Calling all Sports Entrepreneurs – The World Seeks Your Knowledge!

All too often the word “Entrepreneur” is thrown around quite loosely and can be associated with anyone who starts their own business. I have often being called an entrepreneur due to the fact that I have created and built several online web sites, written and published my own eBooks and built a successful online business.

However, like many sports fans, athletes and coaches, I just wanted to share my knowledge and expertise with fellow tennis coaches around the world. An Entrepreneur I am not, more like a keen sports fan who had something to share and found a way via the power of the internet to successfully do this.

Could you become a sports entrepreneur? Well, if you have a passion for sports, some experience in your chosen sport and feel that you have something to share with other sports fans then there may just be a market out there waiting for your help. You could share your coaching tips and advice, proven training methods, new ways to practice a certain skill, new drills for your sport, a new fitness program, “How to” tips and so much more.

You will find “experts” on the web proclaiming that they have the secret to running faster, jumping higher, being mentally stronger, getting stronger and bigger and so on.

So what are the ways that you can share your knowledge with the world and make some money as well? Below are some ideas that cost very little money to do and some are even Free!

(1) Write your own eBook:

An eBook is simply a PDF or electronic book that you can write in a word document, convert for free to a PDF eBook, then sell it online and get to keep all of the profits without sharing them with a greedy publisher! You could write an eBook about how to lose weight, how to improve your speed, how to improve your mental toughness, how to coach soccer, an ebook with hundreds of drills for your sport, an ebook comprised of interviews with famous athletes or coaches and so on! I have already found ebooks with these exact topics covered so you will need to find your own niche. Clickbank is the most popular site to sell and promote eBooks.

(2) Build a member based website.

There is no better way to build a loyal customer base and share your knowledge than via a subscription based web site. A member based web site is basically comprised of articles, ebooks, videos, interviews and related resources that focus on a specific topic. Global Sports Coaching is an example of a tennis member based web site.

(3) Create your very own DVD or CD.

With today’s technology it is very simple to create your own video. All you need is a video camera (your own or borrow one) and then convert or save that footage to a DVD. I have seen DVD’s and CD’s on how to run faster, on teaching tennis, baseball coaching, stretching exercises, how to throw free throws in basketball, football plays and so on. YouTube is a prime example of how popular videos are.

(4) Write your own blog!

There are many free blogging software programs out there such as WordPress or Blogger that allow you to create your own blog. You can then write articles, share your knowledge, promote your other products etc. How do you make money from a blog? Well, the most common ways are by placing Google AdSense or affiliate programs in your blog. These are free to do. There are bloggers out there who have made a small fortune from their blogs.

(5) Sign up for Affiliate programs and make money by promoting someone else’s products.

You don’t have to make any cold calls or sell their products directly. You just simply have to place an affiliate link on your site, send them to the affiliate’s web site and if the viewer buys a product you will receive a commission for it. There are affiliate programs such as Commission Junction, Linkshare, ShareaSale and Commission Monster that can provide you with links to many of the best affiliate programs. Once again these programs are free to sign-up for.

(6) Create your own product

. Have you created your own product, sports coaching aid, some new fitness equipment, piece of sports equipment, or training aid that can improve an athlete’s game? Then all you need to do is test your product, price it, promote it and sell it via your web site, on eBay or via an affiliate program.

(7) Become a Guest Speaker.

Many clubs, businesses and sporting corporations seek experts in their field to go and speak to their employees. It could be to motivate them, share your knowledge with them, advise or be a coach to them, or just to share some funny stories with them that you may have accumulated throughout your sporting career.

(8) Write your own newsletter full of free tips and advice, articles and resources for a specific topic.

You can also write product reviews that contain an affiliate link from which you can make money from. If your newsletter grows then you may attract businesses who will want to advertise in your newsletter. Newsletters are a great way to build your own list of customers from which you can then sell or promote your own products.

There are many more great ways to use your sporting knowledge and experience to make a living from. Choose something that you believe in and make sure that what you are selling is worth the price you are asking for it. Your reputation is very important, especially on the internet. Just remember that many ideas involve the internet as this is a way to reach a global market. Anyone with a computer in any country is a potential customer!

As the often used saying goes “You too can Profit from Your Passion.”

Online Sales Are Still Booming

Retail sales in Australia, UK and USA are down year on year, but online sales are up, and consistently performing in most countries at +/- 30% growth.

Are you making the best of your online sales opportunity?

Whether you have a main street shop, a boutique in a mall or only an online presence there has never been a more important time to maximize sales opportunity.

When you have a physical shop it is a great pull back for visitors to your shop, to be able to refer them to your website. This ensures you can continue a passive or proactive relationship with potential customers.

A passive relationship is where you are offering interesting information and content online to keep them coming back regularly.

A proactive site is where you are capturing email addresses, and physical addresses, to keep referring them to your website, and reminding them about your fantastic business.

If you can also offer them the advantage of ordering online, you are really entering the best opportunity space. You see, they know you because they visited your store – now they are building trust with you, so now is the ideal time to offer them online shopping experience.

There is a shoe shop in a nearby town that does this, and I buy regularly online from them. If they didn’t have the website, I would only spend about 10% of what I spend now! Why, because I am busy and it is a hassle to get there – but online takes me 5-10 minutes to order a pair of shoes.

Have you got an online webshop, or your own website?

Being an email user is your first step into online business, asking your customers for their email address (and importantly) permission to contact them. This way you can tell them about special promotions, sales and other new things in your business.

You can only expect the best results and participate in the online sales boom if you have a website, and preferably a shop online.

There are two ways to do this:

First you can go and have someone develop you a full website, depending on what you sell, this will cost you between $250 and $5,000. Also, there is an exciting new instant shop builder service about to be launched onto the world internet market in November, if you would like further information on this please contact us.

Alternatively you can have a web shop on most recognized classified websites. These usually cost a few dollars a month set fee, although some sites also charge you a % of sales on top of that.

Normally the type of shop you would choose depends on what you are selling, and the type of image you want to have.

Small businesses, with limited stock items, may well find that it suffices to have a webshop on a classified site. However, if you have a range of items to sell and would like to attract more new customers to your store, then your own website with full payment facility is the better way to go.

If you have a physical store your earliest sales will come directly from your physical customer base, and their friends, capturing additional sales from people who have visited you. In my mind, this works better than a loyalty card – I refuse all loyalty cards (I never seem to have the right one at the right time), but I happily give my email address to shops I like – I want to know when they have a promotion, and I want to shop online!

You can also offer a small discount, similar to a loyalty card for all customers whose email address you hold.

If you only have an online business, and no physical presence then of course you also have to put some work into new attracting customers to your store! Let us look at some of your needs now.

Do you have your online store maximized for getting customers?

Unlike the High Street, just opening your website doors will not bring you customers; in fact no one will likely even find you.

First you need to be listed on as many relevant directories as possible; there are even services that will do this for you.

Next you need to make sure Google and Yahoo will find you, this means you must have good keywords relevant to your content on the home page. If you sell shoes, mention the word shoes at least ten times on your home page and add it to your key words. Then perhaps you might like to add the brands you sell, the style of shoes etc, even the district or demographic that you see as your target market. Be sure that whatever keywords you use, the Google searches will find those keywords on the relevant page!

Beware of using words with too much competition. For example the word ‘shoes’ alone, will not be enough to get you on the first thousand pages of a search. If however, you had shoes, Nike, sport shoes, sports shoes, ‘your town’, ‘your region’, tennis shoes, golf shoes etc. Then you will have removed a large number of your competitors for ranking.

As you become more web savvy, you can use keyword search tools to choose the best key words for your site, but the truth is it will sap up a lot of your time for only a small advantage. There are other things you can do to rank faster.

Can you write an article, like this one? If you can, that is a fabulous way to attract visitors to your site. We will use the shoe shop as our analogy throughout this article. So write about shoes, give advice about shoes, give the top 10 most important things to understand when buying new shoes. Send that article to key article sites like ezines, article cube, etc.

Perhaps you could have a blog attached to your shoe shop, sound funny? It works. First you can give shoe tips, fashion tips etc, but your customers will also be interested in your life and what you do on weekends etc. If you play competitive sport then give your results, good or bad, add some humour. People love to read about the lives of others, particularly someone they know.

It is good practice to join social networks like Facebook and Twitter and link your blogs directly to them; this again increases your market exposure quickly.

Blogs and Articles are the fast food for search engines, their impact and speed in rocketing you into top spaces in searches cannot be underestimated.

If you sell for example sports shoes can you link up with local sports clubs and advertise and link back to your online store from their site. Write simple, strong ads around your website name in the sport magazines. By this I mean a simple statement or line to attract customers, for example:

Great Shoes, Top Brands, Best Prices and Family Friendly Service!

You can visit us online at ‘your website address’.

You can also offer to make the sports club newsletter more interesting, by donating an article about a new shoe release, or the purpose of special soles for balance or whatever is applicable.

Now, I know we just talked about shoes here, but you can apply that to almost any type of shop it all applies equally to art, jewellery, tyres, vitamins, Tupperware, clothing, or even services like restaurant, wine bar, coaching, sport etc.

Are you using AdWords or similar online advertising?

If you can afford at least $50 per month, then affiliates (other websites) is a good way to bring new traffic and customers to your online store. Google AdWords, or Yahoo! Advertising, in fact most search engines all run similar affiliate advertising possibilities. You may target by geography, and other demographics and you will pay for each person that visits your store. You can set the level, but it normally costs around .10 to .50 cents per visitor, some key words these days are getting very expensive as Google begins to have a stronghold on internet advertising! You will have to search for cost effective words and it is important that those words appear on your home page, or Google will not run your ads.

You can also sign up for an affiliate marketing program, I recommend ClixGalore as a reputable marketer where you can start at a reasonable cost. .Here you can also pay by click for a visitor (be very cautious here as many disreputable sites exist that pay people to click, this is useless traffic). I recommend pay % per sale. This means if they send a visitor to your online store who buys something, you pay a % of that sale to the referring website owner. Normally you need to offer 10 to 15% as a minimum but as it is for a sale you would not get otherwise, and then it is a good deal!

Once you attract this traffic, try and offer an incentive to opt in and give you their name and email address. You could offer a competition entry, or a free information sheet (downloadable is preferable) if they sign in. Then you must also include a box that gives their permission for you to contact them with a regular update or newsletter. It is against the law to use their email address to write to them unless you have their permission. It is worth the hassle, once you have an email database of say 500-1000 people, you can tell them when you have a sale, add a new line of products, promotions and even send regular information with special offers etc. This is a valuable additional customer base that may never visit your store.

Add your photo to your website, and a short story about yourself and your family. This makes you more personal to your online customers, and they can trust you faster. Especially, this can work well with your blog!

If you would like to know more about Successful, Low Cost Direct Marketing Methods, especially Selling by Classified Advertising, there are some excellent books written by Jeffrey Dobkin and recommended by the National Mail Order Association. You can buy them via their website.

You can also subscribe to the newsletters for any reputable classified website, as we are all usually happy to offer help and advice for online merchants.

Online Sales will continue to grow as more and more people have a good experience with an online purchases. Those that like to still physically shop at a store are often looking online, and they pre-select the store they wish to shop at BEFORE they go out to shop. So by the time they leave their front door it can be already too late!

Don’t miss out on the boom in online sales; add a web presence to your store that can sell for you 24×7. If you already have one, light it up, be proactive and make it work for you so you can enjoy the increased sales!

Autographed Sports Memorabilia: Sentiments and Fraud

Autographed sports memorabilia can come in a variety of forms, each one representing a particular point in a sporting event. Anything you can see that is directly related to the sport and which can be carried out by hand from a venue, can be considered a memento. Just try not to grab anything that is not willingly handed out to you or you’ll be in big trouble!

Sources of valuable sports memorabilia include the actual sporting venue, hobby shops, sports auctions, and online retailers. Real sports enthusiasts collect these items as keepsakes, a constant reminder of the part they played in that particular sporting event. Other more practical buyers grow their collections in hopes of someday selling them at a higher price.

Whatever your reasons are for getting into this hobby, it is important to know just what items to keep an eye out for to continuously increase your collection.

Autographed Sports Memorabilia: Different Sports, One Passion

Common memorabilia items include photos, jerseys, tickets and event programs. Some of these you can collect yourself by going to the actual sporting events, while others you can scour shops and online retail websites for to satisfy your cravings.

From the collector’s standpoint, the value of such items can range from the deeply sentimental to the purely monetary, but when sold at sports auctions and through other retailing methods, any one of these can bring in thousands of dollars for its rarity and time value.

Sports items that belonged to a well-known athlete, or were part of a remarkable sports victory, would make far better investments especially when signed by the athlete himself and authenticated by experts. If you’re investing on memorabilia as a business venture, it is far more important for you to watch out for fraudulent merchandise.

Autographed Sports Memorabilia and Fraud

The rule of thumb for all collectors is that, when a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Large amounts of dollars are lost to memorabilia frauds each year, and many fraudulent retailers are still at large. Your best defense against fraud is to get properly informed. Do your share of research to find out which companies are certified to distribute signed items from famous athletes and take the effort to ensure that’s exactly where your memorabilia purchases originally came from.

Memorabilia items usually come with a documentation attesting to its authenticity. Legitimate memorabilia sellers have recently began adopting the hologram system of authentication pioneered by a major sports dealer, making it easier to protect yourself from purchasing fraudulent autographed sports memorabilia.