This morning I waved my 13-year-old daughter goodbye as I dropped her at school knowing that it will be a full week before I see her again.

She is off on her first proper adventure without the family… to Italy on a school ski trip. And, as she wheeled her suitcase into school, I felt an overwhelming urge to beg her not to go!

This urge has been building for a few days now – and both of us have been skirting around the issue of the trip – not talking about it unless it was absolutely necessary and both of us close to tears when it did come up. This is weird because she is really excited about going and, of course, I want her to enjoy herself but at the same time we are both very uncomfortable about the enormity of it all! It’s because it’s not the norm.

Right now we are both totally out of our comfort zones and it’s quite a frightening feeling.

Why getting out of your comfort zone is important

There is a point to me telling you all this (apart from the fact that it’ll make me feel better) because my daughter and I are not alone in feeling like this! Leaving ones comfort zone is difficult for lots of people – and it doesn’t just crop up in your personal life. Getting out of your comfort zone is often vital to the survival of your business.

I’ve been there and done that and so I totally understand how the fear can kind of take over…

It’s just really easy to carry on doing things as you have always done and be comfortable isn’t it? And tempting as it is, it’s very, very easy to become complacent and even a little bit lazy when things are ticking over nicely. But imagine if you stayed in your comfort zone forever – you would soon start to feel a bit demotivated and bored because it would become the norm for you.

It’s nice to feel comfortable for a while but in your heart of hearts you know that you can’t stay like that forever, eventually you’ll reach a tipping point that is out of your control.

So, this week I want to help you to decide if your online selling business has become too ‘comfortable’ so that you can take a really good look at it and make some changes.

To maximise your profits and your selling potential online you need to try some new things that, at first, may seem rather uncomfortable! I’m not talking about reinventing the wheel or finding a totally unique product that no one else is selling online – that’s just daft because as I’ve said before, and this applies especially if you are selling on eBay, you need to follow the crowd and choose products that you know are already hot. Otherwise a lot of your hard work will be wasted.

What I’m talking about are the little things like adding to your inventory, adding your products to a new venue or simply tweaking your listings.

These things are not actually hard work and won’t take a massive amount of self-sacrifice on your part to put into action but it’s easy to put things like this off – simply because when things are ticking over nicely, trying something new when you are used to, and happy with, a regular routine does not feature high on your list of priorities.

Breaking out of your comfort zone though could be the best thing that you have ever done!

To work out whether you are ‘comfortable’ you’ll need to answer these questions:

  • Do you stick to the same couple of products when selling online because they have always been reliable at bringing in cash for you in the past?
  • When was the last time you introduced a new product within your niche market?
  • Have you spent any time researching additional niche markets in which you could establish yourself in the last couple of months?
  • Do you sell on more than one online venue or do you just stick to eBay because it’s the most familiar?

Have a think about your answers because you’ll be able to work out if you are currently in your own little ‘comfort zone’. If you are then you are missing out on massive potential for making even greater amounts of money online!

Now you need to think about taking action if you need to…

If you are only selling on eBay, try expanding onto Amazon.
If you haven’t got a website yet, you could create a simple one for your products.
If you are only selling one product, research and source a complimentary product that you can cross sell…

I don’t want to be uncomfortable!

I know – no-one wants to be uncomfortable but sometimes you must push yourself that little bit harder in order to reap the benefits – and those benefits are more sales and more profits for you.

By branching out into new and different market areas, introducing new product lines and even selling your products through different venues, you will be expanding your business and importantly, should one of your products fizzle out in popularity which invariably happens from time to time, you will also be protecting your business too.

By utilising different online sales venues for your products, or by creating your own website that can increase traffic to your existing products, you will also start to have more potential customers viewing your items. Remember that the more people who see what you are selling, the more orders you are likely to take, and the more money you will make!

What next?

I don’t want to leave you at this point, especially if you know that you need to make a change but are not being sure how to go about doing it! So I thought I would give you some pointers to help you stretch yourself a little so that you start to see increased profits coming into your bank account each month. So, here are three tips to help you get up and out of your comfort zone:

1. Sell on different sites. eBay may be what you know and love, but there are other websites that will open doorways to even more prospective buyers. Think about Amazon which is a different kind of market with different kinds of customers, but can work well alongside eBay.

2. Research new products. Researching products can be extremely challenging but seriously, it really will help you to branch out into new areas. Have a look at other eBay shops and other websites and venues that are selling similar things to you and see if there are any products there that you could offer alongside your current inventory.

3. Be honest with yourself. Don’t live in denial thinking that the products that you have sold successfully in the past will carry on selling for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, most products do have a shelf life and you will need to keep an eye on how the item is doing, plus your competition and you’ll need to tweak your listings from time to time. But, only selling your favourite products could, at best, stop you from maximising your earnings online and, at worst, leave you in the lurch should the market shift away from what you stock and this must be a consideration.

So, this weekend, have a think about how comfortable you are right now, because taking the plunge and stepping out of your comfort zone could revitalize your business, and your profits!