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Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 3)
CASUAL SELLER TO POWER SELLER
Now that you have a little experience under your belt, and have built up your feedback rating, it is time to transition from a casual selling hobby to an actual eBay business.
First, determine what exactly it is you want to do. Will your business be a full-time or part-time commitment? Remember, you can always start out part-time and see how it goes; you may want to expand later. Will you work from home or a commercial location? Will it be a one-person or couple operation, or will you hire employees?
Part of the transition to an eBay business is moving from selling miscellaneous items to a select category of products. The most successful eBay businesses specialize in a specific product category also known as a niche. Deal with products that most interest you, whether it is antique pottery or discount golf equipment. Your product line needs to be something that you can easily become an expert in, if you’re not already. This will give you a significant advantage over other sellers.
Once you have determined your products, research how many other eBayers are selling the same things. Competition can be fierce in the beginning, so you want to provide a product that will help your business to stand out as much as possible.
Next, determine how you want to set up your listings. You can either sell products by the auction method, by a fixed price only, or do both. If you have multiple numbers of the same item, you may want to list some as auction and some at a fixed price. This will give you an opportunity to see which way that particular item sells better.
Selling on eBay can be time consuming, so establish a routine. Determine a block of time in your day or week that you will devote to your eBay business, if it is only part-time. If the business is a full-time operation, then map out your day by determining when you will respond to e-mail questions, when you will list new items, when you will package shipments, etc.
Also, when will you make trips to the post office for mailing? Most postal carriers, including the U.S. post office, will pick-up your shipments, if postage has already been paid and you arrange for them to do so. You can pre-pay postage through eBay or by establishing an account on the carrier’s website. If that is not currently an option, determine what day or days of the week you will drop your packages off. It is also important to indicate this in your listing details, so that the buyer is aware of how long it will be before the item is shipped.
Speaking of listing details, be sure that your listings reflect the professionalism of your business. Proofread and use the spell check option, which eBay provides, on all of your listings. Limit the type of fonts you use to two and don’t use background colors that make the words hard to read. Highlight important words like “Free Shipping” in a different color than the rest of the text, such as red, to draw the buyer’s attention to them.
This transition period is also a good time to invest in whatever equipment you don’t already have readily available. A digital camera and postal scale are a must. It is helpful to have a digital camera with a macro setting so that you can take close-up shots of smaller items or details.
If you are working from home, you may want to consider setting aside a work area just for your eBay business. Not only will this make things simpler because everything is right at your fingertips, but also be able to use the space and organizational products you buy as home office tax deductions.
Start slow, listing only a few products each day, so that you don’t have them all ending at once and become overwhelmed. As time progresses and your routine becomes more established, it will be easier to step it up a bit. You’re your own boss, so determine a pace that works best for you and stick with it.
Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 2)
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 4)
Starting a Successful eBay Business (Part 1)
Easy Return Policy Means Return Customers
Starting Your Own Business, Part 2 of 4