Amazon side hustle: man at desk, working (Photo by Manny Pantoja on Unsplash)

Side Hustle or Full-Time Job? Selling on Amazon in Your Spare Time

Amazon has over 6 million sellers selling more than 160 million products globally — and the number of sellers grows daily. The majority of those sellers, however, spend fewer than 40 hours per week selling on Amazon. And while some sellers have other jobs, others earn income from their Amazon businesses alone. 

So is selling on Amazon a side hustle or a full-time job? And how much time and money does it take for Amazon sellers to be successful? We’ll dig into the data to uncover the details.

How many sellers sell on Amazon full-time?

At Jungle Scout, we surveyed more than 1,000 Amazon sellers and learned that just 5% of Amazon sellers earn income from their Amazon businesses alone — while the majority of respondents stated they work a full-time job on top of selling on Amazon.

This goes to show that even if you are working a part-time or full-time job, it is still very feasible to build a successful ecommerce business on the side. In fact, 38% of sellers work full-time jobs while still selling on Amazon.

Amazon sellers by employment status:

  • 38% work a full-time job (40+ hours per week)
  • 35% are self-employed
  • 12% work part-time jobs (1-39 hours per week)
  • 5% work exclusively on their ecommerce business
  • 3% are retired
  • 2% are stay-at-home parents
  • 2% are full-time students
  • 2% are not employed, but looking for work
  • And less than 1% are disabled

We also learned that 76% of Amazon sellers run their business primarily from their own homes, and 19% rent or own office space to run their business.

For 10% of Amazon sellers, their business is a hobby. Whether you want to replace your full-time income, or supplement your current income, selling on Amazon can make that possible.

How much time do Amazon sellers spend on their businesses?

The majority (64%) spend fewer than 20 hours per week working on their Amazon businesses. 

  • Fewer than 4 hours: 16%
  • 4-10 hours: 28%
  • 11-20 hours: 20%
  • 21-30 hours: 13%
  • 31-40 hours: 12%
  • 41-50 hours: 6%
  • 51-60 hours: 3%
  • Over 60 hours: 4%

You can still build a profitable business on Amazon without putting in full-time hours. The longer you’ve been in business and the more systems you put into place, the less time you need to spend running the business. 

With that said, 47% of sellers believe having enough time to commit to the business will contribute to your company’s success of selling online. 

How much time should you spend on your Amazon business? Well, that depends on what you want to get out of it.

How many hours should you spend on your Amazon business?

Because people and businesses choose to sell on Amazon for widely varied reasons, they may also want to invest different amounts of time and effort.

But if the goal of a seller is to invest in Amazon as a means to earn money, the general rule is you get out what you put in. 

In fact, we know that the most profitable Amazon sellers, and those with the greatest lifetime sales, spend more time on their businesses than other sellers. 

The data below segments sellers by the number of hours worked each week and then their profit margins.

  • Sellers working 4 hours or less per week have a 1-5% profit margin
  • 4-10 hours: 34% have a 6-10% profit margin 
  • 11-20 hours: 57% have a 11-20% profit margin
  • 21-30 hours: 31% have a 26-50% profit margin
  • 31-40 hours: 23% have a 21-25% profit margin 
  • 41-50 hours: 13% have a 16-20% profit margin

Obivously time spent on your business does not always mean a higher profit margin, but for the majority of these sellers, that was the case. Some sellers who work very few hours per week earn high profit margins — and vice versa.

Not enough time to spend? Get the right tools.

We asked Amazon sellers what they thought the biggest contributors to their success on Amazon was. 

Among all sellers, one of the top answers (for 47% of sellers) was time to commit to their businesses! 

However, the top answer was having the tools and information to help them succeed.

What tools do time-strapped sellers need?

Sellers said the biggest focus for their Amazon business is finding a product. In fact, 55% of sellers who spend fewer than four hours per week spend their time looking for a product, as do 45% of sellers who spend 4-10 hours in their business.

Those who spend more than 10 hours per week on their business told us that they spend most of their time managing PPC. However, finding products and getting product reviews are just as important.

Jungle Scout — an all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon — has tools that will cut the time it takes you to run and maintain your Amazon business significantly.

How can I get started with Amazon as a side hustle?

If you decide to start selling on Amazon, whether as a side hustle or a full-time business, try to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week to get started.

If you don’t have as much time to spend in your Amazon business, make sure you:

If you have more than 10 hours per week to spend in your business, make sure you:

Where to get the right tools and information for Amazon.

For product research, we recommend that you get Jungle Scout — an all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon. Not only will you get access to the Jungle Academy which has detailed videos on product research, but you will also have access to five tools that help with product research.

For Amazon PPC, Jungle Scout also offers Keyword Scout which can help you find keywords for your keyword campaigns.

And to get reviews, Review Automation will automatically request reviews from your customers.


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4 comments on “Side Hustle or Full-Time Job? Selling on Amazon in Your Spare Time

  1. Very good read! I purchased an Amazon course in April of this year. I got lazy and fell off. Now, I am trying to get back Into it. I suppose I am hesitant because I feel I won’t be able to do it on my own. The course I paid for talks a lot about Jungle Scout. Any words of encouragement for me? I’m not a newbie to online selling but Amazon is a whole new beast compared to eBay. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jon,

      Yes, selling on Amazon is a lot of work and can be a big learning curve, but it is worth it if you can figure out which products sell well for you. Give it a try but start small. You can sell just a couple of items to get a feel for it. If you sell on eBay, you can then easily list your products as Fulfilled by Merchant and ship orders yourself.

      Give FBA a try as well. Setting up a shipment in Seller Central is easy once you get the hang of it.

      This business can be done on your own, that’s how many sellers start. Take your time and learn but don’t be afraid to jump in.


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