4 ways to sell something online realllly fast

I’ve sold a crap-ton of things online over the years.  Physical stuff, digital stuff, services, software…..so I know a bit about this.

But a lot of people still have trouble trying to sell even ONE thing online.

But don’t fret, your Uncle Neville is here to help you out!

So awkwardly come sit on my lap, and I’ll quickly explain the 4 different ways I’ve personally used to sell stuff online (depending on your situation):

I’ll make each of these quick-n-basic.

Even if you’re NOT planning on selling something online right now, I suggest you read this email and save it for future reference (or forward to someone who can use it):

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING: an ebook, Excel file, video, piece of software…..
(Setup time: 5 minutes including sign up).
The best and fastest way to sell a single file type of product is GumRoad.  It’s retardedly simple (is that politically correct to say anymore)??

When I would sell my class notes in college, I sincerely wish I had something like GumRoad, because it totally automates the whole paying/delivering process.

You see….the DELIVERY process is always hardest.  I could easily accept PayPal payments, but then I’d have to manually send people their purchase through email.  GumRoad does all of this without you lifting a finger.

All you do is upload the file you want to sell to GumRoad, set the price….and you’re literally done.  Wanna see it in action??

I did a project called the ProblemSolvingChecklist which was a veerrryy short PDF document meant to sit on your computer desktop.

All I needed to do was collect $10 from people and send them a PDF file.  GumRoad was PERFECT for this.  You can see it here:

(this image is just linked to GumRoad directly where people can buy)

Even if I wanted to sell it through email because I have low website skills, all I have to do is include this short link, and it’ll take you directly to the sales page:

https://gumroad.com/l/VVTf

I sold hundreds of these through GumRoad in this manner.

GumRoad Pro’s: Insanely fast and easy to use. Amazing for selling/delivering individual things.
GumRoad Cons: They don’t accept PayPal.

 
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a small amount of something or consulting services:
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

I’d suggest PayPal for selling ANYTHING in small amount.  You can put little buy buttons anywhere on a website or email, and pretty much EVERYONE already uses PayPal.  Usually when buying a digital product I PREFER to pay with PayPal since it’s super-easy to request a refund if needed, and I don’t have to enter my credit card info (not concerned about safety, it’s more a laziness thing) :-P

Like if I made pet hamster costumes as a hobby and wanted to sell them myself, I’d just stick up a PayPal button, like this:

Just go to PayPal –> Merchant Tools –> Make Button

….and you can set the price and style of your button to get paid!

(btw…I knoowww I knowwww I spelled “Hamster” wrong).

So STILL TO THIS DAY I have some old digital products that are sold through PayPal, and not integrated into a fancy delivery system.  I get the persons order, and manually send them access through email.  Don’t be afraid to be ghetto!!

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING……a bunch of physical stuff:
(Setup time: 1 hour)

If you want a legitimate eCommerce STORE on the internet that sells a lot of items, has a built in shopping cart, inventory tracking etc….then I would suggest using one of these three:
-Shopify.com
-BigCommerce.com
-Volusion.com

NOW…..I know you’re gonna want to compare them all, but you’re too lazy.  FORTUNATELY your old Uncle Neville has you covered, and has extensively used all three of those platforms (I’ve used a ton other too, but these are the best services I’ve seen).

Shopify by far is the easiest and most intuitive to use (and the fastest).  It’s also got a huge app store so you can tack on functionality as needed.

BigCommerce and Volusion were both very good….but much more clunky to use and modify.  They were just “harder” to use that Shopify in general.

*One thing I loved about BigCommerce was it’s digital delivery.  You can deliver digital goods and it was VERY VERY seemless.  With Shopify I’ve had to find some work-around apps that don’t integrate quite as well as what BigCommerce has.

But if you’re just selling normal stuff, I’d highly recommend Shopify
(I personally picked Shopify for my NevBlog Store).

 

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING…..a book.  
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

Amazon.com is THE place to get a book…..so why not put your book on there??

It’s SO FREAKIN EASY TO SELF-PUBLISH A BOOK nowadays.  Especially through the Kindle platform.

And just a side note, every time I’ve released a book, the Kindle version greatly outsells the physical version.  Usually on a 3-to-1 ratio.  Other author friends have told me the same findings.

So the Kindle version is usually cheaper, but you sell SO many more books.  And it’s all digital, so there’s no worry about shipping.

You can take any story, blog series, or article you’ve made, and turn it into a Kindle book.  Just save it as a PDF file and upload it to http://kdp.amazon.com.  BAM….you’re a self-published author!  See my recent book on amazon:

http://amzn.com/0989895300

In addition to Kindle, I also used CreateSpace to make this book physically available, but so far the Kindle version has FAR outsold the physical version.  I personally prefer the physical version, but the people have spoken!

Bonus places to sell:
You can now start hosting specific things on specific services.  These services offer you a marketplace to sell in, and also handle the payment stuff for you (kinda like eBay does all the work for you).  Here’s a quick list:

-Selling an educational course?  Upload it to something like Udemy or Skillshare.
-Selling designs for 3D printing?  Upload your designs on Shapeways.
-Selling unique crafts? Post your stuff on Etsy.
-Selling your computer skills?  Post yourself on eLance.

The downside of these services is you lose some degree of control of how you sell your stuff, because you gotta play within their rules.  Obviously they also take a cut of your sales.  But these are great tools to use if you don’t have the skill or desire to take everything in your own hands.
So there you have it my young child (you can get off my lap now)…those are a couple ways to start selling stuff online quickly.

Don’t over think stuff too much though.  You can almost always just use a simple PayPal button to accept payments for damn-near everything.

Sincerely,
Old Uncle Neville

P.S. If you tell me what you’re trying to sell in the comments, I’ll respond and give you some advice on where to start!  Or just lemme know how YOU’VE sold something online quickly, I love hearing those stories and techniques.

P.P.S.  I made this entire blog post from my pool!  I hosted an “8am-early-morning-creative-writing-session-from-the-middle-of-the-pool” party.  It’s awesome to sit and write around OTHER people who are writing also.  Fun mixed with productivity!  Image credit to Corina.  There were 5 of us working out of the pool for 2 hours:

Blog posted on: October 9, 2013

76 comments on “4 ways to sell something online realllly fast

  1. Joshua Holt

    “(btw…I knoowww I knowwww I spelled “Hamster” wrong).”

    Haha, but did you know your hamster is actually a guinea pig? Imagine her surprise when she found out!

    Reply
      1. Joshua Holt

        Boom. Value provided for the day!

        Thanks for the great article. Hopefully the exchange of information was mutually beneficial.

        Reply
  2. Keerthy B

    I’d love to get your thoughts on where to resell luxury goods like purses, clothes, and other accessories. I have a bunch of barely used nice stuff, but don’t feel like donating it all to goodwill. There’s always eBay, but some other resale websites like threadflip are cropping up and obviously take a cut.

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Yeesh…..that’s a tough market:

      Soon as you buy a luxury brand (car/purse/clothes/whatever), it immediately loses A LOT of it’s value. Especially stuff like clothes.

      I’d say eBay would be the best bet if you’re just selling off stuff in your closet. Unless you have some access to massive amounts of the stuff, starting a website or selling on your own will be difficult.

      ::::A trick to putting your stuff on eBay::::
      1.) Search for what you’re trying to sell. Example “Gucci Sukey Handbag”

      2.) In the right-hand column click “Completed Listings”

      3.) You can see the prices that the exact same bag has sold for, and NOT sold for (green/red). This will help with your pricing, and you can even copy elements of their ad….making it a lot easier to post multiple listings!

      Reply
  3. Michele

    Guinea pigs are way cuter and less rat-like than hamsters. I had a guinea pig named Sneaker when I was 7. I wonder what happened to it…

    Great post. Will check out Gumroad 4 sure. Write more! If you want to. I get a stupid amount of newsletters but I always read yours.

    Peace! (to be said in an eighties way)

    Reply
  4. Ayub

    I don’t think accepting payments / orders is the problem a lot of people have, but rather people to sell it to.

    It would be neat if you could make a version of this post where you list easy / quick (probably free) sources of traffic.

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      VERY GOOD POINT.

      It is surprising how often I get this question though about selling a small product…..or when people try to make accepting a payment WAY too difficult.

      Reply
  5. Alf

    Awesome post Neville!!! I knew all our tinkering with different services would get written up into something useful for others. :)

    Also: selling my soul (not really)

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      AWESOME!! Glad to have helped Josh.

      GumRoad kicks so much ass. I think PayPal still has a slightly higher “trust” rating right now, but it’s implementation is nowhere near GumRoad.

      Reply
  6. Joseph

    Hey Nev, awesome post today. I’m looking to sell Small Batches (12 to 16 oz.) of freshly roasted Coffee that I am roasting from my own kitchen. How would you sell it?

    Peace.

    J.

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Well FIRST start off selling to your friends like Noah did in the jerky challenge.

      Find out if there’s any fancy ass coffee places around you that like local/organic stuff and try to sell them.

      There’s A LOT of competition on places to buy coffee, so why would someone wanna buy yours?

      –Tastes better?
      –Organic?
      –Made out of organic monkey poop with medicinal benefits??

      Find out what people like about your coffee that makes it taste so different.

      Say what you will, but I can ALWAYS tell the difference between starbucks and normal coffee. It has a specific flavor. That helped differentiate in the beginning.

      If you can’t sell some in person, doubt you’ll be able to sell much online…especially if there’s no real differentiation.

      Try some coffee forums and see if others were successful doing it.

      Reply
  7. Ramon

    Saaaahweeet! I’ve made it my goal to finish my online product this weekend and set it up by Monday. Finally I’ll have enough money to buy Kopywritting Kourse Part Deux! Thanks for the info!

    Reply
  8. Virginia

    What if you’re selling services to companies who often have a department or secretary for ‘accounts payable?’ Do you have any selling tips for that scenario?? Thanks!

    Reply
      1. virginia

        Copywriting for law firms and businesses. Generally, you have to bill them, rather than just put a paypal button on your website.

        Reply
  9. JP

    I am selling all natural, organic (when possible) home made skin care products. Trying to market them to men specifically. With all the woman’s products out there, Men need a a few specific products of their own. Mostly facial care lotions, cremes etc…
    I also have an all natural pain relieving gel (think Bio freeze, Ben Gay)

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Are you the maker of these, or just a re-seller?

      Re-selling is getting harder and harder. That’s still door-to-door or in-person selling kind of stuff.

      If YOU make them, then try going to Whole Foods type stores and pimping it. I have often seen them immediately buy some stock to test things out.

      Reply
  10. Megan

    I love those hamster outfits! Gumroad is awesome. I want to take that step to sell something. How do I start finding out what would be profitable in my niche?

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      I dunno what your niche is!

      What’s ALREADY profitable in your niche?

      What would people in your niche pay for? Like TOTALLY BE DOWN to pay for?

      Reply
  11. Travis

    Great article Neville. How would you sell personalized fitness workouts coupled with an accountability matrix.

    later!

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Oh boy….SO many people have this idea.

      It’s hard to break into that fitness category and stand out….and there’s A LOT of free stuff out there already.

      Do you have a personal training background? You could start with your clients.

      It seems you’re not providing a fantastic amount of value with what you described. Will be a hard sell (unless you provide a bit more info)

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        we offer customized workouts
        hold our clients accountable
        and we do a macronutrient analysis

        no I’m not a personal trainer, just a guy thats been entrenched in this since high school (im 30 now)

        I agree theres a lot of free stuff out there but people are lazy and dont look it up themselves. ie: p90 and insanity there’s nothing new a rerevolutionary about either training method, someone just put it in a nice package for people to consume so they don’t have to do any research on their own.

        Reply
        1. Neville Post author

          Well I’d see if you could recruit some friends/family into it first. Or try something in your local community on Craigslist.

          YOU GOTTA HUSTLE THIS STUFF.

          It seems like you don’t have much experience marketing this, so unless you get some real-world harsh feedback, I dunno if you’d have much of a chance right off the bat without some hustle.

  12. Leo Tabibzadegan

    Thanks for this Nev! P.S. Absolutely loved the NevBox I won a while back as well!

    I just made $1.65 using Instacanv.as. Someone out there decided they wanted to use one of my instagram photos as a postcard and BLAM. I took that $1.65 and treated myself to a McDonalds Coffee.

    Best Coffee Ever. It’s worth checking out!

    I also manage social media for businesses, I just send them Paypal invoices every month and they pay me for my work.

    Man… so happy to be alive in such a wonderful time in the world, where things are so eeeasy!

    Dinosaurs and emperors of the past are jealous.

    :D

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Free coffee! wow :-P

      Hey, it’s a start right!

      I got all excited when I made like $12 from a site a long time ago.

      Glad you enjoyed the NevBox….love hearing about that :)

      Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Nice!

      Yea, PayPal or GumRoad would be great for you. PayPal prob easiest.

      BUT…..if you already have a list of registered customers, why not send them out an email blast?

      Send it to the customers that use it the most, and offer Pro features (whatever would be appealing to them) for a price.

      Try it out, see how it works. Call up 5 customers first and ask, “Hey I’m adding XYZ feature to the site, it’ll help you read SO much faster, it’s only $20, can I sign you up?”

      If they all pay, it’s a good sign :)

      Reply
  13. Dave (toothbrush guy)

    Nice article, I like it.

    With Toothbrush Subscriptions, my main source of acquiring customers has been through press. I haven’t done any paid marketing because I feel like I have so much more to add to the product.

    Iv’e been collection visitor data from adroll and have about 16,000 + people to advertise through there, when ready.

    I’m open to creative ‘growth hacking’ ideas!!

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Hey Dave!

      Have you tried emailing all the existing customers?

      If they REALLY like your service, maybe offer a holiday promotion where they can signup a friend for a year?

      Find out what people really like or want….and send out a blast about that.

      Reply
  14. Gary

    I am writing the matter for a cartoon series ‘Your place or mine’, in which I have currently
    over 2000 cartoons, written 1,000 each from the point of view of males and similar number
    from the point of view of males. With all your experience in selling e-Books, do you think
    something like this could have a market? If yes, how many cartoons should I put in one e-Book and what is a fair price range?

    regards

    Gary (from Toronto)

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Hrmm…..hard to say without knowing some numbers.

      Obviously someone like The Oatmeal has a GIANT following, so it’ll be very profitable for him. But if your cartoon is not popular, then it’ll be harder right.

      I dunno if an eBook would be the best way, but you could try! Having a book out is a DEFINITE credibility booster, and could lead to other things.

      Maybe you could curate the book to a specific interest.

      Checkout what The Oatmeal guy does!

      Reply
    1. Neville

      GumRoad is good for this and so is PayPal. If the course is password protected, try this:

      GUMROAD::::
      Make PDF file with the access code, use that as the deliverable the customer gets when they buy.

      PAYPAL::::
      Make a secret page somewhere, make a payment button, set the “Success Page” as that secret page with the login credential.

      Other things like 1shoppingcart.com and eJunkie.com do similar stuff too.

      Start easy and just use PayPal, it’s easy and trusted. Once your course is REALLY selling then maybe upgrade the system.

      Reply
  15. Neville Post author

    Totally forgot…..EVENTBRIGHT is a great way to sell anything also. They work kind of like GumRoad on the fee side, and it’s great for event or webinars like that.

    Reply
  16. Gary Williams

    Thanks Neville. Loved the first one that takes care of delivery. My background is making and selling fire safety training DVDs but now I sing and write – much more fun. :)

    I used Amazon and Lightening Source for my book. http://www.cabaretsecrets.com

    Yours is one of the few mailing lists I read. I like that they are short, infrequent and useful. Too many people send too much shit.

    Keep it up.

    Gary

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Why thank you for the compliments Gary!!

      Amazon is an awesome way to self publish, think I have 4 things published on Amazon now. So easy.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  17. Alex

    Awesome info as usual. I’m probably going to use Shopify I am looking to start selling a new plant growth regulator that makes plants stronger, healthier, more disease resistant, and grow faster.

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Shopify is GREAT for physical products, highly recommended.

      Making my store was crazy easy and enjoyable. Other shopping carts kind of pissed me off or confused me with too many options.

      Best of luck!

      Reply
  18. Kith

    Thank you for Gumroad! How about selling a kitchen appliance – a frying pan with digital readers for temperature, balance sensor and thermostat?

    I am reselling this product. So far I have a shopify store and a few articles on how to use the product and what is new with it. Is this a good idea or do I sell it on ebay or amazon? (PS: know any kitchen appliance ‘etsy”s?). Thank you Nev.

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Oh boy….it’s gonna be hard to re-sell something if the manufacturer already sells it. With technology improving and Amazon.com improving, the middleman is slowly being killed.

      I’d suggest putting the pan on Ebay and Amazon…..might be the largest market. Not
      sure what your deal with the manufacturer is, so can’t give much more advice!

      Reply
  19. kenjik9881@gmail.com

    Hi Neville,

    Long term reader of yours and love the value you always give in your emails and posts.

    I’m in the middle of writing a short book/e-book/not sure ( it will be about 35 pages long) and the target market is guys 21-35 and the book is about finding cheaper ways of entertainment/hacking nightlife. I don’t have a blog or platform right now so built in audience, what would you recommend for selling this? Amazon kindle and using fiverr for a cover design? Have you used create space before?

    Thanks in advance. Keep up the great work!
    -gc

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Hey GC!

      Yes, you will use CreateSpace to make the physical book, and kdp.amazon.com for the kindle version.

      I’d suggest you write the book in Google Docs, then save it as a PDF file. The PDF conversion works VERY well with Google Docs. Fivvr is great for cheap book designs.

      Uploading the book and getting it made is surprisingly easy, especially for a small book. Then go and do podcasts or guest posts for bigger bloggers to get the world out (or Reddit or forums where your target dudes hang out)!

      Reply
  20. Qurat-ul-ain

    Hi Neville,

    Your posts are quiet helpful, thank you for that. Could you please write something about selling skills on the freelancing websites from a beginner’s account.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Neville

      1.) Why do you need a website/

      2.) I saw my friend Corina made her whole site on Wix.com (CorinaFrankie.com)

      3.) You can often just use a nice WordPress template from TemplateMonster.com or a free one from http://wordpress.org/themes/

      Not sure of a small website design firm…..look on your local Craigslist or post your job on eLance.com

      Reply
      1. john

        I need a website to start posting workouts of the day (WODs) and get my progression based system out there for people to follow. However, I am on a budget at the moment, so I wasn’t sure. I wanted to eventually move the site to a pay for membership site. Any more help would be appreciated.
        John

        Reply
        1. Neville Post author

          Try using WordPress with MembershipMouse.com ….sounds like exactly what you need:
          1.) A blogging platform
          2.) A way to have a monthly membership service system

  21. Nisar

    Awesome post uncle Nev! That was the most enlightening lap advice I’ve ever received.

    So here’s my feeble attempt at Metamorphosizing from wantrepreneur:
    http://urgentdubaivisa.weebly.com

    Selling a service that will make you a visa (entry permit) to visit Dubai.

    The copy is not worthy of your glance.. but please have a look anyways.

    Your Hugest fan in the Middle East,
    Nisar

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Hey, good job at least putting something out.

      The site actually ISN’T bad!

      I mean it’s a simple thing….”you need a visa fast, we can help.”
      So you pretty much covered all bases.

      The ONLY thing I’d suggest is give the process. So say somethin like:
      “Once you purchase, here is what you will do:
      Step 1.) Fill out this form and print it out.
      Step 2.) Mail your passport to us. Our address is xyz.
      Step 3.) Wait 48 hours, and your visa will arrive.
      Call 123-456-7890 to talk to a real person and ask a question.”

      …..I’ve actually ordered expedited visas before, and all I wanted was a site that I could call someone and talk to them to see if they REALLY could get my visa processed fast.

      Reply
      1. Nisar

        Many Thanks for the excellent feedback Neville! much appreciated.

        Very interesting perspective. I will add the process like you suggested and make sure the contact details are included.

        “Isn’t bad” is a huge compliment :-)

        Needless to say, Look us up next time you wanna stop over Dubai.

        Nisar

        Reply
  22. Andy

    Hi Neville!

    I would love to get your take on how to better sell this crazy lego mosaic artwork I make. I already have a shopify site but haven’t sold anything (sold a few of em on Etsy though).

    I make interesting videos like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKKR96-6ERc and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPudrStSKEU to try to get traffic to the site, but it hasn’t resulted in sales.

    Would love to hear your thoughts! If you score me a bunch of business there might be a giant lego mosaic of Neville in it for you. :)

    Best,
    Andy

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Hey Andy….cool thing you made, BUT yours doesn’t really apply to traditional marketing of something like a software tool.

      A product like art is usually not worth much……unless it’s DESIRED.

      You do this by either becoming famous, your work becoming famous, your work being in demand.

      One of the things you might consider doing is a variation on what Neil Patel recommends in this article:
      http://www.quicksprout.com/2013/10/21/11-content-marketing-lessons-learned-from-20-of-the-top-100-blogs/

      ….search Google Trends, find popular things that are trending, make art pieces based on those.

      The sheer number of people searching for those popular things will generate more interest and possibly shares.

      But art is a difficult sell at first when you’re not well known. So it’s harder to give you traditional advice.

      But the point is: You have to drive up the demand of your art.

      Reply
  23. Cole

    HI NEV!

    I have once again come to the dojo for advice. (PS, my Dad has been devouring your videos and we are getting started on a fun project soon, when I move back to my hometown for work!!)

    I am building a website for a group I work with training inner-city kids to become airline pilots! (I am an airline pilot)

    I am most likely going to do a quick simple wordpress buildout with a Paypal button. SIMPLE.

    Just curious if you know of any other options for a marginally knowledgeable guy like me (someone who can run a basic wordpress type guy) that specialize in charities and donations. We want to have our own domain name (that we will purchase) but maybe there is a backend site that focuses hosts non-profits? (like tumblr and wordpress.com do for a fee) Otherwise I have a hosting plan I can add it to…

    Reply
  24. Neville

    Say hi to your dad, glad he enjoys!

    As for the building of the actual thing, yes, a wordpress site with paypal is good enough.

    If you’re doing an “event” like your site says, just use EventBrite.

    Plenty of payment options for wordpress….but DON’T get bogged down with shopping carts and crap, as you’re currently NOT EVEN MAKING SALES!! Once you’ve got too many customers for PayPal, then look into it.

    But more dangerous is I’m not sure what you’re SELLING. Are you just accepting donations?

    I think in-person will be better for getting donations as you’re getting started.

    I don’t think you’re doing a thing where the inner-city kids pay for your services, as those families won’t have much money.

    Reply
  25. Rihab

    Hi! Rihab from Belgium, love your sense of humour and writingskills. Got introduced to you blogg and appsumo just recently and it was really inspiring for my startup. I’m building an online shop for trendy fashionproducts. Creative marketingsuggestions to gather more traffic is always mucho appreciado!

    Always stay funny

    Reply
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