Are you an entrepreneur through-and-through? A die-hard workaholic? A pick yourself up by the bootstraps type of go-getter? Then you’re probably a “do everything” person. You take your own phone calls, build your own websites, do your own books, run your business day-in and day-out. While it’s true that do-ers are the lifeblood of entrepreneurship, you’ll never grow your business beyond a side hustle without outsourcing. Take it from Trent Dyrsmid, an e-commerce success story who went from zero to $100,000 in monthly sales with the help of standard operating procedures.
The Impact of SOPs
Amazon wholesale is a lead-generating business. That means, to grow your business, the majority of your time should be focused on calling suppliers and securing those leads. The key to Dyrsmid’s success was out-producing his competitors. To do so, he outsourced most of his day-to-day work and called suppliers up to six times per day, every day, working on growing his leads until he landed a $60,000 account.
Positioning & Authority
How did Dyrsmid generate those leads? He attributes his success to proper positioning and authority. To begin, Trent spent time with suppliers to understand what their problems were. Then, he condensed those problems into keywords and splashed them across his website. Finally, he proved he was the man to solve these problems with his solid online presence, glowing testimonials, and a button asking visitors to schedule a call.
All credibility takes is asking a smaller brand to let you take on one of their lagging products for free to prove to them that you’re an effective seller or to at least secure a rave review.
Keep your business Top Of Mind. Make sure you have Facebook Pixel installed on your website so you can cheaply retarget visitors. Remember, initial rejection doesn’t mean final rejection. Your point of contact might change jobs and the company may reconsider your business, especially if you’re hitting them with retargeting ads. Also consider AdRoll and Perfect Audience.
After six months on Amazon, Trent had no day-to-day role in his business. How? Above all, he delegated. Trent looked at every repeatable process in his business that didn’t call for years of training to complete. He then created clear instructions to help others take on those processes. Trent is a big fan of personal assistants and mostly outsources VAs from The Philippines.
Many come to Trent wishing they could implement SOPs and grow an online business, but are simply downtrodden with full-time jobs and families. To that, Trent recites the great entrepreneurial quote, “do what others won’t to achieve what others can’t.” If you want something badly enough, you’ll find the time to achieve your goals.
For access to Trent’s free Amazon business-specific SOPs or to search his entire library of templates, check out brightideas.co/eap. And always remember, if you refuse to outsource, your income will always be capped at the time your day-to-day operations take up throughout the day. That extra time will buy you great big ideas and a bigger business.
Resources From This Episode
- Trent’s podcast
- Flowstar, Trent’s business process improvement software system
- The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
- Facebook Pixel
- Perfect Audience
- Promo codes for Trent’s SOPs
Outline of This Episode
[00:18] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[07:50] The importance of SOPs in a lead-generating business
[09:47] How to position yourself for success
[20:22] How to keep your business Top Of Mind for suppliers
[30:21] How to make effective delegation decisions
[36:33] Why there are no excuses in entrepreneurship
[49:01] Todd’s closing thoughts
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the Amazon Seller School podcast where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an eCommerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host, Todd Welch.
What’s up everybody? Welcome to episode number 13 of the Amazon Seller School podcast. Today I have on the show Trent Dyrdsmid and you are going to want to pay attention to this one because we really dive into what makes an Amazon business tick and how Trent went from zero to $100,000 in sales per month in less than a year, very quickly. And he was able to do it by systematizing his businesses and we break that down as to the process that he went through and how you can do the exact same thing. So if you’re looking to build an Amazon business from scratch, stay tuned to this episode, or if you already have an Amazon business and you’re looking to grow it, you’re definitely going to stay tuned as well. Now if you want to check out the show notes of this episode and all the links that we talk about, including getting those free standard operating procedures that you’re definitely gonna want to get from Trent, head on over to amazonseller.school/13 since this is episode 13 and if you’re on iTunes, make sure you leave us a review over there or on whatever platform you are on.
I will be sure to read those in future episodes as well and I would really appreciate it. Help us grow the podcast, grow the community as well. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into this episode. All right, everybody. Welcome to another episode and today is going to be a great one. Today I have Trent Dyrsmid. He’s a serial entrepreneur, husband and a father and in addition to hosting the bread ideas podcast, which is a great podcast, by the way, you’re definitely gonna check that out. He’s the founder of a company called Flowster, a business process improvement application used by thousands of businesses around the globe. And in fact his company was ranked 254th on the 2019 Inc. 5,000 which is a big deal. It’s really awesome. And he’s ranked one of America’s fastest growing companies. So Trent, I really appreciate you coming on the podcast. Why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and about your Amazon background as well.
Sure. Todd, thank you so much for having me on the show. So I’ve been an entrepreneur for a very long time. I founded my first company in 2001 in 2008 I sold it for just around $1.2 million and that was a real life changer for me because I grew up in a pretty much a dirt poor family where nobody ever went to college. Nobody ever really amounted to much of anything in their career and I really wanted to get out of the poor house and that was really my first success, so to speak. And from there I went on this journey that’s now been, you know, just slightly over a decade of trying to figure out, well how can I create, a really incredible lifestyle by building a business or businesses online. And so the bright ideas podcast has been a huge part of that journey and that led me accidentally into the business of Amazon wholesale, which I started off in the summer of 2016.
And because I’m very, very, very focused on systems and delegating work that I don’t want to do to other people, particularly virtual assistants, I was able to grow that business really quickly. We went from zero to over a hundred thousand dollars a month in just five months. We we did a couple of million in our first year and ultimately that company has helped us to get that Inc. 5,000 ranking that you mentioned when you introduced me. And that’s been then that led to a whole bunch of other things, which I’m sure we’ll probably talk a little bit more about as we get through the interview, but it’s been a phenomenal ride to say the least.
Yeah, for sure. So that very first business that you started and sold for, how much was it?
One point two, what was that business in ?
And it’s still in business to this day. It’s an I.T. services company called Dyrand, dyrand.com.
And when we started it there didn’t, there wasn’t really an industry term for what it is now. It’s called a managed service provider or MSP. And basically what we did was rather than have people drive around in cars and go fix computers in the companies of our clients, like in their office, we figured out how to connect through the internet and remotely control the computers, which is how it’s done today. But back in 2001 it was not very common and we would remotely administer servers and apply patches and do security monitoring and backups and a bunch of stuff that I had no idea how to do any of that stuff by the way. So I guess the first takeaway there for people is don’t let lack of knowledge necessarily be a limiter about what business you might get into. In my case, I solved that problem by finding a cofounder who is technical and could do the work and I figured out I could market it and sell it, which is exactly what happened.
And so that was you know, as I mentioned, I didn’t go to college and so that was kinda like my undergraduate and graduate degree, all sort of in business, all wrapped up in a nice eight year bow and I learned a great deal. Probably the biggest thing that I learned was the value of creating business processes systems or standard operating procedures is they are commonly referred to. And that happened largely because I struggled for a long time to get that business to achieve profitability. And as a part of my journey, I read Michael Gerber’s book called The E Myth. I learned all about the importance of hey, if I’m the CEO I should work on the business and not so much in the business. And that really, really stuck with me. One, because I saw the results that it achieved for many other people too because I saw the results that it had started to achieve for us.
And three, because I honestly, I loathe having to do the day to day stuff over and over and over again. It’s just not my thing. I’ll do it all in the beginning. But most of the like same with the Amazon business was a perfect example. So sourcing products, using the wholesale model on Amazon requires you do the same thing over and over and over and over like thousands of times and it’s mind numbingly boring. And so I figured out, okay, well I’m going to do this one time so that I can create a document, which in the beginning was just a Google doc. It’s evolved much more than that now. And now it lives in with the software company that I created. But in the beginning it was just Google and I wrote detailed instructions on how to do each step of the sourcing process as I was doing the sourcing process.
Cause I never wanted to do it again cause it’s just so mind numbingly boring and repetitive. And and so then I would hire virtual assistants to follow these instructions and do the thing. And because I had the ability then to tap into so much more labor capacity than I would have if I was just sitting at my desk doing the thing we were, that was the primary driver of why we grew so quickly. Because in the wholesale business, even though it’s a quote unquote e-commerce business, it’s really just a lead generation business. It’s like B2B sales because you’re looking for suppliers that you can reach out to start a conversation with. And ultimately if the conversation goes in the correct direction, you’ll form a relationship with them. It’s not really any different than being a marketing agency looking for clients. The difference is instead of, you know, sending them an invoice for however many hours I worked on their account, I make my money by buying and reselling their inventory.
And so we simply out produced our competitors. And what I mean by that is we generated more leads. We send more emails. I book more appointments in my calendar in the beginning, that’s all I would do for six months. I just talked to suppliers that slotted themselves into my calendar and I would talk to three, four or five suppliers a day, day after day after day after day after day after day. And enough for them said yes that we secured enough product lines that we were able to grow the at the high rate that we were able to grow at.
Perfect. So real quick and it sounds like we have actually a similar background, I wasn’t nearly as successful as you, but my first company was a company called TC-TEKS computers in the same space as you were at. And I ran that for about 10 years and sold that to one of our employees. I unfortunately didn’t get a several million dollars, but just about like $30,000, but I got paid for a job basically. But interesting that we have that in common. But so on the Amazon stuff, what you say, one thing I think I want to point out there is that you talked to them, you actually picked up the phone, you just didn’t send out a thousand emails and hope that people would let you open their accounts. You were setting up appointments. So what was that process like? How did you get them to set up those phone calls with you?
Well it comes first of all from having an understanding of what a traditional marketing funnel is and at the very top of the marketing funnel, you’re basically just trying to generate interest. Not, you’re not trying to educate them, you’re not trying to sell them, you’re just trying to get them interested enough to have a conversation with you. And there’s a whole process that I actually teach now in a coaching program that I’ve launched, cause I’ve realized how many people struggle in not just Amazon businesses. In business in general, people struggle to generate leads because the lead generation is like, if you think about a metaphor of say building a house, well if you’ve got lead gen working really well, it means the front door is open and people are walking in, they’re interested, they want to see what’s inside the house. But can you put up a front door without a foundation or walls?
No, you cannot. And so it comes down to really understanding how to create authority for yourself so that people want to talk to you so that they believe you’re highly skilled in the area that is of interest to them. That’s part of it. And the other part is making sure that you have positioned yourself correctly. And I see, you know, I did a coaching call yesterday with one of my students who when we looked at, you know, her Amazon business website, the positioning was awful. So let me give you a really simple example that is hopefully we’ll make this super easy to understand. So let’s say we’ll use a metaphor. Let’s say I want to sell catnip. That’s my thing. I’m in the business to selling catnip. Okay, so I’m going to stand in the middle of a room and I’m going to hold a bag of catnip, but the room is filled with dogs.
How successful am I going to be? Does it matter how hard I try? Does it matter how much catnip I have? Does it matter how many different flavors of catnip I have? No, because there’s no, I’ve positioned myself completely incorrectly for my audience. If my audience is a room full of dogs, I need dog treats, I need stuff that dogs want to buy or chew on or play with or whatever. So when you’re generating leads in Amazon wholesale, you have to understand and communicate what suppliers want and you can’t just guess. There’s a very specific process that I take my students through, which is all completely data driven so that you can figure out what are the exact words that I need. And hopefully there’s like five to six words, key words, and these are the words that your target market is using to describe their goals or their problems, the exact words.
And when you get the exact right words, which you can obtain if you do the process correctly. And then you combine that with the right images, which are kind of speak to the subliminal or the subconscious mine and how persuasion works. You do that. And then you get enough people looking at that, that landing page, you’re going to get, you can’t help but get results because now you’re in the room full of dogs, you’re holding dog treats and you’re saying, come get them. But what are the dogs gonna’ do? They’re all gonna attack you for the dog treats because you have exactly what they want. So I don’t think we had it perfect in the beginning and we can have continued to refine it over time, but that we did a pretty good job right from day one of figuring out what those words were, what those problems were.
And a lot of that came. Yeah, I wasn’t so scientific back then, but you said, I talked to a lot of people. So what do you think happens? Excuse me. When you have the same general conversation over and over and over and over with a whole bunch of people in the same niche, the same words keep showing up, the same problems, keep showing up, the same goals and desires keep showing up. And so while I wasn’t super scientific back then, like I am now I was at least smart enough to figure out, Oh, so the top three problems are duh, duh, duh, I’m going to put those on the homepage of my website and say, I will help you solve these three problems. Do you want to talk to me? So that cause what happens is people are going to get your email and they’re going to do one or two things, maybe one to three, but one to two.
They’re either just going to delete it, in which case it really wouldn’t matter what’s on your website because they didn’t open the email or they’re going to open it. Then they’re going to read it and before they reply, depending upon how well you’ve crafted the message in your email, what words you used, they’re probably going to go to your website or your LinkedIn profile, especially if in your footer or your email signature, you’ve conveniently for them placed links should, and then they see the words that they need to see on your LinkedIn profile and on your website. And they’re the very same words that they would use to describe to their boss or colleague or subordinate. What are my top goals or problems with respect to the Amazon channel this year? If you do that right, well when they go and check you out in three to eight seconds, you’ve passed the smell test.
And in doing so, you have significantly increased the likelihood that they’re going to talk to you. And then when you can get a supplier to agreed to talk to you, you’re 80% of the way to the finish line. Because in this point in the market cycle, most suppliers, they’re, they’re not talking, Nope, Nope, go away, go away, don’t want anymore Amazon sellers. And they’re not even replying to your emails. And that’s happening because the vast majority of people reaching out to them, they don’t have mark, they don’t have the correct positioning and they don’t have much authority. So if you haven’t got those two things figured out, you can send a million emails or spend 1 million bucks on ads or make a million cold calls or whatever you’d like to do and you’re not going to get the results that you’re after.
Yeah, for sure. And so it sounds like if I break down the process that you are basically finding leads and then sending them some kind of introductory email with your website in the bottom, they were clicking over to your website and if they liked it, then what? There was a button there to schedule a call.
Yup. And I just want to tell this specific story to illustrate this point, because this, this account was a big win for us. It happened in month five. It was a supplements company. It’s a $60,000 a month account. So you’re some people say, my gosh, how did you get to $100,000 a month in just five months? Cause in month five I want a $60,000 a month account. I was already at 40, which is not bad, but add 60 to 40 and now you’re at a hundred this guy. And I wish I could I don’t think I could quickly put my fingers on a copy of the email. But it basically said, Holy cow, I am so glad that you wrote us. We are actively looking for a new third party seller and we’re already in discussions with Netrush and Etailz. I looked at your website and we absolutely have to talk.
So for those of you who don’t know who Netrush and Etailz are, these are hundred million dollar a year companies. I am four and a half months, four months in business at this point in time. And some guy is now inviting me to compete against hundred million dollar companies. So, first of all, if I didn’t have the right position, if I didn’t send a lot of emails, I would have been less likely to have ever found him. If I didn’t have the correct positioning on my website, there’s no way he would have replied to my email cause he was already two weeks into the process of evaluating Netrush versus Etailz and which one should we go with. And obviously the story is a happy ending because we beat both of those companies and we snatched the account and I was able to get to my $100,000 a month within five months.
Positioning and credibility was absolutely key. I never would have had a chance to get on the phone with this guy and as luck would have it, he and I super hit it off and that absolutely played a role in our winning the deal. But that’s just the way life is. People do business with people that they like and that they trust. He and I and everyone who’s listening to this, who’s been in business for more than three and a half seconds, has had at least one call with a prospect where you just clicked right away. It just happens. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen every now and again. This guy and I, that’s what happened. So he decided in his mind, probably within five minutes that he picked me because we hit it off. But if I never got to speak to him on the phone, none of that would’ve happened. And if I didn’t have my positioning down and I didn’t have aut hority already, I never would’ve got to speak to him on the phone.
Very nice. And yeah, I think it’s, it’s super important to show yourself or represent yourself as a real business. Like you said, a lot of Amazon sellers that are in this, they’re completely unprofessional, don’t want to talk to anybody. They just want to send emails, open accounts, and sell stuff
And horrible websites, incomplete LinkedIn profiles. They have no positioning and authority. And, and unfortunately those folks will send thousands of emails, they’ll get no results and they will conclude all Amazon wholesale doesn’t work, which is a load of crap.
Yeah. I have kind of a similar story. I was con I’ve contacted lots of brands and you know, a lot of them say no regardless of the work that you put in. So I want to put that out there that you know, you’re not getting a yes all the time. Those are still, you know, you got to work for him. But one of the companies that told me no, but I was nice with them and talked with them and told them kind of things that I can do. I think it was maybe a year later or over a year later, they sent me an email and said, Hey, do you want to sell our stuff now? We’re sick of Amazon selling it for us. They’re making us send it all over and do all this stuff. And I’m like, yeah, for sure. And now that’s my biggest account and really helped drive in my business forward. And I have another one right now that,
Well let’s, let’s hang out on that one for just a minute cause I want to make sure your audience understands that there’s a pretty easy way to make sure that that happens. In your case, I’m going to guess that they tucked away your contact information someplace where they were going to be able to retrieve it. But not everybody is that organized. So here’s a super easy thing to do. So if you’re in the business of prospecting for wholesale accounts and you’re sending a lot of, that’s going to generate traffic to your website, make sure you have the Facebook pixel installed because when you have the pixel installed on your site, you can run retargeting ads and retargeting ads are cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. And it’s basically your way of, and you could do this with ad roll or perfect audience as well. If you want to follow people all over the internet, not just on Facebook and for people who don’t know what retargeting is, here’s a simple example. You are on Amazon. You were looking at a pair of shoes. You didn’t buy those shoes and then you’re on all these other websites around the internet and you’re seeing ads for those same set of shoes. That’s retargeting. They follow you around. That’s super cheap to do. So if you set up retargeting and you would just run, you know, change your ad up every now again cause they don’t get ad fatigue. That’s your way of dripping on everyone who’s ever taken the time to visit your website.
That can’t help but generate opportunities for you as things in your prospect’s business change because they do. You have to understand that the guy you talked to before or the gal you talked to before, they could have got promoted, they could’ve got fired, they could’ve got quit, the company could have gotten it bought. Their existing partner could have gone out of business. They could have been selling. I mean there’s so many things that change literally from month to month to month. If you haven’t devised some systematic method to keep what I call TOM: Top of Mind in your audience, you’re decreasing your opportunity to win.
Yeah, that’s a really good idea. And I’m not sure why I am not doing that on my wholesale website cause I’m doing that on the podcast website and on my private label websites. So I need to start doing that. That is a good tip. I’m definitely going to start that. But yeah, it, it comes back to the power of building those relationships, right? Because another company that I am hoping to be able to get an exclusive or be one of the handful of companies that allow us to sell their products. I used to sell and they had tons of problems or have tons of problems with counterfeiting products that they’re trying to get rid of. And they basically sent an email and said we are going to stop selling to all of the Amazon sellers. And I immediately got ahold of the sales rep that I was working with and you know, like what’s going on?
Why are you guys doing this? And while we’re having all these problems with with knock offs and people selling below map. And so we’re trying to reel it back in and then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do. And so I told her like, well, let’s jump on a call, a webinar, and I’m going to show you everything that I would do for you guys if I was going to try to help you with all those problems. We went through all of it and I even sent her a nice gift basket for Christmas and stuff like to stay top of mind with her. And I keep touching base. I don’t know where it’s going to go yet, but good, at least it’s putting me right at the top. And she’s told me that I’m right at the top of when they start selling again on Amazon, that I will be one of the handfuls of exclusives if not the exclusive.
So I’m building that relationship. And that’s one thing that’s really important too, because you said you’ve made the sale or you gained that account over to hundred million dollar companies. And so a lot of people might look at that and be like, well, Etailz, I’m never going to be able to compete with them. But in reality, when we’re small, we’re nimble. We can give that one on one service and be, build that relationship and a lot of times you can beat those bigger companies because they are not going to have the same kind of service necessarily that we can provide.
Yes, absolutely. And especially in the case of Etailz, which is a very, very poorly run business, or at least it was at the time. I don’t know how well it’s run now. You’re not going to get any service at all. Okay. I’ve got a bunch of college kids prospecting for accounts and their sales pitches. You’re going to harness the power of Etailz. Well, what are you going to do for me specifically, what you’re going to harness the power of Etailz. And I know that because my wife went on a stealth visit to their actual conference where they pitched suppliers and that was pretty much their sales pitch and some people surprisingly fall for it.
Yeah, yeah. Just being the big gorilla in the room. Sometimes it will get people to pay attention. But yeah, I mean if I, you know, most of the time if I see a really bad listing, it’s Amazon selling on it or one of the other big guys that’s selling that product. And I feel so bad for those brands. I’m like, I wish you would listen to me and let me take that over for you. Cause he’d be selling a lot more stuff. But it’s really mind boggling how horrible some of these listings are.
Yup. Absolutely. And so how you do that is you go to that brand and you say, look, I know you don’t want any more Amazon sellers, but I want the opportunity to show you what I can do. Why don’t you give me one of your products that nobody else wants? Give me one of your moderate movers and give me 90 days. And I’m willing to do all the leg work that I need to do. And if I can meaningfully increase the sales velocity of that slow laggard product that you have, imagine what I could do for the rest of your product line. And I’m willing to do this on my dime. If I achieve a certain goal that you’ll grant me access to all of your fast selling products. Is that a fair thing to ask and you’d just be quiet. What most times the answer to that is going to be, yeah, that’s a fair thing to ask. Now there might be some conditions on why they couldn’t do that and those conditions can be very real and you won’t get an opportunity, but if you’re prospecting small err brands, which we tend to do because we like dealing with smaller companies, you don’t generally run into conditions like walls put up by the legal department on why you can’t do this or why you can’t do that or whatever because they’re small, relatively nimble organizations themselves.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s super important to take all those opportunities. I’ve done that same thing myself where I’m like, well, let me just try this one product. Nobody’s selling it. The listing is really poor and let me show you what I can do with it and it definitely works. Wonders is just to get your foot in the door. You have to prove yourself. I just heard it somewhere. Don’t be jumping on a phone call for the first time with a brand and say, Hey, can I be your exclusive seller on Amazon? You know, they’re going to look at you like, who are you? I don’t even know who you are. You need to prove yourself first and get your foot in the door and start building that relationship. Because that’s pretty much what this entire wholesale game is all about.
It is. Absolutely. And earlier I talked about the importance of having authority for people who are listening to this thinking, well I don’t have any authority. How can I get some go? I mean there are, there are ways to fast track authority that I teach in my coaching program. One of the ways that’s not necessarily the fastest but can be highly effective as you get that slower moving product and you say to the brand, look, if I can take this and I can even just double sales, if you’re doing, you know, five units a week and I can get it to sell 10 units a week, will you give me a glowing testimonial? How long does it take to do that? Well, you’ve got to optimize the listing, which you can probably do it in a couple of days and then you’ve got to maybe run some ad campaigns, which is another day to set up, or heck, not even a day, a couple of hours to set them up and then monitor and manage them and make sure that you know you’re, you’re doing, you’re on top of it.
And inside of, you know, two weeks you’ve taken this slow moving product and you’ve doubled its sales and now you get a testimonial from some brand that says, we started working with Trent on so and so, and we gave him one of our products there wasn’t really selling very well in a very short period of time. He was able to increase sales by 147% or 120% or whatever and we couldn’t be happier. When you get five, six, seven of those testimonials that you’re now displaying on your appointment booking page so that when people are coming to check you out or maybe you’re also going to put them on your homepage and they’re reading those, do you think Todd, that that’s going to increase or decrease the likelihood they’re going to book an appointment with you?
Yeah, definitely increase. People like to know that other people are doing the same thing as they might do, so it’s just, it just helps push them through there. Same reason Amazon has reviews, right? Correct. People, people like to know that they’re getting something. And when you, social proof history, social proof, that’s the word I was looking for. Yep, absolutely. Very important. Now the big thing that you say led to your success as well was the standard operating procedures, which was a big thing I wanted to talk on this episode. So tell us a little bit about that because you said that you only did it one time or maybe a handful of times and then you outsourced it. So what was that process like?
So to finish that story, before I explain the process, I actually delegated myself out of the company after six months, six months. I no longer had a day to day role in the business. And now that’s two and a half years ago. And I still have no day to day role in running that company at all, yet it makes money for our family every single month. So the key to that was making some key decisions and decision number one was looking at all of the things, the processes that have to happen to make the business run and then putting them in one of two buckets. This is a repeatable process, so okay, check. Yup, repeatable process going to happen over and over again. Good. I don’t want to do it. Second, second question is, is it a repeatable process? Does it requires years of experience and judgment? If not, therefore it is a repeatable process that I can document and give to somebody else who doesn’t have years of experience and judgment and they can execute that process just as effectively as I can, as I do, as long as the instructions that I provide them have enough detail.
Well, that’s a lot of this stuff in Amazon, in the wholesale business, especially with respect to sourcing products, that’s pretty much everything except for talking to the brand. So I just thought to myself, well, this is stupid for me to find all these competitors and do leaf sourcing and do product extractions and find contact information and send emails because none of that requires any years of experience, skills or judgment. I mean it’s just literally paint by numbers. So why on earth would I do any of that stuff? Because for me, that’d be like taking a knife and sticking it in my eye. Just be ultimately painful. So I did it all once, literally once. And what I would do is I’ve got a 27 inch monitor. I take my browser and I put one browser over here and one over here. And in the left browser I’m, I’m doing the thing.
And in the right browser I’m screen shotting and documenting the thing that I’m doing and I’m creating my standard operating procedure so that when I’ve done doing the thing, I don’t ever have to do it ever again. And to get somebody else to do it, I wouldn’t have to make a training video for them. I wouldn’t have to do an orientation with them. I wouldn’t have to look over their shoulder. I could literally say there’s the instructions. Go do it. It’s just like when you buy a recipe book and you want to bake a chocolate cake. You don’t want to have someone come into your house and flip open the recipe book and hold your hand as you go through the recipe book. You just read the recipe and follow the instructions because it’s a well-written recipe with lots of pictures and details. That’s really all a standard operating procedure is, is a well written recipe to bake your business cake and then hire virtual assistants.
I mean these people are very happy if you’re hiring in the Philippines where most of us do very happy to work for anywhere from two to $4 an hour and I’d already been hiring, we’re working with VA’s for years at that point in time cause I’ve used them with bright ideas since day one. So I’ve been hiring people in the Philippines now for a decade and they’re very happy to have these jobs where they can work on their own time in front of a computer without ever leaving their house and they get paid what is a market wage in their country to do this work and they all, they’re very happy to do it over and over and over and over again and it works exceedingly well. Now all of this was to do really just one thing, fill my calendar with appointments, with prospective brands and then yeah, years of experience and expertise and salesmanship and all of these things.
I was really good at taking those phone calls and turning them into a yes. I was really good at taking someone who said no and turning it into a yes cause I knew what questions to ask. I knew where to shine the flashlight. I knew where the pain was. I knew how to solve the problems and because I’ve done literally thousands of sales calls, I was really good at it. Now even that eventually I fired myself from doing. Now did the guy that I hired who then did that job for two years, was he as good as me? No. But was he good enough to get 70 or 80% of my results? Yes. And now I don’t have to do that work anymore. And what if I hired a second guy? Now I’ve got two guys and he’s doing 70% of my results and he’s doing 70% of my results or two girls or whatever.
Now together they’re doing 140% of what I can do, which is more than I can do cause I can’t replicate myself and I don’t have to do that job anymore. Cause that honestly, in the sourcing business, doing those calls over and over and over again, they’re pretty repetitive and it’s not the most for me at this point in my career, it’s not the most intellectually stimulating work in the world. I like to do things really keeps my brain engaged. So I didn’t want to do that either. So I wanted to delegate that. And so I created training videos, I created documents, I created scripts. And there I was more involved in the actual training of the employee that I hired. But that’s how all big companies work. CEOs don’t do everything. They direct people to do things.
Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll just play devil’s advocate for a minute.
Well Trent you sold a business for a couple million dollars. You are a millionaire. You can afford to give people jobs and have them do it for you. But I’m someone, I make $40,000 a year. I have a full time job and two kids and I’m trying to start a business. Amazon looks interesting to me. So how would I get going when I can’t even take a phone call in the middle of the day?
So that, is a good objection. I want to quantify a few things. I didn’t get a few million dollars. As a matter of fact, by the time I paid the taxes and they paid off my investors, I got less than a million and that money was paid to me over four years and that was paid off long before I ever started this business. When I started my Amazon business, we were actually not nearly as well off as we are today. Now that said, I still did have a full time effort to be able to put into the business. I have plenty of people who use my standard operating procedures in their Amazon business to grow that business while they still have a full time job. Josh Lucas, Wade Tarbit are two names that come to mind right off the top of my head. Wade comes to mind because he’s got a 50 hour a week job and when he was doing 4,000 a month in RA and when he bought our collection of standard operating procedures so that he had been able him to delegate, he grew his business in a very short period of time to 15,000 a month in wholesale gross profit.
All while doing a 50 hour week job. So the answer to your question is if so, if you have the right systems in place, yes you can delegate all sorts of stuff, but if you’re doing work during the day, that will prevent you from doing phone calls during business hours. Yeah, that’s gonna make it harder to succeed. There is no way around it. Can you schedule them on your lunch break? Can you take a sick day every two days? Every two weeks. I don’t know if you want it bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to solve that problem if you’re just interested in making, I love this expression. People are really great at you can either make excuses or you can make money, but you can’t be good at both. So you’ve got gotta take your pick.
Yup. I agree 100%. People like to look at the successful people that you see on TV that you know, hit it big in something or maybe took advantage of people and such, but they don’t really see the people like yourself and myself who are just basically putting in the time and effort when ever you can find the time and however you can figure it out and you just make it happen. Like you said, if you want it enough, you’re gonna’ stay up until one, two in the morning. Maybe not every night, but as often as necessary to make it happen and take those phone calls on your lunch and take a sick day and work, you know, those are all things that you can do or make it happen or,
Cause now Warren Carter comes to mind. So Warren decided that he was going to renegotiate his agreement with his employer. He took a pay cut to get down to half-time. And what do you think he did with the other half of his time? He’s investing in in his Amazon business and he’s getting results and it all comes down to how bad do you want it? There is no such thing as a risk-free, no compromise, easy transition from being an employee to being self employed. That path does not exist that I’m aware of. If you, if you want to do, there’s another expression that I love. You have to, I’ll see if I can remember this correctly. Entrepreneurs are willing to do things that other people aren’t willing to do so that they can do things that other people can’t. So the excuse maker will say, well, I got a full time job and I got bills to pay.
And so, you know, there’s just not enough time for me to succeed. And they’re right in their mind. They are defeated and they, they’re right. They should not do this or anything. They should stay with their job. Then there are other people who ultimately become successful, who are willing to make the compromises necessary. They are committed to achieving their goals and they’re willing to endure whatever level of pain and suffering is required to get there. Whether that means, you know, getting into a less expensive car so you don’t have a car payment so that you could take a part time job instead of a full time job or Airbnb out of room in your house or whatever it is you’re going to do to free up the time that you need to be on the phone when you need to be on the phone with those perspective suppliers. That’s just what they’re willing to do. And, and for folks that are listening, if you’re not willing to make those sacrifices you know, just go turn the TV back on and check out what’s on tonight.
Yeah, it’s, there’s, there’s always time that you can find and you know, I’m doing the same thing. I have
Not watched football for quite a long time. You know, I like watching football, but instead of watching football, I’m up here on the computer working. I used to play a lot of video games and I don’t even remember the last time I played a video game, even though I get the urge I want to sometimes. But if I start playing a video game, I’m like, I really should be working on something more important. And so I do that and yeah, when you know at work you take your lunchtime and you’re calling suppliers or doing whatever you need to do. So, and I did a similar thing when I started TC-TEKS computers way back, I was working full time and I went to my boss and told them this is what I’m going to do and I’d like to work here part time. And they were able to find a way to do it. They actually had a policy where retirees could work part time to pass on their knowledge to the next employee and so they allowed me to do that. So sometimes you just have to ask and take that risk, but it’s definitely possible if you’re willing to put in the work, but it means you’re going to miss out on those parties and those football games and video games and stuff like that. At least upfront.
All in the hopes of that maybe a few years down the road, you can play all the video games you want once we do the SOP’s right.
So tell us more about the SOP’s because that’s your big thing that you are focused on now and what you really equate to a lot of your success. Right?
Yeah. And I’ll, and I just want to let you know, we have to wrap, I have to be done in about now six minutes because I’ve got another appointment after this one. So what I’ve done,
We can go into the SOP’s and then talk about the offers and then wrap it up.
Yeah. So if you send people to the page, a brightideas.co/eap, I’ll put an offer there that includes a number of SOPs and I’m going to include some free ones that are specific. Last thing what I’m going to do is I’m going to include some of the ones that are, are paid premium SOPs that are specific to the Amazon business, specific to product sourcing. And I’m going to give a promo code that allows people to get them for free, that will allow them to go check out the Flowster software, which is where all of our SOPs live. There is a marketplace on Flowster, which is like a library of pre-made SOP templates and there’s a whole bunch of them there, if not just for Amazon but for all sorts of different businesses. And when you see those SOP templates and you listen to the videos and read the instructions on Flowster, you’ll see that it is a fantastically powerful tool to put you in a position to document your processes and then be able to easily delegate whatever you would like, whatever repeatable process you would like in your own business.
And I actually use it for things that even I don’t delegate because there are processes that I have to do over and over again. And sometimes I only do it once a week and I don’t have like a perfect memory. So I want to make sure that I follow my own process. So that page will contain all the information that they need to be able to go and get a free trial free demo, free, free, free, and find out for themselves as, hey, does this SOP thing, does this work for me? I will tell you, I am not the inventor of the idea of documenting business processes. I am not the inventor of the idea of delegating or building a team. I’m just a guy who has had a particular amount of success as a result of my decision to do so. And as a result, now I kind of have this reputation in the Amazon world as the Amazon SOP guy. We do sell an entire collection of pre-made SOPs and there’ll be a link there as well. For that in case people want to be able to get like, I think we sell 70 or 80 of them in a package together, which that’s why my wife and I no longer work in our Amazon business. It is now run by an employee and a couple of VA’s because all of those processes exist.
Very nice. I appreciate that. I’m definitely going to grab those myself and check them out and compare them against my own because I’ve been making SOPs for awhile. Standard operating procedures and yeah, it’s, it’s a must. You have to document it because you can’t, you can’t just rely on yourself forever and expect to grow a business.
No. As you can’t, as the CEO, people like everything business goes through phases like going up the staircase. So in the beginning, entrepreneurs have time but no money and if they’re, if they stay with it long enough, eventually they’ll have some money because now they’re generating cash, but they’re going to have less time because they’re doing the work to generate the cash and then you’ll, you’ll bump into this ceiling of my income now has got capped because I literally don’t have any more time. I can’t do it. I’m doing everything myself. I’m doing it all. I’m doing it all really great. I’ve got a ton of control. It’s everything’s just the way I want it, but I can’t work anymore. You are now the bottleneck of your business and there is only one way to solve that problem. Hire people. Delegate work, SOPs are the grease that makes that transition possible.
It makes it actually quite easy to delegate work to other people. So now I’ve got some money, I’ve got to create more time. The only way to create more time so I can think and come up with the big ideas and the vision and whatever is to get all this minutiae work off of my desk. And that’s why SOPs are so incredibly important and what the software does so that people understand why used software versus just like a Google Doc. When you start having a multiple VA’s on your team and you have multiple things that you’re delegating on an ongoing basis. If you don’t have a way of keeping track of what was delegated to who, when is it due and basically managing that mini project, whatever that process is and the aggregate mini projects, the wheels will all fall off. Like you can’t just send people emails to a link to a Google doc and say do this thing because how do you know that they got it done when they were supposed to get it done? And there’s a whole bunch of other reasons why we transitioned off of Google docs and email into a much more structured format for managing our processes and our workflows.
Perfect. Well I’m definitely going to check it out and that was brightideas.co/eap and that’s .co not.com.
We’ll make sure to go to brightideas.co/eap and get those three SOPs and at a minimum check those out and then model yours off of those or if you want to get it all just buy the SOP stack that you guys have and I’m sure you’re going to find a lot of information that you probably didn’t even think of. So Trent, I really appreciate you coming on the show. I think we could probably talk for another couple hours, but we’re coming up on an hour here, so I definitely will want to have you back on the show at some point. I think we had a lot of other information we could dive into.
Love it, to have the opportunity and thanks very much Todd for having me on today.
Yeah, I appreciate it. You have a good one, Trent.
You too. Take care.
All right, so there you go. What did I tell you? Another great episode. It was awesome talking with Trent. You can tell just by talking with him that he is an entrepreneur at heart and he has built big businesses including an Amazon business that he has handed off to other people using those standard operating procedures so that he doesn’t even have to be there to run it anymore and it’s still making him money. Now, obviously that might sound like a long ways from where you are today, but you need to think of these things in the beginning as you’re getting going. The sooner you can start acting like a big business, which means creating those standard operating procedures and when the money starts coming in, handing those off and growing your business, the sooner your business is going to be growing, getting to the size that you want it to be.
You don’t want to limit it just to yourself, unless that’s all you’re looking for. If you’re just looking for a side income, then that’s okay. But if you’re looking to build a big business, make some big money, then you’re going to have to utilize standard operating procedures. Handing those off to VA’s and building your business in those ways, so really good information. I hope that helped you out there. Let me know, shoot me an email or a message. Let me know what you think about the podcast so far you thought about this episode. I’d really appreciate it and make sure that you go over and get those free standard operating procedures from Trent. I’m going to be doing that right now. Remember that was brightideas.co/eap not .com, .co brightideas.co/eap you can also get those as well as all the other things that we talked about in this episode with the show notes and the transcript over amazonseller.school/13 since this is episode 13 again, I really appreciate you all out there for watching and tuning in helping us grow this podcast. Please share it. Spread the word. Let other people know. If we can keep going, I can keep bringing on awesome guests and helping you guys build your e-commerce empire. So with that, this is Todd Welch with the Amazon Seller School signing off. Happy selling everybody.
This has been another episode of the Amazon Seller School podcast. Thanks for listening, fellow entrepreneur and always remember success is yours if you take it.