#161 – What a Difference a Year Makes – A Report Detailing a Beginner’s Life Selling on Amazon

Episode 161 of the Serious Sellers Podcast features three brand-new Amazon sellers comparing their experience with last years’ e-commerce novices.

A year, and 121 episodes ago, Bradley welcomed three new Amazon sellers onto this podcast to tell their e-commerce stories. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Brand Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes those same three sellers back to talk about what the last year on Amazon has meant to them as e-commerce novices.

Joining them this time around will be another three brand-new members of the Amazon selling club. They’re going to discuss their aspirations for the next year and how they became interested in the Amazon selling model in the first place.

It’s fascinating to see the seemingly unlimited number of “lanes” that exist within the Amazon ecosystem. You’ll also enjoy seeing the way these six sellers are navigating e-commerce (and a pandemic) with so much resourcefulness and creativity.

In episode 161 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley looks at the Amazon journey of six sellers:

  • 03:20 – Catching Up with Adriana
  • 06:00 – Challenges with Negative Reviews
  • 08:00 – Combining Shopify and Amazon
  • 10:20 – Copywriting Matters
  • 13:00 – The Coronavirus Pandemic Creates Difficulties for Mayana
  • 16:00 – It’s All About Timing
  • 18:30 – The Leverage of a Service-Based Industry
  • 20:30 – Amazon’s Multiple Lanes
  • 23:00 – Three Brand-New Amazon Sellers  
  • 25:30 – Financial Freedom Is at the Top of the List
  • 28:00 – Productive “Guilt”
  • 29:45 – Variations with Size and Keywords  
  • 31:30 – The Pandemic was a Decisive Point
  • 33:00 – Playing Around with Helium 10’s Profitability Calculator and Saving Money 
  • 35:30 – From Producing Music to Another Passion; E-Commerce
  • 37:30 – Putting the Instagram “Cart” Before the Amazon “Horse”  
  • 40:00 – For Chris, it’s Long Tailed Keywords First

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.

Transcript

Bradley Sutton: Last year, we had three brand new sellers on an episode with a promise they’d come back to let us know how they did, and they’re back with three completely different outcomes that show how there’s no one definition of success. We also have a set of three new sellers who are all about to launch their first product and despite being new, they already have some cool strategies that they’re going to tell us about such as going after a higher price product and building an Instagram audience to over a hundred thousand people to help with their launch. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.

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 BS-free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. And I’ve got three guests back on with us. They were here a little over a year ago. Their original debut on the Serious Sellers Podcast was Episode 39. So guys, if you want to get all out of their backstory, please go back there. But let me just welcome really quickly to show, Adriana, Simon and Mayana. Welcome back guys.

Bradley Sutton: All right. Now the original– for those of you who didn’t listen to that episode, I had picked three different ones who had just started on Amazon or were thinking of starting on Amazon. And I said, Hey, I want to chronicle your journey just to see where you’re at in a year and see what you guys were planning on doing. And I think it’s important that we have this episode because so much in the industry. Sometimes I see that people– you guys see Facebook ads with the Lamborghinis and you see these promises of glory, as long as you start going on Amazon. And what I wanted to do is I had no idea what would turn out between these three. I know there are cool people, so that’s why I had them on, but I didn’t want it to be a fact where, okay, I’m only going to invite them back as long as they became seven figure sellers or something. But I think it’s important for everybody to understand that Amazon isn’t always rainbows and unicorns, and you shouldn’t be upset if things don’t go exactly as planned. And it’s important that you understand the struggles that every day, real life person like you and I go through in their existing journey.

Bradley Sutton: I think a lot of you existing sellers out there who are already selling, you’ll find some benefit in this episode because we’re going to be talking to these three again. And at the end of the episode, we’re going to have three brand new people that we’re going to chronicle for the next year. But if you’re a brand new seller or thinking of selling, I really think you should pay attention to this episode because you’re going to see what kind of struggles that these individuals have had over the last year. And at the end of the day, if you decide that Amazon isn’t the way to go, or you postpone it, really want to make sure everybody understands, there is nothing wrong with that, right? Amazon is just one of the many ways that people can use to make money. And hopefully we’ll get a little bit of that today. So let’s first go ahead and start with Adriana. Now, if I recall correctly Adriana, we talked last year, you were living in Mexico. That’s where you’re from and you are having an amazon.com business. And I believe you had just started with one product at that time. Is that correct?

Adriana: Correct. I actually, right after, I think after our talk, I launched a second product, and then a third one, and right now I’m researching for my fourth product.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. You were starting to scale your business and at the time you were working full time at some kind of office job, right?

Adriana: Yes. Correct.

Bradley Sutton: And is that still the case?

Adriana: No, I actually– that job just ended in April, basically. So this is my first month doing FBA full time.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So now FBA is your full time business, but are you making enough to support yourself or still not yet? Just from your Amazon business?

Adriana: Yes, actually just recently. And funny thing is that I was, I mean, I was ready to– I guess I was looking forward to do FBA full time and then Coronavirus hit. And that, of course, my products took a hit because their initial step took a hit of course. And so it started in the sales are coming back up and so I’m hopeful that it was just a momentary glimpse in there. So, I’m doing this right now.

Bradley Sutton: This is your only income and it’s enough. The profit that you make from Amazon is enough to support you or you’re still breaking even, or what’s going on there?

Adriana: Yeah, I recently– as I said, a month before Coronavirus happened, I broke even. So it took me a little bit, it took me a little while actually. And then Coronavirus happened and all that. And so that of course, I guess affected my finances as well, but now I’m in a good space right now, just recently, actually.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Interesting. Now, what were some other obstacles that– it’s been a year since we’ve talked on the show, what were some other obstacles other than coronavirus? You’re probably in a niche that got hit, maybe a travel, party supplies niche, anything like neck pillows, people who were selling neck pillows, absolutely took a big hit, but that’s obviously one of the big obstacles that happen to you that was unforeseen, but what else, what other kind of hiccups did you run along the way in the last year?

Adriana: I guess it would be– the more unique one is Coronavirus, of course, but the other ones would be those things that are going kind of obstacles– bad reviews or problems with Seller Central, that type of thing. That it’s kind of constant, basically.

Bradley Sutton: What happened with the bad reviews?

Adriana: Well, I did get a couple and I’m pretty sure it was from competitors, but then when I tried to called Amazon seller and tried to explain this, there’s not much you can– as you guys know, seller central can sometimes be– seller support actually can sometimes be a pain most of the times it is, actually. And so that, but I mean, nothing major on to coronavirus basically.

Bradley Sutton: So then you just had to grin and bear it with those bad reviews. They’re still on there and did you lose sales from it? Or–?

Adriana: They did affect my commercial rate, but I just focused on basically selling more to get more reviews.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. You said you launched a couple of products, like what kind of launching strategy did you have?

Adriana: I think I did basically– well, I did a ton of PPC, of course, and I did a few giveaways here and there just to rank basically.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, it wasn’t like you’re just doing random products, but you’re actually trying to build a brand on Amazon.

Adriana: Oh no. I actually, I mean, they’re different– their products in different niches, but what I mean is yes, I only have one account and it’s under one same brand, but no, I haven’t been focusing on just choosing a niche.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Cool. Let’s go on to Simon. Simon from Florida here. I remember the last time we had talked, you had a product that I believe you were doing off of Amazon and yeah. You were just trying to get it on Amazon. Do I have that kind of correctly there?

Simon: Yeah. I developed a product, I re-manufactured it and I was selling it in parallel with Shopify and also doing an Amazon launch. So you can’t be right as I was getting the product into the fulfillment center. So yeah.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, if I recall correctly, that also was a fairly competitive niche that you’re in. So, how did that work out? Was it pretty difficult to overcome the competition in that niche? Because you didn’t start out, what you had done was not the traditional private label where somebody maybe uses Helium 10 and tries to find something that has no competition because you already actually had an existing off Amazon product and you were just trying to bring that on Amazon. So what kind of struggles did you run into being in a competitive niche like that?

Simon: Yeah, definitely. It was very competitive niche, topical pain relief. That was a very challenging battle, especially with trying to do PPC and giveaways and rankings. So to get to the top of the page, I think I was on page one for a little bit. And, I got some good traction, but it’s really challenging when you’re competing against guys with tons of marketing budgets, a larger marketing budget. So I learned my lesson there. Yeah, that was one of the major challenges.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now on the show you had told us that before you started on Amazon, you were doing about grossing, about $5,000 a month, just on Shopify, like running Facebook ads. Did you keep up that Shopify or do you kind of scale down how much activity you were doing on there?

Simon: I definitely scaled down that activity because the ad cost and the shipping cost increased, so that wasn’t super sustainable. I’ve implemented more of a strategic email marketing strategy, which has helped a little bit, but right now it’s all organic and I’m not driving any traffic to either.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So did Amazon ever overtake your Shopify sales, or to this day, do you still do more on Shopify than Amazon?

Simon: It’s pretty close, but I’ve done more on Shopify to be honest. And that’s a lot, because of the Facebook ads. But I would say for a little bit when I was on page one, I was doing better on Amazon, but there’s also a lot of different costs associated with that, like the Amazon costs.

Bradley Sutton: All right. So what’s your biggest regret of the last year and maybe biggest success that you’ve had with starting on Amazon?

Simon: Biggest regret I would say is going into a niche that is very competitive and trying to create a whole new product category, just for me at least. That was a challenging one and also expensive. Biggest lesson I learned, I think biggest outcome is just getting really becoming more effective at copywriting and email marketing. Probably not so much email marketing with Amazon, but, I got to also connect with a lot of really cool people like yourself getting into the Amazon space. So I think that was a positive outcome.

Bradley Sutton: Absolutely. So now what– Adriana says Amazon is her sole income now. What percent of your income like overall, what you do to sustain yourself actually comes from your e-commerce, or either Shopify and Amazon. Is that a hundred percent of what the money you’re making or are you still have other things that take up the majority of what your income is?

Simon: Yeah. So as far as income breakdown, Shopify and Amazon are just sort of passive right now, and I’ve actually pivoted to more of a consulting business service model in a copywriting and email marketing automation space. So using those same skills that I learned from Amazon and Shopify, just writing sales pages, writing email copy, building the system. That’s what I’m focused on now is helping product creators scale their revenue with sales pages and emails. So that’s where I’ve moved my attention.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. We got a contrast so far. We’ve got Adriana who in one year replaced her full time job. We’ve got Simon, a little bit halfway through there. He’s like, you know, this is his passive income, gives him some extra money and it’s not his main hustle, so there’s no one right or wrong way. So that’s cool that we have two different outcomes here. So we’ll come back to you in a little bit, Simon. Let’s go now to Mayana. How’s it going Mayana?

Mayana: Good. How are you?

Bradley Sutton: I’m doing delightful talking to my BFFs, my three BFFS here. Now, originally from the original episode, I remember, you were into catering and you were a vlogger on YouTube, and you’re really excited about the Amazon opportunity. You were taking different courses and starting to look for products. Now, what about you? Did you ever launch a product this last year on Amazon?

Mayana: No. I don’t take any courses.

Bradley Sutton: I thought you said you had studied some courses?

Mayana: Not really. I looked into- I think it was Kevin King course. I was looking into that and just not really much all into the courses. And my main point was to save up the money to start the FBA business. But before the Coronavirus came, I didn’t really get up to the savings that I wanted to,

Bradley Sutton: It was interesting to me because out of his whole group and I have a lot of people I know, you were doing all the right things, like you said, you were looking into freedom ticket. I saw you a couple of times at actual Amazon events and conferences and things like that. So, you seemed really inspired. What was your options? What made you stop? Actually just taking that dive and going out and getting your product because you seem to be all in last year.

Mayana: Oh yes. So I was in Vegas with you guys, right. It was really, really inspiring and a great, great experience for sure. And I really wanted to go all in, like I said, but the main reason that I didn’t go forward was because of coronavirus and because I didn’t have enough money to start, but I, even though I didn’t have enough money to start, if it wasn’t for the coronavirus, I would have on forward. But, this was a main reason, so not enough money, but that’s probably was it,

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I remember you sending messages and you were struggling a little bit with the product research. You’re wondering about where to source, you were looking in if I believe like Vietnam and also China, and you just couldn’t really make a decision on a product now. I believe you had stopped doing your catering. And so obviously you’re not making money on Amazon. So how have you been making money lately?

Mayana: I’ve been driving for Uber. And make pretty good money. So there was also probably one of the reason why I said, Oh God, okay. I feel I make really good money and should I go all in. But the thing is– for two reasons, so I still have some debt I have to pay off. So I was at the Canton fair and I was in Vietnam. I looked into products and like I said, I was about to order my first product. I was not a hundred percent sure if the money that I got was enough, but I was about to do it. So it was not all. I really, really stopped because of the virus.

Bradley Sutton: You haven’t given up completely on the Amazon idea. It’s just– okay.

Mayana: Yeah. If I have– let’s say 10K that I can use for it. I will do it. It’s not that I totally lost interest in it, but it’s just not the right time now because I want to pay some debt off and also want to finish my bachelor thesis, what I’m working on right now. And after these things, yeah. I’m open to it. I’m still open to it. It’s not that I totally say, I didn’t write it off completely.

Bradley Sutton: All right. I’m going to come back to you for a closing comments in just a minute. I want to go back to each one here and talk about their goals for the next little bit. Let’s see. Adriana, are you back with us? I want to go ahead and talk about what the rest of 2020 is going to hold for you. So Adriana, you were able to replace your income with Amazon. I’m sure you’re not satisfied just there. So what’s your goals for the next year? If we have you back on in 2021, what would you love to be able to tell us?

Adriana: Yeah, well I want to continue growing my brand, adding more products. Of course. So hopefully by next year I will have more products. So that’s– I guess it sounds simple, but you know all the work that comes from it, but again, basically adding more products to my brand.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. So do you have any numbers as far as your goals is was like, Hey, I would love to be grossing X amount, or I would love to be profiting this amount. Have you written down any goals that for yourself?

Adriana: Yes. I have actually and hopefully by next year I can tell you that I reached that and even gain more from that.

Bradley Sutton: Any of these goals you want to share with us in specific?

Adriana: Maybe next year.

Bradley Sutton: All right. You’re kind of cheating. I want to put you on the spot because then you’d be more motivated to reach it since thousands of people are going to hear it. All right. So you’ve done great. Congratulations on being able to stop your full time job and wish you the best of success, Adriana. Let’s go to Simon now. Simon, are you just like, Hey, I’m not going to expand my brands anymore on Amazon. I’m just going to concentrate on this consulting thing and keep Amazon as kind of this passive income on the side. Or do you have some goals to expand out what you’re doing on Amazon right now?

Simon: No goals on expanding on Amazon right now. I like the idea of creating the product and it was a great experience. I love creating products. I think there’s a little bit more leverage, at least for me in the service space business, which I’m exploring. So I’m going to keep my e-commerce on sort of on autopilot for now and spend all my time on the consulting and copywriting business, which I really love by the way.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. All right, let’s go on to Mayana. What about you, Mayana? What’s your plan for Amazon? You just said a few minutes ago that you definitely weren’t going to completely give up, but did you still plan to maybe launch on Amazon this year?

Mayana: No, this year, probably not. I don’t think so.

Bradley Sutton: Still working on your bachelor’s and getting some debts paid off, but what about by this time next year?

Mayana: Probably, because I want to go to Asia, for three, four months next year. So let’s see what happened. I have no idea. And I don’t want to say anything yet. Last year I was like, Oh, I want to go. And then nothing happened. So nothing happened, but sometimes life doesn’t happen the way you plan it to, so it’s okay. You just have to be smart about how to arrange everything. So it makes sense for you.

Bradley Sutton: Sure. Alright, guys, I think everybody, I obviously could not plan this. I am not a prophet or anything, but it turned out that we have three different people on this show a year ago, and they all had three different outcomes. Not one I would consider any kind of failure or anything. We’ve got one end of the spectrum, Adriana, who replaced her full time income with Amazon. We’ve got Simon who has now a nice passive income to supplement what his true passion seems like is, which is doing the consulting and marketing. And Amazon’s just like a little side hustle. And then we’ve got Mayana who wasn’t able to go all in due to some factors, but here’s the thing, guys, not one of these people failed, not one of these people we could say, Oh, this is a bad thing of what you shouldn’t do. Success means different things to different people. Success for Mayana, it was finishing her bachelor’s degree, paying off her debts before maybe getting more into debt on Amazon. And if that’s your case, if you’re having drawbacks, like if you’re in debt, you’re like, Aw, man, I don’t want to go more into debt getting into Amazon. That’s not a bad thing. Wait, Amazon, the opportunity is going to be there, right? If you’re like Simon, maybe you’re more passionate about something else. Maybe don’t dedicate all your time to Amazon, keep Amazon as a side hustle, nothing wrong with that. Or if you’re like Adriana who just decided to replace her full time income. And it has been able to scale her business with that in mind. Hey, there’s another example of another path that you can take. So the main key I want to give out here is that make your own path, do what success means for you. And we’ve got other Adriana, Simon and Mayana here who are perfect examples of that. So, guys, thank you so much for joining us and I definitely want to see where you guys are at in 2021 and let’s keep in contact.

Simon: Thanks, Bradley.

Bradley Sutton: All right. See you guys later. Okay. So we just had the three individuals who were on last year’s episode. Now, what I want to do was talk to three new people who are at different stages, but are all brand new. And I believe none of them actually have a live product on Amazon yet. So a little bit different. Last year we had Adriana who already had one product. I believe Simon who had just started with them. But now we’ve got three people who I’ve met through the Facebook groups and they are all ready to go on their Amazon journey. So let’s first go ahead. And I’d love you guys to introduce yourself, just say your name, where you’re from and where you’re at right now in your Amazon journey.

Chris: I’m Chris. I’m from San Antonio, Texas, and I got about a month left before my product reaches Amazon warehouses. I came across y’alls Project X and I honestly was looking for something for a while. And then I came across Project X and that really resonated with me. And then things started clicking and that’s how I found my first product.

Anto: Hi there. My name is Anto, I’m Romanian, but live in New Jersey. And I have about a month and a half two months till my product, which is Amazon warehouse.

Bradley Sutton: Nice. All right. And I’m going to struggle with this name because my sister-in-law’s name is Noemi, but I believe the way to pronounce it is Noemi here. Right? Go ahead and introduce yourself and say your name the way it’s supposed to be said, and then let us know where you’re at.

Noemi: Hi, my name is Noemi and I’m currently– I’m also Romanian like Anto and I’m living in Florida, and in two weeks our product should hit the Amazon warehouse.

Bradley Sutton: Anto, what motivated you to look for the Amazon opportunity or how did you find it and what are your short and long-term goals with Amazon?

Anto: Well, I had some friends that actually live in LA that they were already selling on Amazon and they told me about it. And about that time, the freedom ticket on Helium 10 came out and I started watching it. Then I’m like, hmm, this sounds interesting. So I started studying and studying and studying, but my problem was I didn’t have enough confidence in me. That’s when I started joining the groups on Facebook. And that helped me. So my short term, I don’t really have a short term target with Amazon. I already have a long term target pretty much to sell this business in the upcoming three, four years. I’m going to watch this as a real business, not just pocket money or whatever, what other people want to do with this. I want to be able to sell this business in three, four years from now. That’s my ultimate target.

Bradley Sutton: All right. Cool. Thank you very much for sharing. Noemi, what about you? How did you find out about the Amazon opportunity and what was your reasoning for jumping into this, and what’s your short and long term goals?

Noemi: Amazon—I’ve kind of been dabbling in Amazon for the past two, three years. It just that it took a lot of time, I think for me to start because we just recently also moved from Europe and we were in Austria and somehow also got so many friends who are all about talking about things, but not really doing things and got this negative mindset also. And everything was so hard to do. So when I moved here, it was like, okay, I’m going to do this. And it’s really working two, three months really did more than the best two, three years. So basically I learned a lot of things. I also been doing account management, vendor account management. So I am also on that part and branding and marketing. So for me, it’s not quite new. It’s just, it’s my first field product basically.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. And what’s your goal for it?

Noemi: The goal for it, it’s like financial freedom basically. And also, and so for me, it’s really important to– I’m doing a brand, I’m really in it for good. And yeah, I’m really building a brand and I really hope that it’s going to be, as much as depends on me, I’m going to do it to skyrocket. So hopefully that’s a good enough answer for my goals.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. That’s good. Let’s go back to Chris. Chris, what’s your day job or what’s your main source of income right now?

Chris: Yes. So I’m all over the board. I do some wedding photography. I do some acting stuff up in Austin. And sometimes I do personal training stuff. I’m just everywhere. I really value the free time because I audition and they’ll come 24 hours before. So it’s kind of hard to do all that when you have a nine to five.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. So, you don’t have a traditional nine to five at this time. You’re already kind of semi living a fairly free life. But probably what you’re looking for is a little bit more of a stable income, because you could have one acting job and it’ll make you a month’s worth of money, but then maybe go two months without something I imagined.

Chris: Right. And I was saying earlier, before you got on the call, I’m pretty tired of the rice and beans diet.

Bradley Sutton: There you go. I personally could never get tired of rice and beans, but that’s just me. Now just get a question for you. And I think this is important, we had– you guys didn’t hear the first part of the episode, cause that was a separate line that we were recording on. But we had somebody who– it’s been a year and she actually didn’t jump in. She was all set. She was doing– Mayana was doing all the right stuff, going to conferences and studying freedom ticket and networking. And even went on a sourcing trip, but she actually never ended up getting into Amazon yet. She kept delaying it. Now you, I believe you said you already ordered your product and it’s already ready going to happen. Project X is only about three months, two, three months ago it ended. So what’s the difference between you? How were you able to just say, Hey, I’m going to commit to doing this? Did you set yourself a personal deadline or what’s the difference between someone like you and maybe somebody else who puts it off and there’s nothing wrong with putting it off, but I’m just curious as the difference here.

Chris: Yeah. My impulse, my first response that comes to mind is guilt. I’m very– if I don’t feel productive or if I don’t get things done that I know I should get done. I can’t enjoy myself doing anything else. And so I’m very list oriented. I’ll wake up and I’ll make a list of the things I need to do and just try to one by one, get through them before I can do anything else for the day. So I think it’s more of a temperamental issue for me.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, how much are you investing in your first product?

Chris: Let’s say close to 5,000.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Alright. And you said you– Project X kind of inspired you, and so did you use some methodology as far as the product research goes from there for finding this product?

Chris: Yeah. So the thing that was really frustrating for me with the program that I had is like is I didn’t feel comfortable spending all that money to get a product that was already offered a billion times. And as soon as I started understanding through y’alls Project X, that it was big, it was about keywords and not about the specific product, things just started clicking. And it was about finding a product that’s not necessarily offered or there’s not that much competition, but people are looking for. And so it makes me feel more secure in I guess risking is the right word, but putting that money down instead of just putting it down on a product, that’s offered already a billion times on Amazon.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Are you doing anything differently to maybe differentiate yourself from the few existing competitors out there? Or how did you ideate the actual production of your product that you just take something that was already a factory was already making it just a hundred percent, you’re just slapping your label on it, or did you give them any direction as far as changing up a little bit?

Chris: Yeah. So for the most part, without giving too much away, I I think the size plays a huge factor and the material. But I’ve been pretty blessed, lucky enough to come across some solid keywords where there’s not really any competition. The only competition is some merchant sellers. What’s something that is frustrating though. It’s like, I’ll be checking the keywords and I’ll see someone’s running a test on my keywords, you know? So I definitely know it will eventually have more competition, but as of right now, that’s not something that I’ve really had to deal with. And, on Alibaba, I went ahead and found, I had to ask for it to be specifically made and stuff.

Bradley Sutton: That’s good. It’s not going to be a cookie cutter product. Let’s go on to Anto. Now, Anto, I believe you had told me before you had always had pretty decent income. You have a lot of rental properties back in Romania and you had some jobs at restaurants in New York. Now during coronavirus, I’m assuming your rental income was still coming in. But any– your other, jobs in New York there, you haven’t been able to do, right. That came to a complete halt.

Anto: Yes. They closed down on the 16th of March and they don’t believe that they’re going to open the next five months from now.

Bradley Sutton: Wow. Okay. So that was a big a loss on what your regular monthly income was, I imagine,

Anto: Yeah, pretty much all my plans for the near future got ruined.

Bradley Sutton: Now, did that kind of inspire you to really go in like, Hey man, this coronavirus thing it’s affected my main income. It had– I been selling on Amazon. I wouldn’t have had such a big impact. Did that play a role in you, really getting on the ball and making sure that you’re ready to order your first product? Or did you always plan on launching around this time?

Anto: No, that was the decisive point. That was the point where I said, okay, now my next step it’s Amazon, because I didn’t see any other exit from this situation I’m in. So yeah.

Bradley Sutton: I don’t think you’ve decided a hundred percent on your product yet. But as far as the ones that you have found that you’re thinking about ordering, walk us into your decision making process, or walk us through how you did your product research.

Anto: Well, obviously I’ve ran the Helium 10 Xray– no, actually I started with Black Box and I came across a couple of product and I I’ve ran the competitors and I saw the reviews and I saw that there was only pretty much one company that was making the most sales and everybody was just coping case product. So what I did, I actually changed my product into a better product based on the reviews. And as Chris said, the size has a big factor because the way that being a very big FBA fee, so the way I want to make my product. And I based my– I ordered my samples of that is making it smaller. So from a $15 FBA fee, I’m going to go towards 12, $13.

Bradley Sutton: And over time, that definitely adds up. It’s $3.

Anto: People don’t realize that every dollar saved, it’s a dollar in your pocket. That’s what people need to know. Because it took them 10 sales a day. That’s 10 extra dollars.

Bradley Sutton: Did you use (Helium 10’s) Profitability Calculator and just start playing with those numbers to see that what point you would save, you would get a break on the shipping, or how did you do that?

Anto: That’s exactly what I did. I just played around with the weight of the product, with everything. And I came– and now I have the design and I have the way to package it. So it lowers my cost on the fees. That’s a first and then you have to improve what everybody else is selling. So I went through, I think, 3000 reviews with Helium 10, obviously with analyzer and I made my product better. I give it to people why they want to have.

Bradley Sutton: You had a lot of money saved up. You’ve been saving up to do something you had said. And so your budget is actually pretty big for this launch. How much do you think you’re going to invest based on what you know the cost to be in and what maybe the MOQ is. What’s your budget like for this first product launch?

Anto: For this first product launch is somewhere with everything, with the launch, with everything about between 20, $25,000, just for my first order, not having into consideration my next order.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. And the reason, is, is it like a more expensive retail product? What’s the retail range of this product that you’re looking into?

Anto: It’s between 55 and $65.

Bradley Sutton: Oh, wow. Okay. So did you find that when you’re doing your product research, that because you had the bigger budget and looking at more expensive products that you were able to find more opportunity there with the more expensive product like that?

Anto: Definitely. There’s demand and there’s very low competition. Overall I have, I think two more people launched in the past one somehow. Well, yeah, around five competitors, six competitors on that product.

Bradley Sutton: All right. Very interesting. Go ahead. I’m sorry.

Anto: It’s lot of search volume on the keywords, it’s a lot of search volume.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, good. Well, I’m going to come back to it in a little bit to get your closing comments, but Noemi, what about you? So what– looking at your Instagram, you’re actually a musician, right? You can even download your music on Spotify and Apple and stuff. Was that your main income before? What was your main income?

Noemi: Yes, this is my income. For the past 10 years, I’ve been a professional music producer, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years. Even as a music producer, it was my passion. And I was like, completely like blown away that as you were mentioning him in the podcast about how you become you, so I was blown away to be paid for something that I really love to do. In the same time, it was always I’m doing the same effort for something that is paid way, way less than it would be. If I would have my own business. That’s when I just went for it. I said like, okay, there’s– it’s only a few zeros between me and I don’t know, just basis of whoever, and that’s really the mentality, thinking of– you’re only few zeros away, you can do the exact same thing. It’s just– think big. That would be my–

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Cool. So what about you for– you said your product is almost ready to get to Amazon. So how did you find that product? What was your product research strategy?

Noemi: Yeah, so my project research strategy actually was to find a more expensive product. I already have a quiet following on Instagram. So I already had the brand somehow built up and now I brought to the product for them, but they wanted to have a more expensive product. When I saw how much it would cost me the more expensive product. It would be something that Anto was saying around 20, 25,000. So all the money that I am investing now in the product, it’s like, if I spent– if I lose everything, it doesn’t affect me. So this was the idea that I wanted to have also for budget wise, to invest as much money as if you are losing everything. It’s fine. So, I went to a lower end product and to branding, I’m trying to do my best and to also the social media presence and also through the connections that built already to make this product possible to sell.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. You mentioned Instagram. I know that I look at some of your Instagram accounts and some of them even have hundred thousand followers and more now, how do you grow that? We could probably make a whole episode just about that, but just briefly. It’s interesting. I think because you kind of grew these Instagram accounts with– you have it opposite, a lot of people say, Hey, I’m going to build a brand. I’m going to build a product. And then I’m going to build a brand or a social media around my already launched parts. But you kind of did it the opposite way. You’re like, Hey, I know how to build Instagram audiences. So I’m going to build this audience. And then now I’ll have this big network I can instantly market to from day one. And I think that’s really cool, but just the Instagram only side, how does one grow an Instagram account that is catered to a niche even without a product?

Noemi: Patience. I guess patience. So I’ve been building these accounts for the past two, three years without being necessarily paid for anything what I’m doing. Yes, of course I did some kind of deals and it made a bit of money, but it’s not like everyone is saying, I’m going to teach how to make 1K per month with Instagram and all those kinds of stuff. No, this was really strategy. And what I find so far that helped the accounts grow as much is, I know, it sounds cheesy, but offering value in sense of offering a community there to be present. And to, for example, the strategy now is to share whoever is going to tag one of our profiles, so I am able to say that it’s for the accounts and I think that’s also helping because it’s marketing word of mouth. And I think that still the best solution, how to grow in this space. So did that answer your question?

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Excellent. I think that’s very helpful. And that’s something unique that we’ve never really talked about here on this show. We’ve talked about Instagram, but being on Instagram first. I think that’s a unique take on things. Let’s go back to Chris now. Chris, what’s your launch strategy going to be? Do you have that planned out already?

Chris: Yeah. So I’m still trying to really figure that out. Obviously it’s going to be PPC, but I’m thinking that I’m really going to spend my first, I’m breaking it into a couple of phases. I think the first phase I’m really just going to focus on my longer tail keywords and my main keywords and spend maybe three or four weeks really refining that. And then from there maybe order more inventory, but for the second phase, start to target the bigger keywords and the more decor related keywords. Because when I take the longer words that identify my product very specifically, it adds up to almost over 15,000 searches a month. And so I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew at first. So I think I’m going to start off slow.

Bradley Sutton: All right. Cool. Now what’s your goal for the rest of 2020, and then that first half of 2021. So we’re definitely going to have you three on this episode next year to see how you did, but what would you like to be able to tell all the listeners about what you accomplished these 12 months?

Chris: Well, definitely for my first product, I really just want to, I mean, it sounds cheesy, but I really just want to learn. I really want to understand how this whole process works financially in terms of sales, how many units I would probably like to get close to seven to 10 units per day, really establish my first product. And, by this time, next year, I would like to at least have a second product on the way, if not a third and fourth.

Bradley Sutton: Nice. All right. Let me ask the same questions to Anto here. For first of all, what’s your launch and/or PPC strategy going to be once you have your product in Amazon?

Anto: Well, I’m going to use the obvious, the PPC. I’m going to try get the roots of my product with a lower search volume, same as Chris, because that would cost me this. And then I would establish what my product is on Amazon. So Amazon knows exactly what I’m sending. Probably I’m going to run some rebates and search from buys, and from ManyChat, that’s still debatable because I don’t master that yet.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. And then what about you this time next year? What would you like to be able to tell everybody about what you accomplished in the previous 12 months?

Anto: Hopefully, if I do a very good job. And if I do my job right, hopefully by next year, I’ll have two or three products. I will have a brand. That’s what I like to do by next year; to have three more products, maybe four, five.

Bradley Sutton: I love it. Ambitious. All right. Let me go to Noemi now. All right. What about you? I think you’re actually the closest because your product, you said it’s almost there to Amazon. So I know you’re in Carlos Alvarez group. That’s actually where I met you when I was on one of those calls. And so are you using one of the Carlos’ strategies for let’s say getting the reviews, maybe using Yelp or another method, or how are you planning to get your first reviews and also to– what’s your launch strategy going to be?

Noemi: I love how he put it, the colors, ours method. So, yeah. Shout out to Wizard of Amazon, Love you guys. So mine is something very similar to what are Anto and Chris was saying? Besides, mine would be because it’s social media based. So I already contacted influencers who are willing to discuss the product for me and to bring pictures, make pictures, make small video. They’re going to post a picture with the product and tag. So for me, it would be much more on that side because already I know how to work with influencers. So, this will be my strategy besides what Chris and Anto was also saying. So that’s an extra.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. And then what would you like to be able to say 12 months from now about what you accomplish?

Noemi: You were mentioning the Wizards for Amazon with Carlos. So they have these two weeks meetings like each second week and they have this limit of a 100K per month that you have to do a case that’s to be able to participate. So I want to get in, I want to get in there and yeah, if this product, the first product is working well, definitely I want to scale as much as possible and to grow as fast and as best as possible. So bring more products more for that small part. I already have list of five, six products that I know for sure. I want to bring now I only need the budget. So that’s the plan.

Bradley Sutton: Sweet. Sweet. All right, cool guys. This has been a great episode so far. At the beginning of the episode, we talked about the three different ones that we had on a year ago. And each of them had a different outcome of from what their maybe original goals was. We had Adriana who was able to replace her income, her full time income with Amazon in the last year. We had Simon who was just totally cool with having Amazon just stay as a side hustle along with Shopify and while he concentrates on things that are more of his passion. And then we had Mayana who did everything, right? But she just never wanted to like jump in yet. Never thought it was the right time. And that’s totally fine too. You got to do it when it’s the right time for you.

Bradley Sutton: And she still has Amazon as her goal. But the main point of those three, I want everybody to know is that again, we talked about this in Project X, but success means different things to different people. Don’t let what other people say or don’t let what YouTube videos say, define what success means for you. It’s different for every person, not one of those three original ones that we had was sad, right? You didn’t hear them with a lot of regrets. They were all happy with what they’re doing right now. And at the end of the day, that’s what you’ve got to do too. Now here in this episode, we talked to Chris who he might be in the next blockbuster movie as a, as an accurate, we don’t know what’s going to happen with him, but I think he’s going to get famous on Amazon instead. Or maybe he’s going to be on Amazon prime, the new Amazon prime TV show. We don’t know, but Chris, he took action. I mean, he just watched Project X two months ago. And he’s already got his product on the water right now and is going to arrive at Amazon soon because he decided to take action. And he’s got some great goals set up for him. We’ve got Anto, who was hit hard from her regular income from the coronavirus. And she decided instead of just sitting back and going through that cycle again, she’s like, what can I do to kind of safeguard myself against something like this happening again? How can I get some income that’s not going to be affected by a pandemic. And she has got some interesting insights on going for really expensive products so that there’s less competition. We’ve got Noemi who had a long term goal. She looks like she’s been thinking about going on Amazon or almost three years. And because of that, she was able to build up these Instagram accounts that have more than a hundred thousand followers that are going to be able to help her launch right away. So there’s another, Mayana could be like that. Again, you don’t have to start right away on Amazon, if you have all kind of a long term plan. So thank you, Chris, Anto, and Noemi. Chris now all of a sudden wants to go to Romania because he’s with all these cool people from Romania.

Bradley Sutton: He’s got to go visit over there, but thank you guys for joining and please keep in contact with me to let me know of your journey. And then absolutely. I want to bring you guys back next year. And if you are not– each of you talked about your goals. If you don’t hit your goal that you just mentioned on the show, don’t worry, I still want you guys to come back because no matter what, whatever you guys went through, I guarantee thousands of our listeners are going through the same thing. And we want to know what your struggles were, what your successes are. So thank you three for coming on the show and please come back next year.

Noemi: Thank you so much for having us.

Anto: Thank you.

Bradley Sutton: Alright, cool.

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