How to Start an eBay Business

eBay is a great way to supplement your existing business, and it can also be a great way to start a business from scratch.

eBay opens your product up to an international market, which will translate into more sales then selling locally. If you don’t know how to start an eBay business don’t worry, it’s fairly easy.

To find out How to Sell on eBay the right way, insider selling secrets along with tips that eBay doesn’t want you to know, check out my reviews of the best How to Sell on eBay Guides

Let’s get Started!

First, you should be familiar with how eBay works. Knowing how eBay works will help you list your items faster, and it will help you keep from getting negative ratings. If you have never used eBay before, I suggest signing up and selling a few items before starting a business.

You can visit and it should redirect you to your local country version of eBay.

It’s also a good idea to purchase a few small items through eBay before starting an eBay business. This will let you know how it is on the other side which is important because only by being a customer can you know what your customers expect from you.

What’s Your Specialty?

Second, you are going to need to know what to specialize in. It should be based on a subject that you know something about. For instance, don’t start an eBay business that specializes in Persian Rugs if you don’t know anything about Persian Rugs. This is a common mistake that people make when they are learning how to start an eBay business.

You should know about what you are selling. This will keep you from overpaying for inventory, find the right suppliers and it will allow you to be able to accurately describe your product to your customers.

Sourcing Stock

Third, you should know how you are going to source the inventory. You should be able to know where you can buy your good and resell them for a profit. Sometimes you can buy them from a wholesaler, and sometimes you can even buy them from eBay itself. (Yes, you can buy on eBay and resell on eBay for a profit.)

It’s best to have more than one source of inventory. That way, if a source is cut off from you, you will still have a way to get stuff to sell. Selling stock that you can replenish easily makes for easier ebaying.

For example if you find 1 hot product, you write a description and take quality photos only once then use something like Selling Manager Pro to automatically relist your items. Automation is one of the Big Keys to Success!

Fourth, you should follow good business practices. Make sure you describe items accurately, and ship them when you say you are going to ship them. After a customer purchases an item, send them a short note thanking them. An unhappy customer will give you a negative rating, and if you get too many negative ratings your business will not have a chance to succeed.

Being consistent with your customer service, listings and learning the right techniques will make your eBay business experience rather pleasant. I don’t know about you – but I enjoy making sales (profits) whilst I sleep.

Know that learning how to start an eBay business is just like any other business. There is no set and forget button, you need to make yourself available to answer questions about the item, and communicate with the customer about your shipping policies. It takes work to start and keep a successful Ebay business.

The Top Selling Items on eBay

Online Computer WorkeBay represents an opportunity for small entrepreneurs to make a decent living selling products on eBay, with low overhead. The eBay model of “winning” an item at an auction is only one avenue; far more merchants on eBay list their top selling items in an eBay store.

According to the most recent survey, nearly a million people rely on selling on eBay as their primary source of income, and roughly three million more get some sort of regular supplemental income from the site. eBay’s total volume of sales is over 40 billion as of 2007, and while the late 2008 economic downturn put a damper on lots of things, eBay’s sales volume has stayed roughly steady. The biggest trick is figuring out what products to sell on eBay, and building your model around that.

Now, because an eBay store is fairly easy and quick to set up (if you’ve signed up for purchasing anything online, you’ve done about the same process), it’s a shoe-in on the technical side of things. The initial investment for setting up an eBay shop is pretty small; your bigger investment is going to be in inventory, or what products to sell on eBay.

The first factor in choosing your products to sell on eBay is determining the demand. eBay used to skew heavily male in its demographics; the gender balance is getting closer to even at this point as more women are purchasing online. Think about your customers, who they are, and what their needs are. In a lot of cases, the easiest way to conceptualize this is to think of a relative and what they’d buy off eBay if it were available.

There are already broad categories of products that are getting a good chunk of their sales off eBay. These are items like computer hardware and software, tickets, travel packages and more. Looking through the eBay Category List is a good place to start on finding a product to sell.

What’s How on eBay Right Now?

However, to focus in on what’s really going to help you, check the eBay Labs Section of eBay which show’s what’s moving now with tools such as eBaySaurus

This tells you two important pieces of information – what people are buying now (the obvious thing) and the volume they’re buying it at and for how long. Chasing after items on the What’s Hot List is like going after the hottest trends; there are times when it makes sense, and there are times when the right move is to look at what’s selling, look at how long it’s remained hot, and then try to brainstorm what people who bought those items will want as a complimentary product.

The classic example of this sort of thing is iPod cases, or, more recently, netbook carrying cases. Sure, people are selling the computers (and iPods) on eBay. The accessories that keep them from getting scuffed up, or make them easier to use, however, are the follow on product that’s got a lot of legs and low entry points for reselling.

Now, it’s a bit easier than it sounds, because the What’s Hot list has three organizational tools: What’s Hot by Category, the eBay Pulse, and In Demand. Each of these tells you what people are looking for on eBay. It’s easier to sell someone something they’ve already told you they want.

You don’t need to do extensive marketing to them to build the demand, you’re tapping a demand that’s already there. There are other venues to find out buying patterns beyond eBay. The Consumer Demand Index is a good one, as is the Amazon Bestseller List by category.

Because one of the concerns with selling products on eBay is inventory levels, and how much investment capital you have to put in, there are some decent guidelines. Look for things that either have a steady, constant stream of sales (meaning you can rely on a revenue stream from this and build up slowly), or look for things with a high enough profit margin per turn that a few sales a week can give you a steady income.

So, once you’ve decided on the product to sell on eBay, it’s time to figure out where to get it, how much to charge for it, and making sure you’re keeping your customers happy. First, most eBay sellers start by selling things from their own home, whether it’s artwork, or old games, or children’s clothes or furniture.

Prime candidates include CDs and books that you’ll never listen to or read again. eBay also experiences a surge of item listings just after Christmas as people dispose of gifts they have no use or desire for. Once you’ve emptied your own attic, you can go to flea markets and garage sales for more items, if you’ve developed an affinity for what moves.

Other successful eBay sellers buy lots of computer goods from liquidation sales, test and re-certify them, and sell them. Many of them buy lots off eBay, test the items, and resell the items on eBay for a handsome profit. Local business liquidations and estate sales and other auctions are also a good candidate for this sort of purchase for resale. Just remember to set your budget before you purchase something and stick to it.

The last place to get eBay merchandise is, in some ways, the best. Talk to a wholesaler about dropshipping items; this is a symbiotic relationship – they have a packing facility and employees that are getting paid no matter how busy they are, and you have a sales outlet and a way of reaching customers.

It’s often worth their while to focus on what they’re good at, and let you do the grunt work of selling the actual item. Be aware that dropshipping catalogs is very much a fad based system; it’s going to require learning the ins and outs of several products and constant education to make the most of it.

To learn what guides got me to powerseller status and making real profits on eBay, make sure you read my reviews on the top “How to Sell on eBay” guides.


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