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Old 05-29-2012, 08:28 PM
 
75 posts, read 253,057 times
Reputation: 64

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I've been thinking over the option of starting my own online business for numerous months, and I think it might be prudent to develop a plan of action just in case the fancy ever has the potential to become much, much more.

That being said, I have very little, if any, experience in business or for that matter, website-developing codes. What steps do I need to take to rectify that situation? What good resources would enable me to construct and design my own websites?

I live in TX, and have some general questions:

1. Who do I contact for 100% accurate information concerning any necessary licenses? I prefer things in writing, but understand that I may have to rely on phone calls to get detailed information. I don't want to do anything that is against any laws.

2. Would it be a good idea to sell items first on Ebay/Craigslist/Amazon/etc. prior to starting my own website? It seemed like a good option to me, because it would enable me to generate a decent market first.

3. What strategies do I use to market? What online options exist for marketing strategies? What ads provide a beneficial cost vs. benefit ratio? I understand the keyword search phenomenon, but there must be other tips that prove useful online.

4. What products (preferably at a low cost) would help me track sales, overhead costs, and etc.?

All of this said, I hate taking risks, but I love the idea of marketing something I really believe would be helpful for others. Should I look into other strategies to make additional money, such as blogging, or is business still viable for the risk-worried?
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Old 05-29-2012, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Wartrace,TN
6,344 posts, read 9,972,062 times
Reputation: 12439
If I were you I would start out blogging and see if you like the work (yes, it is work). For around 85 bucks you can get domain registration and a full year of hosting. Use the free wordpress.org page builder and you're good to go. At least it will give you a good understanding of how it works. You can easily sign up for affiliate programs as you go.

I hate to plug anything here but the 30 day challenge is free and it really has value.
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Wartrace,TN
6,344 posts, read 9,972,062 times
Reputation: 12439
Your state should have a resource on the web about what is required to start a business. At the very minimum you would have to register as a sole proprietor and sign up for a sales tax account and set up get a resale certificate. Some people prefer an LLC but if you are just starting out you may or may not want to do this.

Craigslist- no, that is a face to face market. E-bay or Amazon might work for you (consider a yahoo store too). The big problem with Amazon and E-bay are the seller fees you have to pay on the total sale.Lets look what it does to your margin if you are selling a 100 dollar item that cost you 70. ( I am omitting the X 100 portion of the formula and assuming people will know .3 = 30%)

(100 - 70)/100 = 30% with a 15% fee - ((100- (70+(100x.15)/100=15%

(if you know how to use Excel's solver function you could quickly determine what your selling price should be when paying a sellers fee if you wanted to maintain your desired margin- in this case it would be 127.27)

You can see that your margin is cut in half in this example. In order to compete on E-bay or Amazon you are going to have to buy your product at the right price. There are volumes written on product sourcing and costs so I won't get into it but be aware that you will not find legitimate wholesalers with a google search.

Your marketing depends on where you sell but it will be a lot of SEO work. Google adwords might be something to look at if you have a stand alone website.

There are plenty of options available for inexpensive accounting programs. For around a hundred bucks you could buy something that works well for you.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:56 AM
 
1,475 posts, read 2,340,067 times
Reputation: 659
Quote:
Originally Posted by UTBabyGirl View Post
I've been thinking over the option of starting my own online business for numerous months, and I think it might be prudent to develop a plan of action just in case the fancy ever has the potential to become much, much more.
OK, some thoughts. It appears you don't want to become a web expert. You want to run a business. Visit my blog, EffectiveWebSolutions.info, from time to time. If that URL get's removed you can PM me for it. The blog talks about website stuff. Why visit? Because I only take on six-figure contracts. So, much of what I talk about there will help you for free just because I don't hide any low cost methods in the hope of charging for them.

You may want to consider going low cost while you learn. You can have a domain name and email for around $3/year (yep, $3 per year). Creating a full blown website of your own costs money unless you are a web developer. Also, you need to create a "following" for your site. All can become expensive. You should consider using pre-existing markets. EBay and such which you already mentioned are nice to use. Just don't forget to mention your site at those markets. This will help you start to build a following while you sell. You can just have a daily special or something on your site that isn't available anywhere else.

If you get a domain and email for cheap. Just start a free blog and point that domain to it. It's real easy and most free blog sites give you instructions on how to accomplish it.
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