What I Wish I Knew When I First Started Selling on Amazon

One year ago today, I opened my Amazon Seller Account. Happy Amazoniversary to me!

I thought it was appropriate to publish a blog post today to reflect back over the past year to share what I wish I knew when I first started selling on Amazon one year ago.

Since March 2021, I have reached over $44,000 in product sales! That number far exceeded my expectations and excites me for what’s to come. I’m usually not a super competitive person; however, I am guilty of competing with myself, which is why I’m so confident that my product sales will exceed $44K this next year.

My husband and I are on track to be financially independent in 2024 which means that becoming a full-time Amazon seller is in my near future. However, there is the potential that I could go full-time before then if I get my shit together. So, in the meantime, I’m going to give it my all!

What I Wish I Knew 1 Year Ago

  1. I wish I knew how hard it is to sell on Amazon.
    • Experienced sellers and influencers make selling on Amazon look so easy. But I’m here to tell you that it is HARD, especially as a new seller. Because of the restrictions that Amazon places on new sellers, you can’t sell a lot of categories, brands, etc. There are ways to get ungated to sell these products; however, it is extremely frustrating when you go into a store and cannot find a profitable item that you can sell! I can’t tell you the number of times that I went into a store and left empty handed. These things happen, and I can assure you that experienced sellers had these struggles when they first started too. But don’t worry – it does get easier! Stay consistent, learn from your mistakes, and keep scanning! There will come a day where you will fill the cart with profitable items.
  2. I wish I knew more about Nikki Kirk’s BOLO Group.
    • I started following Nikki Kirk before I even started selling on Amazon. She mentions the BOLO group in pretty much all of her YouTube videos (and rightfully so!). For those who don’t know, BOLO stands for “be on the lookout.” There is a monthly fee to be in the BOLO group, which is currently $69/month. I get what you’re thinking – $69 for yet another monthly subscription where you’re not guaranteed to succeed. However, I’m here to tell you that the BOLO group is so worth it. I easily make my money back each month and then some! It has also helped me branch out into different categories and find profitable items that I never would have thought to scan before. I joined the group in early fall 2021 and, if you look at the above photo of my yearly sales, you can clearly see how much it has helped!
  3. I wish I knew how important tracking mileage is.
    • When I first started selling on Amazon, I viewed it as a “side hustle” rather than an actual business. I’m not sure why – I guess it was just weird thinking of myself as a small business owner. With all of that being said, I didn’t do or track certain things effectively, one of those being mileage. Around October timeframe is when I realized that I could actually make money doing this. I shifted my mindset into “business mode” and began doing all the things that I should have been doing all along! I started tracking my mileage for all sourcing trips using the Stride app, which led to about a $500 deduction on my taxes! That number would look much different if I would have been tracking my mileage from the start. Lesson learned and I am better prepared for 2022!
  4. I wish I knew how big of a game changer online arbitrage can be.
    • As I’ve mentioned before, I am still working my 9-5 and doing Amazon on the side. Because of my busy work schedule, I am limited to sourcing only 1-2 days a week (maybe). It wasn’t until the beginning of 2022 that I started to source online. I do find OA a bit more challenging, as the competition is much higher, and the products sell out quickly. However, there are plenty of profitable items out there if you just put in the work. Patience is key with OA and it has been an absolute game changer for my business!
  5. I wish I knew to not give up if the product wasn’t listed under the UPC.
    • There are 3 different ways you can find a product on Amazon – scanning the UPC, scanning the product like you are taking a photo, and manually searching. I knew this as a new seller, but didn’t take it seriously! Looking back, I know that I missed out on a lot of profit. I now make it a habit to search for products using all 3 search methods. Don’t be a lazy seller like I was!
  6. I wish I knew to use as many coupons and reward programs as possible.
    • I used to be notorious for letting coupons sit in the dark abyss of my inbox. But when shopping is a critical part of your business, so are coupons and reward programs! Do your due diligence and research what is available at your favorite stores. Because the more money you save, the more profitable your items will be. Trust me, I never let a good coupon go to waste now!
  7. I wish I knew to keep track of EVERYTHING and categorize my expenses.
    • Again, this probably seems self-explanatory since I’m running a business. But, like I mentioned before, it seemed surreal at the beginning. While I did track all money spent and profits made, I didn’t categorize it well resulting in having to do double the work come tax time. Well, I guess you could say my husband did the work since I am terrible with Microsoft Excel! With all that being said, figure out what process works best for you and track and categorize your expenses from the start. You’ll be glad that you did!
  8. I wish I knew how important getting ungated was.
    • If I knew then what I know now, I would have paid to get ungated in all the popular categories right from the beginning. I waited a couple of weeks to get ungated in health/beauty, topical, and grocery, and I didn’t get ungated in toys until July! While it all worked out for me in the end, I wish I would have taken this part a bit more serious in the beginning, as it significantly increased my sales.
    • Need help getting ungated? Nikki Kirk also offers ungating guides, which takes some of the stress out of getting ungated and walks you through the process. Her ungating guides can be accessed here. Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. However, I only promote products that I believe in. Thanks for your support!
  9. I wish I knew how to not worry about other people in the stores I’m sourcing in.
    • For those who don’t know, I’m a professional worrier and stressing over little things is what I’m good at. So, I’m sure you can imagine the struggle was real when I first started sourcing for products to sell on Amazon. People are constantly watching you and they are nosey! They are wondering why you have been standing in the same aisle for 30 minutes with your phone out. They are wondering why you have 256 of the same toy in your cart or why your cart is overflowing with gingerbread houses. They will make snarky or cheesy comments, like “oh, you must be hungry!” or “wow, you must have a lot of kids at home!” And every time you just smile, nod, and move on. This used to bother me at the beginning, but now? I could care less. I just mind my own business and keep scanning!
  10. I wish I knew that it is okay to rest!
    • When I start something, I give it my absolute all because I want to be successful. It’s just how I’m programmed. Therefore, I tend to forget to slow down, rest, and soak it all in. Burn out is real, even with selling on Amazon. It’s important to take time for yourself every now and then. I just wish I would have realized that sooner.

I truly can’t believe that it’s already been one year since I started selling on Amazon! Time flies when you’re having fun. Excited to see what this next year will bring!

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