🔴 How To Start, Scale & Automate Your Amazon FBA Online Arbitrage Business? 📦 💷💰💶
Today, I’m going to be sharing with you how you can start, scale and automate your Amazon FBA business to six figures!
Watch the video below:
This month, I am celebrating two years since I started my Amazon FBA business. I started back in June 2015 and in June 2016 we then moved into our warehouse. I’ll be talking a little bit about my journey, how I got started and how I got to where I am now!
Retail arbitrage, online arbitrage and Amazon FBA
For those of you who don’t know what these concepts mean, retail or online arbitrage is where you essentially find a product at a store that you can purchase, then label it, box it, send it to Amazon FBA and sell it for more money there.
The whole Amazon FBA principle is that you can send all of your products to the Amazon Fulfillment Centres and they will ship your products for you.
Amazon FBA has allowed us as sellers to ship our products to their Fulfillment Centres and it allows us then to sell hundreds of thousands of units.
Amazon FBA outsources 50% of your business immediately, and this was a major attraction for me right at the beginning. Online arbitrage is really about purchasing a product from a store and selling it on Amazon for more money.
In 2008, I started an electrical engineering apprenticeship, and I thought I wanted to be an engineer. Seven years later in 2015, I had gone through the apprenticeship, the education system, and I finally got my first class degree in Electrical Engineering.
I started working for a local firm here and it was everything I had wanted. That was my life goal. I had a young family, and becoming an engineer at 26 was quite stressful. I thrived and loved it, but I spent a lot of time at work. I was getting called out at night to fix various equipment and I would have to leave my family.
One day, I got to a point where I thought to myself that I had worked all this time to now not really be in a place where I can be with my family. As soon as I started to think like that, it’s amazing how the world opens up to you, and I was introduced to Amazon FBA.
A close friend of mine had already started his online arbitrage journey and I wanted to know more about what he was doing. I spent about a month consuming as much information about it, and I finally decided to invest £50 in four Monsters Inc teddies.
I sent them in to Amazon FBA and sold them within two days of them becoming live, and that was the 13th of June 2015. At that point, I thought to myself, this is a winner, I’m all in.
I was working full time, but I thought I would sacrifice and spend some late nights learning how to source and use Amazon FBA and ship them every day. I didn’t want to get to the age of 40 and wonder, “What if?”
In July 2015, I rose my sale revenue to £6000 and by November, I increased my monthly revenue up to £30,000 in 30 days. At that point, I thought I was in a position to quit my job and go all in with Amazon FBA.
From June 2015 to December 2015, because I was in my full time job as well as shipping as many products as I could myself, I was burning at both ends. There was a lot of strain is all aspects of my life, and I had to make a choice.
I quit my job and got to a point where I need to start automating and systematising my business, because I didn’t want to just go from one job to another job. I wanted the freedom to sit at home on my laptop, take my kids to school and go on holidays while my business is operating.
The first thing I did was I realised that time is ridiculously valuable to me. Because I was working full time and at the same time trying to source at night and boxing products, I realised I couldn’t physically do it myself.
At this point, I got my first virtual assistant. The idea behind this was so I didn’t have to source myself. My virtual assistant would have a list of products waiting for me that I could decide if I wanted to purchase.
I recruited my virtual assistant from the US and he was very successful in the US, but the virtual assistant training service that they had wasn’t very good for UK, so very early on, I started to train my own virtual assistants by showing them how to do things step by step. This became the foundation to my sourcing team, and every time I got a new virtual assistant, I was able to give them all the training required.
I wanted to review the products, copy the products I’m purchasing into my live sheet and that would allow me to make this process quick and streamlined. I was trying to save time because if I can save time, I can do other things.
Hiring my team
By December, I had hired four virtual assistants. At that point, I realised I needed to develop a new role. I now had all these new tasks I was doing, and it was consuming my time. So I had to develop roles so I had people reviewing products, upload the products, manage prices and really take care of all these new tasks.
I then discovered RepricerExpress, it’s a great automated service that will allow you to automate all your pricing. I’ve used them since 2015 and I’ve never had any problems! It links to your Amazon account and all you need to do is put in your min and max and it will take care of itself!
I used UpWork to hire my various team members, and now I had these other tasks taken care of, which really helped me streamline my system.
Now all I was doing was purchasing products all day. Once you get to this stage and you’re investing a certain amount of capital, it’s a bulky process.
My bottleneck wasn’t time or money, because this model is very good in terms of cash flow. You can really snowball your cash flow very quickly if you’re picking the right products. Mine was space!
I had so many products in my living room, and it got to a point where I couldn’t do that anymore. We moved into a warehouse in June 2015, and it grew from there because we could get more products!
Space was now not a bottleneck anymore, and I was then looking for more capital. I didn’t want to do the purchasing anymore so I wanted to get another virtual assistant to outsource the process of purchasing as well.
This was the thing I was most cautious of, because giving a virtual assistant your details to purchase, it definitely pushes your comfort zone.
Ultimately as the business owner, I didn’t want to be in the business and I knew I couldn’t purchase while I’m on holiday, so I needed to outsource. That’s what I did last year just as we got to the warehouse, and since then, it’s allowed me to extract myself from the business completely.
My Top Ten Tips
I want to share my top ten tips as things I would tell myself when I was to do this all over again.
1) Write down every system stage from:
- Receipt management
- Your Amazon seller account management, which will also include pricing, uploading your products, checking if you can sell it, checking your seller feedback, et cetera.
2) Write down all the potential bottlenecks that you could have, or are currently facing such as:
As the business owner, it could be possible that you are the bottleneck.
3) Create your business documentation
Check out my Success in Business series where I go through all the key pieces of documentation you should have for your business.
4) Use virtual assistants
They are very important for online arbitrage, and they can be involved in all the different stages of your business. If you’re not using virtual assistants and you’re not scaling to the next level, virtual assistants are definitely the number one thing you should be looking into.
5) Design your sourcing and live spreadsheets
If you start purchasing hundreds of products, you need to make sure your accounting is spot on. You need to keep track of your spending, and items you’re purchasing. This will also allow you to reference the past in terms of the products you’ve purchased before.
If you replicate your sourcing spreadsheet to your live purchasing log, that is going to go to your accountant and look back over the months and see how much you’ve spent and track your sales.
Once you have your sourcing team set up, you can then just copy your winners directly into your live sheet. I recommend using Google Drive and Google Sheets, which you can share with your team and you can have your virtual assistants do all of this.
6) Replenish systems and inventory health
In terms of online arbitrage, you are going a mile wide and an inch deep. This is the philosophy behind the model, and it’s different from private label.
I replenish multiple times in my business every single week because we’re obviously running out of stock all the time. Amazon give you reports that you can download with various bits of information!
Then you have to think about the quantities you’re purchasing because that can also prevent your growth. If you are only purchasing six units when you should be purchasing 15, you’re going to sell out very quickly when you could have capitalised and stayed in stock longer.
My replenish system has evolved massively over the two years and it’s really allowed me to keep the tail end propped up to make the right decision and to make sure we get products in before we’re out of stock.
It’s very important that you track your inventory age, and in my business I make sure that if I’ve not sold products in three months, I have to look into why they’ve not sold and why my team purchased them.
7) Key Performance Indicators
These are crucial if you’re outsourcing your business. They allow you to look at something in your business and know immediately if it’s performing or failing.
Amazon have lots of KPIs, and one of them is your Seller Feedback. As soon as it starts dropping, Amazon let’s you know you’re not going a good job, and you have implement many more in all the stages of your business.
Check out another blog post I published on KPIs to implement in your online arbitrage business!
8) Don’t gamble, always look at the data
Don’t think emotionally when you’re purchasing products. Always look at all the data, the history, the price, look at everything, and use that data!
Look at the sales rank – but keep in mind it’s capturing just a point in time, so always look at the Camelcamelcamel graph and look at the history and real-time data of the products.
Ungate as much as possible. Amazon have made it a lot harder to ungate. When I started back in 2015 it was much easier, but it’s part and parcel of being in this business. You have to play by Amazon’s rules and provide what they want.
9) Get into as many products as you can.
The wider your net, the better. Get into toys, beauty, even groceries.
10) Take massive action
I love this motto from Tony Robbins, massive action equals massive success.
Along the road, you’re going to have setbacks and you’re going to have to make difficult choices and make you uncomfortable.
My Online Arbitrage Mastery course does go through step-by-step actions you can take and various lessons so check it out if you’re interested!
If you guys have any questions about online arbitrage, let me know in the comments! 🙂
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