E122: EcomCrew Treat! Launching Two Courses and Catching Up with Dave BryantFebruary 22, 2018 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
Our months of hard work have finally paid off! We are happy to announce that the following courses are open for registration:
And to kick things off, we have Dave Bryant from literally the other side of the world on the podcast to talk about the course and the carefully curated content that’s waiting for you on the other side.
And if that’s not a treat in itself (you guys know how hard it is to get Dave on the podcast), we’re offering the two courses for the price of just one, for a limited time only.
I don’t want to sound any more salesy than I already do, so here are some conversation points for today’s episode:
- Update on Dave’s new offroading brand
- What Dave and I are up to
- Our shared belief that strict product labeling is dead, and our strategies moving forward
- The benefits of product differentiation, both in sales and protection
- Dealing with suppliers and packaging hacks
- What to look for in a niche
- Validating products
- Tips on starting a brand
- Our respective revenue expectations when first launching a product
This episode is kind of a preview, so many of the things we talk about here are discussed in more depth in our courses. If you’ve bought one of our courses previously, just send us an email at [email protected] so we can upgrade your access for FREE.
Also, we have a lot going on for you in the next couple of months. First off is our webinar on March 6th, which you can sign up for here, if you haven’t already. Dave and I are also speaking at Global Sources in Hong Kong in April, and since we’d love nothing more than meeting new people and discussing all things ecommerce, we are hosting EcomCrew’s very first mastermind on April 21st in Hong Kong. So if you are going to Global Sources and have some free time, we’d love to meet up with you then. Register here!
Thank you so much for listening to the EcomCrew Podcast. Until next week, happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 122 of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to EcomCrew.com/122 to get to the show notes and comments for this episode. And for this episode, I’m excited to finally have my partner in crime Dave Bryant back on the podcast. And today we’re going to be talking about our new course that we’re launching. And of course just like the way that we always are, most of what we have here is going to be a lot of value for you regardless not if you purchase our course.
But we have worked really hard on this, and we’re really proud of what we’ve been able to do. I want to thank Abby from back behind the scenes helping us with this along with David Quay. Both of them have been tremendous help. We wouldn’t be able to do this without them. So go to EcomCrew.com/course to find out more. Today’s episode going to be focusing on what Dave and I have been doing the last six months or so and what our strategy is in 2018.
A lot of these are strategies that we talk about in our course. But again our whole concept is to provide value first. We’re not sales people. So at the very end we do have a little bit of a sales pitch on our new course, but even if you don’t sign up obviously the content here on the podcast is yours to keep. You can also go to MyEcomCrew.com and sign up there. We have free content there for you as well. So let’s get Dave right on the episode on the other side of this break, and until then we’ll talk to you soon.
Mike: Dave Bryant man, welcome back to the EcomCrew Podcast.
Dave: I know I have the name on the intro, so I guess I should be here every now and then.
Mike: Yeah your name’s on the intro, your face is on the picture, but I don’t know.
Dave: That’s living in China.
Mike: Yeah, so how is China then?
Dave: It’s been great actually. I mean the weather is a lot better here than it is back in Vancouver. So Vancouver has two inches of snow right now, and it’s 25 degrees Celsius here. So that part I can’t complain about. The Internet though I could ask for a little bit more.
Mike: Yeah this is a rare treat. We actually found this new software that records locally and then uploads. So hopefully the podcast will come out nice and clean, and we’re looking forward to doing this. It’s a special treat today. The reason that we got Dave from the other side of the planet to join us is because we’re finally re-launching our EcomCrew course, and we wanted to do a podcast about that specifically.
But as you guys know we’re not sales people. So we’ll talk a little bit about that at the end. But just in EcomCrew fashion, this is probably going to be basically a 30 minute podcast kind of webinar about what Dave and I are up to these days in 2018 developing new products.
Dave: Yeah and hopefully in this podcast we can kind of talk about our strategies that we go about developing products both I guess at the end of last year and going forward in 2018. And hopefully people get a little bit of knowledge and advice very developing their own products.
Mike: Yeah and you’re obviously doing this basically full time now with your new brand, the offroading thing. Let’s talk about just real quick how that’s been going for you.
Dave: Yeah, so as people might know or not know last year or I guess in 2016 now, I sold my previous company. So in 2017, I started a new brand from scratch basically focusing on the offroading space. And I kind of set a goal to try to re-launch a brand to a million dollars in revenue within a year. And a big part of my strategy was trying to develop around 50 new products within the year because I really think it’s kind of a numbers game trying to get to that million dollar mark.
It’s hard to do with one product, so you need to launch multiple products. So that’s kind of where I’ve been at is developing those products. And now that the Chinese New Year is finally passed, basically all the products are now on a boat. And I think I have around 35 products that are ready to launch that are either have been launched already or that will be launched sometime here in March.
Mike: So is that kind of a part of your strategy talking about like strategies in 2018 is the develop many products and hope a few stick is the strategy or is it just that you basically know what you’re doing at this point, and you’re just getting prolific about it?
Dave: I mean I kind of have this philosophy in my mind that if I develop 100 products, sixth year are going to be average products, that you’ll reorder and that kind of have a normal velocity of sales. Twenty will be absolute failures and that I’ll never reorder, and will sell all of them either at a discounted price or some other means, and 20% of them will be home runs. And it seems that when you’re developing products, you can think that a product is going to be a great hit, and it just is a dud. And you can think that a product is going to be a great dud and is a huge success.
So it just seems to be a numbers game where if you have a big enough sample size, you’re going to get some home runs, you’re going to get some failures and you’re going to get some average product. So I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket and try to launch one product and find out that my estimations were wrong. So that’s kind of my philosophy of trying to launch as many products as possible.
Mike: Yeah and we’re actually — it’s ironic we’re on the same target to do 50 products this year as well. We did not collaborate coming up with that number. I’m actually shocked and impressed that you can hit a number like that on your own. But one of your other strategies I know just from the moment we recorded the course together is to use few manufacturers, which is one thing that we haven’t been lucky enough to find manufacturers that can make a whole line of products for us.
We definitely try to get as many products made from one manufacturer as possible. But talk a little bit about how you found just a couple of manufacturers that can make tons of products for you.
Dave: Yeah I mean I’m trying to find a manufacturer that can produce five to ten different products. And I think one thing I should note here when we’re talking about 50 products, we might be having a little bit different language. When I say 50 products, that includes all size variations, all color variations. I don’t know if in your 50 products you include that, or maybe you don’t actually have a lot of variations with your mix?
Mike: We do have some variations for sure, but we don’t include variations. So sizes and or colors don’t count. So a good example, we’re developing a pair of tactical gloves right now that will have three different sizes, and we count that as one product.
Dave: Yeah, so I think my 50 products, it probably works out more like 25 or 30 different unique SKUs. Each product tends to have around two different variations. But in terms of finding suppliers, what I’m trying to do, I want to find a supplier that can make me five to ten different products or if you exclude variations three to four different products.
So I mean I’m in such a focused niche, and I really think that’s a big key is that if you are in a focused enough niche, suppliers are just going to have a lot of products that kind of fit that niche. And I think that’s just the big key. It’s not necessarily finding the supplier, you have the right niche and it’s focused enough, you tend to be able to find suppliers which just have a pretty big product catalog, and you can kind of just poach basically their catalog.
Mike: Yeah that makes a lot of sense. So let’s kind of into the nitty-gritty though because obviously like both of our strategies is never really been to just be like just a private label company, which is basically going to the manufacturer, finding a product that’s in their catalog, just stitching your name on it and shipping it in a poly bag and hoping to get sales. So let’s talk about both of our strategies there. You can kick it off just what we’ve been doing to differentiate and make something that is more defensible.
Dave: Yeah absolutely and I think that’s kind of the big takeaway not just for our businesses but obviously in the course it’s something that we’re teaching too, and preaching as being able to differentiate a product in some way because I think we’re both kind of in agreement that private labeling is kind of dead. So just taking a product that you find on Alibaba and sticking your barcode and maybe a logo on it, I think that’s pretty much dead.
I’ve actually tried it with one product just kind of for fun with this new business, and I still have – I think I ordered 100 units of it. I think I still have 92 units left at Amazon right now. So I think private labeling is pretty much dead. So you have to differentiate a product in some way. And it doesn’t have to be a whole lot of a new and spectacular improvement to the product, but just some small type of modification.
So getting down to the nitty-gritty some of the things that I do, my big one, I kind of have this nickname as the bundler. I try to bundle a lot of products together. So using the garlic press example, you take the garlic press and then you take that garlic rub to get the peeling off and you put it together. And you get big economies of scale there the fact that that garlic rub is probably only a few cents on the dollar, but it adds a lot of perceived value to customers.
And you’re going to get a fairly big percentage of an audience who looks at a garlic press and says; okay well, I can either choose the garlic press on its own or this guy for 50 cents more, I get the garlic rub. And it’s just going to encourage them to buy if you don’t have that kind of bundle.
Mike: Yeah, and so this is something that we do as well. Our interest or our philosophy I should say is definitely aligned here. We do the same exact thing. A good example for us would be our gel pens where we bundle the pens, the refills on the case. And there’s more to it than just bundling, we’ll talk about that here in just a few minutes.
But when I was recording the course just recently, you had used some towing rope as an example. And the bundle that you had in the slides there was the rope and a bag and making a little bit of a differentiation to it. We’ll talk about that like I said in a second, but obviously people that are looking for a tow rope or whatever want to be able to put it in a bag and throw it in the back of their jeep, and that’s a great bundle right there.
Dave: Yeah absolutely. And I think that’s kind of one of the hacks. I think that both me and you use, but I see a lot of other people in the more competitive categories using this. I mean it sounds kind of small and petty, but actually including like some type of carrying bag with the item, it’s a really cheap add on. And just including that carrying bag as an add on it both adds functional value, but it also looks really great in the Amazon marketing or your website marketing just including that bag because people are making decisions when they’re buying kind of on a split decision.
They’re not reading every little bit of your product description and doing hours upon hours of reviews. They’re mostly going by those photographs, trying to make the split decision, okay is product A better than product B. And if they see product A with a couple of these little differentiators like a carrying bag, they’re probably going to choose product A over the other product just again making that split second decision and helping guide people on that go to your product not somebody else’s.
Mike: Yeah and the other thing that we talk about a lot in the course as well is besides the bundling stuff is just small improvements. It doesn’t need to be something that you necessarily patent or reinvent the wheel with. Kind of go over the different examples with the rope I was just mentioning the tow rope, the example I had just — it’s fresh in my mind because I just recorded that slide. You had put on a different type of ending on it, and you put some reinforcement on it and then also had your logo on it. Talk about the process which you did there for that.
Dave: Yeah, so with the rope, and again this kind of comes down to, if you kind of have a basic overview of manufacturing in China, you kind of know what you can and you can’t do with the product. And again we go into more detail on this in the course. Not to pump the course, but just if anybody is interested, we go into a lot more detail about that. But if you know what you can and you can’t do with a product, then it makes kind of the possibilities that are available to you, it makes it more prevalent.
So I knew with the rope that a manufacturer can — they can basically modify that rope and in our case dip it in basically this plastic. And so what they did is simply dip this rope in a plastic goo like product. It is basically to make it resist tension and heat resistance and just make it a stronger overall rope when people are towing. So just kind of having my background, I knew that was possible and that was one of the easy hacks I was able to do and really differentiate our products from all the other products that didn’t have this plastic goo on the end of the rope which helped make it stronger.
Mike: Yup, and I think that’s really smart. So going back to the gel pen example again I mean besides the bundling stuff that we mentioned and finding like a really high quality product, we also added some intellectual property into the mix, which is actually coming in very handy right now, because someone actually ripped off our gel pens and they’re having a bad day right now, because we’re so now a cease and desist. And the pending on how much they’re going to cooperate is going to be hell easy. We’re going to be about it.
But Intellectual Property Law in the United States is pretty strict. And so I mean we went out and made up all of our own color names for the gel pens and printed them on the gel pens and in a numbering scheme. There is precedence with Crayola, having a case where they won based on this exact thing. So we have a lot of things in our favor. And basically this company that made counterfeit gel pens, is going to have to stop. And so it helps us protect us as well, but those small improvements can also be things that if you do it cleverly like that can also protect. So those are other things to be thinking about.
Dave: And then I think the thing now is too with IP is that in the past you’re kind of relying on a court to basically decide in your favor now that the court is basically Amazon. So that means a lot more value having Amazon decide in your favor in IP case than necessarily a court because Amazon can rip off every other listing that’s being piggybacked on your listing just in a matter of a click, whereas court obviously that’s years and years long process.
Mike: Yeah and that’s exactly the next step for us. I mean we’re given another day or two to let them work things out. But if they don’t, one email to Amazon and they will be shut down which is a good place to be in. And again just making that small improvement not only did it — it was extra work, that’s the thin. I mean you got to put a little bit extra effort into it, but the extra effort now is paying off in spades and the minimum order quantity for someone to do that is massive. So we use that as a competitive advantage as well, all things that we talk about on the podcast, the blog and the course and stuff over time. But those are the types of things that can really give you a huge advantage in the long run.
Dave: Yeah and I think building a brand goes a little bit further than just simply putting your logo on a product branding. There’s a whole lot to that package just obviously the package, but it’s also the instructions and the inserts that go in it. Branding on the product, not just on the package, on the product and then even taking a step further like you where you’ve actually even have like individualized branding per part in that entire package.
So building a brand goes a lot further than a lot of people think about. It goes further than just putting that logo on it. When you can build that brand, it makes it more defensible just not from a selling standpoint and differentiating from the competition, but also getting Amazon to decide in your favor if somebody ever does kind of decide to rip off your IP.
Mike: And one of the things that you talk about all time is that the packaging probably isn’t going to get you your first review, but it might get you your 100th review or whatever, make your product more successful in the long run. And man I’m super passionate about packaging. This is actually probably the thing that I focus on more than the product almost even these days. Probably not quite to that level, but pretty darn close. It really hit me when I started thinking this through in my own personal experience which to me the package king is Apple.
I mean just as an adult, you open up an Apple package and you’re just like, oh man it’s like being a kid on Christmas Day. It’s so well thought out; it’s just super high quality. The packaging is designed really well, and it gives you like this visceral amazing experience just opening up the package versus just getting something that’s in a poly bag. And depending on what your product is, the packaging, spending a dollar or two more on the packaging is probably somewhere in the three to five percent range or whatever it might end up being, but you end up being able to sell your product for let’s say 50% more, or your overall review count is more five star reviews, your customer experiences are higher. You’d be surprised at what you can do with really high quality packaging.
Dave: And something I appreciate a lot more in my business than maybe some other businesses is that people who buy our products don’t necessarily actually use them. It’s a recovery accessory, so people only need it when they’re in a real bind. So a lot of people buy our products and they don’t use it for months or even potentially ever. So their only real perception of that product is the package when they open it. So that package is really defining how they’re going to review it.
And even if you have a product that people are going to use right away like coloring pen, when they open up that package, that’s going to be the first impression that they have of that product. So a good package is going to make them think that a lower quality product is actually higher than it really is, and low packaging is going to make people think that a higher quality product is lower quality than they really think it is. So it really forms that first impression.
Mike: So my philosophy like when I had to tell my team what to do here with developing the packaging, I tell them we want packaging that’s good enough to be on a retail store shelf. So if it’s Best Buy or Michael’s or whatever Wal-Mart, whatever the heck it might be, you don’t ever see stuff on those store shelves in a poly bag. It just doesn’t exist. I mean I don’t go shopping in a retail environment very much. I seem to be an Amazon customer myself these days.
But at the very time I do go into retail store, I mean retailers or retail goods manufacturers and sellers have to use that as a way to get you to pick up your product over the one that’s sitting next to them. So packaging is a very important part of that. And if you — somehow something that’s that quality to someone even though they’re ordering it through Amazon, they’re going to feel like they got the retail version of the product and not the — I wouldn’t say wholesale but like the outlet store version of the product that just like makes it feel it’s cheaper.
Dave: And one thing with packaging is when you’re talking to a manufacturer, they’re always going to tell you if you want custom packaging the MOQ is 500 pieces. And if it’s an expensive item, if it’s a 30, 40, 50 dollar item cost, that’s a pretty big order that you’re going to have to make. And they tell you that MOQ simply because their MOQ when they go to the box factory is 500 pieces.
So a couple of things that you can do if you’re trying to order a lower quantity and you want custom packaging, the first thing actually I do this all the time is I kind of develop an agnostic box, or something that I can stick four or five different products in, and kind of use the same packaging. And that way I can have 100 products of five different products all sharing that 500 custom boxes. The other thing I’ll also do is I’ll order 500 boxes, and I’ll tell the manufacturer just keep the other 400 boxes, and use the first 100 boxes right now for the 100 pieces that I’m going to order.
And what that does is it really frees up my cash flow because if I’m having to pay $50 per item, $50 per item times 400 additional units just to fill those boxes, that’s $20,000. I would much rather even simply throw away the other 400 boxes, or even better just keep them for the next order.
Mike: Yeah and almost every manufacturer is going to store boxes for you if you have a relationship with them. I mean they’re flat packed obviously, they don’t a couple whole lot of room. There’s not a real negative to them doing that, and they feel like if you have the boxes there, you’ll probably order again.
Dave: Yeah absolutely. I mean they’ll kind hold the gold in that sense, they’re happy to warehouse them for you because as Mike mentioned that probably means you’re going to reorder later down the road.
Mike: Yeah, so we were kind of talking about offroading and obviously people know some of the brands that we have ourselves ColorIt, IceWraps, WildBaby, Tactical. Why offroading? What made you niche out that niche, how did you find that niche and what’s a good way for people to pick a niche?
Dave: I mean when I’m looking for a niche, I’m always trying to niche, you say niche.
Mike: Tomato, tomato roof rough.
Dave: Yeah tomato, tomato, roof, rough. When I’m looking very niche, I’m always looking for something that I can potentially develop at least 100 products and maybe even upwards of 500 products just because I know if I want to make this a ten million dollars brand, it needs to have that width to support that many products. I’m not going to sell one rope for ten million dollars. I need to have a catalog of products. So that’s the thing that I’m always doing is I’m always looking for a niche wide enough that I can support that product depth. But at the same time I don’t want the niche to be absolutely so deep that I can never make any type of ground in it at all.
So for example, I could have simply chosen automotive products. But I know that’s way too deep for me especially starting off as one person to make any impact in. So I kind of narrowed it down, narrowed it down, and offroading was a niche wide enough to support that catalog, but not too deep where I just would be nothing ever in that category.
Mike: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. And we learned this lesson with ColorIt. It’s the one downside to that brand. We’ve built a brand there that I’m really proud of. We continue to grow year over year, but we don’t have 500 projects. So we can do with ColorIt, so it’s definitely become a problem. It’s something that I identified probably about 18 months ago when we first started looking at getting into a couple of other niches, and that’s exactly why we picked while Wild Baby and Tactical. Both of those niches have basically a bottomless pit of products that we can develop that all work well together which is really important.
The other thing that we look forward — not look forward but look for when picking a niche is passion. And I think that you have that obviously with offroading as well people that go do that type of stuff are very passionate about their weekend journeys, and people who are much more passionate about anything more than their kids for sure. So Wild Baby definitely has that. And the tactical space like has that as well. I mean people again passionate about hiking and camping and hunting and fishing and prepping and survivalism and all these different types of things, it’s a very broad wide category with a lot of passion behind it.
Dave: Yeah and I think that’s one of the big keys to when people are developing a brand. You want to keep it kind of generic and ambiguous enough that you can pivot to a bigger space. So you obviously did that with ColorIt. You didn’t call it adultcoloringpens.com or something. You made it pretty generic so you can actually expand on that if you want into other aspects of the coloring niche or not even coloring, just the artistic niche.
That was one of the mistakes I made in my previous company was that I basically called it anchoring, which basically restricted me only to really selling boating. We got away from that actually as time went on, we just kind of played on the name, but it really made it hard from a branding perspective to ever sell more than simply boating. So, just keep things when you’re branding in the beginning — don’t make it so specific where you can’t ever expand beyond that. And that’s what I’ve done with offroading is that offroading is a better term. It could mean any number of things, and I’ve kind of done it that we intentionally just so if I ever do you want to pivot one area or the other, it makes it a lot easier than if I picked a fourbyfourrecoveryrope.com or something.
Mike: Yeah I think that makes perfect sense. Cool so I guess we have one more topic left here I want to go over before we run out of time here which is how to validate your products. How are you doing that in 2018?
Dave: Yeah and I’m curious how you do it too because I think we have a little bit different perspective. So with me when I’m doing a product, I’m trying to do as low of a start as possible. So I am ordering not even the MOQ like this is the one thing I always really negotiate with the suppliers. It’s not even the price because suppliers now in China are fairly firm with the price. You might be able to get a five or 10% discount, but getting anything more than that is really tough. So the thing I’m always trying to negotiate is MOQ. They tell me 500 units; I try to get them down to 250 units. They tell me 100 units; I try to get them down to 50.
So that’s what I’m trying to negotiate as much as possible. I get an MOQ order in as quickly as possible whether I have to airship it or even take it on an airplane with me, I try to get it. I try to get it into North America as quickly as possible and see how quickly I can sell out of that product. And if it does sell out really quickly, I’m going to be left with the position where I’m out of stock for that product for a few weeks. In my experience if your niche is not ultra competitive, if you’re not selling yoga balls or garlic presses, you can afford to be out of stock for a few weeks. It’s not going to be totally unrecoverable.
So that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to launch products as close to that MOQ or even less as possible, and then I reorder. I’m aiming to actually order a full container worth of products on the second order. But the first orders is just going to be absolutely tiny, tiny, tiny because if I’m having to spend thirty or $40,000 per product, and I’m trying to launch 20 products, I just don’t have that amount of cash to launch products with. So I need to be able to keep as little cash tied up as possible in that first order to make sure that those products are actually going to sell through.
Mike: Yeah and I think that that’s a really good philosophy and a perfectly acceptable way to go about. In fact that’s kind of how we used to do it, and I think that if you’re early on in your company’s journey, I think that that’s [inaudible 00:27:41] in a lower competitive niche like you’re in a little bit lower competitive niche and the products are more expensive. Our sweet spot has been kind of the garlic presses and you mentioned a couple of other examples, yoga balls is another one, things in that regard. Obviously we don’t sell either of those two products.
But what I’ve found is that we put the same amount of effort into a product that we sell five a day over 50 a day of. I mean it’s the same amount of time and effort. And what’s become the biggest commodities in our business is time and money. By far and away those are the two things that we have limited resources of. So we’ve shifted towards like focusing on some of these really big home run type products and had a lot of success launching things in the in the competitive range of yoga ball or garlic press.
And again it’s the same amount of work to develop that as something that we’re going to sell five a day of. So even though we’re doing 50 products, it sounds like we’re obviously doing a ton of projects which we are. The bulk of them are actually trying to hit some of these bigger sales targets. And as we were putting together our forecast for 2018, and we actually did this granularly thanks to Jacqueline being here now, a plug to Jacqueline for coming to join the team. She’s really great at forecasting.
We’re looking at this on a granular level and it’s like why are we even developing product A B and C over here in our organization at this time. It doesn’t necessarily make sense. It’s not going to move the needle when we’re trying to add five million dollars of new business this year. We’re just in a totally different position at this point, and we’re thinking differently. And I always tell people when I’m speaking at events or doing podcasts or whatever, it’s really important not to look at Dave or me and be like, man, I want to be doing that overnight or whatever. Realize that I’ve been at this for five years and really at this particular Amazon part of the game for three years.
I started with six figures in capital; I have had access to capital through Amazon loans and through friends, and been able to grow substantially because of stuff like that. I also had the business acumen and done this type of stuff before and it still took three, four years to get to this point. And if you’re just getting started, you’ve got to be looking at what we were doing when we were just getting started, which was launching a product that sold five per day, and we were really, really excited about that. This whole concept of building an Amazon business like this is very much like compounding interest in an investment account, and that’s the way that I look at it.
Dave: Yeah and I think you touched on this. You really have to kind of evaluate where you are in your business lifecycle, because if you’re starting off and you’re just on your own, you have to pick a less competitive product I think for a couple reasons. Number one you don’t have a list to launch to. You don’t have an existing audience that you can launch that product to and get that initial traction. So it’s hard to compete against somebody that does have that list and does have that audience that they can launch products to.
You need to kind of be going for I guess the higher hanging fruit, and then as you build your audience then you can start to pick those lower hanging fruit. The other thing is too that Amazon does seem to give some preference to more established brands. So the longer that you’re selling a brand on Amazon for, it does seem that it becomes easier to launch products. So if you’re launching your first ever product on Amazon, Amazon seems to kind of give you a negative ranking on your search engine rankings just because that brand is new and not established.
But over time you obviously build that brand credibility and it does become it seems easier to launch brands and new products to that brand on Amazon. So that’s kind of my take is that if you’re starting off, you have to focus on those less competitive products just for the fact that it’s really hard to get sales otherwise.
Mike: Yeah I couldn’t agree more. And I think that’s definitely a really, really prudent way to go.
Dave: Yeah and I know we’re kind of running short. I’m actually I’m curious and I think this is probably something a lot of people are wondering. When you’re launching a product, what are you aiming for in revenue in a month?
Mike: We’re — five figures I mean is like the absolute lowest. If it’s not doing 10K a month, that’s like on the very low end for us now, then we don’t even want to be bothering with it.
Dave: And what would you consider a home run product in terms of revenue per month?
Mike: 50K a month.
Dave: 50K a month. And I think that shows actually again the difference between mine and Mike’s company. I’m just a one man show right now; Mike has actual team behind him. My kind of target as an average product is 5K a month. And I think that gives some perspective of where people should kind of be aiming. If you’re bigger company I’d think 10K a month. In my previous company, that was our target too, 10K a month is reasonable. If you’re first starting off, I think 5K is probably very doable, because if we can be 20% or 25% on 5K, that’s still a $1,000, $1500 profit in your pocket. If you can do that with five or ten products, pretty soon you can make a full time income out of that.
Mike: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And I mean again we were at that place just a couple of years ago, and it’s hard to get your head out of that philosophy because I’ve always had that philosophy of just incremental growth, we’re going to add more of those types of $5,000 products. And it was really Jacqueline that opened my eyes up to the we only have so much manpower. And we were using real examples here. It was like we’re going to spend just as much time and effort and money going into this in a widget A that we’re going to sell 5,000 a month of as compared to widget B, we plan on selling $20,000 a month of. Why are we not doing more widget Bs.
And the answer for us is slam dunk; we should be doing more widget Bs. But again as I mentioned earlier, we have the resources behind us. And as Dave was just saying, we have the resources behind us to do that both financially and with the team. And if you’re just getting started, you probably don’t have six figures just to dump into developing widget B, and so you got to start somewhere.
Dave: Yeah, I mean there becomes a certain point where you can’t move the needle with selling $100 a day or even less than that. But if you’re first starting off, $100 a day maybe totally fine for you.
Mike: Yeah, I can actually still remember very clearly when we were doing $100 a day, and I was like hitting refresh on my Amazon account like every ten minutes. I was excited [inaudible 00:34:12] about doing that. It wasn’t that long ago. It doesn’t take a whole long time to ramp up, and it’s exciting.
Dave: Oh no, I totally remember doing 20 in 2008. I was actually selling boat anchors through Craigslist. And every time I would sell $100, I would actually get $100 in cash, and it was like the best feeling ever having that &100 to put in your pocket. The good thing is that you never saw any Amazon fees come off that Craigslist transaction either, so it was actually $100 going in my pocket.
Mike: You could buy a lot Tim Horton’s with that.
Dave: You can yeah.
Mike: Nice. Well we’ve come to the part of the podcast where we do want to just talk about our course a little bit. If you guys want to listen to us from a through a sales pitch, keep it going, but if you don’t want to hear about the courses, hit stop on the podcast at this point. We’re not pushy sales guys, but we are excited and very proud of this course we put together. This is now our third re-launch of this. We have now switched platforms to Kajabi. We were using ClickFunnels which we use ClickFunnels a lot in the business and we really like ClickFunnels.
But Kajabi is kind of the gold standard for training platforms, and we launched the course the first couple of times, we sent a survey out and the number one complaint we had was the platform. So we wanted to fix that. Dave and Dave, both behind the scenes were really pushing for this. I mean I don’t know Dave, I mean for me I look at what this looks like now compared to before, and it’s just night and day.
Dave: Yeah absolutely. And like you mentioned it’s just from a usability perspective. Obviously all the content is there, but just being able to navigate through lessons, find what you want, that is just so much easier than it was previously. And obvious it looks great too now.
Mike: Yeah. So if you’re interested in the course, you can go to EcomCrew.com/course. We only keep registration open for a week. So if you’re listening to this podcast a couple of days after it comes out, you’re probably already missing the boat for this release. But you can put your name on the waitlist. The reason we do it this way is because Dave and I actually give e-mail support access to every student, basically unlimited, basically definitely limited.
We find that very few people make it difficult for us, and most people only ask a couple questions, so it’s easy for us to be able to do that. And if we leave the course open too long, it basically becomes impossible to be able to get back to people quickly. So we’re launching it in spurts when we know we’re not travelling. I’m going to be in the US and available to do all this, doing this course launch until about six weeks now when we travel to Asia. So that’s a big bonus for the course.
And we actually took the course that we had and broke it up into two separate courses and added a bunch more content to it. And what we’re going to be doing for this particular release of the course is doing a bundle of buy one and get one free. So it’s a really good deal. I’m just going to go real quickly over the highlights of the different modules which are how to find a niche, how to find and differentiate products, how to keep your products profitable, how to validate your products, real world examples of products and niches, five ways to easily differentiate techniques, step by step guide to developing five star products.
And you also get a vetted — you can tell we record this live, a vetted vendor’s list that Dave and I have both been using for the last several years, which probably is worth the price of admission to the course alone. You actually get behind the scenes views of our brands. We show specific products, things that we’ve never talked about before on the podcast. You get downloadable course material. And then in the second course which we’re adding in as a free bonus, the secrets to getting low MOQs which Dave was just talking about a little bit here on the podcast, how to ship your products cheaper and quicker than your competition, where to find suppliers outside of Alibaba, five negotiation hacks to get the lowest price, and a bunch more stuff. So any other comments to mention about the course Dave?
Dave: No I think the big one too actually, I don’t think you’ve announced it on the podcast yet, but we’re doing our first live event in Hong Kong during April as well. And if you buy the course, you get a free ticket to our live mastermind on April 21st I think it is.
Mike: Yup and that’ll be in Hong Kong as you mentioned, probably in Kowloon or over in Hong Kong Island. So it will be a full day of Dave and I talking about the stuff in person and get an opportunity to ask us questions if you want to launch on us, all included if you purchase the course and you want to come to the mastermind.
Dave: Yeah absolutely and I think it’ll be a lot of fun. So if you don’t want the course, you can actually buy a ticket on its own from EcomCrew.com/events. And if you buy the course, you’ll get the ticket for free.
Mike: Cool awesome. Well it’s good to finally get you. We had to do something to get you back on the podcast.
Dave: I know, here I am. So I’ll try to be on more often though. I think I have this internet war poll figured out. I know the exact position to put my cell phone, and what times of day I can actually get reasonable internet. So hopefully people get to hear me more often.
Mike: Yeah and we’re going to be seeing each other in person. If you guys are going to be at Global Sources, Dave and I are both going to be speaking at Global Sources, so come out, and check that out. Also it’s a good opportunity with us both in the room to record some more podcast episodes which I’m looking forward to. And then before you know you’ll be back in North America, and we can probably get you on at least once a month for a couple months till you go back again.
Dave: I know. I am craving getting back to North America. So yeah a couple more months, and I’ll be back home.
Mike: Cool. Thanks for stopping by today Dave, and hopefully the course launch will be fun and exciting for us, and we’ll see how it goes.
Dave: Yeah, looking forward to it.
Mike: Cool thanks man. And that’s a wrap. I want to thank Dave again for coming on the podcast schedule on a time that ridiculous [clock ahem] [ph] over in China to accommodate my schedule. It was fun having him back on. I can’t wait to see him again in person. We don’t get to see each other enough, going to be catching up in Hong Kong in mid April speaking at Global Sources together and recording some more content for EcomCrew, and going to the Canton Fair, hosting a mastermind over there, all kinds of really cool stuff. I can’t wait to catch up with him again soon.
Again EcomCrew.com/122 to get to the show notes for this episode. I want to thank you guys so much for making it to this point in the episode. If you did, you’ve obviously listened to our sales pitch, and you can go to EcomCrew.com/course. We only talk about this stuff when we do have the course open for registration which is only every now and then. So please forgive us every now and then for promoting a little bit, but that’s kind of what this is all about. So we really appreciate the EcomCrew community. We want to thank you guys for listening. And until next week, happy selling and we’ll talk to you then.
Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.