In today’s episode, we welcome back a veteran of the show, Ben Leonard.
Ben has just launched his new book ‘Quit Stalling & Build Your Brand’, and we dove into some of the big topics included inside.
It charts the journey of his first brand Beast Gear all the way through to 7 figure exit, and walks you through the process of following in his footsteps.
- Buy Quit Stalling & Build Your Brand on Amazon
- Get our weekly eCom Memo
- 00:00 – Introduction to Guest: Ben Leonard
- 00:44 – Ben’s Background Story
- 03:25 – The Journey of Ben’s Book
- 07:44 – Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs Eager to Make Money
- 09:57 – Common Excuses That Hinder Entrepreneurship
- 14:53 – Advice for Busy Individuals Wanting to Start a Business
- 17:43 – Approach in Developing New Products
- 22:06 – The Importance of Empathizing with Customers and Solving Their Problems
- 23:46 – Clarifying Brand, Branding, and Marketing Concepts
- 25:44 – Understanding eCommerce Cash Conversion Cycles
- 28:00 – Pitfalls to Avoid When Speeding Up the Cash Cycle
- 32:02 – Additional Insights about the Book and Where to Find It
Hey folks, welcome back to another episode of The Brand Builder Show. And this isn’t just another episode. This is a very special episode because we have got a real life author on the show today. Ben Leonard, welcome back to the Brand Builder Show. Great to have you on again, mate.
Ben Leonard 0:14
Good to be back, Ben. Thanks for having me.
Ben Donovan 0:16
It’s an absolute pleasure. It’s an exciting day because we are celebrating the launch of your book, which is going to be a great topic of conversation. I’ve been reading through it and getting loads of gems out of it. And so we’re going to kind of pull that bit apart a bit today in this episode, but for those people that don’t know who you are yet, I’m I think you’ve done two or three episodes with us already. But for anybody that hasn’t heard you before, give us a bit of your backstory. And then I’d love to dive into some some nuggets from the book.
Ben Leonard 0:44
Absolutely. Yeah. So if you’ve heard me before, I apologize. And I’ll try and keep this brief. If you haven’t heard me before, I still try keep it brief. So yeah, my name is Ben Leonard, I got into ecommerce in 2016, kind of by accident, sort of finished brand as a hobby. Turned out, I was pretty good at it, ended up quitting my job, grew that business to a point where we were doing $6 million a year in annual sales. And I sold it in late 2019. And now I’m building new brand, A because I love it and B because I think if you’re going to try and teach in this space, you need to legitimately still be involved in this space actively to understand what’s happening, what it’s like to be ecommerce entrepreneur. So I consult, I speak, I co own an E commerce brokerage firm, we help others to plan their exits. And as Ben just said, I’ve just written a book about ecommerce and my journey in it, and how you can do the same if you build a real brand.
Ben Donovan 1:40
So you’ve not been doing much since you sold the business then, you know, basically just taking a holiday.
Ben Leonard 1:47
Yeah, you know what, it’s funny you said that. I got pulled off yesterday by my wife for taking on more, you know, biting off more than I can chew. And she’s probably got a point. That said, right, I think in entrepreneurship. You know, there’s this kind of, it’s almost become a cliche, isn’t it? Of saying, learn to say no, don’t take on too much. I think that’s important. It’s also important to remember that in life and business, you have seasons of busyness, and seasons of quietness. And sometimes you have to remember to say yes to things otherwise, A those opportunities might not come along again. And B the people that you say no to you, might say next time there’s an opportunity, they might say, “Well, I’m not going to bother to ask him, because he’s not interested. He just says no”. So whilst I do think that you should only say yes to things are a true, you know, yeah, you really want to do sometimes if it circumstances just dictate that allow those come along at once. Don’t be scared to do them. Because yeah, you might end up having a really crazy busy time. But maybe you’re setting things up so that in other parts of your life, and in the future, you can have a quiet time.
Ben Donovan 2:52
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think that’s a goal for a lot of us, isn’t it to be able to create those opportunities to have those quiet times or to have those more adventurous times, or whatever it may be? So. So yeah, man, I love that. There’s loads we could talk about today, as always, but obviously, we want to talk about the book and some of the key points from it. Because it’s an exciting time. You just wrote a book, it’s been a long process you mentioned to me before. Give us a little bit of a background about the journey of the book, and what the books called etcetera, synopsis and then then let’s dive into some of the key areas of it.
Ben Leonard 3:25
Absolutely. So the book is called Quit stalling and Build Your Brand. And the subtitle is, you don’t need an MBA to crush it in E commerce. So say, well, the books not it’s not a highly technical book about one particular platform like Amazon, or Shopify or Walmart, or Etsy or anything like that. It’s gonna go out of date in a few months, some of those books exist, some of those books are really good. But unfortunately, the due date pretty quickly. What it is, is it’s a it’s a roadmap of timeless business principles, but applies specifically to ecommerce taking you from ideation all the way through to exit. And I believe it will be helpful for people who haven’t started and have just got an idea or even no idea. They just know, they want to build a brand, an ecommerce brand. Or even people who might be generating many millions in revenue and profit, but need a reference point to come back to remind them of the principles that they need to be building into their business. And they’ll be a lot of people out there who have a ecommerce business, but they don’t really have a brand. And I think this book will be helpful for them. And then you touched on it there. Why did I write the book? Well, I felt like I had a lot to offer. I felt like I didn’t have a guide like this when I started or indeed as I was building my first brand. I remember the moment I decided to write it. It was early 2022. I was at a conference. And there was a, quote unquote, on stage, mesmerizing the audience. They were, I looked around, it was almost like everyone else was in this dais. And I wasn’t like having some sort of other experience, like just kind of looked around at everyone, and they were laughing it up. To be fair, a lot of what he said on stage was more or less true. It was very generic. He was casting a spell over them. And they were loving it, and thought he was some kind of genius. And I thought myself, I was doing that ages ago. And he didn’t actually give anyone any substance as to what they’d actually done is all theory, and smoke and mirrors. And I decided at that point to come out of stealth mode, and not only write the book, but actually we can be completely open about my brands and the mistakes that I made. And I think that’s the way that we should be in the spaces be a bit more open. And so yeah, that’s the book. And that’s why I wrote it.
Ben Donovan 5:59
Yeah, I think it’s super inspiring. I think that when I was reading through it, you talk about a time when you go into the gym, and there’s someone using your thinking that they were like ABS sliders or something. I don’t know what the technical name for it is. But the one that looks at he’s a member doing it about 15 years ago, and having a sore stomach for about a week after I’ve never done it since. But the, it was funny, because I remember, I’ve got a friend that’s really into the gym, and she posts videos about it on Instagram quite often. And I saw her wearing one of your belts, and this is like, you know, many years later, but I’m like, it’s so cool that you have built something that’s actually out there in the wild. And it must be such a great feeling to be able to have that and, and that really for me is at the heart of the book is build something that actually means something to people, not just launch a product that’s going to make you money, but build something with purpose. And I think that for me, that was the biggest takeaway. You know, one of the biggest takeaways is Lowe’s, I want to try and go through in the short time we have, but what what’s your advice to people that just want to come into their space, because they’ve seen an ad, and they want to make some money, you come at it from a very different angle in the butt, which I love. And I think it’s refreshing, you still want to make money, you say it’s not about charity, it’s about making profit, of course, it’s meant to be a profitable business. But there needs to be some purpose and passion behind it. Speak to that a bit.
Ben Leonard 7:24
Absolutely. So there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Because, you know, you need to make you need to earn a living, and you can do really good things with money. But ultimately, if you’ve just seen some ad that says ecommerce or perhaps you know, drop shipping, or Amazon FBA, or whatever it might be, it’s gonna make you get you get you rich quick, then you need to reframe your approach to the whole thing. Now, it’s okay, if you’ve come into it like that, but provided you very quickly reset your expectations about what’s realistic, and what’s possible. Because it’s not realistic, you’re definitely not going to get rich quick, you’re definitely going to have to, you’re definitely going to have to spend a decent chunk of cash at least 10,000 pounds or dollars, probably more. So you can need to make sure that you’ve got that capital or you can get that capital. And you need to understand that you’re not just going to be finding something, slapping a logo on it and selling it but you’re going to be building a legit brand it with real purpose that you are passionate about.
Ben Donovan 8:34
Yeah, you a great example of doing that. And like I say, it’s cool to see your products in the wild even till today. And so there’s obviously lots of authority you can speak to about that, I think that you’re one of the things you first start talking about in the book, though, is that a lot of people find excuses to not start. And obviously, that’s a big focus of the book, the title of the book is, you know, get started and, you know, stop store, Quit stalling and get started. You talk about some of the biggest excuses that people have there. I’d love to just talk through a few of those and give people a bit of a feel for what the book suggests. Which by the way, again, you mentioned that you don’t you didn’t have that book or that guide when you started. And I can completely concur with that, like, Man, I wish that I had read your book, when I started it would have saved me so much pain, so much frustration, because I did come into the mindset with I’m just gonna make as much money as quickly as possible. I wish actually that I slowed down and built it with more solid foundations. And I’d be much further ahead and you know how to build much stronger brands and I think that that is such a key takeaway as well for people to a good reason to get the book but the excuses for why they don’t start. You talk about that in the book. You start with you know a few in there about people thinking it’s too risky or they don’t have the funds. Can you talk about some of those?
Ben Leonard 9:56
Absolutely. Um, so I don’t want people to think that I’m I’m preaching here and being like, Oh, stop telling yourself all these excuses and just get started in in that way. Because, you know, one of the things that I’m quite open about is I told myself all sorts excuses and didn’t stop for ages, I had the idea of my first brand in 2012. I didn’t start it until 2016. Because I, you know, I believe that entrepreneurs were other people. You know, there were people with business degrees or with, they inherited a business or they had tons of capital, or they invented something new and went on TV, like Dragon’s Den or shark tank or something. I didn’t get started until I had a, you know, a personal crisis, I had a heart condition that caused me to I will, I was unable to work as I’m able to train and I was struggling with my mental health. And, you know, I needed to de stress in my way be stressing was, I couldn’t train because of the heart condition. So I was miserable. And that’s when I kind of rediscovered the idea from four years before. And I needed something to do to get my teeth into. And so I started doing it, you know, really as a hobby. And then it turned out, it was more than a hobby. You know, people tell themselves, I can’t do this, because I don’t have enough experience. Like, I’m passionate about, I don’t know, whatever it might be. It could be cycling, I’m passionate about cycling, but I don’t have any business experience. Well, you don’t need to experience you can learn you can learn on the job, doesn’t mean that that you don’t need to learn on the job. You absolutely do. But you look at any of the some of the best entrepreneurs in history. There was a point when they didn’t have experience. And then what did they do? They gave themselves permission to start. You know, people talk about what’s too late, ecommerce is too late. It’s saturated. That’s just ridiculous. Do you think that ecommerce won’t exist in years to come? If everybody told themselves was too late, it’s saturated with there wouldn’t be any e commerce businesses, right. So you know, world is constantly changing, there are constantly new problems that need to be solved. And new ideas that are come up with new business models, new ways of solving existing problems, new ways of improving on existing products. So that, that I don’t think that excuse stands up, the opportunity is enormous when you consider the size of the pie. And also the fact that the opportunity is actually only getting bigger, because ecommerce is getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year. Because the stats show us that every year, more and more sales, retail sales are online rather than offline. So the opportunities are and then this idea of, I can’t afford it. So you know, I’m not going to tell you like some girls do that you can get started for you know, 500 bucks. Yeah, absolutely not. But I’m going to tell you that you don’t need eyewatering amounts of money. And you can get you provided you’ve got a solid idea. You do your due diligence. It’s a you know, it’s a relatively low risk for you to put some of your own funds in and perhaps funds and say friends and family. You’d be surprised at what sort of grants are available in your local area for startup businesses, I personally have benefited from grants from my businesses where I live, where I live, the local council gives pretty much every every startup 1000 pounds. So a huge amount of money. But that’s a decent chunk. So many of these pieces that people tell themselves really don’t stack up.
Ben Donovan 13:36
I think that someone said this a while ago, and I’ve always remembered that in business as an entrepreneur, it’s so much more about resourcefulness than it is about resources. And I think too many people fall at the first hurdle, just because they think they can’t afford it. But you’re you’re right that, you know, money is everywhere, right? But it’s ideas that aren’t going to be as prevalent. And if you can get a good idea, a good product. You can you can find money for that. We see that in Shark Tank, Dragon’s Den, all these kind of shows that people can raise money for their product if they have a good idea. And so it comes back to as you so eloquently put in the book, it’s it’s solving those problems with the products to be able to create that ability to then source the funding. So I think, loads of good advice in there. And I don’t want to kind of give everyone all the secrets of the book, right. But you talked about some others, like, you know, an excuse of it being too risky, or imposter syndrome, which I know we’ve talked about on this podcast before, feeling like you don’t have a plan or a map, which obviously the book can be for them. But I think that one of the one I just didn’t want to touch on quickly is that you talk about, you know, feeling like there’s no more room at the end like you don’t have the capacity to be able to do all that needs to be done with an E commerce business. For anyone out there that’s busy. They’re running another business or they’ve got a full time job, the apparent all those kinds of things. What advice do you have for them to be able to get started?
Ben Leonard 15:04
First of all, is acceptance, that it’s gonna be hard work. Like, you are going to find that if you already have a full time job, perhaps you’re looking out for kids, you’ve got other obligations, you volunteer at some local club. Well, if you really want to make this work, you’re going to have to put in the hours, right? evenings, weekends, lunch hours, sneaking in between, you know, your boss isn’t looking, that’s what you’re gonna have to do. You know, that’s the honest truth. It’s hard work, which is why, you know, it takes people with, with passion to do it. Whereas right, and this is another reason for for, for actually building an E commerce brand around something you’re passionate about. If you’re not really that passionate about it, when it’s really hard, and you’re tired, and you’ve got a lot going on in your life, you know, you’ve got to renew your car insurance. You’ve got to, you know, you’ve got to help your kids with their homework, you’ve got other obligations to sort out, and you’ve got you’re working overtime in your job, because there’s a big project on and there’s fires to put on your ecommerce business. If you’re not really that passionate about what you’re doing, are you going to have the actual motivation to go and do still do a great job of it? So that’s why it’s got to be something that really gets you out of bed in the morning. You know? So build a brand around something that you love.
Ben Donovan 16:35
Who was it? I can’t remember, someone once said, to be able to live like others can’t you need to be able to do what others won’t. And I think that rings true for if you’ve got a busy schedule, it’s getting up early, staying up late. It’s not glamorous, and is not some secret key, but it’s just about being dedicated enough to put that work in, isn’t it?
Ben Leonard 16:55
I think that might have been Alex Hormoz. I could be wrong. It might have been homos.
Ben Donovan 17:00
He’s probably say that. Definitely, even if it wasn’t him originally. He’s probably definitely. Cool. Okay, so product development is another area that you talk a lot about in the book, which, again, would be skier as a major part of your success with that is developing products that maybe weren’t innovative. And I don’t mean that as a slight but they were they innovated on existing products, they improved upon existing products. I don’t think and correct me if I’m wrong, you invented a brand new product that never existed before be scared, but you improved on what the market was offering? How much is that continue to be your approach? Are you trying to be more innovative now? Or are you trying to be safer with your innovations? Where do you stand with that?
Ben Leonard 17:43
It’s a mix. So you hit the nail on the head there, I didn’t ever invent anything absolutely new. So the most innovative I got was I developed a new type of thick bar adapter. So for anyone not familiar with with strength and conditioning training, that thick bar adapter is basically a a sleeve that you would put over a barbell or dumbbell to make the diameter of the bar thicker, which actually makes it even more challenging to lift. And there was a product that existed on the market for decades, I’m challenged. And I came up with a way to do the same function. But better, like the performance of the product was better. And I sold it at a fair price. And then my product basically became the market leader and I patented it, etc, etc. On the other hand, I also had products, which were basically more or less the same as other products available on the market, and always good quality and part of our brand, right. And so I think that that’s the way you have to be you have to have a mix, right? Because you can’t possibly improve on absolutely everything. Or create entirely unique products every time. And so that’s continued to be my philosophy. Like for instance, I co own a brand in the combat sports space now, we make equipment, which is really high quality. And what makes it unique is the the appearance the design in terms of its appearance, but not as function. There are other products that will function just as well, but we were standing out in terms of our brand identity in that way. On the other hand, I’m developing a product in the parent and baby space right now, which is an entirely unique we’re registering our designs for it we’ve we’ve developed it from from from scratch, made from plastic bottles recovered from the ocean, we’ve worked with a top top designer on it, we’re on prototype number six, so we’re not messing around, we’re still not ready to launch because you can’t market a bad product. So we’re, we’re gonna get a spot on. So I think that that’s the approach that I take is to always go in, you know, with that mix, but if you’re brand new, that’s, you know, you and you’ve got a limited budget. It’s hard to perhaps dream up something that’s going to require custom molding accustomed to Linear something. And that’s why I’m a big fan of what I call the the Franken product approach to make like a Frankenstein’s monster product where you work with a manufacturing partner to take different parts of their off the shelf options and mix it up to be something that’s unique to you, and and perhaps make changes that you can without needing to custom mold. You know, you’d be surprised what they can do. Can we just make this part longer? Or have you got a more high quality component for this bit so that it does this instead of that? And if they don’t have it? I’m sure they can get it because especially if you’re manufacturing in China, pretty much anything is possible in China?
Ben Donovan 20:38
Yeah, definitely. I think it’s reassuring for people to hear that, that it wasn’t any kind of, you know, again, not to downplay it, because you’ve obviously done amazingly well with it. But it is not some kind of, you know, revolutionary invention that needed 17 patents before it got out the door. Right? It was, it was smart innovations on existing products that better serve the needs of your existing audience. And I think that it’s just reassuring, right? I think that, you know, we can sometimes think, especially in the Amazon selling world, we think, Oh, we’ve got to create some crazy innovation to stand out. But actually, if you build a good brand, people will keep coming back to you for products. And then as you said, you know, you’re selling products that function in a very similar way with one of the newer brands, they just look different, they’re branded a bit different people will come back to you because you’re a good brand. And so then you can sell them saturated or highly competitive products, and still make good sales on it because they trust you as the brand. And I think that’s so much of what comes across in the book that maybe doesn’t come across in the traditional sell-on Amazon space. You know, yeah, you’re
Ben Leonard 21:42
absolutely right. Once people have become, you know, almost evangelical fan of your brand, you can then I think things actually get easier for you, it becomes much easier to launch products and sell again to your existing customers. But not only that, you can then enter niches which were, quote unquote, saturated or too competitive with, you know, commodity style products, because now you’ve got the fan base, or just buy everything you launch.
Ben Donovan 22:06
I love the statement that you are the quote that you you talked about, Toby, I think you called him Tobias. I didn’t realize that was his name. I thought it was Toby, the founder of Shopify. But you talked about how to really understand your customers’ problems, you got to walk a mile in their shoes. And I didn’t know that. But apparently, he has a Shopify store secret Shopify store.
Ben Leonard 22:27
Yeah, that is the that’s the urban legend. And I believe it’s true, because I’ve heard it come out of the mouth of very well-connected people in the Shopify space. So yes, apparently he has a secret Shopify store. Nobody knows what it is, or what he sells. But he still owns it, and runs it so that he can understand what it’s like to be a Shopify merchant. Therefore, he’s scratching his own itch, solving his own problems. He understands how Shopify needs to be. And I think that’s fantastic.
Ben Donovan 22:59
You talked about, like a brainstorming sort of idea of understanding the problems you could solve by going through someone’s phase of like a beginner in that topic to an expert. And I think that was really good and insightful, I won’t get you to go through it on this because I’ve got other things to ask you. And I want people to buy the book, not just hear it all on this podcast. But I think that was that was really cool as well, a good practical way of really mapping out a pipeline of products. That’s one of the things that we always talk about is when people kind of asked me for input on the product they’re looking at selling online, one of the questions I always ask them is, is there a follow-up pipeline of products that you could sell to that same audience? Because that’s the essence of building a brand, right? And I think that that’s a really good activity that people can dive into that I’d really recommend. So yeah, moving on, though, I’d love to talk brand versus branding. You mentioned that as a attention in the book, you know about what a brand is, and what branding is, and you know, the difference between them. What Why is that important? Why should people read the book to find out more about that?
Ben Leonard 24:02
Yeah, really important. I think it’s because the waters get so muddied here. You know, I think a lot of people, first of all, let me just explain what I might take on a brand. Okay, there are lots of different takes on this. And I think most of them are right, they’re all just slightly different. My take on a brand, and especially, to make it simple and practical for e-commerce entrepreneurs is this a brand is a group of products that solve problems for a particular group of people. It could also be a group of services if you wanted it to be. Branding is how you make your potential customers and customers feel. And marketing is how you tell people about your brand. And there’s an overlap between marketing and branding. Some of your marketing is going to make people feel a certain way. But that’s why marketing is more important than Randy because you can have the best branding in the world on paper. But if no one’s heard of your brand, it might as well not exist. It’s a little bit like if a tree falls over in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound? So that’s that’s my take. I think most people are basically trying to get at the same thing. That’s my take. Yeah.
Ben Donovan 25:24
What is the answer to that question? By the way?
Ben Leonard 25:27
What if a tree falls over in the forest? I presume it did make a sound, I’m sure that physicists would tell us that it made it sound. I’m not sure it’s a bit like the what’s the velocity of a swallow African or European laden? Or unladen? I don’t know.
Ben Donovan 25:44
All right, good. Moving on. You talk a lot about this, obviously, some really good stuff for beginners and how to find product market fit and build your audience, all that good stuff. But there are some gems in there as well, for anybody that’s got a brand at the moment that is on the trajectory to build it up and sell it, etc. And so there’s loads in there. But one of the things I’d love to pick out, just to finish on is the idea of cash conversion cycles. You talk about, there’s a graph in the book about selling at $20 versus $18, you know, you might be on less profit, but you could maybe sell more at the lower price, which then speeds up your cash conversion cycle. For anybody that is new to that concept. Can you give us sort of a brief description of it? And then I’ll have a couple of counter questions for you.
Ben Leonard 26:32
Sure, yeah. So in E e-commerce, unfortunately, we we have quite a slow cash conversion cycle in many cases. So let me just explain what I mean by that. By the time you’ve, and let’s just assume for a second that you’re paying a deposit of say, 30%, down, and you’re paying 70%, to your manufacturer, when the products ship. By the time then it’s arrived at the country of destination, let’s say the States or Europe, and that says come by see, you know, another 30 or 40 days have passed, then by the time it’s been checked into Amazon, or your third party fulfillment center, and by the time it’s actually started to sell, a long time has passed, and then you’ve got the amount of time until each unit actually sells. The problem with that is it that’s a long time before you’re getting any money out. And even then, when you do get money out, you need to start paying for your next order of inventory before all your current inventory is sold out. Because of course, you don’t want to stuck out. So although on paper, you might be quite profitable. You don’t have enough free cash to order more inventory and grow the business because of this slow Cash Conversion Cycle combined with many people not having a high enough return on investment. And that it can be a huge problem. And it is a poor cash flow position. That is the death of many e-commerce businesses.
Ben Donovan 28:00
Do you have any things that people should avoid? When they are looking at trying to speed that up? You know, a lot of people may look at taking on financing. Are there any kind of key mistakes people will make in that phase that can kill the business?
Ben Leonard 28:18
Yeah, they’ll panic into taking a loan that doesn’t make sense. Loans can be fantastic, and I talk about it in the book. A strategic loan can be a really smart thing to do if you can get a loan at an interest rate, which is actually outweighed by the return that you’re making on the Venturi that you’re buying. And that’s a sound business decision. But if you’re panicking and taking, taking on a loan at an interest rate that simply doesn’t add up for you. And you’re only compounding the effect, you’re just you’re kicking the can down the road. And actually, by the time you get you get there, the CANS are even bigger, it’s become a bigger problem. Instead, if you plan this out from the start, it comes back to product validation. If you haven’t chosen a product that you know, can have a return on investment of at least 70% Ideally, more than 100% then you’re not going to run into cash flow problems. It’s okay if for the first few orders, the ROI is actually not quite where you want it to be. But it’s going to get there with economies of scale. And you know, and you’re happy to throw the capital at it to get through those first few orders. And so instead, what I’d recommend people do is plan from the start, work on a product that you know is going to have that ROI and then work with your manufacturing partners to make it make sense for all parties from the point of view of payment terms, for instance, to work on efficient inventory management so that you don’t have tons of cash that is not liquid that stuck tied up in inventory. But instead, you have enough cash on hand to be able to keep a constant flow of products going in and products Yeah,
Ben Donovan 30:00
I think it’s what you mentioned, there is something that people don’t think about when starting out often enough is the long-term optimization of your return on investment, you know, when you start selling a product that’s got no social proof, no organic visibility, you’re gonna have to price it lower. But the longer you sell it for, the more reviews you get, the better positioning you get, the better you split, test your listing, improve your conversion rate, a million other things, you can gradually improve the selling price, improve your return on investment, but it’s what I talk to people all the time about is being willing to sacrifice a little upfront to get that initial momentum to get to that point. Whereas I think a lot of people are so worried about being profitable from the first sale, because they’re led to believe that Amazon is this miracle-working money machine. And actually, it’s just like any other business, there’s marketing costs upfront, and there’s a trajectory towards that return on investment. And I think those things you talk about in the book are so key for people to learn. And again, I wish someone had told me those business fundamentals rather than watching.
Ben Leonard 31:02
The thing is, I didn’t know it either. Right. And I learned it as I went, and people should definitely not give themselves a hard time for not doing this stuff. Because well, why would you write also, part of the reason is that the gurus don’t teach this for two reasons. A, they, they forget on purpose to teach this because it flies in the face of what they’re trying to do, which is telling people it’s easy and therefore invest in my 10 grand course. And they don’t forget, they don’t know, because they’re fakes. And they don’t understand how this works, because they’ve never done it. When they tried and failed and never learned this lesson.
Ben Donovan 31:41
Absolutely. People shouldn’t expect to know everything. But they do have such great opportunity. With a book. I have to say that because you come on the show, but I genuinely mean it’s really great, great investment into the E-commerce space. And I yeah, I think is a great book that you’ve written a great resource for people. Is there anything else that you want to mention about the book? And obviously, where people can grab a hold of it?
Ben Leonard 32:06
Sure. Yeah. Yeah, I’m very proud of it. Of course, I would say, but yeah, I’ve put, you know, the guts of 18 months of work into this, I believe it’s going to be a valuable resource. It’s something that you can read cover to cover, if you want, and you can also dip in and out of, I think the way I’d probably recommend people to read it is probably to read it cover to cover the first time and then dip in and out of chapters that they need. Every now and again. And my hope is that this will become everybody’s copy of this if they buy a paper version. It will become it’ll be completely trashed, a Friday will be very worn out. Because my hope is that this will sit on the desk, and they’ll come back to regularly whether they’re dealing with, you know, inventory management, or you know, email marketing, whatever it might be. Yes, it’s available from well, we were just having a conversation before we started recording there, folks, the E-commerce journey is a bit of a roller coaster. And I believe that the publication date will indeed be October 10, which as we’re recording, this is tomorrow. So go and have a search on Amazon for Quit stalling and build your brand. And then if you had to quit stolen book.com/bbu As in Brand Builder University, there are some bonuses for you.
Ben Donovan 33:21
Come on, we’ll have a good bonus. I thought you’re gonna say in all major bookstores near you, but that will come that will come soon.
Ben Leonard 33:30
It technically you can you can order it. So you can go into Waterstones, it’s got an ISBN number, they can look it up an order in for you. But unless something miraculous happens, I don’t think it’ll be I don’t think you’ll be walking past the Waterstones in your local shopping center and seeing it there. Or if you’re in the US, Barnes and Noble, you can get it there.
Ben Donovan 33:45
Very cool. Well, I would like to encourage our community to pay a little review comm forward for anybody that sells on Amazon or ecommerce sites, you know how important reviews are. So make sure you do pick up a copy of the book and leave a glowing review for Ben’s book, because I know that will definitely help push up the ranking and get more visibility. This is a book that needs to be in the hands of the E commerce community is too much fluff out there. And this is something a real substance. So Ben, honestly, I know from doing some much smaller level lower level writing myself that it’s hard work to take concepts in your brain and put them on paper in a logical, condensed and concise format. You’ve done it exceptionally well in this book. But we thank you for your hard work in doing that, because it certainly won’t have come easy. Thank you for the investment of the time. And and looking forward to seeing all of the feedback from the community and seeing what people say about the book. I’m convinced they’re going to love it because it’s a great book. So yeah, thank you for doing it. And thanks again for taking time out to come on the show. Again, we appreciate your investment into our podcast into our community and the community at large.
Ben Leonard 34:54
Thanks for having me. Really appreciate your support.
Ben Donovan 34:56
Good stuff, folks. Well, you heard it there, quitstallingbook.com That’s right. Was it, Ben? Quitstallingbook.com
Ben Leonard 35:01
That’s the one
Ben Donovan 35:02
slash bbu We’ll get that link in the description and the show notes. Check it out on Amazon as well make sure you leave a review and yeah get into this stuff because it really will help your entrepreneurial journey not just at the beginning stages, right the way through as you go to exit and then sell your business with Ben’s brokerage for a massive payday which would be amazing. Yeah. Ecombrokers.co.uk. Little plug there. Good stuff. Alright guys. Well, thanks for listening. I hope you got a lot out of the show. And if you have liked the show, like the episode, please give it a like and subscribe. And we’ll see you in the next episode. Same time next week. Take care!