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#443 – Influencer Marketing, Life After Exit, Selling Strategies, & More!

Video of the episode at the bottom

In episode #443 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, we welcome Tom Wang to share his valuable insights into successful influencer marketing campaigns, Amazon-selling strategies, and his effective health habits. Tom takes us through his Amazon selling journey, how he got started and how he exited his brand with a 7-figure pay day. He also talks about dealing with mental health issues and burnout after his exiting his brand, as well as his approach to getting back into the Amazon grind.
 
Tom provides advice on influencer marketing, emphasizing the role it plays in how it can blow up your sales and stories to back it up as well. He also shares his product research strategy, highlighting the importance of understanding keywords and looking beyond demand when evaluating a product.
 
Finally, Tom discusses his hobbies and healthy habits outside of work, as well as his FBA Masterclass 3.0 course. Make sure to tune in until the very end!

In episode 443 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Tom discuss:

  • 01:45 – Tom Wang’s Backstory
  • 06:38 – How Tom Got Started In Amazon FBA
  • 09:19 – His Amazon Selling Journey From Launch To Exit
  • 10:31 – “An Amazon Business Is One Of The Best Businesses…”
  • 11:53– More On His 7-Figure Amazon Exit
  • 13:40 – Dealing With Mental Health Issues, Stress, & Burnout
  • 18:14 – Getting Back Into The Amazon Grind
  • 20:35 – Influencer Marketing Strategy
  • 27:33 – Tom’s Product Research Strategy
  • 31:06– No Demand Doesn’t Mean A Bad Product
  • 34:36– You Need To Understand Your Keywords
  • 38:05– Tom’s Hobbies And Healthy Habits Outside The Amazon Grind
  • 41:51 – Talking About The FBA Masterclass 3.0 Course

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today we’ve got a seller who had a seven figure exit from his Amazon business, and he’s got a crazy story about influencer marketing strategies, how to have an entrepreneurial mindset, and also how to have a healthy mind and body. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.

Bradley Sutton:

Did you know that Amazon sometimes loses or damages some of your inventory? Usually they reimburse you for this, but sometimes they might miss things. That’s where Refund Genie comes in. What Helium Tends Refund Genie does is we go check out your reports and see if Amazon owes you any money, and then we give you the reports that you need to submit to Amazon so that you can get your money back. If you haven’t run this, you could have hundreds, if not thousands of dollars that Amazon might owe you, especially if you’ve never used this before and you sell a lot on Amazon. So to find out more information, go to h10.me/refundgenie. 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 a serious seller on here today, Tom. Tom, welcome to the show. I believe this is your first appearance on the show, right?

Tom:

Yeah, yeah, I think I was actually on the AMPM back in the day.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Yeah, yeah. That’s OG days. Who was the host at the time? Was it Manny? Was it Tim? Was Kevin?

Tom:

I think it was Matt. I think I had a conversation with Matt.

Bradley Sutton:

Oh, Matt. We’re going back in the day. I love it. I love it. All right. Well, since this is your first time on the show, I’d love to get like your, backstory. So I know you’re in Canada now, but is that where you were born and raised?

Tom:

No, I was born and raised in China. I came to Canada Okay. At the age of 10. So in 2001 with my parents, they decided to immigrate to Canada. And yeah, I was basically we lived in Vancouver. I’ve been in Vancouver for the past 21 years now.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Awesome. So did you go to university there or did you just graduate from high school and just go right into the job world? What was that like?

Tom:

Yeah. Funny story about that. So I was a really good student in China. In China, like education was everything. I, and I mean everything, right? Even at the age of six or seven, I remember going to school you know, summer vacations here, just as an example, as you’re a kid, there’s no homework, there’s no projects in China. You are actually bombarded with homework and projects. There’s no really a summer vacation. You maybe get the last week off if you’re lucky, if you finish everything on time. And I remember waking up really, really early. Go to school, stay there for the whole day, go to a tutor after, come back home, do more homework.

Bradley Sutton:

This is like elementary?

Tom:

Yeah. This is like, this is great. Like, this is seven year old. So I think I actually got, looking back in my life, I actually developed a lot of hard work ethic from that. I wasn’t scared to actually put in the work, do the hard work. So, but I came here, I did high school. I did okay. And then I went to university. I actually got kicked out of the first college that I went to. It’s called UVC. And the story behind that is because my grades were so low because my parents were super strict in high school. And then when I went to university, I could live on campus. And I just didn’t go to any classes. And I remember my grades were so low that the counselor is like, Hey, you actually can’t even continue on for the next semester.

Bradley Sutton:

I bet your parents were, were really thrilled with that.

Tom:

Yeah. That was a very interesting conversation. And went to another college. I got kicked out of there. I went to the third college. I got kicked, kicked out of there as well. And all due to the same reasons, and I honestly, like, I hated school, like the stuff that I was learning in school, I’m just like, what am I doing? Anyways, long story short, I finally graduated the fourth college that I went to because it was very practical. Like I remember for our English classes that were actually teaching us how to write cover letters and resumes for our finance classes that were teaching us, like, what is the PnL of a real business for marketing classes. We actually had to do a marketing case study on a real business. So a lot of things were very, very applicable to the real world, which I really, really enjoyed. And after that, I went into the job world, but I didn’t get my–

Bradley Sutton:

What was your degree in that?

Tom:

Sales and marketing.

Bradley Sutton:

All right. And so that was what you were looking for a job in then?

Tom:

Yeah, like sales, like account management. And then I got basically denied by like 15 different jobs, 50 different offers. Nobody wanted me, so up to this point, to be honest with you, I had a very, like, big a chip on my shoulder as for rightful reasons. I felt like my parents didn’t really approve of me. I felt like my friends all thought I was loser and for the rightful reasons too, right? Sure. But I’ve always like, believed in myself, and I don’t know where that belief comes from, because if a hundred people went through the same things that I went through. A lot of people would’ve taken a wrong, like a different path, you know? It would’ve been very easy to give up, but I always had that belief, and to this day, I still cannot explain to you where that belief came from.

Tom:

But having said that, I finally got a job at Yellow Pages selling, like advertising and yeah. Did really well there. I got a mentor, I learned everything about sales. I made like six figures after the first year of college. Wow. But I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. That’s like my life calling. My very first business was in grade three when my dad went to the us, brought back some like big pens, and then I sold them to my classmates because everything back then in China is like made in China stuff. Well, although big pens probably made in China too, but it’s like a US brand, you know? Yeah. Yeah. So that was like my first business, and I just remember like, feeling so rich and I was like, oh my God, I can like, sell stuff to people, without needing a job.

Tom:

I can set my own schedule, I can set my own freedom. So that’s really the first taste of entrepreneurship for me. And over the, you know, my teens, I’ve always had these site hustles selling stuff on like Craigslist and marketplaces and this and that. So first year of Yellow Pages I did well, but then I always wanted to start a business, and I accidentally came across Amazon FBA in 2015 or 16. Okay. When I was trying to sell Hoverboards online. And I couldn’t sell ’em. I just had a very, very hard time selling these hoverboards. And during that time, someone was like, Hey, I can sell these for you on Amazon. And for me, at the time, I was like, Amazon, like, isn’t that a place where people buy old textbooks from like, I didn’t know you can actually sell anything and everything on Amazon.

Tom:

So I watched them work, and the first day he sold three hoverboards. And that’s when I was like, whoa. Like, what is going on here? So that’s how I discovered Amazon. And then in 2017, January, me and my fiance, we launched our brand on Amazon called Sdara Skincare. And our first product was vitamin C Serum, earlier, you were talking about collagen peptides. I would say Vitamin C serum is right up there with collagen peptides in terms of competitiveness. But like, even in those days, it was competitive. Yeah. It was super com But here’s the funny story. So yes, it was competitive, but then during those days you can still buy reviews. It was perfectly legal. Yep. And I just thought, okay, well, I just need to buy a bunch of reviews, seems easy enough. And then literally, like the month before we were about to launch, Amazon was like, Hey, no more buy-in reviews.

Tom:

Yeah. So Mike Tyson says like, everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face. And we just had to like, figure it out, you know? I mean, first month they did like $8,000 in sales, which is like enough for me. I was like, wow, people are actually buying this. And then we launched the second product that just completely flopped. It was a silicon makeup sponge. It was such a fad. We were 2,500 units, and by the time we launched, the entire market just basically died. And then the third product, actually at that time, I wanted to give up. I didn’t want to continue on with Amazon anymore. And then my fiance is like, Hey, no, like, we learned a lot. Why don’t we try one more time? And that time I came across like Anthony Bui-Tran.

Tom:

He made like a YouTube video on called like Balls to the Wall spreadsheet, where he took a very, like, numbers accounting, data driven approach to Amazon. Like, if you order this many units, if you gave away this many things, this is your cost, this is your, like, and then at the end there’s a net profit. I was like, that’s like, wow. Like everything makes so much more sense now. So I would basically just, yeah, meet a lot of sellers, go to some conferences, watch YouTube videos, learn more from my Mistakes. We launched the third product, and then the rest was history

Bradley Sutton:

All right. So fast Forward. I believe you exited that brand, right? .

Tom:

Correct. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

We so tell me about the progression there. Like, you know, you went to ex sales the first year or second year, and then, and then how did you start? When at what point did you decide like, Hey, let me see if I can exit this brand?

Tom:

Yeah. So first year we did like a hundred thousand dollars in sales, probably lost money. Second year we did 1.8 million. And then, sorry, one point, something like that. 1.6, 1.8, and then 3.2, and then four or something. And then we basically sold the brand at the end of December, 2020. Yeah. December, 2020 is when we sold the brand.

Bradley Sutton:

That was in one of the, some of the early you know, people that wasn’t selling brands wasn’t all the rage in 2020. So you’re maybe you’re kind of like a pioneer in that.

Tom:

Yeah, I would say it wasn’t all the rage yet, but there was definitely starting to have a lot of aggregators coming online. I would say we didn’t time it perfectly. Six months later, eight months later, if we sold outta the peak, we probably would’ve made some more money. But never a day goes by where I regret selling the brand. Not because I don’t love Amazon businesses. I actually have my hands in a few businesses, and I would say from my personal experience, Amazon business is one of the best businesses you can start for anybody offers you location freedom, time freedom. You can run a 10 million brand with like 5 VAs. You can travel the world, you can work from anywhere you want. It’s an awesome, awesome business. And one of the reasons why I launched the brand is because, sorry, I sold the brand is because, I always thought of kind of like business, like it’s a little bit of gambling because, you know, there are a lot of things that’s outta your control. And I just felt like if we were to sell the brand, it would be life changing money for us, and we can just pocket that money. It’s like going to the casino with $10 and you are up like $10,000. Like, shouldn’t you like take some money out and like walk away? You know what I mean?

Bradley Sutton:

Makes sense. Hey, cuz now I know you’re back in the game as far as, you know, doing a lot of coaching again and have some cool courses. So we’re gonna talk some strategy in a little bit, but I want, I wanna pause a little bit and talk about this exit. Like, I don’t know if you’re able to say like a approximately how much you know, what was did the, did the exit mean? Like, like what kind of money are we talking about here?

Tom:

Yeah, I can’t say about the money. It was seven figures.

Bradley Sutton:

Seven figures. That’s enough information I need. So seven figures. You know, somebody who’s been, you know, struggling early on, didn’t make even make money the, the first couple years and doesn’t sound like you, you were like extremely you know, wealthy throughout your life. Getting all of a sudden, seven figures. What did that mean to you and how did that change your life?

Tom:

Yeah, so yeah, it’s been a very interesting past couple years, I would say. It’s definitely one of those things where, how should I say this? I think there are, there, there’s so many things I can say about this subject, but I would just say that as human beings, we get used to things very quickly. So I’m sure that all of you that are listening right now, you’ve had some sort of accomplishment in your life, whether that’s a raise or you hit a goal or something that you are just like, man, one day when I do this, my life is gonna be perfect or whatever. And in my case was, Hey, one day when I become financially free, everything’s gonna be perfect. And I would say my life has, my life quality has definitely improved a lot. I would say that money is no longer a constraint when it comes to anything.

Tom:

I would say that it has given me access to a lot of really cool things like coaching and events and trips and experiences and you know, X, Y, and Z helping others, all these different things. So that’s been great. But I will say that money solves money related problems. It doesn’t really solve non-money related problems. And I think in life there are a lot of non-money related problems that people need to solve. For example health, right? I got really burned out to be honest with you. Right after I sold my business a few months later, I got terribly sick. I’ve never been that sick. And I actually still, you know, two years down the road, almost three, I’m still feeling the side effects from that.

Bradley Sutton:

What do you mean by burnt outlet? Like, was it you were having to work so hard, building it up towards the end and then getting ready for the exit that you just kind of like burnt yourself out because of that? Or was it something?

Tom:

Yeah, I think it was a cumulative of many things. I think stress. Stress is a silent killer, I don’t think a lot of people actually understand this, but stress is actually a silent killer. I had a concussion then I had covid toys, I had the original strain. It was just a lot. And I used work to actually distract myself from listening to my body. My arm was hurting, my neck was hurting, my back was hurting. Like everything, my body was giving me a lot of signs, and I would just park my in front of the computer every single morning and do work. I didn’t go to a physio, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that. I didn’t take the time to slow down to take care of my body. And looking back, my body was giving me a lot of signals that I just took.

Tom:

I was like, whatever. I’m young, I’m healthy. Like, nothing’s gonna happen to me. So, you know, health is something that you cannot buy. I tried, I sold my business. I have all the money in the world, and I went out to the Toronto, I went out to, you know, the states. I saw the best neurologists and doctors, and honestly, no one could tell what’s wrong with me. Like, there was not really a definitive answer. And that actually made me more anxious. So yeah, I had a lot of like, kind of anxiety built up from that. It was,

Bradley Sutton:

Didn’t you say, I mean, just to give people some context as to how serious this went. I remember hearing you talk at one event where didn’t you say like, you wouldn’t even get outta bed for like Yeah. Like days or something crazy like that, or,

Tom:

Yeah. I was so down on myself because you have to understand, like as entrepreneur, I have a very type A personality. I think a lot of listeners can relate to this, and that’s why you’re listening to this podcast, and for any problems in my life, I feel like I can solve. And this is the only problem in my life that I cannot resolve. Doesn’t matter how much resources and money I can spin on this. You know, if my business, my Amazon listening goes down, yeah, I can resolve that. I can hire the best lawyer and whatever, I can resolve that. But in this case, it just wasn’t working. And that’s kind of when I learned how to surrender, because after a year of trying I got into a really, really dark place where I couldn’t work. I couldn’t go to a restaurant, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t see my friends.

Tom:

I couldn’t go to the gym. I couldn’t, all the things that I took for granted I could not do. And a lot of it was mentally it was a mental thing. But having said that, the day that I started getting better was actually the day that I surrendered. The day that I said, you know what? I don’t know what this is. I don’t need to know what this is. I’m just gonna trust that whatever this is, hopefully one day I can get better, but if I don’t screw it, like if this is the rest of my life, so be it. And that’s actually the day that I started getting better which is interesting. So still, you know yeah, man,

Bradley Sutton:

That, that’s a good point that what you said about five minutes ago was like, Hey guys, money can solve money problems. You know, you’re in debt, you get, you get a seven figure payday, that debt is solved, you know, but don’t always look to money to solve non-money things like, you know. Yeah.

Tom:

Let’s say you have, you know, a wife and kids and you don’t spend time with ’em. Do you think your kid will love you more if you just give them like, oh, like Daddy will buy you a new car. It doesn’t work that way. Right. There’s a lot of really, really rich people in the world where, you know, yeah, they had five exits, but they also had five divorces, you know? Sure, sure. And their kids don’t talk to them. And I don’t want to be that person because I think to me life, we’re all just trying to play this game, and honestly, like, we’re all just trying to do the best we can. And I, I, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t think none of us have really figured out this life, this game of life, and we’re all just trying to do the best we can. I truly believe that. But I would say before I just thought money was the piece of puzzle that was missing. And once that piece of puzzle has been basically placed I realized there was actually a lot of other missing pieces of the puzzle that I neglected for a long time. And in order for the puzzle to be complete, you actually have to focus on all the other things outside of money as well.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Yeah. All right. We’re gonna get back to a little bit of the mental health thing and what kind of like hobbies and stuff that you’re doing now to deal with that. But let’s go back to Amazon for a second. So you exited in 2020. Now, at any time in the last three years were, did you get that itch where it’s like you were getting like, withdrawal symptoms from being in the Amazon world? Or how did that go for you?

Tom:

I wouldn’t say I got the itch. I would say that no, didn’t really get the itch. I was selling a skincare product line that I truly wasn’t too passionate about. However, the promise that I made to myself was, in order for me to get back into the game, I cannot just do it for the money anymore. There needs to be a greater purpose, and I would love to actually create something that doesn’t exist. And funny enough that you asked me this question because just a few weeks ago, I had an idea that I think not, I think I know for a fact that is going to be an absolute game changer. I am right now in the idea doesn’t exist. It’s an improvement, I’m happy to share the brand with people once it’s launched.

Tom:

I just can’t talk about it right now. But it’s in the pet space and I have a dog. I love him dearly, and I always wanted to create something for him because I think it’s so meaningful. And right now I’m in the process of actually like contacting engineering firms and stuff like that to actually try to create this product. So now the itch is back. This idea is something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about, and I actually think that’s always a great sign. It’s when you just can’t stop thinking about something.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Cool. Cool. Now let’s talk strategy. You’ve been through a lot, you’ve accomplished a lot. So, you know, you’re still, you know, in the community and you have a community of sellers, so you can still see what’s going on. Let’s talk about some some both on Amazon and off Amazon, you know, strategy. When I say off Amazon, it could be like accounting things or, or things that help you when you exit. But what are some tips that you can, you can share with our listeners that you think will, will help them either specific, Amazon, you know, it could be a PPC strategy, it could be keyword research, it could be life hacks. Let ‘s just see Tom’s best, best tips. Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you could start a podcast with a Tom’s best tips. There you go.

Tom:

Yeah, absolutely. So I think you know, something that worked really, really, really well for us was influencer marketing, because we had a beauty brand. You know, one day, I’ll tell you, tell you a funny story. So one day I woke up at that time, we’re doing about 10 k a day in sales, and then one day I woke up at like 8:00 AM and we are already at 7K in sales. So like, ohy hat’s kind of weird. Okay. and then by noon we are like 20 K in sales by the, by 4:00 PM we’re at $40,000 in sales. Wow. Now, let me ask you this, Bradley, if you are an Amazon seller who’s experiencing such a surge in sales, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Bradley Sutton:

Like, I would’ve thought that, you know, somebody posted something and it went viral or, or something like that, potentially,

Tom:

Right?

Bradley Sutton:

Or the opposite is that somebody’s doing something <laugh>. Exactly. Exactly. So somebody’s doing some black hattery on me. Exactly.

Tom:

Exactly. So that’s exactly what I thought. I’m like, oh my God, I’m stressing out. And I decided to message everybody. And, and the thing is, when I saw the buyer report, it seemed very, very organic. It wasn’t like to the same address or same names or anything like, it seemed very organic. So I decided to email a hundred people, and three people got back to me and I’d say, Hey, like, where’d you find our product? And they said, oh, I saw it on this influencer Instagram. I was like, okay, interesting. So I went on this influencer’s Instagram, I didn’t see any posts about us, but then I went on her story. And exactly like eight hours ago when the sales started surging, she posed a story about our product. And that one story generated about $35,000 in sales.

Tom:

Wow. $30,000 in sales. And I was like, holy crap. So I messaged her, right? And I say, Hey, like, we’re the owners of Ciara Skincare. Like, thank you so much for loving our product. First of all, like, you’ve driven a lot of sales for us. Thank you so much. Like, we bought her something nice and then we also sent her more products. We decided to cr try to nurture the relationship as much as we can. So from there on, we did two things that did that worked really well. First thing is we kept in touch with her. Basically, we tried to nurture the relationship, and we as actually ended up doing more promos with her, except this time we actually paid her quite a bit of money upfront, because we know that she’s proven. So that’s number one.

Tom:

Number two is we actually tapped into our network, because you have to understand all these influencers, they all have friends that are also influencers. Sure. So we tapped into that network, and her type of audience was like, stay at home moms like the Lululemon moms is what I like to call them. Right. All her stories is basically her selling something. It’s like, Hey girls, I saw this. Like, this is a great sale going on at Walmart. This is so cute. It’s 10 bucks. And that’s her thing. She just sells random things. And I guess women just love buying random things, you know? What’s interesting is that I thought because she sells a lot of things, she wouldn’t convert as well because she’s kind of salesy. But what I realized is actually quite the opposite, because she’s, everybody’s following her because of the stuff that she’s actually promoting.

Tom:

So we found like five and six of her friends who do the exact same thing in her network. And we basically created our own influencer team. And then that went so well. In fact, one of our products, it got like a BSR of eight in beauty one time. You know, like eight. That’s crazy. Right. So just every single time that something, you know, maybe bad happens if we got like, suspended by accident or whatever, like delisted what, whatever it might be or a black hat, someone tries to come in and like, get the best seller badge. We just hit up our influencers and it’s like a superpower basically. So I really believe that influencer marketing is such a powerful tactic. And nowadays, I really think that you need to create some sort of off of marketing strategy, right?

Tom:

Some sort of a off of Amazon strategy. And the reason why I would say influencer marketing works so well is because if you run Facebook ads, Instagram ads and stuff like that, it’s hard to make it work unless your product costs, I would say 50, 60, 70, $80 or above, right? If you’re selling like a 15, 20, $30 product after all the costs and stuff, you’re not gonna have much margin left with whereas with influencers it’s much more, it, it’s much better in that sense. And one of the tips I can give to everybody about influencers is that never, ever pay an influencer upfront. So you contact an influencer and they’re like, oh, give us 500 bucks a post. Like always say no, because it’s just way too risky. You have no idea if this person’s gonna convert or not. So what we like to do is we like to just like gift, we just like to give a bunch of like free products away to these influencers. We have a tracker. When do we give them, did they receive it, follow up. Did they like it? If they liked it, did they post about it? If they post about it, did we see a sale in increase in sales? If we saw a increase in sales, that’s when we actually formed some sort of a partnership. So I’m a big fan of influencer marketing and yeah, that’s like one tip that I will give to everybody.

Bradley Sutton:

Yeah. Let me second that guys. So the same thing happened to me. This is even before I, way before I work at Helium 10, I think, I don’t even think this was Amazon. I think we were selling on eBay at the time. Some phone cases. And I’ve told this story before, maybe, maybe, maybe on this podcast, maybe, I don’t know. But we, we had a, the supplier messed up. We, we asked for those transparent phone cases. I don’t know, it was probably for iPhone six. Don’t know how long ago it was. But it was transparent, but it was like gl they, they infused a lot of glitter into it. And, and this, the transparent one was kind of unisex, like, doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or, or, or, or gal. Everybody loved the transparent, you know, iPhone cases.

Bradley Sutton:

And they were like, dude, what the heck is this? This is like, only now we can only sell this to women, right? Like, like all this glitter, and this is so, so ugly. We’re just like, you know, or let’s just, you know, put these 500 units on on eBay and hopefully we’ll sell through and we would sell like one a day. And then one day we woke up and it was like almost our entire stock went out, and I did the exact same thing as you. I was like, what in the world happened? Let me start emailing these customers. What happened? And sure enough, somebody said, oh, yeah, is we follow this one YouTube channel. And she did a what’s on my iPhone video, and it was about like what app she used, but then she was showing her iPhone. She said, oh yeah, here’s the case. And I got this from this seller on eBay, and everybody just organically found our product, and they just all bought it. And then, you know, now that became one of our top sellers, you know, going forward. And sure enough, we did you know, promotion with her. So guys that, that absolutely, a hundred percent, you know, works to do that. Influencer marketing, those are some great tips. What else you got for us?

Tom:

Ooh, what else do I have? This is gonna sound really generic, but like, man, you gotta, you, you just gotta have a really good product, especially nowadays. I think the, the issue with a lot of Amazon sellers is we punch in some criteria. We see a product and we just try to sell that product. I really think that you, you, you just have to solve a problem. You gotta have that wealth factor. You gotta understand the market. And that’s why I recommend everybody to launch something that, you know, and you are passionate about. Obviously it needs to have demand and these things, but if, you know a market, for example, I just got into golf, right? So I know what products are trending in golf. I know what problems golfers have. I know what I need as a golfer.

Tom:

So how I think about product research now is I actually don’t use a lot of tools. I use the tools to validate if there’s demand and competition and stuff like that. But what I’d like to do is I like to see what’s a problem in a marketplace that has not been solved, or if I can do a better job and I actually don’t even care about the reviews that all that much anymore, right? Now, having said that, this is my theory, I don’t, guys, you have to understand I’m launching this new brand and this is a super competitive market in a super competitive edge, but my product and my product’s going to be literally 15 times more cost when it comes to like, people are selling this for 10, I might sell my for 200. Okay. But it’s revolutionizing, it’s something that doesn’t exist and it’s something that’s much needed.

Tom:

So, and on page one, if you a Helium 10 analyze, I’m sure the average review is probably like five. But I really believe that I’m able to actually penetrate this market because my differentiation factor is so much. Yeah. So I think honestly like there’s some stuff that’s just like the basics, right? And something that’s been just going on forever. Like, you gotta have a good title, you gotta have good images, you gotta have sure. Like all that is just so it’s a given now. Like if you wanna sell on Amazon, you, it’s not even a discussion anymore. Like, don’t sell on Amazon if you can’t even do that, right? So I don’t want to talk about that, but what I do wanna talk about is at the foundation, at the core of everything, you know, that’s another thing is about Amazon.

Tom:

As Amazon folks, and I was one of them is there’s a lot of hacks and tricks in Amazon, but the problem with those hacks and tricks is that they only stick around for a little while before the marketers ruin it, or Amazon close to the loophole. I mean, Bradley, how many super URLs hasn’t has been there, like over the past three, four years, like every month something changes. So I just think that those things change. Everybody knows about it, but what you really want to know, what you really wanna do, like what Warren Buffet says, right? Is have that molt right. Have something that other people cannot just come into your castle and start attacking you.

Bradley Sutton:

Tell me about doing that with one of your, I mean, obviously next year we’ll talk about your pet product. And what you did there. But, but one of, I’m sure you, you followed this process with one, if not all of your, your beauty products where it was competitive. So like, tell me the process, like, was it a matter of, of every single one had something that was really differentiating? Did, did you reject a lot of samples and, and stuff like that? Tell me how, how you implemented what you just said in your old brand.

Tom:

Yeah. I would say that we did a decent job. We definitely didn’t do a great job just because skincare is so, so, so competitive. But we did listen to our customers. That’s one thing that we did really well. And for some of the products they’re like, Hey, we want this. We’re like, Hey, let’s just create something for our customers. Actually a interesting story I wanna share with all the listeners as well is, you know, Bradley, this is something interesting for you as well, is just because the product doesn’t have demand right now, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad product. I’ll give you a perfect example. In 2017 or 18, I forget when it was we landed on a product called Acne Patches. Okay. They’re huge in South Korea. Like South Korea Beauty skincare, it was from South Korea at that time. We went on Amazon, I remember doing this. We went on Amazon, I typed in acne patches, like 3000 searches per month. All the all BSR all super high. Everybody’s like, kind of like South Korean type of like looking type of acne patches. And we basically said, you know what? Like, there’s not enough demand on Amazon. Okay.

Tom:

Recently, I think earlier last year, there is a brand called Hero Cosmetics. Their product right now is I think number one in Under Beauty. And their number one under beauty, it’s called Acne patches. So what they did was they got into the acne patch game on Amazon and they rode the wave up. They created that demand, and they caught that wave. And they actually recently sold for I believe 600 million dollars, 600 million dollars guys. Started on Amazon with one SKU. And that SKU, I had it in my freaking hands, dude. I had it in my hands, man. I remember going on Amazon. I was like, nah. Like I don’t think this is it. I was just like, the demand wasn’t there. So something that you guys can take away is just because something’s not there right now, trends are always hard to predict, right? We don’t have a magic ball. Sure, we can see the future, but if you truly believe in this product and you believe that this solves a problem and you’re willing to actually spend a little bit of money on education and you are someone of a savvy marketer, or you can work hard, I do believe that that could be something really, really interesting. And she didn’t have any competitors. She has no competition. And she built this giant business that was sold for $600 million. And yeah, that’s kind of crazy. So yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

Well, I mean the coffin shelf, you know, like what we do with the Project X, there was really wasn’t demand for that. And we saw that there could be demand cuz we saw it trending on like Pinterest and stuff. But now, If you look at the market I mean, somebody at the Prosper Show just came to me and says, Hey, I launched something like, almost as a piggyback to the coffin shelf industry, and, and I’m a seven figure seller now. Wow. And then you look at there, there’s like makeup coffin shelves now, which literally did not exist three years ago. Somebody had the idea to like, oh, they looked at our coffin shelf, like, hey, let’s make something similar, but for makeup. And, you know, they’re, they’re selling thousands of units a month. Yeah. And so yeah, you’re a hundred percent right. Like, like there’s no magic ball that definitely will guarantee you success. But don’t just think that something is not gonna be a home run just because the demand isn’t there yet.

Tom:

Yeah. Another quick tip I can get to everybody is you gotta understand keywords for your niche. Before you even launch a product. You have to understand, you have to do a super deep dive analysis on keywords. Because something that’s really interesting is one of our products was the microneedle derma roller. During that time, there was a lot, and here’s another mistake I made. Honestly, if I did these two things, Bradley, I probably could’ve sold my business for 10x more. But regardless these are good, great lessons. Sure. But one of the things is the Microderm roller is for women mostly who wants to basically, you know, roll on their skin and replenishes and it makes the skin looks plumber smoother, whatever. But somewhere along the line men started using them and they started realizing that it can actually grow their facial hair.

Tom:

So a lot of men have like patches of hair, it looks kind of weird and they want a beard, so they will actually buy this and they want to roll. So the key word, like Dermer roller for beard growth started gaining traction. And what we could have easily done rally is just make like our skincare brand was very feminine, but just make a masculine version. And we have the product, we have the sourcing, we have everything. We could have just made another variation of the same product we could have launched in like less than a month. We have everything just rebrand, different packaging. And now the number one spot for the beer roller is actually doing like six figures a month. So I would say you have to keep doing keyword research and yes.

Tom:

Here’s another thing for sellers that are actually, maybe you have a product on Amazon right now that is not doing so well. So here’s what I recommend. Do a keyword word research on your product. Take a look at if there’s any, what I call sub niches keywords. So for example you know, you can type in like people are selling, like there’s just an example, hoodies, but then some, but then there’s a keyword in there that says like, gray hoodies and it has like 5,000 searches per month, and no one is actually selling like gray hoodies. So you can easily position your product for that keyword. And that way whoever types in gray hoodies, right, they can see your product. And then you own the gray hoodies market within every product, every keyword word I look at as a market. So you can actually own a sub-market of that.

Tom:

It’s just a different positioning really. Yeah. So if one more example is if you sell, you know, if someone says, Tom, I wanna sell like spatulas, I’ll be like, dude, don’t sell spatulas. Okay. Like, just, don’t do it. They’re like, no, Tom, I’m gonna sell orange spatulas because on Amazon, no one is selling them in orange, but I did the keyword analysis and 3000 people per month are actually looking up orange spatulas. Like, all right, you got something there. Right? So you gotta do a deep dive on keywords and then reposition your product to a keyword that no one is really targeting, basically.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. Awesome. All right. Now switching back, you mentioned you’ve taken up golf. What else are you doing for keep your body healthy, your mind healthy physical health? Mental health I think is important. Yeah. And being able to take a step back from whatever entrepreneurship we’re we’re doing. What are some of the things that you’re doing to keep up with that?

Tom:

Yeah. Health wise I would say I get great night of sleep. I go to sleep at the same time, wake up at the same time. I had a aura ring for a long time where it tracks my sleep. I no longer wear it because I got into the routine and I have great night’s sleep, and I sauna about three to four times a week. They say if you are in a sauna that is at least 90 Celsius, which I think is like 140, 150, a hundred, maybe 80, I don’t even know if Fahrenheit. Yeah. It’s really, really hot. If you’re in there for at least four times a week and for at least 20 minutes per session, the chances of you dying from a cardiovascular disease reduces by 50%. So I need to do that.

Tom:

It’s just this, it’s just this like magic pill. Like, hey, if someone says, Hey, would you want to take this magic pill where it reduces your? Everybody will take it with no side effects, would you take it? Yeah, absolutely. So that’s sauna for me, and then I try to eat as clean as possible, but it’s always a little bit tough, tough when you go see your friends and whatever. Sure. so diet, I play golf probably three times a week right now. And what’s cool about golf is that you are just out walking, man, you are walking for four hours. Like, do you ever call your friends and be like, Hey, do you wanna go for a four hour walk? Like, no, you like, that friend will never talk to you again. But golf is like, you’re walking for four hours.

Tom:

I’m getting in 20,000 steps. I can’t really go to the gym right now, unfortunately, because whenever I do my neurological symptoms act up, I don’t know why. So, but I need to start kind of doing some physical exercises where it makes me sweat, but sauna makes me sweat. So those are the things I do for my physical health. And I do believe that physical health, like if you are struggling a little bit with mental health, I think the first thing you need to actually focus on is your physical health. They’re very very connected. So I would say that’s number one. And then number two is yeah, man, right now it’s funny because I’m going through this phase where I tell people like, Hey, I just feel like life is like this puzzle that we’re all trying to place together.

Tom:

And I feel like for me, I have placed a lot of puzzles, like a lot of things that people do want I, I was able to get right. A nice house, a wife and, you know friends and parents. Like, yeah, in the grand scheme of things, I am very, very grateful with where I am. And if I can take myself out and like look at myself from a third party perspective, I’m like, dude, your life is pretty, like, what are you complaining about? There’s nothing to complain. But for me internally, and this is something I need to work on, and I have like coaches that can help me to get through this because I do think it’s a little bit strange, to be honest with you, even when I’m saying this, it’s like, there are a couple pieces that’s still missing and I’m not sure what those pieces are.

Tom:

But I think one of the things I need to do is just like living more in the presence. And also, you know doing what you do, man, like the fact that you go travel, like I feel like you’re in the Maldives like every other week, like every single time I open my Facebook, I’m like, oh, of course. Like Bradley is in Maldives. Yeah, I wanna do more traveling, man. Like, I think traveling is just different cultures, different, you know, senses, different food, different experiences. I think life would definitely need some uncertainty, right? We need certainty, but we also need uncertainty. And I think when you go travel, a lot of it is uncertain. Like the day that you get up, you actually don’t know what that day’s gonna look like right here, you know, I go to the same coffee shop, I play the same, like talk to the, the same people. So yeah, man, like you posting your stories have definitely inspired me to actually go out and travel a bit more, so. Awesome.

Bradley Sutton:

Alright. Well Tom you know, thank you so much for coming on here. Now, I know people might wanna reach out to you on their interweb, so how, how can they find you? And then also I think you have like a new course coming up to help sellers. So talk a little bit about that too. Yeah,

Tom:

So you can follow me on probably my Instagram, that’s where I post most often is @tom.com.ig. So ttom.com.ig. And then my course, yeah, I’ve just been, you know, doing FBA Masterclass, which is my course for the past like four or five years now. And we just launched a version 3.0 with actually Adam Heist. So Adam is now part of FBA masterclass. So super stoked about that partnership. And yeah, I mean, you got me who sold my business for seven figures. Adam sold his business for seven figures, and Adam is now repeating the same process. He’s launching a new brand. I’m gonna be launching a new brand. So we’re, I would say at, you know, we’re, there’s so many ways to do Amazon, and I’m not saying I’m the best Amazon seller, I’m sure there’s sure a lot of other people that are much better than me with bigger businesses, but for me it’s always been about sharing what’s working for me and what’s not. So yeah, that’s a little bit about our course. You can check it out at master fba.com. But yeah, other than that, thank you so much. You know, you’ve been a very prominent figure in the Amazon community and yeah, we are, we all appreciate what you do as well. Like,

Bradley Sutton:

Well, Tom I look forward to next year having you back on and let’s talk about this like groundbreaking product that you have in development. Would love to hear about it.

Tom:

Absolutely. Thank you so much.


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