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Selling private label on Amazon is great, but if that’s all you’re doing, you might be leaving considerable money on the table. In today’s episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton speaks with Chris Green, an expert on merch by Amazon, about 3 different lucrative business models to accompany your existing private label strategy.
In episode 54 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Chris discuss:
- 00:35 – Bradley Starts with a Story of His Own
- 02:15 – Problems with an Amazon Private Label Idea Lead to a Generous Phone Call
- 05:20 – Business Model #1 – What Exactly is Merch by Amazon?
- 06:13 – Too Good to be True?
- 08:22 – Not a New Concept, but Amazon Prime Changes Everything
- 10:45 – A Complex Problem that Only Amazon Could Solve
- 11:30 – Chris Green – “If You’re Not Prime, I’m Not Interested.”
- 12:45 – Merch by Amazon Fundraiser Partnership Idea Just Makes Sense
- 16:10 – How Much Would You Pay for an Effort Free, Money-Making ASIN?
- 18:30 – Business Model #2 – Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) – Digital and Print
- 19:57 – Not Every Book has to be Harry Potter
- 22:00 – Bradley – “A Great Way to Create Cash Flow for Later Private Label Success.”
- 27:40 – The Side-Hustle Lifestyle – Is there a Downside?
- 30:23 – Affiliate Marketing and Working with an Organic Community
- 31:22 – Advice for an Affiliate Marketing Neophyte
- 35:00 – Bradley’s Case-Study Proposal
- 37:05 – How to Find Out More Information and Contact Chris
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Bradley Sutton: In this episode, find out why if you only do private label on Amazon, you might be leaving money on the table. Learn about 3 other lucrative business models that work in this industry and meet the man who has mastered them all.
Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast. My name is Bradley Sutton, and I’m very honored to have with me, Chris Green on the line today. Chris, how’s it going?
Chris Green: Oh, Bradley. It’s going well, man. I’m excited. Let’s do this.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s do this. Now, usually, we start out with the guests telling a little story or something, but you didn’t know I’m going to do this. I’m going to tell a little story first because I’m not sure if you remember this. The people out there who know my story know I was working for a company about four or five years ago that was selling on Amazon some cell phone cases, and they really didn’t know what they were doing, but they just started crushing it just by luck, I guess some would say. We were selling a thousand units a day per SKU, 6 SKUs, and were just really crushing it.
Bradley Sutton: But then, what happened was while I was working for them, I was a part-owner of the company, but I was in the dark. I didn’t know anything about Amazon. I was more like the logistics guy, and I was shipping 500 manufacturer-fulfilled orders a day from my warehouse, and I was American in the company, so everything was in my name, because there were outside foreign investors, and they really didn’t want to tell me their “Amazon secrets” and things like that. I really didn’t know what was going on. But then, what happened was, as I said, it was kind of luck that they got so successful; they found a really good formula for selling cell phone cases as far as the imagery and things. But then, what happened is everybody else could see the success that they were having, and they just kind of duplicate what they were doing.
Bradley Sutton: But they did have all of these other Amazon strategies. So sales for that company was just taking a nosedive, and then eventually, the company was about to dissolve and me, I didn’t know what was going on. I was just trying to, at that time, start learning more about Amazon and seeing if I could get help, and I would listen to all kinds of podcasts, and then I would always get emails from and hear about this Chris Green guy. This is about three years ago maybe. And I was just like, “Wow, this Chris Green guy, he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. It’s pretty cool. Who knows, I’m just going to send out a random email to his email—like looking for a mentor—and just see if he replies. Who knows, maybe his assistant will reply.”
Bradley Sutton: And then, this Chris Green guy actually replies to my email within an hour, gave me his personal phone number, and said, “Let’s hop on a call.” I called him thinking it wasn’t him. “This has got to be a scam.” And here’s this guy, who was all over the Internet, one of the top known Amazon guys out there. And he hopped on a one-hour phone call with me, didn’t try and pitch me anything. He was just like asking me about what I was doing and letting me tell my story. He gave me some great advice. You know, I didn’t really talk to him after that, but a lot of the information was great. But Chris, you are that Chris Green, and you helped start me on my journey to getting into the know-how on Amazon. And you probably did that a lot, so you probably don’t remember that. But that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on here because we’ve come full circle now. I look back at that moment as well as what I’ve also said going to this one conference as the two moments in my Amazon journey that changed my whole trajectory. Without you knowing it, Chris, you had a big a portion to play in what I do today. I want to thank you for that personally for the first time.
Chris Green: Oh, that’s crazy. I had no idea that that was a pivotal moment in your history. And I do put that out there frequently, and you’d be surprised how many people don’t take me up on it. But I do it because it’s kind of like an effort thing, right? If you put it in just a little bit more effort and then anyone else, like a competitor, and then all of a sudden, all these things just kind of work. And I recommend people and just help people. If I offer phone calls to people, most people don’t take it. Just like you said, you’re like, “Oh, is this a scam” or “is this his assistant” or “is it really going to be him?” And low and behold it, it pays off. I couldn’t ask for a better introduction. And I had no idea that I would get such a nice welcoming, warm introduction by offering a phone call back in the day. I just really do enjoy helping people, and there’s probably a little selfish part of it because I enjoy talking about Amazon. To me, this isn’t work. This is fun. Seize all opportunities.
Bradley Sutton: Exactly, exactly.
Chris Green: I just want to talk about them.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I appreciate that, and I know you know your stuff, and you and I did not talk at all about what we’re going to talk about today, just like I do with all my guests, because I just want to see where the conversation is going to take us. And right before we got on here, we actually just spent 10 minutes talking about basketball and free agency and different things like that. So let’s try and keep it though a little bit related to our listeners instead of the basketball. The first thing I wanted to talk to you about, I know you don’t do as much as you did before, but one thing we have not talked about at all—we’re only on about episode like 45 or so here on the podcast—is Merch by Amazon. You are one of the foremost experts in that whole entire field. You were one of the first adopters years ago. Just really briefly, first of all, for the people who have never heard of Merch by Amazon, can you, in a nutshell, explain what that is?
Chris Green: Oh, of course. Merch by Amazon is easily my favorite platform. It’s print-on-demand products. It’s mostly apparel, but these are physical products that are listed on Amazon. I’m explaining this to an audience that I’m assuming understands Amazon and selling products in e-commerce in that sense. When you do Merch by Amazon and it’s print on demand, all of a sudden, you’re selling products that don’t actually exist. This is a completely free platform. merch.amazon.com came out three and a half years ago. I jumped on it as soon as I saw it. It’s one of those instant, “Oh this is going to be big. This is an absolute winner,” because if you have Amazon experience, you’re like, “Wait a minute. If I upload an image and it’s being sold on a tee shirt or a hoodie or a popsocket or a cell phone case or the other products that they have, I now have a product on Amazon, Prime eligible, and then, when it sells, I’m going to make x amount of dollars. I don’t have to do any work.” It does sound too good to be true, and I’ve explained it to thousands of people. So a lot of people came up afterwards, and they’re like, “Well how much does it really cost?” “You know, what’s the real deal on this?” Somebody gets exactly what I said. If you sign up for Merch by Amazon account, you upload a logo for your tee shirt, someone buys it, you’re going to make a sale of a $20 shirt. You make about five bucks, and you don’t have to fulfill the order. You don’t have to handle customer service. You don’t have to pay for inventory. You’re never upside down. You’re never spending any money. You’re just earning royalties, and it’s a true walk away from business. It’s not like FBA where you can walk away from fulfillment, but you’re going to have customer service, you’re going to have returns, you’re going to have long-term fees you got to kind of keep an eye on. It’s print on demand on Amazon. It’s not just print on demand like CafePress. I don’t get excited about CafePress or Teespring. They’re great platforms. If you can drive all this traffic and all this stuff, but Merch by Amazon is print on demand on Amazon where people already go to shop. It’s Prime eligible. It’s free returns; it’s one of those too-good-to-be-true platforms that everybody should be using in one way or another, whether it’s to supplement or augment your private label or wholesale business or as a creative outlet and an additional income stream. And the biggest play, and I tell everybody this that’ll listen, with Merch by Amazon is once you understand how it works and understand how you can use it, you can then say, “Okay, who can I help? Who can benefit from this Merch by Amazon business?” and then go to them and find a win–win situation, because so many people already have needs and demands for apparel and tee shirts and all these products. The demand is there, and you can bring your Merch by Amazon supply and plug yourself into the middle. It’s just such a no brainer. It’s such a huge play with all the influencers out there that have all kinds of attention. You have no idea how to monetize. I mean I could go on and on and on.
Bradley Sutton: I know you mentioned those other websites. What was it that you just said? CafePress was it?
Chris Green: CafePress has been around for 20 years.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Teespring, CaféPress, and these things. The concept is not new. But I think the reason why a lot of us saw this as kind of a game-changer is because of the power of Prime, and the name of Amazon.
Chris Green: Absolutely.
Bradley Sutton: I mean a lot of people, are like, “Teespring? What kind of website is this?” And you’re like, “Can I trust this?” I’m not sure they’re not familiar with it, but it’s like, “Oh this is from Amazon, there’s a Prime badge, I can get it in.” I remember back in the day, it was four days delivery. Is it still about that for Merch by Amazon?
Chris Green: It kind of comes and goes. The platform is about three and a half years old, and they want it to be true Prime—like order and it’ll be at your door in two days or less. But they do put the customer first like they always have, whether people believe it or not, and they will manage that expectation. They’ll be like, it is Prime. People forget that Prime means free shipping, not necessarily free shipping today. Right? So it’ll still be Prime eligible shipping once it ships. But they know their capacity; if they’re taking too many orders, they can’t keep up. They will say, “Look, this won’t ship for two or three days,” and they’ll even put that badge. I think it’s called the fast-track badge or whatever it is, where you see the order in the next six hours and 19 minutes and you get two-day shipping. They’ll put that on items that they know they can still ship. It technically costs more to put that badge on there, but it does convert a lot better. If you can imagine as a customer to say like, “Ooh, good, I can get that in time for the football game” or whatever it is. They’re working towards that, but they just manage everything with the customer in mind all the way down to say, “Look, we can’t make this shirt in a reasonable amount of time, so we’re not even going to show it in search.” Right? Which is good, but when you’re a Merch by Amazon content creator, you’re like, “Oh, what’s up? My shirts not showing in search. There must be something wrong.” And it’s like, “No, nothing’s wrong. It’s just that, it’s Q4 and we have a ton of orders coming in. We’re not taking orders for that.”
Chris Green: It’s a lot to manage and balance. If you can imagine Amazon who’s amazing at fulfillment and managing physical goods that have set quantities and lead times and stuff that Amazon’s used to managing and now managing a combination of virtual orders plus physical blanks of inventory—like all 21 different colors and sizes, and are we running out of the women’s black medium? You can imagine the programmer sitting there: how do we manage this? How do we make Prime eligible on all these products? And we’re running out of one size and one color. It’s amazing what they’ve done. It’s a very complicated problem that only Amazon could build. I mean, I could not see any other company building a print-on-demand platform like they have, and they’ve taken over because of, like you said, being Prime eligible.
Chris Green: It such a game-changer in the seller world, and if you’re not selling on Amazon, that’s one major problem. But if you’re not Prime eligible on Amazon, you got those customers… I love to remind people this: the number one sort on an Amazon search, it’s not by price, it’s by Prime, which means the number one thing customers are saying, “if you’re not Prime eligible…
Bradley Sutton: I, myself, as a buyer I don’t sort by price. I always say, “Hey, show me those products that are Prime eligible.” I always do that filter.
Chris Green: Yeah. I don’t care how cheap you are; I don’t even want to see your offer if you’re not Prime. That’s some powerful information coming from the customer. It’d be like, “If you’re not Prime, I am not interested,” and sellers need to take that into consideration as well as Merch by Amazon designers. You can have the best designs, but if your designs are not on Merch by Amazon, you’re going to be missing out on sales. They’re not going to go over your CafePress website and buy your design. No, they go to Amazon because they’re in the mood to buy. They’re not on Google searching CafePress and all that nonsense.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, yeah, I know. Of course, I think somebody is listening to this. Maybe they’re one of the few who hadn’t heard of Merch by Amazon, but I know they’re out there and they’re an artist or something or they actually make stuff on Teespring already. Obviously, it’s going to be a no brainer. It’s like, “Oh, man, I got to get on this.” But there’s plenty people like myself, the 99.9%, who don’t even know how to draw a stick figure and might be thinking, “Oh well, this is not for me.”
Bradley Sutton: I remember it’s probably been about two years, probably three years ago, I was listening to one of your workshops or webinars or something, and you had a great idea and you can correct me if this is not a great idea anymore, but it always stuck with me. I was like, this is a no brainer. What you do is all of these high schools and organizations do these fundraisers and stuff. So instead of going door to door, and they have to buy all this inventory and try and sell these merchandise for their high school mascot or whatever. What you do is you go to these schools, and say, “Hey, will you give me the design and I’ll make an Amazon Prime listing for it. And then you guys just push this link and I’ll give you a percentage of the proceeds,” and you literally did nothing except upload their file and handle the accounting to make sure that they’re getting paid. And I know that’s on the honor system, but is that going to the gist? I mean this is literally like two and a half years ago.
Chris Green: I’m trying to remember what workshop.
Bradley Sutton: But am I quoting you correctly with that?
Chris Green: You could do anything like that or similar to that. So it’s a matter of saying like, I said earlier, “Where’s the demand?” Right? So there’s demand for tee shirts. I’ve seen people do these fundraisers for tee shirts, and they collect money and they take orders of what size and what color, and they have to get at least 85 or else the print shops not going to print it. And then they have to distribute and they got to collect the money. You know, it’s just such a hassle. And if you just said, “look here’s a listing on Amazon. If you buy this shirt, our organization is getting seven bucks.” Now you can go to them. And I would honestly do like a 100%; I wouldn’t keep anything on something small, especially if it’s something you’re involved with like if it’s your kids or your church or a local organization because I see there’s such a potential for a bigger upside. Right. So if you help them either, “look, we’ll run it through my account and when all the accounting is done and when the royalties are paid out, I’ll send them over to you, and I’ll give them a report—you sold 51 shirts and here’s your check.” Or say, “look, I’ll help you set up your own Merch by Amazon account so you guys can run it.” You don’t have to be in the middle. I don’t mind people being in the middle if they’re setting up like a licensing deal or if they’re providing some kind of in the middle, but like for a nonprofit-type thing, people can do what they want. I’m just giving my personal advice. I would just help them for like 100% just because it’s so easy. It’s not like you’re going to actually do a lot of work. Because by doing that for them, the law of reciprocity is going to kick in. They’re going to be like, “Hey, we did such a good job, and you know what, my brother runs this company and they could really use some shirts. They were doing something for their barbecue. Why don’t you talk to them?” Doors are going to open because you helped out like you’re the boy scouts or the cheerleading squad or something local.
Chris Green: It’s like what I said, the biggest play is learning how to use a Merch by Amazon account, simply understanding how it works and then saying, “Who can I help with it? Oh, I can help these guys who have been doing fundraisers and coming to my door and I know they’re doing way too much work for the little bit of money that they’re earning. Okay. How can I help them?” and just doing it. Because it’s not like, “okay I’ll help you and I’ll fund the money for 80 tee shirts and then you know, I’ll trust you to collect enough and get it.” Like, “No, I wouldn’t do that for free. That’s way too much work. But uploading an image to Amazon? Okay. Piece of cake. Right? It’s one of those two easy things. So once people try it, and once they get their first design upload and once they see their first sale, they’re like”, wait a minute, this is way too easy.”
Chris Green: You know, everybody should be using it. Like the private label and wholesale sellers out there who are like, “Wait a minute. Okay, I’ve got a listing and when it sells and make this much money and I have to order this many to get it back…” Imagine selling an ASIN to somebody, and they say, “Hey, every time that ASIN sells, you’re going to make seven bucks.” How much would you pay for that?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, it’s amazing.
Chris Green: I would pay a lot of money, like hundreds of dollars if not thousands. Say, “Wait a minute. I have an Amazon product page. When it sells, someone else is going to do the fulfillment. Someone else is going to handle customer service, someone else going to handle returns, and I make seven bucks. All I got to do is promote it. All I got to do is market. All I got to do is advertise it, and I get to pick what it looks like. That’s even better.” But they’re free. They’re completely free. So either uses it yourself because you know how to get attention or you know how to make good designs. Because I should’ve addressed the first part of your question where you’re like, “I’m getting started. I don’t have any design talent.” Okay, so what? Like you can get a design, you can practice, you can take any number of courses. There are courses on Udemy and the free stuff on YouTube and from Adobe and all these things completely free. Some of them are made for merch by Amazon. Some of them are just to get an eye for design. There are sites out there that have a color theory and color wheels. You can look at what’s selling really well and say, “Oh, I want to learn how to make designs like that.” And then yeah, practice, right? Like it’s not that hard or hires a designer. And that’s where I would go off and say, “look, you could get a great looking design for 20 bucks, right? Go to Fiverr, go to any number of these design sites and for 20 bucks, which should not be a lot of money considering like, ‘wait a minute, if I sell that design three times, I’m going to make my money back.’ Right? Like, imagine buying a, an Amazon product page where you make seven every time it sells for 20 bucks. Like that’s what you’re doing. If you don’t believe it’s going to sell three times, then don’t buy it anyway.” There are more designers out there than Merch by Amazon designers who will simply make designs for money. So hire them, right? Someone’s got to invest a little bit in your business, and we’re talking a little, like microscopic five, 10, 15, 20 bucks, you can get designs made. And then you’re off and running.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s a no brainer. Definitely guys, look it up a little bit more. And at the end of the episode, we’ll definitely try and give out your contact information so if people want to get more information because we could have two episodes just on Merch by Amazon, but I did want to cover some different things because the one thing that I don’t think I have heard in any of your previous workshops or webinars or informational about is, I don’t even remember what it’s called, but the whole book printing or like publishing your book on Amazon. Not necessarily, “Hey, I’m going to actually publish a book,” but isn’t there a section of Amazon, what is it called, where you can just upload your work and then they publish it for you. What’s that called?
Chris Green: Yeah, KDP—Kindle Direct Publishing. Their website is KDP.com, and dude, with that intro you gave me if you start putting like—I don’t mind putting my contact info at the end. Everybody, I’ll message you each week with how many people emailed me asking for it. We’ll see where it goes.
Chris Green: Oh, KDP. It’s a little bit of a misnomer because of its fairly recent change. Now you can publish physical books under KDP because when people see Kindle, they think digital, they think devices and apps and all that stuff. And they used to have a separate site called to create space, which Amazon-owned and that’s how they did their physical books, so they’re paperbacks, colored, black and white. They actually used to do DVDs and CDs as well on-demand, and you could tie them together. It was all like, here’s the book, here’s the Kindle in one product page. And they’ve made it a lot easier with merging into KDP. So it’s a lot easier to publish your content. And I’ve written dozens of books. I mean I’ve got a bunch of stacks of them around here, but something that’s happened fairly recently is people have said, “wait a minute, we can do what’s called low content or no-content books, like notebooks and coloring books and music books, and things like that.” You don’t have to actually write a book for it to be a book, right? It’s just paper with a cover and you open it up and you can take notes or write down music or color or do puzzles or crosswords or Sudoku or anything, right?
Chris Green: Book publishing is not Harry Potter. You can certainly write a Harry Potter novel if you want to, but when you realize, “Wait, maybe I can publish other things. And the Merch by Amazon tie in is what really kind of launched it”. You say, “wait a minute, I’ve got all this artwork. It would make a great notebook cover,” right? “I’ve got this great unicorn pooping sprinkles on a cupcake. I’m going to put that on a notebook for people who want to have that.” I mean, it’s one of those things, it’s print on demand, right? If no one buys it, who cares? Maybe you don’t believe in your unicorn pooping sprinkles onto a cupcake design enough to buy a hundred units from China and send them to FBA and incur those costs and that risk. But when there’s no cost and no risk, “yeah, let’s see if anybody wants to buy this notebook” or you’re like, “Hey, someone bought it. Crazy. I’m going to make some more. I’m going to make it with a black background. I’m going to make it with a yellow background. I’m going to make it with an orange background, and maybe people want to match their school colors or match their favorite dress or shoes or belt or purse or cell phone case. I don’t know. I don’t have to know. I don’t even have to care because it’s just so easy to change the color and then offer it up on Amazon.”
Bradley Sutton: That’s pretty cool. I didn’t even think about that. I just thought about fiction or even nonfiction, but you just opened up a whole other avenue there that I didn’t think about. So KDP is another aspect of Amazon. I think that flies under the radar that again people can take advantage of, and it doesn’t require a MOQ (minimum order quantity) of 2000 units, and you don’t have to worry about tariffs and getting your products stuck in customs and things. It’s just other avenues guys that are out there utilizing the Amazon platform that a lot of us might not think of, and some people, yeah, your end game might be to have your own big private label brand, but if you’re starting out, you might have limited funds. Well, guess what? Merch by Amazon, KDP—these are things that require minimal investment and can help you generate some cashflow to get yourself to that level to where you can go ahead and do a MOQ for a big private label order.
Chris Green: Yeah, of course. That’s why I like talking about this stuff because I find a lot of people find a YouTube video or a Facebook post or they’ll join some group. You’ll get really excited about something because they’ll see some success, but they don’t understand some of the hard work and really the logistics and the capital investment upfront to get to that success. And it’s not that they don’t understand it, so it’s like, “oh, they get in over their head,” although that does happen. They also just don’t know about these other platforms. And I’ve talked to people who are trying to do private label; they’re talking to people in China; they’ve signed up for a Repricer when they don’t even have a seller central account. And I’m like, “Whoa, Whoa, whoa. Just slow down. Okay. I know you’re excited. It’s good that you’ve got some passion here.” And then you talk to them for a little bit, and they realized they have a design degree. Or they’ve written 12 children’s books, and they don’t know what to do with them and they’ve never heard of Merch by Amazon. They’ve never heard of Kindle Direct Publishing. And once they have, they’re like, “Oh my goodness, I’m so glad I learned this because it’s a great creative outlet for me. I can’t believe I can actually make money with this.” They want to make money online. I mean that’s the biggest market in the world right now. They want to make money online, but when they only see certain limited options, then they can get into what I would say the one that’s not optimal for them. Like the private label’s not for everybody. I come from a selling background; we develop scan power. I had people sending me screenshots of stuff they were buying, and I would text back to them and I was like, “why are you buying this?” And I was not trying to be mean, but I was trying to keep them out of trouble. “You are not made to be a seller if you can’t read this pricing data and realize that it’s not a great purchase.” And I’m not trying to say like don’t do this. I’d say, “look, you need to learn more about deciphering pricing data and learn to read a graph before investing this much money in inventory.” That’s not for everybody, and it’s not that they should just do something else, but it’s also that they would be really good at something else. Please come over here to merch. You would really kill it.
Chris Green: I talked to so many artists and this is what I mean, the biggest play with merch is understanding merch. I talked to an artist who is on Instagram, and they’re putting out great content. They’ve got their own great style. They can really crank out artwork, and I tell them, “why are you not making graphic packs around certain niches and then putting them on Creative Market or Gumroad and selling access to them for 50 bucks? And sell that to a hundred Merch by Amazon designers who can now use those as assets in their designs.” They’re like, “I can do that?” I’m like, “Yes, why can’t you do that?” It’s not that they’re not thinking. They’re not dumb or stupid in a way, but they haven’t put those pieces together because not everybody’s an entrepreneur. A lot of people want to be entrepreneurs, but not everybody’s an entrepreneur. And once they have the idea, they’re like, “wait a minute, you’re right.” And so what I’m doing is I’m doing two things for them. I’m giving them an idea, and I’m giving them confidence because if I just give them the idea, it doesn’t work because they don’t have the confidence; they’re like, “that’s a good idea, but I can’t do that.” I’m like, “Why can’t you do that? You totally can do that.” I often throw back at them, especially if I have a little bit of a relationship; I can be a little hard on them. I’ll say, “If you don’t do that, I’m going to do it.” Or I’ll say, “Look, I’ll pay you. I’ll pay you $5000 to make me a graphics pack, and I’ll turn around and sell it, and I’ll make a lot more money. Now, if you want to do that, that’s fine.” But I’ll say, “Look, I want to help you.” All right, “look, I’ve got big Merch by Amazon groups and big seller groups. I’m happy to give people exposure if—I don’t want to say if they’ve earned it. I mean, I am a sucker for wanting to help people out, right? So when I see someone who’s got a lot of talent and maybe they’re struggling a little bit; they’re not piecing things together, I’m like, “Look, I want to help. I want to see you get that success.” And maybe this is a little bit of selfish part of me because then when they see that success, they’re going to give me all the credit. Right now, I’m not doing it for the credit because there’s no guarantee anyways. It might not even work. They might not ever actually put it together.
Chris Green: I’ve got this one guy that I’m really pushing to make a graphic pack. He’s really, really good. He keeps on saying that he’s going to do it, and I’m not trying to push into something he doesn’t want to do, but he’ll eventually do it; I’m sure. He’s going to kill it. He’s going to do really, really well with it. And he doesn’t even have to have a Merch by Amazon account to make a lot of money with Merch by Amazon because he understands the platform, he understands the users and he makes things. I mean it’s like kind of what you guys do. You guys have your own software; you guys have software that other people use and say, “Okay, what people need in the seller space? What do the people need in the Merch by Amazon space? What do people need in the self-publishing space?”
Chris Green: And you can plug yourself in anywhere that you want. I apologize to everybody who’s listening who’s saying this, “Oh, I should do this, this” because a lot of people are going to have their minds going a mile a minute right now saying, ‘I want to do this, I want to do this, I want to do this.” And that’s the curse that we have right now of do you want to do something in the seller world? Do you want to do something in the print on the design world? Do you want to do something in the software as a service world? There are all these worlds out there.
Bradley Sutton: That’s kind of a perfect segue into what I was actually—even had written down in my notes—going to ask you next. You’re somebody who’s like me, who just really dabbles in a lot of things, and you’ve talked about merch already; you’ve talked about KDP, and private label and stuff—you’re like a side hustle kind of guy. So for people out there who do want to do side hustles, what’s the drawback? Well, what’s the comparison? Like somebody who goes all in just, “Hey, I’m a hundred percent private label.” There’s a lot of people like that making seven, eight-figures. Obviously, that’s not necessarily bad. But then where’s the line? Because you could be a side hustle kind of person like you or I, but then what happens if there’s a certain point where you might dilute yourself or spread yourself so thin that you’re not going to really have much success in everything. So what’s the secret to having this balance in order to be—if you have that side hustle lifestyle—successful like you obviously have.
Chris Green: Yeah, I think back to where if I had just stayed on eBay seller as I started, I probably would’ve made a lot more money. I mean, making the move to Amazon was probably a very smart move in terms of a seller. But if I had just stayed a seller, I’m sure I would’ve made a lot more money than saying, “okay, I’m going to stop being a seller and be a software provider.” And then to step away from the software provider and be an author and a speaker and host conferences and then spend a lot of time with Merch by Amazon and getting into launching courses. I mean I’ve learned so much, and that’s why I said I feel the best advice I can give people is just to talk on the phone for 15, 20 minutes or even talk in person at an event. And I just find over and over and over again when I talk to somebody and find out what they’re good at, what they want to do, where they are, where they’re trying to go, then I can give them advice that no one else can give them, because I’m not just going to sit there and give them private label advice. I’m not just going to sit there and give them retail arbitrage advice. It’s weird that I have this breadth of knowledge across side hustles, not even just Amazon anymore but across side hustles. And it’s like what Steve Jobs said. It’s one of his quotes saying, You can’t always connect the dots backward. You have to kind of trust that they’re going to line up.” So if you look at my dots backwards of learning all of these different side hustles, then I can give the best, most practical side-hustle advice to the people who are just trying or just now getting into this. We forget that people are just now learning that “I can sell products on Amazon? I thought they were a bookstore.” And we’ve been doing this for so long that we forget that there are people just showing up today, listening to your podcast for the first time today, and they don’t know all this stuff. So we have a lot to offer them in that sense.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. The last thing I want it to just touch bases on, speaking of doing side hustles and different things, is one thing that you seem to be very adept at is affiliate marketing. What’s going to happen organically if somebody is following some of your advice that we talked about at the beginning of the episode; you put yourself out there, you try and help people. What happens is organically you’re going to build a community whether that’s a Facebook group or you’re helping people with their YouTube videos, and you’re able to reach a lot of people. And so, you come across something that you think might be of help to others. You can kill two birds with one stone in one hand, and you can actually provide education and links to this thing that you think might help them. But also for everybody who does it, for those who don’t know what affiliate marketing is, you get a percentage of what kind of business you’re bringing to that service or product, et cetera. What’s some advice that you can give to somebody who’s maybe never done affiliate marketing? How would they start or how do they know? Obviously, the first step is you’ve got to build an audience. You can’t be an affiliate marketer and have nobody to share things with. But let’s say they’ve done that step. How do you pick what to share with your audience?
Chris Green: Well, it’s got to be relevant. You know, it’s got to be stuff that makes sense. I think an audience can sniff you out pretty quick if they know you’re just pushing something for the affiliate. And this is what I mean, the understanding of these platforms is the biggest play, right? So when you understand Merch by Amazon and then you see a desktop design program that would be perfect for Merch by Amazon designers and you learn how to use it and you learn some shortcuts and you learn how to, “Oh, I can link up my iCloud account here and then I can easily access these design.” Okay, cool. And then you figure out how to do that. And then you put out a YouTube video, and I talked to a designer who’s reviewing android apps. I was looking for an android app that would handle Merch by Amazon designs because they’re pretty high resolution. And so I found this YouTube channel, and I got a hold of him, and we talked on the phone for a little bit and I said, “Dude, you need to do the exact same video, but do it for “how do you use this android app for Merch by Amazon, just for the organic reach and the search and all that.” And then, I was like, “No, no, no, no. Actually, I got a better idea. How to make $100 a day with the Merch by Amazon by using this app for android.” It’s the exact same video, exact same video. But now, so many more people are going to watch it. And if you do that, then you can sign up for a lot of these companies who have affiliate programs. And then in the description, you say, “Hey, if you want to try this program, here’s my affiliate link.”
Chris Green: Because I see so many times people give bad rap or they’re down on affiliate marketing and the only people that are down on it are other marketers, customers don’t care. It’s such a weird—I mean we can do a whole show about the affiliate marketing world. But customers don’t care. They appreciate it. Hey, you showed me how to use this. You let me know how to find this. Even if you don’t have an audience. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google. Of course, Google owns YouTube. You can market. You can put content out there to help people. So you’re not just pushing affiliate links; you’re showing people how to use these things, right? Any software that’s out there; any product that’s out there, you can do a review. Buy a product and then do a review of it and say, “If you really like it or if you want to buy this, I recommend it and the link is down here.” But you know, you can’t just push, push, push. You do have to provide value, right? So think about what kind of value am I trying to provide to these people—to my audience, to my Facebook group, to my YouTube channel, to my subscribers to my followers. Whatever it is you’re providing value, that’s the game. I don’t think of it as like “how am I going to get more clicks on my affiliate links?” It’s like, “how can I get more people to actually give a crap about what I’m saying?” And that’s by saying things that people should give a crap about, right? Not just saying things to say things like this. Really, and this is one of those things. You could be anywhere in the world, and you can make content and you could point people towards affiliated programs. I just did my taxes, and I had to find all these affiliate payouts. I was like, “Geez, I’m an affiliate for Stencil. I’m an affiliate for Design Pickle. I’m an affiliate for Merch Informer.”
Bradley Sutton: I don’t think you’re an affiliate for Helium 10. We’ve got to work on that.
Chris Green: No, I send people your way affiliate free.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Got to compensate you though.
Chris Green: Well, in a way.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s do something. That’d be a fun project you know. You and I should do some—let’s create something that’s just pure value to people and do almost a mini case study on both how affiliate programs can work and be a benefit to everybody.
Chris Green: We really should do it as a case study. I mean we can do some webinars. We could do like a mini-course about private label research and wholesale evaluation, and here’s how to use Helium 10 because you guys even work for keywords and Merch by Amazon and all these things. So, let’s do it this way, right? We’ll do like an open challenge. Not only will we do it and we’ll make a mini-course, and we’ll give the course away for free. So it’s valuable information. Then if you’re like, “Hey, I really like how this Helium 10 program works, then you can sign up,” and guess what? That’s going to be my affiliate link, which means I’m going to get money every month for people who sign up for this thing. But I want to do it almost as a total case study, saying, “Look, everybody that’s watching this, if you want to do the exact same thing, here’s how to sign up. Here’s Bradley’s info, sign up for the affiliate program. You can mirror it off of this.” Or you can say, “Look, I liked how you guys did this, but I see an opportunity to do it better this way. Or I don’t think you guys are promoting enough on YouTube. So I’m going put that.” That’s what I mean. You don’t have to do a course. You can do free videos. You can search for everybody on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook that’s talking about Amazon. Know what we should do? Add like an extra little bonus of “how not to spam affiliate links” because you can’t just jump in random Facebook groups and post affiliate links; that doesn’t work. But you could join a Facebook group, contact the admin and say, “Hey, I’m setting up this. I’d like you to be an affiliate for my course.”
Bradley Sutton: Let’s do it. All right guys, five months from now, if you haven’t seen this launched, call us out because we’re going to do this. Well, we’re going to do this, and I think you guys are going to find benefits. I just had a blue screen of death here during the last recording here that I don’t even think you noticed. I hope the recording is saved, but before it happens again, we’re going to close this down, but we definitely want to touch bases with you again, especially if we do this case study thing or not if when we do this case study thing to follow up on it. If people want to find out more information about Merch by Amazon or they just want to— you mentioned you have a Facebook group. How can people reach out to you? I’m not asking to give out your personal phone number, but how can people reach your team or your community to get some help with things?
Chris Green: Well, my website is chrisgreen.com; my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t mind if people message me. I find that people are respectful of it, and the ones who are serious enough to send an email, Hey, I’ll email you back. And we will go from there. Most people are not going to email, which is cool. They’ll think that they’re going to get my assistant; they’re going to think it’s spam. That’s fine. The ones that actually do email, I’ll be happy to help. But I’ve got so many different groups. I don’t want to list them all. But everybody should be signing up for Merch by Amazon. Their website is merch.amazon. com. You’re crazy if you don’t. It’s one of those things, the best time to get into merch is three and a half years ago. The second-best time is right now. So whenever you’re listening to this is the time to sign up.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. All right. Well, Chris, thank you so much for your time and we will be touching base soon.
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