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Making Money on Amazon: Not how you expect

I have been looking at trying to make money on Amazon for quite some time. Below I’ll share the top 5 ways to make money on Amazon in 2020 from people I personally know.

Stick around because there’s also a reason that I decided to NOT pursue any of them (and what I decided to do instead on Amazon that is making me money every month).

Like any good netizen, I started by googling things like “How do you make money on Amazon?” or “What to sell on Amazon?”. Gotta start somewhere!

What I found was a ton of lists that gave me the TOP 10, 15, 20 or more of things to source, buy, sell, create…. Yikes. Where do you start when you have 20+ options? Sometimes the problem is not enough options – it’s TO MUCH.

Narrowing down opportunity is something that stops most first time entrepreneurs. You have so many great choices it ends up taking so much time and energy researching, comparing, and thinking about them all that you might go months or years without making progress.

While they all gave me some interesting ideas to chase down, none of ideas from these lists seemed to be just what I was looking for and most of them seemed rather… generic.

Looks, generic is not a bad thing! Generic asprin that costs half the price? Yes please! Generic ideas on a list that is suppose to inspire me to develop material, invest time, deploy resources just… well. Did anyone vet these ideas? Were they just spitballing ideas around the table or were these markets tested?

*quick note*: I found one resource that was FREE and really took a more in depth look at realistic options with examples. If you folks haven’t checked out Nick Loper at Side Hustle Nation you need to!  His article is specifically about Amazon FBA opportunities and gave me some great areas of opportunity to look into but I still had not made up my mind.

So….what was I looking for? To many options from generic lists to distract me and solid ideas to excite me.

I did what I’ve learned is the smartest thing to do when I’m noodling on a new problem or have a question about starting, growing, or managing something I’m working on – I ask my community!

After polling our Weird Money Co community here is my list!

I know, I know, I know another Top blah blah blah list

Now, bear with me!

This list of opportunities on Amazon is not one of those “put as many ideas as possible” kind of lists (although we did post that list in case you want to check it out – Biggest List of Opportunities to Make Money with Amazon [Updated 2020]).

No, no my friends! This list are ways that REAL people I’ve talked to are using Amazon TODAY to make money.

Top 5 Ways Real People made money on Amazon

Below I have listed my Top 5 (I have also linked some of their favorite tools or sites that they use for their side hustle so you can see from the source what tools they are using).

For the first four options, you will need a sellers account set up and verified on Amazon.

1) I’ve known the Kettechman brothers for a long time and they have sold products on Amazon (and Ebay) that they bought, mostly from overseas, in bulk and sold at a markup.  Classic wholesale play – buy from one source and sell somewhere else. AliExpress Kole Imports Jungle Scout

2) A friend of mine, Michelle, in New Orleans buys white labled products through white labeling companies to build upon their own “brand” of health products. White labeling is where you buy a product (similar to #1 above), and then add your own spin on it. You might add your own branding, packaging, decorations, instructions and more. Jungle Scout

3) Book flipping was a new idea to me and Toni Zees has been at it for years. She buy books (mostly non-fiction) at thrift stores and flea markets and resells them on Amazon for  a profit. Being able to quickly check the price of books to determine if there is enough profit margin built in before you actually purchase it is important, so check out Bqool, Sellics and ScoutIQ. Once you are ready to go and you start to build your inventory you should look into Amazon FBA.

4) A fellow hands-on handy buddy of mine, Rich Bradburns, assembles and/ or installs products that were sold on Amazon. He makes pretty good money doing this and only spends a few hours a week. Amazon Installation Service

5) A great friend of mine, Nathan Van Coops, has had an entire series of fiction books published that are being sold on Amazon (in addition to many other outlets). See the link below to check them out!

6) What I ended up selecting and have been profitable with wasn’t brought up even once! The magic #6 that required 2 hours each week with NO up front money involved.

These were my top options that I decided that I wanted to look into further to see if they were something that I wanted to invest my “side hustle” time. 

And then….. I said no to all of them.

Why I decided to not go with any of the Top 5

Below is a break down my thoughts on each one of the options and why I decided they were not for me at the moment. All of these are still on my radar and I think they make a lot of sense, but for one reason or another that I share below, I decided it wasn’t the right time.

1) Buying products in bulk or just direct from overseas manufacturers and reselling them in the US, also known as drop shipping, is something I have been interested in for quite a while and is on my personal list to dive into more in the near future.

That being said, like many people, I was furloughed from my company because of the pandemic. I didn’t want to tie up my meager savings in holding inventory (if I was to buy in bulk) or in costly fees and advertising.

2) The white label option follows along the same line of thought as the first option. On top of that I didn’t have a brand (Yet!) that I was going to be able to use the white labeling to build on.

3) I was a little concerned about how long it would take for a book I sent to Amazon to be sold. I had to purchase the book and pay for shipping to send it to Amazon. What if it took 6 months or a year to sell? The time cost of that money had to be taken into account. I’m working out how to at least attempt to gauge how long of a lead time the books would need.

I was looking for something that, when things return to “normal”, I could continue building while still allowing me to go back to my full time job. My full time job affords me time to work on side projects but most of the available time is at random times of the day and often in different cities while traveling. This might still be an option I return to because I do travel regularly between 5 cities perhaps I could swing through book stores once or twice a month?

4) Such a cool idea and one that you can get into without spending ANY money at all! I definitely have the skills needed for this idea, but this idea falls to the same fate as #3 – , I am looking for something that I can continue to grow when we are all released from the invisible clutches of the current pandemic.

Something that is applicable only because of the pandemic to note: my buddy said that he has seen a significant drop in business because of social distancing which make it harder for him to actually show up to someone’s home!

5) I’m not a book author. Not yet at least. While I may write a lot of guides and blogs, I’m not quite ready to make the leap to full length book. Therefore this one is auomatialy a “NO”, right?

Yes it was initially discounted but it lead me to an interesting option #6. 

What is this mythical option #6 you may ask? 

Publishing someone else’s books on Amazon of course! 

Sounds unethical and “sketchy” right?

It is not either of them, I promise!

Kindle Direct Publishing, also known as KDP is the Amazon program I worked through.

I wrote an in depth guide on KDP and how I actually went from zero experience selling on Amazon or with publishing books, to having a top 100 ranked children’s book with NO money out of pocket.

Since THIS post is not THAT post, here is the Short and Sweet Version

Short and Sweet: Publishing an open domain ebook on KDP

  1. Download an open domain book from one of the available sites.
  2. Decide how you are going to differentiate your book from the others that may be offered for free (annotate, illustrate or translate).
  3. Download and utilize Kindle Create to edit and format your book. To learn how to use Kindle Create to format your book/ ebook for the Amazon market place CLICK HERE.
  4. Log into your KDP account and follow the steps through the three pages.

Note: It can take up to 72 hours for a book to go from “Submitted” to “Published”

  1. Once you have completed your ebook, you can now choose to complete the steps to publish your version of your chosen book in a paperback version. If you are interested in learning how to publish a paperback version of your book CLICK HERE.
  2. Track your sales!
  3. When you find a book that is selling well for you; think about promoting it.


Some information that helped me decide where to publish the public domain books (and other books when I complete me first original book)

Authors say that Amazon accounts for about 85% of their sales

I can share some statistics of my own, such as the time I’ve invested into each book, sales fluctuations and what not if there is any interest.

What about you? Have you published anything on Amazon? Have you published a book you wrote and moved it online?

We hope this information helps. For more information on this and other business development ideas and answers join the community on Facebook and get on the WeirdMoney Train!