Amazon FBA Tips – Join Jason Katzenback and Dan Ashburn today on our Million Dollar Brands Live show and discover directly from Inc 5000 Amazon Seller Devin Dorosh his three secrets to building a multi-million dollar brand from scratch.
This session is full of extremely valuable advice, and if you are even remotely interested in building your own brand, you will not want to miss these Amazon FBA tips, or this powerful Amazon FBA success story.
AND if you want to find product opportunities with the highest revenue and lowest competition – check out our brand new product research tool Profit Miner it makes building your own brand and business on Amazon as fast and easy as possible.
Jason & Dan: So let’s get right into it let’s bring him on the call Mr. Devin Dorosh, how’re you doing today?
Devin Dorosh: Really good, and it’s a beautiful day, can’t complain.
Jason & Dan: Awesome, so Devon look we’ve got viewers at home that have sort of come across this business opportunity, building up a brand on Amazon, why don’t we start off with where & when did you get started selling on Amazon?
FBA Tips from an Entrepreneur
Devin Dorosh: Yeah so I had always had a desire to be an entrepreneur and do something you know, a business of my own, but you know I went to college and studied finance and accounting and you know started my career off in that. I’ll be honest like I was a terrible employee, hated pretty much every job that I ever had because I just felt bored all the time and like I wasn’t you know able to really realize my creativity that I had. So initially when I found out about selling on Amazon at the time you know I was working my day job and I was also trying to do a network marketing business. It wasn’t you know the right fit for me but my thought was that, what maybe can I sell on Amazon and do well enough to leave my day job and do my you know multi-level marketing business full-time? That was that was the thought process at the time. Here I am in the future and I don’t do that old business at all, and I love the new business that my wife and I run together. Interestingly enough we launched our first product while we were on our honeymoon in Curacao.
Jason & Dan: Wow that’s an awesome story, you know what’s interesting about your business is you know oftentimes when we’re talking with people who are looking for products a lot of them are really afraid of you know picking a product. Do I pick a product that’s seasonal or anything like that? You actually been able to build a very successful business on a seasonal product. Can you talk a little bit about that, like what your brand is, maybe talk a little bit about it, like what you’ve been able to build?
Devin Dorosh: Yeah definitely, so our company is called Grillaholics. We focus primarily on barbecue accessories and things around barbecue. So obviously you know barbecue is very seasonal. You know we have big, big lifts in the summer around Father’s Day and you know really quote-unquote grilling season. Although you know as a grillaholic I would say I grill year-round, but then you know there’s also kind of a slow season in the fall and then it picks up again into the holidays.
Jason & Dan: Right so you know with that always come some you know some cash flow challenges as far as like you’re trying to build up inventory in your slow times of the year. Then you know there’s kind of like, “oh man sales are slowing like is that because of my competitors or is it just the time of the season?”
Devin Dorosh: Right so those are kind of the mental games that I’m always playing, you know, but really it’s like making sure that we’re always planning for those peak times and ready to go. Then make sure that we hit it hard during those times.
$3 Million Annual Revenue
Jason & Dan: Very cool you know, just before we move on, how is your business doing right now? How much yearly revenue are you generating?
Devin Dorosh: Yeah thanks, it’s great so we should pass three million this year. It’s never as big as you want it to be, but hey, lots of opportunity for growth.
Jason & Dan: Congratulations! Yeah I mean let’s talk about the Inc 5000 list real quick. I mean that’s pretty impressive and what’s really nice to see is how passionate you are about your brand. You talk about it openly, you’re an ambassador of your own brand. So for the viewers at home that maybe don’t know what the Inc 5000 list is, can you just explain like the substance behind that?
Devin Dorosh: Yeah so this is the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. So it’s measured on like revenue growth over a three-year period.
Jason & Dan: So you landed position 811? I mean that’s pretty impressive. Like just hands-down that’s impressive, what’s that done for sort of your mindset around building this business? What impacts has it had on the brand, and what other doors and opportunity is now open for you?
Devin Dorosh: Yes I mean, obviously it’s like you know any PR is always good right? So that’s definitely kind of one thing that we can help put behind the brand you know. It does kind of give you a broader focus right? When you’re getting started or you’re early on in your business and you know you’re really focused on products and you know trying to expand your line and things. That’s a different mindset then you know trying to go to you know like national corporation type size or something like that. Not saying that we’re there but it makes you think about like okay what would it take to get in place to kind of transition to being a much bigger company?
Jason & Dan: Absolutely, and I saw it was based on an award of year-on-year growth over three years wasn’t it? What was that year-on-year growth in the business the exact percentage?
Devin Dorosh: So you know basically our first full year we did about $450,000 in sales. You know our second year was like 1.2m and then our third year was 2.6 million.
Jason & Dan: So wow that’s awesome. So you know everyone that’s here right now knows that you’re gonna reveal three secrets so let’s get right into that? What are the three secrets that you have to share for you know helping people create a million dollar brand.
Devin Dorosh: Yeah so it’s funny because when it comes to selling on Amazon or e-commerce you know there’s always going to be strategy and tactics right? Everybody wants to learn, “oh what’s the newest hack that’s gonna take things to the next level?” But in reality it’s like those things are you know, they’re great, but they they shouldn’t be what you build your business on.
First Tip: Customer is The #1 Priority
Right so the first thing to me, and what we’ve really always focused on is making the customer our number one priority. Right we’ve always said you know we’re gonna deliver amazing customer service and support and always like deliver an excellent customer experience. So every time somebody gets one of our products you know we want them to really love it and have like this kind of wow factor with it.
I feel like especially if you’re you’re just getting started it’s really easy to make the focus on like, “hey I want to start a business. I want to sell a product.” You end up forgetting that you’re selling a product to people, and so it needs to be about the value that you’re bringing to their lives. Like sure people need to buy things but like if they’re gonna buy your thing it needs to really give them value otherwise you know how do you really separate yourself from anybody else?
Jason & Dan: Awesome you know and I’m just so glad that you kicked that off as the first tip because over and over again the successful sellers that we’ve associated with, that we’ve been able to teach, all have done the same thing. Number one, the customer has to be your focus. I mean at the end of the day the customer is the one that pays the bills and if you make a great relationship with them, especially when you’re building a brand, because a happy customer becomes a repeat customer. So it’s just such long-term thinking. I mean we always talk about putting the customer first, building quality into your brands, building it from the customers perspective, and I think Devin the fact that you just came out with that as the number one point really drives that point home. Hitting the five thousand list, building a three million dollar company, it really speaks to the power of it and it’s often something that people just sort of overlook or maybe think “yeah I’ll do that eventually” but it really is sort of foundation of success isn’t it?
Devin Dorosh: That’s really great to hear and it really does you know make its way to everything you do. When you’re focused on the customer first they feel it, and when you’re focusing on money first they feel that.
Jason & Dan: So I do have actually one question Devin, how’s that then showing up inside your Amazon product reviews? How is that giving you an advantage over your competition? Has that mindset showed up like tangibly in the business?
Devin Dorosh: So early on we would actually write our customers handwritten thank-you notes, and so you know that did a lot of things. One, it helped us get more reviews. But two, you’d be surprised how many of our reviews are you know, “oh I got this you know handwritten thank-you note from Grillaholics” and they you know you just don’t see that kind of service anymore. There’s been you know oftentimes my wife Katie, she you know handles a lot of our customer service, and really you know deals directly with the customer. You know there’s so many times where people are talking about, “yeah Katie took care of my issue and you know so great to have such great customer experience.” So you know I think that definitely shows up.
Second Tip: Always Be a Student
Jason & Dan: That’s pretty cool. All right man treat us to number two, what’s the second step?
Devin Dorosh: So my second thing, and this was really important for me early on, is to always be learning. You know always investing into yourself and learning new things. You know like I said I came from a corporate background you know finance and accounting I really knew nothing about selling online or e-commerce or Amazon or any of those things. So it was like you know, once I got the foundation setup there’s still more you can always learn right? So it’s you know whether it’s learning about Facebook, or email, or you know all these things, or you know optimizing your conversion rate. Like there’s so many cool things that you can learn, and what I have found is the times that I’m always investing into that learning are the times when I’m growing the most. When I get too busy and you know don’t have time to continue to invest in myself, those are the times where things start to kind of stall a little bit or you know I start feeling you know maybe a little bit you know less hopeful. Just things weigh me down more because I’m not thinking as creatively.
Jason & Dan: So on that point a bit, I mean there’s so much information out there, and you’ve got to get the balance between learning and then implementing what you’ve learnt. So that you don’t end up in that vicious cycle of just continued learning, how do you prioritize one who you listen to the training you take? And two how do you balance that with the implementation of what you’ve just learned?
Devin Dorosh: Right so I think you know I guess I will say I am a little bit biased. Like obviously you know I went through some of the amazing course material early on, and that was really my foundation. So you know it was definitely instrumental in learning the foundation of Amazon, but from there it’s kind of like you know making sure that you you know get in with like experts within their subject matter. Right so yeah I remember my first live event and Ezra Firestone was on stage talking about sales funnels and I was like what is going on here? But at the same time I was like okay… I know that if I learn more from this guy, then you know I can understand, sales funnels and things like that. I’ve always kind of said well what do I need most right now? Then I think who is one of the best people in that area or who provides great information on that? Then I dig into that deeper and try to prioritize that you know whether it’s a quarterly objective, a monthly objective, and you know kind of base it off of that. There’s no doubt like being a student a constant student is critical for success. You look at any other successful person, and they’ll tell you like, whether it’s they’re reading books or going to work shops or anything like that. I mean it’s instrumental.
Jason & Dan: You know I remember early on too when you joined ASM, and were involved in the community, I mean you’re always sharing as well too. You could tell, you are definitely a student that learns, but you’re willing to share and help others out too so that’s very cool. All right so what do you got for number three?
Third Tip: Surround Yourself with The Right People
Devin Dorosh: So my third thing is surround yourself with great people. So I think you know kind of in that vein of always learning and being an entrepreneur, early on in your journey there’s kind of this like you’re doing everything right. Like you’re learning it, you’re doing it, and so then you’re kind of like if it’s gonna happen I got to do it right. So one of the things like, that’ll get you to a point but then you kind of plateau, and if you want to grow past that like you have to get help. Like you can’t do it all yourself, there’s not enough hours in the day, there’s too many things to focus on. So you just can’t do it right. So to me the next important thing, or I should say the third important thing is making sure that you know you’re always trying to find somebody that has experience, to do the thing that you’re trying to do next.
You know early on in our business journey, you know we were bringing on people right out of college. We were you know basically limited to teaching them what I knew, how to do it right, which it was great but if you’re trying to go from just getting started to you know doubling your business, you really need somebody that can do it without you teaching them how to do it. So to me that was a huge learning curve and once I figured that out, you now, we’re starting to focus on building our team, and really getting you know the right people to help with the right things.
Amazon FBA Tips Recap
Jason & Dan: Cool so let me just recap the three things that you said. Number one, I believe that you said is number one make the customer the top priority, and then number two is always be a student, and number three is surround yourself with the right people. Oh yeah you know and there’s that old saying you know, you represent the five most common people that you surround yourself with, and definitely 100 percent that’s so true you know. I found you know that you need to ignore your friends it means if you’re really focused. You know for example if you want to get in shape and you’re just hanging around with people that love to eat pizza and cheeseburgers, not working out, it’s gonna be hard. When you hang around with people that are constantly focused on health, just inherently, you’ll start doing that same thing. With business, when you’re focused on people that are passionate about this business, passionate about what they’re doing, you’ll just inherently start doing those things. So it’s so powerful.
Awesome, great three tips. I surround myself not only with like-minded people but often people that I can help, but they’re ahead of me. It’s the fastest way to success because you just shortcut all of that expense, not just monetary, but time investment, saving all the mistakes that you could have made. You can learn from that person, and then you can help them with something that maybe you’re good at as well. So I’m a big believer in that, and with the amazing selling machine passion we’re all about community because it’s like you have to be surrounded with people, because you know especially I mean you sit there and you work from your home right?
You know and so you got to admit after a while if you’re not associating with other people, it can be lonely. It helps keep you in line and when things get rough too it helps lift you up, because you can talk to people and say, “hey I’m struggling with this right now, what do you think?” and it’s amazing how many times those things come up in their comments. You think it’s just happening to you, but also everyone else goes, “no no no I’ve been there no worries!” I try to make it a point to go to as many live events as I can, because it’s such a great opportunity to really recharge the batteries. So if you could go back to the start of your journey, you’re in the phase of just discovering this business, you’re thinking well what products should I sell? If you could tell yourself one thing back in time what would that one thing be?
Devin Dorosh: Yeah so I might I might actually give you two things. The first thing is definitely like test small, and test fast. You know some of the biggest mistakes or challenges that I had were times when I was like, “oh man you know, I know this product is gonna be an amazing product, and so I’m gonna put all this time and effort into developing the packaging and the product and all these things.” Then you put it out there and it’s like oh it doesn’t sell the way I thought it would, and you know I have like a lot of units and now I gotta figure out how to move those. You know versus like kind of listening to the market and putting something out there, and then making small adjustments over time to get it to be the perfect product, because the reality is the customer will tell you what they want. The things that they like, or don’t like, that you can always improve upon.
Jason & Dan: You know and I just want to add on that, because it’s so true when you’re starting a business. I mean you want to start it with as minimal risk as possible, and even if they put all that time and money and branding. The fact that you’re starting with such a small amount, that little bit of branding for your first product, it’s not gonna make a big impact. Now obviously once it starts selling you want to really refine that brand, but you know it’s all about just fast getting it to market. I think you know the secret of that is just making sure you’re starting with a good product. You know if it’s a good product, good customer service and all that kind of stuff, and it sells well, that’s when you start reinvesting and improving it, and building a beautiful brand like you’ve done.
Devin Dorosh: Yeah I really like how you said like, test fast, I often find that success is built on a pile of failures. The faster you can build that pile of failures, the faster you’re gonna be successful.
Jason & Dan: Absolutely love that point and that’s something I’ve only realized really in the last couple of years myself. It’s great, okay second point, the other thing is just to have fun and enjoy the journey right? So like as entrepreneurs, we’re often like comparing ourselves to other people right? You know I have so many friends that sell on Amazon, that do the e-commerce game, and it’s so easy to be like. “Man you know they’re selling 10 million a year, like I wish I was doing that now.” You know thinking well, maybe I should do what they’re doing?
The reality is like there’s always going to be somebody that’s growing bigger or faster or whatever, but there’s nothing wrong with what you’re currently doing and it’s part of your journey. It’s like enjoy the journey and don’t make it about the destination, and like things are so much better that way.
Devon Dorosh: Yeah use it for inspiration, that’s beautiful, and it is, it’s a killer. I mean I suffer with that a lot of times. You’ll see someone report something and then it almost makes you shift. Then what happens is you just end up dropping what you’re doing, and it actually causes you a worse result. Say that you know you have a three million dollar a year business, and you’re like oh I’m not doing good enough. It’s like that’s horrible I mean, you should be rejoicing, and obviously always trying to do better, but taking that moment to really appreciate what you’ve done.
Jason & Dan: So that’s awesome, well cool, well any closing remarks that you have for you know the viewers that we have right now? That’s been great advice.
Devon Dorosh: Okay um you know I think ultimately it’s like you know be willing to take a chance on yourself. You know every great thing comes from getting started, and you know it’s definitely something that you can do, and you know go for it. Like I don’t know, I look back and think to myself, if I hadn’t started you know to try and sell on Amazon. I started this business, like where I would be if I didn’t, and the reality is I’d still be sitting in a cubicle. I would be miserable at my day job, and it’s just like I wouldn’t have the other relationships. The control of my time, and just the ability to do the things that I get to do now if I hadn’t.
Jason & Dan: Yeah that’s amazing, so Devon thank you for coming on. So if you haven’t already for those watching, if you want to watch our other live training that we’ve done you go to amazinglivenow.com/free/ because we’ve got free training. If you want to learn more about the Amazing Selling Machine check out amazingsellingmachine.com where you can learn about this business model and so much more. Always a pleasure to talk to you say, hello to your lovely wife from us, and we’ll talk to you all later. See ya guys!
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.