Anne Ferris learned how to start selling on Amazon FBA from the Amazing Selling Machine training course. She just started selling on Amazon, and in under 5 months already made $75,000 in sales. Here, she offers her Amazing Selling Machine review and advice on picking your first product, competing against similar products, price selection, increasing sales, ramping up traffic, and allocating funds to have higher profit margins.
Matt Clark and Rich Henderson interview Anne Ferris, a mother of two who went from a corporate lawyer, sleep deprived and stressed out from her 140-hour work weeks, to a successful Amazon business owner—all thanks to the Amazing Selling Machine training course.
Anne got to a point in her life when she realized working 20 hours a day, 7 days a week wasn’t bringing her happiness. After a friend threw Anne a lavish birthday party for her and revealed he made all his money selling on Amazon, Anne realized she could make money through an Amazon business of her own. She took the Amazing Selling Machine (ASM) course her friend recommended and generated $75,000 in sales within her first 5 months.
Learn How To Start Selling on Amazon FBA – New Amazing Selling Machine Training Videos (Free!)
The Amazing Selling Machine recently released a new video series. The series consists of four different videos covering topics like product selection, finding suppliers, automation, launching products, marketing, and putting it all together to build a successful Amazon business. In the first module of this new training series, Amazing.com is giving away a software tool they’ve developed to help sellers find product opportunities fast and get started. Videos can be found at asmnow.com/free for a limited time!
Watching ASM’s module one helped Anne learn about how to pick her first product. After watching the first four modules in ASM’s training course, she used their tips to decide what she would sell.
She wanted to sell a product to people like herself, so she knew how to communicate with her market. Her goal was to find something she would use herself, and make sure it was good quality. She did not choose a product that was extremely competitive on Amazon—instead, she chose one that had good quality and a good price.
Due to the high quality of her product, Anne was able to sell her product on Amazon for $60 a unit. The highest priced product similar to hers sold for $97 a unit. However, that brand did not focus much attention on Amazon, and was not a threat to Anne. Other similar products sold for significantly less, at $20-$35, but were poor quality. Anne’s product listings shined because of the quality of the product, and the dynamic and attractive product images.
To attract buyers in the beginning, Anne did a giveaway of her product. Her first spike in sales came from the giveaway, but after that, sales started to climb organically.
She maintained a good follow-up sequence with people leaving reviews, and kept active Instagram and Facebook pages for her brand. When people posted pictures of her products on Instagram or Facebook, she would ask them to leave a product review on Amazon. As the posts on social media and reviews on Amazon increased, so did Anne’s sales.
Anne began her business with a loan of $10,000. That money went into buying the ASM course, getting graphic designs, printing materials, and ordering her first inventory order – 300 units at $4,700. Knowing she couldn’t afford to do a ton of giveaways, she focused on promoting her product through quality pictures, active social media accounts, and Amazon advertising. These efforts allowed her margin to constantly remain above 30%.
Matt Clark: Hey there, Matt Clark here with Rich Henderson. We have a special gets with us here today that we’re going to introduce you to. We’re super excited for you to be here with us. A lot of people will be checking this out live. A lot of them will be checking out the replay. We’ve got a lot of cool stuff happening starting today, which is Tuesday, as Rich figures out how to mute his computer. There we go. We’re sure we checked that it was muted before, but that didn’t work out so well.
Matt Clark: Anyways, thanks everyone for joining us. If you join here live, or if you’re watching the replay, use below and give us a thumbs up on the video, like the video so we know you can hear us loud and clear. We’ll be able to check it out on Rich’s computer so we know people can hear us. We’d love to hear what you have to say. If you have any questions about this business, about selling on Amazon, for our special guest, we’re going to see if we can get into some of those questions here live before we have to get off. So yeah Rich, maybe you just want to kind of give a brief introduction for our special guest, and then we’ll bring her on.
Rich Henderson: Yeah absolutely. Our guest actually started, she got her product live back in October. We’ve been in touch, she’s been in touch. She’s been very active in the community, so we got to know each other, and she’s got an incredible story. What she’s actually managed to do while doing so many other things is truly incredible. Without any further ado, Anne are you there? You want to say hello?
Anne Ferris: Hi Rich. I’m here. Hi Matt.
Matt Clark: Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, thanks for joining us.
Rich Henderson: I should have said it’s Anne Ferris. I didn’t even say her last name. I do apologize.
Matt Clark: Yup. So yeah, Anne is joining us from Costa Rica I believe. Is that correct?
Anne Ferris: Yes. As you can see, the weather is terrible here. [inaudible 00:01:44].
Matt Clark: Yeah awesome. How long have you been there by the way?
Anne Ferris: Five years.
Matt Clark: Oh wow. Rich was saying you’re from Chicago originally?
Anne Ferris: Yes, where it is snowing, so no regrets for sure.
Matt Clark: Awesome. That’s really cool. Yeah, so I guess before we talk about why you got into this business, I think I want to go ahead and show that, just so people know this is as real as possible, I’m going to share my screen real quick because Anne was nice enough to send us a little screenshot. As you can see on the screen or behind me, that she’s done about $75,000 on Amazon since starting this business back in October, which is absolutely incredible, you know brand new business. We’ll get into what she was doing before this, but that’s really incredible. We just want to show you that this is very, very real, and she literally just started this business. So Anne, let’s talk a little bit about why did you start this business in the first place?
Anne Ferris: Okay, well I used to be a corporate lawyer. I worked in international project finance. I was really working 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, and it just wasn’t for me. Some people, my dad included, love being a lawyer, and that was really fulfilling to them. For me, I was just stressed out and sleep deprived. I ended up quitting my job, selling my house, and I moved to Costa Rica, to Tamarindo, and I bought a surf hostel, so totally different thing to do. I’d actually never even worked in hospitality before. That was a bit of a learning curve, but it figured it out. I think that’s a lot like ASM too. You just dive in, and if all these other people are doing it, I thought why can’t I. So that’s what I did with the hostel. Then I had my first son, my baby boy. He’s two now, so I got pregnant with him about three years ago. Then when I got pregnant with my daughter, the tourism industry here is six months of the year, and then six months it’s pretty low.
Anne Ferris: I just wanted something more stable, and also everything changed for me when I had kids. I realized that was what my whole life was going to be about. I wanted to be able to be at home with them, and spend as much time with them as possible. And I just wanted something more stable financially. The thing is with a hostel, we’re small. We have a capacity of about 30 people. There’s a cap right, you can only go … All we can do, the best we can do is be 100% full all year, which and if you know hospitality that’s pretty much impossible, but even that has a cap on it. So I just wanted to do something different. Actually, one of my good friends here, a couple that lived down here that moved here a few years after me, had a birthday party, a surprise birthday party for their 30th. It was a really lavish birthday party. I thought man, I said to my partner Leah, I said, “Man, this is like a really expensive birthday party. Where are they getting all this money from?”
Anne Ferris: I swear it was two days later he posted on Facebook about the launch of ASM 7 and if anybody wanted to talk to him. I said, “Man, Rome whatever you’re doing I want to do it.” We had a chat, and I signed up. Well, I called my mom and said, “Can you give me a loan?” because I didn’t have any money at the time. Then I signed up.
Matt Clark: Yeah, that’s really cool. Yeah, that’s really funny because I was wondering who it was. I actually know Rome. One time my wife and I were down there visiting in Tamarindo, and we actually, I posted something on Instagram, and Rome, he and I met up fro breakfast, and have kind of kept in touch ever since then. He’s an awesome guy.
Anne Ferris: Yes, and he told me to tell you that you have to come and do Jiu-Jitsu with him at Hero Academy.
Matt Clark: Yeah I know. I think he wants to whoop my butt is what’s going on there
Anne Ferris: But they’ve got, their brand, you know they’ve put a ton of the money that they earn from Amazon into their local charity here, not for profit organization, Hero Academy. They’re teaching underprivileged kids how to do Jiu-Jitsu, and teaching them some discipline, and also giving them healthy organic foods. [crosstalk 00:06:03].
Matt Clark: Yeah, that’s awesome, rally cool. When you started this business, I know you’re an Amazing Selling Machine member, so everything kind of helped you in there get started, but how did you go about picking your first product? Did you have an idea of a category you wanted, or how did you pick it?
Anne Ferris: I had no idea what I wanted to do when I started. I never even thought of selling online. I am completely computer illiterate. I was a lawyer. I’m really good at reading contracts and working in Word, and beyond that my internet skills go to posting on Facebook and Instagram, and I started Instagram when I bought my hostel. I had never thought of selling online. I knew nothing about it. I just thought okay well … The thing is I just watched the course first. I just watched module one, which is all about products. Well actually, I watched your four videos first, and then showed them to my mom so she’d give me the money. But I watched the video and then I just thought, you know what, for me I wanted to do something that I knew about because I wanted to be able to communicate with my market. So I basically thought I want to sell to people like me. That was where I defined what I was looking for when I was going through Amazon.
Anne Ferris: In terms of choosing my product, I chose something that there are a lot of different ways that my product could be made, and different variations of it. What I ended up choosing wasn’t something that was super competitive on Amazon, but I saw, I knew some brands that were doing really big things off of Amazon, and I knew some of the social media channels that they were promoting to do that. I thought you know what, I see what’s missing on Amazon that is being sold is this product, but not in good quality. I thought it’s something that I love to use, and I wanted to make it in the best quality possible. That was my goal. As you can see from that screenshot, my product is a more expensive product. We sell for $60 a unit.
Matt Clark: Okay, and you sell for $60 a unit. What do most other people sell for?
Anne Ferris: I’m the second most expensive on Amazon. The first most expensive is $97. It’s a big brand, but they don’t really focus on Amazon. They’re not selling all that many. There are some starting at $20, $30, $35, but what I really wanted to do was sell something … I mean the quality is way better, and I also really focus on images. I’m a big Instagram person. As you can see, we have this amazing backdrop here in Costa Rica, so I made Costa Rica a really big part of my grand story. I really tell our story through the images. I tried to something that was a little bit more magazine quality instead of what the typical images you see on Amazon.
Matt Clark: Sweet. Yeah, cool. Yeah, thanks for sharing that. That’s awesome. Then how did you go about increasing sales? What’s been most effective for you to ramp up sales and traffic?
Anne Ferris: Well, to be honest, I think that for me the quality was the thing that made the sales keep going. When I started the spike in sales was a giveaway that I did. Then they just started climbing organically. I have a really good followup sequence asking people for reviews. The other thing is I have a really active Facebook brand page and Instagram page, and I post on there. I don’t actually specifically ask people to share, but because of the nature of Instagram, and when you have happy customers, people post and they share their pictures of them using my product. Then I take pictures, and of course if they share a photo of them using my product, then I kindly ask them for a review on Amazon. That was something, so the sales starting going pretty well from that.
Anne Ferris: I think really what I tried to do was let the quality speak for itself. The other thing was that I started adding variations. Where you see the big jump in sales, I added a second color variation and my sales way more than doubled. Then when they started trickling down again, it was because my most popular color went out of stock. I learned a lesson about know your Chinese holidays if you’re going to sell on [inaudible 00:10:37].
Matt Clark: Cool.
Rich Henderson: A question we get asked a lot is about profit margins. Can you talk a little bit about the profit margin you have with your products?
Anne Ferris: Yes. Well, I want to say for sure I think that a lot of people think that you need a ton of money to get started in this business. Maybe that can be more true for some really competitive products, but I started with a loan of $10,000. That was including buying the course, doing my graphic design, printing … Sorry, bugs … Printing my materials, and ordering my first inventory order, and paying for the shipping of that order. My first inventory order was 300 units. It was $4,700. I knew that I couldn’t afford to be doing a ton of giveaways, so I put my time in in other places, in promoting, doing really good pictures, and being on social media. My profit margin has always been above 30%. It’s been anywhere from 45% to what I have right now of the average of everything is 37% after ad spend. That includes what I spend on paper click advertising.
Matt Clark: Awesome. Cool. With your business, you’ve just started building it, it’s doing very well, where do you eventually want to take this thing? What’s your end goal with this?
Anne Ferris: Well, I’m super excited because while I was at Seller Con I got … The import tax is very expensive to send samples to Costa Rica, so I had my supplier send me samples to the hotel in Orlando, and I got absolutely the most amazing sample that’s another variation that we’re going to do that I think just on how amazing it was I was smiling through all of Seller Con. With my product, I’m adding variations. I know, it’s going really well with the one specific thing I have, so I’m still kind of working my way through it, but I think what we’re going to do is add more variations and then looking into listing in other markets. I kind of like staying with one thing instead of trying to come up with a new product. I mean I’m a little bit lazy/a lot lazy. I mean I live in Costa Rica.
Matt Clark: Okay cool. We got any questions?
Rich Henderson: Nothing she hasn’t already answered. She keeps getting way ahead of people.
Matt Clark: Yeah, awesome. SO yeah, we wanted to keep this kind of short and sweet. Everybody, like Anne actually mentioned a video series that she watched to get started. Literally today we just released a brand new one. It includes four different videos, everything from talking about the opportunity on Amazon right now, which is insane. [inaudible 00:13:28] over $40 billion last year, product selection, finding suppliers, automation, launching products and marketing, and how to put this whole thing together to actually build your business. And even with video one we’re giving away a software tool that we’ve developed, and we’re giving it to you for free, that helps you find product opportunities even faster to get started. You can get all of that asmnow.com/free. That’s asmnow.com/free. We’ll post it in the description, and we’ll also post it in the comments, but go check that out. You can get all four videos for free. They are only available for a limited time, so check those out. You can start your own business, and hopefully be living in Costa Rica with Anne. Thanks for watching, and thanks a lot for joining us Anne.
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.