Today’s post will be the final month in an ongoing series of guest financial results posts from selling on Amazon from Dana. If you missed any of the earlier ones, you can find them HERE. Dana has been sharing her results for the past year, and this post is the final update.
Take it away Dana:
I started sharing my results a little over a year ago, and time has come for me to close out this series. I’ve enjoyed sharing my experience with selling on Amazon and thought I’d pass along some things I’ve learned along the way.
But before we do that – let’s recap my May results. It’s taken a little bit to ramp my inventory back up – mainly because I’m trying to move more to wholesale. So my sales were still down much more than I had hoped for this month. I simply didn’t have anything much to sell.
My Gross Profit Margin was also down a little as I tried to get some older things moving again. But I met my goal – which admittedly wasn’t much of a stretch goal to begin with. But mentally I needed a couple of WINS. Still you can see we are still way down from last year where we grossed over 6K.
May 2017 Financial Results
Here’s my sales screenshot for May:
I’ve really tried to take a step back and evaluate why I’ve been so slow in ramping up as I was last year. And I think it boils down to fear. With all the recent suspension talk I just really let fear take hold and was reluctant to go and do anymore retail or online arbitrage. Sure I blamed it on not having time with everything else I have going on – but really it was just fear. It’s a powerful thing! These past 4 weeks I’ve really been trying to work through that and I think I’m starting to see some results. I’m way less anxious about what ‘might’ happen and concentrating on ‘just doing’ each day. Sure, things might not work out the way I planned, but there are always solutions as long as you are moving forward.
Of course seeing my net profit still in the red makes it hard to not be anxious, but here is how I look at it. I’m not making any money with Amazon because of fear of being suspended. IF I was suspended I’d not be making any money with Amazon. So why not take the chance, move forward and see what happens. While we read the gut wrenching stories of people being suspended, the truth is it’s a small percentage of honest sellers who are suspended, and even less of a percentage of honest sellers who are not reinstated. There is never a reward without taking a risk.
Here’s a look at the profit/loss breakdown:
So as June approached I made a promise to not let fear get in my way and I spent quite a bit of time doing some more retail arbitrage and a little online arbitrage. We’ve finally got some product rolling back into the warehouse and it’s selling. I’ve made a couple of wholesale buys and am really anxious to see how those turn out. I’m feeling a lot more confident as we approach the end of June and would love to share those results, but my time for sharing via these guest post are coming to an end. This will be my last post for the time being, although I might show back up at some point in the future.
I wanted to end with recapping a few lessons I’ve learned through this Amazon journey. I’m sure you’ve heard most of these before – but they are all true.
If you want this to be an income producer you have to treat it like a real job. I know people say this all the time, but I think there are a lot of conflicting messages out there. Some say they work more now than they did ‘working for the man’. Some boast about only spending 4 hours a week. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle and depends on how you work best. In my life as a Project Manager, we often refer to the Triangle of Constraint; time, cost, scope. One cannot change without impacting the others. And I think the same constraints are true of anything we do, including selling on Amazon. You want to spend as little of your own time running this business, it’s going to cost you in terms of building and hiring a team. You want to save money not hiring help, it’s going to cost in you time because you’ll be doing it all yourself. You probably won’t have time to expand into all opportunities Amazon has to offer. Everything is a trade-off. But for certain, success with this – or anything – doesn’t just happen. It takes effort. Effort to find and build a team, source and manage everything. This is not a passive income stream – but it is rewarding!
Hiring good help is hard! I probably under estimated this the most. I tried multiple times to find good, reliable help for both sourcing and prepping. Perhaps my expectations are too high. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Maybe there just isn’t anyone who wants to work with me – lol!. But I never did find a dependable person to source for me. I had lots of people show interest, and after spending time training them – they never produced. I also got tired of asking them how it was going and them having excuses to why they hadn’t even tried to find anything. Honestly – I think most people don’t want to put in the amount of effort it requires to find good stuff. Again – this takes effort! I remain convinced that if you don’t birth your own source and prep resources – it’s nearly impossible to find good help. Ok – that probably isn’t true – but certainly how I’ve felt at times – lol.
I didn’t have good luck with my prep companies either. I tried a couple of different ones and the first one I felt just grew too big too fast and I discovered several errors. Sure, stuff happens but when they label my products wrong or left a price tags on an item I’m the one that has to deal with the angry customers. Both of these things happened to me pretty early on. I had one prep center who I sent 1 order to, and then discovered the next week, they were on my listing selling the same product. Now maybe that was coincidence, but it was not a widely known product. Regardless, I felt it was a little fishy and I no longer trusted them. Besides I’m not sure how I feel about a prep company also selling on Amazon. What better way to find inventory than to have people send you their leads all day long. So my prep stayed mostly with me and my mom. My mom has helped out tremendously and fortunately she enjoys doing it and she’s affordable 🙂
Don’t compare your results to anyone but you and your last month. Comparing myself to those who are growing and building empires isn’t helpful. That isn’t my goal. It’s also discouraging to see the progress of others moving at a faster pace than you. But, this is my journey. My goals are different and unique to me. There is a real difference in being motivated by someone else’s success and comparing your progress to them. Don’t get caught up in the trap. Run your own race, measuring your progress against yourself. Strive to grow and move forward. Because honestly that is the only real growth that matters.
Don’t let fear paralyze you. This is a lesson I’ve just learned and well – I’m still trying to work through. It’s amazing to me how paralyzing fear can be and how many different ways it can show up and manifest itself. Recently I’ve been able to recognize that my need to jump around to different projects isn’t because of my inability to focus on one thing. It’s my fear of pushing through. Fear has overtaken and distracted me. I use excuses like I didn’t have time – but in reality I have created the ‘extras’ in my life that are taking up my time because I’m afraid to keep moving forward with what I’m doing. There are lots of different levels and causes for fear and I could probably write a book on it. But I think one of the keys to overcoming it is recognizing it does exist and how it is manifesting itself in your life. I know I have a lot of work to do here and quite honestly, I never dreamed starting a little Amazon business would offer such soul searching, life lessons. But it has. I’ve learned a lot about myself and am amazed at my own personal growth through all this.
Finally – my biggest lesson in all this….IT WORKS! It still amazes me what will sell on Amazon and that I can be sitting on my back deck and selling stuff to people all around the world. I’ve learned a lot about internet marketing, eCommerce, and running a business. Probably more than I ever wanted to know about accounting, logistics and how to pack a box properly. But this little adventure has made me so much more confident about making money online. It’s been a goal of mine for many years to have an online store and by taking what I’ve learned over these past several months, I feel it is a real possibility. Oh – and I’ve met some absolutely amazing people along the way!
So thanks for reading, and I hope to see you around. I’m not going anywhere, I just made a large (for me) wholesale order for Christmas and am still ramping up my inventory for Prime Day coming up. I’ve already sold more this month of June than I have in the last 4 months combined. So I’m feeling good about where this is heading again.
I wish each one of you all the best. Thanks for reading!
Ryan’s last words: thank you do Dana for sharing your journey with us this past year. Best of luck to you in the future!