Jim: Good to see you; good to have you here, man. I want to get right into your story. Let’s hear it.
Mike: Yeah, my story is a little bit different from the others that have been on the podcast in one that I’ve been involved in Internet marketing or e-commerce since 1995. I started working for another company when I was 18 years old. I turn 44 next week, so it’s been quite the ride. I started off pretty much affiliate marketing and selling clicks on websites back in the mid-90s.
I actually was paid – some guy paid me from California. I was living in Florida. He paid me to quit college and come work for his company. I’d never met him. My parents were so upset. How can you go work for someone you don’t know, and trust them, and quit college? What are you doing?
Jim: Yeah, that was crazy territory. Those of us in the ‘90s who were figuring out ways to make money in the early ‘90s, make money on the Internet, we’re a very rare breed for sure. Yeah, you’re one of the pioneers, man. I love it.
Mike: Yeah, it was fun. The company was a small company, maybe five people. We ended up doing some developmental work for AT&T on a pocket net service where they did sports scores and odds and all that. That was a fun time through what we called the Wild West of the Internet and all of that. It was pretty good.
I branched off on my own. Let’s see, that was mid-90s I branched off on my own. In 2000, I started a development company where we did programming and website development and stuff for companies. I slowly started working on my own and getting away from people who were – getting away from people who are telling me what to do.
Jim: Yeah, building your own business.
Mike: Exactly; I really liked working for myself. I was fairly successful at it. However, I went through a divorce and went through some real rough times for a while and lost everything and started back down the connection route of who do you know. I was working in a sign shop for a while. This is 2006, 2007, so kind of lost it all.
Over the next four or five years, I really started to dive into e-commerce. I ended up working with an old connection. I ended up teaching myself, what was it – teaching myself supply chain and operations. This guy just needed some help figuring out products online.
I was an Internet sleuth, if you will. I liked searching, so he’s like, hey, why don’t you come on? I’ll pay you. Just help me figure out products, essentially private label, what everybody knows now as private label. They’re the guys that sell stuff on Instagram and Facebook and whatnot.
I did that for a while. It developed into a role as actually VP of product and supply chain for a company that ended up a private label product that in the day was a sugar-free chocolate. It was around the time of the keto diet and everything, so it really blew up. That’s what I did until March of last year.
It was getting pretty hot and heavy. This is where my story really starts to get exciting. It was getting hot and heavy in that I was working 18 to 20 hours a day. We were selling tons of product on the Internet and the stores started to want their product.
I’ve always been remote. Since 1999, I’ve worked from home, unlike a lot of people out there. Their business was getting so big that they decided, they said, hey Mike, we need you to move out to Arizona with us and work from the office. I said, whoa, I can’t do that. I don’t know how to do that. Driving into work, I’ve never had that.
My wife and I, we started planning and evaluating what we wanted to do with our life. Working in an office wasn’t it for me. Four or five months prior without really understanding anything about this COVID craziness or anything, we planned. We downsized to one vehicle. We started cutting our costs. We started realizing what truly mattered to us. To me, it’s spending time with family.
I didn’t mention I’m a father of – I’m married. I have three kids. I’ve got a 21-year-old, a 16-year-old, and a 7-year old. The two older ones are out of the house now and living with their mom in California. Then the seven-year-old I have with my current wife. We’re here. We like to do the things that I didn’t get a chance to do before; meaning we like to go hiking and spend time outdoors and all that.
Jim: Right, the flexibility. You truly value the flexibility, time spent with family. You built your life around that.
Mike: Yeah, and that’s changed. My son and I, we put together a little YouTube channel of our hikes and stuff like that and little we call them dad-ventures. That’s really where I wanted my life to go. I didn’t want to work more in an office of 16, 17 hour days, never see my family, but make a lot of money.
We decided to part ways with that company. They were great. I still talk to them today. I have a very good relationship with them. I left the first week of March 2020. We know what happened right after that.
Mike: I was out celebrating. I was camping in the middle of the Smoky Mountains when all the COVID craziness happened. After a week, we come back into one of the towns. I think it was Gatlinburg. It was like a ghost town. Imagine walking into Disney World at – after hours. There’s nobody there.
Jim: Yeah, during peak season in the middle of the day walking in. It was like twilight zone, right?
Mike: Yeah, it was completely crazy.
Jim: There’s nobody there. That’s crazy.
Mike: Yeah, for us, I think I left that job at the right time. It was a horrible time for the world and certainly the US economy but great for someone who’s trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life. I was able to take an extended vacation. I didn’t work for pretty much all of 2020 and just wanted to figure out what I wanted to do. We traveled, did road trips across the US. We just camped in every state. We did those fun things.
Then the fourth quarter came. It was like, well, what do I do? I started talking to a former business partner of mine. He pointed me to the MySilentTeam Facebook group. He pointed me to your podcast.
He was like, “Hey, there’s this course.” At the time, you had a special on just the replens module. He says, man, for whatever it was, $30 or something, he says, you can figure it out. “I’m doing $30, $40,000 a month. I think it’s legit.” He said, “I think it’s legit.” I said, “Okay, I’ll do that.”
On December 23, I bought the course. December 31st, I made my first sale. It was a FBM sale of a product that I did not have. I just looked at Walmart and said, oh, I can sell this. I listed the product. It sold like three hours later.
I was like, whoa. I tried running out to Walmart, buying a product on New Year’s Eve, at 10:15 at night. It was a little crazy. I went through that process. I ended up selling $12,000 in January of 2021 of pretty much that product, just like eight different ASINs of the same product.
Jim: Cool, I like that. That’s a good point to dig into just a little bit because some people think it’s about finding good products. It’s not as much; it’s about finding good ASINs. That’s one of the things we drive into your brain when you go through our content is you’re not looking for good products; you’re looking for good, winning ASINs. That product might be listed, the exact same product.
Amazon likes to think they have a nice clean catalog, but they don’t. One of my best sellers right now, for example, one of them that sells one or two a day is – the exact same product can be bought for less money using the same picture on another listing, but we charge more. Our listing gets plenty of activity as well. People buy it all day, every day. They like having it shipped from us for some reason. We’re selling it FBM and it just – it sells. I think we’re selling it FBA, too, actually.
There’s two listings for the same product, which Amazon could come along at any point and shut one of the down perhaps, I guess, but they haven’t. It’s been a year and a half. The other listing –
Mike: I like Amazon on both of the listings.
Jim: We’re not on the other one because the price is so low. There’s a good handful of sellers beating each other up every day on that low-ranked ASIN. On that, I should say – when I say low rank, I mean it ranks better than ours in a search. Ours is on Page Three, but enough people find it. There’s only us selling it right now at a higher price and people buy it.
Yeah, same product, different ASINs. That’s part of what we drilled into you. It sounds like you caught onto that lesson very quickly.
Mike: Yes, absolutely. I probably finished the course in two weeks. I think of the replens module, the 0 to 10,000 section of that, I probably binge-watched it like some people watch Lord of the Rings or whatever the current TV show is.
Jim: Yeah, you flew through it.
Mike: Yeah, I did. I didn’t really think I needed the other stuff yet. Anybody taking the course, 0 to 10,000, I think even halfway through that, you’ve got more than enough to launch your first product. I made several thousand dollars before I finished that.
Jim: Yeah, well, you made a sale within a week. You listed something. We don’t advise this, by the way, put something up for sale that you don’t actually have to have.
Mike: I don’t advise it either because it’s stressful.
Jim: Scramble over to Walmart and hope they actually have it in stock. Can get yourself in a little bit of trouble.
Mike: Fortunately, this was one of those ones that had hundreds and hundreds in stock and I was selling a two-pack. I got lucky on that.
Jim: Yeah, but you discovered very quickly, once you know what you’re looking for and how to do this thing, there’s a lot of product out there as you’ve discovered.
Mike: For sure. Yeah, through January, I was running around. I was driving 250 miles away, clearing the shelves of every single Walmart in the area. I had learned that different stores price-match Walmart. All you’ve got to do is have the Walmart app up.
I was clearing them out and I realized I’m getting back to the life that I don’t want. I do a lot of camping and February is good camping season. I said, okay, that’s it. I’m pulling the plug. I’m going FBA now that I’ve made my money.
That was another issue I had is because I hadn’t worked in almost a year, I was very tight on budget. I started with I want to say – my wife said, okay, you can spend up to $1,500 on our personal credit card. That’s what I started with. I made $12,000 in sales off of $1,500 on my credit card. Then I would get paid and I’d quickly pay that off. I’d go buy more. I arbitraged that money and ultimately pushed it over to FBA.
My February wasn’t so hot. It was half of what January was. I was bummed. Then March came and blew it out of the water. I was like, all right. I hit 6,000 in February. I think I was back up at 12,000, 11 or 12,000 in March, all FBA, no FBM at the time.
That’s when every single day – I have, what did you say, the most valuable asset? I have time. I have what a lot of people don’t have these days. I didn’t have money where those that work probably have a little bit more money than time.
I would spend all day and devote 40, 50, 60 hours a week to finding new ASINs, to going to the different stores. People got to know me in the stores. I looked like the weirdo, four and a half hours in one aisle. I looked up everything. It took me a while, but very quickly I got good.
I got good at reading Keepa. I figured out my plan. It was a really great learning process for me. I think I’m pretty good at Keepa and making those decisions right now.
Jim: You left us off in March; here we are April, May, June, July, August. How’s the last five, six months gone for you? What’s it looking like?
Mike: Through June, I’ve averaged roughly $10,000 a month. Like Jimmy said, that – it’s tough to break that hurtle. It’s just throwing a ton of – testing a ton of product and learning what works for you. In mid-June, we decided we’re packing up. We’re doing what we did last year and we’re going on a month-long road trip.
Now, by road trip, we’re not staying in hotels. We have a Subaru Outback. We pack it up; we’ve got our tent. We just drive.
Mike: Our goal was to head out west. We went through Texas, and New Mexico, and Utah, and Idaho. We camped in the woods, not organized campsites or anything like that. We just find a campground. What we did is in Texas, we stopped off in Houston. We stayed with family for two days. I brought my little Zebra printer. I brought my boxes. I brought all that because I was going sourcing. I sourced in the mecca, I don’t know, HEB out there. I thought, this is going to be so much better than where I’m sourcing in Florida; it wasn’t. Their prices were higher than where I was, but I still sent in maybe a hundred different products in the two days that I was there, so I was feeding the beast. Then we got used to being out in the woods and I said, you know what, forget this. I’m done. At the end of my trip, I’m going to go through Walmart heaven in Bentonville, Arkansas. I’ll source there too, but for the next couple of weeks I’m just going to enjoy myself, and I disconnected. I ended up sourcing a little bit, so I sent probably 350 products total over 32 days, whereas I was sending in that much in a single week prior.
We returned mid-June, a couple of days actually before The Proven Conference. We came back because of The Proven Conference, which was here in Tampa. I live in Tampa, and my numbers were so low. It was depressing. I went from 5, 6, $700 days to 50, $60 days, and so I was walking around with my head down at The Proven Conference, and I was like, man, my issue, but I enjoyed my trip. My goal of going to The Proven Conference – so anyway, it is doing very well. My goal of going to The Proven Conference was to learn – to solve my money problem, number one, but then learn how to scale on a limited budget. What can I do to scale further, and it delivered. I’ll share my other number with you, which is mind blowing for myself here to believe. I’m looking at it on the sheet of paper next to me, and I’m just proud. I’m very proud.
At the conference, I learned a lot from the speakers, but I learned more from those relationships that I built. I’m always hearing you say it, but it’s absolutely true. I met people like Kang Dang, who’s been on the podcast, Ryan Kimura, who recently posted his first hundred-thousand-dollar month, Josh Rojas, Abe – obviously talking to them – Anthony Beck. These guys, they were all very willing to share information, and actually, prior to that I had talked to someone who was on the podcast before, Chris Beam. She was on the podcast, but last second, she wasn’t able to make it, and so I had reached out to her.
Jim: Yes, oh, I was so disappointed. She’s the one who came up with – she calls the private label model, the pants loss model. If you start there, you’re going to lose your pants. Don’t do it. Yeah, she’s hilarious.
Mike: It’s right. I reached out to her after the podcast, and we kind of built a little bit of a relationship but not much, but when I heard that she wasn’t going to be able to make it, I offered to say, I’m going to take notes, and I can share it with you. Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?
Jim: Oh, that’s so cool.
Mike: Just reaching out to her a little bit, I built a relationship with her, and that was huge for me. She was like, oh, look for this. She’s more advanced than me, so she led me in the right direction, and then talking to some of these other guys that I met, all of that coming together, I learned one thing. My mindset, even with all the e-commerce experience and everything that I had, I was thinking too little. I wasn’t willing to take a risk, and so the biggest takeaway I got from the show is exactly this. I’m trying to sell my replens, I was looking for products that cost me under $15, and I want to make 4, $5 each on them. Why, because that’s what’s taught. That’s easy to achieve, super easy to achieve. You get something with 10 drops, makes you 5 bucks, and you do that 500 times, over and over and over, and it’s great, but how do you scale quicker? How do I make my money work better for me?
People like Kang Dang and Ryan Kimura, they said, okay, you know Keepa now. You know how to find that 10-drop product. You know how to find a 50-drop product. You know how to make that $5, but you’re not willing to spend more, so how do you get a bigger return is either you can sell 4 products, make $5 each, or you can sell 1 product that makes $20, and that made so much sense to me. Is that okay? At 10 drops, it’s only going to sell so many times per month for me. 10-drop ASINs are everywhere, and so it’s just as easy to find one that makes you 20, 30, 40, even $50 as it is, to find the one that makes you 5.
Jim: That’s right. Once you’re confident, and you trust the chart. You trust your data. You’ve built up your confidence that, okay, this works. You can go drop with full confidence, 100 or $200 on a product that’s going to bring you 50 or $80 once everything’s said and done, right? It’s a little easier. When you’re first starting, you don’t start there, but it sounds like you’re playing into slightly deeper waters now, right?
Mike: Yeah, so at the show – so right after The Proven Conference, I started putting some of this into play, and I’d built some masterminds with some of the people that I met there, and I think I’d done maybe $68,000 by the end of the show for the year. On August 4th, so that’s a couple of days after the show ended, maybe a week or two, I posted in the group that I made $75,000 for the year, and I was successful. I was yeah, yeah, yeah. On August 13th, I had cleared $100,000 for the year.
Jim: 25 grand in just a few weeks?
Jim: Nice, that’s a huge leap. Were you rolling some of your profits more aggressively into higher priced product? Talk us through that a little bit.
Mike: Yeah, so number one, the biggest issue I have is cash flow, so when you send products in to FBA, it takes a couple of weeks to check in, and then you got to wait a couple of weeks after it sells to get paid, so I signed up for one of the finance companies, company called Payability, and for me, it works. I get paid daily, and their cut is –
Jim: They’re a great sponsor of this show.
Mike: They’re good. Their cut is 2% of the overall – and I’m rounding the numbers. It’s probably some other thing – 2% of your overall sales, but it comes out to about 5% of my payout, so for me, with the margins that I had, and at the time I was operating about 25%, it makes sense. It’s like, I need access to capital, but I don’t have it I can’t buy the product. It didn’t make sense, so I went and I financed that, and that gave me the daily cash flow. I got back into FBM a little bit with some higher priced items that were hot. I could sell 20, 30, 50 of them a day, and you ship them out, and you got money in your account the next day. Then I go out, and I buy those products again because they’re everywhere. They’re plentiful, and I get to make more and more and more, and Jim, right before you and I got on the call here, I cleared $80,000 for this month. In August so far, I’ve got $80,000.
Jim: You’ve sold 80 grand in August. That’s tremendous. What’s your margin?
Mike: It’s 21 and a half percent, so that’s after the cost of my boxes. That’s after the cost of everything, except for paying myself.
Jim: Wow, clearing 20% on 80 grand. That’s phenomenal, congratulations.
Mike: Thank you. I’m thankful every day, and I owe it 100% to attending The Proven Conference and building the relationships with those other people who attended.
Jim: Yeah, and you’ve shared the majority of the advice that pushed you over the edge too. There’s no secret insider, like only the people who are on the true inside get the good information. We don’t do that here. We share very openly. Here’s how it works, and we have plenty of people – they just listen to this podcast and kind of experiment and play around and figure it out. I don’t know why you’d avoid paying 29 bucks a month for a course that spells it out and keeps you up to date, but some people don’t want to do that, okay.
Mike: It’s worth it. I’m still shocked. I’ve got a lot of experience in e-commerce, and I wanted to go to the show, and I wanted to kind of vet you out, you and everybody else to see if there were other intentions or anything. I was skeptical because doing business on the internet, you learn to be skeptical, and I was stunned about everybody that I met.
Jim: I’ll tell you a story, Mike. You’ll appreciate this, man. Early on when I was first getting into internet marketing, I had just gone full-time. I worked for Microsoft, and this is in – what year was this? We’re coming up on 20 years ago. It hasn’t been quite that long, around 18, 19 years, but I had just gone full time in internet marketing, selling on eBay. The first versions of my book were starting to sell. I had a few clients I was coaching. The Jim Cockrum Coaching program was basically me and eight students at that point, right?
I went to this internet marketing event. Man, I was excited, and I didn’t have that skepticism. I was just thrilled to be around other people who were doing what I do, and who were making a go of this using the internet creatively to launch businesses from home and waking up with their families around them and having a nice long breakfast if they wanted to. If the weather’s nice, you go camping, or you go to the zoo that day, and if you want to work, you work, and just was amazed by this whole new world. I went to this event, and it was instantly deflating and discouraging, because it was speaker after speaker after speaker with a 3 to $8,000 offer, and I overheard them comparing notes. Who could get the most people to run to the back of the room and buy the course, buy the content, buy the whatever. I was sickened by it. I met some really good people there that are great friends to this day. They were sickened by it, too. I determined in that moment, if I’m ever at a point where I’m hosting events, you’re going to pay a low ticket price and there’s going to be nothing sold. It’s just going to be content, and good connections, and relationships, and friendships.
Yeah, we’re going to make sure the bills get paid. I want to pay my team. I’m not afraid to collect money for good content, services, and courses. That doesn’t bother me a bit because there’s value there, but it’s not going to be a pitch fest. It’s going to be about the community.
I love that you came in with that skeptical because you’ve probably been to those pitch fest events. They’re not hard to find. They’re starting to die out a little bit. It’s hard that you can destroy your reputation hosting those things pretty fast, but that’s not what we do. We’ve done nine events now, eight of them in person I think, nine total. One had to be virtual because of COVID.
It’s like you just said, Mike, everyone comes away saying, man, it was the relationships. Yeah, the content’s good. I’ve got the recordings and I’ll watch the videos, but I skipped a few sessions out in the hallway meeting some of our coaches, some of the other successful students in our community, some people who just like staying under the radar with multimillion-dollar businesses. They’re there to share their ideas. You never know who you’re going to run into.
Yeah, I appreciate that perspective. If you’ve got anything else to share, too, but I thought I’d just fill in the back story. I was there myself where you feel that skeptical – the other events I went to after that, I came in with my arms crossed and left my wallet in the room if you know what I mean. I’m here to learn, guys, not signing up for eight coaching programs.
Mike: Yeah, I felt a lot of the same stuff. I tried to stay away from the pitch fest in the past because I would go to four, or five, six trade shows a year for 20-plus years, all Internet marketing-focused. It’s generally all everybody going. We always just say, you don’t go to the seminars or anything like that. You don’t learn anything because we just rehash everything.
You go to the center bar; you go to where everybody is hanging out at the hotel and you meet people. I haven’t been afraid of relationships. I haven’t been afraid of talking. That’s ultimately what led me to building these relationships.
I was talking to someone at the end of the show one day. I said, “Hey, do you want to go outside or you want to come back,” we had one of the balcony two-bedroom rooms. I said, “Come sit down and we’ll continue talking on the balcony.” I brought my family with me. I had my wife, my seven-year-old son, and actually my seventy-year-old mother-in-law with me.
Jim: Wow, she was there with us, too.
Mike: Yeah, she’s the one at the end of it, she – we had to call the ambulance. She had a bout of dehydration.
Jim: That was her. Wow, okay, yeah, I was offsite at the time and only heard about it. I’m so sorry. I’m glad she was okay. I heard she was okay the next day. It was just dehydration I’d heard or –
Mike: It was dehydration, but she’d had some health issues in the past, so she was concerned. She insisted that the paramedics took her in and everything.
Jim: My phone started blowing up with people texting me like, hey, be praying. Someone’s in an ambulance that’s here for one of the attendees.
Mike: Yeah, to speak of the good people at the show, as the – as this huge fire truck and ambulance and everybody, as they rolled up, I’m out there. Of course, that’s right as it starts pouring down rain behind the fire truck Anthony Wangbeck, he shows up.
Jim: Yes, one of our coaches.
Mike: We had just talked. He had met my son. He says, “Hey Mike, do you need anything? Is everything alright?” I briefly told him.
He says, “We’re here for you. Do you need us to watch your son?” He’s like, “I can come up and help out or whatever.” He said he was just walking by, but to me, it was just – it was magical like really, these are the people that are here. I was stunned.
Everybody at the show, I didn’t meet a single person that I didn’t think was genuine and that was genuine in every belief that they have, every belief that is presented on this podcast. I just truly loved it. He texted me at midnight that night, “Hey, how is everything going?” It’s like, man, these people are wonderful. They really are wonderful. That restored my faith in internet commerce, if you will, like meeting other people that are in it and they’re not just shady.
Jim: Yeah, I love the direction we’re going here. There’s some intentionality behind it. It doesn’t happen naturally. One of the weaknesses of Internet business is it dissociates people. It separates people.
I actually had an opportunity to tell one of the senior vice presidents at Amazon who asked me a great question. He’s like, “Hey, if you were in charge of Amazon, what changes would you make around here as a guy who sees the third-party selling space and understands it and works with these people? What change would you make?” I shocked him with my answer because I said, “What Amazon’s doing is it’s destroying the potential for relationships.” You may have heard me share this story before, but I said, “You separate the buyers and the sellers. We’re not allowed to build relationships. That lack of relationship is where the Internet struggles.”
We look at people building businesses online from home. We think, oh, I can just separate myself out and not associate with others. I just want to get behind my glowing keyboard and make some money. Someone show me how to do it. That doesn’t work long-term. You need people; you need community; you need relationships.
We drive that home so much that our events – I think it was our coaching director, Nathan, that first said it. He said, “You’re going to see more hugs than handshakes.” We’re doing life together. We call each other up; we check in on each other; we pray for each other; our families get together on trips.
There’s people that think back – they attend each other’s weddings or stand up. We’ve had people get married and stand up as best men at each other’s – or better yet, weddings happening in our community. The story of Jeff Clark and Diana Wallace both losing their spouse, commiserating at an event. A couple of years later, they’re married, and just these beautiful connections.
Yeah, we’re all about doing life together. That has become bigger than the business component of it. If you really dive in, it’s a few thousand of us that this is like family to us. We take it very seriously with arms wide open and the doors are always open for new people to come in. I’m glad you experienced that, Mike.
That’s pretty cool for me to hear that while I’m away and I’m not even anywhere near, people that I – people that are on our team, our coaches, and leaders, and other just random people in our community, are just great quality people. Business builders tend to be pretty cool people I’ve noticed over the years. Someone who’s running a successful business, there’s a 99% chance you’re dealing with a grounded, servant-minded, because you’ve got to be to run a business, you’ve got to be willing to serve, just good quality people. There’s a lot of them out there.
Yeah, I love hearing those stories. I didn’t know the backstory on who’s mom it was. I knew it was somebody’s mom.
Mike: Yeah, but she’s okay. Where I was going before I – we took that tangent was I invited several people several days in a row, I invited just to come hang out on the balcony. Let’s have a little bit more intimate of a conversation. My wife actually made us dinner and everything while we were out there. It was neat. We’d see everybody walking by and say hi to everybody.
Doing that, just asking, nobody said no. Anybody I said, hey, you want to take this out here? We don’t want to be the last ones in here. Let’s go out by the pool or whatever. Everybody said yes.
It was great. Building those relationships was really big for me and instrumental. Now, I left out part of my story. I’ve actually spoken to you before on the Clubhouse app because at the end of April, my account was suspended.
Jim: Oh, okay.
Mike: For two and a half weeks, two, two and a half weeks, my account got suspended because I made a rookie mistake. I listened to Amazon Seller Support.
Jim: Ooh, caution.
Mike: I took them at their word and they were wrong. What does that mean? Is that I received an IP complaint for a bag of beans that I bought at the local grocery store. I was convinced, I was like, well – it was an IP complaint that came through as a copyright infringement. It was like, came under the same header in your performance notifications.
I was like, well, this is legit. I’ve got all my receipts and everything, so I went into that cocky. I contacted the Seller Support. I told them, I said, “This is legit. I can send in whatever.”
They said, “Oh, your account health is in good standing. You’ve got nothing to worry about. Don’t worry about it.” Okay, so I didn’t worry about it.
What they didn’t tell me is just reply to the performance notification. A complaint, you have to reply. If anybody gets anything out of this podcast, reply to everything instantly, even if you’re saying, hey, I’m just – I’m going to look into this, or thank you very much. I want you to know this is received. I’ll respond appropriately shortly; just reply.
Ten days after that message was sent with no reply on the dot, my account was automatically suspended. Had I just replied, there would have been no suspension. Trying to get my account back was hard. That’s where Scott Margolius came in. He’s such a nice, genuine guy that he was responding to my frantic Facebook messages, and in the group, and the situation at hand. He helped me. He walked me through the process. It was simple enough.
I think I’m probably a little bit more advanced than some of my responses than others just through my experience in the past. I had already formulated a couple different plan of actions. He advised me, okay, I would go this route, whatever, but ultimately what got me unsuspended was getting a retraction. Much quicker to get a retraction because, again, Amazon seller support or account health support, they all conflict with each other. I don’t think any of them truly knows the answer of what’s going on.
Jim: Yeah, there’s certainly some inconsistencies in there. I love that you gave a plug to Scott Margolius as well. He’s actually got a great book out, if you haven’t grabbed it yet, titled Plans of Action –
Mike: I do. Yeah, I have it, yeah.
Jim: Great book. I was honored to get one of the first copies. He’s our go-to expert guy for these situations. I think he would tell you that you don’t want to not respond. He’d completely agree with you there but you want to be cautious in how you respond as well. That’s one of the things he digs into in the book. You don’t want to just ignore these complaints. Of the small handful of permanent suspensions that I’ve ever seen, I always tell people I can count on one hand after doing this for well over a decade teaching people how to sell on Amazon, I can count on one hand permanent suspensions, and of those two or three of them arguably were because they just ignored a good handful of IP complaints. Then when they did start to address it after being suspended, they couldn’t get it back. You don’t want to just ignore them. You’re absolutely right. Scott digs into that. Actually, the podcast episode that was released just yesterday as we’re recording this, it would’ve been episode 385 or 386 or something like that is with Scott talking about account health issues and those kinds of things. If you haven’t seen it, that was just released. You and I are recording this so it’ll probably be a few weeks before it’s released, but I think if you go back to episode 385, 386, it’s account health with Scott Margolius somewhere in there. Good one to check out for sure.
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You and I are recording this and it’ll probably be a few weeks before it’s released, but I think if you go back to episode 385, 386, it’s account health with Scott Margolius somewhere in there. Good one to check out, for sure.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely. I was out sourcing all day yesterday and I just completely passed out at around midnight. I didn’t get a chance. I resolved that, I guess it was relatively quickly, but two, two and a half weeks is what it took, even after a retraction so it just took time. It was the end of my world. I was posting all over the group. I talked to you guys on I think you had the Clubhouse and everybody was answering giving their feedback. It’s the end of my world. I’ve got $9,000 due to me. I missed the payout so I had credit card payments and everything coming out. I was like, no, it’s the end, but it wasn’t. Actually, after that, so that was end of April, beginning of May, it was undone. May became my highest month yet and then June surpassed that so it grew. It grew because I kept up with the Replens. I mean, I wasn’t buying when it was suspended. I was freaking out. I wasn’t spending any money but I had already had my set of Replens. I was up to 240 ASINs.
Jim: That’s a good number. That’s great. I vaguely remember that call. We did a good handful and we’re going to be doing more of those free Clubhouse getting in front of everybody. It’s like listening to a radio show. I’ll stick a link to it in the show notes if people don’t know what it is. It’s a free app and it’s like a radio call in and show experience on an app where you could join the host and talk and then you can jump back into the crowd and listen. It’s pretty cool stuff. I don’t remember specifically what we would have told you but I had a feeling we were saying, hey, it’s going to be okay. Stay calm. We see it all the time. No problem. I’m glad to hear the resolution.
Mike: Yeah, it was good. It worked out. A little bit more takeaway from all that is now I completely understand my account health. I didn’t know that you should look at your account health several times per day. I thought you get notifications for this stuff. Oh, they notify you. No, I’ve had things pop up. Fortunately, that was my only IP complaint, but I had other things pop up on there that I didn’t get any notification about. It was just me. I look at it and I’m like, oh, wow, this customer complained about something or your IPI score or whatever. I was able to address it and had it not, I mean, who knows how that would’ve affected things, but as soon as you get those little blips on your account health, it affects your sales. All of a sudden, it’s like, man, I’m cranking along, I’m getting buy box, and got one little thing there and it’s like, wait, I didn’t get any sales until I resolved it. Pay attention to that.
Jim: Yeah, your account health can affect how often you’re winning the boy box. That’s for sure, yeah. You don’t want to go more than a couple days for sure without checking it. If you can, most of us as Amazon sellers are checking our stats, yeah, check your account health as well. Again, Scott goes into it in the book. There’s a great course actually in that podcast episode, too, for those who really want to dig into it and be – if this is your livelihood, this is your income, you owe it to yourself to be very educated on these types of things. Scott has a new course with content that can really help you run a tight ship. We’re excited to be rolling that out to the community. That just went live here as we’re recording this a couple days ago, but as people are hearing this episode, it’ll be a few weeks ago but that just went live. Good content. I’m glad we spent some time. I didn’t realize we’d be spending time on that today.
Mike: Yeah, it’s a good book and it’s an easy read. It’s important for people to know that as well. I think I got through the whole book in maybe two hours. It’s enough for you to get an understanding of what could go wrong and what to do if it does. Then easy to reference back if you ever do have a problem. Hopefully, I don’t, but knowing what I know having gone through it, it’s a very good read. I recommend it.
Jim: Thanks for taking us through that. I appreciate the chance to plug Scott’s book. He’s a great dude. He’s helped a lot of people in our community for sure. I want to hear some lessons. You just had your incredible, again, congratulations, an $80,000 month that’s phenomenal. That’s the most recent month. What are your goals as you’re going to Q4? What’s your total for the year? Then I want to get into some lessons, maybe some tips and strategies that you have for the listeners after that.
Mike: Sure, so currently, I am at $146,500 for the year so far. Doing the math, that’s $80,000 in August. I’m expecting to break $90,000 if everything continues to go the way it is. I don’t expect it to roll much longer so I’m doing FBM for some seasonal-ish products, heavier seasonal-ish products. I expect that to die down next month, but hopefully, I’ve learned enough through this process that I’ll be able to find the next thing. More importantly for me is all of the funds that I’m making from this is rolling back in and that’s going to fund my growth into FBA. I believe FBA Replens, that’s the bread and butter. That’s the steady supply of it’s always going to be there. As long as you keep feeding it and you follow that business, that’s where you’re going to pay your bills. These other little things like I’m doing, I’m having great success at now, that’s the fun stuff, that’s like, all right, that’s – I guess I don’t know the analogy, but that’s where you can take those big wins to the bank. Maybe like Q4, everybody says Q4 is so great. That’s what these little wins are.
It’s a windfall, it’s financing the business that’s going to allow me to jump to the next level. I’m fortunate enough that we’re not relying on my income right now so I can roll all of that back into the business. Where do I want to go for Q4? I’m hoping that I can get to at least $50,000 a month revenue. I believe probably Q4 that’s achievable. I imagine $40,000 a month was my goal when I started this. I need $40,000 a month to live my life and reinvest in the business. I want that dream of, what was the book? Four-hour workweek or something, I want that dream because I don’t want to be behind a computer. I’ve done it for years. I want to spend time with my family. I want to go hike the Appalachian Trail. I want to do these fun things and enjoy my son. He’s into it. I’m a scout leader and all that other fun stuff, too.
Jim: Oh, that’s awesome. Good for you. I have great memories of my scout leader at that age. It sounds to me like you’re starting to – you’ve figured out how to blend these things together. Is your son involved in the business at all? Have you explored that? I know you said he’s on the young side but…
Mike: He sources with me every day. Last year, we started homeschooling on what they call virtual school in Florida here. It’s not the Zoom classes or anything. It’s like a homeschool curriculum that’s online. Then we meet with the teacher at the end of every chapter, and they quiz them. He’s in second grade this year. It’s very much home school. It’s something that we can do.
My wife takes off two days a week. She does the majority of that with him, and I’m out outsourcing. Every other day he’s shopping with me. I’ve got picture upon picture. People know him. Yesterday he went shopping in his PAW Patrol costume. He’s on the end of the basket, and he’s in PAW Patrol costume –
Jim: I just have to tell you man, dad to dad, there’s no classroom experience, there’s no teacher out there who’s got a degree from some prestigious university where they teach educators how to educate, none of them can come close to instilling in that kid the lessons that he’s getting from going to dad, sourcing, going out in his PAW Patrol costume, finding stuff, helping prep, pack, find, learning what it means to run a profitable business. No, that toy is not for you, buddy. That toy is actually going to be sold to some other kid. Those are valuable lessons, great job. I commend you.
Mike: Yeah, thanks. He actually has picked out a replen. It was several months ago. “Daddy, you should try this.” I looked it up, and I’m like, “Wow, how many should we get?” He said, “Let’s buy five.” I said, “Let’s do six.” It was a two-pack. Let’s go ahead and get six. We did it, and it’s still one of those – it’s on the level of what I was talking about earlier, the 4 or $5 profit.
Jim: It blows me away how often that happens, the spouse or the kid or somebody, a friend. They’re just like do you think you can sell this? I’m like probably not. I’m the expert. I see the stuff that’s good. I have instincts. You don’t. It’s like holy cow, 80 drops a month on 2 sellers. Yeah, we’re grabbing this right now.
Mike: Exactly. Is he involved in the business? He shops with me every day. He enjoys it. Occasionally, he’ll get some iPad time or something like that for 20 minutes.
The majority of the time we’re talking. We’re in the store. We’re talking about the products. Here lately I’m buying a lot of the same – the success this month is eight or ten different products. We’re shopping a lot there. We can’t buy enough.
He helps me list them. He’s like, “Oh, Dad, can I do that?” I showed him the app, and he helps me enter it when we get new ones. If they’re in the cart, they go online. They’re in inventory. For this stuff, very often more than not, it sold before we check out.
Jim: That’s incredible.
Mike: That’s pretty nice. I’m like okay, we’ve got to go back. Let’s go back in there and grab the rest of those. We get to the car, we unload it, and do that.
I do all my prep and ship and packing, everything out of my garage. We’ve got a two-car garage, and it’s all set up there. He does a lot of that with us. It’s good bonding time together, if you will. I really do enjoy it.
Jim: That’s fantastic. Well done. You’ve probably heard me say if you’ve been around awhile in the community, the heart of a dad I understand. I don’t know what it feels like to be a mom. I love seeing moms being able to be home and be flexible and build businesses.
I don’t understand what it feels like to be a mom doing those things, but I love seeing dads come home. I know what that feels like. I know what it felt like to me when I got to do it almost 20 years ago. I know what it feels like now.
I don’t have to get in the car at 6:00 in the morning or 5:00 in the morning before everyone’s awake and come home after everyone’s already tired and had a long day and maybe get an hour with them. God bless all the parents out there doing what they got to do to pay the bills and provide for their family. We support you no matter what that routine looks like. I know how great it feels to be doing life the way you are, the way that I am, that flexibility.
Mike: I truly am living the dream these days.
Jim: Just knowing that the opportunity is out there. The opportunity is out there. With just a handful of products you sold $80,000 at 20% margin after everything is said and done. You put $16,000 in the bank. You’re doing it with your kid, and you’re living a flexible schedule.
You know that’s just the tip of the iceberg because it is. The opportunity is everywhere with the skills you’ve got. You’ve been around awhile too. I wouldn’t mind hearing your perspective. You’ve been doing this internet marketing thing a long time.
Put this in perspective. You’ve seen and done a lot of things. I say it until I’m blue in the face. I’ve been on that same road. People think it’s self-serving to hear me say it. Put this in perspective, this replen opportunity compared to the other 50 things you’ve seen come down the road.
Mike: It’s kind of like are you good at darts? Some people are. They can throw it at the board, and they can hit the bulls-eye every time. Majority of the time you don’t, even those that know anything and everything.
I got really good at spending other people’s money. I was afraid of spending my own money. I would consult and I wouldn’t be an employee for people. I would consult and help them spend their money because I’m very risk averse with my own.
Again, the analogy could be regular internet marketing is like playing darts. You’re going to get some wins. You’re going to get close, but really, Jim, I hope you don’t think I’m trying to prop your ego here. Replens is like shooting fish in a barrel. It works.
It doesn’t matter what your education level is. It doesn’t matter how good you are at working with computers. It works. It’s a good system that works.
How quickly you can scale up, that’s directly related to your effort and your willingness to figure things out. I’m that guy. I like to figure things out. I like to grow. I get obsessive about some things. I’ve lost over 100 pounds weight. Why? I learned a lot about keto.
Jim: Good for you. That’s awesome. You can’t make plans to hike the Appalachian if you’re carrying around an extra 100 pounds you shouldn’t have on you.
Mike: Right. All that came about after I lost the weight. I was like I can do this.
Jim: Look what I can do now. Good for you, man. That’s so cool.
Mike: Thanks. At the Proven Conference, Oscar gave this really great presentation. I went and sat in on it, and I was like all right. He’s going to tell us the secret for sourcing and all this. Really, he said I bust my butt. I work hard.
I work harder than you. I work harder than that person. I work harder than them. You may work harder than me, but my goal is to work harder than you. He just buckles down and he works hard.
He thanks God. He’s grateful for the things that he has. It’s all true. The matter of scale and how hard you want to work, you can go down 20 different ways and hire people and alleviate a lot of that. At the start you have to put in the time.
It’s shooting fish in a barrel, but how many fish do you want to catch? How many times are you going to take your shot? That’s what the replens is for me. Everybody starts off and they’re like oh, no, I’m gated in grocery. I can’t win because I’m gated in grocery. I sold $12,000 my first month, and I didn’t even know being in grocery was great.
Jim: You didn’t even know why do I need grocery?
Mike: Again, I was going to do replens. I’m like everybody’s doing grocery. I spent some time and I got ungated in grocery. I almost pigeon-holed myself into grocery. I thought that was the Mecca of that’s where you needed to be to make these millions of dollars.
Really, what grocery gave me is aisles and aisles and aisles and aisles of profitable ASINs. That’s what grocery gave me. It gave me the chance to take shot after shot after shot after shot on the exact same day. I was able to do that. I didn’t have to spend hours and hours in between finding ASINs.
I had to move three inches to the right. They were right there, one right after the other. You can make your mistakes. You can list on not the best ASIN. You can list on other ones that were still winners.
I didn’t go three, four, five, six pages deep. I looked and I was like holy cow! This is the winner on the first page, great. Now I’m going to move onto the next thing. I was able to build up to 240 ASINs really quickly.
Now after the show, I’ve learned it’s time to pump the breaks. Now I know that playing in the small little leagues, if you will, of wanting to spend less than $10, $15, I was very, very scared. Now I can jump into the big leagues and swing a big bat for the fastball and try to hit that homerun. Still, I’m trying to stick to analogies here. Maybe make first or a double or something along the way, and it worked.
I clearly knocked this one out of the park with some help. These people that I met along the way, they point me in the right direction and cheer me on. Now I’m able to take that information that I have and morph it into what works for me. What does work for me, getting into maybe some advice for people?
Where am I shopping; the complete opposite side of the store of grocery. There’s not very many grocery items you can buy that cost you $30 or $50 or $90. One of my ASINs cost me $109. That’s scary, right? It was for me until I made that first sale for $245.
Jim: When you look at Keepa, how many drops does that have and how many other people are selling it? Talk us through the data a little bit on that one.
Mike: That particular one was over 80 drops and probably 30 other sellers. It just moves. They can’t keep them in stock. That’s probably the biggest tidbit of advice. I’ve heard it said before. When you go to the store and you see what’s out of stock, take note. Look at what that is.
Jim: Look at the empty spots on the shelf. Get in there real close and look at that price tag. What is that product? If I ever do see some of that, I think that’s where we start to develop the instinct of where sorcerers get in the stores is I haven’t noticed that on the shelf before. I wonder if that’s good. It probably is.
You check and yeah, it is. There’s a reason it’s always out of stock because that thing flies at a nice profit. Good tips, man. We’re dropping some gold nuggets today for sure.
Mike: Thanks. Again, that works in grocery too. It really does work in grocery. To scale up, I found that I’ve got to get away from that. I still plan on keeping – I went through and did my buy list yesterday. I think I have 30 that fit this new mold of what I’m trying to achieve.
It’s like okay, I’m going to get rid of all the others. I’m going to stick with these 30. I’m going to build off of these 30. Moving away from grocery – it doesn’t have to be all the way to the other side. Around the grocery aisle you’ve got all the shampoos. You’ve got the smelly stuff that girls like, all that fun stuff.
Jim: The stuff without expiration dates. You can get into some high priced stuff there, the kitchen goods, the kitchen wares, the stuff that goes in that part or the stuff that goes in the bathroom. There’s opportunity all over the place. I love that you’re starting with the price tag. That’s probably some pretty decent advice. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually given that specific advice. You’re probably smart to go I’m not going to look at anything unless it costs at least $30 today just to see what I can find, costs at least $50.
Mike: Your general rule of thumb that – I’m sorry for interrupting. The general rule of thumb that you gave before is you said you go to speak to someone at the local grocery store, maybe the manager, and you say if you can buy this or you could sell it to me for one-third of what it is on Amazon, let me know.
Jim: Exactly, give me a call.
Mike: That’s a good one. On the more expensive stuff, it’s probably two-and-a-half times.
Jim: You get up into $50. If you can sell it to me for $50 and you see it on Amazon for $100, give me a call.
Mike: That is a golden nugget there for sure. Take note. That is one is actually what was given to me. Almost the exact same advice was given to me. Look for something that sells two or three times more but has a much higher price tag.
Get out of where you’re going. Go into the lawn and garden section, the stuff with boxes that look like they’re difficult to ship. Go to the sports and outdoor section. I’ve stayed away from electronics, but from what I understand there’s stuff over there that’s not electronic that still costs a lot that has some value in this area.
Jim: The stuff that has warranties on it is a little dicey. I don’t play around with that typically, especially the higher end stuff with warranties. I don’t play around with that. There’s plenty of other stuff in the electronics department.
I bought a bunch of surge protectors once and just made a killing until I couldn’t find them anymore. Those things flew! There’s a certain brand, certain price range. I sold a ton of them. It was like a gold mine.
Usually when you see a big pile of something at the store, you’re like that can’t be that good. I’ll check it anyway. It was a gold mine. I bought all of them, as much as I could get. They flew.
Mike: I think moving away from your comfort zone is definitely it, getting away from being risk averse. It’s not a risk. You cut your teeth on and I cut my teeth on learning how to read Keepa. I know I’m good at it. I’m probably not the best, but I know I’m good enough to know that this one has ten drops, it’s worth taking a risk.
This has 20 or 30 drops, it’s worth taking a risk. If it’s worth taking a risk at a 5 or $10 cost, it’s worth taking a risk at 40 to $50 cost. It’s going to get you to where you’re going that much quicker. Think again. You could sell 4 for $5 profit or 1 for $20. We know at ten drops on Keepa, that’s going to give you my share if I sell five a month. If I could sell 5 and make $20, that’s $100 a month or I could make $25. What do you want to do?
Jim: That makes total sense. Once you’re confident and comfortable with the training, you’re scaling up. You’re slowly scaling up. We often kind of joke around, a lot of replens sellers start off at the Dollar Store. You’re just ecstatic to find things that you can buy for a dollar, sell for $12, put $3 or $4 in the bank. This is amazing.
There’s so much more opportunity out there in the higher priced items. You find yourself slowly drifting into those categories. That’s where some of these multiple seven-figure sellers – what inevitably happens and it will happen to you too, Mike, is then the wholesale opportunities just start popping through. Then the private label opportunities kind of organically just start popping through. Then you’ve got a serious – you look over your shoulder and you’re like wow, look at this journey. I love seeing that happen for sellers. What a great story.
Mike: I actually do have a couple wholesale accounts.
Jim: You’re already in it.
Mike: With my history, that’s one of the things that I do. I found a company I bought at a local grocery store for a packet of mix or whatever that they had. I look at the back and I’m like that’s from my town. Let me call them up. Sure enough, they give me 25% off the price that I bought it at the grocery store. I’ve got one product, so one SKU with them is on six different ASINs.
Jim: Is it all single packs or are you talking multi-packs?
Mike: We’re talking multi-packs. I sell it as a single. I sell it in a double pack. I sell it as high as a six pack. Then they’ve got another product that is bundled with it. There’s another ASIN that’s bundled with it.
Jim: You didn’t set up any of those listings, I take it.
Mike: No, I didn’t set up any. I was actually just approached by the manufacturer of that – it’s an older gentleman – last time I went to buy product. He said, “Hey, I just got this in. I haven’t sold it anywhere.” He supplies this seasoning to restaurants everywhere.
He said, “I just got this in. You’re going to be the first person. Why don’t you take a case and let me know what you think about it?” I tried it. This is a good product.
He said, “Do you want to create the listing for it and go for it?” He doesn’t do anything online. He’s an old-fashioned guy. Someone else, one of his other customers created the listing for the other stuff. He gave me this one.
The first thing I created – I created two of them already, so a one and a two-pack. I’m going to bundle it with his other stuff. It goes all together. It’s just slowly learning that process.
It is a wholesale account. It’s there. I call him up. The difference is he delivers the stuff to restaurants. I just go pick it up because it’s right next to one of the stores that I source at.
Jim: That’s great. There again, the relationships and slowly scaling into new territory. You’re on a brilliant path, man.
Mike: Thank you. I’m just shocked that I’m where I am right now. I’m grateful for all people that I met. I’m grateful I have a very supportive wife that she just looks at me and says, “I trust you. If you think you can do this, I trust you. I know you’re not going to do anything to harm our family. You’re a good man.”
That’s what I like. That’s what I value now. When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I didn’t value those things. Now that’s what truly matters is family and making sure you’re doing things right. Every decision I make, it’s a family business.
By family business, I’m really other than my seven-year-old son, I’m the only one that works it. My wife occasionally will help me pack, but that’s not her thing. She’s not into it.
She’s involved in almost every decision I make. I’m going to spend this amount of money. I’m going to do this. Are you okay with this? What do you think? I brought her to the show because she’s a much better judge of character than I am.
Jim: Females typically are. Guys, we’re very smart to listen to our wives in that arena, for sure.
Mike: She could have saved me so much headache over the years, former business partners and what not. Anyways, I’m just grateful to be here. I’m super grateful that I’ve sold $80,000 in a single month.
Jim: We’re not even through August yet. We’ve got to say we kind of blew past that. You’re looking to maybe hit $90,000 in August. We’ve still got a few days left here. That’s phenomenal, man. Good work.
Mike: We did $6,500 last month, Jim! $6,500 in July and $80,000 in August.
Jim: You put the stuff you learned at the conference and the tips you picked up and the strategies you’ve shared with us today, you put it into practice and you had an $80,000 month.
Mike: I’m not doing anything groundbreaking. I’m not reinventing the wheel. I’m doing what was taught, and it’s just with products that are available. They’re probably more available in my area than some of the other areas, maybe more than your area. That’s the advantage.
I can take and look – one of the ways that I source, I go through and I look at everybody’s store. I guess you guys call that reverse sourcing. You go look at everybody’s store. They’re selling the same product as me.
I look for people in my area. Those guys in my area, that’s why I look at his store. I’m thinking if he’s sourcing in my area, these are products that are going to be available to me. I use that, and then I go down the rabbit hole from there. That’s how I was quickly able to scale to 240 ASINs.
From that, I could find your store or anybody else’s. I guarantee you’ve probably got products that I can’t get here. What I learned on my road trip is that you’ve got products that every day are one price for you, and for me they’re $0.45 each more. Maybe that’s 15, 20% more. It’s not profitable for me.
Jim: There’s regional advantages and disadvantages no matter where you live. You’re hitting the nail on the head. That’s why we encourage a lot of people to hit the regional stores. Even if you see the list of ASINs that other people sell, they’re like that’s a secret gold mind.
I even had someone come up to me at our conference. Hey, I think I know which stores are yours. Are you blah, blah, blah? They gave me a name. I’m like yeah, that’s me. He’s like I’m going to look at your products.
That’s fine. Good luck finding 75% of them unless you live in my hometown. Even if you do, like you said, one of your bestsellers, there’s 30 other sellers on it. You can’t find it fast enough. It’s not about this is my product.
It’s a different mindset as a replens seller. There’s always going to be other sellers on the product. That doesn’t bother us. That just means it’s a good seller. Unless someone comes along and tanks the price, which means they’re going to sell out real fast and figure out I just lost money. I don’t want to do that again.
They’re going to come back in with the right price. There’s just so little risk involved as you play this game. There’s an opportunity for us to be very cooperative with each other as well. It really is a fun model.
Mike: It is. That’s actually something that you mentioned you’re going to sell it at a loss or whenever a tank comes in. You’re not really losing much money. There are the guys that for some reason I think they must buy the product for half of what I pay. They consistently come in and tank the price.
Why would you take something that’s selling at $30 and not even drop it to 25, but you’re throwing it in at 18? That’s how you come into here. What are you doing? It doesn’t make sense. My business isn’t their business.
All I know is that there’s some ASINs, and there’s probably of those 240, I may have taken maybe 40 of those. I just wiped them out. I said I’m just going to try to get rid of the product. Sometimes I’m taking a couple of dollars loss each.
What that did is I’ve already had profit on these. It gave me an influx of cash. I’m no longer committed to these. I don’t need to wait around. It gave me the influx of cash in order to buy other profitable products.
Jim: You can purge out your least exciting 20% pretty much any time you want to in this business and not feel the hit and focus a little more on the top 20%. Put a little more energy into those. Am I on every ASIN that I could be? Am I going as deep as I could in this category?
Are there other related products in the same brand? Spend time up there, so purging and adding. Focusing on those top 20 and bottom 20 is a good strategy any time. You can put more money in your pocket very quickly.
Mike: You’re much better than I am at that stuff.
Jim: I’ve seen it thousands of times. We’ve had 7,000 coaching students. All of our coaches are smarter than me, but I listen to them when they talk. Any final tips or strategies or things? We need to start wrapping this up.
This has been a tremendous episode, but it did go a little long. I think people are going to devour this. This is one of those people might want to listen to a couple times. If you’re unfamiliar with the terminology and the different things we’re talking about, you really need to go through the Proven Amazon Course, the replens module.
If you’re brand new, go through Amazon 101 Module. It’s in the course. Get up to speed. Then go through the replens training. You can jump into this very quickly and then get into the wholesale and private label down the road.
That’s the path we like to put our students on. We’re here to coach as well if you want to get up to speed quickly. I’m going to give our guest a last shot at any other tips or strategies, anything that you were hoping to hit today before we move forward and start to land this one?
Mike: I think I’ve covered a lot of the strategies. What I really want to drive home is what you can do on a low budget. I started with $1,500 on my credit card. I sold $12,000 the first month. I got lucky.
The very first product I looked at was a winner. It does work. Cut your teeth on the low-risk items, the low-dollar, low-risk items. Learn, wait until you get a couple winners, winners, winners where you’re just picking out winners left and right. You can get 80% of the ones you get are winners; that does happen.
Pick those winners out. Learn the process. Once you have that, trust yourself. Trust what you’ve learned. This is a system that works. It just is.
I’ve been around since ’95 doing internet marketing. This just works. It was brought to me by someone I wholeheartedly trust that did exactly that last year. He was making a lot of money. He trusted it. He brought it to me. It’s still working for him.
Just trust the process. Once you know the Keepa, Keepa is it. You’ve got Keepa and RevSeller is pretty much all you need. I also use InventoryLab. That makes sourcing and adding products, especially with expiration dates and all that really easy to do and store.
Replen dashboard, use that. They’ve made a lot of really great improvements even in the last 30 days to product. Those are really nice to have, but Keepa and RevSeller are the must-haves for me in my business. If you’re sourcing, RevSeller makes it easy to figure out what your actual costs are. Keepa is the Holy Grail. It costs $18 a month or something.
Jim: I think it was Episode 369, I believe, that I go into why Keepa is the only tool you need when you’re getting started here for a few bucks a month. Don’t buy any other tools. Get the Proven Amazon Course, get Keepa; you’ll prove to yourself that it works. Within $100 spent you’re going to know that we’re onto something here. Then you can ramp up from there.
Mike: My final tip for you, Jim, is learn from what I have, how to prevent IP complaints. I listed on a product that had a misspelling in the brand name. Think about this, brand names are trademarked. The trademark name, if there’s a misspelling – I’ll tell you the name. It was Camellia brand beans. This one said Camellia New Orleans style beans. The trademark was Camellia brand.
The products were legitimate. They were packaged great and everything. When the little FNSKU sticker got on there, that was now labeled, and it was violating their trademark. That’s how they were getting people off of it.
Look for that. There were multiple sellers. I didn’t realize at the time if everything drops down to one seller – on this listing, the brand wasn’t even selling it. It was like someone else created it and they had this off brand that was listed wrong.
Look for those things to trigger. Look for sharp drops every couple of months. If everything drops every couple of months down to one seller or no sellers, there’s a reason for it. Hold off. Pump the brakes. Reevaluate in a month.
Jim: We teach that in the course. If it keeps dropping down to just one seller, that’s probably the owner of the trademark coming in and saying we’re cleaning house. Here’s why. Stay away.
There’s good tools that we’ve talked about to help you avoid IP complaints. Even an IP complaint, it’s not the end of the world. If you address it, it never is the end of the world. It’s something you’ve got to deal with. It’s a journey.
If this was so easy that you could just click a button and make money, people would hire monkeys to click buttons and put money in the bank. There’s some thinking involved. There’s some work involved. There’s some strategy involved, as you’ve talked about today. It’s a journey.
Of all the opportunities out there I’ve ever seen, this is the one that I can say if you’re ready to do the work, if you’re willing to put in the time, you’re going to get the results as consistently as anything I’ve ever seen or taught. That’s why we’re so bullish on it. That’s why we have all these episodes of success stories. With great guys like you and others, dozens and dozens of recent episodes where we talk about this stuff works, it’s legit. There’s some work involved, for sure. Good tips today, man.
Mike: Thank you. I could go on for days. I’m very passionate about it like you are and like so many others in the community. Thank you for the time, for recognizing me and bringing me on the show. It’s a great honor.
I casually met you in passing at the show. You were on your way somewhere in basketball shorts. I wonder what you were doing there. It was great. It was nice meeting everybody. You’ve done a really good job with this, Jim, and the whole community. I’m just grateful to be a part of it.
Jim: We’re honored to have you as well, Mike. I think a whole lot of people had light bulbs going off as they listened to this episode today. They’re going to be coming up to you at our next event. Hey, you’re the guy that said this or that.
It’s cool because you can say certain things repeatedly. Maybe if you listen to all 380 episodes it’s said 10 times. They haven’t listened to all of those. Today you said it, and you said it in a way that resonated or struck a chord. You’re going to have those people contacting you, reaching out to you, telling you thanks.
It’s a pretty cool effect that episodes like this have on people. I’m glad you were part of it today, Mike.
I’m going to talk to the listeners for just a second here, and say thanks for hanging out with us today. A longer episode, but I think if you look over your list of tips and tricks and strategies, this was chalked full. This was a really packed episode with a lot of good action items on it.
If you’re brand new to the community, I would encourage you if this is the first episode you’ve listened to, listen to five or ten more episodes. Get yourself convinced. Get rid of some of that skepticism. This stuff works, a lot of real people doing this business. We’re here to help you out.
There’s going to be links and resources near this audio or video or you can go to silentjim.com/podcast. Look for this episode number, and you’ll have a list of our resources there as well. Everything we’ve talked about today, the tools like Mike mentioned, RevSeller, the best price in the world on RevSeller is a link that we have in our show notes. You can’t find that price anywhere else. We helped them get that software started, so they give our community a great price.
Use the links in the show notes for these great tools and resources we talked about today. To all the business building warriors out there, I just want to let you know we’re in your corner. We’re here for you. We want you to succeed. Yes, we’re praying for you. Yes, we care.
Yes, we are here just like we’ve been for 20 years doing what we do every day, and that’s helping people launch multiple income streams using the internet creatively. This is one we’re super excited about. We talked about it a lot because this is where you should probably start with this if you’re not sure where to start. It works and we’ve got students all over the world doing this.
Give us a call. Reach out to us if we can be of assistance. Until next time, thanks to our guest, Mike. You were phenomenal, buddy. Thank you.
Mike: Thank you. I appreciate it.