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eBay PowerSeller Secrets
Insider Tips from eBay's Most Successful Sellers
By DEBRA SCHEPP, BRAD SCHEPP
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2008The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Know Your Business/Grow Your Business
So, you have decided to run your own eBay business. You are in excellent company, as more than 1.3 million people worldwide are already earning their livings this way. With the proper planning, dedication, and hard work, there is no reason you should not be able to join them. Here's the good news: You don't have to invent this whole thing for yourself. You can learn from others who have gone before. Reality check: You don't have an open field either. Among those 1.3 million eBay entrepreneurs are people who are selling exactly what you want to sell. You'll need to figure out your own place in the eBay world and claim your own piece of it. Don't let that discourage you. Not only do you have all of the power of your own imagination, you also have a community of people who are willing to help you learn your way around. You are not just signing on to a Web site when you log on to eBay, you are joining a community of businesspeople.
In that respect, owning your eBay business is not really different from owning a brick-and-mortar store. You will have all of the same concerns that any business owner must endure. You'll need to plan for inventory. You'll have to develop customer service policies. Cash flow, as with all businesses, will be a concern. You'll need to plan for the inevitable fraud. You will also have all of the same rewards that owning your own store can bring. You decide what to sell and how you want your business to operate. And, of course, your boss is someone you can be sure to get along with. PowerSellers will tell you that in many ways, you can consider your eBay business as a little shop in an enormous mall. That's just how much running an eBay business resembles operating a regular store.
On the other hand, eBay makes your business unlike any other humans have ever known. For one thing, this is a business you can start for as little as $200, according to one Platinum PowerSeller. Plus, your business never closes. Whether you are actively working or not, people from all over the world are conceivably shopping with you at any moment of the day or night. Your customers come from all over the globe, and it is not very likely that you will ever meet a single one of them. Nearly all of your interactions will occur through your computer, creating new challenges in communication and customer service. That's not to say you won't know and care about your customers, because you surely will. After all, people are still the driving force behind every business. And, although you can't easily stop in at the shop next door and talk business with your neighbor, you can certainly become a part of a vibrant business community and find support, advice, and friendship just on the other side of your computer screen.
Before you can begin to know your business, take some time to be sure you know yourself. Running an eBay business is not right for everyone, and even if you want to give it a try, you may find out that your personality is not really suited to the realities of life as an eBay PowerSeller. Operating your own business requires enormous energy and commitment. You have to be willing to embrace change, since that's a big part of eBay life. There are certainly easier ways to earn a paycheck, and you must be sure you are being realistic about the challenges that lie ahead.
Make Sure Your Personality Is Well-Suited to Sitting in Front of Your Computer
You will spend countless hours day after day listing your products, answering e-mail, tracking your auctions, preparing your shipping, keeping your records, and communicating with other sellers on discussion boards. Know in advance that your work life will be spent intimately connected to a computer. If you require more physicality in your job, you should recognize that before you go too much further. TraderNick told us how his brother teases him every time he steps into his work area, asking him how he can possibly "stand" sitting there all day long. Because eBay is a computer-based universe, you cannot conduct your eBay business without putting in endless hours at the computer. Many of us don't mind, but you might, and it's important to know if you're more like TraderNick or his brother from the very beginning.
Be a good time manager
Be honest with yourself. If left alone, will you devote the time you need to your eBay business, or will you find yourself tempted to get out into the garden on a nice day, play catch with the kids, or take the dog for a walk? Once you become your own boss, it's up to you to determine your work schedule. Only self- motivated people work successfully from home, and answering this question for yourself is vital to your future success.
On the other hand, do you have a tendency to work way too hard? Will you know when it's time to stop and go spend time with your family and friends? Your eBay business never closes, but you have to be able to shut the door on your time there. TraderNick decided he had to have a brick-and-mortar storefront in addition to his eBay business for just this reason. He said it became obvious to him that he wasn't being a good dad or husband, because he was so focused on his eBay business. Now he has a distinct time each day that work ends and family time begins. That's not to say you have to go to the extreme of taking on a storefront in addition to your eBay business, but you do have to be able to close up shop for the day and get back to the rest of your life.
Selling on eBay Is As Much a Way to Live As It Is a Way to Earn a Living
PowerSellers live a life that is different in many ways from the lives of other workers. They work very long hours, but they choose which hours they work. They work hard to find and list the products they sell, but they get to immerse themselves every day in items they know and care about. There is no such thing as a PowerSeller who is lukewarm about his or her business. There are many people who sell on eBay as a hobby or to bring in a little money, but if your goal is to become a PowerSeller, accept that you will live, breathe, eat, and sleep eBay every day.
PowerSellers often report that they have no vacation days. They can't interrupt the flow of their operations long enough to have a stretch of time away from home and work. Sure, they have the flexibility to take the morning off to see their kids participate in the assembly at the elementary school, but you can be sure they'll work later that night to make up the time they missed. E-mail must be answered every day. Products must be packaged and shipped. Listings must be posted. Any day that is missing these activities is a day that cuts into the profits of a PowerSeller's business. You can be sure PowerSellers don't miss too many days!
On the other hand, this is a business that can still operate when you don't feel well enough to go into an office among other people. You can work in your pajamas if you choose. You can catch up on work during a patch of insomnia. Your freedom is as real as your responsibility and commitment are. That's part of the joy of owning your own business, especially on eBay.
The business you are planning now will exist in a virtual world. This virtual world is inhabited by millions of other people, including tens of thousands of others who are earning their living exclusively on eBay. You can't expect to enter this virtual world and thrive without knowing your way around. No doubt, you already know a good deal about the world of eBay, which is why you are hoping to become a PowerSeller. But, there is still a lot to learn as you cross the line between eBay hobbyist and eBay PowerSel
Excerpted from eBay PowerSeller Secrets by DEBRA SCHEPP. Copyright © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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