Here are some of the things you may have heard about creating a product to sell, that just aren’t true.
1. I can create a product, list it on Amazon and make a fortune
That just isn’t the case. (Sorry.)
If you truly believe this, I want you to think about your motivation for launching a physical product and what you expect from it.
Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to make good money – but you definitely need to know how to do it well.
Amazon for a buyer is a great platform. For sellers, it’s not quite the same.
2. I have to pay an agent to source my product
Absolutely not! You can definitely source a product yourself. It just takes time, clarity – and a bit of patience!
There are plenty of sites where you can find thousands of manufacturers in one place, search for the product you’re looking for, compare suppliers and get in touch with them.
There’s a lot to be said for Google searches too…
3. I’ll get ripped off, or conned by a supplier and never see my money or my product ever again!
So, you’ve realised it is possible to do your own sourcing – but you’re (understandably) still a little anxious.
Sending large amounts of money, to someone you don’t know, is scary. This was my biggest fear after placing my first order.
You do need to verify the supplier you choose to work with – and I can show you how.
4. I might create something that nobody will ever buy
It’s so important that you validate and test out your idea BEFORE spending any money on producing it.
We’ve talked about this in lots of episodes – so please do go back and listen!
5. What if someone steals my idea?
Creating a physical product is not for the faint-hearted. There are lots of steps involved and you have to be really passionate about your product to see it through to completion.
Your determination to make your product real will see you through. I promise you, not everyone has that passion and drive!
Alibaba.com (sourcing products in China)
Thomasnet (sourcing products in the USA)
Esources (sourcing products in the UK)
Free guide – 7 free ways to validate your product idea
Blog post – common questions about sourcing a product
Do you have topics you’d like me to cover? Email me – email@example.com
Common misconceptions about launching a physical product (and how to overcome them)
Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here is your host Vicki Weinberg and say, this is yet another podcast I'm recording in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. And I hope that wherever you're listening to this, you and everyone, you love are safe and well, so what I want to talk to you about today is some common misconceptions about launching your own physical products and how you can overcome them. So a few years ago, and you probably know this, if you've ever read anything I've written, or if, you know, if you are familiar with me at all. So a few years ago, I listened to a podcast.
It was a smart, passive income podcast by Pat Flynn, which is fantastic podcast, highly recommended it. And I was inspired by that to launch my own physical product and start selling on Amazon and as well as selling on Amazon, I also set up a Shopify site, but my main thing, the kind of thing that got me going was I thought, well, you know, Amazon seems like a great place. There's lots of customers. I can put a product on there and sell it and make some money. And since then I've added. So I'm more products to my brand and I have some more on the way. I've also had launched my own Shopify site, as I mentioned. And now obviously I offer services to other sellers and people who want to start selling. And that's, you know, part of the reasons for this podcast is to help other people are getting started.
And I think that if you're listening to this, possibly you have great ideas for products, or maybe you don't have ideas, but you like the idea of selling products as we've touched on before. But what often stops people moving forward is a fear of the unknown because it's, you know, it, unless it's something that you've done before, or it is quite a big and a daunting process, or maybe you've even Googled what you need to do, but just all the steps that go through it and not knowing what exactly what to do in what order to do them in just stop you in your tracks, which is completely understandable, especially if you're busy with other things, do you know you've got a Life for a job or a family, other things going on, you may be thinking, well, I don't actually have had time to pick up all of this out.
This is actually a good place to remind you that I actually have a checklist for this. So I have a free resource. It's a checklist that talks you through all of the things that you need to do to create a fiscal product. And you can just go through and, and take them off. And of course, sort of the, a lot of the how to do this will be covered off in this podcast episode or over on my block. So remember the block is also a great free resource for you to go and find out exactly how to do some of the things that I talk about here in a bit more detail. So when I speak to people who are either in the process of creating a product or considering doing it, I here at the same questions from peers, come up over and over again, and say, today's podcast is about sort of debunking some of these myths for you because it isn't as scary.
And it's complicated is it makes it sound, I mean is scary until you know, how long until you've done it. And as I've touched on before, once you've gone through the process of creating a product, do you have so much confidence and you'll be able to do it again and again. And I know that some of the fears that I hear are absolutely real and valid, but some things that I hear people say, and these aren't all fears either, but there were some things I hear people and say right at the beginning and they are actually just Smith's. And I just want to go through some of these myths and just share the truth if you really are. And the first one I'm going to talk about, isn't a fear or concern is actually a little bit of tough love.
I hear a lot of people were not a lot, but I do hear people saying, Oh, I see this red, or, you know, read this in blocks and things that people believe I can create a product. I can list it on Amazon and I can make a lot of money. And I actually, I lead it to the fact that it, at the beginning, there was sort of my plant as well, but I'm so sorry to say that it isn't necessarily the case because, well, first of all, if you do believe that this, I just want you to think about what your motivation is for launching new products and what you expect from it. Because if your thinking that it's really easy to create a product and put up an Amazon listing and the sales are just coming in, then you know, that's not actually the reality. And yet we I'm sure you've had, and I've definitely heard stories about people launching a business with Amazon and getting a really rich And.
Yeah, that is how, like I said, that is how my story began. That's what motivated me. And it is possible to make money on Amazon. I mean, I make money or I'm, you know, I'll make a living, partly selling products on Amazon now, but it's not just as easy as getting your product, putting it out there and then expecting it to sell. And I'm going to go through a few of the reasons why I believe this. So first of all, Amazon for a buyer is a great platform and For sellers, and it is a good platform in the sense that there are lots of customers there. So that was one of the things about selling on Amazon. You can sell a whole range of products. There's a lot you can sell on there and yeah. In the customers or they have already, which is fantastic.
But there are other things that are for sale has make it not quite at the same and not such an attractive proposition. So the first thing is Amazon seller central, which is the platform for sailors. I'm going to be really honest with you. Here is the bane of my life. It's confusing. It's unclear if not intuitive and navigating it is hard and you have to use it because it's the only way to list your products on Amazon. Or there were lots of rules and guidelines. They changed on a regular basis. They're not often communicated. And the customer service is pretty poor. I have whole list of issues. I'm going to spare you. But I mean, I think it's fair to say. I spend a fair bit of my time working for my clients on either dealing VAMs and cost of support to try and resolve issues or trying to, or trying be doing things for them in the first place.
So a lot of people will ask me to set up their listings on Amazon. They will ask me to set up the market on
Amazon sent me to it because they don't understand it and they don't have the time to figure it out themselves. And by the way, that's absolutely fine. It's the platform I'm really familiar with that. It's actually something that I'm really good at it. You know, this was one of my strengths. And if you are looking to sell on Amazon, you know, I can, I can help you. And I completely get that. You know, people get, I get where people struggle. You know, for me, remember, I've been using this for years. It's been a bit of a learning curve. And this is, I'm not saying this to put you off. I mean, I've mastered it. Plenty of other people have it. It does take a bit of time to do so. And if you don't have that time to invest in working out how the platform works and how to best use it, then you're definitely not going to see success overnight.
And of course, that's the second thing I think about is you also need a really good product list in on Amazon, because as well as getting your head around. So the central, you've got to remember that there is a lot of competition out there, depending on what you sell. Don't get me wrong. There are still niches where you can do really well on Amazon, but you know, they're is a lot of competition. And in fact, I don't know the exact number of new sellers on Amazon every day, a one site, I looked at one of our research. They said it was 2,975 new sellers per day. Another said 3500 new sellers per day. And they said, this is globally. The amount of people opening up an Amazon seller accounts every day. So, you know, we can assume it's somewhere around the 3000 Mark.
And of course not all of these people, at least in products on day one, but I think we can agree that it is a law. And there is some niches in products on Amazon that are now so competitive that it just might not be the best place to sell your products. So I you use JungleScout Chrome Extension to get data on how competitive different products and different niches are. I put a link to this in the show notes, it's actually a great resource to use, to find out what the competition is like. And then by the way, just because you research your product and actually you look on Amazon and it says that it's going to be too competitive, you know, there's too much, but it's basically JungleScout, will give you a score for competition.
And it might say, you know, high competition, well, that doesn't necessarily mean that your product idea, it wasn't a great one. It just might mean there's another marketplace. That's, you know, where competition is less, but traffic is still high. And this comes down too. You're doing your research, which I have talked about in a lot of episodes today. So coming back to the product listing, I have a blog posts and also have an Amazon product listing, a checklist, which will help you ensure that the listing you like Amazon is pretty optimized. I write lots of Amazon product listings for other sellers, at least a couple of week. And so if you want my free resource you'll be able to get that in the show notes. But if you think of basic things to cover, is that when you're writing your product listing, you need to make sure that you've done some keyword research so that the keywords you are targeting are actually include it in your listing, that your product listing is selling the products benefits while other than the features.
So, you know, it's enticing someone to buy it so they can actually see the benefits, you know, how, but in this product would enhance their life rather than just listing, you know, what it's made of and how big it is and all that kind of stuff, which absolutely you can include. But your bullet points for your product in particular have to really sell it, you know, the benefits, why would I want this product and how will this make my life better? Do you need to have some really good images? Perhaps you need some graphics or a little bit or infographics, and you need to make it really clear why our customer would you use your product over the competition? And as I said, there is a bit of an art to create in a really good Amazon product listing. And As I say, there is a bit of an art to great in a great Amazon product listing.
I do have a Blog based on about this, that again, I will link to and get a hold of the Amazon product listing checklist as well. If there's something you're interested in. And so while we're talking about listings and competition, I should also point out the, in some categories, there were manufacturers are actually selling products directly. And on the cutting. I had one on price because they can So some of the sellers or shipping their products in China. So there's quite a long way, and that will put some customers off. However, some sellers are you using for Amazon FBA so fulfilled by Amazon, where they send this doc to an Amazon fulfillment center and Amazon fills, it on their behalf, which means customers get Amazon prime, which basically makes it a level playing field if that's what you're doing as well.
So having said all of this, I am certainly not saying don't sell on Amazon. What I'm saying is don't just assume that you can start selling on Amazon and do really well. I'm saying, do your research, which I've talked about in plenty of previous episodes and understand what's involved. And if you need help, you know, if we don't have the time at scale to do it yourself, then perhaps think about hiring someone to help you. If you want to have a chat about it, if you want to have a chat about this at all, you can contact me. Vicki at tiny chipmunk.com. I would absolutely love to help you get started on Amazon. And it will also be really honest if I feel like Amazon isn't necessarily be the best marketplace for you and for your product.
Okay. So the second misconception right here, and this one I think is actually a partly fear-based is I have to pay an agent or a source of my product. So basically, so you know what your product is, hopefully you've done your research. You've got a really good speck and now's the time to actually find that product. And this can be a bit of a stumbling block because chances are, this is something you haven't done before, and understandably feels a bit scary, but I just want to let you debunk this because you can definitely source a product yourself. I've actually sourced all my, myself, and it's a service I offered as well. And it just takes a bit of time, a bit of clarity and a bit of patience and when I say clarity, just knowing exactly what you're looking for, which is why I always recommend doing your research as I've touched on before.
And then a future episode, I'm going to talk about how to get together a really good product specification so that when you start actually going out and sourcing your product, you know exactly what you're looking for. Now, there are plenty of sites where you can find thousands of manufacturers in one place. You can search for the product. You're looking for it. You can compare suppliers or you can get in touch with them. So my first site in China is Alibaba, but you don't necessarily need to look at a board. If you are sourcing in the UK, you can look at Esources or Thomasnet, it's a good source if you're in the us. And I will link to all of these in the show notes. And there's actually a lot to be said for Google searches as well. If you are, particularly, if you're looking to search in your own country, you know, if you search for a name of the product you're looking for and the country you want to source it.
And so, for example, recently, I'm looking to change the manufacturer for my towel. And so I searched for towel manufacturer's in Turkey, and then you get some websites firm there, and then you can start researching and contacting suppliers. And I've written lots of posts about sourcing. And I will link to some of the key ones in the show notes, rather than going to too much detail here. But just to say, you know, this is something you can do, but my main point is you need to be really clear on what your looking for. So if you have a really clear brief, before you start contacting suppliers, this will help you to weed out anyone that's unsuitable, and also save a lot of unnecessary going back and forwards.
So, as an example, with my first boss, I hadn't even thought about the packaging and I just thought, Oh wow, the factories will probably just do that for me. And it turns out that some suppliers did offer this, although I wasn't sure what the quality was B, but most wanted me to send them my actual packaging design so they can give me a quote or at least be able to tell them, you know, what sort of packaging I want it and how many colors will be on it and all of that. And I just didn't know. So I ended up going backwards and forwards. I wasted a lot of time. I do think that some suppliers probably chose not to work with me because I just thought it was, you know, you clearly haven't got back together because I I've been very open my first Product. I saw it from China and or something else.
I hear with people thinking that, you know, that, that, that Chinese players are very key and then they really want your business. That's not actually the case. Not all suppliers will even reply to your emails because some are so busy. No, they've got a lot of business in particular, if it's your first order and it's a small order, some of the may look at Your with your email or for that many units is not worth it. And they just won't get it back to you. And again, if I say it, as I say, if you don't have the answer to the questions and you know, you don't know if you don't seem overly prepared, they may decide actually this isn't someone that we want to work with. So, so this story definitely isn't intended to get you off. It is just as a way that you need to have a
really detailed specification before you start reaching out to the suppliers.
I do, you know of people who you have contacted him sort of ahead of this. So, you know, they've got their idea for their product. And before we go too far into the research data, they're like, well, I'll see if I can find someone who can provide this and I'll see you how much it can cost. And I think there were two downsides to doing this one is that if you haven't carried out your research and you don't know exactly what you're looking for, if you don't actually know if this is a product that you will actually go ahead and create and start selling. So you could be potentially wasting a little bit of time here. And also the second thing is that if you haven't gained on your research and you don't have a really clear, brief, any pricing information that you get from this initial sort of looking at sourcing sites or wherever you are going to might not be accurate.
And in fact, I would put money on the fact that it won't be accurate because if you're looking to create a bespoke products, even if it's a variation on an existing product, and if you want any kind of customization, it is going to cost you more than the price you see listed. Also often the list price you see is for all living a certain number of units. Now for our first order, you might not be met in that. So just to say, just summarize this, I think that it's definitely possible to sort your own products. I'm going to be talking about that a little bit more in future episodes. However, before you start doing that, you need to be pro you need to be prepared to us. My caveat, you can do it yourself, but get yourself prepared before you do it.
Okay. So this one that leads me on by me nicely too. The third misconception I hear, which is I will get ripped off or I'll get conned by a supplier and I will never see my money or my product ever again. So hopefully now you've realized that hope you have convinced you that it is possible to do your brain sort of saying, but perhaps yours, you know, still feeling anxious about at this point. So I get that because I think Sending any amount of money to someone you don't know is scary. And, you know, you've possibly have had some scary stories. I've definitely heard some. And this has actually my biggest fear when I placed my first daughter, I was absolutely terrified that it just wasn't gonna turn up, had a big delay at customs for, I can't even remember what all I do remember that it was because I didn't fit it in a form that was meant to fit it in.
So it was my fault, but it did have a big debate of costumes. And before, when I figured out what it was my fault, it was just absolutely terrified, but it just wasn't turning up and yeah, I'd spent all that money and I wasn't getting it back, but of course it did. And you know, at the time I'd take in to do some research into validating. My supplier has paid off. So depending on where you're sourcing your products for them, you can, there are different ways you can verify your supplier. So if you're looking to source and shop from China and you're looking at on Alibaba, because that's probably the most popular site. In fact, I think, I think the most popular, popular sauces I ever, I think that's the one I heard people talk about`. My STEM are steps you can
take to protect yourself.
So, and there was some really simple checks that they are actually into Alibaba now. So you can look for gold suppliers. So this means that they have a gold listing, which they have to pay for. So if they don't have, if a supplier on Alibaba, it doesn't have a goal or listing, they've got a free listing And, which doesn't mess up at any mean and not a legitimate, but if they've got a goal listing, it means I've had to pay for it. And it's more unlikely that a scammer would go to the trouble of doing this. I think you can also see suppliers where Alibaba is actually done and on site check or a fair, like a verified third party has an onsite check. Oh, I really like this 'cause it also means that they have checked that, you know, it is not a sweatshop that people have been treated fairly and the working conditions are good and that kind of thing.
So that gives me extra reassurance because that was something else that I'm looking for. You know what? I want you to work with a supplier that is treating people kindly and it is operating ethically. And probably the most important one that I look at that this was on Alibaba is so called trade insurance. And this basically means that if you place an order with a supplier, who's signed up for a trade assurance, you are protected. So if something goes wrong with your order, or if the quality is in the up to scratch over, it arrives late, then Your money is protected. I had never actually had to use this to know how well it works, but it's good to know it's there. And I, and I feel like a supplier who has signed up that you know, is devious about quality and about delivering on time, because it's optional.
They don't have to be on that scheme. And I think is good. They are. Alibaba seems to have been a bit in S in recent years. So I've wrote a blog post about this subject quite a few years ago now. And since then, quite a few bits that have changed the, the updated blog posts will be linked in the show notes, but they now are also offer the option of paying through their site directly. So you can make a payment on Alibaba rather than sort of wiring the money to the bank account would you can also still do, but there's, they also convert the money into your local currency and you get quite a good exchange rate. So a few things have changed. I think, I feel like the site is becoming a bit more friendly and a bit, if it is starting to feel it a bit more secure, I'm hoping this we'll just carry on and prove it.
And actually something else I had mentioned, if you are looking to source their, is I also looked for suppliers have been trading at least for years, hopefully longer. 'cause I think it is very unlikely that someone who is not a legitimate company is going to have kept going for 10 years. They just don't see that, how that can be. So I try and avoid anyone. Who's only been in business for a year or two, and looked for people who had been selling a bit longer, and there are other checks you can do as well. So again, just as I was just talking about Alibaba, but you can, you can Google the name of suppliers, see if they have their own website, if they
pay anywhere else, you can also type in a supplier name and a scam or a fake or something. And see if you get any results, you can also see it on Alibaba, how many sales or a supplier's made.
It tells you is called the transaction level, and it shows you how many sales have made in the past six months. It's also quite useful because if they've made a really high number, you do kind of assume this means that a real deal. Obviously none of this is sort of set in stone. You do need to use common sense. And if things don't feel right, of course, walk away, and this is basic, the minimum, I think do diligence, you should be doing. If you're sourcing on a different sites, if you're sourcing your products from your own country. So when I'm in the UK, if I was going to saw something, here are the things I would do as well as looking at the website is I would find them on the phone and I will speak to somebody on the phone.
I will send an email asking for what I was looking for. I will follow up with a phone call if it was feasible for me to visit. If they weren't too far away, I would actually go and visit them. I would also Google them and see if they'd had any bad press or any sort of reviews about them online and that kind of thing. There's a lot you can do. And I'm not saying that if you do all of this, everything's, I can't promise you that everything will be fine, but I do think just taking some time to do some due diligence and do some checking before you send anybody, any money makes a lot of it makes a lot of sense. And as I say, I don't know anyone personally, who's had an awful experience, but I do, you know, this is something that people are concerned about, which is why I wanted to cover it.
And I do think that as long as you use common sense and you do some caveats and checks, you should be fine. I certainly don't want this to be the thing that holds you back. Okay? So the fourth fear I hear or misconception actually is that I might create something that nobody will ever buy. And the reason I say this is a misconception is because I'm working really hard to make sure that you don't create something that might be hurt by. I guess there isn't a misconception because you know, it can happen. But my goal is that anyone who I work with or anyone who listened to this podcast, it just won't happen to you because you have done your validation.
And while I can't guarantee that people buy your product because you need to insure, you know, as, as well as checking that there's a market, as well as checking, it will be profitable. You also need to make sure that you're sending it in the right place. If you have a great listing, you might need to think about marketing. I do
think that you've got a much, much better chance if you've validated your idea before you do anything else that I'm not going to go into detail about how to validate your product. Ideas now, because we've talked about that in detail in episode five, which is what's a great product for things to do first episode six, which is how and why to validate your product ideas. And at the actual, our next episode coming out next week is
interview with a customer at a market research specialist.
I'm not going to go into great detail now, but I am going to say there is a much lower chance of you creating something that nobody ever buys. If you've done your research and your validation beforehand. And the final misconception I want to cover is if I have a product idea and I started to talk about it and you know, I try to make a decent validation. And as you know, as I have suggested, someone will steal my idea. I just want to get your mind at rest. And it's completely out of this myth. So as you have probably experienced, or maybe anticipated, if you haven't got started creating physical product is not for the faint hearted. I mean, there were lots of missteps involved, and I think you have to be really passionate about your product to see if we were to completion.
As I've said, lots of times, it's, it's a simple, if you know what you're doing and it certainly put in it, you know, it's, it's more than possible to do all of it yourself. There are steps you can go through and you know, there's a lot of support out there if you need it. However, there is, you know, there is work to be done. And I am absolutely convinced that, you know, you are listening to this podcast because you, you know, you are passionate about creating a product. And I think that you can do this, but not everyone wants to do. And I think you have a determination to make your product reel will be what it sees you for this. And I promise you, you know what, everyone else has that. And they certainly, and not going to have that about your product idea.
So please don't let that be the thing that stops you for moving forward, because it also lets be honest, if you've had a brilliant idea and you don't go anywhere with it because you worry, someone else are going to steal it, where if someone else does come up with it and then they, you know, they launch it at first. I actually have one client who this happened to me. She had an idea and she started to notice a Saturday and she sat in it for quite a long time. And then when she went to Actually, you know, in short I can, I'm ready to get going. Now she actually found someone else to beat in her market and it wasn't going to be an original product anymore. And for her, that completely just took all of the joy out of it. And she decided Actually, you know, this wasn't something I wanted to do. And of course you could have launched a competing product to what was out of there. But what we're really excited here was that she would've been, you know, the first product to market, you have this product type.
And so I think that was a real shame. So please don't sit on your ideas for fear that someone else will Whates, you know, take them from you and you know what people might call it for you. And if they do take that as a competition, I mean, if you're the first person to Mark it for a brilliant idea and other people's started copying you, you are always going to be there original. You are always going to be, you know, the first one to
do that. Remember you can always apply for patents down the line for things, if you need to, if you need to protect your ideas, but certainly don't let this be the thing that stops you from even getting started in the first place. Okay. So I hope that this has given you some confidence that you can make your idea as real. And I
hope that if you have any of, you know, if any of these things I've covered today will worry is that you had that.
I put your mind at rest a bit. If you have concerns that I haven't covered today and that you'd like me to cover in a future episode, you can get in touch with Vicki at tiny chip chipmunk.com. Tell me what's on your mind. Tell me what is stopping you from moving forward. And perhaps I can do an episode specifically on that. So as always, everything I've talked about today will be linked up in show notes and, and just to find out a reminder, please do subscribe to the podcast. Please do leave me a review. I'd love to know what you think and to tell your friends as well. Okay. See you next week.