So, you’ve been reading lots of stuff about how you can make gazillions of dollars online and now you’re thinking that it’s time to get involved. However, you’ve read that the online selling market is saturated and you reckon that you’ve left it too late. Well, let me give you the low-down on the things you need to know for the best way to sell your stuff online.
You may have also read that online selling is the easiest and cheapest way to start making money online. And that’s true; however, don’t mistake easiest and cheapest for simple and free. It takes work and some money to get started.
The amount of time and money you invest is up to you. Apart from a domain and hosting, you can do everything for free; it’s up to you. Let’s look at what you need in a little more detail. By the way, this is not an article about how to sell a product online. I’ll be writing that one soon.
How to Start Selling Online Professionally
This is going to be a long article so you may want to make yourself a cup of tea, order another pint or go outside for a smoke before starting. And make sure you bookmark this post so that you can return to it. Also, this is going to be a series of articles so that’s another good reason for bookmarking this post.
What You Have to Know Before You Start
The ultimate goal of this series of articles is to make sure you find the best way to sell your stuff online. It’s true that you’ll need to find out the best things to sell online are, how to sell those products once you discover them, and what are the best ways to sell your products.
But none of those things matters until you are sure this is right for you. So, we’re going to start by looking at the advantages of selling stuff online and then we’ll look at the disadvantages. Then you can decide if you want to get involved.
The Pros of Selling Things Online
Now, I know you have some sort of dream and it goes something like this. You have discovered the best things to sell online. Every day, you wake up feeling a little fragile after a hard night of partying. You stumble out of bed, weaving over to your laptop and stare at the screen trying to remember what you did the night before. You then click a couple of buttons, transfer lots of money to your bank account, and start the entire cycle again.
However, I’d like you to come and join the real world again. Here are the actual benefits of starting an online business.
– Work in your pyjamas
– Work from home
– Own your own business
– No glass ceiling
– No boss to put up with
– Lots of great training
– A valuable asset to sell
– No inventory to buy
– It’s passive income (sort of)
– It’s fun (I think)
You can sell what you want. You may want to sell something you’re passionate about or you may want to be completely mercenary and find out what are the best things to sell online.
The Cons of Selling Things Online
Still, I don’t want it to seem that I’m only here to sell you drop shipping (damn, I just let the cat out of the bag. Forget I said that), so here are some disadvantages.
– Not a get-rich-quick scheme
– There’s a learning curve
– You have to do everything
– You shoulder all the responsibility
– It’s not passive income
In other words, if you have the patience and the persistence to succeed, you will get there. But that doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to have to make some sacrifices. I’m afraid you’re not going to succeed by sitting around doing nothing and finding the best way to sell your stuff online is no different.
I mentioned drop shipping as a model for working out the best things to sell online for a reason but there are several ways to sell your stuff online. Let’s look at what’s what.
Choosing the Best Way to Sell Your Stuff Online
Like many things in life, when you have decided to go down a certain path, you’ll have choices. Selling online is no different. What you should pay attention to is the different levels of financial commitment you’ll need and this will determine what sort of business model works best for you. Here are the different ways you can start selling online.
There is a reason why you have almost certainly heard of drop shipping. It’s incredibly easy to get started and for me, it’s definitely the best way to sell your stuff online. There is very little investment needed. Plus you won’t have to pay anything until you sell something. All you need to do to get started is:
– Decide what you want to sell
– Find a drop shipping supplier
– List products on your marketplace
– Start selling
In other words, the person you find to supply your products does all the supplying, you do all the selling. Easy, right? Well, yes and no. Here’s a quick rundown of how drop shipping works.
– Someone buys a product listed on your online store.
– You place the order with your supplier.
– Your supplier sends the product to your customer.
So, if you were wondering if drop shipping is passive income, the answer is no. You still have to place orders but you only need to do that once a day, so not exactly a huge amount of work. The model really is as simple as I just said, but there are some drawbacks to drop shipping.
– Pay a higher price
– Incur a drop shipping fee
– Shipping takes longer
– Most suppliers based in China
Still, as I said, it’s a hugely popular model and if you just want to dip your toes in the water to see if selling online is for you, you don’t have a lot of capital to invest in stock, or you don’t want to do a lot of work then drop shipping is definitely for you.
Working with Wholesalers
This is a much more common business model because this is the same model that has been used by bricks-and-mortar stores for centuries. It’s also a model used by online stores for a few reasons. Here’s how it works:
– Decide on the product(s)
– Find a reliable wholesaler
– Negotiate the best price
– Buy the product(s) in bulk
As is the case in traditional stores, by buying in bulk, you are able to get the best possible price. This means that you may need substantial funds to buy your inventory. On the plus side, if everything goes to plan, you’ll make lots more money than you would drop shipping. Once you have placed an order, you’ll also need to:
– Arrange storage
– List items online
– Organize shipping
It is much more work than drop shipping but the financial benefits far outweigh the longer hours. You just need to ask yourself if you’re prepared to do all the extra work and that you’re confident that you can do it well. If you are, this is the model for you.
Working with Manufacturers
This is very similar to the one directly above, but with some added benefits. You have much more control over the products, you can concentrate on your own branding, and there’s the benefit of cost, of course. There are some disadvantages to this model.
– High initial investment
– Creating something new
– Product design, development and so on
– Legal obligations
Plus half-a-dozen other things I have probably forgotten. If you are ready to look far down the road and create something truly unique, then this model is for you. There’s one more model that is good for those of you who have a creative streak.
Creating Your Own Products
If you can make stuff, you can sell it. I have a friend who is doing very well selling hand-made leather bags. And if you can make stuff you don’t need to look for the best things to sell online because you already have them.
One reason this is a very attractive business model is that you can start as slowly as you want, you’re in control of absolutely everything, and you can do this as a much more profitable side hustle.
Obviously, selling your own products means that you are shouldering all the responsibilities and you can only sell what you can make. Mind you, you could always train others to do the manufacturing part but that would be further down the line.
Wrapping It All Up
And there you have it. The four main business models are drop shipping, sourcing your product(s) from wholesalers, sourcing your product(s) manufacturers, creating your own products. Remember that each one has a different amount of financial investment and, to be honest, although you have a choice, your choice is predicated on the amount of money you have, so it’s a ‘sort of’ choice.
Now, if you think that drop shipping is the best route for you, or you think it might be, then you should check out SaleHoo’s Drop Shipping services. SaleHoo does all the research, tells you what products are selling well, and tells you which are the best suppliers for the product you want. They can also help you learn how to sell a product, which may be very handy if you’re a newbie.
In a nutshell, using SaleHoo mean that you are vastly lessening the risks involved when starting a business selling products online. Click the image above for more information.
If you would like to check out the next article in my drop shipping series ‘Drop Shipping and Choosing the Best Products to Sell’, please click here. And you can check out my other drop shipping, by clicking on this link.
If you enjoyed the free training above, leave a comment. And if you think I’ve left anything out, please feel free to add that below too. Thanks and speak again soon.