When your FBA business takes over your life

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FBA businesses can grow surprisingly fast. One moment it’s a side hustle you can easily run in your spare time, the next it’s a monster which requires a more-than-full-time CEO. Success can easily be overwhelming. So if you have a Godzilla-style FBA business, how can you cope?

First of all, you need to sort out what needs to be done, and focus on that. In fact, you also need to sort out the difference between important and urgent. An important thing needs to be done, but it could be done today, tomorrow, next week. An urgent task is one that needs to be done right now. Some tasks are neither important nor urgent; just cut them out. You actually can afford to delete them completely from the to-do list. Other tasks are one or the other, but a select few tasks are both important and urgent. These are the top priority.

Tasks that are urgent but not important can easily be outsourced. (You’ve already started along that route by using FBA.) Tasks that are important but not urgent can either be delayed, or outsourced. But do prioritize tasks on this business rather than just firefighting. It will let you keep control of the business.

Secondly, do some hard thinking about your goals and your resources. They need to go together; if you want a million dollar business, you’ll either need to hire people, or outsource a lot of the work. Think about how fast you want the business to grow. Do you want to grow fast, or to slow down a little to get things under control? Work out where you want to be, and the structure and resources you need to put in place to get there.

The difference between being overwhelmed and growing nicely is very simple; put the resources in place first.

If you need to decelerate, your easiest way to do so is to stop advertising, or at least trim your advertising budget. You should see sales dip fairly quickly after you do that. However, you’ll be losing sales in the meantime. It could be worth it to keep your sanity, but probably not if you’re in the middle of Q4, with the Christmas and New Year sales season coming up.

Thirdly, take care of yourself. You are your business’s biggest asset, and just as you wouldn’t drive your car thousands of miles with no maintenance, you shouldn’t push yourself past your limits. Build small breaks into the day, like a ritual; a ten minute break on the veranda with a cup of finest Earl Grey tea, or a half hour walk after lunch before you get back to work.

If you can’t stop thinking about work, then you may need to calm down with some yoga, meditation or mindfulness exercises. If you’re losing sleep, that’s a really bad sign. Fortunately, you can download some excellent guided meditation or relaxation apps to help you.

And fourthly, get some help. Right now. It may be that you need a coach or a more experienced FBA seller as mentor, just to confirm that you’re not going crazy, your business is just going through growing pains. Or you might simply need someone you can get to help with copywriting and photography, or with your accounting. Find a freelance, and free up some of your time. Things will get less frenetic right away.

Above all, don’t think this is your fault. Almost everyone who has ever run a successful business has had the experience of being overwhelmed by success, with too much to do and too little time to do it in. You can and will get through the bottleneck, and your business should be both stronger and more profitable once you get through to the other side.

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