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The roller coaster named eBay

Posted Sunday, February 7, 2010, at 3:40 PM

Over the last eight plus years we have certainly been on an eventful ride with eBay. From originally being a buyer, then seller, a Trading Assistant and finally an Education Specialist we have been in a number of peaks and valleys.

The irritating, bad, and confusing side of it often gets the most press lately, so when I run across some good articles, blogs, etc., I like to share it.

Here are a few from the Chicago area. http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/m... The article points out that as with any business, it takes work, but these folks have a positive outlook and positive sales growth.

The successful ones in our area seem to like to keep it as a well kept secret. I understand, since you don't want to expose your product sourcing strategies or create competition, but there really is enough to go around. Choose a niche that YOU are comfortable with, enjoy and can have reasonable access to a supply.

I would strongly discourage using a drop-ship firm, unless you know them personally. It is YOUR eBay reputation and success on the line and do you want to risk it by letting someone else serve your customer?

Finding a rare niche is great, but maybe you can speak or write another language fluently and therefore can bring our everyday things to international customers. Maybe you know Beanie Babies have suddenly become the rage in Russia or want to offer pet supplies to the Portuguese.

I have described this in class numerous times but maybe it is good to mention here that there is woman who writes German fluently. She creates her pages in German and sell peanut butter from her everyday grocery store. She does not have to stock cases of it, just add a few extra to shopping list. Of course a few bottles of peanut butter does not make an empire, so she sells a lot more.

How many people come to Bell Buckle each year and fall in love with the Moon Pie? Do they all have Moon Pies in their local grocery stores? I will check the next time I am in Montana or Quebec, or...

On discussion boards, blogs and in classes I have people ask how can these people buy XYZ from their local stores and sell it for 30-50% more than? Why are people so silly to buy it? Access. They don't have access to it every day like we do.

We see winter coats on sale in March & April, but in the Southern Hemisphere it is getting cold, so maybe the sale price for you could be an opportunity on eBay. Research the market and you will find opportunities, but don't think for a minute that it does not take effort and commitment.

A word of caution. If you are going to buy on speculation, you need to have expect more than 30-50%. That would only be for sure things or things that you might use anyway.

You will notice in the article I referenced above that they only buy things that they know they can turn for 4 times the cost, OR MORE. Even more reason to sell something you know, inherited or got "dirt cheap".



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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.