How to Start a T-shirt Business on Amazon Making $10,000+ Per Month

How to Start a T-shirt Business on Amazon Making $10,000+ Per Month

Hello Niche Pursuits! Many of you probably have no idea who I am, but just like you guys, I enjoy checking out what Spencer has going on and always learning what I can to fill in the gaps of industries I may not understand as well.

My name is Neil, and I have been self employed in the internet marketing industry (if you want to call it that), for almost 5 years now. I am going to show you exactly how to start a t-shirt business online.

You see, I first started out my Sophomore year of college by creating hosting affiliate sites. I pushed shopping carts at a local store down the road in order to pay for my living expenses and start building a PBN (yay 2012!). This first hosting affiliate enabled me to hit the 5 figure a month mark and I took the leap of faith to quit my job.

To accelerate this story a bit, since then, I have graduated college, decided not to pursue law school, created 10s if not 100s of Amazon affiliate sites, created a small time marketing blog that I tend to neglect, sold software and Clickbank products, ran all kinds of paid traffic, and now I sell t-shirts and other merchandise on Amazon!

Today I want to go over exactly how I did it, and the steps you can take to replicate the process this coming year starting right NOW!

How To Start Your Own Clothing Line With The Merch by Amazon Program

Many of you are probably not aware, but the Merch by Amazon program launched a while back.  This is a great program for someone trying to learn how to start a T shirt business and sell their own clothing line.  For the first few months, almost no one knew this Amazon program that had just been released even existed and this is because you are probably not a developer.

If you still have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain. Merch by Amazon is a print on demand (POD) platform for selling t-shirts and MANY other products like mugs, etc. on their platform.

The way it works is that once you have an account, you upload artwork to the platform, pick a few shirt colors that your design looks great on, enter a title, brand, a few bullet points, and a description of your shirt, and click publish. Within just a few minutes of time, you now have a money generating page on Amazon selling your t-shirt to billions of monthly visitors.

Amazon handles the selling, the printing, the shipping, and even the customer service for the t-shirt sales you get, and all you do is collect a royalty on each sale. This is a super cool program because your initial cost is $0. That’s right, it doesn’t cost you anything to start selling Merch on Amazon.

Since the product isn’t made until it’s been ordered, there’s no need to handle inventory or pay for storage fees. Once payment has been collected, Amazon makes the shirt and sends you everything over your expenses.

If you have started to connect the dots, you would notice how massive of an opportunity this is. You can sell products to people with the full force of Amazon behind you and collect royalties! A lot of other people started to see this opportunity, people who were not app developers.

As the program was swamped by sign ups, Merch by Amazon quickly went to an invite only program. You can still request an invitation, but there’s no guarantee when you’ll get accepted.

Amazon has also placed a limit on how many designs Amazon allows you to create at once.. This means that essentially, you can only post so many shirts on an account when you get one. You need to prove you can make enough sales with those slots you are given, before you get even more slots for t-shirts.

If your interest is peaked even a little, I highly recommend that you head over to Merch by Amazon and request an invite. You may be waiting a long while, but it can be really nice once you get in…

Start Your Own Clothing Line: 6 Steps for How to Start a T-shirt Business on Amazon

Merch by Amazon is not the only way to start selling shirts on Amazon, far from it in fact. You could always get your designs printed, and then send them in to be fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), or you could print and sell them from your home. There is also the possibility of dropshipping your shirts from Ebay or another marketplace by doing retail arbitrage.

Think of this not as just selling on Amazon. Think of this as starting your own clothing line. This is a brand, a business that you can build off of. You could launch a niche site and sell your clothes from there. You could design and sell clothes on Shopify. The opportunities here are endless.

What if there was a way to sell not only t-shirts, but hundreds of different items on the Amazon marketplace without holding a single piece of inventory and see the same level of success if not higher numbers than I saw over the last year?

There is, and I am going to go over exactly how to do it based on the brand new Amazon/Shopify Integration. You can set this up and be selling on Amazon today if you decide to take action.

Step 1: Understanding how Amazon Works

Before you even consider hooking everything else up, you first need to understand how Amazon works. These are Amazon BSR and Copyright/Trademark metrics.

BSR (Best Sellers Rank)

For every product that is selling on the Amazon Marketplace, they will have something called a Best Sellers Rank or BSR for short. This number given to you is going to be relative to the number of sales that item is receiving. This BSR number is also relative to the category that the product is in. 100k BSR in clothing is not going to be selling the same amount of units as 100k BSR in Gardening and so on.

If you were to go over and find a product, just scroll down to the product description and you should see a box that looks like this:

To give a very rough idea of what the BSR equates to, a BSR of 100,000 in clothing is selling around 1-2 units a day. You can also use Jungle Scout’s free estimator to track how much each seller is selling every day. The BSR in the picture above probably means they are getting a sale or two every few days.

The lower the BSR goes, the more units they are selling. I can tell you from experience that a BSR of around #2000 means you are selling 25-50 units a day. The more experience you get selling in certain categories, the better you get at estimating how many sales these listings are getting.

Copyright/Trademark

Copyright and trademark are very much different but they are both something that you need know well enough that you are not infringing on someone else’s rights. When putting designs on merchandise in no way should you ever straight up copy their designs. This is breach of copyright and will eventually get you banned from selling on Amazon after people report you.

Amazon does not want rip-offs, and they will punish you if caught. Why risk it?

Trademark is the other big one that you need to know how to use. These are recognizable expressions that people have protected. These can be signs, expressions, or logos. When dealing with putting designs up on Amazon, you need to avoid putting any sayings on your merch that have been protected. Make sure if there is any text or logo type work going on with your designs to run the phrase though one of these sites:

Step 2: Research Before You Start Designing Clothes

Now that you are familiar with BSR and copyright/trademark, we can actually get into the fun part; Niche Research. This is by far the most important step in selling merch on Amazon. If you do not do research properly you will fail.

Let me just say that again, you need to do your research properly or you will not succeed.

I have made a lot of money so far following a very simple strategy. Make better products than the competitors in niches where there is demand.

Simply put, I find what customers are buying, and I create more visually appealing products for them to buy at a fair price. I do this by analyzing keywords and Best sellers rank!

Keyword Search

Head over to Amazon.com and enter in any niche you want plus “t-shirt” and hit search. For this example, I am going to be using a niche example: Veganism.

Note: Niches where people are passionate about their cause sell the best.

This brings up the product page for your search. You can see some examples of shirts that are for sale. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see there are over 15 pages of shirts in this niche. Just because there are a lot of products does not mean they are selling well.

Start opening up all the different shirts you see! This process can take a long time, but open as many tabs as you can. Once you have many open, go to each page, and navigate to the “Product Description” section on the product page and locate the BSR.

Important Tip: I personally target any design around 100k-300k BSR. This generally means the design is selling once every day or so, and that if you come up with something better, you can make sales as well. This also seems like the sweet spot between a lot of competition, and making easy money.

I will then take every single shirt that has a BSR that is low enough and copy that URL into a spread sheet.

Designs that you find on these t-shirts might be simple, or they might be complicated. Your first goal is determine if you or a designer can make a BETTER looking product in the niche. If you cannot, do not add it to your list!

As you can see from the screenshot, if you go check out some of those shirts, they are selling very well. It would be extremely easy to compete against these because the shirts so far are mainly just text. A little bit of graphic design around the same idea, and you will have a better product!

I generally go through at least 5 pages at the bottom of the page looking at every single shirt to determine the BSR and saving my links in an excel file.

You will need to do this for every single niche you come up with. I would recommend coming up with 100 niches, and then going through the first 5 pages of shirts for each of those niches to make your initial file of potential designs to target.

Keep in mind this is a numbers game. If you want to put up 10 designs and think you are going to come close to big numbers, you are very very wrong. You want to eventually get to the point where you have thousands of designs online, each selling every day or two. Start at just a few designs and scale up as you make money. This is a process.

Brand Search

The second thing that I will do is tied into the keyword search that we just went over. Sometimes it can be extremely hard to come up with other niches on the top of your head, right? I love to let other people do this niche research for me!

The way we do that is by taking a look at brands that are already selling well on the platform.

If you go back to the screenshot about vegan shirts, you will see that there is this listing: https://www.amazon.com/Plants-Protein-Vegetarian-T-Shirt-Medium/dp/B01APINC7E

Right above the title, you will notice the brand of the shirt. This shirt may or may not be selling well when you read this (currently #98k BSR), but you might wonder what other niches this brand has created merch around. Simply click the brand at the top of the page there.

As you can see, this brand has 169 shirts up right now! Simply scroll through the list to find new niches, and then open all the shirts in a new tab to check if they are selling via BSR (yes, open all 169 links, I know it takes a long time). Keep adding to that spread sheet you are making!

Keep following the keyword research and brand research that I have laid out above until you feel like you have a solid foundation for 100 killer designs. If you do exactly as I lay out above, you should have what it takes to make the kind of money that I screenshot near the top of this article.

Speeding Up the Research Process

These were the exact steps that I took to build my initial revenue stream. If you try it out you will notice that it can take forever! Since I still run a lot of large affiliate sites, this growing side business was taking up a ton of my time. I needed to keep the process going (because it was working) but needed to free up some of my time.

I, along with my business partner, decided to come up with a better way. We created our own software to complete the entire research process as automated as possible. As the merch income grew, so did the questions from the community. After many months of polishing our self use tool, we released it to the public and Merch Informer was born in October of 2016.

Merch Informer lets you pull up the top selling shirts for any keyword or any brand. These are in order by best sellers rank and you have the ability to save and download your links, images, descriptions, prices, as well as check keyword competition within Amazon. Using the Vegan example from above, you can see what it would look like inside the software. I use all of this information to send to my designers which we will go over in the next step. The easiest way to grow this business is outsource at light speed!

You can do everything I talk about in this article manually, or you can try us out with a 3 day free trial that we give everyone.

The biggest challenge that most newcomers face in the POD (print on demand) space is that they have problem finding niches that sell. With Merch Informer, we have basically created a keyword tool that pulls keywords in niches that are almost guaranteed to make you sales. How do we do this? We pull from Amazon suggest!

Amazon is a big data company so they use all this data in order to optimize how many sales they get. When you start typing a keyword, you will see that Amazon starts auto recommending or suggesting endings to that original seed keyword. They do this because they know from their data that if you were to enter in one of the suggested niche, you are a lot more likely to buy things.

Use everything I put in above along with Amazon suggest to ensure that your research is rock solid!

How To Make Your Own Clothing Line Step 3: Getting Your Designs Created

There are two ways you can get your designs created. You can either create custom t-shirts yourself or you can outsource them.

I ended up doing my first 100 designs myself but after I saw that the model worked, I started outsourcing. Since I am not an artist, I had to watch a few videos on Youtube to figure out what I was doing.

If you are going to create them yourself, you can use:

  • Photoshop
  • GIMP
  • Illustrator
  • Canva

GIMP is a free option that you may want to look into. If you’re interested in Photoshop or Illustrator, you can check out Adobe CC here.

Note: When you are creating designs, make the dimensions 4500X5400. You want a large resolution so that when they get printed, they will look sharp and crisp.

If you are not an artist like me, it really just leaves you a single choice: outsource!

If you are familiar with outsourcing content to VA’s this is extremely similar. Since I was already hiring writers on Upwork, I decided this is the place I was going to get my graphic designs from. Turns out you can get graphic designers for around $4 a design. There are many custom t-shirt businesses that outsource this way. Here is the exact script that I used:

Hey, I am in need of 400 t-shirt designs in the time period of 2-3 months.

Your task will be pretty basic, I will send you ideas of t-shirts I want to make and you make them yourself in your own unique style. For example, I might send you a link of a already existing tshirt and I would need you to be inspired by it and create a better version that is in your own creative style.

I will leave a lot of 5* reviews so that you will be able to get jobs easier in the future and this is a long-term position. Once we have done the first batch of 400 – around 4 per day, we could continue if everything looks good.

I look forward to doing business with you!

I will then hire a few of them and give each person a few of the links from the research we did in the previous step. If they come back with good designs in their own unique style, then I hire them for the long term. Keep in mind you want to give them the links and or pictures as inspiration and receive something back that is a better product than what is currently being sold.

Step 4 In Your Own Clothing Line: Setting Up Shopify

Now that you have some pretty designs sitting around from your research, you need some merch to put them on! I mentioned in the beginning that the Merch by Amazon program was closed, so if you want to start a t-shirt business or any other merch business, there is a way around the merch program. Not only is there a way around it, this is a much better solution. It will allow you to put your designs on tons of different products besides shirts. The sky is the limit, and you do not need to hold any inventory.

The way we do this is through the brand new Shopify/Amazon integration. Since there are print on demand services that integrate with Shopify, and since Shopify now passes through to Amazon, you can set everything up to become completely automated.

Head on over to Shopify and sign up for a free trial (yes, this entire method works in the free trial).

Once you are signed up, then the back end should look like this:

What you want to do is scroll down to the apps section on the bottom and look for an app called Teelaunch. It will look like this:

Teelaunch is the company we are going to use in order to print our designs on products without ever touching them. See, when you get an order from Amazon (we will go over this in a minute), then the order shows up in your shopify store. Teelaunch automatically sees that order, prints it for you, and ships it to the Amazon customer. This all happens without any input from you!

Note: I went with Teelaunch because of their pricing meaning higher ROI. There are many print on demand services that integrate with Shopify that you may want to use for this method.

After you get the Teelaunch app installed in the back end of shopify, you need to quickly set it up. Head on over to the app, and click on the “Account” button in the upper right hand corner. Fill out your information and put in a credit card that will be charged when you get an order. You will take the profits from Amazon and pay off this credit card every 14 days. Whatever is left over is your profit.

Before the comments start pouring in, if you are from another country, YES you can do this method. Simply Google “free USA address” and look through the options that will give you an address as well as a mail forwarder. Most people from overseas will handle returns by just refunding the customer and letting them keep the product.

Head back to the Teelaunch app, we are going to add our first product. Click on “New Product” from the top of the page.

Pick whatever type of merchandise you want to sell. In this example, I am going to go over selling shirts because that is what I started with.

Pick the shirt you want to print on. I went with the Gildan shirt because from personal experience they are great quality, and actually the cheapest choice.

Upload your design to the editor until it looks good, pick some colors, and then select a few sizes.

When you are happy with how everything is set up, give it a title and some bullet points in the back end and then publish it.

You now have a shirt in your Shopify back end. We will now need to attach this shirt so it shows up on Amazon.

Head back over to your Shopify menu, and click on “Add a sales channel”

From here, install the Amazon sales channel. This is where the magic happens Once the Amazon channel has been installed, you will need to connect it to your Amazon sellers account.

IMPORTANT: If you do not have an Amazon sellers account, go sign up for one. You WILL need a professional sellers account which is $39.99 a month in order for this entire integration to work.

Agree to the Amazon MWS agreement and you have successfully linked your account to Shopify!

Now that these 2 accounts are linked, you will want to go into the Amazon app, and click on “Sell on Amazon”. When you click this button, it will bring up a list of products that you have published in your Shopify store. From this screenshot you can see the shirt that I was creating earlier.

Since you are building your own brand here, select that the product is made by your brand. Pick the appropriate category, and start entering your title, your brand name, some bullet points, and a description.

Keep in mind two things. The first is that you will need to click the “Apply to sell in this category” before the shirt can go live on Amazon. This application asks you a few questions and you are approved INSTANTLY. Also, you will need to make multiple listings for both male and female shirts. I actually prefer this as it gives us a chance to be more targeted in our keyword approach.

For each shirt you pick up, you will have variants. Each variant requires a UPC and a SKU.

SKUs are for internal use and can be made up. They are just a string of characters. I decided to make mine random by using a 10 digit random string: https://www.random.org/strings/

UPCs however will need to be purchased. These are 12 digits long and can be purchased from a ton of places online. I got thousands of them on Ebay for only a few dollars. It is very important that when purchasing them, you get the 12 digit ones, and NOT the 13 digit EAN numbers.

Since you need a new UPC for EACH variant you want to put online, I recommend that you put your designs on other things that do not require sizes.

Once you have finished entering in the variants and have been approved for the clothing category, you can publish your design. It should take 30 minutes or so for the item to appear live on Amazon.

Shipping Settings

Go into your seller central account and make sure you are changing the shipping time and the shipping price.  Teelaunch has been very fast on their shipping, but I like to extend it just a bit as well as lower shipping to $2.99 for the lower 48 states. This makes my products more attractive to the buyer.

Return on Investment Calculations

If you price your shirts around $17 on Amazon with $2.99 shipping, the customer will be charged around $20. If you figure that a typical t-shirt that we created is going to cost you $12.50 (this is with shipping included), and Amazon takes their fee of around $3, you are going to be left with over $4 per shirt sold.

This might not seem like much at first, but when you realize that you are selling on Amazon.com where there are millions of daily buyers, your perspective might start to change. I sell hundreds of shirts per day.

Shirts have a $4 profit margin but think of the other products you could sell. Mugs and sweatshirts might have a much higher profit margin depending on what you price at. Play around with it because the sky is the limit.

Step 5 For Your Online T-Shirt Business: Optimize Your Amazon Listings

When it comes to building your Amazon listing around the product you are building, there are only a few major points that need to be covered. These are: price, brand, title, bullet points and competition.

Price

This is a major one because it is one of the first things that a buyer will notice. Make sure you are pricing competitively. If everyone else in your niche is selling for $20, then why would you try and sell your merchandise for $25? Sure, you would make a better margin, but you will get drastically less sales. If you price about $20, you need to have an extremely good reason for doing so.

Let the market determine where you are pricing. Take a look at your competition. They might have the same product, but really give it a hard look and see if your designs are really that much better to ask for a higher price. I like to make sure that my prices are right in the middle.

An easy way to do this is take all the prices on the first page, add them together, and then divide them by the total amount of listings on the page and then price your product at that price.

Brand Name

I used to recommend people on Merch by Amazon come up with a different brand for every shirt that they put online. This is no longer the case with this method because you are selling on Amazon seller central and have full control over reviews and other aspects of the listing. Pick one brand that would work for many products and roll with it!

Title

The title is extremely important to ranking on Amazon and where keywords will come into the picture. In order to talk about keywords, we need to go over competition.

For this example, say that you just came up with a really good design about “Cats”. When you are uploading your shirt, you want to actually look at what similar designs are out there and price to what the market is demanding. When you get to putting in your title, you may just want to name it “Black cat t-shirt”. This is a huge mistake!

Look at that! If you were to name it black cat t shirt you would probably be lost in almost 150 thousand different results showing up. You want to niche down if you are to stand a chance of making any sales.

Think to yourself “What would a customer search for if they were looking for this shirt”? Maybe your shirt has some ears in it.

Getting better, but still lots of results. Time to try and use a modifier to niche down even further.

Very close! I like to see if I can get under 1,000 results if possible. Niching down like this is the perfect way to add keywords to your title of your listings without looking spammy.

As you can see, by tweaking the title a little bit, we found out a way to lower down the competition you will be facing as well as putting in some keywords into the title for better rankings all around. This is what you want to practice with every product you are putting up.

This is the same process that Spencer uses with long tail keywords. The money isn’t in the short tail, high volume keywords. It’s in the low volume, long tail ones. People searching for this type of item know what they’re looking for and the competition for you is almost none.

Bullet Points

Bullet points are what get your merchandise ranked in Amazon from all the tests I have run. You need these bullet points to be keyword rich without keyword stuffing. To do this, make sure they are coherent sentences. Read them out loud to yourself to make sure they sound correct.

What many people do here is simple describe their product. Should you do this?

NO!

The bullet points are where you put on your marketing hat and SELL the potential customer. You have multiple bullet points to work with here, so really make sure you are marketing to them here. They will read these. Tell them why they want it!

I also like to put a last bullet point telling them to order a size up because these print on demand shirts often shrink a size in the wash.

Description

If the bullet points are where you are selling the customer, the description is where you want to describe what is in your shirt. Keep in mind that this section is what shows up on mobile and is often times used in the meta description for ranking in Google. Make sure you are filling these out and not leaving them blank.

Step 6: Scaling Up Your Clothing Line

This entire method is nothing but a numbers game and a pretty easy one at that. The majority of people will probably not even try it because of the time investment needed, but it works!

In order to scale quickly, you need to be able to either design yourself, or afford to outsource designs. I would suggest doing at LEAST 10 products a week if possible.

A lot of people reading this and who have listened to the entire process on my site have begun by putting up t-shirts on Amazon because that is what I used on Amazon.

DO NOT DO THIS.

Brand new Amazon accounts are limited to 100 variations a week. If you put up 1 shirt in 5 colors and all the sizes, you blow through almost 50 variations with a single shirt.

Instead, while everyone is focusing on putting up a few shirts a week, you can take your designs and put them on hundreds of products a week! Put them on products that do not require sizes.

If you look and the shopify app does not have the category you want to list in, list the product through seller central, and let it sync to the Shopify app.

Doing that one thing will set you apart from the competition and let you grow at an incredible rate.

Success Stories Your Online T-Shirt Business

If you are still here reading through this, have no idea who I am, you probably have no reason to believe me.

You get nowhere in life without at least trying, but people do always like to see some proof and I understand that.

You have seen some of the numbers posted above, but let me offer to you 3 people who have each found their own success through selling Merch on Amazon over the past year.

The first guy who I will not name, has been a friend for a long time. He is heavily focused on Amazon affiliate sites, but when I started talking his ear off about Merch right when it opened, he decided to give it a go and scaled up quickly. Here are his earnings:

The second is a guy named Tom. One of the most driven people I have ever met, he designed every single piece of artwork himself, and just look at what kind of earnings he is hitting. Keep in mind these are screenshots from ONLY selling t-shirts. Can you imagine what they will look like after he starts putting those same designs on other pieces of merchandise?

Finally, we have Albert from Canada. This guy is always the first to jump at an opportunity and test it out before coming to conclusions. Be like Albert! I have actually personally spoken with him just a few times. According to him, he heard about Merch through my tiny little marketing blog and hit the ground running with it.

He managed to strike fast and create a few very well selling designs and ended up doing almost $6,500 his SECOND month of selling shirts online.

Then when the Shopify/Amazon integration happened, Albert saw the writing on the wall and started putting up his designs that he had already created on other products. In just 3 days he has made 8 sales! He only has a couple of designs up right now using the Shopify Method and plans to scale quickly.

Disclaimer: In order to see the same level of success as the above, you will NEED to be able to put in the time and effort. Do not expect to put up 10 designs and wonder why you are not making money. Dedicate yourself to it. Numbers matter, so go out there and hit numbers that your competitors can’t.

If you don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to spend a ton of effort, there is a shortcut. You can have better tools than your competition. Merch Informer helps you to figure out what keywords people are searching for. It helps you locate the low hanging fruit that requires the lowest amount of time and effort to rank. 

By Neil Lassen

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How I Went From 0 to $4,399 in Sales with an Amazon FBA Business in Just 30 Days

How I Went From 0 to $4,399 in Sales with an Amazon FBA Business in Just 30 Days

Fulfillment By Amazon Overview

Amazon FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon.  In a nutshell, Amazon allows 3rd party sellers (you!) to sell your products on Amazon.com and Amazon will pack and ship the products to the customer instead of you. It starts by signing up for an Amazon Seller account. No worries, I explain what this is and how to sign up for it in a minute (so read on).

After signing up for an Amazon Seller account, you will tell Amazon what products you want to sell.  Then Amazon automatically assigns you which warehouse to send your shipment of goods to.  You then just print out the UPS packing slip that Amazon provides on the seller central platform, and you drop off your goods at UPS or FedEx.

Once your shipment of goods arrive at the Amazon fulfillment center, you can begin selling!

As soon as you make a sale, Amazon will pick out your product from their warehouse, pack it in one of their boxes, and ship it to the customer.  It’s totally hands free for you.  They also handle some of the customer service in regards to returned products, so the time investment for you is minimal.

You can sell new products that you manufacture, used products, or re-sell products that perhaps you purchased that are still in original packaging (often called retail arbitrage  or online arbitrage).

A couple of the big benefits of using the Amazon FBA program as opposed to shipping products yourself (fulfilled by merchant) is this:

  1. Your product will be available for Amazon Prime shipping.  This is HUGE for many buyers to get free 2-day shipping.  Being able to ship via Prime and two-day shipping means you are likely to get more sales.
  2. Amazon handles everything, so it’s REALLY easy for you.  They handle shipping and returns.  You just worry about your listing.

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What Are the Amazon FBA Fees?

Now of course you have to pay Amazon fees to do all of that.  So, the Amazon fees are the downside that you need to weigh when deciding whether to use Amazon FBA or not.

If you are curious to see how much the fees are, Amazon has provided an FBA calculator that I use all the time.

For example, if you wanted to sell this backpack or one similar to it, you can see exactly what your Amazon selling fees will be using their calculator.   Just take the ASIN number (found in the URL or the listing as shown) and input it into the FBA calculator.

Here’s what the Amazon FBA calculator looks like.

So, if I were to sell this item (backpack from above) my total Amazon seller fees would be $8.63 ($3.90 + $4.73).  Here’s an exact breakdown of all the FBA fees for this particular item:

  • Selling on Amazon fees = $3.90.  This $3.90 is the Amazon referral fee which is always 15% of the sale price of your items.  This is a 15% commission that Amazon gets for allowing you the privilege of using the Amazon platform.  You only pay this 15% when one of your items sells.
  • Fulfillment by Amazon Fees = $4.73.  This actually includes 2 fees: the fulfillment fee (for picking and packing items) of $4.57; and a monthly storage fee of $0.16 for using one of their fulfillment centers as a warehouse.  These fees vary based on the size and weight of your products.

Overall, this quick overview gives you a good idea of what Amazon FBA is and the fees associated with selling your items.

What Are The The Best Products To Sell On Amazon FBA?

A few principles to keep in mine.

1. Find some competitors… but not too many

A little competition is a good thing because it helps you know that the product is viable. If there’s no one selling something that you’re looking to manufacture, it could be that you’re the 1st person out of 7 billion to think about making that widget… Or it could mean that others have tried and it’s just not worth it.

(The second option is more likely).

If there are a few competitors in the space, it means that the product is profitable and worth producing. A product with no competitors can be a signal that the margins aren’t high enough or that there are other unforeseen problems.

On the flip side, make sure there aren’t too many competitors. If you find a great product and all your competitors have 2000+ 4-5 star reviews, that could be a bad sign. You might be biting off more than you can chew without significant connections or resources.

A sweet spot is if you can find a few products similar to yours that have under 50 reviews on page 1 of Amazon. If many of the highest ranking products have a few negative reviews, even better. You can exploit those negative reviews, fix the problem, and be better than your competitors.

2. Choose A Product That Sells For Under $100

This is not a hard set rule.  However, if you are just getting started, the ideal price range of products to consider selling is under $100. Many sellers do well with higher priced products, and if you have the higher capital that is required, then by all means go for it. The problem that most first-time Amazon FBA businesses will run in to is that products over the $100 can require a huge up front investment.

This sounds great in theory, but the percentage margins for products over $100 are often no higher than they are for products under $25. For both choices, you can make somewhere between 15-45% profit for each unit sold. Going for a less expensive product doesn’t cost you in profit, but it does require a higher initial investment.

Also, you’re out of the “impulse buy” category once you creep over $100. Now you’re talking about things like laptops, Tvs, furniture, etc. where you’re probably going to talk to your spouse, read more reviews, look for videos on YouTube, etc. The further away you are from “impulse buy” range, the less total buyers you’re going to end up with.

For first time users of Amazon FBA, it’s better to go for a high quality, less expensive item. If you want to move to big ticket stuff after your small business is set, go for it. 

3. Choose A Product With A Good Best Seller Rank

A metric that you can refer to in choosing a product to sell on Amazon is its bestsellers rank (BSR).

If similar products are ranking on top of the list (a best seller rank of 1 is the best selling product in the category), it means that there’s demand for them.

Choosing products identical to the ones found in the list allows you to position your business on par with these bestsellers. As a result, you can attract the target market of bestselling products and get them to buy from you instead.

You want to see that several of the top listings have a BSR around 3,000 or better. 

I heard a great tip on the AMPM podcast which said you should look for the top 3 results with BSR under 3,000. This means not only is there demand for the product, but there also isn’t just one product selling well. At least 3 different products are hot sellers, which is an indicator that the market is receptive of different brands. 

Also, the BSR I am referring to here is the main category. In the image above, the main category (Pet Supplies) hosts the product (under Cats > Little & Housebreaking > Little category). While the subcategory BSR of the product is impressive, its performance on the main category is what matters more. Since it will be competing against other pet supplies products, a high BSR means that it is an in-demand product.

4. Avoid Name Brands Like They Carry The Bubonic Plague

If you can recognize one of your competitor’s names, it’s best to avoid that niche.

I’ve been selling products on Amazon since 2014.

Want to know the research tool I’ve been using since I’ve started (and still use today)? Get my latest tips and how to guide for using this tool.

Don’t fight Nike, Kleenex, or Tommy Hilfiger. You’ll waste a lot of time and a lot of money.

 5. Find A Keyword With Lots of Search Volume and Optimize For It

This is the golden ticket of Amazon FBA and the one that most of your competitors will miss out on.

You need to find a product that gets a lot of search volume. If a product has lots of search volume but is missing dominant players in the field, it is ripe for a new entry ( that’s you). 

You will benefit even more if you can find places where your competitors aren’t optimized for that keyword. Maybe they’re ranking high for “best starter chicken food”, but they don’t have that in their product description. Maybe it’s not in their product title.

Finding missed optimization like this is key for growing your FBA business past anything your competition can match. But this type of optimization will only help you if there’s search volume to begin with.

You don’t have to fumble around on Amazon, looking at their bestseller list, and take an educated guess. Trying the educated guess route can end in you wasting a lot of money on bad products and a lot of time on failed businesses. Learning how to sell on Amazon FBA doesn’t have to be complex, difficult, or a waste of money.

When I found my product that made $4,399 in 30 days, I used Jungle Scout to show me the most searched keywords and the least optimized competitors. You can get Jungle Scout at a discount since you’re a reader of Niche Pursuits.

 

How to Sell On Amazon FBA

Before I dive in and show how I made $4,399 in my first 30 days of selling on Amazon, I want to share the different possible ways that you can sell.

In a nutshell here are your options for selling on Amazon FBA:

  • Private Label Products
  • Retail arbitrage
  • Sell used or returned items
  • Sell wholesale products

How to Sell Private Label Products With FBA

My personal favorite for selling with Amazon FBA is private label products.  This is how I generated $4,399 in my first 30 days and have much more ever since.

Private labeling products means that you find a manufacturer that already produces a product and then slap your label or brand on the box.  This is obviously a very simplified description, but that’s essentially it.

Let’s say you wanted to sell this Silicone wedding ring:

Well, it would be illegal to manufacture and sell an “HonorGear” branded silicone wedding ring.  However, “HonorGear” didn’t invent the silicone wedding ring and there is no patent on it.  In fact, dozens of other sellers are already selling other silicone wedding bands.

So, you can find a manufacturer that makes these types of wedding bands, and then just have your brand name stamped into the ring or be on the box.

That’s private labeling in a nutshell.  Find a manufacturer already producing something that sells, then ask them to produce it for you with your label.  As long as there is no patents, this is 100% legal and has been done for a really long time.

Most products bought and sold on Amazon don’t have any IP or patent protection.  Think about common everyday products: forks, bedding, curtains, brushes, backpacks, etc.  You name it and likely there is no patent on the general product.

I’ve written extensively about how to find the right product to sell on Amazon right here.

For all of my products, I’ve simply used Alibaba.com to find manufacturers producing the products I want to make.  Then I start communicating with them to get samples or modifications done.

Think About Being Unique

Just because you are private labeling a product doesn’t mean you can’t be unique!  For example, instead of a plain silicone wedding band, maybe you come up with a unique pattern that can be stamped into the ring to give it more style.  Or perhaps instead of black, you make it pink (this has of course been done with the rings, but this should get some ideas flowing for you).

For all of my products that have done really well on Amazon, I’ve always had some unique feature to help it stand out from the crowd.

One of these “unique features” can be something that your competitors are doing wrong. Read reviews on your competitors’ products. What are the bad reviews saying? If you can fix that problem, you’ll have more buyers than you know what to do with.

How to Sell with Retail Arbitrage

Retail arbitrage is simply finding something at a retail store (like Walmart or Target) for cheap and then selling it on Amazon.com for more money.  You can read more in-depth about how to get started selling with retail arbitrage right here.

Retail arbitrage is less risky than private labeling products…and less complicated.  All you have to do is find items that are at a steep discount or on the clearance rack, verify that it sells for more money on Amazon before you buy it, then ship it in to Amazon and wait for it to sell for more money!

The risk is low because you can verify that the product will sell before you ever buy it.

With retail arbitrage, you CAN sell other branded products.  So, if you happen to find a brand new pair of Nike Jordan’s on sale for $20, you can likely sell it for $100 or more on Amazon.

You have likely noticed that some products on Amazon have “Available from Other Sellers”.  For example, here a screenshot of some Energizer batteries showing other sellers below the buy box:

If I click the link to see all the sellers, there are a total of 13.  And some of them are indeed FBA sellers:

In general, this is business is all about hustle and lower risk.  If you are able to find name brand products that are selling well at a cheaper price than they are selling for on Amazon, then you should have no problem flipping that item.

How to Sell used or returned items on Amazon

Did you know that a huge volume of used or returned items are sold all the time on Amazon?  And these are not just being sold by Amazon themselves, but by 3rd party sellers just like you.

One of the best categories where you can sell used items is books.  In fact, you may even have books sitting in your own home that could be listed and sold right now on Amazon! This is even more true if you have college textbooks. Some books can be bought and flipped for a profit and textbooks can be a prime target for this type of flipping.

If you want to get an (almost) passive income stream of up to $1000 per month, you can check out Textrader to learn how to flip college textbooks. Their course mentors you so that you learn what textbooks are the right ones to buy, how to price them, and the best way to resell these textbooks.

Click here to get started with Textrader and develop passive income.

check out textrader to get a passive income stream selling textbooks

With the exception of textbooks and reselling sneakers, “used” categories are harder to profit from on Amazon.  If you are just trying to sell stuff around your own house, then eBay.com may be a better option.

On the other hand, if you want to dip your toes into the returned items world, then Amazon can be a great fit.  So, how do you find returned items that are still new in their packaging?

The best source for buying pallets of returned items is Liquidation.com. In fact, you can find returned items (often brand new in original packaging) from Home Depot, other major retailers, and even Amazon itself.

The idea here is very similar to retail arbitrage.  You find a pallet of items you want on Liquidation.com and have it shipped to you.  Then you go through the pallet and only ship the items to Amazon (via their FBA program) that you know will sell.  Obviously exclude any broken items.

Another option for buying liquidations is through Walmart directly!  You can go here to see truckloads and pallets of returned items that Walmart is selling.  As you can see, you can buy these returned items for extremely cheap.  It just comes down to your own hustle as it’s more labor intensive.

How to Sell Wholesale on Amazon

I’ll admit that I’ve never bought wholesale from a manufacturer and sold retail on Amazon.  The main idea for becoming a wholesaler is to find a brand that is not yet selling on Amazon and convincing them to allow you to sell their products for them.

An example of this might be a small local manufacturer that makes a unique product.  Perhaps they are really good at making the product and perhaps even running a local retail store.  However, they might have no idea or desire to get involved with online selling.  

If you can make a deal with them, then you can access a great brand at a wholesale price and sell for a profit on Amazon.

Here’s some additional words of wisdom that was recently shared on the Amazon Seller central forums by a wholesaler:

We buy wholesale and direct from manufacturers to sell and make profit on sales. There is no easy, get-quick option. A viable business model requires being a business, having a wholesale license, and marking your buying and selling power to wholesalers/manufacturers.

I will not give my sources as I have enough competition to sell with. However, a good place to begin is to find a local manufacturer that may benefit from selling to you so you can sell on Amazon. You may be lucky to work with them to give you exclusive selling rights so you will minimize competition. This is how we started years ago. After that arrangement we were able to market to other suppliers the value we offer and get more contracts and business. It was a rough and hard few years; trying to make the right decisions and learning from those that weren’t.

How Much Money Can You Make on Amazon FBA?

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can make money on Amazon.  However, my favorite option is private labeling products (manufacturing my own products). This has larger profit margins and room for growth typically than the other options mentioned.

I know you guys want to see the screenshots of income, so here you go!

This is a screenshot from my first 30 days selling on Amazon.  This is also my very first 30 days of having a private label product listed:

30daysgraph

I was NOT expecting to make $4,400 in my first month of listing the product!  This went from a little side project that I tried not to spend very much time on to a business with the potential to grow significantly.

I saw so much potential within 30 days of selling on Amazon, that I decided to ramp up quickly and start selling more and more products.   If we fast forward a couple of years after I took that first screenshot, I’ve now sold well over a million dollars of product on Amazon.

But What About Profits?

I want to be clear that the above numbers are REVENUE numbers, not PROFIT.  I don’t expect to make much money on the first 100 units sold, but I expect my profit margins to be 30% or more for all units sold in the future.

Here’s a quick breakdown of costs for my first batch of 105 units ordered:

  • Manufacturing costs: About $1,000
  • Logo/branding/photo editing: $150
  • Shipping/Freight costs: $2500
  • Amazon fees: About $15/unit
  • Giveaways/Discounts: 20 units (about $1,000 in soft costs)

So, as you can see from the screenshot above, I’ve sold 83 units. The screenshot shows the full revenue, even on units I actually sold for $1.  So, after coupons (12) and giveaways to family/friends (8), the actual revenue is about $1,000 less.

My total Amazon FBA fees on that is approximately $1,245.

With some quick math, you can see my total costs are about $4,880.  So, I’m still slightly in the hole, but I should end up breaking even after the final 22 units sell from this batch.

However, my net profit will be MUCH greater for each new batch.  I was very happy to just break even with this first batch as it truly was just a test order of 105 units.

Shipping Costs

Also, my shipping costs were extremely high, and that was a conscious decision that I made.  I chose to ship them via air to get them to Amazon faster.

Not only is shipment via air faster than ocean freight, there were also some port strikes going on that would have delayed things another couple of weeks most likely.  So, I bought myself about a month by paying extra.

Maybe not the smartest decision from a dollar and cents perspective, but it DID allow me to test things quicker and I’m now about a month ahead of where I would have been in placing my next order.

I will be shipping via ocean freight from now on most likely.  I highly recommend that you almost always take the shipping method with the lowest fees when possible.

Ocean freight for my first 105 units would have cost about $350.  So, the extra shipping cost is really what eliminated my chance at a decent profit.

If I had gone ocean freight, my net profit would have been about $2,000…which is very close to a 40% profit margin.

So, even though I didn’t really make any money on my first batch of units.  I was able to start making about 30 to 40% profit margin and all future orders from China.  I’ve been able to get my product cheaper (because I’ll be placing larger orders), I won’t have logo and branding costs, and my shipment/freight costs will be significantly lower per unit.

So, I haven’t “really” made any money today…but all signs are VERY good that this business can be quite profitable for me.

A Quick Timeline of My FBA Products

As explained, I honestly first heard about this business only a few months before I got started.  After doing some quick research and my podcast interview with Chris Guthrie, I figured this business didn’t seem too complicated after all.

I thought it might be interesting to recreate the timeline from when I discovered this business through my first 30 days of selling.  The idea behind this is to show you what kind of timeline you can expect if you decide to get into this business.

  • October 2014 – I learn about the Amazon FBA business
  • December 2, 2014 – I interview Chris Guthrie on my podcast about his Amazon business
  • December 27, 2014 – I eat 12 donuts during the day.  Don’t ask.
  • Jan 1, 2015 (at midnight) – Light off massive fireworks…possibly from China. A sign of things to come?
  • January 8th, 2015 – I have my “aha” moment and decide on a unique angle for a product I can sell on Amazon (I know the date because I found scribbled notes in my notebook)
  • January 10th – I go to Alibaba.com and contact about 4 manufacturers in regards to my product.  Just a quick email to each with some basic questions.  We exchange emails the next several days.
  • January 20th – I order a sample product from the manufacturer that was able to best produce my product.  (I only found one that was able to easily add the features I requested).
  • February 3rd – I receive the sample product.  It’s exactly what I wanted!
  • February 4th – I take pictures of the product
  • February 5th – I hire someone on Upwork to create logo and product packaging/branding.
  • February 6th – Contact logistics company to work out shipping details. We exchange several emails over the next month.
  • February 12th – I have my logo/branding ready and place my first order of 105 units from my manufacturer!
  • February 13th – Manufacturer informs me that the Spring Festival Holiday is starting in China and that the factory is shutting down until March 5th (almost 3 week shutdown!).  They expect my order to be completed 2 weeks AFTER March 5th.  I’m sad about that 🙁
  • March (sometime) – I create my Amazon seller listing and write product description, upload images, and get everything ready for sale on Amazon.
  • March 12th – Manufacturer completes the batch of 105 units (a week ahead of schedule!)
  • March 16th – The product is loaded on a plane and flown to the US.
  • March 24th – The product has gone through customs and the logistics warehouse.  The product is shipped to the Amazon FBA warehouse.
  • March 28th – Amazon has processed the product in their fulfillment center and my listing goes live!
  • March 29th – A stranger buys my product.  I’m super excited to make my first sale using Amazon FBA!
  • March 30th – I go on a week long vacation with my family (Spring break) and totally ignore the FBA business other than checking stats.
  • April 29th – In 30 days, I have sold $4,400 worth of the product!

I hope this breakdown of the timeline gives you an idea of what it takes to get a product up on Amazon.  This is not an overnight business.

So, from product idea (my aha moment) to having a listing up on Amazon was about 2 and a half months.

A Quick Update

I’ve continued to sell private label products on Amazon since my first 30 days.  Business has been good!  I have been manufacturing and selling private label products now for over 2 and a half years.

After seeing the success of my first product, I quickly ramped up to 8 products.   Here’s a screenshot showing my sales from 2016:

This business was going so well after 2 and a half years, that I decided to sell the brand.

Please note that I continue to sell on Amazon with other private label products that I’ve created.  I just sold off my first brand, and I now have others.

Read on to discover how to launch and grow quickly on Amazon.

Why Did this First Product Sell So Well With Amazon FBA?

Now comes the more meaty question.  “Why is your product selling so well on FBA?”

Create a Slightly Unique Product

First, I DO think a big part of the reason is because it’s a slightly unique product. I don’t want to give away my product, so it’s difficult to explain what that unique feature is…but it’s nothing revolutionary.

Remember, I am selling private label products on Amazon. Which means I’m taking a product (backpack for example), then finding a manufacturer to create my own brand of backpacks (just an example, not what I actually sell).

Now, because I’m pretty much the only listing that offers this exact product with the variation I added and I KNOW people want this feature, it’s selling.

Rank on Amazon with Long Tail Keywords

The second reason this item is selling well is that my product is ranking well on Amazon for several long tail keyword phrases.  Yes, this was intentional.  I treated my product description like a niche site and used my targeted keywords in the product title and the product description.

Because of these 2 factors: unique product and showing up for long tail phrases, I was making about 2 to 3 sales a day after about 2 weeks of being listed.  I did have a few “sales” from friends and family over the first 3 weeks…but that was 8 units total.

Wondering If Your Idea Will Sell? Click here to try Jungle Scout for free and see how much money your competitors are making.

I was making 1 to 2 sales per day before I had a single review on Amazon.  I honestly didn’t do any marketing outside of getting a few friends and family members to buy the product (which I reimbursed them for doing).

I WOULD have done more marketing if I hadn’t been so busy (vacation with family, New Media Expo, and running a full-time business outside of Amazon).  However, the natural sales raised my eyebrows and I thought, “Okay, let’s see what happens if I do some basic marketing!”

Jungle Scout is a great tool to help you find products to sell on Amazon .Another great tool to help you do keyword research and find products to sell on Amazon is Helium 10.

Special Promotions and Giveaways on Amazon

This brings me to the 3rd reason I think the product sold so well: Promotion.  As you can see from the image below, I had a huge spike in sales on April 23rd.  I sold 14 units that day…but 11 of those sales were from $1 coupons.  I now use LandingCube for Amazon Promotions.

I issued $1 coupons to a group of Amazon product reviewers (not sure I’m ready to reveal the source), and they got redeemed.  I didn’t make any money from those coupons, but this sudden spike in sales also boosted my Amazon best seller rank.

Check out Landing Cube. Click here to try it

As a result, my product was listed higher on Amazon in various categories AND for the keywords I was targeting.   As you can see after April 23rd, the sales continued to be much higher than before…but these were natural sales now!

30daysgraph_001

I started selling so much product, that I’m now worried I would run out of inventory.  As a result, I’ve raised the price and people continued buying after a 50%+ price increase!

Here’s a screenshot from my highest revenue day so far.  And yes, all of these sales are from people I don’t know…all sold at full price (no coupons):

1day

I have started to get a few reviews over the past week or so that I’m sure has helped with the sales as well.  At the time of this screenshot was taken, I still had less than 6 reviews though…so these sales really are coming in with minimal reviews and marketing.

Common Problems In Amazon FBA

Inventory Issues

Because my products were selling well after 30 days, I decided that this business was the real deal and that I needed to order some more inventory.  At the rate I was selling, I figured I still had a couple of months before inventory would run out.

However, after doing my coupon promotion, getting a few more reviews, and selling lots more product per day…I realized I would run out of inventory in less than a week!  I only had about 22 units left and I sold 11 units on my best day…so you do the math.

I share some of these inventory issues, because this is an ongoing battle for any Amazon FBA seller.  It’s important to stay on top of how fast your products are selling and figuring out the lead times to produce new batches.

As a result, I raised my price to slow down the sales each day to prevent my inventory running dry too quickly.  Unfortunately with the sudden spike in sales, I wasn’t able to get inventory fast enough and wasn’t able to sell any items for close to 3 weeks during May.

Understanding Manufacturing Lead Times

My manufacturer takes about 3 to 4 weeks to produce the product, and shipping via ocean freight will take at least 2 more weeks.  So, I won’t have any product ready for sale on Amazon for at least a month.

So, when you start manufacturing and selling your own items on Amazon, you need to know that your lead time could be 1 to 2 months before you can “stock the shelves”.

I wish I could wave a magic wand to make it all work out sometimes, but honestly, I’m not too worried about it.  The point of my first batch of product from China was to test the market to see if people were willing to buy.  The market has spoken loud and clear to me that people like my product!

So, even though I couldn’t bring in too many sales while I was out of stock…I was able to gear up for bigger things down the road.

After selling for 30 days, I thought it was very feasible that I could sell 10 units a day at close to $70 each.  This would be a monthly revenue of $21,000.  (The net profit on this would be about $11,000).  I’m obviously gone way beyond that at this point. 

In fact, I was able to add 7 more SKUs and have had a number of months where I sold over $60,000 worth of product.

Tax Setup

One thing you need to watch out for when selling with Amazon FBA is the tax implication of all your sales. This varies from state to state and you should contact a tax professional who knows about Amazon FBA for definite answers in your situation.

That said, here’s my experience.

You will need to collect sales tax from your customers, that much is a given. The problem that you can run in to is that each state has different laws regarding whether or not sales tax needs to be collected in that state. Most states agree that if your goods are stored there (like in an Amazon FBA warehouse), then you need to collect sales tax.

Here’s where it becomes a mess (and no worries, the good news is coming after this). 

Each state has different requirements on how much sales tax is collected and how often you have to file your taxes with the state. It depends on your volume of sales, but some states can even require that you file monthly.

Just shoot me now, why don’tcha.

Now for the good news. An automated service called TaxJar can take care of literally every bit of this for you. You don’t have to deal with individual states, don’t have to keep up with due dates, and don’t have to waste your life filing taxes. TaxJar saves you from exorbitant fees with your accountant and a ton of wasted time.

Click here to get TaxJar for your Amazon FBA business.

Save yourself time and money with TaxJar

Next Steps for Your Amazon FBA Business

Because I’ve now tested the waters and can clearly see the revenue coming in, I’m going to scale this business.  You should have a similar plan to what I did below in order to scale your e-commerce business.

  • I’ve already contacted my current and other manufacturers to get samples of similar products to what I’m already selling.  I believe that I can easily get 5 or 6 products up in my chosen niche.  I have no idea how each product will sell, but it’s clear that there is a very healthy market here.
  • I will also be doing a bit more marketing (once I have inventory) to get more reviews, increase the Amazon best sellers rank, and make more sales naturally as a result.
  • Finally, I plan on going outside of Amazon as well in the future.  I want to build a niche site related to my product.  I’ll write informational articles to get natural traffic from Google and then people can buy the product directly from my site as well.

That’s right, I’ll be building an eCommerce site.   The best part is that when you get a Shopify site up selling your own products off of Amazon, you can still have Amazon store, pack, and ship products when you make sales on your e-commerce site!  This is called multi-channel fulfillment. 

So, FBA fulfillment does indeed extend to sales off of Amazon if you want it to.  That’s an entirely different discussion, but just know that if you make product sales on your own site, on eBay, Walmart.com, or other selling platforms, you can indeed use the multi-channel fulfillment option to have Amazon fulfill those orders.

I see this as a nice marriage between my experience with building a blog or brand, SEO, keyword research, site building with proper themes, and now Amazon FBA.

Yes, this is a new business venture still and this blog post is clearly dripping with optimism, but I plan to capitalize as much as possible on this opportunity.  Will everything work out as planned?  Probably not exactly.  But I see no reason why I shouldn’t pursue this and try to grow this into a healthy business.

Overall, I haven’t been this excited about a business in a very long time.  We’ll see where the ride takes me.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Are you currently selling a product on Amazon?  Do you have any comments or questions that you would like to add to the discussion?  Let’s hear it below.

1. Jungle Scout – Get new product ideas and evaluate competitors

2. JumpSend – Run promotions and deals

3. Helium 10 – Evaluate competitors & see where we rank for keywords

4. SalesBacker – Automated follow-up to get more reviews

5. Fetcher – Track actual profit numbers

6. SEMrush – For keyword research. 

Start Your Amazon FBA Business

So there you have it. Next time someone asks, “What is Amazon FBA?” you can have an answer. 

Now that you know how to sell on Amazon FBA, there’s nothing stopping you other than you. What I don’t recommend is picking a product at random and calling up a manufacturer to start production. Picking the wrong product can cost you a lot of money (and a lot of wasted time).

You need to know what people are searching for so that you can solve their need. When you’re producing what people want, they can’t help but buy from you.

By Spencer Haws

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Dropship Lifestyle Review: Can You Build A Dropshipping Empire?

Dropship Lifestyle Review: Can You Build A Dropshipping Empire?

If you’ve ever heard anything about making money online, I’d bet you’ve heard about some version of dropshipping.

It goes like this: you set up a website for a niche audience, create an online store, sell your product, and it goes straight from the manufacturer to the customer. You don’t have to fill your garage with standing paddle boards or lawn furniture. You buy traffic, it converts, you win.

Step 1: dropship

Step 2: profit

…right?

If it were that easy, everyone would do it. Everyone would make a killing online, work from a Mexican beach, and never have another boss. Dropshipping requires time, effort, and skill. But when it pays off, it can pay off big.

In this Dropship Lifestyle (DSL) review, we’re going to be asking whether this course can give you the short cut. What if you could bypass years of failure and thousands of dollars in flopped business?

Let’s see if you can.


Dropship Lifestyle: The Good Stuff

I’ve been through the whole Dropship Lifestyle course and it’s pretty awesome. Here are some of the things it does very well:

Great for Beginners

DSL was designed with the dropshipping beginner in mind. You will learn about the basics of online business and dropshipping, how to select a niche, finding different products, market research, and more.

I like how DSL is made of over-the-shoulder videos. Going through this course is like watching someone do this right in front of you. You won’t have to struggle through technical details or deal with a faulty landing page without someone to guide you.

And while the course is designed for beginners, it’s packed with some pretty sweet nuggets. Which means it’s not too bad for pros either…

Helpful For Professional Dropshippers

DSL was made for beginners, but Anton (the owner and instructor) is an excellent dropshipper. He runs several of his own dropshipping businesses and gives some great tips throughout the course.S

Someone making $20,000 per month dropshipping won’t benefit as much from this course as someone who only read the 4 Hour Work Week. But Anton’s tips on conversion, followup, buying ads, and retargeting is super helpful.

He has sage advice on where to buy your ads to profit (hint: it’s not Facebook) and then includes great tips for automation.

If you aren’t running a 100% automated, very profitable store with email marketing and followups, then you can benefit from Dropship Lifestyle.

A Ton of Content

My favorite part of Dropship Lifestyle is that it is packed with content. It includes over 200 video lessons that go deep into dropshipping.

A bunch of this content comes from “bonuses” to the DSL course. The bonuses are free and included with every purchase. DSL itself has about 90 videos. These bonuses offer a more in-depth look at several aspects of the course and are great material for improving an already-successful store.

If we assume that each video is about 10 minutes long (that’s a low estimate – some are shorter, but tons are quite a bit longer), then that gives us about 2,000 minutes worth of content in Dropship Lifestyle. If you want to do the math, that’s over 33 hours of content.

When you count the time you spend implementing these things, you’re looking at a course that you could learn from for well over a year.

I’m blown away by the level of (good) content.

Dropship Lifestyle: The Not So Good

Dropship Lifestyle is a cool course, but it’s not perfect. Here is the one thing I don’t love about it:

Course Could Be Structured Better

One downside to DSL is that it seems to be laid out strange. For example, modules 1 and 2 are both about niche research (shouldn’t this be a single module?)

Module 3 is about designing your website, module 4 is about finding suppliers, and then module 5 is about designing your site again.

The bonuses are awesome, but are just extensions of what’s already presented in the course. I don’t think they should be “bonuses”, but included where they fit in the modules.

It’s not a bit gripe and the course layout won’t hurt you in the long run. It just seems like it could be designed a bit better.

Overall, I think that Dropship Lifestyle is a pretty amazing course. It’s jam packed with quality info taught by someone who has had monster success in dropshipping. It will help you to avoid rookie mistakes, skip years of failure, and teach you how to be a profitable dropshipper

Dropship Lifestyle Review

Dropship Lifestyle (DSL) is a video course designed to help you figure out dropshipping. It has 90 video lessons that take you from zero to hero in dropshipping. It’s designed to help you save time, save money, build out a dropshipping site, create relationships with manufacturers, drive traffic to your site, and convert visitors to buyers.

Here is what you’ll learn inside of DSL:

  • Basics of dropshipping
  • Selecting your niche
  • Selecting your product
  • How to do market research and beat your competitors
  • Planning your site from day 1 to several years in the future
  • Creating your site and branding
  • Building relationships with suppliers, getting sample products, diversifying risk, and how to outreach to manufacturers
  • Setting up your store with conversions in mind
  • Building social proof before you get traffic
  • Driving traffic to your site and maximizing your income per visitor
  • Automating your store
  • How to sell your store when you’re ready for an exit

There’s a lot of information here and literal hours of video available. I’ve reviewed some awesome products with amazing amounts of content (The Authority Site System, Authority Hacker Pro), but I think that Dropship Lifestyle gives them a run for their money as far as sheer volume of content.

This course was made for the beginner dropshipper, but there’s a lot here for someone who just wants to improve an already-successful store as well.

DSL is divided into 7 modules and then includes some bonuses. Let’s take a look at what this course has to offer.

Dropship Lifestyle & Module Overview

When you first get access to your login for DSL, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

drop ship lifestyle home page

You can get into the course by clicking Start Lesson near the bottom left of the screen. It looks like this is also an area where they give general announcements. Right now they’re broadcasting a retreat to Portugal.

When you start the course, you’ll get a list of modules with some announcements off to the right of the screen:

dropship lfiestyle modules list

Each module is composed of video lessons. You can see each video lesson highlighted in blue. And see the scroll bar to the right side of my screen?

There are a lot of these video lessons. The course says that there are 90 videos in the modules. There are more in the bonus content. In total, there are well over 100 video lessons included with DSL.

Towards the right sidebar, we get more announcements. 2 in particular are pretty interesting:

drop ship lifestyle bonuses

Every DSL course includes a niche verification process. This is where you can send the DSL creators your niche idea and niche research sheets that we’ll be creating in modules 1 and 2. The DSL creators then get back to you and say that you’ve got a winner or that you should keep looking.

It’s pretty awesome for a tool that’s included in the course. My first website projects failed because I was horrible at niche selection. And in spite of what you might hear from affiliate marketing hype trains, not every niche can be profitable for you. 

I wish I could have had someone to guide me in the niche selection process.

The second thing here is a 14 day free trial to Shopify. The DSL crew recommends that you use Shopify for your dropshipping course and I agree that it’s easy to use for beginners.

Each module is composed of video lessons. Each video lesson has show notes below and an option to mark the lesson as complete:

dropship lifestly video lessons

I suggest watching each lesson when possible, but the show notes are nice when you need a refresher or can’t watch the video right now.

If a video ever mentions a resource, there is always a link to the list of resources at the bottom of the page.

Module 0: Overview

This module covers the basics of dropshipping. Anton (the founder of DSL) helps you lay the groundwork for everything to come: mindset and expectations, what you need to run your online business, accounting for your future dropshipping business, etc.

There won’t be much here for experienced dropshippers, but it’s a great launch pad for anyone new to online income.

Here is a list of the lessons in this “Module 0”:

dropship lifestyle module 0 lessons

Module 1: Niche Selection

Of all the modules, this one might be the most important. Your niche holds the foundation to your business and if you get it wrong, you’re in for a world of hurt.

As I said above, my poor niche selection was main the reason that I spent several years failing online. If your niche is too competitive, it will be very hard to do anything online.

So DSL runs us through the process of choosing a niche and there’s a lot of value packed in here. You’ll learn why a passion based business might not be a great idea, how to find your target market, building brand loyalty, and so on.

Once you’ve got the basics, you’ll learn about picking a product for your niche. Everything matters here: you have to differentiate from your competition while still pulling a profit. That means looking at product price, size, weight, and potential profit for each sale.

After all this, Anton will give you examples of good and bad niches, some brainstorming tips, and answers some common questions.

I don’t think I could ask or expect any more out of a niche selection module. Very strong content here.

Here is a list of all of the lessons you’ll get in Module 1:

dropship lifestyle module 1 lessons

Module 2: Market Research

In module 1, we create a list of niches that we might could go in to. Now it’s time to narrow our list down and make our final choice.

This is the point in the course where we get into deep market research. We’ll look at price points for products. We’ll track demand for the product over time and make sure we aren’t getting a hot dud. We make sure that the product sells year round (this is called an evergreen product). And then we make sure that our niche is “dropship friendly”.

This sounds like a lot and it is, but this is a very important step.

Once you’ve got your niche selected, you’ll make a list of the competition. You can refer to this in the future to give you product ideas, conversion tips, and to see how much work you’re going to have to do to be successful in dropshipping.

This is a lot more in depth than module 1, but I still feel that the modules could be ordered a bit better. It seems to me like module 1 is about picking a niche and module 2 is about… picking a niche.

It’s not a serious problem. I don’t mind it. But I think the user experience could be a bit better here.

Even so, there’s a lot of very cool content in this module. I’ll be referring back to it when starting my own dropshipping business 😉

Here’s a list of the lessons in module 2:

dropship lifestyle module 2 lesson list

Module 3: Creating Your Website

We’ve got our niche selected. Now it’s time to start building out our website.

Niche research is mind-numbing work and gets old pretty quick. Building is where you can “see” progress being made.

Anton and DSL use Shopify to craft all of their dropshipping stores. If you’re new to dropshipping, I think that Shopify is a great solution. You might could use WooCommerce with Cartflows  if you want something more hands on, but more powerful.

This module builds an online store using Shopify. If you want to use something like WooCommerce, the principles still apply. You’ll just have to figure out the designs and technical doodads on your own.

You’ll start by learning about domain names and how to choose a good one. From there, you’ll move on to the technical side of creating your site. Anton uses over-the-shoulder videos, so all you need to do is follow along. Color inside the lines and you’ll turn out just fine.

You’ll create menus for your site, set up action sequences for your users, customize themes, learn about discount codes, and more. One thing that is interesting about DSL’s version of dropshipping is that Anton and DSL don’t recommend Facebook ads to get traffic.

We’ll learn more about this later, but DSL spends quite a bit of time running you through Google – Adwords, Analytics, Search Console, etc. They recommend that you use Google Adwords to bring traffic to your dropshipping business. Retargeting is an afterthought here. Adwords is king.

Now all that’s left are to find your suppliers and find your audience. Here’s a list of all the lessons in module 3:

dropship lifestlye module 3 lesson list

Module 4: Getting Suppliers

This module is all about finding your dropshipping suppliers. These aren’t the same as regular manufacturers; you don’t want to buy a thousand widgets and store them in your warehouse. You want the supplier to make the product and send it to your customer without you having to deal with any of it.

All you do is send the traffic and convert.

This module is technical in part, but you can expect to hold some phone conversations as well. No need to fear, all you phone haters: Anton and DSL have extensive scripts and templates for calls and emails. They recommend starting with a call and emailing after, but the system works even if you just stick to email.

I know that Anton has done this hundreds of times and his scripts look great. It’s pretty easy to tell that he has experience here.

You’ll also get a list of the questions that most suppliers will ask you. It’s nice to have so you can be ready beforehand.

And then it’s just a matter of picking your supplier(s). Anton and DSL have a way to rank their suppliers in order from awesome to not-so-awesome. One important note here is that you do want multiple suppliers in case one of them ends of not working out.

Multiple suppliers is just a good way to manage your risk in the dropshipping world.

Once you’ve selected your suppliers, reached out, and been approved, it’s time to flesh out the relationship. DSL has a great video lesson on building the relationship with your suppliers. This won’t be a step that you can apply from day 1, but they will help your site 3 months, 6 months, a year, and further down the road.

You can negotiate things like exclusivity, various terms, and the all-important pricing.

Relationships are the name of the game and Anton has some great tips for improving them.

Here are a list of the lessons in this module:

dropship lifestyle module 4 lesson list

Module 5: Optimize For Conversions

This module is important, but I feel again that it’s out of order. I think this module should be combined with the “Creating Your Website” module because it’s all about dealing with your website.

The goal here is to prep your website for visitors. You’re going to be creating urgency, getting real reviews for your products, and setting up social media accounts. You want everything to look authentic for your visitors and help you convert them better.

After making urgency and social proof, we dive into more advanced conversion tactics. These include bonus offers, taking advantage of abandoned carts, and making sure that visitors can get around without any trouble.

I appreciate that Anton shoots it straight here: you shouldn’t spend years working on your site design. As long as your site doesn’t many anyone’s eyes bleed, the design doesn’t move the needle that much. Usability is much more important.

And Anton helps you see how your visitors are interacting with your site through heatmaps. He shows you how to set up tracking software that helps you learn when visitors are leaving and where they’re clicking.

It’s a very helpful module, but I feel that it should have been bundled into the “Creating Your Website” module. It seems like we’re paying for the same ground twice here.

Here is a list of all of the lessons in module 5:

dropship lifestyle module 5 lesson list

Module 6: Getting Traffic

I love Anton’s idea here. The theory behind this module is that you don’t need tons of traffic. You just need the best traffic. You want buyers who have credit card in hand, ready and waiting to buy.

In this module, you learn how to get that kind of traffic. It saves you time, money, and you will earn more.

Anton believes that Facebook users often don’t have credit card in hand. Google traffic does. Anton teaches you how to spy on Google’s traffic, pick the best keywords, and guarantee profit from day 1. You learn how to make sure that every visitor goes through your funnel.

Once you’re done with that, then you can go into paid social traffic. This is where you get into what Anton calls “omnipresence”. Facebook retargeting allows you to reach out to the same visitors who left your site to offer them another chance. This represents a well-rounded strategy on Anton’s part: get the bulk of income from Google, cover your bases with Facebook.

And then to close this module out, you learn a bit about email marketing. It’s not an extensive email marketing course, but you’ll get the basics of touching base with your subscribers.

Overall, I’m most impressed with this module out of everything I’ve seen inside of DSL.

Here is a list of the lessons you’ll get:

dropship lifestyle module 6 lesson list

Module 7: Automation

At this point you have your store, your traffic, and you’re profitable. If you’d like, it’s time to start reducing your work load. You’ll sacrifice a little bit of profit in the short run, but outsourcing and automation will allow you to focus on new businesses and enjoy life more in the long run.

I appreciate that Anton makes a little disclosure at the beginning of this section:

automation disclaimer

A lot of internet marketing courses out right now will spout buzzwords like “passive income” or “lifestyle design”. Those might not be bad things, but everyone should understand that recurring revenue and designing your life is preceded by hard work.

I think that Anton and Dropship Lifestyle distinguish themselves here. They say “Hey, don’t try the automation thing until you know that you’re making money.” And I respect that.

When you are making income, Anton will run you through the ringer on automation. You’ll automate abandoned cart orders, Google sheets, tracking and analytics, sales, and content distribution. Anton gives you his own templates for outsourcing when you need to hire someone.

He tells you the best places to hire (Upwork or FreeeUp.com) and shows you how to hire talented, inexpensive individuals. This module closes with some standard operating procedures (SOPs) for yourself and for your automation.

Here are a list of the lessons in this module:

dropship lifestyle module 7 lesson list

Dropship Lifestyle Bonuses

The modules listed above are pretty extensive. Newbie or pro, I’d bet you can find something to help you.

But that’s not all that DSL offers.

Dropship Lifestyle also includes several bonus lessons. These won’t be necessary for everyone, but these bonuses each function more as a standalone module. For example, in the Goal Setting & Mindset bonus, you’ll get these lessons:

dropship lifestyle expectations and mindset lessons

Here are the bonus lessons available to you:

  • Doing business abroad
  • Easy wins
  • Expectations and mindset
  • Shopify video course
  • Social ads
  • Google ads
  • Dropship Lifestyle retreat’s recordings
  • Selling your online store
  • Outsourcing guides and SOPs

Each of these functions as its own module so there’s a ton of content here.

You also get access to the niche verification tool that I mentioned earlier (a huge deal!) and access to a private Facebook community. DSL also gives you the opportunity to get one-on-one coaching with the instructors. 

I didn’t look into the coaching, but I’d bet it’s kinda pricey.

Now that we’ve been through the whole course, my verdict: 

I think that DSL could be laid out a bit better. Some modules should be combined and some of the bonuses could be put into the modules instead of offered as “bonuses”.

But the level of content here is top notch. If you’re wanting to get into dropshipping, I think that Dropship Lifestyle sets the bar high and helps you exceed your own expectations of yourself. I doubt that there are better dropshipping courses out there (but if I find one, I’ll update this post) 🙂

For now, I’m not afraid of recommending Dropship Lifestyle.

Who Is Dropship Lifestyle Best For?

Dropship Lifestyle (DSL) is a course that was designed for someone who doesn’t have a successful dropshipping business. 

That being said, it includes all of Anton’s previous dropshipping courses in the bonus section. So if you are an experienced dropshipper, there’s still a lot of value you can get from the 30+ lessons on mastering Google Adsense or maximizing conversions.

I think the person who will get the most mileage out of DSL is the person who hasn’t had a successful dropshipping business. You could be a newbie inspired by internet marketing blogs or Tim Ferris. You could be someone who has tried and just never succeeded.

Dropship Lifestyle was made for you.

I think this is also a good course for someone who wants to scale. Let’s say you’re making $1,000 per month – a hefty chunk, but nothing to retire on. DSL will help you to take that 4 figures per month to a sweet 5 figures or more per month. This could be through starting new stores in better niches, improving your followup sequence, converting better, or mastering email marketing.

I think DSL would be helpful, but not life-changing to someone who already has a very successful dropshipping store. A significant chunk of the course is showing beginners how to get started, find suppliers, and get traffic.

There are helpful bonuses: modules on buying ads through Adwords and social media, doing business in other countries, and selling your online store. You could learn some, but I doubt that you’ll find the course as powerful as someone who’s just starting out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now let’s get into some things that you might be asking yourself about Dropship Lifestyle

I’M A COMPLETE BEGINNER. IS THIS COURSE FOR ME?

Yes! DSL was created with the beginner in mind. You start with the basics of online business and the dropshipping module. There are bonus sections on setting expectations and getting your mindset right.

Once you’ve finished there, you get over-the-shoulder videos showing you how to set up your store, convert better, get approved by suppliers, and drive traffic to your site. Anton and the DSL team include their own templates to help you out here.

And then there are plenty of resources to help you improve: the bonus modules in particular are packed with very in-depth knowledge to up your game. 

If you’re a beginner, you’ll be right at home with the Dropship Lifestyle course. Due to the advanced tactics and modules, you can continue to use DSL as your dropship site grows.

I Have Some Success Dropshipping. Is This Course For Me?

I would say that it depends on how successful you are with dropshipping. Have you had some meager success in the past? A few sales here, a small profitable store there, or even a few thousand dollars per month?

DSL will help you to scale your moderate success. You already have the basics, now it’s time to grow. This could be through new stores with better niches, improving conversions, finding less expensive suppliers, or buying better ads and selling more.

If you aren’t at a level where dropshipping can replace your job income, I think that Dropship Lifestyle has a lot to offer you.

If you have monster success dropshipping (several thousand dollars per month and you can dropship full time), then you’ll get less out of DSL. But the advanced bonus modules may help you decrease ad spend, outsource the work load, or convert more visitors into buyers.

Worst case scenario you can try it and refund.

WILL I NEED TO SPEND MONEY OR PAY FOR OTHER TOOLS?

Anton does a great job of helping you figure out great niches, products, and suppliers without paying for extra tools. You will need to pay for a Shopify subscription and there are several optional items to improve conversions. 

WILL THIS COURSE BE UPDATED? IF SO, DO I HAVE TO PAY?

Dropship Lifestyle gets updates that are pretty regular. Whenever the game changes, Anton is good about updating the course so you aren’t left with outdated information. He’s also been good about including videos from different Dropship Lifestyle retreats.

All updates are free to members, but can increase the price for anyone who hasn’t bought.

HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD I DEDICATE TO BE SUCCESSFUL?

I recommend that you spend at least an hour each weekday in order to see results. Dropshipping isn’t like building authority sites: you don’t have to wait a year just to see your first dollar. If you get your site set up and find a supplier, you can go ahead and start buying ads.

I don’t think it would take more than a month for you to get rolling.

Your Dropshipping Empire

I think that Dropship Lifestyle has a lot to offer the dropshipping beginner. It may not be life-changing for someone who has already gone full time dropshipping. But it’s a great resource to get a dropshipping site going or scale your existing operation.

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