December 19, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 67 Comments

Create Beautiful eBay Listings using Turbo Lister!

Today I’m going to show you, step by step, how to create and format great looking eBay listings using a pre-made template and Turbo Lister.

If you’re doing more than a few listings a week on eBay, you’ll know how time consuming listing creation, management and scheduling can be, especially if you do it manually and one by one, on eBay directly.

Luckily there are automated listing tools available today, such as Auctiva – which is a web based listing service and Turbo Lister – which is a desktop software. While I won’t go into details on why one is better than the other in this video, just so you know – there’s no one perfect listing tool… each solution has its advantages and disadvantages.

Turbo Lister is the official listing tool created by eBay and in my opinion it’s the easiest way to create, manage and list on eBay, unless you use more sophisticated systems like Linnworks. For most people Turbo Lister will work just fine and that’s why I’ll be using it in this video.

The only real downside to using Turbo Lister is that it can be buggy at times – it can freeze for no reason or show an error or two. From what I have seen, these problems are highly related to what computer/software set-up you have as some people experience a lot of problems while for me, the only problem is occasional screen “freezing”.

While updating or re-installing Turbo Lister will fix most errors, with freezing – just waiting works best. So when Turbo Lister freezes, don’t do anything! Don’t click all over the place – just wait 5-10 seconds and in most cases the software will then work fine.

And don’t worry – it’s not like it freezes constantly, eat least not for me. Maybe I get a freeze once every few days and an error once every month where I need to re-install it. Not ideal, I know, but taking into account that it’s FREE and super easy to use, I haven’t found a better alternative yet. If you know of one, please share it with me in the comments block below this video.

Ok, so I’m using Turbo Lister in this video. That doesn’t mean you can’t use any other listing software and apply the same principles though. You can even follow this video and apply everything when creating a listing directly on eBay! Without further delay, let’s get started! (more…)

December 10, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 1 Comments

Set your Goals for the Year 2014!

Yes, it’s that time again – December – and I’m now planning for the year ahead, and you should too! Here’s why…

While you may think – why do I need to write down my goals when I can just keep them in my head? – I can assure you that writing down your plans MAKES A DIFFERENCE! And I’m not talking about some extreme approach here – like with the “Secret” method, where followers write down their dreams each morning when they wake up but still – by writing down your goals and overall plan for the year, you achieve the following things:

1) You make yourself accountable. When you work on your own business, it’s so easy to get lazy, procrastinate and make no progress. I know this feeling inside out as I have been self-employed for almost a decade now. If you’re just starting out, most likely that initial buzz and energy will keep you going for some time but after a few years you’ll see for yourself that it becomes more difficult to concentrate, stay motivated and find the energy to do the things you have to do!

By writing down a yearly plan which then breaks up into monthly, weekly and daily task lists, you CREATE a work schedule for yourself and this helps you stay on the right track.

2) You create a clear plan to follow. When you work for yourself, there’s no boss, no one to tell you what you have to do right now, tomorrow or the week after.

But with a clear, written plan you’ll know exactly what you have to do every month, week and day.

3) You make it super easy to check your results. When you keep your plans in your head, you can manipulate them as you want. Not only that – I highly doubt after 12 months you’ll remember what target exactly you had in mind a year before. (more…)

December 5, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 4 Comments

Domain Name Dilemma SOLVED!

Every week I receive at least a few questions relating to domain names – it seems that it’s the first dilemma many new entrepreneurs face when starting an online business as let’s be honest – without a good domain name, you have no business online.

Even if you’re just starting out selling stuff locally or on eBay, you still want to secure a domain name that matches your business name. Imagine a situation where you have built a successful business on eBay or Etsy, with a good follower base of loyal customers, and decide to build a website only to find out that the domain name that you wanted is not available. Disaster!

People sometimes avoid situations like these by adding some extra words to the name or using hyphens but that’s far from an ideal scenario. In fact – if someone runs a competing business on a domain name that 100% matches your brand name, you’ll lose countless potential customers to that competitor. Most likely that would already be happening as whenever a customer searches for you via Google, your competitor’s website will show up.

To avoid such situations, ALWAYS register a domain name right at the beginning of starting your business. If the domain name for your business isn’t available; you have no choice but to look for another name. That’s why I always recommend brainstorming names on the actual domain registrar’s website, such as Go Daddy, so you can instantly see whether a matching domain name is available or not.

To further explain the various aspects of domain names, let’s cover some of the most commonly asked questions in detail: (more…)

December 3, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 5 Comments

How to Reduce Support Requests on eBay by 90%!

If you’ve been following my blog for some time you’ll definitely have been wondering where the hell I’I’ve gone, but don’t worry – I’m back! I had to take an unexpected leave from writing because this is the busiest time of the year for me business wise plus I had some severe problems with the heating system in my house, and with two small kids that was my no.1 priority. So as a result I didn’t really have time to do any writing last week or do the monthly round-up for November.

But anyway, I’m back on track now and will try to get at least a few good posts done before we all take a good Christmas break to re-charge our batteries for 2014! Here are the three main topics I want to cover in the upcoming weeks:

  • How to carry out market analysis and find profitable products to sell on eBay;
  • How to properly format eBay listings using Turbo Lister;
  • Time management – my story.

I really hope I’ll be able to get these done before Xmas as I’ve had these topics in my mind for several months now and would really like to get them written before the new year begins.

For today though, I want to share with you some techniques you can use to drastically reduce customer service support requests in your business in a way that doesn’t affect your customer satisfaction and level of service.

You can greatly reduce the amount of emails and questions you receive from customers by properly utilising FAQs!

This concept is so simple yet so effective and it’s something most online sellers completely overlook! Of course if you’re just starting out and receive only a few support requests each week, this isn’t’t such a big problem, but when your business grows and you have to deal with dozens of support requests a day, you need to think about ways to reduce the amount of time you spend on this task without sacrificing your high level of customer service. (more…)

November 22, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 12 Comments

Increasing My Profit by Importing from China

Hi Andrew,

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. You’re doing an amazing work and your articles have helped me greatly with starting my own online business. I’m mostly selling fake flowers and fake flower compositions.

Currently I source these products from UK wholesalers that are close to me but by looking at prices on Alibaba, I see that there’s a lot of room for additional profit if I import directly.

So my question is really – where to start and how to get goods delivered to me? Do I have to use sea freight for this kind of product? I guess so as these are quite cheap and bulky items.

I also don’t want to get scammed.

Any advice would be highly appreciated.

Best Regards,
Lisa

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your email and questions.

It’s great to hear that you’ve already started an online business and are doing well! Congrats as that in itself is a big achievement!

If you can make money by re-selling stock bought from UK suppliers, imagine what kind of profits margins you can achieve once you start importing directly from China. You’ll definitely open yourself up to a whole new level of opportunity BUT there are some things you really need to know about the whole importing process.

First of all, make sure your buying power is enough for ordering directly from China. Just go on Alibaba and check what kind of MOQs suppliers are asking for. Manufacturers will always ask for higher MOQs than trading companies. (more…)

November 20, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 5 Comments

How to Hire on eLance for 75% OFF!

Let’s talk outsourcing!

Outsourcing is something I’ve mentioned many times in previous posts and I can’t stress enough how important it is to start outsourcing some of your business tasks as early as possible. Why? Because if you don’t do this, you’ll find you’re just exchanging one job for another rather than building a true business which you run as a business owner.

The beauty of running an online business is that you can actually delegate most of your daily routine tasks and build your business WITHOUT having to hire employees, which brings a lot of cost and additional problems.

When you outsource specific tasks rather than hiring a full-time employee, you can control your expenses much better and spend your money more efficiently by choosing the most suitable person for each specific job.

QUALITY is another important aspect of outsourcing! If you just can’t write then you’ll never get good product descriptions on your own, no matter how long you spend on them. A professional writer, on the other hand, will craft you superb descriptions in no time at all which will then positively affect your sales (better product descriptions = higher conversion rates).

So what exactly can you outsource?

Pretty much anything!

For eBay and eCommerce Shop owners this includes:

  • Design (logo, eBay template, website design, business cards, product packaging etc.)
  • Coding (website, newsletter, eBay template, blog etc.)
  • Writing (product descriptions, video transcripts, reviews, info text etc.)

Start with these three. Design is definitely something you want to outsource, unless you’re a professional designer yourself. It’s simply not worth your time and energy to learn this skill when you can outsource it to an expert so cheaply. (more…)

November 18, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 1 Comments

Hosted VS Self Hosted Shopping Carts

This is another never ending debate you see online – whether to go with Hosted or Self-Hosted shopping carts. Some people see no point in the monthly payment while others swear by the advantages hosted shopping carts offer. So what’s the truth? Probably somewhere in the middle but I personally only use hosted carts for the reasons I’ll outline in this blog post.

Here are the most popular types of shopping carts:

Paid Shopping Carts:

  • Hosted
  • Self-Hosted

Free Shopping Carts:

  • Self Hosted

With free carts you don’t have any other option than to go with your own, self-hosted set up (as no one will host a free shopping cart for free). Paid shopping carts can be divided into two large groups – hosted and self-hosted. What does this mean?

Hosted Shopping carts – when I use this term, I’m referring to shopping carts that are hosted on the shopping cart company’s servers. Hosted shopping carts usually have a monthly fee that covers the software licence, hosting, support and updates.

Self-Hosted shopping carts – these are free and paid carts that you host on your own hosting account. For example, you download the free Open Cart software and install it on your Host Gator hosting account. This would be a self-hosted set-up as you’re hosting the cart on your own account.

What are the major advantages and disadvantages to each? (more…)

November 14, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 10 Comments

The Ultimate Media Buying Guide for eCommerce!

I’m continuing Traffic Generation blog post series and today we’ll cover one of the most profitable traffic generation methods for eCommerce Shop owners – Media Buying!

What is Media Buying?

Media Buying is an advertising concept where you buy pre-agreed advertising space on a 3rd party website. Usually this means buying banner space on blogs, forums, news & other websites that are highly targeted to your niche.

You can do this either via Ad Networks or deal with website owners directly. Ad Networks are companies that act as a middle man between a website owner and advertisers, taking their cut from every deal.

Ad Networks

The world’s largest such ad network you already know very well – it’s Google with its AdWords network. But there are many smaller networks out there such as BuySellAds.com

The way these networks work is simple:

  • You sign up for a free account;
  • Find a website in the network you want to advertise on;
  • Buy a set number of banner impressions or the term you want your banners to be displayed for;
  • Pay the money, upload your banners to the system and you’re good to go!

Most of the sites in these networks will be based in the US but in some niches you can still find UK sites too. (more…)

November 11, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 37 Comments

Dropshipping – The Ideal Business Model?

It sounds like paradise – no investment needed, thousands of products to sell, no dealing with order processing – all you have to do is collect the profit while drinking Pina Colada on an exotic palm beach in the Pacific Ocean.

Dropshipping really is a dream come true…

HA!

I wish that was true! I wish it was at least half true. But it isn’t. Dropshipping is publicly made to look much better than it really is. This is mostly due to savvy marketers who know exactly how to sell the dream of a hassle free eCommerce business to the masses.

Very often, people new to the world of online selling start with the intention of using dropshippers as their source of products. We see such posts on TWF on a daily basis – have no experience, have no money to invest in stock etc. but will start an online shop selling designer clothing/mobile phones and gadgets using dropshippers.

Unfortunately that is the classic mind-set of many newbie sellers.

What those people don’t realise is that dropshipping has many disadvantages, and they can completely destroy your business before it even gets started, especially if you sell on eBay: (more…)

November 6, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 3 Comments

Infographics Marketing for Online Shop Owners!

Today I’m starting a new post series on Traffic Generation. Traffic is THE most important element in any online business and eCommerce Shops are no exception. You can have the greatest looking shop, with the best products and prices but if no one visits your site, it’s worthless.

Traffic = Sales = Profit!

As an online shop owner you should always be working on new traffic generation methods and Infographics is the new kid on the block. If we look at Google Trends for the term “infographics”, we can clearly see that it’s a new trend which started just a few years ago and is currently exploding in popularity:

We all know how big of an impact YouTube had on the popularity of video and the same can be said for infographics and Pinterest. Pinterest pretty much took the concept of infographics, and turbo-charged it!

There are millions of Pinterest users who share (Pin) images and infographics with other users around the globe.

People like infographics because they’re EASY! Yes, they’re easy to read and understand! More and more people nowadays prefer to scan information published online, due to the busier than ever lifestyles we have. People are just more likely to check out an infographic than read a long piece of text – that’s the 21st century for you!

This means only one thing – a brand new traffic generating method that is especially suitable for online shops! We have products, we have nice product images and detailed descriptions – why not put it all together and create an infographic? (more…)