#285 – Bradley’s Pakistan Trip Recap Plus Three Amazon Seller Stories
Did you know that not all e-commerce professionals from Pakistan are virtual assistants? Some of them are seven-figure Amazon sellers too! Fresh from his trip, Bradley shares his first-hand experiences about their hospitality, food, culture, and their burning passion for e-commerce.
He also had the opportunity to interview three Pakistani sellers: Saleha Jumani, Khurram Khalid, and Furrukh Malik, who are all teachers and students of the game. Listen to their stories on how they got started in e-commerce, how they have each adapted to the challenges of selling on Amazon overseas, and their strategies for how to find opportunities and succeed in this excellent endeavor.
In episode 285 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Saleha, Khurram, and Furruk discuss:
- 1:30 – All About Pakistan And Its Huge Passion For E-commerce
- 4:24 – How Infrastructure & Training Created An E-commerce Movement In Pakistan
- 6:45 – E-commerce Provides Lucrative Opportunities For The People In Pakistan
- 9:37 – Saleha’s Journey In The E-commerce World
- 12:00 – What Is Saleha’s Criteria When Doing Keyword And Product Research?
- 15:00 – How Did Saleha’s Product Listing Get Visibility Without Spending Too Much?
- 17:50 – Analyzing A Gap In The Market And Adding Value
- 20:00 – How The Helium 10 Academy Helped Saleha On Her First Amazon Venture
- 22:00 – How Khurram Started In The E-commerce Industry
- 24:00 – What Are Khurram’s Criteria For Finding Opportunities On Amazon?
- 26:20 – Selling Products That Are Lower In Price To “Learn The Process”
- 28:00 – Learning New Techniques For Amazon Selling
- 28:45 – Making Almost $1,000,000 Each On Both Amazon US And EU Marketplaces in 2021
- 32:00 – Khurram’s Student From Pakistan Made $9,000,000 In 2020 Sales!
- 34:30 – Furrukh’s Journey In E-commerce, Plus How He Lost $35,000 His First Time Selling On Amazon
- 37:00 – Why Doing Product Research Is Critical Before Launching
- 38:13 – Bouncing Back And The Road To $3,000,000 In Sales
- 39:00 – Finding Opportunity Using The Rapid Launch Strategy
- 41:15 – Furrukh’s Favorite Tools In Helium 10
- 43:22 – When Choosing A Product, Always Look At Revenue
- 46:50 – Bradley’s Shoutout For His Awesome Friends In Pakistan
- 48:44 – Which Country Is Bradley Headed To Next?
Bradley Sutton: Today, we’re going to talk to three different sellers from the opposite side of the world and see what we can learn from their experiences. And also, I’m going to give you a mini recap of my recent trip to Pakistan, where I got to meet 4,000 people over three days. How cool is that? Pretty cool I think.
Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS-free, unscripted, and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the Amazon and Walmart worlds.
Bradley Sutton: And let me just start this episode off by saying As-Salaam-Alaikum. Hello to everybody out there, especially to all my brothers and sisters over there in Pakistan who just welcomed me with open arms in my trip last month over there. So, today in this episode, we’re going to talk to a few of those people that I was able to meet and to see what we can learn. And I’m sure some of this, some of the facts that we’re going to go over might surprise you to see because I think there’s this like kind of stereotype out there that, you know, all of the e-commerce professionals from Pakistan are all virtual assistants, but that by no means is the case.
Bradley Sutton: So we’re going to talk to a few different sellers and see what we can learn. And let me just give you a quick recap though. Because there’s some important things I want to really get across to everybody out there because– Let me tell you one thing, you know, when people first found out that I was going to go to Pakistan, the initial reaction was like, what in the world? Like, why are you going there? So it’s like, people have this stereotype. They think that, or they get it confused. You know, like when they think Pakistan, they’re thinking of like maybe Afghanistan or Kabul, or they think that, you know, there’s just terrorists all over the place and there’s tents and it’s all desert and it’s, you know, no Wi-Fi and that’s not the country. You know Pakistan is a very advanced you know, country, you know, the cities, there are just like any cities in any major city, you know, you got Wi-Fi amazing restaurants and great infrastructure.
Bradley Sutton: And the main thing though, is a huge passion for e-commerce. So, first of all, again, guys, this is a beautiful country. If you guys have the chance to get there, I highly recommend it. It’s not easy, especially if you’re American, it took me like a month to get approved for a visa to go there. But if you have the opportunity to go, it’s a beautiful country. The most hospitality I’ve ever had in my life. And especially in Islamabad, it was really beautiful. Like the you know, there’s a lot of trees out there, beautiful mountains, the food in Karachi was amazing. And then the welcome and the horror was just next level. So I got there at four in the morning when I arrived and I was expecting, you know, like two, three people maybe in the airport to greet me because it was in the middle of the night, you know, I couldn’t help it. That was the time of the flight. But no, there was like 20 people at four in the morning. They threw flowers on me when I got there, it was kind of embarrassing. I was like, I’m not a celebrity guys what’s going on here. And they gave me like this vest made of real money and like kind of like these Hawaiian lay kind of like type things. And they took me in a horse and carriage to the hotel. There was a show of dancing horses. Like I was like, “horses can dance? Like,what?” You know what I mean? And guys, this was at four in the morning, so I don’t even know what kind of reception I would have had if I had come like in the middle of the day, you know, at a normal time.
Bradley Sutton: So, I was just blown away from step one and definitely shout out to Saquib. Who’s the, you know, he’s been on the podcast before. He’s the head of the Enablers over there who was able to, you know, pretty much host all of the events. And it was really amazing to see the, the passion for e-commerce over there. So I did three events in three days, Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. And at every event, there was over a thousand people. One of the events, even had 1,500 people standing room only. A lot of the people there are yes, virtual assistants, you know, they’re service providers for Amazon sellers in Europe and in the US. Maybe they manage PPC, they do product research, things like that. But there’s a big number of people also who are selling on Amazon themselves, and even a lot of factories, manufacturers were also in attendance there. And so those, that was kind of like the makeup of the of the attendees.
Bradley Sutton: And it’s really interesting the infrastructure that the enablers have created over there. They have 26 physical offices in the country where they’re doing like daily trainings to people over there who want to learn how to sell on Amazon. I mean, that’s kind of insane when you think about, we don’t have that in Europe or United States. Like Helium 10, you know, we’re the biggest company out there in the Amazon space. We don’t even have one like physical office where we have people able to come in, they’ve got 26 offices that tens of thousands of people a month are visiting in order to learn about Amazon. Really great to see the movement that they’re doing. They got the government involved. And because of that, you know, they were able to get approved as a country to sell on Amazon before, if there’s anybody from Pakistan who want to sell an Amazon, they had to use an address like in Europe or in the US which many don’t have.
Bradley Sutton: So, they finally got approved this summer. And so we’re definitely seeing a big boom over there in e-commerce and that was one of the reasons why I wanted to go, I had done this contest last year. I was like, “Hey guys if X number of people do this, I’m going to guarantee that in 2021, I’m going to Pakistan”. Sure enough, they came through. So I was like, Hey, I’m going to go through. But even if it wasn’t for that, I probably would have gone because I’ve always wanted to go there. And it just kind of just like, you know, set my own eyes in person on this movement, that’s going over there. So it was really great to see everybody. I was able to meet a lot of people like Salman who has been on the podcast before, Saquib who I mentioned as well.
Bradley Sutton: And it was just great to meet everybody in person, you know, for the first time, and just to see like how crazy they are about e-commerce. And they’re so, I mean, again, I cannot just stress the hospitality was insane, every single step of the way over there. Never, you know, I felt completely safe, you know never felt threatened or dangerous or anything like that. So again, I highly recommend to anybody else to go out there and, you know, look up the Enablers and maybe you can meet up with them over there. I was also, you know, I wanted to give a special shout out to Abdul. He’s a Helium 10 Elite member who used to come to our Helium 10 Elite workshops in California. I got to see him again. I had obviously met him in person before, but I got to see him. He was actually out there in Pakistan at the same time I was. So it was great to meet him.
Bradley Sutton: Now, what can we learn, you know, from what’s going on over there? Well, first of all, is that, you know, these are people who are hungry for e-commerce because in that country, like many, many countries in the world. The traditional jobs that you can do, if you don’t have a big education, or even if you do is not that great, you know, a lot of countries out there, you know, you can only make 2, 3, 4, $500 a month, but, you know, with Amazon, even as a service provider, you can make a lot more than that. And it’s something that’s, you know, a lot more fun to do than the jobs you could be doing for two, three, $400 a month over there.
Bradley Sutton: So if you’re living in a country, you know, even if it’s not Pakistan. If you’re living in the Philippines. If you’re living in Mexico. If you’re living in a country where maybe the opportunities aren’t that much, and you’re listening to this podcast, because you’re interested in e-commerce, you know, guys, you know, take a look at what is happening over there in Pakistan and get some inspiration because there’s people there who maybe before, we’re only making two, $300 a month and they’re making thousands of dollars a month now. So, I highly recommend anybody who’s out there who hasn’t gotten into Amazon yet. You know, whether you want to become a seller or you want to be a service provider or a virtual assistant look into it there’s tons and tons of success stories that people in Pakistan are having.
Bradley Sutton: Again, if there’s manufacturers out there too, so, you know, if we’re talking textiles or different things, you know, take a look. On Alibaba, there’s a lot of companies, factories in Pakistan that you can, you can get some really good quality stuff that they gave me tons of gifts. It was, we had to buy two extra suitcases just to take back all these gifts that they gave me. And a lot of really cool high quality stuff like these genuine leather jackets and iPad covers made of leather. It’s really great quality stuff. So if that’s the kind of niche that you’re looking into, you know, take a look at some of the factories in Pakistan. If you might be able to manufacture. Anyways, let’s actually get right now into some interviews. You know, again, I feel that people think that everybody in Pakistan is virtual assistants, that’s not the case. We’ve got some big sellers we’re going to talk to now. And they’ve got some cool stories. Let’s see what we can learn from them. And let’s see, we can take take home for our own business. You know, from the information that they’re gonna give. So let’s go ahead and hop into it.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Our guest that we have now is Saleha, who I met in person in Pakistan just a few weeks ago, but I have met her online before. And she was part of a program where, you know, some people were getting certified in Helium 10, but I never really got the complete details of your story. So, you know, same question I’m asking everybody else. How did you get introduced to e-commerce? Is Amazon your first venture into e-commerce or you had done things before?
Saleha: Yes, e-commerce, Amazon this is my very first venture before that I had absolutely no idea. I was not into this at all. So, I just generally started one day I was going through you know, Facebook and an ad popped up for Enablers. I wasn’t actually sure. What was that? And then I just joined from there. I did a course for private label, and then just from there, it was like, you know, a rapid fire of everything, one thing led on to another, I was having a very good job. I had a stable income, but I just realize that I am not a 9 to 5 job person. I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t something that was suited my– the way I was. So I quit that after three months of extensive training with enablers, and then I had a good grip on product hunting, on Helium 10, and how do things work? And then gradually, I just saw myself quitting from my main job and then I started FBA. There were a lot of challenges..
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Now, when you first started doing your product research, looking for, you know, like you had made the decision, you’re going to start selling on Amazon, like what month in 2021?
Saleha: Okay, so my training started in October. It ended by December 2020. So, by the time I had a product in my hand, I was done with the sampling. I chose the supplier, but then all of a sudden it was just like the market for that product crashed on Amazon US. And I’m glad I didn’t invest at that time. And then I had to start over again. I was like, “Okay, no problem. We’ll start again from January”. As soon as the holiday season was over, it took me a month to find a great product. I started sourcing for another one that my teachers and everybody approved, and I realized it’s a very good product. So, we started again in February. It took me 15 days to finalize the supplier, but yes. So, I think I was done with sourcing by June, June 25th, 26th. The whole process production inspection, everything was done. And my product was launched on August 4th on the Amazon, US market.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, was that your second product? Or that was your first product?
Saleha: Hunted. It was my second product, because the first one was just a big fail.
Bradley Sutton: But you never actually launched it and ordered it and things?
Saleha: No, I am glad I didn’t go for mass production because the market for that product crashed completely. You just, all the stats that were there was on the Helium 10 Xray. They just changed all of a sudden after holiday season.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So then what was your criteria on, how did you find the product that you eventually did launch? Like, what were you doing in Helium 10? Or what were you doing in Amazon or what you were doing in Etsy, or how did you find that product?
Saleha: I did a keyword research from Blackbox. I did a keyword research from there. I put some criteria even the criteria that we just discussed on the Enablers seminar that we discussed there, it was about show me the competitors that have this is the amount of reviews. This is amount of revenue that they’re making 150 competitors. So at three to four competitors that are making around a $5,000 of revenue at as minimum as 150 reviews, I did that technique. I categorized a bit of category that I wanted to look in home and kitchen, home and decor, patio, lawn, and garden, these types of things. So once that was done, I looked at a few keywords. Then I extracted that keyword into Amazon and run an Xray on it. So my criteria was that I need to hunt a product that has over 15,000 or 20,000 search volume.
Saleha: According to Helium 10, the reviews should be around somewhere around 400 to 800. The average BSR should be, you know, less than 35,000 or 40,000. Every salary, you know, the top 10 should make somewhere around $10,000 to $20,000. So once that met all the criteria realized that, okay, I think this is good. But I also did a backend keyword so that it should not only be ranked on one keyword, but a lot of them. So I check that if the other keywords like you know, for example, we say that we just named one product, for example, let’s say ice cream scoop for ice creams, ice cream, scoop around one, something like that. So two or three keywords, they all have a very good search volume. That was my criteria to select it. So once that was done, I went on to sourcing.
Saleha: But then again, because I had a very bad experience with the first one, even the whole time I was sourcing my mass production was going on, I would, again and again, you know, every 10 to 15 days, I would go back to Xray and check again on Helium 10, is the product still viable? Am I still able to do it or not? So, yes, the whole time it was going well. And then when my product was launched, I actually had a very big issue. The problem was that the day my vessel had to leave from China, there was a quarantine on the port and my vessel was staying there for 1.5 month. So that was a big problem that I faced. So my launch was like two months late. So I launched on August 4th and within..
Bradley Sutton: How many units in your first order? From the supplier.
Bradley Sutton: And so you were able to send it all directly to Amazon?
Saleha: Yes. Amazon gave me a level of 1000 units.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, all right. So then you, you launched it, you got eight hundreds in, and,
Saleha: And we were selling 30 units per day. 30-35 units.
Bradley Sutton: How did you get the visibility in the beginning? Like, did you do you know, just heavy PPC? Did you do some kind of like search find buy campaign, Facebook ads? What were you doing?
Saleha: Okay. Honestly, I just targeted that I’m going to do an aggressive PPC. Reason being, I had confidence in my product. I did a complete different branding of my product. It was not just a generic product. I applied for IP accelerator, everything was there. I had a video ad and the most important thing was my main image was pretty attractive. Like if you see a category, if you, if you start, if you search a word, my product was very visible. Like one has to, you know the eye will attract you. Like, you will definitely look at that product. My packaging was different. It was very attractive. Like a person has to come and click my product, but I think it was not just the PPC. It was my optimized listing as well. The images were pretty good. That’s why I guess.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. So, so what got you to page one of your listings was only PPC?
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And so in your, I mean, has it been, it’s been a full 30 days since you launched, so like, what was your gross revenue in those first 30 days?
Saleha: Gross revenue is $19,000.
Bradley Sutton: So are you going to run out soon?
Saleha: I just did yesterday.
Bradley Sutton: or you just did run out. So then, like, did you already have an order in, or you haven’t ordered yet?
Saleha: It’s on the way.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. All right. Well, that’s pretty cool. So like what, you know, since you didn’t spend all too much on your launch, like what of that $19,000, what was your estimated gross profit?
Saleha: I estimate a gross profit was 36%.
Bradley Sutton: 36%?
Bradley Sutton: Are you sure? Even like, you know, considering your PPC costs and import fees, and all that stuff.
Saleha: The import fees, yeah. PPC I’d say no. My ACoS dropped to 8%. The whole total TACoS dropped to 8% when I optimized it completely. And my ACoS was around 21% but my TACoS was 8%. So I think I was roughly making a 25% profit even after excluding my PPC expenses.
Bradley Sutton: That sounds very good now. Does that mean that, like, did you quit your job, your day job? Or are you still doing that other job?
Saleha: A hundred percent. Yes. just when I launched, I quit my job in February.
Bradley Sutton: So even before you had the success, you were like, you know what, I’m all in and I’m going to go ahead.
Saleha: I’m all in, yes. I think this is one reason why I put my life into that product. Thank you cards, extra gifts, value addition. This is what I did. I analyzed the gap in the market that there is a big gap. There’s so many sellers, we’re not doing a bundle or something like that. So then I realized that why not? I do something different, something that a customer want for the same price as my competitor is selling. Why not? I give them more value to the money. So that that’s, I think what made me, what made the customer shift.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. So was your family like upset with you at all? Like when you quit, like they’re supportive, huh?
Saleha: Oh, pretty supportive. Okay. Yes. No, nobody was upset about it. They were quite happy actually.
Bradley Sutton: Well, that’s pretty good. You know, sometimes people are like, what is this nonsense that you’re trying to do? Give up a stable job for online. Okay, so what’s your goals then? You know obviously you’re trying to get back in stock, but are you going to wait a while and then try and expand your brand, or you’re just going to stick with to other products. Are you going to just stick with this one for the rest of the year? What’s your plans?
Saleha: My current plans are that I’m actually starting in other variation for my product and add different size, so it’s going to be up soon. I think by the end of November, it will be live. Other than that, I have under my company I’ve started another brand into home and decor, and it is like a market with where an average seller is selling the product for like $19 to $20. But I’m kind of doing a test market where I am selling the same kind of product, but with a very beautiful additions and very exclusive premium packaging. I’m trying to do a test market that how about I try to sell the same product with a different branding and everything for $26. So that product is on the way and it’ll be there by Christmas.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Now, you know, that kind of money, the profit that you made you know, I’m not sure how much it’s going to come out to, you know, maybe $3,000-$4,000 or something. That’s a lot of money for one month in Pakistan.
Saleha: Definitely. That has me excited.
Bradley Sutton: Yes. All right. Now you know some people, a lot of people think that Helium 10 Academy is just for people who Hey, we’re going to work for other companies. And that’s true. It is somewhat true. It helps the people who are working for other companies or employees of Amazon companies to get better with Helium 10. But obviously you were planning to go into private label. How do you feel that that going through Academy helped you? Like, did it introduce you to tools that maybe you didn’t even know we had? Or what was your benefit from there?
Saleha: Yes, to be honest, even the other day, when we met, I was telling you that there were a lot of tools that I didn’t explore. Even when I was learning on my own, I didn’t know about a lot of tools. The only one I would use the most was Xray. Just type a keyword, run an Xray that’s it. But when I started creating my listing, when I did, when I joined the Helium 10 Academy, I got to know about Scribbles. I had absolutely no idea. And to be honest, before knowing about Scribbles, I was doing everything manually. I was searching every backend term. And again and again, did I put it or not? Is it there or not? What are the keywords that are remaining? And I had to actually manually count all the number of letters that you can add 200 bytes, every single thing. So by that time I– this helped me a lot, this thing, Frankenstein and the most, I think I own a big amount of my success to Cerebro for the keywords it extracted for me because of that, on my competitors’ keyword, I’m ranked in top 10 on all of them.
Bradley Sutton: Congratulations on your success. And, and, you know, maybe we can reach out to you next year and let’s see how many products you got and what kind of revenue you’re doing because your first week obviously is pretty impressive. So thank you for joining us. And we’ll definitely keep in contact.
Bradley Sutton: All right guys, we’ve got now Khurram here. Who is, are you actually based in Lahore? Is it?
Khurram: Yes, I am based in Lahore.
Bradley Sutton: Okay, excellent. So, you know we hung out a lot when I was there in Pakistan, thank you for that and everything you did as far as part of that trip, but you know, when we were together, we didn’t really talk too much about what you do. So first of all, just how did you get started in e-commerce was Amazon your first venture into e-commerce?
Khurram: I know I started with eBay and because I was already doing shoe manufacturing business, so I thought, why not sell these shoes to international market and started exploring how I can do that. So I did it through eBay and once I found out that.
Bradley Sutton: eBay in the United States?
Khurram: Yeah, eBay in the United States, yes. So then I started off, but it didn’t go pretty well because there were so many variations, there was so much dead stock. So I was having a lot of tough times. So then I came across that there is Enablers coming into Pakistan who was having a seminar saying that “Yes, you can sell on Amazon from Pakistan as well”. At that time, Saquib was training himself who is the CEO of Enablers. And I did training from him. And then I started my private label in US with Pakistani products.
Bradley Sutton: This was a product that you were already manufacturing, or did you just start from scratch and you launched it on Amazon?
Khurram: No, I started from scratch because the product that I was already manufacturing, I had so many design variation, size variation. So I didn’t want to do that because it was already, I realized from eBay that this is not something that I should do. So once I saw that there is some kind of a criteria also that we have to follow and I should do something with, within that criteria. I don’t want to go beyond that. I don’t want to risk my investment on something that I’m already doing. So I went into the products that fell into the criteria.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. And what’s like you know, I know you, you guys teach your students different criteria and obviously things change on Amazon year by year. You know, what you did in 2018 or 2019 is probably different than, than today. But like let’s say today, you know, now you train people over there on how to find opportunity. What what are your standards for opportunity of how you teach your students on, you know, what signifies opportunityin the US at least?
Khurram: Basically at that time, the competition was wasn’t that high. It was high, but not that high. And what we were doing at that time was just to see what’s selling well, and just copy that product and start selling. But basically we needed to reinvent the wheel. That was the main concept. But right now we can’t do that. There is so much competition on Amazon already so what we teach right now is to add value.
Bradley Sutton: But not copy completely. Don’t tell me you were copying 100%, these products. Exactly, get the idea and differentiate a little bit, right?
Khurram: Yes. Differentiate, add value to the customer. How will your buyer buy your product with zero reviews or 10 reviews or 20 reviews in comparison to somebody who has hundreds of reviews. So if you don’t add value, if you don’t differentiate, what’s the benefit you’re bringing to the customer. So that’s what we are focusing right now. And something else that we focus more on is to launch small price products not going to something that costs you a lot of money in the start. So try to learn the process first, once you’ve learned the process, then yes, you can go into products that are highly priced, but initially try to find something that you can do. The sourcing prices low, selling prices low, that’s mainly we are focusing right now
Bradley Sutton: On like, what, what price range
Khurram: Somewhere around like $7.99 to maybe $13.99- $14.99
Bradley Sutton: Really? I actually did an actual full case study where I launched a whole bunch of like straws is product part of Project 5K, just to prove that I could, you know, so there’s actually products I have, that’s like even like $6, $7, and $8, but, you know because of fees and shipping, like the profit margins are kind of low, but are you saying that, you know, even still at that lower price range you are able to, to, to make decent profit?
Khurram: No. The basic point here is not to make profit. Initially the main point is to learn the process first. If we run after the profits, then definitely we look something that is like selling $40 and sourcing for like $5 – $7. But the main issue is that we will be so much deep down the investment that we won’t be able to come out of it.
Bradley Sutton: Good point. Yeah, I like that. You know that’s what I did with Project 5K. Now, obviously I know how to sell on Amazon, but I just did it to kind of like prove a point, but I like that, you know, there’s people out there who are like, man, you know, I can’t save that much money, you know, and I’m not just talking about people in Pakistan, you know, even in America, there’s people, “Hey, I only have $2,000 or $5,000 or $6,000. I don’t want to put it all into a product”. And then maybe it’s, since this is my first try, it might not do very well. I want to get my feet wet to learn the process. Well, hey guys, if you’re going for a product that’s $7 or $8, you know, it probably costs you less than a dollar.
Bradley Sutton: You know, the actual, just manufacturing costs and then you got shipping, but worst case scenario, you’re not, you know, I don’t think you’re going to lose too much if any money at such a low price. And it’s a great way to get experience. I like that now, you know, your time, is it a, what would you say, 50-50, you know, doing training to other people and then your own Amazon business, or is it almost all training now? Is it mostly your Amazon business? How has the split, as far as your time goes?
Khurram: Mainly everything has gone to the virtual assistants who handle my account, but mainly I am focusing more on the training. So maybe 70 to 80% on the trainings and 20 to 30% on Amazon account now.
Bradley Sutton: Oh. But you’re still running the accounts. You just have, you just have a team who’s doing like the day to day on it?
Khurram: Yes. I do see anything in the world. I don’t think they can only do the training and not do Amazon. How would you learn something new? The only way to learn is to keep selling yourself also. It’s not just the students that are selling. You should sell it yourself also. If I don’t do that, I don’t learn new things. I don’t learn new techniques. How do you launch, how do you rank products? I need to be in the game.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Yeah. I mean, that’s why I sell on Amazon too. So for your accounts though, that you own regardless if you’re the main one working on, or you have a team it’s still you, like, what do you think your projected sales are for once 2021 is finished?
Khurram: For the US market, I would say somewhere around $1,000,000 and the whole European market, somewhere close to a million, maybe I’m projecting.
Bradley Sutton: Oh wow, okay. So you’re like two times seven-figure seller. I like it. Now, is this still 100% made in Pakistan or are you also do made in China now?
Khurram: It’s not a hundred percent now, you can say it’s 70 to 80% made in Pakistan now, and 20 to 30% Chinese products.
Bradley Sutton: How do you decide where you’re going to manufacture you know, between Pakistan and China?
Khurram: So mainly because Pakistani cotton industry is very rich, leather industries very rich industry. So both of these industries have good products. So because Pakistan is one of the biggest producers of cotton. So whenever I come across product, that is a cotton based product, or maybe a blend of cotton and polyester. And there is cotton mainly involved in it. Then I would definitely think that I need to do this product from Pakistan, but if it is a hundred percent polyester or spandex or mix in the textile industry, then I would definitely go for a Chinese product.
Bradley Sutton: The quality I know on some of these cotton and other textiles are better in Pakistan. But what about price compared to China? Like, is it similar in price? Is it less, is it more,
Khurram: It’s definitely less, it’s less than China.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. What would you say to somebody who’s interested? You know, like you cannot, you know, maybe Pakistan is not the place to make a wooden coffin shelf, you know, probably China might be better, but, you know, somebody wants to make a leather jacket. Somebody wants to make a cotton bag or a face mask or there’s, you know, one of these textiles that, you know, Pakistan is known for, how do I go about finding a supplier? Is it only Alibaba that I can look for Pakistani suppliers? Or are there other websites I can look for?
Khurram: And you can go to Alibaba. That’s the main platform where you can hunt for the suppliers, but you can definitely go on Google. And most of these manufacturers have their own presence, their own websites as well. So somebody who can just go and search for them and negotiate with them. I know there might not be traded short on something that you have security on Alibaba. Yeah, but they are big manufactured and they’re already doing business, but you just need to check whether they are already doing business with big brands in US or European market or not, but you can definitely find out by doing some basic research. It doesn’t need some kind of special skills to see if this factory or this manufacturer is already selling to maybe Walmart or not maybe to Amazon or not. So it’s not that hard to find out, but yes, you can go on Alibaba as well. But definitely apart from Alibaba, they do have their own online presence because they are already not just providing stuff to Amazon sellers, but they are very big manufacturers and exporters to the big business, the B2B sellers as well. So somebody like Walmart or Amazon already who’s selling
Bradley Sutton: What is something I’m sure that when you’re, you know, that your students have a success, they probably are very happy and they tell you about it. So is there one story that maybe really sticks out in your mind?
Khurram: So the basic concept that everybody might have that Pakistanis or only have virtual assistants, but no, we have a lot of sellers as well because I’ve trained a lot of sellers as well. So lately this, one of my student who has been selling on Amazon has got sales of in 2020, he got sales of $9,000,000.
Bradley Sutton: This was somebody you trained? Yeah and they did $9 million of sales?
Khurram: Yes, they did.
Bradley Sutton: How does that make you feel that they beat you?
Khurram: Yeah, I feel, I can’t even explain that feeling, how incredible I feel. It’s not that he has beaten my sales, but it’s something to be proud of that someone from Pakistan when Amazon wasn’t even in the approved countries list, it just gotten approved on 22nd May 2021, but somebody selling before that and has seen some such success that they have gotten. And even I have trained a few of the virtual assistants as well, who are making like $3000, $4,000 a month, which is a huge success. Huge money if you convert it to Pakistani rupees, it’s huge money for them. So that is success for us, for me, for Enablers, for our company, that how we’ve trained them and they are making good money out of it. So definitely. Yes.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Well Khurram, thank you so much again for coming on here and it was great to meet you and next time in Pakistan look forward to seeing you again.
Khurram: Thank you so much, Bradley for inviting me on the podcast and definitely we look forward to host you again.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Now, how can people find you on the interwebs out there if they wanna, you know, talk to you, reach out to you and get some advice or anything?
Khurram: They can definitely reach out to me on my Facebook. It’s facebook.com/khurramkhalid1 so they can always go to my Facebook and send me a message.
Bradley Sutton: All right. This guest, his name is Furrukh. I met him on stage for the first time, I think. What was it in? Was it in Karachi that we first met when you came up to the stage or was that no, that was Lahore.
Furrukh: That was Lahore, yeah.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah so anyways, I know a little bit about your history, but not too much. So can you just tell me, like, where did your journey start in e-commerce?
Furrukh: I actually started with the eBay in 2017. So then eventually I saw Amazon in front of my eyes on the internet. And then I started digging it up in 2018, start initially.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, one thing I’m not sure if it’s you. I’ve heard so many stories since I’ve been there and sometimes they get people confused, but was it you who like when you first started, you lost big time money before you actually hit some success?
Furrukh: Oh yes, that’s right. I actually started with a product on Amazon USA and to my surprise, it started selling without any giveaway, without any, you know, too much PPC, exact or without any affiliate marketing or without any you know these influencers or any sort of strategy. It was just an auto campaign and it was working really fine for me. The first day I got 30 orders and it was like, boom! I should have done it before. That’s as easy, as simple as ABC. So the orders kept increasing and it was like 50 orders, 40 orders a day in the very first 20-30 days of my selling. That was a really good feeling. So, I heard from mentors and others on YouTube and all platforms that if you go out of stock in private label, that’s suicide, right?
Furrukh: So you don’t have to go out of stock. So I was worried that I actually ordered initially 2000 units only, and they were selling like 20, 30, 40, 50 a day. So I was like, gosh, I’m going to go out of stock very soon. So what I did, I actually ordered 5,000 units as per I was selling them. You know, I just projected that my inventory will take another one and a half month to reach Amazon warehouse. And in that scenario, I should, I should not be ordering anything less than 5,000 units. So I ordered a lot of units and that was all together. It would the ones I had already in Amazon warehouse and the one I ordered the new inventory, it almost worth $35,000 US Dollars. And after, you know, one and a half month almost, you know, 40 days, there was a day when there were only two orders.
Furrukh: I was like, excuse me? What happened? I did not do the research work very deeply. I would have to say that. Just for the newcomers who are listening to this, they must understand that you should, you must do the hard work of research before you launch a product. That’s what I did not in my first launch. Yeah when I dig it out more, I found that I actually chose the wrong product, which was back to school and it was trendy and seasonal. Okay. It was, let me tell you the name of that product as well. It was reusable ziploc bags for sandwich bags or reusable snack bags. We have so many keywords for that. You might’ve heard about that.
Bradley Sutton: We’re looking at the numbers, like what, like in August or September, and you’re like, oh my goodness, this is crazy.
Furrukh: I did not see that it was back to school and only, you know, people get it for the children when they’re going back to school. So they buy it in bulk and all that. At that time, there was not liquidation service by Amazon, which they have recently started. So it was only charity and dispose. So I chose charity and I did $35,000 worth of inventory charity and like an hour. I just collected and it was gone.
Bradley Sutton: So what’s your projected sales for 2021 across the different Amazon platforms?
Furrukh: Yeah by the end of the year, shouldn’t be anything less than 3 million, I believe.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Excellent. And is your biggest marketplace? US or UK?
Furrukh: UK actually.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. Interesting. All right, cool. When you talk to students, what is your criteria for choosing or identifying opportunity?
Furrukh: First of all, I actually initiated a strategy one and a half year back in Enablers and which is very much popular now. And every second guy, even though he’s not my student was any other mentor, student Enablers, they’re using that as well. And so many, even if you are a few of our competitors also use that’s called rapid launch. Now, what does that mean? Now rapid launch is a strategy where you actually purchase or buy the inventory from the same country, rather than China or Pakistan or some other country. Right. For example, if you’re selling in UK, you need to buy the product from UK, from any wholesaler. Who’s getting the inventory from China in bulk. You know what I mean? They get, cause you will be– we usually source from Alibaba.
Furrukh: Okay or maximum one 160w.com right? But we don’t, 90% of Amazon sellers do not physically go to China to those factories. They are not on Alibaba. So my perspective is that it is an open ground for anyone to come. So there’s a lot of competition on Alibaba and very less opportunity for good sourcing. That’s what I mean. But when big wholesalers from UK or US, when they buy inventory from China, they don’t buy from Alibaba today. They go to China themselves, they dig out the best and you know, the most economical and price competitive supplier over there. And they buy in bulk from there. So definitely they will be having very good, and competitive sourcing price than us right? So all we need to do is to find a very good wholesaler, which is definitely very hard to find online.
Bradley Sutton: How are they finding it locally?
Furrukh: How do we find them locally?
Bradley Sutton: Yeah.
Furrukh: Okay there are two, there are two ways of finding it for me actually. Number one is we have e-source.co.uk. It’s a very good website where you have to go subscription and they give you very good wholesalers. Number one. And number two, we have I personally have few individuals in UK who work for me and they actually find you know, local wholesalers for few products for rapid launches. And that’s the way we work actually. And that’s really folks for them and we are going for us now and we’re going for Japan. We are going for Germany. We already started Germany. We’re going for US. And we’re going for Japan in future, hopefully. Okay.
Bradley Sutton: Now, you know, at Helium 10 I know you use the Helium 10 a lot. We’ve launched a lot of products or a lot of tools, I should say, over the last year, any favorite tools that you and or your students have found success with?
Furrukh: Oh, Cerebro and Scribbles. They are just love. I mean, you have no idea what they do. The other day I was sitting and I was watching Cerebro, and I was trying to find some new thing in there. So, I just ended up with a strategy of PPC when we launch a product and we launch an exact campaign with most relevant keywords on which your top 10 ASINs are ranked. Okay. All of them are ranked on. So how do we find those keywords, which are good in search volume, like 2000 plus, right? And also they are ranked all the top 10 ASINs are ranked, those keywords. So how do we find those best keywords? So I was watching Cerebro and I found a way in there. So there are so many things you can do with Cerebro and Scribbles.
Furrukh: And obviously Frankenstein is an amazing compiler and as a whole, recently Adtomic has been added to Helium 10. And that is a true beauty. I mean, honestly the problems we have while managing PPC is sometimes really a pain in the head. So honestly it has made my day and Adtomic has given me a lot of amazing results. So now my PPC is fully automated and I’m using not Adtomic. And so are my students.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. All right. One thing we do on this show is we call it the TST 30-second tip. What’s something that maybe you can say in like 30 seconds or less, that’s a kind of unique strategy for Amazon or Helium 10 or whatever.
Furrukh: Okay. I’ll be, I’ll be going with Amazon actually a 30-second tip, I would say to everyone to please concentrate on revenues, whenever you’re trying to choose a product, whats it’s revenues, if the revenues are good, do not worry about the competition, because if the revenues are good, there is a probability of having sales for every seller out there. But if the revenues are not good, even though the reviews are less, you wouldn’t be having sales anyway because I personally believe that you know, expanding revenues for any product in any market is impossible, but you know, competing with any seller is possible. I’ll take an example. For example, it’s, it’s totally impossible to sell of a vegtable which is hot selling in Pakistan to sell that in USA, right? Because the market is not ready for it.
Furrukh: They don’t like it. Right? So you can’t enhance the sales of something, which is not being sold on Amazon already. Okay. But you can compete a listing or a seller or a bunch of sellers or list of sellers or a niche with high revenues of competition. How we can take example of Nokia. There was a time back in 2002 and 2001 when mobiles, GSM mobiles came in. So there was only one word in the world that was Nokia. Everyone had Nokia 3310 Nokia3210. There was, there was Nokia, Nokia everywhere. But all of a sudden, eventually Apple came and it took over and then Samsung came it over Apple and then whoever came in, took over everything. So there’s always a room for new seller, but you need to see that there shall be room for that product in that particular market. It shouldn’t be like that you are running after low revenues and low reviews or low competition do not bring about the competition. If you have a good product, good design and quality conscious approach, then there shouldn’t be any problem. And obviously a good budget for ranking as well. But do not worry about low reviews or high views, always care about revenues and you shall be watching the revenues of that product. That’s what I believe.
Bradley Sutton: All right. Cool, Excellent. You know I guess in Pakistan, 30 seconds means a lot different than over here. But that was still good stuff so I didn’t cut you up. All right. If people want to reach out to you or find you out there, how can they find you?
Furrukh: Well, they can find me on my Facebook messenger, they can send me a message and my profile is there. And they can send me a message. No problem.
Bradley Sutton: Alright. And can you spell your first and last name so they can find,
Furrukh: Yeah, that’s Furrukh Malik. It’s F U R R U K H M A L I K. So they can go to Enablers by e-commerce group I’m there, or they can find me. And you can also, you know, list my Facebook profile in this podcast and they shall be able to approach me if they want.
Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Thanks a lot. It was great like I said, to meet you in person and I hope to see you again there in Pakistan.
Bradley Sutton: All right, guys, hope you enjoy these interviews. And this recap of my trip, I can’t wait to go back to Pakistan again, and it’s going to be definitely going to be a good time. I don’t think anything can top that first trip. I look forward to it. So, you know, I only was able to interview three people here because there’s just not enough time in an episode to really go talk to people. But I wanted to give, you know, shout outs to some people I met, some of them I’ve known for a while, and then you guys can look them up online too. Don’t forget to go to enablers.org or look for the e-commerce enablers group on Facebook, a million people in that group almost and enablers.org, you can find a lot of these individuals, if you want to hire them, but I need to give shout outs to, you know, my friends Bilaal and Fassil, Seshat, Miriam and her sister Mono, you know, Mono has got this Facebook group, you know for women they’re trying to train on, e-commerce called women do wonders. I believe it’s called Maimuna. She’s on LinkedIn. Maimuna look her up. She’s actually a virtual assistant that she helps. She has an agency actually that helps both Amazon and Walmart sellers, my friend, Zainab Rose. You think that, you know, the salary and regular salary in Pakistan is you know, maybe, Hey, I’m just going to spend $10 and get a listing. I mean, no they’ve got really high quality virtual assistants there too.
Bradley Sutton: You know, Zainab Rose is a copywriter. She makes up two, three, $400 on listings because she she’s done over 4,000 different jobs over the last 10 years. So she’s another person to look into. You can see her website at zainabrose.com. You know, I got to meet her for the first time. I hadn’t met her before and everybody else, you know, there’s tons of people that, you know, I’m just forgetting everybody’s names. I’m sorry, but you can find most of them in the Enablers Facebook groups. So anyways guys, hope you were able to learn something from this episode. Maybe get inspired for your own business, or maybe inspired to go work with somebody from Pakistan. But anyways thank you so much again, to all of you who listened and who played a role in my trip over there I appreciate it and look forward to seeing again.
Bradley Sutton: And where in the world am I going to next? Actually, I’m going to be going to Frankfurt, Germany coming up in October. So if you guys are going to the White Label Expo, make sure to reach out and I’ll do a Helium 10 social there, go into the Helium 10 Facebook group on Facebook and look for some information on a social I’m doing like around October. I want to say October 12th, I’m going to be doing a mini social and Frankfurt there. So anyways, let’s see where the next country I’ll go to after that. Will see you guys in the next episode.
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