A part-time eBay.co.uk business can be very profitable. We stress repeatedly in this book that the more time and energy you spend on your eBay business, the more money you can make, but for now we move on to the lowest possible level of time that you should devote to your business.
Maybe you enjoy finding miscellaneous items to sell on eBay. You can find these items somehow in your day-to-day life. Suppose that you can spend at least a few hours (maybe three) a day on eBay. Now you must include the time you take to write up your auctions. If you're not selling only one type of item, allow about 15 minutes to write your auction, take your picture or scan your image, and, of course, upload it to eBay.co.uk or a photo-hosting site.
How much time it takes to perform these tasks varies from person to person and improves according to your level of expertise. Every task in your eBay auction business takes time, however, and you must budget for that time. See the sidebar 'Some handy eBay.co.uk time-saving tips' for pointers.
Only you can decide how much time you want to spend researching going rates for items on eBay.co.uk and deciding which day or time your item will sell for the highest price. You can take great photos and write brilliant descriptions, but cashmere cardigans don't sell for as much in the heat of summer as they do in winter. Doing your research can take up a good deal of time when you're selling a varied group of items.
Some handy eBay.co.uk time-saving tips
Stuck for time? Following are some features that you're sure to find useful and handy:
^ HTML templates: In Chapter 11, I give you some tips on finding basic HTML format templates for attractive auctions. These templates cut your auction design time to a few minutes. Most experienced eBay sellers use preset templates to speed up the task of listing auctions, and this should be your goal.
^ Turbo Lister program: When you want to list a lot of auctions at once, use the eBay Turbo Lister program- it enables you to put together and upload ten auctions in just 15 minutes. Chapter 9 tells you how to use this very cool tool.
^ Re-listing (or Sell Similar) feature: When you sell the same item time after time, you can use Turbo Lister (it archives your old listings so you can repeat them) or the handy eBay re-listing or Sell Similar features. When your auction ends on eBay, links pop up offering to re-list your listing or to Sell Similar. If you want to run a different auction with a similar HTML format to the one that just ended, simply select the Sell Similar option and cut and paste the new title and description into the Sell Your Item page of your new listing.
^ Auction management software: See the
'Software you can use' section in this chapter and see also Chapter 9, which details various programs to integrate into your eBay business.
Consider also how much time shopping for your merchandise takes. You may have to travel to dealers, go to auctions, or spend time online discovering new ways to find your auction merchandise. Many sellers set aside a full day each week for this undertaking. Your merchandise is what makes you money, so don't skimp on the time you spend identifying products. The time you spend on resourcing your products comes back to you in higher profits.
Here's a list of various activities that you must perform when doing business on eBay.co.uk:
^ Photograph the item.
^ Upload the images to eBay Picture Services when you list or before listing to your ISP or third-party hosting service.
^ Weigh the item and determine the shipping cost.
^ Choose an auction title with keywords.
^ Write a concise and creative description.
^ List the auction on eBay.co.uk.
^ Answer bidder questions. ^ Send end-of-auction e-mails. ^ Carry out banking. ^ Perform bookkeeping. ^ Pack the item safely and securely. ^ Address the label and affix postage. ^ Go to the post office.
Time yourself to see how long you take to accomplish each of these tasks. The time varies when you list multiple items, so think of the figures that you come up with as your baseline, a minimum amount of time that you must set aside for these tasks. Use this information to help you decide how many hours per month you need to devote to running your part-time eBay business.
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