The writer has always wanted to present to the "self-help" reader a collection of true-experience stories about unusual businesses overseas. I hesitated about undertaking such a task because of the great difficulty of obtaining such material. Conditions abroad are such that it is almost impossible to find any interesting data, let alone get enough of the main details to make it worthwhile. Suffice to say, plans, ideas and stories were obtained, oh so slowly, considering the amount of correspondence engaged in.
Truly, the profit dollars…and the enterprises too…were HIDDEN from us folks here at home in the States…so the data rightly belongs, I suppose, in a book of this kind.
Remember, please, while reading through the material, the amount of money spent, the long months of collecting it via the mails over great distances, the large amount of disappointing material rejected, the long and tiresome searches for "leads" that would give us the right addresses in certain towns and cities in foreign countries…remember all of this…and then, I hope, enjoy the RESULT, absorb the ideas and start creating some ideas and some "Hidden Dollars" of your own!
I believe that many of these foreign successes can be developed on a larger scale here in the United States. Perhaps a few changes will be needed here and there so as not to conflict with our particular laws or customs. Perhaps not. At any rate, you'll really have an enterprise that you can well be proud of if you build a plan of your own around the basic idea, adding your own ideas, and a touch of your own imagination. This is much better than copying and much wiser if you are to have success because there isn't an idea today anywhere in the world that can't be improved, or in a great many cases, isn't in sad need of improvement! If you improve the ideas to be found in this book, you improve your chance for CONTINUED success in the ever-changing future.
If you are interested in establishing a world mail-order business…in selling by mail to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, India, Central America, Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, East Africa, our Caribbean neighbor countries, or to the countries of South America, the following stories should be of great help because they indicate what is popular in these countries, what can be sold and is being sold, what is NOT being offered as yet by mail. It may show you how to make some improvements on their methods, their showmanship, their advertising and their products…enough of an improvement to direct the orders your way…via AIRMAIL. If you can do it better, or if you can offer these foreign prospects something they can't buy in their respective countries, or if you can offer something unusual or in a different manner, your chances for success are increased!
South American newspaper circulations may be closer to our own, but Britain is a land where circulations often reach astonishing totals. This fact is emphasized when you realize that "News of the World", a Sunday newspaper, has a sale of 7,412,383 copies each week—or thereabouts. On the other hand, "The Daily Express" has a daily circulation of four million copies. To those readers interested in a worldwide mail-order enterprise, consider these circulation figures.
Operating a wholesale mail-order business and selling to overseas markets is usually called Exporting, and it is a most interesting and profitable field to enter at this particular time. To illustrate the possibilities, just ONE steamship company shipped the following items to South America in one year: $465,013 worth of soap, $1,785,582 worth of cosmetics, $181,540 worth of toys, $32,929 worth of jewelry, $4,967,881 worth of household items, $8,125,000 worth of cleaners and polishes, $14,151,000 worth of clothing items and $10,632,617 worth of other goods. There are many foreign buyers and commission agents to whom to mail illustrated literature. These salesmen usually charge 10%.
Whether your interests lie in establishing a local business here in the United States, a mail-order business amongst the States only, or a world-wide mail-order business, you'll do well to study carefully everything contained in the following pages. One thing more…a few readers may have plans to some day travel to one of the countries in the Empire or in South America, there to settle, to create a home and a business. You'll need a lot of advance information about the country you have picked and about business abroad. You'll need to do a lot of reading, and you might as well start right here.
International mail-order selling is restricted more or less to a few specific lines and it might be wise to mention them at this time. Remember that the following is simply my own opinion, based on some material I have on file. There are exceptions, of course.
The following items can be sold by mail to foreign countries, at a good profit, and with a chance of some repeat business. Restrictions, tariffs, etc., will not affect these items or services:
1. Stamps or philatelic supplies. Perhaps the leading commodity in mail-order selling abroad. Import duty is seldom charged on small sample lots.
2. World correspondence exchanges, clubs, etc. See story elsewhere in this book concerning this strange enterprise.
3. Novelties that are convenient for mailing purposes, light in weight and that sell for a low price, or below the import duty range.
4. Coat-of-Arms, family histories, etc. (See "Discovered—505 Odd Enterprises" for one of the most interesting mail-order businesses you've ever read about…in this connection). This material is light, easy to duplicate or publish and should have a ready market among all of the colonies in Europe, in all of the Americas. England and Australia should be exceptional markets for this sort of thing.
5. International Mailing Bureaus. The mailing of literature for foreign firms to any other country in the world. Translation of their advertising copy into the correct language at a fair charge could be a profitable sideline to this business. It would be necessary to have lists of foreign mail-order buyers in every country in the world. Another sideline would be to sell mailing lists of foreign buyers or prospects. See elsewhere in this book for more data about existing similar services.
6. Art Photos, Nudist Photos, Nudist Magazines from every country in the world. There are Nudist Books and Magazines available from wholesale dealers in Switzerland, France, Belgium, England, Russia, Austria, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, etc. The Nudist movement is world-wide and it concerns one of the few types of publishing businesses that is conducted in practically every country today, "Iron Curtain" or no iron curtain. The collection of such magazines and their startling real life pictures is interesting, to say the least, whatever your opinion may be as to their moral value. The Nudists swear by their organizations and predict that we'll all accept it, more or less, one of these days. At any rate, it seems to be here to stay, and although the United States postal laws and some state and local authorities frown upon the activities of Nudists, there are nevertheless a great many Nudist colonies in this country and some Nudist magazines and books being sold. In many of the European countries the sale of such material is unrestricted. In order to start a world-wide subscription service to such Nudist magazines from every country to the people here at home, it would be necessary to study the postal laws governing such mailings in this country and in other countries. I know that such publications are being sold by mail from foreign countries to people in the United States. If regulations are too strict at the moment, there is always the chance that the Nudist movement and the mailing of such material through the mails will be allowed to continue on a larger scale in the future. I believe that the Post Office Department is at this very moment trying to stop the mailing of Nudist publications. However, eventually the Nudist way of life will be accepted by all on some basis, and subscription services and publishers will know how far they can go. It is one of the few enterprises where one could sell subscriptions of foreign publications, printed in foreign languages, to practically every country in the world, especially our own. Such magazines consist of about 75% natural pictures of the Nudist activities in their camps…and such pictures are interesting to the Naturist or Curiosity Seeker no matter what language he speaks. A profitable field, probably not now, but for the future. An enterprise that may work in well with any type of socialism or dictatorship that might cover the earth in the years to come. Something to keep in the back of your head.
7. Selling to Tourists BEFORE and AFTER they visit the United States! Here is an odd idea, but possibly a small fortune in it! You specialize in selling to tourists, in helping the tourist in every possible manner, in giving him that "extra" service or those "extra" premiums I am always talking about. You help to make his stay in this country pleasant, at least as far as you can go in the role of a small businessman. Then, you keep them on your mailing list and sell to them by mail after they return to their respective countries. Or the other way around. You build up an international mail-order business, encourage visits to your shop when your prospect or customer happens to be in your country. A real friendship can be built up on an international scale. It makes for better, more loyal, mail-order customers, or it turns a cold mail-order customer into a real friend after he has paid your enterprise a personal visit. International travel will be the next boom in the years to come. Watch and see. They can't get transportation to visit us now. Therefore, build up an international customer mailing list and keep repeating your invitation for a personal visit in all of your literature.
8. Sell the product of each country that is peculiar to itself and that is in demand in other countries. For instance, if you moved down to South America, or secured a representative there, and you wanted to find this particular product, it could very readily be "Yerba Mate". Yerba Mate is peculiar to South America and most other countries have little or no import duties on it as yet. It is waiting for someone to introduce it to this country, promote it, and make a quick fortune before import duty is imposed upon it. It is strange that no mail-order dealer in South America hasn't tried to sell this item to the United States by mail. Should be 100% profit even after advertising, postage and carton have been taken into consideration. Might sell for $1.00 a pound here in the States and in Canada. Secure pamphlets from the Dept. of Agriculture on this product and see for yourself.
In the processes of collecting all of this foreign material, I luckily came upon many exceptional enterprises being worked successfully right here at home! At the last moment I have decided to include them too because each idea, each enterprise, is on a par with the true success experiences revealed in my first book, "Discovered—505 Odd Enterprises". And that is saying a lot, as many of the readers of this volume can testify! So I just had to include the material. It is too good to keep in my filed, hidden away. I hope that I shall have enough space for everything I want to put into this book.
In my correspondence with foreign businessmen, I found their ideas about imagination much the same as mine. One overseas chap told me that "the ideal balance is 50% imagination, 50% action." He stated further that "both dreamers and doers have imagination, but the dreamer forms a mental image of what he wants and then leaves it that way. The dreamer dreams but will not do. The dreamer builds wonderful castles and refuses to start putting the foundations under them. The doer sometimes has more than enough energy and enthusiasm, but does not use his imagination sufficiently." Both of these characteristics are bad. I agree with this man when he states that there must be a fifty-fifty balance. He was also of the opinion, as I am, that mental images, steadfastly and persistently held, tend to materialize themselves in the realm of matter. This is not "day-dreaming". There is a difference. One could call it "visualizing". The visualizer can build a mental picture of what he wants to do or have and which he knows is practical, even though the ways and means may not be apparent. There will be no miracle, but in time I believe the ways and means of getting these things will gradually become apparent and the going will probably be much easier and quicker than is thought.
Another mail-order writer from a foreign land gives the following rules for a mail-order success abroad. The same rules could apply to mail-order enterprises in this country. (1) The product must appeal to the masses. (2) Generally speaking it will be most profitable if it can be sold for one shilling. (3) Should have a very high percentage of profit (to cover the cost of advertising, etc.). (4) Yet still offer good value so as to encourage repeat orders. (5) Advertising should be not only original, but convincing too. (6) Advertising should not only attract the reader's attention, but also RETAIN it to the extent that he will be convinced that he must have the article offered. (7) Misleading blocks (zinc etchings of the illustrations) must not be used. Let the block show the article as it actually is (as to size or appearance). (8) When you have made a success of one article use some of the profit to exploit other enterprises. Remember that the fancy of the public is ever changing, and therefore the article now being sold may not be so popular in a few years' time…so move with the times. (10) Pick small, attractive, simple novelties of daily use. Something that will appeal with irresistible force, to the masses.
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.