Learn how Rebecca overcame her skepticism, started selling, and achieved her goal of making a full-time income on Amazon. You’ll learn how she first started with thrifting and transitioned into sourcing for inventory via online arbitrage and selling shoes on Amazon.
We also talk balancing family with working an online business from home, as well as obstacles to overcome working together as a couple. As you might expect, it’s not always easy to work from home while dealing with kids and other responsibilities around the house. We’ll even give you, the podcast listener, a free resource that will help you find success with balancing family time and work time. Listen all the way to the end of the podcast for a funny and embarrassing audio outtake.
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Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- Arbitrage by Chris Green
- Online Arbitrage by Chris Green
- Why Raise Your ASP
- How to Raise Your ASP
- Free training: Selling shoes on Amazon
- Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life with Your Online Business (don’t forget to use the coupon code mentioned in the podcast)
- Rebecca’s books:
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Working from home sounds easy, but if you’ve done it for any amount of time, you know it can be difficult. In our book, Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life with Your Online Business, 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.
In this book, we 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. We also cover things like budgeting for success, dealing with an unsupportive spouse, involving your kids so they can develop an entrepreneurial spirit within themselves, and so much more.
Announcer: Welcome to the Full-Time FBA Show. In each episode, it’s our goal to help you turn part-time hours into a full-time income selling almost anything on Amazon. Now, your hosts of the show, Stephen and Rebecca Smotherman.
Stephen: Welcome everybody to episode eight of the Full-Time FBA Show podcast. I’m really happy that you are hanging out with us today. I’m here with my wife, Rebecca, and we’re going to have a really good conversation today.
Rebecca: Yeah, I’m looking forward to this. I have never actually been interviewed on a podcast before. This is something that Stephen has done for other podcasts, for other podcasters in the past, but I haven’t. This is new for all of us.
Stephen: In this episode, I’m going to pick my wife’s brain, and she’s going to have to answer every question I ask.
Rebecca: We’ll see about that.
Stephen: You want to be sure you stay for the whole podcast because we got some fun giveaways. We’ve got some free training links that we’re going to give out, including a free book code so you can get a free book for free. I mean, that’s what a free book is.
Rebecca: A free book for free.
Stephen: Yes. Anyway, I’m excited to give you some stuff for free, but let’s just get right into the interview today as I interview my wife, Rebecca Smotherman, of Full-Time FBA.
Rebecca: Hit me with some questions.
Stephen: Sounds good. I am excited that you are on this podcast with me, and I’m going to try to have some fun and get some awesome information out of you. That sounds like I’m going to interrogate you or something. I’m going to have some funny getting information. Just so everyone kind of knows what’s going on, Rebecca and I, we run our blog, fulltimefba.com, and we’ve also been selling on Amazon together. We’ve been selling on Amazon and both making a full-time income with part-time hours. We always haven’t been working it that way. We’ve started off and kind of evolved to where we are today. Why don’t you, Rebecca, start us off with a little intro about how you first learned about Amazon FBA.
Rebecca: Well, you should know how I learned about Amazon FBA because you’re the one that introduced the concept to me, but for the sake of everybody else who’s listening, I will kind of go through some of our story. When we first started dating, I guess was when I first heard about it. I knew that selling on eBay was a thing, but I did not know really anything about third-party sellers on Amazon at the time.
Stephen: This was back in 2012, right?
Rebecca: Yeah, 2012. We were getting to know each other, and I asked, “What do you do?” You told me about selling on Amazon. I was like, “That’s weird. How could that even be like a real thing?” You had kids that you were supporting with that, so I thought, “You have to be making some money from it otherwise how could you pay your rent and feed the kids and all of that?” You were doing that. I asked you kind of to tell me more about it, and one of the things that really stood out to me, and this is still advice that we give to family members or friends or people on the internet who ask us, “So what exactly do you do? How does that work?”
Rebecca: You told me when I asked you that question, “You really ought to read this book called Arbitrage by Chris Green.” You told me that I should read that book and that would kind of give me an overview of it. I am a reader, so not everybody responds really well when you’re like, “I don’t want to tell you. Just read this.” I respond really well when you’re like, “Here. Here’s a book. Read it.” I sat down in one afternoon read that book and was fascinated by the idea. It all came together with okay, this is what you’re doing when you’re selling on Amazon.
Rebecca: You’re going out, looking for items that you can buy at one place for a low price and resell them on Amazon for a higher price. It’s a pretty simple concept, but then the nuts and bolts of how you put together an FBA business go beyond that. That was really kind of my introduction to it was getting to know you and kind of going from there.
Stephen: When you first learned about that and you read the book, what was your level of skepticism about if this was actually possible or not?
Rebecca: Well, I mean I knew it was possible because you were doing it. I saw that you weren’t like going to another job during the day or anything like that. I knew that this was what you were doing to make your income. I knew that it was possible. I did have, I guess, some skepticism about how long would this last. Is this sustainable? Is this something that it might dry up at some point? Those were the kind of questions I had really that like, is this kind of a one-off deal that you’re able to make some money off of this for a period of time but then it’s going to dry up?
Rebecca: I guess part of my reason for thinking that was I was coming from a background for a couple years before that time period I had been working as a freelance writer and also just writing for myself, self-employed, working on a couple of books that I wanted to have published. I was kind of familiar with the concept of irregular income in that I would get paid for a job and then not get paid again for several weeks or a couple of months, and I would have to budget accordingly and all of the things that go along with trying to make ends meet when you have an irregular income. I knew how that worked, but I wasn’t sure how FBA worked as far as getting a steady income month by month.
Rebecca: I knew also like at the time, you were trying to explain to me the concept of Q4 as well, which if you’re not in the FBA world, it seems a little bit foreign, I guess, to understand just how much more money you can make during October, November, December than the rest of the year. Once you had explained the concept of Q4 to me and just how much you were able to do by hustling those three months out of the year, in some ways, it made me more skeptical about the rest of the year in that okay, well, I get that people are buying tons of gifts and toys and things during the holiday season, but what are they really buying off of Amazon the rest of the year?
Rebecca: Are they really buying that many books? Because at that time, that’s really what I thought that most people were buying still off of Amazon was books. That’s what I was buying off of Amazon at that time. Now I buy everything pretty much off of Amazon. At the time, I thought, “Really, how can you sell that many books?”
Stephen: When you first learned about selling on Amazon and that that’s what I was doing, you weren’t a part of it yet. How do you think things happened when you started to join the business, the business tasks? What was that transition like? Because I think it just kind of happened on accident.
Rebecca: I think it did too because like I said, I was working as a writer, and I really enjoyed that, and I still do enjoy writing and editing and proofreading. I have an ongoing business that I do on the side even though I don’t really need to do it. I just really enjoy doing it, and so I continue to do that. At the time, I thought I still wanted to try to build up that business to be my full-time income. At the time, it was, but I wanted to build it up even more where I had sustainable clients, ongoing work that I was getting paid for or even book contracts that I could get on a regular basis.
Rebecca: I really wasn’t looking to join the business at the time. I think, like I said, Q4 was a big deal for me. That first year, 2012, kind of seeing how things amped up at that time period and what all was involved, and then also just going with you to garage sales kind of gave me more of an idea of what all was involved, and to me, really seeing your approach to it helped me to see, “Okay, this is a legitimate business. He’s not just ‘Whenever I feel like it, I’ll go out and look for some stuff.'” I remember this being not really a sticking point but just kind of something I had to get used to before we got married.
Rebecca: Thursday, Friday, Saturday mornings that was committed to garage sales. Stephen had a route that he would do for hours each of those mornings. He scheduled everything else in the week around that. There was really no way I could convince him to do any other activity. If there was something that I was like, “Hey, let’s go do this on Saturday morning.” “Oh, okay, after I get finished with my garage sales.” I’m like, “Oh, come on, let’s go earlier.” “Well, no, I need to go after my garage sales,” because it was his job. It was his business, and it suddenly was starting to come into focus for me, okay, this is legitimate.
Rebecca: He is methodical about this. He is intentional about getting the most out of that sourcing time and getting to as many garage sales as he can in those two or three days a week because that at the time was what was fueling the rest of the business. I think that’s kind of when I started to realize, “Okay, if he’s able to make this amount of money doing this amount of work throughout the year and then during the last three months of the year when people are going crazy buying everything you can imagine off of Amazon, he’s able to make this much more. I don’t know, if I invested a few hours a week helping him, maybe it could be even more of a boost.”
Rebecca: Probably at the time, I mean looking back I’m not sure, but probably at the time, I was more pragmatic than financial in my decision. I was probably more like, “Okay, if I can help him, then we can stop worrying about garage sales and we can go do whatever it was I was wanting to do that day.” It was probably more about like freeing up your time to do something fun that I wanted to do. I don’t know. The money has not always been the bottom line for me. It’s the big, deciding factor because I mean like I said, I did not come into this with a business background. Dollar signs were not my motivator until I started getting involved and seeing, okay, just a small amount of time invested can lead to a lot of profits.
Stephen: It was fun to go out and show you and teach you and just get out there and source for inventory with you and peel stickers off of items with you and things like that. When you first started sourcing with me and even on your own, what was that like? Did you feel like you were a natural at it? Did you feel like you had a learning curve? What was that like when you first started sourcing?
Rebecca: I did not feel like a natural at all. In fact, I was super nervous because for one thing, math is not my strong suit and especially doing math in my head, which I feel like there was a lot of that involved, especially at the beginning, that I was having to remember a lot of numbers. I’m an English major. I’m a writer. I don’t do numbers. Having to remember like, “Okay, how do you find the profit again? What is ROI? How do I calculate that?” I still have like little cheat sheets and little sticky notes that I’ll put around my desk or Evernote on my computer that I’ll have to look and be like, “Okay, now when I’m trying to figure out if this is a good buy, what do I divide by what to figure out what?”
Rebecca: Those kind of things where at that time when I was first learning how to source on my own, it was a really big hurdle for me. Also, I think just pulling the trigger with actually making a purchase because I had never been involved in any type of business that involved investing a lot of money into inventory. Coming from a service background as a writer or even going back further than that, I was an English teacher, you’re not investing money into things to sell. You’re investing a lot of your time and your effort, but you’re not investing money. That, to me, was really scary.
Rebecca: Even though it wasn’t my money, it was your money at the time, even before we got married, and you’d be like, “Here’s some money to go out and garage sale with,” it was really nerveracking for me. Like, “What if I buy stuff? The money’s limited. What if I buy stuff that’s just completely awful?” I do remember, I don’t know if this is where you were wanting to go with all this, but I remember going out and buying one or two things at some garage sales the first time by myself that was we lived in a couple of different neighborhoods. The neighborhood that I lived in, I was like, “Oh, there’s garage sales. I can do these. You do your neighborhood, and I’ll do my neighborhood.”
Rebecca: I remember going and being so excited and finding something. It was just like completely awful. I showed it to you, and you were so polite about it. Like, “Well, here’s the reasons why this is not a good buy. This is actually in used condition. You would know that if you’d looked at this and this.” I had thought, “Oh, it’s in the box, so it’s new.” I mean, that’s just awful. Anyway, it was nerveracking. I was not a natural. It was something I had to really work at, and I never got to where I really enjoyed garage sales. I was more of a thrifter, I think, when it came down to it.
Stephen: Right, especially with your book background and the amount of books that you can get at thrift stores, you really connected a lot more with that, but you did do good with garage sales. You learned, and you got better. As time goes by, the sourcing apps that are out there started adding into their functionality the ability to put in the buy cost and for it to calculate the ROI. It’s a lot easier now, but you’ve learned a lot.
Rebecca: Yes, that’s it. Now that you say that, I remember. That was part of the mental math that I had a problem with. I don’t think that the apps were putting in buy costs-
Rebecca: … at first. I think I was always having to subtract. Am I right?
Rebecca: Okay, I didn’t remember that. I was like I remember there being a lot of mental math that I was not comfortable with at the beginning, but that’s it. That was a huge part of it was that I couldn’t put in the buy cost, and it drove me crazy, standing there in somebody’s driveway have to do math, which sounds simple, but for me, it was not. I’m so glad you said that and reminded me.
Stephen: The apps make it a lot easier today. There’s not a lot of people who are fans of math, but I was one of those few people, and so I enjoyed that. It’s not for everybody. Fast forward to today, how do you see how things have progressed from when you were out doing garage sales and thrifting to where you are now with online arbitrage and specifically shoe sourcing?
Rebecca: Really the progression of our business overall, I think, kind of led me to where I am and led you to where you are because at that point, I joined the business more on a part-time. Once we got married, I think I would have considered myself like a part-time worker for the business. I was still doing other stuff with part-time hours and then working for the business part-time. As your business grow and as it became our business, it transitioned away from garage sales and thrifting into doing more retail arbitrage. I enjoyed that a lot more. It’s cleaner, and there’s air conditioning, and all of the different reasons why I enjoyed going to Target on a regular basis more than I did going to garage sales or even thrift stores where I could look at books.
Rebecca: I kind of transitioned into that and instead of having a thrifting route that I did on a regular basis, I was doing a retail route on a regular basis. Then really for me, I don’t enjoy getting out of the house as much as you do. It just seemed more natural as we were wanting to expand the business over time for me to learn more about online arbitrage. That kind of happened around the time that Chris Green had another book come out, Online Arbitrage, which was pretty revolutionary at the time. It was a really big deal. It was really hyped up when it came out. I remember not jumping on the bandwagon right away.
Rebecca: Pretty soon after that book came out, we got it and reading through it, thinking, “This could make life a lot different if I could not have to go out, not have to try to get the deals with managers that you’re really naturally good at and not having to spend as much time away from the house,” because I really enjoy taking care of the house and cooking and having home-cooked meals and doing things around the house. Just by nature, I like to have things kind of clean and in order. I felt like I wasn’t able to do that as much as I wanted when I wasn’t home as much. I really enjoyed being able to transition then to mostly doing my sourcing on the computer.
Rebecca: Eventually, I got to where I was only doing online arbitrage. At first, I was doing online arbitrage in various categories, mostly similar to what we were doing retail arbitrage with mostly toys, some grocery items, and some home and kitchen, those different types of items, which we also focused on with retail. What year was it? 2016, 2015. I can’t remember what year it is now. I’d have to go back and look. That we started looking into selling shoes, and I got the idea that really the thing that drew me to that was that at the time, selling shoes, it was a gated category. The shoes category and clothing were both gated.
Rebecca: That was a huge factor for me because I felt like we were just in this constant battle of finding products and then having to compete with other sellers, like lots of other sellers to keep the price from going down and to find items that other people weren’t selling was just becoming increasingly difficult. It was possible. I mean we were still doing it. Obviously, we’d kept the business going to that point and were doing it. I just felt like we were spinning our wheels in a lot of ways. Personally, when I was ready, I think, at that point after I’d been working at it for two or three years by that point, I was ready to try something kind of different from what you were doing.
Rebecca: I mean, it took me that long, two or three years. I can’t remember exactly before I was like, “You know what? I want to try this. You’ve never done this, this category. You’ve never done only online arbitrage. I’m ready to try this and see if I can kind of branch out and develop my own arm of the FBA business.” We were able to get in gated, and I started trying to source shoes. I mean I’ve talked about this on our blog in the past. I started out just kind of going to some of the same stores that we were doing other retail arbitrate at and looking for shoes, and I couldn’t find anything.
Rebecca: I would see people posting about finding just cartloads of shoes at different retail stores, and I just couldn’t find anything. It was miserable, and so I started looking into online arbitrage with shoes, and it clicked for me. I don’t know what it was about it, but something about it clicked, and I was able to kind of take off, and it’s gone from there. It’s been I think at least three years if not four years. That’s really bad that I can’t remember, but I’m old. I’ve got like, I don’t know, middle-age woman brain going on right now where I can’t remember.
Stephen: It’s been a significant amount of time.
Rebecca: It’s been a significant, it’s been several years since I have been doing solely online arbitrage and solely doing shoes. No pun intended even though I know people don’t believe that if you’ve read our blog posts …
Stephen: She said solely.
Rebecca: … with all the shoe puns. Anyway. I really enjoy it. It’s something that I’ve thrived at and something that even though shoes is no longer a gated category, I still feel like there’s way less competition in the shoes category than in other categories because of the learning curve that it takes to learn how to sell items that have a parent-child relationship and that can be a little bit more of a long tail item in some instances. In all of the different factors that makes shoes unique, I still feel like even though it’s not gated, even though it’s not the same as it was when I first got started, it still has been a really good fit for me for a few years now.
Stephen: Shoes have been a good fit.
Rebecca: Oh my gosh. Thanks for pointing that out. Not intentional.
Stephen: Other than like the last competition industry category and stuff, why shoes? Why did that stand out to you? Why did you stick with that? Why shoes?
Rebecca: Well, another factor was that at the time, we were trying to raise our average selling price. That was a concept that was new to me also at that point. When we first started learning about shoes, the concept of raising your ASP, average selling price, and just the attractiveness of having fewer items in our inventory but making more sales and more profit just seemed like something I really wanted to figure out. We worked really hard at setting new buying parameters for ourselves and saying, “We’re not going to buy $2 toys to resell for $8 anymore,” or things like that. Grocery items that we would be selling at that kind of you have to sell it in high volume and turn over lots and lots of items.
Rebecca: That works. That’s a good business model for some people, but for us and what we were trying to do, it was a lot of work for us, and we just felt like there’s got to be an easier way to do less work and to sink a little bit more money into each item that we’re selling in order to get more money out of it and sales and profits but still get a really good ROI. That was another really big factor in that I didn’t want to have to polybag or shrink-wrap or label hundreds of items to get the same amount of profit that I could for 10 items, 10 pairs of shoes.
Stephen: If anybody listening to this wants to kick around the idea of selling shoes on Amazon, I could hear my wife rolling her eyes.
Stephen: We’ve got some free training stuff for you if you want to learn about shoes.
Rebecca: We’ve done a lot of blog posts and some YouTube videos over the years, and I think the short link to find all of that information is fulltimefba.com/shoeseries. If you go to that, you’ll find our blog posts, and a lot of those have been kind of revamped in the last few months. Then there’s also within that too, there’s links to some YouTube videos where I kind of go over more details about how I got started with shoes and kind of some of the ways that I make decisions about buying shoes and some other training that goes along with selling shoes. The ASP thing really was a factor for us in why we landed on shoes rather than clothing because I started out trying to sell shoes and clothing as my main way of doing online arbitrage.
Rebecca: I was frustrated with clothing because the ASP for an item of clothing tends to be a lot lower than for shoes. I still found myself just doing a lot of work for not as much payoff and having to polybag a lot of stuff. Again, I know there’s some people who make a killing with clothes, but for me in doing online arbitrage, being able to stay at home and invest what I wanted to in the home and selling clothing just wasn’t working.
Stephen: Right. As you’re listening to this episode, you hear how I was drawn to a particular type of sourcing. I loved garage sales. I loved retail arbitrage. Rebecca’s drawn to a different type of sourcing when she was interested in thrifting and then now online arbitrage. She tried doing retail arbitrage with shoes but didn’t find the success that she’s heard other people have success with, so she tried online arbitrage and found success.
Stephen: As you’re listening to this, just know that if you try something out and if you stick with it for a while, sometimes you’ll see, “Oh, this works for me,” and other times, “Oh, this doesn’t work for me, and I should move on to something else.” It’s weird. It’s like depending on your personality and the skills that you have, there’s going to be some things that will work for you that haven’t worked for us, but that doesn’t mean that you should just completely write everything off just because it doesn’t work for you because it could.
Rebecca: That kind of summarizes exactly how I feel like I got to where I am. It’s a unique journey for each of us because you landed in a different place because you have a different set of skills than I do and a different set of interests and a different personality. There’s so many factors that go into how one person ends up doing one thing and really enjoying it, and another person could try the exact same thing the exact same way and be like, “No way, not going to do that.”
Stephen: Now let’s transition away from the sourcing aspect of things and let’s talk a little bit business behind the scenes and stuff. When we first started working together on our Amazon business, what do you think was the biggest obstacle for you in the early days of selling on Amazon?
Rebecca: I know for me, it was really hard just again with my personality being so different from yours, one really big obstacle for me was just anxiety over your regular income because at the beginning, it was more irregular for us. Even though you had been selling on Amazon for a while before we got married, it was still pretty new. Your FBA business was not that old at the time. What would you say, like a year-and-a-half old maybe?
Stephen: I’d say maybe about year.
Rebecca: When we got married.
Stephen: Yeah, about a year-and-a-half when we got married.
Rebecca: That’s not a super long, that’s not a really long time. It wasn’t that well established. It was established, but it was still in the early days compared to where we are now. I was pretty anxious, I think. That was an obstacle of thinking, “I don’t know, do we have enough money in the bank account to make this purchase?” Whether it’s inventory or a new service or whatever, some type of supplies that we might need to make things easier around the office, our home office. I think that for me, just the budgeting aspect of it was a big deal and knowing how much do we have set aside for this and what’s our cash flow look like. That was a big obstacle for me.
Rebecca: It was the first time really that I had worked with somebody else on something like this where we had to trust each other that I’m not going to go out and make some purchase that’s going to mess everything else up for you, and you’re not going to do that for me. That we’re both going to be working together to set a budget and stick with it. I know for me, like our risk tolerance is different. You are more willing to take risks with money than I am to some extent. I think even more so at that time. I would ask you to leave more of a buffer in the bank account of cash that we could have on hand as like an emergency fund than you would want.
Rebecca: You would want to invest that in inventory, and I would say, “Just no, let’s not. Let’s leave it a little bit more there just in case.” That was something that we kind of had to work through. I don’t know if obstacle is the right word for me for that, to describe that, but that was something that I really had to work through in the early days of working together with you and actually just working on a business. In general, it required money to keep it rolling because like I said before, I’d been in a freelance business, but that just required me working to keep it going. There was very little overhead. A business that requires investing money in order to make money, that was stressful for me at the beginning.
Stephen: When I first heard, when you brought up the idea of having a little bit more of a buffer in our bank account, I was like, “Oh, but that’s money we could be spending-
Stephen: … on inventory that’s going to make us money.” I’m focusing on the make us money, and she’s focusing on the piece that that buffer gives her and me too. I didn’t even realize how much more peaceful I could be and act and behave thanks to that buffer. I was just kind of being pretty risky and trying to get it as close to zero as I can in the bank account. Now I look back and I’m like, “Man, that was so dumb of getting that close to zero every time, especially the few times of going under zero.” I’m not proud of that, but that’s mistakes that I’ve learned. Putting that buffer in there has helped protect us from that and given us a lot more peace. You okay with me sharing that?
Rebecca: Yeah. Just keeping it real.
Stephen: That’s right. Talk a little bit about how we kind of divide it up, this business about who does what. We’ve already talked about the type of sourcing and the categories and stuff. What other ways have we divided up our business responsibilities?
Rebecca: Again, this I think it just kind of happened naturally, but we do have different aspects of the behind the scenes part of running the FBA business that we’re each responsible for. I don’t remember ever like really sitting down and having a conversation about like, “Okay, you’re going to take care of this, and I’m going to take care of that.” It just sort of happened in that you take care of a lot of the which services are we going to use and how are we going to make sure we’ve paid for those services and those types of things whereas I think I take care of more of inventory maintenance.
Rebecca: I’m more, not 100%, but I think I’m more in tune with our IPI score. Before, it was like our long-term storage fees, what was coming up that we needed to be removed or needed to be the price lowered or whatever so that we would avoid a fee. Now it’s changed to IPI and how do we need to handle improving our sell-through rate and what do we need to do with these things that Amazon is saying are excess inventory. I think I’m more in tune with that. I don’t know how that happened. I don’t know. It just sort of happened. I think that’s kind of how part of the division of what we’ve got going on now, I think we work really hard at trying not to duplicate things.
Rebecca: If you’re taking care of making sure that inventory lab and tactical arbitrage and whatever, fill in the blank with whatever service, is being paid for and smoothly running and all of that, then I don’t have to go in and worry about that. You’re taking care of that. In general, I’m the one that’s going in and looking whether it’s my inventory or your inventory, I mean, it’s all our inventory, but I call it my inventory and your inventory because I purchased it and you purchased, like physically clicked buy.
Rebecca: It’s all the same. We have one selling account, and it all goes into the same store, Amazon storefront or whatever. I look at some of the items, and I’m like, “I don’t remember ever purchasing this. Oh, that’s Stephen’s inventory.” Still, I’m the one that’s going in and making sure that we don’t have stranded inventory and things of that nature. I don’t know, does that answer that question?
Stephen: Yeah, I mean, I think we just kind of fell into our strengths and stuff. If something wasn’t getting done, if you said, “Hey, has this been taken care of?” I’d be like, “Oh, I should start doing that.” Things just got taken care of, and we each have our own types of to-do lists. We make sure that we take care of the things that are our responsibilities. They get done, and I’m really thankful for that. If there’s someone listening to this podcast and they’re like, “Man, I’d love it if my spouse joined me in this business,” what kind of advice would you give them if spouses are thinking of joining together to run an FBA business?
Rebecca: Well, I think my biggest piece of advice would be to communicate a lot about what you’re thinking, asking them and really listening to what they’re thinking. For us, it just sort of happened. It worked out really well that this was something that I could just step into and start out helping you part-time because I thought that I could help, and then it changed to actually I’m making more money at this than I am at this other thing, and so I’m going to do this instead so that I can have enough money to support the other thing as a hobby, which is what ended up kind of happening.
Rebecca: That’s not necessarily the case for everybody though. It seems like it’s ideal for us, but it’s not, it doesn’t work out that way for everybody, and it doesn’t have to. Not everybody wants to be in their own business. Not everybody wants to work with their spouse. For us, we really enjoy being in the office together all day. Other people need more apart time. You really have to look at what works best for us personality wise, what each of you kind of envisions as expectations for what would the business look like if we were working together. Sometimes we hear stories about like, “Oh, I just wish that my spouse would be more involved. We could get so much more done.”
Rebecca: The other person, the spouse, is just not at all interested, and you can’t project onto them that it’s in any way their fault that they’re not more excited about your business than you are. You can’t at all blame them if the business isn’t going the right way. If they would just be involved, then things would be better. You just really can’t look at it that way. I think the most important thing is to just express your desires and see what they think and then honor that, respect that. If they’re like, “Yeah, this is something that I’d be interested in learning more about,” then go from there.
Rebecca: If they’re like, “Eh, no, no thanks. That’s great that that’s going well for you, but I’m just not interested at all,” then you need to respect that and not hold it against them. If they do end up deciding, “Yeah, let’s see how this works. Let’s see if we could build a business partnership in addition to being married or significant others or whatever,” that you go slowly with trying to figure out what those roles are. For us, it took a long time to get to where our business is today with us knowing clearly who’s responsible for what. It’s a process of figuring out, what am I good at? What type of sourcing do I want to be involved in?
Rebecca: Do I even want to be involved in sourcing? Because some people don’t want to source, but they might want to be involved in prepping and shipping, or they might want to be involved in some other behind the scenes type work. It really is just a process of talking and talking and talking and listening and listening and listening to see what ends up working out and seeing if it’s even possible. The other thing that I would say too, you and I spend a lot of time since we both are working at home and we share an office, we spend a lot of time together. We also make an effort at separating out personal time and business time.
Rebecca: I know that that was something that was really important for me especially in the early days, and I think we do a lot better job of it now. In the first couple of years of our marriage, I felt like I had to draw a really strong boundary between personal time and business time and say, “Hey, I understand that you’re really excited about whatever thing you’re talking about right now that relates to the FBA business, but can we just eat dinner? Can we just not right now?” That was a process to you. I think that separating out business and personal time so that you stay healthy and your relationship is good and also separating out time to do stuff by yourself. You have things you do by yourself. I have things I do by myself so that we kind of aren’t crazy and sick of each other by the end of the week.
Stephen: Right, just like it’s important when you’re growing a business to have a separate business, a checking account versus your personal checking account, it’s also really good to make sure that those business and personal boundaries are created. In fact, I’d love to give you a little bit more of a glimpse into what it’s like to have that type of balance between family life and your online business with growing an Amazon business together with a spouse, with a spouse who is supportive, with a spouse that might not be supportive to help them kind of get a little bit more supportive. We’ve got a resource called Married to Reselling. It’s an eBook, and it includes video bonuses and stuff.
Stephen: We sell it usually 365 days a year, but today for our podcast listeners, we’re going to give you a free code where you can download the eBook and the video bonuses for free. If you go to fulltimefba.com/married, you will get our course, Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life With Your Online Business, for free if you enter the coupon code, freebook. That’s all one word, freebook, and you can get it for free, just because you’re a podcast listener, and we want to help you balance that family life with your online business because it can be really hard. I mean, I remember back when I was first showing Rebecca how to source.
Stephen: I’m like, “Oh, how can I tell her she didn’t make the right kind of decision? How can I best do that? Then how can we handle those responsibilities?” How to properly, it sounds weird, train your spouse, but help them get on board with what you’re doing, how to involve your kids with selling online, being able to get that entrepreneurial spirit birthed into them so that they can see how awesome it is to have mom or a dad that works from home and that they can grow up and also work from home too, and so many other possibilities. We even have a chapter in there for you single folks who are single and reselling and how to best develop a support system to help you with your Amazon business as well.
Stephen: Again, it’s free, just for you, fulltimefba.com/marriedwith the coupon code freebook. Now we’re going to transition into the lightning round. If you listened to episode two of the Full-Time FBA Show, you might know I’ve already asked Rebecca our normal lightning round questions. Well, I’ve got some new ones for her. Are you ready?
Rebecca: I guess I am.
Stephen: All right.
Rebecca: I don’t like doing anything lightning fast. I think I said that last time too. I think I said I didn’t want to answer really fast.
Stephen: I think you did, which is why I’m adding a fourth lightning round question just to throw you off.
Rebecca: Oh goodness.
Stephen: You can answer these with as little detail as possible. Number one, what is your favorite app on your phone?
Rebecca: My favorite app?
Rebecca: That’s really funny. Is that different from which one I use the most?
Stephen: Oh, I mean I’m sure our listeners would like to know both.
Rebecca: Well, it’s probably not the one I use the most, but I really love my Fitbit app. I’m kind of obsessed with the data that it shows me. I love looking at my steps. We have an ongoing work week hustle that we do with me and Stephen and my parents and my sister. It’s kind of funny just this ongoing competition of who can get the most steps each week. We just restart it every Monday. Then I like to say that even if I’m not winning at the steps per week, I pretty much always win at sleeping. I wish there were sleep challenges because I would win all the time. I love looking at how much sleep I got every morning when I wake up.
Stephen: Every morning, I’m jealous at the amount of the sleep that she has gotten.
Rebecca: I know, even if we go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, I still get more sleep. I don’t know what it is.
Stephen: Her quality of sleep is just better.
Rebecca: I just really love to sleep.
Stephen: All right, question number two, tell us something interesting about yourself that not many people know.
Rebecca: I can’t smell. I mean, the people that have known me in person-
Rebecca: … a lot of times will know this because I’m constantly having people say, “Ooh, smell this,” or “Ew, what’s that smell?” I either have to fake it and say like, “Oh, I know. That’s gross,” or I just tell them, “Oh, actually I can’t smell.” It’s a little known fact about me that I don’t know if I was born without a sense of smell or lost it at a very young age before I was aware of what the sense of smell was, but I have never been able to smell.
Stephen: Yeah, I know that. There’s times where that’s good for me. Third question, if you could travel to any point in time and have lunch with anyone in the history of the world, who would you want to have lunch with?
Rebecca: Well, I think that I would like to go back to maybe the ’50s and have lunch with my grandmother back then.
Stephen: That would be awesome.
Rebecca: I mean, I know her already, and I can have lunch with her any day that I choose right now because thankfully she’s still here with us, but I wrote a book about my grandparents in the ’50s and ’60s.
Stephen: Which is a great book.
Rebecca: Yeah, it was a really fun experience, but I would just really love to go back and actually be there for just one lunch with her.
Stephen: That would be cool. That would be cool. Last question, what is your morning routine, and how does it impact your day?
Rebecca: Oh my goodness. How much detail do you want? Is this why you said don’t go into that much detail?
Stephen: Maybe, maybe.
Rebecca: Well, my morning routine, we set the alarm for the same time every morning, and we really try to get up at that same time every morning. Stephen makes me a cup of coffee. It’s really sweet, so he brings me a cup of coffee, and I do a little bit of reading first thing in the morning. Then I like to get up, and I eat breakfast and read some more. I’m reading different things. I read some scripture. I read part of a novel. I catch up on news articles, whatever. Then I like to go work out first thing in the morning after my breakfast has had a little bit of time to settle, and I like to be back at the house and get cleaned up.
Rebecca: I make the bed every morning because I think that’s really important for me mentally to have the bed made. Then I get to work by a decent time in the morning. I don’t know if that’s too detailed or not detailed enough or whatever, but that’s kind of my routine that I try to stick to in more or less the same order every morning.
Stephen: I think that was perfect. I wanted to ask that question because I just think it’s so cool. It helps her out the rest of the day, just helps her be focused and centered and able to focus on the things that need to get done.
Rebecca: If there’s the morning where I don’t get to do part of that, like if for some reason the bed doesn’t get made or if I have to skip exercising or something, I just kind of feel blah for part of the day. I have to really work mentally at, “Okay, that’s okay. You can still function today even though you didn’t get to exercise like you wanted. There’s always tomorrow. You can exercise tomorrow,” or whatever.
Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that’s it for this interview. Thank you so much, Rebecca, for joining me and for hanging out with me and answering questions that I knew most of the answers to, but everyone listening, I think, has learned a lot.
Rebecca: Well, it’s been interesting for me too. It’s been quite an experience, and I’m glad that we got to do this. I’ll be really glad when next week I’m not the one being interviewed.
Stephen: In fact, speaking of next week, next week we’re going to be talking about how to deal with the summer slowdown. If it’s been some slow sales for you this week or this month so far, we want to help kick up some sales for you. We’ll kind of give you some ideas on how to get those sales kicked up so that you can make more money on Amazon and spend less time doing it as well. For any of the links that we talked about or the resources we talked about during this podcast, if you go to fulltimefba.com/8, that will get you to our show notes, and you can see all the things that we talked about.
Rebecca: As always, please go to fulltimefba.com/leaveareview, and that will take you to a page that shows you how to leave a review and a rating on the different podcast apps, different platforms where you might be listening to us, and that really helps us out. It helps more people to find out about our podcast and will help us to be able to help more people know how to make, not a part-time, to make a full-time income using only part-time hours with Amazon FBA.
Stephen: All right, we’ll see you on the next episode. Keep listening to the Full-Time FBA Show. Have a great day everybody.
Announcer: That’s all for this episode of the Full-Time FBA Show, so head over to fulltimefba.com/podcastwhere you’ll find the show notes and links from this episode. While you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter where you’ll get several free downloads of our popular and helpful Amazon FBA resources, including a free eBook. Now, take action on what you’ve learned today so you can find success at turning part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.
Rebecca: You’re supposed to say red light is on.
Stephen: The red light, I just turned it on. It’s on.
Rebecca: Are you making out with your microphone?
Stephen: It’s a little too close to my mouth, and I only make out with you.
Rebecca: Please delete all this.
Stephen: Meh, maybe.
Rebecca: Definitely. Are we going to be serious now?
Stephen: We’re good now, we’re good.
Rebecca: Hit me with some questions. Why is that so funny?
Stephen: It just is funny.
Rebecca: I said it before, you didn’t laugh.
Stephen: I know, I know. All right.