I got an email from someone yesterday and I decided to take the time to write back an in-depth response. Instead of just sending it back to the person, I wanted to share it with all of you (without any personal information – of course).
Enjoy! The original email will be in italics and my responses will be in bold.
Thanks again for taking the time to offer some guidance for me. So Amazon is not totally new to me. Back in 2013 in did FBA with mostly books and some very limited RA for other items. Stopped doing books to focus on other items and didn’t take it seriously enough and haven’t sent anything in to Amazon since 2014. I still sell one or two books per week from my inventory lol.
That’s not that uncommon at all! Most people that end up finding our blog are either complete newbies to selling on Amazon or they have just a little experience with books or thrift stores finds. I am so excited that you have decided to step up your game! You have come to the right place for a lot of great FREE content that should be able to help you get started on the right foot. I would first suggest that you check out our Newcomer series.
I am ungated in Beauty and Grocery and have always had perfect metrics. I am ready, more than I can describe, to get back into FBA. I got rid of my previous equipment (label printer, scanner, scale) so I’m needing to start over in some ways along with relearning the FBA process. Perfect. You have a head start on most people who are just getting started with the ability to sell products in Beauty and Grocery. Although you can still make money in all of the other categories (ungated), you have some additional opportunities that have been opened for you. And getting rid of your old equipment is not a big deal – I’ll share my favorites with you later in this post. My plan is to repurchase the above items I need (any recommendations?) and focus at the outset on strictly RA. Within a 10 minute drive from home I have WalMart, Target, 3 CVS, 3 Walgreens, Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, Aldi’s, Harbor Freight, 2 Dollar Tree, 2 Dollar General, TJX, Marshall’s, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and well you get the idea…. I also have almost an unlimited amount of time to go out and scan. I’m starting with about $500 to get some inventory rolling in. After I feel at a comfortable income level I’d add in OA and eventually PL. As for the recommendations on the items above, I would start out with a few basics and then expand your tool set as you start selling items and making some cash (never over invest in tools upfront – I suggest starting small and scaling as needed). And these aren’t affiliate links – Just an FYI. And with your explanation of the amount of stores around, I 100% agree that you should get out there and start scanning everything you can! There is no better way to learn than hands on experience. Start determining what types of items you want to sell and scan scan scan. You will start building a list of things to look for in your head and your knowledge will continue to grow. As you get more experience under your belt, I would start dabbling in OA. Once you get a big enough bank roll from RA and OA, then I would look into PL and wholesale. With all of the suspensions I’ve seen over the past week do you thing that strictly going the RA route is a viable plan for me? There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind the suspensions and wondering what your thoughts are on the matter. I also don’t want to burden myself at the beginning with software subscription costs which is another reason why I’m holding off on OA right now. I can’t sell on eBay anymore (long story) so if I mess up on Amazon I feel like I’m screwed. You aren’t the only one who has been concerned with the recent increase in suspensions. I know that we haven’t written a lot about it on our blog, but that has been by design. We haven’t written a ton because there isn’t clear information on the cause or a way to prevent these suspensions from happening. Bad advice can give a false sense of security and that is the last thing we want to do.
That being said, you have to take extra steps to help reduce you chances of having returns or issues. Prepping items becomes much more important part of the process and you also need to make sure you pay close attention to your account metrics and issues.
As for your question, I honestly do think RA is a viable route for someone that is just starting. I would focus on products that aren’t “questionable” brands and try to find items that others rarely sale (find you niche).
I wouldn’t suggest any softwares upfront, but you should think about Inventory Labs as your first one when you start selling. It’s way easier to get it started now then to do it later.
And on your last statement, you can’t operate in a state of fear. It doesn’t help you or your business. If you fail, you learn from it and take those lessons to another business. Worst case scenario, you lose $500 (people pay that for a course they learn nothing from). In a nutshell I guess I’m wondering if you were in my position where would you start again? To me RA seems like the best fit (I’d need to get past the “I can’t find anything” syndrome though). Sorry to be so lengthy and I sincerely appreciate any help/advice you can offer. Nice question. Where would I start again? I would go on a path just like you described with a little twist. I would start with RA to get my feet wet and I would then expand to OA and finally end up with PL or wholesale, but I would do something else along the way: Invest my profit back into the business and into another business or businesses. I have learned first hand that diversification is key to long term success. You need to be great at something to make money, but the sooner you start to build passive streams of income with your own income, the sooner you start living the life you wanted in the first place. On a side note….I’ve been delving into the YT channel, blog posts, and group files and you’ve got a great way of presenting the info…..very easy to understand and absorb. Thank you! I really appreciate the kind words 🙂 We (the crew here) really try to make the content easy to digest and helpful for those of any skill level.