So, it’s September and the beginning of this month sometimes feels a little bit like a new year to me. The summer holidays are over, the children are back at school, new goals are made – whether it’s a new fitness regime, learning something new or a change of style or attitude – so September is often a great time to start taking action with those new plans of yours!

Generally in September I feel:

Optimistic – Positive – Ready to achieve. That’s OPR for short!

And I hope you are also feeling like this! I’m pretty sure you are feeling positive right now but I also know how easy it is to let tiny disappointments get the better of you. How often have you thought – yes, today’s the day when good things are going to happen! For example, you’ve spent a couple of hours carefully crafting your product description for eBay, following every piece of advice I’ve ever given you. You’ve taken an amazing and eye catching photo. You’ve created a title that includes every keyword that anyone could desire when searching for your product and you are absolutely sure it will sell.

But, after all that effort your product falls flat and by the time the listing ends you realise that you have made the grand sale of…1! All that work. For what feels like nothing!

I’m not trying to depress you – that’s actually the last thing I want to do because I want you to succeed. I’m just pointing out that I’ve been in exactly that same scenario as I’ve just described to you and I think it is safe to say that every online seller, no matter how successful, has been there. You may do really well with your first listing, even your first few listings, but at some point you will undoubtedly find yourself with a product that simply will not sell.

But I’ve got good news for you.

If this happens, your online journey doesn’t end there. Don’t succumb to the inevitable disappointment. Let me let you into a little secret. The difference between success and failure in making a living as an online seller is knowing that failure is never the end. There’s a little expression that I remind myself of if I make a mistake (which I do on occasion!) and buy a range of goods that has gone off the boil – and that expression is ‘Fail Forward’.

You see, when it all goes wrong, there are two ways that you can look at your situation. You can either see yourself hitting a brick wall and believing that there is no way through, or you can see yourself as stumbling over a little hurdle on the road, but gaining some ground in the process. Personally, I prefer the latter choice and that’s how you should look at it too.

If your first listing, even your first few listings, fail to bring in the profit that you were hoping for then you may be convinced that you have run headlong into an immovable object. You may feel like a complete failure, particularly if you really and truly believed that this was the idea that would get you out of that 9 to 5 job that you hate.

Now, if this is you, obviously I don’t know your exact circumstances and I don’t know why you haven’t had any luck, to date, in making a reasonable profit from your listings. But what I do know is that you are certainly not a failure just because you haven’t found a product that works for you yet.

Let’s return to my ‘fail forward’ picture.

If a product doesn’t sell successfully I know now that in fact I have learnt from this. I might have learnt that writing in a highly persuasive manner doesn’t work when selling products to housewives that have to deal with ten double glazing salespeople on the phone every day; perhaps a more gentle touch could be the strategy. I might have learnt that people really aren’t interested in buying false eyelashes after all; I might need to think of a new product to sell. Maybe I just learnt that some days I will simply be unlucky and need to bite the bullet and get on with listing another product.

Whatever the lesson might be, by identifying it instead of convincing myself that I have messed up and lost my chance, I can keep going, knowing that what looks like failure is actually a valuable opportunity to learn.

I haven’t hit a brick wall. I have gained some ground toward the end of the journey which is my ultimate success.

Here are 3 solutions that will help you to get back into the game

1. Don’t give up. Find another product to sell. If you aren’t having any luck selling a particular product it could be because, at the moment, there really isn’t a demand. Alternatively you may be trying to compete in a highly competitive niche market where bigger sellers are able to undercut you. If your confidence is on the verge of breaking, look for a few small items that you can sell on for a small profit each. Even a small profit will help motivate you and propel you toward success.

2. Look at other strategies. It could be that you actually do have a product that people want for a price that they can afford, but that they just aren’t finding your listings. Try ending them at a different time, try writing descriptions in a different manner, try changing your keywords. Always remember the audience that you are selling to and try to put yourself in their shoes and think about when they might be looking online and what sort of information they would like to see.

3. Spend some time researching other successful sellers. I’m not necessarily talking about sellers who bring in thousands of pounds a year, but have a look at those who are making the sort of money that you yourself could be making a few months down the line. Look at their listings, look at their feedback, look at their keywords and look at the products they are selling. I’m not telling you to copy exactly what they do obviously, but by examining successful sellers you can learn some valuable lessons about the types of products and the selling strategies that will earn you the big bucks.

I hope that you can see that what sometimes might seem like a failure to you now is really nothing more than another step in your journey towards success.

Rethink, research and retry, because your success is just a few steps away.