Is it still possible to build an ecommerce business as Scott teaches? Hasn’t the ship on this type of opportunity already sailed? While Scott has provided a ton of helpful lessons and insights, nothing is quite as powerful as testimonies from sellers like you who have put those lessons into practice! On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Colin and Angie as they talk to Scott about their ecommerce business. In their conversation, Colin and Angie explain how they got started with ecommerce, how they’ve built their brand, challenges they’ve faced along the way, their plans for the future, and much more. Don’t miss a minute of this fascinating episode!
It all started with a test.
What was it that led you to start down this road of building an ecommerce business? Are you sick and tired of your day job and want the freedom of the entrepreneurial lifestyle? Everyone has to start somewhere, you’ve got to get to the point where your status quo isn’t acceptable anymore, and that leads to change. Colin decided that he didn’t want to jump in with both feet, he wanted to just test the waters before making a full commitment. That initial $100 test ended up getting Colin, and his wife, Angie hooked! Make sure to listen to this episode of The Amazing Seller as they open up about their story and what it took for them to go all in!
Building a solid team.
Eventually, your ecommerce business will grow to the point where you will need to build a team. What does building a team look like? What role should you hire for first? Should you bring on someone you know or should you build a team of virtual assistants? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Colin and Angie explain how they took the first steps to build a team in their business. According to Colin, the best route is to find someone either in person or remotely who you can hand off small tasks to. Once they’ve proven that they can handle those small tasks, start training them and give them larger ones, a little at a time. To hear Colin expand on this critical topic, make sure to listen to this episode!
Diversifying and building assets off of Amazon.
Gone are the days where you could build a thriving ecommerce business exclusively off of platforms like Amazon. Does that mean that utilizing Amazon is a waste of time? No! Just don’t put all of your eggs in that basket. There are a ton of different ways that sellers like you can invest in your business and create assets that will bring you income away from Amazon. This is the reason why building an email list and expanding your brand to places like YouTube, and your blog is so important! To hear more about diversifying your brand, make sure to listen to this helpful episode of The Amazing Seller.
Business doesn’t have to always be so serious!
Too often many business leaders get so locked in on building their brand and achieving success that they forget why they got started in the first place! Chances are, you are not building your own business so you can have a bad attitude and feel more important than everyone else. Don’t fall for the line that business has to be serious all the time! Remember why you got started, to have more freedom and enjoy life with people you love. Do whatever you need to do to have fun and work toward your goals! Listen to this episode of The Amazing Seller as Colin and Angie share how they keep their ecommerce business fun.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
- [2:40] Scott welcomes his guests, Colin and Angie.
- [6:00] Angie talks about how they got started with their ecommerce business.
- [11:15] Colin explains how their first product performed on Amazon.
- [12:45] Why did Colin and Angie decide to start their own business?
- [15:50] Angie talks about expanding their business and dealing with challenges.
- [20:45] How do you find the right people to join your team?
- [24:45] What is the “Honeymoon period?”
- [27:30] Why you need to put in the time to find the right product.
- [29:15] Plans to build the brand off of Amazon.
- [33:20] What would Colin and Angie do right now if they had to start from scratch?
- [37:50] Scott and Colin talk about brand building.
- [41:30] Colin talks about future plans for his current brand.
- [43:00] Have fun while you build your business!
- [45:00] Closing thoughts from Colin and Scott.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 620
TAS 620: How This $100 Test Turned Into a $2.5 Million Business (90% on Amazon)
[00:00:02] Scott: Well, hey, hey, what's up, everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is Episode #620 and today I'm excited because I’m going to bring…
[read more=”Read full transcript…” less=”Read less”]
…a husband and wife team to you, Colin and Angie, who posted this in the Facebook group and they are sharing their results in the past year-and-a-half and he's going to go through or they are going to go through how they turned $100 test and they turned that into $2.5 million in sales in 2018, and 90% of it is on Amazon. Currently, they’re working to build their brand so they can also get outside of Amazon because they know how important that is but this is a great story for you to hear because he needed to prove to himself after downloading episode after episode after episode that he can actually do it and he had also proved to his wife, Angie, that he could actually do it as well and he did. They both left their jobs. Now, they're doing this full time. They built out a team, they've actually fired employees, they’ve hired employees, they've done the entire thing in the past year-and-a-half and I invited them on to share their story. So, that's what we’re going to be doing here today.
Now, before I do get into that conversation that I had with them, which was really awesome, by the way, you can download the show notes by heading over to TheAmazingSeller.com/620. I’m also going to link up the Facebook post that they posted in the show notes so this way here you have access to that if you want to go through. He actually laid out all of the stuff that they faced, all of the stuff that they did right, all the things they did wrong, and everything in between so you’re definitely going to want to check that out. Now, if you're listening to this like Colin was over three years ago, if you're listening to this for the first time and you’re like, “Scott, I just want to get started,” well, there is a place you can go and I will give you that link right now and it’s the most up-to-date version of getting started because if you go all the way back to Episode #1, things have changed in the past three-and-a-half, four years.
[00:01:59] Scott: So, if you want the most up-to-date way to get started on Amazon or just e-commerce in general, you're going to want to head over to TheAmazingSeller.com/Start. That’s TheAmazingSeller.com/Start. Now, there’s episodes there of the podcast that I compiled so this way here you can go through them. I also have up-to-date workshops that I'm doing on a regular basis and they’ll be listed there as well when we are doing them so you can see all the most current ones and sign up for the ones that we’re going to be doing here in the future. So, with that all being said, let's listen to this awesome interview that I did with Colin and Angie. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.
[00:02:39] Scott: Hey, Colin and Angie, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day. What's going on over there in New York?
[00:02:48] Colin: It’s cold.
[00:02:52] Scott: Well, I appreciate you coming on. So, why don’t we get started and just let people know why you're here, why you're on the podcast. You got a pretty amazing story to share, and a lot of lessons learned and some battle wounds, but let's kind of get it out. So, who are you, guys, and what are you guys doing here in the podcast? You got a story to tell us?
[00:03:13] Angie: I think Colin would be good to start on them.
[00:03:15] Scott: Okay. So, I was a vice president for IT in Bank of America and then a very pretty big background like always 9-to-5 job and one of my best friends gave me a Rich Dad Poor Dad book which is followed by reading the book they were introducing selling product in Amazon and then I say, “Okay, fine. Let me go through that,” and then the first thing I found is The Amazing Seller Podcast. So, I have two hours journey to the city that I had to go to the office. I downloaded like 10, 20 so you finish like 40 to 50 podcasts at the time so I want to super run through that first 40. So, I downloaded like 10, 20 a day and download and read that one in the morning while I'm driving, while I'm going to the city job. When I'm coming back home, I go in and implement the same thing whatever you put out there.
[00:04:14] Scott: Nice. That's what I call an action taker. That's what I'm talking about right there. Okay. So, you're driving back and forth from work. How long was your commute by the way?
[00:04:25] Colin: It’s two hours go to the city. Two hours to come back.
[00:04:28] Scott: Whoa! Wow.
[00:04:29] Angie: Yeah. We were both in the city at that time.
[00:04:30] Colin: Yeah.
[00:04:31] Scott: Wow. Okay. You had some time then on your hands.
[00:04:35] Colin: Yeah.
[00:04:36] Scott: For sure. I mean, alright, so you listen to me just ramble on and on and on about this stuff and you know as well as I do that from the first 50 episodes to where we are now everything is completely kind of changed. I mean, it's business 101 and it's like things that worked then, don't work now. There’s got to be a different strategy in place. There’s more people, knocking people off, hijackers, the whole thing. It's kind of nuts, but you still I think, to me, it really does still apply a lot of the principles apply if you're doing things aboveboard. The hacks and the tactics and stuff like that, yeah, they’re still going to be out there. You can play with them if you want to but for the most part, finding a good product, finding a unique angle, building out a brand, building out other assets that can help support you I think is the number one thing that people have to be thinking about. Before, it’s like fidget spinner. Yes, let’s go to fidget spinners.
We’ve all jumped on that wagon but it doesn't take long to realize that once that ends, it ends. So, how did you pick your first product? And you don't have to tell us the product but how did you pick your first product and then from there like how did that go? Did you hit a success right out of the gate? Did you get knocked down? Tell us a little bit about that.
[00:05:58] Angie: Well, so we started our business while doing our 9-to-5. We actually started out of my parents’ living room and so, of course, we were newly married at that time and so when Colin brought this idea of, “Hey, let's try this new method out of selling products on Amazon.” I didn’t buy into the idea immediately and so our first product right out of the gate we were actually selling some sports water bottles. And so, while listening to your podcast, we kind of we were able to get a very strong business foundation, higher-level thinking into what we needed to do. So, we were kind of testing the waters and it wasn't a complete success but the strategy we learned was that at that time we had our finances taken care of. We were in our jobs and so we decided to reinvest the money whatever we made right back into the product. And so, we started that way.
And so, from there, Colin and I, our backgrounds are a bit varied but we both share our love for fitness and health and wellness and so we decided to kind of pursue that along the way. And so, the next step we took was that we wanted to build that kind of love for fitness and health into the next step in our business and so we decided to research different products. And there was one particular product I really liked and so Colin asked me, “Hey, well, if you like this product, why don't you design it? If you could design something better, why don’t you do it?” And so, that’s what was I did and so Colin has a very minimal manufacturing background but he took that. He was able to take the product and make it and it was really for kind of self-serving purposes. I wanted to use it in my journey.
[00:07:52] Scott: That's good.
[00:07:53] Angie: That if somebody else was thinking along the same lines as myself, something was lacking in the market in terms of color and variety and so on. Why can’t we try to do the same thing? And so, we put it and this is kind of how we started.
[00:08:09] Colin: So, I want to add to that point that the first product what we put it's a wholesale from the States. We pick to buy the product so we relabel it, we picked up, and then stapled by us so that I can cut the time off like manufacturing from China or any other country. So, we tested out right away. So, we bought like almost 100 units of water bottle that's cost me $50. Yeah, it took $0.50 and then I made like almost $300 to $400 out of it. So, it was amazing for me. Honestly, it’s good. So, of course, I brought that idea to Angie. Angie was like totally not into it then she bet me $1 million that I cannot sell anything. She owes me $1 million right now.
[00:09:04] Scott: All right. Pay up, Angie.
[00:09:05] Angie: I mean, I’m a million indebted to him.
[00:09:10] Scott: So, what I'm hearing though, Colin, is you basically said, “You know what, I'm too impatient, man. I just want to get something to market like I want to take something, repackage it, get 100 units in, and I want to start playing in this marketplace. I want to see what's going to happen here,” right?
[00:09:26] Colin: Yes, that's correct. I want to test it out. I don't have the patience about like, see, you need to learn how to negotiate, you need to know what other products, what is the quality, do back and forth. So, I know some product is there. It's already been like in the market so I can take it, buy it. It’s for clearance. It’s okay but I want to test it out, something. So, I got like 100 units. That’s all they have, 100 units, $50 so push it out like three packs together, buy the cover, save the card on top of it and put it across actually. That’s all I did. It’s a pretty quick start.
[00:10:04] Scott: That's a very quick start. I don't think I've ever heard that start before but that's a good start. I’ve heard people definitely taken product and then even buying up from like Ikea and then making a bundle set and then repackaging it and stuff like that. And that's actually what got them going because then they figured out if it would even sell and then they go from there. I love it, man, that you just kind of said, “You know what, I got to find something that I can launch and get it there.” because I’m like you too. I’m like, “Oh, I don’t want to wait 90 days to get a product, go through revisions, and then packaging, and all of that stuff. But also, once you get to that point where you know that that's going to be your business, it definitely is worth spending the time for all those other things but you just wanted to test it and really prove to yourself and to your wife that, hey, this thing can work.
[00:10:52] Colin: Right.
[00:10:52] Scott: And you did so look at you now. Okay. So, you go down that road. You do that. How did you sell them? Did you sell them just by using pay-per-click? Did you just rank them organically? Did you do any of review groups at that time? I mean, because you can do those things. What were you doing?
[00:11:08] Colin: Initially, I started in eBay. The people are complaining about Amazon that they’re charging so much fees. So, I particularly joined the eBay group initially and then I sold it. It’s a good sale. To be honest, I made like $2,000, $3,000 out of this bottle itself so different batches I’m talking about. So, after that, I went in Amazon and say, “$30 million, it’s worth it to test.” I mean, I found your podcast and then I started like first thing, first time you talk about PPC, that’s the time that's my kick start actually. Once I put it on, the PPC, it like killed my space and then I don't have any reviews or nothing. We started selling like one or two products every single day. I posted there in the group actually. I say, “What’s going on? I sold 10 products today.”
[00:12:00] Scott: Oh, that’s funny.
[00:12:03] Colin: So, I’m in that kind of mentality what I had that I need to keep going on that one and also, I had to prove myself to different people. No one trusted me. My mother-in-law, my father-in-law, my dad, “Why do you have to do it? You have a good job. Why do you have to do testing all these things?” So, to make sure that I'm proving to them so I got to do this.
[00:12:28] Scott: Now, you bring up a good point. Okay. You're smart. Both of you are smart people, have great jobs, did have great jobs, whatever. Why entrepreneurship? Like, you know now, right, it's a roller coaster. It's a ride but there's some benefits to it, but there's some downsides to it. So why? Why would you want to go there? You didn’t like your two-hour ride to work every day?
[00:12:52] Colin: Okay. I was a consultant in one of the jobs in the healthcare industry in Michigan. In the new year, we went out on a trip, New Year Eve, and then I got a call from my contractor that I lost my job. So, really, I was scared 100%. I don't know what's going to happen to me and then the four months I didn’t get a job, from December to April, I didn’t get a job. That put my perspective for that day, you know, I feel really bad about that what's going on and then I couldn't fulfill my family, I couldn’t fulfill everything. Even though we have a backup money a little bit, I’m scared. That thing it makes me fired out like after I’m reading the book and then following the financial things, how we need to build the cash flows and that thing, that keep my eyes on like working towards on how I build my own empire, what I need to do. So, even though it’s still small for us, you know what business is like beginning off our journey. That was keep going…
[00:14:06] Scott: Okay. Yeah. You felt the fear of like even though you had a job, there is still insecurities with having a job because you could just be like, “You know what, Colin, we don't need you anymore. Bye.” And so, it's the same thing with like your Amazon listing could get shut down too and then you’re, “Pshuu,” but if you’re building a business then we both know then you’re going to build out those assets that are going to protect you from that as well. It's still going to hurt, but it won't be like they just took your whole business and turned off the cash flow which is another thing that I think we’re all working towards because there's always risk in everything that we do.
[00:14:42] Colin: Definitely. Angie always say this; the entrepreneurs are a crazy people who leaves the 9-to-5 job to take a 24 hours job actually.
[00:14:51] Scott: It's true. You know, I mean, like literally like right now like I worked a lot this past week getting caught back up in the holidays and all that stuff but my daughter’s got volleyball. After I get off from you guys, I'm going to volleyball practice. Nothing’s going to get in the way. I wouldn’t have – nothing against you guys. I wouldn’t have taken this call at 4:30 because my daughters got volleyball. That’s what’s happening. It’s just that’s the priority thing. So, I’m going to work that extra little bit so I can have that flexibility so my boss doesn’t say, “Hey, listen, you can’t take that off. You’re supposed to be here.” They don’t get it. So, I totally get where you guys are coming from. All right. Cool. So, pretty much success right out of the gate you might as well say. You took these cheap water bottles and then flip them but it wasn't always easy. Tell me something that happened that you’re like, “Holy crap, now what?” Is this really all worth it like you probably launched something or had a hijacker? So, lead me through the story. Where does it go from here?
[00:15:49] Colin: Go for it.
[00:15:50] Angie: Yeah. So, I guess from there that’s when we said, well, it took a lot of convincing so I said, “Okay. These water bottles are working. Let’s invest a little more and let’s design something that will be consumer-friendly and that people can get behind.” And so, we started to put more innovation. This was all like I said, I always tell Colin there are born entrepreneurs and made entrepreneurs. Colin is a born entrepreneur. I’m a made entrepreneur. So, along the way I’ve been seeing the benefits of what we’re doing and getting people what they want was one of them. And so, we decided to design. I learned a lot about patent. I learned a lot about everything was kind of self-taught and this helped us to protect ourselves, protect our products. And so, there were a number of different issues. I mean, some small, some large but we have had hijackers that were a nightmare to deal with. We’ve had legal issues where people are saying we infringe on their patents when we have patents pending as well of our own.
We’ve had issues with excess inventory. We’ve had issues in our relationship. I mean, the list goes on and on. We’re not going to make it rosy for people who think this is easy but at the same time, we were always on the same page in terms of this is what we've been working towards. This is ours and we can make decisions that affect our bottom line and so, we don't have to wait for other people to say, “You can take a day off,” or wait for other people to say, “Hey, here’s your promotion.” So, this is what we’ve encountered and we’ve gotten over many hurdles. We’ve had a lot of friends and also business associates in the same space who say, “We’re not sure how you two are still together considering all that you’ve put in place together.”
[00:17:50] Scott: Builds a strong relationship, that's for sure.
[00:17:52] Colin: Yeah. The relationship is the one thing that always everyone does that. Everyone amazed at what we’re doing. The other thing is like working as a relationship. I mean, we always tell one answer. We still didn't kill each other. We still didn’t get divorced yet.
[00:18:08] Scott: Right. Yeah. That’s true though. You build those. I’ve been working with my wife pretty much for the past 20 years. We've been married 25 this year. So, when we’ve had multiple businesses throughout our journey, but yeah, it's always a balance and I think it's by you having, you both each have your strengths. So, if you work off your strengths like, Angie, you might be great with the patents and the research and the trademarks and also Colin don’t want to do that stuff. I do this, right? It's like it is that. It's that marriage in business as well. If you can make it work, great, but sometimes you can't make it work. I got some people say, “I don’t know how you work with your wife all the time. Don’t you get sick of her?” I mean, we’re kind of off doing our own things. We’re not like just rubbing elbows the entire day.
[00:18:56] Colin: We cover each and every gap we have actually. So, that’s a key. To be honest, when we started the business, that's the time that we mattered. So, I have like a crazy ride and also, we spend like almost 19 hours in the business, every single day 19 hours. So, I come back to home by 7 o'clock. From there until 4 o'clock I start implementing whatever I learned from you, whatever I need to learn on top of it. It's not that what you’ve given and also, I need to do research how to apply to me actually, even a spark, and then I need to build a fire out if it. So, I need to go research more, dig deeper like how that's going to apply to me. That took like almost three-fourth of a side. Did that for like a whole one year of my business. I spend like 19 hours every single day to do this. I’m glad that I did it because I wouldn't be here in front of you right now.
[00:19:51] Scott: Right. Yeah, you’re right. I mean, you worked hard and here you are like you figure out what you need. There’s pieces of information that you’re going to find in different places along the way but once you learn them, they’re yours forever and you’ve applied it to your situation. You know, because I could’ve dealt with something with someone that I’m coaching or whatever. I’d be like, “Oh, this one thing worked for this guy. I might try it on you,” it doesn’t work for your business. Different market, different products, whatever. So, you do have to experiment and you have to go out there and build your own skill set which you guys have, which is awesome. Now, I'm just reading through some your posts here. You guys listed a whole bunch of stuff like in a nutshell there’s like 100 different things, but you mentioned here you talk a little bit about legal battles and stuff like that and also, you had some employee issues. Let’s talk about that a little bit. Let’s talk about employees.
[00:20:42] Colin: Okay. The employees, right, this is another obvious question from everyone, how to find the right talent, the right people. So, I always tell people that if you want to pay for the right employee, right talent, you got to pay a heavy fee for them like who has some money to pay when you’re starting the business? So, I always tell that find the right people who is hungry towards learning something new and then would be a trustable person when they start working on the small thing and then give them all the resources for them to be successful. Give them all the benefits and then resource and then books and then podcast and everything whatever you need to be successful, give them those resource for them to be successful and then that’s where you can able to build a solid team for yourself. So, first, initially I started with the one person which I paid in India like $50 to $40 a month to take care of like a customer service section.
And then I give them a set of training for them and then just started with the program and then I like that person and then I give them a podcast, books, and everything. Every day I spend more time with them like two, three hours I spend especially with them to train them also to things what I need to be done and then she is the one that was managing my business completely. From her, I hired a person and then ask her to outsource whatever she needs to be outsourced from her actually. So, we build out like a 15 team actually, 15-member in a team in-house actually there in India. After that, we have some issues in India like, “I don't know what to say.” They have the mental blocks again for them. They think they’d be making way more much money, whatever. I don’t know what is the story but I have to fire them because they had made us fail like five to six products actually so that cost a lot of money for us. But I made my business automated 100% actually. So, I spend there, I went there, and then I spend three months of time to train them and then do everything for them but that doesn’t help. I keep one person, the main person who is good at this and then I build out another five people right now.
[00:23:03] Scott: You must have a manager in a sense that then does the overseeing of the four or five people below that person and you really only have to communicate with the one person.
[00:23:13] Colin: With the one person.
[00:23:14] Scott: Give them the direction. You said something that I am curious on this. You said there was three or four products that they had helped you with that failed. What was the reason that they failed?
[00:23:27] Colin: So, the one reason why it’s failed us, right, there are a couple of reasons. One, they haven't taken care of the proper promotion cycles because they didn’t close the listing when they create the SKU. Open it up. That lasted my honeymoon period. Three, they didn’t follow up with what’s going to happen after we launch the product if selling like 20, 30 a day, what the target is. What you need to do, when to reduce the sale? They didn’t do that one actually. They have all SOPs and then for us, checking on the SOP, checking on the ASIN that whether they completed actually. So, I’m assuming that they check that and I’m assuming that they completed it but when I go on and check it in site, they didn't do nothing actually. So, that's weird that I have a problem for that. I learned the lesson very hard way in that one. So, right now we hire an HR and then operation manager specifically for those to follow up with the team what is the task and then whether if they completed or not actually and putting the screenshot they’re creating, we’re giving the opportunity for them to create that as a whole operation.
[00:24:42] Scott: Now, you mentioned the honeymoon period. I love that analogy. I know what you mean by it, but why don’t you explain that a little bit? Is there a window of opportunity that you need to take advantage of?
[00:24:52] Colin: Okay. So, when you put up a product so you’ll have three weeks of time. I mean, somebody say four weeks. I would consider like two weeks, three weeks of period of time where you need to be like rank the product as soon as possible actually. Get more traffic, more social traffic towards your listing and also specifically towards the keyword where it can rank for the particular keyboard. When you do that at the three weeks period of time, your product will be able to take off so good. If not, after that, you still can able to do it after four weeks or five weeks of time. It’s going to be a little bit harder. So now, if you’re giving like ten products a day KPB, you need to get like 25 products a day KPB at four or five weeks of time.
[00:25:37] Scott: Yeah. I wanted to just highlight that because I thought it was funny, a honeymoon period, which is great, which is true. I mean, I totally get it and you're right. I mean, your launch needs to be planned and executed in three to four weeks. It’s the same thing for me like when we launch a product, it’s like we’re going to drive traffic. Whether it’s pay-per-click traffic heavy, whether we’re going to drive our email list to it, we’re going to run Facebook ads like we’re going to do everything we can to get sailing through that so this way here we can rank. And it’s kind of like you said, it’s like that window of opportunity. Now, that doesn't mean that you run out of stock, you want to do that over again. You can but also, it’s history at that point but you do want to take advantage of that three to four week period. So, I’m glad that you mentioned that because I agree with that as well.
[00:26:22] Colin: So, I have – they’re still testing that out. The first week it's not empty. Actually, you can do a lot of things on the first week. I mean, right now I’ll be testing with the one other product. You don't have to run a traffic on the first week. The first week is kind of like a building relevancy score for Amazon. If you check the relevancy score on the Amazon, you’re able to see the first week you will not have any relevancy type actually. There’s not going to be a lot of relevancy keywords in Amazon if you pull it down. After seven days, eight days, you will have a lot of relevancy when you started giving a product, I mean, testing it down, PPC, and everything actually.
[00:27:03] Scott: Yeah. Because what you're basically saying is it’s going to take a week for them to index your listing and get everything kind of like rooted. So, this way here when you do start sending traffic to it, it’s going to also be seen by all of those other keywords that…
[00:27:14] Colin: Yeah.
[00:27:15] Scott: Yeah. That makes total sense and I agree with you. And I think also it's going to depend on how competitive the spaces that you’re in. It's like…
[00:27:25] Colin: That's another thing. You need to choose the right product. You cannot try to go and then sell again water bottle again right now.
[00:27:33] Scott: You can’t? I was going to go out and find them at the dollar store and repack it.
[00:27:40] Colin: So, you got to find your right product like I have a 31 rule actually. I spend 30 product and sell one product. Sometimes it grows like 100 product research actually to select one product. So, we have like a very strict process of finding the product by putting that and then not like looking at the product and then say, “Okay. I'm going to sell this product actually.” It’s like we need to go to the data process actually. Whether you have a budget for this, first of all. You have a $5,000 budget. If the product is selling like $10,000 or $15,000. Even if you you have the money to put up and then do that one actually first? So, you need to determine how much money you can spend on that product, I mean, how much risk you have, how do you determine risk on that? And then how it's easy for you to get like – you don't have to get a lot of sales.
You just need to, you just have to get ten sales and then replicate the same process like 100 or 200, 300, how much budget you have. How much money you have, replicate that, the same ten sales to multiple product. That’s the major score. And you know and I know that the 80-20 of Amazon it's like a value placed in the keywords actually. So, it’s not about what’s selecting the right product, and also putting the key product and then placing the product in the right keyword. It's the most important thing now and be successful in Amazon for sure.
[00:29:03] Scott: Now, how much are you doing off of Amazon? Are you focusing any of your efforts off of Amazon with assets that you’re building or any external channels? What are you doing there?
[00:29:11] Colin: Okay. So, we are in Walmart and we are in other deal sites everywhere. So, it’s like a 90% of the sales comes from Amazon and then 10% sales from offsite. So, currently, I’m going off of the operational site. Angie is coming to in the operational and marketing aspect of the business. I'm going at the bigger visionary area in the business. We’re focusing on like diversifying our portfolio. We are going to buy multiple real estate properties to build the cash flow on top of it and going beyond other marketplaces. That’s the focus at what we’re having in 2019 for us.
[00:29:49] Scott: So, you're actually taking some of your profits and you’re investing in real real estate.
[00:29:54] Colin: Real estate. Yes.
[00:29:55] Scott: Yeah. Actually, I’m doing that myself. I just actually purchased on the lake house to run it as an Airbnb.
[00:30:02] Colin: That’s amazing.
[00:30:03] Scott: Yeah. And it’s kind of cool because I’m going to have some retreats there, some workshop stuff, and then I’m also going to be able to go with my family every now and then. But it’s really, I met up with a guy, again, this is how networking happens. I met up with guy here locally as I was looking for a lake house to rent and he showed me that he was he's put four houses on the market. He’s ranked his site for staying on this certain lake and he's done all that. And he's done over $1 million last year in net from just four houses. He charges like anywhere as between $6,000 a week to $11,000 a week to stay in the lake.
[00:30:36] Colin: Wow.
[00:30:37] Scott: Yeah. And he’s almost at full occupancy so I’m just going to come on and give him another piece of real estate that he can run. I’m going to pay him but I’m going to just basically be hands-off. I just invested in the property. We’re doing a whole remodel. It's going to be interesting. But again, it’s doing the exact same thing you guys are going. I’m trying to take in taking some of that but I couldn’t do that five years ago but now I’m like, “I got to start doing some of that stuff.”
[00:31:01] Colin: We tested out the Airbnb, our house, when we went to the China trip and then – because we went to different country, Malaysia, Singapore, and different places and I was like we were not here for six months a year. We were in India for three, four months training and everything. So, at that time, I put my house in Airbnb and we made a lot of good money actually for sure. So, that’s where we invested it. So, now we’re trying to buy a house and then testing the same model with Airbnb and other thing actually.
[00:31:35] Scott: Yeah. That's great. That's so funny isn’t it? Yeah. So, my plan is to do this one. See how well it works, see what the process is like and then I’m going to be like, “All right, buddy. I'm ready for another one. Let's go grab another one.” You know, and he's all into like because it's funny because it's a lot like Amazon. It's like you have this marketplace of all these lake houses but a lot of them are like cabins or they’re like grandma's pillows and stuff. It’s like a camp, right?
[00:31:58] Colin: Yeah.
[00:31:59] Scott: He’s like, “The way that we niche down is we actually create luxury houses on the lake.” Instead of being 300 houses, now there's only 10 houses and so now when people are looking to stay in a really nice place, they’re going to only find my 10 houses.
[00:32:14] Colin: That's very good. Also, we know that one, how we need to leverage ourselves. Even though we have a very small business like I have a very small business experience. I mean, I learned it in very hard way actually, you need to leverage yourself as much as possible either your wife, anyone you know actually. So, I leverage through her. I always recommend her to leverage through someone actually so I ask her, I give her like three or four people, “Okay. You know what, find the right person for you to be involved with and do that one actually and then help her to train and then help her to take her position actually.”
[00:32:52] Scott: Yeah. It’s smart. It’s really smart. That's funny though. You guys are going to be doing the Airbnb too. That’s awesome. That’s really cool. All right. So, let's kind go down the road really quickly that if you are starting over from scratch right now, what would it look like for you? Okay. With Amazon the way it is now, with all the hijackers, with all the counterfeiters coming in with all that stuff, what would you do right now differently or what would you do from scratch?
[00:33:24] Colin: Okay. The first thing is like, I’m actually testing it right now. I just started it another account. I'm working on it. I’m currently to find out how hard it is actually. So, of course, you need to trademark for sure. The first thing is like find other product and then find to have a trademark actually. The product selection is the most important criteria. So, find very, very subcategory level. Find the product where you can make like there’s not a lot of competition. There’s not a lot of people who are trying to sell their product. For example, you go in the industry… Not a lot of people there and also, there are categories that there’s not a lot of people tapping but it sells like 10, 15 sales a day. I mean, it’s not growing up here. Think about it. Two years back there’s a lot of categories I mentioned right now which is not like before two years. So, if you tap into the market right now like that would be amazing. Under one year actually, you can build the product, you can sell the more product. So, that's what I would recommend. I would find a trademark where I can first put up like a very general trademark. You’re going to take two months of time to find a product for yourself.
Actually, one month of time, actually, spend a little bit more time, educating yourself, try to download like a 10, 20, or 100 podcasts to listen to. There are a lot of sources in YouTube like small things there to find out. Take that one first step and then find out more detailed level of product research. And then after that, you go and find a perfect manufacturer and then get multiple samples for you to find out those things and then you go and then test out your product. That’s what I would do right now if I’m starting it from scratch. Why? Because it’s not like how it was before for sure but still you still have a lot of room in Amazon to grow more inside of categories. I went to last week a subset of categories. It’s like when you go and dig down into the bottom, it's like very not a lot of people in there. It’s very, very less.
[00:35:37] Scott: What are you thinking about like oversized or just larger items in general? I mean, we both know that they're harder to get into because it’s going to take more capital. There is an opportunity there I think for people that want to go into that. What’s your thoughts on that?
[00:35:53] Colin: Okay. That's again the thing what I said before. So, you need to find out what's your budget. So, let’s say that you have $5,000. Don't pick up a product which is going to sell like $30,000 product actually. So, if you put in effort, so, I am currently testing out one product right now which is like 10 pounds, 15 pounds right now. So, that product sells like to 20, 30 a day actually. So, I can easily able to get like a 5, 10 sales a day but my profit is going to be like $100 to $200 a day actually if I’m into that. So, that will be easy for me to tap into that and then go another thing.
[00:36:36] Scott: I like that. I like the idea too of really drilling down into a market.
[00:36:40] Colin: Exactly.
[00:36:41] Scott: Really just drilling, drilling, drilling because most people are looking for the stuff that’s on the top. And again, that's why I love Jungle Scout for looking at numbers but I don't love the web app for just having it go, “Here's a product,” like everyone's doing that. So, if that’s the case, we’re all looking at the same stuff. It's the ones that are willing to do that deep, deep, deep, deep dive and finding the stuff on the bottom are the ones that’s going to win in my opinion.
[00:37:06] Colin: To be honest, I’ve stopped using the Jungle Scout and then stop using I’ll think why because everyone is doing that. You’re going to get – if you find opportunity there, everyone’s seeing the same opportunity and achievement. Everyone may have a down day. I selected this product. When I selected the product, I mean, there are like multiple people launch the same product in the two-month period. Why? Because they’re using the same tool what you’re using. So, I have built our own bot system for ourselves and like it’s going to keep dig down into it, find out a product for us. I mean, and also, we’re doing it manually, go into that, go into another level of the category.
[00:37:46] Scott: Yeah. I like that a lot. I mean, me personally, I’m always about brand and that’s kind of where I’ve kind of been positioning so I’m not like a one-product person. I know that still can work and I know there’s people that are still doing it, actually, I’m going through that process right now with a brand that I’m partnered with that we want to do an exit and so we want to get to a certain number and he’s already told me everything that we've done as far as assets go. We’re like going to get a bigger multiple because we have those assets. An email list, we have a Facebook presence, we have a YouTube channel, we have all of those things that when that person buys the brand, they also get access to all of those other assets. But again, there’s someone else that can go out there and go, “I’m just going to launch products under an open brand and I’m going to make a whole bunch of money,” just to me, it's not going be as easy to launch products.
Because if I have an email list of people that are like they’re ready, all you got to do is send it out and go, “Hey, I’m going to run a promotion 50% off. Who’s going to buy it?” But that's just my approach and also, I like it because it's more sellable like I know that when I’m ready to exit, I’m going to get a higher return on that. So, I’m just throwing it out there. And again, I don't know what your model is.
[00:38:58] Colin: I'm building the brand and also, I’m testing the other model as well. So, we have the two brands in our store currently building the other model as well. To best honest, yes, I’m going with the brand building model. I’m trying to build a brand with one of the products where we launch there from the very beginning actually for sure. The other side of it, right, yes you can make multiple money out of putting a single product but that's not, I don't feel that's not a long term goal on that. Why? Because right now it's easy for us to launch a product. Why? Because we have like 700 to 1,000 beta people for us to test the product and let us know who’s also ready to take a product for 50% actually, who’s ready to take a product for 30%. They are like a brand for us to go through actually.
[00:39:46] Scott: Yeah. That’s huge. I mean, let’s face it. Picking the right product, launching it the correct way is everything. I mean, obviously, you got to know how to optimize. But basically, if you’ve done that work right in the beginning, the launching process isn’t really that difficult. There’s no like magic to it. It's like you got to give Amazon what they want, put out listing and sales. That’s it.
[00:40:09] Colin: And also, it's not hard to – so again, do not mistake that you cannot launch a competitive product. Yes, you can, but it's about how much your budget is actually to launch the product. That’s the most important thing. So, if you have like, okay, I have unlimited budget that I want to take up this product, very well, you could do that one right now. Still, you still have a room to make like take a headset and then sell it and then you can make it, but how much effort are you going to put it out? How much PPC are you going to spend it out? It’s a lot actually. So, you got to check if you’re building the brand out, that's your scope, of course, go for it, but you’re going to be spending a lot of money but eventually you’re going to get written on top of it. I would say if you even decide to do something like that, if you’re making a breakeven sale with Amazon for at least for three, four months of time, that’s good for you that you can able to start selling a profitable product eventually after five, six months actually for sure.
[00:41:07] Scott: Yeah. Those are some great points. All right. Cool. So, let's wrap up. We went through a lot of your story. What’s your direction right now? Building out this new brand and then also adding to the current brand that's kind of like the cash cow right now, the one that's bringing in all of the revenue right now? So, what’s your plans? Are you going sell this brand? Are you thinking about exiting?
[00:41:27] Colin: We’re not sure about it, but currently we’re working on building this brand. On top of that, we are having two brands and also, we create a separate account for us to build a cash flow account and also test what difficulty what I have currently in the market. So, I’m selecting a couple of products right now, launching those products right now, the different brand, and find out how that's going to go. So, if I can build the cash flow on top of it. So, my egg is all in one basket which I don't want to have at all so I’m trying to put up like different things. And also, we’re trying to go in real estate. We’re trying to go and building a cash flow system. We’re trying to buy local businesses and also, we’re trying to invest on the business as well on top of it. That’s the direction that we’re going. I truly believe that capitalism is the one thing that each and every human being need to go through. That’s where everything is involved and also, building the cash flow is the first thing that what I want to do before any capital gain what I want to do actually for sure.
[00:42:38] Scott: Yeah. I agree with you, and I think it's funny because if you were to look back like even 12 months, 18 months and you're like, “Oh wow, it’d be great if I did 2 million next year in revenue,” and then you’re like you're there and then you’re like, “Okay. That's cool, but now I got to think about like all my eggs are in one basket so now I got figure out what am I going to do there. Oh, I’m going to do real estate. I’m going to do that.” So, you're constantly evolving as you grow, right?
[00:42:59] Colin: Yes.
[00:43:00] Scott: And you guys are doing it perfectly. You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. You’re learning a ton and I would probably say you guys are having a little bit of fun doing it. I mean, you’re still married.
[00:43:10] Colin: No, we have a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun. I mean, of course, we’re not killing each other. We’re working really long time. Our hours have like changed from, we like work until 7 o'clock in the morning. We sleep anytime we want in the morning. Of course, we’re putting a lot of time like we want to build a discipline for us like building a morning routine for us, having a set of mindsets, having a couple’s time together, having a yoga time together, going to the gym together. And we’re doing everything together and then, of course, I mean, sometimes I told Angie, “Angie, are you not tired of me?” So, I love enjoying talking about business. I’m enjoying talking about products. I mean, she’s like, “Oh, God. Another more task adding in my plate right now.”
[00:44:04] Scott: I know. There is he again. He’s thinking again.
[00:44:09] Colin: Well, I’m sorry for her for sure but I love it. I love to talk about it.
[00:44:14] Scott: Yeah. It’s fun.
[00:44:15] Colin: We sit and then talk about product and then business and everything. I will sit in and talk about the whole single day that to go through the whole process actually, to understand what are we getting effectively.
[00:44:25] Scott: No. It’s fun, it's addicting. Entrepreneurship is addicting. Freedom is definitely something we all strive for but, again, I want to thank you guys for coming on and sharing your story and really inspiring others because I think at the end of the day, we’re protective of like our own stuff but yet we still want to help people and see them succeed and I think you guys share that same feeling and that's why you're here right now sharing your story. So, any last words you want to say before we end the podcast for this episode? Maybe have you come back on another episode where you can give me an update?
[00:45:03] Colin: Definitely. I would you guys more than an update for sure. Why? Because you are an amazing guy. The one thing that I like about us, we both actually, we like inspiring people and we want to share our journey to other people. You know, where they can kickstart our deal journey for sure. We want to like give as much information whatever we learned as free actually. We don’t take any calls. We don't take anything actually. All the things whatever we take it from you and then I’ve got other people involved in the business and then we get into a lot of networking, connect with more people in our thing. So, first, you, second, other person, and then like we keep growing in our business actually. Connect with more people and then get inspired and then inspire, try to inspire them. For us, right now, we want to be, we feel like we want to grow and also inspire more people. That’s a goal for us in 2019 and then moving forward actually. That’s the thing, we’re getting a one kind of joy that we help other people.
[00:46:09] Scott: So, I appreciate you doing that and I know just by you coming on, you’re inspiring people that are on the podcast, also letting them know that there is opportunity still out there which you got to go out there, you got to put in the work. We’re not saying it's a get rich quick. It's not. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take getting hit and then getting back up. We all know that so what I’ll do is I’ll link up the show notes and everything on the podcast episode. If anyone has any questions for you, guys, I can have them comment there. I can even link it up to the post that you guys posted in the group. And if you guys want to ask these guys any questions, I'm sure they’d be more than happy to answer. So, we’ll go ahead and do that for you in the show notes. All right. So, guys, I want to thank you so much. Enjoy that cold weather in New York.
[00:46:53] Angie: Great.
[00:46:55] Scott: And definitely keep me posted though. I definitely want an update on you guys and hopefully, we’ll get to meet one day.
[00:47:01] Colin: Definitely. For sure. Appreciate it, man. Thanks for taking the time.
[00:47:05] Scott: Thank you, guys.
[00:47:06] Colin: Thanks.
[00:47:06] Angie: Thank you, Scott.
[00:47:08] Scott: All right. I wasn’t kidding, right? What a great story. What a great couple and I just love how Colin had to prove himself with a little $100 dollar test and if that's not taking action, I don't know what is. Went out there and found some product, repackaged it, sent it in, because he was a little impatient, wanted to go ahead and see how this whole process worked and that proved to himself that it could work and it proved it also to Angie or at least for her to pay attention and then they started to build off of their strengths so just a great story. Now, was it easy? No. And they admit that. Are there things that they're still learning? Absolutely. But the one thing that I kept hearing Colin say over and over and over again was you got to continue to learn, you got to continue to broaden your education. And what I mean by that is not that you have to go out there and buy every course that's available because that's sometimes confusing. What do you need right now? And my good friend, Pat Flynn, taught me a while ago this thing called just-in-time learning.
So, if you're right now at the point where you got to build the list, well, start learning about how to build that list. If you're struggling with finding a product, figure out the product selection process and how to go out there and find a market, and all that stuff. Like, I have a different approach than some of the other guys or girls out there. That is my angle into this e-commerce world. It's going out there and finding a market and then building a brand in that market and then drilling down into each category of that market and serving products that one customer could buy over and over and over again. That's my model. That's what I like. To me, that's a future-proof business. It doesn't mean it's the only way. Okay. So, you have to pick the way that you want to go with or the person that you want to learn from and then just go all in, but only learn what you need to learn right now, just-in-time learning. And a shout out to my good friend, Pat Flynn, for that. All right. So, that is going to wrap up this episode. TheAmazingSeller.com/620 if you want to go over there, see the show notes, and if you want to get a link to that Facebook post that Colin had shared with us.
[00:49:12] Scott: And then the other thing is if you are just starting and you want the most up-to-date learning and how to do this for free, by the way, head over to TheAmazingSeller.com/Start and that there will give you the most up-to-date information. It's a few podcast episodes that goes through the entire process and this way here you don't have to go sift through all 600 plus episodes. These are going to be the ones that you need to listen to now. I also will have other resources there for you to attend an upcoming workshop or any other resources that I think are going to help you. They will be there on that page. So, that's TheAmazingSeller.com/Start. All right, guys. That’s it. That’s going to wrap up this episode. Remember, as always, I’m here for you, I believe in you, and I am 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 right back here on the next episode.
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