For many people, their first experience of working online involves selling products on eBay. This was how I got started back in 1998 and I know countless other people that have done the same.
However, it is important to remember that eBay is not the 'all and end all' – there is a much bigger online world out there. My reason for mentioning this is that I have spoken to three people this week who each make a decent full or part-time income on eBay but who are fed up with it and looking to move in other directions.
Having sold on eBay myself, I can understand why sellers do get tired / bored / frustrated with the auction site – it is highly competitive and it takes an incredible amount of hard work to succeed. In addition, it is normally the case that the more successful you become, the harder you have to work. Listing auctions, handling customer enquiries, packing, shipping, sourcing / buying stock, keeping up with feedback, monitoring the competition – selling on eBay is a tough job and it is no wonder that after working in this way for a few years, many people wish they were back in the land of the employed !!
Do not get me wrong, there is good money to be made on eBay for anyone willing to put the effort in and many people enjoy trading on this huge auction site. But it is not for everyone.
Having spoken to numerous eBay sellers in the past, it seems to me that of the ones that do not enjoy working on eBay, the particular task that they enjoy the least is the packing and shipping of products. Funnily enough, this is exactly the bit of trading that I grow to dislike too.
I (and the sellers I have spoken to) did not have a problem with creating sales descriptions, dealing with emails, collecting payment (naturally!) And the other administrative tasks involved in running an online business. But wrapping things up and taking them to the post office is something completely different and for me and many others that's where it started to fall apart 🙂
As I said at the beginning of this article, if you are getting fed up of doing the eBay 'thing' or if you just do not fancy the idea to start with, there is a wealth of alternative opportunities available online. My own solution was to get rid of the one aspect of eBay trading that I did not enjoy – the packing and shipping – and start to produce and sell digital products which could have delivered to the customer automatically. I still have to write sales pages and build websites, I still have to deal with emails etc but I do not have to handle any physical products (either do I have to deal with payment collection because that too can be handled automatically by software) .
Of course my products are very relevant to eBay sellers and indeed, there are numerous individuals and companies out there that have made a fortune off the back of eBay without ever having sold a single product on the auction site. I am sure that there are numerous other problems that eBay users have that could be solved with a new piece of software or a particular service and if the idea takes off, there are 135 million registered users on eBay to market to!
eBay provides a wonderful opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people but it is not for everyone and if you find yourself frustrated / bored with the same old routine everyday, start to look for something outside of the eBay world.
Copyright 2005 Richard Grady