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eBay Basics: Four Focal Points For Beginners

Aug 17, 2007
So you want to make a business out of eBay? Maybe you want to make the move from casual 'clear-the-attic' selling to a focused business approach? If that's the case, the following four pointers should help you achieve just that.

1. Decide what you are going to sell. This may seem obvious but it's a massive pitfall for the unwary. It' is so easy to become sidetracked and lose focus of what you decided to sell in the first place!

Say you have decided to sell animal figurines. Say - it might be a good idea to do those cute Disney figures too! And why not have a look at those Royal Worcester vases while you're at it? Take this road and pretty soon you will end up as a general retailer of ceramics and porcelain. Any idea how much stock you'll need for that?

So point one is: stick to your chosen niche. Do this, be ruthless and single-minded about it. Heck, you're a beginner, not Wal-Mart!

2. Keep a tight control on profits. Now, this might seem self-evident but never, ever forget those 'hidden' costs that erode your margin. These include eBay and PayPal charges, postal charges, packing costs and (if any) the cost of borrowing.

Also, if you are selling a line that consistently gives low returns at your auctions - drop it. You may be selling carloads of this particular line but remember the old saying - 'turnover is vanity, profit is sanity'. What does this mean?

Simply, it means that you should avoid the temptation to keep a line selling merely to boost your turnover. It's no good turning over a million dollars if you have to sell a million items to do it with a profit of five cents an item! Although this may well give you a 'profit' of $50,000 this would be gulped down by those charges above. Much better to turn over $100,000 with a thousand items at $100 each on a margin of 40% - that's $40 per item! Less work and more money in real terms!

3. Adopt a professional attitude. What does that mean? Well, it means that you should be consistent in everything you do - all your listing should have the same template, similar items should be described in the same way, descriptions should be as accurate and as full as possible - and honest! - and, perhaps above all, photos should be clear, well-lit and in focus.

These factors will set you head and shoulders above a huge proportion of the competition. I cannot stress enough that by following the simple rules above your sales will improve overnight. Buyers are people and people are creatures of habit. They will soon come to recognise your unique way of presenting your goods and, providing that you take care of them, these same customers will return time and time again.

4. Don't give up! This may seem obvious but you would be amazed at the number of would-be eBay moguls that give up at the first sign of a bad week. I have news for you - unless you are very, very, VERY lucky you will not make a full-time business out of eBay overnight. You may never make a full-time business out of it - ever. One thing is certain, though - give up on it and you cannot possibly make anything out of it!

The secret to eBay success is simply to keep at it! Sure, you must monitor your sales items, your profits and also present a businesslike face to the world - but you must also have the determination to go into this thing for the long haul. Sure, the internet is full of schemes that promise you overnight riches but I'll ask you this: do you know anyone, or know anyone who knows anyone - really - that has come good off these schemes? No?

eBay is truly one of the few businesses now in operation that presents a totally level playing field to the newcomer. It costs you exactly the same to list and sell item 'A' as it costs a 20,000+ feedback powerseller to list it. So remember - choose your market, control your profits, be professional and NEVER GIVE UP!
About the Author
Steve Dempster writes informative articles for the web and is also a confirmed eBayer. To learn more about levering your eBay sales, take a look at A New Life 4U or pay his shop a visit
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