If you want to sell online but are confused, lack direction and are not focused, here’s a simple shortcut to get you started

Recently I was delivering a one to one eBay consultation to a client who is just starting her eBay business. Although a seasoned seller when it comes to dealing with her own website and products, she wanted to sell within a different niche, as a separate entity on eBay. This is of course an excellent plan and gives her an alternative income stream and so offers safety and of course the potential for extra profits.

So, during our skype call, one of the questions she asked me was ‘how do I know what to sell?’

A simple question but, for new online sellers, one of the biggest hurdles that can often cause procrastination, stalling and even failure before you’ve even begun!

One of the biggest challenges is deciding what to sell – in other words, finding a profitable niche and product – and I can totally empathise with this because I know that getting inspiration can be tough and there is always that niggling worry that a market might be saturated and there is simply too much competition.

There is no denying that there is a huge amount of competition online these days, in fact my client also wanted to know whether she was a little ‘late to the party’.

But I reassured her that there are still massive opportunities available for new sellers – and you can still get in on the action! The trick is to really consider the ways you can achieve a successful online business – not just have a quick think about what you might like to do, then select a product at random – because that won’t work!

You need to think about a specific product or niche first so that you have direction and focus – then simply consider the opportunities that are all around you.

So, first of all you need focus and there are six main things that you should bear in mind. To make these easy for you to remember I’ve created a shortcut phrase that’s also easy to remember.


It sounds just like the word ‘Topic’ which of course means a subject, a matter, an area or an issue. This in turn ties in with direction and focus. It can also be associated with ‘Top Pick’ meaning the best of a selection.

So what is TOPPIK all about?


Trends come and go, but by recognizing a trend early enough, and getting in to the market at the start will ensure you make a name for yourself before anyone else. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times – listen to what your children are talking about, read newspapers, browse online – and keep your wits about you. Product opportunities appear in the unlikeliest of places!


Opportunities are everywhere, but finding a gap in a market is great news. You need to capitalize on that opportunity to the best of your ability. Look at a particular niche and try and work out if there is a problem or something that is missing within that niche.

It comes down to my ‘similar but better’ strategy. Think about what you could introduce to the market that is ‘similar but better’ than what is already being offered there. This could be a ‘luxury’ item or a ‘bargain’ item; it could be a product that already sells well, but with an added element or ‘twist’. When you find it though – seize it – or someone else will!


You might decide to focus on something that you have a real passion for. This can prove to be extremely profitable simply due to the fact that ‘passion’ tends to carry you through! Passion motivates and motivation is the key to building a successful business and not giving up when the going gets tough. So think about your hobbies, interests and passions as a first step.


Solving a problem has long been a fantastic way to get sales! Have a think about problems that people have – and how you could solve the problem with a particular product or set of products. You may be surprised to learn that a ‘problem’ doesn’t necessarily have to be in the realms of a physical ‘pain’ either. To a young lady on her first date, her problem could be as simple as finding the perfect shoes to match her outfit.


I talked about ‘passion’ earlier and this can apply to customers too. When buyers are immersed and passionate about something – for example a hobby, an

interest, a sport – they will spend more money in order to achieve the best results.

For example, if you could offer a product to a cycling enthusiast that would enable him to cycle further and faster with less effort, he would probably be prepared to buy it! This is identifying a need.


If you have knowledge of a particular industry, product or niche or if you have a particular skill or have experienced something that makes you an expert on the subject then use this to your advantage. You can turn your expertise into a route into online selling safe in the knowledge that you know a huge amount about the area that others in the same niche may not!

Opportunities are all around you. Which one will you see first?

The most important aspect you need to consider when choosing a product is to not be scared of looking into smaller, less well known niches. In fact the deeper you dig and the more specific you become the better as there are more opportunities to achieve success due to less competition.

Remember that the niche, and ultimately the products you choose to take further in your online business will each bring unique challenges but importantly, they will shape your business for the future, so choose carefully and choose well.