My business plan for my eBay and FBA businesses are simple, but I think they will be very effective. If they are not I will really be evaluating my business! As 2016 ends, I am eager to put all that I have learned into full gear.
I am very interested to see what will happen if I: 1. Invest all my profits for a year. Because of the examples of others who are about at my level example, and that of others who have grown faster than I , I have decided to invest all of my profits into FBA and not take any of the profit out to use to pay my own expenses. I will take out my profits from eBay to pay taxes and for programs that I am involved with including Joelister, the software I use to link my FBA to eBay. I really love this program and have come to rely on it as an easy way to get double exposure for my items. I also love it when an item selling on eBay that is listed through Joelister, the item will be automatically fulfilled and I do not have to worry about rushing around the house looking for the item and a fitting box.
So, my goal is to take all of my FBA earnings, as modest as they are now and buy product to send in. People I know that have done that have seen their business mushroom.
2. My business plan is going to involve a promise: I will mail out one box a week regularly, even if it is small. I tend to hold off on mailing out because I want a larger shipment where there is the possibility of saving on shipping – but it is essential to get it out there. If I get more into FBA, I can cross-list more on eBay, which is good. eBay loves daily listing of even one item.
3. Starting after the Christmas holidays – list at least one item a day in ebay.
4. Go heavily into wholesale and online arbitrage as a way of sourcing. I bought through a site called BidonFusion when they had “Hot Boxes” – small boxes of liquidation products from Amazon. It was great while it was working, many of the items could be listed right back to FBA – some in the same boxes they came in. But they have gone to a pallet model and I feel that it is unwise to make such a large purchase unseen, especially since I do not know what the shipping costs are. They show a way to figure out the shipping, but I have never been able to maneuver it.
So I need to locate other wholesalers. There are different ways to do that I need to investigate, including just searching for the products I want and the word wholesale – like “pet supplies wholesale.” You may or may not come up with real wholesalers that way. Many retail businesses put the word “wholesale” in their site so that others will get into it. I have heard that looking on page three or four of the search provides you with smaller businesses that may be more open to working with you. I am going to re-read Vendor Fulfillment Basics: how to use Vendor Fulfillment to source for eBay and Amazon sellers by Melissa Paz. I found that book to be practical, down to earth guide to wholesaling by a trusted seller. She talks about all kinds of ways to find wholesalers, as well as drop-shipping. I would not consider drop-shipping for eBay or FBA – but I would if I decide to develop my own site.
5. Work on getting approved in food, beauty and health – the three areas that I still am not in. I will provide more on that process as I do it, FBA is no longer accepting store receipts, but is requiring that you buy from wholesalers. (I am also not in DVD, but I am not seeking that after the advice of others in the know.) I think I am ready to do that, as I am approved in many areas now and I understand more about what will sell and what will not.
6. My business plan is of course going to have to be a plan for the tedious parts of the business. I want to develop serious bookkeeping, and tax accounting for my business. I am still not squared away with my sales taxes so I am looking into TaxJar as a trusted and easy way to deal with them. Sales taxes can be buggers, and some people do not even get into FBA because they are so afraid of them. I am going to investigate Godaddy Bookkeeping for my daily expenses.
In the meanwhile I will keep sourcing, trying to find those bargains. I know people have done very well with clothing, but I have not made the home runs and I want to have easier ways to make a living. My business plan involves making everything as easy as possible.
Here is a video that brought together Tai Lopez, one of my favorite and inspirational entrepreneurs with Habitat for Humanity – one of my favorite charities.
I have been blessed when I gave to charity, both through my business and personally. It is a wonderful way to know that you can make your life matter with just a little bit of giving. The American dollar can go very far in other countries: I gave a 250 dollar donation through my church one time and helped a person go to school to be a teacher for a year. Giving has a snowball effect, with the world becoming better as each person’s life is made a little easier.
Duplicate listing on eBay is a big no-no – eBay considers this spamming and punishes the offenders. I had this punishment given to me recently, and it really changed my style. I had actually done it several times and they just pulled the duplicate listing. They may have even slapped my hand one time, and then pulled it when I called. Then they actually suspended me as well. Wow. I called member services, and they did not allow me back on. They said the next time would be 14 days. Mine were honest mistakes as well, not realizing that I had an item on GTC as well as 30 days, or auction. Sometimes you will be stopped automatically from the relist but sometimes not. I sound like a super offender but I was not: eBay just really hates this particular offense.
Having a business can be lonely – and eSelling can be hard. It is nice to have folks who are also working to build up their business to help you with the challenges. Lots of groups go into negativity, and some even into attack – but we work to keep it very positive here.
It’s especially fun when the members share some of the items from their store once a week in Support Saturday. Here we share our items, and use as many ways to promote each other as we can. Who knows – sometimes we even purchase the item!
One of my favorite activities is to participate in the many Facebook groups that help eSellers. I am one of the co-moderators at a great group: eBay Motivation Station. We are really supportive and I love the members. One of our weekly events is promoting some of the best items that each member has in their store or just on eBay, Amazon or etsy. Here are some of the contributions from this week – all great products.
If you talk to eSellers they will consistently say that the main key to success is to LIST. Whether it is listing on eBay or sending boxes in to Amazon FBA (AKA “feeding the pig” ) , or adding items to your own store on Shopify, or a private website – nothing sells until it is listed to sell. And eBay at least seems to reward you for listing consistently, usually what happens is that you will have other things sell when you list something – it is like the lights turn on in your store.
I met lots of successful sellers at eBay’s 20th birthday. That extravaganza held in San Jose from September 10th through September 11th, 2015 introduced me to many professional sellers and reinforced the dream: an individual starting from just selling this or that occasionally to moving on where they were meeting their basic needs – and some people becoming very rich. These people made it obvious that eSelling can be a true business, and even very lucrative. If you want to take your eSelling hobby to a true business you will need to distinguish your site as one that is truly exceptional.
The eBay Giving Program allows you to choose from a huge list of all kinds of local to worldwide charities easily at a level that you choose.
I love selling using eBay for charity as seller Gypzeerose. I have promoted the ASPCA, Wounded Warriors, St.Jude’s Hospital for Children, Helping Hands – Monkey Helpers, and many others. Around Christmas time I listed many of my toys to benefit Marine Toys for Tots.
Neck pain is a problem that many of us face, and this is particularly a problem of people who spend a lot of time on the computer. I will never forget reading about a woman who had become an internet millionaire but she incurred terrible crippling kyphosis after she did. Kyphosis is a degenerative disease of the neck, and it is easy to see how working on a computer could lead to that painful disorder. A lot of the time when we speak about the ergonomic risks to being on the computer we concentrate on the wrists, but it is important that we do not forget our neck as well.
Like lots of eSellers I go to garage sales to check out treasures. I have found collectible treasures, even new stuff in boxes that I can sell on eBay or send into Amazon through FBA. I also frequently check out the free section of craigslist to see if there is anything I can sell and get a bit of profit. Lots of people are happy to give things away – especially at the end of sales. But I have often read: I want my precious item (they always think it is precious) to go to a family that really needs it – not for someone to sell on eBay. I have been turned away personally at a garage sale, because I admitted I was going to try to sell the used VHS tapes she wanted to give away on eBay.