So you want to eventually be an entrepreneur but you have no previous business experience, you have no idea what you want to sell, and you have no money to even get started?!
eBay is the place where you can get started. Here’s why it’s so great if you’re just getting your entrepreneurial feet wet:
- There’s a low time-commitment. You don’t have to quit your day job to get started. You can work on your business whenever you have some “free time.” Instead of watching television when you get home from work, set some time aside to work on your “business.”
- No specialized skills are required. If you can take pictures of items on your phone, you’re basically in business. Take pictures, upload them, write a brief item description, come up with a price, figure out shipping, and your item is for sale. Repeat that process for the next item and congratulations, you are now a businessperson!
- No initial investment is required. Most of the time, eBay allows you to list 50 items for free a month so you don’t owe anything until your item(s) actually sell. You also don’t need to spend money on a business license or anything like that when you’re first getting started.
- No initial inventory is required. You already have everything that you want to sell readily available laying around your house so you don’t need to have a lot of money tied up in inventory. Sweet!
- Just set it and forget it! Once your listing is live, you don’t have to do anything else. All the hard work is over with. You can choose how long you want a listing to be up. I usually do auctions for 10 days and fixed price listings for 30 days. Once that time period is up, you can simply relist the items with a few clicks.
- You figure out what sells and what doesn’t. You can come up with ideas for what you want to sell in your business by what sells and what doesn’t with your “initial inventory.” This is low-cost market research and product development at it’s finest.
- You get a chance to learn about customer service. No one was born being perfect with customer service. eBay will give you an opportunity to refine yours. You can answer questions, deal with complaints and other issues, and figure out ways to gain repeat customers all in a controlled environment. If there’s an issue, eBay can step in and help get things resolved. It’s always nice to have back up!
- You learn about shipping. Shipping has it’s own quirks for various reasons. By selling items you learn about what the different carriers have to offer, the various regulations involved, and how to ship a variety of items. Getting the actual product to your customers is an integral part of any business!
- It’s simple to set up. You don’t need to spend time and money registering a domain name, creating a website template, setting up e-commerce, and marketing. It’s either not needed or eBay does it for you!
- You realize that there’s evil things called “fees.” There are many fees associated with running a business that you probably won’t think about before you get started. eBay (and basically any other e-commerce site) will charge you when your item sells. You’ll also get charged on when you receive payment. These are things that you don’t think about until you actually encounter them. There really isn’t a way around it; they’re just costs of doing business.
- You learn how to deal with inventory control. You’ll find out that not everything sells the first time around. You’ll learn how to (hopefully) get rid of inventory and keep cash flow going. Discounts and sales can be your friend if you figure out how to do them correctly.
- You get seed money for what you really want to do. Selling random stuff around your house on eBay is a great way to raise funds to start a business around what you eventually want to do. This way you don’t need a loan from the bank, you don’t need to use a credit card, and you aren’t stretching yourself thin because this is “extra” money.
Have you sold items on eBay? Do you think it’s a good way to learn how to do business?