Lessons Learned from My First Amazon FBA Q4

Lessons Learned
Today I’m sharing the lessons that I learned from selling in my first Q4 on Amazon.

Let me not bury the lead, I didn’t sell as much as I hoped I would during fourth quarter.

In this video, I am going to share the lessons learned during my first Q4 and some of the things that I plan to do better next time.

Inventory

My biggest problem is that I didn’t get inventory in stock until December 4th, completely missing the first part of the holiday rush.  This is something that I have to remedy as my sales could have easily been doubled had I been in stock in November.

Pay Per Click

Another issue I ran up against was being unsure how much I should spend each day on PPC.  I really didn’t change my normal campaign and I think that my sales suffered as a result.  More to come on this soon.

Add Products

The more products you are selling, the more you can sell.  I know that sounds really basic, but if I had more products to sell, I could have sold a lot more product. Adding additional products to my business is crucial for a bigger Q4 in 2018.

Lessons Learned

Keep products in stock, study up on PPC and add more product lines.  Sounds simple, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  I’m excited to see how much progress I have made come Q4 2018!

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more videos from The Bootstrap Boutique here.

December Amazon Update

December Amazon Update
This is my first year selling during Q4 on Amazon! How’s it going?

Today I’m sharing my December Amazon Update.

Selling During Q4

This is my first time selling during the holiday rush that is Q4. I was late getting started due to being out of stock and waiting on a new shipment of products.

My supplier warned me that they were getting busy and that there would be a long lead time on production.  It turned out to actually be 55 days until my product was ready to ship to Amazon. Ouch.

This means that products weren’t checked in to an Amazon warehouse until the night of December 4th, or Cyber Monday. I was happy to see sales that same night, but sad that I missed out on Black Friday and that crazy first weekend of the shopping season.

It also meant my product sales were never going to be as good as they could be, because Amazon doesn’t immediately give you your ranking back when you get back in stock.

I’ve been back in stock for 2 weeks at this point and have sold about 1/3 of my inventory. Honestly, I thought it would be more and that I would be almost out of stock again, based on what I have heard about Q4 sales from other sellers.  There is definitely room for me to improve here next year.

Shipping Expenses Hurt Again

This production run is a lot more expensive for me because my shipping is more expensive.  This is supply and demand working against me as this is a busy time of year for transportation companies as well.

From the time I got my first shipping quote in August until when the products actually shipped in late November, the price rose by over $1,000.

$1,000.

Yeah.

Pay Per Click

Because my profit margin is lower than I’d like, I can’t be as aggressive as I’d like with PPC.

I’m currently running 3 campaigns, an automatic, a manual, and an exact match manual with a limit of $20 a day.

Inventory

My main concern is maintaining profitability so that I can continue to order larger quantities of products and start hitting some quantity discounts with the suppliers. I’m also considering sea shipping for my next order, I am just hoping that I have a shorter production time to make up for that lag in sea shipping.

Product #2

We are officially in production! I am so excited to get started with a second product and to have 2 products selling on Amazon.  It should be ready in about 20 days and is a smaller and lighter product than #1 so should be much cheaper to ship. It has definitely been cheaper to produce.

Book Keeping

Gotta get on that so it’s ready to go early in January for my CPA.  I’m excited that according to Fetcher, I’m showing a small profit for the year!

Merry Christmas!

This is the last official video between now and Christmas, so if you celebrate I hope that you have a wonderful day full of all the people and things that matter to you.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

Amazon FBA: Preparing for 2018

Planning for 2018
Today I’m sharing 4 things that I’m doing during the last 4 weeks of the year to get ready for 2018!

Preparing for 2018

It is time to begin preparing for 2018, because it’s almost here!

What are you doing to get ready for next year?

If you’re still trying to figure out if Private Label is right for you, take my free 5 day email course here, it helps walk you through that decision in just 5 days.

Here’s four things that I am trying to get done in the last 4 weeks of December.

Set up Product Launches for 2, 3, and 4

Product #2 is almost ready to go, I’m just waiting for a little more cash in my bank account, which will come from the sale of product #1 over the holiday season.

But I need to make sure that I’ve got the momentum going for products #3 and #4 so I can get them launched sooner than later.

Continue to add Sales Tax Permits to States with Nexus

I’m working through my larger liability states to make sure that I’m collecting and paying sales tax in states where I have more product sales.

Tax Jar is a software program I use that makes it easy to see where my exposure is amongst the various states, and I am working down the list.

My goal for the rest of this year is to have one more state set up, and then to continue adding next year.

Wrap Up Bookkeeping

I’m going to spend an entire day towards the end of the year working on my bookkeeping. It’s one of those things that you have to do as a business owner even if it’s not sexy or fun.  (Remember when I said that this is work?)

Take a Step Back

Believe it or not, I’m going to work on taking a step back from the Amazon FBA world over the Christmas season and get a refresh on it. I’ve worked hard this year on getting my business off the ground and I want to be able to reflect on and enjoy that fact. I have plans to spend lots of time with family and friends and enjoy this time of year.

There’s plenty of time in 2018 to get back on the grind!

That’s all I have for the end of 2017, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?

You can watch this video on The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel, here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s Youtube Channel, here.

October Update – Amazon FBA

October Update Amazon FBA
October Update – What’s been going on in FBA lately.

October Update

Every couple of months I like to check in with a video to discuss all the little things going on that don’t warrant their own video.  Here’s what I’ve been up to!

Out of Stock

Unfortunately, my product has gone out of stock at Amazon again.

The day that I went out of stock, I sold 18 units before noon!  That was exciting to watch.  I was able to turn off my pay per click advertising and the rest of the sales came in organically.

What is really interesting about this is that my traffic was not noticeably higher. My conversion rate, however, was well over double it’s normal percentage.

I wish I knew what caused that difference to try and see if it could be replicated, but Amazon’s business reports aren’t giving me much to work with.

Re-Order Inventory

The good news is that I re-ordered my inventory way back when this round of product landed back in August.  The factory warned me ahead of time that they were busy and the lead time was long, so I’d glad I put that re-order through so quickly.

It should be ready to go by the end of the month, which means it’s highly unlikely that it will be checked in for sale by the Black Friday cut off date.  It should still have plenty of Q4 sales days though.

Product #2

I found a potential second product that I’m pretty excited about.

I’ve ordered samples and have received 2. One is still on the way.  I also ordered the #1 seller on Amazon to see how they compare and what changes I may want to make.

One thing that is frustrating is that in my initial emails. I always share that I need to make a small test order first, of 250 or 500 units depending on how expensive I think it will be. I asked if that is understood.

One of the suppliers that I work with just came back and said they have a huge MOQ (minimum order quantity) that they won’t move off.  I wish that had come up during our initial emails as it would have saved us both lots of time.

Learning from the Past

It has been well documented that I made a lot of mistakes with product #1 that made it take longer to launch than it should have.

I have learned from those mistakes and started working ahead on the product listing for product #2. My listing is coming along nicely and I know better than to wait for all the products to come to my house before getting photos done this time!


You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more video’s from The Bootstrap Boutique here.

Jungle Scout Pro 2.0 UPDATED – New Features to Help You Sell More on Amazon FBA

jungle scout pro updated
Jungle Scout recently got a facelift, but the update isn’t just cosmetic. Check out the new features in today’s video.

UPDATED Jungle Scout Pro!

Jungle Scout recent rolled out a fresh new look for their popular Chrome extension.

Still haven’t bought Jungle Scout? Get your copy here.

The updated Jungle Scout Pro adds features that will help you make better decisions about what you should sell on Amazon.

I especially like the features that can help you make a quick decision when starting the product research phase.

I like to do my research by creating long lists of ideas and narrowing down from there.  With the new Opportunity Score and Listing Quality Score (LQS), I can quickly see what potential products need to be crossed off my list.

For example, if I wanted to private label a product, but the Opportunity Score was a low number and indicated that the product had medium demand but high competition, I might think twice.  If the LQS column showed that all my competitors have high quality listings, then I’m looking at a product that will be tough to compete against.  I can quickly move on to a new product idea.

Of course, Jungle Scout is a tool and not the final say (good news, that’s you!), so you should take all this information it is giving you with a grain of salt, but for making a quick decision early in the process, these new features can’t be beat.

Other Fun Additions

I’m also a fan of some other new add ons from the Jungle Scout team.

The Keyword Cloud will show you top ranking keywords from your competitors.  The larger the word the more popular the keyword.

Jungle Scout Keyword Cloud
Jungle Scout Keyword Cloud

I also like the Historical Monthly Sales that you can access by clicking a products sales number.  This is similar to the information that you can get in CamelCamelCamel, but by viewing it in the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension you are able to save yourself a few clicks.

historical sales data jungle scout pro
Historical Sales Data in Jungle Scout Pro

Jungle Scout’s New Look

I’m really excited about the new additions to the Jungle Scout extention.  The JS team is pushing to be the premier tool suite for Private Label sellers, and you can feel it in this update.

By adding tools and information to the chrome extension that allow you to quickly gather data and make product selections, Jungle Scout has given uses the ability to move efficiently through the product research phase of selling on Amazon.

Make sure you are using Jungle Scout – get your copy today. 

 

Amazon FBA Updates – June 2017

Amazon FBA Updates

It’s time for another update on what I’ve been working on here as far as Amazon FBA.

I also dig into a couple of books that I’ve been reading lately, more to come in videos about them later this summer!

Tools of Titans: http://amzn.to/2ia2f0R
Profit First: http://amzn.to/2rU7kzZ

Transcript:

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my hair’s huge today hey everybody

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welcome back for another episode of the

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bootstrap boutique where beginners build

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businesses and I’m glad you’re here

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today because we’re just going to do

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another Amazon update what’s been going

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on as far as making progress towards

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this whole unified sba thing we’ve got

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going on here seems like I do things

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about every two months that’s never

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really been on purpose it’s just kind of

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how it worked out and people seem to

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enjoy them so I will just keep doing

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them so the first thing I am thrilled to

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share is that my private label products

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are coming along really well the second

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order will be ready to ship any day now

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I am so excited I cannot wait to get

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back in stock at Amazon and get back to

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selling and making sure that that first

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order room wasn’t a fluke and I know you

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may be thinking low but you like too

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much to sell to nor just the unit’s are

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we really going to call that a success

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but just the fact that they sold oh yeah

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I’m going to call that a win one thing

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I’ve been learning lately is if you set

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the bar really low you can hit it so I’m

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becoming a really big fan at that so

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yeah the products are on their way to

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Amazon I have in the past couple of

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months set up a website for the private

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label brand to help drive traffic to the

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Amazon listing I applied for a trademark

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for brand registering which is a little

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bit terrifying I did it myself I don’t

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recommend that because I feel like I’m

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sure I did something wrong and it’s

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going to be rejected and I just do it

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all over again but I really wanted to go

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through the exercise myself so was that

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a bad idea probably that whole brain

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register your process now that you have

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to have a registered trademark is kind

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of a monster now so I’ve been working on

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documenting every step that I’m taking

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and everything I’m doing to hopefully

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help people down the road you know once

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it’s all done I will put it together and

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put it out there for you guys so you can

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see what it actually looks like to go

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through brain registry now that it’s

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like this whole process inside viewers

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before is a lot more simple of a thing

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to do something I’ve been really making

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a focused effort on doing is spending

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less time on the Internet

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not for war purposes but like the

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mindless browsing of Facebook or Twitter

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or reddit or whatever that you do and so

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I really tried to replace that mindless

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browsing time with just reading more

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books

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this is tools of Titan and I have almost

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finished with it it’s the library vocal

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it’s got to go back but I’m going to be

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buying a copy because it’s so hard to

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resist book and not go through and like

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highlight and sticky note and star and

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write notes in it so I want my own copy

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where I can do that this book has been

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so good over the last week or so that

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I’ve been reading it it has really made

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me think about so many things that

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otherwise I really wouldn’t have thought

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of and one of those things is meditation

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I definitely get too much in my own head

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and spend a lot of time thinking about

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things that I really can’t do anything

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about another problem that I have is

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that when my mind is on something like I

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can’t be distracted I have kind of so

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Matt and my husband before for never

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really reason it suffer I had something

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in mind I was planning on doing these

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just throws out a suggestion hey do you

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want to whatever and like no how could

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you how could you help you even think

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about doing that right now I’m going to

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do this is what I have to do and I just

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AM like ridiculous about it and so do

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you been telling me for a long time like

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Megan you need to meditate which has

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sink

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by that he meant Megan you need to chill

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out so let’s put that offer a long time

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because in my head it’s like I already

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have this long to-do list of stuff and I

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cannot put one more thing on it that’s

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what it was to be just doing one more

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thing on the to-do list but what I

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realized in reading tools Italians is

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that all these really smart people that

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are wait busier than I am most of them

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are making time to meditate at some

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point during the day or if they don’t

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meditate specifically they have

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meditation like practices that they

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follow and so it’s something that I

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started I’m only like a week and I

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downloaded the headspace app and I mean

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has it changed my life no but it is nice

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just to take those three minutes to just

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sit quietly focus on your breathing and

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not worry about other stuff I’m really

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excited about what this practice will do

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in the future it’s become something that

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I get more and more

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– and like more into doing so we’ll see

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we’ll see but I figured I kind of got to

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a place where I was like it can’t hurt

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and if it can help I’m willing to give

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it a shot because I will tell you I’ve

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had days over the past week especially

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or it’s like if somebody asked me to do

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one more thing I’m gonna lose my another

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book I’ve been reading that I’m going to

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dedicate like a whole video to is called

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profit first this is about how to run

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your business profitably which of you

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guys know you’ve been watching my videos

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I’m not really making a lot of money

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right now so it’s important that I set

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up my business in a way that is

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supporting me and what I want to do

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financially with the money I’ve earned

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from it I talked a lot about how my goal

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is not to put my day job but I would

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like to eventually pull money out of the

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business to you know pay off the

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mortgage or take a nice vacation or

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something like and this book is really

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open my eyes the title start doing that

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now even if it’s just a little bit then

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the chances of me doing it down the road

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our various one because there’s always

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something else you can spend your money

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on in the business so it’s all about

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prioritizing your dollars and my the

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author he recommends that you just start

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setting us at 1% for profit and if you

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can’t run your business off of 99

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percent of what it makes you can’t run

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it off 100 percent that isn’t such a

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good mine’s just for me to think about

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so I’m excited to do another video about

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this book and talk about how I’m going

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to implement it in the business got

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something really exciting humming next

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week last Friday I was able to attend

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the amazing seller meetup in North

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Carolina it was a blast but I don’t want

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to tell you about it I just want to show

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you so that will be next week’s video

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don’t miss it there is so many cool

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things that have been taking place over

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the last couple of months so it was

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really good to just take some time this

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week and reflect on how much I’ve

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actually been able to accomplish because

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if you focus on how much there is still

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to do then it’s really easy to lose

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sight of how much you’ve already done so

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I would love to see if you just take

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some time and think about how far you’ve

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come already congratulate yourself on

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all the stuff you’ve already gotten done

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on all the obstacles you’ve already

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overcome just get up pat on the back

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everybody you are doing

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a great job tell me all about it in the

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comment and I’ll talk to you next week

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take care

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

Amazon FBA March Updates 2017

This week’s Amazon video is an update on a handful of things I have going on behind the scenes at The Bootstrap Boutique.  I talk about sales on Amazon, getting my first hijacker and the importance of having a correct commercial invoice from your supplier.

You can follow along with the transcription below.

March Update

Transcript:

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just feeling super casual today hey

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welcome to another episode of the

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bootstrap boutique where beginners built

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businesses I allows you’re here today

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because we’re just going to do an update

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video there’s a lot of things that I

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wanted to talk about that don’t really

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ruin their own video but because I’m

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like all about full disclosure and once

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you guys to know what’s going on and

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where I am so it can help you know what

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to do to take your next step I just

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thought let’s just put it all together

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in one will call this our March update

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haven’t done a video like this since

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back in January and at that time I

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wasn’t even selling products on Amazon

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my product had not even shipped to the

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states yet and it’s quite different now

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I have a product selling on Amazon it’s

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pretty exciting stuff and that’s one

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thing I wanted to talk about our sales

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I’m happy that pretty much every day I’m

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able to what I call get on the board

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make a cell or two but I’m finding that

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that’s kind of worm leveling off them

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not sure why so I when I first started

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when this product for his lunch i was

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having days with a lot more sales

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activity happening i would had a couple

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of days six sales i have one of 11 four

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or five was pretty much where I was and

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I just haven’t hit that again since i

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went out of stock that time and i

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traveled out of state while i was gone

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my products sold out and all that stuff

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so i just had not be able to get back to

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that level even though i now have

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reviews on my powers I have five star

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reviews so my customers have been very

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happy with what I’m selling which makes

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me very happy but I’m still kind of

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stuck at that two to three sales a day

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range now I have been lucky in my

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reviews my customers have told me what

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they’re using this product for because

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there’s a couple of different things

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that you could actually just call it for

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and the customers and their reviews are

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saying that I’m using it for this and I

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love it it’s so perfect whatever so I’m

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going to go back and do some work on my

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listing to kind of optimized around that

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area because I want to be able to pick

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up people that are doing that also make

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something yet this is the product i need

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if this is what i want to do another

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reason why sales have been lower is

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because i had my first hijacker yay now

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I talked about this a little bit of a

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periscope video and if you’re not

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following me on Twitter make sure you

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are because

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this is an ID I got from my buddy

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Stephen over at full-time FDA was to

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just go on periscope and be a little

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more visible there and I share some

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content and some information there i’m

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kind of using it almost like this you

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know if things don’t want an entire

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video by their updates that I want to

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share I’ve just been kind of uploaded in

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the periscope getting on doing a very

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raw unedited live cat but I don’t

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interrogate los lunas like guys I had my

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first hacker I can’t even believe this I

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didn’t know that I was sawing enough to

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warrant a hacker however here’s what was

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weird about this hijacker not hacker

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here’s what was weird about that though

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usually hijackers are selling your

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product for a higher cost because that’s

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where they’re making money however this

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hijacker was had my product listed for

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six dollars which is like a seventy-five

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percent discount offer what I’m selling

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and I was on periscope saying I don’t

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understand that how does anybody expect

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to ever make money off of it and what

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someone commented in the periscope feed

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was that this person probably has no

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intention of actually selling the

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product they’re just going to go out and

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get as many sales as they can before

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amazon shuts and downs now that’s

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pitiful that is pitiful that people do

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that but I guess we shouldn’t be so

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surprised without it unfortunately

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there’s another guy actually the

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contacting you via Twitter he’s like is

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this person your hijacker and I was like

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oh my gosh yes it is and I had sent them

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and not a seasoned justice whatever

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better like I hey you don’t have

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permission to resell this and i haven’t

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sold it to you so you need to take your

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listing down and the southern person

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actually contacted amazon and when i was

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telling my husband about the hijacker

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that night while you’re laying in bed I

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pulled it off the plate I’ll just show

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you what I’m talking about confuse like

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Heidecker what the heck are you talking

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about I’ll just show you so I pull up my

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phone they’re gone so I was very happy

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and the next day myself came back now

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what I don’t know is how many people got

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dudes in the thinking they could get

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this product for six dollars and they’re

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never going to actually get that product

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and what that’s going to mean for my

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listing for my I mean I didn’t sell it

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so hopefully it doesn’t affect me or my

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account but I just don’t know so if you

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know please leave it down in the

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comments and tell me another kind of

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anything that i noticed i was looking at

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my pay per click and they may i spent on

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paper quite over the past week has not

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changed which seems unusual seems weird

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and i take and both of my campaigns that

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have an automatic in the manual they’re

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both running so I’ve got to spend some

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time digging into that on pay per click

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and trying to figure out why my ads I

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mean show more click on more and

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converting into more sales so last thing

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I wanted to talk about and again this is

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something that I think it’s important to

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talk about to share with you but it

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doesn’t mean it some video is the

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importance of getting a correct value on

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your commercial invoice when your

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manufacture chips the product to you

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when my manufacture night were talking

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about prices we agreed that the cost of

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goods was going to be fifteen hundred

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dollars shipping was going to be

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seventeen hundred dollars and that’s off

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fedex express shipping via air and so

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we’re looking at a total of thirty two

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hundred dollars so the value of goods on

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that is only fifteen hundred dollars so

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as the gym that was being cleared

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through customs i got these phone calls

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from the fedex people that do the

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clearance for you and they’re saying due

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to the high cost that good we need some

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additional documentation and as what we

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need high cost of goods what’s up with

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some threshold for that they said well

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three thousand dollars and several

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perfect i’m at fifteen hundred dollars

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you don’t need all that information for

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me and usually no no we do because your

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commercial invoice says that the cost of

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your or the value of your goods rather

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is thirty two hundred dollars and I was

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like that’s not right I said in my first

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disorder sin of all the documentation I

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had and because what was on the

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commercial invoice was not correct and

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they didn’t really care about my first

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disorder or any of that stuff and so I

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was not actively fill out all the

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section for documentation so now at the

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end of the world that you do pay taxes

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on the value of your good so i ended up

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paying two hundred and twelve dollars

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somewhere in that Paul bark and I assay

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what I really should have paid was maybe

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half it up so if we say okay a hundred

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and six dollars is what I overpaid right

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so I email my supplier and I asked for a

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revised and updated commercial invoice

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and they sent it in the next day like I

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don’t think they care what they put on

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it which is wise

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the important for you to make sure that

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you’re getting the right value put on

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your commercial invoice because they

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were like oh yeah here you go whatever

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so I opened a claim with fedex and I so

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here’s an updated invoice it was not

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correct before it here’s the purchase

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order showing that this was the value of

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goods that we agreed on and fedex drove

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back in there like yeah but the original

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invoice says this if you want us to file

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a claim for you we can do it for $75 and

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done another though that sounds like no

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because think about it you’re going to

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spend 75 dollars for them to start that

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claim I don’t want to get to it on some

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kind of list with customs patrol I don’t

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know how I happen or not that I want to

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risk it I will just pay the stupid tax

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the frustration tax of one hundred and

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six dollars and move on but had I gotten

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that right amount on the initial invoice

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this would have been a discussion

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nothing in the world does something to

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be aware of make sure on that commercial

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in which you have your right dollar

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amount otherwise you’re going to be

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paying too much in taxes you’re going to

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not be able to get it corrected

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apparently and it’s just going to be

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adding so make sure it’s right the first

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time that’s my tip of the day alright

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guys that’s just a little update of

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what’s going on with me what I really

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want to know though is what’s going on

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with you so make sure you leave me a

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comment down below tell me what’s going

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on how you doing are you making progress

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whereas you stuck I want to hear all

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about it tell me everything and I will

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talk to you next week take care

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique Youtube Channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique YouTube Channel here.

AMAZON FBA Update – January 2017

Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.

Hi, welcome back for another week of The Bootstrap Boutique, where beginners build businesses, glad you’re here.

So I thought I thought today that I would just give you an update on what I’ve been doing with the Amazon FBA Private Label product business line that I am starting. Because I haven’t talked about it for a while.

Wire Issues

I have some sort of issue with my bank where when I send a wire to my supplier in China, it takes forever for them to get it.

So I go in, and I fill out the paper work and you sign your life away and send all your money to China and then it’s like…crickets. And it’s not that my supplier is going dark on me, it’s just that it takes forever for them to get those wires and their expectation is that I say, “Hey I’m going to go send you a wire today.” They’re like, “cool, I’ll let you know when we get it,” and then they don’t get it.

And it takes weeks. And with the Christmas holiday and the Fed Funds wires I guess down for the Christmas holiday it’s been taking even longer.  I sent a wire to China to my supplier about the mid…the first week of December? I mean, it’s been a while and uh, they don’t have it yet.

So… I’m not freaking out. I’m not freaking out. Not going to do it.

FNSKUS

Because you guys know I like to share the warts and all approach to how I am starting this business I wanted to tell you about something that I realized that I did wrong for this first shipment and it’s not the end of the world, it’s only a 500 unit test order, but just to make sure that its something that you’re aware of. Because you don’t want to do this too.

So when you label products to sell on Amazon, there’s a few things that you need, right? You need the name of your company, you need the name of the product, you need what its made out of, you need country of origin or where its made, so Made in China. Those are all pretty basic things, UPC code, you need those to sell anywhere.

Amazon has another identifier that they use also called a FNSKU.  And I’m not sure, because if I was sure I would have done it already, if that has to be on the actual label or just on the bag or like, where that needs to be. So probably it should be on the label that is going to go on the outside of all of my bags but it’s not. I don’t have that actually set up yet with Amazon so I don’t have it.

So I think what I’m going to have to do is actually make my own labels with just the FNSKU on them and affix them to each of the 500 bags by hand. See what I mean?  Its, its…I can do it you know, 500 is not like 50,000 but  really could have saved myself some time if I had researched that first.

New Seller Restrictions Lifted

I guess the good news is that the December 19th, 2016 deadline has come and gone and Amazon is now letting new sellers sell there again but its not like I just had products sitting here waiting to go out, I did not get a product launched in 2016.  2017 is going to be my year, right?

So that’s where I am with the Amazon stuff and that’s why I haven’t talked about it a lot because I honestly, for a month almost have been waiting on a wire to go through  My product is in China ready to be shipped and I can not wait to get it here but that’s what I’m doing right now is waiting.

Office Tour

A couple of other things, I should probably address the elephant in the room.  We’ve moved.  We moved over Christmas because we are crazy people and this is my new office space. The seller kindly left this tapestry handing on the wall. It is not gorgeous but it’s covering the fuse box so I guess it will stay there.  It’s the only soft thing in the whole room right now, theres no carpet, there’s no drapery, or anything like that, so I apologize for the sound I’ll work on trying to research a little mic to make our sound better.

But I’ve got my work computer over here, my laptop and this whole space is a mess. I wish you could see it. We also have a weight rack over here, a squat bench set up. I should just do a fun little office tour for you guys so you can see what I am working with right now.  It will get better, but it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. One of those things.

The End

So anyway, that is an update on what’s going on in my life as well as my Amazon life and I can’t wait to have an update for you soon to show you some boxes and be like, “Hey guys, my products are here, I’m super excited” but that day has not come yet. Make sure you’re subscribed to the channel, I post new videos every Monday and Wednesday and I know you don’t want to miss one. Would love a thumbs up on the video if you enjoyed it, down in the comments below just tell me this time, whats new with you? Are you launching a new FBA product are you also working and living in a disaster area? I’d love to hear all about it and I will talk to you next week guys. Take care!

Amazon No Longer Allows Reviews For A Discount. Now What?

no more reviews for a discount at Amazon
Amazon no longer allows sellers to offer discounts in exchange for an honest review.

Watch the video at YouTube here.

Well this changes everything.  Or does it?

Hey welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses.  My name is Megan and I just wanted to put out a quick video because yesterday Amazon dropped some really big news.

No More Reviews For A Discount

And that is that they are no longer going to allow incentivized reviews on product.  Here’s the background on why that’s important.

There are a lot of people online teaching you how to launch private label products on Amazon, which is one of the reasons I don’t really get into that to much.  I’ve told you before, you can listen to Scott Voelker he does an awesome job telling you how to launch a private label product on Amazon.  But pretty much everybody follows a step by step by step process.  And one of those processes is the launch process, by which you give out a number of free or substantially reduced products to people in exchange for their honest review.

So why is that important? Because reviews are social proof.

They help people make buying decisions, one product versus the other. And these discounted products have never been a problem, there’s just a few requirements that you have to follow.  One is that you cannot offer a product at a discount in exchange for a four or five star review.  So you couldn’t say, “hey buyer, I have this twenty dollar product, I’ll sell it to you for one dollar if you leave me a five star review.”  You couldn’t do that, you could in no way influence the way that people review your products or the star rating that they give you.

Now on the reviewer side, you had to give an honest review and you had to disclose that you had received the product for a discount.  So a lot of times at the end of these reviews you will see something that says, I don’t know, like, “I received this product  for free or a discount in exchange for my honest review.” Simple enough, right?

And there’s a ton of groups that you could use that would give you those reviews, so you could have anything from a free group on Facebook to paid services like ReviewKick (now called JumpSend) or GetBSR.com.  Here’s the problem with those reviews: Amazon was noticing many customers, and I’ll be honest, myself included, didn’t really trust those reviews, because when you are incentivized through a free or discounted product, studies have shown that you are much more likely to give a more positive review than you otherwise would.

So I know when I would shop on Amazon, and I always look at the reviews, I would kind of scroll past the top five or six or so because you know that those are going to be the discounted ones.  When you have these overwhelmingly positive reviews that don’t seem very well rounded it does create a lack of trust.

Amazon takes issue with that because Amazon is an extremely customer focused company.  I don’t know if they were coming under criticism for allowing this type of review system or what, but at the end of the day, they’ve decided they are just no longer going to allow it.  Of course they are still going to allow you to use Amazon Vine which is their own internal review club basically, but this is their sandbox, we’re just playing in it.  That’s what they are going to do.  Ok, we’ll find another way.

How To Get Reviews on Amazon Now

So what does this mean if you are an FBA seller or thinking of becoming an FBA seller?  A few things.

Number one, Amazon has said in a Tech Crunch article I read this morning that they will go back and delete prior reviews if they are deemed excessive.  Now who knows what “excessive” means or if they’re actually going to do it, or if they are just going to get rid of anything that has that disclaimer in it.  But at the end of the day that is going to help established sellers with established products because even if they have a thousand of these reviews, if Amazon doesn’t deem that excessive that means they are still going to be there while you as a new seller or a less established seller are going to have to kind of claw and scratch your way back up the review chart.

Number two, it is going to be more difficult to launch more products.  Everybody that I have read that’s talked about this new policy has said that yeah, it’s going to become a lot harder to get new products launched.  And that is because its going to be harder to get that social proof.  You have to rely on people that are not discounted or not incentivized buying a product, using it, coming back and reviewing it.  The conversions for that are very small.  So it is going to be a lot more difficult to get those reviews going forward.

Review Request Emails

There’s a couple of pieces of software that can help you with that, one is Feedback Genius another is SalesBacker, I’m sure there’s others, but they will send out auto-response emails to people that purchase your products and ask them to come back and leave you a review.  So I predict that those two companies are going to become a lot more popular going forward.  And I’ll put links to those down below so you can go check them out if that is something you think you need to start using now.

We’re also just going to have to find other ways to market.  A few ideas would be Facebook ads, blogger outreach, have bloggers do reviews of your products and link back to Amazon, youtube marketing could be a new way to do that.  I’ve seen someone say that they used to just back in the day write thank you cards to every person that purchased their product.  That’s a little time consuming but its not a bad idea, I like real mail.  Could be fun.

But at the end of the day we’re going to have to find new ways to do it because this incentivized review program is no more.  And here’s the main thing that I really want you to take away because I have read this in a lot of different Facebook groups over the past 18 hours or so.  Do not try to find a way around this and continue to offer discounted reviews.  Amazon is going to go Liam Neeson on you.  They will find you, and they will ban your account, and then you’re going to be really sad.

My Launch Strategy

Can I tell you a secret.  I was never planning on using reviews in order to launch a product.  I know.  I know that sounds kinda crazy when this has been in the past a proven way to do it, but I just wanted to try something different.

You’ve been watching my videos for a few months now.  You should know, if you don’t know anything else about me, that I’m a little bit hard headed and have to kind of do things the hard way.

My plan was always going to be to use a mix of pay per click within the Amazon platform and also YouTube marketing.  This is a big part of why I’ve been doing these videos, is because I want to practice getting better on camera.  Still needs a lot of work.

The challenge now is that a lot of other people are going to be using these tactics also, and so that’s just going to make it a little more crowded.  However, I think there’s also going to be a lot of people that just drop out, hands up, “This is a step too far Amazon, I’m just not going to do this private label thing anymore.”  See ya.

Here’s the thing guys, it is important in business to be optimistic.  Haven’t you read Good to Great by Jim Collins? What is one of the most common traits among those successful companies? Undeniably optimistic leadership.  So when the game changes, change with it.  It didn’t go away, its just, yeah some of the rules have changed.  But is there still opportunity? Yeah, there is.  Is it going to be harder?  Yeah, it is.  But that’s life.

Leave me a comment in the description below let me know what you think about this new policy by Amazon.  Is it totally screwing you up or are you excited about the opportunity that is to come?  And hey, it can be a little bit of both, we’re not so black and white here, right? But I look forward to hearing what you have to say, I look forward to seeing what changes are going to come and what new innovations people are going to have.  It’s just a new opportunity guys, let’s grab it.  I will talk to you next week, take care.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.