Updated: July 2017
You probably know that I’m a big believer in the business model of selling private label items on Amazon. It’s how I was able to build a $1 million business in less than a year and has changed my life. Now I try to introduce this business model to others, but I want to point out that it’s much more difficult than it was when I first started with ASM in 2013. Not only is there much more competition as people started hearing that you could make “a lot” of money, but Amazon has also changed their policies regarding what sellers are/aren’t allowed to do in response to sellers trying to manipulate the ranking algorithm. You can still make great money selling on Amazon, but the approach I take has evolved over time to reflect the aforementioned changes.
So that presents the obvious question: What’s the best way to learn how to sell on Amazon?
When I first started, your only options to learn this business were to purchase Amazing Selling Machine (“ASM”), or try to figure it out yourself through trial and error (which could cost you a lot more than the cost of the course if you weren’t careful).
Because of this, I was promoting ASM unconditionally. Many other courses were released shortly after ASM’s initial success, but even though they were significantly less expensive, they were also lacking in some way. The two I liked the most were Proven Private Label and Build Grow Scale because they were good value for the price. I was comfortable recommending them as an Amazing Selling Machine alternative, but there was still a sense of frustration because of what I felt they were missing.
As the industry has evolved, more courses have been released and a lot of good information is now available for free on the Internet. While a lot of the free information is good, the biggest issue is that you don’t know how good or up to date the information is. As I mentioned earlier, this business has changed over time and it continues to change quickly. Both my product selection and launch processes are different than they were a year ago, so you may find that the process you take doesn’t work (or worse, now violates Amazon’s selling policies) if you’re following old information. For that reason, I’m only going to focus on paid courses here.
So, let me give you a little background…
As a successful affiliate for ASM, I’ve had the honor of helping to introduce more than 1,000 members to the course and have personally coached hundreds of people during some of their earlier launches. That experience, together with being a private label seller myself, provides me with a pretty good sense of what kind of information people are looking for.
I’m proud to say that these experiences provide me with a unique perspective when I review a course and I try hard to give as much information as I can.
With this in mind, there are some real viable alternatives that I can recommend now:
- Import Empire Jumpstart Group now known as Ecommerce Empire (by the Startup Bros)
- Marketplace Superheroes
- Import Dojo
- Ecomm Elite
I’ve also reviewed a couple of other courses that I am not comfortable recommending at this time:
This isn’t a full blown review of the courses. Rather, it’s more of a summary comparison between the more popular ASM alternatives that are now available. I do have a more comprehensive Import Empire review, Marketplace Superheroes review, Import Dojo review and Ecomm Elite review that are worth reading through.
Import Dojo Masterclass
Proven Private Label
Both Marketplace Superheroes and Import Empire hold webinars from time to time, so I recommend you check them out if you’d like to find out more detail beyond this post:
Note: You may have seen me recommend some courses in the past that I no longer recommend today (like Proven Private Label or Build Grow Scale). While I don’t regret recommending them in the past, other courses that have launched more recently are just better options.
Amazing Selling Machine Alternatives – The Comparison
First, I’d like to outline what I look for when recommending a course:
- [TRAINING] Clear and complete core training. There will always be things that core training can’t address, but it should provide a comprehensive high level overview of the process in a clear and concise format. Ideally, it should also explain the thought process behind various actions as much as possible.
- [COMMUNITY] A community with active leadership. It’s not enough to just have a community that’s active with members. You also need to have active leadership so buyers don’t feel “lost”. This also helps foster discussions and relationships between other members and this support can provide people with the confidence to take action. An active community is probably the most important thing I like to see.
- [USP] A unique selling proposition that differentiates the course. It’s not uncommon for someone to launch a course that’s basically just a repackaged version of something that already exists. Unless a course can offer a unique spin on the business model or offer additional value in some other way, it’s probably not worth purchasing.
Of course, this is all done in the context of price. I don’t mind if a course doesn’t have all of these things, but it should be priced accordingly relative to the other options.
Import Empire / Ecommerce Empire (Startup Bros)
- TRAINING: I’ve only come across this course more recently, but it’s actually been available for purchase for a while, so they’ve created a lot of awesome content. Actually, it’s A LOT of content…probably more than any of the other alternatives. They also hold regular webinars for members.
- COMMUNITY: Import Empire has a very active Facebook Group, with active leadership, but I’m also very pleased to see that they recently added a non-Facebook forum. This is something I’m a big advocate of because Facebook Groups just aren’t practical for a training environment. Posts get lost over time, making it tough to develop a database of knowledge. Having a separate forum that’s easier to search really does help to archive this content, so I’m glad to see they realize how valuable this is.
- USP: Their team tries to be very hands on and make it easy for you to reach out to them personally. This, together with the quality content and active forum, make it a very compelling offer. I highly recommend you try to catch one of their webinars to learn more about their offer.
After I heard about the course, I had a chance to speak with one of the owners (Kyle) personally. I was really impressed with what these guys and like the passion and dedication they have towards continually adding value. In fact, when I spoke with one of the owners, he described their philosophy in terms of the “3 C’s”: Content, Community, Coaching. As noted above, Content & Community are key factors in what I look for, and they deliver Coaching (very hands-on leadership) as the USP I look for.
The links provided above are for the webinar, which I highly recommend watching. However, if you want to get started right away, you can access the checkout page directly:
If you’d like more info, please make sure you read through the comprehensive review referenced earlier.
- TRAINING: Excellent, including monthly webinars. I also like the emphasis that the training puts a heavy emphasis on researching your product, which is probably the most important step in the process. In fact, they dedicate three full modules to this topic. The content has been recently updated, so it’s fairly fresh.
- COMMUNITY: Although it’s still small relative to something like ASM, the owners are engaged and active in the community. I was pleased to see that I also recognized some experienced sellers in the community. The downside is that while the experts respond to just about every topic, there isn’t a ton of activity. There’s definitely activity as they have a pretty good base of members, but I would like to see the volume increase a little more.
- USP: The founders are very experienced sellers in Amazon’s international marketplaces. These markets are not nearly as saturated as Amazon US and I haven’t seen anyone else touch on this opportunity as much as Marketplace Superheroes has, although ASM does now include an International Module as well. However, these guys are from Ireland, so they know how to navigate the EU process extremely well and I have personally learned some valuable things that I didn’t know before.
Also, the course includes access to software that not only helps you find products, but helps you manage your inventory and cash flow on an ongoing basis. I don’t use their software anymore since there are now other available options, but I want to point out what’s included.
Additional Comments: Like Import Empire, this is a great, moderately priced alternative to Amazing Selling Machine. The content is really strong and I do like that the leadership is very knowledgeable and directly active. I also really like that they dive into the minutia of some topics that other courses only touch on…this shows the level of experience they have in this business.
They seem to be highly focused on continuing to improve the course, and with their recent update I feel good about recommending the course. I used to think they were light on content in some areas, but this has mostly been addressed and I consider it to be a strong course at a reasonable price.
Again if you’d like more info, please make sure you read through the comprehensive review referenced earlier.
- TRAINING: Excellent
- COMMUNITY: Excellent. While the owners (Matt & Jason) are not actively involved in the community, there are appointed mentors who take on a leadership role. With thousands of existing members, questions can be answered in minutes.
- USP: Their experience and the size of their community. The course also includes access to proprietary software for the first year.
Additional Comments: ASM has been around for a couple of years now, so they have updated their training several times based on feedback from real members. While the course is expensive, they have mastered the process. To be honest, I don’t attribute much value to the tools they offer. They are an expensive option at $3,497, so I would only recommend it if cost isn’t a concern. For the most part though, you can get a reasonably priced alternative at around $1,000, so that’s what I generally suggest for most people.
That being said, because of the larger affiliate commission, I am able to offer one-on-one support to members who purchase through my affiliate link, so you would have an experienced coach to help walk you through the process. I’ve partnered with one of the top affiliates to provide a significant amount of bonuses, and I will add some additional 1-on-1 sessions on top of this. This is a SERIOUS amount of value, but I like to personally communicate with anyone who’s interested in buying through me as an affiliate. If you’d like more info about the bonus, please email me at email@example.com or call/text me at 917-338-9644.
My most recent ASM review is from 2015, but I’ll try to update it soon. Even though this post isn’t a full-blown review, the comments above do represent my current thoughts as of 2017.
- TRAINING: Not that great. They covered most of what you’d expect, plus some cool extra tips, but it still seemed bland and I think most people would come away feeling like they missed something.
- COMMUNITY: There used to be good activity (although lack of visibility from the course creators), but it’s not very active now.
- USP: Using a live product launch as a case study (but they didn’t do a great job with this).
Tanner Larsson and Los Silva teamed up with Ryan Coisson and Daniel Audunsona to create a new course called Ecom Masters. The guys behind it know their stuff, but the course is lacking. The content is mostly the same as a course previously launched by Tanner and Los (Build Grow Scale), although they improved on the offer by adding some additional material.
One thing I really liked is that they launched a product “live”, where you could follow along as a case study. This was a really cool idea, but I feel like they haven’t done a great job in using it as an education tool. The whole course seems kind of like an afterthought for the partners, and the way they handled the case study was kind of like an example of that.
It’s unfortunate because the four guys behind it (Tanner Larsson, Los Silva, Ryan Coisson and Daniel Audunson) definitely know how to successfully sell on Amazon. They didn’t offer a community at first, but I have to give them credit for adding a Facebook group during the process. The only one of the team I’ve really seen comment at all is Ryan. The others may be doing work behind the scenes, but Ryan has been the most visible. They officially designated someone to run the Facebook group, which helps keep it active, but she doesn’t seem to be as much of an expert as the course creators. She’s done a good job managing the group, so I’m not saying that to take anything away from her, but you’re not getting great access to the guys who created the course. As you know, this is something I like to see.
So, bottom line, I know this team is capable of putting together excellent training – I really like some of what I’ve seen, but I feel like it fell short overall. I’d personally recommend you pass on this one.
I’m not even sure if this course is still available, but I’m keeping this review posted in case it relaunches. I’ve seen other courses from these guys over the years and wouldn’t recommend something from any of them going forward. It seems like they have their hands in too many things and my concern is that Ecom Masters is more of an afterthought for them.
- TRAINING: Average. They covered a lot of the right points, but I felt that there were just too many gaps in the training. They will be updating the training in Fall 2017, but as of July the content is a few years old. If they are taking a few years between updates, it’s not a course you want to purchase.
- COMMUNITY: Available, with limited leadership. It’s not sufficiently active in my opinion.
- USP: They have a unique spin on product selection and they also put more of an emphasis on branding.
Additional Comments: Note that it has now been added as part of the Proven Amazon Course, so it comes with information regarding a lot of other Amazon business models in addition to private labeling. It may still be a worthwhile purchase if you’re interested in the other models, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a standalone private label course anymore.
Even though it’s the least expensive of all private label options, if you’re serious enough about the business to want to purchase a course, I’d probably recommend Marketplace Superheroes or ASM, depending on your budget.
Although I’ve written separate reviews for Import Dojo and Ecomm Elite, I haven’t had time to incorporate them into this “ASM Alternatives” post, but I do like both and would recommend you check out those reviews if you’d like to learn more. I’ll try to update this post soon.
Amazing Selling Machine is still the “Cadillac” of private label courses for those who can afford the price tag (especially if you take advantage of a bonus offer that includes personal coaching), but I can also recommend Import Empire, Marketplace Heroes, Ecomm Elite or Import Dojo to anyone looking for a strong, but less expensive alternative.
When comparing the recommended alternatives, it’s hard to say which one is the best choice. They are each strong, but the one that’s right for you depends on a couple of things, like: level of experience, learning style, need for personal attention, etc. I’ll summarize my thoughts below, but I encourage you to read through the more thorough reviews I mentioned above if any of these interest you:
- Import Empire review – a lot of great content, but I don’t recommend it if you can get overwhelmed with too much information. There’s almost too much to go through, so I’d recommend another course if you want really focused content.
- Marketplace Superheroes review – excellent content and it’s been recently updated. The biggest drawback is that their community isn’t as active as I’d like, but it’s a solid course at a good price point. It’s probably the best balance of price and quality right now.
- Ecomm Elite review – excellent quality, but they don’t focus exclusively on private label. Part of their training teaches how to purchase from wholesalers and resell on Amazon, so their community discusses both strategies. Although their course is very good, the fact that it’s a monthly subscription could turn people off, especially since their price has increased over time and the cost of ASM has come down. Ecomm Elite was much less expensive when I first reviewed it, but now you’d pay more for the course over time than you would for an ASM membership. You do get some tools included with your membership, but I’d only recommend Ecomm Elite if you’re interested in more than just private label.
- Import Dojo review – Very strong content regarding the product selection and importing process, but not as strong with respect to actually selling products on Amazon. He’s got the mechanics down, but I don’t think his strategies are that good. They have different tiers of membership, but the one I would recommend if you’re considering a purchase is their Masterclass option at $497. I personally think the course was worth the price just for the education on sourcing and importing, but you’d want to have another way to better lean the Amazon side of things.
My opinions change over time as courses are updated, but if you’re just looking for a focused private label course at a reasonable price, I’d say Marketplace Superheroes is your best bet right now.
Feel free to let me know if there are any other specific courses you’d like me to check out.
I know this may still be a big decision for you, so feel free to ask any questions in the comment area down below. I’m also happy to have a complementary call or Skype session if you’d like to discuss anything. Feel free to call/text me at 917-338-9644 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set something up.
Note: In addition to being an experienced private label seller, I am also an affiliate for all the courses mentioned in this post and would earn a commission on anything you purchase through a link on this page. However, I do like to direct people to the course that makes the most sense for them, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.
The opinions in this post are based on my personal experience with each of the courses. Regardless of what you decide to do, I encourage you to speak with someone who has experience selling private label products on Amazon.