Like anything worth doing, entrepreneurship isn’t easy. Some days you’re successful and feel on top of the world. Other days you’re scratching your head wondering what to do next. In this episode of Amazon Seller School, Todd explains how to ride the entrepreneurship roller coaster hights. Stay tuned for a Q & A where Todd deep dives into your questions on e-commerce websites, hiring VAs, and more.
Embrace The Growth Mindset
From an early age, we’re taught that our failures are due to a lack of ability rather than a lack of effort. Score poorly on a math quiz? Math isn’t your thing so seek success in another subject. If you start selling wholesale on Amazon and don’t succeed off the bat, should you throw in the towel and pursue something different? According to Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, this mentality that failure is inevitable due to prior or existing circumstances is detrimental. To erase this belief and unlock your potential, shift to a growth mindset, or the belief that you can improve your situation and foster success by learning from early failures and working hard.
Even the most successful will tell you that they’ve experienced highs and lows riding the entrepreneurship wave; these swings are just part of the territory. However, if you learn to see your failures as successes, the lows won’t feel quite as low.
No Product? No Problem
If you’re facing resistance from suppliers because you don’t have a brick and mortar store or an e-commerce website, move on to the next supplier and make sure you’re searching for distributors as well. Check out Todd’s video explaining how to find distributors for different brands and click here for wholesale email templates. In terms of an e-commerce site, Todd is doing over $1 million in sales without one. How?
Highlight Value Add
Todd’s site outlines the services he provides to brands and distributors like taking better photos and improving their listings. As mentioned previously with Dillon Carter, success on Amazon depends on the relationships you cultivate. When you’re calling distributors, prove that unprofessionalism is an Amazon stereotype.
If your business is booming and you’re looking for assistance, hiring VAs allows you to focus on top-level strategy. VAs are best for long-term, focused projects and should be treated as you would treat any other employee. Stay communicative and make sure you’ve nailed down whatever system is in place that they’re responsible for so they’ve got clear guidelines.
Just like any excellent employer, it’s important to present yourself as approachable for questions and concerns. Sites like Asana are great resources for managing tasks and deadlines. While Todd has found success through simple referrals, sites such as onlinejobs.ph and virtual staff finder can help you hire quickly.
Considering shipping to a single warehouse? While this may increase the risk of prolonged delivery, the real issue is a steep increase in extra fee cost per unit. For this reason, it’s recommended that you bypass shipping to a single warehouse. However, if you’re itching to keep all of your products in one place, as long as your margins and ROI remain strong, go for it!
The Business of Building Relationships
A rule of thumb for Amazon wholesale: relationships rule. If it feels like others are flying past you in profits, it’s likely because they’ve cultivated stronger relationships and are snagging bigger discounts. When it comes to wholesale, email is never enough. Pick up the phone and speak to your (potential) partners directly to earn their trust with good rapport.
Have questions that you want answered? Head over to amazonseller.school/ask and record your question along with your name and where you’re from.
Resources From This Episode
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
- How To Quickly Find Amazon Wholesale Distributors Using Google
- Wholesale Email Templates
- EA6 Interview With Dillon Carter, Successful Amazon Seller, Getting Started Selling, Aura, Vendrive
- Virtual Staff Finder
- Ask a question!
Outline Of This Episode
[00:18] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[01:27] Why it’s important to shift your mindset
[14:52] Why you don’t need a brick and mortar store to succeed
[17:22] How to advertise your value
[22:17] Best practices for hiring VAs and freelancers
[40:48] Should you ship to a single warehouse?
[47:09] Why relationships rule
[48:33] Todd’s closing thoughts on the episode
Announcer: 00:01 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.
Todd: 00:18 What’s up everybody welcome to another episode of Amazon Seller School. Thank you so much for joining me today. We are going to have a Q and A session answering some of your questions out there and we’re also, before I get into the Q and a, we’re going to talk about mindset because mindset is so important. If you do not have the proper mindset, I can teach you all the tactics in the world and you will not be successful if you don’t have the right kind of mindset. So this is going to be episode number eight so check out the show notes, amazonseller.school forward slash eight if you want to look those over, finding the links that we talk about in this episode as well and just dive in further there. Now, one of the big things that people talk about, and I’ve talked about this in the past at different conferences that I have been to, is the entrepreneur roller coaster.
Todd: 01:27 So basically what the entrepreneur roller coaster is is your mindset and your mentality going up and down, up and down, and it’s real, totally real. It seems, no matter how successful you are, this is going to stay with you. It just happens. You wake up and you’re on top of the world, you feel like a King or a queen and you can do anything. You’ve got it all figured out and then later in the day or an hour later something might happen and you feel like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just, I can’t figure this out. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it work. And so this is just the mindset that we go through on a daily basis sometimes, and definitely on a weekly and monthly basis, you’re going to have a lot of ups and downs. And if you don’t have the proper mindset, when you have those downs, they’re going to be so much worse and they’re gonna stop you from achieving the success that you want to achieve.
Todd: 02:42 So it’s so important to have the mindset and build your mindset of what’s called a growth mindset. And I’ve actually been reading this book, which is why I want to touch on this today, and it’s called mindset, the new psychology of success. And it’s by Carol Dweck. She’s a PhD. This is the updated version that I am reading. I give you a link in the show notes if you want to check out this book, I highly recommend it. But the gist of it is that she talks about the difference of having a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. So a lot of us are taught to have a fixed mindset and it’s kind of the way the world is working, or I should say the United States, particularly since that’s where I have experience is working. So we’ve very much gone to the point of praising kids to the extreme no matter what the outcome of whatever they’re trying to do.
Todd: 03:51 So we’ve got trophies for everyone in a contest, regardless of what position they come in, we praise kids for their intelligence and their abilities. Being able to do something. And that is totally fostering what’s called the fixed mindset. So from that, kids determine or learn that it’s not about working hard and achieving a result. And even if you fail understanding that you worked hard, you did your best, and you can improve and do better next time. Instead, what we’re teaching is that your ability, your skills and your intelligence are fixed. And if you do awesome at math, then you’re awesome at math. You’re going to be really good at math. If you don’t do good on a math test, then you’re just not good at math. You should try something else. And so that’s the mindset that we create and as we grow up we start thinking in terms of that like so if you try selling on Amazon wholesale and you fail, you look inwards and say that, well I’m just not good enough.
Todd: 05:13 I must not be any good at this e-commerce stuff. I’m not going to be able to do it. I should just give up now and move on to something else. And so that is very much the fixed mindset where you think that your abilities, your emotions and your attitudes are fixed, that they are what they are. You can’t really change them. You can’t make them better. Where with a growth mindset instead of praising ability and intelligence, we’re praising, and talking about the work that you did to get to where you got, regardless of whether you are successful or not, your mind can grow, your abilities can grow, your skills can grow, you can change your emotions, you can change your mindset. And so for example, if we stay on the kids teaching your kids a growth mindset, what you need to do there, and look at this in yourself as well, is praise the work that they did the hard work.
Todd: 06:21 If they did hard work leading up to an event or up to a test and they still failed, talk to them and praise them. Praise yourself for the work that you did to get there and that you did your absolute best, assuming that you did your best and that if you keep practicing and working hard and pushing forward, you can get better and you can grow your intelligence, you can change your emotions and your attitudes to be whatever you want them to be. You just have to put the work in, keep pushing forward and moving forward and growing your mind. So it’s a very different mindset in that instead of praising intelligence or ability, you’re praising the hard work and effort that it takes to try to reach an outcome. Success or failure is irrelevant as long as you tried your hardest. Even if you fail, you can come back.
Todd: 07:26 Keep learning moving forward. And eventually reach the success that you want to reach. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your current abilities, intelligence is. All of that can be improved with hard work, pushing forward, moving forward, and keep growing your mind, growing your abilities, growing your skills. So it’s something extremely important and it fits right into this because like I said, I can teach you anything, all the skills in the world to be successful on Amazon wholesale. But if you don’t have the right mindset, you’re not going to be successful. You’re not going to reach the success that you want. So you always have to be learning, always have to be improving, increasing your skills, increasing your ability. And that’s something that you can do. And that is going to help as well with that entrepreneur roller coaster. Because you know that if you get down, you get depressed about something, something didn’t work out, you know that it’s not a failure on yourself.
Todd: 08:35 It is a learning experience and something that you can improve upon, you can get better at. And next time when you’re doing it, you’re gonna have all that former experience, all that former knowledge, and you’re gonna keep growing and getting better and better and better and eventually reach the goal that you are looking for and go past it. Set an even bigger roles. So it’s super important. The mindset is totally important. Another thing on mindset that I wanted to touch on is a lot of people have a bad mindset when it comes about money. So maybe you grew up in a household where you were middle income or low income or something like that and your parents were spending lots of money, maybe getting into a lot of debt and things like that. Did not teach you good money skills. And maybe you looked at the rich people and thought that, Oh, they just got lucky.
Todd: 09:41 Maybe they were born into it or they had a lucky break or something like that. And while in some minor cases, that can be true. For the most part, successful people are first generation successful people and they got there from working extremely hard to get to where they want to be and sacrificing while their friends might’ve been going out to parties, they were going to work and working hard to make their goals and dreams a success. So you have to remember that the economy and wealth is ever expanding. So again, this kind of fits back into that fixed mindset. A lot of people think there’s a pie and if I’m going to get part of that pie, that means someone else can’t. And that’s not true at all. The world is ever expanding. The economy is ever expanding. So if you are able to be successful, it doesn’t stop anyone else from being successful.
Todd: 10:44 Everyone can literally be successful because the more people that are successful, the more the economy lifts and the more other people can be successful as well. Now that is assuming that you’re doing it in a positive and good way, where you’re providing benefits to other people, right? So if you’re helping other people providing benefits to them, or in our case, we’re selling customers a product on Amazon that they want the product. We are buying products from a brand or a wholesaler, helping them increase their business. And of course we’re getting a cut for ourselves, for all the work that we’re putting in. So think about the mindset you have for money. Do you have negative thoughts when you think about rich people and successful people that, Oh, they cheated somehow or they just got lucky or they took advantage of other people? Those are very limiting mindsets because while you might see a few of those on TV, the news media likes to point out those one off big hits where they just got super successful.
Todd: 11:55 They got lucky on something, or the ones who take advantage of other people. That’s the extreme minority. Most successful people got there through hard work. They’re providing a service, providing products that other people want, lifting up society, lifting up other people they appreciate their employees. They want to help their employees. So have that kind of mindset. Don’t pay attention to what you see on the news. Most of the stuff you see on the news is just garbage. It’s just garbage in your brains to get rid of that as much as possible. I don’t even watch the news. I try not to at all. I just bring in what I really want to bring in, like reading books and filtering what I actually pay attention to so that it’s good stuff going into my brain because that mentality and mindset is just so important. So that’s kind of what I wanted to touch on on mindset.
Todd: 12:54 I hope that helps you guys out there. Definitely recommend this book on mindset and there’s other ones out there as well. I’ll put those in the show notes of other books that I have. Read, amazonseller.school forward slash eight and you can check those out. The more reading you can do, definitely the better. So that is my thoughts on mindset. And from there I want to jump into the Q and A session that we’re going to do here. So I have a couple listener questions that we’re going to go over. If you want to get your question answered, make sure you head on over to Amazon Seller School.com forward slash ask and you can record your question there and I will answer it on an upcoming podcast Q and A episode here. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and listen to the first question.
Hope: 13:50 Hi Todd. This is Hope from Los Angeles. I’m fairly new to wholesale. I’ve been researching and researching. I do not have a wholesale product to sell yet on Amazon and I’ve watched many of your podcasts about finding suppliers. Now I followed some of the, the guidelines that you’ve given. I’ve downloaded your templates and what I’m running into with the suppliers is they want a brick and mortar store and or they would like to see a website. Now, I don’t have a brick and mortar store and I do have the domain and an LLC that I own, but my website is not an eCommerce website because, well I don’t have products to sell. How would you recommend approaching this for it to get a supplier to respond to you? You do I make a website, an eCommerce site and say coming soon or what would you recommend? Thank you very much.
Todd: 14:52 All right, hope. Thank you so much for that. Excellent question. And it’s a really good one because this is one that you’re gonna run into a lot. So let’s start with the brick and mortar store. Obviously most of us are not going to have a brick and mortar store and you’re not going to want to go out and open one, at least not in the start. You could maybe think about that down the line, but that’s not something that I’ve done and not something that most big Amazon sellers are doing. It’s just something that we have to deal with. And if they want you to have a brick and mortar store and you have a chat with them on the phone and get to know them a little bit and there are, and there is no wiggle room around that, then you’re just going to have to move on to the next supplier.
Todd: 15:48 And one caveat with that too, you say supplier. So when I think supplier, I think the brand at direct, you’re going to make sure you dig into distributors as well. So if that brand to buy directly from them wants you to have a retail store, but on Amazon you’re seeing lots of other sellers selling their products. It’s very possible that they are getting those products through a distributor. So you may be all the open up an account with the distributor and get that product and not have to have that brick and mortar store. And you can check out my video on YouTube. I’ll link that in the show notes as well. amazonseller.school forward slash eight and I’ll show you a quick way to find distributors for different brands. So that would be one thing that I would do with that to get around the brick and mortar option.
Todd: 16:47 If you’re talking directly with the supplier slash brand. But if that doesn’t work either, then just move on. You’re going to get a lot of that. You’re going to get a lot of no’s and different things and blockades and stuff like that. You just gotta keep pressing on and move on to the next one. As for the website, I’m doing a, you know, over $1 million. I’m going to do over $1 million in sales this year. This last year I hit almost 900,000 in sales and I don’t have an eCommerce website. I have a website but it’s called a value add websites, so basically it’s a website telling the brands and distributors what I can do for them. If they work for me and or work with me I should say and let me sell their products. Things like I can help them enforce map. I can let them know if people are breaking map, I can respond to negative reviews if they happen on their products.
Todd: 17:50 Try to sort that out. I can improve their listings, take better photos, create better content for the listings. If they have brand registry, I can work with them and maybe create some A plus content, which is, if you look down in the description you see like a nice website style layout instead of just a block of text. That’s called the A plus content, which can help improve conversions. I could create some videos that I could have someone make and upload videos for their product as well. All of this is going to help increase sales on Amazon and improve the brand’s identity as well. So those are like value adds that you can provide the brands and maybe distributors and things like that. So that’s what I have. It’s just a one page website with my information value adds that I can do for the brands and things like that.
Todd: 18:51 And so that is typically enough for me to get the account open. If they want you to have an eCommerce store, then they’re probably more likely don’t want Amazon sellers is what they’re looking at. And what you need to do is work on the relationship with that brand, have conversations with them, ask them, you know, why don’t you want more Amazon sellers and come up with solutions to those reasons. You might not be any good at this at first, but you’re going to want to take notes like we talked about in one of the previous episodes with Dillon Carter. If you haven’t listened to that, definitely gonna want to go back and check that out. And in that episode we talk about making those first phone calls and asking questions, writing down those questions. And when you get off the phone, writing down answers to those questions for future phone calls, because a lot of those questions are just going to be the same thing over and over and over.
Todd: 19:51 So once you figure out your answers to those, you can possibly work around the website issue or no Amazon sellers and things like that. So if it comes down to it that you just can’t get around it, you’ve talked on the phone, tried to build that relationship, try to answer their questions and it’s still no, just move on and don’t even worry about it. Just move on to the next brand. There’s so many brands, so many distributors out there that you can work with that just don’t get caught up with the ones that are saying no. It’s just part of the process. They’re going to say no. Some are going to say yes and you just have to find those ones that are gonna say yes. Keep building your products, building your product profile and building your business. That’s how you’re going to do it, so don’t let it worry you. Just do your absolute best and move on. If the answer, the final answer is no. All right, Hope. I hope that answered that question. You did send me a second question here as well, so let’s go ahead and listen to that and I will answer that for you as well.
Hope: 20:59 Hi Todd, this is Hope from Los Angeles. I have another question for you. This is my second question
Hope: 21:07 I’d like to learn about VA’s and if you use a VA, what sites do you use to find VA’s? I know they’re the main ones, Upwork and Fiverr, but are they the best ones to go to? How do you approach hiring a VA? What is your thought process there for hiring a VA? How do you define the work? How do you define the payment terms? How do you know what is a fair rate for the person that you are hiring? How do you qualify and how do you identify, how often will they work, how much communication is required? And with that, do you have multiple VA’s or do you hire VA’s for different things? For example, a VA to make the website to manage a website, a VA to do the work on Amazon, or is it an all in one? I guess it depends on the VA, the qualifications they have, but just curious about your approach to working with VA’s and how to make the most use of your time and their time. Thank you.
Todd: 22:17 All right, so thanks for the second question here. Hope there’s a few questions in there that I’m going to try to take one by one here. So first thing that I want to specify is at least what I consider the difference between a VA and a freelancer. So a VA is someone that you should consider your employee no different than if you were to hire employee to work in your shop, in your store, in your warehouse, locally to wherever your business is, a VA. The only difference is that they are working for you virtually. So typically they’re not going to be anywhere near where your business is. Maybe they’re in a different part of the U S maybe they’re in a different part of the world. Now my VA’s that I have hired currently, I have three of them. They are all based in the Philippines and from my research and what I’ve found is I really like working with the VA’s in the Philippines because number one, they pretty much all speak pretty good English.
Todd: 23:20 Some of them very good English. And the Philippines is very much like a Western culture. They like a lot of Western movies and music and our culture in general. So they’re very similar to you and I here in the United States. If you’re based in the United States. And also there are very dedicated hard workers and trustworthy if you treat them right, they’re probably gonna stay with you for a long time. The only thing that you want to kind of think about is that they do worry about letting you down in general. So all these are kind of stereotypes, if you will, every individual’s going to be or potentially be different. But in general, this is kind of how it works. They don’t want to let you down. So if they can’t figure something out, they might just stop communicating with you. Not because they don’t want to continue to work, but because they are disappointed that they can’t figure out what you want them to do.
Todd: 24:28 And so you need to take that upon yourself and look at yourself in that you didn’t provide what they needed and make sure you’re always communicating to them that you want them to ask you questions and more questions the better. And that’s going to help them ask you questions, not be afraid of asking questions and understand that everything’s a learning experience and you expect them to be learning and growing and asking questions. So that’s helped me now where I’ve got my VA’s a one, I picked up in a Facebook group, one of the wholesale Facebook groups from someone who is shutting down their Amazon wholesale business and said he had a couple of VA’s. I interviewed them and I hired one of them and she’s been with me for quite a long time now. The other one I got from virtual staff finder.com. So this is like a staffing agency for Filipino VA’s.
Todd: 25:26 She’s been with me for a very long time as well. The third one I have got from Fiverr or not fiverr, I’m sorry, a free up F R E E up three E’s. And so what they do, they’re kind of a staffing agency as well. So what they claim to do is take the top 1% of people that are potential for your job and provide those to you. The other method that I’m actually using right now is a website called online jobs.ph. And so this is basically like a job board for Filipinos who want to work from home. And so I haven’t hired anyone from there, but I’m currently looking for a video editor and a social media manager through that platform. So you can see I’m trying all these different platforms and I haven’t really found a best one online jobs that pH you’re going to get the lowest price.
Todd: 26:28 Free up is going to be a little more pricey because you’re getting the top of the top virtual staff finder. That’s like a lump sum of $300 for them to find you a bunch of candidates. But again, what they’re doing is this weeding out all of the bad or not as good candidates that you’re going to get. Like if you post it on online jobs.ph so it depends on how much work you want to do versus how much you just want to get someone in there. Now I mentioned the difference between freelancers and VA’s. Freelancers are going to be people who are doing like one off projects for you. Like I want this video edited, you give it to the freelancer, they edit it, they send it back and now your relationship is done until you give them more work so they don’t work for you.
Todd: 27:18 They are just working for anyone who gives them work. So Fiverr and Upwork are great places for freelancers like that. So if it’s just one off, like you need a logo made, you need a website made or you just need a single video made or every once in a while and it’s not going to be a consistent thing, then a freelancer is fine. Getting them on Fiverr or Upwork is really good. Upwork I find works a little bit better for like little longer term projects and Fiverr works really good for like short one off projects, like I need a graphic made or a logo made or something like that. So that’s kind of the difference. You’re not going to get that connection as much like the employee connection from Upwork and Fiverr versus hiring a VA from one of the other platforms because then they’re an employee.
Todd: 28:11 They’re potentially only working for you if they are a full time VA. If they’re part time, then they’ll probably work for other people. But I like the VA route more if it’s going to be an ongoing project. So if you’re hiring someone to source suppliers and distributors, like I have two VA’s who are doing that. They’re finding new brands, finding new distributors and opening those accounts. And then one of my other VA’s is administrative assistant where she is doing all the Amazon administrative stuff and some of the social media stuff right now as well, which I’m trying to separate that out since it’s completely two completely different things. And then I’m also hiring a video editor because that’s going to be for this podcast so I can record, send it and they send me back the final product.
Todd: 29:05 And now one other thing to keep in mind is a VA is not any kind of superhero or anything like that. They’re just an employee. Same as an employee. You are hire locally and so you wouldn’t necessarily hire an employee and expect them to be able to source products and videos, create artwork and manage all your Amazon administration tasks and things like that. You’d hire specific people for specific jobs. Like as I said, I have VA’s just doing the sourcing, trying to open accounts. I have a VA doing the Amazon administrative stuff. I’m going to be having a VA just doing the social media work. I’m going to be having a VA just doing the video editing stuff. Now this assumes that you have enough work to have a dedicated person for that. So keep that in mind. And anything that you’re going to have a VA do you want to always have at least mastered the process first.
Todd: 30:08 You may not be very good at video editing, but come up with the process that you want your videos to follow so you can kind of document it, hand it over to the video editor and they’re going to be able to make it better. Or the Amazon administrative person, you need to have that nail like perfect and exactly step by step directions as to what they’re going to be doing. So keep that in mind as well as you’re going forward. Now, some of your other pro or some of your other questions here is your, what is my hiring approach? And so that I’m typically looking to fill a need. So if you think about stuff that you’re doing every week, if you do anything more than once, then that’s something that you need to create a process for. A, we call them SOP standard operating procedures and I’m going to be doing an episode all on SOP’s in the future, but basically it’s step by step directions on how things work and those are what you’re going to give those VA’s to be able to follow that step by step process and hopefully make it even better than what you’re able to do.
Todd: 31:20 And so that’s really what you’re looking for in a lot of your VA’s is people that take things off of your plate that you don’t want to do or you shouldn’t be doing because you need to be focusing on higher level stuff. Now again, don’t be hiring VA’s until you’re ready, until you’re making some money and you’ve mastered most of this stuff yourself because you’re the one who’s going to have to be teaching them either with those SOP’s or with those SOP’s and with video, maybe one-on-one training where you’re connecting to their computer and showing them how to do things. All of that. Just like you do a normal employee hiring if you’ve ever done that kind of stuff or being an employee yourself. If you ever got just thrown in in a job and they’re like, just go do it and they didn’t tell you how.
Todd: 32:12 That can be kind of nerve racking and frustrating because now you need to stumble in the dark trying to figure it out versus getting hired at a place that they say, okay, here’s your tasks. This is what you need to do. This is how we do them. If you come up with better ways to do something, let us know. We can maybe implement them into our processes. That’s a lot less stressful, a lot easier and things are going to get done the way they want to get done and keep in mind if a VA is not doing something the way you want them to do, look at yourself first. Don’t blame them. Look inwards, blame yourself. How could I have made those processes better? How could I communicated those processes better and communicate those to the VA? If it keeps going downhill and they’re just not doing it and you’ve communicated it in the best way possible, then you might have to look about getting a different VA.
Todd: 33:05 But make sure you look at yourself first. A lot of people, they get a VA and they’re like, just do all that. And then of course they do it wrong because they didn’t tell them how they wanted it done. So the VA does it their way and they get upset that well the VA is doing it wrong. They don’t know what they’re doing. I should just do this all myself. And instead of they need to look inward and look at themselves first. Did you actually train them properly? Did you tell them how you wanted it done properly and break it down for them? Defining the work. So that is going to be again, with those SOP’s standard operating procedures, documenting exactly what you want them to do, how you want them to do it. And hopefully if they’re really good, they’re gonna tell you ways to improve it.
Todd: 33:49 And make it even better, but you need to have a step-by-step things that they need to do. Like I use a website called Asana, a, s, a, n, a, I believe dot com. And so I have tasks in there and they just hit each task and they have dates that they need to be done. Some of them repeat, a lot of them repeat every week, every day, whatever. How often than I want them done. And so they’re just getting them done as they come in every day they see the tasks they need to do, they get them done, let me know if they need anything from me. So that’s kinda how I’m defining the work. And again, you kind of want to keep it all around a particular thing. That’s why I’m trying to break out the social media. I had this one VA doing administrative work for Amazon and my social media and that’s working out okay.
Todd: 34:36 She’s doing great with that. But they’re two separate things. So now that I’m big enough, I’m trying to separate those out into multiple different VA’s payment terms. I am usually paying biweekly right now or weekly. You can also do monthly, so you kind of have to negotiate that with your VA. But think about yourself. Do you like to get paid every week versus every two weeks versus every month? It’s going to be very similar for them, but you kind of just have to negotiate that with them or let them know upfront that I’m going to pay every two weeks on Friday or on Monday or whatever the case may be. And set those terms very much like an employee would be that’s hired you in the past or if you are, have hired employees in the past like you did for them. Fair rates really all depend on the position.
Todd: 35:31 So you can get VA’s all the way down to a couple dollars per hour in the Philippines, which doesn’t sound like much and it’s not a whole lot even for a Philippines VA, but $3 $4 and $5 that can be a relatively good salary in the Philippines because if you think about it, I’ve read and heard that like a nurse for example in the Philippines makes about four to $5 per hour, but they also have to commute to work, sometimes a very long commute. And this is still a third world country. So sometimes that can be unsafe and maybe the roads are not great. So the ability to work from home is a major benefit. So paying three or four or $5 an hour and giving them the opportunity to work from home is a very good salary for a general VA. Someone who’s going to be doing general things like your Amazon administrative work, sourcing different products and things like that.
Todd: 36:31 It can get a little bit higher if you’re hiring programmers to build software or make websites or if you’re hiring maybe a manager, once you have lots of VA’s, you’re going to want to hire a manager who’s managing them all for you. Instead of you manage them themselves, that’s going to get a little bit higher. So then you might be looking at six, seven, eight, nine, $10 an hour. But in general for the initial VA’s that you’re going to be getting three, four or $5 an hour is what you’re looking at. If you’re hiring from online jobs.ph, you can probably get good ones for around $3 an hour because you’re not paying extra fees. If you’re hiring through virtual staff finder or free up, then they have additional fees. So the price is going to be a little bit higher. Maybe $5 an hour is like free ups minimum that they allow you to charge.
Todd: 37:22 So that is the area though that you’re going to pay and it’s a good wage for them over there. I forget the exact number, but I think the average salary yearly salary is like under 20,000 in the Philippines. It’s something like 12 or 15,000. So it’s a good salary over there. They’ll be able to have a decent life living on those numbers. So definitely don’t try to compare it to what it takes to live here in the United States. How often they work. Again, that’s going to be totally up to you. Whether they’re part time, full time, the hours that they’re going to work. Are they going to work us time or are they going to work Philippines time or something in between. Some kind of crossover perhaps. I allow my VAs right now to work Philippines time, the sourcing agents though I’m gonna be trying to work them into the phones.
Todd: 38:15 And so with that they’re going to be having to have some time where they’re working during U S business hours. So that’s going to be changing here soon as I’m training them up for that. But you pretty much have to decide. It’s kinda like you’re, you’re the employer, you decide this is the job posting and this is what I want. I want someone who’s able to do that and how much communication. I have weekly employee meetings now and then we’re communicating on Skype pretty much every day. If they have any questions or issues, they shoot me a message on Skype and then we have those weekly meetings where we all get together, kind of give a overview of how business is doing and then each one’s gives a high level overview of how things are going. And right now after that, then I do one on one meetings so that I can address any concerns that maybe they didn’t want to bring up in the group setting. That’ll be more difficult as I grow, but right now that is what I’m doing. All right, so I think, I hope that answered all your questions. Hope I really appreciate those questions. Really good ones there went into a lot of really good detail. So thank you again for those questions. And we have one more question here, so let’s go ahead and listen to that one.
Tom: 39:34 Hi Todd, this is Tom. I had a couple of questions about sending a items into a Amazon FBA. The first question is is it better to have everything shipped to a single a warehouse? The reason why I asked is because I know by default the FBA items get relocated to other FCS or fulfillment centers to reach buyers quickly. So if I send everything to the syngo FC, would that hurt my chances of a quicker sale? And my other question would be Dinae to like submit the skew list and place it inside the pad FDA packages prior to me sending it out to the ed, the Amazon fulfillment centers. Yeah, if you have time to answer these questions, that’d be great. I thank you for your time and I know you’re a busy guy, so I appreciate all your help that you’re giving out to the community. All right, happy new year. Let’s make it the best. Thank you, Todd.
Todd: 40:31 All right, thank you Tom. So much for the question. You didn’t leave where you’re from. So I really wish I knew where you’re from, but that’s all right. Anybody in the future, if you leave a question, make sure you leave your name and where you’re from. It’s just fun to know where people are coming from. But Tom, excellent question here. So shipping to a single warehouse. So when you start getting products and you’re going to send them into Amazon, maybe you have a bunch of different products that you want to send in. You’re going to use the process in Amazon to send your inventory into an Amazon warehouse and Amazon by default is going to split that up into different shipments. Now they usually have one big shipment and then depending on the amount of products you have, maybe one, two, three, four different smaller shipments that they ship to different warehouses.
Todd: 41:30 And the reason Amazon does this is because that way they can get your products closer to the customer where they expect them to sell. Obviously Amazon has a ton of data on what sells, when it sells and where it sells, so they want to get that product as close to those customers as soon as possible, so they’re going to split it up sometimes into different warehouses to do that for you. And when they do that, they’re going to receive that product in at those warehouses. It’s going to get up for sale and potentially sell to the customer even faster versus what you can do is ship everything into a single warehouse. Now if you do that, there is a fee associated with that. I forget what it is off the top of my head. I think it’s like 25 cents or 40 cents per unit or something like that.
Todd: 42:24 So it’s definitely going to be an extra cost and you’re still going to get some things split up. Like if you have oversized items, those are going to go to a different warehouse than the standard size items. If you have hazmat hazardous material products like paint or something like that, that’s going to get separated out so it’s not going to be foolproof in sending everything to a single warehouse, but then what’s going to happen is they’re going to receive all of that product into a single warehouse and then they’re going to throw that on a different truck and ship it out to those separate warehouses like they would have anyways. So yes, that’s definitely gonna mean. A lot of your product is going to take longer to get received in an up for sale. How much longer is debatable? It all depends on what kind of, what time of year it is and how much of that product needs to go out.
Todd: 43:18 They might be able to keep some of it at that particular warehouse and get it up for sale and then a bunch of the rest of it will be shipped out to different warehouses so you might get up for sale right away. The bigger issue though is that extra cost per unit. I do not do any of that. I don’t want that eating into my bottom line. I tend to find the extra shipping cost is lower than paying the extra per unit cost for being able to send it into a single fulfillment center. And so as you grow, it’s going to become less and less of an issue. So things are going to get checked in sooner. You’re going to get up for sale sooner and it’s going to cost less per unit. So I would not recommend using that. But if you want to in the beginning, maybe to try to keep all your products together, go for it.
Todd: 44:10 As long as your margin is still good enough, your return on investment is still good enough, even with that extra fee that they’re going to charge you. But in my opinion, it’s not worth the extra cost to be able to do that. So I don’t do it. And you can decide whichever route you prefer to go. Now, the skew list in the package so you don’t have to put anything in the boxes as far as a packing list or a skew list or anything like that. Because all of that is done on the website. So when you go to create a shipment to send it into Amazon, they’re going to have you enter all of the products. So you have to let Amazon know what products you want to send in and what quantities. And then after they split it up into their different shipments, you have to go in and if you’re having multiple boxes, tell them which products are in which box right on their website and they print out a unique label for each box.
Todd: 45:10 So when you slap that on the box, it gets to the fulfillment center. All they have to do is scan that label and they know already what’s in that box. It comes up on their computer, they can check it in, make sure everything matches and go from there so you don’t have to put anything in the box at all. All right, so hopefully that answers those questions. Tom, I really appreciate you asking those questions. Again, if you want to have your questions answered on the show, remember to head over to Amazon Seller School.com forward slash ask and you can record your voice question there and I will be sure to answer it on an upcoming show and I would really appreciate it. Remember to leave your name and where you’re from as well. And also if you want to get those wholesale email templates that we mentioned that were mentioned earlier in the questions, you can head over to the show notes in this firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash eight and you can grab those templates.
Todd: 46:11 So basically I’m giving you my email templates that I’m sending out to brands and distributors to open accounts. And then I also include as a bonus in there my exclusive agreement that I send and use to get some of my exclusive agreements with brands. So I can be the only seller on Amazon. Now obviously talk with a lawyer, I’m not a lawyer with those documents, make sure they match up to what your business is looking for, but you can get an idea of what I am using. And those email templates. Do not use the exact email templates. I don’t even use that exact template because if we’re all sending the exact same thing, then they’re just going to start automatically ignoring it. So use those to get an idea of what I’m sending and make your own. So definitely head on over there, entrepreneurial venture.com forward slash eight grab those templates and hopefully that will help you get started.
Todd: 47:09 Get the ball rolling and open those accounts. Don’t be afraid of picking up the phone and talking with suppliers and brands as well. Email is okay. I start with email, but I always follow up with the phone call. You need to create that personal connection and not be just a number. Open up that personal connection, that personal relationship with your brands, with your suppliers, with your distributors, because that is how you’re going to be successful. You will never be successful in this business. Just sending emails. You’re not going to get the open rate that you need. You’re not gonna get the accounts open and you’re not going to get the discounts that you need every time you need to be getting discounts. That is how other people, when you see those products and you’re looking at it and you don’t know how they could possibly be making any money, it’s because they’re getting bigger discounts than you.
Todd: 48:07 So keep that in mind. Always be looking for discounts, building those relationships. That’s what this business is all about. We’re not in the business of selling products to customers on Amazon. We’re in the business of building a relationship with suppliers, brands and distributors because they are our customers. We’re helping them sell more products. We need to build and foster that relationship there. So with that, that wraps up this episode. I really appreciate you listening. Everybody out there, make sure you leave me a review over on iTunes or whatever platform you are using and share this with anyone else who may get good information out of this and be able to use this information. I would really appreciate it. So with that, this is Todd Welch with the Amazon Seller School signing off, happy selling. Everybody.
Announcer: 49:04 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.