Whether you love or hate Amazon, there is no denying that it has created many opportunities for the home-based entrepreneur to make a living at home and compete more fairly with larger companies. It’s not an easy feat to get your products into the major retailers such as Wal-Mart. However, you can sell your products through the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com.
Many years ago, I used to sell my used items on Amazon when I was short of cash. While I used Amazon as a garage sale of sorts, enterprising entrepreneurs used it to make a living selling products. Initially, Amazon allowed merchants to list and sell their items, but they had to pack and ship them. But then Amazon created FBA, Fulfillment by Amazon, and changed the game for small home-based entrepreneurs. Today, many regular folks are making a couple of thousand part-time, or over six-figures full-time through the Amazon FBA program.
What is Fulfillment by Amazon?
You can still list your items and ship them when they sell on Amazon. However, if you don’t want the hassle of packing and shipping, you can load all the items you’re selling on Amazon into a box, ship them to Amazon, and Amazon will take care of packing and shipping them to the buyer. So instead of shipping to each customer, you’re shipping once to Amazon.
How much can be made?
Like any entrepreneurial venture, how much you can make on Amazon depends on you. There are many people who use the FBA program as a side-hustle, earning a couple hundred a month to pay off debt or make mad money. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some who make six-figures or more. While you can make the big bucks on Amazon, it’s not automatic. Success in the Amazon FBA program depends on the quality of items you choose to sell, the profit you earn on the item, and how well you sell the item. You can check out this success story to see how one man did it:
What does it cost to get started?
Most success stories I see suggest people start with a couple of hundred dollars worth of inventory. However, you can seed your Amazon business by selling stuff around your house first. The fees charged by Amazon are very reasonable. It has a free program, where you pay $0.99 per sale, plus storage and handling fees (for less than 40 products a month). If you want to sell more than 40 products, you can sign up for the Pro-Seller program, which is $39.99 per month, plus storage and handling fees. Less than forty dollars to have your item for sale on Amazon, available for Amazon Prime, and shipped by Amazon is a great deal. It’s certainly less money and hassle than creating your own ecommerce store.
How are items found that can be sold on Amazon?
There are several ways to find items to sell on Amazon.
- By low sell high: Referred to as retail arbitrage, you can find low cost items that you then sell for a higher price on Amazon. Good sources for these items include discount and sales items at your local stores, eBay, and other places that sell items at discount.
- Wholesale: You can connect with a wholeseller to buy items in bulk, that you can then send to Amazon to sell at retail prices.
- Used items: Amazon FBA isn’t really suitable for used items, however, if you own a product that you haven’t used or find one in great condition at your thrift store or garage sale (it should still be packaged), you can sell it on Amazon.
The trick to success in selling on Amazon is to find low cost items that you can mark up enough that you can make a profit, while still have a competing price on Amazon.
How to get started with Amazon FBA
Signing up to sell on Amazon is fairly straight forward.
- Find items to sell.
- Sign up for a Seller Account. If you already have a seller account, you can add FBA to it.
- Add your product listings. If you have a lot of items, Amazon allows bulk uploading, or integrating your inventory management software with Amazon’s API.
- Prepare your items to ship to Amazon. Be sure to follow Amazon’s directions for how to label and ship your items. Once shipped, Amazon will let you know they’re received and your items can go live for sale on Amazon.
- Amazon takes care of payment from and shipping when your item(s) sell. After your first 30 days, Amazon will pay you every two weeks if you have sales.
Free Course to Learn More
If you want to learn more, I recommend you take this free 7-Day course by Jessica Larrew, who not only makes a great living through Amazon FBA, but helps others do so as well.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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