Because I waited to start this blog, I’m going to start with some background and history.
I’m a Greek American from upstate NY. I Jones the Air Force on my 18th birthday. I am now a veteran and homeowner living in Washington state. Secret: owning a home is expensive. I work a full time job and struggle to keep up with the cost of keeping up ny home.
After reading a book called “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, I came to the conclusion that I could start my own side business and earn the extra money needed to pay off all of my bills. It was a lofty goal, but one I still believe in I chose to open a professional store at Amazon because I had already had some great success as an Amazon seller. When I decided to buy a house, I quickly realized that I had a 20 year accumulation of stuff that I didn’t want to take with me. Unfortunately, or fortunately, it was all good stuff that I didn’t want to sell for a quarter or even a dollar. My mother had always told me that you get what you pay for, so I preferred to save up for quality rather than buying a cheaper version that wouldn’t last a year.
Naturally, I had shopped online, so I started reseatching selling online. I chose Amazon when I discovered that they had “fulfillment by Amazon” (now called Prime) which meant that I created an ad and shipped my belongings to their warehouse and waited for them to sell. The idea that I could get better than garage sale prices AND the stuff would no longer be in my house, was like a dream come true. I made enough money at my sale to pay for a professional moving company to move all my furniture to the new house and had some extra to buy some new decor. As you might suspect, my mind went straight to Amazon when I decided to start a side business to give me the extra money I needed.
Getting my business license and Washington resellers certificate was easily done online at the State of Washington Department of Revenue website. They have some great videos that help you learn about being a business owner. They also have a friendly staff that will answer your questions about filing your quarterly state B&O taxes. I was very concerned about doing it correctly the first time and not having to fear big fines later. Incidentally, the same is true for the IRS. Surprisingly, they are also very nice and are more than willing to help you learn to file your taxes correctly. There are also tons of YouTube videos that teach you how to fill out the business tax forms. I believe I have watched almost all of them, even the forms I didn’t need, because, how else do you know if you need that form?
Selling on Amazon was not so easy. Now, of course, they have tutorial videos on how to do everything from choosing what products to sell, to creating your ads, to answering questions you didn’t even think of yet. But I was not lucky enough to have those videos. I fumbled and scrambled my way through. I watched YouTube videos made by people who get rich by selling you a dream of getting rich on Amazon. They give you just enough free information to hook you, and if I could have afforded the thousands of dollars for tuition, I would have paid it. I admit it. I did get some good information from them. First, I learned that choosing smaller, lighter weight items would reduce shipping costs. This was excellent information. Happily, I am a call and ask questions kind of girl, because some of the other information they were spewing would have gotten me banned from selling on Amazon, like soliciting reviews by offering free or grossly discounted products in exchange for great reviews. Other things, like spending money on launch campaigns to get dozens or even hundreds of pre-orders, is absolutely ludicrous because the ads don’t even go live until Amazon receives your inventory. After some time passed, I realized how fortunate I had been to not have the money for those classes.
In any event, I chose jewelry because of the small, lightweight packages and because the wholesale companies I had opened accounts with had some great deals on jewelry, and they had a clearance section. Big mistake! You have to have a jewelry account at amazon to be allowed to sell jewelry. It is one of their “restricted categories” and it took me 2 months to get approved while still paying them $40 per month to have a professional store. Furthermore, the fact that I bought clearance products meant that every other jewelry seller had them up for sale. Here’s an idea, let’s start selling products in our nrw store in the middle of a price war. Not! But that is what happened, and I believe some of the sellers clearly get theirs from the boxes that fall of off the back of the truck, because they sell them for less than the wholesale clearance prices I paid for them. And why would they do that? Seriously. If you did get yours from the back of the truck, why would you draw attention to yourself by selling so low? Also, why not sell at the going rate and make a disgusting profit? Plus, sent how big of a cut Amazon takes, it makes even less sense to sell so low.
So here I am stuck with some redundant jewelry that is selling, but much more slowly than I thought possible.
How I overcome that will be revealed in my next blog.