More and more people are catching the fever. Dreams of a mansion in the hills, early retirement, or just being able to supplement their regular income. Everyone wants to sell on the Internet. Every economic indicator, independent report and government statistic points to the fact that Ecommerce is getting bigger and bigger every year.
This is a good thing for you and me. The huge growth in ECommerce is in part the result of small, home-based Internet businesses carving out our own chunk of the multi-billion dollar ECommerce pie. Ecommerce is riding a wave that won't break. It's getting bigger. There IS money to be made, and plenty to go around.
How, though, can you even start your own internet business when you may not even know how to get past the "Start" button on your computer? Even if you are an experienced computer user, most people don't know what a Merchant Account is, or how to build an Internet storefront. Where's the starting point? Where can you go and stand on a big black "X" on the ground and say, "This is the FIRST thing I need to do in order to start my online business"?
Be careful! There are a lot of companies out there who tell you they will help you set up your new online business. While some of them are legitimate, there are LOTS of scam artists as well, who are HOPING that you don't know where to start. They will prey on you. They'll tell you that you don't have to know ANYTHING. They'll say that all you have to do is send them a few hundred dollars (or even as little as thirty or forty dollars) and all will be magically revealed. Your new store will appear like a rabbit out of a hat, and they will handle everything, from the storefront to the bank accounts to the products you will sell.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: Any "Complete Internet Store Solution" that offers you both a web site AND products to sell should be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS!
There ARE good Internet Store solutions out there. However, nearly
all of the Internet Store solutions that offer you a web site and products to sell are trying to sell you a "rubber-stamp"
It's like getting a thank-you letter from the President for supporting his political party during his election. We both know that the Big Guy isn't going to sit down and type individual letters to hundreds of thousands of people. Some functionary throws a big list of names into a computer, and the computer prints out the same letter over and over again, each with a different name:
"Dear Mr. Joe Smith, I would like to personally thank you for your support during my recent Election campaign..."
"Dear Mrs. Alice Jones, I would like to personally thank you for your support during my recent Election campaign..."
"Dear Occupant, I would like to personally thank you for your support during my recent Election campaign..."
You get the idea, right?
THAT's what a "rubber-stamp" Internet Store Solution gives you. You'll end up with an Internet Store that looks EXACTLY
the same as everyone else's who bought one. Same exact pages, looks, graphics, and all the same products. Only the NAMES on the stores are different.
Your so-called "Internet Store" will sit there and twiddle its thumbs, alongside thousands of other IDENTICAL internet sites, also
busily twiddling THEIR thumbs, all trying to sell exactly the same products. No one will ever even find them on the Internet;
much less BUY anything from them. You'll end up a permanent resident of an Internet Ghost Town, and you'll pay for the "privilege".
(Philosophical question...if thousands of Internet Sites twiddle their thumbs, and no customers are there to see it, do they actually twiddle at all?) :o)
Why do they do it? Why do these scam artists go to all the trouble of setting this whole thing up? Because:
It looks GOOD to you. Everything in one place, for one fee. Internet Store, ready-made Products, Marketing Tips and Information, Promises to bring thousands of customers to your store. All in one place for one "setup fee", and "reasonable" monthly payments. You hardly have to do ANYTHING!
It's EASY for them. All they have to do is create ONE web site, and duplicate it thousands of times, one per customer. Then they simply take your money, plug in your name, and they're done!
They don't care if you EVER sell a single product. Most of them don't stock those products anyway. They simply have a "drop shipping" arrangement with the REAL wholesale supplier. If you ever DO sell something, all they have to do is send an email to the REAL supplier, and have the product sent to your customer. (Of course, they make a profit on THAT, too).
They make it look as easy as possible to you, hoping you'll send them your money. Then all they have to do is click a few buttons and hook you up with a useless Internet Store that SEEMS to work. While you're trying to figure out (a) why your "store" doesn't make any money, and (b) why you suddenly can't get ahold of the magician who sold you your store and disappeared, said magician will be whistling a happy tune all the way to the bank. With YOUR money.
This goes for eBay Auctions too, folks. There are a huge number of people out there selling "Overnight Auction Riches" packages that just don't work. You'll see them online, in TV, etc.
Don't let it happen! Here's my number one rule concerning the Internet: If it seems too good to be true, it IS too good to be true!
Actually, that's not even my rule. You know you've heard it before. It's simple common sense. It's probably been around since the first caveman stumbled over a sleeping bear and thought he had dinner all locked up!
If it seems too good to be true, it IS too good to be true. How quickly that simple common sense statement flies out the window when someone promises you money!
Be smart. You may only have one chance to take your future in your own hands. Don't hand that one chance over to one of the thousands of scam artists who will lie to your face and leave you with nothing without the slightest twinge of conscience. Their sites look very professional, they sound like they know what they're talking about, and they can't wait to get their hands on your money and run.
I've literally seen thousands of people taken by these scams. I've only seen and talked to these people because after they get scammed, they keep at it and try again. They eventually end up at our web site, looking over this free information. I hate to think about the tens of thousands of people who have been scammed once, and have given up for good.
As I said, there are good Internet Store solutions out there, but there are not many of them. You need to be sure you work with a reputable company when setting up your Internet Store.
So, with that said, where do you start this whole process of selling on the Internet, and doing it the RIGHT way?
Probably the best place is a quick review of how retail sales works.
1. A factory produces a product. Most factories don't want to get involved in SELLING products to individual Retail Stores. They're too busy MAKING the products. So, they sell huge amounts of the product to a wholesale distributor, all at once.
2. The wholesale distributor adds a bit to the price of each product, and generally sells them in bulk to a retail store.
3. The retail store breaks open the cartons, adds to the price of each individual product (their markup) and sells the products to its customers.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Well, it IS simple, when you're the customer. All you have to do is walk into your local Dogs A' Scratchin store, pick up a can of flea powder for your dog Baldy, pay at the register, and you're on your way.
However, when YOU become the retailer, there are other things to think about. When you OWN the Dogs A' Scratchin store, you have to pay rent for the building. You have to decide which products you're going to fill your valuable shelf space with. You have to decide which newspapers, TV and radio stations you're going to advertise with this month, to bring in new customers. You've got to order your products. Pay your distributors. You've got to replace damaged inventory, because Mrs. Nelson's wiener-dog went charging down Aisle Four wearing that lampshade-thingy around his neck, and crashed into your brand new display of Kitty Perfume.
Selling on the Internet is no different. Your Home-based Internet Business is a living, breathing extension of you, and there are things to learn and things to consider when you build and run it. You need to create and run your business yourself. If you let some chucklehead tell you that all you have to do is mail in three cereal box tops and fifty dollars, and they'll do it all for you, you might as well save the cereal. You'll need to eat SOMETHING when you lose your money.