Funny how this conversation started out. Discussing employee and contractor retention. Have you figured out what you would lose if your key employee left tomorrow? Do you have a contingency plan? How about instead you treat them right now? You check in with them? You ask how they are doing? You give them more money? See retaining your staff is almost always better than getting new untrained help. Sure they might get it eventually, but the lost institutional knowledge you lose will never come back.
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Here is transcript- It is automated so it is not perfect but it does seem to get better over time.
Andy: [00:00] Oh, you know, what, what are you doing different? Uh, you know, like, like if you look on Amazon right now, there is probably six pages of silicone spatula sets. Uh, and so you probably don’t want to do a silicone spatula set, but I bet if you search that keyword on Amazon, if you just put in spatula set, you might see some new or unique, uh, variations on different kitchen utensil sets that look a little different. Um, whereas you might see probably 50 listings, right, of ones that look the same. And so, you know, if you search that term on Amazon, look for the ones that look different, that’s a seller who is doing it right.
Stephen: [00:57] Hey, wanted to take a second and talk about Gaye Lisby’s Gary Ray’s Amazon seller tribe and their daily lists that are put out, um, and incredible stories that you can read if you go out and check out, uh, amazing. freedom.com, forward slash momentum hyphen arbitrage. I know that’s a lot to put in there. Amazing. freedom.com forward slash momentum dash Arbitron and you’re going to get 14 day free trial, no money risk, no, no challenges. You don’t want it when you’re done, you get out. But imagine getting list. I’m as grateful as like to call it mailbox money. I love that term. Mailbox money. It’s where you can work from your house, buy things online, have them delivered to you and then sell them on a various marketplaces. But imagine you can have somebody else do that for you. So you want to buy time, you want to control, uh, what they’re buying.
Stephen: [01:53] Well, you take these lists and you can join multiple lists if you’re interested and then you can segregate them for the merchandise you want and send them to them. They can make purchases for you on your behalf. Have it delivered to you or delivered to them for prep. Boom, sent into these marketplaces and you could sell. How about that? Wouldn’t it be awesome? I spoke at their conference and there were so many million dollar sellers just using online arbitrage. It’s still available. And again, 14 days. The only way you’re going to get 14 day free trials if you come through my link. Um, it is an affiliate link. Uh, they do pay me. So I don’t want to mislead you in any way. Um, I would appreciate it, but I’d like to see you try the 14 days. I’ve had so many people that have joined, have so much success.
Stephen: [02:36] It’s very exciting to me and you know, quite humbling to me, um, that they trust me to recommend this group and I 100% recommend this group. I’ve seen the results. These are great people that will also teach you to fish. This isn’t just a, hey, here’s the list. You’re on your own. No, this is, hey, here’s why that wasn’t a good deal. Or here, hey, there’s another opportunity and you get to join their groups. And it’s just a phenomenal of people. Um, just great, great, uh, leaders in that group and these lists are phenomenal. So again, it’s amazing. freedom.com, forward slash momentum, hyphen arbitrage, amazing. freedom.com, forward slash momentum hyphen arbitrage. Use that get two weeks free. Try it. You don’t like it drop out, but give it a shot if you want to add that to your business. Welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast.
Stephen: [03:25] This is episode four oh one Andy Simon’s. Yes, it’s an oh one. So it has to be an Andy Salmon’s. Um, and, and this one I tried to take it a different direction. We ended up a lot of conversation about, uh, employees and vas and developing them and seeing them stay with you. Because you know, some of the retailers that we talk about, a couple of them, they’re the biggest challenges keeping good people, right? If you have a business with employees, we have employees here and it’s a challenge keeping them. They never leave for one reason. It’s a myriad of reasons, right? There’s always a, they used to call it a death by a thousand slashes. So you want to pay attention to it and he gets some really good advice about connecting with people. And I think that that’s so powerful. I forget it. Steve Forgets it.
Stephen: [04:06] So think about it and take a look inside your business and have this conversation. Take this and let him listen to it and say, Hey, is that me? You might not like what you hear, but the good news is once you hear it, you can do something about it. I think that’s a good piece of advice. Um, the other thing we talk about is brands. How different launching a brand today is than what it was maybe even like four or five years ago on Amazon. Um, or lunch, Egon, Walmart, um, at Walmart, brick and mortar. How cool was that? Let’s talk about that. Um, so not so cool. Um, you much better launching on Amazon and then, um, he talks about advertising really the three phases, launch, optimization, and then maintenance and you know, where do you put the gas pedal down and where do you back it off?
Stephen: [04:49] I think those are all powerful things. Um, and we final, uh, close with, we talk about retail, Arb and online arb and then getting in the right groups and trying to figure that out because it’s such a good cashflow thing, especially as Q4 is coming. So I think it’s a really good conversation. Let’s get into the podcast. And welcome back to the ECOMMERCE momentum podcast. A excited because I’m back to a number one every time I do a number one number one number 101-TWO-OH-ONE-301 number four oh one I have Andy Slamon’s on. Welcome back, Andy. Thanks the as great to be here again. Well, it’s, it’s fascinating when I look back over the years at number one number two or number one oh one now you know, each one of those, how, how our conversation has changed because not only is Amazon Amazon changed, the marketplace has changed and that is that crazy when you think about that? Yeah. I mean, and it just feels like maybe it’s because we’re getting older, but it just seems like the change gets a little faster. It definitely is getting faster. I saw a story, I guess it was yesterday, that Lowe’s is gonna
Stephen: [05:58] lay off a couple thousand employees. The retail apocalypse, as they call it, that’s not slowing down. That hasn’t changed in the last four years. Would you agree? Yeah. You know, it’s funny that you say Lowe’s. I’ll hopefully, I don’t offend any listeners here, but I think we had this conversation last Q4 a because I was actually doing some buys from both home depot and Lowe’s. Lowe’s resign on Amazon and I think my words to you were, you know, I don’t think Lowe’s is gonna stay in business much longer. I just think the organization, when you compare them to home depot, they just, it just does not run as well. Hmm. My experiences, as you know, I have a house so I’m dealing a lot with these places. My experiences, the depth of knowledge. Home Depot has been better at retaining trained employees, you know, skilled. To me those are, I mean everybody works in those places, have some skills right there.
Stephen: [06:55] They know the business somewhat, but you know, it kind of, it’s a challenge for us. Right. I mean you’ve got a ton of employees too. It’s a challenge to keep good people, isn’t it? Yes, absolutely. And I think Lowe’s has not done as well of a job as home depot. One thing I say about my, my little home depot here in town here, it’s the same people. When I go in, they’re always there. So that’s kind of cool. Interesting. Yeah. It has to be strong for your business. You know, think about that. You’ve guys got 40 plus people in your organization, if not more by this point. How do you retain them? How do you guys work to retain those people? Yes, we were really fortunate. Um, some of the original VA’s that we started with, um, have now become our lead VA’s, uh, and are just tremendous, uh, employees and have really taken the lead on fostering, um, team.
Stephen: [07:51] And, um, and really that has probably been the biggest difference, um, for us being able to retain, you know, continued, uh, employees, uh, for the various services that we have. And then the second piece is we have two folks here in the u s my wife being one of them. Um, and uh, and then another close friend who does really well working with the VA’s that we have. So those two things probably have been the biggest difference. You know, this is gonna sound very sexist and I don’t mean it this way. Do you think because they both happen to be women nurturing, caring, not blunt guys like you and I, um, they get to show the compassion, the understanding and communication. Let’s face it, they so much better communicators. Um, do you think that actually plays into it or am I just pulling in a a hundred percent.
Stephen: [08:42] So, I mean you, you were in the corporate world for a long time. Uh, I work for a very large organization for 15 years and I always said if I’m ever, you know, if I ever built my business, uh, you know, and again, I may be wrong in saying this, but this is just my personal experience. I would look to hire females in some of the top leadership positions and that’s just because of ones that I’ve experienced and in my work life who have been tremendous. So I don’t know what your experience with that is. I’m 100% with you. Um, I, I just, the, the communication I think is the hardest part. Cause I’m too, you know, this about me, I’m direct, I don’t pull any punches. I say what is right. And they have a filter, they have a way to communicate. There’s an understanding.
Stephen: [09:28] And I think that’s because, um, you know, just environmental, um, they, they just understand it so much better than we do. And hence we’re the weaker sex. All right. We understand that. I’m saying I own up to it. I had my wife last one, I said, but it’s the truth. I get it. I mean that’s the God’s honest. True. All right, so, so building a team, so communication, um, nurturing. Are you investing in training those people that have stepped up into leadership roles where they would they have, is it a training issue? Is that what led you there and then you recognize it? Or maybe Nate recognize the, the skillset and the at, um, um, maybe the aptitude or something like that. Well, you know, it’s both. So you know, it’s training, but it also comes down to compensation. Ah. And so, you know, you, we’ve been friends long enough, you know, you know me that I think of a worker does his work, then he’s worth his wages.
Stephen: [10:21] And so we definitely, um, you know, try to connect on an emotional level with those, with those lead folks. But we also, you know, we compensate them very fairly, um, for the work that they do. And I think they appreciate that along with a performance bonuses. So, uh, you know, we were just talking about that the other day when we were in the warehouse. Um, it just makes sense, right? People are going to be motivated, um, when, when they see that their work, um, is going to make a difference on, uh, their potential pay, the stake in the game. You actually have some, your stakeholder, you’re truly a stakeholder, not just a, Oh, you know, widget mover, right? Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, the organization that I worked for, it was a unionized environment and you know, unfortunately, similar to government work, um, you know, it just doesn’t motivate.
Stephen: [11:14] You know that, that’s one great thing. I know there’s a, a lot of negative things, but one great thing about capitalism is it can really motivate you. Um, and that’s the same way in the workplace. Um, you know, um, it just, it’s a great motivating factor I think compensation’s important to talk about because I think that there has to be competition for the best vas out there, right? I mean, we think about, you know, trying to keep trying to find, yeah, we always talk about life about where I live at Carlisle, there’s five Amazon warehouses, and if you, if you are certified and you can do all these different things, you can make $28 an hour in a warehouse right here in my little dinky town. Well, competitively, that’s very difficult to compete against, right. For a lot of businesses in town, right? The same thing has to be happening for key level, uh, vas right there.
Stephen: [12:03] They have to be in demand because there’s so many people that need them. And so you have to pay attention to where I think a lot of people have kind of set it and forget it kind of mentality. You agree? Yeah, absolutely. And you know, that’s one of the things like, so with, with um, our other u s um, administrative assistant that we have, she’s phenomenal. Um, she is really hands off. She does the job right and she does it right. And so I’m always, you know, kind of worried in the back of my mind like if we ever lost her, we’d be in a lot of trouble. And so, you know, I check in with her frequently, make sure she’s doing okay because what you don’t, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where all of a sudden you’re getting an email, you know, saying, Hey Andy, just want to let you know, this is my last, you know, two weeks.
Stephen: [12:51] I’m giving you my two week notice. And then you’re scrambling to try to come up with, you know, better compensation or better benefits. It’s much better, I think, to stay emotionally connected, to be checking in and then to be compensating along the way, you know, again, so they know that they’re valued. And also, you know, um, selfishly, so you don’t find yourself in a situation where you have a, a big workload and you’re trying to scramble to find somebody. We used to have that with sales reps when we would turn over a sales rep, we knew we were gonna lose x amount of dollars. So it’s like whenever they would come in, you know, a CFO and so they would come and they’d be like, Hey, you know, we’ve got to be, make sure that we’re competitive. I’m like 100% because I already know how much we’re going to lose.
Stephen: [13:33] So it’s a pretty easy decision if they’re good and if they’re talented, then you want to pay them what they’re worth. You know, this, this leads me into kind of the topics I want to talk about. They’re two different things that I was, I wanna I want to talk with you about. One is building brands you’ve done, you’ve been working on a lot of brands over the years and you’ve had success with not all of them, right? I mean, I think that’s reasonable to say, but is this part of your success? The, uh, uh, you know, uh, amazing freedom has all these services. That’s a brand, right? It’s a huge brand now. Um, but you don’t, the successes in Andy Slam is, it’s not Nate slam. It’s not liver and horse corn. Uh, all right. Maybe it’s still wrong, but, but it’s not, you know, uh, but it, to be fair, it’s all of these people.
Stephen: [14:14] It’s all of this system. I mean, is that one of the real keys to building a brand is getting people and partners and employees or whatever it is that help push you up? Yeah. I mean, I think it’s definitely helped, you know, uh, early on we didn’t have any of those things. Um, and so, you know, you, you do have some misses along the way. Some learning experience, um, you know, that come along with those ones that maybe aren’t home runs. Um, maybe they’re not even singles. Maybe you just strike out. But, uh, I will say that ultimately it’s still all hinges on this amazing marketplace that you and I both sell on called Amazon. Um, without Amazon. Um, you know, everything that we’ve built with our services, everything that we’ve been able to build with our brands, it does not happen. Now maybe there was another marketplace that fills this gap.
Stephen: [15:10] I don’t know. But really the magic comes down to this thing that Jeff Bezos created called Amazon. It when you said that, you know, all of a sudden my mind changed and I’m thinking to myself, you know, every time, cause you see it out there when Amazon makes a change and they make a change just about every day the groaning that happens, right? Everybody’s like, Oh, here we go again. They’re screwing me. They’re doing this and that. Or You could take the approach, like you just said, is that, man, my partner is getting better. My partner, Amazon is sharpening themselves. They’re getting stronger. They’re making these changes to make themselves stronger. I think that’s a better way to look at it. And it’s probably true. Correct. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, I wake up every morning still just thankful, appreciative and sometimes it feels like I’m living a dream just because of almost how easy Amazon has made it for sellers like you and I to, you know, to go onto their platform and drive the massive traffic that they do and allow us to sell our products, you know, to really their customers.
Stephen: [16:17] And, and you know, this, you, you have some, some of your own websites, how hard it is to get traffic to flow to your websites. It’s challenging. And um, and that’s really, again, the magic that Amazon really just hands their customers to us in their qualified leads. That’s the other thing. So I might get somebody to come and see my website, but that doesn’t mean they’re a buyer that might be in their attire kicker on Amazon. Generally these are qualified leads. What I s what I experienced, and I think I’m the exact same guy. Like most people, I’m getting ready to buy something before I do. I checked the price on Amazon or I check her. I look at the reviews, I do research and my, it’s funny, my older son who’s in his thirties taught me that they’re the ones that they will not do.
Stephen: [17:01] We can’t go out to eat. I don’t know if I’ve told you this story, but like we’re down there, we’re getting ready with our grandkids. Let’s go eat somewhere. Let’s see what Yelp says or let’s see what the reviews are. The reviews aren’t that good that I’m like, dude, it’s a chicken joint or whatever. Now, now that reviews are not, they won’t make a decision without reviews. And so now I’m making my decisions and I make all my purchases based on those reviews and, or price or convenience. And I don’t, I mean, it’s funny, more and more my life and I think this is fair for you, creeps into buying on Amazon. Is that fair? Yeah, absolutely. You know, um, and again, you know what blows me away, your original question was, you know, about brands and this is the amazing thing. Um, you know, if you were to try to, uh, sell or get your brand in at Walmart, it’s virtually
Andy: [17:50] impossible unless you have really deep pockets, you’re going to have to go to Arkansas, right? You’re going to have to make a pitch. We know Paul Miller sells cozy phones. He did that. Then you’re going to have to promise hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the inventory and then you’re gonna have to sign contracts that say if that inventory doesn’t sell within the first 90 days, a Walmart has the right to cut the price, you know, to 50% of 40% off to, I’m sorry to 60% off. And so it was just extremely challenging on Amazon. Steve, I can bring a product in on the first day that it lands at the warehouse. I can put that on the digital shelf, which is similar to a viewer to have a product like at the checkout line at Walmart through PPC. I can put that right there on the very first day where it’s going to be seen in front of millions of people for basically any key word that I want to go for as long as I’m willing to pay, you know, for that Click would that Ama uh, Amazon sponsored advertising. That to me again is the game changer.
Stephen: [18:57] Well, what you said though is if you were going to put that on Amazon or on Walmart Shelf, you’d have to put up all this money in blah, blah blah. If you’re going to put it on Amazon Shelf, let’s assume nobody clicked through their zero costs. Correct. Yeah. Zero. Yeah. And what’s great about the PPC too thing too, right? That sponsored Ed, you’re putting it in front of the people who were looking for that product. You’re not putting it in an aisle in the back of the store. Cause it’s one of the things I think about when you go in Walmart, you know, I don’t know if you’re a creature of habit. I am. Um, if I do go in there, I’m only going in for the, I don’t know what’s in most of those aisles. I don’t wander down there and you’re looking for stuff to buy. I go in, I got stuff to get I’m out. Right. Yeah. If you bring a brand in, you’re going to have to find it in the right place for that particular group of customer out of how many thousands of customers who’s looking for that one. That’s a challenge. Yeah. Well, let’s talk about brands because building a brand today has to be way different than when you started years ago. And can you talk about some of those differences?
Andy: [19:59] I mean, I think one of the primary ways at least building brands on Amazon, um, that’s really changed is, uh, the use of Amazon sponsored ads. Uh, you know, five years ago, uh, when I would bring some of my new products in Amazon, I didn’t have to use sponsored ads. Uh, you could do and you have to do giveaways back then. Yeah. You, you would do giveaways, uh, and, and basically, you know, that would create the sales velocity and Amazon would move, you know, your listing up to that first page of search. And then, you know, you’re hoping our organic reviews take over. Well now Amazon obviously has gotten smarter. They’re trying to get some of that digital ad revenue. You know, Google’s still controls like 50, 60% of all digital ads spin. It’s in the billions. Uh, but Amazon’s growth is actually faster. Um, you know, year over year then Google’s.
Andy: [20:50] And so Amazon is making a more of a pay to play platform when it comes to, you know, building private label brands. And so they’re smart in doing that because that’s really where they’re gonna make their money. You and I know that. And their fulfillment, you know, and, and storage and shipping products, it’s probably breakeven or maybe at this point, you know, yeah, they might be losing money to gain market share, but we all know that digital ads, it’s all based on software and algorithm that that’s already running. And so that’s where the real money maker is for them.
Stephen: [21:22] Well, that brings up a good point. So you’re bringing, let’s just say you’re bringing a, a product that you think can sell for 40 bucks, right? Um, how, how much of that $40 is gonna go to advertising? How much are you and when you’re, when you’re thinking this way, right? Cause you’re saying now it’s necessary, right? It’s, you know, it’s funny, it’s funny you say this, this is related back to my old business or in the newspaper world, we used to have dominance, right? And so we, we, we were able to bring that product and people would go in to buy the newspaper. So we brought in traffic to a store, so they’d love selling the newspaper. Now all these chains, you actually have to pay for that shelf space. The newspaper has to pay to be able to put their newspaper to sell in a seven 11 sheets. Wow. Made. It’s crazy. That’s so different. Right? They know the value of their shelf space and you have to buy it. Right. In this case, when you look at that $40 item, what are you thinking? And, and because you gotta be telling your, Your coaching, your, uh, clients that way, you’ve got to basically think of this as a cost of doing business.
Andy: [22:26] Yeah. I mean, I think there’s kind of three different ways, right? To look at advertising. One is you’re going gonna look at it through a launch, a lens. And so, you know, when you’re launching a product, you’re going to spend more on advertising. You’re 20 percentage would you say? Um, so you know, when you’re launching a, you know, a $40 product, you’re probably going to be okay with breaking even, you know, on your sales. And so you know that, which means you’re not making any money on the product. A, you might even be okay with losing a little bit of money now because you’re trying to get that product found. So, you know, a few years ago I was walking into my grocery store and there was a guy who has made his own salsa, right. And he was, you know, just set up right outside the grocery store and he was trying to get people to taste as salsa.
Andy: [23:12] Right? Uh, it was just, you know, his own brand. And so he had to spend money, not only money, but time is given away product. So when you’re in that launch phase, your, your costs are going to be higher and you’re gonna be willing to spend more. Then you’re going to get to, you know, what we like to call the optimize phase, where you’re, you’re running your ads, but you want to optimize them and you want to lower the cost while at the same time keeping your sales going and keeping it stoked, right. Um, to s to really stick yourself on that first page of search. And then the last phase is kind of the maintenance phase. And so, you know, some of my products I’ve been selling now one of my brands for almost five years. And, uh, and that’s the, the sponsored ads I run on those.
Andy: [23:55] It’s really just kind of the maintenance phase. So it’s, you know, a minimal amount, uh, because I’ve been in the game, uh, Amazon pretty much sticks me right there in the top spots on the first page for those main key words. And so then, you know, those, those costs, uh, advertising costs go way down. But those are kind of the three phases. And so how do you know you’re past the launch phase? I mean, is it, is it a revenue target? I mean, when do you know to back pack it off or step on it? Is there any something? Yeah, yeah, I think it’s just going to be dependent, you know, just really depends on the business model, depends on your goals. Are you looking, you know, at building a brand and then three years exiting out. If that’s the case, then you’re probably going to be willing to spend a lot more during that launch phase, you know?
Andy: [24:43] Um, or is this something, you know, that you’re looking to really grow and build out, you know, different aces related to the brand. Um, and so maybe you’re not so much concerned with just creating a massive amount of revenue as much as you are concerned with really, um, creating profit. Right. Um, from those brands. So you’ll maybe you’ll spend a little less, uh, but yeah, this, I think it really depends on kind of what, what you’re trying to do with that brand. Now, I don’t think I’m speaking at a school saying that you had sold a brand that we could talk about that a little bit. Yeah, no, absolutely. Uh, I actually just talking to my partners, uh, Nate and Lee Ron today. Uh, cause what I did is I built a great brand, uh, with a partner. Um, so that, uh, four, four, seven figures is not life changing amount of money, but it was a good chunk of change.
Andy: [25:33] And basically what I allowed him to do is pay me in three lump sums. So he’s given me the first lump sum, the second lump sum, I get ’em September 1st, uh, and then the last one, December 1st. So, um, now that’s exciting because you know, a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of sweat equity went into building that brand. And, uh, and you know me, like money is not, you know, um, something that I live for. But when you see that check and when you see it go into your bank account, it does give you a little satisfaction on, on something that you built and, and there’s kind of a payout right at the end of it. So, yeah, it’s, it’s neat. Daniel Lapin calls the money, the applause of your customers, right. That if pause, you know, thinking about that, how hard was that to let go?
Andy: [26:22] I mean, because, you know, is it, is that where most people make the mistake is that they get so, um, so in love with their products they get instead of the process? Yeah, I definitely, I mean, I think you can never get too emotionally involved, uh, with, with your products for a various number of reasons. Um, but, uh, I, I heard that council early on, probably heard it from you. Uh, and, and this was a partnership and, and so again, you know, you just got to have a good feel for, you know, the way the partnerships going and, um, kind of be in tuned with that. And, and it just seemed like for this brand and this move was, was the right thing to do. And so far I think it’s turning out to be that now you don’t go into a brand with that in mind every time.
Andy: [27:10] Correct? No, I mean, I think ultimately you, you know, on Amazon, uh, the game that we play, yeah. You, you look for a product that you think you have has potential right to make money, otherwise you’re not gonna be willing to spend 10,000, $15,000 on that initial order. Uh, and, and again, nothing is guaranteed. And so, you know, you may bring, and I’ve brought products in that I thought would be successful and for whatever reasons, um, you know, they didn’t turn out to be the home runs that I thought they were going to be. But, but initially I think it always starts with, you know, this is a product that I think I can, you know, source at this price and sell at this price, which is going to, you know, make me a, a decent amount of money. Wait, it’s interesting. I’d love to say, I’ll be honest, I would love to say Steve, it’s really, I have the customer in mind.
Andy: [28:02] Yeah, Nana, I got that. That’s fair. I get it. The end customer and you know, and producing a product that it’s going to be super helpful. But I, that’s just not true. Like honestly, like my kids, my family has to eat and so now I will say that, you know, and that’s why I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say that, hey look, I, I, this is a product I want to make money on. But at the same time, you know, as you work with that product and as you bring it in and you know this now from different iterations of my products, you do then listen to the customer and then you create products based on the feedback that they give them. So it ends up helping the customer. But you’re, I think it’s a mistake to go into it, to sell it, right?
Andy: [28:47] I mean, I think, you know, especially in new sellers, so let’s just say it that way. Maybe that’s a better way to say it. I think with experience, but a new seller going into it, hey, I’m going to, I’m looking at lunchboxes in my office. You know, my, my office, I’m looking at it. He said, oh Andy, I’ve got these great lunchboxes that I’m going to sell and Mattel is going to buy him. It’s gonna be amazing, right? I’m going to fail. I’m going to fail miserably because I’m building it for the wrong reason. Right. Maybe, but, but it is good though from a business sense, I think to understand what you, the foundation that you need to set up, you know, to, because honestly a lot of folks get into, and I’ve seen it, a lot of other sellers, and I’ve actually done this myself with a, the brand I started five years ago, I just didn’t know better. There are systems and processes that you want to set up so that if you do eventually get to that place where you can sell it, it’s gonna make it a whole lot easier. Right? He’s, you gotta be able to peel it away. And that’s really important
Stephen: [29:42] for financial purposes. They’re going to want to see that Po. It’s funny, I was chatting with a gentleman I’m helping yesterday who’s liquidating his private label product and products. And the challenge is when I saw the products are very nice, but there is nice’s the other 50,000 people who are selling exactly the same thing, you know? And so in my approach is a little different because I, you know, I can customize stuff and I’m like, well, think about it from a customization. There is a market for it there perhaps that might be a place you can liquidate it. But it’s, it’s interesting, uh, people launching with this thing in mind and then realizing, hey, you know, you want to, you have to add value, right? Is that what brands are looking for when you know, thinking about selling a brand, you have to do something unique because you’re not going to offer better glass cleaner than Windex that I’m looking at right here. I mean, it has to be something different, right? They’re just not going to say, Oh, you have a window cleaner. Great. We need one. Right?
Andy: [30:39] Yeah. I mean, and especially on Amazon now and you know, we often talk about this, you have to differentiate your product. It can’t be the same thing. Um, and so I’m working with students right now who are just getting into private labeling and they’re sending me products and I did the same thing when I started. Look, my first product was a silicone spatula kitchen. Still the best set. We still have it. I still have some in the warehouse here. You know what’s so funny? All my friends, you know who I gave samples to, they all say the same thing like they do, they did work many years ago. Was that, yeah, that was like five and a half years. So five and a half years, they’re still in our kitchen drawers. I’m telling you, we still love them. Right? Yeah, they definitely were quality. That company I work with, they actually make things for Disney, so they knew what they were doing.
Andy: [31:29] Um, but you know, like simple products like that, it just doesn’t work anymore because, you know, Amazon is not a secret. Uh, and you know, folks have figured it out. So you do have to create some type of unique advantage. And you know, what we like to say is you need to ask yourself, why would a customer buy this from me? Uh, and so, you know, like, so give me an example of why, what would be the answer to that? Yeah. So you know, what, what are you doing different? Uh, you know, like, like if you look on Amazon right now, there is probably six pages of silicone spatula sets. Uh, and so you probably don’t want to do a silicone spatula set, but I bet if you search that keyword on Amazon, if you just put in spatulas that you might see some new or unique of variations on different kitchen utensil sets that look a little different. Um, whereas you might see probably 50 listings, right, of ones that look the same. And so, you know, if you search that term on Amazon, look for the ones that look different, that’s a seller who is doing it, right? You who’s come up with something that is a heavily searched for keyword, kitchen utensils or spatula set and a, and now they’ve created something different.
Stephen: [32:48] We, uh, you know, we, we bought a house and we’re remodeling it. And so, um, when, uh, dealing with the contractors, they’re like, Steve, you’re gonna need to order. I think I told you this story, a farm sink 12 weeks out. And I’m like, what? She goes, Oh yeah, it’s 12 weeks to get anything in. And I’m like, 12 weeks. I’m not waiting 12 weeks for anything in my life. I’m standing there with them talking and while they’re, I’m looking down at my phone, I’m on Amazon farm sink, blah, blah, blah, blah. All of a sudden there’s a bundle with all the things that exactly what you’re talking about solves all my problems. And it said it could be here on Monday. And I’m like, is that the sink? And she’s like, uh, yeah. Um, is that the right size? That materials, they solved a problem that I didn’t even know.
Stephen: [33:33] I had that listing in Amazon, solve that problem for me that I didn’t even know I had, which was time 12 weeks in that world. And I’m like, you guys gonna have to catch up to the world of, of Amazon, um, in the building world because they’re still going through distributors upon markups. You know, everybody’s got their hand in it. Um, that solved my problem. And I think there were so many examples of it. Right. Um, it’s, it’s pretty neat to see people figuring that out. That sold me cause it said it could be here within three days. I think it was.
Andy: [34:05] I mean that’s, that’s Bayzos his vision, right? That everything’s store and pretty soon it’s going to be the everything store to your doorstep in two hours or less. You know, what their prime now delivery that a lot of people aren’t even aware of. It’s Kinda sneaking up on folks. But Amazon’s building out this amazing infrastructure and I don’t know about your neighborhood but I already see a lot more Amazon prime vans and you know within two years they’re probably going to be able to reach most population in the u s within two hours for most products that are on that story. And that’s when it really changes everything. Cause why is anyone, why are you going to drive, you know, a half hour in wait in line for something ever again? Well no in a place you’re going to go in a place that has 35 cashiers stands with three cashiers in it.
Andy: [34:59] There’s 35 days but nobody’s ever there. No. Listen, the funny story is I was at home depot, this is like two weeks ago waiting in line and now they have all those self checkout just like you’re talking about. They have, you know, this is on a Sunday morning. So after church I go in there and grab something. So they have all these self checkouts and they have like two checkout ladies. Right? Well their lines like totally backed up cause it’s more work right to go through the self checkout. Well, so one of the self checkout, you know, like malfunctions and so it’s like, you know, beeping, making a loud noise. Well nobody’s coming over. The guy in front of me just loses it. Right. So He’s already been waiting there like 10 minutes. Okay. Oh and [inaudible]. And so he takes his product. I don’t know what it was, but he slams it down and he’s like, see, this is what happens when the robots take over and storms out the door.
Stephen: [35:54] Oh Man. Well it is, uh, it is definitely a different world. Here’s something to think about that. How did you manage or do you have to plan for inventory for that much? I mean, think about your products. You have a lot of cashflow out there already. How are you going to have enough of your products within two hours reach of every person in the United States?
Andy: [36:16] Yeah, I mean that, you know, again, that’s all data and as an Amazon seller now Amazon is doing a better job of it where they’re giving you, you know, recommended quantities they should have in their warehouse. And it’s actually pretty accurate. You know, what I’m seeing is Amazon wants you to have about four to six or possibly six to seven weeks worth of inventory, you know, add FBA. Um, but again, you know, that software and the data that Amazon gives us with their open API, um, you know, helps us become better sellers. And so you’re able to do that by, by keeping watch on your numbers
Stephen: [36:54] and, and I guess it probably depends on the product. If I’m selling salt, for example, that’s probably every house would do salt. So that could be a much more cash intense inventory. So, you know, six or seven weeks of that much salt within two hours of every person is a lot higher than lawn mowers. Right. If I’m selling lawnmowers or something goofy like that, where it might be seasonal and things like that. Right. Yeah.
Andy: [37:16] But you know, at the end of the day, you should be making enough money, you know, from those sales, uh, that can kind of help cover your cashflow unless you’re just growing crazy fast. Uh, which, you know, for the most sellers I meet the, the growth isn’t that explosive [inaudible]
Andy: [37:38] Yeah. Because when you have explosive growth like that, then you are trying to manage, you know, getting, getting your products made and then, you know, taken another 40 days, 45 days sometimes to ship over. Uh, and so, you know, floating that cashflow can be tough when your growth has been really fascinating. You’ve seen that with the brand that, that Nate and I are building. I think our first product, we got into Amazon in October and um, and we sold out relatively quickly of our second and third products and just got in our second or third product probably like three or four weeks ago. And we hit $100,000 in sales, um, over 30 days. So that’s pretty good growth, you know. Um, and, and right now we have four containers, right, that are, that are shipping that are going to come in the end of August. So let’s not talk about that. Let’s just move on to a side. Nothing. Just see. Um, all right, let’s
Stephen: [38:36] go a different direction because, um, the private labels side, uh, has really, it really has, would you say it’s matured in execution? Is that, is that fair? You, you, you can’t, you can’t just wing it. You just can’t go by the seat of your pants anymore and, and have relative success. No. Yeah,
Andy: [38:55] definitely need to have a longterm, I’ll look. He can look at it, you know, from a six month or eight month perspective, you should be looking at it, you know, as a four or five year, uh, game. Um, and uh, yeah, it, it definitely has gotten challenging. And I mean, the thing is, big brands are finally starting to take notice, right. Of Amazon. So I’m Lee Rom my partner. He actually just got approached or it’s $1 billion brand. If I said the name here, everyone would know. But they’re looking to him for consulting because they really haven’t paid attention to Amazon. They just started selling on it two years ago. Um, and and within their second year, believe it or not, they sold over $300 million on Amazon of their brand. And so now they’re like, wow, we didn’t even realize it was, you know, this strong or this powerful. And so now they’re putting a lot more of their resources into figuring Amazon out. So that makes it tough for, for, for folks that are smaller because now they’re going to be playing in the sandbox as well. So we’re going to be competing, you know, eventually with a lot of these big brands that really haven’t taken notice of Amazon.
Stephen: [40:05] Um, another story that out yesterday, I think it was on CNBC bed, bath and beyond is in real trouble. Like beyond bad, beyond trouble. And I think about all those brands. How are they going to sell me? Because think about it, there used to be linen, remember the store linens and things? That was their competitor. Well, they went out of business. So if bed, bath and beyond goes out, all those brands are gonna have to sell somewhere. So they’re going to bring their products directly to the marketplace. That’s the, that’s absolutely the path that, that we’re seeing everyone go correct.
Andy: [40:37] Yeah, absolutely. But the great thing is for smaller sellers and smaller businesses like ours, I think we can be more agile. You know, it’s Kinda like you’re in a river in a Kayak, so you can turn a lot quicker where these big brands are like, you know, a giant area.
Stephen: [40:51] We’ve got to have a committee, we got to have a committee, let’s have a committee meeting, right? Take a change of the listing. We have to run that by the loft. And, you know, the lawyer’s first. Yeah, there’s 17 people out, you know, we gotta get his approval and he’s, he’s an, you know, Lake Tahoe or something. Um, I think that nimble, that ability to change and the, uh, I think you’re right from a small seller. Um, hence that. Isn’t that the reason that arbitrage works so well? I mean, I talked with Chris Green the other day. I mean, isn’t that really the answer for a small sellers if they’re in the arbitrage game because they can take advantage of that gap in the market. Oh yeah, absolutely. But arbitrage is dead. Retail arbitrage is down. Would you agree? I mean, come on, come
Andy: [41:31] on. You know, we, we tell everyone if they’re just getting started and we have people that approach you and I on a weekly basis, you know, see what you’re doing on e-commerce. I like to know a little bit more about it and a [inaudible] yeah, what you say. But yeah, I say look, you know, do what I did. Start selling stuff around your house, use Ebay, you know, and, and, and then sell stuff on Amazon and just kind of scale up. Go to thrift stores. I, you know, when I first started Steve, I would go to garage sales every Saturday, every Saturday. And still to this day, some of my best margin flips I found at garage sales a hundred percent
Stephen: [42:06] I have to not go to garage sales. You know, Ma, cause you know, the warehouse, how much stuff I have to purposefully just keep my eyes focused. Don’t look, don’t look because I’ll pull off. Well the other thing though, uh, which is exciting is um, there are still groups offering, uh, training. You know, it’s funny, I think about, uh, gay, uh, everybody knows this, that Andy is a sponsor of my show. So I, you know, you could say, oh, I’m just playing to you and I’ll, I’ll make an offer. But I’m just telling you the truth. There are groups out there that sell lists, but there are very few groups that train the list is nice, but they train you still. You know, I think about the conference, uh, your Branson Conference, uh, the Amazing Freedom Branson conference sold out. I did not see, I mean, everybody there is having success in their own way. I mean, is that correct? Still with our retail arb and online arm because of the training. That’s the thing that I took away from that. Every single person said that. Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s hard to talk about it without being like [inaudible]
Andy: [43:16] we’re pitching it. I mean, it’s not the truth, but it comes down to leadership. And so like gay lesbian is one of the ones that leads the group. Uh, Gary Ray is another one. Um, they’re really the two, um, folks that lead it. They’re just tremendous leaders. And so, you know, I, I’m sure we’ve all been part of organizations or maybe you know, you’re part of a company where you have met those people that have the it factor, um, and that are just really great leaders. Inspiring. Um, but also detailed. So, you know, that’s something I’ve only met a few people. I worked at Milton Hershey School, the current president of Milton Hershey school. He’s extremely inspiring, but man, he is also detailed. You know, he’s the kind of guy, you meet him one time, he’ll never forget your name and he knows what’s going on at the highest levels as well as what’s going on at the lowest levels. And he’s able to explain what’s going on. And, and so like the leadership that, that they have in their group I think, um, is really the catalyst that makes that group run. And um, and it’s just phenomenal. I, I’m, I’m just blown away by the engagement of the members there and the growth of the members that are in their group.
Stephen: [44:30] There is a post recently by Trevor Morris talking about, you know, uh, managing, uh, debt and that kind of thing. It was so deep. It was so good. And what does gay do with it? It’s saying, you know what, this is so good. This could be used by so many under different people. And Trevor so humble, you know, he’s such a good guy. He’s so humble, you know, he’s uncomfortable with it, but she recognized the value. I think there’s another skill and then said, man, this is going to apply to a whole bunch of other people and they’re all going to benefit. And so boom, what does she do? She reaches out to a whole bunch of people, Hey, let’s explore this and let’s build this out that, that gift. It’s almost like a vision. Like you can see it apply to other people. That’s what I think is a lot of it too.
Andy: [45:15] Yeah. And it’s really, it really comes down to listening. Yeah. You know, and, and, and, and having a pulse basically on the community. So, you know, I don’t make any excuses about my faith. I go to church and I’ve been part of churches where, you know, they had some good leaders and some not so good. And you know, the good leaders again, are ones that really have a good pulse on their community. Um, and then they’re able to lead them, you know, with, with what that community needs
Stephen: [45:43] is that then can you take that same comment and then apply it to a, uh, a new seller? They have to keep a pulse on their business and if so, what would you say is the pulse they should be paying attention to?
Andy: [45:57] Is that weird the way I connected that? No, no, that’s totally it. And you know, you being a account, you’ll appreciate this. I mean, the, the right, the ultimate pulse has to be on the numbers. And you and I both know, unfortunately many people fail at that. Um, but at the end of the day, business is business and it’s all about numbers. Uh, and so, you know, you, you, you can’t be sloppy. Uh, you have to be detailed and you know, like you say, you have to take time out, you know, at least on a weekly basis to really dig down and see, am I making money? What do I need to change? How do I need to, you know, pivot possibly. And it all has to be based on the data. You’re, you’re, you know, gleaning from those numbers.
Stephen: [46:46] It’s five hours a month. Uh, my three-step budget, um, it’s five. You know, you do your monthly financials, you will know whether you’re heading for, I saw a post from Andy Hill the other day, uh, or somebody, no, maybe it was Rachel. Um, one of them posting something about, hey, you know, you’d better start planning for year end if you’ve making money. You’ve got to start planning for that. [inaudible] but if you should know that, if you’re making money or if you’re not, if you’re at this position at this point of the year, right, we’re in August and you’re not making money or you are and you don’t know it, pause, get caught up. Because if you’re going to head for a problem, wouldn’t you like to know it? You can’t avoid it. So you might as well know it and then you can plan for it. You can adjust for it. So know your numbers or have you had people come to you saying, Hey, I’m not getting this and here are my numbers and then you can actually help them. And probably you’ve seen it the opposite way. Hey, I’m not getting this. I have no clue. I’m completely lost. Right.
Andy: [47:41] Yeah. You know, and, and unfortunately, I mean, I, I think probably the majority of folks, you know, who maybe aren’t even, um, don’t even run their own business, uh, you know, they can find themselves in that situation. Uh, and again, it comes down to, you know, what you just said, you have to really, you got to really schedule out that time, sit down at the kitchen table and be willing to do the hard work to go through those numbers. Uh, you know, and unfortunately, you know, for whatever reason, um, in, in America, our, our, in our culture and our climate, that’s a difficult thing to do. And you know, it’s difficult thing to do in your marriage to write, uh, to sit down and try to talk about numbers as row. It’s not that fun.
Stephen: [48:22] They say it’s the number one reason of divorce is money issues, um, and not communicating. Um, and so I, to me, I’d rather know, again, if this isn’t working, I just rather know and then I can deal with it, right? Then I can, I can adjust. So, alright, so I want to close out with this. Um, you know, we’re talking about private label. We’re talking about Ra AOA. There are people that are in the Ra AOA world that are just crushing it. You and I like Damn Wentworth, the net. I mean, just an amazing group of people. Right? And he’s not struggling in privately, but he’s trying to figure that out. Right. That’s new learning for him. So he’s trying to do that. I still, and I’m gonna make this statement, tell me, correct me if I’m wrong. I still believe that all the methods, wholesale, private label, Ra AOA, a draw, even drop shipping, all of them still work if you put in the time and execute it correctly. Is that, would you agree with that?
Andy: [49:17] Yeah, I mean, you know, I do think there has to be a level of, um, well, I don’t know what the word I wanna use here, either a couple of things. Either you, you know, you need to have a level of intelligence that probably sounds bad if you don’t have a level of intelligence. Low level knowledge. Yeah. Uh, level at, well, no, I’ll say even a level of intelligent, I’ll put me in that category. Okay. But you do have a level of hustle or a level of, of, um, of, uh, that are, are you have an attitude that you’re not going to quit. Right? So you’re saying to be successful, yeah. That you, that you’re going to grind it through. Um, and even though it maybe takes you a little longer to learn, but you have that, that type of grit, then yes, absolutely. You know, you, you can be successful and you can do it.
Andy: [50:09] And it’s funny you say that because my son actually with his, some of his friends, they started a, they want to start a lawn care business, right? And, and so they, they made up flyers, they put those flyers, you know, uh, around, uh, locally in our neighborhood and uh, and they haven’t got one single call. Well, you know, a lot of people don’t want to trust, you know, a a freshman or a sophomore in high school and they probably already have their lawn care already taken care of. And so I said to, to age and as friends as the age lemme, I want to show you how to sell on Ebay. And so this next week we’re going to take time every day and I’m going to show them, I have, first of all, we have products here that they can sell. And as you know, it’s really just a numbers game.
Andy: [50:53] It’s the amount of listings that you can create. Now there, there is a knowledge that you need to know how to create listings where I use keywords. Um, and, and then, but then, you know, he said this to me and I thought it was a great idea. I’ll, I’m gonna throw it out to you. He said, well dad, I wonder if other people struggle with, you know, having stuff around their house. And we know in America everyone struggles with too much stuff said instead of doing a lawn care business, I wonder if we could send out flyers that we would be willing to sell people stuff for them basically on co-sign mint. And I said, man, Ada, you know what, that might be a great idea. Now that may not be, may not have legs at all. But I liked that he was thinking kind of out of the box.
Stephen: [51:36] It’s like that. What do you think? I think what he’s describing, he’s taking away the pain point for people, right? Listing and all the rules about Ebay and all the rest of that. Just like Amazon. It’s complicated, right? It’s simple but hard. Right? I think that’s the right term, right? It’s simple but it’s hard, right? Cause you gotta there’s a bunch of rules, right? Yeah. If you take away those pain points for people, absolutely. That’s a business. There is no loss. If I come to you and say, Andy Looking, I’m going to sell your thing and if I don’t sell it, I don’t get anything. But if I sell it, I get half. How cool was that? Yeah, no, you set the price, you own it. You’d be like a hundred percent easy I think. I think is
Andy: [52:13] great idea. And you know the great thing is I said Yeah and you know what Aja, you could just take your phone, take pictures. So the person keeps the product and they don’t give it to you until it sells. And this is all people that he can walk to, you know, in, in the [inaudible] a logo
Stephen: [52:26] area. But think about the other thing he’s going to do. He’s going to learn communication. He’s going to learn the how to, how to ask for the clothes. These are all life skills, especially a, you know, if you want a date or any of those things, you need to know how to close. You need all those, those things. So that’s all going back to your question. Yes. I think it’s absolutely possible and doable. Absolutely. Okay. So that’s it. Absolutely. Are you, that’s your phrase. Uh, I’m going to stay with it because I, I agree with you, but you know, just some people might not. Um, okay. I think what you just described is the way to push forward right there. That’s it. Get the knowledge, get the, uh, intelligence correct. That’s learned, right. Or push through it. And if you come at it a different way, if it’s not working the way they did it, try a different way and figure it out.
Stephen: [53:12] Love it. Love it. Love it. Okay. Amazing. freedom.com is the group, um, on Facebook you have, how big is your group now? I mean, it’s massive. Yeah, I think it’s around 13, 14,000 members. Good group, good group with a lot of very good, strong discussion. So if you have private label, uh, questions, that’s a safe place to answer it. And I’m, I see some pretty amazing discussion going on. Um, the other cool place to go to is gay and Gary’s group. Um, I, it blows my mind, uh, I forget how many of you said that they’re up to, it just blows my mind because, you know, when I met at the conference there, I met all 200 people that were at the conference. I personally spoke to 150. Like, I mean, La had a conversation with them and every single one of them feels engaged in that group.
Stephen: [54:01] And, uh, I’ve just, I’m very thankful that you recognize the talent there and then helped put that together. And then Gaye recognized Gary’s talent and it just grew into this, into this really pretty significant group. Yeah, no, you know, again, going back to it, I think it is the best, uh, group, uh, on, um, I really think is the best group around if you want to learn how to sell on Amazon, um, and, and, and then specifically how to sell on Amazon, doing retail arbitrage. And online arbitrage, there is no better group out there. That’s what I tell people. They’re always like, hey, how do I do? Am I here, join this group and start paying attention. Don’t make any decisions. Just read and sit and watch and then you understand. And then you, you know, cause you see all the, the basic questions and nobody’s attacking them.
Stephen: [54:52] It’s a very, it’s a very encouraging group and uh, I’m very fortunate to be involved with them. So amazing. freedom.com, forward slash arbitrage. Um, you can join the group. Um, and if you use the code momentum, and this is my pitch, you know, take it for what it’s worth. You get free 14 day trial free, 14 day trial by using Dakota momentum. So just think about that. Message me if you have any questions about that. Um, and if you want to talk with gay, um, I’ll put a link in this group. Andy, I thank you and I thank you for just a whole bunch of reasons. I thank you for the consistency for the five years. That to me is, again, I say this all the time. Look for consistency over time. And I appreciate the consistency, always being there to help every single person.
Stephen: [55:36] I’ve never seen you turn anyone away. I’ve never seen you been negative about it and manages it means so much and it’s, you’ve done so much in my life, so I really thank you. Thanks. I look forward to episode five Oh one. Preciate it. Take care man. What a great guy. If you don’t know Andy, you need to get to know him. Just a wonderful person. I’ve been friends with them now, I think it’s five years and uh, we’ve stayed all around, all around the country and many, many different times. And the consistency, again, I look for consistency in people over time. And that’s what you get when I see people in his group and Lauren’s answering them at two in the morning and Nate’s at 10 at night and Andy’s at seven in them. I’m like, these guys never sleep because they care and that you just don’t find.
Stephen: [56:21] And I get to see it and I’m so fortunate to be a part of it. Again, if you’re interested in gage group, um, you know, please consider joining through my link. Take the 14 days for free trial. Try it, see if he get value. But more importantly, not only go through the list and by what they’re telling you them, but, but learn something from it. And then go in there and see the engagement. Ask the questions that you’ve been thinking about in your, especially when you see other asks that you’re like, yeah, but wondering that too. And then you go, you see that it’s safe to ask those questions. That’s what I love about it. E-Commerce, momentum.com e-commerce, [inaudible] dot com take care.