There are many ways to make money online without ever getting out of bed… but why waste such an incredible opportunity on your bedroom?
Making money online gives you the freedom to travel the world whenever and wherever you want (as long as that place has internet access).
One option for generating online income is to build an online store that sells tangible or intangible goods (We discuss selling services online in a separate article.)
You can handle marketing, sales, fulfillment, customer service, and business administration with a laptop and cellphone, from anywhere you have an internet connection.
For the adventure traveler, one of the advantages of selling products online is that people can buy the products at any time of day.
You’re always open for business
Consumers are used to buying products online without interacting with a storeowner, so you can move product even while hanging on The Nose at El Capitan.
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A primary drawback, however, is the customer service.
If you sell products online, particularly physical products, you will have to create a strategy to take care of customer problems, such as broken merchandise or missing shipments.
While we all love customers, customer service can be a serious burden for an online store and can also be a serious damper on your adventure travel freedom and mindset.
Not to worry, though, there are solutions, and here are some things to consider when building an online store to fund your adventure travels.
What Are You Selling?
Before you start an online shop, you have to figure out what you’re going to sell.
First, will the products be related to your adventures or completely separate.
Some adventurers choose to sell products that are related to their experiences and focus.
For example, at Adventure Possible, we sell eBooks based on our adventures. The advantage for us is that our blog content drives organic search traffic which helps drive book sales.
On the other hand, some choose to sell products that have no relation to their adventure travels, creating a business around a completely different subject.
For example, we also have a real estate marketing website called ReReLo.com that publishes content about real estate in our hometown, Raleigh, NC. We sell leads to realtors through this site, and real estate has nothing to do with our travels.
Create Your Own Product or Sell Someone Else’s?
Also, when considering what you are going to sell, you’ll need to determine if you will create your own product or sell someone else’s product.
At Adventure Possible, we only sell our own products, our eBooks and premium content.
However, we are considering adding other people’s products to the mix, particularly the books and products we read, use, and love.
There is not a blanket truth as to which option is best or more profitable, but you will have to decide if you are going to make your own product, such as an eBook, jewelry, or cupcakes, or sell someone else’s and take your cut.
Sell Tangible Products Option
When you are considering what you are going to sell, consider carefully whether or not you will sell tangible or intangible goods.
Tangible goods are products that can be held, such a bound books, camping gear, t-shirts, and jewelry.
The advantages to selling tangible goods are that it is relatively easy to communicate value in marketing messaging online, convent a sale, and then deliver on the value promise when the product ships.
The disadvantages can include production and inventory management, so if you are considering tangible goods made by someone else (i.e. Kelty tents), you should definitely consider drop shipping.
What is Drop Shipping?
Drop shipping is the relationship and process in which you, the retailer, can sell products online without handling the product you sell.
Your online order is automatically forwarded to another retailer or wholesaler who ships the product directly to your customer.
Often, the product packaging is labeled with your business name and information, and the customer is unaware that a third party is involved.
Entire online stores are built around the concept of drop shipping. The websites are simply marketing and transaction engines.
Drop shipping is a great option for travelers because you don’t have to manage inventory, package products, or ship them out to customers.
However, the drawback of a drop ship relationship is that you will sacrifice margin. For the adventure traveler, the sacrifice is worth the cost, as it will free you up to travel.
As a result of tighter margins, in order to cover your burn rate, you will likely need to move a greater volume of sales, so the money and time you don’t have to spend on inventory management and fulfillment you should redirect towards marketing and customer acquisition.
There are many options for drop shipping relationships, and the web is full of books, training materials, and software tools related to drop shipping.
Sell Intangible or Digital Products Online
Digital products are commonly seen in the form of eBooks, software, training materials, and audio files.
They are wonderful for an online store, and especially wonderful for an adventurer, because they can be sold and distributed online.
Unlike tangible products, there are no concerns for product inventory management, shipping, or receiving.
Digital products can often be produced once (i.e. writing an eBook), and then sold over and over.
You can sell other people’s digital products, or you can create your own.
This advantage of creating your own well-crafted digital product is that once it’s live, you can focus your time on marketing and selling it.
If you sell it on your own store, you control the marketing messaging, keep most of the money from a sale, but also have full responsibility for acquiring customers.
There are super popular options like Amazon, Apple iTunes, and LuLu.com, which charge a significant percentage of the sale, but they have millions upon millions of users visiting their site, putting your product in front of potential customers.
One thing to consider when creating your own digital product, especially if you expect it to support your adventure, is that you should allow ample time before the adventure to create the product.
Writing books, building software tools, creating music or video, they all require time.
Digital products often require significant upfront investment of time and sometimes money, so be prepared to work hard on them.
Once they are ready though, they can become a sort of passive income stream, which is the super awesome type of income that full-time adventurers should aspire to develop.