Small business ideas

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Earn eBay Cash From Research

by Frank Lomax

Are you the type of person that enjoys probing, investigating and researching a subject? If so, then here's a way you can make some easy money from all your cerebral efforts.

Not so long ago, selling 'website links' on eBay was quite a money spinner.

Essentially, the idea was to compile a useful list of links for a particular niche market, say for example, wholesale suppliers / dropshippers, and then sell this, with some explanatory text, to any interested buyers.

The quality of this information often varied from the totally inadequate to the extremely useful. Perhaps because of this inconsistency in quality, eBay now tends to frown on this type of basic product even if the customer happens to get good value for money.

However, the general concept of selling 'internet content' is still a financially viable one and something that can be adapted and improved upon. So if you decide to try and sell the results of your research then you'll probably have to devise a more acceptable 'end product' to ward off the attention of the eBay policy hounds.

Obviously, your aim should be to offer relevant, informative and, ideally, unique information that'll be of great value to your customer and well worth the money paid for it. So with that as your goal, let's try to work through an idea and explore it's possibilities.

Let's imagine that you're a keen cyclist and that you know all about the best cycling web sites that deal with discounted equipment suppliers, beautiful cycling locations, cycling holidays, great cycling clubs etc. This information would no doubt be extremely useful to many cycling enthusiasts. And it's something they'd be prepared to pay good money for rather than spend hours themselves surfing the web.

And remember that this kind of research could apply to any market from antiques to xylophones and everything in between. So no matter what your interest, if you can offer some really useful and interesting information then it could be offered for sale on eBay.

But how do you turn this raw information into ready cash ?

Well, you could still try to sell a list of your web links but as mentioned earlier, this is not considered to be appropriate by eBay. So you could experience some listing problems with this approach. However, there is an alternative.

What about making a simple video of your own research efforts?

This could show you locating the sites of interest, with close up screen shots, and offering tips on how to get the most from the sites and the best way to use them.

This approach is more than likely to circumvent any eBay listing problems. And you could charge more for this type of 'tangible' item because there's more of a perceived value on the part of the customer with this type of product than just an email list of links with descriptive text.

Admittedly, your costs will increase and you'll have to spend time shipping the items sold but your increased selling price should more than compensate for this extra effort.

And you don't need to be an expert in any particular subject to make this work for you.

If you already have a passion for something then so much the better. This means you can get started straight away. But if you're naturally inquisitive and enjoy doing research then you could chose virtually any marketable topic and start to explore its possibilities. The choices are endless but to make it pay you need to focus on what's in demand.

Getting feedback from your customers is vital. You can then use this in all your listings to generate even more sales and establish your credibility. It may be difficult at first but if you're confident in your product then ask for feedback and promise to do likewise. Most buyers will respond to your request.

Also, special care and attention must be spent on your eBay description.

As you'll be selling something that is completely new and unknown then you must provide the full story about your product. You must present a good, specific description that emphasises all the positive benefits. Don't be frightened to sing the praises of all your hard work and what your product can do for your customer.

Let's say that you haven't got a clue about any subject whatsoever or any sites to use for your video. Also, you just haven't got the time to spend hours on research.

Well, how about 'outsourcing' or, in effect, paying someone else to do all the donkey work for you? This doesn't have to be costly. If you visit, you can hire freelancers, and other specialists, to do all your research at a very reasonable cost.

So if you decided that there'd be a lucrative market for a video / CD on collecting Chinese snuff bottles then you can hire a researcher to locate all the relevant web sites, write some descriptive text, and then use that information to launch your product.

And talking of markets, that reminds me of probably the most important aspect of this exercise....finding a 'hot' market to sell into.

You'll need to find the right market from the outset. You should spend some time on this exercise and identify a niche where lots of people are hungry for the information you will be offering. This can take some time but the effort you expend on this will ultimately be reflected in the level of your sales.

And if your chosen subject was sufficiently extensive, you could create a series of videos / CD's and then sell them separately.

So once you had made a first sale on eBay you could later contact your buyers and make an offer for your other products 'outside' of the eBay marketplace. This way you would save on listing fees. You could then chose another topic / market and repeat the process.

Another idea is that you could use your video / CD's simply as a means of creating a list of interested buyers.

So you sell your first CD as a lead-in product at minimum cost. You then add the bidders / buyers to your email list and offer your other, more expensive, products to them as you feel appropriate.

If you find the right market then your product could carry on selling for some considerable time. And if your market is big enough then you can easily create a semi-residual income from a relatively small amount of initial effort and investment.

Finding that 'hot market' with lots of hungry buyers is the key to success with this particular scheme but it can make your research a very profitable pastime.

A little effort, creative skill and perseverance could soon put that extra cash into your bank account.

About the Author

Using Clickbank to make extra income online is still one of the easiest internet opportunities. But now you don't have to waste your valuable time searching through the 10,000 Clickbank products looking for the perfect product to promote or buy. Take advantage of this unique 'j' (just find it) search facility by clicking on the link. (26-June-2006)