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What To Sell Online in 2002

You want to make money online and you want to do it fast. After all, there's nothing better than rolling out of bed when you want and firing up the ol' computer to see how much money you made overnight.

Whooaaa.... not so fast...

Before you can get to that stage, you need to decide exactly what to sell. That's right, in order to make money online you'll need to sell something, usually a product or service.

Today I'd like to help you decide what that something should be. After all, there are lots of choices, but unfortunately many of them lead to a dead end, wasting your time and money in the process. I plan to help you avoid that today.

When deciding what to sell online, you need to consider the three basic online business strategies entrepreneurs have to choose from...
  1. Buying and Selling

  2. Creating and Selling

  3. Selling Existing Products and Services
Each of these three options have successful models and unsuccessful models. Of the three choices, I feel that choice number two gives most small businesses the best chance of success. But before I go into that, I'd like to talk about choice number one...


Buying and Selling

The obvious model for buying and selling is called retail. Basically, you purchase large quantities of items at wholesale and then retail them at a higher price.

My opinion of this model is that it should be left to the big players. Only huge companies have the buying power necessary to be able to sell cheaply. And that's a big key to success in online retailing -- selling cheaply. Sure, there are companies who have carved out a niche in certain areas or created brands that sell at higher margin, but for most small businesses online, retail is a tough nut to crack.

Unless you have deep pockets and a great niche, you may want to steer clear of the retail model.

However, there ARE some buying and selling opportunities out there on the web, if you are clever. Here's an example...

A couple years ago I met a local fellow who makes his living buying things locally and selling them online. He spends a few hours a day visiting flea markets, yard sales and local auctions. With a knack for spotting deals, he snatches up anything he considers grossly underpriced then markets it internationally, via the web.

OK, "market it internationally" may be a bit too fancy of a description for what he does. Basically, he takes a couple of snapshots of each item using his digital camera then sells the items at auction on ebay.com - the number one meeting place for buyers and sellers across the world. And believe it or not, he makes quite a comfortable living doing this.

So who says buying and selling is not a good choice for small business owners? As the person above proves, all you really need is a unique selling position. His unique position happens to be his location. The east coast of America is a great place to find many undervalued antiques and other authentic items. Why not find a new home for the items and fill a need at the same time? After all, where else would someone fromsay Hawaii, find an authentic New England antique table?

OK, let's hop into choice number two...


Creating and Selling

This is the path I chose to make my own living online. (I also mix in choice three below, buy I'll get to that in a minute.) I prefer the creating and selling strategy above all others, since I have complete control over exactly what I sell and how much profit it yields.

As most of you already realize, I sell information. I simply create it using my computer and then mold it into many different marketable formats including print books, ebooks, and private websites.

Information is a top seller online. If you have, or can research and gather information on a hot topic, you can make money using this model. For centuries, people have been making money selling information, and it will continue forever.

It all boils down to helping people save time and money avoiding learning something the hard way -- through research. Basically, you do the research and sell the results. The better the information, the higher prices you can demand.

And creating and selling is NOT limited to information marketing. With a global audience online, you can create and sell just about anything! If there is a market for it, you can build a business around it. And therein lies the equation...

Before starting ANY business you must consider carefully, WHO you will be promoting to. Think hard about the people who might be interested in what you plan to sell. And beware... if the answer is "everyone", that's usually a BAD thing.

As an example, let's say you plan to sell giftware. You'll have 1000 items and your target market could be just about everyone shopping for a gift. Sounds great, right? Wrong.

A major problem rears its ugly head when you start your promotion and advertising. How do you reach ONLY the people who are most likely to buy from you, if you cannot identify them? Unless your giftware is focused on one niche audience, say, antique hummels or something along those lines, you'd have no niche to identify. And identifying a niche market is an important aspect of selling that many entrepreneurs overlook. It's the best way to keep cost per sale to a minimum. When you have the ability to target ONLY your prospects you spend FAR less making sales. If you cannot do that, you will be invariably dragged into a price war, in this case with other gift sites.

So do some market research BEFORE you start creating your product. Here's a little trick I use...

Start your research using this keyword suggestion tool from overture.com - the most popular pay per click search engine on the web... http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/

At that page, enter a keyword relating to the ideas you have in mind, and the tool will present you with the number of times that keyword was searched on via their network. It will also show the number of times related keywords were search on. This will give you an indication of what your niche market(s) bear for interest.

If you find a decent amount of interest, say a few thousand or more combined monthly searches on keywords directly related to what you want to promote, then you may be in a solid niche. Keep a file of the results of your keyword research. You may want to eventually bid on those keywords at overture.com once your business is set up - they can generate some excellent targeted traffic.

Next, go to your favorite search engine and search on some of those same keywords. Visit the sites that appear to be selling related items or offering related help and advice. Ask the webmasters brief questions, like how's business? What's your revenue model? Etc. Keep a file of these results of your research too. The information you uncover will be invaluable to you as you go along.

As you can see, creating and selling can require a bit of legwork. Heck, even after you do all of this research, you still have to create your product or service. But as with all good things, you get out of it only what you put in. And this online business model can yield excellent results when done properly.

Finally, let's consider an angle for those of you who do not have the time or inclination to "create and sell"...


Selling Existing Products and Services

Can you grow a new business online selling existing products and services? The answer is yes. I've seen it done. Many of my own affiliates are brand new to business online and have generated income from month one. While it is usually not a huge amount, it is income and that's what it's all about. "Growing" an online income has to start somewhere.

Affiliate programs are actually a good match for many just starting out. There are affiliate programs on just about any niche product or service you can imagine. Whatever niche you plan to develop your business around, you'll more than likely be able to find an affiliate program you can join. That's the key -- stay targeted and focused on ONE niche as we discussed above.

Another solid strategy for selling existing products is to locate information with resale rights. Some authors pass on resale rights with their products so that others can earn income from them.

A unique example of this can be found at the following site: http://www.eBookWholesaler.com/2002.html

Tom Hua has set up that site to allow his customers to sell a growing arsenal of ebooks and keep 100% of the profits. What's more, every title can be fully personalized with quality affiliate products and services, leading to lifetime income for each promoter. (This one is so ingenious, I'll be promoting it myself!)

One more thing I should point out about selling existing products and services; it is a great strategy for established businesses who want to grow their bottom lines. When done properly, it can yield income growth of more than 30% literally overnight. How can I make such a bold statement? Simple, I've experienced just that, by simply selecting existing products and services carefully and then introducing them to my current prospects and customers.

There are numerous ways to make money online selling existing products and services. So if you've been waiting for the right idea to come along so you can start a business of your own, you may want to simply jump on someone else's idea instead. Many sites, as seen in the examples above, have already done all the research and development for you.

So why not make 2002 the year you finally start your own business...

About the author:
Written by Jim Daniels www.bizweb2000.com - Read Jim's free web-based guide at www.make-a-living-online.com - it reveals how he makes six figures a year online in his part time, and how you can do the same... http://www.make-a-living-online.com




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