Episode 48 – A 20+ Year Internet Marketing Veteran Shares Strategies for Getting Started Selling on Amazon

Episode 48 of the Serious Sellers Podcast hosts Jim Cockrum, author of The Silent Sales Machine and an internet marketing expert with over 20 years of experience, who offers tips on getting started selling on Amazon

You might be familiar with one of the best-selling books on e-commerce and Amazon, “The Silent Selling Machine”. This episode welcomes, Jim Cockrum, the author of “The Silent Selling Machine” and a true grizzled e-commerce veteran. Jim and Bradley discuss the very early days of e-commerce and selling on Amazon.

Episode 48 covers:

  • 01:12 – Ancient Times – Jim’s Story of an e-Commerce Life Before Amazon
  • 02:20 – Microsoft Software Licensing was His Last Real Job
  • 03:20 – Trying to Catch Those Loose $100 Bills Flying Around
  • 05:30 – Is eBay Still a Viable Sales Model?
  • 07:05 – Great One-Off Selling but Not Very Scalable
  • 10:00 – Is There a Rule of Thumb about Sales on eBay Versus Amazon?
  • 11:55 – Jim Has a Confession to Make
  • 14:57 – 1st Edition of The Silent Sales Machine is “Published”
  • 19:00 – Bradley – “What is Jim’s Secret in Being so Universally Respected?”
  • 21:10 – Jim – How to Lead Your Community
  • 24:40 – Both Bradley and Jim Can’t Stand Watching People be Misled
  • 29:15 – Want to Get Started on Amazon? – First Sell Your Unopened Christmas Presents
  • 31:15 – Rising from the Ashes – A Lightning Strike Reaffirms His Sense of Community
  • 34:04 – How to Contact Jim 

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 Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.

Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:

  • Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
  • Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
  • Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
  • Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation. 
  • SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.

Transcript

Bradley Sutton: Today, we’ve got one of the OGs in the Amazon world. He has one of the most widely read books about selling on Amazon. He goes back so far in e-commerce that he was one of the very first-ever PayPal users. He’s going to bring us his experiences, success stories, and even tell us about how sometimes you don’t even need a tool like Helium 10 to sell online. Say whaaaaaaaat?

Bradley Sutton: How’s it going, guys? Welcome to the Serious Sellers Podcast. My name is Bradley Sutton, and I’m joined today by Jim Cockrum who I’m very pleased to have on here. Jim is the author of a book that’s probably been read more times than any other book that even has anything to do with Amazon at all in the history of books. I think over 1 million people have read this book, and you’ve just had tons and tons of history selling not just on Amazon but on other platforms and great insights on being an entrepreneur and a great story from what I hear. I’m going to learn about it for the first times here today. But Jim, welcome to the show. I’m happy to have you.

 Jim Cockrum: It’s so great to be here, Bradley. It’s an honor to be invited. I’m looking forward to hanging out with you a little bit and the great listeners to this great show.

Bradley Sutton: Awesome. Thank you. Thank you again. So let’s hop right into it. I know you are not a new seller. You did not even start on Amazon. Can you let myself and the listeners know your story? What is the Jim Story here?

 Jim Cockrum: Sure. I am one of those ancient dudes who started off on eBay back before Amazon was even in the picture. I remember very well the days, we’re coming up on 20 years ago now, where you’d sign in to eBay, and some days it would be working and some days it wouldn’t. And it was a real random experience back then. Very few people were actually doing it as a full-time living, and I got hooked early though. I had one of the first PayPal accounts ever set up, and I was all in on eBay, going to those eBay live events and just basically, sharing the journey.

Bradley Sutton: What year was this about?

Jim Cockrum: Oh, we’re coming up on 20 years now, man. I’ve been doing this full time. I haven’t had a real job in 17 years, and for three or four years before that I was goofing around pretty hard online and generating some nice income, just basically playing around on eBay at the time.

Bradley Sutton: What was your background? Did you have a business background?

Jim Cockrum: Yeah, the last real job I had was in sales. I worked for Microsoft and sold software licensing and was doing fairly well. And I won’t tell a whole lot of this story, because I don’t want to bore anyone. Plus, I dive a little bit deeper into it in the Silent Sales Machine book that you so graciously mentioned. I appreciate that. To make a long story short, yeah, I was doing well in sales and coming in on that six-figure number that everyone’s always going after. It was a solid career that I had, but I was having so much more fun online than I was in my real job, and it started kind of seeping its way into my real job to the point where my bosses were noticing, and we had some conversations and I ended up leaving kind of suddenly, and jumped in full time, like I said, 17 years ago into eCommerce.

 Bradley Sutton: And were you doing arbitrage, or did you have your own private label brand? What kind of things were you selling on eBay?

Jim Cockrum: Yeah, a little bit of everything. I said back then and I say to this day, once you understand the landscape of the opportunities we have available to us, and it’s as true now as ever as it’s ever been, possibly even more true now than it’s ever been today, there’s hundred-dollar bills blowing around in the wind. Everywhere you look, it’s just a matter of wearing the right glasses. It’s just a matter of exposing yourself to the right information. Opportunity everywhere. So what did I sell? Everything. I’ll tell a brief version that I think may provide some insight and inspiration, hopefully. I started off selling event tickets.

Jim Cockrum: I would buy tickets to events around the United States. In the United States, some states allow you to flip tickets for a profit and other states don’t. I learned which states allow it and which don’t. I was doing really, really well. My customers kept asking me, “Hey, how are you getting these great tickets? What are you doing? Can you teach me some secrets?” So, I wrote it out on a PDF, 20-page document, started selling that, started growing my mailing list. You know, just rinse, repeat, and serve customers well. When they ask you questions, answer those questions and possibly turn that into your next product. And I’ve been doing that for 20 years, and that’s the path I’ve been on and stayed on. And we’ve built an incredible team around that. So, I sold event tickets; I sold shoes; I sold anything and everything arbitrage.

Jim Cockrum: I did yard selling. I did a lot of consignment stuff where people would bring me items. I’d say, “Hey, yeah, for 40% of the sale price, I’ll sell that for you.” There’s stuff everywhere. There are people to this day in your neighborhood – We had someone post, Bradley, just a few days ago of an idea that we dropped into our group about this. Just post in a local neighborhood or maybe a neighborhood Facebook group or even one of those neighborhood groups and just say, “Hey, I know how to sell stuff online. If anybody has stuff laying around that they want to sell, I know how to sell for a percent. Let me know.” You’ll have neighbors calling your phone like crazy; it works every time. Because there are people who have never sold online, they’re intimidated by it. Yeah, they’ll give you 30-40% of the sale price, zero inventory cost. I did a lot of that sort of thing getting started, and like I said, I just documented my journey, and that’s what led to the community that we now enjoy.

 Bradley Sutton: Now sticking a little bit with the eBay, do you still see that as a viable marketplace in order to sell?

Jim Cockrum: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s just going by the raw numbers in case someone’s not familiar. I always find these entertaining, interested to reveal these to people who kind of think they have a feel for what the numbers are in this game, but they don’t really know. Unless you’ve looked at the data, 90% of all retail in the United States is still offline, meaning brick and mortar. Get in your car, go to the store, buy something off the shelf. 90% of all retail is there; 10% is online. I’ll talk about eBay specifically, but you got to set it up with the proper foundation to talk about eBay. So, of that 10% that’s online, Amazon obviously is the beast. They own half of that 10%.

Jim Cockrum: Stated differently. 5% of all retail in the United States is Amazon. That’s a beast, but it’s still just 5%, and that numbers heading up. Okay. So now what we’ve got left on the table is another 5% of retail in the US; that 5% of the total pie is shared by eBay and all the other marketplaces that are out there. eBay is the number two or number three at this point. They used to dominate. They used to be THE game in town. They’re not anymore. Are they viable still? Absolutely. Millions of transactions daily. Do they compare to Amazon in audience size? No, not really. But they’re very niche specific. They’re very collectible. If you’ve got one of an item, and it’s kind of damaged and maybe it’s collectible or you’re not sure what it’s worth, and you want to start a bidding war, yeah, throw it out on eBay.

Jim Cockrum: Absolutely. We sell on eBay still. A lot of people on our team sell on eBay still. It’s not nearly as scalable. It’s more for the weekend warrior, “I found this interesting baseball card, what’s it worth? I’m going to throw it out there and see;” you know, let the collectors fight over it. It’s a lot of fun. It works pretty much the same way it always did, but man, Amazon started kicking their butt about 12 years ago, and they haven’t let up since.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. I imagine there’s a lot of product categories that work better. Actually, I turned pretty much everything over to my wife once I started working here at Helium 10 but I was running a small wholesale business on Amazon just for some cashflow. I was also actually selling on eBay. The reason why I was selling on eBay was what my dad had back in the day. 25 years ago, when Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon were just coming out, he would fly back and forth from Japan and buy up boxes and boxes of Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon cards from Japan and then selling them here to card dealers. And then, when the market kind of fell out, basically he was sitting on like $20,000-30,000 worth of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon cards. And then all of a sudden, a couple of years ago, Pokémon Go comes out and there’s this renewed interest, and he’s like, “Hey Bradley, can you sell some of this stuff for me?” I instantly was like, “You know what? eBay actually makes a little bit more sense here,” and I still listed this stuff on Amazon, but my eBay sales—these are not used. I’m just selling packs of unopened packs of cards. My sales are about three to one, I would say, eBay to Amazon. I’m assuming this is not the exception. There are certain kinds of products that actually make more sense or are more viable on eBay as opposed to Amazon. Right?

Jim Cockrum: Yeah, absolutely. And you hit on one of the generalities, and I don’t want to dwell here too, because it’s a small segment of people who are still interested in selling on eBay in our audiences in general. But if it’s one of those passion products like, “Ooh, I’ve been looking for that for months, I can’t believe I finally found it,” you’re going to make more money selling that stuff on eBay, but if it’s the UPC Barcode, you know, “Hey, I need this widget. Who has it cheaper: Walmart, Amazon, eBay, or should I just run to Target across the street?” This quick-shop convenience—that’s Amazon, all day, every day. Amazon owns that space, which is the bulk of retail buying. Most collectors set aside a little bit of money for their collections and for their passion purchases and those sorts of things. But Amazon’s the beast in the room. If you’ve got a choice to be on one or the other, you’re crazy to skip Amazon. I’d just leave it at that, as the general rule, but yeah, there’s plenty of money to be made on eBay for sure. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton: Then the last question about that though, because I do think this is something we’ve never really talked about on the show before, but there are private label sellers who just dual-list their items on eBay too.

 Bradley Sutton: I’m sure maybe you’ve done that. A lot of your students had done that. Is there a rule of thumb where, let’s say, I’m just talking about something generic? It could be a garlic press; it could be a beauty cream. Let’s say, they’re selling a hundred units a day on Amazon, what would someone expect? We’re not talking about the Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokémon, we’re just talking about an actual regular product. What would somebody expect if they just go ahead and list on eBay? I mean, are we talking 5%? If you sell a hundred on Amazon, you might sell five a day on eBay. You know, is it more or less?

Jim Cockrum: Yeah, it could be somewhere between five and ten to one, and that’s what the numbers tell us. But you know, let’s go back to the raw numbers. Amazon has 10 times the traffic and activity—at least 10 times the traffic and activity of eBay on any given day. So, by the 10 to one, that’s the ratio you can expect—maybe a little better, maybe not quite as well, but it’s that significant of a difference. You will notice a pretty dramatic difference no matter what the item is; it’s going to be at least five to one if not 10 to one or more in favor of Amazon. That would be my instinct.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Thanks. All right. That sounds about like the couple of things that I’ve seen that indicate that as well. I think that’s good to know. If somebody is well established on Amazon—If you’ve got the infrastructure, might as well just sell on eBay because you’re not having to do product research. You’re just selling the same thing.

Jim Cockrum: Yeah, why not? They’re intimidated by Amazon; they’re just on eBay. They’re like, “Yeah, things are going well on eBay. Man, I’m selling 10 a week of my product on eBay. I’m excited about that.” I’m like, “Dude, you could be selling a hundred a week if you flipped it over on to Amazon because the audience is that much bigger.” So that ratio, it works both ways.

Bradley Sutton: Cool. I digress that that’s one thing that I do a lot. I heard you say eBay while you’re giving your story, and that’s why we went off on this tangent, but let’s rewind back now. We’re like 15-10 years ago or at what point now did you discover Amazon? Did you start like other people did 15 years ago and maybe started with books or textbooks or things? What was your first entry into Amazon?

Jim Cockrum: I have a confession to make. You know, as much as it feels like we’re all pioneers out there traveling through uncharted waters, and you’re kind of guessing your way through the wilderness on all of this, I haven’t done that in a long time. I listened to what my customers and students want. I pay attention to where the trends are, and if you’re a month or two or six months late, I didn’t have the first course about how to sell on Amazon. I wasn’t the first guy to start talking about it or writing about it or thinking about it. Plenty of other people jumped in the game. But what I’ve always done is once we go in, we’re going to do it right, and we’re not going to talk about a subject until we really know our stuff. And that’s why we love the word “proven” around here so much. Until we’ve proven it to ourselves and proven it to a handful of our top customers, we don’t talk about it. But then once we have proven it, man, we start shouting from the mountaintops, “Here’s how to do it. Here’s how it works.” We were I wouldn’t say late to the game, but we weren’t an early adapter when it came to Amazon. Our original versions of our course was 20 pages of a PDF document, and we were selling it for 30 bucks or something. But even at that point, it was proven in our minds. We were making money on the platform selling mainly books at the point when we first started experimenting with it. And that’s what Amazon primarily was; it was just booked and it had that reputation of just books. And back then, everyone was all excited about the affiliate opportunity of Amazon too. Everyone was all-in on the, “Oh man, you could just send traffic to Amazon and no matter what somebody buys; you’ll get it paid.”

Jim Cockrum: And to this day, I’ve only met a handful of people that ever made significant money with that strategy because it comes back to having to have a large audience of your own. So very quickly, we got excited about the Fulfillment by Amazon, the FBA, the idea of no longer, as an eBay seller, having to have all my stuff in my garage. I can make my wife very happy; she can park her car in my garage and all my stuff can be sitting on Amazon shelves, renting space from them very inexpensively until it sells and flips using their discounted shipping rates. This beautiful model revolutionized the huge audience of eBay sellers that we had, which to my knowledge was the largest audience of eBay sellers outside of eBay itself. We said, “Hey guys, check this out, take all that inventory that’s sitting in your garage around your house.” Because we had nowhere to put it back then. There weren’t any other third-party fulfillment options for eBay sellers. Nothing of significance. And suddenly, you could just send it all to Amazon and let them deal with the customer complaints, and the shipping, and the returns. It was beautiful. Our audience, like one big swarm, flipped over to FBA with our help and just a massive trend started in our community. And there were so many new success stories and excitement. That’s been probably 19 years ago at this point when it started, and it’s just ramping upwards ever since.

Bradley Sutton: Well, is that around the time that you first made the Silent Sales Machine book?

Jim Cockrum: The Silent Sales Machine book has been around 18, 19 years, and it’s been updated 10 times. It started off as my story, about my journey, because I had so many people sending me emails saying, “Hey, I heard you’re growing a great eBay business.” How do you do that? I’d send them an email. I’d write these paragraphs, and pretty soon, I noticed I’m always answering emails from friends of friends, friends, of family members with their cousins, uncles, dog groomers hairdresser. I should be charging money for this. I’m only answering an email from all these people. I put it in a PDF and sold it.  And so that was the first version of the book, Silent Sales Machine. It’s been updated like I said, 10 times, and now it’s matured. If you jumped through all nine versions since the first, it has the greatest success stories from our community, the most inspirational, the most unlikely coming from behind homeless, single mothers . . .

Bradley Sutton: Can you give me one that really sticks out in your mind that’s just going to blow the audience away? I’m curious. I love hearing these kinds of things.

Jim Cockrum: Oh, Dude, we’ve got so many, but the one that can give me goosebumps every time I tell this story is this up-and-coming leader in our community. She’s just got a heart of a gold, beautiful woman who I just referenced. She was actually on the run from an abusive husband in a homeless shelter for abused women with her two kids—no job, no income of significance, and had tinkered around with eBay a little bit trying to get herself confident on  trying to do something with her life besides running and relying on others to support her. And she came into our community, got exposed to our Amazon training, and, jump forward in time—this is about five, six years now—she actually bought herself for Valentine’s Day our Amazon training. And then, I met her about a year and a half later and her business was starting to take off, and we’ve helped her and coached her along to the point now where she bought a house and the pictures of her with her kids and the dog in front of this house. She’s got a special needs daughter. She’s able to buy the assistance dog that she needed for her daughter. I am just so proud, and we’ve had her on stage at a couple of events and things. And she’s written a book. This isn’t me pushing a book that I get any benefit from other than just a heartwarming feeling of knowing that she’s arrived at a place where she’s got a book called From Homeless to Homeowner. Her name is Carolyn McFall, and this is one of those heartwarming stories where you say, “Wow, our community helped to make that happen.” Another one of my favorite stories, I’ll tell the very short version, Brett Bartlett, he’s now my partner. You know, we’re running an eight-figure, Amazon online education empire, selling a product, teaching people, podcast, all that stuff, right? He said he had $400 in the bank when he came to our community.

Jim Cockrum: He jumped in with both feet, tore it up. We connected through a very interesting story that I won’t go into right now. I call those divine appointments—how that happened. Someone up there was directing that whole thing, and it was just a beautiful story. 400 bucks in the bank, man, a couple of kids, and a wife saying, “Hey, if this doesn’t pan out very quickly, we’re leaving California because it’s expensive here and you’re getting a real job.” It’s funny to hear him tell that story now because that’s been, again, another six- or seven-year-old story.

Jim Cockrum: That’s just the Internet opportunity, the power of relationships, the power of community. As you guys well know, we’ve built an incredible community and a great following around the Helium 10 brand and just the loyalty to the podcast. There’s power in the community, and every one of these stories comes back to “It wasn’t me. I can take very little credit except I stayed out of the way and let great people do their thing in this community.” And we’ve built something truly special.

Bradley Sutton: You know, I’m going to go off on another tangent right here, but that’s something that I did want to talk about. Because as you were saying this, Even before when I was just an Amazon consultant, and I would be browsing different Facebook groups, I just remember, even like two or three years ago, you talk about community, I was probably a member of some of your Facebook groups and just see what people say online in general. And I don’t think I have ever seen such positive, I don’t know how to say it, like positive reviews of somebody as far as—nobody likes to be called Guru, but that’s how people classify influencers in this space. But I have never seen such overwhelmingly positive comments. When somebody mentioned something bad about you, you’ll have a hundred people come to your defense. What’s your secret about that? Because everybody has haters. And I’m just like, “What in the world?” I know that there are people out there, influencers who have strong personalities and kind of rub people the wrong way, and they’re fine with that. They probably do that on purpose, but for people out there who are trying to start communities, and they do want to be able to reach people a little bit better if they think they have good information, how do they get on your level as far as having this kind of the kind of community that you have? This boggles my mind.

Jim Cockrum: Well, I appreciate you making that observation, but there’s nothing rocket science going on here. We’re talking about principles that have been around for thousands of years, and in this case, I explained early on in my podcast, I kind of lay the foundation of everything that I’ll ever educate you on. I make a commitment to the listeners. Everything I’ll ever teach you, I go back to the Biblical truth behind the principle that I’m about to teach you and to make sure that it complements and supports what it is I’m training you—the entire concept which has been very popularized. In any college in America, you could take a course on a servant-based leadership, that theme would come up. They would recognize what you mean when you say that. Servant-based leadership to me just means you actually care. You actually care. That’s the line. People can tell if you care or not about their success, and that’s the sort of people I surround myself with. If you don’t actually care for these people, if you don’t see them as real people with real needs and real hurts and real challenges, because no one out there has their act completely together, they need someone to truly care and to truly support them, and that shows through over time. It just shows through. So caring is number one and number two—if you can do these two things, you will lead an incredible community. One is to truly care and that takes a lot of self-examination, takes being very careful about who you allow on your team; only allow people who care. Then the second one is teaching only the stuff that you’re confident about, that you really know your stuff.

Jim Cockrum: Don’t make it up as you go. Be super confident. Test, test, test everything and put it out. Only put out content that you know works because you have the opportunity. At any time, we wanted to, we could endorse something that we aren’t really too sure about, like being part on one of these big launches and like, “Hey, we haven’t seen the course yet.” I’m approached all the time. People say, “Hey, we’re going to launch this huge course. It’s going to be awesome, and you can make a 50% affiliate commission. You’ve got a big community. We want to write you a $200,000 check.” That sounds great, but I need to see the course. I need to test it. I need to make sure it works, which is going to take us about four to six months minimum.

Jim Cockrum: And they lose interest. They don’t want me as a partner anymore, because I didn’t just sign up to make big commissions selling their random products that I haven’t even seen yet. I can’t do that. I’ve got to use it. I’ve got to test it. Protect your integrity, which goes along with truly caring. Right? So maybe that’s the same point made twice; you’ve got to truly care. You know, would you sell this to your mom or to your best friend who came to you? Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t sell your mom and your best friend. Right? You got to truly care. It just takes time. It’s a slow burn. You don’t overnight come into a big community that loves and trusts you. It takes time. It just takes a lot of time. I see leaders come through all the time and them kind of outgrow our community.

Jim Cockrum: Meaning, they’ve got a big-enough personality, enough to offer that they kind of go off and they launch their own thing, and we say, “Hey, man, go make it happen.” Because there’s so much opportunity out there; we can’t possibly tap into all of it. Go conquer the world. For people who care, they only teach what they know, truly know a lot, concepts that they are confident in because they’ve used them themselves and then they have an abundance mindset. You’re unstoppable.

Bradley Sutton: Those are some great points for all of us. And I try to do something similar for myself. I think that’s why I’ve come from nowhere, and actually, now do have a lot of people who look to me for information, because I literally do care. That’s how I got started. You know, just quick story of how I got started on with Helium 10 for those who didn’t know. I was a consultant, and I would use Helium 10 and I would be in their Facebook groups. And then, there were people giving misinformation, and that just really bugged me because it’s not just that I’m an argumentative person, which I am, but I like to debate, but when I see people being misled and making bad decisions for their business, it doesn’t affect my pocket, but that bothers me. And I think that showed in my posts and stuff, and that’s why Manny found me. He’s like, “Who is this guy? And he’s trying to help our users out,” and that’s what I try and do.

Jim Cockrum: Yeah. You know, be yourself, be who you are. That’s a great tip that I think you just dropped on here. Don’t try to change who you are, because then, you don’t have to remember who it is you’re supposed to be when you’re around different people. Just be you.

Bradley Sutton: That’s important. Be organic, because people are not stupid. They can see through BS out there, and they could see if you’re not genuine, and it’s an instant turn off.

Jim Cockrum: That’s a great tip.

Bradley Sutton: You were talking about Facebook groups and things. Now, one thing, I’m active in your group, and I see you posting something I haven’t really read too much into, but I’ve seen posts like two or three times. I think you might be one of the only people that talk about it, and it’s not necessarily something, unless I misread it, that I might even agree with, obviously working for Helium 10, but I’ve seen you say to some people, “Hey you might  not need a tool to help you sell on Amazon.” I’d like you to talk about that. Under what kind of circumstances? Because in my personal opinion, it is so competitive today. How do you not use tools to help you manage the landscape? I’m just very curious as to your take on it.

Jim Cockrum: Yeah. Well, here’s mine. Generally, if I have more than a little Facebook clip to explain myself, here’s the way I’ve always explained it, and it’s held true for me. I didn’t use a tool of any kind during the first 12 years of selling products very successfully, including launching private label products; all of that. I just didn’t use any tools of any kind—third-party tools—because I didn’t need them. And I know that’s still possible today because we get success stories constantly that way. And when you consider that about 80% of the people in any given Facebook group that you know—your group, our group, any group you want to go out there. 80% of the people have yet to make that first $50 at any given group that they’re kind of kicking the tires, feeling it out. And one of the points of frustration that I know we hear repeatedly is, “Man, I’ve got to buy this course and that tool and this software,” and “I’ve got to go spend $1500, $2000, $8000 before I even start making money.”

Jim Cockrum: This is insane. One of the things I always say, I say it in my book as well—there are two promises I make to everybody who joins our community. One, you’re not going to have to go learn a whole bunch of new technologically difficult procedures and strategies or programming languages; it’s just not technically complex what we’re about to show you, and two, you don’t have to invest any money, just start making money. That’s been part of my platform for 15 years. You don’t have to spend a dime on any tool or any resource, mine included, to just start making money. I remember I mentioned earlier, Bradley, the whole consignment because you and I were exposed to some crazy success stories. Let’s put that in there. You know there’s some of the stuff that Manny is doing, the high-powered tools you guys have; the success stories; the people that send you letters. It’s like, “Wow, I’ve got $50,000 a month in the bank, net, beautiful business, thanks to these tools.” We get very excited about what we’re capable of doing, but most people aren’t there. Most people are saying, “man, if I could make 500 bucks and just prove this works…” Now you’ve got my attention; now maybe I’ll invest in a tool; now maybe I’ll buy a course. I tell them things like, “Hey, talk to your neighbors and do some consignment selling on eBay.” “Hey, go to a retail store, buy a few things off the shelf, lose a few dollars, but learn the process.” No tools needed, right? So that’s where I’m coming from when I say new tools needed. I’m addressing that 80% of our audience who hasn’t had that first $500 a week, but they’re seeing what someone just proved to me. Please prove to me that this works, because I know that’s who’s hanging out in our boards. At the point where you’re making a few thousand dollars a week, now you’re thinking like a business owner. Absolutely, Dude, it’s time to ramp up. There are some great tools out there. So, I think our messages, overlap far more than maybe you were thinking, but I appreciate the challenge for sure.

Bradley Sutton: No, now I see what you’re talking about. I just remember seeing that briefly, but I never really dug into it. But now that totally makes sense. I mean, me selling my dad’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards. I didn’t need a tool to sell my dad’s Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on eBay. I just threw it up there. I even threw it up on Amazon. I didn’t need it. “Oh, here’s the listing. Let me just go ahead and get on this listing and sell it.” For that kind, which like you said—and it could be our listeners too, there’s a lot of them who haven’t even started. In that sense, yeah, I 100% agree with you on that part. If you’re just starting, you don’t necessarily need one. Now, if you want to find a niche where you want a potentially $20,000 a month product without a tool, that might be difficult. But for the majority of people who are just wanting to start on eBay or make some bucks or garage sale, yeah, I completely agree about not needing a tool.

Jim Cockrum: The human psychology of getting a few small wins and the momentum and excitement, I say the same thing too Bradley when someone says, “Okay, well I need to get a business license, right? And a new bank account and a tax ID,” and “Here’s my stack of 4,000 things I learned in business school that you’re supposed to do a business plan before I start a business.” I’m like, “No, throw all that in the trash. Sell something.” Yeah. Sell something. Get on the Facebook marketplace and sell a Christmas present that you haven’t opened yet, and it’s still wrapped. Sell it. That excitement of that first $50 and then that next $500 in two weeks, and then at that extra thousand dollars sitting in your personal bank account. Now you’ve got some momentum; you got some money. Let’s start talking about doing this thing the right way but get out there and sell something first. So that’s part of my platform. Don’t get ready to get ready to do business by buying tools and courses and filling your time up, thinking you’re actually growing the business what you’re doing is running up some charges on your credit card. Sell something. Because I understand the psychology. Ultimately your goal, Manny’s goal as an owner of Helium 10, our goal is the same. We want the greatest ratio possible of people who come into our community to walk away with a success story, let’s say three to six months from now, right? That’s the goal, man. Let’s get some early wins. Let’s put some money in their pocket fast because they’re comparing this opportunity to all the other crazy junk out there that we both know is a complete waste of time.

Jim Cockrum: Yeah, so we’ve got to prove it and prove it fast.  That’s where I’m coming from. That’s where my heart is, and that’s me truly caring. I’d say the same thing, if my friend from high school called me up like, “Hey, well, what’s this all about?” I’m like, “Hey, the first thing you got to do is go buy these eight tools. Then, go buy these three courses, and eight months from now, you’ll be selling stuff.” No, start flipping stuff today. Take a picture of it, put it on Facebook marketplace. See you just put money in your pocket. Okay, now let’s talk big boy. Let’s, let’s talk about Amazon. You know, same thing. Hopefully, that’s resonating. I think we’re on the same page.

Bradley Sutton: Now, one last question. This is a video I saw, I don’t know, two, three years ago, and I was just like, “Is this real life here?” I swear I saw a video where you’re walking around your house, and it had just burned down because it was struck with lightning or am I just sensationalizing that a little bit or did I see that correctly?

Jim Cockrum: Oh, that was just a publicity stunt. No, dude, seriously. Our house – we’re coming up on over two years ago, it’s going to be three years before long, man. It was Tuesday afternoon and early summer, and I was playing basketball as I do on Tuesdays with some buddies and someone that I didn’t know came running in the gym. There’s about 30 of us, saying, “Where’s Jim? Where’s Jim? Which one of you is Jim? State police on the phone right now. Where’s Jim?” And I say, “I’m the only Jim here that I know of.” I went running to the phone. Yeah, my house was on fire. My family got out; all our animals got out, our dogs. We lost a bunch of other little fish and things. Yeah. We pretty much lost everything we own with the lightning strike and it took them forever to get the fire out in the middle of the day. And that was quite a year, man. It taxed me in ways that I had never been tested and taxed before. But yeah, it was a testament to the power of team and community. We came out stronger. Thank God for insurance, man. What a brilliant concept insurance is, dude because you know it took some time. We took a little bit of a financial hit, but not nearly as much as had we had to go through it alone. But yeah, where I’m sitting in the office now, we rebuilt the same house, and we kept the foundation and the brick outer shell, but pretty much everything inside was gutted and rebuilt.

Jim Cockrum: I had a chance to improve the place a little bit, do some things we’d always wanted to do, but yeah, our house was lost. But you know, that’s the beauty of Internet business. And I think the video you’re referring to is me walking around the house saying, “Hey, you know what, I’ve got an Internet connection still. Everybody who loved me yesterday loves me today, and they’re all still here with me. I didn’t lose anything today. I really didn’t. It’s going to be an inconvenience.” You know, we saved our family picture albums. We lost a few mementos; I’m not going to paint it all rosy. It was more difficult emotionally than I was possibly prepared for at that moment because that was literally 24 hours after the lightning had struck.

Jim Cockrum: But yeah, that was me, dude. It really happened. But thank God for Internet-based businesses. Yet another reason for having a business that’s based online. The flexibility it affords you; it’s really impossible for a natural disaster to wipe you out. As long as I’ve got an Internet, man, off you go to the races the next day. Right?

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a very inspiring story. And it’s crazy that lightning strike. Here in California, we got a lot of house fires, but very few are from lightning strikes. All right. Well, Jim, we’ve taken enough of your time. I really appreciate it. If people would like to find that book that we refer to or see any of your courses or joined some of these communities that we’ve been talking about, what are some ways that they can reach you on the Internet?

Jim Cockrum: Hey man, that’s really solid of you to offer that. I appreciate it. Sometimes I do interviews and they don’t mention that and I’m cool with that too, but since you mentioned it, silentjim.com. That’s the only website you need if you want to hear more of this kind of stuff and the podcast, and the freebies we got for folks. Keep up the good fight, Bradley. Because you and I both know, man, the world needs more entrepreneurs. The world needs more business-building warriors. I see it as a battle for our culture. The entitlement mentality is our enemy. People who think they’re owed something just because they exist. No. Get out there and build something. Serve well. The world’s waiting for that, and the rewards are tremendous, and that’s some of the themes that I teach in our podcasts, in our content: just encourage people; do something of significance.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah, absolutely.

Jim Cockrum: Appreciate your time today, too, Bradley. This was a pleasure.

Bradley Sutton: Thank you so much again for coming on, and we’ll be in contact in the future, and we can probably have you on in the future again as well.

Jim Cockrum: Oh, that’d be awesome, dude. I look forward to it. Thanks, sir.

Bradley Sutton: Thanks a lot.

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