Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Turnover Tuesdays - Why I Sell on Amazon

For those who are not familiar, I started a series a while back called Turnover Tuesdays. Every Tuesday I like to highlight one item that I have resold. This will include profitable and non profitable sales. I hope that there is always something to learn.

The previous posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post.

Let's Reflect Together

Every once in a while you need to take a step back and reflect on why you started the path you chose and whether it is still meeting your needs.  I find it both interesting to write about, important to keep you motivated or pivot and hopefully others will share their stories in the comments too.

How I Started on Amazon

I started selling on Amazon because of a few influences but it all started for the miles/points.  I had been reading Big Habitat (he has since disappeared into the Blogger ether) who was using Amazon reselling as a way to meet minimum spending thresholds, earn companion passes and get huge portal bonuses.  Once I started I pretty much bought whatever he suggested (which was mostly iPads) and he very rarely steered me wrong. That being said, I didn't really get going in any serious way until later.

What put me over the edge was actually Vinh of Miles Per Day.  He started a $20k challenge with the idea to spend $20,000 (the minimum spend requirement for a credit card) in 3 months in either gift card reselling or merchandise reselling while still making a profit. That was way more than I had ever done but the challenge really put me on the path towards reselling on a greater scale.  You can see that I didn't too terribly but not amazing either.

Even when I was doing $20k in 3 months, it was very much a hobby for me, something to do to get lots of points and maybe a little bit of cash too.  A few returns and my profit would have tanked but I had enough of a cushion that I probably wouldn't lose money and that's all I really wanted at the time.  It took a while for this to translate from a business that generates miles and some profit into a business that generates profit and happens to generate miles too.

Once it was becoming more of a business I had to decide whether I wanted this to be part of my livelihood, a sidegig, hobby or just to drop it.  I spent 6 years after college training for my job (that costs a bunch of money - not to mention salary opportunity costs).   It was not going to be easy explaining to my friends and family why I wanted to sit at home in my PJs all day instead of getting a "real job" like everyone else.  Sometimes you need to have the perspective that what I went through is in the past and it isn't the only path forward, but you better be sure about that!

Hopefully I can articulate what Amazon means to me.

Money and Exponential Growth Potential

I don't want to sugar coat this.  The #1 reason I sell on Amazon is for the money.  While I did well last year and I was happy with my results, if I thought my results from last year were the average I would make in the future, I would probably be going into work every day.  Amazon provides a limitless growth potential.  It's not easy and most people don't get there (some even lose money) but that potential is there.  I don't think I'll ever make $1 million a year but I do see how in a few years the number can continue to rise until I can support my family solely on this - assuming no suspensions :(

Amazon Makes Me Like My Regular Job More 

I don't go in every day so it isn't a drag when I do go in (sometimes it still can be).  I also can feel confident about what I'm doing.  I don't need my job so I don't need to cut corners to make myself look better.  If I don't respect a decision being made, I don't have to worry about the consequences.  I can do what I feel is right since I won't be out of a job completely until I find a new one if I need to quit for whatever reason.

It's Interesting

I find selling interesting.  I have to use my brain every time I analyze a deal.  I'm not always right, in fact I'm frequently wrong but it's a good brain exercise.  There is no shame in providing for your family in a job that isn't your favorite but if you can still provide for your family in a job that you enjoy, all the better.


Amazon gives me a lot of flexibility in how I work.  That doesn't mean that it isn't a ton of work, I work a lot more hours on my Amazon job than my "real job.".  That being said, I can work from home or while travelling. I can work during the day or at night (usually both).

On my Amazon days, if my child has a production at school, or someone needs to be picked up early I am available.  That's a big deal for my family.  I can exercise (I could but I don't) or take a nap if I need to (that never happens!).

This can also present challenges.  What happens at family dinner time when a big deal come up or when you are reading a story to your child?  I never need to work but I always can work.

These are issues that need to be navigated but I see many of my friends in conventional jobs.  Many of them aren't able to come home before 8pm every night (some much later - accountants during busy seasons I'm giving you stinkeye ).  That's not the life I want.  I am able to drop off and pick up my kids from school/day care.  That's worth a lot to me.

The People I Meet and Interact With

I have met so many people through this business and I have had the privilege to interact with some of the most knowledgeable, creative and innovative people I've ever met. They are from different nationalities, ethnicities and religions than I am and of course we don't only talk shop.  I've talked about the importance of getting yourself part of a like minded group.  It is great for business but it doesn't stop there.  It helps keep you sane and from being lonely in a business that can be lonely at times.  If not for Amazon/MSing, I don't think I would have met them.  That would be a sad story.

So, why do you sell on Amazon?

Week 1 - First attempt at reselling
Week 64 - The Buy Box
Week 65 - Amazon Restrictions and the Future of Selling on Amazon
Week 66 - Fun with Inventory Reimbursements
Week 67 - Q4 Storage Fees
Week 68 - Start Your Own Listings
Week 69 - A Long Tail Sale and Calculating Storage Fees
Week 70  - Prices Always Come Back Except When They Don't
Week 71 - Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results
Week 72 - Automation Beyond Amazon
Week 73 - Some Quick Holiday Tips
Week 74 - Update on Miles vs. Cashback Opportunity Costs
Week 75 - Pricing for the 4th Quarter Madness
Week 76 - Returns, Returns, Returns
Week 77 - Reimbursement
Week 78 - Q4 for Accelerated Inventory Turnover
Week 79 - How it is Going Outside of Amazon
Week 80 - 2017 Goals
Week 81 - I've Violated All of My Rules
Week 82 - When You Are That Shady Seller
Week 83 - January is part of Q4
Week 84 - My Returns Will be Inspected By Me
Week 85 - Business Expenses
Week 86 - Manage Inventory vs. Manage FBA Inventory