I make things and sell them online. Lots of potential. Where from here?

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Funnels, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Funnels

    Funnels
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    Hi,

    I make unique things at home. I can turn £3 worth of materials into a £40 to £50 object within 2 hours and sell lots of them online quickly. I live with my parents and this is how I have been making money recently. It pays rent and I have lots left over to spend on things. There is nothing like what I make on the market and demand is extremely high. People are happy with their items. I also constantly search private sales for items going cheap, buy them, do them up nicely and resell them for usually double the price which pays extremely well.

    Lately I've seen some custom items that sell for around £700. Usually examples that surface on websites were custom made years ago and prices are inflating as no one is really making them anymore. I can make the same item to the same quality in a couple of days and I'm confident I can sell it the same day or within a few days of listing it online to a popular niche private sales website. A £500 to £1000 item would cost me around £20 worth of materials and couple of days work to produce.

    Where do I go from here? At what point does one consult with the government or start an official business where it's simply me making things in a shed? It's hard explaining to people how I make money and most of the time they look at me like I just told them I'm channeling messages from out of space and selling tickets to Pluto .. :S

    So, business strategies for a talented young hermit that makes things and sells them online, please!
     
  2. noreturn

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    I personally think the next step from where you are at would be starting your own business. But just out of curiosity I have to ask what kinda of materials are you using to turn into a very valuable item? Also if you are not selling the items on Ebay where else are you selling them at.

    And if this is really true, you can get a few workers and you will be able to make some big money if you start your own business.
     
  3. Fergal

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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Funnels. What state / country is your business based in?
     
  4. UTMediaGroup

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    Wow sounds like you have really found a great business to do and it makes decent money. Can you sell them on ebay?
     
  5. Jay

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    I would say, work at it a bit longer from a home-base and earn a good foundation to build your business on. Put all they money you earn (or leftovers after bills) into a tax-free savings account so that you will have a good sum of money to start your own business (if you decide to go that way). To increase production speeds, you can also hire others to help you make the products so that way you will be shipping out more and more quantities.
     
  6. rob

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    i would say hire some people to make the products for you. start a website and start selling online in masses. you already know that it is profitable so its a matter of execution and automating it.

    then move out
     
  7. Funnels

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm in the UK.

    It's really very basic metalwork. I say £3 material costs because that's how much I buy the pre-made item that I salvage components from. In reality the material costs are a few pennies (Then sold on average £45 a unit). This is just for the primary item I make and sell. It's basically a little gadget I list on a single high traffic niche paid classifieds website. Ebay would definitely bring in some sales if marketed properly. I have no problem selling my product at all, it's simply balancing my time and the cost of each individual unit and finding which I can comfortably work with.

    I have lots of ideas for similar items that I am certain will be popular and sell well. I do have money saved up to put into this.

    Here are some options,

    - Continue by myself. Working on overdrive off I can produce about 3 units per day and sell them fairly quickly. Working like this eats away time I could spend on making other more valuable items or developing new prototypes. At the moment I've set the price at the high end where a couple of buyers come along a week and I can produce the item to order as I need the rest of the time for developing and working on other stuff. When I first started I was selling £20 lower, had about 2 orders per day and was struggling with demand. I began slowly raising the price and am now dropping to encourage more sales.

    - Have a friend help with production, lower item price and be able sell lots more. We'd need double the tools and I'd also need to pay him, teach him and oversee quality. I might trial this and see how many units we can produce in a day comfortably.

    - Approach a professional metal worker with a workshop or advertise for one. Introduce him to my item and have him confirm that he can make it. I'm really not sure how I'd work out a business deal or come to an arrangement. I'm not sure whether he'd give me a price per hour or a price per unit or whether this is even viable.

    - Approach a manufacturing company to have them produce my designs in bulk for me to sell. I have no idea if they would deal with an individual such as myself or how many units minimum they would agree to produce. Would it be best to have a relationship with a local business or seek out manufacturers in China?

    With me not needing to spend all my time making the small items I can concentrate on making the larger £500 + custom items.
     
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  8. RevaxMedia

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    Very interesting post!
     
  9. MarkTaylor

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    Wow! It sounds like you have some serious talent! Your products give you a heck of a margin... is there any scope in selling via physical shops? It could help give you some additional exposure, particularly if your web address appears on the label. M.
     
  10. Fergal

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    Well done Funnels and congratulations on your success, that is a really great little business you have going there. How did you identify such a great business opportunity?

    I'd suggest that you speak to an Accountant re business registration and tax etc. Perhaps someone in your family or someone in business that you know could recommend an Accountant to you. Many Accountants will give you a first consultation free of charge and that consultation alone may give you a lot of the info you need in this area.

    You might also consider contacting http://www.nationalenterprisenetwork.org/ to ask if they can put you in touch with your Local Enterprise Agency, who should also be able to give you free practical advice on the business registration requirements in your area.

    Once again good luck with it and I wish you continued success for the future.
     

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