In the Interview below, read how this Multi-Million Dollar Amazon Seller, went from working a full-time job to committing to selling on Amazon FBA.
Thanks for your time, guys. Could you please tell us a bit about you and how you got started selling on Amazon?
Absolutely! In late 2011 we were both working full-time jobs for an online retail company that specialized in selling collectible card games. One day, the CFO of the company quit. It surprised us because he was making a 6 figure salary at the time, so we asked him why he was leaving. He told us that he was making more money selling stuff on Amazon and he was just going to focus all his time on that.
We were shocked that this was even possible and to be honest, rather skeptical. We probed him about it further and he decided to take us on a trip to a local Wal-Mart to prove it to us. That was the day we learned about Retail Arbitrage and before that day could turn into night, Eric and I had decided to give this a try ourselves. We signed up for a seller account on Amazon and spent our nights and weekends either in stores scanning or at home packing and prepping. If we weren’t doing one of those things we were scouring the web to learn as much about arbitrage and FBA as possible.
So you guys started with Retail Arbitrage. How long were you doing that before you decided to leave your full-time jobs and pursue selling on Amazon full-time?
It was about four months in…and it was a crazy feeling! Up to that point we had reinvested every dollar we made back into the business and that really helped us grow our capital. We didn’t want to stop that growth either, so Eric and I calculated what the absolute minimum amount of money we could both support our families with, and that is how we came up with our initial salaries. Everything else would continue to go back into the business.
I have to say, it wasn’t exactly an easy conversation to tell our families that we’d be leaving our consistent, well-paying jobs to focus on our Amazon business…oh yeah, and taking pay cuts to do it. But they believed in us and we believed in ourselves so we made that leap.
Switching to full-time after only selling part-time for four months is amazing. How much money did you guys have to get started with?
It is a funny story really. I had basically no credit history and Eric had bad credit due to some, shall we say, irresponsible decisions he made while he was in college (he did have the nicest stereo system on campus though). That means we got started with a $600 limit credit card that was in my name and that was it. Our strategy was essentially max out the card, pay it off. Rinse and repeat.
We actually use that same strategy today except our card now has a $100,000 limit. And a cool thing is, even from the very beginning, we have never paid a dime of interest because we have never carried a balance. That is an achievement we are very proud of.
How has your Amazon business grown and changed over the years?
For the first 3 years we were 100% retail arbitrage based. In 2014 we started experimenting with other models to sell on Amazon like Private Label and Wholesale. While Private Label didn’t work out so great for us, wholesale did. It took about 6 months of trial, error and experimenting to get good at it (and putting our own special spin on it), but by the end of 2014 we had finished the year at 1.2 million in sales (our best year yet) and decided to completely transition our business to wholesale.
In 2015 we began hiring employees to help us scale and grow while also moving into the 10,000 sq ft warehouse we currently occupy. We finished 2015 by doing 3.8 million in sales on Amazon.
So far in 2016 (currently April) we are on pace to more than double our 2015 sales as we continue to grow quarter after quarter.
Your Amazon business is now 100% wholesale based. Do you care to explain what that means for those that may not know?
Sure! It just means that we are buying products in large quantities from wholesale companies and manufacturers to sell on Amazon. The products come to you or even better, they will send it to Amazon directly. The best part about wholesale is just how scalable it is and how simple it is to automate.
These days, Eric and I only work about 20 hours a week on our Amazon business and it could be even less if we wanted. This has afforded us the opportunity to work on other projects, such as public speaking, and developing The Wholesale Formula, our in-depth training course that teaches wholesale the way we do it.
You mentioned your course The Wholesale Formula. How do people sign up for it?
Well actually, you can’t sign up for it right now. We do college style enrollment which means we only accept students a couple times a year for a couple weeks at a time. This allows us to really focus on helping those students learn and grow their businesses.
But we actually spend a lot of time helping people for free too! We are part of The Selling Family Facebook group you recently started and it has been a wonderful and engaging group. If anyone has questions about wholesale they can feel free to tag us in there and we will do our best to answer them. It is the least we could do. I don’t know where we would be today without the help and support from many gracious people over the years. You included, Jessica! We were Amazon Boot Camp students once upon a time.
I do appreciate that guys! Ok, one last question from me. What is the single biggest piece of advice you would give to someone aspiring to grow their business like you and Eric have?
I will do you one better. How about I give everyone three pieces of advice instead?
#1 - “Do…or do not. There is no try”
That is not an original piece of advice. That actually comes from Yoda, but it always resonated with me. What I gather from that quote is that you should be someone that takes action, but not just that. If you are going to take action, you want to jump in with both feet. Don’t falter. Don’t try. DO IT.
#2 - Have an insatiable appetite for Learning
I can’t stress this one enough. Every day I am trying to learn something new. From books, to podcasts, to Facebook groups…every day I set aside time to learn because some of my biggest professional breakthroughs have come from the simplest pieces of knowledge or advice I have gleaned.
#3 - If time is the single most important commodity for growing your business then outsourcing should be number two
I have always said, if you value your time at $50 an hour then you better not be spending your time on $10 per hour tasks. A top priority for every entrepreneur should be constantly finding ways to make sure your time is spent on only the highest valued tasks for your business.
Article Source: Interview with a Multi-Million Dollar Amazon Seller