246 : Craig Maxwell – 4 Years strong Full Time Selling on Amazon pivoting to stay within his terms

craig photo

It’s pretty cool when you think about creating a business, wait it’s really cool when you think about creating a “Successful” business and that is what Craig has done. Four years strong and Craig is humble enough to admit he doesn’t have it all figured out yet. But he has figured out what he doesn’t want to do and he out sourced that. He also has pulled back and used some of his experience and new found confidence to wade through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of Ecommerce. I love that he knows his “why” and that is what gets him to push through in the tough times.

Mentioned:

Craig’s previous interview with his backstory #89

Craig’s Facebook contact

Sponsors:

Gaye’s Million Dollar Arbitrage List

Solutions4ecommerce

Scope from Sellerlabs

GoDaddy

Grasshopper

Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect)

Stephen:                             00:00                     I’m excited to tell you about galas B’s million dollar arbitrage edge analyst group that’s a lot to say but there’s a lot in it. And guess what. It’s closing it’s closing this week it’ll close for Q4. It will not open up until next year. She started a third group. And so there’s only 50 in it. So you don’t have to worry about deal with hundreds of other people buying the same thing. So you’re going to get daily actionable items delivered to you five days a week. You’re going to get the mentorship of being in the million dollar arbitrage group and you’re going to be able to ask questions ask for help get whatever you need. But again get those opportunities join me in this group because I’m in this group and you’ll see me in there. The only way you’re going to get to join this week is if you click on the link that’s in this episode and also in a gay’s interview number 238 38 was Episode 2 38 and she explains a lot of what it is and their only chance you’re going to have to get in there.

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Stephen:                             02:08                     They went live today. Products went in today as day I’m recording this and I am so excited. I just I’m so excited because I’ve got another order of them coming in next week. And so I already have the listings up. They look beautiful. It’s everything that I needed and it’s just such going above and beyond. That’s why I love solutions for e-commerce Eco Solutions for e-commerce dot com slash momentum and you’re going to get that benefit are going to save your money at the lowest price say 50 bucks and you get the inventory Health Report. Go Daddy dotcom you want to try try. Go Daddy dot com slash momentum and you’re going to save 30 percent on all your Go Daddy needs. I use them for all my domains that I buy have for a long time now I get to save 30 percent just like you try.

Stephen:                             02:56                     Go Daddy dotcom slash momentum. And last but not least this grasshopper I saw somebody just bought it this past week and I can’t wait to hear how it goes for them because it allows you to be the professional that you want to come across as right. You want to have really strong features especially as you’re building customer service. I think a great program for anybody who’s selling a Wal-Mart you need a customer service program. You can use Google Voice it’s free but it’s definitely not as professional and you’re not going to be able to have the flexibility. Imagine one phone your personal phone and that app on there allows you to have all those lines set up you can have it forwarded to other you can you can do custom vanitie numbers you know 880 6:03 whatever you want. Great program. Try grasshopper dot com slash momentum. Try grasshopper dot com slash momentum. Save 50 bucks there too. All right let’s get into the podcast.

Cool voice guy:                  03:50                     Welcome to the e-commerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people the products and the process of e-commerce selling today. Here’s your host Stephen Peterson.

Stephen:                             04:04                     Welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This is episode 246. Craig Maxwell I’ve had Craig on before it was episode 89 and that’s where you go back and hear his story. But it’s so cool to see somebody just kind of find their lane. And he talks about focus and the things that he’s given up to help him stay focused. I think that’s part of it. Right. You’ve got to have a little more confidence in yourself you’re going to start believing that you know what you’re doing because you do right if you’ve had if you made it for a year and you’re still selling and things just you figured it out. Now have confidence and move forward and pull back from these other distractions and finish right get to that place where you’re in that stride where things are just seemed to come natural to you. You will get there and Craig is a great example that let’s get into the podcast. All

Stephen:                             04:54                     right welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. Very excited to bring back a guest and a guest who I’ve admired just because I think the consistency.

Stephen:                             05:03                     When I look for you know this is not an easy business but I look for people who give a consistent effort and who are going to be here for the long haul. And

Stephen:                             05:11                     I think this is a great example of someone who’s got a long term plan and it’s his family first and will be successful because he puts his family first and is very I guess you know the thing that excites me about Craig and his is Craig makable I’m bringing in is that he is very clear that again his family is first. This is a business as is a great opportunity but his family is first. Welcome Craig Maxwell.

Stephen:                             05:38                     Stephen good to be here. Is that is that a fair statement what I just said.

Craig:                                     05:42                     It is. It is. And you know since we last spoke I think a year and a half ago at least in an interview. A lot has changed in some of it was evaluating where I was and we talked and where I gone and some of it I didn’t like and so and I had to go back and look at that as you know it is family first for me that’s the whole reason I’m doing this. And what do I need to do to make sure that it stays that way.

Stephen:                             06:09                     This was episode 89 where Craig and I last talked soakaway way back and the Craig story I mean he’s got six kids right. Yes. Six kids and he is an involved dad. You’re not you know this is you know it’s funny I kind of razz myself because when I grew up when I was in my corporate career and it’s not that my family wasn’t first. It’s just that I had such made such a huge commitment that you know lots of times I couldn’t make the soccer games. I couldn’t make all those things and times were different then there weren’t as many. But I kind of raised myself like like feeling guilty about it. But that’s that’s what it was at that time in your world that’s not happening period.

Craig:                                     06:52                     Well I tried to make it not happen. I mean I certainly not perfect with it. And there have been times where I was very disappointed at the choices I made in regards to you know maybe I needed a child that needed spending time with me. You know that was and I focused on something else and sometimes that’s not always possible. I don’t think it’s wrong all the time but I wanted it to at least be my highest priority.

Stephen:                             07:16                     So you go back and that’s a learning moment right. That’s one of those adjustments that you make it so you know what I wouldn’t. I mean for me and I think about myself and my career and all the different things there are some absolutes. But I didn’t know they were absolutes until I tried it or tried something else and then I’m like OK I’m not doing that again. Now that’s an absolute. I’m never going to do that again. Right. Is that where you end up on some things.

Craig:                                     07:36                     Yeah a lot of trial and error. There are things I’ve tried and I said this isn’t what I want to be. This is what I want to do. I don’t love this. And I know that you can’t love everything you do when it comes to your work life. But I try to at least make the most of it something I love to do or enjoy doing.

Stephen:                             07:54                     Well because you didn’t love it even when you were in your corporate life. I mean there were things I mean I told everyone there is it.

Stephen:                             08:01                     It’s a four letter word it’s called work you know. And so sometimes it’s not fun and it’s not enjoyable and that’s no matter what so even the downtime. I just give a talk and I was talking about how in an hour you’re sitting there saying man this is the best business I have made the right. This is incredible.

Stephen:                             08:19                     And five minutes later you’re this is the worst thing in the world what did I do. Right. Right. And you do that in an hour you know 20 times right. I mean can you really.

Craig:                                     08:29                     Yes. I think this is the most. I don’t know if the right word is manic but it’s a good career in the world you know because there are days I’m flying high like this. The greatest thing ever. And then the next day I mean I feel like I’m in panic mode. How am I going to make this work. You know.

Stephen:                             08:44                     And so yes if that’s what pushes you through there Craig because that’s a good example because you’ve been doing this for a long time full time and you’ve got the pressure of seven other people on your back. Right. It’s not like it’s just you going it alone. Make it or break it. You’ve got seven people you’re responsible for and with to make a go of it because you. So you’ve got to push through. How do you do that sometimes.

Craig:                                     09:08                     Well that’s the first thing. I have seven people. OK. And you know even when I first started out my motivation was like if we want to eat I’ve got to get out and work. And but I think you know going deeper than that I would say for me one of my greatest strengths would be you know what we call grit. I just I can dig in. I can persevered and even in the down times I can usually you know get my rear end out of bed and go double down if we need it. And that really has served me well in my life. And I think that doesn’t mean to say that I don’t have days where I’m mope around and I’m not at my best. But overall you know and I use the word great. I just read the book called grit fantastic read and I could identify a lot with it.

Craig:                                     09:58                     You know and it’s even qualities that we’re trying to focus and help develop in our children. Because I think it’s great to be smart. It’s great to be talented. But in the end I think grit is greater than all of those things. If you can you know just stick with it and work hard. And that’s what I do.

Stephen:                             10:18                     So this just occurred and this is really timeless timely timely for what our conversation is. So my new warehouse where they’re putting in new things and we’re delayed and blah blah blah blah blah. So the guy next door to us is putting in a service business one where he’s treating his time for money and his daughter is going to be in there. And he said you know Steve I’m trying to create something for her and I’m trying to create you know a future for her and that’s what he thinks this is and because he knows this particular subject well and it’s a skill set and he’s transferring it onto his daughter so it’s going to work and she’s going to be incredibly successful. And then we are talking about my my younger son and my older sons already got his career been through with education.

Stephen:                             10:55                     Now in a just a great role my younger son still in college and I said you know I said well you know we got him through college without debt or anything but I’m trying to teach him a skill set. And I said you know it’s interesting he can do product photography now he know list ebay items like crazy. He’s now working on Amazon stuff. So he’s doing product photographer Amazon and he’s doing buying certain things you know starting to work his way through and he’s in school and he’ll be home shortly and we’ll take him to the next level. And I said I’m trying to teach him about you know Teach a man to fish right. I’m trying to teach him that so he could be self-sustaining. So he’s not tied to a location or if he got injured you know whatever.

Stephen:                             11:39                     And I’m thinking about the difference between the two. And you know when you think about your six kids I mean of course she wanted to do what they love and all the rest of that stuff. But which way are you leaning are you leaning towards helping them get career and get a job and go to college and be that way or hey that’s great but be more independent because ultimately you’re responsible for yourself not a company where you add in that with the six.

Craig:                                     12:04                     Well I think I want to encourage them to follow their passion for sure. And a lot of them don’t know what that is yet they’re still very young. My oldest will be 14 0. And so he’s starting to really get more into that. And so he and I have that discussion a lot more than than others you know and sometimes it’s like I want to you know be an engineer or something like that. And and that’s great if that’s really what he wants to do. I realized that a lot changes between where he’s at now and when he finishes college age you know and we all encourage our kids to go get a college education. But that’s not the end all for us if they don’t want to. I really am. You know you had mentioned earlier the story the exchanging your time for money.

Craig:                                     12:48                     And I’ve done that and I feel like I’m in a different phase of my life where I’m trying to not exchange so much time for money where I fall into that trap a lot you know every few months it’s a reboot. It’s a recalibration. And I’m trying to teach my son that right now it’s you know what can you do to make your money work for you or to make your knowledge work for you where you’re not so dependent on putting in so many hours a week to provide for your family or to pursue your needs and dreams.

Craig:                                     13:19                     And so that’s what I’m trying to teach that you know in trying to get them to focus on things that they create cash flow. You know if they’re going to look at a career like that’s one reason I like the entrepreneurial lifestyle I’ve chosen as I can choose those opportunities. And I hope they adopt that. I

Craig:                                     13:37                     mean I would love to pass on what I do to them but I also know that you know they see what I’m doing and I think they get tired of it.

Stephen:                             13:45                     It’s not easy. Yes. You make it look easy and it and you know I think about this a lot because we get to travel a lot. Right

Stephen:                             13:53                     . And so you know we’re over here we’re jet setting around the U.S. Well what you don’t see is I was in Chicago for four days and all I saw was the airport and the hotel and maybe the parking lot you know that was about it. It’s not like I’m in downtown Chicago you know skipping through the streets right. And so that part of it is that important to let them see that side of it because you know I think there’s a risk is that you know you figured a whole bunch of things out right. If

Stephen:                             14:18                     you think about the things that you figured out. Right. All the little you know all the things you stumbled on and you got through. Or you know what I mean just all those little things you now push them away. Right

Stephen:                             14:29                     now it’s you know you could just go into a store and do whatever you need right. They don’t have that perspective. And I mean is it important to help them get that perspective. I mean would you have your kids learning how to pick and pack and ship and all that kind of just so they can understand that yes this is work.

Craig:                                     14:48                     Yes. And it’s different than it used to be with my old career. I traveled a ton. I was gone you know for sometimes 10 12 days at a time and my oldest children remember that. And my youngest children are a little more spoiled because dad works from home now. And when I’m gone for a whole day like outsourcing or doing something or I go on a maybe to a conference it’s it’s difficult for them they’re not used to that. And so I think more what I what I get to show them is you know sometimes I’m really late sometimes I’m up really early and I’m working. You know and they’ll say well you know say well I can’t right now. You know we have these responsibilities. And my older two boys they’re starting to experience it more where they are involved in some of the packing and shipping.

Craig:                                     15:37                     I’ve actually tried to move that out of the home quite a bit because that was that was part of you know and looking at what I was doing that it was consuming way too much of my life and time and I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted to do with my kids or family. And so we’ve moved a lot of them up but they know what it’s like. They’ve seen it end with fourth quarter coming they’ll see the house fill up with a lot of clothing and stuff that that we’ll be working on together. So I do want them to learn how to go you know when I first started this. My oldest son asked me if he could give me some money and I could go out and buy something for him that he could sell you know through my accounts.

Craig:                                     16:16                     I said sure. So we did that and I mean we just hit some real winners the first few times. And you know what I gave him the both of the boys when I gave him the money back. You know and it had doubled. They were like well just take all my money. And so it was a great lesson to learn. But at the same time like you have learned the hard part that’s right. Right. And so I said you need to be doing the packaging shipping and so I told my oldest I said I can’t always do this for you. I said you need to also do some exchanging time for money opportunities you know around the house go work for your your grandparents or something you know helping them I said so that you can learn what it’s like to do both things and then decide what you want to do as you get older. Does that make sense. No

Stephen:                             16:57                     it makes perfect sense. I mean it’s you know you know I know somebody whose daughters waitress said Oh Auntie Andy Simmons his daughters waitressing you know. I mean here they are incredibly successful in this net. But it’s like now I need to instill those values in or let her know what hard work is. You know for little pay. So you have perspective right because that’s really I think that’s one of the hardest things to gain because you know I haven’t heard this story in a long time but remember when everybody was selling frozen stuff and you know and they’re able to buy it for you know anything and sell it for 10 times a month and you couldn’t get enough of it for that while for that period until it got diluted. That was easy. That’s not skill right. That’s just you know stumbling into stuff.

Stephen:                             17:39                     Right. And so you didn’t really learn anything. I was a good point what you said and so now when you have to now it’s more challenging and that’s probably a positive. Let’s pivot there because you you have learned what you don’t like. Right. Isn’t that really the best part of this is when you figure out what you don’t like and you walk away from it you’re like man I wish I would’ve done that earlier. Yeah

Craig:                                     18:00                     . Now go ahead.

Stephen:                             18:03                     No no I was just going to say I was going to go a little deeper but it’s just like you know give me an example of something that you know you were doing you thought was necessary because that was what it took and blah blah blah.

Stephen:                             18:14                     And now you’re not doing it and you’re like geez I probably didn’t need to do it at all yet I felt compelled to do it. Do you have anything that kind of put you on the spot there. OK.

Craig:                                     18:23                     I have a lot of things that you know I have no problem admitting I was doing things wrong or that I could do them better. OK. So. Well let me share. Like I was thinking about this. And you know you’re familiar with Charlie Brown and peanuts. And I remember watching when as a kid he was like in this race and he’s running this race around the track and he’s winning. And you know how there’s like eight lines on a track and he starts to look down and all you can see are his feet in the lane that he’s in. And as he’s right around the track instead of taking the left curve to win the race and he’s thinking to stop the whole time I can win this. I can do this. I’m going to finally win. And as you know Charlie Brown never wins anything.

Craig:                                     19:09                     And instead of taking that last play he takes the sprinter away and runs right off the track and he’s like outside the stadium and of course he loses. And I was you know as a kid I was upset and even as an adult I see that and I’m like it’s so frustrating. I’m sure that because that’s really where I found myself in January. Like I said I felt like I had ran off the track so I just wasn’t loving what I was doing. And I had kind of lost sight of the finish line. I was involved in too many things I’d spread myself so thin just trying to do everything within my Amazon business within income streams that I was trying to develop outside of I was on. So I knew that I needed to do some of those things but I needed to recalibrate how I was going about this so that I could do this I wasn’t doing anything well I was trying to do everything you know.

Craig:                                     20:00                     So some of those things were the packing and shipping I had outsourced it before. But then I brought it back in. And then finally I just said I need to get it out of the house you know and really minimize how much. So I started using prep centers again which has been tremendous for me. The other thing too is I was chasing lots of products and one of the things that I did that I think is better. And I saw a dip I really did I saw it at first in my sales when I kind of refocused what I was doing. But last year I had you know.

Craig:                                     20:32                     And I remember it was about midway through the year I had about fourteen thousand old so units sold. And so that was a lot of items. And then this year I was probably at about six thousand units halfway through the year but my sales were still the same then and my profit was about the same. And what I have done is as I started focusing on more expensive items heavier items that I didn’t think people would want to deal with and I’d begin having them shipped to a center and put on pallets and sent in. And so my sales you know as far as the units I’m pushing out are a lot less but they’re still the same place they were last year and hopefully by the end of the year they’ll be higher. You know as I transition to that model. But that was huge because I went from about 60 hours a week down to about 30.

Stephen:                             21:20                     But let’s stop there a second because that’s where I was going to go if you didn’t get there. So the effort it took to sell those 14000 units as opposed to the effort for the six thousand units is about a half or double I guess I because I asked it that way maybe even maybe even more it was.

Craig:                                     21:38                     No kidding. Of preparation we were doing. And you know so the amount of effort it takes now is tremendously less so less than half.

Stephen:                             21:51                     That’s your right.

Craig:                                     21:52                     Which allowed me then to focus on some other things that I wanted to do you know and like private label and I’ve I made the mistake and I was advised not to do it this way but you know I guess I just had to learn the hard way but I was trying to do three to five different private label things and I wasn’t doing any of them very well. And so now I’m kind of focused because I really do want that to be part of what I do and I want to kind of develop my own brand. So that’s now about 10 percent of my sales. And it’s still not where I want it to be. And I said I had to learn the hard way but that allowed me to focus on that you know just so I looked at things I could cut down.

Craig:                                     22:30                     I wanted to do Mirch and I was trying to do that myself. And finally I went to design pickle and now the most work I need to do is submitting my ideas. They design it I upload it and purchase going pretty well for me you know and other print on demand side. So those are just some of the things I just have to look at what I was just like how can I do this better or how can I not do this but still do it. You know as in not do it in house. And so those are some of the things that I was able to do. I quit buying courses and trying to train myself I just need to realize I knew most of what I needed to know you know. So I just I was looking for things to eliminate.

Craig:                                     23:10                     And that really has made the biggest difference and allowed me to begin loving again what I was doing. And you know putting the time into you know the things that were most important to me like my family or my church or you know things like that.

Stephen:                             23:25                     Well even your your relationship your spouse right. I mean that’s a that’s a really important one because you know when you’re not enjoying what you’re doing you’re bring in that home.

Stephen:                             23:35                     Right. That attitude comes home that non smile right. It’s infectious sometimes or you bring everybody else down. I catch myself doing that I think what you said though is pretty powerful by stopping doing some of those things. Did you feel like you failed.

Craig:                                     23:52                     There are days for sure.

Stephen:                             23:55                     How do you push through that.

Speaker 17:                        23:56                     Yes I think I would feel a lot more failure if if I wasn’t able to recover in my sales and then my income that I was doing and that would just be a tangible fail because OK we can’t afford things or I can’t pay my bills or we’re not getting ahead. So

Craig:                                     24:16                     I was pretty confident when I made that switch over to that this was the right thing to do. We were in a good place coming out of Q4 that I had time to adjust how I was doing. And it took several months to get back to where I was the previous year. But I came out of it liking where I was better and I came out with more income streams which as everybody is I was just concerned that you know Amazon could shut me down at some point. I mean I try to follow the guidelines and rules the best I can but sometimes it’s out of your hands. And so I wanted to make sure that I had other income sources and so that were not related to Amazon you know. And so that’s allowed me to do that. You know having dialed back the amount of time that my Amazon business was taking to focus on some things off of amazon and they’re not easy either. Those are their own challenges.

Stephen:                             25:12                     You know if it was easy everybody be doing it. I think there’s something powerful you’re saying is that look you know after Q4 I think that’s so powerful. So let’s talk about that. So we’re in Q4 now and it’s just starting to start to heat up because November is coming. We know that that’s the month you got to get your product shipped and you’ve got to get your time it right. Right. And it’s more challenging now because you got to pay extra fees so you can’t just ship every. I mean it’s all real strategic but if you’re thinking about a change if this year was a struggle for you or like Craig said if you’re not happy where you’re at where you’re going now’s the time to change but don’t change in Q4 change in January start putting the things in place. You started thinking about changing in January when well I was probably thinking about a little bit before.

Craig:                                     26:00                     Okay. And that was probably the exhaustion of Q4 I’ll come to push you over the edge.

Stephen:                             26:05                     I just made it the tipping point.

Craig:                                     26:07                     But I would I would say and I think what you are alluding to is don’t make that decision in Q4. You don’t change your model in Q4. Take advantage of Q4 and a you know all that it has to offer and all that it can do for you. You know and don’t make a decision when you’re exhausted you know or spent and you know I was as everyone that’s having said you know I was spending you know gobs of hours and time and effort and money in Q4 but I knew the payoff. You know I had been there multiple times before and I knew the pay off in my family knows the payoff. You know my wife they understand and she understands that this is where the lion’s share of our our year comes from. And so but in January when I had time to just you know stop and breathe. I knew something wasn’t right for me.

Stephen:                             27:00                     But you set yourself up and I think that’s the key. I mean you like you said you done all the hard work you’ve put yourself as the most success you could have. Right. You had the most opportunity with the most money coming in and everything else and then you can make. I think it’s very powerful I think so very very smart move. The other thing I think you said was I think it’s very smart. If you stop buying courses and things right you got to get to a point where you’re confident enough you know that you know what you’re doing. And I heard somebody say this and I just think it makes so much sense. M. What you’re doing first run out of opportunity kill it do everything you can then go and tackle something do. And that’s not the nature right. I mean I think we’re all guilty of it.

Craig:                                     27:40                     You’ve got eight tentacles going out trying to do eight different things and not all of them weren’t clean after being in it for years that you would learn to not chase shiny objects and they do well with it for a few hours and also Mike that looks nice.

Stephen:                             27:53                     I see it all the time you know. And

Craig:                                     27:55                     so and you know there are things that come out of them. I genuinely want to know how to do that. And I don’t feel confident and I love to learn. And that was part of the problem is I love courses but I was trying to learn everything right. And you know and it was hindering you know I think my business and a lot of ways so I’m not saying for people to not buy courses.

Stephen:                             28:17                     You know no I get what you’re saying you’re saying hey look a lot like master the one you’re doing stop with.

Craig:                                     28:21                     Yeah. But you’ve got to do what’s right for you. And there’s the analysis paralysis. You know where you can get so into learning you never do anything.

Stephen:                             28:32                     And I think that’s powerful. And I’m the same way. I mean I have sponsors that sell courses. However my advice is master what you’re doing then when you’re ready to tackle the next one. Don’t jump in because I just think as you say you never get good at any of them. And the other thing to think about is a lot of these built on maybe even Mirch. I mean think about Mirch. You know it’s not as intimidating because you’ve already familiar with Amazon’s platform no it’s not the same. However there is a title there are key words there are similarities right you got upload for it was what you’ve done all those things. Well you don’t have that learning curve. And so that helps there’s other learning curves. And so they build on each other so the next great big thing that comes out whatever it is right you’re now going to be able to jump on that because you’ve already got Step 1 2 6 and 5 ready to go. You just got to fill in those other ones.

Stephen:                             29:21                     But if you tried to tackle that while trying to learn Mirch while trying to do FBA was trying to do ebay and Etsy and you know blah blah blah courses and you know lists it you’re pretty close to not doing any of them really well.

Stephen:                             29:38                     OK so.

Stephen:                             29:39                     So this is this will be what Q4 for you. Well Q4 number are we into three or four.

Craig:                                     29:47                     This is my fourth.

Stephen:                             29:48                     This is your fourth. Okay. And so with that comes a wealth of experience you know when you think about where you’re at now versus where you thought you would be how far apart are they well.

Speaker 17:                        30:03                     That’s fun yes. I would say you know I would say by most people’s standards I’ve done well and live and successful I’ve probably I don’t know that quite doubled since we last talked but I’m not as far as I thought it would be or as I’d hoped I’d be but I’m also an optimist and you know thought I would be no way a long end.

Craig:                                     30:26                     But there were learning curves in there. So I think I’m I’m pleased with what I’ve learned and I’m pleased that I can provide for my family which is not an easy task. Being

Stephen:                             30:36                     as large as it is and they keep eating more and more oh it’ll get worse.

Craig:                                     30:42                     And so but you know I like where I’m at. It’s a good place. It’s you know I’m just so grateful for this opportunity because we’re very fortunate.

Stephen:                             30:53                     Well here’s why I was going with this is I’m thinking did your perspective change. So you know when you first start off I’ve got to sell a million dollars and then you start getting close and then I find I really don’t have to sell a million dollars. I just have to be smarter. Right you already described that instead of selling 14000 things you can sell 6000 things and make the same profit even though your sales might be as high or might not be as high if you pay more attention right. So the perspective to me is where I was going with it is I’m trying to figure out because I think I think people come into this business not everybody of course not everybody but I’ve heard people come in and say Hey man I don’t know why this is an easy business just buy things and sell them.

Stephen:                             31:31                     I mean why do you guys make it so complicated why do you. You know you’re doing all that. Yeah. We you get challenged and then you’ll see it can be harder. Right. So that perspective when you started you were thinking all right this is what I’m going to an adult and identify as being successful. Has that changed in our world it has changed significantly as my third granddaughter gets born. Success is much more relative to me. How about for you.

Craig:                                     31:56                     Yes absolutely. And I think one of the things I was it was a hard lesson for me. But I think I got caught up in an ego of saying I need to be at the same level as some of these other soldiers that I’m friends with or that they do. And you know and I just had to realize that you know that’s it’s really not that important. I need to be at where my family needs me to be and I need to provide the income that my family needs. And if it’s greater than that fantastic and does that mean I’m not trying to become a multimillion dollar seller. Of course not. I definitely am. But that isn’t the goal anymore. As much as I want to enjoy what I’m doing and I want to be able to provide it and then have some left over to to grow with and provide isn’t only money right it’s provide is support love just being there. True. Very true. Yes absolutely.

Stephen:                             32:50                     I think about you know there are outliers in our business and to measure yourself against them. I mean there is I mean there are some people in this world. I mean I describe what I say is name but I call him a CEO. He’s one of the few CEOs that I’ve met in this business. He’s gifted. I mean that’s just the way it is you know. OK. He’s gifted in that. I mean that’s awesome for him that he’s figured that out. Does that mean I failed. No. I mean to me I get to say I watched the success and I’d love to be part of it just because it’s so exciting you know to me his success doesn’t bring me down it excites me for him. And you know just to be able to witness it you know I think about the days of Silicon Valley when it was you know the heyday I remember you know before it crashed.

Stephen:                             33:34                     Can you imagine being in and just going to lunch and seeing all those people around and how exciting it must have been to just even be in that environment. Right. I feel like that that’s where we’re at now as opposed to geez he’s a million dollar salaries. Five million. Oh he’s 10 million. I mean I stink. I can’t do as well as him. Right.

Speaker 17:                        33:55                     And there’s definitely times that felt that way most the time. I’m like your words. I’m inspired by it. Yeah but I can also see what I don’t want. I don’t want to warehouse with 20.

Stephen:                             34:06                     There are tradeoffs for every one of those things.

Craig:                                     34:09                     You know at least at this stage of my life that’s not what I want. And so I’ve had to figure out how to make that work. And you know there are times I I see what someone else do and I’m like gosh I wish I could do that. But there are people other that are way more gifted than I am and in smarter I mean there are some people that you and I know that you know I can’t believe how smart they are and how they can figure out things and their mathematics are beyond my comprehension. You know so I have to look at what I can bring to the table. Well I’m pretty smart guy. But the thing I think I’m good at systems and figure out how to make my life easier with you know and still getting accomplished what I need to do. And I said at the end of the day I just know that if I have some grit and hard work I can be successful. He

Stephen:                             34:58                     knew listening to you. I’m just thinking about the year right. So you started off the year saying I want to adjust I want to put things in place. How long did it take you to get the pivot from design to implementation to where it is today. I mean I guess it’s you know been 10 plus months.

Stephen:                             35:18                     How long was the design.

Speaker 17:                        35:20                     It took about five months to where I was recovered in income and sales. You know you know I was still doing OK but where I got back to where I was.

Stephen:                             35:33                     OK so about five months for execution to get you into the mode. And now you can build from there.

Craig:                                     35:40                     And it wasn’t like a Band-Aid I didn’t just completely stop doing everything I was doing because I still needed to bring in that income but I begin transitioning more and more into that.

Stephen:                             35:50                     So it was intentional so. So when you started making changes did you have something you measured against Did you say. You know I think about this I’ve heard this and I’ve used this example before I think it’s a good analogy. Look at a map. You know you’re putting in a property you put a master garden plan out there and then every year you do something towards that master plan. Right. Can’t do it all. So you just from putting in bushes they got to be this kind because they’re going to tie in to blah blah blah blah blah you don’t put temporary things in place. So did you have something you were measuring it again. I mean did you write the plan down first off.

Craig:                                     36:26                     No I didn’t at first. And then as it started to develop I think that helped me form where I wanted to go. I mean the first measure was I just needed to get back to where it was OK and then say is I really a great measuring tool is my my ASAP. You

Craig:                                     36:43                     know my price you know went from my$25 to$53. Whoa. And so that was I mean I could see right there I was doing it and then it was just I mean it was hard work to find the items that I could sell at that.

Stephen:                             36:58                     But is it harder than anything else. Looking back at it now it’s a focus.

Speaker 17:                        37:04                     And then once I found it and it was you know most of them were pretty replenishable then that’s where the workload decreased quite a bit. And you know they came to a point I was like I’m sitting around more and I need to that’s when I could actually put effort into some other things that I was interested in family wise and work wise where I like I said I really was interested this year in developing an income stream outside of Amazon.

Stephen:                             37:31                     And I was able to do that when I reduced the amount of time Amazon is done I think I’m inspired to hear that in as little as five months. You can kind of pivot your business as it starts to drift right. I mean one of the things that I worry about and I you know be honest it happens is complacency.

Speaker 17:                        37:55                     You deal with that. Yes. And I think that even a little bit what I felt like after I had accomplished or at least moved to the most part where I wanted to be. After that five months and I was like you know I could really be in cruise control now if I wanted but I thought you know I feel like I’m at my peak earning years as well as my wife and I were you know I have the energy still and I love doing. I love working and I love but I just want to do it on my terms if possible. And that’s where like I said I was I I don’t know I just felt like I needed to do something else and to add to this to this pie you know or divide it up more. And so that’s where I began pursuing some other interest. Work wise outside of that didn’t rely so much on on me selling it on Amazon. All

Stephen:                             38:49                     right so now things are as you say kind of cruising along and you’re still working and you’re putting that effort you’re investing additional time in other channels or other forms of income which I think is genius. I mean it’s absolutely a smart move because then you’re less reliant. Right. What what controls do you have in place to deal with the ups and downs. Because there will be ups and and we already talked about it this hour. You’re going to be the best thing in the world and you’re going to be the worst you’ve made the worst decision in your life right. What controls or what grounds you to bring it back in perspective.

Craig:                                     39:24                     Well you know like the last couple of weeks with some of the things I’m pursuing you have gone as great as I want them to and I’ve had some discouraging days. And I think I have some good friends that I’ve developed. You know what I would say some you know just through the Amazon community chat and sometimes that’s what I just need to talk to them encourage them or hear their story and not focus on my story so much. And I you know my wife is a great encourage or for me as well and she knows that some days i’m just discouraged by it and I’m beat up by it. You know I’m tired. And so that’s part of it is developing some relationships of people that I think can encourage you and it is hard to go it alone and it can be a very lonely career or I don’t know what we call this work that we do.

Craig:                                     40:18                     I’m talking as an entrepreneur so because you know I can talk to my friend Rob who’s a great encourage for me and yet he’s still operating in his own business. And but he can still say yeah I know what that’s like.

Craig:                                     40:31                     And you know you can do this or you know whoever I talk to. And so that’s good. Sometimes you know depending on the Facebook group I can just get on and see some people that you know are doing well and that that encourages me or if I’m struggling and I need advice. I know several people that are much further along than I can that I can call and will gladly talk with me you know. So that’s kind of what I do. And sometimes it’s just I need to sleep get some rest. And you know last night I felt a little worn out from it and discouraged by it and I went to bed and got up this morning and I felt a lot better just a little sleep helped with it. You know and ready to kind of tackle the day. You know I was looking forward to chatting with you. And so you know I just find things to do like that.

Stephen:                             41:19                     I don’t I don’t know I think that’s. No I think you’re right on. So you find a way to get some rest step away from it if you need to be or you find somebody who has common interest and you sometimes dump on them. Or I think it was even stronger is you were out there listening to others and encouraging them because it makes you know that you’re not alone. Right. I mean I know Rob and his life isn’t perfect right. The business isn’t perfect or I it’s everybody. Right. And so having that network right that network of real friends and these are real relationships. I mean these aren’t just you know contacts these are real relationships.

Craig:                                     41:59                     Right. And it’s people that understand what I’m doing. You know I can I have a friend locally and we chat and he encourages me but he doesn’t do this. And so there is some disconnect with that.

Stephen:                             42:10                     Why don’t you just do this. Well of course I would just do that if it was that easy. It’s not right.

Craig:                                     42:16                     Right. So you know that’s I think the biggest thing and just that keeping you know as we talk our friend Charlie Brown is keeping the finish line in view or the big picture and not just focusing on the day to day because that’s the biggest thing. You know as we and it’s such a roller coaster you can have a bad day with your sales you get have a great day. And it’s such a rollercoaster or something but if you can keep a big picture perspective that I know by the end of the year that more likely than not things are going to be where I need them to be and awesome and that really helps to kind of get that you know thousand foot view instead of the 20 foot view that I usually have you know kind of thing where the forest through the trees. No

Stephen:                             43:01                     I agree with you. I mean I think it’s you know you’re worried about this little issue and that’s your whole world. And let’s face it that’s not that. I mean you know think about it again let’s go back to your example. This is your fourth cue for this one. You feel much more prepared than the first one I assume.

Craig:                                     43:19                     I think so. You know it’s funny. Every year I go into it with a little bit of a purpose. It’s like can I do it again. And even though I don’t work and I get the same thing when I go to January I’m like after experiencing Q4 and I think a lot of people experience this where it’s like it’s going to work you know with out before because you you just get used to what you’re in and what you’re doing. And so I know it will work. I mean I just look back and how it’s gone and it exceeded my expectations of us every year. And so I you know I have expectations for the year. But I’m still a little nervous. I think like what if it what if I buy it. You know what.

Stephen:                             43:59                     But I think that’s a healthy. It’s like a skepticism I haven’t. I think having a healthy skepticism keeps you sharper.

Craig:                                     44:06                     Right. Right.

Stephen:                             44:08                     Otherwise we will slide right back into complacency. Every deal I buy is a great deal. No not really. Right. Not really. I don’t care who you are. I know lots of people who are very very successful that have always like Sam Cohen right. He’ll show you use warehouses. I’ll show.

Craig:                                     44:25                     Yes. Well you know I I used to do some coaching exam. I was in this program and I’m not anymore. But we just talked the other day we had something to talk about. And you know he took a moment to just encourage me and give me some tips. And so it was awesome. You know and I loved it. I didn’t ask him for any of that and he didn’t charge me just right.

Stephen:                             44:43                     Oh he gets the concept of sowing into others and the value that that brings my friend in. So it’s exciting that’s exciting. All right so let’s do this let’s let’s close out with some advice for people who were coming in there hitting the wall. They’re

Stephen:                             44:57                     not having the success because we’ve all been there. Right. Again let’s just perspectively not every buy will be a good buy. Not everything sells in Q4 it used to be you can send anything in and it would sell those days are long gone and you need to now be much more strategic. So let’s give some solid advice for somebody who’s coming into it on what they what they need to focus on for the next couple of months and including even into January if you could.

Craig:                                     45:25                     Sure. Well I do think that there are a lot of paid. Q For groups that you can get in that will help you find good inventory. I would encourage you to get into a small one though. You know and or just find some friends you know I have a few that we just interact with and we share leads and fines and that’s very helpful. So if you’re struggling with finding things that you don’t know where to go that’s a good place to start. And I think just you know dedicating maybe a few hours a day to start out with just getting out there and scanning and going through the stores be you know maybe use tools like tattoo. Tries to find out what’s the hot selling stuff. You know those are just the standard things that I think you have to do to you know understand your market and be aware of it.

Craig:                                     46:18                     To learn how to fish. Yeah but just get out and do it. And you know my first Q4 I had some I got into this great group. You know that and we just kept sharing ideas but also it really just came down to getting out there finding things. And then I was able to share stuff and then the had. And and I I mean I remember cheering in this group it was on a whatsapp and I remember sharing in the group. I said this is literally changing my life. This opportunity I just could not believe it. And and I still feel that way some days I’m like I just can’t believe that we get to do this. It’s so lucky so fortunate and so I can’t wait for that feeling to happen again in Q4.

Craig:                                     47:00                     You know the day to day I don’t always feel that way. But I know in Q4 I’ll have some of those moments I’m like this is the biggest paycheck I’ve had all year and I can’t believe how fast things are so poignant. Wow that really went up in price you know. OK. Few losers here. But overall you know most are winners.

Stephen:                             47:20                     And so when you get in those groups don’t only just take their leads. You said invest back right give back some stuff because that’s when the real learning happens. And

Stephen:                             47:27                     again you want to learn to fish you’re looking. They say go buy pie face. Let’s just use as an example right. Don’t drive high. But go ahead let’s just say that’s what it was. Why is my face such a kook. What is it about that. Well then look around for other similar things right. That’s the fishing right. That’s when you learn. Right. Not every cast is going to bring back something. But once you start to see some you can kind of you CAN I am just going to be great analogy. You can identify what a good fishing hole looks like versus a non good fishing hole. By that by learning in those groups and I think that’s very powerful.

Craig:                                     47:59                     We’re using your example of Potts’s. So a few years ago it was the thing to have but understanding why it’s the thing to have I mean one that demand far outstrips the supply. And that’s why it was a winner you know. And so if you were able to get them and I did I sold probably three or four hundred of them just going around and scraping store shelves for them and I know that probably irritates some people who wanted to get it. But the next year if you were to do that you would have stuck with a lot of these games you know because the manufacturer was ready for it. And so that’s when you get a lead. Try to understand why it’s right or frozen. You know we talked about that. That was my first Q4 was frozen and it was amazing.

Craig:                                     48:44                     You’re right it was amazing to be able to sell those things and get those large 3 foot tall dolls. I mean I had so many of those and sold so many of them and it was just it was the golden era for me. You know that frozen season so I understand why things are where they’re out and you know try to find those trends and don’t just go buy it because somebody says it’s a good buy. You know make sure you understand because you can get stuck with a lot of bad items. You

Stephen:                             49:16                     know when something’s outed in a large group that’s probably a clue not to buy. Right that’s a that’s a clue to put check. Do not buy. That’s the list you want to is not to buy. Exactly. That’s right.

Craig:                                     49:28                     You know a small handful of people that will really share and you can show that seems to me that’s where my words work best for me. Right

Stephen:                             49:38                     . And again you have to give in order to get. And I think that that’s powerful to do it on Pumphrey. Man I’m excited. I mean what I love is the consistency.

Stephen:                             49:47                     Right. It’s an effort issue. But you weren’t in a corner sucking you Tom saying things are terrible you got past it and you’re like hey my why is my you know unclear on my why and therefore I’m going to give it the effort it takes. And what’s cool is the effort it takes has gone down because of the intentional the decisions you’ve made. And I think anybody can do that and right now is the time to start thinking that way again. You’ve got to plan for Q4. Live with it. Suck it up. Get through it. But then change and man you can. Five months is nothing. I mean think about that crack. If I said it in five months you can be in a much better position in your business. Can you can you suck it up for five months.

Stephen:                             50:30                     Of course. Right you didn’t know it was going to take you five months. But the fact that you were able to do it and I get so excited I can’t wait to see it. Somebody has a follow up. Can I put your Facebook contact there in case they have a follow up question.

Craig:                                     50:43                     Message me on Facebook. OK.

Stephen:                             50:46                     All right. I will do that. I wish you nothing but success. Thank you so much. Take care. What a great example for the parents of us right. You know six kids married focus focus focus. There’s a dad who’s knows what’s important. And I love the fact that he can adjust his whole business model in five months by being so intentional being so decisive and sticking through it. And you know cutting out other stuff to keep him distracted because that’s what’s going to happen you know. And so I think this is a great lesson of what can be. For years now hit in his stride and sees nothing but opportunity animal e-commerce momentum dot.com e-commerce momentum dot.com. Don’t forget my sponsors Gabler’s group. Right now she’s only adding a few more and it’s going to be shut down. You got very very little time to get in.

Stephen:                             51:39                     Join me in there. I’m in there. So we’re Lahab scope again. You know understanding key words and then knowing what keywords work when you can use your competitors key words when you see it. And it’s a proof of concept. And I just love it. E-commerce momentum com. Take care.

Cool voice guy:                  51:56                     Thanks for listening to the combers momentum blog as bobolinks mentioned today can be found that combers momentum dot.com under the surface. Please remember to subscribe and the list goes on iTunes.

 

Stephen-Peterson

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