Today we have Peter Chiang, an Australian Chinese seller who has been deep into Amazon FBA only for a couple of years, but doing business for many years . He was just at the Cross Border Summit and we thought we would have a good chat about which parts of his business he is paying companies to do for him, which parts of the business he isn’t – and why!
Topics Covered in this Episode
How did you get into E-commerce?
Based in Shanghai, strategic decision?
You’re in Shanghai China – how is that? Good for business, a particular reason?
What is the first service you have someone help with as an ecommerce seller?
For people still doing everything themselves, what is that one thing they should get off their plate right now?
Other top tasks to find experts in?
What is next on the list?
What NOT to have an agency do?
Or can you outsource everything?
Management, Strategic decision making
Do you / Can you have someone managing others?
Are they all online? Where are they based?
Freelancers or Agency?
Are you working with these people directly, through an online platform, or full service agency?
Top Lesson Learned Working with Service Providers
What a mistake / learning development you had that you think others should listen to?
What is next for you, how can people connect?
Would love to learn more about your business and how listeners can connect.
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Episode Length 44:37
So it’s pretty amazing. Now, can you believe, people like Peter can grow these seven figure businesses without staff or even contractors. But he does like talking to the customers, he likes learning from the customers. I think that’s probably the most important thing for most businesses, especially in Amazon. I really appreciate it, Peter. Thank you for coming on and sharing.
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[00:00:00] Episode 279 how Peter a top Amazon seller seven figure seller based to Shanghai scaled and grown his business, leveraging service providers and very services. Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice.
[00:00:22] And now your host, Michael Michelini. Thank you everyone for choosing to download and listen to this show. Get an interesting feedback on the last a America hate show. But that’s what we’re trying to do here. Trying to do things differently and give different perspectives. And get some people riled up and interested and talking.
[00:00:43] Maybe we’ll get our cash rebate on this whole trade war stuff. I’m probably going to be in Bloomberg soon. Been talking to them. I think I mentioned in some of the shows, might have some pretty interesting articles of my perspective. Hint, try represent the people I talked to on this show and in the audience,
[00:01:00] so just keeping things real, putting them out as they are. Been back here in
[00:01:05] Chang Mai. A little bit catching up on rest. It’s been a lot of stuff going on. We have an amazing guest today, Peter Chiang, he’s a seven figure seller based in Shanghai, China, regular listener of the show and supporter. He came out to the Cross Border Summit, has been supporting there and a lot of other events in a community and connecting with so many different people.
[00:01:27] He’s an amazing, amazing person to know and become a friend of mine and got it Quite a lot of time spending together at the various things happening at the trade shows seasons. So I’m really happy. Um, he was able to come on the show. We actually recorded it in person at the global services summit in Hong Kong, kind of the last leg of this and seen a few weeks down in South China.
[00:01:51] And again, he was a very supportive of the events and came out to the cross border summit and everything. And I really do
[00:02:00] appreciate it. It was, it was, um. A great time and I’m glad we got to record in person. I tried to do some of these shows in person, some of course are on Skype or zoom or online or you know, all these different ways of recording online.
[00:02:12] Somebody that even by telephone, like when my uncle Gary, which people like that show. But today we thought Peter would just kind of share. He has no staff, no VA’s, and he’s a seven figure seller. Uh, but he does leverage a lot of these services and he gives shout outs and mentioned some that he uses.
[00:02:28] Uh, in no affiliation there, and just kind of given us all some insights of maybe what services you could look at, what kind of options you have, and how it can grow your own business. So without further ado, let’s get Peter onto the show. Do you want to join some other business leaders in a cross border community?
[00:02:45] We’re doing a new year’s retreat in Thailand right here in Chiang Mai, January 3rd, fourth, fifth, a three day weekend mastermind round tables. I’ll be sharing some of my insights of how I manage my online team and other tools
[00:03:00] that I’ve been sharing on various member calls. You can check it out and learn more.
[00:03:04] It’s a very reasonable deal, especially if you’re a GFA VIP member. Check it out at www. Global from asia.com/retreat. All right, so we’re here in Hong Kong at the global sources summit and it’s been an intense couple of weeks and I’ve been spent a lot of time with Peter Chiang. He’s a seven figure Amazon seller based in Shanghai.
[00:03:28] What, what’s your, what’s your background, Peter? Hi Mike. Thanks for having me on the show. Before we get into that, I want to Congratulate you on your successful event in Guangzhou last, last week. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for meeting people and, um, great content from all the speakers.
[00:03:42] Awesome. Yeah, I’m still, I think exhausted.. sick still taking some medicines. Just exhausting. It was pretty intense. It feels great after, the after part, you know, all your friends’ connections. It’s awesome. Definitely. Really good. Great show. Yeah. I mean, we tried it, we’ve tried it before and you can
[00:04:00] see the previous summit and everything.
[00:04:01] I appreciate that. And yeah. Um, we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit more than the last week or two. Yep. So you’re based in Shanghai. You’re a, I heard. Excellent. Christina told me you’re, even have some Mongolian business, totally unrelated to e-commerce, but, um, yeah, that’s from my old work that I used to do and I’m still, I’m still doing that a bit, but yeah, I want to focus more on eCommerce and sort of get out of that.
[00:04:26] Oh, okay. Yeah. eCommerce is where it’s at. And you’ve been growing over the past, well, how many years you’ve been, um. Yes. First started at the end of 2017 so that’s only been two years, but compared to a normal business. It’s like doing four or five years in any other business that has been really intense.
[00:04:43] It’s true. It’s true. So, um, that’s pretty fast. So today we’re gonna talk about utilize, making money utilizing all these service providers. They are, of course, that are a lot of our conferences they’re in, or the content online and all, all different places. And I
[00:05:00] think you as a seller, utilizing these different services.
[00:05:02] So we could, uh, get some insights for listeners about how you are working with them and the, and the different ways to make the most of these, um, these relationships. Right. Definitely. Yeah. Um, just to let everyone know, I’ll be mentioning some of the service companies that I work with. And I don’t have any affiliate links or anything, so it’s just purely what I think of them and I didn’t get anything out of mentioning them.
[00:05:27] Cool. Yeah, I mean, that’s really, really great. I mean, same here. We just try to build the community, help each other and share, share knowledge. Maybe I can speak a bit about, um, my background and where I want to go and that will help influence the decisions of why I pick certain service companies or not.
[00:05:48] Okay, great. So, um, in the recent years in the business I’ve been doing, I’ve been managing a lot of people and, uh, that’s been a large part of my work, which is, which is
[00:06:00] okay, but I wanted to have a break from that now. So basically, um. In the business. I don’t have any VA’s, I don’t have any employees.
[00:06:07] It’s just myself. A lot of the services, as we’ll be talking about now, I do pay people to do things for me, but, um, it’s a little bit unusual. I think anyone who’s doing seven figures, they have no VA’s or anything, but it’s just how I want to do for now. Maybe later I can try and get some more people on board.
[00:06:26] But um, so far just working with these companies has been, has been sufficient and I’m enjoying it, so that’s good. That’s good to know. Just the background. I mean, I think maybe, maybe, maybe it’s a good points even bring up, um, you still don’t have even VA’s or, or staff, but before, how long were you working on this, uh, before you even had a service provider?
[00:06:50] um, well, I think just even from the beginning, I was already using a surface. I used a sourcing agent, so right from the very, that’s the first step for everyone. Yeah. So I
[00:07:00] had someone initially. Okay. But if, if we take it back a step, I think, um, people will pay someone else to do a service for two main reasons.
[00:07:09] One is to save time, and the other is they can get something from that company. Um. Wait, I don’t have the skill or the ability to get a certain level of, of a result that they want. Okay. So, um, yeah, for me, it’s basically deciding one, one or the other, but it’s mainly the skill, uh, item that, that I need done that, that I feel that I’m not good enough, so I get someone else, which is good.
[00:07:38] I mean, you’re, you know, you have this whole being humble, right. As realizing what you’re good at, what you’re not good at. You’re not trying to do everything yourself. Exactly. I skipped a question, but you even use a sourcing agent, but you’re based in Shanghai. So I think that’s even interesting for listeners that you’re in China.
[00:07:56] Yes. Your products are even here, right? It’s made in China, but you
[00:08:00] still working with his agents. Maybe. Maybe you can even explain why. Yeah. Um, so if we take it back a step, the, um. The way I’ll select a service company. The best way for me is if someone whose opinion I respect recommends that service company.
[00:08:19] And if not, then I’ll just do the research, whatever I can do on the, you know, on the various blogs or we chat groups or whatever. And actually being at your conference was good because two of the companies I was considering working with, um, I didn’t tell them I was going consider it, but I got to spend time with them and, and hear a bit.
[00:08:40] Of how they felt certain things were done and how they did things, and it helped convinced me, and I’ll be mentioning them later. So the first step of the sourcing company was actually one of my friends was using them. So that’s why I use them. Then, um, recently now though, uh, I’m confident
[00:09:00] enough to do my own sourcing, so I had the trade fairs or Alibaba or things like that, so I did that by myself.
[00:09:07] So that’s one thing I do on my own. Um, maybe I can talk about other things I do, which are important. Sure. Some people outsource that. I don’t outsource. I’d love to hear what you don’t outsource or you don’t work within agency on. Yup. So, um, customer service, basically applying to questions, um, maybe checking the reviews, writing comments on those.
[00:09:31] I know that’s something you can very easily answer. But, um, I personally like having that interaction with the customers. Uh, getting a real hands on feel of what people are saying, what they think about our products. I know you can get a VA to do that and download the reports, but I just personally really liked doing that.
[00:09:50] And, um, if I’m online, I’ll always get that my top priority. Like if I see someone’s written a question or a comment, I’ll just go straight
[00:10:00] into the you know the email. I don’t like to use the app on your phone or using email. Um, I do use the app on my phone, but if I reply to them, I usually want to use my computer because often are attachments or things that I need to send to them.
[00:10:13] Yeah. So that’s one thing that the customer service, one thing, uh, which many people will find unusual is I do my own quality checks as well. I bring that up. When you said sourcing, I was going to separate QC and um, I don’t know anyone actually that does their own quality checks, but. I’m trying to get the factories that I work with close to Shanghai, so I can go there within two hours and if there’s a big shipment or we’re doing a new product, I will definitely be spending more time with them.
[00:10:42] And I know some people were saying, Oh, you’re wasting your time if you get, you know, any source, any quality company to do that. But while I’m there, I’m also building my relationship with the owner. Um, with the ladies who are doing the satisfied, even the factory staff, they, they recognize me now, they’ll smile at me.
[00:10:57] Okay. And you never know when they’re doing [00:11:00] the putting something together. Ah, this is for that guy, that visits and he seems like a nice guy, you know? So I think it all adds up in it and it helps. Sure. Yeah. I can respond to that part. Sure. I mean, I think, I guess maybe it’s by own personality, but I don’t deal good with conflict.
[00:11:17] So I would just be concerned maybe that. The quality might not be acceptable. And if it’s you as the buyer, the direct buyer seeing no cause. Some people even say when you’re negotiating on like Alibaba to say your, say you’re a staff, say at any can use your boss or the owner as the bad guy and you’re the good guy but you are the end buyer.
[00:11:42] You are decision maker. Yep. So I would almost imagine your must have been some cases where you had to make some hard. Definitely. Definitely. And I can give you an example of one. Um, one of my products has many pizza, has many pieces in them, and it was
[00:12:00] getting up to 10 to 20% of the pieces were having problems.
[00:12:02] And I was saying, you’ve got it. You can’t use those. You got to take them out. And I was saying, ah, you’re costing us a lot of money. Other customers don’t complain about this. So I said, who are your other customers show? Show me your other cars. Tell me their brands. And I went online with them and looked on Amazon and I said, look at all these bad reviews they’re getting.
[00:12:19] They’re getting lots of one star reviews, two star reviews. Look at mine. I’m still getting some, but not as many as those because of the care we’re taking. And it completely changed the way then they had no more complaints about that. And I think if you can try and present it in a way where it’s so.
[00:12:37] Better quality from them means less problems for me. Less bad reviews, more sales for them that once I got that across to them, they seem to be okay with it. So valid point, but I, I think you can get around it. Yeah. I like it. Yup. And um, another thing that some people may not want to hear, but I feel all the time, is if you’ve got a QC guy going to the factory, he’s going to be a [00:13:00] Chinese guy.
[00:13:01] He’s going to be there all the time. He’s going to feel closer to the factory than he does to you. If you’re on the other side of the world. And if there’s a quality issue that costs the factory maybe $20,000 to fix, and they say, we’ll give you $2,000 but just let this one go. It’s going to be pretty like maybe a lot of guys won’t accept it, but some guys will, and you know, this is something I feel a little bit uncomfortable with.
[00:13:25] So that is true. Yeah. Well, maybe it could be them together. I know it’s extra money, but they could go with you. I’ve, I guess maybe for me, I, I still like to pay a QC, even if even if I’m in China or I’m there because. I guess I do about the con. I’m not, I’m a, I’m a, I think in prion and can get to know me.
[00:13:44] I don’t like to have those harder and that I can have them be the bad guy and I’m like the good guy and I’m working with them. Yeah. In my career, I’ve, I’ve had a lot of situations where you have to deal with it. I’m comfortable. I also dislike conflict a lot. I’ll walk away from it if I
[00:14:00] can, but there’s been many situations where I just couldn’t walk away so I can deal with it.
[00:14:05] It’s okay. But to be honest, I’ve had very few difficult situations. I think once you get them on board with your mentality, if, if they’re the right partner, then it’s not so difficult. Just with a bit of a discussion, you can resolve the issues. Okay. So. Quality checks, ops, what’s not, and I didn’t plan to, one thing I do on my own now is PPC.
[00:14:27] And that was very difficult at first. Trying to understand it with these is a very technical thing. Um, and I spent a lot of unnecessary money at the beginning, like a tuition fee. And I feel I’m pretty good at that now. But that said, um, I had no, the guys who run the agencies, they know way more than I do technically.
[00:14:44] So I’m actually discussing with some different people, true actors, work with them. I could feel PPC is always changing, right? So you’d have to really be focused on it or have somebody, whether it’s you, if he was the
[00:15:00] operator or somebody on your team that would be always following the updates.
[00:15:03] Yes. And, and something I came to realize recently, it’s not exactly a cost, because if, well, it is a cost, but if you say you’re paying someone $200 a month. They probably will end up saving you 500 a month or helping you gain more 500 months for their automization of the bids and things like that.
[00:15:23] Right? Yup. Yup. Thanks. So, yeah, so I’m very seriously now looking at, I’m outsourcing. Okay. That’s what’s in PBC. Are there other other ones? Um, so one thing I don’t do any social media. I just do everything 100% on Amazon. And, um, one of my products is. Uh, a lot of people want to post about it.
[00:15:49] So I’m wasting my opportunity by not having something, something set up. So I’m looking now to sign an Instagram account and maybe hire someone to run that for me. Awesome. That’s something I’m considering. Yep. [00:16:00] I agree that that is also a lot of time and energy. Um, so do you want to move on to the The service companies.
[00:16:09] Let’s go through some of the services and the companies you’re using. We’ve already said there’s the sourcing agents that we’ve talked about that, um, I think when you are selling, the most important part of the listing is the images. I think a lot of people will agree with that. So, um, we almost joke it’s like the, uh, Tinder for eCommerce.
[00:16:31] You’re just swiping through pictures on mobile. Exactly. Yeah. So that’s really important. You’ve got to do that. So what I do is I have a photo taken of the product and then I send it to a service who uses, I’m Photoshopping and it looks so real that you can’t tell whether they, I can’t tell. I think most people can’t tell that it’s been photoshopped.
[00:16:54] It looks like they’re actually using the product and it’s just absolutely unbelievable. The results that we’ve been getting. [00:17:00] And I’ve been using, um, amazing freedom. Um, that definitely run on handy. Yeah, absolutely amazing results. I recently did an update with them of a product and my sales definitely went up like 20% or something cause then images were absolutely amazing, better than any of my competitors.
[00:17:17] That’s really great. So even before when I first started, I just took a photo with my camera, which you’re not supposed to do, but I, I was just starting out, so I was just trying. Sure. And I send it to one of these services for doing images, and I did some Photoshopping and things and it was still pretty good.
[00:17:32] So definitely that I can’t do that myself. I can’t do images to that level. So that’s one, so, okay. So that’s great. Yeah, of course. Images are really important. So just so I understand. You’re still taking the photo with the physical product and then sending it to them. That’s right. But I’m not using my phone anymore.
[00:17:51] I’m using professional photographer for that. Okay. And then are they local and, yeah, I found the guy, um, Victor, shout out to Victor. He’s in Shenzen. Okay.
[00:18:00] Very reasonable prices and excellent quality. So great. So that’s been good. Okay. Is good. So you’re in Shanghai, you guys have changed and since it’s domestic shipping fast, like couple days, but even so, I, um, recently I did a foot.
[00:18:13] He did a photo shoot for me, but I was physically went there. Oh no. And so we could talk exactly. Do you want this a bit more on this angle? So they came up perfectly. It was absolutely amazing. And then he’ll just give you the raw images in hide, obviously high resolution, probably pretty big.
[00:18:27] And you send it over to amazing freedom. Exactly. And then they’ll Photoshop. No touch-ups. Yup. Adding backgrounds, adding they infographic. It’s, it’s really good. They give you options. They say, do you want it for graphics? Do you want it this style? Do you want more serious, more funny? They give you all these options and the results are amazing.
[00:18:45] They’ve, they, they’ve improved a lot this year. They were really good last year, but I don’t know what they’re doing different, but they’ve, yeah, it’s just amazing. You can go and check out their website then. Okay, sure. We’ll put it in the show notes. Yup. And. So, of course [00:19:00] images yet, which is of course, very important for, uh, either launching or improving your listing.
[00:19:07] Right. I believe it’s the most, but I think a lot of people do as well. It’s the most important part of the listing. Okay. Then probably next is the copywriting. Yeah. So. Well, I believe a lot of people don’t read the coffee, but, um, two important factors there. One is you got to have the right keywords in there.
[00:19:25] So even if they’re not ready, you still have the right content. And, um, the people that do read it, they’re probably the guys who are pretty close to buying. So it’s really going to be good. And, um, I’ve worked with a couple of companies before. I wasn’t super impressed with their services. But at your conference and at this conference, I met Emma, Marketing by Emma.
[00:19:48] Yeah. Um, I think she, she’s got the right idea. I’ve seen some of the things that she’s done, so I’ll be using her for my next, um, off my next listing. Yeah, that’s great. Yeah, it was amazing. So it’s happy to hear, [00:20:00] hear that. And the next one I would say is, um, that I used is the trademark company called, um.
[00:20:09] Trademark angel, I can’t remember. So it’s one of those things you can do by yourself. A lot of people would try to do by yourself, but I think it’s worth paying that extra money just to make sure it’s done correctly and you don’t lose the extra time. So that’s another service that I’ve used.
[00:20:23] Okay. Then, um, suspensions, um, you know, CJ, yes, I know CJ. So, uh, this is another thing I think you can possibly do by yourself, but if you’re new to Amazon and you don’t have experience with at least the first time, you definitely should hire. Someone that knows what they’re doing, because if you don’t do it right, you can get suspended and not have a chance to come back.
[00:20:46] So at least the first time, get some experienced by hiring someone else to do that are scary. And obviously it’s the fast. You don’t want to make mistakes, you don’t want it to cause extra delays. Um, definitely is important. Right. [00:21:00] Then I’m just at this conference, there’s, um. A gentleman called Brandon.
[00:21:07] Dotski and he offers a service for returns, which is, which is very interesting. I, um, I send all my goods into Amazon and I don’t have a warehouse where I have my unfulfilled item sent to, so he can. Take the owners for you and resend them into Amazon or sell them on eBay. So whereas before I was getting zero for these items, now I can get something, so I’m probably going to use this service or that.
[00:21:34] Yeah, RM, I think it’s called RMA return merchandise authorization is the industry keyword. Also. Sometimes they say it’s better to tell the customer, send it somewhere so that they actually have to take a little bit of a. A step, not just get the money back. You know? I know a lot of sellers just say, Oh, we’ll just give you a refund.
[00:21:51] No problem. Don’t worry. But you also want to make sure that you’re, um, receiving it and checking it. I mean, yeah, he talked in his
[00:22:00] presentation about there are a lot of fraud with buyers. They just send you some stuff. But yeah, it happens. You gotta deal with it. So this, this can also help you save money, prevent people from cheating.
[00:22:12] Cheating you. So it’s definitely important. Yep. Next one is, um, this is a big one that I think you have to use someone service. You can’t do this on your own. So I’ve been selling in the U S for two years and now I’m starting to go into Europe and I’m joining this program called PAN-EU where you need to get the VAT of seven countries.
[00:22:32] There’s absolutely no way I think anyone could do this on their own. You have to hire a company to do that. So, um. There’s different, there’s different companies that offer this type of service and on all the WeChat groups and everything, whenever you have the question, it goes out of an oven.
[00:22:48] Any, any suggestions for service companies that do VAT and so many people have written their company that they use and they say, I hate this company. Almost every single company has like the
[00:23:00] process or the agencies. Exactly, and there’s only one company that I’ve heard that I haven’t. Had these hate comments come up on the feet and there was Avask, so they’re more expensive.
[00:23:11] But, um, I’ve been using them for, Steve is using them. Cameron, our friend Cameron, is also using them and they’re pretty good. They’re more expensive, but I think it’s worth the money. Okay. Yeah. So that’s, it’s true. It’s another important one that can also cause big problems later. Exactly.
[00:23:26] Unexpected. Yes. And a lot of people do have problems with those. Yeah. It seems like Europe is looking, is looking more and more at these, and uh, there’s been a lot of loss suspensions and other issues. Yes. From it, definitely. Yep. Then I’m still on the subject of Europe, so excuse me. Um, an important factor of going into a non English speaking country is you’ve got to get the, the listing setup correctly.
[00:23:53] Localization. Exactly. So, um, Yana was at your.
[00:24:00] Your conference and she’s been at this conference and she knows what she’s doing. Like a lot of people who, especially I think people who only speak English, who don’t speak any other languages, don’t appreciate the fact that you really need to change sometimes content to match your target market.
[00:24:19] Different countries have different, um, ways of perceiving things and the decisions they make are based on, on different things. But. The example I like to make is if you’re in the States, you’re looking at a listing. It’s clearly written by some person who isn’t native language and native English speaker could have been a Chinese person and it really puts you off.
[00:24:42] It’s the same thing for if a German person is looking at a translation that’s gone through your Google translate, it’ll really, if they were considering buying, it could be. Um, if they were on the fence, it could be the thing that pushes them into to not buy. So even though all these services cost money, I believe it’s worth investing in
[00:25:00] because you’ll get it back in the sales that you, that you gained.
[00:25:02] So, so I strongly recommend, um, Yana’s company as well. I, yeah, I’m, I’m going to be working with her. Great. Yep. Exciting. So, so that was a great rundown. I think that people understand different services. I understand the thought process, the decisions. Um, yeah. How, how should people, if you want to say, how do people decide?
[00:25:28] Yeah. I mean, should they, from what I’m gathering is it seems like, of course, meeting them at these conferences, which is great. You get to listen to them share it or knowledge. You also. It seems like also you’re getting referrals of friends. Yes. For me that’s the most important, but you can’t always get that, like a lot of people starting out don’t know necessarily, so.
[00:25:44] Yeah. Okay. Those are different, different rundowns, different eight different services. So I guess on that more than the decision making, you know, of course friend recommendations is the best, you know, of course, meeting face to face events. The next is it, are you, would you think it doesn’t matter if they’re like.
[00:26:00] A solo solo freelancer, maybe they’re doing everything they’re selling and they’re also fulfilling, or is it a bigger agencies that have teams as is there any thought process like you have the photographer on the sharp, this person’s one man show, or if they’re, does that matter to you? If or for me, what’s behind the service isn’t such a big factor for me.
[00:26:20] It’s the result through. If, if my friends or the people I know have said he’s given me really good photos, he’s done really great product listings for me. I don’t need to investigate, you know, how big is your team? I might ask out of curiosity, but it’s not going to be a factor in my decision making process.
[00:26:37] So yeah, agency or freelancers, as long as they, they’re performing, whirling and giving the results that we need, that’s it. Either way it’s fine, but if you don’t. No. Have any recommendations at all? Probably a freelancer is not the best choice because if you, if you haven’t, I think there’s a higher risk then it’s true with Allison to kind of say if you don’t know who you’re working [00:27:00] with, and then if it’s an individual, obviously that person could get sick.
[00:27:04] Yeah. I think a lot of times I have as a freelancers, this is called feast or famine. I don’t know if you’ve heard that. It’s, the point is they’re selling and they’re fulfilling, so sometimes they get there, they’re starving like. Famine and they’re doing anything to get a client or job or project, but then they’re so busy and sometimes they get overloaded and there are too many requests and they don’t know how to scale, or they don’t know how to manage a, and they tried it all themselves and they burn out or, or they do lower in their service quality.
[00:27:34] Right. I mean, I think that’s the hard part about scaling services is, you know, a lot of these require humans. Do you know, I feel like a lot of things we just went through. Require human, human skill and ability. So I think agencies might be better handle scalability and service quality, quality control before they deliver it to you.
[00:27:56] Uh, as, as the, uh, as a client. Yeah. If
[00:28:00] someone, exactly. If someone, if someone’s really planning to grow fast, you can’t work with their freelancer, then you definitely consider a decent sized company. I guess the other service I’ve thought about, I don’t know if they really do it, but obviously you’re managing seller central, but some people.
[00:28:13] There are services that manage seller central. You mentioned she C but you don’t really managed, I mean there’s listing optimization, which you kind of, but you’re still, obviously you’re still the one in seller central updating the listing. Yes, yes. But there, you know the copyright is giving you the text.
[00:28:27] Yeah. That photo hog refer and photo design companies giving you the creative. Yep. Do you do video? I have had done, I have done video actually you a while ago. Michael Hartman, who was the speaker at your thing as well? I used his, he used to do video and photography, so I used his services as well.
[00:28:45] Okay, so why were you asking me if I do you to run down all the different parts that I could see in the process, but that’s the same for me as photography. It’s, it’s in the side pocket. Those together. So usually the photographer Shenzhen could
[00:29:00] also do video. Yeah, it’s usually that’s the case.
[00:29:02] okay. I’m just running down and then like. You know, there is these, these, I think you’re managing the account yourself, but there’s these kind of agencies that can also manage the account. I said, you’re replying to messages, but then there’s also in PPC, I’m just trying to break down a different tools of service.
[00:29:19] I think most sellers who are doing a reasonable volume would have their VAs running sell essential for whatever they need, you know? So, um, I don’t watch products that frequently, so it’s not a huge time factor for me when I get a new listing and uploaded it. It’s just a few minutes actually. So.
[00:29:35] And, uh, everybody knows Zack Franklin. He’s been on the show a couple times to the, uh, shirt I’m wearing. He’s wearing Yeah. Yeah. Peter’s wearing a Panda Leap shirt right now. Maybe we’ll put a quick photo of this on the show notes, but, uh. You know, are you looking at your returns or are you trying to get money back from Amazon?
[00:29:54] Are you running these reports? Sorry, that’s lip service. I forgot to mention. So the returns is
[00:30:00] a, is an important part of that. Um, for people who don’t know, um, refunds maybe is the more than returns. Amazon makes mistakes and you have to find them to get the refund. Often sometimes they’ll give you some refunds that they find, but apparently there’s a lot of.
[00:30:15] Where they’ve lost your inventory or whatever, they need to pay you for that. And for some reason it slips through the cracks. Exactly. So, um, there’s different types of services you can have. And again, I’m using Liren and Andy’s service for that. And I’ve, I’ve in, um, the past 12 months, I got a few thousand dollars back.
[00:30:33] So, and I’m only paying. I can’t remember. Maybe less than a hundred per month. So it was definitely worth it. Definitely worth like, that’s something you should for sure get outsourced or you can have a VA doing. So it depends. It depends what you’re going to have. Yeah. Okay. Um, well we’re getting towards the end.
[00:30:51] I know there’s a me, Oh, I think we had a pretty good conversation and we’re going to get back to networking here at this. Yeah. In Hong Kong. Well,
[00:31:00] maybe some of the lessons you’ve learned he didn’t really talk about. I’m sure you’ve had your share of bad experiences. Well, funny you should mention that because when we finished recording, I’m going to record with mega, and that’s going to be lessons that I’ve learned it’s another subject to her.
[00:31:13] Yeah. We’ll link it up on the notes, so shout out to Meg. Vaguely. She’s just started recently. Yeah, she just started the Asia seller podcast. Yeah. I hope I got the name right. It’s a STI. She’s really just getting started. I gave her some tips as well. Okay. We can link to that show then. Um, maybe, maybe just some more about you and what your, um, what people, what are, what are you, you know, what are your goals with people listening?
[00:31:37] I really appreciate it. We’ll still on this subject. I think if people are thinking, how do I cite, decide what I need to outsource or what, what services should I be buying? Um, I think maybe you take a bit of a step back. And from your business and look into it and think, what am I really struggling to do?
[00:31:58] You know, what am I not doing well? That could be,
[00:32:00] or you can ask someone who has more experience to say, can you look at how I’m running my business? How do you think I can do it better? Because if just the images as an example, if you’re doing it yourself and you’re not doing a good job, you’re probably hurting your sales.
[00:32:12] But I don’t know what the sent, but just things like that, get someone to look at it, what you think from a higher level. And, um. Then you can make your decisions on, on what you need someone else to do for you. Okay, great. And yeah, thanks Peter. I really appreciate it. It’s just been great to share.
[00:32:29] Um, yeah, I don’t, I know you don’t want to share prior your brand or your website, is there a ways, what would you like to connect with people or if, um, well, I live in Shanghai, so I’m always happy if anyone’s in Shanghai and meet up with them and take them out for lunch or dinner. Okay. The probably the easiest way to contact me is via email.
[00:32:46] My email is Peter, peter_chiang okay. 10031 firstname.lastname@example.org certainly rolls off the tongue. That email address, that’s the, that one to underscore is the harder part. But yeah. Well, listeners can, can reach out to you. I’m sure you’re definitely a great person to connect and things and really sharing and I’m happy to have you on our, our show.
[00:33:08] So I’ll, uh, let you get going to your next interview and we’ll be at some more networking here in Hong Kong. And ah. That’s it. Thanks for having me, Mike. Thanks. Thanks for calling off here. Cheers. Bye. Thank you. Alpha rock, capital D, R S ongoing partner of gold from Asia and supporting the show.
[00:33:25] And if you enjoy what you listened to and you enjoy all these things, they support it across border summit. They support me and a goal from Asia, and I am a equity partner there. So I definitely recommend, if you’re interested in either selling your Amazon business or investing in a acquisitions fund that will be acquiring, enrolling up more and more of these Amazon companies.
[00:33:46] Definitely check out alpha. Rock, capital.com/connect we’ll get you connected with the right people on the team. I really appreciate it, Peter. Thank you for coming on and sharing. I, I enjoyed it and I think, uh, I think listeners will too. It’s just more real talk, you know, we try to have some real, real insights.
[00:34:08] So it’s pretty amazing. Now, can’t you believe, um, people like Peter can grow these seven figure businesses without staff or even. Contractors, so the world is going kind of crazy. But he does like talking to the customers, likes learning from the customers. I think that’s probably is the most important thing for most businesses, especially in Amazon.
[00:34:30] Listening to your feedback, listening to the questions that they have, looking at the market, understanding your landscape, your competitors, how to make yourself better. You know, I, I of course talked to so many people selling online. And everybody focuses so much on like getting ranking, getting velocity, but it’s, I think.
[00:34:52] The, really, the, the key is a quality product. You know, I know that’s boring. I know that might not be the favorite thing people like to, to
[00:35:00] hear, but wants to hear the hack and the strategy out of how to, um, you know, get ahead. But I think no matter how good you are on marketing, I still remember Jerry Gunn’s interview where he says, you know, you’re a product first or marketing first company.
[00:35:13] Uh, think you got to decide about that. But I think if you’ve got a good product, of course you got market. And you’ve got to make a good listing. You know, Peter also shares about how he, you know, he spends time, he goes with the photographer with the samples, you know, even flies to different parts.
[00:35:29] Seems like he goes out in Shenzhen for that, but it goes different parts of China or wherever needed to actually, you know, work really closely with making quality video, quality photos, a quality listings. You know, you gotta make it look good right? But of course it, the product itself is not going to work well.
[00:35:43] When the customer receives it, it doesn’t really matter how good you did getting that person to choose and buy your product, especially with, you know, obviously the algorithm of Amazon or any kind of platform, they want quality products at a decent price. Maybe not the cheapest price, but a decent price to be at a top.
[00:36:00] So, you know, for me, I’ve, I am a little bit odd, I’m not say opposite of Peter, but we have quite a few, uh, people on the team here. You know, Alvin’s editing this, this show, um, we have no, Sheryl help him post it, LJ editing, you know, we didn’t get the transcriptions. We’re actually looking at different transcriptions softwares right now.
[00:36:20] We try to get a full transcript of this show online and time of production of publishing. You know, it is difficult. It is difficult. Honestly, I’m kind of envious of Peter, working with, you know, purely service providers. The, so that keeps the relationship easy. You know, you pay money for a service and the service is delivered.
[00:36:44] Whereas if you have employees or even, um, contractors, you got to manage. Does that mean you got to keep them incentivized? Honestly, it’s one of the trickiest things of dealing with humans is keeping them happy, keeping them. Clearly motivated and
[00:37:00] aligned with everybody’s interests, making sure that everybody’s on the same page.
[00:37:06] So I just do roll calls. Recommend it as much as you can to keeping your overhead as low as possible. The other danger of having employees or contractors or team is you’ve got to make sure you’re, you’re always paying them, even if maybe your businesses sales are down or, or businesses change.
[00:37:26] You know, I think that’s one thing. I try to always keep the team together. I feel like that’s the most important asset for a company as a team. Some might say customers, of course customers are important too. But if you don’t have a good team to make sure that a service is delivered and equality, you know, results is done, then you don’t really have much.
[00:37:45] But if you can get away with like what Peter’s doing and have purely serves providers, that is the ultimate. Um, cause then you just. If you don’t have new products or don’t have new work to do, you just don’t pay for another service package
[00:38:00] or another, a promotion or whatever. You know, you don’t gotta deal with the fixed costs or the ongoing costs or the maintenance costs of a team or a virtual team, um, contractors, et cetera.
[00:38:11] And, you know, like literally just before this posting, one of my team members wants some more work from me. You know, I of course a lot of pay an hourly, but even if there’s no work, you don’t want to just not give them work because then they might find something else to do and forget about you.
[00:38:26] You know, it’s, so, it is a tricky, uh, balance of working with, uh, employees or team members. You know, they, they want to make money, they want earn income. So you kinda gotta always have some projects for them or, or risk them maybe finding other things to do, which honestly has been happening even with me recently.
[00:38:43] Um. Um, like maybe give some examples in my own experience, like we have Alankar on our team that does our infographics and other graphics and Sometimes I don’t really need it. I need infographics to be made, but he’s asking me for work. He [
00:39:00] doesn’t, you know, he says there’s not been a project lately, so I kind of almost have to make up work or I dig up.
[00:39:04] I dig up some old posts that are ranking well in Google, and I’ll say, Hey, Alan, okay, Alankar, Okay, here you can work on this infographic. Literally, I just did that before recording the show. I gave him a project. I’ll pay for that. Maybe I could have just said, Oh, there’s nothing right now, but then I’m afraid he might.
[00:39:20] Get busy all square and a, and, a, you know, our relationship might fade. Another example is our IT departments. You know, sometimes we don’t have, especially maintaining all these websites, you know, Global From Asia. It’s hard to maintain a website. That’s why Amazon is easier. You don’t have to maintain websites, but especially WordPress, we gotten hacked a couple of times with the site.
[00:39:41] You’re always updating plugins, but sometimes it’s not needed. And then the web team might get a busy doing other client work or other things, or look for other jobs. So literally, I’m right now having some work done by Jasper just to keep things, uh, keep things
[00:40:00] rolling and keep him, uh, keep him satisfied with projects from us.
[00:40:05] It’s tricky. I don’t know. Maybe I’m too nice. Everyone says, but I do. Fueled by having team members. You’ve got to keep them busy. And of course, you don’t want to just have them do work for no reason. You want to do valuable work, but if you don’t have them doing anything, either one, you’re paying for nothing or two.
[00:40:21] Um, they’re not gonna get paid. Maybe a year or not paying them if you’re not working, but then they might find other projects that do pay them. So that’s kind of one of the, you know, the issues of having a team. I think most people listening that have managed people would agree with me. Um, you know, of course the quote unquote full time.
[00:40:41] You gotta keep those people with tasks and also not just keep them motivated with tasks, but keep them incentivized to optimize their work, optimize their hours, they to make sure that actually working the hours that they say they’re working or the amount of hours, you know, it’s, it’s this tricky balance of, uh, dealing human beings.
[00:40:59] And that’s why like Google and Facebook and those are so valuable because they’re high income with low amount of people. Relative to the size of the company. I think investors are business owners like to have companies that are highly automated, to have a less amount of human cause. Business owners and investors know, dealing with a lot of humans.
[00:41:22] If that person quits or leaves or sales goes down and can’t afford this headcount, can’t afford this salary, it’s a risk. So it’s of course more attractive to investors and business owners and entrepreneurs to have companies that don’t need a lot of people. Um, because then they don’t have to have so much risk of managing these people, of managing all these HR things, bonuses, you know, payroll.
[00:41:47] It’s stuff I’m always stressed out with. You know, I mean. We have goremit.hk one of our ongoing sponsors. So I, I use that to make payments in different countries. You don’t have to have companies set up everywhere, like in the Philippines and
[00:42:00] Vietnam and in Thailand. You can make payments there without having a bank account or a team there or a company there, but it’s still.
[00:42:06] You know, it’s still just more management, managing, um, payroll, managing expectations, managing. I’m on to hours projects. Are they delivering the amount that they’re saying they’re delivering? Are they happy? Are they gonna stay? Are they gonna find something else? This is just some of the stress.
[00:42:22] I think most business owners or anybody managing people management would deal with. It’s, it’s tricky. So again, back to Peter, you know, he’s got a little bit of a, I’m a little bit envious because he can. Literally just choose services and then they’re always happy because they want customers.
[00:42:37] He is a customer relationship is not like a manager or boss to an employee manage relationship. It’s a a co customer. He is a customer or a client of a service provider and at serves writer has to always deliver quality or else he can just say, Hey, I’m not happy with the quality of service. No hard feelings, but I’m going to go somewhere else and he just switches and he just pays somebody else.
[00:42:59] You know? Probably don’t
[00:43:00] have a longterm contracts with the services that he works with. So they have to always keep up, um, the good delivery of services to his, um, his accountant or his business to keep everybody happy. So that’s, I guess, one of the advantages of doing that. Of course. The other is disadvantages.
[00:43:19] You know, you might, they might be busy, they might have other clients, they might, he might be hard to find a good service provider. But hopefully today she’ll help you out in getting some new ones or getting some ideas. You don’t, of course, there’s no endorsements here. It’s what he is is, and I didn’t sneak, sneak in any affiliate links.
[00:43:38] There were just links in the show notes as always, we have them and um, you know, listening to others, word of mouth we’ve asked Armando in the past, Kristina on the show, they have a platform for helping you find services and others. Of course, global rays has some reviews and other things. You know, Chris Davey has FBAforyou.com, which has some different options for you.
[00:43:58] But just
[00:44:00] finding the right place for your, um, business and the right size of the consulting company or the service provider you’re working with. It’s a, it is tricky, but once you find the right, the right ones for you, and they’re happy and things are flowing, business can grow. So I wish you all the best and see you next week.
[00:44:20] To get more info about running an international business. Please visit our website at www.globalfromasia.com that’s www.globalfromasia.com also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.