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Getting a Shared VA to Help with My Amazon FBA Sourcing

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.

Shared-VA-List-SHD

March 30 Update: Even though I published this blog post this morning, the above screenshot is already outdated.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.
It's fun opening your boxes and seeing what you bought!

It’s fun opening your boxes and seeing what you bought!

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.

I hope this post answers all of your questions about the Shared VA Program.  If it doesn’t, please ask me in the comment form or on my Facebook page.

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.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Nate March 30, 2015, 8:42 pm

    Pro Tip if you don’t want to open another email. If you use GMAIL, simply at a “plus” on the end of your email to then use for filtering. For example, if my email was nate@gmail.com, I could enter nate+Target@gmail.com in my correspondence from Target. Everything after the “+” is ignored so it will still go to my Inbox. However, you can then setup a filter for everything sent to “Nate+Target@gmail.com” to be filtered into a “Target” folder.

    It’s nice if you don’t constantly want to juggle multiple email addresses.

    Reply
    • Diana April 8, 2015, 5:26 pm

      Hi Nate, sorry I didn’t see this earlier. It got lost in my comments. I will try that because right now my gmail account is a big mess with all of the emails that the stores are sending me. I knew gmail had a way of filtering, but didn’t know how. Thank you so much for the tip!!!

      Reply
    • Tony July 26, 2016, 8:12 am

      Or create a label (folder) for each store then create a filter for the label… you can nest labels below others ie
      Target
      Target receipt

      FYI!!! Don’t forget your Discount gift cards and cashback sites I have a list of both as well as a list of daily deals sites. Anyone that wants it can message me on fb https://www.facebook.com/Tony.Gove
      Tony~

      Reply
  • jim March 31, 2015, 12:50 am

    Hi… Thank you for all the wonderful information. Just a quick question for you. Previously, you used droidscan. Dues Jessica’s service replace that for you? If so, why change as 22 a month is much easier to swallow than 150?
    Thanks,
    Jim

    Reply
    • Diana March 31, 2015, 5:00 am

      Hi Jim, that’s a good question. I quit the $22.00 a month plan because too many products on my lists gave net profits of $1.00 to $3.00 which is too low for me. Also, at the time I joined, only six stores were used and there was only one that I could buy from online (Target) without paying sales tax. So, paying tax on a low profit item left virtually no profit. My business plan has changed and my new minimum profit is $5.00 and I’m working towards a $10.00 with a minimum 50% ROI.

      When I cancelled, it didn’t even occur to me to look at their other plans. If I were to sign up again today, I would try their $50 a month plan with the higher ROI% and lower rankings. Plus I see that they have 17 stores now which may give a better selection of higher profit items and more stores that don’t charge sales tax.

      I never viewed Jessica’s program as a replacement and wasn’t even planning on joining it when I made my decision to cancel SDP. Then she announced that she had open spots and I wasn’t getting anywhere sourcing on my own, so decided to give her program a shot. The monthly fee is higher, but the minimum profits are all above $7 with the majority over $9. To me the cost of any list doesn’t matter as long as I make my money back on it plus some.

      I’m committed to using Jessica’s program for at least two months, maybe three. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll give the $50 SDP plan a shot. One other difference I do see between the two is that SDP finds a lot of Health/Beauty products that can be replenished (at low profits) where Jessica’s seems to be more of random items that are on sale.

      I hope this answers your question, Diana.

      Reply
  • Anthony April 2, 2015, 7:08 pm

    When signing up. Were you blocked by the wait list? How long did it take you to join?

    Reply
    • Diana April 2, 2015, 8:16 pm

      Hi Anthony, I vaguely remember signing up for her VA program one or two months ago, can’t really remember when. But for this list, Jessica announced the new list and new spots in her Facebook Group so I was able to get in immediately going through the link. Hopefully she’ll have more openings soon. Diana

      Reply
  • KC April 3, 2015, 11:36 pm

    Hi Diana

    Please keep us posted on your progress regarding shared VAs.
    Are you seeing lot of competion,
    Are you seeing the prices drop,
    HOw is the sales rank now compared to when the list was sent out,
    etc

    I’m still trying to get my head around all this….
    why would someone (Jessica) want to share her products with 50 additional people and create potential competition for herslef and the rest of the group.

    You can email me your response if thats easier.

    THanks

    Reply
    • Diana April 4, 2015, 1:13 am

      Hi KC, Good questions…So far, I only have one product from the VA list that is at Amazon. Just got there two days ago…One thing with shopping online is that it takes time for the product to get from the store to you and then for me, the majority of my items takes another 10 days to reach Amazon. So, starting next week, I’ll have more products.

      The one item of mine that’s listed, I see that 30 other people bought the product since it was shared on the list. I can’t say if all 30 Sellers are from the same shared VA list, but I’m sure most were. The price is still the same, but the sales ranking went up by 23,000. By up, meaning to a higher (worse) number.

      I don’t think that Jessica is buying her inventory from the same list as the other 50 people. Jessica’s been doing FBA for a few years and I’m sure has her own personal VA(s) to find products only for her. Though I haven’t asked her personally, I’m sure she does the Shared VA Program as a combination of helping us while also creating an additional income source for herself. She is successful with FBA, has a large following and the more help (products/services) that she provides us, she makes money too. Nothing wrong with that and she’s very smart for doing so.

      Anyway, I’ve been buying up a lot of products and time will tell how it pans out with the increase in competition. I’m committed on buying one more month of the shared VA and after I get more products into Amazon and give them all a few weeks to sell, I’ll have better info.

      Diana

      Reply
  • Kc April 4, 2015, 6:09 pm

    Thanks Diana.
    Good luck.
    Keep us posted.

    Reply
  • Eugene April 16, 2015, 7:14 am

    Diana,
    Thanks for sharing some great information! I’ve never heard about Jessica’s Shared VA Program!
    Today is 04.17. Could you please tell what is your sales and profit up today?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Diana April 16, 2015, 3:01 pm

      Hi Eugene,
      I have sold five items from her list.
      Sales: $126.15
      Cost of Goods: $48.73
      After Amazon Fees and COGS, the net profit is $51.71, which is just over 100%.

      However, out of the five sales, 4 were of the same product. The good is that this is a Health and Personal Care product that may be a good replenishable that I can sell year-round.

      Unfortunately, things aren’t selling as quick has I had hoped. There is an increase in number of FBA Sellers from when the list went out and they are dropping prices. It’s still early though as my products have been at Amazon for less than two weeks. So, I’ll hold out for a while before joining the price drop crowd and see what happens.

      I’m no longer part of Jessica’s list as I joined a different program that has a lower monthly fee. So far though, it appears that they source from the same set of online stores. Their minimum net profits seem to be a little less on this new list but since people are dropping prices, it doesn’t seem to matter as much.

      Diana

      Reply
      • Eugene April 16, 2015, 7:01 pm

        Diana, thanks for information!

        Reply
  • Lynn June 27, 2015, 10:00 pm

    Diana, have you had any further experience with this service that you can share with us? I am considering about signing up but want to make sure I am spending $$$ wisely. Thanks very much
    Thanks,
    Lynn

    Reply
    • Diana June 27, 2015, 11:50 pm

      Hi Lynn, I no longer use this specific list as I am now using Primeresale and SupremeProducList as their monthly fees aren’t as high.

      With that said, Jessica’s list was very good and most of her items had a net profit of $10 or more. Unfortunately, with lists (which you’ll find on any list) is that once the other people on the list start buying the same items the price drops.

      I don’t have as mush history with the SupremeProductList since I just started it and have only purchased one item from it. For Jessica’s and the Primeresale list, they do source at many of the same stores. Primeresale has products with profits of over $10, but also several under. The SupremeProductList does have clothing items (which I’m not approved for) where the other two do not. But the person that does the SupremeProductList says that he’s going to give subscribers a free ungating course.

      Whichever list you do, just keep in mind about the race to the bottom. But, they are good as I learned of stores that I’ve never heard of before and did buy items that I would have never found on my own. Doing all of the price comparing research online isn’t something I enjoy doing.

      My advice is to try a list and see how you like it. I think with Jessica’s, you can cancel within 7 days and the Primeresale has weekly and daily plans so you can test it out. The SupremeProductList doesn’t have a free trial, but the current $19.95 price is the lowest of the three. The Primeresale is the easiest to read and the SupremeProductList is the hardest.

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

      Diana

      Reply
  • Johna May 2, 2016, 6:39 pm

    Hi Diana —

    I know I’m about a year late on this post, but just read it and your latest update . Are you still doing The Supreme Product List and Prime Resale? Do you find those the best?

    Reply
    • Diana May 2, 2016, 8:30 pm

      Hi Johna,
      I do not use any of those 2 lists anymore. I am now focusing on shoes so I don’t buy too many non-shoe products.

      My recommendation with lists is to try them out for a week or a month and see how you like it. Keep in mind that you will most likely experience a race-to-the-bottom on some of the items.

      I find lists are a good way to learn new stores and to use as a starting point for your own searches.

      Another list that I just learned of for both shoes and non-shoes is at gumroad.com/eps. If you don’t want to sign up for a monthly plan, they have individual lists. Though I haven’t tried the individual non-shoe lists, I like that with some of them, all of the finds are from the same store. Sometimes with other lists, it’s hard to buy enough product to qualify for free shipping.

      Diana

      Reply
  • Tony July 26, 2016, 8:23 am

    why are you paying $150 a month to share a va with 50 other people? that’s $7500 for a $300-400 a month employee. I would much rather share the va with 3 other people and charge them $150 a month. if you don’t want to train them you can pay a flat fee for someone else to do it for $500-600.

    Reply
    • Diana July 26, 2016, 12:15 pm

      Hi Tony,

      When I wrote this post over a year ago, I was curious to try my first list and wasn’t ready to train my own VA. I no longer subscribe to this list and have subscribed & unsubscribed to a few other lists over the past year.

      You do raise good points about the cost of a paid list versus having your own VA and charging it to a small group of people. Something I’ll have to look into!

      Diana

      Reply
  • Lux September 22, 2016, 5:17 pm

    Hi Diana, another well-timed post! Question- how or where does one go to find a group of 3 to share a VA with, as Tony suggests?

    Reply
    • Diana September 22, 2016, 11:22 pm

      Hi Lux,
      Since I haven’t done that, I’m not exactly sure what the best way is.

      My thoughts are to ask the people that you have built relationships with already and ask and see if that’s something that they’ll want to partner with you on.

      Another option would be to train a VA yourself and then sell your list to 2 other people through Gumroad.

      I wish I had a better answer…

      Diana

      Reply

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I am working towards creating a full-time income by selling on Amazon. It's a lot of work but very fun! If you're interested in selling on Amazon, be sure to follow my blog as I'll be providing you with lots of tips!

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