#113 – Don’t Miss Out! Check Out These Top Clips from Helium 10’s Serious Sellers Podcast

Episode 113 of the Serious Sellers Podcast features a “Best Of” edition with fresh commentary addressing some of our most popular podcast episodes.

Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton presents another “Best Of” edition, this time featuring favorite episodes of the podcast itself. 

In a lot of ways, this “Best Of” podcast tells the story of Helium 10. 

The birth of Helium 10 as a software company can be traced directly to two great guys, Manny Coats and Guillermo Pujol. The first episode follows their path from working together on 3D games to where they are today at the top of Amazon’s selling software mountain.  

Our partnerships with some of the most talented people in the eCommerce selling ecosystem such as Kevin King, Ezra Firestone, and Tim Jordan are a constant source of inspiration and fuel our growth as a company. 

If you haven’t heard about Helium 10’s partnership with Tim that led to Project X, now’s a good time to start.

Last up today is a story from Stephanie, an Amazon seller who was living a perfectly good, mostly happy life. She simply didn’t have enough time to do the things she wanted to do. 

She says that as business owners in the service industry, she and her husband were just, “trading hours for dollars.”

Sound familiar?

In episode 113, Bradley Sutton presents another “Best Of” edition of the Serious Sellers Podcast:

  • 00:52 – Delivering Pizzas and Always Learning
  • 01:45 – Going the Extra Mile and Getting “Lucky”
  • 03:10 – A Crazy Cousin in California
  • 04:30 – Because It’s Just Not That Easy, An Authentic Podcast
  • 06:00 – Stay Agile and be Ready to Pivot
  • 07:55 – Here’s How to Find Project X
  • 09:00 – Project X’s Tim Jordan Explains the Technique
  • 11:00 – Tim’s Chinese Sourcing Trip Leads to a Revelation
  • 12:20 – Build a Bigger Pizza and We’ll All Benefit
  • 13:30 – Trading Hours for Dollars
  • 15:20 – Making an Amazon Selling Partnership Work
  • 16:20 – Scaling at a Pace that Allows Her to Live the Life She Wants

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.

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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.
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Transcript

Bradley Sutton: Today’s “Best Of” Podcast episode is a lot like e-commerce speed dating. We start with our founders speaking of Helium 10’s origin story, then a sneak peek at our new Project X case study, and then we finish with a successful Amazon selling family that was just simply tired of trading hours for dollars.

Bradley Sutton: In a lot of ways, this Best of Podcasts tells a story of Helium 10. The birth of Helium 10 as a software company can be traced directly to two great guys: Manny Coats and Guillermo Puyol. The path they each took to e-commerce into their eventual meeting was not nearly as direct. We’ve all had what we considered at the time to be dead-end jobs. Well, that’s not the case if you’re constantly working on getting better and stoking your creative fires.

Guillermo Puyol: While I was working at a pizza house delivering pizzas, something that I did as much as I could was rent books and CDs. I was listening because I’m working eight then 12 hours a day delivering pizzas, but I felt like that was a means to an end. I wanted to educate myself as I’m working. Anything about business, marketing, and sales, anything I could get my hands on. I’ll continue to educate myself and learn while I was doing, but at that point in time or consider its dead end, no disrespect to whoever is doing that right now but to me, I knew that I didn’t want that to be the rest of my life. I was trying to grow as I was doing that.

Bradley Sutton: It’s easy sometimes to look at people who’ve had success and declare them lucky. Whether it’s on ice rinks, football fields, or e-commerce, the phrase “the harder you work, the luckier you get” is particularly appropriate.

Guillermo Puyol: I told my wife, “Hey, I really enjoy programming. This is really engaging for me,” but we couldn’t afford that at that point in time to gamble three months away. What I did is I made myself available on Upwork. I didn’t have any ratings or any history in Upwork. I was looking for a way to get that started. I was looking at the job listings, and I noticed that there was this one guy that wanted to do a game; the small game, narrow scope, and something in the listing has… He says something in Spanish. He described the game very roughly. What I did is instead of replying right away, I looked it up on my own, and created a very rough mock-up of the game, recorded the video, and then replied to him in Spanish, saying, “Hey, is this what you had in mind?” He’s like, “Oh, yeah, that’s exactly it.” And we got to talk. And he hired me to make the game. As any software development goals are always four or three times longer than what you think it was. That short scope game ended up they can like a year or two to complete. And we got to know each other. He was from Spain, and towards the end, he started talking about his crazy cousin in California. He idolized his crazy cousin Manny. He said, “Manny, you should work with him,” “he’s released hundreds of games and you guys got to meet.” I thought it would be great. And he eventually made that introduction and that’s when we got on the phone then and he said, “Well I’m thinking of starting a game, a 3-D game,” which is what I was doing. Well, if you want to tackle that project, we can start working together. We worked on a project for about a year and that’s kind of how we got to know each other and eventually, things got in a different direction.

Bradley Sutton: Many of the people in e-commerce are overpromising and underdelivering. If you spent any time at all watching YouTube videos or checking out Amazon selling courses on the Internet, you’d think that after paying for the new $2,000 course, the obvious next step is deciding what color you want your Lamborghini to be; it’s not that easy. That honesty is one of the reasons that Manny’s early podcasts rapidly gained followers.

Manny Coats: You could see through the BS that was out there, right? Like, if you’re talking to any marketer, everything was awesome, right? Oh man, everybody’s rich. Everybody’s making money and makes it sound so easy. And I was like, “You know what, I’m going to document this and if it’s that easy then cool.” But it wasn’t, right? There are problems; there are issues all along the way. Even to the point when you’re sending your first payment for the product. Man, I was freaking out. All right. You got to send tens of thousands of dollars to somebody in China that you’ve only talked to on Skype that you’ve never seen. You don’t know anything about it. You have nobody, no boots on the ground over there. You don’t know if that money’s just gone, evaporated. As soon as you hit that send button on the wire transfer. It was nerve-wracking. Luckily, that didn’t happen to me. The issue that Gui talking about, I didn’t have it. The very, very first product was liquid chalk markers. I didn’t know about a bunch of the packaging requirements and if the thing would explode if you dropped it on the ground. It was a bad scene. I remember me, my brother, my girlfriend was, you know, putting little stickers on it to hold all the pieces together. And it was a mess¾that business.  Ultimately it didn’t do terrible. I didn’t make a ton of money on it. I didn’t lose a ton of money on it, but it was a very good data-gathering experiment, I guess we call it. Right. We learned a lot from doing that and from that, I could talk to people on the podcast and then we started getting a following because we were kind of telling it how it was.

Bradley Sutton: In martial arts and yoga, flexibility and agility count for more than strength. It’s apparently the same for e-commerce. Manny and Gui say that their ability to recognize that their budding company was headed in a direction that they hadn’t anticipated was a crucial business pivot.

Manny Coats: We use to say it all the time and so did all the marketing people back in the day, right? That the money’s in the list. If you can build that up, you know you’ve got something. We thought that was really cool. That’s funny that at one point, you know, we decided, yeah, we’ve got to pivot. And I think that’s really important in businesses. You can have a successful business, but it’s not always going to be successful if you go long enough and you don’t pivot, things are going to go south. Right. And we decided, you know, we pivoted with software when we’re doing the app business and before that went bad. And then we got into this and we’re like, “all right, we’re going to pivot over to creating software.” And we created a couple of more tools. I think it was Frankenstein. And what was the other one?

Manny Coats: 5k checker! When we did 5k checkers, it was so valuable and nobody had anything like this on the market. We had people saying, “You know what, well I’ll pay you for this. I’ll pay you for that tool if I have access to, you know because that was one of the ones we weren’t going to put out there.” Do you know? And then we’re like, all right, let’s create a business after this.

Bradley Sutton: Our partnerships with some of the most talented people in the eCommerce selling ecosystem such as Kevin King, Ezra Firestone, and Tim Jordan, our constant source of inspiration and fuel our growth as a company. If you haven’t heard about Helium 10’s Project X, now’s a good time to start.

Bradley Sutton: Basically Project X, we are taking you guys on a journey with us to find private label product opportunities and we’re teaching you guys along the way of this whole project that you guys can build your own business using the same simple methods that we go over.

Bradley Sutton: What project X is it’s a 13-14 video series. Well, like I said, we’re still actually doing it. This is not something that we filmed in 2017. I don’t even know how long it’s going to be. We have to film all the videos yet, but the very first ones, even if you’re listening to this the day that we’re launching this, there’s going to be at least one episode out there. You can go to YouTube and find Helium 10 just make sure to go to Helium 10 on YouTube and you’ll see it. Do a search for Project X under the Helium 10 account and you’ll see video number one or if you’re watching, if you’re listening to this month from now, you might have the full thing by then, but basically we’re taking you on the kind of like A to Z journey on the whole process. What are our goals now that everybody knows what this is? What were some of our goals as, we talked a little bit about it, but talk to us a little bit more about those, Tim.

Tim Jordan: Yeah. One thing that we all agreed on massively was that there are a ton of product opportunities, right? There are, there are tens of thousands, a hundred thousand products that are not on Amazon yet, but we can’t just look on Amazon to find them. We actually have to, you know, venture out a little bit and look around. We also wanted to show that there are products that are so much in demand with such little competition that you don’t need massive amounts of money to rank and launch these things. Like they can actually be done organically.

Bradley Sutton: If you’ve been selling on Amazon. I know you spent a lot of time thinking about what product you should sell. Here’s another way to think of that altogether.

Tim Jordan: What we wanted to do was start from scratch and say, “Hey, here’s the process that basically I developed over, you know, the past few years on identifying these products.” Then instead of just jumping into deep, we wanted to show you how we validate those, right? We validate those keywords, and it will explain this all in Project X, but we sell keywords and we find keyword opportunities, not products and product opportunities, but we find these keywords, we validate them using Helium 10 software to say “Hey this is a pretty good or pretty bad idea” and we do it rapidly we can take a million different product ideas off of Amazon, run them basically through our process, which we’re literally going to show you step by step and find these product opportunities. Then we’re going to actually dive deeper because I like to measure twice cut once and we’re going to show you how we test and validate those. Am I going to give away too many secrets? You get to wait for those episodes. But basically we can use this method that we came up with and perfected, I would say, to figure out, “Hey, before I buy, you know, $5,000 of this or $10,000 or $3,000, let’s figure out if this works.” In the meantime, finding other keyword opportunities and then moving on to like how to launch these things and how to sell and how to remain profitable.

Bradley Sutton: By now, you’re probably wondering what’s this new method that Tim and I are talking about? Here it is.

Tim Jordan: This is a small piece of the big picture, right? And let me say this. When we said we’re going to leak out videos, just you guys know, we haven’t mentioned this. Starting, now, whenever this podcast released, every Monday and Wednesday we’re releasing like an hour-long or 50-minute long episode and then every Friday we’re doing a live AMA, me and Bradley together. If you’re listening to this, like when it’s released, for the next couple or three months, every Friday we’re doing these AMAs. Anything that we talk about, even this podcast, get on this AMAs and asks questions. One problem I ran into with this method, I’ll tell you how this method started:  I was spending a lot of time in China and I was going to this giant market in the Yiwu, which I loved, you know, a million different products.

Tim Jordan: And I was finding this stuff that I thought would work, but I wasn’t sure if it would work. And I would take clients there on trips and they’d be like, “Tim, I think there’s search volume. And I think this will work, but I’m not too sure.” And I wanted to reassure them that like, “Hey, you know, it should work, but I’m not sure.” And the only way to reassure them is to really develop this test system. What we do is we actually create PPC campaigns for products with relevant keywords. It doesn’t have to be exact final products, any products related to the keywords, and we can actually run these PPC tests with just kind of a really simple basic listing. And we’ll show you that and look at impressions and cost per click. We’re not looking at conversion rates because we don’t expect it to sell. We set up these listings, and I’m not going to go on all details, but we set up these and listings intentionally not to sell. Because if I have, you know, 10 products in there and they all sell out, I stopped getting data but we intentionally, you know, try to get them to not sell but we get impressions, which confirms a good idea of search volume and then our cost per click, which tells us competitiveness.

Bradley Sutton: It’s not exactly a state secret that Amazon sellers are often very tight-lipped about the way they are going about finding success. You’ve probably heard the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Here’s a taste of your way to rephrase that statement.

Tim Jordan: We’re all competing for a larger piece of a small pizza being all of the entrepreneurs out there. I think that if we all work together and the more we share, we just build a bigger dang pizza. Because if we all, as community work, together to build this, you know, these strategies and these methods and these opportunities, there’s going to be a bigger piece for more people. I don’t mind sharing this because when I share, I receive great rewards from it. Like I’ll share an idea with someone. I’ve been in public settings shared like my products and people go, “Hey, you know what, like it would be really cool if you added this variation.” I’m like “Holy crap, I didn’t even think about that.” Or one idea will spawn to another and will lead to another. And there’s always cutting-edge stuff. And if we can start to evolve this industry from people following me to products, which is generally what’s happening in mainstream private labels, and teach these different methods to work, it will advance all of us. And there are literally so many product opportunities out there that there is an unending supply. And I don’t care if we share some of these, the quote-unquote, top-secret methods because it makes all of us better together and we all grow together and we make a bigger dang pizza.

Bradley Sutton: Last up today is a story from an Amazon seller who was living a perfectly good, mostly happy life. She simply didn’t have enough time to do the things that she wanted to do. Sound familiar?

Stephanie: As a service business, you’re just trading hours for dollars. And if I wasn’t there, we weren’t making money. If my husband wasn’t there, we won’t make any money. And I just got really sick of that, and while my kids got sick, I could be flexible; I could go home with them, but we have to cancel all my patients for the day. And yeah, my husband and I owned it together, so if we took a vacation together, we would still have to pay for everything in the chiropractic office and all of our other employees. But we weren’t making money. And that was once I started this. When I started my nutritional company and put them on Amazon and woke up one morning and saw that I made money while I was sleeping, I was like, “I have to do this, I have to try.”

Bradley Sutton: E-commerce is an ever-changing selling environment that Helium 10’s tools and the constant updates we roll out do a very good job of tracking. But successfully selling on Amazon is sometimes also about trusting your instincts.

Stephanie: I started my second line more out of something that I was looking for on Amazon and couldn’t find, which can be a little risky from what I’ve heard from other people. You know, you can’t really tell if there’s a good market for that if you can’t really research it. Right. But it was something I was more interested in and something I was really excited to do. I took a chance.

Bradley Sutton: If you’re in a relationship, you know that it’s all about establishing a partnership. How do Stephanie and her husband make it work?

Stephanie: My husband knows nothing about how to actually run Amazon, but what he has done for me is a lot! I give him a design idea and he knows how to use Adobe because we do all of our own designs and hand-draw a lot of stuff. He does that for me. And he set up a Shopify website now for my second Amazon business, and he did all of that for me. He knows nothing about Amazon, but he takes care of a lot. He brought all of my numbers to an accountant and he does all my QuickBooks. He does a lot of that stuff.

Bradley Sutton: The big question we’re all asking ourselves when we’re first thinking of getting into eCommerce is: how is my life going to change?

Stephanie: If I don’t have anything that I have to do for the next day, I try to pick them both up and spend time with them, take them to the park. I love living in Florida. We can be outside. Like yesterday, I picked them up, and we went to a park and just played for a couple of hours. And then I came home and made dinner and then I actually work a lot of times at night, and nothing has to be done,  but just researching what maybe I want to do next or things like that. They went to bed last night at eight and then I stayed up ’til 10 and just did research and learning and trying to figure out what I wanted to do next with my business. I’m sure that I could be doing things a lot faster and scaling a lot faster, but that just didn’t work for me. I’m enjoying the level at where I’m at and how I’m growing all while I can still feel like I’m present.

Bradley Sutton: There you have it guys. I hope you enjoyed this latest episode of the “Best Of” the Serious Sellers Podcast. As you can see, we always have a wide range of guests that we have on the show, each who can give us great, serious strategies for serious sellers of any level, as we say, right? Please make sure to subscribe you can get notified whenever new episodes come out. And if you have a couple minutes, we’d love to hear your opinion. Please leave us a review on no matter what podcast platform that you’re listening to, Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, SoundCloud, whatever you’re listening to, hit the review button and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. Again, guys, don’t forget to like and subscribe and we’ll see you in the next episode.

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