Show notes for this episode:
Hey, how's it going? It’s Ollie here. Very warm welcome to the eCommerce Freedom Podcast. So over the past couple months now, we've been having a new expert, a new guest on the show every week, and you know what? It's been so much fun. Really have spoken to some incredible people. And next week, again, we're going to have someone incredible who's going to be helping you with the topic of PPC and advertising and how to get products ranked to page one on Amazon.
But it's really interesting. The other day I was speaking to someone on the phone, and they said to me that, you know, in the beginning of my podcast, first couple of episodes, maybe the first 10, 15 episodes, I was talking about a lot of the basic stuff - you know, the first few things to get started with the business.
I was talking about my story about how I got started. I was talking about just simple elements of the business, how to find products, basic marketing strategies, how to import stuff from China. And in the later episodes I've been diving into slightly deeper, more complex topics, such as how to drive external traffic to your products, how to build your email list, things like that.
And he was telling me all this stuff, and I was like, you know what, he's absolutely right. I haven't focused on the core skills of how to actually build the business and get moving for quite a while.
So what I wanted to do this week is rather than release the interview I've just recently done with the incredible advertising expert, I'm gonna release that one next week. And this week I'm not gonna have an expert. I'm just going to talk myself about how to actually find smash hit products.
‘Cause interestingly, on Friday a couple of days ago, I asked a question to all the people in my platinum coaching program. These are all people who are super serious about building their businesses. They’re working with me on like a pretty much one-to-one basis and I asked them, what skill are you weakest at and why? And almost everybody said it was still product research.
So this is a huge topic that even if you're running an Amazon business, it's still really, really important. And the better products you find, the more money you're going to make in the long run. Right? So this stuff's really key.
So today we're going to talk about five key tips that you can use to make sure you're finding smash hit products and how do you find your first smash hit product. How do you actually make it happen - as in not just build up a database of products that look okay, mess around with one of the tools, whether it's Helium or Jungle Scout or whatever for a little bit, and think about this stuff and just listen to loads of podcasts and just, you know, watch videos about it.
But how do you actually decide on a product and actually order some and actually make some sales? Because there's a big difference isn't there, between thinking about doing this stuff, which could go on forever, versus actually making it happen.
You know, I had someone I was speaking to on the phone a year ago and he said to me, oh yeah, I've been looking for my first product to sell on Amazon for like three years. And that's a bit too long. That's a bit too much time to wait to import your first product. Like you could do it so much faster. All it takes is taking the right actions in the right order, being a little bit cautious, and you could really, really get moving faster than that.
So without any further ado, let's move on to tip number one. So tip number one for finding your first smash hit product is knowing your criteria, but keeping it loose in the research phase. Okay? Knowing your criteria, but keeping it loose in the research phase. So I like to use the analogy of a songwriter.
Now, if you're a songwriter, what do you want? What's your ultimate goa? It’s to write a hit, right? It's to write a song that resonates with so many people that it becomes a number one best-selling song, right? We want to get into the charts. We want to write a smash hit record.
Well, is every single song that you write going to be a hit? No, absolutely not. In fact, most song writers, I would say maybe 70% of their material sounds kind of bad actually, and just won't even end up getting released. Songwriters write hundreds and hundreds of songs. And for every 100 to 200 songs, maybe one gets any sort of traction. So why is this happening?
Well, really, it's this concept which is true in any creative area - any area really, even not creative area. It's the process of having to get through the bad ideas, to eventually find the good ideas. You have to get through those terrible songs that just sound bad to end up at your smash hit song, write your best-selling single, and this exactly the same with product research on Amazon.
You can't expect to land a smash hit product with the first product that you add to your database while you're looking for products. You probably have to add 20 or 30 or 50 or a hundred products to a database first, including all of the terrible ones in order to end up with something that you're actually going to sell.
So this is about setting expectations and just being very loose with your criteria while you're looking for products. You might be thinking to yourself, well, what is the criteria we should aim for when we're looking for products? What criteria should we look for?
Well, I can break it down into two main things that you want. Number one, we want the good levels of demand in the marketplace. Right? Good levels of demand in the marketplace. Really. We want products where there's at least three sellers making 3000 pounds in revenue per month. Three sellers making at least three grand per month. That proves that there's demand in the marketplace.
Now, in order to see that level of demand, you might have to use some kind of software tool to actually see if that's happening. You could use Jungle Scout, you could use Helium 10, you could use Unicorn Smasher. There's tons of never ending lists of software that you could use to see the revenue in the marketplace.
Alternatively, you could look at the Best Seller Rank of products. You could find what the Best Seller Rank is by clicking on the product and scrolling down to the product information section right near the reviews, and you could find the Best Seller Rank for the product copy and paste it, and then go to fbatoolkit.com and see how many estimated daily sales that product is made based on the Best Seller Rank.
Take top three products right in that niche and see that they're making at least 10 sales per day. If you have three products doing 10 sales per day, they're probably doing about 300 sales a month, which is probably over three grand per month in revenue. That's how you do it without any software. That's the first piece of criteria, just to see that there's enough demand in the marketplace. Do customers want to buy the product?
Second thing is, make sure there's not too much competition. So there's really a blurred lines when it comes to figuring out levels of competition in the marketplace, because you can have niches where actually you can compete. Even though there are brands, even though there are sellers with loads of reviews, there's no hard and fast rule here, but generally, as long as there aren't too many sellers with more than 400 reviews, it's a marketplace you can compete within.
So let's say you typed the word spatula into Amazon and there's two sellers with 600 reviews and everyone else has one or 200 reviews - that looks like a relatively okay niche to compete in. It's not too crazy. But if you go into a niche where there's like loads of products with a thousand reviews, 5,000 reviews, 10,000 reviews, 700 reviews, and there's no products with less than a hundred reviews on the first page, that's a very cutthroat competitive marketplace. I would avoid that, right?
So we want most, we want not too many sellers to have more than 400 reviews. And ideally, if you can see sellers with very low number of reviews who are doing great levels of revenue, then that's an incredible sign. It proves that new sellers in the marketplace are doing well and that you have the potential to perform very well even though you're a new seller and an individual seller on a market on the marketplace, right? So that's the criteria we want.
But when we're looking for products, initially, we don't want to find products very strictly to that criteria, because if you really try and do that, you won't actually find that many products. So keep the criteria loose. If you see a niche where there's only two sellers doing £3000 in sales per month, add the product to your database. Just add it to your database.
If you see a product that's got great revenue, but there's a little bit more competition than you want - let's say, I don't know, there's five or six sellers with more than 400 reviews - and it's almost good, but not quite good enough, just add it to the database. What this does is this allows you to get through the not so good products, to be able to find the good ones.
This gets you more products on your database. This keeps you motivated because you're not thinking, well, I haven't found anything even though I've been sitting here for an hour. All right? This gets the momentum moving. And once you find a bad product, it will probably lead to you finding slightly better products. That's tip number one - know your criteria, but keep it relatively loose.
Let's look at tip number two. It's not the tools. It's how you use them. It's not the tools. It's how you use them. So I've already talked a little bit about a couple of tools you could use to see the revenue for each of the products you're competing with in your niche. There's Jungle Scout, there's Helium 10, there's Unicorn Smasher, there's loads of other revenue tools, demand tools you can use, Chrome extensions you can use to see the levels of demand in the marketplace.
And a lot of people worry about this. They think, well, should I get Jungle Scout? Should I get Helium 10? Should I get this other new tool that's come out two weeks ago or whatever, do I have to have all this software? Do I have to have something that grabs all the data from Amazon and orders everything properly and shows me all these opportunities and will I be able to run an Amazon business without doing this?
Is there some secret method that I need to use to find products, to beat all the other Amazon sellers? So I'm doing something different, you know? And the answer is, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what tools you use. It just doesn't matter. It's how you use the tools that makes all the difference.
It's a little bit like if you want it to get really, really fit, right? Really, really athletically fit. Whether that's very, very muscly or wherever you want to lose weight or just become more athletic and improve your cardio, does it really matter what brand of barbells you use? Does it really matter what make of treadmill you run on? Does it really matter?
If you even use a treadmill, just go outside and jog, you know, just lift up some heavy things around your house or do some purely body weight exercises. You can do a lot just with your body weight. You can do pull ups, you can do pushups - handstand pushups if you're really strong, right? You know, you don't need state of the art equipment in order to build a great physique.
It's exactly the same thing. We're finding products on Amazon, but you're not gonna find any better products through having some magical software that organizes everything for you. As much as the people selling these softwares might make it seem, you're never going to find any different products. The stuff you find is going to be exactly the same.
The only thing that might be different is that it might make it a little bit more convenient for you if you search products using Helium 10 or Jungle Scout rather than just doing everything manually and going through all the search results.
So my advice to you is, yeah, get a software tool, play around with it, see if it helps you in your process. If it does the job and it tells you what it needs to tell you, that's good enough. Don't get caught up in the, oh, maybe I should buy another tool and then it will make everything better for me. No.
It’s your ability to research products that makes all the difference. It's your ability to understand where the gaps are in the marketplace. That makes all the difference. It's your commitment to putting in time to finding the products that will get you a big product database and find you those gems. It has nothing to do with the tools that you use.
Now, point number three, tip number three, is very closely connected to point number two. Point number three is, be insanely consistent. You should worry about this so much more than what tools you decide to use to help you along the way as you're looking for products.
Anyone can sit down and get really excited and do a four-hour stint working on their business, looking for products. Anyone can do that. We get times when we're really excited about building our business, I get times when I'm really enthusiastic about doing some shiny new thing in my businesses. I've got all the energy in the world. That's the easy part, right? Where you have bursts of energy like that, we really get loads of work done.
The difference between people who are successful versus people who just fail or never even get the business off the ground is what you do on the days when you actually feel terrible. When you do not feel like doing any work at all. What you do on those days really makes all the difference. Because we all have days where we feel awful. In fact, most days we don't really feel like doing much work. Right?
Most days I don't wake up and go, oh yeah, I can't wait to put in eight to 10 hours today of work on my business. I can't wait. That's all I want to do. Not really. In fact, a lot of days I wake up and I feel kind of groggy or, you know, I don't feel exactly like doing some of the tasks I have to do that day. Some tasks I know are going to be challenging. You know, it's not easy. This stuff. If building a business is easy, then everyone would have like a seven, eight figure business.
It's not easy, but if you can just be consistent, if you can just put in say, 15 minutes a day into product research, it will make all the difference. ‘Cause over a year, if you put in 15 minutes a day, think how many hundreds of hours you would have been putting into product research over a year. Your database is going to be so much bigger. And like I said, maybe one out of every 20 or 30 or 50 products that you put on that database is going to be one of those gems.
Now, having a certain software tool or something might very slightly increase the percentage of products you have that are good. Maybe now, rather than one out of a hundred products is good, it might be one out of 80 products, one out of 90 products is good.
Your success rate of finding products might go up marginally just because the process is more efficient, but it's not going to be a miracle worker. It's not going to instantly zero in on the hottest product on the whole platform. We wouldn't want it to do that, right? If it did that, then everyone would be finding the same products.
Also, a lot of what products you want to launch is based on human choices, rather than stuff that a machine can find, right? Quite often a piece of software won't know that a product might be high hassle. It won't know that a product isn't intuitive to use as soon as you take it out of the box so a customer needs a really complicated instruction manual along with the product. A software is not going to know that, right?
So some of these things, you just need to train your eye to find it. So that's why consistency is so important. Just need to put in 15 minutes a day, keep adding products to your database. It gets you a ton of products that loosely meet the criteria, and it trains your skill as a product researcher.
There's no way around this. There's no easy way of becoming better at learning a skill. Lots of people want to tell you that you could just do this five-step program, five days, put it in, and now you're going to become a black belt. It's not going to happen. You need to develop this skill over time. And consistency is the only way to make it happen.
Tip number four, forget passion. It's actually very statistically speaking. It's very unlikely that you're going to find a product that meets all the criteria that's going to sell very, very, very well, and is something that you're passionate about. It's just very unlikely. Now, it can happen. For sure. I've seen clients who find products that absolutely meet all the criteria or great opportunities and fall into their hobby.
But it doesn't happen very often. More often than not. I actually have clients selling very boring products they don't get too excited about at all but there's a huge demand for, and they're very easy to sell.
So rather than trying to be passionate about the product and, you know, restricting the stuff you can sell just down to the narrow window of things you're passionate about, open up the scope of stuff you're willing to sell to anything that will sell.
And here's what I want you to do. Become passionate about running a successful business. That's what entrepreneurs do at the end of the day. If you look at any entrepreneur's story, you'll realize that actually, especially with serial entrepreneurs who have been in multiple industries, they're not really passionate necessarily about the particular business they're running, about the particular industry they're running. They're passionate about running the business.
Take for example. If you've read Duncan Bannatyne auto-biography – Duncan Bannatyne, the Dragons’ Den guy - he's run everything from ice cream van to radio station to care homes for the elderly to now he runs health and fitness clubs all over the country. He wasn't necessarily waking up in the morning desperate to sell people ice cream. He wasn't necessarily desperate to provide care homes. He wasn't necessarily desperate to run a radio station. He's never done anything in radio ever as far as I'm concerned. He's never been a radio show host or whatever.
I don't know how passionate he is about health and fitness, I'm sure he has some level of passion for it. But the point is, he's run all these different types of businesses and it's running the business is what he loves doing. That's the bit that he loves. And that's why a lot of his businesses have been very successful.
In fact, quite a lot of the time, passion for the thing that you do can actually kill your chances of you growing your business, because you're passionate about doing the thing that you do inside your business. It stops you wanting to delegate. It stops you wanting to leverage and it stops you wanting to grow.
If you're a baker for example, and you want to run a bakery because you love baking, sad news is, running a bakery isn't actually about baking. Probably 5% of the tasks you do throughout the day will be baking bread and baking cakes. Five percent. And as the business grows, it should become 0%. You should be getting other people to do that stuff.
Ninety five to 100% of the stuff you're going to be doing if you run a bakery will be payroll, bookkeeping, customer service, sales, marketing, social media stuff, cleaning. All these things are about running the business rather than actually doing the thing.
So don't worry about what products you sell. It doesn't matter. Sell something that will sell and fall in love with running the business rather than the product. It's like I always say - if you have a product - it could be anything - if that thing starts making you £10,000 profit per month, all of a sudden you're going to find some passion for that product. You’ll see just how quickly a product goes from being something really boring to something unbelievably exciting when it starts to make you money.
Onto tip number five. This is the most important one -- more important than any of the other tips, anything else I could tell you. Set yourself a deadline and test. You can't be researching a product forever. There is no such thing as the perfect product. It doesn't exist.
Any product that you find, that you're thinking about selling on your account is going to have some sort of problem with it. It's going to have something wrong. Most of the products that I sell, even the ones that have done crazy well, products that do 10, 15 grand per month in revenue, they have issues.
There are things about the product that I don't think were perfect, whether they're too big, too bulky, whether there's a competitor I'm kind of intimidated by, a brand that I'm selling next to, maybe the revenue wasn't quite as high as I wanted. There's always something slightly wrong. Maybe it was going to be slightly more hassle than I wanted. You want to sell extremely light products that aren't going to break. They're going to be very easy to import. That's all we want.
But some products sell so well that actually, really, you'll forgive a little bit of hassle if it's going to make you money. There's no such thing as the perfect product. So don't expect to launch a perfect product. And certainly don't let looking for a perfect product prevent you from launching anything at all. That should be a crime.
You want to launch something. So therefore, set a deadline, pick a date, not too far away, preferably within a month, when you're going to speak to a Chinese supplier, send him some money, and get some stock sent over.
Without a deadline, you'll be looking for the perfect product. You'll never choose anything. You'll just keep searching and searching and searching, which, in other words, by the way, is another word for major procrastination. You're not gonna make any money until you place an order.
So set a deadline, I'd say 30 days from now is good enough, and then just to make sure that it's not too scary and you don't psych yourself out out of actually moving forward, rather than going ahead and aiming to order 500 units, 300 units of the product, start small, start with a test batch. Maybe go for 50 units. Something like that.
If that's even out of your budget, go for 10 units. It doesn't really matter. Just order something, set a deadline for when you're going to do it. When you have a deadline, all of a sudden it forces you to figure out how you're going to meet that deadline. Remember how you used to cram for exams and all of a sudden get all coursework or homework you needed to do done by the deadline, especially for those teachers that would give you consequences if it wasn't going to happen?
I know I used to have like a hierarchy of which teacher's homework I would do for them and which ones I would just kind of come up with an excuse. But for the homework that really mattered, all of a sudden I would rearrange my life to make sure it was done. Even if it meant sometimes sneakily doing it during the actual lesson while the teacher's talking. But it would get done. Why? Because there's a deadline - get it done by Thursday.
The problem with running a business, especially in the beginning before the snowball starts to build, is that you don't have anyone kicking your ass, making sure you get stuff done. So it's easy to just go easy on yourself and procrastinate and not set deadlines.
So pick a deadline, whatever, it doesn't matter when the date is, just pick one, then make sure you have your product ready by then. Be consistent until that time comes. Pick a tool. Jungle Scout will do. It's fine. Don't overthink it. Just buy it. It's like $20 a month or whatever.
Be consistent, no other criteria, but keep it loose. Add those products to the database, forget your passions, follow products that make money, get passionate about the business. And then when it comes to that date, place an order - doesn't matter how big or how small it is. Send some stock in, see if it sells.
Hope today's podcast has given you some clarity. It's really nice to go back to talking about some of these core skills, rather than some of the more complex stuff of running the business. It's all definitely good to know, but this is the really fundamental skill - product research.
Hope this has given you a little bit of help. If you go to ecommercefreedom.com and you find the show notes to this podcast, should be quite high up in the recent podcasts, you should be able to find it in the show notes a link to my handbook, which is basically an entire course for how to find products, including all the criteria, all the step by step guides, for how to find products and everything else. It gives you everything you need to get started basically.
Also, if you go to ecommercefreedom.com, at the top, there's a link where you can find 15 products on a spreadsheet, on a PDF, to see the kind of thing we're looking for so you can get an idea. So have a look around and get started. And I can't wait to see you launch your first product.
Hope you have an amazing week this week and I’ll catch you on the next episode.