Want to Start a Small Business on the Internet? The Myths and the Reality

This is a picture of me with one day of shipments. This time of year I ship anywhere from 50 – 75 orders per day. You can do this too, if you know your business.

I frequently get comments that say, “You can’t make money selling books, games, and DVDs online. It’s too competitive. The market is flooded with cheap merchandise. I don’t believe you are making the kind of money you claim you are.”

Steve at budgetvideogames.com shipped over 130,000 videos games last year. He did this all from his 3 car garage! He has 1 FT employee and 1 PT employee. Video games are one of the most competitive markets out there yet he’s able to pull this off. Not only is his video game business successful but he’s used it to as a platform to launch other non-internet businesses.

When you work for yourself, when you run your own small business, there will be a million people who will tell you a million reasons why you will fail, even while you are succeeding.

Shattering The Myths

You don’t have to be the cheapest – But you do need to be competitive on some items. Not everyone buys on price alone.

You don’t have to be the biggest
– Being small allows you to grow niche markets and give exceptional customer service. Sell to the long tail not the Wal-Mart crowd.

You don’t have to have the best technology – My business runs almost entirely via cloud computing. Depending on your niche and the size of your business there are web 2.0 companies that will provide you the tools to complete at a low cost. You don’t need SAP to run an online business.

The Reality

Know your customers – Why do your customers buy your product? Price? Quality? Are they collectors? Are they likely to be repeat customers?

Know your merchandise – Who are your competitors? How much of it is out in the marketplace? How many vendors are wholesaling it? Where can you go to find more merchandise?

Know your business – How many sales channels do you have? Revenue streams? Profitability?

Don’t listen to the naysayers, I don’t and I bet Steve doesn’t either.

To find out more about how you can start your own internet based business check out Skip McGrath’s site.

Christine Olson owns and operates BooksMN.com.

Your Opportunity to Shine

I sent out a twitter this afternoon that said…

Whip the fear of poverty by reaching a decision to get along with whatever wealth you can accumulate without worry – Napoleon Hill 1937

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of the greatest instruction manuals for handling the economic conditions we face as individuals. It was written in the throes of the second half of the Great Depression.

To move forward and create the future we want, we must re-frame our perceptions of our current situation from an outlook of fear and uncertainty, to one of opportunity and hope. As human beings, we can choose to view the journey ahead with anxiety or with excitement. It is a choice. (If you are sleeping on a park bench right now, I’m not talking about you. I understand you’ve given everything you have. I’m talking to those of us that still have something to give. I’m asking my readers to reach out to you.)

This is an opportunity to help our fellow man. This is an opportunity rebuild our world. This is a chance for renewal.

This is your opportunity to shine.

We are all in this together and we can’t escape it by throwing our brothers under the bus. That will only make it worse.

I know some of you will have to make difficult choices just to save your businesses, but when you do, remember to make them with the utmost ethics and integrity. Never make your decision in fear. Make the decision that is right for the largest number of people.

True security is found helping others. True freedom is found in the willingness to do it voluntarily.

Our current problems were created by ignorance, greed, selfishness, and shortsightedness. They will be solved with intelligence, generosity, selflessness, and long-term thinking.

Act with courage.

Is Fear Keeping You and Others Poor? It Doesn't Have To.

Fear creates more of the things you fear. Let me explain.

Elisabeth commented on Do Not Fear the Economic Crisis.

Glad to hear you, Dawud Miracle, and the previous two posters are
doing so well, but I must say this is a depressing post to read after
having spent twelve hours every day for the past five days pounding the
pavement looking for a new job. I was recently laid off due to the
“hype,” and If I don’t find something in the next couple of days I
won’t be able to pay rent and will literally be on the street (medical
bills for family and myself have drained my bank account dry, and some
recent deaths in the family have left me stranded in an unfamiliar

To whatever degree you choose to believe it, these hardships exist. To REAL people even – people like me.

“Right now you have more opportunity than you may ever see again.” Oh, Mr. Olson… if you could only walk a mile in my shoes…

Continued successes to you and your friends/family.

Take care.

It appears Elisabeth hit an ugly storm of unemployment, poor health, death, while stranded and alone. Elisabeth misunderstood much of what I wrote. That is my fault, I hope she will give me a chance to clarify. In no way, did I mean that hardships do not exist. Suffering exists, no doubt.

Acknowledge Suffering Exists but Never Focus on It

Continue reading Is Fear Keeping You and Others Poor? It Doesn't Have To.

Do Not Fear the Economic Crisis

This is not the time to panic. This is certainly not the time to sell your assets. This is the time seize opportunities.

Dawud Miracle lives in Michigan, and he tells us why we shouldn’t fear the economic situation. Every detail in his article is accurate.

Dawud Writes…

You see, small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy now.
Can we compete with Walmart, Ford or Pepsi – no. But we don’t need to

I have a number of close friends that work for large corporations.
Most of them are scared they’ll loose their job because of the economic
conditions. But the other side of the coin is that I have a large
number friends who are self-employed or own small businesses who are
doing quite well – and plan to continue that way.

Besides, this crisis is nothing new. Most of us have lived through times like these. If you think this is new, take a look at this set of Time Magazine covers from 1974 – 1994. Isn’t it strange how every headline could apply to 2008? Don’t buy the hype. Turn it off, bust your butt, and make something happen.

It is amazing how the media sells the same old stories.

Right now is when fortunes are made. Right now is the time to act. Right now you have more opportunity than you may ever see again. Set your goals, make your plans, and execute now.

A Simple Secret to Blogging (and life)

The secrets to life can be so simple and so obvious, once we see them. Let me explain with a story.

I work with a marketing executive, Jane Payfer, who Seth Godin told me to listen to. I have a note in Seth’s handwriting in my office that reads, “Steve listen to Jane! Seth.” I should have taken his advice earlier, but I admit, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Continue reading A Simple Secret to Blogging (and life)

How to Generate More Cash This Christmas

A post from Christine Olson (who is going to be posting here much more often)

How can you make more money?

We all could use some more cash right now, right? Sometimes friends, family and neighbors ask “How can I can make a few extra bucks for some Christmas spending money?”

$500 – $1500 selling clutter

Most of us have too much clutter. Why not turn it into cash? Almost any parent has at least $500 or even up to $1500 worth of junk sitting around the house they can sell. Between Craigslist and eBay there is no excuse to not create some extra cash this Christmas Season.

Continue reading How to Generate More Cash This Christmas