Seems Like Everybody’s Making Money on Amazon. Here Are 11 Ways You Can Too
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Let’s be real. We all know how to spend money on Amazon — and even how to save money while we spend.
But have you considered making money on Amazon?
After all, it’s one of the world’s largest retailers, according to the National Retail Federation. And we’re seeing it seep into nearly every aspect of our lives, including grocery shopping. The retail giant is even taking over old shopping malls for its fulfillment centers.
Sure, it might feel like one of those “robots are taking over,” “retail apocalypse” situations, but with Amazon’s massive strides of expansion come money-making opportunities — for you.
That’s why we’ve rounded up 11 ways you can make money through Amazon’s ever-expanding platform.
1. Sell Items on Amazon
Let’s get back to Amazon’s roots.
The internet retailer started as an online bookseller and expanded to host an “associates program,” which allowed other vendors to sell merchandise through the platform. In turn, Amazon would receive a commission. This model began back in 1996, according to Britannica.
Now, the program is huge, promising individuals and businesses the eyeballs of hundreds of millions of consumers.
If you want to sell items on Amazon, the retail mogul suggests you take these steps:
Figure Out What You Want to Sell
- Does it fit into one of its 37-plus selling categories? You might need Amazon’s approval before getting started. There’s a huge chart that outlines that information here.
Select Your Selling Plan
- You can opt in for a $39.99-per-month “professional” plan, which is geared toward those who plan to sell more than 40 items a month. If you want to start on a smaller scale, it recommends the individual plan, which has no monthly subscription fee but does require you to pay 99 cents per item sold. Explore the pricing options here.
Create a Sell Central Account
- Then start listing your goods. When a customer places an order, you can let Fulfillment by Amazon (see more below) handle the shipping. Or you can do that yourself. Amazon then directly deposits payments into your bank account.
The Penny Hoarder has a guide on how to make money by simply reselling items.
2. Work as a Fulfillment/Warehouse Associate
You can opt to sell items — or you can work behind the scenes in the fulfillment and operations sector.
These jobs typically require hands-on work. Think: In a warehouse lifting boxes, operating dollies and/or retrieving boxes that might be on a high shelf.
According to a recent listing for a full-time seasonal warehouse associate in Kenosha, Wisconsin, pay is $12.25 to $15.25 an hour.
You’ll also get benefits, which include:
- Health care benefits
- 401(k) with a company match
- Holiday and overtime pay
- Paid time off
- Maternity and paternity leave benefits
- Restricted Stock Units
- Employee discounts
- Amazon’s Career Choice Program, which helps cover tuition
- Flexible work schedules
You must be at least 18 years old to apply and need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Also note that pay and benefits will likely vary by location.
FInd a list of updated fulfillment/warehouse associate positions here.
3. Deliver for Amazon Flex
Next step: Let’s deliver those packages.
As an Amazon Flex “delivery partner,” you’ll deliver goods to consumers via Amazon.com, Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Amazon Restaurants.
Amazon’s Flex page says you can make $18 to $25 an hour as a Flex associate. Plus, you get to set your own schedule.
Here are a few important notes for the gig:
- If you’re delivering Prime Now orders, you can use any car. If you’re delivering Amazon.com orders, you’ll need a four-door midsize sedan or larger. Some regions allow you to make deliveries via bicycle, though you’ll need a basket and a helmet. Motorcycles and scooters are not permitted.
- You’ll need to download the Amazon Flex app, so there are some phone requirements. You must have an Android 6.0 or higher or have an iPhone 5 or newer. Find more tech specs here.
- You’ll have to pass a background check, which takes about two to five days.
- You won’t get reimbursed for mileage, parking or tolls.
Amazon Flex processes payments on Tuesday and Friday through direct deposit, so you should see your money the following day.
Right now, the program is recruiting only in the greater San Francisco Bay area and Richmond, California. However, this is subject to change (and might have already done so by time you’re reading this).
If you don’t find your city on the list when you go to sign up, you can always join the waitlist.
4. Work From Home for Amazon
Amazon is constantly recruiting new employees. (You can find job listings here.) However, time and time again, it’s the work-from-home customer service jobs that prove most popular amongst Penny Hoarders.
Amazon ramps up its work-from-home customer service jobs during the holidays, but we frequently spot new openings throughout the year.
According to previous listings, as a customer service associate, you’ll communicate with customers via phone and live chat to help answer their questions, solve their issues and ease their concerns. You’ve also got to prove patient in stressful circumstances and possess some empathy.
Typically, requirements include a high school diploma or GED equivalent, a year of customer service experience and proficiency in English.
You should have basic phone and computer skills as well as a fast and reliable wired internet connection. Otherwise, Amazon sends you the required technology, including a headset.
In the past, we’ve seen pay listed as $10 an hour plus bonus opportunities. Training is paid — and online.
You can keep an eye on these types of positions at Amazon’s virtual job listings page.
5. Use Amazon’s Affiliate Program
Tapping into Amazon’s Affiliate Program is a great way to monetize your website or blog. Basically, you add specific Amazon affiliate links to products you’ve written about, and when a reader clicks the link and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission.
Here’s an example: You read a book and want to write a review. Use an affiliate link to link the title back to the book’s Amazon page. When someone clicks and buys the book, you’ll earn up to 10% of the purchase price.
You might not earn a ton of money doing this, but it’s free to join, so there’s no true loss.
Read up on how to best make money through your blog with this guide.
6. Self-Publish a Book
Self-publishing a book is a great way to establish passive income.
Amazon offers several options on this front, including publishing to Kindle, print or audio.
Publishing to Kindle is totally free. It also takes less than five minutes, and your book will be available to millions of readers within 24 to 48 hours. You’ll earn up to 70% royalty. (See more details here.) You’ll also keep rights to your book and will be able to set your own list prices, as well as make any changes within the book.
Publishing to print through Amazon’s CreateSpace is also free. Here, you’ll be able to create, publish and distribute your book within a few days. You’ll still own your copyright, and you get to set your list price. You can earn up to 80% in royalties.
Finally, through Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange, you can publish audiobooks, which can be distributed through Audible, Amazon and iTunes. You’ve got several royalty rate options, so study up.
If you want an example of how someone’s made money through self-publishing, take notes from Steve Gillman.
You can find all your options for self-publishing on Amazon here.
7. Join Mechanical Turk
Yeah, it sounds like a foreign entity. But Mechanical Turk is an Amazon platform where people can post work requests for specific prices.
These individual tasks are called HITs, or Human Intelligence Tasks. You can complete these tasks from home and in your own time. Some tasks include opinion surveys, transcription and data entry.
How much you make will depend on which tasks you accept and how much time they take. (You’ll see an estimate before you begin.)
If you know what you’re doing and the best HITs to take, you can make some solid side cash — like this guy who’s averaged about $500 a month.
8. Apply to Amazon Handmade
Amazon Handmade is the Etsy of Amazon. It’s for “invited artisans” to sell their handmade goods.
Unlike Etsy, though, you can’t just hop on and start selling. You have to apply so Amazon can confirm all your goods are, in fact, made by hand by you or one of your 20 or fewer employees. (Read more about the requirements here.)
We wrote about Amazon Handmade when it first popped up and noted some things to consider before hopping on:
- Amazon charges 15% commission and a $1 minimum referral fee. (Compare that to Etsy, which charges a 20-cent item listing fee and 3.5% commission.)
- Other artisans have noted that there are limited metrics and analytics available, making it difficult to see what people are even interested in.
- Handmade products don’t show up in Amazon’s main search engine.
The big draw, however, is the huge reach.
See if Amazon Handmade is the right fit for you.
9. Sell Your Designs
If you’ve got an artistic streak, consider selling your designs on Merch by Amazon.
You’ll upload your artwork to Merch, choose a product type and color (e.g., a lavender T-shirt), set your price, then add a product description. Amazon then creates a product page. When customers buy, you don’t have to worry about production, shipping or customer service.
You’ll also be able to set your own prices, then determine royalty here.
Similar to Handmade, you’ll have to be considered as an applicant based on your background and experience.
Find the information you need on Amazon’s Merch page.
10. Go Camping
I was a little shocked when I happened upon this Amazon money-making opportunity. But why should I be? Amazon does everything — including camping.
Amazon’s CamperForce is a program that pays RVers’ fees and some utilities at certain campsites from early fall through Dec. 23 each year while they do seasonal work, including “picking, packing, stowing and receiving.”
According to Amazon, the program offers “great pay, a paid completion bonus, paid referral bonuses and paid campsites… along with the chance to build lasting relationships with your coworkers.”
CamperForce has paired with campgrounds across the U.S. (though only a few were available for assignment at the time of writing this).
Do note, however, some reviews of this program are iffy. MarketWatch wrote a bit about it here.
11. Trade In Your Used Tech
Did you know Amazon has a trade-in program?
This program allows customers to trade in old items, including gaming consoles, Kindles, books, phones, tablets and smartwatches.
Depending on your location, it can take up to 10 days to get paid in an Amazon gift card.
Read more about your trade in options here.
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s still on the wrong side of Amazon… as in she spends too much money on the platform.