Tag Archives: E-Books

The 4 Biggest Myths Stopping You From Growing Your FBA Business

self-employedOne of the best parts of running your own business is that you’re the boss. While it’s true that you are your company’s owner, president, CEO, and CFO… it’s also true that you’re the accountant, secretary, intern, and janitor.

Most of the time, when we start out working at home, we start out alone. Once the business begins to grow, it can become very overwhelming to try balance retail sourcing, online arbitrage, preparing, listing, packing, shipping, accounting, taxes, office supplies, returns, feedback scores, etc… You also need time to learn even more ways to improve your online selling skills by reading books, blogs, and FBA related Facebook posts. Oh, and you have a house to keep clean and possibly kids to feed and care for as well.

When we first start out in our businesses, we can be very motivated and energized to do everything ourselves during the limited number of hours per week we have available. But over time, everything we need to accomplish can become too much for one person to manage. Even if your spouse helps out from time to time, it might be a good idea to get some help. 

The 4 Biggest Myths Stopping You From Growing Your FBA Business 

Help Wanted1. I Don’t Need Help

The hardest thing for most small business owners to realize is that they need help. In the beginning, you are in charge of everything, and everything seems to be going just fine. But now, sales are picking up and there is just too much for one person to do. On the other hand, your sales might be stagnant because you are spending too much of your time doing the things that don’t bring you the most profit. All successful businesses have a core team that helps lead them to more and more success. 

2. Nobody Can Do It Better Than Me 

Amazon SuperheroTo many resellers, their online reselling business is their baby. They want to be sure they do everything in the business because they think that anyone else would just do it wrong, or not good enough. Chris Ducker of Virtual Staff Finder calls this line of thinking “Superhero Syndrome.” While it might be true (but not likely) that you could do everything in your business better than others, doing it all will hold you back from growing your business to where it can bring a full-time income. 

I never thought I would ever pay for someone to work for me, but I’ve realized now that it’s a natural part of business growth. Jim Cockrum of The Proven Amazon Course says, “Only do what only you can do.” When you focus on doing the things that only you can do, you begin to realize which aspects of your business you can outsource. 

3. I Can’t Afford to Hire Someone

dont-say-i-cant-afford-it-instead-ask-yourself-how-can-i-afford-it-145536If you don’t think you could afford to hire help, then think about this. How much do you think you currently earn per hour? $15? $20? $30? Take a week or two and log the time you spend on your reselling business. Compare the hours you work to the amount of money you make during that time period. Many resellers might come to find out that they make a lot less per hour than they think. 

Imagine if you could pay someone $10 an hour to do a job that will free you up to make $30 per hour. It’s a no brainer. It will take some time, but it’s important to find out how much you make per hour, and then consider hiring someone to do the jobs that are not absolutely necessary for you to do yourself. These tasks could be business-related (like handling accounting, sourcing for inventory, or packing boxes to ship) or personal (like mowing the lawn or doing the laundry). I wouldn’t mind paying someone $15 per hour to clean my house if I could use those same hours to make $50 per hour at my reselling business. 

4. I Don’t Know How To Find or Train Someone to Help

Yes, this will be a new skill that you will need to learn, but just like learning to sell online, you have the opportunity to learn how to find quality workers and train them to work hard in your FBA business. One way to learn this process is by trial and error. I do not suggest this method. No need to reinvent the wheel.

3d-cover1-738x1024A much easier way is by learning from someone who has found success in hiring and training quality workers for his FBA business. My friend Ryan Grant has released a book called, Outsourcing Sourcing: Create More Profits Selling on Amazon in Less Time By Having People you Trust Source & Ship Inventory For You. This book covers every aspect of finding help, proper training methods, the supplies they will need, how to keep track of the financial aspects, and much more. The book is heavy on actionable steps to help you create a complete system for finding, hiring, and keeping quality workers that will help you spend more of your time on more profitable activities. 

Right now, Outsourcing Sourcing is on sale for 20% off and comes with a 100% money back guarantee. If you are the only one working on your business right now, and you want to take your business to the next level, then it might be time to hire some quality help. Outsourcing Sourcing is a great place to start. In order to grow your business to where you can start bringing home a full-time income, chances are you need to hire some help. Anyone who is trying to do everything all by themselves is on the fast track to burnout. You do not want burnout to happen to you, especially when you find such an amazing job opportunity as being a work-at-home online reseller. If you find the help you need, you’ll soon discover that you’re able to accomplish even more and find a satisfaction in your business that will fuel you to keep on going. 

Which of these 4 myths do you currently struggle with the most? Are you still unsure if you need help? Are you unsure if someone else can provide the type of help you need? Are you unsure if it’s worth it financially to hire help? Or are you unsure how to proceed with finding and hiring help? Comment below to let us know where you stand.

How to Run “End of the Year” Inventory & Sales Reports for Tax Purposes

year-end-reportsI admit the topic of “end of year reports” is not all that exciting, but it’s very necessary… in fact, if you don’t do this right it could have some negative impacts on your business.

No matter if you sell on Amazon as a serious income stream or as an occasional hobby, you’re still required to report your income to the IRS. It’s important to know that there are several reports you should be sure to send to your CPA (or whoever is doing your taxes).

Before we go any further I want you to know that I am not a tax specialist or giving you any tax advice. I highly recommend hiring a CPA who is knowledgable of online sales and all the tax implications. Today, I’m only showing you how to get the reports that you need to add to all of your other 2016 tax documents.

dec-31-calendarOk, there is one report that you MUST run on December 31st (or at the very latest, early in the morning on January 1st). This report will let you know how much inventory you have still stored at Amazon at the end of the year. The reason you need to run this report on December 31st is because, as far as I know, Amazon does not currently have an easy-to-use report that tells you what inventory you had in their FBA warehouses on specific dates in the past. The only way to get an accurate printout of the inventory you are rolling over into 2016 is to run this report on December 31st or early on January 1st.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 12.09.38 PMTo pull this report, follow these simple steps:

  1. Log in to Seller Central.
  2. Hover your pointer over “Reports,” and then select “Fulfillment.”
  3. Under Inventory, click on “Amazon Fulfilled Inventory” on the left side of your screen. you might have to click “Show more” to find it.
  4. Click on the “Request Download” button.
  5. The report status column will state that this report is “In Progress” until it’s completed.
  6. Once the report is completed (usually a minute later), a “Download” button will appear. Press it.
  7. Your report is now downloaded to your computer as a .txt file. Open up the file.
  8. Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 11.11.07 AMThe text is hard to read, so select all the text (Control A for PC users or Command A for Mac users).
  9. Open up an Excel type spreadsheet and paste the text you just copied. The data will now be more organized.
  10. Save the file with a name like “2016 Amazon Year End Inventory.”

Note: Do not print this document out. If I would have printed my document out, it would have used 784 pages. That’s because the document also contains all of the items in your inventory that are sold out and are at zero quantity. If you rarely (or never) delete any of your MSKUs that you no longer use (because you’re sold out and don’t plan on selling again), then you may have a file even longer than mine. So don’t print the file, but do save it and email it to your CPA (or whoever is doing your taxes).

Other reports on the same Reports/Fulfillment page that your CPA would probably like to see are the following:

 – Monthly Inventory History – Found under Reports, then Fulfillment, then Show More, then Monthly Inventory History. Click on the Download tab and run this report for the full year (choose “last 12 months” for the report time period) and it will show you a monthly breakdown of what you sold each month.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 12.08.03 PM– Received Inventory – Found under Reports, then Fulfillment, then Show More, then Received Inventory. Click on the Download tab and run this report choosing “last 12 months” as your time period. This shows what inventory items Amazon received from you this year.

Note: As with the “Year End Inventory” report, be sure to move the report over to a spreadsheet program (like Excel or Google Sheets) so that it’s easier for you or your CPA to read.

When you run these reports, don’t forget to choose “last 365 days” or “last 12 months”  for your report dates. You want the reports for the whole year, not just the current month.

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 11.04.28 AMYour CPA would also like to see a report of your sales, fees, and income from Amazon. The way to find and run this report is a little different than above, so here is how you do it:

  1. Log in to Seller Central.
  2. Hover your mouse over “Reports,” and then select “Payment.”
  3. Click on the “Date Range Reports” tab.
  4. Click on the “Generate Report” button.
  5. Select Report Type: Summary
  6. Select Date Range: Custom
  7. Enter in the date range you want. For tax purposes enter “01/01/2016 – 12/31/2016”
  8. Click “Generate” to get the report started.
  9. Once the report is ready, it will be available to download.

Note: If you are running this report before December 31st, then the report will not be ready to download until January 2nd. Set a reminder somewhere to come back and download the report on January 2nd. If you are running this report after January 2nd, then it should be ready to download in a few minutes.

Get all of these reports to your CPA ASAP. You really don’t want to be late on getting the tax process started. Again, if you don’t have a CPA, I highly recommend getting one as soon as possible. It’s costly, but you want to be sure your numbers are right, and you want a professional to do the work that would eat up way too much of your time if you did it yourself.

Of course, these aren’t the only numbers you’ll need to give to your CPA. They will also need to know your cost of goods (you logged your receipts, right?) and any other business-related expenses that will deduct from your sales numbers.

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Make 2017 your Best Amazon Sales Year Ever! 

Imagine knowing exactly what to expect in your Amazon FBA business every month of the year.

Imagine what it would feel like knowing you were not missing out on any of the opportunities that will come your way in 2017.

Imagine working on your Amazon business knowing exactly what your priorities are, what you need to avoid, and what you need to accomplish during each month to make progress toward making 2017 your best sales year ever.

On January 10, the price of this book will be going up permanently. Find out more about The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business today. The package includes a 200-page ebook, monthly live webinars, and 4 special bonuses.

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If you liked this post and found it helpful, scroll back up to the top and subscribe to the blog. I’ll update you about once a week with helpful tips on how you can make a full-time income with FBA.

Ok, 2016 is almost over. What other things are you doing during the last week of the year in order to prepare for 2017? I’d love to hear what you’re up to this week!

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!

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.

Our Liquidation Store Experiment

Today’s post is written by Rebecca, my wife and partner in doing FBA as a full-time job.

We’ve come down from the high of Q4 sales through FBA, and we’ve maximized sourcing at after-Christmas clearance sales in local retail stores. In years past, our focus at this time of year would shift back to mainly sourcing for FBA product at local thrift stores and garage sales. This year, however, we decided to use some of our capital leftover from Q4 sales to try a new location for sourcing: liquidation stores. Today’s post is a write-up of our first venture into sourcing at a liquidation store and a summary of the things we learned from that first trip.

mrsjess01-187x300Before we made this first trip, both Stephen and I read the ebook Liquidation Gold: A guide for Amazon sellers by Jessica Larrew. If you have liquidation stores in your area and want to learn about their potential for sourcing product for FBA, I highly recommend this book, for reasons I’ll mention below.

We used the methods Jessica discusses to find the liquidation stores within a 1-hour radius of our home, and we decided to try out the closest one first. Liquidation Gold did a great job of helping us know what to expect when we got to the store and how to tackle looking for potential items to resell in this large warehouse-type store. Let’s just say, the merchandise and aisles were pretty chaotic. At this particular store, there is barely enough room for one shopping cart to go down an aisle, much less for two to meet each other head-on. We had to do a lot of maneuvering with the cart, say a lot of “excuse me”s to fellow shoppers, and get down and dirty on the floor to dig through bins of items on the bottom shelves. The lighting is pretty awful, and the signage is all scrawled on scrap paper with a permanent marker. It was nothing like sourcing at a Target or JCPenney or somewhere that they try to make your shopping experience more aesthetically pleasing so you’ll stick around and buy more.

DSCN2295-800x600 But we didn’t let the ambience fool us! We were giddy with excitement as we started down the first couple of aisles. Grocery items and Health & Beauty items are new categories for us — in the past we’ve tended more towards Books or Toys & Games. We were pumped at the idea of finding items we could sell in multi-packs for big profits, but we were hesitant to start dealing with items that have expiration dates. The topic of expiration dates is an important one that Jessica discusses in several chapters of her book, and we felt a lot more confidence going into the store armed with that information.

Overall, we had a great first sourcing trip (I’ll share the numbers below). We found items to sell as individuals, items for multi-packs, items we wanted to test and come back to purchase more at a later date (but not too much later or they’ll be gone!), and items we knew already that we wanted to buy everything on the shelf. After scanning everything on the first two aisles in a fifteen aisle store, we were ready to call it a day and head home with a cart full of groceries to process and resell. There was no way we could scan the entire store on that first trip!

Looking ahead, there are several lessons we learned from that first trip that we’ve since applied in our subsequent trips over the past couple of weeks:

1) From now on we will allow more time for an initial trip to a new liquidation store. Maybe it’s just us, maybe we’re still working on a steep learning curve for a new sourcing category, but it took a lot longer to scan items and make decisions than when we source for books or toys. Part of the issue is that we need to do more research on CamelCamelCamel and the Amazon website to ensure we’re making good decisions about buying for multi-packs versus individual items. We’ll get faster at this as we go, but for now it’s taking us a bit longer than we first expected.

img_11412) We learned the hard way to make better notes as we shopped. There were a few items that we wanted to test before we purchased large numbers, and we mistakenly assumed that we could keep everything straight in our minds after we got home and started processing for shipment. Wrong. After a couple of days and the sales started coming in, we were asking each other, “Now, which ones did they have more of?” about the flavors of a particular beverage mix we had purchased two different varieties of. One flavor had started selling, but one hadn’t yet — would have been nice if we knew whether or not the liquidation store had more of the popular one on their shelves without having to driving all the way back and check! Also, we want to make better notes about prices of individual units and the numbers needed to make multi-packs, so that we don’t have to keep looking that information up on Amazon or a scouting app when we’re trying to decide if we want to go back and buy more.

3) We will continue to do tests of certain items, as Jessica describes in her book, but we will also try to be bolder in our buying in the future. It’s such a risk to take one of an item to do a test, but not know whether there will still be more on the shelf if the product sells quickly on Amazon. We’re still working out our tolerance for risk in these new categories.

4) We’ll look up more often. When we find a great item and grab all they have on the shelves, we also now know to look up on the top shelf for possible overstock quantities. We don’t want to leave any money on the table… or the shelves.

Liquidation-Sale5) We will eat a bigger lunch whenever we plan to source at grocery stores in the afternoon. Seriously, I almost needed a separate cart for all the stuff I wanted to take home for our family to eat! This particular liquidation store specializes in gourmet foods, and the prices were low, low, low. I’m having to learn a new level of restraint in personal purchases while shopping for groceries to resell.

OUR FIRST LIQUIDATION EXPERIMENT:
$148.75   Total purchased at Liquidation Store (1/29/14)
$46.22     Shipping costs to FBA Warehouse (1/30/14)
$194.97Total invested in our Liquidation Experiment

As of 2/24/14 our sales (after Amazon fees) were $389.87. This brings the amount of profit from our experiment to $194.90 The good news is that in less than a month, we have doubled our initial investment. The even better news is that we have not sold out of all of the items we first bought. There is still at least $50 more in profits just waiting to be sold. If things go as expected, our liquidation experiment will have quickly turned $200 into $450. Thank you, Jessica Larrew, for providing such a great resourse in Liquidation Gold.

So what about you? Do you have any experience with liquidation stores? What tips would you like to share? We’d love to hear your experiences.

Book Review: Feedback Mastery: The Amazon Annihilation Feedback Repair System

feedbackYour feedback rating: it is one of the most important numbers to anyone selling on Amazon. A high feedback rating is essential to making more sales. Buyers trust sellers with a high feedback rating. Not only that, but the secret algorithm to winning the coveted buy box most definitely includes the seller’s feedback score. On the other hand, a low feedback score will get you fewer sales — and could eventually get a seller banned from selling on Amazon all together.

All resellers have had it happen to them, and if you haven’t, then you probably will soon. You check your feedback score and see that a customer has left you unfair feedback. Do any of these look familiar?

  •  The customer who ordered a book described as “Good condition, has some pages underlined” gives you a 1 star feedback rating and complained that there was underlining on some of the pages.
  • A customer ordered a book described as “Good condition, signed by the author” gives you 1 star and complains that there was writing on the first page.
  • The customer who ordered a VHS copy of “Star Wars” complained that they got a VHS copy of Star Wars (because they assumed it was a DVD).
  • The customer states in the review “Great seller, fast shipping, awesome item” but accidentally clicked on the 1 star rating.

These feedback scores are not your fault, but could possibly put your Amazon selling account (and possibly your livelihood!) in jeopardy. It’s up to you as a business owner to be proactive in protecting your feedback score at all costs.

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Click on the book image above to learn even more about Feedback Mastery.

In his book Feedback Mastery: The Amazon Annihilation Feedback Repair System, author Peter Valley addresses feedback from every possible angle. He not only shares how to get positive feedback, he addresses how to get unfair negative feedback removed. Peter gives an exhaustive list of everything you can do to improve or repair your current feedback situation. Even if your Amazon account has been suspended, he discusses the best ways to get it reinstated.

Don’t just assume that if you do your best as a seller, that positive feedback will  automatically follow. Acquiring and maintaining a good seller reputation is still a matter of doing work. The good news is that this work is easy and doesn’t take up a lot of time. Enhancing your seller reputation, and thus distinguishing yourself from your competition, calls for going above and beyond. Peter not only teaches you to become a magnet for positive feedback, but also how to proactively attack any and all negative feedback that may come your way.

Feedback Mastery is not just a bunch of random ideas to help your feedback score. It’s a detailed step by step process of doing whatever it takes to repair and improve your feedback. There are even some ideas that I would only do under extreme circumstances, but if my account was about to be banned for life, then I might follow through with some of his extreme suggestions.

I’ve been selling on Amazon for 3 years, and I still learned a lot from this book. I recommend this book for both new and experienced Amazon sellers alike. The book is great for new sellers because one negative review when you are starting out could lower your feedback score by double digit percentage points. For experienced sellers, you already know how important having a great feedback rating can be. I used the information found in this book to get one of my negative feedbacks removed in just a few minutes.

To find out more about Feedback Mastery: The Amazon Annihilation Feedback Repair System, just click here.

Have any feedback stories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

 

 

A Case Study in Sales Rank

41ABSIQsvzL._SY300_Today we’re going to look at the sales rank history of a specific book I’ve been following for over seven months. I first found The Boy Captives at a thrift store near my home and quickly bought it. The book had a rank of about 1 million and was being sold as used on Amazon for over $25. This was my kind of find. My only hesitation was that this book had a rank of over 1 million. I remembered reading that ranks over 1 million won’t sell that often and that I should stay away from them… I’m glad I bought that book, for it’s given me a huge lesson in sales rank.

As with most of my inventory, I sent The Boy Captives in to FBA as soon as I could. I didn’t think much of it and assumed that it would sell someday, but probably not very quickly. I assumed this was going to be a “long tail” item. A few days after the book arrived at the FBA warehouse it sold. I was excited and was wondering if all the “gurus” who warned against selling books over 1 million were right or wrong. I decided to start tracking the sales rank of this book on a daily basis to see what would happen. The results surprised me.

After I sold the book, its sales rank jumped from over 1 million to 247,216. In the book category, this is a great rank. One week later, the book was at 680,293 (still a pretty good rank). Two weeks after the sale, the book was ranked at 1,086,291. The rank was getting worse daily over a two week period — because the book had no sales during that time. Only a few days later the sales rank jumped to 154,950, telling me the book had sold again. The book would follow a similar pattern over the next 7 months. The image below is a screenshot from CamelCamelCamel, showing how the book was purchased about 22 times in 8 months (each spike straight up signifies a sale).

Boy Captives Sale Rank

If you found 20 copies of this book in a thrift store when it was ranked 108,645, then you’d probably buy them all to resell. But if you found 20 copies of this book when it was ranked at 2,145,787, then you might pass on all of them. So when you are out scanning books, how can you tell if this is a good book to resell? The answer can be found by looking at factors other than just sales rank.

An additional factor that makes The Boy Captives a good book to buy to resell is the number of sellers. Currently, there are only 7 sellers with this book for sale. The lower the number of sellers, the fewer the sellers who might lower the price of the book in order to seek the next sale. If The Boy Captives had 200 sellers, then it’s likely that they might, over time, begin to lower the price in seeking the next sale. The fact that this book sells, on average, every 11 days means that having a lower number of sellers will most likely give you the sale at the higher price you’re wanting. If one seller drastically lowers their price to be the lowest, it’s not a problem. They’ll sell their copy, and about 11 days after that, you can get the next sale.

So when you’re out sourcing and find a book with a sales rank of over 1 million, take a look beyond the sales rank and see what else you find. Even finding a 2 million ranked book might bring you back a nice payday sooner than you think. Just look a little harder at the information given to you. You’ll make better decisions and your pocketbook will thank you.

How about you? What other factors do you look at when you are buying a book for resale? Leave a comment and let us know about your experiences with books with “high” sales ranks.

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

 

 

Welcome to Full-Time FBA

arrow-blue-outline-rightWelcome! On this blog, we talk about our journey towards making FBA our full-time job. We give out free tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time, money, and resources. If you want to subscribe, just fill out the form over on the right side of the screen.

Seller Central Cover Mini x3To show you our appreciation, we’d like to give you a free download link to our newest book, Seller Central Tips: Reimbursements, Refunds, and How To Correct Other Possible Amazon Glitches. When you confirm your subscription, the download link will magically show up in your inbox.

By the way, we hate spam as much as you do, so we only send you stuff that will help you make FBA your full-time job! Let us know if you have any questions.

Stephen & Rebecca Smotherman