A lot of people read blogs like SavvyScot for online business ideas and inspiration for making more money. While cutting your spending back may leave you with more money at the end of the month; for many of us, this is still not enough.
When I was a student I had a fair bit of free time on my hands and spent many a drunken night planning how to take over the world and make it rich before I graduated. Unfortunately too many good times were had and not enough action…. BUT I did launch one business venture with a friend that made some cash.
Making Money as the Middle Man
Making money by being the middle man is the dream. The seller often sits on the risk by holding stock and the manufacturer sits on the risk by nobody ordering the product. Now if you can be the ‘facilitator’ – the one who connects the two parties – you can make some serious money.
I always remember reading a Richard Branson book as a kid and him telling a story about the middle man. After being asked for advice, he proclaimed to an acquaintance in a hot tub on holiday one night that opportunities were all around us – he gave the example of the pool heater that was warming the water and suggested that the guy investigate a licensing opportunity for his home country. A few years on and with an exclusive distributor deal, the guy was a millionaire!
I decided that I would try and find an equivalent opportunity on a much smaller scale. In order to be successful, I realised I had to find a demand – the desire for the product(s) and then a seller that could deliver. In order to be successful, I had to offer something that the seller could not provide directly to the customer. We quickly identified that there was a real issue identifying reading lists for our courses. It was very difficult to understand which books were recommended for which course.
We proceeded to build a comprehensive list across various disciplines and built an Amazon portal. In this case Amazon would handle payments, stock, delivery etc. and we would get a referral cut – very similar to how many bloggers make money today. The customers (fellow students) could use our portal page to find the books that were relevant for their course and would be offered the same competitive pricing that they would receive from going directly to Amazon.
The Successes That Followed
The model was simple – we customised a portal and people clicked through to buy via Amazon. As soon as we had the list of recommended textbooks and all the course codes compiled, all that was left was to advertise the service. We used a combination of techniques: we door dropped about 2000 instantprint leaflets advertising the website URL and the service, we put up posters around campus and paid for adverts on the union TV screens. For the cost of a domain (£10), printing costs (£100) and placement fees (£100) we had a small venture up-and-running!
Because we were offering a quality service that was convenient, people re-visited the site year on year. Word of mouth and social media soon began to advertise the service for us and we were successful.
Look around you and think of the things that grind your gears. Chances are that these things also grind other people’s gears too! What can you do to facilitate a relationship / agreement / sale? It is far easier to make money than you think – all you need it motivation. 🙂