While she was an MIT grad student in 2004, Gauri Nanda came up with a fun little idea that married technology and design: a clock radio that would jump off your nightstand and run around the room with the alarm going off. Not even the most determined could stay asleep.

Gauri built a prototype, posted some pictures online, and forgot about it.

A year later, a tech blog picked up the story and it went viral. She was even on Good Morning America. Thousands wanted to buy “Clocky.” But, like I said, it was only a prototype.

Still Gauri was able to cash in — to the tune of $450,000. And she didn’t do it by selling Clocky to a large company.

As she said in Inc. Magazine, she wanted ownership of her design.

So she went to Alibaba.com (the site I told you about yesterday). And she found a factory to help her manufacture her invention.

Gauri’s company, which has expanded to sell all sorts of cute gadgets, turned a profit after only two months.

Success stories like these happen every day, says Marc Charles, creator of The China Wholesale Trader. It’s a program dedicated to helping small-time entrepreneurs get their piece of the multitrillion-dollar import-export market. And you don’t have to design a product to do it. There are thousands of products already, in every niche, that you could sell.

Alibaba.com is where you find your suppliers. The site has 25 million members in 200 countries who trade $5 billion worth of goods every year. And with Marc’s program, you learn what to sell, how to set up deals with the right, trusted suppliers… and ultimately how to market your products. Marc prefers to do it all online — no fuss.

Alibaba.com gets monster traffic from importers and exporters. Think of it like eBay. Excect instead of buying and selling collectibles, you can import (or arrange for the drop-shipping of) thousands of different products for pennies on the dollar and sell them at a huge mark-up online.

Marc explained it this way recently:

“This opportunity enables start-up entrepreneurs with super-limited budgets to leverage the China ‘miracle’ — $2.5 trillion annually in foreign trade — in a big way.

“The opportunity has five things going for it:

1. It’s easy to understand (and get off the ground).

2. It doesn’t require a boatload of cash to start.

3. It doesn’t require employees (unless you want them).

4. It leverages a hot rising trend and expanding market.

5. It’s not saturated in red tape.”

So you’re selling online. But you don’t have to set up a website if you don’t want to. Let eBay, Amazon, or Yahoo set up a virtual storefront for you, letting you focus on marketing and bringing in targeted website traffic (a.k.a. customers). That’s something Marc teaches in the program.

“You can leverage the China ‘miracle’ by importing high-demand products at deep discounts and reselling them through various channels,” says Marc.

And how do you find those in-demand products? Marc recommends you review the “hot products” section on Google Product Search (under the Shopping tab on Google’s home page). There you will see a list of items recently searched for — and purchased — by consumers. Other resources for identifying hot products include eBay, Yahoo! Shopping, Amazon.com, Overstock.com, and Newegg.com. The top sellers on these sites (and they change constantly) are the items you should sell.

The great thing about this opportunity is you can jump on trends right away.

Remember those annoying vuvuzelas from the World Cup? You could have sold thousands by the time the tournament was over.

The opportunity is now for first-time entrepreneurs to get involved in this market. With The China Wholesale Trader, you get the contacts and the knowledge you need to run your business — from negotiating with suppliers overseas to marketing your products back home.