I Started Selling on Amazon FBA and Now I Don’t Make $100k!
If you’re like me, your eyes are probably filled with stories on Medium and social media saying “How I make $10k/month with my side hustle and you can too!” Constantly reading stories to this tune is exhausting. As much as you try to stay positive, envy gets the best of you and you wonder to yourself why you can’t be successful doing a side hustle. I mean, they make it seem easy, right?
I’m here to share my failure story with you about becoming an Amazon FBA seller. My goal is not to discourage you from starting a side hustle, but rather to let you read an article that isn’t centered around someone’s huge success with their side hustle. I saw far too many articles about the ease of becoming a successful Amazon seller “in 5 easy steps!” I was excited and energized to become part of the seemingly massive group of people making $10k/month in passive income by pressing some buttons on their laptop on the couch. It all appeared so simple and clear to get started and make bank.
Little did I know that starting up your Amazon account can take months and getting through the red tape can be frustrating. You’ll need bank statements, a store name, and $40/month to pay to Amazon to allow you to sell on their platform. Next, once your store is up and running, you’ll need to go on Alibaba to choose a product from a supplier that you want to sell. After finding the product, you need to contact the Chinese supplier and negotiate a cost to purchase your product in bulk. Then, you’ll need to negotiate shipping terms with the supplier because they’ll want you to assume the liability for the product if something happens to it in transit to the United States. 2–3 months later when your product finally arrives to your Amazon distribution center, it’s time to set a price for your product and finally start selling it.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that after spending $40/month and about $1k-$2k on your product/shipping from the supplier, you need to start throwing around some cash for advertising your product. You’ll typically want to spend at least $10–$20/day on Amazon advertising if you want your product to actually sell, which adds up to about $300-$600/month in ads. Make sure you price your product handsomely as well because Amazon takes a percentage of your product sales revenue in shipping and handling fees.
After about one year, I realized that I couldn’t keep up with the advertising costs anymore. I had spent a lot of money on the purchasing and shipping costs, the monthly $40 Amazon seller fee, and the ads. My product wasn’t selling quickly enough to keep up with all my expenses. I sent a request to Amazon to discard my products from their warehouse and close my account permanently in order to cut my losses. It was a difficult day for me, especially because of all the hard work I put into it, but I knew it was the smart choice.
We all want to be prevalent side-hustlers. It has always been a dream of mine to make a large passive income on top of your active income. I have a large sum of student debt that I hope one day I can pay off by having multiple income streams. So, what’s the point of writing this?
My goal of this article, again, isn’t to discourage anyone from starting a side hustle or selling on Amazon. I think of myself as an accountable person, so I put the blame on myself for not choosing the right product to sell in order to be successful. My point is that starting side hustles or passive income streams isn’t as easy as social media may make you believe it is, and some of these passive income streams require a decent amount of start-up money that they might not tell you. The majority of side hustles end up unfortunately failing like mine did; you just never read or see those stories.
Social media is full of people posting flashy pictures and statuses showing off their money from passive incomes. Don’t let jealousy take over. Be smart and make sure to do your research before getting into something. Like I said before, if you have an idea for a side hustle, go for it. I wish you nothing but success. If, however, your business unfortunately doesn’t work out, like mine, go back and read this article. I’m one of the few posting about my failure, and I promise there are more of us out there than Medium and social media will make you believe.