An excerpt from an eBay seller book…
I started in the liquidation business in 1990. I was a component level test technician for DSC Communications in Plano, TX. I worked for low hourly wages, had just gotten married and had a new baby girl. Trying to make ends meet on my paycheck was really almost impossible. The future at DSC was looking very depressing. Getting a job in a large corporation where I could start to climb that ladder was always a goal. Once I got into a large corporation, I couldn’t take the depths I saw people sink to simply to get promoted. I quickly began looking at ways to make it on my own with very little money set aside for investing. I had a background in computers and electronics. My first job in a technical field was in 1980 working CP/M based small business computers. I wanted to start my own business selling something that I was interested in. But, I needed cash to start. While working 60 to 80 hours a week at DSC, I started painting for some extra money. I rounded up everything my new wife and I had that was not absolutely necessary and sold it. Within a couple of months I had $2600 saved to start my business. I picked up the Dallas Morning News Sunday Edition and looked at the local auction listings. I found what looked like a good general merchandise auction with some cars and some computer equipment. I went and purchased a Honda Civic, a Houston Instruments Plotter and a stack of 8088 computers. I went and placed ads in the local classifieds for the items I had purchased and within 3 weeks had converted my $2600 into $7500. For the next few years I just bought and sold things at auction. Eventually, being part owner in Fischer-Holland Auctions based in Dallas but holding auctions in Houston. We did live computer auctions. This was a 3-way partnership and didn’t workout. I went back out on my own and had now grown to a point where I was purchasing excess direct from manufacturers, distributors and retailers and then consigning the inventory back to lice auction companies in Houston and Dallas mainly but occasionally to auctions in California and Colorado as well. I once again took on partners, this time family. We continued doing liquidation but were purchasing large loads of inventory at that time and opened a retail computer location called Fischer MICRO in Plano, TX to move this inventory. We hit about $5 Million in retail sales for the 1995 fiscal year. Margins were just not what I was happy with. We were working huge numbers of hours with 25 employees and an overhead that was just mentally draining to think about how much we had to sell to pay every month. My new family partners elected to get out of the liquidation computer market and start selling clone computers. That was the biggest mistake we ever made. Sales plummeted. We went from $675,000 gross in December 1995 to around $200,000 a month by the middle of 1996. Although, I wanted to get back in the liquidation market, I committed to give this plan of attack through the end of 1997. I did this and at the beginning of 1998 pulled out of the partnership as an active participant and headed back into the liquidation business. By this time, Ebay was around and gaining popularity. They had a little over 150,000 items up for bid at any given time then. I took only $5,000 out of Fischer MICRO to start back into the liquidation business. I started going back to local live computer auctions. With my $5,000 in purchases, I made over $13,000 in profit on Ebay my first month. Ebay had me hooked. I could see instantly that this Ebay was the ticket to financial freedom and being able to have your own business with low overhead and the potential of doing a high volume. Now, almost 4 years later, I am more convinced than ever. My Ebay sales have hit as high as $95,000 in one month and business is better than ever.
I have made a lot of mistakes over the last 4 years. But, I have also learned a lot of lessons. That’s why this book can be so valuable to someone starting a business on Ebay. This can give you a blast past those mistakes by taking advantage of someone else’s experience. I could quickly see that automation was the key to Ebay. With all sales being done online, and transactions handled largely through email, it is very clear that if you can automate huge portions of your tasks, and you have enough product, and the site you’re selling on has enough traffic, there is just almost no limit to the sales volume you can achieve. Currently, Ebay has around 4,500,000 items listed at any given time. There is roughly $17,000,000 dollars of successfully sold auctions closing everyday just on Ebay. That’s enough for almost 6,000 people to be selling $90,000 a month in sales. To some that number sounds astronomical, to some that number sounds, like a drop in sales. But, what I can tell you is how to do that much in sales out of your house, with no labor commitments, no payroll taxes, no OSHA requirements, none of the pain in the neck things that are normally associated with a company doing that much in sales. Your net on those sales will be totally dependant on how good your sources are. You should be able to easily find products that will allow you to net 20%. That means at $90,000 a month gross you’re net is $18,000 per month, around $200,000 a year. The potential is really up to you. The more time and effort you put in, the better the results. If you just want to make $30,000 a year and take it easy, you can almost do that as a hobby.
Some of the key issues paving the way for volume success have just come into place. There will be some literal millionaires coming out of the Ebay seller community. As mentioned, the real key is automation of the processes required to sell online. Once the processes are automated, even if you’re only making $5 per item you sell, as long as you can do that 100 times a day, you’re making a bundle. Of course, if you can make $50 per item you sell, and do that 100 times a day you’re rich. All of this takes having money to invest, having products available to buy and having that automated system.
I hope you can see that the exciting thing here is that this is real. It is possible and people are doing it. If you want to be your own boss, have more time for your family, be more in control of how much you make, decide when and how much you work, then this really is a golden opportunity. This is not a get rich quick scheme and you won’t get something for nothing. But, it’s a real plan that it easy to follow and it works.