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3 Tips for Starting an Amazon FBA Business on the Road

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(This is a guest post by Jessica Larrew of The Selling Family. Jessica and her family make 6-figures per year selling on Amazon, and want to help you learn how, too!)

 

 

Did you know that you can run a thriving six-figure e-commerce business without needing a warehouse, storage unit, or office building?

That’s exactly what I’ve done for the past nine years by taking advantage of Amazon’s FBA program for third-party sellers. Here’s how it works…

Amazon lets “regular” people like you and me sell on their popular website. That means that the items you sell are viewed by Amazon’s hundreds of millions of customers. You don’t have to worry about making your own website or even taking photos of the products.

Amazon lets regular people sell on their site. You don’t even have to take photos of products!

And you don’t need to be an inventor or have some big idea to sell on Amazon. In fact, I find my inventory at ordinary retail stores like Walmart and Big Lots and resell those items on Amazon for a profit.

This is called Retail Arbitrage (buy low from retail stores, sell high on Amazon).

But it’s the FBA part of Amazon that makes things really special. FBA stands for “Fulfilled By Amazon”. Like the name suggests, this means that Amazon is the one who handles order fulfillment and inventory storage.

As an FBA seller, you are responsible for finding inventory, setting your prices, and shipping your items off to one of Amazon’s nationwide fulfillment centers. But Amazon does the dirty work of storing your inventory, picking and packing orders, and even footing the bill for free Prime shipping to customers.

I have a lot more details about how Amazon FBA works in my Beginner’s Guide to Selling on Amazon FBA.

Want to get started right now? Check out our FREE Amazon FBA Starter Course:

Click the image to enroll:

Amazon FBA Starter Course

 

Enroll in the FREE Starter Course!

By the end of this 9-lesson course, you’ll know:

  • Why Amazon is the best marketplace for resellers
  • How using FBA gets you more sales (and saves you hours each day)
  • The exact steps to follow to set up your Amazon Seller account
  • Two easy, affordable ways to find inventory (including the simple method that allowed us to earn $100,000+ profit our first year in business)
  • How to choose profitable inventory that customers actually want to buy
  • Why you need to treat Amazon like a business (this is the stuff most people won’t tell you about)

Amazon FBA is the perfect biz model for someone on the go

Woman working on her Amazon FBA business from a laptop outside her RV

You don’t need to buy or rent a warehouse and you don’t have to turn your RV or tiny home into something out of an episode of Hoarders!

My husband Cliff and I hit six-figures in profit our first year as full-time Amazon sellers. We’ve always worked out of our home (even working around our son’s homeschool schedule). It puts us in complete control of our schedules and we have more time to travel than ever before.

My husband Cliff and I hit six-figures our first year as Amazon sellers.

So it’s possible to make Amazon your full-time source of income or you can use it to help cover savings goals or fun travel plans.

Today I want to share 3 tips for starting an FBA business from the road. This will be true whether you’re in an RV, on a sailboat, or settled down in a tiny home.

Click here to see how one RVing family makes 6-figures selling on Amazon.

1) Plan your sourcing trips in advance

Shopping for inventory (which we call “sourcing”) on the road is really fun. I can’t help but turn all of our road trips into sourcing trips with our family. It’s like one big treasure hunt 🙂

It’s actually a big advantage to travel and source at multiple locations of the same store. For example, maybe you’ve found a great, profitable toy at Walmart. But the store in your town only has 2 of them. Well, if you can travel to multiple Walmarts all over the area, maybe you can find 5 more.

To create a consistent income on Amazon, you need to have a steady supply of inventory. For a full-time traveler, that means you’ll need to plan your sourcing trips strategically. 

Tools like Google Maps make it simple to plan a sourcing route. If you know you’ll be arriving in a new location in a week or so, why not look for good retail stores on your travel route. Then you can plan another sourcing route once you arrive.

If you’re on a sailboat or you aren’t near stores routinely, there’s still a way to do Amazon FBA with Online Arbitrage. Online Arbitrage is just like Retail Arbitrage except its online shopping. So instead of driving to Best Buy, you shop for inventory on BestBuy.com.

Online Arbitrage is just like Retail Arbitrage except its online shopping

When I do Online Arbitrage, I have the items shipped to my house and I prep them myself. But if you don’t have a place (or space) to receive online orders, you can use a third-party prep center.

If you partner with a prep center, you can have all of your online orders shipped to their address. Then, for a fee, they will prep your inventory and ship your items to Amazon. It’s the most hands-off way to do Amazon FBA.

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2. Shop – Ship – Shop – Ship

After you’ve purchased inventory, it’s best to go ahead and create a shipment quickly. This is something that I teach all of my students, not just the ones who are location independent.

I call this Shop – Ship – Shop – Ship. It’s an important reminder for any Retail Arbitrage seller who just wants to do the “fun” part which is shop, shop, shop, shop, shop!

With the FBA business model, your items don’t make you any money while they’re sitting in your home or RV. Your items won’t be listed for sale on Amazon.com until they arrive at an Amazon Fulfillment Center.

If you’re working out of an RV or other small space, this step is extra important. You’ve got to clear that inventory out of the way so that you can buy more!

Luckily, Amazon FBA doesn’t have a minimum shipment size. Small shipments can lead to higher per-pound shipping costs, though, so I wouldn’t recommend sending just one or two items.

If you can gather up 20-40 items, or enough to fill a small Home Depot box, then you’re ready to create your first shipment.

Amazon offers partnered shipping through UPS which gives you access to Amazon’s discounted shipping rates. We typically pay about $0.50/pound for our shipments, although it varies depending on the location you’re shipping to.

Amazon will create a UPS label for you to print out and put on your boxes, so all you have to do is get it to a UPS store or some other place that accepts UPS shipments like Office Depot. You can also have UPS pick up from you for a small fee. Think about how you can plan UPS dropoffs around your sourcing schedule.

There’s nothing like unloading a big shipment at UPS and then heading straight to the store to buy fresh inventory!

3. Prepare a small workstation

Unless you’re fully doing Online Arbitrage with a prep center, you’ll need some room to work. I work out of my home office (although we occasionally spill onto the kitchen table during the busy holiday season!), so I have plenty of room.

But if you have limited space, you need to design a small but efficient workspace to prep your inventory and create your shipments.

First, you’ll need a way to store at least the minimum packing and prep supplies. These are things like cardboard shipping boxes, poly bags, filler paper, and labels.

For example, you can store different sized poly bags in an over-the-door shoe organizer. You may also want to look at things like storage benches where you can hide your work items once you’ve finished a shipment.

You’ll also need some basic equipment on hand to list your inventory and create your shipments. These days, I list most of my items using the Amazon Seller smartphone app. But there are other business tasks like repricing my inventory that I do from my laptop.

Amazon also requires that you have a laser printer for printing two different kinds of labels. I would tell most new sellers just to use a regular laser printer to print these. But if space is at a premium, there are smaller printers available.

My current favorite label printer is the Rollo Printer. It’s small and compact and you can just set it up as needed. It prints all of the labels you need for Amazon FBA and it’s lightning-fast.

I have a YouTube video about how we use the Rollo in our business if you want to see it in action.

Getting Started selling on Amazon with Amazon FBA

An opened laptop in an RV working on selling on Amazon

I hope this helps you see how it’s possible to run this kind of business on the road.

Even though I’m not a full-time traveler, I have several students in my Amazon Boot Camp course who run successful FBA businesses from RVs or tiny homes.

If this sounds like the perfect business for you, the Amazon Boot Camp course will help you start a Retail Arbitrage or Online Arbitrage FBA business. The course videos walk you through the whole process from creating your account to finding inventory and shipping it off to Amazon.

If you’re just curious about selling on Amazon, I have a free FBA Starter course that would be perfect for you. This 9-part course will walk you through the first steps of starting an Amazon business.

By the end of the free training, you’ll know if Amazon is right for you. These videos come straight from my paid Boot Camp course, so it’s a great opportunity to test the waters.

Amazon FBA is a fun, flexible business model that made so many things possible for me and my family. If you’ve been looking for a way to earn money from the road, FBA is a wonderful opportunity.

Want to get started right now?

Check out our FREE Amazon FBA Starter Course:

Click the image to enroll:

Amazon FBA Starter Course

 

Enroll in the FREE Starter Course!

By the end of this 9-lesson course, you’ll know:

  • Why Amazon is the best marketplace for resellers
  • How using FBA gets you more sales (and saves you hours each day)
  • The exact steps to follow to set up your Amazon Seller account
  • Two easy, affordable ways to find inventory (including the simple method that allowed us to earn $100,000+ profit our first year in business)
  • How to choose profitable inventory that customers actually want to buy
  • Why you need to treat Amazon like a business (this is the stuff most people won’t tell you about)

ENROLL IN THE FREE COURSE!

Other stories you’ll love:

How to work remotely FREE email course!

Ditch your desk job and work from anywhere with my free 5-day course. You'll learn about the top remote work jobs, online skills you need, and what employers are looking for.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. (*You'll also be subscribed to The Wayward Home's email list, all about van life, RVing, sailing and living smaller. Welcome aboard!) Powered by ConvertKit

2 thoughts on “3 Tips for Starting an Amazon FBA Business on the Road”

  1. Dang!

    I thought FBA was difficult, I couldn’t even imagine doing in on the road.

    However, this guide made me rethink my ways.

    Thanks for the in-depth information!

    Reply

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