Amazon Digital Nomadism
July 9, 2020
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- How the COVID-19 crisis has impacted digital nomad Taylor Smits
- Why are FBA listings currently taking longer to ship for Amazon Prime users, while FBM delivery times are now quicker?
- Taylor’s background as a corporate headhunter and how he met his business partners
- How Taylor got hooked on e-commerce and started selling on Amazon
- What Taylor would do if he was in the entertainment industry facing the current COVID-19 pandemic
- Peloton’s business model, and how it successfully adapted to new social distancing rules
- Taylor’s experience selling on Amazon during the pandemic, and why e-commerce is a great place to be right now
- Have we hit the tipping point in the US economy?
- Taylor’s advice to people who lost their jobs because of COVID-19: try these valuable online courses about e-commerce
In this episode…
The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted a variety of businesses in the US, both positively and negatively. While many companies have experienced huge losses, those that either sell essential goods or have been able to adapt to the new normal have benefited from an increase in sales.
One market that has experienced mostly positive effects from the lockdown is e-commerce. Taylor Smits has been involved in e-commerce since 2010. He has witnessed Amazon’s growth over the years and now uses his expertise to help other online sellers build their own stores and businesses.
In this episode of the Buy Box Experts podcast, Taylor Smits, the co-founder of MyFBAPrep, joins host Eric Stopper to talk about how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected the Amazon marketplace and its sellers. Taylor discusses his own experience growing an e-commerce business, the future of the US economy, and how new and burgeoning sellers can break into the e-commerce market. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Buy Box Experts
- Taylor Smits on LinkedIn
- Tom Wicky, co-Founder of MyFBAPrep
- AO2 Marketing
- Amazon FBM
- Amazon FBA
- Greg Mercer, Founder of Jungle Scout
- Eric Stopper’s interview with Greg Mercer
- John Foley, Founder of Peloton
- CJ Rosenbaum
- Jeff Bezos’ net worth
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average
- S&P 500
- James Altucher
- Choose Yourself by James Altucher
- The Wholesale Formula
- Larry Lubarsky
- Wholesale Academy
- Trent Dyrsmid
- Scott Needham
- Todd Snively
Sponsor for this episode
Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.
The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace–not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.
Buy Box prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.
Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast. We bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e-commerce world.
Eric Stopper 0:18
Hey and welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast. This is Eric Stopper. Today’s episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. We’ve got a team of consultants, and honestly, it’s free. And we’re actually pretty, we’re pretty knowledgeable over here. We’d love to talk with you about your business. And there are probably questions you have about the intricacies of Seller Central or why your fees look a certain way or why you can’t spend all the advertising dollars that you’ve allocated to actually you know, populate ads, lots of different things we know about all of them, go to buyboxexperts.com, click on the free analysis button, and you’ll be connected with me or a member of my team.
Today I am joined by Taylor Smits, co-founder of MyFBAPrep, a national network of warehouses that empowers e-commerce sellers. They have a powerful technology platform that provides Amazon sellers, whether they’re wholesale or private label or online arbitrage, with next-level FBA prep services. Taylor’s a hustler, a seller like you and me, and a friend. Taylor, welcome to the show.
Taylor Smits 1:23
Thanks for having me, Eric. Excited to be here.
Eric Stopper 1:26
Oh, man. So there’s a lot of stuff I want to pick your brain about. But what are you doing during this whole COVID outbreak?
Taylor Smits 1:34
So I’m lucky to say that we are as busy as ever. Some of that has to do with the restrictions Amazon’s putting on sellers and what that means many of them have transitioned into selling FBM but I basically was in Europe. I had just come off two months with my MyFBAPrep business partner. We were cracking down in some time. systems we were in in Bali, and I was visiting a friend in Norway on my back on my way back to the States. And things got a little it looked like I might get caught there. And so I got on the next flight home, I am cooped up in an attic at my parents house where I grew up in the Midwest in Indiana. No more digital nomadic for me, at least for a few more months. And that’s where I am. That’s why I’m doing this podcast from
Eric Stopper 2:27
I just get a satellite phone and get on a horse and ride across the countryside. Yeah. Now, you mentioned that you have a bunch of people who are transitioning to FBM. I had a friend that another agency called AO2 Marketing, he brought to my attention the fact that it was one account, right? He saw this account, and he went to the page, the actual listing. And it said that on his Prime listing that it would ship in 30 days. And so then he was like, okay, what’s going on here, so he had that he went through manually on every single one of the products on that. And they were like picking and choosing which ones were actually going to send out on time. And I wanted to come to you, you’re the expert in this kind of FBA, FBM world. What is going on? And what’s kind of the latest word?
Taylor Smits 3:16
Yeah, so that’s, that’s really common across all sellers right now. And what’s happening is people are seeing that their FBA listings are three to four weeks out in terms of delivery times. So what you’ll see a lot of Amazon gurus saying right now is FBA and FBM Have flip flopped. And the question then becomes, well, what does that mean? And it’s two, it’s two things. The first is in terms of delivery times typically FBA is quicker, obviously, two days right for the prime buyers. Right now you’re looking at three to four weeks on, I would I would say just throwing out a number, maybe 80 to 90% of your listings, certainly things that are non essential as categories but categorized by Amazon. The other piece of that FBA and FBM is flip flop is that actually As a seller, what you’re going to see if you’re going to see at least double, if not more of your sales coming from FBM. And of course, the reason why is it’s being delivered quicker. So Amazon is in some cases, giving the buy box preferring FBM because of the delivery times also taking into account price. But you’ll see that quite a bit right now in the catalog. That that probably has to do with all of the things going on at the fulfillment centers. But you’ll also notice in sort of the same vein that Amazon has taken down a lot of their, let’s say, advertising real estate on the site. So if you’re searching for items, you will see less ads than you typically do. And a lot of the Amazon inside sort of news media outlets are saying, Oh my gosh, is Amazon that crowded in the fulfillment centers that they’re actually wanting to sort of sell it? Yeah, exactly. And I think that’s, and I think that’s true, and at least there reacting sort of in some ways responsibly. I have a bone to pick with how they generally treat sellers. You know one example, I think Greg Mercer does a good job on news, a news clip I’ve seen circulated no less than 10 times last week where he’s saying that their data suggests that Amazon is involved in the buy box. And you know, 4000 sellers have been suspended for price gouging Amazon’s in the buy box and many of those things and he’s saying I sure hope the Attorney General holds Amazon, at least to the standard that Amazon is holding its sellers, if not to a higher standard because they are the big corporate company. I think Greg Mercer said it best so I won’t comment further.
Eric Stopper 5:41
Oh, man, I need to bring Greg on again. He was actually like the third person we ever brought on the podcast and a lot has happened since then. Yeah. So I want to I want to transition a bit and just ask kind of like for those who are listening to this who are stuck in their house in their attic in their friend’s house, usually right like regardless of the of the COVID outbreak for those that are listening to this, you, you got out of it. Right? You were in corporate finance was it?
Taylor Smits 6:18
I was a corporate headhunter. I was a recruiter across several different industries. It started out in finance then went to, I went to an ad agency. And then ultimately, I ended up at a company called Refinery29, which is an online website for women. And one of the best things that came out of that experience was meeting my partner, meeting my partner for MyFBAPrep, who introduced us to the third partner and we sort of all came together. And as they say, the rest is history.
Eric Stopper 6:53
Yeah, well, I want to know a little bit about the selling on Amazon, too. So for two and a half years or so you’ve been selling products like what did you? You heard of this Amazon bug? Someone got you into it? How did that happen?
Taylor Smits 7:09
Yeah. So when I was in the corporate world for about 11 years, since 2000, the end of 2009 is when I started selling online. So my first e-commerce was doing concert tickets, sporting events, that sort of thing. And it wasn’t until 2016 that I got into what most people think of as e-commerce which was a drop-shipping store, then a private label product, then wholesale and and as you can tell, I started becoming hooked on all these different models. And you know, just just as was the case, three, four years ago and continues to be the case now. It was really the volume and traffic of Amazon that kind of pulled me away from the tickets and other e-commerce stuff and said this is where I want to be. This is where I want to hang my hat. And make a name for myself. And so I hear this from a lot of people, there was never a moment where I said, I’m going to leave the corporate world and go here. And that’s my goal. For me, it was like, I didn’t even realize that I was obsessed with e-commerce until, you know, I would be in my office late at night in New York, which was the biggest space that I had was my office. And, you know, I’d be laying out samples from China for private label product, and people would forget my colleagues would forget their keys and they’d come back into the office at at 10pm and they’d see all the all the lights on and they’d be like, what are you doing here and I’d have all these products laid out on the table with a camera and you know, I’d be I’d be emailing people in China because the timezone worked well was their morning there and, and then I was like, man, I think I’m addicted and, and, and, you know, here I am, and it’s like, all the all the doors opened up and everything And now I’m full time. And I think that whenever I see people with a hint of that, I always just encourage them, you know, run faster at whatever your goal is and try to blow down those doors. Because once you’re, once you’re doing the thing that you like, your life’s just gonna be better. I don’t prescribe to the whole fire your boss, all that stuff. It’s just when you’re in control of a larger percentage of your life. You’re just gonna be happier in general. So,
Unknown Speaker 9:28
so it’s been much happier. Good transition then.
Taylor Smits 9:31
Yeah, yeah, it’s been, it’s been great to be honest. It’s been great. Now.
Eric Stopper 9:36
I mean, you’ve sold concert tickets. Okay, this, this world is very close to me. I’ve got a beautiful mind hat on. This is from John Bellion’s last album. So concerts are very near and dear to my heart and like those that are listening right now who might not care about concerts? Just bear with me. Okay. I’m coming to Taylor with a question because right now COVID-19 there’s 180,000 people dead. And, you know, it’s definitely a serious issue. We don’t feel as much here in Utah, it seems very distant. And this will definitely have an expiration date on it. Because eventually we’ll get a handle on it. But the entertainment industries are screwed right now. Right. And everyone’s kind of aware of this. People who do concerts and events and management for artists. They can’t really do anything. I’m wondering, right, I want to pick your brain if you were them in this scenario, and you have all the tools that you have today, would they seem to just be laying down? What would you do to kind of offset the fact that people can’t congregate and go to a concert?
Taylor Smits 10:48
I think there’s an opportunity for virtual events that are not trying to be the same thing as concerts. So for example, when I was really heavy into the tickets game, I would purchase all kinds of upgrades on a standard ticket, which typically you get through fan clubs, there’s no there’s no real big secret there. If you’re in the fan clubs, you’ll hear about them, you can get them through, you know, your city card, private pass, Amex, special events, etc, etc. And if you choose a particular artist, they’ll also have the offers, if you’re in there, you know, basically I say fan club, but it’s an email list. Yeah. And I think that they could do if they really felt like it, they could do kind of in your home concerts that might be for 100 or 1000 people at a time where, you know, you could be requesting a song and maybe they’ll play that song or maybe they’ll be reading in the chat page, your your name and that experience will merit you know, paying 1500 dollars for that experience. But I think it’s important to not just try and force things virtually but say okay, if it’s if it has to be virtually how . How can we enhance the experience by using the platform? One example which would be Peloton right now. Peloton has done an amazing job, the first of all, they kept going when they were in their studios in New York City, broadcasting their classes just with no audience. So no right, No live people working out just to just the trainer, if you will. And there’s a person on camera, basically. And then and then I think public pressure led them to say Actually, we shouldn’t be going in. You know, New York’s, New York’s one of the epicenters of the pandemic. And so now the instructors are doing it from their home, but I think what you’ll find and this is like going on this week, and I think what’s going to happen is their audience, their followers, and basically the Peloton subscribers are going to say we love this personalization. You see inside the apartment, they mostly live in New York. Have your favorite instructor. So what’s the parallel there that the artist in this case can take and sort of apply where you’re not saying, hey, this this video inside of my apartment is as good as the studio. No, it’s different. It’s a little bit more raw. It’s a little bit more intimate. You might hear a dog barking make your phone ring, but it’s like, Who cares? You get to see your favorite instructor and they’re calling out your name from the leaderboard. I think that that’s a an interesting parallel that maybe people in the entertainment industry should consider
Eric Stopper 13:24
Yeah, and Well, the thing that they’re going to battle against right now is the free TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube of the world. Yeah. And I think that it would take Well, I don’t know, Peloton, do we know how many people are watching those videos.
Taylor Smits 13:40
I mean, they’re massive right now. I think they’re if they haven’t IPO, I think they’re leading up to it. But yeah, their whole model started with John Foley who is the founder and CEO. And I don’t know what the name of the company was, but I think it was SoulCycle. His wife was, you know, putting on her calendar 24 hours in advance, as soon as the class would open up. She wanted to be at the studio where her favorite instructor was, and had to book that. And he said, Well, there’s plenty of people like me who just can’t commit to where I’m going to be a day or two from now. And how do I get my instructor’s time slot? And his idea was, how far could we take this Meaning, if we’re going to scale it to I can do this from my home, and I pay for the hardware, the bike, and then I and then it’s a software play after that was streaming, which, you know, the world is perfectly ready for now. He said, Well, well, how far does this go? Does it go? It’s like 20 to 40 bikes in a class in a regular studio, and he goes, Okay, well, does it stop at 100? Does it stop at 500 and stop at 1000? And then he said, Well, does it have to be live? Can you watch recordings and so here you see this? What I think at the time, people would have said no one’s gonna want to do that. No one’s gonna want to watch a recording. No one’s gonna want to ride something that happened a year ago. Go or a class with no playlist or whatever. And now what you’re seeing is he’s made it perfect with all of the stars and the tracking the gamification if you will, right you can compete against yourself the last time you took that same class where do I fall in the leaderboard?
Eric Stopper 15:16
I mean um Anyway, I’m seeing I’m seeing scenarios here I think that all that all that’s great I didn’t even know all these things about Peloton, I emailed John Foley at one point yeah, he didn’t get back with me you know, maybe he was busy maybe he missed it, but I really respect their hustle and I’ve seen a whole lot of these mirrors right that have have a trainer built into them. There’s probably five brands that are doing it. And I don’t think that it will ever eclipse gym going right as soon as that’s back on I’m gonna be there right? No mirror is ever gonna tell me how to you know how to lift my weights? Yeah, yeah. Or maybe maybe it will, maybe I’m just a laggard when it comes to this diffusion of innovation to like totally online personalization. But like if I’m a guitar legend, right if I’m a member of a guitar band, I’d be challenging people to like, you know, guitar battles and stuff online just to just to build that. And I feel like the, for the most part, I haven’t seen too much of that. It’s mostly just been people posting on TikTok. You know, I wonder how long or how long will it take for us to see like, major shifts in this industry? Or is it just gonna get back to normal? And when this is all said and done? What do you think?
Taylor Smits 16:32
As far as like concerts and sporting events go? I think it will go back to normal. I just can’t see a world where all the stadiums that exist out there saw the NCAA final for all the Super Bowl like, you know, I’m not voting for that. I’m not voting for No way. Well, no Mardi Gras, no, you know, fill in the blank Fourth of July all that. So I think it’ll be interesting to see I’m almost embarrassed. Throw out any guesses? Because if I look back on this and I’m way wrong and you know III don’t
Eric Stopper 17:07
I think it’s going away. I think it’s I think we’re gonna see changes in customer behavior which we have. And you know, maybe it’ll never go, never go past that point. So you’re selling on Amazon right now. Right? You have brands that are live. Yeah. What’s been your experience? Just the latest scoop for Amazon? Are you? Are you day to day managing your own Amazon presence? Or do you have somebody that you’re outsourcing that to?
Taylor Smits 17:33
I do not have an amazing partner who handles most of the day to day but I’m in the account every day. So it’s not completely hands off in there. There’s no part of the process that I don’t still do sometimes. But by and large, MyFBAPrep is my focus and I’m not involved in that. My overall experience. I have one account that sells very much non essential goods and that account was cut in half and probably present day is selling about 25% of what it would be doing in a normal month. On the flip side, my other account sells lots of home and kitchen goods. And there was a week there where it was, like quite literally 10 x. And then I started to, you know, run out of inventory. But it’s still three to four times on a daily basis, what a normal day, week month should look like. So for me, it’s been a bit of a wash. But what’s nice about seeing how my partner handles the account is I can sort of see from a seller’s perspective exactly what my prep customers are going through. Some of them have been completely throttled having to switch to FBM which we already covered a little bit or not getting the volume because you know the order the ship dates are so far out or even worse, they’re getting the orders and the orders are getting cancelled because when customers say hey it should have arrived on my doorstep two days ago or two days ago order nothing. yeah they cancel it because we have to remember as sellers we know all the ins and outs of of Amazon but most people aren’t looking at the delivery date they say I’m a Prime member I ordered it comes in two days so it’s it’s kind of worst because it’s after the fact and then you have a high ODR and you know your your account health etc etc. So luckily once again Amazon is adjusted to some degree I gotta give them credit. I think it’s May 15 there, you know through May 15th there being less strict on account held things in terms of delayed orders and that sort of thing. So
Eric Stopper 19:44
yeah, it’s it’s it’s a mixed bag. So all my other stuff is gonna go into the radar too. I mean, I’m sure they’re just bogged down. You can’t You can’t be doing four acts of the revenue on, you know, accounts like yours and mine and be able to keep up with that overnight.
Taylor Smits 19:58
So I think it’s so hard For us to imagine, like what the 30,000 foot view is for Amazon, so, you figure they have three to 400,000 I can’t remember, I want to say it’s like 400,000 like employees worldwide. And they’ve they’ve said because of COVID that they’re hiring 100,000 more people, basically overnight if they can’t I mean as fast as they can to to be working at the fulfillment centers to address the increase, let’s say the increase on the filament centers, which is more orders, right, and and all the, all the other a sins being throttled, that are non-essential is a direct result of them saying, Let’s clear up more real estate in our fulfillment centers, in order to accept more goods that people buy during a recession or during a lockdown or a quarantine, whatever, whatever term you want to use, if you don’t think we’re in a recession yet well, okay, fine, but you might change your mind. A couple of months and, and that this is actually isn’t my theory. My buddy CJ Rosenbaum, who’s an Amazon lawyer, gave me this one. So I’ll credit him but he’s saying what do people buy in a recession? And so what Amazon is doing is getting all of our, you know, calculators out of their fulfillment centers and replacing it with granola bars and oatmeal and, you know, potato chips and whatever people need if they’re stuck at home. And I think that’s just interesting to see. I can’t even imagine one more stat on the Corona meets Amazon conversation. And that is that since the beginning of March, Jeff Bezos’ net worth has gone up to the tune of $25 to 27 billion. I’ve seen it quoted.
Eric Stopper 21:50
Oh 25, which makes total sense, right? Like they drop those stimulus checks and everybody’s bank accounts. 40% of that went straight into Amazon’s pocket. The IRS set up a tax scheme to get some of that money back. You know what I mean? Like, I got a tinfoil hat on and a chip on my shoulder when it comes to these stimulus checks, but it is what it is right? That’s. Yeah, no, no, I hear you, man. I hear you. So you mentioned right, we’re probably in this recession, which me as this like, only an e-commerce right. It’s pretty much my whole world and it supports my family. I haven’t, I haven’t felt it. You know, I’m not, I’m not feeling the real recess. And I know that there are, you know, millions of people out there whose lives are getting adversely affected, and I want to be sensitive to that. But I’m wondering what it is going to take for us to really jumpstart the economy. Obviously, we got to deal with COVID we gotta get that dealt with. But then as soon as it’s over, right, what, what flip, what switch? Are we going to have to flip in order for things to just, you know, to get the flywheel spinning again, so to speak. Yeah.
Taylor Smits 22:59
I don’t know. No, and I don’t think anyone else knows either. I was reading an article about China today who says and I don’t believe it, but they say they’re back to normal in terms of restrictions being lifted, you’re allowed to do, you’re allowed to go out, you’re allowed to go to restaurants, whatever. And what they’re seeing is that it’s just not happening. People aren’t traveling, people aren’t going to restaurants, people aren’t going to movie theaters. And we’re about to be there in you know, call it a month called two months. I’m not I’m not here to give the timeline as to when we back up the country, but I think there’s going to be a certain lag after it becomes okay to go do the things you would normally do. And the time that you actually do the things that you would have normally done, and I don’t know what it is that, you know, what’s the decision that opens back up? The NFL? What’s the decision that makes you and your family think that you want to go to a movie, whereas the last, you know, I don’t know called 30 weeks? You’re saying no, no, I’m staying at home on Friday night. I don’t have these answers, but I am sure people are not going to be lining up to buy, you know, Delta, American, United flights that I just don’t see happening anytime soon. And quite honestly, I’m nervous for the economy of the country. e-commerce is a great place to be right now. Other other sectors, you know, I think it’s time they buy some e-commerce courses,
Eric Stopper 24:26
man that is so I mean, imagine telling Delta Hey, have you guys considered e-commerce right? Like we’re, we’re turning the Titanic at that. Yeah.
Eric Stopper 24:40
So I’m, you know, I, I worry about this. And, you know, I had a conversation with one of one of the members of our team here about the worry that people will stop buying products as frequently right? They’ll just focus on kind of battening down the hatches and being and being prepared for all of this but it would stand to reason that that would be happening right now. Right, like during the time that it’s hardest, but then we get these reports about, I sell non-essential goods, for sure. And I’m crushing it right now. Like my, my, everything’s up, dog collars, bags and earplugs, right? Like my sales are going up. So people are still doing the stuff associated with these activities. They still have dogs, right? They still have work needs. And so I’m wondering, have we even hit the tipping point here in the United States you think, like, has it actually even gotten at all bad? I mean, New York shut down.
Taylor Smits 25:41
It’s only getting worse. I don’t know where we are. But we’re going, we’re going down economically. to your question about will people stop buying goods to the same degree? I don’t know about that. I, of course, am hoping and wishing that they don’t. And it continues. I mean, I think for a lot of e-commerce sellers now has been a great time to kind of bear down on their business, they might have more time if they’re kind of keeping a normal day job. But you know what, what you’re talking about is deflation, right? It’s when all of the public companies are getting less revenue than they normally would, because there’s less activity and less demand. And they lay people off because they have less revenue. And then the people who are still actively involved in the working economy are getting less than spending less and it and it just, you know, has a downward spiral effect on Yeah, yeah. So um it’s tough man. It’s also tough to juxtapose like a really strong e-commerce business. Our prep business has gone bananas, we’re busier than we’ve ever been. We’re constantly partnering with new prep centers opening up new states that we don’t Currently work with. And yet at the same time, you see what’s going on the overall trend and, you know, the Dow Jones or S&P 500. And you just feel horrible for, or that chart with the unemployment rate, right? Which Yeah, three and a half million and six, six and a half million. And it’s, you see that and you just, you know, or food lines on the news where people are having to drive through and pick up. It’s tough. I don’t I don’t know what to think or how to feel about any of it. But I think we’re all trying to, you know, I think we’re worried first about our health. I think we’re worried about our jobs. And then we’re third worried about, you know, the bottom line and if you’re, if you’re so lucky as to be worried about, you know, your job or your health you’re in a pretty good or, excuse me, yeah, or job or, or your bottom line. I think you’re in a pretty good place because many people are worried about their health.
Eric Stopper 27:55
Yeah, well, so I mean, let’s, let’s switch gears a little bit, and just say for, you know, for maybe the people who lost their job, it looks really bad. Where, what direction? Would you send them right now? Right to build their future, right? This could be the perfect opportunity for them to just say, all right, like, I’m going to start something apart from this day job, where would you encourage them to go? Is Amazon the key? Like, should they start looking for us manufacturers and getting alone to make it all happen? Like, what would you tell the unemployed person right now who wants to leverage the good parts of the economy, in an effort to get it to get it moving right to kind of make this grand design happen?
Taylor Smits 28:42
To take a phrase to one of the authors and bloggers that I really like, named James Altucher, choose yourself and that’s the name of one of his books, and it’s kind of a movement he’s inspiring. And what that means is invest in yourself because The returns when you invest in yourself are always greater than anything else you would invest in. You know, he talks about, people always say, should I invest in a 401k. And you know, there’s there’s arguments whether you’re getting six to 8%, or if inflation is eating up all that, but when my belief is when you choose yourself and you take action, and you build day by day, on the progress, you have the long term dividends on that are measurable. If you can leave your job and provide for your family, you know, there’s a monetary case to be made for that. But let’s just say you’re, you’re going to be making the same annually as you were at work. What is it like to spend more time with your wife and kids or what does it look like to you know, I’m from the digital nomad community. I don’t ever, quote unquote, vacation, but I do about 10 to 15 countries a year, you know, bouncing around so like, what, what, how do you put a value on that So I just think that the people who actually say, you know what I’ve had and this is my story. I mean, when I’m in the corporate world, I was making good money, such good money to the point where I felt bad for not being satisfied for not feeling fulfilled. And the e-commerce thing was always a hobby for me, you know, I make 1500 bucks here, take my girlfriend to Hawaii, you know, it was great, right? But it wasn’t, I wasn’t serious about it, I just love doing it. And, you know, what I started to realize was that the fulfillment was coming from the thing that I was interested in, I was sort of drawn and pulled into e-commerce saying, I love this. This is so cool it it’s so current and modern with all you know, using Facebook ads to drive traffic to a website and you’re not holding the inventory because it’s being sent directly from a warehouse and all of that was just perfect for me because I was like, this is, you know, we’re in 2020. Now it’s been a few years. But it’s like, it just made sense to me. And when I invested in myself and I, I’ll be the first to say I bought like, no less than four or five $2500 courses on how to do this e-commerce model, you know, drop-shipping, private label, multiple wholesale courses. All of them are worth it. I’ve never, I never have felt like, Oh, I overpaid or I didn’t learn that much I shouldn’t have done that. They’re all worth it. And and, and that’s a mindset shift that I’d love to give people which is that they’re all worth it. And I believe I have, I’ve adopted this new philosophy whenever someone says, you know, how I made like a million dollars day trading or whatever, rather than saying that’s a scam. Often it is but rather than saying that I go, Wow, that story is true for that guy. Now, will it be true for you, you should spend a lot of time figuring that out. But when you choose yourself and say I am going to commit to learning that model You know Amazon I highly recommend because of again the wave of traffic and people who are on the on the platform but there’s tons of other things out there you know people people are making you know 30 grand a month renting out Airbnb that they don’t own and they’re renting you know great good for you like you’ve you’ve committed to that model but choose yourself man and and and from there, it’s just life’s gonna get better. It’s also it’s also more interesting My God, the adventure, the highs and the lows like I probably shouldn’t share too much but yeah, I mean it is it is a it is a thrill right when you’re when you’re in charge of your own income and when you’re in charge your own company, it’s, it’s something else.
Eric Stopper 32:44
If if you’re listening to this, and you’re, you’re pissed off and you got a bunch of Oreos in your mouth and you’re playing Call of Duty, right? Like there’s a pretty clear thesis that can develop for your life. And this isn’t doesn’t necessarily have to be the big aha moment that you But I would encourage everyone just figure out what they like. And Taylor, To be honest, I’ve taken a few courses myself, I have wasted money on a few of them. Okay. So it sounds like you have a particularly good nose for a good course. And so are there any that you would recommend to everybody that they should take as you go through?
Taylor Smits 33:20
Yeah, I can speak more to the wholesale courses than the private label ones. So putting that aside for a second. I would say the ones that come to mind, the wholesale formula. Dan Meadors has been at it for a long time and yields a great conference every year. The way he goes about it is the right way. And actually, I think he was one of the first guys at this shift in wholesale. When suppliers actually started realizing what was going on. It’s like, hey, you’re not like actually buying that you’re buying that to sell online. And so he has, you know, no spoiler alerts here. He has a minute for dealing with that, which is well, how do you win accounts when people don’t want more people to sell on Amazon? Right? That’s why I think his course is good. And also I think he’s, he’s in it for the right reasons. Larry Lubarsky has watched me on Amazon. I will raise my hand and say my partner and I have invested in it. I run a network of prep centers with my partners and I still go into his course to look up little teeny tiny things and I use some of his videos as just like reference material for training new people. Trent Dyrsmid, you and I talked about him last time we spoke and he has his own podcast. He has a web program which is not a course , it’s a set of SLPs specific to Amazon wholesalers and it works great for what you should be doing in your day to day and it works even better for how to train your VA or your team internally on what to do. I mean, these guys you won’t find out there saying all those wastes or they didn’t teach me or whatever, what’s going to happen is you’re going to have to look in the mirror after a few months and ask yourself, have I been taking action? Have I been doing the steps? Anyone who gets there and who does that? You know, it’s just it’s absolutely you’re gonna see results. The two others which I don’t think have formal courses, but I think are right now kind of currently. Top names in this Amazon education space specific to wholesale. The Amazon link guys are well, they’re hilarious number one, but they’re really knowledgeable and they have, you know, free content. They have paid content. And Scott Needham, BuyBoxer. I don’t know, personally, we’ve exchanged a couple of emails, but he’s out here in Utah. Yeah, he’s just on it with everything he does. I was listening to one of his podcasts and somebody was saying something like, yeah, Scott, you like data? Is it Yeah, like data, you know, blah, blah. They’re talking about and so I was like, what you know, you’re preaching to the choir here. I’ve downloaded the entire Amazon catalog. I mean, if you want to learn from someone who knows what they’re doing, why don’t you go for the guy who’s downloaded the entire Amazon catalog and tried to get some insights from there like that’s a good place to start. So no Lamborghinis for Scott Needham, but, you know, he’s just, he’s crushing it.
Eric Stopper 36:22
So those are all excellent recommendations. I think one thing that we found here at Buy Box Experts is that people come to us and then when they can’t afford the service that they probably need there’s usually like they have trouble finding somebody or time in their own day to do the things that they need to do. And I think those are all excellent resources. So like if you’re a small seller and you’re trying to get started like you know go go to a few these things, Scott Needham right. The Buy Box Experts podcast, it’s, it’s got tons of episodes, you could learn from it. You listen to ours, you can learn from it. This is the time You know, to start investing in yourself and these are like, we always try to get to the meat of what is actionable. And I and I think that this set, this lineup is really good. Taylor, is there anything else that you want to tell our listeners any encouragement that you want to give them or advice that you can leave them with MyFBAPrep related or not?
Taylor Smits 37:23
I take this from another wholesale expert, Todd Snively. He says, Don’t overcomplicate it. He says, when you’re sitting there in the shower, ask yourself what’s the one thing I’m going to do today that’s going to improve my business and if you build on that every single day, where you’re doing something you’re going to pick your head up and you’re going to realize that you are much farther along from where you started and i i don’t know too much about your your personal Amazon sales experience, Eric, but what I’ve realized myself is that like the Like the first year of Amazon, I felt like I could not string together to $1,000 days in a row for the life of me, and I would every night check. I’m gonna, I’m gonna land at 750 I’m gonna land at 900 Yeah, and I get $1,000 a month I want to do $2,000 and, and, and it’s like, I remember what it felt like to hit, you know, $1,000 a day and that was like the actually that was a better feeling than hitting $5,000 a day. I don’t know why I mean it was like it you know, it was falling in love with the Amazon world. And my point is that looking back, coming so much farther than that and having higher sales than that. That I mean, that was that was what hooked me so you have to kind of pick your head up every so often and acknowledge your progress. My partner Tom and MyFBAPrep is always saying wait a minute, guys, we got to celebrate this like we got to have even if it were all quarantine and virtually cheering on Zoom or whatever he’s like, we gotta celebrate this win because Life is good, and it’s getting better. And yeah, I mean, I hope that everyone can take some time to choose themselves. Learn how to get better, personally, professionally in your relationships during this time where we have a little bit more time to think about all that and I think I think that’ll do it.
Eric Stopper 39:20
Taylor, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Unknown Speaker 39:22
Always a pleasure here.
Eric Stopper 39:24
To finish today’s podcast, I want to share some final thoughts. For brands to be successful on Amazon, a critical lever will be launching and managing Amazon advertising campaigns. We at Buy Box Experts are really big fans of the team at Kenshoo. The sophisticated software helps brands to manage ad campaigns, and gather further data intelligence across Amazon, Google and Facebook platforms. We’re excited that you joined us today. We’ll see you next time.
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