Gerri: It’s good to be here, appreciate it.
Scott: Yep, and before we get started, though, we do want to give a call out to all service members since today is Memorial Day.
Jim: That’s right.
Scott: We do want to thank all members past and present for the sacrifices they and their families make. Our oldest son is in the Navy.
Jim: Beautiful, thus the shirt, for those who can’t see. Yeah, we are actually recording this on Memorial Day. We’re here working hard.
Gerri: Navy dad.
Jim: Navy dad, I love it.
Scott: We appreciate you taking time away from your family too, but there’s a lot of sacrifices that go along with the service and service members. We want to make sure we acknowledge them today specifically.
Jim: Since you opened that door a little bit, a military family history from my family, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the big island out in Hawaii, but the USS Arizona is the memorial there and the ship that actually sunk during Pearl Harbor attack. There’s hundreds of men actually buried at sea on that ship. One of them is my grandpa’s brother, who is arguably one of the first men killed at the start of – before we entered World War II, so a strong military history and tradition in my family as well. To all who served, mainly today to all who sacrificed, and those listening to this episode, it’s been several days after the recording is done, but we certainly stand in appreciation of military families and military service every day around here. I share that with you. Thank you, guys, for serving and your son as well.
Scott: Thanks for letting us get the plug in.
Jim: Ethan, right, you said?
Scott: Alex is our older son.
Jim: Oh, that’s that other son. I got you.
Scott: Ethan’s our youngest, yeah.
Jim: Got you, okay.
Gerri: Two boys.
Jim: Yeah, well, I grew up with two boys too. I know the gig. I’ve got four boys of my own, so I know the gig with boys. It’s the girl thing I’m still trying to figure out, our little daughter, but she’s beautiful and amazing.
Scott: Oh, no thanks.
Gerri: Oh, no, we’re done. Two was good.
Jim: Awesome, well, hey, guys, let’s jump into your Amazon and your e-commerce story. I want to hear it.
Gerri: I think probably back, I don’t know, 10, 15 years ago, I sold used books on Amazon, and I sold my kids’ used clothes on eBay. That was the extent of my e-commerce experience. Scott had jumped around for, I don’t know, probably a year and a half looking for a program for us to start selling on Amazon. Not for us. I’m sorry, for him. I had no interest at this point in time, no interest at all. I had a job that I liked. I made good money. I worked part-time. I did not have any interest in starting an ecommerce business.
Scott: Oh, that’s true. That is true.
Jim: There was some resistance there.
Scott: Yeah, well, I pushed. I spent a lot of time researching. I almost pulled the trigger on a couple other courses, but I always came back to the PAC. I always came back to the PAC. One was the price point. That was one of the things, but the other thing was – the other courses, they come and go. The people that jump up and down, scream read loud and try to get your attention, you never do that. I don’t know. I just had a feeling about the group and the longevity, so I just kept coming back and coming back. I purchased it and I was trying to get her interested. There’s still no interest.
Jim: When was this, Scott? How long ago did you buy that Proven Amazon Course?
Scott: I’m going to say, well, it’s got to be two years ago ballpark now.
Jim: You researched for how long?
Scott: I was watching YouTube videos and stuff, probably a year and a half. I have a full-time job, and we’re not new to being business owners. I worked for General Motors in Detroit years ago and decided that maybe I didn’t like being a number, and one day I came home, locked myself in my office. She said, “Where you going?” I said, “I’ll be out in a little bit.” Came out and said, “I’m flying to North Carolina next weekend.” The weekend after that I bought a business and gave my two weeks’ notice, and our house sold like that and off we were. We bought a little convenience store in the middle of nowhere in North Carolina and turned it into a pretty good truck stop, so we did that for like 17 years. Then we sold that.
Jim: Wow! I’m sure there’s 100 amazing stories from that.
Gerri: More than that.
Jim: I wish this was a show about that because I love entrepreneurs, any kind.
Scott: That one we took from 300,000 on paper, which it was never really anywhere near that, but that’s a completely different story. We sold it. It was about 2 million a year, so that was a success story. We had many, many families that we supported of our employees over the years. That was a point of pride for us. We took care of a lot of people while we built that, and then we sold that one and started a business in Florida that wasn’t as successful. I didn’t like that one, so we sold it. Then I went back into the corporate world. This is my second gig back into the corporate world. I’d like to get back into entrepreneurship at some point, but we didn’t want the – we don’t want the ties of retail. That’s when I started investigating e-commerce.
Jim: You were taking your time because you’re working full-time.
Scott: Yeah, more than that.
Jim: Gerri’s selling on the side just some books and some used clothes and things. That was all eBay you had said, right?
Gerri: Yeah, that was back when my – that was probably 15 years ago.
Jim: Oh, that’s a long – yeah, okay.
Scott: Yeah, that was when it was just books. I bought the PAC and I’m nudging her and nudging her and nudging her and nothing. I was looking at private label at that point. At that point that was pretty much all the videos on YouTube were private label.
Jim: Most of them still are.
Scott: Then this replens thing came around. I’m like – I think I can get her to buy into this. I bought it, and it was before it was part of the PAC. I bought it and just showed her and still nothing. It’s just nothing. She got furloughed during COVID from her job with Estée Lauder, so then she stepped back and took a look at it. Then I talked to her about the coaching, so then we jumped into the coaching just to speed things along. Here we are a year later so just about a year.
Jim: It’s wise to listen to your wife, man. The timing I’m sure ended up being perfect. I’ve learned that lesson after coming up on 27 years. Typically, when my wife’s resistant to an idea, it’s because it’s a bad idea or it’s not the right time. I’ve learned that lesson many times, but it sounds like you guys got in at a great time. Anyone who’s ran with this concept in the last year or so, it’s just been a beautiful time to enter the market.
I want to get into your business. Talk me through. How long did it take you to get up to speed? Do you guys do this together? Give us some of those details.
Gerri: I do most of – up until about a month and a half ago I was doing it all myself. Scott helped me. He’s very good at sourcing. He has the patience to stand in an aisle for hours if that’s what it takes. I don’t have that patience.
Jim: I don’t either.
Gerri: I go through, look for three to four things. If I don’t find anything, I go to the next.
Jim: Moving on, yeah.
Gerri: He has the patience for that. We’ve hired our first employee and she has been just a true godsend. She’s wonderful. She’s excellent at sourcing. She’s a hard worker. She’s wonderful on the computer, which I’m not. Everything I’m not good at, she is good at, so we’re very good together.
Scott does all of my – he does all the packing. We’re still doing the prepping. We’re still at this point in time doing all replen, all FBA. We’re going to start doing FBMs. We’ve got some things that we want to sell and can’t.
Jim: Good for you. Yes, that’ll change your life.
Gerri: I’ve got one wholesale company that I’m getting some real good prices from, and what we’re working on right now is trying to step away from the big stores, Walmart, and really making an effort to build relationships in some of the smaller regional stores.
Jim: Good for you.
Gerri: That’s where we’re getting a lot of our business right now is the smaller stores. The store managers, the assistant store managers are great to work with. They’re ordering for us, starting to order cases of things. Instead of me having to go in and – to five different stores and try to get enough for my replen. That’s been a real plus.
Jim: I want to hear the story of one of those relationships, either one of you once we – here in a moment, but I’m also curious. You mentioned your first hired help was a sourcer, which is a brilliant first hire. I learned this from Dave Ramsey’s book, EntreLeadership. That the first person you hire is someone who goes out and hunts and drags meat back to the cave. You don’t want to hire someone that does the stuff you don’t want to do. You want someone that’s out there making you money as your first hire, and then you use those new funds to start the convenience hires, the people that do the stuff you don’t want to do, touching box tape, etc. You mentioned she was a sourcer. Now, is she actually trained on how to go source, or is she just a shopper?
Gerri: She watched Jimmy’s whole course, and we worked on her with Keepa, Scoutify, everything that we use. She’s actually better than me.
Jim: That’s great.
Gerri: She loves it. Every time she goes out shopping she’ll text me. I found this. I found this. I found this.
Gerri: You just learn how to do that. You’re out shopping for yourself, and then you end up coming home without the milk because you spent the whole time sourcing when you’re there.
Jim: That’s me. Hey, I can’t help it. I got two or three things to go grab at the store. I come back with a couple hundred bucks in the cart and new stuff I – new replens or at least some pictures to review later. Okay, how do you pay this helper of yours? I’m sure people are going to be curious. What’s your arrangement there?
Scott: I mean, it’s unique. She’s not just a sourcer. Let’s take a half step back. She’s handpicked. She’s somebody that we were familiar with and she was familiar with us. She started asking questions and I started giving her little tidbits just to feel her out. She was handpicked to be our replacement. She’s not our sourcer. We’re training her to run the business and that was the understanding from the get-go that she was going to learn. As we learn, she has access to everything except the last bank account. She’s learned the business with us.
Jim: Are you bringing her to Tampa with you then in July?
Jim: You need to. It’s on me if you do.
Gerri: She has three small children.
Jim: I want her there.
Gerri: Probably not.
Scott: That was the intent is she’s very hard working. She’s a very honest person. We know there’s a risk that she’ll go off and start her own, but she does great for her. The arrangement we made with her was – she had a full-time job, and she wanted more time with her children. She’s got three young children, and she wanted the flexibility to do what she needed to do. That’s the arrangement.
Jim: Got you.
Scott: She said, “I need to make this much money.” We said, “Okay, in return we want this range of hours,” and she said, “Fine.” We pay her what she needed and she has the flexibility. She and Gerri work their schedule out every week. We know which days we want to ship and we go from there. We just spent four days in Florida, went to visit our youngest son. She shopped the whole time we were gone. We made an arrangement. We went and met her. She had everything prepped in boxes and we shoved it from the back of her truck to the back of my truck and brought it all home.
Jim: That’s fantastic.
Scott: There was no daycare open today because of the holiday. That’s what she wanted and it worked for us. That’s how we pay her.
Jim: Is she a single mom, the way you said it, or is she married?
Scott: No, but her husband’s a contractor.
Jim: Got you.
Scott: They work six, seven days a week, and she just wanted to be home with him. She didn’t want a full time job.
Jim: This is a flexible arrangement and she can take her kids with her. It reminds me much of – you hear stories; Honey Woods has – she’ll take her six kids out with her. She’s a single mom. She’ll go out sourcing, shopping, prepping. The older ones are old enough now they can help a little bit, but yeah, it’s an amazingly flexible opportunity. You guys are basically paying her what she needs, a flat rate, and she’s learning it all and growing. At some point, she’s going to be a part owner.
Scott: Right, yes, maybe. I mean, that’s the concept, the idea.
Jim: If it works out. You don’t know what the future holds but sure.
Scott: I know how much – we’ve discussed. We know how much we want to make, what we want for retirement. We started this as – for our retirement. You can see we’re not real young. Being self-employed for a few years, we put money away, but it’s not the same as working 30 years for some corporation these days. This was our retirement. We’re not greedy. I’ve set the goals. They know how many items I want them to ship a week. I’ve given them some guidelines just to – this is where I want to be, and when we get to that point, anything above and beyond that we can split whatever – do whatever we want to do.
Jim: Yeah, have some fun.
Scott: I’ve given her baseline for what we want.
Jim: Yeah, grow it, that’s beautiful. Okay, so I wanted to hear – before we get into some numbers, I want to hear a story of one of these – you mentioned some of these midlevel store – regional store is probably a better way to say it, managers, assistant managers, some of these relationships. Tell me a story behind one of your products that ignited out of a relationship. I always like focusing in on the relationship angle. I think too many sellers try to do this with spreadsheets and tools and impersonal, never dealing with other humans. You got to involve other people, so share one of those stories. Gerri, you started to tell me a little bit about some of that.
Gerri: The first one was just a matter of Scott just stopped into a store and introduced himself. He says, “Hey, my wife has an Amazon business, and we’d love to buy your product.” I didn’t expect them to give me – I just wanted to get better than retail, and it turns out that her father-in-law is a district manager, and so they’re selling me the product that I need at their cost, which is – it’s amazing.
Scott: I don’t know why.
Gerri: Yeah, we didn’t ask for that. I just wanted something a little better than retail.
Jim: It probably helps them get some kind of bulk discount or something. They have quotas to hit certain – buy quantities and they get discounts or whatever. Hopefully, it’s making sense for them, but yeah, that’s beautiful. How much off retail is that on average?
Gerri: Oh, gosh.
Scott: Oh, well, let’s just say, I mean, Walmart retails it for right around $3, and I think we’re paying…
Scott: A buck seventy now.
Jim: Wow, almost half off of retail.
Scott: Walmart sells it at just a few percentage points over what they pay, most I think, so I was shocked.
Jim: How much of this have you sold, just a round figure? How much money have you put in the bank as a result of this one ASIN, if you had to guess approximate?
Gerri: How much?
Scott: I mean, it’s not huge-huge.
Gerri: I do a two-pack and a single. I buy probably 6 cases a month, and there’s a 24 in a case.
Scott: I mean, it’s not huge numbers, but they all add up.
Gerri: The 2-pack sells for 14.99. The single sells for 9.99. It’s not huge, but that’s just the first…
Jim: How long have you been doing it?
Scott: We’ve been selling it all along, but it goes back to our training day with Karl. They sourced it when they were training. I just found a way to get it cheaper. That’s all.
Jim: Oh, did you guys have the on-site training with Karl after you started?
Scott: Yeah, we did.
Scott: Yeah, we did.
Jim: We need to talk about that too then. I had forgotten that part of our story. Okay, that’s awesome. How long ago was Karl there when you started this particular product?
Gerri: June 11 and 12 of last year.
Scott: Yeah, two weeks from now.
Jim: We’re coming up on a year.
Scott: Yeah, just about a year.
Jim: We’re talking thousands of dollars, thousands, probably two thousand plus.
Scott: Certainly upward of $1,000, yeah, from that one stop.
Jim: The thing that I’m trying to – math I’m trying to do in my head is that one simple conversation. Just opening your mouth boldly one time and saying, hey, we sell on Amazon. We want to buy some of your stuff. That one short conversation can lead to so much opportunity, and if we could monetize the value of that five minute interaction that initiated this, that’s the power of this business. That’s the local advantage opportunity that people have. You guys have advantages I’ll never have. Everyone listening to this has local advantages that none of the rest of us will ever have if you’re willing to have those kinds of conversations. It’s the point I’m trying to make, thousands of dollars in the bank, and that’s just one product. How many products are you guys selling, ASINs total?
Scott: We were talking about it this morning. We’re about 450. She thinks around 420 are active right now. The other ones are seasonal. We turn them on, turn them off.
Jim: That’s phenomenal. That’s great. What other numbers are you comfortable sharing with us?
Scott: We can give you numbers.
Jim: Round about’s fine. You don’t have to be exact
Scott: No, I mean, we’re not – there’s certainly people that we see on the webpage that are doing better than us, but we’ve had some really good months. I mean, we’re averaging around 20,000 a month, so we’ve had 28,000 one month. What’s really happened to us here recently and we’re changing gears a little bit – that’s why we’re going more regional is we were doing really, really well. We had some really big sellers, but we were buying most of it at Walmart. Everybody’s training at Walmart, pretty much across the country, Walmart’s the same. Amazon got on. It’s like they got a hold of our store and went right down our store. They’ve just ravaged, and we lost all of our big sellers. We lost them all.
I got with Gerri and our helper and said, “Look, we need to outsource again. We need 100 new.” I think we probably did that in three and a half, four weeks.
Gerri: It’s like three weeks probably.
Jim: A hundred new ASINs in less than a month.
Scott: Yeah, and that was by moving into regional stores. Our helper is four foot nothing, very…
Gerri: Tiny little thing.
Scott: She’s tiny and wouldn’t give anybody pause. She’s a great talker and she’s just going to all these stores and meeting these assistant managers and these managers and say, “Look, we’ll buy thousands of dollars from you if you can just buy theses in the cases and give us a little break.” Their ears perk right up, thousands. Yeah, I don’t care where we spend it. I’d rather spend it regionally than at Walmart.
Jim: Yeah, that’s what I tell – I have some of the people I’ll buy a case or two a month. The wholesaler is printed – the distributor is printed right on the – why do you come to me? I’m not going to go around a local neighbor and friend to save 25 cents a sale. I want to work with you. You’re hiring people. You’re trying to run a business. So am I. Let’s work together, great advocates, and they introduce me to other people. I get texts from them like, hey, is this a product that’s interesting to you, Jim? Would you guys consider selling this? Texts out of the blue because you’ve got these local relationships, I love it.
Scott: Yeah, they’re huge. They’re huge. That’s really how we built our truck stop business was when you work with me the way I want to be worked with the loyalty is there. I didn’t switch companies. I stuck with them, and we built the business together. That’s what we’re hoping to do with these local stores. If they’ve got three, or four, or five family-owned stores, that’s the target for us. We don’t care what it looks like on the outside. We just want that relationship with the family, and that’s what we’re trying to build.
Jim: That’s fantastic. Yeah, I had a guy, one of those small stores hand me his wholesale catalog. He said, “You can’t take this home with you, but you can stand here and take pictures if you want.” I flipped through his catalog taking pictures and found some items that way, went home and researched.
Scott: That’s exactly what we’re – and we did have one guy. He said, “You can look through my catalog, and anything you want, 10% over.” That’s what we’re hoping for, but that takes time.
Jim: Yeah, but with consistent effort, you guys – well, you guys found 100 new products. You were in Walmart. One thing I’ve experienced just from having seen Walmarts – and we train a lot of people. That is a great store.
Gerri: Oh, yeah.
Jim: I promise you, the Walmart down the street if you have one has thousands of potential profitable replen ASINs in it, and a lot of those are only in that region. There’s products I know. They’re here in our Indiana Walmarts that we’ve been known for a long time, and no one’s touching them. It’s an Indiana regional thing. I think we must be the only Walmarts that carry it, but I’d say at least 80% or so of the stock in a Walmart you’re going to find in other regions as well. You got to dig. The regional opportunities, the stores that are only in your area, or maybe it’s a store that’s in every state but they only got two stores in every state, those are a goldmine as well for new product hunting, for sure.
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Jim: You got to dig. The regional opportunities, the stores that are only in your area, or maybe it’s a store that’s in every state but they only got to two stores in every state, those are a goldmine as well for new product hunting, for sure. This is awesome. I want to hear a little bit about your experience with Karl. What brought you to that point? You did coaching, and then you brought Karl to town as well I take it, or did you go straight to…
Scott: It was right to Karl.
Jim: I got you.
Gerri: Yeah, we talked to Jimmy. He called us, and we talked to him for a while. We said, well, we’re interested in this. I’m sure we could do this on our own, but I don’t want to wait. I want to jumpstart this. I don’t want to wait six, eight months to be profitable. I want to know what I’m doing. I want to know how to do it.
He said, “Okay.” He said, “I got a guy right there in Alabama.” We happened to be going down to Florida, and we stopped by and met Karl. We knew right away that we wanted him to coach us.
Jim: We got some of the best leaders in this community.
Gerri: He was wonderful.
Jim: Yeah, just an incredible – I actually got a call with him after this podcast episode, getting caught up on a couple things. He’s going to be one of the speakers at our Tampa event. We left people hanging a little bit. I said are you guys coming to Tampa in July? Karl’s going to be one of our speakers. That’s, of course, TheProvenConference.com, our annual conference. You guys are going to be there. Karl’s going to be there, one of our speakers. You guys are talking about the program.
I should have it memorized what it’s called. I’ll stick it in the show notes where we actually fly to your hometown, spend a few days, and before we leave town, we’re going to help you find – I can’t remember if it’s 75 or 100 replens unique to you that you can start selling. We had one couple we interviewed much like you guys a couple months ago that said half of the replens they found in that weekend were still selling a year later at a very nice profit for them. It’s not just flash in the pan stuff. We’re going to help you find some stuff and get your business rocking, but you guys got to the point where you could do it yourself very quickly, like you said, found 100 in a month. Is that the plan to continue seeking out new replens?
Gerri: We’re looking at more – I need to find more wholesale companies too – we’re still working out of our garage, but we’re already looking for space, bigger space that we can have stuff delivered. Scott’s going back and looking a little more into private label. He’s got some things he’s interested in. He still works full-time.
Jim: What’s the plan there? How much longer do you think you’ll be full-time?
Scott: I’m already to a point where I’m comfortable enough. I don’t think my boss will watch this, but I’m comfortable enough that if we parted ways tomorrow we could ramp this up and replace my income before we lost – before we’re lost. I don’t know. I like what I do. It’s hard going from being an entrepreneur and making all the decisions for 20+ years going back into the corporate world. I do have a – I work third shift, so I am the only salaried employee there. It’s as close to being on my own as I can be. I get to make all the calls, and he’s a good guy. I like working for him. It’s a good company that I work for, so I’m not in a rush to get out. Maybe this time next year we’ll be in a position to really make a decision.
Jim: Yeah, but you got a good backup plan regardless. That’s fantastic.
Scott: I’m not as old as I look. I lost my hair prematurely with the boys. I can probably work for another 10 or 15 years if I chose to, but it’s not really the plan.
Gerri: No, it’s not.
Jim: I got you. Yeah, you’ve got a whole new set of skills now. I just want to encourage you guys as well as anyone who else is listening who has learned the basics. You guys really do have a seat in the front of the class. If you just imagined all of the people who are trying to use the internet to grow a business and actually make money, if everybody who sets out on that journey – I’ve been doing this for 20 years, guys, so I’ve got a pretty good grasp on what I’m about to say. If everyone who sets out on that journey, I would estimate that maybe 5% actually find themselves in a position where they’re making some money. It’s a comfortable thing, and they’ve got a routine and a system. It’s predictable and stable.
The vast majority of the people fall into one of those black holes that you almost fell into watching YouTube videos, buying some expensive course. That course doesn’t work, so they buy another course. That one doesn’t work, so they go into this other program. They look over their shoulder 5 years in, and they’ve spent 20, 30, $50,000 and they don’t have a whole lot to show for it. That’s the vast majority of experiences people are having out there. That sets up what I’m about to say is now that you guys are actually making money on the internet you’re at the head of the class. You know what you’re doing, and a lot of people don’t.
There’s a way to leverage that into even more income streams is where I’m going, maybe for you guys, maybe for the listeners. Once you’re actually putting money in the bank consistently, building a system, approaching this like an entrepreneur so creating content, courses, writing a book, doing consulting, the Proven Product Partnering strategy inside of our course, for example – have you guys given any thoughts to those kind of things, or what direction do you see your business going next?
Scott: I think eventually, given the opportunity, we’d like to coach. I mean, it’s something that we’d like to do. I don’t know about the partnering thing. I don’t know about that. That doesn’t interest me too much, but the coaching, I think that a few months more. I’d like to get a little further into the wholesale and just build those relationships so we have a little more to give. Yeah, I think we’re both interested in coaching at some point if the opportunity presents itself.
Jim: That’s how we build our coaching team is we have great people succeed and then say, hey, they got a teacher’s heart. Yeah, we’ll spend a little time bringing some other students along. That’s how our coaching team has grown over the years. Yeah, let us know when you’re ready. We’ll get you rocking. We’ve got a lot of students coming in, and they need good people helping them out.
Scott: That’s good.
Gerri: That’s good.
Scott: Yeah, it’s good when you’re comfortable and you can feel good about the organization you’re working with. We try to help. On the Facebook group, we pipe in when we can. There’s a lot of good information on there, and there’s some misinformation on there.
Jim: That’s right.
Scott: Try to set it straight when we see it and try to help out when we can.
Jim: Yeah, we certainly appreciate that. Yeah, with 65,000 members, you get some people who don’t know what they’re talking about coming in boldly. It’s usually people that have been there less than a month, and they have most of the head scratch questions and instructions. We got a real culture we’ve built. Once you’ve been around there two, three months, you get a feel. Yeah, they do things a little different around here. They really do actually care, and yeah, thanks for stepping in and helping out in there. For the listeners, if you’re not in our free Facebook group, you’re really missing out. We hear from several people, guys, who say the only reason they’re on Facebook – they hate Facebook. The only reason they’re there is because of this group, which is really cool.
Gerri: That is him.
Scott: That’s me.
Gerri: That’s him.
Jim: Is that you?
Scott: Yeah, it is me. It’s really me because I don’t have a – I made her post the year post that caught your attention, but it wouldn’t let me post it. It kept denying it, and I don’t know Facebook because I don’t use it. It wouldn’t let me post it because I didn’t have a picture. I didn’t have a picture of myself, so I just put our logo, our business logo in place of my face because I refused to put a picture up there. I don’t want to be part of Facebook.
Jim: Yeah, no, I feel you.
Scott: They finally accepted it, and that’s all it took. Me, I wanted to take some training. I don’t remember if it was with your group or another. It had to be through Facebook. That’s the only reason I’ve done it.
Jim: That’s beautiful. There’s a lot of people that way. Not to go off into the weeds too far but I think if – we’re unapologetically Bible based in our community and our leadership, a lot of Christians and a lot of very patriotic. We love America. Today’s Memorial Day, man, and it hits us deep. We take these things seriously. Progressive culture doesn’t like a lot of those stances, and Facebook’s a very progressive organization. Sometimes I wonder if our days aren’t numbered. They’ve kicked a lot of other people out for a lot less than some of the stuff that I stand for, so I do encourage people to make sure you’re connected with us in multiple ways. Get on our mailing list, for example, and the other ways that you have to stay in touch because you just never know with these big platforms.
Scott: Yeah, that’s true.
Gerri: That’s true.
Scott: That is true.
Jim: Amazon’s the same way at times, I mean, all these big platforms. I’ve been saying for 20 years, if you’re going to rely on a big platform for income, you need to plan on multiple income streams, which is why I like encouraging good people like you. Hey, let’s do some other things too, coaching, consulting. Get your own brand rocking, which maybe you could sell on other platforms besides just Amazon. We’re a multiple income stream community. I always like pushing people a little bit down that road when I get a chance.
Scott: Yeah, I’ve often wondered when we’re going to leverage the 65,000 people into a platform.
Jim: Yeah, there’s opportunities there and challenges, for sure, something to talk about offline perhaps. We do have some ideas. It’s a powerful group.
Scott: It is. It is. It sure is. I mean, we’ve pushed some – I’ve got several people that work with me that have purchased the course and friends around the country that have purchased it that aren’t as active as we are. We’re encouraging them, but slowly but surely we’ll help grow it.
Jim: I’m not so much as interested in size as I am in the quality of the people. Not to get too religious or biblical, but Jesus changed the world with 12 people.
Gerri: Amen. He did.
Jim: We don’t need 100,000 members.
Gerri: Yes, He did.
Jim: We need people that truly understand the vision of let’s bring families together. Let’s use the internet creatively, launch and grow multiple income streams. Let’s do it with integrity and transparency and long term. That’s one of the things that stood out to me about it, what you shared initially, Scott, was you researched for a long time. We’re the ones that have been there a long time and we’re still there. Everyone else is popping up and piles of cash and new cars. I don’t even want to look at the sales page after the stuff that they put in the pictures.
Hey, here we are. It’s just like, hey, here’s what we got. Here’s what it does. Join us. We’ve got hundreds of recent success stories, nothing flashy about it, and I like the kind of people that attracts. It almost repels the wrong people so just good quality people.
What else do you guys have to share with the listeners? I mean, you’ve heard enough episodes. What else is on your mind? Anything that you guys wanted to bring into this show?
Scott: You asked about numbers, and somehow we got away from it.
Jim: Yeah, we need specifics.
Scott: People always want to hear, so I just pulled up just before we sat down. Our first sale was May 21 last year, so that’s when I posted the numbers that you saw was 209,000.
Gerri: It was funny.
Scott: Comically, that was our most expensive shipment ever, and we only sent seven items.
Gerri: Seven different distribution centers.
Scott: We’ve since used nine items. We didn’t know what we were doing. We just wanted to test it. We had this new printer and all this fancy stuff and, yeah, 7 different orders, 9 different distribution centers, $200. It was horrible. That’s when I said we need training. Then Karl came about three weeks after that.
From then ‘til now, I just looked. We’re at $215,000 in sales. We have hit a – it has stagnated a little bit here recently, like I said, with several people went right down our store and tanked all our top sellers. When I mean tank, we’re talking stuff that we were selling 6, $8,000 worth and just gone just like that. That’s when we decided to spread out and give ourself a wider base so that we don’t have to count on individual items as much.
Gerri: I guess the main lesson in that is just you can’t – you just can’t get comfortable. You have a good thing, and it might last for a month. It might last for two months, but inevitably, something’s going to happen. You’re going to have to get out and work again. We just keep adding and we keep adding and we keep adding.
Jim: That’s right.
Gerri: Some things are great. Some things, if they sell two or three, we say no. You just move on.
Jim: It’s so easy to find more.
Gerri: Nothing is a sure thing.
Jim: That’s the nice thing about this model. You can go find more anytime you want. With an intense focused effort, you can go out and find a bunch more in just a few days. That’s what makes it – redeems itself.
Scott: Yeah, and you change the criteria. I mean, we were running – we really weren’t taking anything under 80. Our goal was 50% minimum, but really, we weren’t taking anything under 80 or 90% ROI.
Jim: ROI, yeah.
Scott: Yeah, nothing. Now, we also look at how much does it weigh? How much packaging time is it going to take? We’ll go down to a fast mover that all we’ve got to do is throw a sticker on and nothing else, 30% if it’s going to move fast just to fill in some gaps and to be box fillers at the end if it’s light enough. We sold 13,100 units for that 215,000, so it’s like $16.46. Not huge but it meets the minimum criteria. We average every shipment right around 90% ROI, somewhere in that range.
We’re not taking any money out of the business. We’re still building it. We’re still buying racks. We’re still buying tables as we need. We bought our helper a brand new computer system to take home. Now we’re starting to duplicate everything so she can work from home. We don’t need to take the money out, so we’re continuously putting it back in, building it. When we get to the dollar figure that I want the business to be, I’ll tweak the cost and get it to where I want the bottom line to be, but easily, we can hit – even with the helper, I think we’re going to be 17, 18%. I mean, not there now because we’re still throwing money back into the business, but easily, I can get cost under control when we stop spending.
Jim: Yeah, you’re not paying any taxes because all your expenses are – all your money’s going right back into equipment. It’s the same strategy Amazon used when they grew the first, what, 10, 12, 15 years. They just put all their money back into growing, and then they had a very nice base on which to actually start earning a beautiful profit. That’s what you guys are doing. You got everything in place. You got the system. You got the proven strategy for finding more products anytime you need them, and that’s a valuable lesson. I’m glad we included that transparency, some of these $6,000 a month products, just crazy good products that someone else came along. That’s replens. You’re selling stuff that anyone else can come along and sell if they want to, but you’re able to find so many of them.
You don’t want to get lazy when those nice products come along. That’s the time to be out looking for more so that when it does eventually crash – I’d be interested to know. Maybe we should do some surveying of how long the average replen lasts for people. You do hear these stories as well of, once people find them, just years, two, three, four years. It just keeps right on rocking.
Gerri: Sometimes you go back and look at something that you sourced six months ago, and it wasn’t profitable then. Guess what? It is now. It might only be profitable for a couple of months, but you take advantage of that for those couple of months.
Jim: Yeah, you’ll have a bunch of sellers come in.
Gerri: You can go on to something else.
Jim: They’ll all race each other to the bottom, and then they’ll all go away. Here you are left standing if you go back and pay attention a couple months later, right? That’s the game.
Scott: Yeah, it is, and it is a game. I mean, it is. You got to play. It’s funny. Our helper, she’s going back and sourcing the same things we sourced that weren’t profitable then, and they are now. Listings pop up and go away. There are a couple things that I learned on some of your podcasts and some – just some points of interest that – I think that would help people out.
Jim: Sounds great.
Scott: I guess there’s three. One thing I remember distinctly when I was looking to purchase, you had a fellow on the podcast, and he talked about he bought the PAC three times. I don’t know if you – he bought it, and he turned it in, got his money back, and then bought it again and got his money back. Then he bought it a third time and finally did something with it.
Jim: Then he was a – I don’t remember who that was, but I remember that episode.
Scott: People that think that you can’t try it and get your money back but this guy did it twice before he finally did it. That stuck with me. Another thing that we learned on one of the – I think it was maybe one of Jimmy’s, and it really changed our business. Early on, whenever we had rapid growth – and we did have rapid growth at first. We put a fair amount of our own cash in to start with, but it goes quickly. It goes quickly when you’re ramping up, buying equipment, paying for training, buying merchandise. We were strapped for cash, and we actually were hurting our growth because we didn’t have any more cash. We read on your site or Jimmy or somebody…
Gerri: No, Jimmy’s podcast.
Scott: You don’t have to wait the two weeks for your check to come from – for the money to come from Amazon. You can take it in between. Certainly, it’s not as much, but it’s a flow.
Gerri: It was a game changer.
Scott: That changed our business. That was when we went through super rapid growth was when we start getting money when we need it. We didn’t learn that early enough on, so that’s a key. Then I see people referencing they’re using their bathroom scales and their – we’re already to the end, but they’re using laser printers and all this stuff. We learned it at the truck stop. We learned it at our second business. Buy the best that you can afford on the get-go, and you only buy it one time. Either you’re going to play at this game, or you’re going to go at it seriously. If it’s going to be serious, you need to buy the equipment up front and buy what you can afford or maybe what you can’t afford but what you know you’re going to need.
Jim: Yeah, I think that would apply to coaching as well.
Scott: I think so. We got that money back. Obviously, we put it on the card and had it paid off in three months maybe? It was substantial and not everybody knows how much it costs. It’s substantial but you’re investing in a business. This is our third business. This is cheap. It’s cheap.
Gerri: I don’t know if it’s cheap.
Jim: To get it all going.
Scott: It’s cheap compared to starting most businesses.
Jim: Yeah, the price, the expenses. Even if you go all in – say, all right, give me everything you guys recommend. I want the top – you’re talking a tiny fraction of a franchise, tiny.
Gerri: Oh, yeah.
Jim: You start earning your money years before – if you buy a franchise, which is an equivalent comparison as far as the revenue you can generate from this business would be some kind of name brand franchise, you could be a couple years before you see something positive if everything goes great with some of those deals. Here we’re talking a few months in and you’re breaking even and making money. That’s if you stick to a decent pace. Some people do that in a month. They’re making incredible returns just from the course. I mean, the course is – right now it’s on sale, 30 bucks to get in. You get everything. You take it serious and hit it hard, doesn’t take you long to make that much money.
Scott: It sure doesn’t.
Jim: I appreciate those points you made. That’s really cool stuff, Scott. Thank you for that, man.
Scott: You only get one shot at helping people sometimes, so maybe we’ll help somebody else.
Jim: You’re going to be some great coaches in retirement. Hey, this is what we do for retirement. Who wants to come hang out in retirement and learn – make a few extra bucks? Travel and go see the kids when you need to. See different parts of the country and source while you’re there. Make it a tax deductible trip.
Gerri: That’s what we did.
Scott: We just did one last weekend.
Jim: Did you?
Scott: Actually, we’re considering some coaching again to get – just to speed us – get us up to speed in another area quicker, so the learning never ends. We could do it on our own, certainly, but if we can get there faster and somebody can help you…
Gerri: I mean, obviously, we see the value. There was value in coaching. Like Scott said, everything that we paid was paid off, within three months, it was done. People say, well, it’s so expensive and I can’t afford –
Scott: Can you afford not to?
Gerri: Can you afford not to, yeah?
Jim: That’s a great question, yeah.
Scott: Yeah, and really, we could’ve done it on our own. We already had the entrepreneurial spirit, and we knew business. I had already set up three businesses. I mean, I knew that we could’ve done it on our own. I didn’t want to wait.
For people that are curious, what advantages did it give us? It opened our eyes to – we were steering clear of glass because it scared us. I mean, he said that’s just a name of the business. That’s the name of the game, so we got into glass. We weren’t thinking about selling 6-packs, or 12-packs, or 10-packs. That opened that up to us.
The software packages, I wouldn’t have never spent the money for some of the packages that he said this is what you need. He asked the question. “Is this a hobby, or is this for real?” I said, “This is for real.” He said, “Okay, this is what you need.” I bit the bullet or we bit the bullet and paid for it. We would’ve never done that early in the game, and they were game changers. That’s what coaching does. It points you in the direction that you need to be, and if you don’t take it, you wasted your money. If you take it, your balance is six months ahead at least.
Jim: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, our definition of a good transaction in my organization has always been we want people to look back over their shoulders six months from now and think, wow, that was a great decision to put that money into what they suggested.
Gerri: Oh, absolutely.
Jim: Of course, the training, the coaching, whatever it is, that’s my definition. It’s a very biblical-based Hebrew definition, traditional definition of what a transaction is. It’s the beginning of a lifelong relationship, right? That means you want to look back favorably upon that first interaction, so that’s what we built in. We aim to deliver 10X value of whatever we charge for any product, so that’s how we price often. We say what’s this worth if someone takes it seriously? Divide that by ten. That’s our price point because we want to deliver 10X value.
Just pulling back the curtain a little bit on – as I look around, 20 years is no joke in this industry. I’ve seen a lot of people rise and fall and come and go and have good people like you recognize and take – pay attention to those little details that you’re pointing out today, some of those little things that you guys noticed and the refund policy being one of them. It’s very unique in the industry how friendly we are with our refund policy. We even tell people who get a refund from us, hey, here’s your money back. If there’s anything that we can do to serve you, please let us know. We’re still here for you in any way that we can, answer any questions. Our Facebook group is free. Here’s some free content. We leave you better than we found you is our theme there, so I appreciate you guys pointing some of that out.
What about you, Gerri? Any final thoughts as we start to wrap this one up? Anything on your mind that you wanted to share today?
Gerri: No, I just want to encourage anybody who thinks that they can’t do this. We have so many stories, people getting discouraged. They go out. They can’t find replens. It’s doable. You have to work at it, and it’s not just going to come knocking on your door. You have to get out, and you have to get in and start sourcing if you’re doing replen. You have to work at it.
I’m not working anywhere near as much as I was. I’m already looking forward to the next person that I’m going to hire. It’s going to grow from here, and I’m excited. It’s fun. It’s fun. It’s hard work, but I’m having a good time. I’m making money. What more can you ask for?
Jim: That’s awesome.
Scott: Don’t let her fool you. I mean, she’ll be out there at 5 o’clock in the morning. I go to bed, and I get up at 7:45 at night, get ready for the next day. She’ll still be out there working.
Gerri: Working in my garage.
Scott: Yeah, in the garage. It’s nice to have it there, and then it’s also bad to have it there. Anytime she’s got a free moment, she’s out there working at it. It doesn’t come easy. Nobody said it was get rich quick. It doesn’t say get rich quick replens. It’s effort just like anything else that’s worthwhile. Her feet will hurt, her hands are sore, but we see the end game. That’s what people have to know. If you invest the time – you can invest the money, but if you don’t want to put the time in and it’s not in your heart, it’s not going to make it.
Jim: Yeah, everything worth having it’s going to require work. You guys haven’t had businesses – it really is. It’s a rare thing. It’s a beautiful thing when you find a model where if you put in the work you’re going to get the results. A lot of models, you can put in plenty of work, and it may or may not work out. I remember them teaching me in business school you got about a 10% chance of surviving those first three years. Why do I want to be an entrepreneur? That sounds crazy. When you do find a model where if you put in the work you get the results, if you follow the system you – pretty predictable strategy we’ve got going here. It’s a thing of beauty to entrepreneurs, and I think that’s what you guys recognized as entrepreneurs is that just because you decide to start a business doesn’t mean it’s going to work, and this one does.
Gerri: It does.
Jim: It’s still work.
Scott: It is work, but you don’t have to go looking for customers. That’s the nice part. You just have to find what they’re going to buy. That’s the part that you can control. A lot of this is just you can’t bring customers in. They’re everywhere on Amazon.
Jim: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been teaching, Scott, from day one, man. Twenty years ago, the first version of my book was, hey, all these platforms, you’re spending all this money attracting a crowd and saying, hey, come borrow our crowd. You don’t have to build your own crowd anymore. You don’t have to find your own customers anymore. That’s the beauty of these platforms. The risk, of course, is they own the platform, which is why we like multiple income stream strategies over the long term. You guys have certainly built an impressive business, and it’s an honor to get to know you guys a little bit. I can’t wait to see you in Tampa and your one hire as well. I want her there. I’d love to meet her. I’ll look for the four foot nothing, right?
Scott: That’s about right.
Jim: Oh, that’s great. I think I’m going to wrap it up here, guys. I think this was a tremendous episode.
Gerri: Thank you.
Jim: Very real and very authentic and very transparent, that’s what we do around here. We just share real stories of real people building cool businesses, and it’s always an honor to hang out with the listeners and the viewers. If you’re watching us on YouTube today, you should know you can go to silentjim.com anytime you want. You’re going to see a whole bunch of episodes that you’re not able to watch on YouTube because they’re audio only. We don’t put those on YouTube yet so hundreds of episodes actually, so go check those out. If you want to leave us a little help, we don’t ask for any payment, but we do say, hey, leave us a review, a thumbs up, follow us, like us, that sort of thing. Let us know what you thought by sending us an email. All the links as a reminder, SilentJim.com, you can go there, anything we talked about today. If we missed one, let us know. We’ll add it to the show notes.
God bless the business building warriors, and to my guests today, man, you guys were awesome. Thanks for being here.
Gerri: Thank you.
Scott: Yeah, thanks for having us.
Jim: It truly was an honor. To the business building warriors out there listening, you know we’ll have another great episode for you again real soon. Until then, God bless you. We’re in your corner. We’re here for you. Let’s keep growing together. Talk to you soon.
Announcement: Hey, before we go, just a quick thing. I wanted to remind you that Helium 10 has become a great sponsor of this show. They’ve got an offer exclusive for the audience, the listeners, the business building warriors of this community. If you go to Helium10.com and use the discount code SSMR, as in Silent Sales Machine Radio, you’ll get the tool that’s being used by over one million Amazon sellers at this point. They’re actively tracking over two billion different products on Amazon at any given time providing data and helping you make good decisions on what products you should and shouldn’t sell as well as an entire suite of products to help you run your entire Amazon business instead of piecing it together a little bit from here, a little bit from there. It’s a great tool. Many, many coaches on our team use it, the content creators. I know that Nathan, our coaching director, swears by it as well, so we were very excited to bring them on as a sponsor. Again, Helium 10, discount code SSMR and they’ll take good care of you. Hey, God bless you, business building warrior.
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