Unlocking Off-Amazon Traffic To Increase Cashflow with Carlos Alvarez (Part 2)

Episode 185

On today’s episode we are joined by Carlos Alvarez who is a well-known speaker, podcaster — as the founder of the Wizards of Amazon podcast, and founder of the largest Amazon Sellers meetup group in the world, located in Miami, Florida.  

For those of you who missed it, Carlos was a guest on our show all the way back in April of 2021. His episode remains one of our most downloaded episodes of all time.  In this episode Carlos shares his beginnings in entrepreneurship where he details one of the most epic business stories we have ever heard.  We do not want to spoil the story so you should listen to episode 19…however, I will mention that it involves millions of live insects in his apartment, an unsupportive landlord, an eviction, several struggles, yet ends with an amazing outcome.  

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00;00;43;10 – 00;01;18;14
Speaker 1
Let’s switch gears a little bit. One thing I really enjoyed about our our first podcast together was you’re very open about failures and shortcomings and if you’re in business long enough, there’s a 100% chance that you will have a failure or a shortcoming. And so curious in in some of the products that you’ve launched or brands that you’ve launched, how do you decide whether to quit versus like push forward?

00;01;07;02 – 00;01;33;12
Speaker 2
That’s such a good question. I’ve exited some some some brands on paper were bankrupt for like a year and a half and it was like and I didn’t know any better. You know what I mean? It was just like not really making any profits. Like one example was this dripper that I used to sell and it’s we had like 100,000 units sitting in our warehouse and it was dead.

00;01;27;12 – 00;01;49;14
Speaker 2
It was like, there’s nothing. It wasn’t moving. Closest competitor was like at 2499, we were at 99 and we couldn’t move anything. Finally, we just needed space in the warehouse. And I was like, Drop it to 1899, 1799. We got down to 899 and this thing started moving. By the way, your land, it causes a book and fees are a lot different on Amazon.

00;01;44;25 – 00;02;04;29
Speaker 2
Back then, this is a decade ago. It started moving and it was like six a day. And you’re like, whatever, Just so happy to move these things is going to will die before we get rid of all of them. And then the sales do what sales do on Amazon and they started doing better. It’s snowballing and we were like 15 a day and then we were like in a master box a day, 200 a day.

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00;02;01;27 – 00;02;22;10
Speaker 2
And I was like, Wait a minute, we’re on the first page. We’re second on the first page here. Like, how, how did this happen? And then we’re like, Well, let’s raise the price by $2. And we slowly keep going, going. Next thing you know, we have this product is our number one selling product. So when should we have quit?

00;02;16;25 – 00;02;35;20
Speaker 2
Like we didn’t know? I wish I could tell you that this was the plan all along. Wound up being one of my better exits. But when should you quit? So I don’t have an answer for that. In short. There’s been several times that, you know, backs against the wall. Everything’s pointing like you should quit and I just kept going like that.

00;02;32;28 – 00;02;55;03
Speaker 2
The stubborn streak in me did. What I can say is, in my Amazon journey, I started with garage sales, you know, knocking on warehouses saying, Hey, do you have any scratch and dents? What do you do with your returns? Like, and I flipped on eBay and I kept doing that until people were beating me to the warehouse, is asking the same thing.

00;02;48;10 – 00;03;14;26
Speaker 2
And then it was I’m going to pivot when I move on from this model and I’m going to go into storage auctions. And then it was what we call arbitrage and then wholesale. And every time it got too saturated, I felt like the writing on the wall said, Hey, this is not where it’s at long term. I kept pivoting and I feel like the challenge is you’re pivoting within the box.

00;03;05;23 – 00;03;34;05
Speaker 2
But when do you know that you need to pivot out of the box? That’s the thing. I don’t know. Like and I feel like I’m in that position now. It’s always been Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, but now it’s me. And if you’re just thinking Amazon, this doesn’t look too good for you.

00;03;19;04 – 00;03;48;10
Speaker 1
Yeah, the reason I have this question on the sheet is, is it something that we’re struggling with now and that like if I was coaching somebody, it would be my knee jerk reaction would be never quit, never quit, like don’t give up. But when I look at business, I have a finite amount of time and energy to focus on businesses.

00;03;38;16 – 00;04;03;08
Speaker 1
And like most entrepreneurs, I have more ideas and products than I have time. And so maybe never quitting is not the best option. Maybe you are better off in some instances to let something die and to go focus your efforts elsewhere. And I really like that story about the dropper because it was a small pivot right on price.

00;03;58;08 – 00;04;03;08
Speaker 1
I really like that. And that’s a challenge of an entrepreneur. So know what?

00;04;01;22 – 00;04;43;09
Speaker 2
You said something early. I’d rather have a dollar that on my site than $2 here. So like I would say, I don’t know the details, obviously, but if it’s it’s an Amazon thing, like everyone’s struggling right now, I don’t think there’s I don’t think you’re giving a person would be giving up on Amazon if they said we’re going to go all in on Shopify.

00;04;17;19 – 00;04;43;09
Speaker 2
As a matter of fact, sometimes that whole thing got to take a few steps back before you can really go forward. Perhaps when you you’re using, again, Amazon as an example before where you go back at it, you’re coming armed now with, okay, whoa, I saw this. This is going to require a shield. You know what I mean?

00;04;31;23 – 00;05;02;21
Speaker 2
Let me let me go back. Let me go get my shield and then I want to come back. And you keep doing that. And maybe that shield you’re going to go get is I’m armed with an email list and some solid UGC, and now I’m going to come back and I game over. So I think that’s what it’s about.

00;04;46;19 – 00;05;02;21
Speaker 2
Like, I think you have to love that part of the process or it’ll just beat you down. Like it’ll give you mental health issues. Like it’s tough.

00;04;52;24 – 00;05;02;21
Speaker 1
Absolutely, Absolutely. When a brand is experiencing cashflow problems, what are some areas that you look to for improvement?

00;05;00;29 – 00;05;31;29
Speaker 2
One of the easiest ways is just looking at the what’s their product dimensions, like what, what’s going on there. Like and we save a couple dollars per sale just by optimizing the packaging. Another one, if they’re dealing with a product that’s larger and again, we’re getting into dimensions, you know, can this product be re-engineered? Like say you have like a 19 inch product tabletop game and it’s like, can we can we IKEA this almost like can we make this a three piece set that you or somebody assembles and it’s a much smaller overall unit.

00;05;26;22 – 00;05;48;01
Speaker 2
I would first look there. I think most people immediately look at PPC with PPC, I would say you got to like look at yourself and say, Do I love poring over this data all the time? And is this the thing that I’m best at? And then depending on your answer, you’ve got to make a decision. A lot of new sellers are like, I don’t want to pore over data and I hate this.

00;05;46;02 – 00;06;01;27
Speaker 2
I’m just going to hire an agency that’s a mistake. Like, I think you should learn what’s going on and how to do this so you can have an agency in an educated way. Sometimes the right answer there is like, just get someone that actually knows what they’re doing and make sure that you’re hiring this person and you’re making more money.

00;06;00;10 – 00;06;25;00
Speaker 2
Net So PPC is a big one. That should be a big cost. Your team, if you have a team like what’s going on here, how could you get more output? Do you have the right people? Really, really, Probably one of the most soul sucking parts of what I do and that I absolutely hate is Will Got you here.

00;06;15;13 – 00;06;44;14
Speaker 2
We’ll get you there. I read that somewhere. It’s like so true and it’s like if you’re at a spot and you started this, you had a team and now you’re at seven figures. The likelihood that that should be your team right now is very low. So if you’re needing a spot to make more money, there’s that. Finally, like looking to save money.

00;06;31;15 – 00;06;51;24
Speaker 2
Sometimes it’s like, what are the things? Can you add some like random stuff and probably not a perfect fit here for this podcast, but it’s like, you know what? If I at different stages, like, it’s like if I wanted to drum up some more money, I could go pull a loan and I could go do a few other things.

00;06;45;08 – 00;07;10;14
Speaker 2
It’s like or I could go get for Airbnb. So just like cash flow like crazy and feed into my business. You know what I think the Airbnb. So like, you go sublease somewhere urban is you do some turo like a lot of cool things you can do. One of the other things is and I think a lot of people see digital courses as like digital courses or physical products, and I don’t believe that’s the case and I’ve never believed that.

00;07;08;13 – 00;07;31;21
Speaker 2
So there’s going to Shopify Masters again. There’s this brand that has a high end cat leash and cat harness. So it’s like, why didn’t you go walk your cat? And then their number one way to acquire customers, their number one driver for sales is a digital course on how to walk your cat. This is no B.S. So there they go.

00;07;27;28 – 00;07;42;22
Speaker 2
They’ve married those two together. And when you start looking at, you know, digital courses and physical products and not being mutually exclusive, it really opens some doors.

00;07;35;07 – 00;08;08;26
Speaker 1
Yeah, I really like that. And there’s a lot of lot of really good stuff there, too. Follow up questions on the PPC side of things. What and I don’t know what we like to look at tacos quite a bit. That’s kind of our primary metric. What metric do you look at and what seems to be an appropriate level of spend for a typical brand?

00;07;53;25 – 00;08;08;26
Speaker 2
Well, appropriate level of spend is I don’t have an answer for that. That’s oh, that’s all over the place.

00;07;58;00 – 00;08;27;02
Speaker 1
My answer to this would be I find that with our groups of products at a 10 to 12% tacos, we’re generally doing pretty well and are profitable as we get up into the high teens and twenties, we tend to be cannibalizing our organic sales and things are not good. And so that’s kind of when we pull things back.

00;08;15;04 – 00;08;27;02
Speaker 1
And so if you’re managing the PPC manager, what are some things that you’re looking at and saying, This looks like we need to pull the reins back or, Hey, this looks good, Let’s let’s pour some fuel on the fire.

00;08;26;06 – 00;08;55;24
Speaker 2
Yeah, I would definitely look at tacos. The percentages you gave are pretty right on for everyone. If you’re talking to a team member and all they’re talking about is a cost is a huge red flag that I’d like a cost at the expense of sales is a huge red flag that that person shouldn’t be in that position. What I actually look at most of the time, assuming, you know, everything else is going right in the account, is I look at the amount of sales that I’m getting for branded search terms for for me that’s important, especially driving traffic.

00;08;52;07 – 00;09;23;12
Speaker 2
It’s like are more people searching and I don’t expect that to pass everything else, but I want to see it going in the right direction. And it’s like I want more and more people to go to Amazon and search or my product, like by my brand name. And I like to see our campaigns surrounding branded keywords or branded industry terms.

00;09;10;15 – 00;09;23;12
Speaker 2
I like to see that going in the right direction.

00;09;12;06 – 00;09;23;12
Speaker 1
Yeah, it’s PBC is one that it seems to be a constant push and pull in our business and me and when we look at our panels and say we spent how much on PPC.

00;09;21;07 – 00;09;24;21
Speaker 2
Or for using a good credit card, getting some nice points from it, we.

00;09;23;26 – 00;09;51;27
Speaker 1
Are, we use it’s a chase business preferred and they give 2% back or times three. Yeah. Yeah. That’s like, yeah. For anybody that isn’t using that, it’s awesome. I paid for a trip to the Florida Keys with my family using PPC points and it just feels like you’re getting away with something.

00;09;39;07 – 00;09;51;27
Speaker 2
When your mind just bought a car.

00;09;40;26 – 00;09;51;27
Speaker 1
That’s awesome. I like that. With interest rates on the rise and margin compression on Amazon, how are you dealing with these issues?

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00;09;47;25 – 00;09;51;27
Speaker 2
In what way?

00;09;48;20 – 00;10;15;24
Speaker 1
I guess maybe we kind of already touched on this, the higher priced product. It just seems like when there is we were I was actually just looking at our gross margin yesterday. We’ve seen between five and 8% compression. And so the question is, okay, can we raise prices? If we raise prices, our conversion rates are going to go down, but is the juice worth the squeeze?

00;10;06;23 – 00;10;15;24
Speaker 1
Well, we got to test it.

00;10;08;02 – 00;10;50;00
Speaker 2
Yeah. Yeah, it’s it’s in almost every case it’s 100%. Yes. If I’m in a very price sensitive area, I’ll go $5 above like and it’ll take a huge hit on your volume. But when you start looking at your profits, when you start looking at like how much less frequently you actually have to bring shipments over or how much more optimized everything’s going to be, how much less team you need, how much less fees you’re paying on blank because you’re not at X volume, the profit margin really starts picking up.

00;10;35;08 – 00;11;06;24
Speaker 2
So I would say if you are the best price in your category, that’s probably a bad spot to be with everything that you just described. In addition, there are certain price points that just don’t make sense. Like for me, the worst price in the world is 24 bucks. If you’re 24 bucks, that’s just bad. You’re not at that 25 mark just for that, just put it at 29 and you’re probably not going to notice that much of a difference and come up with ways I’m not a fan of.

00;10;59;05 – 00;11;22;13
Speaker 2
Like I sell a cutting board and then I add a knife and then I add a knife sharpener, and the next thing it’s this real big noisy listing. Like, I don’t like that, but there is ways that you can add a lot of value to a listing. For example, if you want to raise in almost every case, I know you can raise the price on your product not at once.

00;11;14;25 – 00;11;39;03
Speaker 2
5 to 7 bucks for this. One thing that I’m going to say, and that is to get a visual because I know people are listening to this, but to get a visual, imagine you’re looking on Amazon at a wearable technology, right? Let’s just say on a watch, you’ll notice that in the main image where it shows the watch, it also shows like this silhouette of a mobile app and what it’s communicating.

00;11;33;13 – 00;11;52;13
Speaker 2
There is this technology that accompanies this product. If you were to run that on Pixel and I have a bazillion times, if you run it without the silhouette and with the silhouette and play with which one is more valuable, it’s just like 95% with the app. Right? So now we got that You with me on that?

00;11;50;06 – 00;11;52;13
Speaker 1
Absolutely.

00;11;50;27 – 00;12;07;27
Speaker 2
Okay. So the next one is you don’t have to have a wearable technology to have an app. So like for example, if you wanted to later on or anybody listening to this, my body is okay with me saying this. So like, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll use it as an example. But we started a brand. It was like, give me some ideas to launch a product.

00;12;05;27 – 00;12;35;22
Speaker 2
And I said, What are you passionate about? It’s like I’m passionate about cash flowing positive. Like, that’s that’s my friend was like, okay, So we started this brand called Leaves Insole, which is bonsai, bonsai accessories and all that stuff. So if you if you go to the App Store, it’s free and you look up the leaves and Soul app, it’s an app, it’s a mobile application, right?

00;12;22;17 – 00;12;50;25
Speaker 2
You download it in the mobile store. We can now put that silhouette on the main listing of the product. So think about that’s where you’re going to get your reviews. That’s where you can do your warranty card. Like anything you’re trying to pull off in your insert card is now on the mobile app. That’s how you build your email list.

00;12;35;27 – 00;13;01;14
Speaker 2
That’s how you send push notifications to sell products. It’s endless, like anything you can think of and it’s not one of these situations where you when you’re normally looking at insert cards, it’s like, well, this is the this is the best of the of the worst, this is the best choice. But they all suck. You add the silhouette to the main, to the main listing of the product you have.

00;12;51;08 – 00;13;18;22
Speaker 2
It is totes compliant because it comes with that and you put the download app thing on the outside of the box. Like this comes together. You can jack your price up almost immediately because you added that just to the mobile app and you get to add it. So you think about think of the scroll stopper like I do this, like we’re ready to list something.

00;13;05;25 – 00;13;39;01
Speaker 2
I scroll on Amazon in the detail page. I’m like, Which listing am I stopping on? Is it mine? If not, back to the lab. If you’re scrolling through a category that has no mobile apps in it and you find you’re just going through and you’re looking at bonsai stuff and all of a sudden you see a silhouette of a mobile app, you stop.

00;13;19;05 – 00;13;39;01
Speaker 2
So you have that whole angry orange case study effect happening here. When you do that. Now the good thing is normally you think of mobile apps, you’re thinking of like hundreds of thousands of dollars. So there’s there’s a there’s a company called Good Barber where you could do this yourself if you’re techie. But a buddy of mine, which I will I won’t mention here, I’ll give it to you.

00;13;34;08 – 00;14;05;03
Speaker 2
I can if you want. I just want to like I don’t know if it’s okay to plug somebody here. He’s a business partner of mine and myself liking his business. So nothing having to do with my Amazon business or anything like that. And as a matter of fact, he won’t give you a deal because, you know, like, better.

00;13;44;26 – 00;14;05;03
Speaker 2
But I can make the intro if you want it. His name’s Andrés Andrés Fernandez, who owns Salsa Kings, but his company is Ian Unleashed. And they build these apps. It’s going to run you like a grand, but that’s getting in the App Store, that’s designing of the app. It’s building everything you’re looking at. Probably like a grand, which come on, like run your costs on what you spend on insert cards alone for the year, right?

00;14;02;06 – 00;14;28;13
Speaker 2
Do that for your products and you can raise the price. So we’re talking about price compression and everything like that. Like I would more expensive products, I would raise my price. I would look at ways to make my packaging more efficient, to get into a smaller category if possible. If you can’t have a higher price item because you’re kind of like you are where you are, then I would look at ways to create value deals here.

00;14;22;14 – 00;14;28;13
Speaker 2
So to make your product be able to be priced for more. Does that help?

00;14;25;08 – 00;15;04;03
Speaker 1
Absolutely. Yeah. There’s a lot of really good stuff there. I think on the app for about a thousand bucks, if you can boost your conversion rate by a couple percent, that’s a positive ROI activity. That’s huge. And so that makes PPC makes life easier. And so I love that pro tip and, and so on this size, are there any tools that you use to help like optimize packaging?

00;14;48;14 – 00;15;23;12
Speaker 2
No, I had to think first. You No, I don’t. I don’t have any specific tools. I buy all of my competitor’s stuff once or twice a year anyway, just to see what’s going on new with them. And a lot of the times you immediately find that someone is doing something better and and you change that. I’m also a geek when it comes to like, you know, subscribe to packaging factories and packaging expos.

00;15;11;26 – 00;15;39;16
Speaker 2
I subscribe to all that. And when I see something new and they’re always rolling out stuff new, it’s like, okay, how would that apply here? You know, what would that look like? So no tools, just just grinding and thinking. I always want to be smaller. That’s just better in ecommerce and I always want to look for a way that’s like what would deliver a wow experience and be compact.

00;15;29;14 – 00;15;59;23
Speaker 1
I like that. On the topic of tools to optimize for size, so Stocked has a calculator and they help you optimize your cartons and then your cartons to a pallet and then your pallet to a container. And they did a case study on it. And sometimes for me, especially if I don’t have it sitting in front of me, it’s hard to visualize that.

00;15;47;15 – 00;16;15;26
Speaker 1
So you may optimize the size of the package, but it’s not the cartons and then maybe it’s the carton, but not the pallet. And so but, you know, that’s that’s really interesting. So one thing that I’ve noticed is a lot of e-commerce sellers, it seems like maybe 3 to 5 years into their career, they start some sort of agency that services Amazon sellers.

00;16;06;26 – 00;16;33;05
Speaker 1
And it’s a trend that I’ve seen so many times that I question whether I’m doing the right thing. Is bringing an Amazon seller or should I to use the goldrush example, should I be selling the shovels or should I be panning for gold? Curious, what are your thoughts on this? Why does this happen? And have you done that in any of your businesses?

00;16;22;29 – 00;16;45;14
Speaker 2
Another phenomenal question. I think when a seller becomes a service provider, let’s say, or software, there’s this. And to this day I do this and I know that this is not the case. In a lot of instances there’s this or you couldn’t succeed as a seller, so you did Blank. I could do that if I was making $100,000 a month selling $5,000.

00;16;43;06 – 00;16;59;16
Speaker 2
What is FBA courses like? There is a lot of that that I still struggle with when I see it. However, I know a lot of agency owners that are good people and that that doesn’t apply to. Some of them used to be sellers and exited and decided they wanted to keep doing this because it was like let’s face it, for selling physical products.

00;16;59;07 – 00;17;27;25
Speaker 2
It’s not the easiest business in the world. The mistake is people think running an agency is easier. It’s not also being a successful seller does not qualify you to run a team. Maybe you you got out and you never built processes. You’ve never had to wear a Dr. Phil hat 25% of the day with your team. You know, Why do I think they do it?

00;17;16;19 – 00;17;38;03
Speaker 2
I think it’s different for everyone. I think some people shockingly, some people come up to me and said, Hey, Carlos, can you recommend some people to come my way? I have this agency now that’s helping people. Do you know, wholesale or private label? And I’d be like, Hey, bro, you know, that’s I’m kind of shocked. So I’m like, Really?

00;17;28;27 – 00;17;52;05
Speaker 2
I’m like, Well, what all all right. I thought you I thought you were looking to start selling like I was our last conversation like two weeks ago. You know how I looked at it, man? I looked way too hard or I tried and I just couldn’t figure it out. So I’m just going to help people do it. And I’m like, I’m baffled.

00;17;42;29 – 00;18;11;18
Speaker 2
And I’m like, Well, how are you to do that? You didn’t know how to do it, though. Those people. It’s very difficult for me to respect. The very difficult was, I think of your border lining, borderline scam right now. Right? Other people that have been sellers and and that do the agencies. I think the logic there and I’ll speak kind of to my path is I started an agency like nine years ago it only did my internal brands because I have like 50 different companies that only did the marketing for my brands when right around the time that the media group started, just like a little over eight years ago, there was this a lot

00;18;11;08 – 00;18;31;13
Speaker 2
of people reaching out and saying, Hey, can I hire you to be a coach? And I don’t like the word coach. And it was like, I’ll get on the phone for 3 hours. And my wife’s like, Listen, you got to charge for that. If you’re going to be doing this, you’re not going to be with us. You need to charge.

00;18;21;16 – 00;18;46;10
Speaker 2
And that was my gradual progression into that. And then it’s the meet up group and you deliver a bunch of value and then people will see that and then you’re top of mind when they want to do it. So it was like, I have put my dues in, I’m still a seller. I can really help people. So yeah, so I opened Bird Marketing Solution.

00;18;35;18 – 00;19;07;07
Speaker 2
So I think it’s different for every one software’s another one. You have some people do the same thing with software. Most software creators though, were really good sellers that reached a high level and then they started internally developing. Like I was telling you something my buddies are doing, and then they developed this amazing thing and then all of us in our group want to use it and then we encourage that person, You need to sell this.

00;18;55;00 – 00;19;29;24
Speaker 2
You know, the the multiplier on an exit to a software business is like 22%. AL-NIMR So we encourage the person to do it. So I think for everyone’s different. For you, I would say why is it mutually exclusive? I think a better agency owner, if you decided to go that route and like, you know, help people, I would say the best way for you to stay relevant would be you don’t have to have the most complicated product in the world.

00;19;14;26 – 00;19;29;23
Speaker 2
You can get something on the much smaller, much easier to go, but it keeps you keeps you in the loop as to what’s going on. It keeps you grounded into what it means to be a seller. Why not do both? I’ve heard your your podcast and everything. You’re definitely in the top when it comes to like knowledge in the space.

00;19;29;23 – 00;19;31;08
Speaker 2
So like, why would you not?

00;19;30;22 – 00;20;01;15
Speaker 1
I like that perspective and I have a similar sentiment about people that have never been sellers and then do start the agency. I remember back in business school, like if a professor had like went out and run their own business and then came back to academia, I that like I very much wanted to take their course. If someone had been in academia their entire life, it was more challenging for me to sign up for that course.

00;19;50;18 – 00;20;16;14
Speaker 1
And so yeah, I see that on our end and the agencies that we deal with. And to be an Amazon seller, you have to be good at like 20 things and most people aren’t good at all. 20 you may find like, Hey, I’m really good at PPC and, and can add value there. So just curious about that. And switching gears, e-commerce definitely exploded when COVID happened, but I’m curious if e-commerce is a baseball game, what anything do you think we’re in?

00;20;13;05 – 00;20;16;14
Speaker 1
What is this Look at top of the second.

00;20;14;19 – 00;20;35;20
Speaker 2
Yeah, I think I’ve been a seller. I’ve been in ecommerce for a while, right? So I’m going to use my 15 years. I would say the first of the first like seven. What are the rules to this game? Like, what are we going to call it? Why is that an out, you know, like, oh, a home run. Yeah.

00;20;27;19 – 00;20;47;28
Speaker 2
You hit it that far. So like it was just let’s figure out what the foundational rules of this needs to be. And then a few more years was very like very, very wild, wild West. And it’s the stretching and it’s the getting ready and it’s like, Oh, let’s form a league. Let’s the here are the teams and this is your schedule and this is what you’re going to play.

00;20;44;26 – 00;21;11;09
Speaker 2
And this is kind of like what you need to do every day to be successful. Like this starts becoming defined. And and you started the game. And I do believe we have started the game, that’s for sure. But I believe we’re in the top of the second. I mean, we selling internationally is now becoming a very real thing.

00;20;59;26 – 00;21;27;02
Speaker 2
It’s a very global, global economy Now, global competition, this is just really starting, in my opinion. They’re about to pass a law supposedly in the U.S. where they’re going to stop subsidizing these stuff coming from China. That is, there’s this thing where if it sells for under like $89 and weighs less than £4, they can ship it over here for like $0.80.

00;21;19;03 – 00;21;41;25
Speaker 2
We can’t do that reversed. And that’s a huge market that’s over there. So like, a lot of these barriers are still falling. It’s, you know, selling live high and selling it’s it’s nuts. I’m going to say top of the second.

00;21;31;12 – 00;21;41;25
Speaker 1
With that being said, how would you respond to this? Amazon might have been a good opportunity five years ago, but I think I kind of missed the boat on that.

00;21;38;29 – 00;21;59;03
Speaker 2
I suspect that that’s that person’s answer for like almost everything in life, like a variation of that. That’s, that’s a mindset thing and not I mean if the person feels like they missed the boat but they’ve not gotten involved with and figured out even what this is, then how are they qualified to make that decision? I bet I could throw like four more.

00;21;54;20 – 00;22;16;12
Speaker 2
And this is this is I’ve had this like I talked to, but not everyone that comes to the group is like firing on all cylinders, right? Some of them come and they’re like, what’s the easiest, laziest way that I could just make an extra just 50, 60,000 in profit a year or something like that. You throw these ideas at them and they’re just like, Oh no, if it’s video, I’m not going to do that.

00;22;10;15 – 00;22;35;21
Speaker 2
No, no, no, no. I’m just too uncomfortable with that. They have like an excuse for everything. So I think that it’s a mindset issue and not anything that really has to do with with Amazon or eCommerce. But let let’s just look at that. I did make a lot of sales when I first started with products that didn’t even have a main image.

00;22;25;09 – 00;22;43;02
Speaker 2
If you if you list a product in the main image goes away, it’s immediately suppressed. Things have changed. When I started, you get suspended for almost anything and there was no appeal, right? Nowadays there’s like 90 million options. They give you advance warning, you have account health, you have all this stuff going on. When I started, you had to apply to be invited to FBA.

00;22;42;16 – 00;23;04;00
Speaker 2
Nowadays you’re just out the gate. So prior to FBA, what that look like is a labyrinth in your house and your significant other. Probably leaving you because loud box tape going off in the house is not conducive to a great marriage. So like much better spot now than before. There were no meetup groups, there were none of this.

00;22;59;23 – 00;23;19;16
Speaker 2
I couldn’t just like listen to like firing the man ear candy as I go to the gym and learn there was nothing. There wasn’t even courses, there was nothing. Now they have it, and pretty much a few somebodies main offer is somebody else’s free lead magnet. So you could cherry pick off like what you want to learn, find a solid source and almost learn everything for free.

00;23;19;04 – 00;23;35;19
Speaker 2
Much, much better time to sell it now.

00;23;20;29 – 00;23;35;19
Speaker 1
I like that it pays to be an optimist for sure. So tell us about Wizards of E-Comm. What’s going on there?

00;23;26;16 – 00;23;56;13
Speaker 2
Wizards of Ecom takes a lot of my time now or I invest a lot of my time into it. It’s a passion project that’s grown just way beyond anything that I thought it could be. But it started as a meet up group called Wizards of Amazon. It was obviously very Amazon focused and then we started with one meet up and so, you know, three people showed in the next few meet ups, nobody showed.

00;23;47;11 – 00;24;14;21
Speaker 2
And I’m taking pictures at an angle that shows people in the table behind me like they’re part of the group, you know, And it’s like, look forward to seeing everybody next time. And then it started growing and then we were like at a weekly event twice weekly, then three times weekly. And this group starts getting massive standing room only.

00;24;02;29 – 00;24;34;15
Speaker 2
And I’m and I’m having these events as I close down like a Latin dance studio that I own on Saturdays, and we’re having them there, then COVID hits and then it’s like, wait a minute, you can’t have these dance studios anymore. Like, we need to like, get out of these leases. No one can come in here. Let me just take this over and make it Wizards of you guys make it our space.

00;24;19;03 – 00;24;50;28
Speaker 2
So if somebody went on Google, they looked up wizards to be called Miami. You could see the three six view of our space, 1800 square feet. It’s like geared for entrepreneurs, computers like positive, inspirational, like banners on the wall, like all this stuff. And we meet there. We have topics twice a week, all the, all the meetup events, all the classes are free, the way we’ve been able to monetize and we’ve done really well with it.

00;24;39;26 – 00;25;05;04
Speaker 2
There’s an optional subscription using hijabi to where people can subscribe and watch all of the videos of the classes we’ve had because they’re recorded. We named it Wizards of Ecom because we felt like couldn’t put an Amazon logo outside of our business without getting sued. And now we have a physical location in Miami, physical location in Tampa, about to get one in Orlando.

00;24;58;03 – 00;25;38;17
Speaker 2
And then we have other chapters out there in L.A., San Diego and Orange County. It’s grown into this massive Meetup community, which is the largest one in the world. I’m going to say that I’ve learned more from that community as a seller, as a human being, as a business person, than I have everything else combined. We recently added different chapters like a Shopify chapter.

00;25;17;28 – 00;25;38;17
Speaker 2
We have a YouTube chapter, we have a course creator chapter, or like we have like all this different stuff. So kind of like wherever you’re at, there’s something there for free to be able to teach you. And much of the motivation had to do with those late nights, no sleep, packaging stuff up, doing it by myself, not having that community.

00;25;34;12 – 00;25;53;26
Speaker 2
And I’m in a position now where I can do this and I’m having a blast with it. And by the way, if you wanted to see any of the classes, just download the app, the Wizards of E-Comm App, and it’s got all of our stuff in it and it’s free to join. I personally invite anybody listening to join.

00;25;48;15 – 00;26;11;27
Speaker 1
Absolutely. We’re going to post a link to that in the show notes. Awesome. I’ve heard some rumblings about an online seller cruise after going to a lot of conferences and sitting in an auditorium. Super interested to learn more about this.

00;26;00;28 – 00;26;29;15
Speaker 2
Yeah, so this was a hard one for me because a lot goes into an annual event and I don’t feel that the ROI justifies it. So if you’re just looking at it about money, it’s not what it’s cracked up to be, right? For the first few years, I actually lost money on it. But the other thing is when you get to a certain level as a seller and you start getting into some of these masterminds, the general consensus is Amazon seller events are really not that good.

00;26;22;00 – 00;26;43;20
Speaker 2
It’s like regurgitated content. And if you’re semi current on some podcasts and some blogs and whatever, you’re not going to learn anything new. Here I am. My my buddy invites me to this annual event he has, which is a seller cruise and he invites a few buddies. There’s no web pages, no nothing. And I’m like, okay, I’ll do it.

00;26;37;09 – 00;27;03;24
Speaker 2
I’ve never been on a cruise ship before and I loved it. But my buddy is very like laissez faire, you know what I mean? Like, whatever. And I was like, There needs to be a little structure here, ladies, who are wondering, like, who’s speaking? And nothing’s happening. And I didn’t want to compete with my buddy. And I reached out to him and we came to an agreement to where I would take it over and we gave it a name and a website.

00;26;55;08 – 00;27;14;18
Speaker 2
So it’s online seller Cruise.co.uk. We leave from the Port of Miami for a week, usually late January, early February, kind of decompress from Q4, slower part of the year, and there’s full Wi-Fi on the ship. Otherwise I would not go. It’s a blast. It’s intermediate to advanced sellers. There is some people that go that are like, what is FBA?

00;27;12;28 – 00;27;33;03
Speaker 2
And I think that’s okay. If you can get away and you want to like be around people that are at a like on a much higher level in a business that you want to be, I think that’s perfect, but that’s, that’s it. I’d love to have have you there on the ship but the next one is like January 20 something.

00;27;27;03 – 00;27;33;03
Speaker 1
Is there still.

00;27;27;18 – 00;27;33;03
Speaker 2
Openings if there is still opening, if you go, I’m going to lean on you to try to get you to.

00;27;31;00 – 00;27;35;24
Speaker 1
Speak. It would be an honor. I need to talk to my wife, but I would love Oh, I love it.

00;27;35;10 – 00;27;42;18
Speaker 2
That’s the same thing I say. I got to talk to my wife, but.

00;27;37;18 – 00;27;51;27
Speaker 1
There could not be a better time of year than post Q4 when you just need to take a deep breath. Going on a cruise for a week sounds like a great time. And so that’s awesome.

00;27;47;05 – 00;28;08;26
Speaker 2
Yeah. Witnesses here on the show, I invited you and you said yes, short of your wife saying no. So like, I’m going to send you a link as soon as you tell me. Your wife, he gave me the green light. I’m going to send you a link. I’d love to have you there. And if you didn’t want to speak, that’s cool.

00;27;58;00 – 00;28;08;26
Speaker 2
But if you’re going, I’d love to take advantage and have you present.

00;28;00;28 – 00;28;17;01
Speaker 1
Absolutely. Also to our listeners who would be interested in coming along on this cruise. We’ll post a link in the show notes. That would be awesome. Maybe bring along some Firing the Man Nation along with us. So that would be great. Carlos We end every podcast with our fire round. Are you ready?

00;28;16;16 – 00;28;17;00
Speaker 2
Let’s do.

00;28;17;00 – 00;28;38;09
Speaker 1
It. All right. What is your favorite book?

00;28;19;07 – 00;28;38;09
Speaker 2
I’m going to say it’s a brand new book that I read and it’s my favorite book. So not recency bias and it’s The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker.

00;28;26;01 – 00;28;38;09
Speaker 1
Okay, very nice. What are your hobbies?

00;28;28;14 – 00;28;38;09
Speaker 2
Sadly, not many. I started learning. Started learning how to play the guitar. I’m a Scrabble nerd. I like almost gambling with Scrabble and chess.

The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness
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The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness
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00;28;35;10 – 00;28;38;04
Speaker 1
What do you not miss about working for the man?

00;28;38;07 – 00;28;52;13
Speaker 2
I’m going to have to say I’ve only had two small jobs when I was a kid, so I don’t have a lot of memories of it. I don’t like being told what to do. I just yeah, I don’t like being told what to do. So that that’s going to be it. I don’t like being on somebody else’s schedule.

00;28;52;07 – 00;28;57;25
Speaker 2
Those would be the two, the top two for me.

00;28;53;23 – 00;29;12;23
Speaker 1
What do you think sets apart successful e-commerce entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or never get started?

00;29;00;15 – 00;29;21;22
Speaker 2
I’m going to have to say this has changed for me over the years, but I’m going to have to say most of the time it’s it’s who you’re with. I’ve tried doing this with a in a toxic relationship with an ex-girlfriend, and we tried to make this with the writing partner. And if you get the right partner in life, not to sound fruitful, but just there is no limits and you’re going to need someone that can be there for you because there is no way to do this by yourself.

00;29;21;22 – 00;29;35;26
Speaker 2
So, like I’m going to say, that’s one of the big difference. There is a lot of the people that are not doing it or that stop. They don’t they don’t have the right system or not the right support system. They’re like your your main mastermind should be that what you got with you and your wife or you and your husband or you and your partner, like whatever.

00;29;35;26 – 00;29;41;08
Speaker 2
But like that’s that’s that core mastermind you need to really exceed and succeed. So I’m going to have to say that.

00;29;41;08 – 00;29;56;04
Speaker 1
Awesome. Very nice. Well, Carlos, I want to thank you for being a guest on the Firing of Man podcast to our listeners. Check out Wizards of E-Comm, Check out the online seller Cruise. We’re going to post links to all of that. Carlos, thank you so much. It’s been an honor to have you on podcast and looking forward to staying in touch.

00;29;56;04 – 00;29;57;04
Speaker 2
Pleasure’s mine. Thank you.

Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (The Path to Calm)
  • Trenton, Nick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 03/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)