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One of the best, and simplest, ways to start a Wahm business online is to become a seller on one of the several online auction sites. Ebay is the most popular, and most widely recognized. However, sellers are also having success on Yahoo auctions, Overstock auctions and many others. Being an online auction seller has many benefits for a Wahm. You can run your business from your home. You can set up auctions to automatically list at certain times of the day, so you don’t always have to be at the computer. Plus, there is guaranteed traffic to the auction website which makes it simple to get new customers.
Before you start an online auction business you should decide whether or not you have the skills or willingness to do so. Although there is a lot of money to be made in auctions, there are also a lot of challenges. As a successful auction Wahm, you need to have the tenacity to try different things to increase you sales. You must also have knowledge of what the market wants so you can provide in demand products that will sell. Money management is a must, since selling on an auction is typically a home-based business. You will be in charge of the finances of the business and need to be responsible for keeping your business and personal finances separate.
Online auction businesses are very simple to start. To start an ebay business, for example, all you need is a registered account with eBay, and a paypal account. The ebay account will allow you to perform transactions on their website. The paypal account will allow you to accept payment for items that you sell, as well as pay for the ebay fees. Although you can technically take payments through check or money order, using paypal makes the process a whole lot faster and more enjoyable for your customers.
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The fees involved with running an ebay business are minimal compared to having your own store on a separate website. While hosting for a website can cost upwards of $20 per month, ebay only charges you a small percentage of the items that you sell. There are also some other minimal fees involved, and most sellers work those fees into their listing price.
Before you decide to sell on an auction site as a business, try a buying from the auction site first. Understand the process from the buyer’s point of view. Take note of how you are treated by the seller and ask yourself what you would do differently. Buying before selling is also a good method because you can build feedback in the auction site system. Feedback is left whether you buy or sell, so building some feedback as a buyer is a good idea. A positive feedback record will make you more appealing as a seller.
Finding items to sell is the biggest perceived problem with selling on auction sites. However, you can start with items from around your home. Look in your closets and in your garage for items that can be sold on the auction sites. You will be surprised by what people will buy. Selling from around your home will give you experience with the selling process and will build positive selling feedback.
Familiarize yourself with the auction process before you begin selling. Remember to start your business small and let it develop as you become more confident in your auction selling abilities.
Finding inventory for a Wahm auction business
If you are interested in becoming an auction Wahm, you might be curious about where to get items to sell on eBay or one of the other popular online auction sites. Actually, there are a wide variety of choices for your auction inventory. Each has different benefits and disadvantages. However, with so many options it is easy to find a method that works well for you and that can help you start a successful Wahm business.
The first, and most simple, method of finding things to sell in online auctions is searching the garage sales in your local area. Many people are not comfortable with selling online, or they don’t want to take the time to do it. You may find a lot of interesting and valuable treasures that can be sold for a nice profit. The benefit of this method is that your inventory can usually be purchased very cheaply. Try going to yard sales as they are ending and see if you can get a bulk deal to buy whatever the person has left for a flat fee. Sometimes there will be items that will double or even triple your initial investment. You also have the benefit of being able to shop locally. You won’t have to travel far to get the items that you need. Another similar option is to look for estate sales and auctions in your area.
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On the downside, when you purchase inventory from yard sales, you really have to know what you are looking for. Sometimes this method works better if you are focusing on selling a specific category of items, like pottery or children’s toys. If you have a category of items that you are familiar with, you’ll know how much you can afford to spend. You will also be able to spot deals when you see them. The other downside is that when you purchase items, you need somewhere in your home to store them before you sell them. If you buy a lot of items and have to sort through them, your garage and spare room will fill up in no time.
Some people prefer to keep the inventory out of their homes and work with a drop shipper. Drop shipping companies have items that you can sell on auctions. You list the items on the auction site, and then once the auction is complete, you arrange shipment with the drop ship company. You never have to have the product in your home, and don’t have to worry about going to the post office a few times a week. As a Wahm, the convenience of working with a drop shipping company can be a huge benefit. However, the profit margins of having the company do the shipping can be very small when compared to some of your other options.
When you obtain a business license you can order wholesale products from a company. Light bulk wholesale is the best option for most Wahms. These wholesale packages include from several hundred to a thousand dollars worth of product. Light bulk wholesale can be delivered to your home and won’t require excessive amounts of storage space. Selling from a wholesale lot means that you are in charge of setting your prices and can have more profit than you would by drop shipping. You are also not at the mercy of a drop shipping company, who may deliver your items late and put your customer service at risk.
On the other hand, stocking your own inventory can be a bit overwhelming unless you are organized. You can easily get bogged down in getting the right items to the right buyers. You will also be responsible for going to the post office several times a week, and packaging the items yourself.
However, with a bit of preparation, the most successful auction site Wahms find that buying items in wholesale lots gives them the most control over their business and the best profit margins. If you are just getting started, try one of the other methods first and then work up to buying wholesale lots.
Opening an Online Store
Opening your own store as a Wahm is easy when you take your business online. Online shopping is becoming a mainstay of American commerce and more people are comfortable with making purchases from Internet stores. If you have something that you are passionate about selling, consider opening an online store.
Before you start an online store, do some research online and check out your potential competition. If you have a business idea in mind, it is worth the time and effort to see what else is being sold in your category of products. If you have no idea what you want to sell, you’ll also want to head online to search out what would be most profitable to sell.
When you make the selection of what you are going to sell, remember to think "niche." A niche is a small category of products that meet the needs of a specific group of people. Your online store shouldn’t have a "Wal-mart" approach where there is a little bit of everything for everyone. Online commerce is all about small categories of interest. There are so many things to choose from, you have more success when you cater to a small and specific group of people.
The best place to start with finding a niche is thinking about your own interests. When you sell to a niche that you know well, you are more likely to know what products will be of interest to those people. You can sell to your clientele based on your own experience.
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Many Wahms start an online store because they have homemade products to offer. One example is handmade baby clothes and cloth diapers. Many Wahms have found success with putting their sewing skills to work and selling their wares online. Other popular handmade online stores include bath and body products, candles and gift baskets.
This does not mean that you can’t have online store success if you don’t make your own products. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of Wahms who have success by opening stores stocked with store-bought inventory.
Whatever your choice, whether handmade or store bought, there are many options for hosting your online store. These options depend on how comfortable you are with web design. Many companies, like Yahoo, offer store websites that are very user friendly and simple to set up. They can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 per month for the storefront services. Many Wahms also find success with eBay stores, which allow them to sell in auctions or in a fixed price format.
Look at all of your options before you choose your online store hosting. Remember that the quality of your hosting will reflect the quality of your business. The last thing you need is your entire website going down due to cheap hosting. The best choice is to find a reputable host that will provide you with a storefront and hosting for a reasonable price. Don’t try to pinch pennies on this aspect of your business. You could end up out of business in no time.
Once you’ve found a place to host your store, you’ll need to drive internet traffic to the store. One of the easiest ways is to trade banners with other Wahm online stores. Many Wahms support each other in their online efforts. This form of networking is a great way to introduce your products to customers who already look to support Wahms. You can also advertise using pay per click advertising and work on your website so that it increases in page ranking for certain search terms.
Keep your customers coming back with an easy to navigate website, simple ordering techniques and good customer service. Even though most of your business will be done online, it’s a good idea to get a business phone line and put that number on your website. This way customers can feel confident in purchasing from you because they know they can speak to a real person if there is a problem with their order.
Regardless of what type of online Wahm store you choose to open, following these tips will make your business a success.
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