bottom line, you know, on the money side, it doesn’t really help.

 

Scott D Clary  28:13

No, okay. So as you as you go direct consumer, obviously you leverage like paid you have your own, you have your own audience you go into when you were when you think about like the way that you’ve built your own brand, because that’s something that I think you can also teach people, I think it’s very useful, right? The ability to create a following the ability to create content that resonates like you’ve worked with, with, with David who has an enormous brand. I mean, you have a big ass brand yourself. It’s not like you have nobody following you. So if you had an entrepreneur that’s looking take a product to market? What advice or how, how would you suggest they start to build a personal brand, because we’re already going to be on the same page about, you have to have a personal brand. To some extent, I think it’s very, I think it’s very important, as opposed to just building a company brand. You have a product and you have a CEO or founder that puts yourself out there and they they’re not just an invisible Founder CEO, I think that it makes a huge difference in the company. So when you look at how David built his channel, when you look at how you built your channel, your content, your Instagram, following your tick tock, what are the things that hit home because you’ve obviously you have like some sort of formula that works? I mean, you see it, you see it with your friends. So somebody’s trying to figure it out for the first time. Where did they start?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  29:32

I think the number one thing, the number one thing is authenticity. I think being authentic, being yourself, and truly like truly taking a step back and asking yourself did I love that? Do I love what I’m doing in this post video story? Whatever the fuck it is. I think that’s the number one that’s key. And whether you’re goofy or whether you’re super intelligent and upright, whatever your brand is, is what your brand is. And not everyone’s gonna like it. And that’s just what it is. So I think that if you’re authentic, authentic to yourself, people will will see that and if you’re bullshitting people will see right through that and that’s when it doesn’t work. When people are like, Okay, I don’t know how I feel about this, like even even the screen it’s really weird. People tell people can tell you know what I mean, when you’re not being authentic people can tell.

 

Scott D Clary  30:28

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Ilya Fedorovich  35:24

people resonate with you more. Like when you’re when you’re not authentic, people don’t see you for what you are. So they can’t really connect with you. Right? It’s hard to connect with somebody that has a fucking wall in front of them.

 

Scott D Clary  35:37

Did you like when you first started creating content? I mean, like, I feel like people put up a wall because they’re stressed, because they’re stressed and they’re nervous. And yeah, you have this you have this like thing you know, this voice in your head telling you people are going to perceive me a certain way. And you know, I don’t want them to think that I’m full of shit. I don’t want to think I’m stupid or I don’t want you know, my boss to think that I’m acting like a clown on on social. So you, you put up this like facade. But when you first started, how did you get over that? Because obviously everybody has that stress when they first record their first video or they first put out their first post seriously?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  36:17

Yeah, so I’m in a I’m in a very interesting situation. Because my followers my following mostly was given to me. And by given I mean, like literally handed over to me. How was handover was I was in David’s videos. I was in David’s posts, and obviously he’s one of the biggest influencers in the world. So when they see him and they see me with him, they go follow me. So again, I was I’m in a very, very rare situation where I’ve, I’ve attained these followers through a handout, essentially, I didn’t necessarily earn these followers now. It’s interesting because with Zillow, right, and my Instagram page on Zillow, like those followers I consider earned. And the reason is, because there’s work behind that brand. My personal brand, my personal Instagram, for example, I don’t, I didn’t give a fuck about. And I was just kind of like, I’m gonna post shit that I think is funny, you know, simple as that. And I hopefully people liking if they don’t, whatever, but I thought what I posted was cool. People thought it was cool. And that was kind of that there was never there was never a moment where I had a wall in front of me. I was always open. I was always like, I fuck it. These these followers are following me and then I might as well have fun.

 

Scott D Clary  37:41

Do you get like at the level? Like the David’s that obviously he gets some of it, but I’m sure you get some of it too. Like, do you get like a ton of hate with the shit that you post? Or, like at that level where you see like, like millions of people see you. Like what does that come with?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  37:58

Ah, I mean, it depends. I try to keep things pretty neutral because I just don’t think that going on the offensive and or making a statement that allows someone to

 

Scott D Clary  38:15

necessarily are polarizing statements and whatnot. Yeah,

 

Ilya Fedorovich  38:18

yeah, cuz the thing is about social media. It’s like it’s like, it’s so it’s so fake isn’t the word I mean, it is fake. But fake is the word it’s very toxic. It’s very very toxic. Yeah. And you know, it’s just it’s even hard to talk about because there’s so much nuance there’s so much bullshit that goes on that like you know, yeah, sometimes you will get hate and if you know someone’s listening and

 

Scott D Clary  38:51

they’re basically you don’t you don’t let that affects you basically like you you have this you have some sort of thick skin or

 

Ilya Fedorovich  38:58

no I don’t let it affect me because I don’t I really anything like that. I don’t let it affect me if there’s if there’s a comment that is constructive criticism. Totally. Totally. I’ll take that any day. I’ll take that plug in seven I’d rather know what I’m doing bad and what I’m doing good but when it when it’s like hey, like pay hate like that. I don’t pay attention to that. It’s just like it takes up way too much of your of your of your headspace way too much. mindshare? Yeah. Oh, you definitely have to let those people go. And you know, it is what it is. Again, not everyone’s gonna like you, you know. And that just is what it is and the people that fuck with you fuck with you. And if the people don’t fuck with you, then you know whatever. Go find go look at somebody else. No one’s forcing you to fucking look at my my story or my video or my advice. There’s tons of other people out there. Go ahead.

 

Scott D Clary  39:50

90% No, I think I think it’s a healthy way to look at it. I just sort of, I want to bring this I want to bring this out because when people do put themselves out there like we’re trying to like a limit. They all the fears they could have about putting themselves on social and when again, you know, you don’t have 5 million people or 10 million people that follow your every move, but you have like millions and you’ve been exposed to that. So you just have to be in the right headspace going into it and build your tribe because again, if people if everybody likes you, you’re probably not doing something right anyways. I mean, you whatever you build, somebody will hate it no matter what. Okay, so you’re building Zillow. You also have a podcast, what is your like, and you also trade and then you’re doing the pizza thing. So you have like, you like do a lot of shit. So you have so what, why, why podcasts? What was that for you? Why did you for example, not go and try and build something like a massive YouTube channel based on just pure vlogs? Like, what was the podcast play?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  40:52

So I just like podcasting, I like talking to my friends. I like sharing information. I like sharing stories. And that’s pretty much it. There was no specific intent behind it. I just I like telling stories. I like making people laugh. You know? So that’s kind of the story behind why I even do the podcast.

 

Scott D Clary  41:14

And as a as an entrepreneur, like how you’ve built your your life and your business. Now you have several streams of income, right? So you have your I’m assuming Zillow is revenue generating, you still have plumbing to an extent? Podcast? Do you make money off that as well? Yes, we do. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay, so then and also, I was listening to some other shows you’re on and you also trade so you do a ton of shit. When you when you learned how to trade? What was your mindset process strategy for that? Why would you not just stop mining some index funds and and stop stressing yourself out? Well, I

 

Ilya Fedorovich  41:54

do now I don’t trade. I don’t do I don’t actively trade anymore? I don’t I don’t date trade I used to maybe three years went on, were you? Yeah, I just wanted to try it. I think it was just one of those moments where, I don’t know, maybe I saw a movie or read a book. And I was like, fuck, man, this seems like a rush. This seems like fun. And I tried it. And it was, it was definitely a roller coaster of emotion. But I don’t know, no, no, I didn’t make really any money on trading. It was was just more of a learning. But but the thing is like, with that I learned about the stock market. Through trading, I learned about this, I learned a lot of terminology. I learned a lot about a lot of people. And so it was definitely worth it. But I would never I don’t think I would do it again. It it’s very, it’s just not for me. It’s for some people, but it’s not for me.

 

Scott D Clary  42:55

I think it just seems like your personality, just like throw yourself into something and then figure it out and learn from that, then you leverage that for like future life experiences, which is like the ultimate entrepreneurship mindset. But it’s also like, it’s very useful, because now you go into something you try, maybe succeed, maybe fail, whatever. But I mean, like, you have that shit forever. Like, I wish more people would just throw themselves into shit and start shit. So that that experience is like a learning experience at the end of the day, right? Like, that’s all that is.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  43:23

Yeah, it’s interesting, because people give me shit actually, for like trying so many new things. Like, oh, Ilya is doing this today. He’s doing this today. But it’s like, I’m just, I’m just trying to continuously learn and evolve as a human. So I just have these tools in my toolbox, you know, and I may not be the best at these new things that I’m taking on. But I think I can learn a thing or two. And once you put all that together, then you have, like I said, a pretty good, a pretty good toolbox that you can pull certain things out of.

 

Scott D Clary  43:57

I think that’s an incredible way to like approach life. It’s very smart. And then last thing I didn’t go into yet, which I actually think is very interesting, because I know a lot of people and I’ve spoken to a lot of entrepreneurs that have launched, like CPG ecommerce, direct consumer brands, obviously, I know people have launched a lot of podcasts. I know people in finance a trade. I don’t know anybody that’s ever started a pizza company from scratch. That’s like, net new to me completely new. So when you start a pizza company, yeah, I mean, I don’t know anybody who’s like done like brick and mortar anything. Actually funny enough. It’s like not not uncommon. It’s,

 

Ilya Fedorovich  44:33

it’s fucking crazy. It’s fucking I have no doubt. The amount of oh my god, the amount of stuff that goes into starting a restaurant is phenomenal. It’s fun. It’s phenomenal, man. And I’m gonna tell you right now, if you’re gonna start a restaurant business, that should be your only focus unless you have someone that has done it before. or that has opened a restaurant and I can do it for you. Because it’s a lot of time. It’s a lot of time. It’s a lot a lot, a lot of time.

 

Scott D Clary  45:09

Why did you why did you want to open a restaurant as opposed to like the Mr. Beast model? Where you just did? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  45:24

Goes kitchens work. I don’t know how how well they work over time, though. Because I’m not trying to my try to have a cash grab business, right. It’s not an overnight success story. I’m trying to build a brand. How you build a brand is through customer service, and experience, right? You’re not gonna get much experience when you order through a ghost kitchen. You’re just not it’s, it’s coming from a fucking Arby’s. You know what I mean? You go pick up your food. And it’s like, it’s not even the restaurant. But it says, like, so. That being said, I want people to really understand that don’t bricks, pizza is not just this fluke, that is here one day gone. Another this is this is a business and a brand that I’m trying to spread nationwide, I’m trying to build as big as possible. And again, the way to do that is by having physical locations where you can step into the storm physically feel what the brand is about, not just ordering on an app, getting it and then forgetting about it.

 

Scott D Clary  46:25

So when you do this, you got to figure out like, You got to figure out first of all your recipe, but then you have to figure out leases, you have to like you have to figure out cooks, like I’m sure there’s like health and safety like I’m Dude, that’s, that’s a lot of work. That’s a lot of work. So what So what did you Okay, so how many locations? Are you? I don’t know what’s public or not, you can tell me to shut up if I’m asking stuff that like he’s not public. But how many locations? Are you launching? Like, what was the process of figuring this shit out? Like, obviously, I’m, did you figure this out yourself? With David, did you hire people? Like I want to understand if I wanted to launch? Maybe somebody’s listening to this, and they don’t just want to launch like another software business? Maybe someone’s like, Oh, I really wanted to do that. What are the steps to launch a brick and mortar restaurant location?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  47:09

So number one, find a partner that’s done it before. And when I say partner, I mean someone, someone that sits on your board, or is just an advisor. So it’s not necessarily someone that does the day to day or does your job for you, but someone that you can reach out to with a single text or, or call and say, Hey, what do I do in this situation? Hey, can you help me with this? That is extremely important. I highly do not recommend you going into any, any business or any entity or any business or excuse me over or any journey without, without someone that has done it before. So that’s number one. We are launching with one location. And I want to I have I have a number in my head. It’s I’ve said it before, but I want to have 1000 locations of Durbridge pizza. I think there’s not a specific reason as to why just think the number sounds good.

 

Scott D Clary  48:11

And I think it’s not it’s not it’s not a bad number. Good. Yeah,

 

Ilya Fedorovich  48:15

not a bad number. And I think at that point, I would feel that we’ve achieved a nice level of success. If we were to have 1000 locations, obviously, that’s, you know, down the line. But that’s, that’s my goal. And I will achieve that goal. It’s just a matter of how long it takes me.

 

Scott D Clary  48:34

Can you can you go into as specific as you feel comfortable? Like the financials about setting up a restaurant? Like how much does it cost to get one of these open, what’s like the payback period. All the all like the nitty gritty, because that’s very interesting to me. I’m sure the costs are insane.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  48:50

So it depends on where you have your location, our location is in a very marquee spot, meaning it’s kind of centered at the center of everything. The closer you get to the center of everything, the more expensive it’s going to be. Now it’s in that case, it’s kind of more money spent, the more money you get back because you get more people more traffic, more eyes, etc. If you’re opening a restaurant in a, you know, kind of more of a low key area, I would I would anticipate you to spend anywhere between 250 to $500,000. If you’re in a more marquee location, anywhere between 500 to a million and that depends also depends on the square footage. So if you’re over 1000 square feet, I would probably multiply that number by about one and a half. If you’re over 2000 I would probably double that number.

 

Scott D Clary  49:51

And then is that just the the cost to get or is that including like the lease and everything like that?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  49:58

So that is Is construction, architectural fees, okay, design, recipe formulation, that’s everything. But that does not include the lease. Typically on a lease on a restaurant lease, you either get ti money, which is tenant improvement money, or you get a certain amount of months for free to be able to do the build out.

 

Scott D Clary  50:19

Okay, gotcha, gotcha. And then what are you forecasting for your like? How long will it take you to make your initial investment back? Are you expecting one year? Five years, six months? What does it look like?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  50:31

So we’re anticipating between six to eight months to make our investment back. That’s not bad. Yeah, not bad. And I mean, not the thing is, again, it’s just it’s there’s so many different variables that go into is how much money you’re spending on marketing, what you start with, who’s back into you, what your what location you’re at? What do you have on your menu? There’s so so many different things that go into into that question, but yeah, ours is roughly six to eight months.

 

Scott D Clary  51:03

And then you just copy you copy and paste that strategy again. And again, when you when you started this, you said you had the board, or you said you you found somebody or you want somebody on your board that is sort of done this before. Or you would suggest that somebody would find that person if they were going to go into this and start something new start a restaurant or any startup in particular, when you do this, do you go and raise money? Or do you just bootstrap it yourself?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  51:27

So this was self funded, this first concept was self funded. And the reason we did that is because we want to prove to people what we can offer. So if I were to come to an investor right now and say, hey, I want $500,000, obviously, we’re not we’re nobody, we’re not worth anything. But when our business is generating, for example, $5 million dollars, now we have again, leverage, and it’s not going to be the same, the same deal. So I want to I want to do a couple locations first, and then and then raise money and then franchise that’s kind of the, the the plan.

 

Scott D Clary  52:03

You know, what I respect I respect how you look at entrepreneurship, because like, you’re you’re very, you’re very grounded, like you, you said this a few times where you like, show the results before you try and scale, which is the way that you should do it. But I mean, I know a handful of people that would just go and raise money before the first location even goes up, because they don’t want to put their own money into it. So it’s a respect. Yeah, it’s an interesting, I don’t know, just interesting, because you even mentioned that with I don’t want to go into I don’t want to go into you know, retail until we prove out sales. I don’t want to raise money from an investor until we actually show sales. So it’s just an interesting, it’s your personality. That’s it.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  52:45

All right. Our slogan for Zillow is show don’t tell. So you’re exactly right.

 

Scott D Clary  52:52

That’s good. Okay. All right. I want to go into like some rapid fire to pull out like some insights from your life and your career. Is there anything else that we didn’t go into that you want to chat about? Anything to do with? I think we went through most of the projects you’re working on some advice from, from your lessons, building out those projects, but anything else that you wanted to, to leave with?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  53:16

No, I think I think we got it. We touched on everything.

 

Scott D Clary  53:22

Cool. Okay. So, if you wanted to, if you wanted to give advice to your 20 year old self, what would you what would you tell them?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  53:33

Man, I give a lot of advice to my to my 20 year old self. And we think what’s one? build better systems. I would say, build, build. Okay, so I’ll explain. I think that in my very early 20s, I somehow found out what I know now. I would have been in a very, very different situation and position. So there’s a there’s a book that I read and basically, I’ve read it a while ago, but it talks about building million dollar systems and making everything autonomous. Now there’s different ways to do it. But the basis of it is building procedures that basically say, if this person leaves or if I leave, it can be taken over by somebody else, automatically. Right. Whereas in my early 20s, most of what happened was, if someone left and or I wasn’t able to do something, we were shit out of luck. So, I think that’s so, so crucial is having your team and having you be very, very easily replaceable. And also, you’re not having to worry about is this certain tasks gotta get done, if I’m not there. I think that’s so, so, so crucial. And it, it saves a ton of time and makes your business in your life much more efficient. And actually, honestly, I wish I knew that before, you know, I turned 24 or 25?

 

Scott D Clary  55:46

Did you build systems with people or with processes? Or with automations? What was your biggest lever that you pulled for that?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  55:54

I build systems with people and with processes. I’m still actually working on perfecting that I haven’t. I haven’t done what I need to do just yet. But um, you know, I think it’s a it’s a constant thing that you have to work on, you have to understand where your weak points are. What’s taking up most of your time, what’s annoying to you that can be automated. But yeah, it’s, I think, until I’m maybe 40, I’ll probably be working on it even maybe for the rest of my life. You know, I think, I think it’s,

 

Scott D Clary  56:31

I think it’s I think it’s whenever I think it’s whenever you start something like I mean, like you’re a serial entrepreneur, you’re gonna be building shit for the rest of your life. It’s just your personality. I feel like even if you have 1000 pizza place, I mean, you can retire whenever you want. But I don’t feel like you’re the personality there’s going to be okay, just sitting at home. I know a lot of entrepreneurs that have an exit event, they really don’t ever have to work again. And they’re like, itching to start something new in like six months after they just got the wire from, you know what I mean? Like that. I think that it’s a it’s a forever thing. But when you can do it again and again. And again, when you understand like, Hey, listen, I’m starting to think from the ground up. I have to figure out these processes. These people you start that implementation from day one, so that it isn’t hell in like a year from now like you automatically the way you go into starting something new is even this restaurant, right? Even this pizza place, even even dopers pizza, when you start this, you’re thinking, okay, like, if I’m going to franchise this out, like everything that I’m learning right now, I have to find somebody or a team of people that will eventually be able to copy and paste this, this exact process again, and again and again. So that’s, you’re already thinking, you’re already thinking, How do I build a process for this so that I can, you know, copy, paste it? That’s a good lesson. No one’s ever brought that up. That’s a really, really good lesson. That’s a very, very smart lesson. Okay. What keeps you up at night now? stresses you out? Oh.

 

 

Ilya Fedorovich  58:06

You know, I’ll be honest, what keeps me up at night is where I’m not where I wanted to be. When I was 20. So I’m very far from where you want it to be? No, I’m not where I want it to be. I want it to be at a point where my family and my friends are kind of taken care of. And by that I mean, I, I wanted my mom and my dad at this point to not be working a single day, in their life anymore. They’ve really, really taken care of me. And I wanted to repay that favor at an earlier age. But unfortunately, I was not able to do that. And that’s my own air my own fault. And I’m, you know, working, working at that every single day. But I think that’s the one thing that really just I think about all the time where I’m like, fuck, I really, really I have to my parents, my family, my close ones that, you know, truly love me, I have to take care of them as soon as possible. And that’s kind of what I that’s kind of what I worked for. That’s kind of what I live for.

 

Scott D Clary  59:11

And like, that was the answer to the first question. That was the motivation question, Dude, that was it. That’s like, that’s like, yeah, pizza makes people happy. But like, fuck that, like, take care of your family. Like that’s like really? What’s gonna drive you right?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  59:24

Yeah, no, totally. I mean, that’s what it is. And yes, essentially, I should have I should have asked her like that. But yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s taken care of my loved ones. You know, I that’s that’s what I live for. That’s where I work for.

 

Scott D Clary  59:36

I love that man. And that’ll that’ll carry through. Like, I think what I was trying to allude to before is like, yeah, you can you can have a lot of passion for something but man like passion dies after a while, like passionate passion. Passion dies when things are hard and then like passion seems and motivation seems to come back when you’re making a shit ton of money. Like if you make a shit ton of money. It’s something you’ll be motivated you’ll be passionate for, but it’s like that period in between starting it and not making money, where it’s like, alright, I don’t know how fuckin motivated I am to like work 14 hour days and still like worry about right like that’s that’s the thing where I’m doing this provide for my family is really going to like push you through I mean like you’re not at that stage now but I’m talking about somebody that is like very early just starting on doesn’t have extra money coming in from other things. That’s what you actually have to sort of tap into. Totally, yeah. Okay. What else what else we got for you? Who’s, who’s a mentor or somebody that’s taught you something in your life? And what did they teach you?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  1:00:44

I mean, I don’t think I have, I don’t think I have one specific mentor, where I really look towards I think throughout my life, there have been different people that have inspired me and motivated me, one of which was Timothy Sykes, and Timothy Sykes. And Rob, you know, he’s a, he’s a dirty trader. Yeah. And I don’t know, his, his attitude to me is so interesting. And I really, I really respect people that say, I don’t give a fuck what you think, you know, I mean, in the most, in the most respectful way possible. It’s like, you know, I don’t think I would ever I would ever say that. But I really respect people that do. And I don’t know, I just think there’s, there’s something about it. But anyways, no Timothy’s like just, it’s like

 

 

Scott D Clary  1:01:34

the radical candor. It’s like the pure, it’s like the pure honesty, like, Whatever, whatever the fuck is on your mind. Like it’s love for you. But it’s just like, like very candid, ruthless love. Like, that’s really what it is.

 

Ilya Fedorovich  1:01:48

Yeah, I think that’s, that’s what he taught me. Right is I obviously he taught me how to Penny trade, but his attitude and the way he went about things, which is very different. I really love that.

 

Scott D Clary  1:02:00

Very cool. What was the biggest challenge you overcame in your life?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  1:02:20

Biggest challenge I overcame in my life. I have been a lot of them for sure. I don’t know if this is the biggest challenge. But this is it’s interesting. This is probably my biggest motivator. And maybe this will help answer the question. But when, when I had started the plumbing business with my dad. The challenge obviously was to obtain sales to get money and to grow. And at the time, my girlfriend broke up with me. And I was pretty fucking distraught and heartbroken. So I use that energy, I’m sure you see it on, like, tick tock all the time, where it’s like, you know, girlfriends break up with their boyfriends and their boyfriends or at the gym going hard. And like using that, that energy. On the left, that was kind of me. With my plumbing business, my biggest motivator at the time. And like, I guess it was the biggest challenge for me to overcome was the fact that my girlfriend had not dealt me we had no money and I had this fucking whole business I had to bring up but I use that as my biggest motivator, I put my head down and I push through it, you know? So

 

Scott D Clary  1:03:47

that’s, that’s, that’s not easy. Okay, last question. Last question, what does success mean to you?

 

Ilya Fedorovich  1:03:57

Success to me means achieving what your, your ultimate goal is. And I know that’s very vague. But, you know, my goal is very different from what your goal is. And if your goal is to do one restaurant or two restaurants and you’ve successfully achieved that, and you think that you did the best that you could, then that’s success, right? My success is 1000 restaurants. Why? Because I just think 1000 is what my goal is. That’s that’s my challenge. So I think that once you get past the challenge that you’ve put towards yourself, I think that’s the successes

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