We live in a world that is strongly materialistic and heavily focused on possessions. You just have to look at the rush that surrounds Black Friday and Christmas to see that pattern. Indeed, people are constantly looking for new items to fill their homes. For some, this might include new furniture, linen and artwork, while others may instead focus on areas like games, consoles and DVDs.
There has also been an increased movement towards shopping online. After all, the process is much more convenient. Doing so also makes it easier for people to compare the prices of items and get discounts. With that in mind can you, as an individual, make money selling things online?
Research And Plan Carefully
Regardless of who you are and your experience, the very first step to making money is research. This is true for any type of business, including brick and mortar companies as well as online ones. With research, you’re able to figure out where the best opportunities for making money lie and how you can take advantage of them.
Watch Out For Scams
It’s important to be realistic and critical during your research. For example, there are many different sites out there that offer ‘amazing’ ways to make money, provided that you pay them first.
In many cases, those sites are outright scams and don’t live up to their promises at all. Many of them will even fleece extra money out of you by talking you into various upsells.
There are also other sites that aren’t actually scams but are still misleading. For example, a site might charge you $29.95 for training and then reveal that you also need to buy a specific type of hosting and possibly other upsells to even use the training.
All told, the cost of getting involved with a site like this is often pretty high. To make matters worse, the actual training they provide is normally pretty rudimentary and can be found in many different places online.
Thankfully, scams are avoidable as long as you pay close attention to what sites claim and what they offer. In many cases, there will be red flags that suggest a site isn’t what it seems to be. These include claims that are simply too good to be true and vague information about how you’re supposed to be making money.
In most cases, you can spot a scam simply by putting time into research. If you do this, you can avoid scams and save your energy and money for models that actually work.
Picking A Way To Sell Things Online
The general idea of selling things online sounds easy enough but there are multiple ways to go about it. For example, some people rely entirely on physical products and may also use Amazon FBA to help reduce some of their workload.
In that situation, a person will often end up buying and reselling products, while trying to make a profit. This is certainly achievable and there have been many success stories from this type of business, especially via Amazon FBA.
Nevertheless, the process is a bit of a balancing act. To make a profit, you have to buy at a lower price than you sell and this can mean scouring stores for specials and closely watching what does and does not sell online. You could also rely on thrift stores and garage sales, especially if you’re trying to sell items like used books or board games.
Once you get used to the process and more experienced, it can get easier to figure out what products are worth buying and selling. As a result, the potential for profit gets higher as you go along.
But, there are also major limitations with this approach. For one thing, having to buy physical stock means that you need decent cashflow. There is also risk involved, as you may end up buying some items that don’t sell. In some cases, these issues can mean that you lose money rather than making it.
At the same time, you are dealing with physical products. As such, there are various processes like shipping and storing items that you need to get involved with. Amazon FBA can reduce some of this effort but even then, you still have to ship products to them.
Some people take a different approach, where they are selling handmade products online, like greeting cards or jewelry. Doing so gets around the challenge of sourcing items but you still have to make them, which is likely to involve some costs.
You also have to get your products noticed and may face steep competition in doing so. There are other methods too, like selling digital options such as information products and software, including those from other companies and those you make yourself.
All of these can be sold via “marketplaces” like Etsy (physical) or Clickbank (digital), or you can sell them through your own store through Shopify.
With all these options, how do you decide?
Certainly, each method for selling things online will come with its own risks and advantages. All of the above methods can work and there are success stories from business owners in each field. Yet, the legwork is often considerable and the risks are fairly high with all of these options.
That’s why I promote a different way to make money selling things online, which is affiliate marketing. The approach is interesting because you aren’t directly selling items. Instead, you promote them.
The difference is subtle but powerful. So, with affiliate marketing, you’re directing people to a website where they have the chance to buy the product. Doing this means that you don’t have to deal with any aspect of the sales process. That includes having to take payments or needing to ship out any product.
At the same time, your customers don’t pay any more because of what you’re doing. So, they can still get products for the same price that everybody else does. This makes it much easier to stay ahead of the competition. In fact, you can even promote items from Amazon using their affiliate program and this gives customers access to competitive prices.
The nature of affiliate marketing means that there are much fewer risks involved with making money. In particular, most affiliate programs are free to join and many promote products that people are already interested in.
Choosing Your Niche And Products
If you’re going to sell things online, you also have to figure out what items to focus on. Certainly, there is no shortage of different options out there, regardless of whether you are focusing on physical products, digital ones or a combination of the two.
In affiliate marketing, people start off by figuring out their niche and a similar concept does also apply to selling products directly as well. The term niche has a range of meanings but in internet marketing it refers to a ‘well-defined segment of the population’. For the most part, this is a reference to the audience that you’re targeting, although many people focus on product areas.
Niches can also be broad or narrow and this also applies to websites and sales in general. For example, there are some websites out there that simply focus on health and cover a wide range of different related topics.
In contrast, you can also see much narrower sites, like ones specifically focusing on weight loss or supplements. There are even extremely narrow options, like talking about a single specific product type, such as tablets for kids or sprinklers for pest control.
The interest in different niches varies considerably. For example, fields like health and weight loss tend to have huge audiences and they retain their potential for profit regardless of how the economy changes. However, this also means that the competition is extremely high. Alternatively, there are many specialized niches that have smaller audiences and lower competition.
Which niche you choose will then define the focus of your site (for affiliate marketing) and the products that you choose. This all might sound hard but it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, the large range of options is a major advantage. This essentially means that you can make money by promoting just about any type of product on the market. By extension, you have the ability to create a site that focuses on pretty much any area.
As a result, you can make money by writing about and promoting a topic that interests you. That sounds much better than a desk job, doesn’t it?
Getting The Right Beginning
Regardless of whether you choose to sell physical products, digital products or get involved with affiliate marketing, getting the right start is absolutely critical. One of the most important aspects of this is training. If you can get good training, it can help you to set up your business effectively and make good decisions from the beginning.
Doing this can have long-term impacts. For example, if you start a business without fully understanding the field, you end up wasting a lot of time and money. In some cases, you may find that you have to redo some work or even start again simply because you didn’t know what you were doing.
In contrast, knowing what you’re doing can help you to build an online business that you can continue to develop and grow over time.
The specific training options out there vary depending on the method that you’re using to sell things online. However, if you’re getting involved with affiliate marketing, then I recommend a site called Wealthy Affiliate. This training site steps people through the various aspects of site building and affiliate marketing, starting at the very beginning.
As a result, the site is a great place to learn affiliate marketing. It’s also an appealing option because the training includes education on how to choose profitable niches that are going to fit your interests and experience. Likewise, there is a supportive community of people that can help you figure out any areas that you get stuck on.