If you don’t know about Amazon by now, you’ve probably been living under a box. But did you know that Amazon is so much more than an online marketplace where you can buy … well … anything? The multi-billion dollar company also offers plenty of opportunities for you to cash in on their success and make some real money of your own.
1) Become an Amazon Seller
According to Amazon’s website, “selling on Amazon is a program that allows individuals and businesses to sell their products and inventory on Amazon.com.” Becoming an Amazon Seller is beneficial because it allows you to reach more people and sell to the millions already on Amazon every day. The program is especially helpful for business owners who don’t already have an audience of their own.
There are two plans available, the professional plan and the individual plan. Amazon Sellers who choose the professional plan pay a $39.99 monthly subscription fee to use the service, as well as a per item selling fee (amount dependent on the category). The individual plan is for sellers who sell less than 40 items per month, and has no subscription fee. Individuals do have to pay a $.99 fee per item, however, plus other selling fees.
There are two main ways to become a seller on Amazon — Fulfilled by Amazon, and Fulfilled by Merchant.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
The idea behind Fulfillment by Amazon is fairly simple. FBA is a service that allows sellers to use Amazon’s warehouse to store and ship their products.I'm too old for Netflix and Chill. I want Amazon Prime and Commitment! #SideHustle #Amazon #Commitment Click To Tweet
FBA saves business owners the hassle of dealing with shipping, customer service, and returns — thereby saving a lot of time and headache in the process. Products shipped through the service are also eligible for Amazon Prime (free two day shipping for Prime members), as well as other Amazon promotions — leading to possible additional sales.
The downside to FBA is that it can be expensive. FBA charges $1.48 per pound to pack and ship an item, and a $.60 per item for storage. This is on top of the other fees you are already charged as an Amazon Seller. These fees come directly out of your payment for items sold, and can seriously cut into your bottom line if you aren’t careful.
There’s currently a very well reviewed book (Currently #1 in Retail Industry) out on Amazon on the subject called: Amazon FBA Mastery Coaching: The Definitive Guide to Learn the Secret Way to Sell Fulfillment By Amazon: How to Launch a Private Label and Earn Six Figures of Passive Income. The title is ridiculously long, but the reviews are quite impressive for a newly released book. It’s not terribly expensive, and free with Kindle unlimited. If you’re looking to go down this space, we suggest you learn as much as you can, wherever you can, before diving in head first.
Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM)
Fulfillment by Merchant, if you haven’t guessed, is when the seller is responsible for storing, packaging, and shipping their own inventory, as well as handling customer service and returns. FBM is significantly cheaper, but comes with some downsides of its own. It is much harder to qualify for Prime shipping, for example, or some of Amazon’s other promotions if you choose to use FBM. This could mean missing out on Prime customers — over half of Amazon’s shoppers.
Which One is Best For Me?
In general, FBA is best for businesses who will be selling large amounts of inventory, whereas FBM is better for smaller scale shops. In the end though, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of each to determine which will be best for you and your business.
2) Become an Amazon Associate
Amazon Associates earn a small commission by using affiliate links to recommend products. Here’s how it works — you recommend a product on your website, or social media platform, and provide a special link to said product. Whenever someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you will earn a small percentage of the sale.
You won’t earn much per sale — usually between 4% and 10% of the total sale price — which means you do need a lot of followers or page views to make a significant profit. The program also requires you to make 3 referrals within the first 180 days of joining, or your account will be closed.
How much can you make? It depends. There are plenty of people online claiming that they make up to $25,000 per month with Amazon Associates. It isn’t a get rich quick scheme, however. You will be lucky to make $5 per month when you start out, and a few hundred seems more average. To make thousands, you need a massive following — which isn’t impossible, but does take a lot of dedication and time.
3) Kindle Direct Publishing
Yet another way to make money on Amazon by selling ebooks [link to ebook article]. With Kindle Direct Publishing, you can publish in minutes and have your book available for purchase worldwide. The Kindle Direct Publishing program pays authors up to 70% of the final sale price, and authors set the price of their own books. The program allows authors to sell their books as paperbacks as well.
Kindle Direct Publishing is an extremely easy way to self publish a book, but it isn’t the best option for everyone. Many bookstores will not except books published via Kindle Direct, for example. Because of this, Kindle Direct is best for authors who want to focus solely on selling their books through the Amazon Marketplace.
It’s worth checking out: Building Your Book for Kindle. It’s a heavily download and FREE guide that will walk you through the necessary steps in creating a professional digital file of your book using Microsoft Word 2010 for quick upload to Kindle Direct Publishing
4) Mechanical Turk
Mechanical Turk is a popular micro tasking platform owned by Amazon. MTurk pays out small amounts of money to complete easy, mindless tasks. Anyone can use it, and the tasks truly are simple — actions such as identifying parts of a picture or transcribing a few minutes of an office meeting. You have to complete a LOT of tasks to earn any meaningful income, however. Most tasks pay under 1 dollar, though higher paying ones do show up from time to time. On average, most people earn between $6 and $10 per hour on the platform.
5) Amazon Handmade
Are you crafty? Amazon Handmade is a platform that allows you to sell handmade products on Amazon.com. The program is free to join, though Amazon does deduct a 15% referral fee from each sale. Amazon’s larger audience gives it a strong advantage over Etsy as a platform for selling handmade goods.
Things aren’t all golden for the program, however. Amazon Handmade costs significantly more than Etsy, and though its audience is broader, it is easier to become lost in the crowd as well. For creatives, Amazon Handmade is a great supplement to Etsy or other selling platforms, but it shouldn’t necessarily be the only place you sell your handmade goods.
6) Amazon Home Services
Amazon Home Services is a program that allows you to sell services like furniture assembly, house cleaning, etc. on Amazon.com. It isn’t available in every city, but if it is available where you live, it can be a good way to find clients for a service oriented side hustle. It’s worth checking out the services offered to better understand them and whether or not you’d feel comfortable pitching them in some creative way.
According to Amazon’s website, “you can see every new job in your area [on the Amazon app] and only choose the ones that fit your schedule. It’s a great way to keep your business busy or to fill in the open gaps throughout your week.”
There are no upfront fees or monthly subscriptions, however Amazon does take 20% of your earnings up to $1,000 and %15 after you have passed the $1,000 threshold on a particular job. For recurring services, Amazon takes %15.
As you can see, there are many ways to make money with Amazon. On top of the six options we have listed, there are also programs that will allow you to work as an Amazon Employee from home. Programs like CamperForce or AmazonFlex, for example, hire individuals to make deliveries. You can even work from home as a Customer Service Representative.
With most of the six platforms we listed above, the amount you make really depends on how many items you sell, as well as how successfully you market your business. Make sure to take into account the cut Amazon will take from your profits when you are weighing your options. The potential for these programs really is limitless, and with hard work (and perhaps a dash of luck), you truly can use Amazon to launch a profitable side hustle. Amazon has provided the platforms, and offers an audience of buyers, stretching across the world. The rest is up to you.