Has anyone ever noticed while on eBay that some sellers have thousands of feedback from their buyers? That’s a lot of transactions!
Last year I bought a sweater on eBay and I noticed the seller had thousands of positive comments from past buyers.
Related: 11 Things You Didn’t Know About eBay
I became curious and emailed to ask about what appeared to be a solid home (eBay) business. Her name is Jane and she was kind enough to grant me an interview to talk about her business……
Beginnings of an eBay Business
Dan: Thanks for your time. How did you get started on eBay?
Jane: I have a passion for women’s clothes and I am always looking for a good bargain. This naturally led me to eBay where I found prices a lot cheaper on most items. After a few years of buying clothes for myself I started to wonder if I could sell the clothes rather than just buy them – that way I can make some spending money and stick to what I like – fashion and clothing.
Dan: Can you describe how your business started?
Jane: I started by clearing out my closet of the clothes I didn’t want! That made me a few hundred dollars. I used that money to buy deeply discounted items in women’s stores that I knew I could resell on eBay for a profit. From there I gradually started working with suppliers overseas when my volumes grew.
Tips on Starting an eBay Business
Dan: What skills do you need to be successful as an eBay seller?
Jane: You need to be on top of things all the time. Fashion changes rapidly so I need to do tons of research on what I sell. I spend at least 30 hours a week researching the latest fashion trends. In total I probably work over 60 hours a week but I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work.
Dan: If someone wanted to start a small business on eBay, what are some tips you could give them?
Jane: Success doesn’t happen overnight. It took me nearly a decade and it’s been a long road. Also, deal with what you already know. It’s easy for me to be in fashion because it’s what I have always loved. Follow your passion and the money will come.
Dan: How much money do you make in a typical year?
Jane: My best year I had $180,000 in sales but on average just over half that amount.
Dan: That is impressive! How many years did it take for you to get to that level?
Jane: I have been selling for almost 10 years and the business has slowly grown over time. When I first started out I made about $2,000 in my first year.
Dan: How did you initially handle the business side of things, given your background is in fashion?
Jane: Not very well! There were some mistakes made and I learnt from them. I hired a good accountant who guided me through the business end of things because I had no idea about any of that. I learnt a lot of it myself through research, trial and error.
Starting Your Own Business
Dan: What are some of the things that have made your business so successful?
Jane: Giving my customers the best deals has led to a lot of referrals through word of mouth. Being centrally located in Texas has allowed my shipping costs to stay low which is huge for any online business.
Dan: What are some advantages/disadvantages of having a business on eBay?
Jane: The best part is that I can set my own schedule which is great as it gives me more family time. But my income is unpredictable and I don’t have the stability that comes with a regular job.
Dan: What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone looking to follow in your path?
Jane: Work hard, do what you love, and just keep at it. It takes years for some real money to start coming in but when it does it’s all worth it.
Conclusion: So there you have it – someone who actually makes a decent living solely off eBay. I’ve used eBay to sell items I no longer need but I’ve never made more than $200 in a year, so kudos to anyone who can turn it into a home-based business.
Do you know of anyone who sells items on eBay as a side business? If so how have they faired and what types of items do they sell?