How to Make Money on Amazon
If you’re like most consumers, you already know about all the great Amazon products that are available from the online retailer.
But what’s less known is that Amazon can be an excellent platform to make money on, too. Whether you’re looking for full-time or part-time work, you should seriously consider using Amazon as a platform to pad your bank account.
It turns out that there are a variety of lucrative Amazon business opportunities that you can use to start bringing in extra cash for yourself. In fact, there are countless ways to make money on Amazon: working as an Amazon seller, affiliate, designer, developer, reseller, or merchant. The list goes on and on.
The Benefits of Starting a Business on Amazon
Before we take a deep dive into the kinds of opportunities that are available on Amazon, let’s take a step back and look at some of the top benefits of starting a business on Amazon.
There’s nothing better than being able to make money from the comfort and security of your own home. Starting a business on Amazon lets you earn extra income right from your kitchen table or living room sofa.
Amazon side hustles can vary in terms of how demanding they are. But most jobs are flexible and give you a lot of time to take on other projects. In fact, some jobs can even enable you to earn passive income without even trying — like becoming an Amazon affiliate.
Use Amazon’s Infrastructure
By and large, the best part about starting a side hustle on Amazon is using their infrastructure to bring in money. By working with Amazon’s world-class cloud services, you can run a successful business without having to maintain any infrastructure on your own — an incredible value. In fact, certain Amazon services can even attract potential customers.
Best Ways to Make Money on Amazon
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the benefits that come with selling on Amazon, let’s examine some of the various services that are designed to help you make money on Amazon.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
- Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
- Amazon Associates
- Amazon Services
- Amazon Handmade
- Amazon Merch
- Mechanical Turk (MTurk)
- Amazon Retail Arbitrage
- Amazon Flex
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Fulfillment by Amazon
Let’s say you want to start a business selling silverware at scale. On paper, it seems relatively simple. But when you take a closer look, you’ll find out it actually involves significant logistical considerations — like storing, packing, pricing, shipping, and more. Most people don’t have the space or infrastructure to pull this off on their own, especially those who are selling items as a side hustle.
This is where Fulfillment by Amazon (Amazon FBA) comes in handy. Amazon offers a program that stores, picks, packs, ships, and tracks items for customers. You can use this service to run and grow your business while leveraging Amazon’s leading product management services. You’ll also receive access to a management dashboard within Amazon to control your business and access customer support as needed.
If you’re serious about launching a product-oriented or reselling business from home, give FBA serious consideration. It saves you a lot of time and also saves you from having to hire a team to help grow your business — allowing you to focus on what you love doing.
Kindle Direct Publishing
In the past, getting published was incredibly difficult. Independent authors would spend months or years writing works that oftentimes would never see the light of day. They lacked the ability to finance or create printing opportunities with established publishing houses.
Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to get published by a famous publishing house anymore. You can do it yourself online, through the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, which is Amazon’s self-publishing service.
With KDP, publishing takes less than five minutes and the book appears on global Kindle stores within 24 to 48 hours. You can earn up to 70% royalty on sales to customers, with further revenue opportunities available through Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Best of all, Amazon gives you full control over your publishing rights and listing prices. You can also edit your work at any time. And as an added bonus, Kindle lets you publish eBooks and paperbacks for free.
Add it all up, and if you’re an aspiring or published author looking to expand your audience, consider giving KDP a shot. You can connect with global readers and grow your bottom line.
If you’re running a website or blog that generates a substantial amount of traffic, you can potentially earn income using Amazon Associates, which is Amazon’s affiliate program.
In short, affiliate marketing is a business model where businesses reward partners for successfully marketing their products. For example, you may choose to insert a link or advertisement to a certain site and get paid when people click through and make purchases. Amazon offers up to 10% in associate commissions from qualified purchases and programs.
One great part about the Amazon Associates program is that they help you discover products that resonate with your customers and brand. So, if you run a food blog, Amazon can connect you with manufacturers and suppliers that match your content. This may include linking to a food processor if you’re writing about kitchen supplies or a maple syrup company, for example.
Another attractive aspect of Amazon Associates is you can earn passive income, which is money earned for doing little to no ongoing work. All you have to do is insert a strategic link and Amazon does the rest — giving you opportunities to consistently pull in cash without having to spend hours each week doing work.
How Influencers Can Leverage Associates
If you’re a well-known social media influencer with a large following (or have plans to be), you should consider using Amazon Associates to monetize your content.
This strategy can help you bring in more money while giving you more time to focus on creating compelling content. Amazon takes care of all the backend work for you.
Here’s some good news for people who offer services instead of products: Amazon now offers Services for home and businesses, providing a way for workers to make money on their platform.
You can use the Services platform to connect with people in your area who need your help. For example, maybe you offer guitar lessons or you’re great at assembling furniture. The Services platform works like TaskRabbit or Craigslist, providing opportunities to connect you with community members in need of assistance.
One thing to keep in mind is that you need to have general liability insurance to use this offering. In addition, you’ll need to pay a revenue share with Amazon if you take a job through their platform.
The good news is that Amazon does not charge to list your services or for advertising — so it’s a great way to make money and grow your business using their platform.
If you have a penchant for making homemade wares like t-shirts, mugs, or scarves, you should consider Amazon Handmade — a service that functions a bit like Etsy or eBay — by giving crafty people a place to peddle online.
Amazon Handmade doesn’t charge listing fees and listings do not expire. However, the company takes a 15% referral fee off the total sales price and charges for shipping.
Artists like using Amazon Handmade because it provides access to a customer base of over 300 million people. It’s an instant way to connect with global customers and make a name for yourself as an independent artist.
Drawing or designing artwork is a great skill to have. Putting your ideas to work and making money from them is even better. Now, it’s easier than ever through the Amazon Merch service.
Amazon Merch simplifies the process of selling your designs. All you have to do is create an account, upload your image, optimize your product page, and set a list price. Amazon then prints what’s sold, and ships it quickly via Prime. You can earn monthly royalty payments for whatever you bring in.
This service is useful for people who want to get their ideas out into the wild without having to go through the hassle of buying materials, printing their items, or managing shipments.
Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is the brainchild of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The name was taken from an 18th-century chess-playing machine that was commissioned by Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. This machine created an illusion where challengers were led to believe they were playing against an automated chess machine when there was really a person hiding inside playing.
Fast forward to today, and MTurk is a platform that allows workers to apply their skills to available tasks in the MTurk marketplace. The concept is simple: There are still tasks that people can do more efficiently than computers, like identifying objects in a photo or video or transcribing audio recordings.
The downside is that you won’t make much money on MTurk — most likely just a few dollars per hour. But if you’re looking to diversify your income, it is still an option to consider. After all, every dollar counts.
Here is a word to the wise: Be careful of opportunities like this that may take advantage of your labor without adequately compensating you for your time. Your time can be far more valuable than this and there are other Amazon services that can lead to much higher payouts than MTurk.
Amazon Retail Arbitrage
Another way to make money on Amazon is to pick up items at retail stores like the Home Depot and Walmart and sell them for a higher profit online — a method called retail arbitrage.
Arbitrage can be difficult because Amazon can charge high fees and there are certain rules that you have to follow. You should also expect to conduct a fair amount of research in advance and there is some legwork involved in picking up items. But if you are good at sourcing favorable deals and can master the process, you could bring in extra money.
To make the process easier, Amazon offers an FBA revenue calculator to provide recommended prices for items and determining fees in advance. If you try this method, be sure to do your math upfront to make sure you are maintaining healthy profit margins. Otherwise, your efforts might be futile.
If you like driving for rideshare or delivery services, there’s a way you can work for Amazon and put your vehicle to use.
Amazon Flex is a program that lets you use your own vehicle to make deliveries. It involves setting aside a time that you want to work using their app, picking up items from Amazon fulfillment centers, and dropping them off at destinations.
To become a Flex driver, you have to be 21 and own a valid driver’s license and Social Security number. You also need a four-door midsize sedan or larger with car insurance, an eligible smartphone, and a bank account for direct deposit. Plus, you have to pass a background check.
Amazon Web Services
I saved one of the best, yet most complex, for last. Amazon’s most powerful offering by far is Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is one of the world’s leading cloud platforms offering more than 175 products across a global system of data centers.
You can use AWS to host professional-grade services like apps and websites. So, if you have an idea for a business, you can use this service to power your platform and store its data. It’s cost-effective, secure, and incredibly scalable. As your business grows, your platform can grow with it.
AWS can give you the flexibility and control to launch an enterprise-grade business right from your garage. In fact, leading tech companies like Airbnb, Slack, and Lyft all run their infrastructure in AWS.
Tips for Making Money on Amazon
Form a Business Strategy in Advance
Before you start making money on Amazon, spend some time putting together a basic business strategy to manage expenses. Treat this as a legitimate business endeavor so that you don’t wind up getting overwhelmed or missing important details.
This is particularly important when offering items or designing technical products like apps or websites. If you rush into a project without carefully planning, you could wind up regretting your decision.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to go overboard writing a business plan if you are launching a small project. But if you anticipate moving large amounts of items or working with others, it’s a good idea to iron out all the details in advance by forming an executive summary, company description, budget, power structure, marketing plan, and goals.
One of the top reasons to form a business plan is that it can help you iron out your idea and think through your overall objectives. As you are putting together your business plan, you may find that you need to rethink it entirely. It’s a powerful process that all entrepreneurs should do before starting a new project.
Determine How Much Time You Want to Allocate
Part of forming a business plan involves determining what this project means to you. Is this a full-time endeavor or a side gig that lets you bring in extra income on the side?
Determine how much free time you want to allocate to making money on Amazon and use that to guide your business plan.
Keep Your Full-Time Job
Here is a reality check: Making money on Amazon is difficult and many people fail. Part of the reason is the competitive nature of the game. You’re not the only person trying to make money online, and so you’ll probably face stiff competition from other professionals.
So think twice about ditching your full-time job and trying to make money on Amazon. Start slow and monitor your progress as you go. If you maintain a conservative approach, you can minimize risk and increase your odds of success. Only make the leap when you know you’re ready.
Stick with What You Know
Being an entrepreneur is hard work — even if you have a service like Amazon that streamlines backend tasks. It’s even harder when you have no idea what you’re doing.
This is where it pays to stick with what you know. For example, if you are great at drawing and making designs, consider using a service like Amazon Merch that handles printing and managing distribution — enabling you to spend the majority of your time behind a sketch pad or drawing tablet.
If you are better at order processing and logistics and still want to sell t-shirts, consider outsourcing your work to a designer and focusing on the business element, using Amazon’s marketplace to connect with buyers.
Spend time thinking about your valuable skills and where you should be putting the majority of your time. Or consider going into business with someone who can complement your skillset. By making these considerations in advance, you can maximize your time and set yourself up for success.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is a type of supplementary employment that someone takes on in addition to their day job. The number of side hustles you have depends on the nature of your profession and the amount of time you have available. Some people work one side hustle, while others work five or six.
Starting and maintaining a side hustle is all about creating a moneymaking mindset and nurturing your wealth. The harder you work, the more motivated you are going to be to keep raking in cash on the side. If you manage money right, your bank account is going to get bigger and bigger over time.
What is retail arbitrage?
Online arbitrage is a process that involves buying discount items at retailers and selling them for a higher profit.
The Amazon platform is a great way to try your hand at retail arbitrage. As a best practice, consider starting small with a limited supply and working your way up as you start to be more successful. The last thing you want to do is buy too much product and have it pile up only to find there is little to no demand.
Also, you need to remember that it’s difficult to sell products this way by default for the simple reason that consumers can usually find these items cheaper in stores. It’s best suited for items that are in high demand, such as the go-to holiday toy that stores are running out of.
What is eCommerce?
Ecommerce is the process of buying and selling things online. Due to the sheer scope of its platform, Amazon lets you participate in a wide range of eCommerce transactions.
Is Amazon a good way to work from home?
Amazon is an excellent way to make money working from home. You can use the ideas listed in this article to build a lucrative full-time business or a side hustle. It all depends on what you want to accomplish and how hard you’re willing to work to make it happen.
Can you get rich working on Amazon?
In short, it depends on what you are doing and how you are spending your time. If you put all of your spare time into doing menial work on MTurk, you’re not going to get rich any time soon.
It can be far more lucrative to spend your free time learning a skill that can lead to greater riches. For example, you may want to learn how to code, do graphic design, or run a business. There are plenty of free sites available online that can help you expand your skillset and grow.
Once you develop a marketable skill, you’ll be able to leverage the full power of Amazon. And once you do that, riches may be right around the corner.
Does Walmart offer a dropshipping service?
Walmart offers a competitive dropshipping service that you can use to grow your eCommerce business. You can list your products in the Walmart marketplace, manage sales, and automate fulfillment over their platform.
The Bottom Line
There has never been a better time to make money online thanks to the multitude of services that Amazon offers on its platform.
Whether you’re looking to bring in extra money on the side, supplement your social media business, or sell products at higher prices, Amazon can help make it happen. In fact, you can make a ton of money using their infrastructure.
Just keep in mind that making money on Amazon is not always easy. People often rush into moneymaking ideas thinking it is going to be a walk in the park only to find they have to do a lot more work than they expect. So, spend some time forming a business plan and determining how you want to grow your business. With enough patience and determination, you are bound to be successful.
One of the best parts about working for Amazon is that it can force you to think like an entrepreneur. If you have an idea for a business, Amazon can turn your dreams into a reality.
Just remember that none of the best businesses in the world were built overnight. So, launching a successful business on Amazon will take a lot of time and energy. But if you come up with a great idea and stick to it, it’s definitely possible to build a solid side hustle on Amazon. And who knows? Over time, it may even grow into your full-time job. Good luck!