How I Accidentally Learned to Crush It on Amazon

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When I started selling my own brand of products on Amazon, I didn’t know ANYTHING about selling online. I managed to sell $25,000 worth of product in my first three weeks, but that was totally LUCK! I completely stumbled on that success by good fortune.

It wasn’t marketing savvy, it wasn’t business sense, it wasn’t anything tangible that led to this. It was the right product, on the right marketplace, at the right time. Despite this, however, I somehow got sucked into a whole new world of entrepreneurship. I was essentially handed consulting clients. Before I could blink I had a dozen brands I was consulting for.

One minute I was at my copywriting job, trying to concentrate on work, and the next minute I was fielding interview calls from interested clients who collectively would pay me three times what I was making as a copywriter. I walked out of the back room where I was taking these calls and put in my notice right away.

At the exact same moment, a friend and colleague who actually DID have experience and savvy in the industry was starting a service for Amazon sellers and needed some help with copy. He hired me on as a copywriter making just a little more than I had been paid at that day job I just quit.

Being thrust into the industry was a bit overwhelming at first. I didn’t think I could do it and certainly didn’t believe I was qualified. Regardless of this, I had clients that depended on me, and a service that was growing faster than we could keep up with.

Trial By Fire

My consulting clients had me on the phone with Amazon seller support, particularly their catalog team, for about two hours per day. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about how to deal with Amazon support, how to get changes made to listings under different circumstances, and how things worked a bit differently from category to category.

Meanwhile the service I was writing copy for was growing too fast to scale doing business the way we were doing it. I helped to streamline the business, allowing us to exponentially grow in size, rapidly. This earned me a position as an executive, where I was able to help shape the company based on my own needs as a seller and the needs I saw in brands of all sizes (my clients).

This also gave me access to data. Lots of data. I was able to see what worked and what didn’t. How many units and at what discount would a product in a specific niche need to run promotions with in order to rank on page one for a given keyword? What promotion types were working? What URLs worked for gaining rank faster? What keywords were the best to target? What strategies would lead to organic sales and profit faster?

My experience with Amazon’s catalog team and support also taught me a lot about the rules. What style guidelines were non-negotiable? Which ones could be bent or broken? What can a seller do within TOS to gain a competitive advantage? How were unscrupulous sellers taking advantage of others and how can that be protected against?

Initiation

After my own personal win, I gained enough attention to get a few clients. Thankfully, despite my lack of experience, I was able to gain a few wins for a handful of them as well. I helped one client grow from an average of $60k per month to over $120k, with Q4 numbers hitting as high as $300k. I helped another client grow their business from $0 to over $50k per month in a manner of only a couple months.

I had some failures too, however. I learned that the rules in certain niches were different, and some I was much less equipped to handle. I learned through that failure that some strategies that work well in one category will not work in others.

These successes and lessons learned helped to get my name somewhat known in the industry and I was invited to speak at my first conference. It was not a paid opportunity, but thankfully my company saw the value of having me on stage promoting our services for sellers and footed the bill.

I pulled together the best information I could about what I had learned super successful sellers were doing to gain and maintain a strong brand presence on Amazon. I tapped into the data I had access to, my own experience with my brand and with my clients’, and my inner circle network of entrepreneurs who helped me get where I was.

At that event, I gave the driest, most boring presentation, with no images, no jokes, no animation, I didn’t even move from the podium. However, the subject matter was very well received, and from there I was invited to three more events. I was initiated into the “experts” club and began my circuits traveling the world and talking about Amazon.

Real Insider Knowledge

When you get the privilege of speaking at an event, you have a couple options. You can just show up to speak your part and then leave, OR you can participate in the event, get to know the other speakers, enjoy dinners and lunches out and really network.

The amazing advantage to networking and participating is you get to pick the brains of people who are immensely more talented, more successful and smarter than you are. While I learned a bunch from my inner circle of entrepreneur friends, the people I was exposed to as a speaker were nothing short of phenomenal.

As neophyte sellers we have this idea in our heads that all of the big time sellers get together at super expensive masterminds and drink brandy and talk strategy, inventing the next big tactic that will explode their businesses. At least, I had these fantasies. And it turns out, I wasn’t far off the mark. For weeks on end, while traveling from one speaking event to another, I’d have meals and break bread with super successful ecommerce experts. We’d discuss current tactics and talk about nuances of search algorithms, anomalies and anecdotes related to personal experiments.

We would actively ask each other advice, pick each other’s brains about topics we individually were more adept in and otherwise formulate actionable plans to try and reach the next level in our businesses. All behind the scenes of the stage we were to present on.

I cannot even begin to quantify the knowledge I gained on these trips. For the first time in my life I understood the true value of networking and felt I had tapped into a resource of “real” insider knowledge.

Some Takeaway Lessons for You

I don’t just want to talk about how I learned some tricks without sharing some. Without going into too much detail (because that could take awhile) I’ll outline some brief tactics that may help you put your brand’s best foot forward.

Optimization – Listing optimization is a complex aspect of selling on Amazon that involves a lot of moving parts. Keyword research, copywriting, photography and SEO (to name a few). However, I’ll give you a couple of quick tips that are simple to implement and will help you on your way to maximized traffic and conversions.

On Amazon your “traffic” is called “sessions.” Obviously, having more traffic gives you more of an opportunity to convert, so it is important. There are three main factors that affect sessions, two of which you have total control over. These are your main image, your title and your star rating.

Your main image is, arguably, the most important thing on your listing, because it signals to people that they have found what they're looking for. The main image, in essence, controls your sessions. For this reason, it is important that your main image is stellar.

Your main image should be the absolute best image of your product there is. It should take up most of the image, with a white background so nothing distracts from it. It should be the best angle, that shows the most features. Think of it kind of like a dating profile picture. You’d likely make that image the best one you possibly could. This situation is no different.

Also be sure to optimize for mobile browsers. It is very important that your product stands out. Your main image dimensions will play a part in the way your product looks on these browsers. Make sure it's at least 1000 pixels on each side (2000 is even better). Also, make sure the image is either a perfect square or a tall rectangle. Short rectangles tend to look smaller in mobile. Tall rectangular images will appear bigger if you have a tall product (like if it's a person modeling clothing).

Make sure the first 80 characters of your title clearly explain what the product is and includes an obvious benefit. While the title is not as compelling a reason for clicks, it does help validate that the image is accurate.

These things will help you to get the most traffic. The rest will rely solely on conversions, which is largely affected by compelling copy, great photography, and good reviews.

Advertising – One ninja tactic I employ to utilize Amazon’s advertising opportunities to the fullest is what I call the “Brand Inundation” technique. This technique is most effective if you have access to AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) and have at least three products.

First, be sure to do what you can to rank on page one for your primary keywords. Then, if you have more than one product (preferably similar products or ones that can cross over into the same keywords), run sponsored product ads so that one product shows up on page one and adjust the bid for another product to show up on page two. That way, you are seen twice - once on page one and once on page two.

Then run Headline Search ads (must have at least three products to do this) so that you also appear at the top of the search page. Make sure your headline has the search term you are bidding for in it.

Finally, if you have AMS, run ads on your competitors’ listings. Also run ads ON YOUR OWN LISTINGS. Use one product to run ads on another product, that way your competitors cannot buy that space. This way your brand is visible at multiple points for any given search.

“They” say that the average consumer must be exposed to a brand at least seven times before they decide to buy. With this advertising method, you can achieve those seven exposures faster.

Reviews – Getting reviews is by far the most talked about and trickiest of tasks in the Amazon world right now. Amazon has effectively cut third party sellers off at the knees by disallowing products to be given at a discount in exchange for review, disallowing anyone connected with the seller from leaving a review and disallowing people who buy products at a deep discount to voluntarily leave reviews.

This is why having a system in place to get reviews is crucial, especially in the beginning of a product launch. My advice is to build your own community of buyers. Run Facebook ads to create a community, either through a messenger bot, email list or a group. Engage that community with content and interaction and get a discussion going about your products. Then, activate them for reviews.

When you have your own list of brand enthusiasts, you can find ways to get products in front of them, through discounts, rebates, other marketplaces, etc, and then ask them for their feedback. Provide them with the means to do so voluntarily and under no compulsion. Let them know they can leave this feedback on a number of available platforms, but request Amazon’s product review section.

Through careful marketing and activation, you should be able to grow a group that you can rely on for reviews and feedback for all of your products.

The Pitch

I go into more detail about these tactics and a bunch more in my book “Bootstrapping E-commerce: Advanced Amazon Tactics.” The book is a culmination of these experiences over years of selling on the ecommerce platform.

(Get it here.)

It is the second volume in a two-part series of Bootstrapping books. For beginners, I’ve also written “Bootstrapping E-commerce: How to Import and Sell on Amazon.

I wrote the Bootstrapping series in order to provide people who were truly interested in selling on Amazon with an affordable way to learn the process. Right now there are too many guru courses that sell for thousands of dollars and don’t really get into the nitty-gritty of what needs to be done to be successful. I won’t claim that these volumes are the definitive guide to riches on Amazon, but I do detail the tactics, strategies, failures and successes I’ve had so that you can see the steps from all angles.

So I encourage you to join me on this adventure called selling on Amazon. Here’s to your success.

How I Started an Online Business with No Money, Sold $25,000 Worth of Baby Products in 3 Weeks & Quit My Job

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So there I was, in my early thirties, a wife and two kids, barely making ends meet earning around $30,000 a year working two jobs. Life wasn’t bad, but there were definitely parts that needed improvement. Like being able to spend more time with my family. My oldest daughter had just become a teenager, so getting any time with her was already hard. And I simply hated having to leave for work on a Sunday morning while my youngest pranced around out back asking me to push her on the swing.

Also, it would have been nice to simply be able to afford things. Nothing fancy or lavish. Just…you know….STUFF. Like an occasional trip to the movies. Or, heaven forbid, a bottle of wine that cost more than 15 bucks.

Overall though, I couldn’t complain. The most important thing was that I had a loving and healthy family. It was always the most important thing, and it always will be. However, as important as it is to appreciate what you have, this story isn’t about being content and settling into life as it is, for better or worse. This story is about how I took control of my destiny and my family’s future and how you can too, if that’s what you want.

The Pivotal Moment

I was a copywriter for a web design firm by day and server at a seafood restaurant by some nights and weekends. I was strapped for time and energy. I knew I needed something better for my family, but finding it in me to cultivate that dream wasn’t easy. One evening during a rare minute of downtime, I happened upon a video about how easy it is to make money selling your own branded products on Amazon using their fulfillment program, FBA. This sounded way over-simplified, but it caught my attention.

The basic gist of the video was that all I had to do was order products from factories on Alibaba, have them brand the products to my specifications, send the goods to Amazon and, as long as I could write a good listing, I would be in the money in no time.

That last part hooked me. As long as I could write good copy I’d be successful. I was a copywriter. It was a no-brainer.

I had found my opportunity, or rather my opportunity had found me and I had the initiative to grab it. As simple as it sounded, I knew this was their copywriting talking and there was plenty of hard work ahead, but I figured it was this or remain where I was. I made the decision that this was going to be the thing I did to take control of my life. That was the pivotal moment.

Educating Myself

My first step was to put together a plan of action. I couldn’t just stumble into a business I knew nothing about. I needed to learn a thing or two about what I was doing. So I got to work studying.

At the time there was a prominent affiliate course that taught the how-tos of setting up a seller account on Amazon and setting things in motion. It was a very expensive course. But I decided to go ahead and buy it. I didn’t have the money for inventory, much less this course. However, I was determined to figure something out.

Today, there is an abundance of information available all over the internet on how to get started on Amazon, many of which cost WAY less than the $3500 I ended up spending. But at the time, it was worth it.

Aside from learning how to set up shop on Amazon, I also needed to tackle the ins and outs of importing. My instructions from the course were to order products from factories I found on Alibaba. This meant I would probably be sourcing from China. I couldn’t imagine that importing from Asia was so easy that anyone could do it, so I searched for books and settled on two, both available on Kindle:

·        Import Export Business; How To Import From China Using (O.P.M.) Other People’s Money by Perry Belcher

·        How to Import from China Starting with $250 by Stephen Jorgensen

When I felt confident that my importing knowledge was sufficient to get started, the next step was to figure out exactly what I would import. This was the most crucial piece of the puzzle, too. Everyone has a theory on what you should sell and how you should discover it, but there is no perfect formula for product discovery.

I made the decision that I wanted to build a brand. Not just a brand, but a legacy. Something that my children’s children would be running in a few decades. In order to do that, I realized I needed to serve a market rather than just sell a product.

That’s when my baby brand was born. I chose parents as the market because I am one. I figured if I’m my own ideal customer, I’ll know exactly how to market to…well…me.

Once I knew who I would be selling to, it was just a matter of numbers to determine what to sell. I looked at products that had great demand, which is not hard in the baby niche. Then I focused on products with high profit margins and a low probability of defects. I decided on textiles because of the potential for brand markup.

I knew I still had a lot to learn, but for the most part I felt good about the direction I was taking. I had an idea of how to set up a marketplace shop, how to import without making any stupid mistakes and I knew exactly what I wanted to sell and who I wanted to sell to.

Vetting a Manufacturer

The next step in the process was to find the right supplier. Your product supplier is essentially your business partner and not something you should rush into. With that in mind, I went to work scouring Alibaba for manufacturers of my target product.

In my importing research I had learned a couple of valuable points about finding suppliers using Alibaba. I learned that Alibaba does vet the vendors it allows on its site, but not thoroughly. I needed to take extra precautions to ensure I didn’t get ripped off.

So I limited my search to only suppliers that had been Gold Suppliers for at least three years. Even though a supplier pays for its Gold Supplier status, I figured if someone was willing to pay three years in a row, they probably weren’t a fly-by-night scam operation.

My next criteria was that they accepted Alipay (now they offer something called Trade Assurance, but that didn’t exist four years ago). I wasn’t sure if I would use Alipay, as the fee was 5%, but I figured if a supplier was willing to allow their payment to be held in escrow then they weren’t planning to rob me.

With my filters in place I found seven initial supplier listings I was interested in reaching out to. I sent them all my introduction email. At that time, being extremely new to importing, I wasn’t entirely sure what to put in that email.

All I was focused on was quality. That meant more to me than price. I figured if I could find the highest quality, I’d just have to pay whatever price was necessary for it. So my initial email read something like this:

Dear Ms. Li,

 

I am interested in learning more about your [product] model number MC002. I feel the best way to have my questions answered is to handle the product personally. I wonder how I may procure a sample.

 

Sincerely,

Anthony Lee

Believe it or not, that worked. I got four responses of the seven, and three of them offered reasonably priced samples. So I ordered samples from all three suppliers.

The samples arrived, and the next step was to test and assess. One manufacturer sent me totally cheap products. I went through two sample runs with him, and both times a couple of his samples had defects. I knew that factory was out of the running.

The final two were tough. My first choice sent me what looked like a knock-off of a major American brand. This just didn’t sit right with me. The other factory was my last resort. While their sample was of very good quality, it wasn’t the type of model I was interested in.

I was struggling with what to do when the last-resort factory informed me that they also made the type of model I was looking for. So I ordered a sample of that one, and it blew me away. Top quality, original and the best price yet. I was elated. This was the winner.

Once I knew that this factory was the one I’d be working with, I played the two factories against each other to drive the price of the initial order down as much as I could. As was expected, the quality factory didn’t move much. But they did what they could, and I knocked about 20 cents off each unit.

Everything was coming together. Now I just needed some money.

Funding

As I mentioned, at the time of starting this venture I had no money. And I don’t mean that like, I had no money I felt comfortable losing but still had a retirement fund. No. I LITERALLY had no money. I never had more than $500 in my bank account at any given time. It was paycheck to paycheck.

My credit was also mediocre. However, thanks to a friend in the business, I managed to buy a new car at a decent rate. Well, I totaled that car (through no fault of my own) and had to buy another one. At this point I had two auto loans in my name so credit card offers started coming in.

I signed up for three cards. I used one to fund the course I bought to teach me how to set up an Amazon business. That meant I had two others, giving me access to about $11,000 between them.

Unfortunately, Chinese suppliers don’t take credit. In order to finagle this one I ended up having to donate to my wife through her PayPal account. Then have her withdraw the money from PayPal and give it to me. I do NOT recommend doing this, as I am pretty sure it is considered fraud (desperate times called for desperate measures). Many credit cards now have a cash advance option (with fees), and this might be a better way to go.

If the thought of playing with credit cards this way is giving you heartburn, just wait…

My initial order was for 500 units at roughly $11 a piece. After shipping and customs, that first order cost me just under eight grand. So I had just a teeny bit of money left to play with.

Setting Up My Supply Chain

I signed up for a professional account on Amazon, as I was instructed. This was before I had an LLC or trademark or anything. It was just me, my credit cards, and my PayPal account. Because my goods were rather large, I had to ship by sea. This meant I had to find a freight forwarder.

I scoured the internet for weeks. I used Google, I asked for referrals and I made phone calls to every forwarder I could. I was determined to find the best price for my freight, but also I needed someone who could handle customs clearance for me. Logistics and tariffs were intimidating to say the least.

I got the exact dimensions of the cartons from my factory and set about getting quotes. One of the challenges I faced was that, in order to get an accurate quote, I needed to tell the forwarder where the goods would be shipped. The only problem was that Amazon doesn’t tell you that until you create a shipment.

I was afraid to do this before I had a more concrete idea of when the goods could leave China. I explored what it would take to have the goods sent directly to me, but living on the East Coast, in a house with limited garage space, this was not going to be very efficient.

Then it occurred to me; why don’t I create the shortest distance possible? A shipment from South China can hop right over the Pacific Ocean and be on the West Coast much faster than any other route. All I needed to do was find a warehouse in California.

I quickly discovered that things called “FBA Prep Facilities” existed, and they were expensive. But I figured that import prep and distribution had existed before Amazon, and without Amazon prices. I just needed to refine my search. So I looked for “distribution warehouses.”

It wasn’t long before I found the place that offered exactly what I needed. They could handle the freight forwarding, had a relationship with a customs broker, had relationships with warehouses that offered prep labor and could offer all of that for the little bit of money I had left. Now my supply chain was set up.

Getting Started on Amazon

Putting all of the shipping and logistics into place was only one piece of the puzzle. During manufacturing I had down time that was spent creating my listing on Amazon. This is where I had to apply all of those copywriting skills I heard would be so advantageous.

I logged into my new Amazon seller central account, and chose to create a product listing. I chose a category and subcategories. Done. Listing created. I was officially in.

The first aspect of the listing I had to flesh out was the title. At the time, Amazon was still a bit of the Wild West and the baby category was highly “unregulated.” The prevailing advice was to stuff as many keywords as possible into the title, which could support as many as 500 characters back then.

Needless to say my first title looked awful. Probably not as bad as some, as I at least made it make sense, but it was very keyword rich, to say the least.

Along the same vein were the bullets. I crafted them to be very detailed and extremely descriptive. The bullets were almost a full fledged sales letter for my listing. I followed it all up with a description that was filled with scientific data, appeals to emotion and other persuasive copy.

When the copy was done, I dumped all of my keyword research into the search term fields. At that time we had thousands of characters to work with. I used pretty much all of the keywords I managed to drum up from Google Keyword Planner, MerchantWords and something called Scrapebox, which just pulled all of the autosuggest terms it could find.

My listing was now heavily saturated with keywords, and almost ready to go. There was just one obstacle left – photographs. Here I was fortunate because my step-father is a hobbyist photographer. The only problem was that he lacked a proper studio, and I didn’t have access to models. I decided I would be the model. My first photographs might have been a little amateurish, but they got the job done. My listing was finally complete, and I was ready to make sales.

The very next thing I did was turn on Sponsored Product Ads. Back in the stone-age we didn’t have all the match type options we do now. I picked my top four most obvious keywords and put them into a campaign. I ran the campaign for $30 a day and crossed my fingers.

I knew that advertisements weren’t going to be effective alone. I needed some social proof and some decent organic ranking. My next step was to bug all of my friends and family members to leave me reviews. I was relentless in asking anyone within earshot if they would give me feedback for my new product. I had zero pride in this. After countless days of aggravating everyone I knew, I finally managed to secure my first twenty-one reviews.

With this small amount of social proof and ads running, I was able to generate a sale every other day or so. I averaged four sales a week for my first two weeks. Despite the fact that the listing was very new, and I was still in launch phase, things weren’t moving fast enough for me. I had put everything I had, and most of what I didn’t have, into this. I needed it to take off.

When I launched my first product, it was before the days of blasting services like SixLeaf’s ZonBlast. There was only one service I was aware of, and it was one of the original “review sites” called Shop With Reviews.

I created a campaign on their site, offering my $69 product for just $5 in exchange for a review. After the first day I had sold 48 units, and within two days I was at a total of 56 units sold.

Two days later, other than the promo units I sold, I still only had four sales for the week. I was still ranked on page million-and-nowhere-to-be-found for my primary keyword. I had concluded that the promotion had done nothing more than give me more reviews, which apparently were just sitting there.

I vividly remember feeling completely defeated. I was still roughly where I started, because generating about $1,000 a month on Amazon was certainly not going to change my financial situation. And I had a lot of credit card debt to pay off.

I confided in some of my colleagues that I was worried things weren’t going to work out the way I had hoped, and I recall SixLeaf CEO Joe Junfola saying to me “in two or three months, I am going to remind you of this conversation and laugh at how silly you were being.”

It didn’t even take that long.

The next day I was number four on page one for my primary keyword, and number six on page one for a very important secondary keyword. What’s more, sales were rolling in. That next day I made four sales in a single day. The following day I made seven.

Before long I was generating eleven, fifteen, even eighteen sales in a single day. A week later I had generated over $25,000 in sales on Amazon! WOW.

This quick success leveled out at just over $30,000 per month in sales with a 64% profit margin. It was insane and noteworthy and began to get me some attention.

Quitting My Job(s)

I had built this little Amazon physical products business in the evenings during the week. From 8 to 5, with an hour commute one way, I worked as a copywriter for a web firm that serviced local contractors. On the weekends I worked as a waiter at a seafood restaurant.

I used to check my sales in seller central every half hour while I was at my day job. Needless to say, my productivity there was quickly sliding into nothingness.

After my somewhat impressive quick start to success on Amazon, I remember receiving a message from a friend and mentor, Ryan Moran. He explained to me that he thought I’d be good at consulting, but I brushed off the idea at first.

Then he posted in his Facebook group that he actually had clients interested in hiring a consultant to help them with their Amazon accounts. I messaged that I’d be interested in learning more, and from there Ryan convinced me that it would be a good move.

He set up phone interviews over the next couple of days, vouched for me and even negotiated my starting pay. Within a week, due to my stumbling into moderate success on Amazon, I had racked up five paying clients.

At the same time, another friend, Joe Junfola, was laying the ground work for a new service called ZonBlast. It was growing too rapidly for him to handle alone, so he went to his network for some help. At that time, ZonBlast emails were individually written “sales letters,” and Joe knew that I understood the Amazon ecosystem and what his clients would need, so he asked if I’d like to help him write emails.

Between my new job as copywriter at ZonBlast and my consulting clients, I was making more than four times my income from the web design firm and seafood restaurant. I happily traded in my two-hour commute and my no-free-weekends at the restaurant for the work-from-home lifestyle.

I couldn’t believe it. I had accomplished exactly what I’d set out to do, and then some. My experience in starting and building a business on Amazon afforded me the opportunity to take advantage of new ways to leverage my knowledge. Those also became learning opportunities that led to more clients, more offers and more profit.

This is an opportunity that’s there for anyone.

The Amazon game may have changed some since I started, but the principles of business are the same. Importing and branding are still valuable skills for any marketplace. There are still plenty of opportunities to find and sell in-demand products on Amazon. Marketing for greater visibility is still essential.

If you’d like to know, step-by-step, how to do what I did and import your own branded products to sell on Amazon today, I wrote a book detailing the entire process. This book is a culmination of the lessons I learned being a consultant for over a dozen brands, seeing the immense amounts of data I was privy to working for ZonBlast, and building two brands of my own that I grew from $0 to over $80k in sales in a single month.

It’s called Bootstrapping Ecommerce: How To Import & Sell On Amazon, and it is available….you guessed it….on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats.

If you haven’t started your journey into selling online, and you’d like to take control of your financial future, this book is for you.

If you’ve already begun your journey I have also written a book with more advanced concepts. This one goes over higher level marketing tactics to help take new sellers to the next stage in their business growth.

It’s called Bootstrapping Ecommerce: Advanced Amazon Tactics.

With these tools, you’ll be able to jump into the game with my knowledge. One thing I discovered on this journey is that there is no end to the questions and learning. And there’s no end to the obstacles that come up. My goal with these books is to give you a head start and knock down as many of those obstacles as possible.

By giving you the lay of the land before you plunge in, you’ll make fewer mistakes, have fewer doubts, and feel much more confident about taking the plunge than I did. My sincerest hope is that you come away with a grasp of what it’s going to take to create your own brand and start selling.

The industry of ecommerce is growing rapidly and shows no sign of slowing down. It’s simply evolving. Just like any other industry, new minds make it richer and help it grow into something better. While developing your own future as an entrepreneur, you’ll also be helping to develop one of the most exciting marketplaces in history.

Welcome!

Failing Excerpt - Rock Bottom

The experience of being at rock bottom is different for everyone. For some it’s being in the place where the next step down will end your life. For others it’s at a place of total disgust for yourself and the life you’ve allowed to happen. There are varying degrees of each of these but it’s that place where you personally are capable of going no lower. It’s a scary place to be, but a good place to be. Coming from a place of being completely flattened and humbled, the fear of failure is now a moot point. You have failed so totally and yet, here you are. The question becomes, what now?

Free For Five Days!

Failing: A Self-Hurt Guide to Business Success is a detailed account of Anthony Lee’s many excruciating failures that led to eventual success as an ecommerce entrepreneur. Why did we write this book? Because no one really talks about the failures even though going out on your own means you will encounter one after another. 

FAILING Launch! Sept. 8, 2017

FAILING Launch! Sept. 8, 2017

Anthony and I are excited to announce the launch of our newest book, Failing: A Self-Hurt Guide to Business Success! This will be the third book to come out of Reid & Wright Publishing, and while both Bootstrapping books were near and dear to our hearts being the first publications of our fledging company, this one is even more so because it’s about something we’re both extremely passionate about. Success! Or more accurately, success via the flip side - failure.

The Glory of Rock Bottom

The experience of being at rock bottom is different for everyone. For some it’s being in the place where the next step down will end your life. For others it’s at a place of total disgust for yourself and the life you’ve allowed to happen. There are varying degrees of each of these, but it’s that place where you personally are capable of going no lower. It’s a scary place to be but a good place to be. Coming from a place of being completely flattened and humbled, the fear of failure is now a moot point. You have failed so totally and yet, here you are. The question becomes, what now?

What's Your Customer Really Thinking?

A few months ago, I was loaded up with my son in the car, ready for work and school, when my garage door decides to pop its spring trapping me in my garage. Talk about feeling absolutely helpless. Luckily I got out with some helpful muscle power, but now I had a broken garage door on my hands and all the hassle that comes with getting quotes from companies and scheduling someone to come out to get it fixed. Like many of you, I have a tendency to schedule every spare minute of my day. The prospect of making phone calls that you think will be simple and to the point but rarely are, did not mitigate my stress.

5 Tips to Manage Your Global Schedule

One of the first concerns that comes up when I’m helping out new entrepreneurs, is how they’re going to manage communicating with suppliers on the other side of the globe, and the other side of the clock. It sounds overwhelming, almost like you’ll have to be on call 24/7, but it’s not as tricky as you might think. Here are a couple of tricks that have helped me keep my sanity and my global relationship intact.

Six Product Types to NOT Import and Sell

These are my personal rules that I stick to when I’m looking for a product to import. Don’t let this set of criteria confuse you. These are not set-in-stone ground rules. I know many people who have been successful with a product that breaks at least one of these rules. I am simply showing you my thought process. If you find a product that fits one of these categories and it is a good product and one you feel confident you can market, then by all means make an exception.

Why I Should Have Failed Harder at My eBay Test

As part of our attempts to unveil the secrets of e-commerce, I recently took the plunge and tested a new product on eBay. Because 1), eBay is a platform Anthony and I don’t have much experience in and it would serve us well to get a hands-on feel for it from the ground up and 2), because although I’ve been co-writing the Bootstrapping books, my contribution has been from more of a marketing and self-help standpoint. I haven’t had much e-commerce experience myself.

However, the books I’ve been writing about selling online are so compelling that I wanted in!

Do You Sell Physical Products? You Should Know How to Write Copy

Copywriting is a made up word, first of all. Merriam-Webster has no definition. They only define copywriter as “a writer of advertising or publicity copy.” However, contextually we can come to an agreed upon conclusion as to what is meant by the made up term “copywriting.”

Defining Success in the World of E-Commerce

It’s important to define what we mean by “success.” I’ll tell you right now, to me, success isn’t about how to become rich with very little effort in a short amount of time.

Here’s the thing: I’m over a year in the business that I’m in (importing and selling on Amazon) and I have yet to spend a single dime on myself or my family. Don’t forget, I’m my own boss because I figured out a way to take what I learned building the business and help others do the same. “How’s this going to help me if I want to get rich or at least provide better for my family?” you’re probably asking.

Don’t stop reading yet. I’ll explain.

I haven’t taken any money out of my business because I choose to reinvest everything I make so I can build a legacy for my family.

The book I just published, “Bootstrapping E-commerce: How to Import and Sell on Amazon,” isn’t going to give you the nuts and bolts of how to go out there and make fast cash. This book is the nuts and bolts of how to build something that you own, that you control and that can provide you with stability in the future. How far in the future, I don’t know, and very possibly you won’t know for a while either.

Of course, there are always the special cases. Sellers who have the golden touch and somehow jump into the business and become wildly successful in an extremely short period of time. There are a few who manage this, and maybe you’ll be one of them, but the vast majority of people will stumble a few times, especially if they try to go too fast.

Rather than gamble and plunge in head first, I suggest making solid plans with realistic goals to build something for a brighter tomorrow. I would like to provide you with the construction material to do so. You may not make millions with the information I teach you, but it is completely possible, even probable, that years down the road you’ll find yourself standing on the solid foundation of a life you can be proud of.

Anthony Lee