Many people are doubting the power of Amazon in creating a life-changing income. Well, I’m about to prove them all wrong. I’m going to start another Amazon business from scratch, and I’m gonna blog about it.

Wait, what?

Well, not technically. Since having two Amazon seller accounts is against Amazon terms of service, these items will be sold on my existing account. However, while my own existing seller account is being bolstered by this inventory, I will be using the Tracking Spreadsheet to track the accounting completely separately. 

Not only that, but I’m throwing down the gauntlet to you. I’m challenging you to keep up. I’m challenging you to BEAT my numbers! What do you have to lose? Maybe a full-time job?
Shopping Cart full of books
A buggy full of books from a haul I found at Salvation Army

In the process of doing this, I will be smashing the two biggest excuses I hear over and over as to why a person hasn’t started in on their entrepreneurial journey. Those two excuses are:

  • Time- People use the “I’m too busy” excuse way too frequently. It’s usually just a cop out so that they can binge watch the next sitcom on Netflix. In order to dispel this myth, I will be working this “new” business secondary to my main business, family obligations, homeschooling, etc. This will be to simulate someone starting a business on the side who is holding down a full-time job. I will be skipping Netflix.
  • Money- Of course, it takes money to start a business, and this one is no different. That being said, I will be starting this one off with books, since that is the lowest barrier to entry of all the business models. The tools I use will cost money and that will be taken into account in the accounting. This business will be built from thrift stores, yard sales, and library book sales.
In the process of [this challenge], I will be smashing the two biggest excuses I hear over and over as to why a person hasn’t started in on their entrepreneurial journey.

My goal is to prove to you that anyone can start this business. All you need is a few hundred dollars to invest over the first month or so, and a willingness to work hard.

I’m not only choosing books for this little experiment because they are a low cost to entry. I also believe they are the perfect fit for a full-time RV lifestyle. They are mostly small and compact, with very little prep work required. This means that not only will you conserve space in your RV, but you won’t have to worry about polybags, or various sizes of boxes. Home Depot small box works perfectly for books, so keep them handy.

Tools

Let’s talk a little bit about the tools I will be using. I recommend you use these tools as well if you are playing along at home.

First, and most importantly, is ScoutIQ. This app is AMAZING! It has just been released to the public, but I have been involved in the beta testing for a couple months now, and it has seriously upped my book sourcing game! My loathing of sales rank charts and promotion of learning how to read a Keepa chart is well known. ScoutIQ makes that whole process so much easier. There’s no need to pay attention to sales rank at all. There’s also no need to take the time to manually analyze a Keepa chart.

ScoutIQ has come out with something called “eScore”. This is a representation of how many days an item has sold in the past 6 months. Their computer algorithm automatically analyzes the Keepa charts for you, saving you time and allowing you to source more! I can go into how this works more in depth in a later blog post. For now, just know that it is THE BOMB DIGGITY, or whatever the cool kids are saying nowadays…

ScoutIQ also has the capability to download a database. This allows you to be able to scan quickly, not taking the time for your phone to pull data from cell towers. In fact, many of the places I will be sourcing have no reception at all, so the database is the only way to scan items anyway!

There are also customizable “triggers” so you don’t even have to look at your phone. You can set the triggers before you ever start sourcing. If something you scan meets your pre-set criteria, your phone will beep, saving you even more time!

ScoutIQ is recomending buying this book according to the way the triggers are configured.

The next tool I will be using is Accelerlist. This will be the tool I will be using to list all of my finds and send them in to Amazon. It makes it quick and convenient to list inventory. You could skip this tool and simply use Amazon Seller Central to list your inventory. You could also walk across the country. You could, but it would be a lot quicker to drive. If you are starting this business as someone who is pressed for time, Accelerlist is a must.

As mentioned before, to keep track of all accounting, I will be using the Tracking Spreadsheet. This is a powerful pre-programed Excel spreadsheet that will keep track of all income and expenses the business incurs. The best part is the very reasonable one-time fee. There are other tools out there on the market that may be easier to use than the Accelerlist/Tracking Spreadsheet combo, but I am running this as a brand-new business and I want to keep all monthly bills to a minimum. The other accounting software that’s out there is $50/mo. Tracking Spreadsheet is paid for once and you’re done. If you’re playing along at home, I highly recommend you pick up the Tracking Spreadsheet, even if you initially opt out of Accelerlist until you are profitable. You need the Tracking Spreadsheet from day one. How else will you know if you are profitable? You can use the Tracking Spreadsheet alone, but Accelerlist does make it easier with exportable data in a format specifically formatted to work with Tracking Spreadsheet.

The last tool I will be using is another must-have. It is not a piece of software like the others. This is a Bluetooth laser scanner. This will make it quick and easy to scan as many books as possible in the smallest amount of time. Most scanning is done with your phone’s camera. That’s all well and good when you are in a store doing retail arbitrage. In that scenario, you are able to scout out possible winners and take your time scanning. You have time to wait for the camera to focus, or even move your item to a better lit area so that the camera can more easily read the bar code.

This is not the case with books. You’ve probably figured out by now that selling books is all about speed. The more books you are able to scan, the more winners you will find. There is very little “prescouting” to be done. You just have to scan each and every one of them.

No time to wait for focus. No time to wait on cell towers. We need a laser scanner with a database app!

You can grab one of these refurbished from eBay fairly reasonably. I’ve had nothing but good luck with these refurbished units.

Of course, you will also need the standard Amazon business tools: a scale, a tape gun, and either a Dymo printer with labels or 30-up labels with a regular printer. I would highly recommend you pick up a USB laser scanner to speed up your listing as well. It will save you from having to type in all those numbers when listing your books. A great time saver.

I found so many books at this library sale that the librarian offered me a cart!
Yes, I’m doing this to show you how easy it is to start an Amazon business, but I’m not going to lie. It’s gonna be work. This is easy for ANYONE to do, as long as you don’t mind work. If you follow along with me, keep up, and stay motivated, you will have built a steady, reliable business that is location independent. The tradeoff will be that you spend less time in front of the TV, and maybe get creative with finding time to go to thrift shops.

Goals for this Challenge

The goals of this challenge are as follows:

  • Encourage you to start or grow your own business. If you have been sitting on the sidelines wishing you had your own business, I’m doing this for you. It’s time to stop studying and being bogged down by information overload. It’s time to start. Follow along with me and let’s build businesses together!
  • Source 100 books per week. This may not happen every week. In fact, it may be a rare occurrence given the time constraints I will be working under, but it will be the GOAL. This was inspired by Caleb Roth’s article An Amazon FBA Roadmap to Success: The 100 book weekly challenge. The theory behind the goal is that while only a percentage of books in inventory will sell in any given time period, the more books you have in stock the more books that will sell. Sending in 100 books per week will build inventory, and it turn will grow your payouts.
  • Post regular updates. I will be posting my numbers regularly. If you want to participate in the challenge, I’d love to hear yours too! Here’s what will be reported:
    1. Number of books sourced for the week
    2. Number and type of sources of the books
    3. Total money invested for that week

The math that Caleb shows on his challenge shows almost $50k sales in the first year.

Want to play along? It’s time for me to make it interesting.

If you choose to dive into this and build a business of your own, you’re gonna need ScoutIQ and you’re gonna need accounting software. If you use the links in this article to purchase ScoutIQ and the Tracking Spreadsheet, you’ll get my book selling course free! Just send me your invoices and I’ll set you right up.

So jump in and follow along with me. Let’s make it a competition! Who can build a book business faster?

If you’re jumping in, comment below! We’ll start next week.

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