KhaazRa MaaRanu is the co-founder of Electronic Commerce, now a Full Service Payment Provider that helps thousands of entrepreneurs grow and scale their business to unlimited processing.
Electronic Commerce – For a limited time you can sign up for a 15 minute call to compare credit card transaction and processing fees!
3 Value Bombs
1) Understand that there’s someone out there who wants to build a long-term relationship with you. They want to help you grow your business, and be in business for the long haul — one way to do that is by knowing your numbers.
2) One of the most important things for any entrepreneur is to know the 5 cash flow secrets. One of them is knowing your numbers. If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.
3) As a full payment service provider, KhaazRa’s team knows what they need to do in order to really serve their clients properly: be in control of the actual underwriting, risk, funding, and the tech.
Electronic Commerce: For a limited time only you can sign up for a 15 minute call to compare credit card transaction and processing fees with someone from the Electronic Commerce team! Visit ECPaymentProcessing.com!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How to Grow and Scale to Unlimited Processing.
[1:23] – KhaazRa shares something interesting about himself that most people don’t know.
- He’s really a fun guy, does things spontaneously, travels at a drop of a dime, and will do anything and everything at least one time.
[2:30] – KhaazRa shares his entrepreneurial journey and what got him to where he is today.
- He went online and found a position in a 100% commission-based sales job.
- He sold products and services that he didn’t really understand himself. He was selling merchant programs. He left that company and went to another company that was creating money out of thin air.
[7:35] – KhaazRa started his own program and partnered with the largest processing platform in the United States.
- Through this venture, he realized that tons of clients are being overcharged on different programs. That’s when he decide to start a full-scale service payment provider.
[10:51] – What is a full service payment provider for entrepreneurs?
- It makes it easier to scale online.
- Cash flow is king for your business. If your funds are being held, you can’t talk to the first, nor the second company because there’s another company who controls the underwriting and risks.
- There’s only a handful of full-service providers in the country.
- As a full payment service provider, KhaazRa and his team know what they need to do in order to really serve their clients properly: be in control of the actual underwriting, risk, funding, and the tech.
[17:37] – What are the differentiators KhaazRa and his team have that other merchant providers don’t?
- As a full service provider, they can handle every step of the process.
- They go through your entire website, your offers, your products, and they make sure that you’re “card brand compliant”.
- When you scale really fast, sometimes your chargebacks scale right along with it.
- They set you up with a chargeback mitigation program, with fraud mitigation, and they make sure that when you have huge sales for one day, that’s not a result of somebody doing something illegal.
- We have to protect the card holder, that is our responsibility. But we also want to protect the business owner to help them grow their business.
[22:10] – Why did KhaazRa launch his business?
- He doesn’t want to be the kind of guy who brings a client on board, and then runs and hides from them when he sees them in a grocery store just because he did something unethical.
- He wants to offer a program, make promises to a client, and provide value before, during, and afterwards.
[26:05] – KhaazRa’s key takeaway and call to action for Fire Nation.
- Understand that there’s someone out there who wants to build a long-term relationship with you. They want to help you grow your business, and be in business for the long haul — one way to do that is by knowing your numbers.
- One of the most important things for any entrepreneur is to know the 5 cash flow secrets. One of them is knowing your numbers. If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.
- Electronic Commerce – For a limited time you can sign up for a 15 minute call to compare credit card transaction and processing fees!
John: Who’s ready to rock today, Fire Nation? JLD here with an audio masterclass on how to grow and scale with unlimited processing. To drop these divebombs, I have brought KhaazRa MaaRanu on the mic. He is the cofounder of Electronic Commerce, which is now a full-service payment provider that helps thousands of entrepreneurs grow and scale their business to unlimited processing.
And today, Fire Nation, we’ll be talking about what the heck a full-service payment provider is, and why it’s important to the success of you and your business, why offering unique advantages to your customers is critical, and what KhaazRa did to get initial traction, and so much more, Fire Nation, when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
KhaazRa, say ‘What’s up?’ to Fire Nation, and share something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.
KhaazRa: Fire Nation, hello, and how are you doing? So glad to be here, John. One interesting thing about me is that I’m really a fun guy. I just love doing things spontaneously. I’ll travel at the drop of a dime. I’ll do anything and everything at least one time.
John: Fire Nation, where’s that spontaneity? Like you can’t blame COVID forever. You still have to be spontaneous from time to time. And I think that that is something that KhaazRa definitely has in spades. We’ve been communicating over the past few weeks. I feel like you’re just always traveling, KhaazRa.
KhaazRa: You know, I used to travel a lot more before this whole pandemic thing, so that bug is absolutely there. I’m like you, I love the tropical vibes, I love to be in beautiful places. I love serenity. I love peace. I love beautiful landscapes. So, yeah, absolutely.
John: I love it, Brother. And I also personally love your entrepreneurial journey, but I wanna share with Fire Nation now, so talk to us about your entrepreneurial journey to get you to where you are today.
KhaazRa: Sure. So, it started off many years ago. We’ve been around for maybe 12, maybe 13 years now timewise, John. And I started as a door-to-door sales rep. Right? I was working at a elementary school in Orlando, Florida. And working my tail off to get to like $28,000.00 a year. Two weeks’ vacation, that whole thing; 7:30 to 3:30, or whatever time I got off of work. And I wanted to do something that gave me more time.
I really, I said, you know, I need to do something that gives me more time. And I worker harder, so can I do something that doesn’t cap my income? But I really just wanted to have more time. I’m like you, John. If I just wanna sit at the beach, if I just wanna look out the window, if I just wanna play basketball – or actually, I wanted to be with my children, right, how could I do that?
And so, I went online and found a position in a 100 percent commission sales opportunity. One hundred percent commission. I’d never had any sales experience before. And I flew out to California, I wasn’t successful at all initially because I was trying to do it the corporate way with the sales pitch and the book, and that whole corporate approach, and just got turned down at every business that I went to.
And then I dropped it. Right? And I said, you know what, let me just relate to people. I’m from Detroit, Michigan, School of Hard Knocks, and the one thing I know how to do is connect with people. I know when to talk, when not to talk sometimes. And I did that, and I had a super success. So, just to speed it up really quick, I tripled my income that year, quadrupled it the next year. But then I realized that what I was doing wasn’t what I thought I was doing. Meaning that I was selling a product and a service that I didn’t even freakin’ understand myself. Right?
So, even though I had dropped the sales pitch and book, I still had this spirit of that particular company, and of the industry itself. And that is the spirit of confusion. So, I was selling merchant programs, whether it be rates, whether it be terminals, whether you leased a terminal or not. You could buy a terminal for 99 bucks and you leased it for 300 bucks. This is especially for brick-and-mortar businesses; the terminal could cost $99.00. You could literally lease the terminal for $300.00 to sometimes $1,000.00 per month for 48 months. And at the end of the lease they do not own the machine.
And even the rates and the way we were pitching them, it was just a really messy thing. Once I realized what I was doing – because I had never read the contract. I had really never really read the contract myself. I was just selling the program. And once I realized that I had to make a decision, it was totally against that particular company’s, I guess, goals to really inform clients on what’s really happening behind the scenes.
By the time the client realized what was going on, it was too late. They were locked in; they were locked into a four- or five-year contract with all kinds of fees attached to it. And to get it out of it, it would requirement legal entanglement. Right? That means you have to hire attorneys and go through this other stuff. And it’s a contract, so it’s kinda hard to get out of it.
So, I had to make a decision to leave that company and leave all the money that I had built up, all the recurring income that I had built up, I had to leave it on the table. Right? And so, I did that. And I went to work with another company. And in six months I had replaced the income that I had made at the other company. So, I’m like man, those guys were not – they were robbing me, and I was like taken advantage, and I was robbing merchants, basically. Right? Or robbing clients.
And so, same thing happened there. All of a sudden they were creating money out of thin air. When I say thin air, thin air. So, as an example, there’s something called PCI compliance that every business needs to have. And it’s in particular brick-and-mortar businesses. Right? And you don’t necessarily have to, but it’s something that’ll help you. Right? It helps protect your business.
So, it’s normally like 20 bucks if you don’t complete the survey online. And that’s the highest I’ve heard is maybe $45.00. These guys were charging $179.00 per month. So, imagine 10,000 clients that all of a sudden get charged $179.00 per month.
KhaazRa: Yeah. That’s pretty significant. That’s like millions clear out of thin air. So, one of the clients called me and said, “Hey. What’s this fee here?” And I said, “Oh. You know what? Just call customer service. They’ll fix it.” Now, remind you, I’m a 1099 sales rep for this other company as well. I really don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. The company tells them, “Oh, no. Just we’ll give you a refund. Just get it from KhaazRa.” I’m like wait a minute. I didn’t even get paid off of it. What do you mean, get it from KhaazRa?
And so, I had to make another decision again; do I stay on this program and just allow the back office or operations or the people behind the curtain, so to speak, to make all these decisions that clients aren’t aware of and neither am I aware of in order to make money, but allow me to be the face that interfaces with the client? So, I had to leave again. And I started my own thing with a business partner of mine. And we started our program with a company called First Data. It’s the largest processing platform in America. And, interestingly enough, this is where – I gotta be careful what I say here – this is when we realized like oh, my God, this is what everyone’s trying to duplicate. Like this is the grandaddy of it all. This is where it all comes from.
And we thought we were in control, but we were not in control. There were still fees coming from everywhere. But not just to the clients. They were even dinging us. So, as successful as we were, we were running backwards economically or financially at the same time. They were dinging the hell out of us, man. Fees here, fees there. We’re like, “Hey, what? Can you explain this?” Oh, here. Here’s 20 Excel sheets. Right? It’s like add more chaos like the Tower of Babel, so to speak.
So, we said you know what? How can we actually – and then one other thing happened that was really critical. One of the client – I thin it was an old lady – called and said, “Hey. You guys overcharged me.” I think it might have been $0.17 or something like that. And we were like wow, $0.17? Now come on. So, we noticed, someone in the back office noticed that it wasn’t just her. It was tons of clients that were charged that fee.
So, we called this particular company, this particular platform. Right? And we said, “Hey. You’re overcharging these clients. Can you fix it?” They said, “Okay. No problem.” Because we weren’t in charge of the underwriting. We weren’t in charge of the risk. They were. We were just more like this sales entity and handled a little bit of customer service and a little bit of tech support. But the actual rates and transactions and things like that were really controlled on the back end.
So, they said, “Give us 30 days.” We called in 45 days and they said, “You know what? Just give us more time and management will make a decision.” We called back after 60 day and management said, “Oh. You know what? We’ve decided that we aren’t gonna refund anyone unless it’s over $25.00.” We were like, Hold it. We already knew it’s not over $25.00. But now we’re talking about thousands upon thousands upon thousands of accounts that were overcharged.
And so, we were left to foot the bill even though we’re not the ones who overcharged the clients. So, finally, we got to a position where we said you know what? There has to be another way to do this. Right? Because we felt like glorified sales reps at the time, which is what we were. And so, we got to a point where we are today where we became a full-service provider. And there’s different levels in payment processing. But if you’re a “ISO,” which stands for Independent Sales Organization, the highest level that you can get to is considered a full-service payment provider. And I can explain that during the program if you like me to.
John: Yeah. Well, I’d like to actually jump into that. I don’t wanna go too super deep into the weeds because I don’t wanna like confuse or lose Fire Nation. But I really wanna make the point to our listeners, to you, Fire Nation, right now, this is a critical part of your business.
I mean, whether we’re talking $0.17, $17.00, $170.00 per month, these things add up. And these things can make or break businesses over time because, listen, they can allow you invest more in marketing, to bring on more people on your team when you are paying the right amount and not getting overcharged and doing all these different things.
So, let’s talk about exactly what a full-service payment provider is. And, KhaazRa, really kinda focus this for the entrepreneur, for our listeners, Fire Nation, so they can understand why understanding what a full-service payment provider is important for their business, and let’s dive into that.
KhaazRa: Especially for entrepreneurs. Right? Especially if you’re online or offline. But in particular, I think it’s easier to scale online than it is offline. And that’s just because you don’t have all the red tape that goes behind opening up an office building and all the other things that go along with it. So, it’s a little easier to scale online. So, let’s say there’s a company offering payment processing online. You go to that company and you don’t know what happens with your paperwork. Sometimes that particular company will shop your paperwork around to many different service providers. Right?
They’ll shop it around to another ISO, another ISO who may not even be doing the underwriting, or the risk. Then they’ll shop around to another company, or whoever they have a contract with, and that third company is possibly the company that’s actually doing the actual underwriting and risk. So, you’re like three to four levels removed from the source. So, they made you have maybe sometimes two to three levels higher of fees, or two or three levels extra of credit card fees.
But also where it’s really critical, John, is that when something happens, you’re not gonna be able to get a resolution from that first entity that you spoke to because he has no control over it, just like we didn’t have really any control when we first started. Whenever there was an issue, we’d have to wait and just pray and hope that someone else would be able to resolve it. There’s nothing we could do about it.
So, that’s considered a sales company. Then you have an ISO who may be a registered entity, but they’re not doing the underwriting, the risk, or the funding, which is extremely important, especially for entrepreneurs because cash flow is king in your business. And if you have funds that are being held, you can’t talk to the first person. You can’t even talk to the second company because there’s another company who actually controls the underwriting and the risk. And there’s only a handful of full-service providers in the country.
So, that’s where we are today. We’re a full-service payment provider, so the buck stops here so to speak. We handle the underwriting. We handle the risk, the customer service, and tech support all 100 percent inhouse. And, more importantly, we handle the funding. So, you’ve heard of horror stories where people scale and they get their ads working right, and they’re in their sweet spot, and they’re making all this money. And then, boom, all of a sudden their funds are held and they can’t get in contact, especially with the sales rep, or anyone else for that matter.
And in some cases, it’s because the company who’s actually doing it, you don’t even have their telephone number, like you don’t even know what department to call. So, it’s critical, I mean, and it could essentially put you out of business. So, as a full-service payment provider, and because we’ve been through many different steps and layers in this, we knew that was where we needed to be in order to really service our clients properly is by being in control of the actual underwriting risk to funding, to tech, even the rates. We control that as well, so hopefully, that helps your audience to understand the huge difference there.
John: It definitely does. And, Fire Nation, one thing I just wanna be very blunt with you about is you are likely being overcharged right now. Period. End of story. Because like KhaazRa was breaking down, you are having middlemen slid in between middlemen between middlemen between middlemen. And then before you know it, you’re just like where does this path lead? Where does this yarn unravel to? And it’s an absolute nightmare. And I’ve actually gone through this myself multiple times over the past eight years. And what solves all of this? A full-service payment provider. Because it’s one house, one stop, one shop.
And we have a lot more to talk about that’s gonna help your business, Fire Nation, keeping more dollars in your pocket, when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
So, KhaazRa, we’re back. And when you’re launching a company, you have to offer unique advantages to your customers to get that initial traction. Otherwise, people just tend to stay where they are because it’s comfortable and they know it, and change is scary. So, what are some of the differentiators that you created from other merchant providers?
KhaazRa: One of them is something that I had mentioned earlier, and that is since we’re a full-service provider, we can handle every step of the process, including helping you scale or grow your business. Now what do I mean by that? So, let’s say if you go through a sales company or a middleman, or something like that, it’s really just a residual check that they might receive. And I’m not knocking it because we actually do the processing for a ton of companies that offer it. But that’s it. That’s where the relationship stops. There’s nothing else they can do.
What we do, where we differentiate ourselves, and we also, just as a side note, you can easily go to Stripe or PayPal or Square, and you could start processing in five minutes. Right? They don’t know what you’re selling. You could be selling, unfortunately, something illegal. They wouldn’t know. They’d begin underwriting after you begin processing. What we do to make sure that you can scale to unlimited processing for a long-term growth is we ensure that you’re set up properly.
Because what point is it if you set up your website or your business, whether it be brick-and-mortar or online, and then you’re out of business the next week because there’s something wrong with your terms and conditions, or your terms and conditions don’t match the marketing, or the marketing isn’t what – there’s certain things that you can’t say to run a Facebook ad, and there’s certain that you’re not supposed to say with Visa and Mastercard at the same time.
But how would you know? Right? So, what we do is we go through your entire website. We go through your offer. We go through your products and make sure there’s no chemicals in there that are against the FDA. And we make sure that you are card-brand compliant. And we do this 100 percent in-house. Also, we make sure that we set you up for success. What do I mean by that?
It’s really, especially let’s say if you have a physical product. Right? And those scale really, really, really fast. And, unfortunately, when you scale really fast, sometimes you’re charged back scale right along with it. So, you’re gonna make all this money, and you’ll probably spend it before you even really get a chance to really make the money, you’ll spend a lot of it. And then now you have all these chargebacks.
And now you’re gonna end up owing money and you’re gonna have your account shut down. And in some cases, you’re even what they call blackballed, or you’re put on something called the match list where you can never, ever process again. So, to avoid and prevent that, again, we make sure you’re card-brand compliant. But we make sure you scale, but we make sure you scale appropriately. That means how much money – okay you wanted $100,000.00 in processing. Can you perform that way?
Let’s look at your history. Let’s look at your financial history. How much money do you have in the bank? Okay. If you don’t have that much money in the bank, no problem. We’ll set you up with a chargeback protection, or a chargeback mitigation program. We’ll set you up with fraud mitigation. We’ll make sure that if you get a huge number of sales in one day that is not somebody who’s doing something nefarious. Maybe it’s a competitor or maybe it’s just someone who stole a credit card who orders a bunch of your product, you ship it out, and now you realize that it’s fraud, you’re still responsible for that.
So, we wanna make sure that you’re protected and that we can – because we have to protect the cardholder. That is our fiduciary responsibility. But we also want to protect the business owner to help that business owner grow their business. And that’s where I know we differentiate ourselves.
John: So, Fire Nation, I hope you’re seeing just how KhaazRa is going the extra mile, how he’s saying, “This is what we do that other payment providers just aren’t willing to do.” I mean, go through your business, like see where you’re coming up short in certain areas, help you improve. Because guess what? They win when you win, so you winning and their business is aligned. And I love when that comes together. And that is just such an amazing vibe when both the business provider and the user of that actual product or service is aligned in that same manner.
Now we’ve talked a lot about the reasons, KhaazRa, why you started Electronic Commerce. I mean, it really makes sense. You saw what was wrong in the industry, you experienced it firsthand, you kind of saw some of the griminess that was going on there, and how you could just do it better. But go right to the core. Like why did you launch this business? Break it down for Fire Nation.
KhaazRa: One of the major reasons is because as a sales rep, as one of those guys out there going door to door, knocking on doors, selling payment processing for other companies, I really didn’t understand what I was selling, and I’m genuinely a good guy. Like I have the same phone number that I had 10, 12, 15 years ago. In the sales space, there’s guys who have like three cellphones. It’s like one is for where they this kind of business, another one is for this kinda business, and another one for this kinda business. And I just didn’t wanna be that guy. Right?
So, don’t wanna be the guy where I bring a client on board, and then I see him at the grocery one day or anywhere, and I have to like run and hide from him because I’ve done something that wasn’t ethical. So, I had a friend of mine who started processing with us, right, so really good friend of mine. And his best friend is David Siegel. I don’t know if you know who David Siegel is, but David Siegal built the House of Versailles. It is the biggest house in all of America. And David Siegel is also the owner of Westgate Resorts in Orlando, Florida.
So, my buddy came on board with me and one of the companies that I was processing – which I was selling for at the time did something so horrible to him. They held like over $40,000.00 from him. And they were super-anal about it. I mean when I say ‘anal,’ John, I mean anal. Imagine you’re processing, you are running your business, someone’s holding your money, and they’re anal with you because you’re asking question as to why are you holding my money?
So, they were anal, for one. And then for two, they really didn’t know what the heck they were doing. And I started to see this as a pattern in the industry. Period. Right? Even with the big payment processing platform that I was working up under, they would hold funds, and sometimes we’d call them and say, “Hey, what’s going on?” It was just like, “Hey. Who are you? Who are you to even ask?”
We would talk to the client and they would even talk down to the client. And I just thought to myself, you know what, like what kind of – like I would feel sleezy, like I need to go home and take a shower after doing business sometimes. And so, I wanted to do something that I felt really good about, something that I could build a legacy around, something that I didn’t see being done in the industry, which is being ethical, being honest, and being straightforward. And I wanted to be able to offer a program.
I wanted to sell, so to speak. Right? I wanted to talk to the client and make all these promises, make all these wishes, and provide all this value before, during, and afterwards. And what I really wanted to do was build long-term, ethical relationships that allow business owners to grow their business. And I wasn’t able to do it up under any other entity that I was with prior to that. So, the only way that I could do that is to start my own with my business partner that’s I’m currently running Electronic Commerce with right now.
John: Fire Nation, this is an example of a story of why you start a business. Because you’re in the industry, you know the industry, you’re passionate about the industry, you see what’s wrong with the industry, and you set out to do something that’s right. And that’s exactly what KhaazRa’s being able to do with this full-service payment provider.
So, you shared an amazing entrepreneurial journey. I really hope you’ve inspired Fire Nation to, No. 1, like look at what they’re doing on the payment processing side because they’re probably losing dollars into hundreds of dollars and sometimes thousands of dollars, which really adds up when you’re finger’s not on that pulse.
And really just kind of break it down, also, KhaazRa, of like hey, what do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from everything that you talked about because you talked about a lot of great stuff, the unique advantages that you created with your company, and how Fire Nation can hopefully be coming up with ideas to do that for their own.
What do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from this entire conversation? You have a great call to action for us. I know there’s a free e-book, plus an opportunity, Fire Nation, to literally have a 15-minute call with KhaazRa. So, listen up for that. Take us home.
KhaazRa: I want your audience to understand that there is a company out here, there are people out here like myself, and maybe there’s someone else out there. But for us, in particular, there is someone out here who really wants to build a long-term relationship with you. We don’t wanna look at you as just like a client. In payment processing, everyone has what they call a Merchant ID number. And that’s literally how – I mean, and people brag about it in the industry, how many MIDs, or how many Merchant ID numbers I have.
It’s almost like a prisoner. Like you’re not KhaazRa MaaRanu. You’re a number, whatever prison number is. So, we want to build long-term relationships with our clients, and we have a huge enough staff to do that. I can’t personally get to know everyone, but we want to help you grow your business. We want you to be in business for the long haul. And one way to do that is by knowing your numbers. Most businesses don’t even look at the payment processing. They have no clue.
Let’s say if you’re on one of those programs, and I hate to use the term, I hate to use this as an analogy, but let’s say you were Stripe or PayPal, whatever. You don’t really know what you’re paying. You just know you receive money in your account the very next day. Right? It would be an accounting nightmare to go at the end of each month, and especially if you’re a person with high transaction volume, to go back and then try to figure out exactly how much you paid each and every single month.
So, for me, one of the most important things or any entrepreneur is to know five cash-flow secrets. And one of them is knowing your numbers. If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business. And so, we wanna help you do that. And one way to do that is by offering the 15-minute consultation. It’s totally free. And also, we’ll touch on that in the e-book as well.
John: If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business. Fire Nation, please absorb that truth. It’s gonna help you so much in your business. I’m speaking from eight years of experience. So, KhaazRa, correct me if I’m wrong, but Fire Nation, to get that free e-book, as well as the 15-minute call opportunity with you, you need to head over to E-C, and that’s C as in Charlie, so Echo Charlie, ecpaymentprocessing.com. ecpaymentprocessing.com. They can snag that free e-book. And then they can lock in a 15-minute call with you, KhaazRa. Is that the right place?
KhaazRa: That is the right place.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with KM and JLD today, so keep up the heat. And please take that call to action. Get your numbers down. And know your numbers. Start with that free e-book. Start with that phone call, so you can have a conversation with somebody who understands this part of the business, who wants to help you with your business when it comes to this side of your numbers, of your finances, who can offer advice, guidance, and support: ecpaymentprocessing.com. Echo Charlie paymentprocessing.com.
KhaazRa, thank you, Brother, for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you. And we will catch you on the flipside.
KhaazRa: Thank you for having me, John. Appreciate you, and I love the Fire Nation.
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