Episode 44 – Two Successful Generation Z Entrepreneurs Offer Advice On Getting Started On Amazon FBA
Feel like you don’t have enough experience to sell on Amazon? Bradley Sutton interviews two Gen Z entrepreneurs about their Amazon FBA experiences. Michael Lebhar started making 6-figures at the age of 16, and Shayna Brookman started her business while going to school and working full-time. Listen in for some great tips on selling on Amazon, and learn why “not enough experience” is never a good excuse.
In episode 44 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Shayna, Michael, and Bradley discuss:
- 00:40 – Millennials or Generation Z?
- 02:22 – Sellercon and Stranger Danger
- 05:55 – Working Smarter Not Harder
- 07:30 – Shayna Starts with Tatiana Buree’s Video
- 11:05 – Michael – Amazon Review Trader and eBay
- 12:50 – Back to Amazon with a Simple Give-Away
- 15:52 – Shayna’s Launch Mistakes
- 19:55 – 7 Figures but Also High Overhead
- 24:00 – Selling on Amazon is a Great School
- 24:45 – Michael’s Best Launch Strategy
- 27:05 – Rebates – Amazon TOS Danger Zone?
- 30:45 – Michael – Adding Additional Products and Varieties
- 31:36 – Shayna – “I Use Helium 10 Every Day”
- 32:05 – Michael is a Big Fan of Helium 10’s Cerebro
- 33:10 – Michael – Top Secret Projects and e-Commerce
- 34:33 – Shayna Gives Advice to Amazon Sellers at University
- 35:44 – Michael – “Selling on Amazon Gives You the Tools to Do Almost Anything”
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Hey, everyone. I’ve got two super young aspiring entrepreneurs today who hopefully can inspire you. One was doing six figures on eBay at the age of 16 and now is a seven-figure seller, and the other has slowly started her business while working and going to college full time, and both have great tips and strategies that they’re going to share with us no matter what your age. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: How it’s going, everybody? Welcome to another episode of The Serious Sellers Podcast. I’m your host, Bradley Sutton, and today, this is going to be the Serious “Young” Sellers Podcast as we’ve got two—you guys are considered millennials, right? I don’t know what the term is.
Shayna Brookman: Gen Z.
Shayna Brookman: I think so. Millennials may be starts or ends on 1997 or 96.
Bradley Sutton: I have no idea. I don’t even know what I am, but okay, so we’ve got Gen Z on here; two 20-year-olds who are crushing it on Amazon. Completely different levels, completely different circumstances, completely different parts of the United States. I know there’s a lot of young sellers out there or people maybe who are in college or they’re thinking about going to college or trying and starting an Amazon? I’m hoping that your story or both of your stories can resonate with a lot of our listeners and, who knows, maybe inspire some people out there.
Bradley Sutton: I just want to talk to you guys. It was funny, Shayna sent me a message yesterday, she’s said, “Bradley, can you tell me what you’re going to ask me?” I’m, “oh no, no, no. You don’t know about the Serious Sellers Podcast; we don’t rehearse anything.” I don’t want you guys to know what I’m going to ask. I don’t even know what I’m going to ask until it actually happens because I want this just to be an organic conversation here. So actually, let’s go ahead and start with you, Shayna. Now, before I start, I’ve got to tell the story about how we kind of met. It’s a funny story, and Michael doesn’t know anything about this. Michael, here’s what happened. Michael, when did I tell you originally that I wanted to do a young entrepreneur podcast with you?
Michael Lebhar: Oh, wow. Yeah, a while ago when I was in Europe. So, I don’t know. Two months ago, maybe more.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. So it’s been a couple of months that I’ve wanted to do this, but I know you weren’t ready yet because you were working on a launch, and you’re really busy and then plus I was, “man, I would love to meet just another one or two.” We just had an episode that had three brand new sellers of different age groups and that one really worked out really well. So, as I was walking around Sellercon, I saw Shayna a couple of times and she probably seemed to be the youngest person there. Not that it was all old age home people there.
Shayna Brookman: I’ve got a babyface.
Bradley Sutton: But yeah, you have a babyface. I couldn’t tell. I was, “oh, maybe that’s the daughter of somebody there.” But then I saw you by yourself a lot. I thought, “you know what, she’s probably an Amazon seller,” but I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself to you to ask you about the podcast. And then on the very last day, I was walking out of the MGM Conference Center, and I saw her just talking to somebody and I noticed her name badge—she still had the name badge on—so I just made a mental note. I thought, “okay, Shayna Brookman. All right, let me try and look that up.” And then I went up to the escalator to the MGM Casino and my buddies here who were breaking down our booth, they had to go up the elevator. I was waiting for them. And so I was at the top of the escalator and I thought, “okay, let me try and find since I’m not generation Z, my 80 year old mind. I’m not 80 but I have an 80 year old mind. I know I’m going to forget her name so let me look her up on Facebook.”
Bradley Sutton: So I’m holding up my phone, and I’m trying to find Shayna Brookman and then I clicked on a profile and, I’m holding the phone up and looking at her images on her Facebook, trying to figure out if that’s her, and who comes up right behind me up the escalator? It was Shayna, and I almost had a heart attack. I was, “oh my God. I look like some total creeper here. Stranger danger.” But I guess, you didn’t notice, you didn’t see me at that time, right?
Shayna Brookman: No, no.
Bradley Sutton: And I certainly didn’t say anything, but then I sent her a message. I told her about the podcast. But now here’s the thing. I feel a little bit justified because the reason why I reached out to you was, first of all, I thought you might be around the same age as Michael. Now here’s the thing. When I first brought you guys into a group chat, you actually went and creeped on his Facebook, on your own, looking for him. Tell us what you found when you found him on Facebook.
Shayna Brookman: We are born on the same day, same month, and same year.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys. So first of all, I am 100% justified. She looks like she’s around the same age as Michael. Not only is she the same age as Michael, she’s literally probably born seconds apart from him. And I’m not the only one who creeps on Facebook. So, I’m justifying.
Michael Lebhar: I only use Facebook for Facebook ads. I don’t use it for anything else.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Well, maybe we’ll talk a little bit about that. That’s pretty cool. A lot of people need help on Facebook ads too. So anyway, we have two individuals here who are 20 years old. Michael, I know, has been selling a little bit longer, but Shayna, can you tell us a little bit about when you first started selling on Amazon? What first inspired you to say, “Hey, I want to sell on Amazon” because that’s not something normal that a lot of teenagers start doing.
Shayna Brookman: Okay. Yeah. It’s funny, we’re talking about young sellers. I personally was also inspired by a young seller, Tatiana James. I was going through a stage where I had started school, and I was working two jobs. I don’t know what side of me made me want to do that, but I was working 80-hour weeks, working so, so hard. And I did this for about six months, and I was also in school full time. So, 80 hours a week and also in school full time. It was wild.
Bradley Sutton: How’s that even possible?
Shayna Brookman: I have no idea. And I still got straight As. It was crazy, and I kind of decided that this can’t be it, and I want it to work smarter rather than harder.
Bradley Sutton: That’s the story of my life; that’s my motto right there. Very good.
Shayna Brookman: Exactly. I’m in business school so business 101 teaches you multiple streams of income. I went on the Internet and … ., “Okay, multiple streams of income, how do I do that?” And it was kind of split between two options. It was – either get another job or you can start a business. And in my head, I’m like, “Oh my God, I’m so tired I cannot handle another physical job.”
Bradley Sutton: When was this? Are we talking about last year? Two years ago. This year?
Shayna Brookman: Yeah. This was last year exactly; June.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. You were 18 or 19 years old?
Shayna Brookman: Yeah, I was 19 when I figured out about Amazon. Okay. I launched four months ago. So yeah, I was thinking in my head about jobs and things like that, and at my age and my educational level, that kind of job is time-bound. You clock in and you clock out and that’s it. And it all depends on the amount of time that you’re spending there. Whereas with e-commerce, you can work anytime, anywhere and you can create a semi-passive income. I’m not saying that Amazon is passive income; I’m just saying I could be working at one job and also have my business going on while I’m working.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. You said you started thinking about this now. Was it because of Tatiana? Did you see a YouTube video from her or what’s the actual moment?
Shayna Brookman: She had a video that went viral. The actual title was, “I’m 23 years old and making $40,000 on Amazon.” I think Stefan was the one that posted it. They were the ones that kind of kickstarted everything. And then I started reading into some other content about Amazon and I was thinking, “I don’t think that age really plays an important factor in this. I think anybody can do this business.” And it’s absolutely true. Absolutely true.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Tatiana, actually—I don’t know if you heard her podcast—I’ve had her as a guest on here, and they are absolutely great people. This past weekend in SellerCon was when I first met them in person.
Shayna Brookman: I had the pleasure of meeting them too. I went to their meet and greet. They’re amazing.
Bradley Sutton: Nice. Nice. All right let’s switch now to Michael. Michael, I believe if I’m not mistaken, you actually started even way younger than Shayna originally. Is that correct?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah, for sure. I’ll tell you a little funny story about Tatiana. When I started on Amazon, I think this was probably a year even after I started, I think she was starting on Amazon around maybe a year after I started or around the same time. And she actually reached out to me on Amazon through Amazon messages, which is weird, asking me if I want to give away some of my product because she was doing a giveaway with their friends. If you see, in one of her oldest videos, she did a product giveaway. She gave away 10-15 products and you see a couple of my products there and I said “okay, why not?” And she’ll tag me on something.
Bradley Sutton: Just another way that you and Shayna are kind of connected. I’m telling you; we are going to see the start of a power couple. The next Stefan James and Tatiana are going to be Michael and Shana. But no pressure on you guys anyways. Continue Michael if you’re able to.
Michael Lebhar: Yeah, no pressure.
Michael Lebhar: It was kind of funny by the way. I was always into working. I guess you could call money hungry. And I did every random job, literally everything in the book. And approximately five years ago, I moved from Toronto back to LA, and I needed to find another way to make money. I was doing these random jobs, literally everything. And I’m thinking, “let me find another way to get some money.”
Bradley Sutton: What’s one of the random ones? I’m just curious.
Michael Lebhar: I had a lawn mowing business. I even though at one point I had a bunch of people helping me for it. I had a bookbinding business. I’ve done everything.
Bradley Sutton: How old were you when you were doing your lawn mowing and bookbinding business?
Michael Lebhar: 15, 14.
Bradley Sutton: 15, 16 and running his own company. That’s crazy. Alright. Keep going.
Michael Lebhar: Yeah. And then at 16, I moved here, I moved back to LA and I decided I wanted to do something else. I wanted to get moving on something. I was in school full time, a Jewish school again; it’s really late. I didn’t have so much time; I couldn’t do these random jobs. And online looked really cool. And the real reason why I started is one of my close family friends. The same kind of family situation like me, I guess you could say. We live in the same community, and they are young brothers and I’m not going to say the name, but they’re young brothers. I don’t know if they want me to say the names. They were extremely successful on Amazon and went to the same school as me and really killed it on Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Are these the friends that I also know that are making nine figures?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah.
Bradley Sutton: Oh yeah. I know exactly who you’re talking about.
Michael Lebhar: They do a couple hundred million dollars a year and they’re both really young. They started younger than me even, and I really always looked up to them. Since we were connected, I called up one of the brothers, and he gave me two hours of his time really getting me started, giving me a bunch of tips, and I said, “You know what, I’m going for this.” It was his tip, but also just looking at the amount of – hundreds of employees that had and what they were doing at such a young age.
Bradley Sutton: This is when you were 16, now?
Michael Lebhar: Yes, I was 16, I don’t really know how to sell on Amazon, and it looked kind of complicated. I started on eBay. I don’t know if you remember, but I hope I don’t get sued for this. But when Amazon Review Trader was around, this is way back in the day, it was the easiest thing to get reviews. I would just basically buy a bunch of products on Amazon Review Trader and resell them on eBay. I have tons of accounts and I was getting a hundred free products a day selling them on eBay, and then I was looking into private label and a few months after we made a move pretty fast. This is right after I turned 16. I started with one product, the workout glove, and we brought in a few hundred. No logo, nothing. And it’s sold out in a couple of days. So, we’re like, “Whoa, this works all right.” So, we just kept on adding products and then we started building the brand a little bit and I just got really invested in it. I was always in school.
Bradley Sutton: Well, when you say we, who’s we?
Michael Lebhar: Me and my brother. My younger brother.
Bradley Sutton: Your younger brother?
Michael Lebhar: Yup.
Bradley Sutton: I didn’t even know about this. How old is he?
Michael Lebhar: He’s right now 18, I think. Maybe 19.
Bradley Sutton: So, this was when you were 16, 17 and he’s 14, 15 years old?
Michael Lebhar: Yup.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my God. That’s pretty crazy. That’s great. They need to make a movie about this later.
Michael Lebhar: Yeah. I was doing a lot on eBay, some random stuff and then I started to build my brand on eBay, which is kind of funny. Most people don’t do that. But I started building my brand on eBay. I launched free products on Amazon. I kept on running into problems. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was copying images, copying listings, writing. This is way back. It was so much easier. And finally, I had a few good products on Amazon, then I ran into problems, some hijackers and things like that and then I just quit Amazon for a little bit. Kept on focusing on eBay. I was doing a lot on eBay. I think at 16, I was doing well into the six figures on eBay and I’m like, “okay, whatever.”
Michael Lebhar: But that’s not the long-term thing. All my mentors were telling me, “you know, you’ve got to move to Amazon, you have to move to Amazon.” I’m, “okay, fine, let’s go, let’s do Amazon.” And I tried again. I launched my workout gloves on Amazon and right after I launched it, I did a simple giveaway and they started doing 50, 60 units a day. I started moving up. So I was, “hey, this really works.” I started putting all my focus on Amazon, and I really started building my first brand.
Bradley Sutton: That’s amazing. I mean, that’s crazy. I can’t imagine being 16 years old and doing six figures. I mean, yeah, that was kind of crazy. It just boggles my mind, well, what were your parents thinking at this time?
Michael Lebhar: At first, they thought it was crazy. So yeah, I kind of asked them, and they knew I was going to go for it anyway, but they were like, “as long as it doesn’t take you away from your schoolwork.” And then eventually they saw I was doing well, so they were happy. At the beginning, we just started buying sheds and putting them in our backyard and stuff and then it wasn’t starting to get cool. So eventually, I had to lease a warehouse and yeah, now I just work out of the warehouse.
Bradley Sutton: Since you were under 18, I’m assuming that you had to get the warehouse in some other family member’s name or something.
Michael Lebhar: I leased it from somebody I knew. I just, you know, pay him money.
Bradley Sutton: Nice. Alright, cool. That brings us up until you’re around 17-18 or so. Let’s go back now to Shayna. Shayna’s story, she had listened to some videos last year and was inspired to sell on Amazon. Now how did you educate yourself on Amazon? Because you had said that you only launched your first product four months ago. From the time that you said, “Hey, I’m going to do this” to the actual time you launched, what was the process like for you? Because I’m assuming you were still working and still going to school, right?
Shayna Brookman: Yeah, so I took ASM. (Amazon Selling Machine) I was ASM nine.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, okay, nice. And that was the end of last year?
Shayna Brookman: Yes, I started in June and then I launched my first product in March. So yeah, the learning experience was good. It was hard, but you learn, and that’s it. You just study and implement. It’s kind of like school.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Okay. What was the process after ASM? When did you conclude? When did you finish the course?
Shayna Brookman: I finished the course in March, and then I also launched in March.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. And had you still been working 80 hours a week all this time?
Shayna Brookman: No, so I quit doing 80 hours a week back last year in June. Once I quit doing 80 hours a week, I was like, “okay, I’m going to quit one of my jobs and I’m going to start doing Amazon” and so I took that on as another class, in school.
Bradley Sutton: And had you still been going to school full time?
Shayna Brookman: Yes, I was currently still working a job, and I’m also in school full time and I do Amazon as well.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. You sourced your first product. Did you just start with one product?
Shayna Brookman: I started with one. I kind of wanted to get comfortable with it.
Bradley Sutton: All right. I’m assuming you sourced it from China, or did you do something different?
Shayna Brookman: Yes, I sourced from China. It seems like the easiest option.
Bradley Sutton: All right. And how did your launch go? What was your launch strategy?
Shayna Brookman: My launch actually really did not go well. I’d made a lot of mistakes. I had a few setbacks.
Bradley Sutton: Well, what’re some of those mistakes? I mean, there’s no room for embarrassment here. Let’s help some people out.
Shayna Brookman: Yes. So, I used Helium 10.
Bradley Sutton: Now that wasn’t a mistake.
Shayna Brookman: No, no, no, it wasn’t. I love Helium 10. I use it every single day, all day, but it was beyond Helium 10, that mistake. But Helium 10 recommends you do giveaways and whatever. When I had run my ads and my coupons, I reserved my inventory, but not as much as I should have. And my ads, my coupons, actually went viral and were posted in some Facebook groups, and I lost a lot of my inventory because of that.
Bradley Sutton: Ah, so you didn’t set your max order quantity?
Shayna Brookman: No, I had a max order quantity of two, but the coupon updates every 30 minutes.
Bradley Sutton: Are you talking about the on-page coupon or was this a promotional?
Shayna Brookman: Promotional coupon.
Bradley Sutton: Ah, okay. Yes, yes. That’s a good point.
Shayna Brookman: You know how you can set a limit to how much you want to spend per coupon? But it only updates every 30 minutes. My coupon got posted in some kind of massive Facebook group and then it was taken advantage of and the coupon spend was going out of control, and Amazon couldn’t catch it in time because it updates every 30 minutes. So yeah, that was a big mistake, but I definitely learned from it.
Bradley Sutton: But were you able to get to page one of the keywords that you were trying to rank on?
Shayna Brookman: I was not because it kind of just fell off the map. At first, for a day or two, I was ranking, but it fell off the map. And I think that was because my conversion rate was off, and my listing wasn’t completely optimized.
Bradley Sutton: There’s another lesson you learned. You learned that “hey before I launch, I need to really make sure that my listing is optimized for whatever my target market is for a certain keyword.”
Shayna Brookman: Absolutely. Absolutely. Or else there’s no reason for the launch.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Let’s switch back now to it, to Michael. We were up to her first product, and the first product you had talked about, you know, or first major one at least on Amazon was those workout gloves. Now, this was still before you started using Helium 10.
Michael Lebhar: Yeah, this was way before Helium 10, so I don’t even know if Helium 10 was around then. Was It?
Bradley Sutton: Let’s see, 20 years old, you were 17 or 18 so this was 2015, 2016?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah, probably.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, probably. It was probably just starting. So, then how did you pick your keywords as far as what you were going to launch? Or did you launch for keywords or were you just going wide?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah. I kind of learned off trial and error. There wasn’t really any course in my time. I think ASM was around. I didn’t do that. I just really learned off trial and error, and I had a lot of errors. I had a lot of mess-ups in the beginning. Similar to Shayna with coupon codes, but I had those 90% coupon codes a lot of times, and I used to use a lot of those. I used to do tons of giveaways, and I don’t work on the Sabbath so sometimes, like on Saturday night I would turn on my phone. I went to my Amazon account one time, and I swiped up on my main account and it said 450 sales This is when I first started. I’m like, “What? That doesn’t make sense.” And what happened was one of the coupon codes, I must have put it somewhere, went viral also on one of these Facebook groups. I wasn’t even able to cancel most of the orders. So yeah, that was kind of bad. And that happened to me a few times. It wasn’t just once. I didn’t learn my lesson.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, my goodness. That’s a disgrace, Michael. You’re supposed to be a good example to everybody here. No, I’m just kidding.
Michael Lebhar: I learned a lot through my mentors, but a lot more through trial and error, so I had a lot of mess-ups. Well, I learned a lot from it, so it was cool. That’s the thing with Amazon, if you’re always involved in it and you really stay on top of your game, then you learn a lot of this stuff, and you could avoid a lot of these mistakes.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now let me just completely fast forward to the present time or 2018. Did you do seven figures on Amazon or what?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah. Seven figures.
Bradley Sutton: When you’re 19 years old, you were doing seven figures on Amazon.
Michael Lebhar: Yeah. The problem was though that it was seven figures on Amazon. I guess the lesson I could tell all the young listeners or people starting out is as long as you can keep your overhead low, keep it low. When I was making six figures from eBay it was so much simpler. Now, as soon as you start getting bigger you have a lot of overhead, and I’m not good at numbers and things like that. You have to be really on top of your numbers. You started to pile up on overhead, rent, employees payroll and, you know, advertising expenses and it just keeps on piling up and so you have to really be on top of your numbers and try to keep your overhead low while you can because there comes a time where it starts piling up.
Bradley Sutton: Crazy. Yeah, I could imagine. So how many employees do you have?
Michael Lebhar: So right now, I use mainly freelancers. I’m not a super big fan of freelancers. I think in-house employees are much more effective, but my brother really works all day, all night. He really is able to manage most of this stuff because I’m working on a new project. He really manages all that. And we have warehouse employees; most of our stuff goes straight to Amazon, so we just have a couple of people here packaging stuff out, shipping them in case we have extra inventory and things like that. A little bit from our website. We don’t want to do so much there anymore. And just a lot of freelancers. A couple of VAs; maybe even four VAs and then 10 to 15 different freelancers for different jobs.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, that’s good. That is definitely important once you get to that level to delegate, no matter what your age is. I’m assuming you finished high school, got your diploma, right?
Michael Lebhar: Yup.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And then did you just go right into working full time or did your parents try and pressure you to go to university or what’s up with that?
Michael Lebhar: I went one year of college and then, last year I was a little bit in Israel, but I was working most of the time at a WeWork office there, so I was working most of the time, and I was working I guess 10-hour days but still kind of in school at least 10-hour days besides for school. And then I recently, just the past few months, I have been full time working so I wake up early and go to sleep late.
Bradley Sutton: Crazy. Crazy. Yeah. I mean people like Gary V (Gary Vaynerchuk) says, “nowadays, parents are always pushing their kids to go to university and pay.” If you’re doing that, okay. But how many people are out there—they’ve got a four-year degree working at McDonald’s. I mean, if you’ve got a way to make money and college is holding you back, don’t feel peer pressure to please family members.
Shayna Brookman: I absolutely agree.
Bradley Sutton: I’m not trying to hate on Shayna who’s obviously still going to school.
Shayna Brookman: No, I completely agree with you. The school was kind of my plan B right now. If Amazon works out for me and school is holding me back, I’ll go full time on Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, if all of a sudden, you’re doing six and seven figures Shayna and then what’s holding you back though for your growth is “hey, you have to put in 30 hours of schoolwork and homework a week.” Then, to me it’s a no brainer, but I know there are other people who don’t feel that way, and I don’t want to try and alienate them, but I just want people to open their minds up here where we have an example of someone—Michael —where school probably was holding him back, and because he is positive for now; he’s doing seven figures on Amazon. Now you talked about profit margin, Michael. Are you able to make money though still despite your overhead? Have you found that balance?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah. I made money just once and like there could be like I’m, I’m a very risky I guess impulsive, a little bit caught. Some people call me young and stupid so I’ll do like really risky things sometimes which could up backfiring on me but sometimes I work out. I do like really aggressive launches. We go into a kind of like really risky categories, products and you know, sometimes it bites me, but I like it. It’s fun, it keeps this thing keeps his game interesting. But like a little bit on the point you were saying before, it’s like college teaches you a lot of like, I guess, you know, professional, it’s professional skills and things that you might not get as much on Amazon, but Amazon really besides that, okay, you make money, you could do a lot with that money. Like there’s so much stuff I learned from Amazon, like in terms of delegation, but like, you know, I’m building my credit.
Michael Lebhar: You build, you, you learn like you learn how to, it’s just not just Amazon, you learn social media marketing, you learn, you learn, you learn all different types of ads, how to run, you know, how to build a brand, you know, or how to source product. There are so many different things you learn and so many different connections you make along the way. And it could really, even if you start on Amazon, you know, it depends on your style, but you could end up doing so many different types of things with it.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So, speaking of launches, you said you have some aggressive launch strategy. I know you’ve launched at least one or two products this year. What’s your current launch strategy that’s working?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah, so I’ve launched a lot of products so far this year. I think we’re probably over 10 or 15, but the best strategy that has been working, it started becoming really popular recently. I started I think a little bit before it came really popular. I’m running Facebook ads for full price buys and having them Search, Find, Buy, so people are probably seeing this online; there are videos on YouTube on how to do it. It all depends. You could have different flows, better flows, but basically running a Facebook ad, asking people if they want this product free, you send them to Facebook Messenger. And in Facebook Messenger, you tell them that they buy it. Once they buy it, they have to upload a screenshot and send their PayPal. We send them the money and we ask them that there’s this specific keyword to go on Amazon to buy rather than using a super URL or supreme URL or any of that stuff.
Bradley Sutton: So how do you get your product through because to be able to search for it, you’ve got to be showing in the search results, especially for competitive keywords. You’re not right off the bat in the first seven pages. So how do you initially even start getting your products so that it is searchable?
Michael Lebhar: What I do is this.
Bradley Sutton: I hear Shayna – taking down notes.
Michael Lebhar: What I do is I run really aggressive PPC, so it shows up on the first page for that specific keyword. And then for the first couple of days, usually they’ll find it on the first page through PPC, and then they’ll click that and buy it. And then, after it gets on the bottom of the first page, I’ll turn off the PPC, and I’ll tell them in Facebook Messenger that it’s on the bottom of the first page. But I have used the supreme URL asking them to—what’s it called, for the first few days until it starts getting ranked and then just ask them to Search, Find, Buy. I don’t like supreme URLs a little because of the ref and Amazon knows where the traffic’s coming from. So, for example, let’s say you have a lot of traffic coming from Facebook and all your traffic from Facebook is basically converting and the traffic coming from Amazon isn’t converting as well. I’ve heard a lot of times that Amazon could take notice of that because Amazon pays a lot of attention to the ref and your URL. And if you’re converting a hundred percent through Facebook and 10% or 20% through Amazon, the it looks a little sketchy.
Bradley Sutton: Let me ask you a question now. Basically, the kind of method you are talking about in this Search, Find, Buy is what a lot of people refer to as full-price buy or rebates or something that. Now, there’s nothing specific necessarily about that in the Amazon terms of service, but what do you say to those people who reference that part of the terms of service about, I forgot what it says, it’s not incentivizing, but something where you’re paying them to buy your product because some people’s interpretation of that part of the TOS—I mean you’re not technically paying somebody to buy your product, but then if you’re giving them money later for it—they say that “hey, that technically sounds like exactly what Amazon is forbidding.”
Michael Lebhar: Yeah. So, it’s funny, I had a half-hour conversation with KC from Viral Launch at prosper. And he showed me that he thinks that it is included. And I asked him why doesn’t he do any rebates? And he told me because he thinks that part in the terms of service means it says that you can’t do it and it’s against terms of service. Honestly, I think if you’re doing a Search, Find, Buy, it’s do it at your own risk. If it is against terms of service, it’s really hard for you to get caught.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And you’ve never had any issues doing it?
Michael Lebhar: I never had one single performance notification on my account.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Let’s switch back to Shayna now, so you started four months ago, your first product. Have you launched any additional products or you’re still rolling with that first one?
Shayna Brookman: I have not. I’m kind of more on the cautious side unlike Michael, but I want it to launch more very soon.
Bradley Sutton: Opposites attract. Okay. Continue. Continue.
Shayna Brookman: But I do want to launch variations fairly soon. I’m looking into being able to develop products for that because my current product is good. It’s just, I think it can be improved on its design.
Bradley Sutton: What’s your sales like?
Shayna Brookman: I’m doing about $5000 a month right now.
Bradley Sutton: Wow, on your first product. That’s pretty impressive.
Shayna Brookman: Yeah, it’s also my first four months. So, I’ve been trying to figure out the launch because I did have such a big mess in the beginning with that coupon. So now, that was great advice Michael, thank you so much because I’ve been hovering position 40, the bottom of the first page, for seven keywords for a while now and I don’t know how to get myself out of it and how to push myself to the top. So that might be a good method—Search, Find, Buy. Love that.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Yeah, Michael could definitely help you out with that. In my other episode, I was going to do a follow up with ones of those new sellers I had said I had done. So maybe we can do a follow-up later with you and see how Michael helped you with that. Now, what’s your kind of plans for the rest of the year? I mean, are you already searching for a second product or are you just going to build this one?
Shayna Brookman: Actually, I kind of want to stay in the same niche that I’m in right now. I actually really it. I think I’m just going to do different variations—the kind of products I have, I’m in stationary, so I can do it in multiple different ways, different styles, different colors different this and that, so there’s a lot of ways that I can go and the more that I’m in the niche, the more I’m learning about what kind of designs people specifically like.
Bradley Sutton: What niche, you don’t have to tell me this specific product. Are you in health, beauty, or what?
Shayna Brookman: Yeah, I’m into office products, and I do stationery, paper products.
Bradley Sutton: Ah, okay. Stationary. Do you do any of that, Michael? Any uh, office products?
Michael Lebhar: No, no. I used to do a lot of random stuff. I stay very strictly in fitness, home and kitchen, and a little bit of medical.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And now what’s your advice though about as far as variations – expanding a current product? Or do you think it’s better to just try and do a complimentary product as a standalone listing? What advice can you give?
Michael Lebhar: Okay, so I’ve been through this a lot. A lot of my listings have 10-15 variations. One of my listings has 46 variations, and I think it ruins my conversion. I’m going to try cutting out a lot of those. In the beginning, I was into adding on variations really depends on the product and the category. Sometimes that is a way to stay ahead of your competition and differentiate, but if you don’t need it to differentiate, I like just adding on new products. It’s more work, but I think it’s worth it.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Now, Shayna, you said you were using Helium 10. How do you use Helium 10?
Shayna Brookman: I use it every day. I use the keyword tracker, and I also use Cerebro. I think it’s called Cerebro, I’m not sure
Bradley Sutton: To check on your competitors, what they’re doing, or your listings?
Shayna Brookman: I believe so. There’s one other tab, I forgot the name of it, but I actually use it to build my listing. I use it for keywords.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Scribbles, maybe?
Shayna Brookman: Yes, yes, yes.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. How about you Michael? You’re using Helium 10 as well, right?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah, I love Helium 10. I’ve tried every single tool. I’ve been through a lot of them. I don’t really do my listings myself, so I don’t use a lot of those tools, but I really, like Cerebro. I do a lot of competitive analysis and things like that. I like seeing where a lot of these people’s traffic is coming from and where their sales are coming from, what they’re ranking for. Seeing those open opportunities with Cerebro really helped me. So around two months ago, I was doing a lot of launches at the same time and it was really easy. I would download all the data, have them all on all my screens, all the excel sheets of where everybody’s ranked, where all my competitors are ranking, what keywords they’re ranking for. And it really helped me make a good strategy for my launch. I don’t just randomly decide “let’s launch this” and do a giveaway. I create a full strategy. I write it out on a doc, exactly the whole process for the next three, four weeks, what it’s going to look like. And Cerebro really helps me do that. And then after that, keyword tracker is extremely useful to really see where my products are ranked and what the competitors are doing; I kind of like the new features you add; the keyword tracker too.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So now what’s your rest of 2019 looking like in the future? What’s that hold for Michael and what’s your brother’s name?
Michael Lebhar: Shlomo.
Bradley Sutton: What’s the future hold for the Michael and Shlomo Corporation here?
Michael Lebhar: I honestly like the three main brands I’m working on. My brother’s really putting a lot of focus and working on those and managing those. I’m working on a new project that’s still I guess the top-secret. We’ll see. I’m kind of getting a little more into the e-commerce space, off of Amazon a little bit is what I’m trying to do, and my brother’s really doing a good job at managing our Amazon accounts, growing, doing some new launches. I’ve got Pan European for three of my accounts, so we’re going to be doing a lot of that too. I think Pan-European is a really good option, especially now Amazon has a promotion if you get accepted to it that they cover all your Pan European signup fees, all the VAT registration, all those things. I got it for two of my accounts, and I think it saves you 7,000 euro or something like that. I think that’s going to bring a lot of extra sales, working on a few new products, and yeah, I think there’s a lot this year just because I’m working—no school—working all day. There’s a lot of time.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Shayna, if there’s somebody out there who might be listening who is in a similar boat as you—maybe they’re in university or college, I keep saying university because I interview so many Canadians, Europeans, and Asians, and that’s what they call it. Here in America, we say college, but I don’t know why I sound European, and we’ll say, “Are you’re doing to university, Shayna?” But anyways, for somebody going to college here in the states or university in Europe, what advice would you give them if they’re maybe where you were last year?
Shayna Brookman: I think the whole process seems a little bit intimidating at the very beginning, but I don’t have any prior business knowledge at all. I want people to put themselves in our shoes; Michael and my shoes. We learned how to write a check not so long ago. As Michael was talking about earlier, we opened up a credit card not so long ago. I think this business is something that’s really achievable for young people, and also the fact that we are so young, it really is the best time in your life to start something because at this moment in time we really have minimal financial responsibilities because I feel once people get out of university, it’s kind of a responsibility snowball effect. The next thing you know you have a mortgage and you have kids; you’ve got a wife or husband. It’s really hard to take things like this on, and it holds people back, I think. But if you study and you play the game right then it’ll do you well.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Michael, any advice? What if somebody is even younger listening? I don’t think we have many teenage listeners, but somebody who was in your shoes like you were three years ago or your brother was last year, they might think, “Hey, I’m 16, what can I do?” What advice do you have for them? I mean, what’re some realistic things that somebody in that situation could do?
Michael Lebhar: Yeah, so my thing is, again, not everybody might have the work ethic that I have or even my brother. I think that what’s important is that you just jump into it, and I promise no matter what, you’re going to learn a lot. Even if you don’t end up in Amazon full time, you might go on to something else or you go into business, I think you’ll fall in love with the business. But even if you don’t, you will for sure learn a ton of information. There’s just unlimited amount because you care about it; it’s your business. You have to really wear a ton of hats in the beginning and that enables you to learn so much. I could become an accountant. Now I could become a travel agent. Just from my credit cards, from traveling, I took 60 flights in the last year alone and it’s all just points I got from my Amazon PPC and some Facebook ads. You know, no matter what, you just learn so many different things and make so many different connections, and even if you’re not 100% sure about it, you just jump into it and you’ll learn a lot. Don’t go for a crazy risky product in the beginning. Just launch a product that’s not competitive and just learn a lot from it. Learn how to run your account, learn how to run some ads, learn how to do some launches, get a better idea of the problems that are going to come up. And I guarantee you are going to love it. If you don’t, then you’ll still learn a ton from it.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Now a very important question, Shayna. Are you single? Michael are you single?
Michael Lebhar: I’m married to Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Married to Amazon, all right. How do you guys feel about long-distance relationships? What’s the word you guys taught me when I was joking with you? What’s the matchmaker word in Hebrew you guys taught me?
Shayna Brookman: Shadchan.
Bradley Sutton: That’s going to be my middle name here, but that would be so cool guys. For those of you don’t know, I used to be a Zumba fitness instructor and one of my good friends, now, his name is Hugo, and I did a masterclass with him and one of my students, her name was Nicole and I invited Hugo from Mexico to do a masterclass with me and they met at that class. Fast forward five years later they’re married, have kids and Hugo is helping my family out with a photography business and whatnot.
Bradley Sutton: You never know. I am—say it again, the word.
Shayna Brookman: Shadchan.
Bradley Sutton: I am that. So never underestimate the Serious “Romantics” Podcast right here. But anyways guys. Maybe you guys haven’t met, but maybe we could all meet once you are 21. I’ll give you guys a drink. Not before then, but we’ll meet at the next conference. But I thank you guys for coming on here. We definitely want to follow up with you. You know maybe when you are 21, a year from now and see where you guys are at. Very excited to see the project, the super-secret project even I don’t know what that is that Michael is working on. I’d love to hear how Shayna has grown her brand, basically from zero, now 5,000 a month, but next year I’m positive that’s going to be even better than that.
Bradley Sutton: Thank you guys very much for coming on, and I wish you the most of success. How do I say . . . Yasher Koach, right? There we go.
Shayna Brookman: Awesome. Thank you for having us.
Bradley Sutton: So guys, if you’re young and you’re an aspiring entrepreneur out there or wanting to sell on Amazon, you have some questions that you want to ask either Michael or Shayna, go ahead and creep on them like I did and like Shayna did on Facebook. You can look them up on Facebook and send them a message, and if they are able to see it and are able to help, they would be happy to help you.
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