When most people think of an Amazon business they think about a fulfilled by Amazon model—not an Amazon FBM (fulfilled by merchant). Michael has gone against the grain and built an Amazon business fulfilling orders himself. It was born out of a desire to fuel his passion. Listen as we chat about how he got started, the ‘why’ behind his business, and why he chose the path he did.

In this episode of #MaximizingEcommerce, Kevin chats with @teambarnhill about building an Amazon Fulfillment by Merchant Business. Want to find out why he choose this route? Check out the latest episode now! #Ecommerce #AmazonSeller #AmazonFBA… Click To Tweet

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:15] Diving into Brand Accelerator Live
  • [5:30] Kevin introduces his guest, Michael Barnhill.
  • [7:50] How Michael got started in Ecommerce
  • [10:00] Scaling the business
  • [14:15] Make people happy and earn customers for life
  • [17:20] Choose a role that fits your strengths
  • [22:30] Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) model
  • [27:35] The seller based Prime discussion
  • [32:45] Are you an entrepreneur, manager, or an artist?
  • [37:40] Getting a product to perform better
  • [42:50] We all deserve to prioritize ourselves first

He started an Amazon FBM business to fuel his passion

Michael and his brother purchased a recording studio with money they had received from their father. It was something they were passionate about but expensive to operate. To keep it afloat, they started selling musical instruments on eBay. They sold the product, picked it up from a local distributor, and shipped it themselves.

They were doing drop-shipping before it really became a means of selling.

They had zero clue what they were doing but were fueled by a passion to just keep their recording studio open. So they started reading books about business. They tracked their sales and realized that their best selling product was an office supply item. So they began putting all of their effort into this product. Now they own 3 fulfillment warehouses.

Keep people happy and you earn customers for life

The #1 thing Michael has learned is that you need to keep your customers happy. If you do whatever it takes to keep people happy, your business will grow and people will talk about you.

If your customer complains they didn’t receive their order? Ship them a new one.

Was the product damaged or didn’t arrive in the condition expected? Send them a new one.

Sure, there may be people who abuse the system, but it’s rare. Most of the time, people have legitimate issues with the product that you can fix. Michael allows his team to fix whatever they can up to $50—no need to ask him for permission because his baseline is client happiness.

After all, do you want to be right, or have a customer for life?

The #1 thing @teambarnhill has learned running an Amazon business is to keep people happy and you’ll earn customers for life. This episode of #MaximizingEcommerce is all about his fulfilled by merchant business. #Ecommerce #AmazonSeller… Click To Tweet

Why the FBM versus FBA strategy?

Michael started as a distributor and now manufactures many products in-house for his customers. He and his brother decided early on to market to people looking for something unique. When you corner the market on the few people looking for specific things, you can still make a significant profit as opposed to those trying to sell one product to many.

Their warehouses allow them to hold stock for all of these unique items in different colors and sizes. Even if the demand isn’t strong, the demand still exists. Michael and his team do utilize Amazon FBA in some instances—with products that perform in their top 20%. They see a bump in sales, and it’s easier for them to fulfill the rest of their products out of their warehouses.

Kevin and Michael talk about their shipping methods and how they stay competitive—so keep listening!

Michael is the creative voice for his business

Michael learned early on that he was not an operations guy. Managing people was just not his thing. He decided that he was going to focus on being an artist. He allowed himself to be innovative and imaginative. It’s what he’s passionate about. When he shifted into that role in his business, things changed for the better.

It’s okay to hire people to fill whatever roles you do not enjoy yourself.

If your focus is where you are most gifted you can allow others to excel where they are gifted. Michael now focuses on product development, revamping old products, visually displaying the products in the best way, and so much more.

Listen to the rest of the episode as they cover enhancing the customer experience, getting a product to sell, self-care, and more.

Did you know that you don’t have to play every role in your business? Play to your strengths and hire others to fill in the gaps. Want to hear more? Check out this episode of #MaximizingEcommerce with guest @teambarnhill. #Ecommerce #AmazonSeller… Click To Tweet

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Michael Barnhill

Connect With Kevin Sanderson


@teambarnhil started an Amazon fulfillment by merchant business to fuel his passion—keeping his music studio open. Listen to this episode of #MaximizingEcommerce to learn how his business has grown successfully! #Ecommerce #AmazonSeller… Click To Tweet Why choose fulfillment by merchant over fulfillment by Amazon? Is there an upside? This topic and so much more is covered in this episode of #MaximizingEcommerce with guest @teambarnhill. Check it out! #Ecommerce #AmazonSeller #AmazonFBA… Click To Tweet

Subscribe to Maximizing Ecommerce on
Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, PlayerFM

Watch the Interview on YouTube