December 7, 2021
By: Richard Lau
Riley Bennett has been a full-time Amazon seller since 2015, in doing so he has also built his brand to over 7-figures, he is the founder of the FBA lifestyle podcast as well as the 90 Day FBA Academy. He's also a digital nomad and in this exclusive interview, he talks about his journey.
Riley, always being a lover of travel, first went to Thailand to visit a friend, and that prompted him to attend a conference five years ago, and ever Thailand has been where he's chosen to live. According to him, "it's been the life of a digital nomad."
As far as reasons that made him choose to stay, he mentions that it ranges from the cost of living being cheaper than the US, the great weather, exotic culture, as well as it being a hub for E-commerce, online and entrepreneurship community it seemed like the right fit for him.
Riley used to be a door to door salesman in the summer when he lived in the US and was attending college. It was that very two-week trip to visit a friend studying in Thailand, and that was a culture shock for him and made him reconsider his options.
Riley's journey to quitting his job began at the end of that trip. He decided that he wanted to travel for a year; while doing his research on living and working abroad, he came across Johnny FD's YouTube channel and found himself more invested in the 'digital nomad' lifestyle.
Riley and his friend Parker found themselves more intrigued by the concept of working abroad; it was through working in the E-commerce industry they began saving up after an announcement of a Digital Marketing conference in Chiang Mai. Attending that very conference in Thailand that October prompted him to stay on.
Dropshipping was what both Parker and Riley were focused on. At the time, it wasn't taking off, as far as Riley's opinion on why that was, it's merely because they weren't doing any Facebook retargeting or email marketing at the time. Riley then found many friends working on selling products on Amazon prime and doing quite well, so they decided to get into it themselves. In doing so, they realized they were making enough money to continue staying out in Thailand.
With FBA, how it works is that Amazon already has their inventory in their warehouses, which is spread through the US, it's the fact that they are based everywhere that they can distribute the products based on that fast prime shipping of two business days. Given that their products are stored in the Amazon warehouses, it also becomes cheaper for Riley than using a third party warehouse, which is another advantage with the automated FBA.
Private labelling works based on buying inventory from a wholesaler and putting your logo and packaging on the products, making them your brand, then shipped to the Amazon warehouse ready for purchase. According to Riley, what's essential for success is creating products that aren't like others. For that, he's worked with the manufacturer to have unique functional features that make them stand out on Amazon.
With the products they create and put out, their marketing is only through Amazon, so there aren't any other social media platforms that they advertise on, for Riley meant during the design process, ensuring that the products would meet the pre-existing keywords that Amazon connects with its search bar.
How this works is that if someone were to create a search on Amazon, they want to show up on the first page of results, their page, pictures, and videos also do matter, but for Riley, it's that immediate attention they want.
As far as saturation goes with Amazon, in his opinion, Riley finds that there will always be specific niches that will be saturated, and it has a lot to do with timing. For example, there are multiple pages of good options with exercise resistance bands, meaning it's hard, but there are other products with only a few, so knowing that is important.
Riley has realized and recommends using the chrome extension known as Jungle Scott; it's an Amazon product research tool that enables you to get information on the numbers as far as sales volume and finding keywords.
You can do with this data to figure out if your idea is unique and in demand, or if there is a lot of competition that you want to avoid, using information like this is what he regards the key to success and has worked for him.
Leaving his 9 to 5 corporate job, which he did for two years, was always a goal to Riley, and it was a job that left him feeling burnt out, so being able to travel and grow an online business has supposed surreal to him and been like living a dream.
As far as Covid-19 goes, it hasn't affected business for him to the point where he has to shut down. The products they sell aren't considered essential, so sales have been down 40%, but they are doing okay.
Riley's lifestyle allows him to wake up and go to sleep when he wishes. It's that freedom and flexibility that he considers the best thing.
Before the pandemic, his daily routine consisted of waking up and going to the gym, now it's a run or home workout, followed by getting lunch and doing some work for the next couple hours, usually would be at a coffee shop or coworking space if things were normal but now is just at his condo, he then takes a break eats and finishes up work before goes to bed.
Riley has been working on an Ebook that can be seen as a beginner's guide after being frequently asked about his life and its steps to having his current lifestyle. It covers the ten best business models that his friends are digital nomads and explains each. The book goes over what he has seen work and what digital nomads do, so with 2 of them being a freelancer or remote employee, everyone's goal long-term is to be an online business owner.
According to him, "It's about choosing a business model, working on your side, hustle until you're ready to blast off." Riley finds everyone has their situations and factors to consider, so quitting your job depends on your savings and plan.
The transition from working a traditional job to embarking on a digital nomad adventure requires a good deal of planning. Even minor decisions such as choosing an affordable moving service to finding the right co-working space abroad, there are many nuances to creating a positive digital nomad experience.
Below are some expert tips to keep in mind when working from home to maximise productivity.
Over-communication. In all senses (and platforms) of the word. Staying connected whilst working remotely is the most important key to success. It is integral not only for the company, but for our own piece of mind. It is vital to keep your team on the same page, as well as motivated.
So, I have swapped our weekly meetings for daily digital stand-ups. I encourage the team to call or video conference rather than instant message, different departments to collaborate and to give more updates, share more achievements.
It is easy to forget how much of an impact social interaction has on productivity levels. Without those coffee machine chats or spontaneous team lunches, it can leave you feeling pretty isolated. So, we have created a Slack channel dedicated to bringing home office joy.
On it we share links to home workouts, pictures of our ‘home office’ pets and, more recently, we held a funniest WFH photo competition. It is a simple, but extremely effective way to bring the team together during social distancing.
The basic requirement of a conducive home office is to dedicate an area where you can focus. If you can only focus when it's quiet, make sure you have your own room without any distractions. If you prefer having some noise, you can set up a table in your living room.
Ensure that your chair is cushioned well and comfortable for sitting for long hours. Restless individuals can consider getting a table with adjustable height settings so you can stand while completing your work if need be.
Other than the basics, the key is to know what works for you. For example, if you thrive when you read motivational quotes, get a cork board and pin post-its with motivational quotes written on them. When you feel tired, just look up and read one to feel recharged.
With many of working from home and practicing social distancing, we'll likely be finding ourselves with more time than we're used to in our homes and otherwise. With the state of things, some of us may also be feeling higher levels of anxiety or loneliness. To counter these feelings, there are a variety of things you can do to stay connected as well as take care of yourself--mentally, physically, and emotionally.
- Get fresh air as much as possible, even if it's just for a walk around the block or sitting on your balcony/backyard if you have one.
- Keep you body active by going outside for a walk, run, or even following a YouTube workout video. Have an indoor cycling bike? Even better.
- Keep a schedule for yourself and keep up with your normal routines. Don't allow yourself to sleep in too much or binge too much as a means of distraction.
- Put upbeat music on and have your own dance party!!
- Break out a sheet of blank paper (or coloring book if you have one) and doodle your heart out.
- Download a meditation app (like Insight Timer or Headspace) and hold space for yourself.
- Create a vision board with old magazines (that once again have a purpose!)
- Declutter/organize your space! Giveaway clothes and throw out unnecessary items.
- Practice a foreign language for 10 minutes a day.
- Read a new book (or a few!)
- Start a giant puzzle.
- Go around your house and order anything that needs replacing/fixing.
- Write out your fears to get them off your chest, read them, and rip them up.
- Light a candle and take a hot bath (bubbles optional!)
- Have a FaceTime sesh with all your family or friends (maybe try Zoom!)
- If you have roommates, have a game night!
- Make a decadent meal for yourself that you never had time to do before..
- Sleep! Catch up on those zzzz's.
- Make sure you don't become a victim of doxxing.
1. Make a list: The tasks you have to do and the amount of work you have to finish for the given day needs to be put up on your work-pad so that you know your targets; not defining targets for the day can lead you to linger to other areas like surfing a site you don't need to, watching your favorite team play the football match or taking a break chatting with your friends and family.
2. Take time to interact: When you are working from home, you will have no face to face interaction with your boss or colleagues. Make sure you coordinate with other people via phone calls or video calls; also spend some time with family specially during lunch hours or at the end of the day so that you don't feel alienated with the whole work from home experience.
Also, if you have young kids then they might not initially understand how work from home works so you will have to sit them down and explain to them that for a few days you will have to be working from home and whenever you are on your work table you will be working and would not like to be disturbed.
Hand them their games or toys and you can then do your work from your work table and also keep an eye on what your kids are doing.
1. Stay connected. Have daily phone or video meetings to connect with partners, co-founders or other businesses to stay connected and avoid feelings of loneliness or isolation. Prolonged isolation can significantly impact your productivity and motivation.
2. Track your mental health and regularly check in other remote workers. Working from home can be very isolating, and can take a toll on your mental health. It's important to prioritise your mental health and happiness, as these directly impact your productivity and performance.
3. Minimize distractions. Turn off or put anything away that is likely to distract you from deep work tasks. Staying focused can be really difficult, especially when distractions like Facebook, children or piles of laundry sit around. It's best to remove yourself entirely from anything that will likely distract you. If this means going to work in the basement, then don't hesitate to do it.
Wear formal attire. One of the biggest drawback when working at home is that you’ll feel lazy. Our homes are usually places where we can rest and relax. So its only natural that you feel lazy or laid back at home.
Unfortunately, this is bad for remote work since it leads to drastic falls in productivity. This is why a lot of companies don’t like to transition to remote work. However, I have a simple solution for this, and it involves wearing the right clothes.
The clothes make the man/woman. This is certainly true when it comes to working productively at home. Wearing boxers and undershirts makes us comfortable and docile which is why you need to stop wearing those clothes and start wearing a suit/dress.
When you wear formal clothing, your body tenses up and acts formally as well. You passively mean business and you want to perform to the best of your ability. This is why you should wear formal attire when working from home as well. You’re not there to relax, you’re there to get things done!
Treat home office as the name says - as office. With 1 little benefit. That means get out of bed on time, shower, have breakfast, do push-ups. Whatever your normal morning routine would entail, do it. Get properly dressed.
When turning on your computer, pretend you're in your office. Don't watch TV or start vacuuming. Stay focused on your task, do your work until you're done.
The 1 little benefit: If you're really efficient and get everything done a little quicker than you would in the office, maybe because of less water cooler chat or less people distracting you, reward yourself and knock off a little early, if you can. After all, it's about getting the job done, and not about sitting x hours in front of a screen.
Since you may be living in remote areas or countries without a strong infrastructure, you’ll also need to get creative when it comes to the things you need to work. While the reality of remote work can be less glamorous than some of those pictures, the lifestyle is extremely rewarding, even when you do have to track down a dark, dingy café that’s the only place on the island with Internet.
The thing with the digital nomad lifestyle is that there isn’t exactly one blueprint for everyone to follow. Everyone has a slightly different set of skills and varying degrees of professional or career experience so some of you might be able to skip a few steps, while some may need to do a little extra legwork at the beginning.