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Many of us dream of running our own businesses. Until recently, being able to achieve that dream meant obtaining some type of outside financing, finding a retail location or office space, and physically opening the doors to new clients or customers. Today, however, there's an easier way to go into business for yourselffrom the comfort of your own home.
This new type of dream business is possible thanks to the advent of eBay, the world's largest online trading community. An eBay business makes money by selling items via eBay auctions. You do all the selling from your own personal computer, collect the payments sent to you electronically and through the mail, and then ship the items you sell via the post office. It's simple, it's relatively easy, and it doesn't take a ton of investment.
It's also an increasingly viable way to make a living. According to a recent article in the New York Times, an estimated half-million people make a full- or part-time living from selling merchandise on eBay. On any given day there are close to 4 million items listed for auction at eBay. For the year 2004, that added up to more than $34 billion worth of merchandise sold onlineor $950 worth of sales every second.
You could be making some of that money. Getting started on eBay is as easy as finding something to sell and creating an auction listing. Anybody can do thatas witnessed by eBay's 135+ million registered users. However, to turn that selling into a business will take a little more effort.
What do you need to know to run an eBay business? More than you think, if you want to do itsuccessfully. You need to determine what kind of business you want to run, write an instructive business plan, establish an effective accounting system, set up a home office, arrange any necessary funding, and purchase and warehouse your starting inventory.
And that's before you sell a single item.
Once you start selling, you have the entire auction management process to deal with. You have to list items for sale, manage your inventory, correspond with winning bidders, handle customer payments, deal with deadbeat customers, and pack and ship all those items you sell. To be truly successful, you need to do all this as efficiently as possible; you'll need to automate those repetitive tasks, manage your costs, and find a way to increase the success rates of the auctions you run.
Fortunately, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You're not the first person to dream about running his or her own eBay business, so you might as well learn from others who've already done it.
Which is where this book comes in.
Making a Living from Your eBay Business presents everything you need to know to launch and run your own business, using eBay auctions to sell your merchandise. Unlike other eBay books on the market (including several that I've authored previously), this book focuses on the business aspects, not the technical details of running an auction. If you need to learn how to create a basic eBay auction listing, turn elsewhere. (To my Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay, for example.) Once you know the basics, then this book will show you how to turn that knowledge into a workable business model.How This Book Is Organized
This book is organized into five main parts, as follows:
Part 1, "Choosing Your eBay Business," presents some basic info on how an eBay business works, then introduces you to six common types of eBay businessesone of which should be just right for you.
Part 2, "Planning and Launching Your eBay Business," walks you through the "homework" you need to do before you start selling on eBay. You'll learn how to research your business model, create a business plan, evaluate your funding needs, deal with legal and tax issues, set up a recordkeeping system, and put together your eBay back office.
Part 3, "Managing Your Day-to-Day Business," takes you through everything you need to know about running your business. You'll learn where to buy and how to manage your inventory, how to automate the auction listing process, how to manage customer payments, the best ways to pack and ship your merchandise, how to deal with customers (and customer problems), and how to more effectively automate your auction management.
Part 4, "Maximizing Your eBay Sales," helps you make your auctions more successfuland your business more profitable. You'll learn some tips for improving item sell-through and increasing your selling price, for choosing the most effective listing options, for creating more powerful auction listings, for taking and displaying better product photos, and for promoting your eBay auctions.
Part 5, "Growing Your Online Business," shows you how to take the next steps toward business success. You'll learn how to become an eBay PowerSeller, open an eBay Store, sell at other online sites, and manage your business's growth.
At the end of the book you'll find two useful appendixes. Appendix A is a brief accounting primer, for those of you who slept through accounting class in school. Appendix B lists some of the most common abbreviations you can use in your eBay listings.
Taken together, the 28 chapters and two appendixes in this book will help you launch and manage a profitable eBay business. By the time you get to the end of the final chapter, you'll know just about everything you need to know to make money on eBay. Now all you have to do is do the work!Let Me Know What You Think
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