Side Jam Interview #6 – Selling Products on Amazon
Hey everybody! Thanks for stopping by for the next Side Jam Interview!
When I started this interview series a month and a half ago, the main purpose was to highlight unique, interesting, and creative ways to make extra money on the side.
I wanted to interview people about side hustles they’ve tried, and find out the real scoop:
- Is it legit or a scam?
- Were you able to make money?
- How much effort was involved?
- Did it require any prior skills?
- Was it ultimately worth the time put into it?
And the responses I’ve been getting do not disappoint. Not only have I been receiving an impressive amount of information, but the enthusiasm infused with each response has been absolutely infectious!
I honestly feel so blessed to not only work with some truly amazing folks, but also because of the connections I’m making. Yes, believe it or not, this self-proclaimed introvert is starting to network.
Sharing Money-Making Success Stories
With this next installment, I’ll be introducing Marc who started an online business with his wife. They were able to manage a successful business selling products on Amazon, and basically made a killing!
Hearing great stories like this really keep me motivated to continue doing what I’m doing. Not necessarily because I expect to have this massive success myself. (Although there’s no true reason why that couldn’t happen.) But because I love sharing the good that’s out there in the world.
I want others to realize they can try new things, learn a new skill, and find interesting ways to make money on the side. If it exists in your imagination, there’s more than likely a way to turn it into reality.
Hey there – Do you have a Side Jam you’d like to share?
Let me know by filling out THIS FORM, and you could be featured on my blog!
And now, here is more about Marc:
My name is Marc. I’m 40 years old and I live in Pennsylvania with my wife and our two kids. I’ve been a full-time blogger and internet marketer since 2008.
The Interview Questions
Tell us about a fun, unique, or interesting Side Jam you’ve tried:
For a long time, my wife and I have talked about running some sort of business together. We never really had any specific ideas, but a few years ago I came across some information about creating a private label brand and selling products on Amazon. I talked to her about it and we decided it could be a good project for us to work on together.
In the spring of 2015 we went through an online course that showed us how to choose a product, pick a manufacturer, get it listed on Amazon, and start making sales. We went through the course and launched our first product in the summer of 2015.
How/why did you get started with selling products on Amazon?
Our original goal was to have a brand that sold just 1 or 2 products. We wanted to make a small amount of money and have something that didn’t take up much time.
My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and we thought this might be something that she could run with once both of our kids were in school (she was pregnant with our 2nd when we started the business).
What really appealed to me was the potential for passive income. With private labeling, you are essentially outsourcing all of the manufacturing.
And if you sell through Amazon’s FBA program, Amazon handles all of the order fulfillment, returns, and customer service issues related to shipping. It’s possible to have a profitable business that runs without too much time on your part.
In general, how profitable was this activity? (financially, or even educationally, lessons learned…)
We sold through our first inventory order of 1,000 products in about three weeks. During the first few months our biggest problem was keeping inventory in stock.
During the 30 days leading up to Christmas, our 1 product sold over 3,000 units and accounted for more than $50,000 in gross sales (our profit margin at the time was about 35%).
In 2016, we added 6 other products and grew it to be something bigger than we had initially intended. We did about $500,000 in sales that year, with about $160,000 in profit.
In 2017 we wound up selling the business for $225,000 because it was taking up more of our time than we had planned, and because we didn’t want to invest more money in inventory.
What type of research or learning curve is required for this Side Jam?
Compared to other types of businesses, it’s really not that bad. I mentioned that we took a course, and there are several courses you can take that will teach you how to sell on Amazon.
Although it’s not extremely hard to learn, there are some aspects that can be intimidating. Contacting manufacturers or suppliers can be a little intimidating if you’ve never done it before. Wiring $4,000 to a company in China for the first inventory order was a little scary too.
The biggest learning curve has to do with the intricacies of selling on Amazon. Amazon has a lot of policies that you need to follow. But compared to setting up and running your own store, it’s much more simple.
If you’re interested in this opportunity but not ready to invest in a course, I have a detailed blog post that walks through the process.
What tips would you have for someone who is looking to get started with selling products on Amazon?
The biggest thing is to just get started. At first it’s kind of overwhelming, and you question whether you can really make money with it. It’s tempting to say “it’s not worth it.” But you really learn a lot by going through the process with your first product.
The course we took encouraged us to see our first product as a learning experience. Even if you fail with it, you learn valuable lessons that you can apply to your next product.
Our first product actually did really well, but I agree with that mindset and it helped us to move forward without a fear of failing.
Overall, what have you learned by doing this activity? (soft skills, limitations, introspection, character-building, or any literal skills)
I think the biggest thing we learned is my wife and I are capable of working on a business together.
We knew we wanted to try it, but had never done it. We found we work well together and each have different strengths. We’ll definitely have some sort of business together again, and I know we’ll have more confidence that we can make it work.
Is this something you would like to do again? Why or why not?
Possibly, but we would definitely do some things differently.
Our biggest mistake was handling the inventory ourselves. The manufacturers shipped it to our house, I inspected it, and repackaged it to send to Amazon’s warehouse.
This accounted for the majority of time that we put into the business. There are third party logistics companies that you can hire to do this stuff for you. And if we were to do it again, I would definitely outsource all of that stuff.
Thank you so much for contributing! Where can readers find you online?
My blog is https://vitaldollar.com/ and I write about a lot of different side hustles and ways to make money.
The Wrap Up
Thank you so much, Marc —
It has been a pleasure getting to know you, and an honor to have you take part in this series!
If anyone is interested in finding out more about Amazon FBA or selling products on Amazon, please be sure to check out Marc’s mega-post on his website. His guide on selling private label products on Amazon is PACKED full of useful information, and is definitely worth the read!
Also be sure to check back next week, for another installment in the Side Jam Interview Series —
Reader questions — Have you ever thought of selling products on Amazon? Is this something you’d be interested in pursuing?
Would you (or have you ever) gone into business with your spouse or partner? How do you imagine that would go??
I’d love to know your thoughts — Hit me up in the Comments!
Missed my previous Side Jam interviews? Check out the Related Posts below —
#1 – Cricket’s Plant Selling and Worm Farm
#2 – Nelly’s Online Forum Contribution
#3 – Robert’s Digital Marketing Business
#4 – Cheryl’s Exercise Class Instruction
#5 – Riley’s House Hacking
#6 – Marc’s Product Selling on Amazon
#7 – Brian’s Blogging Activities
#8 – Gio’s Police Training Program
#9 – Jarek’s Self-Publishing on Amazon
#10 – Andrew’s Real Estate Wholesaling