Last week we looked at how you might decide what kind of information product you could create to build or further a business online.
But lots of you don’t want to sell information products…
So, this week, I thought we’d fire through some alternative products that not only make you some money, but can also be a lot of fun.
I’ve pinpointed six opportunities for you here. But there are countless others if you know where to look.
I hope one of these might be right for you, or at least send you off on an adventure to find an opportunity that is!
1. Bulk-buy several lightweight, cheap, unusual items from Hong Kong or China on a theme and then package them in attractive bundles to eager buyers on eBay.
This is something I’m trying out right now. I’m going to give you a rather girly example, but the same technique could be applied to many different niches.
Nails and nail art are very, very popular right now. An enormous community exists on sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook on the subject.
Demand for low-cost, attractive products is very high and many wholesalers offer amazing deals on small, easily shippable products.
Items like this nail art pen are on sale for several pounds each in high street stores, but if sourced online you can get five for under £2.
If you package that up with other items, you can create something incredibly desirable for a hungry market.
If you want to really profit from the opportunity this presents, you can make bigger profit margins by investing in several products that come in simple, plain packaging and then ‘up-cycle’ them in to pretty packages… Just buy some pretty bags or boxes in bulk too, a lot of tissue paper, and maybe some ribbon or similar.
I packaged them up in boxes costing less than 30p each and ended up with a product to sell for £10+, in great quantities, for an outlay of not much more than a tenner for the entire lot.
Other examples are items for new babies (quirky baby socks, bibs, dummies), car accessories (think unusual air fresheners, cloths, car log keyrings), and anything else that lends itself to small, low-postage items that can be grouped together to make nice gifts with healthy profit margins.
All of these items can be bought cheaply in bulk on sites like Ali Express.
You will need to do some profit calculations before you order your items – working out the total costs of acquiring your stock and packaging, as well as postage – then double-check you can offer the bundles for a reasonable price to make a profit.
The beauty is that your bundle will be totally unique and so the sale price can be quite flexible.
2. Sell yourself
If you have a certain area of skill or expertise, you can sign up as an online tutor on sites like The Tutor Pages and earn around £30 an hour in your spare time.
If you want to put more practical skills in to action, you can sign up to one of numerous freelancing sites like eLance and earn money from home by bidding to work on other people’s creative projects. This can be very interesting too.
3. Knit something simple and sell it on Etsy.
If you or someone you know (your wife, mother, brother or colleague) are a dab hand with a pair of knitting needles, then simple handmade items like baby booties, scarves and even bow ties (knitted bow ties, I kid you not) can be very popular and profitable on the website Etsy.
Setting up a shop is simple and as they handle the payment process. All you need is a PayPal account.
I’ve even found somewhere you can get a free knitting pattern for a simple bow tie here.
This type of item sells for between £8–15 on Etsy – and in abundance.
4. Design something simple on Café Press and advertise it on social media for free
You may have heard of Café Press – it’s been around for a while but its age doesn’t demean its relevance.
It’s still a very popular and very used site, especially when things like Fathers’ Day (this weekend if you’ve forgotten!) crop up.
CafePress is one of the oldest print-on-demand services online and they offer loads of products on which you can print your logo or designs.
It’s easier than you’d think: to get started, once you’ve created something, you can tell all your friends about it initially and start earning some extra money fast!
5. Leverage the power of eBay Pulse
You can use that service to pinpoint hot trends on eBay and then head back to sites like Ali Express (which I mentioned earlier) to source alternative, unbranded, products that can be sourced cheaply and sold for profit.
To use an example, in the baby niche, I saw ‘dummies’ come up; then I saw a big popularity for ‘dummy clips’ that keep a dummy attached to a baby, so as not to get lost.
A quick search on Ali Express gave me immediate access to a seller who can sell you the clips, which you can then personalise, for just 15p each.
You can branch out to more expensive items, like cases for electronics and car accessories too. Just spend some time on eBay and their popular charts and you are bound to come away with lots of ideas.
6. Create and sell your own board game
OK, this one’s a bit left-field, but very exciting.
The Game Crafter is a really interesting service for making and selling your own board games and collectible card games.
You upload your artwork and game rules, and pick out which pieces (dice etc) need to be included – and go!
The Game Crafter will print, package up, and post out your game every time it’s ordered. Pretty cool.
I hope these ideas have given you something to think about.
But don’t just think: if you want to give any of these a go, just do it!
As always, email me if you want any help or advice along the way (although I’m not much good at board games).??Have a fantastic week. I’m spending mine packaging nail files and wondering how an entire year has past since we were emailing you to tell you about the birth of my baby.
It’s his birthday on Thursday. Ah, to be one year old again!