Learn how to sell your Amazon business from an expert: Brendan Morris.
One way to be successful on Amazon is to create a successful business, sell it, start another business, and keep repeating the process. Brendan Morris, SellerCon attendee and Amazing Selling Machine member, shares his insight into this process and provides tips on how sellers can effectively build a successful Amazon business that people will want to buy.
His tips include focusing entirely on cash flow, automating as much as the process as possible, strategically selecting smaller items to build up the brand, and doing a ton of research on keywords before starting out.
How to Sell Your Amazon Business
Increase Cash Flow Before Selling Your Amazon Business
Sell Smaller Products on Amazon
Amazon Product Research
Meet This $30 Million Dollar Seller and Entrepreneur – Brendan Morris Video Transcript
Brendan Morris began his business selling sweet confections in October of 2013. Prior to that, he had never sold anything, but used the techniques provided in Amazing Selling Machine.
He started out making his own product, but soon realized that much of his time was caught in production, and that he could do more business if he switched to a supplier.
Using one product he purchased from a supplier, Morris sold all of the inventory he could afford and then used that money to buy more inventory. In April of 2014, he was able to add a second product, and by the time he had eight products in September, he was able to leave his regular job. In his first year of business, he made $1.2 million.
Unlike many Amazon sellers, Morris was never in love with his business. He did not want to build a brand and just wanted cash flow. He decided to sell his business, and started preparation in early 2016.
He worked to increase the cash flow as much as possible to make the business look appealing to potential buyers.
He then looked for a broker and searched for someone who was interested in the company. By October of 2016, everything was sold and finalized.
From there, he understood the formula of how to start a business (each time in a different category) and then sell it for profit. Here are tips on his formula.
Morris stresses that he was able to increase cash flow and make his businesses more appealing by automating as much as possible.
Most sellers focus too much on inventory control and customer service, but both can be automated and that time can be freed up.
There is a lot of opportunity left to find a fantastic product to sell!
Many sellers overlook the smaller products because they don’t think they will be able to make a lot of money. However, smaller products have less competition, and can be added together in order to form a larger business.
Think of each product as funneling business to the other products. Keep piecing those items together and make a brand. Don’t just search for the most popular items.
Think about how much money you are going to be investing, pick a product around that budget. Don’t get in over your head.
Most importantly, invest your time in front-end research. Research what products make money, research keywords and visibility, and research marketing.
Keyword Research: Identify which keywords have the most traffic and, thus, which keywords will produce the most sales. Each keyword is its own sales channel, so it is important that you are using all of the right words. This data is available to you through Amazon and can be automated.
Sellercon: You know, there’s people who are just starting, and don’t have a product out, and there’s people who have been selling for years.
Who’s here like big goal is to get to like a million dollars in sales on Amazon, ten million dollars in sales?
It’s very warm and friendly. Everyone is willing to talk. I mean you just meet somebody in the elevator with the same tag, and you just start talking with them, and you find out more about them and their business, and it’s so easy to connect with people here. I’ve never seen anything like that.
So would you guys like a list of 20 hacks and tips? All right. Good.
It’s definitely exceeded my expectations. You know, all of the speakers have really been phenomenal.
What drives your customer? What’s gonna really hit them in that sweet spot of emotion, that’s gonna make them think yeah?
Other conferences I’ve been to, I’m ready to leave halfway through, but I’m not ready to leave at the end of the day, I’m here, and I feel I step out for a second I’m afraid I’m gonna miss something good.
Mike: Hey, everyone. Mike McClary here, and welcome to another Facebook live session with Amazing.com, and also with the Amazing Selling Machine. I wanna just welcome everyone to another one of these sessions. If you haven’t seen our previous live sessions, then I wanna encourage you to check them out right here, on Facebook, on Amazing.com’s Facebook page, or even on our Amazing Selling Machine page as well.
Today, we have another awesome guest, a super-successful seller on Amazon that I’ve gotten the pleasure and honor organization getting to know over the past several years, who’s just a great guy, who just sells like bananas, and I’m gonna try my best to get him to share some really cool secrets with us. I don’t know how well I’ll do, but I will try.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the previous training and the previous interviews, be sure to definitely do that after this call. Don’t go right now, go after we’re done. You’ll see other interviews with other successful people, you’ll see lots of free training that we have right here on the Facebook page. We have all kinds of live workshops where myself and Matt Clark and Jason Katzenback and Rich Henderson, we’ve done real live training where we actually hop on our computers and show you how to find products or find suppliers, or launch and sell your products on Amazon. Tons of good stuff here. Be sure to check it out later on especially if you like this video, and then also like the page so that as we do more of these live sessions you’ll get notified when we go live, and you’ll always be able to watch whatever we have coming up.
Now without any further ado, I wanna bring on our first guest, and actually our only guest too, so sorry about that but he’s the main guy. He’s got plenty of stuff to talk about. Our guest here is Brendan Morris. Right now he’s actually in Florida at a park getting ready to talk to us, because he’s got a pretty cool life. I’ve gotten the chance to meet him in some pretty cool places.
As a matter of fact, before I bring him on, we were down in Saint Lucia last year for an Amazon sellers mastermind, and we had about thirty of us there getting ready to have some awesome training, we flew in speakers from around the world, and the first day we’re there I get a message from someone who’d seen us there, and says hey, Mike, it’s Brendan, I’m a part of Amazing Selling Machine, I sell on Amazon, and he like shared his numbers with me which is crazy, and he said do you mind if I stop by. We were so happy to have him in. Not only did he come by and sit in on the training, he actually started training us, and he shared some crazy, crazy stuff with how he does sales on Amazon, and how he’s completely blown up his business.
Brendan, thanks so much for joining us. We’re glad to have you here.
Brendan: Absolutely. Love to be here. I’m excited.
Mike: Where are you at now, exactly?
Brendan: I’m in Orlando, Florida at a park right now. I had my timing a little off, so I’m in the middle of a park enjoying the beautiful day.
Mike: Well the view looks awesome.
Brendan: Thank you.
Mike: It sounds like you’re gonna be able to do two things, maybe get a little walking in, and also maybe share some tips with us right here.
Brendan: That’s right. Let’s do it. I’m excited.
Mike: First off, if you don’t mind, when did you start selling on Amazon? Is this something in the past year, or maybe a couple years ago?
Brendan: I sold my first product, which was a candy confection, also known as peanut brittle, in October of 2013, and started really hitting it hard about January of 2014.
Mike: Okay, so you started selling when I did, too, back in 2013.
Brendan: Yeah, it’s been a quick wild ride, that’s for sure.
Mike: That was your first time ever selling something on Amazon, right? You hadn’t sold anything there before.
Brendan: Yeah, absolutely not. I’d never touched Amazon before. I just decided to throw something up, see what happened. Then I wanted to get some more information and training, so actually I ended up buying ASM 3.
Mike: Oh, wow. Awesome. Cool. So when you were selling on Amazon then, so it’s 2013, you throw up this candy confection product, how long did it take, kind of walk me through, when did you realize that this was a real business that you could really start making serious money off of?
Brendan: Honestly almost instantly. As soon as I threw that candy confection on Amazon.com, I immediately went into the kitchen, started making the candy confection and packaging it, and sending it out to all my customers. An amazing December, it was just too much to do because I was making it myself, and that’s when in January I decided to get into something that I wasn’t making myself, that I was finding a supplier to make my goods. That’s really when I knew it was gonna take off.
Mike: I never heard that part of your story. I didn’t realize you were making your own product when you started on Amazon. That’s crazy.
Brendan: Yes. I do not advise you guys doing it, but it definitely is kind of starting from the bottom, for sure.
Mike: I imagine one thing, then, that was probably a very affordable way to test the waters and see how Amazon worked.
Brendan: Yeah, absolutely. I still had my day job. I was making $20 an hour, and really wanted to start with what cash I had, which was very little at the time.
Mike: Then you’re making your own thing, driving yourself crazy. I imagine like you said, Christmas was probably a crazy time for candy, and then you decided let someone else do the work, and you went into private label.
Brendan: Yep. Went into private label, I first stepped into supplements, and I sold my first bottle January 27th, 2014. I remember it to this day.
Mike: Did you start with just one product, or did you immediately launch several products in the supplement line?
Brendan: No, immediately with just one product. All I could afford was just ten units, which cost me $400. I sold those, and then immediately turned around and placed another order and then another order, and just kind of kept flipping the money over and over again. Launched my second product in probably April or May of that same year, and then eventually ended up quitting my day job around September of that same year.
Mike: That’s crazy. So less than a year after you started private labeling, you’re out of your full time job doing this full time.
Brendan: Yeah, absolutely. As soon as my paychecks were coming home about the same value, I knew this is the future, I have to do this.
Mike: You mentioned something before that’s important, a lot of people ask the same question. When you’re selling starting off, and you start with ten units, in order to grow quickly I’m assuming then you took everything you made and put it right back into the business to grow your Amazon business.
Brendan: Yeah, absolutely. It was all about how soon can I get over that inventory hump. That inventory hump is where you’re not squeezing for cash, you’re not asking your parents for money, you’re not going to the bank. It’s where all the money you’re making from Amazon gives you enough for 90 days of inventory. It definitely took me awhile to get to that point, but once I hit it I knew that it was home free from there.
Mike: The way I look at it, that was nine months, basically. I think in our business we may think that’s awhile, but as far as any business goes, to start off something in nine months, starting with ten units, and then replacing a full-time job, that’s pretty crazy. I congrats to you. That’s awesome.
Brendan: Yeah, 2014 was an amazing year. I think that company alone did $1.2 that first year.
Mike: Your very first year of selling.
Brendan: Very first year of selling was $1.2 that year, yep.
Mike: You’re selling in 2014. I’m assuming then by the time you got to September that you launched a couple other products in that supplement line.
Brendan: Yeah. I think we were up to about eight products at that time, and then in the following year that’s when we really started doubling down and tripling down, was the following year.
Mike: One of the things I know about you, one thing I always found really intriguing, was not just the crazy amount of numbers you’ve done each year, it was also the fact that you made a decision at some point in time to sell your business, and then kind of keep repeating that process. Walk me through when was the first time you sold a business, and then when did you first even make that decision you wanted to sell a business?
Brendan: Sure. I knew from the very onset that I was never gonna be in love with any of these businesses. I never looked at it as like one of my little children as many people say. This was just a business. I never went around to build a brand that I wanted to go retail, that I wanted to go into other marketplaces. I knew I wanted a cashflow business, strictly Amazon. It was what can I do to increase cashflow.
When I knew I wanted to sell, it was the end of 2015, I knew I wanted to sell. I lined it up early 2016 to do whatever I could to increase that cashflow and put myself and the business in the right spot in order to sell.
Mike: That’s awesome. You made a conscious decision you’re gonna sell, and then it sounds like you started operating your business to make it set up as best as it possibly could be in order to sell it.
Brendan: Absolutely. Everything was automated. I do it almost kind of like baking a pie. You know when your business or your pie is done, you take it out of the oven. I think that at one point you look at the quantity of products you have, the brand that you’ve built, and you know that it’s this pie is ready.
Mike: That is awesome. Before we get back to the pie and the cake versus pie conversation, I wanna remind everyone, welcome everyone new to the call here, I see that we’re up to like sixty, seventy people that are joining us, if you just joined I’m here with Brendan Morris, an awesome person, Amazon seller, someone I’ve gotten to know over the past few years who’s always willing to share his stories and tips and tricks, and just help people to really make their lives better like he’s been able to do himself for the past several years.
If you want to, we’d really appreciate it if you could share this video with as many people as possible. We’re not selling anything, there’s nothing being sold here. We’re just kind of sharing Brendan’s story so that you can get a view into what it’s like to be a seller on Amazon as well. Brendan, thanks again for joining us here.
Mike: So 2015, end of 2015, you’re ready to sell your first business. What did you do then? After you sold it did you stop and go retire somewhere, or decide to do something else?
Brendan: No, I knew I wanted to sell. I moved out of California, because I didn’t want to pay the crazy taxes, moved to Nevada and started working on the process of finding a broker, finding a person who wanted to buy my company, getting the numbers right, going through the selling process itself. It was a good, honestly, we didn’t close the deal and money wasn’t in my bank account until October of 2016, so it took a good ten months or so for me to walk away from that business, essentially.
Mike: That sounds pretty normal. You don’t mind me asking, did you have some type of earn out also on it just to make sure the business kept running after it was sold?
Brendan: Yeah. There was three different structures to it. It was cash in your pocket today, cash in your pocket guaranteed three years from now, and then also that earn out that was payable in 12 months.
Mike: Awesome. Okay, great. Then after you sold it, what was your next plan, what was your next step?
Brendan: Well, at that point you know the recipe, and that was just one category. If you can do that in one category, let’s do it in all the other hundreds of categories on Amazon. That’s what we set out to do, is build more businesses, build more brands, get more products, and just kind of rinse and repeat, just not in that category anymore.
Mike: Right. One of the things that I love you always talked about, and you mentioned it on this call too, was putting systems in place. We’re all human, the one thing we have a very limited amount of we can’t have more is time. What was your approach towards solving that problem?
Brendan: It definitely was automating as much as I could. I think that most sellers focus on the wrong 80-20. They focus on inventory control and customer service. To me, that’s kind of the least important because that’s very easy to automate through the proper VAs, well trained VAs.
I think the most important thing that an Amazon seller can do is really focus on what generates the dollar. That to me is Amazon visibility, also known as keywords, and marketing. That’s where I spent most of my 80% of my time, and one of the biggest levers I pulled was keyword research, I think was huge. Every keyword has traffic behind it, and every traffic comes sales. I really want to identify all the keywords that has the most traffic, thus giving me the most sales.
It was really automated, going out and finding those new keywords, those new brands, those new color variations, new size variations, or even maybe a keyword that’s in Spanish that I didn’t know about that has thousands of traffic every single month. It was really automated the keyword process was the biggest thing that …
Mike: That’s [crosstalk 00:14:08]
Mike: You were the one who kind of opened my eyes to it, and I’d been selling awhile, and no one knows everything, but I thought I knew a lot, but when we met down in Saint Lucia, you’d talked about the value of really investing your time on the front end and doing your keyword research, and the way that you made me look at it, and I credit this to you, is that every keyword is like its own sales channel, and treat it that way because every keyword can provide you a whole bunch of sales, and you really focused on that. Back then it was a very manual process for you, right, in order to do that research?
Brendan: Yep. Absolutely, it used to take four days in order to find the perfect keywords to do the perfect listing, just to do it where I was happy. It took about four days, now we do it much faster now with the tools and the data that’s out there. You no longer have to guess like we had to do three, four years ago. Now we actually have the real data so we can make the right decisions quickly.
Mike: So everyone knows, we’re not here to sell anything, anything like that, but I do know that Brendan took all of his knowledge and research and put it into a tool set, and you actually created your own tools that you use in your own business right now, right?
Brendan: Yeah, absolutely. I ran all my companies through my own software, and then down in Saint Lucia everyone is like oh, man, I want access, I want access, so we decided to kind of open up about 10% or 20% of the tools I have to the public just because it’s made my life so much easier. Again, just identifying where the traffic is, where the customers are, and really focusing on that, for sure.
Mike: Well, it makes me feel good that by me begging you for that, I had something to say, and you actually making that decision. So feeling pretty good about that. Let’s talk a little bit then about the whole process of launching products and selling a business. Right now, are you still in that mode? Are you still building more products and building more brands?
Brendan: Yes. We’re still doing that. It’s a little more difficult identifying those products. You can’t just find a product that does 600 units a day anymore, but that’s okay, and we know that’s okay, because you can find products that do ten, twenty, thirty, forty sales a day, and really make life changing money, absolutely.
Mike: You’re right. Sometimes we hear about people doing these crazy numbers, you’re one of them, but in reality I think we overlook the value of finding a product, let’s say the minimum is doing ten a day, that’s 300 sales a month, let’s say it’s like a $30 product with a 30% profit margin, that’s nine times thirty, that’s a mortgage payment right there. It’s a very reachable way to get there. What you do then is keep piecing those products together and build a brand out of it, right?
Brendan: Absolutely. My original goal was to make $150 a day because I wanted the same money I made from my salary, I made on Amazon. My goal was to double my take home salary, and it just went crazy from there. Any of you guys listening, Mike is right. If you get one product that does ten sales a day, you get a second product that does ten sales a day, sooner or later you’re making a quarter million dollars a month. It’s completely doable and possible.
Mike: You’re right. One thing we found, we talked about it in Saint Lucia also, is that those little products put together it’s almost like it’s exponential because each one is funneling sales towards the other. When you build a brand, you’ve built yourself a business.
Mike: Let me ask you this, we talked about keyword research. One of the things I wanted to get from you is what are the things you think that new sellers really want to focus on. It sounds like keyword research absolutely is one of them. What about people who are not in the business yet? Do you think that this market’s too saturated? Is there not really chance for a regular person to start selling on Amazon, or do you still think there’s lots of opportunity out there?
Brendan: There’s still a ton of opportunity. My wife’s aunt just got into selling on Amazon, and she went through the ASM course, and did all her own product research, and she came across, I’m telling you, this diamond in the rough. I was absolutely shocked that she could find a product that does eighty, ninety sales a day, and the number one competitor had thirty, forty reviews. I was just blown away. It’s completely possible.
Yeah. My only recommendation to a new Amazon seller is think about how much money you’re going to be investing into your Amazon company, and then pick your product around that budget. If you only have $1000, you’re not gonna sell iPhone cases. You just won’t be able to compete. But if you have $1000, you can find, you can definitely find that product that does ten, twenty sales a day. Think about your budget, think about how much money you have to spend, and kind of pick a product around that budget would be my recommendation.
Mike: That’s great advice. I think sometimes people they all, everyone it’s natural we wanna find that product’s gonna make you $100,000 a month, but that means those products that sell ten, twenty products a day, there’s much less competition, and you can find that diamond in the rough like your wife’s aunt did.
Brendan: Oh, absolutely. They’re still out there, guys. Don’t worry thinking that the opportunity’s gonna go away. I’ve been doing it for four years now. We can still sit down with a bottle of beer and find more products in all the categories. There’s still plenty of opportunity, for sure.
SellerCon – Amazon Seller Conference
Mike: That’s awesome. Well, Brendan, I know you’re kind of busy. You have multiple businesses that you run, you have your software, you have people that you help out all the time. I wanna thank you for hopping onto the call. It’s good to see you again. Hopefully I’m gonna see you live. Are you gonna be going, speaking of that, will you be going to the Sellercon event in April?
Brendan: Absolutely. I will be there. I’ll be walking around shaking everyone’s hands and saying hi to everybody for sure.
Mike: Sweet. I don’t know if anyone who popped on at the beginning of this call, we had a quick little video, we’re testing something out for these Facebook lives so there’s not too much dead air at the beginning, and we put on a short little blurb from our Sellercon, which is actually the largest gathering of Amazon sellers anywhere. It’s gonna be this April in Orlando, Florida, and that’s exactly where Brendan’s at right now. He’s gonna be there, I’m gonna be there, all the rest of the folks here from the Amazing Selling Machine will be there as well. Definitely check out Sellercon.com, especially if you’re already an Amazon seller, if you’re a member of the Amazing Selling Machine especially, check out Sellercon if you’re not already going. It is the best place to go to network, to get tips and strategies for increasing sales, and for really giving yourself the freedom that you want and you’re looking for in order to create your own business.
If you’re not an Amazon seller, I highly recommend you go to AmazingSellingMachine.com, and check out the free training videos that we have. Everyone knows that there’s paid training out there, we have paid training out there, and I think it’s some of the best that’s out there. I’m a little biased because I do the paid training, but we also have free training. If you go to AmazingSellingMachine.com, you can see four videos right there that walk you through the entire business model. Those are the exact same videos that I watched when I was starting out, that Brendan watched when he was starting out, that thousands of other people who are selling on Amazon right now watched.
We give you so much information, I really mean it, that even if you don’t want to go out there and get into some paid course, check out the free training. You’ll learn so much about this business, how much opportunity is out there, and it really opened a whole bunch of lights in my head for me about how much opportunity there still is out there in this industry, in all of Amazon. Amazon had their best year yet, they exceeded all of their sales goals.
I think Matt Clark’s gonna hop on next week, and he’s gonna be reviewing exactly how well Amazon did. Over $180 billion last year alone, which beat our estimates, which beat their estimates. If you think that there is not opportunity, just look at the playing field. Amazon is increasing their marketplace, their online store, which means they need more products, they need more sellers, and it’s my goal, it’s Brendan’s goal to kind of fill those gaps and give them as many sellers as possible.
Definitely check out the training. Brendan, thank you so much. I can’t wait to see you in just a few months. We’ll definitely have to have a drink and catch up there. Hopefully as well we will be seeing each other at some mastermind in a cool location like Saint Lucia or Aruba, at some point in the future. I’m gonna sign off here. Thanks to everyone for joining this call. Remember, if you hopped in later, this call is being recorded, and it will absolutely, you can watch the entire thing here on the page within a few minutes after we’re gone here. Definitely check it out, see some of the other interviews.
I will also be live tomorrow, at 1:00 PM Central Time, with another special guest. This time it won’t be Brendan, it’ll be someone else with just as amazing a story. I love it. I feel so blessed, I get to meet all these really cool people and talk to them and share them with you. I hope to see everyone tomorrow at 1:00 PM Central tomorrow. From Amazing.com and Amazing Selling Machine, this is Mike McClary along with Brendan Morris. Wanna thank you guys, I hope to see you real soon. Take care, and have an awesome day.
Brendan: Thanks, 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.