There is no denying that the invention of the internet has changed the face of work for the better. No longer do people need to be an employee and have to commute to a place of work every day to earn their living.Being a solo-entrepreneur and trading online can give an individual the freedom they desire from the shackles of a traditional 9 to 5 job where you are working to line the pockets of others.Long gone are the days when the whole purpose of starting up a business was to keep growing it until it reaches the size of some giant monolith to completely dominate a business sector.These days more individuals are choosing to become solo-entrepreneurs to provide themselves with a comfortable living to equal that of a regular day job.One of the most popular home-based choices is to work in e-commerce selling goods, services, information or unique products that people can create themselves.
The need to be a savvy entrepreneur
There is also no doubt that if you want to succeed in the world of online selling that you need to be savvy about what you choose to sell, especially on selling platforms such as eBay, Amazon or via your own online shop.For those who buy in products to sell online, you need to have more than a gut feeling that something you buy to sell on for a profit is going to work. This is where you should make good use of free product research tools to spot the latest trend and jump onboard.
Product research tools for spotting trends
One of the best tools for seeing what is trending on eBay is HERE. You can use this tool to spot the current 'hot products' that people cannot get enough of, but also what products are on the rise that can be your next lucrative best seller.This tool will also help you to see what products are taking a nose-dive, so if you are currently stocking items that are falling in popularity, you can decide to jump ship to a trending product to ride that wave instead.Researching what products are hot can give you some inspiration on what to sell if you are starting from scratch and have no idea where to start.Another very useful tool is the eBay Most Popular Tool. You can look at potential new markets to enter that you have an interest in or some background knowledge about. Use this tool like a search engine for eBay. Key in your search terms and the tool will generate a list of current auctions.Not only will you be able to see specific auctions that match your search terms but you will also see which auctions have the most bids and watchers. You will quickly get an idea just how popular a certain niche is that you may want to enter.
Don't put all of your eggs into one basket!
While the above research tools are very handy, try not to get stuck into the mindset of only selling on eBay to make a profit.
There is a potentially better way to use the data that you can glean from these research tools:
1: Find out what is trending2: Source them at the best possible price3: Sell these products elsewhereFor example, instead of buying in a trending stock to list on eBay, look at selling on Amazon, other online auction sites, through your own Shopify store or even via Facebook.By doing this you will be selling hot products that are in demand but via different media channels that may not be nearly as saturated a marketplace like eBay.
eBay vs Facebook marketplace
eBay has been around for a few years now and it has become the 'go-to' place for selling off the junk from your attic, your old baby clothes and second-hand goods that you no longer want.However, the savvy entrepreneur saw a lucrative opening here to source new and second-hand goods to sell on for a tidy profit very early on in the auction site's history.Now over 4 million people are selling on eBay in the UK alone, with an estimated 190,000+ registered businesses trading on the selling platform.This can feel a little overwhelming to a sole trader trying to establish a niche on eBay. It can be a very saturated marketplace where competition is high.However, a great alternative to eBay can be Facebook. There are not only local selling groups on the network but the Facebook Marketplace is now positioned itself to be hot on the heels of eBay and a genuine competitor for those looking to sell products online.
It's all about the fees
What is great about selling on Facebook is the fact that there are ZERO fees. This means you get to keep all of your profit from the sale. With eBay, you will have to pay selling fees which cut into your profits.You need to weigh up your options here because you do get a wider audience with eBay so if you are selling something small, lightweight and easy to post, you may be better off paying the fees to reach a wider audience.eBay will take 10% of the total sale price including postage when your items sell. Factor in your PayPal fees on top of this and what you are left with isn't so appealing.Most of Facebook's sales happen at the local level through local selling groups. This is a great option if you have something to sell that your local community will be interested in.In a test conducted by a team from Money Saving Expert where they sold 20 various items on eBay and Facebook, they found that 14 out of the 20 items sold for more on Facebook after fees were taken into consideration.Facebook is all about connecting with people and supporting your local community, so people are now looking to harness the power of Facebook to sell their goods to the local community through local selling groups for free.
How do you sell on Facebook?
So, let's say, for example, that you have sourced a job lot of t-shirts. You simply post an ad on Facebook advertising your shirts, and interested buyers will contact you.From here you can arrange for them to drop in to look at your shirts and pay you cash for one or more if they are happy with them. It is a bit like a modern take on the old newspaper classified ads.Again, if you try to diversify your selling through various sites and platforms such as eBay, Amazon, other auction sites and Facebook, you will reach a wider audience than simply sticking to eBay.However, one surprising fact that the Money Saving Team discovered while testing both sites was they found it quicker to shift things on local groups that remained unsold on eBay. Something to think about if you are carrying a lot of dead-stock that is listed on eBay!
The downside to selling on Facebook
No selling platform is going to be perfect and with Facebook, you do have to factor in that their local selling groups are run by volunteers.This means that Facebook won't get involved in the transactions between you and your customer. But it also means that there is very little comeback if you experience problems with your customers.If you run your business from home and your Facebook customers drop in to pick up their good from you, then any unhappy or disgruntled customer will know where you live.This can be a worry if you have young children or elderly relatives living with you that you will want to protect. So this needs to be weighed up before you decide to invite strangers around to your house.
How to protect your home address when you have a home-based business
One of the main worries for entrepreneurs running a business from home is how to keep your private home address off the public record to help keep your family safe.The last thing you want is for an unhappy customer to be banging aggressively on your front door and upsetting your family members.There is a very professional way around this problem that many thousands of solo-entrepreneurs use to keep their personal address private. This solution also offers the extra benefit of giving your small business a more businesslike image.What we are talking about here is using a business office address service such as our London Office Address and Mail Forwarding package.By using our service you can give your home-based business a professional image with a highly prestigious London business address. Your company address would be based in the heart of London's business district at:Your business or personal nameKemp House152 – 160 City RoadLondon, EC1V 2NXBut it is not only having a highly prestigious company address that you can benefit from. Our in-built mail forwarding service is also included in this package.This means that we will receive your business letters, parcels and signed-for documentation at our London based offices and you can then choose what you want to do with your mail.You could choose to have all of your mail forwarded to your home address, scanned and emailed to you, or if you are local you can call in and collect your post in person – keeping your private residential address off the Public Register of Businesses kept at Companies House.Our London address and mail forwarding services are trusted by thousands of small businesses that want to keep their home address private to protect their family and property.This is an instant service that once set up can be used immediately. You even get the free use of a modern, well equipped London based business meeting room.Overall you get to protect your home address, keep your family life and business life separate and also impress your customers with prestigious London-based bricks and mortar business address.Give our friendly team a call for more information on +44 (0) 207 5663939 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more help.