Aaron O’Sullivan is the guest today from SystemsCultureImpact.com to talk about how to start a business online.
Without systems in place, there’s always a ceiling that you will hit in terms of being able to continue to launch successfully and delight your customers. So Systems, Culture, Impact helps Amazon businesses to scale up and helps them fully install systems into their businesses and create a great virtual team with a great team culture.
Aaron started on Amazon in 2013. At first, it was a side gig while he was working in the mining industry in the far north of Australia. He dabbled in affiliate marketing before finding ASM1 and getting into the Amazon world. After attending the ASM event, Aaron went all in on Amazon. After 5 months he was able to quit his job and focus on his business full time. Meanwhile, his business partner was building a team of staff in the Philippines and asked Aaron to join. They ended up having a team of 45 staff running multiple different brands across all different types of industries and niches on Amazon.
It was a challenge to come up with the systems to be able to scale those different brands. That’s how Aaron learn what worked and what didn’t work and how to start a business online. He learned it pretty quickly, created a process and system for how to remove yourself as much out of business as possible and attracting great virtual assistants in the Philippines.
At the beginning of your Amazon business, overwhelm can strike quickly. Aaron suggests starting with the end in mind. Everybody’s situation will be different. It’s important to have an idea of how many products you want to launch, by when, and have a rough idea of when you want to get your first employee. He says it is much better to plan that from the beginning than to go about it without any foresight.
Hiring without a plan often means you don’t have any processes and you may not know what areas of the business you will bring them on that are the highest value to enable you to grow faster. Start thinking about your business outcomes and creating structure from the start. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the targets you set for yourself. It’s something to work towards.
Once you’ve got clarity on your big vision, you break it down into outcomes for the quarter. Then once a week—for Aaron it’s Sunday—spend some time looking at this quarter’s outcome and plan out the week ahead. From that week’s plan, you put the most important things you’re your calendar or project management tool like Asana. That weekly rhythm helps prevent overwhelm, keeps you moving forward and starts to really build traction.
If you have done a course to get started on Amazon, don’t just rely on the course to give you structure. Most courses are there to help you launch one product, which is great. But you need to think beyond that from the start. If you come from a big course, they might have sold it to you on this big vision, which is very optimistic.
Give me a call to help you check it to make sure that you’re setting up a plan based on reality not based on hype.
Take the things you’ve learned and distill them into a really simple system for you to use yourself, and block it into your calendar. Connecting with your vision and plan in your document each week helps keep you motivated and on track.
It can be challenging if you do find there is a big mismatch between the original outcomes and the reality of what has happened. It’s less likely to be a shock to you, though, if you have a weekly check in routine as Aaron suggests. Just like a pilot is continually adjusting the airplane’s path throughout the flight, checking in weekly allows you to reflect on what’s working, what’s not and whether you’re on track towards your outcomes or if you need to make adjustments.
Many people business owners and entrepreneurs are born optimists, but reality doesn’t always go as planned and we feel like a failure. It’s not failure it’s just learning. Remember that as long as you’re moving forward, that’s a win. Many high achievers have high expectations of themselves and can be very harsh on themselves, but focus on all the progress you’ve made too. Make a point of celebrating the wins and acknowledging how far you have come.
Aaron generally recommends outsourcing the things in your Amazon business that occur with high frequency and that are low-value activities. Often, these are repetitive tasks that happen each week like customer service, commenting on reviews and Amazon PPC. Once the system is set up, they’re repetitive weekly tasks that can easily be outsourced.
The process Aaron takes his clients through is taking stock of where they spend their time. Which areas they spent the most time. Which areas they like and dislike the most and things that you aren’t very good at. He calls the process “moving into your genius” because of the four categories he divides activities into incompetence, competence, excellence, and genius. Track your time for 5 – 7 days, then label your tasks with one of those categories and figure out the ones that are the low value, high-frequency activities so you can get some clarity on what to start getting rid of first.
However, remember it’s not always about delegating stuff that’s cheap and nasty. Take photography for example. You may delegate that to a professional photographer who will earn more per hour but it’s such an important area for an Amazon seller that it would still be worth it.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this interview where Michael and Aaron dive into outsourcing in more depth.