Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why Do you want to sell on-line? - Part One


??  WHY Sell On-Line ??
One of your first steps prior to selling on-line is to ask yourself, “WHY do I want to do this?” While you may have heard that selling on-line is easy, not much work and that you can make a lot of money doing it, that isn’t necessarily so. Selling on-line requires patience, perseverance, time and effort. If you aren’t prepared to spend the time and effort to do this, then you might want to look into finding a different way to make money. This is not said with any kind of condemnation. If you need to earn extra cash, and who doesn’t these days, at least find a way to do it that you will enjoy.
As you start asking yourself the question of Why do I want to Sell On-line, some of the things that you need to think about is how much money do you need to make or want to make. The need to make a certain amount is how much isn’t being covered currently by your paycheck job. The want to make is because you want to save to go on a great vacation, eat out more often, buy more clothes, and things like. In other words the things you could live without if you don’t make the money. The money you need to make is a whole different story if every month the gap between your paycheck and the utility bills gets ever wider; you are using credit cards to buy your groceries, etc. I believe strongly in living a frugal life, but I also understand shortfalls in income versus expenses.  So write down that figure that you want to make as a bare minimum on a monthly basis and you have your first goal set. Then figure out how much more it would take to give you a more comfortable life style on a routine basis. That is your goal to push towards once you are consistently making the minimum goal. Having that minimum goal keeps you focused during the month and gives you a kick in the backside if you aren’t anywhere near that goal and it is the 25th of the month. Then you ask yourself where you went wrong, too much TV, not enough promoting, lousy inventory, poorly written descriptions and titles and poor photography?
Along with how much money you want to make, decide if you really want to have a small business or just a hobby to make a little money. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t think you can be a success and just figure that you will try to make some money out of a hobby, you won’t be making much. You won’t get the full tax benefits and write offs that the IRS allows. But if you say you want a business and treat it like a hobby then you are a hobby seller. To be frank, this blog is being written to benefit those that actually want to start an on-line business.
If the thought of having your own business, scares you silly, that is okay. I felt the same way. You may need to find a mentor that will encourage you to take the chance. More about mentors later in another post, but a good idea now is to be looking for one that won’t tell you all your ideas are marvelous even if they aren’t nor do you want one that will put down everything you say.
Are you desperate for money so see selling on-line as a quick and easy way to round up money? Sorry, but for the most part that isn’t going to work very well for most people unless they are about to lose their home that is filled with expensive stuff that you might be able to raise needed funds by selling off all your excess stuff. Otherwise, the people that I see that jump into selling on-line through sheer desperation have multiple problems getting a store started. The money won’t come in like you want and think it should. Depending on the selling venue, some sellers don’t get their first sale for a month or more.
Until my next post, write down why you want to sell on-line and figure out your sales goals of the minimum you want to make monthly once your venue is up and running well. Also, how much do you really want to make to give yourself a more comfortable life.
Tip of the Day: Talk to as many people as possible that sell on line to find out what they sell; how their sales doing, why they are selling on line, what lead them into it and ask them if they sell in a niche and why. Keep your ears open and you can learn so much. Of the people that you talk to, think are any of them good mentor material?


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Begin How You Plan to End

Begin How You Plan to End. What does this mean? It is simple. If you want a great ongoing success as an online seller you need to start out with that thought already in your head. It means you do the research ahead of time so that you are knowledgeable about what on line selling is all about, what a particular venue may require of you, having a firm knowledge of where you will source your inventory from, and be willing to charge the prices that make you a profit. By the way, profit (in my opinion) is not clearing $0.25 when all is said and done.

Over the years, those of us that have taken some newbies under our wings to help them have tried to get some of them to understand that the prices they are charging isn't going to make them any money at all other than the quarter I mentioned. I've even found sellers that were losing money when all was said and done! That isn't the point of selling on line! The point is to make money! We have frequently been told that they aren't doing this (selling) to make money. It is just a hobby. I can understand crafters that love to craft selling their finished articles to make enough money to finance another project or two. But I have a hard time understanding most of the 'hobby' sellers, selling what they do just as a hobby. I sell sewing patterns on line and have for years, I have run into other pattern sellers that list patterns for a tenth or less of what I sell mine for. Yet again with the excuse that it is only a hobby. I have proved through my sales that people will pay more for a pattern, so why not price them accordingly and make much heftier hobby money instead of pretty much nothing? If you want to sell on line as a hobby and you don't care at all about profit, please be considerate of those that sell on line to keep a roof over their head or food on the table, and don't sell at give away prices.

All this comes back to begin how you plan to end. If you can see yourself, or even if you don't have the self-confidence to see yourself that way yet but are hoping to do well, as a successful seller, think about what you need to do to get there. You need to learn how to take excellent photos of what you have for sell or else learn how to get someone to do it for you. You have to learn how to write good titles and listings, paying attention to spelling and grammar so that your listing looks professional. You have to learn how to write up your Terms of Service (TOS) so that you are fair to both your buyer and yourself, you have to be able to write up an About Us page so that potential buyers will trust you and see the link between who you are and what you are selling. You need to learn to spellcheck, proof read, and throw out the texting dictionary since believe it or not, not everyone has a cell phone and don't understand all those cutesy abbreviation. You want to write everything clearly so that they understand what you are selling even if they can't see the picture, and take your pictures clearly and well enough so that they don't really need to read the listing although you hope they will!

Set up a book keeping plan taking advantage of your computer. When I was first selling on line another seller admitted to keeping track of all her sales in a paper notebook! Use the resources available to you. Think up ways to promote your goods to your world wide market, not just the folks in your town. Think of what truly interests you or what you know a lot about when deciding what to sell, as that makes it much easier than trying to learn and understand a product that you don't understand what it is for and you have to write a convincing listing so that someone will buy it. Don't look at this as an opportunity to get rid of the yard sale leftovers that haven't sold at your last three sales. Unless you have researched the articles and know they should be worth something, don't bother trying to sell trash. Trash belongs in the trash.

We will be talking about all these issues over time, in the meantime put your thinking caps on and think of it this way. If you got hired as a lower level manager with a chance to climb the ranks to eventually be CEO of the company, would you come to work the first day on the job in dirty, holey blue jeans and a ratty T-shirt. If your answer is yes, this blog isn't for you. If your answer is a resounding no, then keep following. I will be posting as time allows since I am busy with my own successful business. 

Thought for the Day: Don't forget that the moment you start your business you have just become a CEO!

Welcome to First Steps to selling On Line

Welcome to First Steps to Selling Online. We are here to help you think through the process of deciding what you need to understand and do before opening a store, running auctions, or any other on line selling activities including your own website.
Why this blog?  Over the 12+ years that I have been selling online under the seller name Moonwishes, I have also helped in the different selling forums and non-selling forums to help those who would like to make some extra money, if not a complete living on line. Rather than feel like I am giving and typing the same advice over and over,  I will be putting many of my ideas into a blog where it can be accessed by all at any time.
The first thing to think about before even looking for a venue or making any kind of decisions about selling on line, think of this. If you wanted to open a ’brick and mortar’ store (on line speak for a real store you can walk into such as a grocery store) is you wouldn’t  get an idea to start a store and 5 minutes later walk in to a complete functioning store. You need to plan what you want to sell, where you want your building, how much you want to make, decide if you need a start up loan, and most certainly you would need some sort of business plan, and the list goes on. Yet for some reason some, if not many, ’newbies’ who want to be on line sellers start up a store with less thought than to what they dress in that day. What is the chance of becoming a successful on line seller with no thought behind what you are doing? This blog will help you think through the processes of starting up an online store or other selling activity so you have a great chance of becoming successful.
Best Wishes for the journey ahead.