10 Mistakes I Made Getting Started With Amazon FBA
In today’s video I share the top 10 mistakes that I made in launching my first private label product on Amazon FBA.
Pretty sure this is just part 1.
Hey, welcome back for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. I am glad you’re here today because I’m going to share with you 10 mistakes that I have made getting my first product into the FBA warehouses.
Yeah, it’s a weird thing to be excited about, sharing mistakes, and putting all the mistakes I have made out there on the internet for everyone to look at and judge and dissect, but that’s honestly a big part of why I’m here is to try and help you avoid a lot of the problems that I’ve had as I’ve gone through trying to launch a product on Amazon.
So I did recently start selling my very first product on Amazon and I am so excited about it, but I have made a lot of mistakes, I definitely have had some hard knocks getting to this point.
But really my goal is to smooth out that journey for you and make it a little bit easier. So let’s get to it, shall we?
The 10 mistakes I make getting a product into the Amazon warehouse.
My first mistake was absolutely spending too much time doing research and not enough time taking action.
I’ve talked about it before, I spent too much time doing busy work, doing things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of actually getting a product into your hand to turn around and sell on Amazon.
So too much time spent doing research and doing other stuff that wasn’t vital to the goal of selling on Amazon.
My second mistake not having my ISH together. So way back in the Spring of last year, late Spring early Summer, I actually got all the way to sending a purchase order for a product to a supplier.
And because I had been back and forth with so many questions and I was so unsure of what I was doing and trying to get every little thing just right, it really showed that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. And after I sent over the purchase order the supplier came back and said, “You know what, we don’t want to work with you. You’re kind of going to be a problem.”
Um…that hurt so bad. Do you guys remember that video? I’ll go ahead and put a link to that video in the description below. I’ll probably mention a few others as we go through so just look for all those down below.
But I was crushed. I was so upset and so sad but I just kept moving forward and it made me better for the next supplier.
Funny story, the next supplier and the next product didn’t work out either but for a totally different reason and I left on good terms with them. It was because the product was too big and it was going to cost me thousands and thousands of dollars to ship it here which I’m just not ready for that kind of investment yet but but I could still go back to them and order something else, we have a good relationship whereas that first supplier will never talk to me again.
The third mistake I made was jumping on a niche too soon. I found something that I thought I could go pretty deep in, but I stopped there. I just said, “yep, this is it, I’m done and I’m just going to dive in right here and all this other stuff that’s out here, I’m not even going to worry about it.”
Which, looking back was kind of dumb to do because there’s so many opportunities on Amazon, there’s so many different niches that you can go down into and I just put my blinders on way too early.
The fourth mistake, kind of staying with the niche theme, is that for my first product, I’m not sure that I niched it down far enough. Now this may just be buyers remorse, I may just be kind of second guessing myself because I’m nervous about having a good first product on Amazon, but I do wonder if I didn’t go with too popular of a category or something that may have more competition than I’m comfortable with, and I should have protected myself and my investment by going further down into this particular niche than I went in product number one. We’ll see.
The fifth one, I don’t know what I was thinking you guys, this was really dumb. I had a designer create labels and instead of going out and instead of going out and getting an FNSKU, which is a unique identifier for Amazon products, we’ll talk about it in another video I’m sure, instead of getting that FNSKU which, think about it like a bar code, and having that incorporated into the design, which my supplier then put on the products for no charge to me, I just had her print the label. I forgot all about the FNSKU.
And I don’t have the right type of printer, because Amazon wants something specific if you are going to apply your own labels. And at first I was like, “Oh I’ll just apply my own labels, because it’s annoying but it’s not the end of the world” We also talked about that in an earlier video, but then I looked into it further and Amazon wants a particular type of printer or ink or paper or something , I can’t remember what it was but it was something I didn’t have. I was going to have to go get. And it’s like, “uh, another investment.” Or I can pay Amazon 20 cent a unit to apply the labels once they get to the warehouse. This go around I just opted to do that because 20 cent times my unit number is a lot less of an investment than getting the right supplies in my house would be, but it’s still 20 cents which I know isn’t a lot but its the principal of the matter and its coming directly out of my pocket because of something I forgot to do.
My sixth mistake was not getting photos taken of my product until I actually had all 25 boxes sitting in my house.
If you’re having something very different done to your final product versus your sample then you may not be able to get photos taken any quicker than that. However, the products I have were not different from the sample, there was just a label attached.
So I’ve had samples sitting in my house since September? October? I can’t remember exactly when I got them but the point is months, I’ve just been looking at them. What I should have done was have a photographer take pictures of those samples a long time ago, and then as my product is coming in and being received in Amazon, it would be ready to go. You know what its doing right now? Its suppressed because there is no product photo. Amazon won’t let you sell without a product photo.
Number 7 is kind of the same thing. I did not work on a product listing until the product was in my house. I have known what I was going to sell for how long now? 3 months or so?
Why I didn’t start working on my product description and listing sooner, no idea. I’ve got no reason for it. So what that’s meant is that I have spent a lot of late nights finding all the best practices I can for optimizing a listing, setting up a listing, finding keywords, doing this, doing that. And so on and so forth.
The 8th mistake was sending that wire in early December and then forgetting about it. Bought a house, had some birthdays, Christmas, New Years, so on and so forth. And I just did not think twice about it. I knew that it was going to take a little bit longer than I felt like it should if that makes sense.
Because what happened is when I sent a wire for my product sample it took about a week and a half or so for them to actually receive the funds into their account and ship the sample. So when I mailed it, or when I sent it, December the 5th it was, I figured about a week and a half. December 16th is the day that we bought this house. Which is a week and a half after I sent that wire. So let’s just be real, I had other stuff going on. That wire was so far from my mind its not even funny.
And it took about a month before my supplier was like, “hey, we don’t have our money yet. what’s going on?” And I immediately called the bank, it took them about a week to research and find out that Bank of America, who is not my bank, who I did not send the wire through, so I still don’t really understand all that, they were holding my wire because they needed more information.
My first instinct was to get so mad at my banker because why didn’t anybody call me? I’m happy to, I’ve got all the information right here. I’ve got everything you need to know, why hasn’t anybody called me? Then I took a step back and I reminded myself of a brutal reality of life which is that nobody cares about your money more than you care about your money. This was my responsibility, I had those suppliers waiting. They had invested money and time into creating that product for me and they were waiting on the cash to fulfill the order. And I left them hanging. I feel terrible about that, I still feel terrible about that. And it was up to me and I failed, and that’s been a hard lesson to learn but I can bet you one thing.
Next time I send a wire out to somebody, I’m going to be on it.
I have done a really bad job of keeping track of my bookkeeping and my expenses. I just this morning finished putting all those expenses into a spreadsheet. Hopefully its right and it makes sense and I can figure out all of it. I’ll tell you what, there is a big fat ugly red number on my profit and loss statement I wasn’t very happy about. But, next year will be better. Next year will be better.
My last mistake is that I really should have had an accountability partner. Here was my initial thought, is that is where you guys come in, right? I created The Bootstrap Boutique to document a journey if you go back and you watch the very first videos, not that I recommend you doing that, they are painfully bad, but I was like, “Oh, I want to start a business, I don’t know what I want to do.” And then it’s like, “Hey, I found out about this Amazon thing, let’s do this Amazon thing.” And I was going to film videos on The Bootstrap Boutique to keep everybody updated on my progress.
And I said, “I’m going to film a video one time a week and I’m going to tell you everything I’m doing.” And you what, I did that. But I spent so much time working on these videos that I really neglected selling on Amazon, which is the whole purpose of these videos.
So, glad you’re enjoying the videos but I have got to do a better job about spending more time on the Amazon stuff and less time on the YouTube stuff. Not that I’m not going to keep making videos because it has absolutely kept me going when I probably otherwise would have said, “forget the whole thing!” But the focus has to got to change. It’s got to change.
Can I tell you the one thing I did right through all of this? I kept going, I haven’t stopped. And I did, even though it took me from March or April or February or sometime last year all the way until January 2017. But I did it! I’m selling a product on Amazon.
And this is just number 1. We’ve got more coming, There’s more to do, right? But I finally was able to get there. And even if it’s a really long slog for you like it was for me, that’s ok. But just keep slogging. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling on Amazon or some other kind of business, its all the same. Its just one step after the other. Just keep trying and keep moving forward. You will eventually get there.
Thanks so much for being here again this week, thanks for watching these videos. I love your support and I want to support you in any way that I can. Contact me at any of the methods in the description below. Thumbs up on the video if you enjoyed it. Leave me a comment and let me know some mistakes that you’ve made in your business so you can make me feel a little better about myself. That would be awesome. And I will talk to you next time. Take care!
You can watch the video on YouTube here.
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