Category Archives: Travel

FBA Sourcing + Road Trip = Free Vacation!

It’s summer, and the perfect time to plan a sourcing road trip! Combining a road trip with FBA sourcing is a great idea that combines the fun of a vacation with sourcing in new and exciting places. Imagine driving to a location far from home and stopping at rural Walmarts along the way to find clearance items you can’t find anywhere else. Imagine the possibility of finding new “honey holes” for FBA inventory. Think about how much fun it could be to source at your favorite stores in a new town and find even more of the items you’ve already sourced in your own hometown. The possibilities are endless.

In 2014, Rebecca and I planned a three-day sourcing road trip to Kansas City, Missouri. We live in Fort Worth, Texas, and both thought it’d be fun to take our sourcing on the road. We booked two nights at a hotel in Kansas City and left Fort Worth on a Friday morning.

IMG_0912

I’m not saying we’re a good luck charm, but the Royals did go to the World Series the year we went to see them play.

When we got to Kansas City, we checked into our hotel and headed for Kauffman Stadium to see the Royals in action, just a few months before they made it to the World Series. Rebecca and I are both fans of baseball, and it’s been my dream to visit every Major League Baseball ballpark. What better way to liven up our sourcing trip than to work in two baseball games on the road?

Friday night we watched the Royals beat the Angels thanks to an Omar Infante grand slam.

IMG_1571

It’s so much fun filling up multiple carts!

On Saturday morning, we got up early and began to source. Before our trip, I made a map that included many of our favorite sourcing stores. We sourced all morning and found some really great inventory items. Come lunchtime, we headed back to Kauffman Stadium for another baseball game. This time, Rebecca and I went to the stadium early and toured the Royals Hall of Fame and walked all the way around the stadium. It was a lot of fun for both of us. The game began, but the clouds started rolling in. Before the sky fell, Rebecca and I decided it was time to go. Sure enough, the rain came hard, and the game was delayed.

IMG_1572

Rebecca asked, “Are we going to have enough room in the back for our luggage?” Maybe next time we’ll rent a trailer.

While the game was under a rain delay, there was no time to waste for Rebecca and me. We went back to sourcing and continued to find some amazing deals at stores all over Kansas City. We filled up our van and headed back to the hotel for the night. Bright and early Sunday morning, we packed up all of our things and made the drive back home to Texas.

That road trip to Kansas City was awesome. It was a lot of fun sourcing in a new city and watching the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium. It didn’t hurt that the Royals were also giving away free hats at one game and free bobbleheads at the second game. I sold those freebies on eBay and it helped pay for the game tickets and stadium parking. Not a bad deal.

If you’re looking for a fun way to get some vacation time in while still working some on your FBA business, a sourcing road trip might just work out for you. As long as sourcing (or other work-related activities) are your primary objective, then you would be able to write off the mileage and expenses. I know from experience that it is possible to make a trip like this profitable, even after all of the travel expenses.

Yes, we actually peeled stickers in the hotel room!

Yes, we actually peeled stickers in the hotel room! Click on the image above to get your own Scotty Peelers. They’re awesome!

Rebecca and I have gone on many sourcing road trips and have really found it to be both refreshing and a fun challenge for our business. One night, after coming back to the hotel room after a huge rural Walmart haul, we were so excited about all the inventory items we found that we actually took off all of the price stickers in the comfort of our hotel room. That’s right. We actually brought all of the items into our hotel room. You should have seen the faces of other guests as we loaded up the bellhop luggage cart with bags and bags of Walmart items.

Maybe a sourcing road trip is just the thing to help give you and your FBA business the kick it needs to get out of your comfort zone and source new places – or your normal places in new cities. Take a look at a map and see what surrounds you. See if there are any non-work-related activities you can combine with your sourcing trip. Maybe combine a sourcing trip with white water rafting… or a sourcing trip with camping at a beautiful state park. Maybe you could source on your way to and from a national landmark you want to visit…or to and from a city or state on your bucket list. The possibilities are endless.

ontheroadThere are a few really great resources that can help you make even more out of your sourcing trips. The books Amazon Autopilot: On the Road and Traveltage: Use Your Smartphone & FBA to Make Money, Travel, & Create The Life You Want are both good resources that walk you through everything you need to know (and more) about combining travel with working a successful 81+-bbgb+VLFBA business. When you go on a sourcing road trip, you really need to know all the ins and outs on how to make the most of your time, energy, money, and resources. Both Amazon Autopilot: On the Road and Traveltage help you gain the knowledge you need to make each and every one of your sourcing road trips a big success.

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Have you been on a sourcing road trip? Where did you go and what did you do? Have any tips to add for a successful sourcing road trip? Comment below and share your story.

Interview with a New Full-Time FBA Seller

dream-jobFull-time selling through FBA. Being your own boss. Setting your own schedule. Earning your own profits.

For many who read this blog, full-time selling through FBA is at least a consideration as a possibility in your future, if not your active goal as a reseller. Today we want to bring you an interview with someone who is in the process of making the transition from part-time to full-time on FBA. Brian, an active contributor to the online FBA seller community, recently announced to the wide world that he’s given notice at his day job and is striking off on his own as a full-time reseller. We thought our readers would enjoy and benefit from hearing his story, so without further ado, here’s our interview with Brian from Canada!

To start off, tell us a little about yourself and how you got started with reselling.

10176072_10154098924105651_5920972786082785737_nThanks for reaching out to me. The first thing I tell any of the other sellers is that I am Canadian. I live in Nova Scotia with my wife and 7 year old son. The business of reselling things has me hooked. I love the thrill of finding opportunities, and the opportunity with Amazon FBA really makes this a viable full time business.

About 4 years ago I was feeling like I wasn’t making my income work hard enough. I had a decent job, as did my wife, but we really were not getting ahead. So I started researching money, ways to save, invest, passive income… I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey, and it just clicked with me. I slowly convinced my wife we needed to get rid of debt, budget, and build emergency funds.

A year into that process I bought a book that Chris Green had written an article in. He wrote about combining discounts, parting out items such as power wheels and tool kits, and that really clicked with me. I joined his Facebook group and learned about selling on Amazon FBA.

I started dabbling in resale…when I needed a remote for my Xbox. I bought an Xbox lot and pieced out the rest of the gear and made a nice profit and got a free remote. I [sold] used video games, consoles, and parts for a while on eBay, and then moved to yard sale collectible items on eBay, and then cell phones, and now Amazon with mostly toys.

What was your criteria for deciding now is the time to resign your full-time job?

I have been doing Amazon FBA since October 2012, and for most of that time [I’ve been] considering doing this full time. In January of this year, I received notice at my work that I would be laid off in April. I knew this may be my opportunity. So back to the Dave Ramsey teachings, I knew I had to stop paying extra on our house [and] halt our retirement savings because we were headed for a possible emergency. At that time we had 5 months household expenses banked, and we started adding more. We added another 4 months’ worth.

Profit-graph-260x259During the first 3 months of the year, I noticed my sales didn’t drop off like I expected they would; now they were higher than non Q4 months of the previous year. I was feeling like [selling full-time] was possible and was looking forward to being laid off. But April came, and we got extended another month, and then finally the notice was withdrawn. I now had 9 months emergency funds, and I had received another [6 months’ worth of salary] for stock I had owned and refund from my taxes. I [worked up] a budget based on a lowered take-home per month…and I knew this was a number I could achieve.

Also around this time, we found out that we were having another baby due in December. My wife, who was somewhat accepting of my plan, gave me the final push when she said it’s now or never.

How long did it take you to get to where you’re comfortable with resigning?

I had been doing this part time for almost 2 years. In my mind it seems things really change around Christmas time; that is when my business made the largest advance. It may have been possible before this time, but I am pretty cautious about these things and want to make sure that I am not putting everything in a major risk.

What excites you the most about making this transition?

1545038_10153760819500651_282658628_nI love to travel, even if it is 3-4 hours away, so I am looking forward to hitting the open road in search of treasure. Also, ever since my wife has been a teacher, I wanted to spend more time with her and my son. I guess in Canada you spend so much time in the house hiding from the bad weather, when summer hits it is really important to enjoy it as much as possible. Lastly, doing this part time I always felt rushed in the stores, never having more than 1 hour in a store. Hopefully I can find even more opportunities now.

What are your fears going into this transition?

I need to fear the possibility that this model is not viable sometime in the future or that I am somehow prevented from being able to do it. These scenarios may not be probable, but I think it would be foolish not to acknowledge them. I also fear getting tired of this business and wanting to move on to something else.

Are you making any major or minor changes to your business model or strategy during this transition?

Retirement-Diverse-portfolio-a-plus-71MH9FE-x-largeTwo things I am thinking of, predictability and diversification. On the predictability side, I want to have more items that I know will sell at a given rate each month, so I am looking for items where I can sell 5+ of each month, rather than going from homerun to homerun. Also in this direction, I am looking for wholesale opportunities. In terms of diversification, I am looking to add eBay [as a sales channel] and brainstorming other income ideas that I can add to protect myself in the future.

How has your family responded to your decision?

My wife is happy to see me doing what I enjoy, but is not completely sold on me making less income. I just told my son this week, and he seemed to be happy that if he got sick during school, he could stay home with me. I really believe that if this works, it will be so much better for all of us and that there will be many benefits that we will enjoy because of this.

What advice do you have for anyone contemplating this transition to full-time selling on FBA?

imagesI am a firm believer in being financially prepared, paying down debt, [saving] emergency funds, and living off less than you make before jumping. I base my decisions off what is happening now in terms of my sales rather than banking on an increase in sales due to being full time. One thing I think is really important and probably was the key to us being successful in paying off debt is unity. Once my wife and I were in agreement to how we’re going to approach money, it was so much easier. On my decision to do this full time, we are both in agreement, and hopefully over time we will both increase our resolve that this is the best idea.

Also with me, I was sitting at a desk of what most people would call a decent job, daydreaming of being out looking for profits. It just seemed like a waste to everyone involved. If you do truly love this business, I would suggest you start planning your exit.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Brian! 

Want more info on how to make FBA your full-time job? Scroll up, look at the right side of your screen, and subscribe.

 

Garage Sale Tip #2

Recently we launched a new ongoing series of blog posts dedicated to bringing you tips and tricks for making the most of your garage sale visits. Today’s tip is absolutely essential in making the most money for the time you invest in sourcing at garage sales. garage-sale-sign-with-shoppers

Garage sale tip #2 is basic: how to find ‘em. Some of the methods I use to find garage sales are pretty obvious, but others, not as much.

1. Craigslist

Go to craigslist.org and find your city (or nearest city listed). In the “For Sale” section of your city’s page you will find a link for garage sales. From here you can enter in your zip code in the search bar. If you live just outside a major city, you can also search for your city’s name to find the sales closest to you. Be sure you look at the dates in the listings. You don’t want to go to a garage sale that was advertised for last week or is advertising for next month.

 2. City Websites

Many cities require garage sale permits before someone can host a garage sale. Most of these cities use the permit information to advertise those garage sales. If your city doesn’t offer up a list of sales, then take a look at cities that surround yours. Chances are, you’ll find a few of them have plenty of garage sales for you to visit.

3. Garage Sale Websites

Most of these sites just pull from craigslist, but sometimes, people add their garage sale directly to the site and skip posting on craigslist altogether. Some quality websites include:

yardsalesearch.com
yardsales.net
gsalr.com
garagesaletracker.com
garagesalefinder.com
 

4. Garage Sale Smart Phone Apps

Again, most of these pull from craigslist, but often, you’ll find sales only posted on these apps. Some of the apps are the mobile versions of the websites listed above. Many of these apps will show you maps with directions to the sale. Here are my favorites:

Yard Sale Treasure Map 
Garage Sales by Map

The above links go to iTunes, but if you have an Android phone, there are garage sale apps for you too.

5. Newspapers

Some people still advertise their garage sales in the newspaper. I don’t suggest you subscribe to a newspaper solely for the purpose of finding garage sales, but if you already are a subscriber, be sure to look at the ads. Some newspapers include garage sale ads for free on their websites, so be sure you look at your city’s newspaper’s website.

6. Drive Around

The garage sales are out there... Go find 'em!

The garage sales are out there… Go find ’em!

Last year, one of the towns I garage sale shop in posted its list of garage sales on Thursday nights. By the time I got the list, I would see that 9-10 of those sales started earlier that day. When I showed up on Friday to a garage sale that started on Thursday, I wasn’t getting first pick. So what did I do? I decided to drive around town, on the main roads, looking for garage sale signs. On average, I’d find just over half of the sales that would be on the list later that day. This was worth it to me to get there first. I found some great items to resell on Thursdays that I knew would not be there on Friday. So, if you don’t have any garage sale leads, go out and find ‘em yourself!

7. Craigslist (again!)

Yes, we’re back at craigslist.org to find more garage sales, but we’re going to search a little differently. This time, type these words into the search bar: “neighborhood sale” or “church sale” or “rummage sale.” The search results will give you another option for your garage sale trek. Searching for a “neighborhood sale” will give you ads for neighborhoods that are having multiple garage sales in close vicinity to one another. It might not be worth your time to travel 25 minutes to visit one garage sale, but if you knew that there would be a whole neighborhood filled with garage sales, then the trip would be worth it.

So what about you? Where do you find your garage sales? Got any tricks you’d like to share? I’d love to hear how you find those “hidden” garage sales that nobody else seems to find.

 

How to Fit FBA Sourcing into Your Busy Schedule

Today’s post comes from my wife, Rebecca, who will write on this blog from time to time. Her post is full of great tips for all of us busy entrepreneurs.

Photo by user CELALTEBER from sxc.hu

Sourcing while busy? It’s possible! Photo by CELALTEBER from sxc.hu

Part of the way we’re able to make full-time FBA a possibility for our family is by strategically planning our time each week. One way I contribute to our FBA business is by sourcing once every few days. With four boys in our family, I have to a lot to keep up with around the house — and as a freelance writer, I have writing projects that require my attention also. But Stephen and I have figured out some ways to get me out of the house and sourcing on a regular basis by combining my business shopping with other errands or social activities.

I’ll share with you a few ways I work sourcing into my schedule, and then I’d like to challenge you to come up with one new way you can source this week. Try the new addition to your schedule for a month or two and see if it adds new products to your inventory on a regular basis.

1. I combine sourcing with my regular household shopping.

Across the street from the grocery store where I shop for our family is a Target. When I do my weekly grocery shopping, I try to give myself an extra half hour or so in my schedule to run into Target and scan their clearance shelves. Sometimes I find stuff to buy for FBA, sometimes I don’t — but the Target is right on my regular route anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to stop and look. A couple of weeks ago, I took about 30 minutes to scan clearance items, filled half a cart, and spent $50 on items that will sell for $150 on FBA, for a profit of $100. Not bad for a half hour of work on my way to buy our groceries!

2. I combine sourcing with my regular social outings.

Every Thursday I meet a friend to discuss books over a cup of coffee. Her house is in a different part of town from where I live, so it gives me the opportunity to visit thrift stores I don’t always pass on a daily basis. Depending on how much time I have, I plan to visit 1 – 3 thrift shops in that part of town after our coffee date. Again, I just make it a point to work that extra sourcing time into my schedule that day.

3. I combine sourcing with fun activities with my husband.

Stephen and I like to go out for different types of international cuisine, but there aren’t a lot of options close to where we live. Every 4 – 6 weeks, we schedule a day to drive to a nearby town, eat a new type of cuisine for lunch, and visit thrift shops near the restaurant. We plan our route ahead of time so that we can make the most of the day — usually we’re able to source at 5 – 8 thrift shops before or after our lunch date.

At other times we’ve sourced on the way to visit out-of-town relatives or while driving an hour away to pick up someone at the airport. Take a look at your regular activities and do a search for thrift shops or retail stores with clearance sections in the nearby area. Then take a look at the irregular activities that pop up on your calendar but take you to a different part of town or even the state — do searches for thrift shops in those areas to maximize the benefit of the time you’re spending on the road. If you’re already having to make a two hour round trip, why not leave a couple of hours early to get some sourcing done in a fresh area while you’re at it? You’re likely to find items that will at least pay for the gas for your trip, or even a great deal higher profit.

Today's blog is written by my wife, Rebecca.

Today’s blog was written by my wife, Rebecca. www.rebeccadiann.com

We’d love for you to leave us a comment. Are there ways you work sourcing into your non-business-related activities each week or month? What new ways are you planning to add sourcing to your schedule in the coming weeks?