Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Cover Reveal For Our New Book

Married to Reselling_cover2S

Rebecca and I are excited to announce our latest book, Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life With Your Online Business. The book will be ready this fall, but we’re too excited to keep it a secret any longer.

In our new book, we’ll be discussing how our online business (whether full timers or part timers) impacts our family life… and vice versa. When you work at home, learning how to properly balance your family life with your online business is key to success for both.

To get your free PDF download of the first chapter of the new book, just click here.

The Business Strategy that Nobody is Talking About

Today's blog is written by my wife, Rebecca.
Today’s blog is written by my wife and business partner, Rebecca.

Recently Stephen posted a blog entry about making the most of your opportunities during Q4 as an FBA seller, and he’s also written posts about capitalizing on and sharing BOLOs. The amount of work to be done as an Amazon FBA seller is unending, and at times the potential for profit is limited only by the amount of work we’re able to put into the business and the number of hours in each day. Today I (Rebecca) would like to throw out a topic that on the surface appears to be the opposite of what Stephen has been talking about the past few weeks. Yes, you have a lot of work to do this Q4, but I think you need to take a break. You need some rest.

Stephen and I are self-employed, so we are our own bosses and set our own schedule. FBA is our full-time job. Some of you are in the same position, and others of you are doing FBA on the side while working another full-time job. When the potential for profit at FBA is so great, we all can struggle at times with a tendency to keep at it way past the point when our minds and bodies need some down time. We just cannot stop working.

Over time, all those hours of sneaking off to the spare-bedroom-turned-into-office for “just a few minutes of checking in on things” takes its toll. Or all those times when we say, “I’ll just check one more store and see what they’ve got on clearance now.” We get weary. We lose sleep. We lose time with our loved ones. We catch colds more easily. We just need to rest.

In my previous career, I worked overseas with a nonprofit for 10 years, where I got lots of practice for later becoming self-employed. Our organization didn’t have set office hours, and each of us on the team designed our own projects and set our own pace for completing them. My office was in my apartment, and I got used to the kind of life where you have the freedom to work the hours that best fit your personality, as long as you got the job done. One of my most important take-aways from my years at that job was our team’s philosophy on rest. My supervisor was adamant that each person on the team take regular breaks. Not just regular coffee breaks or lunch breaks each day but true, sustained breaks from work. The kind where you shut your mind down and get away from the pressures of the tasks at hand.

Rest-stopStephen and I have adopted that same schedule of rest throughout the year:

Every week, we rest for one full day. We usually rest on Sunday, so we can go to church, but for others it might need to be a different day.

Once a month, we take a full two-day break, equivalent to a weekend. Again, it might not be possible to take this two-day break on a Saturday/Sunday — hey, it’s hard to miss out on those Saturday morning garage sales! — but we take two consecutive days where we don’t do anything work related. For the record, I’m not saying that we work six days a week all but one week of the month. A lot of times we’ll work Friday and Saturday mornings, but not those afternoons, so it evens out to five days of work, stretched across six days. But once a month, it’s good to take a solid two days of not touching work at all.

Once a quarter, we take a longer weekend off. Sometimes we’ll take a three-day camping trip with the kids, or other times it might end up being a four-day staycation where we just bum around the house and catch up on reading magazines. Again, by “weekend” I don’t necessarily mean that we stop work on Friday and Saturday, the big garage sale days. This long “weekend” might mean not working Sunday through Wednesday of one week.

At least once a year (or more if possible), we take a longer vacation. One week, two weeks, whatever works best depending on the circumstances that particular year.

TAOLife-Snoopy-Live-for-todayStephen and I truly believe that regular rest is the key to longevity in life and in business. Rest will keep us from getting sick, from burning out, and from sacrificing our family and relationships for the sake of profit. Yes, we need to work hard to support our family and to be able to give to others, but none of it is worth it if we work ourselves into the ground and lose what is most important in life. In the long run, rest is of vital importance.

We’d love to hear from you on this subject. Do you get enough rest each week and throughout the year? How do you weave vacations and leisure time into your schedule?

“So, what do you do for a living?”

“So, what do you do for a living?”

As with most people, I get asked this a lot. This seems to be the first question people ask when you meet them.  My mind runs through a whole list of possible answers…Online Reseller, Entrepreneur, Arbitrage Expert, E-commerce Guru, Amazon Pro Seller, Self-Employed Online Merchant, Treasure Hunter, Founder/CEO, or even Head Honcho.  BlogShootMini2

I usually tell them that I’m an online reseller. The next question is usually, “So you sell eBay?” It really surprises me that eBay is the number one assumption people make when I say “online reseller.” I know that eBay is a huge platform with millions of people selling items, but Amazon has far surpassed eBay in number of sales and profits. In any case, I usually answer that I do sell on eBay (which is currently only about 1% of my total sales), but I add that I sell on Amazon too.

Wait a minute… before we continue, let me introduce myself. My name is Stephen, and this blog is about my family’s adventure in selling with Amazon FBA as our full-time job. I’ve been selling online since 1998, and I’ve been a full-time online reseller since 2012. I absolutely love it. I enjoy being my own boss and setting my own hours. I love being able to go treasure hunting and get paid for it. It’s awesome. Now don’t get me wrong; being an online reseller also has its downside. I work at home…so I’m always at work. Work is always staring me in the face. I am also never guaranteed a predictable paycheck. I could work very hard one week and not get paid a dime. On the other hand, I’m able to go on occasional vacations and still see the payments rolling in. We’ll talk about all of these issues, and more, on this blog.

If I was able to make selling online a full-time job, then it’s possible for you as well. On this blog we’ll take a journey towards full-time FBA. We’ll talk about the issues that online resellers face and how to best deal with all of the speed bumps along the way. We’ll talk about tips and tricks on how to make the most from Amazon FBA. I’ll do my best to pass along any hints I’ve learned or mistakes I’ve made so that this journey to full-time FBA is easier for you than it was for me.

I invite you to join me as I share my FBA journey with you.

Stephen Smotherman