My Amazon story and how I got started

Hello Everyone,

This is video 1 of the series and I go into how I started, where I am now and my plans for the future. Below is a text version of the video.

Hey guys it’s Lenny from SimonSaysResell. I want to thank you for tuning in. I am super excited, this is going to be the first video of series of videos that I’ll be creating, mainly on how to sell on amazon.

I first started off back in November 11th of 2016 which is little over a month ago and now it’s what it’s January 22nd so still fairly new at this. I am not an experienced amazon seller by any means or at least haven’t been doing this over a few months just started, which I’m ok with because I think I’m doing pretty well so far. I want to give a few shout outs to a few people that are pretty big FBA sellers or Amazon sellers – Raiken Profit, watched a bunch of videos, love you and thanks so much for all the information. Reezy Resells – same thing, very very informative videos, love the videos, you know keep hustling that whole thing so definitely if you haven’t watched those videos go ahead and watch them, very informative I’m kind of following the same path as kind of what they did in a way but just giving you my spin on it. You know, everyone has their own business model, their own methods of madness so I’m just going to be creating the series of videos to show you and give you some guidance on how I sell on amazon, mainly books; about over ninety percent of my inventory is books right now. Books are easier to kind of manage overall. Easier to ship and very few returns because there’s no moving parts, things like that so it’s not a bad I guess item to start with if you’re trying to sell on amazon. Yes you could sell toys, I’ve sold a few toys but still getting into that as well, yes you can get into other things like electronics but those are a little harder in some ways, you know things do break you know, what source you’re getting them from, are they reliable so it is a lot more risk I think there. But if you’re just starting off like I am, books are a pretty good way to go. I can’t can’t stress that more right now but a little intro about me.

My name is Lenny, I live in Miami Florida. I’m married, have two beautiful little girls one’s 4 and on is 7. We have another baby on the way, my wife is thirty 30 weeks, yeah about 30 weeks pregnant right now. We’re expecting another girl so I’m in trouble. And we have a dog who is girl a little mix of a to Chihuahua miniature pinscher and we have two cats that are girls so I am the only male in the house, so it’s going to be interesting in the next few years. But I am super excited, you know both girls are great. My wife is very supportive on what I’m doing, so I really thank you her for that and my family as well.

This isn’t my full-time job. My primary job is a senior network security engineer, so IT computers. I am doing computers and IT for almost 18 years now and loving every second of it. I work full-time for a consulting company so I have customers I go to all over South Florida and you know architect, design, implement, troubleshoot, monitor everything security; firewalls, data loss prevention, and stuff like that. If you know what I’m talking about then hopefully you’re not in your head but if not don’t worry about it I do computer stuff and I love it. If you have any computer questions, you know anything about security especially let me know, I’ll do my best to help you out. That’s a little bit about me, see what else. As far as my background, a little more, I was born in Brazil, I grew up in New Jersey actually, I was adopted at birth in Brazil and moved to Jersey when I was about a year old and lived in Jersey maybe 10 to 12 years and then moved down to Florida and been in Florida ever since. I’m almost 35 years old so yeah that’s kind of like my background story really quick. As far as my education, I have by masters degree in management information systems with the concentration in security and about two dozen or more IT certifications you know mostly security certifications.

So what’s cool about this is… just doing the amazon selling is there’s you know a lot of your business involved, there’s a lot of customer service involved, you know just building your business model. There’s also you know internet marketing involved and a lot of SEO- search engine optimization you know with different marketing that you do. So I’ll be getting into that as well but having the IT background I think that helps. You know, having an SEO or internet or social media background helps; so if you don’t have it, don’t worry about it. It’s just a bonus if do but watching videos like mine and Reezy Resell’s and Raiken Profits and Homemade Entrepreneur, you know all those videos are on YouTube specifically for selling on Amazon, watch them. Because you know the job that I have as a security engineer, you know yes technical skills are a must but there’s also a lot of research and I think that helps me learn new things. If you ask me if I even thought that I’d be doing this on Amazon back in October of last year, I would have no idea what you were talking about but I did a lot of research, watched a lot of these videos and it’s just helped tremendously and I really want to share, really want to give back to the internet and the community and you know whoever else is interested. I guess the main reason why I’m doing this is to make a little passive income and you might ask why am I doing this, well to make some extra money. You know money is good, you know there’s money to be made everywhere and this is definitely one of the places to do that. I’m not making millions of dollars but I’m building up to sort of a steady income where it could pay for my mortgage, it could pay for a car payment, it depends how far you take it. If you really focus in on a lot of this stuff and you just do a lot of research, you really can make some good money, depends on how much time do you have, depends on resources, depends on how much budget you have; so there’s a lot of factors involved but you will make money and I am making money and if you watched my pre intro video, so the video I made first was a pre intro to this. So if you watched that video I actually show you some stats that I have made or stats that I have collected over time in the last two months or so since I started to show you how many sales I made, to show you how many books I sold and what I do which is interesting and definitely check it out because it’s pretty cool.

For those who aren’t familiar with amazon you have two ways to basically fulfill orders, there’s a merchant fulfillment and there’s amazon fulfillment. So merchant fulfillment means, if you have a book at home, you know like a book like this, you have a book at home and you want to sell it because either you got it at a garage sale, you got it at thrift store or something like that you can either scan it into Amazon and as a merchant you hold the inventory at your house or a warehouse or somewhere else but not at Amazon and once you list the product the book for example you wait; you wait till it sells. Once it does sell, you then have about 24 hours to get the book, so pick the book pack it in your own packaging, whether you get envelope or a box or whatever and then ship it. So physically go to the store, UPS Store or USPS store or however you ship it and send it off. And then if there’s an issue with it, maybe a customer service issue, customer contacts you directly. Now I started off merchant fulfillment, I signed up my amazon seller account which is an account that you sign up when you want to sell items on Amazon and I’ll get to that later. But you signed up an account, I signed up on the 11th of November of 2016. I started selling merchant that day and I pretty much sold from the 11th of November to December 8th, so a little less than a month and I’ll tell you why, but within that month I sold almost 50 books and I don’t remember how much my sales were but they were over a thousand dollars and that’s pretty good for me just starting off. Now that’s a good thing to say and good thing to mention to you guys but the real question is how much money that I make? How much net profit do I take back with me after making those over a thousand dollars in sales? I wasn’t really worried about making the money, I was more worried about trying it and see if I can do this on Amazon.

When I realized that I can do this that’s when I kind of opened the doors up a bit more, I started going to garage sales, I started going to thrift stores and I started you’re buying books for a dollar or two a piece or so, and then you know selling them for 10-12-15 or more on Amazon merchant fulfillment and then I sort of seen the net profits come in after shipping, after all my packaging everything like that. On average I was making $10, $12 net a book. So I was starting to see the trend there, I was starting to get used to it, I was starting to really understand how this whole thing works. So I was excited, I was super excited. And then I came to realize I was going to the postal store, every day. I would be at work, doing my network engineering thing at work and I watched my phone, see the emails come in, oh I got an order, awesome. I was so excited and at the end of the day, I was getting like eight orders a day at one point and like this is awesome but when I get home after a long day at work, I have to fulfill those orders myself which is awesome but it’s also not something I really want to spend all my time doing. So I had my Amazon merchant account or I was selling via merchant for about less than a month and then when I noticed I had about 300 books I think on my store via merchant, selling fulfillment by merchant. It was going awesome but I realized that, I did some more research and I was watching some of the FBA sales that were being made or I did some research about it and I noticed that I could make more money doing FBA. So making $10 dollars of your merchant, I could make 12-13-14-15 or more on the same book. So I was like what should I do here, should I just leave my 300 books and just keep going merchant or should I switch over fulfillment by Amazon.

So what I did on the 8th of December is I took all of my inventory offline, took all three hundred books just inactive, done. So no one can buy any more from books for me. It was a hard decision to make but I’m super glad I made it. Guys if you’re doing it merchant and you’re thinking about going amazon FBA, do it. I’ll make a video separately on kind of the differences and kind of my experience but you’re going to hear this a lot from people, go amazon FBA. You can sell your items for more money which means potentially more net profit depending on how much you bought the item for though. You don’t have to deal with customer service when you go FBA, if there is an issue with a book or return or some issue in transit and shipping, you don’t hear a peep about you it; you get an email letting you know that you know something’s happening or there’s a refund or something but you don’t have to deal with it, Amazon deals with everything. So that’s awesome. You don’t have to deal with shipping at all, so when a book sells, ok cool that’s it. You don’t have to like stop what you’re doing, go package everything it’s so much easier.

And I mentioned in my pre introduction video, I showed you a graph which is pretty cool; one side is my merchant sales and on the other side is my amazon sales and there’s a little gap in the middle where there’s nothing flat line because that’s me turning everything off, now another little hint is I started my account on the 11th of November and if you were a new seller like I am now and I was before, if you’re new seller you can’t send any FBA shipments in until a certain date because I’m a new seller and because of the holidays primarily. So since it was December 8th or so at the time, I tried to start a shipment in Amazon FBA but I got a little rejection message saying if you haven’t shipped anything in by October 16th or whatever the date was in October, you have to wait until December 19 to send your first shipment in, so I was like oh man. But I was ok.

So from December 8th to the 19th, I didn’t do any sales because I took everything off of amazon, I didn’t ship anything in because I couldn’t. But I did do kind of progress here and kind of used my time efficiently as I did more research, I found out I did research on what apps, what tools, what equipment, what supplies I need to sell on FBA. Like a scale, an item to take off the stickers from books, some packing material so I’ll go another video on that as well. So I learned all that from that and it was great. And once I took that time off to kind of prepare, do research and went ahead and looked for some books. You know I had time off, I wasn’t selling anything, I had some time to do things so I went to garage sales, went to yard sales; I actually I wanted to mention this because I learned from, it was kind of mistake. I got so excited about this, you know all these books I’m gonna sell, I am doing so well on merchant I’m going to do better on FBA. So I was going to yard sales, I was going to garage sales, going to goodwill, goodwill is a great place to go as well but I wanted more books. So I looked on craigslist and I found this guy that was selling a pallet of books or are actually 15 pallets of books for about two hundred dollars a pallet. Now if you’re not sure what a pallet is, a pallet – they are also called gaylords.  They are these huge cardboard boxes maybe four to five feet tall I believe, pretty thick, they can hold a lot of weight, maybe a ton or so a piece of books that’s pretty much what you get in a pallet of books. A ton of books, they can hold roughly about 800 to 1,200 books depending on the size and the shape, so this guy had them on craigslist. It was probably about 40 minutes north of me, you know I live in Miami. I went up there with my wife’s car, she has a pathfinder I put the seats down so there’s a lot of room. I went up there to kind of first look at them but also get the books if I can. So I went ahead and got there and they had a pallet books and one thing about when you buy a pallet of books like that is you really don’t know what you’re getting, especially on the bottom of the pile because think of a pallet of books is just a very big box. You don’t know what’s at the bottom, you don’t know what’s in the middle because there’s so many books on top, unless you have time to sit there and sift through all of them which you probably don’t. Usually when these people are selling these books, these pallets they just want you to get them and go. You don’t really have time to sift through them.

So I actually bought a pallet for 200 a box there and I had my wife’s car and I started loading my wife’s car with books and this thing was filled up to the top with book and there was a point where obviously the car was sinking the tires are getting a little you know bulging out so I was like you know what I may have to come back and I was only able to fill about half, I was only able to fill the car up where the palate was about halfway empty so still had a half full book in it. So what I did is, I went back home unloaded, came back the next day got the rest of the books went home with $200 for books plus how much it cost for gas, you know maybe ten bucks or so. You know I was spending 210 dollars, whatever it was plus my time; took me about 45 minutes to do that first round. So maybe an hour-and-a-half or so.

So anyway long story short is, I got really excited I got a bunch of books, I kind of got screwed over I believe in a way because there were lot of calendars, not just calendars but 2016 calendars and it’s December 2016. So the year is almost over so who the hell is going to buy a 2016 calendar when the year’s almost over in a few weeks. So I talked to the guy about that, he said there is a market for it which I see that there is a very small market, some people by the calendars for pictures, like teachers buy them for their class. So I was like whatever, it’s my first time. So would I go back to that guy? No. I winded up with, I’ll show you the calendars I have behind me, I have maybe 400 calendars. I’ll probably be throwing them a lot away but I wind up getting about eight hundred books, I counted all the books not including the calendars.

So I got 800 books, 400 calendars, you know it is what it is and since then I got access to sending on amazon FBA on the 19th, so when the 19th came around in December, I have boxes and boxes of books ready to go. Probably in two weeks I probably sent eight hundred books, you know hundreds of pounds of books within two weeks after I got access to amazon FBA which is great and some of those books are the books from this pallet that I went to. But that’s just me, I get excited about things so, but I just wanted to  explain to you guys that, that was kind of my journey and I have a little more information to show you. You know I started off merchant, didn’t do anything for about a week or two and then went straight into FBA full swing. So I don’t do any merchant anymore because I don’t want to be at work or be out and have to fill an order myself, unless there’s a book that I really don’t want to shift to Amazon but lately the books I am getting are… I’m fine with. Amazon knows what they’re doing, they do an awesome job. So I’m pretty happy where that is and how that’s going.

So that’s kind of how I got started. Again the other video I have shown you a graph and my sales and stuff between the two merchant and amazon fulfillment which I think is pretty cool. Right now, since it’s January 22nd, 2017, I am a little over two months into this, about a month or so into amazon FBA. I’m loving it. I’m loving every second of it, there is some work to do, I kind of have my own business model in place now and I’ve changed my business model several times so don’t worry about that too much. It happens, as you’re starting off, you don’t really know. You’re learning so that’s fine. I’ve changed my business model in a way where I’m only looking for books under sales rank of two million and a sales rank you know, that’s an interesting topic itself and I’ll be creating a video just for that. The sales rank is just like a snapshot in time of the book itself on how often and how soon it’s sold. So I kind of use that as a guideline and again I’ll get into that later. There’s other little variables that I have in place and other filters but what I’ve done is, which I think a lot of you might be interested in especially if you’re the ones that are going looking for books every weekend or during the week.

I don’t do this full time, you know as I said I have other job and I’m doing that mostly but I’ve hired like independent contractors, these random people in South Florida. I put an ad on craigslist and I can share with you the blurb that I use. I put an ad on craigslist list saying “hey I have an online business. I’m looking to have some people help me look for books and I’ll pay you two hours and fifty cents a book based on the criteria of the app that I give you. So what I do is, there’s an app that I use FBA scan, which is a great app. I’ve used a couple of other ones too, like profit bandit and things like that but I found the FBA scan to be better for me, for a few reasons and I’ll get into that in an another video but just to finish up the story. So I hire people to go out and go to goodwill, go to thrift stores. Right now I have about little over six probably seven people that are just scouting for me, looking for books for me in all different places. I have a bunch of books behind me, you know it’s Sunday. Usually on the weekend that’s when I kind of fulfill my orders and prep them. I have books from two different scatters that are behind me, about 200 books in a week. So one guy got me a hundred ninety books and this other college student, this girl got me about 50 books or so and then after I went all through them, I prep them, it winded up being about 200 books because there were some that I either need to work on still because I try to look for the books that I can just kind of pack and go. During the week I don’t ship anything out. So my goal really is to do about a hundred, at least a hundred books a week so far in the last three weeks I’ve been doing at least 150 to 200 a week so I’m pretty happy with that.

So this week shipment is going to be about 200 books or so. So yeah I have people sourcing for me, I have going to Goodwills, don’t get me wrong and I do that myself too, but I find it to be more efficient with time. As far as the money I’m paying for the books two dollars and fifty cents, to me it’s a bit of a premium. Some people say I don’t pay more than dollar book which is great but this system is working out for me so far because I’m buying them at a fairly not that low but a lower sales rank. The app that I use has conditions and filters in it that tells the person to buy or not the book when they go to a goodwill. So it’s very easy, the app does ninety percent of the work. They walk into goodwill, they scan the book the app says yes or know. If it says yes the sorcerer has a little extra step to do is more the visual part of it, does this book look good. Does that have any water damage, does that having mold and mildew but usually at Goodwill at. So then once the visual inspection passes, they’re done. There’s no more they have to think about and they move on to the next book.

So I’ll get into a video with you guys as far as what app I use and what the settings are and things like that. So yeah, so that’s kind of my story, that’s where I am now for the most part; where I want to be is I want to kind of just keep getting my books in there. I have about 1200, 1300 books right now. I want to get to least 2,500, so i can have a consistent sale or consistent number of sales every day. Right now my average sales are six a day, without even thinking. Couple of times I went to 15. I’m selling maybe 40 or 45 books a week, so far and climbing because I keep sending more in. You know the more books you have, the more potential you have for sales so it’s good. So I am very happy with that. I just have some notes over here, see what else I can mention to you guys.

So this is like the first video. It’s more of an introduction on who I am, where I came from, where I am now, where I want to be. And the other thing I’m doing just as a little hint here to or a little extra tip is, yes I’m selling books on amazon but that’s really not my primary goal, my long-term primary goal I guess you can say. I want to set up Amazon as far as the books go for passive income and to feed in to another business or project on Amazon that I’m doing. It’s called private label, so what I’m doing is I’m building this store full of books to sell and all that profit that comes in, I’m going to use that and sort of reinvest into my private label business or side of business. Now private label if you don’t know what it is, is basically finding a product doing, doing a lot of research, finding a product that you can sell on amazon but you buy it straight from the manufacturer or through wholesale and just sell it on Amazon. So I am doing some research, I found maybe half-a-dozen products that I am researching right now, kind of revolve in one main category and all the products are made in China and I’ve been talking to them. I have emails going back and forth. I purchase some samples from them. I got them this past week and I’m kind of still researching them with my wife as well. So I want to basically start doing private label, so guess what I’m watching videos on how to do that on YouTube as well and once I get far and long, I’ll make some videos for you guys as well. But right now this series of videos you’re going to be watching are mainly for selling on Amazon but mainly selling books.

I definitely have sold some toys, maybe soon I can show you guys a graph of kind of my numbers and everything as far as what categories of items I’ve sold. But I so maybe over 90-percent books and the rest is toys and I get the toys from you know Michaels arts and crafts shop. I had a lot of success around the holidays, these things were just crazy crazy cheap. I walk into a Michael’s and they had these kinetic sand toys, 60% off so I bought like 12 them each was $8.99 apiece and I sold them on Amazon for $24 apiece, so I winded up netting 8-10 dollars or so a piece so great that’s what you do. So I don’t really focus so much on toys but I do focus on books mainly and I’ve learned a lot about books and I have all these different tricks and stuff about getting stuff off of books, you know marker and smudges and things like that but again I’ll do a video for you guys so you can see it.

What are the notes do I have here? Yeah so I kind of want the next videos I’ll do is kind of the supplies you need. What apps you need? What services you need? What equipment you need to sell on amazon merchant and/or FBA. I’ll kind of get in to that soon but I first wanted to show you guys the shipment I’m sending out. So the first few boxes I’ll show you those are ones that I just did today, this morning those are from my Scouters, my two scouters; some girl student and some other good friend of mine and this was just this week and they’ve been consistently getting me books. At least 50 books a week a piece. So I don’t really have to go out anymore, which is great I can focus more on the private label and focus on my business.

Let me show you the books. Let me turn the phone around here real quick, so this first box here, you can see it says a BW. I guess I or 12 whatever those are codes for Amazon’s shipping centers. So I send these books to that location and they get there and they go online. So BW whatever is Baltimore, so these books here are going to Baltimore, these books here, you can see the FTW if you can see that, these books here are going to FTW and you notice they’re already labeled. So here’s a label if you can see that for amazon, so they already went through labeled all these really quick.  So the first box you saw for Baltimore and there’s about let’s say 80 books in there that are going to Baltimore, the fort worth is maybe close to a hundred as well but then as I was scanning it was saying ship this book to somewhere else. So I was okay, it’s fine but unfortunately you might get lucky and when you’re scanning all your books to ship out you may only have one Center to ship to which is like the ultimate, this is what I hope for every time. I have gotten lucky a few times but not that much but the good thing is majority of my books are going to one place. Then they have these stragglers here, I have one going to TPA which I believe is… looks like Tampa but actually is Florida, not Tampa though. I think somewhere more Central Florida. EWR, anything EWR is usually New Jersey and then Oakland I think is in California, so these are codes specific for Amazon. So if you look at this, I have to send this one book to that one place, this one book to that one place, those two books to that one place and then this one book to that one place, but then I send these you know other books to all these other places here. So I have one, two, three, four, five, six. I have six separate shipments to send out. The majority of them are going to be to Baltimore and Fort Worth, Texas.

Now I want to show you something too. Remember I had mentioned in my other video or maybe I haven’t. I am actually going to show you a quick little video of some books I got. So I got a hook up with some books at a local book sale I guess you can say. They were selling books for two dollars a box and in each box you can probably stick 15 or so books in it. Maybe 12 to 15, so I’ll show you really quick, the end of the sale here. So this is what I was able to collect. Now the unfortunate thing about this sale is mostly these books are fiction and if you sold books before Amazon or maybe you’re thinking about selling books on Amazon, fiction books don’t do as well as non-fiction but there’s still some potential. So I saw this is an opportunity to get books really cheap, even though they might be fiction and see what I can do with them. So there’s about 450 books, I went out yesterday and I got 450 books for about 60 bucks so not too bad. Now the books that you saw on the floor here from my Scouters, those are better books in a sense because they’re nonfiction and they’re hand-picked via the app that they give them and they actually are hand-picked. The books over there that you saw on the wall, the fiction books those are more along the lines of, I bought a box of books I don’t really know what’s in them. So I get what I get. But ultimately you know, I haven’t sifted through those yet. I got to go through those eventually but what I’m doing first is I’m going to send out the shipment here and all. During the week I’ll go ahead and work on the other books.

So I want to wrap this up. It’s kind of a longer video but you know it’s my introduction video so you guys can get a little more about me and where I am at, there’ll be tons of videos on pricing, my business model, I’m looking at my notes here, so sorry I’m looking away… but how to price books, how to look at the condition, the time spent, how to be more efficient in time, sourcing books; whether you go to Goodwill, thrift shops you know hiring people, making sure you hire the right person. The apps you need, the supplies you need; things like that. So again this is the first video of a series of videos on how to sell on amazon by SimonSaysResell and I thank you guys for watching. Please hit a thumbs up for a like, subscribe to my videos; so you guys can get notified when I do come out with the videos and comment and ask any questions you want and I’m here to help. I am super excited about this series and I thank you for tuning in. Other than that have a great rest of your day and talk to you later. Bye.