There is good news and bad news if you are having issues with debt. The bad news is there is no secret or magic wand to make it go away. The good news is there are things you can do to make paying off your debt easier.
One option is picking up a side hustle, such as buying products in bulk and selling them online from home. You can find good opportunities in areas such as home décor, clothing and accessories such as handbags. Pet supplies and party supplies can also be lucrative.
Choosing your product(s)
Experienced merchants will tell you that profits are made when you buy, rather than when you sell. The lower the price you score and the higher the quality of merchandise, the easier it will be to bring in money. Seasoned sellers will also tell you to sell a product you have a passion for. Chances are you will already know a lot about these products, including their key benefits and what people expect to pay for them.
Before you get started, it is important to conduct market research to see what people are selling, how it is being marketed and what consumers are willing to pay for it. Find out who the big players are and emulate what they do in terms of pricing, marketing and customer service. Try to find an area of sales or service they are not providing. This can be the hook upon which you hang your unique selling proposition.
The key to your success is the ability to sell at a profit. What is the competition charging? How much will you have to pay to purchase the same products? Is there enough leeway to earn a profit when you subtract the purchase price from what you will charge to come in lower than the competition?
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Sourcing your products
Wholesalers are the most common source to buy products in bulk and sell from home. Starting out, you will be working with smaller operators until your volume ramps up to a level capable of supporting a relationship with a large-scale wholesaler. Finding wholesalers with which to work is a fairly simple task, though it does require a bit of legwork.
Wholesale directories such as Wholesalecentral.com or Alibaba.com offer good sources of information. They can connect you with wholesalers and importers in the U.S. and globally. You can attend trade shows dedicated to the types of products you wish to sell. Or go straight to a manufacturer you like and ask to be directed to people in wholesaling who will work with you.
The main drawback to working this way is that you will need the capacity to store items and the ability to ship when they sell. As you become more successful, shipping could take up more of your time. But this doesn’t need to become an issue. You can create a system, hire someone to help or arrange for pick-up if it is available.
Dropshipping is a particularly smart and convenient way to buy goods for resale. This approach offers a couple of key advantages. You will be freed from the need to warehouse products in your garage while drumming up business. And you avoid the efforts that go into shipping and handling.
When working with a drop shipper, you market the products and then forward the resulting orders to the vendor or the manufacturer to ship. Finding a drop shipper who will ship with your branding is important. It helps ensure that customers think of you, rather than the supplier when the item arrives.
As is to be expected, there are some pros and cons to the drop shipping strategy. Aside from the advantages listed above, dropshipping offers a great deal of flexibility and lower startup costs. On the other hand, you’ll have less margin for profit and less control over customer service issues such as handling returns. Still, it’s a good way to get started with limited investment dollars.
Affiliate marketing is another approach that offers the ability to sell products without needing physical possession of them. You promote products on your website or in blog posts and earn a commission when consumers purchase them through your site.
It doesn’t stop at product sales. You can get paid for leads, attracting free trial users, sending clicks to your affiliate’s website or downloads. Basically, you can get paid for any designated action a user takes as a result of having seen the link on your site.
Companies such as Commission Junction (www.CJ.com) or Share-A-Sale (www.shareasale.com) aggregate affiliate marketing opportunities. These sites list companies by the type of products they offer, the commissions they bring in and the popularity rate for various opportunities.
Choosing a selling platform
There was a time in which you would be faced with building a website from scratch to open an online store. Happily, those days are over. Platforms such as Shopify, Wix, Big Commerce, Squarespace and Zyro offer the equivalent of turnkey storefronts. All you have to do is populate the sites with your products and branding, and then market like crazy. This brings us to another action you will need to take. It is all about promote, promote, promote to attract shoppers and convert them into customers.
Another approach is to offer your wares on existing sites such as eBay, Amazon, Bonanza, Craigslist, Etsy, Poshmark and Ruby Lane. Each site has specific requirements you will need to meet and different fees they will impose. The advantage to this approach is the traffic you need to attract is already in place. The disadvantage is that there is bound to already be a lot of competition.
You can make money on the side by buying products in bulk and selling them online. While it is no mean feat, it can be done with a bit of patience, diligence, and effort. Just keep in mind that many of the world’s largest digital retailers were once startups like you. So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t become a huge hit immediately. Success takes time.