In a post that will surely make me popular with the visionary and founder of the FBAMaster website and Facebook group (Hi Chris!), I am going to spend a post explaining why I don’t love the name FBAMaster. From the outset, let me just say that the name is not going away. We’re approaching 7000 people in the Facebook Group who have come to know us as FBAMaster and we plan to keep it that way. That said, sometimes I think that the wrong message can be implied with the name, so I want to make sure that insofar as we keep the name, we make it clear what we ARE and what we AREN’T communicating.
First, a walk down memory lane. For those who do not know, I was not here when FBAMaster was created. I came on to the scene when the Facebook group had something like 700 people and the website looked a little something like this:
Originally the Facebook Group was just a group of people who were trying to figure out this FBA thing together. Successes and failures would be shared and the idea was that everyone could learn from each other. As a way to preserve some of these lessons, the website FBAMaster.com was born. Chris began chronicling his journey and the helpful tips that he learned along the way.
Fast-forward a few months and the group started growing exponentially. I came in and together with Chris and John we made a commitment to each other that we would develop the site into one of the best free collections of information on the internet. We were committed to posting quality information on a weekly basis. Chris was on vacation this week; he still posted an article. I have been sick this week; here I am. John has been pulling triple duty and he not only posted, but lined up our great guest post yesterday. That’s our commitment to you: spend time every week giving away information that will make you a better seller.
However, sometimes I fear that because of the name and the structure, maybe we aren’t communicating our message as perfectly as we’d like. So, I’d like to spend a second clearly up some potential WRONG ways to think about FBAMaster.
- We are the Masters; You are the Novices. When you spend time answering questions and writing articles, it is to be expected that you’ll be viewed as a bit of an expert. And, to the extent that we have learned something, we want to help shorten that learning curve for other people. However, let us never think that there is anything special about Chris, John or myself. We’re just three people who have learned how to be successful with this business. We don’t know everything and we aren’t infallible. Our group should NOT be considered a group for new sellers with a few Admins who can lead you to the promised land. Our group SHOULD be considered a group for all skill ranges and all levels of experience. To the extent that you’re new, soak up all of the information that you can and ask good questions. To the extent that you know the answer to questions, share those answers with others. To the extent that you have experiences that would be beneficial for others to know, share those!
- We’re the only people you can learn from. This is 100% wrong. There are dozens of people who are active participants at FBAMaster who know what they’re talking about, often better than we do. Our job is not to be the end-all-be-all of advice. Our job is to cultivate an environment where people feel safe sharing their struggles or questions and other people feel empowered to provide assistance. This has practical implications. We try to bring at least one guest poster on here every week. When we have a controversial view point, we go out of our way to solicit the view of someone who disagrees (As an example, I recently wrote about why I prefer Arbitrage to Private Label. Not only did we get a video response from PL guru Andy Slamans, but we also decided to sponsor 5 seats in his upcoming class for our members.) I hope the implication is clear: Mike Garner doesn’t know everything; Neither does Andy Slamans; Neither does anybody else. Our objective is to create an environment where you get all of the relevant information and then leave the decision making to you.
- You should always agree with us. By now, it should be obvious that this is false. But, this has practical implications as well. On the Facebook group and the comments here, we have a strong anti-censorship position. We work really hard to only delete spam. If you post pornographic images or a link to the latest-greatest pyramid scam or any other form of spam, expect it to be gone within minutes. However, if you write about how stupid Mike Garner is, you can guarantee that I will not delete it. If you write about how FBAMaster has never helped anyone, don’t expect me to delete it and ban you. It’s just not our style. Insofar as your post is not spam, is relevant to FBA sellers, and is generally trying to help the audience, we leave it in place.
- There is a qualitative difference between us and you. To the extent that there is a difference, it is usually just experience. There are no magic pills. John doesn’t have access to some secret tool that lets him source better than you. Chris doesn’t have some magic hat that lets him divine which products will have price drops. I don’t have any elves who work for me while I’m sleeping; I used to, but I was tricked into giving them a sock, and thus setting them free (sorry, obscure Harry Potter joke in this article!). All three of us are just average people. I understand that for marketing purposes, this probably isn’t the greatest plan. If I ever want to sell a book or something, I’m pretty sure the key to sales won’t be by telling you that we’re the same. But, I’ll fight for being genuine before I’ll fight for sales of some non-existent book.
- We’re the only site/group you should read. This has to be another faux-pas, but it is true. There is so much good information out there that I could never justify telling someone that FBAMaster was all they needed. As I said earlier, we want to be the best free collection of FBA material out there but A) We aren’t where we want to be, yet and B) Even if we should get there, it wouldn’t mean there isn’t good stuff elsewhere.
So, with those 5 things said, I want you to know what FBAMaster aims to be. We want everyone to be FBA Masters. We want to see every single person who commits to the FBA business model have success. We want to learn from each other. We want to encourage others. We want to commiserate with others (sometimes it takes another FBA-er to understand the stupidity of allowing a customer to file an A-Z claim before they received the item!). We want to share the bits and pieces that we’ve learned along the way. We want to create a platform where people who have good information to share can give that info away to a thirsty audience. We want to be better as a community than we could ever hope to be as a collection of individuals.
If we’ve already done a good job of communicating this message to you, great — this is just a reminder. If, however, we’ve unintentionally communicated a different message, I hope that this post serves as a little corrective and points us back in the direction we want to be heading. And…
As Always, Best Wishes