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Creating and Selling Your Own Product

Suzann Kale

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To increase your profits, try creating and selling your very own product.

When you set out to be an Internet marketer, you might have thought you would sell other people's products in return for a commission. In most cases, selling by commission, or being a sales affiliate, only gives you 2 to 20 percent of the sales price. If you're selling a downloadable digital product, commissions can reach 50 to 75 percent. Still, your work is done for a percentage of the selling price.

But here's the math: If you sold your own product, your gross profits would equal 100 percent.

What Kind of Product Should I Create? If you are able and willing to put in the work to create your own product, you get to keep 100 percent of the sales price - and this can double to quadruple your gross profit. It's very unlikely that any of us can create a complex product like the iPod or a new class of airplane. But there are many products that are simple and can be easily reproduced, and these are yours to sell. For 100 percent gross profit.

What About Overhead? When you produce a physical product, even if it's a printed book, or any other reproduced object, you still have to worry about storage, handling, and shipping. This reduces your profit, but hopefully much less though than selling a commission product. So you want to be mindful of the costs that you're going to incur in storing, packing, and shipping a physical product.

And then there is the actual reproduction of the product, which may require you to hire employees, rent work space, or purchase services from production facilities.

Even if you can find a far east producer to manufacture at low cost, you still have significant expenses in shipping and acquiring the product.

How Can I Reduce the Overhead? In essence, you need to think about how to produce a product in the most economical way, reduce reproduction costs to the minimum, and sell something that is as close to a CD or book as possible.

The next thing you need to think about is: What does your background give you in terms of expertise. If you've never been involved in the physical production of a product, there's probably a lot you're going to have to learn before you can do this easily. If you are not a detailed planner, you may need to obtain the services of someone who can organize the production. You may need a manager to oversee the coordination of all the resources involved in the production of your product. So planning your product is highly dependant on the resources required to produce that product.

Where Do I Start? As a first product, I would encourage you to choose something that can be easily reproduced in the manner of CD reproduction, print-on-demand books, or - if it's an electronic product - a design with the entire electrical assembly producable by just one subcontractor for a fixed price. You need to have complete control of the costs involved in each step of the product.

In summery, for your first product:

  • pick something that's easily reproducible,
  • pick something you know something about or can design yourself,
  • plan for and control the costs at every step.

And do this all on paper before you buy a single thing. Use spreadsheets - they're extremely valuable as in the evaluation of options. Set up your spread sheet to show you the yearly cost of production for all the variables you can think of such as rent, electricity, utilities, reoccurring storage costs, and the expected shipping cost of raw materials. You can make changes to all these variables and immediately see the total yearly cost change to reflect the change in variables. Learn to use Excel spreadsheets if you don't know already.

The most important advice? Plan, plan, plan.

Suzann Kale is a technical writer and copy editor. A graduate of Northwestern University, her articles have appeared in national magazines and on the web. She's currently writing for


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