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Friday, November 11, 2005

Ways to make money online continued.... Product / Service Selling Websites

This articles is in continuation to:
-Ways to make money online.
-CONTENT WEBSITES

As mentioned, offering Products / Services for sale are the first way people think to make money when the "business" bug first bites them in the butt.

I've been involved in the hosting, e-commerce and drop-shipping industry and have significant experience in these fields and having done that... I've also dealt with many, many beginners and by beginners I mean people that don't have much internet experience but have the burning desire to make money ( are you amongst this group?). Most of these people have one thing in common that they should get rid of right from the start; a fear and this fear causes them to see things much more complicated than they are, it sorts of blinds them to the real possibilities of making money online.
This fear stems from the fact that they've seen so many offer telling them how "easy" it is to make money online if you just purchase this magic ebook for $97.00. Sounds familiar? Probably but the reality is that there is no magic formula to make easy money.
So... let's get something straight right now... it takes TIME, RESEARCH, WORK and a monetary INVESTMENT. Yes, I said monetary investment because, as someone wise one said ( I believe it was Jeff Gitomer)... sometimes when you want to make a million... you have to spend a few hundred dollars first. If any one of these aspects is lacking in your business preparation you will probably be frustrated by it's lack of success.
I've also encountered my share of people who fell in the group that thought it was so easy to make money online that all they had to do was to build a website, a program or list a few items on eBay, submit to search engines and wait for the money to come in! If you're part of this group... shame! This group frustrates me... it's one thing to underestimate the amount of resources it takes to make a business work but it's an entirely other thing to be so ignorant as to think you can build a business doing almost no work.
Build it and they will come? PLEASE! It's more, build it, research it, tweak it, research it some more, tweak it some more, promote it, promote it, promote it some more and maybe they'll come if your offer is appealing and differs from the rest!

I realize it's probably not what most people want to hear but let's get it out in the open... it takes WORK to make a business work... any business. Anyone that tells you otherwise is only out to get your money.
Via my company's offering, NoMinimum.com , we've spent ALOT of resources to develop a system that allows people to start their own online business with the most flexibility (this is important... you should be able to build your business the way you want it) and the least investment. We were only able to achieve this with years of work and because of my previous experience in hosting and other aspects; enabling us to offer everything someone needs to get started with the least possible investment. We build and customize a full-fledge e-commerce system and pre-populate it with our complete line of over 12K items which they can then choose which they want to sell and which they want to remove from their store. All this is only $49.99 and even includes the domain name registration. Then, we offer them drop shipping on every item so they don't have to stock anything, we host the application, maintain the store and update the inventory automatically, in real time. All of this for $39.99 monthly.
This saves a tremendous amount of time and money for the entrepreneur, try getting all these things done separately to see how much it costs :/
This big paragraph is more than a big plug for my business... it goes to illustrate my previous point... that even with all these services that we provide... I see countless members joining and expecting to make money just by joining. In other words they get us to set them up with everything they need and then they submit their site to search engines using the submission tool in their admin area. They come back to us a month or two later and ask us "Why haven't I made any money yet?". Even if we have a complete educational area that teaches them what they should do to make they store work.... they haven't done a thing! They haven't decided on what to sell, they've just decided to try and sell the whole line of products. They haven't requested or done any visual change to the site. They haven't thought of a marketing plan and then how to separate themselves from their competitors. They haven't disbursed a single penny in advertising because they think that by submitting their site to search engines, that's all that was needed to rake in the millions.
Whew... So I've written all this to make a point, hopefully everyone has got it by now ! :) Haha.

Alright... so know you know that it takes work and alot of it to make a venture work... but don't despair... anything worth having is worth working for! I can attest to you that if you research something well enough and work hard at making it work, it will work!

Let's look at the aspects of building a successful product/service selling website.
1) Research. Find a niche... a product or a line of products that there isn't too much competition in and yet, there is a demand. There are many ways to research this... through search engines, price comparison sites like, pricegrabber, sites like eBay and even the yellow pages.

2) Once you've found your niche... study your competitors... what are they doing that's good... what's missing?
Improve on what they're doing good and fill in the void where they've missed something. Then, keep on innovating at a rate that they can't catch up to you.

3) When building your business, build a brand, something that will be easily identifiable by your customers... it will make your advertising dollars much more effective in the long run.

4) Don't ignore customer service... if you're in it for the long run... and you should... it will make or break your venture... so offer the best possible customer service, answer in a timely fashion to inquiries, etc.

5) Price isn't everything. Incentive, service, professionalism, ease of use and commodity are all factors that are important. You get what you pay for is a good rule to go by most of the time and customers know this... so don't get caught in the price game... instead of focusing on offering them the best "price", focus on offering the best "value". Let them realize that they get much more than the item for the listed price. They get your reputation, service, incentives and commodity!

6) It takes many visits before a visitor will buy and it's easy to visit once and forget about you. How about giving them an incentive to encourage them to sign up for a free account or join your mailing list? Then you can easily remind them about your website by sending them offers, etc.

So that's it... that's my advice... sorry if it was a bit long and I've spent most of the article writing about how most people think it's easy to make money with a website this way... but I do believe that's the most important step to overcome... once you realize what needs to be done and make a plan... it suddenly seems not THAT bad and you can have realistic expectations and a real chance to make it work!

5 Comments:

Blogger Mojotek said...

While the post may have been a 'plug', you offered up quite a bit of useful info. The best quote from the post:

It's more, build it, research it, tweak it, research it some more, tweak it some more, promote it, promote it, promote it some more and maybe they'll come if your offer is appealing and differs from the rest!

As in any business venture its a lot of hard work. Thanks for making some very poignant points!

5:27 PM  
Blogger Franco said...

The plug just sort of came while writting it because I wanted to use my experience to illustrate my point.
Appreciate the comment!

Franco

6:22 PM  
Blogger PoFigster said...

Very good advice. While I have never done eCommerce, I did run a web page development company for a number of years - the same principles apply. Customer Service is KEY to everything. If your customers experience problems, but at least have great support in fixing the problem, they tend to ignore the fact that there was a problem. Bravo, for a well written artilce!

11:21 PM  
Blogger epiac1216 said...

Franco:

I've read your business post several times, just to make sure I'm not missing anything.

FYI, I studied Business Administration, but always worked for somebody else. Now I'm trying to make it on my own.

I agree with you about finding a segment market to focus on. Right now, as you know, I'm trying to promote a blog (Epiac's Place) to make myself known. Meanwhile I'm researching the target market and the products and/or services to satisfy that demand.

Somebody once said that succes was "5 per cent inspiration and 95 per cent perspiration". That is so true.

Your business advice is sound and feasible.

Will keep in touch,

Omar.-

9:04 AM  
Blogger Queen D The Original Southern Diva said...

I personally liked how you managed to sell and inform all at the same time. One thing that I'd like to add is to make a plan and stick to it. Don't fall into the trap of signing up for every "business opportunity" you see. You will ruin your credibilty that way and you won't have time to properly promote everything you've signed up for.
DeAnna Spencer
Learn Small Business

2:52 PM  

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