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How to Start Your Own Amazon Business: Where to Begin?

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Among America’s National Debt Crisis, our sudden desire to eat cicadas, and the comeback of crop-tops, there is another noticeable trend – the rise of mobile shopping, particularly on the biggest marketplace known to man – Amazon. In fact, according to a survey of more than 2,000 US customers, 89% say they are more likely to buy products on Amazon than any other e-commerce site. This might explain why many online retailers flock to Amazon’s potential customer base. It’s an opportunity not unlike owning a beer brewing company and being able to sell on the world’s most famous golf course. 

There are a million ways to make money online – most of them legal – but the major problem is that most people go into e-commerce thinking if they have a popular, solid product, it will just sell itself. Amazon doesn’t work this way.

With the influx of retailers moving online, coupled with customers having higher expectations, it’s pivotal that you take the right steps to build your Amazon brand… well… right. 

Because of Amazon’s algorithm and arguable nepotism for companies that have been on the platform for a while, it can be very challenging to get momentum for new brands on the platform. But that doesn’t make it impossible! And having a defeatist attitude is the worst thing you can have. 

Because Helium 10 wants to boost both established businesses and primitive start-ups, they built their software to compliment all of your business needs and also provide a community of people JUST LIKE YOU who need answers and support. 

Photo of Izabella Hamilton

So, if you’ve always hungered to start your own entrepreneurial endeavor on Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezo’s platform, it’s only fear and lack of knowledge that will be your Achilles tendon. Take it from me. My Romanian self came here in my early 20’s with practically no money (if you don’t count $100), a little bit of trepidation, but 100% certainty that I was going to make my life something I could be proud of and one that others could be inspired by. 

So I worked and I failed, and then I worked harder and failed again. Then I worked even harder until finally, I succeeded. And to be honest, I’m still working hard, failing, and succeeding. That’s the thing they don’t really tell you about being an entrepreneur: there’s never this moment where you’ve “made it” and then just stop, because a real entrepreneur never stops. They just keep aiming higher. 

Easy Steps to Start Your Own Amazon FBA Business?

making a plan of action in your journal

One of the HUGE benefits of the shift from brick-and-mortar to online is that the overhead for business owners is so much less. You (rarely) have to qualify for a business loan. You don’t have the overhead, the employees, or have to pay insurance and benefits, etc. That’s not to insinuate you still don’t have fees, as you most certainly do when working with any marketplace. But at least getting started is significantly cheaper. Plus, all you really need is a laptop to get going!

One of the most common questions among new sellers is “How much money do you need to start an Amazon brand?” The reality is that that’s an impossible question to answer. And if someone tells you that there is a specific number… run like hell. 

In order to combat any questions you have regarding how much YOUR Amazon will need to start, here are a few good practices: 

1.  Study, study, study the market. Look, it’s great to choose a product that you love and are passionate about. After all, this is a product you’ll spend all your energy investing in, marketing, and selling. But just because you love it, doesn’t mean it’s a good, profitable product for the public. This is also true with very popular items. Popular items rarely have a lasting shelf life.

Just because it’s the hot thing now, doesn’t mean it will be by the time YOUR product goes to market. 

2. Write your business plan. Write your business mission, marketing aspect, marketing analysis, product, sales, target audience, TOM, SOM, and SAM, etc.

Big pink piggy bank wearing glasses and using a calculator

3. Do market research. Explore the product’s niche that you’re targeting and keep track of your competitors to plan your next step and achieve market dominance.

4. Pick a category. For many, the category they want to compete in on Amazon is pretty obvious. Like a soccer ball would almost definitely go under Sports and Outdoors. However, if you are selling a baby pop-up tent, there are quite a few options you can be sub-categorized under. The strength and value of your keywords are dependent on that category, so you have to be strategic with this part when setting up your Amazon account. 

5. Register to your Account and create a product listing. You need to be a verified seller to start creating a product listing. Make sure you clearly understand all the Seller Central fields because misfiling these sections can greatly impact the performance of your listing. 

Now, you’ve started the preliminary steps it takes to start your Amazon business. To understand cost, make sure that when you calculate your total cost of sales that you make sure you include everything from COGS (cost of goods sold), to Amazon fees, shipping and inspection fees, listing optimizations and photography, PPC (pay-per-click) management, and other forms of advertising and marketing. 

If You Don’t Understand Ranking, This Can Greatly Impede Your Success on Amazon

One of the most powerful metrics that reflect how well your product will perform is referred to as Amazon’s Sales Rank. Relative to the variety of products within the same category, the sales rank determines how well your product is selling amongst those of your competitors. Your product will also rank amongst subcategories in that overarching category. For example, your product might rank #451 in its main category of “Bath Products” but ranks #122 in the sub-category of “Beauty Care Products” and #5 in bath bombs.

Rank simply determines where your listing shows up on the pages within the categories. The closer to #1 you are, the more likely you are to be found (as most people don’t want to scroll through dozens of Amazon pages).

Ranking is determined by a wide range of metrics, but the most important being the number of sales and reviews on that particular listing. 

Think of it this way: Say you were looking to hire someone and the first few candidates you saw had a long history of experience in your field, had the skill sets you needed, and had great references. You wouldn’t be very likely to keep looking for more candidates. Well, that’s the same thing with products. If the first page provides enough options that qualify a buyer’s needs, there is no reason for them to keep scrolling through the other pages. 

But if you are JUST starting on Amazon and have no sales or reviews, it’s virtually impossible to make it to page 1 because you aren’t ranked yet. Thus, most new sellers choose to do a launch program that expedites sales and hopefully encourages people to leave reviews (though you can’t legally ask for the latter).

You can use rebate programs where you sell your products at a heavy discount to encourage buyers. You can hire a brand accelerator (such as RankBell) to do Search Find Buy which is arguably the most effective means of ranking. Or, you could utilize chat funnels to scout out potential deal-seekers and instruct them how to use SFB. 

Fear is Natural; Lack of Growth Isn’t

Sound like a lot? It is. And I just covered the very basics. Your best bet is to join a mastermind group or check out one of Helium 10’s many hands-on case studies. 

If you’re looking for an example of what it actually looks like to start selling on Amazon from scratch, Project X is made for you. 

Already selling on Amazon and struggling to rank on page one of search results? The new Maldives Honeymoon Strategy is a detailed look at how to squeeze every last ounce of “ranking juice” out of your new product on Amazon.

You want to be as knowledgeable and prepared as you can be because Amazon, while incredibly promising and full of potential, is very, very competitive.

But none of the above pointers should lead you to trepidation or wanting to back out of something that you’ve been pondering doing for a while. As with anything in life, change is scary. The unknown is scary. But remaining stagnant in your career and life is even scarier.  

So, surprise yourself. Be the hero of your own story.

Frequently Asked Questions

Izabela Hamilton is the Founder and CEO of RankBell, a brand accelerator that helps Amazon businesses grow to 7 & 8 figures through driving organic keyword ranking and optimization. Izabela is on a mission to help third party sellers make an impact with their brands, build sustainable wealth, stop stressing about financial security, and start living the life they’ve always dreamed of. To learn more about organic Amazon keyword ranking, reach out to Rankbell online.

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