How to Make Money on Amazon in 2023: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

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As a social media marketing guru with over a decade specializing in ecommerce and affiliate programs, I‘m constantly asked – "How can I make money on Amazon without having to sell products myself?"

It‘s a fair question. The retail giant has unlocked earning potential for millions globally, through its diverse monetization models beyond just selling merchandise.

In this comprehensive guide, you‘ll learn 8 proven methods to earn an income stream leveraging the vast Amazon platform and audience. I‘ll share research, trends, tips and even case studies from my own experience working with top influencers and bloggers making six to seven figures just from these strategies.

Let‘s get started!

A Primer on Making Money from Amazon‘s Ecosystem

Before diving into the specific money-making models, it helps set context on why Amazon has so much monetization potential beyond retail. Here are a few fast facts:

  • As of 2022, over 85% of US ecommerce searches started on Amazon. That‘s user intent to purchase, at massive scale.
  • Over 200 million global consumers are Amazon Prime members – a capture loyal audience.
  • The platform drives over $386 billion in annual US retail ecommerce sales alone.

Whether via retail, subscriptions, advertising or more – funneling a slice of this online commerce can quickly add up.

Now let‘s explore 8 confirmed ways you can tap into this commercial ecosystem.

1. Amazon Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate income models are a cornerstone of monetization for bloggers, influencers and content publishers. The concept is simple:

  • You promote relevant products to your audience
  • They click your affiliate link and make a purchase
  • You earn a sales commission averaging 4-8% per transaction

As the leading ecommerce retailer, it‘s no surprise Amazon runs the largest affiliate platform – with over 2 million sites driving commissions.

I‘ve helped configure affiliate programs generating six figure incomes and beyond. Here are some best practices:

  • Only endorse products you would personally recommend. Dishonest hype backfires.
  • Get creative with your promo placements – video, social posts, site content etc.
  • Make sure to disclose affiliate relationships for full transparency

With the above principles, it‘s possible to earn steady passive income each month simply sharing your authentic love for Amazon‘s massive product selection!

Sarah is a popular budget-friendly lifestyle blogger, leveraging Amazon Affiliates since 2015 to monetize her site. Here were her keys to cracking six-figures in annual commissions:

  • Curating lists of her favorite products across categories – perfect content for affiliates links!
  • Producing YouTube haul videos that organically feature items bought on Amazon
  • Negotiating a 6% average commission rate due to her high-value audience

The proof is in the pudding. Aligning affiliates to existing content earned Sarah a low-effort $100k/year without any extra work.

2. Amazon Merch Self-Publishing

Have a passion for graphic design, unique phrases or niche inside jokes? Amazon Merch allows you to self-publish this creativity onto t-shirts, mugs posters and more – earning royalties on ever sale with no upfront costs.

It marries the mega-reach of Amazon‘s platform with the individuality of user-generated content.

Here are a few examples from the 200,000+ Merch creators:

  • Unique graphic tees around gaming, pets or hobbies
  • City/state mottos printed on coffee cups and hoodies
  • Math puns and teacher jokes turned into planners and hats

My key tip? Take ownership of a niche and create consistent identity. Comedians wanting finance merch or pet influencers with signature shows work perfectly.

You retain full creative license while Amazon handles the rest – manufacturing, shipping, returns etc.

Case Study: Pet Niche Merch Earning $300+ Monthly

Jenny has built her social brand completely around her two dogs. Leveraging Amazon Merch, she designed t-shirts and mugs featuring their cute mugs and funny catchphrases.

Some results so far:

  • Over 50 unique merch designs now available
  • $300+ in average monthly royalty payments
  • Top selling item: Magic Mug transforming dog images (47 sold)

All without any inventory costs or financial risk. Jenny‘s now expanding into additional pet merch beyond her original dogs!

3. Publish Kindle eBooks and Paperbacks

Authoring a book is still seen as hallmark of expertise – why not publish your thought leadership on Amazon‘s Kindle platform?

With over 90 million global subscribers, Kindle Direct Publishing empowers experts to share their knowledge while earning favorable 70%+ royalty rates.

You might be wondering – what exactly should I publish? Market data reveals these top performing categories:

  • How-to Guides: From DIY crafts to programming tutorials
  • Niche non-fiction: Interest books around hobbies, health, finance
  • Non-genre fiction: Broad appeal novels if you enjoy writing!

Best sellers are earning estimated $30,000+ yearly for 3-5 short niche titles. though your results will vary based on content quality and promotion. For improved discoverability:

  • Enroll in Kindle Select for free giveaway days
  • Produce companion audiobooks through ACX

The benefits extend beyond money. You can establish expertise, promote your brand, or compliment an existing blog/creative passion project.

Case Study: IT Pro Earns $2k+ a Month Sharing Programming Knowledge

Dan has over 20 years working as an application developer. Leveraging his hard-won knowledge, he self-published this Kindle library:

  • C# Coding: Beginner to Expert Guide
  • 15 Tips for Improving Debugging Skills
  • A History of Java: Key Milestones

Pricing at $9.99 each and promoting to relevant online forums, Dan generates $2,000+ monthly in 100% passive royalty income. The credibility has also won consulting gigs and industry recognition.

This simply wouldn‘t have been possible without leveraging Amazon‘s built-in readership hungry for specialized information.

4. Audiobook Narration Gigs

Have a smooth, expressive voice? Then get paid turning written works into audiobooks!

The Audiobook industry is estimated to drive over $5 billion in sales by 2027. Amazon owns the lions share through subsidiary Audible – who contract narrators matching their catalog demand.

Some common project types:

  • Fiction best sellers: Expect competition trying out among many narrators
  • Obscure business or non-fiction: Often trouble finding anyone able to handle complex topics
  • Unique linguist skills: Fluent multilingual narrators always in shortage

While pay varies drastically project-to-project, expect to earn $200 to $500 PFH (per finished hour). With the average audiobook spanning 5-15 hours total – top tier narrators easily clear six figures.

Case Study: Romance Novel Narrator Making Over $300k on Audible

Jessica‘s day-job is a voice actress, lending towards Amazon romance fiction projects:

  • Specializes in female-focused novels spanning historical to contemporary sub-genres
  • Channels sensual yet soothing tone matching the category
  • Has recorded over 500 titles since starting in 2013

Now earning over $300,000 per year as a highly sought narrator for her niche. Jessica does treat it as a full time job – spending 30-40 hours a week in her home studio. But it beats the 9 to 5 in her eyes!

While reaching that income level takes serious work, even dabbling part-time can generate excellent supplemental funds.

5. Amazon Handmade Selling Artisanal Crafts

Have an eye for designing jewelry, soaps, artwork or other handcrafted goods? The Amazon Handmade program connects specialized makers with buyers wanting quality craftsmanship.

It provides the ease and scale of Amazon paired with the custom charm of Etsy-like original goods. Sought after categories include:

  • Unique jewelry pieces incorporating elements like flowers or geography
  • Geeky crafts around gaming, sci-fi or anime fandoms
  • Amigurumi – small crocheted toys often as cute animals

Top sellers boast prices over $100+ for specialty pieces that take hours crafting by hand. You can expect ~20% fees deducted from each purchase – still favorable to scale an artisan small business.

Building shopper trust is key through policies like:

  • Full transparency into your tools and techniques
  • Generous return timeframe as pieces are sight-unseen
  • Consistent branded packaging and thank you notes

As sales grow, many transition art into a full-time business. But even as a side-hustle, Handmade creators average well over $1,000 per month.

Case Study: Soap Maker Earning $2,500 a Month Thanks Her Supporters

Candice left her finance career after discovering a passion for fragrance blending and soap crafting. Starting with gifts to friends, interest grew into a stead income stream. Some stats so far:

  • 12 signature scents including seasonal offerings
  • 25+ monthly orders averaging $100 each
  • Rave reviews around her branding and unboxing experience

Most impressively, Candice directly thanks repeat clientele highlighting the personal connection she delivers. This niche framing helped her standout among the Handmade competition.

6. Recruit Product Testers on Amazon Vine

Do people already reach out asking to try your latest products? Turn this word-of-mouth into compensation through Amazon Vine.

This invite-only program sources trusted reviewers to provide unbiased ratings/feedback in exchange for free goods. Vine cuts through the noise as all analysis is vetted.

If selected, you can expect products like:

  • Newly launched electronics and gadgets
  • Upcoming video games, consoles and accessories
  • Beauty items not yet widely available

While open to the public, companies directly scout engaged category experts matching what they sell. For example, a makeup brand may tap beauty bloggers to try their palette.

The products are free so long as you provide an honest, detailed review within 30 days. Think beyond just a star rating – cover aspects like:

  • Feature performance compared to expectations
  • How it fits into your lifestyle use case
  • Indirect feedback from asking friends opinions

I advise being selective in what you choose to avoid getting overwhelmed. But the direct value to brands means this isn‘t just a handout. Even without a website, power reviewers can receive 5-10 free products monthly worth $400+.

Case Study: Toy Unboxer Trying the Latest as Companies Compete for His Audience

Noah has built his following completely producing toy unboxing videos on YouTube. With millions of total channel views – toy makers compete to get their upcoming merchandise featured. Beyond ad revenue, here‘s now he monetizes it even further:

  • Part of Amazon Vine regularly showcasing new action figures and Lego
  • Paid sponsorships from brands outside the Vine network too
  • Affiliate links to featured playsets for additional sales commissions

At over 300k subscribers and growing, Noah is essentially paid to showcase his lifelong passion for toys via visibility incentives across Vine, sponsors and affiliates.

7. List Your Space on Amazon Home Services

Got a room to rent? Or offer services locally like home cleaning and lawn care? Amazon Home Services matches providers to buyers needing help, becoming the de facto gig platform.

It mirrors the reach of Amazon while integrating deep logistical features:

  • Scheduling based on availability
  • Payment, refunds and credit card on file to ensure trust
  • Review systems for accountability on both sides

Some top earning categories in competitive metros like NYC, LA and Chicago:

  • Music instrument lessons at $60-120/hour
  • Personal training sessions at $80-150
  • Dog walking averaging $30 for 30 minutes

To maximize your profile, share unique niche skills vs. just compete on pricing for commoditized services. Published author offering writing mentorship distinguishes more than bargaining basement editing rates for example.

Case Study: Developer Making $110/Hour Teaching Coding

William has over 25 years professional programming experience across tech giants like Google, Netflix and Microsoft. Looking to scale back at age 55, he leverages Amazon Home Services posting:

  • Web + Mobile Coding Lessons
  • 1-on-1 Technical Interview Prep
  • Resume, Portfolio + LinkedIn Reviews

With both individual and corporate clients, William books 5-10 appointments a week even in the remote hybrid work era. His specialized skills and flexibility operating virtually allow premium rates – earning $110+ per 60-90 minute lessons.

While benefitting from seniority in his niche, this showcases the market pricing for niche experts on available demand.

8. List Your Car or Carport on Amazon Flex

Need some extra income but don‘t want a demanding extra job? Rent out your underutilized assets!

Amazon Flex provides drivers transportation to make local deliveries. With surging inflation, signing up with your vehicle, or even unused parking spot or garage rents, delivers effortless money.

Some core ways to make money with Amazon Flex:

  • Rent your car to local drivers starting at $27.50 per day
  • Rent parking spaces as home-base inventory staging at $3 per foot monthly
  • Become a driver using your own car getting $18-25 per hour after expenses

To maximize rental income:

  • Highlight convenient hub access like downtown proximity
  • Make sure to photograph legitimate parking proof before listing
  • Employ remote access entry systems for reliable self check-in

As the largest national delivery network handling over 5 billion packages in 2021 – there‘s major unsatisfied driver and inventory demand in metro areas that you can benefit from.

Case Study: Software Engineer Rents Her Parking Spot for $1300 a Month

Molly works downtown in Austin‘s tech hub. With offices still minimizing remote work, she rented her condo‘s carport on Amazon Flex realizing city parking crunches delivery drivers.

The income potential was too good to pass up:

  • Gets ~$1300 per month renting her downtown parking space
  • Takes five minutes listing the spot with her remote access doors
  • Saves drivers 30-60 minutes per day circling for inventory parking

While Molly admits it felt awkward at first, the rental income is life changing – paying entirely for her car loan note. All without her even needing to drive anything!

Final Thoughts

As you can see from these eight methods, Amazon offers diverse ways to monetize beyond just being an online seller.

I highly suggest every content creator, influencer and sharing economy participant explore options matching their skills and assets.

You have nothing to lose, and like the case studies shared everything to profit from plugging into the infrastructure Amazon provides.

I‘m happy to offer 1-on-1 consulting for anyone needing tailored guidance here too. Just reach out on finding the right fit.

Now is the time to capitalize!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.