Tips From The Brain Of An Amazon FBA Seller

I would say being an Amazon FBA Seller is anything but, basic.  The perks of owning your own business also, comes with lots of headaches as well as, investing a fair share of your money. This is not said to discourage you but, you may be putting in forty hour weeks plus and, getting pennies if anything. Most sellers have a full time job while they are building up their Amazon business. Not having a full time job while building my Amazon business was a huge mistake on my part. Unless you have $50,000 you can invest right away and, not be hurt financially by investing this money you have some serious things to consider. If you are living on your own I strongly recommend staying at your job and, keep Amazon as a side hustle. Unfortunately, we all need money to survive and, this becomes a problem when you are starting a business that you will not make profit off of quickly. This is said for most businesses, it takes five years to actually see a profit. I am on my third year and, oh boy, is that accurate. I need many side hustles like Freelancing to make money and, most of my money gets invested back in Amazon. Frustration does not even describe how you feel when you watch all your money go back into your business and, you are silently crying on the inside. On one hand you know you are feeding your business to help you in the future and, on the other hand it’s like where did all my money go. You will 100% question yourself and, don’t expect friends and, family to be supportive at first they will think you’re literally sitting around doing nothing all day. Especially, as an FBA seller when you ship out your boxes to Amazon they won’t see your hustle all the time and, you’re working mainly from home so, defiantly keep that in mind. The mental questioning really gets to you at some points but, that’s when you realize you are building a business and, it’s not easy. If building a business was easy everyone would be doing it instead, of working for other people. You will need mental clarity so, I suggest going to the gym, local coffee shop, moving outside to work on your porch , lots of music, watching a show while working and, walks. I try to get out of the house daily because you will go stir crazy.. The re-seller community is amazing on instagram and, they are a constant score of encouragement and, tips. The amount of gold they drop everyday on instagram is amazing!

Okay, onto the actual Amazon business. You need to get approved to sell on Amazon and, you will automatically be approved to sell books but, you must look up categories in the help and, ask for approval. They are cracking down on Amazon sometimes you have to pay to be approved for a certain category and, you most likely will not be able to sell brands like Nike which,  you would have to have gotten grandfathered into. Yes, this is a pain in the ass and, can really mess with you especially if you have clothing or, shoes you are trying to sell of a really popular name brand. Clothes & Shoes must be new if, you want to sell use clothing head over to ebay or, Poshmark because Amazon would probably kick you off and, you’d need to wait six months to get back on. Amazon will not hesitate to ban you if, you try to sell a restricted item etc. so, you need to make sure you are unrestricted before you even try to sell in a category other than books. Oh, and you are restricted from selling collectible books you have to get unrestricted in this category or, you books will be sitting collecting dust. You have to get unrestricted in DVDs, VHS, etc.. yup, they restrict you in basically everything. And, for most of these items you must have wholesale invoice they don’t except store receipts so yea, you may be restricted for awhile until you have a solid wholesaler that you purchase from.  Being an FBA seller is challenging but, can be worth it especially with ROI for books!

Things I forgot to consider when pricing my items are the fees that I will be taking on when selling this specific item. You have the fee for Amazon about $49.95/mo. Scanpower $69.95/mo. if you use it regularly every month I have been having to pay $0 which, means I need to get more books haha ( Insert monkey with hands over the eyes), $228 for AsellerTool/6months, the shipping fee for the items and, the percentage Amazon takes plus, the cost of the item. Yeah, it is a bit much and, can be a bit frustrating to have all these fees you are paying for. You also, need the scanners to actually figure how much the cost of the item is; see this link for a detailed explanation

( http://thatsabang.com/?p=511    ). This is why it has taken me three years to kind of catch up with my business because in equipment I’ve spent over $1,044 in equipment. To some people that is not a lot of money to me that took awhile to pay off plus, ink, paper, printer ( I recently got a new one a laser printer) and, the labels for the dymo label printer ( thank goodness this does not need ink!). Now take the fees that you pay for the year $599.4 (Amazon), $839.40 ( ScanPower), ASellertool ( $456) = $1,894.8 a year in just fees. This does not include the whammy of the storage fee that you get hit with if you items are over 365 days old I think this happens twice a year. You really have to keep up with this because you could spend even more money keeping your inventory at Amazon instead of sending it back to you. Unfortunately, this hit me kind of hard this year and, everytime UPS came with boxes and, boxes of books my heart sank and, I had mini panic attacks ( I still live with my parents for the time being and, they were not pleased to have the boxes in their house but, I don’t think they realized how displeased I was to have to pay to ship books/items sent back to me haha). This is why I emphasize knowing what categories you can sell in because sometimes they just hit you with sorry, you are now restricted in that category, ( learn from my mistakes!).  I will also, go into how important rank is in a minute so, hold on. You need to keep all these fees in mind when you’re pricing your item but, you also have to keep your pricing competitive.

Some FBA Sellers will make you very, very angry because the book could be worth $40 and, they’ll have it for $10. This happens so much it’s incredible how annoying some of the sellers are and, I don’t understand because they are barely making any money if any. Price wisely as, you don’t want to piss off other sellers but, you also, don’t want to price too high. Here is what I would normally do for very good or, good the new price would get slashed in half and, that’s how much I would price it at. If it’s ex-library or, acceptable condition I divide the price by 3. I will give you an example below because it sounds more complicated than it is.

Okay, so here is an example of a book that I have and, this is where you wil get 100% frustrated. This ranking is extremely good at over 800,000. That means for every 800,00 books purchased this book sells. The lower the rank the better! Now, you see that new the price is around $74 and, normally I would price my book used good or used very good at about $35. But, instead we have sellers who don’t understand the value of the book and, they priced it in the $9-$11 range. I don’t know who they think they are helping but, it’s not themselves… Right now, to make any money off of a book the lowest you can have it at is $10 becuase the fees went up as they do every year. Here is a prime example of how you should not price your books as a FBA Seller. FBA Seller’s are paying a fee for a reason; there are storage fees but, it’s also, to have Amazon Prime ( Two Day free shipping), available to your sellers. You can also, look at camel,camel,camel to see how often the item or book sells and, the range of prices they sell for. Okay, now into rank.. Oh my, rank can be a big problem because you want the lowest rank possible for a quick turnover. But, on the other hand you can luck out and, get a high ranking book that sells in a couple of months.. Ranking gives me a headache because I do gamble sometimes for books that I will make a large profit on and, the ranking is very high. In my experience it is not worth it look for low ranks because you want the fastest turn over as possible especially, when you are just starting out. Do not ignore the rank! Yes, when you are at a book sale you have to be able to look at the rank and, calculation of how much you will make off of the book in a matter of seconds. Most sellers know what their criteria is and, have their scanners set to beep if the book meets these standards. I personally don’t do this because I may miss a book that I can make a quick buck off of. It’s really up to the seller as, it is their preference.

I hope this helps you kind of get an idea what is like to be an FBA Seller and, I will be posting more so, stay tuned for those posts.

Have an enlightening and adventurous day,

allie

 

 

 

 

Resources That Are Awesome

Here are my favorite gems for traveling, saving money and, so much more!

Airbnb: This is my favorite way to travel. While in Italy we saved so much money using Airbnb and stayed in an amzing apartment. Airbnb is much cheaper than a hotel and, you can filter what you need for your trip. You can get an entire house or, a room in a house. It’s customized to your needs.

How Most Bloggers Go From Making $0 To Making Some Cash As A Blog : Blogging can be a very challenging experience and, I have been working very hard to understand what I need to go from $0 to $50,000 plus a year. I’ve learned a lot has to do with affilate links and, marketing. It can get a bit confusing all you can do is research and, continue to learn.

Ibotta: Clip coupons no more! This app has all the coupons you want minus the many hours of coupon clipping. I even saw 1% off ebay! Ibotta helps you save money on groceries, mobile shopping, travel and, so much more! You also get $10 just for signing up through my account. 

Ebates: Get the best deals on Ebates while collecting money! Invite friends and, get $5 bonus for each friend that signs up. Who doesn’t love building up cash to shop!

Swagbucks: Earn Swagbuck for shopping or, taking surveys. Get rewards for shopping. 

 

 

 

How To Prepare For A Book Sale

Hello loves,

If you read what to scan at a book sale you are pretty prepared and, now you need to know what to bring with you. It took me a little bit to get this list down but, now I think I’ve got it. It saves me time and, money.

Here is the List:

  • Have Your Scanners charged- Make sure you put the data on them the night before ( You know what I mean if you are book seller, make an inquiry below if you have a question about it)
  • Have battery chargers and, regular charges for the scanners
  • Bring Snacks & Lunch You will want to take one snack break and, a lunch break    ( while you are doing both do not forget to charge your scanners)
  • Bags to free your hands- put the bag on the ground in front of you and, start scanning away. When your bag gets full put it in a corner or by a wall and, put your sheet over it. Letting people know those are your books.
  • Be Friendly even if people are a bit unfriendly to you
  • If you wear headphones, it makes it easier to avoid having to answer all the questions you are going to get by many people…
  • Do not forget to have a system to list on Amazon like, ScanPower

Just Start Scanning

Hello Loves,

If you haven’t read my article on scanners to buy books and, other items I will put a link below. But, for those of you that have read it this article is about what you want to scan. Before we begin I am not an expert but, I will save you some wasted time and, money!

So, what should you scan?

  • Textbooks, when it is textbook season you will have books literally flying off the shelves remember to take in account how much it will cost to ship the book, the cost of the book and, you want the ranking to be as low as possible 50 or less if they even have that to around 1.5 million. The lower the more frequent it will sell. Make sure the textbook is worth selling but, if it is congrats!
  • Everyone has their niche art books, history etc.. we like foreign it sells pretty well! Take the same advice into play when fining the right ones to sell on Amazon.
  • Non-fiction the same rules apply

Find out what works best for your company make sure you go in with a bit of a business plan. Your scanner is your best friend and, you may make a few mistakes but, that’s the fun of it; because once you score a big sale you will be addicted! Scan away, list, ship and, let the sales begin!

Find out what you will need to bring with you to the book sale in the next article. If you have more questions leave them below in the comments.

Have an enlightening and adventures day,

Allison Vota

Scanners Used By An Amazon FBA Seller

Hello,

Recently, I have been asked about scanners I use as an amazon fba seller. I chatted a little bit about it on my Instagram amazon_fba_seller and, decided I wanted to go into further detail on here. I started as an Amazon FBA seller about three years ago and, have had a bit of a slow start. Despite my best efforts to sell books an, venture into new items Amazon has been a bit of a challenge for me. The start up costs are expensive and, the pay back is defiantly worth it but, I have not had too much money to invest which is why my progress has gone a bit slow. I have recently venture into different items and, would like to learn how to purchase liquidation so, I am able to sell clothing etc. on Amazon. I have been following a lot of sellers who have been in the game longer and, are really hustling. If you all did not know I opened my ebay store three weeks ago and, have been listing away. If you want to check out my items that I have for sale I will leave a link below. Now that I think I have actually grasp selling on Amazon I want to give you what you have been asking in regards to scanners.

  • Cell Phone:

You already pay for it and, it is easy to download apps. I use Scanpower and, ASellertool. When the book sale season is not in progress Scanpower is the app I scan with and, when book sale season is in progress I use ASellerTool.

Scanpower: Used to scan inventory into Amazon and, scan products to be able to see if they are worth selling on Amazon. Scanpower has a new plan if you scan 42 items it is free. If you do not have a lot of money to work with this is great to use for the first couple of months. Scanpower does need the internet so, you will need a hotspot or, to sign into the internet where ever you are. Book sales normally have internet that you are able to use but, there are two times I had to borrow a hotspot because the internet and, reception didn’t work well. This is where the ASeller Tool comes into play.

http://www.scanpower.com/#_l_1x

ASellerTool: You can scan for live search on your phone or, have scanners with the data in them in which, you would not need the internet. The data is downloaded by you the night before the book sale. ASellerTool can be a bit pricey but, well worth it especially with how fast the scanners are pulling up items that you just scanned. It improved my scanning time at book sales by at least 60-70%.

http://www.asellertool.com/FBAScan.html

What scanners do you need?

Here are the ones I used as well as, pda. It took me about two years to save up to purchase them.

 

These are pdas

Dell Axim x51

Dell Axim x51v

Here are the scanners that I use:

You will also, need Compact Flash with at least 4GB so, it can fit all the data that needs to be stored when you are scanning to see how much a book is worth. I had no idea of the size that I needed and, then I talked to ASellerTool support at least two long conversations before even knowing that the 1GB I had was not going to work. Learn from my mistakes!

 

You will also, need a converter (CardReader) so, you get that data onto your CompactFlash

 

You are set to go to a book sale and, start to scan make sure you download the new data on your compactflash the night before a book sale or, you will not have the updated data and, your pricing won’t be accurate.

Here is where you can find book sales:

http://www.booksalefinder.com/

I will have more information coming your way. If you can let me know in the comments what you want to hear about that would be super helpful. Your questions can be turned into an entire article.

Have an enlightening and, adventurous day,

allie

 

Follow My hustle on instagram: @amazon_fba_seller

I will be posting on YouTube as Well so, come follow me there: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9lSYWyJqDEXe_-toxR7PvQ

Starting An Amazon FBA Business

Ciao Tutti,

I have now been on Amazon for over two years almost, three and, my goodness have I learned a lot! Like everything you do you need a plan, follow through and, goals. Amazon FBA took a little time to adjust to but, now I am going to give you the tips and, tricks I have learned. Stay tuned for the next post where I give you the insight on what you need to purchase to begin on Amazon. If you are selling more than 40 products a month Amazon FBA is where you will want your business to be otherwise Merchant Fulfillment will not be making you money. The other down side to merchant fulfillment is that, you have to store all your items in your home; yikes, can that really eat up your house space quickly! With Fulfillment By Amazon or FBA you will be storing and, shipping all of your items to an Amazon Warehouse. Just to forewarn you that the items with disperse into different shipments so, it may take you longer to fill one shipment because, news flash it is not all going to one Amazon warehouse. This can get a bit irritating but, do not let it discourage you. Now that you are in the mindset of starting an Amazon FBA business you will need to come up with a business plan. Unlike other businesses Amazon can be a bit unpredictable about where you are purchasing from and, I still do not have a clear indicator of what is selling best.

To Start On Amazon:

  • Amazon Seller Central Account $39.99/mo.
  • Amazon Storage Fees: These fees will be changing as of Feb/March 2017 they are increasing                                  Monthly Inventory Storage Fee
    Month Standard-Size Oversize
    January – October $0.54 per cubic foot $0.43 per cubic foot
    November – December $2.25 per cubic foot $1.15 per cubic foot
  • Initial Cost Of All electronics You Will Need( I will be doing a separate post)
  • ScanPower or wherever you chose to list your items on: for two devices $69.95/mo. ASellerTool is what we use over the season $285 6 mo. for two devices
  • Money for start up to purchase books and items so far, I have spent about $9,000 over the past almost three years they recommend that you have at least $50,000 to spend on all your products to begin with but, I do not have they kind of money

Let’s say you need to purchase about $1,000 worth of inventory a month plus your other expenses you will need $1,109.94/mo. at least once you start shipping products you will also, being paying storage fees.

Ok, so where do you begin now that you are set up and, ready to go? Book sales, retail arbitrage, thrift stores, estate sales and, garage sales. You can also, ask you local library or the book sales if you can purchase all the books they are going to giveaway at .30/lb. That way, they are still making money and, so are you!

Book Sales: They are sales that you go to, to scan the books and, if they are worth purchasing you buy them. Most book sales only deal in cash so, go prepared. You will want to hit up all the book sales possible and, really pay attention to what is selling. Forget the non-fiction sections you do not make any money from them. Be polite at the book sales, bring your own bags and, check ahead to see if you are allowed to scan. Personally, I do not go to the book sales that don’t let you scan but, some really high rollers will still go and, just scan until someone tells them they are not allowed to. They are usually set up in schools, gyms or, libraries and, the ones that are big are really big! We go to two large sales that we stay for two days at a hotel. Of course, if you are going to stay in a hotel you will really need to hustle as you need to make enough to pay for the hotel plus the cost of the trip and, much more. Let me break it down for you

Hotel: $150/night

Gas: $18.24 roughly that is for a 2 hour drive

Food: $60 at $10 a meal

Cost Of Trip: $228.24

You would want to make 20 times that amount roughly

$4,564.80- At .50 you would need to buy 200 plus books most of them will be $2-.25 so,  that figure would probably be a little less but, you catch my drift I hope.

Normally, we will buy 600 books at a sale and, let’s say they average at making $20 a book you will have $12,000 worth of inventory in books. It all depends so, go with what you can afford. If you are able to get those 9,000 books at $20 a book you are looking at some crazy inventory $180,000. We have yet to get 1,000 books at a sale but, we are getting more efficient which means we will be quicker and, therefore, get more books.

You will be going to this site to find book sales: http://www.booksalefinder.com/

Once you have made a schedule and, budget for how much you will be spending at the book sale it is time to head out.

You are looking to cut corners anywhere you go and, if your budget is $100 per book sale you will be going on box/bag day where it is  $10/box and, $5/bag. They will provide you with boxes and, bags so, you do not need your own. However, it is easier to have your own bags like these:

I use the bags and, then strategically pack the boxes so, I can get the most bang for my buck. Bring a sheet with you that you can put over each bag so, no one mistakes your items as part of the sale. Scan away and, be polite there is no reason for you to be rude it does not help your rep. when attending other book sales. Be patient when checking out the volunteers may be unfriendly but, keep a smile and, please and, thank you goes a long way. If you go to a preview sale you will be paying $10 and up plus premium prices for the books and, for the most part sellers leave lots of great stuff so, don’t let it bum you out.

Have a snack bag with water and, lunch/snacks. You will not have time to go out and, have lunch and, this will save you quite a bit of water. Take a break of 20 min. find a place to sit and, have your lunch. If you are at a sale for 8 hours or more it is hard to walk away but, trust me you need at least two breaks of five minutes and, a 20 minute lunch break. Your eyes may get tired and, you need quite a bit of stamina to last the whole 8 hours or more of, mostly standing. Wear comfortable sneakers, have short sleeves on and, bring a comfortable sweater. The place can be freezing one minute and, you could be sweating the next. You will need a descent sized vehicle and, need to be able to lift heavy boxes. If there are two of you that is perfect because there is a lot of ground to cover and, even with both of you, you will not be able to cover 25% if it is a large sale. Be prepared to work very long hours.. This is not a scam and, it will not get you rich overnight you have to work for it.

After the sale you will list the books and, then ship them out to Amazon. I will explain in this series about how I can afford to be an FBA Seller, where I work, how to ship the books, where to purchase inventory, finding a niche and, much more. There will be a bundle of posts containing loads of info coming your way so, be sure to look out for it. If you have questions leave them below or Tweet me @thatsabang! If you have loads of questions I will be happy to do a live YouTube video answering your questions so, comment away. As always, this is from my experience and, it is meant to help you. There are FBA Sellers who have been selling over five-ten years and, I will be linking videos for you to watch as well.

Have an enlightening and, adventurous day,

allie

Business Shenanigans Day 1

Hello Loves,

Today I am chatting about my business trip and what happened the first day. It was chalk full of shenanigans now, I have a better idea of how to use my PDA and, what I need for it. Road trips to P.A. are always fun, it is a short distance, and usually pretty scenery once you get off of the highway. We landed at Bird-in-Hand ready to get to our room and jump in the pool. I always try to find places to stay that have a pool because, well, I’m a pool junkie. I like to swim as much as I can and, when I was younger if there was a pool I was in it and swimming around for hours. The way I feel when swimming is almost indescribable, I just love it. Well, we walked into the hotel to check in and, of course nothing can go smoothly, it turns out that we weren’t booked to stay in the hotel but, rather in the motel. If we weren’t paying $96 something a night I wouldn’t have been as upset but, since we were I was. I was absolutely not staying in a motel for $96/night if that was the case I would have booked a motel for $50-$60/night. We had booked through Expedia and, they IMG_3363booked us in the motel not the hotel. Apparently if you book through Expedia they can put you anywhere without you know where you are being placed. I was not aware of this when I was booking the trip and, of course was shocked when I got there to find out we were not staying in the same place ( I was not impressed at all.) After about two hours on the phone with Expedia we ended up paying an extra $70 to stay in the hotel. There was a major difference between the rooms and, I was not staying in the motel for that kind of price. We still have to speak to Expedia to at least get the extra $70 we spent back. When you have specific money set aside for this type of a business trip $70 can be a big hit on your wallet. We settled in the room, pool and, went to Panera for dinner. It can be difficult to eat as a vegan in Lancaster, PA but, I ha a much easier time, this trip. While at Panera I had a moment of sheer panic because I had left my laptop in my dads car which was at home in N.J. huge mistake on my part and, I immediately lost my appetite mid spoonful of black bean soup ( which is delicious and, one of my favorite vegan dishes to get from Panera). My dad ended up meeting us halfway, thank god, and we retrieved the laptop and splashed into the pool when we got back. Why was the laptop so important? Well, what you don’t know is that I have been trying to download aseller tool onto my PDA so I could use the PDA for the book sale and no longer use my phone. Asellertool is hella-expensive and, I wanted to get full use out of it. Now, to get the PDA to work I needed a scout which plugs into the top of the PDA ($250-$300 piece) I also, needed to have a compact flash that is 2-4GB which I didn’t know until the second time I talked to aseller. Then I needed a converter to plug the SD card to install the aseller tool unto the PDA but, we’lll get to that tomorrow. So, the laptop was crucial to get the asellertool onto the compactflash and, then onto the PDA. If you followed all that you defiantly get props because it was confusing even when I finally understood what I needed. So, I should mention that I had purchased the compact flashes on Amazon but, they weren’t arriving until the next day.. yeah.. So, because there was an option to download directly onto the PDA I tried that and the download was like an hour altogether. Now it is late like 10:3-11p.m. and, I have a book sale at 7a.m. the next day. I end up staying up until 3a.m. trying to get this to download and, it kept giving me an error. Or first day in Bird in Hand did not go as planned at all and, I’ll leave off that I woke up exhausted the next day. Stay tuned for the continuation of the business trip story.
Have an enlightening and adventurous day,
allie

If Reading isn’t your thing on’t worry I have two YouTube Channels:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9lSYWyJqDEXe_-toxR7PvQ
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC57r19tHgsMq0vz3NiGI9-w