One of the first things I experimented with selling online was listing items on Amazon. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to start making money online. In fact, I remember listening to a podcast on how to get started and setup my account that same day. To my amazement, I sold my first product the very next morning.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through all the steps to get you started selling on Amazon.
Note: You can earn money the same day that you list the item, but it will likely take a little longer than that to see results. So if you need money today, just know that won’t like happen.
You can really get as complicated as you want, but there are really four steps to start selling on Amazon:
- Sign Up to Sell on Amazon
- Decide what to sell
- List the items on Amazon
- Ship them out when sold
Before I walk you through the process, we’ll cover some reasons why you might choose to sell on Amazon.
Why Sell on Amazon?
It feels like Amazon is eating the world. And because everyone knows about Amazon, it’s so easy to start selling through them. You don’t have to build up your customer base or your brand to earn trust. By putting your products on Amazon, you’re sort of borrowing their trust.
In fact, most people don’t realize that many of the items being sold on Amazon are from people like you and me.
And that makes this a very easy option.
I absolutely love using Amazon to make side money from them. I’ve done it several different ways. So far, I’ve used them to sell:
- Resell items like I’ll show you (Retail Arbitrage)
- Sold my own product using FBA (Private Label)
- Recommend products on my site and earned commissions. (Affiliate Marketing)
I’ll cover all these ways in different posts, but for this post, let’s focus on the first one.
- Resell items on Amazon
How to Get Started Selling on Amazon
Have you ever been shopping on Amazon and, looking at a product, you noticed they ask you if you have one to sell?
If you do have that product, you can click that button and sell that same product. It’s really as easy as that.
And the product doesn’t have to be brand new.
There are about 20 categories you can sell on Amazon immediately without any extra approval. When starting out selling on Amazon, I’d recommend that you keep it simple and stick to these categories.
When you’re ready to get started, go here to sign up as an Amazon seller.
From there, choose whether to be a Professional Seller or an Individual Seller. The difference is that a Professional seller pays $39.99/month + selling fees and Individual seller pays $.99 per item sold + selling fees.
When I started out, I used the Individual seller account first and I recommend you do the same. We’re trying to keep things simple right now while we figure out the whole process.
Typically, you’ll want to move up to Professional seller if you sell more than 40 items a month since that will be cheaper.
Once you set up your account, you’re ready to start selling.
What Products to Sell on Amazon?
This can become a fun little game. The first thing you can you want to do is to download the Amazon Seller App. Just search for it on iTunes or in the Google Play store.
After you’ve installed it and logged in, start scanning things. You can use the camera to scan the front of a book to get the hang of it.
Go through your house and find books that you no longer need or want and list them on Amazon to sell.
This will get you familiar with the process and you can see how it goes.
Once Amazon comes back with the item, you might see Restricted for some categories. That’s ok. You can’t sell ebooks or audible books, so look for the hardback or paperback version of your book and click on the product.
From here, you’ll see a lot of great information like what the going price is for your book, how much it will cost in fees and Gross proceeds. Gross proceeds is the estimated amount you’ll get after Amazon takes their fees out for listing and selling for you.
The Gross proceeds will be extremely important once you start selling items you buy from other locations like a thrift store or retail store.
Once you start selling things you buy, you’ll need to subtract the amount you paid for the product from the Gross proceeds to make sure you’re making a profit.
When I first started selling on Amazon, we were downsizing our house to travel in an RV full time, so we were putting everything on there we could find.
Once you’ve gone through your own house, you can go to your favorite local thrift store or even your favorite retail store nearby to find products to list.
What to Do After an Item Sells
First, do a little dance!
Then, since you are the seller and you want to make sure your customer is happy, make sure you ship it as soon as possible. The two main reasons to do it quickly are:
- The buyer is expecting it
- Amazon doesn’t release their funds to you until you mark it shipped
After you’ve been selling like this for a while, you can either keep going, or you can choose to get more complicated by manufacturing your own products to sell. Doing Amazon FBA requires way more up front costs and gets a lot more complicated, but it can be worth your time and efforts.
We sold by FBA for a year and I’ll showcase how it went for us in a future post.
Can You Sell on Amazon Without a Business?
Yes. You can sell on Amazon without setting up a business entity. When you sign up, you’ll just add your social security number so they can send you a 1099 if you make the minimum threshold amount for them to report to the IRS. You can read more about all that after you sign into Amazon Seller Central here
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I’m a generalist, which means I like to do a lot of different things online to bring in money and I’m not too interested in doing one thing full time, but you can make selling on Amazon your full time gig, if you want.
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, then you can learn more about this whole process from Jessica Larrew and her husband, Cliff here.