Freedom Business #1 – Amazon FBA, Ebay Sales

Jan 07

Freedom Business #1 – Amazon FBA, Ebay Sales

Under the Our Businesses tab I mentioned the freedom businesses we’re either in the process of starting or have already started. I’m going to go into detail on each one of the businesses and discuss more about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.

Our businesses include: online sales (Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, Craigslist), VA and transcription services, building niche websites, selling ebooks, and life coaching. This post will discuss our freedom business #1, online selling through Amazon and Ebay sales. We’ll be adding in some Etsy and Craigslist later in 2014.

I’ve been buying and selling on Ebay for several years, back when PayPal was new and hadn’t yet been bought by Ebay. When Amazon opened their third party marketplace, we started selling there too. However, we never really made any money. We sold a lot of one-off things, stuff we didn’t want around the house anymore and thought we could make money on. We listed books on Amazon, competing with the penny sellers, and stopped when we weren’t making money there either. I know now what our mistakes were, and I’ll share them on a future post.

This past September (September 2013) I found a free download of a Kindle book titled “The Ebay Walmart Connection”. It was free so I decided to download and read it. The book talked about “retail arbitrage” – buying something on sale or at a low retail price and flipping it for a higher price on Ebay. I don’t remember if the book talked about flipping on Amazon too, but somehow I was off on a hunt and came across people doing this exact same thing. They were selling on Amazon and Ebay and making money.

I learned about the Fulfillment by Amazon program (Amazon FBA), talked to Scott, and we decided to test it out. I downloaded a free Amazon app to my phone and took $40 to a thrift store. I wasn’t ready to do retail arbitrage yet, although I’ve added some retail items into our inventory now.

I started out scanning books to see what the prices were on Amazon. I didn’t know exactly what to look for in various categories at that point, and I made a few mistakes during that first buying trip, but I spent the $40, we listed them on Amazon and sent them in through FBA. They were checked in September 24 and we made our first sale September 26! We were hooked! We received our first payout from Amazon on November 7 for the grand total of $33 and some change. Payments have only increased since then.

Since then we’ve allocated more money for inventory to send in. I’ve also created my own bundle product to send to Amazon. I sent three to test in October and they all sold in December, so I’m now replenishing that bundle and creating another one. Our goal is to hit 150 items in inventory by the end of January and continue to increase each month. We’re also sending in items from around the house, such as parts of Scott’s extensive library and role-playing game collection.

We started selling on Ebay again as well. Some categories (clothes and accessories, jewelry, etc.) are closed on Amazon, so I started listing clothing items we wanted to get rid of, some collectible items that belonged to Scott and a few things that didn’t have a listing on Amazon already. Ebay has changed so much since I last listed there. We’ve sold two items so far on Ebay, but I believe it will grow as time goes on.

We’re going to start selling some furniture on CraigsList soon, and some craft supply items on Etsy.

I am certain this part of our plan will provide the majority of the income we’ll need when we go on the road. We’re already discussing how to best scale and leverage the business for RV living. The best part is that with Amazon FBA, we don’t have to store anything until it sells. We can buy inventory at thrift stores, retail stores, flea markets, liquidation stores, etc. and send them to Amazon to store for us.

Yes, there are fees for selling on Amazon with some additional fees for selling through FBA. I’ve had to make a few pricing adjustments as we started selling, and I’ll share those later on as well. But now I’m pricing inventory at 3 – 6 times what the item cost me, and that more than covers the fees. Our goal is to hit $10 profit on each item. Now, some of the items we currently have in stock won’t hit that, and we understand that. If it’s something from Scott’s library, our cost is now essentially free. But we’d still like to profit at least $5-$6 on those items.

If you’re looking for a fun and simple business – simple, but not easy! – look into selling through Amazon FBA. It does take work to gather your products, prep them for shipping and get them sent in, but in my opinion it’s been worth it.

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