Private Label Masters - Tim Sanders - Course Review
Today I'm gonna show you Tim's course in detail, showing you the pros and cons of the 8 training modules.
Is Private Label Masters still an applicable guide to Amazon FBA as we enter 2020?
How does PLM compare to other FBA courses?
How much does Private Label Masters cost?
Tim's advice enabled me to tweak my FBA biz, leveling up my profit levels by another 15%.
This review is also a summary, an in-depth outline of Tim Sanders' PLM, so if you're considering investing in PLM, you'll know exactly what to expect.
Here we go!
Who is Timothy Sanders?
Tim has been an FBA seller on Amazon for over three years and has experienced significant successes. (see the screenshot of Tim's post below).
Tim is the real deal. The strategies he teaches can work with the proper work ethic (and lots of time spend researching product sales). #beentheredonethat
Tim has done his due diligence before making the course. After about a year working on his own FBA business and seeing 7 figures in sales, he began to put together what is now a complete set of training videos and pdfs.
His resources have helped thousands of sellers start and/or grow their own product lines and brands on Bezo's platform, which now dominates the digital market, taking 37% of all online retail sales (Digital Commerce 360 Research).
One unique aspect about Tim is he doesn't teach any techniques that he doesn't utilize in his own FBA business.
We've all see those guru's out there who share their "knowledge,"
but really only make their money through selling courses.
Tim has two facebook groups, a VIP for those who have bought the course and a basic group for those who want to find out more, but haven't made the investment in his training.
Publicly, Tim showcases his success and his course on the Private Label Masters FB page and the PLM Youtube Channel, where he has posted 2 videos per month for the past 2 years (one video every two weeks).
Who I Am
Similar to Tim, I have over 5 years of experience online, both in search engine optimization and on Amazon.com. I have been working online businesses since 2014 when I begin my lead generation business. My FBA business was launched back in mid 2016 when I was looking to add different kinds of income streams, having already experienced significant success on the internet.
Since then, I have built multiple product lines doing 5-figures each month on the biggest ecommerce platform to date. Over the past two years, I have organized teams of VA's who work in my businesses, so that I can work on each business more.
Because I have several very profitable internet businesses, I believe that I am uniquely qualified to review Tim's course.
What I've discovered is that possessing internet skills in one business model has given me an edge when I enter another. The reason being that once you have been successful in one business, you have inevitably trained the soft skills of working hard even when you don't feel like it (some call it "discipline"), as well as developed the vision to persist through the massive amount of up front work.
I am Not an Affiliate
I've witnessed an assortment of so-called "gurus" and webinar "business experts" who've written reviews without having gone through the course themselves to advertise affiliate links (i.e. Dan Vas Youtube). I don't know about you, but to me, that seems pretty dishonest and utterly self-centered.
Today, I'm writing this review to provide you both with a thorough overview of each video as well as my occasional thoughts on the content Tim provides in his 8 modules.
You will be able to tell that I have taken the Private Label Masters journey by the details provided.
What to expect from this course
The Private Label Masters course provides enough content to get started on Amazon as well as scale your business, if you've already established your first few products (why I bought the course).
Through this course, you will:
Private Label Masters Outline
Module 1: Introduction
This modules begins with Tim saying thanks for the opportunity that you've given him to teach you. He also explains that PLM:
Tim also provides an brief discussion about 5 key components of business:
- Mindset (Tim talks about how your purpose will push through the difficulties)
- Licenses (he summarizes different licensing structures and why he chose an LLC)
- Taxes (Tim emphasizes the need for a business CPA and how to get an EIN)
- Liability Insurance (he discourages new sellers from selling "high liability products")
- Amazon's Fees (Tim gives an overview of the costs of selling products on Amazon)
After discussing the necessary mindset, he shares his reason for starting to sell on Amazon: he was exhausted from working too hard for too little and how he had no time for his family after a draining day at work.
Tim's first module provides a lot of foundational elements to building a successful business.
While he is technically right when he said you can start selling without a business license, I disagree with him when he says that it's okay to wait.
Having an LLC business license is important as it separates your personal liability from your business's liability as well as gives you several tax options.
Mindset, but not Money
One of the things that Tim does as most other course creators tend to do is explain more about the mindset and not enough about the money it takes to be a successful Amazon Seller.
While possessing the perseverance, patience and performance is vital to be successful, it is also vital to have the financial means to not go under if your product flops (several of mine have, even after they passed the due diligence examination with flying colors).
But because I have already established many other different, albeit smaller, passive income streams, I've been able to weather the dud products that I have launched.
I think that Tim doesn't talk much about the money side as it is not a very entrepreneurially romantic thing to do. But I believe that if he did, his course would be more popular, because it would stand apart as being more truthful than most if not all other FBA courses.
I wish that he'd have covered how to get a business loan to get your Private Label business started on the right foot as well as best ways to build business credit, so that sellers aren't endangering themselves.
If he did discuss money, wanna-be sellers would realize that selling on Amazon is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but rather an enterprise that takes the average seller several years to really get going.
To start an Amazon business, you first need the funding. Then you can begin the actual business building process, which is where Tim's course begins.
Module 2: Product Research
Clocking in at just under 3 hours, this module is Tim's longest.
And understandably so, because this is the most important step.
In the second video, Tim uses a baseball analogy to illustrate his recommended business structure.
As the business owner, you are the coach, and your products are your players.
Home Runs or Singles:
Core Question: If you were a coach, would you rather have one player hitting home runs or a lot of players hitting singles?
Would you rather have only one product with Ty Cobb’s 1911 batting average (.419) as a conversion rate or have the 1995 Cleveland Indians Lineup, having 6 different products converting over .300?
Tim is striving to get the point across that the prerequisite to raising profitability is a business's stability, which comes through having a lot of products doing a few sales each day, not by one product doing a hundred sales in 24 hours (cool as that would be).
Other Topics Tim Covers:
After doing three complete walk throughs that show his product finding process (his products: Child’s Teepee, Sensory Blanket, and Message Center Bulletin Board), Tim gives a 40,000 foot view of the FBA business, declaring that the goal is not merely selling an item or two well, but the construction of a brand (aka a group of related products all selling at consistent rates).
He ends the module with a short reminder to be patient as the product search process takes time to learn as well as how to use Trademarkia.com to find out which products have patents.
Module 3: Product Sourcing
The third module covers three (3) product sourcing related topics:
Part 1: Overview of Alibaba.com
Tim gives a quick run through of Alibaba, showing its different filters and which ones he recommends based on his experience. (**Warning** He goes the more expensive route)
Part 2: Initiating Great Relationships with Suppliers
- Building Rapport from 10,000 miles away
- Rapidly Engaging Multiple Suppliers very Efficiently
- Being Aware of Cultural Differences (Chinese Culture is not strictly business)
- What to do when you’ve found the One (a high-quality supplier, that is)
Part 3: Professionally Negotiating MOQ with Manufacturers
- Knowing the Information You Need to Begin Discussing Business
- What Questions to Ask that Separate the Excellent from the Mediocre
- Using the Flexibility of the Minimum Order Quantity to Your Advantage
A few skills Tim teaches in these 8 videos are:
One of the main reasons a supplier has an MOQ is to protect their process cost, making sure that it’s at least minimally profitable for them to set up their equipment and arrange their manpower. Tim shows a clever, yet common technique to get your first order at a lower-than-posted MOQ.
A large takeaway from Tim’s training I had were his techniques for engaging the Chinese suppliers in informal ways to begin the supplier selection process.
He provides not only a short talk on the subject but also shows how he does it by doing it with a dummy item.
He showed me that chatting informally can be a good way to build the foundation for a strong business relationship in the future. (By nature I am a no-BS, straight-to-the-point kind of person, so Tim’s training was a good watch)
Module 4: Shipping
In this module, Tim covers why amazon private label FBA Sellers need a freight forwarder, how to get shipping quotes from a number of providers, obtaining shipping labels and placing your first order to your supplier.
Tim’s training techniques include:
One of the services that Tim emphasizes throughout the fourth module is the employment of a forwarding/inspection service (often times both services are done by the same company).
Tim and I both support investing in these services as it solves two problems.
- The issue of unwittingly shipping defective items
- The issue of spending a lot of money on Amazon’s long term storage fees
Ending the module with a brief discussion on the importance of having specific written product details, Tim shows how to avoid the grief of purchasing sub-standard products at your own liability.
Module 5: Branding and Listing Optimization
Module 5 is packed with Tim saying, in different ways, “Do it right the First Time.”
In the 10 videos in this module, Tim lightly covers branding design strategies as well as the optimization of your product listings, including a special guest contributor.
In this lesson, you will learn:
- Considerations that must be made when creating a brand name.
- A few ways to simplify the labeling process of your product.
- Getting the Most out of Your Keywords (Tim gives three tips)
- A walkthrough of the data-driven (no estimates) tool that Tim trusts #awesomepage
- How to Create Lists of Seed Words using Amazon’s Auto-populate Feature
Stacey's talking points are:
Module 6: Product Launch Time!
While this is the shortest section of training, it does not disappoint.
Tim shows two distinct ways to launch your products after explaining why launching your item into the abyss of Amazon is an absolute necessity.
Part 1: Using the Amazon Launch Service “ZonJump” (explained by ZJ’s CEO himself)
Tim somehow orchestrated ZonJump's CEO Leo’s production of a 5 minute introduction to the service that Leo pioneered.
Leo explains the platform, giving an overview of the entire launch process, from pre-launch priorities to taking advantage of Zonjump’s FBA experienced professionals.
Part 2: Tim’s Detailed Training on Launching Additional Products Using Zuckerberg’s platform (FB)
The first half of the video is Tim showing you two unique methods of getting an amazon-domained storefront URL
He named them:
Constructing the Facebook ad itself is Tim’s next step.
Tim’s no Adobe Photoshop guru, so he shows how he makes appealing ads using Microsoft Paint.
Extra hacks that Tim unveils in the sixth segment:
One of the things that Tim does right in this module is give proper expectations. Product launches are not merely one-day celebrations, but a several month long drama, creating a sense of suspense through the months and weeks prior to the launch.
While grateful that Tim provides a 12 week plan outline to launch, I think in our day of instant gratification, he might do well to have provided a 90 day schedule of tasks to do each day until launch day arrives. For the reason that then the business builder would focus more on the business rather than merely thinking it can be accomplished in a few hours once per week.
Module 7: Sponsored Products (Amazon's PPC)
Aaron made a sequence of 8 videos (and a bonus 9th):
The brilliance of Aaron’s lecture is found in his step-by-step explanations, where he goes into enough detail to be clear, using the proper language of PPC, but with enough definitions to be clearly understood by the seller who is just beginning on Amazon.
In his lesson, Aaron defines the following:
The sequence of his mini-lessons must also be highlighted. Aaron goes through each stage in the order in which it is set up when running an actual PPC campaign, giving us a literal framework to follow.
This was, by far, my favorite module of the course, as I enjoyed both the campaign creation tips as well as the excellence of the structure of the training videos.
Hiring Aaron and having him explain PPC campaigns is another thing that Tim did well in the creation of PLM. It shows the expertise and high quality practice that can be brought into a business when an expert is brought on and empowered by the owner to fine-tune the system.
Module 8: Maintain, then Scale Your Business
In this module, Tim gives a lot of advice on growing your brands, referencing different steps to optimize and outsource.
Covered in this lesson:
This module builds on subjects that are covered in modules 1-7. Most of Tim’s content is devoted to conveying suggestions to make a lot of the processes in your biz more efficient and more profitable.
Probably the most helpful video in this section to me was Tim’s tips on running out of stock (4th video in the module). Tim gives both the facts and his reasons behind them, showing how to stay in stock longer as well as lists some legitimate reasons why sellers should want to stay in stock as long as possible (his argument centers around keyword rankings, because the longer you are out of stock, the more your keyword rankings drop).
Another part of Tim’s module that helped me was his information on hijackers. It is the most thorough training I’ve watched, delivering both examples and a simple-and-easy-to-understand explanation of the stolen buy-box scenario. I never had to worry about losing a “buy box” in my lead gen business.
Private Label Masters Reddit Commentary
The Good (Post bad in the comments if you find any)
A member gives Tim high marks for being active in his social media:
Still another recommends Tim's YouTube Channel
Legitimate: Since he is an actually successful FBA merchant on Amazon himself, Tim definitely has the resume to teach this course on the Amazon internet business model.
Since Tim has kept his course up-to-date through regular revisions, it is an excellent resource to those who wish to start on Amazon in the fall of 2019.
One example of the updates is Tim’s use of a Chrome extension that replaces the ITRACK 999 cart hack that was popular in 2017, but now doesn’t work in certain instances (i.e. when the seller has more than 999 items or has put a quantity limit). The software accurately tracks inventory levels through interacting with Amazon’s code. It is very precise on inventory levels under 999 and provides reliable estimates of inventory quantities above a thousand.
Highly Recommended: Since he has updated the course, my recommendation of his training remains strong. If I were starting my amazon business in 2019, I know that I would want the most recent information on which to build my income machine.
Further legitimation of his training comes in the form of his social media activity, namely the Facebook groups and the YouTube channel mentioned at the beginning of the review (22.4k subscribers on YouTube in October 2019). Both his regular posts and the large number of members/subscribers support the value of his training.
Advertising significantly on Facebook for his courses and free eBooks, his main no-cost education is located on Youtube, where he offers many hour-long trainings.
I purchased this course primarily because I wanted to fine-tune aspects of my Amazon business. Little tips that course makers drop here and there help me improve my processes, ads, product adaptations, etc.
Four Pieces of Advice:
Only read this if you are contemplating selecting Amazon FBA as a business model you are strongly considering using to build your wealth.
First, Capital needed to invest: Take the time to save up at least 10,000 dollars. (but for some, that's just their initial product investment)
After you have invested in the course, product samples and inventory, labeling and shipping costs, product launch services/pay-per-click advertising and Amazon Marketing Services, the first 10k will be pretty much exhausted and you'll need the rest to stay afloat.
Second, Product Certainty: Test multiple products
Step 1: Launch Multiple Products
Step 2: Keep the Winners and Ditch the Losers
Don’t pick a product that you love simply because you love it! Do your homework, making sure that a version or next door neighbor of your product is already selling year round. To start on Amazon, you need a well-selling product, assuming you can’t afford to lose.
The way to make absolutely sure your product is a winner is through the testing of multiple products that are pretty similar simultaneously (at the same time). I used this method with nearly every product in each of my brands and, while it was not cheap as it took more money and manpower, it was effective.
I used this method after sitting down with a mentor who had 9 figure success on the Amazon platform already. It is nearly impossible to know which version of your item will catch buyers, so it’s necessary to test multiple options.
Bottom line: The only way you'll know if a product will sell is if it sells.
Third, Business Mindset:
Is Amazon FBA hard?
It's like any business.
Having all the information in the world is moot, useless, if you have not done the internal work of developing 3 characteristics:
(1) the discipline (I will work even though I don’t feel like it)
(2) the perseverance (I don’t have much confidence right now but I will act regardless)
(3) the focus (I see lots of business models that look easier/probably work better, but I decided on this one, so I will continue) #shinyobjectsyndrome
Though Amazon does a lot of the work for you, from advertising to payment processing to moving the product to the buyer, it does require a lot of work to get a product listing up and optimized. It does take time, continued effort and a mindset that says “I will continue to believe in this business model even though I have yet to see results.”
I urge you not to take your decision to get this course lightly, because it is not all fun and games, because we are talking about your future livelihood, providing for either your current family or your future family.
Fourth and Finally, before you sign up, make sure you can make CENTS of the business.
One of the best business books I’ve read is MJ DeMarco’s The Millionaire Fastlane,”in which he discusses the five characteristics of an excellent business model.
CENTS is an acronym:
- Control (What level of control will you have in the model?)
- Entry (Can anyone join or does it require a specific skill set?)
- Need (Will the product or service you are selling always be needed?)
- Time (Is the profitability of the business based on the number of hours you put in?)
- Scale (Is the product selling process simple to replicate (add additional products))?
Bottom line is don’t jump in until you have done your due diligence, looking at all the above considerations before you make your decision. I suggest you write out your options and make a logical choice and then stop looking for other options, staying committed to your selection.
Is it a worthwhile course?
So when it comes down to it, only you can make the decision.
Be certain that you’ve “counted the cost” of involvement, as the saying, “you don’t know until you try it,” doesn’t account for the whole picture.
Overall, Tim has built and continues to maintain an high quality, practical course on the FBA business module, walking you through the majority of what's necessary to begin as a Private Label Master on Bezo’s creation. (Amazon is very complex and no course has it all)
And for the price of getting started, depending on your intentions and business character, the rewards can be well worth the investment.
A Better Online Option
In my point of view, local lead generation is a far better option than Amazon FBA for a number of reasons.
Number 1: Lower cost of Entry: When setting out to sell on Amazon, make sure you have 20k saved as said above to be able to weather the costs of starting a physical products business. I started my lead generation business by investing a few grand in a course and then doing all the manual work myself.
Number 2: Ease of Scaling Both of these business models take a lot of energy upfront, but my lead generation revenue was much easier to scale to 52k/month and make with a passivity grade of 90%, because of the simple process that I learned and practiced through a course that I unearthed through a late night google deep dive back in 2014.
How does local lead generation work? I use the search engines to acquire leads for business owners, providing them with phone calls of interested prospects who are serviced by the businesses. Leads come in 12 months a year, not determined any sort of trend that blows through society like wind through a screen door.
The simplicity of the lead generation business is my favorite aspect. Once I set them up and they are ranking well, I just let them do their thing and move on and make another one. #truescalability