Serious Sellers Podcast

Episode 60 – How to Leverage Group Power to Scale from Bootstrap Business to Success

Melissa Simonson tells the story of being down to her last $30, the power for her house having already been turned off. It doesn’t take much imagination to consider that she might have appreciated a group of supportive, entrepreneurial people to help her through a difficult time.  

In today’s episode of the Serious Seller’s Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton speaks with Melissa about how she helped make possible a supportive network just like that with the founding of Empowery, a non-profit bootstrapped business, and the first co-op focused on eCommerce. 

It’s not an Amazon Facebook group, affiliate program or course, and according to Melissa it’s doesn’t even try to be the same thing to everyone.  Empowery was founded as a way to leverage the power of many so that the small seller could reap big benefits.

As Amazon sellers, many of you are familiar with the idea of a bootstrapped business. Starting an eCommerce business with little or no money and using sweat equity, careful spending and an intelligent software platform such as Helium 10 allow Amazon sellers to scale their businesses quickly and find success.  

Empowery members benefit from access to a network of successful eCommerce business owners on whose expertise they can rely to help them with business-related problems. In return, their knowledge and experience add valuable authority to the group.

As all of you know, a non-profit business model is the antithesis of life on Amazon. The way that we keep score and relate to one another has a great deal to do with money. We want profit, and lots of it.  How does this model work for her, for Empowery and ultimately for Amazon sellers?

As Melissa sees it, it’s reminiscent of the way an Amazon Mastermind group works. By removing money from the equation, it encourages the formation of trust and allows sellers to really begin to learn from each other. 

In addition to discounts, perks, and special offers exclusively available to the membership, 51% of the profits that are generated through strategic partnerships with eCommerce-centric service providers are redistributed to the co-op members in the form of a cash-back program.  

This allows the non-profit to remain economically viable and at the same time, offer great benefit to its members. 

But, let’s go back to Melissa’s beginnings.  

At what she refers to as her low point, newly pregnant and unable to get a job due to an employer’s reluctance to hire a pregnant employee with what they considered a “handicap”, she took her last 30 dollars, bought cleaning supplies and put an add up on Craigslist. 

This is bootstrapping on a cellular level.  

An enthusiastic on-line learner, Melissa says she simply couldn’t believe that all this great information was in large part, available for free on the internet.  She says she consumed it “like candy.” 

Now, as part of a family of Amazon sellers, she depends on Helium 10 for her keyword research and loves the tools.

As far as her secret to eCommerce success in the often crowded niches on Amazon she says, “come up with a great idea, do it better than those around you, and you’ll always find space.”

In episode 60 of the Serious Sellers Podcast Bradley and Melissa discuss:

  • 01:07 – It’s not Facebook, What Exactly is Empowery?
  • 02:00 – Non-Profit Benefits and Amazon’s Profit Oriented Business Model
  • 03:40 – Keeping a Non-profit Economically Viable
  • 04:58 – Guided by an Empathetic Nature  
  • 06:22 – Snacking on On-Line Tutorials Like Candy
  • 07:30 – No Power and $30 in the Bank, Melissa Rolls Up Her Sleeves  
  • 09:35 – Words of Motivation for Fellow Female Entrepreneurs  
  • 10:52 – Amazon Can’t Tell if a Seller is Male or Female  
  • 12:20 – Melissa’s Takeaways from the Last Helium 10 Elite Workshop  
  • 14:00 – She’s Now Part of a Company Selling on Amazon that’s Ready to Launch
  • 14:50 – Job One is Keyword Research
  • 16:47 – Innovate and Do It Well in Order to Succeed on Amazon  
  • 18:05 – What can Empowery Offer an Amazon Seller?
  • 20:00 – The Cash-Back Program Makes Co-Op Membership a Money-Maker
  • 23:05 – Here’s How to Reach Out to Melissa

Enjoy this episode? If you found this episode helpful, be sure to check out our previous episodes for more insights to become a successful Amazon FBA Seller! Don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on Google Play Music!

Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon and make more money? Follow these steps and access these other helpful resources to get started:

  • Get the Ultimate Resource Guide from Manny Coats for tools and services that help successful Amazon sellers dominate on Amazon!
  • New to Selling on Amazon? Freedom Ticket offers the best tips, tricks, and strategies for beginners just starting out! Sign up for Freedom Ticket.
  • Trying to Find a New Product? Get the most powerful Amazon product research tool in Black Box, available only at Helium 10! Start researching with Black Box.
  • Want to Verify Your Product Idea? Use Xray in our Chrome extension to validate how lucrative your next product idea can be with over a dozen metrics of data! Download the Helium 10 Chrome Extension.
  • The Ultimate Software Tool Suite for Amazon Sellers! Get more affordable Helium 10 tools that can help you to optimize your listings and increase your sales! Sign up today! Don’t just take our word for it, see how our users rate Helium 10.
  • Protect Your Amazon Brand with a Trademark! Protecting your brand from hijackers is vital. provides a streamlined process for obtaining a trademark for your business and shielding your products from fraud!
  • Does Amazon Owe YOU Money? Find Out for FREE! If you have been selling on Amazon for a while, you may be owed money for lost or damaged inventory and not even know it. Get a FREE refund report to see how much you’re owed!
Follow Us

Helium 10

The Helium 10 Software Suite will allow you to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors as it was designed and battle-tested by Amazon's top sellers. So if you want more sales, more time, lower PPC costs, and if you want to discover hidden keywords your competitors don’t use then start using Helium 10 -- the same tools top Amazon sellers use on a daily basis.
Helium 10
Follow Us


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Try our other products!

Xray – Amazon Product Research, inside the Helium 10 Chrome Extension, helps give Amazon sellers a bird's-eye view of a market as they browse through Amazon.

  • Free Trial with 50 Requests
  • $17/Month

Scribbles – Lets sellers add the best keywords to their Amazon Seller Central frontend and backend to make sure their listings are totally optimized.

  • 30-Day Free Trial
  • $97/Month