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Friday, December 26, 2008

Homeworking idea: An interview with a former eBay Store owner

Even though a sufferer may have had some success controlling his or her strong body odor with a management protocol, most sufferers find that they still have intermittent flare-ups that may create unpleasant experiences in the work place. Although not all personality types prefer to work at home, and some sufferers may find a more social work environment more enjoyable, the more reclusive home environment may represent a refuge to a sufferer from his or her co-workers' ridicule and rejections normally encountered in a more social work setting.

In this interview, Glenna has kindly offered to share with us her personal experience with her eBay Store business venture, which allowed her to work from home. She tells us that this line of work provides the sufferer with the opportunity to work either full-time or part-time from home.


Interview with Glenna Gonzalez:

MARÍA: Glenna, on behalf of this community, I want to thank you for dedicating your time to do this interview for us. Please tell us what led you to start an eBay Store, and did it work out well for you?


GLENNA:
I started an eBay store because I wanted to do something that was fun. I have done so many things that required selling, mostly face to face, and I was looking for something that would give me the opportunity to work from home, part-time, without having to do in-person sales. I have sold Avon, been in several network marketing companies, and actually had a store in a small strip mall. It did work out well as a part-time venture, but I closed my online eBay store after two years, because it was difficult to keep up with it, while working full-time and taking a full load of Graduate Classes.

MARÍA: What would you say are the pros and cons of starting a home business venture like an eBay Store, such as working from home, salary range, etc., benefits?

GLENNA: One of the cons of starting a home based business venture like an eBay store is that it requires a lot of time and effort, even before you begin to make any money. I expected that eBay would be easier. It requires too much time and effort for someone who has several other things going, like I do.

One of the pros of starting a home based business venture like an eBay store is that it can be fun and profitable. It was fun, and I enjoyed the feedback and interaction from the people I sold products to. Also, I sold quite a bit offline to coworkers, after they stated that they were interested in certain items, but did not want to purchase them online. There are a lot of pros to starting a business venture like eBay if you have the knowledge. There is a lot of competition on eBay, but I have known others who have been doing it for a long time and have done extremely well. I would advise anyone who is considering this as a full-time venture, to really learn the techniques that lead to success. For instance, there are days when your listings will get more views than other days and there are peak times when people are shopping on eBay and ready to spend money. You must know such things if you want to succeed. This type of information can make the difference between losing money and making money.
One very good thing is that eBay offers training courses and there are a lot of books and courses to help you succeed. You have to be willing to learn what it takes in order to optimize your profits and reduce losses.

In terms of the salary range, you can determine your own pay with eBay. The right amount of knowledge is required to really do well. I have known people that have made on average $2,000 per month with eBay. I did not make that much part-time, but what I did make was decent, some months.

Finally, the best pro about an eBay business is that you can work from home. Most vendors will drop-ship for you, anywhere in the United States, but there will come a time or two when you will have to make a trip to UPS, the Post Office or some local packaging store.


MARÍA: Was there an upfront financial investment to get your eBay Store off the ground, and how long did it take to recover this investment?

GLENNA: Right now, there is a free step-by-step training cd kit that will educate you on how to be a seller on EBay. You can find this kit on eBay. You can start an eBay store for free. After a month or so, you will have a small monthly fee to pay for your store. I paid on average, about $20 per month for my store. In an eBay store, you can showcase all of your merchandise in one central location, where potential buyers can learn more about you, your products, and your policies. The pictures I used in my store were the ones I had access to from my vendors. The upfront financial investment will come from these vendors, if they require a fee for membership. They may not charge any fees, but may require a minimum purchase. These are warehouses with various lines of products for store owners and small business owners. They will sell to you at a discount so that you can then make a profit on those products. Some require deposits or membership payments, others don’t. One would have to research the vendors that offer the types of products they want to sell. For instance, if you want to sell purses, you would find companies that will allow you to resale their products to your customers. It may take months to recover your investment, so you must determine if you have the money and time to wait until you receive your investment back.

MARÍA: Are there any courses one would have to take to start an eBay Store? If so, where would one enroll?

GLENNA: EBay offers training courses. There are also other books that you can get from your local library or from bookstores. For instance, there is eBay for Dummies by Roland Woerner and Stephanie Becker.

MARÍA: Where do you get the merchandise to sell?

GLENNA: There are various warehouses that sell wholesale to someone who has a Resale Certificate or the proper licensing.

MARÍA: What types of products are good to sell in an eBay Store (profitable, easy to handle, etc)?

GLENNA: I enjoyed selling leather products and home decor on eBay. However, you must research to see which items are the best-selling items. Electronic items, like Nintendo, Playstation, etc. often sell very well on eBay. I don’t know much about the vendors for these though. A little research will reveal the best wholesalers for these items.

MARÍA: How do you market your product?

GLENNA: Listing your store’s web address in the search engines will help you market your store, if you choose to have a store. You can also list your items in the “auction” section of eBay, without maintaining a store. One would have to evaluate what is the best selling format for them- an online store or listings in auctions. Also, business cards with your eBay store web address will help to market your products as well. Sharing your store with friends and coworkers will help.

MARÍA: Does it take much time to build up a clientele?

GLENNA: It often takes months to build a good clientele. Most of these people will be people that you know, like friends and family. There is so much competition on eBay, but if you have a unique product, etc., you can build a sizable audience in perhaps six months. Otherwise, it will take a year or so, from my personal experience. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. I was doing so many other things, as well.

MARÍA: Does an eBay Store owner have to put money upfront to start this business venture, and if so, approximately how much would it cost?

GLENNA: EBay has plans that will allow you to start a store for free, and then they begin to charge you a month or so later. I paid, on average, about $20 per month for my store and listings. However, that is on the lower end. It varies based on the features of the store and the number of products you list for auctions.

MARÍA: How would your customers pay for the product you sell them? Can they use PayPal or their personal credit cards?

GLENNA: I received payment from my customers via a PayPal account. I have a PayPal debit card associated with that account. It has a MasterCard logo on it so you can use the money in the account to purchase gas, food, or from anyplace that accepts MasterCard. Even now, the father of my children deposits money in my PayPal account for their lunch, etc. Thus, family members or friends can send you money via PayPal. Customers can also use their personal credit cards.

MARÍA: Would you need to have indemnity insurance?

GLENNA: Depending on the fragility of the items you are shipping, you may or may not want to insure these products. Otherwise, one should research the need for indemnity insurance in conjunction with their eBay business.

MARÍA: How would you set up the Federal, State, and City tax requirements, if any, for the business?

GLENNA: Here in my local county, I registered the DBA name for my business, set up a tax account with my state and I received a Resale Certificate. Some counties will actually send you a license. Federal, State, and City tax requirements and licensing varies, so a prospective seller must find out what is required in their state and locality. I did have to pay taxes for items sold here in Texas, but not for items that were drop-shipped to other states.

MARÍA: Is there anything else you would like to say to any BO sufferer who may be interested in working from home and starting his/her own eBay Store?

GLENNA: I would encourage anyone who is interested in selling on eBay to really do your “due diligence”. You must determine if this is something that you can afford to do, you must research whether the products you are interested in selling there will be profitable, you must consider your competitors for those products, and you must be willing to learn what it takes to really succeed in a business like eBay. There are, of course, thousands of other options for working from home. EBay is just one of many. However, eBay can be very fun and rewarding for those who will take it seriously. I have known others who have done extremely well with eBay. I did well for part-time, but there are others who make a significant income because they were willing to invest the time it takes to learn the business.

Glenna tells us that if we need any more information, she would be happy to help. So, if you do, please write a comment in this post, and Glenna will reply to you.


MARÍA: Thank you very much, Glenna, for so generously dedicating time to help those who would like to work from home.

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