Grasping the Opportunity to Sell Online: Why I started a £1.6 million business
I started this business purely by accident and from necessity. It was after a chance conversation with a good friend who was trying to sell his items on eBay. He did not have a great deal of technical knowledge of how eBay and the Internet worked but enough of an understanding to list items, and he had made some sales. I, on the other hand, had never purchased or sold anything on, or even considered using, eBay, Amazon, or any other website platform to buy and sell things. I was starting as a complete beginner.
That was many years ago at the time of this writing, and since then I have managed, along with my partner, to create a turnover the equivalent of in excess of £1.6 million. I had no money to put into the business and no job. I was starting from zero. I needed to put money in my pocket to live – my “WHY” to do this was as big as that, to find something that worked and keep replicating it.
I sold anything and everything I could get my hands on – new, old, used, refurbished; I even bought things off eBay, resold them on eBay, and made a profit. I have also made a number of mistakes, some of which I share with you in this blog to ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes or you’re at least aware of them.
Since then, there have been a lot of changes. I now have a great team of people that look after my customer service and warehouse, and they pick and pack the items ready for collection by the couriers. I now also work with other people wanting to sell online by giving them some coaching on how to do this. We now have a distribution warehouse focused on getting product out to the customer as fast as possible by also giving excellent customer service.
On eBay I have received in excess of 30,693 pieces of positive feedback. I have top seller and power seller status, and on Amazon we have just as good a level of feedback. We have used play.com along with our own stand-alone websites.
Therefore, my reader, if I can do it, then I definitely know you can do it, whether you’re starting from scratch with absolutely nothing, you have an existing business that needs to grow, or you have even bought stock that’s been sitting on the shelf for years and have not managed to sell it in your local area. The time is now right for you to get online, increase your presence, and become a wealthier person – both financially and maybe mentally – with the help of my book.
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What’s your big WHY for making money online?
So let’s have a look where you are now.
- Do you have access to a computer?
- Do you have access to the Internet?
- Do you have access to a camera?
If the answer to any one of these is “no,” please reread the three questions and think a little deeper about whom you know who has access to the above. Most mobile phones have a camera, most towns have a library or an Internet cafe, and you may even be lucky and have a local council that has a get online scheme that you can join free.
So you see you do not need to have everything in your own house; you just need to have access to them, and to have access you just need to look or ask friends, family, or your local authority. What I would say straightaway is work out what you require from what you’re about to do. Are you just looking for a little bit of extra income to help out, or do you have a certain goal in mind? Maybe you want to travel the world, take a holiday, buy a new car, buy a computer, or buy that dress or suit so that you can go out into the big wide world and start to make a name for yourself with a business.
You need to decide what your big ”WHY” is. It must be big enough to allow you to focus and stay focused so that you can achieve your goal. If it’s too small, woolly, feeble, or just not big enough, it will be hard to achieve because you will stay in your comfort zone. You need to move out of your comfort so ever so slightly and stay out there until it becomes part of your new zone.
You’re ready to take hold of this opportunity with both hands
By reading this far, dear reader, you‘re ready to take hold of the opportunity and seize it with both hands. It will not happen overnight. Everything you do needs some work and some effort on your part. To get to the level I am has taken a lot of work and a lot of effort on both my part and of those around me. So let’s get on with moving things forward so that you can see how you can make money selling online.
Turn your dissatisfaction into action
Once you have created your first item for sale and decided which route to market you’re going to take – this we will discuss in more detail in another blog post – you just need to follow a few simple steps to get your first new sale. Once you have your first new sale you’ll feel elated and then you’ll start to look at the numbers. Sale number two will feel equally as good as sale number one, and once you have sale number three you’ll then be focusing on getting to sale number 10, then number 20, then number 50, and what a feeling when you get number 100. I still feel elated with the new web shops when they reach these numbers.
There is nothing more beneficial than receiving the praise and great comments from customers’ feedback. I have a rule that all my team work to and that is “We are only as good as our last piece of customer feedback.” There is another famous rule:
”Rule number one: The customer is always right,
Rule number two: If ever the customer is wrong, reread rule number one.”
You have the vision of what’s possible
Now you have the vision and the focus you know what’s possible, we need to make it happen. Please do not rush out and spend your hard earned money on lots of new stock until we have gone further. Or if you already have the stock and want to get it online, let’s just keep hold of the vision for the moment so that it can be done correctly and in a way that it will benefit you greatly by increasing your income.
Firstly, who do you know who you can share your vision with and who will work with you to help you get your vision? Do not work alone. Share what you’re doing with somebody else, and make sure that that person is positive and will give you support and help whenever you require it. Before you start it may be worth looking at your local chamber of commerce to see if they’ve got any events on that you could go and get inspired from other people in business. You may even be surprised to find that there is financial and practical free help and assistance available through your local chamber of commerce.
There are also in every town a number of small business clubs. They’re all there to help you network and find new opportunities to sell the product or services. You may have something in your idea that you can offer to that person or business in a way that you can both be rewarded. By going to these events you will be meeting positive like-minded people who will have no problem in parting with helpful hints and tips and advice.
The first steps required to reach your vision
It’s advisable to decide what the first steps are when you are moving towards your vision or goal. And one way to look at this is to break it down in the following manner: Draw a horizontal line across a piece of paper with one end “1” and the other end is “10.” Let us assume that 1 is where we are now and 10 is your vision.
What you now need to do is break the line down into small chunks and make these chunks so small that they might only be tiny little steps that will start you moving forward. So below I have created a small sample idea for you to take forward.
Step number 2: Spend 30 minutes familiarising yourself with the basic layout of the websites.
Step number 3: Talk to friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or business people on how they have used online shopping facilities.
Step number 4: Make an inventory of the 80% of items you own that you no longer need or require and can sell to make money. If you’re an existing business have a look at your stock inventory and find the oldest items that have been sitting on the shelf for the longest period of time without selling.
Step number 5: Search around the Internet to see if anyone else has those items for sale and note down what price they are trying to get for them.
Step number 6: Take a photograph of the item/s from several different angles and decide which one/s other most suitable to give it its best look online.
Step number 7: Write a description of each item. If you’re new to doing this, then it may help to speak description into a recording device and play it back as you may find your spoken word is more descriptive.
Step number 8: Find out what keywords (we will cover the keywords in more detail later in the blogs) people will use to search to find each item when you have listed it.
Step number 9: List your items using all of the previous steps on your chosen selling platform using the appropriate keywords as mentioned above.
Step number 10: Celebrate your success at getting this far.
You may find that you may need to break the steps down even further. This may mean that between steps four and five that you have to make 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, and so on – you get the idea. Very small steps lead to larger steps, so it’s always useful to plan your very small steps first.
Resistance to change
Whenever you start to focus on a new project you may have in the back of your mind, or in some cases the back of other people’s minds, a resistance to the change; however, since you have got this far then you have overcome the initial resistance.
This Change Model Formula was created by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher and is sometimes called Gleicher’s Formula:
Δ = D x V x F > R
Change = Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps > Resistance to Change
It’s important to note that the three components must all be present to overcome the resistance to change:
- Dissatisfaction with the present situation,
- A vision of what’s possible in the future,
- Achievable first steps towards reaching this vision.
If any of the three is zero or near zero, the result will also be zero or near zero and the resistance to change will dominate. If you want to know more, just type in the details above into Google and you will be presented with masses of information on Gleicher’s Formula. If you want to get more serious there are many books available and you can source them through detailed searches within Amazons Audible.com and online audio book sellers, Audible is one of my favourites as I can listen to these at my leisure or on a long drive.