Editors note: Erika sent me this post and said: “I had no intention of writing anything for the group, and don’t know if this is helpful for the group but as I was trying to go to sleep tonight I began writing this in my head so I grabbed my IPad and typed it out. Don’t know if it’s of use to you for the group.” I read it this morning and wanted to yell at her. It’s great content and she should write all the time!
I started selling on Amazon six months ago as a hobby. While I’m no FBAMaster, I am, little by little, becoming more of a Master of my own Universe, and FBA is partially responsible. When I first began selling on Amazon is was as a hobby – I love to shop and couldn’t turn down the chance to turn shopping into a hobby, and a money making one at that. Six months down the road I have come to realize that FBA has not only provided me with a hobby, extra income, and quality time with my husband and son (they both participate in our FBA business), but my experience with FBA has taught me many lessons which have flowed over to my personal life. These are jus a few of the lessons/changes that I have noted so far:
- Don’t stress over things you cannot control. For the first few months I spent a lot of wasted energy getting upset over things I couldn’t control such as a pricing strategy I disagreed with, delays at the warehouse processing my shipments, or where my shipment was being sent. Once I realized that this stress was not only taking my focus away from the task at hand, making money and it was wasted energy, as stressing about it wasn’t going to change it, I was able to enjoy my business. I have found myself implementing this same mentality in my personal life (not as often as I should unfortunately). But, when I do remember this important lesson, my day seems just a little happier and a little less stressful.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. This is something I did automatically and didn’t realize it for the first 3 months or so. I kept seeing others posting results in Facebook groups or talking about their business. They were having more success than I was and I was getting frustrated and discouraged. When I distanced myself and saw that the experience of others has nothing to do with my experience. When I accepted that my limitations, with regard to my knowledge base, time to devote to FBA, my risk tolerance, or my financial limitations, were different than others and thus I should expect different results, I was able to stop comparing myself and be proud of the progress I was making within my limitations. I began to see that I was developing my own business model not somebody else’s and that was how it should be. This is also something I remind myself of in my personal life and, as with number 1, I have found that I am a little happier and little less stressed as a result.
- Do what’s right for you. Although this sounds like the same as number 2 it’s a bit different. When I first began FBA I was overwhelmed with information and opinions about the “right” way to run my FBA business. What I eventually learned is the right way for me may be different from the right way for the next person. While I am continuing to develop what the “right way” is for me and it is an exciting process of daily discoveries. Realizing that there is no one right formula for how many to buy, what rank to buy at, how much to invest, what categories to sell in, and the countless other decisions an Amazon seller has to make on a daily basis has freed me up to make good decisions and not be stymied by over-analysis.
- Improved math skills. If you really knew me you’d know how hilarious and awesome this is at the same time. I’m the Mom that “corrects” her 7 year old’s math homework incorrectly and needs to pull out a calculator to find out the 7 year old was right all along. Through working FBA my math skills have been honed. The fact that I can calculate in my head a rough estimate of ROI or my purchase cost, after discounts or cash back, is has been a pleasant surprise and a practical added bonus FBA has brought to my everyday life.
- There are good, honest people who truly enjoy helping others. Being a lawyer, I am sad and embarrassed to admit that I have become a bit jaded about the motivations of others. However, becoming a part of the FBA community and reaching out to people for guidance and having those people reach right back and selflessly given of their time and knowledge has softened the edges of my jaded outlook quite a bit. I have experienced kindness and generosity from total strangers – from people that I can do nothing for and who want to do nothing other than help others succeed. This is the most rewarding realization thus far in my FBA journey. I look forward to what lessons the next six months has to bring.
What has your Amazon business taught you? Have you even thought about it? If not, please take a moment and give it some thought. You may be pleasantly surprised at the lessons you’ve learned that you didn’t even know you learned.
– Erika Goodman