I work part time at a small health food store in my hometown. I’ve been working here for 2 and a half years, but it’s been in business more than 20 years.
Now there’s a Whole Foods (owned by Amazon) being built a couple miles away from us.
My store isn’t renewing our lease next year..
Most small businesses can’t compete with the rise of mega retail corporations, and especially not with rise of e-commerce. There’s infinitely more selection online and the prices are lower. You can also get your orders in 2 days without ever leaving your house, and you don’t need to deal with lines at brick and mortar stores.
But, people are concerned about the rise of these behemoth companies like Amazon taking over the economy. And now there’s the added anxiety of more and more jobs being lost to automation in the next few decades.
Eventually, even the Amazon warehouses will be run mainly on automation- machines don’t need bathroom breaks, they can deal with the impossible breakneck standards that Amazon demands of their employees, and you don’t need to pay robots.
But we can benefit from the rise of automation and e-commerce: I make way more money selling on Amazon than I make from the $10.50 minimum wage at the health food store.
What is Amazon FBA?
Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) is the most profitable way to make money on Amazon.
You find things to sell (I mainly go to Goodwills and thrift stores), scan them into the Amazon system, label them, and then ship these things out to one of their warehouses.
After, Amazon (aka the people working at the warehouses) stores all your items, and ships the out when they sell. Also, they take care of customer returns.
I’ve found Amazon has a steep learning curve in understanding the platform. But after a few weeks or months, you’ll get the hang of it. Then it becomes a relatively hands off business because you don’t need to deal with storage, payments, shipping or customer returns.
All in all, using Amazon’s FBA program is a great way to make money. And it can be even scaled into a full time income.
10 Benefits of using FBA
- It’s a relatively hands off and passive way to make money online because Amazon takes care of most parts of the business.
- Inventory is cheap (so are shipping supplies). I mainly sell toys, video games and used books, so I rarely pay more than $3 to $4 dollars for any of these things (that’s why reselling is better than wholesale or private label).
- High Margins.
- Can be scaled quickly.
- Amazon is the largest and most powerful marketplace the world has ever know (300+ million users).
- No need for any marketing because Amazon customers search for you.
- Amazon stores everything (huge benefit).
- Low time investment.
- Amazon teamed up with Fedex and UPS, so it’s cheap to ship things to the Amazon warehouse it (It only cost me ~$25 to ship 115 pounds of books using Fedex).
- Business fits in any size apartment (though you’ll have to lug things up and down stairs if you’re above the first floor).
What Should I sell?
I think books, video games and toys are the best things to sell on Amazon. They’re all abundant, cheap to buy, easy to ship, and have good margins.
Here’s how most people get started with selling:
First, you should open an individual seller account through Amazon. It’s free to make a seller account. Then you can download the free seller app. This app has a barcode scanner feature. It uses your phone’s camera and shows you how much the item is selling for on Amazon and how popular it is.
Now you can scan things anywhere you go!
Opening a free individual seller account on Amazon is good way to start, but if you want to scale your business to have 100’s or 1000’s of pieces of inventory, you’ll need to learn how to use tools to make your business more profitable.
I used this $97 course (affiliate) to learn how to make $1000+ profit per month:
It was created by made by a 6 figure Amazon FBA bookseller (His Youtube Channel).
I finished the course about a year ago. From May 2017 to May 2018 (before I took it) I made ~$4400 on Amazon.
Since I finished the course a year ago, I’ve made over $22,000 (~$12,000 profit):
It’s possible to learn how to sell on Amazon by yourself and through Youtube videos. But this course will save you hundreds of hours.
It worked for me, and if you apply it, it’ll make money for you too.
The positives of selling with FBA far outweigh the negatives, but, like any other platform, there are some negatives:
- High fees (40 to 50%).
- Upfront costs if you really want to be successful (printer, Bluetooth scanner and a few different softwares talked about in the course).
- Hard to do without a car or public transportation.
- Have to find everthing to sell (unlike digital products).
- It’s confusing to learn at first.
I have 1000 more feedback on eBay then I have on Amazon- it’s hard to get feedback.
But, the bright side of the coin is you also don’t need feedback on Amazon to start selling. People will buy from new sellers- if you don’t have any feedback, be competitive on price, and people will buy.
It might take a while, but as long as you sell quality things, you’ll get positive feedback. It took me a few months before I got my first review, but they eventually trickle in.
I’ve gotten a few negative feedback on Amazon, but I’ve gotten them all removed in a couple of minutes. You can report the review to Amazon and say it doesn’t match their feedback rules.
If that doesn’t work, you can call Amazon and talk to a rep. If the first rep won’t remove it, just keep calling until you get one who will!
Making an Online Business
Whether or not selling on Amazon appeals to you, it’s never a bad idea to have another source of income- and it’s never been easier to create one using the all powerful internet.
Even just 30 years ago I couldn’t imagine trying to make money with my writing or a small business. If you wanted to get paid for your writing you’d need to submit stuff to magazines, newspapers, or deal with a publisher.
Now you do all of these things with no upfront costs, no marketing, and no need to suck up to authority for your work to get published.
You are interested in something- whether it’s crystals, candles, literature, fashion, sports, board games and trading cards or video games.
Learn to leverage the power of the digital age to make money from your interests- self publish stories, stream your video games on Twitch, make YouTube videos, sell clothing on eBay or sell your artistic creations on Etsy.
The Internet is big enough for everyone- start carving out your niche!