In this article, let’s learn from Oliver Flips and his Amazon journey.
I’m going to introduce to you someone that I’ve been following for some time, but the one thing that I’m really interested in learning about is his thoughts behind systems teams, outsourcing scaling his business to seven figures, and where he is going because it's probably not the usual route that you might be thinking. I’m accompanied by Oliver Flips and he will give his insights about the mentioned topics above, what he has learned from his team, what he’s doing, and what’s changed for him recently.
- Who is Oliver Flips?
- What does his business journey look like?
- What does the term ‘daily goals’ mean to Oliver Flips?
- How was Oliver Flips’ team until the recent change he's done in December?
- How did he deal with the tough decision of choosing to hire his family instead of overseas VAs?
- What was the structure of his team?
Who is Oliver Flips?
Many people are unaware of this fact, but Oliver Flip's actual first name isn’t Oliver, it’s Joseph. But when he tried to get the username “JosephFlips” on Twitter, the owner wouldn’t let him buy it, which caused him to land on what he thought was a cool name “OliverFlips”.
In April 2020, he was out of his luck after being let go from his job. He had no idea what to do, applied for a bunch of different jobs, a hundred and thirty, to be exact. With his savings running low, he knew he had to do something radical.
He knew of people making money off flipping items they bought from a store and reselling them on Amazon, and he thought, “I’ve got very little to lose right now. If I spend some money and it doesn’t work, I’ll just run out of money faster. I’ll be in the same place, eventually”. So, he took his chance. Joseph took his chance, and it was a success.
What does his business journey look like?
Joseph was new in the whole online arbitrage business and didn't know anything about Amazon, so he started selling on eBay because he already had an account back when he first married his wife.
In 2012, he discovered that you could buy people's broken iPhones and then sell them on eBay, or fix them. YouTube became his source of information on how to fix phones, which opened up the avenue of opening up the device and selling the components for a profit overseas.
By 2020, he had a profit of $150,000 on eBay and, subsequently, $40,000 on Amazon. He was multiplying his money by selling weights and shipping them by priority mail. When talking to newer people on Amazon now, he always has to say that “It’s a little different”, selling dumbbells used to be instant money.
As soon as he knew that what he wanted to do was Amazon, he started right for it. He started an LLC, got a tax exemption, and got his Amazon account. The first items he found to sell were ball-point pen refills. He had no idea what he was doing. He was spending $120 on pen refills, pen refills he didn’t even know if they’d sell.
When he got home, he created a shipment, but it didn't have any labels. Threw them in a box. He said, “Amazon label these for me”, and those things ended up flying. He reminisces that when his first sales came in, it was like eight dollars, and he felt like he had done it.
The following year, in 2021, he fully focused on Amazon, but he was still keeping eBay as a revenue source. By January 2022, he was debating on realistic expectations to expect of the coming fiscal year. A person had told him that a million would be plausible for him, which he accepted as fact and worked tirelessly to achieve it. In this year, 2023, he aims to reach a maximum revenue of around 3.5 million, which feels impossible for him, but he will stop at no end to achieve that goal. If he continues to meet his daily goals, then every goal is possible.
What does the term ‘daily goals’ mean to Oliver Flips?
If you take $1,000 to spend, and you have a 30% return on investment, that’s around $1,300 and Amazon will take a third of the sales and taking into account how much you sell your items for, you’ll arrive at a number that you’ll have to sell each day. By multiplying that number by 365, then you get that final number. With that number in mind, you’ll have to play around with it and find your sweet spot where it’ll reach your goal.
Sticking to the day-to-day, his goal to reach for the year is $3 million. That's an astronomical amount for him, to other people that's a normal Tuesday. So from the minute, he sets his daily goal, he never thought about the $3 million. He never watches the main goal. He only watched the daily goal and that was, I have to spend this much on average every day to be able to sell this much on average every day, to be able to get this amount of profit. If he continues to do that daily, he will reach his goal.
8 Things I learned from Oliver Flips about Reselling on Amazon
Having been laid off when the pandemic hit, Joseph of Oliver Flips took a leap of faith and started selling on Amazon and eBay. We chat about his journey and how he became a 7-figure seller from starting with selling pen refills on Amazon.
How was Oliver Flips’ team until the recent change he's done in December?
Oliver Flips hired a ton of sourcing virtual assistants, many of which were from the dropshipping side of Amazon. He kept adding to the team, and it was good, the result was good.
In December, he made the decision to let most of them go, and the reason is complex. So, in December, he started thinking about how he was conducting his business. Asks himself questions like, “Does this need to be done?” or “Does it need to be done this way?”, “It's a way that works, but is it the best way or should I be doing it a different way?”. He had conversations with people who were more successful than him and he decided that he wants to bring his core team, not overseas, but actually inside the US.
So, for anything purchasing or sourcing, the VAs did a great job, and he sent them off with a great severance. It was a great team. Though, he felt that he could do this better with a smaller team.
He continues on to say that he wishes to keep hirings within the family. His sister works for him full time, she is salaried, and she is handled. She is his right-hand person. They are building the company together, and his hope is to train her to one day replace him, to put all of his knowledge in her head, so she can carry on building the business in the future. Then if they decide that needed to have somebody assist, he has ideas for family members that are really gifted and could fit into that position.
He continues to say that he prefers the mindset of what’s the better type of business for him, rather than the type of business that would make him the most money.
How did he deal with the tough decision of choosing to hire his family instead of overseas VAs?
He hired his first employee that was overseas from an agency, but it wasn't an agency that specialized in Amazon sourcing. So all of his subsequent hires were referrals from people that he had already hired. What he discovered is that if we're talking mainly about Filipino employees, they have a very good, very specific skill set, and a lot of it creates very good sourcing results. But the niches and the strategy that he wants to focus on in his business, he didn’t feel like it was well suited to their skill set.
Making his decision, there were numerous questions flooding his mind. He felt as if he was throwing away his success, and it was terrifying for him. He was very cognizant of the fact that these are people's livelihoods. The severance he gave can only take care of them for so long. It was difficult, but in the end, he thought this was the best decision for his business.
Your company is a reflection of you.
What was the structure of his team?
The structure of the employees was rather simplistic. Because the employees essentially were like worker bees for the design of the hive. They're just the processes that are made so that everybody knows “This is my job”. “At this time, this is what I'm doing”. Joseph sat atop this hierarchy, and any big decision was his to make, But I created my company processes so that there would be very few big decisions and only little decisions and every little decision.
Everybody has autonomy within their role to make the company better, but it was basically two sides of the company. There was Joseph there and then if you split it down the middle, there's any sourcing and purchasing. He was overseeing the sourcing and the purchasing and the operations, and then over in the operations. Kind of the head of that side is my sister, who has her own, just one person beneath her that helps.
The only thing that's important in Amazon FBA is buying stuff and selling it profitably. That's like literally the only thing.
The missing piece in his organizational structure for a long time, for a good amount of time, was a reviewer. That was somebody who goes through reviews of all the leads. So, if you had two people, the reviewer would be above the purchaser, and for a while, Joseph was the Reviewer, that was the biggest job to train a person to become a reviewer.
He ended up creating a criterium that he still adheres to this today and he advises everybody to create criteria even if you're a one-person show.
They had a rating system and if it was a 6; they didn’t buy it because it was a mismatch or the 90-day average price was not profitable. It was just a small timeframe that it was profitable. They never rated any item at a 7 because a 7 is neither good nor bad. So, 7 might get put on to a lead because it needed to be reviewed because they weren't sure. Then an 8 is you buy a test amount. A 9 is what you buy enough to get free shipping. So it was the bare minimum, 30% ROI. A 9 was a step above that higher profit and higher sales velocity. A 10 was like the top lead and it's like you want to buy 30 days right out of the gate.
Grow your Amazon business as Oliver Flips!
If you want to reach Oliver Flips, the best channel to contact him would be through his Twitter account. He also has an Instagram account you can follow to be updated on his Amazon journey. Also, if you want to sign up for his email list, you can.
After learning about the journey of Oliver Flips, and still want to learn more from other Amazon sellers. We got you! Check out our previous articles about Romer the Roamer, Raiken Profit, The Gravy Train, Scott Needham, Checkmate Flips, Fields of Profit, Gavin Sweeney, Jonny Smith, Soros, Flips4Miles, and lastly, Clear The Shelf to know more about online arbitrage and their Amazon journey.