#265 – New Seller Recap – They’re Not Beginners Anymore
One of the most interesting things about the Amazon marketplace is how rapidly online sellers grow as entrepreneurs and business professionals. One day you might be trying to figure out what FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) means, and the next, you’re mastering PPC (pay per click) advertising.
A year ago, we welcomed three new Amazon sellers onto this podcast to tell their e-commerce stories. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton welcomes those same three sellers back to talk about what the last year has meant to them as Amazon-selling novices.
Noemi, Anto, and Chris have all made enormous strides as Amazon sellers in the last 365 days. They left the e-commerce starting gate so quickly (with run-away sales figures) that each of them ended up struggling through a common challenge, inventory problems. Now, they’re talking about launching new products and exploring variations.
Sound familiar? Possibly, but there’s still a good chance you’ll hear something new that you can benefit from. Don’t miss this one!
In episode 265 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Noemi, Anto, and Chris discuss:
- 03:30 – Pivoting to E-Commerce
- 06:30 – Victims of a “Too Successful” Launch
- 10:00 – Stock Issues Affect Everyone
- 13:00 – After a Great Launch – Next Steps
- 15:00 – Dealing with Amazon’s Limits Helped Teach Lessons
- 16:00 – No All-White Background Leads to a Suspension
- 20:30 – Variations Propel Noemi to a Solid Second Launch
- 24:00 – Playing with House Money
- 26:30 – A Guru’s Advice Causes Anto’s PPC to Go Through the Roof
- 33:00 – Chris is Now Part of the Helium 10 Team
- 36:30 – For Noemi, Expanding Off Amazon is in Her Future
- 40:00 – Multiple Manufacturers Offers Many Benefits to Sellers
- 44:45 – Know Your Numbers
- 47:00 – Trying to “Live a Bit” While Running a Business
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Podcast or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley Sutton: Over a year ago, we had three brand new Amazon sellers on the show. You’re in for a treat today, because you’re going to hear what they’ve done to level up over the last year. One of them is even about ready to place a PO for over a hundred thousand dollars. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hey guys, we’ve had a few guests here on the podcast that worked for Thrasio. Thrasio is a company that acquires leading FBA brands from small business owners, just like you. They’ve got the experience of acquiring over 125 Amazon businesses. They’ve seen it all when it comes to managing and growing an Amazon brand. So, if you are thinking about selling your FBA business, visit thrasio.com/helium10 to connect with the Thrasio’s deal team, that’s thrasio.com/helium10. Find out if your brand is a good fit for Thrasio.
Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I’m your host, Bradley Sutton. This is the show that’s completely BS-free, unscripted, and unrehearsed with organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the Amazon world. You first met these three guests over a year ago. In 2020, right? During the middle of the pandemic. I want to say, I don’t know, maybe May or June, around there in 2020, and we talked to three people who were just getting started on Amazon. Now, they were just getting started as far as selling products on Amazon, but they had been around the game for awhile and been studying for months. And in some cases, they’ve actually started selling. I like reaching back out to our guests, a year or two later to see where exactly they’re at and to see some of their wins, some of their losses; because guess what guys, we’ve got tens of thousands of listeners out there. I know a lot of you are probably in the same boat or maybe you’ve had the same experiences as at least one of our guests. So pay attention, guys, let’s see what we can learn from these sellers and see what happens to them in 2020 and 2021. Anto, Chris and Noemi, welcome to the show.
Chris: What’s happening?
Noemi: Hi, guys.
Bradley Sutton: What’s up? Well, Chris is not old enough to know that commercial. Now really quick. I’m looking back at the old episode right here, by the way, guys, if you guys want to get the full backstory on these three guests go to episode 161, which is episode 11 of the Serious Sellers Podcasts. They were in the second half of that episode, but these guys are so cool. I was like, you know what? They should not be sharing the spotlight. We’re going to have a whole episode just dedicated to them. So, Chris, we learned a lot about you, but I don’t remember in the original podcast. I remember we talked about how you were an actor and stuff like that. But I don’t think I realized that you were a D-1 basketball player too back in your day?
Chris: Yeah, a long time ago, a different life ago.
Bradley Sutton: Different life ago. So, what happened there? Was it just like a– did you just do it for the four years? And you’re like, Hey, that was fun. Or did you try and go to play overseas at all?
Chris: In my head, I was going to the NBA, since I was 13, the only thing was I was never any good. I just worked really hard. I ended up playing for two years. I got hurt, and honestly, I got a little burnt out and just kind of pivoted, changed directions.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. Now back to your Amazon story, you had said that you were particularly inspired by Project X, and as for me being somebody who knows your product, I definitely could say that you were inspired by Project X. No, he did not make a coffin shelf guys, but it was something along those lines.
Chris: I made a coffin tray.
Bradley Sutton: A coffin tray, actually, you know what? By the time this episode airs, as a kind of like a half serious half joke, we are actually coming out with a Project X hybrid. It’s a cross between Manny’s mysterious oddities and Gui’s chicken coop. It is a– can you guys guess what it is?
Anto: Probably a chicken egg tray in the shape of a coffin?
Bradley Sutton: Coffin shaped egg tray. Got it. But yeah, we are actually coming out with that, but he’s not in the coffin niche, but anyways, you had done courses I know before other courses as well. So it was not like Project X was your first exposure to Amazon, Chris. But what about Project X? Since I think you saw Project X after you took a course, like what clicked there for you that actually had you go out and actually do something and get your first product?
Chris: So I actually, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit, I did like product research for almost a year. And it wasn’t because I couldn’t–
Bradley Sutton: Nothing wrong with that. Don’t be embarrassed.
Chris: It wasn’t because I couldn’t find anything. I just couldn’t find anything that I felt comfortable investing money in. And then with Project X, it just really clicked for me, realizing it was about finding keywords right. And not products. And that allowed me to just have more fun and be more creative and go down some rabbit holes and find some pretty interesting stuff. And so I think that was like, the biggest thing for me was like, it’s about keywords.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So, we’re going to leave people hanging right there. They’re like, okay, well what’s next, but let’s go to Noemi. When we talked with you last, we got into your backstory, which is really cool. You’re a musician and just very, very talented across the board. Refresh my memory. When did your first product launch on Amazon? What month? What was it before or after that podcast?
Noemi: So it was right afterwards, like two weeks afterwards. It was on July 22nd.
Bradley Sutton: July 22nd. Okay. So, you’ve now had your product there for a year. How did your product launch in your first couple of months ago selling on Amazon?
Noemi: Yeah. So everything went well. I think, as I’m sharing with most people who are asking the same question, I think it was a bit too successful or more successful than we thought it would be and which was a great problem to solve, but still it was a problem. So in our case, we went out in the off stock, like very shortly afterwards. But yeah, I think it was really like, it was a super experience.
Bradley Sutton: How many units did you have for your initial order, I should say.
Noemi: So, for the launch, we had a thousand units that should have lasted for three months, which was gone in two weeks.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. Two weeks.
Noemi: Yeah. So, that was a really great lesson, I think because most of the time, people are teaching you how to calculate inventory correctly and that was right to the proof that you know nothing. I think it was a great lesson to learn now. So, that was a great lesson to learn what it means to be out of stock and what it means to improvise and also consider shipping via air, which at least two towns were almost three times more expensive than sea shipping. So, I think it was a great lesson anyhow.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. We’re going to come back to you in a little bit. Our third guest here is also originally from Romania, like Noemi and now living in the US for a number of years. Anto, let’s talk about your other main business, which is real estate back in Romania. How is that going?
Anto: I bought one more apartment and I’m about to buy a multi unit here in New Jersey, probably in the next two months.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, really? Wow. I didn’t know about that. So, you’re branching out to the US with real estate. Is that going to be for renting it out or Airbnb, or to just fix up and sell or what?
Anto: Renting it out. I want a stable income where I can just aim the computer working on my Amazon business.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. I believe at the time that we recorded the podcast, you were still about two to three months away, at least for having your product ready because of all those hurdles you were going through for regulations and things like that, right?
Anto: That’s correct, yes.
Bradley Sutton: When was your actual launch, then? What month did it actually finally go live?
Anto: It was on election day. It was November. And I sold out in two and a half weeks.
Bradley Sutton: Two and a half weeks. So, I don’t know what it is about Romanian sellers who sell out their inventory in two and a half to three weeks. Chris, I mean, if I remember correctly, actually your first shipment, you also sold out?
Chris: Yeah, mine was a long four weeks though.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my goodness. You’re slacking. Four weeks, what’s wrong with you?
Chris: Sorry, man.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Get on Anto and Noemi’s level here. Come on now. You’re slacking. All right. So, all right, well, that’s it guys. We obviously could not have predicted the way things would turn. I think Chris had launched already when we had him on the podcast, but Noemi hadn’t launched. Anto was months away from launch. But at the same time, guys, I’m not going to say, Hey, 100% of sellers who are going to sell out in three, four or five weeks are going to knock it out of the park on their first product that things always happen on Amazon. But this was kind of like a cool, bro, that all three of them sold out so fast. Now let’s go back to Chris now. You sold out in four weeks. Now your product was a lot, lot bigger than Noemi. So, air shipping wasn’t even an option for you, right?
Chris: Correct. Yeah. I went by sea.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then how long were you out of stock?
Chris: Dude, that was my end. So that was my biggest problem as I kept running out of stock and my lead time was so long that it was like constantly going against me in the algorithm.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. So how long was that?
Chris: Yeah. I want to say the first time I was out of stock for about a month and a half. And the second time, about two months.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. A month and a half. So what were you selling? What was your first order? Was it 500 or a thousand?
Chris: My first order was 500. Okay. Just snuck by that 200 ASIN restriction.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, nice.
Chris: Just not by, so yeah, my first order is 500.
Bradley Sutton: When you look back at your launch costs and your PPC and what it costs to ship and, and tariffs and everything, I was hoping you’re using Helium 10 profits or something to kind of see that first shipment. Were you profitable or did you break even, or how did you do that first?
Chris: I did really well. I mean, do you want to hear actual numbers? It’s not crazy or anything.
Bradley Sutton: No. I want to hear fake numbers. It is what I want. Of course. I want to hear actual numbers.
Anto: So, I want to say out of three months of selling, like not including, obviously the out of stock months, I made $12,000 profit.
Bradley Sutton: Wow.
Chris: It was great. I was just super excited.
Bradley Sutton: That’s awesome. I mean, a little bit more money than you were making with the– you were doing photography and acting, but those weren’t steady paychecks, right?
Chris: Yeah. They’re variable.
Bradley Sutton: Are you still selling that product?
Chris: Yeah, I am.
Bradley Sutton: Has it been a time now where you broke the cycle of always running out or?
Chris: Yeah. It actually started to get a little bit more saturated. And then when I got back in stock, my third time I was on page two. So, it’s been a little bit harder to kind of get back up to that top. So that’s what I’m working to do right now.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Is it only that one product you’ve had this whole time?
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So what’s like your monthly sales, now that you’re kind of in a groove, I guess.
Chris: Yeah, so I haven’t gotten back in the groove. So like before I was probably hitting like close to 500 a month. Now, I’m probably more like 120.
Bradley Sutton: 500 units you were selling a month?
Chris: Yeah, earlier. And now I’m probably at like 120, 150.
Bradley Sutton: And so your product is what, like 20 bucks or 30? Or what is it?
Chris: Yeah, 30.
Bradley Sutton: So, it was 500 units a month selling. And his $30 you said was your retail price? So that’s $15,000. Woo hoo. All right. My brain is working. All right. So $15,000 a month, spread out over a year. That’s just one product, but already a six-figure product right there. How did your profitability change if at all, like, as it got saturated, did you find PPC more expensive? Or any difference there?
Chris: Yeah, I found that my PPC costs went up and obviously, because my sales went down, so I had to play around with that a little bit. Definitely.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Cool. Any reason why you haven’t launched another one? Were you just happy? Like, was this your goal or you just couldn’t find something that you really like to do?
Chris: Yeah. So, my initial goal was to get this one a little bit stabilized and scale it. And I just didn’t feel comfortable launching another product until I felt this one was a little bit more secure. And so I would kind of want to just focus on this one for right now.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, during those times when you were gross or where you’re profiting a pretty nice little paycheck there, what did you do with that money? You didn’t necessarily invest it in a brand new product. Did you just go all back into replenishment or did you do anything fun with that money? Pay bills or what?
Chris: No, I put it right back into the original.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Cool. We’re going to come back to you in a little bit, because you still got some fun things as part of your story. So, Noemi, your product was super small as far as the package goes. And that’s why, even though it was more expensive to ship by air, it’s not like you were losing money when you did it by air, right?
Noemi: Yes, I actually, I lost money because if you’re thinking everything about cash flow, right? So, you didn’t have enough money then to reinvest in inventory because that’s the game, right. Having enough inventory, if you don’t have inventory, you cannot gain money. So, even if the product was relatively small (it wasn’t that small) it was still relatively small. So, just imagine we ordered only 500 units this time by air and also the other 500 or thousand units were shipped by sea. So we still had both options open. It wasn’t only by sea. Just for your friends, because you were asking about the product last month.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Now, were you hit by the 200 max quantity or you also got in before, that was really affecting everybody?
Noemi: Right before. So, we got in right before, but we went out of stock and that was the moment. Then it was the 200 limit because we started doing FBM orders, fulfilling FBM orders. So we still have that problem with that 200 limit. But I think it was still fine because you learn how to do things differently, not to rely only on FBA, but learn how to actually fulfill or just by yourself, learn how to buy shipping labels, learn how to send the product.
Bradley Sutton: Did you do it from your apartment, or your house where you live?
Noemi: Yes. First I started, I did it with a 3PL company and afterwards, I’ve done it by myself and to this day we’re still fulfilling a few of our products, or a few of our SKUs by FBM. So, we’re still doing that.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. I think I remember senior listing once and your main image was not compliant. Did you ever get caught for that or since everybody else had the same thing without a white background?
Noemi: Yes, sir.
Bradley Sutton: You never got caught?
Noemi: No. We worked it out, I think, as I was mentioning, we work out– and it sounds bad, but like, just to give you an example, we are in a very competitive niche and most of the best sellers don’t have their image on a white background. So we said, okay, let’s try to simulate whatever it’s selling best. So this is why we went with it. Wasn’t like, okay, let’s break as soon as possible with US terms. But yeah, we worked on it because I think mostly because we started to sell well, so that was, I think one of the reasons, but afterwards, we obviously would change the plan and I think the best part of it was being prepared. So we already had the image and a light background and the moment it was suspended. So in the morning, like after two hours, it was back again. So, yeah. 7
Bradley Sutton: Did they give you a reason for why?
Noemi: Yes, because it wasn’t there.
Bradley Sutton: Like, did you get a message saying, “Hey, your image is not compliant,” or something like that? I’ve never gotten one of those.
Noemi: Yes, sir. Yeah, exactly. That was the reason. And now it’s funny because as I was mentioning, still most of our competitors don’t have them on the white background and still no one is doing anything about it.
Bradley Sutton: Yeap, that’s how it is. That’s unfortunately how it is. How long did it take for you to get to a point where you weren’t running out of stock anymore?
Noemi: How long– well, to give you a short background. So as Chris was mentioning, okay, the paychecks for us, like varying for over a year already, or almost a whole year, we still haven’t taken out money from the business, everything goes back, like investing everything back to the business. And I think this is what hat does also beside that all the profit from the business, we also invested our own money in the business. So, I think that helped us to not get thrown out of stock. In general it was a particularly great one for us, I think our competitors went out of stock and that’s when the sales just went off the roof and that caused our first major, let’s say, moments when we went out of stock for a month and afterwards getting back, I think it was costly. PPC wise, it was costly, but yeah, we are vaccinated and haven’t been out since then. So, yeah, awesome.
Bradley Sutton: What was your peak month of sales, growth sales?
Noemi: Peak month? Actually, last month was the peak month of sales.
Bradley Sutton: And how much was that?
Noemi: Between 30 and 40,000.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, excellent. Excellent. Now, you mentioned you launched other products too. So before I get to that though for the first product, one thing we talked about is you’re kind of an Instagram savant as well, and hundreds of thousands of followers on different Instagram accounts. Did you ever utilize your Instagram to launch any of your products, or were your launches all outside of social media?
Noemi: I think it went well, excuse me, our cat is very talkative. So he’ll be meowing during the podcast. Yes. So, Instagram didn’t have as much play as I thought it would have, but I think it had realized how much you know and how much you still have to learn. But mainly, I think as it has we worked with wanted to help, basically, it also helped with user generated content. So, I think it had its purpose. It didn’t have the main purpose, but I think that was on my side because I also wanted to use these connections with the influencers to build up for ranking. And most of them didn’t understand what it takes to search, find, buy, or all those things. I think it was a very helpful way to learn what works with influencers and what doesn’t work or what’s better, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Yeah. I got you. I mean, a lot of people out there I think are in the same situations that you mentioned though that you have multiple products. So did you, how many more products did you launch and were they just kind of like extensions of the same brand or the same niche or completely different, or what?
Noemi: So, we actually launched our second product last month. But what we also did, we have variations for our product, which is super helpful. And yeah, this is the second product, it’s very similar to the first one. It’s a bit different. Different in that we have a variety pack this time. And also it’s a bit different from the first one. So it’s one more choice for the customers and yeah, basically on those two we have different variations.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Cool. Let’s go back to Anto really quickly. Now, Anto, when we– I think at the time that we did the podcast, you actually had already made the down payment or you sent all the money or something. You actually told us that you had kind of budgeted and we’re spending about a lot more for your launch. You had been saving up for this a long time. It was a more expensive product. And I think you put in like 20 or $25,000 on it. So, the product went live, I think you just said November or something.
Anto: November 4th.
Bradley Sutton: November 4th. And so in three weeks, how many units was your first order?
Bradley Sutton: So in three weeks, what kind of gross sales are we talking about as far as the retail price?
Bradley Sutton: Good grief, $33,000 on one product, and then you sold out. How are the reviews?
Anto: I had a 4.7.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Very specific.
Anto: And I had an actual 203 with my first 700 units. Don’t ask me how. Find what I’d ever had– I’d never had inserts.
Bradley Sutton: 200 out of 700 left rating?
Anto: So it was 120 views based on the several hundred units.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. That sounds more like it there. Which is still very good. Did you have to follow up or anything?
Anto: No follow up. No inserts, no flows, no QR, absolutely nothing.
Bradley Sutton: These people really loved it. Your product. No insert cards, no anything.
Anto: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Bradley Sutton: The beauty about one-click reviews is that in the old days you did that, you’d been lucky to get like 20 reviews or 10 reviews, but now with that one-click rating, so many people are willing to leave the stars. Now you went out of stock and then what’s your next move? Did you just immediately, I mean, even before you went on the stock, did you already make a second order?
Anto: Yeah, one week. One week since I’d launched, I waited for my first review. That was my issue because my product was added a bit weird and I was afraid that the contents of it might have melted or that something happened to my battery or that something might have happened. So, I waited for my first review to see what they said, if they had issues. So once I saw my first five star review, organic, I placed a second order of 1,000 units, and that was my biggest mistake. And that was my downfall.
Bradley Sutton: Why? Why was it a mistake to order a thousand units?
Anto: Because I should have ordered way over 3000 units.
Bradley Sutton: So 1000 units– that still, I mean, with shipping and everything and duties, we’re talking another, like what, $30,000?
Anto: Oh, God. Yeah, almost close to, yeah. I would say 30. I would say more than 27, 28.
Bradley Sutton: So yeah, I mean that’s a cool thing too guys, like Anto just knocked it out of the park here because by getting into a niche like that. That was so high. What’s the retail cost again on your product?
Anto: 45, or 50 during Q4.
Bradley Sutton: When the product is so expensive, you’re pricing yourself out of what a lot of other competitors could afford. So sometimes you can hit it well there, but the drawback is you’ve got to have a lot of cash on hand to be able to order these kinds of events. So the next– so how long were you out of stock total? Was it like two months, or what?
Anto: A month or a month and a half the first time. And then I ordered three more thousand units. I sold out again in a month. I sold out again because this happened in January. So, in the slow month, I sold out of a thousand units.
Bradley Sutton: Wow. I remember like you were having some inventory restrictions. And so I actually took one of your pallets to my warehouse and that was the best my warehouse has smelled in the history of my warehouse, like the whole warehouse, the aroma was so pleasant because of your product.
Anto: Thank you.
Bradley Sutton: Everybody was like, what’s that smell? What’s that smell? And then we had to send it to Amazon for you’re like, oh, no, the product has gone. Like our warehouse smells like crap again, but anyways, all right. So a thousand units. And so I’m assuming both of these, I mean, did you ever estimate your profit off of both of these first two orders?
Bradley Sutton: $27,000 profit. Good grief. So that was perfect because I remember back in the original podcast, your other job, your local job, not your real estate, but you could even do it for like five months, because everything was on lockdown. So that was really kind of like a lifesaver, not a lifesaver.
Anto: No, because I put it back in. It was not a nice say but I put it back in.
Bradley Sutton: That’s true. But it’s fun. You’re playing with house money there. So, okay. Okay. So then a thousand units and then you sold out and then you said you ordered more.
Anto: Yes, I did.
Bradley Sutton: And then what was happening during all this time as far as the niche goes?
Anto: This is a really fun story. So, last year I was in a podcast. I was on the same podcast. I can’t remember whose podcast it was. And some guru decided to recommend exactly my niche. Exactly. Go and do this product guys is a hot product right now.
Bradley Sutton: Was it random or did they know your product?
Anto: No. I don’t know. I really don’t know at this point, I don’t know.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, okay. No, I mean, if you don’t, I’m sure it was probably innocent. Things like that happen all the time. I mean, you guys have heard about how I got all excited two years ago and kept showing Tim Jordan products. He’s like, that’s my product. And I totally found it completely. He had no idea, but things like that happened, so that kind of sucks. So a podcast mentioned it wasn’t me? Like, I can’t do that.
Anto: No, because you knew my product.
Bradley Sutton: It wasn’t Noemi. We’re going to talk about that later.
Anto: Remember, I follow products. That’s why I went with it, I don’t have a pipeline. I don’t know about pipeline inventory.
Bradley Sutton: I’m assuming then you started seeing a lot of more competitors come up?
Anto: Yeah. So, I’ll put in my cost per click from my main keyword, from $2, it went up to $8 that much.
Bradley Sutton: Woah. That’s crazy. $8.
Anto: So, while my manufacturer kept lying to me about my issues with my manufacturer that delayed my production from 30 days to 90 days, I had to make a business decision. I put 30% down for these 3000 units. So I took my hands off and I did not go ahead with the product.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, so you canceled the order?
Anto: Oh, yes I did.
Bradley Sutton: That’s got to be like a five figure loss, right?
Anto: Yes, it was.
Bradley Sutton: But the way you calculated it out was at the pay-per-click clause. And with the added competition, you weren’t confident that you were still going to be profitable or what was the thought process there?
Anto: The thought process was okay, I’m going to be out of stock for two months. Trying to rerun the product, trying to put it into what it was because I was in the fourth organic position for a keyword with 170,000 searches a month when I went out of stock. And that was my main keyword. And I didn’t pay a lot of money to be there because my launch was extremely good. Extremely good. So getting back there, I was afraid I would never be able to go back there unless I somehow reset my honeymoon. So I’m like, you know what? I don’t even think this is worth it. It was a $50,000 order. I took my hands off. It was a business decision. I still regret it somehow to this day. But then again, when I look for that because I look for the products almost every single day to see what shows up. It went from 10 competitors when I launched to a hundred and I’m like, it’s not worth it. It is not.
Bradley Sutton: The prices have gone down a little bit to the retail price?
Anto: Of course. Now, whatever I sell for 45, I sell for 39.The cost in China, it keeps going up, the shipping, the problem with the shipping that is right now with the container, I would have paid 12,000 compared to 5,000. It was not worth it.
Bradley Sutton: Well, that’s a very real life. Like I said, guys, Hey, it’s important to understand that Amazon is not always rainbows and unicorns. Things happen. You got to make tough decisions and you could look back and say, oh, I wish I did this. Or I know, but at the time, you got to make a decision guys and you might be– you need to prepare yourselves for tough decisions like this. Let’s go back to Chris now. So Chris, what’s the future hold for you on Amazon, selling on Amazon. Are you just going to stick with this product or are you actively doing product research to find something else or what’s going on?
Chris: That’s a funny question. Because I have a friend who started selling on Amazon a little bit after me and he is so gung ho like he’s launching products left and right. And where I’m at is just financially. Like I want to make sure I get this product solidified before I start launching more. Just so I don’t run into cash flow issues. And the only reason I don’t do product research right now is I know if I find something it’s going to bother me so much that I can’t launch it. So, I just stay away and I just like blinders.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Okay. Now, did you run into any issue like Anto did, where I mean, we talked a little bit about already about PPC costs increasing. I’m assuming it didn’t go from two to $8 like her, but what about with the new competition? Did the retail prices go down? Did you have to lower your price or how’s that?
Chris: I probably should have lowered my price, Bradley. I know the search volume went from like five to 30. The prices, I think I have the cheapest price and the smallest product. So I haven’t really changed much, but honestly, I probably should look into doing that.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Cool. So, do you have a timeline on when you want to, like end of the year or next year, or what?
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. So, I’m hoping to be able to get my product back, like in the top position on page one for Q4 and then probably order a big amount for Q4 and then start the year, start doing more products.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And then would it be an extension of this brand, or just start from scratch and something completely [inaudible]
Chris: It would be an extension of this brand. So earlier, before I realized how bad of an idea it was for me temperamentally to look for new products, I came across like two or three, that would be great for the brand. So I’ll probably revisit those.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now we talked before about how your other jobs were not steady photography, acting things. Have you done any acting gigs in the last year?
Chris: I haven’t done any acting since COVID. It’s been a while, man.
Bradley Sutton: I mean, with all these Disney and everybody coming out with, I mean, I just watched a movie on Amazon prime. That was actually, that seemed like a blockbuster movie. I was like, what is going on? Like why are there so many things?
Chris: It is starting to pick back up though. It definitely is starting to pick back up. So, it’s just taken off.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. But do you have a nine to five job?
Chris: I do. Yeah. It’s all right. It gets the job done.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. It had nothing to do with me. Where do you work now?
Chris: I worked for a software company called Helium 10.
Bradley Sutton: Oh, I think I’ve heard of them.
Chris: Yeah. They’re pretty slick, man.
Bradley Sutton: That’s cool. So what do you do for us here?
Chris: Inside sales. So I talk with people who are new to Helium 10 and I kind of take them through demos and show them some things like how to use the tools, what would be helpful and get them signed up on.
Bradley Sutton: When you do that, are you using my Project X account or are using yours?
Chris: I’m using a dummy account. Yeah. I’m not using yours.
Bradley Sutton: A dummy account. Okay. But like, do you feel that people like to listen a little bit more as opposed to you’re not just some salesman trying to push off where you’re like, Hey, you’re an Amazon seller. You’re actually in their shoes.
Chris: A hundred percent. And also too, because there’s also a lot of noise out there. Right. And I think it comes across that I can relate to how overwhelmed they are. I’ll tell people, it’s like, dude, I’m very familiar with the feeling of wanting to throw my computer through the window. I get not knowing where to start. And so I think that definitely translates.
Bradley Sutton: All right, guys, quick break from this episode for our BTS Bradley’s 30 seconds. Here’s my 30-second tip. We heard in this episode about Anto having to put together a lot of money for some of these POS and people running out of inventory and as you guys know, one way to help get a line of credit or to get some extra cash flows, obviously using Helium 10 Alta. Helium10.com/alta can help with that. But sometimes you might not qualify, right? If you’re a newer seller, you don’t qualify for a line of credit or daily payout. So one thing that I’ve been using, I even used this just two weeks ago, is this website, no affiliation to Helium 10. It’s called Plastiq. I think that’s the way you pronounce it. Plastiq. And what it does is allows you to send like wire transfers pulled from your credit card. It’s usually a fee of like two to 3%. I just did a wholesale order. I didn’t have any cash on hand, or I did have cash. I didn’t want to use it. So I just pulled it from my credit card for $5,000. I knew I was going to get cash back for travel and it became a wire. So if you guys want to take a look at this, I don’t have an affiliate code. This is just like my personal referral code. I think you get like $2,000 of a fee free on this, including myself. So if you want to try it out, try it out at plastiq.com. plastiq.com/invite/1336996. And you can maybe use this to find your order, but be careful, 3% is still 3%, make sure that you calculate well, if you’re using this from your credit card.
Bradley Sutton: Let’s go back to Noemi. Now, what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2021 for your brand?
Noemi: Today I was just calculating how much inventory we still need. So we are planning for Q4 of this month and for the brand itself. So we just started launching last month, the product, the second product so far, it’s working pretty well. I think it will be expanding and I will think email marketing would be the next step, um, to learn and to master because that’s something that I so much heard about yet knew nothing about. So that’s something that definitely will be also working on the website, just together, a website. Basically it would be to not depend on Amazon only because at this point we still are depending a lot on Amazon and our sales are mainly on Amazon. So that would be for this year to not necessarily say goodbye to Amazon’s with, to understand that it’s a platform that it’s not yours. So, each customer that you gain there, it’s not yours. And yeah, basically that would be, learn how to have your own customers, because this is the brand basically. And just to grow the brand to make more people aware also on the influencer side, we are launching, trying to contact more nano influencers and have even more UGC, user generated content. So, that would be it. Basically just grow, grow, grow, and learn how to not have any more cash flow issues. I would say, not in the sense of a cash flow issue that you don’t have money, but the cash flow issues that you always have to invest into new inventory because if you want to go off Amazon, obviously that means that you have to have more inventory. So, kind of this would be.
Bradley Sutton: Especially now that shipping takes forever and production seems to take forever too, right?
Noemi: Okay. So, that’s what we are working on. Basically marketing, yeah. Influencers, and also like getting off like on other platforms, whether they will be Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Well, do you know if it would be Walmart or Shopify or do you have a plan of which one you want to go first?
Noemi: Yes, we’re thinking of Shopify, also analyzing if it’s the right product for Shopify, because that’s also a big thing. The product might sell really well on Amazon, but they did for Shopify and yeah, basically what we plan on doing is having it on our website and currently we’re using WordPress. So, that would be maybe through Shopify, maybe more personally. So, that’s something still we have to figure out.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. We’re going to come back and get some of your strategies in a little bit. Anto, what about you? You’re not currently selling on Amazon, I know you got your old job back. The one that was shut down by COVID. So it’s not like you’re financially destitute here and you’re saving up a lot of money. So, would it be safe to say that 100% you’re going to find and launch another product this year or only 50% chance? Or what would you say?
Anto: Actually, I’m still sitting on Amazon because last week I got a trademark infringement. Obviously, my listing was shut down and I resolved the issue and I had the three units that were stranded and they stopped.
Bradley Sutton: Three units?
Anto: And they sold out in like half an hour. So, I am still a seller, okay?
Bradley Sutton: I like it. Well, Hey, you actually had a professional, Amazon selling account, and a Helium 10 account you were paying for almost one year before you launched. So, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your selling accounts going even when you’re not actively selling. But what about product research? Have you started looking at your next product or what’s going on there?
Anto: Yes, I have. Actually this time I’m going to keep my products very secure and nobody shall know my products. I have five products on the pipeline.
Bradley Sutton: Five? Like five and you’re going to pick one or you’re literally going to launch five different products?
Anto: I’m actually going to launch five different products that they’re all over $50.
Bradley Sutton: Oh my goodness gracious. How many brands?
Anto: The same.
Bradley Sutton: Is it the same brand as your old product?
Anto: I did extra classes for my trademarks.
Bradley Sutton: And you found a new manufacturer, other than that one that you said was lying to you?
Anto: Oh, God. Yeah. That would be my first advice towards people. Get multiple manufacturers. Don’t work just with one. Get multiple of them. Make sure they have your designs. Don’t adjust with one because that was another of my downfall.
Bradley Sutton: Yep. All right. So now, you’ve had some issue with procrastinating in the past, Anto. So I want you to give me a solid date of when you’re going to have a product on the way to you from China or whatever country you’re manufacturing.
Anto: I’m looking at July 6th.
Bradley Sutton: It doesn’t have to be an exact date.
Anto: I think it’s going to be November again, just to make sure. I would say October, but I don’t want to lie.
Bradley Sutton: No, I mean, if you order now, that’s almost the time. That’s almost the time it takes just honor. So, that’s good then that means you’re already ready to go. So that’s exciting. We saw what you did with one product. Now, with five, like good grief, that’s going to be like six figures per month in no time.
Anto: I know what I have to do. And there is so much more to learn and I’m learning every single day and I haven’t given Amazon, I just gave up a product because in my head, at the time, because of the stress, it was the right thing to do. But even if you fail with a product, give up that product, don’t give up the idea. Don’t give up the business. It is very important.
Bradley Sutton: Yes. Very true. And it’s not, I wouldn’t even use the word fail. You still learn. I mean, tell me how much did you learn in those, even though they were tough, those six months.
Anto: Unbelievable amount.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Especially with all you went through to get the regulations and all that stuff.
Anto: Oh my God. Yes. But I still have complicated products.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Hey, that’s good. Because I mean, even if another product would have gotten the exposure that yours did, it probably would have been saturated even more, but, but even though it was already out on podcasts and things, it’s a little bit limited with how saturated might get, just because it’s so difficult of a product to make. That sounds good. Let’s go back to Chris now. Do you have any TST for us? Any 30-second tips, maybe one or two?
Chris: Oh man. Do I? So, I have two, the first one is fall forward. I don’t know who resonates with this, but I’m kind of like, I’m kind of a perfectionist. And like I said earlier, like I did product research for a year. Like just, you’re going to make mistakes, just go make them and fall forward. And the second one was, I actually heard this on– you had a guest on before our last podcast and he said something that’s really stuck with me. He said, it’s not a product selling business. It’s a problem solving business. And I feel like as soon as I shifted my mentality to that, things went a lot smoother. Because you’re constantly like things keep popping up. And like when you realize it’s a problem solving business, you’re a little bit calmer and more productive when you come across those.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. I like it. I like it. Noemi, what about you? What’s some strategies that you have, it could be life hack, like what Chris was talking about or mentality hack, or it could be a PPC strategy or a launch strategy. What can you help us out with?
Noemi: I think the most important thing would be to know your numbers because most of the time people don’t know their numbers. They are mesmerized by this awesome potential that Amazon brings to their life. And most of the time you fail only because you didn’t know what you don’t know. So definitely knowing your numbers. The second thing would be on Amazon to succeed. Nowadays it’s not working anymore. If you’re only a product. So be a brand, not a product. The third one, I think it would be revenue and profit are two different things. And most of the time people are mesmerized yet again, by how much money they make. When in fact it’s how much profit you take and how much. It’s about cash flow as I was mentioning. So definitely it’s not enough to make money. It’s really, you have to reinvest money and understand how to grow because Amazon is amazing ghetto again, I’m saying, but if you’re not able to grow on Amazon, it would be very painful, and you’re wasting a lot of effort, time, stress, and these would be my three, top three best practices to do. Know your numbers, be a brand on the product and revenue and profit are two different things.
Bradley Sutton: Now you actually, you didn’t start working for Helium 10, but you two have kind of like a, not necessarily career change, but somehow your voice is now more familiar to people out there. Why is that?
Noemi: Why is that? You mean more influential?
Bradley Sutton: Yes. Apart from just your singing?
Noemi: Apart from it, of course, obviously. Yeah, so I started to be a co-host of wizards of ecom podcasts. I think when did we start like a few months back three, four months ago. And since then I am loving it and the co-host of the show and I have awesome guests who are more than willing to share all the goodies. I’m very– somehow I mimic your strategy. I’m very forward and I’m not like really sugarcoating things. So, thank you Bradley for that. That’s all.
Bradley Sutton: All right, well guys, look at this. We’ve got somebody who was on this– three people who are on this podcast as brand new sellers, never having sold on Amazon or just had barely started. One is now a full-time employee of Helium 10 and it’s still selling well on Amazon. Another one is selling over $30,000 a month on Amazon and is now a co-host of one of the most popular Amazon podcasts out there. And then we have another person here, Anto who’s about to put in a six-figure PO for Amazon products. So guys, I don’t know if what we call this a good luck charm or something, but try and get on the podcast. It seems like good things might happen to you. All right. Let’s go to Anto now. What are your strategies or tips like from your product that you were selling? Like your launch strategy or PPC or mentality. Well, whatever you want to talk about, what’s your TST for us?
Anto: oh, strategy for launch. Noemi and I were pretty good at launching for that. Know your whereabouts. Knowing what you have to do, study as much as you can. But then again, from my experience, I did not manage stress very well. Don’t get overstressed. Don’t try to separate because you’re working from home. I tend to forget that I’m still at home, that I still have a life. So, I got overstressed, that was the most important thing. Besides the knowledge was a stress. So try to live a little bit while you’re still trying to build a business.
Bradley Sutton: That is really good advice. Keep going.
Anto: And another thing that exactly as Noemi said, know your numbers. Don’t forget that you have to rank that product. Don’t forget about PPC, know your exact numbers because at the beginning, Noemi was really good at her numbers. I was sloppy. Why was I sloppy? Because I knew I had money. So, I didn’t know my exact numbers until I ran the spreadsheet. And when I ran my spreadsheet, I was like, okay, I got to cut down here. What can I do here? What can I do there? And everything turned for the better. So, know your numbers and try to manage the stress. I don’t know how everybody reacts, but for me, stress was ginormous.
Bradley Sutton: And then what if we have you on in 2022, like, let’s say a cup.
Anto: I would be a very good seller.
Bradley Sutton: That’s what I was going to ask. I want a bold statement. I knew I didn’t even have to really push it very hard for that. I love it.
Anto: And I can promise you that. Watch.
Bradley Sutton: Go hard or go home. Let’s do it. Let’s do it. Excellent. All right. Well, Chris, I thank you, Anto and Noemi, you too. It’s really inspiring to see because guys, these are just regular people. All right. Now, of course, I’m not trying to like this. They’re super amazing people, but they are no different than you or I. I don’t want anybody out there thinking that, oh man, it takes some special degree to be able to sell on Amazon, or I need to have like this sixth sense. Chris never sold on Amazon before. He didn’t have a huge “.com” business or anything. And he’s been able to crush his product, even though it became saturated. Anto had a product that in her first few weeks she was making, or she grew over $30,000. Noemi was such a rookie that she wasn’t even using white background images on her main image.
Noemi: It was a strategy, Bradley. Don’t say that. We are not rookies.
Bradley Sutton: There are other mistakes that you were making too. Anto told me about some of your mistakes. But that’s fine. All make rookie mistakes. My point is that guys, these are just what I would like to call average Joes and average Sallys and just in a short period of time, look how much they have learned. And yeah, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Things didn’t all work out great. But you didn’t hear one person here say, oh, I ran out of stock. And so I gave up completely. I’m never going to sell on Amazon anymore. Oh, my shipping took too long. You know what? I’m not going to sell on Amazon anymore. You heard her say, you know what, I’m going all in with five products that are going to cost like $20,000 each. I mean, this is great. Noemi’s launching more products. This is the kind of attitude guys make in the Amazon world. It’s not your education level or your IQ or anything. It’s what kind of work ethic you have as an entrepreneur. And so please guys, take a lesson from these three. I can’t even call them new sellers anymore because now they’ve been veterans almost for a year. So, take a page out of their book. And I want to have you guys on the podcast next and feature some more success stories like this. So again, you three, thank you so much for joining and absolutely, we want to hear from you guys in 2022.
Chris: Thanks, Bradley.
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