Month: May 2008

Local vs. Global Economy

We live in an increasingly global world and that snowball is likely to keep rolling down the hill of society and continue to grow larger. In the United States we receive a staggering amount of our goods from countries on nearly every other continent. Large corporations have been heading down this road for decades due to cheap foreign labor looking quite attractive in the face of unions in America that have gained so much power that in a lot of cases they have a stranglehold over the operations of corporations. I remember a few years ago when the Hershey Foods workers went on strike. A couple years later the company decided that they were going to move most of the company’s operations to another state and to Mexico. And is anyone surprised?

But what is appropriate for us as individuals? Should we not buy products from China because it takes jobs away from Americans and because they have poor human rights standards? Let’s take a look at the first one. Companies exist to make a profit and if they are able to accomplish that much easier by using foreign labor then they are simply acting out capitalism as it was intended to be and their shareholders I’m sure have little problem with this. So what about the human rights aspect of the Chinese government? Like many others I am not comfortable with this aspect of Chinese goods but I wonder what life would be like for the citizens of China if the United States wasn’t pouring billions of dollars into it’s economy every year.

What if you are an individual who is trying to run a small business successfully? I know that I could never afford to have a personal assistant, but Virtual Assistants from India are cheap and do excellent work. The Epson R220 printer that I use to print my cds uses six different ink cartridges which at retail in the US costs me about $80 for a full set. More than I paid for the printer itself. Thanks to the Internet I was able to find generic cartridges that are compatible and paid $10 for an entire set. And you know what? They work great. How about a writer that wants to self-publish a book. He or She could spend about $4000 for a thousand copies in the US. Using a foreign printer however the author could get the same thing for a fraction of the cost. If the author couldn’t afford local prices and so wouldn’t use local services anyway, then what has the local economy lost?

On a psychological level I am all for supporting the local economy but when it comes to real life I rarely am able to support the local economy because I can’t afford to. I can’t help that local companies charge much more for the same thing that I can get cheaper through the Internet from another part of the country or another part of the world. Dealing in a global economy does have some inherent drawbacks that can’t be ignored either though. The author getting his book printed can’t easily proof the work of the foreign printer he is using and if he gets a thousand copies of screwed up books it could be a mess that costs him even more money to fix. Communications barriers are often a bit of an issue with global dealings as well but the cost savings of all the options that a global economy has to offer an individual make it hard to not go this route at least some of the time.

As someone who supports self-sufficiency I would be remiss to not mention it here. As I said, on a psychological level I want to support the local economy as much as possible but more so I’d like to just be relying on the economy of myself. But I’m not there yet and hard economic times don’t always afford me the idealism of supporting local economy when there are literally billions of people around the world just waiting to do work for me for less money.

Uncommon Opportunities For Growth

I’ve never really been the pessimistic type and believe that some measure of good can be found in just about every situation. When it comes to personal growth, I’ve had a couple of good examples in my own life.

When I was a senior in high school I had the misfortune of getting sick with mononucleosis and subsequently missed six weeks of school. By the time that it was all over I was severely behind on some of my classwork and had missed out on a lot of what seniors have fun doing their senior year. But it wasn’t all bad news. I used some of that free time at home to improve on guitar and at web design. At the time I was really just starting out in both and the amount that I advanced during those six weeks has always amazed me.

At the time I had been dating a girl for a year and a half. It was a rotten relationship that was going nowhere, I just couldn’t see it at the time. She was a bit obsessive and seemed to even be angry at me for being sick and not being able to spend my every waking moment with her. And so having mono drove division between us and helped me to see things more clearly than I had before. We broke up a month later and then she went completely crazy which only affirmed to me that I had made the right decision.

And now here I sit on the couch with my broken ankle. I’ve been missing some work and my household chores have been piling up on me (though my wife has been doing a lot of them for me). Once again though I find myself able to draw some good out of this situation: I’ve been writing, a lot. The amount of work I’ve been able to get done on my novel is just fantastic.

When troubles come your way, it’s extremely easy to dwell on how it is negatively affecting you. I encourage you however to take some time to reflect on what good can come out of the bad situation you are in. Maybe your problem is finances, goodness knows I’ve been there too. Last year was probably one of the most stressful in my life simply due to how bad our financial situation was. But we made it through and learned lessons in frugality that others who haven’t faced similar situations can’t fully grasp. We still aren’t great financially but it continues to amaze me how we have no debt but people making two or three times what we make are thousands of dollars in debt.

It may sound cliché but try to look on the bright side of things when trouble comes your way. I believe there is a purpose to life and its not just a bunch of random events. Maybe the purpose of breaking my ankle was so that I would finally start writing fiction in a way that my dream of finishing a novel would actually come true some day. Or maybe I’m just not very coordinated.

Sponsored Reviews In Blogs

I started this website with the goal of growing personally as I seek out methods of self-employed income and self-sufficiency for the purpose of getting out of the rat race. If this website happens to make me a little bit of money and aid me in that pursuit well then all the better. After all there needs to be some return on investment for all the time I put into this blog and not into something else. There is a big trend in the blogosphere of getting paid to write a review of a product or service. Bloggers who are trying to make some money with their blog have turned to these sponsored review sites as a means of quick cash. But at what cost?

I’ve been asked a couple times by friends of mine why I don’t do the same thing. I don’t know that I never will but for right now I’m not doing it. I feel that it cheapens a blog and it’s a bit insulting to my regular readers. I know that I would get annoyed if a blog I read regularly had a bunch of fluff pieces that didn’t contribute anything to the quality of the blog or to my own life.

That’s not to say that I don’t have affiliate links in some of my posts because I do. The difference though is that the actual article would be the same whether or not those affiliate links existed. The other difference is that when I mention a book or a service of some sort in a post it’s because 99% of the time I have personally read whatever book it is or used whatever service it is and found those things to be valuable in my own life. I see nothing wrong with recommending products that I actually use and possibly reaping a small reward from that.

So if you’ve been thinking that paid posting is the thing for you well then more power to you. Perhaps your audience won’t mind. Perhaps that’s because you didn’t have much to offer your audience anyway. Okay, I’m not actually being serious about that part but I would encourage you to give a lot of thought to the subject before you pimp out your writing skills for a few bucks. Consider the long term affect on the value of your blog. One way to approach this idea if you plan to do it is to tell your audience in advance that you will be starting to do sponsored posts on a trial basis to judge it’s affect on your blog. Serious blogging is a long term commitment and focusing on quick cash doesn’t seem like taking the long view to me. As I said earlier in this article, I won’t rule out ever trying this approach to money making but I have a hard time seeing myself doing it.

Adapt to Thrive

I don’t pretend to be an expert at managing others. In fact I don’t even really enjoy it. I’d rather be responsible for managing my own productivity than be responsible for making sure others are being productive. But managing others has been where I’m at in my career for the past several years and until I find a means of working from home, then that is likely to continue.

When I was still a department manager a few years ago I had a top notch crew that could do most of what I did and delegating tasks to them based on the needs of the business wasn’t an issue at all. But then some things changed that were beyond my control. One thing that changed was that the management above me stopped being concerned with holding anyone accountable for anything, including themselves. At the same time I experienced a good deal of turnover in my associates. So I had an inexperienced staff and upper management that didn’t care to make them do any work when I wasn’t there.

With productivity slipping and stress building I had to find a new way to approach my job. I found that new approach one day when I realized that if things were going to improve then I needed to be able to adapt. I stopped expecting my current staff to be able to handle everything that my previous staff could and started delegating according to their abilities.

I gave my staff most of the grunt work to do and left the more complex, and often less physically demanding, tasks for myself. A nice side effect of this was that my staff now needed very little supervision to do their jobs which also freed up more of my time to accomplish what I needed to. There was one eventual downside though and that was that I became so comfortable with this arrangement that I didn’t really look for opportunities to train my staff to be able to take on more responsibility.

I had been able to adapt but only to the point of being comfortable. That can be a dangerous place to be in for any person in business. Beware of making yourself so comfortable that you forget to look for areas of opportunity for further adaptation to the needs of the business. In my case the consequences of this comfort didn’t really affect me directly. They affected my replacement. I moved to a different department eventually and one of my associates was promoted into my former position. Upper management literally did nothing to train him how to do his job. I was more than willing to teach him anything he needed to know but I was so busy trying to learn my own job, for which I also received no training, that I wasn’t able to help him out very much.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that you should be able to be flexible enough to adapt when necessary but make sure that hidden within your adaptation isn’t a layer of laziness.

Freedom To Fail

Unless you are perfect in almost every way like Mary Poppins then odds are you fail from time to time. When it comes to trying to generate self-employed income there are plenty of ways to fail. Especially if you are trying to be innovative in any given area. Being innovative requires you to try new things that haven’t already been tested by others. This can mean that you will conquer a niche market or that you will fail miserably. When your financial future is riding on your success or failure it can be a bit intimidating to try and innovate but if fear of failure keeps you from ever trying then you will never taste the freedom that comes from success.

When I was growing up my mother was a bit protective and would never let me ride my bike very far from the house at all. So I simply didn’t ride that often since there was nowhere that I could really go anyway. I was able to ride my bike just fine but not do any of those things that more able riders could do like riding with one hand or no hands. In 7th grade I went riding with a friend and we rode past the house of a girl who was in our class at school. At that very moment we were in the process of riding out around some people who were taking up half the road walking their dogs. Me being the suave ladies man that I was decided to wave to the girl as we were passing by. I knew that I lacked the skill of riding one handed but that mattered little to my young teenage brain. I lost a bit of control on my bike and at the same time a pickup truck went speeding by around the outside of us. The front wheel of my bike skidded along the side of the truck as it passed and somehow I miraculously was not killed and didn’t even crash. We pulled off onto a side road to recollect our wits and a man on a motorcycle proceeded to curse at me as if I had intentionally almost become road pizza.

So there you have it. I tried to do something new that I was not skilled at and it almost got me killed. I nearly died for the sake of getting a couple seconds of attention from a girl that had no interest in me anyway. When it comes to business decisions it is pretty rare that the things you try might end up being a life or death situation for you, unless of course you’ve borrowed money from the mob.

Be willing to try new approaches to your entrepreneurial pursuits. Be aware of the potential consequences of your actions. Be ready to dive in with all you’ve got when it seems like the right decision but also be able to recognize when the potential risks just aren’t worth it and you need to change course completely. Free yourself to take chances and enjoy the rewards of your efforts

Perseverance of the Enslaved

How many hours a week does your rat race job take you away from your home and family? Including drive time I’m currently clocking in at 55 hours. Add on top of that errands to run and a house to maintain and suddenly there isn’t much time left to pursue the things that I hope would some day allow me to get out of the rat race. I sometimes catch myself thinking that it would just be so easy to not care and resign myself to a life of meaningless work and look forward to coming home each day and simply relaxing with my family. Not always striving for more…maybe there isn’t anything more that I’m supposed to have? It’s times like these that I have to remind myself that the potential reward for my perseverance far out ways the inconvenience of the efforts put in at this very moment.

In some ways this brings us back to what I wrote in my article entitled Trimming the Fat, Even if it Hurts. When society has already placed such a premium on your free time how do you determine if the things you are spending your time on are leading you towards your goals or are just another distraction? That’s a tough one. I started this blog simply to chronicle my journey towards self-employment and self-sufficiency. Along the way though I learned some different things about promoting and monetizing websites so I decided that if I was going to make the website anyway I might as well try and make a little bit of money with it. So now I’m writing about three articles a week for this website and I have to admit that there are times that I question the time spent on it. For all the writing I’ve done during my lunch breaks on this blog I could be about 1/3 of the way finished writing a novel. With the time I’ve spent at home developing and promoting the website I could certainly have gotten some recording work done on my music.

So should I kill this blog simply because it is not taking me directly to the goals I desire? No, sometimes you need things that can lead you to where you want to go in a round about way. If a truly miraculous thing would happen and this website would start to generate some income, well then I am partly on my way towards self-employment and in the process I have put many hours of practice into my writing skills. Running I’m Not A Rat also forces me to sometimes try things that I wouldn’t other wise put the effort into. So I’m also learning and becoming a more well rounded person thanks to this website.

Let me give you one more example. When I started my new job a few months back there was another guy that started at the same time as me. From the very beginning it was clear that he wasn’t a good fit for the company we both worked for. He revealed to me that what he really wanted to do was own a tanning salon. After two weeks of complaining about the company he came back from a long weekend and told me that he had purchased carpet cleaning equipment for a couple grand, incorporated a business, and secured several large contracts for cleaning apartments after people move out. In one weekend he created a business with enough income generation to get himself out of the rat race. He had big plans for this cleaning business too. Within two months he hoped to have his operation large enough to hire a couple of employees and soon after that have enough saved to start that tanning salon that he dreamed about.

My former co-worker was willing to put in the effort in a big way to achieve his dreams even if that meant deferring them for a while so that he could develop another business as a means to an end. These kind of stories inspire me to push on and stay the course even when all I want to do is relax. I don’t advocate pursuing your dreams at all costs to time spent with family. I’ve seen other authors that would seem to suggest just that. The point of all this in the end is to spend more time with my family not less, so it would seem contradictory to spend no time with them now. Incidentally I got up early in the morning to get this typed before the rest of my family work up. I see them little enough thanks to my job, I don’t need to ignore them when they are awake too.

The Self-Sufficient Life

A regular reader of this blog brought it to my attention the other day that articles like the one I did about Dandelion Jelly run the risk of losing my audience of would be entrepreneurs. I feel that I should clarify why I occasionally do articles about leading a self-sufficient life.

There are a couple of different approaches that people can take when attempting to get themselves out of the rat race. The first method is the one that I believe most people employ. That is to try and generate enough income through self-employed means to maintain their current lifestyle. This is often not so much a conscious choice as it is a subconscious continuation of current lifestyle habits.

Another approach to getting out of the rat race is to strive for a self-sufficient life. Meaning that you grow much of your own food and perform most home repairs yourself. This of course often applies to energy consumption as well. The idea here is that if you are more of a producer than you are a consumer then you require less income to support yourself. A self-sufficient approach to life isn’t for everyone, I myself certainly don’t aim for total self-sufficiency. Allow me for a moment though to make a case for it because I believe that it is becoming far too much of a lost way of living.

Let’s start with home energy since that is a hot button issue at the moment. If sky rocketing heating oil and natural gas prices don’t have you thinking about alternatives then I don’t know what will. Your ability to affordably heat your home is currently being held hostage by terrorist nations and our own government alike. If you don’t believe me just write your senator and ask him or her why we currently have a ban on drilling for new oil in our own nation when there are vast oil reserves off of the coasts, up in Alaska, in the Dakotas, and elsewhere. You do have options though with commercial and home brewed solar systems, wind generators and micro hydro-electric plants that can be easily made at home.

Your food supply. How many meat and vegetable recalls have we seen in the last couple years? Far too many for my liking and I don’t expect the situation to improve as corporations continually push for quantity over quality. A vegetable garden is fairly easy to maintain and you will end up with higher quality more flavorful and more nutritious produce than you can buy at the supermarket. Fruit trees once they are established will give you decades of free food. Keeping animals requires much less space than you might think and unless you are living in an apartment you could quite easily keep a few chickens for meat and eggs. If you have an acre or more to work with a few pigs and a cow is not out of the question either.

Home repairs. There will always be a long list of plumbers and electricians willing to clean out your wallet for minor home repairs. So this is not an issue of market availability. It’s an issue of not spending money on even minor repairs that you could easily learn to do yourself from a couple decent books on the subject.

As I said, I don’t plan on becoming completely self-sufficient. These things can be very time consuming after all and I enjoy doing other things a bit too much to commit myself to milking a cow twice a day for several years. I would encourage you though to at least learn some of the concepts of the self-sufficient life, you may find yourself applying them more often than you think. And if you are the paranoid type that envisions apocalyptic nuclear annihilation scenarios then you definitely want to learn to fend for yourself.

So for those of you who only come here to learn business concepts and strategies I hope I don’t lose you on the self-sufficiency topics. Stick around you might be surprised at what you can learn while I’m learning it too.

Trimming the Fat, Even if it Hurts

The entrepreneurial minded often have the problem of having many more ideas than they could possibly pursue. I have this problem myself. I am constantly thinking up ideas for new business ventures, songs, stories, and inventions. I would have to say that 95% of these ideas never come to fruition for a couple of reasons. One is that after sleeping on an idea for a couple days I start to see flaws that would prevent it from reaching completion. The other main reason is that many of my ideas are bigger than my wallet and I lack the time and resources to pursue them in a way that would make the ideas profitable. Sometimes trimming the fat of excess time commitments in order to achieve your goals can be quite painful.

A few years ago I was running a moderately successful music and movie review website. I had built a decent following and sank countless hours into managing the site. Then I moved out to the country and lost access to high speed Internet Suddenly the site was taking a ridiculous amount of time to manage thanks in part to a poor site design that at the time I wasn’t sure how to properly fix and port hundreds of reviews into a new site. At the same time I also had a lot of other stuff going on in my life and the site that I used to love doing was now a burden that I was quite tired of.

I had to come to a tough decision. There wasn’t much chance of having access to high speed Internet again in the foreseeable future and I started to question myself on how much time I was spending running a site reviewing other people’s music instead of working on my own music. I might have viewed things a bit differently if I had done a better job monetizing the site. I made a last ditch effort of creating an entirely new site on a new domain that used a content management system to save what I had spent years building. This only served to kill my baby further and soon I lacked all motivation to continue to keep the beast alive. It was now time to kill it. It was the right decision but every time I purchase a new cd I still find myself mentally writing a review of it.

Not too long after that I had to make an even tougher decision. The band that I had poured my soul into for the past two years just wasn’t going anywhere. We had so much potential and we could have real gotten somewhere if we had only replaced a couple band members, practiced a lot more, and threw out half the songs and wrote new ones. Because of intra-band politics though none of these things was likely to happen. At the time my wife was a couple months pregnant and I knew that free time to pursue music would be harder to come by after the baby came along so I agonized over deciding to leave the band that I had enjoyed being a part of more than any that I had been in up to that point. I finally made up my mind after we once again had not practiced enough before a show and it was the worst show we ever put on in my opinion. I needed to break away and pursue music through different avenues and quit losing time. Afterwards I kept questioning whether I had made the right decision or not. When the band split up a couple weeks later I knew that I had.

This is the part where I should be writing some wonderful success story about how these tough decisions have allowed me to become rich and famous in the music industry. Well that’s not the case. But I am certainly further along in my musical pursuits than I would have been if I hadn’t cut loose things that were holding me back from what I really needed to be spending my time on.

I have learned the value of sitting on ideas for a little while before jumping into them and I often bounce ideas off of others before pursuing them. My wife is great for this, she’s very quick to bring me back to reality when my ideas are a bit off the wall. Look at where your time is spent on your business pursuits. Are the things that you commit your time to really leading you closer to your personal, spiritual, or financial goals? Are the people you associate with lifting you up or bringing you down? Take some time to reevaluate where your life is headed with your current time commitments. Maybe it’s time to change course and seek more positive results.

A Disciplined Approach to Writing

The funny thing about the title to this article is that as I sat down to write the article, I really didn’t feel much like writing. Sometimes that is what it’s like when you are an aspiring writer though, you need to write as time permits and sometimes that means writing when you aren’t in the mood or even when you are sick.

Several years ago while attending a small music school outside of Memphis Tennessee I was taking a creativity class of some sort and wrote a short story for it. A couple days later the professor offered to take me out to lunch where she then encouraged me to think about going to college to be a writer. This was meant to be a compliment to my writing skills, not an insult to my musical abilities. I was pleased with the compliment but I never did go to college to be a writer though being a writer is something I’ve wanted to do most of my life. I don’t believe that any one needs to go to college to accomplish this task. You simply need to be reasonably good with spelling and grammar and be able to craft a good story. There are dozens of good books available on the subject such as $30 Writing School by Michael Dean and On Writing by Steven King. In addition to books there are many more resources available. A few that I like are Writing Sci-Fi and Fantasy by Jeffrey A. Carver, Fictional Discipline by Stan Man X, yes I borrowed the idea for the title of this article from him, and Writing Excuses.

Taking a disciplined approach to your writing is the best way to improve your writing ability. I spent years thinking up great ideas for stories but then never getting those ideas out of my head and onto paper. That’s not writing, that’s day dreaming and anyone can do that. Without dedication to see an idea through to completion you won’t ever be a writer. I used to always struggle with story length. I could come up with great ideas but somehow couldn’t expound them into anything approaching the length of a book. I always felt like I was trying to add fluff to my stories just to make them longer instead of actually having any real content. Something strange has happened though as I have started to write on a consistent basis: The length of my writing has consistently increased without even noticing the change. If you want to see some proof take a look at the first month of posts on this blog and compare the length of the entries to the length of entries I am doing now. Like any other skill you must work at writing consistently if you want to see improvement.

I’m not going to pretend to have this writing thing all figured out because I certainly don’t. I’m just trying to find my way in this craft and hoping to help other s along the way. Of all the things I’ve written only one piece was ever published beyond self-publishing that I’ve done on the Internet. And that was a poem about 5 years ago in an Art festival’s literature magazine. If I ever do get out of the rat race, I certainly hope that writing is a key element in that but it will take consistent dedication and perseverance for it to become a reality. Spending all your time saying that you want to be a writer without actually writing anything will never get you anywhere. Put the effort in now not later. You’ll be happy you did.

Writing Tip: Something that I have found very helpful while writing is to not look at the screen at all. I find that I get easily distracted and what I do write seems to come out slower than if I simply stare blankly at the keys. I don’t need to see the keys to type but it’s the best place I’ve found to look while writing that won’t encourage outside distractions to slow me down.

An Introduction to Dropshipping and Online Stores

A growing trend on the Internet is the practice of Drop shipping. This is when a website has a store and when a person orders something, the owner of the store then sends the order directly to the manufacturer. The manufacturer then ships the order directly to the customer. The benefits to the website owner should be obvious. You can run an online store that ships products directly to customers without ever having to carry any inventory or ship any orders yourself.
For those of you new to this concept I can see your eyes lighting up right now and you’re saying to yourself “that’s brilliant, I need to get in on that. It can’t fail!” Allow me for just a moment to bring you back to reality a bit. There are several things to consider here: How do you contact these manufacturers? What products should you carry? What online store software is good to use?

Let’s deal with the first one. Simply Googling “Drop ship Manufacturers” is a good way to run into a lot of fraudulent websites. Scammers are involved in every form of online business opportunity so you need to just get used to it. And you also need to avoid them at all cost. There is only one legitimate drop ship source website that I know of, I’m sure there may be others. has an extensive network of drop ship manufacturers that you can have access to for life for a one time fee of $299. That may seem like a lot but on the other hand if you aren’t prepared to even invest that much in a business then perhaps being in business is not the right thing for you. That being said you certainly do not need to use a website like Another method which is totally free, would be to contact manufacturers directly. To do this you should have a fairly solid idea of what market you are going to be in (we will discuss this more in the next couple paragraphs) and then determine who the top manufacturers are in that field. Now here’s the critical part: Call them. Ask them if they do drop shipping or not and what you need to do to begin to work with them. I recommend starting with a company that is not necessarily your main target company. If you’ve never done this before then more than likely you will screw up the first call or two and you wouldn’t want to burn a bridge with a top manufacturer before the bridge was even built. For this step and for your store in general you ought to have a PO Box for a company address so you look more legitimate.

Another major consideration is what software will run your store. There are some free options out there like osCommerce, Cube Cart, and Zen Cart. I’ve also seen a new company named which offers free stores but they are still in beta testing at the time of this writing. Most of the free site software packages offer quite a few customization options but will also have a “Powered by” branding on it unless you pay for a registered version. Yahoo and Amazon have pay stores as well as eBay. I recommend at least trying out a few different store solutions so you can determine which one will best work for you. Keep in mind that most of the free ones also have hundreds of community created addons that can make the store software more powerful.

I’d like to make a note about eBay stores. Most of the Drop shipping database sites will heavily push using eBay. This is solely for the purpose of trying to sign up more people with the promise of quickly getting started selling on eBay. I personally would avoid this approach at all costs even in the eBay stores. The reason for this is that with thousands of people signing up for these drop ship sites and selling on eBay, invariably the market on eBay is getting flooded and people are having to sell at lower costs and hardly making any profit which makes the entire effort pointless. You would do much better having a standalone site on your own domain name with a professional look to it and following the advice in my search engine optimization posts than by wasting time with eBay. Making money on eBay is definitely possible and many people make a good living doing it. I simply don’t recommend that route for Drop shipping.

Every step in this article is important and knowing what products to sell is as critical as the rest of them. You can have the best store software with the most professional design and catchiest name but in the end if you don’t chose your market wisely it won’t matter how good all that other stuff is. What you want to do is find a niche that you can conquer. Having 100 different categories of electronics items and 200 products in each category will not separate you from the pack. But specializing in HD TVs and equipment and not dealing in much else will give your store a very specific target audience that it will be easier to market to. As your business grows you can always expand later.

I know that the main part of this post is intended to be an introduction to drop shipping but I just wanted to touch on another area quickly. It is always a good idea to test a market before investing a lot of time and money into it. One way that you can do that is to use Amazon’s aStore. It’s a free store front that allows you to list whatever products you want to from Amazon’s vast catalog of products. The good part is that it’s completely free and easy to get started with. The bad part is that you won’t make nearly as much money per item shipped as you would with drop shipping and it is definitely a tougher task to get an aStore to look completely professional and integrated with a custom design. But it can be a very good choice for a fledgling website that is still building traffic. If you are shipping a number of items with your aStore then it could be a good indicator that you should make the switch into drop shipping.

Checkout all of the resources I gave you in this article and also consider getting a good book on drop shipping for more in depth information. You can run a successful online business. You just need to find an approach that works for you and maybe drop shipping is it.