7 Lessons From My First 7 Days in FBA

Today’s blog post is from new FBA seller Jake Jordan, and I think you will enjoy it tremendously:


 

Starting a business is a lot of fun.

There is the excitement and anticipation of tackling a new challenge, and the hope of making some good money.

At the end of the day though running a business comes down to being able to consistently make money. In every business I’ve been a part of you have to stay agile and accountable.

So for the past seven days I have been writing down the things I learned about becoming an online reseller via Amazon. The good news is that I’ve had some really great support for little to no expense.

None of the thoughts below are a brain-child of my genius or anything, just observations based on what people way smarter than me told me about the business and how I’ve applied them.

So let’s get started.

Educate Yourself Enough to Start

In my estimation there are only a few things you really need to know to go out and start sourcing your first shipment this week. These five questions will give you a good enough handle on any product to make a purchase and learn.

  • Can I sell this product? (are you ungated?)
  • What ‘Amazon Rankings’ indicate fast selling products in each category?
  • Is there ROI in this product?
  • How much competition is there for it?
  • What is the sales history? (Has it sold well at it’s current price for long?)
3 questions
2 questions

Guess what?

All the best practices for those questions are available for free on this here blog, and in the FBMaster Facebook group.

Start here.

Start quickly

There are numerous studies and experiments that test the ability of someone’s ability to commit to something early on in the process vs waiting till they feel really ‘comfortable’. John already wrote a great blog this week about Analysis Paralysis – so I won’t belabor that point.

What I do think is worth stressing is the fact that FBA is a business based on data. The more high quality data you can gather in a quick amount of time, the better chance you have to succeed.

That means you need to start gathering your own data. Period.

You can consume all the great books, blogs, posts, videos, scopes….until you have reached the end of FBA education. But guess what that gets you at the end of the day?

Nothing.

Which leads me to point number three.

Have a Plan

Your Budget

It could be really easy to charge up a credit card in this business and not get the money back. That in my estimation is most people’s larger fears around this type of endeavor. So that means you should stick with a budget.

My budget started last week at $500 for inventory and $100 for startup expenses. My goals was an average of 50% ROI on everything I bought.  Had I not put those numbers in place I may have fell victim to shiny object syndrome. BOLO lists, paid tools, consulting calls, ungating fees….it can add up real quickly.

Those are all excellent things, but for a newbie they don’t equal profit at the end of your first week. So ask around to the veterans you see online and set a budget that makes sense for your goals.

Sourcing

I found out very quickly after a full day one of sourcing at garage sales and big box stores that sourcing can be a huge time suck with no results.

To me this is the area that has the biggest possibility to take you out at the legs in the first 30 days.

If you have never gone sourcing before it would be a natural tendency for almost anyone out there to just walk down an aisle and start scanning products.

My preference is to take a list of known winning categories or products that other successful FBAers have used and start there. You could literally take this list of Q4 items and go into  your local Walmart, Target, CVS, etc and scan everything in the aisle regarding to these products.

You would gain three things on the very first trip.

  • A better knowledge of the stores you sourced.
  • Experience in scanning and making decisions quickly
  • Possibly some great buys

BOLO lists are also a great place to start and focus your efforts. So don’t wander aimlessly, make a plan.

Schedule

Taking the time to write out a schedule for your week can go a long way to helping you achieve results. This comes as no surprise to most entreprenuers, since we run our own time we have to be effective with it.

A great system for me has always been time-blocking. The basic premise is to set your goals for the month, then figure out what you have to do each week to hit those targets. Then at the beginning of each day pick tasks to get you to your weekly/monthly goals.

Here is a really in depth system I starting using years ago to great results out of my time.

Use free tools

There are a number of free tools and trials out there that can get you 30 days into a reseller business without spending one penny.

Did I listen to my own advice? No…that’s why I’m telling you.

For Sourcing:

Mobile

Amazon Sellers Tool

The most reliable tool for scanning items on RA or garage sale trips.

AZ-RS-app

Flow

For those little buggers that just won’t scan with the AZ app, or low signal stores

Flow

Desktop (All Chrome extensions – sorry Firefox and Safari!)

keepa

Keepa.com

A price tracking software the helps you see the history of a product’s selling price on the Amazon product detail page.

camelx3

Camelcamelcamel.com

A price tracking software the helps you see the history of a product’s selling price on the Amazon product detail page.

Thetracktor

TheTracktor

A price tracking software the helps you see the history of a product’s selling price on the Amazon product detail page.

FBA-Calc

FBA Calculator (flippingtools.com/free)

A nice Google Chrome extension to help you work out FBA fees and profit potential when sourcing products online.

priceblink

PriceBlink

Another Google Chrome extension that tells you if another website has a better price, coupon, or shipping deal compared to the site you are on.

 

Inventory

Excel

shoeboxed

Shoeboxed (Free Version)

Shipping of course costs money. You have to get your products to an Amazon distribution center to sell those ROI filled beauties 🙂

*Thanks Chris Wilkey for the extended list on your periscope this week!

Be Agile

In my day job as a digital marketer for large companies this is an essential ingredient. Any type of business that is based online requires that you move quickly to stay ahead of the curve.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t make decent money taking your time and sticking to your old reliable habit. It means that you are not going to make really great money that can replace your day job or make this a career for you.

So based on my first week here are some things I see that are important to be agile in as an FBA professional:

Research – you have to be able to look at a good amount of data quickly and assess if the deal, the lot or the shipment is a good investment.

Schedule – There are good deals to be had all the time if you know where to look. There also appears to be additional income in store for those who can react quickly to online sales or last minute store closings. Those that can react quickly here seem to have an advantage.

Expectations – As a rookie at anything you have to be willing to learn from EVERY situation and make an adjustment to your assumptions. Keep you expectations flexible.

Be Accountable

There is no better way to make sure you are on the path to success than to find ways to keep yourself accountable. For some people that is having a schedule they keep to. For others that is a group of people that challenges you and calls you out on your mistakes. And for others that is a time to reflect and make adjustments each day or week.

periscopeExample: If you want to watch me ramble for 7-10 minutes about my first 7 days, you can go and watch my past periscopes here. I didn’t figure out you could save scopes until day three, so sorry for no days 1 and 2!

Or follow me in the future @jakejordan

Between my daily discussion with the camera, the FBMaster group, and my family, I have a great system in place for me to make progress.

 

Have fun!

It seems like a trite piece of advice. Really Jake? Have fun is your big final point to bring it home?

Yes.

The best way to keep yourself motivated, educated and moving forward is to find a way to make your day fun. For me it means a challenge to out think the retail system. It is a challenge to find faster and more efficient ways to locate online arbitrage. It is a way to talk and learn from smart entrepreneurs.

To me that is fun. And that’s why you will see me still doing this next week 🙂

 

3 thoughts on “7 Lessons From My First 7 Days in FBA

  • October 29, 2015 at 8:19 pm
    Permalink

    Well thought out and good logical advice.
    Love all the tools mentioned and emphasis on focus and fun!

    Reply
  • November 2, 2015 at 11:42 am
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    Hey John – AWESOME post! Love the advice. It’s practical and extremely easy to follow. And thanks for mentioning Shoeboxed as one of the tools to use 🙂

    FBA masters should definitely keeping track of receipts so that they have all of their data organized for tax time.

    We’d love to be a resource for you and FBA sellers, so please keep Shoeboxed in mind for any future projects or posts you plan on writing (especially related to tax season)!

    Best,
    Claudia from Shoeboxed
    claudia(at)team(dot)shoeboxed(dot)com

    Reply
  • November 17, 2015 at 3:13 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for mentioning the FBA Calculator in your list of essential tools. I’m getting a lot of great feedback, and I’m happy to help the community!

    Keep flipping!

    Joshua from flippingtools.com

    Reply

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