Question for the all the gurus and pros

27 replies
I've read again and again that a niche market is where it's at. I believe that's true, but Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart sold everything. Target, Macy's, Costco etc. I built an Amazon general store based on lots of researching of products. I only list good stuff, not junk. I'd love to know where your first sale came from? What did you do to make it happen?
#gurus #pros #question
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  • Profile picture of the author ZephyrIon
    You want to buy a spoon. What are you going to do, right now. There are no stores nearby.
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    • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
      That's a great point actually. I live isolated on a farm. My landlords live by mail order, and there's ALWAYS a steady flow of boxes from Amazon rolling in.
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    Selling used items on Ebay got me started in Internet Marketing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
      I've always been successful at selling old personal belongings on Ebay, but to me it's a far cry from what I'm attempting now. What exactly are you into now?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

    I've read again and again that a niche market is where it's at. I believe that's true, but Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart sold everything. Target, Macy's, Costco etc. I built an Amazon general store based on lots of researching of products. I only list good stuff, not junk. I'd love to know where your first sale came from? What did you do to make it happen?
    Walmart IS niched. So are those other chains. Read "Made In America" for details including how wide he determined his aisles should be. Walton was not trying to sell to everyone: his store appeals to a segment of the population who want low prices and in return can stand crowded aisles, poor lighting, and mediocre customer service.

    Frankly I can't stand Walmart and every time I can choose to shop somewhere else--somewhere with better lighting, aisles clear of product pallets and junk, and good customer service--I will.

    Go to a Harris Teeter here in NC and you'll find an pleasant shopping environment, no family reunions in the entryway or drug dealers hanging around out front, even better-looking people shopping there. The higher prices are a very good trade for me.

    I've looked at many ecommerce stores, usually as a consultation on behalf of a client, and they are so often a thrown-together junk shop of stuff the store creator likes. No theme. No potential for laddering. They wonder why they're not selling anything. Here's just one of the posts I've made in answer to these types of questions.

    Walmart does NOT "sell everything." They sell consumer products that have a high probability of moving in volume to people who value low price as the main determining factor of their purchasing decisions.
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    If you're great at what you do and want to build a real business, we should speak.
    > "Kindle books on Sales by Jason Kanigan"
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    • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
      I'm not sure what Walmarts you've been in but the Super Centers here are fabulous, literally the direct opposite of what you've described. It's all about who manages each store. And their website is endless content. So maybe they don't sell cabin cruisers yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's next.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

    I've read again and again that a niche market is where it's at. I believe that's true, but Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart sold everything. Target, Macy's, Costco etc. I built an Amazon general store based on lots of researching of products. I only list good stuff, not junk. I'd love to know where your first sale came from? What did you do to make it happen?
    An AMAZON General Store. Amazing.

    What is AMAZON?

    As Jason pointed out, Sam Walton TARGETED a certain crowd. The chain TARGET also has a specific niche it appeals to, as does Macy's and even Costco.

    Can you give an example of "good stuff" vs "junk", and who would want it, and why would they shop or buy from you when a push of a button gives them the best prices and services of all the Amazon vendors? How have you set up the store to appeal to your target market and how are you driving traffic to it?

    I think, your THINKING has doomed you from the get-go, can you show some examples of a successful GENERAL Amazon store with higher quality items which is doing well?

    Why not rethink what you are doing and select a few items and build it up from there, an appeal to everyone is an appeal to no one.

    GordonJ
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    • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
      I have a VERY logical reason for my decision making. The site is merely stepping stone. If you want to deal With Rakuten or Peerfly, you HAVE to have a viable site with lots of snazzy looking content. Amazon will deal with just about anyone, therefore it was a starting point. I ran with Amazon and blew up my site with a bunch of content so they would have something to review after my application process which had been previously rejected because of a rather lame looking site. It took me months working on and off to learn all this on my own, but now I have mastered the editing aspect and site maintenance.
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  • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
    Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

    I've read again and again that a niche market is where it's at. I believe that's true, but Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart sold everything. Target, Macy's, Costco etc. I built an Amazon general store based on lots of researching of products. I only list good stuff, not junk. I'd love to know where your first sale came from? What did you do to make it happen?

    Hello Wizbang


    I started in IM by trying to sell ebooks on ebay, made US$408 for my whole first year. Then I met a guy in a chatroom, finally convinced him to mentor me and that changed my life. (He adopted me, took me into his business and since then we have built multi million dollar businesses together)


    This is something I posted in a thread about Amazon in 2013. It really shows the formula we have used to build all our businesses. Targeting your audience or market is the way to success:


    I thought this might be interesting to some, how we actually developed our ideas and Business Models that we use.

    I'v mentioned I started in IM in ebay, trying to sell ebooks. Wasn't very successful, I only made $408 for my whole first year. Like every one else I had big dreams of building my Business, but I had no clue really how to do it, didn't know anyone else involved with IM so I was just buying an reading ebooks and searching on the web. I don't think WF was even going then, but if it was I didn't know about it.

    I used to like going into the MSN chat rooms, chatting up the Guys lol. One night I met John, we started talking an I found out he was from Australia an had been involved with IM Business's for 5 years. He was making a fulltime income from them, around US$75,000 a year which I viewed as a fortune then. I asked him if he would mentor me, but he said no. He said he didn't mind having a chat every now an then but he didn't have time to mentor me.

    Well, I'm not one to give up, every time we had a chat I would ask him, and he would say no, no, no. But I wore him down to where he eventually said yes.

    He started his mentoring by looking at what I was doing in ebay. I only had about 20 ebooks, most on Internet Marketing, a few recipe books and 3 on relationships, like how to get a girlfriend. I had never sold a copy of any of the relationship books, he decided to use those as my first lesson.

    He choose the how to get a girlfriend book as the first exercise.

    He said ok, there are thousands of different books in ebay on thousands of different subjects. And thousands of people looking for books too, but how many might be looking for a book on how to get girlfriends, or even know one exists and listed in ebay?

    Next he said, but what if you stopped every young Guy you saw in the streets in London and asked them if they were looking for a girlfriend, and if they said yes, you then said, well go into that Hall (Building) and I'll come in and tell you how you can get a girlfriend.

    So now he said, well we have hundreds of Guys in there now who we know want to get a girlfriend. (a targeted audience) and you're the only girl in there, up on the stage in front of them, so you know their attention is going to be all on you and what your going to tell them. (a captive audience)

    So then he said, do you now think you could sell your ebook to some of them? My answer was yes, but how could I do that in real life?

    He said you build a Website, that's your Hall. And you attract single Guys to it. He also told me way back then that I needed to find other ebooks or products to sell on my website, to increase my chances of a sale from every visit to my site.

    So how we did it, it was like an Advice website for Guys, where they could ask me, being a girl, advice about other girls. I promoted in MySpace, I could target an attract Guys to my website in there. (Now you can do that much better an easier with FaceBook) It was a bit clunky, there wasn't any membership site software then I don't think, so it was just a html website. Guys had to actually email me their questions and I would put their questions and my answers on the website.
    But it still worked well because it was interesting, everyone kept coming back to read what other Guys were asking me, and to see my answers. I would also promo my ebooks in some of my answers, they were shown along one side of my website with a paypal/download link. I would get beautiful emails an even with photos sometimes from Guys who had found a girlfriend from following my advice or buying and reading the ebooks. Also a few asking if I was single an wanting dates lol, cause I had my photos up there too. It was loads of fun.

    The idea was successful from the start, the first month I sold 36 of those how to get a girlfriend ebooks plus a few others. That was more than double the profit of my whole first year. As my website grew (with more Guys coming to it) I was soon selling hundreds of ebooks a month.
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    • Profile picture of the author superowid
      Originally Posted by LindyUK View Post

      Hello Wizbang


      I started in IM by trying to sell ebooks on ebay, made US$408 for my whole first year. Then I met a guy in a chatroom, finally convinced him to mentor me and that changed my life. (He adopted me, took me into his business and since then we have built multi million dollar businesses together)


      This is something I posted in a thread about Amazon in 2013. It really shows the formula we have used to build all our businesses. Targeting your audience or market is the way to success:


      I thought this might be interesting to some, how we actually developed our ideas and Business Models that we use.

      I'v mentioned I started in IM in ebay, trying to sell ebooks. Wasn't very successful, I only made $408 for my whole first year. Like every one else I had big dreams of building my Business, but I had no clue really how to do it, didn't know anyone else involved with IM so I was just buying an reading ebooks and searching on the web. I don't think WF was even going then, but if it was I didn't know about it.

      I used to like going into the MSN chat rooms, chatting up the Guys lol. One night I met John, we started talking an I found out he was from Australia an had been involved with IM Business's for 5 years. He was making a fulltime income from them, around US$75,000 a year which I viewed as a fortune then. I asked him if he would mentor me, but he said no. He said he didn't mind having a chat every now an then but he didn't have time to mentor me.

      Well, I'm not one to give up, every time we had a chat I would ask him, and he would say no, no, no. But I wore him down to where he eventually said yes.

      He started his mentoring by looking at what I was doing in ebay. I only had about 20 ebooks, most on Internet Marketing, a few recipe books and 3 on relationships, like how to get a girlfriend. I had never sold a copy of any of the relationship books, he decided to use those as my first lesson.

      He choose the how to get a girlfriend book as the first exercise.

      He said ok, there are thousands of different books in ebay on thousands of different subjects. And thousands of people looking for books too, but how many might be looking for a book on how to get girlfriends, or even know one exists and listed in ebay?

      Next he said, but what if you stopped every young Guy you saw in the streets in London and asked them if they were looking for a girlfriend, and if they said yes, you then said, well go into that Hall (Building) and I'll come in and tell you how you can get a girlfriend.

      So now he said, well we have hundreds of Guys in there now who we know want to get a girlfriend. (a targeted audience) and you're the only girl in there, up on the stage in front of them, so you know their attention is going to be all on you and what your going to tell them. (a captive audience)

      So then he said, do you now think you could sell your ebook to some of them? My answer was yes, but how could I do that in real life?

      He said you build a Website, that's your Hall. And you attract single Guys to it. He also told me way back then that I needed to find other ebooks or products to sell on my website, to increase my chances of a sale from every visit to my site.

      So how we did it, it was like an Advice website for Guys, where they could ask me, being a girl, advice about other girls. I promoted in MySpace, I could target an attract Guys to my website in there. (Now you can do that much better an easier with FaceBook) It was a bit clunky, there wasn't any membership site software then I don't think, so it was just a html website. Guys had to actually email me their questions and I would put their questions and my answers on the website.
      But it still worked well because it was interesting, everyone kept coming back to read what other Guys were asking me, and to see my answers. I would also promo my ebooks in some of my answers, they were shown along one side of my website with a paypal/download link. I would get beautiful emails an even with photos sometimes from Guys who had found a girlfriend from following my advice or buying and reading the ebooks. Also a few asking if I was single an wanting dates lol, cause I had my photos up there too. It was loads of fun.

      The idea was successful from the start, the first month I sold 36 of those how to get a girlfriend ebooks plus a few others. That was more than double the profit of my whole first year. As my website grew (with more Guys coming to it) I was soon selling hundreds of ebooks a month.
      Great lesson here!
      The problem now is... catching those guys and ask them to go inside the hall is not easy today.
      Signature

      I'm learning to draw again ...
      I want to sell my drawing later on!
      Wish me luck, okay?!

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      • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
        Hello superowid
        Nooooo, it is much easier to do this today. I only had MySpace then with very limited targeting. Today we have FB and many other social networks and very precise targeting.For instance with FB you can build lists of friends who are interested in a certain subject, or you can create your own FB Group (your own Hall) With Twitter you can follow the followers of someone who has tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers who are again all interested in a certain subject. Then you have all the other SM platforms as well as YouTube.
        Cheers
        Lindy
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        • Profile picture of the author superowid
          Originally Posted by LindyUK View Post

          Hello superowid
          Nooooo, it is much easier to do this today. I only had MySpace then with very limited targeting. Today we have FB and many other social networks and very precise targeting.For instance with FB you can build lists of friends who are interested in a certain subject, or you can create your own FB Group (your own Hall) With Twitter you can follow the followers of someone who has tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers who are again all interested in a certain subject. Then you have all the other SM platforms as well as YouTube.
          Cheers
          Lindy
          It's quite different here in my country, Lindy.
          Social media establishment, the economy and the number of people down here are very crowded and not focused.
          Too many obstacles are being built with the social media growth today.
          But, thanks for your share.
          Cheers.
          Signature

          I'm learning to draw again ...
          I want to sell my drawing later on!
          Wish me luck, okay?!

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      • Profile picture of the author sgalla414
        Originally Posted by superowid View Post

        Great lesson here!
        The problem now is... catching those guys and ask them to go inside the hall is not easy today.

        Shes still a woman It might not be as difficult as you think
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        • Profile picture of the author LindyUK
          Originally Posted by sgalla414 View Post

          Shes still a woman It might not be as difficult as you think

          Hello sgalla

          You are so right, I think we have a big advantage over men, that old saying that "sex sells" is absolutely true, especially if teamed with some creative thinking. I posted this a couple of years or so ago but it proves the point and a fun story too:

          TMS - Total Marketing Services - £10,000 per month - 12 month contract.

          To sell a Company on that type of high end service you have to deal with the very top of the Company, the owners or Managing Directors. We have a team of 15 very professional sales people and we choose the most experienced one to try selling this service, but he had no luck at all in getting past the gate keepers to make any appointments. No appointments made in nearly 2 months of trying, the executive secretaries and personal assistants blocked every attempt he made, referring him to other department heads etc.

          So then my Dad told me to take it over an see what I could do. I was horrified at the though. I'm not a sales person to start with, lacking formal education an knowing I'd be having to deal with very highly educated people, but first problem was getting to see them anyway. I thought well if I could work out a way to get past their gate keepers, maybe since they are all men, I can use my feminine charms on them, plus the fact that I know what I am talking about with Business, with this I do have the confidence that I could hold my own with a presentation, I would be confident that I would know much more then they would on the subject and could show them how we could add a lot more profit to their Companies.

          Now you will most likely laugh at how I did this, I had them all laughing when they realized what I had done, but it worked, I got the appointments one after the other an signed up over a million pounds worth of contracts in a bit more than 2 weeks.

          I came up with a really simple but fairly devious female plan. I got a printer to print me up some very feminine pink notepad sets, complete with pink perfumed envelopes. Just my first name Lindy on the note paper but really fancy, no phone or address that they could follow back on.

          Then I hand addressed them to each person, on the back of the envelopes I just wrote - From Lindy. Then I hand wrote a small message on the note paper, like - Hello Steve, I'll be in London some time in the next week, would love to be able to call in and see you and have a chat for a little while if you have time. Not sure which days yet, I'll just call in an take my chances. Then I just signed it - Lindy.

          So, first of all they went right past the gate keepers. personal pink stationary, perfumed envelopes, from Lindy on the back, half the executive secretaries or personal assistants might have thought their Boss was having an affair or something, but none would have been game to open or withhold the letters, they were passed straight to their Boss's.

          Later I found out from them as to how they each reacted to getting these little notes. They all told me their reactions after I actually got in to see them, it was so funny when they realized what I had done, one of them even said - whatever your selling I'm going to buy because that was brilliant, no one has ever been able to do that to me before.

          All had been searching their memories, their contact books, even some asking their wives if they could recall Lindy. All of them had instructed their gate keepers to put Lindy straight through if I phoned. Of course I didn't phone, I just called in an the gate keepers welcomed me with open arms, alerting their Boss's I was here and showing me straight in. Then was so funny too, them getting gate keepers to bring cups of tea and having a little chat while I could see their total confusion. I was using first name terms for them and them with me but I could still see them trying to work out who I was and where they had met me, none of them asked me directly. Then after the cup of tea and general chat I asked if they had 30 minutes to spare and they all said of course, and then I got down to Business. First thing I actually said was that if they were confused as to who I was that was because we had never met before. Then I told that my staff hadn't been able to get past their gatekeepers to make appointments to see them so I decided to see them myself. That I was the CEO of ............ and I wanted that 30 minutes to show them how we could help them. Was sooo funny, then they were all telling me about their reactions to getting my note and trying to think of who I was an so on. And I sealed the deal with every one of those ten that I called on. Some brought other department heads into the meetings to more question me on what I was presenting an proposing and they all went way over the 30 minutes, most into a few meetings. Then of course I razzed our poor salesman, I said what was hard about that? I walked into ten of those companies and come out with ten contracts. I didn't tell him how I did it but he was shaking his head over it. Lol


          So that's how you sell a million pounds worth of contracts in 2 weeks, all you need is some pink perfumed note paper and envelopes, and maybe long blond hair, high high heels and a little mini skirt suit doesn't hurt either.Lol.
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    • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
      Thank you for your reply! It was very informative, and you're the only person who actually answered my question. Thank you. I've read that selling love and relationships pays. I'm also leaning toward the travel business. I think being a girl you had the advantage in your approach with men. Maybe that could work for me. I'm always getting all these lonely older women messaging me in FB and trying to be sweet. There must something about a shirtless guy with guns and cowboy hats they like LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Also keep in mind that Amazon did not start out selling "everything". They started out just selling books.

    Another good example is Wayfair.com. Originally, they had more than 200 separate niche eCommerce websites before they decided to combine them together and create Wayfair.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
    Is anyone familiar with pricewatch.com? I discovered it in the late 1990s via word of mouth. Initially they only marketed PC stuff. Over the years they've moved into everything and they're flourishing. I don't think Amazon is a bad thing, and it's a starting point. It's kind of a test site for me to waht's selling best. All I wanted to know is where did your first sale come from? I can adapt from there.
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

      Is anyone familiar with pricewatch.com? I discovered it in the late 1990s via word of mouth. Initially they only marketed PC stuff. Over the years they've moved into everything and they're flourishing. I don't think Amazon is a bad thing, and it's a starting point. It's kind of a test site for me to waht's selling best. All I wanted to know is where did your first sale come from? I can adapt from there.
      Whoops ... forgot to answer that part. My first online store sold used college textbooks. My first massively successful one sold bird cages.
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      • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
        Birdcages? Who would've thought!? How did you make that happen?
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        • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
          Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

          Birdcages? Who would've thought!? How did you make that happen?
          Well, with the bird cage site, I cheated to some extent. I found a poorly made site that was already ranking well but that I knew was not making nearly the money it could (you could also do this by finding a fairly high ranking site that was just an info site or an affiliate site). Next, I made a low offer to buy the website, knowing that they couldn't be making much money with it. Then, I modernized the site, made it more conversion friendly, got better products on it and it immediately made more money the first couple months than I paid for it.

          More than a decade ago, that was my main business model - flipping websites. That's much harder to do these days. You're not going to find a website that ranks #2 for a major eCommerce phrase and snatch it up for a few thousand dollars. We now build new websites from scratch and target high ticket items, worrying more about profit per order at the beginning than we do about ranking the site. If something costs $1,000 and you make 20% after shipping, that's $200 gross profit, which gives you a ton of room to pay for advertising and still be profitable. Later, when the site has proven itself through the advertising model, we'll take the time to start working on the SEO.

          We've built more than 150 sites using this high ticket model and the steps are pretty straightforward:

          - Do brainstorming and keyword research to figure out what high ticket products people are buying online.

          - Find a supplier or two or three who hopefully will dropship them for you.

          - Build an informative website that is better than the top 10 ranking sites.

          - Advertise

          - Analyze competitor backlinks and get as many good ones as you can that the top 20 ranking sites have.
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          • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
            Excellent feedback, and thank you! I would've never once thought to flip websites. Would you be willing to peek at mine and give me your opinion on it's construction?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

    I've read again and again that a niche market is where it's at. I believe that's true, but Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart sold everything. Target, Macy's, Costco etc. I built an Amazon general store based on lots of researching of products. I only list good stuff, not junk. I'd love to know where your first sale came from? What did you do to make it happen?
    Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

    Is anyone familiar with pricewatch.com? I discovered it in the late 1990s via word of mouth. Initially they only marketed PC stuff. Over the years they've moved into everything and they're flourishing. I don't think Amazon is a bad thing, and it's a starting point. It's kind of a test site for me to waht's selling best. All I wanted to know is where did your first sale come from? I can adapt from there.
    Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

    That's a great point actually. I live isolated on a farm. My landlords live by mail order, and there's ALWAYS a steady flow of boxes from Amazon rolling in.

    Some of the most successful people in this forum replied to your questions and comments, yet you did not acknowledge them? Why?


    Don't be surprised if some of the most success full people in this forum ignore you because you ignore their help. Learn this.. Help Us Help You.. Answering questions is the first step and using the Quote Button helps us to know who you are replyimg to.
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    Entrepreneurs starting out and small businesses without giant staffs and budgets.

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    • Profile picture of the author Wizbang
      You ask why? Simple, I have to run a farm first while cleaning up my post divorce chaotic life, which means I can't spend every waking minute waiting for people to reply, then think through every response, nor am I new to using forums.

      I very much appreciate the time they took to reply to my post, and I will I get to them when I can.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Fields
    You choose a niche because you can't be good (competing) at everything.
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    Collabora 365 - Web, Email Hosting, Wordpress and Ecommerce Hosting
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  • Originally Posted by Wizbang View Post

    I've read again and again that a niche market is where it's at. I believe that's true, but Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart sold everything. Target, Macy's, Costco etc. I built an Amazon general store based on lots of researching of products. I only list good stuff, not junk. I'd love to know where your first sale came from? What did you do to make it happen?
    Sam Walton's niche focus was on discount retailing.

    You can read more about his story in his book, "Made In America", which he wrote on his death bed.

    And even Amazon didn't start by selling everything all at once.

    When he first started out, Jeff Bezos focused on just selling books. And dominating the book market with Amazon.

    Once he became the king of that...

    ... he added another niche line he wanted to dominate...

    ... and so one and so forth.

    So:

    Just because you see some great successes that aren't seemingly niche today, doesn't mean that's how they started out...

    You may grow out of niche-ing down eventually.

    But starting out, it may be easier for you to dominate small ponds, and gradually work your way up.
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  • Profile picture of the author Monetize
    Back in the day I did several things like selling websites on eBay. You would laugh at how basic they were but they sold like hotcakes.

    Then I had a high end dropship business that made me lots of money but dropshipping requires so much time, effort and headaches of dealing with customers and manufacturers. It got old after a few years so I moved on to another business model.

    Now it is mostly passive income through various systems that I have developed over the years, affiliate marketing of high end merchandise, automated sales funnels for my own digital products and the occasional one-on-one coaching engagement. I also have a sizable domain/website portfolio that I frequently get unsolicited offers for.

    My advice to the OP would be to not compare yourself to Sam Walton, as his success took decades to achieve, like many of the successful warriors here. Most of us developed our own unique strategies because twenty years ago there were no gurus to ask or books and videos on how to make money online, we had to try things for ourselves to see whether they would work or not.

    So hang in there, look to the future and good luck to you!
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  • Profile picture of the author 17
    Selling ebooks got me on the internet. Never sold items or stuff. I let amazon do that^^.
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