Are you wondering how to start selling on Amazon Live? Have you been shopping on Amazon and seen people selling like they’ve got their own QVC shows?
Today, I’ve got Nicole Carr, from the blog Take It From Nicole, on the podcast. She’s been selling on Amazon Live for about six months and she’s been making a six-figure income doing it.
If you want to know how often she goes live, how she structures her shows, how she figures out what to promote, and how she stays consistent, don’t miss this episode. She shares all her affiliate marketing tips and Amazon Live secrets.
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Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, you. Hello, my friend. Welcome back to the show. This is the Blogger Genius Podcast. I am Jillian Leslie. I love building online businesses. And if you do too, you are in the right place.
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Get in on the ground floor. Let us help you build your business and you can start making recurring revenue while loving on your members. What could be better? Again, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll get on a call and we’ll get you going.
For today’s episode, I have my friend Nicole Carr on the show. She is the fashion blogger behind “Take It From Nicole.” And I love having people on the show who are monetizing in interesting ways. Nicole has been leaning in to selling live on Amazon.
I don’t know if you’ve been to Amazon recently. But people are streaming and selling and that is what Nicole’s doing and she’s finding tremendous success. I think this will be an eye opening episode.
I think it’ll give you new ways to think about making money for your business. So, without further delay, here is my interview with Nicole Carr.
How to Start Selling on Amazon Live
Nicole, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you.
Nicole Carr 2:27
Thanks so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Jillian Leslie 2:31
We’ve been friends, I feel like on Facebook for a while. Can you share though your entrepreneurial journey, how you started blogging and where you are today because I’ve never heard it?
Nicole Carr 2:43
It’s such a zigzag. So, you’ll have to like let me know if it becomes too much of around about detour. So, my background actually is in education. My undergraduate degrees are in education and history.
I was a history teacher for over a decade, I went back to school, got my Master’s Degree in Education and Curriculum Instructional Leadership. Started moonlighting teaching college at a university.
And I did both I taught middle school during the day. And then I taught people who wanted to become teachers in the evening. And I did that for a long time.
And during that time, I started a blog, but it wasn’t monetized. It wasn’t a job: it was just something I did for fun. I look back at this post and they’re cringy.
It’s not something that I would be like, “Hey, go check out this, post that I wrote back in 2008.” Because it was horrible. But it was never something I really considered. And then we struggle to get pregnant.
So, it took me six years to have my first child. And so, when I did, I knew that I wasn’t going to want to be in the classroom full time that first year. I was going to want to be home.
And I kept my university job. And so, it worked out really well that we could flip flop our schedules. The plan had always been, “Okay, I’m going to do this for a year. And then I’m going to go back to work.
And 15 months, I got pregnant again, completely naturally. After all, that we went through to have the first one. I weaned him and that month, like boom, I was pregnant.
And so, I was like, well, my husband I talked like, do I go back to work and then our first child got me to be home his whole first year and then second one was like, “Sorry, man you weren’t part of the plan. I’m going to go back to work.”
So, it’s like, well, guess I’ll stay home another year with the next baby and I’ll just stay home. And you know, you’re at home. I had a two-year-old and a newborn and I was kind of bored.
Starting with Facebook Group for Money Saving Tips
And I was like, I think I’ll start a Facebook group and maybe some people will want to do this because we were really tight on money. And I spent a lot of time looking for deals on diapers and baby wipes and I couldn’t go spend a ton of money on stuff.
And friends were always asking me and I was like well, I’ll just start a Facebook group since I already had an Amazon account for my blog that I created forever ago, and I was like, maybe I’ll make enough to cover baby wipes and sunscreen.
Never thinking this would end up becoming a full time career. And basically, it just kind of took off and snowballed. And last year, right before the pandemic hit, my university decided that they were going to cut back on adjuncts.
And they went from I think around 20 adjuncts to just keeping one. And so, at that point, I was making more money blogging than I was teaching college.
And I was like, I don’t think I’m going to look for another teaching position. I’m just going to go ahead and be a full time blogger.
Jillian Leslie 5:39
Wow. So, you started looking for deals. And I feel like you’ve now transitioned also into fashion.
Nicole Carr 5:47
Jillian Leslie 5:48
So, what was that about for moms?
Nicole Carr 5:51
So, it started as a Facebook group is kind of interesting thing. A lot of bloggers I feel like have started doing Facebook groups, it becomes trendy, whereas mine was a little backwards. I started as a Facebook group.
And then Amazon changed many years ago, their rules that you had to post on a public page first and then I created a Facebook page. And then eventually, I ended up rebranding everything to match because everything had different names.
So, I did huge rebrands that everything was under Take It From Nicole instead of having a blog with a name and a Facebook group with a name and a Facebook page with a name and my Pinterest account with my regular name.
And rebranded everything under that umbrella. And I want to say in 2018, it was 2017, Amazon changed their commission structure. Do you remember that for the Associate Program? It went from that volume, base tier structure to categories.
And that’s when I decided I was going to pivot. And all of a sudden, baby stuff wasn’t going to be quite as lucrative. And I’d always loved fashion, and I love shopping. And basically, I found a way to be paid to go shopping.
Showing Vulnerability with Your Community
Jillian Leslie 7:07
Wow, wow. Okay, because we were talking about this before I pressed record. You did a post on Facebook, where you modeled different bathing suits.
Nicole Carr 7:20
Jillian Leslie 7:20
And you did it with so much confidence. And I’m going to say you’ve had two babies, it’s like you’re not a 16-year-old model but you’re still beautiful. And you did these posts, where you owned it in a way that I feel like every mother would be jealous.
Nicole Carr 7:43
It feels like all that confidence completely fake too because I did not feel it when I was taking the photos. But that was the most requested item. My following is basically mothers who are more or less middle aged like me.
And I’m a mid-size. That’s one of the things I really wanted to start the blog fashion part for, is because I didn’t see a lot of people out there that look like me. There were a lot of girls who are very, very slim and everything look fabulous on them.
And there’s some really wonderful plus size girls who were on Instagram. But those clothes didn’t come in my size. And I didn’t see a lot of those like size 12, size 14 kind of people out there.
And so, everyone was constantly asking for bathing suits, I said, this is the year, I’m going to do the bathing suit posts. I made a conscious decision not to Photoshop it. So, there’s like cellulite on my legs.
And some of them I did like Lightroom just to edit lighting, but I didn’t go through and smooth anything out. It’s like just put it out there. This is what they look like on my body. And it resonated with people.
And, it’s been the most successful post I’ve ever made. It’s so funny, because it was the one I felt the least confident about.
Jillian Leslie 8:52
It’s amazing. But you showed up and you were real. And even I think that’s when I first noticed you because you do look really confident in those photos. And even if inside you were like, dying.
And I think that I picked up on that confidence and thought to myself, oh my God, she is so brave. Because again, especially as a middle aged mother, who’s had a child, you don’t necessarily have that confidence.
So, I think that, personally, why it resonates, one; you look great in those bathing suits. But you also were like, you know what, this is my life. And this is who I am. And I’m going to show you warts and all.
And it’s funny, I’m always talking to my audience saying, be real, be real be real. And that is a perfect example where I was going, “Oh my God, I couldn’t do that.”
Nicole Carr 9:46
And the thing is, I guess my opinion is anybody can if I can do it. I had knee surgery in August. So, I was still in physical therapy at the time. I was 10 pounds heavier in those pictures, actually I think I was 15 pounds heavier in those pictures than I am now.
I was not my ideal self at the time. It was January when I took them. And even though I’m in Florida, it was cold that day. So, I was cold in those pictures, and I shot this on an iPhone.
Jillian Leslie 10:13
Wow. And it worked. So, again, I think when people think and I fall into this trap too like, “Oh my God, I got to have a filter, it has to be styled. And I’ve got to spend a lot of time in Photoshop.”
I think people want to see people. I think people want to gain that sense of confidence from seeing real people. And so, I just have to commend you.
I think that was honestly when I paid attention to what you were doing. I remember commenting, going like this is phenomenal, like amazing. So, let’s talk about then now.
How you have turned your blog, and Facebook group and whatever other things you’re doing into a business and how you’ve been able to replace your income from teaching and really lean into this full time?
Start Monetizing with Amazon Affiliates
Nicole Carr 11:03
Sure, so obviously, I started monetizing it with Amazon affiliates. And I think that has the lowest kind of barrier to entry for people who want to start out blogging. That’s always the place I recommend people start is with Amazon.
And when all of our blogging worlds like live shifted, and they change their commission structure. It was a blessing in disguise, I always feel like the most, tremendous opportunities in my life have come when I think my world’s ending.
When things have been the hardest that’s when I applied to ShopStyle and started looking into RewardStyle because I realized all the sudden a lot of us our incomes were just like cut in half.
And then I realized that they can do this whenever they want. They control when you’re putting all your eggs in one basket, it was a very sobering feeling. And that’s when I realized, I need to branch out.
And so I applied to ShopStyle and started doing affiliate marketing through a couple different networks. So, then I started with ShopStyle eventually got accepted into RewardStyle.
Jillian Leslie 12:12
Are they the same? Did they combine or am I not remembering that?
Nicole Carr 12:17
They are two separate companies that do very similar things.
Jillian Leslie 12:20
Okay. Which do you like better?
Nicole Carr 12:23
Oh, gosh, that’s such a loaded question. It depends on which store. Honestly, to be completely brutally honest I look at the commission rates, and whoever has the better rate is who I post with.
I love that idea of the LikeToKnowIt app, and that people can screenshot Instagram posts and do them that way.
Jillian Leslie 12:50
Can you back up and explain what that is?
Nicole Carr 12:52
Sure. So, for people who might be listening to your podcast that aren’t fashion bloggers and aren’t familiar with LTK, it is an app.
Jillian Leslie 12:59
LTK is LikeToKnowIt?
Nicole Carr 13:01
Yes, it’s an app that’s free that anyone can install on their phone. And bloggers can monetize using it. So, if you’re scrolling through Instagram, and you see a fashion bloggers photo, and you’re like, I would really like that swimsuit.
You can screenshot the picture. And the LikeToKnowIt app recognizes it, and it will send you an email with links to shop the picture.
Jillian Leslie 13:25
Has that been successful for you?
Nicole Carr 13:28
It has. I am one of the weird people, I still make more money off my actual blog than I do off of LikeToKnowIt app. I think a lot of people are the opposite. But my actual blog converts more for me than LikeToKnowIt photos.
I think some of that also has to do with my audience being a little bit older. I think it’s definitely more of a Gen Z thing. But it has been a good revenue stream for me. And again, you can kind of surf the app if you’re a user of the app.
And so, then people find you on the app that might not have stumbled on me on Facebook or Instagram. But they find me in the LikeToKnowIt app and then I pick up followers there.
What It’s Like to Sell on Amazon Live
Jillian Leslie 14:10
Before we move on, or actually what I really wanted to talk to you about is you are one of those people now who if you go to Amazon, you will see shopping video, kind of like QVC. People are there and they’re trying out different products and stuff.
And you are one of those people. And that’s what I saw you doing and I said, “Oh my God, Nicole, how did this happen? How are you now in your own QVC?” I know you’ve got your own QVC studio and you’re selling products on Amazon.
So, talk to me about that, like what is it even called? How did you find this program? How did you get into this program? What’s it all about?
Nicole Carr 14:47
So, it’s called Amazon Live. And it is Amazon’s way of trying to get into the market of people who are consuming video content and shopping through video content. Which has become very, very popular.
And there was actually just a study done, I guess, in China, it’s completely blown up with people doing all this online streaming shopping experience.
So, it’s kind of a way to compete with TikTok and YouTube and a couple other platforms that people monetize Amazon through. And Amazon is sort of trying to consolidate it. And so, I was invited.
Jillian Leslie 15:26
So, randomly you got an email?
Nicole Carr 15:29
Yes. And I actually thought it was like, a scam email. At first, I was like, “What is this? This isn’t real.” And I actually had to reach out to one of my other reps, I was like, “Does this person actually work for Amazon or they’re trying to steal my credit card?”
And like, “No, no, that’s the thing. They’re actually really do that.”
Jillian Leslie 15:44
When did this start because I shop on Amazon all the time. And it was one day I went to Amazon, I’m like, there’s video on Amazon. When did this start?
Nicole Carr 15:56
I was first invited in the spring of 2020. But what happened was, I did a couple videos, but then the pandemic hit, and my kids were home. And I was having to do Zoom school. And I was like, I cannot do any, my plate was way too full.
And so, I want to say probably early spring of last year is when they really started to promote that. When they first did it. It was just merchants, I think they invited vendors to come on and talk about product.
Jillian Leslie 16:29
Yes. I remember, the first thing I saw was a merchant, from China selling a backpack that was their company. It was this special backpack and this woman was showing all the features of the backpack, but it was her company.
Nicole Carr 16:46
Exactly. And then they started reaching out to influencers and really trying to build it into a platform where people would come and have the whole experience.
And so, they ended up reaching out to me again in the winter, I would say probably around December. So, maybe it was early January, I can’t even remember. Like, “Hey, are you going to do this streaming thing?”
And at that point, my kids were back in brick and mortar school and things to come down, like, “Okay, I’m going to do this.” And so, started streaming again. And then within Amazon Live their levels, kind of like, I’m trying to think of how to describe it.
So, everybody starts off and they call you a rising star. And then there’s an insider and then there’s “A” list which is the top level of streamers.
And so, I decided because I’m the type A personality, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to be “A” list. I’m not going to be anything less and so I did it. I made “A” list in a month.
Jillian Leslie 17:42
Wow. Okay, so we got to talk about the logistics of this. Amazon comes to you and says, “Nicole, be one of the streamers.” You’re like, “Great.” Do you have to go to Amazon buy products and then that’s what you’re going to promote?
Do you have to get approval beforehand? How do you set up your studio? How do you go live? How long do you go live? What’s the whole process?
Using the Amazon Creator App to Go Live
Nicole Carr 18:04
It’s very open. I want to say that there’s an app that you have to use as part of the streaming and it’s called the Amazon Live Creator app. You can theoretically if you wanted to be a streamer on Amazon with just an iPhone. You don’t need anything else.
You could sit down with your iPhone and be like this is my Yeti mug and isn’t it beautiful and talk about it. I think to be successful you have to kind of grow beyond that. But that’s how I started.
My first few streams I did on my phone with a little clip on ring light, not even a real ring light. And that was how I started.
Jillian Leslie 18:47
How did you think about what to sell? Did you have to get approval from Amazon? Could you sell anything? You bought the product so you had to own the product?
Nicole Carr 18:55
Yes, but my house was already like an Amazon warehouse. So, that was not a problem for me I have so much stuff in my home. So, the first few I think I tried much harder to do very stylized streams.
I thought I have to put on a show and it has to be like a thing. And I want to say my first big stream that I did was art supplies for kids. And I didn’t order anything I went around my house and I pulled all of our stuff that we use and just shared it with you.
These are the things that I use with my children that work and I talked about things like Quick Sticks which I always plug I am not sponsored by Quick Sticks. They have never talked to me.
Jillian Leslie 19:38
What are Quick Sticks?
Nicole Carr 19:38
They are the best art project supply on the planet and I will go to them on that. They are these tiny little sticks that look like glue sticks but they’re temper paint. They rub on like a glue stick.
They dry in 90 seconds and if your kids color on anything they wipe off with just water. And I’ve actually done videos on Facebook Live like show, look, I color on my laminate floor and wipe it off.
I’m like, you have to have these, they are the best thing that have ever been invented. And I think people think I work for them because I talk about them so much.
Jillian Leslie 20:10
So, then do you have to put in the link for people to shop? Does Amazon know I’m talking about this thing? How does that work do you have to set up beforehand?
Adding Products to Your Amazon Carousel
Nicole Carr 20:19
You set it up in the app. So, what I do is they call it a carousel where the products show up on the bottom. And so, you add things to your carousel. If you have an Amazon storefront and you’ve seen what an Idea List looks like.
I usually set up an Idea List ahead of time on my storefront, because then I can just pull my Idea List in the app and just add them all. And so I know ahead of time what I’m going to talk about.
And then as you go through, they show up on the app, and you just tap them and it’ll highlight it. Okay, I’m going to talk about the Quick Sticks now, or I’m going to talk about Do-A-Dot markers.
I’ll tap on those, and it highlights it on the carousel for the viewer. And then they can tap on that and it goes to the product page. And if they purchase it, then you’ll earn a commission.
Jillian Leslie 21:00
How many times are you doing this and for how long?
Nicole Carr 21:04
So, it depends on the week, I usually try to make sure mine are at least 45 minutes.
Jillian Leslie 21:09
Did they say to you do them at least 45 minutes or have you figured that out yourself?
Nicole Carr 21:14
They give best practices. I know some people that only do 15 to 20. But their best practices, they say like 45 minutes to an hour is usually kind of the minimum you want to do.
I also know people that stream for like eight hours on Prime Day, which I could never do. But the people did it.
Jillian Leslie 21:34
So, how many times a week are you doing this?
Nicole Carr 21:37
Usually two to three.
Jillian Leslie 21:39
And are you picking like a certain time? Kind of like I’m going to be here on Tuesdays at noon, and we’re talking fashion.
Nicole Carr 21:46
So, before my kids got home from school from the summer, because I feel like everything’s just kind of been thrown. I don’t know, if you feel like that with your daughter.
Getting Ready to Go Live
My whole schedule of everything, it just kind of poof. But before they were home and I actually had a break in the early morning, I tried to stream and somedays I would stream four times a week. And I would just do get ready with me videos.
And I’m not a makeup artist, but it was just something that was fun. And I would pull out whatever makeup I have. And I already have a beauty list on my storefront and I would just add whatever I was going to use that day.
And if I had an outfit, I would like, find something on sale, this one is really good deal today. So, I’ll put that on the carousel. And if there was anything else I wanted to mention, like Fire Sticks, are $19.99 today or something.
So, I’ll toss that on there and mention it and I would do my makeup. And chat with people because they can talk to you in the chatbox and talk about products and kind of plan it that way. And so, I would do probably two or three of those a week.
And then I would also plan for my Facebook audience, like more stylized product video. So, things like art supplies for kids, or I think I did one for spring dresses. I did one for summer sandals.
Using Facebook to Drive Your Audience to Amazon
Jillian Leslie 22:52
So, you’re going live on Facebook, in addition and putting links on Facebook for these products?
Nicole Carr 23:06
Yes, well I linked the video so that people can watch it.
Jillian Leslie 23:09
You link to the Amazon Video?
Nicole Carr 23:12
Correct. Because if you link and put your store ID you get off-site commissions.
Jillian Leslie 23:18
Say that again. So, you go live. Let’s talk through your workflow, you go live on Amazon, it’s got all the links, people can click on stuff and buy it in real time. Then you take a link to that video, which is recorded, put it in your Facebook group or page?
Nicole Carr 23:38
Both. I don’t want to drive people nuts so if I’m just going to do my makeup or something, I’m not going to be telling my Facebook people to come hang out with me on Amazon.
But if it’s a bigger event, I will put up the link ahead of time.
Jillian Leslie 23:53
Oh, I see. So that they can come.
Nicole Carr 23:56
If you drive traffic to Amazon, if you’re not an affiliate there’re two different types of commissions. On-site and off-site.
So, on-site commissions are what you earned just from people who happen to stumble across your stuff on Amazon versus traffic you drive is off-site.
Jillian Leslie 24:11
Nicole Carr 24:12
Anybody that I drive to my videos that watches them, I earned what I would normally earn if I posted on my blog or my Facebook or my Instagram swipe ups. I would earn those commissions.
And then anybody that stumbles upon the video on Amazon, I would make on-site commissions for it.
Jillian Leslie 24:30
And on-sites are lower.
Nicole Carr 24:31
They are lower because you’re not driving the traffic. But the thing that’s amazing about Amazon Live is that they’re letting you stream on basically the largest shopping platform in the entire world for free.
And then they pay you to talk to the people that they have gotten onto their site.
MiloTree is the Best Way to Grow New Followers and Email Subscribers
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Tapping Into the Audience Already on Amazon
Jillian Leslie 26:15
People say to me, I want to start a shop and they go Etsy, Shopify, and they go Etsy has all these fees. I don’t want to put it on Etsy, I’m going to start a Shopify store. And I say seriously, because Etsy already has an audience and they are already shopping on Etsy.
So, you don’t have to fight for an audience, you start a Shopify store, how are you driving traffic. So, those fees that you’re paying on Etsy are worth it. Think of them as the marketing advertising dollars you’d have to spend to get people to your Shopify store.
And I think that’s kind of what you’re saying, there’s an audience already on Amazon ready to buy. These are buyers. These are not browsers.
They can be browsers, but they have an intention. They might be wanting to be entertained watching your video, but really, there’s intention to buy.
Nicole Carr 27:03
Correct. They are what we call a hot audience, they are on Amazon looking to buy things. And once you hit the second level as an Amazon streamer, they actually put your video for the first 10 products in your carousel.
So, let’s say, I put sunscreen. I just did a big sunscreen video last week. And EltaMD had a really great deal and it was selling really well on my Facebook group. So, I made sure I put some of that EltaMD in the first slot of my video.
So, that if somebody organically went to that product page, they would see my video while I was live and again, click on it and potentially make a purchase.
And then I’ve also had people find me on Instagram and say, “I saw you on Amazon. I came to find you so I could follow you.” So also, there’s that non-monetary benefit of people who never would have found my Facebook or Instagram are being exposed.
Cross Promoting from Amazon to Instagram and Facebook
And I have my Instagram and my Facebook logos on a follow bar at the bottom I use OBS to stream and so, I have it on there. And so, you’re also getting exposure for your other platforms.
You’re allowed to say, “Hey, go to my Instagram.” They want to keep people on Amazon. But again, I keep my name the same across all platforms. It’s not hard to find me.
And I had people that say I wanted to follow you because you’re talking about kids’ art stuff or you were talking about sun screener. I really liked the makeup tutorial you did for eyes.
Or I did a swimsuit because the swimsuit posted while I did a video and we talked about swimsuit and I put the pictures in OBS and showed them and said, this one holds your tummy in really good or this one I really liked because my whole bum was covered.
And I talked about it. So, it’s also getting your platform. It’s so hard. People I hear every day complaining about algorithms. Algorithms are hard. No one’s seeing my stuff, I’m putting out good content, no one’s seeing it.
Amazon Live for me has been a great way to take content that I’ve already created and talk about it and have it exposed to thousands and thousands of people that never would have seen my stuff any other way at all.
And I’m not paying, it’s an ad. And I’m making money from it. They’re paying me to do this.
Jillian Leslie 29:28
That’s amazing. I’m a person and I want to do this. I’m listening to this podcast episode. I’m like, “They reached out to Nicole, but how do I try to get my own shopping channel and my own lives so that I can become an Amazon streamer?”
What do I do?
Why You Want to Sell on Amazon Live Now While It’s New
Nicole Carr 29:47
You go to the Amazon homepage. There’s kind of a navigation bar at the top and one of them will say live streams. If you click on that and you scroll to the bottom, there’ll be a question that says, “Do you want to stream on Amazon or stream on Amazon?”
You can apply, and anyone can apply to do it. And I’m not exactly sure what the application process looks like, because I didn’t go through it. But I know that anybody can apply.
Jillian Leslie 30:10
Don’t you feel like jumping on this right now is probably a good idea before everybody and their mother starts live streaming on Amazon. I find that the opportunities are right when a network or a company roll something out.
People ask us all the time, for Catch My Party, which is our other site, “How have you grown your followers?” So, guess what we got on those platforms early, we provided value, but we were there. It’s like a timing issue as well as showing up with good content.
Nicole Carr 30:42
I think absolutely. The timing is really good to do it now, it’s in its infancy. I think it was on maybe two or three podcasts ago, you had someone on talking about Pinterest. And they were story pins, not idea pins.
And like how if Pinterest is pushing something like you need to get on board, it’s kind of the same thing. If Amazon is putting this much energy into something, they’re telling you that it’s important to them. And to embrace it.
Because you can also do shoppable videos on Amazon, I don’t know if you’ve seen those.
Jillian Leslie 31:15
Say it again.
Shoppable Videos on Amazon
Nicole Carr 31:17
Jillian Leslie 31:18
Shoppable videos, okay, on Amazon.
Nicole Carr 31:20
On your Amazon storefront, I can show you but people listening can’t see it. But on your Amazon storefront, there’s a place to make Idea Lists, which I see lots of influencers and bloggers do.
But you can also upload shoppable photos, and you can upload shoppable videos, it took me a really long time to lean into the videos.
And it wasn’t until I started really streaming on Amazon that I was like, okay, if I can do this live, I can definitely record something. And then those videos are then eligible for also being placed on product pages, and they kind of live there as well.
And if someone is looking for sunscreen, and they watch your sunscreen video, and they buy the sunscreen, you make an on-site commission from that as well. And so, it’s a completely passive revenue stream once you’ve completed the video and uploaded it.
Jillian Leslie 32:07
Wow. So, are you monetizing the most via affiliates?
Nicole Carr 32:12
I do probably 90% of my income is affiliate income. I am the opposite of most fashion bloggers, who are doing everything sponsored posts. I do sponsored posts, and I do sponsored content, but most of my income comes through different affiliate networks.
Being the Friend Who Helps Her Friends Find Cool Stuff
Jillian Leslie 32:27
Were you the woman, the girlfriend, who was hooking up all the other girlfriends to go, you got to get this thing?
Nicole Carr 32:33
Yes. And that’s kind of how it happened. And I feel like I still do that. I went out to dinner with some of my cousins who were in town. And we were both wearing dresses, and it’s hot as heck in Florida right now.
And she was complaining about her legs, she was like my legs. We were walking on the St. Pete Pier, which is really long, they just redid it and it’s beautiful. And she’s like, “Gosh, I’m going to have sore between my thighs.”
I was like, “Oh my gosh, you need to buy body glide.” I was like, “It’s the best thing ever.” And I feel like that’s always been me. I’m always finding things or you need this for your kids.
I have really fair skinned children, which is funny because I don’t have fair skin at all. I’m like, “This is the sunscreen you need for your kids because this is the only one.”
And so, I feel like that’s always what I was kind of doing. And now it’s just become part of what I do for a job now.
Jillian Leslie 33:22
Exactly, you’ve been able to figure out how to monetize it. And I think because you were so good at it, Amazon noticed you and was like, “Hey, come into our fold.” I know that Instagram is always trying to promote shopping.
Do you live stream on Instagram? Is there a way to sell affiliate products live streaming on Instagram? Have they made that easy?
Nicole Carr 33:53
They haven’t made it easy yet. I think it will be coming. Instagram I think is going through an upheaval right now. And I don’t mind saying that because I think they’re having an identity crisis.
With the popularity of TikTok. I think right now Instagram doesn’t really know what they want to be.
Jillian Leslie 34:12
They’ve kind of come out and said we want to be TikTok. We want to be entertainment with video. We no longer want to be a square box that looks pretty.
Why You Need to Embrace Video and Invest in Good Lighting
Nicole Carr 34:21
And so, if there’s one takeaway that I give to people listening is that you need to embrace video. It’s uncomfortable. It’s not natural. It doesn’t come naturally to people it’s kind of like get on the train or get run over by it.
Because video is happening whether we like it or not. And it’s a skill, it’s like flexing a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it gets. And to me it’s rip off the band aid start doing it and eventually it becomes a little bit easier. I still get nervous sometimes.
Jillian Leslie 34:55
I do too. Top tips for going Live and doing it. For example, do you have a lighting tip? Do you put together something, an outline of what you’re going to talk about? How can you help somebody do it and look good, and sound good, all of that?
Nicole Carr 35:15
So, the first thing I would say is invest in good lighting. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can buy a really simple ring light off of Amazon. It’s called Neewer. N-E-E-W-E-R. Very inexpensive. I like their tripods, you can link to that with your affiliate link.
I think a ring light is a must have, and everybody looks better in a ring light. When we were getting ready to start and I was testing without zoom, I felt I looked like a cryptkeeper before I turned on my ring light. Okay, I look a lot better now.
Because it just gets rid of the shadows on your face. And I feel like people now know what ring lights are because of like our Zoom work culture. All of a sudden, people are having to set up little studios in their homes from COVID.
So step one, get a ring light, if you don’t have anything else. My thing is, I don’t think you need to throw a ton of money in to go live or to stream. Keep the barrier of entry lower for yourself.
You can use your phone, have a nice ring light, maybe a tripod, so you’re not sitting there like holding your phone and shaking. And most tripods now have options to buy cell phone clips, that you can just clip it right on there.
So, have your ring light, have your tripod, if you’re not streaming from a computer, or like a webcam or something. And then I do plan out what I’m going to talk about, I don’t like to have notes in front of me because I don’t want to look like I’m reading.
When I first started, I would do like a teacher outline, like, I’m going to talk about this, and then this and then this. And I never wanted to seem like wooden, like, okay, now I’m going to tell you about this. I wanted it to be more natural.
And that’s some of the feedback I’ve gotten from people is like, “Oh, I feel like we’re just having a cup of coffee, but you’re talking about all these products.” And that’s always kind of the vibe I wanted to go for.
I know other people, that it looks like QVC and they do a phenomenal job. I knew that would not come off very well for me. It wasn’t something I would be good at. So, I would say play to your strengths.
And if you want to just feel like you’re chatting with your girlfriends, that works too. And you don’t have to have a super structured outline. I’m trying to think of other things.
Jillian Leslie 37:37
Do you move around or do you bring the products to you beforehand? Or you’re like in your house discovering stuff?
Nicole Carr 37:45
So, I don’t move around especially for Amazon, they really don’t want you walking around with a phone and making people nauseous because it kind of make your viewer experience on this good.
Set Up a Small Studio in Your Home
I ended up after I started seeing success I set up a small studio and in my home. The reason I’m not in there right now that we’re talking is because it’s Florida and it’s in my Florida room.
And the only air conditioner in there is like a big window box and it’s super loud and you won’t be able to hear anything. But I set up a little studio and so yeah, I literally walk around my house and like drag stuff out there.
So, if I’m doing makeup I get an empty Amazon box and throw the makeup I want to use and bring it in there. When I first started streaming though I had my phone in my bathroom and my bathroom was probably like three feet by maybe five feet.
It’s teeny tiny. It’s not pretty. I don’t live in like a fancy house. I know some people have bathrooms that look like they’re in a model home. We rent a townhouse that is not fancy.
But I just did it and I stopped worrying about people are going to hate the wallpaper in there. I hate the wallpaper in there too. Nobody was looking at the wallpaper.
Jillian Leslie 38:55
It’s only personal.
Nicole Carr 38:55
The only person looking at the wallpaper was me. I never once got a comment like, “Yeow, why do you have that wallpaper?” But these are the things we worry about. I was worried about it.
People are going to look at my ugly bathroom and be like, “Why is she on here?” No one ever once said it. Their comments were like, “Oh, I really like this. How do you apply that makeup?” Or, “Can you do that slower so I can see what you’re doing?”
It was never about what the room looks like.
Jillian Leslie 39:21
How do you balance sharing personal stories and also keeping your privacy and all that? How do you keep going for 45 minutes talking about eyeliner?
Nicole Carr 39:33
The nice thing about makeup videos, which is why I think I do them so much is it’s built in like something to do. Because you’re applying it and I think teaching has made this very easy for me because it’s a lot like teaching.
And it’s all off the cuff having to answer questions that you might not have thought of. I spent years doing that. I just enjoy anecdotes. I like telling stories. I’ve always felt like I was a storyteller.
And so, one of the things I’ve started doing in my videos, is using a mirror when I apply eyeliner, because you mentioned eyeliner. I used to be up in the camera and I realized that’s very unattractive. Nobody wants to see up my nose.
I don’t talk about it. My first trying to do it, the camera is backwards and OBS right now I haven’t set it to do it. And I kept poking myself in the eye.
And so, I would talk about like, I’m using a mirror because I actually poked myself in the eye on Amazon with my eyeliner, and it was not comfortable. So, I’m very open about things that I personally have experienced and stories.
Where I’m a little more private is about my kids. I don’t like my kids to be on there. That’s the thing with live video, sometimes they don’t give me a choice, they just come home. And I can’t do anything about it. Because they don’t listen.
And with them being home this summer, they’ve popped on there a few times, like, “I need a drink.” “Go in the draw, and go get a drink, I can’t get off Amazon and go get you a drink.”
I am really careful. I try not to have them on there. Just because I have no control over that audience. It could be anybody on there. So, I talked about them. I don’t use their names, their real names.
I say my oldest or my youngest. And I don’t mention their schools and things like that, I’m trying to protect their privacy. My older son who just turned seven, he keeps watching me doing this decided he wants to be a YouTuber.
And has been taking his little laptop sitting and making videos about toys, and recording them on his laptop with the little camera that’s in there. And I won’t let them upload them to YouTube because again, it’s just a privacy thing.
I tell him he can make practice videos which I find hysterical. But yeah, he sits there and copies what I’m doing, which I think is so funny.
Jillian Leslie 42:03
Going forward. What are you going to try? Like what are you excited about? Whether it be Amazon or doing other affiliate stuff? Where are you headed?
Nicole Carr 42:14
Gosh, I’m really excited about Amazon Live and the platform just keeps growing and they keep improving it and I’m really excited to see what changes they make.
They’ve been talking about some different things to improve the experience on the user interface side. So, I’m really excited to see what happens there. I’ve seen some amazing success with idea pins on Pinterest. So, I’ve really been leaning into that.
Jillian Leslie 42:41
Idea pins in order to grow your following?
How to Repurpose Your Video Content
Nicole Carr 42:45
Yes, in the last probably month and a half have I’ve gained I think 1,000 followers on Pinterest through idea pins. So, the thing about kind of going from the live and into all of this is work smarter, not harder.
I’ve been able to take videos that I made for TikTok, and then I record them on my phone without TikTok first and I edit them InShot. And then I can change the overlays as necessary. And I can take that same video and I post it in TikTok.
I post it as an idea pin on Pinterest. I can use it as a reel on Instagram. I take it and then I upload it as a shoppable video onto Amazon and working smarter, not harder. And now I’ve monetized this one piece of content across several platforms.
And so, I’m really excited about that because I need some of my life back. I spend way too much time in front of the computer in front of a screen. And the idea that I can take one piece of content and repurpose it.
Amazon Live, you can download your stream. They’re fine with you taking that and uploading pieces of it to TikTok or making a shoppable video out of a clip of it.
And so, that’s something that I’m working on being better about because I make them and then forget about them. I need to start taking those pieces of content and using them.
Like if I’m applying that eyeliner and I think I did a really good job in the live stream. Why not take it and make it a shoppable video that will sit on that eyeliner page and generate income for me.
Jillian Leslie 44:18
I love that. Okay, Nicole, if people have questions and want to reach out to you or they want to learn more about you, where should they go?
Nicole Carr 44:27
So, I am at “Take It From Nicole” on everything. My website is takeitfromnicole.com. And if they want to see me stream on Amazon, they can go to amazon.com/shop/takeitfromnicole.
Jillian Leslie 44:39
Wow. Well, Nicole, you have opened my eyes to this. You’ve been so generous with all that you’ve shared. And I think you will now inspire people to take this seriously.
Nicole Carr 44:51
I hope so. It’s a really fun platform. And I think the idea now that we can work across platforms and really make our content work for us. It’s a little time investment that’s going to reap rewards.
And I think that’s the biggest takeaway that I would want to encourage people to start creating this video content. And that you can use it in multiple places. I think that’s really, really important.
I have so many blogging friends that haven’t jumped on the TikTok bandwagon. And you’re making Instagram reels, just put them on TikTok, it’s not a huge thing. So, I think that going out of your comfort zone, start recording the videos.
If my seven-year-old can do it on his laptop, people definitely can do it and it’s fun. It’s a really fun, interactive way to engage an audience. I feel like that about TikTok as well. I just think it’s a fun place to hang out and to be.
Jillian Leslie 45:47
Awesome. Well, Nicole, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Nicole Carr 45:52
Thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed chatting.
Jillian Leslie 45:55
If you’re not putting yourself out there on video. I hope this episode gave you the push to try it and remember my concept of B-minus work. Please don’t think it needs to be perfect.
People want to see real and even for me as an introvert I’ve had to get used to doing it. And I have to admit there are times I have to push myself but it has become fun. So, definitely give it a try. It opens up so many avenues for your business.
Also, if you are ready to monetize your community, you’ve been building this community okay, go serve them and make money at the same time. Email me email@example.com. I can help you get paid and I will see you here again next week.
Other Blogger Genius Podcast episodes to listen to:
- How to Set Up a Paid Membership Program with Ease with Melissa Lanz
- Why It’s Worth Growing an Engaged Facebook Audience Right Now with Melanie Ferguson
- How To Easily Profit From Your Niche with Tamara Bennett
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If you are looking for ways to grow your community whether that be email whether that be social media, right now head to Milotree.com install the MiloTree app on your blog and it will do the work for you. Let it do the heavy lifting for you.
Let it pop up in front of your visitors and ask them to follow you on Instagram Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, join your list, check out the exit intent but really get your community growing. And we’d love to help you with MiloTree. And I will see you here again next week.