Are you ready to get started with your private label business? Do you find yourself searching for that extra push or spark of motivation? What if you heard the story about someone just like you? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Kevin Sanderson as he opens up about his journey from taking his earnings as a high school football referee to use that to fuel his ecommerce business. Kevin is a down to earth guy who finally reached the point where he was ready for a change in his life. Are you ready for change? Listen to Kevin’s story and discover the inspiration that helped get him started – don’t miss it!
Set reasonable expectations
Don’t let unrealistic expectations lead you down the road to disappointment! Make sure you understand what it takes to get started building a private label business, it takes hard work but you can do it! On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Kevin Sanderson as he explains the mindset he was able to adopt that led him to keep reasonable expectations as his business got off the ground. Everyone would like to start out with an instant return on their efforts, but that can set you up for failure. You need to understand that this is a process that takes patience and time to build. To hear Kevin and Scott dive deeper into this topic, make sure to catch this episode!
Expanding into International Markets
Can you imagine getting the hang of the private label business model so well that you were considering moving your efforts into an international marketplace? What would that look like? What steps would you need to take to get started? Is it even viable for small business leaders to make that leap into the international marketplace? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Kevin Sanderson as he walks through his decision to expand his business by offering his products in Canada and now the UK. Kevin doesn’t approach this expansion as an expert, he just knows the right questions to ask and how to connect to the best resources. To hear Kevin explain his process in further detail, don’t miss this episode!
Little Successes Add Up
What is your business strategy for growth? Are you looking for a KNOCKOUT punch or a HOME RUN that will send your profits sailing? Or are you considering taking a more below the radar approach? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Kevin Sanderson as he goes through why he looks for the small successes he can bundle together over time instead of the BIG home runs. Don’t be so quick to dismiss Kevin’s strategy. It may not sound as sexy as the superstar product but he is experiencing real consistent growth that is allowing him to expand his operation. To find out more about Kevin’s mindset and how he is able to find and build upon small successes over time, make sure to listen to this episode!
Believe in the process and GET STARTED!
Where are you on your journey toward success? Have you started yet? Are you ready to take your business to the next level? What is your plan for getting from HERE to THERE? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Kevin Sanderson shares the insight and wisdom on building a successful and thriving ecommerce business. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Kevin, he admits that he probably took too long to get started and he doesn’t want sellers like YOU to make that same mistake! Kevin’s advice is to believe in the process and to get started TODAY. Don’t wait for tomorrow, identify a step you can take today that will move you closer toward your goal! Hear more about Kevin’s story and his valuable insight on this episode!
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
- [3:30] Kevin joins the podcast and tells his story, the cliff notes version.
- [12:00] What was it like for Kevin to find that first product?
- [14:30] What caused Kevin to make the leap to selling products?
- [20:00] Issues that Kevin ran into along the way.
- [27:00] Kevin talks about plans for the future.
- [31:00] How Kevin plans to launch his next products.
- [37:00] Have the right expectations!
- [43:00] Kevin talks about how he started selling in other countries.
- [48:30] You’ve got to run your own race.
- [50:30] Parting advice from Kevin. What can you do right now?
TRANSCRIPT TAS 389
TAS 389: How a Football Referee Started his Private Label Business – Zero to 8 SKUS and Growing
[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 389 and today I’m excited because I’m going to share with you…
[read more=”Read full transcript…” less=”Read less”]
…an interview that I did with a guy that I met at Sellers Summit. His name is Kevin Sanderson who actually emailed me before going to Sellers Summit. The cool thing is he originally started this business or his business as a side hassle and he also raised the money to get started by taking the earnings from another side gig that he had which was a football referee, a high school football referee and he took that money from one season and then he invested it in his first private label product and he’s going to go through exactly what it was like to go through that process and really also talking about something that I’m a huge fan of his mindset.
And he was talking a lot about the head trash that was going on in his head that was really in his way and how he got through that and how he overcame that. But I think you’re going to get a lot out of this because you’re going to be able to hear number one, how we all have these thoughts of, “When should I start? Is this thing going to really going to work for me?” And all of this stuff that is going on in your head. You’re going to listen to how he had those same thoughts, how he got through those and the other thing that you are going to find is he also had almost like a validation point for him or something that said, “Yes, this thing actually works.”
And how he was able to earn his first dollar, run into the room, celebrate with his wife and his kids and literally it was a small amount but it was that one thing that really made it real for him. And I’ve said that all along. All we need to do is get you started, get you your first sale, to really let that you know that you can do this. And actually this is one of the main reasons that I decided to create what we call, 1KFastTrack.
[00:02:05] Scott: That is a course that walks you through in five weeks exactly how to earn that first dollar and honestly we have our students in the 1KFastTrack that are doing their first dollar in the first seven days. We’ve had people that have made over $500 in their first seven days. But again, it’s how to get started. How to get unstuck is the big thing and you’ll hear in this interview with Kevin exactly how he was able to do that. You’ll also hear, like I said earlier, that he took his referee money for one season and then invested that in his private label business.
If you want to raise money in order to start your private label business, well the 1KFastTrack will help you do that as well. That’s another reason why we created that because some people don’t have enough capital to start and they want to raise some capital.This is a great way to number one do that but also then get you started in the process and it’s very similar to what Kevin has done here.
So again, if you want some more information on that head over to 1kfasttrack.com, you’ll get all the details there. Alright, so guys, I’m going to stop talking so you can enjoy this interview that I did with Kevin and listen to all the ins and the outs of what he went through as he started his own private label business. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
[00:03:26] Scott: Well hey Kevin, Thank you so much for coming on the show man. How is it going?
[00:03:30] Kevin: Good, good. Thanks for having me Scott.
[00:03:32] Scott: Yes no problem. I’m excited. We met in person at the Sellers Summit in Fort Lauderdale which was pretty awesome and your story really, it was really interesting to say the least because, well I’m going to let you explain it but how you actually… Like in your mindset, “This is how I’m going to figure out how to get the money in order to start my private label business.” Before we jump into that, tell us a little bit about Kevin and what you are doing now and maybe what you did in the past. Just so people have a little bit of a background on you.
[00:04:06] Kevin: That's a great question and it was really great meeting you at Sellers Summit. But just going back into my own story, I've got a full time job and I’ve been looking for a long time to find some sort of side hassle. It’s just been a fire I’ve had inside of me for a while. And I remember and we go back a few years, my journey to get where I am now probably took longer than it really needed to. So I wanted to find a viable side hassle and I remember getting an iPhone, this is years ago, and finding The Podcast app and I found Smart Passive Income.
Yes, so Pat Flynn's podcast and it really inspired me to look into this world of online, you could actually make money doing something honestly and with integrity. I had trouble wrapping my head around like what was something that I could do that would actually be viable that could work that had at least in my head a clear path and I dabbled in a couple of side projects and varying levels of success if at all. It came down to about two years ago. I started deciding, “Maybe I need to go more the physical products route like maybe just my brain could wrap itself around that concept a little bit more.”
So I was glad to have found your podcast and I really caught on to the way you were presenting it in a way of, you take a product, you find a product that there’s a market for, you source it, you put it on Amazon… It was pretty simple and I liked the way that you were very straight forward in the steps. I knew I needed to get that first sale.
[00:06:08] Kevin: A lot of people talk about once you get that sale, there’s a light switch that clicks on and that was definitely the case for me. I remember before I even got into the private label side of things, I wanted to dabble a little bit in RA, in Retail Arbitrage. I remember going to Walgreens and they were closing out their summer stock. This is about two years ago and I got a bunch of things and I remember getting one of those frozen cozy things you put in a cooler to keep four to six cans cold. I remember sending those and a few other things to Amazon and I was looking at the app and saw that the inventory was checked in and I got a sale that night. It wasn’t anything that I was going to retire of it.
[00:07:04] Scott: No, no. it was that one thing that we talk about. It’s like you put something up and you’re like, “I don’t know, I’ll just give it a shot.” And then you did and it sold. Now, was this fulfilled by Amazon or was this fulfilled by Merchant?
[00:07:15] Kevin: This was definitely fulfilled by Amazon.
[00:07:17] Scott: So you did the whole process? You’re going to ship it in, it’s got to get checked in and then from there it’s going to be live on that listing of course. When you’re doing RA or OA, you’re basically taking a product that’s already selling on someone else’s listing, a brand, usually a major brand and then you’re just selling one of their products.
[00:07:36] Kevin: Exactly, exactly. I remember seeing the sale was made and it was like just this intense rush of adrenaline and I was in the bedroom, looking at my phone and I go running into the living room where my wife was and I just said, “Look, you have to see this.” I basically almost threw the phone at her and she’s like, “Oh my God, what are you doing?”
[00:08:01] Scott: Yeah, yeah. That’s funny.
[00:08:03] Kevin: Oh, yeah. It was one of those things I just realized at that point, I was hooked. I had to do this. I had to find a way to create my own brand and do this and make it into something I could really grow. And they say that that light switch goes on and it did. For me it was like, “Oh wow, I really need to do this.” So this was the summer time about two years ago and on the side I’m a referee for high school football, so American style high school football. I know you have for people that listen to this from other countries.
So my black and white stripe shirt on and I decided for every game I was going to officiate as we refer to it as, I was going to take that money I earned which is not huge but I was just going to put it off on the side because you always talk about you need to find some way of getting whatever it is that you need to get started and the key is just getting started. So when coaches would get to my face which they do in football and sometimes there is nice figure out in the middle of the rain and I always do it because I love doing it anyway but it just added an extra incentive for me.
Like everything I’m doing it’s for a purpose not just doing it because I like doing it but doing it because I am using this money for my first product. I got enough money to get an initial order of about 200 units of a product that I found and put it up on Amazon and February of last year started trickling in a few sales and basically taking that money, reinvesting it and just really finding ways to just the way I like to think of this cast a wider net and now I'm to a point that I've got eight SKUs up, looking to add more SKUs.
[00:10:06] Kevin: I'm on Amazon in the U.S, Canada, U.K, Germany, got my own website and eBay and Jet although most of the sales come from Amazon in the U.S.
[00:10:18] Scott: Wow, now I want to back up and unpack a little bit of what happened there. I mean you were a referee and you are still a referee. You still love it, you enjoy it and it’s funny when we were talking at Sellers Summit, my good friend Jim that was with us he was showing interest and you were like, “Oh, you can absolutely start refereeing.” You got excited about it so I know that you genuinely love what you do and it was just a byproduct because you're like, “You know what, I can take this money.” That is really you were doing it at the time too for like pricing some extra money.
Everyone likes to have a little bit extra money and you're like, “I don't depend on this money, I can put this money aside even just for one season and then take that money and reinvest it.” That's what you did and I love that because you paused for a second and you already had that thing going that got the light bulb to go on but then you taking that momentum in a sense and said what I'm going to go ahead now and do some private label because you've seen that if I find something that sells and it continues to sell that's really what I want to be doing because that's like a digital product in a sense.
It’s you just find something that's selling and then just you continue to sell it and I love that. So let's unpack a little bit. What was that process like for you? Because it sounds great. “Yeah, I just I did the refereeing and I've made some money and then I just bought a product and put it up there, 200 units, it was great, easy.” Give me a little bit of the process. Let's dig through that a little bit. How long did it take you to discover that first product that you were willing to go in on?
[00:11:53] Kevin: It's a great question. So first product I went in on, it definitely was not one of those things where I just went online, saw oh this is a good product and bought it. It was a lot of researching into it. To be completely honest, I probably over analyzed the thing to death.
[00:12:17] Scott: That happens to all of us.
[00:12:19] Kevin: Yeah, I'm actually this afternoon about to do a wire transfer to China for a different product and the feeling of, “Oh my gosh, I'm submitting money to another country, I'm not sure if I'm going to see it in or not.” That never really goes away. But as far as the process of finding that product I had myself down to one product I really wanted to do and I had trouble getting the numbers to work out the way I wanted them to and I think what I ended up doing if I remember correctly was having to be on Alibaba and I saw like, here's this particular product I'm going for but then there was like suggested other products they were showing and there was one that caught my eye and I started looking into the numbers on it and I used Jungle Scout. So I looked it up on Amazon and had a Jungle Scout report from the extension and saw okay this could be a viable product and I went back and forth.
Found a couple different suppliers. Found two I liked. I got samples in on both of those suppliers and then I decided between the two which one I wanted to go with but I mean I remember along the way there were days where I was saying to myself, “Oh this is great, this is going to work perfect.” And then waking up the next morning and saying, “There's no way this is going to work.”
[00:13:47] Scott: Yeah, that's a normal feeling as well. You get a high with it and then you're like, “Everything is…” And then you're like, “But I don't know because is it what I think it is? Am I missing something?” And I think that's totally normal.
[00:14:04] Kevin: Oh yeah and it's crazy because it was like from going to bed the night before to the next morning like there was nothing that changed. It was just that that little voice inside your head. It never really truly goes away. You just learn to manage it better.
[00:14:21] Scott: Right, so okay. So you got to that point. What do you think allowed you to keep pushing forward when you had those doubts? Because I think a lot of people go through those doubts and then they may just end up not doing it then because it's safer. It's safer to just say, “You know what, I'm just going to stay safe and this way I won't fail because I didn't do anything.” What do you think pushed you to actually make it happen?
[00:14:52] Kevin: Well for me it was having a clear ‘why' and I had to really work on that one for a while. So going a little bit further back into my own story, I currently work in the insurance industry and the way I got into the insurance industry was a friend of mine who I work with now had suggested that I get an insurance license just as a back in my days I was looking for a side hustle to do insurance as somewhat of a side hustle and I was working in a large company. It got bought up by another large company and my position didn't exist in the new company and so over time eventually I ended up unfortunately losing that position and the thing that I think probably helped me the most was the fact that I was already working on an insurance license.
So I already had another log in the fire so to speak and so I look at it as now, what I'm doing selling online is basically an insurance policy on my financial future and so what's even I think deeper than that is it provides options. So just to me it's really important to have options that if something does come up or I can continue working if I enjoy it or get to a point where I don't enjoy it then hopefully one day I have enough money coming into the business that I could make the decision do I want to continue working or not.
[00:16:35] Scott: Yeah, I think it like you said it's options. You want to be able to have that option and I think it's everyone looks at like a job as security but it's really not because if you think about it like you said you were bought out by a bigger company then they got rid of your position and now what? You either have to go down on the totem pole, take a pay cut whatever go down and you have to either accepted or not or you have to look for another job at another bigger company. A lot of people look at a job as security and then in some sense yes you get a paycheck every week if you're employed but who knows what that job position is going to be there a year from now. You don't know, especially in a larger company so. I love that because for people that are just starting it's very similar when you're thinking yourself having your own business and I always tell people like having your own business is not for everyone.
Because I guess the stress or whatever of a big company that has employees is yours now because you are the company. Now, you might not be employing people at this stage of the game but you could but in this case it all comes down to you. Me personally I like it better because then it's my decision. It's my decision if I want to get a raise or if I want to make more money next year means I have to figure out a way to do it through what I'm doing now online or any additional investments that I'm doing whatever. It’s my decision to do it and it all comes down to me. So that’s why I like it. I think people that are listening I mean just the mindset is huge in us being able to move forward and you were able to push yourself through it. You had your WHY, you’ve had some issues in your work life that made you come to these decisions and create these WHY’s and I think everyone has those.
So you at this point though you push through, you have it. You have a strong WHY, you want to basically, you're in the insurance company and insurance business you're saying to yourself, “I want to create my own insurance policy. I'm going to create a nice little business.” So you started with 200 units. How was the process from you made the decision, you put the money down, you got your product. Was there any hiccups in that process?
[00:18:49] Kevin: Initially there weren't too many hiccups there other than I think I probably waited longer than I needed to.
[00:18:56] Scott: Okay, that’s not really a huge hiccup but it's a delay.
[00:19:01] Kevin: Yes. I mean I think there was a little bit of that head trash I guess you could call it or like, “Well let's just keep looking into this, well, what if…?” There's probably a lot of that. I could share with you I've had some challenges along the way but in that initial order I would say there wasn't necessarily many huge challenges that weren't made up in my head.
[00:19:30] Scott: Okay, so I mean to boil it down the really the struggle was you getting in your own way?
[00:19:36] Kevin: Yes.
[00:19:37] Scott: Okay. So then as far as getting the order and everything in, did you go by air on that? Did you ship that by air I'm assuming?
[00:19:46] Kevin: Oh yes. Shipped by air. Well actually I could say this, there were a few things along the way now that I think back to it. Some of the units came in damaged and so I had to learn to request some extra basically the packaging that it comes in. And then I came to realize what I had ordered wasn't really going to work in Amazon's warehouse. I couldn't have just ship it. What I had to do was I ended up poly bagging what it was and then putting on a sticker but… I've heard this before. I found this really to be the case that whether you want to say the universe or whatever will conspire to help you if you’re taking action.
I’ve had this happen a few times in this. I wasn't really sure what to do but started along a path and then the solution found itself. Whereas if I had waited forever saying, “Well until I figure out the packaging or figure out how I'm going to get this to the warehouse before hitting the button to submit the transferring the funds I probably wouldn't have ever gotten started. But there's something about when you're on the clock and you know it's coming, you got to figure it out. You magically find a way to figure it out.
[00:21:16] Scott: Oh yeah, oh yeah, 100% yeah I agree with that. So okay, so you get the product, now do you have it shipped directly to you or do you ship it directly into Amazon? I'm assuming to yourself because you said you had to make some adjustments?
[00:21:29] Kevin: Yes, I am probably a little bit of a control freak in that regard and I do send everything still to myself. I hire some local people to help me with some of the work we need to do to prep it but I do at this point still bring everything at least the U.S. based to my house.
[00:21:51] Scott: Okay, so now you get the product, it gets landed in Amazon, then what's your, “Okay I'm here Amazon, now start selling some units?” Like how did you launch that product?
[00:22:04] Kevin: Well, at the time you could do incentivized reviews. It wasn't a word that people referred to back then but at the time what I was doing, was I was reaching out to top 10,000 reviewers and just saying, “Hey, would you be interested in trying out this product and giving your honest feedback.” And I found just even having a couple of reviews was enough to get the juice going.
[00:22:36] Scott: But let me ask you this though Kevin, okay because now you're right. Like incentivize reviews and I never really call them that because I was always doing it for the purpose of getting a sale. Let me ask you this, how many reviews did your competitors have versus what… You had zero. How many reviews did they have? I mean in average on page one.
[00:22:59] Kevin: I was going after probably more base hits than home runs and so the ones I was going after maybe like 30 to 70 reviews.
[00:23:09] Scott: So my point is this, I don't necessarily think just because you had two reviews versus zero reviews and that would've helped you but again that's what we were all thinking at the time. Like, “Okay, I got to have some reviews.” I think what helped you was you had a sale generated through Amazon and then that starts to get that momentum. So even though back in the day, six months ago, eight months ago, back in the day we would do a giveaway and our reasoning was well we want to get some reviews and we want to get some sales but I've always looked at it like I just want to let Amazon know that I'm here and I'm on the radar now.
So whether that's through doing a giveaway of some kind and getting five sales a day, 10 sales a day, whatever it is, that starts to get you indexed. It starts to get you in the system into the algorithm. I think that by you doing that, I think what really jump-started your sales was sales and I think the reviews yes that could have helped you convert an extra person out of 10 or 100 or whatever it was. It could have given you a bit a little bit of a better conversion rate but I don't think anything would have changed if we would have looked at it like, “Okay, I'm doing this for sales and the reviews will follow and I'll get them.”
Now don't get me wrong, if you get a handful of reviews yes that's going to help you but I still think that getting the algorithm moving in your direction and getting yourself indexed and all that stuff, that's why I'm a big fan of starting with pay-per-click because when you start with pay-per-click you start to give Amazon some money for these keywords that you want to rank for and you start getting people to click for that keyword and that leads to your listing and then hopefully turn into a sale and then that can start to get that momentum as well. So I just want people to know that like you did it that way, I did it that way, we all did it that way but I don't think it really changed just our thought process of why we're doing it has changed. Does that make sense?
[00:25:06] Kevin: Yeah, that makes perfect sense and I've got a couple new products coming on board here soon and so I have to totally flip my launch strategy from what it used to be and I agree with you wholeheartedly. A lot of it is really just priming the pump so to speak with the algorithm. If Amazon notices you, then you're more likely to get more impressions and so if people are buying off of those impressions then you get more impressions and just builds up especially when you're first starting with that product.
[00:25:44] Scott: Yeah, 100%. I mean we're doing it right now in a new brand that we started about maybe two months ago now and we've got about five SKU’s in there. Actually two of them are fairly new like in the past week and a half. Actually its was funny, I was in Mexico recently on a little mini vacation and we had two products launched while I was gone and I had to stay away from the computer because I was trying to unplug but it was pretty exciting to come back and to see that we've got some pretty good momentum right now going and it basically was from us giving a 50% discount.
It wasn't even a 90% discount like we used to do. It was 50% off and we did it and we did it two different ways. We did it through our own email list and we also did it through a Facebook live because the one brand that we have is it's got a front person but I'm not doing anything different other than just like you said priming the pump. That's it. That’s all we're doing and that's all I think anyone really has to do. We are running pay-per-click. Of course we're going to start doing that like immediately and I think everyone should whether you spend $10 a day or $100 a day you should have something there to continually bring traffic to those keywords and stuff that you want to start to eventually rank for. So moving forward, so your plans are to what then? To just do like a little mini launch? Are you still going after products that have low reviews but have steady sales?
[00:27:06] Kevin: Yes, that's still my overall philosophy. Continue going in that general direction and I really think reviews are becoming less important than they probably were a while back because probably less people are doing as many of trying to get like 100 reviews to get started. I think it's more just social proof element. As long as there some social proof and people can say, “Oh, someone else bought this and liked it so it must be a good product.” That’s where I think a lot of it is but I mean to your point I think it's probably more important to have sales.
[00:27:48] Scott: Yeah, yeah. I agree with that 100%. Now, these new orders that you're doing, how many are you starting with those?
[00:27:57] Kevin: I generally probably I'm in the about 500 units when I start off with a product.
[00:28:06] Scott: Okay and to be honest that's pretty much what we've been doing with this new brand. We start with about 500. We went as high as 1,500 but just because we had to for a minimum order quantity but the price point was between $4 and $5. So yes, it's an investment upfront but and we feel pretty strongly about the product but for most of them we've been getting 500 hundred units.
I think one we even did a little bit less than that but again people ask me all the time like, “Scott can you really only order 500?” It seems like everyone wants you to do 1,000 and we've done let's see five SKUs right now and all but one have been 500 or less. So, you just have to ask and you have to negotiate that and you have to understand too that you're going to probably pay a little bit more for the per piece cost then you will when you start to order 1,000/3,000 and higher but… Now, this new product though, is it going to be a variation of one? Is it going to be two completely separate products?
[00:29:11] Kevin: Well so I've got two separate products one is a variation of something else and then I'm going to have another product it's going to be quantity variations.
[00:29:23] Scott: Okay, got you. It makes sense. Yeah, okay.
[00:29:27] Kevin: And then one tip I could give to people is if you do anything that's like variations of one another, if it's let’s say garlic press for example and you have one that’s stainless steel handle and one it's a black handle and maybe people want both, try bundling it together with just even a small amount of units where they’re their own SKU with the two together and it's amazing sometimes how many you'll sell of that.
[00:29:54] Scott: Yeah, I agree with that too and like I think going back to even the quantity. If you have something that could sell in a three pack, five pack it's an easy variation and you can give people more options to up sell themselves as well because you have a better deal maybe on the five pack than you did on the three pack.
[00:30:10] Kevin: Yeah, exactly. It's amazing a lot of times you still end up making more money depending on what the weight is for the fulfillment fee. Sometimes you can actually end up doing better by selling larger quantities because you're not really paying three fulfillment fees, you’re just paying one.
[00:30:28] Scott: Exactly, exactly. So let's dig in a little bit more to like the launch though. So like these next products that you're going to do, what's the game plan? What's in your head? What do you got? What are you going to do to get those first set of sales? Are you turning on pay-per-click right away? Just lead us through that really quickly because that'll be more current of what we're doing here to launch.
[00:30:51] Kevin: Yes, so my main thing is going to be just get some initial sales. It is going to be turning on pay-per-click. Even if I'm at a loss, it's okay because it's really more about the long term play thinking this is more of a marathon than necessarily a sprint and trying to start building up a launch list for future products. I've had a few sales on my own website not a lot so I'm going to use those email addresses I have as well as anyone that's been pixeled on my site, do some Facebook advertising to them and then just start finding people that would be interested in the type of product that I have and see if they'd be interested in a similar product.
The same strategy you talked about. Do a give away or something. It’s not even necessarily that product but something that would be impactful to people who would like that product and then, “Oh by the way you could also purchase this now at a discount.”
[00:32:01] Scott: Yep, that's been working great for us and it's one of those things where you have to… The other way that it really works is if you align your product or your product aligns with something else. I always use the fishing example and someone called me out and they’re like, “Scott you're not much of a fisherman, you actually don't know what you're talking about.” I'm okay with that. It was funny he was busting on me. He’s like, “Are you are you really pretending not to know or do you really not know?” And I'm like, “No, I really don't know.” But it's a good example but I was talking about being a bass fisherman. But let's just say that you're just an average fisherman in general.
You might sell that tackle box and you're going to now say, “Okay, what would that fisherman really, really, what would get their attention?” And maybe it's the new 2017 fishing pole that just came out and maybe they had a big write-up in one of the fishing magazines. It's this hot product. I would go after that product and then add my tackle box to it then maybe a fishing net, then maybe something else, a vest, something like that and I would make that the prize. And then I would do that for 30 days and then build that list and then on the back end of that, that's where you would say, “Oh, by the way we have a discount on our tackle box 50% off because you guys entered, you didn't win but because not everyone going to win. You're going to have one winner out of 1,000 people or more.
You've got all those other people that are interested in fishing. They just didn't win and they wanted to win all of those prizes. And that’s worked really well and then like you said, then doing the Facebook pixel and if anyone’s listening to this like, “What the heck are you talking about?” You don't have to understand all of that. What you have to understand is that you have to have a great offer and that great offer is going to bring the people in and then on the back end of that you're going to have an email list that you can do a whole bunch of really cool things with. But in your case, I think… Let me ask you this while we're here and we're chatting back and forth about your upcoming launch.
[00:34:04] Scott: How many sales on page one is your competition getting right now if you were to give an average, on page one?
[00:34:13] Kevin: Of the products they're the ones that are coming up anywhere between 7 to 12.
[00:34:22] Scott: Okay, that's perfect. So now, to get ranked on page one we got to get 7 to 12 sales a day. It’s basically that's what we got to do. We got to match that. Now, the one way to do it is to go out there and you can give away some product where you can find a… Maybe you find a group. You find a Facebook group that already has the audience. You don't even have to build it and you reach out to the admin and you go, “Hey, I've got this product, I'm willing to give your listeners 50% off and I'll send you one for free so you can have it. They might say yeah but we want to charge you 150 bucks.
So now all of a sudden you’re going to get in front of their audience, you know that they're targeted but really it's all about how do I get 7 to 12 sales a day consistently for I don't know, maybe two weeks? If you can do that, you're going to then show Amazon that you're getting sales and obviously you're going to be optimized because you've already optimized your listing. You're going to start to eventually rank for those keywords. We have not done any of the super URL type stuff that you hear out there. Like some people are still doing it. They say that it works. Whether it does or not I'm not doing it currently.
All I'm doing is optimizing the listing like crazy and then I'm just pushing sales and then right now because we've done that and I'm tracking all this stuff in Splitly, I can see that I'm ranking some of them on page one already, bottom of page one for some of the keywords that I thought would have been really, really hard to rank for with only getting about, I don't know, 8 to 12 sales a day. But you're picking products like… I want to highlight that because you're picking products like you said earlier, base hits, 7 to 12 a day. It's not 100 a day.
You go after 100 a day, you've got to give away a heck of a lot of units at a discount. So okay, so you're going to give away 7 to 12 units, you would like to in order to get there. And the other thing I want to highlight what you said is, you're willing to take a loss in the beginning. Talk about that really quickly. Why is that important to understand?
[00:36:22] Kevin: So, if we think of it this way, if I wanted to build a brick-and-mortar store I'm going to not just have marketing costs and inventory costs. I'm going to have costs and you have to have people there to man the store or you have to pay for a lease or electricity. All these other costs you wouldn't have in ecommerce Amazon business. So because I have much fewer of those types of costs, it may just take a few weeks to get back up and get profitable on that product whereas if I went the traditional brick-and-mortar store, it may take me two/three years before I start getting in the block and actually being profitable. It's amazing and this time we live in now how quickly if you really think about it even if it took you three months to get a product profitable and to have sales really going.
That three months could then go on for years with very little work other than maybe just ordering more inventory. You can't totally just leave PPC going, you have to babysit a little bit. You could be babysitting it like once every two weeks just to make sure everything's on track. It's totally about the long game.
[00:37:57] Scott: Yeah, I agree with that and I always use the analogy if you did a grand opening for your store, for a brick-and-mortar, you would spend maybe a few thousand, maybe even $10,000. I had a guy actually at Seller Summit, he was at my round table and he said they’ve opened brick-and-mortar stores for years and they always allow about 10 grand for a grand. 10 grand, you know what I mean? So it's just hard to wrap your head around that because you're thinking I want to put a dollar in and get two back like tomorrow but it's hard to understand that that's part of the process is that when you're doing a promo, when you're doing a giveaway of some kind or a discount, yes you're not making the money that you'll make but you're advertising the product in a sense and it's going to take some time to get some momentum.
Once you get into Amazon's algorithm and they start helping you start getting those, all of that love from frequently bought together, purchased with this one or this one is a featured item or any of this stuff like that's going to start getting more eyeballs and that's when it can really start to build up some momentum. I love it you have that mindset because a lot of people don’t and it's totally true and you get it. I just want other people that are listening to understand that as well. It's not like a get-rich-quick thing.
[00:39:18] Kevin: No, it's definitely not get rich quick but it is one of those things that once you get it up and running, it's one of the things it's amazing like, I'm on vacation right now with family and yesterday we went on a deep-sea fishing excursion which you could argue is paid for by my business and while I'm on that boat, I'm making sales. I'm in the middle of the ocean doing absolutely nothing to drive sales but yet they're still happening and that doesn't happen if you don't get to a point of getting the business up and running, priming the pump, investing a little bit money on the front end. But one of the nice things is while you're investing money on PPC possibly at a loss, you're still going to have organic sales start to trickle in. So it’s mitigating some of that loss.
So you might look and see, “Oh my God, my A cost, average cost of sales for PPC might be over 100% but don't freak out about that because over time you're going to get data and see okay certain keywords are better than others so you can start taking some of them out or you start putting more money towards the good keywords and you're going to get to a point where sales start happening without you. I think that is the true magic of the business, is that as long as somebody can see the long term vision of it and not get too caught up in the emotional head trash we all get and we all get it, as long as you can see that long-term vision good things can happen.
[00:41:06] Scott: Yeah, I agree 100% and it's part of the process and I think even you and I, we’re still going to have ups and downs but it’s part of the process. But in that comes the wonderful thing of being able to have something run while you're not actually actively doing it. Like I said, I was away on a little family getaway for five nights and as I was there was a launch going on and yes I have people helping me now with that but at the same breath I have a brand that I started that I don't have a ton of help with that I just set and forget and I actually left that brand go for a few different reasons.
Focusing on other things and that thing's still generating sales every single day, every single month and I'm not really doing anything for it. It's just set and forget. I mean I talk about Kindle books. I've done Kindle books in the past. I've got some Kindle books I did three years ago, four years ago not even in this space or anything and they're still bringing in some money. Maybe a car payment but it's still coming on autopilot, I'm not doing anything.
So that's the beauty of it, is creating an asset I think that can live forever. Not even just forever but it can go for a long time and whether you want to push it and then again do what I like to do and then start building a brand off of Amazon that's where I think you have true longevity. With just basing it on Amazon it can become risky because we're basing all of our chips that we put in or are on one table. We need to diversify and I think you're already doing that by going to other platforms and also other countries. Before we jump off, how was that? How was that process? What country did you pick first and maybe we can just dig into that really quickly before we wrap.
[00:43:05] Kevin: Sure, not a problem at all. So the first country I tried was Canada just because it's close. Now Canada is about 1/10th the population of the U.S. So it's been about 1/10th the sales. It’s not like it's always stagnant flat. So yesterday was actually a slow day for me on amazon.com whereas on amazon.ca, it was a little bit better than Amazon U.S. which was unusual but it helped mitigate the slower sales I had on Amazon.com right because I had this other marketplace so it was making a decent sale and what I think trips a lot of people often going to other countries is there’s a little bit intimidation factor of, “Oh there's another country and they have different laws and there's tax requirements and things of that nature.”
I mean the nice thing is Amazon has a lot of resources for all their marketplaces of, “Okay, this is the government body you need to talk to.” In Canada it’s the CRA, the Canadian Revenue Agency which is their version of the IRS and you have to register a non-resident importer license and most likely also have to get what's called GST which is I think goods and services tax, which is almost like their version of sales tax except it's nationalized.
You go through the CRA but it's pretty simple and then taking what I learned with Canada and then now going to the European marketplace and starting in the U.K. and basically getting my listings translated into German and I plan by Christmas being in all the European market places because currently once you're in Europe, you can start using the U.K. for example as a base of operations for the other marketplaces.
[00:45:10] Scott: Well, I was going to say because at that point now, you have to ship your product into multiple checkpoints in a sense. So for the U.K. you and correct if I'm wrong, you probably have one location that it gets shipped there depending on what country you're shipping to at that point and time?
[00:45:32] Kevin: Yes, so the way it works with value-added tax now, I'm not an accountant so someone looking into this should definitely do their own research and probably talk to a professional but for my situation what I discovered was if I imported everything into the U.K. and housed inventory into the U.K. I could start going into other countries and until I reached certain sales thresholds in those other countries, I could sell in those marketplaces like Germany for example until I get to a certain threshold and sales then I'll have to register for value-added tax VAT in that country. But I don't have to do that yet. But when I get to the point of having to register value-added tax in Germany, I'll probably will need an accountant to help me specifically with Germany but that's called a good problem to have because I will have achieved a certain threshold of sales which means profits too.
[00:46:37] Scott: Yeah, yeah. That makes total sense. I think for anyone listening, it's a matter of what is the easiest thing for you to do right now. Like I've got listeners that are in the U.K. and they're like, “Where do I start?” I’m like, “Wherever it's easiest for you.” Like for me I'm in the states, so I'm going to start with dot-com and I'm not saying it's hard for you to sell into the dot-com system but in the same breath it's probably easier in your own country. So I just think for anyone starting out, start number one.
Number two, then figure out what's going to be the next place for you to either put this product or if you think that my next move is to launch two more SKUs in the U.S. then do that and then once you get a grasp on that then you can move into these other marketplaces. But I don't think there's a right or wrong. Like for you, you were thinking to yourself, rather than me go out and have to find another product maybe, I can just go ahead and add it to these other platforms and not really have to do anything else other than just get them listed. Was that the thought process?
[00:47:42] Kevin: Yes, the thought process was definitely just to get it up and get going and start diversifying. So, the mechanics aren't that different in let's say U.K. than they are in the U.S. as far as like listing the product. You just have to make sure that you're following slightly different rules as far as for that country but they're not that hard to figure out and I think what gets in the way of a lot of people starting out and it did a little bit with me and I've had this go through my own head quite a bit is, you look at someone who's at a different level than where you're at and say, at least I was doing this, and say, “Well, Oh my God, they’re doing all these different things, I got to do all these different things.”
But they didn't start doing all those different things, they just started with something and so I think there's an analogy of we all just have to run our own race and so there's always going to be people ahead and there's always going to be people who are behind. Even if you're just researching a product, there's someone else who is trying to figure out how to even do that. So always just keep moving forward and I love the analogy of the book, “The Compound Effect.”
[00:49:00] Scott: Love it.
[00:49:01] Kevin: Yeah, ever since you recommended that book, I’ve probably listened to it three/four times a year in audible. It's a great book, just whatever anyone in their own individual world thinks they need to do is their next step, just keep moving forward, keep moving forward. If it's adding products, add products. If it’s going into another market, go into another market place. If it's focusing more on eBay, it’s focusing more than eBay. If it’s focusing more on their own site, focus more on their own site. And that's the beauty of this type of business, is that you get to do whatever you want as long as you just keep moving forward.
[00:49:37] Scott: Yeah, I agree. I think that's great advice and I think again if anyone is listening and maybe new and haven't heard me talk about The Compound Effect book by Darren Hardy, definitely go grab that one. That one's a great book to have and to actually go through. Like you said Kevin, not just once but a few times a year because it's a good refresher. Sometimes you get in a little funk and you got to get back and check and that can definitely do it for you.
All right, I want to wrap up here but I want you to maybe just give anyone a little bit of advice. You already did with a little bit of that stuff there but like if someone's just starting out right now or maybe even just talking to yourself like a year and a half ago and saying here's what you need to know, here's what you need to do and moving forward that way but what would you give yourself as far as advice moving forward?
[00:50:34] Kevin: Yes, as far as advice the key of it is what do you need to do in this moment right now. I've had a lot of friends who have been very interested in doing something like this. And what I see happen over and over again, it almost seems like the cycle of two weeks doing a lot of research and either start taking certain actions forward or start worrying about the wrong things. Like I don't have a business bank account and LLC created yet. You don't have to do that yet.
So the key is just believe in the process and the process is find something that someone else wants and if the numbers make sense then start researching, can you find somebody to work with you on this product and don't be afraid to ask. If you go on Alibaba, a lot of times it'll say the MOQ is 3,000. And if you say, “Can you do 300.” They'll say, “Yes.” A lot of time is just smoking mirrors that they put up there. So I think it depends on who you talk to and sometimes they'll say no it's 3,000 and you say, “Okay great then that's not the right supplier for you.”
But if you just keep asking a bunch, you're going to find some that want to work with you, that are reputable, that have been around for a long time. There's suppliers that want to work with you probably more than you realize especially when you first start out because you always have this, “I did.” This feeling of like, “Oh, am I a real company yet or not?” Well as soon as you plant your flag and say, “I'm doing this.” You're a real company.
[00:52:25] Scott: Yes, I agree. That's some good advice right there and I know like I mean just… Again, going through the process, sometimes having that you feeling like you're alone sometimes that's why I mean our Facebook group we've created for that reason. So this way here you can go there, you can lean on other people and I know even like for me, like I like to document my process and I know that you're doing something similar to that. Maybe you can let people know how they can get in touch with you if they have any questions or anything like that and tell them a little bit about how you're starting to document your process.
[00:52:57] Kevin: Oh sure, thank you. So I believe in paying it forward and I cannot thank you enough Scott for all the great advice that you've put out there and I feel like I am at where I am now which I know I still have a long ways to go. But I'm not where I am now because of folks like you and you've had a big part in it. So, what I wanted to do is put out some of the information that I learned along the way and see what I can do to help people and so I created a YouTube channel. It's called ‘maximizing ecommerce'.
So you can either go on YouTube and search ‘maximizing ecommerce' or go to maximizingecommerce.com and it will link to the YouTube channel and I've got videos where I share some of the things that I've learned along the way and they could shoot me an email or go into the comments section there. I highly recommend people in one way shape or form find other people whether it's online or in person that are doing this type of thing because there is just something to be said about being around others and soaking in that information.
[00:54:07] Scott: I love it and yeah I'll link that up in the show notes. So if anyone wants to go over and leave you a comment or just go through and just see some of your process and documenting it and I know there's actually another girl that she's been a listener for a while, she launched her product I actually had her on the show and she actually did something very similar. She's actually documenting it through a YouTube channel just as almost like an accountability thing. Also like run a diary in the sense to where you're documenting the process and I love it. I think that it also allows you to look back and see how far you've come which is really good and then people get to follow along that journey with you.
So yeah, definitely check out Kevin and his YouTube channel. I would definitely recommend that and Kevin I just want to say thanks man for coming on and hanging out and also introducing yourself at Sellers Summit, we had some good conversations there and talking a little bit about your referee stories and all of that fun stuff because I used to umpire. I told that I was an umpire for about three, four years for, they ranged between like 13-year olds up to about 17-year old kids and umpiring is a challenge, it can vary and it is fun. But I'll tell you what in baseball, I was telling you in baseball. Sometimes the parents they can get pretty brutal not even just the coaches.
[00:55:34] Kevin: Yeah, at least the coaches know that they can lose their job if they get too crazy. But the parents have no accountability.
[00:55:37] Scott: No, none. All you could do is ask the coach to or ask him to leave which I've had to do with you guys a few times. But yeah, it's funny and it was great talking to you to trade some of those war stories on the field. Even though I wasn't in football, it was in the baseball arena but it's pretty close. Anyway man, enjoy the rest of your vacation. Thanks again for coming on and keep me posted on all your progress, all right man?
[00:56:00] Kevin: Good deal. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate this.
[00:56:03] Scott: No problem
[00:56:04] Kevin It's been fun.
[00:56:05] Scott: Take care. All right, so there you have it. Not a traditional way of getting started. Taking a little bit of a different approach and what I mean by that is, sitting there thinking to themselves for maybe a year or two or three, I want to get started in this online game. I want to be able to go ahead and maybe start my own business and starting to go down that road and then just be confused and then saying like, “Wait a minute, I see this Amazon thing as a great way to get started, let me go ahead and see if I can get started.” Well, I've got to raise some money because I don't want to take money maybe out of my savings, I just want to start it with some working capital that I create as a side hustle.
So he was already doing football, refereeing and he said, “I'm going to take this whole season's worth of earnings and I'm going to focus that in on my private label business.” And he got started but he also got started by selling something online proving that the concept worked and then that also got him some momentum. It also gave him some proof that he can do it and that's why I love, love this story. So guys, hopefully this helped you, motivated you, inspired you but also gave you some things that you can do right now to get started. One of those things you can do is if you are stuck and you want to get started or you want to raise some capital quickly, you can head over to 1kfasttrack.com.
That is of course we created to do exactly that. To actually dip your toe in the Amazon water or the online selling waters and for you to get some proof that you can do this too and then also build up a little bit of a fund to help support your private label business. So if you're interested in that, head over to 1kFastTrack.com. You'll find all the details there, very affordable to get started, all the training is there and we have a seven day challenge that our students are going through in that seven day challenge for a lot of them is earning the money to actually validate but then also get started in this business. So definitely go check that out.
[00:58:05] Scott: One last thing before I let you go, the show notes to today's episode can be found at theamazingseller.com/389. Again, all the transcripts, the links all the goodies can be found there and also if you want to get in touch to Kevin his contact information will be there and the link to his YouTube channel. Alright, so that's it that's going to wrap it up. Remember, as always, I'm here for you, I believe in you and I'm rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on, say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, “Take Action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I'll see you right back here on the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- The Compound Effect
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