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How I’ve gone from a personal eBay seller of many years to having an eBay business and how it can affect my anxiety.
I first heard about eBay in March 2000, I believe it launched in the UK officially in October 1999, but obviously, it took a while for the news to spread, and even when I heard about it, it was still something most people didn’t understand or use. However, it did increase in popularity very quickly.
I discovered eBay when I was at university, and back then we had no PayPal! If you sold something, the buyer would tend to either send you cash in the post, if it changed it would normally be stuck to a piece of card, or they would tend to send a cheque.
The biggest novelty was that you could sell things abroad, and what we figured out very quickly, my friends and I; was that Royalty Memorabilia sold really well to America.
So we would scour the car boots and charity shops for it, normally managing to pick it up for about 20p-50p and then sell it on for £10-£15.
Luckily I was already self-employed, as a private gardener, while studying, so lucky didn’t break any tax rules as I always put my earnings on my tax return, but there were quite a few people back then selling tons and not declaring it. I’m the sort that will do a car boot and fill out a tax return just in case!
Starting a business
As I matured, got married and settled down, I continued to eBay odds and sods from my house every now and then, but nothing on the scale of when I first discovered eBay.
However, I have always had a yearning to start and develop a proper eBay business. I wanted to 18 years ago, but so many people didn’t get eBay back then and discouraged me, and pushed me into employment, which I dutifully did for many years.
A couple of years ago now, I took the decision to start my work from home business, and part of that plan was to finally start my eBay business.
I’ve spent years researching and trying to keep in touch with trends and eBay policies, and even though I’ve never officially been registered as a business on eBay, I knew the time was right to take the plunge.
Lack of capital
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much start-up capital ready to pump into buying stock and all the bits and pieces you need to set up an eBay business.
What I did have, after years of selling odds and sods is some jiffy bags, bubble wrap and polybags and a pile of items that when we no longer used them or wanted them, were sent to the “one day to be eBayed” pile. I also had lots of enthusiasm and a massive urge to run an eBay business.
So where am I currently at?
I have converted my personal account into a business one, I decided to do this purely for my 100% positive feedback, I wanted people to trust me from the beginning and feel confident when buying off me.
It is totally possible to start a business account from scratch and build it up, it will just take a little longer getting those feedbacks up.
But people are still happy to buy from sellers with little to no feedback nowadays because even though feedback is still important, it’s not the most important factor. eBay have actioned so many different policies to protect the buyer that most people feel comfortable buying from any sellers.
Obviously on the flip side of the coin having 100% positive feedback or a really high feedback score is a massive positive. I’m just pointing out it’s not as big a thing nowadays as it was when eBay first launched.
I had a pile of items from around our house ready to go up and be sold, a selection of kids and adults’ clothes, toys, CDs, and a few books.
I sold these items and with the money I raise I went out to charity shops and bought more items that I thought would do well. I’ve watched lots of YouTube videos from experienced sellers which helped me to feel confident when picking things up.
My policy is if I’ve got a rough idea about it and its cheap enough I’ll pick it up, and this hasn’t gone too badly so far.
You can always check an item for popularity and how much it is selling for by checking the eBay app while in the charity shop, by doing a search and then going to completed and sold, and adding any filters which will help you make your decision, such as used, the highest price the item sold for.
I unfortunately still don’t have the confidence to do searches on my phone in the middle of a charity shop or car boot yet.
What I do is make a mental note of the item and try and remember as much detail as I can about it, then go outside/walk away and then search.
My anxiety just increases so much because I automatically think they know what I’m doing! Which is rubbish obviously I could just be answering a text!
What I am doing to get my confidence up is when I’m in the charity shop or at a car boot is have my mobile in my hand and use it, to get me used to fiddling with my phone, I’m hoping by doing this, I will eventually be able to make the checks I need to make.
Other factor affecting my anxiety with regards to eBay can include, not wanting to go to car boots due to how busy they can be, I hate being squashed in or elbowed in the ribs!
Plus if my anxiety is particularly bad I don’t even want to communicate with the seller at the car boot. Which is a little bit inconvenient because you need to at the very least sometimes say “how much is this, please?”
What I’m doing to combat this is forcing myself to go to a car boot, getting there very early (well as early as the will let you in), as it can be a little bit quieter when it’s early, not much, but a little bit.
I avoid the group of traders and resellers that swarm on people just arriving and setting up their stalls and I move on.
Then I just have to force myself to speak, I start off slowly, just looking at things while I settle in and relax, then I get comfortable with my surroundings, sometimes I even get a coffee and just sit there for 10 minutes while I calm down.
Once I’ve calmed down and repeated in my head, why I`m there and what I want to achieve, and also repeated a few little phrases to myself (such as “I fine, calm down, I can do this” etc). I can normally get right into the swing of it even haggling! I just start slow, with baby steps and work up from there.
Its all about finding out what works for you, if you want something badly enough you’ll figure out a way to work around it, it can just take a bit of tie to figure out what you need to do.
What I sell
I have decided to not specialise at the moment, I have a little bit of knowledge in buying items such as clothes, books, some toys and a few electronics, but I am trying to expand this knowledge daily by researching online and watching YouTube videos.
I’ve sold mostly clothes in the last 3-4 months, and the most popular brands I’ve found working for me is Per Una by M&S, Next and Monsoon.
I’ve managed to pick up quite a few of these items for either 99p or below. I’ve also been lucky enough to find quite a few plus sizes which seem to sell very quickly.
As with everything it is always best to do your research but find out what works best for you.
One thing going for anyone wanting to start an eBay business now is the internet and YouTube.
The amount of information available is amazing and shouldn’t be ignored. Spending that little bit of time researching will stand you in good stead down the line.
There is a massive reselling community online, who share all their finds and BOLOs (Be on the Look Out), hints and tips. By following and regularly watching these resellers who have massive amounts of experience you will learn tons of information.
I understand space can be an issue for some people when deciding whether to start an eBay business, but it can be managed if you plan ahead. I live in a 2 up and 2 down, my office is just a corner of my bedroom, and in this office.
I have to incorporate every aspect of my business, including the eBaying.
Further down the line I intend on building a bespoke desk and storage area (I say “I” I actually mean my husband!), so I can work on all areas of my business in one space, if you use shelving and stacking boxes with a system in place to know where you have put an item, things should be manageable until you become so big you need to rent a storage space.
If you keep up to date with your listings too, making sure once something is purchased and brought into the house, it is listed immediately, you will have more chance of selling items, thus saving space, as you can ship them out quickly.
Logging purchases and sales – accounting
At the moment, I keep all my purchases and sales on a simple spreadsheet, it has columns such as Purchased/Item Description, Paid, and Purchase Date etc.
I have included a picture below. I currently feel comfortable using this method as I am able to easily keep it up to date, without too much effort.
However, once I start to get a bigger inventory and turnover, I will look at using a dedicated software, for book-keeping something along the line of Xero, but I intend on researching what would be the best for my needs.
Well, that’s about it, for now, that’s how I started, and why and how it affects my anxiety and how I work around things.
As soon as I learn more or start making larger purchases, I will write an update post.
I have already made a few reselling videos on YouTube myself. If you want to follow along, I’ll be making more videos to keep up to date with my progress. My YouTube Channel
Have you recently started an eBay reselling business? Is it something you have wanted to do for many years and are just launching? Or does the idea of running an eBay business terrify you? Do you have anxiety which is slowing you down a bit? Drop me a comment and I will answer everything I can! Thanks for reading!