How to get started with online selling…

By Sharon Fussell, December 3, 2015

A question I am often asked is how I originally started selling online.

Even in this day and age of computers and the Internet being commonplace, I still get funny looks when I state my occupation.

I began selling in what is termed by experts as a ‘low-level entry’ position!

I basically sold stuff from around the house. I first started selling on eBay and then moved to Amazon. In fact, it’s over 10 years ago now.

One of my biggest regrets in life is that the Internet was too long in arriving! I would have started selling many years before if I had been aware of how to do so.

Of course, online selling has overtaken off-line shopping. This will likely get even more the case as time moves on. Though I admit, it’s a shame that online shopping has grown at the expense of high street shops, most of my shopping is done online, especially at Christmas.

If your budget does not allow you to start a business and it’s a desire of yours to begin one, then I believe online selling is the best way to start, primarily because you can start from home without renting premises. Alternatively, you could, of course, begin by selling on a market stall or at a car boot sale, but it’s probably not as easy as you would imagine.

Car boot sales tend to be seasonal and market stalls in demand: you may have to go onto a waiting list to secure one. Plus, it isn’t much fun standing in all weathers trying make a buck, especially in winter!

So selling online often means you can start with virtually nothing by way of spare disposable income: you don’t have to rent a bricks and motor shop with all that entails. All you have to do is decide what it is you want to sell.

This is not as easy as it sounds, I know: competition for practically everything is high, and this can mean low profits.
 
So how can you start selling online and not get into a downwards-spiral price war?

Make products your self: do you have a hobby you can use to make products that are bespoke or niche? If so, it would be very difficult for other sellers to copy your products and get in to a lower price war.

What if this option is not available to you: what else can you sell where you can begin with little to no spare disposable income?

An alternative is to begin selling unwanted items form your home. Or you can buy cheaply priced new items that normally retail for a much higher price and sell for a bargain price, pocketing the difference.

To do this, look in charity shops and car boots, school fetes and church jumbles. With Christmas coming up, there’s bound to be a gamut of such events with a seasonal twist. Used books, DVDs and CDs are usually in-demand and can be purchased cheaply via car boots, charity shops etc.

Additionally, you can purchase a pallet of goods from eBay – ensuring they are not customer returns: they cannot be trusted by way of quality and you could end up with a pallet of broken goods and no come back.

Online and off-line auctions are very popular too: often many bargains can be found; there really is not need to start with expensive antiques.

Alternatively, you could specialise in a service: are you a builder or home decorator? eBay has ways of exploiting niches like these.

There are a plethora of ways to make money… If you watch The Apprentice, you will know Lord Sugar states the way to make money is to buy for one price, sell for a higher price and pocket the difference. He also advocates re-investing profits in more products, once you have identified products that sell.

In real terms that is exactly right, but the best way to make income online is to start small, learn the ropes on how eBay and Amazon works, and run with it.

Good luck!
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