Product Sourcing – How To Avoid Making The Most Common Mistakes

Doesn’t that seem like a brilliant idea – starting a home business? And that – after all, what could be easier than sourcing some products from wholesalers, reselling them at a profit on the internet to a worldwide audience and enjoying a comfortable standard of living while working flexible hours from home.

Unfortunately, the truth is, for many aspiring entrepreneurs, they fall behind on the initial block by failing to realize that nowadays it is relatively easy to set up a website or advertise products through popular online venues like eBay or Amazon. , the actual product sourcing part of the process is a real challenge, and without the product it is difficult to go far.

How do you know what to sell? How do you know where to get it from and at a competitive price? How can you avoid being scammed? What about import duties and taxes if you are sourcing from abroad? These are just some of the challenges facing every newbie reseller and I think I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked: “What should I sell?” or “Can you find me a supplier for X or Y or Z?”

I can totally empathise with this though, having been in this position myself when I started my own home business and I do understand that with so many online wholesalers to choose from it’s very easy to assume that the sourcing process is an simple one – just choose some stock and sell it – fantastic if you don’t really care what you are selling and whether you actually sell anything or not, however, if you want to make a profit then your sourcing methods will require a little more time and effort and that’s the reason I have created this exclusive special report for you.

The challenges ahead

The hardest part of product sourcing where a home business is concerned occurs in specifically nailing down what your market is, who your customers are likely to be, and just what it is you are going to sell. And this is where many, many would be home businesses go wrong before they have even started. It’s a common misconception that you can order a cheap job lot of any product from a wholesaler, advertise it online whether it’s on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, eBid or through your own website and it will sell.

If only that were true!

The reality is that if you’ve ordered a wholesale lot of a particular product without first checking that there are plenty of people out there who want to buy it, how will you know if it’s going to sell or not? Well you won’t is the short answer.

First you must decide what to sell and this will obviously require some research to ensure that you choose not only the right niche but also the right product for that niche. Don’t forget that even if a particular niche is hot right now, there will be some products within that niche that are hotter than others so you need to weed out those products from within the hot niche – that’s the sure-fire way to make excellent profits.

So in deciding what to sell, you need to find the market first, the product second. That should be your mantra when sourcing products from now on – market first, product second. You must find what’s known as a ‘hungry crowd’. This is a group of people, constantly increasing in size, that really, really want the product that you have available and by purchasing it will benefit in some way. Preferably, your product is a solution to whatever problem they have so when you find your hungry crowd, this will guarantee that your business is a success because you want people exactly like your hungry crowd as your buyers. You want them to be clamoring for your products and buying them repeatedly. What you really want is a product that you can source and sell over and over again so that you do not constantly have to re-source and replace products that no longer apply to a hungry crowd.

How to find a ‘hungry crowd’

Well, you can’t stumble around waiting for a hot niche or hot product to present itself to you. This won’t happen. First you must make a definite decision regarding the niche. This could be something that you know a little about such as a hobby or interest that you enjoy, or you could browse the magazines at your local newsagent to pick up some ideas. You must choose an overall niche before you find your hungry crowd because otherwise you have absolutely no direction and things will become complicated.

So, lets use the example here of the ‘Photography’ niche. It’s not something that is of huge interest to me personally in this case, but there are loads of magazines out there for photography enthusiasts such as ‘Amateur Photographer’, ‘Photography Monthly’ and ‘What Digital Camera’ to name just a few and so I know that it’s a popular hobby and so will make a good example. The photography niche covers a wide spectrum from cameras, lenses and accessories such as tripods, cleaners, flash systems etc to courses on how to become a better photographer and so you need to discover exactly what all those photography enthusiasts are looking for right now, if they have any camera or photography problems they want solved or if they have a real need for anything, and if so, what it is. This is where you start to find your ‘hungry crowd’.

Where do you look? Well, you will most likely be selling your products online and so, unsurprisingly, the internet is the first place you should look to conduct your research.

Search online

Remember to avoid using really general terms when you are sourcing products online. If you Google for example ‘wholesale camera’ then you are likely to end up with results running into the millions which I’m sure you don’t want to trawl through. On the other hand, if you add the search term ‘distributor’ or ‘trade’ and use the actual product name of the camera then you will get more focused results. So, just by refining your search, your chances improve immediately of finding what you are looking for. You can often discover manufacturers through stock photos posted online too – use Google images to find these. Although Google is a fantastic research tool, there are many more ways of sourcing products so you need to try and resist the temptation to spend hours looking for “secret” deals and sources that you will probably never find and use other methods too.

Subscribe to trade magazines

There are hundreds of trade magazines around and those related to your niche will be full of advertisements from suppliers, distributors and manufacturers. Before the age of the internet, this is how business was done – all offline – and it worked then and it still works now. Try The Trader magazine as a good starting point which is available in most newsagents or if you don’t want to buy a hard copy you can view their online magazine.

Go to Trade Fairs

Visiting trade fairs takes a little bit more effort than surfing from the comfort of your own home; however it’s often worth it because there is so much scope for networking and sourcing. You can physically talk to suppliers and establish a rapport which ultimately will make it much easier for you to negotiate some great prices later on. Trade fairs take place all over the country and internationally throughout the year so there is bound to be one near you.

Use Business directories

The Yellow Pages is your friend. But sadly a friend that is often overlooked. We are so used to looking everything up online that we don’t think of going back to the good old fashioned directories but believe it or not, not all wholesalers or manufacturers have an online presence. They do of course have a telephone, so you can simply call them and ask for a brochure instead. Easy and local.

Check the product packaging

Here’s another great method but again one that is so often overlooked. If there is a specific product you want to get your hands on and you don’t know who makes it then simply buy one yourself! Most, if not all goods will include the manufacturers name or at least some reference to the manufacturer on the packaging and if you’re lucky then the distributors name might be on there too.

Go straight to the source

Once you know which company makes the product which isn’t difficult to find out as I’ve just mentioned, you can contact them and find out who their distributors are. There’s no need to be frightened by this prospect because after all, it’s not highly confidential, top secret information you are requesting. At the end of the day, the manufacturers want your business and your money so they will have no problem in supplying you with a list of distributors to purchase your own stock from. You then simply contact the distributor directly.


Sourcing products for your online business can often seem daunting as it requires research and effort on your part to ensure you find the best products in the best niches. These tips will put you on the right track and help you understand how it works so you don’t make the same mistakes that many others make when starting a business from home.