Navigating VAT, GST, and International Expansion for Amazon Sellers with Expert Kevin Sanderson

David 0:00
Are you looking to grow your sales on Amazon? Chances are if you’re not selling on Amazon’s international marketplaces, you are leaving some serious money on the table. What keeps a lot of people from selling internationally are all the confusing hoops you have to jump through to get started. That is why we worked with Kevin Sanderson from maximizing ecommerce on our international expansion. Kevin and his team take care of the details and guide you through the process of expanding so that you can grow your sales and reach new customers. If you’d like to find out if working with Kevin and his team is right for you head over to Once again that is

Kevin Sanderson 0:46
I always take everything with a little bit of grain of salt. But what I really have come to believe is that the less moving of currency the better. And how some people live a life where they will never taste victory because they’re too afraid of the potential defeat.

Intro 1:03
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 are 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 Schomer and Ken Wilson.

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David 1:27
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast on today’s episode, we are talking all things international expansion with Kevin Sanderson. Kevin is the founder of maximizing ecommerce where he helps successful six seven and eight figure Amazon sellers expand their e commerce sales internationally. Kevin is also part of an elite club of two time guests of the Firing the Man podcast. For those of you wanting to know more about Kevin’s story, we encourage you to check out episode 41 where he details his Firing the Man’s story of leaving a cushy corporate job to pursue a life of entrepreneurship in the E commerce space. Kevin, welcome back.

Kevin Sanderson 2:07
Well, thank you, I’m excited to be in this exclusive club of the two timers. So that’s super exciting that I’m now here. And so now I can officially say it because until you said it, we hit the record button. It was just more of an idea that I one day might be That’s

David 2:23
right, can we need to get this man had a t shirt or a gold watch or something like that?

Ken 2:26
I know. gotta send them some swag. Yeah, I love it.

David 2:30
Oh, good stuff. So Kevin, for those of you who did not tune into Episode 41, can you give a little bit of background on who you are in your path to starting maximizing ecommerce?

Kevin Sanderson 2:41
Yeah, absolutely. So I I was working for the man had been climbing the corporate ladder for a while ended up working in more kind of small business at a friend of mines Insurance Agency, which is going through rocket ship growth. And it was one of those things I was like, I need to do something for myself. And I stumbled on Scott Volkers podcast, which at the time was all about getting started selling on Amazon. And I started selling in 2015 with retail arbitrage. Basically going to Walgreens Walmart’s goodwill whatever and finding stuff by flip on Amazon quickly learned that was not for me a lot of scanning for stuff that is just never going to sell on Amazon or the margins don’t work and stuff like that. So for people that figured retail arbitrage God bless them because I have not but it did get me my first initial sales and kind of click the switch in my mind. Like Wait, there’s people actually will buy stuff that I’m selling. That’s not just like something people talk about in these podcasts. So I decided to take a season’s worth of earnings as high school football official. So at the time, I was a football official. So doing like Friday Night Lights type of thing chasing kids around with a yellow flag and blowing the whistle. And it took a season’s worth of earnings. Yes, we did make a little bit of money wasn’t huge, but enough to put down towards my first product. And then reinvested as I could in three years later, I fired the man. And along the way, people were asking me like, Okay, how do you do this? And so I just started basically answering the questions that people were having. And then as time went on, I was always looking for ways to grow. And really in E commerce, I think it’s pretty simple. You got products to sell people to sell to. It’s harder than we think it is to just launch new products, and especially expecting some of them to be successful because it’s very cash intensive. And it’s not as easy as it sounds like oh yeah, you just take what you’re selling on Amazon and put it on Walmart and put it on Etsy and put it on eBay and all this other stuff. And so it’s finding I gotta find more people to buy i The things I’m trying to sell. And it was finally like, oh, wait, there’s people in Canada, there’s people in the UK, there’s people in other places that are doing what I’m doing, whether they’re buying things like what I’m selling, I should say. And so why not just offer that to sale? Or for sale in those countries? And so people started asking me a lot of questions about that. And I was been helping people with international expansion, as well as having been in events and training background in my corporate life, as well as at the insurance agency. And so I’ve also been putting on educational events the last couple of years, which awesome, I can think of two speakers that have been at these events to

David 5:42
soak in, I guess.

Ken 5:45
So. So Kevin, you’re well known for two things in the space. One is helping people sell to sell internationally on Amazon, which we’re going to dive into here in a little bit. The other thing that you’re known for in the space is and that you’re an expert in is hosting events, I would say live events, but I think tape the event just events, hosting events. And so before we get into kind of the international expansion piece, can you maybe speak to the events that you host? And how can sellers access those to learn more?

Kevin Sanderson 6:16
Yeah. So basically, with events, I, you and I met first Ken at an event that I had put on with Scott Volker. So Scott Volker, I listen to his podcast, and eventually actually got to know him to be friends with him. So a really good guy. And he did. Before I had left the job he and I had, what’s the word I’m looking for? He and I had chatted one time at an event cellar Summit, which is hosted by Steve Chu and Tony Anderson. And we were talking one night, and he was saying, because at the time, he was very well known for how to get started with selling on Amazon. And I think he was trying to get beyond how to get started selling on Amazon. And at the time, his goal was to, like, help people more in the intermediate to advanced stage, or at least, I’m paraphrasing what I understood, which probably was influenced by a couple of beers. So I probably have what he was telling me off by a little bit, but what I did take away with is, you know, what, he might benefit from doing a live and having had the, you know, in the hotel world experience doing live events, I reached out to him after we, you know, all went home after seller Summit, and it was like, Hey, you should do an event, I think it’d be beneficial for you. I thought he was gonna say, yeah, we’ve thought about that. But you know, just kindly let me down. So I was expecting to be told, you know, thanks. But no, thanks. But instead, he was like, Well, how would that work? And so we started talking about it, whatnot. And so we ended up hosting a live event 2018 called Brain accelerator Live, which Ken was at. And we were going to do it again in 2020. But we all know what happened in 2020, the thing that went around, but we never know what algorithms are listening. So to your benefit, I will not say the word of the thing, but we all know what it was. And so basically, I really wanted to do another event. But at the time, it made absolutely no sense, you know, do something in person or just try to plan something in person, no one knew, like were in person events ever come back, which they have now at this point. But I decided, Okay, I’ve got some relationships I’ve built in the space, I kind of have heard about this virtual summit model. So I started doing some virtual summits, because I was looking for something to, you know, to do, just because we’re all trying to figure out life with the thing that was floating around the world and 2020. And since then, I’ve actually put on a lot than summits, bringing together a variety of speakers to help sellers level up on topics like PPC, conversion rate optimization, international expansion, building, brand, building, etc, etc. So try to bring any topics that I think will help people.

David 9:07
Absolutely, absolutely. And in on those topics, you had mentioned international expansion, which you’re known as a legend in the industry for this topic, and how much do I owe you for saying that legend? That’s at least $100 there.


Kevin Sanderson 9:20
I know. Okay. I’ll pay pal. That’s

David 9:23
so so anyway, a little bit of backstory on this. Ken and I had a conversation about two years ago, when we basically was how do we grow these businesses? And we said, well, we can either launch new products, and those might work or they may not, or we can take our existing products into new marketplaces. And the nice thing with Amazon is your reviews come with you. And so, you know, seems to be that you really have your finger on the pulse of these various international markets. And if somebody is thinking about this type of expansion, what exercise would they go through to identify this? You know, the UK that that’s my best next step, or Germany or Canada? What? How do people pick what market to go into?

Kevin Sanderson 10:05
That’s a good question. Because the number of markets you could go into has rapidly expanded over the last three years. And one of the things I would tell people is what besides the US, so for most of the people, they’re looking at, okay, I’m in the US now, whether I live in the US, or I live somewhere else, and I sell in the US, and I’m trying to go to another marketplace. So just assuming we’re going to be on to the US border, the best thing to think about is okay, what is going to give me the best results for return of time and effort put into. And remember, not every marketplace is the same. So there’s a variety of things you got to think about, like, there’s generally some level of paperwork or registration for almost all countries you go into, there is potentially other languages that people are speaking in, there’s other currencies in all marketplaces, because of a we’re selling in US dollars outside of the US. So you got to think about like, okay, also, what is going to give me the best results potentially. And so one of the things I tell people to be careful of is, well, anytime Amazon calls, pick up the phone, answer, but because you probably learned something, even if you know more than the person you’re talking to, you get at least a little finger on the pulse of what’s happening in Seattle, even if that person is not in Seattle, but you’ll understand more of what’s going on at Amazon. But oftentimes, what will happen is, you’ll get emails every day, hey, go to Singapore, go to Saudi Arabia go wherever else. The problem for Amazon oftentimes, is they have a chicken and egg crop. When they start a new marketplace in a new country, you gotta have products to attract customers. And in order to attract more sellers to sell products, you got to have more customers. So it’s a flywheel effect that has not started flying. And so what ends up happening is sometimes people will email me like, oh, I looked into it. And if I go to one of these newer marketplaces, I can dominate there and like you might, but the pie might be so small, you might get a sale mug. And so maybe you’ll have the best VSR ever. But you can’t take BSR to Bank of America, you can take dollars or transfer from one currency and the dollars, I should say. So then what you want to look at like, Okay, where am I going to get the best possible results, and for most sellers, it tends to be Canada. In the UK. I know some people say, Oh, but Germany is a bigger marketplace, or Japan’s bigger, their cultures are a lot different. If you’re in the US, or at least selling in the US, Canada and the UK, at least are all based off of English common law, least how the countries work, the language in Canada is almost identical to the US. And yes, they’re all speaking English. But there’s a little more localization you might have to do in the UK, potentially, because just sometimes, you know, people spell things a little differently. But for the most part, it’s all pretty similar. And so for the amount of work you put into it, the results you’ll probably get out of Canada and UK are generally people’s best bet. And if you’re going to do one first, I would recommend most people do Canada first because it’s generally easier for more people because a like the government works and, and the language and everything. It’s just easier in the logistics. I mean, it’s just up north for some sellers. It’d be faster to send stuff to you know, Brampton, Ontario, or to British Columbia than it would be to send it to Texas. Absolutely.

Ken 14:01
And I want to cover Sir, excuse me, I want you to cover it real quickly, just out of transparency. So everybody listening so David and I we hired Kevin to expand our portfolio of companies enter international marketplace is probably 18 months ago, a couple years ago, right. So yeah, and so that was wildly successful. Kevin and his team was were able to like, essentially hold their hand and essentially just guide us through the process and take care of all the heavy lifting all the weird questions, all the stuff that we didn’t understand. It was a it was I would kind of call it like if you’ve ever been to like Disney World or something like that, where you get the rapid pass, you get to go to the front of the line. That was kind of what we did we we heard Kevin and his team they took us in front of line and said here you go, boom, and we’re in selling and so just wanted to cover that with full transparency and it did an amazing job. That’s why Kevin’s on the show. As well as he’s a really cool guy. So that out of the way so we’ve been selling in Canada, UK and Germany for we’ve been ranked up over the last, I would say 12 months or so different marketplaces took different time to get into based on you legal issues, you know, all kinds of different stuff that, you know, Kevin and his team took care of for us. So just wanted to kind of point out, like David alluded to a little bit earlier, as we were deciding, like, how do we expand our businesses, we can launch new products, or we can expand it to different sales channels marketplace. And one of a couple of the reasons why we chose Canada while we chose to go into international marketplaces was the reviews followed as well, as you already know, you already have the same products, the same vendors in that you’re essentially just like placing new orders with that now. So Kevin, as we kind of end also, David, over to you for like a little bit of like, just to give the audience some numbers, like for portfolio companies, candidates doing like 1015 20% Like, can you share a little bit the numbers with the audience? So they

David 15:55
Yeah, absolutely. So when compared to Or if we’re looking at a pie chart of our total sales, Canada is making up about 10%, I think it will be approaching 15 to 20, as we get all of our skews stocked, and that’s a total sales that is of total sales. Oh, can I love Canada, I’m a huge fan of Canada, I like the exchange rates, you can price a little bit higher. I’m a big fan of Canada. The UK currently probably makes up two to 3% of our total sales. And so comes up soon. That is partially a function of We stocked our best sellers first and are working on getting our catalogs in we’re hoping to do it by q4. But Amazon has within inventory restrictions. Shame on them was and Germany has less than 1% some issues getting stuff into the country, we were booking all of our own shipments and trying to deal with the duties and taxes and stuff on her own. And so I would say that I’m I don’t think we’ve seen the full potential of that market yet. Because we really have a fraction of our skews in. So yeah, that’s just kind of set the scene in for comparison, Walmart’s probably like three to 5% we are honestly thinking Walmart was going to be bigger, because it’s everywhere in the US. And it’s just it’s it outperforms eBay and Etsy. But it I’m a lot happier with UK and Canada than I am with Walmart. So

Kevin Sanderson 17:21
yeah, that’s interesting to hear. And, you know, if you’re looking for a pie chart, and it’s 10% of the total pie chart, and you have pieces of the pie, by my very rough math, very rough math, it’s probably for every dollar or sorry for every, let’s say $1,000. You making sales in the US? You’re probably making 150 ish in Canada. Yeah, yeah, it’s about a 15% Bump. Yeah. So if you know you’re getting four ish percent bump for Walmart, that’s not uncommon from what a lot of people have is that I’ve literally had said this publicly so many times, I’ve had one person it might be two might be forgetting someone, let’s just say to one or two people have challenged me and said my sales on Walmart are better than my sales in Canada, on Amazon. So their Walmart US sales versus their Amazon Canada sales, almost without fail. Amazon Canada is better. Yeah.

David 18:27
Yeah, I think that’s a better move, because you can turn on North American remote fulfillment and kind of test the waters first. And if that works, then you can send inventory up there. We had inventory sitting in a three PL and so it was out. Like I said, I’m a big fan of Canada over the past couple of months. So yeah,

Kevin Sanderson 18:45
it’s definitely one of the most I think, underrated marketplaces. I think sometimes there’s this thought people have of like, I have to go across an ocean, or you need to go to the UK or Australia is going to be better. Because like there’s been buzz about Australia the last couple years. And I’m like, it’s just newer than Canada, because like Canada’s been around longer for Amazon than Australia has, for most people the bang for their buck, Canada is going to be the best thing, especially to first start and get your feet wet internationally.

David 19:16
I have a working theory on why that may be. And I think it’s largely ego driven. I feel like a badass when I tell people that I sell in the UK, in Germany in Canada is just up north. But 10 But doing business in the UK in Germany. This guy knows what he’s talking. It’s an ego thing. And I catch myself mentioning when people say what do you do for a living selling physical products we sell globally? We sell in the UK, Germany, US, and I think that’s a piece of it. I think there’s probably other reasons. But if you’re making a pie chart of reasons, that

Kevin Sanderson 19:55
is in the pie chart, it does sound cooler to say like oh yeah, absolutely in Europe. Australia and all this other stuff because it sounds farther away. Whereas like Canada, you know, sometimes people look at it as like, isn’t that just like the 51st? State? No offense. Anyone from Canada listening? We know you’re a sovereign nation. Yeah. pletely different laws and a sovereign border. We respect that. But Canadians are nice people. So they probably Yeah,

No products found.

Ken 20:21
absolutely. So I guess spin off that one. So Canada is an awesome marketplace, it’s performing very well for us. And kind of the circle back to the point of the that long spiel was a Kevin in your opinion. So we had on the podcast previously, Tyler Jeffcoat, and we really dug deep into like profitability, and then what the next 1218 months is going to look like for ecommerce sellers as the economy is kind of cooling. You know, Amazon FBA fees are increasing and margins are decreasing. And so as ecommerce sellers are looking to reinvest or invest into their businesses, you know, new products is one like, like David mentioned earlier, expanding internet international marketplaces. And so in your opinion, like what, like, expanding internationally, have you seen it from a lot of your clients like coming back and saying, Hey, this has really helped our business? Or, you know, would you recommend putting money into new product launches? What’s your opinion on that?

Kevin Sanderson 21:16
Yeah, so great question. Generally, most people that go international, they say, they were pleasantly surprised with Canada, and either Canada or the UK, or their top one. And I generally, if you’re gonna go into mainland Europe, and it was kind of along the lines, your question, but hopefully this is helpful here is don’t do everything. There’s a lot of people, many of who I truly respect that will say you want to register everywhere, I’m like, you can always register more later. And you can make it more complicated in Europe that start simple and make it more complicated as the business dictates not because, you know, you got a free year of from Amazon or something like that, because there’s going to be more work than you realize. But going into next year, I’ve kind of bet the farm on this. And so like I am, it looks like, like people watching a video looks like I’m in my bedroom, but I’m actually in my office. And so, and right over there is the door to the warehouse. And I have, you know, invested in ways of kind of managing more of the process. And so I’ve got, you know, machinery that I’ve purchased to do some of the process that would have been done by a factory so I can better manage my inventory. Because I started noticing the way I was packaging, some things, the fulfillment fees were going up. So I ended up buying a shrink wrap machine. So hopefully that that’s not tested yet. But it still also opens the door to test out other products. And I think what I think a lot of people are going to have to start looking at is more longtail products, and not just going after, you know, sexy products that sell whatever homerun product is for some people that start looking into a wider catalog than, you know, having just, you know, two or three products, you know, the dream that people have sent out a lot with a laptop and the beach, I think that’s harder than it sounds is that I think you got to find ways to launch new products. And sometimes it might be a little unorthodox, I guess maybe is the way I’m looking at it. And one example I’ll give that I have in front of me is there’s two sides of my desk. And they’re ones I bought at Disney World on vacation. But basically, the same sign holder basically was just a different message inside of it. And so if you think kind of along those lines of like, okay, I can buy the signs. And then I can just keep testing out new messages. I don’t sell signs. But that’s kind of an example of I think, things people could be doing differently. Or, you know, I have this tumbler that says, best than ever, because, you know, my kids told me that I am that if you have no ways of testing messages on whether it be a tumbler or something like that, I think that could be beneficial for a lot of people is that they got to start looking at new ways to test out products, maybe that are different than how they’ve done it. That’s my two cents.

David 24:34
I would definitely agree with you. I think that especially on the customization piece, that’s a barrier to entry that, you know, you’re not going to have a lot of Chinese competition, especially on anything custom. You know, I think the days of sourcing 1000 spatulas and turning a huge profit on that is gone. There was a time when you could do that. i i It’s over and so yeah. Sorry to interrupt the episode. You may have heard Canaanite talking recently about a new tool that we’re using for Amazon refunds. Now I have used other refund tools like this. However, I can tell you in the first seven days, they scrubbed the back end of my Amazon account going back 18 months and found $5,000 of refunds. And the nice thing about this is, it’s my money, Amazon made a mistake, and they are just auditing my account. The other thing I really like about this tool is there is no monthly fee. They only charge commission if they are successful in getting you your money. Go to GE T ID A, and enter promo code ft m for Firing the Man FTM 400. This is an awesome tool. I can’t say enough good things about it. Now back to the episode. So you know Kevin, one of the things that you had mentioned was the complications like don’t register for all these marketplaces that can get really complicated. And one thing that we’re finding on the backside of international expansion is there’s some compliance in terms of VAT and GST. And so for, can we talk about let’s just set the stage on what is that? And what is GST? And what markets do they apply to?

Kevin Sanderson 26:19
Absolutely. So everything we’re saying here, the disclaimer is I’m not a tax preparer in any of these countries, I just have been doing it for a while. So these are all my personal opinions from having done this in my own business and helped other people figure this out. So make sure to talk to the appropriate tax professional for anyone listening. But what could help you as you’re talking to the appropriate tax professionals understand the definitions and how things work. In GST in Canada is the goods and services tax. And it’s the Harmonized Sales Tax, the GST HST, which is like the they have a tax at the federal level that most provinces have. And the way it’s written in the books is that if you have at least 30,000 Canadian dollars of sales, which let’s call that 20 to 23,000 US dollars in sales worldwide, it doesn’t just have to be in Canada. So theoretically, if you’ve sold in a year, more than $22,000 in the US, chances are you’re you should be registering for a GST. And then with that you’ve not just registering for GST number, you’d also register for a business number, which is like their version of an EIN number. And then you’d also register for import export. And so there’s the three numbers, but they’re all tied to the same nine digit business number. And then you have, you know, two different accounts, one that gets stuff across the border and one for charging sales tax. And then Amazon will charge the customer on top of the selling price for the GST, and then they will give that to you. So if they’re collecting it, they’re giving it to you. And then you will owe that at the end of the year, but not the full amount. So GST operates kind of like value added tax. So to take a step back Value Added Tax will say, as a cousin of GST, and with both of them, they’re different than sales taxes in the US sales tax in the US, theoretically, is the end consumer is paying the sales tax, and that’s when the government gets paid. And so if you think about in a lot of transactions, you know, people are, you know, buying raw materials to, you know, in factory pair or something. And that’s being sold to distributors, to wholesale, or whatever the case is. So there’s multiple levels up the value chain, or you know, somebody adds a component to something and so, all this chain in the US not until the end results, like you know, think about you buy a car, how many how many pieces go into the car and how many suppliers there are suppliers of suppliers and suppliers and suppliers to get to that in car. And that’s where the sales tax is charged. In GST countries and Value Added Tax countries, everyone’s being charged GST or VAT or whatever, but they’re also taking credits for it. So the government gets the same amount of money at the end of the day, but they’re just getting it sooner. So it’s a series of as it goes up the chain. People are charging GST, but then they’re taking your credit on what they’re gonna owe based on what they’ve already paid back behind them in the in the value ladder, so to speak. It’s very convoluted, especially to people in the US that aren’t used to that. So when you are in Canada Your GST you’d owe at the end of the year because there it’s a annual filing for most people, you would take what you’ve collected minus credits and credits could be for things like if you’re charged GST at the border, which you generally would be because you’re now bringing it into the bubble. So you didn’t pay Canadian government for, you know, what you bought from your factory in China, or what you bought from a wholesaler in the US or however you acquired new products. So once you get it across the border, now it’s going into Canada. So now it’s part of their system, so no GST is charged on it. But that GST that you pay is going to be subtracted out from what you owe at the end of the year, as well as you’re going to be charged GST in most cases, on top of your fulfillment fees and PPC charges. So all those keep good documentation of it. And then you can take that as a credit, it’s fairly simple to file for Canadian GST at the end of the year, then with value added tax in the UK, for most people, it’s going into being a quarterly filing, and where a lot of people are going to get kind of hung up is Amazon gives the value added tax that you collect to the government for you. But you still have to register. So it gets very convoluted. Do not try to do value added tax by yourself. hire someone to do filings for you GST, if you’re comfortable with it, there’s a lot of sellers who do it on their own. Once they get the hang of it

David 31:41
on the for the UK VAT. So Amazon’s collecting that as a portion of their sale, they’re giving it to the government when you file. Are you is it an informational return? Or are you can you get money back? Or how does that work?

Kevin Sanderson 31:55
Yeah. So So using the same example of us take a step back. So with value added tax, it’s included in the selling price. So the way things work in Europe is not like they’re in North America. So in Canada, in the US, you add to cart, you go checkout, oh, by the way, we’re going to add this on top for taxes in Europe, if it’s says it’s 24 pounds, I’m uses for simple math, which will make sense in a second. If they say it’s 24 pounds, you check out it’s 24 pounds, like there’s nothing, there’s no taxes added, what’s happening is it’s just included in the selling price. And so there’s a 20% Vat in the UK. So if whatever the price is, theoretically, they’re adding on 20%. And that’s what’s advertised to the customer practice, you say this is my advertised price to Amazon, that’s the price they put. So just everyone makes sure when you’re pricing your products that you’re factoring in that the way the math is gonna work in the back end is one six of your selling price will be value added tax when I example of 24 pounds, 24 divided by six is four. So right off the bat, four pounds is going straight to the government, and you’re not even going to see it. But when you import is the country, again, you’re bringing goods into the bubble, haven’t had any value added taxes paid for on it yet, you’re gonna pay 20%. Now, what’s kind of crazy is when you do the return, it would be somewhat informational if you didn’t have credits, but you could get your credits back if it’s if you’re importing into the country with your VAT number. And then you would get credit for what’s the word I’m looking for, give me credit for the value paid at the border. And they could have cut you a check when you file which I think it’s not going to be quick. And they’ll get around to check when they cut the check. And then for whatever reason to get from here to there. Across the pond is about two months I have with letters and correspondence I’ve gotten for the UK Government usually was sent about two months earlier, it’s not fast at all. And so and then if you take a check, you can take that check to let’s say your bank. And I can promise you, you’re probably one of the first foreign they can take it in the US most banks can. But oftentimes, the manager might have to call someone like how do I do this? Because they just don’t know how to deposit a foreign check. So that’s a little bit of a hassle. But there’s also what’s called there’s just a relatively new thing, a deferred scheme where you can import into the country. And you’re deferring the payment of VAT until you file. So you owe it when you file but you’d also get a credit at the same time so essentially cancels itself out. I have not personally Have you done this in practice, but I recently asked for my account to be set up that way with the British cup. So we can maybe talk about later on if that worked. Cool.

Ken 35:11
So I know we just went really deep into the weeds on tea and VAT. And so let’s take a step back here. And

Kevin Sanderson 35:18
we didn’t lose everybody, because I bore them to tears on it. Yeah.

Ken 35:20
So. So Kevin, what would you say to someone that’s afraid of expanding internationally? Because they’re, you know, concerned with complexities or staying compliant? What, you know, what is your advice to them?

Kevin Sanderson 35:31
Yeah, my advice to them is, at the end of the day, other people have done it, they can’t do. I mean, like, it’s not the barrier to entry is not that hard. And the nice thing is, it does scare away a lot of other sellers. And so, you guys would never know that 10 15% of your US sales, you’re also gonna get in Canada, if you didn’t try it. And the interesting thing is 10 to 15, sometimes 20% of sales that people get us they get in Canada doesn’t quite make sense. Well, 10% makes sense, say sense, because the Canadian population is about 10 12% of the US population. So you’re getting a disproportionate amount of sales. And it’s usually because there’s less competition, PPC is usually less expensive, because there’s less competition. So don’t let the fact that you have to fill out a couple of forms scare you from going into another country. If it’s some of the more complex countries like Europe, there’s their services that can help

Ken 36:32
you like to answer Yeah, it’s you know, as we’re heading into, like lean times, and barriers to entry are good things to go for and isolates you from more competition. Like you said, Kevin, so awesome. David, over to

David 36:45
you. Yeah. Kevin, what do you any pro tips on dealing in multiple currencies? You know, I’ve heard, you know, when you click on Amazon, and you see your payment, it’s dispersed to you say, in the UK, it’s dispersed as British pounds, but then it shows up in your accountant as US dollars. And so any tips on dealing with translation fees or being as efficient as

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Kevin Sanderson 37:07
possible there? Yeah, great question. So what ends up happening is, anytime currency moves from one to the other, there’s a little loss. And so if you go on Google, and you just look up, you know, USD, C ad, or whatever currency movement you’re doing, you’re gonna see what’s called the mid market rate. And the mid market rate is basically what banks charge each other for moving currencies, you’re always gonna lose something. And one of the crazy things is, I can tell you, almost every company that does currency conversions will tell you, or when you ask them to validate it, they never really are great at it. So always take everything with a little bit of grain of salt. But what I really have come to believe, is that the less moving of currency, the better. And so for example, if you make a sale in Canada, you’re going to be charged, let’s say 15% fee. That’s all in Canadian dollars. So you know, you you’re the customer bought something Canadian dollars, fees are Canadian dollars FBA fees and $18, referral fees, Canadian dollars, your inventory fees, Canadian dollars, any fees, Amazon’s charging you in that country, current Canadian dollars, you could have PPC charges charged to your credit card. But I generally tend to tell most people just haven’t come out of your disbursement. Because what will end up happening is, let’s say you have Amazon, send everything straight to your Bank of America, Chase or whatever in the US. And you’re gonna lose a little bit in that transaction. Let’s say it’s around 1%. Let’s just say the industry standard is around 1%. Amazon used to be less competitive than the others, but they’ve gotten to be competitive. But the challenge is when Amazon makes the disbursement, there’s no waiting, there’s no in between, oh, pay it somewhere else. They just give it to you. And so if you have Amazon give you the money, now have to pay off your PPC charges, what’s going to happen is your credit card, your US dollar credit card is going to charge you a it’s not an itemized fee. It’s just baked into a less favorable rates of conversions. And then when you go when you receive your money, you paid something and there’s let’s say 1% twice that you were charged, whereas you could have just had a combiner disbursement which is no charges for loss of conversion. So it’s generally a good idea I think to put money into whether it’s Payoneer and ping pong, there’s a whole bunch of them, they’re all pretty commoditized. And so what you could do is a lot of them allow you to pay other companies so for example of asked counting that I had, you might do my filings for VAT. I just pay them British pounds for my British Pound account because Amazon will take instead of converting it to US dollars, they just take Oh yeah, British pounds, the British pound account with Payoneer, they just put in my Payoneer British Pound account. Then when I’m ready to pay British government if I owe it, even though Amazon takes care of all the transactions, the math and no one can explain it in a way that makes sense to me. If I was to explain it to a second grader, it never makes sense. But you always owe something. So that’s something Oh, they’re a Prep Center in the UK, I pay them out of that. So that way, I’m not going back and forth between currencies. I think it is beneficial to use a company like Payoneer to receive your conversions.

David 40:48
Would you ever pay a Chinese supplier? And I know you’d be switching currencies? Once? You know, you get paid in Canadian dollars? And then you’re making instead of converting that to US dollars, and then over to the Chinese currency? I don’t know what what do you think about that?

Kevin Sanderson 41:06
So there was a time I was hearing a lot of people talking about like, oh, yeah, you want to pay your supplier in RMB? I seem to find lately. And maybe it’s just me with my suppliers. But they seem to really want us dollars like dollar right, as much as we talked about inflation slightly worse in other countries. And so I think the dollar is, like, in other countries, like your suppliers, I think they want us dollars. And so I that what, I guess wouldn’t hurt to ask if you have the ability to switch your US Dollars RMB and then see if you can get it, which I think ping pong payments allows you to do that. Pay your supplier in RMB. But I don’t know that the benefit is necessarily there for a lot of people. Okay. Okay.

David 41:56
Sounds good.

Ken 41:58
Yeah, yeah. So a couple more questions. I know, we’re coming up on time. And we could chat for a long time. But so a quick one. So if someone was looking to expand internationally, and they’re like, oh, wow, I don’t speak. You know, if you’re gonna go into Canada, I think it’s, you know, a lot of it’s French, maybe English? Well, if you’re in Germany, or if you’re in Japan, like, what like, how does the listings go? If like, you don’t speak the native language, you can’t translate that you can fix your listings, how does that work?

Kevin Sanderson 42:26
So in Canada, you’re putting English is essentially an English website, that they can click a button to say they want an Canadian, but it’s no different than a few things. Maybe they wanted French, excuse me, which you could get, I think you could do that on To like, you can say what language you want to, and that is 100%, machine translation. It’s no different than, like, go on pretty much any website and say you want to German or whatever. And it’s just going to translate it for you. German website, you can have it, you know, Chrome translate, it’s the same kind of thing. So the folks in Quebec are really just seeing machine translation, they’re not seeing native translations. Now, if you go into a country like Germany, where the marketplace is primarily German speakers, Amazon will do the translation for you. But it’s 100% machine translation. And so is it necessarily great. It can be worth at least starting with machine translations, you can hire companies to do translating. But the thing about translations, an interesting topic, I think it’s better to start and see if it’s worthwhile paying a company to translate it, because the way I look at it as Americans are probably the most offended by seeing anything that doesn’t look American. Like if they see British English, like they’re almost angry, whereas other parts of the parts of the world have just become so Americanized, like, you know, we’ve kind of over to the halo effect of America, so to speak, has crossed into other borders more so than it has the other way around. And so, I know some people might disagree with me on this one. But like, even with that in America, how many listings have you gone to and you’re like, This was definitely not written by someone who’s ever spoken English in their life. And yet, it’s still making good sales. And so if that’s able to make sales in America, I think if you have a machine translated listening in other countries, as long as you’re not missing out on major keywords that should be in the listing, you’re generally okay it’s one of the best things to do is just look and see like, if you machine translate a listing look at similar competitors are there glaringly obvious words that are Are all the other titles that aren’t in yours? And that’s going to give you a clue as to like, oh, okay, maybe I machine translate that word. See like, Oh, okay. It should have that in my listing just to see if it helps.

Ken 45:13
Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. David, any other last questions for Kevin before we hit the fire round?

David 45:18
Let’s get into it.

Ken 45:20
All right, Kevin, are you ready? Let’s do this is your second fire round? What is your favorite book?

Kevin Sanderson 45:27
Favorite book favorite book? I think last time I was on, I had said I had never read it in a while. It was on a blank Darren Hardy, the compound effect. I think I’m still gonna say that one because I think that’s something I’ve tried to live by for a long time. Okay, awesome. Yeah. What are your hobbies? Hobby? Gosh, I think I’m kind of a workaholic. So work is a hobby. So maximizing commerce and physical products business and just coming up with ideas for new products on the physical product business is probably my hobby.

Ken 46:01
Okay, that’s a good hobby. It helps. What is one thing that you do not miss about working for the man?

Kevin Sanderson 46:08
Oh, great question I’ll give to being told when to be to work and office politics.

Ken 46:16
Excellent. Last one, what do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up fail or never get started?

Kevin Sanderson 46:23
Oh, great question. I think a lot of it is just the one of my favorite quotes. And sometimes when I hear it, I almost tear up. And that is the Teddy Roosevelt Man in the Arena quote, which I’m sure probably a lot of people are. Oh, there it is. Okay,

David 46:38
I literally have this right here.

Kevin Sanderson 46:40
Okay. Yes, yes. This teddy. Okay, so for those who can’t see this, you have a poster of the man in the rain. I didn’t catch it. That’s Teddy Roosevelt. Riding on a moose and in a river. I mean, Teddy Roosevelt is a legend. That’s ballsy. Yeah. Exactly. Marini more Teddy Roosevelt’s in the world. But he talked about a new switch man for a woman. And I’ve heard women saying this too sure is that, you know, it talks about the man in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and you know, from trying, but we know will is willing to impair paraphrasing here but is willing to accept potential for defeats in the pursuit of victory. And how some people live a life where they will never taste victory because they’re too afraid of the potential defeat. He said it much better than I did. But it’s kind of a that. Just get in the arena. You learn so much more in the arena than you do from just trying to learn and get everything figured out ahead of time.

Ken 47:46
Absolutely. Perfectly answer. David, you want to close off the show?

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David 47:49
Yeah, you bet. Kevin, want to thank you so much for being a guest on the Firing the Man podcast. And to all the listeners that want to go international. Just connect with Kevin Kevin would be the best way to connect with you.

Kevin Sanderson 48:00
Yeah, make sure to tell me Oh, yeah, just you can email me Kevin and maximizing And just make sure to tell me you. You heard me on the show on the Firing the Man show.

David 48:11
Absolutely. All right, Kevin, thank you so much, and best of luck in q4. Thank you. Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s Firing the Man podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to And check out our resource library for exclusive Firing the Man discounts on popular e commerce subscription services that is You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business, or that head on over to Lastly, check us out on social media at Firing the Man in on YouTube at Firing the Man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer and Ken Wilson. We’re out.

For you go. Fun fact for all you Amazon sellers out there when you start selling in international marketplaces, all of your reviews come with you. At the beginning of this year, Ken and I sat down and talked of ways that we could double our businesses in size and landed on international expansion as our number one initiative this year. We partnered up with Kevin Sanderson from maximizing ecommerce and he has made the process an absolute breeze walking us step by step through the process. If you want to grow your revenue and reach new customers head on over to and connect with Kevin Sanderson today. Now back to the show.