Former Criminal Defense Attorney, Elena Saris, Turned 7-Figure eCommerce Seller

Elena

Elena Saris, former criminal defense attorney, helping death-row inmates for over 25 years, shares how her world has turned upside down selling millions on multiple eCommerce platforms!  She shares her expertise in this episode of the Amazon Seller Podcast!

 

FULL SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Andy: (01:14)
So Elena, share with us a little bit about your professional background and how you first started selling online?

Elena: (01:23)
Well, it’s, it’s a pretty, you know, standard course. I went to law school, became a lawyer, then did internet marketing. I mean, isn’t that how we all like just sort of general trajectory. I didn’t even know what the internet was. I mean we didn’t have computers in school that did, that wasn’t around. 

So I wasn’t very traditional path. I was a public defender for 25 years and they just sort of, I went, I did public defender work cause I really thought, you know, it was standing up for the underdog. It was criminal defense, but it was people who couldn’t afford a lawyer. And the last two years they promoted me to management and just bored the heck out of me. And so I started looking for something to do and I actually realized that what I was really good at was training new lawyers.

Elena: (02:10)
So I actually made a video course on how to be a better criminal defense lawyer. Nice. Not understanding that on the internet, no one wants to just improve their skills. They want to get skinny, get a date or get money. That’s it. That’s all. And so like I didn’t know how to help them get clients cause you know when they say on the television if you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you. That was like me and 750 of my closest friends in LA. We didn’t, we didn’t have to like, you know, look for for clients. Right. So, but I was, I was totally committed to this and there was a course called Facebook ads crack. Shout out to Don Wilson if anyone knows him teaching you how to put ads on Facebook. So first I had to figure out what Facebook was, then I had to figure out how to get on it.

Elena: (02:54)
And, and it was interesting cause they said, let’s not make this theoretical. There’s the site, it was brand new at the time called Teespring. Well you could put up your own design. It was its own landing page. You didn’t have to know how to take credit cards. 

And so I was like sort of doing what he was teaching and trying to kind of learn. I figured I would translate that to the video and all of a sudden I had a tee shirt that made like $10,000 and that was, I had a little bit of money in this thing called ASM came around and I’m like, people can sell on Amazon. Oh my God. 

And then it was wait, they do your customer service for you. That’s incredible. Anyway, so I did pretty well my first several years on Amazon and I was taking folks to China, one of the earliest trips to Yiwu to teach people how to source.

Andy: (03:38)
Oh, nice. So I actually just went to Yiwu for the first time. I’ve been going to China for the last three years and I went to Yiwu I guess it was in October and I always thought Yiwu was like just some little market. Right. I was blown away. And from now on, every trip that I make to China, I will definitely go to Yiwu.

Elena: (03:56)
And then there’s, you know, a lot of people, mostly people who are trying to sell very expensive trips to Canton. They’re like, don’t go to Yiwu, whith all this cheap crap, you know, and it’s really, there is a lot of that. But if you go with someone and who knows what they’re doing. So I just randomly at a networking event or a party ran into this, this fellow from China, or he’s, he was born here, but he lived in China and his family used to have a sourcing company and he was trying to learn Amazon. 

And I’m like, you know, people who can, who are sourcing agents? He goes, Oh yeah, I have a whole team. So we got together and started this trip together and he’s phenomenal. I mean, he’s he born in New York, went to USC, speaks Mandarin and Cantonese has this whole team of sourcing agents. So we had a great time and we took a lot of people. And on the last trip we took, I get this phone call from some guys saying, I want to go to China, but I don’t sell on Amazon. I do Facebook ads. Can I come with you guys? 

And I was like, well, I mean, if we’re going to let you, you’re going to have to teach us something. And he brought this friend of his with him uninvited and that guy got up and taught and he told us he did like $7 million or $8 million his first year on Shopify. Wow. And he was 23 years old. And I was like, dude. And he goes, Elena, I’ve been doing this 10 years. Right. So we went, I went home and I’m like, I’m starting a Shopify store. And quite literally, I never looked back. My last two years on Amazon really kicked my butt. I mean…

Elena: (04:38)
So we had a great time and we took a lot of people. And on the last trip we took, I get this phone call from some guy saying, I want to go to China, but I don’t sell on Amazon. I do Facebook ads. Can I come with you guys? And I was like, well, I mean, if we’re going to let you in, you’re going to have to teach us something. And he brought this friend of his with him uninvited and that guy got up and taught and he told us he did, uh, like $7 million or $8 million his first year on Shopify. Wow. And he was 23 years old and I was like, dude. And he goes, Elena, I’ve been doing this 10 years. Right. So we went, I went home and I’m like, I’m starting a Shopify store. And quite literally, I never looked [inaudible] my last two years on Amazon really kicked my butt. I mean, false

Speaker 4: (05:23)
So, talk about that a little bit. So you, you started with t-shirts, then you transition to Amazon. And so what was going on that you switch gears a Shopify?

Elena: (05:32)
Well, my, my Amazon was, I was just zigging where other people were zagging. Like everyone was talking about, you know, garlic presses and aroma therapy, you know, and I was like, you know, they want to sell two or 3000 units a month. And I was like, what if I just had 10 things that sold 400 units a month? So that was really my sort of, you know, really zag at the time I thought. And so [inaudible] was perfect for me because you weren’t really expecting, you know, Williams-Sonoma quality when you’re buying one of my kitchen items for 1299. Right, right. But you know, the way I grew up, we didn’t, I couldn’t afford William Sonoma and the, you know, the garlic, whatever it was. The butter dish was still kept my butter in the fridge cold, what do I care, you know, engraved on it or whatever. So I had this great little stable of, you know, 10 to 20 products in any given time, making me four or $500 a month each. Um, and then all of a sudden I just, just black hat, I mean literally like the one main thing, I had a one product November for somebody said it’s counterfeit. And I was like, well, that’s easy. I’ve got three years of inventory, I’ve got pictures of myself in the factory. This won’t take long at all. And sure enough, December 27 they reinstated me.

Andy (06:42)
Oh wow.

Elena: (06:43)
And so I, it took me til may to sell through that inventory. That would have been my whole fourth quarter. Right. And I was like, you know what? This happens. I’m resilient. And then the next year it happened again. And I was, and then I just started looking at what was going on in the industry. And unless you were really early on in branded, most of the courses were teaching you how to hack other people, how to do a lot of black cat stuff, how to manipulate ratings. [inaudible] and you know, I look back and I had like 30,000 sales or whatever it was, and not a single customer email to show for it. Like I, I couldn’t sit unless I scraped it illegally, which, you know, you were, you could do. Right. And I just thought, you know, maybe the Shopify thing, there’s something to it. So, yeah, I got home, um, in July, and I just thought, well, I know everything. I’ve been on Amazon. I’ll just put up my ads. And lo and behold, I made $48,000 in revenue my first month and I was over the moon. And then I’m like, Oh wait, I paid $40,000. Yeah, but I still have to get the goods to the, so I lost about 15 grand. Um, and I learned a very, very good lesson. I call it my, like my first year in college tuition.

Andy: (07:48)
Right?

Elena: (07:50)
And then I, and then I got somebody to mentor me and tell me what I was doing wrong. Yeah. And then I just, I had a product that just took off in the fourth quarter.

Andy: (07:59)
So a lot of our listeners are going to be Amazon sellers. We all desire to sell from our own website. Like you just said, we all desire to capture that customer information. So can you just break it down a little bit for us? How does that, how does it work?

Elena: (08:15)
So the whole thing with Amazon, the whole world about, around Amazon revolves around a keyword, right? Cause people come to Amazon and they want something. And your goal in life as an Amazon seller is to pop up in the top three of what they’re looking for. And in order to do that, you do a lot of product research. Okay? [inaudible] you, you take a gamble. I mean you spend money getting something branded and sometimes molded, you know, specifically to your requirements. And you can be 2010 $20,000 in the game hoping that you picked, right? And then you’ve got to find what keyword. And so then you sort of like go through this mental exercise of what would someone call it, right? Right. Because we know that they’re there to shop. So the advantages are you have the traffic and you had the buyer intent, right? On Shopify, you’re, you’re not interested in people who are shopping.

Elena: (09:05)
You’re interested in interrupting their online experience to put something in front of them as an impulse buy. So in a way you have a lot of advantages and as an Amazon seller, cause you dealt with China, you know how to negotiate, you know how to talk to suppliers. But you have a huge disadvantage because you’re used to people who are wanting to buy something. Oh, when I first became successful, I got a call from a friend who said, I’ve got this great product, it’s selling really well. And I’m like, okay. And he goes, can you put it on on Shopify? And I’m like, what is it? He’s like a frying pan. And I’m like, yeah, if you market it as a weapon, I can, I can put it on. But otherwise, you know, a frying pan, unless there’s something really crazy about it. And I’m not saying it won’t sell.

Elena: (09:46)
I mean you can do a lot of things to sell a frying pan, but it’s not a really beautiful woman brushing her teeth with black. Right. And so your whole goal on Shopify is to get someone to go, what is that like? [inaudible] that’s not your goal on Amazon. Like if someone types in toothpaste, they sure don’t want to see black goo on a person’s teeth on Amazon. They’ll get them to just scroll as fast as possible. But if you’re, if you’re, you know, looking at cat videos and you know, stocking your X and here’s this girl in the product you’re referring to. I remember these ads 18 months ago, right? Which by the way, was selling on Amazon for months and years prior. This wasn’t a brand new invention the dude did in a year. So I’ll give you an example. The [inaudible], the fourth quarter product that I had, the one that sort of made me, you know, kind of on the map, did $750,000 in about four months at 35% profit.

Elena: (10:48)
Wow. Because I had one day where that somebody, somebody to share this, I was, I had $6,000 in ads out and I did $67,000 in revenue. Wow. Which is a 10 we call it Roaz return on ad spend. Two is a good return on ad spend, two to three. So, and I take no credit for this. This just went viral. I have no idea. To this day, I’ve never repeated it. But what I, what I took away from that is I was selling an item for 34 99 okay. So my average order value was nearly $50 because about 30% we’re buying two of them. Wow. Okay. Cause I could just manipulate it to say, if you buy two, you get free shipping, otherwise shipping’s nine bucks. So they’re like, Oh, you know, maybe I can give this to somebody. Yep. That same item was selling for $12 to $14 on Amazon the whole time. Yeah. I was selling this on Facebook for 35 bucks. Wow. Yeah, because you wouldn’t have ever looked for it, right. On Amazon. You wouldn’t, you didn’t even know that it existed. And in, you know, maybe people are getting more savvy now, but I haven’t noticed it. I mean, if, if someone sees something online, they think they’ve got to purchase it right away, that it’s unique. Maybe it’s even handmade, you know? I don’t know. Like right now I have a piece of jewelry that’s, that’s well over 1.5 million in revenue.

Andy: (12:04)
Wow. Yeah. No, I get it because my wife orders stuff every week. And the question is a question I always get asked from her is, has this showed up yet?

Elena: (12:16)
Oh yeah. Yeah. So that’s the other thing that we on Amazon. So, so today I don’t, I mean we’re recording this on on March 11th all right. I had an item that went out of stock on February 4th okay. So I literally wrote on my page due to this huge sale, you know, read Corona virus, but due to this huge Dale, we were overwhelmed by the response. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery. I had 3000 orders in the interim. I’ve had maybe a hundred people complain.

Andy: (12:45)
Wow. So, so talk to us about that then. Because as Amazon sellers, we’re always, we’re trained that look, customers want it

Elena: (12:53)
next day. They want transparency is what they want. So if you’re very clear to them, like when I was selling this on February 4th the very first thing that I wrote in big letters was you will not receive this before Valentine’s day. Okay. Now, and this was very unusual. I’m not saying that six weeks is normal by any stretch, but anyone watching now knows we’re going through something very abnormal. Right. Um, which by the way is pretty much, I don’t want to say like it’s over, but the supply chains are back as far as for my suppliers. So normally it’s 21 days, it’s between 10 and 21 days. And it does totally vary depending on where you’re sending it in the country. And I will tell you that if you’re within like 18 to 20 days, you won’t get very many complaints. So long as you’re very transparent about what’s going on, you upload your tracking numbers and you know, you let them know this isn’t a fraud. You know, most people are just worried about being cheated.

Andy: (13:45)
Yup. And so, so let’s back up for the folks that are listening. So what we’re talking about basically, you know, as Amazon sellers, we either merchant fulfill it ourselves or you know, doing Amazon FBA. But what you’re discussing is you, you actually have your product shipped from your manufacturers.

Elena: (14:03)
We don’t, I don’t buy it until you buy it from me. Oh, that’s so beautiful. Now there are some products where I will like in advance, like right now I private labeled something. It’s a, I designed a piece of jewelry

Elena: (14:14)
And there was a company called shine on. I don’t know if you’re familiar with shine on, but they will actually help you if you want to design a jewelry. Like if you’re an Amazon seller and you wanted to design jewelry, you’re going to take that whole risk of going to China, getting it done. They’re going to charge you more for it, but they’re going to help you with the inventory costs and they’re going to help you with the design. So it worked out very well. And that’s the item right now that’s, that’s nearing a one and a half million in the first year.

Elena: (14:48)
what it is. And when you have a good relationship with the supplier, there’s a lot of third party logistics companies in China. So I literally will will, I mean this is my way. I’ll just give you like how I find products. I buy stuff on Facebook, okay? So Facebook knows more about you than you know about yourself, right? And the way that we, the bidding of ads is an auction, okay? I’m am saying to Facebook, I, here’s $15 for the day that you can spend on this ad. They want my business. So they’re going to start right out the gate to try to get me a good seller right away. A good buyer right away. Yep. So if I become that buyer as a consumer, I am in that pile of people that Facebook will show new items too. All right? So I see what’s trending.

Elena: (15:35)
So if I see something that comes through my newsfeed and I am, by the way, the ideal consumer of a Facebook ad, I’m a woman over 40 in a particular socioeconomic class that doesn’t worry about like, and I’m not talking about huge, like the $30 is no big deal too, right? 

Okay. Not, not $300. I’m not going to buy something from a Facebook ad for 300 bucks, right? 30 bucks here and there. Maybe you’re going to teach me. I say to myself, but you know what? It’s kind of cool. I’m going to say no, but you can do, there’s all these things you can do, so they don’t think you’re going to be cheating. You know, you have a good Facebook page, you have an 800 number, you have a pretty site, you have trust badges, you communicate, right? Right. So I being the the perfect consumer, if you’re just starting out on Facebook or you’re a successful Shopify owner and you’re putting ads on Facebook, I’m going to see them first.

Elena: (16:25)
So I try and buy something every month off of Facebook. This might be a rationalization for some of you out there who think I’m rationalizing my on my purchase, but it’s product research, right? No, makes sense. And so on. And so then what I’ll do is I’ll say, you know, it’s really easy to like something to like an app, no big deal that does it. If I see something that has two, 200 likes, which is where I got in trouble as a seller, my ad went viral because I made a very funny ad, but no one wanted the item. So people were liking it. But what they weren’t doing was sharing it and sharing is a commitment. So when I see that ad in the first week or two and it has maybe 50 comments and and 50 or more shares, now I’ve got my eye on that product because that means this has got traction.

Elena: (17:08)
Right. And then I’d go to AliExpress and I find that product and then I put an ad up. This is, so I take the pictures from alley express. I literally cut and paste them onto my website. I use that in an ad cause they’re the manufacturers. I make sure they’re not ones that AliExpress has stolen. Okay. Most of them are just product shots. But I noticed like some of my students were, there was like a baby onesy that was pretty funny. It was kind of a, it was like skin color, but it had tattoos. So the baby looked like it was a full on motor biker or whatever, but obviously those pictures were of the seller’s kids, like they were not generic. So you have to be a little bit smart. Yeah. Now I won’t even worry about whether that’s a good supplier. I’m going to be, you know, unless I’m selling maybe five to 10 a day and then I start saying, okay, you know, so I fulfill right away.

Elena: (17:56)
I just go in and I order. It’s actually automated. I don’t even have to type the customer’s name it. There’s a, there’s an app that when say, you know, Andy’s buys something and then I hit fulfill on my website and it literally opens AliExpress for me. There’s a credit card on file, it fills in all your information and at the end of the night, my, my VA hits pay online. Wow. That’s how it works. And then that supplier will send it. Now once I start getting traction, that’s when I start looking for either a conversation with that supplier or, or one of the people that I’ve had relationships with. Hey, can you get this? And I’ll pay, you know, up to 50 cents more then what an alley express suppliers paying because I’ll get eight to 12 day shipping, sometimes five to seven days. And I have a reliable person who knows what I consider to be high quality.

Elena: (18:45)
So we are on the same page about that. So that’s [inaudible] but that’s it. My testing budget is about $400. And at any point I’m going to break even most of the time. But worst case scenario, I’m going to lose about two 50 if I totally bombed. Wow. Compared to $4,000. Right. So I can test when I, when I’m, you know, feeling energetic, I could test two or three products a day. Right. Right. Now, um, you know, I’ve got all these other things going on. Um, I actually still kept one last criminal case. I retired two years ago from the public defender’s office, but I just, I just finished that case, so that’s all good. But now I test about three or four items a week. Wow. Yeah. But you know, you get to the point where you can tell, you know, um, it’s sort of like, I, I tell it like this, it’s sorta like gambling on a roulette wheel except for you in okay.

Elena: (19:36)
And Facebook ads, like for people who are worried about like, Oh, it’s not as spreadsheets and it’s data manipulate. To me it’s like a game of where’s Waldo. You know, there’s, there is or you know, I don’t know about your crowd, but maybe some of you had this are near your college and there was this machine that had like one side is one picture and another side was another picture. And you had to point out the differences. I don’t know, maybe no one knows what I’m talking about. Or the old highlights magazine. Like which of these pictures? So when you’ve got 10 ads running, let’s say you’re selling a purse, right? And you’re targeting people who like Kim Kardashians, people who like purses, people who like handbags, people who like tote bag. And you see that those 10 ads and there, let’s just for easy math, say they’re $10 each.

Elena: (20:21)
Yep. But these four interests had somebody adding it to cart or buying it by the time they spent $7 okay, I’m not going to keep any ad running. Then it doesn’t go past that dollars. So it’s really pattern recognition. At some point, you don’t even need to be high tech. You don’t even need to really, I mean, you know my sister jokes, I went to law school only because there were no math classes. Not because I wanted to be a lawyer. I mean this is a working rotary telephone in my home. If you’re telling me you’re not high tech, no worries. That’s not this pattern recognition.

Andy: (20:52)
Hey, as we get back into the show, I want to remind you to check out the amazing freedom magic image service amazingfreedom.com/magic. The Magic Image Service is your solution to getting affordable and amazing looking images for your Amazon products. And we’ve literally done thousands of listing images that are active on Amazon. How the service works is you take some plain basic images of your product from multiple angles. You can even use your phone. And then our team of graphic design artists remove the background at in models and in graphics and text and comparison charts and whatever else you want to see on your images. If you already have high quality professional shots for your product images, that’s even better. Our team can still add in the features and benefits techs, uh, in charts that you want to see to make your images look really good and stand out. This is how the top Amazon sellers are doing it. And if you want your listings to convert like they should, you need to have great images. So go to amazing freedom.com forward slash magic and get set up. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s affordable, and it’ll make your life easier.

Andy: (22:02)
You know, one of the challenges that we often have with newer sellers who come to us, it really is a capital game. And I always get a little sheepish because we’re not sheep bus. Now I’m just, I’m honest and say, look,

Elena: (22:15)
You need seven to 10,000 if you want a private label. Oh yeah, do it the right way. And there is a huge amount of risk, you know that you have to start with seven to 10,000 even now it’s getting to the point where your marketing budget has to increase because in order to rank that product, you’re going to spend a lot of money on PPC and giveaways. 

Andy: Absolutely. 

Elena: I, it makes me crazy when I see Amazon gurus talking about you can get into this for $500 maybe retail arbitrage. Sure, yeah. I mean, but not not private label and you know, private label. If you’re worried about being copied or you know, you can do print on demand. I mean that doesn’t take a lot of money up front at all. You get a design, you get a nice designer and people think that, you know, my, my item that made me all that money on Teespring was just a text-based.

Elena: (23:05)
I mean it was not that big of a deal. You know, I remember the first year I started on Merch, I hired this great designer to make these Halloween t-shirts and they were unbelievable. They, I did one for every city. So like New York had the statue of Liberty and her eyes were bats and things were flying around and they were beautiful. And I was at this conference and I was talking to this one young guy and he wrote me back and he goes, you’ve been so helpful. I want to give you a design. I did not like it. Oh, okay. That’s nice. So it’s a circle and it said ‘rockin’ the nanny life,’ okay. And that was it. It was just a circle with the words that outsold my Halloween t-shirt, like eight to one. Wow. And so, you know the most basic things in the world.

Elena: (23:45)
So when you, when you though, as as a mentor or counseling someone, one of the ways that you mitigate the risk [inaudible] product research.  And so that’s, so I’ve got a sort of a 10 point system for saying I want my product to meet most of these criteria. And again, I’m not always going to be right. I’m probably right now one out of every 12 times.  I think about that. I might lose normally I don’t lose a whole lot of money, but I’m, I’m, I, I personally will accept a $250 risk. So I’ve missed 10 times of $2,500. 

But if that one hits, I mean it’s, you know, the potential, even if it just does $50,000 a month at a 20% margin at a fit, you know, that’s going to make up for all the ones that you lose. 

And if it happens to be one that goes, you know, through the roof, that’s going to make up for a year’s worth of loss. Wow. That’s awesome. Do you have to have a little bit of resiliency? You really do, but nothing like the Amazon sellers.

Andy: (24:44)
Oh yeah. So, um, uh, we, uh, Atlanta, I have a mutual friend, his name is Gary Ray. I’ve actually had him on a podcast. I partner with them and Gary’s one of the ones who told me about Atlanta, he went with you on the trip to EBU and he actually is doing really well with products that he sourced there and he still [inaudible]. It has a really good relationship. I don’t know if you introduced them to his sourcing agent that he still works with there. Her name is poppy, I believe, but, uh, just as a phenomenal relationship with her.

Elena: (25:11)
That’s good.

Andy: (25:12)
You know what he did I think just makes, again, similar to what you’re saying, you, you’re able to test items there.

Elena: (25:19)
Yeah, exactly. And that, and that’s the thing. And that was really the differentiation of our trip was every single person that left that trip got their own personal sourcing agent. And that’s poo-pooed a lot. A lot of people say, Oh, I have a stories to get to. He’s going to take care of all of you. Well, no, he’s probably not, not, not in the sense of this personal relationship, you know.

 So that was really something. Um, I really strove to provide for everyone and we did, we have stopped those trips mostly because, you know, Simon and I weren’t making any money, to be perfectly honest. You don’t make money on trips, which was fine when we had our own Amazon businesses and you know, but now that the Shopify took off, you know, and also I just feel better teaching people Shopify because I feel like you’re, you’re going to risk less.

Andy: (26:03)
Well, Gary sold me that. Well one of the experts you had on that trip was doing like 20 or 25 million. Yeah.

Elena: (26:08)
At 23 year old kid was, yeah, the first year was 8 million. Anyone up to 20 million.

Andy: (26:13)
Wow. Yeah. Well I mean that’s super exciting. This is actually, you’re the first one that talked to is kind of broke that down. I’m excited for my listeners to hear this. So you still see a lot of potential, a lot of them upside to sell like this, like you’re doing with past.

Elena: (26:30)
Yeah. Okay, cool. And what I like what you’re saying is,

Andy: (26:34)
um, my fear always is, and you kind of alleviated that as like, it just seems really complicated. Well, you’re saying there are steps and there’s a process.

Elena: (26:42)
Exactly mean, it’s like this, this is how I it and I, and I don’t like, listen, I’m a really smart person, but I didn’t grow up with a computer. Okay. So like, you know, my, some of my friends, like you’re too self depreciating. I’m like, I’m not trying to be selfish.

 I’m trying to tell you that if I can figure this out on a computer, very, there’s very few of us out there who cannot is what I’m, is my point.  I’m not on Instagram. I don’t even, you know, somebody asked me about TikTok the other day, don’t even get this started. Like, it’s not about that. Um, it’s like driving, I mean, when you first learn how to drive, you know, we had our little checklist and we had this and you know, gosh forbid you’re old enough to learn how to drive on a stick shift.

Elena: (27:19)
I mean, that was great. Now you just get in the car, right? And, and I think what’s hard for people, and I think it’s hard for like for me as a professional who was at the very top of my game as a lawyer, to be a brand new person who didn’t understand anything. It was hard on my ego. 

You know, as an Amazon seller who’s very successful to lose money on Facebook ads, you’re like, I can’t do this and, and give. So, you know, number one mistake, people make giving up too soon. 100% giving up too soon because, yeah, I mean, think about having your own customers. I have forty thousand forty seven thousand people on a customer list for one item. 

No, that’s all I gotta do is ask myself what else do these people want? 

Andy: Right, right. 

Elena: And, and yeah, I got to pay for customer service. 

Andy: Yeah. 

Elena: I have a team in the Philippines that does that. I actually got my sister out of her a horrible job and she answers my 800 number and does sales on the phone for me now. Nice. Did she use to call people in the middle of dinner and try and collect on bad debt. So I’ve done a good deed for society too.

Elena: (28:23) And it’s doable. It’s so, and you know, people are saying drop shipping is dead. And you know, if you’re just going off AliExpress and you’re not making an effort to, you know, talk with your supplier, make sure that those lines and those channels are working. I have one store that’s just pure general. Like one day I’ll put up a music instrument next day, an auto next day, a pet just to see. But when I get one or two things that, that are doing well, I’ll brand that store. I’ll make that something that I can, you know, like customers return to that store over and over again.

Andy:
That’s awesome. Well, how, how can folks, if they want to learn more? I, I think that you have a course and I know you’re working on making that course an international course. Can you give us that link and,

Elena: Yeah. So right now we do a e-comm roadmap. So my business partner on this is Chris Reed. He did, he sold abroad last summer abroad. Nothing exciting. Okay. Did $1 million revenue in 48 days.

Andy:
Wow.

Elena: (29:13)

So my business partner on this is Chris Reef. Um, he did, he sold abroad last summer abroad. Nothing exciting. Okay. Did $1 million revenue in 48 days. Wow. $293,000 profit. Now are you going to do that? No, but you know, let’s say you do a 10th of that. Okay. Right? And, and it’s, and it’s something very easy. It’s a broad, so like most people, it’s, you know, earlier in the year in the podcast we talked about, you know, you have to have like a wow factor, right? It’s something when you have something that solves a problem in and of itself, that can be a wow factor, right?

Andy: (29:49)
Right,

Elena: (29:50)
$293,000 profit. Now are you going to do that? No. But you know, let’s say you do a 10th of that. Okay. Right? And it’s, and it’s something very easy. You know, it’s a frost. 

So like most people, it’s, you know, earlier in the podcast we talked about, you know, you have to have like a wow factor, right? But it’s something when you have something that solves a problem in and of itself, that can be a wow factor. Right? Right. You know, it doesn’t have to be bells and whistles and crazy unicorns. 

It’s, you know, if, if you’re a person who wears fake eyelashes, the fact that they’re magnetic rather than glued is, is like lifesaving. Right? So, so the, the the way to get info is ecomroadmap.infoecomroadmap.info. And right now it’s just a sign up sheet. We’re just going to have a workshop because I’d been doing a lot of speaking and we’re going to basically do this longer just to give people an idea of, is this right for you? Because I really feel like when people say, what do I do online? 

You know, it may be t-shirts for you. It may be merch, it may be RA, it may be wholesale. So I used to have a program, excuse me, where I would get on the phone with folks and just say, yeah, it’s, you know, $250. Let’s get on a call for two hours. I’m going to tell you all the ways you make money online. And you tell me which resonates. And that’s, you know, and that’s what we do because it really is what resonates with you. Right. And, and I don’t, I don’t think it has to be your passion. I’m certainly not passionate about designing jewelry, you know?

Andy: (30:49)
I heared say though like some of my products I’m not passionate by, but when they start bringing money in, then I get passionate it.

Elena: (30:57)
I’m very passionate about cashing checks. Yeah. Very passionate about that for sure. But I mean, you don’t have to feel like you have to be an expert. You know, I sold an instrument, I, I don’t know anything about instrument. And when, when people on this was on Amazon, it was a really, it was a bestseller of this one little silly thing. And people would ask me questions and I would call my friend’s husband who was like a musician and, and I’d say, what, how do I answer this? I don’t know. I don’t know. But yeah, if you think about, you get paid every other day too, which is really nice. Oh my goodness. This is the other thing I hear people say, man, you said you spent $6,000 on ads. And it’s like, I’m not putting $6,000 on the line unless I know $12,000 is coming to mind. So don’t freak out about this. Cause all you’re doing is building reward miles.

Andy: (31:43)
Wow. Yeah. So, you know, um, I actually just opened up a new account about 18 months ago. I’m building another private label brand, but when you open up new accounts now to Amazon, hold your money. And so like right now I have like 125,000 so I just got paid out. I have 125,000 that they will continue to hold for another two weeks.

Elena: (32:04)
Ouch. Painful for cashflow. It’s painful. And this is, I mean, we literally get to the point where we can do 50 or 60 grand on ads a day. Now, you know, I mean, be smart about it. Obviously we’re doing, we build that up,

Andy: (32:17)
right?

Elena: (32:17)
I mean literally starting at five or eight or $10 to that point because we know it’s coming. So I mean, I’ve got 2 million credit card points right now, right?

Elena: (32:31)
So there’s all these other perks to it that are great and you know, and if you’re, you know, if you’re out there and you’re in the Amazon world and you’re like, man, I don’t want to, you know, deal with a whole new [inaudible] way of doing business.

Elena: (32:42)
Just a Shopify store that has a um, branded fan page, you can actually use to test like variations of what you’re selling. There’s an ad you can put on Facebook called a page post engagement. Remember I was saying I want to see if you shared this at, I want to see if you shared this picture. 

So let’s say you’re trying to sell a dog collar and you want to know if the Laura Ashley type print is going to be better than a, you know, like a motorcycle guy type print, you know and you which do you like best and people comment, which would you, which would your dog wear and you really get a sense and that is product research that you know you’re getting for pennies. Wow. Pennies before you go to China and get a new mold or get a new thing. Plastic design or something like that.

Elena: (33:23)
Yeah. You know, you want reviews on your Shopify store, you email and ask for them. Right. You know, some Amazon sellers would cry when they hear how easy some of the stuff, right? Yeah. Do you want to be shown up with, with uh, you know, frequently bought together. Okay. Cause you’ve got, you get to decide that you, you want to up sell to somebody when you abandoned cart on my website. 

Okay. You’re on my website. You’re about to buy my, my a ring or something and the dog barks and you leave. Yeah. When I send you your ad, if you’re on the same device, when you click on it, you’ll be back in your cart. Wow. You want to just go back to my house, like my store. You’ll be back in your cart and all you have to do is have your credit card out.

Elena: (34:04)
Oh, I no, that’s powerful because it happens to me. Yeah. I mean it’s creepy. You know, as a person you’re like, wait a minute. I was just looking at those shoes and now I’m on CNN and there are those shoes. And you’re like, but as, as an advertiser you’re like, it’s kinda nice. That’s exciting. It’s, it’s pretty cool. Yeah. 

Andy:

Very cool. So we’re coming up on the half hour Mark here again. If you want to find out more info, you need to go to ecomroadmap.info. Again, that’s ecomroadmap.info. This is Elaina Saris. Elena, thanks so much for taking time out today. Appreciate a and super, super exciting to hear about this new business model because we have so many folks that come to us that just don’t have the capital outlay to be able to start private labeling. And I think there’s a phenomenal, a different type of business model,

Elena: (35:01)
A great way to get started. Great way to build up the cash flow for your private label. And just one quick shout out to if anybody is still going to ASD, the trade show in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 22nd at the Sahara hotel, which used to be the SLS, which is two monorail stops from the convention center. 

Sunday night 6:00-9:00 I have a free networking party and you’ll meet Amazon sellers, e-commerce sellers. I’ll introduce you to anybody. Just come up to me. Well we’ll do the elbow bump instead of a handshake. I, I mean you had, you had sent me one question, I wanted to make sure I covered it really quick to you. So what did, what was the, what’s like been really important in your growth as an online seller? 

And I will tell you it’s been networking. That’s the one intro, getting people, getting mentors, meeting people, collaborating. So if you now you know how I look, come introduce yourself to me. We’re going to have a bunch of top sellers in that, in that space and if you want to be introduced and you’re not the kind of person to go up, I don’t care if I know them. I will introduce you. Just come on by six to 9:00 PM March 22nd at the Sahara..

Andy: (36:01)
Awesome. Well thank you again so much for taking time out of your day. I really appreciate it. For the listeners on the podcast, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. Again, I just want to give a shout out to the link. If you want to find out more info on how to sell on Shopify successfully, highly recommend go to ecomroadmap.info. Thank you so much Elena. Have a fantastic day.

Elena: (36:22)
Okay.

Andy: (36:23)
Thank you so much Elena. Have a fantastic day.

Elena: (36:27)
Thank you. I shall. I appreciate it. Bye. Bye.

Andy: (36:31)
Hey, real quick. As we end the show, I want to thank you for being a listener. It really needs a lot to us that you put your faith in us to get you valuable information. 

And as part of that, one of the things that really helps us is if you share the podcast with friends in other sellers and when you share our services such as the Magic Image and Listing Servicewww.amazingfreedom.com/magic.

Our Reimbursements Service: www.amzprofessional.com

Our PPC Service: www.amazingfreedom.com/ppc

Regardless, thanks for being a listener and from Andy, Lirna and myself. Just want to say we appreciate you now go out there and dominate the Amazon marketplace and we’ll catch you on the next episode.

Don’t forget to check out our services to help you dominate on Amazon:
—> The Magic Image & Listing Service: https://www.amazingfreedom.com/magic 
—> Amazon Reimbursement Service: https://www.amzprofessional.com 
—> Amazon Sponsored Ads Management: https://www.amazingfreedom.com/ppc 
—> Amazon Arbitrage Selling Group: https://www.amazingfreedom.com/arbitrage

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