October 21, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 21 Comments

Can You Make a FULL-TIME Income by Selling Just on eBay?

Everything is so complicated nowadays, right? I mean – all the selling platforms we have to master – eBay, Amazon, eCommerce and others. Then we have to learn how to connect them all together with highly complicated cross-channel selling software PLUS integrate everything in terms of accounting, time management and what not else!

For many people who are just starting out this may all seem too difficult and I can understand that. Even I sometimes struggle keeping up with what’s going on in the industry and my businesses as there are simply too many angles for you to cater to…

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – when you take into account marketing (promotions, auto responders, sales etc.), traffic generation (PPC, SEO, PPV, CPV etc.), Google Analytics, which on its own is a massive piece of software which would ideally require one full-time employee by itself, suddenly – this all seems just TOO MUCH to handle! Especially if you’re new to business and can’t outsource the majority of these tasks or take employees on board.

So, the question really is – can you make a full-time income only from selling stuff on eBay… without anything else I’ve listed here, but just taking a product and selling it on eBay? Can it be done?

To give you a quick and direct answer – YES! You can still make a full-time living on eBay without getting into any other marketplaces. Whether that’s a wise thing to do is a whole different question and something we can cover a bit later but for now, just so you know, eBay can still be used as the sole platform to build a full-time income online. (more…)

October 17, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

Product Photography, Part 3: Taking Pictures

Finally, the fun part – taking pictures! We’ve covered cameras + background & lighting in the previous two blog posts so it’s now time to put it all together and start taking those perfect product pictures!

Before we do that, there are some additional important tips I want to share with you.

A tripod is a MUST HAVE accessory when taking product pictures. If you don’t have a tripod, then there’s simply no point in starting this process. If you absolutely cannot invest 10 pounds in a cheap tripod, then make your own (there are plenty of DIY ideas for this which you can Google)! However you do it, you MUST have something to hold your camera in a fixed position when taking product pictures.

You won’t be able to get sharp pictures if you hold your camera in your hands (unless you have a really good lighting set-up that allows working with low ISO settings and a high shutter speed at the same time). But just don’t over-complicate this process, and use a tripod.

All digital cameras these days have a built in LCD display where you can preview pictures BUT these displays are relatively small and you won’t see all the details of your items without extensive zooming in which isn’t very practical to do.

To fix this problem, I recommend connecting your camera directly to your PC/laptop via a USB or mini USB cable so that you can check the images on your computer as soon as they’re taken. Modern operating systems will automatically detect attached cameras and treat them as external USB devices (like memory cards) so you can access an image and open it right after you take the picture.

This set-up is also very handy for checking right away if you can fix a particular problem with your images in Photoshop. For example, you take a picture and see that there’s one small shadow around the product you can’t get rid of… what you do is open up that image in Photoshop with all your equipment still set up and see whether you can fix it. If you can’t, then you can just go right back and try to better position your lighting to get rid of the shadow (more on that later). (more…)

October 14, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 83 Comments

Wholesale Disney Character Items from China!

This looks so good, right? Pixar’s Cars 2 truck & car set for just $10 with free shipping from China included.

Or how about The Smurfs? My daughter LOVES Smurfs and will eat up anything that has a Smurf on it! Yes, even this nice looking children’s bedding set with The Smurfs characters on it:

There’s nothing wrong with this, right (other than the eating part I mean)? Everything looks good and you can probably make a nice profit on this item…not so fast! While items with Disney characters, characters from other TV shows or movies, musicians, celebrities etc. are hugely popular on eBay – you need to be VERY careful where you source these products from.

Hint – China is NOT the place to go for such items!

Sites like Ali Express, DH Gate and similar are full of wholesale items that carry some sort of COPYRIGHTED design. It can be:

  • A logo
  • Cartoon character
  • A band / singer image
  • Movie logos / characters (Transformers etc.)
  • And so on

Product like these need to be licensed and can ONLY be purchased from reputable wholesalers in the UK, USA or other countries but NOT from China! Chinese manufacturers simply take these images logos and place them on items WITHOUT paying anything to the licence holder – which is of course illegal. (more…)

October 10, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 40 Comments

Product Photography – Part 2: Lighting & Background

Following up on last week’s post (Product Photography, Part 1 – Cameras), today we’re taking a closer look at the lighting and background set-up needed to get those perfect product pictures.

In my opinion this is actually the most important post in this product photography series and it’s something most sellers completely overlook. But with just a little education on the subject, you’ll be able to create a mini photo studio that helps you create stunning product pictures! So without further ado, let’s get started.

Backgrounds

To create beautiful product pictures, you need to use some sort of background. Why? Well to get rid of distractions and background ‘noise’ and allow your product to be the only feature of your pictures. Okay, if you’re selling something like a car, you won’t need to put it on a white background, lol, but in most cases you’ll want to use it – be it for small, medium or large products.

If you take a look on eBay, you’ll find plenty of amateurish looking pictures of products on wrinkled bed sheets and while this may be okay if you’re just selling some unwanted items from around your house, business sellers should really take more care in how they present their products. And the key to this is a good background set up!

The first thing that comes to most people’s minds are so called Lightboxes – you can get them on eBay and online shops in various sizes and settings – with the cheapest starting at just £20 or so and the most expensive, super-sized versions costing several hundred pounds.

Lightbox from TableTopStudio.com

Here’s the thing – You DON’T NEED THEM!

That’s right; you don’t need to purchase a lightbox to take outstanding product pictures. I’d actually recommend you stay away from them as they will only complicate your life, seriously! Theoretically they work ok BUT only if you have very powerful lights to get the box well exposed. And even then, I can’t see any reason why you would want to use a lightbox at all. (more…)

October 8, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 2 Comments

Info Products – A GOLDMINE for eCommerce Shop Owners!

There’s a misconception out there that these two business models – physical products and information (info) products – should be run separately. Well, let me tell you now – that’s absolutely NOT TRUE! You can take the best of both worlds and run them simultaneously.

And actually, adding some info products to a physical products business can be a fast and easy way to increase your sales and profit. In this blog post I’ll show you exactly how to do this.

If we abstract ourselves from the myths surrounding info products, we can come up with 3 business models that involve incorporating both physical products and information products:

1) Mixed – you sell both physical and info products and they generate equal profit in your business. A classic example of this would be a shop selling beauty or craft items but also offering classes/courses or selling home-study materials on the topic.

2) Info product led – you sell mostly information products with some occasional physical products. For example Beachbody.com, their primary income comes from selling various fitness info products (DVDs etc.) but they also sell fitness equipment and supplements.

3) Physical product led – you sell mostly physical products and use info products as a lead generation tool or even sell an eBook, service or how to guide along with your physical products. An example of such a business model would be Amazon! The majority of their income comes from physical products but they also sell digital products such as music, eBooks and videos.

The last model will apply to most eCommerce Shop owners and is by far the easiest to integrate! You already have a shop (or plan to build one), physical products to sell and all you need to do to increase your profit is add some sort of highly valued information product you can make massive profit on.

I’m talking about strategies like: (more…)

October 4, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 15 Comments

How to compete with Chinese sellers on eBay?

Hi Andrew,

I have found the information on your blog very helpful. Thank you.

I just wanted to ask you, almost every niche I look at, there is someone selling things cheap from China. How do I overcome that?

Kind Regards,
Roshan

Hi Roshan,

Thanks for your question.

When I do market search, I almost always ignore Chinese sellers! YES, I ignore them… as really they’re not actually even your competitors (apart from in a few, very specific niches).

In the mind of most eBay shoppers, a China based seller is associated with:

  • Long shipping times
  • Possible extra taxes
  • Lower product quality
  • Customer support issues
  • Potential problems with returns

You see? They’re really not in the best position to start with and the ONLY real advantage they have over UK sellers is usually PRICE!

Obviously, there are people who go for the lowest price no matter what. But I feel that this trend is slowly dying out on eBay – at least when it comes to China based sellers. Yes, buyers will usually pick the cheapest UK seller BUT when it comes to buying from Chinese sellers, they’ll think twice before hitting that buy now button.

Is it really worth waiting several weeks for this product just to save a few quid?

Will the product be up to the highest standard in terms of quality?

What happens if I don’t like it? Can I send it back? How much will that cost? (more…)

October 2, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 62 Comments

Product Photography – Part 1: Cameras

Product photography is a topic many eBay and eCommerce sellers struggle with and for good reason – it’s a highly technical task that requires you to have a good background knowledge to get it right.

In this series of blog posts I’ll take a closer look at product photography and share with you some tips on how to create great looking product images for your eBay listings or online shop.

We’ll start with the camera – as without one, there are no pictures, right? And even though lighting, which I’ll cover next week, plays an integral role in the quality of your pictures, the camera is still of course the most important element.

Luckily these days we have digital cameras which are quite affordable and even with some lower end models you can get very good results if you know how to make them work for you.

Digital cameras can be categorized into three large groups:

1) Point & Shoot Cameras – these will be your everyday cameras most people already have and use for travel or birthday party pictures. Small, lightweight and relatively cheap – such cameras can be bought for as little as £30-£40 with the higher end models running into hundreds of pounds.

With the cheaper digital cameras you’ll really struggle to get good quality pictures as they won’t have the necessary functionality, especially in low light conditions. Also, they usually don’t work that well for highly complex items, such as jewellery, glass products and super small products where a good macro mode feature is a must have.

2) Compact (bridge) cameras – prices for these start at around £200 but can go up to £1000 or more for the best models. Compact cameras will give you much better pictures in comparison to small digital cameras as they have better optics, a larger sensor and overall their functionality can be compared to more expensive DSLR cameras.

Many bridge cameras nowadays come with interchangeable lenses too which is great if for example all you need is macro shots. These will also be perfect for people who want to get functionality of a DSLR camera but can’t afford the higher price tag.

3) DSLR cameras – the best of the best! DSLR cameras offer the best image quality, interchangeable lenses, great pictures even in limited lighting conditions and the widest options of available settings, all of which can be manually adjusted. Prices for DSLRs start at just below the £300 mark and can go up as high as £5-£10k+ for professional models.

When it comes to product photography, DSLR is the way to go! Product pictures are crisp, highly detailed and look very professional EVEN if you’re not a photographer!

Just to make a quick comparison – here are two images taken by a Point & Shoot type of camera and my Nikon D300 DSLR:

Point & Shoot type of camera

DSLR camera

Same product, same lighting conditions but the results are so much better with my Nikon D300, which is a DSLR camera!

So which camera is best for product photography? (more…)

September 30, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

My Monthly Round-Up: September 2013

It’s September 30th and time for another monthly round-up post!

I do these summary posts mainly to keep myself openly accountable on how productive I’ve been with this blog, as I won’t lie to you – sometimes with all my other business activities it can be really hard to find the time to write enough content.

So here’s a quick summary of the posts published this month:

1) Why do so many people FAIL online?

This was a motivational type of post in which I cover the biggest mistake people make when starting an online business. You can get everything wrong, learn from your mistakes and still do well as long as you follow this one, simple rule.

2) How to integrate MailChimp with eBay?

If you’re not already collecting your eBay buyers’ emails using an auto responder service, you’re simply leaving tonnes of money on the table. With the technology available today, you can “connect” your PayPal account with such a service in just a few minutes time and start building a customer email list which you can then use to mail out promotions and newsletters 24/7, on total auto pilot!

3) Andrew, are you a millionaire?

In this post I go back in time and give you an overview on how I started making money with eBay and eCommerce in general. Also, I reveal more about my financial principles, investment strategies and the overall lifestyle decisions I’ve made during the last 10 years of my online career.

4) Which shopping cart is the BEST?

There isn’t one! There really is not any one single best shopping cart out there, but in this review style post I analyse all the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular shopping cart solutions and pick a winner. If you’re just starting out and plan to build an eCommerce Shop, this post will be hugely important to you and you’ll find tonnes of tips on how to choose your cart wisely and avoid the most common shopping cart pitfalls. (more…)

September 26, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 0 Comments

eCommerce Magnates goes BACK ON SALE!

YES! Today is THE DAY – eCommerce Magnates goes back on sale!

When I first launched the course last month, I limited it to 100 copies – which were all gone in less than 8 hours. So for all of you who missed out then, now is the time to get in and lock your lifetime access to what I believe is THE BEST eCommerce training program out there!

eCommerce Magnates is a video course hosted online, via a secure member’s only area. You get instant access to it after making a one-off (yep that’s right, one-off – no recurring payments here!) payment via PayPal so you can start building your online shop right away.

I host all the videos online so that anyone, anywhere in the world can follow my system 24/7! Yes, this course works anywhere in the world so anyone interested in starting their own eCommerce store can use this course.

How is eCommerce Magnates different from other courses out there?

1) It’s based on my 10+ years of real life experience. It’s not a cheaply re-written version of shopping cart help tutorials – not even close! In the course I show you exactly what you need to do, step by step, to build, manage and promote a highly successful eCommerce Shop.

2) During the course I build a REAL SHOP in front of your eyes! Nothing is left out and there is no guess work involved at all – which means you’re able to simply watch what I do and apply it to your own business and achieve the same results.

3) Incredible value for money! eCommerce Magnates sells for a ONE TIME (!!) fee of just £97 and I truly believe that what you get in return is worth at least ten times that! The bonuses alone are worth more than £500, never mind all the extra features I’ve included for free to ensure you get the most you can from this course:

  • All videos in HD resolution
  • PDF transcripts, MP3 and MP4 files at no additional cost
  • FREE, personal support with me directly
  • FREE lifetime updates (more…)
September 16, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 8 Comments

Why I DON’T Deal with Designer Clothing!

Many people who are new to the whole selling online business make the deadly mistake of starting with designer clothing. Why deadly? Because in my opinion it’s one of the most complicated niches out there! For someone who’s just starting out on eBay, this is simply not the best way to go. I’ll explain why…

First of all, as with any clothing market, you’ll face the following problems:

Limited buying power.

To buy quality clothing in real bulk, you need TONNES of money! Tens of thousands! You can’t just buy a few items and expect to build a sustainable business around it. You need tens if not hundreds of various items, each in multiple colours and sizes and good quantity.

This means that to stock just one pair of jeans, in 3 colours, 5 sizes and each in a quantity of 10 means that the TOTAL number of items is 150! Multiply that by say £20 (as cheap as you’ll get with designer clothing) and you get a £3000 bill for just ONE item!

Returns.

You’ll get many returns when you work in the clothing market. Many people will order wrong sizes, some simply won’t like how it fits and so on – so you’ll have to deal with all of this and it really doesn’t help you running a home business! The result will be a large stock pile of items without their labels and sometimes packaging, so you cannot resell them as brand new! This is something very important to keep in mind about a clothing business. (more…)