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How to Start Your eBay Empire

Starting an eBay business may at first seems like an easy task, but when you set out to actually do it you are faced with the first and hardest question you need to answer - "What do I sell?" Sadly, most people can't answer this question and soon find their business only existing in their head. Others will grab the first thing they see on sale, buy it up and pray that they can sell it at a profit. Most of these people lose money, and again, their business winds up as just an illusion.

You have to start out on the right track from the very beginning if you want to make a successful career on eBay. Finding the right products to sell is the first step. First, you need to know what categories are the most popular and profitable. Broadly speaking the best categories of things to sell on eBay are as follows:

o Electronics
o Clothes
o Books
o Collectibles

Understanding what segments of those categories will have the most buyers and offer you the best opportunity to make a profit is what will make you successful. Rather than just buying anything in that category, be choosy and only pick the best items in each category. The best things to sell on eBay are often in niche segments within a category.

Electronics: small, portable electronics like iPods, and cell phones, particularly iPhones and BlackBerrys. Items that are easily lost, stolen, broken, etc. and accessories for those products. Computer cables, adapters, and small accessories. Also, refurbished laptops and discounted flat panel monitors.

Clothes: Children's clothes and discount designer label items (NO KNOCKOFFS!). Unique T-shirts, new or old. Used jeans. Accessories, jewelry, etc.

Books: Niche specific non-fiction and 1st editions. Children's books in good condition.

Collectibles: Coins, stamps, comic books, sports memorabilia, pretty much anything that can be identified and has a published price guide that is updated yearly.

Where do you get all this stuff?

The obvious first place to look for things to sell on eBay is your garage or attic. You can clear out space for new stock and get valuable experience selling on eBay. One of the most important things you'll accomplish in this initial phase is the building of your eBay feedback rating. If you try to sell a big ticket item with a feedback score below 25, you're going to lose money.

Don't rush this phase, and try to become rich. Your main focus is a high volume of transactions and good customer service. List these first items at a price less than what you think you want for them and when they do sell, ship them out the same day if possible.

Now that your garage is empty and you have feedback rating over 25, it's time to go shopping. Your first stop should be at your local discount clothing store. Places like Ross or Nordstrom's Rack sell designer label clothes for a fraction of the retail value.

Only buy women's clothes. You want basics, something a woman needs frequently for work, or ultra-trendy, something that everyone has to have, but can't necessarily afford. It's easier to go with the basics.

Warning: Never try to sell knockoffs on eBay. You will get a lifetime ban. Additionally, they can ban anyone at your address or IP, for life. While eBay itself is not that vigilant on watching out for copyright or trademark infringement, the corporate lawyers are. There are people whose sole job is to surf eBay looking for infringing items and notifying eBay.

Also, never use someone else's pictures, either from a listing or anywhere on the web. If you didn't take the picture yourself, someone else holds the copyright. A seller can get you banned from eBay if they report you as using their listing images, or even copying their html or text from a listing.

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