A Freedom Story, or, Why I Sell on Amazon

When I first started selling on Amazon, it was basically to make a few extra dollars each month.  Like so many before me, I had been a frequent dabbler in eBay throughout the years, of varying degrees.  I made a small fortune flipping Simpson’s toys in my pre-Chris Green arbitrage days of the late 90s, and played the thrift store/garage sale game as recently as 2 years ago.

Amazon in and of itself always intimidated me.  The river was so big, and I was so small next to it.photo-1429277096327-11ee3b761c93

I was under the misguided belief it would be more work to sell up river than I was willing to commit, and instead kept my steady rotation of 3,000 eBay listings up, selling at about 10% turnover per month.  To me, and please do not make fun of me because I am sensitive, it made more sense to ship out 300 items per month than to try something new.

What?

Ahem *sarcasm* Ahem.

Gotta love when fear gets in the way of progress.

Through some crazy financial planning/dreaming, I began to read Mr Money Mustache who somehow directed me to J. Money who somehow led to Ryan Grant.

At this point my wife and I had a newborn, I had just closed a business (not by choice mind you, just a rough situation all around) and found myself swimming in around a million dollars of debt, had an undersized apartment for our needs, had to go back to a job for someone else for the first time in years, and had some bills bills bills and bills!

Oh, and student loans hadn’t yet hit, because my wife still had a year to go before graduation.

That’s where things changed for the better.

That’s when I decided to give Amazon a shot.

It was a slow trickle at first, I had devoured informational books by Peter Valley and was 1000% gung ho about becoming the next best AZ bookseller.  I amassed about 650 books in a few days, sent in, and sales started coming.  By this point I had read every blog I could online, had joined 612.65 ten thousand-ish facebook groups related to online selling, and was talking and listening to anyone and everyone about selling on Amazon.

So I began to source product at Wal-Mart, a tradition that continues to this day.  I began to scan and source everywhere I went, and as more items were purchased for resale, more items sold for profit.

And as they sold, I believed more and more in the process.

And the simple process became a game of rinse and repeat.

Fast forward to now.

Now I cover over half my working salary on less than a quarter of the time.  And I feel I am just getting started, as in the last month I have opened up three wholesale accounts.

Now I am far past the point of buying only 3 or 4 of an item to test and see if FBA really works, now I will comfortably go into that very same Wal-Mart, max out my credit card (it’s only a $1500 limit on my Amazon Prime card that pays me cash back to the tune of 1.5% cash back), and go home and giddily enter the info into my Inventory Lab to see how much profit potential there is.

Now I realize that this FBA thing is a game-changer.

Now I can smell and taste and feel the potential of how close this is to helping me realize my goal of working for myself again.

Now I know that it is only a matter of time before I do not have to get up between 12:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. to go to work anymore.

Now I believe it will be sooner than later that I will get to wake up with my children daily, rather than Sunday’s only (yeah, I am one of the lucky ones who gets to work 6 days a week!).

Now I am certain that I am building the foundation of my new life, which I am directing, and it’s clear and upfront.

OA and RA is amazing, and will generate me enough income to quit my job.  From there I am beginning to dabble in PL, because I feel through the years I have gained a good knowledge into the platform that is Amazon, which will help me be successful with my own product line.  Which can then be turned into a full fledged e-commerce store, which would be awesome to simply diversify and not be entirely long-term dependent on the playground rules.

These wheels in place will free up more of my time, to focus on learning other avenues of income generation.

So I can build my empire, yo.

But you know my secret?

It all starts with FBA.  Because I’ve never seen or been privy to a faster or easier way of building income that can scale immediately to whatever you desire.  By simply learning a process, and taking action.  The resources are everywhere to learn how to do this, find them (hey, you are on one of those resources now) and start.

And change your life.

I’m not one of those hokey snake oil salesman, I’m not actually asking you for anything.  I am eternally optimistic about this potential, because, well, it’s not potential.  It’s reality.  And the truth is I’ve failed and messed up and been down and out and broke and rich and hopeless and here I am.  On a path to success, one that is sitting here for anyone who wants to work at it.  And the process and the information are free for all.

So what was my point?

Freedom.  I started FBA to make a few extra dollars to help get out of a hole.

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FBA is providing me with a launching pad to attain the freedom I so deserve, and so crave.

I am going to continue building my FBA business because I want to stay home and help raise my children for all 168 hours a week.

What about you? Why did you start selling on Amazon? Why do you continue selling (you can say “show me the money” or some other Cuba Gooding Junior quote, but I’d prefer something more than just financial!)?

 

11 thoughts on “A Freedom Story, or, Why I Sell on Amazon

  • July 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm
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    Wow! I loved what you wrote! Very inspiring. I started FBA just a few months ago for several reasons. My husband had an unplanned job change and we had to make a big move to a new area and that was very traumatic and stressful on our family. The move was mid year and meant me quitting my job teaching kindergarten and getting to stay home. Also, during this time I ended up breaking my foot but was told it was a sprain so went months with pain and inability to get around like normal. So ending up in a new city, without my job, lots of time, no friends and my foot setting me back from normal life for me it was somewhat depressing…..Don’t get me wrong I was thrilled and over the moon to be a stay at home mom for the first time….but all the circumstances together made it still somewhat depressing and although I loved taking care of the stuff at home I felt I had lost some of my purpose. It also had a great impact on family and income is one factor. Oh and now my daughter is 12 and all my dreams of eating lunch with her at school and doing all the mom school stuff was crushed when she said that isn’t cool at this age, LOL. For years as a teacher I had seen so many moms come and eat and run all my classroom parties and now that I can my child is telling me she is too old for any of that and to stay home and not to do anything special for her teacher either…However, I find on other levels she still needs a lot of my attention and wants just basic conversation time with me and FBA allows that. Anyway, I had sold on Ebay occasionally in the past and text books on Amazon. Then one day I stumbled on some videos about FBA and started with books in March and it has taken off since then. I am very new and learn so much every day and it is overwhelming some days and some days I wonder if I will even learn enough. Right now I am still in the testing phase of finding a few products each day I am out and sending them in or ordering a few things every day online….but I am slowly building up my inventory. Finding all the groups and getting into FBA has given me something that is “mine” to grow and be proud of and I hope it become something amazing. It is a challenge that has been very fulfilling and hopefully it will allow me to continue to be the “stay at home” mom while working Amazon. Also, although I am very slowly making friends in my new location I am very happy to have met so many people in all these groups who are friendly and always working to share what they have learned. This has taken away some of the loneliness of moving to a new area. I feel really blessed to have discovered FBA and everyone I have met along the way….

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    • July 8, 2015 at 6:07 pm
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      Wow, Thanks for that comment Muzette. 12 year olds! They’re uniquely gifted in the area of acting like a little kid one second, and demanding to be treated like an adult the next!

      My Mom ended up having to stay at home with us because babysitters were charging as much as she was making. She did some daycare of her own, worked in a photography studio at night, etc. It was many years of toil before her and my dad got into Real Estate and became very successful. I wish in those years, something like FBA could have existed. It could have been her opportunity to both stay at home with us, and be a strong financial contributor.

      She didn’t have those options, but we do. I’m glad you’re taking the first steps, and I want you to know you can always reach out to us for help. We want to see people be successful.

      Best wishes,
      Mike Garner

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  • July 8, 2015 at 6:55 pm
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    So true Mike! We are very fortunate to have more options. Funny you said that about real estate because at the same time I started learning about FBA in March I started taking classes to become a realtor. I finished those classes, but I am so excited and engrossed in FBA I still need to take my test and honestly not sure if I will pursue it now. HA! Thank you for all you do to support myself and everyone!

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  • July 8, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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    This was the perfect thing for me to read this morning! My story began began in 2013. I had moved to Nevada from Michigan to be with my (now) husband while he finished his degree. I was lucky enough that my job had a position here and was able to transfer rather easily. Fast forward a few months and to 2014…we had just bought a house and became engaged in January. The joy that is wedding planning began and life was great. (Note the sarcasm here :p)

    On May 1st I lost my job. My husband was still in school and not working so it had all been on me. I was devastated. Shortly after this, we found out about some health problems that were plaguing my husband. He had spent a decade in the Army prior to going to school…and, in that time, he had done 3 tours in Iraq to the tune of around 6 years.

    As we found out more and more about his health, it became clear working a normal job wasn’t going to work with him. The VA suggested he apply for disability and he’s still waiting…and waiting! I had to do something. The 6 years I had spent at my first ‘big girl’ job had been mostly miserable and the idea of continuing in the corporate world felt like it would simply be soul-crushing.

    So I dove into the world of IM, affiliate marketing, etc. Clearly not the best path for someone brand new to this world but I didn’t know that at the time. Through all of that, I wound up building and selling Amazon affiliate sites. Because of this, I discovered FBA and a light bulb went off! Why in the world would I continue making affiliate websites that sell for a couple hundred a piece when I could do FBA?!

    At the beginning of this year, we made the switch. January 30th marked the beginning of our FBA adventure and it’s still going! We haven’t made our millions yet 🙂 but we’re getting there! My husband is able to work on this business and not have it interfere with his health (or, if it does, he can easily stop and come back when he’s out of pain) which is huge! And I’m able to be at home and feel really good about what I’m doing and know that it is building a foundation for success for my family! Win-win!

    The funny thing is, I grew up on a farm. Farmers are the ultimate entrepreneur if you ask me. To make ends meet, we would buy things, fix ’em up, and resell them. Go to auctions and yard sales and take our loot to flea markets in the city. Anything to make an extra buck. My dad was so insistent that I leave the farm and be the first person on either side of my family to go to college. I did, walked away with a bachelors and an MBA, went into the corporate world, and hated it! Now, I’m basically doing exactly what I did when I was growing up and I’m so much happier! It’s a funny old world, ain’t it? 🙂

    Reply
  • July 8, 2015 at 11:40 pm
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    This is a bit of a long story, but I’ll try and keep it short. About a year ago my husband and I were coming home to our brand new 180k home after being out shopping and saw a very thin but still beautiful brown and black spotted dog. After much coaxing we got her in our backyard and got her some much needed food and water. We verified that there was no dog reported missing in 3 counties and the vet verified there was no chip. She was ours! And the 10 puppies she had not much later. And our other 5 rescue dogs. There was no way we could stay in the city and keep them all. We could not bear to let the puppies go to an unknown fate, so we bought a run down trailer in the country on an acre, rented out our brand new house, and I quit my IT job to stay at home and take care of our fur babies. We still needed for me to have an income, so I decided to start selling on ebay and amazon. Ebay is ok, but Amazon is amazing and allows me to take care of our rescue pack. A lot of people call us crazy (even our vet!), but we helped the puppies be born and have raised them since. They are so precious to us, its hard to explain. Sitting here in the trailer with our dog kiddos running around in the spacious yard, I know we did the right thing, and Amazon has made it possible.

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    • July 28, 2015 at 11:44 am
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      Thats awesome, and as a fellow dog lover I get it completely. My mother in law and my mother each have dogs in their homes, which means we are raising our kids to love dogs too!

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  • July 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm
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    I like many, had dabbled in eBay for years. However, I have a weekness. I HATE boxing up items, and taking them to the post office. I would get poor feedback for being slow to ship, which I deserved. I was very unhappy in my office job, this impacted eBay, and my family. I would literally cry crocodile tears while sitting in traffic. Then IT happened, I had clients complain about my work, again, I deserved it. I was unhappy, so I was not performing my tasks to par. I once loved my job, but I felt like I was in a prison, sitting in my corner office with a great view of downtown. I was making great money, had a great boss, was in a new relationship…. but I was miserable. So, fast forward. I went to part time at work, and began focusing on Amazon. The RA combined what I love to do shopping, and Amazon would ship to customers so I didnt have to Perfect!! Now, I have quit the part time gig… which I hated, to doing something now that I love. I have a flea market booth that we sell furniture out of, which makes good money, plus Amazon income pays our bills (and able to source more product). I am excited to see what the future holds. Its been a great ride on the river!

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  • July 28, 2015 at 3:03 pm
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    i learned to hate the packing part of ebay after a few short months of amazon. after over a decade of listing on ebay daily, i think ive listed three or four times this past year.

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  • September 30, 2015 at 10:10 pm
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    I loved your story and wish you the best. Oh my where to start. I’m dabbing in a lot of things and haven;t made any money yet. I have 3 beautiful amazon sites and haven’t sold anything on them. I have been in the gift business for 21 years. I am on ebay but that doesn’t work either.
    I don’t want to stay home, I want to travel now. I did the 3 amazon web sites hoping I could just make a nice living with affiliate marketing. I don’t really want to do the retail arbitrage because I don’t want to have to stay home. Someone please help me. I have to decide, but I know there are lot of people making a lot of money on amazon. I can source a ton of wholesale products, but I’m so afraid i’ll make another mistake and i can’t take the risk.

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  • May 13, 2016 at 4:49 pm
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    We call our business The Mother, the Sons, and the Holy eBay Store. It keeps us busy enough .

    I like to source and set retail prices for our family eBay account. (That means I am the buyer, the only fun part in my opinion).

    My brother likes to work the camera, write the listings and manage the sales. Thank god mom likes to be the chief of packaging and shipping, or I would never have done eBay. God I hate packaging.

    But that’s three households and sometimes shaky connections between the three vital functions.

    I am gravitating to FBA because it just seems like the sourcing and pricing that I love is the primary skill, and the rest of it pretty much falls into place. Will soon see if that’s true.

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  • October 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm
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    Thanks for your story and for your modesty 🙂 most sites I’m looking at are somewhat intimidating and using a lot of terms and techniques that I don’t understand yet. I started with yard sales and selling it on Craigslist with a nice profit. Then moved on to Ebay and still do that, but the packaging and taking it to the post office is a lot of work. I’ve also started selling on Amazon, but not too succesful, yet. I’m a bit bummed out now I found out Amazon FBA option is closed until December 21 I believe, so I’ll have to fullfill orders myself until then. I’d like to start my own brand and web store, but yes, that is a larger undertaking with a little more risk involved. I’m reading more and more though and learning a lot, so I’m going to take the plunge soon, exciting!

    Reply

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