The Money Keeps Rolling In
After months of endless work, I can finally start complaining: "Another day, another dollar." Well, maybe not a dollar, but at least a dime. And I guess my days aren't really that boring, but they can have their moments. Anyhow, the point is that I made money! Which is pretty great news.
Granted, I had imagined that I'd be rolling around in a vault full of precious gold coins bearing the outline of my empire-building face by now, but hey, I'll also gladly take that $100 check with a smile!
Now that I'm well on my way to being a multi-hundredaire, optimism should reign supreme! Well, almost.
Reality isn't always so kind. Like so many other times during this learning experience, things haven't always gone as I'd expected. For starters, I made incorrect pricing assumptions on my first products (incorrect AMAZON FEES!!), which ultimately caused me to lose a little bit of money on each sale. On a positive note, I can completely accept that my first foray into e-commerce resulted in a mere $40 loss. After all, exchanging $40 for learning how to import, build a website, manage inventory, market products, and build up a customer base isn't a bad deal.
E-commerce disaster strikes
But that was last month's problem. This month things become a whole lot rockier. Amazon, without warning, changed a boatload of rules that govern the way sellers can use their platform. Titles like "Is this the end of retail arbitrage?" don't exactly inspire confidence. Plenty of articles out there discuss the pros and cons of these new restrictions, as well as potential ways to deal with them.
The summary is this: a TON of sellers are going to be negatively impacted by these rules, but they're not doomed (so long as they are willing to adapt). The upside is that customers will (hopefully) benefit in the end.
So, after spending weeks (if not months), building up a list of products to sell, in one fell swoop my future armamentarium of goods was cut by 85%. And most of my products with the highest profit margins were part of that cut. Crap.
Facing the winter storm
In response, I did what I always do: immediately calmed my worry through incredible feats of mental gymnastics. "That's ok," I told myself. "I never really wanted to do this anyway." "I was only curious, but I'm glad to quit now." Of course! And just to make sure to add some positivity, "Oh well, it was fun while it lasted! Good thing I'm ready for something new." Mr. Positivity never misses a beat!
Then, 5 minutes later, I tumbled my way right back to the original path. Forgetting everything I just thought for the last few minutes, I told myself, "Naawww, just kidding. I can totally work with this. Heck, this is probably an advantage! Now back away from the Doritos (GREAT comfort food by the way), sit back down, and figure out what it is..."
Looking at the 6-step plan of action I blogged about previously, I realized that I still had a (relatively) easy way to overcome this: jump directly from step 2 to step 6! Easy squeezy lemon peasy (or so I'm hoping). Amazon's new rule changes directly affect steps 1 through 5, but step 6 is mostly excluded from these new restrictions. While I was hoping to dip myself in more slowly, learn the ropes a bit better, and maybe build up some money along the way, I've decided to just go all-in and see what happens!
It's not that Amazon has made it impossible for people selling via steps 1-5, but that: 1) it has become more difficult and 2) it has become even more burdensome and time-consuming to learn the ropes as a beginner.
There's a silver lining to all of this. Namely, that I was never really interested in steps 1-5 anyway...and that isn't a lingering fragment from my mental gymnastics. The truth is that I only wanted to take baby steps on the way to my final destination. Throwing those extra months of work (and learning) out of the window is a bit worrisome, but I'm already loving step six 20 times more than the first 2 steps. I'm remembering why I got into this in the first place, discovering a clearer plan for future business development, and feeling re-energized by the possibility of opening my own e-commerce store full of my own line of products.
Check back at the end of next month for a recap of how I defeated Amazon's restrictions and came out ahead!