Hi everyone! I wanted to let you know that I signed up for Jessica Larrew’s Online Sourcing Shared Virtual Assistant Program. In this post, I’m going to tell you about the program and explain why I signed up for it and how it’s working so far.
What is the Shared VA Program? A virtual assistant trained in online sourcing will find products to sell that meets Jessica’s personal criteria. Then, each weekday, members get a list of the finds. Since it’s a shared program, the list is distributed to multiple people – in my case, I share the same list with 50 others. To learn more about program, visit the Online Sourcing Shared Virtual Assistant Program sales page. Then come back here and finish reading the blog post!
Why share a virtual assistant instead of hiring your own? My reason is that I have no experience with hiring and training one and it’s not something that I want to get into at this point. Plus, I want a list of profitable items today, not next month (or later) after I come up with my training program, find a VA, train him/her and see how he/she works out. I do understand that some of you may want to go this route. If so, Jessica has a Train A Virtual Assistant course to help you with that. I have not read the guide so I can’t comment on the material.
How much does the Shared VA Program cost? The one that I joined is $147.00 per month. At first I wasn’t going to sign up as I want to keep my monthly subscription fees down and taking on another expense wasn’t in the plan. But I did the numbers and calculated that if each month has between 20 and 23 weekdays, then each day’s list costs between $7.35 and $6.39. To me, that’s well worth the time saved in sourcing and just buying and selling one product off of each list will make me that money back.
What’s included in the list? The screenshot below shows what the lists look like minus the columns that contain the product name and product links to both the store’s website and to Amazon’s. Besides it being wrong, it wouldn’t be fair to Jessica and the people that paid for the program if I were to post the product finds here.
March 30 Update: Even though I published this blog post this morning, the above screenshot is already outdated. The spreadsheet now include two more columns: the ASIN and a link to camelcamelcamel.
What stores are represented in the lists? Again, to be fair to Jessica and to the people that bought the list, I’m not going to give out the store names. But I will say that I haven’t heard of half of the stores on my lists. Also, so far I have not purchased any products from the common national chain stores such as Target, Walgreens, Walmart and Toys “R” Us.
Not to get off topic, but take a look at the number of FBA Sellers in the spreadsheet. Maybe most Sellers don’t know about these stores so that’s why there are so few Sellers on each item. Just a thought….
Does the buy price include shipping and sales tax? No, it doesn’t. So, because of this, you really can’t buy just one of each item because then the shipping and/or sales tax will reduce your profit or even completely eliminate it.
Sometimes you will have to go deep on a product to qualify for free shipping or you may not ever qualify if there are product limits. When that happens, you’ll either need to find other products on your own to purchase or look over previous lists and find products that were listed earlier from that same store.
With sales tax, your choices are to pay it if the net profit is high enough to cover it, buy from the stores that don’t charge you sales tax, check to see if they’ll accept your reseller permit or find a coupon code to cancel out your sales tax. InvisibleHand is great with alerting you to coupon codes and you can also sign up to the store’s email list and get promotional emails sent to you.
Tip: Open up a separate email account for your online purchases and promotional emails. Then create a subfolder to file your orders and create subfolders for each individual store. File the promotional emails in the store subfolders. This way you can quickly find the most recent coupon codes for a specific store.
Also, don’t forget to use Ebates so you’ll get a “bonus” check later.
With 50 people sharing the list, will the product sell out? This was one concern of mine because the lists are distributed by 12:30 pm each day. I’m at work at that time and I was worried that everything would be sold out by the time I got to the lists later on in the evenings. So far, there has only been one instance where a product was not in stock before I got to it. However, I have found that most products are still in stock several days later after it’s posted.
What about a race to the bottom with 50 people? I’m honestly too new to the program to give a definite answer because none of my products have even reached the Amazon warehouses yet. But I do know that there’s a chance of prices going down with any item. How many people visit Toys “R” Us and buy the same sale and clearance items?
With the lists, I highly doubt that all 50 people are buying every item off of each list. I know that I’m not. Some items don’t meet my criteria and some people (like me) don’t have the budget to buy everything. With most stores, you have to buy $50, $75 or $100 worth of products to get free shipping. So, if you were to buy all eight (or more) finds a day and qualify for free shipping, you would be spending hundreds of dollars a day.
Why did I sign up? Because I struggle with getting enough products found and sent in to Amazon. I’m not meeting my sales and profit goals and I know that my lack of inventory is a big part of it. I have limited time to source as I work 50 hours a week at my regular job and so far, I’ve been doing every part of Amazon FBA 100% on my own. Having someone else source is a big time-saver for me.
How many products have I bought and am I seeing any results? Here are my statistics since joining just over two weeks ago:
- Bought 14 different products – 13 from the list, 1 that I found on my own
- Bought from 7 different stores
- Bought between 1 and 8 of each item for a total of 42 items
- Spent a total of $571.84 – goal is to increase this to $500.00 per week
- Sold zero products – this is because none of my products have reached the Amazon warehouses yet. My first batch of products should arrive at Amazon on April 1st.
I am optimistic that this program will help me get both my sales and profits up while saving me time on sourcing. I’ll give you an update in two or three months and let you know how well it’s working for me.
Note: Also, though it may sound like I’m promoting this program, keep in mind that I’m not an affiliate and I gain nothing if you sign up or not. Yes, I am an affiliate for some of the products/services that I talk about on this website but not all of them. I genuinely enjoy working on my blog and the Shared VA Program frees up time for me to work on it and to do other things that I enjoy.