This post is a little bit different than some of my other posts, because I am interviewing another homeschooling mom on her Amazon business. I’m actually really excited to share this post with you, because I know there are other families out there looking for a way to bring in some extra income from home.
We have actually started selling on Amazon. We have some of our own clothing items and Character Badges program on Amazon, but we also have started doing retail arbitrage. Not sure what that is? Read on for more info. 🙂 The nice thing is this can include the whole family. Your children can help put labels on, or pack boxes, or go shopping with you, looking for products to sell. Your husband can help as well!
I was able to interview Jessica from The Selling Family, as she is an amazing mom who is now homeschooling, and her husband and her have built up an Amazon business that brings in a full time income for them! Even though I’ve been in the online business world for 5-6 years now, I am still so amazed and intrigued over how she does this!
So here you go…my interview with Jessica where I asked her some questions that I thought you readers might ask, and I hope you enjoy reading the answers! This might even be something your teenage child could do with your supervision to start earning an income, and learn business!
1. How much time does this take each week to bring in a part time income?
This one is actually a little tough to answer because the answer varies so much from person to person!
My definition of “parttime income” might be different than yours. And my other disclaimers are that some people “catch on” to the business faster than others and make it happen sooner, plus there are also a lot of different niches you can get involved in.
However, to answer in a very general way, someone could spend about 10 hours or less a week and make a very nice side income in this business. By that I mean anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars a week to a couple of thousand a month or more. It all depends on your focus and the choices you make.
You’d spend some of that time sourcing, or looking for inventory. You could do that in 35 hours and find some product; this is an area sellers get better at and more efficient at as they practice. They might strike out at first, then start finding a few deals, then more and more until they realize there’s opportunity everywhere!
Then it takes some time to list, prep and ship your items, maybe another 12 hours there. The time spent on this depends on how many products you’re shipping in to Amazon.
And finally, I’d suggest taking time each week to get more educated and really study the business. This will ultimately help you grow faster and use your time better. You might even consider our Amazon Boot Camp, a stepbystep training to selling on Amazon, that you can work through at your own pace.
And of course, if you have more time you could certainly use it! But overall, many successful sellers are putting in what are considered traditional fulltime hours. That’s the beauty of it. You can work as much as you want and then in turn make as much as you want.
2. Is this really something a homeschooling family can do together?
This is perfect for a homeschooling family!
One of the best parts of selling Amazon FBA is how flexible it is. You need to send inventory to Amazon’s warehouses, but there’s no set time for that to happen. You can shop whenever it’s convenient for you and ship at anytime.
We started homeschooling this year and adjusted our schedule. So now I homeschool during the first part of the day and then work on our business later. If I had a homeschool lesson I wanted to work on in the afternoon or at night, I could just as easily work my Amazon business in the morning.
And there are lots of opportunities to work lessons into the business! What better place to learn business, than working in the home business, right?
There’s math involved in calculating profit; or, for the really young ones, they can simply count up how many labels you have and match them to products. For older ones, you could even get into accounting.
You could discuss geography when looking at where you ship your items to or where the buyers are from. Or you could take a road trip! This business can be very mobile; all you’d need is your smartphone and the ability to label and ship items, which you could do by finding a place like Staples or staying with friends and family.
For us, our son loves to be involved. He does things like bring items we are scanning into the computer and tells us how many of each item there are. Then he takes the labels back and helps put them onto the products. When we are packing the boxes he jumps in and helps fill them and even tapes up boxes. It’s something the whole family gets involved in and enjoys doing together.
There are so many ways to get creative with the schedule and with the lessons. If someone wants to know more about getting started, we have a Free 7Day Email Course that walks them through the basics.
3. How much money do you need to invest in getting this started?
It would be great if someone starting out had $1,000 to invest. They could get away with less and they could probably move faster with more, but $1,000 is a good middle ground.
With that, you could purchase a good amount of inventory, buy the basic tools you’d need to get started, and even invest in some educational materials or a training course like our Amazon Boot Camp.
A course isn’t mandatory, but it would definitely help speed the process. We see new sellers make a lot of avoidable mistakes that cost them time and money and prolong their success.
So the tools you’d need include a smartphone, computer and printer. If you already have those at home, great! You could buy pretty much everything else for about $100 or less; that include things like boxes, packing tape, and labels.
This blog post goes into more detail about the T op 10 MustHave Tools for Amazon FBA sellers.
After the tools and the training, you’d have about $500 left to spend on inventory. A lot of people start out with things like used books, which are only a few bucks each; and we recommend that new sellers also search around the house for items they’ve never used that could be worth something.
In these ways and others, a new seller can really stretch that $500 inventory investment.
4. Why is this better than selling on Ebay?
I could write a book on all the ways that selling on Amazon is better than selling on eBay!
I do have to say that I got my start selling online on eBay and that we still use it as an alternate selling platform, so I have a lot of respect for the power of eBay. But Amazon has so many benefits.
First, when you sell on Amazon you immediately get to take advantage of its reputation and its reach. The customers are already there! A brand new seller has a nearly equal chance of getting a sale as an established seller; there’s little to no time spent having to boost your profile stats in order to attract buyers.
Second, you can sell a lot more items in a lot less time!
I sold about 10 items a day on eBay when that was my focus, but I had to handle every single order myself. Now, I find a bunch of inventory, ship it all into Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and they take care of the rest. They store it, receive orders, prep and ship, and handle customer service and returns.
I knew that if I wanted to really scale my business, something had to change. Sure, I could sell 50 items in a day, but then how could I possibly ship it all out myself? So I was definitely at a ceiling in the eBay business, so switching to Amazon was the perfect opportunity.
5. What kind of profit do you look for when selling something on Amazon?
We like to get a 100% Return on Investment whenever possible, so we’re always out to double our money. If we spend $10 on an item, we want $10 net profit.
Of course, it doesn’t always happen that way, but that’s the ideal scenario. Our ROI is a lot higher in the Fourth Quarter, or the Christmas season, than other times of year.
Also, we tend to have a higher ROI on items we find in retail stores, while it’s usually lower when we source for inventory online.
The tradeoff is that we tend to buy larger quantities with our online purchases, which makes things a bit easier. So we’ll accept a lower ROI in return for having, say, 100 items we can send in and not think about again, and that’ll continue to pay us for awhile.
6. Do I need a lot of space in my house to do this?
This is another way that selling on Amazon, using the FBA program, is better than selling on eBay!
Amazon stores all of your inventory in their warehouses. So we may bring home a bunch of product, but we’re shipping it out as quickly as possible and getting it out of the house.
Some sellers do wind up using garage and basement space or renting storage units, but it all depends on your business model. We prefer to buy product and send it in to Amazon for order fulfillment.
Caroline here again ~ Thanks Jessica for doing this interview for us!