Up until now, you have done a lot of planning and preparation. You have thought about the products or services you would like to offer, you have considered how the new business will fit into your life and you have also done a brief analysis of your business costs to enable you to determine your selling price. April then, is the month you are going to start to put it all into practice.
Contrary to popular opinion and despite this being a series of articles about doing business on the Internet, you DO NOT need a website to be a successful online. There are many things you could do without having to go to the expense of buying a domain name or building a website.
For instance, ebay is one of the largest marketplaces in the world; there will be few who haven’t heard of it and everyday millions of people are buying and selling their unwanted items. However, many regular businesses also use it because of the power it has to attract buyers who are interested in a huge range of products and services. You can set up a shop on ebay, for as little as £6.00 per month. You will have to pay a small amount for each set of stock you add to your shop and you will also pay a small amount when someone makes a purchase, but I can guarantee that these figures will be miniscule compared to the costs and time involved in setting up your own website.
I would also like to bet that almost everyone reading this article has used Amazon at some point, if not to buy something then at least to find out about books or CD’s. But did you know that you can also sell your own items on Amazon? If you have a look for anything on this enormous website, you will invariably see something that says “13 used & new available from £0.99”. These listings are small businesses who also stock the same product and who are offering it to the users of Amazon, often at a reduced price.
The service is called Amazon Marketplace and anyone can join for free and sell anything from books or CD’s to consumer electronics. Amazon simply charge you a small commission whenever something is sold and they credit your bank account every month.
Perhaps you are a photographer or graphic designer and if this is the case then online services like Dreamstime maybe the answer. Dreamstime is an online marketplace that sells stock images – in fact all the images that have accompanied these articles have been sourced from Dreamstime. You simply register for an account, which is free once again, load up your images, set a price (in line with their guidelines) and away you go. There are quality checks of course, and not everyone that applies is allowed an account, but if your work is good then it pays to try it out. The way that it works – using myself as an example – is that each time I use an image, I pay a small amount of money (typically $1) to use that image. The image will be sold time after time to many different people. It is also royalty free, which means that I can use the image as I wish, (as a book cover for instance) depending on the version I have bought.
Of course, there are many more variations on all of these themes and I will explore some of them in the months ahead. Next article though will be devoted to getting your first web site up and running.