Of course, if you’re a fresh entrepreneur who’s hot to set up an online shop, chances are you already have very firm ideas on what to sell. But for those of you who have only a vague idea, this article’s for you. Consider each of these for a side business – use the knowledge you already have about how to set up an online store to launch another one. You might as well get the practice in.
#1. T-shirts and other print items.
Let’s say you founded a web comic, such as Doomed to Obscurity, and now your fans are clamoring for merchandise so they can parade around sporting your cute characters. Time to invest in a cheap printing system and screen-print your own T-shirts. If you can’t be bothered to do it yourself, online services will make any design you want to order. Beyond that, you can make coffee mugs, coasters, bumper stickers, and other items the same way. Fill them with your clever sayings or funny pictures.
#2. Hand-made jewelry or ornaments.
For every artist yearning to express themselves with unique trinkets, there’s an eBay action kiosk just waiting to be claimed. We know dozens of stay-at-home moms, veterans, or just plain creative people with free time on their hands who run micro-businesses selling hand-made ornamental or decorative items. Jewelry is easy to make with a few raw items like wire and beads – your local craft store sells them in bulk for pennies.
#3. DVDs, CDs, and other media.
An online store selling DVDs, such as Pristine Sales, practically runs itself. Media is easy to stock and maintain, and orders are easy to pull and ship. Since this is such a wide-open field with tones of competition, you want to either be the cheapest store on the web, or cater to specialized tastes. Try to find a niche, such as sci-fi or vintage screwball comedy, and be sure you stock every obscure title within that niche.
#4. Educational materials drawn from your field of expertise.
Here’s a product that nobody can compete with you on directly: YOU! Only you have your unique skillset and knowledge profile. Why not write some educational books or produce some educational videos, sell them for a decent price, and market them to people wanting to learn what you know? You can teach English as a second language, how to get hired in your field, recipes in the kitchen, or how to fold origami giraffes.
#5. Geek memorabilia and collectibles.
Ever seen the Funko Pop! dolls? There’s one for every obscure character in every niche show, movie, comic book, game, and anime in existence, and they’re selling right now like hotcakes. Stuff like this always has a market. Sell posters, collectibles, dolls, games, anything you can think of to market to this demographic. Everybody is a geek these days for some kind of media, and pop culture has given us fans of everything from Star Wars to The Game of Thrones to work with.
In listing these ideas, we try to aim between time-tested and proven products sold over the internet and fringe, long-tail market strategies that aren’t over-saturated already. Try them on for size, and they just might develop into a reliable income stream.