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92: The Skills You Need to Reach $2 Billion with Jim Estill (Part 2)

It all started when Jim wanted to build a circuit board… and it ended with $2 billion in sales and the entire line of Danby appliances. But that’s what happens when you have the innovativity, desire and pure generosity that Jim has.

In this episode, Jim shares with us the skills that you need to grow your business and hit that level of sales that you never thought was possible. Plus he has a word or two about new shipping methods that you might find to be a little outlandish, or maybe just the dawn of a new era.

My Guest: Jim Estill

Jim Estill is CEO of both of Danby Appliances and ShipperBee a new venture that is revamping outdated shipping channels into a system that’s better for consumers, retailers and the environment.

Jim is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. He started his first computer distribution business from the trunk of his car while in university and grew that business to $2 Billion in sales.

Jim has invested in, mentored and advised many technology companies including Blackberry. He joined their board before they went public and served for 13 years.

Over the past few years Jim has been involved in sponsorship efforts to settle over 100 refugee families in Guelph. The Financial Times, BBC News, The Guardian, and CBC, have all covered his story.

In 2018 Jim Estill was awarded the Order of Canada. Jim is the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Ontario winner.

Episode Highlights:

[02:11] I was an engineer in university, I wanted to design circuit boards. I needed a computer and I got a better deal if I bought two of them. So I bought two of them, sold one of them. And then someone else wanted a computer. So I bought another two and then someone wanted a printer and someone wanted some software. So next thing you know, I’m buying and selling computer products.

​[07:35] We had well over a million square feet of warehouse, most recently. About five years before that we bought a 620,000 square foot facility which was our main one of the facilities​.

[14:43] Cursing is just laziness. Like if you have to curse, it’s laziness. And it might offend some people. Do I want to offend some people? No. I might be offending my customers. I might be offending my suppliers. I might be offending my employees.

​[23:15] I love this idea but my first question…the risk of having your stuff handled by so many laypeople and you know, thieving and all that stuff. You having everyday people who are not insured or not accredited or not anything, picking up your stuff and knocking it around.​

[30:28] And when the parcel gets dropped off, you get an email or a text to say you’ve got a four-pound parcel. If the driver takes the time to scan the barcode, you know what the barcode is. Or, if you’re doing a return to Amazon, or whatever, you just give the driver the code and he can punch in the code. 

[43:39] I sell to Costco well, that means I can sell something else to Costco because I have a relationship there. I already have a vendor number, they already have approved me. It’s easy for me to sell one more product.


Fail often, fail fast, fail cheap.

Resources & Links:


For Part 1 of this episode go to

Please note: This episode was recorded before the outbreak of COVID-19.

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About the author, Estie Rand

I love turning ideas into money, and helping others do the same. I help small business owners with everything from marketing to fiscal management, business plans to staffing, database architecture to work/life balance coaching and I love it all! What do you need help with today?

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