A Location Independent Physical Products Business
I'm in China this month. I'm here for the Canton Fair, where I'll be looking for products to source from China and sell online. The fair takes place in Guangzhou, and I've got an apartment here for one month that will give me a 'home base' from which I can explore the city.
I assumed that, as this business deals in physical products, it would be much harder to run in a location independent fashion. It didn't seem to fit with the 'travel wherever you want, when you want' lifestyle.
Well, it turns out I was wrong. Here's a few reasons why a lifestyle of travel fits perfectly with a business based on physical products.
1. You Can Research Potential Suppliers As Long As Necessary
I'm here in Guangzhou mainly to check out the Canton Fair. Since arriving, however, I learned that there are many, many wholesale markets in and around this city.
Many of the vendors at these markets don't go to the Canton Fair, and the only way find them is to visit their stalls in these smaller markets. If I was only here for 4-5 days (Like many businesspeople from America and Europe) I'd have no time to explore these more hidden business opportunities.
With more time, I've got a better picture of all the products available for purchase. For example, I visited the OneLink Wholesale Market and found many vendors selling products similar to what I wanted to source. It was only after exploring up to the 5th floor on my third day, however, that I found one vendor in particular who was selling a product with an extremely unique design that I hadn't seen anywhere online!
2. You Can Live For Much Cheaper While Sourcing
Many of the businesspeople attending the Canton Fair to source products are staying in extremely expensive hotels. It's easy to pay $500+ per night to get a room near the exhibition hall during the three weeks of this event.
In addition, if you're flying from America or Europe you'll pay a good deal for round-trip tickets. Maybe $1,200 round trip.
You might spend $5,000 before you even consider buying anything!
If you're visiting the fair as a Walmart or Target representative and have these costs reimbursed, that's no problem. If you're a small business owner, however, this can be a hard punch to your balance sheet!
I'm already traveling through Asia and didn't need to pay for a flight to China. I just took a train from Hong Kong. I booked an apartment for 1 month and with fast WiFi I can manage all of my business work from here!
The room costs about $350 per month, and that leaves me a ton of extra cash that I can use to purchase products.
3. Once You Have A Supplier, Everything IS Location Independent
This is a physical products business and it's important to touch everything you're considering selling so you can judge the quality, durability, comfort, etc. Once you know what you want to buy, however, you can manage everything from anywhere!
You can communicate with your supplier via email and Skype and they will ship your products to any address you want.
Have them ship to your pre-fulfillment (if you're sending products to Amazon) or fulfillment provider, and everything will be labeled for you so you don't even need to touch the products! You could be in Bali for all anyone cares so long as you pay for shipping and pre-fulfillment costs! (Typically about $0.30 per unit)
Running a physical products business can work hand-in-hand with the location independent lifestyle.
With suppliers all around the world, there are unique opportunities whether you are in China, South East Asia, South America, or even the Middle East.