How to be Successful in Amazon FBA and Entrepreneurship with Ryan Moran
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How to be Successful in Amazon FBA and Entrepreneurship with Ryan Moran


are you ready to scale and outsource
your business okay let’s go welcome to the outsourcing and scaling show I’m
your host Nathan Hirsch a show where we talk about everything
Amazon Shopify Commerce and digital marketing let’s get started welcome back
to the outsourcing and scaling show my guest today is Ryan Moran Ryan how you
doing today a little bit hungry but I’m ready to go it’s a Monday morning really
appreciate you coming on for those that don’t know Ryan is an
entrepreneur founder of the capitalism founder of capitalism calm and host of
the one percent podcast he’s the world’s biggest Cleveland
Indians fan and of the future owner of the Indians and his best skill is eating
leftovers true we really appreciate you having you on we will talk all about
that but first I want to take a gigantic step back what were you like as a kid
growing up were you a straight-a student where your rabble did you always know
you wanted to be an entrepreneur you know I did my I was actually all of
those things how the hell do you know that about me
though yes overachiever always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but is if
you actually ask me this right now what I was like as a kid because I’ve been
doing a lot of self-discovery work over what not what elements of my childhood
do I bring into now but what did I not bring in with me that I wish I had so so
I indeed was straight-a student overachiever who knocked on doors and
raked leaves and shoveled drives and had little garage sales where I sold
baseball cards like yes I was all those things and that’s and those are those
are things that I carried forward the one part of me that that I have been
doing a lot of work in accessing lately is all I really wanted to do as a kid
was perform all I really wanted to do was tell jokes ride bikes and and hey
and at some point in our lives we lose access to that part of ourselves shut
down that part of ourselves it has a lot of fun and my kind of work is a human
being lately has been letting that come out to play more often so
it’s very interesting that you asked me that now because it I would have had a
different answer for you a month ago and I think the podcast allows you to do
that right I mean going on other people’s podcast having your own it’s
kind of that that way to get back into the fun the banter the all the stuff you
kind of miss once you start getting away from people let’s say in college where
you’re with everyone that’s your same age group that you can leave yeah but
but when I’m stressed that goes away and my podcast suck and they get really
serious and they’re all about like here’s how to do XYZ and I’m not having
fun the audience isn’t having any fun and I’m teaching is I think people want
it and then it sucks and so so if I prioritize the things that they give me
enjoyment in the first place then everything else kind of falls into place
yeah people can tell when you’re having fun or when you’re forcing it yes yes
they can so talking about your first entrepreneurial endeavor outside of
being a kid outside of selling the baseball cards or the lemonade stand as
an adult what was your first venture that you took on full force long I’m not
I’m not sure that they’re they’re that they’re separate and I mean I I
legitimately have for every summer what was raking leaves was was selling
baseball cards was umpiring was was doing everything that I could because I
believed that the way that I would make my money was as a real estate investor
and so I worked with a real estate investor close to my home town and
helped him fix up houses and he told me about the financials of it all and
that’s and he taught me how to trade stocks and by income-producing covered
calls and sell naked puts and stuff like that so it was you those two things come
to me as hand-in-hand I started I started getting fairly good at internet
marketing when I was in college and when I graduated college mostly as an
affiliate doing search engine optimization which later paved the way
for me to build Amazon based businesses because I knew about search engine
optimization and applied to Amazon and physical products as well so there’s a
trajectory always right but I’m not sure that I can separate where I am now
from those first ventures of umpiring and fixing up houses and selling
baseball cards because that gave me the C capital if you will that I thought it
was gonna go into buying houses and renting out houses that actually went
into buying websites and fixing up websites and then that leading to the
next stage in the next stage in the next stage I think the only thing that has
changed is that my winds are bigger and my failures are way bigger so I’m just
operating it at a higher scale but my activities are kind of mostly the same
David it’s funny you brought up umpire so I was a long time on Peyer I was a
the head umpire of my town so to speak when I was fifteen and I felt like I had
learned a lot of lessons I mean I had to manage people schedule so I learned how
unreliable people could be and hired to vet them so there’s also a level of
customer service dealing with angry people from both sides a sense of
structure and full and interpreting them would you agree I I think the thing that
gate that it gave me the most was I got used to talking to people in authority
and putting them in their place now I can remember one time is like a 12
or 13 year old kid calling this coach over be like coach you need to calm down
and him laughing because I like I had the authority as a 12 year old so that
sort of that was the skillset for me of learning like you have to make a
decision yes he’s either out or he’s safe and you’re gonna deal with
consequences of somebody’s gonna be upset and somebody is gonna be happy and
make me were right maybe you were wrong it doesn’t matter you still have to make
it to sit and yeah right so that that was the muscle that I developed as an
umpire let’s talk about Amazon a little bit I got in in 2008 well what year did
you get in later it was 2000 well 2012 what was Amazon like back then and how
did you get into it originally do you know that’s funny
um I hate to sound like a broken record it was a it was a little bit of a wide
open west from like a ranking perspective right I mean if you could
get 50 reviews you were the envy of everybody
your spades but also getting 50 reviews was a lot harder than it is today so
just like Google was different 15 years ago 10 years ago ranking was
easier it was it was easier to manipulate links everything was of lower
quality as well today all the principle la just like he sound like a broken
record like it’s the same market but the design hasn’t changed that algorithm
hasn’t even changed very much but now you have to be higher quality in order
to win so the PUC hasn’t even moved there’s just better players competing
for the PUC so so I I think a lot of people who said it’s getting harder but
the reality is when I was ranking websites from my dorm room in college
this was before WordPress I was hand coding things on Dreamweaver on a
dial-up computer of course it’s gonna be easier because you don’t have access to
the same tools now the tools are available to everybody so the game is
easier for some it is you’re more opportunities more resources available
but you have to be a you have to use those resources to have a higher quality
customer experience if you want to if you want to hang and so that to me is
what has changed and how do you use your your internet marketing background for
Amazon because to me the sellers that have the most success or the ones that
are doing that the people that end up failing is when they’re just an Amazon
seller and once Amazon changes something they they can’t adjust they can’t adapt
yeah ten ten thousand percent accurate the
phrase that just is like nails on a chalkboard to me is Amazon business like
no one says I have a Walmart business I think no one says I have an affiliate
business no one says what their business is as
defined by their customer acquisition strategy nobody except for Amazon
sellers because they tend to be bad marketers so the people who win are the
ones who buy traffic to opt-ins warm them up and create
customer experiences and then close the deal on Amazon the ones who win the ones
who are doing search engine optimization and sending the traffic to Amazon and
closing the deal on Amazon and the ones who are putting money into their
customer experience so that they choose them over everybody else that’s called
building a business if you’re optimizing for Amazon then you’re writing a nice
little cashflow game that is gonna go away the next time there’s an algorithm
change they’re very very different games and there’s a lot of people who think
they’re entrepreneurs or actually traffic manipulators or who are the
random appeal letters and they’re not really building something with this
syllable sellable yeah well what advice would you have for the people that are
stuck as the Amazon seller that haven’t taken the time to get into marketing to
understand what’s working where do they even begin what direction would you
point them at yeah good question so the first step is is they need to create a
budget of their profits to invest into other areas most people though are
putting them into direct response funnels which is a completely different
game than Amazon my recommendation would be to put it into audience or to put it
into customer experience if nothing else take part of the budget that you are
making from your profits and put them into dialing in an amazing customer
experience so that that person is choosing you over everybody else that
alone will have you stand out among everyone else if then you want to take
it one step further I love building or sponsoring audiences I don’t like paying
for shout outs or influencers but what I do like is going to the people that I
really want to have on as influencers or audiences and creating partnerships with
them I will create equity arrangements or profit share agreements with those
influencers because if you don’t have an audience you have nothing so you either
need to put the money on the resources into developing it yourself
so that you’ve got an extra an extra leg on the stool of your business or you
need to go out and create a partnership with that person so that there’s a
long-term relationship otherwise you have no ability to command your own
tract like you’re always beholding to someone else
and then from from there I mean if I were to go one step further
I’m totally biased on this Nathan I’m real hot on search engine optimization
right now everybody else is chasing LinkedIn and Instagram man nobody is
doing Google well the the the the you have to think really long term to be
good at search engine optimization just like you have to think long term to be
good at Amazon but even longer on Google so as a result I think the competition’s
really weak and developing really good search engine optimization sites so
you’ve got to think long term and it takes resources and if you play that
game well you win so that’s that would be my order of operations but it starts
with saying okay the check I’m getting from Amazon every month is the
business’s money it’s not my money I’m on salary at my company and I need to
create two reinvestment pool of taking 20% of those profits and putting it into
something else whether that is hiring somebody or sponsoring somebody or
reinvesting it into the thing that builds your asset there’s such a
difference between chasing short-term cash flow and building a long-term asset
they’re different mindsets when you put up a product that you hope ranks on
Amazon you are building a short-term cash flow when you are building up an
audience that will buy product after product of the product after product you
are building an asset one is long-term thinking one is short-term thinking most
entrepreneurs in today’s world are addicted to short-term results and they
don’t build assets it’s why most people can’t sell their companies but if you
build up the do the hard work of bringing on people building systems
setting a long-term vision for the company that’s an asset that will make
you rich yeah I completely agree and I think partnerships go hand-in-hand with
the search engine optimization I mean some of our we have hundreds of partners
and they’ll write for our blog and write a backlink to theirs and just getting
links everywhere and over time it’s just building your SEO and we have articles
that we’ve written for someone else’s blog that a top up here on the top five
of Google a year later because we spend extra time just making that small
investment back in the day yeah so at the first-ever capitalism conference is
the conference I hope about once a year I brought Gary
Vaynerchuk this is um right before he really popped and I brought him on
because his his singular goal in his career is to buy the New York Jets – uh
by the Cleveland Indians I’ve been following him for 10 years for that
reason like this guy will contextualise the red the next steps forward for me so
I brought on Gary and he and he said if you’re at a million dollars and you want
to go to a hundred million dollars it is all about people it is all about your
emotional intelligence not your own personal intelligence it is all about
who you surround yourself with then and and investing into other people and man
I did not want to hear that advice Nathan like I wanted to know that there
was like a step-by-step plan because I was probably at maybe I was under five
million and I was definitely under ten limit I think it was under five at the
time was back in like 2015 and I really wanted to hear that there was like a
clear path to go from five to fifty million and that clear path was better
learn how to lead like you better you better learn how to succeed through
others and I didn’t want to do that because I was I sucked at it and now a
few years later I suck less and I have probably sacrificed a lot of short-term
profits to get adequate at finding recruiting and managing talent just
adequate but I know that in the 50-year cycle I will out earn the kid from 2015
it was just looking for short-term win short term way so how do you decide when
when’s the right time tire and what you should be hiring for it’s always the
right time to hire when you know what you’re hiring for it’s funny part of my
job when I’m advising someone I’ve invested in is getting them to think
about doing less and just this morning I had breakfast with my
mentor and my best friend who encourages me to do less and he always comes back
to like he hears my vision then he goes who’s the one person if you do not need
to bill on an executive team dude you need one person and one person probably
for the next stage of this business and today he was basically telling me you
have you still have this idea Ryan that you need to build this team and then the
bill the team will move things forward so you need one person and you need I
then if I look out one role is and so you know what that forces me to do
Nathan that I hate that this is the answer it forces me to make job
descriptions right forces me to think about what kpi’s I’m gonna track it
forces me to be able to describe what that person is going to do when they
join me and I wish that wasn’t the case like I just want to be able to find
amazing people and say figure it out nope I made the mistake too many times I
need to have the filter for how I will know that is the right person and how
they will know that they’re on track towards their goals because I’ve done
the opposite and it really doesn’t end well so it’s always the right time to
hire when you are clear about who that next person is and then you move forward
and I love the honesty cuz I think a lot of people look at entrepreneurs who have
had success who have have a team and they’re like wow this person’s figured
out hiring when really no one’s figured out hiring we’re all getting better a
little by little by little and avoid those costly mistakes can you talk about
some of the mistakes and what you learn from him firing too slow so the the I
think it was Brian Lee he’s a founder of honest company I was also a founder of a
Legal Zoom he’s got three billion dollar companies on his resume he’s so smart
man working on his fourth and Brian said to me once
he’s like nobody knows how to hire the only thing you good at is firing right
thanks I asked his his strategy for hiring his
hire fast fire faster not hire slow fire fast fire fast fire faster it’s like
this this is either the right person or it’s not and so I have hired people who
were up and comers that was a mistake I’ve hired people who I haven’t worked
with in the past like we did do a test project together that was a mistake
I have kept people on too long after you knew wasn’t a fit that was a mistake I
am hired multiple positions at the same time that was a mistake I have hired
without getting my team’s feedback on the person that was a mistake I am hired
without having a woman in the interview because they’re more emotionally
intelligent than we are that’s a mistake I have paid way too much you just saw
this person’s worth six figures I should pay them six figures that was a mistake
I mean how much time we got I could to keep it tied I learn by making mistakes
and then I get better and I’m less likely to make them again it is how I
learn is the only way I know how to learn so I just guess and I get to take
him across the chin and I take a few to the nose and I go that hurt let me do it
differently next time and so the next time I get punched a little bit less and
move forward I’m not recommending that strategy to anybody but it is how I’m
wired and it’s Helen before yeah I’m very similar I mean we put out so much
content in our Facebook group our blog our YouTube channel our podcast and we
get clients who will read it for months and they’re just my recommendation just
do it yeah at some point you got to just go for it and if you learn like you said
fire quickly adjust your your from your mistakes and move forward and you got to
get that mentality in my opinion when it sounds like you’re Greek so if you get
into a relationship you are going to fight inevitably you are going to have
problems if you’re in a romantic relationship right if you start a
business you will have days that it sucks if you are born you will have
trauma you can just accept those and move forward any way or you can try and
insulate yourself against anything bad ever have
by not getting into a relationship not starting a business and killing yourself
those are your options business and hiring is the same you are gonna get
mistakes you’re gonna get punched you’re gonna make bad decisions
you’re gonna lose money it’s part of the process so just make them like just make
it as fast as possible get them out of the way and move forward then maybe
you’re lucky you’ll be lucky and you’ll get one of the first three people will
be amazing and you just jive well together and you move forward awesome
that’s great you’re one of the lucky ones just expect that you’re gonna get
punched and then move forward I love it one of my favorite questions when I
interview people who are running 70 figure businesses well what is your
structure look like and I know you invest in different companies how do you
set it up you have a project manager a team leader or CEO who’s underneath them
can you give me a little bit of a sneak peek behind the scenes yeah so I do
really well with partners or or having that person on the team who is like my
anchor person so I always have one person that I do all of the numbers with
all the systems with all the operations with so right now that’s my chief of
staff at capitalism comm and in my investments or other businesses it’s the
operator or the one person that I’m that I’m mentoring or like there’s some
anchor person who’s running the business that’s how I work best under them
there’s almost always a project manager so the project manager is in charge of
freelancers they’re in charge of agencies they’re in charge of ensuring
that we hit our goals that we move the ball down the port I think it starts
there I think from there there’s got to be somebody in charge of sales there’s
got to be somebody who is in charge of acquiring leads creating conversions
acquiring customers managing Amazon like when there’s people who ask them about
secrets of Amazon I’m like dude I don’t know anything about like I know enough
about Amazon to know what that 80/20 is for us to win against everybody else and
for me to know if my Amazon channel manager is doing a good job if you think
the secret to doing well on Amazon is you
knowing all the secrets to Amazon you are not an entrepreneur you are chasing
short-term cash flow you are not building a business so somebody in
charge of sales somebody overseeing what your what your customer acquisition
strategy is and there’s nobody in that role it’s you for a while but I want to
hire for that position so it’s my singular person project manager somebody
in charge of sales what do you look for in that singular person in your project
managers and the higher level people in your organization are there certain
treat traits that you’re looking for yeah I’m looking for personal
responsibility I’m looking for an eagerness to grow and I’m looking for
some some operations background like do they have the ability to take the
bird’s-eye view of the company and see what is going on can they jump into
something quickly and clear a bottleneck like I’m looking I’m looking for my
operations person really then operations has a finance aspect to it it has a
systems aspect to it as a people aspect to it so do they have those scores core
skill sets because I’m a growth guy I think about scale and think about hiring
and I think about spending money and I think about being aggressive and I think
about winning I think about the goal line I think about vision so you’ve got
to have the person that says no wait hang on we should not do that
that’s a terrible idea here’s why so I’m a hiring my filter I’m hiring the person
that says no I’m hiring the person that decides how fast we go and we’ve got to
have a good dance together if somebody can’t tell me no they’re not the right
person I love it can you talk a little bit about how you structure meetings and
how you build a culture I mean I met your team at cellar economy and they all
seem very similar minded I know you’re going out to lunch with them and you
talked about the structure how are you actually managing them and communicator
oh you just asked a growth guy about management because because I am not
nearly as good as that as as I need to be in order to do that let’s talk about
culture for a second culture is a top-down thing if your company culture
sucks something about you that sucks right and so this is only I only know
this had a lot of sucky culture and so I
realize I’m the problem so culture is not about ping pong tables
and it’s not about this is it is about for me it is about when I go to war with
the other people on the team do I trust the other people on the team to have my
back and in order for them to have my back they need to know that I have
theirs and sometimes that means a lot of hard
conversations and it means a lot of difficult decisions but they all know
I’ve got their back and vice versa when it comes to management the only thing
that I do that I feel like I have authority to talk about is that every
quarter we set 90-day objectives together and I can stay out of their way
knowing that they know what’s the what’s expected of them and I know what’s
expected of them apart from that I try to stay out of their way unless they
need me I confess that I have not been able to get the same results out of a
virtual environment out of a personal environment but I have had a few virtual
people that have been amazing and then feel like they’re part of the culture so
that might just be a personality thing but overall I would say Nathan I don’t
feel like I have the authority to be able to speak on that because I’m still
guessing my way forward on that I think a lot of the best entrepreneurs do that
and I think a lot of entrepreneurs struggle to do that to actually hand off
the business and say you’re in charge I’m hands-off there there are a lot of
people that can’t do that I think there’s people who do it and
still can’t do it because I might be in that right like I probably err on the
side too much of staying out of people’s way
one thing that I’ve really had to come full-circle
like I had to come forward on this is that I think that people want to have
full autonomy people really want to be told what to do and they want to know if
they’re doing a good job and so I have had to really practice providing more
direction then I’m comfortable doing naturally interesting
and I think that comes from operating in a virtual environment I expect that if
I’m really clear upfront with somebody what my expectations are I think they’re
just gonna run with the ball I have found that there’s at least three to six
months of me coming down and working with them more on going before we can do
this so I always think get the right person given the expectations let them
go in my experience there’s a longer curve than I expected of being really in
the mud with them for a while until they are ready to go off on their own and of
course I’m talking about a team that’s less than ten people so I’m in charge of
that in a corporate culture it’s gonna be a little bit different so I am not
yet good at this but but I’m learning that in my
experience people need a little bit more of a of a close of a close-knit touch
point to be able to feel like they’re freed up to go in that to go on their
own before they can just like operate unless you’re just calling total
freelance designer I need this thing done so until I need you to write this
article that’s a little bit different when you have somebody internal or
somebody who’s committed on a monthly basis as an agency I think there’s more
of a handoff that needs to happen yeah I agree
how do you structure your day what does your day look like is it a lot of
meetings a lot of podcasts is it is it consistent is it different every day
yeah I I have a week-to-week schedule that is consistent my day to
day is less consistent so depending on how many projects I have going on
depending on what I’m focusing on my day is my weeks are broken up a little bit
different or my day is broken up a little different but the week tends to
be consistent I tried to be very protective of my creative time my
creative time is recording my creative time is thinking it’s writing it’s
brainstorming right now kind of my projects are finding good people I have
one central hire that I’m I’m hell-bent on finding and and that’s my major focus
right now and that I save my meetings buffer email for end of
day because I’m far less creative at the end of the day so I’m very protective of
my day until about noon that’s my creative time my meetings are 10 tend to
be 3 to 5 that’s also like what I’m mentoring one of my brand managers or
one of my anchor operations people is I’ll get together with them and we’re
working through things but my creative time is until about 12 1 o’clock
depending on when I eat lunch and I try to be very protective of I love it can
we talk about owning the the Cleveland Indians when did that goal come to be
how what how are you breaking down that goal I know a lot of people out there
have much shorter goals than that and they can’t think that big picture can
you talk a little bit about that yeah so I mean the goal came about when I was I
was like 12 or 13 and the reason it came about was because I knew my dream as a
kid was actually to be the general manager of a baseball team I wanted to
be the guy signing free agents making trades doing acquisitions I wanted to be
that guy but when I was a young teenager I realized two things one I thought it
was gonna be a pastor so my career route was not gonna be back to a baseball to
be on staff at a baseball team and number two what I realized was that
you’re the general manager it means somebody else hired you so you’re not in
control of getting that position so my chances of making enough money to buy
the team or higher than being a person who interviewed well and hired for that
position right so I just decided that I would become the owner instead of the
general manager but I still want to be involved in the traits and the
acquisitions of being the dugout with a black eye my eye doing an annoying
chants and firing people when they strike out I love it
what do you think of the Trevor Bauer trade I gotta ask you that Williams bro
I’m so glad you asked me this Nathan I think this will go down as
a similar trade to Bartolo cologne in 2000 to 2002 the Indians trade of our
total Cologne of the trade deadline for Cliff Lee Brandon Phillips and Grady
Sizemore three all-stars I think you are going to see a say this compared to that
in the long haul you we’ve freed up potentially eighteen million dollars in
payroll got better on paper in the short term got younger in the long term oh my
goodness it was it was such a good trade they had to make it it was an absolute
slam-dunk of a trade I my hope is that we’ve now free up enough payroll to
Reese I’m Francisco Lindor for the long term so the Indians got better on paper
in the short term and the long term was an absolute slam dunk of the deal I love
it and the opposite of that would be the Mets keeping it on to Noah syndergaard
which they could have made that the same type of move got the same impact and I
think that’s gonna kill them in the long term that they didn’t do that well you
know when when the Blue Jays traded Marcus strong Stroman they didn’t get as
bigger nearly as big a return as Bauer right who knows what the return on the
table was the Indians front office has proven to be extremely creative I’ve
never seen anything like it so who knows what the other deals that
were being dangled around work I love it we’re getting towards the end you talk
about capitalism the capitalism conference I don’t want the audience to
know more about it how do you come up with the idea for it
what do you see it as a vision of it going forward yeah so a few years ago
around 2015 I felt like I had hit a ceiling I felt like I could only really
think at a to have up to about five million dollars and so I decided that
you know you’re the average of the five people you hang out with supposedly so
um it’s not like I was gonna go hang out with the best entrepreneurs in the world
so I figured that I would hire the best entrepreneurs in the world and sell
tickets to there because that would be my selfish reason was I would upgrade
the people that I was hanging out with I would have upgrade my knowledge my
expectations my skill set and a few years in running conference II I built
my first eight figure company had my eight-figure exit and it’s it’s so so it
is just the way that we stay sharp for my community we bring in the people who
are 10 years ahead of all of us and for 3 days to kind of just incubate
new expectations that was my intent behind it and so that’s why we do the
capitalism conference every year capitalism calm is a media play for
entrepreneurs because I don’t think there’s anybody having a real discussion
around wealth and capitalism even politics I think most of the noise that
we see is noise and so I just wanted to do something about that because I feel I
feel this responsibility to my generation that is suddenly skepta
skeptical of capitalism to do something about that because the fact that in
today’s world when we have all this abundance we’re questioning capitalism
are we crazy like this is absurd I mean we have longer life spans than ever we
have we’re safer than ever we don’t have a lack of food we have too much food
like we have an abundance problem and we’re questioning capitalism I think we
need to be questioning personal responsibility but even question
individuals whether we need to question capitalism so I just feel the need to
defend that I love it Ryan this is been great where can people find out more
about you and what are you most excited about for the rest of the year so my
biggest focus is doing less and making better decisions I’m not hard to find
I’m at Ryan Daniel Marana on Instagram my website my podcasts are both called
capitalism com I’m worth of Google and I can be found
there awesome man have a great rest of the day
all right thanks for having me Nathan hey everyone thank you so much for
watching did you enjoy this content if so click
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