Real talk from a real seller. How true is this for you: “I can do it better myself!” or “No one can do it as well as I can!” Well I know I can relate and have said those things only to be humbled when someone picks it up faster and improves on what I was doing. Humble indeed. But Elizabeth had a plan and worked her plan. With strong support from her husband and kids she has built a real future that will move on her terms. Great story and she says you can do it too!
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Here is transcript- It is automated so it is not perfect but it does seem to get better over time.
Elizabeth: [00:00] A, I’m thinking about leaving my nine to five. My first thing is you need to have six months of emergency fund. You cannot just leave as like, you don’t know what’s going to happen. And that’s my biggest encouragement is make sure you can pay your bills for the next six months if something happens.
Cool voice guy: [00:16] Welcome to the e-commerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of eCommerce selling. Today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.
Stephen: [00:30] Hey, it’s me. It’s Q4 got to bring up my Amazon seller tribe. Um, this is probably, you know, one of the last chances you’re going to get to join this year. So I’ll run this for a couple of weeks. But, um, the good news is you can still get in, right? They are allowing people in, but at some point they’re going to cut it off. So I suggest you join today. Try it with 14 days for free. Okay? So you don’t like it, you don’t get value drop. Um, however, don’t only measure on the value of what you’re buying, measure on the value of the impact it has on your business. And what I love about this group, the Amazon seller tribe is the amazing way they invest into your business. They will help you with all the questions. Go out and check out amazing freedom.com forward slash momentum dash arbitrage.
Stephen: [01:14] Look at the testimonials. Those are real people. Reach out to them, right? You can kind of figure out who they are and go out and figure out and ask them, is it real? Are they really helpful? Will they help my business? And you will be blown away again. You get 14 days free if you joined through mind link only and they do pay me. So I don’t want you to, I don’t mislead anybody. Um, but I believe in them. I’m in the groups, you’ll see me and you’ll get to talk with me to so amazing. freedom.com forward slash momentum hyphen arbitrage. I know it’s a lot momentum, hyphen arbitrage and you’re going to get 14 day free trial on the daily fine list. Make a purchase, get your money back and then say, huh, I can do this again. Wash, rinse, repeat, wash, rinse, repeat.
Stephen: [01:58] Amazing. freedom.com. Forward slash momentum arbitrage. They are going to close it. [inaudible] here. It’s going to happen. Get ready. Welcome back to the e-commerce women a podcast. This is episode four Oh nine, Elizabeth Thompson. Now I’ve had Elizabeth on way back more than than two and a half years ago, episode one 79 and she gets back in her story of how she came to that conclusion to jump ship and do her own thing and the encouragement of her husband. So now we are almost three years later, their business has exploded. Um, and it’s had challenges and they dealt with the challenges and she talks about some of those challenges and what triggered that and those things. Um, really help, I think, uh, give you a perspective that, you know, just doing your own things. Not easy, right? Nobody said it was going to be easy. But on the other side of it, it’s incredible.
Stephen: [02:51] And she talks about quite a bit of that. Um, the good enough is a big, a big thing. You know, you do do things perfect. We don’t do things perfect here. So why am I expecting others to do perfect? I shouldn’t, I should be doing good enough. And she makes some great case for that and what it’s done for her personally. I just think it’s so healthy. It’s such a cool story. Let’s get into the podcast and we’ll come back to the e-commerce women in podcast. Very excited to have back a guest two and a half plus years ago. I had the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth Thompson. Welcome Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: [03:28] Hi, how are you? I’m good. How are you?
Stephen: [03:31] I’m not doing as well as you, but man, I’m doing okay. That’s funny. It is funny. Um, you know, I want to start off with this because uh, you know, kind of the pre stuff that we go back and forth a little bit. I had yet on two and a half years ago and you are really, you are killing it. You are crushing it and from the outside. And when, when I talked about coming back on, you said, Hey, I feel more confident now, and I would sit back and wonder, you know, like, like I said in our pre call, it seems like you’ve given yourself permission to accept the fact that you know what you’re doing. Is that a weird, the way I said it?
Elizabeth: [04:08] No, but the way you say it makes a lot of sense. Yes, I agree with that.
Stephen: [04:13] Well, why, what, what was it that turned the switch to give you permission? I mean, it, it, it can’t be a dollar amount. It can’t be, it’s gotta be something like some switch. What was it? I’d love others to get that switch turned on.
Elizabeth: [04:27] Um, well I think I believe in silence is about 2006, so Amazon, uh, full time since 2011 and, um, I think that I finally just gotten to where I feel very comfortable in where we are. It’s still was to where it didn’t, I didn’t feel as successful, I guess then I, that as I do today. Um, I think it has more to do with the fact that we’ve gotten to where our account is just is very comfortable in terms of I’m not having to do as much work as I used to because I’ve been, I’ve been better at delegating, um, my old tasks to other people.
Stephen: [05:08] Let’s stop there a second. What does that mean? Right. So, so you’re not doing as much work. Are you doing different work? Cause I can’t imagine you’re committed. I mean there’s no, I know you, you’re like the rest of us.
Elizabeth: [05:22] Yeah. Different. I would say I’ll say different work. Um, and um, I’ve different work but I would say be more different work and I’m still working crazy amount of hours. Um, but I think it’s different. Also. I think you’re going to talk to me more about fact. My husband has not come onto our business full time. And so it’s different because before we had his income to fall back on, now we’ve had over a year that is the two of us full time in the business and we’re now realizing that Hey, we can be successful at this with not having other outside income coming in. As I said, if that makes sense.
Stephen: [06:00] It does. But I want to go deeper on this, this work. Is the work more suited for you? I mean, do you feel like the work that you chose or you’re ended up with, maybe that’s a better way to say it, the work that your ended up with that you couldn’t delegate or you chose not to delegate, is it more suited for you and that’s what makes it not seem like work?
Elizabeth: [06:21] I think overall I feel like overall it has never really seem like work. Um, and I think that it’s just that, like I, I at first I delegated out like the prepping and the listing and the, I know every, all the warehouse tasks. Then I started delegating out the shopping piece of it. And now I’ve gotten to the, where I’m can delegate out some of the admin work, um, is I think every time I start doing something else more, I’m trying to learn something for myself and then I can delegate it out until I feel very confident in doing it myself. I don’t feel comfortable delegating it out.
Stephen: [06:54] Okay. So that’s it. That’s it. You’ve got the confidence in each task, therefore you’re ready to hand it out. You’ve got it to optimal for you and then therefore you can show somebody else. Hmm. Interesting. Yeah. Does, does each build on each other. So you know, now you, you’ve gotten rid of a task and now you’ve moved on to a new task. It’s not like you’ve given up stuff, right? You’ve got other stuff. And so is that now make that next one make more sense. I mean, so I always think about this way. It’s like when I go and do something and I’m always like, Oh, that’s why they did it. It’s like all of a sudden there’s like a clarity. I never understood why we did it that way. Now, boom. Oh, this makes it easier when I do this.
Elizabeth: [07:32] Correct. Yeah, I would say, yeah, mean I think whenever, when I like, I guess you go back and going back to the training piece of it. I mean I think I always thought about no money to ever do this the way I do it. And so, um, and so it was very difficult to hand things off. Um, and instead of, so like when I, once I’d started handing off smaller tasks, like the prep or the list, it, I realized I was like, wait, other people can’t do it. It might not be the exact way that I would do it, but it still, right. I mean, and so you look back in my account and I think about, okay, well you can look at it in terms of your account metrics have met, account metrics changed since I left. Other people start doing these tasks. No they haven’t. And so that’s my biggest concern is, you know, uh, you know, a possible suspension or you know, the IP claims or unauthentic claims has that, you know, have those changed? No. So I guess they are doing a good enough job to where I can delegate these tasks.
Stephen: [08:31] So good enough. I was thinking exact same thing. So good enough is good enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Right? It was that the enemy of great is good, right? Or the enemy of good is great or something like that. Whatever that is. Yeah. Um, does it help? And I’m, you’re going to be like, duh, of course. Do, does it help that you’ve surrounded yourself and your relationships have gotten stronger with other similar types of sellers? Therefore you get the best of, you know, any challenge that you’re in?
Elizabeth: [08:59] Absolutely. I, I could not be where I am without the different Amazon sellers that I, that I know. Um, it, it’s crazy that you can have this camaraderie with people all over the United States who do the exact same thing that you do, but they’re not like in the cubicle next door to you. Like I was when I had a career, um, in like a nine to five job in these are my, these are the people who I would consider to be mine. You know, my cube, my cube mates that are all over the country.
Stephen: [09:29] But you never had that level of relationship with your [inaudible] to be honest.
Elizabeth: [09:33] Not at all, never, never. And that you got, that’s a really good point. And I really thought of it that way. But um, yeah, I’ve got a couple of different mastermind groups that I’m in and just, um, definite, very deep relationships in terms of just being able to help me. Like if I, if I have questions, you know, usually we just grab, get G get on PM or I can call them on the phone and just hash out whatever the issue is at the time. Or if I need a contact or if I need help figuring something out, I have so many people I can go to that I know was like, you know, drop what they’re doing to help me out.
Stephen: [10:08] You know, thinking about let, let’s go a little bit back on that cubicle thing. It’s, it’s fake relationships. There’s no depth to it. Oh, what’d you do this weekend, Elizabeth? Oh, you took the kids there. Oh, well, let me tell you about my day. Let me tell you [inaudible] that’s the way it is. Yeah, that’s real. You wouldn’t go on vacation with those people with you. You wouldn’t go hang out in Orlando at a conference and spend four or five days of your life and put together a bunch of effort to do a conference with them, would you?
Elizabeth: [10:34] No. No. And I’m like, yeah and yeah, exactly. And I look so forward to that conference every year. Like I said, I count down to, you know,
Stephen: [10:42] conference is sold out. Everybody so you can get on the list for the following year. Sells out in 10 seconds. Okay. Okay. So I want to go back to this though. That level of relationship and the lack of that level of relationship. Are there any regrets in any possible way? Anything that you miss from your old career? Cause you had a good executive career. I mean, anything that, that’s that cause there’s a whole, but here’s my point is a whole bunch of people that are sitting there and you see it all the time. Hey, should I leave my job? Elizabeth, you know, I’m afraid I’ve got all these friends, I’ve got this related, you know, what am I going to do? A that kind of thing. Or you’re on the other side of it.
Elizabeth: [11:19] Yeah. When I originally left, my husband said to me, he’s like, well, he’s like, you’re employable. He was like, you, you, you can get other job. This has the assessment work. He was like, you know, let’s try it, see how it goes. And he also had a, you know, a career at the time so we can fall back on that. And so at the time it was very scary. But no, now looking back on, and I wish I had not waited so long now. And so, um, I, I, I’ve said this before, it might’ve even been on my last interview and I’ve talked to other people about it, but, um, Harvey specter, you asked him a question about this and one of his interviews with you and he said, he said, I would rather work eight to midnight for myself, the nine to five for someone else, something like that. And I always think about that. I same thing. I would rather work for myself and work more hours than work nine to five for someone else.
Stephen: [12:06] What, what specifically is it that does that for you? What is the thing? Because I think each of us have their own, you know, uh, it could be freedom. It could be money. It could be, you know, a sick child at home that you don’t have to call in sick. I mean, where, you know, people looking at you leaving early, Elizabeth, you’re, you’re scheduled to four, but you should stay until six. Right?
Elizabeth: [12:24] It’s all of that. It’s, I can’t even pin. I mean it’s, it’s the, I mean, obviously money. I mean, that’s nice. Um, it’s the fact that it’s mine. I grew this from our money. No one ever gave us any money to, to start our business. We started selling on eBay, you know, five to 10 items a week. And now we’re, you know, at the level we are on Amazon,
Stephen: [12:45] well over seven figures. Do you think, and this is a [inaudible] cause you don’t have, I don’t mean to come across your ego. I’ve never seen your ego. Do you think you would’ve been successful in any other business now? I mean I’m not, maybe that’s a dumb way to ask it. Meaning that could you have started it? Could you have seen yourself starting another type of business? You know, the candle shops or the car repair or the
Elizabeth: [13:10] no maker stuff? No, not at all. I mean, I went to the, I’m like my college degrees is in business administration, so I never, ever, ever thought that I was going to be an entrepreneur. I mean I thought I would just go, go, go work a nine to five and I didn’t really have a plan in terms of ever owning my own business. Never was on my radar. Um, I would, yeah, I, it was never on my radar at all. I just, this just happened. And the thing is that Amazon didn’t exist when I was in college. So I think, what was it? I want to say 1996 that it started. Right. But I mean, but I graduated from college in 1998 I’m going here and showing my age there. So it really wasn’t even on the radar at all that it was even a possibility to do FBA at that time.
Stephen: [13:58] So you were going to work a career, worked for 30 years, get a pension, you and your husband. Do you think about how many? All right, so you’ve been full time for how long now?
Elizabeth: [14:08] 2011 so eight years.
Stephen: [14:11] Years. You’ve taken more vacation in those eight years as some would call it vacation, but more travel in those eight years probably than your whole career.
Elizabeth: [14:19] Is that fair? Yeah, I’d say that’s fair. Yeah, because any of the travel I did was for my, you know, corporate career, which wasn’t fun.
Stephen: [14:25] Right? You weren’t able to spend it with family. You’re sitting in airports, all that kind of jazz.
Elizabeth: [14:30] Yeah, that’s a good point because like we can, we have family in South Florida and so we can, we make our vacations now longer. We’ll go for 10 to 14 days, whereas you could never, I can never have done that in a corporate for a year and we’ll work as we are on vacation. So we do work vacations. So our kids are completely used to it. That’s their life. They understand. Yeah,
Stephen: [14:50] they understand they and
Elizabeth: [14:52] I’m sure they love it. I mean let’s face it, there is something nice about staying in a hotel or an Airbnb and or a resort or more probably or just spending time with family. Let’s talk about your husband coming in. I mean obviously you’ve been in it eight plus years and he has full time. Okay. And so how is that transition or how would you recommend for others to make a similar transition? Cause I see that question a lot too. Okay. So um, he actually had the opportunity to take a severance package with, with yeah, with the company we where he was with, we were actually with the same company. Um, I left 2011. Um, he did stay longer and so he was add, had the opportunity to have a severance package and so we decided, Hey, let’s do this. We’ll put it out as an emergency fund.
Elizabeth: [15:38] Um, they’ll all the severance and then that way we have something to fall back on if this doesn’t work again. Cause I was always the, the thing is that, you know, we have that to fall back on. And so we got to the point where I think we can do this and we can, you know, it was, it was just an opportunity where it wasn’t as scary because we did have that to fall back on. But there’s still tradeoffs. Correct. Know there are still trade offs. Um, and so yeah, so we, so I met Mike again to something else that you might not be aware of but um, uh, right around the time he left Angelo, his left with his, his position in July of 2018 but right at that time we decided [inaudible] may or so of that year, we decided that we needed to come up with a handbook in our, in our arm, in our business because we are at the point where we had about eight part time and full time employees and we had no kind documentation as to any policies or any procedures within our company. And so right around that time we told everyone I R or at our company that we weren’t going to be coming up this handbook. So they knew it was coming. Well when we presented them with a handbook that was, you know, even, you know, verify by, you know, Kentucky lawyer and everything like that to make sure that it was accurate and everything. Everyone refused to sign it and they all quit.
Stephen: [17:00] Right. What was the reasoning? What was it? Because, wait, this is, this was a free place. I got to come and come and go as a please, I can do kind of my own thing. And now you wait, you’re, you’re creating like you’re going to hold me accountable. Is that what it was?
Elizabeth: [17:13] It was that, and it was my, my warehouse manager had been with us for about five years at that time and she was like, wait, I’ve already been a, you know, I’ve been working for you for five years. I don’t feel like I need to sign anything to, you know, she just didn’t feel like it was appropriate for her to now all of a sudden have to agree to all these different policies. And there was nothing that was, I’ve had many people look at it outside of my employees to make sure that I was like, you know, is this, is this over the top. And I knew no one thought it was. Um, I think it was just the fact that, you know, I’ve done this free for five years and all of a sudden you want me to sign something. So it is, it’s kind of, it was a sticky situation because yeah, she had worked for me for that long, but I still needed an agreement in terms of a noncompete, um, a nondisclosure, not solicitation, those kinds of things, you know, in, in, in terms of I couldn’t ask future employees to come in without asking the current ones.
Elizabeth: [18:07] Right. That’s not sign. Sure, sure. So anyways, so basically my husband just walked right into that role of warehouse manager and so it was perfect. And so, um, and since then I’ve had not a single new person who has refused to sign our, our pain books. So it was just the whole thing. We had to start fresh. So we basically completely started fresh. Um, when he, when he went right into that role of warehouse manager.
Stephen: [18:32] So hindsight, 2020, we should have had an employee handbook be fired before we hired employee number one. Fair.
Elizabeth: [18:39] Yeah. But it’s, that’s so difficult to do in our, in our, in our, in our role, in our role, because you don’t think about the future. All you think about is I need someone to come in and start prepping. And then it turns into a listing and then it turns into shopping and then it turns into, I’m going to send you to a trade show and then you need to realize you need travel policies and then you realize, Oh wait, hold on. You’re asking for sick time. Wait your work. You know, it, it just, it was so word, um, snowballs into a, wait, I have a business and you realize then you look back on, you’re like, I need policies for this business because I’m starting to getting taken advantage of in certain aspects. Or, um, you know, you need meal policies for when they travel or you need policies on they, you, they start coming to you and saying, Hey, you, I need to get reimbursed for my mileage. Or Hey, what happens when we, what happens when I travel to do sourcing for you? Um, and then then I start thinking about and talking to, you know, an HR lawyer and they’re like, wait, you also need to have think about the fact that you need a noncompete in a non-solicitation. And I, and I get these things from other Amazon big Amazon sellers and say, Hey, do you have these policies in place? And I realize, wait, no, we don’t. And so we had to take that step in the business and those growing pains and
Stephen: [20:01] it’s a very adult, Oh man, that’s a lot of heavy stuff, isn’t it? It really is.
Elizabeth: [20:06] Well, and, and, and it just, and I, that’s something I’ve told other people when they’re starting their business now, I would learn from me realize you need these things upfront and yeah, you don’t, you don’t think about in 2011 I didn’t think about 2018 cause I didn’t have a clue that we would have the type of growth we have had.
Stephen: [20:26] That’s incredible. So when you talk to other sellers who said, Hey, do you have this? They’re speaking from their experiences where they didn’t apparently, right. Probably. And they got burned.
Elizabeth: [20:36] Yeah, exactly. And so, yeah. So that’s what, that’s what the connections come from having the different friends that I’ve met through different Amazon conferences in terms of, you know, having to be able to roll some of these different policies off of them to say, Hey, you know, what am I forgetting? Or is this, or you know, on your non-solicitation, did you make it five years or did you make it one year? Um, or the noncompete, same thing, you know, like how, you know, how, how stringent should I be on some of these policies? And you know, am I being too strict or so it was good to be able to, you know, talk through that big growth for us are big growing pains for us in, in back in last summer.
Stephen: [21:19] Did it change your business going, you know, becoming this formal and this, you know, I mean you hate to say eh, not corporate life, but I mean you have to have some formalities because you know, there are rules and, and for both sides to be fair to them. So you’re treating them fairly too consistently. Did it change the environment of the business now looking back,
Elizabeth: [21:38] actually, yeah, I did, but because, because we, we started basically with a brand new crew, so we had to start, you know, start over with brand new people. So we were able to have a more businesslike environment from the beginning. Oh, that’s helped rather than changing it for the people who currently had been.
Stephen: [21:58] It is hard to break bad habits. Uh, if we’ve got a couple of those, um, I understand that. All right, so you and your husband both work in the business identifying roles. Now you had said that you’ve been able to give up certain things. Um, I’m assuming some of those things you’re thrilled to death to get rid of. Um, how do you work on identifying roles? Because usually in marriage and in life, opposites attract. So I assume he has some skill sets. You don’t, so that’s cool, right. Maybe they fill in, but in being a kind of a control freak too, how do you give up some of that? And then how does a roles, how do you level out those roles? Maybe that’s a better way to say it.
Elizabeth: [22:33] Yeah. My, well, my husband used to be a warehouse manager in his previous life, so, yeah. And so, um, so he, that when we very first got married, he has connection for FedEx and he was aware us manager for one of their, their shifts. Um, and so he kind of understood a little bit about that environment. Um, and so, and I don’t like HR issues. I just don’t, I’m not good at it. I’m just, I shy away from it. I know, like you said, I’m at, you would think that with my personality I would be fine with that kind of thing. I was think, but I’m not, I don’t like it. And so I kind of, I’ve let him handle all the HR and basically he’s taken all the HR, all the people stuff, all the hiring, um, and then running the warehouse. And so, so he, that, that’s recently his role.
Elizabeth: [23:24] My role is all the admin stuff. So I do all the behind the scenes. Um, um, all the, all, all the behind the scenes stuff, all the for maintaining the account. I did the payroll, I pay the bills. Um, I make sure that, yeah, I mean I’m, it makes sure like everything’s running well for the account. Um, and then to that a step further, I have started, um, now where I’m not doing very much admin work at all cause I went spend the last two months I’ve hired an admin who is, um, doing basically all the running of the account behind the scenes. And so my role now is more of the payroll and the, um, paying the bills. That’s something I don’t think I could get. I w I want to give up at this point is payroll and paying the bills. I want, I want to be in charge of that and knowing where we are,
Stephen: [24:13] it gives you the pulse, right. That keeps you on the pulse. Right. You don’t have to worry about somebody not sharing. A lot of times they don’t want to share bed information, you know? It’s like, Oh, I don’t want to disappoint Elizabeth. You know? But to be fair, you’d rather know it and then you could sit there. The admin you hired full time or part time. Full time. Full time. What, what does that what, cause I think that looking back at your business, is that a role that you should have filled sooner? You know, really
Elizabeth: [24:41] slightly. Yeah. Um, because it was, it was drowning me. I mean, I was drowning and admin work.
Stephen: [24:48] Well, drowning, meaning that like sometimes you’re like, is this worth it? You know, maybe I should go work, work for somebody. Oh, is it that bad? At some points? No. Okay. It wasn’t that bad
Elizabeth: [24:57] at the point where I, there’s no way I’m still at the point where right now there’s no way I’d want to go back to work ever at home. I would do everything I can. I’m unemployable. Yes. At this point I am unemployable. I’m trying to work really hard to make sure that I can be unemployable in terms of our, our, you know, finances personally, that kind of stuff. I’m going to try to make sure that even if something happens, I’m still unemployable just because we don’t have to. [inaudible].
Stephen: [25:24] So that role was a key role for you, you see that is the key. Do you think, I mean, when you look at where you’re going, and I know it’s upward, do you think that that position is allowing you to really gain like, I mean, serious gains? Cause I think most people would see that as a big expense. They’d sit there and say, Oh, Elizabeth, just suck it up. Two more hours a night, five days a week. Not too bad. Right. But realistically,
Elizabeth: [25:48] if it was only two hours, I mean it’s, it just, you know, um, I think that I, I’m in the point in our business where growth is okay. It’s not necessary. Okay. Um, and so of course we have continued to grow or really not very purposefully. It just happened. And so it just keeps happening. And not saying that in, um, nonchalant way, it’s just that, that’s not my focus. I’m not, I’m not, that’s not my goal. Our goal is honestly to pay off our house. And so that’s our, you know, I don’t know what the next goal is after that, but that’s, that’s goal. That’s our personal and financial at this point in time driving. So yeah, that’s driving mine, that’s driving my everything right now. And so, um, so I’m not sure.
Stephen: [26:38] Well, I was going to ask you that, why, why I wrote this note and why, why is growth happening? I mean, it just doesn’t happen. Is it because of all the processes, all the people, all the, all the work that was done, you know, over the last 11 years, you know, every month when you’re like, okay, I got this done, I got this, this process documented and organized and fine tuned in. I mean, what, what would you really, if you look back and say what it is? Um, and again, I, I’ve never gotten an ego, uh, uh, vibe from you. So what would you say it is? Honestly,
Elizabeth: [27:09] I would say, well definitely people in processes. It’s, it was definitely half. It has to do with being able to delegate those tasks because you can not it, once you get into even I would say over $500,000 in sales, I don’t think you can, you can do this anymore on your own. You have to have help to grow. And so my growth started happening when I hired
Stephen: [27:33] so good enough again though though. That’s it. Right? You’re, you’re accepting good enough. Um, okay. Okay. I mean, I think that that’s critical. That’s a big deal.
Elizabeth: [27:42] [inaudible] yeah, I would agree with that. And, and, and then on the, on the admin piece, I, you know, my, my friends, but, um, that we have in common, like they were always kind of after me, why are you doing this still? Why are you doing this still? And it was just the nudging from them. And honestly it was, I didn’t think anyone could do it the way I wanted it to be done. And it, something happened to fall in my lap. I know there’s, it was again a relationship. Here we go. It was, uh, with a friend, another friend who I met down, actually the Kaufman’s and San Antonio. And he came to me and he said, Hey, um, I have this admin. She’s already trained but I don’t really need her anymore. Are you interested? And I was like, Oh, she’s already trained absolutely of that was how it happened. And she was, she, she just is at the point where she’s like extremely intelligent and all I have to do is have to send her one video and she might ask two questions and she’s on autopilot. So she actually probably mind doing that better than me. So it’s, you know, that’s actually kind of hard to think about the fact that the someone ain’t can do it as confidently and capable as you are doing.
Stephen: [28:55] That hurts a little bit to be fair. No. To be fair, you had a few distractions right? When, when your focus is just that you should be able to do it at your best, but when you’re focused on 28, you know, so I’m giving you permission to beat yourself up a little bit. Yeah. You, you earned it, you earned that. Um, you didn’t ask for help, it came to you. Correct. You feel led there. Do you feel like all this stuff that you’ve been going, all the giving that you’ve done for other people has brought you to that somebody actually can give to you? Is that weird? Yeah. Yeah.
Elizabeth: [29:25] I would agree with that because like it’s about the relationships and if I hadn’t met this person, would they have, would they have gone to another seller? Just say, Hey, I have a fully trained VA or VA, are you interested? I’m saying what some of my shoppers now I have some shoppers who out of state, again, I met them through the Amazon connections. They are, they shop for us and ship to our warehouse here in Kentucky. So it’s, it’s, it’s all right now I think, I feel like our business is definitely about all the relationships we’ve made and started basically in conferences and in Facebook groups.
Stephen: [30:02] And so you’re not going out getting more training. You’re not doing this. You’re going to, I always say the best part of conferences is the networking part. That’s what you attribute the, the success is getting out there and actually meeting with somebody and really spending time with them and then getting to know them and then maybe taken down that that cube buddy to the next level relationship. Hmm. There’s a lesson. There’s your pro tip right there. People right there. A good example. Um, however you don’t go to these conferences and not put yourself out. How much do you get paid to put on this big conference? You and Kelly run? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Right? But it’s a lot of work, but it’s become your passion. I mean, there’s no doubt, right?
Elizabeth: [30:40] Yeah, it definitely is one of my passions for sure. Um, and it’s kinda crazy how it ha. I mean I’ve, you only get into how it happened or not, but yeah, please. Um, so Kelly lo Chennai, we have taken the several conferences, um, scanned power conferences, some of the, um, are there conferences and we would just always end up in the lobby and talking to people
Stephen: [31:05] lobby lurkers as you are known. Lobby lurker. Yeah.
Elizabeth: [31:07] Lobby lurkers. And we would just, we would actually went to several conferences, not as, we didn’t even take to pay those and we went just to sit in the lobby. And so, um, so, so we just, one day we’re just sitting there like, we should just do a conference that has absolutely no agenda and just see who comes and like see who comes, who just to network. The only sole focus is just networking. So we did that. I guess this will be our fourth conference coming yet. So, um, yeah, thank us forth. And so, yeah, so four years ago we had about 68 people come to the very first one. And we had the only thing we had what schedule was, Hey, show up at this hotel and we have a block of rooms. That’s all we did. And um, and uh, Kara, she was there and Liz in her last name for a second, but, um, she went and out on her own and she went ahead and just rented a cabin and I had the pool and said, Hey people, I’ve got to cabana at the pool, come down and hang out the pool and everyone shows up.
Elizabeth: [32:13] And we’re like, okay, let’s see this next year. And so the next year we were in all the cabanas. And so that’s what we were doing with the funds we were raising from the fee that we’re charging to come to the conference. Enormous fee. Yeah, the $25 fee at that time. And so, um, so we, that’s, that’s, that’s how it happened. And we just, so every year now we, we go and we say, Hey, we have all the cabanas rented. That’s where the hangout spot is during the day. We’re going to go, if you want to get a dinner and everyone basically can schedule their own dinners on their own, they can go off to their own networking events. If your mastermind group comes, you guys can go have lunch together. There’s nothing planned. Basically it’s just, Hey, come hang out talking about some of the best speakers. Never attend. Can’t talk. That’s true. That’s very true. Yes. I don’t want to miss any live on any live lines part of your circle there too. Yes, yes. King at a travel and he is our hotel. He is our hotel planner. He’s the one who does all the planning and getting the hotel and the block together. So yes, he’s a mess.
Stephen: [33:16] Um, I think again, you know, to sit back and, and summarize this. Okay. So, uh, putting the effort into a attended conference, not only just attend it and meet others, um, now, um, and not, not go listen to that people. Yap. Um, there’s value in there, but generally, you know, you have a business, you already know what you’re doing now you’re trying to fine tune it right there. You’re working on your business as an email says when you’re working on it. And you can jump ahead because every problem you’ve ever run into Elizabeth, somebody else has already seen and they’ve dealt with that and some dealt with the successfully and some didn’t. So you get the good in the bed and then you can kind of fine tune it to your own. But here’s the key. You put in the effort by attending or organizing in your case, taking it to extreme, um, and you take time away to do it. Um, how do, how is that when you take that, cause I mean, I know you have a lot of work for it, but the physical getting away from your business for those couple days, um, how’s that work for your business? Is that good, helpful?
Elizabeth: [34:19] I don’t really do that because you’re doing the work when you’re there. Yeah. And so it’s like I said, like it’s, it’s a big, that’s hard. It’s a hard part of, I haven’t gotten to that point where someone else could do everything I do if, I mean they could, but like if something happened to, yeah, good enough. That’s a, that’s a real, yeah. And it’s just the, you know, so if we are gone for 10 to 14 days on vacation, I still have to run payroll at some point in time. I still need to pay the credit cards. Um, I still need to check my Amazon account daily to make sure that I don’t have any crazy red flags. And so there are still, there definitely are. I’m definitely on vacation, but I tell, you know, our family knows, Hey, mom’s gonna work for two hours this morning and then she’s free the rest of the day, you know?
Elizabeth: [35:05] And so it’s, or you know, we’re gonna mom’s going to work today, dad’s gonna take y’all to the pool on the beach or for like one, one day when the, we just went on vacation. He took all the kids fishing for six hours on a six hour, don’t charge him. So I was able to stay home, catch up on the work. I sat out on our deck of our balcony of our condo and just, you know, listen to the beach while I worked. Um, so, you know, it’s just, it’s a different lifestyle. So yes, I’m still, I’m on vacation, but I couldn’t do this like in a corporate of job I can,
Stephen: [35:38] you wouldn’t, even though you give up the responsibility, right. You know, Hey, I’m on vacation for the next week. Right. You never do the work before or the week work after piles up and you still come back and you have the pressures, they almost immediately bubble back up. But what you’re describing, the work that you, you have to keep the responsibility for, you’re able to manage. I think that’s very healthy. I mean, when, when you look at your, your physical health, which is a big piece of mental health, do you feel better?
Elizabeth: [36:07] Yes. Yes I do. Um,
Stephen: [36:11] yeah. Will talk about it for a second because I just think it’s another thing, you know, I’m not trying to convince anybody to quit their job. I’m just trying to get him to quit. If their job stinks, you know, if they, if they’re, if their life stinks and this is affecting their marriage or you know, their health to gaining weight, all the negative things that come with awful stress. There are other ways. It’s funny, I could look back at your last interview, two and a half years. You wanted to do it on your terms. That was the way we talked about it. It was, these are my terms, Steve. That’s it.
Elizabeth: [36:43] Yeah. I think if I was encouraging anyone in, which I have, because we are also, you know, they run our consulting group also Brian Freifeld or, and I along with the costumes. And so whenever anyone talks about, Hey, I’m thinking about leaving my nine to five, my first thing is you need to have six months of emergency fund. You cannot just leave as like, you don’t know what’s going to happen. And that’s my biggest encouragement is make sure you can pay your bills for the next six months if something happens. And then I do also use the whole, um, you know, the encouragement that my husband gave me of you’re employable. You know, you have a college degree, you have something to fall back on. Um, so if it doesn’t work out, then you can, you know, you can get back in the workforce and you know, it’s not the end of the world for you to, to try this.
Stephen: [37:32] Well, because it might not be right. I mean, you met, you met some people that this just isn’t there. They’re not cut for it. Fair.
Elizabeth: [37:38] Yeah. So, well, yeah, for sure. It happens. It happens every single day where people try it and it does, it doesn’t work out for them. I don’t know if I can put a, I think since then people think it’s like a magic, like a Matt, it gets a magic potion that they’re going to, Oh, I’m going to become a multimillion dollar seller, an Amazon tomorrow, and I’ve, you know, had 10 sales in the last month and that just, that’s not going to happen. Um, and so you have to realize that you have to start slowly somewhere. And just, I think it’s taking the baby steps slowly in growth versus, you know, I’m going to go out in the, I know there’s some people after you have been successful and all of a sudden they’re multimillion dollar sellers within a year or six months. I just, I don’t, to me, I don’t feel like that’s very healthy cause I don’t feel like you can learn the business [inaudible]
Stephen: [38:27] they’re outliers to it. Here’s the other thing, you know, but you’re not an entrepreneur unless you roll it all on seven Elizabeth. Right. I mean is that, is that, is that one of the reasons maybe you weren’t so secure last time because you weren’t one of those people that rolled it all on seven ready to bet everything. You, you had an emergency fund, you had a B plan.
Elizabeth: [38:45] Yeah. Um Hmm. Maybe I, I’ve never been that way. I always have had that I want a on any need a security blanket and I still feel like any of that. Yeah. I need a plan. Um, I still am like that. Even, like in my mastermind group, I’m probably the one who is always like, no, don’t do that. Um, you know, like think about the, you know, the other, you know, what, what could happen. And some people still like, Oh no, I’m not gonna think about what could happen. I want to think about what I’m going to, you know, what’s going to happen. Um, you know, like what they, they are assuming is going to happen with whatever the decision is going to be. My first thought is, well, what if it doesn’t happen that way and what are you going to do?
Stephen: [39:27] So having that be planned, having, having a long time with your husband working to help build that. I mean, do you credit your success? Some of it to him? Oh yeah, for sure. That’s pretty cool. Yeah. I mean, that’s pretty cool. I mean, that’s a, you know, you’re not sitting there saying, it’s just me. You know, I think about, well, let’s talk about you and Perry and Brian because very strong sellers. Brian, amazing story. You put a very, very super strong, and then Perry and Kim with their lean FBA kind of focus. Right. They are probably the most efficient opera, every step, you know, you can’t take a step without it being documented and organized. Right. That those type, cause I, Brian’s pretty reserved, but he’s, he’s, he’s focused too. They added discipline to your business.
Elizabeth: [40:17] Um, Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean like, yeah, yeah. Brian is definitely my person. I go to pretty much, you know, I first person I go to for anything if I’m having an issue. Um, and then, you know, in, in Perry for sure they, they, we’ve been down, I’ve been down to their operation down San Antonio twice and you know, there’s many things that we came back and implemented into our,
Stephen: [40:40] not just one. I mean, think about it. You’ve been in business for eight years and you’re going and finding things to implement
Elizabeth: [40:47] still. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Still. Um, so, um, yeah, like, I mean, like just little, little things that we never really thought of that Hey, this will really help our business in and that we went back to our, um, that we live back and implemented in our, in our own warehouse. Um, you know, things like, uh, you know, how we process our inventory, you know, the order in which it comes into the warehouse and all the way out. Um, how we reorder our supplies,
Stephen: [41:16] spaghetti maps is Brian calls him, right? Yeah. Yes. It’s really is, I mean, my guys, we came back and we immediately stopped helping ups carry boxes to their truck. He’s like, stop. Like, I mean, it was weird. It’s uncomfortable sometimes, but then they got other stuff to do. Right? I mean silly things like that. Um, very helpful. So you and Brian and Perry, you still have groups, right? Where you focus on, you have, what, three groups or two groups?
Elizabeth: [41:42] Um, we actually used to have two. We had two that focus on specific stores. And so, but then we switched it and we realize that why are we, why are we doing two different groups? So we sometime last year, um, we, we, we merged the two groups into one. Okay. So, so it’s just basically focused on retail arbitrage. Um, so we just, we may, our main focus stores that we, that we shop or that we talk about are going to be Ross, Burlington, TJ, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and um, Tuesday morning Ali’s Gabes, those kinds of stores. Those are the ones die off top my head that I can think of. But we don’t just do leads. We post leads six days a week. Um, um, at least eight to 10 days, eight to 10 leads a day. Um, but we’re not just focusing on that. We do anything related to Amazon. We talked about in our group, we talk about the IP complaints. We talk about how to order supplies. We talked about the lean FBA management. We talk about, um, any, I mean, anything anyone wants to bring up, we’ll discuss it. So,
Stephen: [42:44] and when you, one thing about your group, it’s very unusual. Um, is that it’s geographic meaning that one person, well I just think it’s important for understand is that only one person can cover that in your market. We are not allowed to be in your group because somebody else has, she tried again, I can check it out. Oh you have to check it out and you have to strong arm Brian. Cause he’s, he’s a little too tough for me. I can’t take them. We aren’t allowed because you know, to be fair and you know what, I respect it because that’s the way it should be. Stand by your word. You said you were gonna do this and you’re doing it to me. That’s fair. That’s fair.
Elizabeth: [43:21] Four years ago and yeah, so we let one person for every 10 stores within a 25 mile radius. So if there happens to be 20 stores and that 25 mile radius, we’ll let two people.
Stephen: [43:32] Okay. And that’s fair. You have to check me out. All right. So somebody is interested in finding out about that group because I honestly, the people that I know that are in it never leave that says something. I mean seriously, years ago, I mean I, I know a lot of people, they never left.
Elizabeth: [43:46] Yeah. We have a lot of people who’ve been in the group since the very beginning who never left him. The website is a, it’s R R H secrets.com. So they can go there and fill out a little form that will tell us their zip code and then we can check it out and getting them to get back to them as to whether or not we have the room to add them to the group.
Stephen: [44:04] Well, it’s key for this is the best opportunity to add that back into your business. Um, we’ve added some of that back into our business as a, we’ve gotten some young guys that come to work for us who are so hungry. They want it. They don’t, they still have that passion for it. And so it’s like, all right guys, go ahead. Do you want to do it? Um, I have no problem with it. Let’s do it. Um, so RA secrets.com and again, find out if your area might be available. Um, and I think that, I think it’s worthwhile and again, you’re not just gonna learn how what to buy. You’ve got to learn why to buy no, why. That’s a big, big piece of it and what to do with it when you buy it. Cause there are actually some additional steps. Um, that’s, that’s the S they are secrets, but that’s the key. So, yeah. All right, great.
Elizabeth: [44:46] [inaudible] is not dead as a lot. People like to still say,
Stephen: [44:49] well I am blown away. Somebody said I gotta have her back. I got to, you know, I’m so proud of you with what you’re doing and I’m proud of what your husband and, and um, I mean it’s, that’s gotta be the coolest part for your family. Cause now it’s everybody’s on board and you’re all rowing the same way. You got a goal, you’re paying off the house and everybody’s working towards it. To me, even the kids must feel it when they’re traveling. They know, Hey, this is what it takes for us to pay off our house. Look at where we’re going to go when we’re done. So yeah. Very, very cool. All right. If somebody has more questions, can they get you just had already secrets or is there a better way?
Elizabeth: [45:22] Um, PM me on Facebook or yes. Yeah. On the RAC French website. Yes.
Stephen: [45:28] All right, last question I always ask, I asked you last time people get stuck, you still get people that are stuck. What’s the best, simplest advice you can give somebody?
Elizabeth: [45:40] Oh, I would say just to slow down and reevaluate where you are. What are your goals? Like what are your goals, especially just for Q4. Um, you know what, I go back to the whole, the Dave Ramsey thing. You know what’s one bill you want to pay off by doing what you’re doing on Amazon. Um, is there a reason why you want to be here? Cause you want to be able to go on your kids field trips so that haven’t asked permission to be off from Ross. Um, there’s just, you have to think about what are your, what are your goals, what, what do you, what do you, well, what’s the reason why you want to sell on Amazon? I think in these, that they reevaluate how you’re going to get there. And I think that’s,
Stephen: [46:17] I think it’s solid advice. There are trade offs in anything you do. Go take a nighttime job, load in boxes for ups. You think there’s not a trade off there, that’s an option. Or you could start your own thing and learn and learn and learn and then master it. I love it.
Elizabeth: [46:31] One more thing that just thought about is, you know, is fine to sell are like me or find a seller. Like it is a big seller and say, Hey, how can I learn from you? Can I work for you? Um, so I can learn the business better. So that’s another option. Does that we’ve had some people who’ve actually come to work for us, you know, and then they yep. And then they can move on to their own businesses.
Stephen: [46:51] Love it. Yeah. Thank you so much. I wish you nothing but success. Take care of it so much. What a great lady. A, think about what she said about the conference, the unconference. Um, it’s sold out now, but there are other conferences just going and meeting other people in the lobby, um, and, and getting the best part of any other conference because that’s really where the work is done. Go to Vegas to ASD. You can walk the floor, you’re gonna walk a million miles or go hang out and go to some of the parties. Go meet Robin Johnson Reddy. Levein. Um, at the Ima thing, I want to blow your mind. You’re gonna meet some amazing sellers, right? Go meet, um, uh, Liron Hirsch corn, uh, who speaks that event every year and you’re going to spend time and you’re going to be like, Whoa, where’s this knowledge come from? Well, it comes from him investing in, into learning in that.
Stephen: [47:37] And so these are the kinds of things you can do. And again, I can’t, um, tell you enough, uh, local start local. If you have to, um, their local meetups, go to an eBay meetup, even though you’re an Amazon seller, or if you’re an Amazon or, or if you’re an eBay seller. You know what I mean? You’re an Amazon seller. You can go to an eBay meetup, you’re an eBay seller, go to an Amazon meetup. You’re going to find people that have the same challenge as you do, and you’re going to be able to get answers, um, and give answers, and then all of a sudden you get a little stronger and they get a little stronger. And then those relationships deepen real meaningful relationships, um, better than a buddy. I love that. When Elizabeth talked about key buddies, that’s so true. It’s superficial. Now go deeper and, um, you’re gonna, you’re gonna enjoy your life a lot more. E-commerce, momentum.com e-commerce, momentum.com take care.
Cool voice guy: [48:25] Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be firstname.lastname@example.org under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on iTunes.