According to Jungle Scout, the majority 72% of Amazon sellers spend less than 30 hours per week on their businesses. Although this stat provides insights into how most Amazon sellers run their business, it does not speak to the results you can expect if you do Amazon FBA part-time. In fact, given that 60% of sellers who only work 4 to 10 hours on their business each week earn less than $100k in lifetime sales while only 26% of sellers working 31 to 40 hours have earned less than $100k, it's clear sellers who spend closer to full-time are usually much more successful selling on Amazon. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t part-time sellers out there crushing it and making a full-time income. If you want to make a full-time income selling part-time, we outline some best practices below that you can follow to dramatically improve your chances of high earnings with minimal work on Amazon.
Why success on Amazon FBA part-time can be challenging
Product visibility is difficult in a saturated market
According to BigCommerce, there are approximately 350 million products for shoppers to browse through on Amazon’s product catalog. As you can imagine, getting your product in front of potential customers is extremely difficult in such a saturated marketplace. With 1.9 million active sellers worldwide and thousands of new third party sellers signing up every day, you need to be prepared to battle it out with a range of seller types, from those just getting started to established suppliers with extensive resources. Sellers that can put more resources into Amazon, whether it be time or money, have greater potential to push their products into relevant customer view.
Roles required for Amazon FBA can be time-consuming no matter which business model you choose
The type of Amazon work you can expect to do depends on which business model you employ. However, no matter the business model you choose, they each come with their own set of roles. If you do what many new Amazon sellers do and get started with retail arbitrage, your income potential is based on how many hours you can spend finding arbitrage products and flipping those for profit. You don’t need to spend time on product listings or advertising because you’ll share an already established product listing with many others selling the same product. However, if you go the private label route and settle on a few more permanent products that you stock at the Amazon warehouse in bulk, you’ll need to spend more time optimizing your own product listings and running Amazon PPC campaigns to drive visibility to your product.
Amazon fees on the rise, so you have to sell more to make the same amount of profit
Many sellers elect to go with Amazon FBA because they don’t want to handle customer service or inventory storage. However, according to Marketplace Pulse, Amazon fulfillment fees are up a whopping 30% since just two years ago. That’s a massive chunk out of your profit margin! Amazon has seemed to gradually raise its FBA fees over the years, and there’s no telling when they’ll reach a point where sellers have had enough.
Do local lead generation part-time and make a full-time income
Let’s step away from Amazon FBA for just a moment to discuss another online business model that is perfect if you want to make some extra money but only have part-time hours, local lead generation. Local lead generation allowed me to go from unhappily working a 9-5 to now earning $52,000 each month in passive income, so I can spend more time focusing on the things I enjoy while living quite comfortably. Local lead generation is a straightforward process that still has low competition in the online business world where you get a website to rank on the first page of Google for a local business niche and sell those leads to businesses for hundreds to thousands of dollars each month. I love this business model because monthly costs are relatively low and there is HUGE demand for this service, as there are so many small and large businesses out there that want more clients. Plus, I haven’t come across any other online business that is able to produce great income so passively once everything is set up.
An Amazon seller can expect to spend the most time doing these things
If the thought of selling physical products on Amazon sounds like the most appealing online business option for you, you’ll be happy to know that there are quite a few sellers out there making a full-time income while only working part-time. In fact, data from Jungle Scout shows that of sellers who spend between 21 and 30 hours on their business, 30% earn an income solely from their business. Of those that work just 11 to 20 hours each week, 18% are able to make enough income just from their Amazon business. While these high achieving part-time sellers are more so the exception and not the rule for selling on Amazon, they do show that it’s entirely possible to earn a comfortable income part-time on Amazon.
In any business, the value of the offer you’re providing is usually the most important determining factor of success. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Amazon sellers spend the largest portion of time doing product research. In fact, sellers that only spend between 4 and 10 hours on their business a week reported they spend approximately half of their time researching for high potential products. After product research, running Amazon marketing campaigns is how most Amazon sellers spend their time, with attracting product reviews also high on the list. These are just the tip of the iceberg for the things you can expect to spend time on as an Amazon seller. If you want to be one of the few sellers making a full-time income with part-time work on Amazon, you’ll need to operate your business in a way that makes the most efficient use of your time and resources.
6 tips to make a full-time income on Amazon while working part-time
1. Focus on long-term
Although a more short-term approach to Amazon FBA like retail arbitrage is a good way to get started on Amazon, if you want to make a stable income while working limited hours, establishing a long-term business opportunity through wholesale or private label is best. While these business models are capital intensive upfront, they allow you to build a long-term income stream because instead of constantly spending time on finding new product opportunities; you work on building up just a few solid products. Once established, these products can generate income with very little effort. Here’s an example of how it works.
Rank your product(s) on the first page
The goal is to get your product to rank on the first search result page for a high volume keyword on the Amazon marketplace. People are most likely to purchase from the first page, so positioning your product there for keywords that get many searches each month can generate your business an incredible revenue. The Amazon algorithm ranks products based on a variety of factors, with sales velocity being one of the most important. So, if you focus your resources on optimizing the Amazon product listing and utilizing your Amazon PPC budget for just one product, you can start moving that product up in the organic ranking. If you did the proper product research to find a product opportunity with relatively low competition and you source a high-quality product, you could have your product on the first page result in a matter of months.
From there, you will be able to generate more organic sales (without advertising cost) and attract more reviews, which helps to further maintain your position on the first page or push you even higher. You’ll likely want to do this process with a few products to diversify your income stream, but once you establish your products on Amazon’s marketplace, you’ll really just need to focus on restocking inventory from time to time and making minor adjustments to Amazon PPC. A long-term view can pay off with great income while only working a few hours per week on your business, but you’ll need patience for the journey there.
2. Use credit cards to add margin
Credit cards can do more than just allow you to scale beyond the limits of your cash balance, they also add to your overall ROI! Credit cards commonly offer cashback or reward points when making purchases. If you purchase your inventory using a credit card, you can add additional profit margin on each product. With Amazon being so competitive, any advantage you can get to further your profit counts.
3. Save time with tools
If you want to optimize your income ability on Amazon with limited time, you’ll need to leverage some of the Amazon FBA tools available out there. There are tools that can help you with most any aspect of your Amazon business, including:
Available options range from free to upwards of $500/month. Some of the most popular are Helium 10, Viral Launch, Jungle Scout and SellerApp. These tools can dramatically cut down on the time to run your Amazon business and are well worth the cost for many.
4. Outsource work
Just because it’s your business doesn’t mean you have to do it alone! As an Amazon FBA seller, you’re already outsourcing much of the work to the Amazon fulfillment center, but you can take it a step further and outsource other aspects of your business as well. You can hire a virtual assistant to help you with most any task, from bookkeeping for your business to product research and listing optimization. You can find high-quality talent from all over the world for very affordable prices nowadays on freelance sites like UpWork. If you’re an FBA seller with only part-time hours, hiring out help for your business can allow you to boost your operations to a full-time level. If it makes sense financially, some Amazon businesses are even able to completely automate their business by outsourcing all the work.
5. Prioritize winning the buy box consistently
If you’re using any other Amazon business model besides private label, you’ll likely be competing for the buy box with other sellers. According to BigCommerce, 82% of Amazon sales are made through the buy box. Therefore, if you want to optimize your results and make a full-time income on Amazon, you’ll want to prioritize winning the buy box consistently, as that is where the majority of Amazon customers are purchasing from.
6. Don’t skimp on marketing
As mentioned, running Amazon PPC campaigns is a task a third party seller can expect to spend a good portion of their time on. That’s because in such a saturated marketplace, you need to get your Amazon products in front of potential buyers beyond just relying on organic search if you want to make money as an FBA seller. Although having a solid Amazon PPC strategy is essential, many businesses also find it beneficial to look beyond just Amazon advertising on the platform and use external channels for a boost. Social media is a free tool you can use to further promote your products, and it’s not uncommon for private lavel brands to even go further by paying an Amazon influencer to improve product perception and reach. Marketing is a critical piece for any Amazon seller looking to make a full-time income, or any income for that matter.
Other options to make money through Amazon (full and part-time)
As one of the largest companies in the world, Amazon provides a variety of opportunities beyond just selling on the platform for those who want to make money with the Ecommerce giant. These opportunities range from part to full-time and are definitely worth considering if the FBA seller life isn’t for you.
Amazon Workforce Staffing
If you want a stable job as one of the many Amazon employees, Amazon Workforce Staffing (WFS) brings together the talent that powers Amazons operations. With over 100,000 global hires each year, Workforce Staffing supports Amazon sellers by staffing fulfillment centers and other operational areas with high-quality talent. There are job openings in disciplines like operations, marketing, IT, and business intelligence, where you can work at corporate, in-field or even remote in some cases.
If you’re looking to make money part time with Amazon and have your own vehicle, Amazon Flex is another popular option that can make you between $18 and $25 per hour. The program works by choosing a time slot you would like to complete work in, picking up packages from a delivery station, and then delivering those packages to customers.
Amazon Associates Program
As an Amazon Associate, you can make money by simply recommending other Amazon sellers’ products as an affiliate marketer. If you have an established audience through a channel like a blog, YouTube channel or social media, you can earn a commission when someone makes a purchase through your Amazon affiliate link. Amazon Associates is one of the most popular ways for many affiliate marketers to get started making money online because it’s so easy to sign up.
The Amazon Camperforce program offers full and part-time opportunities to travelers looking for seasonal work. The starting salary is $18/hour, and Amazon also provides CampPay to go towards campground expenses as well as assignment completion bonuses. You work on an Amazon warehouse team where you package and ship customer orders.
Kindle Direct Publishing
For those who are adept writers, Kindle Direct Publishing can be a profitable endeavor if you can find a profitable niche with an unmet content need. The service lets you self-publish your books for free to a worldwide audience on Amazon, and then earn royalties on each sale that is made.
Whether you decide to sign up as a seller on Amazon seller central or elect for one of the options that is more like an Amazon job, there are plenty of ways to make both full and part-time income with Amazon. If you do take the seller central route and create an Amazon account to start selling, along with the tips in this article, you can leverage the knowledge of other successful sellers through one of the many Amazon FBA courses available. It’s neither guaranteed nor easy, but earning a full-time income on Amazon while only working part-time is completely possible for those with the right knowledge and discipline to make it happen.