How to Make Money with Green Energy
One of the biggest rules in sales is that to be a good seller, you need to be a good buyer first. If you can't get a good deal, then there's little chance you can give customers a good deal.
Many successful start-up business rely on a couple of concepts:
A good way of making money is offering a service that no one wants to do. An example of this is dog poo removal. If you're willing to do something most others aren't, you can offer that as a service and people will pay you to do it.
Another concept is to specialize in something. For example, instead of building entire wind turbines, can you specialize in just one aspect of wind and sell it? Maybe you're good at creating alternators or can make and install the towers, etc.
Can you find something and make it better, cheaper, faster, easier?
A good product isn't enough. To sell, you need to know where to get BUYERS.
And like a playing an old blues song, it's simple but it ain't easy.
Another motivation for selling green is the US Tax Credit. One of the credits comes ends December 31, 2010
What this credit means is that someone that will save 30% of their purchase price if they buy qualifying green products. That's HUGE. Both from a buyer and seller point of view and gives the green market an decided advantage compared to other markets.
Buying or Investing: You can sell EVERYONE on saving money. If people can save money, in their minds they are investing and not buying. This is another important concept when trying to make money selling green. For example, if someone buys a water heater for $500, but it SAVES them $200 a year, that's an INVESTMENT, not a purchase, as they will get their money back on time.
Not all solar, wind or geothermal products and services will qualify and some of the qualifications will vary from state to state. But if you're serious about selling green, then you need to spend just a little effort and educate yourself about how home owners can qualify for this 30% tax credit, as it's a major opportunity for those willing to get involved.
And what if you need to be licensed to install qualified products? Do a "joint
venture" with someone that is licensed. See "Joint Ventures" below for more
Before embarking on any idea, you need to answer this basic question: Where will I find buyers? And I don't mean hypothetical either. Where will you REALLY find customers? Joe the Plumber may be an idea for finding customers, but until you ask and know for sure, it's just an idea.
This is really the key. Finding customers. It's why people pay for advertising, commissions for sales, etc. and it's what will determine if you make money or not.
Marketing is really about testing and it may be in your best interests to give something away in exchange for knowing whether something will actually sell before making a lot of it. Remember one of the main rules of marketing above, which is to know EXACTLY where you'll get buyers.
You can also apply this strategy using Alibaba.com. Find suppliers that will ship you samples at a low investment cost and give them to flea market vendors, consignment shops, post on eBay and Craiglist and see if it will sell and for how much. Testing will tell you whether to buy or build more, or to drop the project altogether. If something is going to fail, you want it to fail as fast as possible with as little investment of time and money as possible.
Keep trying and always remember what Thomas Edison said about success: "I finally ran out of things to fail at."
Alibaba.com is a HUGE site owned by the Chinese government and Yahoo specializing in putting buyers and sellers together from around the world. Think of it as the Chinese version of eBay, but for wholesale instead of auctions. While there are a lot of Chinese companies on Alibaba, all continents are well-represented.
Without getting political, I do believe that you should always try to buy as close to home as possible, no matter where you live. I do understand that buying from China may not be for everyone. But consider this...Much of what you'll buy from other places in N. American may well come from China. Also, in my opinion we're all better off buying "green" from China than buying oil from the Middle East.
Because of the politics involved, I almost didn't include Alibaba here. However, I decided that I'd give you the info, then let you decide, instead of me making that decision for you.
There are also some scams on Alibaba, but not as many as some people make it out to be. Here's a example, I was researching a company that sells wind turbines. I found a few posts on forums about this company being a scam and nothing worked. But as I kept reading the forum posts, it became clear that the person complaining hired someone to install the turbines that didn't know what they were doing. It was actually THEIR fault the the turbine failed. Now, I'm not saying everything is perfect, either.
Despite the problems, use due-diligence and research as much as possible and you can make a fortune importing using Alibaba.
Here's some basics:
FOB - This is a legally significant term and the definition can vary a little. In simple terms, it where the seller's responsibility ends and the buyer's begins. It's also the price at a certain place.
For example, if you get a quote from a Chinese company, the "FOB" price may say "Shanghai". This means the seller will get the stuff in good condition to Shanghai. It's up to the buyer to get it to another place. Also, Shanghai is the point where the transaction takes place. Any damage BEFORE reaching Shanghai is the responsibility of the seller. After the merchandise leaves Shanghai, if any damages occur it is now the responsibility of the buyer.
FOB also applies if you are buying from U.S. wholesalers. If you buy a case of copper wire, the seller may quote a price of "FOB St. Louis". It's up to you to get it from St. Louis to your location safely.
Sound like a hassle? It's actually a BENEFIT. People are lazy and don't want to jump through any extra hoops. But those that do, can profit greatly. Remember one of the basic rules of marketing above: Do something other people don't want to do. And, it doesn't have to be that hard...
FOB Brokers - There are FOB brokers and "freight forwarders" that handle this, for a fee. My friend Bob tells us, "Shipping charges are really reasonable unless you are using air freight. I used to use Livingstone Custom Brokers that handled all the shipping and brokerage fees. Should be lots of places online to get quotes."
You can also hire "factory inspectors" to make sure the company is legit that will physically go to a plant to verify it really does exist and how big it is.
LCL - It simple terms, your stuff is "car pooling" with other stuff and means less than a container load when you are requesting rates. You can also request quotes from the suppliers for FOB California (or port nearest you). That is easier. Let them do the work. It is a buyers market right now.
Wikipedia says about LCL:
Less than container load (LCL) is a shipment that is not large enough to fill a standard cargo container. The abbreviation LCL formerly applied to "Less than (railway) Car Load" for quantities of material from different shippers or for delivery to different destinations which might be carried in a single railway car for efficiency. LCL freight was often sorted and redistributed into different railway cars at intermediate railway terminals enroute to final destination.
Less Than Carload or Less Than Container Load is "a quantity of cargo less than that required for the application of a carload rate. A quantity of cargo less than that that fills the visible or rated capacity of an ocean container." KNOW NET 2: The Federal Logistics SuperSite - The Federal Transportation Management Desk Reference: Glossary - Definitions
A system of transportation used specially in international trade, where various shippers pool their boxed goods in the same container.
If you live in or near a port city, it can make things a lot easier. If you're on the West Coast, dealing with Asia is pretty cheap. And if you're on the East Coast or Gulf, importing from Europe is pretty easy. But don't eliminate Asia just because you're not on the West coast. Shipping is pretty cheap if you don't use Air freight and can wait 4-6 weeks for your stuff.
OEM - Original equipment manufacturer. What this means is a manufacturer will make a product with your name (or company name, etc) on the products. It may cost a little more, but a great way to make a name for yourself and make your stuff look more exclusive.
MOQ - Minimum Order Quantity, or what's the minimum number of units the supplier will sell. But don't let this fool you. You may be able to buy less than the MOQ, it doesn't hurt to ask.
Now here's the COOL part: Some suppliers will send you free or cheap samples. Try asking for samples when you contact suppliers. It's free to ask.
Tip: I am not an Alibaba expert, but I do know people that make a lot of money from Alibaba. One way is to be your own "middle man" and they take care of all the details for a "cut". It is possible to find buyers that want 1000 wind turbines and you set everything up and make a very nice commissions.
Important: Sometimes it's just as easy to make a $20,000 commission as it is a $20 commission. Don't be afraid to set your goals high.
Here's some links to green related stuff, and there's tons more. I like to look for minimums and prices, if possible. Remember, the prices are FOB:
There's tons and tons more...And you're not limited to green related stuff.
Start contacting people and see if you can't get some samples...If you can get some low-cost samples, check them out for quality, then put them up for sale on Craigslist, eBay, etc and see if they will sell. Don't expect free $50,000 turbines, but if you find some inexpensive stuff and are convincing that you are a "player", you may be able to get some good stuff.
Another important concept you need to consider for making money with green power is what's known as a "joint venture". Big business calls it a "strategic alliance".
A joint venture or (JV) is an agreement to work with someone where you both benefit from the arrangement. Let me stress the "both".
Many localities have laws and regulations regarding construction, steam, electricity, etc. If you aren't licensed in an area of need, team up with someone that is. Like in the movie "The Godfather", make them a deal they can't refuse. In a good JV, the plumber and hot tub companies already have customers (BUYERS!). And paying customers are gold. If you sell anything a plumber can sell, contact every plumber in your area.
Same with solar and wind. Solar can create heat and electricity. Contact electricians and home repairman. Make a deal that's good for you, good for them, and good for the customers.
If you can make a great solar-powered water heater, work with a plumber. You make the heater and have them install it in customers' homes. If you can, try to specialize. Make HOT TUB solar water heaters. JV with hot tub installation companies in your area and have them offer an "upgrade" (also known as an "upsell") using your solar water heater.
Start a solar panel upkeep service. Set it up so a few times a year you go to homes and service the solar panels. Clean the surfaces, inspect for damage, and adjust the tilt on the solar panels.
As the seasons change, so does the position of the sun in the sky. Cleaning
and re-positioning the panels will greatly improve their efficiency.
Another idea would be to learn to make and install your own "heliostats". Remembering from a Sun page that a heliostat something that moves with the sun. Having solar panels that will rotate with the sun can increase the efficiency of the solar panels by up to 40%. Using very "round" numbers, this means that 2 panels using a heliostat are almost as effective as 3 panels without, which is a pretty good sales pitch.
Can you create a system to make copper wire coils needed for alternators? Take the strategies from the videos on the Wind page for making coils, add a scalvaged motor from an old sewing machine, with a foot pedal to control the speed and hook nine "winders" up on the same axel and away you go.
Do you know a machinist that can crank out parts for wind turbine alternators and you do the winding and assembly? Or a good carpenter than can put the finishing touches on your home made solar ovens to give them a professional look?
Who sells and installs solar panels in your area? Can you work with them to find customers to pay for your heliostats or solar panel maintenance service? Pay them a commission for each sale they bring you.
Here's a unique thought...Do you specialize in parabolic mirrors, fresnel lenses and solar ovens? JV with a food vendor at a flea market, carnivals and fairs. Have them cook using your stuff, then offer similar stuff for sale, giving the food vendor a good commission.
Or get directly involved with the food vendor...If you're old enough to remember "carnival barkers", you know that the best way to make sales is to gather a crowd. PT Barnum was aware of this 150 years ago. Imagine being at a flea market and cooking stuff and lighting boards on fire with your lenses and mirrors.
Another idea is to JV with an artist. For example, wind turbines can be ugly, causing neighbors to complain. But a good artist with skills working with metal, wood and/or glass could really dress up many creations. And not only will this reduce the possibility of complaints, it could greatly increase the value of your product.
A visually appealing work of art that is also functional can be considered what's known as a "unique selling position". Is it possible for you to make a solar hot tub water heater that is designed by an artist so that in addition to heating water, it's also a sculpture?
Or maybe you can create a solar powered BBQ using a parabolic mirror for the power, a discarded metal computer case with a grill added as the BBQ pit and have an artist add make it "purty".
Let's say you're planning on selling wind turbines. Do you know a church group, homeless shelter, private school, etc that could benefit from free wind power? I said private school simply because they don't have to jump through government hoops and can usually make decisions faster, but you could try any school.
You are going to organize a "scalvage" building project, where the members of the church, team, school, etc. need to come up with parts for the wind turbine.
Now, you create a press release for all your local media, including every TV and radio station, newspaper, etc.
In the release you say something like:
"Joe's Wind Turbine service is sponsoring a project to bring free electricity to the local church". Go into the details of how you need some materials and even money, while at the same time "gently" getting some FREE exposure for your own business.
I'm not an accountant or lawyer, but it's possible you may get a tax deduction for your time and materials. And anyone that does donate to a non-profit may also get the deduction.
Consignment is giving access to someone to sell your products, then they pay you after they sell them, with them keeping part of the profit for their results. With consignment, you need to think of space and how big something is. Most retail sellers don't things that take up a lot of floor space when they can get lots more products in the same space.
However, you may be able to find plenty of second-hand shops, flea market vendors, etc that would be willing to give your stuff a trail. Other than space, there's really no risk for the seller. For example, approach a flea market vendor and stock him with 5 of your heliostats, making a deal where you'll come back later in the day and collect any sales money, splitting the profits with him/her.
Or, you may be able to "sub-rent" space from an established vendor, with you demonstrating and selling your product. Or use the opportunity to test your product. Give the vendor a couple of your products and let them keep all the profit. Tell them you just want to know if it will sell. If it sells, they will likely want to sell more of them or you can sell them yourself.
JV with a hardware store. Create the plans for a product and sell the plans at the hardware store counter on consignment. In exchange, the hardware store will get sales from the parts they need to buy to put your plans into use.
Payment plans, rent, rent to own, etc. - Have you built a great wind turbine system or solar water heat but can't sell it? Maybe you can rent it for a month and let the customer actually see the benefits. A lack of confidence is a major reason people don't buy. But if you can PROVE that your stuff will save them money, it becomes one of the easiest sales there is. Just be sure to weigh your cost/risk correctly. At this point, be sure to include any time and expense involved with installation and removal.
Getting quality testimonials and references can also be a big asset, especially when starting out. Approach Rev. Smith and Police Chief O'Brien and Dr. Jones and offer to install your stuff in exchange for a good reference. Pick trust-worthy people for the best results.
Can you install a solar water heater for the local humane society or shelter? If you do, send out a press release, including your business name, etc.
"Green" is a hot topic and if you blend it with another humanitarian topic, you can get a lot of free publicity:
Joe's Solar Water Heating has donated a complete solar hot water system for the local animal shelter. Not only will all the puppies and kittens stay warm, but the shelter saves money and doesn't pollute as much".
Work out with the shelter that in exchange for your solar heater, they pass out your flier.
And notice how I brought up "pollution" with the animal shelter. Try to target your audience. Pet shelter folks are probably a little on the liberal side as a whole. Not everyone of course, but a generalization.
On the other hand, you may be able to do a JV with a gun shop for the exact same solar heater...Only this time make a "poker read" that gun buyers probably lean a little more to the right. Now, talk about how solar water heaters are a survival product and reduce the dependence on the grid.
I don't want to get political and politics isn't my point, selling is. The point is, think about whether a group of people lean left or right, and adjust your sales and marketing to fit that group. If you think a group of potential customers may lean left, sell them on the environment, global warming, pollution, etc. If you think a group may lean right, sell them on independence and survival.
How would you sell to someone with a Prius in their driveway? How about if they have a 4-wheel drive pickup with a rifle rack in the window?
I brought up PT Barnum already. The reason is, he was a great marketer and really understood human psychology. Barnumizing is simply making something so outrageous it draws free publicity. What if you scalvaged an old golf cart, made it street legal, then added a ton of your solar panels to it to make a solar powered car? You don't have to worry about looks, just the opposite, the stranger the better.
Add some heliostats that turn the panels as you do to really draw attention.
Paint your company name, phone and web site on it and send out a press release, including photos (that have your name, phone and website in the picture).
Or maybe do the same with an old scalvaged bike and weed whacker. Add some solar-powered batteries, some solar panels and an old gas motor from a weed whacker to give you a "barnumized hybrid" bike. Don't forget your name, phone and website and a press release.
The hybrid bike would be a great project for a boy scout troop or school group. It will teach science, resourcefulness and be a GREAT fund-raiser using the publicity it could generate.
Bartering - Bartering is the simple act of trading something of value to someone else, for something else of value. It can be a very good way for you to get more value from your efforts.
There's a number of websites set up for bartering. However, there are also some IRS hoops to jump through. Before using a site to barter, be sure to check out your tax responsibilities concerning bartering:
Craigslist.org has a bartering category for almost all areas.
The Internet Barter Exchange - Has a fee.
PeopleTradingServices.com - Barter services
Here's something that's starting to catch on: Be a "micro" energy company. This is the idea of building and installing a good, complete green energy system for someone and then charging for energy like your local power company does. There's obviously risks and contracts to sign.
This method reduces the risk and start up costs for the customer. However, it will also take longer for you to get your investment back. But over the long-haul the profit potential is huge and a lot of people will make a lot of money with this strategy.
Here's an idea...I'm not sure if this is legally possible, but this is a brain-storming page. Check and see if it's possible to install a green energy system for a local non-profit, hook a meter up to the output, then donate the actual energy, and not the wind turbines and/or solar panels.
In exchange, it may be possible to use the actual energy donation as a tax deduction for your business. And since you still own the equipment and are donating the power, this may be an long-term deduction for years and years to come.
To repeat, you do need to hire a tax expert for this. If it is legal, then
you'll also need someone that check your own financial situation to see if
it would make sense for you personally. But it is an idea worth
Here's a good explanation and a must read.
Here's a Google for:
Power Purchase Agreement sample
Cafepress.com is a site that lets you make your own t-shirts, posters and coffee mugs using your own design and artwork. It isn't the best for making tons of stuff, as it's too expensive for that. But it's fast, simple and easy for those that just want to personalize a few items.
Here's the strategy: If you make contact with someone or some company, and want to make a lasting impression, give them a personalized coffee mug with your contact name and info on the cup.
Coffee mugs are used all the time and you have an opportunity to get your name in front of the people in charge ALL the time. Don't waste your time with pens, calendars, etc, they simply don't work. Pens are too small and they are either in a drawer, a pencil holder or in a hand. Calendars on a wall somewhere. But coffee mugs are on peoples' desks in plain site. They are used. And, you're probably the only one that has given them a coffee mug.
Don't be cheap, give the big mugs. These mugs will cost about $20 each, so you need to be selective. But, if you buy 15 or more, the price is about half that amount. So be sure to check out CafePress' bulk pricing.
Also, the secretary or receptionist quite often is the person that really runs the company. Getting on her good side can work wonders. If she does something for you, give her a great looking coffee mug with your name and number on it.
If Joe the Plumber gives you a good job, give him and his secretary one of your mugs.
Not only are you saying "thanks", you're also making it easy for them to call you the next time. Ask yourself this: If you were a secretary, who would you call, a guy in the phonebook or the guy that gave her a mug and the mug is right on her desk, with YOUR number on it?
Plus, if they use your mug, they'll see your name over and over. When you check back in 3 months, they'll still know your name.
Or maybe you've gotten some free publicity from a local radio or TV show. Give a mug or two the the person in charge of booking you, the on-air host, etc. Now the next time then need a local green energy expert, there's a good chance they'll call you. This is a great way to be the "go to" green expert in your area.
Yes, it is a little expensive, but the coffee mug trick can work wonders if you're trying to get your foot in the door of a big shot. But again, try to get them a mug that's better than the one they use at the office.
If you don't know what you're doing in regards to computer graphics, I suggest you outsource this, it shouldn't be too much and you may be able to find someone at Fiverr.com to do it for $5.
Here's a sample of the job requirements. Just copy this and modify it with your details:
For some examples and inspiration, see this page:
Micro loans are small loans that everyday people make to others in need. Instead of donations, giving loans has proven to be very effective and can have a big impact on local economies. And since no governments are involved and the loans are made directly, there's no "skimming" and no corruption. The loans are paid off at a very high rate.
MFI - A Micro Financing Institution
To apply for a loan, borrowers must apply through a local "Field Partner agency" that works with Kiva. And, you can also become a Field Partner in your area.
To apply for a Kiva loan:
"MIX Market is the #1 source for financial and social performance data on MFIs across the globe."
To qualify, KickStarter is looking for creative ideas for "music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields".
At first thought, you may be thinking about how you can use micro loans to secure a loan for yourself. But what if you could become a micro loan expert? You could help others get loans to buy green.
One of the biggest problems in sales in when someone wants your stuff, but can't afford it. If you can help others obtain money to buy your inventions, you're helping them and you're helping yourself. It's a classic "win/win".
Let's go back to our "Solar Heater for the Local Animal Shelter" example. What if instead of donating the solar heater, you arrange a a Kickstarter account for the project? Let's say you need $1000 for the project, $500 for materials and $500 for your investment of time.
How do you think this may sound to a potential sponsor:
"I'm trying to set up a solar heater for the local animal shelter. If we can raise $1000, it will save the shelter about $200 a month is utility bills. This money could then be used to save the lives of more animals. Plus, the solar water heater uses about 90% recycled materials, such as pop cans and other discarded materials. Your small donation will help innocent animals and help the environment."
There's nothing wrong with you getting paid a reasonable fee for your time, effort, skills and experience.
But you can't just sit back and think you'll automatically get sponsors. You need to promo your project a little. See if you can get away with posting it at Craigslist...Craigslist is a little flakey about what they do and don't take, but give it a shot. Also, send out your press releases...The media will eat up this type of thing. Put the details on your Barnumized golf cart, etc.
Another idea is to create a kit or method that will help someone poor make money. For example, clean water and ice can be sold in many areas. Clean water has been something people have sold for thousands of years. Or how about some plans and supplies to build solar ovens?
If you can you come up with a great system that will generate income for someone else, see if you can't arrange a micro loan for someone in need to buy your stuff. Once you are paid back, you can repeat the process for someone else.
And these people in turn help out others by giving them access to clean water,
solar cooking, wind power and more. In cyber-space it's known as going "viral".
And it's possible that your help, ideas, and abilities can also go viral
and help people that need it most.
A little inspiration:
This isn't really about selling. It's about getting an appointment so you can sell. Often, the hardest part is just getting someone's time. If you are dealing with a local Mom and Pop shop, it's pretty easy to get their attention. You just walk in. And if that doesn't work, you can always hire the person you want to deal with.
Let's say you have some solar system and need to work with an electrician, so a licensed, certified person can hook it up. Hire them to come to your home to inspect your design. Now you can sell them on doing a JV. Ask if they will consider selling your solar systems, you'll hook up the system, they just need to do the final wiring and inspection. In exchange, when you make sales, you'll cut him in for part of your action.
Now let's add some real leverage. Now let's say you're looking for electricians to work with. But not the smaller, Mom and Pop electricians. You want the BIG guys in your area, but are having trouble even getting in the door.
Here's how you handle this: You create a good introduction letter, not a sales letter, but a letter asking for some time.
Now you need to apply some leverage. First, you need to research the biggest companies in your area and find out:
1. The name of the owner or boss.
2. The secretaries name.
3. A manager in charge.
Do this for at least 3 companies.
Now when you send your letter asking for an appointment, you'll need to do a couple of things:
1 Apply Internal Leverage:
What this does is make each person aware that OTHER people know that they have gotten the letter. The secretary and manager can't just toss your letter in the trash, because they both know the Big Boss also got the letter. Now, they are much more likely to talk about it between themselves and see what the boss wants done.
2. Apply External Leverage
I'm also sending this to:
Eric's Electrical Company
Now they are concerned that their competition may get something that they aren't. This applies incredible leverage, as the secretary and manager have to worry about NOT acting, and the Big Boss knows all about this, so they can't just drop it. This also applies leverage to the Big Boss, as he/she is now concerned that the competition is getting something that they are not.
Again, this isn't a sales letter, it is a "give me some time, so I can THEN sell" letter. Now, follow through with the coffee mug trick and give a mug to the secretary, Big Boss and manager, keeping your name, phone and website on their desks. At the least this will get your offer discussed, even if you don't get the appointment. This in itself is a good thing, as you know they have considered your offer and just aren't interested. And applying psychological leverage like this is how little guys and gals can be a legitimate "player" with the big shots.
I've just summarized a great concept. If you want complete details, along with step by step plans and details, I can't recommend the book "The Power to Get In" enough. It's only about $10, and if you ever have that million dollar idea, this book can be the difference maker.
The Power to Get In <= Get this book if you need help setting appointments with Big Businesses.
I won't get into selling to the big shots here, other than to say that if you do get an appointment, you will need a short, concise sales pitch. None of the hype you may use in other cases. When you are dealing with a big business they will want to know two things:
1. How much will it cost.
2. How much will it make them.
You better have this info, or else there's no sense in trying to get
You don't need a fancy site. You need a simple, clean site that you can use to give people more info than you can fit on a flyer, business card or Yellow Pages ad.
I strongly suggest you buy your own "domain name". Examples of domain names are:
shysky.com - My domain name for this site.
A domain name is only about $10 a year and gives you all sorts of control.
Do NOT use Godaddy for any business you own. They have a messed up Terms of Service and will yank your domain name over anything THEY don't like.
I recommend Namecheap.com. They are cheap, dependable, easy to use and full of features.
Once you have a domain name, you can use it to "forward" web traffic as well as your emails. We're going to use it to forward web traffic to a free website so you don't have to pay for hosting.
If you're just starting out and need a site up, I suggest Blogspot.com, which is run by Google. It easy to use and it's free.
The problem is, since it's free, Google can shut you down for any reason. Another issue is that the domain name you get will be very long and contain "blogspot" in the domain name.
This makes for a hard to remember, hard to type, long domain name.
However, you can buy your own domain name and use it for forward people to your free Blogspot blog.
For example, this is a domain name that forwards to a Blogspot blog:
Compare the two domain names:
If you are paying for a classified ad by the letter, using Twitter with character limits, or advertising on the side of your car, each and every letter matters.
And just as importantly, if Google ever shuts you down, you can simply move your site to a paid host and forward your domain name to there. You have complete control of your domain.
There's two different strategies to consider when buying your own domain name:
1. Is it to get search traffic from Google? In this case, you probably want
a domain name that contains the words people will use to find your site in
Google, something like:
2. Are you going to use it to advertise "off line"? Think about this. If you are using press releases and on a radio show, have a billboard or any method that requires people to REMEMBER and then TYPE in your domain name, you want to keep it as short and easy to remember as possible.
This is why I use ShySky.com and not ParabolicMethodsForCreatingSolar.com
ShySky is two short 3-letter words. They even rhyme. And the "sh" is repeated twice. This makes the domain name easy to remember as well as easy to type.
I spend a lot of time just thinking of names. I've spent hours typing in names trying to find the perfect one.
Also, for offline marketing you MUST USE .com.
I'll repeat: For offline marketing you MUST USE .com.
People are in the habit of using .com, and you can't take the chance that a big deal is lost because you used .net instead of .com, simply because you didn't spend the time to come up with a good name that wasn't taken.
Also avoid words and numbers that have multiple spellings. Is it solar4u.com, solarforyou.com, solarfouru.com? It's OK to do this for other reasons, but not if you need people to remember and then type your domain name.
Is it: 2, to, two, too? That's too many choices.
To keep things as simple as possible, use my simple domain name formula formula at first and see if you can come up with something:
1.Try to think of the very shortest word(s) that's related to what you do. In my case that word was "sky". Sun and wind also can work, and there's plenty of others.
2. Then find another short word that rhymes with the first: I came up with "shy".
If you can't come up with something, add your name or city to something relevant, like: WindyWendy.com or SolarDave.com, MiamiSun.com, etc.
Once you've decided on a good domain name, head over to NameCheap and register it.
Next, go to BlogSpot and set up a free blog.
Get the name of your BlogSpot blog and go back to NameCheap and log into your account and have it forward your new domain name to your Blogspot blog. You should find directions in your account in the help files.
Notice: It can take anywhere from 1 minutes to 48 hours for your domain name to "propagate". This means for it to kick in and start working. This isn't NameCheap. It's up to whoever you get your Net service from to update their "name servers". So, it's possible you can't see it, while it's working for someone using another online service.
Not only can you forward your domain name, you can also now use it to forward emails with a cooler, personalized email address.
For example, I can take ShySky.com and make this email address:
I can set up another, something like:
Using domain name and email forwarding is a great way to look much more
professional, give you a lot more control, and get a name that's easy to
remember and type, all for less than a $1 a month.
Did you know it's actually pretty easy and cheap to write a book and get in published on Amazon.com? You can leverage Amazon's popularity and built in marketing benefits to your advantage.
I won't get into all the details here, but will give you some resources and info to get you going.
Amazon offers a service where they "print on demand". In other words, they only print the book when someone orders it. This means, you don't have to pay anything upfront to get a book published, and each time you sell a book, Amazon takes their cut for publishing the book out of the money collected from the sale.
They also handle all shipping and order filling, refunds, customers, etc. You just upload the book to Amazon. They will actually promote your book for you, they want to sell it too.
There is one small start-up expense for each book, and this is for the "bar code". Right now, this is the best site to buy bar codes, as it's both legit and cheap. At the time I'm writing this, a bar code is $89:
www.upccode.net - Legal and cheap bar codes
The other "getting starting" expense is what's known as a "proof copy". It's a sample of how your book will actually look in print form. Colors and formatting can change from your PC to ink on paper. So you'll probably want to get a proof copy at first just to make sure it looks good. Proofs are about $4 plus shipping.
Honestly you probably won't make a lot, maybe $5 a day, per book. But it's residual pay, and it also gives you a lot of credibility and makes it easier to position yourself as an expert in the field. Plus, buying a few "proofs" for cheap are great give--aways along with the coffee mug trick.
Now you just need a cover graphic and some content.
For the cover, a great source of pictures to use
Don't think you can use just any photo/graphic you see on the web. You can't! Copyright infringement is a very serious act and you can be fined $150,000. Morguefile allows you to use the pictures uploaded for commercial projects and you don't have to even give attribution. Plus, many of them are "high resolution" so they will print out better than standard web images.
Once you've decided on the image to use, just add some text to your cover.
Next, you just need some content. Just start typing in Wordpad. You'll need to format it so it will fit on your paper pages. You'll also need to convert it to "pdf".
Here's a google for "free pdf converter".
For ideas on covers and titles, be sure to check out Amazon's best sellers. Again, don't copy, but rather use what's already working for inspiration for your book's title, cover art and even topics.
This is NOT legal advice and do NOT take it literally, but there's an old saying about writing: "Steal from one book and it's copyright infringement. Steal from 10 books and it's original".
The point is, the more sources you use to create your book, and the more unique your wording and phrasing is, the less likely you'll get into trouble.
Also, ideas can't be copyrighted. But how the idea is presented (written) is protected by copyright laws.
For more info on US Copyright laws, refer to the US gov
Your books don't need to be long and should be about 55-110 pages.
Now here's the "secret": Make books such as:
58 Green Energy Tips You Can Do For Free
Put each tip on a page or two, with a paragraph or two or three about each and you've got a book about green energy.
Another idea is if you've invented something, create a book on how to make it. You'll need some illustrations, etc., but this is another possibility.
While you probably won't make much from selling a book, you can make some decent money selling 25 books.
Also, you don't even have to do much of the work, as you can "outsource" everything from the writing to the cover graphics. But double check your work. Even if you don't do it yourself, you are still responsible for what your workers do. If they steal an image or articles, it's your fanny that will be in a sling. See below for outsourcing ideas.
Amazon actually has two different services you can use. I suggest Createspace to get started.
Create Space - Print on Demand - They print each book once it's ordered. (You can also make CDs and movies and sell them on CreateSpace). Check it out for more details.
Amazon Advantage - You need to print the books yourself, then ship to Amazon. Only consider this if you are selling a lot of the same book, otherwise it's not worth the trouble.
Assuming you've got your book written and uploaded, the next step
Outsourcing simply means to hire someone to do a job for you. Online is great for finding people to create logos, set up sites, make a video, or do some writing for you.
$5 Get a decent logo made for your blog.
$5 Get a video made to add to your blog.
$5 Pay someone to set up your blog using your logo and video
$5 proof read your site - Spelling mistakes can make you look
$20 total. For about $20, you're up and running with an online presence.
Some quick videos to help you discover the basics of Mturk and Fiverr:
You can get low-tech, low research stuff written for about $5 a page. Things that take more time and research will be in the range of $20 per page. And sales letters are the most expensive and can cost $150-$3000 to have written for you. You may want to get someone to write a press release, etc. But it's possible to get a book written for something like "55 Green Energy Tips" for less than you may think.
Community College - Your local community college is an excellent place
to check out if you need some assistance for pennies on the dollar. Let's
say you need to get a mould created for your new alternator design. If it's
complicated you may need to have computer generated 3D drawings made. This
can cost as much as $150 an hour. However, a community college kid will probably
do it for $15 an hour. Contact your local community college for more info.
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