Many people start FBA businesses part-time, hoping they’ll make enough money to give up the day job. And they make the money, and they give up the day job, and they grow the FBA business… and three or four years down the line, they wake up one morning and realize that in fact, they’ve just got themselves another job.
Some of them no doubt are serial entrepreneurs, and they’ll sell the Amazon business to a consolidator and use the proceeds to start up something else. But others find that the business has grown to a size where it’s eating up their lives – and they’re still doing most of the work themselves.
The first step you can take is to hire a virtual assistant to handle customer service and returns. That makes your time your own – you’re not being interrupted by issues that need an immediate response. It’s actually one of the easiest aspects of the business to outsource, and one of the cheapest. While you’re at it, if the admin is driving you crazy, hire a bookkeeper or accountant so that you don’t have to do all the accounts yourself.
You can also turn to freelances to optimize your listings and to run the A/B tests needed to decide which version of the product page works best. Some freelances have particularly good SEO experience and will be able to increase traffic as well as conversions. If you have a large number of new products to introduce, this can really help make your job more manageable.
Freelances with SEO smarts can also run your PPC campaigns. Unless you’ve really made PPC part of your skillset, chances are they can not only free you from some of your work, but also increase the return on your investment in advertising. You may also find some freelancers who are happy to manage your social media content. For instance, one owner writes a blog but has a freelance who can transform this content for social media and find stock photos, or even make videos out of the blog content. That’s a nice little team, and it works well.
An aspect of FBA business that some people find well outside their comfort zone is managing overseas sourcing and shipping. They’ve done it successfully a number of times, but they’re still not sure they’re doing the best job or getting the best prices. This is another aspect that you can outsource. But for sourcing, you’ll need to make sure whoever you hire really understands what’s most important for you and your brand, so they can specify the right quality.
What’s stopping you from outsourcing? Some people find it hard to let go of the little jobs because they feel that’s what created the business, and that’s the value of their contribution. In fact, if you’ve created a brand and a business, your real value is in laying out the future strategy and maintaining and refining your brand – not dealing with returns or fixing typos on the listing page. You just need to believe that you’re worth it!
By the way, one tip when you’re hiring freelancers – be specific. Create a detailed task description. You know how you do things, so make sure the task you’re describing fits in with the way you work.
And be specific when you’re advertising the job. Experienced freelancers hate broad job descriptions. They won’t look at ‘needed: someone to write product descriptions for products.’ On the other hand, ‘product descriptions with good SEO, selling cat toys, accessories and food to Cat Dads’ is one that a good freelancer will immediately be able to file as either no, or an enthusiastic yes.
Get the right team on board, and you’ll soon be back to the way things are meant to be – with the business working for you, and not you working for the business.