Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet and today we've got Rolando Rosas back on the show for a second time. He's with Global Tech Worldwide. Ro, it's good to have you back on, man. How have you been?
Hey, I'm doing great, Nick. How are you? Good to see you again.
Man, it's definitely good to chat. I'm doing good. Life has been amazing, and busy, but I'm really enjoying everything I've got going on.
Well, you know as an Amazon seller or an online seller I don't think you have a dull day, right? You know stuff and that's being kind right instead of using shit, stuff happens and it's unavoidable right if you want to be selling and running a business on Amazon. I'm sure you could agree with that.
It's always hectic, always something popping up, something new to kind of figure out, which certainly keeps it interesting. Personally, I like dealing with those things. It's a tough dichotomy, I think, because the more I have planned, the less I want to deal with stuff that pops up, but if I'm left to my own natural operating procedure, I really thrive on those problems that come up out of nowhere. It's like, all right, come on, we got to go time to fix it.
As the boss of a business that sells on Amazon, you're the head of the fire department. There are fires that are going on all the time, bigger, some smaller. I was talking to Chad Rubin a couple of weeks ago. He's sold his last venture and is onto something else now. He said to me, you know, I really enjoy not having to put out fires every day. That was the best part about selling his company.
He still has an Amazon presence selling I think air filters but the grind that comes with having multiple companies, in his case that were on Amazon is it's a lot of work. You know what, Nick, I think that's a good place to start. People that want to be on Amazon are a pet peeve of mine that I see every single freaking day how people are, let's call them influencers online.
Anybody in particular, but influencers selling and peddling either a course or an ebook. One, they're not really sellers. Two, the advice is poor, and three, a lot of them are saying, you can get into it and it's just passive income. You have no care in the world, no fires, and you're really gonna put in minimal hours to get this thing going. That is the worst advice possible. If anybody's doing that and trying to sell you something, run away, that's what I say.
100% man. It's a great business to get into. There's a lot of opportunity and you can certainly work from anywhere but man, you're working around the clock. We got VAs in the Philippines. They come in at 7 PM my time. They're shooting me messages. I'm getting sucked back in. It becomes a force of its own. I think the golden days of getting lucky on Amazon are gone, man. It's not there anymore.
Well, the times have changed. Amazon has evolved. If you think of Amazon as somewhat of a living, breathing organism, it was an amoeba 20 years ago. Now it's somewhere maybe some kind of species that's further along. It is not going to be the same 10 weeks from now as it was 10 years from that have passed. I think like what you said, the easy days, they’ve also learned.
There are people wearing all kinds of black hats and they've recently sent people to jail. The FTC is rounding people up for things that probably were okay, five or 10. You could pay people for reviews. You can't do that. You could manipulate reviews. You can't do that. For those folks that think you could do that today, ouch, you can't, or you could, but you're gonna find that you're gonna be at the wrong end of the stick soon.
I think one thing I've learned, I was never super black hat. I'll certainly blur the lines a little bit and rules are meant to be broken type of guy, but there's a certain line I won't cross because at some point you're better off just putting the energy into doing a really good job at marketing your product or creating a really good product. It's just a better play.
Right, and not only that, I heard this from one of our MDS members, I just rather sleep at night a little bit better, not having to worry about like, ooh, when is this party gonna end or if I get caught doing something like that? If you're in this for the long run, you're in this as part of your business and you want to sleep better at night, it may seem like you're getting left behind or left out of the party, but eventually a lot of the more egregious black hat techniques, they either get cut off now much more quickly than before, or your account is done.
They're not playing those games anymore on Amazon. They're like, you're out.
I don't know about you, but I'm not one of those guys who can spin up 10 accounts overnight. I don't know how some of those guys do.
No, sir. I don't have an art. No, it's, it's just totally not worth it. We've been on the platform for over 10 years and you know this, you have days that are ups that are down. They have rollouts that are good and rollouts that are horrible. I'm sure you've probably heard of what's been happening to a lot of folks who have gone through the INFORM Act verification.
That was the debacle. I gotta say, I've seen a lot of rollouts in my time. This was one of the poorly handled rollouts. There's no other way but to say that. I've talked to folks inside of Amazon. They admit that this was not well executed. That's not putting anything, any bad spin on it. That's just the way it is.
I got lucky with that. I don't know, I thought I was going to have all these types of problems. I didn't have one problem. I got lucky. I just did what they asked me to do and I had to switch. The hardest part I had was I had to switch my address.
You're one of the lucky ones.
I had to get some information changed because I had some old stuff in my bank account. I just had to update that and that was it.
I'll say on the Walmart side, it was two clicks and it was over. They verified instantly. That was really seamless, very easy, very painless. Yes, on Walmart's side. On the Amazon side, I had to wait for something like, I saved this just in case it's a memento, the address verification card that came in the mail. That was actually quicker than the bank verification, although we never changed the bank details.
That was really frustrating. Eventually, it got turned on, but I want to say this, Nick, for anybody who's listening to this, who has had an Amazon account in the UK and is not actively selling or sold very little because we went through this ourselves recently and I want to help out any seller that I can with what I'm about to tell you. We found ourselves with our funds being withheld globally across the board.
It had to do with the Amazon UK team and the payments team. They're trying to crack down on bad actors. I'm all for that, but they did not notify the US side of this effort because, for weeks, nobody at Amazon US support knew of what was going on. I kept saying, hey, why is our disbursement being frozen? Why is, in the technical term, account-level reserve?
Why is all our money in it? We never, maybe there's like a hundred bucks there cause somebody did a chargeback or something like that. Nothing to get worried about, but why is all our money, and then nobody knew. Somehow somebody posted something like, you should check out your UK account. I went and looked, sure enough. Then I asked, hey, what's going on?
Why, yep, we're holding all funds because you're not verified in the UK. It turns out that they didn't start that way. Back in March when they were trying to get verification going, they said, hey, we're going to deactivate your UK account if you're not verified. I will admit, I ignored those because we weren't selling for over a year in the UK. So what? Turn it off.
Well, they went from that position to in May at the same time the INFORM Act verification was happening so that's why this caused a lot of confusion. At the same time, they rolled out this new stance. By the way, we just froze all your disbursements worldwide because you're not verified in the UK. It's an after-the-fact notification. If that was going to be the position, they should have said that back in March.
Hey, get in compliance, get verified. Otherwise, we're going to freeze all your accounts. I think a lot of sellers would have avoided the problems they're facing today, had that come out. It just got sprung on it. I have to tell you, I went through every notification we got from the UK. Not one of them said anything about this new position about freezing accounts worldwide.
If you are mysteriously not getting paid from the US side and you still have not found out why and Amazon US support has no clue, I'm telling you, go look at your Amazon UK or Amazon Germany account or any of those EU accounts. Look at the performance notifications, go through the verification process, which is a mess, by the way, worse than the US, and start pushing the information in to get verified because it's gonna take a while.
Nice. I'm glad you mentioned that. I know you had also talked about a member in the group, helping you out a little bit with that situation. I want to get to that in a few minutes, but I think this also touches on what you mentioned earlier with the drop shipping thing because let's say you are one of these people who's thinking about putting in $15,000 to this drop-ship automation business.
They start you up an Amazon account. It's like this would be a great question to ask those guys when you're on the phone. How are you guys dealing with the INFORM Consumer Act? How do you guys deal with this process going on in the UK? Chances are they don't even know about it because they're not real sellers.
No doubt. There are so many people right now who want to start a side hustle and that's commendable, that's honorable. You should if you can, but no.
I think there's probably a few other things. Go ahead, Ro.
Oh no, I was going to say, you got to know what you're getting into with Amazon. Let me just tell you a little bit about why I feel so strongly about talking about this today because I remember back in 2001, when my company, no, let me check myself 2002. Now it's become clear. It's getting further and further away. It becomes a little foggy.
2002, I was laid off and the company said, hand in your laptop, we're letting you go. They had been laying people off because that was during the telecom bust part of the economy. Boom. I got into my own side hustle, which is what I've now turned from a side hustle to a full-blown business. You have to know what you're getting into if you want to have an Amazon business.
If you want to be successful at it, I will tell you. You know this Nick, it is not a passive income situation. You must, if you want to make this successful, you want to get to that seven-figure and eight-figure that everybody likes throwing those numbers around. You want to get there. You cannot do it sitting remotely on a beach. I love the fact that I can work remotely right now.
I'm talking to you remotely. When we get done, I'm going to be talking to my team, but you will be working. You want to master the things that will take you to seven figures and beyond. That cannot be in a passive mode. You can't accomplish that on Amazon. I don't know. You know what, Nick, tell me of one seller that has started off and exited being completely passive on Amazon.
I can't find one. No one. It doesn't work. If you're listening to this and somebody told you and you paid $5,000 or more for a course, ouch, because you're going to need to do a lot of heavy lifting, especially early on Nick. It's a steep learning curve. Guess what? Here's the other thing the other day, Amazon, if you go on Instagram or have an Instagram account, Amazon is running ads on Instagram and other platforms as well, day and night, to sell on Amazon.
You have folks on one end that say, hey, you could do this, easily passive income, go to Alibaba, buy something for 20 cents, sell it on Amazon. You'll be on page one, baloney. On the other end, you have Amazon actively recruiting new sellers every single day joining the platform. If between the both of them, a misconception on one side with the passive side and Amazon actively recruiting, you have new recruits coming in all the time into the platform.
I want to just say, if you're in that position, welcome to the club, but get ready to work.
100%. I was trying to find this. I got hit by an ad the other day. I was the Titan network. It was like a three-step checklist to get to page one.
Oh my. I think they put you through the funnels.
I don't think I'm going to be able to find it. It's not easy. it's a great opportunity. You can make good money. You can certainly build a team and delegate tasks and maybe things get a little easier for you and you can stay focused on the things you enjoy doing and what you're best at. But man, I'm seven years in and I feel like I'm just getting to that point where we're rapidly hiring and we have a team of people underneath. Then there's always gonna be those things that I love to do. There's a reason why I got into this business. Part of it is just because I love certain aspects of it. Whether I have nothing to do or a lot to do, my mind gravitates towards those things. I'm fortunate in that sense that I got myself into a situation where there's really an outlet for me to express my true self through my business, which is great.
For a lot of people who are looking for that next thing, that next evolution in their career or the next chapter in their lives, Amazon can serve and fill that thing like what you're saying. I think the thing that doesn't get a lot of amplified from a voice side of things is how you really need to jump in. You need to be all in to really make this go like you're saying, you need a team.
You could start out by yourself and take those steps slowly to understand the platform because it is not like Shopify. It is not like selling on Google. It's not like selling on eBay. That happened to us. The first year I think we sold $7,000. We were already selling a whole lot on our own Big Commerce store. This is before Shopify. To us, Amazon was like, ah it's a joke, nobody's buying these electronic products on Amazon, certainly not businesses, and we were wrong because we were looking at it like we look at it from our Big Commerce store. Once a year went by, and we're like, eh, what's so different about it? Well, there's a lot of nuance. There's a lot that goes into it, and I would say, I don't know, Nick, do you agree that It's become more, the word I would use is sophisticated.
It was simpler. it's become more sophisticated and to really take a business on Amazon to that next level, you have to adjust to the sophistication now with the data, with the ads, with the images, with the listings, and all the other assets, with the team building that comes with getting to that next level on Amazon.
Yep, man, I remember when I started my Amazon account. All I did was create a username and password. I think that was it. 15 minutes later, all right, I'm an Amazon seller. Now, I saw this guy. A friend of mine hit me up a year ago. He's out in Norfolk, Virginia, it's about 20 minutes from me. He had an office space, he wanted to know if I wanted an office space in exchange to help him out a bit on Amazon.
I said, sure, we'll give it a shot but man, he had to verify his account. I was sitting on the phone call with him with the face-to-face verification. They made him pull out his wallet, and take out his ID. I'm like, all right, show him his ID. Then he made him, he said, no, put it up like this and spin it around like a helicopter. I was like, no way. Did he just tell you to spin it around like a helicopter?
I saw that somewhere. One of the legal folks we use, his name is CJ, and he said if you're going through the video verification process, be prepared for an interrogation because that's what they're doing now. You and I didn't have to, just we submitted stuff, and here's our bank accounts and checked it off, done. Today, be prepared for interrogation.
They will ask you, who are your suppliers? Where do you get this? Show us invoices. That's a new one to me. Show me the wallet and spin it around in the helicopter style.
I couldn't believe it, man. I'm glad I was in there for that one though. I wouldn't have believed it if someone had told me that I would have been hell no, man get out of here You're lying.
Oh my god, you had to be there to hear. I'm glad you mentioned that because no, what are you talking about? No, it's, it's ridiculous. There's no way that can happen. Amazon has evolved. It used to be, let's say again, it was an amoeba many years ago. Now it's some intelligent life form. I don't know, maybe a chimp, an ape, a fish, I don't know, somewhere in the middle in there. It keeps evolving.
The fact that there have been a lot of folks that have been bad actors on the platform and the incentives for a long time was really skewed in one way, which led to this situation. If we didn't have bad actors, you wouldn't need to spin your wallet and take the idea out. That would be completely unnecessary but given that the platform has become so big, there are hundreds of millions of prime accounts, both personal and business buyers on the platform.
It's a way to make real dollars. To get to the level where you're making seven figures, I saw something from Marketplace Pulse recently, and it broke down the types of sellers on the platform. Only 1% or less are making seven figures and above. Let's just call that a million dollars. There are very few sellers out of the, it's estimated somewhere between three and five million. Only 1% gets there. Getting there is hard. If it were not hard, you would say 50% of the sellers would be making seven figures and above.
It is not easy. Be prepared to learn. The faster you learn, the faster you can build a team, the faster you have a good team that works with you, that understands the platform, and the faster you can accelerate. Obviously, there are way more tools than there were when we started off. That learning curve can be maybe not as steep as back in the day when you and I went on the platform, but you gotta be ready to put all those pieces in place.
I've talked to really big brands. I talked to a cosmetic brand that runs commercials online and on TV. They had three people dedicated to the Amazon team, two internal and a lawyer. I said, you can't. They’re a multi-billion dollar company, and they had problems. I said you're gonna need to add resources at this level. You gotta add a team, more than just two people because you're gonna get tons of hijackers because they're a big mega brand.
That's one of the things they were facing with. Hijackers and people copying their listings and other issues. Again, you are the chief of police or the chief fire department. You're the chief of the fire department. In the case of Amazon, you need to have a chief of the fire department that's gonna put out fires because they come every single day. Some more than others.
Again, you have to build a team. You want to build a team, start off yourself, learn the platform, and add those pieces. I like being involved in the sales and the design team. That's the thing I get the most out of. Accounting, not as much. We have an outsourced company that handles that for us. Wherever you can give pieces off to a good team or an outsourced agency that can handle some of that for you and you're staying in, if you love design, be in the design part of it.
If you like sales, be involved in sales and marketing. Find those pieces that really do it for you. That's what's going to allow you to be there for multiple years and grow it to seven figures and beyond.
I think that one of the great things about the business that it offers is you have the opportunity to focus on something that you really want to. I think one of the other cool things I learned from Amazon in my early days falls back on the comparison of a job to entrepreneurship or Amazon business in general if you put more into it, you should want to work hard on it because you're going to get a return pretty quickly, especially if you're doing something like drop shipping or retail arbitrage reselling.
If it's a private label it takes a little longer to get things going, but man, reselling, buy it, send it in, sell it, get your money, repeat. That's it. We didn't run ads, we didn't design products, we didn't do any of that when I started. Now we do all of those things, but you should really want to work hard on your business because the great thing about being an entrepreneur is you're not waiting for a meeting at the end of the year to see if you get a 3% raise.
You just make more money, right away from your efforts. It's very rewarding in that sense, which just adds fuel to that motivation to keep you going.
No doubt. When you see the check from Amazon come in, when they pay you, you're like, wow, that's nice. That's nice. Then you're like, can I go to a thousand dollars a day in sales and you work and you're like, oh wow, yeah, we reached that mark. Then you're like, can we get to 10? Oh 10, yes. What about 15? Yeah. 30? Oh yeah. Then you have some days that pop up even higher than that, and it's directly tied to what you're doing on the platform.
You don't have that capability when you work for somebody. I worked for two large companies prior to doing this, and wow, you can't go in and say, boss, can I get a 30% raise this year? That's probably not gonna happen especially working for large companies, where they get five, six, and seven percent raises. That's the norm. 10, 20, 30, 40 percent increase, 50 percent, it's just not happening.
Wanted to just jump back on the drop shipping aspect and reselling. That's how we started. We started as a reseller and still to this day we resell. A lot of people, it blows their minds when I say, we've been reselling electronics for 20 years because it's ultra-competitive, just like some of the supplements and health, those are very competitive categories.
One of the reasons that I could think of how we've been able to do this for over 20 years of reselling now on Amazon is that the bigger brands and I would imagine it's probably for other categories as well, look at Amazon very differently than you and I. You and I are hungry, we're motivated, we're scrappy. Like you said, we're all in, we're invested.
That hustle, that tenacity, that attention to detail is something the bigger brands just throw money at. They have an agency do, just here's half a million dollars, run that for us. They don't have the same incentive, as an agency does not, as scrappy starting entrepreneur that's just hustling for every dollar. That hustle for every dollar is then what leads it to grow from a dollar to 10 to 100 to thousands and tens of thousands and over seven figures.
I think that's why a lot of the aggregators stepped into this space because they thought, you know what, these are some good sellers that are making money, but we know more. We got the smart people behind us. What if we turned that into a seven-figure business to eight figures? They found out that you need a part of the equation, you can't get rid of the founder of the heart and soul of a company that's selling on Amazon and replace it with a bunch of people looking at spreadsheets.
I think they found that out the hard way. There are some really good brands you could probably put on autopilot, but for the majority of them to continue growing, you need that scrappy mentality, like every day's a new day, and we're clawing and scratching, and that's what keeps I would say the difference between a lot of entrepreneurs on Amazon and then the rest of them.
I imagine something so simple to show an example of what you're talking about. I'm sure you've experienced this Ro where you encounter a problem on Amazon, you open a case, and Seller Support tells you something. Now, how many people are just going to, they're just going to be like, oh, Seller Support said we can't do that and they just take it.
Whereas me, I'll be like... no, I'm not gonna accept that. We're opening cases and if you can't do that, you're not gonna make it on Amazon.
No, open up another case. No, open up another one. You can't. Here's a pro tip, my friend, for anybody who is listening to this. We hired somebody to just that I have a person on my team. All she does, she handle all the tickets and she follows it up. We started using ClickUp so big props to ClickUp. It makes that whole task and then we use it for many other things.
This one specific task of support, support tickets, follow-up, things like hijackers, she is on it because if you have somebody like that on your team, it makes the frustrations go from here on some days down to here because I'm on it. I got it taken care of. That hijacker is gone. I filed the ticket with support and I'm going to go to the brand registry.
Nope, I'm on it. The brand registry said to go over here. I'm on it. You have to make that whole part of the equation, which is part of life being on Amazon. You got to have somebody on it. Otherwise, tickets don't get responded to. They'll close. The most frustrating thing is they'll see, and you'll look at the case status and it says answered. They're like, what?
That wasn't answered. They want you to give a feedback survey on the quality of service. No, sorry. You have to open tickets. I heard this from Steven Pope. He said, just keep opening tickets until they, somebody tells you some bogus response, open another one. The other one, by the way, you can reach the Costa Rica call center on weekends. Now, just get weekends.
Oh, I didn't know about the weekend. Okay.
Now why do I say this? Because if you're gonna open up tickets, you want folks that are interested in trying to resolve it. We've found that folks that they have in Costa Rica tend to do that. You know what they did? I think they heard it on a lot of podcasts. They shut off. You can talk to agents in English, French, and Mandarin, all these options.
They took the Spanish one off of there, because they're like, too many calls had to be going in, they had to be backlogged with a lot of cases, and so they took the Spanish option, but here's the tip, do it on the weekends. There's a high probability you're gonna get somebody in the Costa Rica call center who speaks English. Ask them, listen to their name.
If it sounds Spanish, it's gonna be somebody in a call center in Costa Rica and just say, hablas español, very simple. Do you speak Spanish? They may be hesitant and that happened to me the couple of times that I asked my person who works on it she said, yeah, oh yeah, hablo español. I was like, tricky freaking Amazon. They don't want us to know that the call center is still there and you can reach them, but if you ask them, hey are you in there?
They are really hesitant to tell you they're in the Costa Rica call center, but hey, look, I'm just trying to find out who I'm dealing with, who's on the other line. Where are you? Are you in the Philippines? Are you in India? Are you, oh, I mean, okay, or they don't wanna tell you, Costa Rica, are you in Central America, and they say yes, there's only one call center that I know of, and that's in the Costa Rica call center.
Try to reach them. They help you much more than I find in the Indian call centers or even the Filipinos. Even though we work with Filipinos, Costa Ricans tend to go out of their way to really try to handle the case so that it can have some resolution to it so do that if you can.
A lot of people won't understand the value of that, of what you just shared there unless they've been through it. Someone who hasn't been on Amazon selling, they're probably like, why the hell does that matter?
It matters. Nick, we just had this, we were talking about members of MDS, and I've spoken to a lot of calls, but this one I got involved with the worldwide dispersion has been shut off. They were telling us in the US, that your funds are coming. Don't worry about it. What? Three weeks into it, no funds were coming. That's because they didn't know the information and they weren't looking beyond maybe what was on your screen or maybe they didn't have that information.
The value of talking to people who know what they're talking about and actually care, and they may dig a little deeper than going beyond what's just the top of their screen. They scroll down, they may check in their internal Wiki and see what's going on. Our other seller cases, you get that with the Costa Rica folks and you're like, oh yeah, there's some reports about this thing happening over here or over there.
Now you have the information to understand. Let me give you another tip. When you send stuff to support, one of the things that we've found useful is when we submit, we submit video. It helps so much because if you're doing a test buy and you're just like, here's the product that came in, it's not the same one that's on the listing, the listing says it comes with 10 things and they only ship five. Here's what came in the box.
A, there's no arguing with video and B, video has the ability to be tracked. If they click on it and look at it, and somebody in Brooklyn, New York, or in Seattle, or in Austin, where brand registry people are in Detroit, all of these offices may have something to do with brand registry and look at it, you know the case has gone beyond the India call center, or the Manila call center, or the Costa Rica call center.
Now you know something can happen and somebody is empowered, because these frontline folks have zero power to fix a problem, especially when we're talking about hijackers. They have zero power to do anything about it, and they won't put you in touch with the internal team. We forwarded it to our internal team. How many times have you heard that, Nick? We're communicating with our internal team on this.
That's the worst. That's the kiss of death right there.
No doubt, but with video now you know when that somebody on that team is usually one of those cities has looked at the video and you know is working on the case so that if a day or two goes by, you can go back and say hey, has your internal team looked at it, and you know if it hasn't been touched at all, you know that to be true if they've already looked at it.
You're like, hey I know that your internal team is reviewing this matter. Can you check in with them and find out what's going on? Whereas right now, for most people, it's a black hole when they tell you the internal team is looking at it. It's just like if you put it in a big box and you have no idea what's happening.
That's pretty smart. So are you guys using Loom for that?
You can use Loom. The other one that is out there is Dubb. Dubb gives you a little bit more granular intelligence when it comes to folks who have looked at the video. I'm a big proponent of either because in both cases you are going to get better help on the support side because they can see the thing that you're trying to say, whether it's a hijacking situation and a test buy or something else.
On the dub you get a little bit more details around some of that so you know, oh it's in Brooklyn. Somebody opened it in Austin or whatever Seattle. I don't believe Loom as of this recording gives you that information
Right. I think they just give you the click. Someone watched your video, and I think that is what they say. Man, that is a very good tip. That's one I'll probably start using myself. I like that.
We'll talk about it off-air.
Well, man, Ro, it's been really good having you on. I wish we had some more time to chat. You're definitely sharing some great things and it's been good to catch up since we had you on the first time. For anyone who wants to learn more about Ro, you guys can go back to the first season. Ro talked more about how he got into the business and some of the stuff he dealt with along the way. You guys can get to know him a little more on a personal level.
No, I love it. I love hearing from you.
Man, thanks for coming on and just dropping some great info. I know we had some more things we wanted to talk about so we'll have to bring you on for a third one man.
Part three. Anytime you want me on Nick. I'm open to you and love coming on here and sharing what I know.
All right. Sounds good, man. Well, be on the lookout for the invite. We'll definitely get you back on.
All right, thank you very much, Nick, I appreciate that.