Q. I'm just starting to think about an online business. I don't have any products. I've read that infoproducts are a cheap way to make some money but I don't even really know what I would write about. I just know that I'm tired of making someone else's dream come true at the cost of my own. What can I sell so I can get started?
This question was asked recently at a marketing seminar I attended. It's a great question. What can I sell when I don't have any products of my own? The answer - someone else's products! How is this possible? There are a couple of different methods.
My particular favorite is called "affiliate marketing." In affiliate marketing, you sell a product for someone else and receive a commission for everything you sell. Most of these programs are free to join and many even provide you with a website to help you market. I happen to be an affiliate marketer myself for several programs. They each bring me a nice little sum of money every month. Take a look at my sites, and you'll see what I mean. I'm an affiliate for Solo Build It! I'm also an affiliate for Magnetic Sponsoring. And in addition to being one of his biggest fans, I'm also an affiliate for ProBlogger's "31 Days to Build a Better Blog."
If you're interested in exploring affiliate marketing further, there are several resources available to match you up with tons of affiliate programs. One great source of products is Clickbank. Some other sites you may want to look at as well are cj Affiliate, Rakuten Affiliate Network, and E-Junkie.
Another source of products that is different from affiliate marketing is called drop shipping. In drop shipping, the products you sell are maintained by the source company. When you make a sale, you provide the customer's order information to the drop shipper and they ship the product directly for you. Your profit is the difference between the cost of the product from the wholesaler and your selling price. As with anything, there are pros and cons and scams involved with drop shipping. I personally have never tried it. But there is a great article that explains it in detail at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drop_shipping. And one of the best known and most highly recommended drop shippers is Doba. Their website has some great information on how drop shipping works as well.
If you have any type of graphic work available to you, there is another source of products for you. CafePress is a virtual storefront that actually provides part of the product for you. They have a wide variety of apparel, housewares, gift items and other merchandise. All you do is add your own graphic design and you have an instant product. I currently have 5 different CaféPress shops! You can check them out at Travels With Bob, Grandparents Rock, Holidays 365, Designs for Everyone, and Walking in the Word.
Whichever route you decide to take to finding your products, make sure you research the company thoroughly to be sure their products will meet your customers' standards. You want to do business with a company that is reliable and guarantees their products. Of course the best thing to sell is your own product. Use these other options to help you build an online presence and some marketing skill while you develop a product that uniquely yours.