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GOLD So you want to know the EXACT steps on how to import and sell products on Amazon? Here you go:

Discussion in 'Product Creation, Inventing, Importing, Sourcing' started by Steven., Sep 10, 2017.

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  1. Steven.
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    Steven. Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Alright, so I have no idea how to start this thread so I will just hop right into the process without much background information. It’s a long yet detailed read, so if you’re just about to start your importing/ecommerce business you might get some valuable lessons out of it or at least I hope so.

    In February 2017, after a lot of struggles and failures, I was again up and ready to roll. After learning as much as possible about the whole process of importing and selling physical products on Amazon, I decided it’s time to act.

    Around the beginning of February, after spending countless hours researching the market and different products, I nailed my search down to a few products and finalized my work by picking my winner. There was (at this point of time) little competition, no FBA private labelling sellers, a bunch of bad listings and a clear NEED for improvement on the existing products. The reviews clearly stated various repetitive problems which just waited to be solved.

    So, let’s get started:

    First off, I needed a legal business. On February 16th I received my letter of acknowledgment that my business was officially registered and that I am now allowed to sell and trade products online.
    [​IMG]

    On March 2nd I contacted a bunch of suppliers which fit my criteria. I spied through their transaction history to look where their products are going to. I realized that the competition has to have a supplier which may can be found on here. After some Sherlock Holmes like investigation I could narrow down the supplier my competition was working with. The fact that they were selling successfully since 2014 led me to the conclusion that the quality of the products had to be on point. I ended the communication with all other suppliers and was concentrating all my efforts this one supplier.

    I wanted to get taken seriously and I didn’t want to come over as the newbie which hasn’t done anything like that before, so I tried my best to hide my missing knowledge. Using @biophase “First email to new supplier”- template came in just handy to keep up my charade of the professional importer who runs a huge importing business. This would surely prevent me from getting scammed or paying too much because they would never know that I’m doing this the first time! Ha! Well, turns out it didn’t work as planned and I got busted a few emails into the conversation getting asked if I am doing this the first time. Woops!

    Luckily the supplier was super friendly and helpful which was a pleasant surprise. Nonetheless I follow a strict no-trust policy (as harsh at it sounds) and research everything I am not 100% sure. By doing so, the conversation and order process was lengthened by days or even weeks, but at least I could be sure that everything was going as planned.

    On March 3th I registered for the EORI (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification) number which is needed to import goods from outside of the EU. Of course I had to fill out the form online, just to print it out and send it via as a letter because who needs logic anyway if you live in one of the most overregulated and bureaucratic countries in the world.

    On March 14th I checked the front door of my apartment building at least 10 times in a timespan of one hour because a little package was about to arrive. The leftover time was efficiently spent running from the one end of my apartment to the other and peeking out of the windows in desperate search of a van sprayed with a dark blue lettering with a little touch of orange. Suddenly my phone got an email notification that my FedEx package was being delivered. To this day I don’t know how the delivery man made it into the building without me spotting him or his car, but as soon as I had my package in my hands nothing else mattered. Samples finally arrived!

    [​IMG]

    On March 18th, after carefully and extensively testing the samples, I contacted the supplier and let them know that I was happy with the quality of the samples. The quality was great and the improvements on the product I ordered were nicely executed.

    On March 23th I started to contact different logistic providers such as DHL, FedEx and UPS to gather some offers regarding the shipment. I asked for all kind of different quotations to learn about the pricing and what costs I have to expect.

    On March 30th my new bank account was set up and ready to go. I thought it would be the smarter choice to start a new account to keep the accounting and finance in check. I would rather go through the hassle of creating a new account now than to sit there at the end of the year trying to figure out what was used for private consumption and what was spent on the business.

    On March 31th, 13 days after telling the supplier I was going to buy (remember the part where I mentioned that I research everything twice?) I wired the first 800$ (30% T/T) to them. Just the fact that the supplier would answer every so little question nicely and with proper reasoning gave me a really good feeling about this company and the possible business relationship which could evolve nicely if everything goes like planned.

    On April 8th I set up a website with photos of my product to get an exemption from Amazon to sell without an EAN number. In order to qualify for this, you need to have a product which is labelled with your brand, a photo of it and a working website showing that you “run the brand”. I registered a domain and set up a Wordpress theme. Since I learned programming in school a few years back, I still was able to customize it and add some features to it. I didn’t want it to look sloopy in case a future customer somehow finds it, so I made sure that everything was perfect and just as I wanted it to be.

    On April 11th I started to design the insert card which would explain the usage of the product. This should add a little more value to the product which will surely be appreciated by the customers. I designed it in Photoshop and took this really serious. I deleted single pixels to perfect it to the dot until I was completely satisfied with the end product. The main work was done in one day, however the following days I would add and alter the card at least an additional 5 times until I was fully satisfied.

    In the following days I ordered the package with one thousand cards (which were free due to an advertisement code) which arrived a few days later. The quality of the printing and the material was top notch and I was super happy that my Photoshop skills were still up to date and could be put to good use!

    On May 6th I drove about an hour to an old buddy of mine who is great at photography. I asked him if he could help me taking product pictures and he was happy to help. We spent a whole seven hours taking the perfect pictures and trying our best to ensure that the product stands out from the crowd. It was insanely interesting to see how much work there is behind “taking a quick picture” of a product. (Since that day I’m just amazed by every billboard I come across and I am wondering how much people worked countless hours to just take this one perfect picture of the shown product. Crazy.)

    On May 16th I got informed that the goods were loaded onto the ship which took off at the same day. I wired the rest of the money about a week ago after my supplier sent me the pictures of the finished order. My products were already packed up on a wood pallet and ready to be shipped.
    [​IMG]

    Up until this point the workload of my degree in university was bearable. However this changed pretty rapidly when the exams started to come in which would cost me at least one whole day of studying. To save as much time as possible, I forced myself to start studying only one day prior to the exam. By doing it this way, I could be damn sure that I wouldn’t waste a minute procrastinating because there was just no time left to do so and when the anxiety and panic kicks in, you can be damn sure that my brain stops its nonsense and gets to work.

    In addition a few projects and case studies had to be finished. The biggest piece of work was a business project for a pretty big company. We had to analyse all of their competitors and the used social media channels as well as giving them a complete breakdown of how they should market their brand on those different channels. Basically doing their marketing departments job.

    I remember vividly sitting in front of my damn laptop from Saturday morning to Sunday night researching each and every damn Youtube channel of their competitors while documenting the whole task. Because of the fact that I used to produce videos for Youtube a year or two back and accumulated nearly 2.5 million views till date, it took me about 4 minutes to recognize that they wouldn’t stand a chance using Youtube to promote their product since the CEO told us at our first meeting that they don’t plan to invest any of their marketing budget (strong wtf).

    God forbid if I have to go through such a mindless task again. Just thinking about it doing this for a living sends shivers down my spine and depressive vibes through my mind.

    Sorry for that - back to the topic.


    On June 1st my registration on Amazon was completed. I emailed back and forth with the support regarding my account, the exemption and other stuff. As every Amazon seller knows, this took days to be all wrapped up. At the same time I was constantly in contact with my logistics provider, trying to submit all necessary papers for the transportation.

    On June 7th I tried to contact my spokesperson of the logistic provider I chose because there were troubles me authorizing them to receive and transport my shipment It was kind of urgent so I tried to finish it as soon as possible. On this day, I got redirected 3 TIMES because everyone of the employees was either on sick leave, “only working part time” or just not available.

    My email got answered two weeks later on June 20th. They informed me that one box I ticked should not have been ticked. Funnily enough, I called their legal department two weeks earlier because of this exact obscurity and he told me to tick it. Who would have thought that filling a simple form would cause that much troubles, nerves and hours…

    On June 21th I got contacted from the customs because the HS number my supplier added apparently wasn’t the correct one. They asked for a photo of the product to check if there is accordance between the product and the HS number which was mentioned in the papers. I happily submitted the photos of the labelled product and the finished mass production. The shipment was approved shortly afterwards and was able to be picked up by and transported to my home.

    On June 26th I made the last calls with the logistics provider finishing off the whole process and trying to pin down the exact date and time of arrival.

    On June 27th I got informed that the truck will arrive the next day on June 28th between 11AM und 2PM. I told him that this would work for me, thanked him for his efforts and started to dial the number of my father. You ask why?

    Well, a minor detail I might not mentioned was that I told absolutely no one what I was doing.
    No one.
    Not a single soul.
    I just couldn’t take the thought of the negative shit people spread like sprinkles over every idea or dream which doesn’t fit the norm. Especially friends and family will be the first one to discourage you when you’re trying to change and try new things as sad as it is. However I knew exactly that the outcome of all of this purely relied on my actions and what I was willing to do. I decided to work in silence, patiently crafting away on my future life and wrestle down one problem after another.

    Well, back to the phone call.
    Since I couldn’t get around asking my father to receive the shipment I called him and asked him to if he could manage to be at home at this point of time because a “package” was about to arrive. Obviously the answer was no because he had to drink his daily coffee at his favourite café at exactly 11AM. After biting my tongue for a good 10 seconds I calmly explained that there’s going to be a truck with around 1000 pounds worth of products and that I would highly appreciate it, if he might find a way to skip the coffee for one day. Without going into more detail of the phone call, he promised me to be at home at this time.

    On June 28th, 11:23AM my phone rang and a man introduced himself as the truck driver who’s transporting my shipment. He asked me about the clear direction. I reckon that the GPS wasn’t quite reliable which can sometimes occur where I used to live. I tried to explain it as good as possible and he ended the call.

    On June 28th, 11:30AM the phone rang again. He was just about to ask which specific range was the correct one before stopping mid-sentence and telling me that he spotted someone opening a shed door.

    My shipment has arrived.


    On June 30th I finished my last exam successfully wrapping up the whole semester. Since everyone was leaving the city I packed my bags as well and made my way home knowing that my shipment was finally there. I arrived at 10PM and the first thing I did was to jump out of the car and ran into the shed happily looking at two whole pallets full of products through the light cone of my smartphone lamp.[​IMG]

    It was such a great feeling seeing the product of so many hours of work, so many long nights and so much effort finally reaching the first major milestone in this whole process. But the whole thing didn’t go by without some scratches. Passing the semester, which was by far the most difficult and workload heavy semester so far (100% compulsory attendance, no gender studies fairy-tale BS degree), going to the gym at least 5 times a week and eating/cooking/preparing meals accordingly, running errands for the apartment and sleeping an average of 5 hours a day for months on end hit me like a brick after some of the constant tension was released. I thought I would take a day off and try to relax a little bit. Well…

    On July 1st I researched the whole process of shipping my products to the Amazon warehouse. I had absolutely no idea how this works and what I have to do to make it work. The more I researched the more question marks appeared over my head. Finally I got it all sorted out. Turns out I had to transport the goods to Germany and ship it from there since Amazon doesn’t support shipments from outside of Germany (Regarding the reduced pricing because of their partnerships with DHL and UPS).

    On July 4rd, after finishing up the paper work and fixing the shipping date I started to label (ASIN code) every product by hand and inserted the self-designed product description card into the packaging. The supplier offered me to do this but I knew that they would use a low quality material for the card so I ordered some high quality ones as mentioned above. Because of the fact that I had to inspect the products anyway I wasn’t bothered doing this little upwork at all.

    On July 5th I finished up the whole shipment. It took about 8 hours to finish up the labelling and to add the description cards. Afterwards I printed the codes for the individual cartons and labelled those as well. This took another few hours since there were quite a few of them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  2. Steven.
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    Steven. Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    On July 12th after some minor issues regarding shipment from Austria (as mentioned above) I stacked all the products in a trailer and in the car and drove just over the border to Germany where I would register the shipment and sent it to the Amazon warehouse. I left all of the 60+ cartons there and the pick up shop wasn’t quite pleased seeing me stacking up the cartons in their hallway. At the same day I got a notification form the tracking service that the goods were picked up and on their way to their destination.

    On July 17th my products arrived at the Amazon warehouse. It took another day until they were finally ready. I still kept the listing as “inactive” because I didn’t want to offer something which was straight out of stock.

    In the meantime I started to gather some customers who would be willing to test the product in exchange for an honest feedback for improvements which will be sent to me by email. (Important: no review!) I manually chatted with over 20 people to build trust because I couldn’t send the item over Amazon (since the listing was still offline) but rather had to send it directly to their address.

    On July 20th, after a lot of Facebook chatting and picking trustworthy people, I sent out nearly 20 products manually. I drove to Germany once again because the domestic shipments were way cheaper than sending it from Austria. Total shipping costs were about 60$.

    On July 23th, my products were ready to be sold. The stocks were updated and it seemed like I was ready to roll. Well, not really. I couldn’t look at the listing when clicking the direct product link and would get the error that the site didn’t exist. Well, after contacting the support again they told me it’s working for them and it has to be a problem on my browser or cache. Literally growing up in front of a computer I was quite sure that this wasn’t the problem. I tried to explain them that there’s a difference between sending a query from the internet or from their intranet. Long story short, after 10 days I finally solved the problem by myself, trying everything I could and changing up everything possible in the seller central. There was a problem with the launch date and starting date in the seller central. The starting date is mentioned on two different categories. If you change one of those, Amazon still sees it as an active listing however the product is still offline for everyone trying to access it over the internet. This was a problem which occurred first in 2013 and there was no solution for this problem till date. I found nearly ten cases of this problem which went so far that the sellers completely deleted their listing and started one again from scratch because the support would just stop responding.

    I was really damn mad at Amazon before reflecting what happened:
    I relied on them to fix the problem for me. I didn’t give 100% to solve the problem by myself. I told myself that there was nothing I could do in the meantime and slacked off for a couple of days. I tried to fix it myself a few times, but I never really committed 100% of my focus on it before finally coming across the made mistake. I accepted that it was my fault because I changed the dates and couldn’t remember that I did so. This was a good reminder for myself that I am in charge of making this work. It’s all on me and if I fail I have no one to blame but myself.

    On July 24th I officially launched my product and was ready to see the sales roll in. As you can imagine it didn’t work out like this. I wasn’t even listed for the first few days and immediately started to pull through the launch process I clearly laid out while waiting for the Amazon support to solve the previously mentioned problem. I started to give away products and still talked to every tester personally to make sure they can really use the product. If you are familiar with testing groups on Facebook, you know that there are enough greedy folks on there who just want to tap some freebies. The first items were shipped out on July 25th to testers who hopefully would test it carefully and provide a useable feedback for me. I was looking forward to new ideas which could be used to provide even more value for future customers when I would place an order of the next shipment.

    In order to rank higher, I suggested that they would search for a certain keyword and purchase the item afterwards. By doing this, the CR and CTR would be directly impacted which will positively influence my Amazon bestseller rank (speculations). I gave away about 25 pieces to an addition of the 20 I sent out earlier.

    At this point I recognized that something wasn’t adding up. The costs for giving away those samples were insanely high, especially since Amazon still charges you the obvious pick and pack costs. I realized that I made a mistake by purchasing a product of this size. I have to pay about 5$ to Amazon to pick and pack the item plus an additional 3.5$ seller fee. This would leave me with about 7$ profit of a 25$ product, which wasn’t too bad after all. What I didn’t take into account was the PPC costs which would occur later on.

    After the first few days I climbed up to the first and second page of all four main keywords which I identified using different keyword recherché tools.

    As an important side note, I realized that the competition has just decreased their price of the product, now pricing it at about 17$ instead of their previous 20$. I was kind of nervous thinking about it but figured I would just let it run and see where it goes. I started an automated PPC campaign with a budget of 5-10$ a day and bided pretty low for the keywords in it.

    After selling the first items with a huge 90% discount I gathered the first reviews which mostly came from the first 20 people I manually sent the items to. This process was over duration of 7 days and I ended the giveaway on July 31th.

    On August 2nd, I received a notification that I sold an item. I thought that someone might has used his code just now and looked up it. I checked the transaction protocol and looked for the used code. Turns out it was purchased without a code.
    I just sold MY FIRST ITEM!
    I was thrilled and couldn’t believe it. I just came back from a quick gym session and couldn’t believe my eyes. Did I just earn a net profit of 7$ while lifting weights?

    This day ended with my first and only sale of the day. However I didn’t mind, I was just happy that I made my first organic sale.

    On August 3rd I sold my second item. I was thrilled and finally felt a long lost unique feeling of ecstasies. Similar to the feeling you had when you were little and you wake up on a Saturday morning realizing all you do today is playing around with friends or starting up your favourite video game.
    It was great.

    I continued to optimize the listing and bullet points. I formatted everything as good as possible to make it stand out even more. The reviews continued to come in and I had a smile on my face with each and every one of them. Especially if they added a photo of it while using it. I always thought about how this little product made it all the way from China to their home because one person decided to ACTUALLY take action.

    On August 4th I sold exactly zero items. I was devastated. I thought and speculated what was going wrong. I sat the whole day in front of my listing and tried to figure out what I could improve, because there is ALWAYS something to improve. The day ended without a single sale and needless to say I wasn’t too happy about it. I decided to give away some more products to keep the algorithm going.

    The following days a blend of organic sales and “code sales” came in. I started to strongly incooperate Amazon PPC and started to raise the budget up to 25$ a day. This wouldn’t get reached because I bid too low however it generated at least a sale a day with an acceptable cost point. At least I thought so. After looking at the numbers I realized that I make about 2$ per piece with the current PPC campaign. This wasn’t what I was aiming for. I decided to pull a risky move and increase the price from 25$ to 30$.

    One day after this, I think it was August 19th, I sold FOUR items in one day. FOUR ITEMS AT 30$ EACH! I was baffled. As mentioned earlier I had to write a scientifically paper about Amazon SEO and remembered some speculations about the favouritism of higher priced items for the A9 algorithm (Amazon search engine algorithm). Looking on it from a logical view, a higher price equals a higher margin for Amazon so this made perfect sense for me. My margin increased from about 7$ to 10.5$ which would allow me to reconstruct my PPC strategy. I started to bid higher and really tried my best to rank first on every important keyword. It looked like everything was coming together and it was only a question of time until it would really take off.

    The following days I sold two, one, two and two items. The PPC costs would down the net profit to about 5$ per product but at least I was profitable.

    However I realized that something wasn’t right. I recognized that the other sellers were no little brands but huge companies selling all over the world and successfully taking over each and every amazon marketplace. They would sell 50-60 products a day taking up the whole first page with their different yet similar products. I lost my placing and was back down to page 2 and 3 on all keywords.

    I was mad at myself that I only looked at their listings and and not on their overall business, which would have shown that their budget was out of this world compared to mine. This could potentially led to a cruelsome end, similar to @biophases thread about slowly bleeding a product listing to death. So far I spent about 630$ on giveaways and PPC and wasn’t even close to earning equally as much.

    Suddenly the euphoria diminished and was slowly replaced by self-doubt, fear and insecurity. I did the exact math on all expenses linked to this business, from the credit cards to the business registration up to the production costs and so on and so forth. I projected the PPC costs and the actual lean profits I would gather from the first shipment and came to the following conclusion:

    Zero.
    I will most likely break exactly even in my first year of business.
    Zero bucks for half a year of struggles, worries and endless hours spent organizing.
    I was absolutely crushed.
    I thought that I may miscalculated, however the numbers didn’t lie and it’s not too devious taking the high launching costs into account.

    After letting it sink in a little I came to the conclusion that this isn’t so bad after all. The costs to start up and running my legal business are about 500$ a year. The launching process cost me about 650$. The amount of pieces I could sell dramatically decreased since I gave a nice bunch of them away for free which led to a loss of unrealised profits of about 600$ as well. (I hope I worded that correctly).


    Additionally this was only given if I sell all of the items before November 1st. The reason for this? I made another mistake completely neglecting the saisonability even doe it was one of the most important criteria point for me. Till this day I didn’t know how I could miss this. It’s not too bad, however the sales will surely plumb from mid-November till mid-February.

    So by the time I came to this conclusion there were about 70 days left until November 1st which would mean I had to sell at least 3 items a day to sell out or come pretty close to it. I didn’t know how I would be able to pull it off increasing the sales within days to meet my goal. If I would miss the goal I would have to pay for the space in the amazon warehouse which would cumulate even more costs and would surely put me in a loss for this year.

    At mid-August I gave away the last few codes in my last attempt to climb up the listing ladder. Since I always thought highly of paid advertisement, I started to download the gathered information of the PPC campaign and carefully go through each and every keyword. I looked it up how well it converted and how much a click would cost me. I rearrange different keywords, bids and also started an automated campaign back up which converted good enough to make me at least 5$ profit per piece.

    On August 26th the new changes reaped the first fruits and I sold four items that day. The following two days I managed to sell three pieces a day. I was happy with it and continued to change up the PPC campaigns on a daily.

    Sidenote: I do however think that changing up PPC campaigns will negatively impact your sales and clicks per day. I would sometimes INCREASE my bid only to see that the impressions were 30% less than the day before where I would pay less. I thought that maybe Amazon checks it through an algorithm first before displaying it to their customers, so you can’t spam other non- related niches with your product and ruin the buyer experience.
    /Sidenote

    The following days probably changed up too much and my sales plumbed to one and zero sales, which ultimately led to me not touching it anytime soon. I rehearsed the settings and let it run. The mistake I made here was surely my impatience. Keyword campaigns need time to gather enough data and I knew that, however I changed up too much in a short period of time with led to this outcome. If you want to make changes, change one thing at a time to see how it impacts the performance.

    It’s the same with lifting: If you stall on a lift and you change up EVERYTHING, your routine, your eating habits, your sleep, your caffeine intake, etc. you will never know what exactly is the reason for your in-or decrease in performance.

    On August 30th I sold four items again. The following days would be likewise until the 3rd of September. On this day I checked the sales and I already sold three products before I even got up. On this day I sold six products which were the highest amount since I started. I finally cracked the 5sales/day milestone which was the second minor milestone for me. I was super happy and had a look at the PPC costs.

    I generated a revenue of 180$ that day. Out of the usual 62$ profit, 20$ PPC costs came into account leaving me with 42$ net profit.
    42$ I earned while going on my daily walk listening to audio books. 42$ I earned while I was in the gym. 42$ I earned while I was preparing meals. 42$ I earned while I was reading Unscripted. This was huge for me even doe it’s not that much money.

    The following days the sales hovered around 5 sales a day, with a cave in of a single sale, which leads me to today, September 8th.

    I know for sure that this is only the beginning and that I have a lot to learn, but I saw that it CAN work out if you try hard enough. There is still a more than enough room for growth; I’m still sitting on page two of most of my keywords which leads to nearly non existing organic sales. If I manage to claim my place on the first page I could imagine reaching at least 10 sales a day. There are also a lot of open options regarding advertising. Brand building, social media, influencer marketing, email marketing, lowering PPC costs, adding new products and try to bundle them and so forth.

    On my selling lifetime I reach a conversion rate of ~20%. Since I updated and optimized everything however, the conversion rate went up to an average of 25% with some days up to 35%! Taking this into account, reaching the first page would surely boost up the sales. However I will wait a little longer and see where the PPC sales lead until I make further changes on my listing

    Right now I aim to keep the sales up at 3-5 pieces a day until I come too close to running out of stock. At this point of time I will stop the PPC and try to stay at least a little bit relevant for the amazon algorithm over the winter months. I am currently in the process of placing my second order to refill my stock for spring 2018. I am currently trying to figure out what’s the best and cheapest solution for the transportation in order to increase my margin up to 100% so I won’t face cashflow problems in the future.

    I know that I am not earning tens of thousands of dollars after 7 months of working on this, so please forgive me if you expected this huge wall of text to end in a superstar- 30 minute workweek- ending. Even doe I strive to sell at least 4 digits worth of products a day within the next year (revenue), I first and foremost strive to archive the freedom this system can and will provide for me. I will graduate on July 2018 and I strive to be fully capable of living of the system by this point of time while still reinvesting most of the profits.

    If you’re now thinking why I would continue to do this if I made close to zero profit this year the answer is simple: I’ve learned so much in the whole process of doing this that even at a loss this year I would still profit greatly in the long run. I now know the exact steps I have to take to source, import and launch a product on Amazon and this is something no one can take away from me. I still have a so much more room for growth about this whole process that I am very optimistic about the future. I have yet to find more cost and time saving ways to source and import new products, find new ways to increase the value for the customer and try to incooperate the feedback of existing products for new orders to fully satisfy the needs of my customer. I can always learn more about marketing and advertising, optimizing PPC campaigns and perfect amazon SEO and that’s exactly what I’ll continue to do each and every day. Even if I decide to step back from this product there’s nothing stopping me from researching the market and identify new people’s needs and value cravings which I am more than happy to provide for them.

    I might not struck gold on my first swing but I am surely digging at the right place.


    Before I wrap this up I just want to thank specifically three persons on this forum for their valuable lessons they teach each and every one of us every day (even if they probably never heard of me lol).

    @biophase and @Walter Hay : Thanks to both of you for providing such an insane amount of wisdom and expertise. I can’t even put it to words how much your posts helped me get this started and how much rookie mistakes I have avoided by following your tips. It’s insane to think about that a 22 year old kid living in a 800 soul village in the middle of nowhere can learn from two successfully established entrepreneurs from across the globe. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. I really appreciate it and can’t thank you enough.

    @MJ DeMarco :Your book unleashed something I felt in me for quite some time but couldn’t figure out what it was. I will never forget the feeling of clarity in my mind while I read through TFM at 02:30AM at night. Connecting more and more dots and finally putting together the big picture what’s wrong with the current system is a priceless lesson which, when once taught and understood, can’t be forgotten nor ignored.

    And last but not least and a direct product of MJ: This forum.
    This forum is like a river filled with gold nuggets. If someone is patience and dedicated enough, you can pick all those little nuggets out of the thread-river and mold them together to an entrepreneurial dowser which will finally and absolutely lead you to your goal. The only thing you have to do is to listen, learn and ultimately act.

    Thank you all.


    (Afterword: As you may noticed I am not a native speaker so please excuse my poor grammar, phrasing and wording. I do now that it’s far from an enjoyable read so thank you if you made it through.)
     
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  3. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Would have never guessed. You're fine. Thanks for posting.
     
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  4. million$$$smile
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    million$$$smile Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    It can be done!

    Thanks for the read.

    Rep+++
     
  5. J.Roddy
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    Thank you for the thorough documentation of the process. I'm learning the whole process of getting everything established and running and this post helped greatly. I'll continue to follow your thread and progress. Thanks! Repped!
     
  6. Steven.
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    Steven. Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Thank you guys for the kind words and reps.

    As of now, I am currently in the process of placing a new order. I have to decide if I add another 2 products with a smaller amount to test the market and extend my brand. The margins however are lower and the competition is strong, I have to take a close look and do the math on this. The main problem here is that there's little room for improvements and I don't want to launch a product without any kind of added value.

    Beside these products I am also looking at new niches which aren't seasonable and can utilized the time around christmas. If the items are suitable for air freight, the whole process of sourcing, receiving and sending it to the amazon warehouse should be finished by the time December comes around. This would give me a good headstart into the holiday season since my launch process would start at this time. If I make it to the first page and my listings are on point, I reckon that I can generate enough organic sales to stay there.

    On thursday, september 14th I will evaluate the current PPC campaign and make changes accordingly to the best converting keywords. One of the bullet points will also be replaced with a more appropriate wording of usage which is more fitting to the current season of the year. If I find a fitting stock photo, I will also photoshop and replace one of the photos of my listing to underline the usage mentioned above even doe I don't like those fully photoshoped product pictures. (excluding post production editing)

    That's it for now. If anyone has suggestions or ideas about the following steps I plan to take please let me know!
     
  7. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Impressive.

    Divorced from time!

    Marked GOLD.

    Finally got around to reading this. I've marked it GOLD because:
    1. You demonstrated the PROCESS and how to find something, import it, and bring it to market. This stuff doesn't happen overnight.
    2. You did this while at university.
    3. You experienced your first dose of entrepreneurial heroine.
    4. You experienced the awesome feeling of earning income separate from your time.
    5. This process, no matter success or fail, will serve you for years to come. If you apply this type of effort in any venture, you eventually will success. Congrats on taking action.
     
  8. G-Man
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    Best progress thread I've seen in a while. Rep ++++ very impressive.
     
  9. B. Cole
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    Awesome and inspirational post Steven. Learn, rinse and repeat!
     
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  10. Steven.
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    Steven. Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Thank you MJ. I always strived to give something back to this forum because I gained so much out of it. I'm really happy that I could finally provide some value.
    Thanks to all the other guys for the kind words as well, I really appreciate it.
     
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  11. MakeMoreMoves
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    Awesome, good stuff!

    Is there a reason that you didn't order more than one sample to validate your product before going all in?
     
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  12. MiguelHammond10
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    Thanks for the thread it was good read and inspiring.
     
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  13. Steven.
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    Steven. Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    As mentioned above, I was 98% sure that they also supply my direct competitor which is actually a huge international company. They sell successfully since around 2013 so I was quite sure that the quality has to be on point. Furthermore their listing on Alibaba and communication was the best one out of all possible suppliers. Especially the communication was a very important part for me. The time difference often leads to one-email-a-day communications which will cost you so many days or even weeks, which wasn't the case with this supplier.
    Besides this the sample was really well made and I couldn't find a flaw in it. I trusted my gut and placed the order which was, as I think, the right decision to make at this point of time.
     
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  14. PureA
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    First of all, awesome thread man.

    Second of all, so much this.....

    I think the book had this exact effect on a lot of us (probably some of the reason we felt like joining the forum!). Forever grateful to MJ, what a gift, god only knows how lucky I was to stumble across THE book.

    Now, let's get to work!
     
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  15. ddzc
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    Solid thread OP, a lot can learn from this. Sounds like a very similar experience I had with my last venture. I hope you hit a home run on the next venture.
     
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  16. RemedySC
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    Amazing work Steven! Really enjoyed reading your process.
     
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  17. Rawr
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    Rawr Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    A great read. You got yourself some great experience that you can now leverage different ways. For example, you can do consulting now. You can partner now with the other person bringing $ and you bringing the rest. Way to go.
     
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  18. Najma
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    Nice. Its a great read. Amazon is the leading e commerce industry. It was an inspiring post.
     
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  19. Steven.
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    I don't know if I am able to do consulting already. I know the basics but I think there is a lot of room for improvements and I wouldn't feel comfortable charging people for it already. I did think about it tho because I really like to help others and provide value. So instead of consulting I wrote this thread which hopefully does the same in a broader way.

    Thanks for the thought, I do think about it a lot and hopefully put myself out there to follow through!

    If anyone is interested what I am currently up to:

    (Product mentioned in the OP)
    I'm currently in the process of ordering more than double the amount of the first shipment. It will contain 4 different variations of the product which will be listed all under the same parent-product on Amazon, allowing me to appeal to a broader audience. Price negotiations are pretty stiff however the euro-dollar exchange rate is insanely low right now allowing me to practically get a ~20% discount on the product price.

    Design for another product (different niche) was finally finished today. Will make a few little changes myself since they always take one day to revise. Instead of wasting days on end for little changes, I decided to learn myself the basics of Adobe Illustrator. It will surely safe time in the long run if I want to change smaller things up. I am used to Photoshop so it shouldn't be too much of an hassle. 3-5 hours should be more than enough and can safe me days of sitting around waiting in the future. Good investment I reckon.

    Currently spending hours daily for product research. Tool I am using is buggy and I have to weed through a lot of unsuitable products. It's VERY draining to say at least. Won't stop until I find a fitting product though. I strive to have it ready to go on December 1st. I won't source products I can't improve or add value to so the "me too" products are out of the race which obviously makes the sourcing process harder. However I honestly don't care. I would rather spend another month searching and find a GREAT product were i can add value instead of sourcing another garlic press which fits the other 300 presses already on the market.

    I hate to split focus between things because I honestly think it's the wrong thing to do. However right now, it may be the right thing to do.
    The main work for the first product has to be done in spring 2018 so right now I try to optimize the PPC campaign and gather data which isn't too much work.
    The second product has to be approved by someone so it's waiting time right now. If it's approved, I will stop sourcing new products and fully concentrate on completing the steps which will follow.

    Until then I will continue the previously mentioned sourcing process. Even if it's on hold, the work won't be wasted since I can follow through with it in a later point of time or share the product ideas with others if I don't have the time to execute on it.
     
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  20. KLaw
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    Awesome thread. I love your line of thinking and the way you hold yourself accountable for EVERYTHING! REP+ transferred. You are gonna kill it no matter what you do.
     
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  21. Cain
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    Hey Steven. Great work! I'm currently working on getting my second product on Amazon (first one didn't work out, too much competition for too low profit margin).
    Looking forward to seeing your progress with this.
     
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  22. Ramzi
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    Ramzi New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Awesome post. Really motivational!
     
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  23. sparechange
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    sparechange Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for posting awesome thread!
     
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  24. C-Jay
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    Hey OP,
    First off, thanks for the thread. Great info and I'm impressed with your story. Should be great things to come.
    My question here is a bit of an obscure one. You got the goods delivered to your house, and then (smartly) drove them over the border to ship them to a fulfillment centre.
    Are you (or anyone) aware whether it's possible to just have the goods shipped directly to Amazon's warehouse? Or do you physically have to receive them first to put labels on, etc.
    I ask because in my case it would be so much more economical to have them shipped right to a fulfillment centre. I could even drive to said fulfillment centre to put on the labels and still save a bunch of dough that way.
     
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  25. Steven.
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    Steven. Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for the kind words guys, I appreciate it and hope I could provide some information.

    Yes it is possible to ship the goods directly to the Amazon warehouse. However you have to label the boxes beforehand, so you have to submit the labels to your supplier so they label them for you. Same goes for the product labeling, but this can be outsourced to Amazon for .15$ per product (at least on the GER marketplace).

    I personally didn't go through this process but I've read about it in blogs and in several threads of @biophase.

    I would also suggest to have a close look at the first shipment by yourself. I know there are inspection services but I still prefer to check the quality by myself. Especially if it's a new supplier sending the first bulk order.