24 June 2014

5 Ways To Make Money Online Through Sales

1. Sell On eBay

It quickly became clear that eBay was the winner when it came to secondhand commerce online. As a result my first experience making any money from the Internet was selling old games, toys and electronics on eBay.

eBay is still I believe the best way to gain experience making money from the Internet for two reasons -

You are pretty much guaranteed to make some kind of sale and thus experience a transaction
eBay has the traffic, so you don’t have to worry about marketing your product beyond creating a good listing, the eye-balls are already there

These two reasons make eBay a great first stop because you will learn how to list something for sale online, how to take money (possibly your first experience with PayPal) and about the importance of things like titles and copy writing, if you spend the time to study how to make your eBay listings convert better.

The best thing about eBay – the abundant traffic – is also the worst thing. Barriers to entry are low on eBay, meaning competition is fierce. When competition is fierce, profit margin is slim. Unless you can find some form of competitive advantage through your supply chain, how you create listings, or you have a means to increase volume, you’re not going retire rich thanks to eBay.

I spent quite a bit of time studying eBay, both as a business model and as a means to capture new customers because of how much buying traffic is there. There is no doubt that eBay is a fantastic website that represents a huge potential to make money, but in my case I wasn't keen to build my business there, it didn't match enough of my criteria.

However eBay is a fantastic way to make quick money, even just as a way to turn your old items into cash to start a new online venture. If you’re brand new to Internet marketing and you don’t know your PayPal’s from your Clickbanks, or your PPC from your SEO, eBay is definitely a great place to learn some basics.

2. Sell Products in Forums, Bulletin Boards, Classifieds and other Community type sites

Before having my own website, I spent time reading websites, newsgroups, bulletin boards and forums about the game, and eventually started trading online. Back before search engines were any good most of my time was spent in particular Magic newsgroups, some that talked strategy, and some that were focused specifically on trading and/or buying and selling cards.

I managed to make spare change selling my cards through these sites. The main reason I could make any money was because I would win cards in tournaments, hence I had a supply source that would result in a good profit margin. Of course this wasn't sustainable unless I kept placing well in tournaments, nor was it really scalable unless I started buying in cards from other sources.

I stopped using this method once I started my own card game site (more on this below), however I still believe niche collectibles, particularly in a market that you really love, is a fantastic starting point to gain experience making money online. Like eBay you can make money selling secondhand items in community sites if you can find a way to source product at cost or below. It’s not a model that has much margin so again the challenge is to scale if you want to make significant profit.

3.
Selling Products Online Is A Big Opportunity

My first three experiences of making money from the Internet all involve some kind of physical product. Online commerce obviously represents a huge opportunity to make money online, and having your own product or a passion for a product that you can source can lead to big profits.

You can sell product from your own website store, via community sites and classifieds like Craigslist and of course eBay and collectively make good money. The challenge, like with any business, is defining what is your competitive advantage and can you come up with a model that meets your needs. For me selling physical product was a great proving ground, but I eventually learned that profiting from information was a preferable model if I wanted to meet my aforementioned business goals.

I’ll leave it in your hands to decide whether physical commerce is the way to go for your situation.

4. Sell Services you Provide Personally

At one stage early in my career when my online income wasn’t consistent, I was part of a business grant program run by the Australian government designed to assist entrepreneurs with money to pay for life’s necessities so you can focus on growing your business. The idea is that when your business is successful you will eventually hire people and pay taxes, thus the government reaps a return on the investment.

The grant ran for 12 months and I was under the assumption (incorrectly) that I had to show consistent income growth in order to maintain my qualification for the program. My income at the time always suffered a downturn around Christmas/Summer in Australia. To combat this problem I decided to teach English face-to-face with people in Brisbane to hopefully boost my reportable income.

To advertise my tutoring service I marketed using posters offline and eventually set up a website and marketed on classified sites as well. I charged $10 an hour and eventually had a few Korean clients. This idea eventually ballooned into a full on English school with a real world premises that I managed for eight months before closing down. It turned out to be an experiment that taught me I much preferred online business to bricks and mortar.

If you are good at something and enjoy helping/teaching/working on other people’s projects, selling what you do online is worth considering.

5. Sell Your Own Information Products

The single most profitable income stream I have ever developed is selling my own information products. If you are a long time follower of my work you know I have created courses on how to make money with blogs and membership sites. I also have several reports, an Ebook and new products on the way.

The profit margins on information products is significant, especially as you can earn money for content you created years ago. Technology makes selling information online relatively easy to automate, once you get through the learning curve. If you focus on areas you are passionate about you can build expertise and leverage that trust and credibility to make sales of your products. Best of all, all of this can happen while you sleep, once you have built the machine to do it for you.

Like with affiliate marketing, your potential to succeed selling information products rests on your ability to identify market needs, tap into audiences looking for this information and then give them what they want. There are plenty of subtleties and things to learn about, but thankfully there is plenty of guidance out there too.

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