Building a business selling products on Amazon is one of the simplest, proven ways to create a business. But although it's simple, it's not necessarily easy. Today's guest is Jason Katzenback, the Cofounder of Amazing which provides the most successful training program for building a successful Amazon business. It’s about more than just learning how to sell on Amazon, it’s a program designed for building an entire physical products business.
In today's episizzle, Jason breaks down what's working, what's not, and what it really takes to build a business the right way without getting trampled by complexity or competition.
To learn more about Jason and how to build a successful business on Amazon, visit Amazing here
Some Topics We Discussed Include:
CEO and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, Jason is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, who since 2005 has generated over $120 million in sales in his own companies and has also been blessed to be able to have coached, mentored and taught tens of thousands of students on how to successfully create and run their own businesses.
This is going to be an amazing show. I’m not saying this to hype it up but instead, the reason I say that is because I am featuring Jason Katzenback who’s one of the Founders of Amazing.com.
If you have not heard of Amazing.com, you may have been hiding under a rock because they are the pre-eminent trainers and experts on helping people launch, grow, scale a very profitable Amazon eCommerce business.
I remember purchasing the very first version of this course before it wasn’t even named Amazing way back 2012 or something of that nature. It has been a marvel to watch how Jason, his partner, Matt Clark, and Amazing.com grown as a business.
They’ve educated about 30,000 students on how to launch, grow, and navigate the ever-changing, crazy complex, but extremely lucrative world of using Amazon as a sales channel for physical products.
Especially if you are starting from absolute scratch, do not know what to do, you don’t have your own products, but you’ve always thought that this is something you might want to go down that road.
There is probably nobody better to teach this than my guest. I’d like to welcome you, Jason, to the show.
Thank you very much, Brad. It’s a pleasure to be here.
I bought the Amazon Selling Machine or something.
It was the Amazon Money Machine. Amazon reached out to us a few months later. I had to change it to the Amazing Money Machine. We started working with John Reese, one of the legends in my opinion when it comes to online businesses.
He helped us with getting started and transitioning into ASM. I didn’t realize it was that long ago because that was the start of explosive growth.
I’ve got a little bit of experience on Amazon from a failed eCommerce venture that I started up. I wasn’t quite able to make it work. Amazon was one channel. It was not the only channel. It’s the minor channel for me.
I remember going through a lot of your materials from back then and trying this out. I didn’t launch my own other private-label Amazon-only product in the past.
Part of that is for various reasons and a lot of it is because to me, it’s always seemed complex based on my personal marketing areas of genius. I love the fact that one of the things at Amazing.com does is help decomplexify the process for people who are getting started.
I want to preface that before I dive into sucking out all the great sizzling hot knowledge from your brain. I want to let everybody know that I’m not planning on going super-duper basic on this episode.
If you aren’t aware of the incredible opportunity that still exists to create your own products and business selling on and off Amazon, then that’s a whole other story. Jason has got some amazing materials for you.
One of the reasons I brought Jason on this show is two things. Number one, he is relaunching a completely updated version of Amazing.com and all this training material that should be out.
Many things have changed and there are some ideas I have for getting either myself and/or some clients and partners back with some momentum on this. I’m going to be asking some more advanced questions.
Hopefully, if you’re the type of reader that I like, these are the questions that you’re going to be paying attention to. That being said, Jason, how do we make money on the internet?
You find an itch and teach them how to scratch it or give them the resource to scratch it. That’s what I find that works anyway. Don’t try to invent stuff that there’s not a need for. Make sure there’s a need and then figure out a solution for it.
I want to dive into some of the actionable stuff that people who think they’ve heard everything about Amazon, go private-label product, get it up there, compete, etc. I want to talk about some of the big opportunities now, some of the big changes that have happened.
For instance, if there are some things that used to work that is no longer working, what are those? What are the things that take their place? What are those opportunities? I’ll dive into some of the other aspects there but let’s start from that angle.
Since I’ve been involved full-time with Amazon, that’s been several years now, it was a completely different animal back then. Sponsored ads weren’t part of it.
In fact, the reason I had such success was when my business partner, Matt, first taught me how to sell on Amazon within a few months of having my product on Amazon.
I was doing over $100,000 a month profit. That was back in the day when Dr. Oz was sharing about raspberry ketones and Garcinia cambogia.
I jumped right on that in perfect timing and I got in it. I had incredible days with one product. That was because I brought in an external traffic SEO knowledge and I had some marketing knowledge, so I knew how to drive traffic to Amazon.
Since then, Amazon has multiplied so much from its internal traffic. It’s not quite a verb like google it, but Amazon it pretty much comes. It’s going to be coming.
Amazon itself has so much internal traffic now. They’re driving traffic all the time. They’re running ads all the time. They’ve developed their sponsored ads. With that alone, you have to be able to understand and learn sponsored ads. If you don’t, Amazon’s making it so you can’t compete.
The cool thing is, sponsored ads are awesome in my opinion because you get direct data, you’re able to figure out exactly what keywords people are using on Amazon to be able to find your products then you optimize your products on Amazon based on the most profitable keywords to get even more rankings.
There’s a lot of cool internal stuff. Amazon has come out with a program called the Alliance. It’s allowing for thorough tracking so you can do social media ads and actually attract conversions without having to use discount coupons or anything.
Any marketer that goes onto Amazon, that’s one of the first things they truly ask is like, “How do you track conversions and everything?” It hasn’t existed before. Those are all positives. Some of the negatives though are there are more costs involved, more competition involved.
One of the biggest things you have to focus on if you’re going to succeed is return on investment. It’s no longer looking at the profit margin. Originally, we used to tell people a 20% profit margin and there’s still not so much competition on Amazon that you didn’t have to worry about that.Running out of inventory is more damaging for an established Amazon account than it is for a new account. Click To Tweet
There were all these standards. It was pretty clear. Amazon has extended warehouse fees like we got hit up with that. It was like, “You forget about that.” The cool thing is it’s still all very profitable, but it’s the dynamics of it that are changing so then the things that you have to look at.
What I find is it’s the best time ever to sell in Amazon, because Amazon has put so many stocks in place. Before, it was like this Wild Wild West. There are rules in place. There’s so much more traffic in so many more systems, but where people make a huge mistake is they don’t consider ROI.
What I mean by that is it’s one thing to look at your profit margin and say, “I’m going to have a 30% profit margin.” That sounds great. That means that once you sell all your products, you should have 30% extra cash in your pocket than you did before you invest in the products.
The problem with that is what if it takes you twice as long to get your inventory and what if your products don’t sell as quickly as you thought.
All of a sudden, there are these little calculations in there that you realize like if you’re living on a budget of a couple of thousand dollars and you invest in a product that says has less than 100% ROI, it still looks profitable on books.
In reality, the ROI isn’t there and so what’s going to happen is it’s going to long-term start affecting your cashflow because of all these other variables. Those are the things that we’re teaching now that we didn’t have to teach before.
There’s a lot more that goes into understanding the finances of the products you’re starting rather than quick simple numbers. The results are tremendous.
What’s cool about it is the complexity that we thought it was going to create is actually created and almost a guaranteed formula for finding successful products because you go through so many criteria now.
It’s all checklist. It’s all very clean like there are not complicated numbers. It’s simple data that you already get, but it’s putting it in the right type of spreadsheet format and looking at the numbers.
What it does is, let’s say you’ve got a list of ten products that you want to start with, you put it through this calculation and then you’ll see like this one has 200% ROI. This one has 120% ROI. Those ROIs don’t necessarily work out to be the right decision either.
In ROI, on something that you’re selling for $50 for something that you saw for $20 is a big difference too. I might want to go for the ROI of 130% on the $50 product versus 200% on the $15 product because my profit is still going to be better.
There are all those little discrepancies that you’ve got to look at, but it’s not just a matter of following a few criteria, picking a product, and you’ve got a winner. We got a little bit more scientific on it and it’s worked out fantastic.
That’s always been one of the things that intimidated me a little bit about doubling down and going big on that was the financial cashflow management issues that arise when it comes to eCommerce physical product brands.
I know several people who’ve grown the debt and they have to continuously sync money back into new inventory, etc. The more they grow, the more taxing that is on the financial side.
I can almost guarantee them that their ROIs are probably under 100%. What’s happening is it’s not that they’re not getting the money, it’s whether it’s a lead time, initial investment cost, any of those things, that can kill you. That could kill your business.
It puts a stranglehold on your finances and it’s not that you don’t eventually get there. It slows growth because it’s like, “I have to wait to be able to reinvest this money,” instead of being able to get a quicker return on it to reinvest it.
In a perfect situation when someone’s starting on Amazon, we want you to sell out. Once your product takes off, your inventory is going to sell out almost every time. We teach you how to do a giveaway or campaign like these launch strategies.
A lot of it is about creating noise in the marketplace. You create this noise on Amazon which then Amazon recognizes you for. It starts rewarding you for. It’s all legitimate, we don’t do black hat stuff. It’s all legitimate strategies that are marketing strategies for launching your products.
Once the noise is created, Amazon starts to reward you and you get a good benefit from that. I started going down a tailspin. Bring me back to where I got on that topic.
We were basically talking about some of the things to watch out for. These are the things that sneak up where, “It all sounds good. I’m going to launch a product on Amazon or eCommerce, or it’s any business.”
What ends up happening is when your product takes off, people start freaking out because it’s like, “I don’t have any inventory now and I have to wait.” When your inventory does run out, you have a grace period.
It’s a lot more damaging for an established account running out of inventory than it is for a new account because you’re not getting those top sales yet, you haven’t proven much of a history.
You come in, all of a sudden you sell out of the inventory and then you’re like, “I have to wait still for these sales to come in.” There’s no advance warning.
What happens when you have a lower ROI, all of a sudden now you’re even waiting longer to be able to get your money back because of how things are going. You’re getting a smaller return.
You can’t be investing in new inventory again, probably for another couple of weeks until the next payment of Amazon comes out so you’re delayed a little bit. When you know your ROI and cashflow, you plan for those things.
You keep money aside. You don’t invest everything. This is all about creating a business with this little risk as possible. Some people tell us, “I spent $16,000 in my first inventory order.” I’m like, “Why in the world would you do that?”
There’s no guarantee that any product is going to work, but you use as much data as possible. It’s no different than any marketing you do. You use the data you have to make assumptions and theories then you test and prove out.
With that, when you’re getting your new product going, when you can better manage the ROI and the forecasting, then what you can plan for is, “Once I see a certain trend starting, I need to order my inventory right then to minimize running out of inventory.”
I like to talk about the real issues because it’s very easy to gloss over those when people are thinking about this and then they get in like, “This is a surprise. I didn’t know it was going to be this challenging.”
I like the fact that you guys have these filters, these calculators, spreadsheets or something like that, that allows you to say if your criteria for the right products, etc., is correct and your projected ROI is large enough.
This helps you mitigate these risks so that you’re not getting a big surprise and you’re not making stupid bets like, “There’s about $16,000 for the inventory and a product I’ve never tried to sell before.”
We’ve been doing this for several years when you started with us. What we do all the time is no different than what we tell our students to do with their products on Amazon is every time you’re redoing it, make it better. Always be looking at how to make it better. Add little things.
If you have a spatula, you know that this would be better if it had this little angle on it because then you could do this. Do it, add it and then mark it. Keep researching and finding out what your students want. What our training does is we’ve been doing this for so long and we track results.
It’s all voluntary tracking of students and we see what’s working and what’s not working so we keep tweaking with what our training is. We figured out if people are struggling to find products, what can we do to help them with that? We found a solution.
We created this incredible program that works and helps people to do that. The next step was, “Now I found a product, how do I know if it’s the right product for me?”
We’re like, “How can we help them best make this decision over the years we’ve come to where we’re at now where we teach about ROI and get into the depths of the numbers?” The next step is, “Now I know my products, how do I find suppliers?”
We train you on everything here but we also realize that we want to help you get success as much as possible so the next step is, “Now we’ve started with ASM 11 with this latest rendition.” We’re going to help you get suppliers for your first sourcing. We’re going to help you with that.
Once you get going and do it once, it’s magic. You get it. It clicks. One of the things we teach people is get started with a test business. No matter what you do, if you’ve never run a business before you’ve just got to get the momentum going.
If you’re going to start running, you’re not going to run a 10K, you’re going to go maybe walk five minutes, jog a minute. You try. You see how things go. Whether it’s any type of business, real estate or anything, you’re going to try and test it.
With your business on Amazon, with your first product, there’s no way to know if that one product is going to be a winner. It’s going to sell but what you want to do is learn the business. You want to be able to get all of those external factors.
How do I find products? How do I make sure my cashflow will be right? How do I make sure that I get the very best suppliers? How do I launch my product? How do I optimize my product? All of those things that we know are the key foundations.
We want to help as much as possible so we’re constantly improving, constantly evolving, getting better and better results all the time. It’s cool.
I hope the lesson in that too like if you’re already selling, one of the best things you can do is every time your product comes to be renewed where you have to order more inventory, do something to make the product better, just the slightest little thing.
Be split testing like the text on the side to see if you can get more visitors to a website, anything that you can do. Don’t get into a rut like, “I got a winner here.” Don’t touch it if it’s not broken. Don’t fix it.” You’re missing out on so much opportunity.
It’s those little changes when you’re listening to your customers that help brands become such well-established brands.
One of the things you mentioned is talking about helping people get suppliers for their first business, especially with all of the crazy tariffs, China trade battles going on. A lot of people source from China, not everybody has to.
Have a lot of Amazon sellers been affected by this that you’ve seen? When you’re helping people source, are you helping them source from American distributors or suppliers first? Does it matter? This is such a hot topic. I’m curious.
First of all, not every product and it depends on what materials the products are made of qualifies for tariffs. For some people, this isn’t affecting at all. The people that it does affect, it’s not like it just affects you and it doesn’t affect anyone else.
No, your competitors are affected, the prices on Amazon start going up because if everyone’s selling the same product, 99% of them are getting them from China most likely if you got yours from there. The reality is your products are always going to be cheaper there than America.
Especially if it’s things made out of plastic, rubbers, simple easy-made things. The things that we don’t recommend is anything that you put on or in your body because then you’re getting into whether you want stricter regulations. We recommend you go to local beauty supplies.
If you’re into other markets, you’re not going to find American suppliers. I recommend you look. I have had a zero-success rate of finding anybody that could match the prices based on my overseas manufacturers on any product.
That’s such a degree that I couldn’t compete, that I wouldn’t even bother selling because it doesn’t make sense. There are certain products, some lotion things, different liquid things, I know some people sell types of polish and stuff. They get those sourced in America and they do pretty well.
We teach all that like where to find the product. At the end of the day, it’s about making the best ROI decision. You want to always support your neighborhood. You always want to support the country that you’re raised in.
That’s important but at the same time, you’re running a business. For your business to be profitable, you have to make good business decisions. The reality is if someone can get you a product that’s five times cheaper from a foreign country, it makes sense to sell it.
There is one qualification that makes buying local so much better and there’s a price difference that you have to consider. There better be a smaller gap in pricing. That’s for turnaround time to get inventory.
In general, you’re looking at least four weeks minimum once the product’s ready to tell you to get it on Amazon. By the time it gets on the boat, then it goes across, goes to a port, goes to your freight forwarder and then is shipped to Amazon. You’re looking at about four weeks.
If you can get an American supplier that can get you a product in a week, you can have much better inventory management. That’s part of the problem because you’ve got that extra time in China, you have to buy a little bit more extra inventory.
If you get something local, if you know you have a one-week turnaround, you could start off with 50 units, something small and then it’s like, “They’re starting to sell. Let’s get another 50.” That is something to consider.
Another strategy with that which is why I can always look for American suppliers, but I haven’t found any that could beat me for the primary manufacturer, is it’s wise to have them as a backup if you can.
Even if they’re more expensive then it isn’t worthwhile to have them as your main supplier, if you do run into issues like let’s say they get backed up and now that’s going to be two months until you get products. You’re going to be a month out of inventory.
If you had a local supplier that you could use as a backup at least even if you’re breaking even, going out of inventory for a month would be horrible. That would be a smart strategy to keep running.
It’s one of those things that is very critical for folks to understand. I know that over at BaconWrappedBusiness.com/amazing you’re giving away 50 hot product opportunities and things that can do well. Give me a shortlist of some examples.Failing to consider product weight and size can destroy your Amazon business. Click To Tweet
These can either be what will do or these can be some products that you’ve just seen work well, obviously not talking about which exact products. Give us an idea.
We do have certain criteria. There are elimination criteria. There’s a difference between someone starting on Amazon versus someone established in selling more products on Amazon.
Once you’re already established where you should be looking for new product ideas, what you’re seeing your competitors selling, what you’re seeing Amazon’s telling you frequently bought with together, asking your manufacturer what are hot products that are selling.
They’ll tell you a lot of stuff too but when you don’t have any starting point like that, you don’t have any customers, you’re getting started, what we recommend is first of all you start with a product. Amazon has a BSR system, Best Seller Ranking.
It ranks in Amazon what the best-selling products are from one being the absolute bestseller in a category up to how many hundreds of thousands. There are multiple millions and millions of products on Amazon. We look at the BSR because we want to make sure that the product has good sales volume.
The first step is to look for a product that has up to about 6,000 BSR. It’s between 1 and 6,000 BSR. Every product will have its top-level category and so you look at that one.
Some of the subcategory lower ones, you might be number one in a subcategory, but that means you’re 50,000 in the top-level category. It’s this random category. Once you know, “This product has a BSR of 3,000,” it qualifies.
You want to look at the reviews and you want to find a bunch of products because you want to make sure if it’s only one product that you see that’s below 6,000 BSR, it could be a fluke. It could be someone that is driving tons of paid traffic to their ads, has a huge mailing list on their website.
There are so many variables but if you see more than one in that category, then that’s a good sign that it’s not a fluke. That is an in-demand product because not only is it selling well but there are a few of them selling well.
They don’t have to be the exact same product. For example, a spatula. There are three silicone spatulas that are doing well. They’re under 6,000 BSR. That’s good. How many reviews do they have? When you’re starting out the more reviews a product has, the harder it is to beat them.
Especially if there are over 1,000 reviews and you’re coming in with zero, people are not going to trust your product yet. The social proof isn’t going to be there. If you can find products that have less than 1,000 reviews, once you get to double-digit reviews, it doesn’t matter.
You want to find products less than 100 reviews ideally that are selling well so it’s got a high BSR and it doesn’t have a lot of reviews. Reviews are important to be able to rank your product, get conversions, all those things. We teach you how to get those.
Weight and size can destroy a business. If you think, “I can load 50 of those things in there,” but if they weighed three pounds or more, they pay by the weight too.
Not only are you taking up space, but you’re also taking up the weight. Ideally you start with something as light as possible, under three pounds, preferably under one pound and as small as possible so that you can get as much into a container as possible. That’ll save you so much when you’re getting started.
If you want to come out of the gate doing a big oak cutting board, that’s going to be a lot of money invested in shipping, handling and all those things. That’ll cut right into the amount of inventory you’ll be able to buy so you don’t want to do that.
The other part, is it private-labelable? For example, an iPhone is not a private-labelable product. What we mean, is it a product that a manufacturer can make that there are not all these patents and all this stuff involved in it, it’s not overly complicated, and you can get it going pretty easily?
Every product under the sun, I’d say out of all of them, 95% of them are private-labelable. You can see that on Amazon whether it be bowls, hangers, furniture, clothes, shows, kitchen supplies, gardening supplies, garage supplies, automotive stuff, scrapbooking crafts, diapers.
The list can keep going on and on. Any of those niches, there are products to be sold. You look around your room right now like I look around in here and I see you’ve got these hooks for hanging pictures. I see candlesticks, tablecloths, picture frames and supplements.
These little earbuds, pens, pads of paper, you can private-label any one of these. You start looking for these products. This is not a game-changer. This is not like, “If you can’t do this, it sucks.”
If you have a desire for a product, that helps a little bit more if you have a familiarity with a product. If suddenly, I was to start selling scrapbooking stuff.
I’ve no desire to be a scrapbooker and I don’t know the first thing about it, so I’m not going to be able to write content. I’m not going to be able to relate to the audience. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go into that market. I might find it’s a great market and I’ll make it work because it’s a great market.
Let’s say there’s scrapbooking versus mountain biking. I love our dirt biking, any of those things, things that I love to do it’d be like, “I’d much rather sell in that market because I’ll be a customer.” If you can be a customer of your product, that’s pretty powerful because then you relate to them.
That’s not a deal-breaker but it does help. It helps you pinpoint especially when you’re looking at different options.
Those are things to consider too depending on what you’re going into the business for, like if it’s a lifestyle business versus something where, “No, I just want to keep making the most money and reinvesting.”
Those are going to be things too because if you care like, “I want to create something that I can be a part of.”
That I can create the content versus, “No, I want to create something that I can hire people as soon as possible and sell that company.” Those are two different directives too. Think about that when you’re getting started.
Going back to finances, realistically and I know this depends. If I was starting from scratch and I used one of your products, what realistic budget should I set aside for startup marketing or inventory before I start to be able to utilize some of the revenue and earnings from my business to self-funded?
This is not a business that you go into if you’re struggling to put food on the table and you’re negative paycheck-to-paycheck, etc. It’s going to be hard because this is something that requires inventory. It requires a little bit of capital. What’s a realistic budget to get something off the ground?
I’m not talking about the minimum like, “If you were super smart.” What was a realistic budget? $5,000? $10,000? $50,000?
Not anywhere near that. I’d say $2,500, you’re in a good spot. What’s beautiful about this business model is you can start with a very low budget, let’s say $500. The problem with that is you’re going to be very limited on what options you have for products to get started.
Manufacturers and suppliers are going to have a minimum order quantity and you can oftentimes negotiate that, but they usually want to start with a pretty significant investment. Most of them are going to make you have at least 300 units if you’re spending $10, there's $3,000.
You want to start with at least 200 units to get started with. Basing it on that, if it's going to cost you, say you're selling the product for $30 and you're getting it for $10 then you're like, “That budget worked so that I should be able to afford this.”
We try to figure out for starting, but the quantity to get started with. You want to start with about 200 to 300 units because the reason is you want not to have so many units that you're stuck with inventory if it takes longer to sell and you're stuck with that cash tied up.
Enough so that you can get some momentum going. You can do some giveaways and you can start getting sales. The idea is the first week you get everything set up. The second week, you're promoting it. You start getting a sale once a day, once every two or three days.
All of a sudden the next week, it's one to two sales a day. It starts going three, four, five. Every day it starts growing a little bit more. It drops down a little bit and then goes.
You forecast like, “On this rate, I'm going to be out of my 300 units. I've reserved 100 of them for the promotions so from standard sales it's going to take me this long to go.”
We'd never recommend anyone go with more than probably about 1,000 units. If you're going over that number of units, you're at risk that this product might not take off as quickly as you want.
If your money is tied up for a full year because you bought too much inventory versus you try 300 units, you made your money back, but it didn't sell well, and there was an extra cost that you didn't realize about.
You recoup your costs hopefully, have a little bit of profit out of it and then reinvest in a new product because you tested that one and didn't work out. Most times, because of the way we trained and all those things, usually the first product you go with, you have a good chance at success.
I'd say that's one of the biggest things that I find. It’s interesting when people join our program, how many people you talk to and they say, “I went through the train.” You look at their listings, it’s like, “No, you didn’t.” We teach you specifically not to do this.
You realize so many of them just skim. It’s like you're investing in yourself. Why are you doing that to yourself? Why are you cheating yourself? You basically gave away money because you're not investing in yourself whatsoever.
That's one thing I recommend you do. No matter what you do, no matter who you follow, make sure you implement track and do the business. Don't sit there, especially if you're going to buy a course. Follow the system.
That’s the whole reason I'm in business because we create things that work and the idea is if someone's investing in me, I'm assuming that means they're investing and going to dedicate their time and get this done. It does take about one to two hours a day if you want to make it work.
I recommend at least an hour a day a week. If you can't do it every day, try to be as consistent as possible because what happens if you break up too much, then you start forgetting what you did.
You’re finding other distractions but if you can get into a routine an hour a day and constantly be working on the checklist, all of a sudden you're retaining a lot, you're learning it, building momentum and taking action. It's working well.
Keep it in mind, 200 to 300 units. That's how the ideal thing we're trying to tell you to. Multiply that with how much it will cost you to get started selling a product. On average, people are not spending more than $10 to $15.
If you're upwards of $20 for what you're paying for the product, you're selling it on a higher-end too. $2,000 to $3,000 can get you going for a wide variety of products. It might cost a little bit more. It might cost you a little bit less. I'd say that's my guideline.
When it comes to the promotional efforts, especially to get something off the ground, there are a lot of ways to do this. Give us the top three, four, five, twenty or whatever promotional strategies. You mentioned sponsored ads. That's one way to kickstart things, sponsored ads on Amazon.
Is that what gets a lot of people, especially if they're starting from scratch and they do not already have a big audience?
It's powerful if you already control a big audience, whether let's say it's a Facebook group about cooking or some audience where you can immediately direct your people there to go buy from a trusted source, but if you don't have that, you're starting from scratch. Is it sponsored ads?
I love sponsored ads because of the insights it gives you. First of all, Amazon has so many places now. I believe it's sixteen to seventeen spots in the search ranking. When you go to Amazon and you type in a keyword, out of the 30 or so products shown, sixteen of them are going to be sponsored.
They place you. They put you there and then you get to see firsthand what keywords people are going to be searching for and buying your product with on Amazon. You can increase ad spend on those keywords but more importantly, you can optimize your listing.
If you see that one keyword is making way more money than another and you don't even have that keyword represented on your landing page, you're missing a huge opportunity ranking for that keyword, for connecting to the person that's using that keyword, all those kinds of things.
That's incredible. Why is that so important too? I don't recommend doing all these other strategies because you want to make sure your listing is optimized first. Get your sponsored ads going, traditional things like press releases, YouTube videos, social media. They all work great.
A lot of good strategies for press releases. A lot of people are like, “Press releases don't work.” Those were people that back in the internet marketing days tried to spam the world with press releases.
Press releases still get content out there and you have a legitimate business now where you're selling a product. We have newsworthy items, products going on sale, a new design for a product, new review. Customers are so ecstatic about this. Special discount, new launch, save 50% on this product.
Those are all newsworthy stories that you can use press releases for and they do generate buzz and revenue. Facebook Ads work absolutely powerful, especially when you're doing different promotions.
There are other things like there are rebate programs where people can get 100% off on your products. Those start to get a little bit riskier. Think, “What is your job as a marketer?” Your job as marketer is to find the audience that wants your product and then make your offers irresistible to them as possible.
When you're first launching your product, you don't have testimonials, you don't have a lot of things. First of all, you have to get some reviews. You have to be able to get reviews and the best way to get reviews is to either give away your product or sell it at a discount and make people happy.
Follow up with them after to do a review. You’ve got to be careful with the giveaways because Amazon does not want you incentivizing reviews. That means you can't tell someone, “I'll give you this product for free if you give me a review.”
What you can do is if you say, “How'd you like to try my product? I'd love to give it to you for free. Let me know what you think about it.” If you give it to them like family members or anything and then ask for honest feedback. If they're like, “This is great. This is cool that you have this product.”
Say, “Would you be able to leave a review on Amazon?” Amazon tries to scare everyone and say, “You can't control reviews and everything.” It’s like, “My mom should be able to be a reviewer of my product.” Once you have one or two reviews on there, then more reviews will start coming.Your job as marketer is to find the audience who wants your product and then make your offers as irresistible to them as possible. Click To Tweet
Especially when you give a product away at a low price because now you have a happy customer. You sell it to them for 90% off. Follow-up with them and say, “I hope you enjoyed that product. You got a great deal on it. I wonder if you'd be interested, if you're happy giving us a review.”
Ideally, you try to get your product up to at least ten reviews before you do a hard push on it. You do a discount push to get some things going. Once you've got those reviews, that's when you start driving traffic on it.
You've been running your sponsored ads for a while, you've got this data, you reoptimize your listing so now your listing is converting, targeting the right keywords, you've got social proof on the page now that your product is good.
That's where you start driving heavy. You do that through everything you can, like whether it be press releases, influencers. A lot of times, that's one of the things like people will say, “This doesn't work anymore.”
Let's say you're going to choose YouTube. If you do a YouTube video every day, you will start to grow traffic to your product. You'll get better at creating the YouTube videos and it will start doing more and more. Maybe you don't like that. Maybe you like Instagram.
There’s a great strategy. I have to give Ryan Moran credit for this. He talked about it in his SellerCon event. He said, “Document the journey of creating the brand.” Get your Instagram account started and now start documenting your creation of this brand. Create the Facebook page.
Document the creation of this brand. “We just ordered the product.” “The product is in. Look at how awesome it is.” Get that journey going so that people see that you're real and that you're building this real company.
You start giving giveaways, “If you've been following me, I'll give this product away for free to the next ten people.” You start running ads to that. You get more people. You start building up your Facebook page.
A lot of this is long game stuff too because in it you want to build the brand, you don't want to be an Amazon on an Amazon.
You don't want to be this seller on Amazon that sells fishing gear, baby supplies, and automotive equipment because then you're spread thinly on your voice, on your marketing, your communications and your branding.
What you want to do is to go deep into certain niches. It's better that you would pick a niche, like say the baby market and expand on all of that because you're going to already have all those voices.
When you're creating your Facebook page and your Instagram page, you can figure out who your audience is, but if you've got five different niches and you're trying to create one Facebook page, it's not going to work.
Walk me through a big success story you've seen. I've been taking you to task on some of the more nuances, operational questions, the stuff that's quite honestly, it's not as sexy, but it's the real aspects that sellers have to deal with. Let's talk about what happens when you do it right.
I'm going to give you a couple of cool stories. The best advice I could give anyone is to stop running your life and start leading it. That's the same for your business. Whatever you're doing here, if you're going to start this business, your goal is to lead it.
Your goal is to take charge, figure out what needs to get done and get those things done, not just sitting there doing things for the sake of getting them done. It's about making a plan and leading to that plan, and it's going to make so much more difference.
The reason I say that is because so many of our success stories are people that repeat that same thing. “I had focus. I stayed focused. I knew what I wanted to do and I worked every day on getting that done.” They were leading it the whole way.
Oftentimes, people will buy something, get involved in something, and they'll start doing things because they think they're supposed to instead of following a proven path where they have goals.
Anne Ferriss, a single mother. She was a lawyer in London, England. She ended up hating that life. She met a surfer, moved down to Costa Rica and was running a hostel. Financially, things weren't going that well. She's doing pretty good but she wasn't happy doing it.
She started with ASM and with one product within a year, she's doing consecutively over $1.5 million a year. She has a very highly profitable product and it's all about lifestyle for her. She's able to be an awesome mom to her kids, she lives in Costa Rica and she gives back to her community.
She gives back in a lot of ways and it's a beautiful story. What's scary about that one is I don't want people thinking the first product you're going to pick is going to be an instant success like that.
Remember, for some people, it takes them ten or twenty products until they're starting to see a lot of momentum.
There was a 68-year-old gentleman who's seen great success. It was one of those things where he addresses, “You're never too old to get started.” Here he is, he’s 68 years old when he started.
He was totally at a different phase of his life than he thought he would be and now he's running a successful Amazon business, able to do the things in life that give him enjoyment. It's such a neat spectrum.
You've got this young woman who’s seen success to the other end where you've got this the older gentleman who'd seen success. It's amazing.
When we have our events and we have people that line up around the room to come give us a hug and tell us how we've changed their life, people that didn't think that they had hope, that there was anything for them.
It makes me think I was getting a radar vector installed in my car a couple of years ago. This guy is sitting in there and he sees my car pull up. He's like, “He was in another life it feels. I'm past the age. I don't ever have anything like that.”
He had no idea it was my car. I'm sitting there looking at him and I'm thinking. At the time I was 46, he's 33. It's like, “What a self-sabotage thing to say? You're never too old.” I didn't even start trying to create my own business until I was 32 years old. That's when I went out on my own.
That's one of the great things about our program. It doesn't matter what age you are, whether you're eighteen years old, whether you're 30, 40, 50, female, married, single.
We have a great lady that travels with her husband and military family. All you need is an internet connection. Wherever they're living in the world, she keeps running and growing her business. There are many cool success stories.
You're training at Amazing.com. What makes this different besides the fact that you guys have been doing this for a long time. You've sold a lot. You've had a lot of success.
What makes your training different from all the other places that people can learn from going to YouTube, blog posts and other courses? What makes you guys stand out?
First of all, it's organized in a systematic approach. The idea is you start here and we give you action items. You're never trying to figure out what should be the next step. We're handholding you through that.
Number one should be the results our students get like that. That proves beyond a doubt. We have over 30,000 students. We estimate that our students are doing well over $9 billion totally on Amazon.
We are constantly updating our training. That's something that I was so surprised at with competitors is they'll create the training, sometimes having two to three years out of date. Every six months, we audit our training and we dedicate to update at least 50% of it no matter what.
If 70% of it needs to be updated, we will. If this isn't changed, if something isn't updated, could we make a video better than that? We try to improve it. Once a year, we do the audit and then we completely read you the course. We do it from the ground up based on all the data that we have.
We completely change it so we update all the videos to make sure that everything is the latest grade and it’s proven to work. We've been doing that from day one. We used to teach doing private-label wholesale and Kindle. We realized after the first year that 99% of our success is coming from private-label.
We decided, “Let's focus in on that and make that better.” We've constantly been refining it. We don't just offer training. That's the big thing. We have mentors that collectively are doing millions of dollars a year that are in the community.
They're in the community because they've grown up in the community, they start in the community and they give back. They love changing people's lives too and helping them. You've got all these mentors that are dedicated to being in the community to help you.
We have weekly coaching calls so that every week you can make sure any questions you have, any updates about Amazon, anything like that, you're in the know. We don't want you left behind at all. We want to make sure that no stone is left unturned.
We track your progress. We're making sure that we're watching you but also, we provide solutions. For example, we have a new solution now that we've implemented for helping you find a product and it's the best solution out there.
There's no solution better for it making it much easier for you to find a product. We have a better solution now for helping you determine the profitability and long-term viability of a product. These are all brand-new things that are being implemented. We bring on new trainers.
We're constantly looking. We have such a high caliber and we're always looking at how we can make it better. How can we make things so that students get better results? We're always looking at ways to implement traffic strategies.
Our dream would be to almost have a push-button system eventually where ideally, someone could say, “I want to pick this product from this supplier and sell it here.”
Obviously, that's not going to happen, but our goal is to make it as easy as possible for someone to be able to learn and create a profitable business.
Our goal is to have someone creating a profitable business within six months, meaning that from when you start to when you actually are selling and starting to make income on Amazon as a six-month window. That depends on your spending that hour a day and dedicate yourself.
That hour a day is a little bit more intense upstart, those first eight weeks of going through. We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee right up front because a lot of people find out by the third week like, “I don't want to do this.”
It's great to talk about the success you can have and everything, but some people don't like running a business like this. They don't want it. Other people absolutely love it so that's the other thing too.
If you're a plumber and you're extremely happy being a plumber, why don't you keep being a plumber? It's about finding things that give you fulfillment in life and you can create products on Amazon that are your brand, that create change.
Once the brand starts growing, you can start donating. The Ziegler's, that's a great straight family. They're doing well over $4 million a year. They're giving back by traveling the world and doing eye care.
They're both optometrists. They quit their optometry and now their physical products business is full-time. They travel the world bringing eye care to third-world countries. It's so great to see how they give back the way they do.
There's a lot of that where people are constantly giving back through it. When you can start to make a change in this world through what you're doing, it gives you so much fulfillment.
With that being said, speaking of giving back, now is a chance for me and my audience to potentially give back to you. Whether this is personal or as a company, what's a nut you're trying to crack?
By that, I don't necessarily mean what's a general goal you're trying to accomplish that you're on track for. This is that nut you're trying to get into, you're trying to crack it open and that could be a skill you're trying to learn or a person you're trying to meet.
It could be a specific challenge you're trying to solve, anything that could jog my brain or that of my readers.
If you don’t have something that's top of mind, that's quite all right. I know that one of the things you guys are looking to do is to enroll more success stories into the Amazing.com. The more success you've got, the more resources you’ve got. I'm sure that a lot of the issues have come up.
One of the challenges with training people and investing in people is getting people to take action.
Have you ever heard of the old saying, and I love this, “Everybody wants to be different, but nobody wants to change?”
Being different is like a light switch. You flip the switch and the light is on. Nobody wants to go through the process of all the change and the action that is necessary to become different.
For example, with our training, we have this brand-new version, with it we offer this extended six-month guarantee. All that's required is that you follow the system and do things by certain dates. We've set it up.
We’re so confident and what the guarantee means is that after six months, if you're not happy with the business that you created, we'll refund the product.
You have to take action and follow the system. You would be astounded with how many people don't do anything. We try to put our money where our mouth is.
We know we're so confident in this that if you follow the system, you submit this stuff to us over the next six months, that you'll have a business that you'll be happy with.Some people want procrastination. Click To Tweet
If you're not happy with it because you realize, “I don't want to sell on Amazon,” then it's like, “We'll help you get out of the situation.” We realize if you're not happy, then that's the one thing we couldn't guarantee you on. We thought that was going above and beyond.
It's that idea of people want procrastination. Many times, you hear people say, “I haven't had time yet.” It’s like, “I bet you've had time to watch TV. I bet you've had time to go on Facebook on your phone. I bet you've been doing all these other things.”
It's almost insulting when people say to me, “I don't have time.” That's a big nut to crack because I want to change the world. I want to help people. It’s, “Do they not want to help themselves? Are they afraid to take action to prove themselves wrong or self-sabotage?”
Along those lines, I heard a very poignant thing. Sean Stephenson was a motivational speaker. He is three feet tall on a wheelchair. He's one of my best friends and I've known him for years. He’s the most inspirational guy I've ever met.
We were at his celebration of life ceremony. For all my readers, if you haven't seen him, he's one of the singularly most inspirational guys you'll ever meet.
His entire life's mission was to rid the world of insecurity because if he had, he's broken 200 bones, he's three feet tall but still lives life like his nickname was the three-foot giant.
The reason I bring this up is that he cared so much about people when he would go on stage and try to affect change.
During the celebration of life, his wife, Mindie Kniss, spoke beautifully about him. She said, “For a long time, he would give these speeches, he would go on these tours, etc., and he would be so exhausted.”
“It wasn't because of the energy he put out there, it's because he cared so much about changing the people in the audience and making an impact on them.” Obviously, he's not going to rid the world of insecurity. That’s impossible to do.
He may have rid a few people of it, but she said, “It was when I convinced him the very obvious fact that it's not your job to help these people. They have to help themselves. You can be the catalyst but it's the old horse to water analogy.”
She said, “The minute that he realized that as long as he was giving his best, what people did with it was up to them. His entire energy shifted and he actually got better at what he did, because he wasn't hanging on so tight to the results, just, ‘I can give you what I give.’”
You've got 30,000 students and those students are not millionaires. I guarantee not all 30,000 have made a dollar on Amazon.
It's not because of their training, it's because people have decided, “I want to take a pill,” which means buying a course, but then they buy the course and they realize that the course doesn't do the work for them.
I've been guilty of that. I've done that. I've bought the course. I was like, “I don't want to work on it.” Ultimately, all the work that we do, whether as consultants, course creators, experts, thought leaders, it's designed to give people the inspiration to change.
You’re always in your business wanting to try to identify ways that you can help them absorb the content easier, but at the end of the day, you can never get them to take action, like what they’d do once they absorb the content.
What’s the best place that people can go if people want to crack the nut of creating a real business on Amazon, one that is complex but not overly complex?
It's one that a lot of the simplicity is added by the training and taking people through a step-by-step methodical way. You guys have an avenue for that and you've got some amazing results, pun fully intended.
As a guy who bought your super original product back in April of 2012, one of the first things I remember thinking is, “These guys created a robust course. This is not what I was used to seeing.” You guys have been known for that for the past several years.
With the BaconWrappedBusiness.com/amazing, that's the best thing I would recommend. Right away you’ll get the download and we’ll give you directions to be able to access free training that’ll open your eyes.
The whole idea of this training is to educate you on what the business opportunity, what the business model is and the key steps for how to get it going.
With this free training, we have many people that use this free training to create businesses because it gives you so much groundwork into it, but they're very digestible small bite-sized videos with handout tools so you'll get access to our research tool, how do you find suppliers and all those things.
It’s all free training designed for people that are interested in this business model and want to see if it's something that they could actually do.
We share with you a lot of good success stories too. We try to hit as many demographics as possible so that people can see how this could relate to their life to make sure if it is something that you'd be interested in going to.
The 50 top products that you're going to get. Those are brand new. We updated this list. We update it quite frequently. We focused on products that would give at least $27,000 to $250,000 in revenue per month. It all follows those criteria that I gave you about their BSR, the weight factors.
These are all products you could go in, pick one of those products right away and start looking for a supplier. The document I wouldn't recommend using it like that.
What I would recommend using it as is more of a guideline when you're looking at products. It will help you identify more of the types of products you could look for. It doesn't mean that those products that we have in the document are the best one for you to go through.
I always recommend you check to see what other options are because finding the criteria for this stuff is not hard. You'll learn all about that through the training. I'm very proud of it. We've been doing this for several years.
I have no doubt saying with great pride that we have the best system for helping people to get creating an Amazon. This isn't an Amazon business. I want to refine that. What we teach you to do is to create your own brand of physical products where you're leveraging Amazon to launch the product.
From that point, there are so many options you can do. You can leverage Amazon to go international. You can start selling on your own eCommerce sites.
You can start selling on Walmart and all of these different platforms across the internet. Amazon is the granddaddy of getting started. That's why we focus on that.
Jason, you've spilled a lot of beans and added a lot of sizzle to the show. I appreciate all your time on here and all the resources. I encourage everybody to go check out BaconWrappedBusiness.com/amazing.
Once more, thanks for being a guest. It's always fun to see you.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
CEO and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, Jason is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, who since 2005 has generated over $120 million in sales in his own companies and has also been blessed to be able to have coached, mentored and taught tens of thousands of students on how to successfully create and run their own businesses.