Making Money Selling Mugs on Etsy & Amazon with Dave Kettner


Here we go again! SideHustle Lounge Podcast host, Bill Soroka, now has yet another side hustle after this dynamic episode with private label e-commerce expert, Dave Kettner. Using Print-On-Demand, you can build a multiple six-figure enterprise selling on Etsy and Amazon without owning any inventory. You have to listen to this!

Some of this weeks episode highlights are:

13:24 Get a roadmap. If you don't have a roadmap, you're probably going to be wasting more money than the course would have cost you anyway.

34:00 I always say the sky's the limit with this. Your only limitation is your imagination.

47:43 So it's up to you, what you put into it. Start sacrificing some of the things you don't really need in your life. Make sure you prioritize things in your life.

--- Full Raw Transcription Below ---

Dave Kettner (00:00):

I believe in the abundance mindset. I think Robert Kiyosaki talks about that as well. There's really an abundant life that's out there for everybody. And when people realize that, and they realize what opportunity there is out there, then that's when they can really open up their horizons and do things like we're going to be talking about here today.

Introduction (00:18):

Welcome to the side hustle lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset and live the lifestyle, you've always dreamed of you're in the right place. So lower the lights, grab your favorite beverage and join your host, founder of notary and Amazon bestselling author of Sign And Thrive, How to Make Six Figures as a Mobile Notary and Loan Signing Agent, Bill Soroka.

Bill Soroka (00:52):

Cheers and welcome to my guest today, Dave Kettner, Dave's a private label e-commerce expert seller and coach. And I have been looking forward to this conversation. Dave, thank you so much for joining us here in the South Hustle Lounge.

Dave Kettner (01:04):

Yes. Thanks, Bill. Appreciate having me on.

Bill Soroka (01:07):

Yeah, well, I'm so glad that we're doing this cause I was introduced to you through another guy that I respect and who's changed my life with his book by Robert Kiyosaki. I saw you doing a webinar with him talking about this concept of private label, Amazon work in particular, the mug, mug-preneur opportunity. Really got my attention.

Dave Kettner (01:33):

He is, he loves, he loves it be cause anytime you are, you know, we're actually empowering people to be entrepreneurs, especially with the power of that the online presence off, offers us. You know, he absolutely loves it. So yes, I've been working with him since 2015 is when I was first introduced to him in his office. And we've done a lot of cool things together. Like actually we wrote a book, I wrote a book with him back in 2015, it was called the the Amazon Millionaire and he coauthored it with me and we put it out together. And in fact it was actually the only, it was the second time he's ever co-authored a book at that time in 2015, I was the second one - only second to Donald Trump. Donald Trump was his first one.

Bill Soroka (02:18):

No kidding. Interesting.

Dave Kettner (02:20):

I thought that was pretty cool. So……

Bill Soroka (02:22):

Well, it really is.

Bill Soroka (02:24):

Yeah, exactly. And I know that I know you live in Arizona. I know Robert has a home here in Arizona. Is, did you meet in person? Tell me how you met him.

Dave Kettner (02:33):

Good question. So it was through a mutual friend. And I was actually working with Jason Katzenback back and Matt Clark, Clark from the Amazing Selling Machine. That's how I learned how to the Amazon private label business back in 2013. And I was actually one of their better students and I was, they knew that I was a teacher, so they were asking me to help them with coaching other people and whatnot. And they at the time were working with Robert's, Rich Dad's Office and you know, trying to get him to promote their program. And the only thing was they weren't doing nothing, no one in their office was doing anything with Amazon and they didn't know how to promote it or how to coach that sort of thing. And yet I was over here, the coach side of things. So basically Jason approached me and they connected the two of us together and he said, he goes, how would you like to work with Robert Kiyosaki in the Rich Dad's Office?

Dave Kettner (03:23):

And I said, well, that'd be great. I said, but you know, I don't, I don't know them. How am I going to make that connection? He goes, ah, but I, I know him, so I will connect the two of you guys. And, and that's how it started. They connected me to the guys in their office. And then that led to me actually meeting with the man himself. And, you know, we did some interviews together. He actually spoke at my live event that summer in 2015. And yeah, we've done several things since then, which is really cool.

Bill Soroka (03:48):

That is really cool. I mean, did you ever see this coming? Is this, did you have this mapped out and planned out that private label on Amazon and then working in partnership with Robert Kiyosaki?

Dave Kettner (04:00):

You know, how life works, Billy, he never really planned things out. I think I knew that I was going to do some interesting things in my life. I didn't know what specifically they were. But it's really how I think God works in, in my life, is just, you know, he opens up doors for me that some things I never knew were possible. And as it happens, you know, you kinda just get a bigger, bigger picture of what, you know, He, and He wants for your life. And yeah, so I can't say I ever envisioned that specifically, but you know, I, I had a feeling that, you know, good things were continuing to happen and, and it just that's how life has been for me as the years go on here.

Dave Ketner (04:40):

So it's really, for me, it's all about, and this is why I'm doing this. This is why I actually help others is because I know that when I give back and I help others achieve what I've been blessed with, that that returns, not that I wanted the return, but it just, the way it works. I mean, I go out there and make a difference in this world and it comes back tenfold. It's a biblical principle and it's the way that I live my life. My wife and I live together and it's, it's blessed us beyond beyond I can ever imagine.

Bill Soroka (05:10):

That's beautiful. I love that concept of givers gain.

Dave Kettner (05:13):

It's true. But like I said, that's not the reason why we do it, you know, but that's clearly the benefit that comes from it. So I'm doing whatever I can to to do what I've been called to do in this life. And and that, you know, is trying to make this world a better place. And I believe in the abundance mindset, I think Robert Kiyosaki talks about that as well. There's really an abundant life that's out there for everybody. And this whole mindset of, you know, just that there isn't, it's really the opposite of that. And when people realize that and they realize what opportunity there is out there, then that's when they can really open up their horizons and do things like we're going to be talking about here today.

Bill Soroka (05:51):

Yeah. I love that abundant mindset. And it sparked a question though, because you know, sometimes some of our listeners might be faced with circumstances where it's hard to see the abundance through what's happening right now. Have you ever experienced that? And if so, how do you remind yourself of abundance?

Dave Kettner (06:12):

So that's a great question. You know, that is, obviously there's going to be struggles in our life. It happens all the time. And it makes you wonder, hey, am I doing the right things? You know, with all aspects, whether it be relationships, whether it be business, you know, all friendships, it's just a part of life. And I think it is that ever battle that we're faced in our life. I almost wanna say it's a spiritual battle of good against evil really. And you know, so when, for me, when, when I am faced with those pitfalls, those, those low periods, you know, again, I'm a spiritual person. I always ask God and I, and I say, hey, what, why am I, why is this happening? What are you trying to teach me in this moment? Because, you know, I believe, you know, God talks about it in the Bible.

Dave Kettner (06:57):

He says that, you know, everything happens for the greater good. Okay. So there's something greater good happening in even those little things that happen in your life, a death of a family member, a loss of a job, you know, any of that stuff, you know, it's like, well, what's the good in that. And so what I'm always trying to do is ask for that higher presence to say, hey, please show me what this is. And so that has helped me get through those low times in my life. There's been times where it happened in 2015, where I just think that, you know, I was like, whoa, this is, you know, like you said, you ever see this happening when it happens to you. You're like, wow, this is amazing, right. Sometimes that goes to your head. And when it goes to your head, you get some pride issues or you get some, you know, you realize, you start to think that this is you, maybe that was the success came from what you were doing.

Dave Kettner (07:43):

And, and really, it's not in my opinion. You know, it's, it's, again, I think it's blessings. And when you try to think that it's all you and you be thinking you're all that, then all of a sudden, it's about time for you to get knocked down. And that happened to me at the end of 2015. And, and so I had to realize where my strength and power comes from, and then I had to readjust and get back to it. So I mean that whenever these down things happen, I think there's, you look for the greater good in it and that's how I get through it. So I know there's a lot of people that are struggling probably as they're listening to this here today. And you know, just trying to understand that, hey, this happens to everybody, but there's good that can happen from anything. It doesn't matter if try to find out what that is and get to a better place.

Bill Soroka (08:26):

Beautiful, Dave, but I love that philosophy on life. So I can tell that it's serving you really well. So let's look at what we're here to talk about. You know, I had invited Todd Snively earlier in the year to talk about Amazon wholesaling. That's different than the Amazon private label. Can you maybe share what Amazon private label or just private label experience is and the difference?

Dave Kettner (08:49):

Amazon pri, well, any kind of private labeling is basically where you're putting your name to a product. So you create, or you're, you know, you already have a brand name you're putting it onto your own product, right? So it doesn't matter what it is. If you're able to get something manufactured and be able to sell it as your own brand, put your brand name on it, that's private labeling. Okay. And there are manufacturers all over the world that do this. Sometimes they call it OEM and where they're actually able to, you know, they let you know, as you go and you try to find these manufacturers that you can actually make something with us and we will put your brand name on it. And there's other things that you can't do that with. Like, you know, if you go to apple and say, hey, I want to put my own brand name onto an iPhone.

Dave Kettner (09:32):

They're not going to do that. Right. There's certain companies that will not allow you to do that. They have the, the ownership of that. They're not going to allow you to have your own phone. That that's the exact same thing as an iPhone. You call it, hey, this is Dave's phone. Yeah. I mean, you call it your phone, we get market it as that. Right? So there's plenty of things that you can do that with. What I, what I try to tell people is, you know, what can you do this with is think about if you're out there, go to shop for something, are you looking for the name brand? Or are you just looking for the first thing that comes up, you know, if you're looking for something generic. So if you're going out looking for toilet paper, are you going to be looking for a name brand? And most of the time you are. Right? You maybe you've been using the same kind of like, Charman very, you know, maybe that's a nice comfort, you know, padding and you're like, definitely wants Charman. You're not going to go through, you know, Bill's value toilet paper. I was like, what is that? There's no way I want to take it might be cheaper, but I don't want to even trust that one. Right. No offense Bill, you know, but…

Bill Soroka (10:33):

Hey, I don't blame you. Too risky.

Dave Kettner (10:35):

Now. Whereas if you're going to go out and we've been talking about here a little, bit coffee mugs. You know, if you go out there and look for you know, looking for a specific design on the coffee mug, there isn't one name brand that really comes to mind that you're out there looking for a coffee mug. Right? I mean, if you think about thinking about things that you think name brand like toilet paper comes to mind, cars come to mind, refrigerators, electronics, you know, but there's certain things that just, you go on Amazon, for example, and you're looking for stuff you're not looking for name brand, you're looking for a keyword, right? You're looking for a specific something. And you're trying to describe it where, so that wouldn't be brand driven where you're not putting, like you, you're not putting sneakers in there, you're looking for Nike. So Reebok's right. So those are two different things there. That's how, and there's, like I said, there's companies out there that you can put your private name brand to it, and that's what private labeling is.

Bill Soroka (11:28):

Awesome. Okay. That does a good job of explaining that. So let's, and you mentioned mugs, and that's a really how, you've just the niche that you've carved for yourself as the mug preneur. So how does that work?

Dave Kettner (11:46):

Yeah. So that's a, that's a great question. So the whole thing with the mugs, and, and now we're talking a little bit different here because we actually, you know, about two years ago is, you know, this whole private label thing is about putting your brand name onto a, onto a product. Right? So I just wanna kind of go back a little bit because what, what, what that takes is an investment into inventory. All right. So when you were actually creating something, you're buying it in advance. And a lot of times we start on Amazon because 50 - over 50% of the online sales in the USA happened on Amazon. So we want to put it in front of those buyers that are already there shopping, right? The problem is that you have to pay for that upfront. So if we were to say, talk about coffee mugs, and you know, we want to buy a specific design, you know, we're going to have the buy, probably at least a hundred of them, maybe 200 mugs to put up there for sale.

Dave Kettner (12:38):

Well, now you're talking some outlet of money, right? In that case, you're talking probably about a thousand dollars. And a lot of times when I used to work with, with Amazon, with private label, sellers, teach them how to do Amazon sort of thing. And I let them know, hey, it's going to take, you know, a thousand, maybe 2000 dollars of inventory upfront to put on Amazon for sale. Amazon also has gotten very difficult. As more people have come there and they started selling their own stuff and whatnot, there's more competition. So you have to do more marketing stuff. And that marketing is also going to cost you money. So my whole point with that, this will give you the premises of this is that it takes a lot of money to get a private label business started on Amazon.

Dave Kettner (13:18):

All right. So fast forward when I started in '13, teach people how to do it, to get into 2019 two years ago, or so I started saying, hey, how can I teach people how to get started in this, with this business model without money an outlay of money? Because most people, you know, if they're buying a course, which I highly recommend the buy, you know, of course that works because that is going to be your roadmap. And if you don't have a roadmap, you're going to be probably wasting more money than the course would have cost you anyway. All right. So you need that roadmap, but you gonna have to pay for that upfront. So now you already have money into a course, you're going to have the money in inventory? How can I get teach people how to get started without outlaying money on inventory?

Dave Kettner (13:58):

That's where this whole mug thing came about. So I started looking into the POD side of the business, which is Print On Demand. All right? And the reason why the whole mug thing came out is because if you think about it, mugs are something that is an easy buy. It's easy to purchase. It's cheap. It's something that people buy for gifts. It's something that can be created very easily and something that literally, I mean, people were buying all the time. If you think about it, let me ask you though, if you were, if I were to ask you and you probably don't know off the top of your head, but in your kitchen and pantry, you know, whatever in your, in your house, how many ceramic mugs do you think you have?

Bill Soroka (14:33):

At least 12 to 18 of them of them.

Dave Kettner (14:35):

Okay. And believe it or not, that's on the low side.

Dave Kettner (14:38):


Bill Soroka (14:39):


Dave Kettner (14:39):

Most people want to ask them, they say somewhere between 30 and 50. Okay? Now think about this. How many of you think you've bought as, you know, your family as your household, either for you or for somebody else over the past year?

Bill Soroka (14:51):

Oh my gosh. A lot. Okay. Know, it's like the go-to whenever I need a gift.

Dave Kettner (14:57):

True. All right. So, what we did was we went and looked at how many households were in the U. S. And at the time when I researched it, there was about 130 million households. All right. So if we just determined that each household would buy just three mugs a year, because remember they break, they're a great gift. And most people will say, they'd probably buy more than three, but let's keep it very conservative here. I like to keep it conservative and let's look at what this could possibly be. And that we can think on a higher level. And maybe we start throwing out some higher numbers later.

Dave Kettner (15:26):

But let's just be very conservative and say that each household, maybe would buy three mugs in a year, well, 130 million households, times, three months, a year, we're talking almost 400 million mugs in the U. S. and this is just the USA, by the way, just the USA alone, would be purchasing a mug. So that's a big market. All right? A very big market. And mugs are very easy, it's very easy buy because it could be anywhere from, you know, we're talking like $15 to $20 purchase. It's an easy purchase. It's something that we can design. We can, we can actually put something on the mug that's unique, very different to other people. And with Print On Demand, we can also have it personalized, whether it be someone's name, whether it be someone's date, whether it be their picture, you know, we can do their, their wedding date, their anniversary, you know, there's a lot of things we can do here.

Dave Kettner (16:12):

So that kind of then takes away that competition because we can make it very unique. All right? So, all these things came together and probably even more than that, but I just want to give the higher level picture where we're at, of why we did this to help people get started because with a Print On Demand, what happens is you put these products, in this case, a mug, up on sale, places like Etsy and Amazon. It doesn't cost you anything inventory wise to put up the listing. Now don't get me wrong here. Oh, wait a second. It's not free. You're right on Etsy. It costs 20 cents. For every listing you put up there on Amazon, it does cost $40 a month for a sellers account. All right. So I just want to throw that out there.

Dave Kettner (16:48):

So people are saying, hey, wait a second, you said there's no cost. There's no cost for the product. All right? So if I were in a weekend where to show you bill, how to do say a hundred mugs, and post them up, let's say in Etsy, a hundred times, 20 cents, quick math.

Bill Soroka (17:05):

Oh, geez. $20?

Dave Kettner (17:06):

Yes. Good job. That was very good. Yes. $20 to put up a hundred mugs and that $20 would keep those listings live for actually four months. If a sale goes through it, it actually renews and it goes through for another four months. Okay. But you can put a hundred mugs up for sale on a brand new Etsy store. And Etsy is not going to charge you a monthly fee or anything, all right, besides the cost of 20 cents to put it up there. So for $20, you have mugs up there for sale for, you know with a hundred mugs.

Dave Kettner (17:35):

And now you can start selling those to people. Now you're not paying for that inventory because it's just the listing that's up there. Now, what happens is this whole model is, when a sale goes through, all right, the, you get paid for that order. So, let's just do easy math here and just say with the price of the mug and shipping is $20. So a customer will pay you $20. It goes through Etsy and says, hey, you have a new order. Make sure you fulfill this. And here's your $20. All right. Now, on the other side of that, we have a supplier that we work with. All right, we actually will have that order go to our Print On Demand supplier, will print that mug for us; and it'll take maybe three to three business days in a low end, up to eight business days.

Dave Kettner (18:17):

They print it. They ship it. The shipping, then we get the tracking number, and that, so when we get to the customer on Etsy and then boom, they charge us, you know what it is for to buy that, to, to actually produce that. A lot of times it's going to be with the shipping and the cost of the mug. We're talking about $10 to do an easy math here. Not don't be exact. Right,

Bill Soroka (18:40):

Right, Right.

Dave Kettner (18:41):

There's going to be a little bit of, I think there's like a 5% charge that Etsy charges you for transaction fees or whatever. But again, easy math. If the customer paid you $20, it costs you $10 to sell it. You make the difference $10. All right? Wow. That's a 50% margin. So I'm going to drop it down to say 35 to 40% profit margin because we have some fees in there.

Dave Kettner (19:02):

You might have some add costs, that sort of thing. Okay. But that's the kind of, that's how this business model works. And now I can show somebody how to have a business where they're making money without having out, you know, hardly any outlay besides maybe your time and effort, right. To make it happen. And now I can get them making money online a lot of times for the first time ever, because people have tried like, oh God,I want to make money. Well, the last thing I want people to do is to spend money out of their wallet and say, hey, I've lost money in this business. All right? With this business, you can't lose money. All right? You can lose time, but you can't lose the money. All right? So now we have a business model that people can start making money. They can start then generating success.

Dave Kettner (19:47):

And then what happens, looking down the road, you know, as far as you mentioned, we talked about private label before, once you find some winners with this whole thing, now you can utilize your profits to buy some of that stock and put it into Amazon FBA. Now you have a private label business. All right? So the way I've done this now is I've made it so it's kind of like a, a stair-stepping business kind of like a business 1 0 1 to a business, 1 0 2 or 2 0 1, like a college course. Right? And I did a way now, so people can learn to make money first and then utilize their profits to grow their business after. All right? So that's kind of how that whole works. And I know I spoke a long time there Bill, but that's, I have to explain it like in detail like that, so people can understand what it is that we're talking about here.

Bill Soroka (20:33):

I'm so glad that you did that too, because you, not understanding the business. I don't know that I would know what questions to ask to get there. So that was beautiful. And here's the disappointing part for me, Dave, there's a part of me that had that during our conversation. I was going to not like this business and not be in love with it, but that has got me so fired up. My wheels are turning. The last thing I need is another side hustle, but I think I've got one now with this, but I do have some more questions. If you don't mind, I'd like to probe a little deeper on that. You said, find some winners and what keeps going through my head is how much freedom do you have to create? And what is it that you're trying to create on these mugs that people would buy?

Dave Kettner (21:17):

So that's a great question. First of all, the answer, the first part of your question, you have the full freedom to do whatever it is that you want to do with that. Right? So it's, I mean, we start an Etsy just because Etsy is less competition. It's easier. There's more people are looking for handmade products which they consider is a handmade product? Okay? It, the only hold back is the fact that it's gonna cost you 20 more cents for everything you put up there. Right? All right. So, okay. That's, that's the only.

Bill Soroka (21:43):


Dave Kettner (21:45):

But the, you know, the rest of that question is, you know, this is kind of like, I mean, well, first of all, the whole, there's no hole back so you can do whatever it is. And I'm forgetting what the first or the other part of the question was now that I said all that

Bill Soroka (21:58):

Just, how do you find a winner? How do you decide what's on the mug?

Dave Kettner (22:01):

Yeah. So, what we do is, I always say that success leaves clues. All right? So, you can go out there and see what people are, are doing well with. All right. You mentioned winners, right? So we can go out and see what other people's winners are. All right. And it's something that I teach in, in my course. I work with my students and I show them exactly how to find winners. Now, we got to make sure that we have, that we're very clear about something here. Some people think that finding winners is, oh, let's go ahead and copy those winners. Okay. We're not going to do copy other people. Like I said, we live in an abundant world. We don't have to copy exactly someone else's intellectual property, Though, we can utilize their success to make something similar; similar design, a similar message on the, on the mug, something like that and create that.

Dave Kettner (22:46):

So it will come across. It will be actually different than what the other person that was doing well with. And it, you know, other people, what I say is, you know, there's a lot of customers that will like different things. So if I were to lay out, like if we, we don't have any video here today, but if we were to put a video and I had a slide of three different mugs, and we took a poll of everyone, who's listening to this podcast right now and say, hey, which one of those three would you pick, A, B or C? It would probably be pretty even across the board that if someone like the first one, some I like the second some like the third, you and I might like something totally different. So to give other, you know, give the customers options. That's actually a good thing.

Dave Kettner (23:23):

All right. So we're really not stepping on the shoes of someone else, even though the message might be the same or the design might be similar, but we're making, we're giving more options out there to the marketplace. All right. So, we're not copying, but we're copying the idea, seeing that it markets well to that niche of people. Right? And then we go ahead and put something out there. So if I were to break it down as an example for you we can talk about how, you know, we've gone through this and some people would say, we're still in it. I like to think we're beyond it, but let's talk about like pandemic, right? And what we went through during that time, or sometimes people are still going through this, right? We went through a lockdown, we went through a toilet crisis. We went through, you know, vaccinations and, you know, people losing their jobs, whatever.

Dave Kettner (24:09):

I don't like to make fun of that because some of the, you know, that's, we don't want to make light of some of that. Some of that stuff was pretty serious. Some people, you know, we lost people, you know, some people might've lost a very close loved one. Now with that being said, we can put messages out there that people will relate to, that they went through a time or they're going through a time. And when it came to the pandemic, there was a lot of different designs on mugs that sold amazingly. And for example, I'm looking at one right now, actually I'm drinking at one, you can't see me and those of you listening to this call, but it was specifically about somebody, so like a boss, a friend, a mom, a dad, and it says, hey, this one is a friend, A Friend Like You Is Harder To Find Than Toilet Paper During A Pandemic. Alright. That sold like crazy. All right. And all we did, we made it unique. Some people had the same thing. We use different fonts. We use different little images on there and whatnot, and it related to different people. And it took off. Now, I'm hoping that this design stops selling because I don't want to be in a pandemic anymore or have anything to do with it. But as long as people are still buying stuff, we'll put it up there for sale.

Bill Soroka (25:19):

I love that. So I could make one that was witty and funny about the pen, the 65 pounds I gained during a pandemic.

Dave Kettner (25:26):

Yeah, exactly. You can make it to that, people can put whatever number that is. So where you at 65, you know, for someone who might be 15 or 20, or it might be a 100 plus, you know, I don't know what it is, but they can make it where they can change that. You know, it can be, they can actually make it very specific so it's targeted to exactly what, whoever the person is. Well, that, that'd be a tough one to give to someone as a gift, unless you're buying it for yourself. Right.

Bill Soroka (25:53):

It's true. Right. It could be offensive. Right. Well, okay. So, you know, when I watched you and Robert on I think it was a webinar, you got my wheels turning then too. So tell me what was, is this a strategy we could implement? I started thinking about my wittiest friends, the ones that have these token slogans or phrases that they use all the time. We even have our own inside jokes that other people might find funny. Could we print those on mugs and see if they sell?

Dave Kettner (26:24):

So, as long as it is something you own, like, it's, it wasn't have to be a copyright, but you have to make sure it's not copyrighted or trademarked name. So like, for example, I'm not going to put a mug out there that says, Just Do It. Right. All right. That's copywrited phrase. All right? Or, or anything like that. So, but for you and your business, if you have something, I'll give you an example. I work with Anik Singal. He is an amazing entrepreneur. He, he has his own brand that he built called Lurn and it's Lurn, and his, his phrase line is, you know, stand tall, he say, when life pushes, you stand tall and straight and push it the heck back. All right. Now I don't know if he ever copyrighted or not, but I would not use his phrase on my mugs. You know, that would be his thing. If he ever saw me that I was doing that, I don't think he'd be very happy when they especially if I was making money and not giving him the benefit of it. Right. But something like that. So if you, and then I would copyright that too, if that was something that you're pushing out there. So whatever yours is, more than likely, I'm guessing you guys use it because it's not used by anybody else. And yeah, definitely. You can put that on a mug.

Bill Soroka (27:35):

Yeah. Well, that's awesome. That just opens up so many doors and I love that you mentioned Anik as well. I read several of his books that helped me in my business several times, especially when it came to content and email marketing. Okay. So the other additional question I wanted to ask is we're, we're talking very specifically about mugs here. What, is there a bigger opportunity here as well?

Dave Kettner (28:00):

Oh my gosh, totally. So we're just talking about starting with mugs, right? With, with Print On demand, there's, there's tons of opportunities. I mean, if you just go onto Etsy, you go on to the Amazon and look at anything that could be personalized. Right. You can search for that specific word personalized and then whatever. Alright. And see what products that are out there that you can personalize. If it's out there to be personalized more likely there is a supplier that will do that for you. All right. So the one specific one that I, that I work with the company is called IconEcom and they have over a hundred products that you can personalize many different variations of different things like that. So if you find a winner, a lot of times we're going to take that winner. We're going to put it on all kinds of different products.

Dave Kettner (28:45):

This is how you can take your business and multiply it overnight, basically because you're taking the design you already have, and you're putting it onto other drinkable items, like a travel mug and a tumbler and a water bottle, and you push it to a, t-shirt a sweatshirt and a bag and a pillow and whatever. I mean, there's tons of things. You hats, socks bags. I mean, it's ridiculous the amount of things you can push it to. There's no end to this business when it comes to the Print On Demand side of things. And it's just a matter of, like I said, the time and effort it takes to put those things up, like right now you know, we're actually, as we're recording this, we're coming into a holiday time of year and I can't put enough products up for sale because I just had so much time in a day. Right. I even have a team of people that we're, that we can only still do so much in a day, I mean we want to make sure that we're doing the right things and doing quality stuff, not just throwing junk up there. Right. but you know, you're only limited by the time you have in a day basically to, to get it done. So really, there's a, sky's the limit when it comes to this business.

Bill Soroka (29:52):

I love that again. Got my wheels, absolutely turning here. It sounds like the startup investment is relatively small all the way around. So there's no inventory investment. Aside from investing in a course that kind of shines the light on how to do this. What other expenses can people look for?

Dave Kettner (30:17):

Yeah. Was a good question. So there is obviously, like I said, we said a course, right. So of course is a good thing to have. And people were like, oh, I can go out and find things on YouTube. You can, you don't know if it's up to date. You don't know how valid it is. It's not structured. Well. you know, there's, there's a lot of things that I can, I can say why you'd want to actually do it through someone else, but of course is gonna be one. You're going to want to have some kind of keyword research tool. In, in my course, I talk about a few of them. I mean, we could talk anywhere from a few dollars a month to, you know, like a $50, you buy one time fee. So it's not much money we're talking about here.

Dave Kettner (30:54):

In fact, when I recommend, I think it's $47, we have a, a student link, but if you're not a student it's $67, it's, it's not much. Okay. you would also want to have some way to design, right? I actually have a, I'm not a designer just so you know, I'm not good at designing. I'm not creative when it comes to that stuff. But when I can actually get, buy a tool and utilize that to, to make some good designs, one of the things that I use all the time is called Word Swag. It's an app that you can get for your iPhone or Android, whatever it is you use. And it costs a whopping $5 a month to put different things in there, different sayings. And you can just push out, you get, you can tell you like 500 different options for designs of one phrase that you put in there.

Dave Kettner (31:41):

So there's so much creativity you can do with that one thing. If that's not your thing, you can actually pay someone. You can go onto Fiverr and have them say, hey, here's this design that I found, can you make something similar that's not copying it. They charge you five bucks to do that. You know? So one way or another, unless you are a designer, you want to do it yourself, you're going to need some kind of tool or a service to do it for you. Okay. So that's another expense. And the only other thing would be, you don't have to pay for ads. Etsy has an ads platform. It doesn't cost you that much to run it. I highly recommend that people turn on the Etsy ads, as long as you are doing your keywords correctly, which is why you need that keyword tool.

Dave Kettner (32:22):

And if you're doing your keywords correctly, you're going to get good target traffic. You're not, you're probably going to, what's going to cost you in those ads is going to be just taken out of your profits basically, cause that's going to go through. But that would be the only other thing to consider. But like I said, I usually don't tell people to factor that into your cost because usually that's going to be factored in, into your revenue. All right. So is there a going to come out of the top of that? So really out of pocket, you know, we're talking about course, we're talking about a couple of tools or designing tools, that sort of thing. And that's really about it. There's not, there's not much out of pocket when it comes to starting this business.

Bill Soroka (32:55):

Yeah. That's that's intriguing for sure. So what keeps coming to my head? Because I know that this has been pretty popular. Is there a such thing as over-saturation in the market like this? And if so, or even if not, how do you stand out?

Dave Kettner (33:14):

So there's always, you know, that's something that's always going to, people are gonna ask us about you know, I missed the boat on this. Is it oversaturated? That sort of thing. And with some things, yes. You know, that would be the case. With this business not so much. And it's because you can make things so unique that there's no, you're selling something that no one else is. All right. That's just the design side of things. Now, when we talked about earlier about the personalization side of things, now it's totally unique. There, there's no way that you're selling anything exactly the same as somebody else. Okay. And there's so many different, you know, if you have, let me give an example that one design we're talking about, remember I read it to you. And I remember I said, friend, boss, mother, death, think about all the different people you can put on there.

Dave Kettner (34:00):

Right? So if you come up with a design, you can think about how you're target to, whether it be someone in your family, whether it be a coworker, whether it be, you know, some, someone you're given for a gift. I mean, you can design things for, you know, a sports team, your local sports team. You could have a fundraiser for our school. There's so many things you can do. You're always can target different dates. You can target different people's weddings or anniversaries, their engagements, you know, think about all the different holidays you can have. And then you can target professions. I mean, there's no, like I said, that, that the pandemic, well we're targeting professions, right? So people were buying it specifically for what profession that person was. There is, that's why I always say the sky's the limit with this thing. It really, your only limitation is your imagination.

Dave Kettner (34:44):

And so I don't worry about oversaturation. I don't worry about sharing this idea with other people because of those specific reasons. And yeah, to be honest with you, Bill, there's, I can talk about this business till I'm blue in the face. I can market it to a lot of people and the majority of people will still not do anything with it or take it to the point where they possibly can.

Dave Kettner (35:09):

So there's not that many people that you're competing with, even though there's people like me that are out there and saying, hey, this is working, do something with it. And and yet this is what I do for a living, not selling the course, not teaching students with coaching, but the product business itself. That's what I do for a living. All right. So I'm still using this to pay, to put, you know, the, the, the food on the table to keep the house, the roof over my head and everything that do for our family, right. This is what I do for a living. I do the product business. I'm a product business owner. All right. That's my main business, not a coach or a seller of courses.

Bill Soroka (35:50):

Yeah. Personally, I find that really comforting and I respect it a lot. Cause I like to take advice from people who are down in the trenches with me doing that. So I have two more final questions for you. Since we're talking about the course, and I know that you have a course and for those who are listening and you're intrigued, as intrigued as I am about Dave, you can go there, join the VIP room and I'll have all the links to Dave's course and more information in there for you as well. But what would you say are the three biggest benefits to learning from you inside your course?

Dave Kettner (36:29):

Well, I think one of the biggest benefits is like, I'll just share. I knew this for a living. This is not a, I'm not a, has-been like the whole that doesn't ever change. You know, I, this is, you know, I'm in the trenches doing this daily. So I'm able to know exactly what is working now. I'm able to keep up with the updates with whatever that's going on, which happens often with, with, especially with Amazon. Amazon is always changing. But as things are, are growing and developing that sort of thing, I'm updating my course, I'm updating my students. So this is what I'm doing for a living. And so that's why I'm showing people, hey, this is exactly what's happening today. All right. Not what happened last month or last year, this is what's happened now. All right. So that's a big thing. I always say people before you invest in a course, ask the course creator, do they do this for a living still?

Dave Kettner (37:18):

Right? Are they doing it? And a lot of times they'll tell you, or they, a lot of them won't answer you because the answer is no. There's a lot of times they teach you after they, got, that boat has already left the harbor basically. Right? So that's one. The second thing is, I'm a coach, I'm a teacher at heart. I was actually, that was what I went to college for. I went to school for history of secondary ed. I was actually teaching in a school district where I never actually taught history. I was teaching other things for six years. I was a teacher trainer for six years. So I was, they, I, they developed me to a point where they're like, hey, Dave's, so good at teaching kids. Let's have him teach other teachers. That's what I did for six years. All right.

Dave Kettner (38:00):

So my background before I actually say I retired from the whole teaching thing in the public school district, which was in two, I had, you know, 2009, May of 2009 is when I left the schooling system for, that's it. I've been working on my own since then. And loving every minute, I always say I'm unemployable. There's no way I'm going to go work for somebody else per hourly wage ever again. Okay. So because I had that teacher background, you know, I think I've told the, I've been, again, I don't like patting myself on the back, back Bill, but you know, people will tell me all the time that, hey, Dave is a natural teacher and this is why I want you to learn from him because I know how to get to people. I know how, my content is around ways that work; different modalities of learning, you know, visually, written wise, audio wise, all that stuff.

Dave Kettner (38:50):

And I knew it in a structured way, so people can follow things and take action on things moving forward. So it's not something that's hard to understand, right? There's no tech skills really involved with this. I'm not a techie person at all myself. All right. So, that's, that's two, right? So I do it. I know I'm good at teaching it. And you know, the third thing is that, you know, it's, well, this is a hot thing. And there's, there's a few other people that are teaching in a way, that are teaching is something similar, but not the way I do it. You know, I teach it as we talked about at the beginning, kind of like this structured approach to start with this POD model specifically on Etsy, which is not to maybe what we're talking about, Etsy at all. People like to jump and I get students all the time and say, this to me is that, hey, you're telling me that 50% of the sales is happening on, on, on Amazon. I want to start there. I would love to start there too, but guess what? I tried it and I, that's where there's more failure. All right.

Dave Kettner (39:47):

So the way I teach it is built not only for success for me, but success for you more importantly. All right. So the way I teach it, no one has really they're teaching it this way, where I'm teaching Print On Demand stuff, Etsy. Move to other products next with your successes. Then move to Amazon POD personalization, which just means that there's no reason to put stuff up the Amazon POD unless there's personalization involved. Because most Amazon customers, they want it within two days. They're even structured that way. Right? So they think, hey, it's on Amazon. I better have it in my house in two days. Right. They're conditioned to that. So we say personalize products. Then there, they know that it doesn't exist, that this is going to take some time to develop it.

Dave Kettner (40:30):

And then once we had that working, now, we, like I said, we get, we, can we take these profits, we can put it towards a, in, you know, an FBA model where that private label comes in. We can create it. Now, put it in a stock in Amazon and we start really cranking out profits after that. Nobody is out there teaching it this way. No one has kind of cracked my format. I'm sure there's gonna be people out there that are going to start copying me. And that's fine. But again, it's those who are first to market and come out there with the material first, they're usually better. Right? So really those are the three things Bill, if that answers your question, you know that I do it. I've been told I'm a great teacher at doing it and the structure, the way I teach it, no one else is out there doing it that way. And not only that, but I can add a It's affordable. It's really affordable. I've been told too there's no way I'm charging what this thing is worth. And you know, that's, that's, I, I talked to people that are charging thousands of dollars for less of material. And yet, you know, I don't charge that much at all for this.

Bill Soroka (41:37):

You got me so fired up, Dave. I'm like, sign me up. Like, I, I think I wanna prioritize this even more into my own. Long-Term….

Dave Kettner (41:48):

And as we can ensure those, you guys are listening to this, that was not the intention of, of this was to sell Bill. And that's always a good thing when the, whoever's interviewing, has you on as a guest is actually saying, well, my gosh, as soon as we get off this call, I'm going to start. And I've had people say this before, Bill, by the way, you got me so fired up, this goes, I'm done recording this. I'm going to go start taking your course and getting started on this right away.

Bill Soroka (42:14):

I'm serious. I'm in to actually do that because this fits perfectly into my plan as well. Now I do have, I thought of a couple of, one more question before my final question. But just to give people a timeframe here from, from course to revenue, what kind of time frame is that for somebody who's committed?

Dave Kettner (42:33):

Yes. It really, honestly, it depends on the time of year. We have some big selling seasons for Print On Demand stuff. Obviously Christmas season is going to be one of those. The second biggest is during Mother's Day, Father's Day, period of time of year, you have Easter in there as well. And a few other things like graduations, that sort of thing. That's our second busiest time. If, if you are starting this business around those periods, you can get things happening much, much faster than if say, you're starting at the end of July and August. All right. There's not as many people that are out there shopping people are doing their summer vacations, you know, getting ready for school to start up that sort of thing. It it'll take a little bit longer. So it really depends on the time of year.

Dave Kettner (43:19):

Now, there's, things that I've been testing out on, like I said, cause I do this for a living and one of the things that we found out that it takes Etsy a little while to get a store rolling. And I've been going over finding better ways to help people get their store off the ground, get that snowball building, if you will. Think of it this way, if you, those of you guys that live up in the north country that get snow, or if you've ever been in snow and you've tried to build a snowman, all right, this is an analogy I like to use all the time. Think about how long it takes to get that first initial snow ball building for the bottom ball of a, of a snowman. All right. You start with, and it depends on how good, obviously your pak, oh, we can get specific here.

Dave Kettner (44:02):

How good you're packing snow is, but let's say you have some good packing snow and you, you take, you get started with little snowball. Those you guys never did this before take my word for it. You make a little snowball kind of like the size of a baseball. And then the point is you start rolling it on the ground and it builds bigger and bigger. At first, it takes you a little while to build that ball, then make it bigger and bigger. Now, once it becomes, you know, half the size you want to be now to get it to the final size you want the big part of the snowman, to be, it's a lot easier. It only takes a few more pushes. It's like that with Etsy. It takes a little while to get that initial snowball built. But once you start building it and building it and you get more listings and you get some more sales, you get some favorites, favorite stores, you get some reviews.

Dave Kettner (44:48):

Now it starts going faster. It's a snowball effect that builds faster and faster. If you're doing it during a holiday time, it does it quicker. If you're doing it during a slow time, takes a little bit longer. So I can't be specific on the time frames, but I can tell you that, you know, that's kind of the way it works. And I'm actually developing different ways now, which I'm starting to share with my students. How would you get that to happen even faster? Not that it depends, I mean, it doesn't even depend on the time of year there's things that we can do that will sell you around as well. So hopefully that answer your question without being too specific.

Bill Soroka (45:22):

Yeah, I think it does just setting the expectation. And then as far as let's say you get through the initial push for your snowman on Etsy how much time can someone expect to commit to their business?

Dave Kettner (45:38):

And it depends. You can put, I mean, you can put full-time hours into it. If you just want to put an hour a day or a few, few hours a week, you know, it's up to you, but you're going to get out of it, what you put into it. That's why I always tell people, all right. So if you're working a full-time job and you can only put 10 hours a week into this, then put 10 hours in a week into it, make it happen, and follow exactly the way I teach you how to do it. And cause then you'll get there sooner rather than later. If you have no work right now and you can put 40 to 60 hours a weekend, put 40 to 60 hours a week and make it happen because then the sooner you get that rolling for you, then the sooner you can have an income coming back in, if you have no job, right?

Dave Kettner (46:15):

So it's dependent upon you, but it's your own business. So it really is up to you how fast you want to grow it, what you want to grow it to, you know, the sky's the limit with all that stuff. So, it really is dependent upon you as the, as a factor of what you want to build and how much you want to build it. So, it's hard to answer the question, but yeah, that's, that's the way, that's the way I would answer it because it really depends on what people want to put into it.

Bill Soroka (46:41):

Yeah. So, and I guess even the, kind of the, the back door to the question would be is if somebody is they're hustling, full-time, they've got a full-time gig. Whether it's a business or a job, they can still start this part time.

Dave Kettner (46:55):

Oh, totally. Yes. I have, I would say most of my students, that's where they're at. So that's what they're going. You know, they're actually doing stuff during a full-time job, putting this on the side and this, a better question might be, you know, when could this take over my full-time salary. All right. And I always tell people before you ever quit your job for your, your side hustle I would recommend to make double on the side than you are at your full-time gig before retiring, quitting, whatever you want to call it. All right. And again, it really depends what you put into it, but with this business, it can happen pretty quickly. It could definitely, if you're putting the same, the time and effort into it. It could definitely happen inside that first year, if you wanted to. If you're only putting two hours in, let's say five hours a week, it's going to take a little bit longer, right?

Dave Kettner (47:43):

So it's up to you, what you put into it. But yeah, it it's it's so, and the thing is, I don't see this opportunity changing anytime soon, it's, I see it continue to grow. With that being said, I would tell people to hit it while the iron's hot, which is right now. Hit it while it's hot, you know. Make it happen for you and your, and your, and your family, you know. Cause it's, it's a great way to diversify your income. And it's a great way to have, you know, to take a stress off, a load off your financial picture, wherever you may be it's a great way to, to make a payment on something that you might be struggling to make house, cars, whatever, you know. And another thing, another way you can get there is you know, start sacrificing some of the things you don't really need in your life.

Dave Kettner (48:26):

There's a lot of people that's spend time watching TV shows every night. Sacrifice the TV shows so you can, if you were able to sacrifice now, so you can enjoy the life you want live later, do it. Right? Sacrifice some of that extra time. And they'll sacrifice your family time. You don't want to, you don't want to be starting making some good money on the side and all of a sudden you are divorced with no family, right? So always make sure you prioritize things in your life. That's very important. But things that are not so needed and more of a hobby, you know, you know, going out and doing a card night with the boys on a Thursday night or whatever, you know. Maybe sacrifice a little bit of, hey guys, you know, I, I'm not gonna be able to do this for a few months because I'm building something on the side, which is going to be, you know, life changing for me, my business, my, my family it could be life changing for generations to come. So, you know, that's a little bit of advice I'd share with those of you guys are looking to take things to another level.

Bill Soroka (49:24):

I love that David, excellent advice by the way. And the final question and it ties right into what we're talking about here is, inevitably, no matter how much a teacher like yourself coaches and shares information and has a course to help people along this process. There's some people who inevitably fail at it. So my question to you is who fails at this and why?

Dave Kettner (49:50):

That's a good question. Because it's an easy answer. Believe it or not, people that fail at this business are the people that don't follow the proven path to success, which is what I've put together. Right? And they try to do their own thing or they think they understand it better, or they just don't do it. All right. Obviously, if you don't do something, you're not gonna succeed at it. But I think those are the two main things. Either they don't do it; they just think, it's kind of like buying a gym membership. All right. It's great to have a gym membership, but if you don't go to the gym during a year, you're not gonna see any transformation. Right. You have to buy membership and then you have to follow the path of going there three or four times a week, right. Or whatever, at least a few times a week.

Dave Kettner (50:34):

And that's going to make a difference. If you don't do anything with this course, you're not going to succeed. I can tell you there's no magic bullet. It takes work. It takes effort. Okay. Those of you that tell you, it's people that tell you there's a magic bullet. They are lying to you run the opposite direction. Okay. The second thing is the proven path to success. And there's so many people that will say, you know what, Dave, you know, you say to start on Etsy, I'm going to start on Amazon because you said I can make more money on Amazon. Yeah. You can make more money on Amazon. That's definitely true. But if you don't find the winners first, I think you might lose more money first on Amazon. All right. Therefore I'm going to show you the best way to see, why? Because I've tested all these different things.

Dave Kettner (51:13):

Hence the proven path to success. That's why I say it the way I do. Okay. This is not something that I just started myself. I've been actually selling on Amazon since 2009, private labels since 2013. I know what I'm doing because I do it for a living. All right. That's why I teach my students how to do it correctly. So if you don't follow that proven path, good luck with that. That's not, that's what usually I'd see people fail and lose money. And they say, I lost money in his business and I bought Dave's car. Did you do this and that? No. Oh, well, I'm sorry. I, I, and the funny thing Bill is I will, and I say it in the very opening video of my course, make sure you don't do this because this is what we know people fail when they do this. And yet they still do it. So, I can't, I can only lead a horse to the water. I can't force him to drink and do it correctly. So it's like that.

Bill Soroka (52:08):

Thank you. I appreciate that candid answer. And I appreciate this conversation. It's a bit of a double-edged sword for me, Dave, because the last thing I need is another side hustle, but I guess what, I think I've got one now and I'm actually pretty fired up and excited. And I really appreciate how you mapped this out, just showed how the business works without trying to keep anything secret. This was really powerful for me. And I think for our listeners too.

Dave Kettner (52:34):


Bill Soroka (52:34):

So if you are listening and you are getting as excited as I am about private label or the mug preneur opportunity visit In fact, I'm so excited, Dave, I think I'm going to put this right on the homepage so people can find your information even easier. You don't even have to register on the VIP room guys. Just go to and I'll have a link to Dave's information and his course as well. Dave, thank you so much for giving some time and value and energy today. Really appreciate you.

Dave Kettner (53:08):

My pleasure. I thank you for having me on and I'm glad we're able to make this happen. I look forward to you know, doing more stuff with you before in the future.

Bill Soroka (53:16):

I know you will. You're going to get to know me really well. Cause I'll be in that course. All right. Thanks so much.

Dave Kettner (53:22):

We'll be right there working with you and getting things building for your own business as well.

Bill Soroka (53:24):

Awsome. Thank you.


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