A little bit about us and how we got started selling on Amazon
In late 2011 we were both working full-time jobs for an online retail company that specialized in selling collectible card games. One day, the CFO of the company quit. It surprised us because he was making a six-figure salary at the time, so we asked him why he was leaving. He told us that he was making more money selling stuff on Amazon and he was just going to focus all his time on that.
We were shocked that this was even possible and to be honest, rather skeptical. We probed him about it further and he decided to take us on a trip to a local Wal-Mart to prove it to us. That was the day we learned about Retail Arbitrage (which is the process of purchasing products in retail stores and reselling them online at a higher price) and before that day could turn into night, Eric and I had decided to give this a try ourselves. We signed up for a seller account on Amazon and spent our nights and weekends either in stores scanning or at home packing and prepping. If we weren’t doing one of those things we were scouring the web to learn as much about arbitrage and FBA as possible.
Deciding to leave our full-time jobs to pursue selling on Amazon
It was about four months in…and it was a crazy feeling! Up to that point we had reinvested every dollar we made back into the business and that really helped us grow our capital. We didn’t want to stop that growth either, so Eric and I calculated what the absolute minimum amount of money we could both support our families with, and that is how we came up with our initial salaries. Everything else would continue to go back into the business.
I have to say, it wasn’t exactly an easy conversation to tell our families that we’d be leaving our consistent, well-paying jobs to focus on our Amazon business…oh yeah, and taking pay cuts to do it. But they believed in us and we believed in ourselves so we made that leap.
I had basically no credit history and Eric had bad credit due to some, shall we say, irresponsible decisions he made while he was in college (he did have the nicest stereo system on campus though). That means we got started with a $600 limit credit card that was in my name and that was it. Our strategy was essentially max out the card, pay it off. Rinse and repeat.
We actually use that same strategy today except our card now has a $100,000 limit. And a cool thing is, even from the very beginning, we have never paid a dime of interest because we have never carried a balance. That is an achievement we are very proud of.
How our Amazon business has grown and changed over the years
For the first 3 full years selling on Amazon (2012 – 2014) we were 100% retail arbitrage and averaged about $1 Million in sales per year. It’s pretty crazy we went from having regular day jobs in 2011 to a million dollar business in 2012. But that’s exactly how it played out.
Now I don’t want to sugarcoat this either. To generate a million dollars in sales with retail arbitrage, we had to work….a lot. We averaged close to 70 hour work weeks. While it’s nice to be your own boss, working that much takes a toll on you, so in the middle of 2014 we started trying to find ways to work smarter instead of harder. We settled on Reverse Sourcing Wholesale as the business model we wanted to slowly incorporate into our business to accomplish the goal of working less and making more money. Little did we know, this decision would change our lives even more than they already had.
And the growth didn’t stop. In 2016 & 2017 we managed to do over $11 Million dollars in sales all on Amazon.
Running a 100% wholesale-based Amazon business
We are buying products in large quantities from wholesale companies and manufacturers to sell on Amazon. The products come to you or even better, they will send it to Amazon directly.
And the best part? These days we work about 1 hour per week, and that hour is just a meeting with our team of employees.
We aren’t prisoners to our business. We aren’t even CEO’s. We are more like shareholders. A board of directors. And all of this is possible because of the simplicity of our Reverse Sourcing Wholesale business model. This has afforded us the opportunity to work on other projects, such as public speaking, and developing The Wholesale Formula, our in-depth training course that teaches wholesale the way we do it.
Our advice to someone aspiring to grow their business
#1 – “Do…or do not. There is no try”
That is not an original piece of advice. That actually comes from Yoda, but it always resonated with me. What I gather from that quote is that you should be someone that takes action, but not just that. If you are going to take action, you want to jump in with both feet. Don’t falter. Don’t try. DO IT.
#2 – Have an insatiable appetite for Learning
I can’t stress this one enough. Every day I am trying to learn something new. From books, to podcasts, to Facebook groups…every day I set aside time to learn because some of my biggest professional breakthroughs have come from the simplest pieces of knowledge or advice I have gleaned.
#3 – If time is the single most important commodity for growing your business then outsourcing should be number two
I have always said, if you value your time at $50 an hour then you better not be spending your time on $10 per hour tasks. A top priority for every entrepreneur should be constantly finding ways to make sure your time is spent on only the highest valued tasks for your business.
They now accept students a couple times a year to teach them The Wholesale Formula, a blueprint of the exact steps they used to build their multi-million dollar Amazon business.