Analysis paralysis. It happens to us all.
Even Greg Mercer – Amazon FBA seller and Jungle Scout guru – will probably tell you that he suffers from analysis paralysis every now and then. And he has around 200 SKUs (aka. products) on Amazon!
What is analysis paralysis?
Analysis paralysis is a common condition whereby someone has difficulty making a decision.
It happens to people when they play certain board games, unable to decide their next move (just build the town on the clay pit, already, Karen!). Kids get it at the ice cream store, when they have 30+ flavors to choose from.
And Amazon sellers are stricken by it when they can’t decide which product to private label.
Is analysis paralysis a bad thing?
Yes and no. Sometimes analysis paralysis can save you from making poor decisions.
For example, people who couldn’t choose between the numerous cryptocurrency options available in 2017 are probably glad they could never make a choice; especially when Bitcoin, Ethereum, et al. crashed in late January, 2018.
But there are times when analysis paralysis can stop you from moving forward in your life. Dragging one’s feet when researching products to sell on Amazon is a perfect example.
If you get stuck in Amazon-FBA-product-research analysis paralysis, you could miss out on the boat altogether. Or, even worse, you could delay making a decision so long that when you do finally decide on your product, put it into production and launch it on Amazon, it’s no longer viable.
You end up losing money because other sellers cornered the market while you wasted time over-analyzing every decision.
Not to say that you should rush your decisions though. Amazon FBA isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a get-rich-slow-and-steady scheme.
How I overcame my own analysis paralysis.
I started selling on Amazon in April of 2015. First, it was books, and later it was board games. In September of 2015, it changed again when I discovered private label and Jungle Scout. By the end of the year, I had picked my first product, and by February, 2016, it arrived at Amazon’s fulfillment centers.
In less than a month I made back my entire investment.
Of course, with that kind of success, I wanted to duplicate it as quickly as I could. I used the profits from that first product to fuel the launch of my second. But I didn’t want to put a lot of time and energy into research. Plus, everyone was saying the product I found worked and the numbers looked great.
Yet there I was, four years later and still no second product. I spent way too much time staring at spreadsheets and data, and not enough actually picking a product. I passed on opportunities when I found them.
Instead of moving forward and facing new challenges, I did nothing. Eventually, regardless of the product I found, confirmation bias would catch up with me. More competitors would enter the market. My window, inevitably, vanishing.
I wondered, did that mean it was too late to become a successful Amazon seller? Hardly!
Another Amazon FBA story: Joel.
My buddy Joel, who works at Jungle Scout too (he runs the Jungle Scout Market), started selling in February, 2018. He actually created a product that was in a pretty competitive market. Crazy, right?!
He met a lot of challenges early on, but he didn’t overthink his responses to them. Instead, he followed the steps outlined in the many free resources we offer, and worked hard to get his product selling. Now Joel has 10 or more variations of that initial product and his business keeps growing. All in less than a year!
And because he started in 2018, he had all the same challenges as the rest of us. He couldn’t incentivize to get reviews. His niche was competitive. The economy was up and down, Tariffs were increasing prices, etc. Despite all that, Joel’s well on his way to creating a million-dollar business.
Why? Because he chose a product, stuck to it, and then kept optimizing his listing and ad campaigns.
Back to me.
Needless to say, working so closely with someone who was so successful was inspiring. He made me to want to get back into the game. So, in August, 2018, I started the website that would be associated with my soon-to-be new product line. I quickly picked a product, and put a deposit down as soon as I found a supplier.
As of this writing, that product is kicking butt. Plus, my website gets 150,000 views per month and has its own income streams. I overcame my analysis paralysis, and it is paying off!
How you can overcome your own paralysis.
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography, Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story. As a champion bodybuilder, multi-millionaire real estate investor, accomplished actor, former Governor, etc., the book is a fascinating read.
What really stuck out to me, though, was that when it came to getting into something new, Arnold only did the amount of research necessary to get started. When he set his sights on California commercial real estate, for example, he learned just what he needed to learn before jumping in with both feet.
He learned to recognize when something would be profitable, and then pounced. If there were stumbling blocks, he powered through and remembered what not to do the next time around. He knew that if he spent too much time studying, he’d get analysis paralysis (the Terminator is just like us!).
And because he knew himself so well, and was willing to take a risk, Arnold was a millionaire before he landed his first million-dollar movie role.
That’s a philosophy I’ve tried to stick to since reading it for the first time. I recommend that you do as well.
Try these steps to avoid analysis paralysis:
- Learn the basic steps from a reputable source. As I mentioned earlier, you could use our free resources to help. Perhaps you’d prefer to follow advice from a book you’ve read (Scott Voelker’s is great). Or maybe you want something that teaches you only the basics.
- Don’t rush ahead; learn/complete the step you’re on before moving onto the next. You don’t need to focus on Pay-Per-Click ads (PPC) and listing optimization if you haven’t even put a deposit down on a product. That’s a waste of your time and energy. Focus on what’s in front of you.
- Research 10 products, max. Use Jungle Scout to research 10 products. But don’t do more than that, at least not right away. Look at 10 and use the tools to find the product that best suits what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Contact 10 vendors, max. When start sourcing suppliers on Alibaba, contact at most 10 vendors. From that group, pick the suppliers from whom you want to get a sample. And make sure you follow-up with them, to get those samples!
- Put a deposit down as soon as you feel comfortable. By putting a deposit down, your back is against the wall, which is a good thing. Once the deposit is down, there’s no turning back. You’ve got to move forward.
- Start now. I once got a piece of advice from an internet guru I really like. He said treat today like it’s New Years Day and start your resolutions now. Brilliant! Do just that. Don’t say you’re going to do something next week or next month. Start right now.
Long story short: don’t overthink it!
There are reasons you are looking at Amazon FBA, right? Either you want to build a business online, or you think it can help you earn financial freedom. Whatever those reasons are, focus on those.
You do that and you’ll soon find yourself overcoming analysis paralysis.
Conclusion: “Analysis paralysis ain’t no thang.”
Finally, consider this: eBay has 1/3 of Amazon’s traffic, but they probably have 10 times the sellers.
But, for whatever reason, eBay sellers think it’s safer to sell on eBay. They’d rather face more competition than sell on Amazon. Sellers like Joel and I know the truth though. We know that those barriers of entry and the “analysis paralysis” slowing our competition down leaves plenty of missed opportunities for us.
And we’re not even worried if you join our ranks because, frankly, there’s plenty to go around. Selling on Amazon is still a great opportunity. Stop reading and get started!
See you on the other side.
This is great information if you want your own brand but I’m not ready to do that yet. I want to cash in on a product already being sold but finding that “right” product is the problem. I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it. However, the Jungle Scout Extension does help.
Interesting analysis. Do you do wholesaling?
I keep thinking that I’m driving my Jungle Scout colleagues crazy with my millions of questions and insecurities to Jungle Scout support? Why all the hesitations and delays?
In life, I have lost out so many times ( and I mean big time! ) that no one at Jungle Scout would ever believe it! But at the same time I’ve had some terrific successes to…but never without much thought, deliberation and scrutiny!! Another excuse?
I don’t know.
I’ve had my Standard Jungle Scout Web app/Chrome Extension Pro for about a year and a half now. How’s that for being the king of procrastination!
This “analysis paralysis” is just the encouragement I’ve very badly needed to get me over the last hurdle as I am so very close to launching!! Thanks always for being there for me every step of the way freedom builders!!!
This is a great piece of advice to overcome analysis paralysis. I certainly suffer from this as of right now. Thank you for posting and sharing. This greatly helped.
Thank you for breaking my paralysis, Dave. I’ve identified a product. I’m waiting on responses to my RFQs. But I’m trying to estimate all the other costs associated with landing this thing in the mean time. I think I’ve got a handle on everything but product inspections. I’ve read everything on the site, and there’s very little discussion of this. And you have the latest post, so I’m going to pick on you. What would you expect to pay for a pre-shipment inspection?
Thank you! This helps in so many ways.. really appreciate the suggestion of picking 10 products… and Just get started!