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Starting and making money with a mail order business is easy and inexpensive. However, there are three things of absolute importance that must be considered before you begin.

The first consideration is your product, then there's your capability to advertise, and finally you have to have a handle on your operating costs.

One of the most profitable and easiest products to sell via mail order are short, no-nonsense reports and folios that guide or instruct other people in how to make money. Reports such as this one.

Look at it this way, the majority of the people in the world are looking for a "magic method" of making money without putting forth too much effort, time or money. You write or buy the reproduction right to 100 different titles - titles that appeal to these people looking for that "magic method" to riches - circulate a list of these reports, priced at $2 to $3 each, and you've got yourself a real gold mine! Sell a thousand copies of each of these reports each year, and in 10 years you will have made a million dollars or more! It's easy - it's being done every year - and you can do it too!

Advertising is the life-blood of any mail order business - for a direct mail enterprise, it's the mailing list. But with an honest mail order business, your real profits or losses will depend almost exclusively on your advertising.

Classified ads are the safest and simplest way to get started. Regardless of what you're selling, the best way to drum up business is through what is known as the "two step" approach. Advertise a "loss leader item" such as: FREE REPORT! $50,000 a year profits with a spare-time business from your home. Details for SASE to : (Your name & address).

Start out by running this ad in as many of the mail order publications as you can afford, keeping your costs as low as possible. When you receive responses from these ads, simply take one of your one-page "How-To" reports and slip it into the self-addressed stamped envelope that you received, along with a listing of your other materials you have for sale - see our enclosed list of other money making reports - and along with an order form showing your address - send it back out to them.

With this kind of plan, you'll be building a mailing list which you can rent out or sell as soon as you've accumulated a thousand or more names. Renting and/or selling mailing lists of people who have responded to your ads can be big money for you - all by itself - simply by renting or selling the same list over and over to different people.

At the same time, you should clip off the postage stamps from all your incoming mail. When you've acquired a shoebox full of these stamps, you can sell them. A couple of buyers are: Fun Mates, PO Box 6466, San Francisco, CA 94101 and, DuVall Press, 920 W. Grand River, Box 14, Williamston, MI 48895.

Save the envelopes - you can sell them to just about anybody, or specifically to: Prime Source List Corp., 103 Washington Street, Morristown, NJ 07960 or List Buyers Group, Manalapan 1000 Office Park, Manalapan, NJ 07726.

The same thing holds true for your "filled in" order coupons. Save them, and when you've acquired a box-full or more, ask around and see who wants to buy them from you. In many instances, these little extra-money making efforts can keep you going.

So, you've received a number of SASE in response to your ad for a free money-making report - the report that you send out should be a one-page or two page report that pretty much describes how a person could take an idea and make an unlimited amount of money, if he has initiative to put it into action. This is your "giveaway" or loss leader item - what you use to set the stage for presentation of your catalog or entire inventory of reports.

Generally speaking, out of the total number of people sending in for your free report, and to whom you included a complete listing of all your other reports, you can expect about one third of them to send in another order for other reports from your list. This is where you'll start making money, and why this approach is called "two-step" approach.

Basically, after more than 20 years in the mail order business, we've found that the package you send out to the people sending in for the free report, should be put together thusly: Top page) A full page advertisement selling a book or business planÉ Second Page) A complete listing of the other reports you have available such as our enclosed list of reports... Third page) The report they ordered... You could then enclose a couple of coupon-sized "ride-alongs" for other offers or order forms to buy other things from you, such as mailing lists. If you can handle print & mail services, you might include a coupon for that.

Basically, that's all there is to getting started with a profitable mail order business... Selecting a product that sells: How To Reports - Advertising to pull in a list of interested buyers, and following up with your catalog: Your list of money making reports - and finally, a good handle on your operational costs.

If you own a photocopy machine, a printing press or a quick print shop - you've got it make and can make an unbelievable amount of money almost overnight. If you don't own a photocopy machine or a printing press, and cannot afford to either lease or buy one, then your best bet would be to shop around and come up with a working agreement with someone or a shop that has one of these machines.

Have a copy shop or print shop run you off a supply - if at all possible, a thousand copies of each report. You then agree to give or allow your "printer" 25 cents from the sale of each report that you make. You could total your sales and square your records at the end of each month, every 90-days, six months or once a year. Remember, if you sell a thousand copies each of 100 different reports over 12-months, you'll be talking about a gross income of $100,000 - and that could all happen from your initial press run or inventory supply.

To make it all as simple and effortless as possible, either buy, build or have built, shelving to fit in your garage or basement to hold your inventory. Simple shelf space with slots for 100 different reports is all you'll need. Then when the orders come in, you simply pull the report orders from the shelves, slip them into an envelope with your pre-printed follow-up offers and once a week, drop them off at the post office.

Relative to fulfilling orders - you've got to ship whatever it is you're selling within 30 days from the date you receive the order. If there's some problem that keeps you from fulfilling the order within that period of time you have to notify the customer of the delay and give him the option of getting his money back. The only ads that allow you to slide through that 30 day time limit are those that state specifically that the customer should allow x-number of weeks for delivery. Prompt shipment of the customers' order within a couple of days after receipt, will also build your credibility and image with your customers - resulting in more sales down the line for you.

You should be able to allocate your time to handle such a business on a part-time basis - in addition to your regular job - until the orders start rolling in. When that happens, you may want to hire some "contract help" or perhaps quit your job and devote all your time to it.