Building an Online Selling Business from Scratch
Start by putting together a business plan and/or mission statement. Don't be put off by the name, it simply means set some goals and write down what you want to achieve. It could be as simple as "I want to earn $2000 dollars to be able to buy a new car". Once that part is taken care of, ask yourself these few simple questions:
Where will I sell?
While eBay is the most common option, there are also some great alternatives out there such as Amazon, Bonanzle and Craigslist, or you can always set up your own ecommerce store - a great option for those who are looking for independence from fees and rigid selling structures. eCrater is a great provider for this with their free set-up and zero fees and best of all, plenty of support.
What will I sell?
Start by getting some ideas on what sort of products you would like to sell. It's always best to sell things you are interested in or that you have some kind of experience in, e.g. if you have previously worked in a mountain bike store, you will have plenty of background experience and knowledge. Similarly, if you are a keen golfer, selling golfing accessories might be a good idea for you. Research what some the of best items to sell are to get a few ideas, but don't be tempted to enter into highly competitive markets like iPods and DVDs - you are much better off selling a niche item that will appeal to a very narrow audience and then expanding later. eBay Pulse is a great site to find out the latest selling trends on eBay.
Where will I source my items from?
You will need to find a wholesale supplier to work with. Be prepared to spend some time doing this as it is one of the most important steps in creating a good business.
There are several ways to find a supplier: you can visit trade shows and fairs and get to know suppliers directly, or you can search for suppliers online by Googling "your product name + suppliers OR wholesalers". However, beware when using this method as it can make you highly vulnerable to con artists. To ensure you only deal with reputable and legitimate suppliers, try a supplier directory like SaleHoo.com to find verified suppliers which will save you from being scammed. While directories like SaleHoo charge a membership fee, they can save you a ton of money later on when you avoid losing money from being scammed.
There are a few key questions you need to ask when you find a potential supplier:
1. Do you have a minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
2. How long have you been a supplier?
3. Do you ship internationally? (if you are importing from abroad) Which companies do you use? Do they offer tracking information?
So get to it! Your dream of being your own boss and earning money from your own home is just a few clicks away!