Are you struggling to find the time to balance family, friends, health, and an extremely busy Amazon Q4 season? Today’s episode is made especially for you! We are sharing Q4 sourcing strategies that will put more time back into your day to help you focus on other important aspects of the festive season. We discuss both paid and free Q4 sourcing strategies, with multiple options to find (or pay for) more time to source for profitable inventory this Q4.
The main purpose of this episode is to help you gain better control over how you manage your time during this busy period, and to help you find more time to source for profitable items to sell on Amazon. We all get the same 24 hours in a day, and no two FBA sellers are alike, so be sure to listen today to help this Q4 become less busy and more profitable.
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Key points from Episode 162:
- Finding more time to source inventory without sacrificing family time and personal health.
- Paid strategies for sourcing during Q4.
- How outsourcing can help you double your sourcing.
- Why paying for sourcing leads makes even more sense in Q4: BOLOs and deal lists (links below).
- A Q4 lifesaver: outsourcing other Amazon activities.
- How outsourcing can and should be extended to home activities as well.
- Free strategies for sourcing during Q4.
- The simple trick of combining sourcing with other daily activities, social outings, and trips.
- Why you should plan sourcing dates.
- Using a time audit to take a step back and critically assess how you are spending your time.
- Why it’s worth changing your lifestyle for the short period of the Q4 sprint.
- A reminder to focus on your own journey because no two FBA sellers are the same.
- Don’t forget to check out our Black Friday guide – the doors are about to close!
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday: The Fool-proof Strategy to Rock Black Friday Sales Every Year (2022 edition)
- Updated 2022 edition of the book
- Access to the 2022 Black Friday Masterclass
- Multiple Black Friday bonuses
- BoloMart – Facebook group with product leads
- Our most recommended product lead deal lists
- Solutions 4 Ecommerce – Outsource your Amazon backend activities to a professional
- Use code FULLTIMEFBA for 15% off your monthly fee (for life).
I’m excited to tell you that my friend Kristin Ostrander and I (Stephen) created a course called The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday: The Fool-proof Strategy to Rock Black Friday Sales Every Year. In this combination ebook and video master class, we will walk you through, step-by-step, multiple Black Friday strategies that you can implement in your own Amazon business model.
Here’s the cool thing: Kristin and I have completely different Black Friday strategies, yet we are both able to make a killing off of Black Friday sales. She likes to shop Black Friday sales in the stores, while I usually stay home on Black Friday… How can both of these strategies work? We can’t wait to tell you in the latest edition of The Reseller’s Guide to Black Friday.
The cart for the Black Friday course finally open, but it will only be open for a few days! Very soon, the Black Friday course will close the doors for enrollment so we can focus on getting ready for the big Black Friday sales.
Enrollment for 2022 closes in only:
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Episode 162 Transcript:
[0:00:01.8] 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.
[0:00:21.4] REBECCA: Hello there and welcome to another episode of The Full-Time FBA Show. We’re on episode number 162. We’re going to be talking Q4 sourcing strategies for the busy Amazon seller. I’m guessing that is you. I don’t know if there is a non-busy Amazon seller right now.
[0:00:38.0] STEPHEN: Yeah, if you’re not busy, you’re doing it wrong.
[0:00:39.8] REBECCA: I was about to introduce Stephen and he just already is here.
[0:00:43.0] STEPHEN: I’m here.
[0:00:43.9] REBECCA: Welcome to the show Stephen, my cohost, Stephen Smotherman, here with me today to talk about Q4 sourcing strategies.
[0:00:49.7] STEPHEN: I’m sorry, I was so busy I couldn’t wait for you to introduce me.
[0:00:53.3] REBECCA: You’re multitasking.
[0:00:53.8] STEPHEN: That’s right.
[0:00:55.6] REBECCA: All right, let’s get into it.
[0:01:00.4] REBECCA: We’re all busy as FBA sellers, especially in Q4. There’s just so much Amazon work that needs to be done right now and that is on top of all of the life activities that we need to be juggling right now. There is so much going on, if you’ve got kids in school, if you’ve got other job responsibilities, if you’ve got other social activities going on, trying to visit family, and trying to source for inventory and balance all of those things during the months of November and December can be a lot to handle.
So today, we’re going to share with you our best tips for finding more time to source for more inventory to sell on Amazon during the busiest selling season of the year, without sacrificing your time with family and friends, and especially without sacrificing your own health. We’re going to be sharing strategies that are free, and other paid strategies that will help you to get more sourcing done in less time.
[0:01:53.0] STEPHEN: So the first group of ideas on how to find more time to source for Q4 as a busy Amazon seller, these first few are all going to be strategies that cost a little money. You got to spend money to make money. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before and so these are some strategies that cost a little bit but can give a return that could really help you load up your Q4 inventory with more items to sell.
The first idea to find more time to source is to outsource your sourcing. I mean, you can pay someone else to source your inventory. You can train them on what to look for when it comes to making ideal buy, maybe even give them a list of items to go source. If you use a sourcing app like Scoutify that comes with Inventory Lab, you can set them up with their own app on their phone, under your accounts that you can create, buy, list, and things like that.
But they can go out and you can tell them what to look for and what makes a really good buy so you can outsource that. You know, this is a strategy we go deeper on our Black Friday course because one of the Black Friday strategies is to find someone to also source while you’re also sourcing on Black Friday. The Black Friday course closes in just a few days for 2022, so check it out, fulltimefba.com/blackfriday. But you can definitely double your sourcing if you hire someone to source alongside you.
[0:03:10.5] REBECCA: A second strategy that we like to use during Q4 is to pay for sourcing leads. This is something that we do at other times during the year too, but a lot of times we will pay for extra leads during this time of year just because there’s so many good buys out there and we don’t have the time to find them all.
We have the money to buy it at times but we don’t have the time to hunt it all down. So if you’re in that type of situation too, it’s something you should look into, paying for sourcing leads. This can be done a couple of different ways. There are things called BOLO groups and then there are also deal lists, we’ve used both of these in the past.
A BOLO group is a group that you’re going to find on Facebook or some other location, I think most of them are on Facebook at this point. These groups will post items that you should be looking for, BOLOs, and you will need to pay to be in the group. But then once you’re in the group, you will be able to find items at retail stores that you can buy to resell, that other people have already found success with.
But they’re limited in some way and how many they can buy, either because it’s all bought out in their area or something like that, and so it gives you a list of items that you can then go to the stores in your area and look for, that you know are tried and true and will give you good profits. If you’re interested in finding out, one of our favorite BOLO groups is BoloMart and you can find out more information about that group at fulltimefba.com/bolomart.
We also really like to use deal lists and these are a list, most of them are online, some of them might be retail but most of them are online arbitrage deals that are current for either that day or that week. A deal list will either come into your inbox or you’ll get a link that you’ll check every day to see a spreadsheet of items that are available at different online retail stores, along with lots of different information presented to you in the form of a spreadsheet, where you can compare the item with the Amazon page and see what the profit’s going to be.
Find links to Keepa a lot of times. Each deal list is going to be presented differently but again, it’s a list that gives you a jumping off point of online arbitrage deals that you can then check out for yourself, to see if it’s a good fit for your business, and then go from there in deciding to buy those items or to use that as a springboard to find other items to buy from the online stores in that list.
We keep a list of the deal list that we really recommend on our website, you can find that list at fulltimefba.com/deallist. All of these links that we’re giving you will be found in the shownotes for this episode of the podcast, fulltimefba.com/162.
[0:05:48.2] STEPHEN: Another opportunity that will help you get more time to spend sourcing your inventory for Q4 is to outsource other Amazon work activities, like having a prep center take care of prepping your inventory. If you’re doing wholesale sourcing or online arbitrage sourcing and you’re still prepping that inventory to send to Amazon yourself, you are wasting precious sourcing time by prepping the items yourself.
So outsourcing to a prep center is a great thing. If you have a prep center local to you, even dropping off your retail arbitrage stuff is a good idea and paying them a fair price to prep your inventory and send it to Amazon for you, which frees up more time to do some sourcing. You can also use a virtual assistant to do product research or go through online arbitrage websites. A lot of different possible ways to use a VA to help save some time so that you can spend more time sourcing.
[0:06:37.4] REBECCA: I’ll just piggyback off what you said to about hiring a virtual assistant to do product research for you. We have a VA that I work with on a daily basis to do wholesale account work, and I’ve also trained her to do online arbitrage for just a small handful of websites, and it has saved me so much time.
You know, just a little bit of her time each week that she spends on it. She’s predominantly working on other things but I’ve snuck that little task in there with her and she’s been really busy on that with me during Q4 as well. So for sure, looking to getting a virtual assistant at some point.
[0:07:10.4] STEPHEN: And then there’s also all the Amazon backend activities that can really chew up a big chunk of your time, like dealing with feedback management or customer service questions or dealing with Amazon listings, and the list goes on and on.
We use an account manager from Solutions 4 Ecommerce. You can find out more about them fulltimefba.com/accountmanager. You can pay them a monthly fee to be able to take care of all those things for you, which drastically frees up a lot of time.
This particular opportunity is more for larger Amazon accounts that have a lot of inventory. If you’re a beginner, this might not work for you right now but when you start to build up your Amazon account, inventory levels, this account manager really can shave a lot of time off of your workload. So, fulltimefba.com/accountmanager.
[0:07:56.6] REBECCA: The fourth strategy that we wanted to share with you is to outsource activities around your house that will then free up time for you to work on your business. Now, this is something you might consider throughout the rest of the year, or maybe something that you just do during this two to three month period when things are just so crazy busy with your FBA business as well as everything else that’s going on in life.
And these are things that we have all done at our house at different times and it really makes a difference. It’s not something we necessarily keep in our monthly budget year-round, but this time of year, for sure, we look to outsource tasks that need to be done around our house.
One of them is that we’ve used subscription box for food that comes to our house for meal prep, like HelloFresh. We’ve done that in the past and that has saved us some time with having to do meal planning and cooking. We’ve also gotten into a habit of just always doing curbside pickup for our groceries. It makes your groceries a little bit more expensive but it is so worth it, for me, to not have to go into the store and spend an hour or two, especially when you have kids at home.
If you’ve got a bigger family, you got more people that live in your home, it’s a lot to pickup those groceries, and like I think about it from just the handling of the inventory after you spend large amounts of your time as an FBA seller, thinking through like, “How can I reduce the number of times I touch this item before I send it into Amazon?”
I think about that every time I go to the grocery store or like, “I’m picking up this item, I’m putting it in my cart, then I’m picking it up and putting it on the conveyor belt, then I’m picking it up and putting it back in my cart, then I’m putting it in my cart and then I’m taking it out.” Anyway, you get the point.
I’m sure you have thought of that too, but if you have somebody else doing your grocery shopping for you and doing curbside, you only have to take it from your cart into your house. I don’t know about you but that just makes me very happy.
We’ve also, at different times, hired somebody to help clean up around the house, we’ve also hired people to do lawn work. This year, we have somebody that comes and hangs up our Christmas lights for us. You know, if we just left it up to when we have time to do it, we might not ever have time to do it, but we want those Christmas lights on the outside of our house.
And yes, we have them ready before Halloween, so we had trick or treaters at our house with the Christmas lights up. Anyway, just think through some of those things, there’s all sorts of ideas that you can come up with to free up some of your time by not having to take care of those different tasks around the house during the Q4 season.
[0:10:20.6] STEPHEN: So those are some strategies that yes, they require a little bit of money to be able to get this type of service, but just think about what you’re able to make in profits from selling on Amazon for the products that you’re able to buy during that time, that you’ve acquired because you’ve outsourced some things or you’ve paid for some services. It really does work really well, especially during Q4.
Now we’re going to transition to some ideas on how to free up more time to source inventory that are free, don’t cost you a penny, and are being able to help you find more inventory. So the first opportunity that might be out there for you is to combine sourcing with regular every day activities.
Maybe you go to the grocery store and you’re looking around the grocery to buy some items for your house. Well, go checkout their toy aisle or see if they’ve got a clearance section or things like that, maybe there are some grocery items that are seasonal that are selling really well right now for Q4, go see if those items are profitable.
Just swing an extra 10 or 15 minutes or so looking around the grocery store while you’re out might be an opportunity to find some items to sell on Amazon, you know? Just always look around and, depending on what time of the year it is, if it is back to school time, scan some backpacks while you’re there doing the grocery shopping. Maybe there are some backpacks that are profitable.
But again, combining sourcing with regular every day activities, grocery shopping is just an idea, could help you find some more inventory without spending a lot of extra time trying to get to these other stores that you might be trying to go to.
[0:11:44.1] REBECCA: Along that same line, you can also look into combining sourcing with other social outings that you might have that come up during the week. So some things that you might be doing on a social basis, either activities that you do on a regular basis with your family or if you’ve got friends that you go visit or a club that you’re in or anything like that, that takes you to a different area of town where you normally are not, be sure that you plan some extra time to go early or stay late and work in some sourcing time.
One example that we have is that we go to a home group Bible study at some friend’s house every Wednesday night, and when we left early, no this was not on purpose, I’m saying you should plan to do this, but we accidentally forgot what time we were supposed to be there and we got there about half an hour early and rather than knocking on the door half an hour early, we thought, “Hey, let’s go look around and see if there’s anywhere that we could just source real quick.”
So we found a Tuesday Morning store about five minutes away from our friend’s house and we were able to go in and find some inventory in a place that we had never sourced before. This is something that you could also do if you’re planning to travel at all for the holidays. We love to plan sourcing when we’re travelling to Houston to visit Stephen’s family at Thanksgiving. That’s a part of the state that we don’t normally go to.
We travel through some rural areas to get there and there are some Walmart’s and different stores that we can stop at along the way. It adds like half an hour or an hour to our trip to just stop in a couple of these places and go in, and we already have things that we’re on the lookout for in our area, and then we know that we can find them really quickly if we just pop in there real quick.
So we’ve been able to add in that sourcing time as we’re travelling across the state for Thanksgiving. So think about your own situation and ways that you can work some of that sourcing time into activities that you already have planned.
[0:13:36.2] STEPHEN: A third strategy to get some more time to source is to plan sourcing dates. Now, this is really great if you’re married, plan a date in a new area that you usually don’t go to and maybe go to a thrift store, or a store that you like the store set but you’re never in that area, and be able to have either sourcing time before the date or after the date.
But you know, having a sourcing date could be really great for couples who work together or even if your spouse is not completely on board and has questions about what this whole reselling thing is like. You can go with them to a thrift store or a retail store and walk them through your thought process, how a sourcing app works, and it might help them get on board about the profit potential and that this can be actually a real business.
So, being able to do that while doing it a date with your significant other might be a good opportunity to combine those two together, to find some inventory to sell during Q4. Now, just make sure that when you’re actually on the date at the meal with your spouse, that you are paying complete attention and you’re engaged in conversation. You are not just thinking, “Let’s get out of here so we can go to that store next door.”
Make sure that you prioritize your spouse. But a sourcing date might have an opportunity for you to get some more inventory while spending time with your significant other.
[0:14:49.8] REBECCA: So all of the strategies that we’ve been talking about today do require a little bit of time when it comes to adding sourcing to other events that you are already doing and you might be thinking, “I’m really busy. I just don’t have time to add 30 minutes or an hour here and there to other things that I am doing. I thought you are going to tell me how to save time.”
Well, it’s true. It is hard to add on that extra time. But if you’re thinking that, I’ve been in that position myself and I found that really when I get to that point where I’m like, “I don’t have that extra time to add in,” what I really need to do is conduct a time audit to see where I really can find that time.
So a time audit is where you would take five to 10 minutes, sit down and look at your calendar and think through, looking ahead of time or looking back, or you can do it as you go. So you would sit down and look at your planner, your calendar, and think through like, “What am I doing in these 30-minute blocks all throughout the day?”
This really works well if you take the time to just do it for a week, write down everything that you are doing throughout the week in those 30-minute chunks, so that you can then sit down and do an audit of that time and see where is all my time gone. So if you are doing that and you are in the middle of Q4 and you’re looking at your time audit and thinking, “Where am I going to find this extra time?” Think about the things that you’ve listed out in your audit.
Think, “Where can I just put some things on pause just for a few weeks so that I have more time to source for inventory?” I’m not saying get rid of this activity forever. I am saying, “What are some things that I can just pause for the time being so that I have the time that I need to work on my business?” Especially, this is true if you are already working another job and this is not your full-time job.
If you have, 30, 40 hours a week, 20 hours a week that you are working somewhere else and then you are also doing FBA at the same time, where are the areas that you can just put on pause? Maybe watching less TV or maybe eating out, going out to eat for long meals. I don’t know what it is, it could be any number of things.
We want to stay healthy and we want to have well-rounded lives but this is for a period of time, this is not forever. This is for a very short sprint of time.
[0:17:07.6] STEPHEN: Yeah, the more time that we spend trying to find inventory during Q4, the most likely scenarios that we’re going to make some more money because of that time put in. So it is a good time to try to see what you can do to find and squeak out any bit of time that we can. What can you sacrifice for a short amount of time to get more time to source more inventory? Because I get it, we are all busy.
But it is important to know that busy is a decision. We do the things that we want to do, so if we say we’re too busy to source, then that’s just code for sourcing not being important enough. It is just not a priority and if that’s you, that’s okay. There are really a lot more things that are more important than sourcing inventory to sell on Amazon, like family, friends, health, responsibilities we have.
But doing a time audit that Rebecca talked about can really help us have the things that are sucking our time away, and can help us find more time to source. So I hope this episode has helped you think of ways that you can work less and source more this Q4.
[0:18:02.7] REBECCA: Just know that not everybody is the same when it comes to how busy you want to be. Like Stephen said, busy is a decision. Stephen likes to spend more time on the business than I do. We both are working at it and that is our full-time income and we both are spending a lot of hours on it every week.
But I prefer more time away from the business, and even in Q4 when I know the opportunities are just so great, Stephen has more of that hustle mindset than I do. I am more like, “No, it is getting to be fall and winter. I want to hibernate. This is not when I want to get busier. I want to get less busy.” And so if that is you, understand that that is okay.
We all need to find where we are. I am a little bit busier now than I would like to be but I know that this is going to buy me some time later on to take a break. So just think through where you are personally and know that it is not cookie cutter that you have to do everything the exact same way that any other FBA seller, including us, would do it.
[0:19:01.8] STEPHEN: One opportunity that’s coming up right around the corner is an opportunity that actually my friend, Kristin, experienced and was able to turn five hours of sourcing into thousands of dollars of profit, and that is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity for you to find great deals to flip on Amazon very quickly and Kristin and I put our heads together and put together a course, The Resellers Guide to Black Friday.
But the course closes down for 2022 after November 17th. November 17th is the last day to enroll in the course. It is a course breaking down everything you need to know about Black Friday before, during, and after. Different strategies, retail arbitrage, online arbitrage, so many different opportunities for you to make a profit off of Black Friday, but the opportunity to enroll in the course closes down after November 17th at midnight.
So fulltimefba.com/blackfriday, there’s more than just a book. There is also a live master class where you can interact with Kristin and I, ask her questions, get some answers and be able to rock Black Friday sales each and every year. Fulltimefba.com/blackfriday, a great time to turn a few hours of work into potentially thousands in profits. We can’t wait to help you with that.
[0:20:14.4] REBECCA: Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of The Full-Time FBA Show. As a reminder, we have the shownotes for this episode at fulltimefba.com/162, we’re on episode number 162. You’ll find the transcript for this episode as well as all of the links that we have mentioned.
[0:20:32.6] STEPHEN: Next week on the show, we’re going to be breaking down five Q4 mistakes that even smart Amazon sellers make. So come join us next week, learn these mistakes so that you don’t make those mistakes too.
[0:20:43.6] REBECCA: You’re a smart Amazon seller, we know you are, all of you.
[0:20:45.7] STEPHEN: Yeah but I still make mistakes.
[0:20:47.3] REBECCA: Well, I was talking about all of our listeners but…
[0:20:49.0] STEPHEN: Oh yes. Sorry, you said you, I thought you meant me.
[0:20:51.7] REBECCA: I know, I am talking to our listeners. You are a smart Amazon reseller, you might still make these mistakes. So be sure to check it out.
[0:20:51.7] STEPHEN: Yeah, absolutely. We’ll see you next week on The Full-Time FBA Show.
[0:21:02.5] ANNOUNCER: That is all for this episode of The Full-Time FBA Show. So head over to fulltimefba.com/podcast, where you will find the shownotes 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. Now, take action on what you have learned today, so you can find success at turning part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.