Author Archives: theomc
Author Archives: theomc
One of the biggest challenges when starting a new online store is deciding what to sell. How do you know if a product will sell well or not? Nobody likes to waste time because after all, time is money!
What if you had a way to spy on 1000’s of stores. See their top-selling products, which Shopify theme they’re using, which Shopify apps they’ve installed. And what if you could filter through 200K stores to spy on certain niches and categories. There IS a program that can do all of this and much more…
If you happen to be one of my drop shipping students, you will know that I’m not a big advocate of drop shipping from AliExpress, but at the same time, I realise that many of you want to do it anyway 🙂 So, for those of you who want to drop ship from AliExpress, you will also get access to the Inspector tool, which uncovers the best selling products on AliExpress. Even if you are not using AliExpress, and even if you are not drop shipping, you can still use this tool to discover which types of products are really hot right now!
I’ve been involved with affiliate marketing for more than 15 years and it’s probably fair to say that when compared to selling your own products, affiliate marketing is simpler, but don’t confuse ‘simpler’ with ‘easier’.
It’s certainly way more laid back because when you sell other people’s stuff, you don’t need to worry about customer support, you don’t need to worry about delivering the products to the customers, you don’t need to worry about refunds and returns, and you don’t need to develop your own products or purchase stock.
Some affiliate programs pay as much as 50% to the affiliate – often the case with digital products – and some have long ‘tracking windows’ of 30-days or more. In layman’s terms, this means that if a person clicks on your affiliate link today, but they don’t buy for another month, you still get paid for the sale.
Sounds great right? Yep, and it is. I love it. It’s in my blood and I can’t see myself ever not doing it. Especially when it allows me to have several passive revenue streams.
90 of every 100 people who attempt affiliate marketing never make a single cent. Of the other 10%, less than half, perhaps only one-fifth, make any real money.
So what are looking at here? Maybe 2 out of every 100 affiliate marketers actually make a good living out of it. Sobering figures, but this is the reality.
One reason for this is the low barrier to entry. A lot of people will simply ‘give it a try’ and since they don’t feel like they have anything to lose, they also quit more readily too.
And partially to blame is the hype surrounding the industry. The ‘push-button’ software that promises to make you rich, or the ‘top secret tricks’ that can transform you from a complete newbie to a super-affiliate overnight.
I say partially because deep down, most of us know that ‘if it sounds too good to be true…’
So, if we spend our hard earned money, or waste our valuable time on something that sounds too good to be true, who’s fault is that? 🙂
Yes, affiliate marketing can be an amazing and relatively laid back way to create a great lifestyle for yourself.
Or, it can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel. Make you feel like every time you think you’re getting somewhere, you find yourself right back where you started.
Fortunately for you, you are not a hamster and you don’t need to keep getting back on the wheel!
The first step towards success is to train yourself to ignore the hype. If you truly want to succeed as an affiliate marketer, it takes some work and it takes some ‘grit’.
I firmly believe that almost anyone can make affiliate marketing work for them, and the rewards can be life-changing.
You simply need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves, start at the bottom and see it through. There are no shortcuts to success.
Brain fog – what is it? It’s that feeling of not being focused. When the brain is so overwhelmed that it’s totally unproductive.
This is SO common in online marketing and one of the biggest reasons is the sheer volume of information that we try to digest. A lot of it totally contradictory, which doesn’t help!
Even long time online marketers who know exactly what they’re trying to achieve, still get these ‘fogs’ or ‘blocks’ now and again.
Maybe you’re still trying to decide which route to take. Affiliate marketing, e-commerce or developing your own products. Just making that initial decision can be tough.
You can’t really move forward effectively and start getting results unless you’re 100% focused.
So…here’s my personal cure for brain fog 🙂
First, take a step back. For me, that means taking time away from the computer. Just getting away from the ‘noise’ allows our subconscious brain to kick into gear. That’s when the ‘magic’ often happens. My own best ideas and decisions have always come about when I’m away from my desk. Maybe I’ll be walking, driving, at the gym, or whatever.
Second, you must choose which direction to go in. You can’t go in two or three directions at the same time. Are you going to pursue affiliate marketing, or e-commerce, or something else?
You should like what you do. Rather than choosing an area that you have no interest in, choose something that you know you will enjoy. If you think that you would enjoy affiliate marketing much more than e-commerce, then go with affiliate marketing or vice versa.
Third, go back to basics! This step applies if you have been jumping around from one thing to another without ever really fully understanding anything. If you have access to training that you feel is right for your needs, then start at the beginning of that training. Even if you have already been through it once, do it again because, in any decent training course, there’s always another ‘layer’ of understanding to be gained on the second time around. Don’t skim through or cut corners.
Fourth, take it slow if you have to. Don’t set goals that you can’t achieve. Don’t put yourself under pressure to do things at a pace you can’t keep up with. Don’t put yourself under pressure to earn x by x date in order to pay your rent or pay an important bill! This kind of pressure is usually counter-productive.
Lastly, every time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, step away for a short while. Get some exercise or do something relaxing (but not watching TV because that doesn’t allow your subconscious to get to work 🙂
You’ve almost certainly heard of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill and the concept of ‘the law of attraction’ which states that:
“positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased happiness, health, and wealth.”
Think and Grow Rich was a hugely successful best seller and there’s no question that Hill made (and lost) a lot of money throughout his life with his various business ventures. However, his wealth did not come about by practising what he preaches. He sold shares that didn’t exist, he bought goods on credit with the intention of reselling them and never paying his creditors, and much more. He was accused many times of running fraudulent schemes and had to go on the run to avoid arrest warrants.
Even his best-selling book (which brought him more wealth than any of his apparently fraudulent business ventures) – Think and Grow Rich, was said to have been not truly his own work. His 4th wife, Rosa Lee, played a big part in both the writing and the editing of that book.
Hill claims that he was frequently visited by spirits and by a ‘Master’ who spoke to him audibly to reveal secret knowledge. What’s more likely is that Hill knew he could cash in on passing on this ‘secret knowledge’ to those willing to pay for it!
If nothing else, he was a very accomplished salesman and the very same could be said about the ‘gurus’ and teachers of ‘the law of attraction’.
However, I’m a great believer in positive thinking and every accomplishment always begins with a thought. There is definitely truth in the saying:
‘If you think you can, you can, and if you think you can’t, you can’t’.
Mindset is very important in relation to success, which is why I invested a lot of time into my own ‘personal development’ and mindset back when I first started out in online business.
…but thoughts alone do not manifest into ‘things’. You can think as much as you like about being wealthy, about having a better lifestyle, about being healthier, slimmer, about gaining recognition, about anything you want, but it won’t happen – unless by some ‘one in a million’ random stroke of luck!
We can’t think ourselves rich and we can’t ‘attract’ what we want in life just by focusing our thoughts. The law of attraction teaches ‘visualisation’, which is a stronger thought, but it’s still only a thought. There’s also the notion that by speaking our goals and desires out loud and repeating them over and over, we increase the chance of them coming true. This stems from the science of sound and vibration and while it’s true that sound can alter things physically – that’s not quite the same as saying that speaking our desires out loud, will cause them to manifest.
You could say “I will win the lottery” 1000 times today and 1000 times a day for the next year, but your chances of winning the lottery will still be 20 million to 1.
To accomplish something worthwhile takes effort, it takes tenacity, determination and often a willingness to really challenge ourselves and push through the obstacles and the failed attempts. Maybe it can mean changing the habits of a lifetime, which as we all know, is not easy to do. Sometimes we need to develop a ‘do or die’ attitude!
This is why most people dream about what they want, but never actually get it. Many people dream about winning the lottery – but actually, they’re dreaming about the lifestyle they could have if they had significantly more money than they have now.
It’s incredible that even though the chances of winning the lottery are something like 20 million to 1, many people see this as their ONLY hope of achieving their dreams. Therefore, they focus all their thoughts of prosperity on winning the lottery. Because of this, they will probably miss 100 opportunities to realise their dreams in another way!
Don’t dream, DO. Decide what you want – visualise it if it helps – and then take the necessary action to get it. Age doesn’t need to be a barrier either.
Sometimes a student will complain that they’re too old to learn something new, that they didn’t grow up with computers and the Internet. Well, neither did I. When I was in school we had typewriters and something called ‘Secretarial Studies’ for girls. I remember getting a score of minus 11 (yes minus) out of 100 in my final exam for that subject. Apparently, it was not only the lowest score ever, but I was the only student in history to have scored a minus in the exam – or at least that’s what they told me. It’s true that learning a new skill when we are older often takes longer than it would have done had we learned that skill as a younger person – but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it AND get really good at it!
The message is NOT to stop thinking about what you want – but to think about it (not for too long!), decide how you are going to get it, and then take the necessary action. Because thoughts without action are nothing more than ‘dreams’ or ‘fantasies’, just like winning the lottery 🙂
Earlier today I got some really interesting drop shipping questions from one of my new students and decided to post them here for the benefit of anyone considering drop shipping. I’ve not named the student for privacy reasons because these questions were posted inside the course Q & A area, but here are his exact questions, along with my answers:
1) Which e-commerce websites rely on the dropshipping model?( I’m asking because I’d like to see some online stores best practices which I can use as a model)
“Lots of them! Even big online stores like Zappos, but you would never know simply by looking at the website. Here’s another autoanything.com. I LOVE the look of that store! Blinds.com was built entirely on drop shipping and made the owners very, very wealthy. In fact, they sold the store for something like $50 million.”
2) What are some failure points for beginning dropshippers? What are some reasons that people getting into dropshipping give up?
“Good question. Cutting corners is one reason. You can’t succeed if you don’t put in the effort to create a store that visitors would want to buy from. Tenacity is another reason, but this is no different to any kind of business. You’ve got to stick with it. Resourcefulness is another. That’s not to be confused with ‘resources’ because you could have two different people, one with $10,000 to start his business and the other with $100. The person with $100 could easily be the one to succeed, while the person with $10,000 fails. Resourcefulness is more about using what’s available to you in order to overcome challenges and find solutions to problems. We all have the Internet and we all have a brain. We can use these things to solve problems and move forward.”
3) What are some reasons that online stores which uses dropshipping fail?
“There are many and some are listed above. Other reasons would apply to any online store, not just drop shipping. Not enough traffic is one, and in which case you just need to work on getting traffic. Poor quality products, poor customer service. Again, these things apply to any online store. I suppose the one thing that’s really different is that we are not in control of the orders being shipped out. This means that whenever you start with a new supplier, you need to be watchful. If you start getting multiple inquiries from customers about orders being late, that sort of thing, then you need to try and fix this with the supplier and if you can’t, ditch the supplier and find a replacement.”
This is a really valid question. I can almost guarantee that if you are thinking about setting up an online store, then you have at very least some niggling doubts about whether or not it’s possible to compete.
For most people, Amazon is the big beast and the one they feel most ‘afraid’ of. After all, Amazon have huge resources. They can launch in a new market and afford to run at a loss in that market for years if they want to.
How can you, as a new small business with limited financial resources, even hope to compete with giants like Amazon?
You can, but not in the way that usually springs to mind first. Price.
In fact, you should never even attempt to compete on price with stores like Amazon because you will lose almost every time.
However, you can compete in other ways, and these other ways are generating billions of dollars in e-commerce revenue for the ‘little guy’.
Think about it this way; If it were impossible for a new e-commerce store to succeed, then why are there still many, many new stores going from zero to $10’s of $1000’s in revenue a month within a relatively short space of time?
You can succeed, but only by choosing a specific niche and making your mark on that niche.
By making yourself an ‘authority’ in that niche. By providing value on your website – over and above the products you sell. This means you need to create content such as blog posts, articles, and anything else that will give value to your store visitors.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say your store sells golfing equipment. Instead of just selling golf supplies, you could also provide a wealth of information on your store. Such as tips and guides on how to improve your golf, tips for complete golfing novices, best places to learn how to golf…
You could also have a live chat app running on your store. Even if you only have it running for a couple of hours a day, you will convert a lot of visitors into buyers that way.
There are tons of different ways to make your store stand out.
The main point here is that price is not everything and it’s certainly not the only factor in a customer’s buying decision. If it was the only factor, there would be no retail industry. It would be a constant ‘race to the bottom’ to sell at the lowest price and the whole thing would just collapse!
So yes, there is still plenty of opportunity out there for anyone with the motivation and determination to succeed with a new online store 🙂
We’ve all the heard the saying ‘keep it simple stupid’, KISS for short. There’s a lot of merit in that saying because the simplest way is often the best way. The more we over-complicate a task, the less likely we are to ever complete or even start it. But, simple is not the same as easy. We shouldn’t expect easy. We shouldn’t ask for easy, and the short video below shows you exactly why you don’t want it to be easy!
It’s a great question and the first answer is going to depend on what you plan to sell. If you want to sell your used/new unwanted items just to get them out of the way or raise some extra cash, then Ebay is the best place for this.
However, if you plan to make a regular income selling new items that you source and then sell to make profits, Amazon is without question your best bet.
Amazon has twice as many shoppers as Ebay. So more potential customers to tap into. 300 million to be precise!
Amazon customers buy and spend more than Ebay shoppers do. Figures show that Amazon buyers are spending at least double on average per annum, than Ebay buyers.
The average Amazon shopper has a higher annual income than the average Ebay shopper and is willing to spend more on an item.
On top of this, Amazon has it’s own loyalty scheme called ‘Prime’ membership where customers pay an annual fee in order to gain certain benefits such as free shipping. This brings Prime customers back to shop on the platform over and over again because they naturally want to get the most bang for their membership buck. According to recent reports, the number of Prime members in the US is more than 60 million!
Why is this good for sellers? Because these Prime customers are frequent shoppers and will often purchase several items in one session. AND, because of their above average annual household income, they will readily pay more for an item than the average Ebay shopper. This means that you, the seller, don’t need to sacrifice your profits by selling at ridiculously low prices in order to make enough sales.
In order to fully benefit from this as a seller, you should be selling via FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). This is where Amazon warehouses your items and ships your orders to your customers. In any case, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of FBA because it cuts your workload down and takes away the headaches of packaging and shipping orders to customers.
So providing you sell through FBA, all those Prime customers will see a little icon beside your item listings, letting them know that your item qualifies as a Prime purchase. Many Prime customers will ONLY buy items that qualify, putting you at an advantage over other non-FBA sellers.
There one really BIG advantage of choosing Amazon over Ebay if you plan to sell items regularly…
It’s less work!
When you list an item on Amazon, you don’t need to keep re-listing it. Nor do you need to take the payments for customer orders. Amazon do that on your behalf. FBA sellers don’t need to deal with refunds either, because once again, Amazon does this.
In summary, if you are in thinking about selling on one of the big online marketplaces, Ebay or Amazon, the only time that Ebay would be your best bet, is when you want to sell some unwanted personal items or perhaps a one-off lot of stock. Otherwise, Amazon is a much better option over all.
Amazon selling fees are quite low when you take into account the fact that as sellers we use their platform, leverage their trust and credibility, and make use of their registered customer base of close to 3 million shoppers.
Shoppers on Amazon tend to be prepared to pay a little more for items than they would on say, Ebay for example. Therefore we can set our prices that little bit higher, which helps to offset some of the fees.
That being said, we still need to know what these fees are so that we can work out whether or not it’s possible to make a profit on an item we want to sell. Sometimes new sellers simply look at the wholesale cost of an item, compare it to the selling price on Amazon, and think they can make a great profit. They completely overlook the fact that Amazon needs to make money too!
Amazon Referral Fee
This is a percentage of the selling price of each item sold on Amazon and it’s usually 15%, although there are some categories where this percentage is a little higher or a little lower. Generally though, you can expect your referral fee to be 15%.
For example. If you were selling a dog lead for $22.99, Amazon would take $3.45 (15%) from each sale.
This only applies if you are using ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’,. This is where Amazon stores your items at their warehouse and then ships them out to customers as your orders come in. It’s a great service because it takes away the headache of packing and shipping out orders.
For most items this fee is around $2.60 If the item is large and bulky, it will be a little more than this and if your item is classed as ‘small and light’, it will be less.
If you are not using FBA, this fee does not apply.
Both the Referral Fees and the FBA fees are taken from your earnings. You don’t need to pay either of these fees from your own pocket.
FBA Long-Term Storage Fees
Again, this only applies if you are using Fulfillment by Amazon and these fees don’t kick in unless you have stock at the FBA warehouses for longer than 6 months. Meaning, your stock is slow selling. There are ways to avoid this happening, but if it does happen, then you need to factor in around $0.55 per item per month
Professional Seller Account Fee
As an seller, you can either open an ‘Individual Account’ or a ‘Professional Account’
There is no monthly fee for an Individual Account, but you will pay Amazon $0.99 per item sold in addition to the costs listed above
The Professional Account has a monthly fee of $39.99 (first month is free), but you do not pay the $0.99 per item sold.
Generally, if you intend to sell more than 40 items a month – which hopefully you do – then the Professional Account is the one to go for.
Even when factoring in the fees, there’s good money to made as a seller on Amazon providing you do your calculations first. Of course there’s more to it than just making sure you can turn a profit. You also need to know how to choose the right items to sell, where to get them, how to create listings that convert to sales and more. Even so, Amazon is still a great place to sell. New sellers can still make their mark and it doesn’t require a big start up budget either 😉
Want to know a quick and easy way to turn more of your store visitors into buyers?
Add a simple animated video to one of your pages.
You could do this on any page, but it’s really effective on the ‘About Us’ page or the ‘Delivery Information’ page.
So what should your video be about?
If it’s on the ‘About Us’page, you could create a short video to inform visitors about your company/product line/customer service. If it’s on the ‘Delivery Info’ page, you could create one that explains your delivery times/policies, along with information about returns and refunds.
Here are some ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’t’s’ for your video: