Interview with Reggie Young a 7-Figure eCommerce entrepreneur and Exit Planning Advisor

David 0:00
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Intro 0:46
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss is sitting in a cubicle every day and to 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 Schomer and Ken Wilson.

David 1:10
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast on today’s episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Reggie young, a seven figure ecommerce entrepreneur and Exit Planning advisor. Reggie was born and raised in Hawaii and served 13 years in the military as an officer. In 2020. He decided to fire the man and travel while working on his business full time. Within one year, he was able to sell his first Amazon business and reach seven figures. His mission is to help other startups scale and sell their online businesses. Welcome to the show, Reggie.

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Reggie Young 1:44
Hey, thanks a lot for having me really excited to be on?

David 1:46
Absolutely. So first things first, can you talk about your path to becoming an E commerce entrepreneur

Reggie Young 1:53
now? Sure. So I joined the military, when I was 18 enlisted in the Air Force, and I was a medic, my bosses decided, hey, you’d be a great officer. So they sent me to the Air Force Academy, which is a military university there, I’ve always wanted to get a good degree and kind of make my parents proud. And at the time, I really want to build the next version of the Ironman suit. And I thought, hey, if it was ever going to happen, it’d be probably at at the Military University for the Air Force for the government. And I’ll be an engineer. So I decided to try and pursue that. And I found out very quickly that the pace was just too quick for me. And trying to survive the Military University, I eventually decided to instead take the number one major at that school, which was business management. And there I just discovered my passion for online business. So at the time, wanted to be a private and private equity investment banker because I figured I love all aspects of business. So why don’t just go after the most amount of money. And after graduating the Academy, I was actually selected to be a nuclear missiles officer, I was not able to pursue the jobs that I wanted to that most aligned with being an investment banker outside in the real world. And when that happened, for me, I felt like I had sacrificed so much of my career, my my success and happiness to end up in a job that did not feel like the highest version, or the highest purpose of what I felt like I should have been doing at the time. And that’s when I kind of got into entrepreneurship, really well just wanted to bolster my resume. And so I sourced my first product from China, not having taken a course trying to rely on my degree spent 1000s of dollars, but like, my mom was like, my only real customer and I ended up failing. But the best thing that happened from that is I discovered my obsession for entrepreneurship. So I was came from like business to be like my passion, my entrepreneurship to becoming my obsession. And that’s kind of how I got started at that first failure event eventually moved into high ticket dropshipping. But did $64,000 in revenue on my first store was hit with some chargebacks and some types of fraudulent orders and eventually decided, hey, you know, I have like four to five years left on my contract. I know that I want to fire the man even though I can’t because he can’t fire me in the military. The military owns you. So I decided like, hey, like, even though I saw I saw the opportunity with the four hour workweek, I saw the opportunity, but I couldn’t quit my job. So I decided, let me just go all in the next four years and dedicate every single moment of my free time to making this a reality. So that’s when I moved into Amazon private labeling had some success, some failure. Eventually, one year after leaving the military, I was able to sell my first business. And since then, I’ve been trying to scale out and work on fun projects that I enjoy.

Ken 4:11
That’s awesome. So I really like a couple things I want to touch on Reggie one thing he said just burn all the ships. And so I don’t know if you can see behind me or not one of my favorite quotes here, if you’re on YouTube, burn the boats. That’s one of my favorite quotes. I’m really glad you said that. It’s you know, it takes a lot of Kahunas to like just go, you know, just say I’m gonna do this, and there’s no looking back. And so that’s awesome. So thanks for sharing your story. And thanks for your service. Let’s dive into so there’s a lot of people listening that want to fire the man. And I think it’s really important to hear different perspectives and different experiences on when people do that. And so you had wanted to do it for a long time and you were in a pickle you couldn’t for a while and then you did. Can you dive into it. Like when you decided, hey, I want to fire the man and then you know, did you have a plan or did you just go right for it or any planning and what can you say? Can you speak a little bit to that? Yeah.

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Reggie Young 4:58
So originally when I first decided I legitimately have four to five years left on my contract when I decided I was going to be an online business person with the financial freedom to do what I want work on the projects, I wanted to those four years, I thought to myself, Okay, well, I got four years to make an income. So I kinda was like, Oh, let me set a budget of like, $100 a month. And then he tries something super easy. And like, kind of scaled into it. And I realized, looking back, I should have gone harder. And it really comes down to like, more of like, instead of trying to make some kind of math equation on like, a four years, so maybe making this much money or, or do this, it’s like, make the decision and don’t look back. And it doesn’t have to be like, is it print on demand? Is it affiliate marketing? Is it Amazon FBA is that agency level work? What is it is like, to me, it’s like, I was in so much pain, not having felt like I was on purpose with what I want to do that that pain personally drove me to make a decision. And once I made that decision, it’s almost like everything kind of fell to the wayside. It didn’t matter if I was losing money. It didn’t matter if I was working more on my business and my than in my nine to five. So for me, I think looking back is just making that decision has to for me, it was like the core principle that I I stood on, because if you if I stood on any other principle, I found it very shaky. And I was kind of like falling here and there and be like, and it’s not really working out or like, I don’t know what this is, for me. It’s like no, like, what do I really want? I don’t want to be an Amazon seller, I want to be someone who has the freedom to go where He wants be around the people he loves, and how do I get there. And he’s like, this is how I get there. Okay, that’s the decision I’m going to make. And I’m going to get there.

Ken 6:29
That’s awesome. I really like how you know, you’d give you giving yourself like a four year runway of like, Hey, I’m going to start small, but dip my toes and then add to it and build on and learn. I think that that is crucial. I never recommend anybody just quitting their job and saying, Hey, I’m gonna go farther man and go figure it out. And so really like how you gave yourself that that roadmap, I think that’s really, really smart. Yeah, you

Reggie Young 6:49
definitely you don’t want to aid in like, I guess like the younger Gen Z would see it as like a being. And I’ve seen kind of traveling now for little over two years I’ve seen and I’ve been to some of the biggest digital nomad hotspots. And I’ve seen people and also heard stories, because for four years, I was trying to immerse myself in communities like this, I’ve seen a lot of people try and ate dinner without having some kind of revenue. And the reality is, you have so much burning behind you in terms of the cash you’re burning without having an income, you then you start operating from a place of scarcity and operating from a place of scarcity that puts you in like a state that is really hard to build a business. And so you know, I think even if you’re not successful, and you don’t have the income to quit your nine to five, there are things you can be doing on the side to kind of build out a network and audience a small skill set that will allow you to scale faster, and give you the confidence, at least that worked out for me to eventually reach that level of success. And what that looked like for me was as I was trying to become a successful Amazon seller, I was at the time consulting on Fiverr. I was consulting on Upwork actually found small businesses in my local area, I went to them and I was like, hey, like, you know, I would love to help you build a website for you. Like you know, there’s things that you learn along the way while you’re failing that you can use to build your site. Like I said, build your skill set and possibly build an audience and revenue. Yeah, absolutely.

Ken 8:00
Those are all excellent points. Before we move on, I would really like to hear like maybe your top three places. So you’ve been traveling quite a bit into digital nomad, what are like your top three places that you’ve been to

Reggie Young 8:12
see my top three places, I would definitely say I love Chiang Mai, Thailand, just for the like the startup not startup but like the broke Nomad mindset of like, when you’re there, people aren’t really trying to party. They’re there to work. And they’re there, I think with a sense of like, I’m here to learn and I’m here to network and I’m here just to get get things done. I’m not here to like drink, or party or, or hook up and I’m just here. And so I really liked that. And for me, that’s kind of going to always been the place that if everything falls apart, I’m flying there and I’m going to make it work with no money type of thing or, or try and leverage my past experience. I really love Thailand spend a lot of time in Mexico just because of time zones. We like working with certain clients and just during COVID, the last year to Mexico has been the country that’s kind of always been open. And specifically in Mexico. I love Mexico City, just a great balance of different cultures. And the vibe in Mexico cities is really, really nice and a third place. I’m still kind of figuring that one out. And so I’ll leave that one to be determined.

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Ken 9:03
Sure. Awesome. I appreciate that. Over to you, David.

David 9:06
So read Reggie, do you have a home base? Are you kind of bouncing from place to place?

Reggie Young 9:10
I’m homeless as hell yeah, I’m homeless as hell and try and keep everything liquid I had been moved I’ve been living out of backpacks since I was eight years old. My parents were divorced when I was eight and I switched houses every week and then I joined the military at 18 and was always moving around went to military university always moving around nuclear missiles officer underground underground for half the month I’ve always been out of bag so I’m kind of used to it and for me like I can find my foundation anywhere as long as I have a few principles set up throughout my day and that comes to like having a solid routine right now where I’m adding to my life I don’t want to put down deep roots I want to keep things liquid to keep opportunities a little bit more flexible for how I did it very

David 9:43
cool. I want to go down this tangent so mentioned routine can we can you talk about your your routine? Yeah, sure.

Reggie Young 9:49
I’ve my routines definitely like changed over over the years and I think driving all the way back down to mindset when I was trying to build a successful business when I was trying to fire the man I realized maybe after a solid I in months of losing a lot of money, that it probably wasn’t the business model. And it probably wasn’t the tactic or the course or whatever it was, it was probably my mindset and routine. So I had to dive into like journaling. So I’ve over the last seven years, I’ve been trying to find a journaling process took a lot of courses, literally everything, the routine, everything, and I’ve actually come up with a journal that I’ve been working on is so proud of it’s saved my life, and I can help a lot of other people in the journal I’ll share, I actually have a routine section. And one of the recommendations I say, for having a routine is like at least take care of like fundamentals that work for a lot of people. And that normally is like, for me, it’s like when I wake up in the morning, I do some kind of process. And that for me is a nice hot shower, some people like a cold shower for like body and do all this kind of stuff, right? Then I normally find some place of like self reflection. And then from there, I knock out the most important thing today. And that sounds super basic. But that is what I think is pretty fundamental routine that I’ve seen as a as a theme, a common theme across a lot of other people who build routines is to have some kind of like nice slow morning where you kind of like relax into yourself relaxing to your intuition and your feeling goal plan, focus on the most important thing and then take action. So I could go into like the kind of like tips and tricks that I do for myself as crazy as now I’m like, I grab water and I pour water in and I set an intention. And the reality is like you build a routine you want what makes you feel good, and what’s kind of making you what what fills up your cup and what gives you energy, what drives you towards focus, that’s a great routine to follow. And, you know, inside of this productivity thing, I also just recorded a course that I’m working on uploading right now in there, I literally put the full stack from breaking the vision down all the way down to a goal down to a daily page with flexible time boxing, I call it all the way to a routine and self reflection. You know, it really is, in my opinion, like there isn’t one thing that will lead to a successful routine, I break my routines to this day. I don’t know anyone that follows routine, day in day out like a frickin robot. And we break routines. And I think it’s okay routines, but that that’s generally my process. my evening routine, in case you’re wondering is literally almost the same thing. It’s like, Hey, let me drop back into myself, let me reflect on my day, let me reflect on my goals that people have come across my emotions, my feelings, and then from there, I’ll try to do some kind of like grounding exercise, or just kind of like relax and take it nice and slow in the evening. And like for me, I even have like a checklist where it’s like locked door because I travel a lot, right? So I want to make sure my door’s locked. Like when I’m sure my phone is charged. It’s like basic things like that, that kind of helps set me up for success the next day, like making sure that when I wake up in the morning, the place is in a mess, you know, and that kind of thing just clears my head subconsciously for setting my day up. So I think nothing too crazy. Very nice.

David 12:21
I find that a lot of successful people have routine. And I also find that I would say a majority of people don’t have routine at all, they’re flying by the seat of their pants. They’re reactive, not proactive. And it seems like that’s where a lot of anxiety comes from is just not having a plan. And so I like like hearing about other people’s routine. I also have kind of a morning routine. And so it’s always nice to hear from other people. So anyway, thanks for letting us go down that tangent. So So you are currently run your own e commerce businesses and curious what are you focused on in 2023.

Reggie Young 12:52
My main focus, to be honest, is continuing to operate. So make sure that I can always be an Amazon operator first. So I’m still launching new products right now I’m optimizing a current supplement that I think is going to do really, really well my top competitor does a million a month in revenue. So I really have my, my my work cut out for me, but did that with a product launch of 15 grand and unprofitable right now. But I’m getting ready to scale that up. So that will be in terms of my operator focus, that’ll be my number one focus in terms of what I’m doing. Other than that, is I really want to build a personal brand. So over the last nine months, I’ve been building out a course library to try and put everything that I know. And I’ve learned from selling online all the way down to that mindset, right with journaling, I spent way too much time building out the back end of this funnel, probably over nine months making courses making a journal with a course and you know, all these different things. 2023 will be where I flip it and I start trying to build the opposite end of the funnel, which is build that audience and draw them down into the funnel the goal of at the end of the day, helping that other entrepreneur that in the worst parts of their life when they weren’t journaling. They didn’t have that system. And they felt like they needed that $10,000 course or that $2,000 mastermind to reach a level of success. I want them to be able to Hey, hey, Reggie has a thing for like close to nothing relative to his value, I want to give that to them. And then if if that works out, what I’m going to do is peg portion of that revenue to charity, of course to create an income for my business, but also as a bonus for the VA that I that worked for me. So that’s kind of been that’s like my two part focus for 2023.

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Ken 14:14
Awesome. Yeah, I like how you’re down in the trenches, you’re you’re doing the day to day, you know, grinding as an operator, and then you’re you’re sharing with others, you know, what it took you years to learn, which is allows other people to kind of skip the line, you know, so you mentioned you’re in the supplement space. That’s a that’s a pretty pre competitive space. From what I hear. I’m not in supplements, Facebook, from what I hear all of our friends in the network that’s cutthroat, you had mentioned you’re refining one of the supplements. So as you let’s get into like a little bit of like product research, how do you enhance your product? How do you stand out? How do you how do you make your product better than your competitor that’s doing a million a month. How are you doing that? Yeah,

Reggie Young 14:52
one of the things I teach in my course and as I just had someone from another mastermind asked me this question, there are so many different ways to stand out and select a pro I like the way I fundamentally think about it. And I think I really think this is truth is that people hate hearing basic answers. But I realized people who aren’t success successful and continually ask these random, like types of questions are normally the ones who haven’t internalized it, right when you’re not successful on Amazon, and it’s is your differentiation strong enough, so the stronger your stronger your competition to stronger differentiation needs to be. So when I look at products, all I look for is differentiation. I don’t care what the market looks like, how many reviews it has none of that when the business I ended up selling, the average reviews that I got into was 3000 for top seller had 3000 reviews. And if I just went by like classic like product filtration criteria, I would have somebody would have immediately just looked over that. Additionally, when I was insulting for one of the top aggregators, and I stepped into their space and operated their number one brand, I thought to myself, Oh crap, well, how do I how do I operate in this niche is multimillion dollar brand in a beauty category, like skincare and rang true to me, again, you have to find that level of differentiation, every single marketplace, every single niche will evolve. But the water bottle search engine result look like looks like now is not what it looked like five years ago. And it’s not what’s gonna look like five years from now. So I really try and identify how can I enter a niche strong enough differentiation to take up page one position one, and if I can’t do that I move on. So if I want to find if I want to as a maybe as a new seller, or someone with a lower budget, I want to enter niches that I can find differentiation that, you know, I don’t have to maybe do a new mold, I don’t have to go and build some crazy thing, that differentiation should be strong enough to pierce through the market be on page one position one for long enough to make money and then hopefully exit in the long term. So really, that that that focus on on differentiation, and there’s all different ways to find differentiation, though, one way that I love to do it, it kind of comes from my dropshipping background, when I was trying to dropship someone had told me Hey, just go to your local store and look at products. Well, I took that to the next level, I went to all the major stores, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Bed, Bath, and Beyond. All of that, at went through every single aisle, every single product, and I looked at every single one of them. And I asked myself, What is this product doing better? Or how are they differentiating than the other product. And when you do that, it takes five or six hours, a couple of weekend trips, you know, when you do that, and you take notes, by the time you’re done, that muscle is going to be like super next level, you’re gonna be able to look at it at a niche and be like, oh, all I got to do is turn this the silicone and and next thing you know, like I can provide differentiation that I can magnetize it, I can collapse it down this product is exactly the same as the other product. But the branding is, is different. And it actually matches the target market here that the statements that they use on their packaging to get into WalMart, they’re on there for a reason. So let me look into those reasons why. And that’s kind of putting those two two things together, I really think starts to reframe how someone looks at product selection, and can really provide fundamental principle knowledge for to allow them to achieve success.

David 17:40
I really liked that. And you gave a couple examples of like collapsible, foldable, stretchy silicone, when I think of an Amazon listing, there’s a couple, just a couple of spots that you can really highlight your product, right, you got your images, you got your title in bullets, which I’ve paid attention to my own online shopping. And I’m really not spending a lot of time reading bullets. But we certainly as a company spend a lot of time keyword optimizing it. So say somebody finds that point of differentiation, how do they advertise that? How do they put that out there in terms of like images or tips or tricks here? Yeah,

Reggie Young 18:15
I think the first one is to make sure you find the right point of differentiation. You know, if you’re selling in an all male niche, it doesn’t make sense to make one of your points of differentiation to be pink. So that comes down first. There’s there’s like product market research. There’s product research, and there’s market research, right. So we want to make sure that we’re doing both at the same time, if we’re doing our market research correctly, we should be able to identify what people care about in the market. So how did this how they describe their their pain points, like their experiences, and then mapping our differentiation to that. So an example I’m trying to think of an easy example, an example would be hard to carry in use or heavy to carry and use. So a point of differentiation like going back to foldable could be light and foldable, if I looked at a niche, and I saw a bunch of reviews or experiences that kind of talked about that. My point of differentiation wouldn’t be to make it pink it would be to make to try and drive a differentiation to solve that problem. And once I solved that problem, now the two are aligned. I also want to know what priority is important. If you look at any niche on a product level, you’ll be pretty quickly if you really do your research, you’ll be able to dive I would normally choose five points of differentiation. And then I try and order them by what’s most important once I create that point of differentiation. I know now on the product level for water bottles is it might be capacity, and I don’t know if it is or not. It could be water water capacity. I want to make sure I drive that as probably my first bullet as maybe like a small sentence or half sentence in the title. I want to make sure that my first or second image clearly demonstrates that more than it being collapsible if capacity is being the number one thing so I think prioritizing your differentiation and making sure that’s mapped to the market. Let the market drive your points of differentiation, not the other way around. And then from there becomes easy as you really just becomes like okay, I only have like you said five bullet points where we try to make those five those five points of differentiation. I normally have four to five images, you know, a minute video or so to talk about what I need to and I just really just map it on there. And then I try and like like bullet point five may just take up a small portion of the photo or the video, but it’s bullet point one, that high point of differentiation, I just put that basically everywhere. And I let that point of differentiation, those five points of differentiation turn to my copywriting. And those copywriting turns into a story which turns to my images, which turns to my video. And it really it starts with market research, and it bleeds all the way down into your video.

Ken 20:27
I like that. That’s, to me, that sounds like a system or a process. And that’s something that’s repeatable and easy to follow. So I really like it

Reggie Young 20:34
to teach vas, which is really nice. Yes,

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Ken 20:37
that’s awesome. So let’s get into efficiency and optimization of it. I know we’re coming off a pretty interesting year where you know, freight was incredibly expensive, and then it kind of tapered off and it looks like the forecasts were we may be heading into a recession in the US. And so what are some ways that you do to optimize your business in terms of anything FBA fees, anything on the p&l, how to cut expenses, increase profitability, any tips and tricks, they’re

Reggie Young 21:05
not really I just didn’t try to launch more. I mean, obviously, you know, one of the biggest problems that I’ve realized most sellers come across or aren’t aware of, at least, you know, having been in the game and being with other entrepreneurs trying to find success. So many times we hold on to a dog product, or we hold on to closing off that opportunity of launching that next product. So the way I say it is you really only one product launch away from changing your life forever. If that one product isn’t working, there’s no point in like beating PPC, dry or over optimize your listing, if you could maybe liquidate that or draw it back a little bit or double down on your product research and spend another month trying to find that point of differentiation and launching that next product. That’s kind of how I’m trying to I guess you could say focus and optimize harder than that. I’m really watching my PPC spend because PPC, you know, the Amazon opportunity people say are just kind of dead. And I don’t think it’s dead because products, the product lifecycle will never end you know, people always continue to make products and with that, we’ll come opportunity, so it’s never going to be dead. But what is definitely going on in my experience is a really really PPC competitive market. So I’m really watching my PPC and I’m launching slightly differently depending on the editors that I’m going after before a lot of people would do PPC kind of this like wide cast through I spent a month casting out PPC keywords, we’re gonna spend a month optimizing, then we’re going to spend a month doing scaling and growing or cutting costs and stuff like that. Now I’m kind of going after somatic PPC investing so I’m looking for buckets of keyword landscapes in my niche and then creating keyword campaigns relative to the risk and my phase of of my launch strategy. So if I’m in the example always given my courses there mister missus mugs niche, it’s primarily a wedding niche. Okay, I’ll probably make a keyword campaign specifically for weddings instead of just being like, you know, automatic campaign $100 a day, I’m not gonna go and do those anymore. Like keep it really nice and focused and watch my ad spend watch my conversions. I’m not going to wait a week to optimize I’m going to look every single day very nice.

David 22:55
Let’s dive into PPC a little bit more. It’s something that I love talking about. And I think one of the reasons I really like talking about it is Gosh, it never seems like you master it never seems like you’ve I’ve never felt like hey, I’ve arrived, Akos always seems too high conversion rate isn’t where you want it to be, you know, you’ve got cost per click, that’s changing, changing with the seasons, especially, we’re seeing that in q4. And so you know, average order value. There’s there’s so many different metrics. And so when you’re looking at your end, you can’t really focus on them all because you’ll drive yourself nuts. And so when you when you’re looking at your PPC you’re trying to understand like the health of your campaigns, what are some metrics that you’re looking at, in really focusing in on? Yeah,

Reggie Young 23:38
yeah, I guess to kind of answer your question. I’d love to give a little bit of backstory. So I started seriously started ecommerce dropshipping. And that came from a Google Ads background and Google ads is a hell of a lot more mature than the Amazon PPC site. So I came in with that knowledge, having succeeded succeeded on Google Ads tried to come into Amazon and gone to a space where nobody was running PPC at the time, not nobody, but very few people. The narrative at the time was PPC doesn’t work. Does it work? You know, like now, it’s like PPC, PPC, PPC. So I’ve seen the Amazon PPC market evolve over time, right? And it seems like every month they launch, they have a new way of optimizing a new conversion nudibranch whatever it is, like some kind of new conversion point. So when it comes down to focus, I think it really comes back down to principles. And the one thing I always say is principles over tactics. Once you understand the principles, you can operate in any environment. So it’s a little bit hard to talk, real principles on a podcast. But the one thing I could say is understand where you are in your market in your in your launch phase, or if you’re launching you’re trying to take market share, right? So if you’re trying to take market share, it’s probably going to come at a cost not at a profit for most products, unless you have such amazing differentiation that you come out of launch and you’re profitable. That is possible. But if you’re in a launch phase, your PPC is probably gonna be more of an advertising spend more than a profit spent. So you’re probably looking at different metrics. If you’re looking at scaling or profitability, then you’re looking at different metrics. But I would say overall, no matter what the two metrics that I love looking at is total weigh costs. So that’s a percent of your advertising spend across your, your your entire revenue. So like, How much am I spending on PPC? And how much revenue Am I making, which includes organic sales because that can kind of for me, that’s a meter that I look at, if my a cost is really, really high, then that means I’m spending a lot of advertising dollars to get to get a small amount of organic traffic. And I’d be willing to do that if and this is the second thing I look at the two most important metrics that I look at is total a costs and Daily Profit over time, because if I’m profitable over time, then that means that my brand and my product is growing, I don’t care if I have 3% margins, if I’m making $5 million dollars. So like your profit matters. Sometimes we look at a cost, we look at total total aid cost, and we drive our total aid costs down. But by doing that, we decrease our market share because we lower our organic sales and we’re lowering our Daily Profit. For me, it’s like keeping an eye on Daily Profit to make sure over time, I’m profitable and keeping an eye on my tacos because then I know where I’m at where I’m at with that risk tolerance of either spending more on advertising, if that’s if I’m okay with spending that that money to to increase my revenue and my market share relative to my again, my profit. So I hope that kind of made sense in terms of my the way I think about it.

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David 26:07
Absolutely. What What would you say your targeting for tacos

Reggie Young 26:11
this year? profitable? Yeah, pricing.

David 26:12
Yeah, St. I like sometimes I look at my p&l, and it’s like, gosh, we spent a lot on PVC. And I feel like I just bought scratch off tickets, like, like, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But like, we’re just the reason I asked, we’re targeting between 10 and 15%. We’ve cut adspend back a little bit this year, we’ve seen a little bit of a bump in organic, we were seeing some like tacos in the 20s. And again, it depends on the product and purchase price or whatever. But we are seeing some cannibalization where our PPC percentage of sales was very high on PPC. And as we cut ad spend, we saw our organic go up and just like it’s one of those things like just when you think you’ve got to figure it out, you have a crazy week or a listing gets shut down and it messes up all your data. And so are you just curious?

Reggie Young 26:59
Yeah, I’ve totally been there. You know, I’ve spent a lot on on PPC, myself. Personally, I’ve been on the front end and the back end of PPC agencies. And literally, like when I was working for some of these big aggregators seeing behind the lens, and nobody knows what my opinion, nobody knows what they’re doing. And every single you could have you think you have PPC figured out, you’re like, oh, yeah, I did it, you know, so my business did this and that I worked for this agency, I’ve managed this client, I’ve done this revenue, and then you enter another market and you’re like hitting the face with high kanashii like I thought I knew I was doing it’s the way I see it isn’t that way to try to explain to people with PPC is a chess game. A keyword keyword is a chess game, but you have 1000s of keywords. So you’re you’re playing these chess games on all these you’re playing 1000 chess games at once. And the market is always evolving. You always have people coming into the market, leaving the market, you have black hat tactics happening white hat tactics, people don’t know what they’re doing. So they’re they’re just burning through PPC, you have aggregators now in the space driving PPC costs, right? So like, it really is changing. So what I really like to do is just focus on the fundamentals. What I don’t know what I’m doing, and that has always kind of saved me, it’s always saved my ass. You know, like, Okay, I’m spending too much money that’s not relative to my risk, my reward. Okay, you know, you can always launch another product. You can always liquidate inventory and get started on the next thing. But yeah, I think I think I really love the transparency that you have to say like, just when you think you have it figured out we don’t I think that’s true with everything in life. So and I really liked that, that you that you’re bringing that transparency to people and because I think it gives them a reality of like, Hey, don’t don’t expect to come in and be at 10% A costs and expect to be profitable, maybe in their first month or two because a lot of that narrative has been pushed for so long that when people get in, they get demotivated so quickly, and it is it just leads to like depression or just like really frustrating and like a demoralizing way of running a business and setting up trying to set people up for success.

David 28:44
Yeah. Last thing I PPC and I’m gonna kick it over to Ken want to give you a shout out. So Reggie young.com/amazon PPC calculator. So you have this tool on your website that I was really nerding out on earlier today. As I was getting ready for this, it’s got a lot of a lot of these topics that we’re talking about. I think it’s a great learning tool to understand how cost per click and tacos and ecos all interface together. And so great learning tool also, like I was plugging in some stuff from our own campaigns. It was great. So awesome tool you have there, like to our listeners, if you’re driving keep driving close to the shownotes.

Reggie Young 29:16
Yeah, and one thing if you want to mention that since we’re wrapping up PPC here, I do have a bunch of courses on every aspect of of what I’ve learned, I will give a free nugget reggiana.com Ford slash PPC resources and they are like a link to some of the like the templates that I use when I’m building things out some of the software that I recommend because I know is like a question that you ask right now I really like everyone knows about Helium 10. Obviously I love Helium 10 Carbon six Suite tools and acquiring a bunch of tools over time. But I’ve been using PPC entourage since before Helium 10 was a thing and carbon six acquired them and they have a great team of people. They’re really great team and I really liked their tool as well. They’re probably the most advanced PPC tool, at least in terms of experience, I think is out there. But the reality is a lot of these tools are becoming very very similar in terms of their function. The end of the day, a tool is just it’s just Already you put, you put a hammer in, in the hands of a construction maker or like a construction person who like builds homes, they’re gonna build you a great home. But if you put in front of like a chef, they’re probably not gonna make the best home for you. So a tool can only get you a small portion of the way.

Ken 30:13
Yeah, absolutely. It’s a good analogy. And I definitely agree we’re, I think we’re seeing we’re in an age now where a carbon six is an example of this. We’re seeing a lot of outside investment come in. And you know, we saw over the last two to three years, we saw a lot of aggregators, swooping up FBA businesses and and now I think we should we’re seeing a lot of private equity come in and realize that, hey, these these FBA businesses are sometimes complicated and hard to run and the SAS tools are, there’s a much better roadmap for those. And so I think we’re gonna see some of that over the next 1218 months more consolidation of tools, which I think is great, because we’ll as operators will probably get better access to more tools and things like that. So that analogy, I also like you had mentioned key words were like playing 1000 chess games at one time. And I think that’s very true. And if you if anybody listening has ever watched the Queen’s Gambit, if that’s what that’s what that analogy made me remember is she’s playing 1000 chess games in her head at one time. And so but that was pretty cool. I know. There’s a question. David’s got a mindset. So I’ll save that one for David asked one last question here on cashflow, it is one of the toughest things that as an operator and the FBA space, as we’re growing businesses, you know, as you as you launch your first product, and then you scale to six figures, and then you go from six to seven, and then seven to eight, the cashflow problem never goes away. It just gets larger. And so what do you suggest for you know, anybody that you coach or anything how to manage cash flow? Is there any any tips or tricks on what to do? What not to do? Where to get cash from things like that? Yeah,

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Reggie Young 31:41
I mean, you know, there’s, of course, you can grab funding, which I’ve never really been a fan of, unless you’re profitable. But even then, like most people who are profitable, don’t want to get funding, that’s something I’ve failed at in the past is when I was super profitable, I didn’t go out and get like lines of credit on I wish I had done that at the time, because it’s the easiest way to get money is when you’re making money. So that’s, that’s one tip that I wish I knew earlier. But in terms of cash flow, like, you know, the standard one is easiest one, I think, is to obviously like get a lower product costs. But you don’t want to do that at the cost of your quality supplier terms of me, for me have been the biggest in terms of inventory, the biggest way of trying to make cash flow easier. So that can be as easy as like, Hey, you won’t you start with Can I lower the product price? Right? You can of course, you can increase your MOQ lower their product price supplier says no, we can’t do that. Okay, can we store it in your in your warehouse for one month? Okay, like, will you orders at the front of the line? Will you give me sort of doing 30% down and 70% on delivery? Can you do 10% Down 30% When it gets on the ship, and then the rest when it gets delivered. So like that kind of helps with cash flow as well. But none of that matters if you have a bad product. And none of that matters. If you’ve got a product, if you have the if you have a good product. For some reason, everything works, PPC works less the optimization works cash flow works, the product that I ended up selling was a $3,000 investment. And that turned out to over $800,000 in profit and not I think one of the number one reasons I was able to do that is because I chose a product with extremely high ROI, right we have profit margin ROI is return on investment. So that’s how quickly can you turn over your product basically. So if you have if you’re doing if you’re choosing a product that is constantly being bought that that means that when you put in your dollar, it’s gonna get purchased much more quickly. And then your return on investment, the higher it is, the better, I would never recommend getting into a product category that has less than 150% ROI. Thankfully, the product I had the ROI was 1,700x return on investment. So it was 27,000% ROI in terms of the initial investment I had on the per unit ROI was about to 250 to 60% ROI. After PPC I really just had really dive down on product research because when I would had no money and I was like I got one more product launch to go or I gotta save up six months because I can’t launch a product I asked myself Hey, what’s the 8020 What’s the one thing I can do that can make useless and it was right now get really good product research, right? And that’s when I was like, that’s when I was trying to internalize differentiation and understanding my market and doing the things I talked about before you do that right. Everything else just kind of falls into place. And it’s just beautiful. That’s awesome.

Ken 33:58
So just to recap, because I like all those suggestions. One is go shea butter terms of supplier try to go for costs first and then better terms, which really, really helps with cash flow. And then the second one was essentially your inventory turn making sure that your inventory is turning over quickly so you can make those dollars work for themselves. So excellent. I really liked those over to you David.

David 34:19
Yeah, just wanted to touch on one so you admit you talked about ROI so 150% So that just for our listeners that would be say at product you source for $10 and sell at 30 Is that how your I’m so bad at math so don’t worry about don’t worry about it

Reggie Young 34:34
you have saved a spreadsheet you know the art wise the way I think are wise new minus old divided by old that’s the way I internalized it that could be percent but I learned to just Google the thing roi i have a calculator and this is why like for me like I love numbers, but I’m really bad that like math and science, but I love spreadsheets. So I what I did is I built out this insane spreadsheet where I literally just put product opportunities and it balances like is it giftable? What’s the ROI? What’s the contribution Should margin what’s the estimated daily ad spend? What’s the unit sold? What’s this it is and it spits out a final score. So I honestly can’t calculate ROI Right Now I’ve had a long day. So I apologize for that. But I just use a spreadsheet and they plug in numbers, and I hit Enter, and it racks and stacks all my opportunities. And that’s actually how I was able to find my winning product is instead of like looking at five products and trying to make it work, I came up with a system where I literally like looked at a few products, I had like 100 products on a Google, I saw 150 products on a Google sheet. And I just had like a bunch of like calculations going down, I hired a virtual assistant to go through and scrape things like BSR, scrape, average revenue, scrape reviews, do all those types of things. And then they were able to put that in the sheet I racked and stacked the opportunities by a score out of 100. Then I looked at the top 10. And I was able to take out of 150 products, best 10 products and out of those 10 products I dove in I spent hours and hours and hours looking at how could I make a product that has 3000 reviews? How can I make this a winner. And when I was able to find that woman launched a product PPC launch, no Black Hat talk tactics page one position one, it all worked out because I had chosen a product from the best of the best filter it down had great ROI, you know, did a great PPC launch. And it just had the market fit to the differentiation. And it just it all shot straight to the top. And if you break those any one of those fundamental like principles, I guess you can say you immediately take a massive step back. And that’s when you’re fighting this uphill battle. And that’s where everything seems hard. And I’ve been on product launches since then that where I didn’t do those things. And I feel the uphill battle, right. And I’ve been on product launches now like the supplement I’m doing now, I literally did everything right. And I’m still an uphill battle because my competition is so fierce. And my differentiation is not strong enough. So I’m like, Ooh, how else can I do these things? So for me, I realized I failed my last product launch one, I do have a smaller budget, I have a 15k launch budget for competitors doing a million dollars a month in revenue as apply a little bit to lack of humility in terms of my skill set. So what I realized now is like, Okay, I have a close enough market fit but not completely. So I’m doing a massive rebrand right now and I’m hoping that will work. If not, then I’m just going to have to be okay with a smaller profit. But it won’t be like this, this big thing that I’ll be able to sell, I’m just gonna move on to the next product, which I might have to do. And I’m okay with it. Because I’m used to it. And I’m only used to it because I created the emotional strength to be like, Okay, it’s not working, let it go. Let me hit the next opportunity because very few people hit a homerun first time that

David 37:19
that I am glad that you’re saying that. Because I can tell you in my personal experience, if I launch 10 products, two of them are probably good. Three of them are okay, and five are duds. And that’s something like in we’ve been doing this for a while. And so it’s yes, sometimes yet things don’t pan out in, like you’re saying with Akos where people go in and they get discouraged. You know, that’s one thing when people are like, I launched one product, it didn’t work out. And so I stopped selling on Amazon, it’s like, oh, you’re just getting started, like in that that happens. There’s 100% guarantee if you do this long enough, you’re gonna launch a bad product that just doesn’t it just doesn’t work and you’re gonna have 10,000 of them in your basement. And so I appreciate you saying that so which leads me into my next question. Let’s let’s chat mindset so I’m known for podcasts I’ve listened to you on Sunday I’ve heard he talked about quite a bit my first question is Is this something that you believe you’re born with or develop

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Reggie Young 38:08
it’s something that you develop and that you choose to adopt I inherently believe that because I was the laziest kid you’ve ever met absolutely as his kid you ever met I just took for me it was just like pain and frustration have I realized now just not doing not realizing one identifying what I love and I’m so thankful I found like my obsession my passion which is business some of you will wait maybe Amazon sellers here because they want the financial freedom to raise a family to you know, whatever that is right. And I think only when that happens do you make the decision to be like hey, this is so much pain that I need to do better I need to do better and when you make that decision to do better it’s just my opinion I just bought learning and momentum learning and momentum so like I was to the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed at some points even when I had all the drive to go and like okay, like I don’t want to be you know, burning all the chips but I just got done with a failed relationship I just got done with a failed launch works kicking my ass I’m broke as hell you know? Where’s the motivation then? Where’s the routine then where’s this and that then right so even got to the point where I made a Spotify playlist shout out to my Spotify playlist reggiana.com For slash motivation and it got to the point where if I hit play and shuffle I swear after 10 minutes I was up out of bed and I was like working you know, so like buying systems find hacks find them in your life but then in your life in a way you kind of have to come across it and for me that can be as easy as like setting alarm twice a day one at 10am one at 4pm and that says Am I working on the highest thing or the most important thing right now? Am I happy and how do I just it’s just something like that you could do right now and set it for like infinity right like doesn’t repeat daily and I guarantee you that reminder is gonna put that little push in your life that that may just create that momentum that you need to keep moving forward

David 39:43
okay, okay very nice. Now for somebody say there is a lazy kid listening any any wants to improve his mindset as you’ve been working on developing your mindset. Have there been any books or podcasts that have really stood out in help you advance.

Reggie Young 40:01
I mean, we all love The Four Hour Workweek. I mean, the four hour workweek now is sick. I think it was made in 2007 A long time ago. So a lot of like the Econ tips and tricks are gonna be starting to seem super basic to someone first reading it, but the beginning portion of that book, he really hits on a lot of principles that I think helped break the programming of an employee, and you know, things like, hey, like, you don’t have to respond to every email, you know, like random things like that. Not everything is that your boss tells you is important, you know, what’s the 8020 rule like what you know, because employees are like, everything’s important, but like, as an entrepreneur, everything’s actually not important because you’re the one man shop, when you’re starting out, you gotta you gotta prioritize things. So in terms of books, like that’s kind of been that I haven’t read that many books. The books that I have read that have been impactful have been Deep Work by Cal Newport, which is basically like, hey, create a sense of great deep flow and defend at all costs. And here’s some foundation works on how you can do that to Tim Ferriss book, The Four Hour Workweek, he does have like, literally, like one or two chapters in there. They’re just like, absolute gold outside of that. It’s just, it’s just a hey, ask yourself, Hey, are you okay? With while you’re living right now? Are you okay? With how you’re living right now? Ask yourself that deeply. Are you okay? With how you’re living now, in our UK living that way for the rest of your life? You’re okay, fine. You don’t need to grow. You don’t need to like push yourself, you don’t need to be uncomfortable. But the more you can be uncomfortable, the more you can decide that this is not enough for you that you want more in life and that the pain isn’t enough, pick yourself up and just get to work. And if you can’t do that reggiana.com For slash motivation and hit play, and I don’t know about them, but for me, I can’t listen to everything for more than 30 minutes and want to get to work that’s just me personally. So hopefully

David 41:27
that helps. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, very nice. Ken anything else you want to touch on before we fire around?

Ken 41:33
No, I’m good at for everybody ever. guests. We have on the show. We have a fire on where we we run you through the wringer. Are you ready? Yeah, hit me. All right, what is your favorite book?

Reggie Young 41:44
My favorite book is called Mastery. I don’t know. It’s just like this guy who looked at his long beard. Get the knee it’s literally called nasty man. I was maybe I’ll try send you the link but that book may be like rethink a bunch of things. It’s nothing to do with business at all. It’s called Mastery. I think it’s it’s based on in terms of religion, it’s most closely related related to Sufi ism. I’m not a Sufi hissed at all. But I just I found it. The book very interesting kind of started this process of where I am in terms of mindset years ago, even though I don’t fully align with it. Awesome. That’s a new one.

Ken 42:13
What are your hobbies? My hobbies?

Reggie Young 42:15
It sounds super lame, and probably fake. But entrepreneurship, I’m always building something off to the side. I realized a long time ago, once I graduated university, and once I had my first failed business, that video games, which it used to be my obsession and passion, would you turn them off, you’re left with nothing, you’re left with nothing. But video games hits me off just as much. I don’t know. Like, boss bit lost that one thing you know, but it never paid me. And it pissed me off just as much. And when I when I build the business, and that becomes my hobby. It’s like you actually give yourself the opportunity to change your life. So I’m always like, you know, like, I built this journal. Like that’s, that was like the hobby I was doing, instead of watching Netflix, don’t be around us to watch 10 minutes or 30 minutes, maybe when I’m eating dinner just to kind of like, try and fully unplug. But I’m not watching eight hours as my hobby. I’m not doing these other things. This entrepreneurship, unfortunately, but thankfully for me is my hobby.

Ken 43:04
That’s awesome. What is the one thing that you do not miss about working for the man? One thing

Reggie Young 43:09
I do not miss working on that? I would say maybe more than one thing but working one I want what I want on what I want, wherever I want you don’t get that working for the men working when you want on what you want, wherever you want. I don’t know a job that allows that.

Ken 43:22
Yeah, that’s a good answer. Last one, what do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up fail or never get started?

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Reggie Young 43:29
Well, the fact that you said who gave up fail or never get started, I normally would say of people who fail who quit, right? When you quit, that’s when you actually fail. But and it’s the reason why I’m so sorry for plugging this thing. And I literally make 20 cents when somebody buys this. So this is not about money is journaling because journaling has some type of self reflection process. And it has some type of like slowdown again to like your body, like follow your intuition. Do a little bit of like 8020 rule, Eisenhower matrix, whatever, and then listlessly start your goals is take action on them. And let’s reflect a little bit. And I think the people that do that give themselves the opportunity to pivot and move direction and create momentum in their life. And I think I think it’s journaling. That’d be my answer. Cool.

Ken 44:06
I like that. Awesome. David, over to your close out the show.

David 44:09
Absolutely want to thank you for being a guest on the Firing the Man podcast. If our listeners want to get in touch with you or see some of the resources that we’ve talked about today, what would be the best way?

Reggie Young 44:20
Yeah, the easiest way to go to Reggie young.com forward slash Firing the Man from there you’ll you’ll basically be redirected to my vault and my vault in there. It was my promise. Once I sold my business that I would put everything I knew behind a course library with I literally have a ton of courses resources, not just Amazon, to help people legitimately start scale and sell their online business. And if for some reason, you’re not really ready to spend $18 for an amazing amount of value. You could click the free pop up and get my free course and free downloadable like Course Content PDF, which has so much value in it and it literally will help you with any stage that you’re at. Most people really love the Amazon checklist and the coupons that are in there.

David 45:01
Very nice. Very nice. Well, we are going to post links to all that in the show notes. But thanks again for being a guest and looking forward to staying in touch.

Reggie Young 45:09
Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. Everyone take care and best of luck before you go.

David 45:12
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 e commerce 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 https://maximizingecommerce.com/fire and connect with Kevin Sanderson today. Now, back to the show.

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