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Introduction

Introduction

On any given day there are more than 12 million items listed for auction at eBay, the world's largest online trading community. In the year 2002, almost $15 billion worth of merchandise, in more than 638 million individual auctions, was traded over eBay. That's $50 million a day—or $579 every second.

So who's making all that money?

While most eBay users are simple hobbyists, a surprisingly large number of users sell enough items to actually make a living from their eBay auctions. Officially or not, these users are running eBay businesses. They purchase inventory, market their products, collect payments, and ship merchandise, just like an Amazon.com or L.L. Bean does. They're businesses, pure and simple, that operate on and through the eBay auction service.

Does the prospect of running your own business, from the comfort of your own home, appeal to you? Do you think you can sell with the best of them and make enough from your eBay auctions to support yourself, either part-time or full-time? If so, then you should consider launching your own eBay business.

What do you need to know to make it on eBay? More than you think. You need to determine what kind of business you want to run, write an instructive business plan, establish an effective accounting system, set up a home office, obtain starting inventory, arrange initial funding, and establish an eBay presence.

And that's before you sell a single item.

Once you start selling, you have the entire auction management process to deal with. You have to list items for sale, manage your inventory, correspond with winning bidders, handle customer payments, deal with deadbeat customers, and pack and ship all those items you sell. To be truly successful, you need to do all this as efficiently as possible; you'll need to automate those repetitive tasks, manage your costs, and find a way to increase the success rates of the auctions you run.

As you can see, there's a lot of work involved in managing the day-to-day operation of a high-volume business. After all, running a successful online business isn't quite as simple as listing a few items for sale on eBay. Fortunately, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You're not the first person to dream about running their own eBay business, so you might as well learn from others who've already done it.

Which is where this book comes in.

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Launching an eBay Business shows you everything you need to know to launch and run your own business, using eBay auctions to sell your merchandise. I don't profess to know everything there is to know about managing a successful eBay business, but I can definitely help you get your business off the ground. All you have to do is follow the instructions and advice between these two covers, and before you know it, you'll be selling—profitably—on eBay. Just be prepared for a lot of work; the more you sell, the more work is involved—and, of course, the more money you'll make!

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