Monday, August 28, 2017

Dude One, Co-Founder of The AMZ Dudes

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An interview with Joe, aka Dude One, co-founder of The AMZ Dudes, a consulting service for Amazon sellers.

Sum up The AMZ Dudes for us in a few sentences.
We are a no-nonsense consulting company for Amazon sellers. We help everyone from people who haven't even set up an account to people doing high-volume sales. We noticed that all of the other Amazon-centric consultants either charge exorbitant prices for legit help, only take top-seller clients, or just pitch you a course. We are here to help regular sellers step up their game at an affordable price

Why did you decide on the name The AMZ Dudes?
We weren't sure what to call it, and we both love "The Big Lebowski." As simple as that really. It goes with our easy-going approach and kinda demonstrates that we are just normal guys and not weirdo self-help guru dickheads trying to fleece people.
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Joe aka Dude One

Tell us a bit about what attracted you to selling on Amazon.
Money. I was floundering away wasting my time in college and a friend of mine showed me how to do Retail Arbitrage. I worked hard at it and started making a lot of money. I quit my job, dropped out of school and haven't looked back. Mike was making six figures as an energy consultant and he quit his job to sell on Amazon, too.
What inspired you to start an Amazon consulting company to help other sellers?

Money. This isn't a charity, and we don't pretend to be in this to spread the love. We work hard for our clients, so they keep hiring us (giving us their money). We're not greedy, and we don't fleece people like most Amazon consulting companies. We both like helping people, and it does feel good to have a successful account suspension appeal, ASIN suspension appeal, or even just boost the BSR of a struggling product...but ya, we're in it to supplement our incomes.

The AMZ Dudes is run by two dudes. Can you tell us a bit about how you met Dude Two?
Mike and I grew up in the same neighborhood and were in the same class from kindergarten to high school. I taught him how to sell on Amazon because he hated his "real" job and it was bumming me out by association.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see first-time sellers make?
Second-guessing themselves and never taking action. You need to just dive in and learn from your mistakes. It is really not as hard as the big consulting gurus make it seem. Everyone encounters problems...Amazon customer service is a nightmare and the platform is awful to sellers. That's part of what we do—help sellers avoid pitfalls and help turn things around when they go south.

The AMZ Dudes have a wide-range of clients, from people who have just started selling on Amazon to those who have been selling for years. What are common hurdles that experienced sellers face?
Most of the work we do with experienced sellers is product detail page optimization. Things like keyword research and PPC campaign improvements. Suspension prevention type stuff, such as metrics evaluation, creating seller support cases to address the potential problems we find...stuff like that. Every case is different.

Outside of the services you’ve already mentioned, what other services do you offer to clients?
Our services are not set in stone. We treat every client as an individual and structure pricing based on how much work we have to do. My favorite thing to do is product idea validation, because then I get to see the whole project through from conception to listing creation to PPC management. The most common ones are: policy violation appeal, new account setup, negative product review removal, and listing optimization. People generally comes to us when there is a problem...not for prevention, which is a bummer.

Amazon is growing at an incredible rate. Does this growth have an impact on Amazon’s rules for sellers?
Bezos changes his mind like a child. He is a control freak to the Nth degree. The rules are constantly changing and if you don't watch out you will lose your account and Amazon freezes your funds for three months. This is a great reason to stay ahead of the curve on policy changes and practice prevention instead of reacting to negative policy violations.

How do The AMZ Dudes keep up with the latest changes in Amazon’s policies for sellers?
Since we both make our living as full-time sellers we are forced to keep up with these changes to stay in business. Even without the consulting business, we are constantly reading all the material we can about new or even possible future Amazon policy changes. Facebook groups, newsletters, blogs, YouTube, Reddit, etc. It sucks, but it's necessary. Ignorance is not a valid excuse and Amazon doesn't care about sellers in the slightest. They'd rather just ban you than deal with your excuses.

I’ve seen lots of people posting on Facebook about Amazon testing drones for deliveries. Is this a real possibility? Or is it just a publicity stunt?
It's definitely going to happen but the government has thrown quite a lot of red tape at it. Is it pointless? Yes. Publicity stunt? Yes.  If you're close enough to the warehouse that a drone can carry your box, you're close enough that an eighteen-year-old kid making minimum wage can drive a car to your house pretty quick. Probably a lot more cost effective.

On a similar note, I’m hearing a lot about Amazon lockers. What are they and what is the benefit for Amazon customers?
Lockers are just a drop-off point for packages. It's like a private mailbox that doesn't cost anything. It's useful if you're worried about package theft or have auto-replenish orders and are on vacation.

For people on the fence about selling on Amazon, is now a good time to get into it? Why or why not?
Absolutely it is. There are more customers on Amazon now than ever before. My sales go up and up and up every month. Was Amazon easier for sellers ten years ago? Of course. Now we're bogged down in rules, but with a good consultant on your side, you can navigate the murky waters, avoid common mistakes, and start making a lot more money than you make at your boring desk job.

There’s a lot of talk in the media about the so-called gig economy. People will take a part-time job during the day then augment their income at night with a “gig”, such as driving for Uber. Can people sell part-time on Amazon to supplement their income or is it too demanding?
A lot of people do Amazon part-time. Some take their "hobby" business and try it out on Amazon. Others do retail arbitrage (reselling goods from discount and department stores). Others have one private label product idea and focus on that because they want the security or benefits they get from a "regular" job. But doing Amazon private label selling is just too profitable for me to not do it full-time.

How does pricing work for the services the AMZ Dudes offer? Do you have flat-rates or do you tailor the prices for each client?
We have flat rates for the simple services, but most of the work is custom. It's cheaper than you'd think.  Plus we drop the price when you want more work done. Buy in bulk and get a better deal. Simple.

If someone is interested in using your Amazon consulting services, how do they get in contact with you?
Just go to and there are contact-us buttons all over the place. that forward to both of our emails, so one of us is bound to respond quickly. From there we usually exchange a couple emails then set up a phone call, or Skype if you prefer to see our beautiful faces. Once we know what you need and the direction your going we put together a detailed proposal with itemized pricing.

Anything else you’d like to add?
We are two honest guys who want a base of repeat clients who will be so pleased with their results that they tell their friends. We will never subcontract any of the work or try to charge more if the work ends up being more than we quoted. We are very thorough and keep the client involved in the process whenever possible.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Janie De Coster, Author of Men @ Play

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An interview with Janie De Coster about her novel "Men @ Play."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Janie De Coster's love of reading is what inspired her to take a step into the writing world. She pens stories of real life drama.She ikes to travel, shop and spend quality time with her husband, children and grand children.

Describe your new book in a few sentences.
My new novel Men@Play is a gripping read that takes you down the road of two highly successful men Donavan Lattimore and Winston Taylor who wrestle with being the faithful husbands while living a double life.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
My novel is written for anyone who are in relationships that are dyfunctional. So in the broad scheme of things that will cover most of us in one point of time.

Tell us about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript.

I can write most any where but I prefer early mornings. I seem to have a clear head with a cup of coffee near by.

Usually I don't know where my characters will lead me. I only know their names and the beginning of their live story. I let their story carry me until the very end of the manuscript.

In addition to the two main male characters, there is the beautiful, captivating Star Collins. Tell us about her.
Star Collins is a self confident woman who fell in love with a married man. And now that she has his baby their future is uncertain.

What attracts Winston to Star?
As with any man her beauty is what drew him in. He also found a connection with her he didn't have with his wife Dawn.

Winston faces a decision in which he must choose between his marriage and Star. What factors weigh into this decision?
The ultimate factor was the child he conceived with Star.  He wants to be there for them both. Although he had feelings for Star, Winston loves his wife and is commited to his marriage.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
Ebooks are very popular these days. The younger generation loves them however I am still a fan of paperbacks.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
My goal as a writer in the next ten years is to bring more thought provoking novels to my readers.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
Yes and its editing. It is so time consuming, however very important to having a best selling book.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I am thinking of doing a teen novel as a request of my oldest granddaughter..

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I would like my readers to know that I as a author strive to keep them entertained from the very first page until the closing of the book. Even then I want the characters to linger in their head for years to come.

More Information

Buy Men@Play on Amazon
Visit Janie De Coster's author website
Check out Janie De Coster on GoodReads