I wrote this article about 18 months ago when i had set up a small business on eBay. I re-read it and thought it might be useful to someone out there.
Forget upping sticks and doing A Year in Provence, the tools for escaping the ratrace are literally at your fingertips….
More then 50,000 people worldwide have started up their business using eBay, an international marketplace operating in over 30 countries worldwide. With eBay UK being the 2nd biggest international site more and more people are turning to the auction site to set up business.
After speaking with my wife, who works full time, I decided to leave the 7 til 7 job and start a book dealing business. I had no experience running a business, but I had passion and the desire. It took me a few weeks to get bank accounts, credit accounts for wholesalers, to register with Inland Revenue. After that I was up and running and started selling my signed 1st editions on ebay
It was not easy, but after 6 months I was trading a profit. This is quite rare for new businesses. I am now selling about 150 – 300 books per month at an average price of £20 each. I have a projected annual turnover of £50,000 and am currently setting up a dedicated website which will increase turnover.
I am still working the same number of hours but I am working for myself. I love every aspect of it. There are a few things I miss, like the company of others as I work from home. However the flexibility of ebay means never missing family events. I see the kids every morning whilst taking them to school and pick them up. We never miss school events either and can take holidays whenever we want.
Setting up your business
Before deciding if starting a business on ebay is for you, ask yourself a few questions. • What will I sell? • Why do I want to start a business (list pros and cons) • How much do I need to gross before making it worthwhile?
Use the answers from above to form a business plan. Speaking to your local business gateway will help you a great deal. They give you advice on all aspects of starting a business and run courses near you and it is free for the 1st year of starting out. Go to www.bgateway.com for more info.
Next thing to do is research ebay to find out if there are other sellers selling your product. If so, can you compete with their prices?
Okay you have decided to start your business after much deliberation and research what next?
• Speak to the Inland Revenue as your national insurance contributions will change. • Register for VAT if you think you will gross over £58,000 per year • Get an accountant, meet with them and tell them exactly what you will be doing (you can get one for as little as £550 per year). • Set up a business account at your bank (never mix the business account with your personal spending). Make sure and get free banking for a year otherwise you will be charged for every transaction you make. • Get a business credit card if you feel you need one. • Set up accounts at wholesalers preferably a credit account. This way you buy from the wholesaler, sell it on ebay, get paid and then pay the wholesaler 30 days later. • Open your account with ebay and get their free listing tool for your adverts. • Open a paypal account, or another online banking account so you can take payment via credit card (this will open up worldwide trade). www.paypal.com www.nochex.com, www.worldpay.co.uk, are a few examples.
That’s it, you are off and running. As you go on you will find other things you will need to do but you learn this as you go along. This is all part of the fun of working for yourself.
One last piece of advice; Try and find something that you are passionate about when selling on ebay, this way it will make the business a lot easier to learn.