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

To find out how to sell on Amazon effectively we need to understand the 3 main methods that people follow:
  1. Arbitrage - buying products from other stores and selling them on Amazon 
  2. Wholesale - buying products from wholesalers and distributors and selling them on Amazon
  3. Private Label - having products manufactured for you and selling on Amazon for a profit
We go into more detail on how these methods work and help you choose the best method for you in this free guide:

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.
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  • You need to understand how to calculate profit, taking into account Amazon fees
  • You need to know how to analyze products. This is to see how often they sell. It's no good having a product that makes a lot of profit if it only sells once a year
  • You need to understand how to analyze competition. You will be selling the same product as other sellers, so you will be competing with them. You have to be careful not to get into a price war which wipes out your profit
  • You need to understand how the Amazon marketplaces work in order to increase your chances of success
  • 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.

    Quick Navigation1. Least Likely To Succeed2. How I Got Started….Sort Of3. How To Create The Change You Need To Become What You Want To Be4. Back To My Story5. First Year Living & Working The Dream6. A Typical Day7. How We Earn Our Money8. How We Became Successful Online Business Owners9. Summary

    I often get people telling me that I’m “living the dream”, and to some extent I am. At least, I’m living my dream.

    What I do and where I live and how I live is my dream but for you it may not be. But HOW I got to where I am could still be a path that you could follow to achieve your dream.Continue reading

    A short blog post here with a simple Amazon hack that someone in my Facebook group (you can join here) took action on and got over £13,000 back from Amazon by following it!!

    I can pretty much guarantee that Amazon owe you money for lost or damaged inventory - don't assume that they automatically recompense you for all of these - they don't.

    It's relatively easy to do, just follow the steps below:

    1. Go to Reports > Fulfillment by Amazon

    2. In the left hand column under Inventory, select Inventory Adjustments

    3. Click on Download, and add in a From Date as far back as you started selling, and a To Date of today

    4. Click on Request Download, then Download when it is ready:

    5. Once it has downloaded, open the text file, Edit, Select All,  then copy and paste it into Excel or Google Sheets

    6. Delete everything that isn't a "E" or an "M" in the reason column. These are items that are Amazon damaged or misplaced.

    7. Open a case - Help > Contact Us > Selling on Amazon > Fulfillment by Amazon > FBA Issue > Something Else - and tell them that you would like to be reimbursed for the attached damaged items. Make sure you attach your Excel file, and do it in batches of 5 ASINs. This will mean you may need to open multiple cases, but you will get a better response from Amazon by limiting it in this way.

    I posted this in my Facebook group  a couple of months ago, and here is a comment from one of my members: "​I still have 4000 out of 5100 lines of data to go through. I've opened 13 days of cases and received over £13,000 back from reimbursements. I don't open cases on weekends. I have started to send about 30 cases a day the last 3 days and had no problems from Amazon." That is obviously from a big seller, but it just proves what can be done. Let me know how you get on. I would recommend you diary to do this every month of so.

    The emphasis in the headline is intentional and important.

    Out of the millions (ahem) of people reading this blog post, I’m talking to you specifically.

    Yes you. I’m going to tell you why I don’t think that YOU should hire a virtual assistant to do your Amazon FBA product sourcing.

    If at the end of this blog post you still want to hire a VA, then we can talk.

    For the purposes of this post, I’m going to be talking about potential VA’s being from the Philippines, and that what we want them to do specifically is online arbitrage for products to sell on Amazon. The points below will still be relevant no matter where they are from, however.

    Cheap Labour

    (For US based readers, I have spelt labour in the correct, original English)

    There is the perception created by advocates of hiring a VA that you can pay very little money and get a sourcing superstar.

    That may have been true 5 or 6 years ago, when the average Filipino salary was around $160 per month. Even as recently as 2015 the average monthly wage was as low as $289.

    But now I wouldn’t consider paying less than $433 per month, and that would be for someone with no experience of sourcing.

    Now that’s still ridiculously cheap at only $2.50 an hour. Within a few months I will have raised that to $3.00 if the VA is performing as hoped.

    I see people saying you can pay a VA $1.50 per hour. I mean come on. These are people, many have families to support. You’re not running a charity but you should be paying a fair wage. After all, they are helping you make money. There a hundreds of potential candidates for every VA vacancy, so that can force the successful applicant to agree to such a low wage. But have some respect for them – you want to them to be motivated,

    Why should they work for far less than the average wage, just because some greedy Westerner wants something for nearly nothing?

    So if you were thinking of hiring a VA and paying peanuts – YOU shouldn’t hire a VA.

    You Want Someone Who Knows Better Than You How To Source

    It’s the magic bullet isn’t it? The golden goose, the er, deep fried thingy… anyway, you know what I’m getting at. You’re struggling to source products to sell on Amazon at a profit, why not hire someone else to do it for you?

    What does everyone who recommends that you should get a Virtual Assistant to do your online arbitrage for you say? “Wake up in the morning with an inbox full of perfectly profitable products that you just need to buy and ship into Amazon”.

    Sidenote: I hadn’t planned on the alliteration of ‘perfectly profitable products’ there, it just happened. Sometimes I think my fingers have a mind of their own. That’s certainly what my wife says anyway.

    Something I see a lot in Amazon FBA related Facebook groups are inexperienced sellers asking questions about hiring a VA because they think that by doing so they can shortcut their way to selling success. Unfortunately that just doesn’t work. Understanding product sourcing yourself, at least to a reasonable standard, puts you in a much stronger position to be able to work with a VA.

    It doesn’t mean you have to be an expert, but at the end of the day you will still be making the buying decisions.

    About 8 years ago I hired a Virtual Assistant from an Indian company called Brickwork (it was recommended in The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris).

    I asked them to find companies in the UK who would dropship Sci-Fi products. 

    It was a waste of time for them and me.

    They didn’t know what dropshipping was (why would they?)

    They didn’t really know what type of Sci-Fi products I wanted

    Do you know why? Because I didn’t really know either. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and just thought that by hiring an untrained Virtual Assistant without knowing what to do myself and without being able to provide instruction I would get some results.

    So if you think that just by hiring a Virtual Assistant to do your online arbitrage for you you’ll get great results – YOU shouldn’t hire a VA.

    Before I forget – this is the first in a series of VA related blog posts – sign up here so that you don’t miss the rest of the series:

    You Want Someone Who Knows How To Source To The Same Standard As You

    Ok, you’re an expert at online arbitrage. You can find 20 great products just by blinking at each page of the Toysrus clearance sale.

    Does that mean your VA is going to be able to do that?

    Answer is no. Everytime.

    One of the mistakes I made when I first started hiring VAs, and I see people making, is they expect their Assistant to source like they do.

    Think about how you learnt product sourcing – chances are you did a course, or you were self taught, maybe reading the odd blog post and watching Youtube videos. And along the way you bought things, maybe even sold some of them. Made mistakes, had successes and built up your experience.

    But if you think about it, your VA isn’t following your path. They might be following some training you put together. Perhaps even following a course you’ve shared with them. But there is a factor in them building their experience that you didn’t have – you.

    Your VA is having to deliver results to you pretty much from the get go. A certain quantity and quality. Could you have done that in your first few weeks of sourcing? After following a half arsed set of instructions in a different language?

    Even an experienced product sourcing VA won’t source like you do. They will source in the way they have been taught, or developed their own way. And it’s going to be different to you.

    So if you expectations are that you can hire a Virtual Assistant who can do online arbitrage to rocket your Amazon FBA sales upwards, YOU shouldn’t hire a VA.

     

     

    You don’t know how to train them (or you think you do, but really, you don’t)

    As I mentioned in the rant section above, how your VA works and performs is based on how they are trained and coached.

    My mistake when I started out was to hire Virtual Assistants who had product sourcing experience, gave them a list of online stores to search, and a spreadsheet to fill in. Along with instructions not to go above a certain sales rank or below a specific ROI percentage.

    I got results. Crap ones. I’d get about 10 products a day, and would be lucky if more than one was worth buying. What did I expect?

    When I had an actual real, 9-5 job for an established company, I had a weeks induction, with training that spanned several weeks. Plus regular ongoing training. That’s when it was fair for my boss to have high expectations regarding my performance. If on my second day at work he had complained that I wasn’t doing a great job, how do you think that would have made me feel?

    When you get trained at a job, you are shown how to follow a structured, established process (if the company you are working for are doing it right).

    This is the approach that you should be taking with your new product sourcing VA. I’m going to have an upcoming post on “How To Train Your VA to Product Source”, and I’ll show you a method that works really well. But that has taken me a long time and a lot of mistakes before I got it right.

    If you’re not prepared to put the planning into the training for your Virtual Assistant – YOU shouldn’t hire a VA.

    You are not prepared to manage and work with your VA

    I 100% recommend outsourcing as much as possible. I like to focus on the things that add real value to my businesses. Having elements that run “hands off” is fantastic. This works particularly well with a prep and shipping company (although I would still recommend regularly touching base).

    But having a product sourcing Virtual Assistant shouldn’t be hands off. Cultivating a relationship, being there to help them if they need it, coaching them to improve in certain areas – all of these things will result in a more motivated and therefore productive employee.

    I don’t know if you are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If not, the picture below is fairly self explanatory. The first things we need, that motivate us to do anything, are the basics to survive. Basically – I need to earn money to eat, to have somewhere to live, to support my family.

    Once we have that in place, the requirements to make us happy are not necessarily financial. Yes, a lot of you are saying “Hell no, I want to be rich” (I’m assuming you’re American, if you’re British it will be more like “Er, actually I wouldn’t mind quite a lot of money if it’s all the same with you old chap”).

    But what does that money facilitate? We go higher up the hierarchy of needs and it means that we can have a nicer house, we can have time to develop social connections etc.

    For most people, money facilitates all of the other things we need to make us happy, until we get to the point of self-actualisation.

    Now why would your Virtual Assistant be any different? They are initially motivated by earning enough money to survive, then maybe to buy something they have had their eye on for a while, or a gift for their partner or child. But once they have achieved that level consistently, what is that motivates them?

    Sense of connection.

    Confidence.

    Sense of achievement.

    You can help them achieve those things by managing and coaching them with care and attention, and understanding what is in it for them as much as what is in it for you.

    So, if you’re not prepared to manage and work with your Amazon FBA online arbitrage Virtual Assistant – YOU shouldn’t hire a VA.

    Summary

    So I hope that you have realised that this blog post hasn’t really being about you not hiring a product sourcing Virtual Assistant. I actually think that you should (well maybe not YOU, but the rest of you definitely should).

    What I wanted to highlight were what I see as the important factors you need to think about, plan and work on in order for it to work for you.

    Because when it does, it really can transform your business.

    Luckily, I have a series of blog posts coming up over the next couple of weeks that will show you how to do the whole process properly and effectively, and will cover:

    How To Hire a VA
    How To Manage a VAHow To Train a VA

     

    And as always, I’d love to hear your feedback on this, so please leave comments below.

    I’m sure that the overriding thought you had after seeing my last blog video was “well at least he’s hit rock bottom as far as boring titles are concerned”.

    Well, look what I’ve managed to do. I’ve gone and surprised you by beating myself at my own game.

    This video is about how and why I define my processes, and then taking it onto the next stage of making them more efficient.

    Is that the sexiest title for a blog post you’ve ever seen? No, no it’s not. It’s like the opposite of click bait. It’s like I’ve thought to myself, “what title could I come up with that will mean that no one watches my video?”.

    Or, have I cleverly come up with a boring title to make you think that the video couldn’t possible be that dull, so you watch it. Or that there are amazing secrets in the video that I don’t want everyone to see, so I’ve tried to put people off. Could I really be that clever and cunning? Again, the answer is no.

     

    Here are the links to the free tools I use in the videos: https://www.mindmeister.com/ and https://www.mindmeister.com/

    cap1You know how it works. You sell products at a profit. Simple.

    But do any of the following apply to you?

    • you have old inventory hanging around
    • the selling price has tanked
    • you have high value stock that isn’t moving

    If so, let’s take a look at how to turn those to your advantage.

    Problems

    I had two main problems when I first started selling on Amazon FBA ( I had lots of problems, but these were the main ones) – panicking and dropping my prices if something hadn’t sold for two weeks, and buying something only to find out when it got into stock at Amazon that I had bought when AZ’s price was artificially high for whatever reason, and I was never going to sell mine. So I held onto the stock in the desparate hope it would go back up in price. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

    Which brings me to my third problem (where did that come from, I thought I said I had two?). Months later I was still sitting on that stock, and I never had enough cash to buy as much stock as I wanted to (is that a fourth problem? I’m starting to lose count).

    Now, I will cover how to avoid the first two problems in other posts. But what I want to talk to you today about what I did about problems three and four.

    I fought every natural instinct, and I identified which products I should sell at a loss. We’ll come to how I did that later.

    I had to argue with myself about this, which I think confused my wife. It’s completely counterintuitive:

    It doesn’t feel right psychologically cap2

    You have failed.

    You have lost money.

    Feeling Better

    If you choose the right products to sell, none of the above matters.

    You have learnt a lesson in making your buying decisions (call it investing in learning).

    You have got rid of that nagging feeling you get when you think about your inventory.

    And best of all, you have some cash coming in for you to spend on sweets and wine more stock.

    You are improving your cash flow, and you are going to be spending it on better decisions that will make you more money faster. I would rather take a £10 loss on something this week and turn it into a £20 profit next week that hold onto a product for ages and start incurring Amazon Long Term Storage Fees.

    Now I’m not suggesting you should sell all of your existing stock at a loss and start again (you weren’t thinking that anyway were you?).

    Solutions

    What I started to do was the following:

    Check my prices of all stock against the Buy Box.

    See how much stock the sellers have who have a lower price than me (the How Many? extension is great for this).

    Check price history and sales rank. See what the three month averages are and see if I can at least break even (maybe even make a small profit).

    If you don’t think you can break even, what is the highest price you could sell for.

    Make the appropriate price change.

    The feeling you get when the products start marching out the door and you Next Payment amount on your AZ Sellers APP starts increasing will make you get over the fact that you were (whisper it) losing money.

    So go on then, check your stock and take action. Let me know how you’ve got on.

    Dan