When browsing some entrepreneur-type forums you often run into a question from newbies, wondering how they can get rich from £XXX amount of no money. Oh they say they don’t expect too much, or they may know that they won’t get much from it, but in the back of their mind we know what they’re really thinking… “what is the secret?”, “I work hard, I’m smart, I know I can make tons of money, how do I start?”.
To be frank, the answer is… save your money for an emergency, and learn to sell.
Business is nothing but sales.
- You think it’s customer service? Wrong! Customer service is sales.
- You think it’s some big idea? Wrong! It’s selling a big idea.
- You think it’s attention to detail? Wrong! It’s attention to sales.
Keep your money, get an education.
(This is an extra curricular not a replacement for a proper university education.) Real world experience in selling is what will make or break any business you start. Instead of investing that money, why not sell BEFORE you buy anything? When the world is a virtual marketplace you don’t need inventory to start selling, and you don’t need to spend any money to begin getting experience in the art of “eyeballs and action”.
Phase 1 : Research
You don’t have to buy anything, but you have to know what you are willing and able to sell, and very importantly that you can buy it quickly. (Tip: To start down the road on researching this start looking for terms like “drop shipping”, “sell on amazon “.)
You will sell better if you find a product you believe in. However, don’t spend too long on this – we need to get your feet wet quickly and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to start making sales. Pick something – anything and then find the cheapest price you can find for it. (Tip: “alibaba”, and that’s all we’ll say about that.)
Phase 2 : Setup
You can’t really sell anything if you don’t have a method to make the transaction happen. You need a few different accounts, but the good news, they’re all FREE.
- Start with a free Paypal account.
- Create a free Google Account and get a Google Voice number, and a Google Site.
- Sign up for free at Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, and if you feel like working extra hard, Youtube.
With these accounts, create your base of operations. Your first Google Site website will not be an amazing website design, so don’t get your expectations too high. A great website design will come in the future. For now, create a Google site, that explains not just the benefits of your chosen product, but – and really this is super-important – explains how this product makes your life better. An iPhone has tons of great features, but it sells because it makes your life better. Look at Apple’s marketing and you’ll see they show the effect on life more than they show anything else.
Phase 3 : Sell
Using your Twitter, Facebook & Instagram start building trust by becoming an expert on the problem that your chosen product solves. Don’t just start pitching your unbelievable deal – you probably don’t have an unbelievable deal. Instead start talking about the problem, and how that effects humans. Be brutally honest about how people are affected by this problem and offer honest empathy for the people who have this problem. Sure your product might not solve world hunger, but an individual with a problem only cares about that problem for the moments when that problem is effecting them.
With your trust building efforts, start reaching out to other people in the space. Ask for advice, ask for interviews, and write about what you find. Try to avoid looking spammy at all costs. This project is never going to make you millions of dollars in a month. The goal here is education and more importantly to get your first sale!
This first sale is not going to come quickly. You will have to experiment. Your message, your price, even the product itself may change. Once you get that first sale though, oh that first sale. It feels so so so good. The sense of accomplishment, the feeling of freedom that you get. The idea that you did it with no money and just created money out of thin air. It’s an exhilarating experience that you may fall in love with.
Phase 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… and on.
Get the Money, Deliver the product, Ask for referrals & reviews, Sell again! Watch out for scams – because new websites can be targets of fraudsters who don’t plan to actually pay for things. Just make sure you get your money upfront. Make sure you were honest and conservative about your delivery times. Since you are starting with no product on hand, you’ll need to have a little fluff time for ordering and getting the place you’ll order from to get the product out. After you’ve delivered follow up with your customer, make sure all went well. Be bold, because a customer already trusts you! Ask for a referral, as for a review, offer a related product they might also like.
Congratulation! Now get out and make another sale!