Everyday Amazon Sellers – Blue Collar Work Ethics and Lamborghini Skills
Are you wondering if it’s time to start selling on Amazon?
If you’ve been following the coronavirus news, you might have seen that one of the few bright spots has been the acceleration of the already booming e-commerce ecosystem.
Simply put, selling on Amazon (as well as every other online marketplace) has absolutely exploded in the last year.
Maybe you’ve taken a breather from the national and world news. I admit, over the last eight months it has sometimes felt like too much. Still, there’s the ever present whirlwind of social media to contend with.
Who hasn’t seen countless images of “influencers” and online selling superstars showing off their Lamborghinis? Or, maybe scrolling through Facebook you’ve been assailed by stories of Amazon sellers that are making seven, eight, and nine figures with their exciting new online businesses.
While there are increasing numbers of sellers crushing it on Amazon, e-commerce is also full of every-day people carving out a level of success that’s just right for their lifestyle.
Why Start Selling on Amazon?
Maybe it’s making enough money to be able to work part time. Perhaps it’s having the resources that enable you to take an online course you’ve always wanted to. For others, it’s something as simple (and exciting) as getting a much nicer car.
Don’t get me wrong, I already know what color my Lamborghini would be.
Still, the most important aspect of all the increase in e-commerce has been the avalanche of success stories from those ordinary people that our lives revolve around. Our children’s teachers, first responders, and retirees are all finding a way to use e-commerce to make important changes to their lives.
In a recent webinar, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton referred to those Amazon sellers collectively as “average Joe’s and Sally’s.” He spoke with a total of 18 different Amazon sellers about what their experience has been with their Amazon journey. In the conversations, there were as many differences as there were similarities.
It just goes to show that there really isn’t only ONE way to succeed on Amazon. It’s up to you to decide what you want selling on Amazon to look like.
Here is a selection of those seller’s stories:
Running Away to a Tropical Paradise
Almost everyone has those moments when they’re tempted to throw it all away and run off to a tropical beach town. When you’re throwing away a six-figure salary, it requires a different level of commitment.
Anne Ferris left the world’s top grossing law firm to open a hostel in the Costa Rica jungle. She was at her limit. Billing 3000 hours a year in between calls to the firm’s emotional support hotline; something had to give.
She worked in oil-and-gas project finance, putting in 16-hour days. She soon came to the realization that this is not what she wanted from her life,
When a friend asked her what she’d do if she could do anything, she said, “Probably run a hotel or a bar on the beach in Latin America or somewhere,” She “Googled hotels for sale Latin America,” and ended up buying the third link that came up.
After having two children Anne realized she didn’t have enough money to live the way she wanted. When friends invited her to an elaborate party, she was curious why they seemed to have money to burn.
Selling on Amazon was their answer.
Anne says that after the first step of asking her mom for a loan, her tactics involved studying the way the trending influencers help promote products on Amazon. She had long observed how influencers and companies who were doing really beautiful things with social media and selling really high-quality products.
Her research showed her that Amazon’s marketplace was full of products of what she considered to be inferior quality. Quickly, she carved out a thriving niche for herself (and her product) at a more premium level.
You can listen to Anne’s full interview on the Serious Sellers Podcast here.
Balancing Family and E-Commerce
Most of you in e-commerce are working hard to balance family time, Amazon business, and in most cases, your full-time careers. Finding a way to make enough money on Amazon to make the leap to e-commerce full-time is the goal of many. Still others have found a way to blend the three parts in a way that leads to a busy, yet very happy lifestyle.
Our next Amazon seller, Yaixa has done exactly that. She’s a successful, full-time engineer who rolled out her best-selling product in the middle of a hurricane. Now, while continuing to work as an engineer, her Amazon business is generating 180K per year on only five to six hours a week.
Yaixa says that it was kind of an accident that she became an Amazon seller. After graduation and working as an engineer she returned home. Her mom said, “You know, there is a box of things that you got to take out, donate, or do something, but I don’t want that box in here anymore.” In the box she had Harry Potter books, and decided to try to sell them on eBay.
Selling the books on eBay proved to be easy.
After buying a variety of products for herself, she ended up with a quantity of things that she was not going to use. Those also sold quickly on eBay. Yaixa then began sourcing accessories from China and selling them on eBay. She refers to it as her hobby. Soon she was shipping 20- to 30 packages a day.
As soon as she became aware of Amazon, she tried the platform and was hooked as soon as she realized that she wouldn’t need to do the shipping herself.
Now she’s selling 18K on amazon at a 30% profit margin, putting in five to six hours a week.
You can listen to Yaixa’s full interview on the Serious Sellers Podcast here
A Military Veteran Uses His Facebook Audience to Crush it on Amazon
One of the best things about selling on Amazon is the way it creates incredible life-changing opportunities for so many. That’s doubly the case when we’re speaking of those that serve in the military, putting their lives on the line to protect our way of life.
Schrone Hardeway had served in the military since shortly after his 18th birthday. 22 years later, he wasn’t exactly sure what life after the military was going to look like. Now, he’s grown a Facebook audience to 17,000 followers and sells over 200K on Amazon.
He says that he was about three years out from retiring after 22 years in the military, and he thought to himself, “Man, in three years, I’m going to be out of a job.”
When asked by a friend in the military, “What are you going to do when you get out?” Schrone says that, “In all honesty, I was going to be a greeter at Walmart or a GameStop manager.” Schrone says that, “after being in stressful situations for twenty-two years, I just wanted to take it really easy.”
That was the plan until the same friend said, “Why don’t you become an Amazon seller?” Schrone was sceptical. His friend then said, “I make 40,000 a month.”
Schrone’s response: “Prove it.”
His friend opened up his Amazon Seller Central page and showed a check for a 19,000 deposit, and said, “Well, that’s two weeks.” And so, for the last 18 months of Schrone’s military career he was learning how to use different tools to launch an Amazon business.
He says that from January 2019 to December 2019, he grossed $225k. Now, the revenue for Amazon is supplementing his pension and is paying all of his utilities right now and for the occasional luxury item.
Schrone was asked by Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton, “How many products are you selling?”
His response: “One.”
You can listen to Schrone’s full interview on the Serious Sellers Podcast here.
Big League Talent, Humility, and E-Commerce Skills
What do you get when you combine big league talent, first class humility, and a knack for e-commerce? Plagiarism, for one. Because those are the words of Helium 10 Content Writer, Brian Wisniach, who wrote about our next two Amazon sellers.
Former AAA baseball pitchers, twin brothers David and Ryan Ledbetter have recently jumped into e-commerce after spending five years playing professional baseball.
Ryan and David both went to a small, Christian school and each ended up marrying their high school sweethearts. After retiring from pro baseball in 2017, Ryan is now a financial advisor with Edward Jones. David retired in 2018, and works with a startup company that invests in minor league baseball players.
A friend of theirs became successful through Amazon and ended up leaving his job for it. He told them, “You gotta get in on this.” Ryan says that when COVID hit, they said to themselves,”We need to be doing something online.”
David says, “We decided, we’re going to start pursuing this. We’re going to reach out and we’re going to find good products. Of course, we found those products through none other than Helium 10, The greatest piece of software that any Amazon seller could use.” He goes on to say that, “It really is the truth. I don’t know how anybody does anything without Helium 10.”
High praise, and much appreciated!
They started growing their sales and since March, they’ve added a bunch of products. The twins hit 100K in sales this month and say that they sell about $16,000-$20,000 on average a month now.
Taking Advantage of Helium 10’s Certification Program
Ryan and David are now selling on Amazon employing the wholesale model and partnering with brands using Helium 10’s tools, and would like to move into private label.
They both say that’s why they went through the process of training for and ultimately receiving Helium 10 Certification from our Academy Program.
The brothers felt that Helium 10 Certification represented the best way to power their own Helium 10 knowledge and move their Amazon business forward.
You can read more about Ryan and David’s story here.
Former Flight Attendant Takes Off with Six Figures on Amazon
Christina Passmore was a veteran flight attendant for a major Canadian airline. When her aviation career was effectively grounded due to COVID-19, Christina had some difficult decisions to make.
Christina says that, “My Amazon journey began last year, late summer. I was looking for something else. The nature of our work in aviation is very flexible, so oftentimes you see flight attendants doing a variety of different things on the side.”
She goes in to say that, “I knew I wanted to do something, but I was having a hard time pinpointing what. A girlfriend had come forward and suggested Amazon, so I started watching videos and was really impressed by the fact that anyone could really do this.”
Why does she feel that she was successful?
“I made a really big commitment to myself that I wouldn’t quit. Typically, you start these little adventures and then it gets hard or you have a setback. Many people just decide to give up. But with this, there was something different. I just made a really strong decision that no matter what happened, I was going to keep going.”
She says that after many months selling on Amazon, not much has changed. “I still feel like there are a lot of challenges on Amazon – things are very dynamic and changing. No matter what happens, you just have to keep taking small steps of action.”
Communities of Amazon Sellers Make it Easier
Christina says that communities of Amazon sellers have really helped her.
“It’s been pivotal. E-commerce can be a lonely experience – I’m single, I don’t have kids. You know, it can be a little bit of a grind on my own. But with that community, I don’t feel so alone anymore.”
You can read more about Christina here.
In these challenging times, Amazon and every other online marketplace are just going to continue to grow.
Conventional ways of doing business might be enough to keep your business going, but it takes the ability to adapt and change with the times to really crush it!
Of course, you can always try Helium 10 for free!
If after joining Helium 10, you would like to look further into becoming a part of an Amazon sellers community, you can join Helium 10’s Amazon seller’s Facebook group here.
To watch the entire Helium 10 webinar with Bradley Sutton featuring all 18 Amazon sellers, click here.