How Much to Charge for Building a WordPress Website

Guide to Pricing WordPress Website Projects

I made a big mistake on my second-ever web design project. My client wanted me to build them a custom website that included heavy-duty HTML and CSS styling that I was extremely unfamiliar with.

how much to charge for a wordpress website

Having just started as a web designer, I spent many late nights both learning on the fly and slaving away at this website trying to get it to look presentable.

Once completed, all I got out of the project was a measly $1,500.

While that might seem like a lot, and it certainly was for me at the time, looking back I realize that a better price for the amount of work I did would have been closer to $5,000.

However, I was still learning so I bit the bullet and built the site anyway with zero complaints.

Correctly pricing a web design project is one of the most important factors in building a successful web design business.

It can save you a lot of headaches, frustration, and hours of unpaid labor.

Here are some tips I suggest you take into account if you’re wanting to learn how to best charge clients for building a WordPress website.

Have a Set Minimum Price in Mind

Before I take on any web design project, I always have a set minimum price in mind that I rarely deviate from.

Setting this price is important so you don’t end up taking on a project and feeling like you’re getting shortchanged.

Personally, my minimum price is $1500-$2000 per web design project. This price is largely intuitive and because I have a portfolio so I can charge more than I did when I had no portfolio.

If you are just starting out, it may be smart to have your price lower – anywhere from $500-$1000.

My first client paid me $500 upfront and $500 once I finished, and that felt very reasonable to me at the time.

I would not go any lower than that unless the work would end up being fairly easy and it could score you a reference.

If you have a client that wants you to build a large website with a lot of moving parts, you could easily charge them anywhere from $4,000-$6,000.

Normally, however, when working with small businesses the prices for websites will stay around the $1,000-$2,000 range.

Go with your gut when it comes to pricing WordPress websites for small businesses, and don’t go lower than your minimum if the client rejects your first offer – trust me.

In my opinion, you should never work for less than you’re worth.

Factor Time Spent on Each Project

If you’re unable to figure out a price intuitively, a great way to price your projects is to calculate the amount of time you think it will take you to finish building their site.

My first website took me about 4 weeks to finish with me working about an hour a day on it, so that would have been roughly 28 hours.

The average web developer salary is $64K which is around $31/hr, so if we use this number then 28 x 31 = $868.

Add in a few fees like setting up the site, installing plugins, etc. and you could easily price the website around $1000.

I don’t recommend including your hourly rate or fees in your proposal, this exercise is more for yourself so you can know how to price things.

Most business owners (at least in my experience) like seeing just one flat rate they have to pay and hate being nickel-and-dimed.

Include Every Detail in Your Proposal

While your rate is best structured as a flat fee, you should still include as much detail about the work you’re going to be doing as possible.

When a client sees how many things you’re going to be doing for them, the perceived value of your services will go up.

For example, if all you put in your proposal is the following:

New Website – $1,000

It won’t seem as valuable to the client since there’s not really much detail on what goes into building their new website.

Now, if you include items in your proposal like this:

  • Custom Slider
  • Stock Photos
  • Custom Favicon
  • Brand New Content
  • Privacy Policy Page
  • Google Analytics Installation
  • Google Search Console Account Set Up
  • Bing Webmaster Tools Account Set Up
  • WordPress Plugin Installation
  • WordPress Theme Installation

Total: $1,000

They will be more likely to sign with you even though both scenarios show the same price and amount of work.

The only difference between these two is one of these has more detail than the other.

Clients will be more likely to see the value of your services when they see how much work you’ll actually be doing.

In other words, the devil really is in the details – and he’s got dollar signs in his eyes!

Outline Your Scope of Work and Try Not to Go Outside It

When writing your proposal, make sure that you specifically outline the amount of work you plan on doing and let the client know what sort of work would go outside the scope that they paid for.

Make sure you communicate this with your client effectively, as there can sometimes be misunderstandings between both parties.

I told my first client that I would make any “changes” to their website for free after I built it for them, and somehow they thought that included completely redesigning the site after they’ve paid me for it!

What I meant by that was if they didn’t like something after I showed them the first draft of their website, I would make changes without charging them.

Of course, I didn’t explicitly say it like that in the proposal, so they thought I meant I would make ALL changes to their site INDEFINITELY without charging them.

Thankfully, the client was understanding when I explained to them what I meant and I still work with them to this day.

When you’re first starting out, it may be difficult to tell a client “no”, but in situations like this it’s paramount you do so or you could end up working several hours unpaid.

Of course, there are certain circumstances where it would be unreasonable to charge a client (i.e. updating a plugin for them on their website), but a good rule of thumb is never do anything unpaid that could take more an hour to complete.

Conclusion

Pricing WordPress websites can be difficult at first, but following these tips should help you determine how much to charge your clients.

Remember to always have your set minimum price in mind, estimate the amount of time you think it’ll take to complete the project, provide lots of details in your proposal, and never go outside the outlined scope of work unless it’s a quick fix.

The Smart Way to Get Your First Client

How to Start a Web Design Business With No Portfolio

With sweaty palms and a queasy feeling in my stomach, I sat outside a local dentist office in my car trying to figure out what I was going to say. I told myself that today was the day I would start my web design business, so I Google’d a few businesses, got their addresses, and decided I would visit each of them to see if they needed a new website. The only problem was that I had no portfolio to show them.

Business people shaking hands

“How are they going to trust me if I’ve never worked with clients before?” I thought to myself.

Feeling defeated, I drove away before even hearing a yes or no them the business owner.

Are you trying to figure out how to start your own web design business without having an established portfolio?

As someone who has made thousands building websites, I can relate to the fear of not knowing how to get your first client when you don’t have a portfolio.

Unfortunately, most businesses won’t want to work with someone unless they have a portfolio of work to show them.

The question is, though, how are you supposed to build a portfolio if you need one in order to be able to build one?

It’s like the Screen Actor’s Guild: you can’t get a SAG card unless you’ve been in a SAG movie, but you can’t be in a SAG movie unless you have a SAG card.

Sounds pretty insane, doesn’t it?

Well, thankfully, there actually are ways to start building your web design business even if you don’t have a portfolio to show people.

Follow these tips and you won’t be running around in circles like most people when they first get started!

Lay the Right Foundation for Your Business

Starting a business can definitely be overwhelming, so before diving into it you’ll need to figure out a few key elements that will work as the foundation for your success.

A few of these elements include your business structure (sole proprietorship or LLC), business bank account, business credit card, invoicing software, accounting software, and proposal and contract templates/software.

I personally have an LLC, and I would recommend getting one, but I know plenty of people who work as sole proprietors and they like it better that way.

There are plenty of pros and cons to having both, so do your research and figure out which is best for you.

I also have my own bank account for my business at Central Bank, my own business credit card from Chase, Freshbooks as my invoicing software, and Bonsai as my proposal/contracting software.

As for accounting, I keep track of it all on my own using Google Sheets.

Freshbooks has a great expense tracker as well if you don’t want to keep track of it yourself.

Having all of these things in order will help establish your credibility as a web designer when prospecting for clients if you don’t have a portfolio.

Build Websites for Yourself

Before you even think about building a website for someone else, you need to have some experience building websites.

As mentioned in my post showing how to get into web design with no experience, the best way to learn something is by taking action.

Build your business’ website using WordPress and a nice looking business theme from Themeforest.

You should also try building niche websites based on topics you like (e.g. you’re a fan of quinoa so you start a website showing all of your favorite quinoa recipes).

Having a point of reference for your web design work can help local business owners decide if you’re right for the job, so don’t be afraid to show them these websites as examples of your expertise.

Build Websites for Friends and Family

Know somebody in your family or circle of friends that has a business?

Ask them if they’d be interested in having you either build them a new website or redesign their old one.

Having already established a relationship with them, it’s easier to sell them on your work even if you technically don’t have a portfolio.

Remember, though, that doing business with family or friends can end up doing harm to the relationship if not done correctly so be careful.

Have Friends or Family Refer You

If you don’t have anyone close to you that needs a website, ask them if they themselves know someone you don’t that needs one.

My first web design client was a referral from a friend, and even though I didn’t have a portfolio they hired me anyway because of my friend’s reference and reasonable pricing.

Just bring it up casually when you’re with friends or family and you might get lucky!

Befriend Local Business Owners

People tend to only want to work directly with people they like, so try to build a friendly relationship with local business owners.

Perhaps there’s a local restaurant you go to often that has a crummy website – befriend the owner and let them know that you know how to build websites.

Offer to build them a website at a discount, and see what they say.

You’d be surprised at how willing many business owners are to work with freelancers, and having an existing relationship will help you get your foot in the door even without a portfolio.

Conclusion

While it’s much easier to build a web design business with a portfolio, we all have to start somewhere.

Thankfully, there are ways to begin building your business even without an extensive portfolio.

How to Make Your First Sale on Amazon FBA

Step-By-Step Tutorial on How to Use JumpSend

Making those first few sales is crucial to your overall success as an Amazon FBA seller. If you’ve been following along in my Amazon FBA startup series, this is the final segment where I show you how to make your first sales using JumpSend, and how to start your first Amazon PPC campaign.

Make Your First Sale on Amazon FBA

Set Up Your JumpSend Account

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Note: In order to use JumpSend’s Promotions correctly you MUST be a Professional Seller.

Now that your products are ready to sell, it’s time to put things in place so you can get your first sales and reviews.

I recommend using JumpSend as it will allow you to advertise your products at a discount to over 100K shoppers.

JumpSend also allows you to set up custom follow-up emails with your customers to persuade them to leave a review on your product.

In my experience, I have been able to get my first few reviews on products using JumpSend so I cannot stress enough how important this tool is to your long-term success.

It might sound counter-productive to give your products away at a discount but think of these first sales as buying reviews rather than turning a profit.

Having good reviews, in the beginning, is vital to your long-term success as an Amazon seller.

Head on over to JumpSend and sign up for a free trial of their Starter plan as it’ll allow you to deal with up to 3 products.

Set Up Your First Deal

Once your account is created and you give JumpSend access to your Amazon seller account, click the “My Promotions” tab at the top of the page after you log in.

You’ll next want to click the “Add New Promotion” button to the far right of the page.

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On this page, you’ll want to enter the ASIN number of your product and click “ASIN search”

To find the ASIN number, simply go to your listing and copy the 10-digit combination of letters and numbers from the URL.

ASIN numbers tend to start with the letter “B”, as you can see with the ASIN from the listing shown below.

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Once you click “ASIN search”, your product’s information should populate the fields.

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Next, you’ll need to select the product’s category.

In my case, this product best fits in the “Pet Supplies” category.

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You’ll also want to choose whether your product is Fulfilled by Amazon or not.

If you’ve been following this course to a T, then you’ll want to select “Fulfillment by Amazon”.

Don’t worry about the “Price After Discount” field as we’ll come back to that later.

Once you have everything selected, click “Next”.

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The next page deals with protecting your product’s inventory.

Make sure the “Automatic Inventory Protection On” option is selected.

This option protects you from an individual on JumpSend buying your entire inventory with one coupon.

I recommend setting your “Limit Order Quantity” to 1 as our inventory is low at this time.

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On the next page, there is a fantastic video JumpSend provides you that will walk you through exactly how to create coupons.

Just watch their video and follow the steps. The video is incredibly thorough otherwise I would give my own explanation.

The only input I would have is that I recommend setting your coupon to be somewhere between 60%-80% off.

In my experience, selling products at these numbers have greatly increased the chances of people purchasing them.

When you have the coupons created, head back to the first page and input the correct “Price After Discount” based on whatever percentage-off you set.

For example, if my product sells regularly for $21.95 and I want to sell it for 70% off I would need to put $6.59 in the Price After Discount field (21.95 * 0.70 = 15.36, 21.95 – 15.36 = 6.59).

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Once you finish head on over to the “Shopper Approval” page.

On this page, I recommend selecting “Manually Approve Shoppers” as you’ll want to wait 4 hours from the time you set up your coupon codes on Amazon (as recommended by the JumpSend video).

In the meantime, you can still run your promotion and just wait to manually approve people who want to buy your product once the 4-hour mark has passed.

Click “Next” when you’re ready to move on to the next page.

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Now it’s time to review your promotion.

Make sure all of the information shown on this page is accurate and correct.

When you’re ready, click “Publish” to make your promotion live!

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Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for people to request to buy your products!

In my experience, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days for someone to buy your first coupon code, so be patient and experiment with different prices.

The next thing we’ll want to do is set up an email follow-up sequence.

Set Up Email Campaign

Click “My Email Campaigns” at the top of the page and click “Add New Email Campaign” on the top right of the page.

You will then need to select a template to start your email campaign.

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Personally, I use the “Two Review Requests” template and have had pretty decent success with it.

This section is completely up to you on how you want to customize your own email follow-up campaign, so I won’t go into much detail.

I will say that the templates are very well made, and you likely won’t have to change much wording within them.

When you select a template, on the next page you’ll need to select your product at the top of the page.

After making whatever changes you want to the messages, click “Review Campaign” and then “Activate Campaign”.

You’ll also want to make sure that the “Message Active” buttons are selected for each of the messages.

A few notes when writing your follow-up emails:

  • Don’t spam your customers as this will likely get you in trouble with Amazon.
  • Don’t link them to any YouTube videos.
  • Don’t send them links in general.
  • Be very careful when sending them things like images or PDFs. While I believe it isn’t against Amazon’s TOS to do so, I would proceed with caution.

Now that we have sent our products to Amazon, have set up our first promotion, and set up an email follow campaign, we will finally delve into the world of Amazon PPC.

Setting Up Your First Amazon PPC Campaign

Amazon’s Sponsored Products program (or Amazon PPC) is a great way to get your product in front of users when your product is first starting out.

The goal is obviously to have your product rank organically, but for now, running ads can give your products some much-needed exposure.

It’s been said that having a product run in Amazon PPC can even help its organic rankings as well.

Head on over your seller dashboard and click “Campaign Manager” underneath “Advertising”.

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Next, click “Create Campaign” underneath the “Campaigns” tab.

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Give your campaign a name, set a daily budget (this is completely up to you, I like to set mine at $25 but BE CAREFUL as you could potentially rack up hefty advertising fees. If you want to play it safe, set your budget to $5 per day).

Finally, select “Automatic Targeting” as we’ll want Amazon to create keywords based on your product info.

These keywords will be available under Campaign > Ad Group > Keywords > Get report after your ad has been running for a few days.

You can use these keywords to both optimize your listing and set up a manual campaign as well.

Click “Continue to next step” to proceed.

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On this page, give your Ad Group a name and click the “Select” button next to your product.

Once it’s selected, set your default bid and then click “Save and finish” to be done setting up your first campaign.

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Just give your campaign a few days to run and you should be able to download your report under Campaign > Ad Group > Keywords > Get report to see what keywords your product is showing up for.

These first few sales are vital to getting both reviews and rankings on Amazon, so be sure to not only try these two methods out but also spread the word to friends and family on social media.

How to Ship Inventory to an Amazon FBA Warehouse

Step-By-Step Tutorial on How to Ship Your Samples

Once you receive samples you ordered from a supplier, or if you’re looking to sell products you have around the house through FBA, you’ll want to send them to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers. In order to do that, we need to create a shipping order within Amazon’s seller dashboard.

How to Send Inventory to Amazon FBA

If you don’t have an Amazon seller’s account set up yet and you’re unsure how to do so, my article on creating a listing on Amazon should help you out tremendously.

Go to “Manage FBA Inventory” under the “Inventory” tab in your Amazon seller dashboard.

Next, click the checkbox to the left of your product, click “Action on 1 selected” above the listing, then select “Send/replenish inventory”.

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Next, assuming your product is, in fact, an FBA listing all you’ll have to do is click “Send Inventory”.

If you have to convert the product from Merchant-fulfilled to FBA you will be prompted to do so by Amazon.

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On the next screen, you’ll want to make sure the “Create a new shipping plan” option is selected along with the “Case-packed products” option as this is the option used when sending multiples of the same product.

Once you select these options, click “Continue to shipping plan”.

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On the next screen, scroll down and you’ll see an area where we need to enter the number of units and the number of cases we will be sending.

Since we’ll be sending our 10 samples in 1 box, enter 10 into the “Units per case” box and 1 in the “Number of cases” box.

Once you fill all that out, click “Continue”.

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In the next section, Amazon asks you to prepare your products.

You’ll need to send each of your products in an individual poly bag with a warning label on it (here is an example).

If you received your products from China and they were already in a poly bag, you should be fine to proceed.

Otherwise, just place the products in the poly bags that I recommend buying from my list of Amazon FBA tools.

For an in-depth video detailing how to prepare products for Amazon’s FBA warehouse, watch this video:

Once you finish preparing your products, click “Continue”.

The next thing you’ll need to do is label your products.

You have a couple of options here, you can either print them yourself if you have a label printer (I recommend using a DYMO Printer) or have Amazon do it for you.

Having Amazon do it for you will obviously accrue some fees which can be viewed here.

You can make Amazon label the products for you by clicking “Apply to all” under “Who labels?” and selecting “Amazon”.

Click “Print labels for this page” and follow the instructions in the above video.

Once you have your labels printed off, place them on the front of your product.

If you want to test out the products to make sure they can then use a barcode scanner – this isn’t required but I always like to do this just to make sure they can be scanned once they reach Amazon’s warehouse.

Click “Continue” when you’re ready to move on.

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On this next page, you can rename your shipment or just keep it at its default name – this is completely up to you.

Click “Approve shipment” to move on to the next page.

Your shipment should be created and you should be ready to print your shipping label!

Click “Work on shipment” to be taken to the next page.

You will now be given the choice to ship your products through UPS or FedEx.

I personally always use UPS, but this is totally up to you.

Under the “Shipment packing” section, select “Everything in one box” in the drop-down box located under the text “How will this shipment be packed?”.

Next, you’ll need to input the shipment box’s weight along with the dimensions.

If you haven’t already, fill your shipment box with your products and weigh your products using either a shipping scale or a regular scale.

In my experience, this doesn’t have to be 100% accurate as long as it’s close to the weight range.

As for the shipping box’s dimensions, you should see the dimensions on the box itself.

In my case, I always buy my shipping boxes from Walmart and you can always see the box dimensions on the bottom right-hand corner.

Once you’ve entered all of this information, click “Confirm” and you’ll be able to move on to the next section.

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Under “Shipping charges”, click the “Calculate” button to get the price you’ll be charged for shipping these products.

Since we’re not shipping very many products, the shipping price will likely be low.

Click the checkmark next to “I agree to the terms and conditions” and then “Accept charges”.

You will be charged to your Seller account and have 24 hours to void the transaction if you decide not to ship the products for whatever reason.

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In the next section, click “Print box labels” to download the shipping label you will need to place on your box.

Your label will look something like this (obviously without the blacked-out parts):

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Using your laser printer and shipping label paper, print your shipping label.

DO NOT place the shipping label on the top of your box, instead place it on the side as this is where Amazon wants you to place it.

Here’s an example of a labeled box I shipped to Amazon’s warehouse:

A post shared by Thomas Adams (@thomasfadams) on

Notice how I placed it on the side of the box rather than the top.

If your box is too small to fit the label on, you may need to either trim it down or just get a bigger box.

Once you’ve got your box labeled, click “Complete shipment” and all you’ll have to do is drop your box off at a UPS/FedEx store.

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Once your products have arrived at Amazon’s warehouse, you will receive an email notification and your products will be added to your inventory.

It may take a few business days for the products to both arrive at the warehouse and be added to your inventory.

When you’re ready to move on to learning how to get your first sale on Amazon, read my appropriately titled post “How to Make Your First Sale on Amazon FBA“.

How to Write an Amazon Product Description

Learn Both the Outsource and DIY Routes

Similar to taking product photos, there are two different routes you can take for writing a good product description for your Amazon listing: outsourcing or DIY. In this post, we’ll be exploring both options including their pros and cons as well as how to do each of them effectively.

Amazon Product Descriptions

The Outsourcing Route

Pros

  • Easier to implement (copy+paste what you’re sent)
  • High-quality work
  • The relief in knowing you can relax and let someone else do your dirty work!

Cons

  • More expensive ($70-$120 depending on who you order from)
  • The descriptions could end up needing a lot of editing

The DIY Route

Pros

  • No cost to you
  • Faster turnaround (assuming you don’t slack off!)
  • The satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself!

Cons

  • More difficult to do
  • More work on your part
  • Quality might not be as good (unless you’re a great writer and understand good copywriting)

For a full list of all of the tools I recommend for Amazon FBA go here: https://www.techprosperity.com/amazonfbatools

The first route we will be looking at is outsourcing your product descriptions.

The Outsourcing Route for Your Product Description

Requirements:

  • A Fiverr account
  • $55-$65

If I’m not wanting to write them myself, I like using a website called Fiverr to have my product descriptions written.

If you’re not familiar with Fiverr, it’s basically a marketplace where you can buy people’s services for around $5-10.

These services include things like content writing, logo design, video editing, as well as product descriptions.

The Description Writer That I Use

I have personally only used this guy for my listings: https://www.fiverr.com/spxmac/compelling-product-descriptions-expert-sales-copy and he was pretty good.

There were certain issues with his grammar that I had to fix, but it saved me time by having him do it for me.

Plus, it provided me a template for future product descriptions that I can do myself.

I bought his premium option, but I realized that the other extras he provided I could have easily done myself.

So, this is why I only recommend you get the basic option (Title, 5 Bullets, Product Description, and HTML) as I will show you how to do the other extras yourself (PPC keywords, SEO optimized title, etc.) in the next lesson.

Alternative Writers

Another listing service I have seen that looks promising is this one: https://www.fiverr.com/levinewman/write-a-professional-amazon-product-listing and I will likely test out their services in the future.

There are others on the marketplace that I’m sure could do a great job too, so feel free to search for them yourself!

Purchasing Your Product Description

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Click “Proceed to Order” on the service provider you decide to go with.

You’ll be taken to a confirmation page, and you will have to pay a small processing fee (anywhere from $1-$5)

You might be shown some optional upgrades, but I don’t recommend getting any of them as many of these upgrades are things we can easily do ourselves.

After you buy the service you will have to fill out information explaining more about your product.

This is very straightforward and is necessary so they can know more about your product and how to write the description for it.

I normally wait until my photos have arrived and my listing is active before I buy the description so I can link them to the listing and they can see the product for themselves.

Their turnaround time is normally a day or two, and you’ll get an email once they’re finished.

Open the files they send you and just copy and paste the information into the product’s listing!

Remember, you’ll want to go to your Inventory page, then “Edit” next to the listing, then “Description”, then add the information where necessary.

If you need to change the title of the product, this information is located in the “Vital Info” tab next to “Product Name”.

Now we move on to the DIY route for handling your product description.

The DIY Route for Your Product Description

Requirements:

  • An awesome template (you’re welcome)
  • Good writing skills
  • Diligence

Here’s an Amazon product description template that I use when writing the descriptions of my products:

<p><b>[Tagline #1]</b></p>

<p>[Informative Paragraph]</p>

<p><b>[Tagline #2]</b></p>

<p>[Informative Paragraph]</p>

<p><b>[Tagline #3]</b></p>

<p>[Informative Paragraph]</p>

<p><b>[Tagline #4]</b></p>

<p>[Informative Paragraph]</p>

<p><b>Product Details:</b></p>

<p><ul>
<li>[Feature #1]</li>
<li>[Feature #2]</li>
<li>[Feature #3]</li>
<li>[Feature #4]</li>
<li>[Feature #5]</li>
</ul></p>

<p><b>So Don’t Miss Out! Add This [product] To Your Cart NOW!</b></p>

As for the bullet points, here are a few tips for writing them:

  • Include a short phrase that is a feature of the product then include a short description of this feature (i.e. Durable Nylon Vest: This fantastic tactical vest for your dog is made from high-quality, strong nylon.)
  • Use up all 5 lines as more information is better than less
  • Look up what similar products are saying in their bullet points if you need ideas on what to write

Your description doesn’t have to be perfect but you should make sure there are no misspellings and your grammar is good.

I use a Chrome plugin called Grammarly to automatically check for misspellings and grammar issues as I type.

Once you write your product description, click “Save and finish” and wait for your listing to update.

When you’re ready to move on to learning how to send your first inventory shipment Amazon, read my post “How to Ship Inventory to an Amazon FBA Warehouse”.

How to Take Pictures for Amazon Listings

Learn Both the Outsource and DIY Routes

There are two different routes that you can take for product photos: outsourcing or DIY. There are plenty of pros and cons for each of these routes, and we’ll be going over each of these here:

Amazon Product Photography

The Outsourcing Route

Pros

  • Easier to implement (copy+paste what you’re sent)
  • High-quality work
  • The relief in knowing you can relax and let someone else do your dirty work!

Cons

  • More expensive ($155-$176 depending on the number of photos you get)
  • Slower turnaround (photos can take up to 2 weeks to finish, description can take up to 2 days)
  • The potential of one of these outsourcing agents screwing up which could set you back a bit (i.e. you wait 2 weeks and the photos end up not looking how you wanted so you need them to redo it)

The DIY Route

Pros

  • No cost to you (assuming you have a camera)
  • Faster turnaround (assuming you don’t slack off!)
  • The satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself!

Cons

  • More difficult to do
  • More work on your part
  • Quality might not be as good (unless you’re a professional photographer)

The first route we will be looking at is outsourcing your photos.

The Outsourcing Route for Your Photos

Requirements:

  • $126 (plus shipping)
  • A small shipping box for your product
  • Printer
  • Packing tape
  • USPS, UPS or FedEx

For a full list of all of the tools I recommend for Amazon FBA go here: https://www.techprosperity.com/amazonfbatools

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Upgraded Images is a fantastic California-based company that will take photos of your products at a really good rate.

All you have to do is fill out their order form, print it off and mail it to them with your product.

If you don’t have a printer, just save your files to a USB drive and take it to a local print shop (FedEx Office, Office Max, or Office Depot work as well).

This page details where you need to ship your product based on which carrier you decide to go with.

I recommend having them do at least 6 photos for you which will amount to $21 per photo ($126).

Unless you plan on using these photos in brochures, catalogs, etc. you should choose their “Take Me Online” option for your photos as this option is best for Amazon sellers.

When I used them, it took a little over 2 weeks for them to complete my photos without the rush delivery.

Since we’re in no hurry, I don’t recommend buying the rush delivery as it will use up vital monetary resources you will need to build your business.

Just wait out the 2 weeks, trust me, it’s worth it.

Filling Out Their Order Form

When filling out their order form, you will be required to provide your information including your name, shipping address, etc.

Fill everything out where applicable (i.e. if you don’t have a company name just put N/A or leave it blank) then choose the following options:

Which package would you like?

Pick the “Take Me Online” option as I mentioned unless you need photos large than 1200×1200 to use for catalogs, brochures, etc.

Which optional services do you need?

Clipping paths are unnecessary, I don’t recommend getting rush service, and you won’t need the photos on a CD since they’ll send you them in a zip file via email so don’t check any of these.

Special Instructions

Here’s where you need to explain to them what you want your photos to look like.

What I recommend you do is send them a bunch of photos of what you want your photos to look like so they can have a frame of reference.

You can grab these photos on Amazon or from your supplier’s page on Alibaba.

Here’s an example of what I did in the past when I had them take photos for a belt I tested out selling:

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I just copied and pasted the images from different Amazon pages into a Word document, printed them off, and sent them in with my order form and product.

Please note that Upgraded Images will NOT use models in your photos so if you need a model to be in your photo you can either do it yourself or find another photographer.

Shipping Your Product to UpgradedImages.com

If you don’t have a small shipping box, head on over to either Walmart or a hardware store and buy one yourself.

You’ll also need packing tape so grab some while you’re there if you don’t have any.

Once you print your order form and example photos, pack them into the small shipping box and make sure you tape the top and bottom well.

Depending on whether you go with USPS or UPS/FedEx you’ll have to send the product to a different address.

You’ll see information on which address you need at the bottom of the order form.

Send your product through whichever carrier you choose and wait patiently for your photos to arrive in your email.

Once you receive your images, simply go to your Inventory page in your Seller Dashboard, click “Edit” by your listing, go to the “Images” tab, and upload your images.

Now that we understand how to outsource our photos, let’s take a look at how to DIY your photos.

The DIY Route for Your Photos

Requirements:

  • A high-quality camera (most iPhones have great cameras – I use my iPhone 7 Plus’s camera and it’s fantastic)
  • Good lighting

Optional:

If you don’t have a high-quality camera, I recommend grabbing one otherwise your photos might end up not looking great.

I found this quality camera on Amazon that has good reviews and is at a fairly cheap price range, but feel free to search around yourself to find a good camera.

If you have a newer smartphone, such as the iPhone 6 or 7 or the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S7 you should be in good shape.

DIY Lighting

As far as lighting goes, you have a few options:

I personally use the lamps/daylight light bulbs option for my lighting needs.

This is your choice, so go with whatever fits your budget.

Taking Your Photos

I recommend checking out this video by Jungle Scout as it will give you all the information you’ll need to take great photos yourself:

A few things I would note:

  • You can either use the Amazon seller app to touch up your photos as shown in the video or by using this tool here: https://burner.bonanza.com/
  • You’ll want to take around 5-6 photos
  • Get a second opinion on your photos from your spouse/friend/etc. to see if they would click a listing with your photos

Here is an example photo I took for a pet product I sold in the past:

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If taking your own photos ends up not working out for you, just pay the $126 and go with the above outsource method.

When you’re ready to move on to creating a product description, read my post “How to Write an Amazon Product Description“.

How to Create a New Product Listing on Amazon

Step-By-Step Tutorial on Adding an Amazon Product

If you’re looking to sell products online, Amazon is easily one of the best platforms to use. However, setting up a list can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with their Seller Central website back end. In this post, I’ll be showing you step-by-step how to set up your own listing on Amazon.

Create a listing on Amazon

If you’re here after reading my previous post about finding a supplier on Alibaba, I recommend you follow that post’s advice and wait to start a listing until you’ve picked your supplier.

With that, let’s dive right into creating your listing on Amazon!

Sign Up As An Amazon Seller

The first thing you need to do is sign up as an Amazon seller.

You have two options to choose from:

Individual Seller

As an individual seller, you have virtually all of the features as a professional seller except:

  • No monthly fee
  • $0.99 fee per unit sold
  • No Amazon PPC or Promotions

There are also some other tools that professional sellers have access to that individual sellers don’t, which you can read about here, but for where we are now you don’t have to worry about this.

Professional Seller

As a professional seller, you have virtually all of the same features as an individual seller except:

  • $39.99 monthly fee
  • No $0.99 fee per unit sold
  • Amazon PPC

You can either sign up as a professional seller now or wait until you start advertising your products.

Note: You will likely have to provide additional information about yourself in order to be allowed to upgrade to a professional seller (i.e. bank statement, government issued ID, etc.) so just keep this in mind before you upgrade.

A quick word of advice: It may be more cost effective to stay an individual seller until your business starts to gain momentum. The only downside, of course, is that you won’t be able to use Amazon PPC or Promotions which can help bring traffic to your listing and boost your listing organically. It’s up to you how you want to proceed, and you can always upgrade/downgrade your account later.

Setting Up Your Account

Once you choose to be either an individual or a professional seller, you should be taken to a page that looks like this:
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Charge Method

You will need a credit/debit card to continue registering your account.

Seller Information

Pretty self-explanatory – just fill out your information including your full name, address, phone number, etc.

Identity Verification

Amazon will need you to verify that your phone number is correct by either calling you or sending you a text.

Click “Continue” once you’re finished, and fill out any other prompts Amazon asks from you.

Add Your Product Listing

Once you’re all signed up, you should be brought to your seller dashboard which looks like this:

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Hover over the “Inventory” tab and click “Add a Product”

You should be taken to a page that looks like this:

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Since we are going to be listing a brand new product, click “Create a new product listing”.

On the next page, you will need to select the category for your product.

Amazon can help you find the best category for your product when you type your product into the search bar like so:
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Click the category that you think best fits your product.

In my case, I chose “Pet Vest Harnesses”.

Next, you’ll be taken to the details page where you need to fill out some information:

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You are required to enter information in the lines that have the red star next to it.

Depending on which category you select, some of these options might be different.

Add Details to Your Listing

Here’s a general overview of what needs to be added in order to finish your listing:

Vital Info

  • Manufacturer: The name of your manufacturing company. I normally just place the brand name in this box.
  • Brand Name: This will be the name that shows up above the product title on a listing (click here for an example). I recommend coming up with a name that’s both catchy and related to the niche you’re selling in.
  • Product Name: The product title.
  • Product ID: The UPC, SKU, or ASIN code for your product.

In order for us to register a new product, we need to have a UPC code.

Thankfully, UPC codes can be purchased for very cheap from a site called SnapUPC.

If you plan on selling more than one type of product, it might be wise to buy 5 of these UPC codes rather than 1 as it costs less per UPC if you buy them in bulk.

Once you purchase your UPC code/s, place the code into the Product ID line on the Vital Info page.

Variations

If you plan on selling different variations of this product (i.e. color, size, etc.) then you can add a different variation in this tab. However, just remember that for each variation you have to have a different UPC code. For sake of keeping things simple, I recommend not adding any variations to this first product.

Offer

  • Condition: The condition of your product. Since we will be selling products in new condition, select the “New” option.
  • Your price: The price of the product.
  • Fulfilment Channel: You have the option of either fulfilling the order yourself or having Amazon fulfill it for you. Since we plan on using Amazon’s FBA program, select the “I want Amazon to ship and provide customer service for my items if they sell.” option.

Images

This is where you will add your product images. I’ve written on the topic of taking product photos so I won’t go into too much detail here.

Description

  • Key Product Features: This is where your product’s bullet points will go that are featured underneath the product title (click here for an example).
  • Product Description: This is where you will add your product description. I’ve written on the topic of how to get great product descriptions, so definitely check that article out once you’re done with this one. For now, just write something generic – you’ll be able to edit this later.

Keywords

  • Search Terms: This is where you can add keywords people might search for that relate to your listing. Feel free to add as many terms as you like.

More Details

This is where you can add several different details about your product like the material, volume, thickness, etc. Go ahead and add any details you think a potential buyer would want to know about your product.

Once you finish filling all of this information out, click “Save and finish” to be brought back to your inventory.

If you are unable to click “Save and finish”, you may still need to fill in a specific field that is required to continue.

When you’re ready to move on to taking product photography, read my post “How to Take Pictures for Amazon Listings“.

How to Find the Best Suppliers on Alibaba the Easy Way

Step-By-Step Tutorial on How to Use Alibaba for Amazon FBA

Simply put, Alibaba is the Amazon of product manufacturers. You can find an insane number of products sold by Chinese suppliers at ridiculously low prices. You’re even able to customize your product by adding a logo, having a specific type of packaging, having your product be a specific color, etc.

Alibaba Group Logo

Just as an FYI: for this post, I won’t be focusing on the branding aspects of your product.

Instead, I’ll simply be showing you how to buy 10 generic samples of your product.

The reason why we want to buy samples before ordering hundreds of products is simple: we want to test the market to see if this product will sell well.

Sure, we’ve got some data that tells us the product will likely sell well, but until we actually sell the product we won’t know for sure if it is a profitable product!

Hence the need to test our product first.

Now that you understand what we’ll be doing, let’s start searching for a supplier!

Searching For the Right Supplier

First thing’s first, create your Alibaba account.

I recommend creating a separate Gmail account for when you sign up so you won’t get inundated with emails from suppliers (trust me on this).

Next, head on over to Alibaba’s homepage and type your product into the search bar.

In order to find the right supplier for us (i.e. someone that is both trustworthy and credible), we need to add in a couple of filters.

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Gold Supplier

According to their website, being a Gold Supplier means you have a paid membership on Alibaba.com.

All Gold Suppliers in China must pass their Onsite Check while those from other countries and regions must pass an A&V Check.

In other words, gold suppliers are much more credible than non-gold suppliers so if you don’t want to get scammed, it’s best to go with a gold supplier.

Assessed Supplier

Similar to the Gold Supplier selection, an Assessed Supplier is someone who has been quality inspected as well as had their company completely scrutinized to make sure they are legit.

Having both the Gold Supplier option and the Assessed Supplier option checked will massively reduce any possibility of getting scammed.

In fact, I think it might be safe to say it’s nearly impossible for you to get scammed on Alibaba.com unless you are extremely unlucky or pick an unverified, newer supplier.

Of course, we want to be as careful as possible, but Alibaba has been around long enough and has cracked down on scammers so much that you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Plus, since you can pay with either a credit card or PayPal, you have another layer of security with both of these options.

Picking Your Supplier

After selecting both Gold Supplier and Assessed Supplier within the filter section, this was the first product I found on the list:

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Check out the right side of the page to see more information on the supplier.

This info includes:

  • YRS Icon: This tells us how many years the company has been a supplier – generally the longer the better.
  • Location: Where this supplier is based – generally China is the best way to go as their prices are cheapest.
  • Transaction Level: This tells us how many transactions this supplier has done over their time on Alibaba. Having more transactions generally means they’re more reliable to do business with.
  • Supplier Assessments: These give us more details on how their assessments went. You can look more into this yourself if you’re curious, but you don’t have to.
  • Response Time: How quickly the supplier will get back to you on average.
  • Response Rate: The rate that the supplier messages back everyone. (i.e. if 100 people message them and they respond to all 100 of them then it would be 100%. If they only respond to 70 of them it would be 70%, etc.)

From what I can see so far, it looks like this specific supplier would be a good fit for us to do business with.

The price range is $2.3-$3.88 per unit, and since we plan on selling them for around $20-$40 per unit that’s a pretty significant profit margin!

Reaching Out to Suppliers

Click the “Contact Supplier” button on the product page.

You should be taken to a page that looks like this:

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I recommend following the script I have provided here (obviously changing up the product information and your name), but you can modify this however you like.

Here’s the script so you can copy/paste:

Hi there,

We’re a [niche] distributor selling products within the United States. We’re interested in adding [product] to our product lineup, and thought your products looked great!

My boss would like me to order 10 sample sets/units of this product. Would you be willing to send some top-quality samples?

My boss would also like you to use your express shipping account.

Let me know what else you need from me to get this sample order shipped!

Look forward to working with you,

[Your Name]
Purchasing Agent for [business name]

A few key things to note with your script:

  • Write as though you are an employee of a company, do NOT say you are the boss. This is important as you want the supplier to know they are working with a serious business that will build a partnership with them.
  • Ask for 10 samples. If they are unwilling to send you 10 samples, tell them that your boss only wants you to order 10 samples to test the market. If that doesn’t persuade them, then just find another supplier. There are so many suppliers on Alibaba that it shouldn’t be hard to find another one.
  • Always ask if they can use their express shipping account to send you their samples. If they’re unable to, that’s still fine as long as the shipping isn’t outrageous. Since the products we’ll be buying aren’t very large, the shipping shouldn’t be very much.
  • Uncheck the share my business card with the supplier option. If the supplier inquires more about you or your company and won’t do business with you until you answer their questions, just look for another supplier. In my experience, most suppliers are willing to work with you as long as you present yourself well and seem willing to build a business partnership with them through ordering and reordering products from them.
  • You can use a fictitious name for your business. In my case, I have an LLC so I’m using it as my business name.
  • You can also provide your newly created email to have them reply to you on that platform instead of Alibaba’s. This is optional, many people like to follow up over their email because Alibaba’s user interface can be difficult to navigate.

Once you’ve written your script, click “Send Inquiry Now” and wait for the supplier to respond.

Generally, suppliers will respond to you within 24 hours.

You may send additional inquiries to other suppliers to see if you’ll get a better deal with them.

The suppliers will likely ask you for information including your address, a contact name (your name), a phone number, etc.

They will either bill you via PayPal or you can use a credit card to pay for the samples.

Once you order your samples, the supplier will give you a tracking number and roughly how many days it will take to get to you.

Moving Forward

You might be asking yourself, “What happens after I sell through these 10 samples?”

At that point, all you’ll have to do is reach out to your supplier again and request to order more units.

I recommend starting slowly by ordering anywhere from 50-100 units and then scaling up as you make more sales.

When you’re ready to move on to creating a listing on Amazon, read my post “How to Create a Listing on Amazon“.

How to Find Products to Sell on Amazon

Learn Product Research Using Jungle Scout

Trying to find the right product to sell on Amazon can be an incredibly time-consuming and difficult task. Thankfully, the folks at Jungle Scout made it easy for people like us by developing an incredible tool that’s both simple to use and insanely efficient.

Amazon On The Web

Using this tool, I will show you how you can find profitable products to sell in literally just a few clicks!

Let’s get started by checking out Jungle Scout’s web app tool which is actually an entire database of Amazon products.

Purchasing the Jungle Scout Web App

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First thing’s first, head on over to Jungle Scout’s web app page and sign up for the tool.

I know, I know, it would be way better if there were a free way of doing this, but truthfully there isn’t anything that comes close to this tool – free or otherwise.

The only “free” way of doing this is manually looking through hundreds of Amazon listings which would take FOREVER!

Our most valuable asset is our time, so I recommend not taking the more time-consuming route.

You can either pay yearly (like I do) and get 3 months free or pay $39 each month (assuming you get the startup plan which is what I have).

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive right into the tool itself!

Using the Jungle Scout Web App

Once you’re all signed up for Jungle Scout’s web app, head on over to their product database tab.

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As you can see, I have certain filters already set up on my web app.

The reason why I chose these specific filters is that the type of product we want to sell needs to be generic, lightweight, brandable, not too competitive, and make roughly $3000 per month (that’s 10 products a day sold at $10 each).

Here’s more information on what each of these filters is:

Marketplace

You can pick between products sold on Amazon’s US website, Canada, Germany, the UK, etc.

My Advice: Pick whichever market you plan on selling to (thanks, Captain Obvious!). Chances are you’ll be selling primarily to the US marketplace.

Categories

You can filter out different products based on the categories shown here.

My Advice: The categories chosen in the above screenshot tend to reap the best results for me, however, you can also add Beauty, Beauty & Personal Care, Sports & Outdoors, and Toys & Games if you’re having trouble finding a good product. I would not recommend adding any of the unchosen categories, but you can, of course, play around with it yourself to see what works for you. I have just found it extremely difficult to find products meeting my criteria in those unchosen categories.

Price

The listing price of the product.

My Advice: The ideal listing price range is between $15-$100. Any less won’t be as profitable and any more will be too expensive to buy inventory for.

Net

The amount of money you will make after selling the product with fees applied.

My Advice: Set the minimum net amount to $10 as anything less won’t be very profitable.

Rank

The BSR (best seller’s rank) of the product. This is Amazon’s way of ranking how well products sell in their respective categories.

My Advice: Since we want to find a non-competitive product that sells well, we want to find a product that is within the 6000+ rank. Anything less than 6000 tends to be too competitive.

Est. Sales

The estimated number of sales per month for this product. Since Amazon doesn’t release their sales numbers, Jungle Scout uses their own formula to estimate the number of sales these products have each month.

My Advice: I always have 300 set as the minimum number of products sold each month since we want to find a product that sells roughly 10 units a day.

Est. Rev.

The estimated amount of revenue per month for this product.

My Advice: Again, the goal is to find a product that can sell 10 a day at $10 so I set the minimum revenue at $3000 per month.

Reviews

The number of reviews for this listing.

My Advice: In my opinion, the sweet spot for a noncompetitive product that sells well is under 50 reviews. You can play around with this setting, but I would not go over 200 reviews as it will be more difficult to rank for organically.

Rating

The rating of the listing between one and five stars.

My Advice: You don’t want a product that has a bad rating (unless you can somehow make the product better, which would be the only exception to changing this), so I would always make sure the product is between 3 to 4 stars at a minimum.

Weight

The weight of the product in pounds.

My Advice: We want a product that weighs no more than 2 pounds. Think of it this way: we want the product to be able to fit in a shoebox. This small size will cut down on shipping when we order our product from a supplier.

No. Sellers

The number of sellers selling this product.

My Advice: I don’t bother using this setting, but it can be good to see how many other people are selling this same type of product to test its competitiveness. I’ve found this setting to not always be accurate, though, so my advice is to take it with a grain of salt.

Listing Quality

The quality of the listing based on the title of the listing, the bullet points, the overall description, and the photos.

My Advice: I don’t pay much attention to this setting either, but obviously a listing that sells well with a poor quality score means we can likely do well with an even better, more optimized listing.

Product Tier

The size of the product.

My Advice: This should be a no-brainer, we never want to sell an oversized product. Always have standard selected.

Seller

Which type of account is selling this specific product.

My Advice: You have 3 choices: Amazon, Fulfilled by Amazon, and Merchant. The Amazon option will show products sold by Amazon.com’s own private label, the Fulfilled by Amazon option will show products sold by people like you and me who use their FBA services, and the Fulfilled by Merchant option will show products sold that are shipped by the sellers themselves. I like to just select Fulfilled by Amazon as we are wanting to see if we can emulate what these sellers are doing.

Search Keyword

Using this search bar, you can filter by specific keywords in the product’s title.

My Advice: This can be useful if you are wanting to look for specific products to sell (e.g. gloves, belts, fidget spinners, etc.) otherwise just leave this blank.

Exclude Keywords

Using this search bar, you can exclude products from showing up based on specific keywords found in the product’s title.

My Advice: Use this to filter out products that you are either unable to sell or don’t want to sell (e.g. supplements, sex toys, NFL jerseys, etc.). I personally don’t use this filter much, but it is still useful nonetheless.

Results Per Page

The number of products displayed on the page.

My Advice: Set this to 200. It just makes it easier not having to sift through tons of pages.

Phew! That was a lot of information!

Now that we’ve gone over what each of these filters is, I recommend you set your filters exactly like mine.

Once you’re done, move on to the next section.

Search For Your Golden Product

Hit the “search” button and the tool will load a list of products for us to sort through.

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The products will be filtered by “Product Info” by default showing them in alphabetical order.

What I like to do is filter by “Net” so I can see products in order from most profitable to least profitable, so click the small down arrow next to “Net” in the top row.

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You can click the product’s title to be taken to that product’s listing on Amazon.

Open up a few products that look promising so you’ll be able to research them more in depth later.

Remember: The product we are looking for should be generic, lightweight, brandable, not too competitive, and make roughly $3000 per month.

After researching for quite awhile, this particular item caught my eye:

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A tactical dog vest sounds like a generic, brandable product, and with those numbers, it would likely sell well while not being too competitive.

Optional: Using the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension

Now we’re going to check what the first page looks like when we search for this product’s main keyword in Amazon.

“Dog Tactical Vest” sounds like the most basic keyword people would search to find this product.

Using Jungle Scout’s Chrome Extension, we’re able to compile data on the first page’s search results in seconds.

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I like to look at the averages listed at the top to see how difficult it would be to rank on the first page for this product.

According to the data, the average number of reviews is less than 100 which is a good sign, and there are several products on the front page that don’t have many reviews.

This shows that this particular product isn’t overly saturated, and there is an opportunity for us to rank on the front page.

In order to solidify if this is the right choice, we need to see if there are suppliers on Alibaba.com that can make this product for us.

I’ll be showing you a more in-depth look on finding a supplier on Alibaba in a different post, but for now quickly jump over to Alibaba.com and search for your product.

Search For Your Product on Alibaba

When I searched for “dog tactical vest” this is what the results returned for me:

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As you can see, there are several different manufacturers willing to make our product for us.

This is the most important step to building a successful Amazon FBA business, so be sure to spend as much time on this as possible!

When you’re ready to move on to finding a supplier, read my post “How to Find the Best Suppliers on Alibaba“.

How to Make Money Building Websites Part Time From Home

Make Five to Six Figures Working With Local Businesses

“Here you go,” the business owner said as she handed me a check for $500. As I took the check from her, it’s hard to put into words the excitement I felt as I saw my name in the “PAY TO THE ORDER OF:” line and that beautiful “$500” amount smiling back at me.

Young man working on his laptop in a coffee shop

After we shook hands and I made my way back to my car, I felt a deep sense of accomplishment as I had just sold my very first client on a web design project.

What made this moment even more fulfilling was that I had only just started building websites 3 months ago.

As I drove back home from this meeting, a litany of thoughts began to plague my mind:

“What if she thinks the site sucks?”

“You’re a fraud, you barely know how to build websites!”

“How are you going to have the time to build her a new site?”

Thankfully, I overcame these thoughts and within a few weeks I built the site, collected the remaining money owed to me, and continued working with the client to this very day.

Since mid-2014, I have made 5 figures (xx,xxx) building and maintaining websites for clients.

The work I did was completely part-time and only with a handful of people, so had I spent more time marketing my services I know I could have made even more.

I didn’t quit my day job, worked a few hours each week on my client’s websites, and still made a lot of money.

So whether you want to build your own digital marketing agency, make side money as a freelancer, or learn skills that can get you a career in digital marketing here are some tips that I’ve used to become a successful freelance web designer.

Start Building Websites

Before you even think about marketing yourself as a web designer, you have to actually get out there and build a website yourself.

I know, it sounds pretty obvious, but plenty of people these days love to talk big games on things like entrepreneurship, digital marketing, etc. when they literally have nothing to show for it.

Don’t worry, though, because gone are the days of having to master coding, HTML, and CSS thanks to software like WordPress.

What You Need to Build Your First Website

  • Domain Name (yourwebsite.com) – This can be bought through a domain registrar like Namecheap for as low as $10 per year.
  • Hosting Server – This is a server where your website’s files are kept. I recommend using Siteground as their pricing is affordable and their site is easy to use.
  • WordPress Software – This can be installed for free on your hosting server with literally one click.

That’s seriously it!

Try building a simple website about anything, whether it be your own personal blog or a fan site about your favorite show.

Spend time each day learning how WordPress works, play around with new themes and plugins, and, of course, Google anything and everything you can think of related to web design.

Trust me, it’s better to jump in and learn as you go rather than waiting to take action until you “know enough”.

Had I done that, then I wouldn’t have had the skills to build a website for my first client 3 months after I started learning web design!

By that point, my first client’s website was the fifth website I ever built rather than the first, so I had a better grip on what I was doing.

Also, that client may have found someone else willing to build them a site instead of me, and I could have lost out on that opportunity completely!

Thankfully I didn’t, and you won’t either if you just start.

Tell Your Friends

Once you start building websites, let people know about it.

No, I’m not saying you should be like Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration, but I am saying you should make others aware of your new found skills.

The reason why I tell people to do this is simple:

I found my first client through a friend after a chance conversation with him at a wedding.

I told him I was building websites and he told me a local ballroom company that he spent time at needed a new one.

So, I got the owner’s contact information and have been working with them ever since!

I’ve redesigned their website twice, have done SEO work for them, and even found another client thanks to a referral by them.

Let’s just say that chance conversation was what propelled me to not only make several thousands of dollars independently but also gave me the skills to get a job in the digital marketing field.

Who knows? Maybe there’s a chance conversation waiting for you someday after you let people know what you’re doing!

Get Your Logistics in Order

Ideally, you want to do this before you have a meeting scheduled with your first prospective client, but it’s OK if you end up having to scramble the day before like I did (just don’t expect much sleep that night!).

You’ll want to create a proposal that includes your scope of work, pricing, and how long it will take you to complete their website.

There are tons of proposal templates available on the internet, so just find one you like and add all the necessary information – it doesn’t have to look perfect.

It’s also recommended you either show them your portfolio or a mockup of what you have in mind for their new website.

Again, this doesn’t have to be perfect – just come up with something and do your best to sell them on it.

You will learn a ton just by meeting with this first prospect even if they don’t end up going with you, so don’t be discouraged if things don’t go the way you want right away.

Tips When Meeting With Prospects

  • When meeting with your prospect, have your proposal printed off and ready for them to sign.
  • Make sure the proposal not only looks good aesthetically but is easy to understand.
  • Try to limit your proposal to only a few pages (maximum of 5 in my opinion).
  • Be as descriptive as possible, but at the same time try to only include the necessary information (explain the importance of responsive design but don’t rattle on about a specific WordPress theme you like).
  • Look your prospect in the eyes, and make sure you act very engaged and interested in their business.
  • Sit up straight and speak confidently.

The biggest mistake I made when I first got started working with clients was I priced myself way too low for the amount of work I did.

Price yourself accordingly, for example:

I set my price at $1000 for the first website I built and had my client pay me $500 upfront and $500 when I finished.

Personally, I find this pricing to be sufficient for your first client.

Make sure that you explicitly state in your proposal the work that you will be doing, and advise them that if you end up having to go outside the initial scope of work that it will cost extra.

Of course, you want to be understanding and ensure that your client is satisfied, but getting this out of the way upfront will save you hours of working late into the night for free (trust me, I would know!).

Look For Local Opportunities

I’m gonna be honest with you:

You’re probably never going to build a website for Coca-Cola.

You might, however, be able to build a website for that local restaurant you drive by on your way to the bank every Thursday morning.

Make a list of all the small businesses within driving distance of your house, Google them, and see what their websites look like.

If they’re outdated, hard to navigate or rank low in the search engines then you’ve probably got an opportunity on your hands.

Reach out to these business owners via email or just walk into their establishments and introduce yourself.

Leave them your contact information and try to set up a follow meeting with them to discuss your scope of work and pricing.

Remember: the worst thing they can say is no.

Learn As You Go

If you can’t tell, I’m purposely not being as descriptive with things as I could be because I want you to get out there and learn things yourself by taking action.

I didn’t learn how to build websites, write proposals, or work with clients through reading a handful of articles.

I learned by doing.

If you feel like you don’t want to get started working as a freelance web designer until you “know enough” then I suggest you stop reading this and just start messing around in WordPress.

I’m serious, quit reading this right now and start building a website.

Keep going, and if you hit a roadblock Google will be your best friend.

The only thing holding you back from cashing a $500 check written to you by that local restaurant is yourself, so get to work, learn as you go, and stop complaining.

Conclusion

You can read a million different articles on things like web design, SEO, etc., but until you actually open the WordPress backend and start exploring it yourself you’ll have nothing to show for your knowledge except a big head.

These 5 steps are what ultimately took me from working at a grocery store to working at a digital marketing agency with double the income and even a nice side hustle that made me 5 figures.

Get to work, and I promise you if you don’t quit you’ll do well.