I began asking everyone I know who has had a successful career, built a successful business, or simply knows a lot of people for their advice on how to build a professional network. After compiling the best advice I received, studying every relevant book and resource I could find, experimenting, and practicing, I learned a lot about how to effectively make new contacts and build relationships.
White labeling products involves purchasing pre-made products from a supplier and then adding your own labeling and branding. Products could range from candles to gym equipment or even tea, but all will come without labels, allowing you to create your own new range of merchandise. Most suppliers will advertise the fact they offer white labeled goods on their websites, so pick your niche and then find the right supplier and product for you. Once labeled, products can be sold via sites like eBay and Amazon, or from your own eCommerce store (discussed in a moment).
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One of the best places to sell unwanted personal possessions is Decluttr, a website that buys used items directly from consumers. Unlike trade-in marketplaces such as Gazelle and auction websites such as eBay, Decluttr doesn’t act as a middleman between buyers and sellers. Rather, it’s best understood as a bulk buyer: an enterprise with deep pockets and an unsatiable appetite for used consumer products.
To get started in the Amazon Associates program, you’ll need to have a website that meets Amazon’s site requirements. Next, submit an application. If it’s accepted, Amazon requires you to place its affiliate disclosure on your site. The Federal Trade Commission also requires affiliate marketers to clearly disclose their relationship with retailers in posts containing affiliate links. That means affiliates should make all disclaimers easy for readers to find.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others. If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
Comfort. Perhaps the biggest thing that you’ll need to do in order to create a successful B&B is to make sure that your guests are as comfortable as they can be. Remember, they’re paying more for the experience of being comfortable away from home. As a trial, spend a night in the room in your house that you intend to rent and view things from a guest’s point of view. Is the temperature comfortable? Is the bath in the room, or at least a comfortable distance away while still being private? Is the bed soft and inviting? The pillows? Is the bedroom interior design, including colors, soothing? Can you hear household noises, or do you feel that you’re in a world of your own? All of these are important questions to ask yourself, but the answers will determine whether or not your guests recommend your place, or come back for another stay. Think about all the minor inconveniences and discomforts that you’ve just gotten used to over the years, and remember that a paying guest might not tolerate those problems for a night. You may need to spend a little money to fix these issues.
Social media isn’t just a fun thing you do with your friends. It’s a competitive marketing space where thousands of brands and businesses are competing for, often times, the same audience. If you can help a business get a leg up in that environment, you can carve out a valuable position within a company. However, one of the most important aspects of a good social media manager is someone who understands the tone and voice of the business he or she represents. For example, a social media manager at Wendy’s should use a different tone from at McDonald’s, even though they’re both fast-food burger restaurants.
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.