Fall 2017 Update:
April 7, 2017 Update:
They’re coming out with ASM7 and it’s still at $3,500 or $4,000.
If you want to save about 99.9% off the purchase price, here’s Scott Voelker’s [easyazon_link identifier=”B017ROWWMK” locale=”US” tag=”bgr00-20″]$2.99 Amazon ebook[/easyazon_link] (don’t click buy before reading the section below).
And Scott’s podcast is free to listen to.
The only problem is now he’s selling a $1,397 course called Private Label Classroom. I didn’t know about this because I stopped listening to his podcast.
Also, selling on Amazon is MUCH more difficult nowadays and if you think you’re going to waltz up and reach the lofty numbers that past students have reached, think again.
The competition is brutal now at Amazon.com.
Not only has the competition driven down the number of sales you’ll make but it eats into profit margins.
Here’s a hypothetical illustration:
Whereas before you might have sold 300 alarm clocks in a month and make $4 profit on each one, now you’ll sell 100 and make $2.50 profit on each one.
The lower profit comes from a combination of either 1) more advertising money spent and/or 2) lower price to get sales.
Yes, you can still make money and, yes, if you hit a good niche (especially overseas), there’s good money to be made but don’t for one second believe that it’s the cupcake territory that a lot of expert mentors and private label gurus made their fortunes in.
What would be funny is if you put all of the millionaire coaches in your shoes and limit them to a $1,500 budget and see how well they did.
What you don’t understand as a newcomer is this is a capital intensive business where just shipping your first order (as in just moving – not making – the units) can cost $1k.
The training course sales pitches make everything sound glorious but truth be told, if you want to have A CHANCE at making real money in the next 8 months, you should invest money into your product and not a course about getting your product.
Do you need education?
But the information is out there and it’s free as a bird. No need to pay $3.5-4k.
If your friends or family come up to you claiming they’ve had success and that you should sign up through them, keep a few things in mind:
- Whoever is pitching you on the course – be it friends, family, or “masterminds” – is getting 50% of your buy-in. Are they really extraordinarily passionate about this magical ASM course or do they have dollar signs in their eyes? As the referee tells you before the match, protect yourself at all times.
- Amazing Selling Machine is basically just saying to sell on Amazon. There are at least a dozen ebooks, podcasts, and blogs that tell you how to do this for free if you’re truly interested.
- Realistically you need a minimum $2.5k investment on your first product order so if you spend every last dime to buy into the course, you’ll have nothing left to even have a chance.
- Amazon is as risky a business as there is. The Amazon company, in my opinion, does not give a fuck about you as the seller and will suspend your account for any whim. Also, people get bad inventory at a decently high rate.
- The guys at Amazing Selling Machine have previously come back and tried to pitch additional courses because the original course needed more.
[PS If you read that link about pitching additional courses, they actually went and partnered up with that guy and it now appears as if that package is part of the deal. My reaction: Ehhh, I raised my eyebrow and I’ll take them up on the offer since I already have the course but doing something you should have done 3 years ago doesn’t merit any gold stars — how can you have a $4k course and have an affiliate that offers bonuses that are way better than your actual course? Anyways, yes this does add good value to ASM7 but not nearly enough to justify the price tag.]
Years ago, I would have recommended ASM to anyone because you needed to cash in on the gold rush ASAP and there were no free information sources that told you how to source products and private label them. And thus, paying a mint for closely held trade info was worth it.
Now, as you can see, I recommend ASM to no one.
The Alls I Know Syndrome
Let’s say your pal Mary comes up to you pitching that Amazon course she’s been telling you about that she makes $8,000/month from.
You have some skepticism and she keeps coming back to “Alls I know” is I was making nothing before and I took the class and now I’m making $8,000 a month.
Well, first of all, the $8k is likely gross and not net. At best your friend is making 40% of that pre-tax.
Secondly, never listen to people that say Alls I know because it means they don’t know a lot… like how you can pick up the training for free if you really want to study and research this stuff.
There is No God, Well Amazon Kinda…
If there’s a God in any of this, it’s Amazon, not Amazing Selling Machine.
Millionaires have been made through Amazon. The guys at ASM just pointed people there first but it could have just as easily been someone else.
Amazon’s doing all the heavy lifting as in bringing customers do your doorstep but they have closed down some businesses just as fast as they have empowered them.
Read my post on the riskiness of selling on Amazon.
Below you will see my past updates, thoughts, and reviews.
Keep in mind, these are all time sensitive.
Second to last thing I’ve got to add in the 2017 update: The blind adulation and unfounded optimism expressed on the ASM posts in the Facebook group is unfortunate.
Last thing for now:
Someone asked me in the comments what I recommend as for how to learn.
I actually don’t recommend private label selling on Amazon.com at all anymore. The reason why not is I don’t think 80% of newcomers will make money.
Internationally, you’re more likely to profit, but there’s so much less volume and still a decent amount of uncertainty/risk.
If you’re hell bent on private labeling, spend a week studying blogs, listening to podcasts, and reading ebooks under $5.
Invest 20 hours of time into learning on your own and you’ll have a really good idea of how private labeling works.
2016 Update: I no longer recommend Amazing Selling Machine or Amazing.com.
The essentials to selling on Amazon are available for free on The Amazing Seller podcast by Scott Voelker and his [easyazon_link identifier=”B017ROWWMK” locale=”US” tag=”bgr00-20″]$2.99 Amazon ebook[/easyazon_link] will have you mostly ready to go.
I am satisfied with the product I bought (ASM4) but the FBA information is wide open now so ASM’s value has been majorly diluted by the market. Moreover, increased market competition within the Amazon marketplace has lowered the value of the course.
Beyond these factors, Amazing.com’s actions indicate their focus is on selling additional courses and supplements rather than providing value. Here’s a blog post from late 2015 which illustrates my point:
I’ve left my original review intact below but there are update links peppered throughout. I decided to include this new section at the top of my review because the CTR on the links wasn’t high enough.
Should you still try to sell on Amazon in 2016-2017?
Here’s what I think as of July 26, 2016.
I’m a member of one course out of several offered by what is now Amazing.com. In this post, I’ll provide my experience with both the course and the company in an attempt to help you decide whether to sign up.
Amazing.com was officially launched in 2015 at the ASM4 live event in Las Vegas. They used to be Amazing Academy but they snapped up their new premium domain to relaunch/rebrand as simply “Amazing”.
ASM stands for Amazing Selling Machine and is a course that teaches you how to sell physical products on Amazon. The “4” part comes into play because this was the 4th offering of the course (which I signed up for). There were 3 prior groups of ASM so it’s been around for a few years.
October 12, 2015 Update: Thinking about joining Amazing Selling Machine 6? Here’s what I think now (it’s changed)
Thus, Amazing.com was built on the ASM cornerstone. However, the new launch expands beyond just selling on Amazon and offers several other courses:
- App Startup
- Cash Flow MBA
- Copy Command
- The Expert Blueprint
- Online Jumpstart
- Social Secrets
- Web Store Mastery
The common thread here is all of these courses are designed to help people make money online.
So that’s the background.
As I was driving from Dallas to San Antonio the other day, I saw an Amazing.com billboard in Austin (their headquarters) and it instantly hit me what these guys are trying to do: They’re starting the first real, seriously organized online education for Internet Marketing.
December 11, 2015 Update: They’re selling too much now. They may indeed be building up a mega education center but the problem is the upselling even after you fork over 3.5 or 4 grand.
Ok, it’s not the first. FullSail.edu and Udemy have come along previously but this is different. This isn’t about getting a degree or certification (FullSail). This isn’t like many of the quicker online courses (Udemy). Amazing seems like it’s building full scale educational programs targeted to specific fields which can make you money.
What’s funny is it took the billboard for me to put everything together. I knew they were building an IM online education center but I didn’t see the complete picture (at least my version of it) until the billboard.
The first time I heard about Amazing Selling Machine, I balked at the price. The cost was $3,495 one time payment or 4 monthly payments of $997. This was for ASM3. I didn’t join – too expensive. Internet marketing info courses have a horrible history so there was no way I was going to pay that much.
In the next few months, I watched as people reported back with success stories. Several new members were making $2,000-$5,000 gross revenue (estimate about 40% net profit) without a problem.
When I saw the cold hard numbers, I seriously started researching the program.
Upon visiting the Amazing Academy homepage, I was originally turned off by a fluffy sales video of people cheering spliced with this weird, I guess inspirational music. I don’t remember exactly how the video went but it made me re-think my impulse to join.
But I knew Chris Guthrie (well known, legit Internet Marketer) was in and posting solid results. And I wholeheartedly believed the premise that anybody could make money selling on Amazon. These 2 factors pulled me back towards signing up.
I also read the review thread on Warrior Forum (which it sounds like just about every other ASM4 read). Most of the posts were against the course (they cried rip off, too expensive) and repeatedly members pushed Jim Cockrum’s Proven Amazon Course “PAC” for $247 or $297 or whatever it was.
I looked at the PAC sales page but in the end, I decided to bet on ASM and stick with it no matter what (though they do have a 30 day refund policy).
When it came down to it, I wanted to go for the full luxury suite, not just some Internet Marketing course.
Yes, it was a $3,500 risk but after weighing everything, I came to the conclusion that it was a great risk.
- Guthrie was in it and doing well. And I know he wouldn’t promote a scam.
- I was buying into a practical education. Given how much tuition I’d borrowed over the years (law school was $35,000 a year), this was cheap.
- At the very least, I could connect with like-minded entrepreneurs
And so, on the next go round, I joined. I paid the $3,500 to save $500.
Was it legit? Did I get scammed?
Yes, it’s legit. No, it’s not a scam.
However, I disliked some aspects.
First, I thought there would be a lot more hand holding. There wasn’t. The support dealing with the material aspects of the course was primarily posting to the community forum and getting replies from “mentors” who’ve been through the program along with other members.
There were also weekly webinars attended by the founders, Jason Katzenback and Matt Clark, but it was difficult to get my question answered.
The support was satisfactory but I expected to get my questions answered by Katzenback and/or Clark. Not that I knew who either of them were but they were the faces of the program and typically, in Internet Marketing education, the people that sell you the course are the ones you go to for support.
Secondly, the course starts off super slow. ASM has 8 modules spread over 8 weeks. When you first join, you’re obviously ready to go.
You’ve been hyped. You’ve been sold. You’re ready to go sell ice to Eskimos.
But the first module confines you to mostly orientation stuff and you can’t unlock the second module for a week. Very disappointing.
Week 2 gets substantive but week 3 is the milestone module because it’s about contacting suppliers and getting going. Also, it’s the module that takes the longest to actually get through (in terms of accomplishing real things that make a difference).
Thus, it was very disappointing to have to wait 2 weeks to get to week 3 and then have week 3 take me over a month to finish.
Of course, this ties into the whole 30 day refund guarantee. They’re not going to give away the tricks of the trade (week 5 and 6 have some great marketing differentiators) and then let you return the course.
Also, you can make a case for staggering the content so as not to overwhelm (which it easily could) but the timing was annoying for me.
Third, I was under the impression that an additional smaller investment (like $500-$750) was involved. In actuality, it’s more realistic to say $1,500 – $2,000 minimum for the product, product packaging, package design, and shipping. I don’t remember how this was officially addressed on the pre-sell from the course but whatever the case was, it should be emphasized more.
For example, if I were selling the course, I’d just say, “Hey, there are costs to creating a product and getting inventory. In most members experience, the cost runs from $1,500 – $2,000 (or whatever it is).”
Those were my three main complaints about the course but overall, it was easily worth it.
Here’s what I liked:
- Serious time went into organizing the course in an easy, straightforward manner. The material was easy to access and understand. Some more convoluted details were left out (for forum Q&A) but this was for the better because you don’t get bogged down on the lessons.
- The information was good and the marketing tips provided are not available on the web. In other words, you can’t just piece this course together from a few blogs and Kindle books.
- The live event in Las Vegas was loaded with value. The event was filled with great speakers (and I’m not talking about Richard Branson or Robert Kiosaki) who gave out some awesome usuable, actionable tips and info.
- I met a lot of great people at the event and came away with a couple of meaningful contacts that I’ll actually keep in touch with.
Putting it All Together
For those of you contemplating joining Amazing.com, what you have to keep in mind is that I’ve been sharing my experience of one course (Amazing Selling Machine) within the Amazing.com “campus” this whole time.
From what I can tell, this has all come together in a relatively very short time frame and I think Katzenback and Clark have done a phenomenal job with it.
Going back to one of my original complaints (no support from founders), it’s easy to see why I couldn’t get 1-on-1 interaction. These guys are putting everything together. They don’t have time to email back one by one.
This makes sense (this isn’t just another IM course, it’s more like an institution of practical knowledge). That said, although the community support is satisfactory, it could be improved.
What’s very evident is if you pay for a course, you’re going to get reciprocal value out of it.
I paid $3,500 because I wanted to get the best and I didn’t want to mess around. I got exactly that. It really was worth the money. Hell, the live event alone was probably worth the cost.
October 2015 Update: Read why I don’t like the value proposition for ASM 6
Could I have eventually pieced together most of what I wanted to do?
Yes. The basics are figureoutable. You pick a product. You source it from China. You sell it on Amazon.
But in between those steps, there are lots of important details that can make all the difference. I wanted to get a straightforward blueprint – from people who have been successful – that allowed me to avoid falling into certain traps and pitfalls (that are readily present) and get going ASAP.
A few more things that I think would be helpful:
I joined ASM through what’s referred to as a mastermind group. There are 3 really good ones (I know of) and I’m sure all of them deliver a ton of extra value. However, I’d be very careful not to join through the wrong groups. I felt bad for the people who joined through some of the groups because they provided little to no value.
I joined through Chris Guthrie and I’m very happy with the decision. Two speakers at the live event who dished out great info were Ryan Moran “The Tribe” and Jason Fladlien. And I’m sure there are several other great groups.
Some other smaller groups may actually be better because you’ll get more attention.
I have no idea who all of the groups are but they’re all affiliates so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.
On this note, there’s still opportunity with selling on Amazon, but, as you might imagine, it’s much more saturated than it used to be. I’m not saying this to close the idea in your head but just so you know the reality of the situation: The ASM course has put several thousand additional sellers on Amazon and many of them are selling more than one product.
This isn’t to say there isn’t money to be made. Of course there is. It’s just not nearly as easy as it once was.
Matt and Jason offer upsells. There was a couple of options for the live event (VIP access, networking lunch) and during the live event, they announced an Aruba trip.
Nothing is a hard sell but you will be presented with offers to buy more stuff.
They’re marketers, it’s to be expected.
Everyone’s situation is different so rather than trying to provide blanket advice I’ll say that Matt and Jason do charge a premium price but they’re going to try and reciprocate with value well beyond that.
For the ASM4 live event, they dished out their fair share of money. Richard Branson and Robert Kiyosaki don’t just show up to Internet Marketing events. That huge Venetian conference room you see in the picture was rented out for 3 days. The presentation was awesome. The other speakers were phenomenal.
Expect to be sold to. Expect value when you buy.
In whatever you do, look at things for what they are and how they relate to you. In this blog post, I’ve done my best to include information that I would have found helpful when deciding whether to sign up.
If you purchase a course, you will get a well organized, step-by-step curriculum with high quality, concise information taught by an expert(s) along with action steps to make it as easy as possible for you to become successful.
The course IS NOT A SURETY TO SUCCESS. You have to follow the steps. You have to grind through the real life problems. You have to invest your own money.
Is it a get rich quick scheme? No but people have gotten rich quick in ASM. If you look at some of the members who post their revenue, it’s easy to see millionaires have been made.
And, of course, you’ll find people with varying levels of success including those who are doing poorly.
As for how I’m doing, I just severed ties with my original supplier and have found a new supplier to make a different product. (This is part of the grind with real problems.) I just received samples yesterday and they were great so I’m ready to go as soon as the Chinese New Year is over.
It’s taken me longer than most but I’m going to make this work come hell or high water.
To end my review, I’ll answer the two questions I think are the most important:
Would I do it all over again?
Will I be at the next live event?
Pretty damn sure.
October 12, 2015 Update: Thinking about joining ASM 6? If you didn’t read the link above, Here’s what I think now
April 21 update:
I’ve written 2 more posts with updated information on joining ASM.
First, here is my post on whether I would pay $5-$6,000 for ASM5 knowing what I know now.
Second, here is a full breakdown on my experience with Chris Guthrie’s mastermind group, AzonMasters and why this is the one to join.
Also, here’s my Chris Guthrie affiliate link for joining Amazing Selling Machine. This will get you auto-enrolled with Chris and as an incentive to use it (since I get a referral commission from Chris), if you join through me, email me and I’ll send you my SKYPE username and if you need a little extra 1-on-1 help, you can message me for live chat.
Last, you can check out all of Chris’s incentives (including 100% refund after course is over) by clicking here (affiliate link).