12- Aug2020
Posted By: abundanceaware
107 Views

Genuine ways to make money online

There are a lot of genuine ways to make money online if you have the right information.

It can be very overwhelming to get started making money online. Especially if the information you are reading is not broken down into a simple way to understand. It is very easy to get confused by lots of information available on the internet.

Before you start

Before I give you my list of genuine ways to make money online. Let me give you some important things you need to understand before you start any online money-making business.

 

Time

It is very important to know that any way you choose to make money online will take time. This is especially true if you are completely new to online business. Nothing will happen by magic. The time factor is the most important mindset shift required to make any online money-making venture work.

We are now living in a time in history whereby people expect things to happen very quickly. But the reality is that to get any tangible result, it will take time. It won’t happen overnight.

We often underestimate how long a project will take. Impatience now rules our mind and it is a bad thing. There is no such thing as making easy or free money online. A lot of time will need to be devoted.

When you see people that have made money online, if they are honest they will tell you it isn’t easy. They will tell you about the countless hours spent in developing a product or service before they were able to earn any money through their online business.

Education

I am sure you must be wondering why I am talking about education. I am not talking about a university degree. A college degree is not required to start an online business.

However, you need to educate yourself about any online business you choose for you to get any result.

Thanks to the internet, it is very easy to teach yourself a lot of things. There is a wealth of information on the internet about various subjects.

When you identify the type of online business you want to do, look for helpful information online. Then immerse yourself in learning.

As long as you have an internet connection, most of the information online is free.

Alternatively, you can pay for a course someone else put together. The coaching or mentoring option could also help you get results faster. Having a coach or mentor does not guarantee results without hard work, it only makes the journey easier for you.

I must say that you have to be careful not to fall into the hands of dubious people. It is easy to do this in an attempt to buy a course or seek a coach or mentor.

Consistency

If there is one thing that will help you to succeed, it is consistency in efforts.

Anyone who cannot put in consistent work will not make tangible money online. You have to stay engaged and avoid distractions.

If it was easy to make money online, everyone will be doing it. Many people start the journey, fail to be consistent and end up quitting.

Consistency means that you are committed to sustained effort in other to achieve your goal of making money online.

Something that has helped me personally in my online side hustle is scheduling. I use calendar blocking to schedule my work. This helps me know exactly what I need to do each day of the week to help move my business forward.

I consistently wake up early to get work done. Small consistent effort every day can help you to achieve a big result over a period of time.

Genuine online businesses

1. Sell physical products

One of the best ways to earn money online is to sell a physical product. The risk of starting a business selling physical product has been reduced to almost zero because of the internet. You can start making money online by selling physical products.

These are the best platforms where you can sell physical products

I have written a number of articles about how to start selling on Amazon. Check the list of my selling on Amazon articles below.

If you have an idea of a very niche unique product. You can set up your own Shopify eCommerce store where you can sell the products to customers.

The common rule is that your products need to solve specific problems. And it is important that the product is not easily available in usual brick and mortar shops on the high street.

By this, you have more chance of customers coming to buy it online.

One of the other ways to make money online is to start a dropshipping business. The good thing about dropshipping is that you are not going to hold any stock. Its simply selling other peoples products.

2. Sell digital products

Another genuine way to make money online is to sell digital products. There are a variety of digital products you can sell online.

The most obvious digital product is an ebook. There are other digital products that you can sell online.

You can create a template that someone might find useful and will be happy to pay you for it. On marketplaces like Etsy, you can upload a template you have created and make it available for sale.

The screenshot below is from Etsy which shows some budgeting planner template that are available for sale.

You can research on a subject you can create a template for and start making money online when people buy.

 

3. Sell courses

Making money online is not about clicking a few buttons and money starts rolling into your bank account.

If you have knowledge about a topic than the majority of people don’t know. There is a chance that someone will be ready to pay you for what you know.

On websites like Udemy, you can create educational videos on a subject you know a lot about. Is it easy to create a course? No, it is not, it takes hard work and time.

Your courses can also be hosted on websites like Thinkific or Teachable. The amazing thing about courses is that it will be available for people from all over the world which provide limitless opportunity to earn money.

If you can put in the work, you can create a course, make it available online and start earning money genuinely online.

 

4. Freelancing/ Virtual Assistant

The internet provides opportunities for ordinary everyday people who have niche knowledge. They can make themself available for people all over the world.

You can serve people all over the world with your knowledge. Platforms like People Per Hour, Fiverr and UpWork make it easy for you to offer valuable services to entrepreneurs and business people.

As a freelance or virtual assistant, people all over the world can seek your service and you can get paid.

I have paid people for various services like article editing, logo design, website error fixing. The list goes on and on. If you have any special skill, you can genuinely earn money for your skills online.

Final Thought

Making money online requires a lot of grinds and hard work. Anyone ready to learn and put in the work can genuinely earn money online.

I wrote a very detailed article on 101 Side Hustle Ideas. The list contains both online and offline side hustle ideas. If you are only interested in earning money online, just pick from some of the online related side hustles. The link is below

 

 

Categories:
02- Aug2020
Posted By: abundanceaware
314 Views

Best Vanguard Funds UK

One of the most common questions people have asked me is what are the best Vanguard Funds available in the UK?

It is not a surprise to me that people ask me this question because choosing the right funds when you want to get started with Vanguard can be overwhelming and confusing.

Vanguard is not the best when it comes to the number of funds available to choose from. However, this is an advantage from my own point of view. This is because it is not that complicated to choose a fund on the Vanguard platform in the UK when compared to a lot of other investment platforms in the UK.

I must say at this point that I am not a financial adviser and please do not take this information in this post as financial advice. Please also do your own research after reading this post.

Base on my experience of investing with Vanguard in the UK, below are my top 3 funds. I will also give you the reasons why these are my top 4.

After reading this article, you might find this article useful. 

U.S. Equity Index Fund – Accumulation

This is one of the passive funds Vanguard offers to UK investors. It is very similar to the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund in the US. The Fund is a passive fund.

Investing in this fund means that I am in full trust of the historical performance of the Standard and Poor’s Total Market Index in the US.

The fund invests in large, mid, small and micro-sized company shares in the US.

Investing in stock and share generally means that you support the advancement and innovations of the US economy. It is a way of owning part of the US economy.

The fee for this fund is really very low and it is one of the reasons why I love this fund.

You can see more information about this fund on the Vanguard UK website.

S&P 500 UCITS ETF (VUSA)

This fund is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) and is available for UK investors on the Vanguard UK platform.

It is a fund that tracks the S&P 500 which is a US index. The S&P 500 from its name contain 500 of the biggest companies in the US.

Investing in this simply means that I trust these 500 companies to continue to innovate and provide valuable products and services into the market place.

As well, this also means putting your trust in the US economy which is still the best economy in the world as at the time of writing this post.

You can see more information about this fund on the Vanguard UK website.

LifeStrategy® 80% Equity Fund – Accumulation

This fund is usually regarded as a fund of funds because it holds various funds in it. The Vanguard LifeStrategy is one of my most favourites of Vanguard Funds available in the UK.

The portfolio comprises of approximately 80% shares and 20% bonds and other similar fixed-income investments.

The 80% equity means that shares make up 80% of the fund and the rest 20% bond.

The state of life or age of the investor is usually the determinant factor in which of the LifeStrategy funds to choose. Vanguard has other LifeStrategy funds as follows

  • 20% Equity
  • 40% Equity
  • 60% Equity
  • 100% Equity

The percent (%) equity always signifies the percentage of the funds that are shares.

For an investor who is close to retirement or has retired, it might be better off to invest in 20% equity. This will mean that 80% of the fund is bond.

Bonds are more regarded as less risky than shares.

Personally, because of my stage in life, I invested in the LifeStrategy 80% Equity.

You can see more information about this fund on the Vanguard UK website.

YouTube video

FTSE All-World High Dividend Yield UCITS ETF (VHYL)

The main reason why I like this fund is that it is a global fund.

The world generally is moving forward in the right direction of innovation, technology and advancement. Investing in this fund is putting your trust in the future growth of the human race.

According to Vanguard as stated on their website, “this fund invests in large and mid-sized company stocks – real estate trusts not inclusive- in developed and emerging markets that pay dividends generally higher than the average.”

The unique benefit of investing in this stock is the fact that it is a dividend fund. The fund invests in stocks of companies that pay dividends that are usually above the average.

You can see more information about this fund on the Vanguard UK website.

Final Thought

It is very easy to get overwhelmed when choosing funds to invest in on the Vanguard platform when you are a beginner. It is important to keep things simple by choosing passive funds which track the major stock market indices.

My favourite Vanguard Funds mainly track indices that are outside the UK. This does not mean that FTSE funds are not as good as starter funds.

Some of the FTSE funds are also very good funds you can choose from. You can check out FTSE and other funds on the Vanguard website by clicking here.

Categories:
01- Aug2020
Posted By: abundanceaware
149 Views

How to save money on low income in the UK

One of the hardest things to do when your income is low is saving money. Many folks in this bracket don’t even bother with it because it seems nay impossible.

But is saving money on a tight budget really impossible wherever you are in the world, be it the UK, USA, Canada etc?

Savings for me is a choice you can’t compromise on. You have to do it. No matter how small your income is, it is important to be able to squeeze that extra penny to be saved.

There are a lot of advantages to saving money.

The following are tips and strategies that will help you in your money-saving on a low-income journey. It is also a useful guide if your income is high.

Best Tips On How To Save Money on Low Income

1. Write Down Your Budget

The very first step you want to take when embarking on a savings journey is to find out where your money goes monthly. This is particularly important because it allows you to check for the disparity in your expenses.

There is always something that you shouldn’t be wasting too much money on but you find yourself doing it anyway. This is mostly out of habit.

There is no better way to get an overview of your money flows monthly than documenting it. You can choose to document manually with a piece of paper or virtually through apps like Evernote.

You can also make use of this household budget calculator.

You must resist the urge to do mental math for this.

The Money Advice Service and MoneySavingExpert have excellent guides on how best to set up a budget.

2. Set Up a Plan of Action

If you’re setting up a plan of action for budgeting on a low income then I want to believe you know where your money is going.

By this I mean you have documented your expenses for a month and scrutinised where your money is leaking.

Only when you know the unnecessary things you’re spending money on can you know how much you can possibly save.

Once you identify the leak, you can then proceed to have an action plan for saving. You need to create a savings goal for yourself.

And get rid of the notion that you are making too low an income to save.

The truth is that even if you are a high-income earner if you don’t have a healthy saving habit, you’ll still find yourself unable to save. Saving money is a habit that you must nurture.

So even if it’s £10 a week that you can save, start with that. The key to the goal is that you must start from somewhere.

3. Reduce Your Accommodation Costs

Accommodation costs are low-key some of the highest expenses that we spend money on.

What most people find out after finding a way to reduce their accommodation costs is that they have more money saved.

How then can you reduce your accommodation costs?

The easiest way to reduce this is to downsize. You might want to look for a less expensive property to rent. Or consider moving to a less expensive area or town.

Although, you must factor in the nearness to your place of work and commuting costs when making the above move.

What you wouldn’t want to do is spend less on accommodation then spending much more on transport.

One of the ways people save money on accommodation is to rent out a spare room to a lodger. This can save you money because then you’ll be earning on your property.

I was once a beneficiary of this type of arrangement when I got my first job at Worcester City Council. A co-worker rented his spare room to me.

And if you live in an area close to tourist attractions, why not consider renting your spare room as AirBNB?

4. Become A Parkinson’s Law Devotee

If you are a fan of productivity then chances are you’ve heard of Parkinson’s Law before this. Parkinson ’s Law states that the more time given to complete a work, the more time it’ll take to complete it. Work expands with the time given.

This can also be applied to finances. The definition in finances would then be: expenses expand to fill the unnecessary wants that occur as a result of increased income.

You might be wondering how increased income relates to your low income. The truth is that you started earning your low income one day. You were probably jobless or on a lower income before now.

What you should have noticed is how your expenses increased with your income. But should it always be so? No matter the income bracket you belong to, you must always be minding of your spending.

You can read this post about how to save money faster with Parkinson’s Law.

YouTube video

5. Cut your expenses

One of the ways to budget on a low income is by learning how to make do with less. This is quite similar to the Parkinson’s point above.

Speaking from experience I can tell you that increasing your income can be hard but reducing your expenses is easier.

Some of the things you can save money on include utility providers, groceries, mortgage and so on.

An often overlooked expense that people often overlook is eating out. Why not cultivate the habit of preparing your own meals? Even if you’re bad at it, you’ll eventually get better.

Debt can easily pile up when these expenses regularly go unchecked. In fact, you will sometimes incur more debt to cover such debts.

Research from Santander suggested that UK households spend an average of £3,329 per year, on water, council tax, broadband bills, energy and electricity.

While these are essential expenses you can still save money by switching to cheaper alternatives where possible.

You can also find a way to reduce your shopping if you are a shopaholic. You can easily ditch that designer clothing for thrift wears. It’s not a shameful thing to do. You can neglect or postpone that luxurious holiday you’ve been looking forward to.

You can check out this article on how to effectively plan a household budget.

6. Set Financial Goals

Another habit you want to develop in your savings journey is setting realistic financial goals. Only you know how much your income is so you are the one responsible for cutting your coat according to your size.

It isn’t an easy thing to live within one’s means but it is a better option than struggling. The truth is that we can make do with several expenses we see as essential. Cutting these extra costs is a step in the right direction.

You have to be realistic with yourself and be able to challenge yourself. No matter how much you earn, there must still be a little you can save.

If not earning enough is your excuse for having unhealthy spending and savings habit. You can always pick up a side hustle to boost your income.

You can read our comprehensive post about side hustle ideas here and here.

But I must warn you if you can’t learn to save when you have little you still won’t save when you have more. Saving money is a habit and it must be nurtured and developed.

7. Sell Some Household Items

One of the easiest habit to cultivate as an adult is the hoarding habit. We sometimes develop personal attachments to some of our belongings and loathe the idea of losing them. This is even after it is no longer useful to us.

Over the years, what you’ll find out is how much junk you are keeping in your house. Sometimes we keep them based on the sentiment that they’ll be needed one day.

But this is the fifth year and you still haven’t needed them. I say it’s time for a big spring clean. Comb through your house or garage brutally for items of no real use with financial value.

You’ll be surprised by what people are looking for. There is always one person or the other looking for thrift buys.

I should know this; I started my eBay journey by selling a few items of no use in the house. I later went on to cutting deals with manufacturers in my chosen niche.

I have a very comprehensive article on how you can get started selling on Amazon and eBay here and here.

8. Buy Second Hand

The truth is that there are so many other people on this same journey as you. What this means is that you can also buy what others are selling.

For the time being, you can say NO to new items and a big YES to used items. You can decide to go for second-hand items like home appliances, clothes, furniture and even mobile devices.

You discover amazing bargains on websites like eBay, Gumtree and even Facebook marketplace.

Buying second-hand items is a sure way of getting the things you need at a lesser price and without really compromising on quality.

9. Figure Out Your Entitlements

One of the things people often overlook is what they are entitled to. We become so engrossed with making ends meet that we forget that we are legally entitled to some benefits.

A way of discovering the benefits that I’m owed is using the entitled to benefits calculator. You can easily find out if there are working, tax credits benefits and so on available to you.

You will be obliged to provide some personal details and information about the people you live with if any. But it is a sure way of discovering an additional form of income.

You can also find out if your children are entitled to free school meals.

I like to call these benefits financial support.

There are several ways to save more money on a low income and the majority of them fall under ‘cutting expenses’. Because let’s be honest you can’t save when you’re always spending without control.

Categories:
16- Jul2020
Posted By: abundanceaware
204 Views

Why is the Cotswolds so expensive?

The Cotswolds is one of the most beautiful areas in the UK. However, Cotswolds is an expensive area to live in.

The Cotswold boasts of some of the most recognized traditional English villages. There is no doubt that house prices play a major role in determining how expensive it can be to live in an area.

The house prices in the Cotswold area has always been above the UK national average. It doesn’t matter the year you check the figures, the average house price in the Cotswolds is usually double of the UK average house price.

 

Cotswold, England

Planning restrictions to build new homes

I worked in the planning department of three different Local Government Authorities for over 12 years.

Working in the Local Government Authority helped my understanding of the UK planning system.

The planning law restricts the planning of new houses being built in rural areas. Usually planning permission applications will be rejected for building new houses outside the existing boundary of towns and villages.

The Cotswolds is home to quintessential British villages. These villages have a lot of astonishing history. They are small villages and haven’t seen new houses built for a very long time.

The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 which came into effect in July 1948 gave the power to local government authorities to approve planning proposals.

The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 set the foundation of the modern town and country planning in the United Kingdom.

If we follow the age-old law of supply and demand. It is not a surprise that house prices in the Cotswold area are higher than the UK average. 

The restriction to build new homes in rural areas means there is a shortage of homes. When there is a shortage of anything, the little available will be expensive.

 

Idyllic rural aerial view, Cotswolds

Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of the unique features of the Cotswold Area.

AONB are protected because of their exceptional landscape, distinctive character and natural beauty.

They are specifically safeguarded in the national interest. The Cotswold AONB is one of the 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Because of the large areas covered by Cotswold AONB.  This means there is not enough land available outside the AONB in the Cotswold area to build new houses.

 

Burford, Cotswold

Affluence and celebrities

The Cotswolds area is home to a lot of British celebrities.

Celebrities don’t buy houses just anywhere. They tend to buy a house in an affluent area where their privacy can be protected.

If celebrities have a home in an area. There is no doubt the house prices in that area will skyrocket.

One of the popular celebrities who has a home in the Cotswolds is Jeremy Clarkson. He has a house in Chipping Norton.

Jeremy Clarkson co-hosted the hit BBC series Top Gear from 1988 through 2015. Top Gear is one of BBC’s biggest shows which attracts 350 million viewers worldwide. He is also known for the Amazon Prime Show ‘The Grand Tour‘.

Not only celebrities have homes in the Cotswolds. Some royal family members also have houses in the Cotswolds.

Zara Phillips is one of the Royals, she and her Rugby player husband Mike Tindall live in the Cotswolds. Princess Anne also has a property in the Cotswolds.

 

READ MORE

Easy commute to London

The Cotswold area is part of the Southwest and within a commutable distance to London.

There are a lot of people from the Cotswolds who work in London. They commute to work from the Cotswolds area.

Part of Oxfordshire County is within the Cotswolds area, Oxford is popular among places where people commute to London.

Cotswold villages in the northern part of the area are within a commutable distance to London. Those are the villages within the Oxfordshire part of the Cotswolds. You can easily join the train to London and within a few hours, you will be in London.

People who are not able to afford the astronomical price of houses in London can live within commutable distance in the Cotswolds.

Even this small budget which cannot get you a house in London but can in the Cotswolds is still a lot of money for a standard house outside of London.

People who commute from the Cotswold to London not only do it because of London house prices.

There are some groups of people who just do not like the busyness, traffic and the crowd of London. These group of people like the countryside or semi-rural area like what the Cotswold offers.

Because of the popularity of the Cotswold and being a choice place for highly skilled professionals and business people who commute to London. This factor drives the house prices in the Cotswold up.

 

Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswold

Beautiful area

The beauty of the Cotswolds area is very easy to see if you have been to the area. the landscape in some of the Cotswold villages is breathtaking.

The neatness and organized countryside have different feels compared to a lot of areas I have been to.

You can see the historic environment which has strong links with the Romans.

A beautiful area like the Cotswold is almost guaranteed to be expensive to live in.

I am not sure if anyone will deny that Cotswold villages are some of the most beautiful in Britain. The honey-colored cottages, cozy pubs, tiny tearooms, and narrow streets are part of the features which make the Cotswold unique.

A lot of the Cotswold villages have narrow lanes that lead to the market square. The lanes were built to allow the easy shepherding of sheep. These lanes are an important part of the history of the Cotswolds area.

Most of these villages are known for their picturesque and quintessential nature.

Categories:
05- Jul2020
Posted By: abundanceaware
279 Views

How to import from China and sell on Amazon

Importing from any country including China can be overwhelming. But actually, importing from China and sell on Amazon isn’t as difficult as you might think.

I have been importing from China and selling on Amazon for over 3 years as at the time of writing this article.

In this article, I am going to take you through my step by step process of importing from China and selling on Amazon.

Step 1: Find a product

This is the most important step for an obvious reason. Without a product you intend to sell, there is no point thinking about importation.

One of the most challenging parts of selling on Amazon is finding a product.

Your success on Amazon depends on finding a product that people want to buy. There is no point importing a product that people are not interested in.

To succeed on Amazon, you must do a proper market analysis and come up with a unique product that you will bring to the market place.

I wrote an article about how to find a product to sell on Amazon, perhaps you might be interested in reading it after this one.

Read More

Step 2: List the product for sale on Amazon

Listing a product is important for many reasons.

It will give you the assurance that you are allowed to sell the product on Amazon.

If you are new to selling on Amazon. They don’t trust you yet so they will not allow you to sell in all the categories. For example, if you are a new seller, you might not be allowed to list a product in the health and personal care category.

I know a lot of people who think they can just list any product for sale on Amazon. Before you go and contact a supplier, make sure you check that you will be able to sell the product.

Step 3: Validate your product idea

After listing the product for sale on Amazon, the next stage is to validate your idea.

There is nothing new under the sun. The chances are that the product you want to sell already exist on the shelf in a shop somewhere.

Obviously, you want to make yours different and unique. You don’t want to go and copy the exact product someone already have for sale on Amazon. However, you can use an existing similar product from retailers to validate your idea.

Part of my process of bringing a new product to Amazon marketplace is to test the product on Amazon.

I usually check on Amazon if customers are interested in buying the product.

I would buy between 5 to 10 units of the product from a retailer in a high street or online shop. List it for sale on Amazon. I would send the product to Amazon fulfilment centre.

I will then run an advert on Amazon. The advert will help to put the product in front of customers. After a few days, I would check how the advert is performing.

There is a chance that some of the product will be sold through the advert.

The advert report will show me, how many people on a daily basis were searching for that product on Amazon.

The report will also show me the exact keywords customers typed for searching for the product.

This stage is crucial and very important in making the decision to go further to find a supplier that will supply the product.

Stage 4: Find a supplier

This stage is very important in your process of importing from China.

There are various platforms you can use to investigate and choose a supplier to manufacture your product in China.

The platform that is by far better than all the rest is Alibaba. I have personally used Alibaba to find supplier since I began importing from China in 2017.

Some of the things that are very important to check when choosing suppliers on Alibaba are

1. Gold Supplier

This is also very important.

Suppliers with Gold supplier symbol are the ones Alibaba have verified and earned their trust.

In some cases, the supplier with Gold status has been doing business for a good number of years and have good integrity.

2. Alibaba Trade Assurance

Make sure a supplier you choose has Alibaba Trade Assurance.

The is like insurance against supplier not keeping to their promise.

If you pay a supplier and they fail to deliver the goods. You can report them to Alibaba and they will pay you the money back.

Make sure all your transactions go through the trade assurance especially when you are just starting off.

Stage 5: Sample for Quality Check

After finding a reputable supplier. You can now place an order for a sample.

Seeing photos on Alibaba is not good enough.

You need to ask them to send you a sample. In most case, they don’t charge for the sample. However, you will need to pay for the shipping cost.

The sample is an opportunity to check that the factory will be able to meet the standard of the quality you want.

You want a product that is of high quality so you will not be getting a complaint from customers.

If there are any changes you will like to make to the product, you can communicate with the supplier after you have seen and assess the sample.

Stage 6: Find a Freight Forwarder (Sea or Air)

Before you make payment for the initial deposit. It is important to ask questions about shipping. At this stage, you need to understand the shipping terms.

There are three major terms namely FOB, EXW and CIF.

The first two are the most common

FOB (Free on Board)

The supplier will be responsible for getting your goods to the seaport.

Your supplier will be responsible for transportation of the goods to the port of shipment and the cost of loading.

It worth mentioned that the FOB quote usually will be more than EXW quotes where you will be responsible for the local transportation cost to the port of shipment.

EXW (EX Work)

In this case, you will be the one responsible for the cost of transporting your goods from the supplier factory to the port of shipment. It’s basically opposite of FOB.

I usually prefer FOB term for my shipment.

Importing your goods from China to the UK through sea freight is far cheaper than air freight.

I remember vividly my first import from China was via air freight through a courier. It was very expensive and that leads me to ask my supplier the cheapest way to ship to the UK from China.

My supplier suggested to me to look for a freight forwarder who can help ship my products to the UK by sea.

While preparing for my next shipment, I found a company called Shippo through google search.

Shippo has been very helpful for my business since I found them. They simplify my shipping process and make it cheaper.

The three factors that determine the cost of your shipping are

  • size
  • volume (in cubic meters (CBM)
  • and weight (KG), of your shipment.

Obviously shipping by air from China through courier like UPS, DHL and FedEx can be quicker. However, you will be saving a lot of money by shipping through sea freight specialist like Shippo.

For people who are just new to selling on Amazon and their product is lightweight. You might consider air freight.

If you want to use the traditional courier, in most cases your supplier will help deal with them in China to get a quote for you.

For sea freight, it is better to find freight forwarder in the UK.

Sea shipping is not right for every product. The general rule of thumb is that if your goods are too small or you need it urgently, the sea shipping will not be right, so consider air freight.

Door to Door Delivery

I must not forget to mention this one.

Door to Door Delivery means that your supplier will help you appoint a freight forwarding company.

Every task involved with shipping will be handled by the appointed freight forwarder.

With Door to Door Delivery, you won’t need to worry about taking the product from warehouse or factory to port or airport.

As well, your supplier in conjunction with the freight forwarder or the courier will take care of all the paperwork and taxes. 

The product will arrive at your door or your chosen location.

Stage 7: Bulk Order

After you have received the sample, satisfy with the quality and agreed on price and shipping term. You can now proceed to place a bulk order.

Obviously you need to ask for a formal quote in writing. This will usually be sent to you via email.

Don’t be scared to haggle. Quality is very important to you so don’t ask for too much discount which will make the supplier compromise on the quality of the sample you’ve seen.

You can get a few cent or pence off the price they quoted you and that can save you a bit of money.

You will usually be required to make payment for the initial deposit which in most cases is 30% of the total cost.

For example, if your product will cost £2,000, you will be required to make a payment of £600 as an initial deposit.

Stage 8: Inspection

There are companies in China that you can appoint to help inspect your products before leaving the factory.

There have been stories of supplier compromising on quality. That is the reason why there are inspection companies in China.

They that can help check that your goods have been produced to the standard you agreed with the supplier.

Personally, I haven’t used any of the inspection companies so am unable to recommend one.

My suppliers have never disappointed me in terms of the quality of the products. For this reason, I have not had any need to use inspection companies for quality check.

Perhaps, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you have a large order, you might consider inspection company service.

Stage 9: Import your goods

Once you have placed bulk order and chosen a freight forwarder or courier. The sea freight forwarder or a courier will deal with your supplier to handle the process of importing your goods.

They will be responsible for importing your goods to the UK.

In my case, I use Shippo for my sea freight and they are efficient and effective.

The freight forwarder will give you the estimated date they expect your goods to arrive in the UK. Sometime the date might change. In that case, they will communicate with you.

Shippo which I use does have tracking on their website that I can use to track the shipment.

Stage 10: Goods Arrival, Custom Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT)

When the goods arrive in the UK, you will get notified by the forwarder.

You then are asked to make payment for the cost of shipping, customs duty, and VAT. All of these will be in one single invoice. The freight forwarder is collecting the Duty and VAT on behalf of HMRC from you.

Because you are importing from China which is outside the EU area, you will need to pay VAT on your goods.

It makes a lot of sense to calculate the Duty and VAT before your goods arrive so you can be well prepared.

Duty is basically calculated using a percentage of your product tariff code. The tariff code depends on the type of product.

Tariff codes are mostly between 2% and 5%, it could be higher but you can check the tariff classification on the UK Government website.

As at the time of writing this post, VAT is standard 20%.

VAT on Taxable Import = 20% of (goods cost) + (UK Duty) + (Insurance & Shipping).

For example, if the cost of your goods is £3,000 with 3% on the tariff code and the shipping cost is £300.

Your duty will be 3% of £3,000 which should be £90.

VAT will be 20% of £3,000 (Cost to buy your goods) + £90 (UK Duty) + £300 (Shipping Cost & Insurance).

Your VAT should be £678.

Your Duty + VAT will be around £779

If your business is VAT registered, you will be able to reclaim the VAT back from HMRC.

For most people who are just starting Amazon business, you won’t be able to collect the VAT back. However, you will not be paying VAT to HMRC on each item sold like a business that is VAT registered.

Usually, HMRC will send you a C79 certificate to prove you’ve paid import VAT which you can claim back.

My freight forwarder Shippo has a calculator on their website which you can use.

Stage 11: Send to a fulfilment warehouse

If your aim of importing from China to the UK is to sell on Amazon. You can ask your freight forwarder or courier to send the goods to Amazon fulfilment centre as soon as the goods are cleared from custom.

Usually, you would have created carton and pallet labels from Amazon Seller Account which should be stick on the cartons and pallets if your goods come in pallets.

If you want to merchant fulfil your products, you can ask for the goods to be sent to your chosen address.

I created a YouTube video on how to import from China and sell on Amazon.

You can watch the video below.

YouTube video
Categories:
20- Jun2020
Posted By: abundanceaware
255 Views

How to build a brand on Amazon

For anyone interested in the business of selling physical products online. How to build a brand on Amazon should be the first question to ask.

There is no doubt that you can build your brand of physical products on your own website.

However, it will take a lot of work to set up the website to make it e-commerce ready.

Even after setting up the website. You will have to do a very good job of promoting or marketing your product.

Why start with Amazon?

Amazon has customers ready to buy.

Amazon Prime (Buyers) and Amazon FBA (Sellers) in my opinion is what set Amazon apart from other marketplaces.

Amazon Prime

Amazon has raving fans who are part of their Prime membership.

This huge database of customers on Amazon has had their credit or debit card details ready to buy products on Amazon.

Amazon customers love them because Amazon is customer-centric.

By building your brand on Amazon. You will be benefiting from the trust Amazon has earned from its customers.

Amazon Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)

Obviously, there are now a lot of eCommerce ready websites like Shopify.

What set amazon apart from eBay, Etsy, Shopify and other platforms is their FBA program.

Amazon allows sellers to keep their products in their warehouse.

When customers buy, Amazon will pick, pack and ship the products to customers.

This is great leverage and it saves a lot of brand owners time.

How to build a brand

  1. Find a product

This is the most challenging bit. You must find a winning product if you do not already have one.

Without having a product there is no point building a brand.

Selling on Amazon is very competitive so you will need a unique product which you can use to start your brand.

One of the keys to success on Amazon is to have a high-quality product. Without a quality product, your brand will not succeed on Amazon.

I wrote an article about how to find a product to sell on Amazon. If you do not already have a product in mind, I will recommend you read the article after you finish with this one.

Read more

  1. Restrictions

Amazon will not allow you to sell every product if you are new on their platform.

Check that you are allowed to sell the product you want to build a brand on before placing order.

There are procedures to follow to lift some of the restrictions.

You don’t want to order a product before you find out you are not allowed to sell it on Amazon.

It makes a lot of sense to first create a selling account on Amazon. By creating an account, you will be able to follow the process of getting approved to sell in the category your product belong if it is a restricted category.

 

  1. Test your product or idea

Test the product before bulk order from a supplier.

This is very important for people that do not already have a product they want to build brand around.

Sadly, a lot of people jump this stage and usually fail. The risk of starting a business has been reduced to almost zero because of the internet.

It is important to test the product. It’s actually very simple to test. All you need to do is to buy a similar product to what you want to sell from retailers.

Send it to Amazon fulfilment centre. Run advert for a few days and see if people are interested in the product.

You will be able to know the price customer is willing to pay, how much interest there is in that type of product.

You only need between 5 and 10 units to do the testing.

This is the exact process I follow to launch products on Amazon.

  1. Brand Name

Come up with a good brand name. I have two brands, I use one in homes and kitchen category. The other one I use in health and personal care category.

If you are confident about dominating a particular niche of product. There is nothing wrong with having a brand name that has the name of the niche in it.

For example, if you want to build a brand around men’s grooming kit. You could have something like ‘Groom Man’ or ‘Beardly’. These are just example, you have to research and brainstorm your brand name.

My favourite format of a brand name is a brand name that is generic. Think about ‘Apple’ or ‘Amazon’. These are brand names that do not reflect the types of products they sell.

I think a generic name is better because you can use it for any type of product. However, it is isn’t a bad thing to be specific.

Anyway, I am not a brand expert so I won’t be able to say much about the brand name.

Whatever brand name you choose, you need to check online that someone is not already using it.

  1. Trademark

It is important to trademark the brand name.

There are many reasons for this. The main one is that Amazon will not allow you to register your brand on their platform without a trademark number.

As well, they will require your product to have the brand name on it.

Before you apply for a trademark of your brand name. You need to first check that no one has already trademarked the name.

You can check on the government trademark register by clicking here.

After you have checked and the name is available. You can then proceed to apply for the trademark.

  1. Find a supplier

Alibaba is the major market place where people find suppliers who will manufacture your product.

However, you can also find a manufacturer in your home country. There are manufacturers in every country. It just depends on the type of products you are branding.

There are products that have some regulations to them which you need to pay attention to. Examples are kids toys, health and personal care, beauty.

Basically, any product that people will consumer through the mouth or put on their skin. You need to make sure all the regulations are considered.

This is the reason why grocery, nutrition, supplement and beauty products are better manufactured in your home country.

The chances are that reputable manufacturer in your home country is likely to have all the certifications required to manufacture the product.

 

  1. Use Amazon FBA program

Even your orders from other marketplaces like eBay, Shopify etc can be fulfilled by Amazon.

Fulfilment by Amazon program is a great opportunity to safe time and energy.

I have been using Amazon FBA to fulfil my orders since I started selling on Amazon.

Not having to worry about contacting courier or going to post office to fulfil orders is very important to me.

And you will be able to spend your time on promoting and expanding your brand. I will highly recommend you leverage Amazon FBA.

 

  1. High-quality images

We all know about the phrase ‘picture speaks a thousand words.

This phrase is really true in eCommerce.

It’s not compulsory to use a professional camera to capture the images of your product. You can use your mobile phone camera.

However, if you are thinking about a proper brand, it worth budgeting for a product photographer to come up with quality photos including lifestyle images.

Amazon also has a service for photos.

I once used them, their images were really good. However, it didn’t include lifestyle images.

 

  1. Optimised listing

Amazon is also a search engine.

For people to find your product, it must be fully optimised with the right keywords.

Just the way bloggers learn Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You need to also learn how Amazon search engine works.

The basic of it is that the keywords you want to rank for need to be in your title.

The order of importance are title, bullet points and product description.

Example of product title can be seen in the image below. The product is ‘garlic press’.

You will notice they do not only have garlic press in the title, but they also have ‘garlic crusher’.

 

This tells you that you need to consider other words customers might be using top search for your product.

You could also have your brand name in the title. As your brand begins to grow, some customers might be using your brand name to search for your product.

Amazon listing template provides you with 5 bullet points where you can describe the product.

The bullet points are also an opportunity to include more keywords. I must say that you need to be clever with this so you don’t want to have keywords that make the writing read terribly.

In fact, the bullets points provide you with the opportunity to describe the problem the product solves.

Finally, there is the product description part, which you can use to describe the product in great detail.

With Amazon brand registry approval, you will have access to Amazon Enhanced Brand Content (EBC).

This is only available to brand owners. You can write a story about your brand.

  1. Review

The review is important. It’s social proof.

When a customer sees a review someone else wrote on your product. They are likely to buy than if there is no review or a bad review.

If a product is of high quality, customers will leave reviews.

I don’t think its wrong to ask family and friends to review your product if you are confident it’s a good product.

Alternatively, Amazon has reviewer service, which you can pay for. The downside is that they are not going to guarantee the reviews to be five stars.

My experience of using their service wasn’t bad. 5 reviews from their reviewer, four of them 5 stars and the other one, 4 star.

If your product is good, there is no need to be scared of using Amazon reviewer service.

 

  1. Market your product

You can drive traffic from your audience or other influencer audience to your Amazon product on Amazon website.

Alternatively, you can use Amazon PPC which can be expensive if you are in a very competitive niche. I have spent a lot of money on Amazon PPC.

As a brand owner, you are in business. It is important to budget for advertisement.

When you launch the product initially, the cost of advertising can be high.

One they product start to do well, the cost of advertising will reduce.

Advertising is a fundamental part of brand building on Amazon marketplace.

  1. Master keywords

One of the benefits of Amazon PPC is that its the only way to know the keywords customers are using to search for products.

You can then include these keywords in your product description. You might be wrong if you assume the keywords customers use.

 

  1. Brand Analytics

If your brand is registered on Amazon, they will allow you to have access to they Brand Analytics.

Brand Analytics is a very useful report to see keywords and products that are popular on Amazon.

As a brand owner on Amazon, I have access to Amazon Brand Analytics and its been very useful for my business.

 

  1. Aim for page one

If your product is not on page 1 on most of the keywords you want to rank for, you will struggle to sell.

Marketing, listing optimisation and review are the key ingredients you need to get your product to page one of the keywords you want your product to rank for.

Majority of the customers do not go beyond pay one when they are buying a product on Amazon.

This is the reason why you want your products to come up high in the search.

Final Thought

Amazon is a great marketplace for building a brand.

Selling on Amazon is becoming more and more competitive. However, the number of people who are shopping online is increasing year on year.

Shopping online is still at its infancy so they best time to build your brand is now if you are interested in eCommerce.

When you have a successful brand on Amazon. You should consider selling your product in other marketplaces like Etsy and eBay.

You could also try your own website or a Shopify store.

Taking note of all the points I listed above, there is nothing stopping you in succeeding on Amazon.

Categories:
13- Jun2020
Posted By: abundanceaware
323 Views

Part Exchange Houses: Is part exchange on house a good idea?

Are you asking yourself, is part exchange on house a good idea?

The major benefit of a home part exchange is that it provides a simple and stress-free route to moving home.

Let’s face reality here, the process of moving home can be overwhelming and stressful.

As a family that has moved home twice to a new home in both cases, I can definitely say the home exchange is an option that is worth considering if you are thinking about moving home.

This is not an advertisement for any homebuilder but it worth mention that our own experience is with Bovis Home.

There are various reasons while someone might consider moving house. You could be trying to downsize to a smaller house or upsizing to a bigger house.

Our own experience on both occasions was upsizing.

By sharing our home part exchange experience I thought someone will find this useful.

You will find home exchange useful if you are a homeowner and want to upsize to a newly built property.

Some people already have their house on the market but struggling to find a buyer and it’s holding them up from moving.

Housebuilders can offer such people the opportunity to move by buying the house from the homeowner, the builder will then sell one of their homes to the homeowner.

The concept of home part exchange is simple. The housebuilder purchases your home from you, they then leave you free to buy one of their new houses.

What actually is a home part exchange?

Home exchange is similar to the part exchange of a car, or a phone or anything really. It means that you are giving what you have in exchanging of another thing. Usually, it will be exchanging a used item for a new item.

In the case of new home part exchange, it is mainly a case of selling your used or existing home to a developer and buying one of the developer’s new homes.

Notice the word PART in the Part Exchange. This means that you are not exchanging like for like. For example, the price of your existing home will usually be less than the price of the brand new home you will get from the developer.

What will you benefit from Part Exchange?

  • For my family, we like the fact that we didn’t have to wait and worry about whether our house will sell or not. The waiting can be months sometimes.
  • As soon as we receive the offer from the developer, the moving plan started for us and this was beneficial.
  • The price they offer us was what we were expecting so good price for our home was a benefit.
  • The cost of an advertisement, the agent fees etc. All these fees can add up. We didn’t have to pay any of that.
  • My wife, in particular, wasn’t interested in getting into home selling chains. We heard about it from friends that sometimes it can be frustrating. I thought its a big benefit.
  • The home exchange meant that the buyer was already available without any hassles of finding a buyer.
  • After the new home was completed, we had all the time we needed to move, were not under any pressure to move out of our old home.
  • People coming around for viewing from agents can be frustrating because of arranging a time for viewing. Not having to worry about schedules for a view is very beneficial.
New Homes UK

How does part exchange work?

Obviously, there are requirements you need to meet. The housebuilders do have terms and conditions. Each builder set their own terms and conditions but the concept of part exchange schemes is similar in the house building industry.

Price

The major requirement that most of the developers expect you to meet is that your existing home must be a certain percentage of the value of the new home you are considering purchasing from them.

The percentage differs from one developer to another.

For example, let’s say you want to buy a new home valued at £300,000,  70% of £300,000 is £210,000. This means that the value of your existing home cannot be more than £210,000.

The other way to look at it is this.

If your existing house is valued at £210,000 and you want to part exchange it for a new home, you would divide £210,000 by 70% which will give you £300,000. This will be the minimum price of a new home you can get from the developer.

Not all existing homes can qualify for part-exchange due to some reasons like

  • As houses were constructed with different materials and methods, not all properties can be considered by home builders in their part exchange scheme. Some houses are unmortgageable which can disqualify them for new home part exchange
  • Whether a house is a freehold or leasehold can be a factor as well in considering if a house qualifies for home part exchange or not. For example, leasehold flats with less than 80 years left on the lease or small studio flats might not qualify
  • Location of the existing property could be significant also.

YouTube video

How does part exchange work? Our experience

The First Step

We put our house on the market. After about 3 months with 3 views with no offer.

Our fear about the part exchange was that developers will usually offer less than the market value for our house. We thought let’s try and see what offer they will give us.

We identified a site we were interested in in the City we wanted to move to. We rang the developer (Bovis Homes) to enquire about their part exchange scheme.

The Bovis Home Sales Executive we spoke to asked us some question to check if our home will qualify for their part exchange scheme. The obvious question I could remember they asked was our address.

The Sales Executes explained the part exchange scheme process for us.

 

Valuation of our existing home

Bovis home sent two independent local estate agents to our house. They came on two different occasions. They came 2 days apart. On the day the second agent came we received a call from Bovis Homes shortly after the agent left.

Developers usually offer the price they think is the market price that they will be willing to pay for the property.

They will not offer you the asking price of your home. It’s your choice to decide if you think what they offer is right for you.

We did not haggle but I think you can actually renegotiate what they offer.

For us, the price home builder offer for our house was the first we were hoping to accept when we first listed our house for sale.

We had about two days cooling-off period to decide we wanted to move forward with the part exchange scheme.

We rang Bovis two days after they gave us the offer to say we would accept their offer.

Reservation

After the verbal offer on phone, they also sent using a written offer letter to confirm the verbal offer.

We just accepted the offer verbally.

We then proceeded to reserve one of Bovis Home.

We visited their site office to see the site layout and the house plans. For us, it was the second time we were buying a new home so there were no surprises in the process.

We made a provisional reservation at the site office. We later contacted them by phone for full reservations by making payment for the reservation. The reservation fee was non-refundable if the mortgage didn’t go through.

The reservation fee was refunded to us after the exchange of contract and completion.

Sales and Mortgage process

Every other thing was just as usual as in the normal mortgage process.

As the part exchange means they were buying our house from us. Our solicitor took over the bank transfers and liaising with the developer solicitors.

Bovis Sales office were very helpful throughout the sales process.

After the reservation, were continued to live in our house while the new home was been built.

One of the good things about the new home is the opportunity to choose some home appliances, kitchen cabinets, bathroom tiles and certain interiors.

It worth mention that while the new house was been built, the housebuilder sent estate agents to our house with potential buying for house viewing.

I think there were about 3 views after we accepted the offer the home builder gave us for our house.

After the exchange of contract and completion

One of the benefits of part exchange is that you are not under pressure to move from your existing house. Since the developer is the one that bought your house from you, they give you sometime after the exchange of contract to move at your own pace.

This is just our own experience I am not sure if they do this in every situation.

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