It’s every entrepreneur’s dream: quitting that 9 to 5 and diving head-first into a side venture. But what exactly does it take to take the plunge? Ken and David from the podcast Firing The Man are here to share their story and offer you tricks from the quitting trade. Stay tuned.
Meet Ken & Dave
A lifetime lover of problem-solving and a recent network engineer, Ken discovered Amazon FBA through a YouTube ad. Five months after starting Firing The Man with Dave, Ken did just that. A bit more risk-averse, Dave has yet to take the plunge, but he’s built a successful e-commerce business and is certainly next in line.
How They Did It
So what does it take to walk out on your full-time job and become a full-time entrepreneur? Before taking the leap, Ken cut down his expenses and beefed up his 6-month emergency fund. As you’ve heard Todd say before, knowing your numbers is crucial. Luckily for Ken, Dave is a CPA and was right there to check those prime profit and loss statements before he made the big move.
Taking a slightly different approach, Dave focused on re-investing into his business rather than taking a salary. He recommends waiting to quit until you’ve replaced your salary by a factor of two or three. That way, you automatically have money set aside to reinvest. After all, the fastest way to grow is to increase your cash flow and the fastest way to boost cash flow is to reinvest.
Don’t just rely on Amazon. Every year the times change and a new platforms rises above the rest. Ken recommends diversifying into different sales channels like Etsy, eBay, and Walmart. With an ever-changing marketplace, you’ve got to learn to pivot and pivot quickly.
Skills Trump Paycheck
Dave recommends quitting your day-job on good terms. You never know when you’ll need that steady job back. Also, if possible, find a job that teaches you skills applicable to growing your side hustle. Maybe digital marketing or a job that involves PPC. While higher-paying jobs are great, at the end of the day, the skills you gain are more valuable than a few extra bucks.
The Power of Positivity
The fastest way to get where you want to be is to speak to someone who’s been there and ask what they did. Ken stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with positive, like-minded people who will have your back when it counts. Searching for mentors himself, Dave started an e-commerce meetup where he met Ken: the rest is history.
Ken also reminds us to focus on mental strength. Don’t allow yourself to think negatively or create a mental out for yourself. If you don’t give yourself an out and put 100% into your business, the sky is truly the limit.
Can’t decide whether you’re ready to go all-in? Gauge your risk level and make a plan. The sooner you start planning your move, the faster you’ll get there.
Happy selling everybody.
Resources From This Episode
Outline Of This Episode
[00:49] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[02:44] Meet Ken & David
[09:52] How they did it
[17:37] The importance of diversifying
[23:46] Why skills trump paycheck
[30:46] The power of positivity
[41:45] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
I remember a conversation that we had and it went something like, Hey, are we posers? Are we like, are we legit? We have a podcast about quitting your job yet neither of us have done it. And what we decided was we wanted to bring people along for the journey,utalk about, you know, the steps that we were taking,uin our businesses and in our lives to set us up for that. And six months into it, Ken quit his job. It was a, just a wonderful day. and, I’d say I’m next in line.
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the Amazon Seller School podcast, where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an e-commerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host, Todd Welch,
What’s going on everybody. Welcome to episode number 53 of the Amazon Seller School podcast. And we have a great one today. So you’re building your business. You’re trying to build your business. You’re just getting started in the Amazon wholesale world, whatever the case may be. You’re probably thinking to yourself that someday it would be pretty awesome if I didn’t have to go to my nine to five job and then also work on the business that I’m trying to build. So today I’m bringing on a good friend of mine, Ken and his partner, David, and they have started a podcast called firing the man where they talk about the journey to leaving the corporate world, your nine to five for good. And since starting the podcast, Ken has left his job and David is in the process of leaving his job. So today I sit down with them both, and we talk about our own journeys of leaving our jobs and tips and tricks on how you can prepare yourself to leave your job and do business full time.
I think you’re really going to like this. If you want the show notes or the transcript checkout Amazon Seller School.com/ 53 for this episode. And of course, check out their podcast, firing the man.com or look it up on any of your favorite podcasting platforms. I guarantee you will get a lot of really good information on that. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into this episode with Ken and David.
All right. So Ken and Dave, I really appreciate you guys joining me for the show today. Why don’t you guys tell us a little bit about your backgrounds and how you got started?
Yeah, I’ll jump in there. So my background not Entrepreneurial. So, you know, my first job was kind of like selling peaches at a roadside stand. Right. And I’ve had probably 25 different jobs moving, you know, throughout being a teenager to where I’m at now. So I’ve, I’ve been you know, doing the entrepreneurial journey for about three years now and to get there, do you know, the last 15 years I was a network engineer and telecommunications, so just kind of you know, working through that and I’ve always been interested in solving problems, which you know, for an entrepreneur, that’s pretty much what we do every day. But yeah, so my background is a network engineer and, you know, one day I just my daughter said, Hey, dad watched this YouTube video. And I was watching it. And then somebody ad popped up for selling on Amazon. And I was like, Oh, really? What’s this. So I checked it out and, you know, within a, probably three months I had an, had an LLC and was, was selling on Amazon. And, you know, that was about three years ago. So it was kind of a quick snapshot of my background Todd. Nice.
And you, and I know each other through Scott Voelker, we met at Is conference and it’s been , you’ve actually left your job Since then, which is pretty cool.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, you know, the whole, the whole obviously the goal is to work for yourself, you know? And yeah. And June of this year I was able to, my businesses were at a point now where they were sustaining, you know, they could sustain a salary and they were growing and it was, it was a, I had an opportunity with my current employer. It was a good time. So yeah, I I left the employment from someone else to employing myself now. So it’s been about five months and yeah, it’s been a, it’s been a good ride. And I, I was nervous, you know, leaving, we can get into that later, but I was super nervous leaving my job. Now I have, I have an anxiety of ever having to go back and work for someone else, you know,
for sure, definitely hear you a hundred percent.All right, David, how about you?
Yes. So going way back to my childhood, I grew up on a farm in Iowa and one of my first entrepreneurial ventures was a pumpkin farm. I’ve got four younger brothers and we had a big pumpkin patch and, you know, I got into that around age 10 and did it all the way through high school and really enjoyed it. I went to college entered the business school and my I decided on accounting and finance as my majors and enjoyed that ended up going to work for a consulting firm, a business consulting firm, where I did a mergers and acquisition work litigation
Forensic accounting, and got to work on a lot of cool projects and have been at that firm for about eight years. And so have been learning quite a bit every year that I’m there but started getting into e-commerce about four years ago. And what made me get into it was I went home to visit my parents and my mom said, Hey, Alexa, order some laundry detergent and keep in mind, my mom is not tech savvy at all, but we lived in a rural area and it was so much easier to order off of Amazon as opposed to getting in the car and driving into town and getting laundry detergent. And for whatever reason, that really clicked with me that, Hey, e-commerce is here to stay. And so I started dabbling in it kind of as a hobby and, you know, over time it just kind of grew into something more than that.
And I wanted to meet some like-minded people. And so I started the St. Louis e-commerce meetup, and that’s where Ken and I met. And it was funny. We were both talking is both of our significant others get tired of us talking about e-commerce like, my wife can only listen to me talk about PPC and a cost for so long, for sure. So I met Ken and it was like, I had this someone event to someone who like really liked to nerd out on e-commerce stuff with me. And so we’d get together probably once a week and have a beer and talk about our businesses. And after doing that quite a few times, Ken, throughout the idea of, Hey, let’s, let’s start a podcast, let’s we can continue to have our beer but let’s record it. And and so, you know, we’re coming up on one year, our one year anniversary of the firing the man podcast, and it has been a lot of fun, a lot of fun. And I’ve definitely learned quite a bit throughout the process.
Yeah. And that is awesome. And what you guys talk about primarily on that podcast is helping people and other people leave their jobs right there. And your guys a story about doing that as well.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I will say that the title firing the man is kind of abrasive, right. And when Ken and I started that we were both employed. I still am employed full time. I remember a conversation that we had and it went something like, Hey, Are we posers? Are we like, are we legit? Or we have a podcast about quitting your job yet neither of us have done it. And what we decided was we wanted to bring people along for the journey talk about, you know, the steps that we were taking in our businesses and on our lives to set us up for that. And six months into it, Ken quit his job. It was just a wonderful day. And I’d say I’m next in line.
It’s a huge step. I’ve kind of come and went from the working for the man myself, cause I actually quit back in 2018 and I didn’t know my numbers as well as I thought. And so I ended up going back and now I’ve just recently left again and it definitely feels fantastic to be out on your own and running a business. So can you left already, David, you are working towards leaving. So let’s dive into those stories and kind of how you guys went about preparing for that stuff, because I’m sure other people are probably in the position or hope to be in the position someday to be able to leave their jobs. So what’s been your guys’s path for that. Whoever wants to run with that first.
Sure. I’ll jump in. So like I said, you know, so I started my company about almost almost three years ago. And so the, the idea was, Hey, you know, grow a business large enough to replace my income so I can leave my day job. And, you know, after about probably nine months after starting, you know, I had a day where you know, as an engineer, I made a decent salary and I had a day that my profits and my e-commerce business surpassed my salary. So then I was like, okay, well, this can really happen. So then I said, okay let me start putting a plan together. And, you know probably around that time, I, you know, I started looking out and following you know, people like Scott Voelker, Pat Flynn and I really started realizing, you know, the Amazon FBA centric business is you know, there’s pitfalls with it.
Right. So I, so then I started a second company because I thought, well, I don’t want to leave my job and then have, you know my, my entire revenue stream disappear. So I started a second brand and the goal was to bring both of those brands up to a point where, you know I could extract the salary out and replace my day job. And if something happened to either one of them, I would be okay because the other one would be self-sustaining. So redundant revenue streams was really high on my list. That was number one and, you know, a couple of the other items that, you know having expenses. So I thought, okay, well, if I can decrease my expenses now over the next six months, 12 months cut out all the stuff, I don’t need cut out all the fancy stuff really squeezed down my expenses.
Well, then it will, take less of a salary for me to leave my day job. Right. So I worked on paying off any debt, squeezing down expenses, and it made it easier to actually leave. And the other thing was having, and for me personally, having a six months living expenses and in a liquid account cash. So if something catastrophic did happen, I have six months to figure it out before I have to go back and get a job. So and then got to thelast thing was health insurance. That was for me was one of the scariest things. Cause I had never done that before, but, you know, after researching and talking to a bunch of you know, entrepreneurs there was lots of different choices with that. So that, wasn’t just that, that was just more of a roadblock, a mental roadblock of not having done that before.
So I figured that out and then that was kind of the last piece of the puzzle. And then it was really like timing, you know, like, okay, when do I do this? Like you said, you know, knowing your numbers is crucial. Like if you don’t know your numbers, then yeah. Then it’s, you know, might not work out as well. So really drilling in on yeah. Really drilling in on those. And I’m just leaning on my network, you know, like David, his CPA, you know, he’s really, he’s a wizard with numbers. So reaching out, talking with, you know, with masterminds and stuff and just kind of touching all the points. So that, that was kind of my rough roadmap of exiting.
All right. Very good. And we’ll, we’ll definitely circle back around to a lot of that stuff. Cause you did a lot of the similar things that I’ve done and I think people would be, it’d be beneficial to kind of dive into some of that, but let’s jump over to David and kind of hear your background so far on firing your man.
Yeah, absolutely. So I would say I’ve definitely played the long game here. For the first three years, I did not pull a single dollar out of the business. I was reinvesting all of my profits back into inventory and new products and just trying to grow and scale as fast as I can. And you know, one thing that I would encourage people to think about is if you want to fire the man, do not quit your job and then start a business. You, you need some cash flow and you can generate cash flow faster when in reinvesting your profits. And so as Ken mentioned, I’m a CPA and I really do nerd out on on income statements and balance sheets. And so this has been something I’ve taken a hard look yet you know, right off the bat. I think a lot of people think say they are making $5,000 a month at their job. They may think, well, if I can have net income of $5,000 per month in my e-commerce business, I’m set, I’m going to leave. And what I found is you really, if you do that and you start to draw that salary, you’re going to really strangle your company from a cashflow standpoint. And so what I people to do
Is replace your salary or income by a factor of two or three I’m a very risk averse person. That’s one of the reasons I was actually attracted to the profession of being a CPA was it is like as steady as it gets. And so, you know, what I’m trying to do is replace my income by a factor of three and what that will allow me to do when I do fire, the man is draw my salary that I’m currently getting at my job, but then reinvest continue to reinvest in the business and continue to grow and scale the business. And so that’s, that’s one thing that I’ve been focusing on is reinvestment and trying to replace my income by a factor of three. The other thing, and this is a little off topic, but I have taken some money.
What I have taken out of e-commerce I have invested into rental properties. And you may think that there’s like very little connection between e-commerce and, and rental properties, but there’s a lot of similarities in that. It’s like, cause I passive, like I haven’t found a truly passive way to earn money, like to where a check just shows up. It requires some work, but you know, FBA, for instance people are shipping out your goods for you. You don’t have to do that on, on your own but it’s not fully passive. Right. You know, that it’s it’s can be a full-time job. And I would say the same thing is true with rental properties where that rent check comes in. But Hey, you get that 2:00 AM call, Hey, my toilet is overflowing and and you need to address that. And so you know, as Ken talked about diversifying into different sales channels, that’s been something that I’ve been doing, but also trying to build up some other income streams just in case my, a seller central account were to get closed down after firing demand.
Yeah. I actually do the retail or the retail, the real estate thing as well. I have one rental right now. I’m looking to buy another one here probably in the next month or two and hopefully, maybe two or three of them next year. So I’m kind of doing the same thing and it helps you give that extra cashflow coming in and I’m kind of looking at it more of like a retirement fund instead of putting money in a 401k I’m buying property and stuff like that, then yeah. You have issues every once in a while, but I’ve been renting for almost two years now and almost nothing as long as you have a decent tenant, you know, it really comes down to making sure you have a good tenant in there.
Yeah. That is definitely your biggest asset is a good tenant.
For sure. All right, perfect. So both of you guys are kinda trying to hedge your bets, making sure you’ve got your downside covered and things like that. So Ken, let’s dive that a little bit more. You did an emergency fund, but what else did you do to kind of protect yourself and what recommendations do you have for other people?
Like you said, you know, like you mentioned emergency fund. Like for me personally I have a higher risk tolerance due to my, you know, my personal background. So like David says he, you know, he has a low risk tolerance. I have a higher risk tolerance, meaning I will gamble a little bit more. So six months to me was, was enough you know to have in cash to fall back on if something happened. Some of the other things that also like David mentioned and this comes up, it came a little bit later, but diversifying into a different sales channels. And Todd we’ve talked prior about this, but I also have a e-commerce websites that I sell my products and brands and I also have a different sales channels, Etsy going into Walmart.
So just continually, just continuously diversifying sales channels and having multiple revenue streams, right. Because, and the digital space e-commerce the landscape is rapidly changing, right? So one year something could be hot the next it’s not. So you always have to continuously test and try new things throw out what doesn’t work and, and go deeper on what does so yeah, I would just say, you know, if, if any advice would be that just test what works and scale it but always have multiple sales channels, multiple revenue streams to diversify and and decrease your risk.
Yup. Always about decreasing the risk and things. And I don’t know if we mentioned you guys are both in the private label world I’m of course, in the wholesale world, how are you finding Ken that diversification going? Are you making very much from those other channels as compared to Amazon?
Yeah, so you know the sales channels I’m on right now are E-bay Etsy my own website, Amazon FBA, and going into Walmart. So I’m excited about going into Walmart. I don’t have any stats on that right now, but so I, you know, I would say eBay is about. In these sales channels, there are only less, probably six months old eBay, just a few percentage. My website is scaling pretty rapidly instead of about 5%. And Etsy makes up about eight to 10% of my sales now. So I’m slowly diversifying that pipe. So I would say my website and Etsy are the two sales channels that I’ve found for you know, obviously we’re in private label. So the categories brands that you’re in are going to be are going to work differently on different sales channels. But you know, with my website you know, having an email list pushing content, social media, organic traffic to my website is really helping.
So you have to have that. You can just drop a website and get sales, unless you’re really good at Google ads or Facebook ads. But, but se Etsy for this year for 2020, for me for one of my private label brands, it is crushing it. Now it is a pay to play sales channel. But overall the fees on Etsy are, you know, 8% versus, you know, Amazon 15. So you got a little bit more room to play with there. But yeah, so Etsy is crushing it. I’m excited about Walmart. Yeah.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Etsy but of course it all depends on your product, right. You’re probably not going to sell car parts on Etsy or something like that right now, but it might be, might be a slow roll for sure.
Yeah. Yeah. So that brand that’s, that’s crushing it on etsy and mine is it’s in the arts and craft space, so perfect niche, but you’re right. Like, it really depends on, you know, your niche and your, for the sales channel.
Yeah. I’ve heard good things about, I think red bubble is another one that’s out there that’s growing. It gets kinda like Etsy and some different niches and stuff like that. And yeah, just diversifying and having the different income streams can, can mean a lot. And it’s just a part of growing a business as well. Right.
Yeah, absolutely. Just testing things out and seeing what works and yeah, really just adding new sales channels and, you know, just like anything else. Yeah. You have to test it, see what works and, you know, scale it up or throw it out. Pivot
Yeah, absolutely. All right, David back to you on you know, people, what other tips do you have for people to prepare to leave their job or maybe decide if they’re already ready?
Definitely. I, I think that a lot of people, when they’re thinking about leaving their job, it’s an all or nothing thing either I’m, I’m either full-time employed for the man or I’m, full-time employed for myself. And, you know, there are a lot, there’s a lot of flexibility there. For instance, you could go part-time, I can’t tell you the number of people that come to our meetups that say, God, I’d love to do this, but I don’t have time. And you know, as the saying goes, time is money. And so that may be an option. It is where you go from full-time to part-time. The other thing that I’d say is that when you do, when you are preparing to exit try to go out on good terms because if things don’t pan out, you may be calling a year later and saying, Hey, can I have my job back? And so as much as it may feel good to give Deb the middle finger on the way out, don’t you know, go out on good terms and and you know, protect relationships
Cause you may need them. And you know, I’d also say that if you’re doing something that is, if you ultimately want to sell on Amazon and your day job has nothing to do with that, maybe you should consider getting a different job that still is stable to where you could be picking up some marketable skills. And so, you know, I’ll give you an example you know, if right now I do a lot of work in mergers and acquisitions and I plan on making an acquisition probably in the next one to two years. And so I can guarantee you that when I’m working on these projects, obviously I’m trying to do good work for our client, but I’m also thinking to myself like, okay, what do I want to know? You know, what do I want to get out of this experience?
You know, when people think of compensation, oftentimes they’re thinking about the cashflow going in and out of your account. But I would argue that the skills that you can pick up on the job are just as important. And so if you’re doing something that has nothing to do with your ultimate goal you know, maybe try to find a job at like a digital marketing agency or learn a skill like PPC that would pay huge dividends when you launch your first product. And so anyway, those are some like non-cash things that I think some people can think about as they’re going through this entire process.
Yeah. I agree a hundred percent with finding a job that will teach you skills for whatever business you’re trying to build it, especially if you can afford it. You know, if you’re young, really, especially then, you know, get out of your comfort zone, become an intern in some place that’s doing e-commerce or maybe it’s an Amazon agency or something like that. And you’ll pick up so many skills by doing that kind of stuff that you can then use in your own business to help grow it. And it’s just a great way to basically get like free education.
And I, I would also add to that. If you know, somebody that has personally been successful in e-commerce reach out to them and offer up some of your time whatever you have, if you’re a good at Photoshop, say, listen, I will do a, you know, I’ll do a couple hours of free Photoshop a week. If we could get coffee once a week, I love to just to ask you questions, you know, Ken and I say this all the time on our podcast, but the easiest way to get somewhere is to find someone who’s been there and ask them how they did it. You know, there’ve been a lot of things in my life where I’ve, I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks and made a ton of mistakes. And I’ve learned from that definitely. But gosh, would it have been easier just to ask somebody who’s already been through the process, Hey, how, how do I do this? How did you do it? And I’m not asking for anything. I’m not asking for a handout. Here’s something of value. Here’s some value that I can provide to you. And and maybe you will reciprocate that value through just good advice or mentoring.
Yeah, I think that is something really important to kind of highlight that, especially for the younger people listening, because I think that’s something that’s kind of gone away or frowned upon in our society nowadays, especially doing things for free. And I think it’s super important to get internships and things like that and learn from people who have been there and done it. And I remember a situation back when I was owning PC techs, computers, which were a computer repair shop before I got into e-commerce. And there was a younger kid who came in for an interview for an internship. And we were just paying the minimum wage, which I think at the time was like seven 25, or it might’ve been six 75 or something like that. And we’re interviewing them and stuff like that. And we asked him what he thought and he asked about the wage. We told them, and he’s like, well, I don’t know. I can make more money at Walmart. All right. Well, good luck learning how to fix computers at Walmart see you later, you know, so, and that’s just always stuck in my mind. And a lot of people think that way, unfortunately, I think they’re just thinking about working. I make the most money and not necessarily where can I gain the most now?
Yeah. It’s really a short-sighted way of thinking about thi ngs. You know, I would say your greatest asset is your skills. You know, money can go in your bank account, then you spend it, then it’s gone. But when you acquire a skill and you’re good at something, you’ve got that for the rest of your life. And and I would say that has a much higher value than, you know, paper, money, a hundred percent.
So, Dave, what does your future look like? What are your next steps here? When do you see yourself taking the leap?
Well, as I mentioned before, I’m very risk adverse and, and I would, I would probably go one step further and say, like, I am the biggest wimp when it comes to risk. And so I am, you know, in the process of, of, you know, replacing my income by a factor of three, buying up some rental properties and continue to grow and scale my brand. And at some point there will be a logical point to jump off and do that Full-Time and that’s something that I’m working hard on. And so Ken and I have had a lot of conversations and I’ll tell you what, it’s there’s something that kind of holds your feet to the fire. When you start a podcast with somebody called firing the man six months into it, he fires the man and you know, we’re coming up on a year and I’m still working. So
I’m feeling that pressure, but it’s a good pressure. And Ken has been, you know, a great resource in terms of, you know, asking questions and, and thinking of things that I may not be thinking about. So you know, I looked at joint Ken in the near future as a full-time e-commerce seller.
Awesome, awesome. That’ll be a fantastic day. Trust me. It feels really good. But you know, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your job however long you want to do it. The only issue that you want to kind of watch out for, in my experience is burnout. You know, start feeling like you’re just working too much, but if you can avoid that and you enjoy the work that you’re doing and your job, and then the business as well, then you can keep it as long as you need. Definitely. For sure.
All right. Cool. well, any last things Ken on your end that would help people that are contemplating leaving their job, or maybe just starting.
Yeah, sure. So a couple things that come to mind one is one thing I was really huge for me was to surround myself with like-minded people, you know, so I’m an introvert by nature. So my my inner circle is very small, right. But like David said, you know, my kids were tired of me, cornering them, talking to them about PPC and listing optimizations. Then, you know, my girlfriend had enough of my marketing strategies and my email list building. So I was like, okay, I’ve got to, I’ve got to reach out here. So I went and joined a couple of meetup groups joined a couple of masterminds, went to a couple of conferences. That’s where Todd, that’s where you and I met. So that was really, really a huge leap for me is to start surrounding myself with like-minded people.
And I’ve learned so much from that. And if any bit of advice would be that just surround yourself with like-minded positive people that are gonna have your back, right. And that are going to be positive and help you along on your journey. Another piece of advice, I would say that’s often underrated and overlooked is mental, like mental strength. Cause if we. A lot of our brain works on positive vibes and energy. And we always like negative thoughts creep into our mind. So what I have found, which is what is super helpful for me is just studying and staying mentally strong. Like I have whoever’s watching on YouTube. I have a sign in my office right here. It says, burn the boats. And yeah, that, that is it’s on my wall for a reason. And I am not giving myself any mental outs. So that, that quote come from the conqistador Cortez, when he landed on Ireland to conquer the, and
His troops, I don’t know how many add, like say he had 500 troops and there were 5,000 assets. He gave an order to burn the boats. Like they weren’t going back home. So you either go in there and conquer the Aztecs or suffer a fate. Right. So if you don’t give yourself an out, if you say, Hey, I’m going, you set a goal and you say, I’m going to do this. And then you put a hundred percent effort into it. You’re likely going to achieve that. So being mentally strong.
Yeah. I agree. A hundred percent with that. There there’s, you know, if you give yourself an out, then you probably will not be giving full effort towards that. It’s, there’s definitely something to be said that when everything is on the line, your back’s up against the wall and you’ll make it happen one way or another. And that’s, you know, one way definitely to go about it. You know, obviously, like you said, you’re more okay with the risk. David is not so much, he wants to have more of the fallbacks and stuff, which is awesome. Both ways are fine. Not really one better than the other necessarily, but just really awesome that you guys were able to find each other at a networking group. And I would echo, you know, finding people and surrounding yourself, whether they’re in your location or, you know, around the country and, you know, connect on Skype or whatever the case may be. I’m actually thinking of doing the same thing, starting a networking group here in Utah, where I live, you know, I have one friend here who is into e-commerce and we’re going to start running and together and stuff like that. And that’ll help, but it’d be nice to have a group of like-minded people that kind of can push, keep each other moving forward. Yeah,
Yeah, definitely. I would really encourage you to do that. And when I started it, I didn’t know what I was getting into really not a huge burden. Right. All you do is I go to meetup.com. That’s where I do all, all my meetups at you post a page, it’s just like setting up a Facebook page. You call a restaurant or a bar. This is pre COVID, but things will get back to normal. At some point you call a restaurant or bar and say, Hey, can I rent out the back room? And generally they’ll say, yeah, you can have it for free, as long as you have a bar tab of 200 bucks or whatever. And and then you just show up and I think you’ll be surprised at how many people just come out of the woodwork. You know, I had never met another Amazon seller until I started this meetup. And you know, at, you know, I think back in February we had 210 members and obviously 210 people don’t show up to every meeting. But you know, they get our messages. They’re welcome to come. It doesn’t cost me anything. And and so definitely do that. That would be my one pro tip is is build out that network, find a networking event. And if it doesn’t show up, then create one. It is not that hard. And I can tell you that that is a positive ROI activity, for sure.
Yeah. I’ve been wanting to do it for like the last year, but for obvious reasons with everything going on, it’s been been difficult, but let’s dive into that, your process of creating that for my own information and anybody else who might want to start a group in their local area what kind of tools, what did you use to start that group and promote it and get other peoples to notice?
Yeah, so I would say this differs from a website, there’s a movie, Field of dreams, and there’s a quote in there. Kevin Costner says, if you build it, they will come. And I’ve had a handful of websites that I’ve built. They’ve looked nice, but no one showed up and meetup.com is different. You know, I just created a page and people kind of just started signing up. And so I would actually encourage you to start one right now. Because slowly people will just start to sign up and get notifications. I actually in April, so when things were totally shut down in my area, I started a local meetup in my hometown for real estate, and we haven’t even had a meeting yet, but it’s up to like 40 members. And I think people are at home.
They are glued to their phones and when they see, you know, a real estate meetup or an e-commerce meetup, they’ll sign up because they’re excited for things to open up. And so I encourage you to do that now. And then, you know, we would just have a monthly meetings. I think we were doing like the first Tuesday of every month, but, you know, find a time that works for you and and pick a place that you enjoy going. I picked a restaurant that has good beer and good food because I want to be going there once a month. And so be a little selfish here and pick some that you like, and I’m sure other people like it as well. And you know, typically we would have, it would just be networking. So we, you know I did have a rule, nothing salesy, if you’re coming here to sell something you’re not welcome.
And this was something, you know, I wanted it to be free. I wanted it to be authentic and was very hesitant about picking up sponsors. And if you think of like the cost, how much does this cost me? It was 15 bucks a month because people show up, they buy their own drinks, they buy their own food. And the space that I was renting was I wasn’t renting and it was free as long as we had a $200 tap. And so really a low cost there. And so we brought in some people to present and I can tell you, one thing I’ve been doing in quarantine is checking out Carlos Alvarez. He has the biggest meetup in the Amazon meetup in the world. And when it comes to meetups, that guy does it. Right. And so and you know, I talked to him about it and he said, you know, model yours off of mine. I don’t care. Copy it, copy and paste. It, it doesn’t matter to me. He, he really finds a lot of value in, in his area. And and so, you know, when things do open back up, I’m going to be modeling a lot of things that he’s doing because it’s working for him and I’m looking to continue to grow and scale the St. Louis e-commerce club.
All right, cool. Carlos Alvarez. And does he have like a website where he teaches us or you just go to his meetup group and look at it?
He’s got an Ken, what’s the name of this podcast? It’s awesome.
Yeah. So he’s got tons of channels, but I would definitely say wizards of Amazon and his Facebook group and he’s on telegram and he’s also launching wizards of e-com as well, so.
Okay, cool. We’ll definitely have to check it out. I’ve used meetup.com before. So cool to hear that. That’s what you’ve been using. I think I’ve tried to do it on Facebook, but Facebook just, you don’t get any organic growth really on Facebook. It doesn’t seem like compared to meetup.com. Have you tried Facebook or you just use meetup.com for everything?
I use meetup.com for everything. I haven’t tried Facebook but I would say, you know, I’ve started some like brand pages there, and that’s one of those things, unless you’re publishing content all the time people aren’t going to show up and to say that, like, aside from just emailing the group, I have done nothing and we’ve grown to 210 members. I don’t, they meet up, does an excellent job of bringing traffic in and then it’s up to you to schedule things. And so I really like it. And so I can tell you if you build it, they will come.
All right. Well, I will deal with it after this episode here and get started. Anybody else who’s out there listening. You want to meet people who are like-minded are yours as well. Like you said, it’s 15 bucks a month or whatever, but sign up with the business card. It’s a business expense. Write it off. You’ll be good. There you go. All right. Cool. Well, David and Ken, I really appreciate you guys coming on your guys’ podcast, firing the man. What’s the best way for people to listen and find out more about you guys.
So our website is firing the man.com and we’re on I believe 22 syndicated channels for our podcast. If you go on any, whatever, whatever, wherever you listen to your podcast, if you go and search firing the man you will find us all right, and check us out on social media as well at firing the man on Instagram and Facebook.
All right, perfect. We’ll put all those links in the show notes as well. But you guys do a fantastic Job, I was on
Your guys’ podcast. I dunno, a couple of months or so ago now, and appreciate that. So really glad you guys could come on the show here. I think people get a lot of really good knowledge out of it.
All right. So there you go. Another great episode there with Ken and David from firing the man podcast. I hope you guys enjoyed that out there and got some really good tips on starting to build yourself towards leaving your job. If that’s something that you want to do, you have to kind of gauge your risk level, right? As we talked about in the podcast, are you more risk averse or are you okay with taking more risks and build your fallback according to what you need, but start doing that. Now, if you’re building your business or you’re not even getting started, start building your emergency fund, start building your course of action that you’re going to take to eventually leave your job.
The sooner you can start planning for that, the better, because you have more time to build that out. What a lot of people do is they’re like, okay, I’m ready. They just leave with no plan in place. And that is not a good place to be in my own experience. I had that happen to myself. I had to go back, take the job again. And it’s definitely not fun to have to do that and start kind of from scratch, right? So start your plan now for leaving your job and going into your business Full-Time. If that’s something you want to do, so really hope you appreciated and enjoyed that episode. Again, the show notes over amazonseller.school/53, and of course firingtheman.com for their podcast or on any of your favorite podcasting platforms. So with that, I’m your host, Todd Welch 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.