The 3 Keys to Growing Your FBA Business Into a Full-Time Income Generating Machine

Keys to Success

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is this: Is it really possible to make a full-time income from selling on Amazon? And my answer is always an enthusiastic “YES!” 

If you’re not familiar with my story, here is a really quick summary. In 2011 I was recently divorced, unemployed, and clueless about where my life was headed. I needed to find a way to financially support myself and my four little boys. While I was looking for a way to turn my eBay hobby into a full-time income, I stumbled across Amazon FBA. I bought Chris Green’s book Retail Arbitrage (now updated and titled Arbitrage) and devoured every last page. In late 2011 I sent in my first box to an Amazon FBA warehouse and I’ve never looked back. 

In 2013 I married Rebecca who is not only an amazing wife and stepmom, but has also become my business partner. Fast forward to today, and I’ve been making a full-time income via FBA for over 3 years, and my sales keep growing year after year. It requires hard work, patience, and dedication, but making a full-time income with Amazon FBA is very possible. 

Today, I’m excited to share with you the 3 keys that have helped me grow my FBA business to making a full-time income with only part-time hours

SMART-1-articleLarge1. Always be sourcing. You can find profitable inventory everywhere. Be on the look out and you will find it. It’s everywhere. Seriously, I’ll run out of money before I run out of inventory to find. Where do I find my inventory? How about garage sales, thrift stores, retail stores, clearance stores, liquidation stores, online arbitrage, grocery stores, at the airport, and even at my own house. I’ve found inventory on Facebook, Craigslist, Freecycle, and more! Profitable inventory can be found both online and locally

2. Always be learning. Learning is a huge part of finding success, but there is an art form to learning. In today’s world, there is so much information out there (both paid and free), that you could literally spend all day learning. Here is my advice when it comes to leaning. Pick only one Focustopic to learn at a time. Then, once you master that topic, move on to the next. Remember the acronym FOCUS – “Follow One Course Until Successful.”

Imagine a FBA seller who wants to learn about online arbitrage, buying wholesale, and selling grocery on Amazon. Which seller do you think will be more successful in a shorter amount of time? The seller who reads about online arbitrage on Monday, studies about wholesale on Tuesday, and then reads about how to profit on grocery items on Wednesday… or the seller who commits to learn all about online arbitrage this week until they feel comfortable putting their knowledge into action? Of course, it’s the seller who is focused. Always be learning, but follow one course until successful. If you’d like some ideas on what to learn next, check out our resources page

3. Always be outsourcing. Jim Cockrum (from the Proven Amazon Course) says “Only do what only you can do and outsource the rest.” When you find people who can do the easier stuff, that will free you up to do the harder, more profitable actions for your business. Think about it this way: How much money do you think you make per hour with selling on Amazon? Maybe $50 per hour? $75 per hour? If you could make that amount per hour working, why would you do any tasks that you could pay someone else $10-$12 per hour to do for you? 

Did you know that almost every part of your Amazon FBA business can be outsourced? Imagine having other people do most of the work for you, and you are free to focus on the most profitable aspects of your business. Now, that’s freedom! Here are some examples of what you can outsource:

3d-cover1-738x1024A. Retail Arbitrage – It’s possible that you might know someone you could hire to focus on garage sales, thrift stores, and other retail arbitrage sourcing in your area. Some people are afraid of training potential competition, but there are ways to avoid that. A great resource for leaning how to find, train, and hire quality people who can source inventory for you is Ryan Grant’s book Outsourcing Sourcing. I highly recommend it as it answers every question you may have about hiring someone to source in your local area. 

B. Online Arbitrage – There are many different ways you can outsource your OA. Some people hire VAs (Virtual Assistants) to source for them. They train a VA to find items online that meet certain sourcing parameters. Then the Amazon seller decides which items to actually buy. Other online sellers pay for a shared VA group and get daily sourcing lists. We currently use Cyber Monkey Deals for many of our OA finds and are trying out some other services as well.  

brownbox2C. Prepping, Packing, & Shipping (PPS) – Not only can you hire someone locally to prep, pack, and ship your items to Amazon, but there are also many reputable companies around the country who will do all of that work for you. They can remove price stickers, poly bag, shrink wrap, etc. Then once the items are prepped for Amazon, they can pack them and ship them off to Amazon for you. Some PPS companies (like My Inventory Team) are set up so you can ship your online arbitrage buys directly to them and they will prep, pack, and ship it for you. If you live near a PPS company, see if they will allow you to drop off your retail arbitrage items at their local warehouse. 

D. Household Cleaning and Lawn Maintenance – This might not be considered part of your business, but the same philosophy applies. Why would you stop your $75 per hour job selling on Amazon to clean your house when you could easily hire a quality maid service for much less? Same goes for taking care of your lawn.

il_340x270.508952328_rrmq4. Always be thankful. (Yes, I know I said there would be 3 keys, but it’s those who go above and beyond what’s expected of them that truly succeed). Remember to be thankful for the flexibility and freedom that selling online provides. Be thankful for the help of others, and give back. Be thankful for the mistakes you make so you don’t repeat them. Be thankful for all of the Amazon FBA seller related books that help straighten out the learning curve. Be thankful for the amazing opportunity this business model presents. 

Those are the 3 (actually 4) main keys that have helped Rebecca and I find success with our FBA business. Are we perfect in all of these areas? No, but we aim to do our best, learn what we can, apply what we’ve learned, and share those lessons with you on this blog. 

Yes, it’s totally possible to make a full-time income selling on Amazon, and I’d love to help you meet that goal. If any of this resonates with you, then I’ve got some exciting news.

CoachingToday, I’m opening up my FBA coaching services. I’ve been coaching people for a while now, but I am just now opening up the door to new clients. If you’re interested in streamlining your goal of a full-time income with FBA, then check out Stephen Smotherman Coaching today. 

Now, I’d love to hear from you. What are your keys to FBA success? Please share with everyone so we all can learn, grow, and succeed! 

13 responses to “The 3 Keys to Growing Your FBA Business Into a Full-Time Income Generating Machine

  1. Great tips Stephen…as always! “Always be learning” is a lot easier with someone like you to compile and share knowledge with the FBA community. And thanks for shout out about !

  2. Thank you for your generous tips. I’ve been doing FBA for about 4 months and I stared reading your blog from the beginning. I have also read other books. I totally agree on staying focus on one area and to become a expert before moving onto the next subject. Right now I am part time but hope to become full time. I am barely putting time in on FBA and I am making some good money. Just this week I net $600 for the first time. I know that is nothing compared to your sales but for me its big.
    Thank you again.

  3. Thank you for this information! I really needed to hear the FOCUS message. I’ve only been doing this for a little over a month, and am focused on it, but every time some shiny new object pops on my radar, I think, “Ooooh. I need to learn how to do that.” Like books. Or online sourcing. I am doing really well with my current plan, and I just need to focus on local retail arbitrage right now until I am fully comfortable and experienced with it. I expect the upcoming 4th quarter will be a “baptism by fire.” 🙂

    • I have to remind myself of the FOCUS message almost daily. There is always something new and fun that can distract us… but when we focus, we win faster! Stay focused and your Q4 will be even more amazing than you think!

    • I have to remind myself of the FOCUS message almost daily. There is always something new and fun that can distract us… but when we focus, we win faster! Stay focused and your Q4 will be even more amazing than you think! Send me a message in a few months and let me know how things are going!

  4. Hello,
    I have a problem with Cybermonkey and others because so many people jump on the deals before you know it the price is down to almost cost.

    • I’m sorry you had that experience with CMD, Rusell… but we have not had that experience much. Sure, some items on the list end up going lower in price, but that’s true for many items. We’ve actually had some items go UP in price by the time the items got to FBA.

  5. After 21 months of FBA, I can’t agree more that focus is absolutely crucial. If you are just sort of good at many of the different methods of online selling, then you will have mediocre results, because your competition will have an edge. You will work twice as hard for half the results. My method from the beginning has been to get to the point where I have an edge in whatever model or niche I am focusing on, THEN move on to master another one.
    Although I will say, that it is well worth dabbling in the other ones in ways that will not take too much time or resources. While I was focusing 90% of my efforts on books, I took opportunities to make a few bundles, do a little online and retail arbitrage, and get approved in some categories I didnt really focus on at the time. All the while I self consciously made sure to not spend too much effort on them, but without a doubt each one of these side adventures proved well worth the time in experience, and made moving my focus to them later very seamless.
    Plant the seedlings for your orchard, but by all means pick the low hanging fruit from the other guys as you work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *