Why You Aren’t Selling on Amazon FBA

Why You Aren't Selling on Amazon FBA
So, why aren’t you selling on Amazon yet?

Why You Aren’t Selling

One of the biggest surprises for me from the 2017 TBB Survey was that 77% of you all aren’t yet selling on Amazon.

I’m going to make an assumption that you are here to learn about selling on Amazon – ok and also to see what I’m going to screw up next – so I was a bit taken a back by this.

On  one had it does make sense, I’m still an Amazon beginner so it follows that other Amazon beginners would be drawn to this channel.

But, I want to make sure that we all don’t hang out too long in beginner land, that we are continuing to move forward.

So in today’s video I’m asking you, what do you need to help you take the next step and move forward to selling on Amazon?

Here are some resources that can help:

Is Private Label Right For You? Free Email Course

28 Day Pick Your Product Challenge

Private Label Resource Guide

Or maybe you need accountability and motivation.  If so, I’ve got you covered also.  Group coaching is available for sign up from my email list.  Click here if you aren’t signed up already!

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

Goals for 2018 – Amazon FBA, 30 Day Challenges and The Bootstrap Boutique

2018 Goals
Sharing my goals for 2018

Each month, I will share a detailed monthly goals report via YouTube Live and here on the blog. My 2018 goal report goes over each of the goals I set for myself this year and the progress I have made on them so far.

Looking for past goal updates – here they are!

My Goals for 2018:

AMAZON FBA

During 2018 I will easily find 3 additional private label products to manufacture and sell via Amazon FBA.

I am excited about the prospect of launching 3 products and selling 4 products on the Amazon platform next year.

I will easily generate $1,000 profit each month from selling products on Amazon.

Increasing the number of products I sell and continuing to optimize my current product will help me achieve the goal of $1,000 monthly profit.

I will happily attend Sellers Summit in May, 2018 and learn from some of the top eCommerce sellers in business.  I will make valuable connections with other sellers.

I cannot wait to attend Sellers Summit next Spring. I plan to squeeze every drop of value possible out of the conference and share everything I learn with you.

30 Day Challenges

Over the course of 2018, I will complete four 30 Day Challenges to improve specific areas of my life and business.

January: 30 Days of Meditation

During the month of January, I will easily complete 30 straight days of meditation. I will meditate for a minimum of 10 minutes each day.

I have an inconsistent meditation practice currently, but when I do it I notice great benefits like an increased ability to focus. Its valuable time that I look forward to spending in practice.

April: VEDA – Vlog Every Day in April

During the month of April I will easily participate in VEDA, posting a video to The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel each day.

My current plan is to film an Amazon tutorial each day during the month of April. If there is something that you’d like to see in particular, let me know!

June: 30 Day Yoga Challenge

During the month of June I will easily complete the 30 Days of Yoga program from Yoga By Adriene.

I look forward to completing 30 days of yoga to spend time focusing on my body and it’s movements. As I’m getting older I notice I’m not as mobile as I’d like to be, and this will allow me to take steps to better that. You can learn more about the program here.

November: 30 Day No Complaint Challenge

During the month of November I will easily complete a No Complaint Challenge.

Ok, “easily” might be a stretch on this one, as I’m not sure I can go so long without finding something to complain about, but my real goal is to be mindful of times when I find myself complaining and choosing to be grateful in the moment instead.

 

The Bootstrap Boutique

Group Coaching

I will happily start a new coaching group for new Amazon sellers.

I completed my first  group coaching program in December of 2017 and was amazed by the success of the group. Not everyone is selling on Amazon currently, but everyone made progress in their own way.  If you’d like to sign up for an upcoming program, please send me an email.

New Website

I will easily launch a new website for The Bootstrap Boutique.

I can’t wait to get a new website out into the world.  I have a new look and feel picked out, and am getting new pictures taken in January. I’m so excited to share this with you!

Speaking

I will easily speak at a conference or event, sharing the opportunity of Amazon FBA.

I am excited to speak at a conference or event during 2018. If you know of any opportunities I should explore, please email them to me.

Guest Appearances

I will easily appear on podcasts or write guest posts for 12 other websites during 2018.

I enjoy sharing my story and about the opportunity of selling on Amazon FBA with new audiences. During 2018 I will average 1 guest appearance a month.

 

I’m excited about the goals that I have set for 2018 and hope that you will join me in improving your business next year.  Share your goals and progress with me in the comments below!

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

December Amazon Update

December Amazon Update
This is my first year selling during Q4 on Amazon! How’s it going?

Today I’m sharing my December Amazon Update.

Selling During Q4

This is my first time selling during the holiday rush that is Q4. I was late getting started due to being out of stock and waiting on a new shipment of products.

My supplier warned me that they were getting busy and that there would be a long lead time on production.  It turned out to actually be 55 days until my product was ready to ship to Amazon. Ouch.

This means that products weren’t checked in to an Amazon warehouse until the night of December 4th, or Cyber Monday. I was happy to see sales that same night, but sad that I missed out on Black Friday and that crazy first weekend of the shopping season.

It also meant my product sales were never going to be as good as they could be, because Amazon doesn’t immediately give you your ranking back when you get back in stock.

I’ve been back in stock for 2 weeks at this point and have sold about 1/3 of my inventory. Honestly, I thought it would be more and that I would be almost out of stock again, based on what I have heard about Q4 sales from other sellers.  There is definitely room for me to improve here next year.

Shipping Expenses Hurt Again

This production run is a lot more expensive for me because my shipping is more expensive.  This is supply and demand working against me as this is a busy time of year for transportation companies as well.

From the time I got my first shipping quote in August until when the products actually shipped in late November, the price rose by over $1,000.

$1,000.

Yeah.

Pay Per Click

Because my profit margin is lower than I’d like, I can’t be as aggressive as I’d like with PPC.

I’m currently running 3 campaigns, an automatic, a manual, and an exact match manual with a limit of $20 a day.

Inventory

My main concern is maintaining profitability so that I can continue to order larger quantities of products and start hitting some quantity discounts with the suppliers. I’m also considering sea shipping for my next order, I am just hoping that I have a shorter production time to make up for that lag in sea shipping.

Product #2

We are officially in production! I am so excited to get started with a second product and to have 2 products selling on Amazon.  It should be ready in about 20 days and is a smaller and lighter product than #1 so should be much cheaper to ship. It has definitely been cheaper to produce.

Book Keeping

Gotta get on that so it’s ready to go early in January for my CPA.  I’m excited that according to Fetcher, I’m showing a small profit for the year!

Merry Christmas!

This is the last official video between now and Christmas, so if you celebrate I hope that you have a wonderful day full of all the people and things that matter to you.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

What NOT To Sell on Amazon FBA

Don't Sell This On Amazon
A short list of things you should not sell on Amazon in order to be successful

There are so many things that you can sell on Amazon and have a successful business, but the flip side to that is that there’s also a few things that you should stay away from. So what should you not sell on Amazon FBA?

Restricted Products

The first type of product that you should not sell are products that are restricted on Amazon. There are times when you are able to create a listing for these products within Seller Central, but you put your account an risk when you do so.

You can find a list of Amazon FBA restricted products here.

There are also products or items that could get you banned.  Items like “play money” which looks a lot like real money.

Lock picking sets is another example of an item that sells well on Amazon but could be risky for your account.

Trends That You Aren’t On Top Of

And when I say on top, I mean….extremely early to market.  You should be on the first 25% of the below chart to make money here, and the hard part is knowing where a product is on the chart, especially if it is becoming trendy.

product lifecycle stages
Product Lifecycle. Source: https://www.slideshare.net/DashrathPurohit/product-life-cycle-and-marketing-strategies

If you are going to go after a trend, you’ve got to be fast. You should plan on getting in, making money and getting out, and not trying to build a company on the trendy product (*cough* fidget spinners *cough*).

Example Products from FBA Teachers

Garlic Press. Apple Slicer. Bamboo roasting sticks. Yoga mats.

These are examples used by people well known in the Amazon FBA space. These products have thousands of additional eyes on them at all times due to the exposure they get on podcasts, blogs and videos.  You can feel confident that even if the teachers aren’t selling these products, there exposure is much higher than the average product which can increase competition.

Products with Too Much Competition

“Too much” is going to be different for everyone. We all have our own comfort level with products.

Generally speaking, if the front page of a product search shows products with thousands of reviews each, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get on the first page.

Don’t Make It Harder on Yourself

These are a few ideas of products where it is likely easier to just say no to keep your account healthy, or your sanity intact.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

Amazon FBA: Preparing for 2018

Planning for 2018
Today I’m sharing 4 things that I’m doing during the last 4 weeks of the year to get ready for 2018!

Preparing for 2018

It is time to begin preparing for 2018, because it’s almost here!

What are you doing to get ready for next year?

If you’re still trying to figure out if Private Label is right for you, take my free 5 day email course here, it helps walk you through that decision in just 5 days.

Here’s four things that I am trying to get done in the last 4 weeks of December.

Set up Product Launches for 2, 3, and 4

Product #2 is almost ready to go, I’m just waiting for a little more cash in my bank account, which will come from the sale of product #1 over the holiday season.

But I need to make sure that I’ve got the momentum going for products #3 and #4 so I can get them launched sooner than later.

Continue to add Sales Tax Permits to States with Nexus

I’m working through my larger liability states to make sure that I’m collecting and paying sales tax in states where I have more product sales.

Tax Jar is a software program I use that makes it easy to see where my exposure is amongst the various states, and I am working down the list.

My goal for the rest of this year is to have one more state set up, and then to continue adding next year.

Wrap Up Bookkeeping

I’m going to spend an entire day towards the end of the year working on my bookkeeping. It’s one of those things that you have to do as a business owner even if it’s not sexy or fun.  (Remember when I said that this is work?)

Take a Step Back

Believe it or not, I’m going to work on taking a step back from the Amazon FBA world over the Christmas season and get a refresh on it. I’ve worked hard this year on getting my business off the ground and I want to be able to reflect on and enjoy that fact. I have plans to spend lots of time with family and friends and enjoy this time of year.

There’s plenty of time in 2018 to get back on the grind!

That’s all I have for the end of 2017, what do you have planned for the rest of the year?

You can watch this video on The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel, here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s Youtube Channel, here.

5 Ways to Find Time to Start A Business

find time to start a business
Five ways to find time to start a business. Because we all have more time in our days then we think!

Are you trying to find time to start a business? I know it can seem impossible, with work, family obligations, and all the day to day stuff that we have to get done.

But I’d be willing to bet that you can use at least one of these tips to find some more time in your day.

Warning: You may not really like these ideas, but I promise they can help.  You don’t have to stick with any of them forever!  Give it a shot.

5 Ways To Find Time To Start A Business

Tip 1 – Turn Off the TV

We cut cable at our house about a year and a half ago.  It’s amazing how much more motivated I am to work at night when there isn’t the prospect of hours of television stretching in front of me.

We still have a digital antenna to get local news and even with that, I feel like I spend too much time watching TV – even though we actively watch it less than an hour a day.

I’m not saying that you should never watch tv, I still have 1 show that I don’t miss (Survivor, if you’re curoius!) but you should be mindful of how you’re spending time at night if you are trying to start a business, and this is a huge time and energy waster if you let it be.

Tip 2 – Wake Up Early

This isn’t as much about waking up early (you might be better off staying up late) as it is about finding time when the house is quiet and you can put dedicated focus on one thing.

For me, I wake up at 5 am each week day and spend time working on blog posts for this blog. I wasn’t making the time for it during my ‘normal’ day so I decided to dedicate time to it in the mornings.

If waking up early seems too daunting, keep in mid that this is a great example of dedicating yourself to something for a set period of time. You could set a goal of finding a product or some other big task in your business and dedicating morning time to it until it’s done. Then you can go back to sleeping in.

Tip 3 – Shut Down Social

I took Facebook off my phone. I found I was spending too much of my day mindlessly scrolling though it and that was not a good use of my time.

If nothing else, commit to stop checking social media during your workday. Be more productive at work so you can leave it there and have time to focus on your new business when you are at home.

Tip 4 – Block Your Time

I’ve been experimenting with different time blocking methods over the last couple of years. I’ve tried the 3×5 method which I talked about back in 2016, I’ve done the Pomodoro Technique.

And most recently I’ve been experimenting with breaking my calendar out into 30 minute increments and scheduling specific tasks for each of those 30 minutes.

It’s a work in progress and probably always will be. I’m constantly tweaking and refining my time blocking methods trying to find what will work best for me.

Tip 5 – Schedule Everything

Sticking with the 30 minute increments, I use those blocks for all kinds of things. Checking email, returning phone calls, straightening up the house. Whatever needs to get done needs to get on my calendar.

Otherwise its not getting done.  It’s that simple for me, it probably is for you too.

Wrap Up

How are you currently finding time to start your business and what did you hear today that you’re going to try starting today?


You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube page here.

You can watch more videos from The Bootstrap Boutique here.

 

What is a Carton Mark?

What is a Carton Mark?
What is a Carton Mark?

Its, true…you learn something new every day.

And recently, I learned what a carton mark is.

I’ve been through a couple of orders already with my supplier and I like to think that I’m pretty on top of the questions that they will ask me.

So when I got an email asking what I wanted for my carton mark, I was confused, I’d never been asked that before.

What is a Carton Mark?

After some research, I learned that while pretty simple, a carton mark is actually really important.

It is the information that goes on the outside of all your boxes and tells people what is inside the box.

A carton mark should have these things, at minimum:

  • Your shipping label (including a receiving and return address)
  • Country of Origin
  • Contents of the Carton*
  • Numbered Box + Boxes in shipment (Example: 1 of 3)
  • Weight + Measurements (metric)
  • Written in English

*If your contents are high value, you may not want to advertise what is inside in case unsavory characters come across your goods.

The video below has additional information about carton marks, should you need to create one for your supplier.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more of The Bootstrap Boutique here.

October Update – Amazon FBA

October Update Amazon FBA
October Update – What’s been going on in FBA lately.

October Update

Every couple of months I like to check in with a video to discuss all the little things going on that don’t warrant their own video.  Here’s what I’ve been up to!

Out of Stock

Unfortunately, my product has gone out of stock at Amazon again.

The day that I went out of stock, I sold 18 units before noon!  That was exciting to watch.  I was able to turn off my pay per click advertising and the rest of the sales came in organically.

What is really interesting about this is that my traffic was not noticeably higher. My conversion rate, however, was well over double it’s normal percentage.

I wish I knew what caused that difference to try and see if it could be replicated, but Amazon’s business reports aren’t giving me much to work with.

Re-Order Inventory

The good news is that I re-ordered my inventory way back when this round of product landed back in August.  The factory warned me ahead of time that they were busy and the lead time was long, so I’d glad I put that re-order through so quickly.

It should be ready to go by the end of the month, which means it’s highly unlikely that it will be checked in for sale by the Black Friday cut off date.  It should still have plenty of Q4 sales days though.

Product #2

I found a potential second product that I’m pretty excited about.

I’ve ordered samples and have received 2. One is still on the way.  I also ordered the #1 seller on Amazon to see how they compare and what changes I may want to make.

One thing that is frustrating is that in my initial emails. I always share that I need to make a small test order first, of 250 or 500 units depending on how expensive I think it will be. I asked if that is understood.

One of the suppliers that I work with just came back and said they have a huge MOQ (minimum order quantity) that they won’t move off.  I wish that had come up during our initial emails as it would have saved us both lots of time.

Learning from the Past

It has been well documented that I made a lot of mistakes with product #1 that made it take longer to launch than it should have.

I have learned from those mistakes and started working ahead on the product listing for product #2. My listing is coming along nicely and I know better than to wait for all the products to come to my house before getting photos done this time!


You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more video’s from The Bootstrap Boutique here.

Goal Update April 28, 2017 (YouTube, Amazon, Branding)

Goal Update April 28 2017
Sharing progress towards my Q2 goals.

You can catch up on all my goal updates here.

Starting in 2017, I began publicly sharing goals related to building my Amazon FBA business as well as growing The Bootstrap Boutique. I set quarterly goals and do a check in on YouTube every two weeks to keep you updated on my progress and to hold myself accountable to working consistently towards meeting these goals.

For the second quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

1) Launch a second YouTube Channel for my Private Label brand and schedule 2 months of videos (8 total)

2) Get my Private Label Brand brand registered at Amazon

3) Work on The Bootstrap Boutique Blog

4) Watch and comment on 20 Amazon Seller Videos per week

 

And finally, this isn’t a stated goal, but I plan to use my “theme days” to get it all done.

 

Theme days are:

Monday – Product Work

Tuesday – Private Label Brand

Wednesday: YouTube

Thursday: The Bootstrap Boutique Brand

Friday: Plan & Review

Watch today’s video to see my progress at accomplishing these goals.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique Youtube Channel here.
You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s Youtube Channel here.

 

Goal Update March 31, 2017 (Amazon FBA, Twitter, YouTube, Podcasts)

March 31 2017 Goal Update
Checking in on my goals here at the end of the 1st quarter of 2017!

You can see all my Goal Update posts here.

Goal Update March 31, 2017

Starting in 2017, I began publicly sharing goals related to building my Amazon FBA business as well as growing The Bootstrap Boutique. I set quarterly goals and do a check in on YouTube every two weeks to keep you updated on my progress and to hold myself accountable to working consistently towards meeting these goals.

For the first quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

  1. Sell all 500 units of my Private Label Product
  2. Launch a second Private Label Product
  3. Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers
  4. Send out 1,000 Tweets
  5. Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers
  6. Post 20 YouTube Videos
  7. Review 3 books on YouTube
  8. Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels

So how did I do?  Let’s check in!

Sell all 250 units of my Private Label Product (Goal Not Met)

I ended the quarter selling 97 of the 250 units that I ordered.  If I had actually started in January, and not mid February, then I think this is a goal I could have achieved.

Launch a second Private Label Product (Goal Not Met)

I still have not launched a second private label product but hope to do so soon.

Gain 5,000 Twitter Followers (Goal Met)

I ended the quarter with 5,541 Twitter followers.

Send out 1,000 Tweets (Goal Met)

I sent 1,466 tweets during the quarter and plan to keep my engagement high.

Earn 200 YouTube Subscribers (Goal Met)

I am thrilled to end the quarter with 416 YouTube subscribers!

Post 20 YouTube Videos (Goal Met)

I posted 47 videos during the first quarter, far exceeding this goal.

Review 3 books on YouTube (Goal Met)

I reviewed Eat That Frog, Vlog like a Boss, and I did one sentence reviews of five classic business books.

Appear on 3 Podcasts or YouTube Channels (Goal Met)

During the quarter I was fortunate to appear of 2 podcasts and 1 YouTube channel.  You can find me on Moving Forward with John Lim, The Amazing Seller with Scott Voelker and on the Sellzee youtube channel.

In this video, I also share my goals for Q2:

For the second quarter of 2017, I set the following goals for myself:

1) Launch a second YouTube Channel for my Private Label brand and schedule 2 months of videos (8 total)

2) Get my Private Label Brand brand registered at Amazon

3) Work on The Bootstrap Boutique Blog

4) Watch and comment on 20 Amazon Seller Videos per week

And finally, this isn’t a stated goal, but I plan to use my “theme days” to get it all done.

Theme days are:

Monday – Product Work

Tuesday – Private Label Brand

Wednesday: YouTube

Thursday: The Bootstrap Boutique Brand

Friday: Plan & Review


You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.