September has come to an end, and the 4th quarter of 2014 is officially underway. The next few months are sure to be busy, but now that we are in the beginning of a new month, it’s time to share my results from last month. If you missed any of my past financial results posts, you can find them HERE.
We’ll get started with some background information on how my time was spent this past month. From September 3rd through the 7th I was in Dallas, TX for the second annual CES conference that was put on by Jim Cockrum. If you are unfamiliar with this event, you can find out more about who spoke and what was covered HERE. I did not do much sourcing during this conference, but I made many great connections, and learned a lot from attending the event. In terms of the month of September, attending the conference was not revenue generating, but over the coming months and years I expect to see a large return on investment from the conference. In addition to the conference, I moved into a 720 square foot office/warehouse location on September 9th. Getting things moved into and setup has been quite time consuming, and remains an ongoing process. Between the conference and moving into the warehouse there was a significant amount of time that was not revenue generating, but was spent on activities directly related to selling on amazon. Other than those items, I did not take any weekdays off from activities related to selling on amazon in September.
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 September. 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: COGS, inbound shipping to amazon, customer returns, supplies, storage fees, rent, 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. It’s also possible that I missed a receipt or 2 and the spending numbers may be updated slightly, but all numbers from amazon/eBay are 100% accurate. Also for clarity, this does not include any income from any other sources, 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.
Notes: These are pretax income numbers and mileage has been calculated at the IRS rate of $0.56/mile. MF stands for merchant fulfilled and FBA is fulfilled by amazon.
This was a very solid month for me, but was a bit of a decrease in profits from last month despite the increase in revenues. This was due partly to incorporating some lower margin strategies, as well as testing some other new strategies that resulted in selling a decent number of items at a loss during the month. Rent is a new number this month as I just began the lease on the office/warehouse space. The number shown this month is a pro-rated amount, and the full monthly amount will be shown in next month’s post. The amount of commissions that I paid to people sourcing products for me was down significantly this month which is due mainly to the amount of time they spent sourcing, as well as the strategies I have them working on.
One other noteworthy decrease is the FBA inbound shipping amount. This is mainly due to time being spent on activities that were not related to shipping products into amazon warehouses, such as the conference and getting my location set up. I expect this amount to increase significantly next month.
Note that the miscellaneous costs this month related to food/travel costs related to attending CES, as well as buying Online Arbitrage by Chris Green at a CES special price. This amount only includes food and some travel, as the hotel and flight were both paid for with credit card rewards. If there is a change in amount that I didn’t just cover, let me know in the comments and I will be happy to address it.
The services that I am paying for that comprise the above monthly totals are the following listed below. Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links which I will receive a commission for if you choose to sign up for the service. These links do not cost you anything extra, and help allow me to be able to provide free content here on the blog, if you choose to use them I truly thank you!
Inventory Lab – I use their service for listing all of my products for sale on amazon, as well as the majority of my accounting. Current cost is $49.99/month, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial with no credit card required.
Scanpower– This is the primary scanning app that I use in retail stores. Current cost is $39.95/month, you can obtain a 1 month free trial by entering my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) when signing up.
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.
UPS Smart Pickup – This is a service to have UPS pickup boxes from my house, rather than having to personally drop them off at a UPS location. Current Cost is $41.20/month.
Appeagle– This is new this month, and is a repricing service that I am using. So far I really like the results from using this as it will end up saving me a lot 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 for me is $25/mo.
Note that of these services, the current total costs do not add up to the numbers shown above, as I paid for some of these on an annual basis to obtain a discount.
Next up, we’ll take a look at my cash flow for the month:
Cash flow for the month was significantly positive which was good to see. This was the result of some seasonal strategies, as well as a decreased amount of inventory purchases. For the foreseeable future my plan is to operate at close to zero cash flow to continually reinvest in growth. As soon as my office/warehouse is fully setup and operational I expect to up my spending on inventory and will be reinvesting the positive cash flow from September. Also, the reason the rent amount is higher in the cash flow section is the result of an $800 security deposit.
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:
Overall, I am happy to have hit $50K in sales for the month, however I don’t put too much emphasis on my total sales volume. As can be seen above on my income statement my profits were actually higher last month with less sales volume. My main goals revolve around profits and cash flow, and I focus on those when setting goals related to selling on amazon.
If you want to see the breakdown of the product categories that comprised the $51K in sales, you can get a free one page PDF via email showing the breakdown by clicking the link directly below. Simply click this link and you can enter your email to receive the report.
I will not be sharing an eBay screenshot, as I did not have any items that sold and shipped in September. I did have one item sell on September 30th, but it did not ship until October, so it will show up on next month’s results post.
Overall, I am very happy with this month’s results. I was able to make over $9K in profits while attending a conference, and moving into a new location. For October, my goal is to exceed $10,000 in profits and get my office/warehouse fully optimized. The goals for November and December will be significantly larger and I want to get everything in place this month to be able to take advantage of the 2014 holiday sales.
What are your goals for October? Any questions/comments for me on this post? Please leave them in the comments section below. If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing using one of the social media buttons below!