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Starting An Online Business On eBay

Sep 9, 2008
If you are serious about business then there is a component of investment necessary to get started - it doesn't matter what you are thinking of doing. But, what if you could start a business at home (no need for an investment for leasing an office/factory space), selling something that you already own (no investment for stock or manufacturing labor/machinery etc) and selling to an already established market (no need to spend money on advertising and promotion)!

I am sure that this topic is not just about businesses that you can start for next to nothing but successful businesses! Unless you are lucky enough to have someone who is willing to run and manage your business and do all of the day to day work for free then you will have to do it yourself and dedicate you time and energy (both of which are very precious resources as you know) to something. You want something that is going to be successful from the start.

Start on eBay!

eBay is the 'World's Marketplace' and this is not only an idle claim. The reason that this broad claim is attributed to eBay is because millions of people surf through the items for sale there everyday and they buy!

If you want to start a very successful business online then eBay should be your first step.

Setting up on eBay is simple and all it requires is a valid email address. Once you have registered you could be in business in minutes...

There are three things that you should start doing as soon as you have registered on eBay and if you have already done any of these things then you can just skip ahead and in no time at all you will be able to start making some serious money!

1. Buy some stuff.

Ebay functions on a system of feedback from users that allows sellers and buyers to gain credibility. Online one of the biggest concerns that people have to buying and selling is that they are not dealing with someone face to face in an environment where they can see the products that they want to purchase and test them.

EBay's unique feedback system enables these problems to be overcome because after each transaction buyers and sellers rate each other's conduct in the transaction - positive feedback indicates that all has gone well and comments left usually reflect a recommendation that another buyer or seller should feel assured that they can deal with this person confidently - negative feedback has the opposite affect.

If you are new to eBay then you will need to build up some of this confidence and credibility. Buy a few things that you want or need and get a feel for how the system works. Ask sellers questions and try paying by paypal and bank transfer to see how these forms of payment work. You will be a better seller if you have lived from the buyers point of view for a while.

2. Sell things from home.

Most people will have about $1000 worth of stuff lying around their house that they are hanging onto despite the fact that they know that they won't ever use them again. Books, DVD, clothes (especially old kids clothes), toys, games, antiques, jewelery, makeup, perfume... the list goes on.

List a few things to sell on ebay and see how you go. Try selling at auction starting at $0.99, or try a fixed price listing or 'buy it now' to test that out. You will probably be surprised at how much people are willing to pay for your old stuff! Have fun - it is exciting to watch people bid up the price on something that you are selling.

3. Sell someone else's stuff.

I had a great experience selling antique books on ebay after my wife's grandmother passed away and we did a big clean out of her house. Her husband had hundreds of old books and even a quick glance over them told me that they would be valuable. I sold them for $1000s - there were all sorts of first editions from famous authors and explorers! It was great.

Try your parents, siblings, friends - or visit some op-shops or yard sales. There are heaps of old things out there that have a value to someone else who is a collector or just a bargain hunter.

Once you have had a bit of time on eBay you will start to see that there are some very big sellers! Some companies sell exclusively on eBay and some sell on eBay as an additional avenue to boost their regular store sales. What sort of business would you like to be? Here are my top 3 avenues for growing your eBay business into the big time:

1. Find good wholesalers and dropshippers

eBay is a great avenue for you to be able to regularly sell products that are in high demand generally or in niche markets to a huge worldwide audience - and the store rental fees are next to nothing! For a few dollars a month you could have hundreds of products for sale and be earning great profits from each one.

If you want to do this seriously though you will need a regular supply of products. You don't want to have something sell like crazy and make you a beap of money one month only to run out and lose a profitable stream! Find yourself a good market and then seek out wholesalers or dropshippers who can supply you indefinitely with good quality products.

You will need to establish a proper business to deal with these companies - at least with the reputable ones. You will need to register, but don't worry this is easy and won't put huge administrative burdens on you. You can then call up wholesalers from the yellow pages or from wholesale directories and ask them if they will sell to you and on what conditions. Some will not deal with you because you are an online retailer and this doesn't appeal to their business models - but don't worry, many will be happy to have you as a customer.

2. Selling on consignment

A lot of eBayers are working as "Trading Assistants" where they advertise their services to their local area and offer to sell people's goods on consignment - that is they sell someone else's stuff for an agreed upon fee. You could find out if there are any competitors in your local area and if you feel that there is still scope for your expertise - you may have a particular knowledge of antiques, or vintage designer clothing for example - then go for it. Ebay will even give you assistance to get set up.

Alternatively you could approach local businesses and negotiate with them to sell some of their slower moving stock on eBay for a fee. A lot of businesses could be making HEAPS more money and selling their stock much quicker by selling on eBay but their either don't know about eBay or don't understand the benefits of having a massive online marketplace to sell to. You could teach them and pick up a good little side income here.

3. Optimizing eBay and writing websites to promote your own information products

Information is a huge commodity on ebay and on the internet - look what you are doing now - reading something that I have written! You are looking for information and you are willing to pay for it - or someone is! Advertisers will want to promote their products to people who are seeking certain types of information and ebooks and training programs and newsletters are highly sought after if you have a knowledge that others can use or profit from.

Take what you have learned from selling on eBay or from being involved in any other interests that you have and start writing ebooks to sell in your store - or establish a newsletter that you can use to promote your products or products that you can earn commissions from.

Ebay can be a great way for you to launch such a business because there are thousands of information products sold on eBay every day and even more people who you could direct to your information products off the web. This is a highly lucrative way to earn money because unlike physical products information products have a very low cost to reproduce meaning that there is almost 100% profit to be made.

As with any business, whether it is one that you have started for next to nothing or one in which you have invested millions you should start with the end in mind. How do you want to wrap up your business? How are you going to get out of it one day and retire - it could be years and years away or weeks or months away.

You should start planning from the beginning whether you are going to pass your business on to someone else, sell it or just pack up and take what you have made to Hawaii and live out the rest of your days on the beach!

There is a great many business opportunities on the internet and in the big wide world that you could operate successfully, but in my opinion, only one that you can start for next to nothing and become wildly successful quickly! Get onto eBay today!
About the Author
James Finnila is a successful online business owner and eBay seller. He publishes a blog and a daily newsletter for eBay sellers at http://www.eBaySuperSelling.com
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