If you’ve never looked into the possibility of selling your own private label products online to build a business of your own, this is the episode for you to hear. My guest today is Paul and he built his own private label sales business from scratch – and started out with only $30. That’s right – $30. On this episode, he debunks many ideas about getting started with online sales by sharing exactly how he took each step to move from a $30 investment to thousands of dollars in sales every month. You can hear the whole thing on this episode of the podcast.
Overcoming the fear and roadblocks to building your own private label business.
Fear is a natural response to something you don’t understand. You wonder if you’ll have what it takes to handle the difficulties and challenges the situation may bring. But fear is also something that you can use to your advantage to motivate and drive you forward. On this episode, Paul shares how he stepped past the fear he felt by taking small, less risky steps to assure himself as he went along. It’s a smart strategy and one that worked out very well for him. You can hear the entire story on this episode of the podcast.
Starting small from where you are is the key to success.
There’s nothing that can really hold you back from becoming successful at private label sales if you really want to be successful. Paul’s story is a great example of that. He started out very small, with only $30 worth of product. As that began to sell he purchased more with the profits and scaled the business larger and larger over time. You don’t have to order tons of product right off the bat and Paul’s story demonstrates how true that is. You’ll get to hear Paul’s story, the steps he took all along the way to success, and where he’s come over time on this episode. You can also hear what he’s doing now to expand his business beyond Amazon, so be sure you take the time to listen.
Why you need to think outside Amazon with your product sales.
Amazon is a wonderful place to get started with online product sales. The FBA setup is one of the simplest and easiest ways to get started and everyone interested in product sales should at least look into it. But Amazon is not the end game – or shouldn’t be. There are many risky aspects to using Amazon that you want to consider when it comes to the long-term sustainability of your business. On this episode Scott and his guest, Paul talk about the kinds of things they’ve seen that have caused them to look outside Amazon to establish their own, entirely controllable platform for generating income for themselves. You’ll learn a lot just from this short part of their conversation.
BEST ADVICE: Take it step by step to get started building your own business.
As Scott wrapped up this interview with his guest, Paul he asked what one piece of advice Paul would give to people who are considering Amazon private label sales. Paul’s advice flows right out of his own experience: take it step at a time and go slowly. Nobody says you’ve got to invest tons of money or do highly risky things to get a business going. Amazon FBA makes it possible for you to start as small or as large as you are comfortable starting and to grow your efforts from there. If you wonder if it’s really possible to succeed at private label sales, you need to hear Paul’s story. He’s got a great one to tell and it will benefit you to hear it.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to the podcast!
- [3:40] How you can get into the TAS Breakthrough LIVE.
- [6:34] Paul’s income through e commerce and private label: how he got started.
- [14:34] The road toward his own products.
- [16:30] Paul’s first attempts in paying for his products and why he went slowly.
- [21:19] Why you don’t have to start with a huge order of products.
- [24:29] How Paul gets his traffic back after running out of products.
- [26:43] Paul’s efforts to add a second product: frequently bought together.
- [29:35] Why you need to think outside Amazon with your product sales.
- [38:03] How Paul is selling in the U.S. market from Ireland.
- [41:00] The review service Paul used and how it worked for him.
- [44:42] Paul’s advice for people just starting out with e commerce and private label.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 266
TAS 266 : (Lost Episode) How Paul Turned $30 Into $1,000's with ONE Product and New Problems After Success
[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey, what’s up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 266 and today’s episode almost didn’t air. I have to say I kind of misplaced it in my digital folder here on my computer and I…
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…recorded this back in August of 2016, depending on when you’re listening to this and I’m really excited to be able to share it with you now because it’s a really good interview I did with a guy by the name of Paul James Kerry. He actually interviewed me on his podcast and said, “Hey, I’d love to hear your story and all that stuff.” I did that but as we were going through my interview he started telling me about his story and I’m like, “Wait a minute here, I really should probably have you on the podcast.”
I actually talk about that in the pre-interview here which you guys can hear but I just want to let you guys to know this almost didn’t see the light of day and I’m really, really disappointed in that because it’s an awesome episode. What it is, is Paul talking all about how he took a $30 investment, that’s right $30, in buying the inventory and then turning that into a few hundred dollars and then turning that into $1,000 and then a few thousand dollars. That’s really how he started. He was a little scared as we all are when we get started but he picked a pretty good product. I’m not saying that everyone’s going to have that type of success, that’s not what I’m doing here in saying that everyone that just goes out there and spends 30 bucks is going to make that, not at all, probably not going to happen like that but it is proof that if you go out there and you start to learn the system even if you only have 100 bucks to get started with something to launch it to understand and learn this process.
[00:01:55] Scott: A lot of people don’t think of learning being valuable. If you launch something and whether it sells or not you’ve learned a ton, you’ve learned a ton and you really need to understand that in anything that you do. You’re going to also hear Paul talk about his past as far as what he’s done in the past. He’s done SEO, search engine optimization if you don’t know what that is, drop shipping, he’s done a little bit of that. He understands different parts of the business that can really all come back to support an Amazon start up and that’s really what he did here. It’s really cool to hear how someone went from one thing to the other thing to the other thing and it just taught them through that process. Really, really excited to share this with you.
The other thing is it wasn’t all like just roses for him. He has now, that he’s really gotten some inventory in and he’s starting to deal with the suppliers, he’s running into a few snags and he’s going to also talk about them and how he’s getting through them right now. I think it’s really important to hear not just the wins but also some of the struggles and some of those things that happen once you get rolling because things are going to happen all the time. It’s business, it’s the way it works.
If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank or The Profit and you watch those businesses, sometimes they start really good and then they dip and then they go up and then they dip and then maybe they change because they think that there’s a new vision, whole bunch of different reasons why but just want to let you know there’s ups and there’s downs but this one here is a really great story for anyone that’s thinking of themselves like, “I need to have $5,000 or $10,000 in order to start this thing.” I’m here to share this with you to let you know like you can start with whatever you want and at least learn the system.
[00:03:32] Scott: Now, before we jump into the interview that I did with Paul James Kerry I did want to remind you real quick if you haven’t heard already which I’ve said this on the podcast these past few episodes, we’re doing a live event. We’re doing it in Phoenix Arizona. Again in person, in the same room 30 of us are going to be there on day one. It’s called TAS Breakthrough live. There are a handful of tickets still available for day 1 and day 2 depending on when you listen to this or when this airs but right now there are a handful of tickets left.
I say a handful, it’s going to be limited to 30 people on day 1 and 20 people on day 2 and I’ll just give you the quick breakdown of what’s happening. On day one were going to have 10 hot seats so 10 Amazon businesses in the hot seats with one or two sticking points and we’re all going to collectively, in that room, brainstorm on how to get through and burst through these obstacles, these sticking points.
Last year was amazing. You guys may have heard me interview Jarred and he talks all about after that event how he was able to burst through and now he is doing awesome because he got clarity. That’s day one. Day two is going to be about growing outside of Amazon. It’s going to be showing you how to build a sales channel, a sales funnel to take your prospect and guide them through the sales process and then also educate them.
We call this a sales funnel but it’s a way for you to really educate and then have your customers come back to want to buy. That’s going to be on day two. Again limited amount of seats especially on day two right now, that one’s almost full. If you want a ticket head over to theamazingseller.com/live. If you can still buy a ticket it will be on that page and if not you will be put on a waiting list and if we have any cancelations we’ll let you know. Again that’s theamazingseller.com/live. All right, let’s get to it. Let’s go ahead and listen to this awesome, amazing “lost” episode that I did with Paul James Kerry, enjoy.
[00:05:32] Scott: Hey Paul, what’s up man? Thank you so much for hanging out with the TAS audience and myself today. What’s going on man?
[00:05:41] Paul: Hey Scott, how are you? I’m so pumped to be here, thanks so much for having me.
[00:05:44] Scott: Yeah, I’m doing well and I’m excited to have you. I think we got a really tell people little bit a back story as far as how I even got in touch with you but then also got to basically reach out to you and have you on the show now. Why don’t I get people caught up real quick, people that don’t know, you’re from Ireland, right?
[00:06:07] Paul: I am indeed.
[00:06:08] Scott: You reached out to me and basically told me a little bit of your story and stuff but then you invited me onto a podcast that you started called The Income Highway and I said, “Sure. Why not, I’ll get on there if I can help even just one person.” That’s my whole motto. The whole thing is if I can just reach one person so I said, “Yeah, why not.” Then we got talking and the more we got talking I’m like, “Paul, I really got to have you on the podcast because you got a pretty unique story.” Why don’t we dive into your story really quickly and why don’t we kind of unpack some of what’s happened? Why don’t you give us a little bit of background of where you came from as far as your e-commerce start?
[00:06:49] Paul: Yeah, cool. Well, actually I started ecommerce and all of this sort of online income really young. I started at 14 years old and I started that from, I had advertising on a blog and back then 10 years ago it was way easier to drive traffic to a blog whether it was paid advertising or even organic because even trying to drive organ traffic back then there was so little competition because you didn’t have the likes of WordPress and all these different things out there and there wasn’t a lot of people teaching how to do it and people just thought it was all a scary code all that sort of stuff. I was doing that for a while and I got involved with a few other things.
As the years went on something led me to something else and so on and so forth. Then I actually found out about Amazon and this whole FBA thing because selling physical products was something that always interested me but didn’t want to have to invest in a warehouse and didn’t want to have to be sending so far out because obviously you aim to get as much sales as possible and I didn’t want my holiday to be spent just shipping orders.
As I had these other stuff going on online, my father also has a lot of online stuff going on too and met up with him and my brother for dinner one night and he was on his way over to Austin, over to a conference over there with his partner. Met up with him a few weeks later when he came back and he was like, “This conference was all about different things you can do online.” and he’s like, “Have you heard about this Amazon FBA thing?” I’m like, “What the hell is that?” He starts telling me and I’m like, “Are you serious? Is this real?” He’s like “Yeah, you can send in stuff to Amazon and they’ll ship it once you have sales.” and I’m like, “Okay, got to look into this, cool.”
[00:08:20] Paul: I started doing a bit of research and then like I said, one thing led me to another. I actually first of all discovered drop shipping. I never heard of it before that but at the time drop shipping seemed a lot more interesting to me because I was already blown away with the concept of Amazon FBA but with drop shipping, I could kind of do a similar thing but I didn’t have to invest in stuff in the first place so I was like, “Okay, maybe I’ll do this instead.”
[00:08:42] Scott: Now, was this before you heard about FBA, or you heard about FBA and then you’re like, “I’m still going to start with drop shipping.”?
[00:08:49] Paul: No, it’s actually that I heard about FBA and when I was doing the research drop shipping was there.
[00:08:54] Scott: Gotcha.
[00:08:55] Paul: It’s like how you go on YouTube to look up how to do something on Amazon like three hours later you’re on a video about whatever. It was one of those kinds of scenario so because I didn’t actually have to invest in any stock for the drop shipping thing until something sold I actually decided to go with that instead. I set up a drop shipping thing and there’s a company that I was able to integrate with and actually they were able to automatically put certain products I wanted from my supplier onto Amazon. At one stage, I had over 1000 SKUs. It was a very, very competitive market that I was in. I’m actually without giving away what I’m doing now, it’s actually a restricted category but it’s because of the drop shipping stuff that I am on restricted from stuff I’ve done in the past.
Anyway, the drop shipping stuff was going on well but I wanted to automate it so I got in touch with a developer who was making extensions for Magento ecommerce, that’s what my website was on at the time. Basically that extension what it would do, if an order came in from Amazon… Sorry I had another extension that connected my Amazon with Magento. If an order came in from Amazon, my Magento store would register and it would automatically send that information with the person’s name, their order and their address over to my supplier so I didn’t have to do anything. It was a really great extension to have. It took a lot of time to get there and I had to pay the developer quite a lot. It was actually on my birthday that we actually got it running properly so that was a nice birthday gift to get.
[00:10:16] Paul: That was running well probably about 3 or 4 months. It was going so well that like even though I had 1000 SKUs, I knew it was so competitive but I wasn’t going to be going through every listing to try and change things, optimize them in all these sorts of ways. I was just like, “Whatever comes in comes in, it’s all automated, I’m happy.” Even though there was 1000 things I was happy to go like what you say sometimes, low hanging fruit and that was all cool with me. It was making really good money. You know yourself Scott, we get these emails from Amazon every two weeks where it says your pay is on the way with an amount. I actually had relatives down from the country who were visiting and we met up with them in Dublin city center and we were out for a couple of drinks and some dinner and we were catching up on different things and I went to the bar.
Actually I was only helping somebody bring something back, it was there around and then when I was at the bar I got the email and I was like, “Cool, I’m actually getting paid from Amazon.” It was actually my dad I was at the bar with and he knew I was into these sort of stuff and he was like, “What did you make this month or this week?” I showed him and it was like just under $16,000 and he’s like, “Right.”
We get back to the table anyway and he’s like, “Show everyone else what you have to do and what the email says you got.” I’m showing people anyway and they’re like, “That’s amazing.” They’re like, “How are you doing this?” I explain it to them and the only bad thing about explaining that to people there and then is that the next round was on me. If you are making a decent amount of money and you don’t want to buy the rounds, kind of keep it to yourself.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the drop shipping thing, the supplier that I was sending the information to, they had a security breach on their end, nothing to do with me but because they had a security breach they changed their system. Now when they changed their system, my system couldn’t integrate with it and no matter how much I worked with the developer we couldn’t get things going again and there was too much coming in to manually send that information of the orders to the supplier and I was thinking maybe I can hire a VA but I didn’t want to get anything too messy.
[00:12:17] Paul: I thought, “With the money that I’ve made now, why didn’t I go ahead and I’ll invest it into my own thing and actually I’ll finally do this whole FBA thing?” That’s exactly what I did but I didn’t want to go all in straight because you hear of people order 500 or a 1000. I’ve heard of people ordering even 10,000 units first of all and to be honest back then that sort of stuff kind of scared me. I did a bit of research found a product I liked that I thought would sell and it does sell quite well actually, especially at the beginning. I got in touch with a couple of suppliers, got a couple of samples and one I wasn’t extremely happy with and one I was very happy with. They had a minimum order quantity of only 30, which is fantastic. That was 30, if you wanted them branded while they didn’t have any minimum order quantity if you didn’t want them branded. I was like, “Just send me a small box quantity which was 6 units.”
I said, “Send me 6 units unbranded, I’ll send them into Amazon, we’ll see how this stuff goes, happy day.” Got those 6 boxes. It cost me a very, very small amount to get those six units and sent them to Amazon and they all sold straight away, immediately. No PPC, terrible optimization on the listing, all that sort of stuff. I was like, “Okay, this is easy. I’ll do this.” I went back to my supplier, ordered again and then I sent in a box of 48. I wasn’t going to bump up immediately to 1,000 or 10,000 or something like that. Send in that box of 48, Amazon checked them in, you get the email, “Your stock is live, it’s checked in.” I’m waiting and I’m waiting and no sales at all. I’m like, “Oh God, what’s going on here?” Go back in and I’m like, “Okay, I’ll try this PPC thing.” Turn on PPC for a very, very small amount and then sales come rolling back in, start getting organic sales, start looking into a bit more optimizing the listing, more organic sales and it kind of just grew from there really.
[00:14:08] Scott: Okay, there’s a lot there that we can unpack. Let’s start with this. Let’s go back to your product how you got the idea. Was this something from the idea of something you were already doing in the drop shipping so you kind of had an idea in that market?
[00:14:27] Paul: It was similar enough. It was one of those things that I always kind of wanted to do but again didn’t have a warehouse and I knew that it sold well online. I knew it was an impulse buy product because I had seen family and friends, all these sort of people buy these sort of stuff online without even giving it a second thought. It was probably about a year before I started drop shipping that I was like, “Okay, someday I’ll do this and I’ll have my own brand and I’ll sell this particular product.”
[00:14:52] Scott: Okay, now the next question that I have is you said 6 units it’s all you needed to buy. What are they selling for if you’re only buying like units?
[00:15:02] Paul: Well, to buy these 6 units initially they were charging me $5 per unit, which is fair enough because it’s a tiny, tiny order and then I sold them on Amazon for $14.95 at the time. I was making a small amount of money, enough that I could invest back in to get more which is exactly what I wanted to do. I started at $14.95 and then actually raised my price to $19.95 and they were still selling. I was like, “Okay cool, I’ll be able to make a fair amount of money on these.” I listened to a podcast that was about the industry that I sell in.
They had a particular guest on, I can’t remember that guy’s name but they were like, “Look, if this is what you’re selling, raise your price. Don’t question it, just raise your price and see what happens.” I was selling them at then $19.95 and I was like, “Okay, I’m going to really bump this up. Let’s go to almost double.” I put it at $35 which I never, ever would have expected to be selling them at and they still sold, it’s incredible.
[00:16:02] Scott: Wow, so it was a demand for it, people wanted it, it was an impulse. Now, my next question comes so now you sell through the 48 pretty quickly, what’s your next move?
[00:16:15] Paul: The next move was then to get 192 and at that stage when I went back to order 192, I see I’ve been paying my supplier through PayPal before and I’m very familiar with PayPal, used it for years for a lot of different companies that I’ve worked for in the past so I’m very familiar with it. However, when I went to order the 192, they came back and said, “We’ve actually got an issue with our PayPal, we’ve stopped accepting PayPal payments. Can you now pay us through Western Union?” To be honest that kind of tripped a bit of a red flag for me but at the same time I was like, “Well, they haven’t done me wrong before. Everything I’ve ordered has been okay and the products are reliable, it’s exactly what I’m looking for so I’m like, “Okay, I’ll go ahead and set up a Western Union account and I’ll transfer money to you.”
Anyway, I go ahead and set up a Western Union account and then I can’t transfer the money because Western Union, “You have to sign up and fill out all these paperwork.” They sent me paperwork which took days and I had to fill out, sent it back to them. After I sent it back to them about three days later, I get an email saying, “We received your paperwork.” I thought okay, this is it now, I’m in. They’re like, “We’ll have it reviewed in the next two weeks.” I’m like, “Oh God.” At the time I was a gig musician and I was actually out of the country for a couple of weeks playing a few gigs over in England and I didn’t have my laptop. I only had my mobile phone so I actually had to contact my supplier though emails on my mobile.
I had to download the Western Union app and the PayPal app because the money was in my PayPal, go into my bank and for some reason it wouldn’t go to the bank so there was so many things going wrong at that stage. Anyway, after about 2 or 3 weeks, I got everything sorted, the money was sent to them, they got it and they sent the 192 over then. I was using Western Union for a while and then when I started to really bump things up to much larger orders and again with extra products now as well, it’s not just that one product now that I only have. I’ve now got two products at the moment. The last order was for 480 units for product one and 500 for product two so it was a fairly large order in terms of what I started out with really.
[00:18:15] Paul: Western Union they had a massive problem because apparently you can only send a certain amount through Western Union each day and then it’s like a check on you kind of thing. It’s hard to explain so anyway I was like, “Look, I’m just going to go straight to the bank transfer.” I went to the bank that I have an account with and I was like, “Look, I want to send money off to China,” and they were like, “We don’t normally allow that sort of stuff but if you want we can make an exception. You’ll have to fill out some forms.” I was like okay, no problem, I’ll fill out the forms. Have all the forms filled out and they have to ring their head office to confirm all these sort of stuff to put on my account that it’s okay and I’m like, “I can do all this online then I can log in send money to China whenever I want?” They’re like, “Yeah, yeah of course you can.”
I go ahead and fill out all the forms, they ring head office and they find out actually, you can’t do online and if you want to do any of this you have to go into the bank if you want to go ahead and do a transfer and they charge a 30% fee for sending to China, 30% of the overall. I’m like, “No way. There’s no way I’m going to pay that, that’s ridiculous. First of all you’ve made me sit through and sign up all these forms and now you can’t even help me with what I’ve got.” I actually went to another bank which were only next door basically, set up an account with them in 5 minutes and I can send to China whenever I want so that’s what I do now.
[00:19:26] Scott: I want to let people know from what they’re hearing you talk about, there was a lot of roadblocks there in just figuring out the payment over to China or wherever you’re sending money, you know what I mean. Just to let people know there’s no just it’s the same for everyone. Everyone is going to have a little bit of a different experience, a different obstacle maybe but you kept pushing through because you seen the opportunity, you seen you wanted to capitalize on this. My other question, Paul and maybe the listeners are thinking the same thing, you start with six units, five bucks a piece, so we’re talking not much, like 30 bucks right and now we’re saying, okay, that would validate five, now you went to 48 so we spend a few extra bucks there. Why wouldn’t you go right from 48 to like 500 or 1,000?
[00:20:20] Paul: Because this was the first time that I actually had invested in my own stock.
[00:20:26] Scott: Gotcha, you were a little nervous?
[00:20:30] Paul: Exactly, exactly. I’d rather take things in steps rather than like… Even if I had one unit or even if I started with about 100 units and they’d all sold, I still probably would have bumped it up to 200 then rather than get near 1,000 or 2,000. To be honest I prefer to play it safe in that terms of things. Now I know that there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t and like even for product number two, for product two I started with the 500 units so I was able to get that at stage but I was much more comfortable being able to start with a separate product, learn the system, learn how everything works around and all that sort of stuff, actually build myself up and then with the next product it could be 500. Who knows even my product three which I kind of have an idea for in mind, maybe I’ll order 1,000 of them upfront or 1,500. We’ll see how it goes.
[00:21:18] Scott: I just want people to realize that too when you start, you don’t have to start with a huge order or a huge amount. We get people that ask us that all the time and it’s kind of like, we do the workshops weekly, pretty much weekly and we always get the question like, “What typically do people start with?” Typically, people start with a couple of $1,000 all the way up to $5,000 or even more but there’s people out there that have done exactly what you’ve done and just started with less than 100 bucks. Then you’re really able to sample and test the market before you actually put all of your resources or more of your resources into that product. It’s a slower paced thing but it’s still a way for you to test the waters before jumping all in or even half in. The other question I would have is how long was the lead time? It sounds like your lead time was pretty quick.
[00:22:15] Paul: The lead time was quick. This was back in… I think the first one arrived in April last year and the lead time was so fast and the 48 arrived within a couple of weeks and then it was 192 after that that arrived super-fast and then I ordered… There was a few more in between that and then the 480. That actually took a little longer and it was coming up to Black Friday and I was kind of freaking out because I had no stock and I was like, “I can’t miss out on black Friday.” I’m getting in touch with my supplier and they’re like, “We’re having problems with DHL.” I’m like, “Oh God.” I go ahead and make an account with DHL so I can do this… I think it’s called DDP which is you pay the duty upfront because I didn’t want to have my products being stopped at customs and have to go through something there with them.
There was a few different things like that that I had to go through but like we were saying. You can start with whatever kind of amount of units that you want. If I had started immediately and went from 6 units to ordering 1,000, like let’s say for arguments sake that would have cost me $3,000 with the DDP, I would have felt a lot more stressed and anxious having to go through all this sort of stuff with the bank and DHL all that sort of stuff while I had $3,000 floating out there not knowing exactly where it was. Going back to the lead time for those 480, they did get there about a week before black Friday and they were checked in, everything worked out.
Now, actually that stock that came in for Black Friday, that sold out on I think it was December 18 so obviously I didn’t order enough and that’s obviously a lesson I learned because that was my first quarter four and then it was January 5th when I got back to them and ordered again and I thought that I’d have things back in no time. They did initially say to me that they’d have them in just before they went for holidays for Chinese New Year but they went on Chinese New Year and my order still wasn’t out. They got back, it still wasn’t out. It didn’t arrive in Amazon until April. That last one was a very, very long lead time.
[00:24:16] Scott: Yeah and you know sometimes that can be very frustrating especially when you know you’re out of inventory. It seems like you’ve been out of inventory quite a few times. What’s the process of getting your stuff back in and getting sales started again?
[00:24:30] Paul: Honestly, it’s just PPC Scott.
[00:24:31] Scott: Okay.
[00:24:33] Paul: PPC helps so much.
[00:24:36] Scott: Are you just basically turning your ads back on? Are you starting a brand new campaign? What are you doing to kind of bring that traffic back?
[00:24:45] Paul: Well, when I started with the PPC, I’m familiar with Google ad words, I’d never done the Amazon sort of stuff but I tried a few different things. This was when Amazon only had their broad match kind of stuff in. Because I’m very, very interested in keyword research I used quite a lot of tools. I used like Long Tail Pro and I did a couple of my first ASIN searches on competitors and I was using the Google keyword kind planner, Uber suggest. I was using loads of different keyword tools to get as many keywords as possible. I’d put them into a loaded campaign and because you’ve only got a limit of about 1,000 keywords to complete a campaign.
I think I had about 20 campaigns. Now some of them worked really well, some of them didn’t, some of them, you know your stuff, it’s slow process. You go and you turn off the ones that are just eating up your budget. The ones that are converting really well that’s all okay, you keep them on.
It’s kind of being that over time since I started I figured out from just time and sales and what keywords work and what don’t, that way when I get inventory back in, I turn those keywords back on that I know that they’re the keywords that convert. Not only that as well but because now that Amazon have their phrase and exact match all the keywords that had converted really well I put them into a phrase match and that currently stands around 12% and has for a while now.
[00:26:03] Scott: That’s amazing.
[00:26:04] Paul: 12% ACOS that is.
[00:26:05] Scott: That’s great, that’s really good. Before they actually did the update they had the broad match only and now they came out with the broad phrase, exact and the negative keyword which is pretty awesome. It also gives you more things to tweak and it can take a little bit more of your time.
[00:26:27] Paul: But it’s worth it though.
[00:26:28] Scott: It is because once you can dial that stuff in it’s like you said then you turn it on, you turn it off, you got to monitor it and some keywords that are converting well today might not convert well tomorrow but you can see that. The other thing I’d like to I guess maybe dive into a little bit is so you had this product going pretty well, you’re feeling the momentum, you’re feeling the confidence, what now direction do you go with like your second product? Do you try to put another product in that line or do you completely different?
[00:27:02] Paul: For product two I went against everything that you should do when you’re searching a product on Amazon, researching a product that is. I went against everything because what I did was, on the frequently bought together, the product that was with mine on the frequently bought together it’s an extremely, extremely competitive product. When we talk about like 300 average this was getting 3,000. That was for the first few listings not just the top one so it was extremely competitive. But my top process behind it was that I could put them together and then I could bundle them.
It’s only recently that I’ve actually realized that the way you know the way you can create your promotions where if somebody buys product one they get product two free and it shows up with a little ‘add to cart’ just above your description? It turns out someone actually has to click that particular ‘add to cart’ they can’t just click the regular buy now even though you’ve told Amazon on the particular promotion, “If someone buys product one they get product two free.” It turns out it doesn’t work that way. It only works that way if they click the ‘add to cart’ button on the promotions tab.
[00:28:07] Scott: Exactly.
[00:28:08] Paul: I thought I’d be able to bundle them and it’ll be okay but it doesn’t work that way. I think actually what I’m going to do is I think for the next batch that I send in I’m actually going to send them to somebody who will bundle them together in the States for me before it’s shipped to Amazon and I think I’ll actually go with a whole new listing to be honest.
[00:28:28] Scott: Okay. That’s a good strategy I think. I think for sure. Now, that one there that you’re currently selling though that you went and launched is that a variation of the one at all? Is it under the same listing or is it on a different listing right now?
[00:28:45] Paul: It’s a completely different listing.
[00:28:46] Scott: Okay.
[00:28:48] Paul: But it’s one of those things that go really well together like that recent podcast you did with Spencer Haws when you were, sorry it wasn’t Spencer Haws, you were doing a Hot Seat and Chris Shaffer was saying that they’re selling the garlic press and the garlic. That’s kind of what this was. Other people were selling the garlic and I was selling the garlic press so I combined them together hoping that that’s how promotion works. Again it’s just something that didn’t work the way I thought it would work and it’s just something that I know for the future.
[00:29:15] Scott: You do, you learn and you can’t… Just because you launched the first product you can’t expect the second one to do exactly what it is. You have a good idea now, you’ve learned a lot. You know about pay-per-click and all of that stuff because you got to tweak the plan moving forward. Also when you and I talked a little bit I kind of want you to share that story that we shared when we first got on here, before we got on actually. It was on our little pre-talk. But again kind of like why we also need to think a little bit further down the road or outside of Amazon.
Now before we share that story which is a great story and I want you to share it, but did you think it all to yourself or do you now think to yourself when you look at another product, is this product being sold outside of Amazon and can I build something around this that I could them maybe get Facebook ads to start working for this product? Do you think at all about that stuff?
[00:30:12] Paul: I do and to be honest I’m only currently now setting up my website off of Amazon. It’s something I should have done a long time ago and I kind of regret that I’m only doing it now. Before I dive into that actually I’ll go ahead and I’ll tell that story.
[00:30:25] Scott: Tell that story, it’s a good one.
[00:30:26] Paul: Just before you and me actually came on live when we were talking on this interview you asked me how my day was going, how I’m getting on. I was like, I’m really happy that I’m here because I didn’t think that I’ll actually be talking on The Amazon Seller Podcast because a few days ago I was working away, it was about one or two o’clock and I got this email from Amazon. The subject line was ‘notification of product removal’. Even before I opened the email I’m freaking out. I’m like, “Oh God no, I’m supposed to be on The Amazing Seller talking about this stuff.
I can’t like not have my product live when I’m talking about this stuff.” Anyway, I click on the email and it says “due to new regulations with the FBA one of your products includes this and they’ve had a recall and all that sort of stuff.” I’m like “what are they talking about?” So I log into seller central and have a look at my products, they’re still alive and I’m like, “Okay. I’m a bit confused now. Why are they still alive and why did they send me this email.” I went back to check the email to make sure it wasn’t like a fake or a scam.
But I checked it genuinely from Amazon. When I was inside seller central there’s a little flag at the top, the red flag for your notification so I click on that hoping it would give me a bit more detail. Kind of just says the exact same thing from the email that they’d sent me. I’m going through it with a fine tooth comb like I have to find out what’s wrong. At the very, very end, like the last line of this email it says, “Your products that were affected are…” Then they give you a list and there’s only one product.
The one product that was affected was a product that I dropped shipped two years ago that I have nothing to do with anymore. But obviously Amazon still registered it in my account so they sent me this email. I’m looking at that product and I’m like, “Thank God it’s not one of my products of my own brand.” It was such a scary experience to have and I thought I hit a major roadblock there.
It’s one of those things where it hits you really hard that you can’t be just relying on Amazon because every day, actually Scott this is not something that I mention quite a lot. I’ve actually had my Amazon account banned before for something that happened way back in my drop shipping days because I wasn’t sending people their tracking information. Amazon actually banned my account so I had to send an appeal to them saying, “Look this is what I’m doing, I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to send everybody their tracking information now,” which is what I had to do which actually took a lot of time.
[00:32:38] Paul: Another reason that I wanted to go ahead and use FBA. So many of those are road blocks but you just have to go ahead and fight through them but again you can be relying on Amazon for everything. What I’m currently doing now is I am setting a separate website and it’s hopefully going to be a bit of an authority website. I’m just using something simple like WordPress and my products are only going Woo Commerce. For people that don’t know Woo Commerce it’s a very simple plugin that you can get for your WordPress website.
Basically it puts the shopping cart on your website. I’m going to put my products onto that and if you sell on there you can use what’s known as the multi-channel fulfillment that was amplified. Basically what that is is if you get an order off of Amazon like eBay, by the way I actually have sold this product on eBay before and I just use multi-channel fulfillment to sender. But what that is is when you’re logged into seller central, when you go into your FBA inventory, when you click on your products and normally where most of us would see a standard replenished inventory. If you actually clicked that drop down one of the option says create fulfillment order.
If you go ahead and click that for the particular product someone’s ordered, all you have to do is type in somebody’s name, the quantity that they ordered and basically Amazon will send it. Unfortunately now we’ve got another month or so where they’ll actually send in an own branded box if you want. I think it’s from September 1st or September 4th onwards I believe.
Everything that leaves Amazon warehouse will be in an Amazon branded box but that’s still no a major deal to me at all. If somebody would think it’s going to be an issue, I’d put it on your eBay listing or on your listing on your own website saying, “Please note that they will be fulfilled by Amazon.” Either way it’s a great thing to have because no matter what you don’t have to have your products in a warehouse that you have to rent. Having something in Amazon is very, very cheap to have it stored there.
They actually do a really, really good rate to actually send something out. It’s actually much cheaper than if I was to send stuff here if I was hosting my own products in Ireland and sending them out. It’s actually much cheaper for Amazon to ahead and send them. It’s much quicker as well. As far as I’m aware here’s a couple of plugins that will automate that for now and I’m sure there will be even more in the future.
[00:34:39] Scott: You’re absolutely right. When you’re selling on your own website you can use a third party provider that will do that for you or you can hire a company and they’ll store it but they’re still going to charge you but Amazon also will do that for you even if it doesn’t sell through Amazon so they’re going to be your fulfillment. You won’t pay the advertising fee or the listing fees
[00:35:02] Paul: Exactly. You don’t pay for referral fee.
[00:35:03] Scott: Right, the referral fee, you’ll just pay the pick and pack which again you’re going to pay the somewhere else. Might be a little bit more expensive on Amazon, I’m not quite sure but you’re still getting the reliability and all your inventories in that one location. I’m definitely going to be looking into that once we start to do the outside delivering because of the outside stuff that I’m working currently on but again it’s nice to have that option.
But I think it’s really important and again getting that email. I’ve gotten emails like that too and all of a sudden you get that lump in your throat, you get that sick feeling and you’re like just what’s going to happen here? Am I done? I can sell anymore, now what am I going to do? You don’t want that feeling and I think if we can start to think about our outside channel and I think also when you’re picking products now start thinking about if these could sell outside of Amazon and not just rely on Amazon’s traffic. I think that’s huge.
[00:36:06] Paul: The beautiful thing about that is that because my initial thoughts on product two was that I can just go ahead and create that promotion on Amazon if somebody bought product one they get product two free I can actually go ahead and do that on my own. Not only that but I can actually even then run Facebook ads to say, “If you buy product one you get product two free,” because product two is actually, it’s much cheaper for me to buy especially I bought the 500 at the start.
I’ve to actually send it, I’ve done the math on this, to send the two of them out where a multi-channel fulfillment order from Amazon I’m still making quite a bit of profit. That’s definitely the route that I’m going to be going down.
[00:36:39] Scott: I think it’s great and I think sometimes getting that email like that to put a little scare in you will also push you to start getting that other thing moving.
[00:36:47] Paul: Big time.
[00:36:49 Scott: You’re like okay priority list, that just went to the top. I totally get it and anyone out there that’s listening to like “well I don’t want to do my own website right now.” You don’t have to. You just have to get started. Amazon’s still a great place to start, and we’re going to continue to say that until we see otherwise but right not it still is but you just have to understand that if they send you an email that they’re going to pull your inventory or your inventory is going to be suppressed or whatever, you have to go through those different channels to try to get it unlocked or try to get your account reinstated or whatever the problem is.
[00:37:25] Paul: I think the people who get these kind of emails and these notifications and come across these roadblocks or these barriers it’s the people who are going to fight through them are the people who are going to win this long term.
[00:37:37] Scott: I agree. You have to look at it also as a learning experience as moving through it. I think that you’ve clearly demonstrated just by even just sending a wire transfer. If you can get through that then you’re going to be like, “Okay the next thing what am I going to have to deal with?” But don’t worry about all that stuff obviously right off the bat but just kind of deal with it as it comes. We’re going to wrap up but what I wanted to do again is I wanted to talk a little bit about this because I know that people are going to be asking or if they aren’t asking right now there’s people that are going to email me and I can point them to this episode.
But you’re in Ireland right now so you’re selling in the US market in Amazon, correct?
[00:38:23] Paul: That’s correct.
[00:38:23] Scott: How does that happen for you? I get a lot of people and I know the answer to this for most people but what is your flow for that like getting samples sent to you directly and then after that do you send directly in, do you have an inspection, how does that process work for you not being in the states?
[00:38:40] Paul: To be honest I thought it was going to be very difficult at the start because what happened initially was I did get those samples sent directly to me here in Ireland then when I got those first, it was the first six orders and then the first 48 they came in. I was finding that if China had shipped it to me not only do I have to pay the shipment on that but then I have to ahead and I have to ship it over to the States as well. That takes a bit more time and it wasn’t even for an inspection kind of thing, it’s just I kind of want them to come to me first rather than go straight to Amazon because I had heard horror stories about it before.
But to be honest Scott everything I’ve done since then has just gone directly from my supplier straight to Amazon and I’ve never had an issue.
[00:39:18 Scott: Okay, that’s good to hear. I’ve got people that are listeners of the podcast, I’ve got people that are in my class that are international and a lot of them will, especially on a large order, they will do an inspection, a third party inspection. The one that I’ve been hearing good things about is topwininspections.com. I’ve no affiliation with them but I’ve been hearing good things about them. They’re very strict and a lot of time your order doesn’t pass but it’s up to you to say if it passes or not.
They’re going to bring all of the things to your attention like the box is slightly ripped or this part here has a frayed edge or something and then it’s up to you to be like, no that’s fine, that’s typical. When you receive a product you’re kind of you usually getting those but they’re over the top with inspection so this way here you know that they are going to be really inspecting with a fine tooth comb. The other is is your supplier if they know that they’re handling your inspections they’re going to probably pay a little bit closer attention to detail on your order because they know if it doesn’t get passed you’re not going to pay for it
[00:40:22] Paul: Having said that I’ve never used an inspection company because I plan on bundling the products together. I’m not going to ask my supplier to do it. What I’m going to do is, I’m pretty sure it was somebody who was on your podcast recently, I think the website’s called myfbaparterner.com. I’m actually going to send my products to them because they actually or so the website says specializes in actually bundling things together.
Because I heard them on your podcast, the guy sounded really reliable and from what I’ve read they actually have decent reviews so I’m actually going to send my products over to them. But that will be the first time that I actually send something to an inspection company or to get them bundled or whatever it might be. That’ll actually be my first instance to that so I haven’t experienced yet. I’m looking forward to it.
[00:41:06] Scott: Cool. All right. One last thing we didn’t touch on this and I probably should have while we were going through this, we never talked about reviews. Did you ever go out and do any promotions for your product?
[00:41:16] Paul: I did. I used a company at the start called needsreview.com and I never saw anybody talking about it and I don’t know why because they did absolutely perfect work for me. I only did 25 because the product one for me isn’t that really high of a competitive market. There’s not a lot of demand in it in terms of what there might be for people who will be looking for when I research the product on Amazon. Then I went ahead on it’s… I used Review Kick then, I was going to say Jungle Scout. It’s Greg Mercer makes both.
I used Review Kick then got another 25 and I’m also using Sales Backer. I’ve a fair bit now on it. To be honest most of them are five stars, I had one site I review and it was the product arrived broken. I’ve tried to get in touch with Amazon because if someone leaves a feedback rather than a review Amazon will leave that message saying this shipped out by Amazon we take full responsibility.
Whereas if it’s a review for some reason they can’t and I actually tried this with a couple of different people in seller support and they said, “Look if it’s a review we can’t do anything to it,” which seems a bit strange to me. But I just had to learn to live with the ones that I had. Luckily it’s been pushed down. It was pushed down pretty quickly by ratings that came in after.
[00:42:3] Scott: Well I would say though too on that Paul one more time I would say contact seller support again and I would ask for the catalog team and I would definitely do that because you could contact five people and the sixth person will say, “Yeah. We can take care of that for you,” or get you in touch with the right one. If it’s affecting your conversions then I would if it’s not then maybe not worry about it but the problem with that one star too is if anybody else comes through and starts to vote it up then it starts to pull to the top.
[00:43:07] Paul: To be honest my main problem with it is that when people… This is just human nature we say it all the time. You might even do it yourself Scott. When you are looking at something online and when you’re looking at reviews you’ll more likely look for the bad reviews to see what people are saying about. It’s the same as if somebody does receive a product that I got from Amazon, if they are extremely happy with it and they tell all their friends and family on Facebook about it they won’t go and leave you a good review. Whereas if they have a problem with it they’ll go to straight to Amazon and leave a bad review for you. It’s just human nature.
[00:43:36] Scott: It is and it’s funny because I’ll do the same thing when I’m looking at products. I’ll look at the negative reviews just to see if they’re going to pertain to like what’s important to me. I’ll give you guys a quick example, I think I’ve already shared this once but I’ll share it again because we’re talking about it. I just purchased a glass white board for the wall and it’s got magnets with it so you can actually put magnets on it and it’ll kind of hold a piece of paper if you wanted it to.
That’s not important to me. I didn’t buy it for that, I don’t really care even if I’d put one magnet on it. I just want it to write good and erase good. People were complaining that the magnets didn’t hold the paper well. Instantly I’m like, “Doesn’t pertain to me. Does it erase well and does it write well? Yes, yes okay I’m buying it.” I didn’t care if there was a whole bunch of negative reviews on it as long as it wasn’t with writing and erasing and if it wasn’t like a piece of junk.
Just to let people know when you get those negative reviews you got to look and see what people are complaining about but then also try to fix that. If this company would fix it so the magnets held better, they’d have a better product.
[00:44:38] Paul: Definitely.
[00:44:40] Scott: I just thought I’d share that. That’s awesome. What is one thing that you would tell someone who’s like just starting out that’s kind of thinking to themselves like, “I’m just not sure? I really want to get into this ecommerce game, I want to be able to start selling some stuff online. I’m just not really quite sure.” What would you tell that person if you were sitting at the bar with him or in the coffee shop?
[00:45:00] Paul: I actually ran into this yesterday because my little sister she’s only 13 but she knows I’ve got my own podcast and all sort of stuff and that I talk about this sort of stuff a lot. She’s like, “Paul I want to go ahead and do something like what you’re doing.” I’m like, “Okay, in terms of what?” Because I’ve a few different things going on not just Amazon? She’s like, “Well actually I do want to sell something on Amazon.” I’m like, “Okay cool.” She’s like, “S what do I do?” I’m like, “Where is the best place to go?”
Actually I sent her to your free private label course and actually she signed up for your webinar tonight as well so she’s going to be attending that. She got the first email and she got the kind of cheat sheet download that you include. She downloaded that anyway and she started to go through things and she’s only on the first couple of steps. Unfortunately I had to go somewhere else. Ten minutes before we got on this call my phone starts ringing and it’s my little sister and she’s like, “Paul are you okay to talk?” I’m like, “Is everything okay?” and she’s like, “I went out to the shops and I bought pen and paper and notepads and I go to Amazon.
I’m looking at those different categories to see what I can and can’t sell. I’ve got a few things written down. I’ve written down what I’m passionate about. I’ve had this touch list all day, I’m so excited to go ahead and get started.” I’m like, “That is so cool.”
[00:46:05] Scott: That is awesome because it does start small. Just to even get the creativity and to understand to know how things can work outside of just the typical work force. That’s really cool. I think too you should listen to her because she’s probably into some stuff that we’re not even familiar with and again I always talk about that even on the workshop or I’ve talked about it in the free private label course is kind of like go back to your earlier self or your kids and see what they’re into because sometimes those things you’re overlooking because you’re just not into them.
[00:46:45] Paul: Big time. But what I did say to her yesterday is, when she was asking me a bunch of things on… We were talking about it anyway and she did get to a stage where she’s like, “It sounds like a lot of work.” I had to say to her, “Look you just take things step by step. Just take things every single day.” That’s actually why I sent her to your private label course initially. I was like, “This guy Scotty person he’s going to send you an email once a day,” and she’s like, “How comes only once a day.” I was like, “Because you’re not going to get overwhelmed then.”
[00:47:14] Scott: Exactly. Step by step.
[00:47:15] Paul: She’s gone through a lot of stuff and I say the same thing to anybody who asks me this sort of stuff is don’t get overwhelmed because people think that you have to look for a product and find your supplier and contact your supplier and send them money. They think you have to do that all in one night and your product will be on Amazon the next day. No, just take things step by step. It’s all with the small steps that will get you going. Even if you only want to spend ten minutes a day on building up the business, even signing up to Amazon that can be one day.
Sign up for an account with seller central, just go to sellercentral.amazon.com, takes probably less than ten minutes to sign up. Maybe the next day download like Jungle Scout or Unicorn Smasher or one of those sort of things, do a bit of research or even create your touch list and maybe then the following day that’s when you might want to use Jungle Scout or whatever it might be.
Everything is step by step and that’s really the key to all this sort of stuff. It’s step by step. Even just going back in the story that I’ve just talked about here the past hour or so, there was roadblocks in the way but I took everything step by step and I’m here now. I’m still doing it.
[00:48:16] Scott: It’s awesome. That’s a great little bit of advice there and to me I think the message here should be just one step at a time. It’s like put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving. You’re going to get stopped every now and then but you’re just got to figure out how to get around that one thing. I do believe that these things will lead to the next thing and that next thing could be your own ecommerce store and then from there it could be your own channel. Then it could be Facebook ads to your own funnel and all kinds of stuff but you’re going to learn so much through that process.
[00:48:47] Paul: I know from my own experience even with things like off of Amazon that I’ve done over the past ten years, like I said at the beginning one things leads you to another which will lead you to another.
[00:48:54] Scott: Absolutely. All right Paul, well it looks like you have a business partner in your little sister there. I’d listen to her and bring her onboard and just capitalize on her creativity and just really being able to, to me I guess it would be like identifying it from another set of eyes which is really cool. I want to thank you once again and let everyone know too about your podcast, the Income Highway. You can find that by heading over to theincomehighway.com, check him out.
Paul’s a really cool guy. Like I said he reached out to me and wanted to have me on his show and really just kind of talk about this stuff and we did. I think that episode went live today, right Paul?
[00:49:32] Paul: Episode 20 went live today.
[00:49:33] Scott: Nice. That’s awesome. I want to thank you once again for taking time out of your day and all the way from Ireland by the way and kind of debunking the whole thing of how do you sell from another country into Amazon in the States? You just proved it again so I rest my case guys. Really no excuses, just get out there and make something happen. Paul thanks once again, I appreciate it, we’ll let you get on with your day and good luck to you and stay in touch.
[00:50:02] Paul: Thanks so much for having me Scott, I had a great time.
[00:50:03] Scott: All right man, take care.
[00:50:05] Paul: Cheers.
[00:50:06] Scott: All right, there you have it. Another great interview, another great story and I just again want to highlight it that as you’re going through this, this journey or this path that you’re going down understand that there’s going to be ups and downs and also understand that there’s going to be fear. A lot of fear out there is I don’t have a lot to get started with and I get it, but you can start with whatever you have.
Yes you might not experience the results that Paul has experienced and that’s okay but you’re going to learn through that process and I’m not saying you have to go out there and just use 30 bucks. If you have more to invest then go ahead and go for it but it doesn’t mean that you have to. But I love sharing stories like that and I like digging in a little bit deeper. Not to mention, Paul could have a little bit of a business partner there with the sister, I think that’s pretty cool as well. Pretty cool.
I want to remind you guys that I was featured on his podcast The Income Highway. You can find that at theincomehighway.com/20, I believe it was and he’s also got me featured there up on his sidebar there so you can go check that out if you’re interested. I did want also to remind you about the show notes. We’re going to have full transcripts and show notes for this episode over at theamazingseller.com/266. Again that’s theamazingseller.com/266 and then the last little reminder for you if you didn’t, maybe you didn’t listen to the beginning. Maybe you just fast forwarded.
If you did well here it is again, we’re doing a live event in Phoenix Arizona on November 5th and 6th. If you want details on how you can attend that live in-person event, two days we’re going to be there, we’re going to be just having a blast and really learning and breaking though our businesses. If you want to attend that or information about that head over to theamazingseller.com/live and that’ll be on the show notes of course.
All right that’s it guys. That’s going to wrap up this episode. I want to remind you one more time, I’m going to remind you guys again, I’m here for you and 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, no excuses, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- The Income Highway Podcast
- Long Tail Pro
- Top Win Inspections
- My FBA Partner
- Review Kick
- Sales Backer
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