Tag Archives: Mindset

The Biggest Amazon FBA Sourcing Mistake You Can Make

Sourcing MistakeAs Amazon FBA sellers, we have all made this sourcing mistake at one point or another. Especially as we’re just getting started in the business, without much experience to give us confidence.

Typically, we start out selling items that are familiar to us. Many sellers come to Amazon as book lovers, looking to get profits for the extra books around the house. Others get their start in FBA when they have growing kids with an abundance of toys around the house and a familiarity with the popular characters for certain age groups.

We start off selling what we know. And what we know is the perfect place to start.

But the biggest mistake I can make the further I go in my FBA business is this: to source as if the Amazon customer thinks just like me. 

Here are a few examples of thoughts we can entertain that will shut us down as we’re sourcing:

  • “Why would anyone ever buy this item?”
  • “Why would anyone ever pay this price for this item?”
  • “There is no way this item would ever sell on Amazon.”
  • “Why would someone buy this on Amazon would they could just go down the street to get it at the grocery store?”

Your sourcing progress will come to a halt if you continue to source as if the Amazon customer thinks just like you.

You have to change your perspective, think like an Amazon customer. Now, Amazon has millions of customers, so you can’t think like every single one of them. But you can get out of your own brain and do a few things to start thinking less like an Amazon seller and more like an Amazon customer.

9abc344489ef43c0203642845017a0701. Expand your categories.

If you have been selling for a while (by “a while” I mean a few months) and feel like you’ve got a good foundation in toys or books, try branching out into some new categories. People come to Amazon to buy just about anything, so as you’re out in the retail world, thrift stores, or garage sales, expand your thinking to include different types of items as potential inventory.

There’s no need to get hung up trying to get ungated in a bunch of new categories before you start expanding your inventory. Arts and crafts, home and kitchen, sports and outdoors are all categories that don’t require Amazon approval for new sellers, and you can find inventory for these categories in a ton of places.

We hear sellers say all the time, “I went to [fill in the blank with store name] and looked at the clearance, and there was nothing there for me to buy.” Granted, sometimes this may actually be the case, but often the problem isn’t that there is nothing to buy — the problem may very well be that the seller is overlooking items that don’t fit in the categories he or she normally sells.

Selling items in the categories we are unfamiliar with can be uncomfortable for some people, but don’t let the fear of branching out to new categories hold you back. Get out of your regular pattern, out of the regular aisle where you shop, and scan something completely new and different.

Carl-Richards-false-assumption-sketch2. Don’t make assumptions.

Last spring we found a $3 item on clearance. It’s oversized. It’s basically a piece of molded plastic with a sticker on it. No moving parts. No fancy decorations. It’s just the kind of thing you would naturally skip over as you’re scanning. But we scanned it just in case and found that it had a low rank in the toys category. Not only that, but it was selling for over $40 at the time. Buy for $3, sell for $40 — that’s awesome ROI! Over the next several months we bought dozens of this item in various colors for $3 to $7, and we sold them all for $40 to $60 each.

We’re certain that one reason we’ve sold this item so well for so long is that most other resellers skip over it thinking, “It’s just a piece of plastic. No one’s going to pay $50 for that thing.” But customers know that the item is hard to find in stores and Amazon is the easiest place to get it. It’s worth it to those customers to pay that amount for it.

barcode-scan-icon3. Scan everything.

If you have time, scan everything. Just do it. Scan to see what’s in the Amazon catalog, what prices things are selling at, what items have a low rank. If you don’t have time to do that, maybe you have the money to hire someone to do it for you, to just scan an entire aisle in a store and see what’s out there.

Scanning everything in a “regular price” retail store aisle is a great way to find inventory that has less competition (because most sellers are focusing on the clearance aisle) and is possibly replenishable (where you can continue to go back to that store over and over again as that store restocks its inventory). Yes, scanning everything takes time and requires patience, but the rewards can be massive… especially if you find something great at one retail store, and your town has many other locations of that same store where you can go across town and stock up even more.

2017 Hot Toy BOLO

4. Don’t only focus on hot items.

Star Wars, Nintendo, and Hatchimals are not the only toys out there. People are making big profits on items that are off the beaten path. Don’t get stuck always chasing the next big trend, looking for the toys that everyone else says are the hot items of the day. These popular items may go up in price quickly, but unless you’re the first one in as a seller and can sell out quickly, you’re likely to be stuck with inventory that has a growing number of competitors and a sharply dropping price.

Not every Amazon customer is looking for the most popular toy out there. You can be the seller who brings unique, hard-to-find, quality inventory to the Amazon market, and customers will flock to you.

CCC Q45. Check the Keepa and/or CamelCamelCamel data.

When you’re out scanning all these new items in new categories that you’re not used to, be sure to check the price history and sales rank history on CamelCamelCamel or Keepa. You may look at the Amazon product page for an item and doubt that a customer will pay that amount of money. But the history on CamelCamelCamel doesn’t lie. If the lowest price for an item is steadily high and the sales rank stays consistent (or has consistent peaks), then that item really does sell for that price. Even if you doubt it. Even if you personally wouldn’t buy it. Even if you personally wouldn’t pay that much for it. Learn more about Keepa and Camel here.

Do your best to get out of your own brain when you’re making sourcing decisions. Do your best to think like Amazon customers. If you do, you’ll increase your inventory level, lower your competition, and make strides in growing your FBA business.

Do you struggle with your mindset when it comes to sourcing inventory? Do you have any strategies you would add to this list? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

JumpStart Amazon is our intensive course focused on teaching you, step-by-step, how to build up a successful Amazon FBA business from scratch. From setting up your seller account to finding profitable inventory to knowing how to best use your profits, I’ll show you the proven strategies for how to start your Amazon FBA business so that it’s set up for long-term success. JumpStart Amazon is both an ebook (200+ pages) and video course (10+ hours) focusing on everything you need to start a successful Amazon FBA business.

The #1 Way to Ruin Your Q4 Sales on Amazon

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

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

We can start comparing ourselves to other sellers.

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

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

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

  • recruiting-software-comparisonWe don’t know how much profit other sellers are making.

    If someone says “I made 6 figures in sales!” we can’t assume anything from that number. After that seller takes out the cost of inventory, supplies, or other fees, they might only be taking home in their pocket $15,000 of that $100k. And we don’t know how much time they spent to buy and prep their inventory. For all we know they really are only making minimum wage for their time.
  • We don’t know how other sellers are paying for their inventory.

    We don’t know if they run a cash-only business or if they go into debt to make huge purchases.  We never know if someone is making horrible decisions, taking out ginormous loans, and maxing out multiple credit cards to finance their Q4 inventory. This kind of behavior is very dangerous. At any moment Amazon could shut someone’s account down for something they did or did not do, and that seller would be stuck with the debt without getting a disbursement from Amazon. They could be making bad buying decisions thinking they have to blow a ton of money on inventory before December 10 in order to maximize Q4 — but what if their inventory doesn’t sell as expected? Or maybe they pay for everything with cash, make a ton of sales, and buy a new car in January. It could be either scenario when you see those posts online. The point is we just don’t know.

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

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

  • comparison-is-the-thief-of-We can begin to feel discouraged.

    If I’m comparing my Chapter 2 to someone else’s Chapter 12, I fail to take into account all the years of experiences (some successful, some otherwise) the other seller has had. When we compare ourselves this way, we can completely lose the steam in our engines and lose the motivation to excel as a seller. Worst case scenario, we could decide to quit.
  • We could look at other people’s sales and start getting puffed up.

    If I’m comparing my Chapter 12 to someone else’s Chapter 2, I can get arrogant, be filled with pride, and make reckless decisions. “Pride comes before the fall,” says the wisdom of Proverbs. Again, the comparisons have the potential to lead to incorrect thinking.

So then, what should we be comparing?

We should be comparing our outcomes with our goals

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

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


It’s not too early to start thinking about 2018! In fact, if you wait until January to start planning for 2018 then you’re setting yourself up to be left behind. I don’t want you to miss out on any opportunity for 2018, which is why I wrote The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Plan For a Profitable Amazon Business.

Right now is the best time to make 2018 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 2018. 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 2018 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, month-by-month video training, and 4 special bonuses.


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