Some of you are stuck in just one business model ~ selling physical products (Amazon, eBay and/or Etsy) and I know you love it! I love selling my stuff on Amazon and Ebay (and am still trying to get the hang of Etsy).
It IS a powerful business model, because it works. You find stuff to sell and sell it for a profit.. What could be simpler than that?
Many have figured out that it’s not always “Simple”. The actual work load isn’t hard, list – label – ship – repeat. What’s not simple is is finding the right physical products to sell.
We Are At The Mercy Of Selling Platforms
Amazon has finally started to make me a bit crazy. I know things change and I’m usually the one who is all about “just roll with the changes” and get moving on growing your business.
We’ve all seen some recent hub-bub about seller account suspensions or even banned from selling altogether. This is not some new phenomenon with Amazon. Risky behavior is usually behind the suspensions. The seller may not even realize that they are at risk, until they get the dreaded email from Amazon.
My question is always this:
“Why Are You Investing In A Business Based On A Platform
You Don’t Control”?
Amazon is a great selling channel, but Amazon is not worried about YOUR business. They are only worried about their own business.
Amazon is a marketplace. It’s a great tool to grow your business, but where else are your efforts going?
Investing in your business, with time/effort/cash doesn’t mean you should have all your investments loaded into one marketplace.
Ebay has it’s own challenges, as does Etsy. They are great marketplaces, but they are NOT your business.
Advertising on Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, Instagram and Google are all great places to market/advertise your business. Please don’t hang your hat on one advertising or marketing model. One change in the rules or terms of service could bring you business to a screeching halt.
I’m guilty of some of the above. Hand in the air… who else is guilty of this?
Why Not Sell From A Platform We Own?
Instead of selling one product to one (enter marketplace here) customer and then waiting for the next sale… (hitting refresh on the Amazon Manage Order Page every 15 minutes), why don’t we work on ways to get customers to a marketplace we have total control over?
Think about this?
What if you had a website related to products you sell? Don’t get freaked out and hit the back button just yet. I don’t mean you have to install some fancy shopping cart system and have some way to deliver the products/provide customer support just yet.
What if… that website was a way to capture the email addresses of current or potential customers?
What if… that website had pictures (creative images that you can’t have on Amazon) and descriptions with video (also located on YouTube)?
What if… every one of those products had a “buy button” that lead them over to Amazon for the actual purchase?
Now what do you have? You have a website that doesn’t really involve any shopping carts, customer service (Amazon takes care of that right now) or shipping (Amazon FBA your products).
What happens IF you can no longer sell on Amazon? Switch everything to Ebay and do the same thing. You will now be in charge of customer service and shipping, but your business won’t be down the tubes (a small hiccup and then back in business).
Customers We Can Contact ~ Marketing Whatever We Want
Using Every Social Media Marketing Avenue (Not Just A Few)
Using Every Advertising Venue We Can Figure Out
Granted, most of your sales will still come from customers who find your products by searching ON Amazon, Ebay or Google. That’s okay because with continued effort you will eventually (this is my prediction) capture more and more of those customers on your own website.
Selling platforms would not encourage this scenario. Amazon does not allow you to contact customers for the explicit reason of diverting traffic to your own website. This is understandable.
Slight Change Of Thinking Required
It’s a bit backwards for many sellers. We spend much of our marketing efforts into driving customers directly to Amazon or Ebay?
What if you started spending some of your efforts on capturing the attention of just a few of those potential customers and direct them to YOU? The results could be amazing.
Grab their attention on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or Instagram (The Big Four) and let’s get them to be fans of your website (and you) and not just your products.
Create an environment on your own website that makes those customers “stick” with you, because they “Know, Like and Trust” you. They will follow along with any recommendations you offer and do it with a smile and a credit card.
This Won’t Happen Overnight
But, it won’t happen at all if you don’t ever start. Who want’s to stop being at the mercy of selling platforms you don’t control? Pick me, Pick me – I do!
Of course – my eventual goal is to only sell products that I control and never have to worry about competition again. I choose where to sell and how much profit I make from my products.
This is where I’m headed, and you can follow along as I blaze my own trail. I believe this is going to change my business for the better and take a load of stress off my shoulders.
Several Things To Keep In Mind
I sell Information Products, digital products that have nothing to do with selling stuff on Amazon. This is where I shine with my creativity.
I have a creative and inquisitive brain. I must keep my own creative fire burning, using that powerful urge to create “stuff that I can sell for profit”.
Over time, you will start to see how all this creative energy is put to good use dreaming up products that are not only digital but also physical products (nope, I’m not designing products to have manufactured in China).
I promise, it will all make perfect sense once you get the entire business plan I have in mind. I’m sharing it with you because it’s not some secret sauce or tricky tactic. It’s repeatable by any number of people, because no one will ever come up with the same group of ideas. Not even close.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
My own business plan has been to build slow and on a solid foundation. I’ve derailed and gotten off track several times over the years, but I always seem to end up right back at the point of trying to figure out why my business feels so wonky.
It’s not a race, it’s a business. It’s not about how much you can sell this month, it’s about what can you work on today that is helping to build a stronger business foundation for your future. A Business Foundation YOU Control.
Action: Take a look at your business. What (if any) risky behavior are you involved in right now? What parts of your business do you control and what is out of your control? If you don’t have a plan in place to protect your business should you loose control of part of it… take steps to get control.
You deserve a rock steady business foundation,
p.s. I think you are going to really like where this is headed. Even if you don’t follow a similar plan, it may help you to think about what business foundation you are building right now and how can you make it stronger.