Three simple tweaks you can make that will grow your Amazon business, and double your income this year
How to grow your Amazon business in 3 steps
Just about everyone makes everything more complicated than it needs to be. Especially selling with Fulfillment by Amazon.
I’m going to cover the three things you can – and should – be doing to literally double your FBA business in the next year.
I chose these three things for two reasons:
- They’re easy (I’m making this within 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).
If you do these, you will double your FBA business
Put your effort into these three things and you will double your business. Math doesn’t ever lie.
If you made $10,000 on Amazon last year, you’ll make $20,000. If you made $50,000 on Amazon last year, you’ll do six-figures.
Let’s get into it…
#1: Grow your Amazon business by increasing your inventory sources 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 business killer. 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”comfortable” beliefs 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 inventory sources right under your nose.
Every year I grow my Amazon business by increasing my sources 20%+
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.
Ask these 3 questions to increase your Amazon inventory sources
With my FBA bookselling business, 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 on Amazon
If you knew it would be a giant leap towards doubling your Amazon business, could you invest 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 on Amazon, easily. And it was in my backyard all this time.
#2: Grow your business by increasing inventory from each source by 30%
This has two sides: The tactical and the psychological.
Most Amazon sellers will probably give their attention to the first one and scoff at the second. But they’re equally important.
Extracting 30% more Amazon inventory per source: The tactical
Take the opportunity this new year to destroy all your beliefs, wipe the slate clean on everything you think you know. Approach Amazon book sourcing with a fresh, open mind. Because you’re probably wrong about a lot of what you “know” about Amazon book sourcing, 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.”)
I’m still discovering beliefs that I’ve held about what books “aren’t profitable” on Amazon being proven false.
By revising what you “know” is profitable, you will yield more Amazon profit.
Extracting 30% more Amazon inventory per source: The psychological
Your inventory 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 Amazon-selling 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. All other factors were equal. The largest difference was what each of us expected to find.
Here are 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: Grow your Amazon business by increasing your range of inventory
I’m hardly the most diversified Amazon seller. Everyone has their niche. But in the last two years I have dramatically diversified my FBA 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.
First step: Research Amazon-selling business models
Do your research online. Take a look at the different ways people are making money with Fulfillment by Amazon.
Second step: Explore new categories
Identify three new Amazon product categories that are foreign to you, that you want to start sourcing.
Third step: Find Amazon sellers applying these models
Identify who is successfully selling in these categories on Amazon.
Fourth step: Learn from these sellers
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: Take action
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.
Doubling your Amazon business: The raw math
Let’s say you’re bringing in a modest $800 a month, and want to double your business.
Increase your inventory 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 Amazon 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 Amazon business.
I like this post. Intelligently written and very inspiring at a time of the year that we all sink into our comfort zone. It is a wake up call to all FBA sellers to numerous opportunities out there
Dennis Anderson says
I have bought a couple of your guides. They have been very helpful. I am contacting you to see if you do any one on one coaching. I currently sell mainly toys and home and kitchen items. I started out selling books, but have changed my focus this past year and 1/2. Let me know about coaching, costs, etc.
Peter Valley says
Dennis: A lot of successful sellers do coaching, but it seems more efficient to me to put everything in my brain into my books. They represent the most key parts of what I know. Thanks for the interest.
This was a great article and very eye opening! I have to get busy and find more sources….NOW!
Jerry Shockley says
I purchased “Cracking the Sales Rank Code,” and “Book Sourcing Secrets” late last year. I had NEVER purchased a book for FBA. I am now addicted. The info on sales rank is worth the price of both books!
Potential ROI is unbelievable! I keep what I refer to as PRO FORMA profit on all book purchases … this is the root cause of my addiction!! The 8 to 1 profit to purchase performance in your business is absolutely doable by someone new to the game!
Peter Valley says
Awesome Jerry. Love that feedback. Thanks for the third-party confirmation!
Bob K says
Good stuff. That’s my goal now.
I’ll get busy on that.
Simple to do, sometimes we’re overwhelmed with info and then we just stall. Great ideas, I’ll start today!
Can’t wait for the upcoming “Intelligence gathering maneuver: Socially engineering employees”. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me coming back to this blog!
I sure appreciate the information that you are willing to share. It’s very encouraging. It help me to believe I could make a full time living doing this if something were to happen to my job. It probably won’t, but at least now, there’s a backup.
GENE BREGMAN says
I appreciate the information you share periodically. Just finished looking at your resource page and wondering why you left out Chris Green’s Retail Arbitrage and Online Arbitrage books. His books have had a major impact on Amazon sellers and has one of the biggest followings in this field. Just curious. Thanks
Would love to know how the change Amazon made in selling NEW books in the buy box will affect book sales?
Jayashree Pisani-Rossi (Jay Rossi) says
Hi Peter, what about sellers from overseas selling books on Amazon in the US? What advice do you have for us? Love reading all your articles, great reading. Thanks
Peter Valley says
All the same principles apply. Only difference is the sources of inventory are likely to be different.