I'm going to layout for you a different way of finding a product/market/etc. and setting up shop online.

I sell one product that I physically handle (meaning box and ship). The others are either electronic (as in downloadable) or shipped by a distributor (DVDs or CDs) and I never touch the order.

What is the one product that I physically handle? Blue Glass Bottles (.com) Yep... you read that correctly, Blue Glass Bottles.

How did I get the idea?
It comes from a book titled Zero Limits by Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len (Hawaiian Ho'oponopono master). In the book, Dr. Len says that drinking water from a blue glass bottle that you've placed in direct sunlight for over an hour will help clear problems from your life. When I read this, I said to myself, "I want a blue glass bottle". However, I couldn't find one that was big enough to make the effort worthwhile. I searched online and didn't immediately find what I was looking for. I finally found exactly what I was looking for, but I had to buy a case (12 bottles).

Being that I was already selling information products online I tried to find an easy way to sell this product online. There are businesses that will fulfill orders for me, but we're talking low volume here and it is too expensive at low volume. I decided to go the simple route and put up a web site and ship the orders myself. I knew if I sold an unexpectedly large number of bottles I could hire help or use a fulfillment service.

So I ordered a few cases of bottles. I made a web site. I used what I know about Search Engine Optimization to optimize the site. And I was in the bottle selling business.

I started getting orders! I've not paid for any advertising. My traffic comes from my blog and from search engine traffic.

No, I don't make a lot of money doing this; however it's a small regular stream of orders. It's a perfect way for someone to get comfortable running a home-based Internet Business.

I didn't even bother to try and figure out if there was a market because the startup investment was so small: a case or two of bottles, a Paypal account, and a simple web site. I figured the best test in this case was to just do it.

Here are the steps:

  1. Identify a product. Joe Vitale is a popular author - he sells a lot of books. So I knew that I was not the only person that would want a few blue bottles. You can do the same thing by staying current with trends and new books, etc. If you find something that you want, but have some difficulty finding it, or finding it exactly like you want it, start thinking about filling that void. It may be a situation like mine where you end up packing and shipping the product yourself or you may find that you can drop-ship it from the distributor or manufacturer.
  2. Get a PayPal account. Very simple. Just go to Paypal.com and signup for a merchant account. In my bottle example, I already had an order system in place that I plugged in, but, you can just go directly to Paypal from your order page, I show you how to do this in my free course "Make Money Online" which you can find at my blog, follow the link in the signature at the end of this article and then look in the right-hand column of my blog.
  3. Setup a web site. You'll need to purchase a domain name, and a hosting account. You can do both at 1and1.com . These days, most hosting accounts come with a ton of features and options, but stick with the basics. You can learn about making web-sites with two more of my free courses "Web Site Creation" and "Interactive Web Site Scripting" which you can find at my blog, follow the link in the signature at the end of this article and then look in the right-hand column of my blog. Working though these courses will give you enough knowledge to make a basic web site that can take orders.
  4. Setup a Google account (if you don't have one) and setup your site in Google Webmaster Tools. See my post Google WebMaster tools for more information.
  5. Link to your new site from your other sites (if you have any). Post some valid comments on blogs that allow you to leave a URL with your name. This will help get your site indexed by search engines.
  6. Write some articles about your product and put them on your web site. You can create a blog if you want to and put it "under" your site (mysite.com/blog) or you can just add more pages to your web site manually and put an article per page. You don't have to do this, but it will help get traffic from search engines. I'm not going to go into all the whys in this post, but just trust me, it helps.
  7. Optimize your site for Search Engines. I have a product to show you how to do this and save you a huge amount of trial and error: Search Engine Optimization.

The above 7 steps will get you going and get your feet wet. From there, you will be much more comfortable selling other peoples products as an affiliate, or selling "virtual" products that you never see, touch, or handle.

Get my Masters of Online Income DVD to learn how to tweak and master the selling process, find affiliate products, use Google Adwords to promote your product, and take your online business to the next level!

Until next time,
Fred

Author's Bio: 

Fred Black is an experienced programmer, web site developer, Internet business operator, copywriter, systems integrator, father, husband, musician, and songwriter. Visit his Internet Business Blog at: Internet Business.