Nick Shucet (00:05.104)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet. Today we've got Leslie on the show with Riverbend. What's up, Leslie? Good to chat with you. I hope everything's going well on your end.

Lesley Hensell (00:20.214)

Hey Nick, so excited to be here. It's always good to be in the presence of my MDS friends.

Nick Shucet (00:26.296)

Yeah, it's a great community and we're glad you're a part of it too. I'm excited to bring you on the show here and talk about some things that you're seeing going on in the industry on your end that I think only you get a unique perspective of. 

I just want to give you a chance to introduce yourself as well and talk a little bit about you. I know you're the co-founder of Riverbend and that's how a lot of the guys in MDS will know about you. 

You've also got a new book coming out as well and it's called the Amazon Incubator Grow Your Business or Hatch a New One. You said that that's going to be going more toward a newer audience, right?

Lesley Hensell (01:07.658)

Absolutely. The book is really for newer sellers and you MDS folks are all really smart. MDS events are the most challenging events I ever attended because you ask me the hardest questions for real. 

This isn't a book for your audience, but I know you folks have friends who ask you about selling on Amazon. If you would consider sending them a link to the book, I'd appreciate it. It's called The Amazon Incubator. You can find it at

It's selling at all the major bookstores. We've got links to all of the different bookstores. The principle behind it, y'all know that I am someone who can tell every horror story that ever existed about Amazon. 

I could probably for 24 hours straight tell you all the bad things about selling on Amazon. Yet, I still believe Amazon is the greatest small business incubator in the history of the world. It just is.

Selling on Amazon is so much harder than it was back in 2010 when I started. 

It was just the Wild West. You could throw up any product that you found at a liquidation grocery store and make money. You've got to have a plan. Have a real business plan from the beginning. 

Treat it like an honest-to-god business and then start to outsource as quickly as you can if you want to make money and not be tied to it like some ball and chain. So that's really what the book is. 

It's a basic blueprint for people who don't want to go the Lamborghini route like everything is a drop shipping scam or a do it my way, my formula, give me $10,000 and you're going to have a Rolex and a Lamborghini and never work. 

This is a much more realistic, sustainable business plan if you will. If someone walks through the book, they can very simply put together an Amazon business plan and get going.

Nick Shucet (03:00.716)

Nice. I like it because I agree with you, Leslie. I still think it's a good opportunity. Gotten harder. Back in the day, it was stupidly easy. There was this period where you could screw up every day on Amazon and make money still. 

I think around 2017, it exponentially started to get harder. I even remember seeing it getting harder in my first year in 2015 when I started, as things moved on. I think it's great and probably a good read for just about anyone. 

I've learned while people in MDS are very smart, we all have our ways of how we got to where we are. We all have a lot of bad habits probably or did at one point in time that we need to work through to get where we want to get. 

A part of that is just really having some foundational, basic principles going on in your business. Sometimes if you try to go advanced without hitting that foundational principle, you can't have that impact that you think it would because you're missing all this down here.

That's been the piece that I've learned as I've tried to grow multiple businesses on Amazon and have what I would call a real business not just an Amazon store.

Lesley Hensell (04:32.918)

That's the goal of the book that you have a real honest-to-gosh business when you're finished instead of just flipping products and then realizing in December you didn't make money the whole year. 

The part of the book I'm most proud of is helping people walk through what kind of seller they want to be. I have these different avatars for different sellers. I want to be the big brand ambassador or I want to be the hustler.

I have seven different avatars to walk through and think about which one of those am I, which one of those fits my lifestyle, and talk about goals. It's so hard when you get in the hustle every day to think about goals. 

Is this really what I want to be? Is this how I want to work? How many jobs or businesses do I want to have? What are my family goals? What are my financial goals long term? Think more holistically. 

A lot of that is really because of the sellers that I work with. Many of them are frantic frazzled and upset when a problem happens. Also, a lot of them have gotten into some of these scammer business models that have put their whole future at risk. 

If you step back and do that planning, you can keep away from the traction of the get-rich-quick that we all know doesn't happen anymore on Amazon.

Nick Shucet (05:53.24)

I tell you what, that's good info. It's funny. I was just on a call this morning with my executive coach. It's funny because you're talking about your book being more geared towards newer sellers. 

One big thing she talked about was our strategic planning, because we're preparing for our annual planning next year, is how we've got to have regular meetings where we're talking about our strategic plans. 

Not during a regular meeting where we’re dealing with issues coming up during the week. We have a level 10 meeting because we do a little bit of EOS-style stuff to deal with week-to-week issues coming up. 

Then we had quarterly and annual planning, but we didn't have a regular cadence set for those more strategic meetings. Just to make sure like, Hey, are we doing what we said we want to do? 

Are we working towards our goal, aligned with our company values, stuff like that? You're so right. It's so easy to lose sight of that stuff when you're dealing with the day-to-day.

Lesley Hensell (07:08.642)

Not to get all touchy-feely on you, because I'm very down to earth and very grounded. Sometimes when you talk about envisioning what you want, that's hard for me. I think that's hard for a lot of entrepreneurs because I'm exactly what you were just saying. 

It can't be part of that other meeting where you're checking off the problems and you're checking off the to-dos. It's got to be separate, and part of the book talks about almost having a meeting with yourself.

I’ve forced myself to do a vision board, which I thought was the dumbest thing I had ever heard of. I made myself do it because a couple of friends of mine were super into it. My vision board is so different from a lot of my friends. 

There's nothing wrong with anyone's preferences, but they've got their super hot car and I've got a couple of ladies who they've got all these fashionable clothes. Just not my thing. Mine is time with my family, working with the nonprofits that we work with, and going on a cool vacation. 

Those are my things. Then business goals too. Making myself do this goofy vision board. Wow, it clarified things for me. When I was done, I was like, why was I so resistant?

Nick Shucet (08:25.844)

It's good stuff to talk to. I think I want to dig into it a little bit more because I have some practice on my end. I think a lot of members will get some value out of it as well. Hopefully some of the newbie sellers also. 

I know we've got some good Amazon stuff to talk to and we're going to get to that as well. You guys hang around for that. I did a vision board this week, too. It's just funny, I feel like there are a lot of coincidences happening in this conversation right now. I have a big whiteboard, so I'm in my office right now. 

Right over in the other room in our house is a big giant whiteboard. Last year, we and all the kids wrote annual goals, but more just like a vision, of where we wanna be this time, right around this time now. It's super interesting to see that.

It's more impactful than from the personal perspective when you look at a personal goal that you set for yourself a year ago, and it's like, okay, did I do this? 

You think about the type of mindset you were in at that time when you put the energy into making that goal is probably pretty important. 

You probably dug pretty deep, and you're like, man, this represents a strong part of myself that I want to cultivate and bring forward next year. I had some fitness stuff on there. I want to be able to do a backflip. 

I didn't get there yet, but I feel like I'm on track. Then the kids are just like our one-year-old. His being able to say a couple of words or being able to walk is up there. Then we've got a bunch of other stuff up there from the kids as well. 

You do have to separate that time because it's an important thing to do. You want to be in the right state of mind to be able to do that. I think it's a big skill. If you can harness that skill and be aware of it, then you can do some pretty cool stuff from your personal life and business life.

Lesley Hensell (10:43.466)

I love that you brought up personal and business because a problem that I have that I know probably everyone listening to this has is you get so focused on the work that you forget why you're doing the work. 

If I ask you why you can tell me, but are you aligning your time that way? There's a lot in the book about that kind of planning and alignment, but the vision board helped me with that too. 

I decided I'm not good at being spontaneous and I'm not good at really focusing on what's something cool I can do with my kids. My last kid's almost out of the house. He's only got two and a half more years with us. 

I want to spend that time. I started putting money in an account every month so that when something cool came up, I would have the money sitting there and there'd be no guilt or weirdness. 

I just bought Sugar Bowl tickets because we're big Longhorn fans and they got in the Sugar Bowl. I bought those tickets. They were ludicrously expensive. It was only because I had the money sitting in that account that when something came up I knew it was the right thing to do. 

That's going to make the family happy. We're going to bond. Another thing you mentioned is fitness. My younger one has goals for his junior and senior year in high school about starting on the football team, and how many impact plays he wants to have per game. 

He's a nose guard. It's all about defense and quickness. He's allowing me, because remember 16-year-old boy, we're doing workouts together right now because we're doing things that are all like Pilates and bar and core and flexibility. 

It's because believe it or not, the vision board and the planning. If we just talked about, I wanna be a starter, that wouldn't get you there, but we broke down all the fitness goals for both of us and found a way we can work out together. 

This also involves him having on a 40-pound vest because that's our equalizer. If we're going to go run, he's got to have a 40-pound vest on or Mommy can't keep up. It's great. Absolutely.

Nick Shucet (12:52.98)

Nice. Man, he's gonna be tough.

Lesley Hensell (12:59.154)

That’s all because of the planning and what matters with my time and what matters with my money. I know football tickets are like blowing money, believe me, I don't just blow a lot of money, but I blew money on something important. That was exciting for me.

Nick Shucet (13:12.108)

It's another good example of how planning allows you to be spontaneous. You didn't know what it was going to be used for, but you just knew that there was going to be something you wanted in the future. 

You didn't want to have the guilt or the weirdness or having to find the money for it. Again, that is a great thing to do in business and your personal life. We had that up for discussion on our strategic planning about cash reserves for each business we have. 

We've got four different ones that we're running right now. When you're running different businesses that are all owned by one overarching company, sometimes you end up sharing funds and stuff like that and services. 

At some point, you've got to make sure that you're assessing each opportunity and minimizing risk for each business. We were talking about having certain money just saved up, saving 2% a month every payout or whatever goes into this envelope, so to say. 

We know we're going to have this problem in the future. Keep staying in stock is a good example that everyone should be able to identify with. If you can have some cash reserves for that time that your product sells 10X and now you've got some money to buy more right away and get it in. 

It's a great thing to be able to do. Again, it's a skill. It's something that seems like, oh, duh, why wouldn't I do that? I think us and myself and I've seen other people in MDS, you just lose sight of that stuff somehow. 

I guess we could chalk it up to what we said earlier, the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living kind of makes you stupid sometimes. You just completely miss something.

Lesley Hensell (15:24.502)

This is still a relatively new business model too. For so long, companies have based their cash reserves on payroll. How many cycles of payroll do we want to have in the bank? That was their largest single expense. 

Maybe it was payroll and plant and equipment if they had rent, fixed expenses, it was all around fixed expenses. Sure. There are consumer goods companies that probably had it around manufacturing runs.

Lesley Hensell (15:53.026)

It's so different with Amazon because of the way that inventory sells and because it is even more highly seasonal than most consumer goods, which are going in a grocery store, people buying them all the time, going in the Walmart, people buying them all the time. 

Because of that, I think it's been really easy for Amazon businesses to not factor that in as well as they should. As long as they can pay for their fourth-quarter inventory, they think they're cool.

Lesley Hensell (16:21.606)

I think it's great to have that cash reserve because the cash reserve, what most people don't realize is that is for success and failure. The cash reserve is there for failure in case you're not selling your inventory and you do have people to pay. 

The cash reserve is there for success because if you don't have enough cash, then you're not going to be able to grow that BSR and expand your market. Amazon is so hard. You can never make a dime off of it if you're trying to grow. 

That's what makes it so challenging. That is a new model. That is not something people have been doing for a hundred years.

Nick Shucet (16:56.608)

That's a really good point. I've had some success realizing that recently, as I've put a lot of thought and energy into planning. You end up reading books to try and become better at the business that unfortunately is based on an old way of doing business. 

Like you said, Amazon's new. There's a lot of new things happening, and it's happening fast, and it's tough to keep up with. What I've come to learn is that I've got to have a little bit of confidence out here where there is no one to look to. 

You just gotta start making stuff up and see if it works and hopefully, when you check in, you're on track to your goal. You know what I'm saying? The one thing that's not different is planning. The better you are at planning, you can know, okay, I'm out here doing some new things. 

Never been done before. Here's how I know I'm on track to where I ultimately wanna be. Boy, there's a lot that goes into that because it's ultimately up to you. What do you want for your life and what do you want for your business?

Lesley Hensell (18:13.322)

It doesn't matter how badly you plan. I don't mean how badly you try to plan, I mean how badly you miss. I think so many of us get afraid to plan because we're like, ah, we're not gonna hit it anyway, or it never goes the way I think it's going to. 

That doesn't matter because if you don't have a plan and try and work to that plan, then you're never gonna figure it out. Then it becomes a matter of adjusting. If you do it enough times, your adjustments become marginal instead of total right turns or turning back the other way. 

It becomes marginal over time. That's a great message that just because your plans are never correct, it doesn't mean they were wrong. It just means you're learning as you just said, Nick, you're learning to plan in an industry that is still learning to plan. 

You're covering new ground and you're covering new ground for your company.

Nick Shucet (19:06.848)

I keep hearing everything my executive coach has been saying all year. I'll say one more and then I'll stop. I promise. She said pilots. She said the flight plans, I think they only go to plan 18% of the time or something but they have to have those plans. 

They still have a checklist. They go through every time they fly, they've got all these checks and balances and measures in place but they hardly ever still go to plan. They just have to be there to course correct. 

That's really what the pilot's job is, to be there to course correct. I think there's a lot of other stuff that comes into there. You can't be good at course correcting if you're trying to do everything in the business. 

That's where you really have to have a team and some operational procedures in place if you really want to either grow your business to significant revenue or maybe you're in it for the lifestyle. 

You want to be able to do things with your kids. Go travel, whatever it may be. I think you need those. You need those types of things in place to get there.

Lesley Hensell (20:22.382)

There are two chapters in the book dedicated to SOPs and how to outsource those SOPs once you've built them. You are dead on because it doesn't matter if it's a lifestyle business or a revenue and growth-focused business. 

Either way, you've got to have team members or you're always going to be limited by yourself. Once you get a certain set of skills, it makes no sense for you to use your $500-an-hour skills to answer customer service messages or to get frustrated and angry. 

There are things in everyone's business that make them angry. You may be someone who gets mad because you don't understand accounting well enough to do your books. There's nothing wrong with that. 

You get mad at customer service messages, you get frustrated by reviews, and you have a particular manufacturer who makes you want to beat your head against a wall. There is no reason for an owner to continue to do the task that makes them upset all the time. 

Once you can let go of those things and either completely change how you do it or outsource it to someone else, it will change your life, because I've had those tasks in my business that make me sad or angry. 

Just admitting it. I smile a lot when I talk to you folks, but sometimes I get some anger in there about some things in the business. I'm such a happier person. I have struggled with hiring a personal assistant for years because I was unwilling to let go of some things. 

This is in Riverbend, not in my Amazon business. All that's outsourced. In Riverbend, a few months ago, I found this personal assistant who is magical and she has completely changed my entire life. 

I am a happier person. Some days I just want to skip around the office. Today she brought me this detailed plan that is on top of the marketing plan we already have for this book. She brought me an additional plan for all this follow-up and all this seeding of things she wants to do and she just came up with it all herself.

Nick Shucet (22:37.984)

It's amazing.

Lesley Hensell (22:40.942)

Then I wanted to leap because all these years I've struggled without her and why did I do that? You just have to find the right person. Then you build an SOP and they take it and go. That is what she does. 

She's amazing. If you all have been holding back, believe me, and she's a VA from the Philippines. She has beautiful written and spoken English and none of you can have her.

Nick Shucet (23:05.364)

Congrats because that's a good find for sure. Absolutely. I think we've dished out some great strategic planning advice and we didn't even plan on that, but hey, it's coming up at the end of the year. 

You guys needed it. You're welcome. All right. We're going to dive into some specific stuff that Leslie gets some really good insight into just because of what you do at Riverbend. I've got a couple of things you mentioned here, brand registry suspension. 

We'll talk a little bit about what you're seeing and how you can run into issues just by using it the right way. You mentioned storage fees may be going down. I'm interested in that, but I don't wanna get my hopes up. 

Inauthentic claims are back, and bin checks at warehouses, looking for offers that might involve review abuse. So, Leslie, I'll let you talk about some of these things that you mentioned and how we can stay away from them, prepare for them, whatever you think is best.

Lesley Hensell (24:17.622)

Let's get started with the brand registry, because this is something that is supposed to be your friend, and Amazon is very quickly turning it into your frenemy. I know all of you MDS folks probably have a brand registry or have a pending brand registry. 

You want to get a brand registry. It's a wonderful tool. One of the best things about a brand registry is the report of violations. You can very easily go in when someone's violating your copyright, your trademark, or they're listing counterfeit products on your listing. 

You can report them and hopefully get them taken down. I don't know what Amazon is doing and why this has gone so wrong. I have more clients than I can count right now who have lost either all of their brand registries or can't add a brand. 

Or they can't add users or they can't add ASINs or they can't report a violation because Amazon says they've been abusive. Now, there are two reasons this can happen. Well, okay, three. One is you were abusive and that means you're making false complaints. 

That's usually not the thing though, not with the good people that I work with. Number two could be that someone has admin privileges on your brand, like an agency or someone, and they've also got privileges on other brands. 

They have been abusive on the other brands or someone else has been abusive. It's like this terrible spider web. My recommendation at this point is to keep a very tight grip on who has access to your brand registry. 

If someone even that you trust or think isn't gonna do anything wrong, if they also have access to other brand registries that have abusive people on them, that can take you out, which is so screwed up.

Unfortunately, since all of this is relatively new at Amazon, the appeal process is terrible. Frontline never reinstates. Never. Maybe I've had one out of the 30 that I've worked on in the last few months, one that frontline reinstated, all the rest goes through executive escalation.

Some of them take months. Lock it down of who you let on your brand registry. The third reason you can lose these privileges is Amazon is suspending you for using it correctly. Quick example, the seller made two complaints of copyright infringement two years apart. 

Okay, that's the only time he's ever made a complaint. They were two years apart. In both cases, the seller that infringed his copyright removed the infringing image and apologized to him. 

Amazon took him down for being abusive. I'm still appealing that I have been for two months.

Nick Shucet (27:11.22)


Lesley Hensell (27:13.426)

It's insane. My best advice is if you are using report a violation, which you should, especially if there are counterfeit offers on your listings, document the heck out of all of it. Make the test buys, and do the unboxing video, like the influencers do, but not in the fun, happy way. 

Do an unboxing video where you show the package, you open it up, you're showing what comes out, and you have all the documentation of exactly what has happened. 

If you have any correspondence with an infringer like that client I was talking about with the copyrighted images, document it all. Keep everything, screenshot everything to prove that you weren't doing anything wrong.

Nick Shucet (27:59.864)

I know I've had like some funny stuff happening with the brand registry on my end. I haven't had that happen to me, but Ro, who's a member, actually had a big problem with it and had a lot of back-and-forth messages as to why and how to properly navigate it. 

I don't know what's caught. It seemed something changed way up. Now, Seller Central has this SOP, and the people way down here, just follow the SOP. That's all they do. 

That's my guess. I think something has changed at the federal level or something when it comes to enforcing intellectual property. Now Amazon's taking it more seriously. I don't know. That’s the people who could put the squeeze on Amazon, is the federal government. 

There are not very many people they listen to, but man, with supplements, if the FDA rolls something out, then Amazon is going to put the squeeze on you, and I think that this is what's happening with intellectual property. 

Be careful with that. You don't want to lose that for a long period and have to deal with this nonsense.

Lesley Hensell (29:24.126)

There is some black hat stuff going on too. I've had two cases now where one of the infringers said if you don't retract your report of violation against me, I will make sure that you lose your report of violation privileges, and golly gee if that didn't happen.

Nick Shucet (29:40.012)

Then there's that too. You still have that side of the table to deal with. Oh, man. All right. Well, what's up with storage fees? You mentioned those might be coming down.

Lesley Hensell (29:55.458)

I have some crazy hot rumor gossipy stuff y'all, but it's really good stuff that we all need to hear right now because fourth-quarter storage fees this year were insane. Just to throw this out there, what frustrates the heck out of me is Amazon overbuilt its storage. 

They're out there trying to sublease facilities. They have too much space for a change and yet they still did this. They had a whole lot of focus groups. They had some focus groups and some seller feedback sessions. 

Some of these were with extremely large sellers and big brands. Those folks proceeded to rip Amazon's heads off about the storage fees and say, look, you've created this no-win situation. 

We can't drip inventory because we can't trust you to receive it appropriately during the fourth quarter. You're not going to receive it fast enough. Then we have to send it all in there. Then our storage fees are hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, which is insane. 

You've created this no-win situation. The conflict was so huge with many large brands saying that they are not going to use FBA anymore, that they have been promised that there is going to be a revisiting of the fee structure for 2024. 

Now, if that happens, it would be super amazing. This is from rather highly placed human beings that I'm hearing this, so I'm hoping it is going to happen.

Nick Shucet (31:38.788)

Nice. Well, me too. I know a lot of sellers it's hard to deal with that, but the cost per click on PPC as well, has been going way up, especially with some new UI stuff they've done on the advertising console. 

It's a lot easier to raise bids based on Amazon suggestions. It seems like things have just crept up a lot since that rollout. Then of course you've got this time of the year, but honestly, it's a squeeze any time of the year. 

It'd be nice to get some relief on either one of those. You said inauthentic claims as well. What can we do to protect ourselves from those?

Lesley Hensell (32:24.354)

Back in the day, I've been writing appeals for 100 years in the Amazon world. Back 18 years ago when you got suspended, pretty much the reason you got suspended was inauthentic. 

Then they stopped inauthentic account suspensions and they would only do ASIN suspensions for inauthentic. Well, inauthentic account suspensions are back. What's challenging for a lot of private-label folks is that they don't always have good invoices. 

It behooves you to set up a system right now today that if Amazon asks you for your invoices, you can pull something out. If you're the manufacturer of your product, that can mean your contract manufacturer, but it can't say that it's a commercial invoice.

You need to get your manufacturer to send you invoices in the format Amazon wants right now, and have them on file. They need to be standard invoices that show they are paid with a balance of zero. 

Your contract manufacturers want your business. They're going to do this for you. You just have to get it set up where every month or every manufacturing run, you're getting this magical invoice that says the ASIN, have it in the description, product description, the ASIN, the correct quantity. 

The balance of zero says that you paid it. Also, know that you can get your proof of payment quickly. For example, if you do wire transfers, know where you have those records. That's how most people pay if there's some other electronic form of payment. 

You want to show a payment that's the same amount on that invoice so that Amazon believes it's real. Now, if you're doing the kitting or the manufacturing of your product, there is a way around this.

You can give Amazon the inputs. Once I had a client who was a candy manufacturer and they made those horrible candies called Boston Baked Beans, they're peanuts with this terrible red candy coating on them. 

If you love them, I'm so sorry, but they're, ugh. What we did was we sent Amazon an invoice for peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, labor, and red dye, I think. 

We showed time sheets and red dye because they'd already gone through this several times with Amazon before coming to us. Amazon wasn't accepting anything. We're like, here's the recipe. 

Here are our invoices for the ingredients and here are our time cards and they reinstated it. Just be able to prove that you bought stuff and you paid for it.

Nick Shucet (35:03.436)

Good old Amazon. Any weird file-type things? It's crazy that I even have to ask this, but they won't take a JPEG, but they'll take a PDF. I've had that happen.

Lesley Hensell (35:20.638)

I always prefer PDFs. Don't edit the PDF ever. Ask your manufacturer to edit the PDF because they'll figure it out. 

The one thing that you can do is if you have a PDF that has a whole lot of line items and you're trying to point out one particular line item, it is okay to highlight that. 

Put a box around it in a different typeface in red so it's obvious you're pointing instead of trying to edit ASIN, B-O-O-1, blah blah blah, as long as it's clear that you're labeling it for their convenience. 

We do annotate all invoices we send to Amazon that way, but it's always in red lettering and highlights, yellow highlights so it's clear that we're trying to be of assistance, not that we're trying to edit.

Nick Shucet (36:11.092)

Good stuff. Good stuff. Last one, you mentioned bin checks at the warehouses are happening to see if you've got any offers for reviews.

Lesley Hensell (36:22.378)

For a long time, I think folks thought that if they put an insert in a product and it was in the box and the box was sealed, they would be safe from Amazon knowing that there was a card and they're saying, give us a five-star review and I'll send you a free product. 

Amazon's doing big checks now. Some of these are based on customer complaints. Some of them are based on randomness. Some of them are based on appeals. For example, a customer complains or a competitor complains. 

They suspend your ASIN and they want you to do something about it and they will go out there and open the box and look. They're also randomly opening boxes, especially in certain categories. 

You already know what one of those categories is, Nick. Supplements. 

Nick Shucet (37:10.464)


Lesley Hensell (37:17.094)

That is the number one category for these shenanigans. It's top of the list. It's also so easy because a lot of times it's just a bottle in a box or they put it on the label on the top of the bottle, but they're looking at the warehouse. 

In cases where they find it, here's the really bad part. Let's say you get suspended or you get a 72-hour, we're going to suspend you, give us a plan of action. You give a plan of action of how you're never going to do the bad thing again. 

They'll say, remove all your inventory, because we went and looked in the warehouse and we see that you have this please give us a five-star review for 75% off or whatever. They see that in the products and they will make you remove all the products. 

Then you know what happens. When you remove the products, there's a delay in how long before you can send in new product and first all the removal orders have to be executed. You can end up with no stock at Amazon for 45 to 90 days. 

Don't do it, man. They're trying to make it prohibitively expensive to make those requests in that manner.

Nick Shucet (38:15.56)

Dang. Figure something else out.

Nick Shucet (38:30.324)

I'm all for leveling the playing field on Amazon. I think that the hard part is they have these rules that they want you to play by, but it's tough to enforce that across the board. What you end up with is some accounts get shut down and some don't. 

Some ASINs get down and some don't. Every time I hear something like that, there's a part of me that's like, oh, that sucks. Then there's a part of me that's like, well, at least they're trying to level the playing field. 

I'm a fan of that as well. If everyone can just by the same rules and know what the rules are, and those that don't play it by the rules end up dealing with consequences at some point. I think it plays out like that. 

Anyway, it's just a bit of a longer cycle. Amazon eventually catches up.

Lesley Hensell (39:22.934)

I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, I know a few different brand owners, and they are all in supplements, who have permanently lost their very lucrative brands. It's because they did it multiple times. 

In those cases, it wasn't they did it one time. Oopsie, learned my lesson. It was three times later, and so it happened. My biggest concern right now is with the level playing field. Amazon is not enforcing equality across borders. 

That is a huge problem. I think it's going to continue to be a problem. That's what has my hackles up about Amazon these days, is unequal enforcement for sellers of different nationalities.

Nick Shucet (40:09.564)

That's not good. Yeah. Not. I haven't even really heard about that happening, but it's not surprising and it would suck to deal with that as well. That would be terrible actually. That'd be bad.

Lesley Hensell (40:29.642)

In some of those cases, we're relying on government agencies, because I've got products in the health space, beauty space, and in the home goods that are regulated products. 

Regulated by the Department of Energy, regulated by the FDA, some overseas sellers are violating the law because they aren't selling a product that is legal in the United States. 

It has certain requirements. The US sellers are suffering because you've got sellers from overseas selling a cheaper version. Why is it cheaper? It's cheaper because it doesn't meet the legal requirements. 

We've had to do a combination of going to government agencies and then telling Amazon we're going to government agencies. Then that's put a little fear in them and they move, but I think long haul that's going to become the biggest problem for US sellers.

Nick Shucet (41:30.636)

That just speaks to why someone like you and Riverbend can be so helpful for these things. You guys know what buttons to push on that end when Amazon's doing something that seems unfair. 

I know that's one thing that you guys do best. You're dealing with one of those scary scenarios where it's impacting your business and there's some black hat, grayish stuff happening. You guys seem to know how to handle those things. 

I've seen it happen time and time again in MDS. We've used you guys a couple of times ourselves. If you're dealing with any of that stuff, I would just go straight to working with Riverbend, honestly. 

That's what I always tell people. Leslie, thanks for coming on again. Thanks for sharing everything. Again, I enjoyed chatting about the strategic planning stuff.

That was cool that you were working on some of those same things as well. 

Good chat. Let everyone know where they can find you if they're looking for more information. I imagine we can find the book on Amazon. Is it already out there?

Lesley Hensell (42:44.254)

It is, it's already on Amazon. If you go to, we are putting a form on there for pre-orders where you're gonna get some bonuses to download, which is super awesome. 

All we want for Christmas is to hit the top 100 business books on Amazon. I would love to have that happen. It would be super exciting for our community. You can also find us at 

Very exciting. We have a form on there that you can fill out. We also have the phone number. You can call us. People answer the phone. They talk to you about your problems in real-time. That way we can either tell you if it's something we can deal with and help you. 

If not, we've got so many partners just like MDS will find someone to help you find someone who can help you with your problem. Then over on LinkedIn also, if y'all want to hit me up on Linkedin at Lesley Hensell. 

DM me with questions anytime. Always happy to help my MDS pals.

Nick Shucet (43:49.444)

Right on. Thank you, Leslie. Talk to you again soon.

Lesley Hensell (43:52.012)

Thank you. Appreciate it.

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