Tag Archives: Getting Started

How to Win the Amazon Buy Box for Maximum Sales

We left off on the previous blog post with my top 6 points that you need to understand about how the Amazon buy box works. If you haven’t checked out that post, I highly recommend that you read it first before moving forward with how to win the buy box.

As a reminder, Amazon does not reveal their algorithm for how the buy box works, who will be eligible for it, who will win it, and for how long. But if you pay attention to certain factors when listing your inventory for sale on Amazon, you can increase your chances of winning the buy box and getting more sales – which means more profits!

Let’s jump right into my top strategies for winning the Amazon buy box:

1. Be a pro seller on Amazon.

You must be a pro seller on Amazon to win the buy box. This means you must pay the montly $40 fee as a seller, rather than skipping the monthly fee to be an individual seller. Individual sellers are not eligible for the buy box. Now, at this point I typically get beginner sellers who complain to me that “I don’t have enough money as a newbie to pay the monthly fee.” And I get it. But the buy box is where 70-80% of the sales on Amazon happen, so it’s really up to you to decide – is it worth it to you to pay $40 and dramatically increase your sales? If you’re doing FBA as a business instead of a hobby, you really need to be a pro seller, get the buy box, and get those sales.

2. Be priced competitively.

Please note what I’m saying here in strategy #2 – and what I’m not saying. I did not say “be the lowest price.” I said “be priced competitively.” There is a difference. Rather than just setting your price to be the lowest, you need to check the current buy box price and make sure you are priced competitively. Sometimes that means matching the buy box price, and sometimes it means pricing somewhat higher than the current buy box (within 2-5% of the price). There’s not one tried and true formula, so it may take a little fiddling with your pricing to figure it out for each item.

3. Meet performance-based standards, such as feedback scores.

Amazon uses several performance-based criteria to determine who is eligible for the buy box (or eligible for a more significant amount of time). One of the most important factors considered in the buy box algorithm is your seller feedback score. Sellers with a lower percentage of positive feedback will receive a lower percentage of time in the buy box for items with sellers who have a higher positive score. The impact of feedback scores on my eligibility for the buy box is one of the main reasons I use the feedback service Feedback Genius to email my customers as a way of increasing my positive feedback and reducing my negative feedback. I have a full review of Feedback Genius in this blog post.

You also want to make sure you have a low order defect rate as an Amazon seller. Your order defect rate is a metric Amazon calculates based on how often your orders end up marked as defective or damaged.

Another factor related to how often you earn the buy box is your customer service as an Amazon seller. For FBA sellers, Amazon handles the majority of our customer service, but we still need to handle communications with customers correctly and provide good service when issues arise. In particular, if you receive emails from customers, you must make sure you are replying within 24 hours and not constantly marking emails as “no response needed” without first sending some type of reply.

One more potential factor is your time and experience as an Amazon seller. This factor might not be as heavily weighted as others, but it does make an impact. A more experienced seller tends to earn more time in the buy box than a “just launched” seller.

To find out more information about your performance metrics, log in to your account in Seller Central and click on the “Performance” tab to see different areas of your account.

4. Have multiples of an item in stock.

Amazon wants to make it easy for customers who might want to buy more than one of an item. If you have multiples of an item in stock, you are more likely to receive the buy box over a seller who only has one item in stock. For certain items (like shoes or clothing, for instance) it doesn’t matter as much if you only have one item in stock, but for consumable items you might want to try keeping multiple items in stock as a strategy for earning the buy box more often.

5. Sell via Amazon FBA.

Chances are if you’re a regular of this blog, you’re already an FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) seller as opposed to an FBM (fulfilled by merchant) seller. For so many reasons, the FBA program is a more profitable and more efficient way of selling on Amazon than selling via merchant fulfilled. If you weren’t already convinced to commit the majority of your Amazon inventory to the FBA program, hopefully the buy box will convince you – Amazon strongly tends to award the buy box to FBA sellers over FBM sellers, even if the FBM seller has a much lower price. If you’re only selling through FBM, you are losing out on sales that you could easily win if you used the FBA program and earned the buy box more often. The Amazon selling platform is very centered around Prime shoppers, and you want your inventory to be fulfilled by Amazon and available to those Prime shoppers.

Before we finish with this topic, I want to let you know how to find out which of your inventory items are eligible for the buy box. You can follow these steps to see the buy box eligible items when you’re looking through your Amazon inventory:

  1. Log in to Seller Central.
  2. Click on the Inventory tab.
  3. Click Manage Inventory.
  4. Go to Preferences and click to show whether items are buy box eligible.

I really hope the above strategies are helpful for you and your business and that you are able to win the buy box more often and get more sales. If you implement some or all of these strategies, you should be able to increase your time in the buy box and, as a result, increase your sales. If you’ve tried any of these methods and found success, let us hear about it in the comments!

Special Offer From Feedback Genius

FB-GeniusI spoke with Jeff from Seller Labs (creator of Feedback Genius) and he is offering my Full-Time FBA blog readers a special offer of a 60 day free trial (that’s twice as long as their normal 30-day trial period) with the coupon code fulltime. That’s 2 months worth of being able to contact your buyers asking them to leave you 5-star reviews or to contact you if there is a problem. Again, use the code fulltime at checkout to get double the free trial. There is really no reason why you shouldn’t give Feedback Genius a try today. 

6 Things You Need to Know about the Amazon Buy Box

Perhaps the most important goal of any Amazon FBA seller is getting more sales, so today I want to cover a topic directly tied to the majority of sales on Amazon – the Amazon buy box.

If you look on an Amazon product page, the buy box is the little box in the top right corner of the page where you can buy that product. The buy box should say something like “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now,” depending on the settings for your Amazon account.

The buy box is one of the most important topics to learn when you’re selling on Amazon, but it can also be very confusing because Amazon doesn’t always make their guidelines on the buy box clear. Amazon does not reveal their algorithm for which seller receives the buy box, but we as sellers can still deduce certain information about how the buy box works and thus make informed, intelligent decisions on sourcing and pricing inventory to get the buy box.

For the rest of this post, I want to share with you 6 important points that you need to know about the Amazon buy box.

1. 70-80% of Amazon sales come from the buy box.

This is a staggering number. Let it sink in. When a customer lands on a product page and is deciding to buy an item, 70-80% of the time (possibly more, on certain items) the customer buys the product from the seller who has the buy box. Most buyers aren’t looking for the small line lower on the page that says “11 more new and used offers,” and rather than clicking to see more prices and more sellers, they click the yellow box that says “Add to Cart.” If upwards of 80% of sales come from the buy box, you as a seller want your item to get time in the buy box. Which leads me to my next point…

2. The buy box rotates.

Unless someone is the only seller of an item, one seller won’t keep the buy box 100% of the time. Amazon will rotate the buy box throughout the sellers who are eligible for the buy box. That rotation will depend on Amazon’s algorithm, but it generally rotates according to all the sellers who are priced competitively, typically within a percentage of the current buy box price. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Having the lowest price does not guarantee the buy box.

The buy box price is not always the lowest available price on Amazon. Most customers assume the buy box price is the lowest, and most new sellers assume they have to price their items to match the lowest price in order to get the buy box – but that just isn’t true. Sometimes the buy box price will be $1 or $2 higher than the lowest price, and on certain items it can even be up to $5 higher than the lowest price. Many new sellers use a pricing strategy where they price their items a penny or a nickel lower than the lowest price thinking this will guarantee the buy box, when they could be pricing higher than the buy box and achieve the same results because (remember point #2?) the buy box rotates and doesn’t depend on who has the lowest price. Which leads me to my next point…

4. The buy box is geographical.

Sometimes an Amazon buyer sees a certain seller in the buy box based not on the price of their item, but on the location of that seller’s inventory in the FBA warehouse. If the customer is on the west coast and is a Prime member, Amazon will likely show them an offer in the buy box based on the fact that it’s located in a west coast warehouse and should be easier for them to deliver within the 2-day Prime window than an item that’s priced $1 cheaper but is located on the east coast. I could be sitting here in my office in Texas looking at the exact same product page at the exact same time, and I could see a different seller in the buy box than that west coast customer because Amazon wants to ship my purchases from a Texas warehouse.

5. The buy box is for items in new condition only.

If you are selling an item in used or collectible condition, you aren’t going to be eligible to get the Amazon buy box for that item. The exception to this rule is on certain media items, where you can see both a new buy box and a used buy box.

6. Sometimes Amazon as a seller shares the buy box with third party sellers, but usually not.

Most of the time, if Amazon is one of the sellers of an item, they will hog the buy box and not share it with other sellers who are priced competitively. Sometimes they will give the buy box to a seller who is priced significantly lower, but even then it’s no guarantee. In these instances, third party sellers generally have to wait for Amazon to go out of stock before they are able to gain the buy box and get sales of that item.

Amazon hogging the buy box is just one of many reasons why I love to use Keepa to do sourcing research. Keepa is a free program that will show you if Amazon is in stock on an item or if they’ve ever been in stock in the past. When I’m sourcing for inventory, I typically avoid buying items where Amazon is in stock because I know they probably won’t share the buy box with me. I use the Scoutify app to do my retail arbitrage sourcing, and there’s a button on the app that I can click to see the Keepa data on the item I’m researching. Looking at the Keepa data makes my decision making process so much easier because it clearly shows me whether Amazon is likely to be my competition if I sell an item.

If you want more information about how to interpret Keepa data, check out my blog post on How to Read and Understand Keepa Graphs. The post includes a video tutorial about reading Keepa graphs and is a great introduction to the program.

Now, you might be wondering at this point, “So how do I actually win the buy box?” That question is big enough that I’m going to cover it in its own blog post, so stay tuned for the next post later this week.

If you’re looking to learn more about how to make smart sourcing decisions while doing retail arbitrage, be sure to watch my free tutorials on how to understand Keepa, and how to understand CamelCamelCamel or check out my book/video course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions.

Have you made any other observations about how the buy box works that we didn’t cover in this post? We would love to hear from you in the comments!

Feedback Genius Review – Get More Positive (and Eliminate Negative) Feedback

feedback-genuis-reviewMost Amazon sellers will agree: It takes a verrrrrry looooooong time to build up your feedback on the Amazon platform.

Most Amazon customers aren’t accustomed to leaving seller feedback for FBA purchases, at least not with the same frequency as eBay customers leave seller feedback. It could take 100 sales via FBA to receive one or two customers leaving feedback on Amazon. At that rate, it seems to take forever to build up a solid feedback score.

That rate also means that just one negative feedback carries a huge punch. The effects of one negative feedback can be devastating to your seller account, if you don’t have enough positive feedback to counterbalance it. No one knows for sure exactly what algorithm Amazon uses to award the buy box, but feedback scores have some component to it. I absolutely must pay careful attention to keeping my feedback score as close to 100% as possible if I want to keep the buy box and get more FBA sales.

This is where the genius of Feedback Genius comes in. Feedback Genius helps me keep my 100% positive feedback score, and it also helps me fight off the occasional negative feedback that I receive as an FBA seller.

1. Fmail-1454731_1280eedback Genius automatically sends my customers an email the day their item will be delivered.

The email lets the customer know to be expecting the item, and it gives the customer a link where they can leave positive feedback for you as a seller if everything went well in the transaction. The email also asks the customer to just reply to the email with any issues that need to be resolved before they leave a negative feedback.

Feedback Genius emails allow you to set a positive tone with your customer right off the bat and to be proactive in avoiding negative feedback. With just this one email, I can increase my positive feedback and descrease my negative feedback.

do-it-now-1432945_12802. If the customer hasn’t left feedback in 4-5 days, Feedback Genius sends a reminder email.

Again, this reminder email gives me another chance to increase my positive feedback from customers and decrease the negative. I’ve seen a huge increase in my feedback score overall since signing up with Feedback Genius, and I’m convinced this increase has had a positive impact on my ability to get the buy box.

feedback-genius-text3. Feedback Genius sends me a text and email if I receive a feedback score of 3 or below.

This feature is even more of a game changer for me, as far as Feedback Genius is concerned. I wrote a blog post a while back about how one day a text from Feedback Genius at the beginning of lunch helped me act quickly and have a negative feedback completely removed by the time I was paying the check and headed back to work.

Amazon considers 4 and 5 to be a positive feedback score, 3 is neutral, and 1 or 2 are negative. Although a 3 is technically neutral, it will still negatively impact my feedback score. I don’t want to waste any time when it comes to dealing with negative feedback on my FBA account. For me, that text notification from Feedback Genius is a must.

To find out more about how to handle removing negative feedback, check out this blog post or this YouTube video.

ratings-1482011_1280-14. Feedback Genius can also be used with product reviews for specific ASINs.

In addition to helping monitor my seller feedback, I’ve also used Feedback Genius to send out emails to request product reviews for specific ASINs. The service also allows me to set up alerts for negative product reviews on specific ASINs. Just as seller feedback is important for helping me get the buy box, the number and quality of product reviews helps an item show up higher in search results and potentially get more sales. For any seller who creates their own listings, whether it’s a one-off product, a bundle, or a private label product line, having a way to monitor or increase product reviews (without breaking the Amazon seller terms of service) is critical to business.

parameters5. Feedback Genius is customizable as to the content and number of emails you wish to send out.

Some sellers want to send lots of emails, some just a few. Some want to just send out the content of the template email, some want to tweak it and personalize it. Feedback Genius lets you take the lead in deciding what you want to say to your customers, when you want to say it, and how often.

FB-GeniusSpecial Offer from Feedback Genius

I spoke with Jeff from Seller Labs (creator of Feedback Genius) and he is offering Full-Time FBA blog readers a special offer of 500 free messages for signing up for Feedback Genius. That’s 500 free messages to your buyers asking for them to leave you 5-star reviews, to contact you if there is a problem, or to leave a product review. That’s a lot of messages, and you get them for free when you sign up for Feedback Genius. You’ll also get a 60 day free trial (that’s twice as long as their normal 30-day trial period). There is really no reason why you shouldn’t give Feedback Genius a try today.

An Insider’s Look at the Full-Time FBA Processing Desk

Desk TitleIt’s critical, when working from home, to make sure your work environment is set up in such a way that you can best use your time and energy. In my last blog post, I showed you exactly how my shipping and work station was set up and all the tools that I use to process my inventory before I send it all off to Amazon. Today, I’m pulling back the curtain a little bit further as I let you take a peek into my Full-Time FBA desk.

Here is a diagram of my desk that I use almost daily. Below is a description of each and every item I use and why. 

Desk Diagram

If you’re interested in learning more or want to add any of these tools to your own FBA work station, click on the name or picture of the tool below. 


41MNr5dy0HLA. USB Barcode Scanner –  Who wants to enter every single UPC number each time you process inventory to Amazon? Not me, that’s for sure. This barcode scanner saves tons of time and frustration. Just point the scanner at the barcode, pull the trigger, and “BAM!” The barcode number is now magically entered in your computer. The adjustable hands-free stand is a really nice option too. 

91zhsBYJxGL._SL1500_B. MacBook Pro – I absolutely love my MacBook Pro. It’s the perfect computer for an optimized FBA work desk. I have owned this MacBook for almost 3 years and have only had to restart it about twice a year. It’s the most dependable laptop in existence, and I can’t imagine using anything else. 

PIXMA_MG3250_FRT_Default_tcm14-945029C. Canon Pixma InkJet Printer – This is the printer I use to print my shipping labels, and any other standard printing needs. This is not the printer I use to print my FBA labels. Amazon’s guidelines state that FBA labels must be printed by a thermal or laser printer only (see the Dymo LaberWriter 450 thermal printer below). 

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.20.05 AMD. Amazon Sales Rank % Chart – Throughout the year, I update this PDF document to show you the latest sales rank numbers for all of the major Amazon categories. The chart shows the top 1%, 5%, and 10% in almost 30 different categories. The PDF is FREE to all of my subscribers. To grab this PDF, simply click here and subscribe. 

41ooe8-PAJLE. Self Adhesive Shipping Labels – These are the labels I use when shipping boxes to FBA warehouses. They stick to the boxes well and are very dependable. You can also get free shipping labels directly from UPS by clicking here and signing up for a UPS account. 

81z-MzfxG-L._SL1500_F. Magic Eraser – I love my Magic Erasers. They help me clean up items I plan on selling on Amazon. I use them when I’m cleaning up a book cover or if there is any residue on the box of an item I want to sell. It helps get out most pen and marker stains. It’s abrasive enough to get the dirt or grime off of an item, but not so abrasive as to damage the item itself. 

mlb-tapered-metal-waste-basket-d-20130812161358607~7243521wG. Houston Astros Trash Can – Ok, so this isn’t vital to my FBA business, but I’m a big Astros fan and it adds some fun to my office space. Think of things that can add some fun to your office space. Don’t let work get too boring. 

business-textbooksH. Book, Books and Books – I love to read, and I keep some of my favorites right at my desk. I keep books close so I can take a break from working while continuing to improve myself and my business. To see the 14 books that most improved my Amazon FBA business, click here

I. Scanner Monkey – This little guy was the mascot of the Scanner Monkey Facebook group. Scanner Monkey is no longer an active Facebook group as in mid 2017, it has transitioned to become Scanner Society. 

71Eh+14PBWL._SL1500_J. Dual Computer Monitors – I simply love having two computer monitors. I can’t ever imagine going back to using just one. I love being able to work on my FBA shipment on my laptop, while watching a training video on the other monitor. No longer do I need to switch back and forth between windows, when all I need to do is scroll over to the other monitor. It’s made life much simpler. And in case you’re curious, I use this to connect my dual monitor to my laptop.

7198lLjvmsL._SL1200_K. Awards & Accomplishments – It’s a good idea to post near your desk things that remind you of accomplishments and wins you have experienced. Hang your diplomas on the wall, frame the first dollar bill you made, or maybe display the Amazon order of the item you made the most ROI on. For me, I decided to frame the certificate Amazon awarded me for being a Top Holiday Seller (that means that my sales ranked in the top 25% of all Amazon sellers, while additionally keeping an A+ customer satisfaction rate). Find something that you are proud of and display it. When you’re feeling discouraged, seeing these reminders might help. 

66463_10201911046874888_1974517186_nL. Inspiration – Everybody needs some inspiration now and then, and some of the things that inspire me the most are my family and my faith. I love to display pictures of my family, as well as scripture verses on the wall in my office.  They help remind me that there is so much more to life than work. 

DoTerra BLiss and DiffuserM. Essential Oil Diffuser – One of the ways that I say focused while working is to diffuse doTERRA essential oils in my office. My favorite oils to diffuse are Citrus Bliss and InTune. If you’re interested in getting some essential oils for your home or office, check out my wife’s doTERRA page here. 

41IWrVLa8yLN. Dymo LaberWriter 450 Printer – This little printer is a huge time saver when it comes to processing my FBA inventory. I used to print 30 FBA labels on one sheet via my regular printer and then try to match up the right labels to the right items. Now, I can print the labels one at a time with my Dymo printer and place the label directly on the item as I’m listing it on Amazon at my computer. It’s a thermal printer, so there is never any need for ink. Just be sure you have the right labels to use for FBA. 

Scanner Pro AppO. Scanner Pro – Here is where I keep all of my retail arbitrage receipts. I use this scanning app to keep a digital version of my receipts on file. The NeatReceipts scanner is probably much better, but the Scanner Pro app is a more affordable way to scan your reciepts. This is especially helpful when I paid for items with cash, or when I pay using a different account other than my business card. 

31Pz8s6Fw3LP. Clear Round Stickers – I have these for a variety of uses. The number one reason is to replace older clear round stickers on new items. Many items that are still in brand new condition might have the original clear stickers coming off (or have come off completely). I use these stickers to replace the ones that are no longer working well. 

NOT PICTURED

81R8SLFKf1L._SL1500_Q. Dymo Labels – These are the perfect size to use for your FBA labels. They cover up the original barcode well and come off easily in case the customer wants to take off the label. Each box comes with 700 labels. I also use these labels to print out my own “This is a Set. Do Not Separate” and “Do Not Open. Ready To Ship” stickers. 

613uKT2qhvL._SL1000_R. Dymo Printer Cleaning Cards – These cards help you keep your Dymo printer in tip-top shape. These cards safely remove contamination from print heads and improve print quality. The best thing they do is extend the life of any Dymo LabelWriter printer. 

41K1Oo-hSNLS. “Thank You” Stickers – If you have an item that has a small tear, mark, or even residue that you just can’t get off, then placing one of these stickers over the blemish might just save the day. Plus, it’s a nice way to show your customer that you’re thankful for their purchase. I don’t recommend using these stickers on all items that have a blemish. Use your best judgement. 

91CdT0sRKwL._SL1500_T. Hologram Stickers – I use these stickers the same way I use the “Thank You” stickers, but for smaller blemishes. I also use them for items that a “Thank You” sticker would just not work for. 

51hEMvaoe7LU. Resealable DVD Bags – Whenever I sell a used DVD or video game, I always put it in one of these bags. The DVD or video game usually snap closed, but even the smallest bump can cause these cases to open and the disc to come out. You do not want someone to buy a used DVD or video game and only get an empty case. Not only do these bags keep the discs safely stored in the case, but they also keep the DVD case clean. 

81mkVS3VWGL._SL1500_V. Label Sheets – These are the labels I used before I got my Dymo LabelWriter 450 printer. I still use these labels in many different ways. I use them to cover up bar codes on items that I’ll be poly bagging, as well as for expiration date labels. I also have these on hand just in case the Dymo printer malfunctions and I still need to print labels that day. This “back-up” plan has only been implemented a few times since 2011, but has come in handy when needed.

I’m sure there are even more items that I use at my Full-Time FBA desk, but these are the main ones. Each of the above help me be more efficient and make better use of my time and money.

I’d love to hear from you. What tools listed are your favorites? What would you not do business without? Did I miss something? I’d love to hear what you use in your own processing desk. Comment below and let me know. 

The Optimized Full-Time FBA Work & Shipping Station

Work Station TitleDo you need a warehouse in order to do the kind of volume it takes to make a full-time income from FBA? I’ve seen a few threads on social media and have had a few people ask me that exact question… and my answer to all of them is this: No, you do not need to rent or buy warehouse space in order to do the kind of volume needed to make a full-time income selling via Amazon FBA. 

Today, I want to give you a peek inside my optimized full-time FBA work and shipping station. Is this work station in a warehouse? No, it’s in the corner of my office on an old dining room table. Here is a diagram of the work station we currently use. Below is a description of each and every item we use and why.

Shipping Station Diagram

If you’re interested in learning more or want to add any these tools to your own FBA work station, click on the name or picture of the tool below. 

31X1IJMOzsLA. Cardboard Box Sizer and Reducer –  This tool helps you reduce your shipping boxes to the exact size that you need. Cutting your boxes down to size helps save you money in multiple ways: 1) Smaller boxes mean less shipping costs; 2) Smaller boxes mean you need less dunnage to fill boxes; 3) Less dunnage means that the box will weigh less, which saves you money over time. The tool is easy to handle, and I use it almost daily. For a quick video of the box sizer tool in action, click here

81K1bfSxJ5L._SL1500_B. 3-Inch Tape Gun – This was seriously a game changer when it came to optimizing my packing and shipping experience. For years, I’d only used a 2-inch tape gun, but one day I realized I was using about three strips of tape when securing the bottom and top of the box. I was using too much tape and wasting time as well. Now, I just use one strip of 3-inch tape to secure the base of the box and one strip of 3-inch tape to close the top of the box. It saves me both time and money. Find some 3-inch tape here

81bRMAxBB0L._SL1500_C. 2-Inch Tape Gun – While the 3-inch tape gun is perfect for securing shipping boxes, the 2-inch gun is better suited for smaller taping jobs. I use my 2-inch tape gun in multiple ways: 1) Secure bubble wrap when protecting a breakable item; 2) Tape over FNSKU labels that I worry might fall off of an item I’ve bubble wrapped; 3) Close up small holes in poly bags; 4) Secure smaller cardboard boxes that I use for bundles, and so much more. You can find 2-inch tape here

61h-B0szXtL._SL1280_D. Goo Gone Spray Gel  – Don’t you hate it when there is a price sticker on an item that just won’t come off cleanly? Goo Gone is the perfect solution to help get the sticky “goo” off your item. Simply spray some Goo Gone onto the sticky residue, and it will wipe off fairly easily. For really stubborn “goo,” use the Scotty Peeler in combination with the Goo-Gone to scrape away the excess goo. Note: There are many different products that you can use to remove the sticky adhesive left behind from a sticker. Some other alternatives are Un-Du and even lighter fluid

61ZZnk9VoJL._SL1200_E. Scotty Peelers – One of the most annoying parts of retail arbitrage is taking off the price stickers of your latest inventory purchase. These tools are the perfect way to peel off the stickers from the item without damaging the original package. If any of the sticky residue remains on the item, simply use the Goo Gone and scrape off the goo with the Scotty Peeler. 

71AgdoNhdML._SL1500_F. Scissors and Paper Towels – When you are cleaning sticker residue off of your inventory, you’ll need to use paper towels to help wipe up the mess. The scissors are used for multiple purposes, such as cutting poly bags, opening up boxes, cutting labels, and more. 

91hEUJSiPzL._SL1500_G. Excess Poly Bag & Trash Receptical – Ok, so this isn’t some fancy trash can, but a re-purposed empty pretzel tub, but it really works well. Most normal trash cans are the same size from top to bottom, but this tub is more rounded at the top and bottom. This makes it much easier to put the excess poly bag waste and any other trash inside the tub without it expanding and coming out of the trash can. It might seem silly, but it really works out well for us (see the “after” picture at the bottom of the blog to see how well it works). Oh, and the pretzels are pretty darn good too. 

H. Suffocation Warning Labels – Each and every poly bag that you use on a product needs to have a suffocation warning label. Some poly bags come with warnings printed on them, but for the ones that don’t, it’s a good idea to have these stickers handy. If you use a poly bag and do not make sure there is a suffocation warning on the bag, then you will be in violation of Amazon guidelines. These labels are easy to use and stay on well too. 

31yMUxZj7lLI. Stacking Letter Trays – These trays are where I store such supplies as my suffocation warning labels, expiration date labels, clear tape, pens, and more. 

J. Inspiration – Everybody needs some inspiration now and then, and one of the things that inspires me the most are my kids, nieces, and nephews. I love to hang their art up in my office to be reminded that there is so much more to life than work. It motivates me to use my work time more efficiently so that I can spend more time with them.  

71oPWM52EDL._SL1211_K. Poly Bags – According to Amazon guidelines, there are many items that need to be poly bagged if you plan on sending them to a FBA warehouse. These bags protect your inventory from the dirt and dust found in a FBA warehouse. Poly bags come in various sizes and thickness. Be sure you know what minimum requirements Amazon has for poly bags. The ones pictured are some of my favorite to order. 

41ot2QNlguL._SX425_L. 24-inch Centerfold Shrink Wrap Film – This is the shrink wrap film that I use for shrink-wrapping larger items like long board games, longer toys, and anything else longer than 14 inches. 

M. 14-inch Centerfold Shrink Wrap Film – This is the shrink film that I use for almost all other items I need to shrink wrap. It pairs well with my 16-inch impulse sealer (see below). 

71-uX1kHXoL._SL1500_N. Bubble Wrap – If you are selling anything made of glass or any other fragile item, you’ll want to protect it with quality bubble wrap. This bubble wrap is perforated every 12 inches so you can easily tear off only the amount of bubble wrap you need. 

61Wzt26rXXL._SL1000_O. 16-inch Impulse Sealer – People always ask me what size impulse sealer  they should get. Without any hesitation I tell them the 16-inch model. The first impulse sealer I purchased was a 14-inch model, and there were so many times I wished I had a longer reach for sealing. You might think that the extra 2 inches isn’t that big of a deal, but it really is. 

31YliKNB3LLP. Black & Decker Power Scissors – Ok, so many of you would probably be happy with an average utility knife, but these scissors are simply amazing. They make sizing down a box or creating a custom-sized box very easy. I use these almost every day that I’m packing and shipping. It saves tons of time and energy, and I simply won’t do without it. If the cost of a new one scares you, get a used one. That’s what I did and it has worked great for me. 

Not Pictured: 

41sRYiyp1ILQ. 1500 Watt Heat Gun – I use this heat gun in two ways: 1) To heat up the shrink-wrap so that it properly seals around the item I’m wanting to wrap for a very professional sealed look; 2) To heat up price stickers so they can be removed easier. When you apply heat to a price sticker or label, and use a Scotty peeler, the label comes off very easily. 

61sL7QYmSwL._SL1500_R. Shipping Scale – This scale looks small (because it is – 8″ x 8″) but it will weigh boxes up to 100lbs with accuracy. The weight is shown on an LCD display that is connected to the scale with an extendable cord. This means you can put a big, heavy box on the scale, but still see how much it weighs on the separate display. When shipping your items, you want to be sure your scale is accurate. An inaccurate scale could 715XNDGKPVL._SL1500_cost you hundreds of dollars a year. 

S. Hand Truck (Dolly) – When it’s time to take all of the boxes to UPS, I load them all up on this very sturdy hand truck and roll them out the front door. I can easily get three 18x18x16 boxes stacked on this dolly for easy transport. 

61Fm47z2QuS._SL1000_U. Measuring Tape – When you create your own box sizes, you really need to know the exact dimensions to tell Amazon so you can be charged the right amount for shipping. There are many other ways to use this in your FBA business, like if you are creating a new product page and need the exact dimensions of the product. 

91KNJpBoehL._SL1500_V. Dunnage (Void Fill) – Not every box will be filled to the top with items, so you need to be sure that there are void fillers placed in the box. My favorite dunnage are air pillows. When Amazon sends me a large box and includes air pillows inside, I always save them to use in my own shipments to FBA. When I run out of air pillows, I usually use newspaper that is tied up in a plastic grocery bag. It is against Amazon guidelines to use newspaper as void fill because they don’t want the newsprint to get on the items, but it is ok if you bag the newspaper and use that instead. Of course, air is lighter than paper and is my preferred method. Maybe one day I’ll splurge for an air pillow machine

Other than shipping boxes, which I usually get at Lowes or Home Depot, that is everything I use when I’m prepping, packing, boxing, and shipping. These are the tools I use almost every day in order to run my full-time FBA business. 

This is what my work & shipping station looks like at the end of the day. Click on the image for a close up.

This is what my work & shipping station looks like at the end of the day. Click on the image for a close up.

TIP: Bookmark this page so when you are ready to add something new to your work station, you have a handy list of what you want to add.

Whenever my wife and I come in from a huge retail arbitrage haul (sometimes hundreds of items in one day) we bring the items into the house, remove the price stickers (usually in front of the TV or while listening to an audiobook), poly bag any item that needs it, and then place all the items on the floor near the desk to be inventoried and processed on the laptop. Once the items have been processed, we raise the drop leaf on the table so there’s space to box up everything. Add the shipping labels, and we’re ready to send our inventory off to Amazon. No warehouse required. 

Now I want to hear from you. What tools are your favorite? How do you make the most of the space at your house for doing your FBA business? I’d love to see what you use, so comment below!

The 14 Books That Improved My Amazon FBA Business The Most

Books shelfAs someone who runs an online business, it’s vital to keep yourself ahead of the game. When it comes to success, the right book at the right moment can be a game-changer and give you a crucial advantage over your competition.

I really enjoy reading. In fact, while I was in college and seminary, I worked part-time at a local bookstore. I think most of my pay check ended up going right back to the bookstore as I was buying books all the time. 

Today, I want to share with you the 14 books that have helped me build a full-time FBA business. The books are broken up into 5 categories. To make things easy, I’ve included a link to the Amazon product page so you can choose your favorite book format (Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, or Audiobook). Once you’re on Amazon, you can easily get the books or add them to your wish list. These 14 books have personally made a huge difference for me. In fact, they’re some of the best books I’ve ever read.

PRODUCTIVITY

10667053-largeThe Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
We all have both good and bad habits, but how did they get there? And are there ways to purposefully create good habits that will help us improve both our personal and business lives? The answer to the second question is a resounding, “YES!” The book outlines how we can equip ourselves to succeed by breaking down our bad habits and setting ourselves up with good habits. This book was an interesting and easy read. 

31suEkKx6uL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The One Thing by Gary Keller
If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one of them. This book will help you cut through the clutter, achieve better results in less time, build momentum toward your goals, overcome that overwhelming feeling, dial down stress, revive your energy, stay on track, and master what matters most to you. This book will help you find your “one thing” that will take your Amazon FBA business to the next level. 

61uDqg7PdoLEat That Frog by Brian Tracy
This book outlines 21 ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. Mark Twain said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” This book has helped me recognize what the “frogs” are in my Amazon FBA business and how to stop procrastinating and get the most important things done quickly and done well. 

TRANSITION FROM JOB TO WORKING AT HOME

Four-Hour-Work-Week-Expanded-and-Updated1The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
While you probably won’t be working only 4 hours a week after you finish this book, you will have your eyes opened to the possibilities of how you can escape your 9-5 job, work more from home, and free up a lot of your time to pursue things you are most passionate about. If you are serious about making the transition from a job to becoming your own boss, this book is the best place to start. 

48 Days T41NdaeDvA0L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_o The Work You Love by Dan Miller
I first read this book in 2011 when I was both broke and unemployed. I had been trying for over a year to get a job and was failing miserably. This book lead me in the direction of finding work that I truly loved. After reading this book, I turned my hobby of selling online (via eBay) into a full-time job selling online (via Amazon FBA). Just over 6 months after reading this book, I was selling on Amazon FBA and making a full-time income. 

41nu9G4BrXL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Quitter by Jon Acuff
This book will help you close the gap between your day job and your dream job. Quitter is a very easy read and often hilarious. If you’ve ever sat in a cubicle and thought, “I don’t want to do this job for the rest of my life,” then this book is for you. Many people want to leave their 9-5 job and become their own boss, but it can be very, very risky. This book helps you minimize the risks involved and find success in transitioning from a job to working from home. 

 AMAZON FBA RELATED

Arbitrage_Cover_for_KindleArbitrage by Chris Green
If you are a beginner when it comes to selling on Amazon, then this is the absolute best book for you to form the right foundation to build a solid FBA business. When anyone asks me where they need to start when learning selling on Amazon, I recommend this book. Chris Green is an excellent communicator and teacher. If you are looking to succeed with FBA, you can’t go wrong starting with this book.

OAcover800

Online Arbitrage by Chris Green
This is more than just a book; it’s a complete course. I see this book more like a textbook filled with everything you need to know in order to find profitable inventory from the comfort of your home. This book is the only book in this list that I have not completed reading yet (it’s 480 pages), but even the parts that I have read have revolutionized my FBA business — not to mention, my wife Rebecca is constantly quoting ideas from this book to me as we discuss our business. The book is well worth the price tag attached to it. If price is an issue, there is a black & white edition that is less expensive.  

grocery-goldmine-284x300Grocery Goldmine by Jessica Larrew & Beth Maus
This book opened up my eyes to a whole new world of inventory possibilities. The book really answered every one of my questions and addressed all of my fears about selling groceries on Amazon. The book even comes with a 60-day risk free guarantee, so there is nothing to lose by getting this book. If you want to read more of my thoughts on this book, I did an entire blog post about adding grocery items to my Amazon business model. Read more here.

BBB-facebook1The Buy Box Bible by Feedvisor (FREE!)
Understanding how the buy box works is the key to selling successfully on Amazon. The Buy Box Bible is the most comprehensive guide to understanding exactly how the buy box works. You’ll learn all the variables that determine the buy box winner, how to work the buy box to maximize sales (and profits), and the differences between the regular buy box and the mobile buy box. The book is 100% free and easy to read. Reading this book was a game-changer for me. 

FINANCES

41R1wODM-RL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Introduction To Sales Tax for Amazon FBA Sellers by Kat Simpson & Michael Rice
The topic of sales tax on Amazon doesn’t have to be the most confusing part of selling online. With this book, you will gain a better understanding of today’s sales tax laws. Understanding how sales tax impacts you and your Amazon customers not only helps you stay out of trouble with the tax man, but it can also boost your bottom line. You don’t need to ignore tax issues just because they seem complicated. It’s in your best interest to read, understand, and follow all the sales tax rules. 

Total-MoneyThe Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Are you hoping your Amazon FBA business will help you get out of debt and build wealth? This is the proven step-by-step plan that my wife and I have been following for years. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Don’t manage your finances aimlessly. This book has helped give my wife and I the financial peace that we need for today and in the days ahead, and it can help you too. 

 INSPIRATION

51cEt5M95bL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Start With Why by Simon Sinek
If you are wanting to avoid burnout, or you sense burnout approaching your Amazon FBA business, then this is a great book to keep the fire burning strong. We often lose our passion when we lose our why. The why is what motivates us towards accomplishing big goals. What is your why? Family? Financial security? Meeting goals? Building a successful business from the ground up? Whatever you want to accomplish in life, finding your why is the best place to start. 

OB-XP895_davida_JV_20130527233557David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Do you ever feel like the underdog who is facing an impossible-to-beat giant? If you can relate, then this book is for you. David and Goliath will change how you think about your current obstacles and disadvantages in your life and in your business.  You’ll start to see things from a new perspective and learn how to find success despite enduring what most people see as setbacks. When you are tempted to give up, this book will inspire you to keep pressing on. (This book also gets Rebecca’s vote for one of her favorites.)

SQuotation-Brian-Tracy-success-inspirational-business-Meetville-Quotes-248218ome of the above books are like roadmaps, while others are like toolkits, but they are all books that have improved how I run my FBA business. They have all had a direct impact on the success I’ve experienced so far.   

Everyone knows that knowledge is power, and one of the best ways to gain more knowledge is to read books. Picture, for a moment, where you would like your Amazon FBA business to be in 5 years. What does it look like? Charlie Jones, author of Books Are Tremendous, says “Five years from now, you will be the same person you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I could not agree more. 

What books have been an inspiration to you and your online business? Comment below and let me know what books have had the biggest impact for you. 

Today is our 1st bloggiversary, but you get the gift!

One year ago today, we launched the Full-Time FBA blog with the article, “So What Do You Do For a Living? It’s been an amazing year filled with more than 50 blog posts, over 350 comments, and an ebook focused on Reselling Board Games. We’ve come together on this blog to talk about numerous FBA-related topics, with your input providing an important component of the discussion.

Full-TimeFBASign1Some of our most popular posts include:

The Full-Time FBA Quiz – Are You Ready?
Dealing With Frustrating Amazon Changes
The Most Frequent Question I’m Asked
How to Get FREE Money For Sourcing
Garage Sale Tips Series
Our Liquidation Store Experiment

 

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining my wife and I on this Full-Time FBA ride. We look forward to another year filled with helpful articles, new ebooks, videos, and — especially — challenging questions from you.

Seller Central Cover MiniIn appreciation of you, I wanted to give you a bloggiversary gift! I think the traditional first-year bloggiversary gift is a free ebook (I made that up just now). So without wasting any more time, I give you the link where you can download our newest ebook, Seller Central Tips, Reimbursements, Refunds, and How To Correct Other Possible Amazon Glitches.

Here is the Table of Contents of your new ebook:

Introduction
Tip #1: How to Check if “Returned” Items are Actually Returned to FBA
Tip #2: How to Get Reimbursed for Unfulfillable Inventory
Tip #3: How to Handle FBA Inbound Shipment Problems
Tip #4: How to Check for Reimbursable Lost Items
Tip #5: Fixing Stranded Inventory 
Bonus Tip #1: How to Manually Reprice Your Inventory
Bonus Tip #2: My Top 6 Manual Repricing Strategies
The Full-Time FBA Blog: How We Made FBA Our Full-Time Job
Seller Central Printable Checklist

 

If followed, the instructions in this ebook will help you not only maximize your FBA profits, but will also get you back some of the money that Amazon owes you due to their own mistakes. Over the past year, I’ve personally been able to recoup over $1,000 following each one of these Seller Central Tips. I hope you can have similar results.

If there is ever anything I can answer for you or share my opinion on, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can leave a comment below, or drop me an email (stephen@fulltimefba.com). You can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to get even more access to what Full-Time FBA has to offer.

Ready to download the book? Click here to get it!

Amazon Split Shipments And What You Can Do About Them

It’s the number one question I hear from those who are new to selling via Amazon FBA: Why is Amazon forcing me to send my inventory to multiple warehouses all over the country? It’s expensive, inconvenient, and it’s cutting into my profit margins. What can I do to fix this?

brownbox2In a perfect world, Amazon sellers would be able to take all of the items they are selling, send them to a single FBA warehouse, and continue to see those items sell quickly. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Amazon has their reasons for shipping our inventory to multiple fulfillment centers, so it’s important for us to understand why Amazon wants to do this.

As you probably know by now, Amazon is the most customer-centric company ever. Everything Amazon does is to make the customer happy. In relation to inventory, Amazon wants to have as many items spread out across the United States as possible. The closer an item is to the buyer, the faster that item can get there, which helps secure a happy customer. If you have a toy to sell, and Amazon already has that toy in stock in Florida, Dallas, Tennessee, and Colorado, then maybe they’ll have you ship your toy to California, where that toy is currently out of stock. When a customer in California wants that specific toy, and that toy is priced competitively, then you have a great chance of winning the buy box and getting the sale.

article_icebreakerUnderstanding why Amazon splits up your inventory doesn’t always make split shipments any easier. It can be frustrating when the bulk of your inventory is going to Indiana, yet one item needs to go to Tennessee, two items need to go to Texas, and another item to Arizona. For many of us, the cost of sending just one or two items to a separate FBA warehouse can completely destroy our profit margins.

So what is a FBA seller to do? Well, you have two options: Distributed Inventory Placement or Inventory Placement Service. Distributed Inventory Placement is where you let Amazon pick where it thinks your inventory should be shipped to. This is the default for those who sell via Amazon FBA.

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 8.43.26 AMThe other option you have is called Inventory Placement Service (Click here for Amazon’s page outlining inventory placement options). Choosing Inventory Placement will generally create one shipment for most of your standard sized inventory. I say generally, because Amazon actually only promises that they will send all quantities of a single MSKU to a single FBA warehouse. They do not promise that all items in your shipment will be sent to the same warehouse, but more often than not, they will. There are exceptions, such as oversized items, clothes, shoes, and some media (books, DVDs, etc), which will still need to be sent to a specific warehouse other than the main one you usually send inventory to. The inventory placement fee is currently 30 to 40 cents for each standard-sized unit and $1.30 for each oversized item. Click here to see the current fee structure. Remember, this fee is paid for every item that you are sending in to Amazon, not just on the multiples that might get split up if you did not have Inventory Placement turned on.

Here’s how to turn on Inventory Placement Service:

1. Log in to Seller Central
2. Go to “Settings” and click “Fulfillment by Amazon.”
3. Under “Inventory Placement” click “edit.”
4. Choose your preferred option (The default is Distributed Inventory Placement)
5. Click “update.”
 

Before you head on over to Amazon to update your inventory placement settings, it’s a good idea to weigh the positives with the negatives of Inventory Placement Service.

shutterstock_128422982Positives:

1. Multiples of the same MSKU will not be split into different shipments and will all go to the same warehouse.

2. No more shipments of a single item to a different warehouse.

3. Your inventory will most likely be shipped to one of the warehouses close to you. This could mean lower shipping costs and less time your shipments are in transit.

4. Since your inventory will most likely be shipped to a nearby warehouse, you’ll get faster processing times, and your inventory could go live much quicker. The faster your inventory is processed, the faster it can be sold.

Negatives:

1. The cost of 30 to 40 cents per item could add up quickly and eat into your profit margins. If you have a shipment of 100 items, that could cost you $30 in Inventory Placement fees alone.

2. Inventory placement doesn’t promise that all items in a shipment will go to the same warehouse, it only promises that multiples of the same item (MSKU) will not be split into multiple warehouses. So, you still may have to send items to three different FBA warehouses.

3. Here is a little known secret: Amazon ships your inventory to different warehouses without you even knowing it. You might have shipped your inventory to Tennessee, but after it’s processed, it could easily be removed and sent to Florida. While Amazon is shipping your item to Florida it’s considered “inactive” and cannot be sold. I believe that Amazon takes the money it makes from the Inventory Placement Fees and uses that money to reallocate your inventory across the country.

Most Amazon FBA sellers don’t like shipping their inventory to so many warehouses, but it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth it to pay the Inventory Placement Fees or not. I, personally do not. The fact that Amazon will temporarily deactivate some of my inventory while it moves those items across the country is a deal breaker for me.

To read more about Amazon split shipments and our strategy for how to minimize shipping costs and FBA fees, click here.

So what about you? Do you use Inventory Placement Service? If so, what do you like or dislike about it? Let us know if you have any questions about these options.

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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 this year. 

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 this year your best sales year ever.

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 webinars, and 4 special bonuses.

How to be Married to FBA

A couple of weeks ago, Stephen posted a quiz to test if you’re ready to make the transition to selling via FBA as a full-time job. His questions got me (Rebecca) to thinking about the flip side of the FBA coin — the spouse’s side. It’s one thing if you decide you’re ready to get further into selling on Amazon, but how does your spouse feel about this scenario?

garage-sale-sign-with-shoppersI will never forget the first time I went with Stephen on his Friday morning garage sale route. Mostly I won’t forget it because Stephen likes to remind me of my reaction that day. After a few hours of riding with him around town, getting in and out of the car, not finding a whole lot at each place (but walking away with a few great deals), I told him, “It’s great you enjoy doing that, dear, but I don’t care to ever try that again.” Something about the methodical process of going from house to house on his list just ruined garage sales for me. Stephen felt like he was on an adventure to find hidden treasure. I felt like we were skipping over all the cool stuff (old mason jars! an antique sewing machine!) to look for brand new toys and games. Boring.

Thankfully, he convinced me to stick with the idea of helping him source for FBA, and he gladly did the bulk of our garage saling while I focused more on thrift stores, used books, and retail. Since that time, we’ve had many conversations about the dynamics of working together on FBA while maintaining a healthy marriage. Not everybody who reads this blog is married, and not everybody who reads the blog wants to sell on FBA full-time. Still, there are factors involved in selling on FBA that affect our relationships, regardless of which season of life we’re in, and hopefully we can all benefit from thinking through these factors.

On that note, here are a few things to consider about FBA and marriage, whether you’re working together with your spouse at FBA or your spouse does a different line of work:

Managing-RiskRisk tolerance. Many entrepreneurs, not just FBA sellers, experience conflict with their spouse over different levels of risk tolerance when investing money is concerned. For some, the amount of money involved is a hot spot. For others, it’s the waiting period and uncertainty of when you’ll see a return on your investment. Lots of open communication and patience with one another are necessary to come to agreements and make decisions. Bottom line, your marriage should come before your business, so there may be times when you have to forego your own wants and desires in the business for the sake of your spouse’s comfort level.

Personality differences. I am an introvert, and Stephen is an extrovert. Whether he’s at a garage sale or a liquidation store, he loves chatting with folks, negotiating, working out deals. I prefer to go in, get things done, and go home. At times we’ve had to plan out our daily tasks according to these differences. In some instances one or both of us might end up having to do tasks outside our area of strength, but as a general rule we keep an open line of communication going so that we’re both predominantly working in areas best suited for our personalities.

DSC03996Personal interests. It’s very obvious when Stephen and I are sourcing together where each of our personal interests lie. Whether we’re at a retail store, thrift store, or garage sale, he heads for the toys and games, and I head for the books or kitchen items. We never really discussed this as a strategy — it just happened naturally. If you’re working at FBA and see that your spouse isn’t all that interested in getting involved, perhaps all you need is a change of category. Maybe you’ve always found media to be profitable, but your spouse might enjoy sourcing for health and beauty items instead. Explore the options of different Amazon categories as a way to pique your spouse’s interest.

Agreement on business model. If you’re both working together at your FBA business, it’s important that you agree on the type of business model you set up. Are you looking mostly for fast turns? Are you comfortable waiting out the profits of long-tail items? Ask yourselves these types of questions and discuss your answers ahead of time, before actual money is involved so you can avoid conflict in the heat of the moment. For those who are working at FBA while your spouse does something else, discuss with your spouse your level of commitment to your business. Talk with one another about whether you’re actively trying to grow the business or whether you’re pursuing it as a hobby. Your involvement in FBA brings an opportunity cost of time and money that aren’t being spent on your marriage, family, or other relationships — always, always come to an agreement with your spouse on the level of involvement you’re both comfortable with.

Amount of time spent together. If you and your spouse are considering working at FBA together, one important factor to remember is the amount of time you’ll be working together, whether at your home office, in your storage space, or out sourcing. Many people, Stephen and I included, choose to do FBA for that exact reason — we enjoy spending time together and would prefer to have flexibility of schedule rather than be tied to separate jobs in separate offices. Working together does create the potential for more conflict, so it’s important to be gracious to one another and communicate and listen well. We’ve also found that it’s good to plan separate activities at times throughout the week, just so we’re not becoming too inwardly focused in our marriage and still have healthy outside relationships.

communicateCommunication. I’ve already mentioned it a few times above, but good communication is key if you’re going to work together with your spouse at FBA or maintain a healthy marriage while you work at FBA with your spouse’s support. I can’t stress this enough. You’re going to need to communicate well with each other about expectations for schedules, about buying decisions, about how the space in your house is being used. I don’t come from a business background, and I’ve struggled at times to understand everything that’s involved in running a successful FBA business. If I couldn’t openly express my concerns to Stephen and he couldn’t patiently explain to me (for the fiftieth time) what’s going on in certain situations, we wouldn’t make it as a couple or in this business. My biggest advice to all couples involved in FBA in any fashion: talk to each other. A lot. Kindly and honestly.

I’m sure there are other factors that come to mind when you think of selling through FBA and relating to a spouse or other family. We would love to hear your thoughts — please leave a comment and help us further the conversation!

**********************

Working from home sounds easy, but if you’ve done it for any amount of time, you know it can be difficult. In Married to Reselling, my wife Rebecca and I will walk with you through ways we can all find success in balancing our time with family while working from home.  We’ll tackle both the business and personal sides of life as a reseller, and we’ll help you explore a system that works best for you and your family. If you’re looking for ways to balance your family life with your online business and find success with both, then this book is for you.

Garage Sale Tip #4 – Take The Experts With You (I’ll show you how!)

Everyone loves a home run. No, I’m not talking about when the ball goes over the outfield fence and the batter can trot around the bases… I’m talking about the reseller’s home run! When you buy something for super cheap, and then flip it for huge profits. I love finding a book for a quarter, and then selling it for $50 just a few weeks later. I’ll never forget the rush of buying 5 brand new vintage video games for $25 each, and then selling them for $350 each! Home runs can be the fuel that keeps a reseller in the game.

Home-Run-GuideScratchyI want to let you in on a tool that I use to help me find home runs. It’s called The Home Run Guide and it’s absolutely the best book for finding those hidden (and not so hidden) home runs. This book is a collection of articles written by many different reselling experts. I have referenced the Home Run Guide countless times when I’ve been at garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. I have the mobile version on my Kindle AND iBooks app (just in case one of those apps crashes) so I can easily bring up the information I need to make sure what I have in front of me is indeed a home run.

The Home Run Guide is broken up into Volume One, Two, and Three. All three volumes are excellent, and I highly recommend them. Volume One is 490 pages full of useful information to help you find home runs. That’s not a typo… 490 pages. Volume Two is equally impressive at 369 pages. The newest addition, Volume Three is loaded with amazing home runs, as well as a “Success Knowledge” section. This section will help you with ‘Setting up your Sales Tax on Amazon,’ ‘Attending Trade Shows,’ ‘Organizing your Online Business,’ and more. It’s truly an amazing guide. 

The authors who write each section of The Home Run Guide go into great detail so that you can get the most information and make the best buying decisions. They include pictures, as well as what to definitely buy and what to never buy.

In The Home Run Guide, you’ll learn so many new things to be on the lookout for. It’s great for both eBay and Amazon resellers alike. Here is just a small sample of what is in The Home Run Guide:

Details About What to Buy – Books, Children’s Books, Toys, Plush, Kitchen Items, Home Items, Puzzles, Board Games, Electronic Toys, Craft Supplies, Toy Trains, Harley Davidson Memorabilia, Coke Memorabilia, Collectibles, Jewelry, and tons more.

Tips and Tricks – Negotiation Skills, Clearance Sale Tips, Garage and Estate Sales Tricks, Rummage Sales, Thrift Stores, a guide to shopping at Target, an intro to Sales and Use Tax, Organization tips, Trade Shows, IFTTT (If This Then That) Video Training, and so much more.

v3You can buy each volume individually, or you can buy them all together and get a discounted rate.

If you purchase this guide through my link, I will get an affiliate commission, which helps pay to keep this blog up and running. However, I want to assure you that I only promote products that I use myself and completely believe in. This guide will pay for itself over and over again. Click on this link to see more details about The Home Run Guide.