#177 – An Amazon UK Blueprint to Help Create Success for European Sellers
In spite of the continued tremendous growth, the world of e-commerce can feel pretty small. Whether it’s Amazon sellers on the opposite side of the world using the same software to get their insights, or attending the same (now) online conferences, entrepreneurs are following a very similar path.
Still, there are significant differences. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes two UK based Amazon sellers to speak about life in the European e-commerce ecosystem.
Iman and Norbert are both relatively new Amazon sellers with Norbert just ahead of Iman’s trajectory. He’s already launched a product and can’t get over the profit margins possible on Amazon. Iman is a musical recording artist who’s worked with Ed Sheeran and Kanye West and is excited about creating an e-commerce brand.
They both have great insights on what it’s like to sell (specifically) in Europe and talk about aspects of the Amazon selling experience that all of us can relate to.
In episode 177 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Iman, and Norbert discuss:
- 03:36 – Norbert Was, “Changing Jobs Like Gloves”
- 05:41 – Packaging Musical Dreams and An Amazon Selling Process
- 07:53 – Recording with Musical A-List Stars
- 10:19 – Ready to Receive the Amazon Message
- 14:11 – Norbert Quickly Matched His Off-Amazon Salary
- 17:15 – Iman Says That Starting with Helium 10 Made Everything Easier
- 19:47 – Setting Up an LLC to Sell on Amazon
- 22:14 – Amazon Product Delivery by Silk Road Train
- 24:43 – Norbert is a Fan of Amazon’s Big Profit Margins
- 28:14 – Value Added Tax (VAT) Can Be Complicated
- 30:06 – Signing Up as a European Amazon Seller
- 31:29 – Navigating Changes on Amazon Seller Central
- 33:22 – What’s Norbert’s Launch Strategy?
- 33:44 – Building an Off-Amazon Audience
- 38:42 – Iman is Building a Brand
- 40:50 – Norbert is Documenting Amazon Sellers’ Journeys in Poland
- 43:56 – Iman’s 3-5 Year Goal
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Hello, today’s episode is all about the UK. We’ve got two Amazon sellers who are both already selling or in the process of starting to sell on Amazon, UK. They’re going to talk about their strategies and how they’ve ended up doing the same thing despite being from totally different backgrounds. One is from Poland and the other is from London who’s also a musical artist who has worked with singer such as Ed Sheeran and Kanye West. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think. Cheerio
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely unscripted, unrehearsed, BS-free organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. And today we’re doing something a little bit different. I’ve got two serious sellers. One is a current serious seller, one is an aspiring serious seller, both based out of the UK and selling in the UK. And we’re going to talk about the UK opportunity, but Iman and Norbert, welcome to the show.
Bradley Sutton: Good to have you guys on here. Now, as I do with all episodes, I like to start and get a little bit of background from you guys. And I purposely try and not know as much as possible beforehand, so I can be surprised or I can learn about you guys just the same time everybody else’s. So let’s start with Norbert. I believe you were born and raised in Poland actually, right?
Norbert: Yes, yeah. I’m Polish. I just live in UK by my choice. But the thing is, yeah. I’m in UK right now selling on Amazon since 20th of January,
Norbert: Hold on. You’re skipping way too far ahead. I like to start more towards the beginning. Alright. So, until what age were you living in Poland?
Norbert: I was 22 when I moved to UK
Bradley Sutton: 22. Okay. So, growing up in Poland, what were your career aspirations when you were like 10 years old or something? Firefighter or what?
Norbert: I had no idea. To be honest, I started selling on Amazon because I had no idea what to do with my life. So I never had an idea of what I want to do in my life. Really.
Bradley Sutton: Even when you were a little, you, you didn’t have any I want to be an astronaut.
Norbert: Not really. I liked biology. I like chemistry but liked nothing else.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Interesting. So, then after graduating high school or whatever what you would call it over there. Did you go to university right away?
Norbert: Oh, I go to Uni, I dropped, then I went to another, I dropped it. Then I went to another, I dropped it. And then I moved to UK.
Bradley Sutton: I see a trend. Now, did you have a major?
Norbert: No, not really. No. I’ve just finished my high school. To be honest, right now I study computer science. I’m 30 and I study, so you can do it anytime.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then, how are you supporting yourself? Was your family supporting you during these finding yourself years? As far as what you were going to be?
Norbert: Not really, no. After the first year, the idea of my parents told me like no more money, so I have to spoke myself, and start torque. Right. Yeah. So, that was my story.
Bradley Sutton: What was your source of income? How are you surviving if your family wasn’t supporting you before? Or you start on Amazon right away?
Norbert: No, no, of course not. No, kind of– I went to work. I tried to work kind of anywhere, so I used to change my jobs, like gloves. So, I was a welder. I was a sales man. I was a project manager on a company that built stairs, so I did everything that’s possible.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Interesting. Okay. So, how did you find out about e-commerce or Amazon then?
Norbert: The thing is my girlfriend showed me YouTube channel about Amazon FBA. And because I was so fed up with my work, I really wanted to change something my life. She said like, listen, maybe you should watch this, because that seems promising. And I started to watch YouTube stuff I discovered, right? Amazon FBA. And I was like, yeah, that might be something I’ll be interested in. Then, that’s how it started when I was 27.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, you’ve only been doing it for a couple of years.
Norbert: Two and a half years.
Bradley Sutton: Two and a half years. Alright, so that was your journey. Let’s also welcome to the show, Iman, how’s it going?
Bradley Sutton: And you also, you’re currently in the UK as well, right?
Iman: Yes. I’m from London.
Bradley Sutton: Born and raised?
Iman: Yeah, London born and raised. My dad is from Sudan. My mom is from Yemen. They met here.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now growing up in London, what do you, I mean– I think sometimes we Americans think that everybody who grows up in London just wants to be a football player or a soccer as we call it over here. But, what was your aspiration? Did you have any? Norbert had none. He was never very aspirational when he was younger. But did you have goals when you’re young?
Iman: Oh, yeah, very much so. I’ve always wanted to be a music artist and I doggedly pursued that, have written and recorded with some really incredible musicians, writing–
Bradley Sutton: When you’re like 10, 11. You knew you wanted to be a musician?
Iman: Yeah, 100%. I always knew it. It was quite difficult in the beginning. I didn’t have any support from family, but I just went ahead and did it. And I think that being an independent musician, it kind of cultivates these business development skills, these creative skills of how can I pull together a band? How can I pull together studios, photo shoots, gigs, and stuff. And you start to kind of learn how to kind of wheel and deal and make things happen and pull things together. And I think that’s kind of given me the confidence to just go for Amazon because it’s kind of transferable skills in a way.
Iman: Did you go to university as well? Or do you skip it cause you just want to get a jumpstart on your music career?
Iman: No, I went to uni. I went to Uni for three weeks. No, I went to Uni. I went to Uni to get that student loan to propel my music career.
Bradley Sutton: You say, when you drop out, you don’t have to return it.
Iman: No, I did actually. I did, but it kind of helped jumpstart my music career. So, there was a strategic plan there, you see.
Bradley Sutton: So, even in the beginning there was money. I mean, it wasn’t just a hobby. I mean, this was how you were trying to make money as well, right?
Iman: Yeah, definitely. Always trying to make money. But with the music industry, streaming has kind of really hampered the possibility of making a lot of money until your sign. So a lot of musicians have to have part time jobs, and my part time job supporting my music and myself was always in sales, luxury retail. And again, that is a transferable skill that I feel like I’m kind of seeing taken into Amazon. So, always worked. Always.
Bradley Sutton: Now what kind of a– you mentioned that you’ve worked with some cool artists in the past, so like what are some that maybe Norbert has heard of? Any Polish pop stars or whoever you work with?
Iman: I’ve written and recorded with Ed Sheeran. I have written with Kanye West’s writing team. I’ve had a few songs in the charts.
Bradley Sutton: Norbert, I feel like we have to ask for her autograph or something.
Iman: I achieved some really, really cool, cool things, and I’m really proud of it.
Bradley Sutton: That sounds great. Now, we’re proud of you as well as that you’re jumping into Amazon. I kind of have wanted to have both of you guys on here because Norbert represents somebody who’s been selling on Amazon for a couple of years now, and we can kind of see where he’s at in his journey, but I chose you. I remember you would always come on our Freedom Ticket Extra or freedom to get calls that we had, but you’re on the other side. You’re at work kind of like Norbert was maybe two years ago. So I think it’s going to be interesting to chronicle your journey. That’s why I wanted to get you on the show early, before you even launch your first product, because it’s going to be interesting to see your path, and how it parallels with others, and people can look to both of you guys like here everybody, regardless if you’re in the UK, or in the US, or wherever you could see Norbert didn’t have some amazing e-commerce education and big goals since he was young. And he was doing switching from job to job, and he ended up here. Now, here on the other side of the spectrum, we have somebody who wanted to be a musician and has become a musician, but completely different path. And somehow ended up in the same ecosystem as Amazon. So my question for you Iman is, how did you find out, for Norbert, it was a YouTube video from his girlfriend. What about you? How did you find out about the Amazon experience and what kind of like attracted this business model to you?
Iman: I’ve I always feel very strongly that financial freedom is something I’ve always wanted to aspire to, especially for women, financial freedom, setting up your own business, never feeling like there’s any type of ownership on you. You’re totally independent. So that’s something that’s always appealed to me. And in January, I wrote down my goals and I said, I want to make X amount by the end of this year. And I happened to stumble across a YouTube video four days later. And it was a YouTube video that I had always seen, but I was clearly not ready to receive it, but somehow I was ready to receive this message and I watched it and I thought, wow, Amazon? Yeah. I mean, I guess it is normal people that sell a product, right? So I delved and delved and delved. And from January to March, I decided that I was going to do my research, and in March that I would make a decision. And in March I made a decision that I would go for it. And now we are early September and my product is on its way from China.
Bradley Sutton: A little applause right there for that. But anyways, I have fun with my– I just discovered these new toys. I have these buttons I can push in different things. If you guys aren’t laughing at my jokes, I could just throw that in there, but anyways, interesting. So both of you kind of discovered Amazon from YouTube somehow. So, interesting history. Now, going back to your Norbert, let’s go back to 2018 or whenever you had first started, end of 2017, 2018. And how did you just hop into Amazon? Did you just find a product and launch it right away? Did you fail? Do you succeed? Tell me about your first product experience.
Norbert: I jumped into first product. Right? So, my research in Amazon started in September, not September, August, 2017. And I gave myself some time to gather some information, then I decided to, okay, I’ll start with the course. And then on November it was, I started with the course and I started selling my product in 20th of January, 2018. And it wasn’t, I wouldn’t say it was easy, definitely for me, like I had no backgrounds, nothing that prepared me for Amazon, but for me, Amazon was– the products were easy because I’m really analytical. So, I really love numbers, binary and all that stuff. So, I love Amazon because it’s really analytical. So, I looked at the numbers, I check everything, everything checked out. So I decided to roll out with the product and–
Bradley Sutton: In the UK only?
Norbert: In the UK only because back then I was living in the UK. And because I started in UK, I didn’t have to be VAT registered, like VAT. I know it’s different stuff for US sellers, but when you have the company in the country and the new story is your staff in the country, they’ll have to be VAT-registered. So that was, yeah, I really tried to cut my costs because I didn’t have much money as I still work on my job.
Bradley Sutton: What was your investment then? For your first product, how much did it cost you to invest?
Iman: My investment was overall between three to 4,000 pounds? So let’s say, yeah, that was 5,000, around $5,000. That was the whole investment, right? Not just inventory, the whole cost of the product. So advertising, shipping, everything was included. And yeah, so that’s how I started.
Bradley Sutton: How did you– January of 2018, how did that first product launch?
Norbert: To be honest, I could open my tab because I’ve got all the numbers. I still can’t keep my numbers every month. So I think I started during the race, January 20th. And within the first 10 days I did like 700 pounds in sales, something like that. And then the first month that was February, I did around one and a half thousand pounds. And then every month after that, I was like, kind of doubling the sales. So, I kind of put–
Bradley Sutton: The same product?
Norbert: Yeah, the same product. Then, I quit my job five months after selling in Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Because it replace your salary?
Norbert: It replaced my salary. Yeah. Because that was the promise I make to myself. I’m going to quit my job when my Amazon– everything’s going to match my salary.
Bradley Sutton: And this is just with one product, and this was your first product. Wow. So, you hit a– sometimes people fail on their first product, which is not a bad thing. What I always say is no matter what, you don’t really fail on your first product because you get the valuable knowledge, even if you lose money, that first product is so key. So, how did you find that first product? What was your product research?
Norbert: To be honest, my girlfriend helped me out a lot with this product. This product, to be honest was–
Bradley Sutton: I see a trend here. It seems like your girlfriend is the brains behind this operation.
Norbert: Yeah, I’m more like analytic stuff. She’s more creative. So we work like that. So, it was like kind of her idea. Then I checked the numbers, the niche, competition, prices. So, suppliers, everything was on me. She was only giving me this design ideas, all the creative stuff.
Bradley Sutton: Were you using Helium 10 already in those days?
Norbert: No, I couldn’t afford Helium 10 back then.
Bradley Sutton: Struggling welder.
Norbert: But I don’t think you have like a product research tool.
Bradley Sutton: For the UK. In 2017, we might not have had that open yet.
Norbert: It was only keywords.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Interesting.
Norbert: But I really wanted to buy Helium 10 because it was my dream to buy those, like $99 per month. And I think in month three of sales, I bought Helium 10 and really helped me grow my sales.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Now you mentioned a little bit about– you’re obviously born and raised in Poland, but you were living in UK at the time you had your company registered in the UK. Now, when you started on Amazon, did you start it under your name or did you already start it under like some this company you’re talking about?
Norbert: No, I started it as a, under my name. Not like a company.
Bradley Sutton: And with that, you didn’t have to have VAT?
Norbert: No, no, I didn’t have to have.
Bradley Sutton: Because you were based– your address was in the UK.
Norbert: My address was in the UK and I stored my product in the UK. So, until you’re going to pass the threshold of earnings, it’s around 85,000 pounds. You don’t have to be VAT registered.
Bradley Sutton: Per year? 85,000 pounds per year. Is that different now because of Brexit at all? Has that changed or is it still the same?
Norbert: For now, it’s still the same. We don’t know how it’s going to look after Brexit.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Let’s switch back to Iman here. So, you mentioned you started your journey this year on Amazon, and you’ve been doing a lot of product research now, what were you looking for when you were looking for a new product and the one that I guess you ended up choosing to sell?
Iman: I started with Helium 10 from the very beginning. And I’ve been using it every day since, and Helium 10 is what’s helped me find my product in the very beginning. I was like, surely there’s no way that there’s a software that’s going to tell me data like this. There’s no way, there’s got to be a scam. That’s what I was kind of thinking about.
Bradley Sutton: Iman, we’re not hiring at this time. So, I don’t know if you’re trying to brown nose here. You sound like a Helium 10 commercial. I appreciate it. But we’re not expanding, she’s trying to audition, Norbert for our marketing. She’s trying to be in our marketing team right here, But thank you for the kind words, but go ahead, complete it.
Iman: And I don’t know if you remember, when I was first on one of those calls, you probably don’t remember, but I remember speaking to you Bradley. And I was trying to say, but you know, I’m doing the 999 basket thing. And it’s different data and you kind of shut me down and it was like, listen, that doesn’t work, Helium 10 Xray. This is the way. And it is true. I don’t think that I would be where I am without the helium software helping me, guiding me. And just the other day, actually, somewhat a friend of mine came round and he’s actually got 600 products online. He’s only just started Amazon. He’s only just started selling on Amazon. And he’s been selling on Amazon since January. And I went on Helium 10 and asked him to verify his data. And he was– it was pretty much spot on. So yeah, I know that I’m totally advocating helium here.
Bradley Sutton: I like it. I like it. Please continue.
Iman: But everything that I’ve been doing my business, I’ve just been using Helium 10 today as well as just like creating my listing. So, yeah.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then for your product research, did you do it through Black Box and you’d like maybe put in some characteristics, were you looking at the product based, or were you looking for keyword?
Iman: In the beginning, I was looking for products. And then as I started watching Project X, I realized that actually I need to be looking for keywords and that led me down the rabbit hole to find what I’m now going to be selling.
Bradley Sutton: Excellent. Excellent. Now, what about you as far as, do you have your seller central account already?
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, did you just do it under your name? Did you do a company to start selling, or how did you do that?
Iman: I created a limited company. I created a limited company for– it’s better for tax reasons in the UK.
Bradley Sutton: Talk about that a little bit. How is it better?
Iman: There’s, I guess there’s better tax breaks as well as that, in terms of liabilities, it’s not so much when you as a person, but on the company. And then also, Oh God, what was the other thing I was going to say? I’ve totally forgotten. But yeah, it was a limited company.
Bradley Sutton: About why you did the company instead of under your personal– the benefits.
Iman: Yeah, those are the two benefits, as mainly the tax and the liability.
Bradley Sutton: Now, did you do that Norbert yourself later, change it from your name to a company, or you’ve always just been under personal?
Norbert: No, I changed it to company because of the tax thing.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, was that your girlfriend too who told you to that? Oh, you came up with this on your own? Oh, wow. Hey, there you go. Alright.
Iman: Applause. What I was going to say, actually, and before I actually went ahead and ordered the products and stuff, I listed the product on seller central, and that was to make sure that it wasn’t restricted or gated. And then I kind of continued the product research from there.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now you just, if I’m not mistaken, you just ordered your first shipment. Right?
Iman: Correct. it is on its way.
Bradley Sutton: And is it going to Amazon directly? All of it, or partially or whatever?
Iman: Because of the 200 limit . . .
Bradley Sutton: That was my question. If you guys in the UK had that 200 limit as well.
Iman: Yeah, we have that 10 boxes will come to me and then I’ll funnel it in to Amazon by UPS.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, then you have two shipments on the way, or it’s all coming to you and then you’re going to send the 200 to Amazon?
Iman: The latter. It’s all coming to me.
Bradley Sutton: Got it. Got it. Okay. Excellent. Excellent. So, when is that scheduled to arrive?
Iman: We are looking at early October.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, from China, I’ve never shipped from China to Europe. So, do you go via plane train or automobile, or ship? Does it go around the whole globe to get there? Or do you go through Russia or something through train or how let’s start with you, Iman, your first shipment? How was that coming from China?
Iman: Okay. I was actually seriously considering train ahead it. Apparently it’s a silk route. It started in 2017 and apparently slightly faster than sea shipping. And it was quicker. The only reason I haven’t gone by train is because the freight person that I’ve gone with only caters for sea shipping. So, for my product, really, if it wasn’t for COVID, would have actually been the best way really. Cause it’s quite a light product. So, there’s three methods there.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, that’s probably why it takes a long time because that’s– if it’s October, sea, like it’s a longer route, like from sea, from China to California, for example, it’s like two weeks only. Well, what about you, Norbert? Does everything– do you do everything by sea or air?
Norbert: No, I try to use because time’s over the essence. So for me, it’s way better to pay more, but you have my stock sooner in the warehouse, but–
Bradley Sutton: Smaller products then?
Norbert: Yeah. That’s what I use. Smaller products, lighter products, I don’t like bulky products. So, I used a train, around 35 days from China to London. Sea is around 45 days, something like that. And yeah, the plane is around five days.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. Okay. Now normally, I mean, obviously it’s still, we’re not at the end of the year in 2020, but you probably have a good idea based on last year’s numbers and based on what you’ve done so far, what would you say is your projected sales throughout all the– are you selling on other marketplaces, or are you still a hundred percent in UK?
Norbert: No, UK and Germany.
Bradley Sutton: All right. So, between UK and Germany put together, what is your projected 2020 sales?
Norbert: I mean, you want a specific number?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I mean, it’s obviously– it can be a guess, but you’ve made X until now, Project it out.
Norbert: That definitely is going to be like 300% more. I think like three times more than quarter four. Right? So, a month I’m aiming around like 60,000 pounds, something like that.
Bradley Sutton: 60,000 pounds. So, by the end of the year, how much will you have, not profit, but just gross sales?
Norbert: You mean the whole year? Let’s say, I mean, it’s going to be like 300 to $400,000. I think it’s going to be like that.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. 300 to $400,000. Now from that, like, what’s your profit margin?
Norbert: The thing is with my products, that’s the one condition I have to, it has to have, right? So the high profit margins, I do not, I’m not interested in the profit margins, like 20, 25%, 30%. No, I really want to have a high profit margins.
Bradley Sutton: Greedy. Oh that’s fine. But Germany and UK. Is UK still the main?
Norbert: Leading market, yes. Like two thirds of the income than Germany is like one third of income.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Question that I think a lot of us, and maybe even Europeans have, the price that we see, we go to amazon.co.uk. We search collagen peptides. We click on it and it says 33 pounds. When somebody buys that I’ve never bought anything from Amazon UK, is that the price or now is VAT and these other things added to it?
Norbert: No, in EU, it’s included. It’s not like in the US then you add it later on. Everything’s included.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So it’s included in there. The way that Amazon kind of charges you is okay, you’ve got the 15% of that $33 or whatever it is. And then you’ve got your pick pack and fulfill if it’s FBA. And then are they taking that VAT out or are you responsible then to calculate that, reserve it yourself and then quarterly or yearly or something.
Norbert: You are responsible for calculating that and just pay it to the government.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting.
Norbert: It’s way more complicated than in the US, the VAT stuff.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I mean, that’s one of the reasons why I’ve never tried to do any of my test accounts and selling. They’re just kind of a headache to me. So, Iman, what did you have to do if anything, to get VAT set up or have you not worried about that yet since you’re not going to hit that $85,000 or 85,000 pounds threshold?
Iman: Well, I could take that 85K threshold very soon. Bradley.
Bradley Sutton: I love the optimism here. I love it. You obviously are not very considerate of Norbert’s feelings, he went only 1000 to 2000, when he started, you’re like, no, I’m not a rookie. I’m going to hit 85 right away.
Iman: Yeah, give me till November.
Bradley Sutton: So, do you set up your VAT already then even in anticipation?
Iman: No, no, no. There’s no point doing it until I actually hit that 85K threshold. And then I’ll-
Bradley Sutton: So, what does that mean then? You don’t have to pay that now that $33 product is that just now extra money you have in your pocket and then like a year from now, now you have to start taking the 18% out or whatever, once you hit that threshold or what does that mean?
Norbert: Kind of.
Bradley Sutton: Kind of okay.
Norbert: I mean, it’s really, I mean, the thing is you should speak with an accountant. If you’re not VAT registered. If your list price is 30 pounds, for example, let’s say 30 pounds goes into your pockets, right? If you are VAT registered, like 20%, kind of 20% goes to the government and the rest comes to you– goes to your pocket, okay. But then you have a lot of different reliefs from VAT. So all the fees from Amazon, they are not VAT included anymore because you have VAT registered. If you ship a stock from China, so when there’s a duty and VAT included, you can kind of reclaim that back and everything. So, VAT is a really, really complicated stuff.
Iman: I mean, for myself, ahead of selling, I want to make sure that I’m trying to understand cash flow. I think for the first year, I’m going to be really small and really conservative so that I can understand cash flow and inventory. And then from then scale up once I feel like I’ve mastered it in the freedom course with Helium 10, Kevin King talks about a book called Profit First, and I’ve read that book and I’ve kind of implemented the fact that when I start making money from Amazon, I will take that money and put it into those different pots to create a system. So one of the pots is tax. It’s a book, especially for Amazon sellers about when you get paid, what exactly you need to do with the money in order to scale up. And it’s just helped me because that was one of my concerns going into Amazon being like, okay, what if I get overwhelmed by this money? What if I don’t know how to handle it? And that system kind of shift shows you what to do, how to create a system. And it basically tells you, it’s not about building a business, it’s about building systems. So that helped me feel like–
Norbert: How to allocate the money, you mean.
Iman: Yeah, how to allocate it. And one of the pots is to do with tax. One of the pots is to do with operating costs, like Helium 10 and all the subscriptions and PPC. And then the other pot is for inventory and dividends and profit and yeah, so that’s helped me.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I mean, that’s all the stuff that I hate having to deal with. And I think most sellers don’t want to have to deal with that, but it’s something that’s still important. Now, speaking of the stuff that people don’t really like to deal with. Iman, can you walk me through a little bit of the process that it took to get signed up? You were obviously a UK citizen. What did Amazon asks you? How long did it take? Walk me through that selling to setting up seller central.
Iman: Ooh. So I had to go to company’s house in the UK, a website, choose a name for my company, make sure that no one else had that name. And then I had to get my paperwork, have my own UTR code, Amazon, in terms of setting up a seller central, they required business bank account details. And some documentation.
Bradley Sutton: Norbert, was that process any different for you because you were from Poland or was it pretty much the same thing?
Norbert: Not really. It was the same thing. So they asked me for my passport. So I sent the picture of my passport and a bank statement. And that’s it.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Alright. Now, Norbert, you originally said you signed up under your personal name and then you switched to a company. Was that difficult at all to do on the Amazon site?
Norbert: Yeah. That was a pain, to be honest, because while in the US, you can do it like effortlessly, right. Then you just change it and everything’s fine. And I don’t know why, not anymore, but back then, it was a huge deal to change your data in the seller central. So, it took me around five weeks to go for it to be done completely. But to be honest, I exchanged like tens of emails with support because there weren’t so many problems, but I think it was too many emails. Support is not helpful at all. I mean, if you know Amazon, they sometimes are not helpful, but yeah, stressful five weeks and it was okay.
Bradley Sutton: How many products do you have now, Norbert?
Norbert: Right now, it’s like five. I’m resigning of one. So it’s four with seven altogether with variations. Now I’m rolling another one in the next two months.
Bradley Sutton: Now, did you start a brand like, are all these under the same brand from the original launch or these are different niches and different brands?
Norbert: No, no, no, no, no, no. It’s– most of them are completely different. I’ve got two that are under the same brand, but that was my mistake when I started them– that I wasn’t building a brand. Now, I do it completely different. So, I’ve got two products that are branded while the other products just earning money. So, two of them are brand.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Are you brand registered on any of them?
Norbert: No, not yet.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So I know they don’t have as many benefits for that in UK.
Norbert: The thing is, with branded ones, I was in pretty not competitive niches. They are competitive now, but when I started it wasn’t so competitive. Now, the thing is for the third one, I’m definitely going to roll in the branch or district because I need that. I know from the start I need to hit it hard. So, that’s why I’ve gone to.
Bradley Sutton: What’s your launch strategy been? I mean, so these are different brands, so you’re not necessarily marketing to the same audience. And what’s available to you guys in Europe is a little bit different as the USA. USA, we have these websites that it can help you get those initial orders. Most of those aren’t available in UK. So, what’s your launch strategy for the UK, or Germany, or German market?
Norbert: I mean, building an audience is crucial. So if you have all the answer on hundred people, you can do miracles, with your product, when the launch of it.
Bradley Sutton: With just 100 people.
Norbert: Yeah, yeah, sure. If you have 100 people, like 100 followers that are really followers, not like random people, you can do miracles with a hundred people then of course, like Facebook ads, strong PPC, and that’s how you roll.
Bradley Sutton: So, have you done that as part of your launch strategy, you’ve built an audience and then, so how did you build that audience? Are we talking to Instagram or what?
Norbert: Building on this, Yeah, definitely. You need to have some– it depends. It depends on the product. It depends on the niche. So for one product, like Facebook group is going to be perfect. For other products. Instagram is going to be perfect. Or other products YouTube’s going to be perfect. So it all depends on the product. Right? So I launched product with a kind of YouTube. I launched product Facebook group and Instagram.
Bradley Sutton: So then before you launched the product, you built the audience a little bit, like even before you had the product?
Norbert: It’s not like before I had the product, but if you know what product are you going to sell? Right. If you do this initial order, you have around, for example, 30 to 60 days to work on the audience. Right. So, that’s when you do it.
Bradley Sutton: So then, how do you do that? How do you build, let’s say you’re going to sell collagen peptides and you, so you make an Instagram health?
Norbert: I mean, you can do like a fitness thing, right? You can, if you do like collagen peptides or like vitamins or supplements, you can always go to YouTube influencers and ask them to promote you, not big influencers, but under 10,000, 10,000 subscribers. So, they are not expensive. And still the audience basis is pretty much really connected with the creator. Right. So it can do that. With a Facebook group, it depends if you have, I don’t know, let’s say with collagen peptides, and it’s something different, you can build an audience that really uses collagen peptides and your collagen peptides are pretty much different than other on the market. So you’re solving some kind of the problem for all those people. Right. So that’s how you started Facebook group. I don’t know what do you do with collagen peptides, or they use it for.
Bradley Sutton: You use it for your coffee. That’s what we learned. It’s for hair, skin and nails.
Norbert: Okay. Yeah. So definitely you can have a group of women. Women that you’re going to help with their nail, skin and hair. Right. So different strategies help grow the hair, like take care of nails and then you’re going to market your product there.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So you did that, obviously not for collagen peptides, but let’s say you built an audience of 200 people while your product is in route. So then now day one, the product is available on Amazon. What are you doing with that audience?
Norbert: Well, not really. No, not at day on. You kind of do a prelaunch, so you prepare your audience, the products don’t update that. So you’ve got– definitely do not leave anything. You don’t take any chances for the product. So, you prepare your audience. Listen, my products are going to be there like two weeks or a week. So there’s a waiting list, because we got, I don’t know, 300 units, 200 units. So that’s going to sell pretty fast. If you want to be first in line, just leave us your email and everything. But we’re going to send you a link to, for example, to Amazon, right? And because you’ve got these people, and you send them links, you can divide them to groups. So, you know that you’re going to have consistent sales day after day after day. For example, you know that I have a hundred people signed up for this, so you can divide the two, I don’t know, 15 people groups, so 20 people. And like every day you’re going to have 15 or 20 sales, 15 or 20 sales. Plus, you’re going to have your sales from Facebook ads. You’re going to have your sales from PPC as well. So then for the algorithm, it works, works, works really, really good.
Bradley Sutton: So, are you giving them a discount or a rebate?
Norbert: Yes. Yes. I’m giving them the– not the big list because if there really are members of your audience, so they really want a product. So it’s like 20 to 30%, nothing, nothing more. You still want to receive this verified review because you’ve got all the answers, it’s way better to ask for the review. So, 20%– is this really good discount? So, you’re going to still receive like verified review.
Bradley Sutton: And then are you sending them to two step URL or they search find buy, or how do they find your product?
Norbert: Two step URL, like URL with a keyword to you really want to rank on.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Alright. I see Iman there just like really taking notes almost like, yeah. That’s interesting. What is your launch strategy going to be like? Obviously you’re still a month or so away, but what thought have you given to it?
Iman: Yeah, I’ve given so much thought to it? So I’m definitely creating a brand here. And this brand came from Cerebro’s keyword research. So I have developed a brand. I have developed a Facebook and Instagram page three weeks old. I’ve got over a hundred followers and I have discovered that this community of people are obsessed with this product once they’ve done, once they finished one, they are hungry for the next one. So, up until when my product reaches Amazon, I’m constantly posting, reaching out, commenting, reposting, making each message very personal and making it very clear what my brand stands for. The fact that 10% of profit made I’m going to be donating it to a charity and really creating a story around that. Because that’s what I want to do with my brand. So because the shipment is coming to my house first, what I’m going to do is do very much what Norbert has already explained. I’m going to let people know that in celebration of my brand, I would like to sell the first hundred products and you guys get this limited edition. You’re going to get it before it even goes to Amazon. I need you to go to the landing page and I need you to give me your email address and fill out that PayPal, and make those sales off of Amazon. But I think it’s really interesting what you’ve said, Norbert about collating a bunch of people so that you can split those cells across the week on Amazon. And I think that’s something that I need to look at as my specialty.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, Norbert, one other unique thing being from Poland is you’ve been able to help a lot of Polish sellers to sell on Amazon too. So, just talk really briefly about that. What gave you the idea to start that Polish community?
Norbert: I wasn’t thinking about it, but the thing is when I started to sell on Amazon, I started documenting my road and numbers and on YouTube. Right? So it’s like, I found this idea about how can you sell in Amazon. Because in Poland, we don’t have Amazon, we only have warehouses, but we don’t have like a website to buy on. So, I saw the sharing down on Amazon and then my first month on how much, or the first month on the second and third, fourth, and people really started to follow me, ask me, they be softly asking questions. How can I do that? How should I start? How much money do I need? And I started to share that, right? What do you need? How much money this, that, and any other things? And I started like Facebook group. Now, it’s the biggest Facebook group in Poland about Amazon FBA. And really the whole community started from me documenting my way on Amazon. That’s how it started.
Bradley Sutton: That’s how Helium 10 started. The AM/PM Podcast, Manny Coats documenting how the journey was and that’s how it came to be. Okay. So like how many people was in your group now?
Norbert: Around nine and a half thousand right now.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. So, I know a lot of the Polish market, people might not– outside who aren’t companies. Companies obviously have a lot of money, but the average income in Poland is less than other parts of Europe. So is that an obstacle for people to get started or they’re able to get around that stuff?
Norbert: I mean, it depends how do you look at it? Right. So, definitely it can be an obstacle because I don’t know, investing $5,000, so investing the equivalent of it in Polish. It’s a huge difference, but the same way, if you earn $5,000, it’s a lot of money when you converted to our currency, for the standard of living, you can have for $5,000 in Poland. So we can look at both ways.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, Norbert, we’re almost out of time here. What are your goals? Obviously, it looks like you have a goal for this year, but 2021, looking ahead, as far as your Amazon businesses go, are we going to see you expand to US or maybe any of the other European marketplaces? Or do you have a money, like a number goal that you want to hit next year?
Norbert: I already had an episode in US, so definitely I’m coming back there. But my goal for 2021, I would love to double my income right now. Double it would be great, especially I’m rolling new products, so I’ve got a queue. Yeah, double it will be right.
Bradley Sutton: Alright. How about you, Iman? What’s your goal for this year with your launch? You’re going to be launching almost right in the middle of Q4. What’s your goal for the rest of this year? And then maybe if we hit you up in October of 2021 to come back, what would you like to be able to announce to everybody about what you’ve accomplished?
Iman: Yes. First goal is to, I mean, I’m going to answer it like this. My first year, I just want to really understand inventory and cash flow and the mechanics of e-commerce. My second year, I’m going to scale up and add more variations. And then the third year I go in to Germany and hopefully the US every year from next year, I’m going to be going to China. And I’d like to come to Helium 10 events every single year, and really immerse myself. And I think from 18 months from now, I’d like to start a YouTube channel and create a course on e-commerce and really speak to Dells, London girls, maybe I was saying to Norbert earlier, a lot of the YouTube videos about e-commerce is very masculine. It’s very American and maybe girls like me and my background, we don’t know about this. We don’t know who to look up to. So, maybe I can fill the gap there and be that person in terms of financially. My first goal is that every variation I make nets me minimum 3000 pounds per month. And then from there, I will scale up for every variation. So, that is my three to five year goal.
Bradley Sutton: I love these specific goals. I love it. Now, Norbert real quick, you’ve been talking about some strategies in your Amazon experience. What’s your TST, or your TST, 30-second tip. What is something you can say in 30 seconds or less, that you feel is different or very valuable, very actionable that Amazon sellers selling in the UK can do. It could be a launch, PPC, anything.
Norbert: I can do it in– yeah, that’s two tips for me. Building audience, that’s the first thing, you have to build it. And the other thing, when it comes to PPC and users, PPC is like, buckets with holes, do not just throw your money to PPC, try to get rid of the holes, right. So optimize, optimize, and optimize. That’s my two tips.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And Iman, you’re not selling on Amazon yet, but as far as any part of the journey, what I just love about you is your mindset, so like maybe you can give us a mindset hack, or maybe a 30-second tip on how you found your product. Anything at all that you can give to our listeners.
Iman: Okay. My tips are immerse yourself in Amazon and Helium 10 groups. Really immerse yourself, really talk to people, ask them questions. There’s nothing that’s stupid. And it’s just all about knowledge. The more knowledge you accumulate, the more actually gives you confidence to think that, okay, maybe I can do this. So, just immerse yourself in knowledge and communicate with everyone. Network.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. Network is your net worth sometimes. Right? Alright. So, real quick, Iman, if people want to find you on the internet and maybe see about your music or anything. How can people find you out there?
Iman: So, the best place is my website. So, it’s www.imanmusic.co.uk. I’m also on Instagram, imanmusick, same with the Facebook. And, yeah. And then you’ll get links to Spotify and kind of stuff and see my music videos and stuff.
Bradley Sutton: And for you Norbert, if people want to find you out there such as your program to help the Polish sellers, how can people find you on the internet?
Norbert: You can visit my website. So, if there’s any Polish freedomproject.pl, You can find me on YouTube, Freedom Project and on Instagram @amazonfreedomproject.
Bradley Sutton: Iman and Norbert, thank you so much for joining us.
Norbert: Thank you so much for having me.
Iman: Thank you.