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Selling products myself

What are the basics?

10:20 pm on Sep 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have been running a site (about "widgets") for over two years now. I've amassed a pretty good audience and a search for "widgets" on Google has my site listed third. Not bad.

I have been using affiliate programs such as Amazon, Art.com, eBay and have experimented with various others, and ad sales programs as well (such as fastclick).

Seeing that scumware can now intercept my affiliate links (and the relatively paltry commissions), and given that I have some things "in stock" that I could begin selling on my site, I'm beginning to wonder what it would take to do this stuff myself.

Here are some questions; I'd appreciate your insight:

1) Where should I begin to weigh my "shopping cart" options? I basically want to sell some books/items on my site. I do have access to a secure server in my hosting solution plan.

2) How many of you guys are incorporated? I've got a full time job myself, and I just do this as a hobby. Should I incorporate? I understand that if I go "sole proprietor" then I'm still liable for my business... but then there's this "class C" option that would protect my personal assets (as small as they are). Anyone know what I'm talking about here? Is this an ill-advised thing to do (for tax reasons or something), given that I have a full-time job?

3) If I wanted to increase my "inventory", how would I go about doing that? For example, is it as easy to just contact a publisher and say that I want to sell some of their books myself? Anyone have any links for me to look at to get a better idea? I'm loathe to do a search on Google for "starting your own business", for obvious reasons... Lotsa junk.

I'm not overly intimidated by shipping logistics and all that jazz. I have a PO Box for my site and wouldn't have a problem shipping stuff out. (although if someone can scare me straight I'm all ears)...

I guess that's it for now. Appreciate any help as I kick around the idea.

-- tonmo

[edited by: heini at 11:01 pm (utc) on Sep. 22, 2002]
[edit reason] no specifis on your site please / thanks! :) see sticky mail at top of screen [/edit]

1:54 pm on Sept 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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You can keep it cheap and simple at first by using a PayPal cart. No expensive merchant accounts, although some say you will lose some sales and that is probably true, yet they seem to be gaining popularity.

Maybe do a search for "wholesale widgets" instead of "starting my own business". Most wholesalers will require a tax id number before giving any prices or catalogs.

Maybe look into LLC(limited liability company/corporation)

That is about all I can come up with.

2:07 pm on Sept 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member korkus2000 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I agree with birdman that paypal or your host have a simple way to get your feet wet.

I think you should stay away from sole proprieter and class c corporations. I have found that sub chapter s corps have many more benifits than negitives for someone starting out. I believe though you need two people or more for it. My taxes are quite easy as a sub chapter s. You pay no taxes unless you distrubute the money or make purchases. You are also able to run a company without employees. I think this would be what you are looking for. It covers your personal stuff like class c, but it also acts like a sole proprietership on taxes and corporate rules.

If you incorporate and get a tax id you can purchase wholesale then sell it retail. You can also get drop shipping arrangements.

You will need a street address, if for nothing else, to be considered legit by wholesalers and buyers. If you get incorporated this will be no problem. You can use your registered agents address or your home (if that is your place of incorporation).

5:33 pm on Sept 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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digitalplacebo.com has a great paypal shoppingcart solution you may want to check out. It's very easy to use and very very affordable... and best of all they offer unlimited hosting...
11:41 pm on Sept 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Great info -- thanks a lot! I'll pursue these leads. Thanks again -



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