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Small Business start - "how to" guide in easy-to-follow steps - 2

1. Sell your own products or service

I'll define these as products where you determine the retail price and therefore the profit margin.

So, what products should you sell?

Don't do what I did!

When I left the job I mentioned above, I finally decided to set up a web site selling oil paintings, which we source from a specialised team of artists all over the world. This combined my passion for oil paintings, (which I'd already been involved with for about 7 years), with the realisation that the internet will become a far bigger destination for product purchasers of all kinds in the years to come.

If I'd known then what I know now, I would never have started selling oil paintings on the internet. Why not?

It's the wrong product to start out with. Why?

Too much competition from some very large companies and there will only ever be a limited market for this product and only a small percentage of them will ever buy without seeing an oil painting for themselves.

OK, our oil paintings web site is now successful (it's in the top 2% of web sites by the amount of visitors received, out of the 23 million on the net), but it could have been so much easier. Using my experience, it will be a lot easier for you!

Fact: The best products to sell on the internet are 'information' and software.

These are consistently two of the most-purchased product categories on the internet in every survey that's carried out (not surprisingly, books and CDs are also very popular). Why?

They satisfy the 'I-want-it-and-I-want-it-now' mentality that most of us have. Software and information products can be paid for over the internet by credit card and 'downloaded' instantly.

This kind of 'digital delivery' is not only instant (more or less ;-), but obviously much cheaper than sending a package half way round the world (or even down the road!).

Why am I telling you all this? Simple - you don't need to make the same mistakes I made.

Now...I'm working on the basis that it's unlikely that you can develop your own cutting-edge software, so I'm going to concentrate on information products.

People will pay for information...period!

Most of the information on any subject you care to mention is now available free via the internet...if you know where to look and how to find it. Yet in our increasingly cash-rich-time-poor society, if the price is right, people will pay to get the information they are looking for, because they want it right now.

Instant gratification is the order of the day! If anything, this is likely to be of ever-increasing importance in the future, so it's as well to recognise it now to stay ahead of the game.

You may have noticed that I said earlier that you probably don't think you have your own products at the moment. There's a good reason for stressing the 'think' part of this sentence.

Whatever you current job is (or was...) or whatever hobbies you have, the chances are extremely good that the information you already have in your head is saleable. Remember, you will be considered an expert in a subject if you know more than most.

You don't have to know everything about gardening to sell an e-book (or booklet) about cacti. In fact, in many respects, the more specialised your field of expertise (subject to enough people being interested in it), the better!

Recommended reading: For an excellent e-book about how to create your own 'Information Product' that you can download via the internet and be reading in 5 minutes, click here . It's another 'Ken Evoy' product (the founder of "Site Build It!"), so the quality's guaranteed. It's called "Make Your Knowledge Sell!", and it covers everything from developing the theme for your information product to selling it on the internet.

With "Site Build It!", you can even combine selling your own products with being an affiliate for other products, because they'll shortly be introducing an e-commerce module. This will allow you to sell your own information products through the same web site that you set up for your affiliate products.

At the moment, everyone who has a "Site Build It!" site before the e-commerce module is introduced will get it added for free. After it's been introduced, it will be about a $200 add-on!

If you want an example of what your new web site can look like, without needing to know any of the technical stuff, you're reading it! This web site was created in less than 24 hours using "Site Build It!", so I have no hesitation in recommending it so highly from my own, very personal experience!

P.S. Please help me to help you - if you'd like to see anything different or would like to comment about the content of this 'small business start - how to guide' section of the web site, please email me here.

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