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…from one of our TAS listeners and I love doing this because you guys know we are a strong community that’s out there really trying to help each other, inspire each other and really help each other get to the next level. Well, I have to say this came from an email that was sent to me by one of you or one of our TAS listeners and his name is Justin Wang. Here’s what the email said, just to give you a little context.
It says, “Thank you Scott for helping us reach $400,000 sales a year to date.” Well, that got my attention and I’ll just read the email really, really quickly and then what I’m going to do is let you listen to this conversation that I had with Justin and you’re going to hear how he went from $20,000 to $400,000 and that’s not even for a complete year. The first year was $20,000. Actually it was about $22,000-ish and now since the beginning of this year they’re up to about $400,000 already in revenue. So he’s going to have a pretty solid year and you’re going to hear a lot of the ups and the downs and what he’s realized since starting the business.
Then also how mindset really does come into playing a pretty important role in growing. Here is what the email said from Justin. He says, “Hey Scott. Just wanted write you a thank you letter from the bottom of my heart. I started listening to your podcast around a year and a half ago and have been going through the grind ever since. We were able to find a market niche and scale for the past couple of months both in the US and EU markets. I have an EU partner who does roughly similar numbers a year to date. Currently, we’re battling some issues on the business side of things.
[00:02:04] Scott: But I am confident to settle these challenges as I’m firmly believing that these struggles in life are what mold or help mold us as persons and our character throughout this journey. Would love to share a bit of our lessons and failures to give back to the community if you think it’s appropriate.” He says, “Justin from Taiwan.” He gave a little snapshot as far as a screen shot which was kind of mind blowing. $421,000 and change and the average sale is $14.90. I’m going to dig into all of the nitty gritty with Justin. Of course that’s what I wanted to do here because this email only told a small portion of the story and I really wanted to dig in.
You can hear there’s some different things that he does when finding products and really tapping into trends and all of that stuff. I’m not going to give it all away but really great conversation. We also talk about some mindset stuff and just about how we can compound those effects of getting some type of result and you can hear also from his story that he’s dealt with this stuff through his entire life. Just how things really happen to then move us forward to the next thing. In this case it’s going from $20,000 to $400,000. Enough talking, right? Let’s go ahead and listen to this amazing conversation that I had with one of our own, one of our TAS members, Justin Wang.
[00:03:34] Scott: Well hey Justin, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. What’s up man, how are you doing?
[00:03:39] Justin: Hey, good. I’m calling from Taiwan right now actually so…
[00:03:42] Scott: That’s pretty crazy. We’re about 7,000 miles apart right now.
[00:03:49] Justin: Yes. Well to fly to New York is around like 20 hours so.
[00:03:55] Scott: Wow. I’m not in New York any more but if I was that’s still crazy. I’m in South Carolina so it’s still pretty crazy to that. It’s long way, let’s just say that. What time is it there right now? How many hours are we apart?
[00:04:08] Justin: Right now it’s actually 12 hour exact, if you don’t count in the day savings or not. But right now it’s 10PM in Taiwan.
[00:04:16] Scott: Okay, yeah. And it’s 10AM here. Cool, all right, awesome. I just want to give people a little bit of a heads up here. You basically sent me an email and I love these emails. I don’t care if the email is, “Scott I just made my first $1,000 or my first $6,000,” or whatever. It still gets me fired up and still gets me wanting to hear more about the story. You sent me an email and the subject line with, “Thank you Scott for helping us reach $400k in sales year to date.” That got my attention and I’m like, okay you sent me a screenshot and the whole thing and you just went into from what you’ve done and I said, we’ve got to get you on and I want to dig into a little bit deeper and see exactly how you got started and then like the ups and the downs. It wasn’t all glitz and glamour.
There’s some struggles along the way I’m sure and I want to dig into those and unpack those. So with that being said why don’t you tell me a little bit about Justin. What do we need to know about you? How did you get even started even in this game, maybe even take us back a little further maybe where you started working before and give us a little bit of a background.
[00:05:17] Justin: Sure, I’ll just give a life story in a nutshell in five minutes. So basically grew up in Taiwan and I stayed here until I was 15, wasn’t happy about the education here because the [inaudible 00:05:31] they give you this, you do that and then [inaudible 00:05:36] on education side. They don’t really promote independent thinking at time so I request to… I negotiated with my father saying like, “I cannot stay here because it’s going to fry my brain. So I got to study in the States,” and he was like you can just go. Do you know how much it costs? I was like yeah, I have to go. I basically brainwashed him for two weeks, signed the contract with him and then just went to Vermont for high school.
[00:06:05] Scott: You went to Vermont?
[00:06:05] Justin: Yeah, Lyndon Institute.
[00:06:13] Scott: It’s funny. Just going to pause here for one second. I skied in Vermont. Actually I’m trying to think of the mountain now, Jiminy Peak. That was my first mountain I ever skied down.
[00:06:27] Justin: Nice. So basically I went to high school there and then went to college in Boston and after college moved to Shanghai for work and moved back to Taiwan for almost four years now. Run my own business. My business is a bit over three and a half years. I did some nine to five jobs in Shanghai. Not to get too gloomy here but basically I had … It’s funny because I’ve never done this interview before so I had this flow wrote done about what we should talk about. But basically had a near death experience when I was in Shanghai. I didn’t know I have a heart condition and I had a heart attack when I was age of 23 in Shanghai. That really made me think about life at the early 20s.
Because of that I moved back to Taiwan. Got some treatment, the surgery, now I’m perfectly fine.
[00:07:28] Scott: Good, that’s good to hear. Wow, that’s crazy. That’s a whole episode in itself I’m sure that we can talk about like how your mind shifted after something like that happens and it’s funny. A lot of times it takes something like that to shake you up a little bit to make you rethink what’s really important and unfortunately sometimes it takes something like that happening. I’m just glad that something worked out for you.
[00:07:55] Justin: Yeah, it’s funny because you see that like… Before in the States like college life it’s all about partying. I had a great time, don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret any bit of it. But it just so polarized like when you think your body are up to do anything, you’re super young, you can do all kinds of stuff but when this hits you, it really makes you think. At the time I was super depressed like I didn’t want to die when I was twenty-something and I start to ask why we’re here, why we’re doing what we’re doing, what do you want to leave behind. All that kind of stuff. People’s like, “Oh wow, these are topics that you’re way too young to think about.” I’d say, “Yeah but this happened to me. I got to think about it.”
[00:08:43] Scott: Yeah, you’re 100% right. It’s like who could plan that. You can’t. It happened but it molded you into who you are and continues to and that’s why I always tell people… I’ve got a 19 year old son and he’s in the college, in that mode. In a sense he’s not a partier so I’m grateful for that but he’s finding his way. It’s just interesting to see that and then he’s grown up with the entrepreneurial mind. He’s a little bit different with that but for what he wants to do. He wants to go into being in the education and stuff. He wants to go in and be a teacher. He needs that four year degree so he’s got to go through that process but he’s still got other part of his brain going like, “I want to be able to do this entrepreneurial thing. I keep telling him like listen, it’s just part of the journey. Just enjoy it, and it’s going to lead you, it’s going to shape you and for you it was something that happened not so good that shook you up.
[00:09:47] Justin: I was really out of my control.
[00:09:49] Scott: Yeah, for you it was almost like a huge part of your story and that’s also going to help you moving forward. That might be why also you are doing what you’re doing now and you’re having some success with it. You just never really know. Lets kick it up a little bit now. Let’s not get all depressed. Let’s try to kick up the energy
[00:10:12] Justin: It’s a good thing that happened actually. I thought about it and because this event, I start to meditate and doing this mind body and soul stuff. It’s very, very good. Actually it’s positive that it happened because I’d have to say if it didn’t happen, if it happens when you’re 30 and 40 you might not be here. It’s god, this is a negative event looking from the surface of it but the outcome of the happen it’s actually positive in my life.
[00:10:44] Scott: It’s a great way to look at it too and it sounds like you have a really good head on your shoulders and it sounds like you are going to take that stuff and move forward. I’m sure you’re going to share that with other people and stuff and that’s really the ripple effect that I love to hear about so that’s awesome.
[00:10:59] Justin: I’m 28 if anybody’s interested. I’m not 30 yet.
[00:11:03] Scott: Yeah and you’ve got a great head on your shoulder that’s really, really good. Okay what’s the next part? What happens next?
[00:11:12] Justin: On the business part, so basically the company I worked for in Shanghai they do all the brand merchandise for big companies. So let’s say Volkswagen or Audi, BMW. when you go to the car dealerships they have all kinds of hats, umbrella, promotional items. We call them brand merchandise. Whether the client, buys, sells them, or gives them away, we don’t really care. I basically duplicated that model, turned my ex employee into my partner and implemented that model in the Taiwan market when I moved back. It was doing okay so originally we do B2B, worked for like hotels, hotels that sold the pens or the welcome packs and airlines is actually big because airlines you see they have all the kind of water bottles and play models, push toys. Those kinds of stuff.
The margin erodes so that’s when Scott Voelker comes in. Someone told me about this FBA stuff but we were kind of skeptical because I’m a skeptical person in nature and were like mmmhhh, if we’re making… So let’s just take BMW for example, we make a lot of umbrellas and mugs, the coffee mugs and the yeti, yeti like the stainless cups of BMW in Taiwan. I was like, if we can be able to make such high quality at a competitive price for these B2B clients why don’t we just start our own brand which is what you guys talk about private label. For us it was just like, “Oh, this is just OEM.”
We tested that with a first batch of 500 bucks of carbon fiber pen on Amazon and that was like here and there but I basically cranked through all your episodes and I was like trying to find out what’s wrong, what can we tweak and it sells. I was like, mhhh, interesting, maybe if we can do pen we should add something else. So we just kept adding. So like you said, nothing was very smooth and easy going. We actually spent a upward to $20,000 within the first year just trial and error but it wasn’t maybe the money lost but just like we made some, we reinvested, we made some we reinvested.
[00:13:33] Justin: A lot of that went to ad costs because we didn’t know what PPC was about so we just wasn’t being smart or experienced enough to optimize the cost per click or cost per conversion. We just kept doing it until this year we start to hit something and that’s when things start to scale. Starting from last December to today. Actually to add on to the number-wise actually have a partner in the EU which is 50/50% we actually hit $350k in the EU five countries. The screenshot I showed you was in the US side.
[00:14:14] Scott: And that screenshot I’m looking at is a $421,030.86. That’s pretty impressive and 31,976 units sold. That’s a lot of units being sold. A lot of units and that was, you gave me, year to date, from beginning of this year till now. You shot that at Jun 13th, around then so you’re talking only six months.
[00:14:43] Justin: Yeah but just to be fair, not to like mislead any listener is that this is not easy and this kind of volume, it might seem so large but for B2B that we deal with tens of thousands of umbrellas and mugs at once. From my side is that it’s good or I’m lucky or fortunate enough to have previous business experience in different sectors and transition that into the Amazon game.
[00:15:11] Scott: Now let me ask you this, are you still targeting B2B or are you now doing B2C?
[00:15:17] Justin: Well, we do both because the roles has been so fast so we actually dropped a lot of B2B clients and stuff. B2B sells like super long, it takes at least six to nine months trying to find the right contact if it’s like from a cold lead. It’ll say oh Scott knows someone who wants to make stuff for a Caribbean cruise. I’ll be like, okay I’ll take a look, have my team look at it if they want to make a funny hat when they check into the cruise. We’ll do that but we don’t go out and reach cold leads because those take super long to develop.
[00:15:55] Scott: I guess what I’m asking is like so you’re not putting up a product necessarily on Amazon that’s targeting the B2B because that’s more a lot of time, that’s a lot more customized for those people but what you’re doing is you’re tapping into, let’s just like you are saying a BMW, like people that are BMW fans you’re not maybe going to sell them BMWs stuff but you know the stuff that might be hot in that market, you can maybe use that same idea in another market.
[00:16:24] Justin: Yes, yes. Technically you cannot sell BMW stuff because those are actually licensed. You could and there’s a lot of Amazon people do it like I can tell you one that’s like Nike, that thing around their neck. It’s like a badge thing so there’s a lot of sellers from China that do that. And they are one of the top sellers.
[00:16:50] Scott: Yeah but I wouldn’t want to play in that that but like you said, there’s people doing it all the time. There’s people on the beach selling fake Oakley’s and stuff like that. We’re not talking about that. Okay, so let me ask you this because I know a lot of people they are wondering and I am honestly too like those are crazy sales numbers. Where do you start like you said you started with a test batch of like 500 units of something. So where did you get the idea for the 500 to start with?
[00:17:22] Justin: You mean the first product when we selected?
[00:17:26] Scott: Yeah yeah, How did you say we’re going to do 500 of this thing in this market, like where did you get that idea? Was it from past experience with other businesses that you’ve dealt with? I’m just trying to go through the minds like where do you come up with that first product to say, let’s test it.
[00:17:42] Justin: It might be kind of shameful to admit, but actually it wasn’t even 500 pieces, it was 500 bucks worth of stuff. Scott’s talking about this, there’s so many followers, is it for real? It’s kind of slapped a label on something that was already made.Because our prices are competitive. We have such long relationships in the supply chain side. I myself am Taiwanese and I lived in China for so long so that adds the advantage of, so was just kind of shifting platforms or channels. We got to use the shoebox rule that you talked about. It probably still works now but it just gets so competitive that… And a small light program looked close so some of the items that we didn’t even get to enroll in. The fulfillment cost is dramatically different if you enroll in small light but that being said if you enrolled in small and light you cannot do MCF which is mean you cannot sell to other channels.
[00:18:57] Scott: I got you. So again just going back so you said okay, we’ve got 500 bucks to play with here, we’re going to ahead. How many SKUs did you…? Was it one product that you used with the $500?
[00:19:09] Justin: Yes it was one product line and 50 units.
[00:19:09] Scott: 50 units, okay. What did you do when you launched? I’m assuming you optimized it, put some pictures up. Just take me through that process and then maybe what you seen…
[00:19:28] Justin: That was a long time ago. It was like almost a year and a half ago. So basically from what I recall, the first couple of products we just kept testing because the first one wasn’t doing so well so went like okay let’s launch something on top of it.. We kept launching but nothing really took off. So if you want to read and learn about process I can share it to listeners is that, I can talk about the bigger picture stuff and say how do we validate ideas and research and the 80/20 rule because I think that plays a huge role.
[00:20:05] Scott: Oh yeah. I would love to dig into that because that’s important. It sounds like you’re massively taking action but you’re only launching like 50 units to test so what’s the test? Are you putting up 50 units and then driving pay-per-click traffic to it and if you get a certain amount of sales in a certain amount of time then it’s a winner or… I’m trying to figure out the validation for you to say this is something we should probably reorder.
[00:20:30] Justin: Well, validation process actually when you talk about actually placing the product into the Amazon stream per se because that’s the quickest way to see whether it works or not, but before that there’s a lot of legwork and research that needs to be done. Not to get too specific, there’s so many resources you can do that: Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube, Google Trend, there’s Facebook groups, crowdfunding sites, Reddit, forums, all kinds of stuff that you can find niche. So that’s the front end of validation process, it’s just a lot of research and we’ve been recently testing some niche suff which is like okay, if we find… I don’t know if you guys know Noah Kagan
[00:21:22] Scott: Yeah, I had Noah Kagan on the show.
[00:21:24] Justin: And Tim Ferriss, they have some very good resources on how to test an idea. You can run Google ads and you can run like Facebook ad and people are willing to spend the money up front and you just got to refund them. That’s a pretty interesting idea we are testing right now. So you just create a landing page and then create appealing sales copy or Facebook ad and those are something we are testing this year just to keep launching because the Amazon game it’s getting definitely more competitive and it’s getting more niched down so you have to have enough SKUs to weather those storms.
The 80/20 rule comes in is that, how I look at it like this is as definitely would not happen if I did not launch enough. If I just bank on one product and if something happens then boom, we’re done. We just got to launch one, it’s doing okay so we just kept launching and launching and launching and then we launched to a point… If you really took at my product screen… I can pull it up.
[00:22:36] Scott: You have less than 20 SKUs?
[00:22:39] Justin: If you want to count it like variations, obviously there’s more but product type we have around 20.
[00:22:44] Scott: That’s good. So you have 20 parents and then there’s some variations obviously underneath those. I’m looking at the screenshot you sent me and average sale cost is like $14.90.
[00:22:55] Justin: It was actually higher but we’re trying to do volume, like when we try to boost it, we try reduce the pricing.
[00:23:02] Scott: So what’s the average cost then that you’re selling stuff or retailing?
[00:23:05] Justin: You mean landed in Amazon?
[00:23:07] Scott: No, no. I’m saying like how much are you selling it for on Amazon? Is it the standard rule that we keep it between $19 and $30 somewhere there or what’s your average sale cost as far as like someone’s buying from you?
[00:23:23] Justin: There’s a lot because we have items sell as low as 6 bucks and some items up to like 50 bucks. There’s no rule of thumb per se.
[00:23:32] Scott: Let me ask you about that then, so the $6 product because people would be like, “How the heck are you making money with a $6 product?”
[00:23:43] Justin: Without spilling the bean but it’s components. It’s very niche so it’s very specific, super specific.
[00:23:55] Scott: Are you using that $6 price point as you’re going to be able to get something that really sells high volume that can also then lead people to your other products?
[00:24:03] Justin: Sure, that’s one tactic but the item itself it still makes money.
[00:24:09] Scott: Okay, and that’s fulfilled by Amazon?
[00:24:11] Justin: Yes, yes.
[00:24:12] Scott: So how much would you be buying that for?
[00:24:16] Justin: Land it we can land it under $2.
[00:24:18] Scott: Okay, so you’re under $2, FBA fees got to be… So what are you making?
[00:24:25] Justin: It’s like $1/$1.50. Our rule is like one to one. If we put in a dollar we want to get a dollar out, I feel like that’s worth our time. That’s just like a general rule of thumb that we have internally.
[00:24:35] Scott: Okay, that makes sense. Again, if people went in this thing and they said, “Oh, wow. I’m going to launch products that are 6 bucks and make a buck a piece you’d have to sell a heck of a lot to make money but what you’re saying is that’s just a part of the mix of SKUs that you have so this way here you can continually keep that cash flow I guess and especially if you have something that gets some high volume and they can lead you to other products.
[00:24:59] Justin: At the same time because we’re actually trying to get off Amazon. Amazon for me I see a lot of people want to build a brand on the platform. I think otherwise. I have friends who are super successful on crowdfunding sites and all that stuff and once they got successful with their own email list and then they launch on Amazon. They treat Amazon as a cash cow which I do too. A lot of people want to do the reverse. I think that’s the hardest way because people who shop on Amazon at least I remember when I was in the States, I treat it as a commodity platform. I just want stuff that works with the best price.
It’s kind of counter intuitive. You try to build some brand on someone’s back yard, that doesn’t make sense to me.
[00:25:47] Scott: No, I agree with you… That’s why we talk a lot about building our own list building our own community. Or if you’re doing open brand concept that’s going to be to me where you’re going to tap into Amazon with some popular stuff and random markets so that way there you can get cash flow but can also fuel a brand when you’re ready to do a brand because a brand to me has to be outside of Amazon that will then drive people to Amazon to buy if that’s what you want to do. To me that’s the only way to really build a successful brand using Amazon as a channel but not necessarily making that your complete brand it’s where it’s hosted.
[00:26:32] Justin: Can I ask you. So for the open brand do you strictly do it on Amazon or you have it like on a shopify store because, from where I see it like you have to be multi platform to do an open band to have brand equity. If you should be beyond Amazon that’s very risky
[00:26:48] Scott: Well, to be honest with you the open brand is really a way for us to test, to be able to test products without having to be like it’s got to be locked into a brand. It’s for us or to just ride a trend. So if you have a product that you know it might have a life cycle of a year and a half or two years… Well, I’ll give you an example. We didn’t do it but if we were to launch fidget spinners, it would have been in the open brand and we would have said, let’s just order a thousand and just blow through the thousand and then we’ll where the thousand trends at then. You could have did that but what we really do is we use it as a way to test multiple markets and then from there if we want to double down and say, “Oh, there’s really some legs here now we can start to really build a brand outside of Amazon and then also build it on Amazon.
That allows us to do that. We can build like three to five different legs to like an open brand and those legs are different markets. You might go into the kitchen space. Let’s do five products in the kitchen space. Let’s do five products in the sports and outdoors. You can do that and then you can build little list insides of each of those that can then fuel sales to then boost your rankings and all that stuff and then you can use that as also cash flow. Again, it’s something that we’re playing around. My good friend Dom Sugar, he’s doing it very successfully in the open brand and the thing is though he’s got other brands that he’s built that are not relying on the open brand.
[00:28:17] Justin: Very interesting. So basically you guys use Amazon as a test bed.
[00:28:22] Scott: Yep. Well if you think about like Tim Ferriss what he said like to me if you want to test, if people will buy a certain product you can launch it… If you have 50 units… Like here’s another example. Let’s say you had 50 units like you did and you put them up there. Let’s say you put them up there and you drive $10 at pay-per-click to it and you start getting a sale or two with no reviews then to me we validated that you don’t need reviews to sell this product, we can do it easily with pay-per-click so now we might want to then start to worry about trying to get this thing ranked.
[00:28:53] Justin: But the debate will be is that a trend item?
[00:28:56] Scott: That’s true. That is another part of the equation that you have to think about. You’re absolutely right.
[00:29:01] Justin: Also the pricing and there’s a lot of variables to consider but I think that model is interesting. Cool.
[00:29:06] Scott: Is there a right way to do all of this? No. But is there…
[00:29:10] Justin: There’s no right way.
[00:29:14] Scott: It’s just you’re doing a lot of testing but I agree 100% and we’re building a new brand right now. It’s been about three months and it’s doing really well. We’ve got about six or seven SKUs. I think after next week we’ll have about nine in three months. We’re doing it rapidly but we’re building it as an outside brand and then we’re using Amazon to allow the transaction to happen right now without having to set up all of this stuff on Shopify yet. Then also we can take that traffic and then push it over to Amazon to help us rank so we can start getting organic sales in Amazon which can then also fuel the money into the business so we can build it.
[00:29:52] Justin: I heard that it’s working super well like Amazon rewards you quite substantially. Like spending money on PPC is one thing but if you are able to divert traffic onto your listing I heard that… I haven’t tried it me personally so…
[00:30:10] Scott: Yeah, we’re doing that a lot and not even just Facebook ads but we’re doing it where in our brand we are able to do like Facebook Lives, we have a face to the brand. So now what we can do is we can drive a whole bunch of traffic over to our listing any a given day. We actually just did that in a… I think it was our third or fourth SKU and we wanted to boost the sales so we did a Facebook Live, we sent a little email out to our list and then it got shared on a popular site in our market and we blew out of all of our inventory. we had 150 units left and we blew through those in less than six hours.
It wasn’t even like buy it for a dollar. It wasn’t like a review type thing. It was just like here’s a discount, here it is and then it got picked up and we blew out of those and worked really well. I agree with you. I think the more that we can drive targeted traffic and we don’t want to kill our conversion rate either but I agree, if we’re showing Amazon that we’re going to drive traffic to their platform I think we’re going to be rewarded. I totally do. I totally do. Anyway, let’s get back to your story. You can see how we go on these little tangents when we are having that coffee together. It’s fun. At this point though and I’m just going to go back and unpack a little bit so basically you had your resources already in place you said, you know what, you can take this and model what we’re doing here but over here from B2C, we can maybe make this thing work.
You tested it, it worked but how many, like you said and I think it’s an important thing to highlight here, how many products did you launch before something stuck where you’re like, Okay, I think we got that 80/20. I think we found the 20.
[00:32:02] Justin: That was the number. It was 80/20 so we launched pretty practically almost 20 SKUs. It’s quite ironic and I was listening to someone’s podcast, someone wrote a book on 80/20. There’s 80/20 in every aspect of life. I’m blanking out on the book name but I think I need to get that book. It’s quite interesting.
[00:32:29] Scott: I’ve actually read that book and I’m trying to remember off the top of my head who wrote that…
[00:32:35] Justin: He’s like an old dude and he went on the podcast and talked about he’s like super nerdy into statistics and stuff.
[00:32:42] Scott: He actually came out, he actually came out with a course on Google Ad sense. Then from there he adapted the whole mindset but I’m actually trying to type as we are speaking here as well. I got the book on my bookshelf back here. I should know who that was. You launched 20… Go to the show notes and you guys will actually do that. It’s Perry Marshall. If you go to PerryMarshal.com/80-20 you’ll find his book and I’m not getting any affiliate commission for it guys. Just go there and check out the book or just do the audio book. I like the audio books so I generally do with an audio book but I’ve got the hard copy too because I like to have the physical copy. It’s a great book but it really does tell you that every single thing in life pretty much has got the 80/20. Like there’s got to be 20% of the things that you do..
[00:33:59] Justin: It’s quite goofy to think about it though.
[00:34:01] Scott: Okay so what you’re saying then is you launched 20 products and it wasn’t until like the later …
[00:34:08] Justin: Don’t get me wrong, the previous products still made money. It’s just not as significant statistics wise.
[00:34:17] Scott: It was like an eye opener but then you hit one you’re like, holy cow. We’ve got that right now in the new brand that we launched. I think it was the fourth product that actually showed us that this could be a 20 to 30 unit, maybe more per day item and we can get more. We’re charging more than our competitors because we have a better product. So holy crap, we might need to double down on this. It’s funny that just people think that every product needs to do a certain amount but like you said, if you can put a dollar in and get two dollars back who wouldn’t do that?
[00:34:52] Justin: Look at hedge funds and all these other investments, but if they find that unicorn then they are just set.
[00:35:05] Scott: Yeah, I agree. Okay, cool. You launch. What have you learned though since the first product you launched to the 20th product? What have you learned that you do differently now when launching a product.
[00:35:19] Justin: On business wise or… Because I think Amazon is just a small microcosm of business but that for sure it’s the quickest way to scale. One of the quickest ways that I’ve seen.
[00:35:32] Scott: Take me through this really quickly. You have a new product that you guys are going to be developing, you’re going to have it done. How long does that process… Do you have like a long list of products you just have to get to them or is there something you’re always kind of like doing the research or seeing the markets. Are you doing that stuff or you already have like five more that you want to launch right now?
[00:35:54] Justin: I myself has a bit ADD and I always have a shiny object syndrome. My background is actually in sourcing procurement so developing product is my forte. Making the product at price, at cost, on time is my thing. Our supply chain network can handle that. The challenge is that there are so many products out there, how do you validate a product market fit That’s the hardest part. That might not be true to other people because some people then say… Let’s say a stay at home mom, they have a knitting club or they have some form of book reading club and they are in a very specific niche, I would love to get into that because she’s actually within the market and know what the market wants speaking to the market target buyer daily.
She didn’t know how to talk to suppliers in China making products, I’m having the trouble in reverse.
[00:36:54] Scott: You’re good at the development side, the product come up creation side but like you’re saying to be able to tap into the market and listen on a daily basis is not something that is going to come easy to you because that’s not what you’re doing or you’re maybe not part of that, the face of it, whatever.
[00:37:11] Justin: And I don’t want to be the face of it. I’m more the behind the scenes guy.
[00:37:17] Scott: Okay then, let me ask you this, what’s that process though look like. So let’s say that you have that product, it’s ready to go, you’re happy with it. What’s the first steps for you. It doesn’t have to be on Amazon but how are you going to start getting sales and what’s the process for you?
[00:37:36] Justin: Let’s say if we have five variations of a product, we actually just launched it at once and if something is not performing right we just either sell through at cost, we’ll just scrap it. It’s very hard to pinpoint the whole exact process because I think if let’s say we look at the garlic press, that example that you guys always talk about. There’s always a better version of the garlic press. We can always make it cheaper or better.
The niche is not going to give away, it’s a functionality commodity but like I said it’s dangerous because Amazon has become so commoditized, there’s so many Chinese seller jumping on and not to divert from the question you are asking, but I think that this is according to my inside source… Do you know that Alibaba is working quite… Amazon themselves are working quite aggressively with Alibaba within the China side. Is that something that your listener knows about?
[00:38:39] Scott: I’m not sure the listeners are. We have such a wide range of people that listen. I think most people they know that, they might be thinking that they are just going to cut us out of the game and that maybe but I don’t know. Again, this could be a debate because I personally don’t worry about that stuff because I’m not banking on just Amazon. That’s the difference. I don’t care, like okay, Donald Trump won, the presidency. Everybody is like we’re going to pay tax 20% more, now what are we going to do? I’m going to keep selling product today and I’m going to keep building websites and I’m going to keep trying to create a brand and I’m going to keep trying to build email lists and I’m still going to do Facebook stuff because that’s what in now. Maybe next three years Facebook doesn’t do what it’s doing now and maybe we have a different platform. I don’t know.
But I don’t worry about that stuff as much but I get what you’re saying. Because of that so I’m going to go away from Amazon, no that’s where the traffic is right now. That’s where I can dip my hand in the river of money and just pull some out. That’s what I’m saying. I don’t live from that fear side of things. That’s just me. I’m not wired that way. I’m totally the opposite and I’m going to be like, “You know what, it’s here. I’m going to use it. But I’m not going to build my business on that.” It’s like I’m not a big guy that wants to run out of place and then build this beautiful back deck and invest in the land that’s not mine. I’m not going to do that.
I want to control what’s mine. I get what you’re saying. What’s your thoughts on that since you brought it up?
[00:40:15] Justin: Like I said my background is in like supply chain side. I hear all kinds of news. I know tons of factories in China so basically Amazon is trying to cut us out. Not in a deliberate way it’s just how the internet economy is going to work, O2O, online to offline, offline to online. All that kind of mix. Alibaba they bring a lot of small sellers onto their platform. Amazon they are super good at aggregating buyers and the most feasible or a logical next step is to combine these two giants.
If small business owner or product makers within China regardless if they are traders or a small factory shop or a family shop, it’s going to be heaven if they can sell directly on Amazon through the logistics program because they are pushing super hard on signing people up on that. They host conferences and meetings all the time. Everything it’s even in traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese asking Chinese sellers to be on Amazon.
You don’t know how to do the shipping side, you don’t know how to foreign, it’s okay. We bundle up, and ship it for you to our specialized warehouse. That’s how serious it is. I understand what you say like the mindset it’s right, that not to build it on Amazon and this is not like the end of the day kind of talk either. If you knew there’s a Tsunami coming from a thousand miles away at least you can bet on it.
[00:41:47] Scott: Exactly. I think you’re spot on. Amazon has done some amazing things and again they’ve got the power of leverage things. They are going to probably come in and cut sellers out eventually and that’s why we’ve said it for the longest time. Like do not build your business only on Amazon unless you’re a major brand that you feel people are going to be brand awareness and you’re going to be able to just say we only sell on Amazon and no one else is going to be able to sell that name brand. Again, we are talking about building the name brand Nike. If you’re not Nike you don’t care because you’re going to sell your product wherever you sell it. Actually Amazon is going to want to sell it because they know they are going to bring Nike people over to their platform.
But if I’m just going to sell a sneaker and I’m going to be Scott’s best sneaker thing, people don’t care. They want to buy the name. If you build out the name or the quality or the customer support or your story or whatever it is into your brand, that to me where you can protect yourself from anything that’s going to happen like that.
[00:42:56] Justin: For that I actually have a question. For your open brand concept like when you talk to customers do you talk to them in a way saying that, “Hey, we’re Amazon seller with multiple brands and we’re the seller and the original brand owner or you kind of saying like, “Oh, we kind of like Amazon seller but this brand we are kind of reselling it. What is your telling or…?
[00:43:19] Scott: It would be towards like you’re the brand. It’s like just imagine like if you bought something from Walmart, Walmart doesn’t contact you and go, “Hey we just sold you someone else’s branded whatever, we just want to make sure you’re happy although they could. I think Amazon does that in a sense when they reach back out to you and see how your experience was but we already know that we’re buying it on Amazon. If I bought guitar strings on a site I’m expecting that brand to reach out to me and say, “Hey, is everything cool because you bought our brand.
It’s the same idea in an open brand. You would set up that follow up to be messaging them for JR guitar strings company and then to make sure that to let them know that we’ve got your back kind of thing. It doesn’t take much to line up three emails that go out that basically make sure that they get what they need or resources or whatever. So it doesn’t mean you can’t do that but again it’s kind of going back even to like the eBay days. You still can do it on eBay. You can sell products there, you don’t have to be a major brand, it’s just not something that’s going to be scalable. Again the open brand is more or less just a testing ground to be able to do that but then also so you can get some cash flow. And as of right now, that may go away. If it does you should have been again with the open brand, you should have been then focusing on the three or five brands or markets that you are going after and seeing which one you’re going to build into an asset. Does that make sense?
[00:44:58] Justin: Yeah, so it’s like I’m interviewing Scott now.
[00:45:03] Scott: I love it, I love it because again, it is like just different ways of thinking but it’s like for example if I seen, like you said, if there’s a trend coming up and maybe there’s a certain big thing going on right now about a certain product or whatever, a certain market…
[00:45:24] Justin: So many like you really have to do some research. There are a lot of hands going on on the internet. The mighty internet can tell you a lot of stuff.
[00:45:36] Scott: Yeah. If you said I’m going to gram 100 units and send them in and just make some quick cash you can probably do that every day. You’re not building a brand but you’re finding product that you know is going to sell, you’re basically going to take a dollar and turn it into two. That model can work but it can also go away tomorrow. It’s also like doing retail arb in a sense. You’re going out, you’re finding ten items that you know you can flip, you flip them and then you’re onto the next.
[00:46:01] Justin: That’s very tiring through because you’re always chasing the ball.
[00:46:04] Scott: It is, but to me for people that are stuck or they just don’t want to invest or they is nervous to me is like getting through the process, just dip your toe in the water. It’s like being able to actually make a transaction on Amazon and prove to yourself that it’s actually possible. It’s a huge thing for a lot of people. Anyway, I’m going to get back to you and I want to wrap up with like, so you never really did give me an exact answer here. So, I’m going to drill you on this. If you have that new garlic press, you’ve said yourself I’m going to launch, it’s got three variations whatever…
[00:46:42] Justin: The variation might be functionality different too. If we talk about garlic press maybe we add more function on. So that’s a garlic press. I might make ABC 3 garlic press but even though the main function is different but we tweak it. You can actually do A/B test otherwise there’s no need to do three variations.
[00:47:04] Scott: I got you. I’m thinking more like you have a garlic press and you have one that’s silver, one that’s red, one that’s blue.
[00:47:11] Justin: No, no. The difference is too miniscule to have a solid A/B test result. I wouldn’t suggest that.
[00:47:19] Scott: You would have to have a difference in the functionality of it.
[00:47:23] Justin: That’s a single hand garlic press that’s the easiest when mom’s on the phone, another one is a two handed one that’s easiest for washing, the marketing message might even be different. But the functionality and the objective of the product is the same. Like pressing garlic but they have different usage.
[00:47:46] Scott: Different usages or if you seen there’s a problem with people because they’re saying, “I can’t press garlic while I’m on the phone,” and you come up with that thing. Okay we’ve established that. Now what I’m trying to get at is what’s your process then to get a sale?
[00:48:01] Justin: Those are the testing ones so you can see like ABC would launch, which one does the best? If B does the best and we just scale that and you say how do you validate it or how do you scale it?
[00:48:16] Scott: So we have those three products, where do you put them? Do you put them on Amazon?
[00:48:21]Justin: Well we also test it offline. We do Facebook ads and stuff. And we did mention on the EU side too because I have a partnership in EU that he’s been doing it for a while too. We can gather enough market intel to see if this is working in the US can we replicate in the EU. Then maybe EU as the better market than US.
[00:48:48] Scott: Okay I guess what I’m hearing is you have a product you want to test. You test it in two different places, you can test it on Amazon. Do you immediately run pay-per-click to it or do you put it on there, optimize it and see if you get sales organically without doing anything?
[00:49:01] Justin: We actually do quite aggressive PPC. Just like what is the main keyword and maybe we bid five bucks a click. That’s aggressive to see if it converts. If it converts, at break even level then maybe there’s legs. But like I said what I’m sharing it’s not super beginner level so I wouldn’t recommend. We do in five EU markets and we have off Amazon channels to test it too.
[00:49:34] Scott: I guess what I’m getting at it is that you have a test phase in a sense before you go and you order a ton. The way that we’re doing it right now to simplify things and like you said you can go advanced if you want to but we have our way of testing it very simply is number one we optimize it, we get it on Amazon and then we run some pay-per-click aggressively at the listing and see if we can convert without any reviews. If we can then it’s showing us the signs are most likely pointing to go and then we also, before we even got started though we also validated it through our own community and our own market or our own email list because we’ve built that.
[00:50:17] Justin: Yes, we do that too.
[00:50:19] Scott: Ours is really, it’s kind of like a hybrid but we don’t test like a Facebook ad directly to the offer…
[00:50:27] Justin: No, no. When I say Facebook ads we don’t drive the Facebook traffic to the listing. That’s not what I meant. It’s more like a lead saying like okay, if people are willing to buy this, what price would they pay, would they want a coupon because we set up our shopify sites pretty quickly.
[00:50:42] Scott: Okay, so you’re testing that driving it to a shopify type store.
[00:50:45] Justin: Yes, yes.
[00:50:49] Scott: Okay, I got you. Just so people understand what you’re talking about is definitely a little more advanced
[00:50:57] Justin: But I don’t think it’s good to… Otherwise they get to information overload and I’ve been doing this not super long but it’s not easy and it’s a grind.
[00:51:06] Scott: It totally is and so let’s wrap up though with if you were advising someone, someone came up to you and go, “Hey Justin I love what you’re doing man, how do I get started in this thing?” What would be your recommendation? What would be the first thing that they can do to actually get started or take what they are currently doing and scale it a little bit?
[00:51:29] Justin: The most realistic question is how much cash were they willing to sacrifice if nothing works out? Actually for me nine to five is the easiest path like doing this is not for humans. For me it’s like a daily grind. Nine to five, after work I’ll go home crack a beer, that’s pretty chill to me but that’s not what I want. So if you want to ask me how to get started, first okay do you really want to be your own boss? That’s a mindset thing. And sure you talk about big mindset stuff. I meditate for a couple of years now and respect a lot about myself, about whom you really are and who do you want. I think the first question if I want to give suggestions like I should start, who do you really want to be and do you want to be and your own boss or just have a cushy job, because there’s nothing wrong with that.
There’s actually nothing wrong with that. 70%, I read some statistics saying 70% of the people just want to get paid and do stuff and then go home with their wife and kids after a certain timeline. Which is fine. I have a bunch of friends in the States that do that but that’s not for me. If that’s given, if that’s not for me, what else can I do to be financially independent or financially free? Although the upfront investment on the time and energy might be greater but the result is what I want to achieve. If that’s the case what do you want to sacrifice to get what you want. Delayed gratification, know that. Don’t get me wrong, even though you’re looking at this number we’re still struggling like… We’re not struggling but it’s just a daily grind.
[00:53:22] Scott: Yeah and again so and I want to highlight what you said there. It’s like this isn’t for everyone. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t matter if it’s this or it’s running a landscape business and you have to deal with customers and you have to deal with employees. That’s another whole thing but if you just want the punch in, punch out that’s fine. For me personally and I believe I have a hybrid approach. I have been doing this now online and supporting my family for over 15 years. I have that balance where I was able to coach my son all through little league. I was able to cut off the work time and I still do. I segment out my day because that’s important but the wheels are always turning.
That’s again going into meditation, it’s something that I’m trying to learn more about and trying to even just add a little bit of that into my life because I have a tough time of turning it off. I think being able to have that mindset where you can actually turn part of your brain off, which would be the what are we doing next kind of thing because you’re always moving is a tough thing. But I think for anyone that’s just starting like you said, getting the mindset right is number one. Like why are you doing it and are you up to the challenge of running your own business and the day today challenges, the ups, the downs and all of that stuff that comes along with it. Do I think it’s possible for anyone to do it? Yes.
Everybody has the same amount of resources to me. Yes, you had an advantage because you had connections in that space but you had other things that you had to work for that you didn’t have because they weren’t there yet.
[00:55:01] Justin: I only have 24 hours as well. Everybody has 24 hours.
[00:55:05] Scott: Exactly but you had those connections because you put yourself into a space that was working for a company that opened up a couple of doors for you. So it all kind of led you to where you are that you took advantage of that because you seen that as an opportunity. I have a new brand that we just launched that I’m fortunate because now we have someone that’s in front of the business. They are driving the social part of the business. That to me is a huge part of this. I didn’t have that two years ago but I have it now because I got a connection opened up and the door opened and then we partnered and all that fun stuff.
[00:55:36] Justin: To add like you’re saying entrepreneur stuff, like time, like making your own time schedule, that’s another huge plus and why you want to get into it. And to add on the meditation part and you’re say you want to turn off the brain. I have a suggestion, even though I’m still young and I can give you a suggestion is that it’s not about turning it off or on, it’s just being present and mindful about it. That bes example I can give is that emotions it comes and goes. It’s like clouds or a thunderstorm. You can either be under the storm clouds or just go home. Imagine in your mental clouds. If you’re so angry but you’re so clouded and there’s anger emotion at the present moment.
Why don’t you just step out, go back in the house and look at the cloud from the window and being aware and like “okay, I’m angry now” but not be inside that emotion. That might help you with mindful wise because I do Headspace. We’re not an affiliate either.
[00:56:42] Scott: Actually I have have Headspace and I’ve constantly tried to commit to doing it every day and I guess the hardest part is that I’m not locking myself into a certain time. I’m very structured to where I need to fit it into a time block and then do that. Almost like I’m reporting to a job in a sense. I need that structure and I’ve done head space a few times and I’ve gotten as far as like maybe ten or twelve days in a row and then I’ll lose it and then I’ll get back in and then I’ll lose it. It’s like working out, it’s like if I don’t set that time at 6:30 in the morning to work out and I say I’ll just do it at one o’clock in the afternoon, as an entrepreneur I don’t do it.
[00:57:20] Justin: Inertia. That’s what they say, sometimes you just got to get it going.
[00:57:24] Scott: I’m going to definitely after talking to you, I know that it’s big and I know we went into some deep stuff here mental stuff. I’m always fascinated with that because it’s something that I think a lot of people including myself struggle with every single day. And like you said, being present that’s a huge one for me because I’ve got three kids, they range from nine years old to nineteen years old to twenty two years old. Everyone is in a different phase and I look back and I go, wow, I felt like I was present but was I really present? Now I try to sit when I have lunch with my kids or my wife, I try to just be in that conversation and not thinking about what I want to be doing or that I could be doing or I should be doing.
[00:58:06] Justin: Even though when those thoughts pop up it’s okay to happen but it just acknowledges like, “MMhh, I’m having a conversation with my wife but now I’m thinking about my product launch and my PPC campaign.” It’s okay to have those but not to hook on it. It’s like, mmmhh it’s there but it’s going to go away. It’s just like a highway. It comes and go like what do you want to focus? Do you want to focus on specific car or just look at it like from drone view, like bird’s eye view. So that’s my suggestion.
[00:58:37] Scott: I appreciate that man. I’m going to definitely take your advice on that because like I said, it’s something that I think a lot of people struggle with including myself and I don’t think you’re ever going to nail it 100%. You’re going to have those but if you have tools and things like you are mentioning and exercises to get your mind right, it could pull you out of that space for a little bit and…
[00:58:59] Justin: It definitely gets worse with internet age, the… People’s attention is shorter than… Sometimes we run a Facebook ad and the people look at a 30 second video only eight seconds. That’s shorter than a goldfish. How could you run a 30 second video ad and people only watch eight seconds? I still don’t understand.
[00:59:19] Scott: It’s that newsfeed man. You’re just scrolling through and see something scroll and then you sit on it for eight seconds and then boom you’re onto the next. It’s like the attention span is so short.
[00:59:30] Justin: So imagine the challenge we have to do as a product seller or any brand owners. You have to call to action within eight seconds or ten seconds to get your message across. That’s insane
[00:59:42] Scott: Yeah that really is. Hey man, I can sit here and talk another hour with you about mindset stuff but I want to wrap this up. Again, I want to thank you for coming on. I think it’s always interesting just to hear how people got to where they are and I think that there’s no one set way to do it but I think that couple of things that you highlighted here that I just want to highlight again is that number one the 80/20 rule. You have to understand that there’s going to be 80% of the things you do that don’t really work that well. There’s going to be 20% that do and those are the ones that are going to focus on but it’s like you said too.
If you know that your 20th product is going to be the one and you only launched two, you didn’t there yet. You didn’t give it a chance. I just really want to highlight the 80/20. I’ll put the link to that book in the show notes if you guys are interested in that but the whole gist of it is that 20% of the things that you do are really the driving force behind what you should be focusing on because that’s the stuff that really pays off. Hey, I just want to thank you again Justin all the way from Taiwan which is crazy. I might have to have you come back on because I want to talk to you more about this mindset stuff.
I think that you are very, very into that and you know a thing or two about it so I’d love to just even go deeper into that discussion. So if you are up for it, I’d definitely love to have you back on.
[01:01:14] Justin: Last words for the listener. Never stop learning. I listen to podcasts like 1.5 to 2 times the speed so I can just learn as much I can in a short period of time. If people need any help, you can put my email on the show notes and I’m glad to help. I also believe in the whole karma thing, if I give back something is going to come back in the universe. That kind of stuff.
[01:01:38] Scott: I believe that wholeheartedly and that’s why the podcast has been out there published and yes, after some time we’ve been able to monetize it but the main thing is it’s free for people to listen to. Doesn’t cost you a dime and I know the more I put out there, the more the people will learn and they’ll hopefully get some type of result or some type of life changing thing in their life. It doesn’t even have to be money wise. I’ve had so many people that say, “Scott, I was in a dark place and like I listened to your podcast and it pulled me out and it gave me hope.” I was like cool man, that’s awesome. We’ll put all your information in the show notes and then from there if anyone wants to reach out to your and like I said, I’d love to get you back on the show to talk about some mindset stuff.
Justin, I want to thank you once again brother and thank you so much for sharing that email. I’m actually taking that email and I’m printing it out and I’m putting it on the thank you wall. That will be there and I’ll look at that from time to time because that’s just a reminder for what I’m doing here with the podcast that it is reaching people and that people are actually using it and they are getting some type of result.
[01:02:42] Justin: It’s quite a funny email address, don’t ask me how I got that but that’s my email address.
[01:02:47] Scott: Hey man, I appreciate it. Why don’t you go to bed or something or are you going to be probably working.
[01:02:52] Justin: Yeah, I’m working because the time zone stuff it’s a bit tricky.
[01:02:57] Scott: Well hey man, take care and keep me posted.
[01:03:00] Justin: All right. Nice talking to you Scott. Thanks for everything as well.
[01:03:04] Scott: Yeah, no problem. Thank you and keep doing it man.
[01:03:08] Justin: Yeah, bye bye.
[01:03:10] Scott: All right. There you go. A lot of detail there, a lot of deep diving mental stuff like mindset like building a business, different mindset as far as like how to attack a market and should it be B2B or whatever. There’s a ton that we covered there and I hope that you got value. I love doing these because again, I learn through this process. I learn that everyone’s business model is just a little bit different which makes it really cool because I’m always learning. Again I just wanted to say again thank I you so much Justin for coming on and also everyone else that reached out to me and has shared a story with me and now with the TAS audience, I want to thank everyone there as well because I get a lot of people that say they love hearing different people with different stories because everyone is just a little bit different.
I don’t want you to look at this number either and say, “Wow, look at $400,000. That seems so far out there.” He had $20,000 last year. The whole year. You have to start somewhere. I always say start looking at maybe your first thousand and that’s why we build our 1K Fast Track class because it’s a way for you to get started and get the wheels moving and the wheels turning. If you guys are brand new and you wanted to check out that, you can head over to 1KFastTrack.com, you can learn more about that but I would also encourage you to again just start.
Just start something. I don’t care if it’s buying something and flipping it on eBay, whatever it is just get started because you will learn through this process. Guys there was a ton that we went over. If you want to download the show notes head over to theamazingseller.com/407. You’ll get the transcripts, any notes or details or links that we’ve shared there will be on that page. So, theamazingseller.com/407. Just again want to say thank you to all of you that have shared your stories here on the podcast and I look forward to sharing a bunch more.
That’s it guys. That’s going to wrap it up, remember as always I’m here for you, I believe in you and I’m rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, say it with a little energy today, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
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