Today’s post will be the fifth month in an ongoing series of guest financial results posts. If you missed any of the first four, you can find them here HERE.
Take it away Dana:
Good morning everyone. First let me apologize for the delay in getting my August results out. Fall is in full force up here in the mountains, there was the Labor Day Holiday, and then I headed out to Nashville to attend my first ever CES conference – all that put me a bit behind.
But onto business….The conference was great and for me was perfect timing. I went struggling with some motivation but returned full of ideas and ready to keep on truckin’. I met some awesome folks, went to the Grand Ole Opry, and my Arkansas Razorbacks beat TCU. All in all a GREAT weekend! If you’ve never been to Nashville – I highly recommend it. It’s one of my favorite places.
I can tell you that doing this little exercise crunching my numbers has been good. I finished up August not really confident that I could continue with FBA. I was really having a cash flow issue. But as I take a look at the numbers – we actually had our 2nd best month since starting in Jan. And I have definitely noticed an uptick in sales going into September. So let’s recap –
Goal 1 – Gross sales $7000 with target GPM 40%
I’ve really been trying to up my eBay sales – and when you combine eBay with Amazon we were able to just barely exceed our goal for Aug. We had a little over $600 in sales via eBay – either using JoeLister or items I listed myself. Admittedly I don’t know a lot about eBay and that is an area I need to research quite a bit more. But it was enough to help us met our goal.
Our gross profit margin (revenue-cogs) was just over 50%. See the screenshot below (click to enlarge for a better look, same goes for all other images in the post as well):
Here is our breakdown with Net Profit Margin. We had a little over $500 in cash back this month – that also helped with the profit margin.
And here is my Amazon sales screen shot. You may notice the total dollar amount of sales doesn’t exactly match the number from InventoryLab. That is because of the timing that InventoryLab processes some transaction. I use InventoryLab to calculate all my numbers above and just review this to see my ASP.
Here’s a look at the expenses for the month, and how they compare to prior months (click to enlarge):
The services that are used that show up in the subscription fees section are OAXray for help with online arbitrage, InventoryLab for listing and accounting, TaxJar for managing sales taxes, BQool for repricing, and JoeLister for selling products on eBay that are currently listed on Amazon.
Goal 2 – Spending Goal $8000 with $400 CB)
I added this goal as I’ve been participating in some online spending challenges. But as August got going and I had time to update my accounts, etc I realized I didn’t really have the cash flow to do this. I purchase everything using credit cards and then pay them off each month. Which works fine if you’re turning product every 30-days – and well – I’m not. In hindsight I was probably trying to grow this thing a bit faster than possible – giving my knowledge and resources. So just a warning to those starting out – you have to keep an eye on your cash flow.
So I added some more personal funds to the account (don’t tell my husband) to cover the credit card payment – and decided to try out a new system for managing my cash flow. I’ve started reading Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, and while I’m not finished I decided to apply his principles from the book for September. We might not grow as fast, but hopefully it will help us continue.
One of my focus items for this month is to really start thinking about funding and cash flow for Q4. I’ll definitely be more careful about what I’m spending on and looking at the churn rate more closely.
Goal 3 – Complete Inventory Sourcing Course
Wow – to be honest I did’t even remember what this was right away when first reviewing my goals from the prior month – lol. Obviously this is a course I haven’t finished watching yet. But part of the reason I’m doing this is so I can have more freedom with my time. I’ve been enjoying the beautiful state I live in now – knowing that in just a few short months (probably more like weeks) – the snow will start to fly and I’ll have plenty of time to curl up by the fire and go through the training videos included in this course. Of course – once Q4 is over.
Goal 4 – Get ungated in the Health and Beauty category
Many sellers have been using AbeDelivers to gain wholesale invoices for ungating and it is who I used for ungating in Grocery several months back. Unfortunately it looks like Abe’s is no longer allowing public wholesale purchasing. They took down their website and were telling folks it would be down for 30-days for maintenance. But rumor has it that they do not intend to open the public portion back up. So I’m continuing to look for other options to get invoices to ungate in H&B. I’ll report back my experience once I learn a bit more.
So there is August in a nutshell. Overall I’m more pleased than I expected to be. I still have a lot of inventory in my garage that I need to get out and some bad buys we made that I would like to sell via eBay. I spent last week in Denver doing some serious sourcing with the funds I had. I’ve also started focusing a bit more on my Amazon Merch account and have sold a couple of shirts. I’ll explain a bit more about that next month. Until then, thanks for reading!
– Gross sales $8000
– Implement Profit First and track Cash Flow
– Start preparing for Q4
– Ungate in Health and Beauty
Ryan’s last words: Thank you Dana for putting this post together and sharing this update on your business!
5 thoughts on “August 2016 Guest Financial Results Post from Selling on Amazon – Dana”
Hey Guys – I’m sorry I’m just now getting to your comments. Have been having some computer troubles and I can only do so much on my phone with these aging eyes (lol).
Ryan S – I didn’t really get hit with any major brand restrictions (at least not yet). I have noticed that most Vtech toys are restricted – but interestingly not all. Just sent in some and they all sold that day. I’m probably restricted in Legos – but I don’t sell those much if at all – so haven’t checked. So far (fingers crossed) I’m still selling Nike.
David – we started out nearly 100% OA with retail online stores and small specialty stores. I’ve started dabbling in RA but it’s extremely hard where I live since it’s a 3 hours through the mountains 1-way to any major metro area. I do have some wholesale accounts – but honestly have not found anything profitable with those yet. After 4Q I plan to really get serious about finding some wholesale accounts that I can use. Sticking with RA/OA makes me nervous. Wholesale has always been my plan.
Chad – I sell in all categories I find profitable stuff in and that I’m ungated in. For me – it seems seasonal. I started heavy with kitchen, did a little toys and lately sports and outdoors. I’ll try and include a breakdown in my next post. For eBay – I cross sell using JoeLister anything I think will get a higher margin on eBay – mainly video games. I also sell items that may have not so pristine box condition and in some cases customer returns.
Great questions guys and thank you!!
Great stuff Dana. I’m wondering the same about continuing, but honestly, unless you’re keeping track of the numbers like you are, you are not being realistic. Nice job! I’m terrible at keeping track of expired product, returns, reimbursements or product I use to take pictures. I think that’s the harder thing about groceries. Looking forward to your next update.
I would also be curious to see how many categories your selling in. Do you concentrate on just a few or
Do you buy whatever you come across?
Also what type of items are you selling on eBay?
Is it just items you can’t sell on Amazon or are you
Selling the same items on both Amazon and EBay ?
Where are you sourcing your products. Wholesale, retail stores and what categories are you getting best del, toys etc.
Great stuff! I never thought to include cash back in my profit margin calculations. I just consider those “bonus.” One thing you should know is that if you get a Discover It card, you can have them activate “double cash back for 1 year.” I just got my payout and it was over 700 dollars.
Also, I find that my profit margin hovers between 20-30%every single month…which is fine but it’s amazing how that stays consistent.
Did you or Ryan end up getting gated in any major brand?
Best of luck, keep going.