Running a location independent business on Amazon
June 12, 2015

Living a truly location independent life, Matteo Lombardi successfuly runs his business on Amazon. We’ve met with Matteo in Tarifa and asked him a couple of questions about his business and lifestyle.

Can you tell us what do you do for living?

I sell physical products internationally. I buy stuff that is demanded internationally and that can be profitable.

For how long have you been a digital nomad and which places have you visited in the past 6 months?

Since September, when I stated to be completely homeless, I did Hawaii, Japan, Australia (visiting a guru Eckhart Tolle), Thailand, Vietnam (on a motorbike while working), South Africa, Spain, Austria (snowboarding), Tarifa (kiting), Russia, Denmark and now I’m back in Tarifa.

How many hours a day do you work?

I usually work 25 hours a week, even though these last months it has gone up to 35 and now I am gearing it back down, my new aim is 20. Right now I want to work 4 hours a day, work out 1 hour and study a language 2 hours, plus doing other fun stuff.

Can you remember what were the beginnings like in the business?

My first successful website was selling beauty products from Europe to Brazil. I knew that in Brazil those things were more expensive. I did my website with Shopify and started shipping things myself and buying them in a downtown pharmacy where I had a discount so I could buy more. I made Google adverts and it went really great to selling 100 000 Euros per month. Then Brazilian customs started stopping everything, it took ages to get things to Brazil and it all went down. There was also a moment when the Brazilian currency devaluated so everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

So how did you start selling on Amazon?

I was following a couple of people who were mentioning Amazon. It felt counterintuitive to me that you could make a profit on Amazon because there are so many sellers there. But I did a couple of tests and I found that it was more profitable than my website. When you’re in the long tail, there are products that are not profitable for Amazon to get into, but you can make huge profits out of them.

What would be your advice to those who are thinking of tapping into this kind of business?

So what you want to know is what market is big enough that can support people who are trying the same business as you are at the moment.

I think Amazon is one of those markets where is a high success rate, you can make incomes of up 200k dollars a month and above (I am not exaggerating). There are thousands of people making good profits with two business models:

  1. Arbitrage – selling known brands
  2. Labelling – selling your own brand

Search for a course on Udemy for example to learn one of these two techniques. I usually advice people to do private labelling, but it really depends on the person in question.

Apart from your work life, what do you do in your free time?

My favourite free time activities are mainly friends, kitesurfing and learning new things. I want to learn Russian in 3 months, do some hip hop classes and get really fit.