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eCom in One Hour a Week (or Less) (Part 3 of 4)

What are the top online marketplaces you can think of nowadays?

(I’ll give you 2 seconds to think.)

….

..
.

Time’s up!

What’ve you got?

I think most of you may have quite a similar answer in your mind, right?

Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Walmart, Taobao, JD, Etsy, etc.

When thinking about something to do in the long term in eCom, I’ll think of these few top sites because there’s a very low chance they will disappear.

If you can make some good money from them with the right and sustainable method, then you can make money long term.

There are also many real-life case studies I have seen in the past.

I know many people who have been selling physical products on Amazon or eBay for over ten years.

My uncle has been selling some art sculptures in Etsy for about eight years.

Some of my friends have been selling Kindle eBooks in Amazon for about five years ago and still counting.

Their earning keeps increasing every single year.

I have done many little businesses in my spare time. Many failed. Some worked and became another one of my income streams.

The one that I will tell you is the easiest way and take very little time to implement if you know how to set up the system. I have done this for about three years now.

I’m selling physical products on Amazon in “my spare time.”

Why Amazon?

As I’ve said, it’s one of the largest marketplaces on the internet. The site is also the most popular retail website in the United States.

From my statistics, every holiday season, there is always a spike in sales. Many people in the US purchase products as a gift during the holiday season. The evergreen products are also selling very well over the whole year.

One thing I was worried about selling things on Amazon is “Will they shut down my account immediately if I accidentally do something wrong?”.

I’ve had this problem when I promoted products with them as an affiliate. I also have this problem when I work on other platforms too.

So when I started doing this, I did some research to find whether or not other people had this problem.

But I found that being a seller differs from working as an affiliate.

This model, you are the owner of the products, and when you make money, Amazon makes money too.

It’s a win-win situation.

Amazon treats sellers and affiliates differently.

And this time, we are a seller. 🙂

I made some mistakes when I sold products on Amazon in the past.

I sold products that contained the U.S. flag. Amazon doesn’t permit this. At the time, I didn’t know this rule, and I had many products that violated it.

They sent me a reminder to remove them from my account.

I followed.

The next thing I did wrong having a supplier that couldn’t ship my products fast enough during the holiday season.

We can sell loads of products in November and December, because that’s when people purchase products as gifts.

Handling and shipping times are around 1-2 weeks during the holidays. But I forgot to change the handling and shipping time on my account, so the late shipment rate was over the limit that Amazon allows.

I was scared I would lose my account.

Luckily, that didn’t happen. Amazon gave me time to fix it, and my account’s health improved.

Recently, my Amazon account was suspended because I had a product with the brand name “Target” on it.

Yes, “Target” – one of the top retailers in the U.S.

I hired some people to work for me on this, and I didn’t check that I had this product in my account.

Target sent an email to Amazon, and Amazon deactivated my account.

Anyway, I was able to send an appeal to Amazon. They gave me a chance to fix it and, luckily, I got my account back.

Read the whole story here.

Pretty cool, right?

If you have some sales records, good account health, and your account is old enough, it will be difficult to get suspended.

That’s why I choose to sell products in this big marketplace as part of my long-term plan.

Let me recall the components of my spare-time businesses before we move on.

  1. It must be a long-term business.
  2. Most tasks must be handled automatically by “technology” or “few people.”

Okay, the first point has now been made.

This business model is mainly selling products in big marketplaces: Amazon and Etsy. It’s a long-term business.

So, how can selling products be handled automatically?

If you google the internet, you’ll find that most eCom sellers suggest that you dropship.

That is, buy a product from one seller, and sell it on Amazon at a higher price.

Nope. That’s not what I want.

It’s not a long-term business. It’s not your product, and the seller you got the product from can ask you to stop selling it at any time.

Even if this seller allows you to sell the product, other dropship sellers will be selling the same product as well.

It will end up a price war.

And you’ll have to sell another product.

Again, and again, and again…

But I don’t recommend creating your own physical product and selling it, either.

I don’t want to find or make a product, pack it, and fulfill it by myself.

That’s not the part-time business I’m looking for. It takes too much time.

Setting up a team to pack and ship the product is not a good choice. That will require many more people if I want to scale.

Your side hustle model must be as lean as possible.

That’s why it’s time to apply “technology” to the system.

What I sell in this business model is called Print-on-Demand, or POD.

There are many suppliers who provide products such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, shot glasses, travel mugs, etc.

When there is an order, they print the design on the item and ship it to the customer.

Here’s the Print On Demand (POD) Flow:

The Print On Demand (POD) Flow.

Nice, huh? I don’t have to do anything.

All I have to do is create a product in the POD provider’s system (I personally use GearBubble) and use the system to sync the product information to Amazon.

When I get an order, Amazon sends all the order info to GearBubble. GearBubble then produces the product and ships it to my customer.

I don’t need to make the product and ship it by myself.

There are many POD suppliers out there who can make and ship your products to customers.

Gearbubble, Printful, Printify, Teelaunch, etc.

These suppliers are the “technology” that will automatically do the production and fulfillment for us.

Cool, right? All we need to do is create a product on the supplier’s website, upload it to Amazon or Etsy, and then let the supplier do the rest.

The problem is, we still have to spend our time creating and uploading products to Amazon and Etsy.

This requires a lot of time.

We’re still missing the *last piece* of this business model.

Let’s move to the final page of this system.

It’s a very important page that will help you automate 95% of the entire process.