Home base: Your Web site
eBay offers you a free page — the About Me page — that’s the most important link to your business at eBay.
The About Me page is part of your eBay store if you have one. You can insert a link on your About Me page that takes bidders to your auctions. You can also link to your own Web site from the About Me page — if you have one. If you don’t, I recommend that you get one, especially if you’re serious about running an eBay business.
Your own Web site can have your complete inventory and information on your company. Relying on an eBay store to be your main base of operations isn’t prudent. And you’ll more than likely be selling items from your Web site as well. Remember that there’s no listing or final value fee when you have repeat customers on your Web site. You can keep your complete inventory of items on your Web site and list them as auctions or in your eBay store as their selling season comes around.
Setting up your shop
Office and storage space are a must if you plan to get big. Many a business was started at the kitchen table, but to be serious with a business, you must draw definite lines between your home life and your online ventures.
Concentrating when you’ve got a lot of noise in the background is difficult, so when I say draw a line, I don’t just mean an environmental one but a physical one as well.
Your dedicated office
You must first separate the family from the hub of your business. Many eBay sellers use a spare bedroom. I started my home business in a small 10-x-12-foot room. But as time progresses and as your business grows, you’re going to have to move. I chose to sacrifice my detached two-car garage. I guess I could have made it into a one-car garage, but I decided to take over the whole thing instead. Here’s what I did:
Zoning laws in Southern California require me to have a garage, so I put a false office wall in the back so that the garage door could open normally. I used that area for extra storage. My garage had been wired (for some guy who was going to use big-time power tools, I suppose) and had its own breaker box. I hired an electrician to come in and place outlets around my office and had a large window cut into the wall overlooking my backyard (to remove the claustrophobic feeling and for ventilation). I now had a window and electricity.
The phone man came by and brought a line into the garage; a friend installed double jacks all around to accommodate the two phone lines. I picked out some reasonably priced paneling and hired workmen to install it and to drop a paneled ceiling with florescent lights. Finally, I bought furniture from my local Goodwill store. Presto-chango — I had successfully transformed what was once a dark garage into a bright, gleaming 18- x-20-foot private office. And here I successfully ran my advertising and marketing business for over ten years.
So you, too, have adjustments and decisions to make, just as I did, because you’re going to need office space and storage space, too.
Your eBay room
If you’re able to set up an office similar to mine, you should have your storage space covered for a while. For a real business, a closet just won’t do, even though most sellers begin their eBay careers with an eBay closet. You’re going to have to seclude your stuff from your pets and family. Move it into another room. You’ll also have to get shelving and plenty more supplies to organize things.
One power seller that I know moved all the junk out of his basement and set up shop there. He now has three computers and employs his wife and a part-time lister (who put his auctions up at eBay) to run the show.
His basement office is networked and is as professional as any office. You’ve got to do this if you want to hit the big time.