May 2015 Results from Selling on Amazon and eBay

June 8th, 2015

Hello Everyone, hope your month of June is off to a great start! May was a busy and exciting month for my business and we’ll get into the details shortly.   If you missed any of my past financial results posts, you can find them HERE.

We’ll get started with how my time was spent during May.  I only worked on weekdays on the amazon business for the most part.   During May I took 5 working days off.  2 days were to take a trip to New Orleans with 3 friends from college, and 3 days were to take a road trip with my family to visit my grandparents and family in Indiana.  Other than that, I was working 8 to 10 hours per day on the amazon business.  I would estimate I averaged 30 to 35 hours per week over the course of the month due to taking basically a full week off.

Before we get to the numbers, there is 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 for May.  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 format will be the same as last month and I will be sharing numbers exported directly from my InventoryLab account.  The numbers below will NOT be the exact numbers that go on my tax returns as there will be additional deductions not included here (cell phone, health insurance, etc.).  It’s also possible that I missed a receipt or 2 and the spending numbers may be updated slightly.  Also for clarity, this does not include any income from any other sources, it is simply my income from amazon and eBay.

The first screenshot will be of the revenues. To get a better look, click on this image (or any others in the post) to enlarge.

May 2015 Income

May 2015 Income

Now the expenses for May:

May 2015 Expenses

May 2015 Expenses

These are screenshots of excel files exported directly from my InventoryLab account, which is the main accounting tool that I am using.  A couple of notes are that certain items will only show up in one of the time periods even though they occurred over the course of the month, in these instances look at the total number for the month.

Net profit for April was about $19K, so profit decreased a little over $3K in May, despite about an 8% increase in sales.  There are several contributing factors to this, which I will get into, but this really highlights how deceptive sales screenshots can be.

One of the major reasons for the decrease is due to “inventory writeoffs” which has not been present in past months.  This amount is for inventory that has either expired (grocery/beauty items) or has been damaged to the point of not being sellable.  I had been neglecting customer returns for some time, and finally went through them this month.  In reality this amount should be spread out from January through May, but it’s all showing up here since I didn’t report it previously.

Another major reason for the decrease in profits is the increase in commissions/wages which increased by just under $2K.  This was influenced by bringing 2 additional team members on board, and expanding the retail arbitrage sourcing role of another team member.  This will pay off over time, but due to timing it shows a higher expense without the associated future revenue.  For all of the details on how I outsource retail/online arbitrage checkout my ebook Outsourcing Sourcing.

Yet another major reason for the decrease is a higher than usual number of returns.  I have been experimenting with selling in the clothing & shoe categories on amazon, as well as some other higher end items.  On the clothing & shoe items in particular I am seeing much higher return rates than I was before beginning to sell in the categories.  I am going to be continuing to evaluate these categories to see if they are areas I want to dedicate more time to.

Finally, one last contributing factor was purchasing a $397 ticket to Jim Cockrum’s CES conference that will be in September of this year.  Hopefully, I will see some of you reading this there!

Overall, none of these things are overly concerning. The bulk of these added expenses are investments in the future, and should pay dividends in coming months.

Here are the current services that I am using that make up the above numbers for the subscription expenses (note that some of these I paid for on an annual basis to obtain a discount):

InventoryLab – I use their service for listing all of my products for sale on amazon, as well as the majority of my accounting. I use their scanning app, Scoutify, as my main scanning app.  Current cost is $49.99/month, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial with no credit card required.

Shoeboxed– This is a service that I use to manage my receipts.  I send my receipts off to them in an envelope, they scan them into an online filling system, and mail them back to me.  If you sign up through this link you can receive a 1 month free trial, and a 20% discount on your first 6 months if you become a paying user.  Current cost for the plan I am using is $29.99/month.

Appeagle– This is the repricer I am using.  It has been saving me significant amounts of time manually repricing.  In addition, it reprices items up as well as down, so I have sold many items already for more than I have listed them for.  They have a 14 day free trial, and if you enter coupon code “RYAN_G” you will receive 50% off your first month’s subscription if you elect to become a paying user.  The current cost for this service is $50/mo.

Feedback Genius – This service automatically sends out emails when items are out for delivery to the customer, as well as 4 days after the item has been delivered.  I tried out the free trial of this service, and it nearly doubled the percentage of orders on which I receive feedback without adding negative/neutral feedback, so I am now a paying customer.

Now, let’s take a look at cash flow for the month:

May 2015 Cash Flow Statement

May 2015 Cash Flow Statement

Cash flow for May was a bit negative.  This is about where I want it to be as I have been continuing to aggressively spend on inventory.  I am also in the process of obtaining a line of credit for my business to allow for access to additional capital if opportunities present themselves.  This should be in place early in June, and assuming it is, I plan to run cash flow a bit more negative to continue growth.

Now I will share some screenshots to provide some support for the above numbers I am sharing.  Please note that the amazon sales number will not be exactly the same as what is shown above, as the screenshot below shows all orders that have been placed (but not necessarily shipped), while the above numbers are only for items that actually shipped during the month.  Due to this the variance is to be expected:

May 2015 Amazon Sales

May 2015 Amazon Sales

It was exciting that this month was the first month over $100K in sales outside of Q4, but as the income statement shows, the sales numbers don’t tell the whole story.  Now, for my eBay sales:

May 2015 eBay sales

May 2015 eBay sales

Overall, I am happy with how this month turned out.  I believe that some of the investments of both time and money that were made this month will start to show some quality results in the coming months.  Here are a few of my goals for June:

1. Have my first private label product sell on amazon

2. Obtain a line of credit

3. Invest a minimum of $65K in inventory

Finally, I want to do something I haven’t done in about a year on the blog, and that is to do a contest.

The prize: Three (3) individuals will win a 20 minute phone call / video call with me via the method of their 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 either of the following methods:

  1. Entering your email in a pop up box by clicking THIS LINK to subscribe to future updates.  Even if you are already subscribed to email notifications, you can enter via this method.
  2. Share a link to any post or page on www.onlinesellingexperiment.com via any social media channel or via email.  If you enter via this method send an email to: ryan@ose.wpengine.com with the subject line “June Contest” and a link or screenshot of what you shared.
  3. Leaving a comment below sharing your goals for June 2015.

That’s it, enter via any or all of the above 3 options for your chance to win.  There will be a maximum of three (3) entries per person, and each entry method can be used only once.  The deadline to enter is June 14th 2015 at 11:59 PM ET.  At that time 3 individuals will be chosen by using www.random.org.  Winners will be contacted via email to arrange scheduling.  If you don’t win, I do offer a limited amount of coaching each week.  That’s all  for today, thanks for reading!

 

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54 responses to “May 2015 Results from Selling on Amazon and eBay”

  1. 1. Set up wholesale account. 2. Increase Retail Arbitrage by using more coupons. 3. Send in Back to School items and bundles. 4. Work on writing ebooks.

  2. Chad says:

    Hello Ryan,

    Enjoyed the article always.

    Goals for June :

    1. Increasing my sales to over $5,000. I just doubled my sales from about 2100 to 4200 over the last few months so I’m out sourcing more and sending more In to
    Try to build on my numbers. I’m on vacation in Florida and have had a good sourcing trip along the way. I love hitting new areas it makes the sourcing much easier

    2. Signing up for inventory lab is something I keep putting off so I will make that a goal for June .

    3. Setting up my business as an LLC is another goal I would love to complete.

    That’s all my goals for June but I have a question about setting up inventory lab with my existing inventory. Will it be hard to add the inventory I already have in place once I sign up?

    Thanks,

    Chad

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Chad,

      Sorry for the slow response. Depending on how you have your buycosts tracked currently, it could be a minor pain. If you have them tracked in a spreadsheet with SKUs, then it shouldn’t be much of a hassle at all.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      • Chad says:

        Thanks Ryan

        Also are you able to pull up inventory lab on your phone and look at reports and such ?

        I tried to just sign up from my iPhone 6 and it did not seem like the website was mobile friendly at all.

        • Ryan Grant says:

          Hi Chad,

          No I don’t use IL on mobile at all, only on desktop. If you have the chrome app for your phone it will likely look a little better, but personally I just use it on an actual computer.

          Best Regards,
          Ryan

  3. Mike says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Goals for the rest of 2015.
    1) Ramp up business to $2000.00 sales per month. I know that my seem small but am doing business on a very part time basis right now.

    2) Acquire the proper tools: subscription services, scanners, label maker, etc. to improve productivity.

    3) Find new sources for products/inventory.

    Thanks again for your post!

    Mike.

  4. Tommy Beyer says:

    My goal for June is to turn a higher profit than last month (previous record) I want to at least do $3500 in profit. Also a part-timer who has been doing it less than a year. Thanks Ryan!

  5. Jeremy says:

    June goals include 1. increasing sales in our second month to $4000. 2. Focus inventory acquisition to higher ranked items to flip capital more quickly. 3. Begin research into our first PL product.

  6. Rick says:

    Ryan, I really appreciate your sharing your operating results with us. I am retired and do this on a part time basis. But, that being said, I think it is great to see a young man doing so well and maintaining the level of detail and systems that you do. You are doing great and keep it up. I know you will!

  7. Chris says:

    My goal for June is to sell my remaining inventory on eBay and identify a product category that I want to begin selling in on Amazon.

  8. Hi all. New here.
    My Goal is to learn more about all the tools Ryan shared. Plan to finally get serous about the Hair, Health, and Beauty sourcing.

    Actually get started FBA on Amazon and selling on Ebay again minimum goal $1,000-$3,000 Profit for June/July timeframe.
    Prior profits are $500-$1,000 very part time monthly.

    Thanks so much for sharing, really gives myself, and others support, clarity, and hope!

    Happy Selling,
    tonee

  9. Owen says:

    Goals for June:

    1. Streamline my process for outsourcing sourcing.
    2. Get caught up with my accounting.
    3. Organize my workspace.

  10. Derek M says:

    Goals for June:

    1. Ramp up RA/OA to be main source of product. Currently mainly thrifting and clearance, which is too unreliable.

    2. File LLC papers

    3. Ungate – Beauty and Health and Personal Care

    • Ron says:

      Derek, I don’t know if it is still the case but just a couple days ago many of the “regular” categories were being auto approved once you applied. My guess is beauty/health/personal care would work easily. I was able to apply/get accepted to shoes, watches, luggage, clothes…all within 15 minutes. Basically just the time it took me to fill out the few info boxes ;).

  11. Edith Russo says:

    My goals for June are:
    1) get a shipment out to Amazon by the end of the month
    2) figure out an easy way to list on eBay with what I have on Amazon
    3) place a wholesale order with products that were successful in my test

  12. Nicholas says:

    My goal for June is to have my first $1000 plus payment from Amazon last week was $807 so I am close. 2 Start the process to incorporate. 3 Start the process to get approved in Health and beauty.

  13. Shane says:

    This pretty much sums up my goals too, good luck Derek. And I hear you, I spend too much time walking out empty handed since I’m mainly doing clearance shopping.

  14. Ron says:

    Great update Ryan. Excited to see what you are able to share about your private label experience and crossing my fingers for your first success. Also surprised you haven’t already gotten a line of credit! Wish I had the cash to get that far ahead without using revolving credit lol. But I started with basically no budget and bootstrapping my way up.

    my goals for June:
    -Add more and more inventory to keep the ball rolling. Ideally finding more regular RA/OA and relying less on clearance luck finds.

    -Pay down some credit cards…so I can use them again to buy more inventory lol. Terrible business plan but really don’t have a lot of options. As long as I can get a good ROI then the interest just becomes another cost of doing business right now. Sure, not the smartest way to do it but it’s what I have.

    -get a better grasp on my record keeping…as I go along rather than wait until end of the year to organize everything. It wasn’t so bad since I started in Oct. last year but don’t want to have to do that again this year.

    -continue to learn every day!

  15. bk says:

    1. spend 3k a week on inventory
    2. sales of 25k or greater
    3. hire a sourcer/shipper

  16. Daniel W says:

    Goals for June: (1) Identify first PL product for Amazon (2) Actually set up the Inventory Lab membership I have been paying for all year

  17. James Amazio says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to see income reports when your PL stuff starts kicking in!

    Oh, and that offer always stands for Feedbackz.. =)

  18. Stacy says:

    June Goals:
    1. Spend at least 2K on inventory for OA/RA
    2. Continue to research PL options and make initial contacts with suppliers.

  19. B&K says:

    Question Ryan about your returns. Roughly what percentage of the items returned were able to go back up for sale (meaning people returned them due to didn’t fit or changed their mind) versus what needed to be scrapped as defective? That is assuming Amazon allows returned clothing/merchandise to be re-shelved? Thanks and so inspiring as always!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi B&K,

      I would say that between 80% and 90% go back into inventory without issues.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  20. Philip Hall says:

    Ryan – thanks for another open and informative post. This is a new area to me and one I am researching before pulling the trigger. I have a simple question – are you using gift cards sourced at a discount or through online portals that provide cash back or bank/frequent flyer points to reduce your cost of acquisition?

  21. Bill says:

    Here are my goals for June 2015:

    1. Utilize new strategies that I hope will get me more net profit per sold item, more sold items in total, and less shipping charges to FBA due to lighter weight.

    2. $5,000 in net profit

    3. Finalizing a connection for sourcing/low pricing for 4th quarter (Can’t start too early)

  22. Andre says:

    Hi Ryan, enjoy your posts.

    Goals for June 205.

    1. Increase arbitrage business to $1K MONTH profit.
    2. Finalize 2 private label lines.

    Andre

  23. Tony says:

    1. $65,000 in sales per month
    2. Start Resarching Private Label
    3. Train 2 employees to operate solo
    4. Set up additional vendor accounts
    5. Apply for another CC

  24. jeff says:

    Goal is to learn as much as I can on RA, OA and fab sell first item FBA

  25. Eric says:

    Goals for June 2015.

    1. Reach $15,000 in sales in one month.
    2. Meet with CPA to catch up on taxes and paying myself.
    3. Spend the remaining available cash on inventory.

  26. Jason says:

    Add replendishables, find wholesalers and finalise my PL order. Aim to sell $30k.

  27. Brian says:

    June goals.
    1. Make first wholesale purchase.
    2. Find more sources for R.A products.

  28. Jim says:

    I’m excited each time I read how you manage to continue to grow! My goal simple… To hit 10k grossed sales in one month, then when reached to do it weekly! Then the next is to keep adding a zero to the number!!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Thanks Jim, and congrats on hitting 10K in sales for a month! Keep those goals in place and the numbers will keep growing.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  29. Trisha says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I see that feedback genius offers a free service. I am just starting out my FBA- do you think the free service would cut it or is of any value?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Trisha,

      I would definitely give the free option a shot and see what you think!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  30. Connor Payton says:

    I was just curious…do you pay your sell a monthly wage…if you do..where is it showing up in your Financials…I just want to know where you pay yourself from.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Connor,

      Yes, I do and it is $2500/month. I don’t show it on these posts, but you could just deduct the $2500 from the profit number shown. Essentially whatever the bottomline profit number is all goes to me whether it’s in the form of salary or taxes.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  31. Hi Everyone,

    This post has been EXTREMELY eye-opening! I’m a retired Navy vet, been unemployed for 17 months (but looking for work almost full-time), and disabled (brain cancer). I’m NOT looking for sympathy though; I’m fine, trust me.

    I’ve also been selling [small] stuff on Amazon for about a year now: old books, backpacks I picked up cheap, knives, Sons of Anarchy belt buckles even! You name it, I’m selling it. However, it’s only part-time, just to get a few extra bucks to fund my purchases of new stuff to sell and maybe go to dinner or a movie once in a while.

    But you guys have REALLY lit a fire under my a$$ with this article and your comments! I even asked my wife just today if I could buy more knives at another site cheap to sell on Amazon, and she said no because we’re strapped for cash and the house payment is due in a few days. Grrrrrrr!

    If I don’t have to go back to work, and it sounds like I might not have to, at least outside the home, at least until I rent sales office that is :), in the meantime, I would be happy to pack and ship for any of you and scan receipts (I have a NEAT scanner) if that’s something that’s available in my area (southeast Georgia), until I get my business off the ground.

    So anyway, I just want to say thanks for this article and for all of your comments. You have really inspired me to get off my duff and get busy! I’m wide open to suggestions on how to improve my “business”, so if anyone wants to contact me, feel free to do so.

    My phone number is 912-674-5532 and my email address is jusher7281@gmail.com. If you do call or write, please reference Amazon Sales somewhere so that I don’t just ignore you 😉

    Thanks again!
    Joe Usher

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for the comment, and best of luck to you in growing your business on amazon!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  32. Leslie says:

    Hi Ryan, I finally bought some product and have set up my FBA account. What I am really confused about is all the fees, referral fee especially. It appears as if I am being gouged, but I truly think I just don’t quite understand. I have just listed my products and have not shipped to Amazon yet, and these estimated fees are enormous.Can you please explain?

    Thanks,
    Leslie

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Leslie,

      The fees can be high, but amazon takes care of a lot of the heavy lifting. I would use http://www.fbacalc.com to get a breakdown of the fees of any item you are considering selling.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  33. Leslie says:

    Hi Ryan, I was wondering how much money you invested when you first started reselling. Like, the first month, how much did you invest? I want to be realistic and spend a reasonable amount of money, but a little scared.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Leslie,

      My first month it was around $5,000. I have utilized credit cards as well throughout to grow more quickly, but I always pay them in full every month.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  34. jazzygirl says:

    My goal is to increase my profits in June by at least $500. Im kinda new to this but its the first home business that has actually worked for me so im excited 🙂

  35. Brian says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Do you use another programs to keep track of your cash flow, like quick books, Or do you use excel instead of quick books? Also, where do you normally keep track of imbound shipping cost for wholesalers?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Brian,

      At the moment I am primarily using InventoryLab and Excel. I track everything between those 2. I am looking to move just about fully to Quickbooks for 2016.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      • Chad says:

        What’s the advantage of switching to quickbooks over
        Inventory lab? Is it cheaper ? Does it have s monthly fee?
        How hard will it be for you to setup and switch all of your inventory over from inventory lab?

        • Ryan Grant says:

          Hi Chad,

          I’m not going to be switching away from InventoryLab, but rather adding Quickbooks into the mix too. The reason for this is that InventoryLab really only covers the income statement, and I need to have something that has the capability for all of the financial statements. It’s going to be a slight pain to get fully setup but will put my reporting in a much better position.

          Best Regards,
          Ryan

  36. ed says:

    So how much money did you actually make ( ie got to actually put in your pocket?)

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ed,

      Cash flow was negative $5K so my bank account decreased, however the profit on the items sold was about $15K. This business is a bit of a long term game which is the reason I show both the cash flow and income statements, on any given month it can look like I lost money due to the amount I invested, but in reality all of that money invested in inventory is going to come back with a percentage return on it as well.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

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