Information & Instructions

How To Make A Fortune On the Internet by Izzy Goodman

Part 1: Introduction and Choosing Your Niche

"In one month you could be making $1,000 a day from your home in only 5 minutes a day while sitting in your underwear! Send $39.95 for my secrets."

Your email inbox is probably full of claims like these. Well, I am about to reveal the secret and save you $39.95: The plan calls for you to spam a million people in the hopes that some of them fall for it and send you the money! Either that or selling photos of yourself in your underwear.

Just remember: TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. If there was really some secret to legitimately making $1,000 a day in only 5 minutes, no one would be selling it for $39.95. What I can tell you is that you can make money online through hard work and using your brain.

Before you launch any business venture, you have to be realistic. Do not quit your day job expecting to make a fortune selling on eBay. Unless you have a truly unique item that only you can get at a special price, you will be facing competition from folks who have been around longer than you and have already established the ratings and reputation to get the highest bids. Does that mean you should give up? Absolutely not. It just means you have to carefully think about how to proceed. While older businesses may have the advantage of a proven track record and clientele, newer businesses have the advantage of a fresh approach.

In this series of articles, I will demonstrate some of the tricks I learned which helped me build the Internet side of my business into a steady income producer. I am not going to claim that you will become rich. Until recently, the Internet side of my business was bringing in under $1000 a week. Then I was forced to take it seriously and give it more effort. In a year income doubled and is rising steadily. I am not going to claim that it takes only five minutes a day. It takes most of my day, but that is only because I enjoy exchanging emails with people all over the globe. If you are a "strictly business" sort of person, you can probably do it in a few hours a day.

What I will do is give you a "money back guarantee." If you don't like my ideas, you can request a full refund of every cent you paid me to read this article. Even better, I'll give you DOUBLE your money back :)

If you visit chat forums on a regular basis (Auctionwatch, OTWA, eBay and the AuctionBytes forums) you will see these kinds of posts regularly: "Does anyone have a good source of wholesale stuff? Does anyone know a good drop-shipper? I want to start selling on eBay." Some even had the gall to e-mail me directly to ask me where I bought my items, what I paid, and could I introduce them to my distributors.

Asking others what they sell and who they get it from so that you can compete with them is not the way to build a business. And, it is difficult to compete on price. The bigger sellers who sell in larger quantities probably get better pricing.

So what can you do as a "Johnny-come-lately" to get positive attention? Compete by offering something the bigger sellers can't afford to give: service. The key to giving great service and customized attention: Love what you sell!

You can spot the sellers who have a passion for their products. They enjoy answering questions. They take the time to make sure that their customers know exactly what they are getting. To them, a customer is more than just another bid or another sale. And it shows in their feedback. I would venture to guess that successful sellers did not first decide to sell and then start looking for merchandise. Most of them first had a passion for something and then became sellers of that product.

I once sold digital cameras and related accessories. So did a thousand others. What differentiated me from them? I enjoy learning about new technology and sharing the knowledge. When a customer placed an order for a 4 gig media card, I asked them what kind of camera they had and then explained that it would only accept a maximum of 2 gig. When a customer placed an order for an expensive Fuji battery and charger, I was able to tell them that the identical items were available under another label for half the price. People appreciated the service and told their friends.

Eventually everyone and his cousin started selling the same merchandise and a number of scam sites popped up - selling refurbished cameras as new or "gray market" (manufactured overseas with no warranty available here). I couldn't compete with them on price and wasn't going to stoop to the same tactics. I got tired of answering numerous questions from people who then went to the scam sites to save a few bucks, then came back to me afterward to ask what to do about their non-functioning cameras. And with all the competiton, the profit margin dwindled. So I gave up on digital cameras and started looking for other products. Again, I followed my own advice and didn't look for just anything to sell. It had to be something unique that I used myself, knew about and could discuss with customers. I had a number of Epson printers and had been using and selling compatible cartridges. Around that time the printer companies won a courtroom victory permitting them to manufacture printers which refused to recognize compatibles. Now not only did it look like I would have to abandon selling ink cartridges, I would have to pay a fortune for ink.

I began to research the situation. I ordered cartridges from numerous vendors in the United States, most of which failed to work reliably. I contacted foreign manufacturers. Eventually I found suppliers of reliable compatible cartridges. But I did even better. I discovered a unique product - a two piece cartridge where the ink was kept in its own container inside the main cartridge. When the ink tank was empty, it could be replaced, keeping the same outer cartridge and chip, which would reset itself to full. This was a wonderful find on several levels. First, by re-using the same chip, the price of the cartridge was drastically reduced. Second, these cartridges contained more than double the ink of Epson cartridges. Third, I had little to no competition. Finally, I was guaranteed repeat business. Once someone bought my reusable cartridges, they would return for additional ink tanks since the savings was substantial.

Now I had my products, so I resumed the plan which had served me so well. I wrote articles about the printer cartridge crisis - the fact that prices were rising, the amount of ink the printer manufacturers were supplying had dwindled and most compatibles were not working reliably. I frequented the printer forums and answered questions. When I saw the same questions over and over, I created web pages to answer them and placed them on my site. Eventually people found my site a good source of information and started spreading the word. Now it receives lots of hits and direct sales. Direct sales mean instant sales, without the delay of auctions and final value fees.

But all this would not have happened if I hadn't done the research. So don't start by looking to see where you can find "stuff." Begin by looking at what products you already have a passion for. Do you collect stamps, coins or baseball cards? Enjoy photography? Love old movies? Can you spot a good deal on an antique at an estate sale? Then this is where you should start. You should be excited about your product and enjoy talking about it so you can address your customers' questions without getting irritated. It will allow you to become an authority in your field. It may help you spot that special deal, the item selling for $5 at an estate sale that can fetch hundreds of dollars on eBay with the proper presentation.

Incidentally, I recently became a "victim" of the economy when the firm at which I had been working for ten years eliminated a number of positions, including mine. While my friends and co-workers were devastated, I used the opportunity to learn search engine optimization (SEO). I revamped my site and it is now at the top of the search engines. Hits and sales are increasing tremendously to the point where it is replacing my lost income. I have also started doing SEO for clients. All this would not have been possible if I hadn't built a viable sideline.

So stop thinking about selling "stuff" and think about having fun while enjoying your hobby and building your business.

Part 2 - Build A Web Site

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