Before I get started, I should point out that a decent portion of my thoughts today don’t come from myself, but from a combination of conversations with Chris Anderson, John Cyscon III, and Anthony Christenson. There’s a little lesson there: make friends with people in business and encourage one another to be better.
I think that it is important to be self-critical. This doesn’t mean that you beat yourself up for mistakes, but it means that you’re constantly looking at yourself or your business and figuring out ways where you can challenge yourself to be better. Last year I wanted to learn video games better and I spent some time talking to Tyler Nelson and joining his group and I made a good amount of money during Q4 selling a variety of video games.
This year I’ve been focusing on try to get better at outsourcing. In some ways, I’ve been good at this. Whether it is hiring people to prep and pack or using more VAs to find product leads for me or adding a variety of software options to make my jobs easier. However, more and more lately I’ve been realizing that there is one area where I have a hard time pulling the trigger. I’ve never let people purchase for me. Maybe I’m a control freak. Maybe I’m just not sure of the mechanics of payment that are best. Maybe I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to perfectly articulate my sourcing strategy to other people (hint: it’s more complicated than “find products below 50k rank in these categories that have ROI > 50%”). Maybe I have some fear that I’m going to create competition.
Truth be told, I’m not really sure why. If I was asked to respond to any of those questions individually, I would have good responses. I think it’s the next logical step in expanding my business, but it has been a bit of a mental hurdle lately. But, like I said at the outset, I think it is good to be self-critical, figure out where you can better your business, and then challenge yourself to be better. So that’s my plan. Going into Q4 season seems like as good a time as ever to expand my purchasing scope.
I tell you this for a few reasons. One, it might encourage me to finally take action. But, more relevant to you, is that I want you to consider your own blind spots or weaknesses or just areas that you haven’t been paying attention to that would help you. If it would be helpful, you can post in the comments here or on facebook and tell me about where you want to improve. That part is fairly easy, though. Figuring out what to do about it and then ACTUALLY doing something about it is the real key. If you get stuck on how to change things, that’s where people can help. Ask questions and I can just about guarantee a number of people will chime in with answers. As far as ACTUALLY doing something, though, that’s really on you. The dirty little secret in this business is that the people who really make it are very rarely the people who KNOW something different than everybody else, but the people who DO something different than what everybody else is willing to do.
Until Next Time, Best Wishes
Amazon News Update:
If you aren’t aware of this, August 15 marks the date for Long Term Storage Fees. If you don’t know what that means, click through to the link and Amazon explains the fees you’ll be charged for items that have been in warehouses 6+ and 12+ months (note: the first unit of each SKU is free). But, just yesterday they sent out a promotion via email. I’ll just copy/paste the key points:
“You may have slow-moving or low-selling inventory. Starting today, August 4, 2016, FBA is waiving fees for any removal order for inventory that is currently in U.S. fulfillment centers. This promotion ends after August 14, 2016, after which time normal removal-order fees will apply…
“If you file a removal order for sellable inventory on or before August 14, 2016, including automated removals, you will be unable to send in additional units of these ASINs until January 1, 2017. You may regain the ability to send limited quantities this ASIN to Amazon if your inventory levels are less than your total projected sales for the next four weeks. These projected sales are based your actual sales from the past 90 days.”
So, if you have items that are slow moving and aren’t interested in the new liquidation option, you might as well take advantage of the free removal before you get hit with fairly steep fees!