This is a follow up story for Kenji ROI. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Danny Carlson, founder of Kenji ROI, one of the fastest-growing Amazon listing optimization agencies.
We sell a full range of listing optimization and Amazon Ads services to brands looking to grow sales on the Amazon marketplace. Amazon product photography, listing copywriting, Amazon SEO, video, PPC management.
We’re doing more than $100k per month in revenue and just crossed the 20 full-time team members mark.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since we last talked we’ve more than doubled the team and revenue and expanded our service offerings.
Just be sure you’re hiring the right mentor for your stage of growth and your particular roadblocks in your business.
SEO has been a good driver of traffic but our biggest boon has been affiliates. We’ve doubled down on our top affiliates to maximize their referrals and we have a small handful of them that generate 30%+ of our total clients.
Rather than going wide and trying to increase the number of affiliates, we dove deeper into the relationships with our existing top performers to explore ways of generating more referrals.
Some of those ways include:
- Having me on regularly scheduled live presentations with their audience
- Posting a special video introducing us within their course portal (if they are an influencer with a program)
- Recommending us in the sticky post at the top of their Facebook Group
It’s different for each affiliate but we built these relationships slowly and intentionally. That’s the key, not trying to go for the giant ask off the get-go.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
This year I learned how damaging a single bad hire can do to your team culture and effectiveness. We had one employee who was only with us for 2 months but realistically should have been let go of after 2 weeks.
They were bad at their job but really good at making it seem like they were on top of things and covering up for their mistakes.
Ultimately they were causing a lot of their workload to fall onto the shoulders of other team members and they were really nice so teammates didn’t want to “rat them out” for underperformance.
The biggest lessons I learned from this are:
- Have better predetermined times where you spend time reviewing
- Don’t give people too many chances. If they don’t hit your pre-defined criteria it should be a binary decision to keep or fire, not “almost good enough.” The problem with this hire is they were right on the edge each time I reviewed them.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We’re expanding the Amazon Ads and coaching program side of our business. Traditionally Kenji ROI is very focused on Amazon product photography and listing optimization, but doubling or tripling that side of the business adds a ton of complexity.
Instead, we’re expanding horizontally to increase our customer lifetime value as all these clients also potentially need help with their Amazon Ads or at least a training course of some kind.
At home, I have a crazy multicam live streaming setup where I can switch between multiple camera angles for my live broadcasts. It also makes recording video content really easy. For those who are interested, I have a Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K, GoPro 9, and Blue Yeti Mic feeding into an ATEM Mini Pro, which feeds into my computer’s webcam feed. The ATEM board keeps the processing load off my computer so it runs super smooth even though my laptop isn’t for super high spec video editing.
So stepping up my content game and really enjoying it!
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I really enjoyed “Win Bigly” which is about persuasion psychology, specifically dissecting the persuasion tactics Donald Trump used during his election campaigns when he first became President. Whether you like the man or not, he’s an interesting case study for mass persuasion, which every entrepreneur can benefit from learning about.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Invest in mentorship. I’ve spent more than $100,000 on mentors this year and it’s already paid for itself.
As a business owner, you have to take the opportunity cost of not figuring something out sooner when making mentor investment decisions. You will have to pay more and more for mentors the more your business grows because higher-level mentors will help you grow higher levels in revenue. Just be sure you’re hiring the right mentor for your stage of growth and your particular roadblocks in your business.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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