Tag Archives: Reselling

Top 10 Tips For Finishing Strong in 2016

finishing-strong-2016First off, if you can see this… thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read today’s blog post. I know Q4 is crazy busy, and I hope my blog posts can help you take action t0 save time and increase your profits.

As we all know, the holiday selling season is in full bloom, and I hope you’ve been able to stock the Amazon warehouses with as much quality inventory as you possibly can. It seems pretty obvious to say, but you can’t sell a lot of items if you don’t have a lot of items in stock. To help you continue to make this month your best selling month ever, here are my top ten tips for finishing strong in 2016:

christmas-lights1. Reprice holiday related items. It’s crunch time. Log into Seller Central and check all of your holiday related items in your inventory. Do a keyword search for words like “holiday” and “Christmas” and make sure that all of your holiday items are competitively priced. While some of these seasonal items actually sell throughout the year, there might still be some in stock that you need to reprice. As always, double check with CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to see what prices and sales you could possibly expect. If you have multiples of higher ranked holiday items, it’s probably a good time to lower your prices to get the sale. You don’t want to hold on to these items another full year… especially with long term stores fees coming up in February.

2. The week before Christmas is a Prime spending frenzy! For items sold through FBA, hold on to your prices that you think will sell for Christmas. It’s not rare to see an item going for $15 on December 14th to be selling for $25 on December 19th. This is especially true for items where you’re the only FBA seller or one of a few FBA sellers. On the other hand, if the competition for sales is fierce, you might want to lower your price just a little to sell out before the newbie Amazon sellers freak out and lower their prices too far.

returns.jpg3. Be prepared for an increase in returns. Naturally, with an increase in sales, there is also an increase in returns. Don’t let this make you anxious or worried. It’s a natural part of selling. As you might already know, Amazon automatically refunds the FBA customer the full purchase price when the buyer requests to return an item. If the buyer fails to return the item to Amazon, then Amazon is supposed to automatically reimburse you for the item after 45 days have passed, but many times Amazon “forgets” and needs to be reminded. For more about how to make sure returned items are actually returned to Amazon, check out this popular blog post.

feedback4. Be prepared for an increase in negative and/or positive feedback. If you’re keeping to best business practices, then you’ll most likely get lots of new positive (4 or 5) feedback, but you’ll also get the occasional negative (1 or 2) or neutral (3) feedback score. If the feedback is actually about the FBA process (“my item came 2 days late”) or a product review (“this coffee maker is hard to use”), then it’s up to you to do whatever you can to get the feedback removed. Your feedback score is a huge aspect of your seller metrics. The better seller metrics you have, the more opportunities you’ll have to earn the buy box for your products. To read more about how I handle feedback issues (and how I keep a 100% feedback score), then check out this blog post.

5. Look at sales ranks differently. As you already know, the sales velocity in December shoots through the roof! This should make you look at sales rank differently than during the rest of the year. Here is an example: A toy with a sales rank of 10,000 in July might sell 25 times a week… while a toy with a rank of 10,000 in December might sell 50 times a day. This is important to know when you are out sourcing for inventory. Know that after Christmas and into January, many of these sales ranks will start to return to their normal patterns (slower sales), and it’s up to you to recalibrate your mind to what you need to expect when you’re out sourcing. Again, look at CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to see what prices and sales velocity to expect in January.

targetstore6. Be careful with sale prices at retail chain stores. Retail stores are realizing that they need to do whatever it takes to sell their stuff as soon as possible. Often, this means some outrageous clearance sales. But be careful, the items you’re finding clearanced at large national chains might be the same items hundreds of other resellers are finding. You don’t want to be slow moving on these sales. If you decide to buy, you need to get those items to Amazon as fast as possible… and I wouldn’t recommend going too deep. It’s possible that Amazon is about to be flooded with these items from other resellers sourcing at the same sales in their town. Buy fast, prep fast, and ship fast so it can sell fast.

7. Profit from selling items Merchant Fulfilled. We all love selling via FBA, but this week still provides a nice money making opportunity if you are willing to do a little more work. Selling via Merchant Fulfilled can still bring about some nice profits this week for items that buyers need to buy today. The best items to sell MF are those that both Amazon and FBA sellers have sold out of, are backordered, ones that are “Currently Unavailable” on their Amazon product page, and ones with a low rank that you don’t want to risk the extra time it takes to travel to a fulfillment center.

amazon_gift_card8. Keep sourcing for post-Christmas buyers. On the days after Christmas and well into January, many people have brand new Amazon gift cards burning a hole in their pockets. They head on over to Amazon and look for items to spend these gift cards on, and you want to be sure you have what they want waiting for them. Not only do gift card buyers show up, but so do the people who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas. They know what they want, and since they didn’t get it, they decide to give themselves the gift they really want. Again, you want to be sure you have what they want when they go shopping for themselves.

list-of-updated-after-christmas-sales-20099. Buy Christmas-themed items at huge discounts. The week before, and right after Christmas, all of the Christmas related items go on sale at drastically reduced prices. This is a great time for you to stock up for your Amazon inventory. Like I’ve said before, seasonal items sell both in and out of season. I’ve seen Christmas ornaments sell in May, candy canes sell in March, and holiday DVDs sell in August. The stuff sells year round, but especially in July as people have “Christmas in July” parties. So, now might be a good time to buy holiday decor at 75% – 90% off. Again (I might be sounding like a broken record by now), check CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to see what prices and sales velocity to expect throughout the year.

10. Look towards the new year. Why am I talking about the new year in December? I honestly believe that if you wait until the first of January to start thinking about the new year, then you’re already behind in the game and are at a disadvantage. Imagine someone showing up for a marathon without doing any training beforehand. The runner would most likely quit before they even pass the 5 mile marker. Don’t be that guy. When January 1 arrives, we all begin a 365 day marathon, and I want to be sure you are ready for the journey. One great way is to grab my book, The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business. This resource will help you know exactly what to do and what to avoid for each month of the year.

How about you? What strategies are you implementing to finish strong in 2016? I’d love to hear your ideas, so comment below.

 

The Top 9 Ways to Use Your Q4 Income Wisely

q4-income2As I’ve stated before, the fourth quarter selling season on Amazon almost always brings your highest income possibilities of the year. Many Amazon sellers find that their sales sometimes multiply ten-fold from what they’re used to during the other three quarters. How you handle your increased profits can possibly help propel you into even more profits in the year to come.

In the rest of this blog post, I’m going to share some of my top ideas on how to wisely use your Q4 income. Please don’t assume I’m telling you to use your money on all of the following ideas; rather read them through and pick a few that most resonate with you and where your business is currently. Here are some ideas:

41goi0EX1bL

When buying a shrink-wrap machine, I recommend the 16 inch impulse sealer.

1.  Invest in time saving equipment – What are you doing now that can be done much faster with the help of some new equipment? Now is the time to research quality tools that can lessen your work load. A few years ago I purchased a 16 inch shrink-wrap machine and heat gun. Two years ago I purchased a box re-sizer and a newer laptop. Think about what tools can help you speed up your current work process. Could you be in the market for a Bar Code Scanner or Scan-Fob? Maybe you’d like to get a Dymo label printer. There are so many tools out there that help save time and money.

2. Invest in time saving programs – Maybe you’ve been listing your items directly on Amazon and are ready to save some time by signing up for Inventory Lab or other listing tools. Or maybe you want to cut your online arbitrage sourcing time dramatically with a tool like OAXray. These programs can help save a lot of time in many other areas of your business too (like repricing, financials, etc).

IMG_84833. Purchase more inventory – In the weeks leading up to Christmas, many stores start to put toys and other gift items on sale at really great prices. If you wait a little longer, right after Christmas, many stores start mega clearance sales. You’ll find sales in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. If you don’t want to get out and source inventory in the cold weather, you can find many great sales at stores online. In store and online, there will probably be more items you can buy for resale than you have money for. Amazon sales in January are still really good as people have Christmas gift cards burning a hole in their pockets, so it’s wise to keep stocking up your inventory into the new year.

4. Purchase supplies in bulk – What items do you buy for your business all year long? 3-inch Packing tape, shipping boxes, Dymo labels, and printer ink are just a few of the items that I buy all year long. It would be wise to buy these items in bulk now (at much better prices per item) instead of spending more money to buy them later in smaller quantities. Click on the following links to see more about the supplies I use in my processing desk and shipping station.

debt-picture5. Pay off debt – As Dave Ramsey says, “Debt is not a wealth building tool.” If you have any debt, the wisest thing you can do is to pay it off as fast as you can. Imagine giving yourself a raise by doing the same amount of work you do now! When you are no longer paying debt interest fees, that’s money that you can use for your business. If you are in debt, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. For more information on getting out of debt, check out his book The Total Money Makeover.

6. Treat yourself – Sometimes we can be so focused on work that we forget ourselves. Getting too wrapped up in work can lead to burnout. If you can, give yourself a Christmas bonus and treat yourself to something fun.

All Devices7. Invest in Your Mind – Is there an Amazon FBA related book, course, or program that you have been interested in buying? This might be the best time to buy FBA training materials so that you can learn how to improve your current Amazon business. You are the number one asset to your business. Invest in yourself. The more you can learn, the more you can earn!

5-years-to-your-best-year-ever-logo8. Invest in your future – What if  you could make 2017 your best year ever? You don’t have to spend another year frustrated that you haven’t achieved all you know you’re capable of. Instead, you can enter the new year with the clarity you need to reach your full potential and make this your best year ever. All you need is a plan. Find out how by checking out 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever.

9. Give generously – If you have yet to discover the joy of giving, I challenge you to try it this holiday season. There are so many worthy causes and organizations that need your financial help. Remember to find out if the money you are giving is tax deductible or not. If it is, be sure to keep receipts for your tax records.

Q4 GrowthSo what about you? How do you best use your Q4 income to help you and your business succeed? I’d love to hear your ideas, so leave a comment below.

Why I Bought a Toy Ranked 1.2 Million for Resale

When it comes to sales rank, every Amazon seller has their own idea of what a “good” sales rank is. For me, I’ll almost always buy a toy that is consistently ranked under 150,000. I’ll even buy a toy that is ranked much higher, as long as the number of competing sellers is low and the ROI of the toy is high. But a toy ranked over 1 million? What reseller in their right mind would buy a toy ranked over 1 million? Well… me.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.38.21 PMDo I buy up all toys ranked over 1 million? No, I don’t. Sales rank is just one part of the decision process I go through to when I’m making my buying decisions. I’ll blog soon about my own personal checklist when it comes to buying decisions. As you spend more time selling on Amazon, you begin to realize that sales rank is just a number that signifies how recently a particular item has sold. A toy with a really low sales rank (1-1000) sells possibly many times per day, whereas a toy with a higher sales rank could possibly only sell once a week, once a month, or even once a year. A low sales rank does not ever guarantee that a particular item will sell. It only states how recently and often an item has sold.

About a month ago, I was walking through a local Goodwill store when I came across an electronic “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” handheld game. It was still brand new in its original packaging. Goodwill was asking $2.00, so I picked it up and scanned it. The information that was returned to me told me that this toy was ranked over 1.2 million, and had no current sellers. I checked camelcamelcamel.com and it did not have any pricing or sales rank history. Many times, I would have put this toy back on the shelves and kept on sourcing, but I just couldn’t let it go.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.35.01 PMI knew that “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” was a popular game. I had sold a few of the board game versions in the past with great success. I didn’t know that they made an electronic handheld version. I had also had some success with selling electronic handheld games, but that didn’t mean that this game would be guaranteed to sell fast.

I started to think… Since this game had no current sellers, it’s possible that the rank was so high because it had been so long since it was even available to be sold on Amazon. The longer an item has no sellers, the faster its sales rank will rise, until, at one point, the sales rank might disappear all together.

AppIcon_eBay_Dec_2013I decided to investigate how well this toy was doing on other selling platforms. I opened up the eBay app on my phone and decided to check out the most recent completed auctions. There is a search feature on the eBay app that lets you look at the most recent completed auctions. I was happy to see that the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” handheld electronic game was selling a few times a month on eBay.

When I saw the success that some eBay sellers were having selling this game, I decided it was worth buying. The completed eBay sales also told me that buyers were spending around $10.00 to $15.00 (shipping included) for this toy. I decided to buy the toy and list it on Amazon for $19.99. This was more than eBay sellers were selling it for, but I had a plan. If it didn’t sell within a few months, I’d start to lower the price a little.

I bought this item from Goodwill for $2.00 on May 25th. Two days later, it was on it’s way to an Amazon FBA warehouse. I’m happy to inform you that yesterday, this toy sold at my $19.99 sales price. Now, I’m wondering if I should have priced it even higher. In any case, I turned a $2.00 investment into a $20 sale. I’ll take that any day, and all it took was one minute researching the eBay app to see how it was selling on that platform.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.34.18 PMUpdate: As of yesterday, the sales rank for the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” electronic handheld game jumped from 1,267,961 all the way to 96,151.

Note: If you want a FREE PDF download of the latest Amazon Category Sales Rank, all you gotta do is click here.

So what about you? What other things do you think about when you making your buying decisions? Have you ever taken a gamble with an item ranked super high? How did it turn out for you?

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

Sales rank is easily the most misunderstood aspect of selling on Amazon. What is a good sales rank? What does a sales rank of zero mean? What do I do with sales rank for sub-categories?

Why does sales rank have to be so confusing so much of the time?

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way! You can finally get the clarity you need on the issue of understanding Amazon sales rank numbers. We at Full-Time FBA have launched a mini-course called The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Maximum Profits. The mini-course is a combination ebook (30+ pages) and video course (almost 2 hours). 

Check out The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank mini-course to see how you can master the concept of best sellers rank and be on your way toward smarter sourcing decisions for your Amazon FBA business!

 

 

The Full-Time FBA Quiz – Are You Ready?

keep-calm-and-be-your-own-boss-7Has it been your dream to work from home and be your own boss? In today’s world, being your own boss is becoming more and more realistic every day. But do you have the characteristics needed to become a successful work-at-home entrepreneur? I know that not everyone who reads this blog has the goal of making FBA their full-time job. Many of you subscribed to the blog to take advantage of all the free tips and how to articles that we post weekly. But if your goal is to make FBA your full-time job, then take this little quiz and see how you stack up. These questions will help you determine whether or not you are ready to take the plunge. Count each “yes” and then see how you stack up. Let’s get started.

1. Do you like work that offers challenge, change, variety, and even some elements of risk?
2. Are you willing to invest your own money in your Amazon business venture?
3. Are you comfortable with NOT receiving a predictable paycheck?
4. Are you willing to spend as much time and effort as it takes to make your business successful?
5. Do you actually enjoy the day-to-day details of running your Amazon business?
6. Are you flexible enough to deal with the ever changing market of supply and demand?
7. Do you enjoy learning more and more about being a successful Amazon seller?
8. Are you able to bounce back and learn from failures or temporary setbacks?
9. Are you optimistic, passionate, and persistent about your work?
10. Are you confident that you are capable of being a successful as an Amazon seller?

Count up the number of times you said Yes above and see how you stack up below:

boss-300x3008 to 10 – Full Steam Ahead – If you answered Yes to 8 to 10 of the above questions, then you most likely have what it takes to start moving towards making FBA your full-time job. You are someone willing and able to take calculated risks based on both your experience and solid information. You’re probably even energized by selling on Amazon because it offers you opportunities to master challenges and grow. You’re an independent thinker, but willing to listen to the wisdom and advice of others. I’m not telling you to quit your day job just yet, but you seem to have the main ingredients for a successful transition into full-time FBA.

5 to 7 – Move Forward Slowly – If you answered Yes to 5 to 7 of the above questions, then you have some of the key characteristics, but you need to move ahead slowly. Take a moment to write down your strengths and weaknesses (both personally and in business) and determine what you need to develop before you start making the transition towards selling on Amazon as your full-time job. Capitalize on your strengths, and seek to improve upon your weaknesses. Read as much as you can about selling on Amazon, working at home, and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. There are so many affordable ebooks you can find to help improve upon your weaknesses (some are even free!).

bigstock-obstacle-ahead-caution-for-dan-415158880 to 4 – Prepare For a Hard Journey – If you answered Yes to 4 or fewer of the above questions, then you have a hard road ahead of you. I’m not at all telling you to ditch the goal of working for yourself completely. If you still cringe at the idea of being an employee for someone else, do not fear, there is still hope. The road will be harder, but it’s still possible to overcome the obstacles ahead and become a successful work-at-home entrepreneur. If you are determined to make this work, then take that passion and move forward very, very slowly. Read as much as you can on all areas of your business. Take online courses like The Proven Amazon Course and Amazon Boot Camp. These courses help walk you through step by step what you need to do to succeed in selling on Amazon.

No matter how you scored on this quiz, I truly believe that you can be successful with selling on Amazon via FBA. Whether you end up working FBA as a full-time job or you use FBA as a side business or hobby, you can count on this blog to bring you informative and relevant articles that will help take your business to the next level.

For those of you who have set the goal of making FBA your full time job, here are a few final thoughts about starting the journey towards being your own boss and working from home via FBA:

businessplan1. You don’t have to start immediately. Please don’t quit your day job today and jump into Amazon. It takes time to plan, and once you start selling on Amazon, it takes time to build up your income so that you can support yourself and your family. Selling on Amazon FBA is still a relatively new thing, so there is still time to learn as much as you can about what it takes to build a solid, successful, and profitable business. Make a plan, set goals, and take things one step at a time.

2. Success with being a work-at-home entrepreneur is so much easier when you believe in yourself. Being surrounded by family and friends that believe in you is also very helpful. It’s so much easier to believe in yourself when you focus on your skills, interests, and expertise. If there are parts of this business model where you lack confidence, be a reader and learn all you can to boost your skills to the next level.

WV-District-Logo-w-Facebook-Twitter3. You don’t need to go at this alone. Joining FBA-related groups online will surround you with like-minded individuals who are willing to help you along the way. Some examples of quality FBA Facebook groups include ScanPower, Amazon FBA Newbies, Fast Turn Radio, and of course, the Full-Time FBA facebook group! If you prefer email focus groups, I highly recommend Bob Wiley’s FBA Forum.

So how did you score? If you’d like, comment below and share with us how you did. Number 3 (not receiving a regular paycheck) was the biggest hurdle I had to overcome, but over time, I was able to make it work for me. Do you have an obstacle you want to share? Feel free to share in the comments.

 

5 FBA Strategies For After Christmas Success

The holiday selling season and Q4 are the most lucrative times for a FBA seller. It seems like almost everything sells, and sells fast! Once Christmastime has passed, many FBA resellers make some huge mistakes that could cost them hundreds in potential profits. Having a wise post-Christmas business strategy is the best thing to start the new year off right.

Here are some things to think about once you’re done unwrapping your last present:

1. Don’t automatically lower your prices – Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean that big time sales are over too. Don’t forget that people now have Amazon gift cards burning a hole in their pockets. Not only that, but buyers are now ready to buy the gifts they actually want. People will still be buying like crazy in January, and if you lower your prices, you’ll only lower your profits. Some FBA sellers have Januarys almost as good as Decembers simply because they follow this one piece of advice.

thrift-store2. Go thrifting – If thrifting is in your business model, then after Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Many people decide that the week after Christmas is the time they want to clean out their homes of excess stuff. That paired with New Year’s resolutions to “get organized” bring massive amounts of donations to thrift stores. If you usually hit thrift stores once a week, then I’d highly suggest going a lot more often. Some people even donate unwanted Christmas gifts that are still brand new.

list-of-updated-after-christmas-sales-20093. Check out after-Christmas clearance sales – With end-of-the-year inventories looming, many stores are desperate to move excess products. This provides a great opportunity for FBA sellers. Check both online and brick-and-mortar stores to see what’s on sale. This is also a good time to look at Christmas-themed products that are clearance priced at up to 90% off. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but Christmas-themed items sell pretty well year round. I’ve sold ornaments in April, a Grinch inflatable lawn decoration in May, Christmas CDs in June, and holiday movies in July! Be sure to check CamelCamelCamel or Keepa to see if you can expect these holiday themed items to sell sometime in the next 6 months.

4. Look back over the past year – Look back at your sales and financial numbers. What worked for you? What lessons did you learn? Look back at your FBA business goals and see how you did. This is also a great time to make new FBA goals for the coming year.

Q4 Growth5. Put your profits back into your business – As stated in an earlier blog post, using your Q4 profits wisely can really help your FBA business. Maybe you are ready to get a shrink wrap machine, a Scanfob, or new laptop. Maybe you’re ready to sign up for a year’s membership to a listing program. The possibilities are endless. To hear some more ideas on how to use your Q4 profits wisely, click here.

As with most tips, there are some exceptions. If you highly invested in certain toys that you hoped would flip quickly for the holidays and you would rather get your investment back than wait for the items to sell at the price you want, then you may want to lower your price. Many FBA businesses are modeled on the “fast flip” method and would rather get their money back and invest it in other products.

So what about you? What strategies are you implementing as we approach the new year? I’d love to hear your ideas, so comment below!

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

To Share or Not to Share a BOLO

man-looking-through-binoculars2In our last blog post, we talked about how to capitalize on a BOLO. We shared many ideas of how to make the most out of both your time and your money when it comes to a BOLO.  Note: In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing retail store BOLOs (not garage sale, thrift store, or other types of BOLOs).

As you may know, BOLO stands for “Be On the Look Out” and generally refers to a hard-to-find product that you need to be looking for in order to buy cheap and flip for high profits. It only takes a few months of doing FBA to recognize that you keep finding a specific product that seems to resell fairly fast. Most BOLOs are  hard to find (i.e. limited production or out of print items), but sometimes it’s an item that can be found many places. You’re always on the look out for these items and sometimes hop from store to store looking for them. It could be clearance or regular priced, but you always are looking for them to buy and flip.

Some resellers are totally against sharing BOLOs while others share them often. So what should you do when you find a BOLO? Should you share it or keep the find to yourself? The choice is up to you, but I’d like for you to consider a few things before making your choice.

1. Is it really a BOLO?

Just because you scan an item and all the Amazon sellers are asking big bucks for it, doesn’t make it a BOLO. The rank and the ROI (return on investment) both need to be good. It would help if the product has good reviews and is a brand name. Just because you scan “Miss Suzy Cries A Lot” (a toy with no sales rank) and everyone on Amazon is asking $200 for it, doesn’t make it a BOLO.

2. Is it possible that this item really isn’t that hard to find?

Hard To FindThink of what would happen if you shared a BOLO that could be found at almost every Walmart store. Sure, you keep buying that item for $5 and selling it for $25, but what would happen if 100+ other resellers started doing the same thing? Chances are that, over time, the price would most likely be lowered significantly, and you would not resell your item as fast as you were before. Maybe you have the patience to wait for the prices to rise back to what you’d like to sell it for, but the timing for that possible rise is completely unknown. If the item is not hard to find, then it might be in your own best interest to keep this find to yourself.

3. Are you OK with revealing someone else’s BOLO?

Sure, you may have found a great item from Walgreens to flip. In fact, you drove all over town to visit all 10 Walgreens in your area to buy them out of that particular item. You sent the items in to Amazon, and they sold fast. You keep going to Walgreens to see if they will be restocked, but they never are. You decide to share your BOLO find online so you could help others, but someone else isn’t too happy about it. You see, they too have found that item and have been reselling it on Amazon for months. Their stores keep restocking, so they keep reselling. But now, someone else has shared this item online and what once was a quick source of income for them has now slowed down dramatically.

4. How would you feel if someone broadcasted your personal BOLO?

I’ve had one of my BOLO items broadcasted, and I wasn’t too happy about it. But it also didn’t ruin my day. I know that this is just part of business, and I expect it to happen again sometime.

I’m not telling anyone what decision to make when it comes to sharing BOLOs, but I do think that we all need to think about these things before we post a BOLO publicly.

So, what do you do if someone shares one of your precious BOLOs and you’re not happy about it? How you respond to this happening to you could either make or lose you money in the long run, so it’s very important to think about how to best respond.

1. Respond with respect. Most of the responses I’ve seen online to BOLO broadcasts have been rude and disrespectful. This kind of response does no good for anyone.

2. Respond with a direct message. Consider sending a direct message to the one who posted the BOLO and explain your situation. Perhaps they’d consider removing the post if they understood where you are coming from. I think most people would understand and possibly remove the BOLO broadcast.

3. Decide how you want to react with your current BOLO items on Amazon. If you think that hundreds of your BOLO items are headed to Amazon, do you want to sell out as fast as possible, or will you hold on to the item and wait it out? I teach that patience brings profits, but I also know that some of you work with a business model that focuses on quick flips.

BOLOs are great, but don’t focus your business around them. They are nice every now and then, but eventually others will find out about this item or the store you buy them from will not restock them anymore. A business model focused around BOLOs will not survive in the long run. You need to have a well rounded list of inventory items (long tail, short tail, BOLOs, etc).

What do you think? What experiences do you have with BOLOs? Is there a good time to share a BOLO? What have you learned about BOLOs that you’d like to share with the group? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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

 

The Home Run Guide: Take the Experts with You

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 secret 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). 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 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 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 decision. 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 mostly focused around eBay sales, but many of what you learn can be applied to Amazon as well. 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, and tons more!

Tips and Tricks – Negotiation Skills, Clearance Sale Tips, Garage and Estate Sales Tricks, Rummage Sales, Thrift Stores, IFTTT, a guide to shopping at Target, an intro to Sales and Use Tax, and so much more!

You can buy each volume individually, or you can buy them both together and get a discounted rate. I promise you that The Home Run Guide will pay for itself over and over again.

 

How to Get “Free” Money to Use For Sourcing

Are you walking away from free money?

Are you walking away from free money?

All resellers have the same goal. We want to buy as many profitable items as our business account will allow. Today’s blog post will help you find ways to come up with “free” money that you can spend on more sourcing!

1. Rewards Programs

Many stores that you regularly shop at have some sort of rewards program. Usually, the more you spend, the more “perks” you get: gift cards, free products, discounts on one item, a percentage off coupon for a complete purchase, and more. If you regularly shop at a store that has a rewards program, sign up today! Some of the rewards programs I’m signed up with include Best Buy, Big Lots, CVS, Halmark, Kohl’s, Office Depot, Staples, TJ Maxx, Toys ‘R Us, Tuesday Morning, and Walgreens. If you have a smart phone, you can download the KEY RING app to keep your rewards cards organized and even receive updates on members-only coupons.

2. Buy Gift Cards Online

images-3This is the easiest way to get more money for your money! Planning on spending $100 for resale products at Toys ‘R Us? What if you could buy a $115 Toys ‘R Us gift card for $100? You’d have an additional $15 to spend on products to resell. Head on over to raise.com, cardpool.com, cardcash.com, or giftcardgranny.com to find gift cards for less than the face value of the card! You can also find cheaper gift cards on eBay, as well.

3. “Shop Through” or “Doorway” Websites

Many websites reward you when you go to a web store from their “doorway” web page first. A few of my favorites are EbatesFat WalletMyPointsand Swagbucks. There are many others like these, but the four listed here are the most reputable. With Ebates and Fat Wallet, you click on a particular store’s website and get a percentage of your purchase back in the form of a check or Paypal deposit. Different stores on these sites offer different percentages of cash back. MyPoints does the same thing, but when you make purchases, you accumulate points. You then use those points to buy gift cards. Swagbucks offers cash back in the form of gift cards as well, but they also offer many other opportunities to earn Swagbucks. You can take surveys, watch videos, and more to earn Swagbucks and then use your Swagbucks to buy gift cards. A word of advice, you can waste a lot of time on Swagbucks earning points, so I would suggest you limit yourself on all the “extra” earning opportunities (unless you have a lot of time on your hands). The point of this “free” money opportunity is this: If you’re going to buy things online anyway (for business or personal) you might as well get all the cash back you can.

4. Bonus Gift Cards

Some stores will offer you “bonus” gift cards when you buy a gift card of a certain amount, usually around holidays. Half Price Books occasionally offers you a free $5 coupon if you purchase a $25 gift card. I spend hundreds at Half Price Books every year, so essentially this is free money! They offered this deal before Christmas last year and before Mother’s Day this year. Each time, I bought $100 in gift cards and was rewarded with $20 in free money! Half Price Books is not the only store that offers this deal. Just be on the lookout for deals like this, plan ahead, and be sure to use your coupons before the expiration date.

5. Store E-mail Lists

Many stores have a newsletter that goes out to your e-mail from time to time, where they’ll offer special coupons only available through the mailing list. I suggest opening a secondary e-mail account for this purpose, so you don’t clog up your primary e-mail inbox. Free e-mail accounts are easy to set up through gmail, yahoo mail, and other sites.

6. Kohl’s Cash

Kohls-CashOn top of signing up for the Kohl’s Rewards card, be sure to keep an eye out for Kohl’s Cash. You can get a $10 Kohl’s Cash coupon for the first $50 in purchases. An additional $10 in value will be added to the coupon for each additional $50 spent in that single transaction. Free money! I went to Kohl’s yesterday afternoon to buy some new school shoes for my son. The shoes were $30, so I was only $20 away from spending the $50 required for Kohl’s Cash. I looked around for a few minutes and found $20 worth of items with a great resale value. Not only will my $20 net me a profit of $50, but now I also have $10 more to spend next week on more products. I’m sure I can use that $10 in Kohl’s Cash and turn that into a net $25 profit. In the end, I’ll spend $50, net $75 in profit, AND have shoes for my son.

7. Buy Gift Cards Locally

Post an ad on Craigslist stating, “I PAY CASH FOR GIFT CARDS.” Offer to give people 80% value of the gift card. Some people get gift cards as gifts and they will never use them. They might get a gift card for a sporting goods store and will never use it. They rather sell at 80% value instead of throwing it away. Just be careful when meeting someone from Craigslist. Take a friend with you and only meet in the daytime at a public place.

Conclusion

When you combine all of the methods above, you will start to see a substantial difference in your business finances. The “free” money really does add up and give you more funds to help grow your business. There are even more ways to get “free” money, but this list is a good start. Please add your favorites in the comment section below!

One last tip: Bookmark this page so that you can have a handy reference of all of the websites that will help you get more “free” money.

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

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.

“So, what do you do for a living?”

“So, what do you do for a living?”

As with most people, I get asked this a lot. This seems to be the first question people ask when you meet them.  My mind runs through a whole list of possible answers…Online Reseller, Entrepreneur, Arbitrage Expert, E-commerce Guru, Amazon Pro Seller, Self-Employed Online Merchant, Treasure Hunter, Founder/CEO, or even Head Honcho.  BlogShootMini2

I usually tell them that I’m an online reseller. The next question is usually, “So you sell eBay?” It really surprises me that eBay is the number one assumption people make when I say “online reseller.” I know that eBay is a huge platform with millions of people selling items, but Amazon has far surpassed eBay in number of sales and profits. In any case, I usually answer that I do sell on eBay (which is currently only about 1% of my total sales), but I add that I sell on Amazon too.

Wait a minute… before we continue, let me introduce myself. My name is Stephen, and this blog is about my family’s adventure in selling with Amazon FBA as our full-time job. I’ve been selling online since 1998, and I’ve been a full-time online reseller for over 3 years. I absolutely love it. I enjoy being my own boss and setting my own hours. I love being able to go treasure hunting and get paid for it. It’s awesome. Now don’t get me wrong; being an online reseller also has its downside. I work at home…so I’m always at work. Work is always staring me in the face. I am also never guaranteed a predictable paycheck. I could work very hard one week and not get paid a dime. On the other hand, I’m able to go on occasional vacations and still see the payments rolling in. We’ll talk about all of these issues, and more, on this blog.

If I was able to make selling online a full-time job, then it’s possible for you as well. On this blog we’ll take a journey towards full-time FBA. We’ll talk about the issues that online resellers face and how to best deal with all of the speed bumps along the way. We’ll talk about tips and tricks on how to make the most from Amazon FBA. I’ll do my best to pass along any hints I’ve learned or mistakes I’ve made so that this journey to full-time FBA is easier for you than it was for me.

I invite you to join me as I share my FBA journey with you.

Stephen Smotherman