Three simple tweaks you can make that will double your Fulfillment by Amazon income.
My general sense is that just about everyone makes everything more complicated than it needs to be. Especially selling with Fulfillment by Amazon.
I just wrote and then scrapped an entire article about all the silly things sellers worry about that don’t matter (like packing shipments), because I did not want to start the new year with a critical post (I may run this article later).
So I’m flipping this subject around into a positive: The three things you can – and should – be doing to literally double your business in the next year.
I chose these three things for two reasons:
- They’re easy (I’m making this reach of everyone. Literally everyone).
- They’re fundamental. (Nothing about chasing down new sales tax laws in some state you’ve barely heard of, or how to get approved in some weird Amazon category).
So here is the deal
Put your effort into these three things and you will double your business. Math doesn’t ever lie.
If you made $10,000 last year, you’ll make $20,000. If you made $50,000, you’ll do six-figures.
#1: Increase your sources by 30%.
If you think you’ve found every source of Amazon inventory in your area, you’re wrong.
If you really believe that, you’re in the worse place of all: Comfort. Comfort is a killer. Pain inspires action. Comfort is the devil that whispers destructive lullabies into your ear, beliefs that will form an invisible ceiling just above your head. And one of the worst of these is: “I’ve found every Amazon inventory source there is.”
It doesn’t matter what you sell. Whether you’re selling books on Amazon or used BMX bikes on eBay, if you are selling something on Amazon that currently has a finite supply (I’m not talking about private labeling or wholesale sourcing here), then there are untapped sources right under your nose.
Every year I increase my sources by at least 30%. When you focus on a mission, you train your mind to identify opportunity. And every time I think of a possible new Amazon inventory source, or a new angle on an old book source, I follow up on it.
That’s not to say that I’m not the world’s laziest Amazon bookseller, because I am. But the laziness comes after I find a book source. Once I find it, I’ll probably only go there every two months. But I’ll always find it, eventually.
What is currently working for you? How did you find it? Now, change your research methods.
With books, I’m always asking myself these two questions:
- Who, right now, has large quantities of books?
I’m always coming up with new answers to this question. And then I contact those people, businesses, or entities.
2. What is every possible thing they might do with the books they don’t want?
Books trickle down to many places. I’m always training my mind to think of new ones.
Google maps has blindspots. Book sale lists have blindspots. The internet has blindspots. These blindspots are where the money is.
If you knew it would be a giant leap towards doubling your Amazon business, could you put in two weeks and increase your sources by 30%? If you currently have 20 consistent sources, that’s just 7 new ones. Not that hard.
This week I ducked into the small (small) library of a town about 40 miles from home. The population of this town was 800. There was no reason to think this would be a fruitful trip and every reason to think it wouldn’t. And after talking to the librarian, I now have a source that’s bringing me an extra $300 a month, easily. And it was in my backyard all this time.
#2: Increase the inventory you find at each source by 30%.
This has two sides: The tactical and the more esoteric.
Most will probably give their attention to the first one and scoff at the second. But they’re equally important.
Increasing your yield through better tactics:
Take the opportunity this new year to destroy all your beliefs, wipe the slate clean on everything you think you know, and approach Amazon book sourcing with a fresh, open mind. Because you’re probably wrong about a lot of what you “know”, and it’s costing you money.
Categories of belief that might be costing you money:
- What you consider an acceptable profit threshold (e.g. “I won’t sell any book on Amazon for less than $10”)
- Condition-related beliefs (e.g. “Someone on Facebook said only publishers can list books in new condition as ‘new.'”)
- Profitable book categories (e.g. “The real money on Amazon is in textbooks.”)
By revising what you “know” is profitable, you will yield more Amazon profit.
Increasing your tactics through better psychology:
Your yield is shaped by your beliefs. This isn’t a New Age “think positive” sermon. It’s the basic fact that you see what you expect to see, and you find what you expect to find.
Earlier this year, I wrote a short post about a former roommate I used to book source with. Despite visiting the same sources with the same equipment, she consistently left every source with about half the inventory as I did. (Here’s the story for reference). All other factors were equal. The largest difference was what each of us expected to find.
Beliefs that are costing you money:
- “I rarely profit more than $__ per source.”
- “This source is always picked over by more experienced Amazon sellers.”
- “There’s just not much good stuff in my area.”
An abundance mindset (vs. scarcity mindset) is absolutely key. Profitable Amazon inventory is virtually limitless. It’s just a matter of dipping your bucket into the book river.
#3: Increase the range of your inventory
I’m hardly the most diversified Amazon seller. Everyone has their niche. But in the last two years I have dramatically diversified my inventory outside of books. I’m still focused on my core revenue source. I know where 80% of my profits come from. And concurrently with that, I’m always increasing my range.
I’ve moved from an inventory that was comprised of 90%+ books, to Amazon inventory that is roughly 70% books today.
This week, I’m shipping Amazon bags of coffee, over a dozen cassette box sets, some weird $100 light I picked up for $25 at a surplus store, nearly 100 CDs, and even a set of exotic teas.
There is a lot of reasonably-priced training material by experienced Amazon sellers available to you. For a moderate cost of admission, you can download years of experience from hugely successful Amazon sellers right into your brain. I have a resources page to compile the best of the best.
First step: Do your research online. Take a look at the different ways people are making money with Fulfillment by Amazon.
Second step: Identify three new Amazon product categories that are foreign to you, that you want to start sourcing.
Third step: Identify who is successfully selling in these categories on Amazon.
Forth step: get them to teach you what they know. Do they have a book or video training course out? Probably not. Will they consult you on how they make money on Amazon for an hour? Possibly. Find everyone you can who is successful in this space. Email all of them. Most of them will not want to reveal their Amazon secrets. Some of them will.
Every time I want to know something, I bypass the learning process by contacting an expert (or buying their product). People like to talk about how they got successful and help others, as long as your success won’t infringe on theirs.
Fifth step is to take action on what you’ve learned. Don’t interpret what you learned. Do exactly what what the successful person is doing, even if it doesn’t make sense.
Let’s say you’re bringing in a modest $800 a month, and want to double your business.
Increase your sources by 30% from 10 sources to 13. Increase the inventory you extract from each source from $80 a month to $105 a month. Now, you just increased your revenue by 70%. We’re almost there.
Then increase the range of inventory you sell, from one category to three. You don’t need to be good at the two new ones. Just get $70 in profit from each of the two categories a month.
You just doubled your business.