Is the Amazon FBA Ninja all it's made out to be?
This painstakingly detailed review, just updated in October 2019, was written by a person who is actually successful in the Amazon FBA business model.
Why should you read my review?
- I am an actual Amazon FBA Seller having created and sold three different brands on Bezo's platform.
- I have actually gone through Kevin's course (as evidenced by the details below).
Since Kevin initially made the full course in the summer of 2017, how does the course compare to those made in 2020? Does the FBA Ninja (aka the Zon Ninja Course) stand the test of time? Should you invest in Kevin's course or Tanner J Fox's?
I'll go over this course, sharing both its pros and cons, explaining where I see it is still current and where it needs to be refreshed.
Additionally, can people still be successful using the FBA biz model this year? If so, how?
I've had my fair share of success with FBA, but NOTE: lead generation is still my main squeeze:
Near the end of the article, I'll cover what makes FBA challenging, and how you can overcome those challenges.
Amazon FBA Ninja - Kevin David - THATLifestyleNinja
Introduction to Kevin David
Kevin grew up on the west coast in Eugene, Oregon. He started playing soccer at a young age and the lessons of hard work, technique and perseverance became ingrained in him.
When he was 14 years old, he started selling baseball cards and candy bars, revealing to him his destiny to become a successful entrepreneur.
Kevin has gone through many different jobs from accounting to creating gaming apps, to simply writing blog articles. It was here that Kevin got the education he needed to make money via the Amazon Affiliate Program and Google Ads. And while he accumulated pieces of success here and there, the majority of success was still ahead of him.
After graduating college and achieving a highly-sought after accounting position, he soon left to work at FaceBook, where he discovered the Amazon FBA opportunity after a long day in the office. 30 days later, he launched his first product onto the biggest eCommerce platform in the world.
As of October 31, 2019, Kevin, aka That Lifestyle Ninja, has multiple courses online and has a net worth of over 5 million dollars.
Kevin also has a podcast, known as the Ninja Podcast.
Who I Am
Similar to Kevin, after college I worked a good job, but soon became dissatisfied with the 9 to 5 schedule and meager pay. I have been working online businesses since 2014 when I begin my lead generation business (which freed me from my 9-5 in 7 months).
(Got me a little FOMO)
My FBA business took off back in 2016 when I was looking to add different kinds of income streams, having already experienced significant success on the internet.
Since then, I have constructed multiple brands doing 6-figures on Amazon at the same time having organized a team of VA's to give me the time to work on my businesses, not merely in them.
All that said, I believe that I am qualified to review the FBA Ninja course, which, like some of you, I first found through Kevin David's webinar (the lead magnet of his Clickfunnel campaign).
What I've found is that online skills are transferable from one business model to another, because once you have been successful in one business, you have developed the traits of working hard even when you don't feel like it, being disciplined in following through with the built-out process.
Why I am writing this Review
Some people write reviews with dollar signs in their eyes, I have no such financial motivations. I am not being paid nor am I an affiliate of Kevin David, his Masterclass, or his movement "THATLifestyleNinja." #notanaffiliate
The reason I am writing this review is to thoroughly summarize the course as well as interject my own reflections periodically, giving you the benefit of both an overview of Kevin's teaching as well as my own experience.
What can you expect to recieve from this course?
As of June 24,2020, the Amazon FBA Ninja course provides the majority of information and techniques necessary to begin selling on Amazon, and over time, scale it to the level of your desire. It's not a download, but you have lifetime access after you pay the initial price.
Here's what you'll learn:
Amazon FBA Ninja Course Breakdown
Module 1: Laying the Foundation: Business Licensing and Initial Product Selection
The course starts with Kevin advising you to get an LLC, discussing characteristics of excellent FBA products, and introducing tools that aid your home-run item search.
Kevin gives snapshots of a lot of things that you need to be familiar with when choosing your product (that a lot of tools merely operate on algorithmic predictions, how to know level of sales for sure, etc.)
While explaining basic tools like Jungle Scout, Kevin provides unique suggestions like out-optimizing AmazonBasic by creating unique bundles of best selling products and suggesting that it is a good (profitable) practice to compete against Amazon as a seller.
I found the three parts of this introductory module to be a bit scatter-shot, but within the larger context of the course it does make sense. The teaching technique of telling a lot of different aspects and then leaving it to the student to assemble the coherent, bigger picture is the instructional method that Kevin employs throughout the whole course.
PS: don't worry, you won't have to do a quiz or a tiny test (known as a "quizlet") at the end.
Module 2: Examining Product Codes, Selecting a Supplier and Ordering First Shipment
Kevin has divided this module into three parts.
Part 1: Barcodes and Initiating Communication with Alibaba Suppliers
Amazon requires a unique barcode type that cannot be supplemented by a universal product code (UPC). Kevin explains that Amazon's barcode type are called FNSKUs (which can be generated in Seller Central after inputting your UPC).
Knowledgeable, Kevin provides a brief overview of Amazon's potential GS1 requirements, (currently only "recommended") and also shares where he acquires UPC codes at a fraction of the price listed by GS1.
Having trained multiple VAs to log in and start the conversation with Alibaba Suppliers, Kevin has included pdfs with two different templates for beginning communication with overseas suppliers via Jack Ma's platform, Alibaba.com. However, he himself takes care of finalizing the arrangements.
The conversations at the beginning of merchant-supplier relationships are pretty standard (exchanging information), so I support Kevin's decision to outsource that part of the process.
Part 2: Using Alibaba to Find Suppliers, Bargaining MOQs below 500 units, and Establishing Shipping Process from Manufacturer to Amazon's Warehouse
1. First, Kevin shows how to use the filters on Alibaba.com to find high-quality suppliers, explaining what each filter does and what a manufacturer has to do to qualify to be included in each filter.
2. Second, he goes through the difference between ordering the minimum order quantity (MOQ) of a product to the discounted rate often given when exponentially more product units are bought.
Then he shows how to use this price difference to negotiate with the supplier for reduced rates on the first order. He also includes a template for correspondence with the supplier to make sure that new sellers are including all the necessary information.
3. Third, he shows how to set up a shipment to go straight from an overseas supplier to Amazon's FBA Warehouse in seller central.
One of his tips is to choose FOB over EXW (two different kinds of shipping), because FOB, while more expensive in the short run, makes sure that the supplier is liable for damages during the shipping process, while EXW retains that the merchant is responsible for any damages occurring outside the warehouse.
Part 3: Having an inspection Performed the Right Way
In this last video of Module 2, Kevin explains why it is important to have a third party inspect the shipment before it leaves the producer's warehouse.
Additionally, he tells you how to customize the inspection based on your product (electrical products require different specifications than kitchen utensils) and how much you should expect to pay for that vital final inspection.
While Kevin does do a great job at showing how to evaluate online suppliers, he doesn't talk about unearthing unique product manufacturers from hard to find places.
If you use a common supplier, it's a guarantee that your product will be copied much sooner than if you search out a supplier who is not available to everyone on the internet.
- Are there mom-and-pop shops near you that make uncommon items?
- Have you attended conventions or visited far-away places (like when you go on vacation)?
Module 3: Registering Your Brand, Setting Your Regular Price and Formatting Your Listing
Kevin's third module has three parts.
Part 1: Brand Registry and Setting Your Canonical URL
Kevin discusses the benefits Amazon gives to those who are brand registered (different kinds of advertising available to registered brands).
(To find out more about registering your brand in 2020, check out this complete guide.)
Part 2: Formatting Both the Front end and the Back End of Your Listing the Right Way
- Increasing Organic Sales by 197% by Indexing Related Keywords
- Building Organic Keyword Rank as Fast as Greased Lightning
- Making Amazing Videos that Appear on Your Listing (and stand out from your competition)
- Complete Walkthrough of Creating an Optimized Listing from Scratch
Part 3: Dealing with Hijackers and Selling Out of Stock
- Throwing Hijackers Off of Your Listing (and getting control of your buy box again)
- Stocking out while also Dealing with a Hijacker (Kevin's tips)
- Recover Your Former Ranking after Your New Stock Arrives
In this module, Kevin teaches:
One of the main tactics that a hijacker will employ to gain control of your listing is grabbing the buy box right from under your nose by using black hat methods to boost their BSR.
Kevin will cover VAs later on in the module, but I wanted to include this aside here, because it has to do with hijackers.
I have taught several of my VAs the signs of a hijacked listing so that they can inspect my product listings periodically to affirm that they are in good standing.
An Additional Resource on Removing Hackers:
Module 4: Launching Your Product: Using Giveaways and AMS
In this module, Kevin offers tips on how to catapult your product into the marketplace, gathering vital initial customer 5 star reviews without violating Amazon's TOS, and pricing your product in a way to ensure maximum profits.
Kevin's training topics include:
One of the services that Kevin emphasises throughout the third module is Amazon Marketing Services (AMS).
Here's another place where I agree with Kevin.
Kevin and I both support spending (investing) the funds in signing up for AMS because of the wide variety of promotional opportunities are afforded you when you open that door.
The most sales don't go to the defensive but to those who garner the most attention.
To learn more about the opportunities of Amazon Marketing Services, read the in-depth review.
Module 5: Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Module 5 is the shortest module, but it covers a factor that largely determines your rankings: Reviews.
In the three videos in this module, Kevin covers three aspects of Amazon Reviews.
1. Using an Email Follow-up Service Can Give You two-thirds more reviews.
2. Understanding Amazon's Terms of Service relating to Reviews and Promotions
3. Engaging FB Review Groups the Right Way to Increase Product Reviews
For more details on how to get more product reviews on your Amazon listings, consider this article.
Module 6: Everything AMS and PPC
This is probably the meatiest module in the course.
It has two parts.
Part 1: The Bones of AMS as well as the Benefits of Using a Credit Card for PPC
Kevin covers Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) in detail, showcasing three different kinds of promotions that can be deployed to accomplish different kinds of offensive objectives.
He also explains how he got airline reward points for simply spending his ppc campaign budget (he flew to Brazil practically for free).
Part 2: Kevin's PPC Cheatsheet Walkthrough and Campaign Optimization Process
The three different campaign types are below:
The real richness of this module is found in the walk-throughs and screencast keyword processes shown by Kevin. These step-by-step sequences ingrain the ppc optimization process in your mind, so that when you are researching your own products' terms, you already know what you're doing, even if you're still a newbie.
Additional hacks that Kevin reveals in the sixth module:
- Setting Your PPC to Automatically Outbid Your Customers by 1 cent
- Using AMS Headline Ads to Autofill Textbox to Populate Home Run PPC Campaign
- Prospecting Common Misspellings and Making them in to Exact Match Campaigns for Extra Sales
- Getting paid to Sell Your Own Product
If you are interested in more PPC Optimization strategies, feel free to read the detailed review by clicking the green button below or check out the Private Label Masters 7th Module here.
Module 7: Instagram Influencer Marketing and FB Targeting Walkthrough
1. In the first part of this module, Kevin lays out the process to selecting an awesome influencer for your product, timing the promotion perfectly, and blowing your sales up to the moon and back.
2. In the second part, Kevin goes in-depth on creating a Facebook look-a-like audience of your Amazon customers using an external data service.
Additionally, Kevin shows how to create highly-targeted FB groups, which are long term advertising opportunities.
You Will Learn the Following:
Creating a facebook group is a strategy that is unique to Kevin's FBA course, although Sophie Howard (known as "the Amazon Selling Queen") shares tips that are similar during the market research section of her course.
To find more details of Kevin's uncommon audience building tactics, take a look at the in-depth review of Module 7 by tapping the green button below.
Module 8: Hacks to Bulletproof Your Amazon FBA Business
In this module, Kevin discusses tactics to improve the efficiency of your machine: from the structure of your business to the organic rankings of your struggling listings.
Covered in this lesson:
This module builds on topics that are covered in previous modules. Most of Kevin's content is providing tips and tricks (or "hacks" as he calls them) to optimize a lot of the processes in your biz.
What was most helpful to me was Kevin's training on returning an account to full working order after a suspension. He provides not only a brief walkthrough of the process, but also a brief but meaty letter written by a copyright infringement lawyer that would have saved me a lot of hassles had I had it when I started my FBA journey.
Another part of Kevin's module that helped me was his information on getting Amazon to reimburse you for the sizeable percentage of products that they lose or break at their FBA warehouse. I never had to worry about losing inventory in my lead gen business.
FBA Ninja on Reddit: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
One Reddit member speaks well of Kevin, saying that KD helped him out with some Facebook issues he pm'd Kevin about.
Clearly there was a miscommunication in the refund policy when someone bought into the course. Some of the fine print in the sales agreement between FBA Ninja and the buyer there's a clause that says if you read more than 50% of the course, you can't get a refund. Fortunately for this buyer, they paid with their credit card so they disputed the issue and were able to get their money back with the credit card company's dispute-handling team.
Upon joining the attached Facebook group, one reddit member was disgusted, as they were bombarded with spam offers by affiliates for Kevin's other courses, even though they were offering him a discount code.
As he is an amazing seller on Amazon himself, Kevin certainly has the credentials to teach this masterclass course on the FBA business model.
While Kevin does reveal hacks that were current 2 years ago (he made the completely unblocked course in May of 2017), as I went through each video, I did wonder whether the all the "hacks" still worked in today's market.
An example of an outdated trick is the "Super URL" that boosted Amazon product listings like crazy when I was establishing my first brand on Amazon, but that trick was eliminated in 2017, as Kevin notes in the final module.
What else has gone to the wayside as the super url did a couple of years ago now? In my mind, he really should update the course for 2020, as when a person are building his or her business entirely on someone else's platform, they'd really need the most up-to-date information.
On the bright side, Kevin does still have a significant following both on Facebook (268k) and YouTube (658k), which means that either he has other material that is current or that this material is, for the most part, still functional.
Advertising significantly on Facebook for his courses, masterclasses, and free eBooks, his main no-cost education is located on Youtube, where he offers many hour-long trainings.
The main reason I purchased this course was to fine-tune several aspects of my PPC campaigns, which I knew Kevin is a legitimate, experienced guru of (aka he's not like the many scam-artists "mentors" who have zero experience in the subject that their course covers). And I have to say that in this area, Kevin really did come through as I have made back my investment three times over at the time I am writing this review.
Is it a worthwhile course?
So at the end of the day, it is your decision and yours alone.
While there's some merit to the adage "you don't know until you try it," be sure that you have truly considered the weight of what you are considering embarking on.
Overall, Kevin provides a good course on the FBA business model, showing you the majority of what's needed to get started as a Private Label Merchant on Amazon. (No course has it all when it comes to all the constantly evolving complexities of Bezo's platform.)
And for the cost of entry, depending on your intentions, it can be well worth the investment.
All I am saying is make sure you are going in with your eyes wide open, having done your full due diligence on the business model as well as the specific course of education.
Amazon FBA is OK, but Lead Gen is Better, Here's Why
Number 1: Ongoing Fees Amazon is constantly raising their fees and inventory warehousing prices. With local lead gen, I don’t have half the expenses that I do selling my products on Amazon.
Number 2: Ease of Scaling Both of these business endeavors have required a lot of effort upfront, but my local lead gen revenue was much simpler to multiply to 52k/month and because the success was more repeatable and consistent. The process in lead-gen just works, with Amazon FBA even if you do everything correctly a product can still fail.
How local lead generation works is that I generate leads for business owners using internet resources, providing them calls and filled out forms to profit by providing their service. Leads roll in all year long, unhindered by the latest fashion that races through society today and is gone tomorrow. cha-ching!
The simplicity of my lead gen operation is probably my favorite part about it. It is really a lot less of a stresser, because I don’t have to mind the lead generating sites much after ranking them.