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Brad Yang is not only a top Amazon seller globally and a pioneer in the e-commerce industry, he’s also a good friend of mine and one of the co-founders of AMZ Insiders. He sat down with me recently to share how he transitioned from a corporate career to become an extremely successful Amazon seller. Brad has a ton of expertise in online marketing, and during our chat, he shared practical tips and things he learned as he built his Amazon business.
Here’s how he took the leap from a secure corporate job to starting an e-commerce business that is now doing over $70 million per year.
Brad started his journey with e-commerce in 2010 while Ebay was still popular and eventually moved to Amazon when it started to take off. He was working as a senior marketing manager at Coca Cola in charge of Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero brand marketing and business analysis.
At the time, selling stuff online was just a hobby for Brad, but the turning point for him was meeting his business partner, Jason.
They had been friends for awhile, but when Jason heard about Brad’s online business, he was really interested in learning more about how to make money online. Brad started teaching him how to sell stuff on Amazon, and Jason was soon selling 50 tablet cases per day at $30 a pop.
Soon Jason had left his full-time job to start his Amazon business, and he stopped by Brad’s office one day to propose that they go into business together. Brad had a good income and was focused on his corporate career, so before making such a huge change, he took time to evaluate the risk. The income from Amazon needed to surpass his corporate job, and it needed to be sustainable.
When Brad saw that Jason was continuing to grow after six months in business, he discussed things with his wife and made a calculated decision to leave his corporate job and join the startup as a partner. Four or five years later, they are now very successful Amazon sellers and do $70 million per year in total e-commerce sales globally.
4 Lessons on Becoming a Successful Amazon Seller
Brad has a wealth of business knowledge, and he offered some excellent insights from his experience in e-commerce over the years. Here are 4 key lessons he shared about building a successful Amazon business:
1) Having your own business takes leadership, entrepreneurship, and guts.
Running an e-commerce business is totally different from a corporate career, and you need to be prepared for that. It's not for everyone. But if you’re up to the challenge, it’s very fulfilling to be the master of your own destiny.
2) Be aware of the time investment you’ll need to make.
During the first 2 years of business, Brad and Jason were working 20 hours per day. They were making a lot of money, and it was really exciting since everything was new, but it was time consuming and a burden on family life at times.
Now that the business is successful, he has more time to take his kids to soccer games and enjoy family vacations, which is very rewarding.
3) Don’t take on too much risk.
Before you go all in, evaluate your resources, and calculate the risk. You need to make sure you have resources in two key areas: finances and knowledge. Financially, it’s important to make sure you have enough money and resources to cover your daily life. In the area of knowledge resources, you need to understand what you are doing. If you don’t have any experience, some training or coaching is critical.
4) Analyze your options and keep scalability in mind.
There are so many options for products to sell that it's tempting to jump in blindly. But it’s important to always bear in mind scalability when searching for the most profitable products to sell on Amazon. If you cannot scale, you cannot make it big.
Scalability is the only thing that can make you real money.
Here are 4 key areas to keep in mind in regards to scalability when determining a point of entry:
- Demand: The more demand, the better.
- Cost: Consider the cost of the product as well as the markup.
- Shipping cost: A cell phone case is probably $0.20 to ship from China to the US, and then it’s maybe $1 or $2 to go to the consumer. But if you sell furniture, for example, the cost could be prohibitive. Plus, the margin is low so you could be losing money.
- Risk: This is not just about financial risk, but also legal risk. For example, in a category like clothing or handbags, you could be breaking a brand’s trademark if you’re not careful, which can put you into legal trouble.
To hear more about Brad's journey to becoming an Amazon seller millionaire, check out the full interview below.
Brad’s Amazon seller success story shows us that while there’s no such thing as an overnight success, it is possible to grow an Amazon business quickly and sustainably by making careful business decisions that keep scalability in mind.
What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in building your Amazon business? I’d love to hear from you–come over to the Facebook group and join the conversation!