Most Expensive Lessons Learned from Experienced Amazon Sellers – Kris Gramlich & Dustin Kane From Sellozo (Part 1)

Episode 86

In this 2-part interview, we talked with Kris Gramlich and Dustin Kane from Sellozo to discover the strategies, mindsets, and ways that they applied to become successful in the e-commerce space. They also shared their journey to becoming Amazon sellers, the challenges they needed to overcome along the way, the wins–no matter how small–that they had celebrated, and the next steps for them and for their business.

Don’t miss this episode and learn from experienced Amazon sellers!

[00:01 – 06:57] Opening Segment

  • We share our key takeaways from our interview with Kris Gramlich and Dustin Kane
  • Let’s get to know Kris and Dustin!

[06:58 – 16:58] The Pressure of Firing the Man

  • We talk about the pressure of firing the man
  • Why Kris left the corporate world and jump into e-commerce
  • Here’s the reason Dustin didn’t want to work in the corporate world

[16:59 – 21:49] Trademarks and Competitions

  • Dustin shares a story about applying for trademarks you should NOT miss
  • The meetup that changed their lives
    • Here’s how they found Selloza
  • Want some Amazon refunds? Check out Getida
    • Promo code: FTM400

[21:50 – 35:22] Learning From Mistakes and Celebrating Wins 

  • Treat your e-commerce as a business not a side hustle
    • Here’s why
  • Kris lost USD 300,000 and here’s how he dealt with it
  • Be inspired with these wins shared by Kris and Dustin!

[35:23 – 37:16] Closing Segment 

  • Connect with us. Links below
  • Final words

 

Tweetable Quotes:

“Practising patience. That’s really hard to do especially for entrepreneurs…but sometimes you gotta check yourself.” – Kris Gramlich

“If anybody’s starting now, I would treat this like, this is something you’re gonna sell in 5 years. Treat it that way from the beginning.” – Dustin Kane

Resources mentioned:

Email kgramlich@sellozo.com or check out Sellozo online and on their social media pages: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

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David 0:00
Real quick before we get into the show, I wanted to share a new service called Getida that Ken and I have been using that has made us over $10,000 in Amazon reimbursements. The service requires no monthly subscription, and getida collects a small percentage of the money they recover for you. It takes less than five minutes to set up and works on all Amazon marketplaces. Go to getida.com GETIDA, and enter promo code FTM 400. That’s FTM for firing the man 400 to get your first $400 in reimbursements commission free, how much money does Amazon owe you?

Dustin Kane 0:41
I would have gone for Brand Registry trademark all that stuff, earlier. I was way too much side hustle mindset at the beginning, as opposed to let’s establish something that’s got permanence. And even when I realized I should be doing that, I still waited too long. And so I would definitely do that if anybody’s starting out I would treat this like this is going to be your business or that this is something you’re going to sell, you know, in five years and treat it like that way from the beginning. I didn’t. So I would definitely change that.

Kris Gramlich 1:13
I was like, Hey, this is either I take this loan, or I don’t take this loan. Like, I need to figure this out. And I hit the Yes button. And it came on in the account, boom, there was 300 grand in the checking account. It’s like, that’s like damn like now what do I do? Like, that’s a big feeling, right. So I took that money and I should have, I should have reinvested it into products that I already had proven selling, and scale those up to get them to, you know, 100 200 units a day, right like should have done that. Like, kept those scaling up.

Dustin Kane 1:45
The two Chinese manufacturers that came in that were the main result of my problem just got suspended by Amazon in that big billion dollar suspension, they’re gone. So I am thankful to Amazon for taking proactiveness on that. It’s gonna help the marketplace but that has got me so jacked that and starting the podcast with Kris are the two biggest wins by far.

Kris Gramlich 2:17
So the transitioning out of an old brand into a newer brand, this new brand is gonna allow for a lot more, better valuation, I’m looking at a dry erase board I have over here. Just yesterday I wrote on there, my exit goal is in February of 2023. So I’m going to plan on exiting in about 18 months. And I think that’s going to happen with this new brand because this is going to be a recurring revenue. When that supplier runs out of supply, that supplier does no longer get that product that you are selling really good at, you need a backup. And so I like yeah, I’ll work for this supplier, this supplier, give me that one over there, I got all these supplier relations. That way, if something does go wrong, I can quickly pivot to somebody else that has the same product. And they can do the process and I don’t miss a beat.

Ken 3:02
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 then 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 hosts, serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

David 3:26
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, we are joined by Amazon sellers, Dustin Kane and Kris Gramlich. Ken, we just got done recording this interview, and it was awesome. What were some of your key takeaways?

Ken 3:40
Yeah, you know, Dustin, and Kris, I know, David, we could chat with them for hours. They are high level Amazon sellers, you know, their account executives at Sellozo. And, you know, some of the key takeaways, you know, Dustin, and Kris shared with us some of their lessons learned. They’ve been selling on Amazon for seven years. They shared some of their mistakes and lessons learned that’s really valuable. I’m excited to share with the audience.

David 4:03
Absolutely, you’ll have to pay attention. Dustin has this really cool strategy that he’s using right now for sourcing products, where he’s only rolling the dice on a couple $100 worth of inventory as opposed to a couple $1,000. And what a great way to dip your toe into the water without committing a ton of capital. So absolutely awesome conversation. You’re definitely going to want to stay tuned for this podcast on to the show. Welcome to the show, Dustin and Kris. First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself. Kris, you can go first.

Kris Gramlich 4:33
Sure. Yeah, so my name is Kris located here in Kansas City here in the Midwest, been selling on Amazon since 2014. I’m currently an account executive at Sellozo, I’m kind of going from like one step to another we can kind of dive into these a little bit more. But currently account executive Sellozo which is automation for Amazon PPC, been in the e commerce space a while started out on eBay did the whole slinging things on eBay still do. eBay is fun, because you can just kind of set your own price you kind of don’t worry about competition as much. So eBay is still kind of fun to sell on. And then I found Amazon and I’ve been hooked since. So yeah, it’s fun. I started an Amazon a solo guy, just doing it myself and just try to help other sellers out using Sellozo.

David 5:22
Very nice. What about you, Dustin? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Dustin Kane 5:25
Yeah, well, I’ll give you the brief overview. I know we’ll probably dig into some more later. But similar to Kris, I started my Amazon FBA journey in 2014. Prior to that, and after that, as well, I was a tennis pro. So I played tennis in college. And right after I graduated college, I started teaching at a country club in Tennessee, and never looked back. I’ve become an entrepreneurial spirit, obviously. But that world really taught me a lot about getting clients, offering a good service, tailoring your service to different clients, keeping them, reaching out to them. So it’s a really good experience. I did that for a long time. And I still do it on the side a little bit. It’s funny, that’s my side hustle now, but it was my full time gig forever. So in 2014, I just like Kris, I did a lot of retail arbitrage, I was always looking for ways to make a side money. I had time. So like whenever it was a rainy day, I wasn’t teaching any lessons. So I was able to work on other things, found the FBA model right around 2014. I decided to jump in I bought a little cheap course was like 30 bucks or something and it was probably rebranded, it was probably PLR that I just re watched. But it was really good. I mean, I followed it step by step, I sourced a product, launched it. And ironically, that first product I launched was my hero product which turned out to be a problem later gave me a false sense of how it would work. I mean, it launched, I started devoting more and more time to it really enjoyed it. And then in 2017, I was able to fire the man, like you guys talk about, which was great. I’ve moved to Kansas City. But interestingly, I didn’t really fire anybody. I was sort of a self employed tennis pro anyway, but I was working for a club. So I quit and obviously made some clients upset, and the guy I was working for, a great guy, but quit and then moved back home to Kansas City where I’m from. I’ve been a chiefs fan forever, and raise my kids to be chiefs fan. So that was, it was really that feeling of Okay, I did this, I created something I’m on my own now, I can go wherever I want. We decided on Kansas City to be near my chiefs, like I said, but that was really fun. And then we can talk about in a little bit, we’ll talk about some of the mistakes I made after that. But when you were on our show the other day, you mentioned that naming your podcast firing the man was like, seriously scary, because it’s like, well, now I better do it. A real quick story around 2019 ish. Two years, I’ve been doing this on my own. I told my wife I was like, I’m going to start a podcast, I want to start doing all this stuff. So I recorded one episode of this podcast about how you can, you know, basically fire the man work from home, start your own journey. And literally probably within a week of publishing that podcast, all this competition came in on my niche, my hero product, and it was downtrending fast. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this is a problem. So we’ll dive into that more because that resonated with me when you said that you were like, this is the pressure. Well, turns out sometimes it can happen. The e commerce world can take you on a roller coaster, but we’ll get into that more. But that’s sort of my story. Now I’m an account executive at Sellozo. Love it. It’s opened up a lot of new opportunities, like Kris and I are hosting our podcast we get to talk to cool people like you and come on your show. So it’s been it’s been a fun journey.

Ken 8:57
Yeah, that’s awesome. No, that’s really cool. So Dustin, huge chiefs fan, so no rivalry there. And I did not know you’re a tennis pro. That’s really cool. I have a son, he’s 14. And he’s into tennis. So he drags me out to play tennis. And I’ve since like, I’m not good at tennis. And I’m like, hey, I’ve seen this other thing called pickleball. And it’s a little bit easier. So let’s do that. So my son crushes me at pickleball like every week, so.

Dustin Kane 9:20
That’s awesome. Pickleball is a great sport. I played a lot of it. My wife and I we play. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a little bit of an easier entry, than tennis. Tennis is a little bit more, you have to have a little bit more skill set to actually play where it’s fun. Pickleball is a little bit easier.

Ken 9:38
Absolutely, there’s a lot less real estate to cover so I don’t have to run very far. I can just kind of reach over and get it, so. Yeah, I’m a huge pickleball fan. Awesome.

Dustin Kane 9:47
That’s right. That’s awesome. I love it.

Ken 9:50
Yeah, so Dustin and Kris, you guys both mentioned started selling on Amazon right around 2014 range. Can you guys go into a little bit about Like, why you started it? Like were you, you know, frustrated with the corporate world, or just wanted a change or? You know, a lot of the guests we have on there’s all different reasons why, you know, you start your entrepreneurial journey.

Kris Gramlich 10:11
Yeah. So back in, like 2008 2009, I took a job at an e commerce company that sold on their own website. And they started to see more potential in Amazon. And they’re like, we could sell our same product that we sell on our website on Amazon, it was more of like a wholesaling, like they were buying from wholesalers, they would sell it, there’d be multiple sellers. I was in a sporting good niche. So my job at the time was like to figure out how to sell on Amazon. And so we kind of got into it and I went home and looked up some videos on YouTube, like, how to sell on Amazon, how to sell Amazon FBA, what does FBA mean. And I quickly learned that I could do this for my own, like my own side, if I wanted to, like the same thing I’m doing in my job that ecommerce job, I can do the exact same thing when I get home, like I can find product. I could ship it, I can label it. So once I learned the process at this ecommerce company, I was hooked. Like I really wanted to do it myself. So I started to take courses, I started learning more about it. And then I learned like the FBA model I was I was tasked on like seller, central learn Seller Central. So I finally sourced my first product of my Seller Central account. first product was just like dust is like it took off. And then I had some hiccups with it, it was an electronic product, I will never do an electronic product again, just because of all the issues you have with returns, people don’t understand how to charge it, they don’t know how to sync it. There’s just too many issues with electronics, especially now with shipping it like there’s a lot of issues. So it all started for me back in that ecommerce company learned how to sell on Amazon, watch a couple videos, I never took a course and just kind of bootstrapped it at the very beginning took out two credit cards, got two credit cards, put my first inventory on a credit card and my supplier was like you have to do 500 units and I’m like I can’t do 500 units. Let me do like two cases. So we negotiated back and forth like forever. And finally, she goes okay, you do two cases, if you commit to 500 pieces of custom packaging, I was okay, fine. I’ll commit to 500 pieces of custom packaging. But I’m only starting out with two cases. And two cases at the time was like 72 units. And so I took those 72 units and just rinse and repeat launched them. At the time, you could just, at $10 $14 $15 it was like crazy. Wild wild west, like you could just give away product people didn’t review and just go go get like you could scale fast. So I took those 72, got a bunch of reviews, scaled it bought another 72. Another 72, another 72, and just kept paying off the credit card every time I got a disbursement, just kept paying off credit card. And then, you know, fast forward. I don’t sell this product anymore, because it was just a headache. But that’s how I got into it just kept like learning, grinding. Every day learn something, try it out, test trial, air fare, whatever. It all worked out good.

Ken 13:08
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. So that’s pretty cool. So kind of on the job, you learned on the job?

Kris Gramlich 13:13
Yeah, my employer at the time didn’t know it. But like, there was a point where, like, I started to really get into this and really, like, learn a lot of the lingo and like strategies that I would come to the table with like, Hey, we should probably try this, this and this out, or let’s look at this repricer and just go on deaf ears. Like there was no like, Okay, I get it. Fine. I was like, forget it. I’m giving you guys all the tools, I’m trying to give you the tools and no one’s listening. So I’m just gonna do it myself. So I found Sellozo, and now I get to talk to sellers like you guys. So it’s fun.

Ken 13:50
Nice. Awesome. What about you, Dustin,

Dustin Kane 13:53
like I said, I was a tennis pro and I had spare time. And in the back of my head. I was never going to work for a corporation. That’s why I started tennis pro. All my buddies. When I graduated college, they were going into entry level jobs at accounting firms. And I was a finance major. And I was like, I don’t think I can do it. I was like I in my head. I was like, I can’t do it. And fortunately, I was teaching tennis. And at the time, I could make a whole lot more teaching lessons, then I could had a salary job. And so I did it and then I just realized I got good at it. And I liked it. I liked meeting all these people. And it was fun, but I always dabbled. So I mean I was doing like affiliate marketing. I was doing I had tried to buy rental houses I had one or two rental houses. I was doing anything because I wanted to be able to have complete freedom that’s always been in the back of my head. I want this freedom right from the get go. And for the most part teaching tennis gave me that it was nice. I could schedule when I wanted to etc. I don’t know what year it was, but four hour workweek came out Tim Ferriss, and that book. I was like okay, I’m trading my hours for dollars as a tennis pro. And my body’s taking a beating, even though I like it. I don’t know how sustainable this is, or how scalable this is, I mean, there’s gonna be a limit to how much I could possibly make doing this. And I don’t want to box myself in. So right around the same time I read that book, then I was starting to see a lot of the Amazon FBA stuff come out. And I was still so intrigued, because it was completely different. Everything else, even affiliate marketing. I was like, Man, I’m writing so much content. I’m trying and it’s like, this grind, like to keep this wheel turning. And I was like, the whole Amazon FBA model spoke to me. I’m like, so you’re telling me, I can make an order and just ship it to Amazon. And then there’s some things I got to do. But I’m not like packing and shipping. And I could, you know, at the time, I was like dreaming, oh, I can go to an island. And live there, be fantastic and make this work. So I went full in. I was listening every day to the amazing seller podcast, Scott Volker, just following him step by step. like Kris said, It was crazy. Back then, on Amazon, there was a whole list of the top reviewers with their email address. So I could just go email all the top reviewers send him my products get reviews. So I with $500, like Kris I negotiated with a supplier, found a product I wanted to do branded it, bought $500 worth, shipped it in, did all the stuff with the reviews and everything to try to do my listings, right. I mean, I was taking pictures of myself and my wife with the product and putting them up there. And it absolutely took off in the fitness space. And it took off like crazy, I immediately went to a family friend borrowed 10 grand, just went full on ordered a whole bunch was able to pay that off pretty quickly and just kept reinvesting the money until I was selling like about I don’t know, a year and a half in I’m selling like 300 units a day of this one product. And it was huge. It was like, had a BSR of like 10. I was like, Oh my gosh, this is I’m in business. So I quickly like expanded my product line. Mistake. The problem I had with this was I had to fight every new order, I had to be like I was ordering like container loads, and the products not very big. And so I was having to get some funding to cover all that. And there wasn’t this really cool funding back then like there is now like there’s a lot of opportunities with funding that I wish I had, because it would have been easier. But more traditional lending locks you in and you got like these lump sum payments. But this is a little bit later on. I’m skipping ahead. But anyway, the business was rocking. I did all the calculations. I’m like, we are more than replacing my income I’m making from tennis. So let’s move I like change sometimes. Let’s go. We’re going to Kansas City and we’ll raise our boys right next Arrowhead Stadium, which would be nice. So did that. And then we can go into what happened now, if you like, but that was my story about getting into it.

Ken 17:50
yeah, sure.

Dustin Kane 17:51
I don’t want to go into the next question or anything and overlap. But like I said, that was what I was hoping for, for two years had a crew of VAs working for me, I was launching around that brand. But I didn’t have Brand Registry, because at that time, I wasn’t really thinking, oh, let’s get a trademark on it, it was working. So I filed for a trademark for this brands so I could open up all these opportunities. This is around 2018 19, probably. And I immediately got a cease and desist letter after I filed for the trademark from a major brand that we all know. And I was like What is going on? Our names are not even that close at all. We’re in different categories. It was weird. I was like this can’t be right. hired an attorney, lost. wasn’t going to get the brand name. So and at the same time, i’m floating a lot of money just to keep orders coming in, because I’m selling more and more and more and more, which sounds great. But it can be a problem with your cash flow to stay in and so I’m floating more money. And right about the time that I had about the most money on loan right now is a two Chinese manufacturers came in exact same product. And about a week after they launched, they had 20,000 reviews each. And they were undercutting me by about $5 and my sales went to about a fourth of what they were which was immediately not sustainable for supporting a household of four and seeing it go. So I went immediately got started, I found a club here and told them I’m a tennis pro started teaching again. It was, that was the nice thing is to have a skill in your back pocket where you can quickly salvage it. And then I’ve been building that business back ever since. And fortunately found Sellozo, at a meetup. They’re based in Kansas City. I found a meetup, we were talking about this in our podcast when you guys were on power meetups, but there was a meetup that Sellozo did. I signed up for the meetup never went and they emailed the group and said if anybody’s interested in a job, let us know. And I’m like, this is interesting What is all this? And I started looking into it, I was like, how opportunistic and strange that like an exact fit for what I would like to do, popped up, applied, got hired and met Kris, started the podcast, learning more about Amazon every day because of, you know, cool people I’m talking to like you guys. And I’m excited about where my Amazon business is headed now. So it’s been a fun ride. I’m also kind of happy for that dip, because I would have never been involved with Sellozo. And I think I would have missed out on this opportunity to network like I’m doing now, which I didn’t do when I was really involved in my Amazon business, but I should have been. And so I just wasn’t quite on top of all the things that were happening and could have taken preventative measures. So yeah, that was long. Sorry, that was long.

David 20:54
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No, we like it.

Ken 21:50
All good.

David 21:50
I’ll tell you, we like hearing success stories. But I think there’s a lot more value in some of these stories where there are, you know, issues like this that come up. And so just to dig a little bit deeper on this story. There were certainly a lot of things that were out of your control, right, like the two Chinese manufacturers competing against you. The trademark. What would have you done differently? If you could replay this all over again?

Dustin Kane 22:16
Yeah, so number one, I would have gone for Brand Registry trademark all that stuff earlier. I was way too much side hustle mindset at the beginning, as opposed to let’s establish something that’s got permanence. And even when I realized I should be doing that, I still waited too long. And so I would definitely do that if anybody’s starting now I would treat this like this is going to be your business or that your this is something you’re going to sell, you know, in five years and treat it like that way from the beginning. I didn’t. So I would definitely change that. And then I probably would have kept some sort of income going longer than I did. I potentially popped out too early. I don’t think I popped out too early revenue wise, or profit wise, I think I popped out too early, when I didn’t have my risk diversified enough. Like I was heavily dependent on one or two products for this revenue. And so anything could have happened. And I was just probably a little naive to the fact that it could go wrong quickly, especially when I’d been selling this product for at that time, you know, four and a half years or something and every year I sold more and more and more. It just it kind of locked you into psychology of it. And then also when it did go bad. I think what I would change then, is I took that kind of affected me like a little personally, like I screwed up like I failed, and that kind of mess with me for too long, as opposed to saying like, Oh, I can, let’s figure out a way to do this. Let’s pull this inventory. Let’s liquidate it, let’s get the money back, recoup it. launch something else quick. It took me a little too long probably to get past the fact that something that was successful for so long, wasn’t as successful anymore. So those are I think you can’t discount, like, emotional stuff when you’re talking about businesses like this because they can mess with you on the way up and they can mess with you on the way down.

David 24:18
Yeah, that’s the entrepreneurial roller coaster for sure. Yeah, we know exactly what you’re talking about. So now Kris, do you have any similar stories in terms of like mistakes or failures, if we want to call it that when you got started selling?

Kris Gramlich 24:33
Yeah, so like I mentioned earlier I went into electronics, I was selling dog bark collars and dog training collars. And I put all my like eggs in that basket. I did one variation and another variation, another variation, different colors. And what I end up finding is there was a lot of confusion on how to use it. And there was a lot of people that didn’t like the fact that the dog was going to get a little bit of a shock for barking. But they bought it anyway. So and I have two daughters of my own. And at some point I was like, you know, if I’m not gonna put them on my own dogs, why am I even selling. So I got a lot of returns back, I had a lot of inspection issues, that right there like being so like focused on trying to make that product work, I’ll never do an electronic product again because so many moving parts. They fail inspections a lot, if people, when they put it on their pets or something, they don’t know how to use it, there’s a lot of confusion on how to sync things together. That was my biggest probably, I mean, it was good and bad because it was my best product. I was selling a ton of them. But I was also getting back like 20% of them 20 to 25% of them. So then I have this garage full of returns. And I’m like, What am I gonna do with this, I have to liquidate them on Ebay or something. So that right there was bad. And then the second product was a product that was really cheap. And it was a dog brush. So it was like $10 $14 $15. And what I did there I made a mistake is I went really wide on that I tried to make a whole product line of dog brushes. But when you look at it, like how many dog brushes, does a dog owner really have? Like, they have like one or two maybe at the max right? They’re not buying like a complete grooming set. And if they are they are doing that for a profession. Like they sell grooming kits, like that’s what they do they groom pets. So I spent a lot of money I kept buying like new variations and like new product and like new molds and different colors. And I got caught up in like building a brand. And I took out a loan Amazon Lending came knocking Hey, you want to loan 300 grand want to take it, I was like shoot at the time. I remember, like, the line was like the date was coming up to either, yes or no right? And I was like, Hey, this is either I take this loan, or I don’t take this loan. Like, I need to figure this out. And I hit the Yes button. And it came on in the account, boom, there was 300 grand in the checking account. It’s like, that’s a damn like now what do I do? Like, that’s a big feeling, right. So I toook that money and I should have this moment, I should have reinvested it in products that I already had proven selling, and scale those up to get them to, you know, like 100 200 units a day, right like should’ve done that, like kept those scaling up. But what I did is I spread that money out on a whole product line. And every like product had its own investment into that 300 grand. And when it came time to reorder, that 300 grand was gone. I didn’t have any money to reorder. So then I had, then I was caught up in that liquidation phase like, Okay, I got to raise funds here, I got to raise capital, I need some capital. So then I had to start slashing prices on all these skews that I took a lot of time in, in building the listing, getting the packaging, creating the logo on it. And I wish I would have never done that. Sure, I’d be curious to see what happened if I would’ve clicked No on that, at that time, probably would have been a little bit more focused on making sure the products are proven. But that was probably my biggest, biggest mistake right there is taking that Amazon Lending loan on top of two credit cards that were maxed out. or trying to make something sell that doesn’t have a lot of needs. Like they don’t need four or five brushes. They just, you know, one brush. So I got caught up too much emotionally.

Ken 28:18
Yeah. So Dustin, Kris, thanks for sharing those, like David mentioned earlier, like lessons learned, I mean, mistakes, if you want to call that that. It’s like, I think I learned more from hearing those stories than from hearing, you know, stories about winning and stuff. And if I had to share my mistakes, I’d have to get a book out over here and go through page by page by page and say, ok here. So if you’re listening, you know, the lessons learned, use your cash flow to fuel your top selling products and diversification. Those are key. So but yeah, thanks for sharing those. It’s crucial. And so maybe we pivot a little bit, and maybe we talk about a couple of wins a couple of things that you’ve won in the last year or two in your businesses, things that you’ve learned along the way to share with the audience.

Dustin Kane 29:03
I can go with one right now that I’m really excited about. So the category that I was in that product that was my best seller at the time. Obviously, when it was starting to go south and I had to pay off the loans, I was liquidating them using the funds to go. In my mind I was like this is now I’m done with this product. That was my mindset. I’m going to liquidate it, see if I can get my money back. At least pay off the loans the best I can and then start on something else. So I did do all that. And then I’ve been starting on other products as well. But what’s been great is this listing. I mean, I was looking the other day like that listing, I went back in history and I was looking at like the unit session percentage. And it’s sky high. I was showing Kris I’m like, I had a 90% unit session percentage on that product. I was like have you ever seen anything like this? Now people bought more than one sometimes so that skews it. But I was like and it has like over 1000 In reviews, I’m like, I’m so mad at this asset that I’ve got here. And I was like, maybe I’ll just order some test units and let’s just put them back on there, so I ordered a few units, put them back on there, they sold immediately, this listing has been like, not live for a year, at least. And I threw about 10 on there, and they sold within like five minutes. And I’m like, oh, okay, maybe something’s changed here that I didn’t know about. So I ended up making another order of these, and I’m gonna do it the right way this time. But I’m like, I could start like a huge home run right here, by getting back into this brand. I’m gonna maybe try to refresh my brand name as well. So that way I can pivot get the Brand Registry. So I’m in the process of all that but the two Chinese manufacturers that came in that were the main result of my problem, just got suspended by Amazon in that big billion dollar suspension. Yeah, they’re gone. So I am thankful to Amazon for taking proactiveness on that. It’s gonna help the marketplace. But that has got me so jacked. That and starting the podcast with Kris are the two biggest wins, by far. Like I could go on for an hour about why that was a big win. But I’m pretty pumped now.

Ken 31:19
Awesome. Great to hear.

Kris Gramlich 31:21
Yeah, for me biggest win. So I no longer I sold out of that dog bark collar. That brand is still a brand. But I’m not actively pursuing that, those products anymore, I’ve since transitioned into a newer brand. And I’ve been working on it for about a year and a half now. And what I like about it is everything is sourced locally, right? It’s not my biggest one, I don’t have to deal with these logistics of like ocean freight, I don’t have to deal with lead times like six, eight weeks, maybe longer. lead times are now down to like four or five weeks, maybe even less, like two to three weeks on some. My minimum orders were like 200 units, I don’t have to order 1000s of units anymore, I can create really quick custom packaging with the supplier, like they’ve already got the infrastructure set up, I just have to give them my logo, and it’s done. So the transitioning out of an old brand into a newer brand, this new brand is gonna allow for a lot more, better valuation. I’m looking at a dry erase board I have over here, just yesterday, I wrote on there, my exit goal is in February of 2023. So I’m going to plan on exiting in about 18 months. And I think that’s going to happen with this new brand. Because this is going to be a recurring revenue. I’ve got other marketplaces interested. And I’m going a lot slower than what I did with the last brand. I think that’s like a big one. And like, practicing patience is really hard to do, especially for entrepreneurs like we always want to go go go go, go go go, you know, hit the Yes button every time you see it. But, sometimes you got to like, check yourself. And I wish I would have done that practiced that earlier. So I think my biggest win this year is patience and obviously a new brand new products and local supplier.

Ken 33:07
Very cool.

David 33:08
Kris, I think a lot of people sleep on sourcing from US soil. And, would you mind going into like how you found that manufacturer?

Kris Gramlich 33:18
Yeah, for sure. Google.

David 33:21
That’s easy, man.

Kris Gramlich 33:23
No I mean, there’s a site there. I think it’s Thomas math, or Thomas dotnet. It’s a local, you could find suppliers local in us. And so I just went on there and started typing in things. And I had one supplier that I’ve worked with for a while, okay. And what I end up finding out is the suppliers come out of the woodwork and they contact you. So like I was selling really good with a product that was locally sourced. And I get an email from somebody else, that’s a supplier locally, like, Hey, we can do the same thing. But we also have all these other products. I’m like, Okay, well, let’s go see what your pricing is. And maybe you’re gonna offer me better terms or something. And so my first supplier I found on thomasnet. And then I got contacted by these other suppliers just through email, cuz they see I’m selling products that they offer. And they’re locally sourced. And a lot of them are really willing to work with you, if you just be honest with them. Like, I can’t float this, I can’t buy 100 days worth of inventory, I need a minimum order of only 50 units. I plan on buying more if we can scale this up, like they’re in business too. And so using thomasnet was like my lead in and then a lot of the suppliers, they just reach out to you. In the past I would ignore those emails. Like I would say I don’t need that I already got a supplier. But what I’ve come to find out is if you put all your eggs in that basket at that one supplier, when that supplier runs out of a supplier, that supplier does no longer get that product that you are selling really good at, you need a backup. And so I like yeah, I’ll work for this supplier, this supplier, give me that one over there, I got all these supplier relations. That way, if something does go wrong, I can quickly pivot to somebody else that has the same product. And they can do process and I don’t miss a beat. So that’s how thomasnet was my lead in and then just be open to the emails, you can just test them out. They’re just trying to get your business and if you just entertain a call, you may get something good out of it.

David 35:23
Sorry to interrupt this episode. Dustin, Kris, Ken and I got very long winded in this conversation, a lot of great stuff. And so we are breaking this up into two parts. So stay tuned next week for part two of this conversation. Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s firing the man podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to firingtheman.com. And check out our resource library for exclusive firing the man discounts on popular e commerce subscription services, that is firingtheman.com\resource. 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, for that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at firing the man, and on YouTube at firing the man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer

Ken 36:18
and Ken Wilson. We’re out

David 36:35
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai