Sophie Howard's Product University (Aspiring Entrepreneurs)
MODULE 1 - Foundation
In-depth Overview of Module 1 of Sophie Howards' "Product University" internet ecommerce course that teaches the ins and outs of Amazon FBA.
If you're looking for a different detailed to the max, up-to-date review of Tim's PLM, then stop clicking and start scrolling because you have arrived.
MODULE 1 - Foundation
Session 1: Welcome
Session 2: Habits & Mindset
While recommending Hal Elrod's book, "Miracle Morning," Sophie encourages the creation of really good morning habits that enable you to get your day under control before 8am.
Sophie's Time Usage Tips: Schedule your week out in advance so you know what you're doing. To build focused periods of time, she recommends the Pomodoro focused work time method, which is where tasks are divided into 25 minute periods, with 5 minute break periods in between.
Great for on boarding and keeping track of exactly what needs to be done by who when. Sophie provides another book recommendation, "Smart Work" by Dermot Crowley, which is all getting to the end of the to-do list good feeling and what that does for you.
Virtual Assistants: As establish daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists for VA's.
Recommended Programs: Sophie started using Ontraport after building a large email list, but said that MailChimp did just fine until then). She uses Calendly to schedule appointments and integrated Gmail since it has different auto-forward automations, which help her keep her inbox fluid.
Mental Health: Everyday she tries to get outside and either run or horseback riding as she said she gets "cranky" if she doesn't.
Session 3: Smart Business Moves: Actions that Get Results
Grit: steely determination and willingness to lean into the hard work. Have nerve and be willing to work a lot. Solve the problem, don't stop because of the problem. She challenges her students to lay out their routines to that they can be ambitious, optimistic, relaxed, smart (thinking of clever shortcut that can be outsourced), open-minded, adventurous, decisive, disciplined and action-oriented.
She goes on talking about her new ventures and brands she is close to selling and new products she found while in Bali (she went for three months with her family after selling one of her accounts for over 7 figures). Sharing extensively at the end of her third session, she gives an overview of how she will be private labeling incense.
Session 4: Your Amazon Year
She begins by cautioning not to rely on one data point (i.e. Jungle Scout), rather get lots of different pieces of data. Also she shares that using Amazon's search bar's autocomplete feature to gain ideas has been helpful.
As far as product sourcing, she encourages finding local products that might be viable to be sold on Amazon, helping the smaller businesses gain an online footing.
Remember, Sophie encourages, "started is better than perfect." How long should product research take? Sophie offers the figure of 2 months, explaining that it could take a couple weeks to complete each phase of the process.
When discussing brand, Sophie elaborates on these five areas:
2 Tips when Tackling the Supplier Search Process
She doesn't go into walkthroughs on the set up Amazon accounts or how to use the seller central account, rather she gives some high-level pointers and then says that Amazon's phone service helpline is good for going through the step-by-step process.
Amazon Seller Triplets:
- Brand Registry
Sophie relates them all by saying, You need a website in order to get the previous two.
Sophie's Suggestions: Find yourself someone who is detail-oriented, perhaps a paralegal who works in the Philippines, Sophie reasons, as they have advanced degrees and excellent english.
Before hiring anyone, make sure you understand all the aspects of your business yourself and keep proprietary information private (hence Sophie uses LastPass, a password keeping service in the form of a Chrome Extension, which enables you to share passwords and still keep them private).
To have a solid business, you need more than a product that does well for a season, says Sophie, you need a product portfolio that adds stability to your business. At the end of the session she shares an update on her incense product project that she explained in a previous section.
Session 5: 6 Different Business Platforms
Sophie shares her experience on using social media to build brand.
In short, she talks about having
At the end of her session, Sophie names multiple services that you can provide alongside running your Amazon business like:
One of Sophie's new ventures is constructing sales funnels (at the time the course was made, she had recently completed a sales funnel training course).
She spends the last half of the session sharing the different projects she's been up to and then answers some questions at the end.
Module 1 - My Primary Takeaways
Sophie's first module is packed with foundational information. The hardest part about building a business is developing the gritty mindset that enables you to persevere through the startup period.
Having experience in starting her own FBA Private Label only a year and a half prior, Sophie has the experience that qualifies her to speak on that entrepreneurial mentality. She does a great job at sharing both her experience and some resources that she's found valuable along the way, including how to manage time efficiently and getting the day started right. #miraclemorning
One of the most valuable pieces of this module was her session that laid out the expectations that new Amazon sellers need to have about how long it will take to select a product until it arrives at the amazon warehouse. I think that the schedule she lays out is helpful especially for my generation, the millennials, who are often under the impression that things happen instantly.
The biggest takeaway I have from this module is Sophie's unique take on branding. A lot of courses I have worked through are based on listing common products and scraping up some sales by creating high quality listings. Those courses encourage starting your business with product selection after legitimating demand.
Sophie's process begins by picking a niche and then exploring different audiences via the search engines and social media (later on she'll show how to use a tool in Facebook's business's side to discover interested groups). Her process enables her to essentially create her own markets and removes her from the sight of competitors.
Video Quality: 7.5/10
Sophie uses the webcam on her computer, so the video quality is moderate.
The sound is a little muffled, but her speaking is mostly understandable.
Sophie does an excellent job of introducing the process of building an FBA business, from the mindset it takes to succeed to explaining the different parts of the parts, from branding to finding suppliers.
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF MODULE 1
This Module provides a great intro to the course and the Amazon business opportunity as a whole. It teaches what you will need to do first and what to expect to have to do once your product is selling. This module gives valuable information for both novices and FBA-hardened sellers.