Engaging in online business gets addictive sometimes, especially if you are using either ebay or amazon. Unlike craiglist, where the seller and the buyer have to meet up, online business requires no face to face interaction.
This is one of the main reason why people buy stuff online (especially sex toys, no embarrassment by entering a sex store and seeing someone you know). Not only that, but time saved, easier to return (you actually save more time and money by re sending it rather than driving to the store to return something), get it when you need it (sometimes store doesn’t hold what you need), and much more.
So, you are probably here to learn if selling on ebay, amazon, or etsy is going to make you money. If this is something worth investing your time in. I’d say yes, depending on what you plan to sell.
First thing you need to understand before selling on ebay, amazon, and etsy are fees. Two main ones are listing and sales fees. Etsy charges around 3-4% fee of what you sell and listing fee, ebay charges around 7-10% with no listing fee, and amazon charges around 8-15% and the listing fee differs depending on the item and depending on how what type of a seller you are on amazon (you can be a professional seller by paying monthly fee).
Besides the fees, there are other cost to consider, such as, shipping charges, possible taxes depending on which states you work in and with, printing costs, tapes, boxes to put the item in, stamps, and other necessary tools required to move the product from you to the buyer.
Remember to calculate these costs before you jump into the business and invest your savings. When you buy products and make sales, you need to calculate the profit margins (sales price – cost to create and transfer the products). Whatever you are selling (either it’s something you made yourself, or something you got a cheaper price), you need to calculate how much the item was when you bought it and subtract it from the selling price. If your margin comes out negative, you shouldn’t sell it (you can if you don’t want the item anymore, and its of no value to you), if it comes out positive, you are making money
What you need to consider next is deciding if what you are selling is making you enough money. If you spend 8 hours a day making a certain product and selling it, but you end up only making $10,000 a year in net profit, it’s something you shouldn’t invest your time in (since you can invest your time in something that can generate more profit like selling something else or going to school). I suggest selling different items to see what niche is popular. Trends change, and following the trend is what gets you money in the digital world. For example, selling a cd player is now out and selling ipod is now in.
Also consider competitions, you need to know what other sellers are charging for the same item, so you don’t overcharge and lose customers (you probably won’t even make any sales at all, if your price is higher and the item is the same). In the online world, don’t look at what’s selling, but look at what will sell, and be the first one to sell it to make the money.
I’ve included a picture at the bottom to show you how much I’ve made by testing out re-selling on ebay and etsy (I’ve made around net profit of 1800 dollars in two months using both accounts). I spent around 30 minutes a day, printing out labels and taking boxes to the postal services (as for the product, i ordered it from a chinese manufacturer, since i was too lazy to make it myself). In the beginning, you’ll be considered a regular seller, but as you make sales and get good reviews you’ll be awarded with status like power seller/top seller (cheaper fees, items on the front page, etc).
So… It’s possible to make money on sites like ebay, etsy, and amazon. You can either drop ship or get the items stored at your place and ready to go. You’ll make more if you own your own website/online store and drop ship (but this should be later down the road, since you need to learn how the sales work first and if the product you are selling will net you profit, since having your own website have higher cost). There are many other factors to consider, such as laws/regulation, marketing, optimization, customer issues, tracking shipment, and more, but it’s something that you’ll learn later as you sell (I might cover that in the future in this blog).
Lastly, before you go and start selling for profit, don’t go and sell copyrighted goods and products that don’t match the descriptions. You’ll get hit with a lot of bullets that you won’t be able to dodge. Use your brains instead of looking for a quick scam to make quick money (trust me, I’ve also tested out selling copyrighted goods, and I’ve been hit with a hammer of justice, maybe I’ll write about it in the future). Good luck!