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BJK University Success Story: How Sam Succeeded on Amazon with the Amazon Mentorship Program

BJK University Success Story: How Sam Succeeded on Amazon with the Amazon Mentorship Program


Sam Newman has been a student with us here at BJK University for a few years. He’s agreed to do an interview and share his journey so far. He’ll be sharing his experience not just as a member of BJK University, but as a member of the Amazon platform and as an Amazon seller.

Why did you want to sell on Amazon? 

Actually, I opened a Shopify store first. I always wanted to get into e-Commerce but was unsure which platform to choose. I had worked for a previous employer and they used Shopify very successfully.

But they had an enormous customer service team of 60-70 people. And they grew this customer service team with Shopify’s platform. I don’t have access to resources for 60 or 70 people.

So, Amazon was the best platform for me as far as starting out. With Amazon, I was able to work from the bottom by myself with my own resources. Plus, I really like Amazon FBA because there are so many resources. BJK University laid the groundwork for what’s really possible. 

Are you doing Amazon FBA next to a full-time job?

No, I don’t work right now. I’m a full-time musician. I stopped working in February of this year and it was really important for me to focus on my music. So I figured I’m going to launch this FBA program, focused on my business, be an entrepreneur and at the same time invest in my business.

If I can’t focus on my music, my life just feels like it doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, FBA has given me the time to do that. And it’s completely changed my life. I was doing product development for an electric bike company in Phoenix and did it for like two years and I loved it, but I went to work every day.

And I also just saw my bosses, people who have used e-commerce and been completely successful. They weren’t ever there. They were doing their own thing. So, I was like, why can’t I do that? Amazon was the tool that allowed me to do that. Not Shopify. 

Now I’m doing what I want to do. I’m wrenching on bikes, which is a passion of mine, playing music all the time, and working on my business. And it feels like I have another level of autonomy that I’ve never had before. 

What’s the latest success you had with your Amazon FBA business?

I hit a milestone today: $35,000 in sales. It’s revenue, not profit. But it’s very special to me because I never did that before.

How many hours are you currently putting into your Amazon business? 

I’m a little bit more aggressive with how much time I put in. Usually about five hours a day. And that includes aspects like looking for business insurance, looking at how to optimize my tax strategy, etc. I’m looking at optimizing my ads every day. My PPC campaigns and also looking at constantly trying to find another product that would work in this industry.

How important is it to find the right product? 

Oh, it’s critical. I knew I had the right product when I saw two years ahead and I was able to understand the volume of my product and how that was going to affect five or six major manufacturers.

And I was going to be one of the beneficiaries of investing in this product. 

What is the biggest struggle that you have had to face so far?

This is going to sound cliche, but just showing up. There’s a lot to do. Attending the webinars, asking questions… You do need an active mind to do this.

Establishing a routine so I can really optimize my time – I feel like that’s been one of the biggest challenges for me.

And what about the business itself? Are there any specific parts of the business that you’ve had more challenges with than others?

Getting the PPC campaign dialed in. It needs constant attention and that’s okay. And by constant attention, I mean, once every four days – to see how this evolves and how you can make it better.

Where do you see yourself with this Amazon business in 12 or even 24 months? How many products do you think you’re gonna have? How much monthly revenue do you think you’ll be making?

So, right now I’m doing roughly $8,000 a month. In a year, I’d like to reach over a hundred thousand dollars.

What do you feel is going to be the struggle to get there? What is the biggest thing that might be the bottleneck? 

Right now it’s finding people to work for me. I need one person to help me.

Do you think you’ll keep growing within the same niche or do you see yourself going into other niches?

I think where I’m at right now is a really good place to be. I would like to branch out. I was thinking about a clothing brand. I like clothing because the weight for shipping is really light. It typically doesn’t take up a lot of packing space.

And you can charge a premium for some of these products. I’ve been looking at tie-dye. There’s a huge niche for tie dye right now. I think that’s really cool.

So you think that the same strategy and the same things that you’ve learned at BJK University can apply there?

I mean, absolutely. It really just comes down to the niche.

It comes down to a very specific type, whatever anybody’s looking for. And people are looking for millions and millions of things each day. I think if you find something cool, something that makes you happy in that weird way, then you found a good product that you can stand behind.

And people will also trust it over time. If you really develop this brand constantly a little bit each day. 

Why don’t you tell me a little bit more about how you got into music?

In sixth grade, this kid came up to me. I was playing this old guitar and he’s like, “Hey, if you can’t play that, don’t play it all.” I got so angry. I got so pissed. And the very next day I went out and got guitar lessons.

And then, I was trying to do some pretty advanced stuff early on. I was trying to learn a whole bunch of surf music, Dick Dale type of stuff. The next time he saw me, I could play one of these songs and he was just like, “Whoa”.

I just fell in love with making music. It’s just, there are not a lot of things that make sense to me in life, but music and bicycles do.

What’s your goal with your music? 

I want to put out an album. I actually have a schedule on Sunday. I’m meeting with my friend Dave and he’s going to help me record an album. I have the time to do that now. And it’s so awesome. I have the income to make it happen. 

You started selling on Amazon not too long ago. Do you think someone can start today and still be able to make it on Amazon?

I hope you start today. Right now is the best time to get into it. If you have access to a cell phone, if you have access to the internet, then you can do it.

It’s going to be hard. But the barrier to entry is at an all-time low. Anybody could do this. It does require work. 

I got my master’s in 2019 and I haven’t used it at all. I’ve learned more through this program that’s more useful than my entire master’s process. 

How much was that? 

I paid $55,000 for my education. I paid a fraction of that for BJKU. And what I learned with BJKU was to create revenue. What I learned with my master’s is how to be an employee. But that’s not what I want.

I’m too creative. I’ve got too much going on to want to do that. So BJKU has allowed me to essentially start today and then actually do something for not a lot of money. 

Why did you choose BJK University when you already had a product?

I had the product but there were still so many unanswered questions about the direction. The nice part about BJKU was, you guys just gave me permission to do it.

And I think a lot of us get stuck on this whole thought “I just need permission to essentially fuck up and make mistakes and learn”. And that’s why we go to school. It’s this nice little experimental zone where you can do that. Interesting. 

Why BJK University? 

I looked at somebody building out an Amazon store for me for $30,000. I had 30,000 and I was like, I don’t want to do this. It sounded like a waste of money. I feel like, if you’re going to do this, you’re going to be an entrepreneur. You’re going to call yourself out that you’re not going to work for somebody else.

It’s a hard conversation you have with yourself. It’s a lot of time with the product, a lot of time figuring out what not to do. But again, having the BJKU community where I can just ask questions and within an hour I get a response is really beneficial. I can’t overstate that enough. 

What is the biggest thing that you value at BJK University? 

I mean, Bashar, you’re great. BJKU Coach Ammar is freaking amazing. He is so great. His passion for helping people, his patience…

I feel special in this group. I feel like you kind of need that if you want to be part of something and you really want to believe in yourself. I’m not religious but I do believe there’s this weird little component of our brain that if we’re believed in by other people, it triggers something – and I like BJKU for that. I feel believed in. 

What is the number one piece of advice that you would give to somebody starting out this journey – Whether it would be with BJK University or without? 

Write down on one piece of paper where you’re at and understand that you’d need three to six grand. Then, figure out how you’re going to get that money.

And then blast off. I would say, give yourself a timeline, give yourself under a month to do it. Make it your priority. If you’re serious about it. If you’re not, that’s cool too. We all are living our own lives. We got problems and medical bills and, you know, life gets in the way. But I would also say that’s an excuse. Like if you really want it, you will make it happen. If you don’t want it, it won’t happen. 

Sam, thank you very much for your time.

Thanks, Bashar!

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