How I found (mostly) cheap but (sort of) high-demand marketing products and sold them for big profits with Fulfillment by Amazon.
The weird world of elite marketing gurus who sell things
Of course, there’s a huge industry in selling high-end products that teach people how to make money. Not “get rich quick” material necessarily, just books and courses by people who have made a lot of money selling everything from real estate to reselling websites, teaching you their secrets.
Obviously I’m not into flipping real estate and haven’t bought and sold websites, but I know enough about the “internet marketing” world to casually follow some of the bigger players and be on their email lists.
The free book hack, Part I: Reselling $6 marketing books for $100
A few of the bigger internet marketing “gurus” sell what’s called a “free plus shipping book offer.” They figured out that writing books and then giving them away free (plus the price of postage) was an effective way to get their names out there and build a bigger audience.
(I’m going to omit most names in this story, because some of these are still making me money.)
The first time I saw one of these guys advertising their free book on Facebook, I bought one. It was $6. The book arrived, I read it, and thought: “Let me see if this is on Amazon…”
Of course it wasn’t on Amazon. This book was only advertised minimally on Facebook and this guru’s email list. It had no ISBN, and probably printed only a few thousand copies.
So I do what I always do when I have a book with no listing on Amazon: I shipped it in and priced it at $100.
It sold almost right away.
I quickly went online to see if the book was still available. It was, and I ordered another copy. It too sold again on Amazon for $100, almost right away.
Then I got lazy, and didn’t order another copy. A month later when I got around to it, the book was sold out and out of print forever.
The free book hack part II: bigger and better
Good news: A few months later, this same internet marketer released a second “free + shipping” book. I ordered it, read it, and resold it on Amazon – again, for $100.
I didn’t mess around this time. I ordered another copy right away.
Sold it on Amazon for another $100.
Sold it on Amazon for another $100.
And again. And again. And again. And….. again.
To date, I have done $700 in sales off this single book. It’s still in print (that’s why I’m not sharing the title here). And I’m still selling it.
It has never gone more than three weeks on Amazon before selling. And despite this book being advertised all over the internet for “free plus shipping,” I’m the only one I’ve seen selling it.
Free book hack: Part III
Then a second big figure in the marketing space released a similar book. It was also free + shipping.
And guess what? It had no listings on Amazon.
And guess what? To date I’ve sold three copies on Amazon. Yes, at $100 each.
Final tally for free book hack, Parts I through III
12 copies of 3 different books @ $77 Amazon profit each = $924
Yes, I made almost $1k being lazy
You might be wondering: if these two books have been out for a whole year, and if they both sell on Amazon quickly, have I only sold 10 copies between them?
I have to work this point into almost every post, so here it is again: I’m lazy. I’m scattered, poorly organized, and you should probably never take Amazon advice from me. Literally, I’ll sell a copy of one of these books on Amazon for $100, and just forget to order another copy for two or more months.
How is it possible that I just forget to order something I know will make me $100 (minus Amazon commissions) with almost zero effort? Again, lazy and disorganized.
The opportunity in reselling high-end marketing courses
About a year ago, I was at one of those weird overstock / outlet stores. I should probably do a whole article on these places soon, because when they’re good, they’re really good.
This particular place was a disheveled mess, full of things that fell off the back of a truck somewhere. Somewhere in this mess, I found the jackpot: Four high-end Anthony Robbins CD box sets.
Yes, the giant 6’7′ infomercial guy. He’s not exactly the kind of “marketing guru” in the same vein as the last two authors, but he appeals to much of the same demographic. And one of the four box sets was devoted entirely to…. marketing.
That one was called The New Money Masters. Another was called Mastering Influence. And I can’t remember the other two, but they were big and expensive.
All four were a flat $99.95 each. And three of them were selling for over $200 each on Amazon. The fourth – The New Money Masters box set – had no Amazon seller listing, but was selling new on Anthony Robbins’ website for $500. So I knew I could list that at $475 on Amazon, easily.
With one or two of these, I was only roughly doubling my money, when my general rule is to triple my money. I make exceptions to the “3x rule” when the Amazon returns are this high – in this case, around $100 per item. I’m happy to double my money on Amazon all day long for $100.
So of course they all sold. And we’ll say I conservatively profited $600 off these box sets.
Tally for reselling nine books & four courses
12 (almost free) marketing books = $924
4 Anthony Robbins box sets = $600
The “reselling high end courses” mayhem continues
So far, I had basically gotten lucky. I was only spotting these reselling opportunities because I was casually aware of these authors. I knew they had devoted and rabid fans who would pay a premium for their products.
And that was also the case yet again with my next scheme…
There is a big player in the “how to make money with real estate” space. For many years, he only released very high-end DVD courses (read: $2,000 each). Then, about six months ago, he released a book on a mainstream publisher that introduced him to a mainstream audience.
I wasn’t sure, but I suspected that with his new popularity, demand for his older out of print products would skyrocket. So I looked on Amazon, and took note that there were no listings for any of his DVD courses on Amazon. So I set up an eBay alert for his most popular training course.
And I waited.
As soon as a new auction went up, I bid on it and bid high. I was operating on the theory that I could get $500 for this course on Amazon (which, remember, was out of print and originally priced at $2,000). I won the auction for $175.
As theorized, I flipped it on Amazon for $500, profiting approximately $250.
Naturally, I started biding every time this course went up on eBay. Usually it went for $400+ on eBay. One more time, it didn’t. I got it for $200.
I flipped it again for $500 (I probably could have gotten more.)
The final tally on my “how to get rich” product-flipping
12 (almost free) marketing books = $924 Amazon profit.
4 Anthony Robbins box sets = $600 Amazon profit.
2 real estate courses = $475 Amazon profit.
So I lied when I said $2,000. According to my calculator, the profit comes to $1,999.
You have to spend money to make money.
Okay, maybe not with the books here. But the six box sets each cost me $100 to $200 each. Big investment = big reward.
You have to have an eye for opportunity.
Systematizing the identification of Amazon opportunities like this isn’t exactly doable, but I spotted them because I kept my eyes open, followed people in semi-obscure niches, and spotted opportunity.
A lot of people don’t look anywhere but Amazon.
The 12 books that brought me nearly $1,000 in profit were available practically for free elsewhere on the internet (and two of them still are), yet people were (and are) paying $100 each on Amazon. How is this possible? Don’t ask questions. Just enjoy it.
If I keep this up, I’m going to put out my own $2,000 course called “How I got rich off selling other people’s products on how to get rich.”