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Building an Amazon FBA Business During College

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A detailed account of a Fastlane process...

Brett Beckwith

Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Jun 4, 2018
For the past month and a half, I have been working on starting my Amazon FBA business (B2 Commerce). I have started to learn a LOT of new things; I owe that to this forum and an abundant amount of trial and error.

So far, this is what I have done:

- Taken a basic Udemy course: From this, I learned the complete basics. However, as I read more of @biophase 's thread, the course failed to appeal to more complex concepts--it basically just explained the process for every basic Amazon FBA seller: find a product based off of very specific requirements i.e. review count, sales, competition. It didn't go much into item customization, but more into "me too" products. After reading some threads on here, I tackle product research in a much different way and it's allowed me to find more viable products (and to stop being so picky!)

- Talked to a lot of suppliers: I've looked into a lot of products, and that translates to me talking to a lot of different suppliers. In the beginning, I was very nervous about being professional and taken seriously, but that is the least of my worries now; I am much more comfortable with talking to anyone.

- ALMOST launched a product and would've lost a lot of money: Story time. After looking for I don't know how many hours, I finally found a "good" product. It was 5mm magnetic balls, otherwise known sometimes as buckeyballs or neocubes. Those names may ring a bell, for they caused a lot of damage in the past due to kids swallowing them. However, this product was still being sold on Amazon, and still is. Since this was the case, I disregarded multiple warning signs on why I should not go into this product.
For example, my supplier literally told me she thought Amazon banned it. I checked, and I found that they had a restriction on magnet sizes, individual magnets needed to fit into a X size cylinder. Confused as to why people were still selling them, despite breaking the restriction, I checked with 3 different Amazon supports, and they all said that the product was able to be sold, for the ASIN plugged into the product catalog fine. So, me being ignorant, I continued the process and told the supplier it was fine. Just proves that the support people really only use templates.
So I went through the whole process of paying for a sample ($100), doing the product photography, keyword research, listing creation, and everything else that goes into a product. Following this, I needed to get a bank account set up, along with getting insurance set up. I got the bank account on a Friday, and scheduled a wire transfer to go out Monday to the supplier (I didn't place it then because my bank wouldn't let me after just opening an account). The next day, I get an email from Amazon saying my listing has been taken off for the exact reason as listed above: the magnets were too small :). Luckily, this happened now and not later, for it would've costed me 70% of my funds for being an illogical idiot. All in all, it sucks, but a very good learning experience, for I learned a lot!

If someone can explain to me how people are still selling it on Amazon (using FBA), that'd be great (it says I can sell with no restrictions)!

- Got my General Liability Insurance set up: Very exciting to do this; it feels like a real business now!

- Read a lot of books: In my free time, such as before bed or when I get burned out from product research, I read a variety of books. So far, it has greatly helped my outlook on things, my efficiency, and knowledge on branding / marketing.

As for now, I plan on looking for another product. Back to the drawing board!
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Brett Beckwith

Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Jun 4, 2018
Any updates? Curious as to where this business end up going after half a year

Amazon FBA ended up not working for me. I almost came close to losing all my funds due to my product listing being taken down the day before my payment was going to go through. Decided it wasn't wise to put so much reliance upon Amazon (who has a pretty good track record of screwing over sellers).

However, through my process of Amazon FBA I did learn a lot (first attempt at online business):
  • Business is and can be hard
  • How to talk to suppliers / source from overseas
  • Making Amazon listings
  • Private labeling (and using this skill NOT on Amazon)
  • General business practices
  • There are a lot of people out there better than me
While I didn't make any money, I certainly learned a lot. Since then, I've been doing a lot of reading and learning. More specifically, I've learned a lot about consumer psychology (persuasion), email marketing, social media marketing, time management, breaking and forming habits, the importance of consistency/confidence/clarity, and branding.

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