Overcoming Your Fear of Starting Your Amazon FBA Business

Starting Amazon FBA

Are you dragging your feet in starting your Amazon FBA business? This post is for you.

Have you already started your Amazon FBA business, but you’re tempted to quit? This post is also for you.

Many contingencies and what-ifs might be plaguing your mind right now when it comes to thinking about building a successful Amazon business, but we want to help fill your mind with TRUTH, not fear – and we want to help you stay the course in building your business, even when the times get tough.

It’s easy when you first hear about the opportunity of earning money through selling via Amazon FBA to get excited and want to learn more. We can start making plans to start a business. We can start talking about what it would be like to have a business. We can start thinking about how we would use all that money we’ll make from our business. But what we really need to do is start the business!

Today we’re going to discuss 4 fears of getting started in Amazon FBA and how you can conquer those fears with the truth. If you’ve already started FBA, going back over these 4 truths will help you refresh your memory about how to keep up your progress in selling online.

26409-Brian-Tracy-Quote-To-earn-more-you-must-learn-moreFEAR #1: I don’t know enough to start my own Amazon FBA business.

TRUTH #1: You can always learn! And there are plenty of places to learn – some places for a fee and some really great places to even learn for free. Don’t let your lack of knowledge become an excuse for inactivity.

The best place to get a basic understanding of what you need to know for starting an Amazon FBA business is right there within the Amazon guidelines. Every seller must be responsible to read and apply the guidelines for him or herself.

If you’re wanting to learn the big picture about how to sell on Amazon FBA, we encourage you to read Chris Green’s book Arbitrage. For less than $10 you can get your hands on a brand-new copy of this wealth of information.

For a step-by-step video course on how to sell on Amazon FBA, we recommend Amazon Boot Camp by The Selling Family.

If you’re looking for information on taxes as related to selling on Amazon, check out the awesome services of TaxJar.

And as always, you can get tons of information for free here at the Full-Time FBA blog (subscribe to the newsletter for some free PDFs!) and on our YouTube channel. We also have a Facebook group where you can search the archived posts or ask questions.

garage-sale-sign-with-shoppersFEAR #2: I don’t have any inventory to start an Amazon FBA business.

TRUTH #2: There are great places to find inventory all around you – you just need to start scanning barcodes! (We like to use Scoutify for our scanning app because it comes packaged with Inventory Lab for listing and accounting.)

Our favorite places to look for low-cost FBA inventory are

That last one is our favorite place to find inventory when we don’t know where else to look. Look on your bookshelves for books you haven’t gotten around to reading in years. Look through your kitchen cabinets for a gadget you got last year for Christmas but never even opened. Look for old board games that have no missing pieces, but you just never play them any more. All of these items could be potential profits on Amazon FBA.

3-Strategies-To-Buy-Property-With-No-Money-Down-1014x487FEAR #3: I don’t have enough money to start an Amazon FBA business.

TRUTH #3: Yes, it does take some capital to get started with a business. But unlike many businesses that require a great deal of investment up front, you can get started with Amazon FBA with a relatively small amount of capital. In fact, we have a YouTube video that shows how you could potentially start FBA with as little as $500 (and $300+ of that money would go towards inventory!).

If you’re looking for items around your house, at garage sales, or in thrift stores, you can buy inventory for less than a dollar and potentially sell it for $10, $20, $30 or more. The potential return on investment (ROI) for these types of items gives you a lot of momentum when you’re just getting started.

If you are truly strapped for cash and want to start FBA, we recommend saving up a few hundred dollars first. Some people work a part-time job for a few months in order to save up some capital, and others have a garage sale of things around the house to make some money to invest in FBA.

We do not recommend using credit cards or taking out loans to start FBA. There is too much risk involved in learning the business to run up debt in the process. Instead, focus on finding low-cost, high-ROI items and start your business slowly. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you learn and how quickly you can turn your profits into a snowball of disbursements from Amazon!

self-employedFEAR #4: I’m just not sure I can do this. Do I have what it takes to run my own business?

TRUTH #4: Maybe you’ve tried out other ventures in the past that haven’t turned out so well, and you’re afraid to experience the same kind of results. The fear of failure is holding you back. This fear is valid and real. But it can be overcome!

You have to disconnect the event of failing from you as a person. You may have failed in the past, but you are not a failure. My dad likes to emphasize this truth to me in a quote from Zig Ziglar: Failure is an event, not a person.

For all of us, there will be times that we fail. No exceptions. This applies to everyone. But you can’t take your failures personally. If you do, that’s where your business will start to break down (or never get off the ground!).

Instead, we learn from our failures. We leverage our mistakes into educational experiences that can’t be gained for any amount of tuition at a business school.

When we’re starting out at any new venture, we’re like a new baby learning to walk. The baby may fall down a few times (OK, a lot of times), but never does that baby decide, “You know what, this walking thing is too hard. I just can’t get it. I think I’ll crawl the rest of my life.” No, the baby gets up, tries again, and eventually starts walking. Then running. Then skipping. The same can be true for any of us in our Amazon FBA business.

Do you have any other fears that are holding you back from starting Amazon FBA? Do you ever face the temptation to quit your FBA business? Let’s talk in the comments!

26 responses to “Overcoming Your Fear of Starting Your Amazon FBA Business

  1. Well, what about the fact that other sellers, that are your competition, will use dirty tactics to get you low ratings, or even worse, get your Amazon account closed? These tactics are, things like , having another person order from you and leave negative feedback. Or, have the other person claim your item is not what was listed. The later will get your listing closed and potential closing of your account, even if you prove otherwise. I don’t want to make chump change by buying and selling used stuff. The only way is to get a products manufacturer or owner to allow you to sell . And these products, from the US, will not bring much profit. And/or these owners of these products will not let you sell because they are selling on Amazon. If you buy cheap from China, they are either knock-offs or are too crappy to get s good ranking. The little man cannot make it on Amazon.

    • There will always be bad apples in every business you decide to work on, and that includes Amazon. While I had never had experience with any of what you mentioned, I do know that it happens from time to time. As long as you’re doing your best you should be fine. I make good money selling used items so I’m not sure what you mean by chump change… and there are plenty of great profits out there for everyone. Every “big” seller starts out small… It is still very possible to work your way up and build momentum to where you can be a bigger seller someday. Keep working at it… and I wish you nothing but success.

  2. I have a full-time job but looked into more income stream. I created a brandnew AMZ seller account and tested this out with $90 inventory of new clearance products from big stores anyone can find anywhere in the U.S. I sent in 15 products, 11 were sold out within a week and already make more than my break-even. It was a little scary to choose what to buy at first. But I learned a lot of things from the first shipments experience. Some products I made nearly no profit but there are others I made more than 100% ROI after all expenses & fees- so this is one of the experience for me to know what to buy and what to avoid next. The second trip I level up to $200 worth of inventory with more confidence, knowing better about how shipment to AMZ warehouse works and save more money on shipping with more products than the first trip.

    Even I don’t make this as a full-time job (in fact I just use my shopping time to make income), I think it’s a super valuable money making skill to have. Imagine one day you lose your job, well, even you invest little as a few hundreds with this I believe you can make enough profit for grocery bills.
    Once you try it, it’s actually an easy process. (Shop – List – Prep & Pack – Send – Wait). Matter is action.

    • Great comment, Alfie! Yes, anyone can make a good side income with Amazon FBA if they don’t want to go full-time. I love spending part time hours to make a full-time income with Amazon.

  3. Hi Stephen,

    The scanner you showed it’s to be used only at home, correct?


  4. I’ve been devoting about 8 hrs. a day for three weeks now to learning to sell on Amazon FBA. I’ve sold used thrift/garage sale items on Ebay full time for 6 years. I am REALLY struggling to find NEW profitable products for FBA online or in stores. I scan and scan at stores. I look online for hours and hours. Yesterday, I did 4 stores for eight hours and found 1 box to sell. My criteria is close to ranking of 1% in category, profit of at least $10, ROI of 50%, and not too seasonal. Nearly every time I get a hit, it is restricted for one reason or another. I have not read the book you suggested (I will soon), but I have paid for the Selling Family and listened to it all, bought lists of stuff to buy (mostly was crap), and listened to hours or YouTube talks and Pod Casts. I really, really what to figure this out, but I am starting to wonder if it is just a bunch of hype. I’ve sent in 1 box of 17 items. We’ll see how I really did. I’d rather it be something I am really doing wrong in my sourcing. So yes, I do feel like giving up, but I am not going to….yet…. I’m thought of as a bright person, but not being able to crack this “code” is making me feel dumb as I see others find profit everywhere.

    • I totally know the frustration of spending tons of time sourcing and then not finding much at all. I admire your resolve to not give up right now. I think loosening up your criteria might help some. There are some categories that I’ll accept up to 3% of the sales rank, and some that I’ll buy in the top 5%. Keep learning, and sourcing, and you’ll start to gain some momentum soon. The fact that you have not given up means you have the courage to keep going when the going gets tough. Sourcing RA can sometimes be feast or famine. I’ve filled up my minivan one day and the next day barely filled up one grocery bag. Don’t give up… you’ve learned so much already. Keep learning and working hard and things will get better.

    • I took chances on this Toy worth $5 in a discount store. Seller on Amazon has it for $20. It ranked in 200K. I was skeptical about the ranking but was like “eh, WTH, $5, I’ll try it”. It just sat there for days after listing, but I sold it eventually in 1 week for $19. I didn’t make $10 but $7, and it is 140% ROI. I felt good about that and came back the same store for my new shipment. There are still a bunch of those toys sitting in the store like nobody around here even wants them. I picked up 4 more of them and will see how that goes. Anyhow, $10 is a pretty good number but 2 easy $5 may as well make a hard $10. And sometimes you just have to go with your feel.

      I read on blogs as well and know some pro-seller even willing to spend $30K for $7K profit which is only 23%. So, not all of that is really bright and shine. Fun fact: I found the best deal on Delta flight to Asia roundtrip for 80,000 points which normally can be purchased for $1200-$1500. So if I can make $9.2K out of $40K investment with a 2X points credit card then that would do the trick for $1500 worth of ticket oversea.

    • Lynn….Your not alone…I am exactly where you are…maybe even worse…All these youtube videos about sourcing tons of product, and I’m lucky to get one item in hours of scanning! I am beginning to wonder if the money to be made with Amazon FBA is only in selling courses and making youtube videos about it, not actually doing it! Hope you have been fairing better since your post….

  5. Eight years ago when we started with Amazon things were very different. We went from media (yard sale, thrift store sourcing), branching out into other categories and sourcing in the big box stores plus doing OA. That first few years (2010 through 2012) were great. It was easy to find products to sell since the stores were always running great sales or the secondary stores had lower prices. The competition was not what it is today. We were making 50% straight profit on gross sales with many of the items that we carried.

    In 2013 things started to change due to increased competition (and massive BOLO groups) and the big box stores moving to compete with Amazon online. The merchandise sales in these stores, which once were anywhere from 50 to 75% off, dwindled down to 20 or 30% tops. One of our best stores closed. Consequently, we have lost a lot of stores to source within the past several years. Also, now it seems that many sellers are happy to make two or three dollars profit. Very frustrating.

    Our expectations have had to change. Since all of this began to snowball in 2013 we have had to reevaluate our business every year to decide whether or not to move forward.

    • Thanks for the your “history.” I’ve been wondering how someone who sources in stores does now compared to several years ago. Selling on Ebay I did great until last year and sales/profit just dried up. I was selling used, can’t buy now, items. I wonder if what part of the country a person lives also has something to do with success with sourcing.

  6. UPDATE: I did read the whole book last night. While I learned a lot of useful theory and helpful concepts, it didn’t help me with sourcing. The one practical sourcing tip I thought was don’t just run to clearance. I figured this one out because clearance items are dinged up, often have been opened, and might just be 1 or 2 left. I literally scanned EVERY item in the baby department of 4 box stores (pacifiers, diapers, swings, etc.) Nothing…even if I nearly forget sales ranking, there isn’t profit after all the fees.

    • Which book are you reading?

      • Arbitrage

        • Arbitrage is a great book for those who want to get a good idea go how selling on Amazon works, but it doesn’t help a lot when it comes to sourcing. In fact, entire courses and books have been created to help with all the different aspects of sourcing. It’s a really wide topic and one that I’m still learning even in my 5th year selling on Amazon.

  7. I am a newbie. I’m waiting for my office supplies to be delivered next Tuesday. In the meantime I’m finding new items at home and will list no matter the ranking. I’ve been spending alot of time on your blog, watching your videos, have joined your FB group as well as others. But….after reading the comments of some that have been selling for a long time I wonder if it this will work. I’m looking for something to supplement my retirement as I have adopted my granddaughter. The extra income will really help. And….this is fun! Stephan, I want this to work. Obviously you think there is still room for everyone. Your videos are great and much appreciated.

    I have a question after watching Seller University on labeling….how do you print your shipping labels and what label do you use?

    Thanks so much Stephan.

    • I print my shipping labels right from Seller Central after I’m done with my shipment (items listed, box weight and dimensions entered, etc) with a regular printer. I use peel and stick labels that come free from UPS, but you can also just print the shipping labels on paper and the use packing tape to tape them to the box.

  8. In response to the comments about how selling on Amazon FBA was “easier” in the past… here are my thoughts about that:

    Is Amazon FBA harder now than it was years ago? Yes and no.
    Was Amazon FBA easier a few years ago? Yes and no.

    Some aspects of selling on Amazon are more difficult today than they were a few years ago. Today there are more brands that are restricted, more categories gated and requiring approval, more FBA sellers to compete with, and the list could go on…


    Other aspects of selling on Amazon are exceeding easier than they were a few years ago. Today we have multiple sourcing apps, sales and rank history charts, multiple OA sourcing chrome extensions, multiple reselling facebook community groups, and some of the best Amazon FBA trainings ever.

    Some people forget that selling on Amazon years ago was also quite difficult in many ways. Some people actually made good money on Amazon before sourcing apps were even created. They would go to stores, write down UPCs, and research them at home. If they found profitable items, they would go back to the store to get those items (and pray they were still there). In the “old days” Amazon Seller Central was really difficult to use and navigate.

    Yes, some things in years past were easier… but also some things were harder. And as we move forward in time, Amazon FBA will continue to get both easier (in some ways) and more difficult (in other ways). It’s those who react to change well and adapt their business to the latest changes who will not only survive, but thrive.

    I’m actually going to expand on this topic in an upcoming blog post, so be sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss it.

  9. Stephen thank you for your thoughts on the changes with selling on Amazon. I know you are right about needing to adapt to change and. also appreciate the reminders about the other changes that have taken place. Sourcing is, to a great extent, the “heart” of our businesses. Just tough trying to get a leg up at this point.

    Lynn sourcing is different depending on your location in the country. The big box stores don’t carry the same inventory in every area. I’ve learned that large metro areas carry more stock and rotate it more frequently. That is actually a positive situation, regardless of where you live, because you might find something to sell that others can’t find.

  10. My biggest “fear” obstacle seems to be something not too many people are talking about…. taxes and setting the business up legally. I feel like i can’t actually get started and move forward until I make sure I’m not going to get into trouble for not doing something the legal way. Business license, tax nexus (in every state!), figuring out how to do all of the accounting things…. How is everyone overcoming this? Am I just complicating things??

  11. Laurie,

    A good accountant or CPA can help you with taxes both answering questions about setting up your records and how to handle things all around. Many of them will also assist you with legally setting up your business.

  12. Thanks Jamie! I’m slowly figuring it all out…. Thanks for taking the time to answer. A CPA is a great suggestion:)

  13. At this point I would be completely satisfied sourcing 1 good item a day….I just don’t see where you all get all this inventory from RA or OA….I find pretty much zippo after hours of scanning and yard sale participation etc…

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