Ann Sieg: How Amazon Can Help Build Your Virtual Income
Episode 433: Ann Sieg: How Amazon Can Help Build Your Virtual Income
Thanks to the vast power of the internet, almost anything can be accomplished online these days, and doing business is certainly one of them. However, many people still ignore this opportunity, missing a huge chunk of virtual income they could be building right now. Mitch Stephen explores this topic with eCommerce entrepreneur Ann Sieg, discussing how putting out products on online platforms, particularly Amazon, is a highly profitable strategy everyone must jump into. She talks about three important pillars of eCommerce and how to know which items to sell, since even those you may consider dull and uninteresting may fetch the most handsome prices.
I’m here with Ann Sieg and we’re going to be talking about eCommerce, a little bit off the beaten path. When I started this show, I said I wanted to appeal to the four categories of people. Real estate investors first because that’s where I’m from and that’s how I know to talk. Then entrepreneurs, because if you’re not good at this, I want you to find something that you’re good at, that you’re in control of, that you can remove the glass ceiling from your world and be whoever you need to be. I started out with what I knew, real estate investing, then entrepreneurialism in general. Who doesn’t need inspirational or motivational? If you covered those four things, I was more than willing to have a conversation with you. Timely as it is, given the world conditions right now in the very beginning of a fifteen-day lockdown for the world on Coronavirus, we’re talking about online sales. What better timing can that be?
Let me first pay homage to my sponsor. Please visit TaxFreeFuture.com. If you do not have an account that can grow tax-deferred or tax-free, you have no idea the disadvantage you are at. It’s incredible to grow your tax-deferred. Please go watch the 37 little video vignettes. You have to give us a little bit of micro information. I promise you they won’t beat you up with a bunch of information every day or hound you. We’re going to turn over 37 video vignettes and they’re going to explain to you what these financial advisors are not telling you and why they’re not telling you. You can do with it what you want, but it has changed my life. Go see TaxFreeFuture.com because you have no idea what your financial advisors are not telling you. Ann, where are you sitting physically? Where do you do business? Tell us where you’re at first off.
I reside in Bella Vista, Arkansas. I moved from Minnesota, which was my home state. We had lived in Arkansas previously but moved back. Now we’re back again. We are about 9 miles from downtown Bentonville, the home of Walmart.
First note to self, probably not a business Mecca. You’re doing this business from someplace. It can be done probably any place.
Laptop will travel.
Any place you’d get a strong internet connection, you’re good. Tell us a little bit about your history. Where are you from? How did you grow up? What gave you the nerve to get into online anything?
I was born and raised in Eagan, Minnesota. My dad is a physicist. He’s turning 91 and he’s still busy inventing. He’s trying to bring a product to market. My mother is a teacher. My dad was a professor for some time at The University of St. Thomas. I was raised by educators. I started my entrepreneurial when I was very young. I learned how to make can-lidded bells from my grandma. I made these and there were three different colors. My mom said, “You could go out in the neighborhood and sell those.”
She set me up with my store and it was a white paper box. She showed me the dollars and $0.50 and how to change the money. I was around seven years old and these were back in the good old days when kids went off without their parents helicoptering around them all the time. The coolest thing is when I went out into the neighborhood to sell these bells, I literally sold all my bells, my first time out. I’ll never forget. I can feel it in my hands. I grew up in the suburbs at that time. When I was walking home, it made a rustling sound in the box and that rustling sound was commerce. I was a merchant as a wee child and it’s not like that catapulted me right from then, but I will never forget it.
It was the sound of money. That’s exactly what it was. It’s been quite a path. My husband and I have had a number of businesses. The first one was Dino Kid Growing Chart. He drew this because our youngest loved dinosaurs. My husband pulls together this beautiful drawing. We still have some of them. He sold those through science museums throughout the country, most prominently in our hometown at Saint Paul, Minnesota. From there, we had a windshield replacement business for twelve years, which my husband loved because he’s a hands-on guy. He had gotten trained up in bookkeeping and whatnot. He had a cubicle job and detested working in a cubicle. He quits that even after I helped him go through schooling and whatnot. It wasn’t for him.
That’s okay. That happens in life. The number one skill we can have in the 21st century is the ability to adapt. Adapt or die is what I like to say. Nonetheless, we had them for twelve years. I also homeschooled my kids for twelve years. I was extremely entrepreneurial-focused. It’s Robert Kiyosaki’s books, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Cashflow Quadrant, that sparked more of my entrepreneurialism. Even though we already had it. My husband and I breathe it. I started to see it through a different lens because of Cashflow Quadrant going E to the L and to true B.
If you don’t understand the E-quadrant, then you end up as an entrepreneur getting a glorified job. That’s even worse than a job because if it ever fails, your name is on the bottom line.
You’re a glorified S, as he calls pretty much a solopreneur. You bought a job. We had the windshield business and then law in the state of Minnesota rolled out. It was an advertising law and it pretty much wiped out all the small mom and pop business owners. That had to do with the advertising. What I learned is things rarely stay stable. They don’t, especially online. We had that and that was a fantastic business while we had it. I was homeschooling because I’m going to decide what my kids learn. I had a lot of confidence in that because both my parents were teachers, so it was very natural for me. They were brought into all our businesses including real estate investment, which we did for a number of years. We pulled the equity out of our house. We went to Carleton Sheets back in the day and, “Let’s learn this too.” We’re dribbling this basketball, “Let’s do this basketball.” I was a sports coach for fifteen years as well. I also did direct sales, so I am able to juggle a lot. That’s my nature. I go on dribbling the balls and get it done and shoot the hoops.
Another ADHD multitasking entrepreneur.
I believe in that ability to organize and to know how to project manage. If you don’t have it, you can outsource it and get an expert to come in and clean up your weakness because it’s all about playing your strengths. If you have a weakness, those can be amply supplied. That’s how it works. We all have unique strengths and that’s a beautiful thing. You can complement someone, so my husband and I. What happened is my eldest son sponsored me into a business when he was eighteen. I gave him free rein to do as many businesses as he wanted in high school. I said, “I don’t know if you’re going to succeed or not, but I do know you’re going to learn something,” and learn he did. When we partnered up, we’re doing direct sales together and it didn’t go very well for him.
I was doing quite well selling well. This is network marketing, but my people weren’t duplicating me. The real catalyst that brought me into the online space no one was taking my son seriously about, “Here’s a business opportunity.” He started to study online marketing. He studied affiliate marketing and copywriting and he became the top affiliate by age either 20 or 21 for Best Western, Walmart, GetResponse. He was a top affiliate and it served him well because one time he went down and motorcycle going 95 miles an hour in crotch rocket. He had no worries about missing his job because he was making all his money online at age 21. This was then the catalyst. I started to study that independently and then we forged and aligned forces in 2005. We went from $3,000 to $90,000 a month mostly through Google AdWords through re-selling someone else’s product.
I’m like, “Let’s sell our own.” We created our own digital marketing. Our first eBook was $4.2 million in sales and this whole thing of fall building, it’s called. That’s what I taught for quite a number of years. It’s a different land all onto itself. Here when we have our feet to the ground buying real estate, which we did. We had the boys go over and they had to help shovel and they had to help paint. My feeling always with my sons is there are no handouts here. If you want something, you’re going to work for it. It’s the way I ran the household. We are a family unit and we work together. No kids get to loaf around while their parents worked their butts off. While the tone of the culture now where kids are sequestered or secluded from the real world of work and entrepreneurialism, we immersed them into it.Over time, you'll learn that things rarely stay stable. Click To Tweet
For example, when I did Avon, my kids are 3 and 5 years old. They went out in the neighborhood with me and they saw mom be a merchant in the marketplace. My oldest son bought two pieces of real estate when he was either 19 or 20. Our middle son became a leasing agent for five years. He now lives in China, which I can speak at length about Corona because he went through the two-month quarantine over there. My son and I had aligned forces and then I shifted into eCommerce the fall of 2013 and the main reason is this, so people can learn something about online marketing. Online marketing is great, but you’re going to have to become an expert at traffic and conversions. You can get traffic, but you’ve got to convert into sales. There’s that whole piece. It’s not cheap. It’s a whole skillset onto itself, whether you’re doing YouTube ads, Facebook ads.
When you said you went from $3,000 to $90,000 a month, was that gross $90,000 or net $90,000?
That was gross. This was selling.
You could spend $50,000 generating that money easily so you net $40,000, It’s still a far cry from $3,000 so it hats off. There’s a little bit more to the picture. How much was going out to generate $90,000 growth?
I don’t remember those numbers so much as that was someone else’s program. My son said, “Mom if we sell our own, our profit will be a whole lot bigger.” Every evolution we made was solving a problem to better enhance our profits. With that, I do recall when we use Google AdWords. We had about $10 to $15 profit off of $67 eBook. It becomes literally a pure money machine at that point. You can’t pour enough money in because as long as you’re making a profit like $15, so we’re doing up to about $100,000 in Google AdWords at that time per month.
The formula is if I spend $10,000 and it nets me this much, then if I want to make three times as much, I got to spend $30,000. The question is how much can you put in?
It’s a matter of being judicious and wise and funneling that right back in. Plus, it’s about what’s called having a backend and ascension funnel. When we were brand new, we didn’t have much enough ascension funnel. We use someone else’s. We had a free back-office training that we gave, but then we refer them onto other services affiliates. We didn’t have the bandwidth at that time. We weren’t at that level. I sure have learned on the backend in sales. I’ve been doing online marketing for years but then shifting into eCommerce in the fall of 2013. What I saw with my students and their results were immediate.
The reason I shared about the traffic and the cost of that is when you tap into a ready-made funnel-like Amazon, they do all the advertising, they have the customer base. That learning curve is removed now and it’s big to learn how to do traffic and convert, and get the right offer in front of the right audience, etc. Amazon has that audience with credit card on file, prime buyers, 120 million strong. Now there’s one piece left to that equation as a third-party seller. What product do I sell? That’s all. That’s your challenge then. That’s what we teach now through our platform.
There are lots of products to sell, but you’re better off if you can find your own product. I’m very interested in this because entrepreneurs see opportunities everywhere they look and I see opportunity. A lot of this opportunity, I can’t stop what I’m doing to go do the little things I see. I see things, but I have a 21-year-old granddaughter who is right now going to college and working for $11 an hour. I’m saying, “You shouldn’t be able to make $11 an hour in your sleep online if you’ll put your mind to it and learn a little bit. You don’t have to be an expert at it. You’re not even trying to support a household at this point. You’re trying to get enough running money.” We should be able to figure this out. We have to know the products I want to sell and we’ll need them.
The range is so huge and Amazon is dominating the online space. Relevant to what is happening with the Coronavirus. It’s not too surprising, as we know. We see all the memes. People are running out to the stores and they’re depleting the toilet paper and the hand sanitizer. What happens is when the stores run out, they run online. Amazon announced very converse to the airlines who are looking to be bailed out. They’re hiring 100,000 people right now. That is noteworthy that they are having this, I’m not going to say unprecedented growth because the growth has been nothing but upward trending. For my third-party sellers, they are very well positioned. They’ve thrown down the roots, they’ve learned the skillset and they get to take advantage of the fact that for this time being, there’s this big surge. Here’s the thing about buying habits and how they become habituated. By default, there will be more Prime customers. Should I go into Prime? Does everyone know what Prime is?
Go ahead and give the definition.
The Prime buyer customer program put together through Amazon. It’s brilliant. Basically, you pay an annual fee, as I recall. It’s now over $100. It gives you primarily the two-free day shipping. It’s the main driver, the main motivation for why people upgrade into Prime. I shop almost entirely online. My husband does our shopping locally and I don’t have anything to do with that. If I need something, I buy it off Amazon. It’s here in less than two days and it’s free shipping, including big, huge, heavy things. Free shipping because I’m Prime. That drives that customer base. I call it the spoil me, rotten model. They spoil us rotten as customers and all the other online stores are working so hard to catch up to Amazon. It’s going to be tough because they’ve got this extremely robust infrastructure.
Walmart has been fulfilled by Walmart, but it does not compare to the infrastructure that Amazon has, which they started with books. That was the category and he’s exploded. As a third-party seller, we likewise correspondingly have a spoil us rotten model as third-party sellers because Amazon does the bulk of the work, which I look for leverage in the business. They’ve got the leverage in spades. What remains is finding those hot products to sell. You mentioned having your own products. Amazon, the direction they’re going is to be the brand launcher such that it used to be said, “If you’re not online, you’re not in business.” It’s going to be, “If your brand isn’t on Amazon, you’re not in business.” It’s not there yet, but that’s where they’re going.
That means authors. That means people like you. You gain your presence and there’s Amazon Live, which intends to compete with YouTube, which will be interesting. It’ll take a while to catch up to anything close to YouTube. You can have a very significant presence on the Amazon seller platform to get your knowledge or if you have books and everything that you have out into that Amazon marketplace. I made the shift and we have the eCommerce business goal and this is what we teach people. It’s how to be a seller on Amazon.
If anyone was lost out there and didn’t know what to do, instead of playing video games, I’m on the computer playing a game too. It’s called how many nickels can I make this computer crap into my bank account? That’s my game. If you spend as many hours as some of these kids spend on video games trying to break the code on how do I get people to send me a check, then when you win, you’ll get more than a bunch of people on a blog wishing they could beat you. I’m trying to instill that in my young one.
I saw this person selling cowhides on the side of the road. Their whole car is covered in cowhides and I’ve been driving by this guy forever. I was going to need some cowhides for my ranch. I was going to need seven of them. They are about $200 a piece. I don’t know how much he makes, but I’m fixing to find out. He never had a website address up and he never had a phone number. It was like, “Pull over and talk to me and buy myself.” When I wanted to buy from him, I couldn’t find him. He wasn’t there that day. I went and bought $1,400 worth more than that because some of the ones I picked were more expensive.
I pulled over one day and said, “Let me give you some business advice. If you want to take it, take it. Get you a little sign that you lean up against your car that says JoesCowhides.com and a phone number.” I’m driving by him five months later, he still doesn’t have it. I’m saying this guy’s out there almost three days a week. He’s not doing it because he’s not making money. I told my granddaughter, “Do what he does but do it better and you won’t have to work for anybody, I’m pretty sure.” Here’s the greatest thing about not making any money. You don’t take much to be your own person. The people that got a real problem are the ones that make $500,000 a year, have access to the company Learjet, all the insurance, all the benefits, and that stuff. These guys are owned by that company. They’ll never be free. They’ll never know what it’s like to say, “I don’t give a crap what day it is. I’m taking my wife to Fiji.” They’ll never know what that’s like because they’ll never be in control of their own thing.
One of the greatest moments of my life is when I realized that being broke made it really easy for me to be financially free. I had to find something that would bring in this little tiny amount of money and then I could tell my boss that I didn’t need him anymore. If you’re broke out there, listen to me. This is how it works. Because then like Ann’s story, you get in and your goal is to make enough to not have to give 2,600 hours a year to someone else. If you do the math you go, “Why is it 2,600 hours?” If you’re going to be your own boss, you better be working ten or twelve hours a day, at least for the first so many years. I’m saying 2,600 hours. Besides that, if you’re not putting 2,600 hours, even if you only get paid for eight hours a day, if you’re not a responsible person that will put in the extra hour at home or whatever, then don’t go into entrepreneurialism because it’s going to crush you.
You got to own it.
You got to be proud of what you’re doing. Here’s the thing. It’s like baby steps. Because what was so cool about being an entrepreneur was when I figured out how to move from $11 an hour to $15 an hour, I was 100% recipient. They didn’t give me a day off or a $100 gift certificate and pat me on the back. I made that extra $3 an hour every hour for the rest of my life. When I figured out how to get the $25 and $50 and $80, I became the recipient. This old country boy right here never intended to be worth what he’s worth or do what he does. I never had money goals. My goal was I’m at this level, how do I get one inch higher than? You go and you get in a program like Ann’s talking about. You learn the basics and you get a product. The first goal is to get anybody to give you any amount of money. That’s the first step. Look what came in from the outside into my account. It can be done. Now we know it can happen to us. Now the question is how can you get a little bit more to come in. You keep playing the game until you might look up and go, “Jesus, thank you so much. I never thought you had that in store for me.” It was there all along. I finally decided to apply myself and treat it like a marathon because you’re not going to be rich overnight.
You got to put in the effort.
It’s getting control. I went on my little rant there, sorry, Ann.
I love it. What you said there about getting the sale happens, I call it proof of concept. When I went out and sold my Christmas bells, it worked. That’s the same thing with our sellers. We have them posted on our group page for their first sale. We celebrate with them because they see them here that everyone else was doing it. It means nothing compared to when you make the sale and you go, “Look at my sale. It’s either $30, $49, whatever it is. The point is it worked for you, but you’ll never know until you take the action to see that actualize. I want to share a real quick story if I could. We do local events a lot. We were down in Dallas and there were a mother and son team.
The mother was implementing their methods and I’m going to teach and talk about arbitrage, which is very similar to flipping houses, which my brother did. I want to talk about the concept of arbitrage in a moment because that’s where we start all our members. Nonetheless, the mom, Shannon, live in Kentucky and she saw my ad. She came in, she learned the methods, she’s making money. The son who was working twelve-hour shifts, 26 years old with two little kids, one was physically handicapped and then a five-year-old. Twelve-hour shifts during the night and he’d been there seven years, so his whole adulthood. He’d heard he was going to get the day shift. He got excited, his hopes are going up. “I can have a normal life, I can sleep at night.” New supervisor. He said, “No, sorry, you’re not going to get this, Spencer.” He’s like, “This is my time. This is my moment. I’m going to do what my mom is doing.”
He did it while he was working on his job. He did this part-time, the arbitrage method. He quit in two months flat. I get teary-eyed when I’m interviewing my people and I have an interview on them, but I brought a dad home. I brought a dad from a twelve-hour shift who’s burnt out when he gets home. He loves his children, they’re beautiful kids. He is home with his children and he does his business on the side. He doesn’t work any near a twelve-hour shift and all because of this method I’ll share with you called arbitrage. He’s home with his kids. It’s great to have a mom. I like it when dad’s home too. I’m very big on the family economy and getting families working together to grow income. Forty percent of the hands go up at our events when I ask how many of you are doing this as a family business. It always starts with one. When that one person gets success, whether it’s the dad, it’s the mom, the daughter, whomever, then before you know it, you’ve got a big family operation going on. It’s about creating life-impacting changes. Should I explain arbitrage?
Yes, please, because that was my next question. I do want to comment. That’s exactly why I have this show. I’m trying to help people get control of their lives so that they can be who they’re supposed to be at home and they can go to places they’ve never been before if that’s what they want to do. It is emotional. I have people drive hundreds of miles to knock on my front door and tell me, “You helped me quit my job and I don’t need a job anymore and I make more than I used to make.” They get in their car and turn around and drive off. People have heard me say this. It falls on deaf ears for a lot of people because if you haven’t reached this point, you won’t understand. Money only does so much for you. After a certain amount, I can’t eat anymore. I can’t drink anymore. I don’t want a bigger house or a faster car or I got everything I want. What else is there? All of a sudden, life gets empty. The next thing is, “How do I help so many people out or anybody? If I could help one,” but then you find out you need some more. I tried giving it away and no one did anything.
That was robbing me of the emotional reward that I expected for the work that I did. I was doing work but no one was doing anything. I finally started charging some money. I started finding the people that were serious enough and it was their time. They were in that position of maturity where they’re going, “This is my time.” Everyone reaches this point where they go, “I can’t go on like I’ve been going on anymore. Something has to change or I’m going to die like this. Another twenty years like this, what will I have done?” Some people never get to that realization and other people would get to it sooner or later. When you say free, you’re getting a whole bunch of people that have not come to that realization. People go, “Sure you do. Why do you charge?” I said, “That’s why. I’ve got to get what I want out of it. I want to be on a winning team. When I was giving it away, no one was winning.”
It’s called having skin in the game. I am pretty staunch about that in my economics. When you give things away for free, people don’t appreciate it because they didn’t put some sweat equity into it. We are meant to put in the sweat. God designed us that way. We are meant to put in some sweat and if people are averse to it, they’re in the wrong planet. Any policy that fosters and encourages no sweat, where they don’t have to act. I’m talking an intellectual, sweat, physical, whatever effort because there are pride and satisfaction and putting in our own effort versus when it’s a handout. No handouts are appropriate in certain instances. When it becomes an overarching cultural philosophy, we’ve got a serious issue. We feel that the aftermath of that when everything’s a handout.
If you wanted to defeat them, the enemy bomb them. If you want to devastate them, subsidize them. I don’t invent many things. That’s Mitch Stephen’s original, thank you very much. In my world, arbitrage means I buy a house. I borrow the money at 8% and I loan it out at 10%, so I make an arbitrage of 2%. I’m going to figure it’s the same. It’s a spread. How’s the arbitrage work with you?
It’s very similar to that. Basically, it’s when you buy a product low and you sell it for high. In this case, you buy low, you sell high on Amazon. We have three different arbitrage methods. One is a local retail arbitrage where all you need is your smartphone. You need an app that Amazon created for this very purpose where you can scan a product and you have to have an Amazon seller account. It will bring up all the data for everything like profit, costs, Amazon fees, how many others and everything. We have a twelve-step checklist because the name of the game on Amazon is all about the data. It’s all about the numbers and knowing how to properly evaluate those so that as an investor you invest. It’s like real estate, the same thing.
You invest in this product and you’re going to turn around and sell it for a profit on Amazon. Naturally, not all products are more profitable on Amazon. Only so many and you have to find them. We have local retail arbitrage and I’ve not had any course in my years of teaching online that exceeds the results of that single program that teaches local retail arbitrage. Quitting jobs, paying off debt, buying homes, buying cars, assisting family members, mobile lifestyle, you name it. That’s through local retail arbitrage, that particular method. It’s because it’s all about the numbers. For example, we have this little evaluation card that our members have when they go to the store. They’re making a smart savvy decision. It’s not, “That looks like a cool product.” It doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with the appearance or what you think about it as an ugly house.
You’re probably going to sell with fewer profits in it. The stuff that will make the money is you would have never thought about.
Like a refrigerator filter that I found at Walmart. They were in the clearance sale. My husband and I when we were in Bloomington, Minnesota. It was like I hit a gold mine. They’re ugly boxes. Nothing attractive because it’s a refrigerator filter, but did they have nice profit margins. All in all, it was about 12 or 15 of them and it was like a $25 profit on each because they’re in clearance. This ugly looking product but very practical. People apparently need these. The one that we steer people towards, and it’s definitely one this arbitrage method relative to Coronavirus and also more so relative to what we teach our three pillars of eCommerce success. Generate cashflow, number one. Number two is to automate that system just like you want to be in a troop quadrant business owner. The last one is to build assets. That’s cashflow, automate those systems, build assets.
The next method, online arbitrage, for which we’re going to do a webinar for your audience so they can learn about online arbitrage is you meet all three objectives. You’re going to generate cashflow. That’s the most important because we don’t want your family income having to fund your business. We want your business funding itself. Those profits you get, you’re going to flip right back into more products. That is done all online. We have a special resource, a software that helps people do that. Sourcing, the vetting of those products. You’re making a smart investment. Basically, it shows up on the far right of the spreadsheet. Green means go or money, yellow means proceed with caution and red means no. That’s based on profits and ROI and velocity, the speed of which those products have been selling on Amazon.When you give things away for free, people don't appreciate it because they have no sweat equity in it. Click To Tweet
Here’s where it gets interesting. None of us want to have a glorified job through a business. We also teach people, we give them our systems and we help them develop a team through virtual assistants who costs about $2 to $3 an hour, who will their work for them. It’s outsourced to the Philippines. I have the Philippines on my staff. It’s mostly US-based. I thought you did because I was working with one of your VAs and are wanting to do stuff like that, “I’ve got a feeling he has a VA.”
I have six. To compare, I seller finance 100 houses a year. I created an income stream. This is a residual. It comes in for many years. I was stuck doing everything that it took to do all that. I systematized. Now, I haven’t seen the last 400 houses I bought. I have not talked to or even seeing or do not even know the names of the last 400 people that bought my house. That was a systematized part. I take the money that I make from flipping houses or seller financing houses because I do about 30%, one-time check, buy it, sell it and I’m done. I do about 70%. I sell it on a 30-year note, fixed, no balloon. Give me at least 10% down and you own it for 30 years and I’m not a landlord. I take the money I make from those two strategies and I buy self-storage because that’s forever. That’s the asset that goes forever. The appreciation goes up over the years, the debt goes down or there is no debt if you pay up and built it out of your pocket. That’s going to go as long as I want. I’m right in there with the three pillars that you said. You should think about that no matter what business you’re in.
Those pillars should be true. In any business model you’re going to evaluate, are all of those met? Generic cashflow. Can you automate systems? You went and you did that and you’re building assets off of those first two activities. Those are the bedrock for eCommerce, but they also pretty much use that as a filter going forward of anything you evaluate. If it doesn’t have it, keep running and look at it.
If you’re good at tracking like what she’s saying right now and going through the stages of that and doing it, your goal is to work yourself out of a job. You should be able to run it from anywhere in the world that you can get a phone connection. If you’re good at it, you don’t even need an internet connection or a phone connection because it’s handled for a certain period of time. I’m a strong advocate that if you don’t watch your business for very long, someone will break it for you because it’s not theirs unless you have a very special person in place.
That throws me. What I was surprised about in your last comment was I thought maybe you picked the segment of products or you became like a swimming pool and then you had everything for swimming pools, but yours is random. I find anything that is being used on a daily basis or regularly. If I can find a truckload of it that I can buy for half off, I’m going to sell it. You don’t need a reputation. Because of keywords and everything, you put them on the market for cheaper than everybody else, but you’ve got them so cheap that you could beat everyone, that you’re probably going to win.
That’s arbitrage. Another arbitrage, we have his book flipping. It’s a specialty category within Amazon. It’s not scalable. Where it can be scaled is textbook arbitrage. When I say the scale, it’s offset to someone else to do the work rather than you.
That’s because people have to keep turning the books in after they’re done.
You can get VAs who can do all the searches online, especially for textbooks. Textbooks have huge profit margins. This was with one of our sellers who created that course. He made a whole month’s profit. That’s how he bought his home after he lost his business. We lost ours in the windshield industry. He lost his as a physiotherapist in the State of California when a new law came out under Arnold Schwarzenegger about the workman’s comp. Relative to that, as my years in business. The government can create one little law and out goes an entire industry like the tanning industry. It took a hit many years ago. I don’t remember what the law was, but they’re all busy making their laws and they don’t realize how much it hurts.
In the State of Texas, they made it illegal not to have a piece of land note separate from your mobile home note. If you were going to get a mobile home and put it on the land, it had to be in one note. Now the person that was buying the mobile home for $35,000 who’s going to get the finance by the mobile home company and was getting the owner finance piece of land from someone like me. I was the owner of financing the land. They couldn’t qualify for the whole thing together. Every mobile home park in the state of Texas went broke with 70,000 repos, which was a coup for me. Because they passed that law, they broke a whole industry for years.
It’s a lack of knowledge. That’s a whole other topic. It’s the bane of business owners.
As entrepreneurs, we’re able to shift, jerk and jive and let go. Like me, I was in the business, it happened to me on the peripheral because I had always bought mobile homes and land and owner finance them. All of a sudden, if I bought twenty mobile homes at a time that were less than two years old, I could buy them for $6,000 a piece. I borrowed $1 million from a bank. I bought 140 mobile homes in six weeks. I was buying them twenty at a time and then I owner finance them at the time at 14% all for around $25,000 each. I created $4.8 million worth of notes. Wealth comes from chaos. There’s chaos now. You have to figure out where the need is and how to fill it. There’s a need caused by this chaos, tremendous need. It’s booming Amazon. They want to have their house delivery. It’s booming Walmart.
That is the skill of an entrepreneur is you live by your astuteness, your ability because our eyes are always wide open. When we drive down the street, it was like what Robert Kiyosaki said. “When the rich turn down the street, they see something totally different than the poor person because they built a different lens and that lens is the ability to see opportunity.” To me, it’s like I can spew off so many different, “Here’s what you could do, but you could do this and this.”
The kids are the best at it sometimes because sometimes the kids are unfiltered and they’re not been drilled in so much. Most of the kids driving down the street they’ll say, “Look at that ugly house.” Our kids say, “That’s right. We need that house.”
They have a completely different lens and that’s why now with this Coronavirus, it is extremely sad and brutal. There’s no discounting that but entrepreneurs are going, there’s an untold opportunity. I don’t know them all. I know what’s happening right now. For me, I feel blessed and grateful that I put my people in a more secure place that they’re working from home, for one. There’s like all these people who now are at home and they’re like, “What am I going to do with myself?” You build a business, that’s what you do. If you got downtime, thank the Lord you got time to grow and build a business now. It’s so easy.
You got 30 days and you’re going to have to sit on your duff anyways. Why don’t you pick a course, pick hers, pick mine, pick somebody’s and immerse yourself in it? The worst thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to learn something you didn’t know and how to be able to apply it someplace else. It might not be that thing. Everyone I know in the real estate industry has spent $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 on courses that didn’t work out for them. They tell me where they’re at and I go, “You never would have gotten here if you wouldn’t have gone that path.” It’s part of your journey to find out what didn’t work because it could work. Almost everyone’s plan will work if you work at it hard enough. Every plan is not for everybody.
You can make almost anything work, but it may not be the right plan for you to work, but you don’t know until you’re working it. I always tell people it’s about the journey. Get engrossed in the journey. You’re going to turn out a better person.
It can be a slight shift and you can be an expert on something. On the surface, eCommerce might not be for you but if you’re an expert in a certain product or in guns or whatever, now you’re opening up an avenue to take the expertise. This is what’s so cool. You can have a business open to the whole wide world with hardly any investment. Do you know what it would take to be open to the world 50 years ago?
It’s already at your fingertips. A perfect example is my son, he lives in China. My youngest son sends me this YouTube video of this guy. He’s like, “Mom, we should get on this guy’s channel. He’s from Rob’s city and he’s talking all about they’re going to flee and come to the States.” I send the video to my son in China. He says, “I know him. He’s my friend and I’ve sourced his products for him.” This guy, his YouTube channel has probably grown to 60,000 or 70,000 now, he’s a recumbent bicycler who goes around the world doing recumbent cycling and he’s created a following.
What does recumbent mean?
They’re lower to the ground and you’re sitting down more and your legs are out in front. I’m like, “He’s got this many people following him and he’s riding around her bike.” People will follow you. He’s learned to monetize that traffic. Now with Corona, he built up his following because he kept pumping them out because he was going through it. My son was like, “I know him. He’s my friend.” Also, I want to say it’s a small world, but also that was his passion and interest and he happened to vlog about it. There’s opportunity everywhere. I’m thinking relative to real estate people and if people are hard put with finances, you could use eCommerce as a catalyst to build your cashflow to go into real estate, although I’m sure you probably have other strategies that people can use. That would be a way to get a taste.
You could sell or invent products that people and real estate investors need and have that as what you’re offering. Because if you start looking at what your niche needs, it’s very big. Everything from science to locks, to posts, to doorknobs, to educational, to contracts, to analyzers. There are all kinds of things to sell. It goes on and on. I didn’t know that when I started this show. One day, Julie from Houston, the girl that set this up. She’s one of my VAs, although not from the Philippines. She said, “We’re interviewing someone, but they have an affiliate program. I signed you up for it. If they make any products because of the customers that you brought to them through this show, you’ll get paid.” I’m like, “Hold on, stop right there. Tell me about this.” Everything changed and I didn’t know.
It’s infinite. We start people in arbitrage only because it’s the simplest and fastest way to get going. It’s so fast. It can be very frequent. If you follow our steps, as soon as your product lands in the Amazon warehouse, it’s sold. I’m not saying that’s guaranteed, but if you select on our basis like in the 1% category means it’s a hot seller. I’ve literally scan where I had the number one item in grocery at that particular moment. It was a kind bar. I’m like, “I’m at the number one top-selling product in groceries.” Another one was in households. It was during the school selling season. It was the plastic lunchboxes. I’m like, “Am I seeing right? This is number one?” That’s relative to the rank and the speed at which it’s selling.
I’m certainly not going to ask you what you make, but what can people expect to make? What are some case studies that you know that people made? How many months or years did it take them? She likes to say any numbers, readers, I know this. It’s her opinion. It may not work for you. There’s no guarantee for anything. What are you seeing out there?
I’ll give the example of Martha. She had been a former bar and grill owner and then subsequent to that she’s working at a yacht club and she did not like it. She actively went out looking. “What’s something I can do from home without having to manage people?” She was burned out from that space and she got right to it. She did primarily local retail arbitrage and then her 10th month in the business, she did $74,000 in sales to qualify in one month in December.
That’s not net profit. We don’t know that number.
Thirty-two percent, roughly. If she does the discount stacking, we have a web class on that, where they can save 92% of the household expenditures. We have a spreadsheet of our gal who’s teaching it. She’s been doing it for years. That’s a little side topic, but it’s about keeping more of your money. Household expenditure, she brought down at 92% and she rolls that into buying our products for Amazon. It makes upwards of over 50% in profit.
That 10th month is $75,000. Let’s say 30% of that is $25,000 a month. I’m pretty sure most of the people reading will live very well off a $25,000 a month. I’d say 99.9% of them.
She didn’t maintain that. That was during the Q4 selling season, but she did a total of $247,000 or thereabouts for her first twelve-year calendar year.
To make a profit in business the first year you’re out used to be unheard of. Businesses like this now are making it more probable that you will because they took out all the learning curve for you.
They built the sales funnel.
Amazon cannot sell every product in the world with its employees. They had to give the opportunity to you or people that wanted to take the opportunity that wanted to learn and what a perfect system. They only pay when something moves. They only pay out the money that’s on the table. How does Amazon lose that way? I’m sure there are ways for them to lose, but they’re playing a much bigger game than us. As a general rule, they’re saying if you push a product through our store, we get a piece, you get a piece, the customer gets what they want. How many people can we get trained to do that? There’s a billion, trillion products to move.
Their claim is Earth’s greatest selection. That’s Jeff Bezos’ goal. He very astutely brought in what’s called the third-party seller platform. The third-party seller is now comprised upwards of almost 56% of the volume of products comes from mom and pops. Here’s my analogy. People look for the redistribution of wealth. I’m not in favor of that model. I’m in favor of this model though, which is the redistribution of opportunity. What’s happening is it used to be the barrier to entry into the business was high. We pulled equity out of our house to get into real estate and get going. Here, that barrier to entry is so low that you can get into success very quickly. I should say a better comparison as a brick and mortar store. He used to say, “Signage, that’s $8,000. We’re going to be in debt.” That’s one of our members. He had a trophy shop in Southern California. It wasn’t until his fifth year, which is the average when he got into profitability. This is from years ago. He had owned it for 25-plus years and he also took money out of his home to launch his business. That’s what you did back then. You had to bootstrap and work hard. He was in profitability in two weeks with Amazon. It’s shocking.
It’s a beautiful concept. I love talking to you. If I could talk to you all day long. I can talk to you for hours and hours. I already have twenty questions but we don’t have time for all that. First of all, what are you offering to train people to do or what do you have to get someone started? How they put their little finger in this and get acquainted with you?
The Simplest Online Business is the name of the one class that we’ve set up for your readers when they go to your page link, then they’ll see my link for that.
I want everyone to go to 1000houses.com/ecommerce, and over there you’re going to be offering an introduction to what you offer. Tell us about it.
We call it Simplest Online Business because it is intended to be built for scale and for you to be what’s called a non-owner reliant business. That’s the goal of this one, which is online arbitrage that I described earlier, gets you into cashflow. You’re going to have our systems that you put into place. They’re proven systems and you’re going to build assets. That is through our Simplest Online Business that I’m going to share in this web class that they can find on your page, that registration link. They’re going to learn the fundamentals of the Amazon seller platform. What is this thing and how does it work?
This is a webinar. It’s going to get them more into detail. We’ve been talking about it from the 10,000-foot level or whatever. If you only get a little more intimate, then you’ll know more if it’s for you or not. I guess that’s free. Do you have a free book or anything you have to give away?
You can go to our ECommerceBusinessSchool.com. There’s some free training. We don’t have a book at this time. They can go there and they can also see some case studies and success stories. One of our members through this same method, the phone one, she moved to Italy. Sadly, she’s in Italy right now and it’s not the best there.
Go to 1000houses.com/ecommerce and we’ll have anything and everything that she wants to offer over there. Do you speak on this a lot?
I’m trying to get on more and more podcasts. I’m reaching out to local news channels, especially since my son has been one of our instructors, the one who lives in China. It was a human interest thing. We have local events. We’ve done events primarily in Dallas and then up in Bloomington, Minnesota. Those are our two hubs. My goal and my dream, you’re speaking of mobile homes earlier, is to have a big mobile home that we do an East Coast tour going from city to city, a Midwest tour and the West Coast. I’m not there yet.
We were talking about an RV. A recreational mobile home is where you rolled it and then you took the wheels off and you planted it there.
Thank you for the distinction.
You want to get one of those $500,000 RVs where you don’t even know that you’re not in the house. I love that idea. I’m going to predict that this is going to happen because you seem like a person that when you put your mind to it, it’s going to happen. I will not be surprised at all if I am driving down the highway someday and say, “I think that’s her because that was the name of the .com she built.”
I’ll have my web address and my phone number on both.
Get on that webinar. You don’t have to jump off a cliff and quit your job and start. Do part-time, work your way into it. Get a little proof of concept. See some checks coming. Only you can decide what might be possible if you went full-time. Don’t put yourself under the gun right off the bat. Keep the status quo. Keep it going. You’re going to have to burn a little midnight oil or burn some extra hours because I don’t know an entrepreneur in the world that self-employed right now that didn’t have to work two jobs for a while. The job fulfills and the business he was trying to get off the ground. I know hundreds of them. They’re all the same. If you’re that person, check out this website and the sky is the limit in this business. Do you borrow money sometimes for products?
There is a loan. Amazon has some amazing ecosystem. They do provide loans to the Amazon sellers.Your astuteness, the way you see the world, is the skill of an entrepreneur. Click To Tweet
Do they need to see your track record?
That’s definitely a part of it. Kabbage is their loaning service. Yes, there are people who do that and those people who find a loan or money outside that as well because to get the big numbers, you’ve got to drive money in for money to turn. It’s like an ATM machine. That’s how I look at Amazon. You shove products in, money and profit out. It’s one big ATM machine.
Don’t you wish sometimes you would have highly documented every penny from the very beginning? I wish I would have been a bit like, “I took $4,000 off this credit card. I made this and I rolled it back in and then I’m off,” so that you can say, “Do you want to know exactly how it happened? This is exactly how it happened and this is how much time it took for everything.” Back then we were so involved in trying to make it work that we didn’t have the time.
We didn’t think at that level, but it is true. You make a good point. That takes some boldness and courage by what people could do. There’s a free blog of sorts called Facebook if you don’t want it that way, where you could be “blogging” every day if you didn’t have a website yet. You’re saying, “I’m going to this journey.” People, trust me, they’re going to gather around and be peering in your aquarium going, “What is he doing?”
If you drive those people to Ann, I think you’re going to get paid. Right off the bat, you end up inventing a product that wasn’t even on the chart because that’s what I would be doing. I’d be documenting myself and then figure out a relationship with you and your courses and then say, “If I move a bunch of people over your courses, will you pay me?” It’s affiliate marketing.
We have an affiliate program as well. I liked that phrase, “For such a time as this.” Here I am with this, “I’ve got something.” Amazon is exploding and we have all these people home. They’re scared. I’m telling them, “This is a time of opportunity. Have eyes wide open, give it a test drive.” Another thing is we have a staff member. She taught her daughter when she was nine years old. By the time she was eleven, she knew how to run the entire Amazon business. Kids can learn this and families unite.
Kids are smart. You go to get them interested in it. They’re not going to be worth a dang if they’re not interested. I can’t even program my TV unless I call a four-year-old.
That’s us. I wanted to say thank you for having me on.
I may be sending a few people personally to you because I know people that are looking for something and maybe this is for them. I’ll let them listen to the webinar myself and say, “Do you want to pursue it?” I have family members that are struggling right now because this time in our lives has shut their business down. Instead of sitting around and going in the hole, since there’s nothing you can do about it, let’s spend the 30 days and see if there’s a different opportunity out there that might change the whole course of your life. Go to 1000houses.com/ecommerce. I want to thank you for taking the time to come on, Ann.
I hope you take a look at that webinar that we’re going to put up and have a great day.
Thank you for having me.
I like to thank you all for stopping by to get you some Ann Sieg. I hope you accomplish your goals. If you haven’t found that one thing for you, don’t give up. It’s out there. Find it. I don’t care if it’s real estate, online commerce, juggling clown in a circus. Whatever turns you on, get there and win.
About Ann Sieg
Ann Sieg and her husband owned a thriving windshield replacement business for twelve years. Then almost overnight, a new state law literally destroyed their company.
They were left with nothing.
So Ann took her little “side-hustle” business and doubled-down…taking her sales from 2K per month to 90K per month in three months’ time.
It was more than enough to bring her husband home. But she didn’t stop there…
Network marketing, info-marketing, affiliate marketing, creating and selling her own products…Ann did it all…to the tune of $20 million+ in sales.
She kept going, training thousands of people to build their own thriving online businesses.
But nothing has matched the rapid success of her E-Commerce students.
It’s not uncommon for them to see cash flow in the first few days or weeks of starting their businesses.
And others have achieved 6, 7, and even 8 figure incomes – many through her free training alone.
Now she wants to make that training available to you…
Join Ann Sieg now and start on your own Path to E-Commerce Success!
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