Amazon FBA as a side hustle

Believe it or not, fewer than 10% of Amazon’s FBA sellers work full time on this business. The vast majority have something else to do with their lives, in many cases a full time job.

While some sellers are keen to go full time on the FBA business as soon as they can, that might not be the case with everyone. A really fulfilling job might not be something you want to give up.

And yes, you can be very profitable on Amazon without putting in full time hours. But you need to organize things right

First of all, you need to decide why you’re doing FBA and what you want to get out of it. One science fiction writer has an FBA business; she’d rather write SF but it’s not remunerative enough, unless that best-seller arrives, so Amazon writes her paycheck. For others, they have day jobs that may be fulfilling but don’t give them enough challenge, so being an entrepreneur rather than an employee delivers a feeling of satisfaction and achievement. Or maybe FBA is a way to launch a product you’re committed to, like comfy cat harnesses or educational toys for youngsters.

Then you need to cut out the hassle factors. For instance, don’t pick a product that’s likely to have lots of returns, such as glassware. Returns are a hassle. Don’t pick a product line where you’re going to need certification for each new product you list. And don’t pick a business model where you’re going to need to spend all your time searching for stock.

Packaging is a hassle. Don’t do it yourself; get your supplier to do it. And outsource the unpredictable stuff, because if you have a full time job, unpredictability is  hassle. You don’t want to be answering customer messages in court, or on the floor of the stock exchange, or when you’re trying to give a TED talk or change a patient’s bandage.

Get the right tools. Most things on Amazon can be automated; Amazon automates some, while you may need extra software to automate some of the others. For instance, you can pretty much automate your stock ordering process. That frees your time up for thinking about and sourcing new products, which is what will grow your business. You can get automatic repricing running, so you don’t spend every day running around checking your competitors’ prices.

Get the right staff. There are hundreds of good freelances in any area of Amazon business you might need to call on. There are product listing writers, product and lifestyle photographers, PPC advertising freelancers, virtual assistants, and SEO specialists. There are people who can write your blog content, and people who can make great videos. You don’t need to do any of that.

You might even be a great writer, but ask yourself (as the SF writer did), do you want to be writing the stuff that you want to write, or writing product descriptions?

If you do all this, you’re working so that the time you spend on your FBA business is time doing important stuff; sourcing new product, deciding strategy, coming up with great ideas, refining your brand. In other words, you’re doing CEO work, and as a CEO you can be part-time and still make a good profit.

If, instead of being CEO, you are the janitor, the book-keeper, the photographer, the go-fer, and the customer service representative, you’re going to end up full time, even if you don’t have a full time business!

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