It’s that time again, folks. Another new year, and another set of resolutions many of us won’t keep.
Like a lot of people, every December I make promises to myself that I’ll live my best life, starting in the new year. I’ll lose weight, drink less, stop smoking and say yes more often.
But have I ever kept those promises? For a month or so, maybe. Not in the long run though. I guess ‘old habits die hard’ is a cliche for a reason!
And I know I am not alone in this. Lots of us make New Year’s resolutions every January 1st, only to give them up days, weeks or months later so we can go back to our old ways. Then we make the same promises to ourselves the following January, repeating the cycle of failure all over again.
Set resolutions, give up on resolutions and repeat!
Not this year though! 2019 is our clean slate. Let’s make THIS the year we make the decision to change our lives, and let’s remain resolute!
I’m not promising to help you lose 12 pounds, or to see your family and friends more often. You’ll have to work on those yourselves, I’m afraid. Instead, let’s tackle a much more realistic and achievable goal; one that will turn your world upside down.
Starting the Journey
Let’s rewind to 2017 when I was working an eight to four job every day, with a two-hour commute each way.
I spent more money on gas than I did socializing with friends, or treating myself. While I had a good job, a decent salary, and my dream car, I remained unfulfilled. Exhausted from the long commute, I would fall asleep as soon as I got home, losing out on valuable time with friends and family, and catching up on lost sleep instead.
Every time I was invited out for a social event, big or small, I had to check to make sure that I had enough money in my bank account to pay for the gas it would take me to get to work for the next week before I could commit to any plans.
Who was I living life for? Certainly not me. I was living to work, not working to live.
After 2 years of this taxing pace, my fuse ran out. So, in October 2017, I set myself a target: by the start of 2018, I would be living my best life; whatever that may be.
At the time, I had no idea where to begin. And like most, I decided to turn to Google. I found myself typing into Google’s search field ‘how to make money from home’. Eventually, I stumbled across Amazon Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
The Next Step Along the Path
Online selling certainly wasn’t new to me.
I’d sold countless items on eBay in the past, making a few bucks here and there. But I’d never considered selling online as a viable way to earn a comfortable living. To hear that Amazon FBA sellers could make enough money to live their best lives – I was intrigued, to say the least!
Excited at the prospect of making my 2018 dream come true, I wasted no time in researching exactly what selling on Amazon entails. I had a pretty big garage, so I had room to hold stock. I lived across the road from a post office, so posting items to customers wouldn’t be a hassle either. I thought I all had it planned out until my research lead me to FBA.
Rather than storing my stock myself, Amazon would store it for me. Instead of handling my own packing and shipping, Amazon would handle it for me. Returns. Refunds. Customer Service. Fulfillment by Amazon would take care of them all.
For a relatively small fee for each unit sold, I could spend my time in bed, or down the pub with friends, instead of spending it picking, packing and shipping people’s purchases myself.
That’s a win if you ask me!
Finding the Perfect Vehicle for this Adventure
After weeks of researching Amazon FBA, I started planning my future life as a work-from-home CEO of my own private label company. I had decided. I would start selling on Amazon as soon as I found the perfect product to sell.
And with that, my Amazon venture began.
I turned to YouTube to learn all the tips and tricks to finding the best products to sell. My lunch breaks were spent watching these videos, eyes glued to my screen, headphones on, hypnotized by the idea of finding a product that would make me rich. Soon, I became obsessed.
It turned into a game, looking for Amazon’s white whale: the biggest selling product, with the highest demand and the lowest competition. Like Ahab, I ended up chasing my own Moby-Dick, in a trance for a few weeks looking for that one-in-a-million product while ignoring products that could generate a considerable profit.
I’d lost sight of my goal.
Avoid Getting Stuck!
Because I became enraptured with the idea of finding the product to beat all products, I lost about two weeks of valuable set-up time. It was time I could have spent finding a manufacturer. Time I could have spent negotiating with shipment companies. Time I could have spent creating a killer listing. Instead, I was caught in a product-hunting whirlpool.
It’s easy to get sucked into that vortex though, and even easier when you’re not aware of its existence. Like that old PSA always said (public service announcement), ‘The More You Know”!
So how much time should you spend researching? Two to three weeks of product research is the ideal amount of time to look for products. If you spend more time than that, you’ll end up getting stuck in a never-ending cycle of looking for a better product to trump the one you already found.
By sticking to that 2-3 week time frame, you’ll not only have time to find good products, but you’ll also be able to track those items to see how they perform over a couple of weeks. Then you’ll have a pretty good idea of which product is your best bet.
Maintain Your Momentum
After I managed to drag myself out of the perpetual cycle of looking for a ‘better’ product, and decided which product I was going to sell, I got excited all over again. This was the first step of my online business coming together. I’d found my product.
This little item was going to help me live my best life. So, without further hesitation, I took the next step and signed up for my seller account, started looking for a supplier and researched freelancers to design my packaging and logo.
Simply Rolling Along
Creating my seller account was simple. I completed the process within 15 minutes, since Amazon kindly provided a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up a seller account.
Seller Account, done.
Navigating the Intersections
Finding my supplier was also easier than I expected. To be frank, I was dreading the hunt for a supplier most of all. I had zero experience vetting manufacturers to make my product for me, let alone negotiating with them when I found one I liked.
It was daunting, but it turns out that all my worrying was unnecessary.
Personally, I used Alibaba, as I found their site easiest to navigate, especially for a newbie like me. It also seemed to be the choice of most people who frequented online forums or groups I had joined (Facebook groups, like Amazon FBA Competitive Edge, can save you time and money, so if you do nothing else, join groups like Scott Voelker’s ‘The Amazing Seller‘)
I chose a supplier who had experience making products like mine, had over 10 years experience on Alibaba and made communicating easy. Having a supplier who is easy to talk to makes all the difference, so make sure this is at or near the top of your “need” list when looking for potential manufacturers.
Once my supplier and I arrived at an agreement, I asked them to send me a sample of my product. I needed to make sure it met my standards of quality before I moved forward with any further planning. That package, when it turned up on my doorstep, represented my dreams. And those dreams were becoming a reality.
Two years later and that little sample still sits on my bedside table.
Make Sure You’re Seen
Product sample in hand, I went about finding someone who could design my logo and packaging for me. Being a qualified graphic designer myself, I was tempted to take on the task. But after drawing up a few designs and not being happy with them 100%, I decided it was best to hire someone who designs packaging for Amazon products full-time.
Finding freelancers who worked exclusively with Amazon sellers was a little more difficult two years ago. Now it’s super easy. All you have to do it head over to the Jungle Scout Market, There are lots of experienced, Amazon freelancers for you to choose from. Simply browse (and/or filter) the sellers, check out their prices, read their reviews, and message the ones who seem like the best fit.
You could have a logo and packaging designed within the week.
Logo and Design, done.
Head out on the Highway
And then it was time. I put in my first order.
In that moment, I knew there was no going back. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. After all, activating my Amazon listing meant handing over my hard earned cash, to make sure my product would be seen by potential customers. The anxiety around spending money on advertising, and the difficulty of letting go of the money I worked hard to save, were constant companions.
But still, I steeled my nerves and thought to myself, Good things don’t come to those to wait. I’d waited long enough.
Like most people, I worked for someone else, improving their business and their life for over six years. Their schedule dictated often what I could and couldn’t do. Eventually, it hit me. I needed to find a way to spend my days working for myself.
With that, I took steps to change my life, which ultimately led me to place my first order. It’s a moment that will stay with me forever.
Worth the Ride?
Fast forward to January 2019, and long gone are the days of commuting to work, two hours each way. I no longer dream of beaches that looked like my screen saver. Now I can head to those white sands and clear blue waters whenever I want.
Financially, I’m better off. Emotionally, I’ve never been happier. For the first time in my life, I can do what I want, when I want. Schedules and location no longer tie me down. I live for me.
Granted, it took work to achieve this freedom. I researched every aspect of selling on Amazon as a private label, FBA seller. When I wasn’t working, I stayed glued to my laptop, spending countless hours learning the tips and tricks to ensure my Private Label business would be successful.
Invest time upfront, reading and watching everything you can about the Amazon seller journey. It will pay off in the long run.
Why Take This Journey Now?
If you’re going to sell online, then what better marketplace to sell on than the giant online presence that is Amazon? It’s the biggest online retailer, winning over 43% of all online sales in the United States. Plus, FBA fees are going down, which means potentially higher profit margins.
But even if this is a better time to be selling on Amazon than it was two years ago, when I started, I’d still go back and starting selling a couple of years earlier than I did, if I could. It would have meant two more years of personal and financial freedom.
So this year, be resolute. This year, keep your New Year’s resolution to start living your best life and take that all-important first step along the path to becoming an Amazon seller.
It’s 2019, isn’t it time you started living for YOU?