You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and come up with a new product if you want to start an online business.
You don’t even need a physical store!
There are various online business selling methods that offer products you can sell and make good revenue out of.
But you might be asking:
“How can I start an online business selling other companies’ products?”
You’re in luck because today we’ll be answering that question for you.
We’ll talk about starting an online business through:
- Direct selling
- Affiliate marketing
Ultimately, we’ll dive into the best way you can start your online business:
By building your own website.
Let’s get into it!
TL;DR: How to Start an Online Business Selling Other Companies Products
Need to hurry along?
We got you!
If you’re pressed for time, here’s a quick comparison of the different ways you can start your own online business:
|TYPE OF ONLINE BUSINESS||WHAT IS IT?|
|Dropshipping||A business method that allows you to sell products online without owning a physical location. A third-party supplier handles product storage and shipping to customers.|
|Wholesale||Selling products in bulk to business owners, reducing the handling time and overall costs involved.|
|Direct Selling||Selling products not typically found in traditional retailers directly to customers.|
|Selling through existing sites||Utilizing existing e-commerce platforms that are already popular with the general public.|
|Affiliate Marketing||Affiliates earn commissions for marketing a business owner’s products or services.|
You can choose which type of online business would best suit you and your needs.
However, while these are great ways to start your online business, there is another method you might want to explore.
Put up your own website and start selling through it.
Having a website establishes you as a brand which opens more opportunities for business.
It allows you to be flexible with whatever you want your online business to be about: dropshipping, affiliate marketing, etc.
It also means having total control over your platform in terms of its look and feel.
But you do have to put in the extra legwork of building a solid customer base, driving traffic to your website, and paying for website hosting fees.
If you’re looking for ways to start your online business this 2023, all the methods I’ve mentioned above are well worth considering.
Let’s delve into it deeper, shall we?
Why Should You Try Selling Other Companies’ Products Online?
Wouldn’t it be better if you made your own products and sold them instead of working for other companies?
That’s certainly possible!
And it could even be your long-term goal.
But if you’re new to starting a business, you might want to set that goal aside in the meantime.
Starting your own business would mean:
- Creating a brilliant product or service that would pull in huge numbers,
- Spending so much time conceptualizing, coordinating, and marketing your own products, or
- Opening your own brick-and-mortar store
Unless you’ve got the time, energy, and resources, you might get discouraged to start any business at all.
So the next best thing is to cut through the production line and go straight to selling other companies’ products.
With selling other people’s products, all you need to worry about is putting it on the right platforms.
And that’s easy to do with proper knowledge.
You can watch this video to whet your appetite:
But before you get any sort of plans rolling, you have to first pick a niche.
Pick a Niche
You’ve heard of the quote “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
This figure of speech rings true for folks who like dabbling in many things at once rather than gaining expertise in one.
While this might sound like a great thing to do, it’s going to split your focus.
The same goes for starting a business.
It would be much easier if you find a niche and stick to it.
Operating in a niche simplifies your marketing efforts by:
- Having a good knowledge of your target market
- Building a loyal customer base
- Minimizing competition
For example, you want to get into the pet industry which was worth $76.8 billion in 2022.
That’s a broad market and you would drown in competition if you tried to target every potential customer.
You can niche down to organic pet food and treats or personalized pet accessories and clothing.
Niching down lets you be an expert in your field and deliver stellar service.
Plus, it has a great potential in connecting you with long-term clients, leading to increased profits.
But How Do You Pick a Niche?
There are a few ways to find your niche.
One is to identify your passions and interests.
You can answer a few questions to help you decide:
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What skills come naturally to me?
- What do I love learning about?
- How do I spend my free time?
- Do friends and family know me for a specific thing?
Having the answers to these questions is crucial since you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a niche you don’t like.
Remember, the more you enjoy your work, the easier its to stay motivated.
Other ways to pick a niche are to experiment with what you think would work best for your small business or gather feedback from a group of people to find out their needs.
Here’s a great video that further dives into how important it is to pick a niche:
What Are the Different Ways to Sell Other Companies’ Products Online?
Now that you know how to pick a niche and the importance of choosing one, it’s time we talked about the different ways you can sell other companies’ products online.
Here are a few:
What’s a better way to take advantage of the booming e-commerce industry than to join it?
According to reports, the global e-commerce market is expected to hit $6.51 trillion by 2023.
And if you want to be an online entrepreneur, a great way to start is by becoming a drop shipper.
What is dropshipping, you ask?
It’s a retail method where the seller doesn’t handle anything directly but instead involves a third-party supplier to deliver the products.
Once an order for an item goes through, the seller passes it on to the third-party supplier who is in charge of everything — from storing the product to packing and shipping.
Dropshipping is a great business model for aspiring entrepreneurs for a number of reasons:
- Less capital
- Low overhead cost
- No inventory
- No shipping
- No loss or risk
- Wide selection of products to sell
All of these benefits tell us one thing: It’s easy to get started with dropshipping.
Heck, you could even start one yourself right now!
Set up an account with reputable drop shippers such as:
- Worldwide Brands
You don’t have to set up a brick-and-mortar store or handle the orders yourself and you still get to make good revenue out of it.
But while dropshipping sounds like an ideal business for selling other companies’ products, it has its disadvantages too.
Before you go all starry-eyed about the prospect of being part of the dropshipping industry, know that it isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme.
You have to start small and put in the hours.
And without a concrete plan on how to sell products, you risk getting buried under the thousands of other online sellers out there.
Estimates say that only between 10-20% of dropshippers succeed — the competition could get fierce!
Here are some considerations you might want to keep in mind before you start your dropshipping business:
- Low margins – Since you started with investing so little, don’t expect huge returns. However, what’s great about this business is you can scale it through the years.
- Highly competitive – There will be hundreds if not thousands of other sellers out there selling products at rock-bottom prices just to get an edge on everyone else.
- Inventory and quality issues – You’ve got no control over the supply chain since it’s run by a third party. Plus, you don’t have control over the product quality too so it could be a problem when a customer complains.
But don’t let all these scare you into trying your luck with dropshipping!
It’s still one of the best ways to make money in this day and age.
Once you’ve cleared the hardest part — actually starting your online business — you can get creative from there.
If you need more resource, this comprehensive how-to from Shopify should cover all your bases.
Sell Through Existing Sites
If the drop shipping business is not for you, you can consider selling products on platforms already popular with the general public.
Here are a few options:
All of these e-commerce platforms allow individuals to directly sell to customers.
The best part about selling products through existing sites is the minimal setup and maintenance for the seller.
Everything is already there — even a ready-made customer base.
That’s a huge help with marketing!
However, there are downsides to this method too.
You could be charged listing fees and, compounded with all the products you will potentially sell, they could get hefty.
As a seller, you also have reduced control and limited ability to develop your own customer base.
Your products will show up where the platform wants it to which is not really the best way to reach specific target audience.
If you also plan on selling your products to an online local community, you can always check out the city’s Facebook page and maybe hop on Craigslist too.
Here’s a nifty video where you could learn a thing or two about making money on Amazon.
Wholesaling is buying items in bulk and selling them at a much lower price than what’s usually found in the market.
For the online seller, it reduces the handling time and costs involved.
Wholesalers generally cater to two types of customers:
- Those buying in bulk to save on individual costs, and
- Business owners looking to resell products at a higher price
The good news is that if these folks like your product, there’s a high chance for repeat customers.
You get to build a strong connection with your target audience which, in turn, boosts your credibility.
Being a wholesaler also lets you reduce your store’s total operating costs since it falls on the retailer to actually sell the product to customers.
However, the downside is you’d probably have to shell out a bit of cash to get the products in the first place.
The wholesale global market was expected to grow to $46.3 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $65.6 billion by 2026.
So if you’re wondering whether this would be a profitable venture, there’s your answer!
And if you’re looking for more tips on how to start your wholesale business, watch this video:
As its name suggests, direct sales is selling products directly to a customer, effectively cutting out a few steps in the traditional retail chain.
Instead of involving middlemen like distributors and wholesalers, direct sales go from the manufacturer to the direct sales company, then to the rep or distributor, and finally to the customer.
With direct sales, you’ll be dealing with products that aren’t typically found in regular stores so customers look for distributors to obtain them.
These could be:
- Beauty products
- Supplements and health products
- Household appliances
- Home products
Since you’re dealing with products that might not be in retail stores, it’s a great opportunity for remote work.
You can sell products via a website, social media platforms, phone, or other non-retail settings.
Direct selling gives you control over your business since it doesn’t involve middlemen.
The flexible work hours and minimal requirements to start it is also why all types of freelancers are attracted to it.
But keep in mind that direct selling will have you deal with customers directly and persuade them to purchase your product.
If you’re not a naturally outgoing person or you don’t possess a wide network, it could be a challenge.
Probably one of the best ways to sell other companies’ products online is for you to become an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement where a business gives its affiliates commissions for each visitor, customer, or any type of sale they generate for the business owner.
In simple terms, businesses will provide you with links to their products and it’s your job to make sure people click on them.
According to Glassdoor, affiliate marketers can make a whopping $78,030 per year.
Of course, like with dropshipping, you have to keep in mind that these numbers won’t happen overnight.
You have to first build your own audience and create content that would engage them.
And if you’re looking for affiliate marketing opportunities, these five platforms are the best programs for beginners:
- Amazon Associates
- Rakuten Affiliate
- eBay Partner Network
However, these deal with a wide range of niches — from games and gadgets to beauty and fashion.
And if there’s anything you learned about making an impact with a customer base, it’s to niche down.
Once you find your niche, it will be easier to grow your affiliate marketing business.
If you want to get started on your affiliate marketing journey, check out our free training course here.
It’s a seven-chapter course that includes everything from the basics to setting up your website and mastering SEO, SEM, and SMM.
You can also check out our video on how to start affiliate marketing for beginners:
Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing
In the digital age, affiliate marketing is the name of the game.
Businesses are becoming more and more aware that they need the help of those in the niche markets to reach every customer possible.
With the affiliate marketing industry projected to reach $8.2 billion in 2023, it’s well worth looking into.
There are many perks to becoming an affiliate marketer including:
- Making passive income
- Low-cost business
- Flexible working schedule
- Building brand recognition
In the same way it has its perks, it also has its down sides:
- Results aren’t instant
- You’ve got fierce competition
- No guarantee of revenue
Affiliate marketers have to first build a customer base, drive traffic to their website, and entice people to click.
It will take a beginner a few months to a year before they see the first few commissions roll in.
But if you stick with it and you do everything to upgrade your digital marketing and affiliate marketing skills, you’ll see great results in no time.
READ: How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Blog Step-By-Step
Selling Through Your Own Site
Whether you decide on an online business for dropshipping, wholesale, direct sales, or affiliate marketing, there’s one best way to make money online:
You need your own website.
If you’re serious about wanting to grow your business, a website gives you total control over everything.
Selling products through your own site eliminates the pitfalls of selling through an existing platform.
Plus, it lets you escape listing fees, create your own customer base, and you get to manage your site’s look and feel.
What’s the catch?
Managing your own website could have its downsides too but it’s nothing that hard work can’t fix.
- Paying for purchasing your domain name and secure web hosting
- Hiring a web designer to create your site
- Integrating your website with an online processor
- Learning active marketing skills and SEO to drive traffic
These can take time to master, if you’re doing all of it yourself, and it can cut into your profit margin.
However, the risks are well worth the reward if you’re serious about starting your online business.
Setting Up Your Own Website Is Easy!
Are you ready to create your own website and be your own boss?
You can make your website anytime you wnat to and it only takes a few easy steps:
Step 1: Decide on a hosting site
There are a number of hosting sites to choose from these days but nothing beats those that have already made names for themselves like Bluehost.
Bluehost is famous for being beginner-proof and easy to navigate.
All you need is a few clicks and you’ve got yourself a website.
Plus, it’s an affordable hosting site too, starting at $10.99 for shared hosting.
The price tag could even go down to $2.95 thanks to Bluehost’s frequent promos so watch out for that.
If you’re an absolute beginner looking to make your website, don’t worry.
Bluehost has a user-friendly interface that will guide you through it all.
Step 2: Select your plan
To get started, visit their website and pick a hosting plan.
For those who are just starting out and testing the waters, I would recommend the basic shared hosting plan ($2.95/mo).
But as your business grows and you want more resources and power, you can upgrade to Choice Plus ($5.45/mo) or Pro ($13.95/mo).
Step 3: Pick your domain name
Once you’ve figured out what your website will be called, give it an appropriate domain.
Domain names build your brand and give you credibility, it’s going to be your website’s identity.
You’ll be glad to know Bluehost throws in a free domain (one year for the basic package) with every new hosting account created.
If you can’t decide on one just yet, you don’t have to sweat it!
You can always change it later on.
And if you already have your domain or you want to think about it more, Bluehost also offers options for those too.
Step 4: Fill out your account information
Once you’ve decided on a domain, you can go ahead and fill out your account information.
You can review the summary of what you’re about to purchase and even change the service terms from 12 months to 36 months.
Bluehost will charge you the whole price upfront so don’t be surprised about it.
So if you chose the 12-month plan that’s $2.95/mo, you’ll have to pay the full $35.40 after signing up.
Step 5: Install your WordPress website
If you love playing around with themes and designs, you’ll love this part.
Once you create a hosting account, Bluehost will automatically install WordPress.
You can start picking themes that would suit your online business’ website.
Just like with the domain name, you can also change this later if you decide to go in a different direction.
Step 6: Start publishing
And that’s it!
Congratulations, you’ve just built your website and now you can get cracking.
Your main task now is to publish as much content as possible that will benefit your niche market.
Become an expert in your industry and start building your customer base.
Once people know you’re an authority in their field, you get to drive traffic to your website and eventually reap the benefits of starting an online business.
If you’re scared to venture on this journey, don’t be!
Here at Affiliate Marketer Training, we’ve got tons of tried and tested valuable information to help you out.
Confused about search engine optimization (SEO)?
You can check out our guide for SEO affiliate marketing or scroll through other SEO-related articles.
Don’t know which articles to churn out?
We’ve got your back!
Here’s an article on how to write great content for your website or blog.
And if you need more information on how to make your website profitable, read up on the CTPM process for website owners.
Building your own online business is exciting but it does come with a few challenges along the way.
But if you’ve got the right help, you’ll thrive in no time.
Start an Online Business Selling Other Companies’ Products FAQ
What Do You Need to Be an Online Seller?
Motivated to start your own online business?
You can even start planning the minute you finish this article.
But to fully prepare you for what might lie ahead, let’s quickly talk about what you would need to be an online seller.
Of course, there are the basics: Gadgets such as a functioning laptop and phone, a smooth internet connection, and social media accounts to promote the products.
READ: How to Use Social Media for Affiliate Marketing
But the most important thing is putting in a lot of time and effort if you want to be a successful seller.
As an online seller, you will need to:
- Continuously scope out what your customer base needs
- Research what the market demands
- Look up how competitors are doing
- Discover new products you can sell
- Plan how to effectively market your products
Online selling is easy — you can do it anywhere — but what will separate you from the rest is the effort you put in to sell other companies products.
Where Can You Find Products to Sell?
Before you look for suppliers, you have to first identify what kind of product you want to sell.
And how do you start doing that?
By picking a niche.
Yes, I know, I’ve mentioned this a thousand times already but that’s how you know it’s one of the most important things about starting any kind of business.
A niche lets you zero in on which customers you’d want to sell to and what kind of products you need.
That makes it easier to hunt for suppliers.
But before you pick a supplier, you need to figure out if:
- You want a supplier that operates like a distributor that would provide you products or
- One that acts like a drop shipper where you’ll only have to send them orders
Once you’ve ironed out those details, you can begin looking for reseller business suppliers.
Start with a quick Google search to put you in the right direction.
You could also do your research and ask referrals from your network.
E-commerce giant Shopify has a comprehensive article on how to source products to sell online you could even use as a guide.
You can also click on this informative video that could help you find the right supplier:
And there you have it!
Dropshipping, affiliate marketing, wholesale selling, and direct sales are just some of the ways you can start an online business selling other companies’ products.
But if you’re serious about building an online business, we suggest you set up your own website.
This way, you get to be your own boss and get total control over your platform.
Yes, it’s going to be a challenge to cut through the noise of thousands of other online sellers but carefully picking a niche and building your customer base will definitely land you long-term clients.
And if you’re still on the fence about creating your own website, you should know by now that it’s as easy as clicking a few buttons.
Now you’ve got no excuse not to start your own online business!