Stress Awareness Month has never been more topical for Amazon FBA sellers. We’re breaking out of our COVID-19 cocoons, and many of us are still grappling with the stress and de-motivated feelings of the past year.
There is no shortage of blogs and articles about how to keep yourself motivated—especially in the Work From Home/COVID era. Many gurus tout the importance of self-care, letting go, and cutting yourself a break.
However, entrepreneurs (especially FBA sellers) have to overcome stress and stay motivated to keep their businesses afloat. Unplugging can mean lasting consequences. Every entrepreneur knows you can never completely let go. FBA sellers don’t have as much wiggle room when it comes to shutting down, especially if your listing is suspended or your top competitor just nabbed the buy box.
Whether you’re a sole proprietor or part of a 500+ person company, if you’ve been operating in the Amazon space lately, you’ve been more than a little busy. Everyone needs balance in their lives to avoid burnout. So we’ve gathered advice from FBA sellers and Thrashers about building long-term, sustainable motivation.
Find Your “Why”
Finding your why means discovering your purpose. It’s crucial to build a healthy personal foundation to have professional stability, but it will require you to dig deep.
When you are your own boss, you have to boss yourself around.
Holding the long-term vision in the back of your mind while checking off menial tasks is challenging but essential. If you’re always in a visionary headspace, emails won’t get answered, inventory won’t be ordered, and customers won’t be able to buy your products.
Remember, everybody has a boss. Even Jeff Bezos has a boss, and it’s the same boss you have: Amazon customers. If you don’t meet your essential tasks, your listing will suffer.
What are you doing all this for anyway?
Many FBA sellers are already excelling in their 9-5 jobs. You may be moonlighting yourself, so what is it within you that pushed you to want to do more? This motivating factor you identify needs to be bigger than yourself—bigger than your fatigue. Grab onto that feeling within when you’re exhausted. Print out a picture of your kids, the house you want, or your dream car, and tape it to your computer monitor.
If you’ve gotten this far in building your FBA business and haven’t identified your why, zeroing in on your purpose is only going to push you to more significant gains both personally and professionally.
Try reading The Artist’s Way. The self-help workbook written in 1992 has changed the lives and trajectories of many visionaries like Tim Ferriss, Elizabeth Gilbert, and even Martin Scorcese.
- Lauren Rogers, a Senior Copywriter at Thrasio: “I worked through The Artist’s Way a few years ago and learned that sustaining a life-long creative practice requires play, consistency, and a deep appreciation for the process. Those lessons helped me build the discipline needed to become a better writer word by word.”
- Helaine Bach, Marketing Creative Operations at Thrasio: “My biggest takeaway from the exercise was that learning is a core value of mine. I am happiest and most fulfilled when I am learning new things and adding new skills to my design toolkit. I also found that I define design as solving problems and communicating solutions.”
Establishing why you’re in the FBA game to start with makes the stings of inevitable setbacks less painful (and easier to overcome).
If all that sounds a little too woo-woo for you, try something like Donald Miller’s Hero On a Mission course. As an entrepreneur himself, he knows the power of motivation and goal setting. The course teaches how to:
- Focus on what matters
- Do what you need to do even when you don’t feel like it
- Make progress on your goals every day
Create Your Ideal Week
This is another fantastic Donald Miller tip.
When actively transitioning from blurry busy days to the lifestyle you’re striving for, building the ideal week is a good middle ground to start from.
Ask yourself what your ideal week would look like. When are you most productive? If you got to be in charge of all the variables at play, what would be on your calendar and when? Then, sketch it out.
Identify Your Money-Maker
What is the one task that, if you don’t get it done, will cost your business money?
- Is it setting up deals?
- Identifying omnichannel growth opportunities?
- Responding to customer concerns?
- Projecting and forecasting?
Whatever it is that’s most important to your unique business needs to be planned for and protected at all costs.
Then, identify what most often distracts you from your money-maker. It could even be any of the other tasks mentioned above. It’ll be different for everyone. But once you figure out what’s draining your focus, you can solve the problem by de-prioritizing the repeat offender or hiring to solve for it.
Make a habit of writing down both your personal and professional goals for each week. Carve out time on your calendar to do the tasks that move you closer to your goals. Days can get away from you, and before you know it, your week is shot. Yearly goals are only worthwhile if you break them into actionable tasks.
Cut the Crap
Allot time in your calendar week-by-week to cross off each item on your to-do list. If you’re sitting down on Sunday night realizing there isn’t enough time to get everything done, you’ll know before the week even starts. If you keep putting off a specific task week after week, you’ll know exactly what you need to outsource or hire for.
If it’s answering emails, updating your books, running PPC campaigns, or even running errands—cut out what isn’t working for you and make it someone else’s job.
Exercise to Exorcise
Any moderately productive person will tell you that exercise is essential to mental and physical health or creativity, etc.
Thrasio’s CO-CEO Carlos Cashman takes it a step further when he says, “Exercise is an important part of any workday.”
It’s not just personal time or self-improvement–it’s essential to approach your work and business. We’re no longer separating the mind from the body, they’re all one, and they work better with regular exercise.
The same goes for sleep. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talked about his habit of getting eight hours of sleep in terms of his responsibility to Amazon shareholders: “Making a small number of key decisions well is more important than making a large number of decisions. If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.”
Don’t Break The Chain
Commit to tiny habits with the simple goal of keeping the chain of whatever daily task going. Eventually, keeping the chain going becomes motivation in and of itself.
This method is advice rumored to be used by Jerry Seinfeld–writing a little bit every day even when you don’t feel like it. Put an “x” on your calendar every day that you complete that necessary task. The effort (i.e. the chain) becomes the reward.
Discipline (not motivation) is the Key to Success.
When you’re feeling fatigued and the shimmer of the original idea has tarnished, remind yourself that feeling is a natural part of the process of building something. It doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail.
Finding differentiation or your niche in the market doesn’t have to be a huge disrupter. Often for FBA sellers, small changes or differentiators that lead to incremental growth can build major long-term success.
Take some advice from SVP of Creative and Brand Strategy, John Hefner, on Private Label Live:
Pull on the low-hanging fruit, get some small wins, and then focus on long-term outcomes.
Maybe you’ve exhausted all of this. You’ve either taken your FBA business as far as you can or managing it has lost its luster. So many sellers who reach out to us are in the same boat. These are FBA sellers who have brought their businesses to an enviable position but simply aren’t interested in running the details anymore.
In today’s hustle culture, it’s easy to feel addicted to the grind. But don’t hustle out of habit when there’s a clear path to success without the headache.
If you’re thinking about moving on to something else, sell your business before your distractions become liabilities.