Find your niche product for a niche market

What is a niche market? The definition from Wikipedia says, “A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing”. A niche product is the specific product from the definition. To find a niche product, you need to find your target market first, study their needs and wants plus their spending habit. If your target market is too broad, it’s very easy to lose focus.

From my previous experiences, you can target a particular group of people and find a product to serve them. My favorite type of products is hobby related. People with same kind of hobby can be grouped together. No matter their gender, age or income. Hobby is a particular way to enjoy life because when you are enjoying your hobby, you can easily have a relief from the stress that bothers you all the time and shift you mind away from your busy life.When dealing with hobby, people are very emotional and willing to spend their hardly saved money, to you as a seller, this is a good starting point. You do need to spend some time to understand the hobby related products in order to talk in same language with you customers, but remember an expert really just means a person who understands a little more than a average person in a particular area. 

There is another type of products that are more ideal than hobby related products, which is addiction related, but so far I have not found any good ones on ebay. If you come across any, please let me know. 

If you find it’s hard to think of any product, try to search on ebay directly and browse its sub categories. Sometimes you might find something that worth giving it a try. For this approach, I call it top down approach, as you start from the top of the category and go all the way down. One thing to kind in mind is, in order to be more specific, it’s ideal if you go down to the 3rd layer of the category trees. For example, if you want to sell some products in “Cell Phone & Accessories”, you want to go from top down as far as “Cell Phone & Accessories” -> “Phone Cards and SIM Cards” ->”SIM card reader”, because in most of the cases, before you reach the 3rd layer, it’s still too broad. 

 


Market Research before you make money on Ebay

To find a good product is not very easy. With easy access to information today, good products are spread out very quickly. There are tons of giant online retailers out there and they keep adding new products into their product lines everyday, to directly compete with them is no difference to suicide, however don’t be disappointed. Niche products are found everyday and you don’t need to have the best price in order to have your products sold. To start a solid market research helps you on future growing and avoids overheated competition from the beginning. In today’s post, I will share an overview of market research to look for a good product to sell on ebay. 

 

From the graph on the left side , there are 4 important steps you need to go through to find a decent product. 

1. Have a product in mind. This is your niche and you need to know why you are selling this products and what kind of customers you will be dealing with the future. There are some debates out there talking about if you should sell something you have true passion or you should sell something you have absolutely no idea, or something in between. personally I have proved that any of these three types of product will work and to me there is no one better than others. However I want to share a few tips here.

a)   If you are selling something you really enjoy, do not fall into the trap of using your emotion to judge your customers. You need to understand every person has different opinion on the same product, so you don’t want to assume all your customers have same passion and same feeling of the product as you do. Depending too much on your own judgement, you will most likely overestimate the importance of your product and might end up overpricing them or easy to become very emotional when dealing with issues. 

b)   To sell something you do not have idea is more subjective, but what you want to focus is spending enough time on learning the product features and understand how it work. For example, when I first started one of my hot selling products, I had no idea how to answer the technique questions from the customers, luckily I have a very good support team backing me up from your supplier. After 3 months, I experienced enough questions and learned a lot about the product, I became an expert of the product and help lots of customer by providing answers in a very quick manner and win the customers by providing the best customer services.

c) The third category is easier to handle as it’s in between, but remember keep learning and improving efficiency if always the key. 

2. Once a product is decided, you need to run detailed research on ebay to check for existing competitions. If you come across a very good product, but can barely find someone else selling it on ebay, be careful,  check ebay’s policy and make sure that type of product is allowed on ebay as there are certain products are forbidden on ebay such as adult toys, tabacco and alcoholic beverages, just to name a few.  If everything looks fine, good luck. You must have found gold. Go right ahead to crush it! In most cases, the following are true: products with more competition leads lower profit margin and products with less competition results higher profit margin, but less volume. What is ideal?well, pretty much nothing. If a niche product is so popular and the existing competition is so low, more sellers will appear very soon.

3. I put supplier research to the 3rd step, but you can actually change the order of it with ebay competition research (step 2). Feel free to find suppliers before you do any ebay research as long as you have a product in mind. Suppliers can be found locally or from all over the world on the Internet. To find a good supplier is only the first half of the step, more importantly, you need to make sure that they can work with you. Unfortunately the fact is lots of suppliers do not even work with retailers directly. I will explain the reasons in more details  in my future posts.   

4. Price analysis is the last step before you start your listings. This step makes sure it’s reasonable to sell the product you chose. Even you are not running a physical store, there are bills you need to pay mainly with ebay and paypal. If you are other tools to help you with your efficiency, there is a good chance that you need to pay a little more. I tried hard to keep my expenses to very low, but I still have to pay a minimum of $75 for each of my ebay accounts without selling any product.

Congratulations If you have gone through the 4 steps above! Very likely you found a good product and ready to put in your hardwork upfront. If you get stuck in any of steps 2-4, do not worry, it’s still early to change your mind and start searching a new product all over again. 

In my nest few posts, I am going to explain step 1-4 in more details by providing tools and also explain how to use those tools. I will use YouTube video to help my demonstration and today I am proudly announce here, I just made my first your tube video on YouTude. Please use the following link to check it out and I hope you like my face!

 


Locate your target market

In the last 5 posts, I shared my personal story of selling on ebay and talked about all the basics including trading time for money, getting started. I also covered topics regarding Goal setting, making plans and how to work effectively and efficiently. Thank you for your patience and please understand all the basics are very critical and they are the foundation of your building. Without strong foundation, no income stream can last for too long.

Starting from this post I will talk about market research. I know many of you have the same question to ask me, “what kind of product can I sell on ebay to make money?” The bad news, which is actually also a good news, is I can’t tell you with a simple answer. The reasons are the following:

1. If I just simply tell you a product that is proved by me can earn you a good income stream from ebay, the chance is you are not the only reading my blog, so it will end up with too much competition and the product will not be good anymore.

2. I rather share with you the way I did it, because I believe many of you have way more better ideas than mine and you just need some little hint to become next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. 

3. “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” – that’s why I create value and share here rather than simply giving you some cash.

Before you dive into the time-consuming market research, you will need to spend some time to locate your target market. Do not assume your product will be a good fit for everyone, that’s not reasonable, so be specific!

I want to give you some directions to start with and please think very hard and find your market niche to create your own kingdom.

Statistics is showing that 80% of online shoppers are ladies and the major age group is between 16 to 60 years old, so this tells us to focus on this particular group. Ask yourself ( if you are a lady) and your female friends, what kind of products ladies prefer to shop on ebay.

Down to the fundamental of economy, the gap between demand and supply creates business opportunities, so to find your niche products, come up with the keywords and research on google and see if the competition is overheated.

The best tool you can use from google is Adwords and I will suggest you to learn how to use it. On my blog, as my focus is to sell on ebay, I will explain the particular tools just for ebay researches.


Work effectively and efficiently

There is a good news. No matter how rich a person is or how smart a person is, he/she has exactly 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86400 seconds everyday just like you do. Having said that, what is the reason you sometimes feel like other people are more successful than you are? In this post, I am going to take a detailed look at what’s behind the curtain and share some of my thoughts and experiences and hopefully to give you some hint. I am also going to share some tools I am currently using to improve my daily work.

As soon as you have goals set up and plans laid out , it’s time to look at your work flow to make sure you are working effectively and efficiently. Many people get confused on the terms, effective and efficient, there is very good article explaining the difference from Daily Blog TipsI am not going to ask you to choose one of effectiveness and efficiency, because in order to become successful, you need to have both.

I will start with a real life example to illustrate the difference. The way I handle my daily tasks is to write them down on paper (of course you can use your cell phone or computer to type them out and I have been using these devices lately as I go green – Save the trees!), to improve the effectiveness, I prioritize them in orders to ensure the more important tasks to be done first. To improve efficiency, I group tasks together. For example, if I need to go out for grocery shopping, I plan my little trip by thinking the driving routines, and group other tasks that can be done along the way to the grocery store. By doing so, I can effectively avoid delays and save time significantly.

The following are some useful tools I personally use to help me organize my tasks and improve effectiveness and efficiency:

For Mobile Devices (Smart phones or tablets):

– Taskos: An easy to use app. It supports voice search and you can also type in your tasks. It has 3 different categories for high, normal and low priorities. It also allow you to add categories (to group tasks together), set up a date (deadlines), share with other users (good for family use) and add more details (such as notices, addresses and phone numbers). Once the task is done, you can simple move one of your fingers horizontally across the screen (exactly like what you do on paper by using a pen) to cross it over. By shaking the phone, all the completed task will go away. Whenever I share my phone, I feel like I have done a lot!

– Calendar: A very nice app. Android phone users can synchronize the calendar in the phone to google calendar. If you have not tried google calendar before, but you are using google everyday, I encourage you to use it right away, trust me, you will never miss any of your appointments in the futures – as long as you have a gmail account, google calendar should have been available to you already. Apple users, apple has a very nice, clean and easy to use calendar app as well, use it today and get your life more organized.

–  Alarm: You might surprise when I bring this app up. Yes, it’s a very common one, but did you use it effectively? Use it as a reminder. I get my boy in bed exactly the same time every night. I can’t tell you enough how important this tool is.

– ebay and paypal: Of course as we are going to talk about how to earn income from ebay in future posts, do not forget to install this apps. They can help me access to your business operations instantly.

         

For Personal Computers:

– Evernote: available at http://evernote.com.Evernote helps me a lot on improving efficiency. This program is available on smart phones, tablets and computers.

1) The first beauty of it is the ability to synchronize all your devices together. It’s a very very handy tool. I went on a field trip to tour the city of Calgary in Alberta Canada and I worked on my phone by taking short notes during the trip. As soon as I am done, I synchronized all my notes with my other devices and worked on my laptop for more researches back home after the trip.

2) The way evernote designed was to help you create note books and in each book you can create different notes, so it’s easy to categorize your projects.

3)  The check box function in the notes can help you keep track of you goals and record the work process.

4) In addition, it allows you to share with other users. My business partners are using this tool to share the information and jobs.

5) evernote also provide a clip function that help you save webpages. If you are like me surfing on the Internet all day long, looking for good articles and would  like to keep them for future reference, you need to try this neat function.

I am using a free version of evernote and the paid version has more cool functions to use.

– Google drive: now google is implementing all the documents, presentations, spreadsheet into one tool called drive (It’s used to be called google doc). I will say evernote helps your the smaller tasks, this one takes care of your formal documents. If you have any experience with Microsoft Office, google drive is an online version of it. Of course it’s more user friendly and easy to share. Microsoft Office might have some very comprehensive functions, but who cares, I am running rocket science here. Google drive can save up to 5GB data as an online hard drive.


Work your goals with plans

Almost everybody has dreams, but the reality is not many of the dreams come true.

Couch potatoes only have dreams, they do not take actions and do not have plans either, which is ok, they are not reading my blog anyway, so I do not have too much value to share with them. I still wish them good luck with their couch though.

People with plan and taking actions are getting somewhere. They make their dreams come true, so they are my teachers and mentors and the ones I want to surround myself with.

In this post, I aim to share my experiences with people who are willing to take actions, but not yet have plans.

Why do you need plans for your goals?

They serves the purpose to keep yourself motivated and helps lower the chances to get lost.

I personally gave up 3 BIG times in my life and wasted literally 5 years of my life, because I constantly lost motivation in early years. Winston Churchill once said,He who fails to plan is planning to fail”. I learned this lesson in deed. I am going to share my story here and hope my failures can help you with your future life.

In year 2000, after graduated from high school, I applied for Business Administration at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo ON, Canada, however as an international student, I was required to hand in my TOEFL score and at the time and I did not quite meet the standard. Instead of trying for another time to write the exam, I chose to enter Mathematics faculty of University of Waterloo (1st time). I then studied computer science for the first two years without liking coding programs at all and changed my major to Statistic and Actuarial Science in year 2002 (2nd time).  I did graduate from Statistics and successfully passed my first two exams from SOA (Society of Actuaries) by the end of year 2003, however without a clear plan, I failed the third exam 3 times in year 2004 and 2005 and stopped looking for a job in that industry (3rd time). Overall I failed big time on my academic studies except for a very expensive university bachelor certificate. It’s not because I started with no goals, but without detailed plans, I had to end up changing my goals all the time.

I am a type of person who is easy to set up goals, get motivated, but easy to give up at the same time without plans. Eventually I realized the importance of making plans and working with them. I made myself a 5 year plan and stick to it so far pretty well since year 2010.

To make the plans working better for your goals, here are my suggestions:

– To make long term goals and also short term goals to keep you on the right track. Long term goals can be for 3-5 years and short term goals can be anywhere from 1 month up to 1 year. After setting up the goals, come up with a detailed plan. A very popular way I learned from experts is to work backwards from your goals. Basically that means once a goal is set up break the goal into smaller pieces along the way and make a plan for each piece, plus, check frequently. For example, I plan to get rid of 30 pounds off my body by the end of year 2014, so I start with this goal and figure out what kind of weight I should expect to lose every month starting from today to the year 2014. After that I lay out all the ways I can use to loose weight, running, on diet, doing gym exercise, etc. That helps me work out my schedule and keep checking my weight by the end of every month. If I did not meet my expected weight, it’s time to work harder and look for more efficient methods.

– Keep motivations alive along the way. People get lazy some times, trust me, it’s human nature and you do not need to blame that. To find efficiently way to keep the motivations fresh becomes the key. Many people choose to drink coffee and energy drink to stay awake and help stay focused, for me, these are not good solutions. Not only because they are not healthy, they are only short team solutions. I used to drink lots of coffee and energy drinks, however since 8 months ago, I found a good alternative way, taking drugs, isn’t that worse? Pardon me, spiritual drugs, I mean books. Good books help you not only on the knowledge level, but also encourage you to work harder and smarter. I come across a decent book recently and I want to share there.

 

The 4-Hour Workweek

Timothy Ferriss

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This book has been on New York Time’s best seller list for quit some time and I am sure lots of you heard it and maybe even read it.


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