5 Killer E-Commerce Selling Tips From “Momtrepreneur” Joy Packard
November 17, 2020
If you’re lucky enough to be counted among the “e-commerce elite”, success comes with a stereotype. More than one 7-figure Amazon seller has been known to speak out about pulling all-nighters, skipping the gym, and hustling at the cost of family time.
Amazon seller Joy Packard wants to kill this stereotype.
As a nationally renowned speaker, Amazon seller and business coach, Joy has spent more than a decade deep-diving into the world of Amazon, Ebay and Shopify. She also runs the Podcast “Joy Reveals’, does personal development retreats, and manages multiple streams of e-commerce income.
I sat down with Joy to talk about her business-building process, her bustling coaching career and why she’s so adamant about being a “momtrepreneur.”
Tell me a little bit about your eCommerce background, specifically how you started selling on Amazon. What did the process look like for you?
I've been selling online for almost seven years now. Before I sold on Amazon I was actually an online marketer with a few different revenue streams. I would get emails all the time about joining different online courses, but one day a specific one about Amazon selling caught my eye. As I read the email it resonated; I remember thinking that it was the kind of thing I enjoyed anyway (I really love shopping finding deals). I thought the business model sounded like something I could do, so I talked it over with my husband and we collectively decided I was going to go “all in”. It was a private label course, so that’s where I started.
I learned a lot finding my first private label product. I was at a conference when I found this one particular product - a bamboo pillow - that I purchased wholesale for $6 or $7. I put it up on Amazon and it instantly did really well, so I created my own listing and brand name. I was selling $200+ a day in product and thinking ‘this is real!” Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Competitors started popping up and doing black hat stuff to kill the listing. Amazon caught on to this and said the product was inauthentic even though my brand (Bamboo Pillow Perfect) was on the listing. Amazon suspended the listing on my account and within 6 weeks the sales rank dropped to 260,000. At the same time, other sellers came on and listed their own products. It put me in a terrible position, but I learned my lesson.
After this tough break, I found retail arbitrage, which was basically me and my best friend going out to the stores like Walmart, Ross and Marshalls and learning how to buy cheap items to resell. For a long time the process was basically shopping three days a week and prepping and shipping two days a week. At the beginning we were just shipping out of my little bitty office. Soon this moved to my dining room table, but I knew I needed to do something different because when I finally hit $15k in monthly sales and eventually we moved into a rented space.
What is the most important decision you've made in your e-commerce journey?
There are a few things:
First and foremost, outsource what you can. At some point, I realized I couldn’t make my Amazon sales grow unless I had the help of other people. I hit something like $15,000 a month in sales but I couldn’t move beyond it. The business really started to scale when I outsourced my packing and shipping. In order to keep growing, I realized I needed to outsource, so I got someone to help with my packing and shipping. After that, I was able to start shopping three or four days a week instead of the two. It was a huge, pivotal move.
One of the other outsourcing-related things I speak about at different conferences is virtual assistants -- I use a few to keep myself organized because I deal with so many tasks every day. I can’t emphasize the importance of writing down your everyday tasks to figure out what you can outsource to free up your time.
Second, know your numbers and start clean -- you need to have a good business and accounting setup. You need to really know what’s in your inventory. Lots of sellers think they’re making money when they’re actually not. There are all sorts of costs new Amazon sellers don’t think about: shipping fees, Amazon fees, error fees, etc.
Online selling has changed a huge amount since you started. What would you do differently if you had to start your Amazon business from scratch?
Amazon sellers are spread too thin. I would pick a system and really learn it, and follow it daily; turn down all the distractions and don’t jump around to the next big thing all the time.
If I had to start over today I would absolutely simplify. It really takes focus to target one process before moving onto several; many Amazon sellers are spread too thin. I would pick a system and really learn it, and follow it daily; turn down all the distractions and don’t jump around to the next big thing all the time.
Also, I would realize sooner that there will always be some failures in this business; no e-commerce seller gets by without making mistakes. Sometimes I’ve had things that flat out fail.. These days, I spend a lot of time getting my mindset in order and listening to personal development rather than focusing on the failures.
What's your best advice for new e-commerce sellers who are launching Amazon businesses in 2020?
Be careful with capital, and try not to go into debt even though it’s hard. I started with products in my home that were new. I put them on Amazon and Ebay, which allowed me to raise about $1500 in capital. A lot of people have gotten in this business with $300-$500 and expanded that by making really good decisions. Really pay attention to what you’re doing and don’t be sloppy.
No matter what selling method you use, it can be a process. You’ll make mistakes. There was one time I did a wholesale buy that looked great on paper. The rank was fantastic so I dropped whole bunch of money on a couple of pallets. It flopped. It was probably $500 worth of stuff and I just ended up just donating to get it out of my warehouse.
Any last pieces of advice?
It is super important to make your listing stand out whether you’re doing wholesale or private label. l always do something to make my listings stand, even if it’s small.
Also, find balance. I have an everyday list of what I need to be doing. Each day I figure out the most important tasks that need to get done. I don’t beat myself up if I can't get all of them done. You just have to balance out your time -- if you can get three things done every single day you're doing good, as long as you're moving forward.
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