– Selling on eBay
– Selling on Amazon via FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
– Setting up and running my own ecommerce site
– Setting up Adsense sites
– Developing product review sites
– Selling digital products using one page sales sites
I have done all of the above methods and can honestly tell you the pros and cons on each of them, which I have listed below. I will also give you an indication of both the time involved and the budget required.
Selling on eBay
Time Scale: Can be done quickly (you can list one item in 5 minutes)
Budget: Depends if you are selling your own unwanted stuff ($0), however a bigger budget is required if you are buying goods to resell. You will also need more time to establish and work out which items sell on eBay (that are popular) and which are items are also profitable.
– Easy way to make money on your unwanted items
– Ebay is easy to use, there is a step by step method for listing products on the largest auction site in the world – anybody can do it.
– Very competitive, prices can be quite low and it is difficult to make a profit margin, particularly if you have purchased items from a wholesaler to resell on an ongoing basis at a profit.
– It’s hard also to find items that no one else is not already selling – more to the point it is hard to find multiple products that no one else is selling at an already rock bottom price. You don’t want to become overly reliant on one product for example.
– PayPal fees can add up and eat into your already thin profit margins.
– It takes time to build up your seller rating, people tend not to buy off sellers that haven’t got a tried and tested track record on eBay (that’s a fact unfortunately). Why buy off you when I can get the item for the same price off another seller that has a 99.9% positive rating from 1,000 users.
– What I would say though is you can build up your eBay rating through purchasing as well as selling. This will at least get you started. From a personal perspective I continue to buy and sell through eBay. It is by no means my primary source of online income but my seller rating is kept up to date and the longer you are a member and the higher your seller rating is the more you can potentially sell in the future.
Ebay is great if you have vintage or collectables to sell but personally I prefer to find a popular item from a wholesaler/supplier and sell it over and over again, rather than selling one offs on an ongoing basis. Plus I like to take great images and get them edited, if I was to do this for each item I would spend all my time taking photos and writing product descriptions which would not make it worth my while.
If you do decide to sell on eBay and are not sure where to start then Auction Spy may be a good starting point. This is a useful peice of software that pin points top selling items currently trending on eBay. There is a good video on their website that you can view for free (scroll about half way down the page).
man in office
Selling on Amazon via FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
Time Scale: This can be done quite quickly if you can source lower priced goods either on clearance or on sale at your local store and then send them onto one of Amazons Fulfillment Centers to sell at a profit.
Budget: FBA requires a big budget and more risk as you have to buy in bulk from the Far East to get lower unit prices in order to maximize profits on FBA. I would advise that you try to seek somebody out who has experience in doing this before you going spending lots of cash buying inventory.
– It is an easy way to make money online, you don’t even have to package or ship the item to the customer like on eBay, Amazon does that for you. You simply send it to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers and they dispatch it.
– You have to have a steady source of stock to feed the fulfillment centre.
– It can be expensive (particularly if your items don’t sell – you then have to pay storage fees). Fees can easily wipe out the small margin you can make (prices like eBay can be competitive amongst existing sellers).
– How do I calculate the fees to ensure what I am setting my sale price correctly? Will I actually make a profit when I make my sale? Final fees can be tricky to calculate, it is important that you know how to do this accurately though so you don’t wipe out your profits and can in turn repurchase stock.
– It can be difficult to get a seller account set up and it can take time (allow a minimum of 2 weeks).
– In summary brilliant when it works however fees can creep up on you. FBA is recommended if you can source generic cheap products from the Far East like China and market them accordingly. So for example if you buy 1,000 golf trolleys from China (non branded) at a really low price you can then sell them on Amazon profitably.
As you have more profit margin to play with (you are the only supplier of your own branded item and are not purchasing stock through a wholesaler or supplier). Obviously you will need to know what items are popular so that you don’t buy lots of items that simply won’t sell, you also need a lot of capital to purchase the inventory. Therefore you need to have industry specific knowledge of what you’re selling.
If you would like to learn more about FBA there is a cheap, detailed step by step guide worth taking a look at on amoneymanual.com
Set up and ran my own ecommerce store
Time Scale: This takes time, in fact at least a year between developing the site and adding multiple product pages (1,000 page site).
Budget: To do it right with all the back end functionality you will need at least $5,000. This is where I achieved my first success online in terms of sales and generating revenue.
– As I was a bricks and mortar retailer I found my own site was a great way to promote the items I sold in my store, I used MODx which is a content management system or CMS and I was able to get new products up onto the site in a matter of minutes without it being overly technical. The site was developed using a programmer that I hired via oDesk.
– It was expensive to develop and the site and took time to build (took approx 4 months of development and design before any pages were added).
– A lot of pages requires lots of time to maintain and update.
– You are a price taker, you have to keep an eye on competitor’s sites to make sure you are competitively priced as you are all selling the same branded goods. If you are selling at a higher price you won’t sell any items.
– It takes a while to gain some traction and for people to trust your brand. You could have one sale a week for a while until you gain peoples trust, after a while this turns into one sale a day and then multiple sales a day.
In summary this was a great experience for me to build the site however it did take time though. As the site gets older and more pages get added and indexed to Google it establishes itself more and generates more sales.
However it was really only when I combined my site with proper email marketing and Facebook ad campaigns that I found sales really started to take off (as visitor numbers to the site increased substantially).
When running my ecomm store I thought to myself, do I need to sell so many products, why not just focus on selling my own digital product? Hey, that’s an idea, suddenly I had a light bulb moment and Dan’s Profit Plan was put into place.
Developing Adsense sites
Time Scale: It can be done quickly, you can build a simple 5 page website in one day.
Budget: If you are just purchasing your domain name and hosting then it costs less than a $100 (assuming one year’s hosting is paid for in full at the start).
However if you outsource your article writing you could be looking at another $100. So around $200 before you start to earn off the site. You will need to opt for paid advertising and make sure that the amount you pay in advertising is less than you receive in commission from your ads in order for you to make a profit.
– OK I am going to come straight out with it; I don’t get Adsense as a standalone online business strategy. I once remember buying a product that literally just sold the same sites out to hundreds and thousands of people.
Humm, my site doesn’t seem to be making any money? Probably because there are thousands of the same sites online already. The guy who developed that product is probably still laughing at me now.
– For me it is an add on strategy, I compliment it with my own ecommerce store, I use it on my blog. I also use it on my You Tube product videos. However, I am not overly convinced that it should be there as I want people to stay on my site not go to a competitor’s site or whatever it is that appears on the Google ad and take them away from my site.
– You also need a lot of traffic as only 0.5% of your site visitors will actually click on the Adsense ad. There are points you need to follow when using Adsense, in terms of using recommended ad sizes and not to use too many ads on the site etc (less is more).
In summary Adsense needs a lot of traffic to generate an income, if you have an established site generating lots of organic traffic (not paid traffic) then it is definitely worth considering Adsense as a supplementary online income source.
With Adsense you should keep track of how your ads are performing. I had an ad that was performing really well on one of my sites and then for some reason I removed it. When I checked my Adsense account a month later I noticed I had a dip in Adsense revenue.
When I drilled into my performance reports and checked the top performing ad units I realized that the ad I had removed was actually doing quite well. Needless to say I added it back to the site fairly quickly. Adsense is probably by definition the most “passive” income stream that you can make online. That is assuming you have already completed the work to build your websites in the first instance with lots of great unique content.
As we are building a one page website we are not going to get high volumes of organic traffic to begin with from Google. We are going to use Facebook advertising at the start to generate targeted traffic to our site. Also we do not want users getting side tracked or distracted with a Google ad. We want them to focus on purchasing our own digital product.
I recently spotted one of the best guides I have seen on Adsense on Warrior Forum. I have added in the link here which I hope will help you should you decide to persue an Adsense site strategy.
Product review sites
Time Scale:Like Adsense sites, they can be done quite quickly (less than a day), even quicker if you outsource the review.
Budget: Also like building an Adsense site it is quite low and depends on how much of the work you complete yourself. It is important that you do the math like Adsense and make sure the amount you are receiving in commissions is higher than what you are spending on the site either in development or in paid advertising.
– Every product imaginable is available to purchase on Amazon. It is easy to pick one of them and follow a product review writing template/guide and off you go. The key here is that you know what products are popular so that you do not waste your time writing a review for a product that simply does not have enough demand.
– Again you have a traffic issue, the same as Adsense, it’s is hard to generate free traffic for a new site. Therefore you have to pay for traffic, you could (like Adsense) end up paying more for traffic than you will actually make in commissions – so you need to be careful.
– It can be quite boring, particularly if you don’t have an interest in the product you are writing the review for. Writing reviews about socks and the like is not easy to do, I know as I have been there. I ended up doing everything and anything except what I was supposed to be doing and that is writing the product review. If you keep putting the job off it is not the job for you.
The percentage you receive in commission is also very small so you need to churn out a lot of reviews.
OK folks, there you have it I’ve been there and got the t-shirt. I’ll be honest with you some methods suit some people better, not every method is a one size fits all solution. What I will instill in Dan’s Profit Plan is a different way of thinking and a different approach. If you ever get the opportunity to read Rich Dad Poor Dad I’d though ally recommend it.
I went from being an employee to a business owner who actually put in more hours than when I was an employee and worst of all I got paid less as a business owner than I did as an employee. Go figure? I became a lower paid employee in my own business who worked longer hours. That wasn’t supposed to be the plan. It was only when I realized that I needed to own multiple businesses or income streams that I would actually get the businesses working for me and not vice versa.
Also I noticed that sales dipped in my store whenever I had a day off. This was because I had a good working knowledge of the products I was selling and was good at selling them. This was great when I was in the store but when I had a day off sales declined. The business rotated around me personally and my ability to sell directly to customers. It’s much easier to sell one product online to millions of potential customers than depend on one person to sell hundreds of products to a lower customer base (i.e. your locality).
I hope Dan’s Profit Plan will change your way of thinking, your approach if you like. A change in mindset, which is just as important as the methods that we will cover in the plan itself. The plan is actually quite easy in one way – that is if you follow through of course. A lot of people including myself had a flawed approach to wealth and money. I didn’t come from money and wrongly believed that if you did have a lot of money you must be a bit of a crook somehow.
Hard working people never seem to have a lot of it – do they? How flawed was this, even when I knew how to make money I never followed through as I should have done. It was almost like there was a psychological barrier in my mind pulling me back. I got over this and I want to advise you in the strongest terms that you can as well. You deserve to live the life you dream of and in the online age of today this really is possible if you follow through.
Dan Cole is the owner of a number of successful golf businesses in Ireland, including Indoor Mini Golf, Cole Golf and Garden Golf. The experience gained in running these businesses, particularly the development of Cole Golf and the Cole Golf website. ColeGolf.ie was developed against the backdrop of one of the most the severest of recessions experienced in recent times.This author has published 11 articles so far.