Selling Online

Selling Online is one of the fastest-growing sources of mail-order sales. It’s estimated that e-commerce sales have been growing nine times faster than traditional in-store sales since 1998. According to The U.S. Census Bureau’s report on retail sales in the US, the total e-commerce sales for 2019 are estimated at over 600 billion dollars, in revenue and it is expected to continue growing! It is also one of the quickest and easiest ways to begin making money online. Selling your handmade products or services online is a low cost way to enter into selling online which requires less overall investment! Selling online involves several key steps to effectively reach customers and generate sales.

The Benefits of Selling Online are Multi-fold:
• You have direct access to a worldwide customer base, spanning local, regional, and national demographics.
• Online platforms offer convenience for customers, enabling them to browse and purchase products at their convenience.
•Handling customer orders and inquiries online streamlines communication, allowing for prompt responses and reducing manual data entry.
•Online shareable options makes Word-of-mouth marketing a breeze through social media and link sharing.

My Personal Journey:
Selling online is my success story which started in the early days of the Internet ! My personal journey in online sales serves as a testament to the unlimited money making possibilities of selling online. When my husband and I started selling online , we capitalized on his passion for woodworking and my knowledge of the Internet.

Combining my husband’s passion for woodworking with my knowledge of how to make money online , we ventured into offering unique, handcrafted wooden products. Our business took off quickly and easily turned into a full time career . A couple of our products was featured on prominent TV shows like the Martha Stewart Show and Extreme Home Makeover. I accredit my online success to having learned SEO early in my Internet career!

Legal Requirements To Consider
From a legal perspective, selling online involves several key requirements to ensure compliance with regulations and to protect your business interests. Here are some important legal considerations:

Distinguishing Between A Hobby and A Business:
According to the IRS, engaging in online selling with the intent of making a profit makes it a business endeavor, not a hobby . Which means individuals are required to report their income earned from online sales to the IRS. It is important that you treat online ventures with a business-oriented mindset.

The Sales Tax Permit
As a retailer, you may be required to collect sales taxes on behalf of your State Revenue Office if your State imposes a sales tax. The Sales permit AKA The Sales Tax ID Will Serve Two Purposes:

1. Permission To Collect Sales Taxes
The Sales Tax ID gives the seller of retail products the right or permission to collect sales taxes from their customers on behalf of the government. Depending on your state tax requirements you maybe required to remit the sales tax to the state revenue office monthly or semi-annually .
2. Sales Tax Exemption
With a sales tax permit you can purchase products or supplies from a wholesaler and in some cases a retailer and not have to pay sales tax, as long as the products or finished product is intended for resale to the general public.

How to Apply For A Sales Tax ID:
Contact your State Revenue Office  for more information on the sales tax permit or re-sellers certificate requirements for retailers or wholesale sellers.

Intellectual Property Protection:
Protect your brand, products, and content by securing trademarks, copyrights, and patents as necessary if it applies. Trademark registration maybe particularly important for protecting your business name, logo, and other branding elements.

E-commerce Compliance:
Ensure compliance with e-commerce regulations, such as consumer protection laws, data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR in Europe, CCPA in California), and complying with consumer protection laws related to refunds, warranties, and product safety, are essential for avoiding legal issues.

Regulatory Compliance:
Depending on your industry and the nature of your products or services, you may need to comply with industry-specific regulations and standards. For example, businesses selling food, cosmetics, or health-related products may need to adhere to FDA regulations, while financial services businesses must comply with banking and securities laws.

Legal Consultation:

These are just a few quick start requirements other requirements will depend on what you are selling online, consider consulting with legal professionals, such as business attorneys or specialized e-commerce lawyers, to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and to protect your business from legal risks. By addressing these legal requirements upfront, you can establish a strong legal foundation for your online business and minimize the risk of legal disputes or regulatory penalties down the road.

Getting Started:

Identify Your Niche:
Determine what products or services you want to sell online. Consider your interests, expertise, market demand, and competition.

Business Plan:
Create a detailed business plan outlining your goals, target market, pricing strategy, marketing plan, and financial projections. A solid plan will guide your decisions and attract investors if needed.

Market Research:
Research your target audience, their needs, preferences, and purchasing behavior. Identify gaps in the market that your business can fill.

Register Your Business:
Choose a business name and register it with the appropriate authorities. Decide on the legal structure of your business (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC) and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

Choose Your Sales Platform:
Decide where you want to sell your products online.

Online Marketplace:
Online E-commerce Platforms such as Etsy, Amazon and eBay, offer low startup cost, each provide a ready-made marketplace where you can list your products quickly and easily. Over time the fees quickly add up and deplete the profits. There is an advantage to setting up your own ecommerce site.

Set Up Your Own Store:
There many different ways to setup your own online e-commerce site. My favorite is WordPress WooCommerce! The cost of setting up a online store with WordPress WooCommerce is far cheaper than using Shopify or SquareSpace

Social Media:
Selling on social Media Platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Shops, or Pinterest allow you to sell directly to your followers.

Customize your store to reflect your brand identity and optimize your product listings with high-quality images, detailed descriptions, and competitive pricing.

Set Up Payment Processing:
Choose a payment gateway to accept online payments securely. Most e-commerce platforms offer built-in payment processing options, or you can integrate third-party payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, or Square.

Optimize Your Listing For Search Engines (SEO):
Use relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and tags to improve your visibility in search engine results. This will help potential customers find your products when they search online.

Promote Your Products: Drive traffic to your online store or listings through various marketing channels, including:

  • Social Media Marketing: Share product photos, videos, and promotions on social media platforms to reach a wider audience.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list of subscribers and send targeted email campaigns to promote your products and special offers.

Provide Excellent Customer Service:
Offer responsive customer support to address inquiries, resolve issues, and provide assistance throughout the purchasing process. Positive customer experiences can lead to repeat business and referrals.

Monitor Performance and Adapt:
Track your sales, website traffic, and customer behavior using analytics tools provided by your chosen platform. Use this data to evaluate your performance, identify areas for improvement, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

By following these steps and continuously refining your approach, you can effectively sell your products online and grow your business in the digital marketplace.

Build Your Own Online Store And Save A Bundle

Build Your Own Store With WordPress E-commerce. Choosing the right e commerce platform can be a challenge . With numerous options available, each boasting unique features and benefits, it’s essential to select a platform that not only meets your current needs but also scales with your business growth and budget.

WooCommerce –is a powerhouse e-commerce solution built on the robust foundation of WordPress. WooCommerce stands out as the ultimate choice for anyone looking to establish or enhance their online store without breaking the bank..

When comparing WooCommerce to Shopify or Square space a popular choice among entrepreneurs, WooCommerce is an attractive choice due to:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: WooCommerce is an open-source platform, meaning the core plugin is free to use. you have more control over your budget since you can select from a wide range of free and premium themes and extensions based on your needs and financial constraints. Your full startup cost can be as low as $40.00 or less for the first year.
  2. No transaction fees: Unlike Shopify, which charges transaction fees for each sale made through third-party payment gateways if you don’t use Shopify Payments, WooCommerce doesn’t impose any additional transaction fees. This can lead to significant savings, especially for small businesses with tight profit margins or for businesses just starting out.
  3. Flexibility and customization: WooCommerce offers unparalleled flexibility and customization options, allowing you to tailor your online store to your exact specifications without being confined to preset templates or restrictive design options. With access to thousands of themes and plugins, you can create a unique and personalized shopping experience for your customers without breaking the bank.
  4. Integration with WordPress: If you’re already familiar with WordPress, using WooCommerce is a natural extension of your existing skill set. You can leverage your knowledge of WordPress to manage your e-commerce store seamlessly, eliminating the need to learn a new platform from scratch and potentially saving on training or onboarding costs. While you don’t have to have full knowledge of WordPress to use Woocommerce to setup you own online store.
  5. Scalability: While Squarespace may be suitable for small businesses starting out, WooCommerce offers superior scalability, allowing you to expand your store and add new features as your business grows. With features like inventory management, order tracking, and comprehensive reporting, you can scale your operations without outgrowing your e-commerce platform.
  6. SEO-friendly: By optimizing your store for search engines, you can improve your visibility and attract more organic traffic, reducing your reliance on paid advertising and maximizing your return on investment. WooCommerce is inherently SEO-friendly, offering features like customizable permalinks, product schema markup, and integration with popular SEO plugins like Yoast SEO.
  7. Community support: As an open-source platform, WooCommerce benefits from a vast community of developers, designers, and users who contribute to its ongoing development and provide support through forums, documentation, and online resources. This community-driven approach ensures that help is readily available whenever you encounter issues or need assistance, reducing the need for expensive third-party support services.

Good Product Photography Tips

It’s a scientific fact that product photography is an extremely effective tool when it comes to influencing the thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and perceptions of the consumer.

If you would like to produce professional-quality photographs but don’t have the time to learn the technical elements or money to buy the expensive equipment or software, here are some tips and links to free resources to help you get started.

Before taking any pictures find out if the supply vendor you purchased your products from has downloadable pictures of their products, that you can use to sell their products on your website.  It won’t hurt to ask, I have found that some vendors are more than happy to send you pictures of their products to sell, free of charge of course.

Product Photography  Tips:

1.) A well-ironed white sheet can provide a good backdrop, use a photo editing program to adjust the color balance. 

2.) A white poster board is inexpensive and flexible and also provides a perfect backdrop. Curve it up and prop it against a wall when you need a seamless surface below and behind an object, or lay it flat on a table when shooting a product from above.

3.) If you use a digital camera or a smartphone such as Android, iPhone, Tablet, iPad or consumer digital camera, make sure that the digital photographs are saved in a readable format such as a JPEG or PNG.

4) Use diffused light, and daylight if possible. Set up your shots outside on a bright but cloudy day, the clouds will scatter the sunlight, thereby eliminating harsh shadows. The same concept applies indoors. Under bright fixtures, try to diffuse the light in some way, for example by placing white fabric around your product (but outside of the shot). Using your white balance and ISO settings. will get the color as close to “real life” as you can, and produce the sharpest photo possible given your lighting environment.

5.) Make the most of your camera. Even inexpensive point-and-shoots have variable settings try not to use the flash unless you want undesirable bright spots or harsh shadows in your shot.

6.) Use your cameras macro mode for very small items it will help you capture even the smallest details, it is best to use a mini tripod when shooting in macro mode.

Internet Resources:

How to Make a Homemade Lightbox:


Shipping Your Products …

In most cases, once a customer purchases a product from your online store, you must determine the best way to ship the product to them. Many small and new businesses choose the “do it yourself” (DIY) method when it comes to shipping and fulfillment. DIY tends to be more work, but it can save a business on costs and may make more sense for online sellers that have lower product inventory and shipment volumes. A myriad of things must be considered when you have reached this step in the eCommerce process.

Pricing. Not surprisingly, the more your site users are charged for shipping, the less likely they are to want to purchase your product. Online “shopping cart abandonment” is often caused by unexpectedly high shipping prices. In a study done by United Parcel Service (UPS,) 55 percent of shoppers abandoned their shopping carts before purchasing because shipping and handling costs were too high.

Warehousing. You also need to consider where you will store your product. If you currently have a warehouse or storage facility you use for brick-and-mortar sales, then the same facility may work. However, keep in mind that B2B transactions often involve bulk quantities, so once you are involved in B2B eCommerce, (B2B e-commerce, short for business-to-business electronic commerce, is the sale of goods or services between businesses via an online sales portal.) you may need to expand your space or look for other options. Some municipalities prohibit the stocking up of large quantities of inventory in a home business. Check with your municipality.

Packaging. Another way to minimize shipping costs is to use the correct packaging. In general, smaller and lighter packaging is better, because shipments are most often paid for by size or weight. 

Tracking and Insuring. Major carriers include shipment tracking with their services. If you are shipping expensive items, bulk items, or items that can be easily damaged, you may want to offer shipping insurance as an option for the customer to purchase. Insurance is often offered by a third party, so make sure to do your research on the insurer and to inform the customer about the insurer. Major carriers also include some form of shipping insurance with their service as a guarantee.

Selecting a Carrier. You will also need to determine which carrier to use to ship your products. The major carriers used for eCommerce tend to be FedEx, UPS, and USPS.  Along with selecting a suitable carrier, you should be sure to include on your checkout page what carrier you are using and when the customer or business can expect the package.

Shipping Internationally. Tariffs, taxes, or duties may need to be paid for items to enter or leave a country. A good website to find accurate estimates on international duties and taxes is to contact your nearest U.S. Commercial Service office or U.S. Export Assistance Center to receive personal assistance from an international trade specialist. The customer or business that purchases the product will be responsible for paying those fees upon delivery, and it is a good idea to give customers notice of the fees, and include the proper forms and documents with the shipment to ensure that the shipment will clear customs in the destination country. 

How to Save On Shipping:

You can save on shipping and handling costs by using USPS Click-N-Ship, with click and ship you can pay, print the shipping label from your home or office printer. You can schedule a free pickup of your packages without leaving your home, order free priority shipping boxes and so much more visit USPS small business service to learn more.

With UPS you can setup an account with them and speak to an agent about their discount policy.

Prompt Delivery Rules

The Federal Trade Commission has rules and regulations which govern prompt delivery rules get familiar with them to make sure you are in compliance with the law.

Prompt Deliver Rules

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.

Enforced by the FTC, the Mail or Telephone Order Rule applies to orders placed by phone, fax, or the Internet. The FTC Merchant obligations rule spells out the ground rules for making promises about shipments, notifying consumers about unexpected delays, and refunding consumers’ money.

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Benefits of Buying Your Products Wholesale

As a retailer of general merchandise or handmade goods, you are in the market to make a profit. As a craft artist selling handmade goods, buying your supplies from local retail craft stores might work out okay for a while, but to break it all down, buying wholesale means higher profit margins for you. The lower the price the higher the profit! That’s why you as a retailer need a wholesaler.

Who Are Retailers?

You are a retailer if you plan to sell products to the general public. Retailers are businesses that sell merchandise, (in small quantities) to the general public for personal or household consumption. In some cases, retailers sell merchandise to businesses and institutions. Retailers may operate stores, designed to attract a large number of walk-in customers or sell their goods online

The Wholesale Industry

Unlike retailers, wholesalers sell products in bulk. The whole idea is wholesalers sell merchandise to other businesses below the retail price for the purposes of reselling the product or for other business purposes.

Wholesaling consists of manufacturers, the producer of a product. In general, a wholesaler is a middleman or distributor who sells to retailers, jobbers, other merchants, and industrial, commercial, and institutional, and general consumers. Wholesalers may be sales branches maintained by manufacturing businesses, for the purpose of selling their products. They also may be agents or brokers who arrange for the purchase or sale of goods owned by others, often on a commission basis.

Importers are businesses that purchase products from manufacturers outside of their home country due to the lower cost of the products (who often sell to wholesalers). For example, an importer would be someone who purchases products in bulk from say China at low-cost prices and sells them to a wholesaler or direct to retailers.

Buying Wholesale

Retailers have higher profit margins when they purchase their products wholesale with the intention of reselling the product as-is or in a finished product such as raw materials. Craft supplies used to make a finished handmade product would be considered raw material.

Wholesalers are in the business to sell merchandise to other businesses at lower than the actual retail price the product sells to the general public for. The retailer’s profit is the difference between the wholesale price and the retail price.

Wholesale Purchase Requirements

A legitimate wholesaler will require your sales tax permit or business permit. Your sales tax permit will serve two purposes.

  1. It tells the wholesale you are legitimate business
  2. You don’t have to pay taxes or the products you buy for resale

You still may be required to show proof of your business license. Wholesalers normally require you to purchase products in bulk with the intention of selling directly to the consumer. By buying in bulk, you receive a significant discount (typically 50%) which allows you to make a decent profit when selling goods at the retail price.

Exclusive distributors: (manufacturers grant certain dealers exclusive territorial rights to sell their product). It is unlikely that a small retail business will be able to buy directly from a high-volume wholesaler or manufacturer.

There are, however, many smaller manufacturers and wholesale distributors who will sell and ship to small businesses. You will be required to provide a sales tax Id. There are many businesses that claim to be wholesalers but their prices tell another story. I call them discount retailers, a legitimate US wholesaler will require your business license or sales tax id information.

How Do You Find Wholesalers?

It is not always easy to find wholesalers since many of the wholesalers of the products you may need are often not found locally. You may want to start by checking your local directory for wholesalers, purchase a professional wholesale Industry specific directory or a Trade magazine. Some wholesalers will advertise in trade magazines and/or participate in trade shows.

For maximum income potential, buying your resale products wholesale or below wholesale by importing them yourself, is the key to higher profit margins.

Importing Your Products

One good hot selling item and you could be set for life! Not only does importing offer low cost with high-profit potential, but it also paves the way for you to find unique items not sold in the US. The lure of low-cost products has always been the incentive for importing from China and other places.  After years of experience selling online, I find that importing your resale items is a great way to stay one step ahead of the competition, on the Internet and pocket almost 100% of the profit.

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Make Money With Drop-Shipping

How would you like to start a business selling online where you don’t have to buy or stock any merchandise? If this sounds like you then the drop-ship business maybe for you. This type of business can be run will little to no upfront money. Starting a drop shipping business is very easy, and you can run it from anywhere in the world, especially out of your own home.


The great thing about setting up a drop shipping business is you don’t need any special skills to start this type of business. All you really need is a person who is willing to dedicate their time to ensure that the business succeeds. It will also help to have a computer with Internet access.

A Drop Shipping Business brings together people who want to buy a particular product and companies that are selling it. YOU – As THE SELLER – sell the merchants products through your own online store, or. online marketplace or your social media channel. If you plan to sell in an online marketplace, make sure you are aware of their rules on drop shippers, many online marketplaces may not approve of the drop shipping method of selling products you don’t physically have.

How it Works:

Once someone purchases a drop-ship product from you, your job is to submit the order to the drop shipper.

The DROP SHIPPER ships the product white-labeled as if the products(s) came from your business. Be sure that white labeling of products is in your contract agreement to retain your customers.

Your Profit is the difference between the price you pay for the vendors’ product, which should be the wholesale price and the retail price you sold it to your customer for.

The first step is to find a dropshipping company you are satisfied with and create an account with them. Make it your business to form a good relationship with a prospective drop-shipper! It is important that you treat your business just like any other business.

Selling your drop ship products online follows the same methods you would use if you physically had the products. The only difference is you only need to sell the product and accept online payments.

Avoid A Scam

The first thing in starting a drop-ship business is to find reputable drop shippers and avoid a scam. Due to its increased popularity, it is important that you find a reputable drop-shipper for your business. Unfortunately, there have been many scams that have come to light in this particular industry.

This form of online business has become so easy to do, and because of its increased popularity, many prospective drop shipping businesses have become targets for the less reputable people online, such as scammers. Unfortunately, many people do not really understand what drop-shipping is about and only see it as a way of getting rich quickly. Because of this, there are plenty of people out there who are ready to exploit them. Thankfully Drop Ship Scammers are in the minority and not the majority, but none the less, you have to be careful, there are things you need to beware of to minimize the risk of scam.

Also, you should avoid the “turnkey” internet businesses which are willing to sell you a package of products,
e-commerce site, and marketing for an exorbitant membership fee or charge you a monthly fee. These types of businesses, you will soon find, do not actually help, but rather hinder, and you will soon find that you are not making any profit whatsoever, while they are.

Starting a Drop Ship Business

The minimum requirement for starting any drop shipping business online is that you have a business license. Avoid any company that doesn’t have these requirements at all costs. Unfortunately, most of the companies which are willing to do business with an illegal business will usually be middlemen, who then send your order through to the wholesale company, and will end up taking a cut of the profits that you are trying to make.

You will also need to get a valid re-sellers certificate. What the exact requirements are to obtain the certificate will vary from state to state.

How To Find Reputable Drop Shippers

Do Not Purchase Drop Ship Directories. Do not be fooled by those sites offering you a drop-ship directory for a fee. Unfortunately, these are normally copies of the more legitimate lists provided by reputable directories, and will often be out of date.     

You need to do plenty of research with regard to drop ship sources It is best if you avoid using search engines when doing this, as they will also offer up a list of the less reputable companies, as well as providing you with page upon page of links which are completely useless. If you do a Google Search on dropshipping you’ll find a ton of information but much of it is erroneous and even downright illegal scams. It can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not out there.

The best way to find a legitimate drop-shipping company is to do your due diligence and research. If you see a product you are interested in selling, contact the company producing it directly. Inquire if they have a drop shipping program/dept.

Ensure the drop shippers you find require a valid wholesale or resale certificate from you.

Important Steps to Running a Drop Ship Business

If you want to ensure that your drop-shipping business is profitable, there are a number of things you need to remember.

1. You need to find a product which will sell in sufficient quantities, as well as one which will provide you with a good mark up, in order for it to be truly profitable. Therefore, it is important that you try to determine what the demand for the product is, and also what competition, if any, there is for that particular product.

2. You need to take a look at what your competition is charging for the product you choose. You may find that some businesses will have much lower profit margins than others, including you.

3. It is best when first starting out selling products using drop-shipping, that you only sell a select few. And a good rule of thumb is to make sure that those products that you do select are related, or can be targeted and sold to the same market set.

It is important that you do not try to sell every drop-shipping product that you find, as this will help you concentrate more on marketing your goods, as well as keeping your own costs to a minimum. Plus, you are more likely to make an impact in the market place as well.

4. Avoid those people who are offering to sell you lists of drop-shippers for 100’s of dollars, unfortunately sometimes these are middlemen who are posing as drop-shippers themselves, and will then charge much more than you actually should be paying. Remember, the whole idea of using drop-shipping is to keep your costs down rather than raising them but also still be able to make a profit at the end of the day.

5. You will still need to deal with the problems associated with backorders and returns. Unfortunately, not all the hassles associated with running a normal retail business can be eliminated from a business that is run online.

Product Images

It is a known fact that product images equal higher conversion rates. For photos of your dropship products do not hesitate to ask the vendor for a copy of the product images to display in your ads. You can also ask for permission to make a copy of the ones on the vendor’s site.

There will be times when you find that a product your customer has ordered is not in stock, and so will not be available for dispatch immediately. Therefore, you will need to work out these matters with your drop-shipper ahead of any of these problems occurring. This will then provide you with answers that you can provide to your customer should such an event occur.

Final Tips:

1. Before you start selling any products through a drop shipping business, you should do as much research as you can.

2. Always select products that there are not thousands of them already selling on the internet, or that has very few people competing for the customers.

3. Ensure that the products you are supplying are of the best quality possible, and also provide the best customer service that you can.

4. If at all possible purchase test products you plan to sell to your customers. If you can not afford to purchase the product, search the Internet for a product review on the products you want to sell.

5. If any of your customers have a question, then make sure that you respond as quickly as possible and follow up afterward to ensure that they are satisfied with the information you provided to them.