EP 85 - Andy Arnott - How to Sell Millions on Amazon Using SEO and Marketing Tools Part 3
|Awesomers Origin - We'll talk to an Awesomer about where they came from, the triumphs and tribulations they have faced and how they are doing today. An Awesomer Origin story is the chance to hear the backstory about the journey our guest took on their road to become awesomer. These stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway is that awesomers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, creeds, colors and every other variation possible. On your awesomer road you will face adversity. That’s just part of life. The question as always is how YOU choose to deal with it.
|Andy started selling on Amazon in 2013, and hit 7 figures within the first 8 months. Before starting his Amazon business he worked for the US government in the aerospace industry and ran a 7 figure Android app business. In 2015 he started his first Amazon related SasS (software as a service) that got Amazon sellers reviews. In 2017 he launched Amzblitz, an Amazon product launch and rank company. In 2018, he rolled out SellerSEO, a service dedicated to helping sellers automate and optimize their Amazon businesses. He continues to sell millions on Amazon, and through his coaching and software has helped thousands of Amazon sellers grow their businesses.
How to Sell Millions on Amazon Using SEO and Marketing Tools Part 3
On this episode, we continue with Steve’s special guest Andy Arnott, Founder and CEO of SellerSEO. This is part three of a three-part series. Here are some amazing takeaways from today’s episode:
The inspiring success story of Under Armour.
Why being an entrepreneur is not an easy path and usually harder than having a regular job.
How you can build a lifestyle that works for you in this day and age of the so-called digital nomads or the freedom lifestyle.
Listen once again as we hear it from Andy’s experience and personal journey as an Awesomer entrepreneur.
01:15 (Steve talks about today’s episode and special guest, Andy Arnott of SellerSEO.)
02:34 (Andy shares the big lesson he has learned in his journey so far.)
16:32 (Andy on some of the tools he uses on his day to day life.)
22:37 (Andy shares his final words of wisdom to Awesomers listening.)
Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.
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01:15 (Steve talks about today’s episode and special guest, Andy Arnott of SellerSEO.)
Steve: It's happening right now. You are listening to episode number 85 of the Awesomers.com podcast series. And the secret is out just hop on over to Awesomers.com/85 and you'll be able to find all of today's show notes and relevant details. Now again Andy Arnott, not Ar-not, Arnott! We already covered this Canadian ground. Andy joins us again for three, part three of our three-part series where we've talked about his origin story and some of the evolutions that he's gone through in his very interesting career and kind of where he's landed at today. And I think you know, it's a really interesting thing too to be able to operate more than one company at a time and to be able to continue growing and responding to the marketplace at large. And so that's definitely what he's doing with his ongoing efforts to help entrepreneurs. Okay without further ado. Let's jump into today's episode right now.
Okay, we're back again everybody. Steve Simonson joined today by Andy Arnott and we're talking a little bit about the kind of Andy's journey and some of the defining moments he's been through but I wonder Andy, I teased this before the break, was there a big lesson that you've learned on your journey so far that gosh you wish you had learned it earlier or you feel really compelled to share it today with other folks who haven't faced what you faced?
02:34 (Andy shares the big lesson he has learned in his journey so far.)
Andy: Yes, that's I mean, that's one of the biggest things is you know always to never stop learning. I mean even though now I kind of consider myself an “Amazon expert”, I hate saying that but you know I feel like I'm fairly well versed in the ways of Amazon. If my competitors or if just you know anybody's putting out something on Amazon, I'm always watching it. I'm always kind of keeping in tune with it. That's kind of the other reason why people are like, “Oh everybody else who does software is quitting their Amazon business you know. Why are you still doing that?” And my answer to that is - it's the the old dogfooding methodology or mentality. I want to know the pulse of... I want to know the frustrations of sellers. I want to know, that's kind of one of the reasons why I built my tool is it was out of frustration with what was available and why I was like, “Well, nobody's got this. Why isn't anybody doing this? It makes no sense.” So you know it kind of got built out of need, not to mention out of software background so that was kind of helpful as well. But yes, so it's it's always learning. You know, never ever listen to the voice in your head that says you can't do something. It's total BS and not only that, but just be aware of your strengths and strengths and weaknesses and then when you have a weakness you know instead of being like, “Oh, I am terrible at executing so I can't do this.” Go, “I'm terrible at executing. What can I do to supplement that weakness? So what can I do to change that weakness and maybe even make it a positive?” You know so those are kind of the you know I wish I knew when I was in my 20s. Some of the other things would probably be just, well I guess yes or no, it's to pick a focus and stick with it you know. Especially it seems like I've heard a lot that the millennial generation is always you know bouncing around too much, can never stay focused you know. I don't know if that's true or not. I'm a gen Xer so I'm pretty close to the Millennials so I don't know. I'm on the fringes.
Steve: I was going to say, we might have to have to check IDs over here. I would definitely say you're right. Maybe...
Andy: I looked it up. I had to make sure. Just on the fringe but yes, it’s to just stay focused and last but not the least, just make sure that you're passionate about what you're doing. Because if you're not, then you're not going to be happy with what you're doing and it's going to kind of show in the output. You know whatever you're doing, if you're not stoked about it, then don't do it. It's kind of like a lot of the people who, I don't want to turn you away from Amazon but like if somebody's not passionate about you know selling things on Amazon, it's probably not going to be a good thing for you. And the other kind of funny thing that you know people are always asking, this is probably the question I get the most is you know, “What should i source? What should I have? What products should I sell on Amazon? Well I looked on JungleScout or Viral Launch - whatever it is. I found this great product.” And I'm like, “Okay, great but 100 other people just found that same product and in six months you're going to be up to your nose in competition.” So my thing is always what are you passionate about? Are you into baseball? If you're into baseball then you make up your own brand of baseball. You know I always like using Under Armour as an example. Nobody knew Under Armour. It was, the story of Under Armour is awesome. If you haven't heard of it, it was like this, I can't remember the exact story but it's just a guy who paid some baseball player you know a big chunk of money. He had one t-shirt, he said, “Hey, wear this in your warm-ups or at your next game.” Or something, I can't remember the exact story but then you know look at Under Armour, it's just one of those things and you know with Amazon's kind of an equalizer now too. Anybody can become a giant brand.
Steve: Yes, that's really, I think it should be always a tempered thing. Like if people are like, “Hey, I need to get rich. What's the quickest way I can do that?” This is not for you. But if somebody says “Hey, you know I'm creative and you know I want to earn my way towards freedom.” Or you know whatever your other goals are, Amazon could be a still a very important method. And I think having your own E-commerce and selling in other channels can be important as well.
Steve: Building a brand, that's actually what creates equity right. Just selling another, you know the different schools of thought they're different things. Well, there's a silicone spatula or garlic press or a you know back scratcher or a ukulele, whatever it is. Whatever you want to do, you build a brand around it and get good at it and the why is more important than the how, in my world. You know the charity of how, it often holds people back. So you know if you're why is strong enough, I think you can get there. So those are important lessons. Any other notes out there? It sounds like you may have a…
Andy: No, I was just going to say, actually I may have lost my train of thought. What was I going to say?
Steve: I was driving the train, sorry.
Andy: I lost it, I'm sorry. That's what happens once you took over into 40.
Steve: Is that what happens? I’ll let you know when I get there. So how about, you know you maybe alluded to this earlier - that you have no interest to go back to a nine-to-five job. But is there is there ever time where you just like, “Ugh, I just want to do something different. This is just not for me.”
Andy: Well, I mean absolutely. I mean there's times where I mean, like this morning. You know I've got a little app on my phone that monitors my various servers and at 5:30 this morning it starts pinging (pinging sounds). You know one of my servers is down. So you know that's just an example of where I'm like, “Son of a…” I just want to pick this thing up and chuck it across the room. You know, this is besides the fact that my daughter had me up from you know 3 to 5 A.M. or whatever it was. So yes, there's definitely some frustrations. I mean being entrepreneurs, you know it's not easy. It's actually a lot harder than my previous job and the fact that you know hours worked and brain power used and things like that. But you know it's just like with anything, you get more you know more kind of, not risk but you know sort of like more reward. You know kind of thing where you might have more worries because you know your feeding your family and it's you know that kind of burden lies on your back. You're the one who has to provide. So that's always in the back of your head but on the flip side, I wouldn't change it for anything because I want to teach my children to you know to fend for themselves and not have to work a nine-to-five unless that's what they want to do. But you know I want them to see a different kind of norm than you know what we're used to seeing in this country and kind of throughout the world it seems like these days.
Steve: Yes, there's clearly a shift in the you know the idea of you know entrepreneurs. I would say you know, twenty, thirty years ago if somebody said they were entrepreneur, that just meant they were out of work. Today, it's taking shape to mean something and particularly in this day and age of so-called digital nomads or the freedom lifestyle or any of this other stuff, everybody can kind of take their own spin and put their own little tweaks to it to make it work for their life. And that opportunity is historically I think unprecedented. Honestly, the internet enables this. You know, we're able to create value from anywhere in the world and continue you know as long as we're delivering value, we're going to be able to earn an income and be able to sustain ourselves. It's probably equally important to not over leverage yourself. I see all of these I don't know Facebook ads and YouTube ads, everybody's got a Lamborghini, everybody got a Ferrari and they have six houses and four Islands. And listen, aspire to whatever you want but stuff is not the answer in my opinion.
Andy: Right. That's why, it's kind of funny because people are always asking me like you know, “When are you getting your Lamborghini?” I tell people, “Never.” If I get to the point where that's what I want to do, sure, but I'm more interested in leveraging my money into you know... like right now, we have 11 acres. I tell people that's where my Lamborghini is. It's you know I'll be investing in more things like that. You know tangible things that I can leave to my kids you know. A Lamborghini and oh yes, that thing's only going to go for so long and sometimes those supercars will hold their value but you know that's if you don't crash it or somebody doesn't key it or you know, who knows what it is but that's just not my speed.
Steve: Yes, the key for me is whether or not those particular status symbols are important as mile markers on your journey is secondary to me. The point is quite and I think Andy and I are on the same page here, stuff is not the secret right. You're just not going to find what you want by accumulating stuff. And I have friends who are you know very wealthy, you know from the multi millions to the hundreds of millions, even into the billions and stuff is not the way it's defined as getting it done. So definitely I'm with you there a hundred percent. Just accumulate whatever is important to you - knowledge, whether it's land. You know, I do have a friend he's got a bunch of super cars probably thirty million dollars worth of super cars. Cool, great but that's a different thing than is being portrayed on the Facebook right.
Andy: Well, you know that's the funny thing is yes. It's you know, you know all to their own and I guess yes I kind of share your frustration in the fact that you know I feel like those people are kind of selling a false story you know and kind of giving false hope to people thinking that you know, “Take my course. Get on Amazon and you know in six months you're going to be driving a Lamborghini.” That's kind of to me yes a little bit frustrating. That's another reason why people are, “Why don't you do a course?” And I've thought about doing a course but honestly, probably the main reason that I've stayed away from it, number one is I just tell people, “I'll just help you for free.” I mean if I have the time, you just ask me. I'll let you know what I can do. The other reason is just that I guess that I feel like that whole market is so tainted. I'm not to say I'll never do it. I'm not saying that. I may someday. If I do it though I guarantee you it's not going to be $2000 or you know any of these crazy amounts that some people are charging. But I just kind of feel like right now, it's kind of a tainted market and people especially new people coming on you know, they feel like they're being sold this dream and this thing and then it doesn't pan out and then you know this housewife who said, “You know, I just spent my life savings on this course and I'm stuck.” And you know I don't need money that much to put somebody else out. I want to be the other way around. I want you know be the person who helps them for free. Who says, “Hey, do this.” And then I hear back from them a couple months later and “Hey, I did that. My Amazon business now make two grand a month.” I want to be that person. I want to you know make sure that I'm helping them. Not the other way around.
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Steve: Well and without regard to whether it's related to Amazon training or otherwise. You know, watch out for the charlatans. There's a ton of them. There's also some very good people out there as well but charlatans are preying on entrepreneurs. I despise that kind of mentality and I've exposed prior cases of where you know people were going from town to town selling this craziness and they were completely fraud. So buyer beware as always caveat emptor, if you prefer the Latin. Okay, so how about was there any best day that you can point to and along the journey? Maybe you hit a milestone but you just stepped back for a minute and you looked and said that was a pretty good day?
Andy: Actually it came pretty early on. Kind of in my 20s. Well you know, I was talking about how I was doing the dating websites. Well you know as a kid growing up kind of being a this geeky kid who was always into computers, taking them apart, putting him back together, you know trying to write my own software, all you know running my own business and all these kind of crazy things that if you're young, you don't know what even what that is. But yes there was a point where my dating website got mentioned on wired.com and to me that was pretty awesome and all my other companies have been on like Mashable and things like that you know. Just it's kind of as an entrepreneur you know to see even those small things is just kind of awesome just because I was growing up as a kid you know that was kind of like, “Oh, I get to see an entrepreneur on Wired. Wow, that guy's cool.” You know so that was kind of a, neat kind of moment for me. I would say the other one was actually fairly recently is somebody I can't remember the exact comment but somebody who just on Facebook comment said, “Hey, thank you so much. You've given you know so many people so much value for free.” Like I really appreciate that just like that a little bit of gratitude also is awesome because it kind of relights my fire.
Steve: Yes, I understand that very much. So first of all I enjoyed the fact that you have so many milestones, some of which you've alluded to without taking the victory lap, much deserve victory lap. Hundred thousand users on you know your dating thing, a million downloads on another thing, right. I mean all of these things are great milestones so I love that you have a big menu to choose from. So that's very cool. How about any tool that you use day to day in any part of your life that helps you manage or helps you get by that you care to share with the folks?
16:32 (Andy on some of the tools he uses on his day to day life.)
Andy: Yes, because most of my workforce is remote, I use Skype a ton. I also dabble, I've kind of jumped between the two and I haven't quite decided yet but there's a software called Air Table and Trello is another one which is kind of a you know getting things done, kind of you slide things around when stuff gets done kind of to do, visual to-do list type of thing. Those are some tools I use a lot. Yes, I can't really pinpoint an exact one but I'd say those are one that I use.
Steve: I think that’s plenty. I think there's a lot of people looking at you know if they should use Air Table and how it would you know be adopted and so forth but definitely Trello is a common reference.
Andy: Trello is kind of the easier one of the two, it's much easier to set up and get going on. Air Table is more powerful but it also, it's one of those things where it takes a lot longer to set it up. So you want to take the time to set it up and then you know maybe benefit in the long run because it's a little more organized than Trello or do you want to do the quick and dirty Trello and and you know get through it? So it's yes, it's kind of, I'm still I'm still in the fence. I can't decide which once to adopt.
Steve: All right, well we're on pins and needles. Can't wait to figure out how that one knot turns out. Go ahead and pull out your crystal ball for me, if you will Andy and let's talk about the future for a minute. How do you see the I don't know E-commerce world, the Amazon Marketplace world, how is that going to change? Let's say you're five years ahead, what can you tell us as current between today we're talking and five years from now?
Andy: Well, I think there's going to be a lot of consolidation I think that five years from now being a small mom, aunt, mom and pop type operation on Amazon is going to be either extremely hard or just not exist, non-existent anymore. I think that's the people who are going to kind of survive and get through are the people who as you're talking about before build a brand not a business. So you know like a lot of people are like kind of chasing the latest thing or whatever the fidgets spinners and things like that. You're never going to do anything with that. I always tell people, a lot of people say, “I'm going to start my Amazon business. What's the first thing I do?” And a lot of people think I go get a product and I say, “No, get brand registry. That's the first thing you should ever do.” Get that trademark filed because number one, it's going to protect your brand but number two it's going to drive you to use that brand and you just spent four or five hundred bucks getting that trademarked so it kind of gives you some skin in the games to make sure that you follow through on that trademark. You got this trademark now you know, if it's sitting there it's going to grind on you. So you know I definitely think that there's going to be a lot of consolidation. I think that you know probably even in the next couple of years, I think a million dollars in revenue a year is kind of going to, kind of be like the minimum that you're going to be able to survive that's on amazon.com. Now on on the forum platforms on you know in the UK and Australia and all these new platforms that are launching, that's actually where there's a lot of opportunity right? Now, it's a little more red tape and you know a lot more to learn but I think that's where people starting out like I had a client in Australia come to me recently and I did some work for him and he said, “Well, you know what should I be doing next? What should I source next for amazon.com? I said, “Nothing. Go to Australia, you're in the homeland of where the new opportunity is. Go all in on Australia, forget the US. I wouldn't even bother with the US.” You know, so that's kind of where I see that. I also think that the businesses and the people that kind of put their arms around the fact that if you try to do everything manually and you don't use a type of tools or automation and you know if you don't do those things, your competitors are. So if you're not using those tools or those things that are going to help you know optimize your business either you know semi-manually or automatically, then you're going to lose to the guys who are using that automation. Computer beats us every time. You know, I mean there's only so much we can do in a day. If you have a piece of software or an algorithm that's churning day after day, it still works while you're asleep so that's kind of where you know people really need to think about that. That's why it's kind of like you know the selling point for our tools, it's you know it's always like, “Oh, I have this tool or that tool. I don't want to spend the money.” And I go, “My tool will probably pay for itself within the first couple of days.” And that's what people a lot of times when you know, people have that anxiety about, it doesn't have to be my tool. I'm talking about any tool for your business. They don't want to put the money out but you have to do the math. Do the math and say, “If I use this tool, how much money is it going to save me or make me? And if it beats out what I pay for it every month, it's a no-brainer.”
Steve: Yes, I think that's very sage wisdom and good advice. The reality is you know especially when you're starting out, there's more of a scarcity mindset right. Every single dollar counts but I can't tell you how many conversations I've had over $25 or $50 or you know $200 a month, this or that. And people are just they're you know, they're wringing their hands and they're up in arms about it and for me, it's maddening because it either has a return on investment or it doesn't, right. It doesn't matter how much. I don't care about $10,000 a month. I was just looking at a deal just this past week when we would spend $10,000 a month on just this one tiny marketing resource and the only thing I cared about was, will it have a positive return on investment or not?
Andy: That should be your only question.
Steve: Yes, that metric is a metric that is often overlooked. And by the way, I should mention that in fact ROI is a number. Everybody often in meetings, I'll show up and people go, “Oh, that was a really good ROI or that was a bad ROI.” And I'm like, “Just tell me the number. I don't want good/bad. I'll decide if it was good or bad.
Andy: Exactly, right. Give me the data.
Steve: Yes, that's right. So I'm a hardcore guy that way. So listen, Andy I love what you're doing and we're going to make sure again we have the links and the show notes and everything. Any final words of wisdom you care to lay on the Awesomers out there listening?
22:37 (Andy shares his final words of wisdom to Awesomers listening.)
Andy: Yes, okay. I like to talk as you can see. Once you get me going, I'm passionate about this stuff. So yes I mean just in closing, like I kind of you know just to reiterate what I said before is you know if you believe in something and it’s something you enjoy then stick with it and yes and just don't listen to the thing in your head that fear or that you know that stuff in your head that's telling you not to do something. You know the people who usually end up you know past the finish line are the people who are taking the risk everything's going to be a risk you know. And that's another thing I've tried to teach myself recently, is that you know worry is a wasted, worry is a wasted thing. Worrying about things does nothing for you. If you're worried about something, it's like in the middle of the night. Sometimes I'm you know, like last night I was up worrying about, I can't remember what it was and I just ended up saying, ”You know what? Forget it. I'm going to pick up my phone. I'm going to take care of it this second. And then I'm done with it.” And worrying about it, it's just going to have me laying in bed all night, doing nothing you know. Take action on stuff. Yes, that's kind of the closing argument I guess.
Steve: I think it's a good argument indeed. And if I could task my own brain to go find that little naggy voice that keeps telling me what I can and can't do, I would have the rest of my inner emotions go beat the crap out of that one. Because I actually, me today after thirty years of experience, I will still get that little nagging voice going,”Eh, are you sure you can do that? Maybe the last you know two or three or five or ten or twenty companies that you did, yes you just got lucky.” Right and I would just like to beat the crap out of that voice. You know, it just still happens. So everybody understand that you know, I don't think it goes away. It certainly hasn't gone away from me but we just have to push through. I don't know you know if my next thing or this thing or that thing will work, but I don't care. It either works or doesn't and we let the chips fall where they may.
Andy: Beat that voice into submission.
Steve: I love it. Thank you again, Andy. I appreciate you coming in and joining us.
Andy: Yes, absolutely. My pleasure. It was great to be here.
Steve: Certainly a pleasure to have you. Awesomers listening out there, wherever you are. We'll be right back after this.
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Steve: Oh another great episode with Andy. This is part three of that three-part series with Andy Arnott. And you know, Andy's a very good example of an entrepreneur who just kept going and going and going until something got traction and even though I almost had to check his Gen x paperwork at one point during this series, it turns out he is a Gen X and so we validate that. But regardless of your generation, whether you’re Gen X or Millennials or even Gen Z or even the so-called Greatest Generation - #Ithinktheydidtheirowncopywriting, it doesn't matter. Boomers or otherwise, there's lessons in every one of these episodes and I certainly took several very good takeaways from Andy's experiences and his history. And we really appreciate him sharing those. So I hope that you guys have gotten something out of this episode and each of those beforehand and I want to remind you, this is again the last of the three-part series with Andy, episode number 85 of the Awesomers podcast series and all you have to do - run on over to Awesomers.com/85 and you can find today's show notes and relevant details and any links that we may have talked about especially links that are important to get to some of the Andy's businesses.
Well, we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.