On Starting An Amazon Growth Strategy Business And Reaching $1M In One Year

Evan Kesner
Straight Up Growth
from San Diego, CA, USA
started January 2020
alexa rank
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
average product price
growth channels
business model
best tools
Google Drive, Quickbooks, Hubspot
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
8 Tips
Discover what tools Evan reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Evan reccommends to grow your business!
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Start An Amazon Service Agency

Hi, I’m Evan J. Kesner working on my second 7-Figure Business. It’s my second business that went from 0 to $1M pace in a year. Straight Up Growth has experience driving over $500MM on Amazon and provides Amazon growth for eCommerce businesses.

Straight Up Growth believes in helping good people scale good businesses. Our process is unique in that we start with a free Amazon ad audit and full business analysis. Leveraging our audit process we start to uncover immediate opportunities to scale using proven strategies. The audit is our secret sauce; it enables us to take our clients strategically that we know we can grow. It’s led to 100% client retention except for one client whose sales went from $150,000/mo to $220,000/mo in 4 months. That client had problems staying in stock and didn’t pay their bills on time, other than that everyone is happy with us and fortunately our clients refer us to more clients regularly.

The success stories in the pet, food, beauty, and supplement space are rarely matched. It’s been incredible seeing brands grow their Amazon sales 96% in four months, 400% in 30 days, and launch a new product from 0 to $355K in a month with our holistic approach. Straight Up Growth is an Amazon growth agency that truly cares about their customer.

The main services we offer are Amazon Ad Management.

Amazon Advertising Management: Campaign Setup perform keyword research, create campaigns for Client’s paid search ad efforts on Amazon

  • Optimization- constantly test, optimize and re-evaluate the campaigns on Amazon looking to reach Client targets
  • Ad budget- establish ad budgets as well as how to allocate the ad budgets across the various ad units and products
  • Goal Setting- provide direction on what targets are achievable and what KPIs we should be looking to achieve on a month by month basis. Optimize ad campaigns according to these goals
  • Reporting n advertising data as well as additional insights such as SERP results, sales ranks, click and conversion share, and total sales
  • Search Term SEO will provide recommendations and execute on strategic advertising strategies to focus on improving SEO for specific search terms

Amazon Account Strategist: provide strategic direction on the management of the Amazon Channel

  • Conversion Optimization- analyze current conversion rates and provide solutions to further increase conversion rates through changes to product photos, storefronts, listing copy
  • Reporting- assist with navigating key metrics such as buy box percentage, out of stocks, ad data, and sales data
  • Promotions- establish promotional calendars on Amazon according to overall sales targets for the Client. Will provide suggestions on what products to promote when to use promotions, and the actual discount amounts to use
  • Product Launch- work with the client to determine various launch strategies based on client goals. For example, for the products the Client is considering launching we can work with the Client as to how to get sales for these new products onto Amazon
  • Drive Back to .com- we will provide strategies to leverage your customers on Amazon back to your own e-commerce channel

Off Amazon: Service Provider will work with the client to provide insights and strategies with their off Amazon channels to allow for even further growth on the Amazon channel

  • Social Media- Provide strategies that can be leveraged through the client’s various social channels to drive brand awareness or review generation for their products on Amazon.
  • Review Generation- provide various strategies for driving reviews through a variety of mediums. Can provide direction for leveraging channels such as direct mail, email marketing, Facebook Messenger bot, or creative direct marketing opportunities
  • Tracking- provide direction to ensure all external efforts are measured in order to A/B test various channels and optimize towards the highest performing channels.


What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

After being a top business development executive across a number of companies over a decade, I was in a financial position that enabled me to bet on himself after losing his job right after my honeymoon.

It doesn’t need to be the other way around if you can turn around your product/service in a reasonable amount of time.

Going to the market and pitching 34 different times before selling a $35,000 deal leveraging a similar business model to what was working in the market was the trick to validation and getting started.

My partner, Daniel was the first Amazon Advertising executive at a top 100 Amazon Seller. Combined with my experience going from 0 to $1M and Daniel’s experience they were able to get numerous deals in place.

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

When I was let go from my Head of Sales position at a VC funded start-up in NYC and was ready to leave New York. Rather than building a pipeline and then leaving, I decided to start my own business. I almost bought a Budget Blinds franchise before I decided to start from scratch!

After exiting my last business, I moved from New York City to an Airbnb in North Park. The hosts of my AirBNB recommended a local coffee shop, Holsem Coffee. I was working remotely from Holsem, running a business division of the largest technology company in Arizona when I met Krissy Krugman. Krissy happened to be an SDSU student and CEO of SoulMuch, a nonprofit that combats food waste, one cookie at a time.

Krissy started asking me questions about how to scale her business and I was full of answers and advice. From there, pretty serendipitously, she enabled me to join the mentor program at SDSU Lavin School of Entrepreneurship. Shortly after lunch with local celebrity, Gabriel Galvez, I was invited to an “Opt-Out Life” party where I met my partner, Daniel Tejada.

Daniel had been working to help brands to scale on Amazon for the past few years. Daniel was one of the first people in the Amazon ads space and had spent $10M on Amazon ads with $500M in Amazon sales under his belt. Daniel and I started talking about one of the biggest gaps Daniel had seen from his experience working with major eCommerce brands.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today we’re managing over $100MM in annual sales on Amazon and spending over $10M/year. Our customer acquisition costs have been low because we’re fortunate to have strong referral partners and word of mouth. Our business continues to grow past the $100K/month mark with nearly 100% retention, but over 100% revenue retention as our accounts with our clients is growing continuously as their sales grow!

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

For many people just starting a business, I’ve learned most fear what they don’t understand. You can buy an LLC from IncFile or LegalZoom, find a decent attorney to write you an operating agreement, an Accountant to help you with taxes, and go to market.

I’ve spent less than $20,000 to get to $1M in revenue twice now, you can sell as long as you can service once you have a contract in place. Pro Tip: It doesn’t need to be the other way around if you can turn around your product/service in a reasonable amount of time.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Nothing too crazy, a mix of Amazon-related tools, QuickBooks, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, Slack, and Basecamp. Geez, I guess it is a lot!

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Psycho-Cybernetics, How to Win Friends, and Asking Questions.

I’m a big fan of Tim Ferris and love Transcendental Meditation as a resource for stress reduction and focus.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

The number one thing separating business owners from people with ideas is going to market and pitching. If you make a sale you have a business, you have validation now the question is, is it scalable? Before that, you just have an idea. Go to market.

Where can we go to learn more?

Evan Kesner, Founder of Straight Up Growth
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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