This is an interview with Jessica Larrew of The Selling Family.
Hey, Jessica. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hi! Thanks for having me here. I’m excited to share my entrepreneurial journey with your readers.
I run the website The Selling Family where I help families make money online. I share multiple income stream opportunities, with a big focus on Selling on Amazon, using the FBA program. I absolutely love helping families be able to work from home, make a significant income, and put their families first!
I sell online courses, I’m an affiliate marketer, and a blogger.
In my personal life, I’m a wife, mom, friend, daughter, video game player, board & card game enthusiast, and travel-addicted lover of all things teal.
What was life like before you were self-employed?
A blur! Kidding aside, it really has been a LONG time since I’ve had a regular 9-5 job. I worked at a tile & granite store for a few years prior to getting laid off in 2008 (thanks to the ‘great’ recession).
What side hustles did you try first and how did they go?
I had already been dabbling with selling on eBay, but it was mainly a way to make some extra cash for gifts and vacations. When I got laid off from my job, I decided to go all in on eBay and see if I could replace my income. To be honest, I wasn’t making much more than minimum wage, so I felt like it would be doable.
That first Saturday of being unemployed, I hit the yard sales all morning and afternoon. I came home with a car full of inventory and spent the next week listing and shipping the items as they sold.
That’s how my weeks went for quite some time!
I was able to replace my income and felt really good about the fact that I could make the same amount of money from home as I was at a full-time job before.
I sold on eBay for a couple of years, and then I started looking for ways to increase my income. I felt like I had hit a ceiling with eBay, and I was pregnant, so I wanted to see what else was out there.
What got you into entrepreneurship and at what point did you go full-time in business?
It was at that time I found Amazon FBA. It was really appealing to me because I could buy/sell multiples of each item, send them into an Amazon warehouse, and they would ship them for me when they sold.
With eBay, every single item needed a unique listing, and then when it did sell I had to ship it. So, the more I sold, the more work I had to do.
For Amazon, I was buying products from retail stores, in bigger quantities. I could list them once, ship them to Amazon, and then focus on finding more inventory.
This really showed me that I could make WAY more money with Amazon than I was with eBay.
Read also: How to Start Selling on Amazon and Actually Make Money
What did you first sell on Amazon? And what have you been selling ever since?
My very first items listed and sold on Amazon were used books. This was a very inexpensive way for me to test the system.
But, each book was unique still, so I went right to buying things from retail stores.
The great thing about Amazon is you can sell anything!
My 3 favorite types of things to sell are:
- Specialty / Limited Edition Groceries
- Beauty Products
I focus on things that are hard to find in retail stores, or that have been discontinued by the manufacturer.
When and how did your husband quit his job to join the family business?
The first year I was doing Amazon, I had a new baby, and my husband was MISERABLE at his job! Working just while the baby slept and on the weekends when he was home from work, I was making about $4,000/month.
One night he came home and was just DONE. He was tired of his boss and felt like he never got to be with us at home. He was missing out on lots of ‘firsts’ and was so exhausted.
I just looked at him and said, “QUIT.”
I knew that if we could both work on the business full time, we would make so much more than I was alone. We would be happier, less stressed, and have the freedom that most people never experience.
It was almost “Q4” (the biggest season for online sellers) so we decided it would be best for him to have his last day be right before Thanksgiving so we could really hustle for the Christmas season.
We figured, worst case scenario, it doesn’t work out and we get regular jobs again.
Turns out, that was a great decision!
I was right, together, we were able to accomplish so much more, and our sales skyrocketed.
In our first year of us both working full-time, we cleared almost $300,000 in sales and over $100,000 in profit. This was life-changing money for us!
Plus, we had so much more time together. Win-win.
Read also: How Suzi from Start a Mom Blog Earns $30K/Month and Retired Her Husband at 30
What did your week look like when Amazon was your only income stream?
When we were doing Amazon full-time, our son was just a toddler so we had to be very strategic in working.
Every Monday, my son would go to my mom’s house for the day, and Cliff and I would source products all day long. Our goal was to spend at least $1,000 on inventory for the week. If we were able to get that done on Monday, we didn’t need to source the rest of the week.
After our sourcing day, we would spend Tuesday, and sometimes Wednesday getting those products ready to send to Amazon and then getting them out the door.
If we needed more inventory, we would source one more day for the week. If not, we had those days ‘off’ and didn’t need to work again until Monday.
When Q4 season came around, though, we would go full-time hours again. That was the time that we could make ½ of our yearly income in just a short period of time.
During Q4, we would source M/W/F and ship on T/Th/Sa.
Hustling hard during Q4 meant we had the freedom to take it easy the rest of the year. Our goal was $5,000 in profit a month during the year and then as much as possible during Q4.
What were the key things you did to make enough money from Amazon FBA?
I think the biggest thing is I treated selling on Amazon as a business from day one. I had revenue goals, and a plan to reach those goals, and I would work a set schedule.
Is selling on Amazon a lucrative business idea today?
Yes, it definitely is.
When I started, it was sort of the heyday of Amazon. Not many people knew how it worked, and there weren’t many restrictions in place.
Now, it takes a little longer to get started, and you have more hoops to jump through than I did in the beginning.
But, the people who are willing to put in the effort are able to build a lucrative business that can support their families.
What are some major mistakes people new to Amazon FBA make?
The biggest mistake is thinking it’s going to be easy money. It is definitely not that!
So, if someone comes into this thinking they are going to be making $1,000’s of dollars in a month without much work, they are in for a big shock.
The next biggest mistake is giving up too quickly.
It takes about 3 months for someone to start getting into a groove, have consistent sales, and start seeing a profit in the business.
People are ready to quit after a few weeks if they can’t find things to sell or aren’t making money yet.
This is not a passive income stream at all, but sometimes people hope it will be.
When and why did you start the Selling Family?
The Selling Family started because people were constantly asking me how I was making money selling on Amazon, what types of things I sold, how Cliff was able to quit his job, etc.
Plus, I loved talking about Amazon and didn’t want to bore my friends/family with it.
So, I created a blog and started sharing what was going on in my business.
Originally, the site was just under my name, then a couple of years later I switched to The Selling Family brand.
I started the site in 2012, about 3 years after I had been selling on Amazon full-time.
How did you grow the traffic?
The three biggest ways I grew traffic were:
- Being featured on podcasts
- Guest posting on other sites
- Working with affiliates to promote my courses
What was your first income stream from the blog?
My first income on the site was through affiliate marketing.
Since people were asking me a lot of questions about a very specific sourcing strategy I used, I decided to write an ebook about it.
That ebook was the first of MANY courses I would eventually release on the site.
How much do you earn from the website now and what are your income streams?
The site has earned over 7 million dollars since starting it. Most of that is from my own courses, coaching, and services for sellers.
Aside from my own products, I also affiliate for other people.
What offers do you have right now and who are they for?
Right now, I have a course that teaches people how to start an Amazon business. It’s called the Amazon Boot Camp. It is for people brand new to selling on Amazon and I walk them step-by-step through the process of setting up their account, finding products, listing them, and shipping them to Amazon.
For people who aren’t sure selling on Amazon is a good idea for them and want to see how it all works, I have a free introductory course that helps people know if this is right for them and what all goes into it.
I also have a Low Content Book Creation Course that teaches people how to create and sell planners on Amazon, using the KDP program. This is for anyone who wants to create their own planners or low-content books.
I’ll also be releasing some blogging courses in the next months. They are currently being updated and rebranded from when I had them on other sites.
How many hours weekly do you invest in anything related to blogging or the courses?
This changes a lot depending on how I’m feeling overall.
On average, I spend 1-2 hours a day on the business. This is just to keep things moving.
When I am focused on growth, the hours are more like 4 per day.
If I am creating a new course or in a big promotion period, it could be more than that. But I don’t do that often.
Now that the business can run pretty much on it’s own, I am able to take significant amounts of time off. Last year I took almost 3 months off to just spend time doing other things.
I consider this a passive business now, but I still take an active role and enjoy spending some time every day on it.
What’s next for you and The Selling Family?
I am working on transitioning The Selling Family out of just focusing on Amazon FBA. I’ve created other sites in the past about blogging, creating courses, and creating low-content books. Now, I want to have all of these topics on one site.
I just want to help people make money from home, whether that is selling on Amazon or something different!
I’ve got over 10 years of experience making money online through blogging and online courses, that I think it’s time to finally start sharing that information too.