Andrew: Hello, Stephen.
Stephen: [inaudible 00:0:03]
Andrew: I’m good. How you doing, man?
Stephen: I’m doing very well. I’m trying to balance the light here in Ireland because it’s evening time here.
Andrew: Yeah. Man, thanks for being here for this interview.
Stephen: Well, let me tell you Andrew, it’s a true honor to be speaking to you because I have been following Mixergy for a long time, for a number of years. And whenever I was starting to go ahead to the big bad world and look to make money, one of the most impactful courses I took was a Mixergy course, it’s Dane Maxwell’s copywriting course.
Andrew: Oh, yeah. That’s premium.
Stephen: Yeah, it started me on the path of writing sales pages and all that kind of stuff.
Andrew: I remember we spent so much time on that course. It was one of the first courses on Mixergy.
Andrew: And I wanted to get it right. And Dane was obsessed of getting it right. And we happened to be at South by Southwest and he said, “Let’s go find some space to sit and talk about this.” So we sat in a conference room at South by Southwest, in a conference room working on it. And then he continued to work on it. Then we had this producer, David Saint who was working on it with him. We were both, all of us actually really obsessive about it.
Andrew: It’s cool to have a premium member on here. Before we officially start I want to just get your story clear.
Stephen: Yeah, sure.
Andrew: It seems like you’re selling stuff on Amazon and that’s the biggest part of your business. You’re also teaching it in this new course that you created called Marketplace Superheroes, right?
Andrew: And those are the two things you told our producer about. But when I looked you up, I saw that you have something called Under20Workout.com.
Stephen: Yes. So basically that was, I’m not involved in that anymore. I’d like to start at the top for you Andrew, just to make it a little easier. The Amazon business is where I started five years ago and still is . . . would still be the number one revenue generator.
Andrew: Do you own that business or is it Robert who owns it?
Stephen: Robert and I own it. We co-own that business.
Andrew: Co-own it 50/50?
Andrew: Interesting. Okay.
Stephen: Yeah. And so I’m going to actually put myself to do not disturb.
Stephen: Yeah. We co-own that business. We started that five years ago. We’ll go into that whole part of the story and how that worked. And now, we have Marketplace Superheroes. Which really to be honest, probably next year that will actually end up being the number one revenue generator.
Andrew: My sense is even though it’s far behind in revenue to your Amazon business, its profit margins are much bigger.
Stephen: It’s actually not that far behind now really. Well, it is. It’s officially will be about half of our revenue, but absolutely the margins are drastically different.
Andrew: I see.
Stephen: And we would make 30% net profit before tax on the physical items. Whereas in the digital world, if it’s not an affiliate deal it’s mostly profit. Obviously the staff and things like that. But on the sale anyway it’s mostly profit.
Andrew: Okay. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we keep everything that we’ve said up until now in the actual interview. Are you good with it?
Stephen: Yeah. I’m an open book Andrew.
Andrew. Good. I like it.
Stephen: I’ll tell you anything.
Andrew: We’ll keep it from being too official, I’ll just say my name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. As you can see Stephen is one of the people who’s listened to my interviews for years.
Stephen is, Stephen Somers. He is a founder of a couple of companies as you’ve heard us talked about. One of them is Marketplace Superheroes, which is an information product that teaches people how to start an international e-commerce business selling on the world’s biggest e-commerce marketplace. That’s Amazon. Right?
Stephen: Basically you can just say Amazon. Yeah, you can just say Amazon.
Andrew: I think that was my team getting a little too fancy with your intro. And I want to find out in this interview about, what you were selling on Amazon. I want to find out what you learned from that, and then I want to figure out how you got into the teaching space. I feel like a lot of people make money creating software or make money creating an e-commerce store. And then they make even more money teaching it. And they stop doing the thing that they initially started, the thing that they’re teaching other people how to do because there’s so much money in teaching online.
Andrew: I also want to get into this Under 20 thing that I saw online. It’s not a big secret, but I was Googling you.
Stephen: No, no. I’ll tell you a bit. It’s not a problem because I’m not involved in it anymore. But certainly [inaudible 00:04:30] Justin is one of my best friends. I’ll tell you all about that. No problem.
Andrew: Okay. And this whole interview is actually it should be sponsored by two people. But frankly, I’m a little worn out today. And I know I’m not going to do a good job for a second new sponsor. So I’m only going to talk about my one sponsor, the one that I know really well because I know I could kick ass for them. And that company is Toptal. And later on I’ll tell you and everyone else who’s listening to us, if they want a developer they’ve got to check out T-O-P-T-A-L.com. I’ll tell everyone more about that later. But this whole thing happened when your aunt told you about some dude named Robert, right?
Andrew: That’s where your whole life changed. What did your aunt tell you about Robert?
Stephen: So there’s a whole background to just at that point, which we can of course get to. But what she said is, “Stephen I know you’ve been searching for years now, certainly two years at this point trying to find somebody to help you get started on this business journey. I think I’ve got somebody who can help you, it’s a guy called Robert. He runs an e-commerce business. He’s pretty much what you’re describing you want to do. You should meet up.” And that’s what happened.
Andrew: How did your aunt know this guy to fix you up with him?
Stephen: He was and is one of her best friends. And she knew in depth what he did. I didn’t have consistent contact with my aunt. It’s not like I was calling her every week. She actually lives in Northern Ireland and I’m from Southern Ireland. So we don’t really see each other all that often, but just at this time she just happened to hear what I was looking for and was like, “Okay. I think this guy is . . .”
Andrew: He is the guy. How far along was Robert in the business world?
Stephen: Well, at that point then . . . he’s 18 years selling online now, so he would have been 13 years selling online at that point. He had a company, two warehouses, about eight staff at the time, but was working insane hours. So that was kind of where our paths really crossed with that.
Andrew: That’s why I was wondering how much of a share of your joint business you have because it felt like he’s really far ahead of you. Meanwhile, you had one of the most boring jobs I could ever imagine.
Andrew: You worked at a government agency doing what?
Stephen: Data processing. That’s all I was doing, man.
Andrew: What is data processing at a government agency?
Stephen: Yeah. It’s basically a form comes in, you take the form, you have a system, you type the information that was on that form into the system because it cannot read the form.
Andrew: That’s awful. Meanwhile, you had this like entrepreneurial bend to him. You’re listening to Mixergy interviews. Your dad worked at a factory, which I get then why you might end up at a government agency. But, even when your dad was working at a factory. I read that you and your brother found little wire pieces and you did something clever with them. So what did you do with them?
Stephen: So what we did was we took the little wire pieces and we . . . my dad made all these little cuttings of the wire pieces and we used to thread them onto a little piece of thread, all the different colors. And we created bracelets out of them. And that kind of stuff. And we used to sell the bracelets on the street. And then what we did was, we actually found that we could print their names on the bracelets. He could print on the wires. So we used to get their names and print their names on the bracelets then.
And really the reason that I was in this job, Andrew, was because I was trying to make it in the music industry. That was where I thought I was going to be. And so I took that job to fund my habit. And I was in college. I did two years in college. Got student of the year in business and all that. But I just felt like music, this is what I want to do. But I was incorrect with that assumption.
Andrew: You know, I had Nir Eyal over for dinner at my house, the author of Hooked. And he and I have gotten really close over the last few months, especially since the interview that I had with him. And I was telling him about my grand vision for myself. He said, “Well that’s pretty big.” And I was just thinking, “Am I at a place in my life where I want to give up on them or not? Am I at a place in my life where I’m ready to accept that grandeur isn’t in my future?” I’m definitely not. Now, when you turn away from music, do you feel like you gave up on this big dream to be, I don’t know what.
Stephen: Yeah. It’s funny you say that because a guy said to me one day, I was back at home in my town, Wexford. And everybody knows me as the music guy because I was on TV. I used to play on Friday nights on television in Ireland. We have like a talk show. It’s called The Late Late Show. Little like the Tonight show or whatever. I used to play bass here and there as a guest, not all the time. So people thought that I’m just a music guy. And one guy said to me one time, “Dude, you’re selling shit on Amazon now. What happened to you? What happened?”
Andrew: So what do you think of that?
Stephen: So the answer to that really Andrew is that, while music was something that I believed was a passion of mine, really the reason why I got into music in such a heavy way was because when I was 11 years old, my brother passed away and I utilized music as my way of coping with what happened. And so all through my teen years I just assumed, “Well, this is what I’m supposed to do now.” Because it got me through a time, I’m working on all the time and I’m in flow. Another great book, which I love. I was listening to the audio book, but I wasn’t in flow at the time just so focused on music.
But the reality is that I wasn’t actually that talented when it came to music really in the grand scheme of things. I’m actually far more effective and far better at sales and marketing, which I’ve learned through a feedback analysis, from the world showing me through results that I have gotten over the few years. And yeah. I definitely feel that that’s where I am, where I am supposed to be now.
But like you, I remember you launched a course called “True Mind” a few years ago. I remember that. And you’ve done things like that too. It’s important to experiment all the time. And even now with Marketplace Superheroes that’s not going to be my ultimate business, but it’s just this another journey along the path that I have to make. And I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but I feel like I’m getting closer to do what I enjoy doing now which is great.
Andrew: The True Mind course is about dealing with that inner conflict, that inner beast in our heads. And man, that’s been just so helpful for me to talk about that stuff out loud and to work through it with other people. Let’s then come back to your story. You and Robert get together. What is about that conversation that led to a partnership?
Stephen: Yeah. It’s a great question. So I believe Robert saw . . . I reminded Robert of himself when he was younger. And at the time he was stressed out working 16 hours a day. His business partner actually was difficult to work with, very difficult guy. For a reason he wasn’t actually very well. And so, at the time then he has all his stuff. He has this guy who is difficult to work with. He’s stressed out of his mind. And I come along an ambitious upstart, as you would say. And I want to learn.
I want to get out of the position I’m in. I want to get out of my job. I want to be an entrepreneur. I know I have all this book knowledge, but I also know that I don’t have the practical knowledge required to succeed in business. Because selling bracelets on the street, organizing concerts, doing all that stuff is all well and good. But when you actually got to feed yourself, it’s very different.
So Robert saw a lot of that. Saw a lot of hunger. And I think then with the ideas that I brought from my book knowledge that Robert doesn’t have. He’s a very practical guy. He takes action. We had this great marriage of ideas that I had that weren’t mine, but from what I was interpreting. With his practical knowledge we were able to marry them together and create something better.
Andrew: Robert is Robert Rickey. What was he selling before you guys connected?
Stephen: Yeah. So mostly he would have been selling in the consumer electronics accessories market, like TV brackets, speaker stands. All that kind of stuff.
Andrew: TV brackets and speaker stands.
Andrew: What kind of revenue was he making selling those things?
Stephen: I believe at the time they were doing about a million pounds a year. So similar revenue to what we do now at the moment, even actually about one half million dollars a year at the time. Sold on eBay, sold on Amazon. All in the United Kingdom only. We didn’t venture outside of that market.
But to be honest with you Andrew, while the revenue was at that level the profit wasn’t at that level. Because the simple fact of the matter was, a lot of the stock was purchased domestically as in from the United Kingdom. They were branded products, so your margin’s there. You’re maybe talking 10% on some of those lines, net, based on the sales price. So a $20 sale is two bucks. So the problem were slim, lots of stuff, lots of stress. So really the business we have now, the similar revenue but the profit margins at times [inaudible 00:13:30] what they were back then.
Andrew: I see. And so now, I understand why he might be willing to work with you. That he’s not giving up a lot of profit, but he is giving up a business that’s already established and giving you a share in it. What share did he give you in the business.
Stephen: We started a new company, actually. We just did 50/50 split.
Andrew: And not continue with his last business?
Andrew: No. That’s it. He closed it up, even though he was doing about a million pounds? What did you just say? A million pounds, a million and a half U.S. dollars.
Stephen: Yeah. But I think that the situation with his partner at the time was untenable. I think that would be the correct word. And also, working 16 hours a day every single day with everybody coming and asking you questions all day long, if no time to think for yourself. I think Robert just felt like, “I need to change. Even though there’s money here there’s something better for me.”
Andrew: What’s the first thing you sold Stephen?
Stephen: The first thing I sold personally. So it’s private label, but not private label. So I’ll go with not private label first. So how I began was I went around the warehouse at the time. And there was a lot of products that were branded, but they were sort of dusty and a little bit beat up boxes. But the products were fine, but they weren’t sellable in that condition as a brand new product.
So I actually used to sell those products as second hand on places like eBay, on places like Amazon. And I started to learn my trade. I started to learn about calculating the profit margins. Even though Robert is far better than I am with the number side of the business and still to this day, I started to learn a bit about that kind of stuff.
Andrew: What warehouse? Is this the warehouse that he had with his previous partner?
Stephen: Yeah, it is.
Andrew: So you are going off and picking stuff out of his previous business and selling the new one?
Stephen: Yeah, exactly. But he couldn’t sell it. So to his business at the time. This is like when we really started out. It took us about a year and a half to actually shift to this new company. But really it was just lying around. It was making no money. It was literally gathering dust.
Andrew: I see.
Stephen: So I come in, I sell it. I get a little cut of it, but they get some cash for something that was worthless, dead.
Andrew: Give me an example of one thing you sold that you are especially proud of because you added your own marketing touch, the touch that made you say, “I can do this instead of being a musician.”
Stephen: It’s a great question actually, Andrew. I have to think about that. I think the first one and it’s not even a big deal at all. It’s just this little deal, but it really taught me something. There are these little headsets, little headset things. So they were really cheap. We bought them from a company in the U.K. for like nothing. They were trying to get rid of these things.
And so I put them on eBay at the time, I remember. And I listed them there. And I remember looking at it and thinking, “All right. Are people going to buy this? Or they’re not going to buy it?” And the listing was awful when I first started it. There was no HTML or CSS, it was just blank. And people didn’t buy it because the listing was horrible.
So I started to go, “Okay. How do I make this more presentable?” So I actually brought myself back to my days of working in a department store learning about sales. I learned about presenting products in their best light. And basically what I did was I wrote the copy, better copy in the description, sales description. I taught myself HTML and CSS, so that I could actually design a pretty presentable listing on eBay. And I really made up my own.
And all of a sudden sales just started picking up. And then slowly but surely everyday they picked up, up, up, up. And then I sold out. And I was going really well. I was doing maybe 40-50 units a day. And these were like $5 products. These were cheap, cheap things. But the thing about it was it showed me, “Right. I can take a product. I can list it in a better light. And I can actually sell.”
Andrew: What did you change about the copy? Do you remember a line or do you remember an approach that you’re proud of now?
Stephen: Yeah. Actually what I did was, something we teach our people now with Marketplace Superheroes and it’s actually a really old, old marketing lesson. But something that most people don’t do which is, “Features tell, benefits sell” as we all know. And so I took those bullet points and I made them feature driven. As in when I was talking about the headset, I talked about how convenient it would be. If you’re playing a computer game say, “How it won’t get in the way.” Or whatever. But the point is, I actually didn’t just say, “It’s gray. A little bit silver. Its got this. Its got that.” It wasn’t just features. Let’s actually inject some benefits into this thing and make it seem like it’s attractive.
It’s like years ago. Noah Kagan did something years ago. I don’t know if you remember this experiment he did. He took a beat up old car. I think that he owned or somebody owned. He was trying to prove with his marketing I could sell it.
Andrew: His brother’s car.
Stephen: That’s right. And I remember that well. This was long after this time. But I do remember that as an example of almost the same thing. And that was genius what he did actually, I must say.
Andrew: Sorry I was checking that out. Let me see if I could pull up that brother’s car post that he did. What was your eBay username?
Stephen: I believe it was SJSTradingUK. But to be honest with you, I don’t usually share that kind of stuff.
Andrew: What was it SJ, what?
Stephen: SJSTradingUK, I think it was. I think so. I think so.
Andrew: Why did you switch from eBay then to Amazon.
Stephen: Yeah. So the reason we switched there was that Amazons Fulfillment by Amazon program. And so for us, that just totally changed our business really because we were able to not have to do the fulfillment. Because the biggest problem with an e-commerce business that you own is fulfillment, because customers are very demanding on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, too.
And so we found 75% of the queries that we receive on a day-to-day basis were, “Where is my item?” And we just found we’re sitting there all day long answering questions. And the big problem really was, that whenever you’re selling a product and you’re not using a track service. A lot of our products would not have used the track service because they were small items.
Stephen: The problem there is that, if someone says, “Where is my item?” You say, “I don’t know. I believe it’ll be there in a couple days, but let me know if it doesn’t arrive.” So you can imagine the cumulative compounding hassle with that.
Andrew: I have sold some things on Amazon using their fulfillment service. Just because I wanted them out of my house, I’m actually going to do that probably after this interview if not tomorrow morning. Did I just lose you?
Stephen: I think for second.
Andrew: There we go. Yeah, your video is frozen. I wanted to change the backdrop behind me. And so I said, “I don’t just want one backdrop. If we’re going to put something up let’s put something up that will allow me to switch out between three backdrops or lift all three backdrops up and just have my wall.” I couldn’t get it to work here. It messes with the lighting. It messes with the space. It just for many reasons wasn’t working.
But we spent so much time trying to make it work in the office. The videographer was tasked for doing it. That it was now too late to return it. And I don’t want it in here. And I feel like I can’t just trash it. But Amazon fulfillment service is so great. All I have to do is just print out a label, decide how much I want to sell it for, and ship it back. And once it’s sold, the money is in my account. It’s so simple.
Stephen: Yeah. It is great. It really did revolutionize our lives because not all . . . and this is something that’s a real difference, Andrew, between us and everybody else in the teaching space is the fact that we actually sell our products in seven marketplaces on Amazon. And that’s what FBA, Fulfillment by Amazon, that’s the real magic of it. The fact that you can sell now in multiple countries. Like, whenever we started, Robert and I, in the US we moved there, product’s there that is, we had to actually go to the fulfillment house, setup the deal. We’re going to send in the pallet, blah, blah, blah. And it was a mess. It was a complete nightmare.
We made money now, but the hassle was just not worth it. And we actually were selling on eBay in the US at the time. And we did actually quite well, but it just wasn’t a lifestyle business. And I mean for Robert and I, our Amazon business is a lifestyle businesses. We don’t like make any bones about saying that. We don’t see it as something we’re going to sell. We don’t touch or smell with the purpose of the business. The purpose of the business is low attachment company that pays us a nice amount of money per year. And that’s what we teach our sellers as well.
Andrew: I see your eBay account here.
Andrew: Nothing’s shocking in it. But I’ll read a couple of things in a moment. Nothing shocking, but it’s just interesting.
First, I have to do something that I forgot to do in the beginning of the interview because we were just kind of chatting and not officially starting the way I usually do. And that is use the clap board. And this is for Joe, our editor. Joe, I’ve got to remember to tell you where I did it. There.
Andrew: I hope I’m not killing people’s ears when I do that. This allows Joe to align the audio and video. And when I do this, my camera changes color. And I have to put my hand up so that it picks up my complexion. And now we’re back to normal.
And the second thing I need to do right now is talk about my sponsors. Since I’m only going to have one sponsor, I will tell you right now guys about Toptal. Do you know about Toptal?
Stephen: I don’t.
Andrew: These guys are fantastic. Who does your development? This is still part of the sponsorship message. But who does your coding?
Stephen: Sure. We actually hired somebody, Caleb. We hired this guy called Caleb from Canada and he’s actually living here at the moment doing our coding for us.
Andrew: Did he move in with you guys?
Stephen: He’s just living here for a few months. Yeah. He’s on a second stint. So we had to move the guy here and everything.
Andrew: Did you have a bad developer ever before?
Stephen: No. Caleb is our first and only.
Andrew: Wow, that’s incredibly lucky. Most people had really bad experiences hiring the wrong developer, an incredible experience is hiring the right one. The right developer will change everything. Noah Kagan still sends me notes. Thanking me for introducing him to Chad who’s now a CTO. Because Chad is like, not like, Chad is a business owner now at this point, but he thinks like an entrepreneur. He thinks like a guy who cares about the product. He thinks like someone who’s going to come up with ideas that Noah couldn’t on his own.
And that’s the difference between finding the right developer. A really super star developer and just having someone who’s just going to be like an extension of your mind. That will just be hands on a keyboard. You don’t want that. You want someone who can’t think for themselves and come up with great ideas and push your business further than you could on your own. Problem is, where are you going to do it? How are you going to do it? You can start placing ads everywhere, start asking questions. But frankly, it’s really hard to even find the right questions.
I had dinner with these Y Combinator startups. And the big thing they talked about was, “How do you ask the right questions if you’re in developer interviews?” That’s a huge challenge for them. And they were trading favors. Well, if you come and do this for me and ask them questions. Help me find the right person and I’ll help you with this other thing. It’s really tough to even ask the right questions, let alone get the right pool of people to ask those questions.
Another thing you could do is go and get a headhunter. And many people do it, very expensive, it takes a very long time. Or you can just settle for someone pretty crappy on one of the freelance sites. Or just accept whoever is around you.
Well at least that’s the way things were before Toptal. These guys at Toptal came up with a brand new idea. They were going to assemble a network of top developers, screen them beforehand, test them beforehand, make sure they really were among the top 3% of developers out there. And then when an entrepreneur or a company needed to hire developers, all they have to do is call up Toptal. Tell them what they’re looking for. And Toptal will find the perfect person in their network and set them up. It’s an incredible experience.
If you want to sign up with Toptal, you should use this URL, Toptal.com/mixergy. Write this down. If you don’t need it, someone you know will. And when you use it, you’re going to get 80 free Toptal developer hours when you pay for 80. In addition you’re going to get a no risk trial period of up to two weeks. That means for two weeks, you’ll know if everything I’m telling you is great. If it really is as good as I’m telling you, and it is. But if it’s not, you don’t have to pay anything and they will pay the developer for you.
And one thing I’ve done in the past that they really like because it’s getting them results is, I’m telling people if you’re interested in connecting with Toptal and you want an introduction, I will personally introduce anyone in my audience to my guy over at Toptal. All you have to do is email me. My email address is Andrew@Mixergy.com, Andrew@Mixergy.com. And if you just want to go and set up a call for yourself or check them out for yourself, go to Toptal.com/mixergy.
So now you’re starting to sell on eBay, then Amazon says, “We’re going to fulfill for you.” By the way, are you doing something on your computer right now?
Andrew: It’s okay. I do.
Stephen: No, I’m not. I’m literally just sitting here listening to you.
Andrew: That’s a lot of attention for me. I thought maybe you were like clicking around checking me out, checking out Toptal.
Stephen: Oh, well, I will. Let me tell you something on Toptal. We actually will need additional developers. And that idea, I am going to be researching that immediately because you are correct Andrew, 100% correct in fact. In that a few years ago before we got Caleb on board, just once this was, we didn’t actually employ anybody, but we tried to go the route of hiring people from other freelance sites.
And it was a very poor experience because we found everybody just kept saying, “Yes.” “Yes, I can do this.” “Yes, I can do that.” And they couldn’t. So I found Caleb through my own methodology of finding developers, which we can cover if you want to cover that. But Toptal to me actually sounds like a great idea.
Andrew: What was it? What was your old methodology?
Stephen: What I actually did was, I was taking some web development classes myself. Just to educate myself and I was taking some on Udemy, back when Udemy was getting started. And Caleb had a course there called The Complete Web Developer. And I just started taking the course, really enjoyed it, reached out, started to get to know him personally as a friend as time went on actually. And just went from there. And I just said one day, “We’ve got this opportunity to build accelerator tools for Marketplace Superheroes. Let’s do it.” But Toptal sounds a great idea for additional developers.
Andrew: I like the way that you did it. It’s time consuming and it’s not easy to do on a regular basis. But damn, that worked really well.
Stephen: It did.
Andrew: And yeah. Toptal, I think you’re going to be really happy with them. They’re going to introduce you to someone who’s killer talented. And not just do the job, but get you to a new level. I don’t pronounce things very clearly or very slowly so I should say it’s T-O-P-T-A-L.com, Toptal.
All right. So you’re continuing to sell this. Amazon comes out with their fulfillment service. At this point what are you selling when they come out with their fulfillment service?
Stephen: Sure. So at the time we were selling pretty much what we sell now, and not to go into every single item, but we would say broadly speaking storage items. Home storage items like, shoe boxes. So not exciting. Other things like cedar products for dehumidifying. That kind of stuff. And at that time we were probably selling, we probably won’t sell any cedar products at that point, we would have been selling shoe boxes. We would have been selling other things like space saver bags. And that kind of thing. Dozens of stuff. Homeware stuff.
Andrew: And this is such ordinary stuff. Again, I’m looking at your eBay profile that I mentioned earlier. Here’s what you’re selling on there. HDMI gold short cable for 1 pound 99 pence. Gold short cable. This ones I guess is a little bit longer or shorter, I can’t tell, for four pounds.
Stephen: That’s a long time ago Andrew.
Andrew: It’s a lot of cables. GENIE Philips energy saving light bulb for three and a half pounds.
Stephen: Yeah. That’s a long time ago. They were all deals we used to sell. And everything I can get my hands on, I was selling back then. Yeah.
Andrew: All right.
Stephen: There is good money when you can get deals from suppliers domestically and stuff like that. But the thing is that private labeling products is really the way to go, purely because of the fact that the margins are just so much better. Sure it takes a lot more time to get those products in stock and that kind of thing. But overall it’s a much better way to go because you’re making money.
Andrew: So a shoe box wasn’t something you would find that someone else made that you’d have it? Do you find someone who made it and say put my label on it?
Stephen: Yeah. Pretty much. Yeah, I mean that’s private labeling. You find the supplier. You then obviously have to test and sample that product vigorously as we would say. To the point where you try to break the thing just to make sure that the quality is there. And once you insure the quality is there then, yeah, with a shoe box you can’t actually get your brand on the box. But with the packaging you can make the packaging your own, so on so forth. And you go from there.
Andrew: So this is your business essentially. What I’m wondering is, how do you figure out what to sell?
Stephen: Yeah. So what we do is we have come up with a process in Marketplace Superheroes that we called the 4S product gauntlet. And it’s called a gauntlet because at every point the products fall off. And so what we do is just broadly speaking, Andrew, because we only have a certain amount of time here. We start with viability. So can I actually sell a product on Amazon? And what we would do is, we would go to Amazon because we were selling on Amazon. That’s why we use it to research.
We then go into the parent category. So shop by department. See all the parent categories. Click in through to a subcategory. And the first thing we do is we start looking at the top 100 selling items in that category. Now, we will usually never find a product that we’re going to sell in the top 100 because the competition is too high.
Andrew: I’m going to do it right now as you’re talking. So the top category. Let’s pick one. Beauty, health and grocery. That’s all connected.
Stephen: And then actually there is a good example. So beauty would be actually a restricted category on Amazon. You have to actually get approval to sell there. So we wouldn’t recommend that necessarily as your first category for that reason. And groceries are the same. So we actually wouldn’t go in there. So name another category Andrew.
Andrew: Okay. Home, Garden and Tools.
Stephen: Great example. Let’s click in through there.
Andrew: Can I click on Kitchen and Dining as a subcategory?
Stephen: Kitchen and Dining, why not?
Andrew: I’m in there. Now, I see them selling all kinds of utensils.
Stephen: So if we scroll down we should see the best selling items in the middle of the screen. If you just scroll down there.
Andrew: Let me see. I’m scrolling further. Scrolling further. Boy, they have lots of different lists here and I can’t tell which one. Why don’t I just do a search for the word Best Sellers there. There’s a link at the top.
Andrew: I click on that. Best selling items are . . . Oh, I can see why you do storage containers. So number one is Rubbermaid easy find lid for food storage.
Andrew: Number two is something I actually wanted to get for myself. It will turn vegetables into spaghetti.
Stephen: That’s a super example. I know that product you’re talking about. It was called the slicer dicer I think. I don’t know if it’s still called that. They may have a different than what you have there.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s the spiral vegetable slicer.
Stephen: Yeah. So something like that again is likely . . . And again, that’s another conversation, but it’s likely a patent of the product, something like that. That would not be something we would say is viable because it’s a patent of product. We can’t sell it because we have to get a patent license, so on so forth. The other product, the Rubbermaid one, that may be something that we would consider viable because its not hazardous, it’s not particularly delicate, breakable, so on so forth.
So once we look down through the top 100, we ensure things aren’t hazardous, they’re not breakable, they’re not sharp edges. All that kind of stuff. The next phase then in the 4S is the shortlist phase. And the shortlist phase, what we’re looking to do there and set our software, we’re looking to figure out, is it logical to sell that product? As in, are there tons of competitors who are selling that kind of product? How many reviews have they got? Is there like thousands of reviews on a product. That kind of stuff. So again, there’s specific criteria we use in our software at that point Andrew.
Andrew: One of the other items on that top best seller list is, it’s a digital kitchen scale. Wow, only 12 bucks. I might actually want to get one of these. Yeah, I’m watching how much I eat.
Stephen: Sure. You’re looking very well. If you don’t mind me saying Andrew.
Andrew: Actually, you know what? I’ve lost a little too much weight. Now, my pants are starting to fall off which is not a good look.
Stephen: I remember one time. Stalker alert. You used to talk about swimming in the river in San Francisco, isn’t that right?
Andrew: I did, yeah. I used to go out in the bay and swim. And I hate the sea lions because they would constantly be there, and I don’t like swimming around sea lions. But also it became such a hassle to get out there. So then what I did because I still love swimming is, I took all of August off . . . Interviews are still being published because I recorded them before. And I went up to Northern California. Just like a little over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma Valley or Petaluma. And I’d just go swimming during the day and do a little bit of new work. It was fantastic.
Andrew: But after all that, I still had a little bit of weight. And it turns out that I really did have to watch how much I eat. I thought because I was a runner and a swimmer, I could eat anything. Once I started keeping track of how much I ate, I lost weight and I look better. I should take my shirt off for one of these interviews. But getting back to the scale that now I’m drawn to. I guess what you want to know then is, are other people selling scales is it so competitive that its too hard to wedge our product in there? And I’m guessing what you would do is you start searching for digital kitchen . . .
Stephen: Yeah. Digital kitchen scale, something on those lines. Another point here as well that I think is important to look at actually is we talked about something called an isolated product. And what an isolated product is, a narrow definition, these are all our definitions. Basically with a kitchen scale, is there a bonus with the kitchen scale? Does it come with something or is it just a digital kitchen scale on its own? Because actually most products in Amazon are isolated. And that they’re just selling their own and nothing else. And that is actually a good example of where we can come in. And again, we’ll get to the next page which is profitability.
But if we can come in and we can add specific value by adding another physical product bonus in, some people actually also add in things like with a digital kitchen scale that might do some kind of a recipe guide. Let’s just say if you’re talking about your weight loss there, a couple minutes ago. Maybe there’s a little slimming recipe guide that comes with it or whatever. We use all that to re-differentiate ourselves in the Amazon market space.
Andrew: I see. That makes sense. And that way when I’m comparing, I’m not trying to just compare on price, I’m comparing on price and this extra thing. And so I might be willing to get a little extra.
Stephen: Yeah, exactly. And another important point, actually whenever you click in to an individual listing on Amazon. You’re in the top 100 so it’s not actually very relevant because we actually know where it is in that category. But as we move away from the top 100 list on Amazon. We’re starting to go out and out. One of the things that’s important is what they call a BSR, Best Seller Rank.
And for us, we generally . . . in a category like kitchen and home, as a product that is sold [inaudible 00:36:25] 10,000, in that category is in 10,000 or less, would be an example of something that would actually be in our opinion viable. It’s something that we can sell. It’s something that is worth looking at. Because even a product, Andrew, that’s at like $10,000 or that kind of a BSR on Amazon, that can still sell like 5, 10, sometimes 15 a day on Amazon. And that might seem like a lot.
But if you consider that you might be making say $5 net profit on that particular product before tax, well if you’re selling 15 of those a day, $45 profit a day. Let’s just round it up to 50 for easy calculation. Over 30 day month that is 1,500 bucks net profit before tax. And if you’ve got 10 items there doing that, just 10 grand in net profit before tax, which isn’t bad at all.
Andrew: If my interview with you sucks, I haven’t wasted that much and my audience I haven’t wasted that much. They fast forward or they move on to the next podcast. And that’s okay. No big loss. But if you start selling a product, especially if you’re having it private labeled. You’ve invested some money. You’ve invested sometime. If it fails, are you just stuck with a bunch of these?
Stephen: Yeah. It’s a great question. So what I would say is, not necessarily. And the reason I say not necessarily is we are very big on negotiating what we call the MOQ, Minimum Order Quantity. We exclusively order our products in China. We just always have. It’s just the best deals for us. It works best for us. A lot of people in the states would private label actually from domestic suppliers in the state. Which is fantastic actually because the more you can support domestic businesses, the better. But in our case, living where we live. China just makes a lot of sense for us.
So the point is this, when you can negotiate your initial trial order with the supplier. Maybe you only have to order 100 to 200 units of the product. Depending again on what we call the FOB, which is the Free on Board or Freight on Board price. That’s the price that your supplier says, this is how much it’s going to be. Obviously we have to pay the delivery because it’s only . . . to when it gets on to the ship, that’s what we’ve paid for. We’ve got to pay a little bit of additional delivery at that point.
The point is, if you can negotiate 100-200 units. Let’s should say your FOP was $5. So 200 units, $1,000, raw cost price. A little bit of additional delivery depending on the size of your order. It’s a thousand dollars, which you know, let’s just say there’s another 500 bucks of shipping or whatever and some taxes, you’re up to $2,000.
Now, I do understand that some people would say , “That’s $2,000 cost. I could lose that.” But actually what I would say is, when you do your research and you go in depth with your research. You make sure you’re making your adequate profit, as in you’re doubling your original investment. Or the worst case scenario and my opinion, Andrew, is it’s not really a worker as we would say in Ireland. It’s not a worker for you.
So what we can do then is go on to eBay, go to Amazon, slash the price down to basically cost price. We’re not losing any money, we’re just not making any money. And you can only do that when you’ve done your homework on your profitability.
Andrew: So you have the cost to get it on the boat, that means cost of the product, cost of them shipping it the boat, then you have your cost to get it from the boat to your, actually not to your place, to Amazon.
Stephen: So yeah. That’s actually another point again. But we could go down a rabbit hole here, which we won’t because we could be here all night. We recommend using a pre-Amazon location. We don’t ship directly to Amazon for a number of reasons. But basically Amazon don’t really like you shipping in direct. Also, there’s a customs and duty issue. So we ship to a pre-Amazon location, and then we forward it on to Amazon. So that is what happens.
Andrew: So you have to factor that cost in and you also have to factor the cost of it staying at Amazon’s warehouse. Because they charge you per month, right?
Stephen: That’s correct. Absolutely. That’s why we build accelerator tools software that we give our users. What the tool does is, it actually will tell you to put in the dimensions of the product, the weight of the product, your FOB cost price.
And then what it will do is, you tell it, it’s what we call the HS code. Which is the Harmonized Code. It’s the code that the governments say, “Okay. That’s a plastic shoe container therefore the duty rate is 5%, let’s just say. If factor is always in for you Andrew, actually in multiple countries. It knows the Amazon Fulfillment charges. It knows the storage charges, so on so forth. So it’s going to tell you very accurately what your profit is going to be on your products. And that’s something that we have to develop because we were using spreadsheets that Robert had made and all this kind of stuff.
Andrew: I bet, I can imagine.
Andrew: You didn’t tell us about how you found your supplier. Where do you find them?
Stephen: Yeah. We just use Alibaba actually. So we go on to Alibaba. We make sure they’re a gold supplier. Make sure there’s on sight check, so on so forth. And then what we do is, we start speaking to the supplier. We ask them for details. Send us your catalogs. Get to know them. That’s one way we do it. And then when we get to know them better. We then do a sample order, originally as I talked about earlier. We get a sample of the product. Then we may move to trial order pending, our happiness with the product.
Andrew: So this digital scale that we saw on Amazon for $11.79. I did a quick search on Alibaba and I see there’s one that’s, let me see. Is it similar? It looks even better. It sells for $3.50 to $3.90.
Stephen: Yeah. So the thing with that is that . . . Yeah. Well, that FOB price to be honest is likely not very accurate. Often times in Alibaba they just list this FOB, but it’s not really the cost price. You actually have to speak to them to get the actual cost price.
And just a quick tip actually as well which is very true. If you’re speaking to a Chinese supplier. I can only say Chinese suppliers because this is the only experience I have with this scenario I’m going to talk about. You could say Andrew, “Look, I see it’s $3 there. I really need to buy that for $2 to make sense?” They’ll say, “We’ll make you one for $2.” So they will make you that price you want, but its not really going to be very good.
Andrew: I see. It’s not going to be the same thing.
Stephen: They compromise on quality, they compromise on the finish, things like that. And you could end up with something that’s really not worth importing.
Andrew: I see. That’s good to know.
Andrew: All right. What about two other things. One is, I just got a note on Facebook from someone who says, “Hey, Andrew. I’m about to sell hot chocolate and coffee on Amazon. Can I get you one for free?” And I said, “Yeah.” Because it’s healthy. Is that healthy hot chocolate. Healthy coffee. I’m curious about that. My guess is that he also would like me to rate it, right?
Andrew: Because it helps. Do you guys do any of that?
Stephen: It’s a great question. Again, I’ll be honest. And I will say in our time selling on Amazon, Robert doing it longer than I’ve been doing it. I’ve been selling on Amazon there for five years with Robert. I will say that we have never seen a strong enough correlation between the number of reviews and sales level. And a lot of people who will argue with us and say we’re wrong or this or that. But that’s just our opinion from what we have seen.
So your friend may want you to rate that product. However, in doing that you cannot actually incentivize somebody to review a product for you in Amazon. It’s against the Terms of Service. This is actually one of the biggest problems in this industry right now, that there’s a lot of people out there who were incentivizing people. Who were doing all these gray hat tactics to get more reviews. And it’s actually as you know was in the news not long ago, Amazon was suing a lot of different people for those.
Yeah. And your friend is not necessarily in the wrong here at all because you can actually give a free review copy to somebody, but the person reviewing has to say, “I was given this for free to give my honest opinion. And here’s my honest opinion.”
Andrew: So the thing I’ve been noticing people doing now is, they sell it to you for like a buck.
Andrew: So you can do discount codes now.
Stephen: You can. You can. And again, that’s something a lot of people do. But here’s my take on that one and our take on that one is that, it’s easy to give something away for a dollar. What does that really prove at all? Because if you’re selling it for a dollar and let’s say your sales price is $15. Well then you’re proving you can sell it for a dollar, but you haven’t actually proved that you can sell it for $15. And added to that how can you possibly predict how many units you’re going to have to order based on giving it away for a dollar. You just don’t know how many.
Andrew: You just assume that some of them are going to be marketing expenses. So you take 20 or 40 and you say, “These are going to be my marketing expenses.”
Stephen: Yeah. But the point is though if you’re giving it away with a coupon, they’re not real sales, so then you can’t actually use that as definitive data to say, “Well, based on what I’ve seen here I need to order X amount to stay in stock. I’m going to run out of stock.” And that’s always been a problem for us. So we have never actually given away products like that. We have never incentivized reviews. Every business is very well.
I think as well for us, Andrew, we never try to sell a products that are the hot products. We always look for these as we call hidden gems. Products that sell 5-10 a day. That’s absolutely great for us at that level because it’s something we call a rule of five. Just to give you a bit of insight into how we think. Because we sell in multiple countries, we get a bit of a multiplier effect. So if you’ve got five products, sell them in five countries. Sell five units per day, per product, per country. So an average net profit of $5. Just to get us to a rule of five.
We take that over a 30 day period with five products. The net profit there, again before tax is $18,750 over a 30 day period. Now, that’s just a model. Its not an absolute or anything like that. But it shows you now what a small number of products selling a small number a day, in more than one market place at one time. You can actually build up a nice little business. And you don’t have to sell hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of items.
Andrew: When you’re doing, what did you say, 1.6 million dollars in sales in e-commerce.
Andrew: What profit do you get from that?
Stephen: We work on what we call our POR, which is a profit on return of 30%. That’s what we would look at.
Andrew: And that’s the bottom line. At the end of the year before paying you guys. How much money do you make?
Stephen: Yeah. I would say 30% is about right actually Andrew, before tax.
Andrew: So 30% of that is . . .
Stephen: On the sales price.
Andrew: Wow. Okay.
Stephen: Yeah. So you know, it is a very profitable business, don’t get me wrong. I think in a stock based business the one thing you got to be aware of though is your value in the business is actually in the stock you have. Because if you have stock you can make sales. If you don’t have stock you can’t make sales. I mean it’s obvious, but you know . . .
Andrew: So you’re saying it’s roughly half a million in profit, but some of that is sitting in a warehouse somewhere as stock that you’ll use for next year.
Stephen: Yeah. We obviously pay ourselves and things like that, but the reality is that most of it . . . we don’t have like tons. Like, I’m not going to be able to buy a Ferrari tomorrow. Because most of our money is tied up in stock. And that’s the way a stock business should be. That was one of the big things I learned from Robert in the early days was this idea of having money sitting in a bank account when you’re in a stock based business is ridiculous.
It’s idiotic because you’re only ever going to get maybe 1% on that money sitting in a bank account if you’re lucky. Or as with a physical product when it sells, you have 100% profit on investment. Taking $5 turn it into 10. Use one of the five to re-buy the product and have $5 profit before tax.
Andrew: Meanwhile, in the information marketing business they’re higher profits.
Andrew: And so you have two businesses.
Andrew: One is Marketplace Superheroes and there’s also that other one Under20Workout. Which came first?
Stephen: Yes. So Under20workout actually came first and that’s not my business. A good friend of mine, a guy called Justin O’Connor from L.A. started that company. What happened there was that I was up and coming. I was learning my trade. Hustling my way up. As I told you before we started I think Andrew, when I was teaching myself copywriting using Mixergy premium copyrighting course, which again, I still recommend people checking out.
Andrew: Thanks. Yeah.
Stephen: It taught me a lot. And so I started learning about writing sales pages and sales copy. And that’s something to this day I still write all the copy for Marketplace Superheroes. And so, I saw a gap with Justin’s business because I was doing the workout, loved the workout. And I said, “I think I can make this better. I think I can improve the marketing. We can do a newsletter, so on so forth.”
So I reached out and I just said, “Listen Justin, I love the product. I’m getting into better shape doing it. I’d love to add some value to your business and come in and write some copy and assist in any way I can.” Because I was trying to teach myself. Well, not teach myself, but learn from educational courses about funnels and all this marketing terminology we all know about now. And so this was a great sandbox for me to go and do that.
Andrew: Speaking of copywriting I happened to find Noah Kagan’s ad for his car.
Stephen: Oh great.
Andrew: Here it is. 2004 Hyundai Elantra. Odometer 109,000 miles. Automatic transmission. Clean. And so here is how the ad . . . That’s the headline. Here’s the ad.
“While I was getting out of the shower today my brother asked me to post this Craigslist ad to sell his wife’s car. My normal salary is $120,000, so I don’t really do a lot of tasks like this. Most of the times I ask my assistant Stacy to take care of things like this but I figure I’ll let her enjoy her Saturday. Anywho, my brother’s wife is pregnant and they bought a sick new 2013 Honda Civic. Hello, boring baby parents time. You can see it if you come by and buy this car. So anyway, this car has to go.
She’s owned this car since college. Some would say she’s a rather boring driver so you know this car hasn’t been lowered or in high speed pursuits.” Oh, I guess lowered like a…
Stephen: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: Low rider. “Or in high speed pursuits. In case you’re wondering, my brother’s wife is not included with this car. Things that are included. And then he starts listing things like the four doors, tinted windows, etc.
Yes, this is 100% legit and we’d love to sell this car this weekend. Please don’t offer trades for your Ferrari. We’d prefer green cash, not weed, and not bitcoin, whatever the hell that is.
Feel free to email questions and ideally come buy the car so my brother can be impressed with my Craigslist skills.” That is good. And he sold it.
Stephen: Yeah. And it’s a great example of somebody like, Noah’s obviously a great marketer. And whenever you start writing copy. we use templates and we try internalize these templates. But whenever you get skilled and it becomes second nature, you can write copy like that. Or by, there’s no template, but yet it has elements that are so appealing for somebody who wants to buy that car. It’s so smart.
Andrew: So Under 20 Workout you were doing some copywriting for them.
Andrew: You didn’t own the business, you were helping out. Then you start the Marketplace Superheroes. You told our producer you did a webinar and the first webinar that you did to sell the course brought in how much?
Stephen: So the first webinar we did. So I’ll just go back one step if that’s okay. So what I did was we had the idea last April 2014. We didn’t want to go out and just like build the whole course and try and sell it. We said, “Let’s see. Can we validate another Noah Kagan actually? Can we go and validate this idea?”
And so I didn’t build any course. I built a simple sales webinar that I patched together. And I just started calling people I knew who I felt might be interested in doing this course. So we pre-sold it for $500, I think at the time, for a very light version of what it is now. And basically sold, I think 10 or 15 spots, that kind of amount. And that told me Andrew that this is a validated idea, people want it. So we made a very ghetto version of the first course, put it out there on just a really simple WordPress.
Andrew: Fedora. A WordPress.
Stephen: Fedora. You’re correct that’s right. Which is now teachable of course.
Stephen: Which is a great product.
Andrew: My past Mixergy interviewee [inaudible 00:53:15]. That guy is a killer.
Stephen: That’s right.
Andrew: What was the first course? How did you put it together? It’s not easy to teach. It’s not easy to create something that will actually help people. How did you do it?
Stephen: Yeah, great question. So what we did was, we started from a blank canvas and we sort of said, “Okay.” So I have no idea how to sell on Amazon. I have no idea how to find a product. What’s the first thing I need to know? And we quite literally built the road map from there. So we really tried to make it as step-by-step, as humanly possible. Because I feel sometimes with a lot of courses, they say they’re step-by-step, but they’re not really step-by-step. They skip a lot of steps and they leave out a lot of stuff.
So we really tried our best to have a real simple step-by-step system. And what happened was actually, Andrew, that we said, not only do we want to validate the idea, but we want people to give us some feedback as well. What are we doing wrong? What did they not understand so that we can make a better iteration in version two.
And so really that’s how we did it. We just sort of said, “What do they need to know next?” “What do they need to know next?” “What do they need to know next?”
Andrew: How could you tell if you’re right?
Stephen: The only way we could tell that we were right and it’s a great question was, we have to sort of say to ourselves, “Well, what do we do? How did we start?” And then we had to put it out into the world and let the market let us know whether or not we were right, really.
Andrew: Do you do anything to keep track of whether people actually create online businesses with this?
Stephen: Do you want to know something? We don’t do enough of that, but we do have . . . like, we just did a free event over here, a customer appreciation event over here in Ireland just recently. We only wanted to have 35 people there, which we did, we had 35. Some people flew in from like Thailand and Chile which blew my mind to come into little old Belfast.
But the point is that a lot of those people that have businesses, they’re doing quite well. Some of them came from other courses as well and started learning about us and started implementing our methodologies. So I don’t have enough good data for you to give that back. But I mean that’s something we definitely need to start tracking. So we now have over 500 people have been going through the course. So we definitely need to get better data on that.
Andrew: I’m on the site. I like how you don’t have the price on there. You say, “If you’re interested.” Every time I go to the home page the audio comes up. Let me hit pause.
Stephen: Yeah. Sorry, man.
Andrew: Whatever works on your conversions.
Andrew: But I like how you say, “We don’t offer price. There’s an application process. If you’re interested just apply.” Why do you do that?
Stephen: Yeah. So the application process really turned into webinar sales, which we’ll talk about. And the reason we do that is that there’s two reasons. Number one is that, if you’re selling a premium product of any kind, you do have to educate people before they just come in and buy it, especially if you have no previous relationship with that person. So for me my decision was, my only conversion goal here was to get people to opt in. And once they would opt in, then we could offer them value upfront.
And so we had a free module from the course that we gave people. We’re actually redoing all that marketing at the moment. That will be a lot better in the next version. But people would go in there and they would watch a free module. And then we would do webinars. We would email people to come to the webinars. And we would then teach on the webinars. I don’t want to say, “Allow people.”
But we open up the process saying, “Come in now.” Now is the time to come in, the course is now open. And that opening and closing, some people they say, “Oh, it’s like the guru thing to do.” Or whatever the hell. But the reality is that opening and closing a premium product, adding in that scarcity in my opinion is very important.
Andrew: Do you really open and close it?
Andrew: You do?
Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we do. Absolutely.
Andrew: So I could go and join right now?
Stephen: Right now you actually can. We’re in a window where we do have it open at the moment. But generally speaking we open every two months or so.
Andrew: I see.
Andrew: Actually I see the page that you guys have for your sales page. I see the price it’s $997 or three payments of roughly 400 and six payments of roughly 200. And you guys are using ClickFunnels.
Stephen: That’s right.
Andrew: I was just like really hunting stuff down as we were talking. What I like about ClickFunnels, well, I like the design. I like how well it converts. But I also like it when I right click and do a view source, in really big it says, “ClickFunnels.” at the very top and like [inaudible 00:57:49]. Do you know what I mean?
Stephen: Yeah. They’re smart. At this point, Andrew, in my life as I’ve said to you on this call, my big passion is sales and marketing. And so now I feel, I’m getting to do a lot more of that stuff that I enjoy. And I’m actually helping people as well through that and through being able to market our program to people. And I think for me ClickFunnels has really impacted my business and my own self because I use them to create Marketplace Superheroes stuff. And I do help people from time to time with their own webinar promotions. And it’s probably a business that I’ll be moving into in the future.
Andrew: What is that? Webinar promotions?
Stephen: Yeah, I would imagine so because I really enjoy webinars. And at the moment I’m actually being mentored by a guy called Jim Miller. Jim Miller was the guy who, he designed Tony Robbins backend coaching programs from scratch. I believe Jim is also a Vice President of T. Harv Eker’s company for a while. And really knows his stuff and really has impacted me on my thinking with sales. And so using all these different things, it’s something that I really want to move into in the future because I genuinely love the challenge of creating webinars and doing the webinar, too.
Andrew: Yeah, I see you guys do a bunch of webinars. So you also use lead pages to promote those webinars, right?
Stephen: No, it’s all ClickFunnels.
Andrew: Oh, maybe at one point. Oh, maybe it just looked like it. All right. They are kind of becoming competitors those two companies in creating products that look similar to each other. All right. I think your video froze, let’s give it a moment to catch up. There it is. So basically you spent some time with my pre-interviewer. And I think I used like 50% of what you guys talked about and the other 50% we just made up as we went along.
Andrew: I think that’s okay. Usually in the past I used to really be upset at myself for that like, “Why do that? How do we adjust it?” And I still don’t want to do that. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, but I think was worth it.
Stephen: Yeah. Well, I’ll be honest, Andrew, and I genuinely mean this. For me to get to speak to you now is almost like a big journey because I remember watching interviews and really enjoying them. And I’m a little bit like you. You’re a great researcher. And Jeremy is really great.
Andrew: Jeremy is a great producer. Yeah.
Stephen: Yes. And I feel like I use to do that with you. Back in the day I was like, “Who is this Andrew guy? What did he do with himself? How did he end up doing this?” And now here we are. Its crazy.
Andrew: Hey, you’ve been now like five years with Mixergy?
Andrew: Cool. All right. Thank you so much for being on here. The website is MarketplaceSuperheroes.com. Is that automatic play? I’m just going to hit pause on it. The thing is it actually got me while I was prepping to do this interview.
Andrew: I can’t fault you for it. The only time that those are frustrating is, there are some news sites that I read before going to sleep and they’ll auto play their video. On a news site. And I can’t tell where it is because it’s not the main part of the site, it’s some random thing in the margin. I think Bloomberg did that for a while and I felt like, “Bloomberg, you guys are better than that.”
Stephen: I agree with you. It’s funny. It’s things like that, you know. Pop-up overlays, good example of marketing. Some people say they’re so annoying, but I mean they’re also so effective. And Mixergy uses a welcome gate at the moment. Again, some people say, “Well, that’s annoying.” But it’s really effective. It really, really works. And I don’t find it annoying. But you know what I mean? One person’s annoyance is one person’s conversion, right?
Andrew: Yeah. It’s got to work. Frankly, we tried auto play videos in some cases. I thought for sure it was going to increase our numbers and it just didn’t. You can’t predict it. You have to test it and see what happens and see what the feedback is on it.
Stephen: That’s right.
Andrew: All right. So the website is MarketplaceSuperheroes.com. And we talked also about the sponsor that I had today which is Toptal.com/Mixergy. Go there when you need a designer or frankly if you are into copy these guys are fantastic copywriters. They created a landing page just for Mixergy that is so well thought out. You can see it at Toptal.com/Mixergy. All right. So good to have you on here.
Stephen: Thanks so much Andrew. I really enjoyed it.
Andrew: Right on. Fist bump. End it with that.