Friday, February 4, 2011

How to sell stuff cheap

So, I've started (another) little side business.

I've been involved on and off with Magic since grade school. In high school I was semi-pro, pulling down about $5.00/hour doing street magic at a time when my friends were making $3.25/hr slaving at McDonalds. The hobby sort of dropped off my radar post-college and, while i still carried coins in my pocket and would occasionally do a few tricks when the subject came up, I wasn't really actively pursuing it. About 2 years ago however I started gaming with a very nice fellow named Jeb, who was ALSO a performing magician and I got the old itch back.

Since then I've done a handful of shows and developed a number of my own props and routines as well as become a regular hanger-on at The Magic Cafe, a wonderful online magic forum community. I've been encouraged by friends there to release my most recent little creation for other magicians.

Which is all a long way of getting to the point that I needed a sales presence on the web. This is an inexpensive packet trick however, and its my only product right now, which means from a sane-business perspective I had to watch what I put into marketing it. The magic market isn't huge to begin with and there is no guarantee I'll take even a medium share of it. Accordingly, I had to find inexpensive (eg cheap) ways of doing *everything*-- from making and packaging the product, to selling and shipping it.

Enter Google and Pay Pal. For $10/yr I got the domain and web and email service from google. All that was left was to be able to take and process orders. Both Google and Pay Pal offer payment services that have no set-up or monthly fees, you just pay them their fee for each order processed. They also make it VERY easy to place a "Buy Now" button on your web site.

I started with Pay Pal alone, but discovered one thing missing i needed. Both Pay Pal and Google have their strong points, but the big thing missing from PayPal was the ability to offer "coupons." This was important to me as part of my marketing strategy is to set my price point for retail at a place where I can still make money after distributor mark-down, but then offer my friends at The Magic Cafe a reduced "VIP" price if they ordered directly through me. Google checkout has that feature though, so I am supporting both payment methods on the site.

After a day of researching and set up, the first version of Catco Magical Effects is live on the web at

Total investment by me, $10.00

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