On today's episode Jake shares the strategies he's used to generate sales of over $50,000 in his very first month selling on Amazon. It's nice to hear from sellers of all experience levels, but the way in which Jake was able to launch his product to success so quickly is why we had to bring him onto the show today.
If you're new to selling on Amazon, or just thinking about getting started be sure to listen to what he has to share.
Want to ask a question?
Get involved and ask a question about selling on Amazon and Chris may answer your question live on a future episode of Sellercast. Also, if you think you'd be a good guest for the Sellercast podcast feel free to tell us more about you and your company here.
Need more product reviews?
If you'd like to get more reviews for your products on Amazon check out Salesbacker.
Show Notes and Links
- Karon Thackston at Marketing Words
Intro: Hello, everyone. Chris Guthrie here, host of the Sellercast podcast. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Jake, who has sold over $50,000 in his very first month selling on Amazon, which I think is a great start. You’re going to listen to what he did to accomplish that along with his different strategies for finding products that he prefers to sell on Amazon as opposed to following what a lot of the crowd is doing. So make sure you listen to this episode fully. Check out the show notes by going to Sellercast.com/8. And let’s go ahead and start the show.
Chris Guthrie: Hello, everyone. Chris Guthrie here. And today we have on as special guest Jake Hamilton. And Jake, welcome to the show.
Jake: Thanks, good to be here.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, so I’m excited to speak with you. We chatted a little bit before we got going here. First question: how long have you been selling on Amazon for?
Jake: I’ve been selling on Amazon for a whopping one month, basically.
Chris Guthrie: One month, awesome.
Jake: Yeah, my first sale was about September 9th when I actually got a real sale or two.
Chris Guthrie: Okay, cool. Yeah, so by the time we publish this, maybe a little bit after that, so about a month. And that’s probably the reason why I wanted to talk to you since it was a different perspective since we’ve had on people of all the different experiences and time selling on Amazon. Before we get into your sales numbers and some other questions here I might have about that process. What were you doing before you started selling on Amazon and maybe what drew you to this business model?
Jake: I have another company into services business. And I do telecommunication work on the real estate side, leasing and zoning, for mostly special events right now. It’s a real specific niche. It’s kind of cool though because I do major league baseball, NFL, college football, special concerts and things. I set up the real estate side of these temporary cell sites for various clients. And that’s my main gig right now.
But I also do some other similar work, conditional use permits for telecommunications. And I have a couple of part-time employees. And it’s actually a pretty good gig now because I’ve been at it a couple of years solo and I’m able to choose my clients more, which I think is vital to freeing up free time and being profitable.
And I got into this. Actually, the first time I ever heard about it was in 2014. And I was on a road trip, I think, from Oregon to Arizona, and I was ripping through the podcasts. And I listened to a certain entrepreneurial boost podcast. And it was about the interview that you did. I think it was the first time you really heard about it too. And somebody was on there, and he was turning around some crazy numbers and just talking about the process. I’d looked at Internet marketing gigs before, and it really turned me off doing any kind of pyramid… I don’t want to say schemes because that’s not fair but... affiliate type stuff or any of that. I’m not tech savvy at all. This is my first tech business. I’ve never really sold a product in my life. Everybody sells. It’s part of any type of business. But I heard about this, and I was like, “You know, that’s something that sounds pretty cool. That’s something I could actually do as a side gig. And it sounds a little fun, actually,” which is rare.
Chris Guthrie: And just to clarify, the affiliate side, that’s part of how I got started. I was doing Amazon’s affiliate program years and years ago. And then built a site up and sold it and then started doing some software products and started selling on Amazon. Then here we are now with this podcast and doing Salesbacker. But I mean there’s definitely a lot that goes into that business model where you’re trying to rank websites and you’re doing keyword research and content marketing and writing all that to try and rank for different terms. And then you’re essentially selling these products, and you don’t really have a lot of say in the product itself, the say of what you might write about it. But that’s great. So you heard about it from me. That’s cool. I didn’t know that. And that’s how you got started. That’s great. That’s why I love doing this, cool.
So that was the business you have. So you started doing it...
Jake: I took a hiatus. I did that. I was trying to build a software business. But I’ve taken a vacation from my services side, just basically pumped a lot of money into trying to build a software-as-a-service type of business. And I put this on the shelf for about six months because I was really trying to focus on that other business. And I have “shiny object syndrome” really bad. So just trying to focus on one side business at a time, but this kept coming back up. And I felt like the momentum was building and I was missing out. So I was like, “You know what? I’m going to do it too.” And as I got into it and just started to educate myself like crazy… I actually didn’t get really back into it until June, I would say.
Chris Guthrie: Okay. So you heard about it first back in 2014. And then you started to focus more after you had that other business, but you wanted to take a bit of a break. So June then. Is that when you decided, “Okay, I’m going to actually go and pick a product.” And then June until beginning of September, that’s when you started selling, right?
Jake: Correct. And I went through a lot of renditions of samples. I kind of alluded to that in one of the Facebook groups that I’ve been commenting on. I took a pretty long time with the sample process and really just trying to revise it and get my product down to I was happy with.
Chris Guthrie: Since we’re talking about it and you brought it up, without going into the specific product that you’re doing, can you describe a bit more about what you’re doing with the samples? I mean I know that maybe it’s a tough question to answer, but I’m curious to see what you typically do with the samples before you go with something.
Jake: Let’s start by explaining my philosophy on it. It doesn’t mean it’s the right philosophy. I’ve done extremely well with my first product, but I’ve been in the business too long to assume that makes me an expert or even that I know what I’m doing necessarily. But I really wanted to customize. I knew that I wanted a higher-priced product. It didn’t appeal to me making a couple of thousand dollars a month. I really wanted to go big with it, just a little bit more fun and more valuable use of my time. So I knew if I did that I would have to have a customized product and it would have to be good. I went though samples. I went first thing to Alibaba, just like everybody else. There wasn’t even a Jungle Scout then. I was just doing the old-fashioned 999 process where you try to figure out how much people are selling. It was just pretty painful. At first, I was going to sell car mat, the protectors in the back of your seat, that are great product if you have kids because it protects the back of your seat. And I contacted the suppliers. And going through it, I was like, “Man, this is not a product I really give a shit about. This doesn’t excite me at all.” And I had something else in the back of my mind but is more expensive because I had done research looking for it to buy it myself. And I was like, “You know what? It goes against. It’s kind of contrary to what had been taught.” But pretty much everyone… and still is about the price and about the weight. But I guess you could say my gut, for what it’s worth, told me that I would enjoy that a lot more and I should just do it, and I’m glad I did. Then I went to Alibaba. And I think the key in Alibaba is you’ve got to kind of spread your net pretty wide. So I contacted almost 10 suppliers. And you’ll notice right away from the very beginning who to filter out and not because a lot of them just aren’t very responsive. And in my view, even more than price, responsiveness is the most valuable trait that your supplier can have. If they’re not responsive in the beginning, you’ve got to have a huge warning flag. So I filtered it down to about five that were pretty responsive, and then got it down to three to get samples from, which I think is pretty good regardless of the product. And I got three samples. And then on all three samples, I kind of pushed back and said, “Hey, I need this changed. I need this changed. I need that changed.” And I had a laundry list. And one of them just bowed out. And I think shortly thereafter, another one bowed out after round 2 or 3. And I spent some money on the shipping because my product is pretty heavy. It’s probably $100 a pop each time I had a sample. And I went through that maybe six times, four from the supplier that I ended up with and two from another. And it got to the point where after the third round, they’re like “dude, you’ve got to put in a bulk order” [laughs]. “We’re not going to do this anymore.” And I get it, right. They get the tire kickers. They get people that are just perennial sample receivers and aren’t willing to really cock the hammer and actually do it. So I understand. So I agreed. I was like, “All right, I’ll buy a thousand,” because I knew at that point that our relationship was such that I was going to go through with it. But I did. I was like, “Okay, man, here’s your $4000. Now give me my product, but don’t send out the bulk.” You think they would want to maybe get a really good product so we could both have a long-term relationship and that would be their goal. But at the end of the day, they’re just like Americans. If they want to sell it, they want to push it. They want to sell it. They’re not always thinking about the long term as far as we should really work with this guy or gal so that we can get a product that we both like and that he can sell. In that way, we get customer for a really long time. So you kind of have to force that issue by whatever means necessary. But my supplier is responsive. And my other businesses that I’ve had in the past, I pride myself on being responsive myself. And it’s vital because I have a lot of demands. I’m just a lot of little do this, do that, do this, not that, do this. And even now when I’m ordering, I just ordered 3200 units, and they’re sweating me for providing a couple of different samples that cost them probably $2. And I’m like, “Man, I should gently remind you that I’m putting a lot of money into your company.” And that’s just the nature of that company anyway, so I don’t hold it against them. They’ve been pretty good to me, and they have good rates. So I just take it and move on.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, okay. And that’s interesting. You’ve journeyed through those different suppliers and then you eventually find through attrition which one to go with. And even to your strategy, I mentioned this before that that is common advice. You hear a common price range, $15-$50 or whatever it may be, light enough to air ship and not too heavy. So it is a common thing. And so if you do the opposite approach, then none of the courses and none of the people are really talking as much about that.
Jake: Right, I knew that. The one deciding factor was whenever I hear about zigging, I want to zag to a certain degree, not completely out of the process but at least enough to ditch a large part of the competition.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, I really like that. That’s cool. So $4000 for your first 1000 units or $4 a unit.
Jake: That was just the deposit. That was just like the 40 percent or 30 percent.
Chris Guthrie: Can you share a rough range of where your sale price had fallen to just to give a...
Jake: Yeah, $50.
Chris Guthrie: That’s good. So they were $50, which is again below that kind of cut-off we talked about. All right, let me come to some of these other questions I have for you. You have this other business that’s your core moneymaker, your cash cow you could say. Part-time employees to help you out with it. How much time are you spending on your Amazon business every week now?
Jake: It depends. Usually, when I’m in stock, which is not now, I’m spending about an hour and a half a day. A lot of that is by choice, just because I enjoy it more. You’re going back to that slot machines, how many sales you made. And I choose to in-house customer service. For me, in my product, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I pride myself on over-the-top super customer service. They can ask me a question and I’m like “Free. Refund.” And they’re like “I don’t even want a refund.” And I’m like, “No, you got a refund.” Literally, I mean I totally… Somebody has any issues, and I’ve had a lot of them. It shows in some of my ratings. I’ve got a ton of reviews that talk about customer service. When I’m looking at a product, I know just me personally that that’s really important, making sure that seeing good ratings about customer service is something I certainly value as a consumer and want to repeat that as a seller.
Chris Guthrie: Definitely. And you mentioned that you’re currently out of stock. And this is probably a good time because I need to ask it. Where are you at sales wise? You’ve been up for a month. How much have you done sales wise?
Jake: I did from September 6th to October 7th, I did $52,000 in gross.
Chris Guthrie: That’s awesome.
Jake: Yeah. I didn’t profit all that, but I even profited a lot. I came close to $20,000 in pure profit for my first month.
Chris Guthrie: Fantastic. You mentioned earlier you’re doing a 3200-unit order.
Jake: That’s right.
Chris Guthrie: So 3200-unit order. And are you now looking at adding additional products to your line? To try and kind of use the bicycle spoke strategy, I suppose you could say where you’re going on to other things in the same niche.
Jake: Yeah. But I mean I really love variations. If you can squeeze the life out of that one review set, I think it’s insanely valuable. If you can tie a product to your parent product and utilize that review set and all the work that you’ve put in on that parent. So I have four or five variations right now. I’m going to push it all the way to like 12 different variations for that one product.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s interesting. I definitely agree that variations can help add quite a bit of sales. But then do you think there comes a point where you add so many that people get to the page and they think so many choices, they don’t know what to do? I think of it from the software standpoint where you have too many pricing plans and people just don’t… Okay, I don’t know, right? Have you thought about that? Or maybe it’s not a concern...
Jake: With my particular product either it works or it doesn’t, based on sizing and coloring. Either it’s going to work or it’s not. So I’m just trying to cast that net as large as possible so they don’t leave sales behind.
Chris Guthrie: Sorry to interrupt, but I was just going to say the fact that you mentioned sizes and colors, that definitely can add up quickly to have some of the variations.
Jake: Right. I have another product in the works right now also that I’m working on at the same time because my process takes so many different revisions. When I get the sample, then I’m completely just hacking it down. I mean my process, I didn’t really go into it further, but I think it has some value to folks. I mean I really look at the negative reviews and I just keep a note sheet just on soft copy right on my phone in one of the notes. Whenever I’m looking at negative reviews, I’m making notes. And I make 20, 30 notes from the negative reviews of themes that I pick up of what I want to see. And then when I get the sample, I start going through that, start hacking it down and see which one of those I can cure and really just try to push it with the supplier, try to get those in. For me, the cost of paying an extra $2 a unit when you’re at the higher price points, I could care less. Some of the manufacturers are trying to sell like, “Oh, that’s going to be expensive. It’s going to be 80 cents a unit.” I don’t care. I realize that. But at the grand scheme of things, if I’m charging… this next product, I’ll have an $80 product. It matters a little bit but not really. For the amount of value that you get out of turning that $9 product into a $13 product, you can have a product that’s twice as good and is head and shoulders above your competition. So I don’t really mind spending on the manufacturing side. I can make up for it at scale by packing containers full and really being efficient with my shipping.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, definitely, cool. You mentioned before that you’ve been selling for not a lot of time, so you’re not saying you’re an expert or anything. That’s probably the reason I wanted to have you on, because of the rapid success in such a short period of time. Some people, they launch their product. They don’t have success. Maybe they’re trying to sell garcinia cambogia for some reason with the 100 other sellers out there or whatever it may be.
Jake: If you’re trying to sell that, then you need a close-up shop.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, definitely. There are some products that if you’re starting the game now, don’t bother, unless you’re trying to come up with like a massive war chest of capital to try and compete. But I still wouldn’t advise that.
Jake: I think it means you’re a lazy seller. I hate to say it, but if you’re not willing to put in the time to really look at what’s working and what’s in the future and what a good process would be and looking at… listening to your podcast. Scott Voelker has got his podcast. Ryan Moran has got the Tribe. YouTube videos, online, you can pick up a ton of value what’s out there. And if you’re in a course, obviously, if you’re going through a course, you should be learning some of these things that are going to help you in the product selection stage, which is a huge, huge stage. I hate saying that because I know how hung up people get on that stage, and that could be enough to just completely walk away. But it is extremely important to really educate yourself before you choose a product because you can get deep into the product selection, shipment on their way and you start to realize things like, “Oh man, this is way too competitive. Or this market is not nearly deep enough. There’s just not enough demand.”
Chris Guthrie: Let’s talk a bit about that then. So you mentioned product research. So you knew right away you wanted to go for something that was basically… to use your words… I suppose you’re zagging in terms of the way that you’re picking your product. Did you know kind of right off the bat I’m going to go for a category that’s maybe not as popular? I’m not even sure which category you’re in.
Jake: I don’t want to say my category, it’s a pretty small one. But I knew that I wanted to be not in a sub, a sub of a sub category. I’d rather get my dollars from individual units than for having to go for volume because any time you have to sustain 100 units a day, when you hear that being thrown out, oh man. I don’t care what category you’re in. If you’re doing 100 a day, you’re going to have to do some serious maintenance to be able to keep those sales up. I could be wrong about that, but I’ve done a lot of research on it and have seen a lot of videos, and that seems to be the theme. So I wanted to go for a higher value product with larger margins instead to get my money that way.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah. Because you talked about how you went after a smaller category, we don’t have to mention anything, but even before we talked about this, you said you researched maybe even too much. In your research then, if you’re giving advice to other beginner sellers, are there specific categories that you’d recommend that people should avoid?
Jake: Not necessarily. I mean the one thing I would say and I repeat to people all the time, on Facebook messengers, people ask me questions, you’re just picking a product and you think it’s going to make money. It’s work for some people, but I think that’s a really terrible strategy. Just like any principle of a successful business, in my opinion – and I think if you ask people generally in business – you really should know that product or have a need for that product. People always say scratch your own itch. You should’ve wanted to look for that product. My philosophy in it is that you should be starting a business and then using Internet marketing and private labeling techniques to further that business, not you’re going to do a private-label business and the product selection is one stage of that. You know what I mean? I think it’s more important. Even if all those times you said, “Man, it’ll be cool if they had this for a product or it’d be cool if you could do this to that product,” I mean that’s kind of a good place to start and then get your research. It should be something that I think you’re familiar with, that you’ve ordered in the past. When you hear people talking about they’re going to get this special baby rattle that doesn’t have any chemicals and is clean, I’m like, “Well, do you have any babies?” No. Well, dude! [laughs]. I don’t know what to tell you.
Chris Guthrie: I definitely agree that the approach of having a personal interest or solving your own problem is definitely going to help you. And there are always going to be examples of people that they just pick something because it makes money and they can succeed. But I think that especially the market is pretty well developed now at this point of the game. And going with the approach that you have makes sense.
Jake: And even if it’s not that product, at least we talk about the avatar, your person that you’re trying to sell to and that you can sell multiple products to. At least having that category would be of interest to you. If you’re a hiker, you love to be outside all the time, sports and outdoor would be a great category. It’s pretty simplistic when it comes down to it. But me personally, I think that’s important, especially if you’re in a higher-priced item. I’m not going to touch anything under $40, really. I’m not going to say never because I might, but that’s certainly not my strategy. I’ve got to have some interest or know the product. Again, like I said, I’ve never sold anything in my life. I’ve never had an e-commerce business, never done anything technical like that at all, but just common sense, right? I mean a lot of people are asking me about certain private-label items and whether they should just put their label on it. And I’m like using common sense, would you compete with somebody who has 1000 reviews, already has a great listing? And you’re going to sell the exact same product but with way less reviews. I mean you might get some sales out of that, but I would strongly suggest making a tweak. Nothing drastic but do the research. Look at the negative reviews. See what can be tweaked. It’s really not rocket science. It’s been talked about by yourself. Scott Voelker talks about that. It’s a pretty common way of just making your product a little bit better. You don’t have to do anything super drastic either.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah. For people listening, I talked about Scott in episode 5, so go to Sellercast.com/5 if you want to check that out. Those are great points. Coming back to the initial success that you had, can you talk about your product launch strategy?
Jake: Yeah. I just went for the giveaway. I didn’t do a full giveaway. My product is about $55, and I give it away, I think, for $4 or something. And I did it on… Can I name specific services that I used?
Chris Guthrie: Sure.
Jake: I used AMZ Tracker and their review club. I can’t speak for the business there’s a long-term need for that software service because I haven’t found any other need for it. But their review club is excellent. And they’re professional reviewers. We can talk about shipping too because that’s a big one. But once I got my product to the FBA centers and I got that notice, it was pretty amazing because before I even did the giveaway, I was paying somebody to do my listing. I paid Marketing Words Karon Thackston. I paid her to do it after banging my head against the wall for days. Paid her $300 (I think it was about that amount). She did it for me, which was awesome. Before that, it just said testing in my listing. I have one parent photo, and it just said testing. And I didn’t even know my product could hit. And I was selling 2 a day [laughs]. I didn’t have a listing. That sounds like, “Whoa, it’s insane.” Who would buy my product? I would never buy that. I thought there might be competitors. But it happened for a couple of days. At that point, I was pretty confident that I was at least going to hit my 10 a day forecast. And I did the friends-and-family thing, kind of hit them up, begging for reviews. And then I did the AMZ Tracker. And I gave away a little less than $100 total. But I found that to be just way better. The friends-and-family thing, I don’t even think you need to do it anymore. I mean, I did mine, they helped me out and did it, but there are a couple of reasons. Number one, they don’t ever put the disclaimer in that they got it at a discount. And you can’t really ride people to, “Hey, can you have this disclaimer that you got it at a discount?” Because then they’ll put something that’s not right anyway. It can be just a lot of shaking people down when honestly, if you do the review clubs, they’re trained reviewers. You can hand-select them. You can see what their history of reviewing is and what ratings they give. For me, I really wanted video reviews. So I really honed in on them, asked people, “Hey, I’m giving huge discount, but I really want video reviews.” And I got a bunch of them, which kind of makes up for not being able to have videos in your listing because you’ve got organic videos from people who’ve received your product and posted lots of pictures and videos. And I honestly think that helped me quite a bit.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s a thing too. There are so many platforms out there. We don’t have to go into all of them, but that’s actually a whole another discussion, to see what will happen long-term of those. But I definitely agree on the friends-and-family side. Technically, Amazon updated their terms of service a while back, and they specifically call out things not to do. And it’s like get a family member to leave review for your product to help with sales. They specifically say that. And it’s one of those things where some people still do it. And it comes down to business decisions that people need to make. But I think the biggest point is just you can’t harass your friends or your family members to, “Hey, can you go write that review?” And it’s always going to be worse than someone else’s review.
Jake: Especially when you’re on product, like, four.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, definitely.
Jake: I don’t see why not... just use the review clubs. It’s just so much more stress-free. And they know what they’re doing. And it’s quick. And you can kind of phase it out as you want to. And I had a pretty good success rate. I think out of 90, I got maybe 60 reviews. And I got almost 130 reviews in that one-month time frame. And I got 4.8 or something average rating. All of my reviews now are totally organic. And I get a bunch of them. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by some of the great reviews. That’s just rewarding too when you see legitimate 5-star… not that the other ones aren’t legitimate, but there is a giveaway. But when you see people that pay full price and then leave like this product is so awesome…
Chris Guthrie: And on the review side, you’re just using Salesbacker now for the email follow-up to get the reviews.
Jake: Yeah. I know it’s your service and all, but it is a great service. And Scott has got a video on his YouTube channel that shows you how to do it. It was funny because I set aside a whole day. I’m like, “Don’t talk to me. Nobody make eye contact with me. I’m going to do this. I need to set this thing up so that the sales…” Because I didn’t even have it set up when the first ones were coming in. The first sale, it just happened really fast. It took me like 20 minutes. And I have humor built into mine. I think it’s funny. I didn’t use your humor template, but I just kind of put in my own...
Chris Guthrie: Yeah, I think as long as you personalize it, as long as you have a different angle, that’s like the key, I believe.
Jake: Totally. If you get a cat scratcher, “I hope your cat still has claws”, most likely.
Chris Guthrie: [Laughs] Well, cool. That’s awesome. So it’s pretty much just the review club giveaways. You obviously did a lot of work on your research for your product, the niche that you picked, and the pricing. One thing I was curious about actually, now that I’m mentioning it, is your product technically oversized? Or does it still fit in within standard size for Amazon in terms of FBA storage fees?
Jake: 18 by 14 by 8 (inches).
Chris Guthrie: I forget what it it off the top of my head...
Jake: I know it off the top of my head pretty well. I had my product actually specifically designed to fold right into a centimeter below all of those.
Chris Guthrie: Awesome. So when it arrived there it didn’t have like a thicker box than you planned on?
Jake: I had to tape measure out incessantly for all angles and go back to the manufacturer “You need to make another fold on… this part.” And they’re like “that part doesn’t fold.” And I’m like, “Come on. Make it so it does somehow.” I did. But with that said, coming up with oversized products, the next variations are oversized. And my next product will be oversized. I like that kind of stuff, like I said. I think it eliminates competition. You know what I mean? Get me an oversized product that’s heavy, that costs $100 and awesome, I love to sell it.
Chris Guthrie: That’s awesome. We’re getting close to the end. I like to try and keep our episodes at a specific length of around 30-minute mark or so. I’d like to talk just briefly about failures and then long-term goals. Along this way, you mentioned you spent a lot of time researching. But do you have any specific failures that you can speak to that you could give advice for people to avoid?
Jake: Yeah. I had a major failure in that a lot of my products that my manufacturer mislabeled. I can’t necessarily blame them. I don’t know where it happened, but the wrong product was mislabeled at Amazon for about 100 of my units.
Chris Guthrie: Oh dear.
Jake: A bunch of customers got the wrong product. And Salesbacker helped me with that, because people were getting back to me and they were like, “Help me understand.” That’s when a lot of them were like, “You know what? Keep that one. Here’s your money back. And here’s a promo code to get the right one. I’m totally sorry.” And it ended up being a good opportunity to show really good customer service. But yeah, it sucked because I couldn’t even turn on PPC for weeks because I had a listing that was one of my variations was down. And I was still selling over 30 a day. I mean the sales were just insane. And essentially half of my product was turned off because they were doing an investigation. That’s one of the things that 1) you should be really careful about what you ask Amazon to investigate because they’ll just close your listing down for weeks. Be careful what you wish for. It’s almost worth it, almost to live with a mistake and then just deal with your customers direct. It almost is because I didn’t even turn on PPC because of that because I had a listing that was down. And by the time I turned my PPC on, my sales were flying, and I ran out of stock really fast.
2) In that same vein, somebody has got to check the product. With mine, it’s too big. It’s a giant container. So I’m having my freight forwarder open up all the boxes and check them, just to make sure that what it says on the outside of the box matches that product that’s in the box because I have Amazon label it, and I only label the outside of the carton. But the first time that it’s really opened, the first time was when Amazon got it. And that I will never do again. I will make sure to pay extra to have my freight forwarder pop open those boxes and check each unit. It seems kind of intuitive, but I didn’t do it my first time. I was a little naïve about it and just assumed that it would go smoothly.
Chris Guthrie: Yeah. And you mentioned variation testing… One thing I was curious about… When you launched, was it two or three different variations you had?
Jake: Four variations when I launched.
Chris Guthrie: Four variations, okay, I was just curious about that, okay. And then the final question is really just long term. What do you see for this business? Are you thinking about selling the other business and run in full steam with this? I’m curious what your long-term thoughts are for the business.
Jake: Yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot. I’m definitely not getting out of my services business. That’s kind of my professional job that I know a lot about and done for many years now. And it has allowed me to be more choosy with my clientele, which is really nice. It’s kind of the 80/20 principle. I really have been able to get rid of a lot of the clients that were just causing me pain and not paying me very well. So I’ve got a couple of clients right now that are just excellent. Then I can kind of live with their volume of work a little bit more, which is awesome and is super profitable. And I like them a lot. So I don’t have any plans to do that yet. I mean my goal is to get it to 100K profit a month within maybe 18 months. I mean I’d like to get 5 high-priced products with several variations underneath this brand. I’d love to make 20 to 30K a month from each product, which I’ve done with my first. And I’ve been in business too long to assume that I’m going to repeat that magic every time, but I feel like I have a really good strategy. And I have the products laid out. And I’m actually better at it now. So if I can get to that 100K profit a month, I still wouldn’t quit my… I’d like to say quit, but I actually own the business. It’s services. It’s not really valuable necessarily. It’s great for cash flow, but it’s not a super valuable business. I would only think about making it full-time if I could open up other channels. If I got to the point where I maximized Amazon and then had different streams of revenue, that’s going back to the beginning of this podcast. One of the reasons I did this business is because my services business is feast or famine, and it’s doing really well now. But it just goes in cycles. So I really wanted a business that was more consistent as far as cash flow goes. And when you’re a business owner, it’s really nice to have alternative streams of revenue that aren’t completely dependent upon one. It’s important to focus, obviously. It’s extremely important to really give it all to one business. My long-term though, if I could get enough revenue and I could get alternative channels, then I would consider it. But I would really have to have a Shopify website. I really have to have a presence on Pinterest. I’d have to outpace somebody probably. Put me on Pinterest, get me on eBay, get me a Shopify site, do some Google SEO, and just really attack that side of it. But the reality is that I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of only hitting the Amazon channel. It’s just such a goliath compared to anything else. It just so far outweighs the volume that anyone else is pushing. I’d like to think that if Amazon does slow – which in a technology world is certainly likely at some point, that there would be another player or players that would pop up – then we would be able to have a presence on that as well.
Chris Guthrie: Definitely, awesome. Well, Jake, let’s wrap it up. I really appreciate you coming on to share your feedback. I know you mentioned again. That was kind of the theme that you’re a newer seller just starting out, but I think that the approach that you attacked it with was really unique in that regard. So I think it was a great story to share for everybody. Thank you so much for coming on to share it.
Jake: Thanks for having me.
Chris Guthrie: All right, thank you again. And we’ll talk again too.
Jake: All right, thanks, bye.
Outro: Hopefully, you enjoyed that episode with Jake. I think he had a lot of unique ideas in terms of how he was able to be so successful so early on. So make sure you check out the show notes, Sellercast.com/8 if you want to look at those. And also make sure you go to Sellercast.com/now if you’d like to get more product reviews for your products that you’re selling on Amazon. So I’m going to get you signed up for Salesbacker to check it out. Thanks again for listening, and have a great rest of your day.