If you’re entirely new to the idea of private label sales, this is the perfect episode for you to hear. Today’s guest is a regular guy from Australia who began his private label journey from square one. David had no prior business experience, no understanding of how private label sales on Amazon work, and very little in terms of resources. When he found this podcast he was turned on to the idea right away and began making plans. In this conversation you were going to hear that David took it from square one all the way to 6 figures per month in less than a year. It's a testimony of how doable this business model is and how realistically a person with zero experience can create a very good living for themselves.
Can you do private label sales if you have no online business experience?
This episode answers the question with a resounding, “YES!” David story is one inexperienced moving toward experience through the process of learning. David read and listen to everything he could about private label sales on Amazon and started taking action. It was those actions that brought clarity and understanding which is now translated into a very healthy monthly income. Take the time to listen to this episode, you will discover so many nuggets of gold for your private label business, whether you are a newbie or have been doing Amazon private label sales for a very long time.
Keyword research tips you may never have considered.
As today's guests began his own journey into Amazon private label sales he began to learn a lot on his own about keyword research. Yes, he had read and listen to many tutorials and instructionals on the subject but I learned a lot simply by doing. On this episode David shares some of the insights and tips he has learned about doing effective keyword research and not all of them are things you commonly here. You'll get a lot of value from this episode so be sure you take the time to listen.
Do you know the “cash in/ cash out” equation?
If you're considering private label sales on the Amazon platform you need to be aware of the many things that will bite into your profit margin over time. David learn the hard way that there is much more that comes out of the gross income figures than he expected. Now he operates according to what he calls the “cash in / cash out” equation. it is a simple way that he calculates the amount of profit he is going to receive from any potential product as he sells it on Amazon. Sticking to the results of the equation helps David to stay in a place of maximum profit while avoiding the pitfall of overestimating his success. If that sounds a bit confusing, it won't have to listen to this episode so be sure you take the time.
Everyone wants to take the easy road, but it seldom leads to success.
You don't have to spend much time online in the various business communities before you realize there are many, many people who are trying to take the easy way to significant income. today's guest, David, has made the observation that the easy road may look best at first, but it seldom leads to genuine success. Hard work is involved, even in private label sales on Amazon. David's philosophy is that if you can be the expert, you should be. Yes, it takes a lot of time and hard work, but it is entirely worth it. Find out how David has a apply this attitude to his own private label business on this episode.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:02] Scott’s introduction to the episode!
- [1:20] An email from a TAS listener – 0 to $100K in less than a year.
- [2:21] Could you share the podcast with someone?
- [4:27] The interview with David begins.
- [6:08] David had ZERO business or ecommerce experience prior to FBA.
- [7:10] Why David became interested in Amazon private label sales.
- [11:44] David’s path to multiple products.
- [12:20] The addicting nature of doing well on Amazon.
- [13:30] How David did his product research (Jungle Scout).
- [15:12] The changes David made to his product to differentiate.
- [16:15] Using the reviews of his competition to create the idea product.
- [17:10] David’s initial sales goals and how he surpassed them.
- [20:51] How David sources his products on Alibaba.
- [21:49] Did David’s second product help the sales of the first product?
- [23:00] David’s launch process: pricing, reviews, keywords, etc.
- [27:03] How many units David gave away initially.
- [28:33] David’s process for using Keyword Inspector to choose keywords.
- [33:48] The “cash in / cash out” equation: what kind of margin do you need?
- [38:15] Exploring opportunities as they present themselves.
- [38:39] David’s crazy income goal for the future.
- [39:51] The one piece of advice David gives to new sellers.
- [46:14] Scott’s summary of the conversation.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 191
TAS 191 : Zero to $100k per Month in Less Than 1 Year (TAS Listener Story)
[00:00:02] SV: Hey, hey what's up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 191 and I am really excited today to share with you my next guest. Let me just let you know how this happened as far as how I was able to get in touch with him and also share his story. Now, this was the email that I received from him. This way here you can see exactly how it all kind of transpired and how I was able to get in touch with him. He wrote me an email and the title of the email was, ‘ Zero to $100,000 a month in eight months…
[read more=”Read full transcript…” less=”Read less”]
…in part thanks to you'. I opened the email and his name is David and we are going to leave it at that. He doesn't want me to disclose his last name just for privacy issues and I respect that. I'm just going to read the first part of this email to let you know where it came from. Then also we're going to dig into his story and break it down and to see what he's done and what he is doing moving forward.
He says, “Hi Scott. I found your podcast at around Podcast Number 6. Was one of the first in on your Facebook group about 250 members. Ha ha, look at you now, there's over 26,000 now which is crazy, right? Immediately was implementing what you were teaching as you released episodes. You coached me through the very beginnings of this business. Due to a few failures life both professionally and personally and looking for a better life with more freedom and control I stumbled on the Amazon FBA idea March 18th 2015. Found your blog a few days later, picked a niche, heaps of samples, first order placed shortly after and I was live in Amazon end of June with a thousand units of stock in total three months idea to reality. Alright.'
Pretty pretty awesome. There was more that he shared there as well but we're going to dig into his story today and I want you guys to understand that and he says this, he knew nothing about selling on Amazon. He heard about it, he was intrigued, he said you know what I'll go ahead and I'll give it a shot. That's what we're going to share with you today. Now, before we do jump into that, alright, I want ask you for a quick favor. Alright. We're at 191 episodes and I couldn't have done it without all of you and your questions and just the communications and being able to really interact with all of you and I really, really love doing it. I get a lot of satisfaction from you just connecting with you guys and putting my stuff out there and hoping that you guys can get some value from it.
What I'd like to do is I'd like to ask you for a favor. That favor is this, alright. There's actually three little things. One, share the podcast. Alright. Share the podcast with at least one person today only if you think they'll get value and only if you think they'd be interested in something like this. You guys all know that I've talked about this before. I enjoy hanging around with people that I'd normally want hang around with in life. Most of you listening are those people. I can tell when people are referencing the era that I grew up or things that I'm interested in, it just really shows me that the people that are listening are people that I'd genuinely want sit at that coffee shop or in the back yard having a barbecue.
[00:03:11] SV: Definitely, definitely help me out there and share the podcast. That'd be awesome. The other thing is if you want to connect with me on Periscope and listen to my rants or my random stuff that's happening. I usually post a lot of this stuff just randomly things that are happening day to day. This way here I can keep you guys in the loop. That's on Periscope. I love doing those as well because it's real. It's live, it's you and me sitting face to face in the car or wherever I am at that time and you can also ask questions there. There's really a lot of interactions. It's very similar actually to the Ask Scott show that I do on Friday. Definitely check me out on Periscope if you're interested. That's Periscope.TV and you have to download the app and then just look for @ScottVoelker and you'll find me there.
Then the last thing, I've been playing around Snapchat. If you want to see some daily snaps go on and look me up on Snapchat and my username there is @ScottVoelker1. Alright. Just a few different places where I'm going to be hanging out and I'd love for you to come on over and hang out. We can have that cup of coffee. I'm going to stop rumbling and talking right now so you guys can listen to this awesome interview I did with David and how he went from zero to $100,000 a month in revenues. Enjoy this interview with David.
[00:04:28] SV: Hey David. What is going on? How're you doing my man?
[00:04:32] David: Hey Scott. Good thanks. How are you buddy?
[00:04:33] SV: I am doing really really good and I had a little bit of a mix up there. We set our clocks ahead here in the States and we almost didn't make this happen but you luckily checked early and found out that we actually had a little bit of a time thing there.
[00:04:49] David: [inaudible] can be an interesting thing, so yeah. Luckily we always check ahead and makes sure we're doing things right.
[00:04:57] SV: yeah. Exactly. Now, where are you located again?
[00:05:00] David: I'm in Australia. I'm in the south, I'm in Melbourne.
[00:05:03] SV: Okay, okay. Cool. Alright. Good. What I wanted to do here today, you actually sent me an email and it was a nice email by the way. The title of it was ‘Zero – $100,000 a month in eight months and part thanks to you'.
[00:05:19] David: I thought I'd just get to the point and I thought you probably get a ton of these emails and I'm like this is something crazy that happened in big part because it was something to catch your attention and I guess it did.
[00:05:30] SV: It definitely caught my attention. I do get a lot of emails and I do try to answer each and everyone of them but they do go into kind of a priority. Some people they just have urgent things and some people they just have a brief question and we try to get those but yeah this definitely caught my eye and I’m like, “ Okay, I got to check this out,” so that’s when I reached out to you and you kind of emailed me when you emailed me all of that, you kind of were going through the process and that’s really what I want to do here. I want to really kind of dive in, let people know how you got the idea of doing this and kind of like your steps going through it to get to where you’re at now but then also where you plan to go from here. Maybe we can start right from the beginning. First off, do you have any e-commerce experience at all or any online experience before you started Amazon?
[00:06:17] DAVID: Zero, nothing, so even business experience. My education was more economics background, I studied Aviation as well but business wise I’ve never actually had a business so never really explored e-commerce. It’s something that I always thought other people do, probably about too much, I’d have to mortgage a house if I had one, I don’t even have one. I thought it was just kind of the old too hard basket.
[00:06:44] SV: I love hearing that because a lot of people think that you have to have this background, this experience. Coming into this thing I did have some experience but not on Amazon but I had online experience kind of the marketing background and stuff like that. That I taught myself but I still had that experience but you don’t need to have a website, you don’t need any of those things upfront to get started technically but you do need to go through the process. Okay, so you don’t have any background in this but you’re kind of intrigued by it. What was your first I guess like, “Hmm, maybe I should look at this?”
[00:07:17] DAVID: Yeah, so initially what happened with me was that I was at an interesting time in my life where I was I guess between work and having a few other things happen to me personally. I was at a point where I took on a lot of debt and work wise I started to hit certain roles that required me effectively, I’d get up at 6 in the morning and be back at home at 7:30 pm at night. The money was kind of okay and I was thinking, “I mean this is crazy, this is actually crazy, I don’t think I’ll be doing this for the next 10, 20 years, they didn’t tell us this at highschool and so forth and so I thought I really got to take control here and figure it out. I just thought, “Well maybe you can make money online, it’s pretty straightforward, it’s very accessible.”
I just started Googling and I started searching on YouTube and I came across a few ideas like all different types of Real estate and investing but you’ve got absolute big at the time. This is about early 2015, so people were talking about apps, affiliate marketing, Amazon was one of them and I found a video by a guy called Chris Guthrie. I saw him talk about how he made six grand in about 30 days and just some guy on his computer at home, seemed quite intelligent, he’s a really nice guy, I’ve actually spoken to him and met him at a conference recently, great guy.
I saw his video and I thought, “Hmm, this seems interesting, kind of makes sense” and then I started, I dove further and the funny thing about me was I was so hungry for it and I was so fed up where I was, just different people go through different points in their lives, sometimes you get really angry and pissed and it’s not necessarily that a bad thing, it’s more like a healthy I need to improve, I need to change this can’t keep on going like this and… I had just gone down that path and basically, discovering the idea I think late March 2015 and I just ran with it, I just went with it and I found your podcast, really soon thereafter and I think you were at episode four, or five or six at the time, if I can recall. When did you actually start your podcast?
[00:09:28] SV: It was February 4th, I believe 2015, was the official date that I launched the podcast.
[00:09:36] DAVID: The big launch yeah.
[00:09:37] SV: Yeah, that was the big … Is anybody going to listen? It was the launch of me publishing something on iTunes.
[00:09:45]DAVID: Yeah, and that’s why I reached out to you, I wanted to thank you for just taking the time to start, I mean no one really prompted you, it’s just your own thing. I guess yourself and your wife really you thought about it and just went for it but it’s great because I found your podcast in March when I started looking and literally just started smashing through your episodes and I couldn’t wait for the next one to come out because I was kind of catching up and getting steps ahead I'm like what am I doing now? I’m just waiting for you to do your… you’re great, you pump content pretty quickly which is-
[00:10:16] SV: It’s kind of retracing the steps, then once I got rolling I started getting questions and then answering those questions. It is actually easy to create that content because you’re creating content for questions that are being asked and that’s truly awesome actually.
[00:10:31] DAVID: What I did is basically from around. I wrote this down on my iPhone, March 18th I kind of came across the idea and I started listing different businesses I could have a crack at. I looked at options training other stuff online but Amazon, I found it March 18th 2015. I looked in my emails, I was basically asking suppliers, basically Early April, I already had a product picked and sourced.
[00:10:55] SV: Wow, wow that’s incredible.
[00:10:57] DAVID: I moved pretty quickly and I made sure it was air shipped, which is a big thing that I’ve come to tell people about. If you’ve got to start, air shipping is perfect because it forces you to select a smaller product which is cheaper anyway to get into and you get to market quicker. Your inventory starts turning a lot quicker and you can… Then if you hit a good market, if you kind of hit a homerun so to speak initially, you can really take off and scale it very quickly or you can go at a slow pace which is okay too.
The main thing is, you can just quickly test the market and see what works. Sea shipping is just, from my experience, 45-60 day experience door to door. Just went with that and allowed me to scale and it was awesome. Basically, I had one product it kind of went well. A second product also went well. Most recently I’ve launched, I've got a third with a fourth on the way.
Those first two products really carried me and it allowed me to scale up very quickly to a point where it was funny, I’m at work, some point in about, I guess it was October or so maybe even early September , October and I’m looking at my daily sales and I’m like, “Shit, I’ve actually made more money today on Amazon than I have the whole week at work,” and it’s like on a Monday morning and I’m just sitting there, I’m at work and I’m just laughing and going, “ This is crazy, I can’t believe the numbers I’m seeing on my phone.”
[00:12:20] SV: It is, and it’s addicting that app isn’t it? You swipe it and you see the numbers, I actually thought about uninstalling it because it’s addicting and sometimes it's distracting and sometimes it’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing because sometimes you’ll swipe and you’ll be like, “Wait a minute, I usually have 20 at this time of the day and now I only have 5, what’s going on, is something wrong?”
[00:12:40] DAVID: It’s usually hard to detach yourself from it because it can be kind of like a point of validation where you just want to check and make sure you’re doing it okay, you’re happy if it’s going well, you’re not happy if it’s not going well. It’s a real mind game and it’s really kind of mindset-shift.
[00:12:54] SV: Oh, absolutely. Let’s go back real quick though. When you’re first getting started you got the idea, you started listening to Chris Guthrie, which by the way, funny thing is just before I got on with you, I was skyping him back and forth, we were messaging each other because we were just discussing a few things. it’s funny that you bring him up, he’s a good friend of mine now through obviously the podcast and this business and everything but he’s a great, great guy. It’s funny that you got started by just picking up just a little breadcrumb from him.
Then from there getting the idea and then from there doing a little bit more digging, finding the podcast and then here we are. From that point, you get the idea, you go through the content, kind of telling you what I did, you’re following those steps. Now what do you do though, just kind of break it down a little bit for like product research for you. What was your method, what was your process to really kind of find that first product?
[00:13:49] DAVID: What I did is I basically went through the whole… There’s a few tools available now which make it super easy. Jungle Scout awesome, that’s one of the biggest time savers. I guess the more you understand about the business, the more you realize how valuable that tool is but at the time, I just went through the best seller matrix and I just went through and had a look at what appeared where and then from there, if there was a product that was referencing to my niche. I found a product that happened to be, the funny thing is at the time as at the top 100 but it’s no longer in the top 100 but it still sells really well, at the time it was there and I just happened to see it.
I looked at this guy and I see, this guy is doing 70, 80 a day. He’s only got 100 or 200 reviews at the time, quite a new product and then I saw the competition and I’m like, “Wow, they’re all fully optimized listings and everyone else is selling the same unit about half the price which is the funny thing. He’s got a whole heap of competition selling for half his price. He’s priced double everybody else, yet he’s selling effectively more than everybody combined almost and I’m thinking,” Okay, he’s probably one of those people that went through that course or someone similar or someone who’s actually taken the time to do it and I thought, there’s literally room for a lot more here so I jumped in and I guess here we are.
[00:15:08] SV: Nice, now that product, were you able to … Is it pretty much a very similar product did you have to make a lot of modifications to it? Maybe kind of give us a little bit about that.
[00:15:18] DAVID: Yeah. It was basically, in function everything was the same, my product’s the same as the competitors but I guess the features are a little improved. I’ve got a product that I sell on health and personal care space and it’s a product where… It’s got certain functions, you can go talk to suppliers and say… What I actually did was I went and had a look at all the other competitors and what they were doing and what the customers were telling us about the problems, this needed to be improved, that needed to be improved, this wasn’t good enough, that wasn’t good enough, then I took all those points and said, “ Okay, this is my perfect product, I know they’re buying a lot, I can see how much they’re buying. This is what they’re telling me they want so I literally took that and I actually made a spreadsheet and I made a spreadsheet in Excel, I went through all the… I had a few issues and then I just put like x’s and crosses every time I saw it in a review, then I’d kind of get a waiting system. It’s a crude way of just seeing what’s most important to people, what gets brought up the most.
[00:16:25] SV: You were basically going through your competitions reviews?
[00:16:28] DAVID: That’s right, yeah I was just going through their reviews and specifically, the three and below star and then just having a look at what people were complaining about, suggesting or what they weren’t happy about. Whatever the case might be and I thought if I could just satisfy all these, I should not have issues with my product and I’ll actually have a better product.
I actually went and got a better product and I went through so many suppliers, I hit up dozens of them because I knew that the works done now. I’ve picked the market which is tough as it is, but if I can just get the formula right for this product then that’s going to be a win. All I need to do is position and launch it and I know how to do that and then I knew it would work from there. That was the crucial part to get the product that actually works and that ticks as many of those boxes as possible.
[00:17:19] SV: Now, what were you going after as far as like, sales volume? What were you looking to, were you going after a product that could do 50 a day or more, or were you going after just some that could do 10 or 20 a day?
[00:17:31] DAVID: I was happy with 10, 20 a day and to build that portfolio of products that would just be ticking along at 10 or 20 a day. I thought that was awesome. I just wanted to not lose money and to actually just have an experience and to see where it went but I was still determined to work hard, I have always been really full-on when I approach certain tasks and everything and I learn pretty quickly and when I learn I pretty much go all in so I’m like, “ I’m just going to give it a really good shot here. I’m not expecting miracles but I still set the bar pretty high I looked up at the sky and I’m like “ I think I can do better than him.” And by extension that means I can sell more than him which is whatever amount of sales a day, it was a lot. I was always happy with just being a little player in there. I’ll take a few crumbs and I’ll be happy, Amazon’s a big place but I also aimed to beat him.
[00:18:21] SV: Sure, sure, and I think that’s smart. I think you said that your top competitor like he was charging more where everybody is charging a lot less, is that true?
[00:18:30] DAVID: Yeah, that’s right, yeah. You’ve seen afterwards, there has been a ton of people pile into the space selling same sort of unit, same sort of price. Pretty funny how these things…
[00:18:42] SV: Oh yeah, and so at that point, when it gets to that point, how do you differentiate it at this point now?
[00:18:47] DAVID: It’s funny, I’ve had tons of people come in, they’ve ripped off my title, my bullet points , my photos, the way I’ve taken my photos, the specific angles I’ve taken my photos. It’s so funny like people were really funny, I guess it’s flattering in a way, I mean they just … They’ll literally take your listings and say, “ Hmm, this sounds well, okay these are the figures, I’ll get 10,20 a day it’s very popular and I’ll literally get the same unit. Some of them don’t even bother to put their own branding or whatever and it’s quite hilarious but they’ll literally take photos. Some people will have multiple photos all in the same kind of way, so they’re not really showing how it’s being used and yeah, I mean the way I’ve differentiate it is…
It’s hard, I think I’ve built up enough velocity on keywords that’s why I’m ranked quite well now and so what I’ve done is I’ve always try to change and re-optimize the listings maybe I'm improving a few more products but I guess it’s mainly, the volume and quality of your reviews which I’ve really worked on and I guess I’m ranking and the other thing is your ad spend as well.
If you can, it's a whole other topic, but if you can… I tried experimenting with pushing pretty hard on ads and it kind of worked for a bit, bumps me up and then organically, the traffic will keep you up at a high level in ranking so that kind of helps. At the end of the day, it’s not really a product where someone is going to sit down and have a messy discussion with their wife, they are just going to… it’s just impossible really.
As long as you’re presented really well, you’ve got good reviews, a good amount of reviews and you’re ranked well, you usually do well and there can literally be 40, 50 other people selling them but they’ll never get seen, it’s just a big initial push to get to the top and once you get there, you can work on maintaining it but it’s more of a…
As I said it’s impossible, someone is not going to go through your spreadsheet for 20, 40 products and then just… I think we get into it a lot and we’re pretty forlorn about this. We overanalyze things whereas I don’t think customers really… they’re not going to look at it to a level of, I guess, accuracy that we do.
[00:20:51] SV: Yeah, now let me ask you quickly about the sourcing real quick. Did you go to straight to like Alibaba, AliExpress and then kind of sort through and weed through there?
[00:21:01] DAVID: Yeah, I just went on Alibaba and I just went through suppliers and such. It’s funny I actually looked for another related product initially, and I spent some suppliers I just wasn’t happy by that and I got the same for some of these shitty products. What happened is one of my suppliers happened to… I said, “ Look, I’m looking for this type of product which is related,” and they’re like, “ Oh by the way, we’ve got this unit and it turned out to be awesome, and I actually was specifically looking for that first product initially couldn’t find them, when I found them for a related product that happened to be the product that I had said, by the way, we’ve got one of these and it was an awesome unit. It turned out to be really good, so it’s just funny how that works, it’s just funny how that works because actually through the sourcing of two products that I originally came back and found my first.
[00:21:48] SV: That’s awesome, now how did this second product after you launched that, how did that do in regards to helping the first product if at all?
[00:21:55] DAVID: It’s kind of hard to say, I think my first product has its own life and the second product although they are related, I think they're mostly get purchased individually, they both complement each other. My second product that I launched I refined my process and I became more, I guess economical about my launches. I came here both times with 1,000 units for each product.
First product I put to market and I was selling well at 20 a day and I was going well and I took the plunge and re-ordered 3,000. That was before it was really properly validated or before I could actually pay all off organically with the earnings, so I kind of took a risk and I’ve been doubling up with this product for months. With the second product I knew that there was a need for that type of product and I just positioned it well and I was out of stock for like three weeks. I sold out in like three weeks, I just launched it and it was crazy.
[00:23:00] SV: That was for 1,000 units?
[00:23:02] DAVID: Yeah, 1,000 units, that will go on for basically two and a half weeks.
[00:23:07] SV: Wow that's phenomenal. Lead us a little bit through the launch process like, what did you do once you got your product landed into Amazon? What was your strategy moving forward?
[00:23:23] DAVID: So what I did is, say I’ve built up a listing of photos. Initially I’ll have a look at price point, I’ll put a price slightly more expensive just because you’re low on stock anyway and then I… Initially what I wanted is to get, I guess we all want reviews and ranks and we want to do it with a little product as possible. My specific method is I just use AMZ Tracker, I think. Do you use that?
[00:23:51] SV: I do use it, I have a subscription to it, to kind of monitor the ranking. I got to be honest, I don’t use it as much as maybe I should, just because I get a little sidetracked when I start looking at rankings every day, but if I’m shooting for a certain keyword and I really want to go after that one or five or whatever, then it’s a great tool to do that, yeah.
[00:24:07] DAVID: Yes, what I do is I just optimize my listing make sure that it’s keyword relevant and then what I do is I’ll concentrate on a handful of keywords and normally jewel keywords. If you had, like you always talk about Garlic Press, if you had, say your product could also be called a press. From my experience I found, if you try rank for Garlic Press and you push your efforts on that, you get a double effect because you’re ranking for Garlic Press but you’re also ranking for press and also probably for garlic. I went for a jewel or triple keyword and really focused on that and also because it’s a longer tail keyword, you have more of a bang for your buck with the units that you have.
[00:24:48] SV: Yeah, that’s a good point, yeah.
DAVID: Usually those shorter tail keywords … There’s so much competition. When you’re coming to the party with a little pistol and everyone else got rockets and guns, you can’t really make much of an impact. You’d rather kind of target in, zero in on an area where you can have more effect, so what I do is I use AMZ Tracker. I simply created a promotion and I just send out units via CPRL super easy. I used a launch service for my first product called Viral Launch and it was good and I needed it, it served its purpose but I found it’s a lot more economical, cheaper and better if I just used AMZ tracker and effectively just gave away my product against the keyword because you’re getting double effect for your money because most of those you get reviews but then also you’re using a super URL, everyone can make their own call as to whether they should use it but it works.
[00:25:46] SV: Yeah, I agree and I mean there was just the report, sent out about how effective they’re going to be and if they’re not going to be and if people can basically get in trouble for them. I still think that they’re being used, I still think that they’re still effective but I think the fix to that or the workaround will be to actually guide people through finding your product, you know what I mean?
[00:26:14] DAVID: Yeah.
[00:26:14] SV: Actually telling them, go and search for Garlic Press, find your brand name and then click on it and buy it.
[00:26:22] DAVID: The funny thing is about that, say for instance your press is on page 12 and now Amazon sees a whole bunch of people clicking, searching and then magically going on page 12 to finding your product and buy it I mean it’s not organically how it happens anyway, so in every situation there is always a way to uncover. I’m sure they track people’s spending habits and they know when someone goes to page 12.
That’s pretty obvious, I mean that’s another flag… How far do you want to go with it? I mean we’re all doing it, if they came around and slapped everybody would they find out very quickly, I guess the community talks so we’d find out.
[00:27:00] SV: That is really, really true. How many units generally are you giving away in your first blast?
[00:27:09] DAVID: Well, I normally come out with a thousand units, so I really cap it at 150 and I’m doing that spread out over a period of time and that will ideally get me ranked and get me some reviews, ideally I’d like to have over 100 for my first batch and it just really depends on how responsive I guess the reviews are.
[00:27:29] SV: Then as far as like Pay Per Click, how soon do you turn that on?
[00:27:32] DAVID: About 20 reviews which happened very quickly, the AMZ tracker… people, there’s a lot of people over … It’s funny you get people that review it the instance they get it. It happens quickly sometimes, so within the week I could start Pay Per Click probably late in the week if I have a few reviews and then I just go from there and I just start from small bits and it’s good to actually start early because you can cast a wide net and then you can see what gets impressions and then you can see, “ Okay, these keywords are a bit more relevant, and then you can kind of make a call as to whether you want to compete on those because if you’ve got all of these keywords and you see one of them has normally 80/20 so you have certain keywords that have most of the impressions.
Well then you can re-evaluate, well hang on, what do I want to do, should I change track here? Or if I do a secondary launch, maybe I should launch against that other keyword, it gives you a lot of market information, you can effectively see where the traffic’s going.
[00:28:34] SV: I love that, I think getting those golden nuggets as I call them, it’s like they’re giving you the data, so why not use that data. Now as far as like starting to see what keywords you want to rank for, is there anything that you do specifically for that to kind of uncover maybe your competitors or any of that stuff?
[00:28:54] DAVID: Yes, there’s a tool that people can use, they probably know about it, Keyword Inspector. Have you used Keyword Inspector?
[00:29:02]SV: Yeah, actually I do and actually I have got a link I believe on my resources page if people want to check that out and they can definitely go through that. I think you get extra credit, you can get 20 extra credits because it’s a credit system right?
[00:29:15] DAVID: Yeah that’s right.
[00:29:16] SV: You buy credits and yeah you can run a reverse search.
DAVID: Yeah, you just do a reverse search on competitor’s listings and I don’t know how they do it but they seem to have an okay degree of accuracy. They can reverse ASIN another listing and tell you which keywords they rank for and actually where they’re ranked for those keywords.
It’s very straightforward, I looked at my competitor, I went through his listing and I saw, “Okay, he’s selling so many a day.” You do most of your sales for the keyword you rank highest for, that’s just how Amazon works. You just literally look at what they rank highest for, these are the keywords that you need to target and it’s very simple. The other thing is, my second product launch went quite well I believe also in part because, my first product, because they are complimentary so they cross with keywords. Keywords apply to both. What happened is, it was great because I knew what were the most lucrative keywords because I experimented with adPlus and a few other platforms and I found certain keywords were a lot more expensive than others. I'm like there's a whole lot of competition for this keyword.
That means it's quite lucrative. When I do my launch for the next product I'm going to launch against most expensive keyword because that's going to be the most economical way because you're doing the super URL and give away. You're effectively that's a really good return on your money because then you have to… there's more of a push for that keyword and then you can sustain a lot easier. You don't have to burrow your way through with all the advertising and push your way out.
[00:30:47] SV: Yeah, I know. That’s a good point, definitely a good point. Now, when you look at the reverse search, do you kind of look at the top 10 keywords or something like that? Let’s say for example they’re ranking page 1 for 50 key words and then they’re ranking position 2 on another 50, so do you just take all of the ones they are ranking between 1 and 10 and then do you take them, compile them and put them in a few campaigns?
[00:31:14] DAVID: Yeah, that’s what I do. I go through a few competitors, take probably the top 10 words or something and then put them in campaigns. Initially what I did was I just did a massive data dump where I’d actually take all of them, throw them into a campaign and see what happens and sometimes Amazon gives you relevancy for them, sometimes they don’t.
I think I found it a lot more effective and a lot more utilized when I had shorter campaigns, maybe 50 or 20 keywords, I put them in separate campaigns and they seemed to work. That will also tell you what Amazon believes your listing is relevant for. You may want to rank for keywords that your competitors rank you well. Put all that data in a campaign, if you don’t get any impressions for that top keyword that means there’s something with your listing or there’s some issue with Amazon or you may just have to try it again but it’s telling you you’re not ranking for that keyword so it gives you a big clue that you need to do something about it.
[00:32:07] SV: Yeah, I know, I agree. It totally can be relevancy, it could be if you’re not bidding enough but I think relevancy a lot of the times can play a major role so you definitely want to run that stuff against yours and then see how it goes. One thing I do, I don’t know if you do this. I think it’s interesting to do is you run that same reverse search on your own listing and then go back a month later and see how well you’re doing.
[00:32:36] DAVID: Yeah and the other funny thing is you find all sorts of crazy keywords that literally make no sense and I don’t know where the data comes from. There must be, I guess it’s a bit of margin of error that it’s actually quite interesting to see how all that works.
[00:32:51] SV: Yeah, I know it is. It’s totally funny but it’s data but we look at it, sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t. Do you have any variations or you’re just single listings?
[00:33:03] DAVID: Just single listings.
[00:33:05] SV: Okay-
[00:33:05] DAVID: No variations. Sorry, that was my alarm.
[00:33:08] SV: There we go, get the alarm clock. I think that was supposed to let you know that we’re supposed to start recording.
[00:33:14] DAVID: This is when we should have started, yeah.
[00:33:17] SV: That was when we should have started, that’s funny, that’s cool. Wrapping up here, you’ve pretty much did I mean everything we’ve talked about. I mean it’s pretty straight forward.
[00:33:29] DAVID: You just follow it step by step and you just- every phase you just get all the information and you become experts. It’s very quick and you just keep moving.
[00:33:38] SV: Yeah, I think that’s important and I mean not to sit here and say that it’s easy because it’s not, right. I mean it takes time, it takes hours, it takes the research is probably one of the hardest parts and the sourcing. Right? I mean it takes time.
[00:33:49] DAVID: One other thing I wanted to mention is a big thing that I discovered myself was the cash in, cash out equation and that’s going to really dictate. People don’t understand how important margins are. They came to get into the business and they came to get a product selling but if you’re making 20 to 30 percent margin that’s literally not enough to scale if you’re successful because if you say you have like a 30 or 25 percent margin, so you’re selling the product say for $10 and you’re getting $2.50 back total, that’s not a lot of money to scale.
[00:34:25] SV: No.
[00:34:25] DAVID: You’re not going to get that much back and I just looked at if I put a dollar of inventory and how much money do I get back from Amazon of expenses to be able to buy more stock, my figure is quite high because I source my product quite cheaply and sell it for like around 20 bucks so I have a good healthy margin where initially when I put a dollar of inventory…. So say I land a $1000 of product, I could literally get $5000 back which is insane. It’s crazy as long as you can rank it and sell it well, you got like an ATM, you just put money in and it comes back out.
[00:35:00] SV: It’s true I mean you definitely got to look at the margin. The one caveat I would say there is when you’re starting your margins could be lower because you’re not buying enough to get the price down or maybe you’re overspending on certain things to try to get the product ranked. You got to figure those things in but if you know in the end when you get up and running, you get ranked and all that stuff that you can bring those costs down, then I think it’s okay but you need to know what that is ahead of time. You can’t just guess.
[00:35:30] DAVID: Yeah, I know, that’s true but I’m also thinking that you’re quite limited in a sense. Say you sell a product for $20. If you can land it in the US for say $10 and Amazon takes their cut of 5 say, that gives you $5, that’s 25%. You’ve just gotten $15 back all right. You can only buy 1.5 units with that. If you launched a thousand units, if you literally sold all- and I’m not including promotions, if you put a thousand units in, you sold all of them, you can only buy 1500 again. Effectively you’re treading water, you may be growing a little bit but if you hit a market that’s taking off, you can’t supply that demand. You can’t keep up with it.
[00:36:15] SV: Yeah, I know. That’s a great point and that’s why I think I’ve always stressed too. If you’re selling a product for 20, you should be able to source it for 5.
[00:36:21] DAVID: Yeah, or less.
[00:36:24] SV: Or less, you know what I mean? That should be that happy medium time type price point. You know what, this has been really good to walk through this process and I think, I mean, are you okay sharing what you’ve done in a month up to this point?
[00:36:40] DAVID: Yeah, look, I don’t mind. My best month, I hit over $100,000 a month and the funny thing is that was with the second product launching and faring well but that went out of stock so I’m kind of back down to 100 or there about. I started off initially. I was doing 5/6,000 a month then I’d have like a 10/20,000 a month and then it just kind of took off in November for whatever reason. I think my ranking just kind of boosted for whatever reason. I just took off and yeah, then it got up to a level where there was a lot of, I mean there was just crazy money coming through, money I hadn’t seen before in my life just started first time I’ve got into a business but there’s real potential to have a business that’s quite significant in the sense of supporting myself and whatever I want to do.
[00:37:30] SV: Yeah, I know. It’s great and I think it’s amazing that you’re at a six figure point in the business. I’m not even there yet so congrats to you man.
[00:37:37] DAVID: Yeah, thanks a lot. You help me so much. It’s awesome the stuff that you do and it’s crazy you put it out there for free. The internet’s an insane place like the amount of cool things you can do and it’s just all the way out there. It’s really amazing.
[00:37:49] SV: I know, it really is and the one thing is and I think I said this in the email, you kind of did do that. You thanked me and all that stuff. I said listen, I kind of gave you the fire starter and then you had to pour gas on it, right. You actually got to do the work. It’s all there, we understand it but you got to go out there and do it, not saying that every product you launch is going to be successful either, must be honest.
[00:38:13] DAVID: Yeah and that’s the thing. You just got to be able to exploit opportunities as they present themselves. The thing is if you’re swinging and missing, who cares. All you got to do is hit it once and then it’s all good because if you make a lot of money in one hit, it’s not like it all disappears tomorrow. If you work on it you can maintain and grow it and so forth but if you don’t swing at all, it’s quite guaranteed what’s going to happen and that’s nothing.
[00:38:38] SV: Exactly. I also see here you have a goal to hit 300,000 in a month, is that what your goal is?
[00:38:45] DAVID: Yeah, I wanted to hit 300 in December. If I can get three products of mine at the moment, if I can get them established and running well, I think I can have enough capital there to the point where the limiting factor will be my time which is why I’m building a team now because I’ve come to a stage where I’ve paid off all my debts really quickly. I actually paid myself out of the business like in November, my friends, family, everything and then quit my job, straight away in around January started and I’ve actually gave myself a pay rise, started working for myself and now I’m employing somebody but I believe that if I can get the systems in place and just replicate how I approach the business, if I can have a few people assisting me in working with me and I’ll have enough capital from the sale of the first stock and actually boost up and get my business to a level I can hit about 300 a month.
[00:39:37] SV: That’s great, that’ a great strategy moving forward and I think whenever you grow you got to have help. You got to have support, you got to have a team and I think that you are on the right track and now you have the capital to do it so you should do it, right and I think that’s it in a nutshell. I want to thank you again for coming on David. I think it’s awesome to be able to share this and I appreciate it. I’m definitely going to follow up. We can go ahead and get you when you’re at that number and we can see what’s changed and what you had to do to get there and all that stuff. Again, I learn and I get inspired by just interviewing people like you every single day so it’s definitely a win-win for everyone and I appreciate you sharing it. If there was one thing I guess that you could give someone just starting right now, if there was one little piece of advice, what would that be?
[00:40:24] DAVID: I was just thinking about what you just said then it’s all out there on the internet but I always kind of walked around thinking… “You know, I can do something really cool and great, I just wish someone would show me or tell me or I wish I could just discover some sort of system or method or some area of how business works.” I didn’t realize how straightforward it was. It really is quite straightforward and I just wish someone had shown me maybe because I work pretty hard, I’m pretty intelligent so I thought I just needed somebody to take and run with which is what I have done.
If there’s anything I would say to anyone is that it’s quite easy at the moment. It’s all out there. All the information and the mindset and all the tools that you need to attack this and really get into it, it’s all out there. It’s literally just a case of, and it’s really cliché, it’s a case of how bad you want it. Whatever your life situation is, wherever you’re at, it’s just a case of if you can decide with yourself, “Do I actually want this enough to really focus on it?” and if you’re going to do it, just why not be an expert and just kill it? Why not just try and be at the top and I mean it’s a proven concept. We know it works. A lot of people know it works. There’s a lot of material out there.
Okay, so what if there’s competition? Why don’t you put a lot of effort into it? Why don’t you work harder than the next guy? Who knows, maybe you’ll- there’s a lot of money up for grabs so it’s literally it’s worth your effort but it’s a conscious decision everyone makes with themselves and you just really have to decide how bad do you want it. That’s really the only deciding factor because the other tools and all the other information’s all there. Everything’s out there and that’s kind of I guess the hard part too because it kind of starts with your head and then you think, “Wow, is it me?” and the truth is yes, it is you. You’re caught in a bottleneck and it’s just taking responsibility, I think that’s what I said to you in the email. I wanted to take responsibility for my life. I didn’t want things decided for me. I didn’t want to ask like a little kid from a pay rise at work, all that sort of stuff. I’m like a grown man. I shouldn’t ask someone to go on a holiday. I know that’s a really weird concept but it’s like I’m 14.
[00:42:36] SV: No, I believe in that 100 percent.
[00:42:41] DAVID: You have kids, I mean they ask you like, “Dad, I want to go here, can I go?” then you’re like, “Yeah, cool.”
[00:42:45] SV: Yeah.
[00:42:45] DAVID: What, time off, it’s like yeah, that’s cool because you’re a parent, they’re your child and you just support them. I’m a grown man here. I shouldn’t be asking strangers, “Can I go on a holiday? Can I have more money please, I think I’m worth it?” just forget them. Get rid of them, you don’t need them. Just do it yourself. Just take control and when you take control of things, everything becomes clearer and apparent, that’s the coolest part but it’s also hard because it’s like, okay it’s totally up to you so if this doesn’t work out, it’s no one’s fault but your own.
[00:43:15] SV: True.
[00:43:15] DAVID: It’s a double-edged sword.
[00:43:15] SV: Yeah, no, it is but you know what, with that risk and I say risk not even just losing money but losing the respect that you think that you’re going to lose which I don’t believe that but that is what those mind games play and when you start thinking-
[00:43:32] DAVID: People couldn’t care less. I mean they’re just interested in what’s happening on Facebook, what they’re doing on the weekend, what they’re eating, they don’t really care about your hopes and dreams. One other thing I want to say is I started reading a lot of self-help and motivational stuff and the funny thing one guy mentioned is some instructor from some other field, he said, “You as a person, all you care about is living and procreating, everything else your body, mind, soul, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t care because as long as you’re alive, as long as you’ve spit out a few kids, that’s enough.
You as yourself, your body doesn’t really care about your hopes and dreams and the things you want to achieve because they’re kind of luxuries in the sense that we all don’t have to do this business. We all can just kick along and do our jobs and we live quite great lives because we’re- most of us are in the western world, we have great lives anyway. We’re not in trouble, were not at risk we’re going to starve. We’re not insecure or anything. Everything’s good, life’s pretty good. We have first world problems as they say but to push yourself to get to where you naturally don’t care about, it requires a lot of effort because you’re always pushing against yourself and you as a person don’t want to do…
Everyone takes the easy way out with everything and that’s like a natural, like a survival mechanism. We don’t want to exert too much effort because there’s no need. We need effort and energy to survive so just understand you’re always going to be pushing against that and that’s why you feel lazy, that’s why you can’t be bothered doing things. That’s why you lose interest. It’s just your body returning to a natural state and you’re always going to be fighting that when you’re doing this.
[00:45:10] SV: That’s great advice and it’s great to also just bring it to the surface and let us think about that because I do believe that our body it's our chassis. It’s kind of what gets us around and it kind of moves us along but our mind is so powerful and so important and it really is a choice as to what you want to do. It’s just how much work, how much frustration do you want to deal with and get through and all that stuff. If you do want to do it, there’s really no reason for you. I heard it from someone, I forget who it was but he just basically said that he is too stubborn to fail right. You’re just too stubborn to fail so you have to be too stubborn to fail and if you do that, you’ll do okay. I like the analogy of baseball. You see baseball players go into the box all the time and they strike out but they go back up the next time thinking they’re going to hit the home run.
[00:46:01] DAVID: I think I read somewhere like I think Babe Ruth is one of your big folk heroes and I think he had more strikeouts than a lot of the other players and he hit the most homeruns so that just tells you.
[00:46:13] SV: Yeah, it totally does. Hey David, this was awesome and I really do appreciate it and I definitely want to keep in touch with you and get you back on the show later but I just want to say again, thank you so much and congratulations on all your success and I really do mean that. Like I said, I really want to be able to follow up with you so thank you again, I really do appreciate it.
[00:46:36] DAVID: Yeah, cool. Thanks so much Scott, I do appreciate all the work you’ve done and yeah just keep at it man. Don’t let up, keep going it’s an awesome thing you’re doing.
[00:46:44] SV: I appreciate it, now go run that team will you?
[00:46:47] DAVID: All right, will do.
[00:46:48] SV: All right, we’ll see you David.
Okay, so there you have it. An awesome interview and I'm telling you I get a ton of value just from digging into people's’ stories and listening to where they came from, how they got started, product research, how they’ve launched, all of that stuff. I love doing it because I love giving it to you guys but I love doing it also because I can hear different angles and different ways that people are just tweaking a few things that we could try with our next launch so I just want to say that I love doing these and I learn myself just as you do I hope.
All right guys, that is going to wrap up this episode. I want to again say thank you so much for being a listener. You guys are awesome, you guys rock and if you can just do me that quick favor and just share the podcast. Share the podcast with someone that you think would be interested in that, do that today, do that for me today. That would be amazing and if you guys have not connected on our Facebook page or our Facebook group that is, it’s a private group, you have to gain access which is totally free to do.
All you have to do is head over to the amazingseller.com/fb, request to join. Usually in a couple of hours you’ll be approved, maybe sooner depending on when the moderators are checking that out and then once you get access, go in there and make yourself at home. Go in the search field, there’s a search box there. Type in what you are searching for as far as like a question and you’ll most likely find it there. Over 26,000 people in there now that are all TAS listeners and I just wanted to say you can get so much value inside of that group. It’s an extension of the podcast and I couldn’t have done it without you guys out there letting other people know about it, making it really, really awesome.
One last thing, if you are brand new and you want to attend one of my live workshops where I actually walk you through the five phases for picking a product, sourcing a product, launching product, promoting your product, everything in between, you’re going to want to head over to theamazingseller.com/workshop, again that’s theamazingselle.com/workshop. You can register for an upcoming live workshop there and I would love for you to attend. We have such a great time over there and well learn as well so definitely go over and do that.
All right guys, that is going to wrap it up. Once again remember I’m here for you, I believe in you and I’m rooting for you but you have to, you have to, come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, take action. Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you here on the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- Connect with Scott on Persicope – https://www.Periscope.tv
- Connect with Scott on Snapchat – ScottVoelker1
- The TAS Facebook group – www.TheAmazingSeller.com/fb
- www.TheAmzingSeller.com/workshop – register for a free live workshop
- www.TheAmazingSeller.com/JS – get Jungle Scout (affiliate link)
- AMZ Tracker
- Viral Launch (launch tool)
- Keyword Inspector
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