April 2014 Results from selling on amazon

May 1st, 2014

Hope everyone is doing well! April 2014 is in the books so it’s time for another financial results post.  If you missed last month’s or any previous month’s results you can find them HERE.  One item worth noting from last month is that my goal was to exceed $25,000 in sales for April, so keep reading to see if that happened (the featured image for this post was intentionally edited to not give away the total sales for the month immediately).

We’ll get started with a little background on how my time was spent this month before we get into the numbers.  I took about 3 working days completely off in April mainly to spend time back at my parents and spending time with family.  Besides these 3 days I put in a lot of time directly related to online selling activities, around 40-45 hours per week for the remainder of the month.  There was also time spent on taxes (so much fun) and some research activities that will not be immediately revenue generating.  

Before we get to the numbers, one more topic to discuss.  My goal with sharing my financial results is to show what can be done, and is not meant to be seen as bragging or anything of the sort.  I want to show that working hard and sticking with your plan  can pay off.  If the results turn out to be poor at any time I will share that too.

With that said, let’s get into the numbers.  I have a couple additions to the financial results that I am sharing.  Going forward I will be sharing my mileage expenses, as well as my monthly insurance expenses related to selling online.  I want to provide as much clarity as possible into what I am doing on a month to month basis (if you have suggestions for additions to these posts, please let me know!).  The numbers below are basically the profits that I am making for the month.  The profits are calculated only on items that have been sold and shipped during the month.  They were calculated by taking selling prices, minus all fees, minus all shipping and packaging costs, and subtracting the cost of the items.  Certain important numbers such as: inbound shipping to amazon, customer returns, supplies, storage fees, and services have been broken out separately.  The FBA profits number factors in reimbursements from amazon for items lost or damaged at the warehouse.  This will NOT be the exact number that goes on my tax returns as there will be additional deductions for cell phone, home office, etc.  However, some of these are costs I would generally be incurring anyway, so for simplicity I will be leaving them out of the calculations.  Also for clarity, this does not include any income from www.textbooks4you.com, it is simply my income from amazon and eBay. To get a better look, click on this image (or any others in the post) to enlarge.  

April 2014 Income Statement

April 2014 Income Statement

This was an excellent month for me in terms of profits on amazon.  My sales as you will see shortly were my best month ever which is really exciting considering that it is April and not December.  You will also notice that I didn’t even make $1 on eBay this month.  This is mainly due to focusing almost exclusively on amazon for April. I am quite confident you will not see a zero in the eBay column next month as I have a good number of items that I will be listing there in the coming weeks.   I also had a very significant portion of my profits come from merchant fulfilled items.  This was mainly due to finding a couple items that were very good sellers that I was able to sell for about the same price as if I would have done FBA.  The $347 one time fee is registering for Jim Cockrum’s CES II conference that will be held in Dallas in September.  The event is now sold out for in person attendees but if you want to see what I spent the money on HERE is a link.

Also, the mileage is calculated based on the miles I drove multiplied by the IRS deduction rate for 2014 of $0.56/mile.  So the 746 miles I drove ended up being the amount seen above.  This isn’t necessarily my actual cost (they were likely a bit lower) but it’s what I will be able to deduct on this years taxes for mileage.

Next, we will take a look at my cash flow for the month:

April 2014 Cash Flow Statement

April 2014 Cash Flow Statement

You can see there was a significant improvement in cash flow this month as well.  I still continued to increase my spending on inventory but my sales kept up this month and allowed me to have significantly positive cash flow.  It’s good to see as now I have that cash ready to spend on additional inventory.

Now, here’s some screenshots from my amazon account to provide some backup documentation for the above numbers.  This months sales:

April 2014 amazon sales

April 2014 amazon sales

You can see that I exceeded my goal of $25K by a significant margin and far exceeded March’s total of $17,500.  It was great to see, and a large factor of making this happen was my average selling price of about $48 per item.  I barely sold any more items this month compared to last month, but they were significantly more valuable.  I plan on working to continue to maintain a high average selling price, although I don’t think I will be able to keep it this high.  I sold about 60 items for over $150 this month that will not be consistent year round sellers for me.  It was great to be able to take advantage of the opportunity, but I will have to continue to find opportunities with big dollar items to maintain a similar average selling price.

Now, here’s my sales by category for the month (click to enlarge):

April 2014 Sales by Category

April 2014 Sales by Category

Toys were at the top of the list again.  I had some good finds in the camera category this month and that contributed to about 10% of my total sales for the month.  It’s also good to see that the grocery, health & personal care, and beauty categories combined for almost 20% of my sales for the month.  These categories should be more consistent year round and lessen the seasonal swings.

As there were no eBay sales this month, there won’t be a screenshot to prove it 😉

Overall, total sales for the month were $29,707 versus $18,583 last month.  I am very happy with this month over month increase, and a very large portion of the increase is due to an increase in effort.  The more you put in, the more you get out, so don’t allow a lack of effort to yield you poor results.  My goal for May 2014 is to exceed $25,000 in sales.  I will be dedicating more time this month to my textbook business, which is the main reason for not increasing my monthly goal.

Also this month I want to try something new in the form of a contest.

The prize: Three (3) individuals will win a 20 minute phone call / video call with me via the method of your choosing from the following options: phone call, skype call, or video call via google plus.  In the call you can ask me any questions that you would like about selling on amazon, selling on eBay, tips to grow your business, board games, sports, products you sell that I should be using, or any topic you would like to discuss.  Each winner can ask whatever they want.

How to enter: You can enter this contest by any of the following methods:

  1. Subscribing to the blog using the button below if you are not currently a subscriber.
  2. Liking the Online Selling Experiment Facebook Page.
  3. Following Online Selling Experiment on Twitter.
  4. Sharing ANY blog post of mine of your choosing via any of the social media buttons located at the bottom of each blog post.  (options are Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, or emailing to a friend).

After you have completed one or more of the methods of entry, leave a comment below or send me an email (grant.ryanj@gmail.com) letting me know how you entered.  If you enter using option 4, please include a link to your post (if you don’t want the link to be public, email might be a better option for your submission).  Each person may obtain a maximum of 3 entries in the contest if they complete 3 of the entry methods above (option 4 can be done up to 3 times if you so choose).

Deadline to enter is May 7th 2014 at 11:59 PM ET.  At this time 3 individuals will be chosen by using www.random.org.  Winners will be notified via email to arrange scheduling.

Thanks everyone for reading! Any other questions or comments please leave them below or send me an email at grant.ryanj@gmail.com.

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62 responses to “April 2014 Results from selling on amazon”

  1. Yolanda says:

    Way to Ryan! Congrats on *exceeding* your sales goal for April. Like you, I took some time off from eBay to focus more on Amazon, but I did have some sales and actually re-listed a few items towards the end of the month.

    Hopefully I can get my income report up by early next week. I decided to set some goals for myself too! 🙂

    Also, my hat goes off to you being able to tackle the “toys” category. I scanned for about 45 minutes at a Toys R Us the other day and after looking at the margins, I decided to stick to what I know. I did, however, find some other non-toys at the store that should do well. 🙂

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Thanks Yolanda! Good to hear you are checking out some other categories, and it’s good to hear you found some other non-toy items that will work for resale. I will be sure to check out your income reports upon you posting it!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

    • P says:

      Don’t mean to stick my nose in here, maybe Ryan will back me up when I say Toys R Us is not the best place to buy your toys for resale. People who are going to TrUS intend to buy toys so there is less need for the store to reduce prices. If you look in shops where toys are not the primary product you are more likely to find good discounts. I’m in the UK so shops like Tesco and Asda (Walmart) have huge discounts on older stock because they need to clear there limited shelf space for newer products.
      Another tip I have come across over here in the UK is that Toys R Us have a price match policy, so after I do my resale shopping at the shops where I know I will get a good discount my final shop of the day will be TrUS, they will normally have the products I have bought at full price but as long as I can prove I have bought them for cheaper they are obliged to match the price.

      • Ryan Grant says:

        Hey P,

        I find that Toys R Us is hit and miss, I don’t usually plan my sourcing trips around a Toys R Us store, but I will stop in when I am nearby. I would agree that stores don’t sell primarily toys have an incentive to get them out the door through clearance.

        That’s a very good tip about price matching! So do you find that they will price match items you purchased on clearance at another store just from the receipt? and have they limited your quantities on the price matches?

        Best Regards,
        Ryan

        • P says:

          So far no problems with price matching at TrU but I am still small fry so maybe if I was going in and wiping them out everyday they would be. Also what’s good about doing FBA in the UK is we are are small island but with lots of stuff, I have 3 big TrU all within a 40 mile radius and probably about 20-30 Walmart type superstores, all that’s holding me back is having the money to spend but on current growth that shouldn’t be a problem for long.

  2. Emma says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Awesome job you are really kicking goals!

    I love your public accountability to help drive you to achieve your goals

    Nice work

    Emma =)

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Emma,

      Thank you! Public accountability definitely helps to drive the goals.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  3. Jay Dedman says:

    I’m so enjoy this experiment seeing your numbers month to month.

    You’ve said that you hope to have your FBA business humming so you can travel for 5-6 weeks at a time while still selling.
    –Do you think you can stock enough inventory to take that much time off without seeing a drop the following months because of the inventory depletion?
    –What percentage of inventory do you still have in your store after a big month like this?
    –do you have a optimal number of items you want to keep in your inventory at any one time to make enough money to live on?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey Jay,

      Great questions!

      I don’t think it will be possible to stock enough inventory to take 5-6 weeks off without seeing a drop the following month. I think it would be possibly to maintain a good level of sales, particularly for the 5-6 weeks that would be taken off, the decline would start to come right when getting back from the vacation. So it wouldn’t completely still stay running without a decrease, but items would be able to sell which would keep some cash flowing.

      I currently have about 1,350 items in stock in my amazon store. In addition, least 500 items were sent in during the month (some sold, some didn’t), so at the current pace around 40% of my inventory is selling every 30 days. My current strategy is to go for items that sell quickly, but if I knew a longer trip was likely, I would begin to source some items that might take a little longer to sell that have higher margins.

      I don’t currently have an optimal number of items. My goal is to find the equilibrium of how much to work and how much I need to live on. I definitely could get by on a lot less than this months profits, but I need some more experience doing this full time before I will be able to figure out exactly how many items I need to find my target income.

      Let me know if you have further questions.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  4. Meredith says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Congratulations on your success! I “liked” you FB page. I hope to be a winner.

  5. Guillermo says:

    Amazing job! I’m impressed by the growth you’re seeing. I see you are all over the place when it comes to product categories, from toys, to office items, cameras, etc…

    I believe this is the kind of business that makes you money when you BUY, not when you sell; that said, how do you make your buying decisions? What do you consider to be ‘good buying indicators’, I hope you can give me some insights on this.

    Thank you in advance, and again, CONGRATULATIONS!

  6. De says:

    Hey, Ryan, Great post. Congratulations on such a productive month. I would like to enter your contest, therefore I liked you on FB for one entry.
    Thanks!

  7. Jay says:

    Hey Ryan, great job this month. I’ve already subscribed so I’d like to enter the contest. Also, after a few months of procrastinating, researching and being busy I’ve finally hit up some stores for resale on eBay, wish me luck

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Sounds great Jay, I have you entered in the contest. Good luck on the stores you go to and the items you buy!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  8. Ron says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Do you ever buy in bulk from wholesalers? Would think it would take care of the gaps when you are away. If yes can you give details? If not, why?

    Enjoy reading your posts.

    Thanks, Ron

    just gave a Like on Facebook.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ron,

      Currently I am not doing anything in bulk from wholesalers. I am currently looking into getting some wholesale accounts setup, but haven’t got it done yet. So, wholesale is on the horizon, but just haven’t pulled the tripper yet.

      Thanks for liking the facbeook page, I have you entered in the contest.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  9. Lei says:

    Ryan,

    Congrats for an outstanding month! You are such an inspiration for me. I’ll like your FB page to enter the contest.

    Lei

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Lei,

      Thank you, and great to hear it’s inspirational! I have you entered in the contest.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  10. Todd says:

    Hi Ryan,
    Congrats on a job well done. I’ve entered the contest via twitter and hope to be one of the lucky ones. I have a million questions.
    Thanks for all you do. The site is a huge help.
    Todd

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Todd,

      No problem! Thank you for the kind words and for entering the contest.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  11. Sean S says:

    Some really inspiring stuff. Reading your blog and trying this out has been good so far, and I’ve decided to go for it in a big way – purchased equiv of $5k of just two items today.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey Sean,

      Thank you! Sounds like you are really going for it which is good to hear, definitely keep me posted on how it goes for you.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  12. Natalie says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Congrats on your exceeding your goal for April! I am wondering, about how much of your net cash flow will you use to buy more inventory? I am just starting, but it seems like it’s easy to get caught in the cycle of using the majority of your net cash flow for purchasing new inventory, but of course if this is your full time job, you have to set aside a certain amount to pay yourself/bills/etc… how do you find that balance?

    Thanks,

    Natalie

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Natalie,

      Thank you! At this stage I am reinvesting as much of my net cash flow as possible to the business, and I would say that from this past month I will be reinvesting about 75%-80% of the net cash flow for more inventory. I am still working on finding a system that makes the most sense, but for now I just reinvest as much as I can. I know that’s not the greatest answer. I will plan on sharing sometime down the road how I handle cash management strategies once I have some good systems in place.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  13. Vinny says:

    Ryan,
    After reading and keeping up with about 20 amazon FBA blog sites and related things, I am very impressed with your work and fast start. Do not under estimate all the lessons you have learned.

    I have chosen to play a different role in the amazon selling system… I am an investor who helps people like you grow faster by providing capital (read $$$) to purchase inventory. After someone understands the amazon system, it becomes a matter of increasing capital that will increase inventory and thus increase profits and grow a successful full time business.

    Over 10 different banks or financial places turned me down when I wanted to start selling on eBay years ago. Even my bank of 20+ years said no.

    Consider me like a bank without all the hassles but a few controls directly related to the Amazon system. I only do investments in amazon based sellers. To date I have invested in 11 different sellers involved from a wide variety of merchandise. These sites have averaged solid growth and all are now run by full time sellers.

    I am looking for more sites to invest my capital. You must be located near (within 50 miles) Pittsburgh, PA or anywhere in West Virginia to be considered.

    The key to growth is capital. I agree with other posts that you have to buy at the right price. The biggest limit in buying right is that you have the money to buy when the price is right. Also, some of the most profitable items selling on Amazon require lots of money to get involved.

    How do you grow as a seller and get to full time status? You have to be able to pay your bills and grow inventory to get to full time. This is much easier if you purchase say 10 times the inventory and grow quickly.

    We take a fee for using the capital and we provide a lot of assistance and knowledge of amazon.

    I like the idea of your contest. However, I will pay you for the 20 minute conversation. How much do you want?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Vinny,

      Thank you for reaching out. I appreciate the offer of paying for a 20 minute conversation, but you don’t have to, I would be interested in hearing about your service. Also, I am not located within 50 miles of Pittsburgh as your comment mentions. I am not sure that I could use an investor at this point, but am definitely willing to hear if it might make sense. Send me an email at grant.ryanj@gmail.com and we can see if we can line up a time to talk.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  14. AC says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Really enjoy reading your posts, and I entered your contest by subscribing to your blog. Hope I’m one of the lucky 3!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey AC,

      Great to hear you enjoy the posts, and thank you for entering the contest!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  15. AJ says:

    hey ryan. check out http://www.rafflecopter.com/ for easier to manage social media sweepstakes.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey AJ,

      Thanks for the link! I will be sure to look into this if I ever do another contest.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  16. Matt Mason says:

    Ryan

    You’re the man! That’s amazing. I’ve really enjoyed following your blog. I liked you on Facebook and followed you on Twitter. Can I get two entries into the contect?

    Thanks
    Matt

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Thanks Matt! I have you down for 2 entries in the contest, I will be sure to reach out if you are a winner.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  17. Ben says:

    Hi Ryan,
    My wife and I love to read your blog. We just subscribed. We just started with Amazon FBA last month. We have primarily sold toys so it is wonderful to see that someone can sell toys successfully all year long.
    Are you doing any online sourcing?
    Thanks,
    Ben and Cyndi

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ben and Cyndi,

      Great to hear that you both enjoy the blog! Toys have been selling quite well which is great to see especially considering the time of year. I do a decent amount of online sourcing, I would say that about 30% of my purchases last month to resell were made online.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  18. bkninja says:

    what was the breakdown of inventory for online vs offline purchases?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi bkninja,

      About 30% of this month’s sourcing was done online. I will plan on breaking it out next month to make it easy to see.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  19. Nathan says:

    Nice work, Ryan! Just clicked to follow you on Twitter!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Nathan,

      Thank you! and thank you for following me on twitter, I have entered you in the contest.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  20. P says:

    Hi, another great month for you. I’m still going over here in the UK, start of my fourth month and seeing a good return on my initial investment of £500. With sales added to the cost price of my inventory I’m on about £1600, I hope to double this month on month.
    I’ve linked your blog on reddit here. http://www.reddit.com/r/FulfillmentByAmazon/

    Hope I win a one 2 one, would be good to talk to the man behind the myth.
    Keep up the inspiring work.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey P,

      Sounds like you are doing quite well for your first 4 months! Thank you for linking the post on Reddit, I have you entered in the contest. If you are a winner, I can dispel the notion of any myths when we talk.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  21. Vicky says:

    Hi Ryan!

    I’m coming to your blog from Yolanda’s! You’re killing it on Amazon and look how many people you’ve inspired!

    I’m just preparing for my first FBA shipment – I’m so excited to see how it goes!

    I liked your FB Page,

    Tweeted:
    Amazhttps://twitter.com/VickyLyashenko/status/463943758203990017

    Haven’t been able to subscribe to the blog – but I’ll be back!

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Vicky,

      Thank you for the kind words! That’s great to hear you are preparing for your first FBA shipment! Thank you for entering the contest, I will be sure to reach out if you are a winner.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  22. Sukh says:

    Ryan

    Just found your blog and excellent stuff you are posting.

    Is there a way you can put me in contact with “P” above as I am in UK and love to talk to this person.

    Thanks

  23. bkninja says:

    You’re a true inspiration Ryan. I did $650 profit last month (my first month) and hoping to do over $1000 this month. If I don’t win the contest, I’d be willing to purchase a spot. Let me know…

    Would love to read some posts on sourcing also.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey Bkninja,

      Sounds like you are off to an awesome start! Unfortunately you were not a winner of the contest. Send me an email at grant.ryanj@gmail.com and we can see if we can work something out for a 20 minute call or so.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  24. Caroline says:

    Awesome! Thank you for not just sharing ‘profits’ but giving a detailed explanation on expenses incurred as this makes it very real for newbies and gives us a reality check on what we are getting into! Keep going Ryan!

    Carol

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Thank you for the kind words Carol! My goal is to give a complete and accurate picture of selling online and glad you are enjoying it.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  25. sally says:

    Hi Ryan Questions..

    Great Stuff..How are you able to pull and track your 1 time purchases? Do you do so ahead of time before mailing the items in? How do you keep on top of your replens? Sometimes i order too much and sometimes i dont buy enough. Also any advise on my terrible iphone battery? Ive purchased those emergency chargers but that doesnt seem to be enough power Thanks

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Sally,

      I am tracking all of my purchases using InventoryLab currently and I enter them in prior to sending the items into amazon. For replens I keep track in excel, but honestly don’t do as good of a job as I should. Once I get a better system in place I will be sure to share, as I sometimes sell out and other times have too much on hand as you mentioned.

      As for the phone, maybe buy a new one? 🙂 Just kidding, I use a mophie juice pack with my phone as a backup battery case and it works pretty well. I would look into a case that doubles as an extra battery.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  26. Sean S says:

    Odd unrelated question, but you might be able to help me:

    I purchased a bluetooth barcode scanner and on my Mac it’s getting the right numbers but in the wrong order every time I scan a barcode. Any idea what’s happening? It’s got really good reviews and was the best seller on Amazon so I think it must be some setup issue rather than hardware fault

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hey Sean,

      That definitely sounds like it could be hardware issue, but I don’t know right off hand. I am a PC user, so getting one to work with a Mac is unfortunately foreign to me. Good luck figuring it out!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      • Sean S says:

        Figured it out eventually – it was odd a language issue! Computers treat barcode scanners as keyboards, and how they translate the input depends on what language they think they keyboard is in. The barcode scanner was in US english while my computer thought it was in British English, so strangely the input for the numbers was mixed up. Doing the more complicated set up process fixed the issue.

        Also had a few issues with the Dymo Labelwriter 450 and Ship&Scan where Amazon was printing the labels the wrong way, ended up just switching labels though as no matter what I setting changed amazon seemed to want to print the labels landscape.

        Ship and Scan is a lot faster – anyone who has had some success at this should switch. A decent label printer and a decent bluetooth barcode scanner were £50 each here inc sales tax, so about $160 in total.

        • Ryan Grant says:

          That’s very odd with barcode scanner, but glad you got it working.

          Are you using the ship and scan within your amazon seller dashboard? and if so do you find most items go to the same warehouse?

          Best Regards,
          Ryan

  27. YZ says:

    How come toys are so popular?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hello YZ,

      Toys sell well because people enjoy playing with toys and giving them as gifts. I think this will generally hold true, and would expect toys to remain very popular.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

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