Sell Online: Need To Know Basics

Why sell online? That's easy. It's a way to create another profit center. I've been exploring this subject so I thought I'd share each Friday what I'm learning. Consider this post as Part 1: Need To Know Basics

Past Experience

I've always had an online shop for products I design for writers. My shop through CafePress offers tee shirts, coffee mugs, bags, and a lot more with designs dear to a writer's heart.

I've maintained The WRITE Way, Gifts and Promotion Items for Writers, since 2004. Sales there are a nice additional income for me each year. Lately, I've seen that sales of my Writer's Christmas Ornaments have already begun. (Get yours today -- and one for a writing friend.)

My CafePress shop is a free one and requires no maintenance other than updating the designs or adding a design to their ever-increasing inventory of products. (Tell a friend about my shop!)

Benefits to Online Selling

We are in the era of increasing ecommerce sales. Online selling is growing exponentially because there are so many benefits and few disadvantages. Anyone with a product to sell and some common sense as well as the ability to follow directions can sell online.

You can tap markets all over the world, not just in your neighborhood. You can sell anything from quilted tea cozies to books and just about anything in between. By the way, the books you sell can be ebooks, print books, or audio books. In fact, you are only limited by your imagination and ability to produce when it comes to selling products online.

Some authors I know are selling their books directly from their websites now which is why I became interested in the process.

In this series, I'll explore how to go about doing this as well as offering links to some of the websites I've found that are easiest and least expensive to help you make this happen.

Let's Talk Taxes

One of the first things you need to know is that if you sell online, you are responsible to your various taxation authorities for the appropriate taxes that may apply.

At the very least, this includes, but may not be limited to, sales tax on the items sold and income tax on the revenue.

Sales Tax

Do an online search for your state / province / country, to discover:
  • what your obligations are
  • how to set up a sales tax account/obtain a sales tax license
  • how and when to file sales tax returns
  • how and when to pay the collected tax.
Income Tax

In the United States, you have 2 taxing authorities if you live in a state that demands payment of state income tax. Since I live in Texas, which, thank God, doesn't have state income tax, I know nothing about this. Ignorance is no excuse if you live in a state that does require payment of state income tax so do an online search for your state's requirements. (Or move to Texas. *g*)

On a national level, you have the Internal Revenue Service. If you are already a selling author or other  small business person, you should already have your self-employment tax situation well in hand. In other words, you're already filing quarterly self-employment tax returns and paying quarterly. If you're not doing this, then visit the IRS website to learn what your tax responsibilities are.

If you're in another country, do online research to learn about your tax liabilities and responsibilities for your home country where your base of operations will be.

Takeaway Truth

Join me next Friday to learn How To Set Up Your Online Store.


  1. It's only right to keep tabs on all these fundamentals before getting into the act. Online marketing is still a part of business, and business are subject to physical statutes and laws, a lot of which are financial. These should be a good starting ground for launching online presence and business expansion well.

    Mamie @ Focused Local Marketing

    1. Thanks, Mamie, for dropping by and commenting.

  2. Thanks for giveng us usefull information about Sell Online.