I wasn’t looking to get rich and I wasn’t looking to be the next Donald Trump (ewww), but I was looking for options.
In the beginning, I did what most people did which was listen to some podcasts, read some blogs, join some Facebook groups and maybe buy an eBook or two. I didn’t spend a lot of money on the learning part (especially not $5K like some people are charging) because I thought of myself as a fast learner.
So I set out on the Amazon journey and quickly got up to speed on all the relevant terms I needed to know to play in this game. Terms like; sales tax, fulfillment centers, long-term storage fees, buy box, private label, OA, RA, PL!
This list goes on right?
And as I sit back and reflect on the last two years of this journey, I started wondering…what really is the reason why I’m more successful today than I was a year ago let’s say?
I’m definitely smarter about the business than before. I sure am more resourceful. I’m more confident.
But all those things really didn’t have the most direct affect on me making more money. The ability for me to sell thousands and thousands of dollars of merchandise wasn’t because of that. I couldn’t connect the dotted line from those attributes to the bottom line.
It wasn’t until I started thinking about my work-flows that it dawned on me. I was 10X ahead of my peers because I finally figured out the most efficient work-flows. Work-flows that squeezed the efficiency out of every action I took towards the bottom line.
I want to share some of those work-flows with you today.
Are you still with me? It could mean 10X your profits on your Amazon FBA business.
What’s really clear to me now is that the range of Amazon FBA sellers out there all fall on some sort of experience spectrum or continuum.
Red Side Sellers
Towards the red side, you have (and this varies slightly and it’s not all encompassing) new sellers who are selling with the following attributes or behaviors:
- asks a lot of questions on Facebook groups
- reads and consumes any and all material on the subject
- buys courses and ebooks and follows thought leaders in the Amazon niche
- is selling but exhibits novice techniques or profit-draining actions
- poor and dis-functional work flows
Yellow Middle Sellers
In the middle, you have sellers that are more experienced and start to display different attributes or behaviors:
- starts to pick up tips and tricks by industry leaders and put some of them into place
- ask more confident questions in Facebook groups or actually messages or emails leaders directly
- buys more advanced equipment and pays for more advanced selling tools (re-pricer software, listing software, phone apps, etc)
- starts to turn a small profit and begins to think about expansion into other forms of selling like online arbitrage or private labeling
- streamlined work-flows with moderate success; heavy physical or time requirements
Green Side Sellers
And finally you come to the green side (walk into the light, my son) where all of your super sellers are they are typically displaying the following behaviors:
- challenging other experts in the industry to robust conversations and can intelligently debate the issues of the Amazon marketplace
- running their own blogs, YouTube channels, and Facebook groups and start to build a tribe of followers hungry for learning
- making fantastic profits and have already expanded into other sales channels or setting up groundwork to do so
- advanced work-flows with almost no physical, mental or time-based waste
So depending on where you fall on this spectrum of experience, you either still fumbling around with inefficient work-flows or you’ve reached some sort of Jedi-like state of progress, where every one of your work-flows in humming along on all six cylinders and you’re profiting very well because of it.
I want to fast forward you to the green side as much as possible because I wish I had someone who did that for me. So let’s start sliding green, shall we?
Amazon FBA is a margins game and you’ll win or DIE on the margins.
And when you’re trying to win on tight margins, the only way to go is up. And when I say up, I mean BIG. Or macro. Or wholesale. Or VOLUME!
Let me use a simple example to help illustrate my point about accelerated or efficient work-flows.
Let’s say you went out and bought 100 books from a seller on Craigslist. You scanned a few to be sure there was some profit there and you felt good enough about the few you spot checked to pull the trigger and pay for them.
At this point, you’re super excited. Hell, you’re almost buying wholesale right? (hahahahaha)
So you pack up your books and you truck them home. Now you have to list, prep and ship them.
Let’s say you bought those books for $1 a piece for $100 total and you’re expecting on average to sell those books for $14 a piece for a total sales haul of $1,400.00!
Now that’s damn good, right? That’s more than 10X…that’s like 14X.
You bet it is.
But really, we now have to back out all of the Amazon fees, shipping fees, a small % for returns lets say and material fees.
There are two places you make your money in Amazon FBA. When you buy the product and when you deploy your work-flow, to process those products.
Amazon is going to do the selling for you. Duh? So really it comes down to the price you negotiate to buy the product and how much “leakage” you have in profit or productivity on the prep and process side.
A red seller’s work-flow will typically look like this:
Clean books > Scan Books > Price Books > Condition Books > Label Books > Pack Books > Ship Books
A green seller’s work-flow will typically look like this:
No prep of books > Scan books or hire someone to do this > Pack Books > Ship Books
But wait, how did the Green Seller skip all those steps that the Red Seller did?
See the green seller has been around the Amazon jungle for awhile and knows some, if not all of the tricks of the trade and is actively employing those efficiencies to streamline and accelerate his work-flows. While the red seller is taking hours and hours to process those 100 books, the green seller is getting it done in under an hour.
Here is what the red seller knows that the green seller doesn’t:
- No need to prep the books much (only the really high-value ones) because as long as you condition them right, they don’t need to look pretty going into the AZ warehouse. No need to worry about negative feedback because he just pays for AMZsuite or some other sub-service to remove those negative ratings. Thus accelerating his work-flow.
- He uses a fast and bulk listing software app like AccelerList or something else to scan hundreds of books in minutes. He puts his books in “condition piles” before he starts to scan in order to accelerate his speed of scanning.
- No need to price the books because he’s signed up for one of the many Repricer programs out there and all the heavy lifting is done automatically while he is out-sourcing his next book haul.
- He packs his books and uses a box-resizer to cut down on the space waste and doesn’t spend more than he should on dimensional weight with UPC.
- He waits until he has a lot of books or products to ship and puts it all under one shipping plan and gets his “price per pound” of shipping wait down to .10 cents.
Other than the costs savings, the big takeaway here is his time savings. He just accelerated his work-flow over the red seller by 10X. While the red seller is still scanning, pricing, labeling, and shipping his books…the green seller is already contacting the next Craigslist seller and arranging to pick up more books.
And then, it’s just rinse and repeat.
Do you ever wonder how the very experienced Amazon FBA sellers claim to be making a full-time living doing this part time?
This is how.
We’re interested to hear about where you are on the sliding scale of experience below. Please leave a comment and tell us about your journey!
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