The internet is a complete goldmine for images and is saturated with so many great options that naturally begs the question: Why should I have to pay for images when I can just Google one?
Well, actually, without the consent of use and proper credits provided, using an image that is not yours or rightfully purchased by you, can become a matter of legal issues – especially for business owners using images on their website. So spending $1 or $2 for an image is not a bad idea.
In fact, every website I build, I buy all of my images for it.
Listed below are some great (and safe) options for you to acquire images that are both professional as well as cost effective:
As one of the top leading image banks, Fotolia provides instant access to over 47 million images, vectors, illustrations as well as video clips to meet the growing needs of your website. What we love most about Fotolia is that they are truly affordable and royalty-free images so you don’t have to worry about any legal issues of purchasing and using the images for personal or commercial use. For pricing and monthly package information, you’ll find that at the site.
However, I do not use their subscription based model and I simply buy credits as needed. This way I never need to spend more than I need on images for any given project.
It’s as simple as typing a search term in the search box and then adding the image to your cart.
Think of it as an ever expansive picture library that enlists the work of talented artists, photographers and designers to bring you some of the most appealing and visually stunning pictures you’ve ever seen. For as low as $40 per month, you can subscribe to get 10 images, click here for more information on various packages.
This is really similar to Fotolia but they do have some different images and packages.
If you’re looking for vector icons for your website, flaticon.com is a great resource for free vectors. With over 97 thousand vector icons to choose from, the site is full of great options.
If you need to take good product pictures to show products on your website you’re going to need some help.
Personally, I outsource this because I am not a patient person.
However, if you’re patient and you like to take your own pictures (and you want to save money!) you can do this. The guy I follow for any camera related advice is this guy. He reviews cameras and techniques so you’ll want to follow him too.
When you are planning to start an online business that sells physical products you need to figure out what you want to sell online.
In learning about physical product creation and affiliate marketing I have found an immediate parallel of success in both fields.
I am going to give you some personal advice today based positive and negative results I have personally encountered.
First here are the three things that will help you find a market that will lead to success. These 3 things will help you figure out what you want to sell online in marketplaces and your own webstore.
Now I am going to explain these things above and guide you through figuring out how to choose products that fit for you personally.
This isn’t always easy but you need to determine if you’re passionate about something. If you’re not passionate about anything you’ll struggle to communicate effectively with potential buyers and you’ll struggle to make the gains you’d like in this market.
I’ve found over the years that people are often passionate about things but think they do not have a passion.
So below is a list of things that could lead you to find your passion.
See the things above are often passions that many people do not recognize as passions.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you collect model trains and train sets, landscape and tracks. You basically love building these and look forward to working on the layouts etc.
This is likely a passionate hobby you’re involved in. How cool would it be to be able to create your own line of train sets, tracks and landscapes? How cool would it be to make money doing that?
That was a rather easy example. Let me give you another example based on a topic rather than a product to start with.
Let’s say you love gardening. Every year you plant a garden and harvest your rewards at the picking season.
How awesome would it be to create your own gardening line of tools and equipment? Again, wouldn’t it be amazing to make money doing this?
Maybe you don’t do much with gardening but you love canning fruits and vegetables during harvest season. How great would it be to develop your own line of canning supplies?
My guess is if you’re passionate it’d be great.
Now picture creating products in a field where you are not passionate. Think about a line of products that you would hate to deal with on a daily basis.
Sometimes all the money in the world couldn’t keep your interest if you do not like the industry. I really try to steer clear of products like this myself.
I’ve been in niche markets that I have no interest in and the ideas start strong but my lack of interest leads to the idea of continuing that niche to fizzle out.
I wanted you to picture that because I would advise you to ignore that route.
Passion can help steer us in the right direction and passions are important, but they are not everything.
Read on and I’ll explain why.
You must still find a market that you’ll commit yourself and time to.
You can be extremely passionate about something but also not want to commit to creating products in that field.
A quick example would be if you love discussing politics but you wouldn’t love creating products like t-shirts or books around that field. I’m not saying that t-shirts and books are the only thing that sells in politics as there is obviously so much more. However, I just wanting to give you a basic example to increase your understanding.
Maybe the thought of creating products in this field sounds fun but you wouldn’t want to create new products in this field over and over again?
These are questions to ask yourself before selecting the niche you’d like to be involved in.
Perhaps there aren’t many products you can think of creating in this field? I.e. let’s say you can only think of 1 product for this particular industry. Think long and hard about if getting into that field is worth it.
Sometimes it is. Other times, especially if you can’t think of continuing to grow a product line, it might become simply mundane and you’ll feel it’s not worth your time.
Sometimes passion and commitment aren’t the final factor. Nope, sometimes it’s the market. Some markets are too narrow and don’t have enough money flowing into them.
So before you jump into a market you need to see if there is some demand for it. If there is little to no demand it might not be the best market for you.
The following factors will help you determine if an industry is making money or not.
If you can’t search the Internet and find a competing website you may not be entering a good field.
Look, everything has been done before. You’re not looking to reinvent the wheel you’re simply looking to get the wheel moving.
So if something isn’t being done at all it usually means that the market just isn’t there.
Of course, you may have a great idea for a product line that isn’t currently being addressed properly and this is good. But, if you look around and there is no one doing anything in that field, watch out.
This is sometimes hard to find but it’s something I tend to look at. Visit your competitors on social media and look to see what people are saying.
Are people talking about how much they love buying their products? If so, that’s a great sign. Just pay attention to interaction. Look for anything that can denote that people are buying this company’s products. If they are, this is good for you.
If you can’t find much about information about someone buying from this company it shouldn’t deter you still unless other factors I mention here are not met.
I have loved Google Trends since it was created for the public. Google Trends let’s you search industries via search keywords and see how much they are being searched for online.
Here is the beauty of this.
You can type in a search term in any industry and see where it’s rise or fall have started or ended.
Check this out.
Let’s say you wanted to look for the term “buy a drone”
You simply type it into the Trends Search Box and press “Enter” on your keyboard.
Then, you’ll be able to see a nice graph come up showing when it started getting a number of searches and from which countries.
You’ll notice on this graph that right before 2013 people started searching for this term and it’s done nothing but climb since.
This shows that there is a market for this. I deliberately looked at “buy a drone” because I wanted to see if people are looking to spend money on this type of product.
From this I can determine that there “IS” money in this industry.
Of course the media is an easy source to find what people are talking about. I still remember when people first started talking about drones; the media discussed it daily. This showed the early signs that a market was emerging.
By watching media trends and paying attention to sites like INC.COM will help you see what new start-ups are doing well and what is being predicted for the future.
A Simple Google Search
You’d be surprised at how much information you can find by just using Google, Bing and other search engines.
Try this. Think of a market, go to a search engine now and type in “your market sales statistics.”
In my example below I search for “Gift basket sales statistics.”
Well, what do you know! The first result is several years old but it still discusses stats. Scrolling down a little bit I can look to see if there is anything more recent.
If all else fails I can always put this term into Google Trends and see which way the arrow is pointing. Pretty easy eh?
Using everything I’ve demonstrated above make a list of topics that you are passionate about, or believe you’re possibly passionate about.
Then think about the industry. Would you like to be in this market?
Do you think you’d like to make an entire product line here?
Then finally check to see if there is money in the market.
Go ahead and try it out. If you have any questions, just ask.
When you are starting an eCommerce business or looking to build a new brand it’s important that you have a source for great products.
Product sourcing can be a tedious task, but through this tutorial I am going to show you some places you can source these products from, how to brand them easily and some workarounds for you if you’re low on funds and need a cheap sourcing solution.
First, let’s look at a few places you can easily source products for your business.
There is no surprise here and you’ve likely already heard of this site. This is a huge Chinese company and they have thousands of businesses ready to connect with you.
Many of the companies on Alibaba offer custom branding manufacturing. You can easily browse their entire site via keyword and you’ll typically find almost anything you need here.
The companies that sell on Alibaba are world-wide and you can even search by country for your product. So if you’re concerned about what country you need to order products from this makes it easy.
Alibaba has many safeguards in place to help you avoid scams and issues. I’ve only had one issue ever arise on Alibaba out of dozens of successful orders.
HKTDC is a Hongkong marketplace. However, unlike Alibaba, they do not have merchants from the world-wide landscape. In fact, they only offer 3 regions; China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Of course, they ship to buyers world-wide so you can still easily order from here.
I have personally never ordered anything from this site as I’ve always found a cheaper supplier on Alibaba. However, I know many other people have had great success sourcing products for resale from here.
DHgate is another big wholesale marketplace. Just like the other wholesale and manufacturer marketplaces the more you order the cheaper the overall price of your products will be.
I believe the products here are all sourced directly from China.
This is a big directory of potential manufacturers at MFG.COM. These guys especially excel at sourcing the following categories:
So if you fit any of the above needs this is a great place to start your search. Of course, if you do not need manufacturing but would like already full created products that you can just re-brand then Alibaba is still a better bet.
If you’re strictly looking for private label sourcing to create your own brand(s) then privatelabelsourcing.com is a pretty good resource. Their focus is obviously on private label product sourcing and often times you can find just about anything you’re looking for here.
You’ll find many types of machined and canned products here.
If all else fails just type your keywords + private label, white label, wholesale depending on what your needs are.
You can use any search engine to do this and it’s really easy to find what you’re looking for this way.
I have one very cool company I found last year that I’ve ordered thousands of dollars in products from. Guess where I found them? Yep, search engine search. It works.
When you’re looking to source products and you’re contacting a potential business that has a product you’d like you’re most likely going to be emailing them.
Here is a quick breakdown of what you should ask them in an email to save time. Trust me you’ll want to do these things because you’re likely going to be exchanging numerous emails with them anyway.
Always ask a company the following questions.
This is what I personally start with. After they contact back I always follow up with the question:
This keeps the dialogue going and also it doesn’t overwhelm the merchant. If you send an email to a company that reads like a book, you may not even get a reply.
I advise keeping it short and sweet and if you can get the vendor on a 3rd party tool like Skype, that’s even better!
Skype allows you to have discussions with the vendor in real time, saving you a lot of time and headaches along the way.
One last note on a sample. It’s critical that you get a sample before placing an order. I’ve read horror stories where people have ordered thousands of a product and when the product arrived it wasn’t exactly what they thought it was going to be! Don’t get stuck wasting money; get that sample even if it costs you $100 for one sample.
After you get a sample and it’s time to get into ordering your products sometimes MOQ can be a real issue.
Sometimes when you’re looking for a good place for product sourcing a company will get back to you with a large MOQ. Though it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when this happens you can always try what I do when this happens and I don’t want to lay down too much money at first.
I always ask for a sample batch. If they can’t make a sample batch with my logo on them I just ask for a blank sample batch. Since I am selling these online having a logo on/off the product isn’t a make or break issue.
Often times a company will gladly supply 50-100 units with a slightly higher cost. The trade off is worth it especially if it helps you get the product created.
Here is how I word the question to them.
“I see you have a large MOQ. However, since this is my first order with you is there anyway I can do a simple test batch. If these sell extremely well for me, I’d be more than happy to come back on the next order and order your MOQ. This would mean a lot to me. I want to do business with you for the long term and this would really help me get my foot in the door with you.”
Giving them the reason mentioned above it explains why you’d want to start with a smaller order at first. Without an explanation the company might not feel as inclined to help.
You’d be surprised how well this works. I’ve ordered products in batches of 50-100 where the company wanted an MOQ of 1000-5000.
Of course, I’ve always come back and purchased their MOQs later after I’ve vetted the products if they’ve sold well.
Go use the sites and methods I’ve shown you above to get good product sourcing right from the start.
If you have any questions just make sure to ask.