About Luis

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I really never saw myself working for someone else. Little did I know that by being self-employed I would end up working for a lunatic!

My first "real" business was a car stereo shop that my younger brother Gonzalo and I opened in 1985. We hardly made any money, but we had a lot of fun.

By 1988 we decided to try our hand at owning and running a discount store in South Miami Beach. Back then the area was not what you see nowadays on TV. But we were in the heart of South Beach and the local clientele kept us busy for a couple of years. We even made a profit. But by late 1989 I was ready to move to Central Florida, and I sold my interest in the biz.

Once established in Deltona (West Volusia county), I launched a buy/sell/trade monthly magazine for motorcycle enthusiasts. Through hard work I grew it to national circulation in a couple of years. It was a decent little business, but by 1994 I was more interested in learning about the (then new) online world.

In late 1994 I worked out a deal with CompuServe's Motorcycle Forum, and we started uploading the classified ad database every month.

Then came the World Wide Web.

By 1995 I was in full info-gathering mode and, by a fluke, I found a book about creating websites. I purchased the book and spent a whole weekend learning how to code HTML, something I did with MS Notepad.

After figuring out how to "publish" my site for the world to see, I piggybacked on a friend's URL for several months, since buying a domain name back then was not only a bit complex but also pricey. Eventually I saved the required $100 and bought my own domain.

Once my site was live, a friend of mine wrote a C++ program that allowed website visitors to post their want ads on the site. I did not expect much to happen for a long while since I had no way to promote it, and most people had no idea what the Internet or the World Wide Web were. Still, after about a month, my site had over 4,000 ads of bikes for sale (and wanted) from all over the US and even a few from Canada and Europe.

Had I been as smart as I like to think I am, people would use Luislist for their online "want" ads instead of Craigslist but, alas, that was not meant to be.

Since I was also reselling motorcycle books and repair manuals through my monthly magazine, I decided to research ecommerce, which was almost non-existent at the time. Again, by happenstance I read an article about a woman selling car parts online, and she was doing this thanks to software created by a company called Viaweb.

I went to their site and was amazed at the simplicity of the system, so I signed up and started creating a webstore, which took me a few days. I even spent the necessary money on a dedicated URL for this new venture.

The first month I sold only a couple dozen books (with absolutely no advertising), but the sales volume kept growing month after month.

Fast forward to late 2012 and my little enterprise had processed over 600,000 orders.

But by then I was burned out and tired of dealing with all sort of changes and declining traffic thanks to Google algorithms, so I sold the company I started from scratch. It was bittersweet but I was also proud of what I—along with a small team of hard-working people—had created.

After the sale closed, I took a long sabbatical while I decided what I was going to do next.

While taking that long break I managed to write and publish a couple of ecommerce-related books aimed at small businesses. The first book was Add-to-Cart Tuneup, followed a couple months later by Snake E-Oil: The SEO Swindle, in which I share tips on how to deal with unscrupulous search engine optimization "experts."

In 2014 I looked at a few businesses for sale, as well as a couple of franchises, but nothing came of it. Besides, after reading several books on the subject of franchising, I was no longer interested in exploring such ventures. I even got a job selling new cars, and what a fiasco that was! I recounted that experience in a couple of blog articles.

So that's my business life story in a (big) nutshell, thus far.

If you've read this far, I owe you a heartfelt Thank You! And please stay tuned for more commentary from yours truly.


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