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EXECUTION A New Journey - Launching My New Brand Separate From Amazon, After Failing Previously with FBA

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Young Money

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Apr 27, 2018
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Hello everyone, I just wanted to share my experiences with you all up until this point, as well as create a progress thread I can update as I start a fresh journey launching my new brand.


I’ve been following the Fastlane forum for awhile now so I’m excited to finally make a post. Like many of you here, reading MJ’s book The Millionaire Fastlane greatly impacted my life and completely changed my way of thinking.


I’ll try to keep things short, but I should start by saying a bit about myself and my journey into the entrepreneurial world thus far. My name is Austin and I’m originally from Calgary, AB (Canada). I graduated from business school in 2016 and was eager to finally getting out into the corporate world and make some sweet $$$!


Well, I quickly learned that the piece of paper I worked so hard for, did not guarantee me a high paying job – in fact, it didn’t even guarantee me a job PERIOD! After failing to find a job, my dad offered for me to come work for him at his financial practice. Long story short, I took the job and basically coasted along for the next 2 years making $40,000 annually.


My mom wanted me to get a second job or start looking for a full-time job again that would pay me more money. Her dream for me was to find a job where I could climb the corporate ladder and eventually earn $80,000 or even $100,000 a year!! When I heard her say that it made me feel depressed, “was that really the extent of my potential?” $100,000 does not excite me, I’ve always desired to be rich and experience life the way I want to. There had to be more to life than going to work each day to perform the same redundant tasks for 8 hours, for the next 50 years, just so I can collect a paltry cheque every 2 weeks that barely even covers my living expenses! And that’s when I picked up MJ’s book and finally opened my eyes.


Since reading the Millionaire Fastlane and Unscripted, I’ve launched 2 businesses, gotten a higher paying day job, and moved to the most beautiful city in Canada (Vancouver!!). I’ve hit some speed bumps along the way and I’m still figuring things out, but I am just glad to be thinking strategically now and taking control of my life!


My first business I launched last May; unfortunately, did not work out as I had hoped. It was an amazon fba private label product I sourced from China – and sadly I am far from making back my inital investment on it. Despite failing at it quite spectacularly, at the very least I was able to learn some valuable business lessons in the process. I feel poised to take on my next business endeavor, but before I get into that, I want to talk a bit about my fba business and why I think it failed.


I enthusiastically started my amazon private label journey nearly a year ago (wow!), I was so excited to launch my own product, I ended up overlooking a lot of things. For anyone looking into starting an fba business in 2019, PLEASE DO EXTENSIVE RESEARCH FIRST!!! I cannot stress this enough. There is so much hype around amazon fba, perpetuated by youtubers with flashy cars and inspiring stories. If you’ve seen youtube videos from guys like Derrick Struggle, then you know how amazing they are at selling the fba dream and truly making it sound so easy that a monkey could do it. Now I wasn’t that naiive to think it would be a total cakewalk, but I figured if I did some research and chose a good product, then with a little trial and error I would be flying high in no time.


Was I ever wrong! $10,000 down the drain and I’m still left shaking my head! Here are some of the most critical mistakes I made, and what you should consider before diving into your own FBA business:

  • DO NOT use a credit card or line of credit to fund your business endeavor!!

I know, this makes me sound like such a fool, but I just got so caught up in the opportunity of FBA and honestly thought I would make back my investment so fast that I wouldn’t have to worry much about the high interest rates (facepalm). I FOMOd super hard and it cost me big.


  • DON’T order too many units at the beginning without first testing the market!

I ordered 750 units out of the gate because I was worried about selling out to fast. Haha! 8 months later and I still have about 300 units sitting in Amazon’s warehouse collecting storage fees. Awesome! Until your product is actually live, its impossible to know how many units you will actually end up selling per day.


  • DO NOT Pay extra for air shipping on your first order

Oh God this one makes me cringe. I actually paid an extra $1,200 in shipping just so I could get a couple hundred units sent over faster. I was worried if I didn’t start selling right away, my competitors would get too many reviews and I wouldn’t be able to catch up. I figured if I timed it perfectly, my 200 units would sell out just in time for my sea shipment to arrive, so I could keep my momentum going without having to pause my listing. In reality, my sea shipment came only 1 week later than my air shipment and I still had 170 units left LOL!


  • DO NOT underestimate Amazons hidden fees or the COST OF ADVERTISING

This one has been killer for me. My inventory arrived in September, which was just before Amazon does its annual storage fee jack up for the holiday season. It worked out to them charging more than 4X the regular fees!! I suddenly was paying almost $600USD per month in inventory storage fees. This was 100% my fault of course, I should have done more research and known what to expect.

The other massive cost of doing business on Amazon, is PPC. Holy smokes is it ever easy to burn through a daily budget with PPC!! Even with regular tweaks of my ad campaigns I was racking up massive ad spend, and with ACoS’ higher than 70% on most of my ad sets, I was literally losing money with each sale. Be very, very careful with PPC, it will completely kill your business if you aren’t cautious. Don’t set a daily ad budget higher than you can afford. I set mine very high because I was willing to take a loss at the beginning so I could rank higher to page 1 (like the gurus said to do) - but I didn’t have enough sales velocity (3-6 sales/day) to climb to page one, so I ended up just pissing away my money.


  • DO NOT pick a seasonal item for your first product!

You may think you’ll just sell a buttload of product during the high season if you plan it right (like I envisioned) and then use that cash to reinvest into non-seasonal items after – NO! There is way too much risk involved doing it this way! What happens if you anticipate selling 15-20 units a day in peak season, but only end up selling 3-6/day? You end up with a s&#*ton of extra inventory you have no hope of selling in the offseason. Hello long-term storage fees! :D


  • · And Finally, DO NOT pick a product solely based off Jungle Scout or Viral Launch!!

You want something you can build a brand off of. Don’t just pick any item that is selling well based off what the tools you’re using tell you. Because guess what, even if those analytics are correct and the product is selling well, by the time your pl product gets to the market, your probably too late! Maybe there were only 5-6 main competitors when you researched it, but by the time your product makes it to amazon there will probably be 20 new players in the niche that all saw the same opportunity as you!

My product looked like a sure thing when I was researching it in May. It had all the criteria needed for success:

ü $5000+ monthly sales for 7/10 top sellers on page 1? Check!

ü Price point of $25-50 dollars? Check!

ü Low number of reviews? Check!

ü Under 2 pounds shipping weight? Check!

It looked like I had struck gold with this product and I was already dreaming of making $5,000+/month in passive income, so I turned off my critical thinking and just hoped it would all work out the way I planned (lol).


Well it didn’t work out, it failed pretty badly and here I am now, still paying the price for that lacklustre attempt at Amazon fba. But the good news is I did learn a ton about sourcing and selling products, and I hopefully learned from my mistakes enough that I won’t repeat them going forward. It really sucks having to keep working in the slowlane for now after being so certain I was going to succeed with amazon fba on my first go – I dreamed of leaving the traffic jams and daily office grind behind. But hey, I’m only 27, I have plenty more opportunity ahead to succeed as an entrepreneur. Plus I am more determined than ever to find a way! It’s only a matter of time..


Thank you for reading, I’ll post more soon about my plans for my new business venture and what I am doing differently this go around. Please feel free to share your experiences here too or give feedback on mine!


Cheers,

Austin
 

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NMdad

Gold Contributor
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Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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Aug 6, 2017
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Welcome to the tribe!

Bummer on how your experiment turned out, but you're in the arena taking action instead of sitting on the sidelines.

And all learning has a price of tuition.

Based on what you know now, what's your next action?
 

AnnUK

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May 23, 2019
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Sorry I'm rather late replying to this thread. I only joined the forum last week and only just stumbled upon it.

I sell in the UK on Amazon via FBA and am moderately successful, in that my business generates enough to pay me and three other people. But I still exchange time for money and I'm a hitch hiker, but more of that in my own progress thread (when I start it!)

I love your post. One, because it exposes the 'guru get rich quick with Amazon FBA' schemes. They are simple practice paradoxes I belive - people who've figured out they can make more money selling their schemes than they can actually doing Amazon FBA.

More importantly, I think your attitude is great. You had a choice when your FBA business 'failed'. You could have felt sorry for yourself, bemoaned your lot and got stuck there - but you didn't. You value what you've learned instead.

I've been thinking a lot about the probabilities that MJ talks about. And if you never try anything then your probability of success is nil. MJ didn't achieve his goals with his first try. He had quite a lot of 'failures' along the way.

Good luck with your next venture and look forward to hearing more about it.
 

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