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#319 – How Two Siblings Have Generated Millions On Amazon

Bradley welcomes to the show two brothers who have found success on their very first Amazon FBA product. Combined, they have now grossed over $2.5 million a year.
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40 minutes read

Bradley speaks with Andrew and Paul Engle, two siblings from Iowa, in this episode. They have entirely different job backgrounds, with Andrew having a mechanical engineering degree and Paul having a marketing degree. Listen as they share their stories, from jumping from one career to another, working 2-3 jobs, many side-hustles, to having to sell pallets of grease in e-commerce until they both found out the amazing opportunity Amazon FBA has to offer. For them, it’s all about hard work and working smart.

Make sure to listen to the very end as they share many of their tips and strategies that helped them grow their business to a combined $2,500,000 in gross sales last 2021.

In episode 319 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Andrew, and Paul discuss:

  • 03:00 – Andrew and Paul’s Backstory
  • 05:00 – Mechanical Engineer Jumping From One Career To Another
  • 09:00 – Working 2-3 Jobs And Flipping Muscle Cars
  • 10:30 – How Did They Get Started Into E-commerce?
  • 14:30 – Selling FBA Exceeded His Expectations
  • 16:30 – Making $50-100K On Sales On Amazon
  • 19:00 – Having A Day Job And Building A Business On The Process
  • 21:00 – A Perfect Balance Of Analytical And Marketing Skills
  • 22:00 – Competing With Amazon’s Product And Winning
  • 23:30 – $1.6 Million In Sales Globally In 2021
  • 26:30 – Andrew’s Strategies For A Successful Amazon Business
  • 29:15 – Boring Products That Make Really Good Profit
  • 33:00 – Thirty-Second Tips From Andrew And Paul
  • 36:00 – Finding PPC Opportunities Using Helium 10’s Adtomic
  • 40:00 – Saving Money By Shipping Light Products For Free

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today, we’re gonna invite two brothers who came from completely different job backgrounds, one, even from selling grease to start selling on Amazon. And they both knocked it out of the park on their very first product combined. They are already grossing 2.5 million a year. 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 Amazon and Walmart world. We’ve got a couple serious sellers today before I introduce them, this is a kind of, I don’t know if I wanna call, use the word momentous, but my first episode where I’m filming it in my new podcast studio. It’s not fully constructed yet. And that’s why actually, if you guys are watching this on YouTube, I’ve got a green screen up now because this room isn’t finished. And if you recognize this, this is the Helium 10 tequila room from our office is my green screen background. And actually, that is what I’m trying to recreate here at my house.

Bradley Sutton:

So like maybe in a week or so you’ll see my new studio where it’s gonna be a mimic of the office. And yes, it’s gonna have tequila as well, just like our office does. So if you ever start seeing me you know, say some crazy things on the podcast, well, I might have dipped into the 1942 a little bit, but today I’m, I just have green tea. We have a green screen and we’ve got green tea here and we’ve got a couple brothers, not from another mother from the same mother. I’m assuming here. We’ve got Andrew and Paul. How’s it going, guys?

Andrew:

Pretty good.

Paul:

It’s going great.

Bradley Sutton:

And where are y’all located? What state?

Andrew:

I’m in Iowa.

Paul:

And I’m in Denver, Colorado. Originally from Iowa as well.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay, excellent. Excellent. All right. Now you said you were both born and raised in Iowa then.

Andrew:

Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And then did both of you guys go to that you know, Iowa state. And what was your major, what was your, your career path? What was your career path looking like at that time?

Andrew:

So, yeah, I went to Iowa state was there for five years. My major was mechanical engineering and that was, that was good. It was hard and then got done with that and went to another, or went to a job as a mechanical engineer that worked on the large winter binds you see all over like the big, like megawatt-

Bradley Sutton:

Oh, so actually, upon graduation, you got a job that had to do with your major, you know, unlike so many people nowadays that’s cool.

Andrew:

Yep. Yep. Yeah, I was able to do that for a while. And then I was there for five years doing mainly gearbox inspection, gearbox repair, I kind of support vibration analysis and things like that. And then moved on, I had a few different jobs after that. I was a design engineer for a cement truck manufacturer. Now I was a manufacturing engineer for an automatic.

Bradley Sutton:

A design engineer. What in the world are you designing? I mean, cement trucks have looked the same for 40 years. Like, what were you designing?

Andrew:

So this company was kind of cool. They actually, instead of carrying the cement in the big drum that you used to see in, they actually carry all the ingredients like the sand, the Portland cement, the gravel and they would mix it on-site and then pour it out. So it was kind of a different design. But I was only there for a year. Design engineering wasn’t really, for me, it was a lot of CAD work a lot of drawings and things I up not liking that very much, but, and then my next job, I went to an automatic car wash machine manufacturer. So the ones that have the brushes on ’em or the ones that have the wand that sprays your car down, they made all that type of stuff. So I was a manufacturing engineer for them for a couple of years and then I was the manufacturing engineering manager. Then I switched again to being a water treatment technical sales which that was, I had a friend that was in the business and he said it was a pretty good gig. So I started doing that, and that was pretty good.

Bradley Sutton:

He was bouncing around all over the place here. Maybe if you’d not picked such boring jobs, you would’ve stuck to something. My goodness.

Andrew:

Yeah, I was kind of chasing the money a little bit cuz I was trying to look for, you know, something that wasn’t as challenging as engineering, but would, you know, gimme more money. Okay. And then when I was at the car wash business and at the like water treatment company, I started looking into Amazon and, you know, figuring out how that all worked. And then what I was doing that full-time job as water treatment along with selling on Amazon. And then eventually in October of last year is when I quit my full-time job to do the Amazon full-time

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Before we get, you know, figure out how you got into there, let’s see if we have that same question for Paul. Like what was your, what was your major, and then hopefully you did not have 17,000 different jobs like Andrew there, we’re gonna be here for a while.

Paul:

Yeah, no problem. Yeah, I jumped right a little bit, but mostly all in the same market, I guess. So I went to Iowa state as well. Tried out engineering figured out as Andrew said pretty boring. Not for me, could not do the math of physics. So I had fun in school and I was a marketing major. So I graduated with degree in marketing and basically went into sales right when I got out. So started selling For Pella Windows and Doors. I actually had a Kansas city didn’t like that too much moved out to Denver and I’ve actually been in the renewable energy and energy field for the last 16 or so years developing public-private partnerships with public agencies. So cities, counties, states, governments, et cetera.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Okay. And what, you know, like, you know, you didn’t seemingly bounce around a lot, but what was, what I guess maybe motivated you to look at Amazon? Like I know it was your brother, but like, you know, it’s not just if somebody’s a hundred percent satisfied with their life and their job and stuff, you know, somebody says, Hey, you wanna try this? You’re like, Nah, I’m good. But what was the feeling behind opening your mind to the possibilities of e-commerce? Were you, you like looking for something else or you weren’t finding satisfaction what you were doing or what happened there?

Paul:

Yeah. so I’m always pretty busy, I guess. So I have actually always had probably two to three jobs for as long as I can think as long as I can recall back. So yeah, even though I had a really nice nine to five I was always doing something more on the side. The thing I had actually the most success with was I have quite the mechanical background as well, work with my hands. So I actually used to flip muscle cars a lot. So I would flip a lot of Mopar and other Chrysler products quite frequently. And I just always had things going on on the side. And then when I found out that Andrew, my brother was selling on Amazon I think I kind of approached it initially that how I now get responded to when I tell people that’s and oh, well, Hey, that’s nice.

Paul:

You know, maybe if you’re lucky you can make enough to, you know, cover a car payment or something, I guess. And, at first, that’s kind of how I reacted until we were at my our parents. Our parents have a place in the Ozarks on the lake there, and my dad actually showed me a screenshot of what Andrew made in, I think either like a month or two weeks. And I was like, you gotta be kidding me. I didn’t say kidding, but yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

I kind of took that undertone there to extract that point. Yes.

Paul:

Well, just so there’s nothing up for debate. So that made me kinda reach out and certainly he was kind of my inspiration to kind of get going here and we both had some pretty good success there since.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. So Andrew, since you were the first one to get into it, I mean, obviously, you know, I don’t have to ask you the same question that I asked your brother because, you know, it was obvious you were bouncing around and you were, you know, maybe struggling, fighting full satisfaction with what you were doing, but how did you end up, you know, you were the reason that your brother got into it, but how did you get into Amazon or e-commerce?

Andrew:

So when I was at one of my multiple jobs in the past I started a side business where, since I knew a lot about winter turbine mechanics and the gearboxes and things, I started as kind of a consultant for other companies that were doing that as well. And I would offer, you know, I’d write reports for ’em or I’d do analysis for ’em. It was basically the same things that I used to do, but now that I was at a different job and a different industry. I never used those skills anymore. So I started doing that and I also started selling some products. I started selling these pallets of grease to a generator refurbisher. So-

Bradley Sutton:

Oh my goodness. You went from deciding cement trucks to selling grease.

Andrew:

Yeah. These, these pallets of grease that I was authorized distributor for now. And then, you know, I did that for about a year in the side business and then the customer that I was selling it to, you know, found a cheaper way to get ’em and, and I was cut outta the loop and I was like, well, I was like, I know that people sell stuff on Amazon. Like, I have this opportunity to, you know, sell this, this grease at a cheap price. Is there any way I can try to sell it on Amazon or something? So that’s when I started looking around and I found you know, there’s software out there where you could look at the listings and everything, where found Helium 10 and did the free trial. So I could like, look this stuff up.

Andrew:

And I found, you know, I was looking up the grease and everything. I’m like, no, they’re only selling like one or two units or one or two like tubes a month. I’m not, not really into that. But then I started just like looking at t-shirts and stuff and I’m like, oh my God. Like, there’s no way that they’re making this much money. I’m like, is this a month? This has gotta be per year, not per month, you know like it just blew my mind. And once that happened, like the claws were like sunk into me. I kept like, you know, I’m like, this is crap. And I would, I would leave. But then the next night I’d be like, I wanna look at some other stuff. And then I started looking at some other stuff.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, what year are we talking about here in the timeline?

Andrew:

The 2019. Okay. Yeah. So you’d look like the big one you could look at was like phone case or something. And you’re like, oh my God, like 1 million a month or something. Its incredible. So, yeah, that’s kind of how I got started.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And then you started the first thing that you sold, you know, was it private label or you first got into arbitrage or wholesaling, or what do?

Andrew:

You, so it was private label. I started watching, you know, I was bouncing around all over YouTube, watching a whole bunch of different stuff. And my biggest thing was, I couldn’t, I didn’t fully trust, you know, anyone cause I’m like, this is all like clickbait or something. Right. Like, there’s no way people are actually making this money. But I, I kept coming back to like, Helium 10 and like you, Tim Jordan and like Kevin King, like you guys were always kind of seemed like it always made sense. And then, you know, listening to the podcast and hearing other people’s stories, I’m like, I don’t think these people are like making this up. Like it doesn’t make sense. So I kind of just like chose a product and you know, started something and once I started selling, it started selling way, like better than I even thought. And I was just always for the first,

Bradley Sutton:

How did you find that first product? Was it random or did you do it in Black Box or how did you find it?

Andrew:

Yeah, Black Box. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And so you got on it right away. How much did you invest in that first product?

Andrew:

I started, I thought I was only going to invest like $3,000. Okay. It was like for one pallet of this product. And as soon as I got it there, and as soon as I got it into Amazon, it started selling on like the second day I sold more than I thought I was going to per day. You know, like for the next three months or something. So I’m like, no, wait, I’m gonna have to order. I need to order like four more or pallets like today, you know, like right now.

Bradley Sutton:

From China?

Andrew:

Yeah. Yeah. So I was able to get those there, but even before those showed up, I was like, I need even more. I started like kind of planning it out and I’m like, I need a 20-foot container full of this. So it kinda like where I thought was going to be $3,000, ended up being a lot more money to kind of play ketchup to in order this thing in stock. So I kinda-

Bradley Sutton:

So, then at the point where your brother was profanely noting how much money you were making, how, how, how many months into your Amazon journey were you, and what were you grossing per month at that time? Roughly I know we’re talking about a couple of years ago, but

Andrew:

Sure. I think it was, I would’ve been about six months into it, six or seven months into selling and I was just getting like 40-foot containers sent, like some of the first times that I was doing that. And I think I was making maybe 50 to a hundred K in revenue a month.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. For one product?

Andrew:

Yeah, for one product.

Bradley Sutton:

Nice. Okay. So after how long that you started selling on Amazon, did you quit your day job, or had you already just quit and you went all in on Amazon.

Andrew:

So I started selling in November 2019 and then October of 2021. So this last October is when I quit. So I stayed full-time for a couple years just cuz like the money was great, but I was like, I don’t know, I could lose my account or something. Yeah. I just, you know, I didn’t want to like risk anything until, you know, I’d built up it actually it actually was pretty hard to decide when I wanted to do this cuz kind of letting go of a sure thing and like my water treatment job was a really good job. So like letting go of a really good job to go after this was, was pretty tough, but yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

So now, Paul, I guess we’re talking about the middle of 2020 or something when you first, you know, figured out what your brother was doing did you just like say, all right, I’m in, you know, where do I start or how did that happen?

Paul:

Yeah, for the most part, we started having conversations about, you know, how everything works. You know, I got a Helium 10 account myself. I’m actually branded up today. I don’t know if you can tell or not Bradley. Figured I’d give you a shout out there. And then yeah, started doing a lot of my own research found a, found a product that I thought was no kind of a no-brainer, I guess. And I launched in the about the end of middle to end of February of 2020 is when I, no, I’m sorry. 2021 is when I launched. SoI did research and background. I was private label as well, everything I do is private label and I probably started researching things around August or so of 2020.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, did you know, keep up your day job throughout this time or are you now doing full-time Amazon or what’s, what’s happening there?

Paul:

I still have my day job. I’ve got three small kids. So for me, it’s you know, up at 6:00 AM, usually working till about 10, 11, o’clock just about every single night after putting the kids down and I’m really in a growth stage right now. I’m really trying to grow my business. But yeah, I still have my job. I’m working to replace my income. But it’s a pretty comfortable income. So I’m hoping here in the next few months I’ll have that ability to resign from my current position. If I so choose.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, you know, I know you didn’t have a full year in 2021, but what about did you end your, your year in gross sales?

Paul:

Yeah. so I had a single product for the majority of 2021 and my sales were around about $840,000 in revenue.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And were you able to, to turn a profit, you know, sometimes, you know, newer sellers, they do experiments in, PPC and end up losing a lot of money, but you know, at that amount, I’m assuming you were able to turn some, some kind of profit

Paul:

Yeah. Turned a really good profit actually, did really well. It’s the thing that I’m in is pretty seasonal actually. So I mean, may through June is kind of gangbusters, but then after that, it really, you know, adapts that bell curve, I guess. So but now, when I was selling, I was either Amazon’s choice for majority of all the large all of the relevant keywords, bestseller. So it took off really really, really well. And I think that’s a combination of, you know, I got my, my brother who’s the engineer. Who’s very you know, I think we’re both analytical, but he’s definitely more analytical than I am. And then I think I kind of bring more of the marketing side to it where really, you know, branding and just getting yourself out there and showing your product as well as you can. That’s really what I enjoy, I guess.

Bradley Sutton:

So do you remember how you’ve founder your first product? Like if you use Black Box? Helium 10 Black Box, like, do you remember like what kind of thing you were searching for, what kind of filters you used, or what method did you use to find that, that product?

Paul:

Yeah, so I did use Black Box. I’m trying to remember the type of filters that I used. Initially, I think I really just copied what you and Tim Jordan have been doing on Freedom Ticket if I’m not mistaken. So very similar different ratings, review filters, et cetera. I think search volume of, you know, 2,500 at least if not higher. And the product that I actually found was an Amazon product that Amazon was selling directly, but just wasn’t taking full ad advantage of.

Bradley Sutton:

Interesting. Yeah, that’s a great, interesting point because so many people out there are like, as soon as they see that shipped and sold by Amazon, they’re like, oh, I’m running for the Hills. You know, I don’t wanna compete with Amazon, but sometimes, like you said, you know, Amazon doesn’t know what they’re doing as far, you know, you think that they’d be the best at it, but, you know, they have bad images or a listing that’s not optimized and things like that. So at the time, was it just this one Amazon product that was dominating most of the sales? Or was it spread out a little bit amongst some other sellers or what did you see?

Paul:

Oh, there were still quite a few sellers that were there. But yes, I was probably the highest ranked, in the category for quite a few months. So that, that kind of spawned me to look at some other variations or one offs of that same product. So was working on that and kind of, I guess what I seemed as the off season, which is really kind of the later Q3 and Q4, and I’m getting ready to launch quite a few more SKUs here this year. That’s really dominating a lot of my time.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, Andrew, you know, you’re a little over a, you know, couple years into your Amazon journey. What did you end your gross sales at in 2021

Andrew:

2021, I was about 1.6 million globally. I mainly just sell in the US, but I do the remote fulfillment, you know, to Canada, Mexico, but-

Bradley Sutton:

And how many SKUs is that figure representing?

Andrew:

That’s On 14,

Bradley Sutton:

14 SKUs. Okay. Yeah. So are they all in the same brand or have you launched different brands?

Andrew:

They’re all the same brand. I do have another account and I’m starting to get kind of another brand and another thing going there, but yeah, for the existing, all of 2021, it was the same brand same category. Yep.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Now, you know, you came in at a time where now all of a sudden, you know, people were thinking about eventually selling their business and aggregators were like Thrasio were coming around, you know, a lot of people, you know, started in 2018. You say the word aggregator. They would’ve no idea what the heck you’re talking about, but has that ever crossed your mind? Like, was there ever a point where you’re like, you know what, I wanna build this business up and maybe sell it, or have you just been like, you know, I just wanna build this thing into something special and kind of keep it for forever.

Andrew:

So it’s funny. When I was starting all this stuff, it was before you guys had Project X and it was before I think even Freedom Ticket 2.0, it was like right when that was coming out or something. So it was funny cuz as I was just getting started and just like launching all this stuff, I was watching everything being like, Ugh, like I wish I knew this, I would’ve done this, you know, completely differently. Right. But ever since then, you know, after watching of stuff that, you know, Kevin King has said and what you guys have said, I’ve kind of moved my company to where I’m gonna address it up maybe to sell. But I don’t have any plans to do it right now. And that’s kind of what Kevin King would say is like build it to sell even if you do, you know, if you don’t or if you do then that’s great. But I would say it kind of depends if I get a second account going and I get some good products going there maybe I’d look to sell the first one.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Overall of that 1.6 million, you know, have you calculated, you know, like you take away, you know, PPC costs and, and cost of good sold and, and you know, any other overhead you have, you know, about how much percent profit you are able to clear?

Andrew:

I think it’s gonna be 20%, 25%. Okay. Yeah, it’s gonna be somewhere around there.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Now, what’s some of your strategies? You said for your very first product you used Black Box and then, you know, you were able to find something where there was some opportunity that seemed like for you, but what’s been your strategy about expanding your brand, you know, like these 16 products, all the same brands. So are you just like, you know, taking some, some main keywords from your first product and then just, you know, seeing if there was any, any high demand things that would go along with that same brand or what’s been your strategy to go from one to 16 in the last two years, as far as skews go.

Andrew:

Sure. I can’t tell you all my secrets.

Bradley Sutton:

You can, you know, see, that’s why, you know, I wanna have people come to my office to record these podcasts in person and get the tequila flowing and then men, and everybody’s willing to spill their secrets a little bit more, but yeah. Yeah, you don’t have to give us all the secrets, but share some of the wealth.

Andrew:

I’m just lacking the tequilas all Bradley.

Bradley Sutton:

I mean, you shared all with your brother, obviously. I mean, and actually, his growth might be a little bit faster than yours, so maybe you’re regretting giving him all your secrets, but what can you share with us?

Andrew:

Sure. so yeah, I sort of looked for a lot of the things that would fit with my brand. So at first I was just trying to sell product. Okay. I was just trying to make money, just trying to sell product. And then once I found out that this was actually gonna be successful I’m like, okay, how can I build a brand out of this? How can I, you know, gather similar products that, you know, if someone came to my Amazon store or my Amazon listing and they were gonna buy this, what else were they gonna buy? Or what else could they buy? So it’s kind of group it together like that. And that’s kinda where I started and that’s what I’m still doing right now. It’s funny in this business like you have an idea but it takes like, it takes so long to implement it you know, like the things that I’m implementing right now are ideas I have like a year ago just cuz you have to wait for money to be available or you have to run business cases and figure out if it’s worth it type of deal. But that’s-

Bradley Sutton:

So you mean like something that a new product you’re launching now you originally found or originally had that idea like a year ago?

Andrew:

Yeah. Yeah. So like I-

Bradley Sutton:

And then so why didn’t, you know, sometimes, I mean in Amazon or less like an eternity, you know, like something is trending and then boom, like, you know, before you even have the product ordered, even if you order right then already like 17 competitors have jumped on. So what’s, what’s different about how you’re finding these products that even a year later they still are opportunities.

Andrew:

Sure. Man, I don’t know. I just a lot of the competitors that I have or a lot of the way that I learned how to do it is I’m not selling products that are necessarily hot trends or anything. A lot of my products are, are pretty boring and so they’re not really going anywhere in the, and the people who sell ’em mainly it’s Amazon, who’s selling ’em

Bradley Sutton:

You too are selling are competing with Amazon directly, huh?

Andrew:

Yeah, yeah. Amazon. Okay. Amazon kind of sucks at building their own listings. So every time I see, you know, a product and it’s sold by Amazon and I look at it and there’s, you know, I look for, or how many pictures do they have? It’s kinda all the regular stuff, but like how many pictures do they have? You know, what’s in their bullet points what’s the title like, you know, things like that. And then you look at the revenue and I’m like, Hey, I can compete with this. And lately, it’s been, you know, I find stuff that’s similar to the products I sell in my brand right now. And I go and I look at those and some of ’em aren’t necessarily like home runs, like some of ’em are not gonna be as successful as I have about two SKUs that makeup 50% of my revenue. So like those are great, but then I’m just gonna keep adding on these smaller ones. That’ll help, you know, build up and make the brand a little better that carries all similar products. So hopefully if someone comes to my store, they can buy, you know, all the things that they would need to do, the project that they’re looking for or, you know, something like that.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. All right. So now what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna go, you know, you guys know here in the show, if you listen that we have something, we call that TST 30-second tips, but instead of just one each we’re, we’re gonna have some sibling rivalry here where you guys are gonna, you know, be pitted against each other and give your own 30-second tips back and forth. And now, the kind of thing I’m looking for is again, yeah. Giving away some of your secrets, but you know, nobody knows your product, so it’s not like somebody’s gonna go in and take your market share or anything. But I’d like to know somebody, either the basic or complex things that you guys think that you are doing that is maybe somewhat unique, like don’t give me a 30-second tip of, oh you know, I go and negative match keywords that are costing me over a hundred percent ACoS or I mean, you know, everybody, everybody does, you know, basic things like that, but, but some of the unique things.

Bradley Sutton:

Like, for example, you’ve already kind of inadvertently given us a tip, both of you have found great success in competing directly with Amazon, which is, you know, in my opinion, it’s not like completely unique, but I would say a good 90% of the Amazon sellers would probably say, no, I don’t want to compete with Amazon. So, so that right there is unique. So, so things like that, you know, like, are you guys doing something with influencers? You know, do you have some kind of, you know, strange launch technique or way you to get reviews or way to use inserts? So just, you know, as the other person is talking, you know, make sure you’re planning for your next one and then maybe, or maybe not, I’ll declare a winner you know at the end here for the bottle of tequila or something since we’ve been on that subject. So, Andrew, you first on Amazon, so why don’t you start us off here with your TST

Andrew:

Oh, man. All right. Well, I would say one of the biggest things, something that almost got me in trouble was not watching my cash flow at the beginning and not keeping track of in the future what I’m gonna have to spend for supplier payments or credit card payments and kind of all that stuff. So I would say it is very, very important to plan like your year out in a spreadsheet or whatever you wanna do 12 to 18 months out, because not only do you have to plan as a business owner, you basically kind of keep track of money. So not only do you have to plan for that year, but then you have to plan for tax season for the following year. That’s sort of what you’re planning for. And at first, I did not do that where I thought I was gonna spend $3,000 to launch my product. Actually, if I would’ve kept track of the, for of what I thought I was gonna sell like I ended up being 60k deep before I actually started to stop losing money. So I always kind of preach that as one of the first things you should do to keep yourself out of, trouble.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. All right. Good. So, first tip is, you know plot, you know, don’t just plan ahead for a month, but, but try and fast forward to like six months or a year. Okay. I like it. Paul, your turn.

Paul:

Yeah. So I mean, some of the things that, that you had mentioned, inserts, I don’t do any inserts using influencers. I don’t do, I don’t do that either. I think those are some great strategies. I’ve just not gotten to the point personally where I’ve done them. My advice would be as a dad with three young kids nine to five and some rentals that I actually own and manage myself as well is just my advice is hard work and perseverance, just do not give up. You are gonna get it challenged. You are gonna find things that are gonna be thrown in your way and just keep working. And that’s kind of maybe how we, or, you know, we were brought up was that hard work will pay off.

Paul:

You will, you will get there. And so that is one thing that I would say. The other thing that I would add is just you know, thinking about what it is that the customer is looking for in that product, in that listing looking to make those relevant within your listing itself. Again, I’m kind of a marketing major, so that’s kind of how I look at is just beating everyone else that’s out there from your listing standpoint. And yeah, I guess that’s all I got for now. Okay.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. Back to Andrew, what’s your what’s your next one?

Andrew:

So I know you’re talking about negative keywords with PPC. You know, everyone does that, blah, blah, blah. But I do think there is some keywords that people shy away from, and I do kind of have a strategy for finding some good ones. A lot of people are kind of scared of the negative phrase keywords. And one of the things I’ve started doing with the Helium 10 tools is if you use Adtomic, they will give you there’s two of the search terms that, you know, you you’ve had stored in there. You can download the last two years of search terms. And so I do that. I download the last two years of search terms. I take that whole list and I put it in Frankenstein. So you break it down into individual words, and then you take those individual words, you put it into Excel and you gotta do a little Excel magic, but you can actually search through all the search terms and have it sum up all the sales for each word.

Andrew:

So say you know, you have a random word like orange or something. You can look up how many sales you got on orange and say, you look through the last two years and there’s no sales for orange. Then that means, you know, okay, you can make a negative phrase out of this and you have two years’ worth of data to back this up. So you’re safely making these things. And that’s, I think that’s better than the exact keywords than the exact negatives because it can be in any different phrase. So you just save yourself a bunch of money in the future.

Bradley Sutton:

So, okay. All right. I like it. I like it. Paul, you got another one for us.

Paul:

I think so. And I think I’ve actually heard where people advise against this. So I would say, certainly take this as caution, but I mean, I think as we were all challenged with the supply chain issues, one of the things that I was running into when I was trying to import, and I got my products from China is just, I would constantly get bumped. I would purchase my shipping through FREDOs and you know, my container just wouldn’t make it on there. Others would, would either pay more or have other relationships that got their container on then when mine did not. And so one thing that I actually started doing is actually using my manufacturer’s straight forwarder and buying the shipping through my manufacturer. And then put that onus on my manufacturer to make sure that my container made it onto the ship. It caveated the fact that you would then have to you know, work to do a lot more of the customs work and the fees once got into port. But I was able to find that if I actually used my manufacturer’s freight forwarder or shipping agent over there I would a lot of times get priority because they ship more products than I ever do.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Makes sense. I like it, you know and Andrew, since you’ve been around a little bit longer, we’re gonna give you one bonus round here. Since theoretically speaking, you should be, you know, at least 30%, 40% more knowledgeable than your brother here. So do you have a bonus tip for us today?

Andrew:

Yeah, bonus tip. I got one more. So when I first started, you know, shipping containers were like $3,000 each, right. It was awesome. I really hope that-

Bradley Sutton:

The good old days.

Andrew:

Oh yeah. But now when they started getting to 10, 20, $30,000, I, one of the strategies I was thinking is like, okay, I have a product that the product that I have is heavy. So it actually only fills the container 25%. So 75% of my container was empty. So I was also thinking, okay, how can I come up with a product that is fits in my brand? That also is really light. So I could take 10% of my, my product out and then fill the actual whole rest of the container up. And there’s some software out there that can do that, that can help you configure that. But that’s one way that I’m saving money. Like basically I’m saving money by being able to ship really light product for free because, ah, okay. My original product is paying for 90% of the shipping cost. So, I’m hoping I’m shipping some stuff with her right now and everything looks good on paper. So I’m hoping that it works well.

Bradley Sutton:

I like it. I like it. Now, Andrew, if I’m not mistaken, are you a Helium 10 elite member? Yeah. Is there like one strategy that you heard maybe in one of the monthly workshops or one of our quarterly ones that kind of like really had a notice? I mean, every time we go to a webinar or something where I was like, oh man, that’s so cool. Like I never knew about that, but is there one that you actually implemented and did have good results that you can, you can think of?

Andrew:

Oh, I’m trying to think there’s so many of ’em that are there. It’s actually hard to implement them all like I’m trying to do better with actually using them. I would say I’ve heard as a lot of people talk about VAs and some good places to go, to get VAs. Some of your like podcasts lately have been about VAs. And that’s something where I think I’m getting to the point where if I want to keep growing without making myself miserable I need to start getting more VAs or getting some VAs in and I’ve heard you know, one of the people were telling me, like, even if you don’t necessarily need, ’em like just practice, you know, like just practice with it. So–

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. You know, especially once you get up to a certain level you know, even if Amazon’s your full-time thing, you just can’t handle every single aspect of your business, you know, by yourself. And so, yeah definitely going for VAs is something that is recommended for all to, you know, to help less load now, rest of this year Andrew and Paul what are some of your goals? You know, like, Hey, I plan to scale to X in gross sales. I plan to increase my gross profit. I plan to launch X number of SKUs. Like, what are some of the goals since we’re in the beginning of this year, kind of if I bring guys back like next year, March, or, or something like that, what would you like to be able to tell everybody on what you’ve done in the rest of this year?

Andrew:

So for my first brand or my first account, it’d be great if I could grow revenue to 3 million that would be good. And then I’d like to be able to get my other account going and, you know, get some sales going for that. I don’t necessarily know what I could make on that side, but just having that going and having products started would be great.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. And Paul?

Paul:

Yeah. So as you recall last year I finished out around 800 K in revenue with a single product this year I’m, I’m going kind of the whole hog here. I think I’ll be right around about 400 SKUs. And my revenue estimates are between 3.2 to 3.6 million being conservative. So and I’m hoping that I can-

Bradley Sutton:

So that, in other words, you’re just kind of politely saying I’m fitting to crush my brother this year in sales, but notice how he’s like, I’m just diplomatic he was. I love it.

Paul:

It’s like being back in the back in the basement and we’re wrestling all over again. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

There we go. All right, well guys, it was great to have you bring your cyclone of knowledge you to see what I did there. Right. And it is really great to see, you know, people, you know, just like regular dudes from the Midwest, you know, who are now, you know, having success on Amazon from their very first product, you know, like that’s what we want get across on the show is that you know, you don’t have to be some kind of like e-commerce superstar. You can go from freaking selling grease to doing seven figures on Amazon. And you know, anybody can do it out there. So guys, you know, take these two brothers here from as an example of, if you are one of those people who just been kind of like, you know waiting to get on Amazon or not feeling confident, you know who started with initial investment of, you know, three grand or so, and look what he scaled up to in a couple of years.

Bradley Sutton:

And Paul, you know, gross almost seven figures just on his very first product. So this isn’t guaranteed, you know, it’s not like everybody out there can all have the same exact success, but hopefully, this has been an inspiration. And then yes, we definitely will wanna reach out to you guys next year, 2023 to see how you’re doing. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you this year at the Prosper Show maybe, or for sure at our Sell and Scale Summit, which will be in September in Vegas and be great to see, you know, how you guys have progressed. So far maybe your brother’s gonna catch you by September or this year. We’ll see. All right. So thank you very much for joining us and we’ll see you guys later.

Andrew:

All right.


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