The poor economy has actually provided many with the incentive they needed to reinvent themselves–in ways they never thought possible before their finances hit rock-bottom. Many people rose up to start their own businesses: and you can, too.
If you have a thrift store in your neighborhood, you may have an excellent source of great items that you can buy, then sell online at a nice profit. Some people use this method of obtaining affordable products to start a home-based business–which can become their sole source of income.
Nine Benefits of Starting a Home-Based Business
- can be started with very low initial investment – possibly $0, if you already have stock to sell
- can have extremely low, sometimes nonexistent operating costs – just your own time
- can provide an excellent part-time income; or, perhaps even a full-time source of income that allows you to work from home
- allows you to focus on products about which you are knowledgeable–and that you enjoy
- provides possible tax advantages
- allows you to feel the pride of owning your own business
- provides opportunities to teach your kids about running a business–from the inside out
- gives you an activity that you can enjoy with your children as you hunt for “treasures” together
- when used along with a full-time job, provides greater income security through diversification
Things to Consider When Starting an Online Business
The first thing you’ve got to do is decide what you want to sell.
- You’ll have a much easier time selling stock you like and know plenty about–because this means you’ll be able to describe it well in online listings.
- It will be easier to sell items that haven’t already flooded the market, because you’ll have less competition. The exception would be if you are able to offer the product for a much cheaper price than the rest of your competition.
- Whatever you choose to sell, be sure the condition and quality are either impeccable, or that you can be completely honest about with your customers. Providing value to your customers and meeting their expectations should be your number one moto–because if you’re not doing this, you won’t last long as an online seller as word gets around.
- Before “stocking up” with a bunch of inventory, test the various online markets where you are considering selling. Different items may sell better on different site / using different venues.
- When deciding how much to sell your items for, be sure to account for whatever fees your selling venue will charge. Also make sure you investigate different shipping methods and costs when setting your shipping fees. You don’t want to overcharge your customers–but neither do you want to lose money in the deal.
Where to Sell Your Stuff Online:
- Your Own Website – best option for long-term sales. You’ll have the most control over content and operating policies. ProBloggerMom.com has a great page on how to start a blog–and add an e-commerce plugin to sell your own products.
- Amazon.com – no initial listing fees, but fees after sale. Professional account available for monthly fee; discount given on certain after-sale fees with professional seller status. Amazon has a huge built-in customer audience, but strictly dictates your return policies.
- Ebay.com – lots of fees (standard listing fees, featured listing fees, final value fees). Ebay dictates return policies that its sellers must offer, but many sellers report Ebay to be more seller-friendly than Amazon.
- Ecrater.com – this site charges no fees of any kind with a standard webstore; however, premium services will cost you. Ecrater does not have much of a built-in customer base, so you’ll have to hustle a lot more to bring customers to your site. Many Ecrater sellers have reported problems with the automated system removing your item from inventory after being sold.
- Craigslist.org – free listings, but often reported to be trolled by many fraudsters. Beware when using.
- GoDaddy.com – now offers online stores for a network of online shopping opportunities. I haven’t tried them out myself.
- Allibris.com – only for books. Not recommended. Although it only costs $20 or so upfront for a lifetime “membership”, the site is inundated with extremely low prices (often just 1 cent) for books. Lots of competition. I signed up with them almost 2 years ago and set up a store, and never made a single sale.
15 Possible Sources for Finding Discount Stock
- Thrift Stores
- Flea Market
- Estate Sales
- Storage facility auctions
- Farmers Market
- Library or privately-owned used book store
- Garage Sale
- Yard Sale
- Church sale
- Online Classified Ads – Craigslist, local newspapers, etc.
- Friends and Family
- Salvation Army