Category Archives: Social

The #1 Way to Ruin Your Q4 Sales on Amazon

ruin-q4-salesWe see them during all the pivotal dates this time of year. We saw them on Black Friday, we saw them on Cyber Monday, and we’ll see them again over the next couple of weeks. Posts on Facebook groups that include screenshots of huge sales numbers or pictures of 10 shopping carts loaded with toys from a retail arbitrage haul.

We can be inspired by these posts and feel excited for what is to come in our businesses — or we can have another response and ruin our Q4 sales.

We can start comparing ourselves to other sellers.

IMG_1571Comparing yourself with other sellers can be the fastest way to ruin your Q4 sales. Falling victim to the comparison trap might not cause you to lose sales today or tomorrow, but it will definitely have an impact on your psyche and your business over the long run.

When we compare ourselves to other people and start feeling negative emotions, that negativity can snowball. Pretty soon we’ll find that our entire mindset has shifted. We could become so dejected over not feeling good enough as a seller that we are tempted to quit. Or even worse, we could start making bad buying decisions for our business.

It’s crucial throughout the year but especially in Q4 to keep in mind what you don’t know when you see posts on Facebook about amazing sales or massive RA hauls:

  • recruiting-software-comparisonWe don’t know how much profit other sellers are making. If someone says “I made 6 figures in sales!” we can’t assume anything from that number. After that seller takes out the cost of inventory, supplies, or other fees, they might only be taking home in their pocket $15,000 of that $100k. And we don’t know how much time they spent to buy and prep their inventory. For all we know they really are only making minimum wage for their time.
  • We don’t know how other sellers are paying for their inventory. We don’t know if they run a cash-only business or if they go into debt to make huge purchases.  We never know if someone is making horrible decisions, taking out ginormous loans, and maxing out multiple credit cards to finance their Q4 inventory. This kind of behavior is very dangerous. At any moment Amazon could shut someone’s account down for something they did or did not do, and that seller would be stuck with the debt without getting a disbursement from Amazon. They could be making bad buying decisions thinking they have to blow a ton of money on inventory before December 10 in order to maximize Q4 — but what if their inventory doesn’t sell as expected? Or maybe they pay for everything with cash, make a ton of sales, and buy a new car in January. It could be either scenario when you see those posts online. The point is we just don’t know.

I’m not trying to suggest that everyone who makes these types of posts on Facebook is giving an inaccurate portrayal. On the contrary, many sellers make these posts in order to inspire others or as a way of celebrating within a community, neither of which is a bad thing. What I want us all to think about is how am I personally receiving this post? If I’m receiving it in a negative manner and comparing myself to others, then I have a problem.

When we get caught up in comparing ourselves with other sellers, we can have two types of negative results:

  • comparison-is-the-thief-of-We can begin to feel discouraged. If I’m comparing my Chapter 2 to someone else’s Chapter 12, I fail to take into account all the years of experiences (some successful, some otherwise) the other seller has had. When we compare ourselves this way, we can completely lose the steam in our engines and lose the motivation to excel as a seller. Worst case scenario, we could decide to quit.
  • We could look at other people’s sales and start getting puffed up. If I’m comparing my Chapter 12 to someone else’s Chapter 2, I can get arrogant, be filled with pride, and make reckless decisions. “Pride comes before the fall,” says the wisdom of Proverbs. Again, the comparisons have the potential to lead to incorrect thinking.

So then, what should we be comparing?

We should be comparing our outcomes with our goals

Q4 is an excellent time for us to begin looking back to see if we met our goals — for Q4 and for the year. I really hope you’re setting goals every year, if not every quarter. Goal setting is the best way for me to challenge myself in my business. Rather than comparing my sales to someone else’s, I want to look at my own goals and see how I fared this year. Did I meet my goals? If not, what can I do to tweak those goals for next year? What am I planning to do to make next year’s sales even better?

Don’t get weighed down by looking at other people’s sales numbers. Don’t fall victim to the trap of comparison. Focus on where you are personally and how you can meet your own goals.

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How are your sales going this Q4? I don’t want to know specific numbers — remember, we don’t need to compare those to anyone else’s. But did you meet your goals? Did you exceed them? Do you see now that you need to tweak something for next year? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to know how your Q4 is going, in general terms rather than specific numbers.

Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life with your Online Business

Married To Reselling 3D 2 clearToday, I’m excited to tell you that our new book, Married To Reselling: Balancing Family Life With Your Online Business, is now available! Ever since I joined online reselling groups on Facebook, I kept seeing the same questions pop up: 
  • How can I work at home and still keep family time a priority?
  • How can I convince my spouse that I’m not wasting my time or our money with reselling?
  • My family doesn’t get that selling online is a real job.
  • How can I get my spouse on board with reselling?
  • I’m single and run my online business by myself. How can I find a support system? (Yes, this book is for singles too)
  • My spouse thinks my online business is “nice,” but won’t lend an ounce of help. 
  • How can I balance my business budget with my personal budget
  • How can I get work done with my kids always wanting my attention
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Rebecca & Stephen Smotherman

For those who have a “normal” 9-5 job, the moment we get home in the evening, we can usually disconnect from thinking about work and just enjoy time with our family and friends. But for many resellers, the whole concept of working at home is a new frontier filled with complicated issues. 

To help address these issues, my wife and I set out to write up an article to help resellers and their families find true balance. What started out as a blog post evolved into a book that addresses all these issues. 

Married To Reselling 3D clearWhile most reselling ebooks focus on helping you make more profits, the focus of this book is to prioritize your family. You might become very successful selling online, but you don’t want to neglect your family. We believe you can succeed in relationships and business at the same timeTo read more about Married to Resellingclick here.

BONUS: If you act now, you’ll get a special introductory deal of 33% off regular price!

To Share or Not to Share a BOLO

man-looking-through-binoculars2In our last blog post, we talked about how to capitalize on a BOLO. We shared many ideas of how to make the most out of both your time and your money when it comes to a BOLO.  Note: In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing retail store BOLOs (not garage sale, thrift store, or other types of BOLOs).

As you may know, BOLO stands for “Be On the Look Out” and generally refers to a hard-to-find product that you need to be looking for in order to buy cheap and flip for high profits. It only takes a few months of doing FBA to recognize that you keep finding a specific product that seems to resell fairly fast. Most BOLOs are  hard to find (i.e. limited production or out of print items), but sometimes it’s an item that can be found many places. You’re always on the look out for these items and sometimes hop from store to store looking for them. It could be clearance or regular priced, but you always are looking for them to buy and flip.

Some resellers are totally against sharing BOLOs while others share them often. So what should you do when you find a BOLO? Should you share it or keep the find to yourself? The choice is up to you, but I’d like for you to consider a few things before making your choice.

1. Is it really a BOLO?

Just because you scan an item and all the Amazon sellers are asking big bucks for it, doesn’t make it a BOLO. The rank and the ROI (return on investment) both need to be good. It would help if the product has good reviews and is a brand name. Just because you scan “Miss Suzy Cries A Lot” (a toy with no sales rank) and everyone on Amazon is asking $200 for it, doesn’t make it a BOLO.

2. Is it possible that this item really isn’t that hard to find?

Hard To FindThink of what would happen if you shared a BOLO that could be found at almost every Walmart store. Sure, you keep buying that item for $5 and selling it for $25, but what would happen if 100+ other resellers started doing the same thing? Chances are that, over time, the price would most likely be lowered significantly, and you would not resell your item as fast as you were before. Maybe you have the patience to wait for the prices to rise back to what you’d like to sell it for, but the timing for that possible rise is completely unknown. If the item is not hard to find, then it might be in your own best interest to keep this find to yourself.

3. Are you OK with revealing someone else’s BOLO?

Sure, you may have found a great item from Walgreens to flip. In fact, you drove all over town to visit all 10 Walgreens in your area to buy them out of that particular item. You sent the items in to Amazon, and they sold fast. You keep going to Walgreens to see if they will be restocked, but they never are. You decide to share your BOLO find online so you could help others, but someone else isn’t too happy about it. You see, they too have found that item and have been reselling it on Amazon for months. Their stores keep restocking, so they keep reselling. But now, someone else has shared this item online and what once was a quick source of income for them has now slowed down dramatically.

4. How would you feel if someone broadcasted your personal BOLO?

I’ve had one of my BOLO items broadcasted, and I wasn’t too happy about it. But it also didn’t ruin my day. I know that this is just part of business, and I expect it to happen again sometime.

I’m not telling anyone what decision to make when it comes to sharing BOLOs, but I do think that we all need to think about these things before we post a BOLO publicly.

So, what do you do if someone shares one of your precious BOLOs and you’re not happy about it? How you respond to this happening to you could either make or lose you money in the long run, so it’s very important to think about how to best respond.

1. Respond with respect. Most of the responses I’ve seen online to BOLO broadcasts have been rude and disrespectful. This kind of response does no good for anyone.

2. Respond with a direct message. Consider sending a direct message to the one who posted the BOLO and explain your situation. Perhaps they’d consider removing the post if they understood where you are coming from. I think most people would understand and possibly remove the BOLO broadcast.

3. Decide how you want to react with your current BOLO items on Amazon. If you think that hundreds of your BOLO items are headed to Amazon, do you want to sell out as fast as possible, or will you hold on to the item and wait it out? I teach that patience brings profits, but I also know that some of you work with a business model that focuses on quick flips.

BOLOs are great, but don’t focus your business around them. They are nice every now and then, but eventually others will find out about this item or the store you buy them from will not restock them anymore. A business model focused around BOLOs will not survive in the long run. You need to have a well rounded list of inventory items (long tail, short tail, BOLOs, etc).

What do you think? What experiences do you have with BOLOs? Is there a good time to share a BOLO? What have you learned about BOLOs that you’d like to share with the group? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Full-Time FBA has gone social! If you want to keep up with all things Full-Time FBA, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. These social sites will allow us to offer even more useful tips, up-to-date FBA happenings, and more. I’ll be updating Facebook and Twitter when I’m out sourcing and letting you in on my thought process as I make purchases. I’ll share the interesting, fun, and even strange things that happen in the life of someone doing FBA full-time. We hope you join us!

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