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Mark Scott Adams is on the show today. Mark has been private labeling products in one way or the other for over 25 years and most recently on Amazon.

The conversation is heavily focused on many of the fundamentals Mark uses to find, source and launch products on Amazon. If you want a good refresher on the types of things you should focus on heading into the new year than you'll love this episode.

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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.

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Show Notes and Links

Podcast Transcript

Chris Guthrie: Hello everyone Chris Guthrie here host of Sellercast and in today’s episode I speak with Mark Adams who has been private labeling products in one way or another for over 25 years and most recently he has been doing it on Amazon; we will get into all of that in this episode and really today’s discussion is really a focus on the fundamentals and I think you are going to like a lot of what he has to say especially now as we are in a new year 2016 as we are recording this and let’s start the show. I think you are going to enjoy this one. If you want to check out the show notes you can go to

Chris Guthrie: Hello everyone Chris Guthrie here and with me today is Mark Adams. Thanks so much for joining me.

Mark Adams: I am glad to be here. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah so I’m really excited to have you on the podcast. We’ve known each other for a little while here and I really want to get into talking about selling on Amazon and some of what you do while you do it. Before we get into that, can you first cover how long you have been selling on Amazon for? 

Mark Adams: Well I’ve been doing private labeling for about 25 years now and way before the internet I guess and finding other products and selling them under my own brand. I had a chain of clothing stores so I went through the process then way back before the internet and in internet years that’s like 1000 years ago it seems but the process was the same. So been on Amazon just a little short of 2 years now but I’ve grown and watched it about 25.

Chris Guthrie: Okay great and so before you have been doing private labeling in the past when you had your own chain of stores. Now bring us up to the current time where you are doing private labeling on Amazon. Was it just the private labeling you have been doing in the stores that lead you up to Amazon and there was no gaping in between? What was the thing that you were immediately doing before that?

Mark Adams: Well actually the business I had before this was actually in the winery and we made wine under our own label but we also made wine for other people and put their label on the bottles, so we were private labeling from a manufacturing standpoint in that business and I ended up selling that and then the reality... right around when the recession hit things started…the business was going really well for a while but it was all predicated on selling wine you can host for an event, a wedding and that kind of thing. I guess the good thing out of it is that is the first time I really did manufacture under someone else’s name. I had always bought products and put my brand on it for different things over the years. This was the first time I actually manufactured something. You are sitting around and you know you know how to rock business; the question is where do you want to go? When you are in a business like that or any type of retail business you are kind of hoping to really clear about 10%. Then you got the hours, the leases, the tremendous investment. I then started thinking about Amazon although I was aware of it and then started looking at it a little bit more in depth and realized that I can sit around and do the same thing I’ve been doing for a long time and maybe clear 40-50%. No hours. No Sundays. No staff. No anything whatsoever. I’m sitting here thinking, gosh Chris this is a whole lot better than all of the other things you deal with in the real world. So that’s kind of what lead me to this. 

Chris Guthrie: (Laughter)

Mark Adams: It is nothing different than what I have been doing for 25 years except this is actually… I mean I was doing what is current 25 years ago then but this is what is current now and this seems to be so much easier and so much better than anything else I’ve done and I don’t know I guess I fully appreciate it because I did everything the old way and the hard way and this was just every day I get up and think boy I’m really fortunate to come along at this time and you do have the internet and you can do things from home as opposed to having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital sold as some leases on staff and all the other things that is really hard to get. This is a walk in the park compared to those things.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah that is a really good point. If you think about the amount of money it takes to start a business now compared to in the past pre-internet then yeah, it is a much different ballgame and it is great we have the opportunity. For anyone listening as well to be able to start, pick a product, get some initial inventory going, and then go from there, so that is great. So I ‘m actually curious, what was the first day you had a sale on Amazon then just to kind of put it into perspective. 

Mark Adams: I remember I was out eating dinner with my wife and I looked at it and I looked at it and I thought, I wasn’t quite understanding it because you are so wired to the dashboard and all this kind of thing. I got a sale! I can’t remember the profit of my first sale, I think it was $5.00 or something like that. I looked at it and I showed it to my wife who was like you know this is pretty cool. Now it is funny because we will look at it and we will go and eat and we will see what the sales are before we sit down and then we play a little game at the end of dinner we will look and see what the sales are and see if we have our dinner paid. (Laughter)

Chris Guthrie: (Laughter)

Mark Adams: It is funny, that first sale really is one of the wonderful moments in life where gosh I didn’t think all of this would work and then it is really cool and you find yourself becoming almost addicted to the dashboard whether it is on your phone, on the computer on your desk or whatever you are doing. You keep checking it for a while until you get used to it and you find okay I sold three today, I sold ten today and then your standards continue to change as you get higher but it is a wonderful thing when you’ve made something from nothing and that first sale is kind of the seminal moment in your online business.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah that is great! I remember 10 years ago when I was more doing AdSense site things and making money from making websites and I remember saying oh, it’s got a click and it is 0.30 or whatever. It is a great feeling, especially people who are listening who are not yet selling and hopefully you can give some of the advice here and use that as a motivation to get going. 

Mark Adams: It is kind of motivating isn’t it? It is like somebody responded to my effort. Somebody was willing to pay for what I did and it is just an incredible feeling. You are right, it is not the dollar, it is the 0.30 that is like validation of what you are doing. It is; I don’t know how to describe it other than this is pretty cool. You just have that feeling of it is just motivational, it is inspirational, and then of course once you get over that then you start doing it for managing it and money and all that kind of thing. That first sale you never forget. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that’s great. So then so have you just only done private labeling on Amazon or have you also been doing reselling other products as well or are you pretty much just focusing on the private labeling?

Mark Adams: Everything I do is private label. I mean arbitrage is fine if that is something somebody wants to do. A lot of people start out with that but for me I’ve done the five-day or seven-day a week type of scenario and for me that is just one of the things that probably would be a little bit easier to get started but once you do you are essentially doing a route and buying a job and when you stop income stops with you. I’m just more a committed fan of the private label aspect because you are building a semi-passive business where you do the work once or 95% once and then a little bit of maintenance along the way. It is just for me I actually chose private label because also too you have the opportunity to have a lot more control over your brand and what you do as opposed to simply reselling somebody else’s products. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah and let’s dive into that too actually. How much time are you spending now on your Amazon business? I know the bulk of the time is in dealing with getting a new product sourced and up and selling and primarily it is maintenance after that but where are you spending your time at these days? Do you feel like the portfolio of products you have now is what you want and are you good or are you still kind of in growth mode trying to focus on adding more products and doing that?

Mark Adams: Well I mean I was in growth mode for a while and then with the course I do with all of the students in the community that takes most of my time but as far as just the private label aspect of what I’m doing, I will start out every morning and I go to the dashboard and check and make sure everything is okay with the sales page and the world has not collapsed overnight; simple things. Check and manage sales and manage inventory; you know basic inventory management that I did 25 years ago and Amazon’s dashboard, talk about in the wayback machine, I paid $9000 in 1989 for a cash register computer that you can probably get for under $100 now but it managed inventory and the beauty of Amazon is they are giving you all of these things. They even send email and say hey you are about to run low get some more inventory. So I’m excited and that’s the gist of email. It is funny so as long as you are keeping up and managing your inventory there’s really not…you know the occasional email from a customer or something like that. Any promotions you want to do... gosh 10-15 minutes per day. When I train maybe 20 and if I really have something to do maybe half an hour. It is a few hours a month and the reality of it is it has been really more of one product because you are learning. Once you get in you can check things much quicker and the time goes down dramatically. I mean it is just as easy I think to manage 15-25 or 50 products as it would be to manage a handful.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, that makes sense. 

Mark Adams: So I don’t find it to be harder if you grow your business. 

Chris Guthrie: Okay. Yeah, we are not going to dive into your sales volume or obviously what products you are selling but one of the questions I did have actually is as you have been going along you mentioned that now it is primarily maintenance. What were some of the mistakes you made when you were going through this process of selling on Amazon and maybe you can relay some of those so people can learn from those mistakes and make sure they don’t make those same mistakes themselves? 

Mark Adams: There is an old adage, a military adage that might have come from the book The Art of War, I don’t know but it says the battle is won or lost before the first shot is ever fired and I remember reading that years and years ago and I took to heart and obviously summarize it and be prepared and make sure everything is right before you launch your business in this context but you know I think the mistakes people make is they don’t spend enough time making sure the product, the market, and everything is right before they launch. If all of that is right and good it is significantly easier. The mistake people make is they try to get into an item or category that is super competitive or a product that doesn’t have enough market because you get emotionally attached to the item. Then they struggle and struggle and get frustrated and many times they give up. If you do all of the hard work right at the beginning then usually most things will fall into place. I’ve been very, very fortunate. I’ve never had a product that didn’t make money. Obviously some make more than others but I’ve spent a lot of time in the prep phase so to me if I can pass anything along in the lines of like mistakes is just make sure you have a Goldilocks product. There are still I think thousands of those markets out there. Every time I think of something; when I talk to some of my students in coaching things they will come up and talk about and I’m helping them with an item and I’ll catch it and I would have never thought of that in a thousand years and it turns out to be a really, really good market and product and they have done a good job on it. It is all downhill if you do all the prep work. I’m kind of actually doing some remodeling in my house now and I sit back thinking when I was younger and I painted rooms and I wouldn’t tape I thought I could just do it and don’t walls and you still put the paint on it and it looked sloppy after the fact but if tape and sand, and all that kind of stuff, it actually looks different and the house difference is in the prep. To me Chris I think the mistake is that people don’t put enough effort into making sure they’ve got a good product and again that is hard to do. It is easier to say than to do but if you get that part right, everything else falls into place. 

Chris Guthrie: That’s a great point, I mean I think it makes sense, you can’t build on something that is unsteady ground in the first place, so it really comes down to the product you pick. Let’s dive into that then actually. What are some of the ways you look for products? I was talking to a friend earlier this morning before we got onto this call and he told me he spent a month launching this product and all these different details to get through and he only had a handful of reviews and was already doing fairly well out of the gate and it comes back to that preparation process being so important. Can you talk a bit about what you are doing when you are looking for products and how you are trying to make sure you find those ones? 

Mark Adams: What I do is I start out; I think so many people start out backwards whereas if they have an interest in something they tend to start with that because there is a comfort level to them and that may or may not be a good marketable product. What I tend to do is I walk through places and stores and I look a products. I walked into like a loan store yesterday and I saw an item. I know I had to get some kind of hardware stuff but then they had right there at the front, they had you know the Keurig coffeemaker thing…you know what that is?

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah, yep. 

Mark Adams: The little single K-cup thing, whatever they are. I didn’t know what those were until recently because I don’t drink coffee but anyway my wife got one of those for Christmas and sure enough walking in there in Lowe’s they had a K-cup shelf holder. I don’t know what you call it you store this little storage area with K-cups. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah.

Mark Adams: I’m sitting here thinking you know I wasn’t in Amazon product mode but I stopped and looked at that and I thought you know that is a perfect item, it is small, it is lightweight, and it is an accessory for something people need. Again, it ticks a lot of the boxes in doing that. It is funny when I tell my students how to find products. I literally…I know this sounds crazy and I know it is silly but I literally will take my two fingers, my forefinger and my thumb and put them together on both hands and put them over my eyes and pretend it is my Amazon goggles and I know it is like a mental trigger really what it is but it allows me to walk into a store and look at items other than just items and you are looking at them as if they are Amazon items. If I wouldn’t have been in… I guess I’m always in Amazon mode now wherever I go. If I wouldn’t have been in Amazon mode or product finding mode I would have walked right past that K-cup holder and never thought of it as an Amazon product. I probably would have not paid any attention to them but I look at products and would this make an Amazon product and that is really the starting point wherever you go. I mean I walked into a store the other day to get my daughter a backpack or something for school and we walked into a big sporting store, I don’t know if they are nationwide or not; anyway, big box sporting goods store. While she was looking at the backpacks, I walked over to the camping section. I don’t know anything about camping but just by size, item, pricing and all the different things I must have found ten potential Amazon markets. So you know I’m like this down in the phone in the mid section and then come back and do the research and see where they fall in the process and I will see some of them fall out because maybe a market is too competitive or maybe there are not enough sales. I try to start out with a market or product and then go down. I’ve actually created a market product checklist for my students that is available on my website that actually is a scoring system. I am one who because I’ve been doing a thousand products over the years of the last 25 years so I kind of do it in my mind but I created this checklist to kind of have a balance to what I was doing and it shows and measures by score the market competitive aspect, the size aspect, how easy or hard it might be to get that product running. So I used that a lot just to kind of balance things out and for me that is the easiest part for me is finding a product and I realize that is a big opposite for… There’s a lot of areas that I am not very good but finding products is probably my specialty. I talk to some of these students where that is the hardest thing for them but it is intuitive for me at this stage with the experience I have. I think the key is keeping your mind open to potential products to make people narrow in their focus and they can find products. I don’t know. Does that sound crazy or does that sound… a little bit strange or maybe right on track? 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, no I like that. I think that a lot of times too especially if you are building an online business it is easy to sit back in your office chair and think to yourself okay, what products can I sell and maybe you are looking around on but if you are not out actually visiting stores and trying to put yourself in a buyer mindset then it is even more challenging; especially people who are having trouble with that then maybe that is a good tip for them to do. Going back to that checklist. Is that something that I can include a link to in the show notes and people can check that out?

Mark Adams: Absolutely, it would be at

Chris Guthrie: Okay and so just for people that are listening right now that might be in the car, can you talk about some of the checklist items that are on that? 

Mark Adams: Well what it basically does is it starts out and it goes for like 1 to 5 points and obviously the more points you have the better… it scores the product… For instance it might be: “Is the item under 1 pound?” Because you want a small light-weight item that is going to be very inexpensive when you share. It has in there is the size item 8 x 8 x 8 which is basically when you put your two hands together and link your fingers. It just gives you visual references, so a small product because products that are bigger and heavier and cost more on Amazon fees than items that are smaller and lighter. I’ve got in there ways to check the market by looking at maybe the number of reviews, by some of the top items in that particular category and then it scores it. I’m a big believer Chris that so many people get enamored by people and say well I’ll make a gazillion dollars a year on Amazon and you can too! That’s fine. (Laughter). We all know there are people out there that do make large sums of money but for somebody starting out, I think it is a little more realistic to shoot for maybe $1000 month and $1500 month profit that might be on page 1 and spot 7 maybe. You are still going to make money from that page and it is a little bit under the radar and low-hanging fruit. You go through the learning curve and then by the time you get into your second product, then you’ve got everything to scale up and do bigger and more competitive products but getting back to the product checklist, you’ve got all the different things about is it a good gift item, is it something intuitive. An example I use a lot of times is a cutting board, like a bamboo wood cutting board, chopping board that everybody has in their kitchen. That is a really good item because nobody has to…you don’t have to explain to somebody how to use a cutting board. You just put the item on there and you cut the food; whereas opposed to you having some kind of electrical item that had instructions that took something to figure out people might get frustrated with that and then they are going to write bad reviews. Little things like is it a national item. It is hard to compete with national items. I think instead of like we said earlier about the Keurig K-cup accessory holder, okay they’ve already got a national brand by you are just doing the accessory item. I heard someone say the other day in a conversation and started talking about drones and everyone is buying toys and all of this kind of stuff. They guy says well how about capitalizing on that and what he came up with was a drone landing pad as an accessory to the drone which I thought was an incredibly clever. That is the type of product that you are looking for. Little product like is the product breakable? Again, there are probably about 25 different items of checklist things on there that you just go through. It is not meant to be an absolute Chris but it is just a guideline to help people pick products. As someone who teaches people how to do this I find that is the hardest thing for most people when they come into the business is picking a product and that checklist helps them out a good bit.

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah definitely and I will create a link to this and show notes to people who are listening. It will be to go and check out that link there in case you missed it before when we were talking about it. Let’s dive into sourcing. We spent a lot of time talking about picking products but I think that is the part especially when people are starting out and now we are recording this in January I figure there are more people in the mindset of thinking about starting a new business but let’s talk about some of the sourcing. You mentioned before in your product research phase you were looking for lightweight items you can airship and all of that. Are you primarily sourcing your products from Alibaba or are you doing other types of websites as well?

Mark Adams: That’s how I started and you can still do a very viable profitable business going through Alibaba I think too but obviously everybody knows who it is now and that is fine. There is certainly everything on there you could ever need but one of the things I am doing now and for those who have been doing this just for a little bit of time now but everybody is still relatively new; I’ve been doing this just for a little bit of time. I actually go to China and attend the Canton Fair. I will meet a lot of my vendors or find new vendors and suppliers at the fair. One of the things that makes it unique is that they know that if you have traveled halfway around the world to be there, you are a very serious buyer and they will treat you very differently than just they would do an email from the 50 emails maybe they have gotten that day on the Alibaba system. I found that when I was there in China that I was getting about 30% less in prices than I was getting through Alibaba. The other thing is there are plenty of options to have things custom made. Again, I believe in doing a premium product and premium packaging and all these types of things to separate from everybody else. Again, most of these suppliers they don’t... I mean they are making everything custom or semi-custom anyway so they don’t care if they do something with a twist or something different in packaging for you. You don’t have to go to China to do any of that but what I think... they are just doing surface level on Alibaba. They can get into several of these people more custom things if they just are able to get a relationship with the supplier. But long way to answer your question Alibaba is where everybody starts and I still think it is fine and there are just so many suppliers and again if it is not overdone and in equal you can still build a very, very viable and large business just dealing with Alibaba but if you want to do things like the next step and want to tie in that type of thing then that is available as well. 

Chris Guthrie: I like that. I think that if you are starting out yeah it makes use Alibaba and get going and then maybe once you have enough money from your business profits or so you have more capital to get going then yeah, it makes sense to go to China. You mentioned 30% less on some of the prices you are getting and certainly I would pay for your plane ticket over time if you are going to pick up those products as well so that’s great. 

Mark Adams: I just went to the last one here in October. I took like 35 of my Amazon buyers and people in my community over with me and we all had a good time. We did some training and different things but we actually spent time talking about… before the internet you used to have to go to trade shows to buy all of your things and you would buy for the season and all of that but now that has changed somewhat and everything is online. This is an old-school type of going and buying immediately in person. Again, there is still a place for that in business and if you are serious about your business it is not very expensive to go to China. I mean you can go to China for like half the cost to go to Europe. The exchange rate is very, very good but you are right with the savings that you get there I think you can easily pay for your trip and not only that I’ll make the joke that if you can’t find a six-figure business at the Canton Fair you are … job (Laughter) There are so many things there. There are like 20,000 vendors there Chris! If you can’t find a product from 20,000 vendors, give up. (Laughter) I try to tell people go through, get down to your suppliers and what you are looking for but then take a day and walk through what I call a day of discovery where you are just in Amazon McDonald's kind of thing and you start to see products that you think would just make a good Amazon product and you would never believe with a whole brand or whole new item that might put... $1500 grand in your pocket over the next year. It is just fast and it is three stages. I get all the devil work stuff because it is fun to go but it is also profitable to go. 

Chris Guthrie: That’s great. Going along the supplier and the sourcing route, is there anything else you are doing when you are sourcing these products? Are you using an inspection service when you work with a new supplier for example? Just kind of curious about more of the details about how you are sourcing your products beyond just the places you are sourcing them from. 

Mark Adams: You know I’ve looked into more complex things like that and I think certainly there is a place for them. Again, I believe in that list and guys do what you need to do to do your business well but when I talk about things like this people are always surprised of how simple I do my business. I am not necessarily doing it indifferently than somebody who I’ve taught or somebody who is relatively new. I mean I might work at it harder but I am not doing anything unusual. This is one of those businesses people just seem to shoot themselves in the foot because they want it to be harder than it is. (Laughter). You have to fight yourself to keep it simple. I’m a smart guy I want to do this. I want to... I’m just like just do it. This is a football game but you are running off tackle three out of four plays. Boring! Why don’t you engage? People want to come in and they want to throw a 30-yard pass every play and ultimately they lose because they are overthinking this. I don’t do things like inspection services or things like that because I took the time to order in small enough quantities and I try to keep my first order relatively small to where if something goes wrong the sun will come up tomorrow and I’m not going to be bankrupt because something happened. I’ve been fortunate as I have not had any issues to this point but part of that I think is that I communicate in a professional way. It is easy for a manufacturer to read between the lines and see who kind of knows what they are doing and who is not. Again manufacturers want to work with people who are going to take up the least amount of their time and be more profitable. So I kind of get to the point and polite and not a lot of the other stuff and it seems to go well. The only thing that I do and communicate is I try to be very clear in what I want and at least put it in an email so they can come back and read because even they speak really, really good English, they don’t think that they do so by putting it in words they can at least refer back to what you want. I found they are very receptive to doing what you want as long as they can explain and understand what it is you want. I have been very fortunate. I truly like dealing with them because they want to be helpful. Pretty different in our culture where again the issue of your people being here and not there but Chris I’m not doing any… I’m not doing anything unusual. I’m not using inspection services. I don’t have people go to the factories. There is a certain element of trust that if it does not turn out to be what I want it to do, well then shame on me and I’ll move on to something else. I just think I’m motivated by the possibility of success than the fear of failure if that makes any sense. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, yeah, no I like that. 

Mark Adams: I tend to be trusting I guess and I am fortunate to not been burned yet but maybe it will be tomorrow. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah and the fact that you are using smaller initial quantities then yeah you can justify that potential risk someone might see in their eyes but yeah if you are trusting people you are clear in your communication then yeah; you should expect they would give you what you’ve asked for. So I like that. I think overall just as we have been talking it is a lot of really good take-home points for people who are listening and thinking about what they should be doing when they are trying to start this business or people who are even further along as a reminder that hey you know sometimes you are getting back to the basics and just keep focusing on those elements as important as opposed to worrying about every single minor detail.

Mark Adams: People get caught up in the minutia. You’ve just got to hope some things go right sometimes. It is funny talking about fundamentals I used to be a pretty decent basketball player years ago, another world it seems like. But I can hear my coach in the back of my head right now when you just want to go out and shoot the basketball. You’ve got to learn the fundamentals! You’ve got to be able to play defense. You’ve got to be in shape! Blah, blah, blah. You just want to shoot the basketball! You know the stereotype, the whistle, wearing the polyester pants; the whole classic coach scenario. That applies in this as well. If you just do the simple things well everything will fall into place. The biggest mistake is people just trying to overcomplicate this. 

Chris Guthrie: That’s great. 

Mark Adams: Like I was telling somebody the other day. The dumber I get, the more money I make! (Laughter). 

Chris Guthrie: (Laughter) I like that.

Mark Adams: Maybe I was foretelling about me than anything else but yeah, time and time again people just overcomplicate this. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, okay. So we are kind of getting close to our time. Do you have a little bit more time here? 

Mark Adams: Sure. 

Chris Guthrie: Okay, I want to just briefly talk about once you’ve picked your product, you’ve sourced it and then the actual selling process. I know that a lot of the theme of this conversation has been just do the fundamentals right the first time and then everything else just kind of falls into place. When you do launch your product store do you do anything special or do you just do your research and just get your product up and you might get some extra reviews and then you are kind of off to the races or is it just something else you are doing?

Mark Adams: Well I think too there is a process that I want to make sure that I have good pictures. I want to make sure I have good copy. Most people I think tremendously undervalued that. It is like they will go and spend all their money on a product and then get bad pictures or take them with their own cellphone and they look horrible or whatever it is and in some places run 95 yards of a 100-yard dash and they trip up right at the end. I try and make sure everything on the page is as good as possible and then what I will do is go out and get reviews. I actually have a review group and we can send it there or you can start out with 150 reviews or so here in the US anyway. You can get one in the UK as well. But you start and you run your product through that and it automatically you’ve got that initial push of what you all know is listing of sales and in your conversion rate and then your quality and quantity reviews. By getting reviews like that it ticks all of the boxes and then once you’ve probably... if you picked your keywords right and we can talk for hours on keywords that’s a whole other area where people make large mistakes on but if you have your keywords that are buyer intent keywords and you’ve gotten rank for those keywords because of these reviews then you are put in a position to do well. Then you either have to sink or swim. If your pictures are good and all these other things you are going to maintain these conversions and you are going to maintain starting to get more organic sales from being on that higher page or first page and then you are on your way. Then I am a believer that some people start out and do Amazon PPC day one. I am a believer that I would rather wait until I get at least 25 to maybe 50 reviews simply because PPC is not a fix. It is not a panacea. It is just a continuation of what you already have. So if you are not getting any organic sales PPC is not going to make any difference. I just think it adds more of what you are already doing so that ultimately means that you have to have again your copy and keywords right and your pictures done well. If you do all of those then you turn on PPC and then I think you can add as much as 30% to your overall sales which again PPC sales count as your sales and conversions with all those things as well. Again and then the next level is but well I’ve tried about everything you can think of; Facebook ads, all kinds of things. I have really not for me, I have not found the magic bullet to make it work. I did a little bit and it worked but not enough to where it was worthwhile so what I do now is I look at it this way; if I want to have a product that is going to do 90% of maybe what it could ever get I kind of leave it alone and throw PPC at them because I can spend money on ads and everything else and maybe get it to 93-94% of what it can every give but then I started asking myself about six, seven, or eight months ago what if I keep that same amount of money and just invest it in another product. The total dollars are more by adding another product and having it be at 90% than obsessing over having the 94%. 

Chris Guthrie: I like that. 

Mark Adams: That is precisely what making sure everything is done well and then there is a certain amount of hoping that it works. Again absolutely every product that I have done I have been fortunate enough to make money on but more on others than some. Some have not done as well as I thought and vice versa. You really never know until the marketplace tells you how well you did you know by yourselves. Again, a simple philosophy is rinse, wash, repeat. 

Chris Guthrie: Yeah, okay. So then final question since it is January. What do you think and this will wrap us up here; what do you think people should be thinking about as they head into the 2016 year for their businesses as they are trying to grow or as they are trying to start. What would you maybe say to something they should focus on. Maybe you see something like a shift in the way the market is looking or it could even just be an reiteration of the fundamentals that you spoke of before. 

Mark Adams: I think along with the continuation of what we’ve talked about already is that don’t overcomplicate it. The market is far from oversaturated. There are thousands of markets and products left. I think I read somewhere I don’t know if it is accurate or not but I think it was like Amazon added like 10 million Prime members over December. More and more people are shopping on Amazon every day. Amazon is looking into getting their own fleet of trucks and taking over shipping. Amazon is only going to get bigger. I think it is the right place to be and I think you can over think certain things and strategies. It is just biggest thing that you get in, we talked about finding products and launching it and continuing to launch products. It is just simple as that. It is not sexy. Everybody wants the magic diet pill but if you do the basic stuff this is all diet, exercise, and you will lose weight. Simplistic stuff here and you will make sales. It is just that easy I think. I know that is not exciting. I know there is no buzz word there but I think that’s reality. 

Chris Guthrie: No that’s good. It is refreshing. I think if people listen to this and they think about what they are doing as they head into the year then yes, remember to focus on those fundamentals is the key thing to keep in mind. 

Mark Adams: Oh man I turned into my basketball coach, you know that don’t you? (Laughter). He would turn over in his grave. His personal thing was just to yell at me every day because I never wanted to listen to what he said. Amazing how the cycle of life...  (Laughter).

Chris Guthrie: Thanks again so much Mark for coming on and sharing all your thoughts on how you run your business and also too for giving people advice on what they should be thinking about as they head into the New Year. 

Mark Adams: I’m glad you are happy and appreciate being here. Thank you very much. 

Chris Guthrie: Thanks Mark. Alright, that was the episode with Mark Adams. Hopefully you enjoyed the conversation that he and I had and the focus on fundamentals that he really spoke about is something you can latch onto as you head into 2016. I wish you the best in growing your business and as always thank you so much for listening. You can go to to check out the show notes and if you want to leave any reviews on iTunes or wherever you may be listening to this podcast those are always appreciated as well. Thank you so much and we will see you in the next show.