Okay, the worst just happened, you got made redundant, you’re over 50 and still have bills to pay. Worse still, there are few job prospects in your area (or field of expertise). What do you do?
While 2010 is likely to be difficult year for many of us, don’t give up on the job front. There’ll be more competition because there are more people out of work. You may have to lower your sights a bit in terms of income and while you’re looking, think about selling things online.
You can start simply by opening an Ebay and Paypal account then verify your Paypal account and link a bank account to it – that way when you want to actually spend the money you can transfer it to your account. While Ebay and Paypal are the most well known there are other sites and they may be cheaper although the traffic may be lower. Take a look here for some alternatives.
What to sell? Start off by looking around the house for things you don’t want or need anymore. It costs very little to list items and what you don’t want could be treasure to someone else! If you have expertise in an area, such as fishing, you may be able to sell related items. Check with the shop you buy your stuff from – they will have distributors for the products they sell, perhaps they would let you buy smaller quantities from them to sell on Ebay.
Remember that both Ebay and Paypal charge fees and factor them into your prices. Also factor in the cost of postage and packing. If you are selling items you buy then you’ll need to account for tax. For items you own, tax is not an issue.
If you get to the point of regular income from Ebay then consider your own shop either on Ebay itself or standalone to reduce the fees. Setting up a shop is not difficult but you may want to enlist the help of someone with a bit of computer know-how, at least initially.
Don’t let the technology put you off, it’s not about technology. Selling online is just like every other form of selling. You have products people want, at a price they are prepared to pay and you make sure they can buy them, easily!
Take a look here for some more ideas but remember this site wants to sell you an online store! Nevertheless, the information is useful.
Running an online business is the same as any other business – more money in than out is the objective! Keep your costs down ALL THE TIME. Too many start to make a profit then presume that it will all snowball from there and they’ll soon be rich. If you don’t nail your costs someone WILL be rich but it won’t be you!
Stay legal – selling online is covered by distance selling regulations – find out more here.
To start an online shop you’ll need a domain name, e-mail, somewhere to host your shop and some software to create it with. You can get a domain name from around £6-10 per year from the likes of UKreg or 123-reg who will also provide e-mail facilities and a place to host your site.
For software, there are numerous Open Source options available such as Prestashop, osCommerce and Magento although you’ll probably need some techie help to set these up. Here’s an example of a PrestaShop online shop – take look around here.
You’ll need to market your shop and there is no one-size-fits-all option but you could try free sites such as Gumtree, Vivastreet and Craig’s List. Also, when you ship items from Ebay include flyers, special offers and discount vouchers all only available on your new online shop. Your shop may not be “better than M&S” but if you can find a niche you can still make money!
That’s just a few thoughts for now but I would welcome any contributions…