Cornhole is a fun lawn game in which players take turns throwing bags of corn kernels at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. Cornhole has become so popular it has its own official organization, the American Cornhole Organization. Their "World Championships of Cornhole X" has been broadcast on ESPN.
The answer will be clear as we dive headfirst into some truths about selling on Amazon FBA. And by the end of this article, you'll discover how to avoid some very common mistakes.
Kale Abrahamson and Taylor Hiott are the co-founders of Nine University
, the immensely popular Amazon FBA training program.
Recently Kale was interviewed by Taylor about their FBA journey. The following article is based on this interview.
Kale started his Amazon business with very little knowledge about how to sell on Amazon. He began looking for products to sell on Amazon as soon as he figured out what Amazon's FBA business model was all about. Kale recognized the power of FBA. Consider this, 66% of the top 10,000 sellers use FBA. The best way to make money on Amazon is to have a product people want.
So, Kale began his FBA journey looking for products he thought would sell. It's at this point Kale made his first mistake.
Instead of doing the product research himself, Kale decided to shortcut the entire process. Or so he thought. He decided to turn to the popular freelance marketplace Fiverr.
"It's kind of embarrassing, actually, Kale said. "I ordered a guy on Fiverr who said for 20 bucks he'd find me a seven-figure product on Amazon. And he gave me three product ideas and the number one product idea was cornhole lights."
When asked about the other two ideas, Kale said one was a baby pillow he decided to try to sell. (Spoiler alert, it never really took off.) . The next was some steps designed for dogs, so elderly and overweight pooches could climb onto the couch or up into bed easier. That product turned into a, well, dog.
Kale trusted the person on Fiverr so he found a supplier on Alibaba and made an order of cornhole lights with $3000 he put together on various credit cards. Kal was desperate to make this work. He made $27,000 a year, and he just spent $3,000 on something he didn't know would work.
Luckily for Kale, the cornhole lights started selling. He said one of his tricks was personally sending handwritten thank-you notes to each buyer. When sales started to increase kale paid someone $1 each to write the letters. The letters lead to some great reviews, and those reviews lead to more sales.
"It was the craziest moment of my life," Kale said. "I quickly realized that margins are everything. I was making sales. But I realized there were not a lot of profits left because my advertising wasn't optimized correctly. So it turned out I had to keep reinvesting every single penny I was making, which was frustrating."
Kale knew he had to turn it around. He was able to negotiate better prices from his suppliers. And, he realized that to make his cornhole lights stand out from the crowd, he need to differentiate them somehow.
At that time others were selling cornhole lights on Amazon. In every box, people would typically get two red lights. Or two blue lights. Kale decided to change his by having one blue light and one red light. That way it would be more of a "team" sport. After he renegotiated his price with the suppliers, it allowed him to add more versions or variations of his products.
For example, he could have one team have a green light and the other team have a gold light. He guessed fans of the Green Bay Packers may want to buy those specifically because those are the colors of the team. Whereas fans of the Drake Bulldogs, where Kale played college basketball, could choose a box with white and blue lights, the Bulldogs colors.
He could have blue lights for the boys' teams, pink lights for the girls' teams. He could have special cornhole lights for Christmas parties with one green light and one red light. The possibilities were endless.
"Obviously it's a good example of how you want to launch a product," Kale said. "Having a differentiator like that, different boxes on different colors, different sizes. It's still a great way to have a great product. And that's why it took off."
Kale thought he was really moving now. And he was.
He had a product that was selling. Started making more money on each unit after renegotiated the cost per unit from the supplier, and was able to make his product jump out from all the rest, thanks to his idea of using different colored lights to attract more buyers. Kale just didn't know it at the time. But he found out soon enough one day when he went out to check his mail. That day, he received an unwelcome guest in his mailbox. A cease and desist letter.
Although his first mistake had to do with trusting someone from Fiverr doing his product research instead of himself, he wishes he would have spent $20 or someone on Fiverr to do a simple patent check. It turns out if he had just done a simple patent check he could have saved a lot of money, grief and time.
He received a letter from the owner of the patent for cornhole lights. He immediately sent the letter to his lawyer, and his lawyer said Kale would need to stop selling his cornhole lights. That was a tough pill to swallow he still had a lot of cornhole lights sitting in Amazon's warehouse and he was generating over $20,000 per month is sales from his light.
He would need to stop selling, and that would mean he would lose all of the money he had spent on buying them and shipping them to Amazon in the first place. Luckily Kale's lawyer noticed a simple typo from the other lawyer. That meant technically the cease and desist letter wasn't legally binding until the original lawyer corrected their mistake.
That gave Kale and Taylor, who by this point joined the company as Kale's partner, a chance to cut the price of the remaining cornhole lights to breakeven, so at least they wouldn't end up losing even more money. As soon as the corrected cease and desist letter arrived, they stopped selling the cornhole lights and paid to have Amazon ship them back to their office. Many still sit in what Kale and Taylor call the "Closet of Mistakes".
So that is the true story of kale's first product on Amazon. He has come a long way since those early days, he has made more mistakes, but the great opportunity one has after making mistakes is the ability to learn from the mistakes and get smarter.
Both kale and Taylor got smarter. They started doing their own product research, found a few losers they through into the infamous "Closet of Mistakes", and found even more winners that allowed them to grow their Amazon stores into six figures sales every year.
After achieving success with their Amazon FBA business, and after learning from countless numbers of mistakes. They created Nine university and a suite of programs and courses that help other people achieve success with Amazon FBA.
If you'd like to increase your chances of success with your Amazon FBA business, I truly believe your best shot at success is to join a step-by-step
, comprehensive FBA course like Nine University or the Nine University VIP course. This will give you a far stronger foundation to build your FBA business than relying on random YouTube videos for tips that simply can't give you the complete picture. So, invest in a decent FBA course.
Another thing that sets Kale and Taylor apart from all of the rest of the courses and gurus out there, is they make themselves available to their members to talk to. Every week they both do live streams in their private Facebook group where you can jump on and ask them any questions you may have. They'll help with any issues or obstacles you are facing. It is an amazing program.
Wherever you are in your Amazon FBA journey right now... from not even started, to deep into selling product, we can help you get to the next level.
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