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Starting a business on eBay – What you need to know

eBay is one of, if not the biggest online retail event of our time. With business opportunities excelling far beyond getting rid of old jumpers and kids toys, the simplicity of this online auction shopping extravaganza has persuaded millions of people, internet savvy or otherwise, to sell their unwanted items for a small profit, or to start up an online business in the hope of something much bigger.

Founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995, eBay has exploded across every major country in the world. With thousands of customers looking for last minute bargain deals from the virtual mountain of web brick-a-brack, eBay offers everything from the seductively subtle to the weird and woeful.

The potential of eBay’s business expansion through the buying and selling of unwanted goods has unsurprisingly caused a stir with professional and amateur entrepreneurs alike.

However while some people would rather make a quick buck, cashing in on crisps that look like Jesus, others have gone to great lengths to provide customers with a service to rival that of the major high street brands.

With the continued expansion of personal and multi-industry business on eBay, accounting firms and IR35 accountant specialists have had their workload increased tenfold by the successful nature of selling online. But don’t panic; you won’t have to worry much about your business related costs until you’re trading as a full-time user.

Here are a few tips on how to get your business up and running.

Identifying the Niche

Finding the gap in the market for your product is very important. If you identify a niche and adapt your stock to it, you can enhance your sales dramatically. Doing this will allow you to focus your target market and you’ll be able to start trading as a full-time business in no time.

The Product

Instead of sitting around, fretting on what to put on eBay, try gathering up everything you actually have that’s available to sell. Even if it’s only 10 or 20 items that you’ve found around the house, this will introduce you to the listing procedures and describing your items.


If you’ve had no luck rooting around the corners of your attic and basement, and are still unsure whether you want to invest in bulk products in case things don’t go to plan, try your local charity shop.

Seriously, you’ll be surprised at just what people will get rid of, whether it’s a first edition of a novel or a dvd set. A keen eye for a bargain will really make the difference in this business.

Time Management

Not ready to commit full-time to your eBay money tree? Make sure you allocate yourself at least an hour a day doing the ‘manual labour’.

To create a productive business on eBay you will have to live on time constraints and procedure just like a real job. Falling behind on key tasks such as product advertisement and auction times may cause you to lose track of rival listings, mailing deadlines and most importantly, income.

Photography and Description

A picture paints a thousand words. But if your photography isn’t up to scratch you may find that potential customers are overlooking your items because they’re just not eye-catching enough.

Have a flick though other sellers products and see how they advertise, whether it be though Photoshop wizardry or dazzling descriptions. Remember, good feedback is very important before you begin to take your eBay business into full-time hours, so strive to advertise your products well.

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