By Joshua Moayer | October 26th 2016
Introducing the Sellzee Blog
What’s Sellzee all about?
Sellzee is your spirit guide to the world of retail and online arbitrage. We’re here to help you realize your dreams of true freedom by sharing tools and insights to help you:
- Start a retail and online arbitrage business on Amazon. We’ll be referring to it like the cool kids - RA / OA. RA / OA is the business strategy that’s been infamously dubbed the “gateway” to all other rewarding business models, like wholesale and private label. It’s the easiest way to become your own boss.
- Achieve unlimited scale. RA / OA is a great way to start a business, but for most of us it’s hard to see how it can be scaled to something more than just a side gig. RA / OA sellers are traditionally limited by the bottleneck in their operation. The most common bottleneck is the simple fact that you can only visit (physical or virtual) so many locations to source inventory in one day. If only we could be like Quicksilver from X-Men and be in more than one place at the same time. Dream on. Even with OA, there’s a limit to how much you can surf the web to find deals. You’ve got to be creative to truly scale an RA / OA business to beyond-pedestrian levels. That’s where Sellzee is your very bestest friend you’ve ever had.
We're focused on scaling your Amazon FBA book business
We're heavily biased towards starting your RA / OA business by selling books via Amazon FBA. There are many reasons why we strongly suggest starting with books, and we’ll be covering those finer points in more detail in future articles. The short story is:
- Books are easy to handle
- Books are everywhere
- We’ve cracked the nut on how to scale an Amazon FBA book business - in all facets. The Sellzee blog is the forum for sharing our secrets and insights on scaling.
Like many Amazon sellers, we didn’t exactly plan to run an Amazon business when we were young sproutlings. I went to business school and my business partner Matt went to school for engineering. Matt and I both started our careers in our respective fields of study. By now, we bring over 25 years of combined experience in business, product management and technology to the table. We’re really excited to apply our backgrounds to help anyone grow and scale their own RA / OA business in new and creative ways, just like we did.
When I started my career in investment banking, I quickly realized how broken the software was that bankers used to create their pitch books (i.e. fancy presentations). I realized I was much more interested in creating software to solve business problems than sticking with a career in banking. My first product launch was PresCenter - a tool that makes living inside of Microsoft Office all day long a dream. Today PresCenter has over 50,000 users at over 100 Fortune 500 organizations.
Fast forward about 13 years to when I had freshly moved to Colorado from New York. I had a great job. But, one day I came into the office and the company announced they were making a big pivot. Consequently, everyone was laid off. There was a range of emotions in the office. Some were shocked and sad, others were just plain angry. I could have been either of those. But, I decided to look at the situation as an opportunity. I now had a lot of time on my hands. Thinking we don’t have enough time is one of the many self-limiting “illusions” preventing us from following our true passions. I couldn’t make that excuse any longer, so I decided to start a business. And that’s exactly what I did. The fact that I needed to make money fast and on a budget was a good thing - it ensured I picked a business that’s easy to bootstrap and had the potential to turn a profit quickly.
In retrospect, getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. It gave me permission to go make it for myself. But the truth is, I should have done this a long time ago. The lesson here is: don’t sit around waiting for the “right time”, like I did. The right time is always now.
Booking my future
I’ve been around resellers since I was a teenager - so I understood and believed in the concept of retail arbitrage at the core before I learned what the term actually meant. My best friends were collecting rare funk and soul records as far back as I can remember. Before that genre turned into all the rage, it wasn’t uncommon to find a soul 45 in a dusty basement for a quarter and have it sell on eBay for a few thousand dollars.
When I was at B-school in 2003, I flirted with a project to rent textbooks from a truck (think food truck) so students could save tons of cash. While that project didn’t amount to much more than a crush, I knew there was something promising about building a business around books. I pledged to keep my eye out for the right opportunity.
Around the time I lost my job, I started getting into browsing estate sales. That’s how I discovered the opportunity of buying books and selling them online for crazy margins and I dove in head first. My girlfriend, Jess, came out from Michigan to visit one week and was equally blown away at the opportunity. A few weeks later she quit her job as a Pharmacy Tech and moved out West to join me. Within 15 months, we built up our inventory from 0 to over 4,000 books and achieved our first big goal of $10,000 in sustainable book sales per month. But that’s when we realized we had hit a wall - a really big one.
Breaking the bottleneck
Jess and I quickly realized that no matter how many hours we worked, it seemed nearly impossible to eclipse $10,000 in monthly sales for our book business. Our inventory was selling at a faster rate than we could replenish it. While that sounds like a good problem to have on the surface, it meant we were unlikely to grow our sales any further. The problem was simple:
- There are only two of us
- There are only so many hours in a day to source inventory - whether that’s physical or online, doesn’t matter. Sure it’s easier online, because there’s no driving, but you still have to find the profitable inventory and that takes time.
- There are only so many hours in a day to list and ship our inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers (we do FBA - more on this later)
Any operation is limited by the slowest moving process in that operation. That slowest moving part is called a bottleneck. And remember, even if all the rest of the parts of your operation are fast, the slowest part is what will determine how fast the entire operation runs. So unless every part of your business can scale, you’re going to hit a limit that’s defined by the slowest moving part. That may be sourcing, it may be listing, it may be pricing, it all just depends on what processes you’ve optimized.
In order to truly scale an RA / OA business, you need to automate every single aspect of it, so there is effectively no bottleneck. We’ve proven a strategy for automating and outsourcing every aspect of an Amazon FBA book business, and we want to share it with you as we scale it further, in real-time.
As your Amazon RA / OA spirit guide, the Sellzee blog will:
- Share the exact details on starting and developing an RA / OA business that can handle any scale
- Help guide you through the dynamic and sometimes tricky waters of selling on amazon
- Highlight insightful experiences within the Sellzee community
- Curate conversations with subject matter experts on specific topics
- Answer the questions you encounter as you pursue your own journey
Stay tuned, it’s going to be a fun ride!