What do you have to offer?
The first step towards building any business is deciding what you are going to offer.
There are three main ways that you can offer value to people in exchange for money:
At Online Selling Experiment, we focus on buying and selling products for three main reasons.
The first is that products offer the most accessible start for beginners.
The second is that retail is what we have experience with and are qualified to talk about.
The third is that a product-based business is the most straightforward to scale and automate. That translates to more money in less time for most people.
Starting Your Business…
Despite what other people will lead you to believe, you can’t just start a million dollar business overnight.
The more money you want to make, the more you need of three things:
- Skills / Experience
If you haven’t developed or earned the skills, money, and connections it takes to run a million-dollar business, there is no course in the world that will allow you to step into running one in the next few months.
But that doesn’t mean you should sit around and wait for conditions to be better. There’s only one reliable way to get more of those three things, and that is by investing the time and energy needed to earn them.
That is the main idea behind our Stairway to Seven Figures system.
OSE’s Stairway to Seven Figures
The Stairway to Seven Figures is a system for building a successful retail business that is based off my experience building my own business and working with hundreds of other people over the last few years.
This Staircase involves 5 main steps:
- Retail & Online Arbitrage
- Developing your own brand
Most people look at sourcing strategies like flipping, arbitrage, wholesale, and private labeling as options that they have to choose between.
But the sourcing strategy you use shouldn’t be an either/or decision where you’re trying to pick which one you like the best. You should start with whatever allows you to start the best business you can today. You should move up to more scalable as you develop the money and experience needed to pull them off.
Even if you like the sound of private labeling because of the big profits, you should resist the appeal of starting there if you’ve never sold anything before and don’t have the savings needed to do it well.
The vast majority of people who jump straight in to developing their own brand via private labeling fail. They invest thousands of dollars – usually by draining their savings or maxing out a credit card – but never see a dime in profit.
This happens because they get sold on a shortcut to success that doesn’t exist.
There are many people out there who will tell you the best way to start a business is to use some software to find a product to have manufactured in China and sold exclusively on Amazon. This is the “private label” method that most people know and try.
According to this theory, all you need is a few thousand for the course, a few hundred for the software, and several thousand for the product – then you’ll be raking in millions by summer.
As many people will tell you, it doesn’t actually work this way.
If you attempt “private labeling” like this, you are much more likely to end up with a lot of cheap junk in your garage and mountains of debt than a successful business.
And if you do strike gold and find something that makes money, Amazon or another desperate third party seller will undercut you in a heartbeat.
There is a ton of money to be made by developing your own brand, but a lot of work, experience, and money goes into building the framework needed for consistent success.
There’s no guarantee that the Stairway to Seven Figures will work for you, but there’s no guarantee that any other system will work either. It’s impossible to guarantee success in this way, there are way to many variables – including and especially your own level of commitment and willingness to do hard work.
So where should you start?
The right place to get started depends on how much of three things mentioned above you currently have:
- Skills / Experience
If you don’t have any of these things, you have to start at the bottom step and work your way up. If you do have these things, you can potentially skip ahead. The degree to which you can skip ahead depends on how much you have.
For example – Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have the time, experience, and connections to start selling any product with any brand that they can dream of, as long as a market exists for it.
To a certain extent, having more of one can make up for having less of the other. Having a huge reserve of cash allows you to make more mistakes, which means you can start with less experience. Having a lot of experience means you are less likely to make a mistake, so you can start with less money.
Flipping and retail arbitrage...
Flipping and retail arbitrage are the intro steps because they allow you to get started immediately, no matter what your experience level is or how much money you have.
These are low-risk strategies that require a lot of hustle.
If you are willing to work hard, you can use these strategies to launch your business immediately.
So if you are reading this page because you have a dream of having your business one day but haven’t started one because you don’t know what to do or because you don’t have the money you need to invest in your idea – you should plan on using one or both effective immediately.
No more waiting around for things to magically get better or easier.
That doesn’t happen unless you do something about it, and flipping and retail arbitrage are two simple yet effective ways to do something.
Either can lead to much bigger things when pursued as part of this system.
Flipping refers to buying and selling used items for a profit, whereas retail arbitrage refers to buying and selling new items from local retail stores to sell online.
Flipping allows you to start with absolutely nothing and build a solid base of capital quickly. It is also a great opportunity to learn important skills that you will use and rely on as you build your business – things like negotiation, value assessment, shipping and handling, customer service, and feedback management.
To get started with flipping, check out the Flipping For Profit course. It is an in-depth flipping course centered on a challenge to make $1000 in 90 days, starting with $0.
You do not need the course to try flipping, but it only costs $20 to enroll. The lessons on negotiation alone can pay for the course in just a flip or two. This course will help you make more money faster if you are going to try flipping.
If money is a concern, pick something you can sell for $20 on Facebook Marketplace tonight and use the proceeds to enroll tomorrow. If for some reason you don’t like the course, there is a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
Retail arbitrage can be added at any time, including from the very beginning.
Since you are dealing with new items with retail arbitrage, you get the advantage of using Amazon. This unlocks FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) and all of their sales data. Instead of guessing at prices and proceeds, you can get a very good idea of exactly what you’ll make on any item you scan at the stores.
For this reason, retail arbitrage is also the first step on the Stairway that lends itself to outsourcing – something that will help you scale your business.
Another huge benefit of retail arbitrage is that the experience you gain selling on Amazon will directly help you get wholesale partners.
If you are ready for retail arbitrage, check out How to Make $1000+ Per Month Selling on Amazon. This course contains all the strategies my business uses to do 7 figures in sales from retail arbitrage sourced products each year.
The next step on the Stairway after retail arbitrage is Wholesale.
As of 2019, wholesale is the largest segment in my business. April saw over 65% of our sales come from wholesale sources.
I did not get started with wholesale until 2014, but this portion of my business has grown extremely quickly with great year-to-year growth.
A lot of people incorrectly assume that wholesale doesn’t work very well anymore. That because of Amazon, no brands are looking for wholesalers.
As it turns out, there are many brands out there that are looking for wholesalers specifically for help selling on Amazon.
The benefits of wholesale are numerous:
- Once you find a product once, you can keep selling it for a long time.
- When something sells really well, you can order more and sell more of it.
- The more accounts you set up, the easier it gets to set up more.
For these reasons, wholesale is a very scalable strategy. The work you do in the beginning pays off very well the longer you maintain your business.
If you are ready to try wholesale, check out High Output Wholesale to learn everything my team and I are doing that is actually working in 2019. There is a lot of outdated information out there on wholesaling, but this course was just created in 2019.
Still not sure if this is right for you?
A great first step is reading the free report on 3 Mistakes That Nearly Guarantee Failure. This is a great place to start because the mistakes discussed apply to any business that you end up starting, not just one following the system described above.