Stephen Somers is from Ireland, about two hours south of Dublin, which is a beautiful city.
Stephen is the CEO and co-founder of Marketplace Superheroes, an eight-figure, online education service platform that teaches people how to launch products on amazon to build a five to seven figure business.
In seven years, Stephen and his business partner Robert Ricky have grown the company from a single online program to an award-winning business with a team of over a hundred coaches, support staff, and service providers, and close to 10,000 members.
They are focused on one thing, to serve one purpose: helping their members build and scale their Amazon business as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Stephen and Robert also run their own eight figure Amazon business, with well over $20 million worth of physical products globally.
Steve was originally working in the mental health sector in Ireland, but was actually trying to break into the music industry. He was working in a job in the mental health commission as a data processor, starting out as a temp, actually training all the people that were given the full-time job.
Amazingly, the CEO at the time created a job specifically for him, and he was finally given a full-time position. His band had just ended, and he was in a difficult position. He didn’t finish college – three years of business, two years of marketing. He had tried applying for private companies then, but without the right connections, not to mention without a degree, he had no luck.
He began reading a lot of personal development materials, knowing he needed to take more responsibility for his own life. He started with his physical health: at the time, he was overweight, drinking too much, eating poorly, and feeling sorry for himself. In short, he tackled the bad habits he had gotten into and made changes.
One of the biggest principles of personal development is recognizing the need for information, and acquiring that information. If you don’t know how to get to where you want to be, you need information. Steve started Googling how to build a business, how to become an entrepreneur, and any questions that came to his mind.
He knew he didn’t want to be stuck to a single location, or touch products, but other than that Steve was completely lost.
He decided his best bet was to set up a website, run some ads, do some SEO and (hopefully) make tons of money.
He met Robert through a connection from his aunt, who somehow heard about Steve’s intentions, and they started off together from there. Robert is about six foot two or three, with a big beard, and in general, a big mountain man. He had two warehouses at the time, a good amount of staff, and was selling his own branded products on eBay and Amazon.
After several months of work and experience, Steve and Robert came to an important and scary conclusion: they needed to make some big changes to reach the next level of revenue. So they got rid of the warehouses, they got rid of the staff, and really everything they could except themselves. For 18 months they worked themselves nearly to death – reaching about $1.6 million a year in revenue at about a 30% net profit margin. This margin, 30% of the sale price, is still what they shoot for in a product on Amazon.
For about four years, they ran that business together, pouring their earnings back into the company. Eventually, this turned into a seven figure business.
They had nice lifestyles, traveling with their families, and achieved the four hour workweek. In 2014, after four years of this, they noticed how many people were teaching “how to sell on Amazon”, and more importantly, that what they were teaching was nonsense.
Steve and Robert knew that there was no way they could manage selling every product they could possibly sell on Amazon, but they could help others do it for a price.
They are now an eight figure company, and much more than just an education business, although that’s a big part of what they do. They have a freight company to ship their members’ products from China to their warehouses in various different countries.
As of 2021, they’ve actually started to branch into other areas for their community.
The First Step to Launch Products on Amazon
There’s a lot of different ways to grow a business once you’ve finally started.
There are only two real things you need to move forward: 1) Describe your product in one sentence, and 2) Describe why you are uniquely qualified to do this.
No fancy, detailed business plans, just those two core pillars.
It’s not a business plan in the traditional sense, but works better for most modern startups for that exact reason.
Goal-making can be just as cumbersome as it can be helpful. So how do you efficiently navigate goal-making?
Review and process your previous goals, the end results, and the intentions behind the goals that brought you to your current position.
These goals, or intentions, are “north stars” for businesses.
You can achieve a year’s worth of progress in 12 weeks, which some would say is impossible. It’s not impossible. Likewise, you might have to completely change your expectations and goals during a set period of time due to external circumstances – a lesson every business was forced to learn during the pandemic.
As a company, Stephen and Robert intentionally only look at the next 90 days, because outside of 90 days, from a tactical point of view, you simply don’t have enough information.
George Lucas was interviewed by Bill Moyers in the 90s, and he said that it’s not enough to simply be in love with what you do – you have to be in love with the process of what you do.
This hit home for Stephen, and rings true to this day. He’s learned how to fall in love with the process, which he never thought would happen.
The reality is, there is magic in the process, and if you can continue to be curious and love the process, you’ll find yourself playing the long game.
Curiosity is key to longevity, but it’s not the only thing.
Growth and longevity are inseparable for a multitude of reasons, but in summary, you want to invest in what you already have.
- The first way to grow is by adding more subscribers and more clients to your business.
- The second way is to increase your average transaction value.
- The third way is to sell to your existing clients more frequently.
Lots of people will say it’s easier to keep an existing customer than to get a new one. That’s true. It’s easier to sell something to an existing client than to get a new one.
The unfortunate truth? Most people don’t do that. They just keep on looking at new clients, and how to reach and expand to a larger market.
Stephen and Robert have drawn a line in their business between their buyers and their non-buyers, so when someone initially interacts with their business, they’re offered things on an automated basis. For example, most people will have a “front end offer.” They launch products on amazon at the front in an automated fashion. A very small percentage of people buy, never more than 10% or 20%. But the true mark of success is when those people buy something, they move over to their “buyers list.”
Once they’re part of their buyer base the goal is to turn them into what’s called a “customer”, and then finally, into a “client.” What’s the difference?
Buyer to Customer to Client
“Leveling up” in this business is difficult.
People don’t like to be sold-to all the time: you have to provide separate value as well, which Stephen and Robert emphasize a lot in their system. For this reason, they utilize strategic information for content that people want to consume.
The goal is to encourage buyers of whatever stage to go out and execute whatever they’re learning, and of course to give them the desire to go further with their learning.
Connection is all about people getting to know people on a personal level, which can be intimidating and exhausting. Stephen and Robert do this by hosting a weekly stream through their Facebook groups.
They get to know their clients better.
They share great information.
They break down people’s belief patterns and rebuild them.
In short, they create better clients for the future.
When you put all of this into a system, it’s what Stephen and his team like to call a “perpetual launch”, where you are perpetually launching different things, but it doesn’t feel like you’re just selling stuff all the time.
This program is what Stephen feels he was put on the planet to do, because any business that he teaches to do this has instantly doubled their business.
Even with their program, you have to start experimenting while you learn. Unfortunately, this experimentation can be difficult without immediate results/data. There’s no feedback – you can’t ask someone what they think of a product – you’re simply trying to figure it out yourself based on a program.
To address this, they’ve created a virtual group: three days with their coaches to learn how to research, and have feedback, group-think sessions to launch products on amazon.
You can create new products, and you can offer your buyers the things that are in your value ladder.
It’s the trust that is built in using a perpetual launch that is so important in every business.
That’s what makes that side of things work.
1) First, you have to transition from team consumer to team producer. That’s a huge change.
So what does that mean? You have to become someone who is producing things in the world. You’re not just buying things on Amazon, you’re selling things on Amazon.
Don’t just read about new, different things, go and do them.
2) The second was mentioned earlier, but it’s worth bringing back up again: Longevity.
Long-term thinking about anything in life goes a long way. Thinking short term in business means you’re going to be disappointed, not because you’re useless, but because things take time.
Entrepreneurs can be really good at telling the “miracle, overnight growth” stories, but the picture isn’t always pretty behind the scenes. A lot of times they’re putting out this big image, but there’s not much behind it.
3) The third and final thing is finding someone who’s already a step ahead of you and using them, whether that’s information, coaching, or whatever. It’s the best way forward, because there are people who have already figured things out for themselves.
Building a network of support and information is important for the ultimate success of your business, on every level.
See more podcast episodes like this here.