“Can you still make money on Amazon in 2024?”
That’s a question I hear every day, from long-time Amazon sellers, newbies, and everyone in between.
I’ve been an Amazon seller since 2010. During the last 14 years, it has become much more difficult to sell successfully on the e-commerce giant. Some categories of products are saturated. Sometimes, pricing gets pushed down to untenable levels. And sometimes, Amazon’s enforcement departments can make life oh-so-difficult.
Despite these challenges that I have lived and witnessed for more than a decade, I am steadfast in this statement: Amazon is a greatest business incubator in history. It has created more millionaires than any other small business opportunity. And it has empowered millions of people to improve their personal finances, pay off debt, save money for major purchases, work on more flexible schedules, and retire early.
That’s why I wrote the newly released book, The Amazon Incubator: Grow Your Business or Hatch a New One. Available Jan. 23 from Peakpoint Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, the book is distributed by Simon & Schuster and available at all major bookstores including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, !ndigo, Books-A-Million and Porchlight.
If you know a little about me and my company Riverbend Consulting, this may surprise you. After all, I’m known as “The Suspension Lady.” I spend most of my time helping Amazon sellers who are struggling with serious challenges on the Amazon platform, such as account suspensions, ASIN takedowns, Brand Registry disasters, Black Hat nightmares, and more. With my business partner Joe Zalta, I’ve built an organization of more than 85 employees who almost exclusively work to fix the mistakes and problems created by Amazon for our clients. I frequently educate the Amazon community about concerning trends, unfair enforcement, higher fees and other topics that make selling online sound very unattractive.
But these difficulties don’t change the underlying realties of Amazon:
- The company has built a beautiful, effective user experience that encourages retail transactions.
- Amazon has accrued hundreds of millions of Prime members, most of whom turn to Amazon first for their daily purchases and product research.
- Features such as Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) make it easy for small sellers and brands to provide best-in-class order delivery, customer service and buyer experience.
Snake oil and life on the beach
Create a search on Google or YouTube for “How to sell on Amazon,” and you’re likely to receive an endless list of results. But many of these are scams and programs that are, frankly, too good to be true. That’s one reason I wrote the book. I hate seeing would-be entrepreneurs invest thousands in drop-shipping scams or done-for-you “automated” stores that leave them with less money in their bank accounts and broken dreams.
Does it look cool to see some “coach” and his Lamborghini, in front of his mansion, with his pretend hot girlfriend? Of course! That’s inspiring and fun! But is it reality?
In most cases, no, it’s not:
- An “automated” store is not a valid business model on Amazon
- Retail drop-shipping is not a valid business model on Amazon
- Can Amazon give sellers freedom to work from anywhere? Yes! But it’s also hard work, just like any other business.
That’s one of the messages of The Amazon Incubator. The book walks sellers through the steps needed to set up and run a sustainable, profitable and long-term business on Amazon.
This includes the most important of all business development steps: goal-setting.
Perhaps my biggest pet peeve about the overpriced classes and automated “systems”? They are created around some fictional seller’s goals, instead of each individual seller’s goals. That’s why I devote an entire chapter of The Amazon Incubator to individualized goal-setting, wish-casting and dreaming. What do YOU want out of a side-hustle? Where do you want to be in five years? Is this a tool for additional income, a business you want to replace your full-time job, or an empire you want to build over a lifetime? There are no wrong answers!
Now don’t get me wrong, some Amazon coaches are super-smart and worth their fees. And there are many mastermind groups, Facebook groups and other Amazon communities where people share ideas and inspiration. I encourage all sellers to dip their toes into some combination of these. We all need to find our “people” who can help us grow, develop and win.
What is your Amazon avatar?
There is no “right” way to sell on Amazon. In The Amazon Incubator, I identify seven common Amazon seller avatars. Then, throughout the book, it becomes clear how certain avatars might benefit from specific selling strategies. These are:
- The Side Hustler
- The Brand Builder
- The Lifestyle Impresario
- The Classic Entrepreneur
- The Corporate Defensive Line
- The Corporate Growth Hacker
- The Big Brand Product Launcher
Some sellers fit just one avatar. Some fit a combination of two or more! To find out what your Amazon avatar should be, read Chapter 2 of the book for free. Just visit the link here to download Chapter 2 and learn more.
The nuts and bolts of selling
When you hear about friends with failed Amazon businesses, it’s easy to put all the blame on the platform. But oftentimes, when sellers don’t succeed, it’s because they failed to put the basics in place. By following a few specific strategies, you can ensure that your Amazon business is correctly positioned from days one.
- Deciding how you should fulfill your products. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) makes sense for many offerings – but not all!
- Creating a great buyer experience. Take the steps to ensure your customers don’t complain – and come back for more.
- Setting up rules that prevent product and account suspensions. This is my area of specialization! With the right standards, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of enforcement by Amazon.
Don’t be fooled. You will find videos, gurus and other sellers who tell you that there is only one way to fulfill products. Others will claim they can prevent all ASIN suspensions and buyer complaints. None of these things are true. Each individual seller must create custom strategies for their own business – and follow them.
Ready, set, grow!
For those who really want to win big in e-commerce, the secret is in the scaling. Fortunately, an Amazon business can be set up from the beginning for growth. Chapters 11 and 12 of The Amazon Incubator are designed to help sellers develop standard operating procedures. These can then be taught to employees or virtual assistants (VA). How do you hire Amazon VAs? The book gives guidance on that as well.
Regardless of a seller’s goals, the beauty of Amazon is how much can be outsourced and expanded without a huge headcount. Many Amazon businesses have just one or two true employees – including the account owner. Then, technical tasks are outsourced to specialists, while the daily grind is handed off to VAs. With minimal oversight, almost all daily tasks can be taken off of the account owner’s hands. That frees the entrepreneur to focus on what actions truly make them money. That might be sourcing new products, developing new products, building their brand, testing their ads and other high-value activities.
If this sounds complicated – it is! For the first week or two. That is why The Amazon Incubator is written as a step-by-step guide. Each chapter addresses a single topic. The chapter then ends with a summary and thought questions. Simply by answering the questions and thinking through what tasks they prompt, the reader can clarify how they plan to handle that topic in their own Amazon business.
After working through the book, readers are left with an actionable plan. My goal? Erase the fear and the unknown. Help readers work through the pros and cons of different strategies. And know what the possibilities are – both good and bad.
No, it’s not a job. Yes, it takes effort.
Yes, you can make money on Amazon in 2024. But it takes effort.
- Can you work from anywhere? Yes!
- Can you work just 5 hours a week? Maybe you can eventually. Most successful sellers invest anywhere from 10 to 80 hours a week into their seller account. It all depends on your goals.
- Can you become a millionaire? Maybe over time. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and most of all consistency to create a million-dollar income from an Amazon seller account. It can be done, but it’s not the most likely scenario.
- Can you make an extra $3k to $5k a month for your family? Definitely. Many thousands of sellers create an extra few thousand dollars of profit a month via selling on Amazon. They pay off debt, save for vacation, pay for college, buy a nicer home, upgrade their car, or put cash into other investments.
I’m not selling a system or a course or an automated store. I’m selling hope. I truly believe you can make money on Amazon it can create financial security and opportunity for millions of Americans. I believe it because I’ve seen it, day in and day out, for more than a decade.
It can happen to you. Pick up The Amazon Incubator today, and find out how!
Of course, here at Riverbend Consulting, we’re here to help you. Contact us.