Should I start selling with an Amazon Individual or Professional Account?

Thinking about selling on Amazon? By now, you’ve probably watched videos, listened to podcasts, and read books that promise you can ditch your job and be independently wealthy if you hand over a few thousand dollars for an Amazon selling course today. But you don’t need to pay thousands of dollars to learn how to sell on Amazon. In fact, you can get started today by reading our article on how sellers get their inventory.

Amazon’s own Seller University should give you a solid foundation, and it’s completely free for sellers. An additional benefit is that you’ll get help from the primary source, not some seller who’s giving you bad advice.

The very first decision you’ll have to make once you decide to jump into Amazon is whether to start with an individual account or a professional account. In this article, we’ll go over the differences between the two accounts and which one you should use and why. You can read more about FBM, FBA, and SFP here.

Amazon Individual Selling Account

This account is free for all Amazon sellers. But make no mistake: free doesn’t mean you should not take your account health seriously. Amazon only allows one seller account per individual for life, so avoid making mistakes and thinking you can just start over with another account. Once Amazon suspends your seller account permanently, any other future seller accounts that are linked will also be suspended. And that means you may lose any money or inventory attached to those accounts if you’re suspended for certain reasons. So do your research and be prepared.

Who is this account good for?

If you want an account so that you can learn how Amazon works, starting with an Individual account is a good idea. There are some reasons why you should start with the Individual account and why you should upgrade. We’ll go over them here.

Advantages

  • No monthly fees so you won’t stress out or feel pressured to make sales
  • You’re allowed to go slowly and learn Amazon at your own pace by listing and selling a few items
  • You still have access to FBA if you want to learn FBA before upgrading to the Professional account
  • Great way to get started without making a commitment to one marketplace

Disadvantages

  • Each sale has a per-item fee of 99¢ in addition to all other Amazon fees, so if you consistently sell more than 40 items per month, you should upgrade to the Professional plan or you’ll lose money
  • Without Amazon Marketplace Web Service (MWS), you won’t be able to use any apps like SellerZen
  • Some category restrictions
  • No high placement on product detail pages
  • No uploading sheets for inventory management

While it seems like there are more disadvantages to the Individual account, you don’t really need some of the features that the Professional account holds unless you have a lot of inventory or sales. If you’re just starting out, then chances are you’re doing some kind of arbitrage or selling books or other media. If that’s the case, selling your item on Amazon is a fairly straightforward and simple process since the product you want to sell most likely has an existing listing.

Amazon Professional Selling Account

Once you’re consistently selling more than 40 items per month, you should really switch over to the $39.99 per month Professional plan. Why? Because the Individual plan has a 99¢ per-item fee on top of other fees, you’ll be spending more money per month on the per-item fee than you’d be spending on the Professional plan.

But that’s not the only benefit the Professional plan holds. Here are some more:

Advantages

  • Access to Amazon MWS, which allows you to connect apps like repricers and accounting platforms like SellerZen
  • Ability to sell in more categories once you apply for approval
  • Upload inventory forms if you have a lot of inventory to handle
  • Access to Amazon’s valuable reporting tools
  • Ability to win Buy Box or be placed high on the product detail page

Disadvantages

  • Costs $39.99 per month
  • If you’re upgrading from an Individual plan, your account may be suspended until your account is verified

Really, there aren’t any big disadvantages to the Professional selling plan if you’re serious about selling on Amazon. The cost is more than worth it to have access to Amazon’s over 300 million customers and close to half of the market share for online sales in the US.

Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to get the Professional plan comes down to how serious you are about selling on Amazon. Don’t let those YouTube videos and Podcasts fool you: success on Amazon takes a lot of work, but if you’re persistent and have a good work ethic, you can achieve the success that those videos promise.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making money!

10 Tips for Creating a Great Company Name

What’s in a company name?

A marketable company name is a powerful asset that helps drive growth for any company. Few people notice its importance until the company grows to a certain point. With 100 customers a day looking for your website, it’s hardly noticeable when 20% cannot find you since it’s only 20 customers.

However, when you become more established, 20% may convert to 200 or 2000 customers who are not able to find your website, and that means a huge loss in potential income. By then, many small business owners discover that it is too difficult to rename the business. Changing names means losing and confusing even more customers. Still, change is sometimes necessary for the company to thrive. Before you run into naming issues, follow these tips to come up with a marketable company name.

1. Choose a company name that is as short as possible

After helping many companies work on branding, there is one thing we realized. The shorter the name, the easier it is for customers to remember. Not all businesses are website-focused, but we can say with certainty that if you can drive customers to your site, then you have a slight advantage over the businesses that can’t. Everyone’s main access to the web is on smartphones, and we can all agree that typing on the small keyboard is not as easy as it should be. The longer your business and domain name (website name), the harder it is for your customers to get to your website without getting the spelling wrong. If they cannot get to your website, then they will give up and go somewhere else.

2. Choose a company name that has the fewest syllables possible

Fewer syllables mean names will be easier for customers to remember and type. Many top online retailers have few syllables in their name. Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Macy’s, and Best Buy all have two or three syllables. Not only is it easier to remember the name, but it is also easier to tell other people about it.

3. Choose a company name that has the fewest words possible

Having fewer words is fairly obvious since we just discussed number 2, but fewer words will also mean the name will be easier to remember for customers. While it is usually difficult to find a one-word name, two-word names are a lot more available.

4. Choose a company name with an available domain

While you can choose any business name, you won’t have as many customers if they can’t find your website. The best names are those that the customer can easily understand and type to get to the website. Having the same business name and domain is a big advantage. Remember, they won’t always remember your domain, but if they can type your name into Google and see the same company name as the domain, they will be less confused.

5. Use a trademark-able domain name

Your company name should be easily trademark-able. That means you shouldn’t use big words, and it means coming up with a name that is not already taken by another company. See tip #6 for a more information. A trademark-able name will also help you avoid having similar names to other companies. If your business name is trademark-able, then it is probably unique and will give you a presence on the web.

6. Use pronounceable made up words

Flickr, Tumblr, Reddit are some of the names that companies have found with great success. These are not quite proper words, but they’re easily pronounceable. These easy-to-say words make the names stick in customers’ minds, and they will recall it easier when they search for the name on the internet.

7. When possible use a .com domain name

.com is king. With a vast variety of top-level domain names available, you have a lot of choices. The .com domain has been with us since the beginning of the internet, so people automatically assume that your website is a .com. Another case for the .com domain is that sites that are not .com tend to be spammy. First impressions are important, and in business, you want all the advantage you can get.

8. When possible, avoid international domain names

It’s very tempting to try to use an international domain name for your business. There are some clever domain names you can make with the countries that are available. However, clever is not always a good thing. If you have to end up explaining to your customers how to get to your website, then you’ve made your business less accessible. So you want to avoid the many available international top-level domain names unless you’re doing business in those countries.

9. When possible, avoid dashes or hyphens in the name

Dashes and hyphens are sometimes used in company names, but they make it difficult for people to search for domain names. Whether the company name has a hyphen or not will confuse customers. Some businesses, like law firms, may do well with hyphens. But for businesses that serve the general audience, it’s best just to avoid potentially confusing your customers. Most customers won’t even realize that the hyphen and the dash are two separate punctuation marks, and those who do recognize the difference may be confused as well.

10. When possible, avoid numbers in the name

Although integrating a number with your name can be used to increase the number of available domain names, sometimes numbers confuse customers. Avoid this if possible. Spell out the number in your domain name if you must have one, but you can quickly see how this can get confusing for your customers. For example, when customers tell others about your brand, 99Toys, most people will type the number into the search engine. If your domain spells out the number, then you’re asking your customers to spell correctly and possibly include the hyphen.

Read our article for some websites that will help you come up with a great company name and don’t forget about your logo!