With eBay being one of the most searched for terms on the internet today (approx 24 million people last month), it is hardly surprising that more and more everyday people are turning away from the 9-5 job scene, and looking at the income opportunities that this hugely popular forum has to offer. So just what are the benefits of starting your own eBay business, as opposed to the more traditional self employment options, such as buying a business, or becoming a franchisee?
Well the first and most obvious benefit is the financial one, you can start an E bay business on a shoestring, whereas buying a franchise or setting up on your own will in all probability cost you 10s of thousands of dollars.
Secondly, the element of risk is fairly negligible with an E bay business [as long as you do not invest hugely in stock before you have properly researched the market]
Thirdly you can start up in your spare time, without having to "give up your day job". This allows you to test the water, and see if you actually enjoy running your own business, before you actually take the plunge. For many people eBay is simply a profitable and fun sideline or hobby, and that's fine, but you need to make the choice if it's a hobby you want or a business. If you make the decision that it's to be a business, then you need to keep professional records, pay tax etc.
Another beauty of running an online business is that you can do your business activities when it suits you. You can organize your auctions at 2 am if you so choose, and people will still be looking at what you have to offer!
A final benefit, [and this list is by no means exhaustive] is that unlike a traditional business, your marketplace is unlimited, you can sell your product anywhere in the world, you have a potential marketplace of millions upon millions of buyers
The most common question for many people is "how do I get started?". The first step if you have not already done it, is to get on eBay and have a look around. eBay itself offers great informative resources and tours for the uninitiated. Have a look at some auctions in progress, see how people list and display their products, bid for something you would like [you have to join first, but EBay makes this a very user friendly process] Have a look round your home for unwanted items , run some auctions of your own, it's fun, and you've nothing to lose but your junk. This is a great way of dipping your toes in the auction pond.
So, after having done this you decide that you would like to get serious about building an E bay business, what should you do first? Here is a shortlist of some basic first steps.
1. Choose your product- Everything from baseball cards to luxury homes is for sale on eBay. Research possible product choices by looking at what your competition is doing. If you have a particular area of expertise, or a passion which others share, choose your product accordingly. TIP- A great research tool is available at overture.com It's called the keyword selector tool, and it enables you to check how many times a certain word or phrase has been searched for on the internet in the previous month ie Rolex watch. If few people have been looking for what you want to sell, chances are it will be a non starter on eBay (at this time of writing this tool can be used by anyone free of charge, though this may well change). On the other hand if your product is frequently searched for, you may be onto a winner.
2. Do not sell poor quality products. There is nothing more disappointing than receiving a purchase only to find it is inferior quality junk. eBay has an excellent feedback system, which it uses to rate traders. This feedback is available to both buyers and sellers, so if you get negative feedback, this can seriously jeopardize your eBay reputation permanently
3. Start small. Unless you are utterly confident in your product, and in a very secure position financially, start things off on a small scale, and increase you're spending only as your results justify this.
4. Test, Test, Test- Try different products and combinations of products to see what works best, and always use photos, as many people buy what they see not what they read.
5. Commit from the start to offering exceptional service. Treat others as you would like to be treated, and you will soon get a reputation as a trader to be trusted, and from what you can buy with confidence.
6. Do not always try to make a large profit. Lots of auctions! Always ensure that you cover shipping costs, and any costs incurred in running your auction.
7. Many of E bays top sellers sell other peoples products which they either stock or in most cases even see, through a process called 'dropshipping'. A dropshiper is a wholesaler, who also takes care of all the product shipping details on your behalf. There are many dropship companies who tailor their services around the eBay auction scene, and who can provide you with quality products, at very competitive prices shipped directly to your buyers giving this option serious consideration, as you really need to have a steady reliable source of cheap quality products.