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There are three broad ways of product fulfillment. The first, drop shipping, is the simplest and easiest way. You contact distributors who stock the items you want to sell and ask them to ship the product for you. Then when someone buys it on your site, simply forward the order to the drop shipper and they’ll take care of the rest.
The next method is stocking items. You’re still selling products from other businesses but you are doing the storing and shipping too. This gives you more flexibility and higher margins. Buy products wholesale from the manufacturer or distributor, store them in your garage or a rented warehouse, and then ship them when you get an order.
Finally you can manufacture your own brands. Many people go to Alibaba to search for Chinese manufacturers. After finding a trustworthy one, you send them product designs, they manufacture it for you, and then you stock and ship them yourself.
2. Digital products (e-books, courses)
Digital products, or info-products, have become very popular of late. This is the muse business that Tim Ferriss recommends in his 4-hour Workweek book.
An info-product, as the name suggests, is information packaged in the form of a product. In this case, the product is downloadable as an e-book, audio file, or video series.
It’s also very easy to create these products. For e-books, all you need is some text processing software like Microsoft Word, Google Docs or Pages. For videos you need a microphone, a camera, some editing software like iMovie, and a smiling face. If you’re camera shy you can do away with the camera and use screencasts instead.
Check out some of the books on Amazon’s Kindle store. There are books on pretty much every topic you can think of!
As for videos, you can find good examples on Udemy and Skillshare. These are regular people sharing what they know with the world. With an existing site, you can convert your readers to customers by offering premium content in the form of an online video class.
You can either host your e-books on Amazon and your video courses on Udemy, or you could host it on your own site and cut out the middleman fees. You’ll also be able to control your branding and direct your readers to your products without them leaving the site.
The best part about info-products, apart from the ease of creation, is that they can make you money for months to come. Create it once, put it up for sale, and you could potentially make a good income for years just from that. Remember if you’re in a niche that doesn’t change much, you don’t even have to update the product that often.
3. Subscription or Memberships
Subscriptions and memberships give you recurring income, and recurring income is awesome. However, you need to make sure that members receive recurring value otherwise they’ll quit the membership.
A good example of memberships in every day life is your gym membership. You pay monthly for the privilege of using the gym. Similarly, you can set up memberships on your site for the privilege of accessing premium content, products, services and online communities.
Some people combine info-products with memberships, and charge a monthly fee for users to access premium videos and other content that get updated regularly.
Podcasts are booming right now so get in before it becomes too saturated. At this stage, it’s still not too difficult to rank your podcast in the iTunes store.
Podcasts are basically audio recordings. Most of them feature interviews that provide valuable information for listeners. That means you don’t even have to come up with new content. Just find someone to interview and record a podcast. All you need is a microphone and some audio editing software.
Podcasts are booming because of their convenience. If you printed interviews out on your blog, readers will need to read them on their computers or tablets. With a podcast they can just listen to it while walking down the street or driving a car.
Podcasts are also free for listeners. Create a podcast that’s relevant to your site and mail your subscribers about it. As your podcast becomes popular you can get sponsors who’ll pay you to mention them in your podcast. This is great for recurring income.
Webinars, like podcasts, have become very popular recently. They are basically live-streamed videos. You can do an interview, play screencasts, talk about a topic or run through a tutorial. However, the video won’t be available at all times. It will only be streamed live once and then it’s gone forever.
Webinars work well because of the scarcity principle. You set a time, and anyone in the world can attend because it’s online. If you don’t attend you miss out and you might never get another opportunity to see it again.
Use software like GoToWebinar or Anymeeting to create and host your webinar online. Set up a landing page where people can learn more about what’s happening in the webinar and book a slot through a payment button. Buyers will get login details and they can join in when your webinar starts.
Webinars can make a decent amount of money if you do them as one-off events. You can also launch free webinars and then upsell the watchers on other products or services.