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October 15, 2021

EPISODE 35: Win on Etsy, Scale on Amazon

Sell Rank Win Podcast Episode 35 Selling on Etsy and Amazon

In This Episode

E-commerce expert Dave Kettner of Etsy Profits Generator shares how he built a successful coffee mug business on Etsy and scaled his sales through Amazon FBA in this episode of the Sell Rank Win podcast.

TRANSCRIPT

Tommy Beringer:

What's up you data-hungry Amazon sellers? This is your host, Tommy Beringer of the Sell Rank Win podcast for MerchantWords. And in this podcast, we give you the answers to your most burning questions, actionable insights that you can take away and implement into your business today. So let's go ahead and dive right into today's episode. What do you say? Let's go.

What's going on everybody? Welcome to the Sell Rank Win podcast. I am your host, Tommy Beringer. And as always, we have a very, very special guest on with us today. He has been an internet marketer since 1998 and is currently killing it selling coffee mugs online. Yes, coffee mugs. I suggest you stay tuned in, because he is sharing all of his secrets to teach you how to duplicate his own coffee mug empire success. So without further ado, I would love to introduce you to Dave Kettner. Dave, how are you doing today?

Dave Kettner:

I am doing great, Tommy. How are you?

Tommy Beringer:

I'm fantastic, man. I'm fantastic. I'm out here in L.A. right now.

Dave Kettner:

Sweet.

Tommy Beringer:

Had a few thunderstorms yesterday, but the sun is shining right now.

Dave Kettner:

Well it's always good when the thunderstorms come in, because that's when it cools things down a little bit this time of year, right?

Tommy Beringer:

Just a little bit. Just a little bit. It's going to be a hot day. It cooled it down in the morning at least. I'll take that.

Dave Kettner:

There you go. Take it whenever you can get it.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, that's right. Where are you abouts in the world today?

Dave Kettner:

So today I'm actually in Cancun, Mexico. And people are like, "Oh wow, Cancun." Not here for pleasure though, unfortunately. My wife is actually getting cancer treatment. There's a cancer treatment center right across the street and she's here for a three week program. So I'm on a working trip, but I'm super glad to be able to record this with you here today.

Tommy Beringer:

All right. Well I hope everything goes well with your wife's treatment.

Dave Kettner:

Thank you. Appreciate that.

Tommy Beringer:

Many prayers over that way, for sure.

Dave Kettner:

Awesome. Prayers are definitely appreciated. Thank you.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So I need to dig in to this POD, print on demand model that you have been doing for I think over the past year or past couple of years or so. I'm very interested. I knew you were an affiliate of ours at MerchantWords and I have been following you online, watching different videos with you and Anik over there on YouTube. Very, very intrigued. I am an Amazon FBA seller myself. But this is a totally different model that I am not too keen on. I don't know too much about. So we're here to dive in, dig in, get your secrets, and find out how we can have our own mug empire success. And maybe I could have my own mug empire success.

Dave Kettner:

You could. That's right. You can take everything I'm going to be teaching here. You can just implement it right into your own business.

Tommy Beringer:

That's right. And I'm going to purchase your course right after this podcast, or at some point today actually.

Dave Kettner:

Okay. Sounds great. Looking forward to working with you on that.

Tommy Beringer:

So thank you for sending me that link. All right. So let's just start it off from the beginning, from the ground. So you are obviously a very successful entrepreneur. So I want to know where did you start this journey?

Dave Kettner:

Great question. I actually started ... well I started marketing in 1998, so I go way back, back in the dark ages when I started doing things. But I'm going to really fast forward it to 2013, because that's when I came across the Amazon FBA model that you said that you're doing, the whole private label side of things. I came across a few people that were doing really well with it and they told me about this course. I'm sure you guys have probably heard about it and you've probably done business with them, The Amazing Selling Machine. That's how I got started with Amazon private label. It was in the fall of 2013.

My wife and I, we were looking for something new. There was things that we were doing before in the past, and we were getting to a point where we were needing something different. In fact, we were at a point where one of us is going to have to go back to work is where it was. And we need to find something here. We took it to God and said, "Hey God, what are you going to have in store for us?" And it was soon after we did that, that this was delivered on our plate.

So fast forward all these years to where we are now. I became a successful private label seller. I have my own ... we have, I think, now two brands. We've sold one already before in the past. And we do really well on Amazon FBA. And then I started getting into teaching other people how to do that. People taught me how to do where I'm at today, and I wanted to give back. And by the way, way back in the day I used to be a teacher. I went to college to be a history secondary ed teacher. And I worked in the schools for 12 years before I took over ... my business was doing so well in the spring of 2009, I just went full-time in this business. So I have had that teacher background, and that's why I love getting out there and showing other people what I'm doing and how to do it.

So I went through the circuit, doing the course, the whole thing with Amazon FBA and whatnot. But I was always ... I was like, "There's got to be an easier way to get people off the ground and start this business online." Because the FBA, private label model, as you know Tommy, you have to put a lot of money into it. You don't start so much with a lot, but even still, when you purchase a course and then you have to go through and then purchase the inventory. Then you have to have sales and give things away with coupons. It takes a while before you start making money. In fact, I know a lot of people that have gone broke trying to start that business, right?

Tommy Beringer:

Oh yeah.

Dave Kettner:

So I was always trying to look out and see how can I help people basically get started, start making some money online and making some profits without having to put this big outlay of money. And that's when I came across this business model. It's been about two years now. It was really as Etsy was developing and growing. And I was actually testing this whole mug thing on Amazon FBA, and it just ... you know how Amazon FBA works. Sometimes you have some hits, and other times you have failures. Right?

Tommy Beringer:

Oh yeah.

Dave Kettner:

And when it came to doing this mug, it was just like I couldn't find a way to get it really to work. And so I came across a few other people that were doing things with mugs on Etsy and I said, you know what, let me give this a try with the POD model. And that's what we're talking about here. POD stands for print on demand. And that's where we can actually not have to buy the inventory up front. We're actually creating a product ... Print on demand is where you're creating a product for someone could buy it. And then when they buy it, the order actually gets sent to a manufacturer or supplier that it gets fulfilled. And then the order gets sent directly to the customer.

You then make the difference of what it costs you to have that supplied and what the customer paid you. And you make the difference. There's no inventory to have to worry about. You're not paying for it up front. You're not handling the orders. You're having someone else do it for you. So I was like, "All right, let me see if I can get this thing working." Because if I could, then you're basically starting out with no money up front to get started with this. And so I started building it on Etsy. And I'm sure we'll get into this conversation here, Tommy, on this podcast here.

But the reason why we started with mugs is because it's a no-brainer purchase. It's something that is not that expensive. It's something that's a gift item that people can buy for different holidays or birthdays, anniversaries, whatever. There's a lot of different things they could buy it for. And it's an impulse buy because it's so cheap. It's usually a purchase between $15-$25. It's something that was working well. And it's also something that people need. We looked into how many mugs are sold in the United States and it would blow your mind. Because not only you're buying it for gifts, but they break. I would ask you this, Tommy. Off the top of your head, how many mugs do you think, ceramic mugs, do you think you have in your house?

Tommy Beringer:

At least 15.

Dave Kettner:

Okay. 15 is probably on the lower side. I ask that question sometimes, I'm doing live calls. We have a chat and people are throwing things in there. It could be 30, 40, sometimes 50+. How many mugs do you think have you or your family, your household bought in the past year?

Tommy Beringer:

Tons. I don't even know, 40. I don't know.

Dave Kettner:

And whether it be for yourself, for a gift.

Tommy Beringer:

35, I don't know.

Dave Kettner:

Wow. Yeah. And that's what we hear. There's over 130 million households in the United States alone. And if you just figure that every household would buy three mugs a year, you're talking over 400 million mugs purchased in the United States a year. That's a huge market. So that's why we started with that. Like I said, it solved the issue of where people couldn't start a business with no money up front. And then I kind of built this course all around, the whole model around how to do that, build it to other products, build it to then starting on to Amazon with private label on Amazon. And then eventually moving it to the FBA model, which is really our bread and butter and it has been since 2013.

Tommy Beringer:

Okay. Fantastic info right there. Now you've answered a lot of my questions here, some of them. But I want to drill down into a couple of them.

Dave Kettner:

Definitely. Go for it.

Tommy Beringer:

So one that I had a question on is, I know you're doing this through Amazon and you're doing this through Etsy as well. So for example, if you can walk us through how do you connect your Amazon FBA account to a company, a print-on-demand company? And I've been looking up some.

Dave Kettner:

Sure.

Tommy Beringer:

If you can give us some that you recommend? I think there's Printful or Printable or something like that.

Dave Kettner:

Yes.

Tommy Beringer:

But I could be wrong. You're the professional on that. So take us through how does that get linked up.

Dave Kettner:

Great question.

Tommy Beringer:

For your Etsy and your Amazon account.

Dave Kettner:

Yeah, definitely. I do recommend starting with Etsy first. And we can talk about more of that after I answer this question for you. But what I do is I work with these manufacturers, these suppliers that they have an automation connection. It's a technology integration that basically connects with the API, which is a fancy term for just how they communicate. If we're talking about Amazon here, your Amazon account will connect to your supplier account. And then they talk to each other.

So what happens is when you create a product with your manufacturer, you do it on their site. And then you push it, basically to connect it, talk to Amazon. And you list it over to Amazon. Then when it sells on Amazon the connection talks again. It goes back to the supplier. It happens when I'm sleeping or I'm on the road. They go through. As orders go through it connects to the manufacturer and then they start the process of printing it. And these printers can take anywhere ... it depends on the time of year, but it could be, on the low side, three business days, up to eight business days. That's just where the time is to make it, because they make it on demand, as the orders come through.

Then once the order is ready to be shipped, the manufacturer ships it directly to the customer. And then this is where the two softwares basically communicate again. The supplier side communicates back to your Amazon account and says, "Hey, this shipped and here's the tracking number." And then Amazon then sends an email to the customer and says, "Hey. Shipped. Here's your tracking." And then boom, the order's done. The exact same thing happens with Etsy.

Tommy Beringer:

So you can't do this ... it's not Prime, obviously?

Dave Kettner:

Not this POD side, that is correct. Because Prime means that you have to have the product in-stock.

Tommy Beringer:

Exactly. Okay. Got it. Just wanted to make sure, get that out of the way for everybody.

Dave Kettner:

But just because you mentioned that, Tommy, I will state this. So as we go through this model here, I do teach all my students how to, once you have success with designs that are working really well, then moving that to the private label model where you're putting it into stock at Amazon FBA, because then people can buy it and have it shipped to their door within two business days.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, take those winners-

Dave Kettner:

Not two business days, two days.

Tommy Beringer:

Take those winners out of the testing and then purchase maybe a few hundred, send them in.

Dave Kettner:

Exactly.

Tommy Beringer:

Got it.

Dave Kettner:

Exactly. And you could do it directly through our supplier. Now you mentioned manufacturers, who I work with. I actually work with a company called IconEcom. They were print-techs before in the past. They recently changed their name last year and we have a specific deal with them where we get probably the best price on mugs that we can possibly get anywhere. I haven't seen anywhere, Printful, Printify, CustomCat, these other ones that are out there, I haven't seen anyone be able to supply white 11 ounce mugs for $3.95. That's what we get with the deal I have through them.

Tommy Beringer:

Nice.

Dave Kettner:

I also have a deal, we can work with them for ... Once people do move to an FBA model, then they're our 3PL as well. They have a huge warehouse. They're able to ship our rolling stock to Amazon. We just grow with them as people are growing their businesses.

Tommy Beringer:

Oh wow. They have all of that for you. That's awesome.

Dave Kettner:

All under one roof. Right.

Tommy Beringer:

It's Icon ... Very, very smart.

Dave Kettner:

IconEcom. Yeah. And it's free to sign up with them. There's no cost involved. Although at the end of this call I'll share with you, if you want to work with me, we get specific deals. I have a VIP deal through them where instead of getting the $4.95 per mug we get $3.95. So it's a dollar off. And other deals we have. Most companies, these POD suppliers, most of them have these automations but a lot of times you have to pay for them. IconEcom charges, for Amazon I think it's $20 a month for that automation connection. And for Etsy they charge $10 a month. But with the deal I have with them we get free automation for our whole first year, so it saves a lot of people money up front.

Tommy Beringer:

Oh, nice. Nice. Perfect. Okay. So let me see here. It sounds like you recommend just selling the mugs only. I know there's those wine glasses. My wife has a billion of them.

Dave Kettner:

No, you're right. There's tons of other things that you can do there. But you were going to ask me do I just recommend mugs only, and the answer to that is no. Especially with IconEcom, they have over 100 products. Even just the mugs alone, there's many different types of mugs. We have the white mug. We have a black mug. We have a two-tone mug that has seven different variation colors. We have camping style mugs. We have different ... they look differently, like an angle one, a triangle mug. We have the travel mugs. There's so many.

So what happens, Tommy, is you have something that's working well, a design. What are you going to do once you have a winner? You're going to expand, right?

Tommy Beringer:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dave Kettner:

So I teach people let's find a winner with mugs first, and then start expanding them out. And that's going to stop you from putting it on a T-shirt, a sweatshirt, onto a tote bag, onto an iPhone cover, whatever. There's so many different options with this business model. It's absolutely insane.

Tommy Beringer:

And is this through ... for the Amazon side of things, is this through a regular seller account, a professional seller account?

Dave Kettner:

That's a great question. You don't have to be. But if you are doing, I think it's, more than 40 sales in a month, you'd rather have the professional seller's account and all the options that come with it, as far as being able to advertise and the different things that the professional seller's account allows you to do. So I always recommend that people go with a professional seller's account because what you get from those accounts over-weighs a free account.

Tommy Beringer:

Got it. So you just put up the listing. After you find out the designs you put up the listing, some pictures. And then connect it with your POD fulfiller?

Dave Kettner:

That's correct.

Tommy Beringer:

Okay.

Dave Kettner:

Tommy, how long you been selling on Amazon?

Tommy Beringer:

About five years, four or five years.

Dave Kettner:

Okay. So I was selling ... when I started learning this model-

Tommy Beringer:

Actually longer than that.

Dave Kettner:

So it's been a long time. So we've probably been selling about the same amount of time. Did you know that on Amazon you can have customization for your products? And by customization I mean ad personalization.

Tommy Beringer:

Right. Yes I did. I have that added to one of my products.

Dave Kettner:

Do you? Okay.

Tommy Beringer:

But it is not really a customizable product, but I just added it just in case someone wanted to customize it.

Dave Kettner:

Interesting. So this is something that we can do with the POD, because we can put ... people can upload their own name to a design. They can put a date. So for example, if it's an engagement or a wedding. Or we can even have pictures uploaded. So let's say you have a newborn baby and Christmas is going to be coming up here soon. Maybe they want to get a Christmas ornament with their baby picture on there and maybe the date, maybe 2021 for Christmas 2021, baby's first Christmas. There's so many different options with that.

And with Amazon there's a whole section that's called Amazon Custom. And it's just POD, Amazon customized products. And I'll tell you right now, there isn't hardly anyone taking advantage of that. It's so easy to rank in that realm right now. And that's a big aha for people that are listening to your call right now, that if you don't know that, that's something-

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, seriously. Value bomb.

Dave Kettner:

Yeah. Exactly.

Tommy Beringer:

Big value bomb right there, guys. Yes. I think I'm going to be digging into this model over the next month or so, for sure. How do you know what to put on these mugs, these T-shirts, these wine glasses? It can't be just something just thought of out of the blue, right? It can't be best boss, number one boss, number one dad. You could think of these, but then how do you know what is actually going to bring you some sales and get you some traffic? How do you do that?

Dave Kettner:

Great question. So you could put that on there if you want to, but then you're just throwing the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. With an Amazon Seller's account, it doesn't cost you anything to throw stuff against the wall, unless you're turning on your ads for those things. With Etsy you don't pay anything for an account, but every time you put something up it costs 20 cents to list a product. And that listing will stay up for four months if there's no sale with it. If it gets a sale, it renews another four months.

So there isn't much price that's hindering you from throwing those things up. But what I teach people to do is go out there and find what's selling. Go out and do research just like you would research a new product with Amazon FBA. You go out there and you see what is already selling. Never would I ever recommend, nor do I do this either, copy someone else's products. It's wrong. Don't do it. There's no reason to. We live in an abundant world where there's no reason to leverage off of someone else's success and directly copy them.

With that being said, Tommy, you can go out there and get ideas. When you see sayings, on a mug you'll see these sayings. You just mentioned a few right there. A very simple one could be world's best boss or something, just got engaged. Look at this ring on my finger, I just got engaged. Whatever. A saying, right? But it's just words. The words could be modified. The words is the design itself and you could always add different pictures and images or whatever to it. But not getting so technical here, just even changing the text around with different fonts and making it look better. There is actually ... And you probably don't know what this is. Most people don't know ... have heard of this. There's an app for your iPhone, I believe it's on Android now too. It's called Word Swag, Word Swag.

Tommy Beringer:

I've already downloaded it.

Dave Kettner:

Did you? Okay, cool. Have you played around with it?

Tommy Beringer:

I've messed around with it. It is very, very cool. And that's actually one of my other questions I had for you was, how do you create these designs at scale?

Dave Kettner:

Yes. That is very fun to do because you can take one of those sayings, say world's best boss, for example. Boss day is coming up. Depending on when people are watching this, boss's day is usually right in the middle of October. So it's an easy gift to give a boss a mug. And I learned last year ... I didn't even know about boss's mug until we had a mug that had boss written on it and it started going viral. And for two weeks we sold a killing of these mugs. And I'm like, "What is going on?" And then I realized oh there's a boss's day. I had no idea.

Tommy Beringer:

Oh my goodness.

Dave Kettner:

With that Word Swag software, you put that phrase into the software and then you start pushing buttons and it just comes up with different ways of arranging it, different fonts, different ways of putting it in there. And it is really, really cool. It costs a whopping $5.00 a month to have the pro version of it. Totally recommend it. I use it all the time and it's a great way to put stuff up to sell. In fact, some of the products now that I'm listing in Amazon for FBA, I developed them through using the Word Swag app.

Tommy Beringer:

Very cool. Very cool. So it sounds like I could just go onto MerchantWords and type in best boss, and then see all of the variations there, all the different permutations that surround that keyword market, and see what is actually driving traffic, the search volume on those, and take those sayings and then plug them into Word Swag, create some different designs, and then you have your design for your product there it sounds like. In the simplest-

Dave Kettner:

Yes.

Tommy Beringer:

Okay.

Dave Kettner:

In the simplest terms, you're correct. Yes. But you can always add new things to it. And then, like I mentioned before, with personalization. Personalization adds a whole new perspective to the game here. Because you could then put the personalization to different things, to these designs that other people don't. So you just then improved on what's already selling well. So if you find a mug that's selling, say world's best boss. And you find out that it's doing $5,000 a month in revenue on Amazon. Right. But no one's personalizing it. Well if I was going to buy something for my boss, do you think that my boss, whether it be a she or a he, would like it with their name on it as world's best boss or just world's best boss by itself? Usually personalized, right?

Tommy Beringer:

Right.

Dave Kettner:

Well if you're the only one selling it because everyone else was too lazy to put a personalization to it, I think you might sell a little better, wouldn't you say?

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dave Kettner:

There's a lot of things you can do. There's a lot of people in this game, Tommy, that are very lazy. And if they just take an extra step or two, they can do so much better. And it's always easy to run circles around people that are like that. And unfortunately, the majority of people are just lazy and they're just trying to get the bare minimum out of their business. And so we just run circles around them.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah.

Dave Kettner:

We make things better.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, the complacency allows us to win, the ones who want to put in the work, right?

Dave Kettner:

Exactly.

Tommy Beringer:

So the complacent people, the lazy people will not survive. And the ones who want to put in the work and continue on will prevail. Right?

Dave Kettner:

That's exactly correct. That's right.

Tommy Beringer:

So now I want to ask, how many designs did it take you to upload or to put out there until you were able to see that winner, something that turned a big profit and you're like, "Whoa." About how long did that take you?

Dave Kettner:

That's a great question. I don't know specifically because I knew that this is a numbers game. And I knew that the more that I can put up, the better chances we had of finding a winner. So I started uploading a lot of designs quickly. I would say within the first month or two we had a couple hundred designs. And we started in February, I that it was February or early March of 2019. And we were pushing out a lot of things for Mother's Day and Father's Day.

By the way, the Mother's Day and Father's Day period is the second busiest time of year for print on demand.

Tommy Beringer:

I was going to ask you that as well.

Dave Kettner:

Yeah. Christmas is the number one.

Tommy Beringer:

Okay.

Dave Kettner:

So I was pushing building to that. And we started selling designs pretty quickly. I was amazed by how fast some of that stuff was starting to sell. So even with a couple hundred designs, we had some that took off. And then what we did was, when we saw that a design was working for Mother's Day, right away we created the ... as long as it wasn't a feminine product, we then made it for Father's Day. It was just a matter of changing mother's to father's or mom to dad. And that worked just as well.

So we were really under the gun there when things were happening like that. And then by the time we hit Christmas time I think we had 500 some odd designs up. And we did amazing for Christmas that year. You will go through the ebb and flow of the different seasonalities with this. It's the same thing with Amazon, right?

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah.

Dave Kettner:

But as you build this business out, then you just making more evergreen designs. You start doing it for different holidays throughout the year. And then you get consistent with your sales, even though there's down times. As we're recording this right now, it's the beginning of September, it's a slow time of year. But we know all this stuff we're doing right now, we're building for late October, early November as we build into the late fourth quarter. I don't know if that answers your question.

Once we started seeing those designs, we started expanding on them. If it was working for a mother, it was going to work for a father. And then we started building it to other things. That same design would work for a graduation. It might work for a boss. It might work for a teacher. Last year, for example, we had the whole pandemic stuff that was going on. And we couldn't get designs up fast enough. Because we would get messages, customers would message us directly and say, "Hey, I really like this design. Can you put in their teacher?" We had someone say, "Can you put manager? Can you put board member?" Sometimes they call their dad or mom or granddad or grandmother different names like Papa or PawPaw, Pop-Pop. There's so many different things you can use. And we're, "Yeah. Yeah. Sure. We can do it." And then boom, we're making it. We're making it. We're throwing it up there and people are buying it. And then they would start selling.

So it's a lot of fun, especially when you carve out your own niche of stuff. But the sky's the limit with this thing. We can't get things up fast enough.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, it sounds like it. And that leads me to, so how do you do this at scale in a whole? Are you hiring VAs? Are you sending somebody? Or are you doing it yourself like, "Hey, this design. We need to put these 100 designs up." Or are you having someone create these designs? How are you doing this at scale?

Dave Kettner:

Right. I don't want to scare people when we answer this question, because I started doing it myself. And my wife started doing it too. We both worked this business full-time and we were having fun with it. But as we were growing, we wanted to make sure we can expand on this. So yes, we started hiring VAs to work specifically on just this side of the business. And right now I actually have five stores that are up, but three of them we are growing with a VA in each one.

So I have three separate VAs, one on each store. And as I've been focusing on other things ... I've been focusing on teaching this business. I've been focused on my wife with the things that we have going on, and different things in life. I've been able to just let our VAs handle it, and it's growing. And then I just have to monitor them, manage what they're doing.

Tommy Beringer:

Yep.

Dave Kettner:

You could do it that way. And by the way, I'm not a designer. I've never been a designer. I'm not good at even drawing stick figures. With that said, I could do this whole business myself if I had the time and I wanted to do it. I can actually either use Word Swag. There's other softwares that we can use. You can just even do designs through Fiverr. You can go to Fiverr and have someone design something for you all day long for $5 a design. You can buy design packs. There's people that sell packs. You can go out there and you can take them and you can modify them. There's tons of different ways that you can do this.

But yeah, we expand with a team. And it's going really well. I'm very much looking forward to this Christmas and seeing what we're able to do with five stores instead of just ... last year we were just starting the second one.

Tommy Beringer:

Wow. Amazing. So you have five separate stores on Etsy and Amazon?

Dave Kettner:

No. We only have one main one on Amazon. I've been very cautious ... So even though Amazon has opened it up where we can have multiple stores now, I've just focused just keeping the one.

Tommy Beringer:

Right. I was going to say.

Dave Kettner:

There was one I was building before, but then I sold out my part of that one. The way I build my Amazon side of things is if ... I can separate things with brands. And if I ever decide to sell a piece of it, I can sell out that brand from that store. It's just a lot doing multiple things with Amazon, although it could be done. But no, I have not. I had the multiple stores on Amazon mainly because I want to have my VAs separately building different things. Etsy also has ... I've seen this with some of my students. You'll hit a wall with Etsy. At one point last year we had, I think, 700 open orders at the beginning of December, which meant there were 700 orders waiting to be fulfilled. We had hundreds going through a day. So they're not getting fulfilled as quick. And Etsy put the brakes on. They say, "Whoa. You have too many open orders. You haven't proven to us yet that you can do this."

I had a student that was kind of put the brakes on a little over 100 open orders. So as you build that trust with Etsy, they build you up. It's like building that snowball. It takes some time to grow it. So I said, "You know what, I'm not going to have that happen again this year. We're going to have multiple stores and we're going to grow them." So if you have the brakes put on five stores at 700, then you have 3,500 open orders instead of 700. You see what I'm saying?

Tommy Beringer:

Yep.

Dave Kettner:

We're hitting it where the iron is hot. What I'm teaching here, Tommy, to do, this is exactly what I do in my business each and every single day, with our team, with us. And it's because it works and you guys are getting this really hot off the presses.

Tommy Beringer:

That's what I love to hear. So jumping back to the VAs really quick. I want to know, where do you hire your VAs from? And then, do they deal with the customer service as well as the designs? Because it sounds like, especially through Etsy, you have a lot of orders. So I'm sure you're dealing with a lot of customer inquiries.

Dave Kettner:

Yeah. Definitely. So the answer is, to get them I've always hired through onlinejobs.ph. I just love hiring the workers from the Philippines. Everyone I've worked with from the Philippines has been incredible. We've gotten to a point now where the newest people that we've built into our team have all refered people that they know that need work and have the skills to do it. So I haven't even had to go to onlinejobs.ph in over a year now, because-

Tommy Beringer:

Oh wow. Awesome.

Dave Kettner:

Yeah. And they, the people I have on my team know, they have other people like, "Hey, when you're ready to hire someone, we got someone that's ready."

Tommy Beringer:

That's cool.

Dave Kettner:

But yes, they handle everything. They basically are running the store by themselves. That's why I said it's nice, it's hands-off. Etsy, just like Amazon, they want you to respond customers within 24 hours. So they're on top of that too. It's all handled.

Now if there's a question they can't answer, they reach out to me. We have our own Slack app with our business that they contact me and we go through that way, if we're in between meetings and that sort of thing. We meet once a week usually.

Tommy Beringer:

Got it. Cool. And Dave, I don't know if you knew but we have a sister company called MakerWords.

Dave Kettner:

Yes.

Tommy Beringer:

Yes. It's just for Etsy keywords.

Dave Kettner:

I love MakerWords, yeah.

Tommy Beringer:

Awesome. Glad to hear.

Dave Kettner:

Yeah. There's a lot of our students, I think, that have used it. I know that we've shared it within our group with our students, with the private communities we have and all that. And people absolutely love it. It is always still good though to compare the Amazon, because ... I'm sure you know this, Tommy, the numbers are a lot smaller with MakerWords, as far as what we see per keyword. So we do compare it directly to Amazon. And it's really comparing apples to apples anyway, right, when you're doing it with either MakerWords or Amazon.

Tommy Beringer:

Right.

Dave Kettner:

So if something only has say 30 searches for a keyword and another one has 70, well the 70 has a little more than two times than what you're getting from the 30, right? So you do it that way with the complicated math here that I'm throwing out on this call now. But no, we definitely use that. Love it. And I'm glad you guys put it out, because there hasn't been really anyone putting much tools out for Etsy yet. But I'm sure it's going to be a gold rush for software developers coming down the road here.

Tommy Beringer:

Yeah, because we saw the uptick in Etsy. We've been collecting Etsy keywords for a while now, and Etsy data. So we just put it into play here with MakerWords.

Dave Kettner:

Got it.

Tommy Beringer:

And now it's out there and living and breathing for anyone who wants to go ahead and search up the volume for the search terms on Etsy.

Dave Kettner:

Nice. Right.

Tommy Beringer:

Cool. So Dave, you have given us many, many value bombs. You have pretty much answered all the questions I've had here in my head and on my paper here. And I'm sure there's more, but I love that I have a direct connection to you. I'm very excited to try to dig into this model. And I'm going to take your course and I'm going to try and implement all this stuff.

Dave Kettner:

Awesome.

Tommy Beringer:

At the end of every podcast I like our guest to give our listeners some type of advice that they can go ahead and implement, either into their business or into their own life. So I want to see what you've got for them out there as a very successful entrepreneur.

Dave Kettner:

You need to go out there, first of all, and take action. There's so many people that talk about it. They're out there searching for stuff. They'll find something and then they may start on it and they'll get distracted by something else. It's that new shiny object thing, and they just get distracted with what to do. Or they let life get involved like, "Oh, you know, I have this movie to watch," or, "My show's on tonight." Or maybe this football game is on or whatever. I don't understand because when people tell me ... they're like, "You know, I'm struggling financially. I'm struggling to do my ..." I'm like, "Well how much time are you putting into it?" I don't see people take enough action.

The proof is out there. You guys see people like myself, people like Tommy, many people succeeding online, just making a killing. And it's there for the taking. But you guys can't just sit there and just say, "I'm going to buy this course," or, "I'm going to take this magic pill," and expect it's going to work. You have to go out there and take action on it. And the best way to do it is through a system someone else's that's put a proven path of success together for you, and to find it with the right people. Find it with something that is working now and not something that worked last year. It's what is happening now, what people are using now.

The two biggest things, Tommy, is taking action. It's lack of the action that I don't see enough of in people. And the other thing is following the proven path to success of people that are doing it right now. That's the best way to get to where you want to be, when you can see other people doing it. And this is where I was in 2013 when I came across the Amazon private label model, and I saw other people doing it and I knew that if they can do it then I can do it to. It was just a matter of following that same system and I would get there as long as I took the action.

Tommy Beringer:

Awesome. Great advice, Dave. Thank you. I say make it happen. Make it happen. Take action. My daughters will ask me something, "I want to do this. I want to figure this out." I say, "Make it happen. Figure it out. If you need some help, I'm here to help you." And if you guys need help on this model right here, Dave is here to help you. We have set up a link on our site for you guys to go ahead and purchase his course. So it will be up on our site very soon. Or actually it will be on the site, I should say, when this podcast is out. So you will definitely have the link up there.

And Dave, now where can people reach out to you if they have any questions? Where do you recommend them to go?

Dave Kettner:

Basically, if they go to that link that you're setting up there, when they go to the sales page there it has all the information about the course. Also, it has my contact information. So if they want to, they can scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and it'll say contact us. And that is an email that goes directly to me. And my email ... and if you want to put this in there, that would be fine too. It's Dave at the name of our course. So it's [email protected]. That goes directly to me. So any questions that you have regarding that, feel free to send an email and I'd be happy to help you out. If you have questions about the course, you have questions about the program, more than happy to help you with that.

And then once people get involved with us we have a private community that we work and we can communicate that way and whatnot. If other people want to connect with me, Skype is another way you can get a hold of me. My user name is just my name with a period. So Dave.Kettner. And it's spelled K-E-T-T-N-E-R. You can do it that way. I try to stay away from FaceBook. I think we're going away from FaceBook. But you can search for me on there as well. I have an author page, Dave Kettner. You can search me out there. There's plenty of ways to get a hold of me. But I'm all about helping people succeed. Like I said, I believe in the abundance mindset. We live in a world of abundance. It's just people have to be willing to go out there and want to achieve it. It's there for the taking. Just go out there and make it happen for yourself.

I like how you said about your daughters, make it happen. And the same thing for all you guys that are listening to this. Make it happen for you. It's there for the taking. Don't complain about things. Go out there and make it happen, because it's there for you. You just have to go out there and want to make it happen for yourself.

Tommy Beringer:

That's right. That's right. Thank you so much for those words, Dave. And again, thank you so much for taking the time out of your very, very busy day, especially just after your wife just had treatment. And we want to wish her all the best. Send some prayers her way.

Dave Kettner:

Thank you.

Tommy Beringer:

And definitely, Dave, we need to do this again. I really loved having you on and I was very excited to shoot this podcast. But we got to go. We got to wrap this up. We got to give you your time back. I like to keep my podcast short and sweet, but since this was very value-packed I know we almost hit 40 minutes here. But again, thank you so much, Dave. I really appreciate your time.

Dave Kettner:

My pleasure, Tommy. Thanks for having me on. And I enjoyed getting to know you better as well. So thanks again and thank you everyone who was listening here today.

Tommy Beringer:

Absolutely. Thanks, Dave. Talk to you soon.

Dave Kettner:

All right. Bye-bye.

Tommy Beringer:

Bye. All right. Thank you guys so much for listening. And if you got any value out of this podcast at all, please let us know at the place that you listen to it at, whether it be iTunes, Stitcher, whatever it is. Give us some love. Give us an awesome review and let us know maybe some things you want us to talk about on the next podcast. Til next time, guys, stay awesome and be awesome.

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