AMAZON FBA: Tim Ferriss’s 17 Impossible Questions for your Amazon FBA Business

In today’s video I use Tim Ferriss’s 17 “Impossible” questions and see how they can be applied to your Amazon FBA business.


It’s like 20 questions only more efficient.

Hey welcome back to The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. Today is Wednesday which means we’re going to talk about selling on Amazon. And instead today of me telling you about what I’m doing, because I’m still waiting for a wire to go through, I thought it would be fun to share with you guys a few fun questions that you can think about as it pertains to your Amazon FBA business and crazy out of the box things that you can think of to do to improve.

Now these 17 questions actually came from a podcast from Tim Ferriss, you know, the four hour work week guy? And I had his podcast in my queue for a long time and I kind of just kept scrolling past it and listening to other stuff and I finally listened to this one, 17 questions, or I think it’s called “Testing the Impossible 17 questions, when I was in the grocery store doing some shopping one day. That is hands down my favorite place to listen to podcasts besides driving and sitting in my house by myself working and pretty much all the other stuff that I do by myself….

That’s not the point.

I was walking around in the grocery store listening to these questions and I thought, this would be really good to apply to an Amazon FBA business because we get in the mindset that there’s all these gurus out there that tell you, you do this then you do this then you do this then you do this. This is how you source. This is how you do PPC this is how review or get reviews and these questions kind of turn all that on its head. So take some time, think about these questions and see if they are going to be able to help you in your business.

Oh and you can put down the pen and paper because I’ve actually got all this typed up for you in a cheat sheet and you can download it below in the description box.

Ok are you ready? Lets get started.

Question 1. What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?

Here’s where my mind went with that question. One of the main reasons that people start selling on Amazon is because they want to create some kind of financial margin in their lives or maybe a time margin. What I mean is you want to be your own boss and have your own business. Because of that sales become so important. And I know a lot of people that have that app on their phone, that sellers app, and they check it constantly to see sales coming in. What if for 48 hours you just took it off your phone and you didn’t worry about sales. Maybe you focus on another part of FBA or maybe you see if you actually have created that freedom that you think you have where you are still earning money even though you are doing literally nothing with your business. Could you try that for 48 hours?

Question 2. What do I spend a silly amount of money on? How can I scratch my own itch?

This is a great question for product sourcing. So think about what you see a silly amount of money on in a month. Look at your Amazon orders, look at your credit card bills or your bank account statements. What is something that you just spend a ton of money on? Tim Ferriss actually talks about this in his podcast and he says that he realized that he was spending all this money on supplements and that was one of his very first businesses that he ran was selling supplements online. So could you take that question, what you do you spend a silly amount of money on, niche it down even further and find that perfect Amazon product that you have unique knowledge about maybe. That would be awesome.  Of course we want to use Jungle Scout (affiliate link below) to validate that product to make sure it’s going to sell on Amazon but that’s a great way to find products that would be 1. appealing to you potentially and also could be great sellers.

Question 3. What would I do have or be if I had 10 million dollars?

Lets get deep for a minute. If you had ten million dollars, how would that make you a different person than you are today? Would you still do the same thing that you do for your day job now? Do you love your job so much you’d go to it even if they didn’t pay you? Would you be more generous? Would you have a Lamborghini or a sports car? Would you go on trips with your family? This is not a question about daydreaming. This is a question about how can you take that person, that 10 million dollar person and be that today. If you want to be more generous, can you be more generous than you are today? If you want to take trips with your family, is it true that you can’t take an extended trip with your family now? It may not be an overwater villa in Bora Bora, but it may be a weekend camping at a state park. If you want the sports car, you’ll have to talk to my husband for some ideas on that. I don’t get the car thing at all, but is there a way that you could do that, or you could approximate it today? Because all that success that we hope we’re going to have with Amazon or with whatever your business is at 10 million dollars, you can probably do that today on some scale.  So the point is don’t wait to live.

Question 4. What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back to here?

What is the worst thing that could happen to you selling on Amazon? You might be out a few thousand dollars. You’ll be out whatever your investment is if you send it to Amazon and it doesn’t sell.  And don’t get me wrong, there are people that that’s happened to. But that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you on Amazon as long as you’re not infringing on a patent or putting out a dangerous product. So for one, don’t invest money that you don’t have. If you have $500 to invest but you need that money to pay rent, please pay your rent. If you’re down a few thousand dollars, can you make a few thousand from a day job, from another side hustle? Yes, you can. That means you should go for it. You should, if you want to do this, you should do it, because if that’s the worst that could happen is you lose money, money is money, you can make more.

Question 5. If I could only work 2 hours a week on my business, what would I do?

This is the question that I’m pretty sure lead to the writing of the Four Hour Work Week and a lot of those experiments that Tim did in the book. So when you think about your Amazon business and you ask yourself the question, if I could only work 2 hours in the whole week, out of 168 hours, what would I do? What are your most important items that you need to get done? And a lot of that is going to depend on where you are in your journey. So if you don’t have a product, then you should spend your 2 hours a week finding that perfect product. If you’re already selling on Amazon, you probably have not maxed out your sales yet, so you need to spend that 2 hours figuring out how to sell out of every piece of inventory that you have in stock. The question is what is the most important thing that you need to get done in your business and do that thing. Don’t get distracted by social media, by YouTube videos by all the things that we have in our lives that are distracting to us. Do the important thing thats going to make the biggest difference for you today.

Question 6. What if I let them make decisions up to $100? $500? $1000?

Now when Tim talks about this question he is talking about it in terms of employees, so he has employees and what happens if he lets them make a decision that’s going to cost the company up to $100. How is that going to free up his time? For Amazon FBA sellers, I’d say 9 times out of 10 if somebody is really throwing a fit about a product or issue, just refund them the money and move on. You’re probably not ever going to make them happy. A refund or a replacement I guess would be the other option, but just take care of it and move on. Don’t sweat the small stuff, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Question 7. What’s the least crowded channel?

Spoiler alert. The least crowded channel, not Amazon. But there’s other places that you can sell your product. Wal-Mart is becoming very popular., I get their mailers to try them all the time so they are probably going to be a player in the future. You can sell certain products on, they have a marketplace. You can sell on eBay, etsy, eCommerce. I mean, these are all well known platforms but there’s others out there that I don’t even know about maybe you should tell me if you know about them. But what’s the least crowded channel that’s going to have the biggest bang for your buck.

Question 8. What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly?

In the podcast I’m pretty sure in this one I’m pretty sure Tim was trying to sell his book and trying to get people interested in his book and how he eventually found his way to selling it, or promoting it to bloggers, which is very early influencer marketing. So if you can’t go direct to your consumer, maybe you were relying on something like a review group in the past, and that’s no longer an option, how else can you market your product? One thing I’ve talked about is YouTube videos and creating a channel for my brand once I get that going and creating YouTube videos, how to, instructional, lifestyle, whatever applies to you videos that are going to go out and be for your product that your customer is going to find on YouTube and of course there is going to be a nice little link right down there in the bottom that’s going to lead them straight to your product. That’s just one way, I’m sure that there’s a million out there and we’ll explore those as we go.

Question 9. What if I created my own real-world MBA?

The way that I think about this question is, should I pay for a course? I don’t think that this stuff is that difficult, I feel like so many really smart people give it away that for right now I feel no need to pay for a course for how to sell on Amazon. I’ve done courses on other stuff but I have not yet found an Amazon FBA, how to sell on Amazon FBA course that I felt like was worth my money. So I’m kind of starting to learn via the school of hard knocks or via real world experience as you guys know and I have definitely at least got an associates in it at this point. But that’s going to be a different answer for different people, it really depends on how much time you have to put into it, how much cash you have to throw around.  As you know, I am working on bootstrapping as much as possible so it’s been worth it to me to just put in the time and learn the hard way. But that answer may be different for you.

Question 10. Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?

So lets’ go back a couple of questions ago we were talking about what happens if you lost a few thousand dollars, several thousand dollars, five hundred dollars, whatever your case may be. Do you have to make it back by selling on Amazon? Of course not, right? You can go sell a product somewhere else, you can just go drive for fiv – I was going to say drive for Fiverr. You can drive for Uber if you wanted. You can do Fiverr projects if you want since we’re talking about Fiverr now. But the thing is that there’s always other ways that you can make money and just keep that in mind when you’re feeling down and if you feel like this Amazon thing is taking too long or whatever.  You need to make some money, there’s other ways you can go out and make money. You will always have value in the market place if you’re willing to work.

Question 11. What if I could only subtract to solve problems?

Now there’s an interesting thought, right? I don’t know about you guys, but I tend to overcomplicate stuff.  I want to add tasks and subtasks and projects to an already overstuffed calendar. So what would it look like if I could only solve problems by taking things away? To me that’s like creating a not to do list.

Question 12. What might I put in place to allow me to go off the grid for 4-8 weeks with no email or phone?

Perfect question for people who are trying to create freedom through Amazon FBA selling, right? How good are your systems? Can you leave for a month, for two months and go to the jungles of the Amazon or to Tahiti or Bora Bora or the moon or whatever? Could you do it? How good are your systems? If your answer is no, you couldn’t, then your systems aren’t there yet, and we need to work to find out how to make that better because otherwise you’ve just made yourself a new job. Right? If you’ve ever read the E-Myth, the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, you know, you’ve just made yourself a job. You didn’t make yourself a business. You’ve still got a boss, it’s called Amazon.

Question 13. Am I hunting antelope or field mice?

This question, I get it. I totally get where he’s coming from. But I do think that Amazon is a little different because if you spend all your time trying to go out and hunt antelope, so you’re trying to find one product that’s going to net you like 10,000 a month, you’re probably going to be looking for a very long time. And/or you’re going to be selling a product in an extremely competitive field that you’re going to have to really stay on top of. I think that this business is one that does ok with small wins.To mix metaphors, with base hits. So you don’t have to go out and hit a homerun every night with Amazon FBA, if you have enough products that are selling at least a handful of units a month, then you can probably make a pretty good living.  I was listening to a Scott Voelker, The Amazing Seller, podcast he was talking about a lady that came to his breakthrough event and was on the hot seat. She was doing 80,000 a month in revenue and she had hundreds of products. You start to do the math on that with an average profit margin and you realize that she is making some pretty good money with those small volume sellers. So don’t knock it. I totally get what Tim Ferriss is saying and in most businesses that is true but on the other hand, it would be really weird to go into Wal-Mart and they only sell one product. So I think in this business to spread that out a little bit, it also helps lower your risks, which is always a good thing.

Question 14. Could it be that everything is fine and complete as it is?

Are you a maximizer? Do you want the most bang for your buck in every aspect of your life? Because that is something that I think we all deal with to some extent, but you have to realize that not being content in what you have and who you are can rob you of your joy in the present moment. And that is just something that, when you’re starting a business you always want to do this thing and then this thing and then take on this opportunity and then oh, there’s this shiny over here. And you’ve just got to remember one, to work on what you’re working on, start where you are and learn what you need to know and not anything more than that to start with because otherwise it gets all overwhelming. But maybe it you’re already running a business, what you’re doing right now is fine. Yes, we always need to grow to stay in business, but comparison is the thief of joy , we’ve all heard that. And so if you’re already running a business, be content where you are. Not that you don’t have ambition to do more, but be so happy and proud of what you have accomplished already.

Question 15. What would this look like if it were easy?

I thought that business was supposed to be hard. Are you telling me that there’s something that we can do to make this easy? Again with the over complicating of things. How can we simplify our processes, how can we outsource where we can outsource to make this easier? There’s always going to be challenges that’s not, I believe the purpose of this question, but how can we make things easier on ourselves as we build a business instead of harder? Amazon FBA is a great opportunity to do that because they handle all the fulfillment for you, they handle most of the selling and marketing for you, there’s things that you can do to stand out, but your product is on Amazon just like Nike’s shoes are on Amazon, with a much smaller budget.

Question 16. How can I throw money at this problem? How can I “waste” money to improve the quality of my life?

So for me this question, every time I hear it, every time I hear about throwing money at something, my mind goes to housekeeping. Because there’s been times in our lives when we’ve hired a housekeeper, generally its just been for short times when we needed some extra help and it makes such a difference in quality of life.  I have a child under 2, I have 2 big dogs that shed a lot, my house needs constant attention to stay clean and I am not a natural housekeeper. So whatever I can do to make my life easier, I should probably be doing at this stage. So housekeeping is something thats on my list of things to do now that we’re in the new house and I know I need to get it done. Because that is literally me throwing money at a problem to make my life easier, and it will make me a much happier person. If you’re working a day job and you have a side hustle and you have a family that you would like to see at some point, then you have to find some ways, something’s got to give, right? So for me thats an easy one to let go of. As far as Amazon FBA, it may be paying for some software that you would not normally. Like Splitly is software you can use (affiliate link below) to help you split test your listings and see if this one is better than this one instead of always trying to have to run those tests yourself because they are time consuming and you might forget and then your numbers are off and you just wasted all your time. That is a way that you can throw money at a problem to make your life easier. And as we grow our businesses and get some margin in there that is a great way to do it because it will also help you expand your business.

Question 17. No hurry, no pause.

Wait a minute, that’s not a question Tim. But I believe what he’s talking about here is just the ying and the yang. You can’t feel happy unless you know how it feels to be sad, you can’t be energetic unless you know how it feels to be tired. You can’t, you know, there is no joy without pain. All of that stuff. And you can’t have and experience the hustle unless you also experience rest. That is an important one to keep in mind and its a great place to end because you can’t have the questions without the answers. And now it’s time for you to go out and think about the answers to these questions.

Don’t forget I have included a cheat sheet of all these questions, you can download it from the link in the description box below and I would love if you’d give a thumbs up to this video if you enjoyed these questions. Comment below, tell me what your favorite question is out of the 17. Consider subscribing if you haven’t already so you never miss a video and I will talk to you next time. Thanks guys!

Tools Mentioned:
**Jungle Scout
**Splitly (not affiliate as mentioned in video)
**Tools of Titans  (Amazon)
**The E-Myth Revisited  (Amazon)

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