One evening earlier this week my family and I headed off for a bite to eat in Vilamoura – which has a beautiful Marina – and is the perfect place for a meal, a few drinks along with a stunning view! We had some lovely food and then continued to sit outside the restaurant for a few drinks and as we did so we got chatting to another couple who had children of a similar age.
I don’t really like chatting about work related things during my social hours at the best of times and even more so when I’m on holiday, but inevitably the conversation turned from ‘where are you from’ to ‘what do you do’ and my husband and I explained a little about our business to our new companions…
And I knew what was coming next before it was even uttered!
‘…don’t you think though that everyone sells on ebay these days? It’s soooooo competitive and I don’t see how I could just start up an ebay business tomorrow. I suppose as you’ve been selling on there for ages it’s really easy for you …’
I took a really long glug of my drink, worked really hard at not rolling my eyes heavenwards and then just smiled. I really wasn’t going to get into this conversation!!
Why? Well because comments like this happen quite often and do test my patience a little! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get the facts right before taking the plunge, but to dismiss something before you’ve even tried it is another thing altogether.
Yes I’m an established seller, but it didn’t just happen like magic. Products, suppliers, sales and feedback didn’t just fall out of the sky into my ebay account. I had to put in some effort to get there!
When I tell people that I realised my dream of working for myself by starting to sell on ebay and then progressing from there to help others do the same, I do get some incredulous looks! But to someone who hasn’t done it or at least experienced some kind of online selling, it probably might seem like the hardest thing to do. This coupled with fear and self-doubt then leads most people to believe that it’s a non-starter. Hence the kind of comment I’ve just mentioned.
But of course it will be a non-starter if you don’t try it. The problem is that whilst people have no problem with the fact that I have done it, they think that it will be impossible for themselves to do it, simply because of the increased popularity of selling online and the big businesses that now operate on the web. And whilst those people are right about the popularity of the internet, it doesn’t mean they are right about everything else.
So I’m going to put that straight!
Let’s take ebay for example. Is it true that ebay is way too competitive to make more than a little extra cash on the side?
First I must say that although some of the market areas on ebay certainly are more competitive than others, this is not true for the entire website. There are lots of niche markets that large sellers have not even considered selling into – usually because they have already established their niche and are not interested in adding to or altering their inventories; so, all you need to do is find yourself one of these niches – and there are plenty. Never sell just one product – diversify – your success on eBay will depend, in part, on how much effort you are prepared to put in to researching new products to sell into new niche markets.
So it’s all about selling the right products then?
Well, yes and no. Of course you need to have a hot product that people want to buy, but you also need to know how to get the details of your hot product out there in a ‘buy me’ kind of manner and earn the trust of your prospective buyers by offering great products, good customer service and building your feedback.
The truth is that many buyers realise there is a massive choice on ebay and so are prepared to search around within the site and spend a little extra money in order to get their goods from a seller with an informative listing, great feedback and a quick service rather than a cheaper but rather more slap-dash seller or a little known website found through a quick Google search showing no testimonials and no real proof of quality and service.
There is room for everyone on ebay and everyone has to start somewhere. We’ve all been there at some point, including me and including sellers with tens of thousands of feedback and sales under their belts.
Yes ebay can be competitive, but put it into perspective – the high street is competitive – all businesses have competition of some sort or another. If you put in the effort and stand out from the crowd and strive to make a success of YOUR business – then you will.
If you think it’s too hard…it probably will be
If you think it’s all too hard or it’s all too competitive or it’s all too much effort before you’ve even dipped your toe in the water, then it probably will be. Don’t overthink things!
Perhaps the most important point that you must remember is that you will be running an actual business. The amount of people that expect money to fall into their laps just because they have created an ebay account is astonishing. But things don’t work like that! If you want to be one of the success stories you will need to work at it.
If you treat your ebay selling as a business you will have the potential to be successful, no matter how competitive the market in which you decide to sell, as you will immediately have a distinct advantage – you believe in yourself and your business.
Everyone, including our restaurant companions this week have the ability to be a success on ebay – and online. Stay focused, search for the right products, generate enough feedback and you will be in a position to earn a comfortable income for your efforts. Remember, there is enough room for everyone but you have to believe in yourself too.
And don’t forget I’m here to help. I’ve got a range of courses available, suitable for every stage of your online journey. You can read about two of them here: