Tag Archives: interest

Interested? Dive in!

A lot of times, it seems that people get excited about a new project or new business and it never seems to get off the ground. One of the most important things to do is to take action whenever something excites you. It is easy to get drowned in the details, and try to learn every little thing about a new interest before deciding to take action. This is usually a mistake. Once you have enough information to make a decision, then you should make a decision within 10 seconds. There are very few decisions that exist that once you make them, you can never go back. Actually, going back should hardly ever be the goal. If the risk is something that you can accept, meaning that it won’t kill you or hurt you badly, then you should try it. Especially if the decision you are making leads to you learning something new, or potentially having largely positive effects on your life. In the case of learning how to sell things on Amazon (or anywhere else), if it interests you at all then you should jump in and try it. The reasons are pretty simple.

You can join with zero money down. This is a large reason why you should not hold back. There are very few business opportunities where everything you need to get started is available to you free. The only catch to this is you must be at least moderately organized. As long as you set yourself some reminders, there is no reason not to try this program.

The negative outcomes are limited. In this case, the worst case scenario is that you will waste some of your time. While I realize that time is one of our most precious resources, time spent learning something new is never wasted.

Here is a very quick, very simple process that will allow you to dip your toes in the water, without setting yourself up for the possibility of getting soaked.

Step 1 – Identify something to sell. For now, stay away from clothing or jewelry. If it is very close to Christmas, you should also stay away from toys. The first free method is to sell something you already own. You can look around the house for some CD’s, books, or DVD’s that you no longer want. Old video games and video game systems are excellent for this. A second method is to download the Amazon application for your smartphone. This free application will give you a method of doing on the spot research, so that you know the resale value of the items that you pick up before you buy them. All you have to do is use the barcode scanner to enter the UPC, or type in the items name. The application will show you what the current used prices are on Amazon. You want to buy items that sell for at least 3x the amount it costs you to buy it. Assume 1/3 of the price goes to Amazon, 1/3 to you, and 1/3 to cover the price that you paid.

There are two methods for buying items with no risk.

The first method is to buy something that you would not mind owning. Whether it is a gift for someone that you know, or an item that you would like, if it does not sell then you don’t mind. This method works best if you are shopping at a Goodwill or Thrift store. These stores are great because they often have new items in the box, at very low prices. This gives you a larger margin, or profit on the item.

The second method is to buy something from a retail store, such as TJ Maxx, Target, Walmart, etc. Simply hold on to the item until the end of the return period. If the item does not sell, then cancel your listing online and return it to the store for a full refund. Hold on to your receipt!

Step 2 – Sign up for a seller account on Amazon. Amazon offers a free 30 day trial. A very important thing not to overlook is to set yourself a reminder. Write it on a calendar, or set yourself an appointment. Set the date for 25 days from now, so that you cancel the program in plenty of time if it does not work for you.

Step 3 – List your item for sale. This is very easy to do. Find the listing that you want to sell. Click the button that says “Sell one like this”. This will take you to a page where you describe the condition of your item. Make sure you read the guidelines for your items condition. You will then select whether the item is New, Used-Good, Used-Acceptable, etc. Write a short paragraph that describes your item. This should be something friendly. Emphasize the positive aspects, but make sure to include the negatives. Honesty is the most important attribute here. Price your item near the low end of the range of prices that is being offered. Make sure you are pricing your items against items that are the same quality. For example, price your New items at about the same price as the lowest New item available. Your Used-Good should be priced against other Used-Good items. Just starting out, your feedback will be zero. Don’t worry about it. Your honesty in the description and care you put into describing your item will make your listing more appealing. Caring goes a long way.

Step 4 – Keep an eye on your email. When your item gets ordered, package it and ship it quickly. Make sure that it is wrapped well, and include a polite thank you note. Most companies don’t go out of their way to make sure that their customers are happy and feel appreciated. Make sure that you do, and you will stand out of the crowd.

Step 5 – Repeat this process as many times as you would like within the first 25 days. Ensure that when you have a question, you look up the answer or ask for help. Amazon customer service for their sellers is excellent, they want you to succeed.

Step 6 – When your 25 days is up, you have to make a decision. Next month it will cost you about forty dollars a month to stay. If you think that you can make more than that, (and you should be able to), then you can continue with selling. If not, cancel your seller account, return the items to the store if you need to, and try to find something that you find more interesting. At least at that point, you would know that you had tried.

I hope you enjoy the experiment. If you need help, or want to share your success story, send me an email at AmusingTreasures@gmail.com.

Dive in!

General rules for making your passion your life.

I have a daughter that loves painting.  She was talking to me a while ago about two things.  She was talking about trying to find a job, and about her painting.  I was kind of confused as to why she would want a job doing something that she doesn’t really enjoy, to pay for something she did.  I told her to make her painting her job, and she asked me how to do that.  This is what I told her, and it is the general steps that I think you can follow for any passion.  This is the slower approach, one that you want to start in your spare time. 

1)  Read some books.  Find the 4-5 most popular books on your subject.  Her subject is painting, which is very broad.  I recommended that she find a smaller area to focus on.  She was talking about using broken glass in her art, which I thought would be perfect.  The trick is to find an area that people care about, that can be found with one or two search words.  What you are looking for is a “niche”.  A niche is a smaller section of a larger topic.  If you focus on all of art for example, it is a huge market.  If you focus on art techniques using broken glass though, that is a much smaller niche.  If you can’t find things on your particular niche, great!  That means that there is something out there that you can be the main expert on.  Try articles and blogs instead.

2) Talk to some of the leaders in your area of expertise.  They can be the authors of the books, or people that already run successful websites on similar topics.  Ask them what they think is most important.

3) Find some groups, and get involved.  Facebook, Meetup, Craigslist, etc. are all great ways to find people that share the same interests and hobbies.  This will also help you to figure out what the hot topics are right now.

4) Write an ebook (optional).  If you have read all of those books and forum posts, and talked to a few leaders in your field, you know more about your subject than most of the people that engage in it.  Surprisingly few people take the time to master a subject.  Put what you have learned into an ebook, and place it on Amazon.com.  You can do this in less that a day.  There are several great ebooks by Ryan Deiss on Amazon that teach you how to make and publish ebooks.  This step is recommended if you need some fast income.

5) Start a website.  Using the things you have learned, post up answers to questions that people have.  Write down all of the things you have learned, and post up your experiences using the techniques.  Use your participation in the forums as a starting place for your customer base.

6) Start a newsletter and start collecting names of people that are interested in what you have to say.  These are the people that you will work with to achieve success for both of you.

7) Now that you have a loyal fan base, the proper knowledge, and the idea that helping people do what you love is what you want to do, you can start monetizing.  Some ideas include offering ebooks/pamphlets, seminars, selling art supplies directly, using affiliate products, selling your own art work(like on Etsey, Facebook, Ebay, Amazon…etc.), and pretty much anything else that you can think of.  What about weekend retreates where you all get together and try new techniques?  What about a series of classes teaching other people how to become the experts in their areas of the art world?  Google adwords is an excellent program that will place small ads on your site, and then pay you for the clicks that are generated.  The point is, when you know what your customers need and want, the monetization part becomes easy.

This is a basic guideline.  I would like to give special thanks to Timothy Ferriss, author of “The Four-Hour Work Week”, and to Ryan Deiss, an expert on ebook development and marketing.  Also the good people at SiteBuild-It, whose philosophy of helping others turn their passions into their jobs I fully agree with. Last, but not least a special “Thanks” goes out to my talented daughter, Felicia Armstrong, who inspired the mindset I was in to write this article.