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This Amazon Seller Quits His Career As An Executive Chef To Build His Online Business

Published on: December 2 2022 by Tatiana James

This Amazon Seller Quits His Career As An Executive Chef To Build His Online Business

This Amazon Seller Quits His Career As An Executive Chef To Build His Online Business

i would just say that
amazon fba is
probably one of the biggest
opportunities there is right now it's
such
like just fba by itself is such a great
business model there's a
ton of different ways to make money by
utilizing the amazon marketplace
and
of the business models available in my
opinion reverse sourcing wholesale is
the most methodic
the easiest to kind of
get started with and most importantly to
me because i'm risk adverse i'm really
risk adverse is it is the least risky
way to get started um
so you know if you're looking for a way
to
get away from your full-time job or just
to add extra money you should really
consider this kind of an approach
because
there's not a lot of ways that you can
mess it up once you understand how the
formula works
hey everyone it's tatiana today i'm
excited to introduce you to ian
ian has a passion for travel he looked
online for how to make traveling part of
his lifestyle and that's when he
discovered selling on amazon he started
a program called the wholesale formula
and launched his amazon business while
working 60 plus hours per week as an
executive chef
using his management expertise ian
quickly hired and trained a team of
virtual assistants to run and grow his
amazon business to the point it was
generating 45 000 per month in revenue
all while he was still working as an
executive chef full-time
he then quit his job and began working
in his amazon business full-time and
then he grew his business to 90 000 a
month in revenue in just one year
now ian follows a model of selling on
amazon called reverse sourcing wholesale
it's a model that i introduced to you
previously this year but i want to
reintroduce it to you because it's a
really wonderful model of starting an
online business uh with minimal
investment and as ian will explain in
this interview
you're really mitigating your risk with
this model it's probably one of the
least risky ways of starting an online
business and selling on amazon so ian
does a fabulous job at explaining this
model for you in this interview so stay
tuned and watch the whole thing straight
through to the end
ian thank you so much for taking the
time to be here today please introduce
yourself to our audience thanks for
having me on so my name is ian and i
am an amazon seller and i uh started out
by doing uh retail arbitrage
and online arbitrage and stuff like that
and
uh basically um hated that
and uh decided that in order to quit my
day job i had to do something else and
so
uh fortunately i was able to ultimately
quit my day job by doing uh reverse
sourcing wholesale so
um
that's what i've been doing for five
years now and that's what i built my
business around wow amazing so
um what was your day job what were you
doing before we're resourcing wholesale
uh i was a chef uh for private
university in my last post but i started
out as um a fine dining chef wow awesome
so um you
started this business with the intention
of being able to quit your job and work
online like what was your motivation to
start an online business
uh so it's funny actually i i my
motivation to start uh my own business
was to
travel
um and i actually discovered like fba in
that whole opportunity because i was
like searching online for how people
travel for free and like rewards points
came up and that led to another website
you know like that little rabbit hole
everybody
finds themselves in sometimes so i went
down a little rabbit hole
and
um
you know the rewards points thing came
up and so okay so how do you generate
rewards points and so fba came up i was
like oh what's that and so i went and
looked at that and that's where i found
like online arbitrage and retail
arbitrage i was like all right cool
maybe i'll get some traveling done with
this thing
um and i wasn't really looking
to like
replace my full-time income at first
uh but you know obviously that's that's
what wound up happening
wow awesome
so um how did you discover reverse
sourcing wholesale then um
it was just going through that rabbit
hole you discovered fba retail arbitrage
and then river sourcing wholesale yeah
so that's that's the um sequence of
events but what happened was um i was
doing like online arbitrage
and it was terrible i hate it um
what did you hate about it i it's
shopping i hate shopping and actually
the way that the business started was
you know like i found these like travel
rewards things right now and there was
like four or five things you know shiny
object syndrome and i'm like okay i'm
gonna do these things over here this fba
thing seems to be about shopping so i
was like i said to my wife i was like
you're like shopping go shop like go buy
stuff on discount clearance this is
great right
and she actually started the fba
business and then it grew to a point
where like spreadsheets got involved and
she was like i'm out yeah and then i was
like well hold on there's money here
let's
so then i kind of started taking over
that but i hated it like it was it was
like a thing i didn't want to have
because i do love spreadsheets yeah yeah
yeah okay cool
um so in your own words do you mind
describing
the gist of reverse sourcing wholesale
so the idea behind it is
um
it's basically like a risk mitigation
strategy honestly more than anything
else
you know there's
um
there's a bunch of different ways to
like source products to sell on amazon
right
and you know one of those we just
discussed which is walking up and down
the walmart aisles and scanning stuff
with your cell phone
um and then there's also kind of like
blindly reaching out to distributors and
brand owners and stuff like that and of
course private label
um
but the with reverse sourcing wholesale
what you're doing is you're essentially
going to amazon already go into the
amazon catalog finding things that are
selling really well already
and then contacting that brand owner to
get permission to sell their product or
not even permission just to buy their
product to sell it on amazon
so that's
reverse searching wholesale so you
already know
how what's how well it's selling and
you'll know what your profit will be and
you can calculate like how well this
product is going to do for you
um and that's that's like the basics of
it right there right right right that's
that's a really great explanation
actually um and i guess just for my
audience who understands fba because
that's that's the route that i took
um you know the the big i would say the
big difference between them and why i
really like the the model of reverse
twisting wholesale for
many people is because you can get
started with a lot less
um with fba you know you need like a
minimum of 2500 to put into your first
batch of inventory not everyone has that
to invest up front and with this you can
start with a small
a small inventory because you're
ordering from the brands
and you know that doesn't have to cost
you a lot and also like you said you're
really mitigating the risk because
you're only going to be
buying products that you can you can see
the history on amazon you can see the
sales history you can see how it's
performing um so you're you're kind of
like trying to guarantee that if i buy
this inventory i know it's going to sell
regardless of you know if i improve
things or not but with the intention of
of improving things which is what the
wholesale formula teaches right um
yeah so um that's exactly right and um
you know with a private label kind of
model
you're also you're also building demand
for your for your thing whatever you
know you have to drive traffic you have
to build a listing you have to build the
reviews you have to do all of that and
with reverse sourcing wholesale it's
already built for you right so there's
also that that benefit and you can re
you can really start out with like a 500
order because you're not going to a
manufacturer and there's no minimum runs
for a thing or you know all the crazy
kind of stuff that goes along with
private label
and then
yeah and then like you said
buying and selling the product is just
step one step two step three and step
four is okay how can i add value to this
relationship with a brand owner how can
i optimize their listing how can i do a
better job for them and then ultimately
like you know top level here is how can
i be the only seller of their product on
amazon how can i take the whole pie by
being the most indispensable seller to
the brand owner and so
the second part of that is like
relationship building with brand owners
right that makes sense okay so um
so i'm going to kind of try and break it
down
even further so essentially step one is
you're doing research to find you know
what products are selling well on amazon
um then you're deciding okay i'm gonna
reach out to these brands on amazon and
and
actually what kind of brands are are you
looking for like these big brand names
are you looking for like smaller brand
names or it doesn't matter
well it does matter
um you definitely don't want to start
approaching things like uh
coca-cola and tidy cats and all that
kind of stuff i've and and it's funny
because some of the brands are tricky
and they've got like like dozens of
smaller sub brands right like i could
tell you that i get rejected by
smucker's uh company like
three times a month because they have
like all these little sub brands and we
just send them emails
um so
the
you're looking for um
basically if i could sum it up it's like
brands where you have a have a good and
reasonable chance of getting in touch
with the owner of the brand right and
the the definition of that could be a
little different depending you know like
i work with brands where it's a
guy and his wife
and they've got uh you know a warehouse
and they used to sell or they still sell
wholesale at retailers and stuff like
that
um and you know it's just really the two
of them and maybe an employee or two
and i also work with brands that i've
never really toked to the brand owner
but i've i toked to the vice president
of marketing and the vice president of
sales you know like i'm a degree of
separation from the brand owner
um and so it's like that range in there
where you want to be able to build a
personal relationship um i have worked
with brands that are bigger than that
where
uh i don't even know who the brand owner
is and i'm only allowed to speak to a
sales rep and sometimes i can tok to
their
you know their direct supervisor but
uh those always
that you know you get money you you
sell it while selling is good but
eventually those relationships fall
apart right right right okay got it okay
and then so i guess step three would be
you know either the brand wants to work
with you or they don't and they'll let
you know or or you can be more
persistent and follow up with them and
turn the no into a yes
and then placing your first order with
them so
when you're placing an order with them
how how many units are you ordering or
like are you trying to order a small
quantity and are you going to get the
wholesale pricing
right so
after you've um established a
relationship and everybody agrees that
this is something we want to do that
that includes getting their price list
and making sure the price works and then
negotiating the price uh if necessary to
get a better deal
because yeah you are going to be buying
at wholesale prices
um and so at that point what i recommend
that you do is place a test order and a
test order is going to be the the least
amount of product that you could
possibly buy and the reason that you
want to do a test order is because you
want to verify
that the research you've done is
accurate you know we the tools we use
are all estimates um and they're pretty
accurate estimation tools but they're
still you want to you know be able to
shake the tree and make sure everything
falls the way you're expecting it to so
a test order is the first thing and then
when that goes well then you start
ordering uh you know
your normal orders that make sense okay
okay so then step four you want to start
selling it on amazon now can you explain
to me how
this buy box works because
i think what people need to understand
is that
more than one person can be selling the
same product there's something called
the buy box there could be four people
four sellers nine sellers ten sellers
there could be one seller um so how does
that work and like if if you want to
have you know if you want to win the buy
box how how do you win the buy box
yeah so a common misconception about
amazon is how amazon listings work
and brand owners i tok to are really
confused about it
so
it's no surprise that a lot of people
are a lot of people think that amazon
works like ebay which is i the seller
have my own listing and i post my thing
for sale even if there's other things
exactly like that i have my own listing
right that's the way that ebay works
but amazon doesn't like that and that's
not how they operate you have
one listing per upc so just one unique
listing per epc and then
everybody all the sellers sell on that
listing and
the buy box is the buy now button right
so when you're you're a shopper on
amazon you click buy now right
when you click buy now it's actually if
you look it'll say sold by so and so
fulfilled by amazon right and that's
sold by whoever that's the seller and
they actually rotate through that buy
box based on an algorithm uh that that
amazon has like you know
completely shrouded uh the mysteries of
the buy box algorithm but more or less
we've we know from experience and by
analyzing the buy box that
if you're within about two percent of
the lowest buy box price and you're an
fba seller then you can expect a more or
less equal share of the buy box so if uh
to put it put some numbers to this if
they're if this thing is selling a
hundred times per month
and you're on there with three other
sellers and you're all selling it at the
same exact price and you're all fba
prime
then you can expect to sell about 25 of
those a month so you get 25 of the share
of the buy box
okay yeah that makes sense
okay and then i guess the final step is
really just learning to add value to the
brands so that you can establish more of
a relationship with them a long-term
partnership maybe an exclusivity
agreement but also so that you can
increase your profit and revenue um
how does that work how do you add value
and how do you like if you're a beginner
if you're just getting started how do
you know how to add value to these
brands
yeah so we recommend doing a brand audit
right from the beginning and it's a good
way to
um
it's a good way to establish your value
up front and get their attention and so
an audit is really just um going through
their listing not only a single listing
of a single product i really do
recommend thinking broader than a single
product although you can't start that
way
a lot of times your relationship with a
brand owner starts with a single product
like you find one product it looks good
you wanna to carry it but um
what you do is you you take a look at
their entire amazon presence really and
you say um okay how are the images doing
are they
optimized for conversions what are the
title and bullets and description doing
do are there keywords in there that they
should be ranking for
there are software tools that you could
use that will actually evaluate the
sales history of a brand one of the um
things that we do in my business this is
you know kind of a super secret tactik
here is we actually use that software to
check brands with declining sales
patterns because it means that somebody
else is eating their lunch
and when you reach out to a brand owner
and say hey guess what amazon's going
away for you
countdown starts now
do do want to do something about it so
you look at that strategy
yeah yeah it's a good way to get their
attention
so looking at the individual listings
looking at um some of the brand related
stuff that they are and are not using a
plus content brand registry stuff and
determining how can this be improved and
then communicating that back to the
brand owner
okay makes sense
okay now can you share about your
personal experience doing this model and
my understanding is that
you were generating around 45 000 per
month in revenue with this model and
then you decided to quit your full-time
job
um can you share with us about that at
the height of my business and i paired
it back just a little bit but we were
doing 90 000 a month uh in revenue
and
um
the nice thing about it
compared to other models is that if
there's like a snowball effect here
right if you land a wholesale account
and you do a good job and you're able to
keep that wholesale account which is not
hard
then it's going to continue to earn you
revenue right and so now you put that
account into like a maintenance and
rebuying mode and you can reinvest the
profits back into your business and now
you go and get another wholesale account
so if one wholesale account is netting
you seven thousand dollars a month in
profit
now you can go over here and get another
one and just put it over there okay now
i've got two that's 14 000 right
and you can keep building that business
up
and um that's what i like about it is is
it you don't have to go out and find
that money again every single month you
know it's there because you're uh you've
got a relationship
so
you know that snowball effect is
fantastik and and that's what enabled me
to ultimately quit my job and do it
full-time
awesome
yeah yeah so would you would you say
that once you've established your
relationship with brand and maybe put in
place some systems that
it can be fairly passive
um it can be passive for sure uh i do
recommend you know it's like any
relationship if you neglect it it'll
wither and die so you have to
you have to water your garden basically
and what that means is um
communicating with them
more than just sending them a purchase
order
uh you know
looking for opportunities on a regular
basis to demonstrate your value to them
uh coming up with maybe some custom
in-house programs for how you
communicate or provide value
um it's
it's as passive as it can be though i
mean it's really um in my business i
have a virtual assistant who basically
runs the whole thing and she places the
orders and she works the buttons and
knobs of my business
um i don't really work on it very often
maybe about 10 hours a week total
maybe probably even less
um and uh you know she runs the whole
thing and all i had to do was set up the
systems and processes yeah yeah i love
that and that's what i love about online
business um you do have to invest your
time and energy up front but you can set
up systems and there's so much power in
setting up the systems because that's
when you can be sleeping and you know
you can be making money or you have um
you have uh
va's or or hires and and you can now
dedicate your time to working on other
things or starting a new project or
launching working with a new brand um so
it helps you essentially to scale and
the scalability with an online business
is just really incredible i don't know
what the limit is
it's really just a matter of how much do
you want to to grow it
um so that's awesome good great good job
great so did you learn all of this from
the wholesale formula
yeah 100
from the wholesale formula okay can you
tell us about the program
yeah so um the wholesale formula teaches
this reverse wholesale model um and
basically the program goes through the
step-by-step process of forming a
business
um getting uh
the ins and outs of selling on amazon
the actual reverse sourcing wholesale
model like what are the metrics that we
look at how do we target and identify a
good selling product
um
you know there's uh you know like a
couple checklists and things that you go
through to just make sure that it's
gonna be a good product and then it also
spends quite a bit of time
going into all right how do we contact a
brand owner how do we improve our open
rates like how
the rate that we're opening accounts how
do you negotiate with a brand owner
um and then how do you provide value and
continue providing value to a brand
owner so
um that's it's really taken you through
this entire process of
of setting up your business finding
wholesale accounts
contacting them opening them and then
providing value to brand owners
yeah yeah so i mean the program is
really amazing because i took the
program too
and it really does walk you through the
whole process and there's there's also a
formula that you want to follow to
verify whether or not you know the
products are good choices and
whether or not you're going to be really
making profit or winning the buy box so
that's really important to know you're
obviously a really great educator i
think that you explain things really
well and
and so that's been really beneficial for
our audience today but also i understand
that you are part of the wholesale
formula you're on their team so if
people do decide to join the program to
teach them how to build a reverse
sourcing wholesale business they're
going to be able to learn from you
further through the wholesale formula
so if you guys are interested in the
wholesale formula you can go to
tatianajames.com
twf
so ian is there anything that you want
to add before we wrap up any last or
final words um
any pieces of advice for people who may
be starting this business or any kind of
words of encouragement for people who
are on the fence about it
yeah so i would just say that
amazon fba is
probably one of the biggest
opportunities there is right now it's
such
like just fba by itself is such a great
business model there is a a ton of
different ways to make money by
utilizing the amazon marketplace
and
of the business models available in my
opinion reverse sourcing wholesale is
the most methodic
the easiest to kind of uh get started
with and most importantly to me because
i'm risk adverse i'm really risk adverse
is it is the least risky way to get
started um
so you know if you're looking for a way
to get away from your full-time job or
just to add extra money you should
really consider this kind of an approach
because
there's not a lot of ways that you can
mess it up once you understand how the
formula works awesome i love it well ian
i want to thank you so much for your
time today um i think that this was
extremely educational so thank you for
that and also very motivational for
people who are considering starting this
business
the fact that you at the peak of your
business was doing 90 000
a month in revenue you were able to quit
your full-time job and now you only
invest 10 hours a week roughly into your
business and have va's kind of managing
the whole business that's really cool
and that's the beauty of online business
that's what gets me excited so thank you
for your time
and uh thank you to all of our viewers
today if you like this video give it a
thumbs up if you have any questions um
let us know in the comment section down
below
all right we'll see you later