The one thing that all online sellers have in common…and how you can overcome it

How do I know what I should sell online? How do I know where to buy my stock? How do I get the best prices from a supplier? How do I know a supplier is genuine? What if I pick the wrong product? What if my item doesn’t sell?… Aaaaargh!

The one thing that all online sellers have in common is that they have all been to the place above.

What ‘place’ you might ask?

The place that makes questions ricochet around your head until it hurts, the place that strikes a negative chord in you, the place that inspires you to flee rather than fight and makes you feel that there is no way forward because it’s all just too complicated and hard. Do you know the place I’m talking about?

I’ve heard it’s quite a popular place too! Pretty much every online seller has been there at some point, because every seller has worries, fears, negative moments, makes mistakes and experiences times when they think ‘What I am I doing!!’

And I’ve been to that place too. Yes, even me. And I realise that you may find that difficult to believe – but that’s because I’ve been there – and come back, almost unscathed!

You will too. It’s a place that all successful online sellers must go to and learn from the experience. Maybe you’re in that ‘place’ right now – you don’t know where to source some competitively priced stock or how to actually find suppliers. Well if you are then I’ve got some handy product sourcing advice that will really help you out.

Look, I don’t need to tell you that selling online is an excellent opportunity for anyone to start a home business, the benefits of which are plain to see. Work from the comfort of your own home, set your own hours, be free to spend time with the family, take holidays whenever you fancy them. It’s not all an idealistic dream of course – I work far harder now that I work for myself – but I play hard too! But making a go of a home business takes effort on your part, and the truth is that many new sellers really struggle with the first couple of steps in creating their business.

Back when I was a new seller I was in exactly the same boat. I had very little idea about what to sell and how to find wholesale suppliers. There are so many online sellers today boasting at their incredible wholesale prices that you could easily assume that product sourcing is the easiest part of the job. Surely all you need to do is find something for a good price and then sell it on for a profit? Well sure, you can get lucky with that method once or twice if you happen to buy goods in a hot niche market, but if you really want to see success it’s going to take a bit more effort on your part.

Perhaps the biggest mistake I see when it comes to product sourcing is failing to identify a target market. Simply buying products and hoping they’ll sell is not really a realistic strategy for continual success; you need to do a bit of research to discover a niche market, and then a niche product that meets a need within that niche market. Finding a ‘hungry crowd’ of buyers that you can satisfy is the way to keep the sales coming in.

Now it would be absolutely great if a hungry crowd literally passed by your front door, gave you a little knock to let you know they’re there and then told you exactly what sort of products they want whilst waving their cash around manically…

That’s just not going to happen is it! You need to be pro-active, get out there and find them.

In my opinion, the best place to start is with something that you are interested in. Say you are passionate about photography for example, you may already be aware of the sort of needs that exist within this area and what products are out there that could help to meet those needs. What’s more, because you’re actually interested in the niche that you’ve chosen, researching products won’t be a bug-bear but will actually be enjoyable, as you’ll simply be researching something that you want to know more about for yourself.

Have a think about some things that interest you and pick one of these areas as your initial niche. You will probably still need to drill down into some specific area of the market in order to find your hungry crowd, but it’s still a good starting point. With a potential market in mind you can then start to think about researching and sourcing.

This is a subject I cover in much more detail inside the members area of  The Source Report (and I even do the researching and sourcing for you if you don’t want to do it yourself!). But if you do, then I’ve provided you with five different methods for successful product sourcing to get you started.

Get Online. Google is a great research tool when it comes to finding suppliers. Rather than searching for a wholesale provider for a niche market, instead try searching for a provider for a specific product within the market. This will help you to quickly spot the suppliers that meet your needs.

Trade Magazines. Google can provide you with some great leads for product sources, but sometimes the good old-fashioned method of picking up a trade magazine can be just as useful. These magazines are packed full of adverts from different suppliers and distributors operating within different niche markets, so you may be able to find just what you’re looking for here.

Trade Fairs. Sometimes a quick face-to-face discussion with a distributor can really help you get a good deal. Networking is an important part of any business, and visiting some trade fairs can help you get to know some of the suppliers for the products you want to sell. Trade fairs take place all over the country so don’t think you need to live in London for this to be relevant.

Business Directories. Remember that chunky yellow book at the back of the cupboard? The Yellow Pages may not be as widely used as it once was, but it’s still a viable way to look specifically for suppliers who may be operating in a category that’s of interest to you. If looking through a paper phone book is too old fashioned for you and you’re using it as a doorstop instead, then you can always have a look at, the online version.

Product Packaging. A lot of product packaging will contain printed details of the manufacturer so if you’re looking for something similar why not take advantage of those contact details and see exactly what the manufacturer offers. This could be a way to help you get straight to the source, the company that actually manufactures the products that you want to sell. If you can get in on the ground level with a manufacturer then you stand a great chance of getting products at a price that secures a maximum profit per sale for you, the reseller.

I’m not going to deceive you; product sourcing does require time, effort and research which can often be very frustrating. But don’t be daunted by this. By choosing your market first and then products to meet needs within it second, you’ll soon have an idea of what to look for, and where to look for it…and you’ll never have to visit that ‘place’ again!

As always I wish you the best of success