Full-Time, Part-Time, or Hobby?

Over the past year, I have noticed a lot of different questions that continue to notice get asked time and time again.

One of the most common questions is:

What does it take to do FBA full-time?

That question is usually followed up by:

Chris, why don’t you do FBA full-time?

Let’s start with the first questions and then we can move to the second one.

In my opinion, there are 4 different types of sellers on Amazon.

Beginners
Hobbyist
Part-Timers
Full-Timers

The awesome part about this spectrum is that there is no right or wrong answer to where you should be on it. It all depends on your background, current situation, and long term goals of your business.

The beginner is someone that has 3 or less months of experience and still hasn’t sent in more than 10 shipments. If you are one of these people, you should really sign up for this email list . You are trying to learn the basics of Amazon and how to take advantage of the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. Beginners have a ton of different questions that range from how to start up a selling account to which options to pick when asked about commingled or labeled inventory.

The beginner stage is one where you find out if you are cut out for the world of online selling. This might be the time you join awesome Facebook groups (like FBA Master) or take a course that walks you through the process of creating your first shipment. Once you go through the process of selling online, you will land in one of the three categories:

I LOVE IT!
Well – I could do this, but I’m not sure I like it.
I FREAKING HATE THIS.

If you fall into the first 2 categories, you might decide that it is time for you to step up the sourcing and shipping. If you hate it, then I am going to tell you to quit while you are ahead (Mike Garner will tell you to do the same thing).

Now that you are past the beginner stage, it really comes down to your goals  and where you want to see your business in the coming months and years.

A hobbyist is someone who buys and sells on Amazon for fun and/or to make extra money to spend. They can function as a seller, but they don’t need all of the systems in place to stream line the process (they might have these systems, but it depends on the interest in the hobby).

In all honesty, I see around 40% of the people that start FBA falling into this category. You might be saving up for a vacation, retirement, etc and you are just looking for that way to bring in extra cash. It could also just be enjoyable to find great deals and sell them for a profit. Whatever the reasoning is, you enjoy selling and have no desire to ramp it up to the next level.

Once that desire hits, you will fall into the part-time category. In this category, you most likely still have a full time job (of some sort) and you are taking the steps to make buying and selling online easier than before. You tend to start investing more money into the correct materials and equipment and start investing more money into your own education.

You start to notice yourself sourcing (and hopefully selling) more items than before are you are starting to see a good profit margin on your investment. You have decided that you don’t want to make this a full time profession (due to one of the numerous reasons out there) and you are content with limiting your business to the resources you have on hand.

Part-time is actually the category I would fall into as a seller. I hold a full-time job and typically do FBA in the evenings or on the weekends. I occasionally hire help during my busy periods, but I have no intention of quitting my job and solely focusing on FBA.

But…. Chris, why don’t you do FBA full-time?

This pesky question.

The simple answer is: I don’t want to.

The longer and more complicated answer is: I really enjoy my job and love the benefits that come with it. I know that working on my own is enjoyable, but I am never able to fully unplug from the business. Have the ability to do FBA part-time to bring in additional income is fantastic, but I would end up getting bored and lazy if that was the only thing I did on a daily basis.

I also am a huge believer in not putting all of my eggs in one basket. As you most likely have read, I have experienced the loss of my Amazon account in the past and I always want to make sure that my income portfolio is as diverse as possible.

Now I want to make one other statement (and I want to highlight for everyone):

Being a part-time seller is not for everyone. You have to determine your end goal and then work back from there.

Just because I do it one way, doesn’t mean that it is the only way to do it. I have a lot of friends that are full-time FBA sellers and love it. I know others that simply like to make an extra $500 for a really nice weekend away from their home. Others make ends meet solely thought their FBA income. I have made my choice and you will need to make your own. Ask around in our community. You will find that each and every person will have a different opinion on the topic.

Now let’s get off that tangent and back to the question at hand:

What does it take to do FBA full-time?

When you want to move to that full-time mark, you will need to start operating and thinking like a business. You will have need to set SMART goals and have a plan of action to reach those goals within your stated time frames. You will also need to ramp up your sourcing and shipping to the next level.

Taking you sourcing and shipping to the next level is needed because you will have to have a steady stream of cash flow in and out of your business. I would recommend looking into list memberships, wholesale accounts, and private label opportunities to broaden your scope and to give you more options to find inventory. I would also suggest purchasing the right equipment to speed up your process of prepping and shipping (or even outsourcing it all together). This will free up your time to handle the paperwork and logistics that come along with every business.

Now. You might be saying: Chris – I wanted to know how to become a full-time FBA seller. You just described the different types of sellers. How does this help me with the journey?

If you know what to expect, you will be able to know when you are ready to jump from one group to another.

Always ask yourself this question:

Am I happy with my current situation? If not, what do I need to do to change it?

Once you answer that question, you will know what you true motivation is and you will be able to determine what level of selling you need to achieve to make yourself happy.

Cheers.

CW

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