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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
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!
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