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Investment of Time vs Profit

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Like most parents with a full-time job my free time is limited.  Whilst additional income streams are useful, and indeed very welcome, they need to be manageable and able to fit around my family commitments.

Therefore I like to think of my time as a ‘currency’.  What are the activities that I like to spend it on?  Where will I get the most value and return?  Not forgetting where will I get the most enjoyment and fulfilment?

In this blog post I look at my two primary forms of supplemental income, Amazon FBA and Matched Betting.  How do they stack up in terms of profit compared to my time invested?


Amazon FBA

A well-established Amazon FBA business can be thought of as semi-passive income.  Once it’s up and running and you have regular suppliers and product lines it can become fairly hands off.

I’ve worked with my primary suppliers for almost 5 years.  I trust them, I know their ordering process and we’ve got established lines of communication.  For one of my Hong Kong based suppliers I can place an order and within 5 days have the products delivered to my doorstep ready to be labelled and shipped to Amazon’s warehouses.

For a recent inventory top-up I was interested to find out how much time I actually spent on FBA.  These were my results –


ActivityTime Spent
Total: 6 hrs 30 mins
Compile order request and email to supplier15 mins
Review order confirmation from supplier and transfer funds to their bank account15 mins
When inventory is delivered; unpack, inspect, label, repack and arrange onward shipment to Amazon via UPS3 hrs
Answer adhoc emails and queries from Amazon customers1 hr
Monitor prices and inventory, make any updates via Repricerexpress2 hrs


Most of this stock sold over 6 weeks, generating £2,500 in profit with me having to spend a total 6.5 hours. That works out at as an hourly rate of £384 per hour.

The graph below shows the relative number of orders placed by customers over that period –

Amazon orders

I should highlight that despite the high hourly rate I do have a relatively mature FBA business. When I first started selling on Amazon I spent a lot of time creating product listings, having product photos taken, and generally figuring out FBA in general.  Once you’re up and running it’s easy to make small changes to your processes to optimise things.

To make it more efficient I could pay a specialist Amazon importer such as FBAPrep UK to receive my inbound shipments into the UK, do the Amazon prep and labelling on my behalf before sending on to Amazon UK’s warehouses.  But for lots of smaller value items the £0.49 labelling fee per item quickly adds up.

I could also pay a virtual assistant to monitor my Amazon account, answer customer queries and look after general admin tasks.  However these all eat into my profit margin so for the moment I’m comfortable with the reasonably small investment of my time to do this.


Matched Betting

Compared to Amazon FBA, matched betting is much more of an active income and hands on.

I’m not expecting to make £1,500+ per month on a regular basis as I’m unable to spend sufficient time finding and tracking all the offers, placing bets etc.  I’m a member of the awesome OddsMonkey service and there are lots of free blogs with daily bets which help greatly.  But ultimately it would be a significant investment of my time to hit those figures.

In my January 2017 matched betting profit log I outlined how I made £565 by spending 30 minutes per day. That works out at an hourly rate of £37.50. That’s still a very good return for my time spent but some 10x less than Amazon FBA.

However!  Matched betting is a useful side hustle and I really like it for a number of reasons –

  • Risk free
  • Doesn’t require a huge investment of funds upfront for stock etc.
  • Profits are typically realised within a day or so
  • Tax free



When I started this exercise I had no idea that my Amazon FBA business provided such a good return on my time.  The question is, if I want to increase my supplemental monthly income further where do I invest my efforts?

Finding reliable suppliers for Amazon FBA is time consuming but can be very rewarding given the right product.

Whereas, matched betting income is directly related to the amount of time invested – more in, more out.  I also need to consider that I’m in the honeymoon period with matched betting.  I’m still working my way through the sign up offers and once these are finished I’ll need to focus on other techniques such as reloads, accumulators etc.

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