If US Amazon Prime Members had a country for themselves, they would instantly be the 13th biggest in the entire world. Beyond the fact that it is one of two ever $1 Trillion dollar market capitalization companies to exist, Amazon has a hand in every cookie jar.
Over 50% of Amazon retailers are 3rd party sellers. These are small and medium-sized businesses, often run by individuals, getting a cut of that Amazon ecosystem. This ecosystem has been growing year on year as more and more people begin shopping online. Each of those 95+ Million Amazon Prime members is spending $1.4k annually on Amazon alone. Whether you’re a college kid trying to make a few extra bucks or a single mom handling kids, the size and scope creates massive opportunity for anyone willing to take it.
The question then becomes, how can you get a piece of that sweet, sweet Amazon money?
Table of Contents
- Selling Through Amazon
- Retail and General Arbitrage
- Wholesale Arbitrage
- Amazon Handmade
- Self publishing a Book
- Brokerage through Amazon FBA
- Amazon Affiliate Websites
- Private Labeling
- Work Supporting Amazon
- Content Writing
- Voice Acting
- Product Optimization
- Product Demo Videos Creation
- Helping Amazon Logistics
- Amazon Flex
- Camper Force
- To Avoid
- Selling clothing
- Mechanical Turk
Selling through Amazon
Retail and General Arribrage
Physical arbitrage revolves around the idea that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If your local Walmart, Target or any other large retailer needs to make room for new products, they shovel product into the clearance aisle.
But these discounted products are often as valuable to another customer in a different market. Combine this with 90% of shoppers checking Amazon listings before buying anything – there is ample opportunity to buy discounted products and relist them on Amazon at a market rate.
This is retail arbitrage. All you need is a phone, an eBay or Amazon FBA account, and a few upfront bucks to get started. From there, relist them on your Amazon Seller account. But don’t stop there.
Any product laying around your house can be relisted on Amazon or eBay. From spare auto parts to old toys, if you can find a serial number, you can usually find an online value for it. It can be fun too! CEO and Millionaire Gary Vaynerchuk still practice this as a weekend escape, sometimes making $1000 in one afternoon.
The downside is that your business is 100% dependent on Amazon. That comes with a long list of restrictions, including what you’re allowed to sell, making it difficult to scale. But if a few extra bucks each weekend is all you’re looking for, this is a great option.
Barrier to Entry: Time Consuming + Amazon Seller Account
Things to Consider: Shipping fees, personal existing knowledge base, turnover time
Retail arbitrage and garage selling are noble efforts, but demand a good amount of time and effort. There is a hunt involved, along with the complications birthed from it.
Wholesale arbitrage mitigates the issues that come with scaling a retail arbitrage business.
Purchasing goods from the manufacturer, then working with them as a licensed retailer clears up many problems. The retail arbitrage process used to distribute those bulk goods on Amazon follows.
This turns your spare bedroom into a money generating box fort.
The risk here is picking a bad product – the upfront investment is often much higher than a few pieces at the local Walmart. Picking one requires research and experience flipping products. But, it has the potential to return a small mountain of cash if you do it well.
Barrier to Entry: Upfront Investment + Research + Amazon Seller Account
Pay: Moderate – High
Things to Consider: Shipping fees, existing knowledge base, turnover time
Good Resource: How to Buy Wholesale to Sell on Amazon 2019
If you spend any amount of time in Hobby Lobby, this route may be for you. If you have a passion for designing and creating personalized, stylish trinkets or products, this is the platform for you.
This was made as a direct competitor to Etsy with the support of a base Amazon marketplace experience. Their main difference is in their exclusivity and high quality – being an Amazon Artisan means being a professional! They give you access to customer service and a great community.
Barrier to Entry(s): Artisan Application
Pay: Low – Moderate
Things to Consider: Fees are slightly higher than Etsy
Self Publishing a Book
Mark Twain. Ernest Hemmingway. Emily Dickenson. For them, their success came from their fantastic ability to capture the imagination of their readers with pointed prose. They didn’t have Amazon.
Everyone should publish a book, full stop. Not only are people, small businesses and media organizations desperate for content, publishing has never been easier.
There is a lot of competition, but there is only one of you. Sell your story, be it about life, a character or situation, anything. Putting it out there is simply a matter of breathing life into it.
To make money from it, however, is a different story. It is best to research and find what people are curious about. Making a book look and feel professional will require help.
If you don’t have the experience – eBook publishers, line editor, and developmental editors are all there to help if you have the funding. But if you don’t, they aren’t impossible skills to learn.
Barrier to Entry: Must appear professional, high quality, research, writing ability
Pay: Low – High
Things to Consider: Having help saves time but costs money – finding good help can be difficult
Brokerage Through Amazon
Amazon Affiliate Websites
Have you ever read an article about a product and thought, “Wow, this is exactly what I’m looking for!” Or maybe you’ve clicked on a link the bio of a video review? Those are called Amazon Affiliate links – and you can make money from them!
Building a website and driving traffic to the website is one of the best ways to start making money online in general. With Amazon specifically, you can target specific niches based on interests or margin. People click on the link, then you get paid.
We have an article about how to get started with this process here. (linked here).
Barrier to Entry: Research + Upfront Investment + Systems Knowledge (Website design)
Pay: Moderate – High
Things to Consider: Often, people have multiple websites running at once! These commonly supplement entire incomes.
When dropshipping began to rise in popularity years ago, it was something anyone could do. A bad website, horrible ad and dodgy product could generate thousands of dollars. Now, the competition has stiffened, but the opportunities still exist.
Dropshipping involves finding an on demand, overseas product and building a brand around it. This could be a watch, water bottle, or smaller, niche product that has been well researched and developed. From there, building a website, marketing, listing on Amazon. Sounds difficult, yeah?
Actually, most of these tasks can be done within a few days. As a dropshipper, you hold no inventory, only paying for the product when the order is placed. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for someone to buy the product and certify they get what they recieve.
Every money making opportunity comes with responsibilities. The account holder is ultimately responsible for delivering the orders – Amazon will ban your account if you cannot fulfill orders in a timely manner.
Barrier to Entry: Research + Upfront Investment + Systems Knowledge (Facebook Ads, Amazon FBA, etc.)
Pay: Low – Medium
Things to Consider: Market, product, and supplier research is critical.
Sitting in your closet is a set of clothes. In your bathroom, toothbrushes and toothpaste, maybe a candle. In your kitchen, oven mitts and a blender.
All of them, I’m assuming, have a brand name on them. Why not make it your own?
Private labeling product is the act of researching and determining which products are in demand, sourcing those products, developing a brand around them, then marketing them and selling through an online marketplace like Amazon.
Much of that burden is lifted through Amazon FBA – they take care of all the operations, freeing you to focus on marketing and customer development.
There are no two cents about it, you are starting a business with this option. It is higher upfront investment with higher risk. But those higher risks come with much higher rewards, often margins greater than 66%.
The skills you need for this option are the same you might need for dropshipping – an ability to market, to find trends, and determine legitimate investments from bad ones, and build an ecommerce empire.
In a world where anyone can learn anything now, it is more about taking the first step to develop a private label product.
Barrier(s) to Entry: Start up funds + Market Research
Pay: Moderate – High
Things to Consider:
Good Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O6feWOsbLs
Work to Support Amazon Businesses
Becoming a Voice Actor
With the flood of eBooks and different products working to differentiate themselves, there has been a massive spike in demand for voice actors and narrations. Everything from smooth and silky radio voices to distinct Spanish dialects are needed!
There are many different ways to get started, but often the freelance route is the best route!
Barrier to Entry: Microphone + Voice + Professional Portfolio
Pay: Low – Moderate
Things to Consider: Getting jobs may require some finding a reference or two first!
Good Resource: How to Become an Audiobook Narrator
The difference between listings on Amazon is often the difference between thousands of dollars. Ranking higher, tags, headlines and descriptions are all extremely important. Supporting the businesses who work on Amazon is just as valuable as the products.
Content writing reviews, copywriting headlines, product optimization and SEO optimization are skills businesses need for each product.
As a native English speaker or simply someone who has done a little bit of research, you can become the person who writes descriptions and headers. These jobs vary in availability and pay: the best charge $50/hr while starters usually charge a flat rate. However, it can be extremely lucrative if you have a specialty knowledge.
The competition for these jobs is high, but so is the demand! Finding good copywriters can be a thorn in the side of any business, big or small.
Barrier to Entry: Understand the Craft
Pay: Low to High
Things to Consider:
- Sourcing Agent
The biggest fear of any company selling products from another country is a deceptive manufacturer. Answering questions like, “Are these ethically produced?” or “Are these well produced at all?” are notoriously difficult to answer from an ocean away.
If you’re living somewhere exotic, ideally China, why not become a Sourcing Agent? Your job is to answer these questions, to find and negotiate with suppliers in those count, and help companies get product out of the country.
This is a very specific role that is great for business professionals and expats around the globe. Everything is connected, so no matter where you might be
Barrier to Entry: High Level of Experience + Second Language
Things to Consider: This will require you to be located in a foriegn country for an extended period of time, so it is best if you are already there.
- Product Demo Video Creation
Taking copywriting to the next level by adding a video to a product description makes customers 1.81x more likely to buy a product. If you can create these videos, be it fancy camera work or good animation, companies would love to pay you.
If you are not familiar with the techniques, there are plenty of online resources to get you off the ground floor. Renderforest is a great tool for developing a quick little video to articulate how a product works.
This is a great chance to bring creativity the business side of Amazon products. If you have a camera laying around or a curiosity, take up this unorthodox yet untapped job opportunity!
Barrier to Entry: Creativity
Pay: Low – Moderate
Things to Consider: Finding businesses to work with will require pitching yourself or having an account on a freelance website – finding clients is up to you!
Helping Amazon Logistics
- Amazon Flex Program
In the gig economy, Amazon has found much of its strength through independent contractors – each one is a critical enabler of Prime’s Same Day Shipping. In cities, packages often cluster together in a single building. Your job, at your own convenience, would be to drive and distribute those packages to those one or two buildings. Amazon Flex is a quick and easy way to get involved with Amazon for a few extra bucks here and there!
Some people make $120 a day doing this work after expenses! However, be sure to factor in potential expenses before going into this line of work. This includes mileage and maintenance for your car, potential tickets, and unbooked hours.
Barrier(s) to Entry: Must be living in a Metropolitan area + Job Application + Access to a Car
Things to Consider: Expenses cut into hourly wages, risks of being an independent contractor.
- Camper Force
Living the high life on the road? Not only has it never been easier to build and maintain your own camper, but it comes with a job as well! Amazon Camper force is a group of rotational, seasonal employees who work in an Amazon fulfillment center during the busy season.
If you’re on the road looking for an extra few bucks for the holiday season, this is a great seasonal job that draws in a good number of applications. Be sure to apply early!
Barrier to Entry(s): Camper Van + Seasonal Work Availability
Things to Consider: Working hours are 40 hours a week, spread over 4 days.
Good Resource: http://www.amazondelivers.jobs/about/camperforce/
Jobs to Avoid
- Mechanical Turk
For all their advances, Toyota still employs people in their car shops. While robots are great at lifting cars, it turns out that humans are much better at bolting seats down. The idea that humans are better than robots at certain things extends into the Mechanical Turk marketplace.
Tasks like describing pictures, transcribing audio recordings, or researching different details are all things that humans excel at doing. If you’re looking for a few extra bucks, spending a few hours on this website doing basic, easy tasks for an average of $2/hour.
There are many better ways to make money online than through this marketplace! I would suggest avoiding it if you’re living in the United States.
Barrier to Entry: Must be approved for account (minimal restrictions)
Pay: Very, Very Low
Things to Consider: Very low pay but for almost no work.
- Selling Clothing
Clothing has a massive presence online. From highschool bands to political themes, everyone is selling shirts or socks. It is such a large business that there are print on demand organizations dedicated specifically to servicing these organizations.
However, to start on Amazon is not the way to begin one of these businesses. It is extremely difficult and unforgiving to ship clothing on Amazon. Clothing is not a great place to start for a few reasons:
- They have the highest return rate, often causing new account suspensions on Amazon
- It is highly competitive with very low margins
- There are better websites and methods to approach selling clothes online
Barrier(s) to Entry: Competition + Old Amazon Account + Unique Idea
Pay: Low – Medium
Things to Consider: Explore other mediums for selling clothing first!
Making money on Amazon is a great way to both supplement income or replace your job all together. It is a marketable skill that can be developed over time – be it something as lucrative as an affiliate marketing page or as easy as garage selling. The important thing is getting started!
If you’re curious about how out Amazon businesses work, click here to learn more!