Example Business Ideas

A Beginner's Guide to eBay

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

More and more people are turning to the income opportunities that eBay has to offer. What are the advantages of starting an eBay business as opposed to any other conventional business? So, how can you get started with business on eBay?

Why start an eBay business? The first and obvious advantage is that you can start an eBay business with minimal capital, unlike other businesses which require a lot of capital.

Secondly, the level of risk is very low with an eBay business. Thirdly, you can get started in your spare time, without necessarily having to quit your 'day job'. This enables you to test the waters before taking the plunge. Many people find eBay to be a fun and profitable hobby or sideline. You will need to decide if you want a business or a hobby.

If you decide to make it a business, then you will need to consider maintaining professional records and paying taxes. You can do business whenever it suits you. You can put up your auctions at 3am if you wish, and people will still look at what you are offering. Unlike conventional business, your market place is unlimited. You can sell your product to anyone in the world, with a potential market place of millions of buyers.

Go to eBay and take a look around; eBay offers helpful informative tours and resources for the uninitiated. Observe some auctions in progress and see how people display and list their products. You could even bid for something that you might like. Look around your house for unwanted items and conduct some auctions of your own. It is fun and there's nothing to lose but your junk. This is a great way of testing the auction waters.

Once you decide to develop a serious eBay business, you should take these steps:

Select your product

Everything from luxury homes to baseball cards is for sale on eBay. Conduct research on possible product options by observing your competition. If you have expertise in a certain area, or a passion, select your product appropriately. There are many research tools online which can help you check how many times a particular phrase or word has been searched for online. If few people are looking for what you want sell, it is unlikely to do well on eBay. However if your product is often searched for, you are likely to succeed.

Don't sell products of poor quality

eBay has a great feedback system, which is used to rate traders. This feedback can be accessed by both sellers and buyers. If you get negative feedback, your eBay reputation can be permanently jeopardized.

Start small

Unless you are extremely confident in your product and very secure financially, start off on a small scale and spend more only when you start making some income.


Try various products and product combinations to find out what works best. Always display photos, because many people only buy what they can see.

Offer exceptional service

Treat others well and you will earn a reputation as a trader who can be trusted, and from whom one can buy with confidence.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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