As oil billionaire John Paul Getty once observed, the only way to get seriously rich is to own your own business. Easy if you are an entrepreneur by nature, less easy if you are not.
There is, however, a type of business that can be started without a lot of capital and with little to no risk yet that has the potential to turn anyone into a multi-millionaire. A business that requires no experience or specialist skills and can be started from home on a part-time basis.
In fact, all you need to start this business is access to a computer with a broadband connection and a digital camera. Reports by John Lowe of MoneyDoctors.ie.
Since the launch of eBay in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar, the media has abounded with stories of how ordinary individuals have become richer than their wildest dreams of greed thanks to the online auction site. Take 28-year-old David Wirtenberg, for example, who created a $10 million jewelry business from the sale of a single diamond ring on eBay in 2003.
What makes eBay a fantastic money-making opportunity is its simplicity. Essentially, it allows anyone, anywhere in the world to buy or sell just about anything. It sells a car every two minutes while MusicMagpie is eBay’s top seller selling technology, music, movies, games and books.
Last time I checked, there were over 10 million items on offer and over 168 million buyers. You could sell to those 168 million buyers within minutes of finishing this article for, literally, a few dollars. And, sell for a very substantial profit, too.
What could you sell? Most new eBay entrepreneurs start out by auctioning off unwanted items from home. It can be extremely lucrative (I have a friend in West Cork who has made over £3000 since Christmas selling unwanted clothes, books, children’s toys and china) and also offers the opportunity to understand how eBay works. Once you get the hang of it, the secret is to find a product area that interests you. Currently, some of the best sellers are lighting, coffee tables and sofas.
Getting started, by the way, couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is log in to the site and complete the online registration which will ask you for a username, password, email address and credit or debit card for verification purposes. This process will cost you nothing.
The next step is to create an online seller account, for which you need to provide credit/debit card information and bank account information for verification purposes. You then follow the listing instructions, giving product details, the length of your listing – from 1 to 10 days – and the starting and reserve price if you wish to set one. You must pay a registration fee, which depends on the value of the article and is a maximum of €3. If the item sells, you pay eBay a commission on the final price, which will be approximately 5.25% of the closing price.
Once you are registered, you can sell anything with just a few mouse clicks. To list your item, you log in to the website with your personal ID, choose a category for your item, type in a description, details of how you offer to send the item to the buyer and a price and you are ready to start your bidding.
You really need to include a digital photograph of the item and the better your sales copy, the higher the price you will get. Once an item is listed, all you have to do is sit back and wait for buyers to start bidding.
Most auctions last for seven days and the bidding can be fierce, with most taking place in the final minutes of the sale.
Speaking of payment, the site makes it easy to collect money by credit card through its own Pay Pal online payment system. In fact, one of the best things about it is that it offers its sellers a lot of support and guidance.
Their most useful resource is probably something called Seller Central. If you have a question about selling, chances are you’ll answer it here. This portal is divided into a handful of main categories, including Getting Started, Best Practices, Early Sale, and News & Updates.
If, like me, you have so much “bric-a-brac” in your office and at home, selling it on eBay has many advantages…
1. You’re less cluttered
2. You made someone very happy with the discounted item they bought from you
3. You also earned money tax-free (selling the item for less than what you bought will not incur capital gains tax).
For more information, click on John Lowe’s profile above or on his website.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ.