Author Topic: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice  (Read 11478 times)

RobinAZ

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« on: August 01, 2015, 08:28:27 PM »
We are looking for a side hustle my husband and I can do while he is student teaching, then teaching, and especially in the summers when he is off. 

I have been researching Amazon FBA but there are like, a zillion courses and blogs you can buy that seem to give you the info re: setting up an account, shipping, etc.  A lot just seem like scams.  And I have a far more basic question-- how do you know what to sell?

We have sold at yard sales everything that isn't nailed down in our house, when we downsized 50%.  In fact, we are a bit UNDER-furnished, lol.

I am looking for advice-- either a recommendation for books, blogs, courses, etc.  Or someone who is willing to take some time to mentor.  Preferably for free, but I am willing to pay for good advice if need be :-)

Thank you in advance-- we have an enormous hole to crawl out of, but I am going to kick its butt!!!

Robin

10dollarsatatime

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Utah
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2015, 12:53:52 PM »
I started last year after hearing Pat Flynn's interview with Jessica Larrew.  Google it. 

Once you've learned the basics, my advice is to just jump in.  Don't worry about have EVERYTHING set up and ready to go.

Join the FBA Master Facebook group.  I'm pretty sure that one is free.  I'm also a member of Scanner Monkey, but I joined when it was half the price it is now.  Chris Green's Arbitrage book is a very basic place to start, and it's only $10 or so. 

As far as knowing what to sell, Amazon has sales ranks for nearly everything they have listed.  You're looking for things in the top 10% or so.  Look at the charts here: http://www.fbamastery.com/cracking-the-code-on-amazon-sales-rank/

So now you download the Amazon Seller App to your phone and start scanning barcodes.  It will come back with what that item is selling for, what you would get after fees, and the sales rank.  Is the sales rank good? Will you make a profit after fees?

There's obviously more to it than that, but I started out with $50 and very little information.  I don't source consistently... I think I've only sent in 4-5 shipments since I started last fall... but I'm up to nearly $2000 worth of inventory (my cost) at any given time and once I got my first $50 investment back, I just started putting all the profits back into the business. 

I have, over the past year, also acquired a bluetooth barcode scanner, a dymo label printer, and backup batteries for my phone/freedom pop wifi hotspot.  These were also just pulled from the profits.

Someday in the future, if I stopped being lazy about it, this could be a viable income source.  Right now it's just an awesome hobby that allows me to shop deals (one of the old pre-mustachian habits) and lets cashiers think I'm a hoarder. (I've got fifty packages of floss in my office right now waiting to go in.)

I realize this is all kind of vague, but let me know if you have specific questions. 

RobinAZ

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2015, 10:37:04 PM »
This was very helpful as a starting point.  Thank you! I am going to get that book and read through the blog you posted, open a professional account, download a scouting app and just dive in.  When I was in law school, I made good money selling used designer women's clothes on eBay.  It took some time to get the swing of things but it certainly felt great to get something for a dollar or so and sell it for $100 :-)

maryofdoom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Southwestern PA
  • Jeopardy! loser since 2010
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 07:54:29 AM »
I haven't done anything with FBA for regular goods on Amazon, but I have done pretty well with books. I picked books because I like to look through books; they come in standard sizes, which makes it easy to acquire shipping materials in bulk; they are fairly compact; and they can be quite profitable.

I would imagine that almost any FBA scanning app would also work on books. If you'd like any more book-related advice, I'm happy to help you out, but that linked blog post is a good one and I think you've already gotten some great advice here.

10dollarsatatime

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Utah
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 09:34:23 AM »
I will say that at some point (probably when you feel you can afford to drop the money for a bluetooth scanner) it will also be worth it to start paying for a third party scanning app.  Time is money, and the Amazon app is slow.  I pay $10/month for Profit Bandit at the moment, and I love it.  But eventually I will upgrade again to one that has a downloadable database, which means you don't have to have internet whilst scanning. 

I'd be interested in hearing some book related advice though.  I've only sent in a dozen or so, and did pretty well on some.  The rest are still sitting, even with the lowest FBA price and decent ranks.

maryofdoom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Southwestern PA
  • Jeopardy! loser since 2010
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 11:40:22 AM »
Well, I can't really share a ton of experience with FBA...the linked blog earlier in the thread is really the best option for that. (I've been reading through the posts and not working on the project that I'm supposed to be working on, but on the bright side, I've gotten a lot of really good ideas!)

I use a Dell Axim x51 pocket PC and a SocketScan scanner. I picked them up on eBay for something like $200 (which included replacing the original pocket PC when it broke). As for an offline app, I like ASellerTool - the learning curve is low and their customer support is really good. I had to quit my account when I had two seizures and got my driver's license suspended for six months, so I couldn't go out to scan, and all they said was, "Wow, we hope you feel better soon. Let us know when and if you want to come back."

When I go out hunting, I download the database to the pocket PC the morning that I leave, so I have the most updated information. I figure as long as I make more than $30 in a month, it pays for itself, and as a bonus, I also pick up any new awesome books that I might want to read.

I don't pursue book sales as seriously as the FBA guy or some other FBA sellers...mostly I just enjoy looking through piles of books and getting paid for doing so is just another bonus for me. I do plan to pick it back up when I have more time to devote to it and can get around.

About the only real advice I have is that you never know what people are going to want to buy. I can tell you stories about selling a calculus textbook in twelve hours for $60, or how a book on internal combustion engines went for $125, but for every one of those, there are twenty more books that I bought for $1 and sold for between $5 and $10. Scan everything. If it doesn't have a bar code, put in its ISBN. Look for books in the following categories:
 - non-fiction trade paperbacks (science writing, adventure, the occasional biography)
 - religion
 - anything on practical subjects (hunting, fishing, playing sports, home brewing)
 - anything self-published or from a small press (mostly I just love these because some of them are fantastically messed up)

Avoid:
 - hardback fiction (99% of it sells terribly; the only exceptions would be new hot books by fancy authors, I did a brisk trade in copies of Wolf Hall when it first came out)
 - mass-market fiction (the little books that usually have barcodes on their inside front covers; the only exception is pretty much anything by Terry Pratchett)
 - anything romance
 - old textbooks (though it depends on the subject; old life science isn't usually worth it, but I had a big score last year of old and esoteric physics books, one of which sold for $75)

It takes some time, but you eventually start to get a feel for what's good and what isn't. Or what's likely to be good and what isn't.

Lis

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 774
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2015, 12:49:41 PM »
Bumping to follow. Robin, definitely feel the same as you regarding what's real and useful and what's a scam. Will definitely be looking into the blogs and whatnot shortly!

RobinAZ

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 09:14:54 PM »
I worked a longgggggg day today, but the first thing I did when I got home was jump on this thread!  I am so excited that other people are researching and doing this!  Happy hunting everyone!!!

PeachFuzzInVA

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2015, 10:09:12 PM »
I'm a little hesitant to say much on this thread because every time I mention that I sell on fba as my full time job on here I get 15 pm's from people wanting me to teach them how to sell on Amazon and it really just doesn't work that way, but here goes....

You don't need to pay any money for any books or courses. There's enough good, free information out there if you're willing to look for it and put the time into absorbing it.

As far as knowing what to sell, sales rank is absolutely everything. I have thresholds for what I'll sell depending on the category, but knowing where that threshold is can only come with time/experience.

If I could only recommend one source for learning the ropes, I would direct you to the facebook group "Amazon FBA Newbies!" It's got 10,000+ members who are more than willing to share information...just don't ask anyone what they're selling or where they're getting it from, that's a bit of a no-no.

Finally...selling online is still WORK. My wife and I spent 5 hours the other night listing and preparing a 318 unit shipment and I spent another 6 packing it and shipping it today. Granted, we'll make about $2800 off that shipment, but it is NOT a get rich quick scheme like people seem to think it is. It's a get rich slowly scheme that, like any business, most people who try fail at.

maryofdoom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Southwestern PA
  • Jeopardy! loser since 2010
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 08:06:52 AM »
I will also add that I am selling mostly as merchant-fulfilled (or MF), which means I personally have to store my books until they sell. Since I'm working on a small scale, it's not a problem to just keep all my books on a dedicated bookshelf or in a dedicated area, but if I wanted to expand, I would definitely need more space.

Don't just jump right into FBA; I would really recommend going the MF route until you learn the ins and outs of whatever you're selling. For that, you don't need a Pro account (which is $40/month) until you're moving more than 40 units each month. I did that for a while, and it was fun, but you really need to be selling enough to justify it.

As a note, from running my numbers, I have almost five years of data on my payments from Amazon, and my average payout is $138 every two weeks. I would say my workload for that was between three and five hours each week, including drive time to various sourcing locations, listing the books, and packing and shipping the books.

That's not objectively terrible for someone who's only doing this as a hobby. I'm sure that with more dedicated work and complex sourcing, that would increase, but I just haven't had the time to do that.

Send me a PM if you want more information about how a non-professional hobbyist goes about this process.

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3375
  • Location: New York
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 09:34:25 AM »
Re: books, you'll probably capture top dollar through eBay by marketing/selling them yourself, but an app I used to unload all my books recently was BookScouter: http://bookscouter.com/

This takes the scanned code or the ISBN and searches ~50 vendors who buy books. Powell's in Portland, OR tended to be the best for me, but sometimes only one vendor would want a book and they paid a lot for it. You print a postage-free label, and drop it at the post office. Get paid in your paypal account in a couple of weeks.

Duchess of Stratosphear

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 11:53:25 AM »
maryofdoom, do you have to have the pro account to do FBA at all? I've been looking over the info on the Amazon page and haven't run across that fee in their list of fees.

maryofdoom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Southwestern PA
  • Jeopardy! loser since 2010
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 12:06:31 PM »
maryofdoom, do you have to have the pro account to do FBA at all? I've been looking over the info on the Amazon page and haven't run across that fee in their list of fees.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure. It's been a long time since I had a pro account and an even longer time since I sent in any FBA shipments, so I'll defer to PeachFuzzInVA for that one. I'm sure he or she can answer that with much more authority than I can.

Duchess of Stratosphear

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 12:21:05 PM »
Well, I added FBA to my existing seller account, so I hope I won't be secretly charged. Not even sure I'm ready to try this yet! Thanks for the info everyone!


10dollarsatatime

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Utah
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 12:58:01 PM »
You don't have to have a pro account to do FBA, although if you get to the point where you want to ungate some categories (grocery and health/beauty for instance) you'll have to have it.  I waited a few months until my sales volume went over 40 units, at which point, it made sense to upgrade my account.  You can always downgrade again if you don't like it.

I have to say I love FBA for the simplicity on my end.  I do eBay occasionally, but I hate shipping every little thing.  FBA lets me throw everything in a box at once and mostly be done with it.  I'm thinking that within the next 6 months, I may start using a prep service as well.  No more peeling stickers and applying FNSKU barcodes.  It will eat into the profits a little bit, sure, but it will save enough time to be worth it.

RobinAZ

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 06:10:02 PM »
I read way late into the night, lol.  If I understand correctly,  it is 99 cents for each listing if you aren't a pro seller, and $40/mo for the pro account-- so until you have volume, you don't need a pro account.  Probably better to hold off until I have the volume unless... Do you need a pro account to use the scanning apps without a pro account?  And... Now I have to read more about these categories where you have to have a pro account?????

So much fun to learn something new! 

10dollarsatatime

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Utah
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 09:31:21 PM »
I think you do have to have a pro account for the third party scanning apps, but the Amazon Seller App can be used without it.  But then, the third party apps can also wait until you have the volume to support the monthly cost anyway.

maryofdoom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Southwestern PA
  • Jeopardy! loser since 2010
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2015, 08:26:40 AM »
I read way late into the night, lol.  If I understand correctly,  it is 99 cents for each listing if you aren't a pro seller, and $40/mo for the pro account-- so until you have volume, you don't need a pro account.  Probably better to hold off until I have the volume unless... Do you need a pro account to use the scanning apps without a pro account?  And... Now I have to read more about these categories where you have to have a pro account?????

So much fun to learn something new!

Heh, I'm glad you're having a good time.

I can't comment on a scanning app that you use with a smart phone, because I always went with an offline solution. Since going with a pre-paid phone, I only get so much data per month; plus the reception inside my local Goodwill is TERRIBLE. A pocket PC with a SocketScan scanner and a subscription to the ASellerTool database is good enough for my purposes.

Obviously there are some startup costs with this route. The pocket PC is around $50. A subscription to ASellerTool is $30 per month. However, if you don't mind typing in ISBNs by hand at first, you don't need the scanner. ASellerTool also offers packages where you can rent the scanner and pocket PC from them, but I haven't looked into those, because I started before that was an option.

If you begin with the MF route, you also need access to a printer and a way to mail your books out to their recipients if you go with the MF route. I get my mailers from ValueMailers.com - they are the white poly bubble mailers and are cheap, plus they take PayPal and provide super fast shipping. The #1 size is ideal for most paperbacks and the #5 is good for most hardcover books. I also bought a very small quantity of the largest possible size (which I think is #7) for really big or really heavy books.

Seriously: I would start with books until you get the hang of it, that's my advice to you.

eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2015, 08:50:49 AM »
OK, so there's a ton of information out there, but FBA takes a huge amount of time (and a big cash reserve) to do successfully.

You can check out ecommercemomentum.com to hear from a bunch of experienced sellers and try to avoid their pitfalls. It will also have a lot of other links/possibilities. http://skipmcgrath.com/ has a monthly newsletter on sources too.

Profit bandit used to be free but now has a monthly fee. There's a lot of overhead for FBA though (tons of different rules and bagging and labeling and expiration dates).

I like eBay cause it's more free form.

Duchess of Stratosphear

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2015, 10:05:13 AM »
There's so much good info here! Thanks! I'm trying to work myself up to trying this. I've been selling books on Amazon and the random thing here and there on ebay for a while, but if I could just step it up enough to make $500/month, that would certainly help my retirement savings. If you can indulge some dumb newbie questions....

I've found some items that I think could be good ones to start with. In general, it seems like you'd want to do stuff that isn't fragile, is easy to pack, isn't terribly expensive but that is selling for at least 50% more than you paid for it. Does that sound right? For a first shipment just to experiment, what would you suggest? 10 items? 20? more? All the same or a mixture of items?

I'm trying to convince myself to spend $100-200 on stuff and just give it a try. If it totally just doesn't work out, I can live with that loss and the lesson learned.

PS, a couple of Chris Green's books can be borrowed for free if you have Amazon Prime and a kindle. I will definitely check those out!


eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2015, 07:47:58 AM »
There's so much good info here! Thanks! I'm trying to work myself up to trying this. I've been selling books on Amazon and the random thing here and there on ebay for a while, but if I could just step it up enough to make $500/month, that would certainly help my retirement savings. If you can indulge some dumb newbie questions....

I've found some items that I think could be good ones to start with. In general, it seems like you'd want to do stuff that isn't fragile, is easy to pack, isn't terribly expensive but that is selling for at least 50% more than you paid for it. Does that sound right? For a first shipment just to experiment, what would you suggest? 10 items? 20? more? All the same or a mixture of items?

I'm trying to convince myself to spend $100-200 on stuff and just give it a try. If it totally just doesn't work out, I can live with that loss and the lesson learned.

PS, a couple of Chris Green's books can be borrowed for free if you have Amazon Prime and a kindle. I will definitely check those out!

I'd say that sounds solid. I started my eBay side hustle with money generated from selling things around my house.

I know that FBA is a popular thing, I just don't want to be scanning in Walmart. I love thrift stores and garage sales for the surprise. Making $1 or $5 per item just doesn't appeal as much to me, even though I know it can be done quickly.

The other thing you want to watch out for is weight. It's very expensive to ship something out to AZ if you're from the east coast.

On top of that, they do allow you to pay per item to have it all shipped to one warehouse. Sometimes, this is actually cheaper than shipping it across the country. That's the hard part. If you're going to list 30 of one item, then Amazon is going to want it to be spread across the country so they can ship it out to anywhere quickly and cheaply vs having them all in one corner of the US.

I think there's some good rules of thumb out there like don't go too deep into an item unless you're able to source super cheap.

FBA is just a riskier business because the capital investment is a lot higher, the ROI is (generally) less, and if your item is a bad buy, you lose a lot more money (because of the capital investment). But it's just so damn fast compared to eBay or Merchant Fulfillment.

Chris Green is one of the original guys in the FBA business. He makes a lot of money now mostly from his books, his speaking, and affiliate money AND recurring fees for Scanner Power.

Personally, I'm not a fan of FBA because I think it's unsustainable (they've basically taken out some middle men) but also that increasing consumption across the board isn't something I want to help out with. I rationalize re-selling garage sale and thrift store items because they would have been thrown out otherwise. I'm basically giving something a second life when someone else would have just thrown it away. But that's a whole 'nother topic.

maryofdoom

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Southwestern PA
  • Jeopardy! loser since 2010
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2015, 08:29:27 AM »
I know that FBA is a popular thing, I just don't want to be scanning in Walmart. I love thrift stores and garage sales for the surprise. Making $1 or $5 per item just doesn't appeal as much to me, even though I know it can be done quickly...

Personally, I'm not a fan of FBA because I think it's unsustainable (they've basically taken out some middle men) but also that increasing consumption across the board isn't something I want to help out with. I rationalize re-selling garage sale and thrift store items because they would have been thrown out otherwise. I'm basically giving something a second life when someone else would have just thrown it away. But that's a whole 'nother topic.

I think this is a great point. I really enjoy the "hunting" part of this entire process. I feel like I would have less fun if I were just going to regular stores to pick up random deals and then sending them into Amazon through FBA. I've always loved looking through big piles of books - whenever I go to a thrift store, I always go to the book section first (and I always have). It is super fun to find a book on a topic that I want to learn more about for only $1 or $2. It's gotten to the point where I flat-out refuse to buy new books, especially fiction and non-fiction trade paperbacks. Why should I pay $14 for a book that I'll read in four hours when I can get the same amount of reading time for $1?

Another thing I like about selling books from Goodwill is providing books that are essential to scholars of obscure topics. I found a book once on Victorian attitudes toward alcohol, which is a very specific topic and obviously was written by someone who was pursuing advanced study in that area. Your average Goodwill shopper probably isn't going to need that book, but someone somewhere in America is probably pursuing graduate work in just that area. By buying that book from Goodwill and listing it on Amazon, I helped the person who needs it to find it at a reasonable price.

And as a bonus, Goodwill is a great cause to support. In our area, they provide job training for the mentally handicapped and other social-outreach programs, with a purely secular focus (and they probably do this nationwide). I want to be a charitable person and help those who are less fortunate than myself, but I don't want to be involved in anything religious (like the St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores or the Salvation Army). Buying books at Goodwill lets me support their secular, charitable mission; allows me to expand my personal library, much to my husband's chagrin; and even earns me extra money on the side. It's the perfect hustle.

Duchess of Stratosphear

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2015, 12:09:52 PM »
I know that FBA is a popular thing, I just don't want to be scanning in Walmart. I love thrift stores and garage sales for the surprise. Making $1 or $5 per item just doesn't appeal as much to me, even though I know it can be done quickly...

Personally, I'm not a fan of FBA because I think it's unsustainable (they've basically taken out some middle men) but also that increasing consumption across the board isn't something I want to help out with. I rationalize re-selling garage sale and thrift store items because they would have been thrown out otherwise. I'm basically giving something a second life when someone else would have just thrown it away. But that's a whole 'nother topic.

I think this is a great point. I really enjoy the "hunting" part of this entire process. I feel like I would have less fun if I were just going to regular stores to pick up random deals and then sending them into Amazon through FBA. I've always loved looking through big piles of books - whenever I go to a thrift store, I always go to the book section first (and I always have). It is super fun to find a book on a topic that I want to learn more about for only $1 or $2. It's gotten to the point where I flat-out refuse to buy new books, especially fiction and non-fiction trade paperbacks. Why should I pay $14 for a book that I'll read in four hours when I can get the same amount of reading time for $1?

Another thing I like about selling books from Goodwill is providing books that are essential to scholars of obscure topics. I found a book once on Victorian attitudes toward alcohol, which is a very specific topic and obviously was written by someone who was pursuing advanced study in that area. Your average Goodwill shopper probably isn't going to need that book, but someone somewhere in America is probably pursuing graduate work in just that area. By buying that book from Goodwill and listing it on Amazon, I helped the person who needs it to find it at a reasonable price.

And as a bonus, Goodwill is a great cause to support. In our area, they provide job training for the mentally handicapped and other social-outreach programs, with a purely secular focus (and they probably do this nationwide). I want to be a charitable person and help those who are less fortunate than myself, but I don't want to be involved in anything religious (like the St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores or the Salvation Army). Buying books at Goodwill lets me support their secular, charitable mission; allows me to expand my personal library, much to my husband's chagrin; and even earns me extra money on the side. It's the perfect hustle.

Yes! I feel the same way as you two. I think one thing that makes me hesitate about this is the question of whether I want to participate in the big machine that is Amazon. I use them judiciously myself, but do I really want to get all up in their ecosystem for my livelihood too? Not so sure. The thought of scanning crap in Walmart makes me want to puke. I haven't even been in Walmart for years (the place makes me nervous), so I would lean more towards finding deals online to resell (which still makes me a little uncomfortable) or doing the thrift store route (totally comfortable with this). I too have wondered whether this retail arbitrage/FBA stuff is sustainable since it seems like so many people are hip to it now. On the other hand, it's hard to think of another side gig that would give the potential for making good money with relatively little time invested. But if money is the only consideration, then you're kind of just selling your soul, you know?   

eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2015, 04:29:26 AM »
Yes! I feel the same way as you two. I think one thing that makes me hesitate about this is the question of whether I want to participate in the big machine that is Amazon. I use them judiciously myself, but do I really want to get all up in their ecosystem for my livelihood too? Not so sure. The thought of scanning crap in Walmart makes me want to puke. I haven't even been in Walmart for years (the place makes me nervous), so I would lean more towards finding deals online to resell (which still makes me a little uncomfortable) or doing the thrift store route (totally comfortable with this). I too have wondered whether this retail arbitrage/FBA stuff is sustainable since it seems like so many people are hip to it now. On the other hand, it's hard to think of another side gig that would give the potential for making good money with relatively little time invested. But if money is the only consideration, then you're kind of just selling your soul, you know?

It all comes down to life hours for me and how I enjoy them. I love garage sales. They're fun and something I could do every weekend. I love finding the deal. Going on a hunt. Maybe it's my way of coping with the fact that I'm not hunting animals like I would have been a thousand years ago? Who knows. I've scanned at places. I've found a couple cool deals. It was neat to go to 4 different Michael's stores, find the same item, buy it for $4, and sell it for $30 profit. The thing is, those things are so rare for Amazon. Most of your deals are a lot smaller than that. I hit those numbers on eBay all the time, but I have to do a "bit" more work. Since I'm not investing 10s of thousands of dollars though, I'm only having to worry about flipping that money very quickly.

If you're trying to scale though, it's a lot harder to do with eBay than Amazon since you have to handle every single item a lot more times. I'm gonna stick with slow and steady.

RobinAZ

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2015, 11:00:18 PM »
I hit the stores this weekend- Big Lots, Walmart, Target, thrift store.  Wanted to check stuff out and just explore.  I could definitely source on the weekends, but I will pretty much miss out on M-F deals with my schedule right now.

I can see now that the devil is in the sourcing :-)

10dollarsatatime

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Utah
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2015, 11:17:49 PM »
Sourcing, for me, is the fun part.  My issue is getting motivated to prep the shipments...

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 640
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2015, 11:34:39 PM »
Following. I've been some of my selling my cd collection as a merchant on Amazon and having pretty decent results.

eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2015, 08:06:01 AM »
I hit the stores this weekend- Big Lots, Walmart, Target, thrift store.  Wanted to check stuff out and just explore.  I could definitely source on the weekends, but I will pretty much miss out on M-F deals with my schedule right now.

I can see now that the devil is in the sourcing :-)

This is absolutely true for Amazon. For eBay, it's the exact opposite. There's so much shit out there (and in my garage) that there's not enough time to list it it all!

RobinAZ

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2015, 02:16:29 PM »
I hit the stores this weekend- Big Lots, Walmart, Target, thrift store.  Wanted to check stuff out and just explore.  I could definitely source on the weekends, but I will pretty much miss out on M-F deals with my schedule right now.

I can see now that the devil is in the sourcing :-)

This is absolutely true for Amazon. For eBay, it's the exact opposite. There's so much shit out there (and in my garage) that there's not enough time to list it it all!

When I sold clothes on eBay, I had the same issue.  I am close to Ariz. State and Scottsdale, every week I could get a pile of NWT designed stuff.  The market now is tighter of course, but the deals are still out there.

I have a 2015 goal of learning more about selling online and getting some processes in place for my current work as well as this future work.  My 2016 goal is completely paying off $38k in debt (my car, two credit cards, loan to replace our HVAC system, 2014 back taxes and an estimate for 2015 taxes).  I hope to be able to do that with just my job but extra $ from sales would be fine too!!

eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2015, 07:19:56 AM »
I hit the stores this weekend- Big Lots, Walmart, Target, thrift store.  Wanted to check stuff out and just explore.  I could definitely source on the weekends, but I will pretty much miss out on M-F deals with my schedule right now.

I can see now that the devil is in the sourcing :-)

This is absolutely true for Amazon. For eBay, it's the exact opposite. There's so much shit out there (and in my garage) that there's not enough time to list it it all!

When I sold clothes on eBay, I had the same issue.  I am close to Ariz. State and Scottsdale, every week I could get a pile of NWT designed stuff.  The market now is tighter of course, but the deals are still out there.

I have a 2015 goal of learning more about selling online and getting some processes in place for my current work as well as this future work.  My 2016 goal is completely paying off $38k in debt (my car, two credit cards, loan to replace our HVAC system, 2014 back taxes and an estimate for 2015 taxes).  I hope to be able to do that with just my job but extra $ from sales would be fine too!!

That's the best way to do it. We have goals like "replacement HVAC" or "tree trimming money" or "new deck" that we work towards and it really motivates me (and bumps my wife into helping too).

Duchess of Stratosphear

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2015, 02:45:38 PM »
I decided to start out slow and just sent my first box of books to Amazon for fulfillment. I have used the seller app a little bit, but at one book sale I was too embarrassed to scan so I just guesstimated and ended up picking out pretty decent books. It took forever to prep my shipment last night (hope I did it right!) and I'm not sure I have the time/energy to consistently send in shipments every month. I guess we'll see how these first books do and go from there. Thanks for all the advice everybody!

eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2015, 06:24:45 AM »
I decided to start out slow and just sent my first box of books to Amazon for fulfillment. I have used the seller app a little bit, but at one book sale I was too embarrassed to scan so I just guesstimated and ended up picking out pretty decent books. It took forever to prep my shipment last night (hope I did it right!) and I'm not sure I have the time/energy to consistently send in shipments every month. I guess we'll see how these first books do and go from there. Thanks for all the advice everybody!

You definitely have the time, it's just if it's a priority for you. I wake up at 5AM every day and either workout (MWF) or do eBay stuff (TR) and ship every day too. Obviously shipping eBay isn't the same as FBA, but the first is always the hardest. You'll get a better process as you go.

As to the scanning, you'll get better after a while. Another option (although it eats into your profits) is to ship it to Amazon and pay for them to prep, label, and all that. They're good at charging you for the extra costs but it could be helpful if you truly don't have the time.

RobinAZ

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2015, 07:52:45 PM »
Set up my pro seller account, downloaded the AZ scan app, scanned everything in my house, lol.  Set up a separate checking account to keep my AZ money separate from other funds. And... bought my first item to ship in! $19 to buy, $48 estimated net.  Only about 50% ROI but it was so fun!!  Also had a chance to check out a consignment store and tried to discreetly scan.  I forgot the preferred ranking list for the categories so I didn't end up buying but I am thrilled to find a good place to source.

Next is researching how to estimate shipping and AZ fees, getting ungated in a couple categories, and learn more about how to bag and label! 

This is the most fun I have had in ages and my husband is totally psyched!!!

eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Amazon FBA Mentor/Advice
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2015, 04:37:52 AM »
Set up my pro seller account, downloaded the AZ scan app, scanned everything in my house, lol.  Set up a separate checking account to keep my AZ money separate from other funds. And... bought my first item to ship in! $19 to buy, $48 estimated net.  Only about 50% ROI but it was so fun!!  Also had a chance to check out a consignment store and tried to discreetly scan.  I forgot the preferred ranking list for the categories so I didn't end up buying but I am thrilled to find a good place to source.

Next is researching how to estimate shipping and AZ fees, getting ungated in a couple categories, and learn more about how to bag and label! 

This is the most fun I have had in ages and my husband is totally psyched!!!

That's great! Do the research yourself for ungating. It's a lot of paperwork and there are services that will do it for you but they're really expensive.

50% ROI is fantastic. If you could do that all day you'd be set. Most Amazon sellers are in the ~10% range. Make sure to use CCs to get points or buy gift cards at a discount. I know a guy who makes a lot of his money just based on those discounts/rewards.