How I Made $41,746.35 Outside of Amazon in 2016

How I made $41,746

This post is going to be outside the niche that I normally write in.  But, I think that it can be beneficial to you.  So, let’s go.

I would like to tell you a story about how I made at least (this figure does not include any affiliate commissions) $41,746.35 outside of the Amazon platform in 2016 without giving up my Amazon business.  As a matter of fact, my Amazon business was larger than in 2015.

I decided early in 2016 that I wanted to diversify my income.  I have always enjoyed writing and I have always had an interest in marketing as I have been in sales my entire life.

I sought out a mentor and found Nate McCallister of FBA Today and Entreresource.com.  Nate made a request in another facebook group asking for some blurring software to use while making screen share videos.  I took it as a dare and figured out how to make it a reality.

That was my first foray into software products,  It was called EasyBlur and is now defunct.

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1 Simple Trick to Grow Your Amazon Business

accountability partner

We all want to grow our Amazon business.  I’m sure some of us even dream of having small empires of our own.

This is all great but there is probably one simple thing that most of us are missing.  Something that will push you to take the next step, jump the next hurdle, and reach the next milestone in your business.

An accountability partner.

Why

First, I need to recognize Brett Kyle for reminding me of this.  Having an accountability partner can and should be an integral part of any business.  That includes your FBA business.

In a past life, as an insurance agent, I paid a business coach (read accountability partner) a lot of money to help me keep track of my goals and ensure that I was taking the necessary actions to reach those goals.  It was effective and I saw 30% gains in my sales volume year over year because of it.

Sometimes you need another person to kick you in the ass, make sure you are staying on task to meet your goals, and celebrate wins with you.

How

Ask.  It is that simple.  You should be networking with enough people that you could ask someone to be your accountability partner.

This person must be honest with you and agree to hold your feet to the fire.  They don’t have to be mean but they need to be firm.  It is their job to influence you to make the right decisions and take the proper actions to meet and exceed your goals.

You must:

  1. Find someone that is trustworthy
  2. Discuss your goals, in detail, not I want an empire.
  3. Set and keep regular check in time or meetings.  They don’t always have to be face to face.
  4. Be specific with consequences and/or rewards for meeting or falling short of your goals.
  5. Regularly revisit your goals and tactics to stay on track

These 5 steps should help you build a framework with your accountability partner.  You will want to go both ways with this.  It is their duty to keep you on track but it is also your job to keep the on track.

Where

If you need someone you can meet with locally, look to your friends, family, or people in organizations you participate in.  Just be sure they are willing to take this as seriously as you.

If you prefer someone immersed in the Amazon world there are plenty of facebook groups, forums, and other online hangouts to find someone who is probably like-minded.  Ask around, you will find someone.

Conclusion

I hope you take this idea and run with it.  It isn’t groundbreaking but I believe it could help many of us grow in the years to come.

Now, I have two favors to ask.  First, if you need a community to join to try and find an accountability partner come one over and mingle at Clear The Shelf – Amazon FBA Group.

Second, for those of you who have accountability partners, what else would be helpful for someone who is looking to form an accountability partner relationship?  Please let us know in the comments.

Your Amazon Sales Rank Chart is Trying to Kill You

stencil.blog post feature

So, the headline may be a bit hyperbolic and by you, I mean your business. If you are a creator of an Amazon Sales Rank chart, I apologize.

I do not apologize for the fact that I believe they have become a crutch many sellers over-depend on. Especially since there are so many other tools and data, literally, at our fingertips.

Below, I am going to outline three reasons I think you should dump your Amazon Sales Rank chart and what tools use in its place.

The Data is Static

Amazon has listings created every single day. People

launch new products, they find something that isn't available on Amazon yet, or they bundle multiple products for convenience.

All of these result in new listings and change the results of how many items are in a category and, in turn, what ranks in the top 1, 3, or 5%.

Now, creators often update their Amazon sales rank chart quarterly or even semi-annually. However, I don't believe that is good enough. The market changes too quickly. It's like reading the weather from last week when you are trying to plan for this week.

Better, More Powerful Tools

Being cognizant of sales rank is still important. But, it is not the end all be all any longer.

We have Keepa (my personal favorite chart), CamelCamelCamel, and  UnicornSmasher. Those are just the free options.

If you'd like a paid option you can use ASINspector (quickly becoming my favorite tool) or Junglescout.

These tools will help you, fairly accurately, find out how many units per month an item sells. This information is much more valuable, in my opinion, than actual sales rank.

It is also much easier to figure out with a tool than counting dips on a chart.  Dips on a chart can be misleading.  The reason is if an item sells on a regular basis the dips may not be as noticeable.  This is especially the case when you have an item that is incredibly popular.

Check out this chart as an example.

Keepa Chart

Sales rank is just a snapshot in time, a snapshot that changes hourly. You may find find a product that is super sexy, looks killer on the amazon sales rank chart, but in reality you just happened to find it on the one day of the year it sold.

Charts are outdated

I do not fault the creators for this.  It would be impossible to keep an Amazon sales rank chart up to date on a daily or weekly basis.  It is also, probably, not the best use of their time or resources to update these monthly.

Many of these charts are updated quarterly.  That is fine, it’s a nice measuring stick to have in our tool belt as Amazon sellers.  The question is would you rather use a yardstick like my grandfather did or would you prefer a laser measuring gun that is accurate to the millimeter?

Tools to Use

I touched on them briefly above.  Here I will go into why should you have each one of these tools.

Keepa – This is a free chart as well as a Google Chrome extension.  It pulls in tons of data points so that we can view the historical data of ASIN’s regarding sales, prices, and number of sellers.  The reason Keepa is so powerful is that we can gauge not only if a product steadily sells but we may also be able to see when and if there are spikes and figure out the correlation.

CamelCamelCamel – This is a free resource that is very similar to Keepa and they have an extension called The Camelizer.  I don’t find this product to be as powerful but they will occasionally have information that keepa does not have.

Jungle Scout – These folks have several features and tools that are pretty sweet.  They have a free resource that will estimate monthly unit sales based off of the current sales rank.  My sources tell me that this is not so accurate.  I am not sure why but I want to give you all of the information I have.  They also offer a paid extension as well as a web app.  I know that the figures from the paid versions are supposed to be more accurate and the software can be used to find niches for private labeling and many other things.

ASINspector – This resource is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools.  The cost is affordable, in my opinion.  The features are also sick.  You get an extension that also offers information about each ASIN directly on the Amazon product page.  It includes the estimated number of monthly sales as well as the fees to sell the item.  Then if you click on the extension you can grab all sorts of other information.  One of the best pieces of info is the items that also sell with what you are looking at.  You can then use this to make bundles or come up with private label ideas.

Conclusion

Don’t be a one trick pony (sorry for the cliche).  Learn, use, and even master many tools.  You may need to pivot in your business, as we know that Amazon likes to makes changes to the seller landscape at a rapid clip.

By doing this you will be able to have continuity in your business no matter what change comes your way.  That, in my estimation, is what is most important.

Audentes Fortuna Juvat

Chris