Author: Dan Ashton
In this informative webinar, I am interviewed by Luke Filer and we discuss everything Amazon FBA. We particularly look at how to outsource your Amazon FBA business, and also share some great product sourcing tips, and essential methods you need to implement to run your Amazon business successfully.
Virtual Assistant Training Program
As discussed in the webinar, you can sign up for our product sourcing VA program here
Product Sourcing List Service
To get profitable products sent to your inbox every day / week, sign up here
FBA Wizard has made some significant changes to the way they handle mismatches. If you're a user you're probably finding a lot more than usual. There is a way to make the most of this though, to get faster scans running AND eliminate the mismatches. Check the short video below where I run through what's happened.
If you don't already have FBA Wizard you can sign up by CLICKING HERE
The Difference Between Success & Failure When Selling On Amazon
Selling on Amazon FBA is an amazing opportunity, a chance to make money online and potentially change your life.
It changed mine and my family's - we're now full time online living our dream life in Mallorca.
However, I'm sure you already know that there are no guarantees of success, that to make a long term success of it requires overcoming some challenges.
There are three potential barriers to success that all Amazon sellers face:
- Knowledge & ability
- Cash flow
Knowledge and ability can be developed over time, although I would say that you do need to have an in built drive and determination to make it work,
There's not a lot I can do about your cash flow today, although if you maximise points 1 and 3, your cash flow will improve.
Today we're going to focus or barrier 3 - Time. At the end of this blog post I'll provide some links to outsourcing solutions that you can utilise.
The Time Problem:
Do you have another full time or part time job?
Are you a student who has other work to do?
Do you have childcare as a priority?
For many of us when we first start selling on Amazon, we are trying to balance the development and growth of our FBA business with other priorities. That means we often can't devote as much time as we'd like to Amazon.
It took me about 1 year to go from full time job + Amazon to 100% Amazon. It was tough, but I could have accelerated that progress if I had been more effective in one particular area. Given the subject matter of this blog post, I'm sure you've already guessed what it was.
There is a quote towards the top of this page: "Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but you cannot get more time"
But the thing is - you can get more time. Or at least you can create more time for yourself by stopping doing things that do not add value. Of course, these things still need doing, so the obvious solution is to get other people to do them for you.
Utilise someone else's expertise or cheaper labour costs and you can focus on actually moving forward with your Amazon FBA business.
Step by Step:
Make a list of your Amazon FBA processes - online arbitrage, retail arbitrage, creating Amazon shipments, accounting, Amazon admin, reconciling stock, repricing etc.
Document these processes, either in a flowchart style (use a free online resource like LucidChart) or just write down the steps involved - example below.
Make your processes as efficient as possible (i.e. elminate wasteful steps).
Then estimate the time taken to complete each step. I've created an example below which shows a basic online arbitrage process, from receiving ordered goods to shipping to Amazon.
Based on the estimated timings each time you receive an order it's going to take you 1 hour 50 minutes to get it ready to be sent to Amazon. If you do this a few times each week you can see how quickly that time adds up.
The final step is to identify which of your processes take the most time, and out of those, which ones you can outsource.
What Parts Of Your Amazon Business To Outsource First
Removing store labels from boxes is not the best use of your time. Neither are any of the other steps involved in receiving and preparing your online arbitrage orders. A prep centre does one thing, and therefore in theory they should be more efficient at it than you.
They will check that the stock you've ordered from an online store is correct, that it isn't damaged, and will do all the prep required for a shipment - labelling, boxing up, arranging the UPS collection etc.
Many prep centres will also handle returns as well as multi channel fulfilment (e.g. eBay).
I'll provide links to some prep centres at the end of this post
Costs: Typically a prep centre will charge a per item fee and a shipment fee (plus cost of boxes to ship to Amazon). Some prep centres also charge a monthly subscription fee.
Does this sound familiar? Pretend your accounts don't exist for 11 months of the year then frantically try and pull everything together before a deadline?
Even for those of you who are diligent, spending hours every month recording all of your incoming and outgoing transactions, or preparing you accounts for a tax submission can be both stressful and time consuming.
It's not something I enjoy, it's not something I'm particularly good at, and I'm more than happy to outsource this to an expert who can do it quickly and more important correctly.
Costs: Approx. £130 / $150 per month & upwards
Product Sourcing #1 - Sourcing Lists
Here we get on to the more interesting aspects of outsourcing - where we can actually make money (depending on who we outsource to of course)
I sell primarily in the UK and EU marketplaces, but when I used to sell in the US 80% of my inventory came from product sourcing lists. I used to buy one off lists rather than a subscription service, and shopped around until I found list providers who were consistent.
Points regarding sourcing lists:
- Don't expect to buy everything off each list. Some days you may purchase nothing, the next day you may go for 50% of them. Play the long game and choose your products carefully
- Don't go for a list that has too many subscribers. I've seen services that "limit" their lists to 50 sellers. In my opinion that's way too many. Listings will get swamped with races to the bottom
- Work out how much you need to sell to break even with the cost of the list services - then everything after that is pure profit
- Use the lists as a starting point - if there is a product that is profitable because it's on sale, are there other products at the source store that you can find
I'll provide links to some sourcing lists at the end of this post
Costs: From £97/$127 - £200 / $250 per month for subscription services
From £9.99 / $15 for one off lists
Product Sourcing #2 - Virtual Assistants
We were able to grow our Amazon business significantly when we outsourced our product sourcing to VA's. OK, let me clarify that - the first few VA's we hired were a disaster - not necessarily their fault, I didn't really know what I was doing either. But once we got the system cracked regarding recruitment, training and managing them things really took off.
I'll provide links to a Virtual Assistant Training Program at the end of this post
Costs: Start at $2.50 per hour for their trial period (1 week) then $3.00 per hour (if hiring from the Philippines)
US - It's a while since I've sourced in the US so I can't directly recommend a prep centre, but I am aware of both Prime Zero Prep and IndyPrep who have both been around a while. Also, FBA Inspection has been recommended to me by a member of my Facebook group
Product Sourcing List Service
Product Sourcing Virtual Assistant
Virutal Online Arbitrage is a full training program that includes training for you on how to recruit and manage your Virtual Assistant as well full training for your newly recruited VA on using sourcing software (Tactical Arbitrage & FBA Wizard) and / or manual sourcing.
In this video I show you how to be much more effective with your Amazon product sourcing by creating a "sourcing schedule"
Resources Mentioned In The Video
Hire your very own product sourcing Virtual Assistant:
Let us email you profitable products to sell on Amazon:
Sign up for our free Product Sourcing Bootcamp:
Sign up for Tactical Arbitrage:
Sign up for FBA Wizard:
Sign up for Source Mogul:
Before You Find Out How To Sell On Amazon, Let Us Tell You Why You Should
Watch the video, read the post below or do both!
You want to make money selling on Amazon, we know. But first, let me quickly show you why it has become such a popular option for many people.
You already know what Amazon does, but did you know that there are already over 500 million Amazon customers worldwide?
Or that Amazon would like to share their $80 billion per year sales revenue with third-party sellers (people like you)?
And did you know that Amazon will do a lot of the work for you, allowing you to spend time growing your business?
How Selling On Amazon Works
Before we go through the 3 ways to sell on Amazon, it's helpful to understand how it actually works.
You can choose one of these options of HOW you're going to sell your product (we'll take a look at what products to sell in a minute):
A. Keep products at your home or business premises. When a customer makes an order, Amazon lets you know, you package it, ship it, handle any returns and all customer service. This is Fulfilled by Merchant. These products are not eligible to be purchased through Amazon Prime membership.
B. Send your products to an Amazon warehouse. When a customer orders your product, Amazon packs it, ships it, handles any returns and almost all of the customer service on your behalf. This is Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). These products are eligible to be purchased through Amazon Prime membership. Products eligible for Prime sell a lot more than those that are not.
We strongly recommend that you follow option 2, and send your products into Amazon. There is a small fee involved each time you make a sale but this is more than worth it for the additional sales you make and time you save.
How To Sell On Amazon Overview
- Arbitrage - buying products from other stores and selling them on Amazon
- Wholesale - buying products from wholesalers and distributors and selling them on Amazon
- Private Label - having products manufactured for you and selling on Amazon for a profit
The idea obviously is to sell at a certain level of profit and return on investment (ROI).
It sounds fairly straight forward doesn't it? But no How To Sell On Amazon guide would be complete without telling you about things that you need to consider if you are serious about selling on Amazon.
Enter your text here...
If you're still on the fence about selling on Amazon we have another blog post Make Money Selling On Amazon – Find Out If It Is Right For You which should help you out.
If you'd like more in depth information on How To Sell On Amazon you can download our 3 Ways To Make Money Selling On Amazon Guide here:
And if you'd like to get ahead of the competition you can sign up for the World's Greatest Amazon Seller Training Program (trademark pending!) by clicking here.
Have you been sold the dream of making money online?
Before I discovered how to make money selling on Amazon, let's take a quick look at some of the ways I tried to escape my day job and give me and my family financial freedom.
(Spoiler alert - none of them succeeded!)
- Affiliate marketing
- MLM (multi-level marketing)
- Article writing & blog posts
- Selling websites
I'm not knocking these potential ways that you can work from home or live the laptop lifestyle, but they didn't work for me.
The main reason why? None of them were "real businesses". They weren't actual companies that could connect with people. Once I realised this, I understood that to succeed, I needed to create a real business. I needed to run it like a real business. Only then would I make money like a real business.
(Second spoiler alert: I succeeded! My wife and I gave up our day jobs and moved from Liverpool, England to Mallorca in Spain with our young family, and haven't looked back).
This is the view from our home office in our first Mallorcan home:
Why Start Your Own Amazon Selling Business?You don't need me to tell you about how successful Amazon is. But did you know that it's possible to piggyback on the amazing reach that Amazon has and sell products to their customers?
Over half of the products sold on Amazon are not from Amazon itself. They're from people like me and you - third-party sellers.
Any do you know where we find profitable products to sell on Amazon? From other retail and online stores. Stores that you can go into or order online from.
And Amazon want you to use their platform to sell your products.
Make Money Selling On Amazon - How It Works
Here is a basic breakdown of running your own Amazon business:
Is It Really That Easy To Make Money Selling On Amazon?
The honest answer is no.
- Finding products is not difficult, but to find profitable products that sell frequently needs training and knowledge
- The process is fairly easy, but you need to understand how to create shipments to send to Amazon
- The day to day running of your Amazon account is relatively easy, but how do you know what to do when problems happen (a customer complains, Amazon accidentally damage your inventory etc)?
And this is where most people fail - they don't take the time to learn how selling on Amazon works, they don't take the time to research what they are doing.
Remember what I said at the beginning - the only way to succeed at making money selling on Amazon is to treat it like a real business. Take it seriously and invest your time in learning how to do it properly.
How To Make Money Selling On Amazon Successfully
If you're still reading then you've seen some of the difficulties involved in selling on Amazon, so hopefully you've got some ideas on how to overcome those.
Understanding what you are doing, why you are doing it and the best ways to do it are key.
When we started our Amazon business we made a lot of mistakes, but we used those to put together a process for making it work.
After just over a year of selling on Amazon, myself and my wife gave up our jobs, sold our house in the UK and moved with our family to Mallorca.
It's still hard work. We don't sunbathe a lot! But we have a much better quality of life and we are our own bosses.
That feeling of freedom is one of the best feelings I have had. And I feel that every day.
A great way to get going is to download our free, Amazon Selling quick start guide. This will walk you through the key steps you need in order to have the best possible chance of Amazon success. You can click on How To Make Money Selling On Amazon to access that now.
You've heard about the challenges
Is Selling On Amazon Right For You
Are you prepared to invest time?
Are you prepared to invest money (you can start small and build up)?
Are you prepared to reinvest your profits back into your business for as long as possible?
Are you prepared to invest in yourself, in learning the best way to succeed in selling on Amazon?
If you've answered yes to each of those questions then you could well have found what you are looking for.
Join our FREE 5 step Amazon seller training Academy
We walk you through exactly what you need to do to get selling on Amazon successfully
A short video on how to improve your product sourcing results – you can watch with the sound off if you need to!
You may already know about “flipping” on Amazon, but it is one of the most overlooked and easiest ways to find more profitable products to sell. In this guide I’ll show you a great method for flipping.
I more than doubled my product sourcing results when I hired a product sourcing Virtual Assistant.
Any part of product sourcing online can be done by a trained Virtual Assistant. Let's take a look at just some of the things they could do:
- Make a list of online stores to source from
- Find matching products that are sold on Amazon
- Check that the products are in stock at the source store
- Check that the products make the required amount of profit
- Check that the products make the required amount of sales per month
- Run scans on sourcing software like Tactical Arbitrage and FBA Wizard
- Delete mismatches on sourcing software
- Collate results into a spreadsheet and have it ready for you by a certain time each
We have several VA's as part of our Amazon business, which has helped us to grow up to the point we were able to move to the Spanish island of Mallorca and run our business from there (that's after having full time office jobs for 20 years).
Not only does it save a huge amount of time (time that you can spend growing your business), it cuts out all of the boring parts of product sourcing!
But I don't know how to hire a VA .....
Neither did I when I started, which is why I made lots of mistakes and employed some unsuccessful candidates.
It's not actually that difficult, and I'll send you to a blog post I've written which shows you step by step how to do it.
Before that I'll show you a quick-start guide that helps you work out what type of VA you want to recruit, which will also make placing your recruitment advert super easy.
1. Describe in one sentence what you want your VA to do e.g. "I am looking for a VA to identify profitable products to sell on Amazon FBA via online arbitrage."
2. What do I want the VA to do specifically? E.g. they’ll be running product scans on sourcing software or manually sourcing online stores to identify profitable products, based on the criteria I will provide them
3. Full Time or Part Time? It can be a good idea to start part-time e.g. 20 hours per week then scale up
4. Experienced in online arbitrage or not? I would recommend to recruit someone who has never done OA before - this way you get them to work exactly how you want them to
5. Skills required? e.g. good standard of English, data entry etc.
6. How much do you want to pay? We tend to start with $2.50 per hour during a one week trial then raise to $3.00 if we decide to keep them
7. How will you manage their time? There is time tracking software available such as Hubstaff that will monitor your VA's work
8. How will you communicate with your VA? Free project management tools such as Asana mean that you can manage your task allocation, communications etc. all in one organised place
But how do I train them?
How you train your new VA will determine if they are going to be successful or not. The mistake that many people make is to try to hire or create an expert product sourcing VA. Whilst that would be great, it's also unrealistic.
What you want to train your VA to do is be able to follow a step by step process, with the result of providing you with a daily spreadsheet of potential products to sell on Amazon for a profit.
The best way to do this is to write down how you currently do this, and then document it - either in a written format or video (you can use a relatively cheap tool like Snagit to take screenshots and to video your screen).
The training should be as specific as possible, with you providing sourcing criteria (e.g. minimum profit of $50, ROI of 30%, maximum sales rank of 200,000 in Toy category, 100,000 in Electronics etc.).
Taking as many decision points out of the VA's hands is your goal - they should follow a process and set criteria and provide you with the results.
Or you could simply follow the step by step instructions on how to hire a product sourcing Virtual Assistant and sign them up to the expertly designed VA online training course that forms part of Virtual Online Arbitrage.
Whether you want a VA to manually source products, run Tactical Arbitrage or FBA Wizard, or both, Virtual Online Arbitrage has you covered. It's what we use to train our own VA's!