A couple months ago I had no clue what Amazon FBA was. I watched a program called Amazon Sales Ninja thinking it was a way to increase my Amazon affiliate commissions which is already becoming a pretty decent stream of income. But watching that program I found out that Amazon FBA is a totally different kind of business and since then (mid May 2014) and now (first week of July 2014) I have already been paid 3 times, each time double the last payment.
So needless to say I’m kind of excited about this. My biggest concern when I started was lack of capital. I had just spent $3000 on dental work and I was BROKE with a capital B!
But I was determined to forge ahead because I had some friends who were doing really well with the FBA program. Basically Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) is you going shopping for deals, sending the items to Amazon and then Amazon does what it does best, which is selling and customer service. It is like you are an Amazon buyer.
So how to do this with little or money for inventory?
Look for Amazon FBA Inventory around the house!
There is treasure in your home! My first 2 boxes were almost 100% items that I found in my home. The most obvious choice was used books in good condition. Stay away from mass market novels and focus on what we call ‘long tail books’. The long tail refers to very narrow niche titles. Think text books, reference manuals, obscure titles that are out of print. Some of my choices were ‘Honda Civic Repair Manual 1986’ and ‘The Study of Alternating Currents and Their Applications’.
The next thing I looked for was the sort of items that one might re-gift. Tacky, maybe but the stuff is just sitting there anyways! New in box items are perfect candidates for Amazon FBA sales.
While I was looking for my re-gifting items I really lucked out and found a box of new toys. These are toys that were given to my children and were either duplicates, things that were not age appropriate at the time, or me just taking away what I felt was just too many toys after Christmas or a birthday.
Thrift stores and Garage sales are teeming with stuff for Amazon FBA selling!
I have been to thrift stores many times but until I started doing FBA I never noticed all the New in Box items they have! My very first great sale was a sealed box of Canon printer toner. My son berated me and said ‘Nobody uses that printer anymore, don’t buy it!’. I paid a dollar and within 48 hours of reaching the warehouse it sold for $39.97! Now there’s a great ROI! Which reminds me, I forgot to say I told you so!
I do not sell used items on Amazon except for books and the thrift stores are a great place to buy those long tail books I mentioned above. And while I’m there, I do check for other items that I can sell on eBay such as Starbucks mugs, vintage china and toys, other collectibles, used designer clothes. All of this also applies to yard sales, garage sales and flea markets. Which brings me to my most lucrative way to get seed money for Amazon inventory:
Fill up your Paypal account fast with eBay sales
I am always amazed at the great sales one can make on eBay. People practically give away stuff that other people will pay good money for. I bought a bag of needlepoint kits for $3 at a garage sale. So far I have made over $300 from that bag and I still have not listed them all. And none were new, they were all opened and some were even partly incomplete. The other things to watch for are Starbucks mugs, Disney items, Lego, and designer clothing and bags.
The agreement that I have with myself is that any money in my Paypal account is for online use and I can use it to buy inventory for my Amazon business. Just this morning I used my Paypal account to purchase the last 3 Disney Frozen Comforters online from Walmart for $29. They sell for $98 on Amazon and I had a hard time finding those!
You might wonder, well why not just sell on eBay, it sounds like the margins are great! They are but with eBay you have to take photographs, create a listing and when the item sells you have to pack it up and ship it. I have a back log of great items waiting for me to do this, which I will do as soon as my Paypal account starts to get low. The thing I love about Amazon FBA is that I can send one box of 30 items to the warehouse and then I am finished! They take care of all that other stuff.
I can honestly say that taking the Amazon FBA plunge is one of the best things that I have ever done and I am super excited for the upcoming Christmas season. I expect to sell out of every single thing! Which is why I need to pad up my Paypal account now while the weather is nice (meaning lots of garage sales) so that I can buy a ton of toys for the Christmas shoppers!
Read more about my Adventures in Yard Sales here!
The Amazon FBA program is a fantastic business opportunity and a great part time or full time business for the right person. It is not ‘Easy Money’ or a Get Rich Quick opportunity. It is a legitimate online retail business, subject to the real laws, rules and regulations of wherever you happen to live and the rather complicated and lengthy Amazon Terms of Agreement.
Do not start your Amazon business without first reading the Amazon TOS and without some basic knowledge of what it means to have a business and understand that with any business you must pay attention to basic business practises. And yes, this means things like taxes and insurance.