Selling books is like selling a commodity – wheat, oranges, oil, etc. There is very little, to no differentiation between products. So how do Amazon sellers stand-out?
When a customer sees your product, they can only see your reviews and review rankings. A short time seller like me won’t have my storefront open long enough to get reviews. I’ve sold 14 books and still don’t have a review.
Not to mention, I’m competing against UK charity shops. That just made me feel lousy. I don’t want to compete against a charity shop. My books and time are better spent walking them down to a charity shop than walking to the post office a couple times a week.
Achieving our 2018 Goals
I’m not going to lie, it felt great to be selling. I like the operations aspect of checking my inbox, printing the package slip, shipping it to the customer, closing the deal, and getting the payment from Amazon.
It is a real business. Amazon Seller Central tracks all your metrics for their own benefit and mine. It is fun to see the health of the store via their dashboard. My record was flawless.
Too bad I wasn’t improving our living standard. I could buy a few pints at a pub, once a month, at this rate.
We have our 2018 goals. These goals are our life priority focus items. Anything else is just a distraction.
These results are really no surprise. If I would have taken the time upfront to estimate the cost of shipping, Amazon fees, and price of my books, I could have realized right away this venture would not have been worth it.
Gellerholz Bookstore closed its doors. Decision made. A few clearance sales in March but besides those, the books were packed up and carried to the charity shop.
Onto the next business idea for Gellerholz LLC.
My Exit Strategy
My textbooks are worth a pretty penny and their listing price is well above the break-even point above. I’m talking sale prices of $40 to a $100. Chemical Engineers and MBA students are chomping at the bit for this stuff.
While I love the charity shops, before giving them my extremely valuable textbooks, I looked for options to give someone this amazing opportunity to buy a family-run, international bookstore.
After speaking to my lawyers, business partner, and accountants, I identified a potential buyer: the 8-year old daughter of a co-worker. She’s brighter than most 8-year olds and I figured this would be a good opportunity for her to learn to start a business, run the numbers, and experience the thrill of the sale.
My pitch deck was spectacular. I went through all the numbers, the opportunity, and the pot of gold come school season. I offered to let them come over that night to pick up the books.
Because she is smarter than the average 8-year old, she turned me down. It was easy for her to see there was no money in this game and her time was better spent in school than walking books down to the post office to sell.
While Gellerholz Books was immediately disbanded when I donated the last box of books, I learned some valuable lessons from my first side hustle:
- Anything that is that easy to start probably isn’t going to bring you a massive return
- Run the numbers before you jump into anything. Was it worth it for me to make $11/hr when we have bigger goals that I could’ve been working on?
- Have an end goal in mind. If an 8-year-old girl isn’t willing to take over your business, it probably wasn’t the best idea to begin with
This was my first side hustle, but it certainly won’t be my last.