Today I’m talking with Chris Rawlings. He’s the Founder and CEO of Judolaunch, and he’s here to chat about his Amazon journey, how he’s made it to where he is today, and how you can become an Amazon Seller.
Chris spent the entire first ⅔ of his life in science and mathematics. He graduated with a degree in physics and immediately jumped into doing electrical design for commercial-scale solar projects. Then something clicked. He calls it an “early life crisis”. He wasn’t going to be satisfied popping in headphones and staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day. It was time to learn business.
Luckily for Chris, his father was ⅔ owner of a company that was spinning out a new company at that exact moment in history. That company needed a leader. Chris effectively seized control of that new company, and the rest is history.
Well, kind of. Chris spent the next few years f*Ⓒ!n???? up constantly (his words, not mine). He was dead set on the idea that everything in business can be solved merely with numbers. It took him a great while to learn that, “You can go fast alone, but you can only go far together.” The numbers are important. The people are imperative. As Chris grew as a businessman, he built his company to just short of seven figures annually as well. Like so many other successful businesspeople I interview, failure–and how to deal with it productively–is a big part of Chris’ success.
What do you do when life hands you rotten spinal health? Make an Amazon business of course! Chris spent some time in his early twenties touring as a bass player with a ska band; they even played with the London-based group The English Beat. Touring life left Chris with what he dubbed a, “jacked up spine”. Naturally, this led Chris into his first venture with Amazon–among other outlets–in the form of a spinal health products business. He quit his job, went to New Zealand, bought a motorcycle, and started living life as a digital nomad.
Chris’ technical background was the x-factor in getting him off the ground as an Amazon seller. The products he was selling weren’t earth-shattering, groundbreaking new ideas. They were simply better versions of the products already out there on the market. Chris found a niche and exploited a vacuum within it. He would find a product with negative reviews–or products with which he’d had a negative experience–highjack the engineering department of his supplier in China to come to a final improved design and have the shipment sent back for fulfillment by Amazon.
Not being tied to a place was huge for Chris’ development as a businessperson during the early stages of his Amazon business. At first, this freedom came with an underlying sense of guilt. It took Chris a while to be able to reprogram his brain in a way that was compatible with the life of a digital nomad. What he found in his time living life this way was that there is a vast network of people in places like Bali and the Philippines living their lives happily as digital nomads. Some even do it forever.
But for Chris, the desire to build something more significant and permanent outweighed the desire for geographical freedom. He was sick of building little tiny castles only to be forced to start over as the winds of change carried him on to his next endeavor.
Chris’ spinal health brand was thriving. He’d hired a mobile team and gotten the brand off and running. However, he quickly realized that without setting up some roots, he’d never be able to shake the sense of complacency he was already feeling. He wanted to be part of something bigger. Life goes by so fast. When you’re sitting at a desk pushing papers, the memories are few and far between. Each day blends into the next and before you know it you’re working a job you never really liked into your golden years.
It’s for that reason that both Chris and I decided to strike out on our own and, to steal a quip from my good friend Christian Rodwell, Escape the Rat Race. There are two kinds of people in this world: the kind that opt for safety and security, and the opt for experience and novelty. It’s up to you to decide which path you want for yourself in life. If you want to be the latter, just do it. Buy that plane ticket, start that podcast, throw yourself out of that metaphorical plane and bootstrap your way to success.
Selling on Amazon isn’t about making new and revolutionary product after new and revolutionary product. Becoming a successful Amazon seller can be as simple as identifying a problem with an existing product, solving the problem with a minor design tweak, and bringing a new and improved version to market.
Another great tip from Chris Rawlings for selling on Amazon is to utilize the resources your Chinese supplier has at their disposal. There is an entire industry already in place for product photography in China. Some suppliers even have their own studio. Most suppliers have their own dedicated engineering department. These suppliers want your business. Using this support already in place can not only maximize your productivity but also save you money.