I have had an eBay store for a couple of years now and I can honestly say I do enjoy running it. Along the way I had to learn my products, tweak my listings, change my business model, learn bookkeeping, research what’s trending, and adjust my attitude on what is defined as good customer service. I had months where I was sweating from wondering if I will hit my goal and months where I make enough profit to pay some debts early or even at all.
Overall I do enjoy the experience because my success depends on my efforts put into running it properly. Every now and then from boards,groups, and blogs I follow have people who blame their failures because they cease to see the changes they have to make. So here are SOME reasons online selling as a part-time/full-time business may not be for you.
1. You expect instant profit. Sometimes the items you buy won’t sell for the price you want to or at all. You have to accept that and cut your losses and sell at a loss or donate.
2. You’re not willing to research within your niche. Almost everybody is listing clothing and accessories. I read magazines, books on fashion and learn about fabrics and know a thing or two about how to care for certain fabrics.If I didn’t, I wouldn’t know if a piece of clothing is worth buying or selling.
3. You blame the selling platform (eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Etc) fees cutting into your profits. Everybody who says this is forgetting how much a brick and mortar store cost probably 1000x more. Fees do go up every year so either you need to list higher priced items, find better items to sell, or really retail arbitrage.
4. You don’t have a return/exchange policy. Unless you are selling stuff like you would at a garage sale, you need a policy that mirrors the selling platform’s own policy. They have power to dispute for the customer which can allow them to return the money to the customer. A small price to pay since they do have the customers we don’t have to pay more for large marketing fees.
5. You think this is a great job to not deal with customers. I deal with daily messages asking for discounts, more information on the listing, occasional returns, etc. I use to feel that it was such a drag but reminded myself it’s better than my last job where I had to kiss some buns to get a great sale. My friends, there is a block bidder list after dealing with problematic ones.
6. You take one negative experience too personally and give up. Had a return? Disgruntled customer? Customer calling you horrible? Customer claiming they didn’t receive an item? I deal with all this occasionally and chalk it up to it being part of the business. I rather focus my time improving, and stocking up my business.
7. You lack motivation to set goals. I set myself goals. My goals consist of how much I want to sell in a month, how much to list in a month, and adjusting them season to season. If you just list or look at your business just as you please,it will become one of your many projects you started but never finish.
8. You don’t set a budget for your business. I budget for inventory mostly. It’s very easy to overspend on inventory but it’s much harder to watch it sit for months on end only to be sold at a loss. This way I have to be smarter on what I buy to sell since I can’t take home as much as I use to. Because of this I keep more of my profits at the end of the month.
9. You can’t accept change. Fees going up, feedback policy changing, taxes changing really stress you out. They stress me out to but change comes with brick and mortar business too. Leases go up, recession happens, etc.
10. You don’t see it as a priority in your life. You know how paying for your mortgage/rent is probably your biggest priority? You should see online selling as a priority. Even if you are too tired, or feel you lack time you need to set aside time to work on your business. Eventually you will see consistent profits through your hard work. It took me a couple of years of effort to learning what works for me. Now if my husband and I have children, we can afford to have one parent at home.
Having any sort of business is a risk. It’s true anyone can start an online business but not everyone has the time, or motivation to keep it running as well as it should. Don’t let these reasons prevent you from starting one but at least really plan it out and expect changes to occur every now and then.
Side Note: I just received my first paycheck from Amazon FBA. It’s only $43 but not too shabby since I just started. As for my eBay store. Sales are doing good considering summer is approaching. I might not even have to tap into our savings to pay off my large upcoming credit card bill.