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Starting Your Own Business on eBay

eBay is the largest Internet auction site. In recent years, it has grown from being a place for individual users to sell their unwanted items, into a global marketplace offering a wealth of business opportunities. eBay enables businesses and individuals to sell or auction their products on one of the most popular Internet shopping websites of all time. Starting your own business on eBay is inexpensive and relatively simple to set up.

Why eBay?

eBay is one of the most well-known Internet shopping websites. It has over 200 million users worldwide, with millions of active users keeping a constant eye on new listings and product additions. There are few places that can give your products as much exposure as eBay. Unlike a regular shop, you don’t have the expense of paying for business premises and other associated overheads, which makes starting an eBay business an ideal opportunity for those with little or no financial backing for their business idea. eBay also offers buyer and seller protection to reduce the risk of fraud and costly scams.

Defining Goals

Knowing what you want to achieve, and why, is essential for the success of any business, large or small. Understanding your motivation for starting your own business helps you to choose your goals. For example, if your motivation is to make as much money as possible, you will want to put a great deal of time and energy into making your business a success. On the other hand, if your motivation is to enable you to spend more time with your family by making your working life more flexible, you may want to work only a few hours a week. Understanding your reasons for starting a business helps you to set a realistic plan of action to achieve your goals.

Finding a Niche

Before setting up your eBay business, you need to decide what your business will sell. Finding a niche with little or no competition is often the best way to avoid being lost in the huge array of existing eBay shops. Choose a niche that you are already familiar with, interested in or know something about. You are far more likely to succeed if you know your niche and your products well.

Finding a Supplier

The most profitable way to sell products on eBay is often by making a deal with a wholesale company or manufacturer to buy in bulk at a reduced rate. However, if you have little money available to pay for the wholesale stock, there are plenty of ways to find bargains. Charity shops and second-hand shops can provide a wide range of low-cost products that you can sell on eBay. If you intend to buy regularly, you may even be able to negotiate a discount for large orders. Putting an advertisement in the local newspaper, shop windows or online can also be useful, as many people are prepared to sell their unwanted items at a reduced rate through local channels.

Storage Space

In the early stages, you may be able to fit your stock in an unused cupboard or spare room, but if you intend to grow your business into a full-time venture, you will need to arrange storage space for your products. You can usually find local storage for reasonable rates, but you must make sure that the location is secure and safe. Check any contracts carefully to find out who is responsible for replacing stock damaged by fire, floods, theft or other unexpected circumstances.

Setting Up an eBay Account

If you don’t already have an eBay account, you will need to set one up. In order to sell on eBay, you must have a registered PayPal account and a feedback score of 10 or more. Setting up a seller account is a simple process, which the eBay website will guide you through.

Setting up a Shop

You can sell individual items without the need for using an eBay shop. However, if you intend to grow your business, an eBay shop can save you time and money. While a regular seller account is available free of charge, an eBay shop requires you to pay a subscription fee. This subscription fee includes discounts on listing fees and other charges, which often makes it worthwhile for established eBay businesses.

Seller Fees

When choosing a price for your products, always remember to factor in the seller fees that you will have to pay. Seller fees include the cost of listing your item and any premium features that you have used, such as a bold heading or highlighted listing. Your seller fees will also include the cut taken by eBay from your final selling price, along with any PayPal fees you might incur.


Accumulating positive feedback is one of the best ways to grow any eBay business. Positive feedback is important for the success of your venture, as users trust the opinions of your previous customers. However, all businesses will receive negative or neutral feedback from time to time. While negative feedback can be damaging, you can minimize this damage by using your public right to reply. Always remain professional when replying to negative feedback.

Follow the Rules

eBay has a strict code of conduct that prohibits or restricts the sale of certain items. For example, weapons, medicines, drugs and offensive material are not allowed under any circumstances. Other items are only allowed under certain circumstances, such as alcohol, football tickets, credit cards, tobacco, and plants. Familiarize yourself with the rules before starting your business, as breaking these rules can lead to your shop being banned and your account being closed.