No matter where you look, you’ll find another self-proclaimed “Amazon FBA guru” offering a course for new sellers. And no matter who you are, if you don’t know what to look for, you can fall prey to a scammer or a “less-than-desirable” course that is a waste of your money.
Hi! I’m Ashley Kinkead and I started my Amazon business (with just a credit card) and eventually achieved over $2 million in sales on the site. When I started selling on Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) back in 2015, there were only a handful of courses even available at that time.
And to be honest – I still struggled with “information overload” when getting started, because I never had a business before!
In the early days of my business, I was vulnerable and willing to turn to anyone for help, because I had no experience and the “online course world” was new to me.
I purchased several Amazon courses in my first year of business – some were helpful, and some I would have certainly passed on knowing what I know now.
That’s why I founded Private Label Mastery – we were the first in the industry to offer “1-on-1” coaching and support services for entrepreneurs wanting to launch their own product on Amazon.
Not all Amazon courses are worth the investment – far from it. As someone who’s been in the e-commerce industry for 8 years, I can assure you that only a handful of Amazon training courses are legitimate.
Amazon FBA is also an extremely profitable business (if done right) – so it’s important to get this right when you’re selecting a training program.
So, you’re probably wondering a couple questions:
- Do I need a course if I want to be an Amazon seller?
- If I decide to take a course – how do I know it’s legit?
For the first question; the short answer is: NO. You do not need a course to become an Amazon seller.
You can access just about everything you need to get started via Amazon’s new seller resources section on their website. To be clear – starting an Amazon business is something you can do, and many people do, on their own.
The thing to consider is that Amazon FBA is always changing, growing and their seller support isn’t the best or really catered for the individual person.
You want to consider investing in a course or a coaching program if you want to fast track your results, you are someone who needs more “hand-holding” or has a lot of questions, or you need accountability.
The first (and biggest) red flag you should notice is a promise of a fast, easy way to overnight riches. It should be a known fact that starting a business takes an incredible amount of work and dedication.
But here are 8 ways to tell if your Amazon course is legit:
1. There is support.
I’m not a believer in “go-figure-it-out” courses where you are left completely to your own devices. If you’re just handed a username and password and never talk to a human in the process – you should PASS!
A legitimate course will have support – and not just a Facebook group with a few moderators in it. There will be dedicated staff who are available to assist you when you have a question. When doing research, if a course doesn’t have a dedicated support personnel with a phone number or an email address that is answered for students – you should pass.
Many scammers don’t have the money to hire any staff, or even the desire to train a team to support you, and this in itself should be a red flag.
2. There are (trained) coaches on the staff – and they sell on Amazon.com.
It’s a head-scratcher, but many courses in the industry are not created or taught by real Amazon entrepreneurs. You’d be lucky to find any coaches at all to support you through the material.
Have you ever signed up for a course and abandoned it because you couldn’t figure out how to use it and couldn’t talk to someone?…. I know I have.
Selling on Amazon can be a significant, challenging endeavor for anyone and here’s the key – it’s a very individualized journey. With Amazon FBA, each product and person’s business is unique. If you follow a course that thousands of other people are doing without any individualized support, you will hit many curves in the road where you have questions that are specific to your situation. Not to mention you will be doing the SAME exact thing as thousands of other sellers with no individualization or differentiation to the process.
There are tons of courses with thousands of students and no coaches.
The thing is, hiring coaching staff is a serious investment and commitment for the course owner. If the course has coaches, you can be more confident that they care about your success.
A legitimate course will have staff from Amazon.com, or at least staff who have real, verifiable experience as Amazon sellers.
3. The course material is “up-to-date”.
Here’s a (dirty laundry) secret of the industry: the vast majority of Amazon FBA courses are created by 1 person (and, this is usually an individual with almost no experience in LMS learning management systems or educational products). In most cases, the course is barely maintained or updated at all, AND it is woefully out-of-date.
Even courses that cost thousands of dollars.
Besides the obvious – the problem with that is Amazon selling changes ALL the time!
A legitimate course should have:
- A curriculum
- A roadmap
- A timeline for you to follow
A legitimate course will frequently update their training for students and make significant, ongoing investments into the material.
4. You can speak to someone before signing up – not just hand over your credit card.
One of my pet peeves is “gurus” with a checkout page, but no followup or questions before or after the sale.
…. Do you really trust someone who will take payment from you without even considering if this business is right for you in the first place?
Legitimate courses should have an application process of some kind and if you have no chance of being successful – the course should not take your money. Period.
If you can’t talk to a human being at any point during the checkout process, then that should be a major red flag.
A legitimate course will consider if you’re prepared to be an Amazon seller (and will turn you away if you AREN’T prepared or qualified).
5. There is transparency about the costs and investment involved.
Starting a business, whether or not you work with a coach, will entail investment.
As a baseline, an Amazon seller will need 1) a product to sell and will 2) pay Amazon fees. Amazon’s Professional Seller Account costs $39.99/month. You’ll also pay sale-related fees when your product makes sales. In addition, you’ll need some kind of product research tool (options range from free, up to a few hundred dollars per month in subscriptions).
Most Amazon sellers invest a minimum of several thousand dollars into their product offerings and shipping their new product to Amazon warehouses.
A legitimate course will make you aware of these costs before you pay for the course. If a course tells you you can start an Amazon business with “no investment” – you should think twice.
6. There are free resources you can access.
A lot of course creators today are in the business just to “make a buck” and don’t help for free.
Personally?…. I’m highly skeptical of any “guru” who doesn’t care to put in the effort to reach the greater public with their knowledge and skill set.
A legitimate course has FREE resources (such as training, helpful video content, a podcast, a website, or even a blog) where you can read more about Amazon.com and get value – even if you don’t sign up for the course itself.
7. Check how long the course has been around.
Every day, it seems a new course is popping up and many of these operations are “fly-by-night”. You don’t want to sign up for a course and in a few months, you no longer have access.
Look for a well-established course that is proven. A course that has been in business a while should have taken the time to make product improvements and should have a good track record of commitment to customers.
A legitimate course should be in business for at least 3 years.
8. There should be testimonials or reviews (both good AND bad).
Starting an e-commerce business is not easy, and not everyone is cut out for it. You should be wary of any course that either has no reviews or testimonials OR only has positive testimonials available to view. Students who take a course or coaching program get varying results, because individuals and their commitment levels vary. Not everyone is successful in a course. A legitimate course will show a wide variety of testimonials so you can get the best picture of different outcomes.
A legitimate course will have hundreds of reviews or testimonials, including both good and bad reviews.
Be sure to look out for the above 8 “red flags”, and follow these steps to try and avoid falling for a scam course and losing your hard-earned money or being roped into a course that doesn’t help you be truly successful on Amazon FBA.