Developing a Business Mindset
Successfully selling something over the Internet has opened your eyes. Now you can really see and understand the vast possibilities created by instant access to the world. From the comfort of your home or from the comfort of an office with your name on the front door, you really can sell things without knocking on doors, mailing fliers, or making those dreaded cold calls. In the expanding universe of online auctions, you don't even have to spend big money on advertising. Millions of people are at their computers right now, restlessly seeking things. They will be seeking you and the items you offer, once your business is up and running on the Web.
All Things Considered
Those who bid in online auctions clearly want things: collectible things; practical things; impractical things; things they used to treasure as children; things they need to repair a house, a car, or a computer; things they can wear; art things — almost anything known to humankind. Again, to misquote
You can jump into the online auction business without any business training or experience in online commerce. This is the beauty of free enterprise. You can join millions of other people already prospering … or eking out a living … or losing their money in their online ventures.
The business world offers absolutely no guarantees of success, no matter how hard you try or how much you learn. There also are no shortcuts to success, only faster, more efficient ways to do necessary and hard tasks. Resolve now to skip the Get Rich Immediately! and Make Millions from Home! schemes you will encounter on the Internet. Stay focused on your dream to organize an online auction enterprise and prosper.
How deeply you go into business is up to you. Many newcomers keep their day jobs and dabble in online auction sales after they come home from work. Or, one spouse stays home and runs the auction business while the other spouse holds a “regular” job, with health insurance and other benefits. These are valid approaches. Not everyone stays enamored of selling online long enough to build up a business. Once the novelty wears off or the collectibles from late Aunt Edna's estate are gone, many would-be online auction tycoons take up other pursuits and let eBay, Yahoo! Auctions, Overstock, and the rest slide.
Others, of course, plunge headlong into setting up and incorporating a powerhouse auction firm that will ply the globe's electronic trade routes twenty-four/seven. They rent an office and some warehouse space. They set up their computers and shipping tables and start piling up merchandise to auction. They decorate their offices with motivational slogans and quotations from ancient warriors and generals.
It is perfectly okay to set your goals anywhere in this range. Maybe you want a family business where everyone under your roof can work and play together and earn a modest second income. Maybe you have lost several jobs to layoffs and are tired of worrying about when the next one will happen. You want to create your own job in your own business, so you can do satisfying labor with your hands and your mind any time you choose.
How can I know I will like auction selling?
Easing into online auction selling may be the best and least expensive way to find out. Start with a few items, and gradually build up. Once you gain experience, you may discover a passion and expand your operations. Or, you may decide buying is more fun.
Many different types of sales or customer service pursuits could fill this need. But an online auction business may be exactly right for you.
What to Sell
You may have a specific notion of what you want to sell, and you may have reliable sources of the merchandise. Or, like numerous other successful online auction sellers, you may want to list many different items for bid. You might prefer to be an auction reseller, one who buys items online and tries to resell them at a profit on another site. Or, you may wish to be an online seller who accepts items on consignment and auctions them for others, in return for a percentage of the total selling price. Consignment selling can give you a larger auction inventory, without having to buy it or store it.
If one of these online auction methods is not enough, you can blend them in any combination. For example, you could specialize in buying and reselling specific types of merchandise, such as Depression-era dinnerware, but also accept many other items to auction on consignment. You can organize and build your business around your own preferences.
If you believe you have bought or been given stolen merchandise, do not auction it to get it off your hands. Report your suspicions to law enforcement and give them the goods, if necessary. Selling the items could drag you into a police investigation as a suspect.
Goods worthy of auction can be found almost everywhere. Many of the people who show up early for garage sales and yard sales are auction sellers looking for quick bargains that they can put online. You can join the competitive parade of cars rolling from one sale to the next. Estate sales, going-out-of-business sales, church fund-raiser sales, and end-of-semester moving sales are other good places to pick up auction items cheap.
Friends and neighbors will give you stuff just to get it out of their closets, cabinets, desks, or attics. Your own home may be a gold mine of stuff you can sell and never miss.
You won't have to tape your eyelids open and sit at your computer day and night, if you do go into the business. Many online auction sites have automated their key features for buyers and sellers and will keep you informed via e-mail alerts. These features mean you can structure your days like almost anyone else who holds a “regular” job: eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, and eight hours for everything else.
However, the longer you are willing to work and the harder you are willing to try, the greater the potential rewards and satisfactions once your business is up and thriving. The first few months will be the toughest. You may have to put in many stretches of long hours while you build up your auction merchandise and learn how to price your items, display them in the right categories, and describe them for maximum sales impact.
Never underestimate what people will buy, and never underestimate their reasons for buying it. Common objects or pieces of clothing that seem trivial to you may hold special meanings for many people in the online auction universe. A teacup from your attic or a sweatshirt from your closet may draw several bidders into a fierce battle. You may never know why. Just thank the winner, ship the item, and move on to your next listings.