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Passive Income

ISF Filing & Entry Filing Done Easy!

Track Cargo Ships OnlineSo about a month or two ago I started the process of buying the product for this project from a supplier in China on Alibaba.    I had never shipped anything from China before via a cargo ship and I’ll tell you right now, it’s a WAY bigger pain than shipping via air.   When you ship via DHL or FedEx or whatever, you simply order and it arrives at your door for the most part.   Every now and then we’d have to talk to someone to help it clear customs, but for the most part it’s not that big a deal.   Since for this project what we’re shipping is pretty bulky  & I was ordering 600 lbs worth of product, it made more sense to do it via cargo ship.   There was about a $2,000 USD difference in cost shipping wise.   However since I didn’t know all the in’s and outs and was soon in over my head a little bit; hopefully this post helps you out a little bit so you can save some aggravation and find a  better way to do it.

The first sign of me having no clue what I was doing was this email from my supplier the day after I sent payment and he arranged the shipment out:
————-
Dear Dave,
Have a nice day!
The attached is the ISF information for you to make declaration to USA Customs.
Please find a reliable forwarder to help you make the ISF declaration to USA Customs before Jan 27, 2014.
Or else, you will get the penality of USD 5000 at least by USA government.
And after finishing the ISF declaration to USA Customs, please tell me the ISF number from the USA Customs.
Should you have any question, please let me know it.
Thanks & Best Regards
————-

My first thoughts were…

Ummm ISF What?    $5,000 Fine!?   Is that even possible? The goods I’m shipping are only 2 grand.  What the heck is going on?

So after some Googling I find out that the ISF Declaration went into effect back in 2010 and is pretty routine business when shipping in via cargo.   So I figured no big deal, and if you Google around for “How To File ISF Declaration” a few companies pop up.   I contacted one of the companies which seemed legit, they said it would be $95 to file it. which didn’t seem like that much money.   So I went ahead and and moved forward.

Next day they said I’d also need to pay a ISF Bond Fee as well of $109.32.   I’m still not 100% sure what that is, but I wanted to get this over with said & said that’s fine, lets just get this going.    They needed the money wired since I was close to the deadline, so after all was said and done I paid $222.32, which seemed steep, but whatever my stuff was on the way and we could move on.

I paid a couple hundred more bucks than I thought I had to but my shipment was on the way, only another 30 days and it would be here!

So let’s fast forward a month and I get another email; this time from the company that filed the ISF for me.  Which basically says OK your shipment is about to arrive at port in NYC, now we need to do the customs clearing process.  They wanted me to sign a Power Of Attorney to complete the paper work, so I write back asking if this is included in the fee I already paid.   But nope, here’s the email I got back:

—————————–

You paid for the ISF filing and single ISF bond.  The ISF is the first of the two filing requirements for ocean shipments.
 
Our clearance fees are below:
 
$175 Entry Filing/Service Fee
$189.76 Single Entry Bond
 

I will provide the estimated duty/taxes due.  Please describe the following items on the commercial invoice:

———————————

I could understand the first $200, but now it’s getting crazy.  Especially for only a $2,000 shipment.  So I called up a buddy of mine who does a lot of importing and he said that I needed to find a local Customs Broker; the ISF alone should have only been like $75.   At this point I know I’m getting hosed so searched for a customs broker near me.  Sure enough I found one 15 minutes away who was WAY more helpful and was able to do the remaining part for only $150 total.

The woman who I dealt with at this customs brokerage was extremely helpful and as of now we are all good to go.  The shipment is set to arrive in a few days on March 14th.   Luckily my buddy pointed me in the right direction towards the end and at least saved me a hundred bucks or so.

So Here’s How to do ISF Filing & Entry Filing The Right Way!
Don’t pick the first thing that pops up!   I was in a rush to get it done and ended up with a crappy company the first time.   Search for “Your City + Customs Broker” and try to find someone near you.  If not right in your city, look for the next major city near you. From what I’ve heard you should be looking at around $50-$75 for the ISF Declaration.   I’m sure you can do it yourself, but with a $5k fine looming I didn’t want to risk it.
Beyond the ISF you’re probably looking at another $100-200 for the Entry Filing.   Then there are some bonds involved & depending on what you’re importing.  I’m still by no means an expert at any of this but do your due diligence.   From what I’m hearing it’s a pretty standard operation and you can find a fair price if you call around and get quotes.
At least we’re finally rocking and rolling, the cargo should be here by Friday.  I’m planning on driving to the port to pick it up myself to document what the whole process is like!
Passive Income

Chinese New Year Shuts Down Manufacturing

2014 Year Of The Horse

I guess it’s the year of the horse?

The product samples were awesome, I really like the quality of the ones that arrived.   So late last night I jump on Skype and start talking to the guy and he mentions that there’s a Chinese New Year celebration at the end of January and everything shuts down for 2 weeks!   That means they wouldnt be able to be produced & shipped until Mid-February.   Tack onto that a 30 day delivery for sea delivery and I’m looking at a hell of a wait to get these things here.

So 15 mins of going back and forth trying to figure it out, he ends up calling his shipping guy who says if I get payment in first thing tomorrow that they are able to do it.   To be honest I think there’s still a 50/50 shot of these things getting done & shipped before the new year.   There’s a large chance he just wanted to lock in my order so I didn’t go somewhere else; but whatever, even if they don’t get them done there’s still plenty of stuff to do in the meantime before they arrive.

He wanted a minimum order quanity (MOQ) of 500 @ $8.00/each, and alot of them will want to lock you in for that.   But all these guys are willing to bargain with you, don’t let their initial offer scare you off.  He ended up going all way down to 100 @ $10, but for what I’m planning to do down the road I wanted a few more extra just in case we ran low & needed more.  We ended up settling on 300 @ $8.50.    It’s a little bit more than I was hoping for but it’s not too bad.  That also includes full customization with the custom  logo we had made, printed on the packaging & product itself.   Shipping ended up being only $120 which seems like a hell of a deal.

The total with everything for the 300 pieces is $2,670.  If that’s too much for you to do as a test run definitely negotiate your way down.  Start with as low as 20-50 pieces until you have a proof of concept.   There’s going to be a little risk involved so make sure you only put down what your comfortable with.   I just didn’t want to end up in a situation where I started selling and had to wait 30 days to get more pieces shipped here.

To get an idea of profit margin, I’m HOPING to sell them for around $24.95, and as low as $19.95 if need be.   So if it goes as planned there’s a rough approximate profit margin of  $16.45 per item; or $4,935 profit on that inital $2,670 worth of product.  Keep in mind thats a gross profit and not including other expenses you’ll see coming up down the road.

I’ve never ordered via cargo ship before so this is going to be an experience.  I’m planning on driving to the port to pick them up myself to see exactly how it all works.  Honestly I’m really stoked and looking forward to seeing them arrive.

So here’s where we stand money wise now:

Samples From Alibaba:  -$130.00
Domain Name:  -$320.00 (Bought Domain – Usually will be only $10)
Initial Product Production (300 pcs):  $2,670.00
Total Income:  -$3,120.00

 

 

Passive Income

The Samples Have Arrived!

One Bag Of Sample Goodness

One Bag Of Sample Goodness

So after work  I came home to find a sweet package from DHL sitting at the door.  Sure enough the samples have arrived from one of the manufacturers.   I was suprised by how quick they got here!

I think it ended up being a good idea to order those other items as well, because they are actually pretty cool.  I’m really hoping at some point in the future we can add them into the site because it’ll expand the product base and be alot easier to ship than my original product idea.

Also the manufacturer included a catalog of all of the products they make which is REALLY interesting because there is a ton of stuff here he never mentioned on Skype.

Now what is important here is to really put your product through the ringer.  Beat the heck out of it and really put it through its paces.  The last thing you want to deal with is people complaining and wanting a refund because of a poor quality product.  If you can I’d recommend giving it to as many friends & family members are you can and asking for their real feedback on it.  If you get some negative responses or the quality is poor, move on to a different manufacturer or a whole different product all together.   It’ll save you a big headache in the long run if you make sure you sell good quality merchandise.

Here are some shots of the package, I’m off to go play around with this stuff and see how it holds up quality wise.

Passive Income

It’s Business Bank Account Time

Bank AccountJust like yesterdays post this one is kind of along the same lines as do whatever works best for you.

Once you get your company setup & have your Tax-ID from the gov, which should be pretty quick since everything is online; you’re good to go and setup a new account.

Again this isn’t 100% necessary but it’s a big help.   I like keeping everything seperate from my own personal account for bookkeeping and accounting purposes; it makes everything way easier come tax time.   To be honest I’ve found all banks to be pretty much the same; just make sure you avoid any banks or accounts with ridiculous monthly fees.   Your best bet would be to run to the bank you have your personal account with and see what they can offer you.   Make sure to get the most basic account they offer, and don’t spring for any extras they might try to upsell you with.   The starter checks my account hooked me up with after setting up the account should be more than enough for awhile  (they tried to sell me some kind of new business check package).    With everything online you can use online bill pay for almost any payments you need to make.

If you don’t care about your current bank and want to try to snag a deal, look around online for bank promotions.   I just Googled “business bank account promotions 2014” and came back with a bunch of cash back promos if you open up a new account.

Make sure you bring all the new company documents with you, your Tax-ID, and your own personal ID as they’ll need that to get you going.

At least this one is free, so no more money added to the total today!

Passive Income

Setting Up A Corporation

Time to get official!

Time to get official!

This step is going to vary a ton based on where you’re located or what your personal situation is.    I’m not a lawyer by any means so you definitely want to make sure you get something setup that makes sense in your area.   I would ask some friends in your area who have setup businesses before and see if they have any recommendations.   You can always go to your local chamber of commerce for help, a lot of the time they even offer free business counselors to help you get started.

That being said it’s a good idea to setup some kind of corporate entity for your business to protect yourself.   Also depending on where you live there could be a wide variety of tax reasons.   I know people who have setup their corporations in Nevada, Delaware, Florida, you name it.

This is definitely something you’ll want to research.  Here in Florida I know it’s usually suggested to setup an S-Corp for tax reasons, so that’s what I’ll be doing for this.   There are alot of companies online who will do all your setup for a little bit of money.   I don’t know how good they actually are so do your due diligience, and when your biz starts taking off and you start making money you’ll want a legit lawyer to review everything for you.

You can do it yourself if you’ve got the time and are comfortable with it.   Look for your states Division Of Corporations and follow along with what they say to do.

The fee here in Florida is only about $70, so we’ll go ahead and add that to the tally!

Passive Income

Getting A Logo For The New Company

The Wall Of Insipiration

The Wall Of Insipiration

My background is in graphic/web design and ran a web design company for several years.  Back then it was pretty easy to make a buck doing design work for people since it was so new and not THAT many people were providing the service.  Now days with the proliferation of designers around the world, it’s never been a better time to start your own company without any graphic or web design experience.   Getting a logo designed for you is something I used to charge ridiculous money for, now you can get a great professional logo for $50 or less.  These days I’m pretty rusty with ol’ Photoshop so being able to have someone crank out a logo for me, makes my life a lot easier.

If you have the budget for it, sites like 99Designs and their logo contests let you put up a couple hundred dollars prize and you’ll get logo ideas from 40-50 different designers.  From there you can pick out whichever logo you like, and even work with the designers to fine tune it to meet your needs.

For this project I’m trying to keep on a pretty tight budget so I’m going to use the site MicroLancer.com.   Basically there are a couple hundred logo designers on there, you can pick a guy based on your budget and the style you’re looking for.  From there you send him your logo ideas and description of what you want and he’ll come back with some ideas.  Usually you have like 4-5 revisions of going back and forth to get what you want.   I’m picking a guy who was $45,  his past work looks pretty good.
Tips For Using MicroLancer or any logo creation sites:

– Be super descriptive explaining what you want your logo to look like.
– Go to Google Images and search for logos on there, send him links to specific logos you like the look & feel of so he knows what you’re looking for
– On the revision process be very very detailed with the changes you want made.  Especially with MicroLancer you have a limited number of revisisons; so make the most of each one.
– I like to keep my logos simple with 3-4 colors max.  When getting physical products & promo materials made with your logo on it, sometimes you’re charged by the number of colors, so the fewer the better.
– Make sure the logo looks good on both a white background & dark color background, have the designer show you samples of how it looks on each.
– Try to make sure they give it to you in a couple different formats.  I usually get .AI (Adobe Illustrator),  .PSD (Photoshop), .PDF if possible.   Especially if you’re not familiar with graphic design, having the more formats available will make your life easier.

So we’ll see what happens with this guy.   I’ve only used Microlancer a couple times in the past and had good results.   I’ve had amazing results with 99 designs but I think we ended up spending 500 bucks or so.   It all comes down to your budget and in reality, for a project like this, the logo isn’t going to make or break you.   You just want something that looks nice and clean.

Here’s the daily cash breakdown:
Samples From Alibaba:  -$130.00
Domain Name:  -$320.00 (Usually will be only $10 – I just overpaid at dropped domain auction)
Logo Design: -$45.00
Total: -$495.00

Domaining / Passive Income

How To Pick A Domain Name For A Start Up

These guys really like their domain hunting.

These guys really like their domain hunting.

So just to be up front I ended up using a domain I already had in my account instead of buying a new one.    I have a couple hundred domains sitting around from working online for the past 15 years,  I figured instead of buying one, to dig in there first and see what I had bought back in the day, it’s actually how I decided to sell the product I’m selling.   I have to say there are a lot of bad domains in there in hindsight, it’s pretty funny to see them all in there.  A lot of them you think are some killer great name, but then looking at them now I wonder WTF was I thinking.

So I’m a die hard .com fan, thats probably being an old fart tech wise, but I’ve always used the big TLDs like .com/.net.  I know there are all sorts of extensions out there these days and I’m sure at some point in the future .com will be obsolete.   SEO (Search Engine Optimization) wise I’ve heard things all over the place and to be honest as fast as things are going, I have a feeling the new TLDs that are out there are probably fine.

That being said I’d still stick with a .com for right now.  People, especially older people, are now accustomed to typing in .com after everything.  So if you’re trying to brand a name the path of least resistance is grabbing a .com name.  The last thing you want to do is be pick the domain MattsBoats.net and lose a chunk of your hard earned traffic to your competitor over at MattsBoats.com.

Next!  Keep it short!  I try to keep a max of 15 characters in the name and a max of 3 words, but always try for 2 words or less.  No crazy spellings of words like carz instead of cars; no dashes; no numbers.  Keep it as simple as possible.  A good rule of thumb is to verbally tell 10 friends your potential domain name and ask them to spell it, if more than 9 of them have a problem spelling it then move onto another one.

I personally like to keep the name descriptive as possible and stay away from any funky names that are hard to brand.  Brandable names like Google, Yahoo, Bing are great for people who have a budget to brand that name.  Plus its pretty much impossible to snag a good one word brandable name any more.  For a passive income or something like we’re doing I like just grabbing something with my company or product in the name.  It’s much easier for advertising as people who might click on your name have a good idea of what they’ll find there.   If you were looking for web hosting and saw the list of 3 names, chances are you’d click right to the 2nd one since you know what it is.

– ZagglePath.com
– GreatWebHosting.com
– JacksTechShed.com
It may seem like every possible domain name out there is taken, but if you get creative you can usually come up with something good.   Throw the words like My, Your, Great, Easy, Fast, whatever else in front of what you’re selling and see if it works.   I always jump over to Thesaurus.com and play around with a ton of adjectives and variations until something clicks.  Or go to google and search for “domain name ideas”; there are a ton of little sites out there that help you randomly generate names.    Don’t stress yourself out too much trying to find that PERFECT name, just go with your best fit, there’s a lot more stuff to worry about than the domain.   There are some huge sites out there with terrible names, so a domain isn’t everything, it’s your follow through.

If you have a little bit of cash check out Sedo.com, there are a ton of domains on there for sale.  If you find one you like make sure you offer a lower price than it’s listed for.  A lot of those domains are over priced and the owenrs will actually accept quite a bit lower than the price you see.

Lastly feel free to hit up any taken domains owner directly.  If you goto a whois service like Whois.Net you can see who the registered owner of the domain is.   I always shoot them a quick email from a non-descript google account just asking if the names for sale.    Usually it’s a quick message like “Hi there, I was just wondering if your site JoesBBQ.com is for sale?  It’d be a good fit for a project I’m working on.  Thanks!” .  The reasoning behind the gmail account is so that if you have a web presence the person can’t google you to see more info about you.  If a search of your email comes back with a CraigsList post to your vacation home you’re renting out, then the domain owner is going to see some dollar signs and make you pay a premium for the name.  If they reply just try to get them to make an offer first; you don’t want to come in and offer $5,000 if in reality they’d sell it for $200.   If they want you to make an offer first just shoot low, like 50% of your total budget and see what happens.

I actually picked up the domain I’m using as a dropped domain at auction.  If anyone is interested in how you buy dropped / expiring domains at auctions just post in the comments.  I’m partially addicted to buying dropped domains and would be more than happy to crank out an article of how I go about doing it.

Looks like I paid $320 for this name, ouch!   But you can buy a new domain for around 10 bucks.  All the registrars are about the same.  I personally use Moniker alot, but GoDaddy or any of them will do, just make sure you put the name on Auto-Renew!  Learned that one the hard way before.

So here’s where I currently stand financially on the project:
Samples From Alibaba:  -$130.00
Domain Name:  -$320.00 (Usually will be only $10 – I just overpaid at dropped domain auction)
Total Income:  -$450.00

That domain name really pushed me back a bit, going to be a little bit of extra digging to get out the hole!

Passive Income

Having Samples Shipped In From China

Come To Papa!

Come To Papa!

Ok so I never ended up getting many more replies from all the ones that I originally found, but that seems ok.  I found 2 that look really solid and am pretty confident they’ll be able to crank out what is needed.

Alibaba is kind of like the wild wild west in some aspects.  (I guess actually more like the wild east, ha haaa!)  Anyways you always want to make sure and do your due diligence when picking someone.  Knock on wood I’ve never personally had problems on there getting burned, but have heard of it happening.   A couple things you’ll want to do is make sure they are a verified suppplier, and thay have good reviews & quick response times.  All of this can be found on Alibaba.com on the top right of the page you’ll see that breakdown.   I will only work with people who have multiple feedback scores and are verified.

Another thing is make sure you hit them up on Skype and talk to them for a bit either chat or voice.  Due to the time difference you’ll have to most likely do it at night.  Being I’m based in Florida, I usually jump on Skype around 9pm and chat with anyone overseas that needs to be reached.   On this initial process make sure you finalize the price, production time, shipping, everything  that was in the original email.

Next thing you’ll want to do is order a sample from the different manufacturers.   Usually they’ll jack the price up a bit to keep people from ordering one-off items from them.  So expect to pay around 50 bucks including air shipping.   Believe me you dont want to skimp out on this.

One more side note, if you ever are interested in expanding out your product line, see if they have any other interesting similar products that you might introduce.   So like if you’re selling Hockey Sticks, the same manufacturer might make Pucks as well, which would be a good upsell to your customers.   One of  manufacturers sent over a list of everything he made and one of the things is kind of interesting & I think could make a fun upsell.  So I’m having him include that in the package.   It’s easier and cheaper now to order samples of other products & have them handy just in case you want to place a full order for them in the future.

This is the reply I just got from one of them:

——-
“Hi, Dave,

Great thanks for your trust.
The attached is the sample PI for your check. Please tell me your opinion on it, if everything is ok, and after paying, please send me the bank slip via e-mail, then I can arrange the producing immediately for you, and the producing time: within 3 days. Delivery time by DHL: within 5 days. It means within 8 days, you will recieve all the samples upon receipt of your payment.”
——-
Both manufacturers are shipping with DHL and I’m looking about $130 to get them mailed out.   You could probably haggle a lower price if you wanted, but for the sake of time and hassle I’ll pay the 130 bucks and hopefully all goes smooth.
So the tally so far of money in/out:
Samples From Alibaba:  -$130.00This is pretty exciting, it’s the first money spent on the project!  Catch you guys in the next day or so!
Passive Income

Contacting Manufacturers On Alibaba

Alibaba logoSo now thats I’ve come up with a product to sell, lets call it Product X for now, it’s time to start hitting up some manufacturers on Alibaba to have some samples sent over to check out.   Head over to Alibaba.com and start looking around for people who produce the product you want to sell.   I’d recommend contacting about 3 different ones, this way you can get samples from all of them and in case you ever need more volume or a backup manufacturer you’ll be ready to go.   Make sure to look for different keywords that meet your product too, like if you were selling rollerblades you’d want to look up roller skates too since someone might have them listed under that.

Go ahead and pick 3 people and shoot them an email.  Here’s basically the email I shot out to them:

Hi There,

I’m looking for manufacturers for “Product X” and the ones you product look similar to what we’d like to sell.   Just a couple questions:

–  What price break is there at different volumes?
–  Do these prices include shipping?  If not how much shipping to zip code 90210 in the US?  And the prices for Air vs. Cargo?
– Whats the turn around time for getting this product made.
–  Do you allow the ability for our company name to be printed on the product; if so how much extra is it?
–  I’d like to have some samples sent via air, how much would it be to get samples mailed over?

Thanks & looking forward to working with you,
Dave

—————————–

I shot this over to 3 people so no we wait and see what they come back with.   Since almost all the manufacturers are in China you can expect a reply sometime in the middle of the night.

On a side note here are a couple terms you’ll see on Aliababa quite a lot & what the definition of each is:

MOQ
Minumum Order Quantity – Basically the minimum number of items you’ll need to order to make a purchase.  This is usually flexible depending on the person.

OPP Bag
Plastic Bag (polypropylene) – Usually these are clear plastic bags that the products are packaged in.  A lot of the time you can get your logo slapped onto these.

FOB
Freight On Board – Means that you’ll pay for the shipping.  Try to ask for the per item price including FOB, this way you’ll get a true per item cost.  (remember there is air/cargo shipping & price varies greatly between the two)

Air Shipping
Air shipping is sent via a plane, the pros are it’s alot faster to get to you.  Usually within a week of being sent.  Cons are that it’s very expensive when you start buying large volumes of products.

Cargo Shipping
Cargo Shipping is sent via the sea in a shipping container.  This is alot cheaper, especially when buying bulk.  The major con is that you’re looking at sometimes a month or so of delivery time.

Passive Income

Using Alibaba To Find A Product To Sell

 

Find A Product To Sell

Picking a good product to sell right from the start will make your chances of being successful quite a bit higher.   For this business I want to try and sell a product that will be sourced from overseas.    I also want to get something I’m somewhat interested in & a product I’d actually use.   The reason for that is because since you’d be a buyer of the product it’ll help you market it better.   Also if you’re interested in the product it’ll help you stay more excited and be more open to telling people about it.   If you’re a 25 year old guy, don’t try to start selling quilting kits, pick someone that you and your friends would use.   Something you won’t be embarrassed to post all over your Facebook page and tell all your friends and family about it.

1.  Make Sure There Is Demand For The Product
You’d think this one is a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many people pick a product or service that doesn’t have any demand for it.   I’m not saying it’s not possible to build up a business around something new and creative; but if you want the past of least resistance pick something that people are already out there looking for.

The easiest way to do this, is to use a Google AdWords account (if you don’t have one it’s free to sign up for one).  Once you’re logged in, go to where it says “Tools & Analysis” from there pick the “Keyword Planner Tool”.   Then pick the option that says ” Search For New Keyword And Ad Group Ideas”.

From there just start putting in ideas of products that you’re interested in possibly selling.  On the results page click the tab that says “Keyword Ideas”

and look at the “Avg. Monthly Searches”.  This will tell you approximately how many people search Google for that specific keyword each month.    Try to pick something that gets 5,000 – 10,000 searches (including variations of the product).

So for example, I’ve been on this GoPro kick shooting video all over the place.  Because I’m all over the place I’d like a good case for it when traveling and just around town. if you search for “GoPro Case” you’ll see it gets 5,400  searches a month, not too bad.  So start looking at variations:
“go pro case” – 1,300 searches
“go pro carry case” – 90 searches
“go pro carrying case” – 50 searches

All together this is a pretty decent little niche.  You’re looking at about 7,000 people a month looking online for GoPro Casses.

2.  See How Much Profit Margin There Is For Your Product
Alibaba is a great place to find suppliers for products to sell.   I’ll talk more about it later on, there are definitely some issues you’ll have to deal with between language barriers, shipping, etc.  However hands down it’s the best place I’ve found to connect directly to manufacturers and get products made.

So head over to Alibaba and search for “Go Pro Cases”, you’ll see all the manufacturers showing the various cases they make.   Now load up Amazon & Ebay and look around on both of those sites to get an idea of how much of a profit margin there is.   I see a case on Alibaba that can be bought for around $5 and then one pr

etty similar selling on Amazon for $29.90.    Keep in mind that $5 probably doesn’t include shipping and possibly other things but overall that’s a solid profit margin most likely.    That’s a pretty good sign.

3.  Pick Something Easy To Ship & Not Fragile
I personally like products that are easy to ship and not fragile at all.  This way you cut down on packaging materials as well as dealing with returns of broken items or any shipping related issues.  Ideally you want something that’s pretty small and lightweight.   Also if your item is cheap enough to ship you can always tout “Free Shipping” all over your site which is a nice little frosting on the cake when selling to customers.


4.  Check For Any Legal Issues Or Patents

Definitely spend a little bit of time digging around and make sure you’re not infringing on any patents of products or goods.    For example the GoPro case  you’ll need to double check your wording when selling it.   Spending a few bucks up front talking to a lawyer or consultant if there’s something questionable will save you a huge hassle later on down the road.

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Spend a lot of time on this step, make sure you find a product that you have a good gut feeling with.   I’ve got my product picked out, next post we’re heading over to Alibaba and going to start finding manufacturers and getting samples sent over.