Jason Amada Simpler Goods: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business
People will try and bring you down, but it’s how you respond that will determine your path.
As a part of my series called “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business ”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Amada.
Jason Amada is the founder of Simpler Goods, a top-grossing Amazon re-seller business born out of necessity. Jason is an entrepreneur at heart who has successfully started multiple businesses throughout his career. He grew up in New York City, raised by immigrant parents to always work hard and follow his dreams. Jason decided to expand his business to work as a consultant with up-and-coming Amazon sellers, helping them follow their dreams to work for themselves and be independent. He has quickly grown to be an industry leader in the product sales field.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was working in the field of Medical Sales and decided a career change was necessary. Once the pandemic hit and was home a lot I decided to do a spring cleaning and sell off all my excess clutter. I created an Amazon seller account and listed everything I wanted to get rid of. After everything quickly sold I realized I could be on to something. I started researching and speaking with individuals that made reselling a full-time rewarding career. That is when I knew it was time for a career change.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
I was approached by an acquaintance to help him start his resell business. He was making his own products and was looking for guidance on how to market his company. We knew each other through a mutual friend and came to an agreement that I would be paid a royalty on each sale for my services. We had a standard contract written up and signed by both parties. After all the help I provided he disappeared never to be heard from again. I could have pursued legal action but I chalked it up to a learning experience and made sure in the future that agreements were ironclad. Lesson learned.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Without a doubt, it’s my mother. She always pushed me to go get what I wanted and not let anyone tell me I can’t achieve my goals when the odds were stacked against me. When I first started my reselling journey I didn’t have a place to store all my inventory, so she allowed me to use her apartment as a storage facility. I can tell my mother wasn’t happy about it but she knew if I wanted to grow my business, I needed the help. Something as simple as leaning on friends and family when you first start your journey can not be understated.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters — 204 if you’re in Japan.”
I have had many ups and downs in life and what I’ve learned is that you have to keep getting up and fighting. People will try and bring you down, but it’s how you respond that will determine your path.
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?
The inability of new Amazon sellers to source quality products their customers want. One of the biggest reasons new Amazon sellers fail is the quality of their products. You don’t know how many times I received returns when I first started because a product broke or was poorly made. I was sourcing items from China trying to cut corners and that was the worst mistake I made early on. When consulting new businesses I stress that skimping on quality is the reason you won’t succeed.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Dedication! Plain and simple we work hard for our clients/customers and we pride ourselves on going above and beyond for them. In relation to the consulting end of our business, we had a customer who once hired us to develop a product sourcing strategy and we were so impressed by the client we connected them with our private suppliers, which we never do.
When you first started the business, what drove you, what was your primary motivation?
Success was my primary driver. In the past I partnered with individuals who didn’t have the business as their number one priority and that ultimately hurt our production. I told myself that I would never let that happen again and from that moment on I make sure to put in the work where we are now ranked as one of the top Amazon sellers on the platform.
What drives you now? Is it the same? Did it change? Can you explain what you mean?
Prove the doubters wrong. I still remember all the people that told me to go do something else, that I won’t be able to survive reselling on Amazon. Now that I have created a great business for myself, those same people come back to me looking for advice on anything related to Amazon. It might be a silent obsession of mine, but I still have something to prove.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m developing a mentoring program where I bring in young entrepreneurs to work directly with me to learn about business. I remember when I started out I had a lot of help and this is my way to pay it forward. Simple as that.
In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?
Industry-specific shows. I try and go to a handful of trade shows a year where I meet many different types of individuals looking to get into reselling. Last year I went to a trade show in NYC where I introduced myself to anyone and everyone walking around the show. I believe in the numbers game, handing out your business card to as many people as possible.
Based on your experience, can you share a few strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?
I can’t stress this enough but the most important thing you can do for a customer is to listen. It sounds cliche but hear what they have to say and create a solution for them. Its easy to get caught up in giving them the route I personally took to get to where I am, instead of tailoring it to their needs.
Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started My Consulting Business”. Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Dress Appropriately
This might seem like an obvious thing, but when your work in a casual industry you might tend to be too casual when dealing with clients. Dress for success and you will be shown more respect. This is just based off of my experiences. In my first-ever meeting as a consulting partner, I showed up in shorts and a t-shirt on a 95 degree day in NYC and quickly realized when the client was in a suit that I wasn’t going to get the business. From that day forward I made sure to dress for success.
2. Set Clear Expectations with Clients
Its crucial to understand this before working with clients. Clients tend to be bad listeners and it’s important that you explain every little detail to them.
Make sure to explain yourself in layman’s terms as it’s easy to assume they understand what you are trying to get across. I was once trying to tell a client about the different types of return policies you can offer customers and the benefits of each, but I can tell halfway through they weren’t following along. I had to break it down again in different way.
3. Payment Terms
Once all the details of the job have been agreed to, make sure to set the payment terms right away. Questions like How will you get paid and when will the client be invoiced are key terms to get through immediately. Based on the type of service you are providing there are a few ways to set up the terms. Will you get paid monthly or weekly? How will the payments be processed? These are simple but important things to set up before the job has started. As mentioned before, I once started working on a job and the client disappeared on me. Now I make sure the agreement is ironclad and both parties are protected.
4. Document everything
Make sure to write down everything. Take copious notes. Write every single detail small or large about your conversation, what your client’s needs and wants are. You definitely do not want to deliver something that wasn’t discussed and you definitely do not want to miss important points. If something is unclear make sure to ask questions. Early on I was more concerned with keeping the conversations casual than treating it as a business. When I forgot something I had to go back to the clients and it didn’t come across well.
5. Work-life Balance
This is one I wish I understood better when I first started in this field. I was working 18 hour days from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. I enjoyed my work so much that I didn’t make time for family or friends . Everyone always told me to find something I’m passionate about, but my issue was understanding that burnout would be around the corner. I’m still guilty of overworking, but I definitely manage my time better.
One example of not getting a grip on that balance was missing a good friend’s birthday because I decided to go out with clients instead. Time is our most precious commodity and my advice would be to balance that out.
Wonderful. We are nearly done. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would love to work with underserved communities that don’t get a chance to fairly compete for jobs. We are looking to start a Facebook group where members of the community can come and signup to be connected with companies that want to hire people from all walks of life.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Andy Jassy is the President of Amazon. The truth is as much as I love selling on Amazon, there are many flaws in the system that could be fixed, but they fall on deaf ears when I speak with support. Amazon could be a much better experience for sellers if only they listened to real users and their complaints.
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!