#111 – These Young 7 Figure Amazon Sellers Prove that Private Label isn’t the Only Path to Success
When we’re talking about selling on Amazon, there are two things that immediately come to mind. The first is that Amazon doesn’t discriminate. It’s a level playing field for everyone, young and old. And second, it’s too easy to forget that there’s a lot more to Amazon than selling private label.
The very best way to understand that is to listen to stories of the many different paths that sellers have taken in order to find success on Amazon. This episode will go a long way towards making both of the above points very clear.
Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton welcomes three young sellers to drive home that message. The first is a “light” 7 figure wholesaler, the second is making 1.5 million a year drop-shipping on 160 SKUs, and the third did over 22K in their first month selling Sharpie markers on Amazon at the age of 16.
In episode 111 of the Serious Sellers Podcast Bradley Sutton, Melisa Vong, Kenzo Rene and Chris Orero discuss:
- 01:20 – The Three Seller’s Origin Stories
- 03:00 – School or No School
- 05:00 – Sometimes What You Learn at School is Outside of the Classroom
- 06:00 – Car Sales at BMW Led to an Encounter with an eCommerce Selling Couple
- 08:15 – I Spent Money on a Course, Now I Have to Do This
- 09:45 – The More You Teach the Better You Get
- 12:00 – Flipping High-End Sneakers Gave Him a Taste for eCommerce
- 13:30 – Making 22K on Sharpie Markers in One Month at 16
- 15:15 – Pivoting to ManyChat Lists and Rotator URLs
- 17:00 – With Drop Shipping, Your Products are Already in Demand and in Stock
- 21:40 – Wholesaling Can Be a Great Beginner Model
- 25:00 – A FIFA Online Game Avatar and an eCommerce Partner
- 27:05 – Making Choices with Money
- 30:20 – 30 Second Tips X Three
- 33:50 – TikTok and LED Lights Creating Search Volume
- 36:20 – How to Reach Out to Melisa, Kenzo and Chris
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: Today, we have three young sellers who show that Amazon isn’t just a private label. One is a seven-figure wholesaler. The second is making seven figures drop shipping, and the third did over $20,000 in their first month on Amazon at the age of 16. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I’m your host, Bradley Sutton and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free, organic, unscripted and unrehearsed serious conversation about serious strategies, for serious sellers of any level in the eCommerce world. And I said it’s a serious conversation, but somehow I feel that we’re not going to be too serious today with this group here. We’ve got my friends here, we got Melisa, Kenzo, and Chris. How’s it going, guys?
Melisa: Amazing. Thank you so much for showing us around.
Bradley: Thank you for coming here. It’s great to have you in town. And we’ve got three different sellers who have three different strategies, and I think that’s kind of cool. It’s important that people understand that there are different ways to make money on Amazon. But before we get into what you guys are doing now, I always love getting into the origin story. So where’d you grow up, Melisa?
Melisa: I grew up in a small town called Kitchener in Canada, but an hour West from Toronto.
Bradley: All right. And Chris?
Chris: I actually was born in New Jersey, but I moved down to Florida when I was a very small child, and I lived there for basically 26 years, and I’ve been in California just recently for this past year. Pretty cool experience to get to know a new place.
Bradley: All right. Kenzo?
Kenzo: So, I’m from Northern California, East Bay area, so right around Oakland, this town called Dublin. And then I recently moved out here to orange County about eight months ago.
Bradley: Okay. So do you say hella a lot? Is that still a thing up there? Okay. Now did you go to college, Melisa?
Melisa: I did. So I went to the University of Laurier in Waterloo. I studied Business Administration, failed out of that and moved into just a general Business Management and Communications.
Bradley: So when you went into college, what was your career goal at that time? Why did you pick business administration?
Melisa: Well, originally I was supposed to go to school to become a dentist, but then I saw somewhere, or I read this stat where dentists have or one of the top suicidal rates of any profession. So I last minute just switched into a business. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was just a gut feeling. I just decided to apply for business, and yeah.
Bradley: Okay. All right. Well, I don’t think a lot of people in the business world, they say it’s so stressful. They want to commit suicide too sometimes. But I think you pick the right track here. Chris, how about you? What was your educational background?
Chris: So I did two years in college, and it was for Engineering, but really towards the end of it, when the class started getting more and more difficult, three in the morning doing calculus and equations, and I just didn’t want to wake up the next morning and take an exam. I really wasn’t in 150%, and you have to when you’re doing things at that level. And so I said, screw that. I’m just going to get into something that I can learn that I’m good at, which is a computer or something with selling online. Anything that I could do from anywhere.
Bradley: Okay. Kenzo?
Kenzo: So, I actually graduated high school two years early, and I only went to a community college for one semester, and I started the year with five classes. And somehow I ended the year with one class and I got three credits.
Bradley: Did you have a plan at all or like, “Hey, I would love to do this.”?
Kenzo: Honestly, not really. Just because I actually started e-commerce in high school. I started by selling on eBay, and I was making sufficient money to actually live on my own. Obviously, I was living with my parents, and I was able to save a lot of the funds that I was making just because I had no overhead. So I was truly blessed for that. But, I’ve always been business savvy. I’m always trying to make an extra dollar. So in reality, I kind of just knew that anything I wanted to do had to be me being my own boss and whatnot.
Bradley: I like it. I like it. I think this is important. Yes, we have had people on here who actually are trained lawyers, and we had somebody who was trained to be a doctor, and somehow they end up in the eCommerce world. And one of the common themes is that it doesn’t require some fancy education to do what we do here. Sometimes it needs the entrepreneurial kind of spirit. But guys, if you’re out there listening if you’re 18, 19, 20, 21, maybe just dropped out of college or you haven’t started yet and you’re like freaking out, just remember guys, college, a four-year education, or a four-year degree– Nobody here has a bachelor’s degree. Do they? Do you?
Melisa: I do.
Bradley: Oh you do?
Melisa: Yeah, I graduated.
Bradley: Okay. But what you do now, do you owe that to your four-year degree? Or is it kind of you had your four-year degree, but it’s like– you probably could be doing what you’re doing now even if you didn’t have it?
Melisa: I could definitely be doing what I’m doing without that business education, but it’s hard to say that. “What if I didn’t go to school?” “What if I didn’t meet certain people?”, “What if they didn’t connect me to different opportunities online?”, “What if I didn’t get a taste of making internet money?” So, I can’t really say for sure if– obviously education itself that I learned wasn’t that valuable for what I was paying for. A lot of the classes were taught in a lecture-style where you’re reading off of a PowerPoint. Literally the professor is reading the bullet points when they send the slides in the morning anyways. So half the time I didn’t really go to class because I couldn’t stand listening to someone who’s just reading off of a slide and half of my textbooks, which are 2 or $300 a pop didn’t even come out of their plastic.
Bradley: Yeah. So, that just shows you guys, I mean the education itself sometimes isn’t the way to go, but that’s not to say that, “Oh, if you guys are dedicated to having a four-year degree, that’s a bad thing.” I know plenty of successful people who have four-year degrees, but the point I’m trying to make is it’s not the only path to success, and we were going to see that through today’s episode. Now going back to you Melisa, how did you get into e-commerce in general?
Melisa: So it was trial and error of a lot of different things online. Just the idea of making money online was something that appealed to me just because of the location-neutral freedom that you can have with it. So I grew up with the Twitter era, so I used to build out Twitter accounts and use that to drive traffic for CPA marketing. So, Cost Per Action marketing, and basically made my first few internet dollars through that platform, and just was hooked. So from there, kind of just tried a bunch of different things. And then I landed on eCommerce while I was working in car sales at BMW, and I met a couple and they were selling on Amazon. They were doing fairly well. They had just started, but they were selling stupid amounts of money selling household items and healthcare. And I was just blown away by the numbers that they were doing and I was– this is something that I’m open to, I’m going to do more research and I think I’ll take a leap of faith, and just go all in and let’s do it.
Bradley: So when was your first product on Amazon, let’s just say?
Melisa: My first product was on Amazon about three and a half years ago.
Bradley: Are you still selling that same product now?
Bradley: Wow. So a lot of people kind of strikeout with their first product so they can usually talk about it and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I tried to sell a silicone spatula and that bombed.” But that’s pretty cool. Your first product and it’s still selling three and a half years later.
Melisa: Yeah, we actually started with four products, so one of them took off. We have three out of those four still selling today. But there was one that we just kind of discontinued, but we’ve added a bunch more SKUs since then.
Bradley: Okay. Chris, what’s your journey into eCommerce like? So, the college wasn’t the way. Did you start selling on eBay, or what was your first entry into the eCommerce world?
Chris: Yeah. So basically it started with, after I left college, I was doing some kind of computer programming as well, and network administration, trying to just get involved with something aside from what I was doing. And I ended up starting with an eBay course. And it was just as simple as seeing somebody selling some kind of information to learn how to do this. I thought, well, I know eBay, I kind of know computers pretty good. I can probably sell stuff online. Right? And I just took a leap of faith, bought some $2,000 course on my card. And I said, basically, I spent money on this, I have to do this now. Right? And so, it literally just came down to following instructions and doing things systematically. And really just the right amount of steps over a long period of time is where I saw my first success. I think the first item I sold on eBay was a zero gravity chair, one of those outdoor zero gravity chairs. But the order was to Puerto Rico, and so I can ship to Puerto Rico. So it was this really big excitement that I had, cause I sold this first item, and I couldn’t do anything with it because I had to cancel it. But it was just the idea of, “Oh my God, I made my first eight bucks online and I literally put in five minutes of work to do that. So, all I had to do in my mind was just compound that and keep on doing that over and over again. So, at the time I started through eBay and of course, every selling platform has its ups and downs. Every selling platform is going to have its wave of really successful sellers that come through. And then policies change. You are at the whim of the rules of these platforms. You are privileged to sell with them. So, things change with eBay. And so I took the same strategies and moved it over to Amazon. And so Amazon just has infinitely more traffic than eBay, as I’m sure a lot of you guys know, obviously. And so a lot of the strategies were similar, and we just morphed it into the same business model. But now we had more access to traffic and we just had to play a different game. A different game, different rules, right? But it was still kind of under the same eCommerce umbrella, I guess you could say. And really just building a team there; engaging with students who were in the material we were teaching. And it really just helped me understand the eCommerce space more. I’m not sure how maybe you guys noticed this, but the more that you teach something, the better that you get at it because you have to make sure you’re teaching it correctly, right? If you’re teaching the wrong information, then well, that’s a whole different story. You probably shouldn’t be doing it anyway. But really just showing other people how to earn their first hundred bucks online, or in their first 50 bucks online, right? That’s someone’s gas bill. That’s somebody’s car payment they can maybe make. So, really just having an impact on how I could change my life selling. But then also use that information to change somebody else’s life even in a small way. I think that’s a really powerful thing to learn, and a really good skill to have.
Bradley: So, the course you took was actually on eBay? It’s how to sell on eBay?
Chris: Yeah, it was actually how to sell on eBay.
Chris: And it had all the fundamentals and really just evolved into after learning that, you learn how to make it better. So things that I didn’t learn in the course, I put together and really just starting out. I think a lot of people never start because they think it’s too hard or it’s too confusing. But coming from all three of us, Kenzo, Melisa, myself, you don’t need– it’s not rocket science, right? You learn how to push a few buttons. And I really think that being resourceful is something that all three of us have in common here, because we don’t have crazy, crazy educations, but we all know kind of how to find a problem to a solution when it’s not right in front of you, right? Finding a different way. And I think that’s probably the most powerful skill that you could learn in any entrepreneurial journey that you go on.
Bradley: Absolutely. Now Kenzo, you said you started in eCommerce even when you were in high school?
Bradley: Okay. What did that look like?
Kenzo: So basically I started eComm online. It basically originated when I was actually in middle school, eighth grade. I remember my friend came to school with these really cool shoes on, and he told me where he got it, and how much you got him for. And so I couldn’t find him anywhere. And I went on eBay and I found them for a 200% markup. And I was, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, this is ridiculous.” And somehow I convinced my mom to buy it, and then I realized seeing her after she bought the shoes, and her complaining about how ridiculous it is that someone marks it up this much. I saw that there was a market there to actually mark-up shoes. And I figured out what resellers are and all these things. And I started with that and I actually made some ridiculous money freshman year of high school. I made– I believe $700 for four hours of work profit. And I was just, I was blown away, but it wasn’t consistent. I couldn’t consistently get these rare sneakers because everybody’s trying to get them. So once that kind of died out for me, I actually hopped over to Shopify and I tried Shopify wholesale. I started bought some jewelry on AliExpress, and then ran some ads because I saw some guy driving a Lamborghini on Instagram, and he said he was doing it. So I went ahead and I tried it. I got my first sale actually when I was in Portland with my mom. I made seven bucks. And then that was the only sale I ever made on Shopify. So then I actually went ahead and I saw some other dude driving a Lamborghini, and then I went ahead and I bought some– an eBay course. And, he was the one who was actually teaching it. He wasn’t the face of it, but he was the one that, when I came down to LA, he actually taught me–
Bradley: You’re pointing to Chris?
Kenzo: Yeah, Chris. Oh my bad, guys. So, I started with that and I made some good money. The profit margins weren’t what I was seeking. So then I kind of got into wholesale, and that builds up really well. I was doing a lot of volumes, but then it kind of got to the point where it was ridiculous running this operation on my room, right? So I’m sending out hundreds of orders a day and I’m like, “okay, how can I scale this business?” I physically don’t have enough time to go ahead and, pick a package, and ship each one of these products. And I knew that Amazon was always the move even when I started to eBay. Everybody buys an Amazon. I don’t even buy on eBay. I buy on Amazon. And then I heard about this thing called FBA, and that’s when they actually handle all your pick packing and shipping and your customer service for the product. This was a no brainer. So I hopped over into that, and it took me five months to even find my first product to sell. But literally, once I had my first product, which I remember it was a Sharpie 12 pack of– no Sharpie 24 pack of these color-burst markers. And my first month I made $22,000 in gross sales, which was just obscene to me.
Bradley: How old were you at that time?
Kenzo: I was 16.
Kenzo: So that was definitely wild for me. And then it’s just been compounding ever since, right? Just networking with more suppliers, adding more SKUs to the list and just going from there.
Bradley: Cool. Now going back to you Melisa. In 2019, what were your– because your main model is kind of the private label model, is that correct?
Melisa: Right, exactly.
Bradley: In private label, about how much did you gross in 2019, would you say?
Melisa: 2019, we did multiple seven figures.
Bradley: Multiple seven figures. How many different products?
Melisa: Oh well, I actually currently have seven different brands that sell on Amazon. So we definitely, I guess expanded from the first brand that I started about three years ago. And we have close to– I want to say 30 SKUs.
Bradley: Okay. And that just those by itself generated multiple seven figures. So cool.
Melisa: Kind of mind-blowing. Some days I wake up and I have to pinch myself.
Bradley: So what’s your main strategy? For the ones that were successful, we’ll talk about the failures too, but– so you have multiple brands that are doing well. How did you launch– what’s your launch strategy for a launching new brand? Do you rely on social media or are you doing just PPC or how do you get that initial sales velocity?
Melisa: Yeah, so it’s a combination of a lot of different things. Amazon really likes diversification when it comes to traffic. So I guess in 2019 it was a little bit different. Or even a couple of years ago, it was very different because before you used to be able to buy reviews, right? You can send device reviews, but now that it’s no longer a thing, you really have to pivot. So now what we do is we are running ManyChat lists, and we build these ManyChat lists through Facebook advertising.
Bradley: Are you taking them to a two-step URL or it’s just going directly to the listing, or–?
Melisa: Right, exactly. So what we do is we have a two-step URL that we generate through helium10.com/gems. We also use pixelfy.me, so we create a rotator URL, and what we do is be focused on the main keyword. So usually we’ll pick a top three to five keywords that we want to rank for, and we’ll throw them into this keyword URL rotator. So we’ll have five different keywords that we want to rank for, and it just kind of rotates between the different links. So it looks different. It’s not one specific link, back then people used to use the super URL, but the thing about that is it’s timestamped. So Amazon was catching on and started to notice that people are using the same link to buy the same product. And then they started I guess banning super URLs. So there’s now a more advanced way to create, I guess a Supreme URL is what they call it. So, we use a Supreme URL, and then we kind of just throw it in the mix with different keywords.
Bradley: Okay. Now Chris, so Melisa’s main business model on Amazon is private label. How would you describe your main business model on Amazon?
Chris: The business model that I run on Amazon is a dropshipping model. And so, I guess the main differences there are in how you’re starting out, right? Where you’re getting your traffic from. Now with Amazon, we know that there’s tons of traffic, but kind of what Melisa was talking about, you’re starting a brand, you’re starting a product. So not a lot of people may know what your product is or where to find it, right? So they have to be kind of guide to where that is; why somebody is going to need that product. With the dropshipping model, it’s a little bit different in that the product already exists. You’re already getting products that people are looking for, and they’re already buying. So all you have to do is just find those products, and then put your name on that product listing so that people are already seeing it on Amazon. So it’s kind of you’re looking at the BSR of these items, the bestseller ranking the item, and that item is going to change periodically. It changes on a daily basis. And so the higher the number is, the less often that item is selling. And the closer that number is to one, the more frequently it’s selling. And so you use that information, it’s all information that Amazon provides you using several plugins, and there’s a couple that I can mention, but some of them are always updating. So I wouldn’t want to give inaccurate information, but they’re basic plugins that you use off of Google Chrome and they just give you that info. So it helps somebody who doesn’t really know a lot about ads, who don’t know about how to scale a business or create funnels and URLs to really just get onto the platform and start selling right away. So I think the big key difference there is the amount of money somebody has to be able to invest into a product, right? If they’re investing into the brand, if they’re investing into the ads, and everything that involves getting the product out there, right? With dropshipping, there are a lot of the barriers that are not as stringent, but obviously the profitability is a lot different, right? If you get a product in their private label, you eliminate almost all your competition basically, and you can get some massive margins in there. So there are pros and cons that it’s very beginner-friendly. If you’re coming in and you don’t really have a lot of experience in business, you can jump right into the dropshipping and as long as you have some decent amount of credit, you can build up and essentially sell a product that you don’t physically have on you. So you put up a product for sale, you know it’s going to sell and when it does, you’re using that information to go to that online retailer that you already source that product from and you’re just shipping it to the customer who bought it from you on Amazon. Those kinds of– you’re just this middle man in between all the products you sell. You never touched your product, you never see the product, never handle it. You’re just moving it from point A to point C, and you’re point B right in the middle. So it just comes down to having really good organization, having some decent credit to start out with and just knowing how to keep up to date with all of Amazon’s changes, and how to really move over the platform. As long as, again, you have the ability to have a card and you know the right strategies, anybody can really start that model.
Bradley: So, dropshipping, that means that pretty much it’s all fulfilled by a merchant, not FBA because–
Chris: That would be correct, yes. So if you are– the two main categories that are FBM and FBA, so we would be dealing primarily FBM. So Amazon assumes you have the responsibility for that product via a merchant, instead of them putting it in their warehouse.
Bradley: But how do you make sure that, if you have a lot of listings, I would imagine, or drop shipping model, you need to have a pretty wide variety of SKUs that you might have active at any time. But how do you– when you don’t have control over the inventory, what’s to say, Hey, you had it listed for a week, but then by the time you do sell one, it’s where you’re going to get it, it’s not right there.
Chris: Yeah. Right. So that’s a good question, Bradley and a lot of that is solved by software. So, Melisa was talking about how she was using different tools to help her manage the business. It’s the same for dropshipping. So you have software that will go in and check and connect with these retailers and the suppliers are using and they’ll be able to say, “Hey look, this item is sold but it’s out of stock right now,” or “It’s still in stock at this price.”, and it’s going to go ahead and update your inventory for you. It connects via certain APIs to your Amazon account and it can check, “okay, this item is out of stock right now. Let me turn the quantity to zero.” So you don’t sell an item that you don’t have.
Bradley: Under that model, dropshipping model, what was gross sales for the drop shipping for you for 2019?
Chris: Sure. So for one store that I had or anyone of the stores I had, we did about 1.6 million last year. And that is just off of right around 400 SKUs. Realistically, probably about 60% of those sell on a daily basis. So, I would say 1.5 million on about 160 SKUs. So we’re pretty happy with those results, given it was one store, and we want to definitely scale it up this year a lot bigger.
Bradley: Nice. Now, Kenzo, you have a third– well, I believe you already mentioned it. You said you are mainly doing the wholesale model. So first of all, what was your 2019 sales, would you say for the year, for gross sales under using the wholesale model of selling on Amazon?
Kenzo: So, it’s a very light seven figures. Nothing crazy this year because we went, and started supplying other retailers now. So we’re actually being middlemen as well and supplying other wholesalers on Amazon. And, not just putting everything into our own stores. But yeah, basically the wholesale models, it’s relative, I think it’s the simplest and most beginner-friendly in my opinion, with the exception of needing to have a decent amount of starting capital. The reason being is as drop shipping like Chris said, you don’t really need a crazy amount of funds to start because you can put all the orders on your credit card, right? You’re not buying any inventory until it’s already sold. All I’m doing is I’m just going ahead and finding out what products sell well on Amazon, and then I’m going to just source them for a lower price, right? So I don’t physically own, or I don’t own any of the brands that I’m actually currently selling. So basically, to give an example, I’ve been selling a lot of Sonos bars recently. So basically they’ll retail for about $699 on Amazon and my wholesale price, I’ll pick them up for about $350 a pop. The only issue with this is, I have to go ahead and front an obscene amount of money to lock in these deals where I’m making margins like these. But it definitely, I feel it is the easiest to scale in terms of– as long as your suppliers can feed you as much as you want to eat, I feel there’s not really something holding you back. We do have the issue of competing with other sellers on the listings rather than you being your own brand, then you just worry about listing hijackers, which you could kick them off. But, dealing with other individuals and then dealing with companies that have MAPs, and other things like that can pose a headache. But otherwise I really do enjoy it; the business model that I follow.
Bradley: Interesting. So some people have a different kinds of definitions of the wholesale model. We’ve had people on here who’s for them wholesale is almost like private label where they go to a company and say, “Hey, let me take over your Amazon listings and let me just run it for you, and I’ll just take a cut.” Other people wholesale, just like, “Hey, I have– here’s a list of wholesale prices. I’m just going to buy this from a distributor and then resell it for a profit.” So, which of those models are you kind of doing?
Kenzo: So, basically, I follow more so the second one. I deal with two different types of suppliers, authorized distributors, as well as liquidation and closeouts. I don’t deal with any brands directly, just because I feel my expertise isn’t per se brand management, making sure their BSRs are great and all that, don’t get me wrong, I know how to run a PPC campaign and whatnot, but it’s more so I already know what’s selling. Everything I’m doing is a very educated decision. So, like I said, if I’m dealing with Johnson & Johnson, and I see that they’re selling Oral B toothbrushes for $7, and they resell it for $25 on Amazon, and I know I can make a margin on it. That’s what I’m going ahead and dealing with. So, I’m not dealing with any brands directly.
Bradley: Now, Melisa, something interesting about you, if I was looking at your Instagram was that you work also with influencers, celebrities, and help them develop their own– their brands and things. Is there any cool story, bro, that you can tell us about, or how you help somebody, or how maybe somebody who would never have gotten into it, and then thanks to you, they discovered private label and now they’re doing x or y.
Melisa: Yeah. So one of the first people that trusted me in this business model, so his name is Bryce Alderson, and he’s become one of my best friends through this process that we’ve been through together. So when I first started selling on Amazon, I was excited when I got sales on Amazon, even though it wasn’t much. I was posting it up on Instagram. I was, “Oh my God, thank you so much. It’s always so exciting, especially just waking up to sales and it really– it’s just, there’s no other feeling like it.” So my friend Bryce, he reached out to me, we caught up over coffee. He actually used to play professional soccer, and for the Vancouver Whitecaps. One thing that I just always tell people, especially if we ever go out and when he was single and I’d play the wing woman, I would tell them, “Hey, this guy has a character in a video game. Have you ever played FIFA?” So he actually has a character for I think three years out of FIFA 13, 14, 15 or something like that. And he got injured unfortunately. So he stopped playing soccer and then he bought up a pizza store, decided that that wasn’t really scalable. Because the thing about franchising pizza stores is you have to actually be there. For him, it wasn’t scalable. And he saw the eCommerce model and found it really appealing. So we decided to partner up on a store together, or a brand and we built a brand from scratch and we last. It’s been around for about almost two years. So I think about 18 months effectively. Last year we did 1.7 million with that one brand. I’m all about collaboration over competition. So it’s cool when you can find people that just get it. We’re in the same niche as you. And then to be able to travel, we’ll make money online together and to really impact lives because these guys, they’re doing some really big things where they’re mentoring some really young people, and they’re changing lives at the end of the day. So–
Bradley: Yeah. So, eCommerce has definitely opened up a lot of doors. I follow you on Instagram sometimes I don’t even know who all everybody is, but then I’ll click on their profile. These people who are in your Instagram story, I’m like, “All right, this person has 5 million followers. This person has 10 million followers.” But I think eCommerce helps you make a great living for yourself but also opens up all these other avenues and fun activities that you might never have done before. What about with you, Chris or Kenzo, either of you, how has been selling in eCommerce? And what kind of avenues or what kind of ridiculous story can you tell us that has been opened up to you, thanks to choosing this as your business model? Chris, I’ll start with you.
Chris: I really think the main thing to really realize here is that we all make choices with our money, right? And everybody who’s buying a product online, no matter where they are in the world, they are making a choice. They’re making a decision to spend their money, the choice to buy whatever product that is, whether that’s toothpaste, whether that’s a plaque, whether it’s a photo, whether it’s food. Right? And so you’re just– the reason you mentioned that Bradley, that the world opens up to you is specifically for that reason is because eCommerce doesn’t really just able to make money online, but it’s ability to connect yourself with people who are making a decision to buy your product, who live in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Europe, anywhere around the world, right? And just the fact that you have that one small connection, which is a click of a button away, right, connects you to them in some way. And so I think the biggest kind of a shocker for me was that a couple of years ago when I had first started teaching and getting involved with showing people how to sell things online, one of my mentors, I was teaching this course in his living room, right? My buddy Kenzo was there as well. And the fact that two years later, I am living in that same living room now. I’m actually living there. I have at lease there. And so just coming from literally 3000 miles away in Florida, Central Florida, and coming out to California two years later and actually living in the spot that I was once teaching at is just kind of mind-blowing to me.
Bradley: Well, what about you Kenzo? What’s the coolest thing that just maybe it’ll inspire somebody who’s out there– because of eCommerce you were able to do this or you’ve had this door open and maybe somebody will be inspired to do the same?
Kenzo: So, the whole journey has been crazy to me. I’ve never been the person that thinks I couldn’t do something. I feel that’s something I owe my success to. I remember back in high school, I saw this car, it was a Jaguar F type. And Oh my God, I was in love with it. And I told myself I’m going to get this car by 2020 and honestly, I got the car. I hate it. I hate driving it. It’s truly ridiculous that what we’re able to do with this whole eCommerce era. We’re truly blessed because Amazon, for example, it’s a business that does not discriminate. You could be black, white, 80, seven years old. It really doesn’t matter as long as everybody has the exact same fighting chance with the exception of resources. But in reality, anybody could do it from anywhere in the world. It’s just a true blessing for me that I was able to– I’m able to live this lifestyle that I do now due to me spending a few hours on a laptop, clicking some buttons. So, I think that that’s just really ridiculous that what I’m able to do at my age is just really mind-blowing.
Bradley: All right. Now, I want to play a new game that I haven’t played with any guests before. But before we get there, we have a section of the show that we call the TST, stands for TST, 30-second tip. So be thinking each of you, I’m going to have– you only have 30 seconds to say, but something that is a knowledge bomb or something that a strategy that can really help. It could be about your launch strategy, it could be about how to talk to a wholesale supplier. It could be about how to not kill yourself while driving to McLaren. But it could be about whatever you guys want, but it has to be 30 seconds or less. So we’re going to start with Melisa. What is your TST for the audience today?
Melisa: I guess my 30-second tip would be to network, network, network. Meet people, go to networking events, whether they’re free or paid travel. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and your environment. I feel that I get stuck a lot in my home office, so what I do is I’ll just take a trip and travel and then I’ll meet amazing people like Kenzo and Chris who helped me level up, or who know people that might be able to help me grow personally or my business.
Bradley: Excellent. Excellent. Love it. Chris?
Chris: I think that the biggest thing that I learned that’s helped me through my life is that if I want to start something, I want to make sure that I can be the best at what I’m doing. The only thing that separates me from a skill that I’m learning is how much work I put in. It doesn’t matter how much– I don’t care how much money you have, I don’t care how many resources you have, you’re just not going to outwork me. So if I can at least get that part down, be the best that I can at my skill, I know that I’m going to have the best results, right? So, I really think it’s just avoiding trying to learn 50 million things at one time, right? A lot of people want to get into eCommerce, then they want to get into Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, Walmart, and they want to try to sell on 50 different platforms, but it never really be good at one thing. And a lot of people fail to realize that if you’re just really, really, really freaking good at one thing, a lot of that knowledge can transfer out into a lot of other avenues.
Bradley: Kenzo, what’s your TST for us?
Kenzo: My, how do you say it?
Kenzo: My TST would be just doing it. In reality, what do you have to lose? I remember I read this article and I actually went and tried it out myself. I visited a senior center in my hometown, and basically I just went up to three individuals there. And I asked them what they were at most in life and it wasn’t what they did do, but it’s what they didn’t do. So in reality, the master has failed more times than the beginner has ever the person that hasn’t started. And I just want individuals to go out there and do that thing that they’ve been wanting to do, grab it by the throat. Because in reality, when you’re 80 years old, you say, “Oh, I failed at this”, or “Oh man, I wish I would have tried this.” So I mean in reality, that’s all I have to say.
Bradley: Alright. Love it. Love it. Alright, now we’re going to do something new. And then you guys who are listening, you guys can kind of play along too, but don’t be cheating by having Helium 10 open or anything, but we’re going to play something called, first of all, the Search Volume Game, okay? Now I have three keywords here, and then as you guys may or may not know, Helium 10 has an accurate estimated monthly search. How many times somebody is searching for these keywords a month? Alright? Like I said, guys if you’re listening, play along. Alright, three words. We’ve got LED lights, LED lights for bedroom, LED lights for cars. Alright, so three LED lights related keywords. Now, this is an even crazier number, alright? One of these only has 9,000 monthly searches. The middle one has 380,000 searches a month, and the one that has the most searches has 614,000 monthly searches.
Chris: Are these analytics up-to-date today, right?
Bradley: Within the last three weeks? Yes, in the last three weeks. It’s basically– it’s updated every week and it’s the last 30 days kind of searches.
Kenzo: Okay. Have you seen crazy ads for those?
Melisa: So on TikTok, there’s this trend where people have these LED lights strips for their bedroom. And I feel that is the highest everyone’s searching them now because they see all their favorite TikTokers. You’ve seen these lights for just based on trends? I think that it’s the LED lights for the bedroom, and then I think LED lights would be second. And then LED lights for a car would be last.
Kenzo: I agree with that because LED lights are it’s such a broad thing that– my family runs a construction company, so they’re buying LED lights on Amazon. But I’ve been seeing crazy ads on Instagram for the ones in their cars. But I mean I just haven’t–
Melisa: That’s based on you because you like cars.
Kenzo: Yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay. So that’s the target. So, I agree with Melisa in that the one, two, three of a bedroom, LED lights, and LED lights for cars.
Chris: I agree.
Bradley: Alright. The third place, 9,000 monthly searches, LED lights for car. Alright? LED lights for bedroom, 380,000. The number one is just the generic LED lights. So this is different than the stuffed animal one, where stuffed animals are.
Chris: It’s because people search relative lights first and they’re like, “Oh, wait a minute. Let me–“
Bradley: Exactly. So here’s the thing, and this is why I teach people one about search volume. Don’t just be looking at the search volume because I guarantee there are more people who are purchasing something from LED lights for bedroom or stuffed animal storage as opposed to these general keywords. The people who use these general keywords, I don’t think actually buy anything from that search because if you actually search that on Amazon, it’s so varied. You will have some for the bedroom, you will have some for car, which means that the buyer’s behavior is people buying all kinds of things. I view people who use those really broad terms, they’re using Amazon more like Pinterest, or Etsy, or something just to get some ideas and then they’ll niche down and go to one of these detailed ones. So for example, if I had led lights that are for car, I’m going after that 8,000 keywords. I’m not going to go after the LED lights because I think somebody searching LED lights for the car is looking for probably what I’m trying to sell. Anyways, guys, thank you so much for coming down here to our office, and explaining your cool backstories, and the kind of different methodology that each of you has. In the room, we have over eight figures worth of sales in 2019, and not one of you guys are really doing the same thing that somebody else is doing.
Bradley: And so guys, if you’re listening out there, no matter what your age is– can you tell me your ages so people can know?
Melisa: I’m 25.
Bradley: 25. Chris?
Chris: I’m 27.
Bradley: 27. Kenzo?
Kenzo: I’m 18.
Bradley: 18. Amazing guys. All right, so if anybody wants to ask you guys some questions or follow your journey out there, how can they find you on the interwebs?
Melisa: You can follow me on Instagram. It’s @Melisa with one S. Melisa, or I’m also on YouTube now.
Bradley: You must have had Instagram for a long time to be able to have that handle huh?
Melisa: No. People who know people. So I was able to get these.
Bradley: Ooh. Do you fancy? Huh? I like it. Chris?
Chris: You guys can go ahead and follow me @ChrisO. So literally just the name Chris with the letter O.
Bradley: That’s another very short Instagram handle.
Chris: We have somebody who did have the name Chris already. And I don’t know people who know people who know people who know people to get that one. Oh, gee.
Bradley: All right Kenzo?
Kenzo: So if you guys want to go ahead and find me, I’m solely on Instagram. It is @KNZO.
Bradley: Sweet. I’ve had a seven-figure, 20-year old seller on here. And it’s important to understand that whether– I think Kenzo was one who said it. Whether you’re seven, whether you’re 17, whether you’re 77 Amazon is an equal playing field. All right? Jeff Bezos doesn’t discriminate based on age, or where you come from. Anybody has an equal chance of making big money on Amazon. And it’s not just about private label, or it’s not just about arbitrage, or it’s not just about dropshipping. There are multiple ways to skin a cab on Amazon. So guys, you just got to hop in and do it. That’s one thing that all three of these individuals have in common was they didn’t just take a course or they didn’t just study about it. They actually did things, something. They went, and they actually applied what they learned and now they’re crushing it because of that.
Bradley: So thank you guys, and we love to reach out to you may be in January, February of 2021 and see how that trip around the world went. The kind of sad thing is I know Kenzo is hoping that Melisa would go, but no mention about Chris over here about that round the world trip. So it’s basically just– Chris, you’re not allowed, I guess. Okay. Okay, good. So I want to hear about that around the world trip, and then to see what new cars that you guys have by then. All right, thanks a lot of guys.
Bradley: Quick note guys, don’t forget that regardless where you are listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone or on Stitcher, on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button so that you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.
- #266 – Here’s How TikTok and LinkedIn Can Power Your E-Commerce Business - July 27, 2021
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- #264 – Introducing the Serious Sellers Club, and More! - July 20, 2021