Almost everyone – even those without internet access – will have heard of the online auction site, eBay. A majority of these people will also be aware that eBay has the potential for sellers to earn a good living from it and will have heard anecdotes about some eBay-a-holics resigning from their 9 to 5 jobs to earn money from online auctions. But how can you take step towards that kind of earning potential?
Before you even start looking around your house for items to sell, spend some time getting to know the website. Look at the ‘Want It Now’ page to see what sort of quirky and unusual items people are searching for on eBay. It may inspire you to find your niche.
Browse the different categories to discover what sort of items attracts a lot of bids, or see what items sell for good money. The latter is particularly important as it is a myth that you can sell any old junk on eBay and make a great profit. People primarily search eBay for bargains, which mean unless you have researched the market well you could be putting a lot of effort into selling items for small profit margins, or maybe even for less then they are worth.
Once you have decided on the sort of items you may potentially sell over eBay, take a look at your ‘competitors’ and their listings. Look for how they grab the buyer’s attention and encourage people to put in a bid. See what sort of time limit they put on the bidding, as different time scales work best for different items. Most importantly, see how they list their terms and conditions, for instance terms of payment, shipping and refund policies, to get an idea of what information is essential in your own listings.
Once you have researched eBay thoroughly you can start looking for items to put up for auction. You may want to start off selling unwanted items from around your home first, until you have a ‘feel’ for how eBay works. Once your confidence has increased and you are familiar with the service, you can start scouring charity shops and boot sales for items, or maybe even producing your own craft products to sell online.
The following pointers can help your chances of turning your eBay hobby into a fully fledged business:
Don’t expect to start making good money right from the start. Like any business, it takes time to flourish.
Not every item you list will sell. Do not be too disheartened when it happens, unfortunately it is part of the nature of the ‘business’.
Treat your buyers professionally. Be quick to answer their queries, be polite and be efficient in sending out their items and dealing with any problems which may arise. A good feedback score encourages more bids and people are often more willing to bid more if the seller has a reputation for being reliable.
Take advantage of the ‘About Me’ page. Putting a ‘friendly face’ to your profile will further raise the trust of any potential bidders.
Look at the payment options you offer. Paypal is, of course, extremely popular and some sellers will accept no other payment methods. But not every potential customer uses Paypal so by offering a range of payment options you are less likely to put people off from bidding on your listed item.
If you follow these guidelines and do your research properly, you can achieve your ambition of working from home and making eBay your career.