Amazon FBA: The end of the road
And now, the end is near, and we must face, the final curtain.
Ok not quite so dramatic perhaps, but my Amazon FBA viability project has come to a conclusion, and I've decided not to proceed.
Is it a viable business idea with the potential to make decent money? Yes, absolutely. So why am I not going forward with it?
First of all, as a Half Day Henry, I wanted to establish if Amazon FBA represented relatively passive income.
It does and it doesn't.
The hope in my research was that it would prove to be a venture I could set up and when it was up and running, it would largely be a case of monitoring stock levels and customer feedback, and reordering stock as and when required. The truth of it is that Amazon FBA, at least to spark the income levels I'd like, requires a lot of ongoing work to really make the most of it. Reviews and feedback must be monitored, advertising campaigns checked and tweaked to maximise efficacy, product listings maintained and competitors watched, then any unexpected issues dealt with as they arise (more on that in a minute).
Secondly, if you really want to make a go of it, then expansion of range and variations is part of the process, and that leads me on a path on which I'm not as interested.
What I mean by this is that initially, my thought process was to search for a product opportunity, get it manufactured in China, shipped to Amazon, and that's that essentially. The reality is that what the really successful FBAers are doing is expanding a product range; related products, variations, evolving their listings and product range as the market changes, building external-to-Amazon websites and social media pages, and really building a RANGE, as a retailer almost. This isn't what I'm looking for; it's not the business I was looking to get in to.
Thirdly on the why-I've-moved-on-from-this-idea list is the threat of unexpected issues arising which can scupper your work.
What do I mean by this? I joined several FBA Facebook pages, subscribed to podcasts, and rattled through the full back catalogue of Amazing Seller output, and this 'unexpected issue' problem has troubled me. I seem to see many posts on Facebook groups with vendors having reviews disappear for no reason, seemingly-malicious bad reviews being submitted to lower rankings, stock being lost by Amazon, 'hijackers' moving in and usurping listings, and so on. I'm the type of person who likes to get his research done thoroughly, and execute a plan with the risks known. The idea of doing all the work just to select and manufacture a product, do the PPC, get it on Amazon, get it selling, have reviews in, then something unexpected, some unscrupulous rival, swoop in and undo my hard work....it's not something I'm comfortable with.
The idea of my Amazon FBA viability project was to establish if it could bring in income relatively passively to help launch an expansion of my property development. My conclusion is that it's more involved that I'd hoped, that it takes me in a retail/product range development direction, and that there are unexpected dangers that are difficult to mitigate or plan for, which can put a stick in the spokes. For these reasons, I've decided it's not for me right now. I have no doubt I could make a success of FBA, but I don't want it to distract from my property development.
I've no doubt there are huge opportunities out there for people with FBA (though it's undoubtedly much harder than those who got in on FBA a few years ago; another issue not dwelt on here), and it's been difficult for me to leave the groups, delete the podcasts etc, but knowing when to say 'no' is a key part of becoming a Half Day Henry, so I'm being positive about leaving this project behind. Remember; it's all about getting to the successes as quickly as possible.
If you're going to fail, fail fast, and move on.