Perhaps most importantly, though, would-be eBay moguls need to specialize. Just throwing junk online won’t work. Sellers need to know what they want to sell and how they’re going to market it to their audiences. Again, competition is fierce, so research, preparation and strategy are critical. (For reference, eBay itself provides an extensive guide to selling on the site.)
For instance, suppose that you want to start a creative business using your sewing skills to make homemade quilts. Because of the time involved, you're only able to make two quilts per month. You discover that people are willing to pay $300 for each quilt you produce. That produces revenue of $600 per month, minus the cost of expenses related to quilt production and advertising.
You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate and every time somebody buys the product, you get a commission. With a blog, you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review—which is useful content—and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.
Figure out if you can make this business profitable. How much will people pay for your services? Can you make a good income off this? Many people see astronomical numbers in their future until they take the time to determine their profits. Be sure to consider how much time you can reasonably commit to your business and how much profit you can get back for your time and investment money. In some cases, a great business idea in theory can in reality be unprofitable. Account for every cost associated with your business instead of just the upfront costs such as inventory and advertising. Remember to calculate the easily overlooked overhead and expenses such as travel, legal fees and accounting.
Invest in your home based business. Before you get started, there are often investments you'll have to make in your business infrastructure. This varies based on the type of business you're running. For example, if you're running a printing business from home, you'll need to buy a professional printer and paper for it. If you're running an online business, it may be wise to upgrade your computer and internet speed. The time spent waiting for pages to load can add up and hurt your productivity.
Another option to start a business with no money is by running a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding allows you to presell products before making them. For example, if you wanted to start an at-home bakery, but need to raise $3,000 for equipment, you could presell baked goods on a platform, like Kickstarter, to raise funds. Before starting a crowdfunding campaign, it’s important to have a network of potential customers who are interested in buying your products.
This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. This article has been viewed 267,253 times.
Great post. My husband has been selling used books on-line for 10 years…It’s not enough to fully support our family of 6, but it does afford us a lot of flexibility. We both work other odds and ends spot jobs and it ends up working out. We have also had the flexibility to be volunteer managers at a church camp in the summer. (Right now the camp can not afford a manager) I’m pioneering a women’s conference and event ministry. I’ve always been very greatful for the freedom we have. My husband helps at the kids schools, apointments are easy to make, and the stress is less. It’s been a sacrifice in some ways but worth the gains in time and flexibility for sure.
With affiliate marketing, you offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission. Commission amounts vary depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products. As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either. Just like with drop shipping your only costs will be marketing and advertising to drive traffic and generate the sale.
Check into legal barriers for your business. Some areas have certain rules and regulations for home based businesses, and you need to check into those at your town's city hall before investing much time or money in your business. Some areas just make home based business owners carry a business license and nothing else. Not knowing about these regulations can be devastating to your business.
Used-car salesmen unfortunately have some nasty stereotypes to live down, but you don’t need a tacky blazer or a fast-talking sales pitch to make money buying and reselling cars. People throw away perfectly good (or certainly good enough) cars all the time for all sorts of trivial issues. If you know a little something about servicing a car and can make one shine for a Craigslist ad, you could take advantage of massive opportunities to buy used cars and resell them for major profit.
Once you’ve registered your home business as a legal entity, the next step is to open a business bank account. Having a business bank account effectively separates your personal and business expenses so you can avoid cash flow issues. Additionally, separating personal and business finances helps to ensure a smoother federal tax audit, if one were to ever occur.