At one time or another, almost everyone who gets into mail order has an idea that they think can be successful. An idea they feel that if they could follow-up on would “click” and make them a bundle.

Surprisingly, that very thing happens many times. A simple idea is turned from a dream into a multi-million dollar reality. And the creator goes from relative obscurity to overnight fame and fortune.

Unfortunately, many people who get involved in mail order simply “follow the leader” and buy someone else’s ideas, thinking that it is too difficult to develop their own into a profit-making reality. Most never take the chance to discover whether or not their concept could be the next fad to sweep the nation. And, sadly, they never reach the financial goals of their dreams.

Many people get involved in mail order by responding to one of the numerous advertisements that claim something like, “Business is so good we need your help. Mail letters for us from home. Earn up to $500 per week”. The respondent is usually discouraged to discover that the claim turns out to be a commission arrangement on which the average person cannot break even. And so their dreams of a rewarding self-employment opportunity disappear without ever having been given a chance.

But, mail order does produce success stories — “Rags to Riches” success stories. The real winners in mail order are the people who have the foresight to develop new ideas and become the prime source for all other dealers marketing their product. And there are literally thousands of new ideas out there waiting to be developed. Because you are reading this, you have already shown that you are one of those people with the drive and desire to become a new success story in mail order.

Consider this example. Joe Kossman, author of How I Made A Million Dollars In Mail Order, created one of the all-time best-selling mail order ideas: selling ant farms by mail. If he were to have mentioned his idea to other people, they would have scoffed at him. However, Joe went through with  it and made a million.

One little 80-year-old lady in Florida was retired and living on a meagre pension. She had some time on her hands, so she read through some mail order magazines. She decided to run some ads offering several of her favourite recipes for nut breads and old-fashioned homemade candy. She scraped up $40 to place the ads, and when she got orders, wrote the recipes out by hand, mailing them to her customers. She put all her profits back into purchasing additional ads, bought a second-hand typewriter, learned to use it, and built a successful small business! All with simple recipes! Within six months she was totally independent and making a comfortable living right from her kitchen table. She claimed to be the happiest person alive. If she can do it, you can too.

How many times have you had some little thing bug you? You’ve said to yourself, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about that! Why doesn’t someone invent a little doo-dad to eliminate the problem?” That moment is the time for you to sit down and put it on paper — And YOU can be the one to do something about it!

Developing new ideas for mail order is not difficult. And it can be highly rewarding.

The first step down your road to mail order wealth is to identify the problem. Look for a need that has not been satisfied by conventional means or is insufficiently being met. When you isolate those problems that you and others collectively face, you will have discovered your path to success.

After I had been in mail order a short time, I began selling merchandise using the dropship method. I discovered that it was a time consuming task. I had to type out several labels, enter the transaction into my records, prepare the order from the dealer, etc. I needed to cut the time involved in order fulfilment. I finally had an idea. I developed a set of labels and index cards with carbons in between. When the original label was typed, it also provided a drop-ship label, a record of the sale, and an additional address label. It worked to cut my time. I know that if it helped me, it could help others in the business, too. It was an instant success among other mail order dealers because it fulfilled a need.

If you want to see some examples of “new ideas” to stimulate your thinking, look through all the mail order ads you can find. Do your own analysis of the offers. Write down the items offered and group them into classifications:


Printed material – recipes

Printed material – mail order plans

Printed material – “How-to” ideas

Printed material – Hobbies, crafts


Determine the various categories of ideas being offered. Then determine where the greatest interest is. Ask yourself, “What need in this area is not fulfilled? What can I do about it?”

People buy new ideas — new ways of doing things. They want to save time and money. They want to improve their health or image. They are looking for new ways to make hobby items or crafts. They like new things to read. They want a “sure-fire” way to make some money. And the list goes on and on. People are seeking new items or services that will benefit them in some fashion.

Take a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the centre of the page, creating two columns. On the left side write at the top, Items Currently Being Sold. Title the right side, How I Can Improve It.

Now it’s time to brainstorm. Write down all the types of things that are being sold by mail order — everything you can think of. After you have completed that, start thinking and writing down how you could improve any of them in some way. It doesn’t have to be a major change. Sometimes only a small improvement can make a big difference. Enter this into the right-hand column.

That’s the way you start the thinking process in new concept development. You can even apply this procedure to other everyday items and tasks. For example:

“I hate to shovel snow. I also hate to coat my asphalt driveway. Between these two choices, I would rather coat the driveway. What I really need is a driveway coating that would contain a chemical that will melt snow for one entire season. So, when you coat your driveway, you also winterize it and rid yourself of shovelling snow, slipping, sliding, getting the car stuck, etc.

You see. The idea is there. Now it is up to me or someone to develop and market it. It is not impossible — and someday you will see it and remember that you read it here first!

The high cost of energy makes energy-saving devices big sellers in these times. People chronically complain about the high cost of heating and gasoline. A while back, a group of entrepreneurs realised what was happening and developed a product to help consumers lower their winter heating bills.  It was an old idea marketed in a new fashion. This group started selling old-fashioned wood stoves! The results? A sellout!

What can you do to meet this or a similar need? Like wood-burning stoves, it might be an idea that is 50 years old, but fine-tuned to fit today’s market it could be the hot-seller next year!

Health items are another big-seller category. A large majority of people — young and old — are trying to live healthier, longer lives. What old secrets could be revived to improve people’s health? An ancient herbal recipe? A new exercise secret?

One sharp individual got together with a local doctor and put together a “What to Do Until You Can Get to the Doctor” book. It showed charts and diagrams of the human body, and designated the areas where you might have pain or discomfort. Based on symptoms, the problem and its degree of seriousness could be determined. Some simple directions as to what might be done to give some relief until a doctor can be reached were also given. Is there anyone who does not need such help? This is a need in every home! Needless to say, sales were brisk.

Diet tips, exercise routines, quick and easy microwave recipes, healthy, low-cholesterol meat dishes, time-saving home cleaning tips, the list goes on and on. You only have to do a little research to uncover a wide variety of needs that are waiting to be filled!

So, put on your “thinking cap” and you will find that the ideas are there just waiting to be tapped. Isolate the one that sounds best and put it into development. It could make you the successful entrepreneur of tomorrow. Pursue your idea to the limit! Good Luck!

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