Chances are if you are reading this, you are in a slump, or perhaps you are curious about what makes someone successful on Amazon. Maybe, you're already successful? What does it even mean to be successful?
Success can have a million meanings. There are tons of quotes out there meant to inspire you with this floating orb of success that always seems just out of reach. Gurus will promise you the sky in order to get you to buy their courses in order to teach you their version of success.
The truth is for most people, success on Amazon comes from how others perceive it, and it is generally based on how much money you make, in comparison to what they expect a successful person makes.
If you are reading this, perhaps you are using a similar model looking for financial success using Amazon's platform.
IT IS UNFAIR!
This expectation is a recipe for failure. It is wrong, it is immoral, and it is keeping millions of people from finding the success they want.
Am I saying that you shouldn't care about your Amazon earnings or how much money you are making? Isn't that what success means on Amazon?
There will always be someone who is making more money than you on the platform. There is always someone just a little further ahead. There will always be that person you look up to who is doing it better than you. Should you let that person define what your success means for you?
Let's talk about it.
What is success?
Let's start by defining what should be obvious.
Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Now if that is true, then it really requires a couple tenants, right?
"Success is the accomplishment..."
That means you had to do something in order to get "success."
"...of an aim or purpose."
That means you absolutely need a direction or a meaning for doing that thing in order to achieve success.
But I really want to dispel some myths about success for you.
When I was growing up in small-town Texas, success meant being the positive talk of the town. Generally, this meant I had to make the honor roll, or stand out and make my parents proud, but for being a kid, this was the boundary that society placed on me.
In order to be successful, I needed to achieve the most I could within that defined bubble. There was neither an expectation for me to make rent every month, nor pay for school, nor take care of my family. My responsibilities were few, and success was easy.
All I had to do was go to school, make decent grades by paying attention and apply myself to learn as much as I could while staying out of trouble.
Unfortunately, this is not the boundary adults have for themselves, but it is the boundary they place on their children. We don't teach our children about how success changes as we grow up. The parameters change almost exponentially as we become mature adults.
For adults, it is all about the new job Mr. Johnson has, or how much of a raise Mr. Tibbets got. Did you see the television the Jones's just purchased? How come we don't have a tv that size? Wow! The McArthur family sure has a nice pool! Check out those incredible numbers on Steve's Amazon sales history!
If only I had that. If only I had any of that.
You see the pattern here?
Unsuccessful people attach how others perceive them, and other people's definition of success becomes a model for their own success, and well, that is 100% bull crap!
Wait a minute! Adults have those responsibilities you didn't have as a kid. Are you telling me that this is not a factor?
Absolutely. It is because we attach so much weight to success, that we close out our minds from getting the most from ourselves. I have probably lost a few of you with this, but let me do my best to explain, so you follow.
"You know I would totally write that book, but I just don't have the time."
"I wouldn't be so overweight if I could afford to eat healthier foods."
"You know, once I get that promotion, then, THEN I'll be happy."
If only I could this. If I only had that.
Does any of this sound remotely familiar?
If not, then I applaud you for being an outlier where most people I know fit some form of this mold.
I will not discount your responsibilities as an adult. We all have certain things we must do and this is exactly where the secret sauce is.
I'll explain in a moment, but first...
I am here to tell you that RESPONSIBILITY comes from the choices we make for ourselves. It is a weight that we choose to carry and it defines our versions of success and failure. It is not a bad thing to have the responsibility, for it defines our character, but we must remain in control of it or it will weigh us down. We choose what we are responsible for, and our success depends a lot on the amount of weight we give to our responsibilities.
So if your responsibility is to take care of your family. As long as you are able to do that, you are successful.
If your responsibility is to make sure you are able to pay the bills every month while still maintaining a positive balance in your bank account, then you are successful.
If all you care about is having the coolest gadget, owning the biggest house, or driving the fastest car, if that is what truly drives you, then you too are successful.
But I want to pick apart the last 3 statements for context.
Success is taking care of family: Ask anyone who has a family how much pride they have, how fulfilling it is for them. This empowered feeling is what we want success to feel like.
Success is paying your bills and staying ahead: If your goal is simply achieving this aim, you are successful, but do you feel fulfilled? Are you satisfied with just making it paycheck to paycheck?
Success is having access to the things other people think they want: It is sad that this is the lifestyle so many gurus on the internet want to push. What good is having an expensive car if you don't have someone to drive with? How lonely is a large house that only you enjoy? Why do you need that large tv if all you are going to do is rot your brain in front of it? What's more, what happens when it is all taken away from you?
Don't get me wrong, you can have anything you want, and should use any desire you have to move you. But there is a reason Skynyrd sings about being a simple kind of man. I hope this puts things into perspective a bit because I want you to find the most appealing forms of success for yourself. I want you to be a multi-millionaire that kills it on Amazon and on anything you do, for that matter, but we have to prime our minds for that success. That means we need to shift the paradigm and reclassify success.
Let's redefine success to mean something that serves us.
Anyone who has "made it" will tell you that the first step to becoming successful is to conquer your own misconceptions about what the word "success" actually means, and to program a more sustainable and enriching definition to it. That means we need to get to the core of who we are, and what makes us tick. Then and only then can we empower the innermost drive within us so we have the power to keep giving it our best.
I don't know about you, but to me, success means stepping out of my comfort zone, doing things that scare me, and constantly striving for improvement in all aspects of my life. I have not attached any expectation to my definition other than this, and that has opened up many possibilities in my life and shows me just how malleable my personal success can really be.
Do I always achieve everything I set out to achieve? No.
Do I give up when it gets hard? Never.
Instead, I see success as a mental shift first where I allow myself to fail, even welcome it.
What's that about?
Hear me out.
I find that failure is a good indicator of success. It means I tried something, and it didn't work out this time. So long as my definition of success embraces failure as a building block, I see failure as a necessary step toward my aims. I won't make the same mistakes again, so long as I learn from failure, I have moved in the right direction.
That is how I have reprogrammed my brain to see success and failure as mere states of being. I can take risks that, in the past, I would never have imagined I would take, and that has made me a successful individual in life and on Amazon.
Coping with Failure
If you define failure as a step in the right direction, the thought will no longer hold you back from trying, because true failure is actually giving up on yourself.
Now let's take on that one feeling we all wish to avoid, that gut-wrenching fear-driven wall that is failure.
If you are new to selling on Amazon or anywhere for that matter, you will experience failure at some point.
The trick is to figure out what mistakes you will make, quickly and as painlessly as possible, in order to give you the confidence you need to be willing to finally take some risk.
That can be a lot to unpack.
Failure is a rite of passage for every entrepreneur.
I am going to tell you a story about how easy it was for me to get stuck in the brambles of failure, and how that affected me for years, and how I use it today as a stepping stone.
I have been selling things since I was a young child. Back in Austin, Texas, I used to roam around our apartment complex looking for cool-looking rocks or pieces of wood that I could carve and sell to anyone willing to buy, for a dime a piece.
I was just a kid, so I hadn't yet had the programming which told me selling a rock or a piece of wood was wrong. Was it really though?
I was making a couple dollars a weekend doing that, which meant I could have whatever snacks I wanted from the vending machine.
That was my driving force.
My parents weren't rich, and giving me pocket change to buy a bag of candy just wasn't an option. So to me, at that age, success meant getting a bag of candy by selling rocks and wood carvings.
Believe it or not, people bought them too, and they marveled at how someone as young as I, could be so enterprising at that age.
Then, the pain came.
I was chipping away at some wood, making something that looked like a bird, when a young boy about my age came by to investigate what I was doing. I told him I was carving a piece of wood to sell in order to get some change for a cherry cola at the apartment pool vending machine. The kid was baffled and sowed something in me that stunted my entrepreneurial growth for years, though looking back, I appreciate the lesson.
He told me that selling stupid rocks and pieces of wood doesn't work, because anyone can find the materials to do what I was doing, and probably do it better. I couldn't argue with him. I mean, what did I know? I was just carving some wood with a sharp stone. Surely anyone could do that, right?
So, I stopped selling rocks and wood carvings for a dime a piece because I was made to feel guilty for assigning value to these things which are so readily available. I quit completely. I began to doubt the validity of my actions. Up until that point, I was successful.
Now I want to bring this into the Amazon realm and how similar tragedies prevent thousands of sellers from taking action, and worse, make them give up altogether.
It is true, there are millions of sellers online selling in the Amazon FBA marketplace. Amazon is a huge platform with many sellers, and your ideas, once public, can and will be copied in some form.
I see doubt all the time within the Amazon groups I am a part of. I hear it from clients, and it is the begetter of actual failure for so many people.
Is now the best time to get into Amazon?
Can I really make money selling products online?
I hear the new tariffs are causing people to fail. Should I even try?
I heard it is impossible to get reviews these days, is it even possible to succeed?
You are doing it wrong if you aren't profitable and selling at least 10 products per day.
These are REAL posts and real questions we get every day from people who are interested in Amazon but haven't yet taken the plunge, or are fresh into their journey but allowing doubt to sow discord within their minds. It is like they are planning their own failure before even trying to succeed.
By the way, the answers to the first 4 questions are an unequivocal "YES." The last statement is the result of programming from other Amazon sellers who claim to know the "one right way" to succeed on Amazon.
I'm not going to tell you the one right way to success on Amazon or anywhere for that matter. There are far too many variables to make such cookie-cutter statements.
Instead, I want you to define your own version of success and failure in that both give you something positive regardless of the actual outcome.
So if there is anything I want you to get from this post, it is to recognize when you are being that little boy carving wood into something valuable for others, and when you are being the boy who doubts that carving wood is valuable.
It is much easier to succeed when you have support.
Model what others have done successfully to find similar success for yourself.
There are tons of self-help resources out there that talk about how mastermind groups work in your favor, so I shouldn't need to sell you on that, but if you want to know about the power of masterminds, check out "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill.
When I first started selling products on Amazon, I was alone. I had no idea what I was doing, what mistakes I was going to make, or how it was all going to turn out. At first, it was hard. I had so much to learn, but what was harder was not having anyone to turn to that I could talk about my struggle with.
My family thought I was crazy for trying this instead of focusing on a stable career, and my friends weren't really interested in my latest business venture. They were probably all pretty annoyed that I was always talking about it, actually.
That is when I knew I needed to find a group of people I could share my journey with, that would understand my trials, and work with me to help me overcome the hurdles, because, in turn, I would be there to help them with theirs.
It is with this experience that I implore you to find a tribe you can grow with, that will help you with all the experience they have, and give you the confidence you need to take the risks you must take to succeed with your business.
At the beginning of this post, I said there is a secret sauce to success. That sauce comes from the strength of your will to persevere when others do not.
I want you to imagine how easy it might be for family or friends to convince you that trying to start an Amazon business is too crazy, too unrealistic to even attempt, that you'll fail, and they are only telling you not to do it because they love you and don't want you to fail.
Now imagine being a part of a group of hundreds of like-minded individuals who have all been where you are now, who have overcome and continue to persevere, who are taking the risks, making mistakes and learning from them. Most importantly, they are sharing it all with you because you chose to have them.
That is what the Gorillaz Tribe is all about. We are a group of successful Amazon sellers who push each other to be better today than yesterday, to define empowered definitions of success together.