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How to Start an Amazon Business While Still Working Full Time

Want to become an online seller but can’t afford to quit your day job just yet? Here’s how you can profit as an Amazon seller on a part-time basis.

Millions of sellers have joined the Amazon community since it first started back in 1994. What’s more surprising is that a large percentage of these sellers still have full-time jobs. 

It is possible to be a part-time Amazon seller and turn it into a full-time business. Or you can choose to keep it as a second source of income. However, there are some limitations and conditions to be aware of, which I will outline in this article.

When we started our Amazon business, we all had full time jobs. For the last 3 years we’ve sold on Amazon full time, a couple of years ago we decided to start documenting the journey on our blog, if you want to see how we got started visit www.ebusinessboss.com

Anyway, let’s get into it!

Starting a Part-Time Amazon Business

If you want Amazon to be worth your while as a part-time entrepreneur, you need to spend at least 10 hours a week on your business, especially in the beginning.

Whether you have 10 hours available or a little more, you will need to find the right tools to help you get started and to manage and grow your online business. Without this, processes and opportunities will fall through the cracks and you will struggle to get and stay ahead of competitors.

Basically, anything you can do to automate key processes will help you thrive as a part-time seller. 

Once you have the right tools in place, you will need to carefully split your time between product research, managing inventory, monitoring customer satisfaction rates, getting reviews and managing your advertising.

Steps for Getting Set Up on Amazon as a Part-Time Seller

Let’s look at the steps you would follow to set yourself up as an Amazon seller.

  1. Create an Amazon Seller Account. The first step is to create an individual or professional seller account on the Amazon website. 
  2. Pick Your Niche. This can be one of the most exciting steps but also one of the trickiest. Don’t get excited about too many opportunities at once. To succeed as a part-time seller, you need to pick a niche. Decide how you are going to fit into the eCommerce world by using your passions and trends as guides. Try and narrow your choices down to three or five. 
  3. Research Products. It’s during the product research phase that you really need the right tools. Product research tools will make it easier to identify opportunities based on potential profits, sales rank and competition data. If you are concerned about start-up costs, I would recommend looking at the FBA fees for the products you are considering.
  4. Source Your Products. Deciding what you want to sell is just half the battle. Now, you need to source your products. There are a few different supplier options to consider based on your needs. International suppliers (Alibaba is a popular option), retail clearance stores, trade shows and direct to manufacturers are the options to consider as a part-time seller. It really helps to develop good relationships with your supplier or manufacturer to keep your business running smoothly.
  5. Decide on Shipping. Since shipping can eat into your profits, it is important to take your time with your research. If you want to handle your orders, you’ll need to find a courier who can assist you with deliveries. The other option is make use of the Amazon FBA program, this is what we did. It’s easy, you find and source the products, send them to Amazon fulfillment center and they will handle the picking, packing and posting as your orders fly in. In this instance, you would need to work with your supplier to ensure your packages meet Amazon’s specific requirements. The Amazon FBA program is ideal for sellers who want to completely outsource the fulfillment side of the business.
  6. Create and Build Your Brand. Creating your Amazon brand involves coming up with a name, designing a logo and deciding on a theme. Without a memorable brand, you won’t be able to increase build trust and increase brand loyalty.
  7. Build Your Product Listings. Next, you need to build your Amazon product listings, which involves creating engaging copy that includes keywords, posting eye-catching product images and completing all the necessary product information fields. 
  8. Market Your Products. Once you are set up, all that is left to do is market your products. Along with product listing optimization , you can also invest in PPC advertising as well as content, email and social media marketing. Again, this is where the right tools can really make a difference. From running promotions and keeping an eye on competitors to asking for reviews, Amazon seller tools are a must for serious part-time sellers. 

How Much Money Do You Need to Start an Amazon Business?

We started our Amazon business with $2000. It’s possible to start with less but it will depend on your product and the minimum order quantity (MOQ) you choose.

Your budget will also depend on what you want to sell, how you plan to manage your orders and what your marketing strategy is.

You can break your costs down into three categories:

  • Essential Costs

The first cost you can’t get around is the fees you need to pay Amazon to use their platform. Should you choose an individual account, you won’t pay any monthly fees, but you do pay a small fee for every sale.

Signing up for a professional account will cost you $39.99 per month but you won’t need to pay a per-sale fee. Overall, if you plan to sell more than 40 – 50 products per month, a professional account is best.

Then there are your inventory costs. If you don’t have inventory, you also can’t sell on Amazon, making this an essential expense. Depending on what you want to sell, your supplier or manufacturer may have a minimum order requirement, which can increase your start-up costs.

Negotiation is an important part of the process when speaking to suppliers, in the video below I talk about some tips you can use to get the very best price.

Lastly, there are shipping costs. You need to get your orders to customers but there are various ways you can do this. If you don’t mind managing the orders yourself, you can find a courier that fits your budget.

If you know you won’t have the time to process orders, Amazon FBA makes the most sense. This way, Amazon picks, packs and ships the package for you.

There are a few other essential costs to consider, you’ll have business admin costs, tax costs and a number of other things that we won’t have time to cover today.

  • Recommended Costs

As an Amazon seller, you need to develop a brand and with that comes graphics, logos and product photos. This falls under recommended costs because you could do it yourself if you wanted to. However, if design and photography is not your forte, you will need the assistance of a professional or two. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a fortune here if you don’t have the budget. There are a number of student designers and photographers who are talented enough to give you great results at a lower cost (Expert Tip: Use Facebook groups to find student photographers).

  • Additional Extras

Lastly, there are those extra costs – the costs that aren’t necessary but could help you grow your Amazon business. Advertising costs is one example of additional extras. There is a lot you can do to optimize your Amazon listings without spending anything except time. 

However, if you want to go ahead, you may need to invest in advertising and other tools to help you get the traction you need when you aren’t spending 40 hours a week on your business. 

The most important cost on the advertising side is going to be the cost of launching your product, for this you can either use PPC, influencer marketing or FB Ads/ Chatbot rebate campaigns.

How Much Can You Make Selling on Amazon?

How much you earn as an Amazon seller is dependent on several different factors. 

The more you can simplify the order and delivery process, the better, which is why so many sellers opt for the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program.

Having Amazon take care of everything saves you both time and money.

What you choose to sell and how much time you spend on your business will also play a role in how much you earn. 

The average Amazon seller can make anything from $1,000 to $25,000 per month. A much smaller percentage of sellers make up to $250,000 per month. However, these are generally the sellers that sell full time. The graphic below shows you some interesting data from 2019, you see this really is possible for you too.

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It is also important to realize that earnings don’t equal profits – all the necessary fees and costs still need to be considered. 

In general, though, Amazon sellers can expect profits of 10% - 20%, with most sellers seeing a profit after three to six months. 

Is Being a Part-Time Amazon Seller Worth It?

In the end, if you have less than 10 hours available to work on your Amazon business every week, you might be wasting your time. Once you have the right tools in place and have found a niche, you can gradually start earning a decent second income with very little effort. 

IO Scout is certainly an Amazon seller tool that can help you with this process, it would be interesting to see how many full time Amazon sellers they have created so far!

Even with the right tools though, it is essential to keep innovating and learning if you want to stay ahead of your competitors and make this a worthwhile long-term endeavour. 

Thanks for reading,

Nick (eBusiness Boss)