This time last year I was sharing BOLOs with John Cyscon III and a few others in a small Facebook group (which was an off shoot of the Online Selling Experiment blog).
Now John, Mike, and I run one of the largest FBA communities on Facebook (there are still groups bigger, but we are definitely more active than all of the other ones).
I never expected to be where we are at today.
Since our Facebook group just turned one-year-old, it is time for me to reflect on the last year and all of the lessons that I learned along the way. I’m going to layout it all out there and I’ll let you learn lessons from my successes and my mistakes. Everyone will take something different away from this post and that is perfectly fine (and expected).
Let’s look at the beginning…
I will be the first person to say that I am not an expert in the art of online selling. I am just a normal guy with a background in digital marketing and economics. I started selling on Amazon in March of 2014 and I am still selling today (if you take a look at my garage, you will see all sorts of different products).
Now here is the first lesson I learned:
Becoming an expert happens when people assume you are an expert
There was not magical test that I had to pass in order start a Facebook group. I didn’t have to take four different classes over the basics of online selling. I literally just started a Facebook group because I thought it was a good idea. That was it.
Now every single one of you can go start a Facebook group right now and my guess is that most of you would give up after the first month.
There entails the second lesson:
Building a community takes time and a lot of it
I was extremely lucky that my full time job gave me the ability to be on Facebook all of the time (perks of being a digital marketer). If I didn’t have this luxury, the FBA Master group would have ceased to exist. I was able to give it the love and attention it needed to start thriving. Looking back, I would not change one single action I took to create this group. Me being me is what allowed me to build the audience that is FBA Master today. Positivity breeds positivity.
That leads us to lesson three:
Surround yourself with those who are smarter than you
If you have ever wondered why the FBA Master blog and Facebook group are some of the online selling community’s finest, you really don’t have to look much farther than the closest mirror. You all are the reason I am as successful as I am today. I learn something new each and every day during one of my Periscopes or reading through a thread on Facebook. I learn just as much from you as you do from me.
Looking back, I can actually clearly remember a few key moments in our history that started to clearly define what it means to be an FBA Master.
1. When we launch the campaign to raise money for Andy Slamans when his garage caught on fire. It was at this moment that I realized that the FBA Master community was more than just a Facebook group. We are a family.
2. The rise and the fall of the Godfather Deals Facebook group. This was an extremely interesting time that brought a lot of joy and a lot of sorrow. For all of you that were around during the “glory days,” you will remember 100’s of BOLOs being posted each day and a community that would vet each and every deal to make sure no one got the short end of the stick. I also learned that people were more interested in learning how to fish than they were to be handed a new fish each day.
3. The moment John, Mike, and I decided to focus our attention on high quality content. We have noticed a huge explosion in engagement and audience with us focusing on providing you value.
That last point actually leads me to lesson four:
Provide so much value to people that they are begging for a way to pay you back
This takes me back to the moment I bought my Sleep Number bed a few months back. My wife and I were out shopping and our Sleep Number salesman took over 2 hours to walk us through the science of sleep and how we can both get more restful sleep. The most interesting part was that he didn’t ask for a sale – I had to ask him what I needed to do to purchase a bed. I was so impressed with his sales pitch (over the two hours) that I knew the product had to be high quality. We have had our issues with the bed (long story), but they took to the time to make sure everything was fixed as soon as they could. I was on the brink of returning the bed, but I know will say fantastic things about it.
We try to do the same on our blog. Our goal is to teach you so much that you can go make a ton of money. We honestly would love if every single reader could be successful in their online selling adventure. We want to build that loyalty that will keep you coming back time and time again. We want to become your resource for all things related to online selling and we want to see you succeed. We might make money along the way, but we can only do that if you succeed.
It’s time to change gears a bit and talk about the brains behind FBA Master. If I said that I was a great planner or strategist, I would be straight up lying to you. I have to give full credit to John Cyscon III and Mike Garner. Without these two, I would probably be a drunk mess who has no plan for the future (just kidding). John and Mike are truly the reason we are where we are today.
Now I have witnessed a bunch of disagreements and arguments between our group and I have learned lesson five:
Conflict isn’t always bad. Sometimes it results in forward progress.
I am someone who hates conflict and I have had to deal with some conflict in regards to the future of he group. I hated every minute of the arguments, but I have to say that the result of the conversation pushed our group forward. Since we are a group of intelligent people, we each have our ideas on what will and will not work. When we put our minds together, we are able to create synergy and make magic happen.
As my final reflection, I have to actually go back to those few people that have been with me through this entire process.
There are a few people that I have to name right now that have listened to my crazy ideas for the last 5+ years:
Jason Wilkey – Thank you for sharing the whole world of online selling with me. I would have never even started if you wouldn’t have shared that podcast with me. To this day, I think that you are one of the brilliant minds behind online selling.
Lindsey Wilkey – There is no one who can act like she is listening to me and look so cute doing it. You are always there for me and you allow me to be me (which is the most impressive thing of all). I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime.
Dave Olsen – The number of business conversation that we have had is impressive. You are always there to listen to my crazy ideas and push me into thinking about it from a business perspective. You have driven me to think in ways I have never imagined.
Austin Hostetter – Big daddy Hoss. I have to say that no one (besides Lindsey) will ever understand me like you do. We created a relationship where we don’t even have to speak to share ideas.
Patrick Burris – I would put you higher on the list, but I know we would start singing Roll with the Changes or something about Mings. You are always there to help when I need you and you know that I am always there for you.
The final lesson I have learned is that your family and friends will always be there for you (I know this changes per situation, but my family and friends are always there for me). If you build the relationships, you will always have a support system that will stand the test of time.
And that’s it. That is my year in review. Those are the lessons that I have learned over the past year and I hope you were able to pick up a few tips or tricks.
I look forward to what the next year holds and I am so excited to share it with all of you! It might be 7-year-old sourcing at a Walmart or a new theory of return on investment that might help you increase your retirement savings. You never know what will come next from the FBA Master group and we hope you stick around for the next year to see what we have in store!
To FBA Master 2016! Cheers!