There’s $100K Hiding in Plain Sight in YOUR Business w/ Kathleen Celmins

David 0:00
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Intro 1:20
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more than join us. This show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneurs David shoma and Ken Wilson.

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  • English (Publication Language)
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David 1:44
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast on today’s episode, we are very excited to chat with Kathleen settlement’s Kathleen spends most of her time helping timestrip digital entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches and freelancers tripled their income through a strategic approach to selling their digital products. Many people created a digital product because of the allure of passive income, that many of those digital products never turned into passive income. Kathleen works with these people to create a lucrative income stream that runs on autopilot. She teaches Experts How to create marketing engines new ways to sell digital products that don’t include a slide deck in the pricing strategies that will win. She’s learned most of her lessons the hard way, but has found wild success both in her business and the businesses she has consulted with. When she’s not at her desk, you can find her on a yoga mat exploring the world with her husband and two kids at a local farmers market and enjoying the sheer pleasures of living. Be sure to stay tuned as Kathleen shares how to find $100,000 laying around in your Google Drive. Welcome to the show, Kathleen.

Kathleen Celmins 2:54
Thanks for having me.

David 2:55
Absolutely. So to start things off, can you tell our audience a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today?

Kathleen Celmins 3:01
Sure thing. I have been working online for a really long time we were talking about this the other day how internet years are a little bit like dog years. And when I got my start, it was 2011. And WordPress had just gotten like rich text, it was very exciting. But we were still taking photos from actual cameras and uploading that. Anyway, the world’s changed a lot since that time. And I started in the personal finance space as a public way to get out of debt. And the personal finance space I found out is a really lucrative niche. Financial services have high margin, they’re able to spend money on content. And so I found myself in a group of people who started backed into money on the internet, which was very exciting, especially in the days before some of these algorithm changes. And before Facebook started charging for ads and all kinds of like frontier level stuff. But I started working on my journey out of debt. And then once I got out of debt, I got bored. I turns out I didn’t really want to do much in the personal finance space anymore. So I joined a friend who was building a podcast in that space. And I worked behind the scenes to make it profitable. And then when I realized I really was done, done with personal finance, spend less earn more invest the difference. That’s personal finance, the mechanism to help pin people who had great ideas make more money was so much more appealing to me. So in 2018 I started on my journey toward digital marketing. So sort of just everything under that umbrella was making websites and sales funnels and helping other people realize their path toward profitability. And just recently I’ve made a bigger pivot into channeling all of that experience and teaching people in a group setting how To find their leveraged income stream,

Ken 5:03
awesome. Yeah, thanks for sharing your background, it sounds like you’ve been you have a very diverse background and a lot of experience, I really liked the analogy of the personal finance summed it up in a few words. So that’s pretty cool. A question for you, where where do you think most people are leaving money on the table in their businesses?

Kathleen Celmins 5:21
Actually, it can come down to one word, just so anytime you start to tamp down your expertise by using the word just, that’s where you should look deeper, meaning that as an expert, and we talked about this offline, but as an expert, you have a PhD level of knowledge in your industry. And the more you know, the more you think everybody knows. And when you start thinking about what you could possibly teach, and you think, Well, I don’t know, it’s just XYZ. Everybody knows how to do that. That’s where I would say,

David 5:59
Stop. Okay, to dive in a little bit more on this, when we talk about digital products, there’s right there’s online courses, there’s podcasts, there’s YouTube, what have been some of the more lucrative avenues for for these digital products?


Kathleen Celmins 6:12
You know, it’s funny, that’s a great question, because most people, at least most digital creators that I work with very much think about online courses, beginning and ending with like, Should I go with teachable or think of it, and if you take a step back, I know somebody who’s making almost seven figures, if not already seven figures on Instagram templates, sending out 30 new Instagram templates every month. So the most lucrative are the ones that you can do in the shortest amount of time possible. If it’s easy for you to create, that it’s easy for your audience to implement, and then it makes it easier for them to give you money.

David 6:50
Okay. All right, that makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. So at the beginning of the episode, I had mentioned that there’s $100,000, in my Google Drive, how do we find it? So can we dive into that?

Kathleen Celmins 7:01
Absolutely. What I believe is that anybody who’s been doing this, even a couple of years has $100,000 revenue stream sitting on their Google Drive or their Dropbox or it really doesn’t matter somewhere in their systems. And it’s so usually I work with service providers, I know you guys are, a lot of people listening to this are in the E commerce space. But in in service, there’s so much that goes into how you deliver a service that you could teach, let’s say web design, you could teach people how to do their own mockups in Adobe XD or something like that, and teach your exact design process or, and this is probably more helpful for the people listening to this, you could teach what you wish you had known 235 years ago that if you had known then that you would have gotten to where you are now in a shorter period of time.

Ken 7:54
Sure. Now to to expand on that a little bit. Like you’re saying, essentially, share what knowledge that you have that can help someone else skip the line and brightens catch up or advance in two or three years from the knowledge that you have.

Kathleen Celmins 8:09
Exactly. And it’s especially, you know, with with E commerce people, you guys know, your margins, you know, your you know, all of the spreadsheet e things that if you could increase or decrease the amount of time it took, or, you know, it’s the same sort of thing where, let’s say you had a email sequence that helped with abandoned cart issues that recovered 10 $20,000 in your busy season, right? Let’s say you had something like that, well, that’s absolutely worth it to sell. Even if you didn’t template dies, even if you just gave away exactly what it was you did, where you said, Okay, the first time they have the abandoned cart, they got this email, and this is what it looks like for mine. You want to change it out for yours because you don’t sell this product. And then extrapolating that so that you can tie anything that you would create to they always say like a tangible result, time or money, it’s money. It’s like everything we should be doing is either making somebody or saving somebody money. I like this

David 9:15
sort of to make sure I have this right. And here’s what’s been going on in my mind, my background is accounting. I love Excel, and Excel is my art form.

Kathleen Celmins 9:23
Okay, does your life different than my

David 9:26
I have built some what I would call Mona Lisa of spreadsheets, I mean, just really, really in depth looking at profit margins, and I’ve built that for our own business. And and so if I’m understanding this correctly, that of course is a value to us because I built it for our business, but it’s most likely of value to our audience. Is that Is that am I tracking what you’re saying?

Kathleen Celmins 9:47
Absolutely. Yeah, basically, you have this you turn it into a template, so you don’t have to give out proprietary information, right, like you don’t nobody needs to know how much money your company made in 2021 in order to make the spreadsheet work, so you give them A spreadsheet, you make it idiot proof. So you lock literally everything except for what you want them to input. And then you do a detailed step by step video on how to do it and how to show what it does. You spend, I don’t know, 1015 hours wrapping that all together, don’t worry too much about delivery of the product, because you’re really giving them an Excel documents do, you don’t have to pay for, you know, teachable, or whatever, for 50 bucks a month for the rest of your life in order to just deliver some sort of product like that. And then the real key is thinking about what happens after they buy. So as ecommerce people know, the very best time to ask for another sale is when their wallet is already open, so to speak. And so when you when you think about like, Okay, this is our ROI, calculator, some better name than that. And then then it’s like, okay, well, do you want to add this really in depth walkthrough for another X dollars? And then they go to the upsell? And it’s like, do you want to join a group of people who are working through this together? Yes, no, do you want to buy an hour of my time, so I can walk you through it? Do you want you know, so you have like an ascension model. So that the because you can’t really sell an Excel template for more than a couple $100. But you can turn that into a profitable revenue stream by thinking about the upsell path.

David 11:28
Okay. Okay, over to you can,

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Ken 11:30
yeah, I can see David’s wheels are spinning. So William Schulte will probably have an idea session later on on this. But yeah, that also I’m thinking of so like some things off the top of my head, or in the E commerce space, if you’re listening to this, if you’re, you know, in the audience, like, if you’re good at listing optimization, you can document your process, you can capture that if you’re good at Excel, like David, you could capture that. Or if you’re good at email marketing, like you said, Kathleen, you can capture your your sequences, your email sequences, so great ideas. And next question that we have, okay, how how can an entrepreneur create a leveraged income stream?

Kathleen Celmins 12:06
Well, I think e commerce it’s funny because I almost never talked to people in this space. Most of the people that I’m working with are already service providers. They’re they are delivering valuable but intangible things. And so I think ecommerce is much more leveraged than service, you can buy a sweatshirt in the middle of the night, I can make money on that sweatshirt that you bought in the middle of the night. The same is not necessarily true for article writing, I have to be writing in order to make that money. So ecommerce is already leveraged. But but the margins are lower than they would be on digital. In fact, it’s sort of the inverse, right? Where you get a 20% margin, let’s say, on your merchandise, but you could get an 80% margin on info on the info that you could use to help build out another site. So things like how do we decide what product we should add? And here’s the if you can get the nerdy spreadsheet calculation to determine whether it makes sense to order whatever this is where my you’ll see the gaps in my expertise. It starts and ends up ecommerce.

Ken 13:09
Yeah, no, that definitely makes sense. Cool. Over to you, David,

David 13:12
this is a follow up question. And if there’s not a if you don’t have good answer to it, we can strike it no big deal. But one thing that Ken and I have talked a lot about is we like to keep our products that we’re selling private, because there’s not really an online police. And if someone sees what you’re selling, and you know, in you have a podcast about ecommerce, obviously, something’s going well, we have concerned about people competing against us, I’ll use a barber shop analogy. If you are the only barber shop in town, he can charge whatever price you want. Our town is global, like we are competing against everybody. And so for maybe people that you’ve worked with that have similar concerns, do you have any thoughts on how to because generally, you build the tool for yourself first. And then we kind of like want to strip away sensitive information. So do you have any thoughts on that?

Kathleen Celmins 14:01
Yeah. So it’s, it’s it because I talked about my my history, it’s sort of what happened. When you first start writing about money, you start writing about your journey. And then what happened in 2011 2012 2013, is that we all became friends and we would write articles to each other saying, Man, this Capital One, this article about Capital One is making me $10,000 a month and everybody reading that says, well, I should write an article about Capital One also. And to your point, it’s the same sort of thing. Like if, if I already know that that’s making you money, that I’m just gonna go and copy and paste it and publish it too. So what we run into when we recommend how to pull that back is to anonymize it. If you don’t want to say that it’s a fountain pen, then you can say it’s a consumer office good and this do so or you know, sort of how you can see into in testimonials, where we talked about this in some of our services where you want to get really good testimonials but let’s say the that say you’re a ghostwriter. And they sign an NDA and you don’t, they don’t really want you to use their name well you can say I helped a senior executive at a fortune 500 company and still know that that person is relatively protected so that you can say the category or the like how you found it. So you know, I found a whole bunch of people selling low end pens, but nobody was selling high end pens. So I did that again. Bad example probably, but it’s not what’s on my desk. And so helping people like without giving them the end product, you can give them the process that you took to find that product.

David 15:39
Okay, that makes that makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. You know, by to our listeners, eliminating Asin and skew entitle you really eliminate a lot of your headaches and so that I really liked that and that has been I would say that that has been a barrier personally or as prevented me in Canada from Mike moving forward. We’ve even started talking about starting like a ghost brand or just a brand that we make totally public because which is a lot of extra work. Yeah, just keep that keep stay anonymous and so All right, so most of our listeners surprise selling physical products and I was like real world example. So I was talking to somebody the other day that has a pet supply company physical products, tight margins. So what if they’re thinking about what kind of digital product can I sell? What would be some steps that they would walk through to kind of like come to that answer?

Kathleen Celmins 16:27
Okay, so pet supply company owner, what’s your best selling product? Let’s say it’s dog food for the sake of argument great. Or dog toys or something? Maybe we don’t sell I don’t know. So it’s dog toys. So if that sells better than everything else in your store better than fish food better than cat toys then there’s dog lovers in your audience there the vast majority of people who buy a dog toy online are extreme dog lovers. Right and so what else do they need? Do they need a community do they need I don’t know in some like so what else what else can they do? Can we are a corgi owners can we do like a corgi club? Can we do a On Demand training for if we maybe it’s maybe it’s the thing that sells the best is the the puzzle toys so maybe it’s okay, so I’m guessing you have a working dog. Here are some different exercises you can go through with your working dog where their brains out so they stop eating your furniture.

David 17:25
I like that. I like that one follow up and I’m an old fogy. So I would call this a collaboration but as the kids call it, they call it collapse. Have you seen situations where somebody can collab with so like, let’s keep this this dog this dog example rolling? Is there a situation where somebody says I don’t know how to train corgis? How to go to the bathroom outside, but there’s this really good dog trainer and he specializes in corgis? Could I collab with him? Have you seen situations like that workout?

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Kathleen Celmins 17:51
Yeah, all the time. I have this huge audience of people who are buying Corgi food, but I don’t know anything about corgis. Except that usually they come in pairs when you see them on the street you usually don’t see one but but there’s you know there’s a guy in my town or guy online if I can give him all these leads that he’s gonna work for. That’s a that’s a straight affiliate offer right there pays better than Amazon affiliates to

David 18:15
I didn’t even think about affiliates. I like my brain didn’t go in that direction. But you’re absolutely right, in this example would be beneficial to both parties. Man, I like this. I really like this. My the wheels are spinning. Yeah,

Kathleen Celmins 18:27
like interviews like this to that turn into sort of brainstorming sessions because this is where I could spend the entire week and be happy. So let’s

Ken 18:35
tie that all together. Yeah, but a little loss. So we have we have had brand owner and the most popular products that they sell are toys. And then and just so happens, I guess corgis like toys. And so they reach out, they find our huge celebrity dog trainer of court Cordys. And then they reach out and say, Hey, we have huge sales volumes of toys that corgis like, Can we do a collaboration? And then and then you would create a training program and then just funnel it through the other biggest influencer through their platforms?

Kathleen Celmins 19:05
Yeah. Or if they’re not an influencer, and you have the audience of buyers, then what you do is you say, Hey, how much is lead worth to you? How much are you spending on lead acquisition? Typically Don trainers will say, Man No. And so you can say look, I can give you these great leads. But But and I won’t charge you for the leads, but I’ll charge you for the ones that turn into customers. So then what makes sense for that? Do you need to raise your price do we need so then that’s the conversation that that you can work through the influencer model works sort of in the opposite, where you give the influencer X dollars, they say this is a great pen, and then you hope that they sell that, you know, the more than made up for it.

Ken 19:47
Okay, yeah, no, that’s, that’s really cool. And I’m the same I really enjoy like ideas and the generating process of ideas brainstorming and whiteboarding and all that. So the next question is kind of like delivery methods. I guess let’s say we have this, you know, let’s say we come up with a collaboration, we have this training manual, you know, this digital product for training Cordys. Now for a physical products brand, you know, what is the best delivery method? Is it? Is it social? Is it on the direct consumer website? Is it product inserts inside of the packaging of the products? Well, what do you what are your suggestions there

Kathleen Celmins 20:23
for marketing or for delivery? So, first sales marketing. Yeah, so the channels that you’re on, you know, if I tell you to go to that tic TOCs, a really great way to do it and you’ve never once opened tick tock, then that’s not the best way to do it. So wherever you are most comfortable wherever that honestly, what I like to say often is that the only two things we own are our web traffic and our email list. And so start with the owned audience. And then next level is whatever social you’re best at maybe then then whatever social your collaborators best at, and then take it from there with delivery. The question always be asking is what does this look like if it’s easy, and again, if it’s easy for you, it’s easy for them, and the more the easier it is for them to complete this these trainings, watch the dog videos on you know how to train your Corgi to do a backflip, whatever, whatever it is, however, it’s easiest for the for you to create is usually how it’s easiest for them to consume easier it is for them to consume, the more likely they are to be a repeat buyer of the info product stuff.

Ken 21:29
Okay. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s super helpful.

David 21:31
There’s a point that you made at the beginning of the answer that is worth repeating. And that is the only only thing that you own is your web traffic and your email list. Hey, Amazon sellers, the only thing that you own is your web traffic and your email address. And so this is we’ve talked to in previous episodes about direct consumer websites. I think that’s an excellent point. One other thing that if you use that as your rule, you don’t necessarily own your Instagram followers or your Facebook followers, because that platform can kick you off at any minute. And so I think that’s a really valuable point. And I think people that are starting at Ground Zero, or think about that is I’m going to put a lot of effort into this, at the end of it, am I going to have an asset that I fully own? And so that’s, that’s really good stuff. So turning corner, let’s talk about the well paid How do you tell me about this, this company and how you help entrepreneurs?

Kathleen Celmins 22:23
Yeah, so we do a lot of brainstorming and ideation, what I have is a group program where we take you through in 90 days from ideation to selling your info product, the best ones are the ones we haven’t come up with yet. The second best ones are the ones that you’ve created, but never sold, because we take a different approach, because with creators and probably ecommerce website owners as well is that when you create an info product, you are also the sales team. And so when you’re creating it, let’s say let’s take your Excel templates, for example. So you’ve got them there set, you’ve checked the formula 17 times, and then all of a sudden, you start doing research and you say, Oh, I don’t know anything more than Excel over here, and you get into a doubt viral. And joining my team joining my group gets you the support that you need to get out of that spiral and to also take a sales and marketing approach so that you’re not doing any of this work for free. Very often, when people get an idea for an info product, they put their heads down and they don’t come up until it’s done. And bid that’s the wrong way to go about it. Because you’ve not validated whether what you’re making is of use to anybody. And so we take a totally different approach we come at you’re like, who are your favorite people to work with? And what do they what do they need? What are the common questions you’re getting from people? And how do you feel when you answer them, stuff like that, to help define and refine what it is that you can offer people that will give you a leveraged income stream. Very nice,

David 23:58
very nice. So to kind of continue on with this. And let’s use the Excel as an example. I have erkennen I have physical products, brands that have nothing to do with Excel. We’ve built these Excel templates to help facilitate our business, but they don’t necessarily have anything to do with our business. And let’s pretend like we don’t have a podcast or a public platform already built. If someone’s looking to sell these, right, they’ve built the Mona Lisa of Excel sheets, they want to sell it, where are some places that

Kathleen Celmins 24:24
they could go and they don’t have an audience? Is that your question? Well, let’s

David 24:27
let’s talk about both. So let’s start with no audience. And then let’s start then let’s go to audience

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Kathleen Celmins 24:33
because if you don’t have an audience, you can do the same sort of thing that ecommerce people do when they have a direct to consumer website. They also listed on Amazon. So you do that and you do your your website, you’ve got it on your website, and you also list on Etsy. There’s digital templates and downloads there. It’s a lower price point than you could command on your own website. But they have traffic and people are they have search traffic and they own a lot of that search traffic. And so there’s value in that in the digital space if you already have an audience But let’s say your dog toy people don’t really care about the profitability of your online store, you don’t have an audience. So you need to go in and create an audience, not an audience necessarily, because this is more like a network. If you’ve created something that will help people like you, then you should be helping people like you that will help you stay in business longer, it will help you feel not everybody has a business partner like you guys do. It’ll help you feel less lonely. If you create a bigger network and then you have a tool that helps that network then, you know, if you don’t have your own podcast, do what I do and get on other people’s podcasts. Very nice,

Ken 25:35
bright ideas. You’re really good at just coming up with ideas like that. I can see that that’s your willingness. Yeah, so so just a quick shout out to everybody before we get into the fire round so all the E commerce sellers listening margins are super thin razor thin more than ever before. And so if you’re looking to kind of diversify your revenue streams, your income streams and get into a digital product, then the well paid is the place to go and, you know, get surrounded by positive people that will help you along so All right, are you ready for the fire round Kathleen? I am okay. David, did you have any more questions for caffeine

David 26:08
real quick if we could stay on this podcast all day long, but real quick, but you had mentioned good spot if you don’t have an audience at see lower profit margins, but Etsy is a spot is Amazon one as well.

Kathleen Celmins 26:19
I have not seen Amazon work for digital products.

David 26:22
Okay, good to know. All right. Let’s get into the Fira.

Ken 26:24
Kathleen, are you ready?

Kathleen Celmins 26:25
Yes. What is your favorite book possession but as buy it awesome. What

Ken 26:29
are your hobbies?

Kathleen Celmins 26:30
Yoga? I don’t think I have a second one.

Ken 26:32
What is the one thing that you do not miss about working for the man

Kathleen Celmins 26:37
wearing shoes?

Ken 26:39
That’s awesome. I love that answer. But what do you think sets apart successful entrepreneurs from those who give up fail or never get started?

Kathleen Celmins 26:46
Be ability to take it seriously?

Ken 26:49
Excellent. David, you want to call it out show?

David 26:51
Absolutely. Kathleen if people are interested in in getting in touch with you or working with the well paid What would be the best way to do that? Head over

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Kathleen Celmins 27:00
to my website. Speaking of owned traffic, head over to the well paid

David 27:04
Awesome. And to all of our listeners that are driving keep the eyes on the road. We’ll post that in the show notes. So Kathleen, want to thank you for being a guest on the Firing the Man podcast and we’re looking forward to staying in touch. Yeah,

Kathleen Celmins 27:14
thank you guys.

David 27:15
This is fun. Thanks, everyone for tuning in to another episode of the Firing the Man podcast. As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, Ken and I have been using an incredibly powerful software stack that serves many purposes, namely dashboard reporting inventory management tools such as replenishment forecasting, profitability reports reimbursements that run automatically and my favorite the dynamic pricing tool. what this tool does is it moves your price around ever so slightly to identify the price that maximizes net profit. Since using this tool we have increased our profitability by an average of 15% across our own portfolio companies. This tool is an Amazon sellers dream and I absolutely have to share it with our audience. If you’re interested in trying this tool out, click on the link in the show notes. Use promo code FTM to get a free 15 day free trial of the EVA platform and 22% off your first month. And just for using my code you’ll receive a complimentary onboarding call and strategy session. To properly configure and dial in your settings. Answer any questions that you have and set you up for continued success. Thank you all for tuning in. And we will see you next week.

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