#273 – Mindset and Lifestyle Strategies to Level Up Your Amazon Selling
Last year in this podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Chief Evangelist, Bradley Sutton spoke with Anne Ferris, a former lawyer who left London to open a hostel and soon tripled her salary with an Amazon business. Anne left the world’s top grossing law firm to open a hostel. She was at her limit. Billing 3000 hours a year in between calls to the firm’s emotional support hotline, something had to give.
It did, and after a Google search of “Hostels for sale in Costa Rica,” Anne left London with two suitcases to start a new life in the Costa Rica jungle. Now, in this episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley welcomes Anne Ferris back to talk about how she’s weathered the pandemic, as well as her new work helping entrepreneurs become more resilient, happier human beings.
In episode 273 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Anne discuss:
- 03:45 – How Did Anne Weather the Early Days of the Pandemic?
- 05:15 – Amazon’s Limits Did Have an Effect on Anne’s Business
- 07:45 – Anne’s Own Web-Based Sales Help Maintain Her Momentum
- 09:30 – Hitting the Ground Running with a New Brand
- 13:00 – Building Community with E-Commerce Events
- 15:30 – After Selling Her Hostel, Now Anne is 100% E-Commerce
- 17:30 – “Make Your Dreams Big” – Anne Ferris
- 19:30 – How Anne Moved from Chronic Stress to Where She is Now
- 24:00 – Breathwork is Helping Entrepreneurs Get Out of Their Heads
- 27:30 – It’s Hard to Grow Your Business During Fight or Flight
- 30:00 – What Were Anne’s Big Wins in 2021?
- 32:30 – Concentrating on Lifestyle Photos in Amazon Listings
- 35:45 – Looking Elsewhere for Packaging Ideas
- 38:00 – Anne says “Every Brand Should Have an Ethical Component”
- 39:00 – How Video Tutorials Helped Anne with Her Off-Amazon Marketing
- 42:00 – Make Sure You’re Using Video
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.
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- 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.
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Bradley Sutton: We invited one of our most inspiring guests ever back, Anne Ferris, who’s going to talk about how she’s leveled up over the last year, not just on Amazon, but with some lifestyle and mindset strategies that have transformed her entire outlook. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley Sutton: Did you know that Amazon sometimes loses or damages some of your inventory? Usually, they reimburse you for this, but sometimes they might miss things. That’s where Refund Genie comes in. What Helium 10’s Refund Genie does is we go check out your reports and see if Amazon owes you any money. Then we give you the reports that you need to submit to Amazon so that you can get your money back. If you haven’t run this, you can have hundreds, if not thousands of dollars that Amazon might owe you, especially if you’ve never used this before and you sell a lot on Amazon. So to find out more information, go to h10.me/refundgenie.
Bradley Sutton: Hello, everybody. 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 completely BS-free, unscripted and unrehearsed with organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the Amazon world. We’ve got my sister from another Mister back on the show, Anne Ferris coming to us from Costa Rica. How’s it going, Anne?
Anne: Hi, Bradley. I’m good. Thanks! “Sister from another Mister.” I like that.
Bradley Sutton: I like it. This is not the first time you’ve been on the podcast. If anybody has not heard her first episode, I highly recommend just going ahead and pausing right now and going back, it was probably one of the most popular episodes we’ve had out of 275 episodes here. It’s the number 145. So, go search for that, guys. 145, super, super inspiring story. You don’t know how many messages that I got, Anne, thanking me for having you on the show because people related to what you were saying, about living in the corporate world and then just not finding fulfillment in life, and not seeing the room for the family. The steps that you took to kind of remedy that were really inspiring to a lot of people. So, guys go back to Episode 145. It’s one of those can’t-miss episodes, but we’re not going to go over everything again today that we did there. I definitely want to catch up with you because it’s been like a year and a half since you’ve been on the podcast. And shoot, I think the world has changed just a little bit in the last year and half. Just a little bit, you think, Anne?
Anne: Just a little. I mean, actually I remember exactly where I was doing that podcast because it was a full quarantine lockdown like borders, shut everywhere, all the shops closed. We were fortunate enough to have the option because we were there when everything locked down to stay at this jungle lodge on a working ranch. They closed down and it was just me, my ex, the kids, and the family who owns it and the workers. We were in the middle of the jungle on this farm. I had to sit in one spot to get wifi and I did the podcast. I learned a lot being here. At least the world is a little more open now than it was at that time.
Bradley Sutton: Yes, yes, indeed. Yes, indeed. Now, the people who I’ve been talking to who are Amazon sellers, which obviously most of my guests are Amazon sellers. For a lot of people, sales were really up during the pandemic because the kind of thing that they sold was something that no more people were buying. There were other people who were way down like– you know Cara from the UK?
Anne: Yes. I love Cara.
Bradley Sutton: She was talking about how she was way down, like her sales were way down. What about you with your product line? Did it stay the same? Did it go up last year? Did it go down?
Anne: Well, during 2020, I was still in seven figures, but my sales were a little bit down, but that was mainly due to Amazon. I did not have an essential product. So, there were those few weeks that we were not allowed to send inventory. And then, because of the storage limits, Amazon took six weeks to check in $300,000 of inventory over to shipments. I was out of stock. So, I missed prime day last year. I was out of stock for a long time. Luckily, my product that was my main listing had a lot of historical data. So, thank goodness when I did get my inventory back after prime day, my ranking bounced back really quickly, but I was freaking out because that’s the kind of thing that can kill a business.
Bradley Sutton: Absolutely. So then, have you been affected by any of these other inventory? Because obviously in the last year there have been various different kinds of inventory restrictions that Amazon has been imposing, whether it’s that 200 limit for new items or the overall limit or your IPI minimum went down or now it’s the size tier restrictions which ones has affected you the most, would you say?
Anne: Oh my goodness, Amazon is so annoying this year. Luckily, I have been– this year, my sales are kind of their backups, so they’re higher than they were last year, which is awesome. But yeah, the things that have affected me… The 200 limit storage limit for new products, even though I was launching new products, didn’t hit me too hard because my new products are made in the US, but for my main product, which has a ton of variations that’s made in China. The inventory storage limits are killing me. The thing right now, Bradley, is that they are recommending where it says on the homepage restock/suggested restock, it’s telling me that they’re suggesting on certain SKUs that I restock a thousand units to 1200 units. But I have limited restock, I was only able to send a sea shipment. This is so ridiculous. 500 units because they won’t let me send more. And I was like, oh my God, it’s just, it’s not related to sales data sometimes, but I think all of these challenges, what it does serve to do is make us more resilient, not only more resilient sellers, but more resilient human beings and something that I say all the time to my kids, to my ex, to entrepreneurs is that the main quality, in my opinion, that defines a successful human, successful being happy, fulfilled, great in business and great in life is resiliency. It’s not how smart you are. It’s not how much money you have. It’s not how educated you are. It’s your ability to face challenges and bounce back from those challenges and come back even stronger.
Bradley Sutton: Absolutely.
Anne: I think all of this is reminding us that we really have to keep on top of things. We have to keep our business tight. We have to know exactly where things are and where they’re going. Amazon has also been like losing so much of my inventory. So I have to stay on top of that, make sure they pay me for it. My products are expensive. And I also think it’s very important to have a backup. When you get to the stage that you can, soo for me was like, no, I don’t remember how long, maybe two years ago I built an e-commerce website. It was very basic. I didn’t spend a lot of money on it and it was only for my main product line. But I built a site on Shopify and I did not drive any traffic, right? Like none, but I have a YouTube channel and I do video tutorials and stuff, and that channel is pretty popular. And then I’m also on some lists like baby lists, things like that, for products, for moms like in registries and stuff. So, when I wasn’t able to send things to Amazon, and I was out of stock during the full start of the pandemic. My website orders jumped up and those were a lot cheaper. I wasn’t having to give the Amazon fee. And so I had, that was like, at least meant that I wasn’t losing. I wasn’t making any money during that time.
Bradley Sutton: How were you fulfilling those orders though?
Anne: At that point, I was not using a 3PL and actually, because I wasn’t driving traffic yet, and there weren’t very many orders. This is kind of funny, but my mother is retired and she lives in the US and I had the returns, my products are expensive. And so you have the choice of where to send your Amazon returns. Do you send them to your home or somewhere else, or do you have Amazon destroy them? So, I send them to my mom and the ones that come back. A lot of them come back still in the packaging. So she just repackages, and the ones that are look like they haven’t been used, but they’ve been open. She will wash iron and repackage them. And so she sends those out for me. She’s like has a whole system now. She loves that she gets to be involved in my business since we don’t live close to each other, that kind of, she feels connected. And basically those are Amazon returns. So that’s like money that basically I’m kind of making out of nowhere because otherwise I would just be losing inventory.
Bradley Sutton: That’s so cool. That’s awesome. I didn’t realize you were doing that. So, you said that even during the pandemic though, did you launch a new brand or were you just expanding that core brand that you like, and launching new products there?
Anne: I launched a new line of skincare products under my current brand. And during, over the last year, I have been working in developing a new line of skincare products with a business partner that’s separate and we haven’t launched yet. That product line, we really want to hit the ground running. Whereas with my first Amazon business, it was like, I started with one variation and one, I think my first order was 300 units. And I didn’t have a website or social media yet. I kind of started it right as I was doing my business. Whereas with this new brand, it’s really content focused. That’s going to be kind of educational and fun, and have the product lines. So that one, we’re going to launch a few products all at the same time and have like a great website that has– because we’re focusing a lot on educational content and blogging and podcasting in the social media thing. So, we’re doing that kind of differently, which is like, you start when you’re first starting in business, you do with what you can, right. You grind. And all my stuff was done on Fiverr. It was me sending stuff to two guys on Fiverr. And I did it on an absolute shoestring. Now that I have been in the business for several years and I know what number one, what I think works and what doesn’t, and I have a good feel for customers, but I also know what I like doing as well. And I feel more confident making a bigger investment starting this time because I have the experience. And so, I just feel more confident in that, so that I’m really excited about.
Bradley Sutton: How did you and your partner choose this niche or this line? Is it just something you’re passionate about? And you’re like, Hey, I think we can do this. Or did you use traditional methods and, Hmm, it seems like there’s some opportunity here, because of this or that, or how did you guys land upon this new niche?
Anne: Well, Bradley, I’m a bit of a rebel. I never do anything the way I’m supposed to do it. And actually it’s a fun story. So, my business partner is the husband of someone I’ve known in the Amazon world for a long time, Brendan Pedit. So, I knew Brendan from, we went to China together and he knew this new line of skincare products. I really have a passion for natural, organic skincare for women. And we were going on a retreat in Mexico and he said, “You’ve got to talk to my wife about this stuff. She loves it.” Actually, they weren’t married. Then he proposed on that trip, which was sweet. So, I met her and we just bonded immediately and totally fell in love. She told me of this idea for a women’s line that she had, and it has a super cute name. And I was like, “Oh my God, I love it!” I was so excited about it. I gave her a whole brand story of like, this is how it should be marketed. This kind of idea, this kind of voice really empowering women to love themselves from the inside out and all of this. And at the end of the trip, she said, well, do you want to do it with me? And I was like, omg, heck yes, I do. And yeah, so we started it from there. I mean, I think a month after we met, we had our LLC together. So, that’s just another kind of tip too, for people who are listening to this. If you haven’t been to an event, any event for e-commerce sellers, Amazon sellers definitely, definitely go. Because aside from the content, you meet people. I mean, over the last four years, the people that I have met at events have changed the course of my life. I mean, Bradley, that’s why I’m here talking to you because we met at an event two years ago. Was it two years ago in Vegas? And I was like, just so stunned by your amazing dance moves that I was like, “Hey, who are you? Let’s be friends.”
Bradley Sutton: I was stunned by your amazing arm sleeve of a tattoo, like it’s very hard to rock an elegant dress. And then that, I mean, I was just like, wow, who is this person? And then when I heard your story, I was like, yup. She, Anne, is definitely coming into the podcast. And sure enough, it was one of the most popular ones we’ve had, but I love it. I mean, I’ve been saying on the show forever guys, how important it is to network as, I mean, in just general life, but it seems like it’s even more so the case when you’re talking about the Amazon world, because you’d never know what might come out of it. Might be a collaboration on a new company. How much, if you don’t mind me asking, like, how much are you guys having to invest initially here into like your first orders and getting everything set up?
Anne: Well, between the orders, the photography, the web design, because we’re launching, we’re launching Amazon and Shopify at the same time. It’s probably like 20 to $30,000 at the end of it, which is not too much. At the end of the day, if you’re launching any business that wasn’t online, you would be spending so much more than that. It seems like a ton of money for an ecommerce business, but yeah, it’s definitely compared to brick and mortar businesses a lot less.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Okay. Now, my mind always just flips back and forth between different things. I just remembered something when we talked last, it wasn’t a big part of your income, but I know one of the businesses you had was you were running a hostel down there in Costa Rica, but correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve sold that since then, and then is pretty much e-commerce, 100% of your income now?
Anne: Yes, it is. So, it was very exciting. It was exciting, it was sad too. I had my hustle for eight years. And when my Amazon business really took off, it became very evident that the hustle was a lot of work and a lot of hassle for not very much money.
Bradley Sutton: The huslte was a hassle?
Anne: Yeah. Hassle hustle, not the customers like the people and the travelers who came were amazing, but maintaining a building that is used by 30, 40 people in a tropical climate by the beach, dealing with contractors in Costa Rica and government stuff and tax, it was just all, it was just a lot of legwork. And an Amazon was just so much easier and made so much more money. So, I put it on sale and it actually sold sight unseen. They bought it during quarantine, when our borders were still shut, but they are very happy. They’re loving it. And I bought a house out in the country and the forest by a beautiful natural beach that’s part of a nature reserve. So yeah, definitely living the dream life, like not to sound because all these Instagram people and they post all these like amazing filtered photos of all this stuff. And I never want to, I’m not saying that to be like, wow, look at me and look at what I do. But literally, I pinched myself. I mean, I have a full gratitude slap in the face, like every day, because this was never like my goal. This was when I was young. This was never the life that I dreamed of having. My dreams were not this good. And everything just kind of happened organically. But I really think, all of us who are entrepreneurs, we are different. We believe in doing things a different way. We believe in ourselves. We believe in living a different life than we were told to do, then we were programmed to do at university or school or whatever. And I just kind of– I really want to encourage people to make your dreams big because what is achievable is incredible. And the steps don’t always go in the order that you think they’re going to go. But if there’s something that you want to change, I think it’s really important to have the balls to change it. If you don’t like where you live, or you’re always looking at pictures of people living on the beach and saying, God, I want to live at the beach. That would be so amazing. But you just think, well, I grew up here. This is where everybody is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Moving to the beach is not that hard. Living in a city might be your thing too. And that’s cool, but anything you dream up, you can achieve it. It’s pretty amazing, if we just really put our minds to it.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Let’s stay with this for a little bit and let’s switch gears from Amazon strategy. We’ll get back to that. But as far as, out of all my people I know, you’re probably one of the foremost, I would say, who’s really just has their mindset game, like on a next level and so positive. And you mentioned Instagram and stuff, but like, I’ll go on your Instagram some time and you’re jumping around like a crazy person in your room in the morning. And I’m just like, man, how does she get all this energy and positivity and stuff? And what people I think don’t realize is that doing things like this, other good things that are business-related come from it, like sometimes, you’re not going to find a product or you’re not going to be presented with opportunities or things aren’t going to come to you if you’re just in this just work non-stop mode or just depressed mode all the time, or feel sorry for yourself mode. So, can you talk a little bit about how your mindset and the kind of exercises you do has helped you, because I would imagine that your mindset now is like 1000000000% different than when you’re working 90 hours a week as a lawyer in Europe. So, can you talk about that transition from then to now, and some of the things that have contributed to you being such the positive and energetic person you are now?
Anne: Absolutely. And this is like my favorite thing to talk about, and I think it’s great that more and more entrepreneurs are getting into self-development. Although, I think that sometimes as type A people we can take self-development kind of too seriously. And we think being successful and fulfilled, it’s like we set the schedule, we got to wake up at 5:00 AM. We got to meditate for 10 minutes. We want to make more to-do lists. But it means a lot to me Bradley that you said, that you think that you see me as really happy and that I have an amazing mindset because just for everybody to know, I was not always like this. And I spent most of my life feeling very differently. And when I was working as a corporate lawyer working 90 hours a week, I was miserable. I was diagnosed with chronic stress and told that I should sign off work for at least two months because I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I mean, if you asked me how I was like, my tears would just shoot out of my eyes, like without me meaning to, it was just that level of stress was so high. And because of that, I was abusing substances, trying to escape. I was angry and I was a person who was never about feelings either. When I first started dating the father of my kids, he’s very sensitive and loves talking about his feelings and he’d asked me how I’m doing. And I’m like, oh, shut up. You and your feelings, I’m fine. Leave me alone. And I have to tell you, actually, the first kind of change that I made in that direction was when I was at, it was starting my Amazon business. And when I started Amazon, I was actually very miserable. I was pregnant with my second daughter. We were broke. We were really struggling for money because we already had a kid, it was low season. We were going to be a family of four instead of my business, my hustle only supporting one of us. My ex and I were fighting loads, and I just, I felt like I was very much at a dead end and I was really upset. I went to an Amazon event and what struck me, especially coming from corporate law, was that I met so many kinds of celebrity sellers, people that I’d seen online, like Devin [inaudible] and Athena Severi and Angie Chacon. And I was like, oh my God. And I met them and they were so happy and helpful.
Anne: I think when you succeed at a business that fulfills you, or like e-commerce, if you’re successful in e-commerce, you do everything on your own time. It’s very, I think you tend to be more likely to not only be successful financially, but successful in life. And when you are fulfilled, it’s like, all you want to do is help everybody else to be as happy and successful as you are. Getting involved in the creative process was so fun. I’d never been creative in my life and had to do– I did my own photo shoots because I didn’t have money for product photography. It awakened this creative side in my brain and I fell absolutely in love with it. And I’m actually just, I’m making a new website and I was writing the philosophy of our brand for the about us page and saying, actually this brand has never been about the bottom line. It’s about serving the community, this community of people who I love so much. And just showing that there’s a better way to do business, to make things that are eco-friendly, to make things that are good for the environment, to support kind of natural parenting in this different way of doing things. Like that’s always been number one. So awakening, developing that sense of fulfillment was really important to me. And the biggest lesson that I’ve learned in what I teach to entrepreneurs, I teach breathwork to entrepreneurs, which is so fine.
Bradley Sutton: Real quick, for those who don’t know, can you just say what breath work means?
Anne: So, I teach kind of like a Wim Hoff style of breathwork. So, if you’re interested in it, you can Google Wim Hoff and see, because it would take me a long time to explain, but basically you’re breathing very deeply for several rounds, hyper oxygenating your body, which is so good for your body. And then after breathing several rounds, you take a deep breath and you let all the air out of your body and you hold your breath. And we do that for like three or four rounds. And in the fourth round, I mean, you can hold your breath for three, four or five minutes. I was at an event where I had people holding their breath for three minutes who’d never done breath work before. And when you are holding your breath, but you don’t need to breathe because your body’s full of oxygen, you go into this really incredible meditative state. I mean, physically, it’s great for your body, all that oxygen circulating. It supercharges your immune system. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system and deactivates your sympathetic nervous system, which is fight or flight. I love taking entrepreneurs out of their heads and into their bodies because we get so stuck in our heads. We have a million things going on. The buck stops. That’s why our to-do lists are super long. We spend all day in front of the computer. But what I have found over the last three years that I’ve really been doing this is when you get into your body, everything changes and you get filled with like zest for life. And you’re also really able to let go of negative emotions. So, I love bringing that to entrepreneurs because I think we need it, especially as type A worker bees.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, because obviously there’s different changes and cycles that we go through our life and like, who you were as a lawyer is different than who you are now as an Amazon seller, but it sounds like who you were as an Amazon seller when you first started is still completely different than both being the lawyer and being different than who you are now. So it’s not just a matter of, I’m already working for myself. I don’t have a 90 hour a week job. We, as Amazon sellers, absolutely can get sometimes stressed out. Amazon is not rainbows and unicorns. All of a sudden it’s like, Nope, sorry, you can’t send any inventory in our whoops. We’re suppressing your listing because we think it’s a pesticide, even though it’s a coffin shelf or whatever thing. Like things happen and if you don’t have the mental fortitude or the ability to deal with these stressful things. Yeah. I mean, it’s true. Some people might just say, oh, this is just a bunch of hippy stuff here, but guys, like anybody who’s been depressed or has something bad happen, you know that you can get in your feelings or whatever you guys want to call it. If you don’t want to call it energy or positive energy, negative energy, you guys know what we’re talking about. And if you don’t have an outlet for these things, it’s going to not only keep you down, but guess what, when you’re down, you’re not feeling creative, you’re not feeling motivated to expand your business. You’re not– you’re going to miss things. And that’s just not good, regardless if you’re an Amazon seller or not.
Anne: Yeah. I mean, I remember in my first year selling an Amazon, I had like a shipment upheld and I got, I had some stuff happen and I would freak out and I would message people. I would call Amazon 10,000 times. I’d message other sellers and mentors like, oh my God, what do I do? And I’m harassing Amazon. I’m not looking for a creative way to solve the problem. And it just really stressed me out and everything took longer. And now I have faced it. Now there’s a lot more at stake. Now when my business gets shut down, I’m losing 30, $40,000 a month profit, like way more than that in revenue. But when I was away in Mexico, when my shipment was basically Amazon wouldn’t check it in and I’m watching the days get closer to prime day and I’m out of stock of everything and it went more than a week. And then I started to freak out and I just thought, you know what, there’s nothing I can do about this. So, I’m either going to let it eat me alive, or I’m going to enjoy what I’m doing. And I’m just going to trust that things are going to work. And the other thing is when you get out of your– because what happens when you get really stressed, you go to your monkey brain fight or flight, which is super reactive and turns off any creativity, right? Because you’re meant to just focus when your brain is in fight or flight, it’s saying focus on survival. And even with something like solving problems with Amazon, you need your creativity to be able to control yourself, take a deep breath, step back and say, okay, how can I go at this from a different angle? For me, when I had that shutdown, I realized, oh, the way I need to remind them when it was taking extra long, I was like, I need to remind them how much money we’re talking about here, because they’re going to have to pay me for this if they’ve lost it in their warehouse, right. Because it had been delivered, but they hadn’t checked it in. And in doing that worked like a charm. But to have those kinds of creative solutions, the pesticide thing to men on a product that is like aloe and witch hazel, it’s a hundred percent natural. It’s aloe witch on essential oils and these, and it’s for like use on the human body. And they said that it was a pesticide. I was like, oh God, you guys, Oh, Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Yeah. So guys, I hope you guys hope people didn’t tune out. Sometimes, the traditional, I bet, Anne, you– six years ago, or seven years ago, start here and talk about this or hear a podcast. You’d be like, ah, what is this nonsense that they’re talking about? So, I’m sure other people might be on the same wavelength, but we can see how far you’ve come. And guys, just keep an open mind about these things. Everybody should have an open mind to anything that can help them win on Amazon. And we talk about the catchphrase of this show is serious strategies for serious sellers. And people just think that S-word, the strategy word is only about Amazon strategies or launch or PPC, but guys, guess what, being a successful entrepreneur is not just about the actual business strategies you do, but it’s your mindset strategies. It’s your lifestyle strategy. There’s so much more involved. And so make sure to keep an open mind with this stuff, but let’s go ahead and go back to the actual Amazon world again, and talk about what you’ve done in the last year. You talked about, or we already talked about you launching products, you’re preparing a new brand launch. Was there anything that was like a pleasant surprise that happened in the last year? Like maybe something went viral with an influencer that you didn’t expect and got a whole bunch of sales, or all of a sudden you started getting on page one for this keyword that you had no idea you were even relevant for and got sales. We talk about the Ls that we all took with the inventory, but what’s a “W.” What’s what’s a win for you last year?
Anne: I think the win for me has really been that I’ve really had to focus on making everything as amazing as it could be. So, I really fine tune all my listings because it was one of those things you realize there’s all these new sellers, right? And it’s like, okay, well, what is the way that I can stand out? And to be honest, Bradley, I’m not like the super strategy person but to anyone who is like, man, a lot of this stuff is very overwhelming. I mean, luckily we have tools like Helium 10 for product research and all of this stuff and the profits, because without tools for doing that, I would be so lost. And my life has gotten so much easier in the last few years as more and more things have come out. But my business went to seven figures in less than two years based on me really optimizing my listings and me really focusing on the creative because I didn’t have a bunch of money. And to do a very expensive launch with tons of giveaways and I didn’t have, and the strategies for me, the data and analytics is not necessarily my strong suit. So, I think it’s really important to focus on the things that you’re good at, and use tools to help you for things that you’re not good at, or to hire people to do the things that you don’t want to do, or that they can do better. But on my listings, I really, really looked at every single listing that I have and thought, how can I really make this stand out? Everybody has different strategies, but I’ll just share a story about, for example, photography I have in my listings, I really focus on lifestyle photos. And I don’t really look at what other people are doing in their listings that much. Or if I do, I’m like, I like how they did this photo. For example, in photos like supplements or skincare, where they have all the ingredients like pictures, like if it has lavender oil, like a photo of a lavender thing, all surrounding the product, I think that looks, that’s a great visual for people. So, I see that and I think, okay, I like that. How can I make it better? How can I make it prettier? I mean, I sell to women, so I want to make things look very beautiful. If you sell to men, it’s like, how can you make it more bold and more eye-catching?
Anne: But the girl who helps me with my social media, she also does some other Amazon sellers. And she lives here in Costa Rica. She’s a good friend of mine. And she has done product photography for some other sellers. Like they’ll send her the products and she arranges a photo shoot and I’ve seen because we did a photo shoot at my house using my kids. And the sellers just wanted to do the exact same photos as what’s on somebody else’s Amazon listing, like literally exact same photos. And I think these days, like there are so many sellers and there’s so many of the same products. And now we have so many of the Chinese sellers selling their own products, so their prices are lower. So, if we can’t compete on price, and I don’t, all of the products– every single product I sell is more expensive than either a hundred percent or 90% of the other products.
Bradley Sutton: I love that. We talked about that in the last episode. So guys, that’s one of the reasons you need to check out that last episode, you keep hearing Anne in this episode, talk about how much profit she’s making. It’s not because she found some supplier that can source this stuff for one fifth of the price everybody else– other factories can, it’s because instead of playing the whole race to the bottom game and just trying to have the lowest price, she went the opposite. And as she just said, went for the highest price and then a luxurious and higher price feel and it worked wonders for her. So, I was literally going to ask you that, because I know you obviously did that a year and a half ago, but I wasn’t sure if some of these newer ones that you were doing were still using that method or not.
Anne: Yeah. I use that method with everything. I don’t want to compete at the bottom. And I also, for me personally, I don’t, I’m not trying to attract the customers who are looking for the cheapest price. I’m trying to attack the customers who want to buy quality products that are good for them, that are organic, that are good for the environment. That’s my ethos. So, my strategy is always to make it the best. The product has to be the best. What crazy cool ingredients can I use in skincare? How can I make it organic? What amazing smells can I use? For my other products, it’s like, how can I make it more eco-friendly, how can I make the– what cool colors, how can I make it more stylish, but it’s always, how can I make the product better? And then, the packaging like packaging and images are so, so, so important. And I always really like to focus on that. And I think we talked about this in the last episode, but when you’re looking for packaging ideas and image ideas, I think it’s a great strategy to look on Instagram and Pinterest because Amazon brands have to work harder at branding. On Amazon, you just put your listing up and you’re in a list of people, but when you’re off Amazon brands work really hard at that. And so on Instagram, Instagram was the inspiration for my first product that did so well and why that product did so well was I did a product that was doing great often like they don’t sell on Amazon. They still don’t. But expensive, but beautiful, stylish, ideal lifestyle. And I thought nobody’s doing this on Amazon. So, I did it. And I did it in my own way. And I always think like, don’t look and say, how can I make my listing like this other listing? Take the pieces that you like from everybody’s listings and think, how can I make this better? How can I communicate a better message? How can I make it more beautiful or more exciting, or to stand out more? Because I, especially, especially now, given everything that’s happened over the last year with a global pandemic, so many more people are shopping online. Not only because so many stores have closed, it’s not that people don’t want to go to stores. A lot of them have clothes and customer purchasing behavior is different. So people now, Amazon used to be a place where people went to look for the cheapest products. Now, that’s very different and Amazon is giving all these tools for brands, video brand stories that you can tell stuff like that.
Anne: So, I think people, there’s definitely a market and they are underserved people who want quality products. They want to buy something more high-end. And if you can sell high priced products, I can tell you, you are going to make way, way, way more money. And if your brand stands out and is different and has a great story and a great message and you support a cause, that kind of ethical marketing is something that I like to teach about too. I think every brand should have an ethical component these days, because it’s good for you. Like it’s a win-win. Customers love it. You make more money because they’ll buy from you. And it’s good for the environment. So, whether you’re using eco-friendly or organic or you’re donating to a cause, I do all of those things and I tell that story on my page and people love it. I’m able to donate to this cause that I really care about. I know I’m selling good products, but people are choosing me. There’s a study that found that 92% of millennials will buy from an ethically– will buy from an ethical company over their competitors. So, that’s a great way to stand out on Amazon.
Bradley Sutton: Cool. Now, speaking of that, you actually talked a little bit before about some of the off Amazon advertising you’re doing, or not necessarily advertising, but just presence, I guess, social media presence. So, I think you mentioned a YouTube channel and that was one of the reasons why you were still getting a lot of Shopify hits and things. What’s your general strategy there? Are you just– is it like you’re just personally blogging about your brand or are you just using videos from other people or how do you decide what content to put out about your brand? Because obviously it’s successful if people we’re looking for your product so much.
Anne: I do video tutorials, which is so great on so many levels and I stumbled on it accidentally. So, my first product kind of needs some explanation of how to use it the right way. And I was doing the instruction manual and I’m like, oh my God, this is so hard to explain on paper. And if people don’t know how to use this the right way, they’re going to return it. And I saw other brands that made the same products off Amazon, they had these videos, and this was before this was years before Amazon allowed videos on listings. But I saw they had videos on their website. So, I made three video tutorials. I had a crappy camera and no microphone. The sound is awful. The lighting is awful. I was so nervous. I was shaking and sweating. And I just know how to use this product. And in the description talked about my product and actually those videos just kind of organically ranked. But I did talk to Tatianna James about YouTube. I love Tatianna. And she said, you really want to focus on the title. If you’re posting a YouTube video about something, Google or search in the YouTube search bar, what you would search for if you were the customer. Like how to make great pizza or like the best nonstick pans or something. Choose what you would search for in the search bar. And then look at the titles of the top ranking videos, and then make sure that your title is like, basically at least the first few words are exactly the same and that’s really helpful.
Anne: So yeah, those videos started ranking. And then I started to just use YouTube as an opportunity to talk about, I mean, I talk about mom life and I use it as a platform to kind of showcase my brand story, but I show how to use all of my products. And aside from people finding you on YouTube, the great thing is that I get, I mean, I sell seven figures, which I have done every year for the last four years. I get like two customer service questions a month and my products are not easy to use. If I didn’t have those videos, I would have to have a staff member like answering, so it saves me hundreds of dollars a month in hiring a VA to answer all those questions. But people, a tutorial and unboxing, if you make a kitchen product, for example, showing how to use the– showing a cool recipe using your product. I mean, video is the thing that everybody wants these days. When you get to the stage that you can, I think everybody should be focusing on video in every aspect. YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, your own website should just all have as much video as you can put on there.
Bradley Sutton: I like it. I like it. Now, you’ve been talking a lot about strategies, both lifestyle mindset, Amazon, like we did last year when you were on the show. We have this thing, we call the TST, or the TST, 30-second tips. So, it doesn’t have to be 30 seconds, but just to close it out, what’s something that’s not going to take 10 minutes to describe how to do, but it could be a breathing technique. It could be a mindset technique, meditation. It could be PPC. I mean, anything at all, what would you like to share with the audience?
Anne: Okay, I’m going to share two things. Let’s see if I can do it really quickly. When you wake up in the morning, put on really loud music and jump around like a crazy person, just shake your body out, shake off all the sleep. Like literally jumping up and down. Stomp. Make some noise if you want to, but like shake off the night, shake off yesterday and be ready to start the day fresh. You can also follow me at, @moondancer.parivritta and see videos of me doing that. And also–
Bradley Sutton: By the way, guys, if you do that, please tag both myself, @h10Bradley on Instagram and Anne at that address she just gave you, and then we’ll repost you because I want to see you guys doing it. I want to see you guys doing it.
Anne: Yes. Let’s start a movement. I will tell you that I made people do this at the last event I was at in Miami and everybody was awkward at first. I said, I know this first one is going to feel awkward, but do it at home. I’m telling you you’ll love it. And everyone who did it when they were like, wow, this is amazing. My Amazon strategy tip. Really, if you don’t have video on your Amazon listing, do look at other people’s videos and you will see, it does not have to be fancy. You talk to the camera and show your product, or you show a smile like the power of smiling, happy people using your product is amazing. And people love videos so much. So you can really, or just opening the box, and then moving to showing somebody use it. People love to watch videos. And I know so many people get intimidated because they think it has to be this super pro video. I have made expensive, super pro videos, and those videos have like a couple thousand watches on YouTube. My first major, amateur me fat and sweating with like, I guess I just gave birth, with terrible sound, have hundreds of thousands of views. So people love authenticity. Yeah.
Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Well, Anne, thank you so much for joining us. Like I said before, you’re an inspiration to many out there. I’m sure a lot of people are going to get a lot out of this episode as well. And in 2022, we definitely like to reach out to you to see how that new joint venture that you’re doing came out and then how you’ve expanded your own brands and who knows, maybe you’ll do the first ever like Amazon seller retreat, just for like, Hey, here’s some breath work, breathwork retreat in Toluna, or there in Costa Rica. I’ll be the first one to sign up.
Anne: Awesome. Well, I’ll keep that in mind, Bradley. I would love to get you doing some breathing and crazy dancing with me.
Bradley Sutton: I love it. Let’s do it. All right. Thanks a lot and we’ll see you later.
Anne: Bye Bradley. Thank you.