29 Apr April 29, 2019 – Amazon FBA Andrew Arnott, Life Leap Tommy Baker and Cold Showers w Jesse Harless
A trick to build trust online: Step 1, ask for email. Step 2, give
a 50% code to buy on Amazon. You win either way. You acquire
the new customer email before sending them to Amazon, but
still give them the assurance of buying from Amazon.
Andrew Arnott is an Amazon SEO and Marketing Expert. He is a million dollar Amazon seller, Amazon SaaS founder, and seller consultant. He is adept at coming up with new businesses and fresh ideas. His current focus is Amazon and supporting new and seasoned sellers to make more money online. He runs two successful SaaS tools to help sellers rank and sell more online. He can help you turn a hobby into a million dollar business!
Tommy Baker – Breakthrough Coach & Consultant and Author of The Leap of Your Life: How to Redefine Risk, Quit Waiting For ‘Someday,’ and Live Boldly – Read interview highlights here
Create urgency today. Take ourselves 5 years into the future,
and nothing has changed. We haven’t made that bold move.
How does that feel? Future regret is so strong that today’s
decision loses its emotional charge.
Tommy Baker, author of the forthcoming book Leap of Your Life has spoken with hundreds of entrepreneurs, and can shed light on what it takes to get your business off the ground, especially making the leap to put your dreams into action. Tommy has helped thousands of everyday people identify and take their leap, step into courage and create a life they can’t wait to wake up for. After interviewing 250+ of the world’s most powerful entrepreneurs, thought leaders, experts, spiritual teachers and athletes he discovered a common theme: They all took a leap, even if they were full of fear—and it radically transformed their experience of life. If you’re ready to redefine risk and stop playing small, step into the boldest version of yourself, give yourself permission to take a chance, live the Hero’s Journey of your life story, and eradicate regret and ‘what could have been’ then look no further than The Leap Of Your Life.
By taking cold showers, I was facing a fear everyday. And by
doing that everyday, it lead to me facing other fears.
Jesse Harless, M.A., is a Life and Recovery Coach, group empowerment facilitator, motivational speaker, author, and Entrepreneur in Recovery™. He holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Rivier University and he is certified in Leading with Experiential Appreciative Facilitation (L.E.A.F.). Jesse is the founder of Entrepreneurs in Recovery, a platform to help people in addiction recovery reach their full potential. He works with several addiction treatment centers and programs in the Northeast U.S. where he facilitates his Entrepreneurs in Recovery™ Facilitation model.
Highlights from Andrew’s Interview
Amazon FBA is Fulfilled By Amazon. If you’re just starting out, you either import your products, or you’re making products and manufacturing them, then you send them to Amazon. They do all the fulfillment, all the shipping, all the customer service. It’s a hands off way to run a retail business. And it’s catching on all over the place. The funny thing is, people are saying that Amazon’s displacing small business, but I always giggle at that. Now, your local store might be getting affected by that. But the way that I see it is, it is enabling so many other new small businesses, mom and pops, like my wife and I, who, sell on Amazon. So I really think that it’s not necessarily Amazon’s stealing, but that there’s this shift, it’s moving forward. And hopefully, those people in retail are realizing that, taking their small corner shop and putting it online, and making it available to the world.
What we’re talking about is either wholesaling or something called retail arbitrage, or online arbitrage. And all that means is, people go into Walmart or somewhere, and somebody’s got their phone out. And they’re scanning barcodes, or they have a shopping cart full of the same product. You wonder, “What is that guy doing? Does he really have 100 Barbies in a shopping cart?” And you wonder if he’s having a huge birthday party for his kid. But what’s actually going on is those people are scanning products and seeing that in Walmart, it’s selling for $29.99, but on Amazon, that same product is selling for $39.99 or $49.99. So they’re using that gap to list that product, and then make a little bit of money on the side. A lot of people start out that way–which is not a bad way to get started–just to kind of learn how the processes work. And it seems like people then graduate into a wholesale kind of selling. After that, a lot of people graduate into private label, which is where we started.
Private label is when you import something, generally from China, but people are importing it from all over the world. What they’ll do is they’ll import the product that they’re interested in. A lot of people will try to chase the trending products, things like fidget spinners, which if you’re really good, you might be able to catch them. But what generally works is when people chase stuff they’re passionate about, because then they have a knowledge about those products. People will go into China–a popular source for a lot of products is a site called Alibaba–which is a way to connect with manufacturers in China. And when they do that, some people will take a product that a manufacturer in China has already produced, put their own brand name on it, and then import it as their own. Other people, if they’re inventive, have created their own product, or they’ve iterated meeting that they’ve taken a broom and added, an automatic dust collector or something. So it’s whatever somebody comes up with, either on their own or something that they found, and then they generally import those products, and then sell them on Amazon. And because of the difference in exchange and in cost of manufacturing things in China, that’s where the margins are made, even though it’s a little bit harder now with the terrorists in place.
So you go out and create a whole line of whatever you want to call it, and you put your logo on it and your brand. And you can sell something like water coolers or something like that, that millions of other people are selling, but you control your brand and your name. So hopefully, you should get a little bit higher margin, instead of selling to a wholesaler who then retails. You are the entire process: manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, and retail all in one. And that scares people of people. I know that when I first started the business, all those things seemed very scary. But once you start digging into it, it’s not that hard.
When I started back in 2013, it was a trial by fire. There’s so many people, including myself, who have podcasts, who have YouTube videos, who are really kind of sharing all this information. Because especially people like me love helping new sellers, especially mom and pop type sellers, because then I know that I’m directly affecting their family. They’re able to, tell their boss, see you later. And live the life that they envisioned, and that a lot of people want, which is more freedom and more money, not having to live paycheck to paycheck, all those great things.
And you are fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, right?
No, absolutely not. The funny story is I bought a software suite to try to learn it. And I never even tried that. So that didn’t go too well. Luckily, I do have an employee in China that does a lot of negotiations and things like that for us.
How do you find an employee in China, and how do you trust them?
The trust part’s a little harder. We found ours on a website called Upwork, which is a website for freelancers. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I have a really bad Upwork addiction. You can post a job on Upwork and hopefully find somebody in China now. I could go on for a whole half an hour about the process of vetting them and things like that. But generally the way to find a quality person is to give them a small trial task in the beginning. If they pass that with flying colors, then you know, give them additional tests. And then if they pass that, then just keep moving them along until you find somebody you really trust to form a long term relationship with you. For the listeners, Upwork isn’t an outsourcing website, I post things like transcribe this, or write this, or write a blog for me, or create a video, all of these things.
And Andy, what you did is went on there and said, only Chinese people can apply for this; I need someone in China who’s going to be my negotiator. And did you tell them it was, potentially a long term gig, but right now I need you to go and do this one negotiation for me? Am I on the right track.
Yeah, initially, I gave them a small task with a specific product that I had in mind that I wanted to find. I test her with that saying, “Hey, go talk to local manufacturers, find me the best product–the best, you know, price, the best quality, etc.–and center out and she came back with some good results.
The big benefit there is if you cut them into the deal, you give them a percentage, or you give them a salary. It’s definitely a great way, because that person speaks the language locally, they have a good idea of where the factories are, because in China factories are very much based in regions. So they know all of that stuff, and they’re able to go out and really deal directly with manufacturers, get the best pricing, speak the local language, and negotiate for you. So that is really to your advantage.
A big missing piece sellers run into is they don’t know how to get the word out. That’s the hardest thing for a lot of people to grasp on Amazon. That’s what we specialize in, where our expertise is. We have software, but we also take on clients. And that’s where people come to us, when they’re having trouble getting their products moving. There’s a bunch of different parts of the advanced stuff that we do nowadays. First and foremost, if you want to be successful on Amazon, a lot of people don’t realize, but SEO search engine optimization is as essential on Amazon as it is on Google, and any other platform. And it’s evolving, but one of the most critical, absolutely essential things that you need to do is build an optimized listing, what that means is a title that contains keywords. Same thing with your bullet points, which if you’ve looked at Amazon listings, there’s photos, a title of five bullet points, and then a description, those are the elements that every Amazon listing has. You want to make sure you have keywords throughout your listing. So in your title, and your bullet points in your description, they have to be relevant to the products. And then best practice would be six photos, high quality, 1000 by 1000 pixels or greater.
What people don’t realize is that step is the foundation of a successful product. If you missed that step, it’s going to affect everything down the road. It’s going to affect your visibility in the search, it’s going to affect your PPC, pay per click advertising, which is the built in advertising on Amazon. It’s building a house on a cracked foundation, it’s going to give you problems down the road. It’s absolutely essential that you start with that. Now, once you do that, that’s when you start moving into actually promoting it, which would be Amazon pay per click, which is the built in advertising on Amazon. If you have a solid foundation, which is a good listing, your pay per click advertising will actually work better, you’ll be seeing more because Amazon will see that product as relevant to those search terms.
Some other things you can do are discounts. You get 50% off, and then you share those codes on social media, friends and family, things like that. And then you can do on page coupons. That’s another great way to do it. And then last, but not least, which is kind of something new is to drive traffic off of Amazon to Amazon. Things like Pinterest or Facebook ads or Google ads, things like that driving people off of Amazon to Amazon. We’re seeing really, really good results with sellers utilizing those tactics.
It’s a win-win. Amazon just figured this out, and there was a huge algorithm shift towards the end of last year, beginning of this year where they devalued ranking with pay per click and increased the value for traffic coming off of Amazon. And the genius of Jeff Bezos and Amazon is they realized that the PPC ads on Amazon are getting very saturated and expensive, so smaller companies are starting to get pushed out of that. And they went, “Wait a minute, how can we still let these companies get some traction and get in the game?” And what they figured out was this will reward people sending traffic off of Amazon to Amazon, and rank them higher. Because number one, you’re getting the boost of visibility and sales of your product. But then Amazon’s getting all these new customers, all this new traffic, getting driven to Amazon. And they know that if that customers never shopped on Amazon, and they have a good experience, they’re probably going to come back. And then maybe two months later, they’re going to get a Prime membership, and then they’re going to sign up for Amazon Web Services, and that’s where they’re going to get into the ecosystem and buy movies. Amazon know that they’re gonna have some some really great long tail from those customers that you send to them.
There’s a dual model where you might have a Shopify store or WooCommerce. There’s a cool trick that a lot of advanced sellers do: they offer dual purchase. You have a Facebook ad, and you drive somebody from the Facebook ad to a landing page, whether it’s Shopify, WooCommerce, some people are even using ClickFunnels pages. Step one of that page, you say, “Hey, what’s your email address?” People enter that email address, then they go to step two, and it says, “Okay, we got your email address, here’s 50% off. You can buy it here, direct on the website, or if you don’t trust us yet, here’s a link to Amazon to go buy it on Amazon.” You’re winning either way, because number one, you’re acquiring that new customer first before sending them to Amazon by collecting their email address, but you’re still giving them the protection of Amazon, which people know and trust, giving them the options. So either way, it’s a win-win, for that business, to grow their business off of Amazon, and also to grow their business on Amazon.
We have a couple different service options on SellerSEO.com. It’s a suite of 11 tools, and each one of those tools helps you along the way to optimize your Amazon products. There’s a tool called listing lightning that will help you build an SEO optimized listing when you know nothing about SEO. And then we also have tracking tools, which lets you see, say you’re selling a dual insulated water bottle, you can put “insulated water bottle” into that tool, and it’ll tell you you’re ranked number 37 on the search results. It’s a good way to gauge how you’re doing.
We have a bunch of tools, those are do it yourself. We have videos and things to walk you through, and show you how to do all those things. We also have services where you can hire us to do things you don’t want to do, or don’t know how to do. We also have one-off packages where we’ll do it one at a time. What we’d like to do even more is get on a call with you and figure out what stage of business you’re in, and how we can help you the best. A lot of times, I’ll send people away saying, “You’ve got homework, you’re not at this point yet.” I don’t want to take money from people unless I know that we’re going to help them be successful. Especially early on, that’s when you can kill small business. So that’s what we do. The other cool thing we do every week is something called Seller Roundtable. We do it, and it’s broadcasted as a YouTube video and then also as a podcast. But that’s every Tuesday at 1pm Pacific. And we let people join. It’s a meeting type format. People can ask questions, and we also do some training as well. That’s how we like to get the new people into the ecosystem, teach them the basics and then move them up to the advanced stuff.
I hope that if you’re out there saying I want to start a business, but I don’t know where when how, go get one of these early Amazon books, get started on some part of Amazon selling, and then move up the ecosystem, create your own brand. And eventually you’re competing with Nike and stuff like that Yeti and all those.
Earlier we talked about retail arbitrage and wholesaling and things like that. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I really, really try to persuade people to go the private label route because you want to look at companies like Under Armour. A lot of people don’t know Under Armour started with one guy in one t shirt. He paid a baseball player 10 grand or something to wear one. I might be marking this story up a little bit, don’t quote me on this. But that company grew into this massive company. So what I tell people, especially with the Amazon ecommerce world now, is you can start out as a person to person, really small business. And if all the stars aligned, you could end up being this massive brand that does compete with the Nikes and the Under Armours of the world.
Highlights from Tommy’s Interview
Risk is something that we never take inventory on. And many times, our perception of risk holds us back from doing the things that we really desire to do in chasing our dreams, building the business, or making a bold decision. Our cultural definitions of risk are societal, our parents or schooling or teachers is usually where we get that definition of risk. They tell us, “Hey, going out and launching our own business is risky. Hey, going on your own and being a trailblazer in your industry, that’s risky. Putting yourself out there and launching your big idea, that’s risky.” And so the whole concept of Redefining Risk is it isn’t actually risky. What the book aims to do is to tap into a deeper understanding of “Okay, is the greatest risk actually not taking one? Is the greatest risk missing out on the opportunities that are on the other side of what is a perceived risk?” And that’s how we begin to redefine risk, and put ourselves in situations where we’re making bold decisions time and time again.
When we think of risk, we think of massive decisions or just being irresponsible. No, we have to have a foundation with risk. And there’s a lot of principles and mindsets associated with that foundation. But you allow yourself to get in the game, and you allow yourself to test whatever your brand, product, service, or idea is. And you can start to see some real world beta. What happens is, we want to create something, we have some clarity about what we assume the marketplace wants, and what assume is going to work. And by having a $5,000 limit, it’s like, let’s execute, let’s bring something to market at a rate that’s not going to crush us financially. And then we have real world clarity.
Just a quick story, I have experienced the running of the bulls, and nothing bad happened to me. The cover of the book is all about that decision, that decision that you’re going to make whether you’re new, in the middle, or even if you’ve made bold decisions in the past. We can easily get stuck with and get in a place of comfort and missing out. So I love the cover. And hey, we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. Part of that is what we’re here for. Because I don’t believe in failures. I believe that when we put ourselves out there and it doesn’t work, we actually have clarity. That’s going to get us closer to something that will work.
When defining success, we can get really caught up in numbers. The success of the book is going to be solely on the impact it has on the people who step into it. I talked to people every day through my coaching and consulting practices, who know what the next step is. And there’s this myth of clarity that we can talk about, but they know what the next step is. But they’re waiting for the right time. They’re waiting for another degree, they’re waiting for more money and more capital, they’re waiting for all of this stuff. And I’m not here to say timing and the like doesn’t matter, but so often we let it consume us to avoid making the decision. And sometimes we miss a window of opportunity for a business or relationship, something that could have happened if we had made that bold choice.
We live in a world of dreamers, we live in a world of a lot of ambition. We live in a world where everyone’s looking to think big and bold, but they’re on the couch. And the problem with that is that the more time we spend on the sidelines, the more time that we don’t get started, the further away it gets. And so the leap of your life is all relative to where we are. For an entrepreneur who has a million dollar business, that may be hiring the CEO, making that bold hire. For somebody who’s a solo printer and just starting out, that might just be launching. Somebody who has a content platform, like I have a podcast and I coach people on how to launch those, that might be just clicking record for the first time. And so it’s all relative to where we are and where we are in life, and in business. But you have to step into it. One of the key concepts is that fear, doubt, and a little bit of uncertainty is actually a prerequisite to take the leap, not something that you should want to run away from. Because so often we let fear and doubt, and some anxiousness stop us. And to me, that’s just a feedback mechanism. I know when I’ve made the biggest decisions of my life. Yes, I was excited. Yes, I had some enthusiasm. Yes, I had passion. But guess what? I also had some fear, doubt, and uncertainty. And if you don’t have that, it either means it’s not important to you, or you’re doing it for somebody else, or you’re just not thinking big and bold enough.
We need to have a compass for where we want to go. For me personally, I do speaking here in Scottsdale and other places, and masterminds at entrepreneurship organizations. Every time I’m about to step on stage, I have some fear and uncertainty. And yes, some of that might be excitement in disguise. But the reason I’m feeling it is because I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone. But my vision, the place that I’m going, I want to do a lot of speaking, I want to be known for that. So we need to know where we want to go. If you don’t have that, what I call a North Star guiding compass, and in the book, we call it the vision for your leap. You don’t have to have every detail, you have to have some semblance of where you’re going, then you can take the appropriate risks, then you can lean into the fear when it makes sense. It’s not about just doing stuff. Mostly, it’s not about putting ourselves in situations that were destined to fail. It’s quite the opposite. It’s like, “Okay, we know where we want to go, what is the thing that we’re going to lean into today to bring that to life?”
Sometimes if we’ve been feeling stuck, sometimes if we’ve been lacking momentum, sometimes, if we set goals in the past and they haven’t come to life, sometimes we actually do need a hop instead of a big leap. I would still call it a leap, because it’s relative to where that person is. We just need that confidence boost of, “Okay, I actually made a decision.” And here’s the deal, so often the size of the decision, whether it’s medium, small or large, it contains some of the same ingredients, right? It contains excitement, it contains a little bit of passion, it contains a little bit of uncertainty and the unknown. Ultimately, when we get those small victories, we’re able to do more and do bigger moves. The reason why I included four types of leaps, including a business sleep, a physical leap, connection, relationships leap, and spiritually too is because sometimes, we need to take a leap in another area of life, that’s going to give us a boost in another area. Just as an example, to contextualize this, I lived in New York City for a while, and I wanted to change my environment for a very long time. I was also going through a business transition. But before I could take my business leap, I had to take what was a moving and environmental leap, which was a shift, a physical leap to another place. Because that was the prerequisite to bring my business lead to life in a more powerful way. So sometimes we need to take a leap in one area of life that can open up the doors for another one.
If you’re in a place where you’ve been stuck for a while, I would actually encourage you to some do something that’s going to stretch your comfort zone. Getting small wins is important. But in the context of what we’re talking about, when we don’t have momentum, the greatest way to get it back is to put ourselves in a place of challenge, and overcome that challenge, and create that challenge. So that’s when we do that, then we can create some momentum. Here’s a practical step for somebody if you’re out there listening and you feel stuck. And you know, there’s something that you have to do.
Take a moment. I have a tool in there called reverse visualization. Most of us have heard of visualization for success, when we want to accomplish our dreams. This is the reverse. I use this to create urgency today. We take ourselves five years down the line, and nothing has changed. We haven’t made that bold move. We haven’t made that bold decision. We’re in the same spot, and worse, because it’s been five years. How does that feel? Often we can create future regrets because regret is a big part of the book, future regret, that is so strong that today’s decision actually loses its emotional charge. It’s not that difficult. And when we can do that, we’re more likely to step into it today.
I break the year down into four quarters. And I set very aggressive 90 day targets. I set a one year vision, then I do 90 day targets with a lot of urgency, a lot of focus. And I write them down, I declare them to the people that are around me and ask them to hold me accountable. And I also invest my energy and my time and my money in groups, they’re going to hold me even more accountable. And here’s the crazy part about success and growth. The more that you grow, you actually need more support. If we look at some of the best athletes in the NFL or the NBA, or some of the top Hollywood actors, they have more support as they grow their career. They have more nutritionists, they have more specialist coaches, they have more people helping them on their journey, not less. And that becomes crucial for long term success.
My fiance and I, every single quarter we set goals individually and collectively. And we have an agreement that we’re going to hold each other accountable. My social circle, we do the same thing. I tell them, “Hey, what’s the one thing that you’re working on? When are you going to do it? Why does it matter? When are you going to bring it to life?” And when we have these conversations with the people around us, here’s what happens. Too many people set goals in private, and then they’re never held accountable. And accountability sounds great on this show. But sometimes it doesn’t feel that good in real life. But we all need it. And so I have built an integrated system of multiple people, multiple layers holding me accountable, because I believe that the greatest part of this experience is for us to grow, grow mentally, physically, financially, and all of that stuff. And I want to be held accountable to achieve those goals.
The biggest thing is that if there’s a decision that you know you have to make, make it today. I have a thing called the 24 hour principle. And this is not only for the leap, but some of the smaller decisions in our lives. The moment you get an insight or solution to a problem, you have something you need to do. Do it within 24 hours, do something to make it real within 24 hours. Otherwise, it’s going to get lost in our 50,000 thoughts a day, and you may never get that back. And that could have opened a door that led to some incredible stuff.
Leapofyourlife.com is the best place and then Resist Average Academy for my other business and coaching and stuff like that. But leapofyourlife.com is the best place.