Starting an E-Commerce Business: Needs & Wants

Episode 67

Are you planning to start an eCommerce business? Well, you’ve come to the right podcast episode. Today, Ken and I made a deep dive discussion about it, which we divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the needs of a business such as business name, employee identification number, and business bank account. The second part is all about Wants. They’re not really required, but they can make your life–and business–a lot better. 

Listen to this episode and start your eCommerce journey! 

[00:01 – 05:07] Opening Segment

  • We introduce our topic for today
  • Start with your business name
    • What to consider in choosing a name

[05:08 – 10:03] Setting Up the Business 

  • Get an Employee Identification Number in 10 minutes  
    • Follow David’s tips 
  • Open a separate business bank account and checking account
    • How to get a 5% cashback on your PPC (Pay-Per-Click)? 
  • Product vs. Inventory
    • Listen to our exchange 

[10:04 – 16:10] Physical and Digital Assets 

  • The physical asset you should have for your business 
  • Backup your important files with a dedicated cloud storage 
    • You need internet access for this
  • Hear our thoughts about having a separate workspace
    • Can be a simple corner in your house 

[16:11- 20:17] Ways to Learn Business 

  • Is a mentor a need or a want? 
  • The other ways to learn your business 
  • Want some Amazon refunds? Check out Getida
    • Promo code: FTM400

[20:18- 26:37] Ergonomic Office Setup 

  • The Mercedes Benz of office chairs according to David 
  • The perks of having a dual monitor setup for Ken 
  • How to set up an ergonomic office set up
    • Link below

[26:38- 33:04] Ecommerce Hacks for Beginners 

  • Why have overflow storage for inventory? 
  • This is what David wished he has done earlier 
  • How to use product research tools for free for more than 30 days?

[33:05 – 39:04] Closing Segment 

  • Other physical assets you can buy 
  • Final words

Tweetable Quotes:

“If you’re stuck on [choosing a business name] and not moving forward, outsource it.” – Ken Wilson

“It’s a good way to skip to the head of the line…just get a mentor.” – David Schomer

Resources Mentioned:

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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? I came to the mentorship game a little late, I think. I tried to learn everything on my own through YouTube and podcasts. That works, but boy, it’s a good way to skip to the head of the line is just to get a mentor.

Ken 0:56
Don’t make any rash decisions and buying a ton of inventory if you don’t have a proven model that you can sell it. Go for the smaller, but have enough to ramp up I have enough cash flow in reserves to ramp up if it does go well. So Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, those are the big ones Pinterest, if TikTok makes sense, get it. LinkedIn if you’re b2b that would make sense. So yeah, whatever kind of makes sense, go out and grab them. Just reserve them you don’t need to set anything up at that point, just reserved the names and you’re ready to go, and then file with the USPTO.

Intro 1:31
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 1:56
Welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast. On today’s episode, we take a deep dive into what is needed to start an e commerce business. Now Ken, how many people have we talked to at various meetups or networking events that have said, I want to start my own business, but I just don’t know what I need to do?

Ken 2:14
Yeah, a lot. You know, and I think it’s information overload, when, you know, you just have all of this stuff flowing in, like, what do they use a fire hydrant right coming on. And so this episode we’ve put together it’s broken down into two parts. And we’ve kind of, you know, did a deep dive and put a big list of needs, and wants. And then you know, David, and I put some of our needs and our wants on here and to hopefully give a roadmap, or at least a rough breakdown of what you need, and maybe what you want, and what you might want to wait to get. So yeah, David.

David 2:52
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think the goal for this episode is to break down barriers, and to push people in the direction of starting their own e commerce business. The reason that we’re making the distinction between wants and needs, is, as you’ll hear later in the episode, the list of needs is very short. And you know, i’ll contrast an e commerce business with, say, a coffee shop, if you want to start a coffee shop, you need to have an espresso machine, you need to have rent on a building, you need to have employees, a cash register. To start an e commerce business, you need much less than that. And so I would say the barriers to entry are much lower. And so anyway, let’s just jump right into it. Number one, on the needs list, you need a business name. And we’ve talked about this on previous episodes, but you’re going to want to, you know, come up with a list of names. And then you know, go to uspto.gov and see if there’s any trademarks on them, you’re going to need to get, you know, a URL. So make sure that your business name, that URL is available. And go out onto social media and make sure all the the handles for your particular brand name are available. And Ken, you know when we were I was writing this up, I was thinking about when we were doing the firing the man podcast. I mean, how many names did we come up with?

Ken 4:08
It was a lot. It was a spreadsheet full of names. Yeah. So it is sometimes a daunting task. And but what you mentioned david, the USPTO, making sure that it’s available. And there’s actually so I actually used to service on Fiverr once, so to get business names. And they do all this verification, you know, they check USPTO they check domain names and social medias. And so if you’re stuck on that and not moving forward, outsource it because believe me, this is a step that a lot of people get stuck on.

David 4:44
Yeah, I think if I recall, when we were doing the podcast name, we set aside one week for brainstorming. And then the next week, we set a deadline and said we’re gonna have a decision made and I think that was the move because you can get kind of analysis paralysis in this stage of the game.

Ken 5:00
Yeah, absolutely. So to round it out, you know, like David mentioned the USPTO domain, you want to register whatever name you decide, before you decide and register it, make sure that domain is available and reserve it, I would recommend reserving it’s just a few bucks, get it reserved. And then social media accounts go and register for social media, whatever makes sense for your niche, you know, maybe all of them that you can think of, maybe you know, like, So Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, those are the big ones Pinterest, if TikTok makes sense, get it, LinkedIn, if you’re b2b, that would make sense. So yeah, whatever kind of makes sense, go out and grab them, just reserve them, you don’t need to, you don’t have to set anything up at that point, just reserve the names. And you’re ready to go, and then file with the USPTO.

David 5:50
So number two on the needs list is the EIN, employee identification number. And you can get one of these from the IRS website, you know, this would be like setting up your LLC. And this may seem like an intimidating step to some people. But if you type into YouTube, get LLC on IRS website, there’s a bunch of videos that’ll walk you through it, it is literally from start to finish a 10 minute process. If this is intimidating to you, use a company like LegalZoom. I think they charge about 200 bucks. But this employee identification number is going to be kind of like the social security number for the business. It’s the unique identifier and as you register with Amazon or other sales channels, that’s going to be a requirement is to have that EIN.

Ken 6:34
Yeah, absolutely. And so I’ll share my experience with these. And so I use Legal Zoom for one of my entities. And I think it was, you know, I got all the bells and whistles. And I think it was like 400 bucks or 450. And I got all these like binders and little seals and all this other stuff, stuff you don’t need. But yeah, the bare minimum, if this is an intimidating step for you LegalZoom couple 100 bucks, get it done. Now on future businesses that I opened, David showed me the website to go and register. And you know, it took 10 minutes, it literally took 10 minutes. So this isn’t, it’s not complicated, I was able to do it. So you’re gonna be able to do it. So yeah, you can go either route, but it’s pretty easy.

David 7:16
Number three on the list is a business bank account and a credit card. And Ken, I’m curious what your experiences have been here, is this something you did right away?

Ken 7:25
It is. You know, I did to an extent, I had some stuff on personal credit card. So I had to, like I had to unwind that after about six months. But pretty early on, I opened a business bank account, and used everything there. I used my personal card for about six months, and then I opened a business card, and so I had all those integrated. But yeah, this is crucial. Something as early as possible, you should get so you don’t mix your personal and your business finances.

David 7:57
It just makes life easier. And while we’re on this topic, I’m going to post in our show notes, a link to chase Inc. and this is in terms of cashback for e commerce companies, I haven’t found a better card. And what I really like about them is they get 5% back on PPC spend, which that is over the lifetime of your business, especially if you’re on Amazon, you’re going to spend a tremendous amount of money on PPC and man 5%. cashback that’s, you’re essentially getting a 5% discount on all your keywords, which could be the difference between say an acos of 25% and an acos of 20.

Ken 8:32
Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll second that make sure so you know, check the show notes, go click on the link of the chase ink business card. And that process is pretty easy. One Pro tip is to make sure you use your business, you know your business name and business address on there and the approval will be a lot easier. But if you’re selling on Amazon, you know, put that credit card into your advertising account like what account to charge your advertising to it’s a separate setting, some people don’t do it. And you know, I’ve traveled for free the last couple of years by these credit card points. And so this is definitely something that you should be looking into. So yeah, the link will be in the show notes for the chase business Inc.

David 9:16
Number four would be a product or inventory, right? You need to sell something and if you’re in the digital product space, this would not you know, you would still need a product right your digital product, but this is something that you know, out of the gate you should reserve some funds for your first inventory purchase. And one thing that I routinely do on first time orders is I will ask the supplier, I will see what their minimum order quantity is. And some suppliers will say Listen, if you want to buy this from us, you got to buy 5000 units. And you know if you’re rolling the dice and aren’t really sure if that product is going to sell, you know it’s better to have 500 sitting in your basement than 5000 if this doesn’t work and so any other thoughts on this?

Ken 10:00
Yeah, absolutely. So this is I think probably one of the most important pieces of this is, if you have a physical product business, you need physical products. And so this should be high on your list of, if you’re doing some kind of a planning document on how much money you’ll need, this should be high on there, and the more inventory you can purchase, it’s going to help you scale quicker. But like David said, you have to, you know, this is kind of a more of a sweet science, and you have to test it. And definitely don’t make any rash decisions and buying a ton of inventory if you don’t have a proven model that you can sell it. Go for the smaller, but have enough to ramp up have enough cash flow, and reserves to ramp up if it does go well.

David 10:45
Number five on the needs list is a computer. And you know, when I think of hard assets required to run one of these businesses, you got to have a computer. And but really, that’s it, you know, going back to my example, about a coffee shop, you know, needing an espresso machine and cash register and your computer serves a lot of those functions. And you can do really everything you need on your computer. Now, for those of you just getting into this, please know that you don’t need to go out and buy a brand new computer. I think when I started I was using a five year old MacBook Pro, when you started what were you running?

Ken 11:19
Yeah, I think I was using an old laptop that I just had laying around. So it was not super powerful. I did wind up upgrading it today using a Lenovo ideapad. You know, just the other day you and I had a discussion on like, you know what you just said a laptop is like kind of the core of your business, especially if you’re agile, and you’re moving around commuting. And so this is something that I would, I would definitely consider getting a higher end business laptop, something powerful that can function for a while with what you’re doing, because this is the core of your business, and you don’t want to be sitting looking at a screen with the circle that’s spinning all day.

David 11:58
Absolutely, you know, a carpenter has a hammer, and we have our computers. And that’s what we go to market with. And so anyway, I would say, I do like having a nice computer, I’m on it, you know, eight to 10 hours every day. And so I like having a nice computer. However, if you don’t have a computer, and you’re just getting into this and funds are tight, and you had the option of buying a $2,000 computer, or a $200, like a Chromebook, and then taking the remaining 1800 and spending it on inventory. I think you’d be money ahead doing that. If I look at what I use on my computer, I use Microsoft Word, Excel and the internet. I mean, there’s some other programs that I use, but that’s the core of what I’m using this for. And so anyway, yeah, that’s, you know that is a need that is a need for your business. Number six. Now, before I tell you what it is, I want you to know, I debated heavily whether this belongs in needs or wants. And I purposefully have put it in needs. And that is Dedicated Cloud Storage. You know, Ken, what, you’re the network engineer, what are your thoughts here?

Ken 11:59
Yeah, no I agree with you. It is it’s a need. And the reason that I think it’s a need is because it’s super cheap. You know, like with Google Drive, that’s the service that I use. And I believe when you sign up for a Gmail account, you get like I can’t remember, I think it’s maybe 100 gigs for free. And then you can get I think it’s a terabyte for 99 cents. I could be misspeaking, but it’s cheap, you get free, you sign up for a Gmail account, and you get free cloud storage on Google Drive. And then it’s 99 cents upgrade for more storage. And so the reason I say this is a need is I store all of my crucial files, like anything that runs my business, I store on the Google Drive. And so if my laptop if I was at the coffee shop, and I dropped my laptop and it broke, I could go get a new one log into Google Drive. All my documents are there. Now if you know same thing if your house burns down whatever. Having your business documents on the cloud is crucial.

David 14:11
Number seven is internet access. And this one’s pretty self explanatory. But you spend, you know, if you’re an online business, you need access to the internet. I’m not sure if there’s really a whole lot more to say on this topic. Number eight would be a dedicated space for your work. And this is something you know whether it’s a spare bedroom, whether it’s a corner in your basement, it is good to have a spot where you can work on this business consistently. What are your thoughts here ken?

Ken 14:37
Yeah, absolutely. And back to that internet access just because I’m a network engineer, and I’m a massive Elon Musk fan, starlink if you’re let’s say you’re in rural Montana or you’re somewhere where you cannot get a quick internet access, you know, you don’t have access to it. starlink is opening up in certain areas. I think it’s 99 bucks and you can get like 130 meg, and for anybody that doesn’t know what starlink is, it’s Elon Musk’s, I think it’s a division of SpaceX. And they launched I think they’re launching a total of 10,000 satellites, they have, I think, I believe they have 1000 in the air now. And it’s creating, basically a web a satellite constellation that will cover the entire earth with broadband internet. And then, so it’s 99 bucks for a really fast connection.

David 15:23
That’s wild. Yeah, I’m glad that you mentioned that. Because, you know, like, I live in kind of a rural area, and we ended up having to pay like $3,000, to have a line run directly to our house. And, you know, the alternative was the satellite companies where, you get so much data per month, and you watch one Netflix show, and you’ve cashed in on all of your data for the month. And so, yeah, that’s a good move for people that are living in a rural area.

Ken 15:51
Yeah, absolutely. Now, back to the original one, the dedicated space for your work, I like this, and on a couple of different levels, one, it will make you more productive, right. And so if you don’t have a dedicated space, now, this is something like you can do without, but it’s something that would help you be way more productive. And the other reason is, I like to have a separation of like my work area, and then my relax area. And so if you have it all in one space, then you can’t, it’s tough to switch your body and say, Hey, I’m going into relax mode, if you’re sitting at your work desk, you know, so, if possible, try to have a dedicated space, even if like if you live in an efficiency apartment or something, maybe just like one corner of it. And then that’s kind of your workspace, and the rest of it is your area to kind of relax and have your own personal time. But yeah, no matter where you are, I think a dedicated space for work is important.

David 16:52
What’s the next one Ken?

Ken 16:53
Yeah, so the next one is a mentor. And there’s a couple of different things that go with this. But having a mentor, David, and I always say if you want to get somewhere, find someone that’s been there and ask them how they got there, right. So if you want to start a physical products business selling on Amazon and e commerce, you need to find someone that’s done that and go ask them how they did it. And so I do not recommend paying for a mentor if you’re just starting out. But something that I’ve learned along the way, and from David is you can find someone that’s in your space, that’s somewhere where you want to get and they know the knowledge that you want to know, you can just go to them and ask them, if you can trade your time, if you can work for them for free, if they’ll mentor you, and usually you can find people that will you know, they’ll say, Okay, yeah, if you want to do this for 10 hours a week, then I’ll spend, you know, a couple hours a week coaching you or whatever, work out some kind of an agreement, you can get a free mentor that way.

David 17:49
Absolutely. And you know, I think that mentorship is one of those things that people often don’t think about. But you know, if someone came to me and said, you know, I’ll shovel your driveway, I will do anything to talk with you for an hour a week, most likely, I’m gonna give that person a shot, right. And, you know, if you look at your body of skills, you’ve got something to offer up, everybody’s got something to offer up and so, you know, I came to the mentorship game a little late, I think. I tried to learn everything on my own through YouTube and podcasts and that works. But, boy, it’s a good way to skip to the head of the line is just to get a mentor.

Ken 18:27
Yeah, absolutely. And on that note, like, as we’re talking about knowledge, you know, there’s two other things that come to mind books, like books they’ve played a massive role in David, you and I learning what we have, and helping us progress. And books are cheap, you know, like, I have an audible subscription, it’s like 10 bucks a month or something. And, you know, that’s super cheap. You can buy books on Amazon, they’re super cheap, go to library free books, right? This kind of brings me to the next point, of course, so we talked about it all the time, you know, if you want to get somewhere find someone that’s been there and ask them how they did it. Same thing with a course, you know, there’s a lot of great courses out there. And there’s a lot of, you know, horrible courses out there that they’re predatory. And they’re going to take your money and not really teach you a lot. So, you know, I’ve seen courses 5000 10,000 they promise you, you know, hand holding everything else, I would never spend more than $1,000 on a beginner level course. And before I’ve bought, you know, I’ve probably bought six or eight courses in the last five years and before I buy any course unless, if it’s under $100 I’ll buy a course without doing a lot of research on it. But if it’s an expensive course i’m going to follow that person for a while and research and watch their YouTube channel and see how they’re interacting and see if they know what they’re talking about before I pull the trigger on that, but I definitely think a course is the way to go. You can pay for knowledge that someone else has and you can get it quick and you can do it on your own pace.

David 20:03
Absolutely, I would second that, I would second that for sure. Sorry to interrupt the episode, you may have heard Ken and I talking recently about a new tool that we’re using for Amazon refunds. Now I have used other refund tools like this. However, I can tell you in the first seven days, they scrubbed it, the back end of my Amazon account going back 18 months, and found $5,000 of refunds. And the nice thing about this is, it’s my money, Amazon made a mistake, and they are just auditing my account. The other thing I really like about this tool is there is no monthly fee, they only charge a commission, if they are successful in getting you your money. Go to getida.com GETIDA and enter promo code FTM for firing the man FTM 400. This is an awesome tool. I can’t say enough good things about it. Now back to the episode. All right, part two of the episode wants, and we’re gonna go deep here on a couple very specific items, you know, are these something that you need to start a business no, but they’re gonna make your life more enjoyable. And they’re things that Ken and I have acquired over the last couple years. And we really like them. So number one, a comfortable office chair, I’m sure some of you have heard sitting is the new smoking. And, you know, I think there’s something to that, you know, we were not made to sit for eight to 10 hours, you know, in a row. And you know, I’m gonna, I’m not sponsored by them. Boy would I love to be sponsored by them. But Herman Miller, this is my opinion, it’s the Mercedes Benz of office chairs, it’s ergonomic. It breathes, it’s just, it’s a wonderful chair. And to be totally honest with you, I think I paid around 1000 bucks for it. And some people may say 1000 bucks for a chair? That’s really expensive. And you’re right, but I’ll tell you what cost per minute of being, I mean, I spend most of my waking hours in that chair. And so it is just nice to have it. Ken, what are you running for an office chair?

Ken 22:07
Yeah, I have a Herman Miller. And, I definitely agree with you, David, it is worth it. You know, same thing with your bed, are you gonna you know, have a junky bed to sleep in, you spend a third of your life in the bed. Same thing with the chair, if you’re running a business, you’re spending a good amount of time in a chair. And you know, I think it’s just like putting food in your body is it gonna give you enough energy to last throughout the day, same thing with a chair, if you have a shitty chair, and it hurts your back or your butt, you’re moving around and you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to be as efficient and work as hard. And so like you said, you know, cost per minute of that. It’s a really, really good investment if you have the money, but it’s definitely a want.

David 22:50
Absolutely, you know, and there’s a couple items on this list, as we go through that are comfortable items, right, that they make your life more comfortable. And, you know, I think I could make a business case for why you should have a Herman Miller, you know, we all have actually, this happened to me last night, I was in my office at about 730, I was getting kind of squeamish, but there’s a couple things I wanted to finish up. And so I said, All right, I’m just gonna power through the next half hour. And typically, that’s how a business day will end is, you know, you can’t sit still any longer or your back starts to hurt or whatever. And so I think the more comfortable you can be in your office, the more time you’re going to spend there. And as a result, the more work you’re going to get done. And so, you know, I’ve had a lot of evenings where I’ve pushed that extra half hour. And that’s been a positive ROI activity. And I think one of the reasons that I’ve been able to push that extra half hour is because I was sitting in a comfortable chair.

Ken 23:47
Yeah, absolutely, I think you could probably make a really good business case for that. Same thing with the next one on the list number two dual monitors. I’ve been running dual monitors for, I think two years now. And I used to just have, so this is my setup, I have a PC, I have a laptop, and then I have dual monitors. And so the PC is connected to one monitor and then the laptop is connected to the second monitor with an extended display desktop. And so that’s kind of my setup, and for me it’s easy to switch back and forth and get more done I can use now I do a 32 inch monitors and so I can you know if I’m doing graphics are on Canva or whatever or you know watching a video or something I can do it on the large screen and have more space but for me, like I get more accomplished versus staring at like a 14 inch laptop screen versus having you know, two massive 32 inch dual monitors. What do you think David?

David 24:49
You know, it’s funny. Do you remember that show Pimp My Ride?

Ken 24:53
Yeah.

David 24:53
So they would be like Alright, this Cadillacs rolling on 24s and so to kind of take that same lingo, I’m running dual 27s in my office and it’s a good fit. It’s a good fit. And I’ll tell you one thing that I’ve looked at, and I think probably sometime in the next couple years is that I’ll invest in is those wraparound gaming monitors. There’s something about that, that just looks cool. And I don’t know, what do you think?

Ken 25:22
Yeah, so I’m not sure what you mean by wraparound? So I have curved 32s? Is that what you mean?

David 25:26
Yeah. Curved ones, you’ve got curved ones.

Ken 25:29
Yeah, so I’m running curved 32s, David. So yeah, they are very cool.

David 25:38
For sure, for sure.

Ken 25:39
And, you know, I mean, you might think that they’re super expensive. But I believe I paid like 275 bucks, they’re a cert 32 inch monitors, and they’re curved.

David 25:48
So kind of continuing with this desk theme, is take some time and set up your desk to be ergonomically correct. And I’m going to post a link in the show notes. But the Wall Street Journal did an excellent video on how to set up your desk so your spine is straight, so you don’t get a sore neck. And this really isn’t in an investment in anything, and it has very practical advice. For instance, you know, when you reach your hands out, you should be able to touch your screen, here’s where your mouse should go, here’s where your keyboard should go, your knees should be at a right angle. And, you know, typically desks are one size fits all. And I’m a taller guy, and I ended up you know, raising my desk by about two inches. And, you know, early on, I just found a couple books and wedged them under there. But, you know, going along with this comfort thing, I think if you get your desk to fit you, and you set things up, ergonomically, you’re just going to be you’re going to feel better, you’re going to get more work done, you’re going to spend more time working.

Ken 26:51
Yeah, I totally agree. And I think this is something that’s on this list right here that it doesn’t cost any money. And if you can set up your space to where it’s more ergonomic, and you can get more hours out of your day. And it’s free? Yeah, you know, why not? And so this link will be, the YouTube link for this wall street journal video it’ll be in the show notes. So take a peek at that and pick up some, you know, some free tips on making your work day better for you.

David 27:19
Number four on the wants is overflow storage for inventory. And it seems like, you know, everybody runs into this at some point, you know, they’ll either have a huge order from China that they can’t send all of it in Amazon warehouses or whatever. But, Ken you’ve seen my basement, it looks like a warehouse. I’ve seen your garage at times, it’s looked like a warehouse. And you need some space for those types of instant add ons. What do you think?

Ken 27:42
Yeah, I definitely agree. And I would have never thought this like when I first started this business, you know, four years ago, and it’s like, but yeah, over time. And you know, last year with COVID, I had to get my, you know, when I first started, I started doing retail arbitrage. And so I had a lot of this packing materials and tape guns and I put them up for a while and then COVID hit last year, and I got them all back out and started doing fbm. And so yeah, this will come in handy over time, you never know when you need it. And this stuff, it’s not that expensive to get this stuff going, the supplies you need. And most everyone, you know, will have some storage, you know, in your basement, your garage, you know, whatever. Unless you’re, you know, unless you’re running more than $5 million, and have your own warehouse like this is almost something that you have to have.

David 28:30
Number five is a virtual assistant. And this is something that I think, I wish personally, I would have done earlier, I wish I would have hired a VA earlier. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a virtual assistant is basically an assistant that you’re not sitting under the same roof. So if you look at your tasks that you do throughout a day, you know, typically there’s very hard critical thinking tasks. And then there’s like some fairly easy but repetitive tasks. And those easy repetitive tasks are the ones that I like to sub out to a VA. And there’s a lot of good websites out there that you can hire somebody, you know, onlinejobs.ph, you can hire people from the Philippines, you can, you know, Fiverr, Upwork, there’s a lot of people that you can hire from those websites. And what I’ll say is, you don’t have to hire them full time or even halftime, you know, they can be one off projects. So for instance, like, if you’re not good at Photoshop, you can hire somebody to do Photoshop for you. And so if there’s a task that you don’t know how to do, and you’re, you know, I did this with Photoshop, I took a class on Photoshop, I bought the program, and you know, come to find out I could have hired someone on Fiverr for like $5 a photo, and the end product would have been way better. And so, you know, I would say it doesn’t need to be a full time VA but you know, look at the tasks. If you divide tasks into two groups, ones that are heavy and you hate doing and ones that are light, meaning that they’re easy to do, right? You don’t mind doing them? Take those heavy tasks and sub them out to somebody. And I think everybody should do that earlier on than they generally do.

Ken 30:11
Yeah, so my follow up to that, I would agree with that, and a couple of tips I wish I would have hired earlier than I did. And like you mentioned, you can, I would definitely recommend testing, you know, go into Fiverr go into Upwork, and test out, you know, put a couple of tasks or projects that you need done, that you’re not super good at, put them on there and pay. And then you know, you can go through that experience and see what it’s worth and see what it’s like. But yeah, onlinejobs.ph, there’s a lot of agencies that offer virtual assistants, and you can get them part time, you know, test experiment with them. At the end of the day, like everybody, you know, if you’re working a full time job, you have a corporate job, you have, you know, 40 hours, 50 hours, you’re working there, and then you got your family time, like what is your time worth, right. So if you’re making, you know, 25 bucks an hour, 50 bucks an hour, 100 bucks an hour, whatever it is, that’s what your time is worth, right? For me, like editing a video, like, it would probably take me eight hours to edit a video, right? And if my time was worth $25 an hour, well, that’s a couple 100 bucks, that’s 200 bucks. If I can find somebody on Fiverr to edit that for 30 bucks, well, then that just buys me an hour of time for 30 bucks. Right? So you got to think about it on that level too. Especially if you have a full time corporate job and you’re making money and that’s kind of what it’s worth. So give that a thought and definitely test out virtual assistant earlier on if you can, if you’re able to.

David 31:41
product research tools, such as Jungle Scout or helium 10. There’s a bunch of them out there. And these are two that I’ve used and am familiar with, you know, the tools are they help with product research, but you know, you take helium 10, for instance, they have a tool called profits, they’ve got a suite of tools that generally just make life easier. And so is this something that you need right out of the gate? No, but I’ll tell you what, most of these have 30 day free trials, and use them, use them. Get yourself five Gmail addresses. And there you go, you got five months of free trials. And so, you know, I personally, right now I’m using helium 10. And I think that’s it in terms of tools like this. And the reason, you know, I have noticed that these can be a cash flow suck on a business, and you know, recurring monthly charges. And so, you know, I have found that there are times where I’m using it a lot. And then there are some months where I may not even log in, and so. But this, you know, I think I would still categorize this as a want and not a need.

Ken 32:44
Yeah, I agree. And in terms of that, you can use a 30 day free trial, like these are tools that you need to have to be able to competitively sell products on Amazon. But the free trial will will do exactly what you need. I’ve used Yeah, the same ones, Jungle Scout, helium, 10, viral launch I’ve used them all, they all have about the same tools, they all compete, they’re all pulling the same data, they just do it in a little bit of a different way. If you want a discount, we have discounts on our resources page, go to the website, firingtheman.com, go to the resources page, we have links to all these with whatever discounts, you know, whatever discounts we’re able to get, you know, definitely try the free trials and see what they’re like. But yeah, this definitely, as you alluded to, David, this will be a constant challenge as you get deeper into your ecommerce journey is software’s. There’s a new fancy software every time you turn a corner, and they add up quick. So moving on, David, what’s the next one?

David 33:47
DSLR camera and LED light box. And this is something so I do not have a DSLR camera, but I do have an LED light box. And I use these for product photography. This is something you know, the setup that I’m running is I think it was like a $99 Amazon basics, obviously put a link to it in the show notes. But it’s an LED light box. And so I have a lot of different skews. And so I do my own photography. Now I do not have a DSLR camera. But what I use is, I have an iPhone, I think I have an iPhone 10. But if you download the Amazon seller app, they have a product photo studio, and it takes amazing pictures and it gives you that all white background, and you can mess around with the contrast and the brightness and stuff. And so I’ve been using that and that’s been working great, you know, a DSLR camera, you know, I would imagine probably does a little better job. I’m not a camera guy. So I don’t know, I do know a couple sellers that do their own product photography. And that’s what they’re running. So any thoughts on this?

Ken 34:50
Yeah, so I am not good with cameras at all. So I do not have either of these, but I would definitely consider them a want in terms of you could hire out your own pictures, but definitely something later on, if you’re good at this, and this is what you like to do, then it’s worth investing in, if you’re in it for the long term.

David 35:09
Alright, what’s the next one,

Ken 35:11
Number eight whiteboard or vision board, I have two of these up in my office. And these are really important for me, it’s a super cheap, you know, I think I paid maybe 15 20 bucks a piece on them, and I use them a lot like to get my thoughts out, and put it on, whenever I write something down, it does two things. One, I’m able to get it out of my head, and I can free up space for something else. And two, I usually will take action on something that I write down, if it’s thoughts floating around in my head, then it’s like, I can hide it. But if I write it on something, I can’t hide it anymore, it’s right there in front of my face.

David 35:50
Absolutely, you know, I have a whiteboard in my office, and there’s something you know, if I write something on a post it, I can lose the post it or you know, it can get tucked away, or if I put something in a notebook, I can close the notebook. But when it’s on my whiteboard, I am forced to look at it every day. And you know, I just think long term, it’s a good play. It’s good to put your goals up there. And so I think overall, it’s helped me stay more organized. And you know, I’ll put stuff up there that I’m referencing pretty frequently.

Ken 36:20
So the next one number nine, dedicated notebook, that’s super cheap, go to any office supply store. But it’s something to keep your thoughts in one spot.

David 36:31
Absolutely. And I’m going to nerd out a little bit on this one, there is a and again, I’ll post a link in the show notes. But there is it’s called an a6 notebook. And it’s it is small leather notebook that has bindings in it. So you can take pages in and out. And so I really like that, because when I fill up a notebook, I can’t do anything with it, right? It’s just full. But there are like I have in my notebook I have, I’ve been using the same notebook for like four years. And I have like a couple pages with tabs on them that say, you know, ideas, and I don’t want those to get lost in an old notebook. So, you know, every three or four months, I’ll fill that sucker up. And then I’ll go back through. And any like scratch paper or, you know, miscellaneous things I wrote in it, I’ll take those out and replace them with blank sheets. And I really like that, if you’re gonna have a notebook, have one with binder clips in it. That way you can add and remove pages is my opinion.

Ken 37:26
That is a next level binder tip, I’ve never heard that.

David 37:30
Leave it to the nerdy CPA to have a favorite notebook.

Ken 37:35
All right, then moving on, the next one I’ve got is a leg lamp or something that will make your space more comfy and make you want to be there and you know, just enjoy your environment, whether it’s a leg lamp, like what I have, or whatever else makes you comfortable and enjoy your space. I think it’s important to like your workspace and to feel comfortable there. So, you know, maybe it’s a, you know, a bamboo shelf or, you know, a salt lamp or a small water fountain, whatever, whatever makes you comfy and enjoy your space. I think that’s important.

David 38:13
Absolutely. You know, I’m running dual Himalayan salt rock lamps right now. And the good vibes and energy that that brings in to my office is, I mean just there’s positive ions anywhere. If you walk in, you’re gonna get hit in the face with positive ions. So this wraps up the episode needs and wants for your ecommerce business. Whether you’re just getting started or you have an established business, I hope that you took away some pro tips. And we mentioned quite a few products. And so I will post links to all of those in the show notes. Thanks, everyone for tuning in. And we’ll see you next week. Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s firing the man podcast. If you like 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 39:29
and Ken Wilson. We’re out.

David 39:46
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai