Are you making use of the most valuable resource as an Amazon FBA seller?

Creating HonestFew and also various other businesses in the past has made one thing very clear to me. It’s given me a perspective on what’s valuable and not valuable in the big picture of doing business.  These days there are so many blogs, tools, services, widgets, etc that can make it overwhelming. You end up getting overloaded. Don’t get me wrong, tools are definitely important to making progress but these days, it seems that sellers are forgetting an essential way of thinking when working on their business. Sellers are bombarded with so much stimulus that they’ve forgotten the essential things like how to value their own time. For example, if a seller was faced with the task of building a pool for a business venture, there are many people who would rather take a couple of weeks to dig a hole with their own hands if it did not cost them anything than to invest in a crane to automatically remove the dirt and do the work for them in a matter of days. At least this is what I’ve noticed first-hand with Amazon sellers.

What is most valuable resource as an Amazon FBA seller, you ask?

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It’s time of course. More specifically, it’s about valuing your own time. The great thing about time is that it is the equalizing factor, everyone has access to it. It’s a blessing but also a curse. It separates into two groups of people. The first group consists of people who use their time to invest and create infrastructure to build more without their time tied directly to the work so they don’t have to be there to actually do it. And then you have the people who want to save money and spend all their time doing things themselves to save a couple of bucks here and there. Now I’m not suggesting that you blow your money on frivolous expenses; I’m suggesting that you consider investing in the aspects of your business that can be improved and bring lasting results with the help of services, tools, etc. Now if you have the skills to execute and automate certain aspects of your business yourself, that’s great and it’s more power to you. However just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should, Jeff Bezos could easily pack and fulfill your FBA goods to ship off to customers but he doesn’t because he’s needed elsewhere. Like you, he’s got to make the top level decisions, decide what the next step is to growing the business and how to create a system that can grow and bring more value to customers (and therefore be paid more).

Things to ask yourself:
1. Is doing this task worth my time or is there a way where I can delegate or speed up the process? Will it be worth it?
2. Are there more important things I can spend my time on instead of doing X

This idea really resonated with me recently when I was working with 2 seemingly similar sellers (or so I thought). I’ve had the opportunity to help various Amazon sellers who range from making $0 a month to Amazon sellers bringing in over $40,000 a month in sales and as such it’s been a great experience for me to observe what has made these 2 similar groups fundamentally different. I had worked with 2 sellers that helped me better understand the dynamic between what separated the successful Amazon seller from the seriously dominating Amazon Seller. I’m not going to use real names so let’s call the reasonably successful seller Jason, he had been pushing his private label product for 5 months and was making a very respectable $3,000 from his main product listing. The more successful seller, Blake had worked on his listing for 6 months and was earning around $29,000 for his main product listing which is amazing.

What’s important to note about this situation was that both sellers were in very similar situations besides the difference in earning power. Jason had been hustling at his listing which was pretty competitive. Blake was also in a competitive niche but he was crushing it. I’ve included the similarities and differences below that I noticed.

Similarities:
-Sold well researched private label products
-Used FBA as the fulfilment option
-Had optimized listings that presented benefits
-The sellers were both intelligent and dedicated to making their businesses grow
-Had learned from blogs, podcasts and participated in Amazon oriented communities
-Sold in competitive niches

Differences:
-The amount of money they were earning
-Slightly different time spent selling their respective products

Making sense of the situation at first was puzzling for me because these two sellers really didn’t seem very different, at least nothing noticeable enough to make a $26,000 difference. This prompted me to go deeper and look at some of the actions and thought processes they were taking behind their tactics and strategies.

Jason had decided to work with a smaller promotion to gradually increase his product ranking and to build traction. He had combined this tactic with searching for reviewers on Facebook and Tomoson. A hybrid approach of sorts. It was not a bad strategy but considering his niche and the fast paced Amazon selling environment, it just wasn’t enough to bring noticeable changes fast enough to compete with sellers who were also spending serious time and money on pushing their Amazon business above competitors. Now the conundrum I suppose is that maybe Jason is not beating the competitors and getting his rightful ranking and sales because he is not making enough and therefore he is not getting his rightful rankings. It’s a possibility but something has got to give, especially considering the way that Amazon is becoming much more competitive. It’s quickly just becoming the cost of doing business. The more competitive your niche is, the more you’re going to have to pay to compete. The less competitive your niche is, the less you will have to pay to compete.

For Jason, it was just a threshold of reviews and other factors that he needed to achieve before he could break into a leading rank that would bring him beyond the level of his competitors. The underlying issue wasn’t really that he didn’t earn enough to put back into his business but rather that he didn’t value his time. It was a mindeset thing. He was spending his time on activities that produced diminishing returns for his investment. Spending serious time working on Facebook and Tomoson and other avenues trying to procure reviewers instead of passing it off to a professional to do prevented him from doing essential building tasks such as planning new products to introduce for sale, developing an eCommerce platform, etc. It also prevented him from increasing his ranking faster and generating more sales as the timeline for his reviews were much longer. The thing that a lot of sellers don’t understand is that every single day that you’re not ranked where your customers can see you is a day lost for sales. Sellers may save money initially by trading in their time to do menial tasks but that action can’t be scaled or automated to be efficient.

most valuable resource as an Amazon FBA seller

It’s a paradox, sellers want to be ranked at the top and make sales but they don’t want to do what is necessary rather than what is convenient for their product listings. It’s a risk, I totally understand that. Do your research and play it smart, find reviews or feedback on the service, product, or tool in question and once you’ve done your due diligence you’ve got to ask yourself whether it’s worth it. If it is, you’ve got to go for it or you’ll never grow. Do the cost-benefit analysis. For example, with our service; if it costs $1500 to get to a level where you can compete with listings making $10,000 a month, you would have made your investment back by the end of the first month and significantly more for every single month afterwards. However if you never get to that level, you’ll never see that kind of money and you’ll end up growing up business nominally.

When making decisions:
-Ask yourself if this is the smart thing to do? Would Jeff Bezos do this?
-Am I just being cheap right now or will this bring me results?
-Is it worth it? (Do some cost-benefit analysis)
In the case of Blake, he had a solid listing which when you boil the product down—wasn’t that different than Jason’s as there is a method to consistently optimize product listings. The main difference was in Blake’s approach.  As they say, the way that you do anything is the way that you do everything. He had a plan of action and decided to see that to the end. He did the research and took the calculated risk, it ended off paying handsomely. He ended up with his competitors on the front page and decided to offer a unique selling proposition that wasn’t available to customers already and relatively quickly overtaken the dominance in the market for his targeted keyword/niche. I suppose this kind of sense really does come with experience, normally some time spent in the “not valuing-time” mindset is needed until you grow out of that phase. It’s hard to jump from 0-100 for new sellers but it does become easier once you do your due diligence, research and learn about the factors that will influence how your product sells and is ranked.

At the end of the day, what I’m saying is not that you’ve got to spend serious money to get results or even serious effort, if you did great research and found a niche with serious sales and a low barrier of entry in terms of reviews, you could get ranked for relatively little. Sellers seem to have a notion in their head that the hard and long way is justified or would even produce better results. In my experience, I’ve found the exact opposite to be true. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy or faster but there is a certain way of executing the right steps at the right time to get a desired result without exhausting and overexerting yourself. As an entrepreneur, if you want to be paid tens of thousands of dollars, you need to provide at least that much in value. The only way you’ll be worth that is if you value your time and create a system that will complement that. Respect your time and you will see yourself making more progress and impact with your efforts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our article on the most valuable resource as an Amazon FBA seller, check out FBA university (our blog) for more great content on taking your Amazon Store to the next level.


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