The Hustle it takes to sell on Amazon | Kris Gramlich | Sellozo
In this Prime Talk Podcast Sponsored by GETIDA – Kris Gramlich - Account Executive for Sellozo - Sellozo is a Premium AI-Driven Amazon PPC Advertising Platform Engineered to Automate and Optimize Growth. #KrisGremlich #sellozo
About Kris Gramlich of Sellozo - Sellozo’s team of digital marketing technology veterans delivers a unique, fully automated platform designed to help Amazon sellers increase their sales and improve their ROI through continuous performance-based optimizations.
Find the Full Episode Below
Yoni Mazor 00:06
Everybody welcome to another episode of Prime Talk. Today I have a special guest that I'm having Kris Gramlich. Kris is an account executive at Sellozo and also an Amazon seller, which is pretty cool. But Sellozo is an advertising management shot software for Amazon sellers. Plus, he's also one of the hosts of a cool podcast. He's going to share with us a little bit more in the episode. But in the meantime, Kris, welcome to the show.
Kris Gramlich 00:29
Thanks, Yoni. I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to share my story. I know we've been putting this off for a while I'm going to get here.
Yoni Mazor 00:35
Yeah, thank you for your time. And it's a pleasure to have you. All right, so this episode is going to be the story of Chris Gremlin you're going to share with us. Who are you? Where are you from? Where were you born? Where'd you grow up? How'd you begin your professional career to where you are today with ecommerce. So without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Kris Gramlich 00:52
Sure. So I still live in the city of Kansas City, Missouri. So people don't know there are two different ones. So I'm on the Missouri side. I have to think about my entrepreneurial mindset, it's all started around the age of 9 or 10.
Yoni Mazor 01:12
Even before that, but you're born in Kansas City or native?
Kris Gramlich 01:15
Yep. I mean, I live about 20 miles from where I grew up. So it's pretty close to where my childhood house was.
Yoni Mazor 01:23
Grow up with your parents, what kind of industries were they involved with?
Kris Gramlich 01:27
Yeah, good question. So growing up, my parents were in the fast-food restaurant industry. They managed a bunch of fast-food restaurants Burger King's, Hardees. As a child, they hustled all the time, like they didn't come to ball games. You know, they worked long hours, I barely saw my dad's stuff. So...
Yoni Mazor 01:46
Both of them your father and your mother?
Kris Gramlich 01:48
Yeah. I have a brother who's 15 months younger than me. He and I, our childhood was more being a babysitter's houses. We had a lot of babysitters.
Yoni Mazor 02:02
Really? Wow! And you guys are two siblings for the whole family.
Kris Gramlich 02:06
Yep. Just us two. So we grew up being-- I guess raised by some babysitters a lot, but it was great because we were around a lot of other kids. And we got to make some friends there. And we got to be socialized and stuff. So but I remember that my parents would go to work. They wouldn't go until late and then they would just get up and do it over and over again as a kid.
Yoni Mazor 02:31
Yeah, they're hustling but what was your mindset? What was your mood? Were they're motivated about it? Were they happy or they were sluggish about it as far as you remember?
Kris Gramlich 02:41
Yeah, as far as I remember, they didn't know what else to do. Both my parents don't have any college degrees. I don't have a college degree. I dropped out of college and we can get into that. But they didn't know what else to go after.
Yoni Mazor 02:57
They're also natives of Kansas City, Missouri.
Kris Gramlich 03:01
Yep. Both my parents that live there are from the Kingston area. They met at a Hardee's restaurant. So my dad was a restaurant manager at Hardee's, my mom was an employee there, they met there. And this kind of ties in together where they're currently working at. But they just hustled a lot. And they always did restaurants. And at some point, I can't remember, like 7 or 8, 9. And I can't remember exactly where but my dad quit the restaurant industry, or quit the fast food industry and went to do like a sports bar and went to be a manager of a sports bar, where he got to see a lot of chiefs’ players, Kansas chief players, Royals players. And that was like an upgrade. Like you got out of the fast-food restaurant. And you went to the more of like a higher upscale restaurant industry. And I remember going there as a kid. And just thinking like, Man, this is crazy. This is insane. Like I get to see all these big chiefs’ players. And it was cool. It's nice.
Yoni Mazor 04:01
How old are you when you went there? How old are you when that happened?
Kris Gramlich 04:04
8, 9 years old. So 94, 93, 92 Stuff like that.
Yoni Mazor 04:10
Your parents where they work now, by the way, you mentioned that they're in?
Kris Gramlich 04:13
Yeah, so they've transitioned a lot. A lot has changed since then they were doing the fast food industry and my uncle, he's in the insurance industry. He works for Blue Cross Blue Shield. And this was probably 12, 13 at the time. My parents were still grinding out in the restaurant industry, in the fast-food industry. And there's nowhere to go else. Like you get to manage management level. And that's kind of where you get tapped out at. Right. So my uncle who's successful in insurance came to my mom and said, “Hey, there's this company out there called Aflac”. It's the duck that-- so he's like there's this company out there called Aflac. That is starting to happen. And I think you should look into it. Because it's insurance. And what happens with insurance is every time somebody pays their monthly renewal, that client still gets money every time.
Yoni Mazor 05:12
The residual, right?
Kris Gramlich 05:14
Yep. So she was probably 35...
Yoni Mazor 05:21
‘She’, means your mother?
Kris Gramlich 05:23
My mom, Yes. And 2 young boys, comfortable income. You know, she's got to make that leap of faith. So gotta make that leap to make that decision. So she did, she jumped and went to work at Aflac. And in the insurance industry, this particular industry, Aflac insurance; it's supplemental, it's not like you need it. You don't like what you have to have...
Yoni Mazor 05:49
It’s not mandatory. It's not core.
Kris Gramlich 05:51
Yeah, exactly. So her job was to go into business owners, like every day, cold call, a cold knock and say, Hey, I'm, I'm here to talk to you about health insurance and pitch people to do that. So she didn't get paid until somebody signed up.
Yoni Mazor 06:06
Yeah, purely Performance Base. zero salaries,
Kris Gramlich 06:10
Zero salaries, no salary, all commissions. During this time, my dad took on a new job with a food supplier. So he was working at a restaurant where they sold food and the supplier that they bought from needed somebody to come on for them.
Yoni Mazor 06:25
It Sysko, or Cisco, or what was it called?
Kris Gramlich 06:27
It was called Graves Menu Maker, it's smaller but it’s the same type of deal. That's not as nationwide at Cisco, but yeah, but the same type of deal. So he got out of the restaurant and then started calling on restaurants to sell them food and that was performance-based like you got to sell food, you get commission off that. So they went from making steady incomes to now they have to make their own, they get to choose their own decision. This is where you get to make your income. There's no cap here. And I remember my mom saying; “I didn't have a choice”. I have to make this work; I wasn't going to go back to working in fast-food restaurants.
Yoni Mazor 07:11
[crosstalk 07:12] returning there, she was adamant about it, she was focused on it, no turning back. It's very interesting because if we're going to jump forward into e-Commerce today if somebody sells on Amazon makes that leap of faith, there's no turning back, we can touch that maybe later on. Maybe that also relates to you now. Okay, but what happened when they jumped in no way back and they did prevail?
Kris Gramlich 07:29
Jumped in, they did a great, the means of life, the way we lived was different.
Yoni Mazor 07:38
Life turned around, you guys upgraded on all fronts. That's amazing. That's a great role model to have for you. You know they became entrepreneurs, self-reliance of dependent on their skill, and their abilities to create something which is performance-based, and make that build itself over time and you get all the residual, you can become very, very comfortable, even wealthy over time. If you do 10, 20, 30 years. It's very lucrative, you have to have that grind. I think that the grind; the grind was built in, especially coming for fast food. The grind wasn't scary to them. They probably weren't afraid of the grind. And they believe themselves. That's a great example of entrepreneurship that you had at a young age.
Okay, let's revert to you. So you've already started to mention, but even when you're 09 years old, what happened, I guess on your level.
Kris Gramlich 08:23
Yeah. So as a kid, my dad would do these garage sales every year, like big garage sales. And I was always like, “This is so great.” People come to your house and they buy stuff from you. And you barter with them and stuff. And so I was that kid that was sitting up like lemonade stands and selling like trinkets and stuff. And I would go get my toys and sell [phonetic 08:42] and I was like, “Man, I can take this and sell that and get money back”.
Yoni Mazor 08:46
What did you do with money back then, you were so young?
Kris Gramlich 08:49
Probably buy more toys.
Yoni Mazor 08:52
More toys to play with or to make more money or both?
Kris Gramlich 08:55
I probably had to play with-- my parents were really good about like you have an allowance. This is your income, you're in charge of your own money if you want to buy something you paid for it. So at that age, we saw the importance of like you sell something you get money now you can go do something with that money. So I was selling a bunch of toys but then there was a big boom in like sports cards and Beanie Babies.
Yoni Mazor 09:23
When was that?
Kris Gramlich 09:24
Probably 96, 97.
Yoni Mazor 09:28
Sports cars were on the rise so what do you hit it?
Kris Gramlich 09:31
Hit hard. My dad was into it. And so what we did was just we got a lot of sports cards and I would flip those to the neighborhood kids.
Yoni Mazor 09:40
Would you source [phonetic 09:40] them from the store regularly or some other…
Kris Gramlich 09:43
Yeah, retail store. This was when like eBay wasn't a thing, back then, you weren't buying stuff on eBay. You bought stuff but you weren't like trying to…
Yoni Mazor 09:51
It's all Street hustle, Old School.
Kris Gramlich 09:54
Street hustle, trading stuff, trading thing. I'll give you two for this one like a straight street hustle. It would be just a random weekend. And my brother and I would just throw out a folding table, put our sports car collection out there. And kids in the neighborhood would come down. And we would like to flip it, trade it, sell it, whatever we did. We just tried to make some money.
Yoni Mazor 10:15
Yeah, it's your market, you created your mini market.
Kris Gramlich 10:18
Yeah. And then we caught on to these Beanie Babies. Because these Beanie Babies were pretty hot then but there were some rare ones. And so we got into that, we would go to the local stores, local craft stores and buy all these Beanie Babies up, and then we would flip them on eBay. So we learned how to sell on eBay. I remember
Yoni Mazor 10:36
what year was that?
Kris Gramlich 10:37
That's early, I was young, like 97, 99. Early.
Yoni Mazor 10:43
How old are you back then?
Kris Gramlich 10:45
I was probably 13, 14
Yoni Mazor 10:47
You started selling on eBay at 13 years old.
Kris Gramlich 10:50
It was flipping stuff but at the time, the Internet was still fairly new. My parents were like, “What the hell is this? What are you doing?” I'm like, “We could sell this, I could take this physical product and I can sell it on eBay”. Somebody's going to buy it and then we got to ship it to them. So we did a lot of flipping stuff. But even before doing the sports cards in the beanie babies, I wanted to get my car and I remembered this. From now I'm about 15, 16 now, and I was the kid again, mowing lawns in your neighborhood. I was the mowing lawn guy, like, I would go up and down the neighborhood, get some lawns, 25 bucks a pop, and I would mow yards, and just continue to like get hustle over the summer, get cash for cash. And I don't know like it was great to do a service and you control how much you got back from that service. Like nobody was saying, “Okay, you come along, we're going to give you 10 bucks”. You control how much you got from that. So I really think at the bed age, and especially seeing my parents, they went from a nice-sized house.
Yoni Mazor 12:00
Nice Area. Yeah.
Kris Gramlich 12:02
And I got, you know, the cars they wanted something like it was good to be like, okay, you know, they ground it out. I'm going to grind it out. So, when I was younger, doing all those little things on the side, I think that taught me what I do now, where I'm at now is like, hustle, hustle, hustle. You control what you make.
Yoni Mazor 12:20
I like that. But yes, let's touch when you're 60 and you saved up to buy a car. Which card did you buy and how much was it?
Kris Gramlich 12:29
I got a Ford Ranger 2-door.
Yoni Mazor 12:34
It's a truck, right?
Kris Gramlich 12:34
Yeah, a small truck pickup truck. It was about as blue as that Catina [phonetic 12:41] sign behind it? [crosstalk 43]
Yoni Mazor 12:44
And how much was it?
Kris Gramlich 12:48
Four grand at the time.
Yoni Mazor 12:50
A big buck for a 16-year-old kid like that, under the 90s, or was it year 2000-ish?
Kris Gramlich 12:56
It was more like 2000 at this time. This is when people thought the internet was going to die and computers were going to go.
Yoni Mazor 13:06
Okay, so what was the next station? You're 16? You got a pick-up truck. I finished high school. What was your next station for you?
Kris Gramlich 13:13
Yeah, so that's where I kind of lost I got off the rails a little bit. Because you know that hustle as a young kid was good. But in high school, I was involved in sports, I do a lot of basketball. I played basketball in college, in high school. So I kind of lost that hustle, like flipping stuff.
Yoni Mazor 13:33
The word hustle, I guess you have some more into the game, right? Playing everything…
Kris Gramlich 13:37
Yeah, hustle again, practicing always shooting hoops and always putting things on the weekends. But it was more into what school, get some friends, hang out with your friends, trying to be in the groups and try to be part of social groups and hustle on the sports side.
Yoni Mazor 13:58
Yeah, to grow your social position, socially grow develop and connect and bond and you know, the teenage experience.
Kris Gramlich 14:06
Yeah, and I never knew what I wanted to do. I never had a kid, I thought I'm going to be a firefighter or I'm going to be a police officer. Like I've never had that. A dad wanted me to be a highway patrolman. I didn't have any ambition to do that. I thought that was okay. That's what's cool. So I didn't have any direction where I was going to do anything. And I didn't know what to do. So when I was in high school, I just studied the basic stuff, you know, math, science, chemistry, didn't have any clear direction. And I think that's a step, public schools are missing. Like if I knew there was an entrepreneur class or if I knew that there was like a sales class or some type of like business class, and the whole goal was like, you create something and you have to sell it, that would have got me excited in high school. But that wasn't there. I was missing.
Yoni Mazor 15:00
I agree with that so much. Actually, I was thinking about that a few times, we're schools some way somehow need to have like, routes for entrepreneurship or understanding economy, business money, money for capitalism, stuff like that. So you don't have to give everybody kind of fundamentals. It's the basics, even if they hate it. Sometimes some people are literature, some people hate English, some people I met, they still take it because it's very fundamental. Dealing with money and making money, stuff like that, if they can provide some fundamentals would be great. Of course, if they can do more advanced classes, that's great as well. But I relate to what you're saying. So if anybody's listening out there, and they have the power to change, you got to vote.
Kris Gramlich 15:36
At some entrepreneur classes, well, they do it for like, technology classes, if you want to learn about heating and cooling, you can go do that.
Yoni Mazor 15:43
Right. Yeah, maybe even coding, there are so many things about that. Okay, so let's touch on the year that you graduated, what year was that?
Kris Gramlich 15:50
That was 2003. High school graduated, no clue what to do, honestly.
Yoni Mazor 15:57
So what do you do? What was your next station for you? What was the next trajectory?
Kris Gramlich 16:00
So I enrolled in a program when I was in high school called the A-Plus program. A plus program was, if you met a certain GPA, you would get 2 free years of community college. In community colleges, I think it's just a stepping stone to figure out what you want to do. I looked at it as extended High School because the community college I went to was literally like a block away from the high school I went to.
Yoni Mazor 16:28
That's convenient [crosstalk 16:31] another few yards. The next school, it's interesting.
Kris Gramlich 16:37
It had its downfall because a lot of the local high schools around here all those kids kind of did that same step. And it just felt like a glorified High School. Like you have more freedom you can come and go as you please. But you still chose the classes you wanted but a lot of kids were just doing the classes just to get the associate's degree or whatever. Like you didn't have a clear picture and I didn't know I take the credit for that. I didn't like to sit down figure out what I wanted to do. I didn't know exactly what I wanted.
Yoni Mazor 17:06
You were just partying, hanging out…
Kris Gramlich 17:09
Yeah, partying living on my own with some roommates, we did the bar things, we would go out and…
Yoni Mazor 17:16
But you work, you have a job where you are hustling. [crosstalk]
Kris Gramlich 17:20
I did get a job. So back up to when I got my car, or my truck, I took a job as a busboy at a local Mexican restaurant. So it was a new restaurant. I started working there as a busboy like bussing tables. So as people left I would come to tables up. And I would get the tables ready for the next customer. And we just constantly flip tables. That was a great job because I got a salary like hourly wage, I think about the time it was $6. But every server in that restaurant would have to give you a tip at the end of the day. So you're making 6 and you would get like five bucks from each server, 10 bucks. And that was great because you had cash. And also I was getting a paycheck every two weeks. I had cash over here. And paycheck. So you know, I did that for years, 10 years, probably. Yeah, at least in years, I did the busboys situation. And then when I got old enough, when I was 18, I wanted to upgrade to be a waiter, and wait tables, because that's where you get all the cash. And you make a small minimum wage, but you're getting a lot more tips. And so I did that. And that's where like you control how much you make like I would work doubles in a double is all day like 8 am to 10 pm. You would work all day and you would be in control of how much you make; you could walk out of there with three $400 Sometimes. So that was good to me, because I was like, I get a lot of money there. So we did that. I did that for
Yoni Mazor 18:52
10 years round, so where did it start? Where did it end?
Kris Gramlich 18:59
Yeah, ended when, after I went to the community college I mentioned for 2 years. And then I went to a 4-year college after that, and I studied criminal justice. I was really into this show, The First 48, that was on TV, it talks about the 48 hours, detectives have to figure out who killed what or how the homicide happened. And I was really into that. I found that that got me going because it was like a mystery. Like somebody died. You have to figure out how they died and who the suspect was? So at that time, I was really into that stuff. So I went to a four-year college to study criminal justice. Did the whole thing do three years of that? And in the end, you know I never really enjoyed it. I just was going through the motion.
Yoni Mazor 19:51
So hold on, let me get this straight. So 2003 If we graduate high school then I guess 2003 to 2005 your community college and then 2005 until 2009 ish. You were at school?
Kris Gramlich 20:03
Yeah, Criminal Justice School. And at that time, I'm still working at the restaurant. I am waiting tables. I'm probably at this time I'm learning to be a bartender, because anybody in the restaurant industry like busser server, bartenders, where you make all the money, like bartenders were making more money than the managers because they get all the cash and people come in all the time. So I was waiting. I was, you know, bartending up there. And that was a lot of fun. That was still a lot of fun. But at the criminal justice, there came a time where they wanted me to go, like to finish the degree. I had to go to prison to be an intern. And do that first semester. That was my option. And that scared the hell out of me.
Yoni Mazor 20:50
Really? Like what kind of prison? Federal State? Have maximum security, light security.
Kris Gramlich 20:57
Big time. No county [crosstalk 21:02]
Yoni Mazor 21:02
Kris Gramlich 21:05
Yeah. They'll smell the fear on you when you walk.
Yoni Mazor 21:12
Okay, so that's the [phonetic 12:14] you continue pursuing the degree?
Kris Gramlich 21:18
Yeah. I went to the counselor. And this was like, the very first time that I sat down with a counselor and thought like, what do I do now? I did this community school community college, I got an associate associates degree but honestly, anybody can get an associate's degree, it's easy to get that like that. You just go to school. But the criminal justice degree, I went to the counselor at the four-year college and said, “What can I do here? I got all these credits. Can I transition them to a different degree? Or is there something else I can go with?” And she just looked at me, “You're so specialized, that the credits won't move anywhere? And if they do, what does move you're going to have to go to school for like two or three more years to get those credits to add on to another degree”. So I went back to my parents for advice?
Yoni Mazor 22:11
You said, Yes, source of wisdom is you mean?
Kris Gramlich 22:18
Yeah, I went back, because I needed to get something figured out. And they were doing insurance still. And they're like, if you want to do something, you're going to have to figure it out. So I took my steps at becoming an Aflac agent and doing the insurance.
Yoni Mazor 22:38
At that point, he already had her own office or something, or was she part of an office?
Kris Gramlich 22:42
Yep, she has her team. She has other agents with her. At this point, my dad has quit his job and joined with her. So, my mom was doing so well. My dad's like, Hey, I could probably jump ship from my current position we can go join. And they made themselves like a big team.
Yoni Mazor 23:02
It’s the mothership. So you landed there. Okay, great. I like that. She sounds great, powerful.
Kris Gramlich 23:13
She's a hustler. So I did that. And I went there.
Yoni Mazor 23:18
That was in 2009, 2010?
Kris Gramlich 23:22
Yeah, 2010. So I was young, stupid, just didn't have anything else to think about other than what I'm going to do Friday night. So I went to do that. And they didn't make it easy for me, which I appreciate.
Yoni Mazor 23:43
Did you come from the street like anybody that has to come in and pull themselves no nepotism?
Kris Gramlich 23:49
Yeah, we walked in that door, you were just like everybody else. And when we got home, we didn't talk about work. It was all going to be talked about when it needed to be. And my dad was my boss, and my mom was my dad's boss. So you have numbers you have to hit and, and you didn't make money unless you called people and called business owners or what to the place. And so that was tough, that tested my hustle at that age because I would go into these businesses and I'd be in a tie suit. And this business owner would come down who's the mid-50s, early 60s, and he'd see some young kid there with a bag and a tie. And he'd immediately eat you up. Like, what are you here for? You're wasting my time I got a meeting and get to and I'm like, Yeah, and I'm struggling like I'm here to you know, try to. He's like, I don't get time for you and just to meet the pressure off. So a lot of that discouraged me to keep going like, man, there's no way no one's going to listen to me like those are listening. I hit rock bottom in this position when I went to a gas station. And at the gas station, my dad worked out a deal with the gas station where I could have my little tent, as my little cubby to hang out at the gas station. Now, this gas station is not like any other gas station. These gas stations are like for semi-trucks that come in through the town, they stop at the gas station, they refill, they hang out, take a shower, they play some games, whatever. So it dealt a lot of traffic, but a lot of the traffic was semi-truck drivers. You know, these guys are on the road 8, 9 hours a day. They don't have they don't want to listen to some punk kid
Yoni Mazor 25:40
[crosstalk] position you to hog them in that station.
Kris Gramlich 25:44
Yoni Mazor 25:45
And that was rock bottom for you. Why is that? Because what is the lowest here?
Kris Gramlich 25:48
The position, the gas station that I had to drive to was an hour and a half, one way and our driver there and I knew I wouldn't make any money unless I sold somebody and I would sit up there all day and talk to people and just like, hey, come by, and stuff talk to me when you get a chance. Okay, but they know, they'd find you off. And I wouldn't, there was plenty as I wouldn't make one sale, I would just waste my time and it was like a test. My dad was like, if you want to do this, you go out there and let's see how you do in the trenches. Like get out there and sell it. This is rough. So I quit that job. I got fired.
Yoni Mazor 26:35
So the gas station broke you?
Kris Gramlich 26:38
I think so, man. It was tough. It was an hour and a half drive.
Yoni Mazor 26:44
So they let you go you're saying they said; “Okay, we saw, it's not working out for organization. Go look.
Kris Gramlich 26:53
It was a come to Jesus talk. It was more like, “Are you having fun doing this?” And I knew I was like, “No, this is not fun”. Like, you got to figure out something to do.
Yoni Mazor 27:05
So what year was that when you turn the next station?
Kris Gramlich 27:09
2014, 2015 probably.
Yoni Mazor 27:12
So how many years did you do the Aflac thing?
Kris Gramlich 27:15
I did the Aflac. I tried it for 3 years. Yeah, 2012 ish.
Yoni Mazor 27:22
Right. So 2009 until 2012. What do you do? What was the main thing?
Kris Gramlich 27:27
I was still doing restaurant and trying to do Aflac at the same time.
Yoni Mazor 27:33
Oh, so yeah, like, crossover?
Kris Gramlich 27:35
Yeah, I was still trying to sell insurance and I was still doing…
Yoni Mazor 27:39
So do the insurance for like two minutes. You were hardcore. This was your career. This was your path rough for a few years? So 2012 until 15 you say?
Kris Gramlich 27:49
Yoni Mazor 27:51
Okay, so what was the next session for you? What was the next development?
Kris Gramlich 27:52
I had a buddy who found a job on Craigslist. And the job was working at an e-commerce company selling sporting goods like sports equipment, baseball bats, gloves. And he said, “Hey, they're looking for a customer service rep. My bigger chance for you to get in and start the bottom and work your way up”. Okay, sure. I needed something. And this had benefits. I've never had any benefits in the past. I never had health insurance stuff like that.
Yoni Mazor 28:26
Do you have insurance or do you have no insurance?
Kris Gramlich 28:28
[crosstalk 28:32] but like when I got like, this was my first crack at a real job. Like this was a restaurant.
Yoni Mazor 28:39
A professional job is not labor-intensive. This is like you know a professional job.
Kris Gramlich 28:43
This is 9 to 5 show up looking nice. You have tasks to do, lunch breaks all that stuff. So I did that. I loved it. It was awesome. Because there was a lot of people my age, young, good group of people. I was in customer service. So if somebody called up and one of them talked about like a baseball glove for their daughter, their son, I could tell him; “Okay, this gloves good”. There was no commission but it allowed me like be real with somebody, like talk to him. Like what would I buy if I was at dad? So I did customer service for a long time there, from 2015 probably till about 2017. And then I got to let go at the end of 2000.
Yoni Mazor 29:37
But this ecommerce company, what platforms were they're selling on Amazon, eBay, their website, or everything?
Kris Gramlich 29:42
Yeah, there's a lot to unwrap here. So they were just selling on their website at the time, just a website. And Amazon started to perk up a little bit more interest in this place in this company. And so I transitioned to be a buyer and seller product and buy the product from the wholesalers, or the suppliers and then we would sell it. So I came out of customer service after a few years. And then I started to do buying. So I was buying the product and buying all the goods and stuff and negotiating it. So that was fun. And then Amazon; they wanted to grow on Amazon. And this is when I got my feet wet. Because I got online. And this is 2021. This was probably 2015, 2014 Cuz I started selling on Amazon at the end of 2014.
Yoni Mazor 30:41
Kris Gramlich 30:41
Yoni Mazor 30:42
And what are we selling anything you can get a chance on?
Kris Gramlich 30:47
Yeah anything, my old books, texts books
Yoni Mazor 30:50
[crosstalk 30:50] The good old days at the end of the 90s, whatever you can get to this point, flipping on Amazon,
Kris Gramlich 30:57
I'd go to target and scan some things and flip this is I learned how to do this. By just Googling, I got on YouTube really, and learn about how to make money online. And the first thing I did was, I would say publish some Kindle books. I didn't publish Kindle books. I just hired a writer and then I would put my name on it. And that would be how you wrote a book. I learned that on a YouTube video where the sky was saying; “You can make money online by being a publisher or being an author. What you essentially do is you hire writers, ghost writers, they write you the story. And then you publish it on Amazon as KDP. And people buy it. You get money every month”. And I was like well
Yoni Mazor 31:48
KDP probably what's KDP
Kris Gramlich 31:49
Kindle Direct Publishing?
Yoni Mazor 31:49
Wow. This is from 2014 to 2015.
Kris Gramlich 31:56
Yoni Mazor 32:00
Yeah, it's a mishmash of things. So you're still with Aflac. So on the stuff on Amazon, but you discovered on YouTube, that you can do KDP. Kindle Digital Publishing? Wow, I never heard of this model. This is interesting. So how did it work? You were making money, or is this sending good money.
Kris Gramlich 32:19
I mean, I still make a couple of bucks a month now. But what it is, is you go like Upwork or online jobs. ph or whoever you give somebody who has a blog writer who writes blogs, and you give them a topic, like how would you write about this topic. Like self-esteem issues, write about self-esteem issues, and they'll write you a really good book. And then you just proofread the book or get a proofreader. Get a graphic designer to create a good cover. And then you were able to just publish that book on Amazon KDP. And then when people would buy it, you would just get money from that every time. Bye, bye. So that was my first taste of it was trying to figure out well, you can sell stuff on Amazon. But you don't have to be the one that writes it like you can have somebody else write and hire them and they write it. So when I was doing that, I was also introduced to Amazon FBA and selling on eBay. All this happened within a short period of like 2 years like this is all, this was going on fast. What I would do on eBay is would go to thrift stores around the area like all these thrift stores savers, Goodwill. And I would go to these thrift stores and I would look through all the clothing the men's clothing. And I would look for like brand names like Vineyard Vines.
Yoni Mazor 33:50
Nike, whatever. Yeah.
Kris Gramlich 33:53
Yeah, like some of those, we would get some really good brand names. And I would just skim through all these shirts, trying to find really good brand name shirts. And what I would do is store all these shirts at my house, in my basement on clothing racks. I had a labeling system figured out and my whole purpose was to flip these shirts on eBay. So I buy him for 4, 5 bucks on eBay. And some of these shirts you know, they could bring
Yoni Mazor 34:19
You mean on Goodwill, they go to the thrift stores, you buy 4, 5 bucks on thrift store and then how much you sell money before.
Kris Gramlich 34:24
Yeah, at least 25.
Yoni Mazor 34:24
Okay, good margin.
Kris Gramlich 34:25
And here's a big name of Robert Graham. That's a huge name. Like anytime you saw a Robert Graham shirt, you always bought it because it's like a $100 shirt no matter what. And so I would just all weekend go to thrift stores. I got KDP going on in the background. I'm dabbling a little bit in Amazon, but I'm going after eBay and getting the clothing. I'm still working at this ecommerce company. Like all these are still going on. And I'm learning how to do all this more like on Amazon to the E-commerce company I worked at because they're starting to grow on Amazon and I'm learning more things about FBA and how to create listings and stuff while I'm still working their butt on the side I'm hustling, and doing all the shirts. Because I thought, well shoot if I could go buy a shirt for five bucks, and it sells for 50 or 30, or whatever, all I have to do is just take some pictures of it create a bit basic listing on eBay, and just put it up there. And if it sells, I just ship it out. So I did that. And that was a lot of work. Because every weekend, I would just drive around and I'm not kidding, I'd have trash bags full of shirts.
Yoni Mazor 35:35
It piles up real quick.
Kris Gramlich 35:39
And at some point, like you have inventory that's just sitting there, you got to get rid of it. Because it's cash. That taught me something like-- I remember talking to my dad and I was showing him all these shirts I had. And he's like, you know, I see here cash. Like it's all just dollars. And I was like, “Well, that's a really good idea like that has to get out this stuff needs to move”.
Yoni Mazor 36:00
Yeah, keep moving. Cashing it out, it’s liquid. Yeah.
Kris Gramlich 36:05
Yeah. So I immediately run sales, discount prices and just keep flipping the shirts to try to get them out, to keep the cash flow going. So it reminded me of when I was a kid flipping baseball cards and Beanie Babies is, I did the same thing, but for scaling up a little bit more. Right. So what I would do is the funds, at some point, eBay is just way too much time. It took a lot of time yet to measure everything and photos. I'm still learning Amazon, and I'm listening to podcasts out there during this time. And this is probably 2013 to 14. So at the end of 2014 is when I first launched my first product on Amazon. When I finally did that, I sold everything that I did on eBay, I closed it all down. And I took all the cash from eBay and started to focus on Amazon FBA. My first product was a dog shock collar.
Yoni Mazor 37:03
What does that mean?
Kris Gramlich 37:06
It's a barking collar. So if a dog barks, it sends like a 9-volt battery shock to its neck to stop it from barking. Huge product.
Yoni Mazor 37:22
I never heard of that. Okay, interesting.
Kris Gramlich 37:25
So that was my first product dog bark collar. And it took off like I just randomly picked it. I don't even remember why I got in the pet space at that time. But I picked a dog bark collar. And I ordered 120 pieces with the cash for eBay from the supplier that I found on Alibaba, remember, I learned all this work of an E-commerce company and listened to the podcast for four months just constantly. At the time, there were only one or two podcasts so it is really easy not to get confused. You just listened to two guys and they told you how to work how to do it. So, I did the bark collars and started selling bark collars and you know order of 120 pieces and then took out some credit cards and would and we get more credit cards and spend more. So that's my first taste of Amazon. And now I just keep scaling it, keep trying to flip it but I learned a lot of things on the way.
Yoni Mazor 38:33
Hold on. So from 2014 one is you started selling on Amazon physical products because until then you're selling KDP the digital books. And then that carried you up to 2016, 17 with your ecommerce job. He said they let you go and have to let you go in 2016 or 17 what was your next station, you just scheduling said my full time as Amazon.
Kris Gramlich 38:53
So after they let me go, I did not spend my wings do full time it was after that. Let me go. I don't know how I found Sellozo. Oh, but I wanted to be in the Amazon space because I started to know more about Amazon than the people that I worked with at the E-commerce company. Like I figured out how to do shipments and I would give them my opinion on something and it would just go over their head and they wouldn't listen or they didn't understand it. And so I was like I know a lot about this industry that a lot of people don't know and I want to be involved in it.
Yoni Mazor 39:34
You want to keep developing in it, do you feel like you know you're swimming well in it and there's room to get developing or you know, pursuing this path.
Kris Gramlich 39:42
And I loved it like it was a different feeling like you know selling insurance was great when you got sales, but I didn't enjoy going out there and talking about insurance. Like it wasn't fun for me. I love talking about Amazon like that's all I want to do is talk about Amazon, and so when I got let go. I was pissed off. But at the same time, I was-- because I didn't see a common.
Yoni Mazor 40:06
[crosstalk 40:06] they were downsizing or downsizing.
Kris Gramlich 40:09
Yeah. So I mean another guy, we're both buyers. They're going to automate my position and give the other guy had more roles to take on. It was a blessing, like, I would have never left that company unless I got fired. They had everything, you know, well paid 401k All the ops like everything's good. I mean, I got to back behind me there, I got to hand out a Gold Glove to one of the Royals players like that was stuff I got to do while I was there, I would have never left. So it was kind of a blessing to get fired. But I've never I have pissed cuz I've never been fired before. I mean, I've been fired, but not like this.
Yoni Mazor 40:47
Yeah, you got fired by the family now from the real world.
Kris Gramlich 40:51
Yeah, like that. This was an eye-opener. Like I walked in, I sat down HR was right there. And I was like, Okay, this was this is what this is. Okay. Yeah. But I got let go. And I wanted to be in the Amazon space. And I knew a lot of tools out there. And I went to a local meetup. That next week is like on a Wednesday, I went to a local meetup to talk about Amazon. And the local meetup was put on by Sellozo. And this is where 2019 was put on by Sellozo. And I didn't know what Sellozo was at the time, no idea didn't even know it was software. I just got a notification on my phone through an app that said, there's an Amazon meetup. I was like, Yes, I want to go to it. I want to go meet people about Amazon. So I went to this meetup. And you know, the saying, like, “If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room”. That other people in the room are sellers. There's just me, I was like, basically the only seller in there. So it was like I wanted to be around more sellers and be involved in like, share more knowledge with other sellers because I wanted to learn more about Amazon. And so when I got fired, I went back to Sellozo, and said, “Hey, if you guys got any openings, like is there any openings we can do?” And I did, they had an opening in the sales position, which I'm currently in. But we've kind of transitioned the whole team is now--- like my job as an account executive. But really, what I get to do is sellers who come to use loads of software, they need somebody to talk to about Amazon, and I get to help like, don't do this because I've done that. Or maybe you should think about it this way. Because I've done it that way before and it doesn't work that well. But I also get to talk to people who are smarter than me that they're like, Hey, we're doing this, this and that. I'm like, I've never even thought of that. And so like it really like I get to learn more about the space, which I loved. Because I get to learn like the newest hacks and newest tricks and I guess.
Yoni Mazor 42:59
Yeah, it's a beautiful cycle where you help them but then they help you, so it's endless cycles of learning, developing, and helping. Yeah, interesting.
Kris Gramlich 43:09
Yeah, I get to do things like this. And I get to do a podcast that I and Dustin do, the other guy….
Yoni Mazor 43:13
Yeah, shout out to your podcast, what's on the podcast?
Kris Gramlich 43:17
Appreciate that. It's 2 Amazon sellers on a microphone. Just kind of a quick, easy name to make. But we just talk Amazon, we've had you on there a couple of times, we just talked about going on Amazon. So it's fun for me, like, I don't consider this a job. Like, this is more like I get to help people and console people. And then I get to learn stuff that I can implement in my current business with Amazon. So it goes full circle.
Yoni Mazor 43:45
That's great. I love that. So just in a nutshell, what's the mission and purpose for you now? Of course, you're helping others you're learning. But you know, 5 years into the future? What's your ambition? Are you still selling Amazon? Do you want to grow that as well?
Kris Gramlich 44:00
Yeah, there's going to be a point where I'm going to sell it, I'm going to get rid of the business and transition and get rid of the brand. It's not there yet. There are still some things I want to do about it. There are still some milestones I want to hit before I get rid of them. But I want to be I don't want to say the word but I want to be in the space to help coach people and but I come into it as genuine as possible. Like, I don't get compensated to do much consulting, I just do because I like to do it. Right like it's fun for me to talk to other sellers. If I can help a seller escalate their business. And like one phone call that it took me one year to do. And they can get stuff done fast. Yeah, like that's what I get a kick out. Like I talked to a seller the other day. They didn't run any ads. They sold Restaurant Supply stuff. It's kind of funny, we've been talking about restaurants but this restaurant supplies like bases [phonetic 45:08], tongs spatulas. But they never ran any advertising on Amazon. And so we did one simple campaign. And at the end of the year, I think 2020, they did an additional $250,000 in revenue, just from running one campaign. And they probably spent 1000 bucks on it. Yeah, 1000 bucks on it. It was a cheap campaign, they have over 2000 skews. And all we did was just do a simple low bid, all product campaign, like all their products, just did a low bid like 10 cent bid, but they got a lot more sales out of it than they ever like that stuff, is what gets me fired up.
Because that boss was like a skeptic of Amazon advertising. We told him, like, look, just do this one campaign. We don't care if you use Sellozo or not, don't even sign up for it. Just do one campaign. At the end of the year, he's like, “Hey, we did an extra $50,000 in revenue”. It's like, that's pretty cool.
Yoni Mazor 46:04
That's amazing. I love that. Beautiful. So yeah, thank you so much for sharing the whole story so far, I want to kind of package and see if we got everything right correctly. So you know, born raised in Kansas City, Missouri parents, and used to be in the restaurant business, but matured to the insurance business and graduated nicely, self-discipline, pretty much entrepreneurs on their merit. And then, at a young age, you were, hustling around doing baseball cards, mini bags, I graduated high school in 2003. And then two years until 2005, or six, you went to a community college, and then matured into criminal justice College, almost hitting the end of it, pathways with having to be in a prison, no other alternatives to go all the way.
So you hit 2010 into the insurance business, kind of a full circle with your parents, or your mother was the boss of your father and yourself. He did it for a few years. And then around 2013, 14, you're already selling stuff on eBay back in the 90s. But you went back to the hustle game online, selling on eBay, and also Amazon. But on eBay, what was the kind of the core of the shirts you're finding them in thrift stores and flipping them on eBay. And then also you find out on YouTube that you can do KDP, Kindle Digital Publishing, where you publish digital books, you hire a writer, ghostwriter, you slap a label or a cover, and you put your name on it, you make revenue.
And then 2014, you start selling your brand on Amazon, which you are probably still involved with until today, by 2015, you transition from assurance to this company doing enough for E-commerce doing customer service and maturity and to doing purchasing that, you stay there to about 2017.
And then in 2019, you go to a local media group, you discover Sellozo because they organize it. And since then you're also helping, you know, other sellers. You have your podcast with Dustin to two guys Amazon sellers and a microphone. Yeah, so I would say Amazon guys. And yeah, so that we get everything kind of correctly so far.
Kris Gramlich 48:18
Yeah, I mean, that's it. That's a pretty good memory.
Yoni Mazor 48:20
So yeah, trying to package the story, so it’s great, I loved it. I think it was a lot of lessons, it's very colorful, a lot of variations. And I like the unique trajectories that you're involved in. Alright, so now I want to kind of close up the episode with two points. Right. The first one will be is if somebody wants to connect with you to learn more about you, where can they find you? So give them a handoff. And the last thing would be is what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Kris Gramlich 48:47
Yeah, so I'm all over. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram. My Instagram handle is @addictedtoamzfba. That's my Amazon channel for Instagram. Also Sellozo.com. You can book a time and I want to talk a little bit about Amazon. I was talking about Amazon all day. And also the podcast to Amazon sellers and a microphone podcast with my co-host Dustin. Dustin is also an Amazon seller, obviously with the name. He's got some good stories as well. We have good people like you all the time.
So in my word of wisdom here; one thing ever, my biggest regret is not doing it fast enough, like not going fast enough. I sat around and watched a lot of videos sent around was the podcast. I just didn't take any action at all. I didn't make any moves. I'm reading this book now Atomic Habits. And in the book, there's a class a photography class, and the teacher splits up the class from the students 50/50. One section of the students is quantity, they're labeled as quantity.
One section of the students is labeled as quality. The teacher is grading the students at the end of the semester off one photography, or one photo that they take. Okay? So the people in the quantity group, they just go out and take a bunch of photos, they don't care what they're doing, they're taking a bunch of photos, snapshots themselves, they got hundreds of photos, the people in the quality group, they sit around, they think about the stage and they need to get they need, think about the lighting they need to get, they have to make sure that the right angles, they need to make sure that the best photos and they take that one photo and that's going to be their grade for that year. At the end of the semester. All the A's everybody who got an A-plus in that grade, or in that class, where people from the quantity group, they just took action that took photos that just went didn't think about it made mistakes, took a bunch of photos, and whatever worked. The people in the quality grip thought about it too long. And they didn't take action, they just got hung up on procrastination, and they made themselves their block. So if I'm giving any advice here, just go do something go launch something go pick a product make mistake, because you're going to learn in the long run, and don't sit here and dwell on something just go do it.
Yoni Mazor 51:18
Love it. Yeah, so I just to touch up on that, sometimes if you overthink overdo it, or overthinking over the kind of analyze, we call it analysis paralysis numbs you, and it's hard to move that way. So keep moving, keep staying snappy. Make all the mistakes possible. You're going to get a refund over time, you're going to find out you know your worth to success. Great stuff, Kris. Thank you so much. Wishing you all you know much more great success ahead. I hope everybody enjoyed staying safe and healthy till next time.