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Sell Before You Buy: 10 Steps to a Successful "Reverse E-Commerce" Business

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One of the most exciting opportunities posed by the Internet today is "reverse e-commerce." You can "sell before you buy" with virtually no limits! And it could not be simpler. Here are 10 steps to get you started with a successful reverse e-commerce business of your own.

1. Go down to your own version of "Harwin Street." That's a location in Houston, Texas, where importers sell large and small quantities of products at wholesale prices. Most cities have a Harwin Street. New York has Canal Street, Los Angeles has a few streets downtown, San Francisco has a handful of them in or around Chinatown. If your city doesn't have a concentrated location for importers, check out your local flea market or a major city that has a shipping port where items flow into the United States.

2. Take some digital photos of 20, 30 or 50 products you think might sell well online. These could be watches, statues, automotive products or articles of clothing. This is a test to see what will sell.

3. Make sure to note the costs and how much inventory the importer or wholesaler has available.

4. Write advertising copy to accompany your photos to try and sell your newly found "virtual inventory."

5. Post them on eBay or any other online sales outlet (Craigslist, etsy, online classifieds,etc.).

6. See which products sell and which don't.

7. Collect the money.

8. Fulfill the sale.

9. Repeat steps 4-7 for the products that sell.

10. Go back out and find more products to test for sale. Then, repeat the same process, often with the very same copy and photo you just used.

Remember, the most successful sellers sell and resell and resell again -- often from the very same photo. As long as there is inventory to sell, why not keep selling if the customers keep buying?

You can also take a picture of something in your home, in a friend's home, in a wholesaler's warehouse, in a used car lot or from anyone who wants to sell more of what he's already selling. The ideas are endless.

CLICK TIP: Suppose your friend has a car for sale. Make an agreement, preferably in writing, that if you can sell his car you keep all the money above his asking price. Then take a picture of the car and sell it (with your profit or markup included) via the Internet. Your friend is happy because he has money for his car. The customer is happy because he got the car he wanted. You're happy because you're pocketing your profit. You can do this with any product, any supplier or any importer who has inventory he or she wants to move.