“What Can I Sell with My Sell-from-Home Business?”

“Care enough to create value for customers. If you get that part right, selling is easy.” Anthony Iannarino, B2B Sales Coach

Since February 2020, online shopping has been developing at amazing speed and has actually managed to beat offline general merchandising stores (department and other non-specialized big-box stores). With so many people trying to minimize their exposure to the outside world, this trend is likely to get supercharged in 2020.

While things like groceries, household goods, medicines, health, beauty and personal care products have been resistant to the digital economy because many people still feel more comfortable picking them out in person rather than trusting the web, other groups of products like electronics and books are already purchased online as often as not. Now, a prolonged period of social distancing and quarantines may go a long way towards convincing people to try the web when buying groceries or shampoo.

Today — and day after day this tendency seems to mature — all businesses and all service providers tend to secure themselves by going online. Even those few lucky guys to still have their doors open to visitors. This whole quarantine thing has given a powerful push to moving all kinds of human relations toward online interaction.

As I spent decades of my life working as a university teacher, researcher and academic books author, I have met thousands of people who never did any kind of business and never believed they could do some. Today, when another crisis has slammed into our lives and smashed whole industries, millions of people who were used to working hard for salary have found themselves overboard, paddling helplessly, not knowing what to do.

So I have been hearing questions, like “Who will employ me now?”, “What shall I do without my office?”, “Learning a new set of skills? Hmm, isn’t it too late for me?”

People tend to develop a habit of doing things again and again: they feel comfortable and protected this way. As soon as the habitual rhythm is broken, many of us start feeling lost. This year, quite all of a sudden, the habitual pace of life was broken for millions of us. People have to rethink their occupations and general lifestyles.

Those who are familiar with doing sales from real offices and stores, as well as those who never did anything of the kind, are ready to try going online: they have no other choice! Their uncertainty often comes out in the same thing they say: “Okay, suppose I set up an online store.. what’s next? What can I sell from it?”

This is the place where our epigraph should go. Anthony Iannarino’s words about creating value for the customers are the roadmap for every beginner in online sales.They mean that one needs to find something — no matter, goods or services — that their potential customers would value and desire to own.

The easiest way to approach this decision would be to look around and ask yourself a series of questions:

  • Which of my skill(s) and knowledge can I share with people to satisfy their needs? (Think well, make a list);
  • What do people around me need most of all today? Which products or services are they eager to buy? (Think well, make a list);
  • Which items in my list are the same or somewhat similar to the list of people’s needs that I just created?
  • Do I have access (at least potentially) to any of these products or services? (Write them down and select the one that seems the least time/effort consuming to you);
  • How much effort/time/investment may it take me to set up an occupation of providing this product or service to people? (At this point, your thinking game will begin to turn into a plan);
  • Which category of people will appreciate my assistance in the first place? (Now, it will begin to turn into a business plan);
  • Here, at this step of creating your plan, I would suggest you to take a break and return to the beginning of this list. After the time break, go down it again and see if your have come up with new ideas or new items in your lists. It is always good to double check. Then, you can go forward with more confidence.

If your notes look well to you after double check, you will begin to notice that actually, business opportunities are everywhere. You only need to be motivated enough to go all the way from seeing them to making them work in your favor.

Suppose, you know that people in your area often complain about having to travel too far to buy fresh bakery for breakfast. With your online store, you could set up a system of bakery delivery requests, where your neighbors would send you requests for bakery delivery, and your only business would be to check your system for requests every evening and forward them to the bakery store, which would take care of the delivery in the morning. At first, your income on every request will be minimal, but the advantages of doing business online are evident:

  • You can do it from home or from anywhere, just keep your laptop or phone at hand at all times and don’t forget to connect to the Internet;
  • It won’t require as much of investment as a real store or office would;
  • You will always have some time left for your family and other businesses;
  • If you set up agreements with other stores and services and if you take effort to market yourself and get many people to visit your site, your income with grow with each service you provide.

This was just an example, probably not a very convincing one… but my main idea was to show you that you need to understand what people around you value most of all at a certain moment of time.

People’s preferences differ. At one moment they need beautiful clothes; in other times all they can think of is food; some want their purchases delivered right to the door; others need to request a consulting or classes online: all their desires and needs present opportunities for a business-thinking person.

Well, in 2020, the truth of life sounds contradictory, but this is how it is:

If you want to feel solid ground under your feet, go virtual! Go online!

Let us see what the coming summer will bring us. Hopefully, by that time you will already have your online business set up and going.

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