Stephen’s Story: Why I Never Want To Retire
Today, we’re shining the light on a special member in our community – Stephen Bones.
You might have seen Stephen in the ImportXperts community as he hosts the inspiring “Mindset For Success” webinars – but when we interviewed him, he told us how he never used to have the calming aura about him. Apparently, it was quite the opposite!
So keep on reading to learn all about Stephen’s journey – how he became the calm-but-very-determined entrepreneur that he is, why he’s doing what he’s doing, and why he doesn’t want to retire. He’s a real inspiration to anyone thinking that change can’t happen – it absolutely can, whatever your age or situation. Believe in the process, embark on your journey, never give up… And you’ll get there.
Let’s start with a bit about who you are and how you got into ImportXperts?
I used to work in traditional brick-and-mortar retail for 16 years. Although it was deemed a “successful” job – i.e. my wealth kept increasing – I was always working 60+ hours per week. I was running a large portion of the business but the business never moved online – and in 2018, it went into bankruptcy.
That sent me into a dark place… I was extremely low, and in April 2018, I found the SFM on YouTube. I felt a deep intuition telling me to join – despite not having any digital experience – but I signed up, started with affiliate marketing, and then moved to ImportXperts, as well.
So are you doing affiliate marketing or eCommerce – or both?
I like to do it all! I started with affiliate marketing as I wanted a break from the world of retail but I quickly realized that, with my background in retail, I felt like I needed to be in eCommerce. I get a real buzz from selling products online so I’m really happy to be back in the game.
Tell us a bit about where your business is now.
I’m currently developing my second and third products which I’ll be launching soon.
I launched my first product in the Xcelerator Challenge last year and even though it’s still selling, the market is a lot more competitive and the retail prices have dropped. I don’t want to incur any extra storage fees in the FBA warehouse, so I’ve also dropped my prices as a way to sell off my stock.
What have you learned from your first product launch?
Firstly – it’s so important to invest in images. I didn’t do this initially. After Q4, I hired a designer on page.one and it made a huge difference immediately. It made me wonder how the sales would have been throughout Q4 had I had invested in images from the beginning!
Secondly – make sure you bundle your product so that you increase the retail value of your product. People are always looking for value on Amazon so if you can offer an extra something which is relevant (whether it’s 25% more or something free), it’ll help increase sales.
And thirdly – make sure there’s plenty of room for extra costs. Look for a product that will cost you a total of $8-9 (landed at the FBA warehouse) and which will retail for at least £25. That will mean there will be enough room for advertising, images, and any extra costs which might crop up along the way.
How are you getting on with product two?
I’m really excited about product two because I’m doing something a bit different. I’m launching a new product which is in a high-demand niche, but while all the other products are selling for just £12 – I’m going premium, adding extra value, and will sell it for £30.
I’m also sourcing it from India. It was at the beginning of covid and the Chinese market was hit really badly – so I started looking on Indiamart.
I’ve enjoyed learning about Indian culture and how they do business in comparison to China. It doesn’t seem to be as fast as China but the cotton/textile industry is great over there and it’ll help me differentiate from the competition too. I’m excited to see how it turns out.
Which marketplaces do you plan on using for your next product launch?
I’m not 100% sure yet – definitely Amazon and I’m thinking of trying out a few other marketplaces too. I might send 75 units to my home so I have the stock to try others – like Facebook Marketplace and bol.com. I think Facebook is expanding at a rapid pace. It won’t be long until they’ve caught up with Amazon!
What part do you enjoy the most?
The whole process gives me a buzz! I really enjoy product research – going deep into a niche and connecting the dots, looking into what products will make sense financially and how to bundle it to create a high-value product.
But of course, we’re in the business for the sales! And I still get a buzz every time I make a sale. The first thing I do when I wake up or get home is to check how many sales I have. I know that each day it gets me closer to the ultimate goal of a successful business, financial freedom, and the reason I joined ImportXperts in the first place.
What is your ultimate goal for your business?
I’ve worked out that I only need to have 3 good products doing 20 sales a day each to make a net profit of £10k per month. My motivation has always been to give me the freedom to work when and wherever I want, be able to have a second home abroad, and have a real sense of achievement through my business.
It also occurred to me that I can pass on my listings to my kids and teach them process which I’m quite excited about too.
I’ve also started coaching because I really enjoy helping others so I don’t know quite which direction everything will go but I’m just going along the journey and we’ll see where I end up!
Tell us about your coaching!
I’ve always been interested in the personal development space which is why I started the fortnightly “Mindset For Success” webinars with Anna. We discuss tips to help you get in the right mindset for success – looking at areas like work-life balance, surrendering to the journey, and moving energy.
I never used to be so calm – back in the day, I was like a tight coil full of pent-up anger that needed a release! And after I lost my job, I hired a coach and did a lot of work on myself, and some of the emotional breakthroughs which I experienced were truly amazing. I know there’s still quite a lot of skepticism around coaches in the UK and whether it’s really worth the investment – but I want to try to help people realize just how valuable it can be.
It might not seem to link with the eCommerce space but I believe that:
if you have the right mindset, you’ll have the clarity to know what you want – and then you’ll be able to go after it too. Creating a lifestyle-change all starts with mindset.
So that’s why I host the mindset webinars, and some members have reached out for some specific one-on-one calls too to help them work through certain blocks or overcome certain hurdles too.
[If you’re interested in a personal mindset session with Stephen, check out his coaching website here]
Alongside my Amazon business, I’m currently taking part in a 14-month training of spiritual healing which I plan to teach as well.
I’ll always enjoy the buzz from selling products, but I want to be able to help other people too, which is why I’m doing the two side-by-side. And as Amazon is such a hands-off business, I have the luxury of being able to explore both.
Finally – what words of advice do you have to anyone wanting to start out?
Don’t give up. Accept it’s a journey. If you keep at it, you’ll get there.
You might say that you don’t have the cash to buy the inventory. But if you want it, you’ll find a way to make it happen. I.e. You could get a bar job in the evenings to get an extra $1000 per month. You might say you don’t have the time, juggling a full-time job and busy family. But if you really want it, you’ll wake up an hour earlier every day.
If you’re interested in launching an online business like Stephen did, just apply by clicking on the link below:Apply Now