#235 – An Amazon Seller and KDP Author on Using Mindset Hacks to Succeed in E-Commerce
One of the most exciting aspects of e-commerce is the fact that almost anyone can quickly start selling. However, that doesn’t mean that the path is always easy.
Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes Shivali Patel, a co-worker, Amazon seller, KDP book author and former Miss World America runner-up. Shivali is with us today to talk about the common obstacles that all Amazon sellers face as well as offer mindset hacks that go a long way towards helping solve those puzzles.
Shivali is principally a Helium 10 Evangelist but wears many different hats for us. She writes, helps with podcasts, as well as contributes to our marketing efforts. More importantly (for all of you), she’s an accomplished Amazon seller who understands the e-commerce pain points as well as what it feels like when you hit an Amazon product launch out of the park!
She’s here today to share her great attitude and entrepreneurial tips. I think you’ll appreciate both.
In episode 235 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Shivali discuss:
- 02:30 – Thoughts of Medicine at Five Years of Age
- 06:00 – “This is Not My Product”
- 08:00 – Amazon’s Learning Curve
- 09:00 – A Trip to the Municipal Offices Solved the Puzzle
- 11:30 – Homemade Amazon Images Create a Problem for Shivali
- 13:00 – Positive Reviews and a Light at the End of the Tunnel
- 15:00 – Dance Injuries Help Point Shivali Towards a Passion Product
- 17:00 – Using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
- 24:30 – Leveraging Existing Traffic to Sell eBooks
- 25:30 – Shivali’s Miss World Pageant Adventures
- 33:00 – Find Out What Motivates You
- 35:30 – Getting Into “Alignment”
- 40:00 – Amazon’s Algorithm Isn’t Buying the Product
- 42:00 – Shivali Will Be Wearing a Lot of Hats at Helium 10
- 45:00 – Shivali – “There’s No Time Like the Present for E-Commerce”
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 Podcast or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about common obstacles that new sellers might have to overcome, and mindset hacks that are important for all Amazon sellers. My guest is a Helium 10 evangelist, Amazon seller, KDP book author, and was even runner up for Miss World America. 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 we’ve got somebody who is a former and actually current serious seller. And now she’s part of the Helium 10 team here. Shivali, how’s it going?
Shivali: Good Bradley. How are you?
Bradley Sutton: I’m doing just delightful. Now, you’re actually– what time? It’s like nine o’clock at night, almost over there. Isn’t it? Where are you?
Shivali: It is 8:43 PM on the East coast.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my goodness. Thank you for coming on so late now. Speaking of that, you’re in North Carolina, if I’m not mistaken. Is that where you were born and raised?
Shivali: No, it’s not. I was born in India. I was born in Gujarat, but I moved here when I was, I believe it was a week old, so I don’t know. I feel like I have the right to say I’m also from here as well.
Bradley Sutton: So you’re not born a tar heel, but wait, what college did you go to that, for some people that might be–
Shivali: North Carolina State University
Bradley Sutton: Okay, that’s what I figured. I was like, wait a minute. That might be offensive to somebody like, there’s all these rivalries in different States, like Auburn versus Alabama, but I’m like, wait a minute. I’m just assuming she’s a tar heel, but the North Carolina State, what’s the mascot there again?
Shivali: Wolf pack.
Bradley Sutton: Wolf pack That’s right. That’s right. Anyways, before we get to your university or college career, let’s just talk about growing up there in North Carolina. What did you think you were going to be when you “grew up”, like eight years old, you’re in elementary school and you’re like, I want to be a firefighter or I want to be a Helium 10 brand evangelist, or what did you think you would be?
Shivali: Yeah, I made up my mind at the age of five. I decided I was going to be a cardiologist. More specifically, a cardiothoracic surgeon is what I was thinking about.
Bradley Sutton: At the age of what?
Bradley Sutton: I was 17 years old before I even knew what that word meant, and you’re like I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Shivali: I know, I know, see, it comes a little bit from a personal story. Like my mom was always reading medical facts to me, but outside of that, my sister also had continental heart disease when she was born. So kind of just hearing that story when I was younger and wanting to help people that had similar stories to her. So that’s why at the age of five I was aware of what that was.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I was about to say, wow, that’s pretty amazing. Pretty amazing there. So as you’re going through high school now, you’re graduating high school. Did you still have that desire or did it shift like as soon as you were getting into North Carolina state, you’re like, know what, I’m not going to major in that. I’m going to major in something else? Or did you get into the medical field at that time?
Shivali: No. I absolutely did. I actually stuck it all the way through even going through college. I took all of the medical prerequisites that were required to go to medical school. In fact, I was preparing to take the MCAT as well. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve always had very dynamic interests. I dabbled in a little bit of a whole lot, I guess is the best way to say it, but when all the way through, and then right before I took that leap to take that medical school entrance exam, I was like, man, I really love entrepreneurship too. And if school is always going to be there, so if I ever decide that I want to go back, I can at least take a couple of years, dive into entrepreneurship and go on knowing that I have no regrets that at least I took that chance on myself. So yeah, that’s where it all sort of started and bloomed from.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And now, was that something that came later in your life, this entrepreneurial bug, or even growing up, you were that kid who sold lemonade and stuff like that?
Shivali: I wish, I mean, I wish I had that financial education provided granted my parents did wonderful things for me, but I wasn’t always that kid. I think when I was about 17 or 18, my uncle was a massive influence to me in taking me to a conference. And while I was at the conference, I saw people of all walks of life, including some that, whether it was, they looked like me or they were my age doing amazing, incredible things, having an impact having the choice to do what they wanted with their time and money. And that’s when I really stepped back and was like, maybe I should really look outside of just going into the medical field as well. And that’s where it really started.
Bradley Sutton: What brought you to Amazon? I mean, because it’s one thing to say, Hey, I’m interested in becoming an entrepreneur. It’s another thing to actually land on Amazon as the best course for them.
Shivali: Yeah. So this is a little bit of a journey that I took, trying to find where you fit in is important. And so when I was sort of looking at what I could do to make the streams of income I wanted to, and at the same time, keep my passions. I found a few things online. I knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to travel. Because that’s something I want to do. But also allow me to spend time with my family. And so that’s where I sort of set myself on e-commerce specifically. But with e-commerce, I started looking online. I Googled right. I mean, I think a lot of people do that. That’s what I did too. I Googled what my options were and I found things like drop shipping and I found Amazon FBA. I found affiliate marketing and I think I actually tried drop shipping first. I didn’t end up actually running any ads. I chickened out. I remember right before I placed ads. I remember thinking to myself, Oh my God, am I really about to do this? And then I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I need something that’s totally mine because mentally I wasn’t there yet. I was thinking, this is not my product. So I took a step back again, went back to Google, went back to the drawing board and what it ultimately came down to. Funnily enough, I took a quiz online and I remember it asking me questions of how much do you want to make? How much can you afford to input as capital? What are your passions? It was just a variety of questions. Then at the end it said Amazon FBA. So it was like, okay, let me read up more on Amazon FBA. And I did. And I said, okay, this sounds more like something I want to do. I wanted to build my own company from the ground up, be able to leverage things that are already working in a space that I felt comfortable in and that I could confidently get mentorship in as well. So I ended up taking a course, and the rest is sort of history.
Bradley Sutton: It’s very rare where somebody is like, I want to be an entrepreneur and boom, my immediate first thing I think of is selling on Amazon. There’s usually a journey that you have to take to get there. And that’s one of the reasons why I have this podcast is I’d love to see that journey end up on Amazon, more than it does out there in the world. So it’s interesting to see how people started. Now, I remember you told me before, and of course me having the worst memory in the world, I forgot what exactly it was. But I remember that you have– I remember, yeah. I kind of remember that you had some struggles when you were trying to get started on Amazon. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Shivali: Sure, sure. Yes. So, I’ve made quite a few errors, as I’ve mentioned before, there’s always a learning curve, especially coming from the background where I thought I was going to be a medical student and then going nose diving first into something completely different, without a business degree as well. I don’t, I don’t think that’s relatively equally important here, but I believe I, right after I graduated, I went straight through the course, ended up finding my supplier and sourcing the product, placing the inventory order. But I waited until the order was placed to open a seller central account. The number one problem that I encountered was I wasn’t verified for my seller central account automatically. And that was because I’ve been living with my family. So I didn’t have a utility bill in my name, all the bills were under my family’s name on top of just appealing on seller central. I also sent in various emails. I got on calls with their seller support a bunch of times. And this whole process took about nine months.
Bradley Sutton: What finally got you over the hump, like what, what got you approved on Amazon after all this time?
Shivali: Yeah. I actually ended up going to the town of Cary. I went directly to the town of Cary and had them change the name of the water utility bill. So I just picked a utility bill, had it converted to my name. And the funny thing is they even got on me for like the paperless suppression. I think it’s called paperless suppression. So whether you’re getting your utility bill electronically sent, or if it’s the paper version, well, I had it electronically set, so they still denied that even though it was my name, it was my address. But underneath the address, there was a mark, some sort of denotation that indicated that and it still got rejected. So I remember I went back into my account online and had that removed and had to wait a whole month just for that utility bill to arrive because I tried to get a copy of it or in advance. So I didn’t have to wait the full month, but they said I would have to wait regardless. And yeah, it was finally having the paper version of a utility bill in my name that got me through that. No other way around it, Amazon was not taking no for an answer. You have to be, they’re very strict about their guidelines. And I learned that the hard way.
Bradley Sutton: So then you were just probably overjoyed when you finally got that, all right, we’ve approved you. You’re like, Oh my God, finally.
Shivali: Yes. Yeah. I mean, that victory was so sweet, right? Like it’s almost sweeter because you went through all that BS.
Bradley Sutton: Right. Any other issues in the last year or so since you’ve been selling on Amazon, I mean, obviously you might not have been that successful at the beginning, as you thought you were because in nine months, a lot of competitors probably entered into this space, but what other wins and losses have you had in this time that you’ve been selling on Amazon?
Shivali: So I guess, I’ll start with the loss and then sort of move towards the win. Because I think that’s more optimistic. But another issue that I’d faced was with my images. I was trying to make the most of what I could personally do. So when I was taking a look at how to get the images made and I took a look at how much they would cost. I mean, the course that I was taking recommended a few agencies that would do product photography. And I looked at all the prices, they were 800 to thousands of dollars and I’m thinking, ah, no way I cannot afford that right now. So I decided to take my own photos. So I made the infographics and uploaded them and they worked for a few months. But then the images, the listing basically got suppressed because the first image, the main image didn’t have the exact white background that they required. Like the transparent background. It did have a white background, but it was just not the right white.
Bradley Sutton: It was kind of off white, but not in the– this is a luxury brand kind of line.
Shivali: Exactly. Like the images were professional, there was nothing wrong with the images. It was just the background wasn’t the right color, the right version of the white background.
Bradley Sutton: All right, guys, that sound means it’s time for our CAT, our cat of the episode, which stands for Clubhouse After party Tip. Once a week, we go live on the clubhouse app and we bring back former Serious Sellers Podcast, guests to take live questions from you and they give you their best tip out there. So every episode we’re going to be giving you guys clips from these episodes that we’re been doing on Clubhouse so that you can get some great strategies from our former guests. Now, if you guys have that clubhouse app, make sure to search for the club Serious Sellers Podcast and follow it so that you can be notified when we go live and you can also follow me on their, h10 Bradley this clip. We actually had two guests, Leo and Paul in the clubhouse, and people asked them questions about chatbot marketing and Facebook marketing. And so here’s a clip if you want to listen to the original episodes, Leo is 2:30 and Paul is 2:17.
Question: I created the ManyChat flow with a product insert. So I have like this secure in my product and the offer was second product for free. I had to switch from the chatbot of ManyChat to the website landing page because of the European union relations. So basically Many Chat is not working here for some reason. And my question is, if the campaign is not working at all for me, the 400 unit that I sent would be QR code for this product insert. So for half 5% of those of those cure of those inserts and they’re being used by customers like, I know it’s– I would like to know basically what will make given your experience, what might be happening is this normal in the statistics usually, or it can be optimized somehow.
Answer: A couple of things that I would look at first is without seeing the insert and looking at your call to action. I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t be able to diagnose specifically, because there’s a lot going on here. You have the insert question that the design audience is saying, coming back to the call to action, like, is that actually attention grabbing enough. So some things that you can split passes that exact same, the incident that you did against another one that has like a completely different design and you can split test them against each other, and see which one has a higher pay grade. And then in terms of people actually filling out the form and stuff, I would want to look at the landing page and see what, what else is in the landing page, you and meet it. So I want to hear what you have to say.
Answer: Yeah. Normally, yeah. I was definitely looking at the most important parts of your, I guess total off marketing campaign, right? If the message on your inserts or the week and people are not even scanning the QR code, then you’re probably losing most of your customers. So potential reviews right there. So the take rates would be low because of it. But I normally recommend doing it, you still have multiple ops teams, right? So you have an SMS or a phone number to obtain the SMS. Then you have the QR codes and you have all seen what else. So people that, based on where they are in their moments, right, when they’re on their phone in front of their computer, they can pretty much obtain through different channels. And then, the easiest thing to do is to want to have your Google analytics, maybe codes on your landing page to see how many people actually visited that page. And you can start creating a conversion funnel, right? Where you see, okay, 50 people scan and then 30 people make it to any page. And once there’s a problem there, right. 20 people for some reason. So, without data, without numbers, it’s hard to really understand what’s happening. But the number one thing that we’ll do is making sure that your insurance actually is appealing. And as a good clear call to action, number two is go through the journey yourself and put yourself into the user. She wouldn’t say, okay, would I actually feel the swamps made the website, which sketchy do whatever. I don’t know what the URL is, right? It could be anything like that can affect your conversion rates.
Bradley Sutton: What good news has happened in your Amazon career so far?
Shivali: So my product itself is a pain management and injury prevention product. And I think the biggest moments of pride for me have been all of the feedback I’ve received since the product has begun selling. So I’ve had tons of people reach out even via social media, as well as just reading the reviews and through the backend of seller central, talking about how much the product works for them for a variety of different reasons. And I think seeing all of the reviews and knowing that there is impact happening with something that had such an uphill battle, just getting out into the market, has been very fulfilling. And on top of that in February, I had a website published that it was one of the best products on the market after analyzing a bunch of customer views. I think it was over 49,000 reviews that they analyzed and my product made the top three, which is very exciting. And it’s still, I think it, even in March, it made the top three again.
Bradley Sutton: Nice. Okay. And did that play a role in how you even chose the product? Because a lot of people when they do product research and I tell people this job, I’m like, Hey, if you can find something you’re passionate about, of course do that, because it’s going to be better, but like 98% of the time, the product that there’s opportunity in, it might be something that you maybe never even heard of, but it’s worth the opportunities. So you just got to become passionate about it, but did you go into your product research with the mindset that, Hey, I want to do something that helps people or changes lives or can make an impact as opposed to just trying to find the biggest profitable product?
Shivali: Yeah. So when I was looking for a product, it was definitely about the money. But I was following the course, just what the course told me to do. I looked at all the parameters, I accepted the parameters, but I narrowed it down to about 20 product opportunities that I was okay with. And I would be happy with selling. I ended up reaching out to suppliers and then once I got a quota of how much it would cost me, I narrowed it down to three. So of the three products, the one that I’m currently selling is the one that spoke to me most because I had such a close relationship with that product. Now, what do I mean by that? I was diagnosed with disc herniations, my senior year of high school, because I used to be an intensive dancer back in the day. So I messed up my back. And for the longest time–
Bradley Sutton: What kind of dance is it? Where were you like a breakdancer or something or what’s going on? Why did you screw up your back?
Shivali: I mean, I know that if I need to learn Zumba, I should be coming to you Bradley.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, there we go. Right. We got two dancers here at Helium 10. We can make a class for everybody.
Shivali: Yes. Yeah. Coming soon. There we go. No, I did ballet and I did hip hop, but I did also do Bollywood dancing. So yeah, I, it was, it was through ballet and jazz though that I had that injury happen. I was working, I was dancing like three hours every day. And then on weekends it was eight hours of training sometimes. So I thought Oh, I just have a little bit of back pain. It’s probably just muscle soreness or something. And I ignored it for a long time until there was just this moment where I couldn’t move at all. And I was having trouble breathing, moving, and driving. And I think I was better for about three months until they finally got me to an x-ray and saw what was going on. But going back to why I pitched the product, I did just go through the diagnosis and the mentality I had right after the diagnosis. I knew how people that might have the same issue might be feeling. And I felt like I could do something about it because I understood what shoes that they were in.1 I, for the longest time put health on the back burner, I thought to myself, Oh, well, if I can’t dance, because I was told I could be paralyzed if I continue dancing as aggressively. And I was like, okay, well I’d rather have my movement. And I need to be careful with my back. So I can’t work out and I can’t do X, and I can’t do Y, and I can’t do Z. And for the longest time I didn’t do any of that. I didn’t go to the gym. I didn’t take care of my health in the way I should have. And then finally it got to a point where I’m like, what the heck am I doing with my life? Like, I need to cherish what I can still do.
Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Okay, cool. Cool. I like it. I like it. Now, at what point do you start doing KDP, is it before you started selling as a private label seller on Amazon or afterwards?
Shivali: I think KDP was the very first thing I did.
Bradley Sutton: So it didn’t require all this craziness that you had to go through to do the regular seller central account. It was a lot less restrictive as far as the documentation stuff?
Shivali: Yeah. I, KDP actually required a completely different account. Like it’s not the same interface. So right after I graduated college in 2019, I sat down and I decided to write a book. And I think within 48 hours, I was like, okay, I’m going to upload this because if I sit here and I look at it, it’s never going to happen. And so I found KDP and I uploaded the book very easily. Might I add it was it’s free. Anybody can go out and write their own book and upload it for other people to see. Obviously you have to put in some work maybe to get in front of eyes, it’s similar to selling a product. If you just make the product, it’s not necessarily going to sell, but you have to do the work for the marketing to get it in front of people.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. I actually just went to your book right now. I see a publication date in August of 2019. So, was that the first one or was that the second one?
Shivali: August should be the first one, I believe.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So how did you drive traffic? Because haven’t you sold a few copies of this?
Shivali: Yes, I’ve sold 750 copies. The first thing that I did was I went to promotional websites. So, there’s a lot of promotional websites. Some are paid, some are free. But you leverage the traffic that’s already out there to get it in front of the ideal client. Right? So there’s people that specifically are looking for books that are in the self improvement niche. Some are specifically looking for mystery books. You can go to niche websites that have pre-built audiences and either ask them, you can email them and see if they’re willing to share your book, or you can fill out an application sometimes on their website because they’re always looking for books to share with their readers. So that’s what I did. I ended up not only discounting the book and getting in front of other people through promotional websites, but I also believe a really big part of that was word of mouth. I had a few people that were generous with their audiences. I have friends in the pageant world who were purchasing the book.
Bradley Sutton: That’s right. Weren’t you like the runner-up of Miss America or Miss USA or something like that? Right?
Shivali: Yes. I competed in the preliminary competition to Miss World. So, I was the first runner up in 2016 to Miss World America, the United States representative who went to miss world. And then I re competed in 2017 and 2018. And I was a runner up again.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my god. That kind of suck. I didn’t realize that you were– so when you say first runner up, does that mean third place?
Shivali: First runner up is literally, if the winner for any reason has to step back or cannot fulfill the duty of representing the United States out of this world, then I would be the person to go.
Bradley Sutton: Three times. Oh my God. No wonder why you must have needed some positive self-talk, which is the name of your book. I mean, of course it’s an accomplishment, but to come so close. Oh my goodness.
Shivali: Well, 2017, I wasn’t in the top five. I think it was top 10 or top 15, but the third time I went, I was runner up again. And so yes, it definitely required some mental– I’m okay with it. I have gratitude. I think even making it that far is a big deal. Especially when there were such amazing woman that were competing with me, but–
Bradley Sutton: Did the winner of any of those years ever end up actually winning Miss World?
Shivali: So in 2016, the winner from 2016, I was very close with her and she placed, I think her exact number that she plays is eighth at 150 women. Yeah, very impressive. And she’s the sweetest person too, so very well deserved.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Well, that in itself could be a podcast episode about pageant life. And I think everybody’s exposed to it. It’s just a Miss Congeniality movie. There’s, I’m sure you have a lot of more stories, but let’s get back to the KDP, not necessarily the KDP, but I mentioned the name of your book that I’m looking at here like positive self-talk and then hold on, let me click back on my browser here. And your other one was engineering powerful habits. So now you’ve been kind of on both sides, you’ve been in just the “regular” world. You were on a medical track and now you’re in the entrepreneurial track and, throughout your life, you’ve had some hardships, your own medical issues, family members’ medical issues. And a lot of people in the world have things and everybody has one thing. If it’s not one thing, it’s another, like has challenges in their life and struggles and things, and just even itself, even in itself, the whole fact that it took you nine months to get on Amazon. I mean, there’s a lot of people out there who might’ve given up even before then after the eighth or ninth rejection that they got from Amazon. There’s people who might give up after being runner up once or even twice, let alone three times. But let’s just talk about– now that you know what are the things that an entrepreneur, an Amazon seller goes through? What are some, and I’ll talk about this too. I want to get your input first, but what are some, some, I don’t know, tips or advice that you have for Amazon sellers about mindset, about their good personal habits, things like that that could maybe set an Amazon seller up in a better position for success. Obviously, nothing guarantees success in this world, but what are some things that people can do to maybe help them on their journey?
Shivali: Yeah. I know that a lot of people will say don’t expect anything overnight, right? And that’s such a common lesson that people give out, but it’s so very true. And I think until you’re really going through your process, you don’t fully digest or process that. And so I’ve kind of adopted this mentality of your job as an entrepreneur is resolving issues. And that’s really important to keep close to your heart as you embark, whether you’re embarking on the journey of becoming an Amazon seller, or you’re currently in the process of scaling your Amazon business, really getting in tune with, okay, it’s natural that I’m going to face obstacles. And what can I do to overcome those obstacles is the question I really need to be answering. Outside of that, I think what’s really great for keeping grounded, at least for me, it has been journaling, not just writing down gratitude, things that I’m grateful for, but also things that I’d like to manifest, whether it’s written goals or if it’s characteristics of who I want to become just really fine tuning who you want to be with what you want to do.
Bradley Sutton: I like it now. I’ll give some of my things here. A lot of people, I mean, it’s kind of just like an ongoing joke. They say things like, Oh, Bradley just doesn’t sleep. Or he’s sending Slack messages at three in the morning.
Shivali: A machine. That’s what I’ve been telling people. Bradley’s a machine. I don’t know how you do all the things you do.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. People see me on live videos in the middle of the night and stuff. And guys, yes, I do sleep, but here’s something. And so some of it is just my personality quirk, and I don’t know if you can say that I was born with it or whatever, but it just is part of my personality. But one thing that helps me guys, to be able to get a lot done and to be able to always seem like I have a lot of energy and seem motivated is because I do motivate myself. And one of my techniques I do is regardless of what the task is, even if it’s something that I would consider fun, or maybe it’s something that normally I would consider not that great or not that exciting to do, I try and gamify everything I do internally. I make it almost a competition with myself. So it’s like, if I’ve got a task or I’ve got this thing, like, I challenged myself. As soon as I find out about us. I have to finish this by this time, or I got to achieve this, or I want to see the results. Like maybe we’re doing something here at Helium 10 and we’re trying to make sure X number of people start using a certain tool, a little bit more to help them out. And so like, I’ll just make a game with myself. I’m like, all right, I am going to personally take it upon myself that I’m going to try and make sure to motivate 73 people or whatever the number is. If I look ahead at the tasks in my week, I just lay it all out. And I check every single thing as I accomplish it. Now, the first thing is just because if I don’t write things down, I’ll probably forget it, but I just make it a game. Like I’m very competitive and I love sports and things and I try and almost make things like sports, because what happens is my opinion is if you get into the habit of starting things that right off the bat, you’re not very motivated to do, and you have a semi bad attitude about it, it’s going to come across in your work. And sometimes you might not even finish it because you’re like, ah, you just keep putting it off, putting it off. But even if you do finish it, the quality of what you do might not be that great. So just my, one of my little, I don’t know if I would call this a secret to success, but just one of my little tips, I guess, is just like, guys, if you’ve got tasks that you want to do in your Amazon business, set yourself goals. If you’ve got to be the kind of person to do a vision board or to make a personal statement in a Facebook group is to become accountable, go ahead and do that, but find what is going to motivate you to follow through. And that’s just kind of like what I’ve always done. And I just psych myself out. Like there might be something I really don’t like to do, but like, for example, like when I had members of my team who were on hourly, as opposed to salary, I would have to go in like every two weeks and verify that they did all their clock ins and clock out. And guys trust me, that is just like–
Shivali: That’s tedious.
Bradley Sutton: Internally. I’m like, are you serious? Like, I cannot believe I’m doing this. Like I have to go reach out to somebody to tell them they missed a punch in and they forgot to clock out for lunch. I mean, that is not exciting. But what I did was I was like, you know what, I want to be the first manager in the company to have this finished every week. Because there was like a shared Google doc where all the managers, you could see what they did. I was like, you know what, I’m going to make, I’m going to be the first one to finish this. So I made something that was tedious and I made it like a game and I challenged myself to always be the first and that was the way I was able to get through it. So there’s just different ways. That’s just one of my, I guess my, I don’t know if we can call it life hack or what about you, Shivali? What other life hacks do you have of how you’ve been successful in your personal and professional career?
Shivali: What are the life hacks? I mean, I read this one book called First Things First by Stephen Covey and I loved it. I absolutely loved it, but he talks a lot about alignment and I’m not sure if you’re a believer in alignment, Bradley, but I found all of the thoughts in there quite interesting.
Bradley Sutton: The only alignment I know about is my tire is when it starts pulling to the left. So like, explain to me what alignment is in this context.
Shivali: So he talks about how you want to be in alignment in life in the four sectors. I believe it’s four, I’ve seen it all from four sectors to seven, but I believe it’s social, psychological, physical, and emotional, I believe are the four. It comes down to differentiating what’s important. And what’s urgent to you. Some things we act on because there’s deadlines because we need to do them because we need to get them done. And other things we do them because they’re important to us because we prioritize them. Things like spending time with our family, those are important. Things like turning it, but the example that you just mentioned getting the hourly check-ins, getting the time cards stamped, all of that stuff is more urgent because you do it because you have to get it done. But staying in alignment with not only your priorities, but also the four sectors is what helps you feel more fulfilled and satisfied. So if you’re only working, but you’re not taking care of, maybe let’s say your social side. So you’re not spending any time with people. Then you’re going to potentially feel some backlash from that. And I think the biggest takeaway from the things that I read in that book was really just making sure that you’re staying in balance and that you’re not over focusing maybe on one particular sector of your life.
Bradley Sutton: All right, quick break. From this episode for my BTS, Bradley’s 30 seconds. Here is my 30-second tip for this episode. Now we’ve been talking about some mindset hacks here in the latter half of this episode. And so here’s another one that is mine. And that’s talking about taking out sometimes your emotion and passion for something when the data is showing you something different. So sometimes we might be like, Oh, this product is going to be the most amazing thing. And people are definitely going to buy it and it just doesn’t happen. And we just can’t cut the cord because we’re so emotionally tied to something. This could even happen at a micro level, like in our PPC campaigns, maybe we’re manually targeted keywords. And we’re like, this is definitely a keyword that should convert for this product. And like, this is exactly what I would search for this. Like, why am I not converting? Well, first of all, if you really think that you need to just try and reverse engineer why it’s not working out for you, do some crowdsourcing there, but at the end of the day, take your emotions out of it. If the data shows you that it’s not working, put that in a negative campaign, regardless of what your heart tells you, go with the data guys, follow the data science that whatever metrics, ACoS and different things that you’re looking at is telling you. And don’t just always go with your gut feeling and then keep losing money because you can’t take yourself away from it. So there’s my BTS of the episode.
Bradley Sutton: You mentioned a few minutes ago, like journaling and stuff. So like, what would an Amazon, is that like, how could journaling help an Amazon seller? Like what kind of things would you put in there? Like, you’re just your, Hey, today I sold 10 units, this is exciting. Or I got a five star review, or I’m going to look for some product research. And what would you suggest for an Amazon seller to journal?
Shivali: Yeah, there’s so many things you can journal. I mean, even when I started, I was writing everything down. I was writing down notes from the course. I was writing down what product opportunities I was thinking about, why I was thinking about them, what the profits would potentially be the profit margins. Obviously you can do this stuff in a spreadsheet or through a tool, but just writing down parts of your process is also a great way for you to have access to something tangible that you can go back and look at to really cherish that journey you went through. Right? Because it’s unlike any other, I think as an Amazon seller, we have this unique opportunity to really wear all the hats of entrepreneurship. You can be everything from the person who found the product to the person who took the images, who did the marketing, who did the sales. Even when you’re journaling, writing down, not only the sales that you made for the day and tracking the important keywords and whatnot, but just writing down what you want to eventually move towards as well. So like how many units do you want to be selling per day? Or where do you want your company to eventually be, those, I guess, play a little bit into manifestation as well. So if you’re type A and you’re into journaling, there’s definitely many things that you can do, which are only as an Amazon FBA seller.
Bradley Sutton: Cool, cool. Another thing, I was just thinking of is guys, when you have your mindset out there, one of the biggest mistakes, and I’ve said this many times that I think sellers make is they get, and we’re talking about mindset, they get in the mindset too much of a seller. And I always say, no, think like a buyer, not a seller. And what does think like a seller mean? That’s like, Oh my goodness. I’m looking at all these Helium 10 numbers and estimated sales and number of reviews. And I’m looking at a Cerebro IQ score and Xray success score. And I’m thinking about Amazon relevancy. And we just start thinking only in the sense of metrics and yes, metrics are important. You’ve got to, I mean, otherwise there would be no need for Helium 10. You’ve got to measure these things and make decisions based on the end of the day. Guys, remember to think like a buyer more than a seller, because the Amazon algorithm, Jeff Bezos is not the person who’s buying your Amazon product. It is a customer out there. It’s a customer out there and you’ve got to think like them, what would they be looking for? What is the average your target avatar? What are they looking for? What would they like about this product? What would they like about this image? Yes, like Shivali just showed, if you don’t have an image that’s within Amazon terms of service or it doesn’t have exactly a pure white background. Yeah. You could get suspended or suppressed. So these things are important, but instead of just wondering, like, okay, I’ve got 1,396 pixels by 1,396, I’m just going to crush it. But since I upgraded from 1240, not thinking about, Hey, what am I, what kind of message am I conveying in this lifestyle photo? What’s the sense here– are these things that I put in my infographic, like actually useful? Or am I just trying to fill up space here in this infographic, in this bullet point, am I just using keyword stuffing or am I trying to make an emotional connection to the buyers?
Shivali: Going back to what you said about being customer centric, it’s funny that you mentioned that as well, because even when I was making my listing, and trying to figure out what I was going to exactly do for the images and the infographics, I remember sitting down and writing down, what would my customer believe in? What would they like? What would they need, what are their pain points? And just trying to figure out the best way to even arrange the keywords and showcase who it would be helpful to. So for my images, I remember thinking, okay, well, I want to make sure that it feels inclusive to people. So thinking about whose legs I should be using to showcase my pillow, what should their age group be? For my words–
Bradley Sutton: Some of them were your legs. Weren’t you your old model for some of your pictures?
Shivali: Yeah, I did use my own legs. I just grabbed a friend and the both of us took photos of each other.
Bradley Sutton: And one of the hemp cream case studies I did, you can see my back, like I was a back model for that one. So guys, no problem with using yourself as a model. Yeah, exactly. There you go. All right. What else? I cut you off there, but go ahead. Keep going.
Shivali: You’re good. No, I just, I think that’s what you were saying about being customer centric is very, very, very important. It’s not just about the data and it is important that you take pride in your process 100%, because there is a little piece of everything that you’re currently building that is out there and that’s in some way bringing value to somebody else’s life.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. I love it. All right. Now, what’s your short term? I mean, long-term goals, short-term goals. I mean, obviously you’re just new here at Helium 10, and I know you’re going to– you’re definitely going to make an impact here. You’ve already been writing some cool blogs and you’re going to be seen more in maybe helping me out with the podcast a little bit and some webinars and things like that. But as far as your Amazon business goes, what’s your short and long-term goals with that.
Shivali: Yeah, well, I’m hoping to scale my Amazon FBA business, and just really continue to make an impact with whether it’s my current product or as I branch out into new products, just making sure that I always stay aligned with the ultimate vision of helping people.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. I love it. And that’s one thing that I love about about this company is not just, if somebody is making an Amazon product, yes, by definition, you’re filling a need that they have, but here at Helium 10, some of the things that we do here can play an even bigger role because not only are we making our own products that affect people’s lives, but now we’re inspiring people who are making the product. So in that sense, like it exponentially increases the reach of the number of people whose lives you can touch, at least with just something you do. So I look forward to you being part of the team. Now we, I don’t know how many of our podcast episodes you’ve listened to, but we have something that we call the TST, or the TST, 30-second tip. So, you’ve been giving us some strategies from everything, from how to get your pictures into alignment, to align– see now got me using that word alignment, which I literally have never used that word outside of tire. And it just came naturally. You’ve talked about how to get approved on Amazon. You’ve talked about some life hacks and some thinking hacks, but what’s something that can cover anything out there that you can say in like 30 seconds or less, that you think will be beneficial for our listeners.
Shivali: A tip that could really help anybody is make sure that you know it’s not too late to start over. There’s no time. There’s no right time. There’s no right moment or right person necessarily for anything in life, even if that’s, whether it’s selling on Amazon or if it’s starting a new hobby. I think a lot of people sometimes feel that maybe I’ve waited too long to try something new. And that’s not the case. I think the grass always looks greener on the other side. And you have to remind yourself that it is an equal playing field and that your happiness is the most important thing at the end of the day. So if you feel like you need a change of pace, then it’s okay to start now and now is better than never. So I think that that’s an important tip. If you’re going to remember anything from this podcast, make sure that you know that it’s okay to start now.
Bradley Sutton: I like it. I like it. Now. I know you put– speaking of motivational things, you do a lot of that on your Instagram. Like, do you want to give out your Instagram here so people can follow you and maybe seasoned tips?
Shivali: My personal is @_shivalipatel so that’s Shivali Patel, _shivalipatel. But you’ll see in my bio, it’s linked to some of my other pages. So, I do have a writing page as well. So if you’re specifically looking for motivational things, then the writing page is probably your go-to, which I need to post. It’s been a minute.
Bradley Sutton: I didn’t even know you had that. I just follow your regular one. All right. Well, Shivali, thank you so much for joining us. And I know you’re giving me, like I said, helping out with the podcast and helping me out with a lot of the things that we do here as a brand evangelists. So, it’s great to have you on the team. And just one last thing, I totally forgot about this, but the importance of networking guys, I have met a lot of people at this company just completely randomly like, like Barcus Patty, who’s another brand evangelist here. I’ve known him for like four years, way before I worked at Helium. As a matter of fact, he’s the one who kind of introduced me to Helium 10 on the user side. When I didn’t even know Helium 10 existed, like in 2016, 2017. And I met him randomly through a Facebook group. It was like a little mastermind Facebook group, and there’s other people, Michael, who is our affiliate manager here at the company. He’s been on the previous podcast. I actually, I met him. I didn’t even, I just remember this right now. I met him through that very same Facebook group. And then you, I think, I don’t know if you’re in the Helium 10 users group, or you’re in some Facebook group and just one of your posts.
Shivali: I was in a random seller’s post.
Bradley Sutton: It was a random one, right? I don’t think it’s a Helium 10 member’s one. And then like you just ask a question. I have no idea what the question is, but I just answered it and then we just connected from there. And now like what– a year later, we’re co-workers. Is networking cool, Shivali?
Shivali: It’s so cool. It’s so cool.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. So guys make sure to join the Helium 10 members Facebook group, the FBA High Rollers group, and join the community. You never know if you might find a new coworker and friend out there. So, make sure to do that. Anyways, guys, thank you so much for listening and we’ll see you in the next episode.
- #289 – PPC Talk: Amazon Advertising & Adtomic Updates - October 16, 2021
- #288 – Amazon Posts 101 - October 12, 2021
- #287 – Bookkeeping And Accounting Tips For Amazon Sellers - October 9, 2021