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Playing the Amazon Game the Right Way to Guarantee Success (Episode 146)

Ann Sieg is a mompreneur, online serial entrepreneur & Amazon power seller.

Ann didn’t want to become the busy mom that her kids never got time with so she started an online business from home.

In less than 4 months of setting up her online business, she went from $2,000 to $90,000 a month in sales. She then sold 4.2 million dollars with her first-ever ebook and built a subscriber list of over 400,000 people worldwide.

Ann has since helped tens of thousands of students achieve financial freedom so they can spend time doing what they love most.

Her team delivers up to 18 live events a year and has been the featured training company of the largest consumer goods trade show in the U.S.

Her mission is to help strengthen the family economy so that more people can quit their jobs, pay off debt, assist family members and achieve a mobile lifestyle of travel and adventure.

What you will learn

  • How one stroke of a pen dramatically affected Ann’s first business
  • How Ann and her son ended up becoming business partners
  • Ann shares why she pivoted into e-commerce
  • Amazon 101: Ann walked us through how to start an Amazon store
  • Discover the “Amazon Arbitrage Method”
  • Learn how to find the perfect product to sell on Amazon
  • Ann takes us behind the curtains and reveals how she helps people scale their business
  • Learn a simple strategy to become mentally disciplined as an entrepreneur
  • Why consistency is everything if you want to grow your business
  • Discover simple techniques to get your products noticed
  • Plus loads more!


Jeff Bullas

00:00:05 - 00:01:49

Hi everyone and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have with me, Ann Sieg. Now, Ann is a Mompreneur, I like that, Online Serial Entrepreneur and Amazon Power Seller. She started her online business as a side hustle when she and her husband had a successful windscreen replacement business that got hit by changes to government regulation and she had to quickly ramp up her online business. That was only a side hustle initially. She was the top producer in an online sales company before and she decided to go out and start on her own.

In less than four months of setting up her online business, she went from $2,000 to $90,000 a month and we want to find out how she did that. She then sold $4.2 million worth of her first ever ebook, and I'm very curious about that as well, and built a subscriber list of over 400,000 people online worldwide.

Ann’s two sons sold swords and memorabilia on eBay while being homeschooled. Her eldest son became a business partner and together they generated over $20 million in online sales and has since helped tens of thousands of students achieve financial freedom so they can spend time doing what they love most. Her team has delivered up to 18 live events a year and has been featured in the training company of the largest consumer goods trade show in the U.S. Her mission is to help strengthen the family economy so they can quit their day jobs, pay off their debt, and assist family members achieve the mobile lifestyle of travel and adventure. And that's maybe the digital nomad thing.

So, and welcome to the show. I'm intrigued and curious to find out how you did all that. So welcome to the show, Ann.

Ann Sieg

00:01:50 - 00:02:17

Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm up in the States and you're in Australia. So here we are, connecting globally and it's a lot of fun. I love being online. I'm very, very grateful for that. I made that pivot 18 years ago when my son implored me ‘mom, you gotta go online’, which I did and I'm just so, so grateful to be able to work in the online space. I love it. And it's been an incredible blessing.

Jeff Bullas

00:02:17 - 00:02:28

I totally agree with you. And it's the digital world on the internet and social media has just transformed how we do business, hasn't it?

Ann Sieg

00:02:28 - 00:02:32

Yes. Very, very much so, totally different world.

Jeff Bullas

00:02:32 - 00:03:03

Yeah. So what happened, it was back in about 2002-2004, I think you told me before we were having a chat before we hit the record. What happened back then was that you had a little side hustle, your main business that supported you in the family, your husband's business that you're obviously supporting with, just suddenly with a stroke of a pen, the government legislation made it almost impossible to actually make it work. So, tell us about that. What happened?

Ann Sieg

00:03:04 - 00:07:04

Yes. So we had that business for 12 years and it was wonderful in the time that we had it, it allowed me to work part time. I did homeschool our three sons for 12 years. So that was the main bread and butter, was that windshield replaced on business, my husband loved it. He's a hands on guy. He's not this internet stuff. He likes his hands on stuff and the real world stuff. So he really did love it. He loves servicing his customers, we have throughout the twin city metro in St Paul, Minneapolis. But basically it was the big insurance companies that monopolized that industry and had tremendous influence on the Minnesota legislature to bring in a law that basically had to do with advertising practices. And so people were doing these little bonuses that they would give, that they would advertise, which is where we got our bread and butter was through advertising and then they just rolled out this law and I think there's a lot more behind the scenes that went, went down and that one company pretty much monopolized that entire industry. So basically the net effect on the consumer side of things is they lost consumer choice because there were a lot of small mom and pops of which were one of them and then pretty much everyone got obliterated by that we just couldn't compete because they could underprice with mass volume and the law was catering to them. So that was that, that happens, that's a big takeaway by the way, just in general is sometimes you need to be a backup plan with the backup plan to the backup plan because I've seen them multiple times, multiple industries were also in real estate investment. So you know, these things happen that are just, they hit the broad side, you know, were the things we could have done. Yeah, I mean that was kind of almost pre internet at that time, we didn't have a website or anything and now with what I know we would have had a way different, you know, much more control of our marketing. But anyways, so I was, I'm a pretty ambitious kind of person, I don’t want to just sit around twiddling my thumbs. I like to take charge of things. And so I had actually been in and out of direct sales, I was actually a gymnastics coach professionally also. I have run a sports gym for a number of years while raising our children and whatnot. But I had done direct sales and so then my son got into direct sales and a little out of high school and then I ended up coming into that direct sales organization with him, worked really, really hard, it just wasn't materializing and so he kind of went his own way to study online marketing and then I was frustrated, he said, mommy you gotta go online, and so I did and that changed everything. I came into a training company and my first online experience was very good and I do know a lot of people fall into harmful, you know, I guess rightly so we can say there are a lot of scams out there because you have the people who set up their shop, they have no operational skill sets, they have no depth, they have no team and they're taught to credit course and deliver something and they don't have the ability to fulfill. And so anyways my experience was very favorable. I'm still working with this gentleman that I met 18 years ago was my first online mentor. He now works with me and we have been working together for almost 18 years. So I was very blessed to land in a good place where I got a lot of help and that then was the catalyst. So I was doing really well and then my son and I ended up partnering up and that's when it went all to a whole nother ball game because he was learning pay per click advertising, I was learning sales, I was learning online marketing. We came together, we became a force and that only went from that 2009, We were selling someone else's course and we did it through pay per click, Google Adwords. And so he had become a top affiliate marketer by that time and was very skilled at it.

Jeff Bullas

00:07:05 - 00:07:11

Right. So your first online stories, that was selling training courses, was it?

Ann Sieg

00:07:12 - 00:08:57

Someone else's. So I was basically, it was a direct sales company that was a training company, but with a pyramid structure or multi level payment kind of thing. And so they had a physical course. And so we put together a sales page, we started running ads and we were crushing it. And then my son said, you know, if we had our own product, we get a higher return on ad spend and we could have that much more money to buy even more advertising. So that's when we created our own ebook series. It was a free ebook that led to a paid ebook that we sell $4.2 million for our very first book. And it's because we had our profit margins in place from our ads and so we didn't even have much of a back end, it wasn't back end, but not like people know it as of today with high ticket sales and whatnot. But we built massive subscriber lists and because then we got hit broadside again and that was the Google slap in 2008, I think it was. And boy you just, you just keep remorphing yourself. And so we lived off of our subscriber list, a team of about 8 to 10 people for about eight years.

When people say the values in the list, we sustain their company with a lot of offers, a new training business, we were doing membership and it took a ton of work, a ton of work. But so we sustain ourselves through that where we lost all our traffic literally overnight.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:58 - 00:09:09

Okay so that was a challenge, wasn't it? Algorithms back then it didn't and also the cost of advertising just went through the roof, didn't it?

Ann Sieg

00:09:09 - 00:10:09

Well as primarily they were doing a cleanup at that time and as we understood it it was known as the Google slap and they booted about 10,000 direct response marketers off the platform. Primarily they didn't want the ads to be so direct response driven meaning, you know, it's a tight sales letter that leads to a very clear CTA, call to action and they wanted it to be more of this organic feel. Well that's kind of tough to do on paid ads and then but they just pretty much just knock people off is about 10,000 people. So it's kind of like this earth's big earthquake and a lot of people never recovered from it. At that time, we had the good fortune that we had a very big subscriber list, pretty loyal subscriber list and we gave really good value and so they really, you know, we're connected to us and so we just did a lot of affiliate marketing at that point.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:09 - 00:10:13

Okay, so you're selling other people's products then from your list?

Ann Sieg

00:10:13 - 00:10:31

Primarily, but we did develop our own, we had it back in, but then we developed our own mentorship training as well, a training company with mentoring where we taught how to build online sales funnels. So we did that for about seven years until we made our pivot into e-commerce.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:31 - 00:10:38

Okay, so tell us about that pivot to e-commerce, where the inspiration came from and what was that pivot?

Ann Sieg

00:10:39 - 00:12:12

Well, ironically it was another direct sales company that just like when I came online in 2004, it was a training company teaching direct sales, primarily phone sales skills. This one was about how to sell on eBay and Amazon, to use Ebay and Amazon in tandem. And so my cohort who we had worked together with, he was my first online mentor. He said, you know, I've been doing this and I'm making money pretty fast and I said oh that's interesting. So I told my husband who was a total non-techie and he's like yeah, he's still in my eBay account. It’s basically flipping products from Amazon to eBay. It was dropshipping, which is Amazon just not allow drop shipping any longer and so unless you have the seller of record to be clear. But anyway, so he started making money and I think our members would do really well with this. So I had an inner circle membership at that time and I did a promo webinar on New Year's Eve Day 2013, they all joined, they'll start making money immediately. So they were learning the arduous online marketing they came to ecommerce that was very easy because they've already done the sales and marketing. They are the sales funnel, eBay and Amazon. And so then we made this slow, our pivot took us about a year and a half to do our messaging and everything and shift then into an e-commerce training company.

Jeff Bullas

00:12:12 - 00:12:15

And that's what we've been focusing on ever since?

Ann Sieg

00:12:15 - 00:13:48

Yes. So it's been 10 years this coming December and I got to tell you when Covid hit and all that, we were like in Noah's ark sitting really pretty. We had no issues. There were no forced mandates on our team members and all this noise that was going on because we all worked virtually from home and our team was international where got people in the Philippines, Italy and then primarily in the US that not only were we in this Noah's ark kind of phenomenon, but our sellers, their sales were exploding.

So it was just the perfect, like destiny to have made that shift so that we weren't under all the pressure that so many people were having to suffer under. It was very sad. I really felt so badly for all the small business owners brick and mortar who were mandated to close down. Whereas somehow the virus didn't exist in Walmart and Lowe's, you know, it was a curious phenomenon. I thought that's amazing. So you know anyways that's a sidebar thing there. But all to say we just were because of that noise and we just kept right on cruising and it only benefited us because then people were sent home and then these people go well that's interesting, I wonder what else can I do working from home? And then we've serviced those people.

Jeff Bullas

00:13:49 - 00:14:10

So take us through a little bit about some of the steps for people to start an Amazon store, which is what we're talking about, isn't it? Which is what you're trying to do, is that correct? So can you just give us a high overarching look at what other steps for people to start their own Amazon store first?

Ann Sieg

00:14:11 - 00:18:01

Yeah you have to get approved, you have to apply, the application process is a little more artists because a lot of chinese sellers came in and set up accounts so they just want to make sure that you are who you say you are. So you have a training on it and here's a worksheet to gather your documents, you just, you basically have to document and literally show up on a video with Amazon that they go yep, they're looking at your license or whatever, you know a photo ID. So there's that and then I don't to what extent your folks know about e-commerce. So I'm gonna go big picture on that. I liken it to and by the way we teach FDA primarily fulfillment by Amazon, which means we are primarily catering to the prime customers who grew by 100 million during the covid lockdown. So what was it? 5.6 billion in subscriptions between March and April of 2020. It just exploded because the north goes shopping anymore except the big box stores. So they went rushing into Amazon and then their prime subscriptions grew. So through FBA,you can look at it, there's a cash register and the cash register is Amazon on one side of prime shoppers and on the other side of the Amazon sellers and we're 58% of the goods sold on Amazon, the third party sellers. So with that then the main rub of the matter becomes well, I want to sell on Amazon, but I'm not really sure how I'm gonna find products, that's the right thing, you should be thinking. So you'll hear of all these different methods. Oh there's merch, there's print on demand, there's liquidation, there's trade show sourcing this wholesale, there's private label, there's arbitrage. So we have taught all those methods but we always start people with the arbitrage method and arbitrage simply means buy low sell high, you're just sourcing from another store, not a wholesale, you're sourcing from another store, Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, you know, I don't know what the names of the stores are in Australia, but so you're buying low and you're selling high on Amazon and there are tools and software that help you do that. And the big difference there is you have the real time data for what the sales velocity is, what your competition is. Most importantly what your profit is. And so you're making a very well calculated buying decision into that product that you're then going to invest in and then sell it on Amazon through FBA and what that means is as a seller then through FDA you're responsible to get that product shipped into the Amazon warehouse. Because Prime is on the whole thing, you get the free two day shipping. Well that happens only through Prime approved products means they have to be nowhere else because Amazon can guarantee that delivery merchant fulfilled does not give that guarantee because that is the seller fulfilling and shipping it directly to the customer. So there are those two methods and strategically there are good times to use merchant fulfilled. But we primarily start with FDA because that's where the prime shoppers are and they drive the vast majority of the revenue through the Amazon ecosystem.

So we're supplying the goods to these people. And we always start with arbitrage because it's, you don't have to create a new listing and try to figure out if this product is gonna sell or not. And if I got to do sponsored ads now we don't do any of that. You're leveraging an existing listing and you become a supplier to that listing for something that has all the sales data and metrics for you to know it will be profitable, it will sell quickly.

Jeff Bullas

00:18:01 - 00:18:18

So that means essentially you're finding your product via Amazon, you're sourcing your product via Amazon, you're getting it fulfilled by Amazon as well. So it sounds like almost a perfect online business, isn’t it?

Ann Sieg

00:18:18 - 00:19:22

A perfect online business. I can say that because we've done a lot of different things. We've done affiliate marketing, you know, and then people say, what about an affiliate with Amazon? No. Then you're gonna have to do marketing advertising again and have a website and the margins are so ridiculously small. It's not worth it. We did it like 18 or 16 years ago or so. I don't recommend that because that's one way to make money on Amazon being an affiliate. We're talking about being a third party seller. It's called professional seller. So yeah it is. And the main reason is because they have the traffic, they've got the people, the main rub then becomes finding the right products. So it's got to be down to a science knowing all the data points and how to interpret them. So if you're making a smart buying decision, plenty of people who buy products to ship on Amazon lose their shirts because they are not skilled enough to know what to do and how to do it accurately so that it performs for them. A lot of people have lost money.

Jeff Bullas

00:19:22 - 00:19:33

So take us through a bit of a thumbnail sketch of how you find the right product on Amazon to sell as a third party seller. Take us quickly through that.

Ann Sieg

00:19:34 - 00:22:12

There's two ways. One is local retail arbitrage. That's the fastest and easiest way. You're gonna use your smartphone. You're gonna use the Amazon seller app. It's free. Amazon created it for us to use for that very purpose. It only works if it's tied to an existing Amazon account. So all you do is with your phone, you're going to scan a product in a store. You can start practicing in your own home and you're going to scan products, let's say it's at Walmart and the UPC code on the product. What happens is the software of the app is then looking to see if that product exists on Amazon. If so it's going to bring up that listing with data points. It's gonna tell you what it's selling for. It's going to let you know what the Amazon fees are, what the shipping fee is and a little box field for where you put in the price at that retail store. So once you type in that one remaining data point which is incumbent upon you as a seller. It will instantly display the profit of the product right there on your phone. So you're in the store, you're just scanning away and you go, oh that's profitable. And one of the data points is how many sellers there are because people always wisely say, yeah, what about competition? And they display how many FDA sellers are on that listing. So we have a cheat sheet that actually generated arm's reach. So we have a cheat sheet that our members that we created for them to take with them as reminders, check this, this, this, this because you're basically choosing to put money into a product to come back and make you a profit. So that is called local retail arbitrage and then online is a little bit more sophisticated. So we have our own software that we've developed where when you put in these data points, it's gonna light up relative to profit return on investment, your profit percent margin. All of that is going to light up green, yellow or red on our software. Green is good money. Yellow is caution, red is stuff. So when you put in those data points it's gonna light up and indicate whether that's a good product to invest into the advantage of doing it online is it makes it more scalable and then we teach people how to hire VHS to do that sourcing work for them. So that's kind of it in a nutshell. So then you make your buying decision, then it doesn't need to get shipped in, whether you do that or you hire someone locally or you have a prep and ship center do it for you and then it's into the Amazon ecosystem in a way it goes.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:13 - 00:22:26

So you mentioned there's two ways, local arbitrage, so the other ones international arbitrage. You're sourcing these products from wholesalers or people are already selling it on Amazon?

Ann Sieg

00:22:27 - 00:22:48

No, these are local stores and online stores. These are retail stores, so it's not wholesale, so it's buying, they may have clearance. So we've done a lot of Dollar Tree, Walmart, et cetera. I don't know if you have those stores down there. Do you have any of those Walmart in Australia?

Jeff Bullas

00:22:48 - 00:22:50

We don't have Walmart in Australia but Costco, we do.

Ann Sieg

00:22:50 - 00:23:54

Okay, so okay, and so Costco, I've sourced from them too. So I'm trying to remember what your question was specific about the stores. So the local stores you're going to go to and then there's online stores so far, US folks, they'll say, yeah, but what about Alibaba? No, we don't deal with Alibaba. We don't deal anything with sourcing overseas China, etc. The stores that we give them a list of 500. Those are stores that have warehouses in the US. Yes, they did the grunt work of sourcing from China or wherever, but they reside in the US. The speed is what you're looking for with arbitrage when you find that product, you need to get that puppy into Amazon and not have a crazy, you know, 12 weeks. You know, there's been a lot of delays in the whole shipping process, especially with Covid and there's still issues. And so you want to have that quick turnaround. So we're sourcing only from online stores that have their warehouses in the US. So that when you place that order it's gonna come quickly.

Jeff Bullas

00:23:54 - 00:23:59

Right. So if you're buying from online stores, aren't you buying retail? I'm just trying to work out how.

Ann Sieg

00:23:59 - 00:24:39

It's retail. That is exactly correct. And there I bought retail products at Walmart, we have an example of a doll selling for like $18 on Walmart, but selling for $49 on Amazon. Okay, that's fine, that's fine. Whatever. I don't care. All I care about is the price differential and if the numbers add up. So, and it's not to say that you're gonna, every product at a store is lower than Amazon. Not by any means. You've got to find those products that are lower and will be profitable and without, you know, too much competition.

Jeff Bullas

00:24:40 - 00:24:50

That's interesting. So and then you just buy at retail from them on the ship straight to Amazon prime, is that right?

Ann Sieg

00:24:50 - 00:26:13

No, they don't ship it, they're not set up to do that, you might fin,d I've had wholesalers who will do that. But for retail store, Walmart does not have the capacity. I mean they're gonna have to have access to your Amazon account. I mean I can guarantee you I'm nine miles from downtown Bentonville, home of Walmart. They would never ship the products directly to Amazon for people. So you would have to buy it and bring it home. This is for local and ship it in or you have someone come and do the shipping for you. So the retail stores don't ship for your benefit into Amazon because it's got to be attached to your account with your Amazon store identifier, but there's a whole big cottage industry called prep and ship centers that has developed to support Amazon sellers. It all started with the seller who's doing their own shipping and going, you know, I think I could do this for other people and before you know it they're developing the shipping center and they make themselves available for other, especially the wholesalers private label, even online arbitrage that if you have the order sent to their prep and ship center then they'll prep it per Amazon specifications and ship it into the Amazon warehouse. So they're supporting and obviously they get paid like it's about a buck 50 or a buck a dollar 25. It varies from prep center to prep center.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:13 - 00:26:29

So fulfillment by Amazon, is it an intermediary between who you're buying it off and getting it to Amazon for them to feel, is that correct?

Ann Sieg

00:26:30 - 00:26:33

I want to make sure I understand you. Can you say that again?

Jeff Bullas

00:26:33 - 00:26:45

So fulfilled by Amazon means that Amazon stocks and ships it. So how are you sourcing and buying it? And then shipping it? Another intermediary, is that what you're saying?

Ann Sieg

00:26:45 - 00:27:37

Yes. Okay. So I think I get what you're asking. So yeah, we get it shipped in, whether we do it ourselves or you hire someone to do it or a prep and ship center does it. Somehow our products that we buy need to get into the warehouse. When it sells, Amazon fulfills and ships it out. So there's two shipping processes. Us getting it into the warehouse, making an FDA qualified or prime qualified. And then Amazon takes over everything from their customer service, you know, getting that product shipped out, they take over from there, which makes us a very leveraged system because they have the customers, the most rabid buying customers on the planet. And then they handle the transaction and obviously get it shipped out in customer service.

Jeff Bullas

00:27:38 - 00:27:48

So the challenge would be, as I said, so tell me if I'm right or wrong here, is that you're gonna have to pay for the product upfront first?

Ann Sieg

00:27:48 - 00:27:51

Yes, that is correct. It's not drop shipping.

Jeff Bullas

00:27:51 - 00:28:03

Okay, right. And that means you're going to have to fund growth. In other words, because there's a gap between buying, you spending money and getting back.

Ann Sieg

00:28:03 - 00:29:12

It's pretty much like any retail store. They're taking that risk to put products on the shelf and hopes that they sell any store that you shop at, whether locally or online. And so we run that risk and that's where the expertise comes in. You better know what you're doing when you're buying these products because you're basically taking money from your bank account and saying, I think I have a better chance of my money going further. I mean, we've got massive inflation going on here in the States, so you lose money as it stays in the bank. Okay, here you put that money into a product and by the way, we look at 25% margin is the minimum that we want. It'll be up to the seller, but we recommend a 25% profit. The restaurant industry is five cents if they're lucky. So there you live on very thin margins in a restaurant. So as a retailer, and you know this data point, you know exactly what the prophet is percent. So you're gonna know, okay, good. This looks like it's gonna be a winner for me. So then you move forward with it. So it's making you a dollar work harder and bringing back profits with it.

Jeff Bullas

00:29:12 - 00:29:32

Okay, So what you've done is you've identified where the biggest opportunity exists with Amazon FBA online e-commerce businesses and then you train people on how to bring your expertise, train people so that you make sure they navigate all the reefs and issues and challenges along the way.

Ann Sieg

00:29:32 - 00:30:35

Yes. And that is done through one knowing the data and how to interpret it. So our software and the other thing is Amazon is a, it's a nuanced ecosystem. You get this email, Oh, now what do I do? You get this, this, this all sorts of scenarios come up. So we've trained over 9000 students in the last 10 years. So we've seen just about everything under the sun. And that's the biggest frustration people have is when they commit to learning something and then they get stuck and they told me they would help me and I can't even hear back from their customer support. And you hear all these painful stories where I thought I was going to get help, but I never got the help that I promised me because you are going to need help. There's no reviewing that. Absolutely going to need help because it's just very nuanced Q4. We have specialty training just for Q4 because it's different, it's a very dynamic selling period. And so you have different strategies you employ during the Q4 selling season. So it takes professional advice.

Jeff Bullas

00:30:35 - 00:30:44

So in terms of the training program that you run, is it programs or one singular program essentially with?

Ann Sieg

00:30:45 - 00:32:38

We pretty much have had a number of training programs over the last 10 years and we made a pretty significant shift three years ago, as we studied all the data from our student body because we're constantly looking to improve. Our ultimate goal is to create success for our members, bar none were uniquely highly. We are on it, you know, that's that's our metric and so we saw that there were two main issues that then led us to creating a mentorship program that's quite significant in the amount of hand holding we do, it's not a done for you, mind you, that's not my business model.

So there are two main points of failure, if you will. One is when they were overwhelmed with too many tasks to do in their business. And we thought, okay from here on in when people come into the program, they need to know if they want a scalable income, like one that would replace the job, they're gonna have to learn how to outsource. So we brought in our whole via training system, it's quite a busy, it's very regimented processes. All the worksheets that you need etcetera, a standard operating procedures so that they can start outsourcing, which is primarily to the Philippines and the second point of failure is needing even more hand holding. And so that's when we developed our peak performance mentoring program.

So again, it was even more touch points, that professional guidance all along the way and that they needed to learn how to outsource sooner. So it's called the comments acceleration and it's strictly an application program, It's not like people just enrolling to it, we meet one on one and we want to make sure we're bringing you know, the best qualified students in the program because we want people to be successful, so and that's through the E-Commerce Business School is the name of our business.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:39 - 00:32:52

So and in terms of what are the price points for being a supposed training and then mentorship because you're really, you're really mentoring, is that correct? Is that the main training you do or education?

Ann Sieg

00:32:52 - 00:34:13

It's both. So we have a training foundation that is very thorough, very detailed, very step by step, you have an action step for every video module that you watch, that's bedrock, you have to go through the training. Some people, I don't want to do the training or the wrong program, you got to go through the training and then the mentorship is primarily small group coaching. We have the peak performance which is 101 serial group coaching. We have one on one coaching, we have a daily accountability call. I'm just gonna say I've worked even with millionaires who come into our program and they say I want you to hold me accountable and I'm like but you sold the business for millions and you're asking for accountability people like accountability. So we have a daily accountability call Monday through Friday. We have a free training every Saturday just for people to check us out called Saturday Morning live on our Facebook page or Facebook group. And oh and we have a mastermind community, about 2900 members that's very active and that's the way to get help the fastest real time. Close to question the coaches coming in, you get an answer. It's like having coaches, they're almost instantaneous, albeit they have lives, they're running their own business too and are doing coaching calls, but so it's multidimensional in terms of the encompassing support that we provide.

Jeff Bullas

00:34:14 - 00:34:20

So what's the investment required to get started and then what and then what are the fees going forward after that?

Ann Sieg

00:34:20 - 00:36:19

Yeah, we recommend 68,000 for people to start, that covers the mentoring as well as your initial product investment. People will need to strategize with their coach about what is going to be their weekly shipping that they get in because you can, we call it feeding the base, we have a contest every week doing this, they gotta be pumping products into the store and obviously watching the data as it comes through. So $68,000 to get going, including the different software that they're gonna need the stores, $40 through Amazon, $39.95 and we have very specific software specific to this method that we recommend. There's three different software, not that you run out and get it right away. You'd ask your coach when is the appropriate time for you. So there's software, we have all our proven systems, all our standard operating procedures. So 68,000. It's a business. So people look at starting a brick and mortar. That's gonna be, you know, your signage alone can be 10 grand just for your signage and that's that's a very expensive proposition. The value of doing it online is, it's much lower cost for one. You don't have any advertising with Amazon with this method. You do have to do it with other methods with sponsored ads, but then the weekly cadence for your inventory. I'll just show in a recent interview I did with the member, he started in March, he's now at $20,000 a month in Amazon sales. That's not his piano, that's in sales. But I know he aims to get a 25% profit. So he's sending in $1000 per week in inventory. And he worked up into that. So that's yielding him $20,000. So he's probably on our own. And I don't want to say specifically because he didn't show that data is probably at least $5000 a month in profit for him, depending on his operating costs, which varies from one owner to another. Some are very good about operating costs, others not, you know.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:20 - 00:36:31

Okay, so it sounds to me like you've created a system and processes that essentially make it easy for people to scale and run their business, is that correct?

Ann Sieg

00:36:32 - 00:38:08

Well, I'm a big believer in systems and blueprints. I do not like anything to be done randomly. Someone said that I was interviewing for the program. He said, so you randomly select products. I said, oh no, oh no, nothing's done randomly here. This is more, it's completely data driven. So there's nothing random about it. Also, we've trained over 9000 students so it's all about having the proven blueprint and systems that work. And so the long haul is more when people choose to cut their teeth doing it on their own and it's very costly making mistakes. People, there's just so many stories. The worst is when they buy products without really not knowing what they're doing, especially in large quantity. This is by wide and not deep. When you buy deep on Amazon and the market changes and whatever and there you are with a container full of products from your source from China. I've heard so many stories and by the time it gets there and it's finally into the store, oh, you know, silicone ice cube trays have already come and gone, you know, and those stories abound because that was a very popular teaching about eight years ago. I call it the one hit wonder you're gonna find your one hit wonder from china. I don't even remember the program, but it is one of the most well known ones. That's the way you go get your shirt cleaned. I mean you're just, it's such a risky method, it sounds glorious, but it's not practical. It's not pragmatic for a beginner. It really isn't.

Jeff Bullas

00:38:08 - 00:38:13

So what you're doing is you're really training a very low risk strategy to set?

Ann Sieg

00:38:13 - 00:38:16


Jeff Bullas

00:38:16 - 00:38:24

And is that model I think you might have mentioned, is that that type of system is local arbitrage. Is that what you're saying?

Ann Sieg

00:38:24 - 00:39:03

We teach both within the course, but the more scalable one is online, but I have a gala gist recorders of a million with local single handedly, no one doing her shipping. She does it all. So, and that's a very significant six figure income to do three quarters of a million. That's one person. I'm not saying I have a lot of people doing that, but she's doing it. I talked to her, she does send her screenshot and I've seen it. So the local retail arbitrage is more linear income if you will be more incumbent upon you though there's families who develop teams and they're doing 2-3 million a year with it. So it can be big business.

Jeff Bullas

00:39:04 - 00:39:07

So your model, you're teaching online arbitrage?

Ann Sieg

00:39:08 - 00:39:50

Primarily only in that what we are teaching is that this is a lifestyle, it's financial freedom as it's, you know, scalable, but it's also lifestyle friendly when you hire people to do your sourcing for example. So one of our trainers has 11 virtual assistants who are little bumblebees looking for products every day. So she's got it mastered and she has really good KPI s and other people. She's tracking their performance. She's a great leader to her team, you know, and they served her so she can homeschool her kids. She has a PhD in biochemistry now, she's got a successful Amazon business.

Jeff Bullas

00:39:51 - 00:40:19

So what are some of the things that, just to wrap things up, I know you got time's precious for all of us. But what are some of the top tips that you would recommend if someone wants to start an online store? And I'm already thinking about some answers. But what are some of the top tips that you would recommend to our listeners and viewers about starting an Amazon store, managing it and making successful. What are some of the, you know, a few top tips?

Ann Sieg

00:40:20 - 00:43:39

Well, I would say part of it, the biggest is your mental makeup, you have to be mentally disciplined. So I come from the sports world and I tracked everything. I did it as an athlete and I also trained, I had gymnasts. And we were tracking things that for example, there the metrics that were important is their strength and flexibility and I would do once a month testing on them and I would track this. Okay, so we have something called an end of day tracker as a tool. I've been using it since 2007 internally for my own company, for my own staff. So if it's good enough for me to help create the businesses I have, I'm gonna have them use the same kind of tools that I use within my team. So the end of day tracker, the numbers don't lie. So the biggest challenge people will have is remaining consistent in their commitment to grow their business. There's no bigger challenge than that. If you can stay committed, you will be successful. You do have to be coachable and I mean really ready to receive professional advice, believe it or not, there's somewhere resistant. It's like, hey, that's what you're paying for its hard earned and you're gonna just go down what rabbit trail when you're brand new, nope, whether they're going, you know, and so you have to be coachable because if you have a professional team ready and poised to do that is to be coachable. So accountable, coachable, track your results and the other is you have to be data driven, data centric.

At the end of the day, the numbers always tell the story. Okay. And so when you're in business, you may be a person. Like I don't like numbers. Trust me, you'll like them funny when you're making money, you'll do just fine. You'll get, you'll get really interested in numbers when it's like, oh that was my profit and how many more can I sell? You know, so being numbers centric, appreciating data, that is what creates a success. The action driven don't be just a dreamer, people, you know, it's great to dream that dreaming is great. I'm a dreamer too, I love to have vision, you know, of where I want to go on this and that, but at the end of the day, I know I have to work to get there um to the extent of the automation and building, having a team is you have to have managerial skill sets that at the very least, maybe you don't have them. Currently is the willingness to develop the skills that lead you to success. I've always looked at it that way, Robert Kiyosaki through his book taught me well, it's the skills that you learned that make you marketable. So if I have to learn a new skill to take me to the next level, sign me up, I'll do it. So you have to be mentally disciplined and driven and just know that your business is like a little baby, especially when you're getting it going and when it's balling its head off and you walk right on by not taking care of your business, don't expect that business to take care of you, so you have to commit to taking care of your business overall, the shift from the employment world into the entrepreneurial world. It's a shift and you have to take full ownership of knowing you have to put in the sweat equity to get the results out from the other end. So be willing to learn through the process and ask for help.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:40 - 00:44:02

I think you've made some great tips and recommendations there. Now I have one other question just to wrap it up in terms of, a lot of people struggle with marketing sales funnel. So how, what is part of, you know, with this model you teach? How do you sell your product? How do you get it noticed? What are some of the top tips?

Ann Sieg

00:44:02 - 00:45:53

Well, that's my department because that's how I used to teach and train. So we get the bulk of our traffic through YouTube and we were doing really well on Facebook and the metrics, just the rose dropped and this and that, this is about four years ago, we've got that working again, we have an application funnel, we do a VSL, a video sales letter. That's what people view. That's the type of sales funnel that we have, we are developing a Facebook group funnel where we want people to come in. We know what the biggest barrier bar, is this a scam? Is this a scam? So, we do like to prove ourselves and we have no problem with that. I've been here 18 years online, but so in our Facebook group, they can come and see that we're the real deal because that's what they're fearful of. And rightly so is there's a lot of people who have been ripped off and simple. They have and I know it's true because there's a lot of inferior operators out there. I don't know that it's always malice, I think definitely that exists, but they're just really poor operators. They don't know what they're doing and they are overcommitted and don't know how to really run a business and then they're gone with people's money. It's awful. But some are serial rip off artists. I hate to even talk about that stuff. That's kind of the bad side of the industry. There's a bad side to every industry either way, lawyers, doctors, you name it. So, that's primarily what we do to market and then we have a sales team. So yeah, so I do both sales and marketing. And I'm the CEO, so I run the company, but I will see those two departments. My training is headed up by a 14-year Amazon seller.

Jeff Bullas

00:45:54 - 00:46:00

Right, okay. So your primary way of marketing businesses with YouTube ads. Is that what you're saying?

Ann Sieg

00:46:01 - 00:46:14

Yes, we do paid advertising and we know our row as return on ad spend and we track all of that. We're pretty well developed in that because we've been doing paid ads for 18 years, you know, very, very, very long time.

Jeff Bullas

00:46:14 - 00:46:23

Right, okay. And then because you've got a high ticket item, obviously then you're gonna have to get people on the phone, in other words to actually convert them, is that correct?

Ann Sieg

00:46:24 - 00:47:24

Yep. And I'm one of those people that I'm on the phone talking to books, it's fun talking to people getting to know them and we really do want to make sure it's a good fit. And some folks will say like if they don't have a computer, I say, well you're gonna have to get a computer and maybe take some classes somewhere because it is 2022. So I'm glad you're catching up with things, but honestly they're just gonna have a bit more of a learning curve if they're just like I do everything on my phone, this is gonna be an online business. So you need a laptop or a PC, one of the two.

It is 2022, it's high time and I get it. My husband is not fond of all this online stuff, he's like, I was sure were horse and buggy. Oh right, you do have to be picking up horse poo poo. So anyways, I love it, I think it's a great place to be. It's endless. It's a good place to be.

Jeff Bullas

00:47:25 - 00:47:35

It is and certainly we live in great times really, there's never been a better time to start an online business or start a business, especially if it's online.

Ann Sieg

00:47:35 - 00:48:01

Oh yeah, it's not too late. That's for sure. I know the world has gotten a little bit weird, but it's really where everything is shifting. I didn't answer your question from earlier about what comes out to the program is really getting honed in on the numbers we call it economic sect and really really developing the understanding of your numbers and we go into other sourcing methods act as well through that.

Jeff Bullas

00:48:02 - 00:48:24

Well, thank you very much, Ann, for sharing your wisdom and insights. It's been an absolute pleasure. I've learned a lot and that's what I love about doing the podcast is I learned so much just from having chat with smart entrepreneurs from all around the world and thank you very much for sharing your wisdom and your stories. It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.

Ann Sieg

00:48:24 - 00:48:26

You're very welcome. My pleasure.

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