Amazon Seller Success Stories: Ana Silva – Branded EP #13
Matt Clark: We’re excited to bring you Ana Silva. She’s a mentor with amazing selling machine. She’s a student of ours and she’s now a seven figure e-commerce entrepreneur. All right. So Ana, welcome to the podcast.
Ana Silva: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Matt Clark: We’ve heard a lot about your story. We’ve shared in another places, but we wanted to do it right here on the podcast. And so we kind of want to cover a few different things. So, uh, cover a little bit about your journey and sort of how you got started for people that are made just either want some inspiration or they’re trying to figure out how to actually do this business. And then you’ve, you know, you’ve been all the way through the cycle of selling a business and then now you’ve got some new cool, exciting things happening.
So we kind of want to get into some of that too, for maybe existing sellers who are out there. And maybe they’re been selling on Amazon for a few years. Maybe even they’re even doing a few million dollars a year in sales. And so now they’re trying to figure out, you know, what’s next, what’s the newest thing. How do I keep growing my business?
Ana Silva: I started, I was looking for something to do. My kids had left for college and I first thought, maybe I’ll go back to school with had some, a few things on my bucket list. And one of them was maybe get a PhD in nutrition. So I started that route and immediately I figured out that’s not what I wanted. Um, so, so I, I started actually looking, came as a ad in the Facebook page that I was looking at an ad showed up on how to do drop shipping. It’s like, great. I can do that. And then I started selling, um, yoga pants, uh, and some other fitness apparel in a Shopify store.
And the technical part, I have a technical background, so that was very easy to get started. Um, but I didn’t know anything about business or this type of business e-commerce business. So I felt lost right away. Um, and that’s when I got an email from ASM when, uh, uh, something I signed up for, uh, and I decided to join ESM. And that’s how I started my, um, my, my, my business that was 19, uh, 19, uh, 2017, very late 2017. Um, and then I went through the ASM course and, uh, loved it, did well, followed all the steps and, and started my business.
Mike McClary: So when you mentioned, when you started selling yoga pants, that was on Shopify. So your own website, not Amazon site, right?
Ana Silva: On Amazon.
Mike McClary: Were you also shipping out the products yourself as well, was doing drop shipping?
Ana Silva: So I sold five items for them to friends, and then I send real loud. No, I don’t, I don’t think I want to do this. I want something different. So ASM came to, to me somehow and, and that’s how I started and I was able to grow fairly fast. I still work full time, actually. I, um, I’m, uh, assistant director at a university here in Colorado. And, um, so I didn’t have a lot of time. Um, I knew I wanted to, to do something else other than, than work.
I knew I wanted another source of income. Uh, that was a little more passive. And, um, so this business ended up to be, to be the perfect thing. I, I knew I also didn’t want to work too much and then I wanted to retire early. So all of those things combined made the business, which is an SBA business, um, the perfect business for me.
Matt Clark: Cool. So when, so you, you took ASM, so you’d had a little bit of Shopify experience, you were selling some yoga pants and then, so you get started with ASM. Like, what was that journey like for you? Like how did you decide what product to sell? How did you start doing the marketing?
Ana Silva: Well, to be honest, um, I followed exactly what ASM told me to do. Um, and that’s the thing that I didn’t feel that I had doing this on my own. Uh, I had to look every single thing I wanted to do. I had to go find a YouTube video and I was able to eventually find those things, but it was hard and complicated and took a lot of times. So, um, so I just followed ASM from module one to module eight, go find a product that has the mans, not a lot of competition. Um, see, I mean, make sure it’s a quality product. Um, have a great list listing, do PPC. I did everything, everything if FM told me to do, uh, and any work very well.
Mike McClary: So what made the product that you ended up selling it the first time? What made you choose that one? Because I imagine you probably found a couple that met the criteria, but which why’d you choose? The one that you did?
Ana Silva: Yeah. I ended up going into toys, which is not exactly what I want, uh, what I wanted. My kids are grown and out of the house. So, uh, but I was going through all the categories. I was keeping an open mind. I tried kitchen and I got samples for different kitchen products. And then the numbers ended up not working from for one reason or another, but ASM told me find 10 products.
And I went just down my list and the toy one was the next one on the list. And once I received the sample was such a great call quality that I did not expect. And I said, okay, that’s what I’m going to do. And, um, it was not my passion at all, but, um, it became my passion once I started making money. It was very exciting.
Matt Clark: What do you, what do you think worked the best for you to start making sales for that product?
Ana Silva: Uh, to be honest, uh, PPC, uh, I focused on PPC. My background is with data, so I always enjoyed looking at data and, and let the numbers speak to me. Um, so I think having a good product, a good listing and a PPC, I feel like those three things combined is what made me successful. I tried different social media. Uh, I don’t, I’m not gonna say that that doesn’t work, but it didn’t work for me.
I didn’t enjoy. So I didn’t, uh, and I wanted to do everything by myself too. I didn’t want to hire people to do certain things. Uh, I wanted to learn and, um, and do everything. So, um, so I just focus on those three things. Um, great product, which helped because I didn’t have a customer barely any customer service that I had to do. So every time somebody ever complained about anything, I would return the money, get a new product to them. So it was easy to do customer perfect customer service. Um, that’s how I got reviews. The product again was great quality product.
Matt Clark: Okay. And then how did your business kind of grow like you started from basically nothing. And then how did it kind of progress over time and in sales or units sold or even the size of the business, like number of products.
Ana Silva: So it started really from nothing and because I launched in February, not a perfect time to launch a toy, um, it went very slowly, so I probably lost money the first couple months and then broke even a couple more months and then Q4 started and it exponentially grew. And then I was able to maintain, um, the sales for the next year. So, uh, I got to a hundred K a month in the first nine months, like by, I think October, November, I hit the a hundred K mark and then I, I was profit ever since.
And because, um, again, I had a good product, a good and not a lot of expenses. Cause all I did was, um, PPC and it was just me doing everything. Um, my profit margin was pretty high, so, so I’ve always had a profit after, after the first few months. So the first year I think I made maybe close to 300 pay and then the second year, uh, doubled it. And then the second year, uh, it was the third year was, um, over a million that’s when I decided to just sell
Matt Clark: That’s profit or sales,
Ana Silva: No sale, like after everything, everything was close to 25%.
Matt Clark: And then, yeah. So then I guess you ended up, um, selling your business, right?
Ana Silva: Yeah. So earlier this year and January 21, um, yeah, I felt the business was simple processes for me again, uh, I was very organized. It had everything, um, the buyers needed right away. So it was within 30 days, a little less even, um, you got it sold.
Matt Clark: Cool. And then you said, you said this entire process, it was only ever you in the business. Right. Why, why do you think you wanted to do that?
Ana Silva: I, I manage people in my day job and I just didn’t want to do that. Yeah, not right now. My next one probably I’ll grill that way, but, um, I didn’t want to, I wanted to do whatever I wanted, whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. And if I wanted to spell, I sell, I didn’t want to have to ask permission or ask or feel bad if I had to fire somebody because I wanted to do something different. If I wanted to stop, I could stop. I didn’t want to have anybody else involved. Yeah.
Mike McClary: So Anna, you mentioned that the whole process from when you first worked with the buyer to selling, it was pretty quick, but how did you get in touch with them? Like, were you looking for someone to buy your business or did they reach out to you?
Ana Silva: I was looking for somebody to buy it, uh, again, because toys was never what I wanted to do. Um, but again, the money was great. I felt like somebody else could do a better job at growing and enjoying it more than, than, than I did for the product that I had.
Mike McClary: Awesome. And I think we’re okay. Saying it was three Casio is the company that you ended up selling to, right? Yes, that’s correct. And they were pretty good to work with.
Matt Clark: I mean, what do you think you learned in the process of selling your business that maybe surprised you or you weren’t expecting
Ana Silva: Was
Matt Clark: It was very easy. I don’t know it was because of pressure or because I had ever seen very organized. Um, I didn’t even have an accountant or a lawyer to do anything. Sales were a hundred percent on Amazon.
Ana Silva: Yes. A hundred percent on Amazon. So I focused, I also, because of my time being so limited, I, I would’ve knew how to focus my time and I, you I’m very into the 80 20 rule that I knew that, uh, 20% of my time would be spent on the 80% of, of what would return my money, which is Amazon.
I could spend more time doing Shopify, um, Walmart or going to Europe even. Um, but I knew that it would take a lot of my time and maybe not returned too much. So go, I focused on Amazon and that is also what probably attracted, crush you to my business because they could see potential to grow to those other markets
Mike McClary: You started selling in February. Right. And was that 2018. So, and you sold in January of 2021. So is that right? Less than three years, you had just started a business and sold it again, that’s, that’s a pretty short amount of time to build a business and have a pretty big return on your investment there, given everything that, you know, do you think you could repeat that process all over again?
Ana Silva: Yes. And that’s, and that’s what I’m doing. And I, my plan is to repeat, uh, get bigger and faster too. Um, so for that, I, I need help. So my new brand that I’m building, I, um, I’m working with my son was helping me. So, uh, and then, um, I also am partnering was a couple of friends that I met along the way, and I’m very thankful and, we’re in the process of buying it.
Mike McClary: Wow. That’s exciting. So have you already, um, so you already have a business in a, in a product identified that you’re interested in and then, so what do you expect to do then? Like, what’s your timeline for taking this new business? And I guess flipping it as what I, what I call it, but what’s your timeline for doing that?
Ana Silva: Yeah, the business already exists, so it has a little bit of history, so we, but it needs a lot of help. Uh, and I, we think we can, we can grow to a point, uh, the, the good and sellable in a year or so a year, 18 months. Wow.
Mike McClary: That’s, that’s pretty putting credit probably less
Ana Silva: Than two years.
Matt Clark: So, so you, you put in all this time and effort, you build a business. And then at this point, you know, a lot of times people will say like, why not just like, you know, sit on a beach or stay up in the mountains where you’re at in Colorado and be done with it. Why, why keep going at this point?
Ana Silva: Um, well, even though I’m not young, I feel young, so there are things that I like to do. I mean, I, I enjoy working, so, and this is the type of work that I enjoy. Um, I’m also able through this business to give back, so I have the opportunity to mentor with AFM, uh, and, and Titan. So I’m, I’m glad to give back what I know and help others grow. So I’m enjoying my time.
Matt Clark: Yeah, that’s awesome. And by the way, just so people know, Anna is a mentor with us with ASM. So she definitely is doing what she’s talking about, uh, helps out our community, a ton people just getting started, especially. Um, cool. So is there, is there anything else you think that you think, um, somebody maybe earlier in the journey should know about this, about doing the business, something you picked up along the way that you don’t hear a lot of other people talk about, um, anything like that that comes to mind?
Ana Silva: Yeah. I think the main thing is this is a real business, so it’s not something that you should take too lightly. It’s possible to do it on the side, like, uh, like I did, but, uh, it’s a real business. So we requires focus time, um, money, of course you can start from zero, but you need a little money to invest in your, um, in your inventory.
So it will mean business. There’s a lot of ups and downs, so you need to be patient. Um, but the growth potential is incredible. The it’s, it’s an easy business, uh, business to scale. Um, so yeah, it’s just, it’s a real business. If you decide to do it, just do it, but put the right focus and energy to, to do it. It’s, it’s, it’s not a joke. It’s a, it’s a real business.
Matt Clark: I know at one point brings to mind something, is that about a year ago or so? Uh, I had you and a handful of other successful people on, and I was kind of getting some feedback about some software stuff that we were working on. And I think I forgot. I remember you were tracking something like 80 data points, like every day, whenever you’re running your business, like, is that true? And what, what were you looking at every day? What was most important to you?
Ana Silva: Um, so I have, well, I had a spreadsheet that started was what ASM provided us in the beginning. It just your daily sales tracker. Um, so I would keep track every day and I would do that myself. It would only take me maybe 15 minutes. Uh, but I did that every day. I felt like it was a way to get, keep track, or keep my pulse on the business. So, um, I tracked, uh, BSR the day of the week. Um, how many sales or how many orders? Um, what else? Uh, I don’t need so many things, uh, but I tracked my, um, my competitors too.
So I’d say maybe seven competitors to track. Uh, some of their numbers there’ll be a star reviews, like, so I checked my reviews to, um, my PPC and I, I wanted to see everything in, in one place. So then I could identify why would any things that I changed? What would affect, uh, what was the effect of the changes I made?
So again, I’m pretty big on data. At one time I built a database, um, and I was loading data from Amazon. And then I built my database that would report back to me. That was just a, like a fun project for me. Um, but it became too much work and I don’t think it was necessary at the time. So I stopped doing that.
Matt Clark: Yeah. So, so, so you mentioned the 80 20 earlier for today and save 20, 21 or going forward. What do you think the 20% is that’s most important for somebody who wants to succeed on Amazon?
Ana Silva: Like the three things I mentioned already, a good quality product don’t ever skimp on the quality of the product. Um, a great listing, putting something together with your phone, taking pictures of your, with your phone. Like I did that. I started with six with my phone, but then immediately the data told me that that was not enough. My conversion was not great, but then I ended up paying somebody to do it for me. So great listing, great quality products, and you need to learn PPC either you learn yourself or pay somebody to do it for you.
Matt Clark: And what about any kind of, uh, ranking campaigns, you know, giveaways, that sort of thing to kind of push you up in organic rankings. You, you would put those other things, uh, ahead of those ahead of that.
Ana Silva: I would. Okay. Yeah. That comes to, there is you can do other things it can do. Of course, social media. If you have a following, you can, you can do, you can do all sorts of things, but, um, but social media, I feel like it’s more like an art to, yeah. You need to, again, either, you know, yourself or you hire somebody, that’s an expert, it’s hard to do it on your own unless you already know.
Matt Clark: And then I guess kind of, kind of last question here is, you know, maybe for people that are already, um,
selling pretty well on Amazon, or maybe they hope to be someday, what is your advice if they’re thinking about selling their business or not
Ana Silva: Get yourself organized, make sure you know, your numbers. Uh, I always have everything separated, like a bank account credit card. Um, so it was easy to, to provide any numbers that the, that the buyers wanted. I had, my folders were very organized too, so I had all my images, all my, uh, the videos, um, my PPC reports, uh, yeah, it is pretty much I get yourself organized. I make sure to have profits because they are looking for, uh, buyers are looking for profit. So, um, so make sure you have a healthy product profit.
Matt Clark: Yeah, so, and I really appreciate you coming here. Uh, such a cool story went from basically not really having done this business before to a selling business for a good chunk of money in just under three years. And now you’re back out again. So I really appreciate you coming on here.
Ana Silva: You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure.
Matt Clark: All right. So that was Anna Silva. Like we said, she basically went from a brand new to this business to selling her brand in just under three years, uh, for multiple seven figures to one of the biggest aggregators or buyers of Amazon FBA businesses out there.
Super cool. It shows you the power of this opportunity right now and that she’s back at it doing, uh, doing it again. Uh, so if you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, and maybe we might be able to throw one to Anna, go to amazing.com/branded and we’ll see you in the next episode.