Back in September 2013, Ryan Grant left his job as an accountant and became a full-time online entrepreneur. He hasn’t looked back since.
Today, Ryan engages in retail and online arbitrage. He has also gone into wholesale selling and creating his own private label products.
Online Selling Experiment
Ryan first discussed his entrepreneurial adventures at Online Selling Experiment. He also posted his monthly earnings, which started at $2,200 in October 2013 and went as high as $45,504 in December 2014.
5 Star Seller Society
Then, Ryan decided to take his monthly earnings “offline,” so to speak, and offer them to paid subscribers only. Likewise, in collaboration with Chris Potter, Ryan decided to offer 5 Star Seller Society to six and seven figure Amazon sellers looking to network and learn from other like-minded individuals.
I’ve Tried That recently caught up with Ryan and interviewed him about his entrepreneurial activities.
Here’s what we learned:
- Why Ryan started Online Selling Experiment, and why he initially reported his income.
- The real reasons why Ryan stopped reporting his monthly online after June 2015.
- How you can still access Ryan’s income statements.
- What 5 Star Seller Society is about, and what it isn’t.
- How 5 Star Seller Society differentiates itself from the competition.
- A sneak peak into all of 5 Star Society’s goodies, including its upcoming user forum.
Quitting 9-to-5 and beginning the entrepreneurial journey
Ryan was already selling textbooks online when he decided to quit his full-time job as an accountant in September of 2013. “I was selling on Amazon, and had been doing it quite a bit with textbooks, in college. Then I was doing it part-time, on the side, before I quit my job.”
After quitting his job, Ryan started selling on Amazon through different selling models, including retail arbitrage (RA) and online arbitrage (OA), followed by wholesale and private label selling.
“When I first quit, I was mainly buying from retail and online stores. Over the past few years, I’ve expanded into other sourcing methods. Now I do some wholesale, some liquidation or closeout buys, and then a little bit of private label, where you import your own products and brand them.”
Starting Online Selling Experiment
Ryan started his website and blog, called Online Selling Experiment, with the intention of sharing his income results with his followers. He wanted to foster a culture of transparency about his entrepreneurial activities and how profitable (or not) such activities were for him.
“The income reports encompass all of the business models that I do, but initially, it was just the RA and OA,” Ryan notes.
Over time, additional selling models were added, including those involving wholesale and private label product selling. Ryan reported on his income levels from those models too.
“I wanted people within the Amazon world who are actually doing this [selling model] and who can actually gain some motivation from [these reports] to have access to them,” Ryan explains. “I [also] wanted to show people, especially younger, high school and college-age people, another path besides just going the traditional route of high school, going to college, and getting a normal job.”
Taking the income reports”offline”
Then, Ryan decided to stop publishing his reports and make them available to a select number of individuals only.
Why did Ryan limit access to his reports?
“I didn’t want family and friends to have access,” Ryan explains. “As the numbers were growing fairly large, a lot of people couldn’t relate to them. I had some interesting encounters with family and friends who commented on the amounts of money I was making…without understanding the intricacies of the expenses and the risks involved with making that money.” Also, “the profit numbers were getting to the point where, it was just a little uncomfortable having that information out there.”
Also, as Ryan worked increasingly with wholesalers, retailers and contractors, he didn’t wish to have everyone with whom he was doing business to see the exact numbers and profit margins.
“The reports going forward [from June 2015] are only available to people who either pay for them or, if they purchase my e-book they get access, or if they do coaching with me.”
The 5 Star Seller Society begins
After Ryan stopped publicly reporting on his earnings, he also announced the start of an online selling community called 5 Star Seller Society. This society is intended for sellers who are earning, or on track to earn, at least $100,000 in a year.
The community membership drive started at just $12/month exclusively for individuals who had previously subscribed to Ryan’s blog, and is now set at $39/month.
With Ryan last reporting over $100K in profit from his RA, OA and other selling models, what would motivate him to start an online community where members are paying (at present) only $39/month?
“The goal was to have a place for higher level sellers to network without some of the noise of newer sellers asking beginner level questions,” he explains. “I also knew a number of sellers earning this level of money that would be a good fit for this group.”
“The ability to network with other higher level sellers was another motivator,” Ryan adds, “and the ability to create a larger level…network with people that are in this business at a similar level to me, or at even a higher level. And then, there’s the obvious [advantage], that it’s another revenue stream.”
What makes 5 Star Seller Society unique?
“Our group is exclusively for people that are already succeeding on Amazon and want to go to a higher level,” Ryan explains. “We believe there aren’t a lot of informational products that fill that void in the market. What we offer is, for those [individuals] who want to go further, we can help you get to that next level. So, our baseline [for entry] is $100,000 in sales per year or $10,000 for three months in a row.”
“Once you’re experienced that initial success, we can really help with the operational aspects, and putting some of those business systems in place, to get you to higher [earning] levels.”
“You’ll have access to the Facebook group and be able to ask questions, you’ll have access to webinars to ask questions…it’s more hands-on support than a course or informational product where, you get access to the PDFs or the videos and you don’t actually get to talk to anybody. It’s more community-focused with more personalized support.”
One of the unique aspect of 5 Star Seller Society will be its forum, which will focus on different selling models including RA, OA, wholesale and private label products. “The goal is to cover all of those models, and we plan to get into all of those business models through a membership site with a forum, where we will store all the information in isolated categories,” Ryan says.
If you’d like to listen to the MP3 audio file of the interview, it is located below.