October 12, 2022

How to Sell on Amazon and eBay With No Money: Interview With Tamika Richie

Approximately 3,700 new sellers join Amazon each day, dipping their toes into ecommerce. And why not? Online selling can be a very lucrative business, with global numbers surpassing $8.1 trillion in 2021 alone. Are you one of those who dream of hitting it big in ecommerce? Curious about how to make money through this possible source of passive income? Worried about the financial implications?

As challenging as it sounds, you can actually start an Amazon FBA business with little money. Sellzone’s good friend and a leading Amazon expert, Robyn Johnson, invited 100 NormanC founder Tamika Richie to share her ecommerce journey, and how she became a 6-figure online seller. She started in 2014 by selling some of her son’s old toys on eBay. Today, she runs her own black home decor and accessories brand. Supported by Semrush ecommerce tools, her listings rank at the top of Amazon.

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A Closer Look at Tamika Richie’s Success Story

It’s not impossible to make money on eBay and Amazon for free—Tamika has proven that! Let's see how she did it.

The Beginning of the Journey

As mentioned, it all began simply enough: in 2014, Tamika went onto eBay to sell some of her son’s used toys for some extra cash—and they sold like hot cakes! Next, she tried to sell some of her own items, and before long had moved on to brand-new products.

Tamika realized that she could source products cheaply and make money by reselling them online with a markup. She did this part-time for 8 months before quitting her corporate job to pursue ecommerce full-time. She discovered Amazon FBA shortly after. Today, she has online stores on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and her own website.

The Milestones that Led to Success

Tamika has been enjoying ecommerce success for close to a decade now, but she doesn’t take for granted the milestones that allowed her to achieve what she has. These are some of the most important moments that helped her realize her success:

  • Reaching 10k in monthly revenue, then achieving 100k in sales
  • Moving her product storage from her home to a warehouse
  • Creating her own products, of which she currently has three
  • Receiving copyrights for her products
  • Keeping her gross profit margin above 30%

The One Thing She Wishes She Had Known Earlier

One simple thing Tamika wishes she had known when her ecommerce venture was half its current size is this: buy more inventory.

The Inspiration Behind Continued Success

Success shouldn’t make one feel complacent. So while Tamika has extensive and relevant knowledge from her time in the corporate world, she continues to read personal development books. She also completed an entrepreneurship course with Cornell University, and it has proven itself insightful and helpful with her business and passive income.

Tamika is the first in her family to make money through ecommerce ventures, so there isn’t a model for her to follow. Instead, she’s creating the model as she goes; this model is constantly improving and innovating as products evolve and consumer trends change.

How to Sell on Amazon and eBay with No Money

Tamika Richie is proof that with the right amount of determination, combined with proper tools and knowledge, you can succeed in ecommerce. Learn how to start an Amazon business with no money or minimal cash capital below.

Is it possible to start an Amazon FBA business with little money?

It’s possible, but Tamika suggests setting aside at least $2,000 to $3,000 for an Amazon FBA business. You need money for the apps, packing supplies, product samples, and of course the inventory. These factors tend to eat into your resources quickly.

Additionally, it’s a smart idea to keep a reserve. This way, you’re ready for any situation that might require you to pull from the reserve instead of harming other resources.

How much does it cost to start an FBA business?

We previously mentioned having a minimum budget of $2,000 to $3,000 to set up an Amazon FBA business. These are other Amazon pricing factors to consider:

  • $0.99/item sold for individual Amazon seller accounts
  • $39.99/month for Amazon professional seller accounts
  • Additional selling fees
  • Delivery fulfillment fees
  • Long-term storage fees
  • Optional advertising services

Is it profitable to buy on Amazon and sell on eBay?

It’s definitely easy and profitable to flip from Amazon to eBay, especially during specific times of the year when Amazon sellers want to get rid of inventory. They will usually provide massive discounts, so you don’t even have to change the pricing on eBay to gain more profit.

Can I start an Amazon FBA business while working full-time?

Tamika suggests working full-time while dipping your toes in Amazon FBA just so you can make sure you like the process. This also leaves you more room to make mistakes because your income isn’t coming from only one source.

It’s also worth noting that new sellers should not take the last of their income and put it into Amazon FBA or eBay. It’s better to keep a day job or another source of income until the business has proven itself sustainable and profitable.

How risky is starting an Amazon FBA or eBay business?

Starting an FBA business is risky if you don’t have other cash flows. For example, you start selling a great product and it blows up on social media. Now, you have all these sellers trying to sell the same product. With so many competitors, your inventory either sits in storage or sells at a lower price.

This is connected to Tamika’s number one rule for anyone who’s getting started with ecommerce: You need to have reserves, preferably at least six months’ worth.

Which platform is better to start selling on—eBay or Amazon?

Tamika suggests selling on eBay first, just so you can learn the basic foundations of online selling and customer service, along with skills suchas creating a listing and writing convincing product descriptions. These strategies are applicable to your Amazon FBA business. However, keep in mind that the platforms have different customer bases, so be open to modifying your business model.

Furthermore, Amazon has much less wiggle room and a lot more rules than eBay does. On eBay, you can get started by taking some pictures of used items in decent condition, then post them online. So, it’s easy to get started. Amazon, on the other hand, requires approval for some items before you can start selling them.

What advice would you give someone starting an Amazon FBA business?

People with Amazon FBA businesses can easily get caught up in revenue numbers. But as someone who worked in the corporate world for a long time, Tamika knows that revenue doesn’t mean anything if sellers don’t have a sustainable business model.

Many sellers are either no longer around or struggling to keep their online store afloat because they paid too much attention to boosting revenue to review their bottom line and balance sheet. So, anyone who wants to start an Amazon FBA should have a solid bottom line before fueling any passion to scale.

It’s more beneficial for a seller to be selective about the items you offer and have a gross profit margin of 30% than to gain a huge revenue with minimal profit. Focus on how much you’re selling instead of being conscious of how much other Amazon FBAs are selling.


Tamika Richie is successful with her Amazon and eBay ventures because she is profit-driven and keeps her finger on the pulse of what her target audience wants. She has also mastered the balance between taking risks and protecting reserves.

With sufficient resources and a sustainable business model, you can also succeed in ecommerce. Good luck in your next venture!

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