Linda: Hi, Jim, how are you?
Jim: I’m doing great. So glad to have you here.
Linda: Thank you.
Jim: I’d love to get right into your story. Let’s hear it.
Linda: Absolutely. I am very excited to have been invited, and I’ve listened to so many of them, and they’re super inspiring, so I’ve been working trying to scale to some of the fabulous stories that you have. My name is Linda. That’s what everybody calls me anyways, and I live in Texas, and I have been doing – I have been selling on Amazon for about a year now.
Jim: About a year, okay.
Linda: It’s been exactly a year, actually, since I started doing the Replens. Before that I tried other stuff, but it didn’t work out.
Jim: Started right out with Replens. That’s good.
Linda: I did. I did. After I took a couple months off to reset my mind and my approach, I started in June. Before that I had tried it for a month, but it was just not – I didn’t know what I was doing at all.
Linda: I’m married and I have three little girls who are my joy and my absolute drive to everything I do in my life. I hope one day to just be able to be here more for them.
Jim: Yeah. What are their ages? They were all under 10 if I remember correctly, right?
Linda: Yes, I have a nine-year-old, who is just a beautiful, smart little girl, and then I have my two four-year-olds, the twins, who are just little hurricanes in the house. They’re lovely, all three of them.
Jim: Is your nine-year-old like the second mom, like a babysitter?
Linda: She tries to be, but she’s – it’s been a rough year just being at home. She’s been doing this schooling here at home and been isolated, so she’s had a rough time.
Jim: Yeah. She’s social.
Linda: We’re hoping that will get better.
Jim: Misses being with her friends, huh?
Linda: She totally does, but we’re starting to slowly branch out.
Jim: What part of Texas are you guys in?
Linda: We are in the capital. We’re in Austin.
Jim: Which is Austin. There we go. We could’ve probably done a trivia and got a lot of people to give the wrong answer. Most people think of Dallas and Houston when they think of Texas.
Linda: Yes, the big cities, yeah. Austin is just a little in the middle and the capital, but most people don’t know that. A lot of people think of Dallas.
Jim: Yeah, you had to give me a minute to be honest. I would’ve had to think about it, but I think I would’ve got it right. That’s awesome. It’s good to have you here.
Linda: Thank you.
Jim: Okay, so talk us through your business. Take us wherever you’d like because most people listening to this – I’d say about half the people are brand new, don’t necessarily know what this Amazon thing’s all about. They’re thinking about it.
Jim: The other half are doing what you’re doing. They’ve built something and they’re scaling it up. Let’s hear some tips and strategies for them, too, so go wherever you’d like.
Linda: Sure. I’m absolutely going to go with my very first exposure to Amazon selling. I saw something on YouTube or just scrolling through the media and so I got this idea to create this blanket and sell it, and I was just going to sell a bunch of them because they’re so cute, and parents always want to buy stuff for babies, so I actually created a milestone blanket, which just says like one, two, three to 12 months, and you’re supposed to use it as a photo prop.
Jim: You created your own product. That was your first exposure.
Linda: I did. I designed it, and it’s two-sided, and the other side has milestones like I sat for the first time or my first tooth, whatever.
Jim: First steps. Okay, I got you. You had this made. How many of them did you have made?
Linda: Only 200.
Jim: Two hundred? Okay.
Linda: Yes, and so I looked up on YouTube how to contact somebody overseas, have it done, shipped to me. This was right before COVID craziness started. In December I received them of 2019. I had no idea what I was doing. Obviously, now I know. I didn’t even know it was called private label back then. I’ve sold some, but honestly, I have still some in my garage, and I’ve given some as gifts.
Jim: How many are in your garage? How many?
Linda: Probably, I would say 120, and I’ve sold about 40, but I’ve never advertised or did any of that stuff, so I sold a lot locally. I think they would do really well if I could just decide to advertise, but I just haven’t because then I got into the Replens, and I just didn’t want to give that energy to that when I could do it to the Replens model.
Jim: Yeah, the Replens took off for you.
Linda: Yeah, it did.
Jim: Do you want to kick around a couple ideas on getting rid of those last few blankets?
Linda: I might advertise at some point, and I think they would sell.
Jim: I’m thinking – I’m glad you didn’t by 5,000 because that’s a different kind of sad story. We run into a lot of people who have done that. They can’t park their car in their garage now kind of stories.
Linda: I’ve heard.
Jim: Those are just – it’s just heartbreaking when that’s someone’s first exposure, but you got a small enough taste to know that’s not what I want to do, but you’ve got 100 of them or so left. I would suggest – just a few random – because I think this is going to apply to some other people too. You may have thought of these ideas, but this is for the listener too. Facebook Marketplace is phenomenal, and you can ship there now if you didn’t know that. eBay is another one. Have you thought of Etsy possibly as another one?
Linda: I haven’t. I think I have it on eBay, but I don’t think I’ve ever sold any of them there. I’ve only sold them on Amazon.
Jim: Another thing to try on eBay, too, if you haven’t done it is to put together a bulk lot of them, inexpensive. Someone sees it as a business opportunity like oh, I could sell – I could buy those as a bulk lot. It’s another little idea for you.
Linda: I never thought of that.
Jim: I’m not the best at solving this problem because typically if someone listens to us from day one, they never go down that road.
Linda: Right, yes, and so that’s what happened.
Jim: We have them put money in the bank.
Linda: That’s what happened to me. Then I’m just really busy. I did have two full-time jobs, and I was just like okay, fine, that didn’t work. It wasn’t a huge investment. Then I figured if I really put my mind to it, they will, but I just stay busy with other stuff. Then I think it was, yeah, 2020, February or January, when I somehow ran into Silent Sales Machine information on a site in Facebook that I was looking at, side hustles. I purchased the program. This was really before the pandemic started, and I started reading testimonials and just listening to the podcast, and I was like okay. Then I realized I was going backwards on my initial approach of trying to do private label, which had a name now, and I bought – I purchased another item still not knowing everything very well, and I started – I listed it, and I got my very first IP validation with that one item.
Jim: Oh, no. Your first product you got an IP. Yeah, if you get excited and just go grab stuff – wow, look, this is hot. Yeah, you can get yourself in –
Linda: That’s what I did.
Jim: I’m sorry.
Linda: There was one seller historically. I had never heard of Keepa yet. I had heard of it but never looked into it, so then I got discouraged and I stopped like immediately. I only did it for like a week, and then I stopped. I was like maybe this is not for me. I should stick to healthcare because I’m a nurse, and I studied the PAC for a couple of months just here and there. I work overnights. Sometimes I have slow times, and I just pop in my headphones and watch videos. In June, I decided to try again.
Jim: That’s quite a break.
Linda: Yeah, I took – yeah, June 2020.
Jim: From winter to summer, you took a break.
Linda: Yes, and March was when I got – February is when I got my IP because I remember March 13 being that pandemic day for me because it’s when I went on vacation, and then I didn’t go anywhere from work. I had like two days off – two weeks off of vacation. That started March 13th, and we never left the city, so for me, that’s when the pandemic really started, and so that’s – it was February, late February when I got the IP, and then in June I decided to start with the Replens products, and that’s when it just took off.
Jim: Just to recap a little bit, you bought the Proven Amazon Course, studied a little bit, got enough to be confident, went out and bought a product. It crashed and burned, and you gave up for a few months.
Linda: Yes, I was –
Jim: Then you got back into the Replens module that’s in the Proven Amazon Course, and that’s where we pick up our story now after taking a little break, being a little frustrated.
Linda: Yeah, I was being a little impatient. I was being impatient.
Jim: I’m hearing a strike one, strike two story, like the blankets, not a good experience. Your first Replen – because you only got I’m guessing about 20% of the way through the content and like oh, I’m going to go do this.
Linda: Yep, exactly.
Jim: Then you went through it, and we really do recommend – this is a good place Linda for me to maybe interject. With the Replens, it’s one of the few modules where we say go all the way through it before you do it because there’s a lot of little pieces we want to tack on to your strategy before you jump in with both feet and get excited. That’s one of the modules. Some of the modules in there – there’s a couple dozen modules of ways to make money on Amazon, but some of them are like hey, as soon as you start, do it in real time. Do it with the course. Not Replens. Go all the way through it.
Jim: How long did it take you to go all the way through it?
Linda: I actually took April and May to just really, really absorb what I was watching. I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of the PAC.
Jim: Oh, no, you’ll never go all the way through the PAC. I meant just the Replens module. I haven’t been all the way through. It’s being updated constantly and added to constantly. There’s content I haven’t had a chance to get to that’s been added in from our great team. You’ll never get all the way through the PAC, but the Replens module specifically, that strategy, how long did that take you?
Linda: I would say honestly and completely watch the whole thing, it took me a whole month to watch the whole thing. By the time I started, I had watched there: Amazon Basics, 101, and the Replens. Those were the three that I had under my belt fully and grasping the concept only to realize I really didn’t quite grasp it yet until June when I started in June.
Jim: I got you. I just wanted to give people an idea. I think the modules you just named, which is the basic, the beginner stuff, starting assuming you know nothing and then going through the Replens module, I think it’s about 8 to 10 hours of content, but if you take your time and absorb it and review it, it can easily turn into more. We’ve had some people pick it up over a weekend. We’ve had other people it takes them six months visiting it on time to time. Pace yourself.
Linda: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I have two full-time jobs, so I didn’t really know if I still wanted to do it.
Jim: Got three kids.
Linda: Yeah, but I had purchased the PAC so I was like I’m going to look into this a little more, and I just did little by little. Even when I started up, I was in doubt of myself and my abilities and what I was doing and was this real, everything. I was just cautious when I really started in June.
Jim: Can we spend a little time on that? Is that okay, Linda?
Jim: The confidence. It’s been a long time since I was there 20 years ago, since I was like can you actually really make money online? I’ve been doing it for so long, I feel like I’m a little out of touch with those first few months of convincing myself this is actually legitimate. What is it that pushed you over the edge with this busy mom, three kids, two jobs? I’m going to carve some time out. I truly believe this could work. What factors went into helping you make that decision?
Linda: I went to barbecue with my – a lady that took me in when I was a teenager, and I was telling her about – she works at Amazon, the warehouse, and I was telling her about what I was trying to do, and she was like that’s just not for me. I have the mindset that you’re supposed to go to work, eight hours, come back home, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I had that mindset. My 12 hours at the hospital and then back home. This is just life. You go to work, and you come home.
I realized now I have this – I just was very doubtful. I had these two failures, but I was very driven by me wanting to have something that was more in my control. I really didn’t think I could. Having your own business is just not something that occurs to people. It’s not in your grasp, especially when you don’t have huge amounts of money, so I did have my doubts whether this was going to work, and what pushed me over the edge was watching the testimonials in the Facebook group and listening to the podcasts and then I thought why not me.
Jim: I love it.
Linda: Why can’t I do this? There’s nobody telling me I can’t except myself. I had to overcome my self-doubt to be able to just try it a third time.
Jim: Good for you.
Linda: To be honest, from then to now, I have had a full mental shift that I’m guessing a lot of people get at some point where you just think I can do – I can do anything. If I can do this, I can just make anything work for me. Why not me? Why not me?
Jim: Yeah, there’s – it reminds me a little bit of – I’ve talked a couple times on the podcast in the past, all the things you have to unlearn from a traditional education. I’m not anti-education. I’m not anti any of that kind of school, this kind of school, but there’s a lot of messages that are pounded into us just from our culture.
Jim: One of my favorite examples is failure is bad. Yeah, who would disagree with that? Failure is bad. Of course, failure’s bad. No, in the internet business failure’s beautiful because it costs you a couple dollars. Fail 50 times a day if you can because that’s how you test. If you’re not failing constantly, you’re never going to know what actually works, so fail small and fail frequently. I thought failure was bad. No, failure is beautiful, right? That’s just one of a bunch of different examples I could give. We have to do that mindset shift and it sounds like you did that.
Linda: I agree. I agree 100%.
Jim: It’s not an easy thing to do.
Linda: No, it’s not. The couple failures that I had just made me – I’m just competing with myself all the time and just trying to prove myself a point. I’m never competing with anybody else. I know that comparison is the theft of joy, but with me I’m always just trying to best myself. I just couldn’t bring myself to just walk away from it because I’ve seen how it can be successful. I just thought I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I have so far. Now I just need to get to the point where I can just be – grow more. I think I’m there. I need to grow.
Jim: You absolutely are. This is a great next step. You shared with me you’re an introvert. I am too. Here you are on a podcast and you’re inspiring other people. These are all great steps in the right direction. I do have one question. Was there a certain testimonial that stood out to you? You said some of the testimonials. Is there any one story that pushed you over the edge or resonated with you, or was it just the accumulation of all of them?
Linda: It was an accumulation, and towards the end, it was Oscar.
Jim: Oscar Mutombo. Love those episodes. I was just on the phone with him a couple days ago.
Linda: Yeah, he’s so humble, and I identify with him because I am such a hard worker. I have my work ethic is impeccable. Nobody can dispute that. I will work. I will work, work, work. I am just full on. Like I said, two full-time jobs, my three kids, and Amazon at this point. I just love working. I love being productive. It just makes me the self-satisfaction that is like nothing else.
Jim: Yeah, his work ethic is incredible and inspirational for sure. I’ll have to put a link to his two podcast episodes in the show notes for this one, but he sent me a gift actually. His former job was designing – this is a microphone. I’ve got the one I use here. My sound guy said I sound better on this one than this one, but this was a really cool gift from Oscar. It’s sitting right here, so I popped it up, but he designed – he’s an engineer. Super smart, sharp guy, designs podcasting microphones for a living.
Linda: That’s amazing.
Jim: Left that job and is making more money working with his wife and his kids, and they’ve paid off their house.
Linda: I read that. That’s amazing.
Jim: It’s just beautiful. Selling on Amazon. How can you not be inspired by dozens and dozens – actually hundreds of recent stories like that? I can do this.
Linda: Yeah, and not only that, but I love how he just goes on there and responds to almost everybody. He comes across as being a very humble hard worker, and I just enjoy listening to his successes. Everybody’s, but it’s just I know he’s been at it hard.
Jim: While we’re bragging on Oscar – not to change the subject, but there’s a point to this about Oscar. I lost my dad in December, which was a terrible loss for our family. Oscar made a 4+ hour drive just to show up and be there to support our family. We’ve known each other for a good several months now, but – it’s been a couple years, actually, but we’ve gotten pretty close in the last year, so yeah, I love him. To be surrounded by dozens of high-quality people like that in this community that truly care, yeah, it’s a huge blessing. I love that you brought him up. He’s going to be in Tampa with us. Are you coming to Tampa in July next month?
Linda: I can’t. My nursing job is not very flexible.
Jim: Can’t make it? Too much going on. Make it a goal the next time. We would love to have you there, but Oscar’s going to be there presenting and speaking, so I brought it up. The Proven Conference.
Linda: I would love to.
Jim: You’ll get there.
Linda: I would love to. Unfortunately, my position that I have there’s nobody who can replace me right now, so it’s just impossible for me to go.
Jim: I got you. Tell us as briefly as you’d like or with as much detail as you’d like what it is you do as a nurse. I thought that was pretty fascinating.
Linda: I have like I said my two jobs. One of them is I’m a nurse supervisor for a rehab place, people go after having strokes or heart attacks, and they go to rehab their body to be able to go back to their level or close to their level of independence at home, so we try to help them as best we can to achieve that. We had a lot of COVID people, Covid infected people. Then my other – my second full-time job is what we call SANEs. SANEs stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, and what that basically entails is that when somebody is assaulted, law enforcement will bring them to us so we can make sure they’re okay. Number one because we’re nurses, we want to make sure their body is okay and no trauma is detected, and then we also do evidence collection, pictures, a forensic interview, and all this turns into evidence for a potential court case if there is one.
Jim: Criminal trial, yeah. That’s incredible.
Linda: Yeah, where there is trauma –
Jim: I’ve seen those people in movies and TV shows. I’ve never met one before. There’s really people out there with that job. Your life is just built around serving.
Linda: Yes. We go through a lot of trauma-informed training to make sure that the experience is the least traumatic possible for our patients. We’ve built a very nice little program where patient is 100% comfortable with us. We make sure that we give them some of their power back.
Jim: That’s incredible. God bless your work. I love the wide diversity of backgrounds. We get doctors and law professors and people who were trash collectors a few weeks ago. We’ve all gathered around this theme of, you know what, I’m going to build something on my own from home with the time that I’ve got. I always love hearing that background, so thanks for sharing.
Linda: Absolutely. Selling in Amazon has turned into a wonderful outlet for my anxieties and probably PTSD that I have from this work. It’s a very nice distraction that is not nursing related and it’s just very – once you figure it out, it’s simple. Just simple work.
Jim: It is.
Linda: It’s a lot of work but it’s nice and simple. I welcome it into my mind because my mind is just always going.
Jim: Sure, always going. Always going.
Jim: Let’s talk about your business a little bit. I want to hear more details about how it’s going.
Linda: It’s going great. My goal is always to best my previous month’s numbers. I’ve been able to do that just month over month. I mainly source from one store. I do go to others if I can, but most of the items I found coming from one regional store. That’s working out so very well for me, but I already feel like I’m reaching a point where I just either make a shift or I’m just going to be locked away somewhere along the way.
Jim: Like it might level off if you don’t find more sources soon.
Linda: Yes. I mean, I’m sure that – I think there’s a lot of stuff. I haven’t even scratched the surface on items, but I’m talking more in terms of maybe hiring a prepper or a shopper or some outsourcing something because I know it’s just mainly – but every month, I’ve been besting it. Right now, I think I’m about – this month, I’m hoping to get about 30K in sales.
Jim: Nice. It’s just you doing all the – okay.
Linda: We have movie night once a week and my significant other and I we prep and pack.
Jim: That’s beautiful.
Linda: I go shopping and everything myself.
Jim: You do have some help. Okay because I was starting to do the math in my head and I’m thinking, okay, this lady has two full-time jobs and she’s doing 30K a month in a replens.
Jim: You got to have some help somewhere. Either that or you never sleep.
Linda: No, I never sleep. I suffer with insomnia but yeah, I do all the shopping myself and prepping and stuff.
Jim: We got to get that healthy. We got to get it sustainable. Wow. Do you ever imagine yourself giving up one of your two full-time jobs? Do you have specific goals there?
Linda: Honestly, to tell you the truth, based on my sales right now, I probably could give one of those up. I’m thinking I’m going to see how it goes from now until September maybe and make sure that it’s pretty same and then I might consider giving up probably my rehab job. My SANE work is where I feel like I’m most useful to humanity, I guess.
Jim: Needed, vital. Yeah, just vital. High-stress work nonetheless.
Jim: God bless you again for that. I told you before we started recording wow, that’s no joke kind of work.
Linda: I think I’ve been very well trained for it and I think I’m good at it. This is where I’m needed most, I guess, based on the two. Yeah, if the sales stay pretty same, which I’m hoping they’ll be higher, I will probably leave my rehab job.
Jim: Okay. That’s the goal. What do you think needs to happen to make that next move forward? I could think it through with you. Who are you planning to hire first? How are you planning to grow your numbers? Let’s talk through both of those real quick. What ideas do you have? I’ll tell you what I’m seeing working for some other people too.
Linda: I’m thinking about hiring a prepper or a shopper. I do not want to outsource the prepping to a prepping company just because I like to look at the stuff. I don’t know. That’s what I’ve been playing with right now. The shopping I think would be probably easier to do first if I have a good list to give somebody to go shopping with.
Jim: I would encourage you, if possible, that shopper makes – what I call a smart shopper meaning, they’re not just shopping but they’re equipped with the tools and the strategies that you’ve learned and they want a percent of your business. It’s like your own partner. You can give him a financial incentive to find new replens while they’re out doing what they do. That’s always the first hire I suggest. This is some Dave Ramsey advice from his book, EntreLeadership.
The first person you hire isn’t someone who does all the stuff you don’t want to do. It’s someone who, as he says, goes out, finds the bear and kills it, drags it back to the cave. You want someone else doing what you do, so they’re generating revenue and they’re paid from that new revenue they’re generating ideally. Now that doesn’t always necessarily work out but ideally, because I think a lot of people, their first hire is someone to prep because I don’t like prepping or someone to shop because I can save myself time. That’s easy to start. Just offloading all those. Suddenly you look at what you were earning, you’re like, I’m earning less now. What happened?
Linda: Right, right.
Jim: Just as a little word of caution there to maybe bring someone in. That first hire is one of the most important hires you’ll make because it sets the tone.
Linda: I just have a hard time letting go.
Jim: Oh, yeah. You’re going to have to get over that.
Linda: I work overnight and I normally will go and shop right after my 12-hour shift at 7:00 in the morning and then I’ll go shop. Because the stores at that time are just open. I love going when there’s not a lot of people.
Jim: You can still do those things and you can still do the stuff that you love doing and enjoy doing. Another book I don’t mention very often is, The E-Myth. Have you ever read that by any chance?
Jim: E-Myth talking about the entrepreneur myth. It’s a good book by – who’s Gerber? Michael Gerber, maybe, I think. If I got the name right. Good book. It talks about the skillset and the mindset you need if you’re going to transition from being a technician or an expert at your business to being an owner of that business.
Linda: Yes. My transition I have to make after a transition of, yes, I can. I think that’s the next one. We bought a home in 2019. I still can’t get out of that renter mentality. Yes, a lot of learning that has to happen on my end.
Jim: Yeah. Mindset covers so many topics, doesn’t it?
Linda: It does.
Jim: The way you see money. The way you see your time. The way you see your role as a mom. Just mindset. It’s a slow shift. It’s a gradual journey. I think consuming the right content, this podcast, the great books from other great business leaders – right now, you’re inspiring some people who are well behind you in their journey. I think they’re saying, wow, okay. This lady had two full-time jobs. One of which is very intense, the other one’s pretty intense, three kids. If she can do this, I can squeeze this in.
Right now, you’re inspiring others and you’re going to become an example. There’s others who are further than we are that we can look at and learn from as well and that’s how you sharpen and shape your mindset overtime, I think. $30,000 a month in sales, that’s no joke. That’s $1,000 a day average in sales. I know about what that is as far as the number of products. 100 products or so a day thing, ballpark. Maybe some days 70, some days 120. That’s a lot of stuff moving, right?
Jim: What are your margins?
Linda: I try to stick to 30% margin on items. Then my overhead is not really crazy. I have Keepa and Seller Central and that’s all I use at this point.
Jim: Wow. Okay, hold up. I love it because the podcast episode I just released today was about how all you need is Keepa. Seriously, you only have Keepa? You don’t have any other software?
Linda: Nothing else.
Jim: You have $1,000 a day.
Linda: Seller Central.
Jim: Seller Central is free. That’s Amazon’s free app.
Jim: You’re not using InventoryLab.
Linda: 39.99 a month.
Jim: Wow. I love it. You are at the point where you probably could consider using some other tools. RevSeller, InventoryLab possibly. Some things that will make your life easier and pay for themselves very quickly. The fact that you’ve gone to this level that quickly with just Keepa, which costs $17 a month, yeah, that’s amazing. I think I may have the title for our episode actually.
Linda: I’ve been thinking about repricer. I don’t even know – I wondered what it would do for my sales.
Jim: No repricer. Are you manually repricing your items?
Linda: I do. I don’t go in there as often as I probably should. Maybe once every eight days or nine days I’ll go in there and just check to see where they’re at in the list of other sellers. That’s just because of time constraints. I often fantasize about what all I could do if I just had more time.
Jim: Oh, yeah. There’s a great module in the private Facebook group for replens sellers. Are you in there? The private Facebook group for replens sellers, the 0 to 100 group.
Linda: I’m in the replens group, yeah.
Jim: Okay, you are. Cool. There’s a module in there –
Linda: I forgot about that one. That one too.
Jim: Yeah. You’re paying, what is it? $9?
Linda: Yes, yes, yes, that too. Seller Central, replens and that, yeah.
Jim: There’s a repricer module you need to go through and I guarantee at the price level you’re at, it’s going to more than pay for itself within a few days.
Linda: That’s what I keep hearing.
Jim: Yeah. It’s just a matter of sitting down and getting it turned on.
Linda: Exactly. Setting it up and that’s, I think, for me my – I’ll get through it at some point.
Jim: It’s pretty step-by-step. It will be one of the simpler processes you’ve gone through. Yeah, at the point where you’re making even a couple $100 a day in sales. You’re probably ready for a repricer. We’ve got a good training in there for you.
Linda: I’d love to do that.
Jim: Yeah, you need to do that for sure as probably the next step. That and then hire a smart shopper as I call them. Someone who can go shop and buy stuff on the list but they’re also looking as they shop.
Linda: I’ve probably gotten everything going on. I’d be shopping, I’ll get maybe one or two and that’s how I’ve built up.
Jim: Yeah, while you’re out. That’s what I like to do too. I look at it as more – while I’m out looking for new replens, I’ll shop as well because I’m familiar. We’ve got a shared spreadsheet our team uses, so any of us could shop anytime. It’s like, hey, when you’re out shopping for your family, pull out the shared spreadsheet. This is what we need. It’s really fun.
Linda: When I started, I really was not – I just come out for my one single item. It was getting very clear to me in the frustration and the hopelessness like, how are these people getting all this stuff. I can’t find one single one. It’s really humbling.
Jim: Yeah, it’s frustrating at first.
Linda: Yeah, you get over that hump and then you just start realizing that every single item – I always think every single item on here is a dollar. It has a dollar sign on it. If it’s in the market, it’s because somebody will buy it somewhere.
Jim: Yeah, it’s part of a bundle or a multipack or something. It’s very rare that there’s an item – you can put them all – I’ve never done this before. Maybe you can do this with me, Linda. You can put every product on the shelf into one of three categories or one of a handful of categories. One of them is, awesome replen. Let’s test it. Another one is, for some reason this product isn’t allowed on Amazon or isn’t on Amazon. Let’s ignore it. The other category might be, well, it’s on Amazon but I can’t find a profitable ASIN to attach this product to. Does it make sense?
Jim: I look to the one pack or the two pack or the three pack and none of them are priced. Keepa doesn’t look good. Those are really the three – literally, every product on the shelf falls into one of those categories. Once you realize that, it’s like, I just got to figure out which one it is.
Linda: Exactly. Then you can just go a little further and say, this one doesn’t have a profitable ASIN, maybe I can turn it into one by bundling it or whatever.
Jim: Exactly. If you’re willing to create your own listings which again, Jimmy never does. I mean, he’s our leading replens trainer. He never creates new listings.
Linda: I have a whole list in my head of these things.
Jim: Have you created some?
Linda: No. Just a blanket.
Jim: It’s just hard to find the time, yeah.
Linda: Yeah. I don’t have time. I don’t have time. I thought of a few that I would do and there in there somewhere in the list of things to do.
Jim: Creative bundles. Right, right. What’s your strategy for finding new replens? Just talk me through it. If I gave you two hours and said, find as many as you can, what would you do?
Linda: I would just go to the store.
Jim: Yeah, me too.
Linda: Honestly, to me, I am going through stuff and something will just catch my eye. I will check it, then it will be yes or no. Then I just start looking at other stuff around it. Most of the stuff that I have has been going down a rabbit hole. I found one replens that was good and then I started looking at related stuff. Before I know it, that 1 has turned into 10. When I’m at the store shopping, like I said, something will catch my eye. I’ll look at it. No. Then the one next to it. No. The next one, no. Then I’ll get the yes. Then I’ll look at whatever’s related to that one. That’s my strategy. Honestly, I would love to be able to just OA because some things they do have downtime but I can’t.
Jim: Yeah, you said you’d like to be able to do OA.
Linda: I’d like my brain to start doing it and I take pictures of stuff. Then I start other stuff like oh, let me do this and oh, let me look at the kids, or whatever.
Jim: Yeah, I think everybody has their preferences but nothing beats – and I know I’ve talked with Jimmy, our replens content creator, the course creator. It doesn’t matter what tool you use, what strategy you use, what slick process, when it comes to finding replens, it’s really hard to beat just going to the store. Just going to the store because the stuff’s right there. A tool can say, oh, this is a hot potential replens. Good luck finding it. Where can I buy this? Once you do buy it, it’s like, oh, online. Two weeks shipping. I don’t want to take two weeks to test replen. I have to send in and wait two more weeks to see if it worked because it’s how long it takes Amazon to check it. A month from now. No, I want to list it right now. I can list it FBM while I’m in the store.
Jim: Before I check it out.
Linda: Yeah, I type in the names. I don’t –
Jim: Yeah, the brand names.
Linda: Yes. Just the brand name and I just see what comes out.
Jim: That’s a great tip. Don’t scan bar codes.
Linda: No, I have realized how much stuff you miss by doing that.
Jim: Yeah. Oh, you missed.
Linda: Then you type it in and it’s like, there’s ten of them.
Jim: Yeah, so many of them. That’s beautiful. You’re just using Amazon.
Linda: Yeah, Amazon and Keepa.
Jim: Obviously, yeah.
Linda: If I’m iffy I’ll use it at the store but if it looks really good then I’ll check it when I’m at home.
Jim: Oh, that’s great. I would really love to get you connected with RevSeller. Is it okay if I just get you free RevSeller? I think it’s going to change your life because it helps – as you’re sitting there looking at the item, you know instantly your ROI for FBA and FBM for both. You’re going to make a great decision based on the current buy box price, right?
Linda: Yeah. That’s why I like Seller Central because you just plug in the numbers.
Jim: I think you’re really going to like RevSeller. Actually, Nathan, the guy that founded that, we were the first community he rolled it out to, and we had bunches of people. I have yet to run into anybody that said, eh, I could live with or without RevSeller. Once they see it, because it pops up on amazon.com –
Linda: Is that the one that is – it’s on replens, right?
Jim: Yeah. It’s in the replens training. You’ll see it all over. It just pops up right below the title. If you’re on amazon.com, it pops up and just gives you all kinds of information about the ASIN you’re looking at. You get that and Keepa –
Linda: I think I bought it but never installed it.
Jim: You never installed it, RevSeller?
Linda: I think I bought a year thing.
Jim: Yeah. If you have gone to provenamazoncourse.com/revseller, R-E-V-S-E-L-L-E-R.
Linda: I think I got it.
Jim: It’s a Chrome extension.
Jim: If you don’t already have it, it’s on me, okay?
Linda: Yeah, thank you. I think I do, but thank you so much. I think I do and I forgot.
Jim: You’re going to love it. You’re going to totally love it. Trust me. Once you install it one time, you don’t have to do anything else again. Every time you’re looking at a product on Amazon, it’s giving you great information especially for replens sellers.
Linda: I’m going to try it, yeah.
Jim: Once someone has Keepa, I say the next thing you probably need is RevSeller so you can make faster decisions.
Linda: Yes. Fast decisions are important when you’re at the store because I can’t be there for hours. I wish I could. I could, I just – I’m not able to.
Jim: I think the next step for you is to train somebody else to do what you do. Just imagine someone out there with a profit incentive to find – because they’re going to get a cut of the profit. Theyre growing the business while you’re doing God’s work as a nurse. The business is growing.
Linda: I’ve been trying to.
Jim: You’ll find a new replens.
Linda: I’ve been trying to get my significant other more involved. I think I come up with these ideas that are so off the wall to some people. They’re just, yeah, I don’t know what you – but my mom, who works at the Amazon warehouse actually is now wanting to learn. She’s coming on Thursday to watch me.
Jim: Really? That’s beautiful. I love working with family. I used to be hesitant about it, but the longer I’ve done this, you want to work with family because family, you’re always going to run into difficult, ugly, hard to navigate situations. Why not be building something positive together. Yeah, there’s going to be ugly, difficult, challenging things that happen no matter what with family. Why not be building something together too while you run into what life throws at us?
Jim: Yeah, get mom involved. My family’s very involved in all of this stuff to the degree that they’re interested –
Linda: Absolutely. I’ve been trying to bring it to her for months. She’s not my mom. She’s the lady that’s had me as a teenager.
Jim: God bless her.
Linda: I talk to her because I see how much she works. Finally, she said, “Okay, I’ll try it.” I’m going to walk her through the beginning of her journey.
Jim: That’s great. This is the one that works at the Amazon warehouse you were talking about earlier.
Jim: The story circles. It loops back to her.
Linda: Yes. She’s a teacher and then on the weekends she’s in Amazon. She works twice a week and I’ve been trying to tell her, try this, try this.
Jim: She might have some really good instincts too. Wow, I see this stuff flying off the shelves at the warehouse.
Jim: I think we need to try checking it out. Yeah, get her instincts going. One of the things you said that jumped out at me – I don’t think I’ve ever dove in with one of our podcast guests on this phrase but I’ve heard it many, many times. I know it happens to me too when I’m looking for replens is, you said, something just jumps out at me. I know how I would quantify that. What do you mean by that? Because if I’m looking at a wall of products, what things make you go like, I think I’m going to check this one out versus the other 150 products that you could take three steps and grab. What is it that makes it pop? I know we develop these instincts and at times, Linda, I’ve said, that’s a good replens before I even run it. I check it, sure enough, it is. What is that?
Linda: When I first started, I was so overwhelmed and it was just so hard for me to think that – how am I going to get through all these things? Somewhere along the way, there was this shift in my brain where I go and I look at things and I’m walking and it will just be like, the title of something or just the visual presentation of something that makes it stand out. I mean, there’s hundreds of items but once in a while you just see one that attracts your attention. I learned to stop looking at stuff that I would use only. When I first started, I would just think about my little bubble of things that I buy for my house which is helpful because some of my bestsellers have been stuff that I buy for my house.
I had to learn how to branch out into stuff that I don’t know anything about. It just catches my eye and I’m curious. What is this? Not anything I’ve ever seen. Not anything I’ve ever bought for myself. I’ll look at it and I’ll read it and would be like, looks interesting. Then I’ll just check it. How that shift happen, I don’t know. I heard that it happened and I thought it was never going to happen with me, but it does. I think it’s just the way it looks and what its function is to me that may appeal from a more general way. Not necessarily a subjective way but objectively.
Jim: I think some of what I think starts to kick in – see if this resonates with you, Linda. For me, I was taking a walk downtown with my wife. Just walking around town, enjoying downtown, and we stopped in a little gas station to get a couple of drinks. As I’m scanning, just looking for an unhealthy snack on the shelf, my eye caught a handful of items that I’ve never seen before. We were on a date. I wasn’t going to stop and be that guy and do some replens research. I probably should have taken a picture. In my mind, I’m thinking, those are probably great replens because I’ve never seen them before. Who would buy that? It’s professionally packaged and obviously it’s an established brand, but I’ve never encountered it before and that’s gold.
You’d have to look at a lot of products but really, we all are looking at products constantly. It’s the same advice we give people when they sell books, which is, we’re not as excited about selling books as new sellers used to be because Amazon’s storage costs have risen so dramatically. If you’re willing to ship them yourself, it’s still a great niche to get into. Not as good as replens by a longshot. The advice we always give on books is, if you look at the title and you think to yourself, I don’t think I would ever read this, I don’t know anybody who would actually read this, who would ever pick this up? Those are the good books.
Linda: Yes. That’s what I mean, if it’s in the market, it’s because somebody’s buying it.
Jim: Exactly. Yeah, yeah. If you pick up a book and it’s like, everyone’s heard of this author. They actually made two movies about it. That’s a terrible product. The brands everybody’s heard of and it’s – although there’s good replens there. I’m shocked at the replens that we found on stuff that right now, anybody could go to any store literally, any grocery store and pull it off the shelf right now and turn $3 into $22.
Jim: They’re out there. They’re everywhere.
Linda: Yes. Alice is the lady. I told her, just stop with that. I’m going to tell you right now. I have tried to stop figuring it out why or how.
Jim: Yeah. It’s a waste of time. Why would anybody ever put that much money for this? They could go to Walmart, right?
Linda: Yes. I don’t question that anymore. It was a barrier for me to finding more items because I would talk myself out of stuff. I had to stop doing that. Wondering the why, who or what or how because I always buy a couple things thinking this is the way that anybody’s ever – one example is the candy. I was at the store with my nine-year-old and she even tried to help. She does actually help. Picks up this candy and says, “Hey, Mommy. How about you sell this?” First time she ever makes a suggestion. I get it and I just scanned it real quick and there was one listing for $27 for three packs. I was like, there’s no way. Then I thought, I need to encourage and support her in this. I bought three packs of them. I was like, yeah, we’ll send it. Let’s go. I sent it and they were actually sold immediately. Immediately.
Jim: Wow, I love that.
Linda: Yeah, the cost of each pack was 89 cents. I don’t know. I’m just not even going to question it.
Jim: There’s a lot of regional products. I used to find this all the time when I lived in city X. Now I’m in city Z and they don’t have it anywhere. I want it. They don’t care about the price. I mean, that’s a very real thing.
Jim: The number of times where I’ve heard it’s either a spouse or a friend or you’re out sourcing with somebody like, hey, ever thought of this. You roll your eyes like, yes. I’m the professional here. I’m sure it’s nothing but we’ll test it just to humor you and like, holy cow, you just found a gold mine.
Linda: I have one of those. A gold nugget the last three months has been my best seller and it was just something that was asked of me from the store since I was going sourcing anyway. I was like, I can’t keep it stocked. I didn’t even send it in FBA anymore because it’s just selling too fast.
Jim: It’s flying. You just spend a lot of time doing some of your own fulfillment too then?
Linda: All of it.
Linda: Yes, I do. I have 30 shipments today that I have to go through. I don’t do it though because it’s too much.
Jim: Wow. We owe you $250 just for the time that you’ve spent with us today. That’s how much you would have made if you’d been working.
Linda: It’s an easy day today.
Jim: This is so great. What a delight? I’m excited. If I was your coach, I’m like, I can’t wait for that next session. Here’s your homework because you’re sitting on a gold mine of opportunity to lower the number of hours you’re working and double your business. There’s so many little things – simple things. A repricer, that first hire of someone that’s going out. You talked about prepping and not wanting to use a prep center. Some very specific advice. You don’t need to use a prep center and send your stuff all over the country. Find a neighbor. Maybe it’s a single mom that’s struggling with a couple of part-time jobs. Hey, in the evenings, make an extra 12, 15 bucks an hour. Are you interested? Put tape on boxes. Then instead of dropping it off in your own garage, you’re dropping it off three doors down at your friend’s house.
Linda: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking about because sometimes my inventory sits here and then waits around for one day to the next and people are just going crazy here.
Jim: Yeah, yeah. Get it out of your house. It doesn’t mean you have to send it across the country. Send it to a neighbor and maybe that neighbor is your shopper too. Why not?
Linda: I have two. Once I have one less job too, but I don’t want to invest in that if I don’t have the time to devote to it yet.
Jim: Yeah, all these things – everything I’m suggesting now, I promise you, Linda, you’ll get back to me afterwards and you’ll say, I should have done this so much sooner. Why did I wait? Why did I wait?
Linda: I already think that.
Linda: I already think that.
Jim: That’s the entrepreneur’s journey. There will always be a list of stuff that you’re going to check off and you’re going to say, once you do, why did I wait? Why is this so much better now? That’s the journey. That’s the journey. You’re doing a tremendous job, by the way. I always like pushing people. My instinct is to push them more than I encourage them, I think sometimes. You’re doing an amazing job.
Linda: Thank you.
Jim: You are inspiring a lot of people.
Linda: I’m amazed where we’re at. I remember thinking there’s no way I’m going to be able to sell $1,000. Then reaching that and then 5,000. I was like, oh my God.
Jim: With fourth quarter coming up.
Jim: You may need some help.
Jim: You’re going to need some help in time for fourth quarter because it sounds like you’re on top of some really hot ASINs. How many products do you have, by the way? I don’t think we mentioned that.
Linda: Right now, I have that are active, about maybe 90.
Jim: Oh, okay. Wow, yeah. You’ve really found some winners. That’s tremendous, 90 products doing 30K.
Linda: Yeah. I’m constantly cleaning stuff up. Bottom out, I’ll take them out and everything.
Jim: Yeah. Revisit them in three months or so. Do you do that? Do you go back and check them?
Linda: Yeah. Every two months, I’ll go in there and see what’s happening. I’ll try to check them out because then it becomes very burdensome.
Jim: I’m saying, once the price crashes or tanks or for some reason it doesn’t work anymore, typically, there’s a cycle to that, and you can ride that cycle.
Linda: I’m now noticing that, yes. I just write it down in an Excel sheet. That way I can revisit it down the road. Yes, I am. I’m learning the patterns now and that’s interesting.
Jim: One of the suggestions I make is, when you abandon an ASIN and like, oh, that’s just not any good anymore. I guess we’re done with it. Just put it on your calendar two months from now. Some random Monday. I use Google Calendar. Just drop it on there and that’s a reminder to check that ASIN. Done.
Linda: Yes. That’s why I keep the Excel sheet but I also – just for anybody that may be starting, I make sure that I do the inch deep mile wide. That way, when they do bottom up, it doesn’t hurt.
Jim: I’m glad you said that because in my head, I’m just assuming that everyone knows that that’s what replens is. Yeah, that’s exactly the model. At any given time, any of your products could vanish and you spend three seconds being disappointed then you go find 10 more.
Linda: Yeah, exactly.
Jim: That’s the gig.
Linda: Yeah, that’s definitely key to the business because I still see a lot of people just going all in on one item like I did at the beginning. I think that is –
Jim: Getting emotionally attached to one item and putting your eggs in that basket. The inch deep mile wide theme.
Linda: Yes. It’s something to be like, yeah, okay.
Jim: Great tip. Yeah. No emotional attachment whatsoever.
Linda: Absolutely. Absolutely, yeah. Keep going. It’s just moving and moving and moving.
Jim: As we start to wrap this one up, Linda, this was a great episode. Is there anything that you’d made a mental note that you wanted to be sure to share with the listeners or any tips or strategies? No pressure here but I always like to make sure to leave that door open for the last whatever thoughts you’ve got.
Linda: Yes. I have a very turbulent brain. I’m pretty sure that just my career itself has created all kinds of issues in my head, but I overthink. I am an overthinker. I am possibly a pessimist. I always think, what’s the worst thing that could happen first before I think about what’s the best thing that could happen. I let self-doubt jump in there every once in a while. I try not to but that’s just struggles that I have with myself. I’m going to say that the best thing I ever did was to send that first shipment. I feel was the biggest thrill that I had with the replens because everything else before that had been Merchant Fulfilled. It’s so intimidating but once you get good at the process of the first shipment, I feel that’s the biggest hurdle to then being able to just find and sell. If that makes any sense.
Jim: It absolutely does, yeah. Those intimidating first steps. Sometimes that period of intense focused effort that’s required or getting past those uncomfortable one-time hurdles.
Linda: Yes. I think just doing it is the best thing anybody can do aside from making the good choices on products. Actually looking, reading the listing and making sure it’s one pack or a two-pack. Just being careful with it.
Jim: Yeah, that’s a great final tip. Take action.
Linda: Absolutely. That’s the best thing I did. The best thing I did was take action.
Jim: What’s the next right thing? I imagine that’s part of – you deal with people in trauma. Business is trauma. No, it’s relatively minor trauma compared to what you’re dealing with but I’ve been around people in trauma situations enough to know that as they’re starting to heal that you’ve got to convince them, okay, what’s the next right thing. Don’t try to do a thousand things today. You can’t get them all done. What’s the next right thing? Get that done and that’s advice my dad used to give all the time as well. I’ve never said that before but I like it. Business is trauma. It’s risk. This could go wrong. It’s getting out of your comfort zone. It’s uncomfortable.
Linda: Even to myself.
Jim: Yeah, there’s a degree of trauma.
Linda: I got my first IP and it was discouraging but now I know. It was a great learning experience for me getting that IP. Now I know.
Jim: Yeah, that’s right. You’ve built an incredible business as a result. I think you’re going to have a team soon. I can’t wait to have you back. I don’t know if it will be six months, a year, whatever. You’d be like, hey, here’s how I grew my team. Here’s my new routine, right?
Linda: I’m excited.
Jim: Oh, it’s so exciting. I love it.
Linda: I’m excited. The possibilities are endless, right?
Jim: They really are. It’s so expansive and every time I think I’m the guy that gets to talk about how expansive it is, there’s somebody who out expands the way I was thinking. The fact that you’ve made any money at all online puts you in elite territory now. To where you could say, hey, anybody interested to learn how to make money online? I’m the one you need to talk to. You got a product, business, needs consulting, write a book, podcast, a mom’s group. The possibilities are endless now because you figured it out. You’ve cracked the code. I mean, think of it this way for a moment, Linda. Comparing the money you make between the three different income streams you have. You had to go to school for a long time and pass a lot of hard tests. Do a couple of those. This one you had to sit down for a few hours. Slightly uncomfortable content. You got through it. Getting ready to dwarf those other two, right?
Jim: Wow. Pretty incredible the opportunities that are here. Just from a number standpoint, right?
Linda: Absolutely, absolutely. I can make more.
Jim: I really appreciate having you on the show today, Linda. Thank you for your time.
Linda: Thank you too.
Jim: I’m going to talk to the listeners for just a second. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. I feel encouraged in just hanging out with Linda. I want to get more tips and strategies and ideas from her. I think she’s an upcoming leader for sure. I hope she inspired you as much as she inspired me today. This is just another episode of hundreds where we sat down with great people from our community. If you’re new to this podcast, you need to scroll back in time just a little bit. Check out some of the other great people. We’d love to have you leave us a review wherever you’re listening. A 5-star feedback, that sort of thing. We always appreciate that.
If you are watching us on YouTube right now, you need to realize, if you go to silentjim.com, you’re going to see a few hundred episodes like this one that we didn’t have a video camera turned on. It’s audio only. You want to go to silentjim.com/podcast. You can see those. All kinds of other links for today’s show. The stuff we talked about. We mentioned those other episodes of the podcast with Oscar and some of the other tools. We’ll stick all that in the show notes. Just visit the notes for this episode and you’ll see the links. You don’t have to write anything down that way. God bless you, business building warrior. We’re in your corner. We’ve got a community of 65,000 people in our Facebook group that are here to support you free. That’s another link in the show notes, so you can be encouraged by great people like Linda and others in our community with their stories. Hang out with us there if you’d like. We’d love to have you. We’ll have another really good episode for you again real soon. Thanks for your time.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to Silent Sales Machine Radio. Visit silentjim.com for a link to our free newsletter, our free Facebook group, and all of our resources mentioned on today’s show.