Greg Holden is the author of several books about eBay, including ‘How to Do Everything with Your eBay Business’, and ‘The Collector’s Guide to eBay’.
He also recently met several eBay millionaires, hoping to find common threads in their stories which would be of help to us mortal eBay sellers.
The eBay millionaires Greg interviewed were all aged 30 or less. And each of them grossed a million dollars or more on eBay in 2005.
Two women who run Express Drop, the drop-off store, just sqeezed in with gross sales of $1.02 million. Since their eBay revenue is shared with their consignment clients, and they have premises overheads, it’s fair to say that their profits were a little less than $1 million.
However, David Wirtenberg of Outrageous Diamonds grossed $4 million eBay sales in 2004, and he projects 2006 sales as being $8 to $10 million. And Chris Rush of HiFi Sound Connection grossed $5 million eBay sales in 2005. The chances are pretty good that each of these gentlemen made more than $1 million in profits.
Although PowerSellers who are at the Gold or Titanium level have achieved a high level of success, that doesn’t mean they are out of the ordinary. Greg found them to be just regular folks who are not really so different from you or me. Most of them started out with little or nothing and made the best of the same opportunities we all have on eBay.
So, what is that sets these young millionaires apart from the rest of us eBayers? Here are some of the things Greg I learned:
Choose your relatives wisely
Yes, Greg knows you can’t really do this, but he suggests you look to see if money really is growing on your family tree. Many of the eBay millionaires he met had relatives who were themselves entrepreneurs or had some experience in business. They called on those relatives for a helping hand when they were starting out. David Wirtenberg got some pointers from his father-in-law, who was in sales and marketing. Chris Rush started with a $10,000 loan from his grandfather to purchase his initial inventory.
Mentoring isn’t just for college internships
Even if your family can’t help in your eBay business, perhaps someone else can. Dan Glasure of Dan’s Train Depot started out in the cleaning business. His father helped get him started selling trains and other collectibles on eBay. After his father passed away, Dan called on two of his best customers for help – one a billionaire, the other a business professor – who helped him draw up some formal business plans.
Don’t imitate the Lone Ranger
Greg found that one of the biggest differences between the eBay millionaires and the rest of us, is volume. They deal in hundreds of sales a week, thousands per month. Marat Denenberg of Narro Corp. sells as many as 80 pieces of computer equipment each day. Some hire employees; and they rent or purchase warehouses. Many of them also do something that’s within the reach of most of us: they sign up with one of the auction service providers that helps them sell. Mordy Eisenberg of GSM Cellular works with ChannelAdvisor. Eran Dekel deals in such high volume that he was able to set up a discounted shipping arrangement with UPS. Other sellers Greg interviewed work with providers like Zoovy, Infopia, and Marketworks to help them build volume.
Be open to selling on consignment
Greg found that several of the eBay millionaires specialize in selling items on eBay for others. Adam Hersh, 27, is one of eBay’s most successful Trading Assistants. Tiffany Tanaka, Ellen Navarro, and Amy Mayer run eBay drop-off stores. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of your own inventory to sell or can’t find a wholesale distributor, selling for other people can help you build up positive feedback and become a PowerSeller quickly.
Many of the millionaire sellers Greg met agreed that eBay is a great place to start your first business, no matter what your age and level of experience. So, although those selected for Greg’s interviews were relatively young, don’t think you’ve somehow “missed the boat” if you’re on the upside of 30 – I’m double that, and still like to think that I have a kick! So my advice is to think positive, learn from the success of these young entrepreneurs and you can become a more effective seller.