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How to Start an Amazon FBA business with little money?

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It’s a very well known statistic that the majority of American cannot cover a $500 emergency. With many individuals interested in starting an Amazon FBA business, it’s safe to assume that most people don’t have a ton of money laying around to get their business started. Although it’s harder to start selling on Amazon with little money, it’s definitely doable and hundreds of thousands of sellers have done it before. With so much demand on Amazon from consumers, if you find a few products in your home to sell, you can realistically turn that to a few hundred dollars. The more creative you can get, the better your results can be. In this blog post, we will cover how you can honestly get started with little or no money and how you can get some quick sales to establish your business. 

What do you need?

Although you may be starting with low funds, you’ll need to make up for this with added effort in other areas. These areas include:

Knowledge: If you are completely new to selling on Amazon, you have to fill in the knowledge gaps to save as much money as possible. Taking some time to watch a few YouTube videos or read a few blogs can save you both time and money. If you have the right knowledge on how Amazon works, you’ll avoid the pitfalls that many sellers fall victim to. This may sound like generic advice, but you need to spend time every day learning on how to improve your business. Don’t waste time learning about random things, focus on exactly what drives your business. In this case, you’ll need to learn how to ship your first product into Amazon with as little money as possible. Once that is done, you can worry about sending in the next product and so on. The basic knowledge you’ll need to know for sending in your first product is how to find a product, making sure it’s listed and sells on Amazon and shipping it to an Amazon warehouse. Your focus should be on learning these things, nothing else matters when you’re starting out. 

Time: If you expect to succeed on Amazon with no money and no time, you’re lying to yourself. If you have money to start off with, you don’t need to find creative ways to find products. You can just go to Walmart or another retailer near you and start scanning for profitable items. Assuming you have little to no money right now, you’ll need to spend a few hours each day trying to gather as much free products as possible to send in to Amazon. If you do this correctly, you can get a few hundred dollars in sales and use that to start sourcing other products. You don’t need a ton of time, but dedicating at least a few hours per day is needed to start getting sales.

Understanding costs: 

First, it’s important to understand how a product sells on Amazon. By doing this, you’ll be able to get an understanding of what’s the cost of doing business on Amazon. Let’s cover all the aspects of selling a single product on Amazon and how we can minimize the costs as much as possible. 

Selling plan:

The first cost you’ll come across while selling on Amazon is the cost of your selling plan. There are two plans: the individual selling plan and the professional selling plan. As a new seller with little money, you’ll want to select the individual plan. The individual plan is free, while the professional selling plan costs $39.99 per month.

By selecting the individual plan, you don’t have to pay to sell on Amazon. The only fees associated with this is a $0.99 fee and the referral fee by Amazon once an item is sold. This is not a big deal because Amazon takes that cut after you make a sale. So far, you don’t have to pay anything yet to sell on Amazon. 

Finding a product:

For a given product, first you’ll need to find the product. In this case, you’ll want to find free products around your house or in your area that sell on Amazon. By eliminating the cost of goods for products, you’ll have much higher profits and you can reuse that to find more products to sell. The majority of products you’ll find for free are used items or items laying around your house. A good place to start is to check the books in your house. All of the books you may have from recreational reading or from school can be worth hundreds of dollars. You can start by downloading the Amazon seller app and scanning the books with the app.

Once you scan a book, Amazon will tell you if they sell it and how much it’s selling for. Most households have tens of valuable books just laying around. You can scan those books and ship them to Amazon. So far, we’re still at $0 for the cost of selling on Amazon.

Listing items:

Many ecommerce platforms like eBay have fees associated with listing a product. In contrast, Amazon doesn’t have any listing fees for any products. All you have to do is search for the product on the Amazon seller app or on Amazon Seller Central and click sell when the listing appears.

Amazon will ask you to put in the price you’d like to sell the product for and your item can be listed. So far, we’re still at $0 for having a seller account, finding a product and listing the product. 

Shipping:

Now that you have a selling plan and some products to ship, it’s time to ship these products in and make some money. Once your item is listed on Amazon, it’s labeled as FBM (fulfilled by merchant). This means that if a customer buys your product on Amazon, you will have to ship it yourself. Most sellers sell products via FBA (fulfillment by Amazon).

This basically means you ship the product into an Amazon warehouse and Amazon will handle the rest. You can choose either FBA or FBM to sell your products, but FBA is the preferred option. You can check out how to ship to FBA here. 

Obviously shipping isn’t free, so you’ll have to pay a little to get your products into Amazon. You can easily ship $100 worth of goods for less than $10 depending on how you package your products and how many boxes you use.

The only costs associated with this step is the shipping fees (Amazon sellers get discounted rates at most shipping providers) and buying boxes. Most households have some boxes laying around, so you can use that instead of going out to buy some. So far, the cost of selling on Amazon is less than $10 before making any sales. 

What to do after sales?

Assuming you’ve sent in a good amount of free products, you should have at least $50-100 in sales on Amazon within a few weeks. Amazon gives you your revenue every two weeks. Once you get the money from the sales, your focus should be on finding more free items or low cost items to sell for higher prices on Amazon. If you decide to spend that money Amazon gives you, you’re back at square one.

It’s important to be realistic and disciplined, so you can maximize your sales and start buying products. Since you’re starting off at $0, it may take several months for you to cross $1,000 in sales on Amazon. You need to be patient and take daily consistent action to grow your business. 

If you’re waiting on Amazon to pay you your revenue, spend that time looking for more free products or learning how to increase your sales. Whatever you’re lacking with in regards to money to purchase more products, you can make up with sheer effort. You should continue to keep reinvesting in your business as much as possible. Any time or money you take away from your business will only slow down your momentum.

Where can you get free products to sell?

As a seller with a low budget, you need to get creative on how you will find products to sell. Some ways to find free products include:

  • Your home: Your home is the quickest and most convenient place to find free products. The goal is to find free products that will actually sell on Amazon. Since you’re looking in your home, most of the products you will find will be used items. Some of the best items you can find in your home include used textbooks.
    • You should not sell used clothes or shoes, Amazon takes this seriously and can ban your account. In general, Amazon does not like selling used products, books are probably the best option to get started with since they sell well even if they’re used.
  • Facebook marketplace: Facebook marketplace is a good place to look for if you’re looking for free products. People in your local area will list unwanted items and you can go and pick them up for free. If you have some money, you can negotiate with people on Facebook marketplace for products at a cheap cost. This is a good resource for finding free and low cost products.
  • Craigslist: Craigslist is one of the best places to find free stuff on the internet. There are so many good opportunities within Craigslist for sellers to find low cost products or free products. Craigslist has a “free” category where you can see exactly what locals in your area are giving away for free. Sometimes it can be low value items, but other times it can be very lucrative. This is a good area to search if you’re looking for free products to get started selling with.
  • Curb alerts: Many households leave things on their curbs and put a “for free” sign on there. This can be an opportunity to flip a product and use that cash to go get more products to sell on Amazon. Although this isn’t the most glamorous way to get started, it’s better than sitting around and waiting for something to come to you.

Final thoughts:

To get started selling on Amazon with little money, you will need to hustle and be creative. This is because you don’t have any cash or leverage to start doing what most sellers do like retail arbitrage or online arbitrage. Since you are starting off with little money, anything you can do to propel your business will be crucial.

I honestly believe you can set aside $50-100 to get started. Most people who believe that they cannot find any way to get started are likely setting themselves up for failure. If you have to be motivated to invest $50-100 in a business that can generate thousands for you later, there’s not really much anyone can do for you.

A simple way to get started is to set aside $50-100 from your next paycheck and start looking through any valuable products like books you have in your house. By doing this, you can easily ship your first few boxes of inventory to Amazon. As a seller with little money to start off with, you will have to sell in-demand products to make sure you are getting sales on Amazon.

You can check how much sales an item is making by using the JungleScout Sales Estimator. It’s a free tool where you put in the Best Sellers Rank for a product and it will tell you how many sales it’s making each month. You can find the best sellers rank at the bottom of each product page on Amazon.

This covers a variety of ways that new sellers with little money can get started selling on Amazon. Sellers with little money will have to make up for their lack of money with added effort to get the amount of money they need to start making significant progress. To learn about the different business strategies Amazon sellers use, check out this blog here.

 

 

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