347: Craig Morris – Simple hacks help your Amazon and Ebay Business health

Selling on Ebay Podcast

Craig is not set on  reinventing the world. He just wants to find success for him and his family. He keeps finding simple hacks to improve his business process. Many think the learning curve is steep and you need to know it all NOW. Well no, small incremental improvements over time win the race every time.

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Transcript: (note- this is a new tool I am trying out so it is not perfect- it does seem to be getting better)

Craig:                                     00:00:00               Yeah, there’s so, so again, we’ve been working with this strategy this year with, with trying to flip a lot, but still holding a few back, you know, okay, if, if it is worse than we’re still going to be out there hunting and that’s fine and, and you know, but if, if it is a huge hit, hey, at least I’ll get to participate in the huge hit down the road. But in the meantime, I don’t want to be said in a position where I’m 50, 60, 100, 200 deep on an item that really has as no chance of doing better than break even because then my money’s just sitting there not doing anything.

Cool voice Guy:                 00:00:33               Welcome to the ecommerce momentum where we focus on the people, the products and the process of income are selling today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.

Stephen:                             00:00:47               He wanted to talk a few moments about some sponsors scope from sellerlabs. Um, when’s the last time you created a listing? Right? And when you create that listing, you’ve got to come up with the keywords, right? It’s all key word dependent. I don’t care if it’s a private label or wholesale. You’ve got to get it right. Well, what’s the best way to get it right? If you’re selling a similar product that’s really successful, you go and you take and use their keywords and that’s what scope does for you, so phenomenal tool brought to you again by seller labs. The leaders in technology when it comes to Amazon, right now, they are just crushing it with all their products, but scope allows you to get that listing right. Get ranked for those key words as fast as possible. Therefore you get the sales, so go to seller labs.com, forward slash scope.

Stephen:                             00:01:36               Use the code word momentum. Save a little bit of money, get some free key words to test, try it out and see if you see an improvement. If you don’t adjust, what’s cool about what I love about a seller labs is that you then message and say, Hey, I didn’t get this right, tyler. Hey Jeff, this isn’t working right. What am I doing wrong? And Boom, you’re going to get the help you need and that’s what you’re going to get from solar lamps. And, and it’s a very special group. Had been very, I’ve been very fortunate to be connected with them and again, I look over time they’ve delivered every single time, you know, same thing I can say for Karen from solutions for ecommerce. I mean she’s been carrying my account for a couple of years now and our account, my wife and I, and she really does handle things for us.

Stephen:                             00:02:17               Um, I mentioned, uh, just last week we created a new listing with, I forget how many variations, but again, all the flat files uploaded done as I needed. I pop in so she’ll send me a template, I pop in some information and then boom, it’s handled, await. These pictures weren’t done right, blah, blah blah. This UPC, Nita poom modified adjusted and again, the communication has been phenomenal too. I get an email back saying, hey, this was done or this, you’re missing this Steve. Hey, you got to do this. So you know, we have those challenges too and that’s why I like working with somebody who’s been doing it. I’ve been doing it for a long time. Did you know Karen also does listings for Ebay? Yep. Lots of them. So if you want to build out that channel, which of course you, it’s q four, you should be selling everywhere you can, um, Karen can help you with that too.

Stephen:                             00:03:03               So you gotTa tell her I’ve sent you. So you’re going to go to solutions four ecommerce forward slash momentum. You’re going to save 50 bucks every single month. You’ve got to save that $50. But more importantly, you’re going to get an inventory health report. Um, did you just get hit with monthly longterm storage fees? Well guess what? If you haven’t, they’re coming. You want them to get that inventory right and she can help you with that. You’ve got to tell her I sent you again, solutions the number for ecommerce forward slash momentum will get you into that. Saved the 50 bucks. Get that inventory health report though. That’s really, really important. Get that going right away. And I don’t want to miss my coach when it comes to retail arb or online or when I have a question and I do. Not that we don’t, we don’t really do much of it anymore, but when I do have a question, I go to Gaye Lisby because why?

Stephen:                             00:03:46               Because she’s really, she is a coach. I mean, she’s really phenomenal, but you also puts out a daily list and you’re going to get that list five days a week. You’re going to get tons of leads, the number of, uh, agreed to amount that you’re supposed to get. She at least usually gets to those in the four days. And then the fifth day seems to be a bonus most of the time. Phenomenal Group, small amount of buyers where this list is going to end. The best thing is the nuggets that you learn. Hey, why is the red one better than the blue? One? Gaye can help you with those questions. I saw. Hey, I got, um, I got to the dreaded letter about a brand. Here’s the, here’s the way you approach it. Hey, receipts, um, how do you, what’s the best practice? I saw her leading instructions, teaching me the accountant how to do a better job with it.

Stephen:                             00:04:31               And it’s phenomenal. So it’s Gaye Lisby . He’s made a million dollars selling, um, I’ll have the link in here. You’ve got to use the link and it does help me, I don’t want to say it that way, but um, it’s part of the amazing freedom with Andy, slam inslee, Ron Hirsch corn, and nate’s lemons so you know, you can trust. Okay, so come back to the website, take a look at it, and you will get a savings and you can get two weeks free right now only through my link. You get two weeks free. Try it. You don’t like it? I get it back off. But right now is the time to make money. Get cash flow going right now. And so join you. Get two weeks free. The only way you’re going to get the two weeks freeze. If you use my link, it’s on this episode. Come on out and give it a try.

Stephen:                             00:05:12               You will not be disappointed. Again. You’re going to see me in there. So reach out if I can help you too. Let’s get into the podcast. Welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. This is episode 347. Craig Moore’s very, very cool story, very cool, a great guy, but just a cool story of somebody who’s figuring it out. Right? And, and I probably use that phrase a lot, maybe a little bit too much sometimes, but it’s just so neat. Rather than throwing his hands up, he’s like, okay, I’m going to figure this out. He does a good job of explaining when it’s right time to get the warehouse, you know, three car garage, full knee deep stepping on each other. We ran into each other and, and so those kinds of things. And I think it’s a good example of what’s possible, if that’s what you. The other thing I think he does a really good job of explaining is you know, why he works for some people and why Amazon works for other people.

Stephen:                             00:06:05               You know, and, and I think you know, his, his analogy of Walmart, Walmart and a thrift stores or goodwill specifically. I think it’s a great analogy of why certain things work and for some people in certain things work for other people. Not that both aren’t successful because they are, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Right. And so that’s what’s kind of cool and I think he does a really good job of explaining that real sound interview, a lot of good information if you’re thinking about a warehouse and in the end we ended up getting into some good advice if you do, if you’re thinking about pulling the trigger that you really want to hear, let’s get into the podcast. Alright, welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. We’re excited about today’s guest because he’s a good example of evolving, evolving in the ecommerce world, takes effort. It takes initiative and it takes, I think there is some time and you really have to study because not everything works for everyone in the same way and not everybody has the same skillset and so that doesn’t make it wrong. It just makes it different. And I think, um, I think this gentleman’s done a good job of pacing himself in getting into a good place and I’m very impressed with what he’s doing. Craig Morris, welcome Craig.

New Speaker:                   00:07:17               Thank you. Thanks for having me on today.

Stephen:                             00:07:20               I really appreciate you taking the time. I know you’re so busy you have a new warehouse and I can’t wait to talk about, but you’ve, you’ve got a lot going on. Um, and I think my statement is fair. I mean, is that a fair assessment of my observation?

New Speaker:                   00:07:34               I think it’s really been a lot of my ecommerce experiences just kind of been accidentally falling into things and um, and we’ve kind of hit a point where just doing everything accidentally, it was no longer really working. Um, we were kind of out outpacing the accidents that we could do and um, and so we really wanted to put together a plan going into this q four that we would be in a better position to, to not be dealing with happy accidents all the time.

Stephen:                             00:08:04               Well, I think that’s a good phrase. He accident so, so this, so for a good example would be when frozen stuff was being sold and the demand couldn’t keep up with the supply and therefore those of us who were out in that world, anything you found that said frozen was so hot, right? That’s falling into something for by accident,

New Speaker:                   00:08:24               but my, one of my first flips on, on Amazon, um, it was right after I had just started on Amazon.

Stephen:                             00:08:31               So you thought you were the most knowledgeable guy in the world, right? I’m like, Oh man, I’m a genius. Right. It was

New Speaker:                   00:08:37               super easy. I remember I bought two ls addresses at a Walmart and had them sold by the time I drove two minutes to my house and for something like 150 percent Roi and I thought, wow, this is really easy. And, and that was Kinda the start of my, my accident journey on,

Craig:                                     00:08:56               you know, realizing now though, obviously that it’s just situational and trying to have a real plan.

Stephen:                             00:09:03               Nope. Is it, is it not only though that situational stuff though, you could do things to put yourself in that position, right? I mean, so if you’re not going into a store, and I watched Lonnie Honeycutt a lot, he goes to goodwill every single day. Now I could not do that, but there’s a reason he finds stuff there when everybody else is saying, I can’t find anything. He goes every single day. So he’s putting himself, you know, he’s taking a swing and maybe that’s a better way to say it every single day and he isn’t hitting, isn’t hitting, and then all of a sudden he has a hit I think. I think that frozen example, I’m a, you are already selling or you were getting into it be you were going into the store and scanning and looking. Right? I mean I think that’s another thing that’s important, isn’t it?

Craig:                                     00:09:46               Yeah. And we found this year I have a lot more time for sourcing and whereas last year there will be things that I could go for two months without finding on this really source in two days a week. Now if I don’t find something that I’m looking for in three or four days, I’m surprised because, um, we’re just out there a lot more. So putting yourself in that position to maximize the time, doing whatever it is that your most profitable in.

Stephen:                             00:10:12               Now, does that mean that you panic if you don’t find something for two or three days? Is that when the panic starts to set in? I mean, what does that feel like?

Craig:                                     00:10:21               No, I don’t really think it’s a panic thing. I, you know, at least this time of year for what we do and, and you, we, we do a lot of toys for q four. It’s kind of fun. It’s, it’s kind of that hunt, you know, it’s maybe never will be the same thing to someone hunting for 100, $200 items at a goodwill, but it’s really so that haunt of I know what I’m looking for, I’ve done my research and, and now I found it, I finally found it and I’m one of the first to find it and I’ll be one of the first descended into Fba. And, and, and so it’s not so much of a panic as it is kind of an excitement when you do because it is the thrill of the hunt and the thrill of the chase.

Stephen:                             00:10:58               So the thrill is gone. As the song says to you, do you feel like, um, this is, I think a decent question about this stuff that you fell into by accident that, that research you just talked about. So you’re going into this q four with a better plan, right? Because toys are toys. I’m one of those things that, you know, I talk about with just about every seller because of toys are us going out of business. Um, and at this point I haven’t seen it. Walmart nor targets least my me have expanded their toy selection or their footprint in the stores. Um, I did see a pop up toy store in King of Prussia over the weekend. I’m with it. It’s like Halloween city slash toy city or something like that. It was the first time I’d seen one of those. But outside of that, it’s a very unusual year for toys, isn’t it?

Craig:                                     00:11:47               Yeah, I would agree. We’re still watching. We’re watching some of our more regional chains to see what that reaction is because we’re not seeing a lot of the toys city type of stuff pop up around us yet. Um, so, so it is, it just kind of everybody’s trying to figure out is, is stock going to be lower, is going to be flooded, is what, you know, how is everything going to work? And really everybody’s trying to make, make the best guests that they can, you know, and I think doing that research and networking with other people around the country, well, what are you seeing here? What are you wearing? What are those trends looking like by you? Because no matter where, no matter, we don’t travel a ton, but even if you did, you’re still seeing a limited snapshot of what one area has at one given point in time, you’re, you’re, there’s really no way of knowing what everything is. And I do think the dynamics of the market are, are definitely different this year.

Stephen:                             00:12:43               Well, what’s your gut say? I mean, what do you, what do you think is gonna Happen? I mean, I think common sense would tell us that Amazon’s going to do a better job of managing their stock. Right? I mean, just get better every year, right? I mean that’s just historical. Generally they get better, right? Then there’s always an outlier. Nobody picks the homerun toy. It’s always weird one, that one’s separate. Right? But what’s your thinking?

Craig:                                     00:13:05               Well, my thinking is, is at least so far on most things is that, that so far it doesn’t seem like the early supply is being flooded. Um, you know, even on things that we keep finding on a regular basis that there’s still the demanded there. So now that some of that could be dealing with less, less sellers on Amazon are more restrictions on Amazon and we’re. So we got the most recent meeting, we had a few brands that got gated up that we’d been selling for years. I’ve sold probably thousands of some of these brands and so I’m sure there’s other sellers like us on other brands that, that they’re stuck. So I, my, my gut says in the end that they’re going to be some really big, really big home runs out there. Um, but the practical side of me right now also says, hey, if you can be turning things for 30 to 50 percent Roi and you can just keep finding them, then just keep turning them. Um, you know, and it’s better that it’s the, you know, the bird in the hand versus two in the Bush take, take what’s there now because if the market does get flooded, you don’t want to be left holding the bag of, you know, couple hundred units of something that you could have made 30 percent Roi on and now you have to take a 20 percent roi loss. So, so there’s my gut and then there’s my, my checkbook and they kind of fight each other. Right now at this point you’re

Stephen:                             00:14:25               absolutely a battle and you can rationalize a lot. I mean wait till you get to a certain age. I can rationalize a lot of stuff. I’ve been, I saw this about video games and I thought this is a good example of something they were talking about. I guess it was Nintendo video games and somebody was asking, Hey, should I liquidate my account because it sounds like that market’s gonna kind of dry up. And again, take the outliers out of the picture, but was interesting to hear him say somebody say that there’s another game system and two or three of the people that were commenting on it talked about modding another game system to allow him to play the games they want. And that seems like very common generationally. And so is that an example of the toy business? You know, I mean to the life cycle of a toy coming to an end. I mean, is that an example? And then is that happening faster with these newer toys to get where I’m going with that?

Craig:                                     00:15:23               One of the things that I’ve noticed is that that it used to be a trend would start in the toy business my last two years and you could kind of see it creeping in and, and, and then it would take, each brand would take them three months to pop out their new toy that’s along that trendline. Whereas now it’s, I think some of the flooding has to do with, you know, if you’re a parent, you couldn’t even buy every trending thing that’s out there. I mean, at least know you, you know, even even the upward parents who spend a thousand dollars per kid, I mean, you could, you could blow through a thousand dollars per kid on toys easily. My kids could easily go into any toys star and, and spend a thousand dollars on themselves if I allowed them to, um, and still not have everything that they would quote unquote want when they’re looking at the shelves.

Craig:                                     00:16:11               And, and so I think there is this inherent race to need to be first, but everybody’s so quick at copying and, and, and following the trends I think. I think because of social media, um, identifying trends and to react quickly is becoming easier and easier. And um, and so anytime you can bring something unique can be first to market. As a toy company, you’re gonna be in great shape, but it’s getting harder and harder to do it because I’m looking at everything that’s almost, it’s not even just picking what toys are going to be hot. It’s what, what brands version of what toys and, and you know, because not everything is going to be the most popular. Only one thing within each one the trend will be the most popular trend and so how do you, how do you figure out what it is, you know, and sometimes it’s the first to market and sometimes it’ll be the last market because there’ll be the best version

Stephen:                             00:17:08               about yoga pants. I have heard this description that it was, it is. It said Lulu Lemon. I’m not, I’m not one of them that, you know, everybody had to have these things, right? Not us, but everybody else had to have these things. Although I would look, goodness, I could pull them off anyway, so, so, but that now because of Amazon that people now just wear yoga pants and in my world everybody wears yoga pants all the time and they aren’t necessarily Lulu Lemon. I think that that that’s an example of a brand that was hot, hot, hot, and now it’s probably generally not, not, not because you can’t distinguish, right? Their secret sauce, which was yoga pants, funky looking yoga man, you go anywhere right in St. fidget spinners is another good example, right? Where everybody did it all of a sudden, and they were going to make millions and zillions and that one person made money and then everybody else didn’t make money only to people in China who made them and sold them made money. Right.

Craig:                                     00:18:05               It almost, it almost feels like we’re in this really weird Ponzi scheme of just right now. And, and it, it works both ways, but you know, the, the first manufacturers, the first buyers, the first sellers, the resellers, there’s, there’s opportunities and there’s always a new first. So, so it’s not like there’s a limited opportunity but, uh, to, to find things to flip, to make money on. But I do feel like it’s almost a limited time. And, and I know, you know, the whole reseller world is still kind of, I feel like in a fog from hatchimals two years ago where it just became this toy that was out of production. It was so easy to make more, you know, everyone thought, well, they’re just going to keep coming. And it never did. And, and at the peak of fourth quarter they were selling for, you know, I mean, I, I remember I sold some animals for $400 and you know, that we’re $80 shelf price and I think everyone expected the same thing last year. But if you look at the hottest toys last year, most of them peaked September, October or early November, you know? Yeah, there’s always a few that will spike.

Stephen:                             00:19:13               You mean at the price? The price was the highest in September and October because the supply was not out released yet. And then from there it just came down. Wow. And everyone

Craig:                                     00:19:23               kept waiting for the spike and at the end of Christmas season there was no spike and, and um, you know, and so yeah, there, there are certain toys that did peak later on, but, but some of them, the predicted hot toys, the best time to flip them. And I got caught up in it because I kept waiting for the spike and the spite never came. And, and I think with this speed of trends and the speed of manufacturing, you have to keep that in mind is look, look at this thing. Is the company a big company? Because if they’re a big company, they’re probably watching the trends too and you have no clue how many they have on trucks that you know, that they’re going to make sure it’s in every store for black Friday. Is it an easy thing to reproduce? You know, if it was a hit in October, was two months going to be enough time for them to have enough to flood the market in December, you know?

Craig:                                     00:20:09               And, and to really look at these things and just to simply assume, well because, and, and I think this is this evolving thing that goes on because toy prices tend to go up the closer you get to black Friday and Christmas doesn’t mean that this toys price will go up the closer it gets to black Friday and Christmas and, and yeah, there’s. So, so again, we’ve been working with this strategy this year with, with trying to flip a lot but still holding a few back. You know, where, okay, if, if it is worse than we’re still gonna be out there hunting and that’s fine and you know, but if, if it is a huge hit, hey, at least I’ll get to participate in the huge hit down the road. But in the meantime I, I don’t want to be set in a position where I’m 50, 6,100, 200 deep on an item that really has no chance of doing better than break even because then my money’s just sitting there not doing anything.

Craig:                                     00:21:02               And so I think that, you know, not to say that there’s not going to be certain things that we’re going to hoard more of than others because. But we’re looking at it not just as this is a toy, it’s going to go up in price, but why? Why am I holding onto this? Why do I think that this $20 toy that’s selling for 40 today, I’ve got to be able to explain why I think this $20 toy that’s selling for 42 days is going to be selling for 50 or 60 or 70 in a month. And even if it’s going to be selling for 60 and in a month or six weeks, would I not just be better off flipping it for the 40 over and over and over again in the meantime and then, and then go from there. So I’ve got a really, I’ve got to really make decisions, not just based off of what has happened in the past, what’s happened with frozen, what’s happening with hatchimals, um, but I also have to look at love Abella and say, okay, well what is, this is a love of Bella.

Craig:                                     00:21:56               What if the time to sell is now and, and, and you know, if, if what happens, if every store drops this $20 item to a $10 item and then all of a sudden everybody’s by cost is at $10 in my cost is at $20. What’s that going to do? The market. And there’s a lot of dynamics I think that, that people will tend to overlook based on hope. And, and I get caught up in it, believe me, I do all the time and I’m constantly forcing myself to send stuff into Amazon that I, well, what if it’s going to go up in price? And that’s a fun question to speculate on, but the more practical question from resellers standpoint is what if it’s at its peak price now and you have is in stock and you choose not to sell it. And I think that’s just as humbling of a question to ask yourself as you’re making decisions.

Stephen:                             00:22:46               You’re basically day trading, it sounds like your dollar cost averaging, right? So in your first example where you talked about, you know, if I can sell it for 30 percent more and I can do that two or three times and then hold some back and eventually maybe I can get to that 100 percent or 150 percent Roi, you know, what’s your average right? By the time the end of it, it sounds good. Worst case scenario, even if you sold those last few at a loss, more than likely your average is profitable. Right? I mean, that kind of makes sense to me and I think that that’s definitely different thinking. So you’re not afraid to buy deep. It’s just that you’re not afraid. You are not afraid. I hate to use that phrase. I’m sorry. You’re adjusting your business to say, Hey, I’m not going to hold deep.

Stephen:                             00:23:30               I’m going to sell what I can make some profit, put some money back and re in reserve and hold some back and hope that when it is, as long as the trends are there, right now, all of a sudden if they reissue, um, you know, let’s, let’s give me the toy. Uh, uh, we’ll do you use that level of Bella died. They reissue the same dall. Um, that’s a time that you’re never going to get rid of them, right? So you got to sell them at a loss, boom, move on. But the last probably at that point isn’t very high, right? Because it’s more than likely you’ll sell it at market price, which after fees you lose, you know, 15, 20 percent. But if you made 30 percent on those other ones, you’re still basically at a break even maybe or something like that. Okay. All right. That’s pretty smart. That’s, um, that’s pretty sophisticated. Um, why, what, what gives you the ability to think that way? I mean, you know, did you go to ecommerce school? Did you go to a, do you have a big degree in finance or economics as our Greg Murphy, that geniuses? I mean, do you got one of those fancy degrees?

Craig:                                     00:24:35               No. See I, my background is totally different. This really has to do with my, my accident of getting involved in resolving all of my, like my college degrees are all, all based on a church ministry. So I was a youth pastor for years and I was a lead pastor for a year and, and all these different situations I’ve ended up, I’ve ended up working with lots of people and so I don’t, I don’t have any sort of a, a deep level of have a psychology degree by any means. Took like one class in college. But I’ve just observed a lot of, of human psychology within things. And, and, and I guess a lot of my interaction with, with people over the years in non ecommerce settings, just a normal settings, um, you know, I just, I see things, you know, you, you see the good, the bad and the ugly of, of, of human nature and human life.

Craig:                                     00:25:27               And, and I think with, with seeing that and observing that and seeing how much, whether we like to admit it or not, we as people like to be part of the in crowd, you know, we can say that we’re, we, we complained to the beat of our own drummer or whatever. But, but in reality, you know, just seeing how people interact, people buy stuff. And again, like I’m just as guilty, I’ll buy something because this is the thing or my wife will tell me to buy these clothes because they look trendy and like, okay, sounds good, doesn’t mean anything to me, but I’m going to do it because that’s what it is. And, and, and that’s the funnel that kind of commerce puts us into whatever we buy more. They make more of.

Stephen:                             00:26:14               Would you say you have a super power there? I mean, is there, you know, your ops or your ability to observe people over time in ministry, I mean, is that something that gives you an edge but, uh, your ability to, to, to recognize talent and when they make a recommendation you go with it. I mean, is that kind of a weird way? I don’t know if I’m saying it right, but you put trust in people you trust because you, you’ve watched them over time and therefore you’ve seen their guts. Are I, is that,

Craig:                                     00:26:44               is that where you’re just saying? Yeah. I don’t know if it’s really like a super power or anything like that and I’m not even really great at observing people accused on one of my buddies who, who helps me out a lot. He’s really good at it. You know, the hill notice he’ll notice when a store manager is looking at us weird or different things. Like he really picks up on those things. So I’ve really learned a lot from him and saying, okay, you know, because I tend to be zoned in, focused on the job at hand. That’s definitely, it’s both a blessing and a curse because you know, I could be in a room of 20 people and if I’m focused on the job I’d all, sometimes they ignore everybody else because I’m just focused and so he’s helped me to start to see like, hey, there’s a bigger picture.

Craig:                                     00:27:24               One of the simplest things I did, you know, a couple of years back to just get better at it is whatever I was sourcing, you know, you know, in a, in a store, I would just listen to the conversations going on around me. Not to be creepy eavesdropper guy, but just to see what, what people were talking about and because you can hear stuff and you can say, okay, well I think this is going to be good, but when you actually just look around what are people putting in their shopping carts, you know, what, what is someone buying, you know, the first week of October from a toy department. Like actually go look and see and what are they talking about and what are the kids request in for their birthday. I mean, right now, you know, my, my son’s birthday’s coming up in just a bit, a bit over a month, you know, we, we will go to a toy section and he will proclaim to everyone who’s listening the toys that he wants for his birthday.

Craig:                                     00:28:17               Now, that doesn’t mean those are going to be the hot trending toys, but that’s one piece of information that anyone who’s in their shopping would be able to gather and you gather that up with what somebody else is kid is wanting. And then what these two grandparents are saying they want to get for their kids for Christmas. And you can start to weave together the things that maybe have legitimate trends because yeah, you’re hearing real people in the real world. Say it, not just propaganda, you know, that’s being pumped out and from commercials, you know, and, and you can start to see it and you can start to put together, you know, what does it make? And I’ve learned, I’ve, I’ve found things, you know, a kid will put down a toy that they’re playing within the store that I hadn’t looked at and I’ll scan it and it’s profitable. Well, the, you know, the toys always been sitting there, but I, I, until I took time to notice what was going on around me, um, I was missing out on some key pieces of information. I’m sure that would work, not just. And that would work in grocery. What food, what food? Yeah,

Stephen:                             00:29:18               right now, Quito, right. That’s so trendy right now. So anything that says Quito will likely sell for now. And before that it was atkins or uh, was it south beach? Remember that diet that was out there. And there’ll be another one right after Quito. Another one I think about. We went to my granddaughters and at that time she was probably five and they had a birthday party or whatever, and put on something called Shimmer and shine this video on youtube. All these girls squealed and saying every word of this song, I’m like, what is this thing? And I know you mean I sell toys and I never even heard of it, shimmer and shine and they all knew every word to every song and I thought to myself, so now when I go to their birthday parties, because now we go to their granddaughter’s birthday parties, I watched the toys that are coming out and I’m like, Huh. Very interesting. You’re starting to see those, you know, I, all of a sudden all the girls are getting shimmer and shine or at least they were last year, you know. So it’s very interesting. So when, when now do you sell on Ebay anymore?

New Speaker:                   00:30:18               So we’re looking to reboot. Okay.

Stephen:                             00:30:21               So you’re going to be reboot, but you, you did that whole path, correct?

New Speaker:                   00:30:25               Yes. Okay. So we did EBA strike anybody as our sole income for um, uh, it was at least a solid year that it was our sole income.

Stephen:                             00:30:39               And what, what made you stop? You know, because it’s interesting to watch. I mean, I see a lot of people who get sick of it because there are challenges, but then they moved to Amazon, which they think is because everybody talks about the positive signs and they don’t talk about the negative sides and then they experienced some of that stuff and they’re like, Whoa, wait a second, I got to reboot my ebook. I’m going to have a B, plan b. what, what was it for you?

New Speaker:                   00:31:02               Well, I think, you know, we’re, we’re talking now, I think it would be about five years ago to think 2013 is when I started on Amazon and I’m, what my initial experience with. I sold some stuff merchant fulfilled just to get started because at the time that was the recommendation. I don’t even know if that’s the recommendation anymore, but that was, that was the advice I got. So a few things merchant fulfilled before you send them a box to Fba and we did and it worked and that was good. Um, and at the time, you have to remember five years ago, Amazon’s a completely different world. So there wasn’t, there really wasn’t engaging or restrictions on anything and so I remember one of the first things I did is I sent in a box and again I’d never do this nowadays, but I sent them a box of stuff that was all stuff from around the house and stuff that was on Ebay that hadn’t sold. And I remember I had had a DVD and it was like an exercise DVD that I had listed on Ebay for $9, 99 for probably six months and didn’t have any views, didn’t have any watchers. I sent in my box to Fba and it sold for like $25 within about three minutes. And

Stephen:                             00:32:13               that you didn’t have to ship it. I mean you send it to them but you didn’t have to pack it up and answer questions.

New Speaker:                   00:32:19               And I remember packing that first box to Fba. I mean it was an all night to pack a 37 items shipment. Like I have no clue what I was doing. And it was back when you had to put a packing slip and the top and there was stuff out there. But I was, I was working through it, so that was kind of the turning point was I was like, wow, the amount of time that I had to put in to prepping that shipment, even not knowing what I was doing was still far less than the amount of time that I was putting in to it. And then we ran easily. It’s a learning curve. Yeah, it, it was. But at the time, the, I don’t mean this in a flippant way, but Amazon was easy at that time. It was just, it was easy. It was a different world.

New Speaker:                   00:33:04               And I was talking with a buddy recently and said, man, if we knew five years ago for q four, what we know now, we could probably retire in one year. I mean it was the, the opportunities that were there and it was, was crazy. And so, so. And then we ran Ebay and Amazon side by side. Um, because at work, because I was doing again at the time, I wasn’t even really into retail arbitrage at a high level. You know, I mean I’d go look at a clearance section and you know, that sort of thing, but I was mainly doing thrift stores and garage sales and we’re in Florida, so with year and garage sales and so that’s what we were doing. So I just go out garage saling and then I fill a box full of new stuff from garage sales and ended into Amazon and, and just over time the scale ability of Amazon won out over, over over what I was doing on Ebay.

Stephen:                             00:34:00               So side by side you, you weren’t, I mean I guess you were giving them equal effort because if you’re going, if you’re buying, you’re sourcing your, your stuff or Amazon at a yard sale, you’re sourcing your Ebay stuff there too. So that’s common sense. Okay. So then you’d bring it back, you’d spend, you know, five seconds and item listing it on Amazon, putting a label on it, right. Putting it in a box, right? Yep. Um, and then, but you then take your Ebay and you take that other item and you take the pictures, you know, three, at least three decent pictures, right. It’s more likely five. You’d create this amazing title, right? You probably copy somebody else’s listing and then you put in all the details, get all the weight right and get everything just right. Create that listing. And in that meantime you’ve sent how many boxes in Amazon Fba, right?

New Speaker:                   00:34:48               We’re doing that. Then I, as we expanded into more retail arbitrage, you weren’t just fine. You’re not a garage. So you’re finding one offs. Like that’s great. And I mean I had a couple of, I was talking with my friend the other day about when I was on navy, we were big clothing sellers. I sold two different shirts at two different times for $800 a shirt. I never knew that anyone would pay $800 for a shirt on. You know, I’m not that. I’m not a clothing that I want. When I bought it, a goodwill for like $5. It was a 1992 polo, Ralph Lauren. I’m one of those, one of those 25th anniversary shirts. The other one was, uh, I believe I bought it at a high and upscale resale clothing shop. Like Boutique. I think I spent like 60 or 70 for it and it was a vintage silk

Craig:                                     00:35:38               shirt from like the seventies, 60, 70, somewhere in there. And they were just both. So we made big money but the, the amount of times that I found shirts for $800 twice versus the amount of times that I found items that I could sell for five to $10 profit over and over again. We’re just didn’t compare and, and so, so yeah, I still, I still love the concept and the idea of the treasure hunt and in the garage sale in. But I think now with, with the Amazon restrictions, you know, being everyone’s a lot more cautious with what you send in without, you know, really a good chain of, of yeah, this is, this is proof of authenticity via invoices, receipts, et Cetera. A lot of the things that I probably used to send to Amazon I would never send to Amazon anymore. I just, it’s just not worth the risk of the account.

Craig:                                     00:36:25               And so that kind of made some of the thrifting and you know, even a year ago I was still doing the occasional thrifting and sending stuff to Amazon on, but really not anymore. Um, and, and so just being able to do that. And then when you find out, okay, this item that they have 10 up here, that’s $5 profit, you go to the next door, they have 10 more, the next door has 10 more and you can just do that and all of a sudden it’s, it’s as you can, you can start to streamline your process because you’re doing the same thing over and over again.

Stephen:                             00:36:57               Now some people would argue that those $800 shirts, right? That’s a good example, right? Because at one sale you made a very good profit, right? Do two of those a week and you’re making a good living. Right? That’s fair. I think that’s fair. And so if you took that same, um, I think Ronnie Heart, I think he’s a good exam. If you know Ronnie, he’s amazing clothing guy like Gil, but he’ll go and he describes it. He’ll go for a weekend and buy clothing at estate sales and like, and just spend hours looking at every single thing and just does it forever. He’s into it. He knows it and he, he doing huge numbers on Ebay. A profit hardly does. I don’t even know if that he’s back on. Yeah, he moves back on Amazon, but just minimal. Right. And yet he makes it look so easy.

Stephen:                             00:37:45               Um, is that, is that part of it is the learning curve. Maybe that’s a good way to think about it because on Amazon generally, generally you have an APP, right? You’re scanning with something, right? The Bar Code tells you all the rank and they keep and all the rest of it because it’s so data driven that versus the amount of, the vast amount of knowledge you have to have to be successful on Ebay even if you’re just a clothing seller. Right. I mean just think about it. I mean I just men’s versus women’s and think of, you know, pants versus. I mean, just imagine all those different. Very. Is that, is that one of the barriers?

Craig:                                     00:38:22               Yeah, I think so. I think I honestly, I think the biggest barrier, and you kind of touched on before that, that, that you’re going to have with ecommerce is, is you, you’ve got to figure out how you’re wired and some

New Speaker:                   00:38:36               people are going to be wired. So the data driven and, and the, the idea of, okay, I can, I just got to run this. I just, you know, I know some people, like a new new Amazon seller would say, well why aren’t you selling that at 15 percent roi? How are you making any money? Well, because 15 percent Roi Times a thousand units is a lot of money in. It just depends on there’s really no right or wrong and we see it. You know, if you, if you say like goodwill is the, is the Ebay of the, of the brick and mortar store and Walmart is the Amazon. Neither one of those systems is wrong. They’re just two different systems. You know, one is going to say, hey, we’re going to art our cost for our, our goods sold. What’s good bulls cost of goods sold is whatever they choose to stock of some of their replenishable, but the vast majority of the stuff they’re getting and cheap and they’re selling relatively cheap and most, most of the time, unless you have a really overpriced goodwill near you, but you know, that’s their thing, that’s a volume.

New Speaker:                   00:39:34               You know, we’re just want to take in whatever we can and we’ll get it in. Sheep will sell it cheap. They’re going to be unique things. You’re never going to know what you’re going to find. Whereas Walmart thrives on, you know exactly what’s going to be there, what supposed to be there when you walk in the door. And I don’t really think either one of those is wrong. There are times that I’m going to go to goodwill. If I’m looking for something, there’s times I’m going to go to Walmart and there’s times I’m going to go to Amazon and, and I think as a seller, you’ve got to figure out how you’re wired. You know, if, if I had to go back and start selling clothing on Ebay, I’d be okay with it. Like I think I could put together some systems and processes, but you know, what it wouldn’t appeal to me would be having to start selling on poshmark and learn a whole new whole new thing all over again, not because poshmark is bad and not that I wouldn’t eventually go there if that’s where the money was.

New Speaker:                   00:40:24               But for me, I’m just, I’m, I’m a repeat guy. Like I, I know Amazon, I’ve done Amazon now. I’m familiar with Ebay, but even like, I think that’s one of my hesitations for jumping back in on Ebay. I haven’t, I just don’t know all the updates that have happened in the last year and a half, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s better to do auction starting at a penny or auction starting at 99, 99. I don’t know any of those things anymore. I know what it was way back in the day. Um, and so, so I think finding a system that really works within it and that’s really why for us making the jump to the warehouse made sense too. Because with within our three car garage, it was really hard to have good systems and good processes because uh, you know, to do a giant hall of a cargo van and to have 100 boxes coming in from online arbitrage showing up, there was no room to move there.

New Speaker:                   00:41:19               Just, you couldn’t do anything. And, and uh, you know, we did. We didn’t have our warehouse when we were doing our, our big toysrus hall, a magical mystery tour around the country have during toysrus liquidation. So all that stuff came into my garage and came into a room in our house and then we send a bunch of it to a storage locker. I’m like, this is ridiculous. Like I don’t even have all my stuff in the same location. If I wanted to ship it out. And we were shipping stuff out of our garage for, I want to say two weeks before I finally said, hey look, I can, we can actually, we can actually park one car in our three car garage. And it just, it just didn’t make sense because we were, you know, when we were working out there, we’re stepping on each other, there was no room.

New Speaker:                   00:42:01               Whereas now with our warehouse, you know, one of the, one of my proudest things about the warehouses, we have a wall of premade boxes, you know, it’s always been my dream to have a wall of premade boxes because whenever you’re in the heat of trying to pack out a hundred thousand or 100,000 thousand items, shipment, I wish it was $100,000 a shipment that’s in the future I guess, but a thousand items shipment, the last thing you want to do is, oh, I gotta go make three more boxes then. So, so instead we pre make all of our boxes so that way when it’s time to ship. And so like last night I was just working on doing a small ship and there’s like a hundred items shipment. And so I just ran over and I grab two boxes and it was, I was able to throw this stuff and that was done.

New Speaker:                   00:42:39               Um, and so by having systems like that, I’m not late at night putting together boxes, the boxes are already made and by the time I get back to the warehouse, the boxes that I use will probably have been remade by somebody who’s working for me because they know what the system is and it’s always done. And so even if there’s nothing to do, we can have all these systems in place and we’re, we’re, we’re even kind of starting to rotate stock, you know, as we’re watching Stephen, okay, it’s time to send this toys, arrested inventory and this is stuff that we’re going to hold for for another year. So you’re starting to drip in that inventory, right? And we have everything kind of laid out on our shelving units. We bought some shelving this from herberger’s when they went out of business. So we have stuff, okay, this is what we know, this is the stuff that we’re going to be sending in next and this is what we’re keeping our eye on.

New Speaker:                   00:43:29               And we just go over it. Anytime I want I can go and scan my inventory, say, okay look, this is, we have 20 of these left in stock, we sold, 80 of them is time to send in our next, next batch of 100 for the next two months or whatever it’s going to be. And so, so by, but we’re spread out. We’re not stepping over each other. We have, we have carts, you know, so when we, when we have a plush that needs to be back, we have to have a car that we got from toysrus and, and as soon as we take it out of the van and go straight into the cart because it needs to be prepped. And then our prep personal prep it one when it’s time to be prepped. And so we’re, instead of doing this where we have piles of things and he sent up the whole shipment and then discover three more bags that were sitting under a table, could see. And we’re, we’re, our efficiency is, is crazy. Um, you know, I used to be happy, you know, if in in one day if we could do a three or 400 items, shipment, we pumped out a thousand items shipment and four hours the other day. And let’s just talk about that because I think this is important because, you know,

Stephen:                             00:44:32               having a warehouse, everybody dreams of it, but it comes with a lot of cost. I mean our, our insurance, I think my, our insurance is not quite $300 a month just for liability and it’s also our liability insurance. But it’s still, I mean it’s material. When you have a warehouse that you have other workman’s comp, you got all these other issues and then you have your rent and your cam and your garbage. You got to pay for paper towels for the bathroom and stuff like that. When, when you saw the gains in efficiency, that example you just gave or you went from 300 your best and that’s when everything was working. And even then, I’m sure it was frustrating because you did describe stepping on each other where in half a day you cranked out three x, that means you likely could do six x what you did that. I mean, is that a month’s worth of cost that one day? You know what I mean? Do you get what I’m saying? I mean, could you, could you make that money up almost in a day and then cover the rest of the month?

Craig:                                     00:45:26               Yeah, it’s, it’s got to be close to it. I, you know, I mean we’re still, we’re still, we’re still, we’ve got, I guess in my perfect world, looking back it would’ve been a whole lot better if we’d had the warehouse setup before the toysrus liquidation, but that just wasn’t, it wasn’t there. So I really feel in some ways we’re on this kind of scratching the surface of what things are. We’re still kind of learning some of our systems, but then the net positive is that gap because we’ve got people that we’re paying now and because we’ve got the warehouse and just the cost of rent and, and like you said, some of the other things that go along with that insurance and all those other things. Um, it definitely, it definitely changes it and, and, but it’s also riskier in the sense to have the, you know, the, the mental game that goes with it where you feel like I have to buy more, I have to buy more.

Craig:                                     00:46:20               And, and, and I think one of the things that I’m learning are very early on this q four is a good goodbye, is better than a big bad buy. And because the temptation is what we have this space, let’s fill it, let’s use it, let’s buy it, you know, well, there’s always another opportunity tomorrow is going to present another opportunity. It just, that’s the way it is this time of year. And, and I don’t want to handcuff myself for future opportunities by, well, I’ve got to do this today. Guess what? There’s, there’s projects we can work,

Stephen:                             00:46:54               so you’re walking away from certain buys, it just doesn’t feel right or it’s too much capital commitment. That’s a very mature thing to do. Great. Yeah. Well it really is a hard thing. It’s a hard thing to do and I’m mature.

Craig:                                     00:47:07               It’s more learning from, from you know, mistakes that we’ve made.

Stephen:                             00:47:12               I’ve got a warehouse of that stuff. I got, I got a big picture of it I could show you, but let’s talk about employee efficiencies because that’s another benefit. I mean people working for you. What I mean is it see a little more pep in their step or even even your wife or I mean even maybe yourself. I mean does it cooler to walk in and say, all right, I got this and then you get to walk away and go home.

Craig:                                     00:47:37               Yeah. One of the things that, that we’ve made a concentrated effort on now our kids are getting older will have while we have a seven month old and then one was turning three and then one who turned five this summer in the past, you know, working from home. The benefit is of course you’re working from home, um, but again with all those space restrictions, so we kinda made a decision if I’m going to be working at a warehouse would had been a, we’re not just gonna work the same amount of hours that we used to work. We’re going to work a little bit less because we’re being more efficient and you know, able to do things. And so we’ve been able to work in and, and doing, doing a date night with my wife doing daddy daughter dates dandy, buddy

Stephen:                             00:48:21               outside is life improvement improvement. So rather than, and this is a pro tip right here, this is a big deal. This is this minister coming out, Craig, this is right here. This is you given you’re taking your own advice. I’m certain is take that extra time rather than invested in your business, invested in your relationships and yourself and your mental health. Who Do that’s deep, that’s deep.

New Speaker:                   00:48:44               And it’s tough because you know, you think you’re going to do it and you have this great plan going into q four and then he’s still start running like crazy. And so I’m, I’m already, you know, we’re again for most people, q four, it starts October first for us. We’ve been running pretty hard since September first. We got them to the warehouse August first of the month of August was just pretty much prepping the warehouse and getting it ready. But we’ve been, we’ve been running hard now for five, six weeks and so I’m kind of already at that first kind of the first evaluation stage of, of where things are at and starting to see like, oh this, this just wasn’t working.

Stephen:                             00:49:15               So talk about that. What’d you talk about? What went right and what didn’t go right? I think that’s.

New Speaker:                   00:49:19               So we’ve been, this is the simplest thing in the story kind of concluded yesterday. Sorry. It kind of ties up really well. You know, I’ve been working on eating healthier. It’s just been. I know it’s been one of the things, one of the reasons I’ve been so tired during q forza, I’m pushing, I’m pushing hard. Um, and then you’re just down the road so you just eat whatever is available. And then happened the other night, I was, I was out until 3:00 AM, so what’s open at 3:00 AM? Walt was white castle. So that’s what I. and then I’m like, you know, I’m like, that goes against everything that I need, but, but guess what I need to make at home, I need to make it home alive and awake and, and all these different things. And, and, and so it’s like, okay, I’m going to do that.

New Speaker:                   00:49:56               And so that was Kinda the tipping point. Well why wasn’t this happening? Well, we didn’t have a frigidaire warehouse because I was being stubborn. I said I’m not going to pay more than $50 for a refrigerator at our warehouse, you know, where we can just have good food there. I can pre make my meals on Sunday so I have them there for the week and I can just always grab, grab some food, grab some stuff, ready to go. So we’ve, you know, I just said at the beginning of the week of, so we’re going to find our fridge this week. Like, I don’t care how far we have to travel for it because I’m not paying more than $50. Whoever we have to travel, we’ll just go source when we go pick it up, you know, cause I’m sure it’ll probably be in an area where there’s other stuff. So we, we finally got her fridge and I paid $40 for it yesterday, so I was very happy and we, we sourced on the way home with our refrigerator in our cargo van to, to kind of make the trip worth it. And it was good. But that was one of the adjustments were something like, Oh, it’d be fun to have a refrigerator. And in reality it’s like, no, it’s necessary to have a refrigerator for me to, to live the life that I want to live during q four and not wanting to live a life of just eating fast food again because I’ve done that.

Stephen:                             00:50:59               I’ve done that. Life then is not just buying. Also taking care of yourself during that time. That’s another story.

New Speaker:                   00:51:09               Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s what I’m learning this year is, is, is, um, I’m getting older, you know, how hard to push, how hard not to push. But in the past it’s always been throw the meat care and the family care and all that kind of out of the window for three months, you know, and I, and our family, we would talk about it, we knew it, we understood it, but we’re, we moved past that point where we just want that to be the way anymore.

Stephen:                             00:51:35               What’s that done for your relationship? Because I think this is important because instead of having this conversation of, hey, everybody’s going to have to suck it up. Remember daddy works hard these three months, this is it. Remember, this is when we do our best and you know, you have a nice conversation. It’s a great teachable moment for the kids. But the bottom line is they don’t see dad, right? Or they’re dad gaining weight and he’s tired and he’s probably, you heard a bowl and my bed is irritable, right? And White Castle at 3:00 AM makes anybody irritable. I don’t care who they are, but, but so now what’s that done for those relationships?

New Speaker:                   00:52:06               I definitely think it’s helping. I mean, like I said, it’s a learning curve, um, with a seven month old in the house. I mean we’re already on the learning curve, you know, and so, so it’s, it, it is what it is and we’re far from having a perfected and I hope for next q four will be in, you know, even better. But, but I definitely, I definitely see the difference and I feel the difference in and, and um, you know, even even with the fact that I would say right now, yeah, the last two weeks have been kind of rough. I haven’t been doing it, but now I’m at a point where it’s, I’m evaluating this the first week of October instead of evaluating the first week of January.

Stephen:                             00:52:43               Nice. So you’re not, you don’t have to go all the way back. You’re only going back to the [inaudible] you the mistakes are less frequent. Maybe that’s the right way to say it.

New Speaker:                   00:52:50               Right? Or I catch them earlier. Maybe I, I don’t necessarily know if my mistake ratio has gone down at all.

Stephen:                             00:52:57               You’re acknowledging them, you’re more, you’re more attentive to them. I think that’s a very healthy thing now. Right? I mean because you don’t want to have a series of bad decisions. Right? One one I just listened to somebody talk about weight loss and they were talking about how, you know, if you, if you’re not careful, you can go for a weekend wedding and gain five or six pounds. Now if you get right back on the horse, it usually doesn’t stay around long term. It’s though when you. I always think of, you know, the holidays they start pretty much halloween for me, right? Used to be. And so I would start eating candy and I’m a, I, I’m a andy would bring me twizzlers and I’d start eating those darn twizzlers and then we would just crank right through Halloween and ID chocolate, which I don’t like, but I need it because it was there and then all of a sudden, next thing you know, it’s thanksgiving.

Stephen:                             00:53:43               Oh, got to make it too. Thanks gotta. Eat this. Right? And then Christmas and then new years. Right. And then I’m usually at that point getting ready to join the gym, you know, 20 or 30 pounds heavier almost every single year. That is a series of those bad decisions as opposed to one trip to 3:00 AM white castle saying, oh this wasn’t good and this is, I’m not going to continue that. I think that that’s a really smart. When, when you think about where you’re, where you’ve come and how long it took you to get here versus now that you’ve been in the warehouse for how long

New Speaker:                   00:54:20               we’ve been in basically two months.

Stephen:                             00:54:21               Okay. So these last two months. So, so thinking about how long it took you to get to the warehouse and the efficiencies and all the things that you learned along as opposed to this last two months, what’s the difference in time? You know what I mean? Is it, you know, so if somebody is listening and are thinking, Hey, I think I’m ready for warehouse too. I think I’m, I’m, I’m ready. I think it’s time. Is it like you’re learning? Is it accelerated everyday? Because as you, the efficiencies give you the time and then if you apply that time you just sit there and say not gonna Happen GotTa do this gotTa do this. Is that, is that like accelerated like a lot?

New Speaker:                   00:54:59               Yeah, I think so. I think one of the first things, and this kind of our journey too, it’s kind of our first employees. So as soon as you take that first step for the one employee, you, you immediately say, Oh wow, I could see where I could use two more employees. Whereas you’ve been doing things by yourself. All of a sudden you can see that. And I think the same thing’s true with the warehouse and you know, there’s the benefit of a home based businesses that it’s home. You have to go anywhere. But, but the opposite side has been nice too. And I’m, I’m getting there. I still have a few, a few mental hangups of, of really trying to leave work at work and really trying to say one of the things that, you know, as long as I’m in town, we’re trying to pledge to our kids, five to 7:00 PM every night.

New Speaker:                   00:55:39               Daddy’s here too. Just to eat supper to do all these different things, to play with you guys. Each get to pick one thing that you want to do, game you want to play toy you want to play with or whatever. And to do that. And, and, and it’s tough because I’m, I’m not, I’m an untraining myself from old habits are not to say bad habits, they’re just the old habits. Um, but to really say, okay, from five to seven, I don’t want to check my phone, I don’t want to check the Amazon account unless there’s something, uh, you know, a major thing, but as long as we’re in town and so it, so to do that and to do that. And yet at the same time, I mean, I, I tend to get overwhelmed with things. And so I was, I was working on stuff last night and I’m just like, I, I’m, I’m literally saying out loud, luckily it was just me there and, and I’m like, I don’t know how I can juggle like I don’t know how I can handle this, I don’t know how I can do this and because, because as you, as you scaled bigger, it’s great and it’s fun, but the stuff’s still has to get shipped out, you know?

New Speaker:                   00:56:36               And it’s still like, for me, I’m a buyer, I love buying, you know, and that’s, I was always, always having huge death files for Ebay to because I’d love to buy but doing, doing some of the other work that needs to be done. And, and so it’s like we’re getting more efficient in some ways. But then that, that reveals other inefficiencies. And then um, one of my favorite leaders that I like to follow us carry new hos. And um, and one of his things, he just wrote a book on leadership and one of his challenges that he said, it’s not just about being the fish and it’s about being effective. You can be efficient in, in something, you know, you can be efficient in how you shower, right? You can, you can shower efficiently, but if it’s not an effective shower, doesn’t matter how efficient you are. And, and so, so this, this um,

Stephen:                             00:57:22               thanks for the visualization there.

New Speaker:                   00:57:25               So pick whatever it is you can, you can be efficient, you can be efficient and cleaning your house. Right? But you know, you can get it done quickly, but if it’s not effective then then it’s not doing it. And so I think trying to apply that within, within our businesses. Yeah, we’re more efficient. We can buy stuff faster, we can process that faster. But are we, are we buying profitable things? Are we just buying it because we can like meet you could, you could literally, you know, probably most people listening to podcasts could Max out all their credit cards just buying out one toy section or one clothing section that at any big box store. Like that’s efficient, right? It’s one stop,

Stephen:                             00:58:04               everything’s there, boom. Push it into the cart yet we’re done.

New Speaker:                   00:58:07               Yup. And take it all out. And if you’re, you know, if your stickiness commingled, you just zap a bunch of stuff you send into Amazon, well that’s an efficient way of doing things, but it’s not effective. And I, I think, I think that’s one of the balances that I’m, that I’m having to learn here is we are more efficient, but let’s not lose our effectiveness in the midst of that. And you know, yeah, we can, we can pump out, you know, thousand items, shipments, but let’s make sure we’re not letting our quality of the items that we send in drop.

Stephen:                             00:58:34               Let me ask you this too, because there’s another piece to that. What about these people? You don’t have robots working for you. So is there a point where efficient amount. I was a controller, so guess what, my whole world was finding, reducing touchpoint, Blah Blah Blah, right? Everything I can do to maximize, um, but it comes at a cost because at some point people are like, know, yeah, I could do it faster state, but you know, it, it, you know, I’m going to make more mistakes while how they’re acceptable mistakes. That’s okay. Where are ever ratios within blah blah, blah, blah, blah, but at some point, you know, they go to white castle the night before and they feel like crap when they come into work the next day, Craig. And so that, that’s a completely different dynamic that’s outside of your control that you have to factor in.

New Speaker:                   00:59:18               Yeah. And I’ll tell you what, that’s a huge learning curve for me because again, I look at the world in data and I sometimes struggled to look at people as people. And I know that sounds really bad coming from a pastor, but that’s. But that’s how I’m wired. I’m a, you know, I, I look at those things. And so, so that’s definitely been one of the things that I’ve been learning over the last year and a half is, is even if I don’t see eye to eye with someone to try to understand what they’re going through to, to, to sympathize with them, you know, because empathy is not my strong suits. I’ll try to sympathize at least. Um, and, and to say, okay, yeah, we want to do this and, and, and to have, you know, the ability and it goes both ways, you know, to have the ability to say, you know what, sometimes it’s better off if everybody goes and works on their own project and their own pace today.

New Speaker:                   01:00:12               You know, sometimes that’s a good thing because everybody gets to reboot. Sometimes. It’s a good thing if I’m going to be in the warehouse at a different time in the play. Yeah, that’s not the most efficient thing, but sometimes that is the most effective thing because I need time alone with my thoughts, you know, and, and so I think it’s more efficient to source with multiple people, but sometimes I’m more effective going by myself because it’s not just about sourcing the product when I do that, it’s about processing life and thinking about things and taking my prayer time and doing that that I can do what I’m sourcing alone, driving from store to store to store that I can’t really do with the team. And it’s not because my team is bad, it’s just, that’s just the circumstance of what it is.

Stephen:                             01:00:54               Awareness, realizing, hey, I’m not empathetic. That’s me. That doesn’t make you know that just, that’s the way your wire. So having that self awareness to me. So how do you work on that empathy or does it just improve over time? Because I keep delivering and I’m doing great, I’m doing great and then I’m off because you know, things I ate at white castle at 3:00 AM in the morning, Craig and just didn’t sit well and I didn’t get any sleep. Right. And so that next day I’m not on, but I’m always on and that day I’m off. Do I get, especially as you work longer with me, you start to build a, I get a little bit of a pass or are you gaining empathy then?

New Speaker:                   01:01:36               Yeah, I think so. And I think, you know, again, observing people and learning from that to be able to say, hey, you know what? Look, I’d rather you your, your head and your heart is not here right now. You need to do this like we can. We’ll get this done if you need to go take the break. If you need to go be with your family. If you need to go do this, you know, to really try to, to pick and choose the times where to say, oh yeah, we have to have to do this. There’s a few of those times they’re there always will be in any business, but to be able to say, you know what, I’m like, like my employee today, he’s a, he’s, he’s doing some stuff with some family stuff and I just said, well I was just going to work late last night to get the stuff done that I need to get done.

New Speaker:                   01:02:17               I need some new time. So was good and he was going to come in, do some stuff. He knows some projects that need to be done and so he was going to come in and do that and then then we’re gonna meet up this afternoon and then work together. You know, if everything’s going good with, with the family stuff that he’s got to take care of them. It’s not bad family. So it was just being. It’s life in a family and, and so I, you know, to be able to say that and that’s where the driven part of me and even kind of that traditional q for Gogo, Gogo, well we’re not, we’re not packing or not shipping, we’re, we’re losing out on stuff like, no, it doesn’t matter if the shipment gets finished at 2:00 AM, 12:00 PM or 4:00 PM, you know, as long as what we need to get out is ready to go by 4:30. We’re good as long as it’s done for ups. The, the manner in which it gets done, whether it’s done by one person or two people or however it’s done. It’s all good. And Yeah. Oh for sure. And My. Because my wife would always get on me because it wouldn’t matter. We’d always be packing and shipping up until up until, and sometimes even after ups would come for the pickup and

Stephen:                             01:03:24               perspective come from because that’s a perspective change that’s finally realizing, you know, maybe it’s part of, you know, the warehousing, maybe senior inventory, seeing it in a place as opposed to having it crammed in boxes under tables. Maybe seeing it and seeing the progress that you make. I think there’s some merit there that gives you perspective that might be helping some of this.

New Speaker:                   01:03:45               Yeah. Oh for sure. And I think also just the things that we’d been working on the rest of the year, you know, trying, trying to not just hit the pause button. Okay, it’s cute for let’s pause on trying to eat healthy and, and, and trying to integrate what we were already doing. And so like, like for example, another, another simple thing is, you know, it’s q four so it’s busy. So we don’t, I don’t get to go on, we’d like to do family walks so we don’t get to do as many family walks just because our schedules just don’t line up as well this time of year. But I said okay, let’s make me a standing rolling desk, you know, whereas, you know, the vast majority of time in the past I’d be sitting at a desk now I’m on my feet pretty much all day so I’m getting more steps and I’m being more active than what I ever was before. And you know, and, and so to, to just make changes, say, okay, this is a priority now this wasn’t a priority before the priority was paying the bills, you know, and yeah, that’s still a good thing, but, but now the priority is taking care of myself, taking care of my family and using this business to help us achieve some of our goals that we want to achieve as a family. That’s still there, but it’s not, it’s not. The only focus

Stephen:                             01:04:58               doesn’t have to come at a cost to something else. Right, exactly. I think that’s a great way of phrasing it. It’s pretty deep. All right, you’re back. You’re back into good graces as a pastor then got it back. He pulled it back. Okay. So what, what’s very cool to me again in this, one of the reasons I want to have greg on his watch overtime and I look for, you know that you don’t have all the answers. Okay. You’re willing to put in the time to figure them out. And the other thing is to me, you know, the fact that you’re using used equipment and you’re not swinging for the fences with it all, you’re, you’re sitting there moderate and saying, okay, this is a good transition for me to for now. Now where it goes from here, you know as you say, you’re learning and you’re going to keep continue to evolve.

Stephen:                             01:05:42               I think that’s the biggest challenge for people is finding the time to learn, finding the time to invest in all these things. It comes at a cost, but Craig would tell you that getting his garage back, which helps a marriage that’s personal advice from Steve, getting gut stuff into a warehouse does help a marriage because you don’t have a garage full of stuff and then not giving 100 percent of that time that you gain back to the business. Invest in those relationships and friendships and health and all these different things is really some of the smartest said advice that I’ve heard in a while. And I just think it’s. It’s very cool and it, it’s, it’s noticeable. Let me just tell you a, hence the reason I had you on because it’s noticeable. People are talking about it because it’s, it’s just what I think a lot of people need to do this. You’re not supposed to be on this earth just to run a business, I hope and that’s it. Live and die and, and, you know, have the most money in your casket, man. I hope. I hope there’s more to it than that. Alright, so let me, let me ask my final question, which is pretty typical and I, and I think you’ve done a good job. Um, I’m uh, I guess I should say hey, best way, if somebody wants to get a follow up with you, best way to get in touch with you.

New Speaker:                   01:06:56               All right. Well, um, I’m on facebook, so that’s probably, that’s probably the primary way that you can find me. I’ll put your link there. Okay. I’m a, I’m a member of the green room. Um, you know, being part of the green room is definitely been a huge part of my guys over the years and just lots of good relationships and good networking. So if you’re still haven’t made room for sure, feel free to send a friend request and um, but yeah, love to kind of connect up and one of these days I’m going to make it to Austin. Chris, one of these days he’s taken me for barbecue. I keep telling him that. All right, so, so the goal of the podcast is to help people get past stuck. What? I think this is what I was going to ask you for something

Stephen:                             01:07:37               then a little bit different because I think you’ve done a good job explaining ways that you’ve gotten through. What about people who are considering a warehouse? I think that’s a different question. I think you’re a good example. You don’t have the biggest warehouse in the world, right? You don’t have a small warehouse, but you had a good size business. You decided to make a commitment and say, all right, we’re ready to make a go of this. You did it over time. You watched, you learned. What’s your advice for somebody who’s on the fence? You know, in our pre call we were talking about fees, how much fees. Okay.

New Speaker:                   01:08:07               And operate storage fees, right? We’re all seeing it, right? Everybody’s saying even us who have a warehouse without timing, everything just right. You can get pretty quick. What’s your advice when people come to you and say, Craig, should I do a warehouse? That’s my question. Well, the first thing I would say that that I learned is to set up your warehouse, right? It’s going to cost you more than just setting up your rent and your Internet and your utilities. You know, we, we were fortunate that we were able to buy a lot of our, our inside structures from toys r us and herberger’s as they went out of business. And the good news is there’s always businesses going out of business, but we, I probably spent to get everything that I wanted $8,000 to try to get everything where we needed to be on the inside first.

New Speaker:                   01:08:56               And that was getting some new machines, getting some, you know, getting new printers because we just decided if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right. And there’s gonna be a cost upfront. So. So what I would suggest that I didn’t do, um, it would be start saving for it like you would for any other purchase, start saving for what it is and, and maybe you’re good and you know, maybe someone’s got quality commercial grade shelving units in their garage. We didn’t, I had, I had the target wire rack shelving units and so we still use those for a few things, but for us to be able to do what we need to do and we needed to get the good commercial grade shelving units and we need to do all these pieces that we needed to get to really get things where we wanted it to be.

New Speaker:                   01:09:39               Um, so, so I would recommend saving and, and you know, again, we probably spend a little more than we needed to, but we got what we wanted because we wanted to make sure it was set up the way we wanted it right from the start. Um, so I would recommend saving up, you know, whatever your rental would be, your projected rent would be times for and, and really have that because it. And if you’re going to deal with a first first month’s rent and a security deposit and you’ve got to remember that as an initial expense and then again, whatever utilities we’re, we’re kind of fortunate that, that really the only thing we have to pay for outside of our rent is the Internet. Everything else is kind of included in it or utility wise and they had maintained the bathroom for us because it’s kind of a joint bathroom that other businesses use.

New Speaker:                   01:10:26               But there’s a lot of cost. So I would say not, not to caution anyone from jumping in, but to, to actually have a plan to know it’s going to cost you money. And the other part where it costs you money is it’s going to cost you your time, time that you might normally spend sourcing and shipping. You’re going to be spending prepping or warehouse and you know, you can choose to work 90 hour weeks from a month if you really wanted to. But if you want to try to keep that life balance as you’re moving and you’re going to have to give up something somewhere. Um, but beyond that, the opposite side is what might look like a big space when you look at it empty is not necessarily feel like a big space once you move in. And, and again, I don’t feel like we’re crowded are cramped by any means, but if I walked in, if we pulled everything out and I walked in, I would say, wow, this place would look huge.

New Speaker:                   01:11:17               Um, but by the time we have everything set up and again, our current setup probably won’t be our final setup, but it’s what we have right now. I walk in, I’m like, okay, there’s, there’s aisles here, there’s aisles there, there’s cross aisles where streets and we have avenues and, and you know, I know how to navigate it all. We’re looking to get a few more things once we get some more stuff. And again, I think the toysrus thing is kind of a rare exception for us. Normally we don’t have that much merchandise sitting. Um, but we do right now and it takes up a lot of space. And so, so, you know, when you look at a space and say, wow, that’s too big for us. Yeah, there’s, there is a space that’s too big for you, but it may not just be, you know, really do some calculations and say okay, and we didn’t, we didn’t fully do it because we have a lot of our pieces in place.

New Speaker:                   01:12:05               So we kind of knew what are our size. We’re one of the recommendations, someone told them it was measure everything out and tape it out on the floor. So we didn’t tape it all out, but we did measure it out. We said, okay, if this is where the van’s going to park inside in the winter months, because we’re, we’re up north, it gets cold. It snows. And like, okay, if advance is going to park in here, if this is where, where’s this gonna go, what? Figuring out your flow. And once you see where everything goes, it’s like wow, okay, I can see how this is going to fill up. And there’s still a few pieces that we need to rearrange because you know, the streets and the alleys are a little too narrow in certain spots, but we can’t do it until we get some more product out. But those would be a couple of big things that I would recommend is not to discourage anyone from doing it by any means, but to really say, you know, how have the plan don’t just don’t just jump,

Stephen:                             01:12:54               pull the trigger. These things you must consider because with that plan, like you said, with the layout and equipment and all that jazz, knowing the cost of all that, right? And you can reach out to greg or you can reach out to me even if you want. And you can kind of do even even if you bought it on the cheap, like you said, when a company is going into business, it’s still significant and then you got to move in and all the rest of that jazz. And then you have an idea and then you sit back and say, okay, that $8,000 in your example, which sounds pretty reasonable, actually quite reasonable. Um, that’s 8,000 that I don’t have for inventory, and if that’s all your cashflow that you have, then the time is wrong. Weight, the answer is to wait. You don’t have enough of a cushion, you’re not built up far enough. Okay? Then it, that doesn’t mean you failed. It just means the time isn’t right. And thank God you figure that out before you got into that cash bond. So he’s very smart advice, dude. I knew, I knew there was a reason that we needed to talk today and I wish you nothing but success. I can’t wait to see what to do next. Thank you so much.

New Speaker:                   01:13:50               Appreciate you having me on. It’s been great being here today.

Stephen:                             01:13:54               Great Guy. Sound knowledge. Um, neat to see his background come in to play. Um, and again, I hope people realize that no matter what you’ve done in your life, you have skillsets that you’ve learned and you can apply them to this business, into a piece that you know, I don’t have. And so therefore you’re an outlier on a over B on those pieces. And if you could do that piece better than everybody else, guess what you’re going to win even if you don’t do the other ones as well, because you can hire that out. And so great example, a great great guy. Reach out to them. Again, if you have setting up a warehouse and you have questions or whatever you need help or whatever message and message myself. It’s a whole group of us, Eddie Lavonne, one of the geniuses of a big warehouses. Um, you know, just great advice. A great group of people out there that are willing to help you. So, ecommerce, momentum.com, ecommerce momentum.com.

Cool voice Guy:                 01:14:42               Thanks for listening to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found@incomersmomentum.com. Under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on itunes.

 

Stephen-Peterson

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