Jim: Matt, welcome to the program. Let’s get into your story.
Matt: Thanks, Jim. Really, really happy to be here. Yeah, so myself, my name is Matt Hilbrich. Married for 19 years. I’ve got three daughters, 16, 15, and 12. I spent 17 years in corporate America at Sprint and now working at a smaller managed IT in cybersecurity company. Born and raised in Denver. Moved to Spokane about five years ago with all my family with no place to live and no job, which is a great story. Then in the middle of all that before I moved up here, I started selling online on eBay and Amazon about six years ago.
Jim: You’re still working full-time, just to be clear.
Matt: I am still working full-time, yeah, absolutely. I’m kind of on the verge of is it time to call it quits and go all in on Amazon, getting stretched a little thin.
Jim: Is your boss going to be watching this? Is that going to be a problem?
Matt: I hope not. I doubt it.
Jim: This is great. What’s your timeline on that if you’re looking at –
Matt: I’m giving myself really to the end of the year. Getting pretty stretched thin and I can feel it in my stress level and trying to be a good husband and good dad and still go to church and do all the right things, exercise, do all the right things. I’m stretched a little thin, feeling it, and definitely need to make a decision by the end of the year.
Jim: Maybe we can think through and process that a little bit as we go through this episode. I think people will enjoy that where you’re at and what that leaping off point is for you. Share as many of the numbers as you can. I think that’d be fun to do. Another thing I want to share right off the bat is you’re looking to become one of our coaches, too.
Matt: Yeah, I’m pretty excited about that. It’s quite the honor, honestly. Been listening to you guys for five or six years, was a coaching student five or six years ago. You listen to these podcasts a lot thinking, oh, I wonder what I would say if I was on the podcast. Yeah, right, but yeah, it’s a great honor for the podcast and actually to be able to start coaching and helping people is something I’m very passionate about.
Jim: I think by the time people are done listening to this you might have your decision made. The number of people that are excited to connect with you is going to be very validating. This community is pretty legit.
Matt: Yeah, they’re a great community.
Jim: I have to agree. I’m honored to be part of it, but people who appear on this podcast, their inbox can tend to blow up. I tell people, “Send them back our way. We’ll take care of them.” You can just see just how interested people are in working with the great leaders and the successful students in our community. Let’s keep your story going. Worked with Sprint a long time. You’re on the fence now. Where is this going to go?
Matt: I went to the success conference in Denver. I was really interested about eBay. I just always remember how it was a two- or three-day conference. I just remember how we did a live auction. The guy was like just bring something from your house and we’re going to sell it online and we’re going to watch it. They showed us how to list it. We watched it as an auction the next day. You got to see the countdown and the number of people increasing their bid, increasing their bid, increasing their bid. All of a sudden, this piece of junk phone that we brought in sold in front of us and it was just awesome. He says, “Well, now just go home and find stuff in your house you can just put on eBay to start selling. It’s really easy.” Sure enough, once you get the hang of it and how to create a basic listing, super, super easy.
Jim: What year would this have been? This is ancient history probably, right?
Matt: Yeah, that’s probably 2015, 2014, something like that.
Jim: That’s about 40 years in internet years.
Matt: Right, right. Then he talked about this awesome thing called Amazon where you didn’t have to ship anything. You pretty much pay them to – you just find the right product and you pay them and they ship all your stuff to your customers. I love it because I didn’t have to convince anybody really to buy my product. I’ve done a lot of different things in my life, like multilevel marketing and things where you’re trying to convince people to buy and I didn’t have to do that. Find the right product. You look at the data. Once you know how to read all the data, the coaching provides the training for it, it’s really a pretty easy decision sometimes on whether you can sell something.
Got into Amazon and really, that’s when I started looking, okay, I have to get some good coaching around this. Found your program and bought the coaching package. Started working in wholesale. I thought that was going to be the route I wanted to go. Then I shifted over into RA because I’m more of the one who I wanted quick results. It’s really not how this works. You can get some quick results, especially with the program you have going now and going from replens maybe to private label or something like that, but I wanted some quick wins because I need that feeling of success, like all this work I’m putting in is paying off. I remember I walked into Walmart scanning items, using the Amazon seller app, using your My Silent Team sales rank spreadsheet. I don’t even know if that’s still out there. I hope it does. It really helps.
Jim: We don’t use it anymore. We use Keepa now. This was before Keepa was really a thing. We’re still talking 2015, 2016.
Matt: Yeah, early. Yeah, so there was a spreadsheet out there that said this category had this many items. What’s in the top 1%? What’s in the top 5%? I actually had that with me so I could go, okay, I see whatever I’m scanning is in the top 1%. Keepa says here’s the rank. Then also using the Amazon seller app, I know if I buy it for this, I can make this much money. I’m standing there in the aisle and I’m looking at these six Norelco shavers. They were like $20 a piece or something like that. I’m like, man, there’s six of them there. There’s another guy actually scanning there, Jim, at the time. I could see his Amazon seller app. I couldn’t get myself to spend $160, even though I knew in my mind I most likely would make $160. I’m there with my kids. I got back to my car, I said, “No, I have to take a step. I have to take the leap. I have to spend this money.” I went right back in. I got my cart. I dumped all those shavers into my cart right in front of that other seller. I listed them. All six of those sold within a day at that point. I’ve been hooked ever since. I started going to Walmarts all over the place and filling my basket up as much as I could.
Then following the coaching and the training I received, talking to the managers once I get really comfortable. I said, hey, I remember I found maybe 100 of these water filters. They were like $5 each. I can only make $1 or $2 a piece on those, but I remember Jim saying one time, ask the manager. Ask the manager to mark them down. I really got out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t used to that. I asked the manager. You know what they did? They got out their handheld computer. They marked them down from $5 to $2. She said, “Okay, anything else?” I said, “Well, can you mark them down to $1 a piece?” She said, “Well, I would if you would have asked the first time but I already marked them down to $2.” After saying all of that, using the training from the coaching, getting out of my comfort zone to retail arbitrage was huge. It was really, really huge.
Jim: I’m really enjoying your story. This is great. These are details I didn’t know. You’ve been around a while. We’ve connected before but these are all new details. I’m enjoying this. Hope the listeners are enjoying it as much as I am. This is great.
Matt: Yeah, it’s a great story. Retail arbitrage, I started getting good there. Started doing a little online arbitrage. My attention span is not that great. What I did, I bought those lists, I started doing all the research from Keepa, from Amazon seller central, the app, to know what am I comfortable buying that I can make money on. Eventually, I found this one product where I went and bought it, sold really, really quickly this product. I thought this isn’t even anything I would normally buy. I bought the product. It sold super fast. Made $5 a pop. Loved it. I ordered 100 more. Again, really outside of my comfort zone, but they’re selling so quickly, I said I just have to do it. Then they sold really fast. I’m like, man, this is awesome. Again, taking information training from podcasts and coaching and everything, I called and said, “Hey, we’ve been doing a lot of orders. Is there any way we can set up an exclusive relationship?” I’ve asked this probably a dozen, 20 times at this point going through the wholesale training, they all said no. What does this guy say? He goes, “Okay.” I said, “Can I send you a contract?” He goes, “Yeah, sure.” I pulled up the Proven Product Partnering contract, made a couple tweaks, sent it over to him. He signed that day and sent it back. He was so excited about it.
From that point on, I was really getting out of my comfort zone again, buying 500 units at a time, spending this money I was freaking out about. I wasn’t believing that I could actually do this. Then what I did was, again, follow the training. I optimized his listings, the title, the keywords, the pictures, started running ads on it. At that point, Jim, I got Amazon’s choice badge for his product and that he only had about 30 ratings on that product about this time. Today, still selling it, still have that relationship. Those product reviews are over 900 a day somewhere in the 4.5, 5-star rating. Again, using all that coaching.
Jim: That’s years ago, right?
Matt: Years ago, I mean, I’m talking about four or five years ago now.
Jim: Four or five years you’ve been doing this. You just reached out to one of your hottest selling items that you discovered organically through the simple process we teach. You said, “Hey, I want to be the exclusive seller. Let’s work together here.” You’ll improve the listing a little bit. What percentage of your business does that product represent at this point?
Matt: Maybe 5% or 10%. It’s kind of more of a seasonal product. The cool thing is we have this relationship, right? What he said, my manufacturer, he goes, “Well, why don’t you try this? Why don’t you try this other product?” I originally, again, products I might not normally buy myself. I thought, no, but I started running the numbers. Went and looked at Keepa. Went and looked at the number of sellers. Went and looked at the percentage of how fast it’s selling. I said, “Well, wait, all the data says it’s good.” I took that product, started selling it. Again, that started selling better than the first product. Again, enhanced the listings, the keywords, pictures, all that stuff. I’m still selling that one today.
Again, move it to the next level of part of the coaching and training I always heard is maybe you can take that product and create your own product and private label it. I asked him. You know what he said? “Okay.” That product right now I’ve been selling for probably three or four years, easily my number one product. You know what he said? “Hey, I’ve got another idea. Want to try to sell this one?” This one had not a lot of data. There was a few competitors out there doing it but everything so far we tried was working so I said, “Okay.” We built this brand-new product, for our competitors. He wasn’t even doing it yet. Started selling that, selling pretty well. As of two or three weeks ago, it became my number one seller, got the Amazon’s badge for that particular product. We just keep launching more and more products. Some fail. I’ve had two or three fail this year, but you know what? That’s okay. We learn a lot from the ones that fail.
Jim: You learn how to minimize the risk on those and test small and minimize the risk and you can know pretty quick. You don’t have to roll the dice with $20,000 like most people do private label. Test really, really small. I want to go back to something you said. I want to talk about, too, how you test, how you know, but I want to jump back because we left some people scratching their heads. You said Proven Product Partnering. That’s one of the modules. About three minutes ago, you mentioned it because that’s how you found the contract. Proven Product Partnering, for those who don’t know, is one of the modules inside the Proven Amazon Course that teaches you the strategy of finding brand owners that need help on Amazon. You may sell through their account or you may sell through your own account. Either way, you’ve got this steady stream of inventory that you’re locked into that you don’t even necessarily have to pay for upfront. You can just make an arrangement where you split the profits on the backend. It’s a brilliant module.
Probably the king of that module, the person who does it best on our team, is Nathan Bailey. He’s actually our coaching director as well. It’s great to have someone else touting that strategy as a big success because it is a very powerful way to go about finding incredible opportunity with minimal, literally zero risk because the pitch is so simple. It’s like, hey, you’ve got products. I’ve got Amazon knowledge. Let’s partner up and try to do something here. No one takes any big risks. It’s a beautiful thing. I love that. The other thing you just said is you test small. Take me through that. How do you test these new products?
Matt: There’s a lot of ways. I really love Helium10. You can look at reviews and see what people like about their competitor’s products, what they don’t like, and you can go fix that really quick. I like to start it slow. I love data, like Keepa. Keepa has great data. Helium 10 provides great data. The more data I have, the more comfortable I am at making those decisions, but still, I’m going to start small. Part of what these different manufacturers, of course, they have certain needs they have, too, but I always start with small quantities and build up from there.
Jim: How many different private label products have you launched running successfully right now, would you say, and total?
Matt: Right now, I’m probably around 12 to 15 products. Again, some are three a day, some are eight a day, some I’ve been getting up to 30 or 40 a day, sales a day. Then I have the ones that we launched two or three, somewhere between three and five that just failed. We tried. The data looked okay. The competition looked okay. It just didn’t work out.
Jim: Got you. That paints a very clear picture for people. What kind of numbers are we talking about, if you don’t mind sharing? What numbers are you comfortable sharing with us?
Matt: I had a goal this year of selling $400,000 in US and $100,000 in Canada and definitely well on my way to meeting that and probably exceeding that this year.
Jim: At private label you’re dealing with higher margins typically than what we see in the Replens model.
Matt: Absolutely, once I saw the margins of private label compared to especially wholesale or at 20%, and I’m spending $5 making $20, $30 sometimes per product after all the fees for private label. I just figure, if I’m going to spend my time on something, I want to make as much money as possible. Private label has been that for me, for sure.
Jim: This is awesome. I have a feeling, Matt, that as this episode rolls out, you’re going to see enough people saying, hey, I want Matt to coach me.
Matt: Let’s do it. I love to help people.
Jim: We’re going to get you very busy. You’re going to be getting that last check from Sprint in the near future. We’re going to more than replace that by teaching people how to do what it is that you’re doing. This is fantastic. I know from past conversations with you that you take your business, you see it almost as a spiritual adventure. Talk us through that a little bit. We’ve had some good conversations. I want to speak with some transparency, too, about your journey in our coaching program because you’ve spoken very positively about it so far, but it wasn’t all rainbows and cherries. It was a bit of a rough road there for a while, too. I want to be very transparent with people. You’ve been with us a long time. It wasn’t necessarily a homerun right out of the gates. Those two topics are of interest at least to me and I think many other people will enjoy that as well.
Matt: Yeah, I think as I was talking about earlier, I needed results right away. I need to feel like I’m making this investment. I’m spending this time. For me, when I started the coaching program, I was laid off. I was laid off from Sprint. That was my income coming in. I had a little severance package but this was the way I was using to make money. I needed results. Initially, it wasn’t like that. I was literally spending 40 hours a week looking up wholesalers, trying to find different products, contacting, calling, emailing. I was even keeping a tracking spreadsheet so I knew I was doing work throughout the day so I could track and say, hey, I contacted 50 people today, or whatever the number was. It just wasn’t happening. I was a little frustrated. That’s when I started to move to retail arbitrage, to online arbitrage, and to private label to learn it all. I think what I learned from that is, especially being a runner, when you run and you sign up for a race, one of the things that you always learn is don’t run someone else’s race. You’re not going to go up to the race line and you’re going to try to keep up with the seven-minute miler when you’ve been training at a ten-minute mile pace, but that’s what happens. You’ve got to run your race. What fits for you? I had to try all those different things, Jim, to see what fit for me. Eventually, it led to private label that fit. I followed that nice progression funnel from RA to OA into private label.
Jim: That runner analogy really resonates with me. I’ve only done one marathon. Have you done any full marathons?
Jim: Two, yeah, brutal, man. I have a lot of respect now for people who do those. People who do several a year, how do you do that? I run a lot but I prefer the 5Ks now. That 26.2-mile thing is no joke. I trained and I thought I lined up with the 8.15 minutes per mile pace crew. That was my goal.
Matt: It’s a good pace.
Jim: Oh, it would’ve been if I had stuck with them. I ended with the 9-minute and 15-second group. They passed me there towards the end. Overtime, it was discouraging. There goes that group. There goes that pace group. You don’t want to do races that way. You want to be picking up speed. You don’t want to be slowing down as you go. That means you understand your own game. I love that analogy of knowing where you’re at. If you’re coming in desperate, desperation is not a good time to start a business. You learn some hard lessons. I love you stuck with us. We stuck with you. Take us through the story.
Matt: I think that’s important to say. Some people, it gets frustrating honestly because some people you see or you perceive, especially over social media, which not a huge fan, but you perceive these people get instant results and they’re making $100,000 a year or their first month they did $10,000 or something. It just gets frustrating. That’s where coaching comes in. This is a long-term play. This is, like we were saying, training for a marathon. This isn’t training for a 40-yard dash. You’re training for a marathon, which takes three, four, five months to train for a marathon. It’s going to take four or five, six months before you really start to get some good traction and some good knowledge. That’s where the coaching program and a great community like yours comes in because you can get that in a variety of ways, podcasts, videos, online trainings, I mean, there’s so many resources out there. If you spend the time, small amount of time day after day, week after week, then you’re going to get to the point that you want to get to and even more.
Jim: I completely agree, slow and steady. We do have those people and they blow me away, the Oscar Mutumbos, $30,000 a month by month three, and they’re just killing it. He actually, one of the guys that presented, I don’t know if you heard his episodes, Matt. You should check him out if you haven’t heard his. He presented at our most recent conference, too. He said, “Here’s the secret to succeeding at the level I am. Work harder than me. I guarantee there’s no one in this room that’s working harder than me. I’m working harder than you.” He started pointing at people. “I’m working harder than you. I’ve never met you and I’m working harder than you. I know I am.” Because he just is going through that period of intense focused effort where he just eats, breathes, sleeps, it’s like, hey, family, we’re going to go through a season where I’m going to be just hitting it hard. It won’t always be this way. He was able to quit his job, pay off his house. He has an incredible business now. He’s one of the great leaders in our community. I get texts from him from time to time. He’s always out just hitting it, hitting it, hitting it full-time.
You can do it quickly but it’s not going to just fall in your lap. There’s no opportunities out there that do. I think that’s one of the more valuable things we can tell people is, any opportunity out there, it’s going to be work, blood, sweat, tears, risk. That is business. Anyone who’s telling you otherwise, they’re selling bright shiny objects that aren’t representing reality. I love the reality of your situation where there was some frustration there. There was some desperation in there. There was some failure in there. There was confusion. You switched coaches at one point. You stuck with us and we stuck with you. We’ve got many stories like this out there. I love that nature of your story particularly today because it’s been a while since we’ve told one of these stories.
Hey, sorry for the interruption. We’ll get back to the show in just a second. I wanted to throw in a quick reminder about our fantastic sponsor Payoneer. That’s payoneer.com/funding, up to $750,000 without a credit check if you’re an Amazon or Walmart seller. Great terms, go check out what they have to offer our community. If you’re trying to grow your business and the thing holding you back is capital, they’re a great place to look to solve that problem fast. Very flexible repayment terms as well, which is super cool. Payoneer.com, check them out, guys. Back to the show.
You stuck with us and we stuck with you. We’ve got many stories like this out there. I love that nature of your story particularly today because it’s been a while since we’ve told one of these stories. What else stands out to you from your coaching experience? I do want to talk about the spiritual elements, too, as well. I don’t want to forget that.
Matt: The coaching, really, the responsiveness is huge. I needed something. I said I was a little frustrated. Man, I have three or four or five people reaching out to me. I’m here to help. I’m here to help. I’m here to help. Sure enough, I connected with Nathan Bailey at that time. Gave me a couple small tips, a couple tools to use, a couple different contacts, a little strategy change, and that’s the one that really started to accelerate the growth. That was huge.
From the spiritual side, I got laid off, at Sprint, I got laid off. I knew this was coming so I had this plan, Jim. I said, “I’m going to get laid off. I’ve been here a long time. I might get a severance package. I’m going to get some jobs lined up and get some interviews.” I was getting first, second, third interviews. I thought I was going to have this job lined up. When I got laid off, I’m going to have income coming in from Sprint and income coming in from the new job. I’m going to change my family’s financial destiny. I always say God laughs at the plans of man because I would be getting flown out for these interviews, talking to VPs. All they need to do is say come onboard. Everything is looking right. They just kept falling through, falling through, falling through, until eventually we really believed God called us to move up to Spokane from Denver, which we did. Moved up with three kids, two dogs, a wife, no job, no place to live, really going on faith there. We had quite a few mentors in our life that spoke into our lives and said, yes, this is the right thing to do, some of who didn’t know we were even considering it.
We did that, got two job offers in two weeks up here. Been here ever since. It was a super challenging time for those first couple of years. I was able to not only work that job but keep the Amazon business going and the eBay business going to where I actually got laid off again early last year right at the beginning of COVID. Man, at that point, I was able to put more time into the Amazon business, apply more techniques, and my sales, like a lot of people out there during this time, just shot through the roof. It’s been great. God is good. You have to put in the time and the effort, have that faith that it’s going to work out. You put in the time and it will. Yeah, the past couple of years have been just a tremendously big blessing financially. There’s some great opportunities as your business grows there’s some ways that I didn’t know about before on how to set your business up to get a lot of benefits tax wise, just set it up as an LLC or maybe an S corp or things I didn’t know about before, but, man, your business gets going and you talk to the right people and you learn there’s some really good benefits just from even having a small business.
Jim: Yeah, absolutely. We just partnered up with, this is something that’s available only to our coaching students, but it’s a company. We’ve been looking for the right company partner for a while now to help people set up their entities properly, take full advantage of all the tax deductions that they can have, nice itemized – the right accountant pays for themselves. The right accountant puts money in your pocket. We finally found the right guy for the ecommerce and it’s the right company to partner with. We have some good people in our community that can help with those kinds of things. We’re starting out with just our coaching students for now but you hit the nail on the head with you finally get the time to step back and do some of those things right. There’s a lot of money you’re leaving on the table if you’re just winging it with your taxes and accountant who’s never done ecommerce before. You’re leaving a lot of money hanging out there.
Matt: A lot, thousands and thousands.
Jim: Yes, a good accountant, like I said, pays for themselves very quickly. The right one does. It’s a no brainer decision. I want to hear a recap. You hit some big picture numbers but it sounds to me like you’re looking at about a half a million in sales for the year. What’s your overall margin going to be? Have you got that dialed in? Is that something that –
Matt: We talked about that before. I was running my numbers I think looked about 50%.
Jim: Yeah, that’s pretty incredible. Even if you’re only 40%, that’s awesome. 50%, phenomenal net margin. You’re putting half that money in the bank. That’s pretty incredible.
Matt: That’s one of the problems we talked about before, right? This sounds terrible and I don’t mean this to be arrogant, but anyway. The money was coming in, I didn’t know what to do with it. I was freaking out because I know I need to pay taxes on this. This money is coming in and I need to make sure to tithe. I need to save. I need to invest. I need to do all the right things with this money but I’ve never had this kind of money before. It was a good problem to have.
Jim: Do you have a business account and a personal account?
Matt: Oh, absolutely.
Jim: Okay, good, because that’s step one. I’ve actually heard, and I agree entirely with Dave Ramsey, and I believe this is the biblical model that businesses don’t tithe. People who don’t know what tithing is, as Christians, we believe and I believe no matter what your worldview is you benefit greatly from giving away 10%. It’s almost like the law of gravity God put in place, you can take advantage of it or you can buck against it. It doesn’t matter. Either way, it’s there and it applies to you. I believe biblically tithing, it’s the exact same way regardless of worldview, as Christians, we give 10% back to the church of what we take. Dave Ramsey very eloquently goes through this discussion that I’ll break down into ten seconds here and says people tithe, businesses don’t. What that means is as long as your money is in your business churning, growing, paying payroll, buying inventory, it’s spending over here creating more money, you don’t tithe on that. Businesses don’t tithe. There’s no scriptural mandate or biblical mandate. As soon as you put it into your personal account, the first thing you do is 10% of that goes to the church and the tithe.
Just maybe help someone think that through because I remember that being a challenge for me. I’ve got three or four different business entities here and I never take money from this one. This is the one that I take money out of personally, and what should I be tithing on? It’s always good to be generous. Businesses can definitely be generous and make donations. That’s beautiful but it’s not considered a tithe unless it’s a person or family that’s doing it. I love that. I think it sounds to me like you’re saying, hey, God blesses you when you start to do things the right way, and the more the right way you do them, the pie just keeps getting bigger.
Matt: I was thinking about it, too, is I remember God telling me this one time, if you can’t be responsible with a little, how can you be responsible with a lot? You’ve got to be able to –
Jim: That’s a scripture.
Matt: Yeah, totally scriptural.
Jim: He who is faithful in little will be faithful in much. He who is not faithful in little will not be faithful in much.
Matt: It’s different because before when you’re tithing $100, that’s $100, but it’s not a lot of money. Then you’re writing tithe checks every week for $800, $1,000, man, that’s a lot of money. I love doing it. I can give to the church because I know they’re helping the community. I know they’re providing a lot of good value, way more than I could do myself, and it’s scriptural. I’m just being obedient to God.
Jim: Have you read the books – did I recommend – I remember we talked before about this. It’s been a few weeks ago. Robert Morris, have I told you about him? Do you know who that is?
Matt: I don’t think so.
Jim: Robert Morris, a book you must read. He’s actually the pastor at Ryan Reger’s. He runs our Legends group for the community. Good friends of mine, but that’s their pastor. He wrote a book. It was a best-seller for Christians about this concept of giving. It was titled The Blessed Life. Basically, he gave away every penny he had several times in his life. Sold his house, sold his cars, emptied his bank accounts, just gave it and said, okay, because God told him to. All right, it’s all gone. I think I out gave you this time, God. You always say you can’t outgive God. I think I just did it. Then boom, huge opportunity hits him in the face and off he goes again, including writing this best-selling book that he’s donated all the proceeds from. It reminds me a lot of the Rick Warren stories, one of the best-selling books in all of history, The Purpose Driven Life. He’s never kept a penny of that. It’s sold hundreds of millions of copies and been translated into hundreds of languages globally. God said, “I’m going to give you a best-seller but you’re not going to keep a penny, deal?” He’s like, “Sounds good. Let’s do it.” Those funds have been used for so many ministries around the world. It’s a big deal.
This is a podcast that’s not designed for believers. It’s not designed for Christians. It’s designed for everyone. When I have a fellow believer on here, we’re not apologetic in saying, hey, these godly biblical principles of money and business, they just flat out work. If you ignore them, it’s to your own detriment. It’s like ignoring the law of gravity if you’re trying to be a pilot. The plane will still fly, but wouldn’t it be nice to know what rules and laws it is you’re working with here? Hopefully others are enjoying that as much as I am.
Let’s talk about, let’s get back to, swing back to Amazon and ecommerce and all that. I want to hear some of your advice, some of your tips. You’ve talked about coaching quite a bit today. I think you’re an advocate for that from what I’m hearing. What other advice might you have for people who are on the fence if they want to try this or they’re trying to grow or they’re frustrated? What comes to mind? What’s on your heart to share with the people listening today?
Matt: Yeah, I actually prepared some of this stuff. I think some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is when an opportunity comes up in Amazon, just sign up, whether you’re going to use it or not. I know Merch was a big deal three or four years ago, maybe even longer now. I didn’t sign up. Then when I had some good ideas, I wanted to try it, they wouldn’t let me in. I still can’t get into Merch. Any time you see Amazon, especially in the community, Amazon is a proven category, just go in and apply because sometimes they’re just going to approve you right away, but they’re not going to do that all the time. Then things open up, like Walmart. I just started on Walmart. It’s a big learning curve. It took literally over a year to get approved for Walmart, Jim. I finally got in there. Make sure if you have an opportunity, just sign up, do it.
Like I talked about before, number two, try every technique, do replens, then go into retail arbitrage and online arbitrage, wholesale, and then eventually you’ll have enough information and knowledge where you can move into that private label space and really start creating your own products. Run your race, whatever that may be. You may love replens. It wasn’t for me. It wasn’t for me but I still go out there and do it when I’m in a rut just so I can start learning. Keep the wheel spinning. Shake the rust off. One thing, I was thinking about this. If you get in a rut, you’re not selling a lot, just go to Walmart or Costco. Find something you can sell, even if it’s no profit, because I did that a couple of times and it just got me out of the rut. I didn’t want to do this anymore but this is still for real. This is a real thing. I can still make money. I didn’t make money there but I’m still making – the process still works.
Lastly, especially if you’re getting into private label, make sure your product does not have a patent on it somewhere. I found my golden goose, Jim, where I thought I was going to be making $10,000 a month. I mean, this product was great. I did all my testing. I ran all of the numbers. Took months to figure this thing out. Sold a small amount. Ordered a big amount. Started selling. Spent thousands and thousands and thousands on a big order. I said, man, this is going to be it. What happened? I got contacted for patent infringement which I didn’t even know about. Lost thousands of dollars on inventory. Just had to dispose of it. Couldn’t do anything with it. That hurt. It took a lot of momentum out of my sales but it was a good lesson learned. When I’m checking for new products now, you better believe I’m checking to make sure it has a patent these days, because if I found that product once, I can find it again.
Jim: That’s fantastic advice. I heard the words of Jim Rohn echoing in my ear that last point you made. Focus on the loss or focus on the lesson. That’s the choice you get. If you’re going to succeed just –
Matt: I’ve listened to a lot of Jim Rohn, yes.
Jim: You focus on the lesson. Have you? Yeah, that’s some good stuff if you ever need some good motivation. I know my son, Trey, loves him as well. He’s very missed. I would’ve loved to have met that guy. Just a powerful – and again, very bible-based advice just pulling those lessons. The bible has two times as much to say about money and business as it does love and prayer combined. I don’t know if you’ve heard that statistic or not. If you add up all the times love and prayer are mentioned in the bible, which everyone thinks it’s a book about love and prayer, and it is, but it mentions money and business twice as much as it does love and prayer.
Matt: Yeah, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, if you haven’t listened to those guys, go to your library. You can get it for free.
Jim: Yeah, get on YouTube. The way they present, the way they pace themselves. One of the challenges I think we all have as business leaders regardless, you may think, oh, I’m just looking to earn a few extra $100 to help make ends meet for my family. I’m pretty satisfied where I am. What you’re going to discover very quickly is starting a business is a leadership journey. If you’re not constantly improving your leadership skills, which means improving your ability to communicate, to talk to others, to explain what it is you do, to be proud when you’re in a store and people go, “Why are you buying 30 of those?” It’s like, “Hey, I’m helping people all over the world get this item. They’re available here. They’re not available everywhere else. I’ve built a business out of helping those people. Are you interested in learning more about that?” Recruit them as a shopper. Get them on your team. Get them to pay you to learn how to do the business.
This entrepreneurial spirit is something that needs to spread. We don’t hide it. Again, as Christians we don’t hide who it is and what we are. We’re told to be a light on a hill. Be proud of it. Be bold about it. Same thing with business. It’s a leadership journey. You’re going to see yourself stepping into those roles using your voice. I like listening to Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, those guys because it teaches you how to be confident in your message, how to base it on something bigger than your own opinions, and build something significant while serving others. I love it, good stuff. What else is on your heart? What else you got on your mind for the listeners today if there’s anything else on your list there?
Matt: I think that was it. I think I’ll just end it this way. The journey never stops. I’m in another network now, well, yours as well, too, but it’s really getting me out of my comfort zone. They’re talking about launches with giveaways of so many per day and spending all this money on Facebook and ManyChat and product giveaways. That’s really outside of my comfort zone. I haven’t done that before. I’m in multiple different places. I learn from multiple different places. I’m in this network now where they have a product launch process, which is out of my comfort zone, that’s using a Facebook page and ManyChat and doing some automated giveaways and rebates. That’s a lot of money and it’s really out of my comfort zone. I’m digging into it for my next couple of launches because you have to keep learning. You have to keep growing. It may work. It may fail. If I break even, I’m probably happy. Of course, I want to make money, but you have to keep growing, have to keep learning, which is where coaching is just huge. Being a part of environments like yours and your community, there’s always those resources there. You’ll always have the ability to keep learning and growing your knowledge base and expanding your business.
Jim: You hit on a key point. I want to give you a specific tip on something you just said, too, that I just learned a couple of days ago that’s going to be helpful to you. Two big rules that you’ve got to embrace, one is you can’t be afraid to fail. Fail small. Take small risks. If you’re afraid of failures and small risks, this isn’t going to work well for you. You need to be willing to do that. The other is you have to be willing to constantly learn. The longer I’m in this, the bolder I get about saying I don’t feel like I know anything compared to what there is to know out there. You think a guy that’s been doing it 20 years is like, oh, I’m closing in on all there is to know about this thing. No, it keeps expanding. Every time I open another door, there’s eight doors to choose from, and they’re all good. I go through one of them and there’s 15 doors to choose from. When do you go back and learn all the stuff you feel like you’re missing? You don’t. You just keep going forward and keep learning and being humble enough to ask questions. That’s the journey, constantly learning. I love that you mentioned that.
One thing specifically, we don’t talk a whole lot about private label, but I do keep up with that arena. We have some very serious big hitter private label success stories in our community. I’m talking top ten grocery items on Amazon type of level sellers. I learn a lot and I keep my thumb on that pulse. One of the things I want to caution you about, and other listeners perhaps, too, if you’re talking about some of these strategies that involve doing giveaways and rebates, use extreme caution. I’ll talk to you a little bit offline, but Amazon is really starting to crackdown on that actually because they see that as review manipulation now. They’re getting very aggressive asking people who are leaving reviews, like, hey, how did you come about buying this product? Was there any promotion involved? All it takes is one complaint from a competitor and they’re researching deep into these guys. If you’re giving a rebate in hopes of getting a good review or boosting rank, be very cautious. I’m talking just in the past few weeks, they’re really starting to crack down on that stuff big time. I’ll give you some specifics –
Matt: Yeah, I’ve been hearing that, too, yeah.
Jim: Yeah, it’s coming. Basically, the way to win is to have a better product than your competitors and get legitimate reviews. That’s the only way to win. You hit on that.
Matt: With a good listing and the right keywords.
Jim: Yeah, exactly. That’s where the bread and butter is. This has been a great episode, Matt. Really good hanging out with you. I think we’ve created a lot of curiosity. I think this is one of those episodes where we left people with more questions than answers possibly because we hit a lot of topics about an inch deep that we could’ve gone ten feet deep with. Leave them wanting more, I guess, right? It’s going to be awesome having you on the team, too. I think it’s time to put in your two weeks’ notice pretty fast after this episode pops because you’re going to see –
Matt: Don’t tell my boss.
Jim: You’re going to see your inbox filling up. Just don’t make the mistake I made where you say, “Hey, sometime in the next six to eight months, I’m thinking about maybe putting in my two or three month notice,” because what they did to me was fire me the next day. That was 20 years ago but still.
Matt: Right, be careful.
Jim: Caution, man. If you want us to wait to put this episode out there because people know people or we can do first name only if you want. It’s up to you. If you want to say boldly, hey, let’s go for it, that’s great, too. It’s been cool hanging out with you.
Matt: I appreciate it. It’s been an honor, Jim.
Jim: For me as well. I can’t wait to hang out more in the future. Let me just talk to the listeners for a second as we wrap this up. Hey, guys, I hope you had as much fun as I did. I say that all the time but sometimes I’m just like, hey, this would’ve been time well spent even if I didn’t turn the cameras and the recording on. Hopefully you benefited from it as much as I did. Thank you for loaning us some of your most valuable asset, your time. It’s a limited resource, the most limited, precious resource you have and you gave a bunch of it to Matt and I today. We’re very grateful for that. I hope you feel like we served you well. Hopefully you walk away with a new found excitement and encouragement and sense of legitimacy of this opportunity. I’m very bullish on the future with selling products on Amazon, regardless of which the strategies that we teach you happen to use. They all work. It’s just a matter of which one you’re going to grab onto and run with.
From Matt and I, from the whole team, from the production team that I don’t give a shoutout to enough. You may not realize this but there’s eight people involved every episode that goes out and I have a very small part to play. I just basically turn on the recording. There’s other people doing stuff behind the scenes. I appreciate all of them. God bless them. God bless you for listening. We’ll have another great episode for you again real soon. Send your friends to silentjim.com so you and they don’t miss an episode. We’ll talk to you then.
Hey, before we end this episode, real quick, I want to thank our sponsor Payoneer. Payoneer.com/funding, go there. They have a great offer. Tell them Jim sent you. They’ll give you 10% off the fees on your first funding. Remember if you need more money to grow your business, these are some great guys to talk to. They’ve become a sponsor of our show. We’re very grateful. If you jump over and check out what they have to offer, I think you’re going to like what you see. Very flexible payment terms, great interest rates. Go check out payoneer.com/funding. Hey, we’ll see you in the next episode.
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