I was staring at a minimum payment of $2,065.39 due by August 3, 2012 — and that’s not counting the $10k or so balance left over that Amex lets me pay over time.
Once again I felt like I’d gotten myself into a spending mess that I begged God to get me out of. And of course, in His gracious loveliness, He came through.
Today I paid that minimum balance and then some and cried, pacing my room I was so grateful to Him as I watched Bishop T. D. Jakes’ Man Power DVR’d episode displayed yesterday from back in 2010.
Making Money Fast Online to Pay Off Debt
According to my Excel spreadsheet, all my usual routes of making money online were still working — though not as fast as they used to — and not fast enough to keep up with my spending.
I guess I’d gotten so used to the $50k+ brought to me by writing online in 2010, I hadn’t adjusted my spending downward accordingly when my writing income decreased to around $26k in 2011.
That, and the fact that I do love to buy things — for business and personal reasons.
Enter the idea to try Fulfillment by Amazon, a program where sellers pay $39.99 (as of this writing) per month to ship various products to different Amazon fulfillment centers and let Amazon do the hard work of packaging them up and selling them to customers and taking care of 99% of customer service issues.
(In case you don’t know what Fulfilled by Amazon is, take a look at this product “Sold by Electronica Direct and Fulfilled by Amazon” in the pic on the right.
That’s someone who purchases the product — or manufactures it themselves — and then ships it off to an Amazon fulfillment center to sell to customers directly.)
Several things led me to the decision to try FBA, as it’s called, to try and make a profit on selling products fast:
For example, I’d seen the Amazon sellers selling a product that may cost $19.99 at Walmart for two and three times as much, and I’d cluck my head with disdain. But now that I’m on the other side, I understand that FBA sellers have to price their products higher to clear a profit — after Amazon fees and shipping costs are deducted.
Plus, there’s the cost of us “personal shoppers” — as I like to think of myself at times — going out and procuring the products from stores sometimes clear across town. Our time, money and gas costs something to us to seek out a hot product that some person working 80 hours per week making $70,000 wants to buy, but has more money than time at that point, and doesn’t want to look all over for it, but just wants to plop it in their Amazon shopping carts and have it sent to them ASAP.
As long as the correct price to be paid is presented, and the accurate product is sold, there’s no unfairness or deceit there.
I took it as a sign from Christ that Amazon’s FBA was the way to go…
…because Lord knows I needed the money to pay off American Express.
I wanted to keep my account in good standing, and continue to be able to use my credit card when needed. I was desperate.
I began to soak up as much knowledge about FBA as I could. It really was a leap of faith to begin buying products and charging up my credit cards to the max without knowing if they would sell.
I read Barcode Booty: How I found and sold $2 million of ‘junk’ on eBay and Amazon, And you can, too, using your phone — a book that has a misleading title that makes one think of “junk” as stuff around your house. But the author paints an interesting portrait of finding clearance items in a TJ Maxx store and loading up his shopping cart with his son during a shopping trip to his in-laws house during the winter, and then reaping the profits of selling those items online.
I also liked Retail Arbitrage: The Blueprint for Buying Retail Products to Resell Online by Chris Green — a book that I had to verify indeed had a Kindle version (because I see it right here on my iPad) but now the Kindle version is gone on Amazon. (Perhaps he just unpublished it and plans to republlish it.)
I also read his Retail Arbitrage – Just the Bonuses: 13 Tips, Tricks, & Secrets that Every Amazon Seller Should Know as well, another Kindle edition that’s gone right now.
I also downloaded Amazing Amazon FBA Work From Home the Easy Way! by Frank Aaron Florence, and soaked up his tips for making money through FBA.
Here’s some of the stuff I learned by selling products Fulfilled by Amazon thus far…
Even when I made mistakes, my Maker still protected me immensely, like when I bought Indique Virgin Hair Extensions Bikini by Angela Simmon for $320 — more than maxing out my Chase Business Ink credit card past its $14,000 limit — because I thought with the launch of her new line, they’d be a hot seller.
I shipped them off to an Amazon fulfillment center in hopes of selling them for $477 and reaping a good profit after fees were deducted, especially if they had sold out through normal means.
Turns out a few days after I bought them, Indique released a 20% off coupon, not a good sign of great sales.
But the shipment of one tube that I sent to Amazon got “misplaced” — thank You, Jesus! — so after providing my receipt to Amazon, they reimbursed me the $320, which included the cost of shipping the product to me. I may have only took a small hit on the deeply discounted shipping rates that Amazon gives us to use their UPS corporate account to ship items to their fulfillment centers because I didn’t request that 5 bucks or whatever back. Maybe they gave it to me anyway. They are very fair.
“Procure” was the word God gave me one morning…
And I knew it was related to my FBA selling, so I looked it up to verify that the first definition of the word “procure” means to carefully obtain something.
So since then, I’ve been carefully researching the types of products that are in demand (as witness by a good Amazon sales rank) and one that I can clear a good profit on.
Some say that it’s good to buy products you know you can resell for two to three times as much as what you paid for it. Others like FBA Expert Kat Simpson (watch a couple of her YouTube videos below) recommended being able to make at least 30% profit on your products.
Although you’ll notice I haven’t disclosed the products I’m selling right now (you’ll find that a lot in the ecommerce world here and there to avoid competitors) I’m still playing around with the best way to make a profit. I sold toys that cost me $29.98 for $69 and then $59.99 later, clearing about a $17 profit each on the latter price.
But then sales seemed slow, so I cut the price to $49.99, which seems to be the sweet spot, offering me a $7 or so profit on every one sold. I figured, would I rather sell one per every few days at a $17 profit, or 10 in the same time period for a $70 profit. You get the idea…
I’m thinking of writing a book about my whole Fulfilled by Amazon experience, especially as I gain more and more insight the longer I sell products.
If you have cash on hand or lots of credit…
…I definitely recommend you give selling products on Amazon a try, if you’re so inclined.
But be careful and don’t go buying stuff willy nilly without lots of research first, so that you’re sure that you’ll recoup what you’ve charged — and so you’ll have enough to pay off the charges.
My goal is continue to research, research, research, a lot more than I buy at first. When I find good products, first of all I make sure that I can even sell them through Amazon before I buy them by adding the product. (Another benefit of an FBA account is the ability to create a product page on Amazon if one doesn’t exist.)
Then I’ll send Amazon either one or three or four of the products as a test to see how fast they’ll sell. When they do, then I’ll send more into the retail giant and gauge the sales progress.
I like the one woman’s forum post I read that said she’s at the point of just opening boxes of inventory she has ordered, inspecting them for accuracy, and then plopping an Amazon FBA insert printout inside before shipping them off to Amazon to sell. She said she cleared — I believe cleared, not grossed — $10,000 for the month of December 2011.
I’m entering that stage now, buying more and more inventory to sell on Amazon other than the one offs I do here and there. And with that, I want to upgrade to the American Express gold card that Amex says I’m pre-approved for (praise Jesus!) and also look into getting that Amex Plum Card for my business expenses so that I can get plenty of points back for all these purchases I’m making.
I love it.
I can feel the new level of income being obtained. And to think of the fear that had surrounded me in making that minimum payment.
Jehovah Jireh has proven to be the provider He always has been, and I feel like He’s saying to tell readers about paying alms and tithes and how they can arise as sweet memorial with prayers up to God, and to keep believing in Him for everything.