What could possibly be easier than sourcing in demand products and reselling them at a profit through a variety of online marketplaces to a worldwide audience while working flexible hours from home?

I’m pretty sure most people would be up for that, especially if they enjoy a comfortable standard of living because of it! That’s the dream!

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but without the proper skills, knowledge and – indeed – the motivation and determination, selling online is not as easy as you may imagine.

An eletter reader discovered this for himself earlier this week, having hit a stumbling block.

Hoping to sell – but struggling to source – rowing machines, they asked me to assist them in locating cheap alternatives to a huge brand leader in the field.

Firstly, branded products are not part of my proven strategy – and the one mentioned was a big, big brand! To stock and sell these machines, my correspondent would need to become a bona fide distributor. And in this instance, I would have needed to research suppliers and distributors myself in order to provide the correct information.

Secondly, rowing machines are hugely expensive. They are also bulky and heavy so not a great choice as a start up product for a new business! Always think about cash flow, storage issues and dispatch logistics when considering what you may wish to sell.

Thirdly, I receive many emails every day – if every one of those emails was a request for research help and product info I would never actually get any work done with my own business!

Plus, those who pay for my ongoing support, help and advice through my home study programmes and exclusive membership to The Source Report would not receive my full attention.

And fourthly, how does anyone learn if they have absolutely everything done for them?

Don’t get me wrong – I am not averse to giving information away for free. For example, you only have to look at this weekly eletter which is totally free and always packed full of useful information, tips and advice.

There’s my YouTube channel too, also free and packed with helpful, valuable information and tutorials in video form.

And so, while I do appreciate how frustrating and overwhelming sourcing products can be, with the correct method and a little time, effort and practice you will get it right!

So here are some tips to help you move forward with your own sourcing challenges.

The sourcing myth…

It is a common misconception you can simply order a cheap job lot of a product from a wholesaler, advertise it online and it will sell with no problem, bringing you crazy profits day after day. If that were true we would all be millionaires many times over!

The reality is if you haven’t done your research prior to ordering your product, you are likely to end up with a pile of stuff you can’t sell.

Just because you like the look of a product, it doesn’t mean others will or it is the ideal product for you to sell. Or, indeed, that it will be profitable. And that’s why you need to understand the process of product sourcing.

Crucially, you must decide on the product you are going to sell, which will require research to ensure that you choose an in demand, viable, profitable product.

Remember – if a particular niche is really hot right now, there will be some products within that niche that are hotter than others. Your research should entail you weeding out those products from within the hot niche. That’s a sure-fire way to make excellent profits.

This next part is very important…

Your mantra should be ‘market first, product second’

When you are deciding what to sell, you need to find the hot market first. You need to find what’s known as a ‘hungry crowd’.

This is a large group of people, constantly increasing in size, that really, really want your product and by purchasing it will benefit in some way.

Ideally you want a product you can source and sell over and over so you do not constantly have to replace lines of products.

But, where do you find this ‘hungry crowd’?

They’re everywhere! However, you can’t hang around waiting for hot products and niches to present themselves to you.

First and foremost you must make a definite decision regarding your niche.

For example, this could be something that you know a little about, such as a hobby or interest that you enjoy, or you could browse the magazines at your local newsagent to pick up some ideas.

You must choose an overall niche before you find your hungry crowd because otherwise you have no direction and things will become complicated.

Let’s use the example here of the fitness niche. There are loads of magazines out there for fitness enthusiasts such as Muscle & Fitness, FIT, Flex and Womens’ Fitness to name just a few…

… And if there are plenty of magazines dedicated to this subject, you can be sure that it’s a popular pastime for men and women and so will make a good example.

The fitness niche is very broad, covering an extremely wide spectrum including (but not limited to) diet and slimming, muscle building, sports, workout courses, vitamins and supplements.

So you need to discover exactly what all those fitness enthusiasts are looking for right now, if they have a fitness problem they need solving or if they have a real need for anything. If so, what is it? This is where you start looking for your ‘hungry crowd’.

Second mantra: ‘solve a problem’

Think about where you might gather some information about the kind of products this hungry fitness crowd are buying.

As you will most likely be selling your products online, unsurprisingly, the internet is the first place you should look to conduct your research.

Once you are certain you have discovered your hungry crowd and a product that matches all their needs, then (and only then) can you start researching wholesalers and suppliers for that product.

Here are some ideas to get you started on how to find bona fide suppliers…

Know your way around the internet

Sourcing products online is the obvious way to go but you must remember to avoid using really general terms when it comes to searching them out.

For example if you Google ‘wholesale fitness product’ then you are likely to end up with results running into the squillions which I’m perfectly sure you don’t want to wade through!

On the other hand, if you add the search term ‘distributor’ or ‘trade’ or ‘mfr’ (manufacturer) and then use the actual name of the product then you will get fewer but much more focused results.

Subscribe to trade magazines

There are hundreds of trade magazines relating to all kinds of niches packed full of advertisements from suppliers, distributors and manufacturers.

Before the age of the internet, this is how all business was done – completely offline. It worked then and it still works now!

Try The Trader magazine as a good starting point or if you don’t want to buy a hard copy and would rather use the internet, check them out at www.thetrader.co.uk.

Check product packaging

This is an overlooked sourcing method but is a winner and so simple.

If there is a specific product you want to get your hands on and you don’t know who manufacturers or distributes it then simply buy the product from an online retailer yourself and check the packaging for a reference to the manufacturer.


So, once you have the product in your hands and you know who makes it, you simply…

Go straight to the source

Once you know which company makes the product you can contact them and find out who their distributors are.

There’s no need to be intimidated by this prospect because after all, it’s not highly confidential, top secret information you are requesting.

At the end of the day, the manufacturers want your business and your money so they will have no problem in supplying you with a list of distributors. You then simply contact the distributor directly.

And finally…

Product sourcing can often seem very daunting because it requires research and effort on your part to make sure you find the best products in the best niches.

These tips will help put you on the right track and allow you to understand how it all works so that you don’t encounter the same frustrations that others do when starting a business.

Follow my advice and scratching your head over sourcing will be a thing of the past. Just remember the mantras ‘market first, product second’ followed by ‘solve a problem’.