Sourcing Product & Selling On Amazon with Carmen

Sourcing Product & Selling On Amazon with Carmen

Jason Hartman records this episode on a yacht in Croatian waters with Carmen, a Venture Alliance member. They discuss inflation and how it is impacting various aspects of the economy. The discussion moves towards the need to have a side hustle and Carmen discusses her Amazon business. She gives us insight into what it takes to source products and sell on Amazon.

Announcer 0:02
Welcome to the creating wealth show with Jason Hartman. You’re about to learn a new slant on investing some exciting techniques and fresh new approaches to the world’s most historically proven asset class that will enable you to create more wealth and freedom than you ever thought possible. Jason is a genuine self made multi millionaire who’s actually been there and done it. He’s a successful investor, lender, developer and entrepreneur who’s owned properties in 11 states had hundreds of tenants and been involved in thousands of real estate transactions. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to your financial independence day. You really can do it on Now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman with the complete solution for real estate investors.

Jason Hartman 0:52
Welcome listeners from around the world and I am around the world. This is your host, Jason Hartman and I am reporting to you today From story grad or study grad, Croatia, a beautiful little Marina, and you’ll hear more about that in a second here as my guest host, one of her venture Alliance members is here with me. We are sitting on the bow of the boat. And Carmen, welcome back on the show. I know you really don’t like being on the show, but here you are again. The third time I’m here. Hey, three’s a charm, right? Yes. So describe the scene for our listeners if you would.

Carmen 1:28
Well right now we’re in this place called study. grat. We’re in a marina it is right now it’s almost 10pm and he’s about 80 degrees outside. And he’s just beautiful. We had a beautiful sunset. There is a walkway with beautiful old little stores, doors and ice cream and crepes and all delicious things. And great Nutella crepes

Jason Hartman 1:53
are better than ice cream, by

Carmen 1:54
the way. No ice cream. It was better.

Jason Hartman 1:58
So yeah, we’re in Croatia here. And we are on we chartered a yacht with some friends. And so this is a 57 foot sailboat. It’s about a year old and it’s nice, but we went through some rough seas to get here today, didn’t we?

Carmen 2:11
Yeah, that was a little rough today, but nobody got sick. And Coco made it in good shape. The dog was I felt bad for the dog. She was a little nervous.

Jason Hartman 2:19
Yeah, but she was fine. With that picture on Facebook of her with her sunglasses in her life jacket on. That was pretty cute. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Okay, well, hate, we’re gonna dive in. And we’re gonna get to a couple of listener questions here. And it’s funny that Tim Kelly had a question and it relates to Carmen. Now this was not set up. But Tim, I am going to answer your question. And I’ve got the source right here, Carmen is the person you are referring to, I’m pretty sure because she did one of the intros and talked about her Amazon business. And so we’ll talk about that a little bit today. But of course, we got to talk about some real estate stuff first. So folks, I gotta tell you how had another challenging week last week. And I don’t mean traveling to get here. That’s a challenge. And I work from everywhere around the world. Now, you know, the company went virtual back in 2012. When I found it to be a challenge to get my employees to come into the office, everybody wanted to work out of the house. And that’s the way technology has changed the world and lessened. This is a lesson for real estate investors, right? Because they have lessened the need for office space. You don’t need an office anymore. Office properties are not the future of real estate. So we are in the most historically proven asset class of the mall, single family homes, because everybody needs a place to live. And if it’s not single family homes, then multi family homes. And if it’s not multi family homes, maybe a mobile home park or something like that. Now I own all of these asset classes, currently, and I’ve been involved in this stuff for many, many years more than I care to mention

Carmen 3:56
how many years I can tell.

Jason Hartman 4:00
It’s a it’s a it’s a secret. You know, sometimes you keep a secret from someone just because it bugs them.

Carmen 4:06
Yes. In this case.

Jason Hartman 4:08
Yeah. So I’m wondering, Carmen are we gonna be friends? We got like, five, at least five, six more days together, right? We’ll see what happens. I mean, so far he’s going okay. But you know, we’re gonna be in a boat for about a week. So that’s a long time. very confined space. Well, it’s been two days already. I mean, we have other friends here. So you know, it’s not just us, but you know, I’m gonna teach you about better food. Okay, because because some of the food you like, like shrimp. Shrimp is disgusting. It’s the cockroach of the sea.

Carmen 4:37
Right. And I don’t know where you got that from shrimps are delicious. And I will teach you a little food culture after these three of you are going to know a lot more about food.

Jason Hartman 4:47
You might be wondering where Carmen’s accent is from Carmen joined the venture Alliance recently, and you heard her when we were at the Ice Hotel trip, and she is from Venezuela, but she doesn’t want to talk about it much but I think Venezuela is a great example of how communism does not work. Would you? you’d agree with that, I’m sure.

Carmen 5:04
Well, absolutely. I mean, it’s us. It’s not I don’t like to talk about it. It’s just it’s very sad to see a country just to be in such a bad shape. And, you know, be number one when it comes to inflation around the

Jason Hartman 5:14
world. And we were talking about inflation over dinner tonight, right with our Canadian friends. Right,

Carmen 5:18
exactly. And, you know, it’s just sad, because as the country was born in these, it doesn’t seem to get better.

Jason Hartman 5:25
Yeah, you know, we talked about inflation as an investment strategy. Of course, tonight at dinner, we were talking a little bit about Venezuela and about Zimbabwe, of course, the poster child for bad monetary policy. And I told you the story in the past how in Zimbabwe, they told the merchants prices were escalating so quickly because the money was becoming debased so quickly. And one of my listeners many years ago from Ireland, you’re probably listening. Thank you again, for sending me those several trillion yes trillion with a T Zimbabwe. dollar bills. And I thought that was such a generous gift until I looked them up on I saw them for sale on eBay for about four bucks apiece. But hey, still, it’s a nice gift. It’s better than a Starbucks gift card. So thank you for that. But yeah, inflation destroys the value of our savings. And our savings is denominated in what? Our currency or the Euro the dollar. And, you know, here we are in Croatia, and you know, we’re dealing with currency conversions and stuff like that. I’ve been to 81 countries around the world. And you know, I keep going on trips, by the way, Carmen, and I’m not increasing my country count lately, you know, because I keep going back to the same places this third time in Croatia,

Carmen 6:37
start counting the cities you visit.

Jason Hartman 6:38
Oh, that’s too much work. I have a spreadsheet for the countries but not the cities. So inflation is just a really interesting thing. And of course, it destroys the value of our savings, our stocks, or bonds, even our equity and real estate, but thankfully, it destroys the value of our debt. And so my strategy, the one I pioneered, okay, you don’t hear it from Anybody else unless they’re copying me, is the concept of inflation induced debt destruction. I know it’s a mouthful, my little trademark term there, inflation induced destruction. That is a way that you can become very wealthy with income property, of course, but back to a couple points because I tend to gloss over things as we’re moving on to something else too quickly. Office properties. So office properties are not the future. I told my story. You know, we used to have big beautiful office spaces in Orange County, California. I had seven offices, I think that I built out and dealt with tenant improvements and dealing with architects and I remember, one landlord totally screwed us over on the tenant improvements. They didn’t tell us we were over budget. They were managing the whole project. And suddenly, after they sneakily said they fax me listen to this, folks, this is ridiculous. This is why lesson reduce the number of affairs you have, you know, take it from me, I’ve learned I’ve been there. They said they sent us a fax, and it had an automatic. And this is something you can learn about contracts too. So there’s contracts lesson in here as well, that applies to real estate investors thing That said, if you don’t respond in three days, the budget will be deemed approved. And then they said, well, you’re $42,000 over budget, and you either have to pay us in cash, or we will agree to finance it over five years. That was the term of the lease on this office space at get this 12% interest what a frickin ripoff was that, and I had just massively expanded the business and then guess what happened right after that? 911 Yeah, September 11. And the whole economy went down the dumpster for a little while, of course, the Fed reacted quickly lowered interest rates to ridiculous artificial lows. And that happened but that’s just a lesson in I guess a few things contracts complexity, not trusting commercial landlords who can be real sharp. I mean, if you think you’re dealing with sharks in the residential business, and I feel like that a lot of times, there’s a lot of sharks, for sure. But they get really cutthroat in the commercial real estate business, much more so at least in my experience than residential. And hey, I’ve been doing this for a long time. But the exact amount of time remains to be discovered.

Carmen 9:20
We will see at the end of history,

Jason Hartman 9:23
you’ll see up here now, so office space, not the future. Nobody needs an office anymore. Nobody needs retail properties. We’re in the midst of the retail Apocalypse Now. Right? So office properties, less demand because everybody’s working at home fortune 500. Companies telling their employees to work at home offices are almost irrelevant nowadays. I found them to be a burden, not an asset to the business after a while. And so we lighten our load, got rid of our office space, spent our money and our time where it matters more. And then you look at the concept of industrial properties, right? Well, certainly Amazon, for example, and we’re going to talk about Amazon businesses here in a moment is increasing the need for giant mega warehouse space, but other smaller industrial properties, not very in demand. Now we have a change a sea change with the Trump administration on how you know jobs are definitely coming back to America folks that you know, trade war, love it, hate it, whatever love hate Trump doesn’t matter. The fact is, jobs will be coming back to America, even more than we’ve seen already. And the economy is booming, at least for the next couple of years. We’ll see what’s on the horizon. We talked about that often. And on what is the last episode or a couple episodes ago, we talked about getting ready for the next recession, and we’re going to be talking more about that because so many people say and you know, now that I’ve been through three serious cycles, recessionary cycles in the economy, in the real estate business, everybody says, Hey, the next recession, I’m going to have tons of cash and I’m going to buy up everything I can find, but nobody knows where the ball is. Here’s that’s the problem. Nobody knows where the bottom is. So we’re going to talk more right now while everything’s booming on future episodes about how to handle a recession. How to, you know, nobody knows for sure. Certainly not me. Okay, how to get some indicators as to where the bottom is where the top is in these economic cycles. So stay tuned for that as well. Gosh, what else did I want to say there? Oh, shrimp. Yeah, shrimp is the cockroach of the sea. Don’t eat shrimp. What’s that? Oh, yeah, the troll. Oh, yes. That’s what I started off with. Yeah, it’s It was a tough week last week. So well, I have two internet trolls that troll me all the time. And these are two people that I am suing. Yes, they’re scumbags. And one of them have while you’ve heard me talk about them both on the shows. We got the the guy in Atlanta who’s really not even in Atlanta. Okay, this tax lien company p IP. Charles sells, blah, blah, blah. He’s trolling me. One of the interesting lies that he’s telling you He’s trolling, sending emails to people we do business with saying that I am get this a predatory lender. Now, what’s interesting about this is it’s the only time ever and here’s here’s a real estate lesson for you folks that I’ve ever had to foreclose on a property and I did not make the loan. So how can I be a predatory lender? I didn’t make the loan. I bought a note that was funded that someone else made I bought it after it was seasoned after there were some payments made on it. And guess what, the people defaulted on the note and did not pay me for about 11 years? Yes, I know. You would think why in the world would you let them sit there and not pay you for 11 years without foreclosing? Well, folks, it was right on the cusp of the Great Recession. And there was no equity in the property the equity had dried up so it didn’t make sense to do much of any thing. So I sat and I waited very patiently. I am a very patient man, you can say I have a lot of faults but patience is not one of them. I am extremely patient, except when it comes to needing a Nutella crepe after dinner, right. All right. And that’s better than ice cream. No, it’s not. Okay. So anyway, I am a patient man. And so I started foreclosure Finally, and they’re still not paying me. So yes, they owe a lot of back payments after 1011 years of not paying on the loan. And it’s interesting because this is the first time ever I hired a foreclosure service, because I’ve never done a foreclosure on a loan before. I know, I’ve done lots of loans. The only loans that have ever gone bad are two, only two ever. And one of them was many, many, many years ago when I was much younger was a second trustee loan, a second position loan. And this one is also a second position loan and I did not make this loan. The other one I made took a settlement on so the loan went bad I hired a foreclosure And I said to them, you know, the guy’s name is Randy who owns the company, this foreclosure service, like an attorney service. And I said, Can you believe like, should I be ashamed of myself for being such a bad lender that I waited so long to do anything about this default from, you know, 10 years ago. And he said, Jason, I have big giant banks, his clients that have loans on their books that defaulted 810 years ago during the Great Recession, and they haven’t done a thing yet. So don’t feel bad at all. There are thousands and thousands, if not millions of loans like that out there. So, hey, I don’t feel so bad, I guess. But finally, I took some action. So I can’t wait to either, you know, and offer these people a workout. But you know, they don’t seem to want it. So we’ll see where we go and more to come. Of course, I always update you on my own foibles and investments and things that I’m doing. So you’ll hear more about that. So, let’s get to a question. Not talking about trolls. Yeah, I got two trolls. Hey, if you don’t have some haters, You’re not making dust in the world. You know, that’s what I used to. I was telling my realtors if you’re not pissing a few people off, pardon the bad expression there, but you’re really not doing what you got to make some waves in the world, you know, make people notice that you’re there,

Carmen 15:14
right? Yeah, I agree. I think they say until you don’t get your first law, so you’re not really in business. Yeah.

Jason Hartman 15:20
Well, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. But the interesting thing is, like, we’ve never been sued by a client, no clients ever sue us. It’s just us getting sued occasionally for outing bad players. You know scumbags on the podcast, because that’s what we do. We’re consumer advocates, we tell you about these scams, and then also, business disputes like sales people leaving the company stealing leads that kind of stuff. So yeah, that’s it. Okay, so the Amazon business now in the Amazon business and Carmen happens to be in the Amazon business. And this question from our listener, Tim Kelly is about just that. You know, you have people that knock off your products all the time. Right, there’s a lot of like, we talked about this just yesterday, I think about patents. Does anybody even bother really to patent a product anymore? Or is the world moving so quickly? That the whole burden of doing a patent and you know, defending a patent, especially when you have all this Chinese competition, and Trump is really making a lot of noise about them respecting the intellectual property laws, you know, the International intellectual property laws and not you know, knocking off patents not stealing intellectual property, but in the Amazon business, you know, you have Well first of all, tell the listeners what you sell,

Carmen 16:35
first of all, I mean, my business is a very small business. And so when it comes to patents and things

Jason Hartman 16:39
are you do pretty well, I must say congratulations,

Carmen 16:42
thank you. But you know, that kind of thing just doesn’t necessarily apply. I sell products that are very generic, very simple. It’s mostly things that are used for parties and weddings and decoration. So I create my own products, I create my own variations or products, but nothing that is will require it back. Nor that type of investment. So for a small business like mine patents, I don’t think it would be relevant, it probably will be a, just a big chunk of money that will not bring you anything because even having a button these days still doesn’t guarantee you anything. I mean, many people can now copy your products and they were say, so easy to just launch and buy, sell a product online that, you know, by the time you defend your own patents and trademarks, and all of that they already make

Jason Hartman 17:27
their shirt. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize in business, that part of the burden of having a patent or having intellectual property is that you have to defend it when somebody infringes on it, which is a pain. It’s really expensive. Like for example, this troll, okay? He is now infringing, because he is using my name that is trademarked. Yes, I trademark my own name in a domain name. And you know what it cost to file a dispute and get that domain name back so he can’t use it which he will lose ultimately, it’s 1300 Just to start the dispute that’s not including any lawyers or anything, that’s just the fee to basically the agency within the United Nations that now controls all this stuff. You know, remember those stories a couple years ago, you heard about, well, maybe four years ago, I want to say that the US was giving up control of ICANN, you know, the internet. What does it even stand for? I can’t remember but I can, you know, that manages the internet, basically. So yeah, interesting.

Carmen 18:25
Yeah. So that I mean, something like that would wouldn’t be relevant for my business. But I mean, at the same time, even without patents or having products that are, let’s say, two unique, there’s always people trying to copy I mean, once you do well, especially using a channel like Amazon, you’re exposed everybody knows what you’re doing.

Jason Hartman 18:42
They know you’re doing well. They know what your sales rates know

Carmen 18:45
exactly what you’re doing. And so is it only a matter of time before you have a lot of other sellers you’re selling the same product or very similar. So you kind of have to adapt to the market and make sure that you know, once you start selling something good use take advantage of that. To start thinking of your next product,

Jason Hartman 19:02
yeah, good, good. Okay, so let’s get to the questions because we have two actual questions from Tim about this. Well, one’s about real estate and hucksters which is appropriate with what we’re talking about and the other is about your Amazon business. So let’s start with the first one.

Carmen 19:16
Okay, so the question is from Tim Keeley, and he says, Jason, love the podcast. I had an idea for an episode. Can you take time to debunk hucksters and their plans to get rich quick, Larry Goins, for example. Sounds great. Buy a five k home, sell it to someone for 100 K, or review other get rich quick plans to be aware of?

Jason Hartman 19:43
Yeah, good. Good. Is that that’s the first one. Okay. Okay. So that’s the first question, Tim, great question. And, you know, certainly we’ve talked about this stuff before. Look, folks, there is. I mean, look, there are a few lucky examples and these are the things you’ll hear on the late night infomercials at 2am. Okay. But by and large, there are no shortcuts in life, every single business, whether it be real estate, investing, or selling on Amazon, or any other business under the sun involves showing up every day, working really hard, being a little smarter, figuring it out better than the next guy has. And yes, thank you for taking some risks. Yeah, you got to take some risks. Okay, so in your business, you have inventory in real estate, you know, you take risks, you go get financing. And, and you know that you actually, I’m glad you said that. Because, you know, there’s that great quote about the man in the arena, right, you know, whose face is marred with blood and sweat. And it is not the critic who counts. Everybody’s heard that quote, it’s super famous, you know, and that is so true. That is so true. And I remember when I was in the traditional real estate business for many years, I used to hear this statement from other realtors that would bring in an offer on my listing once in a while, and they would say this thing to me and I thought it was so dumb. They would say, Well, you know, you should take my offer, because I’ve never had a deal fall through. I’ve never had a proper deal that I put together the realtor would say this fall out of escrow. Right, fall through. And I’m thinking like, well, you haven’t done many deals Have you? Because if you’ve been had some hair on your deals and some problems, you haven’t done much in life, okay, so that’s the reality of these realtors. You know, life is messy, it is messy, and you got to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, you know, all the trite expressions here, but they’re true. You know? Things are messy. Okay, it’s just the way life is. It’s how you handle it that matters, right? As far as the hucksters go, I’m not really gonna comment on Larry in particular, because I do know him. I don’t know his programs and I haven’t really followed his work. So you know, I can’t say that but in general, get rich quick schemes are a scam. They don’t work. They might have a couple lucky examples. I mean, look, I know very wealthy real estate investor who is a friend of mine who lives in Aspen, Colorado in a gorgeous home. One of the things he’s an older gentleman, one of the things that really started his career is he got an incredible deal on a piece of land, okay, many, many years decades ago, okay? And he got, you know, kind of lucky. But you know, like Earl Nightingale says, luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. We all have lucky things in our life. But for those of us who are unprepared for the luck when it falls into our lap, you know, we’ll just look foolish. We won’t take advantage of it because we won’t know how good it is right when we see it, but the prepared person will know how good it is. So you know, yeah, we’ll keep the bunking hucksters certainly the people I’ve outed that I’ve gotten litigation with, you know, their hucksters? I say I mean, I think they’re total hucksters. In fact, it’s public record because we filed the lawsuit in federal court like I told you before about this tax lien company. We’re alleging that they’re running a Ponzi scheme and violating Rico racketeering statutes. There’s some pretty heavy stuff in there. But what we When will the judge See it? I don’t know, you know, who knows anything can go either which way, but stay away from the get rich quick schemes. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is long term slow burn. That’s the thing that works in life, you know, you gotta just go for the long term stuff. That’s the way to go. So buy some properties, hang on to them deal with all the crap from your managers or your tenants. If you’re self managing some crap, you know, there’s not too much, but sometimes it feels like there’s a lot but compared to your, you know, 60 hour a week day job, it’s not much okay. When you have to deal with a couple of things every month. You know, before you know it. A few years go by, and you’ve really created some wealth for yourself. And that’s the great thing about income property. Okay, about the Amazon. That’s his next question. Right?

Carmen 23:56
Yes. So he has another part to his question. And it says and another You had an intro with one of your mastermind team mate. That’s you, apparently, who makes good money selling on Amazon. Any chance you could talk more about building seed money side jobs to build a real estate portfolio?

Jason Hartman 24:17
Yeah, that is a great question. And a great point. And, you know, during the Great Recession on the podcast, you know, hundreds of episodes ago, we were talking a lot and I started interviewing a bunch of people about, you know, little home based businesses and things that you could do on the side. Because I think it is a good idea. I think everybody should have some kind of business on the side, some, you know, side hustle, as they call it, right. You know, most of our listeners have corporate jobs. We have a lot of technology, people that work in Silicon Valley and in different tech areas around the country. You make very good money at your day job. You’re working too hard, and you’re still working for the man as they say right as the saying goes, maybe a woman But it’s still the man. Okay, as the saying goes, you should have a thing on the side. It could be an Amazon business, it could be your real estate business, you know, but there should always be on the thing on the side if for no other reason than to simply have more tax write offs. if for no other reason other than that, because you know, Carmen, I don’t know if you’re doing it or not. But you could certainly deduct a large portion of this trip and the cost of this beautiful yacht we’re on, because we are talking a lot of business here. I mean, the other people that are here are ecommerce people. Okay, our other friends, right?

Carmen 25:34
Yeah, exactly. We were talking about how to reduce our transfer fees today. I mean,

Jason Hartman 25:39
with international wire transfer. Exactly.

Carmen 25:41
And so there’s business opportunity anywhere, it’s including just a simple conversation.

Jason Hartman 25:47
But if you have a simple flat, W two corporate job, you just don’t have those deduction opportunities. So you’ve if for no other reason, you should have something on the side whether it be your real estate investment. business or another business like an Amazon business or some of any other business, then to just have some more tax write offs. Right. So talk a little bit about your Amazon business, if you would, I mean, what did it take? How did you start it? And you know, let’s just give the listeners a little info Of course, we met through Ryan Moran, who is a, you know, big Amazon teacher. And he’s kind of diversified a little more than that, nowadays. a mutual friend of ours. How do you start it? How old is it and that kind of stuff.

Carmen 26:24
Before we get to that, I just want to make sure the same point you were talking about before, there’s no such thing as get rich overnight. Everything takes time on work. And so in my specific case, I’ve been working on this business for about six years now. And I literally started with $100.

Jason Hartman 26:42
I decided to take 100 Wow, the hundred dollar startup, you really did that.

Carmen 26:46
That was the big risk. I took that time. And I decided to purchase some jewelry. That’s what that’s what I started selling on Amazon. You know, eventually I realized that $100 turning to 200. And so I kept reinvesting everything I was making.

Jason Hartman 26:58
That’s a pretty awesome equation. If you can double your money, even if it’s a little money, you know, you’ve probably heard that thing everybody has, you know, where you take a penny, and you double it every day for 31 days, like in a month and you have, I don’t know, an insane amount of money at the end, I can’t remember the amount.

Carmen 27:13
Yeah, so that’s, that’s pretty much how I started very, very slow. And at the time I started, there wasn’t too much information about how to sell on Amazon right now you just Google it, and you probably have, it’s everywhere. And a lot of those are get rich quick schemes, right? And so you gotta be careful because everything that the people show you are not necessarily the whole truth. But there is definitely an opportunity, a big opportunity in that market and knowing that you have you have to put some effort and you know, know a little more about, you know, how to source products and how to do a little bit of the e commerce part of it. It’s a great opportunity. Now, yes, you will have to work hard, especially at the beginning. You have to put a lot of hours and eventually become something that at least a type of visas that it not only gives you the financial freedom but also time I mean, I always We’d like to talk to people and tell them that while I’m sitting right now, in these boats in Croatia, I’m still making money. And so that’s a beautiful thing.

Jason Hartman 28:07
You know, folks, everybody listening and that’s true of your real estate business. Think about it. If you were sitting on the boat with us in Croatia, every tenant you have would still be thinking about how rent is coming due at the first of the month, okay? And they’re all, in essence, working for you. They’re going to their day job for you. So they can pay your rent. Think about how significant it is, when it comes to real estate, because probably about 40% of their spending 40% of their income goes to pay you rent. So basically 40% of their time on their job is dedicated to you their landlord. That’s pretty cool.

Carmen 28:45
Yeah, exactly. And once you have the Bs, and I agree with you, I mean, first you should try to establish some type of business because you got to have income first. You have to add income and opportunities when it comes to taxes and so many other deductions or you know, there’s nothing Like it, but then also at the same time, you got to diversify. So once you have your business, the next best option out there is just investing in real estate and keeping some cash flow. And you know, positive cash flow is just the second best thing you can have after a good business.

Jason Hartman 29:14
Yeah, yep, no question about it. Okay, so I got a couple questions for you. I just want you to talk for a minute about the mechanics of your business. So when you talk about sourcing products, you know, we had our venture lions retreat. And we’re, we’re New York City just recently, right. And so we did our venture lions mastermind in New York City. And right before New York City, you were in China, right? Was it after before? It was before? Right? Yes. So right before you went to the Canton Fair in China, and that’s this big event where all these merchants in China show their wares and all the products and a lot of Amazon sellers like yourself, go there and look at products and what do you do look around and look for unique little trinkets and things that you can sell on Amazon and make money with or what’s it like?

Carmen 29:58
Yeah, I mean, there is a part one You just you can explore and see what’s new. What’s selling. I mean, when it comes to Amazon, you have to think that is it’s a little different than a retail store, when when you buy products for a retail store, you just need variety, you need a little bit of a lot of things. When you sell on Amazon, you need a lot of one thing,

Jason Hartman 30:15
right? It’s the long tail, you go deep into one thing like, like, I remember I met one of Ryan’s clients who sold umbrellas. And she’s got this big business out of just selling umbrellas. And I said, how do you start? And she says, and you know, don’t quote me on these exact numbers, because it was a few years ago, I had this discussion, but she said, Oh, well, you know, I bought like 1500 dollars worth of umbrellas from Alibaba online, right. And I had them shipped from China and I sold them and then I bought some more and some different varieties. And then I started tweaking them a little bit and making my own version and that’s kind of what you do, right? Yeah,

Carmen 30:49
exactly. So I go there. I at this point, I’m already meeting with the vendors. I mean, some suppliers that I know manufacturers, so it’s a great opportunity to create new products. Modify something that you have when you meet with your vendors. There’s also very good opportunity appreciate that face to face time. But you don’t have to be there to start a business. I mean, you can start a just online, like you said, you can go on Alibaba or just mean, there’s older sources online where you can find new products, and you can start very small, you can start a little more aggressive. And once you grow your business, then you know, I think there’s opportunity when you go abroad, I mean, there’s many other shows. And, you know, just to see what’s what’s out there. I mean, you have to keep continue to evolve with the business like we were talking before. There’s always going to be competition. So if you stuck with a one product or one, you know, one line of products, eventually if you’re doing well, everybody else is going to try to do what

Jason Hartman 31:44
you’re gonna get cannibalized eventually. And one of the things I’ve talked about a lot is how successful businesses and I didn’t discover this idea. I read about it many times and many business books. successful business people are willing to cannibalize their own business early because They know that if they don’t do it, their competitors are going to do it to them. So you’ve got to always be thinking about that like cannibalize yourself before someone else does you know so looking out for that but you know we’ve we’ve said a lot in this conversation about Amazon seller we keep saying amazon seller now the reality is though a lot of people in your business and I don’t know if this is true of you, but a lot of people in your business it is true. A lot of people sell on their own websites they have a Shopify store they sell on other mediums of course Amazon is a big you know, big outlet obviously, but do you sell anywhere else or strictly Amazon?

Carmen 32:36
No, I do have my website so you can think of Amazon as a channel so you’re not necessarily you know, Amazon is not your business is use a channel you’re using that it happened to have so much traffic

Jason Hartman 32:47
and that channel actually is pretty aggressive in cannibalizing its own sellers as well. You know, Amazon basics. They’ve, they look at every business and they they know they have all the inside data, right? They see what’s selling really well on Their own website. And you know, they have an idea of what the margins are, and they just go into that business and cannibalize you. You know, so watch out for Amazon. They’re, they’re not charitable.

Carmen 33:10
No, they’re not. And they’re keeping a good chunk as well. And if they see that a product is working, they’re gonna be the first competitor. And they’re, you know, that’s why, because of Amazon or anyone else, you have to continue evolving your business and you have to think of it as as a channel. And so yeah, I do have my own website, and I tried to sell through all the channels is just the traffic that you get through from Amazon is very hard to compete or find anywhere else.

Jason Hartman 33:35
Right. Absolutely. Okay. So what else should people know? So you buy some stuff on Alibaba? I mean, how do you decide what to start with? You know, I’ve asked that question. a zillion people in your business that I’ve met through Ryan and such, you know, they’re every product under the sun selfie sticks, umbrellas, jewelry, you started with jewelry, and now you do like wedding supplies and party supplies. You were looking at something on the internet yesterday and showing me these table wraps tablecloths are, what are they called?

Carmen 34:02
Yeah, they’re table covers for catering companies and hotels.

Jason Hartman 34:06
And so why do you decide to sell that as opposed to earrings or gloves or you know something else?

Carmen 34:14
Well, and you know that I will not get into so much detail. But there’s actually ways to know how products are selling on Amazon in terms of how much you’re selling. And also, if people want them one mistake that a lot of people do is they think of something very unique, and so creative, that they get passionate about it, they want to create it, they want to source that product, and they don’t take the time to find out if anyone actually wants it. And because they want it or their mom wants it. That doesn’t mean that the rest of the world want to buy it. So my strategies used to focus on products that I know people are already looking for, and that they probably already exist, but I found a way to improve them and then put it in the marketplace and just tried to sell them.

Jason Hartman 34:56
Yeah, Brian Tracy, who’s been on the show before he used to always say if a product is more than 10% new, it’ll usually be rejected by the market. You know, you can be as visionary as you want. But unless you’re a giant company with tons of resources that everybody’s following, you know, like launching a new iPhone, right? No one’s paying attention to you. So you don’t have that same, the same platform. So more than 10% new, it runs the risk of failing. So that’s that’s a good point. Yeah. Hey, do you want to give out your website because you don’t just sell on Amazon?

Carmen 35:27
My company name is CB accessories that us and he’s pretty much his party supplies and weddings and things, that kind of thing.

Jason Hartman 35:38
And one of your really popular products is that little place name. What do you call it? It plays plays cars. Yeah. So plays cards for like dinners and weddings and stuff. And this one, it’s really cute. It’s like a chalkboard. So little mini tiny chalkboard, and you just write the person’s name on it and put it at their place setting right on the table.

Carmen 35:58
Yeah, it’s a very simple product. It just has a lot of publication. So it’s a good seller.

Jason Hartman 36:03
What’s cool? Is that your best seller? It was that right now, I’m not sure. How many products do you have? Right now I probably have around 40 or 40 products. Okay. And you know what’s interesting about this, and we’ll wrap it up here in a second. But what’s interesting is that all of these decisions for consumer products before the era of selling online, which really started I think, mostly with eBay, and then Amazon sort of took the lead, obviously, all these decisions of what product would be available in the marketplace was made in some, you know, I mean, not exactly like this, but some smoky corporate boardroom, by you know, a bunch of execs that decide, hey, let’s sell this thing or that thing or that widget, you know, like people like Procter and Gamble or something, right. And now it’s just a bunch of independent people like you Carmen and, and so many other people that I know and many of our listeners know,

Carmen 36:54
yeah, and that’s the case and that’s what you’re gonna find and in places like Amazon, for example, I mean, you’ll see the the And now it’s just finding the product. I mean, one core part of the whole business is reviews. So now you don’t look at what brand or who’s selling it all you look is like what other people’s experience. And that’s how you bet you make your purchase decision. Yeah,

Jason Hartman 37:12
yeah, absolutely. And that also kind of speaks to what we sort of talked about at the beginning of the show, how you don’t have an office, you do have a warehouse for some of your products, but you don’t have like a corporate office space. Right. You know, this can be done from anywhere. I mean, you can be virtually a what they call a digital nomad. Right. And you can run your business from anywhere, pretty much. I mean, you know, you sort of run it a little bit with this little warehouse, but that’s not absolutely necessary, is it?

Carmen 37:41
No, not at all that that’s pretty much my choice. There’s a lot of people that sometimes don’t even see their product, they just sourcing they from whatever they buy it and then they just send it directly to the Amazon warehouse and that you don’t need a location. All you need is a computer.

Jason Hartman 37:55
So you notice that that is be careful of those resources. State categories that were formerly needed for these various businesses everywhere around the world, you see the destruction of entire classes of demand for certain types of real estate. But the one you don’t see is places to live. Everybody still needs a place to live. And that’s why I love residential real estate, whether, you know, single family homes being my favorite multifamily after that, so good stuff, Carmen, anything else you want people to know about the Amazon business or anything else about your real estate stuff for? I don’t know, whatever. Let’s wrap it up

Carmen 38:35
in regards to business or the Amazon business, just don’t assume is easy. Because you see a lot of you know, shiny, get rich quick schemes. Yeah, exactly. Don’t assume that everything requires effort and work, but there is opportunity. So if you have the right attitude, you can make it to

Jason Hartman 38:52
good stuff. Well, thanks for listening, folks. Hey, join us in Hawaii. Carmen will be there. I’m sure. Right. Right. Okay, Carmen will be there. And that’ll be the first week in November. We have two events there. We have a two day conference and brand new conference. We’re launching prophets in paradise. And we’ve got an incredible early bird deal on those tickets right now. So go to Jason Hartman, calm Jason hartman.com. Click on the events section. And I think we have that right up on the front page of the website. Now. You can register for that. And while you’re there, you can also attend our venture lions retreat in Hawaii. So the main conference will be on Waikiki Beach at the most iconic hotel on Waikiki Beach. That’ll be a two day event. On a Saturday and Sunday. first weekend in November. We will take a day off in between for flights and travel. And then we will reconvene on Hawaii. Beautiful quiet. I’ve never been there been to Waikiki Beach before but never quiet for our venture Alliance mastermind retreat. And so you can do both of those at once first week of November. Till then, and until the next episode in two days, happy investing to all thanks for listening Thank you so much for listening. Please be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss any episodes. Be sure to check out the show’s specific website and our general website heart and Mediacom for appropriate disclaimers and Terms of Service. Remember that guest opinions are their own. And if you require specific legal or tax advice, or advice and any other specialized area, please consult an appropriate professional. And we also very much appreciate you reviewing the show. Please go to iTunes or Stitcher Radio or whatever platform you’re using and write a review for the show we would very much appreciate that. And be sure to make it official and subscribe so you do not miss any episodes. We look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

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