While millions of people dream of becoming their own boss and working from the relative comfort of their own homes, the specifics of how to actually go about doing so remain a bit unclear for most. This book hopes to clear much of that up with clear, concise advice on how to set up your very own drop-ship enterprise using eBay, the world’s largest retailer. The Internet has opened up opportunities for people of all ages, no matter where they live. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the world’s leading auction site, eBay. Not only is one able to get rid of all the junk in their attic or basement, but you are now able to become a bona-fide retailer, with eBay virtual storefronts. Moreover, there is nothing saying that you need to make the products yourself or even send them yourself. In fact, one of the fastest growing segments of eBay sales – one that is potentially very lucrative – is facilitating sales from manufacturers and wholesalers directly to customers through dropshipping.

While all business opportunities are fraught with dangers and pitfalls, dropshipping on eBay has the advantage of being one of the few ways you can start up a profitable business without putting a large sum of money up front. In fact, since there is a short period of time where you have a buyer’s money before you actually the wholesaler or manufacturer you’re dealing with the money for the goods, the only money you’re responsible for putting up front are the modest eBay fees. For as little as $1, you can be on your way to re-selling items on eBay for profit.

Your No Money Up-front Commitment

In fact, for most people looking to start up with a lucrative home-based business, the no money up-front aspect of dropshipping is the most appealing aspect. In a traditional business, one can put up thousands of dollars before you ever see Dime One. Since your shop is a virtual one and there is no need to spend money on the physical plant, warehousing and other elements of a traditional business. It may come as no surprise to you that it’s easy to forget your commitment to not spending money to do things the “easy” way. But, the real beauty of this process is that it isn’t really any harder to set up shop and begin selling without spending any money at all – you just need to know the tricks and that’s what this book aims to do. For starters, you need to go into this with a plan. Sure, plenty of folks are able to stumble their way into modest eBay profits, but the eBay marketplace is a lot more crowded than it was even a few years ago. No matter the market segment you choose to focus upon, you’ll be forced to specialize in order to really stand out in an increasingly crowded virtual room. Of course, that’s the beauty of starting up such a business, even if it is done in your spare time as a second source of income. For many, this is a good way to jump into doing something with a hobby or avocation that they really love. Indeed, this is a good way to really find out how lucrative your hobby is might be to give it a test run with eBay dropshipping.

Why eBay?

When eBay was introduced in 1995 (under the short-lived name AuctionWeb) as yet another San Jose, California, startup, no one had any idea that it would go on to transform the way that millions of people in at least 30 countries do business. Immediately, even the founder of the company was astonished at some of the bizarre things people were willing to purchase. However, when the company went public in 1998, both the founder, Pierre Omidyar, and his first employee, Jeffrey Skoll, became instant billionaires. In short, eBay is a business model based upon the notion that the ubiquitous nature of the Internet is uniquely suited to bringing buyers and sellers together, no matter how small the market for the goods may be. This is especially attractive to small business owners looking to fill a niche market. This way, you don’t need to create, maintain and advertise a website of your own, saving a considerable investment of time and money.

While there are other online sites that allow sales, none have the worldwide appeal of eBay. It has become so commonplace for shoppers to check eBay for a deal that, like Google, the company name has become a verb, with many people looking to “eBay” an item they wish to buy or sell. Quite simply, you’ll reach the most people (nearly 1 billion visitors per year), by far, when you conduct your business using eBay. There are some eBay rules specific to dropshippers, listed under the larger label of “presale items.” While they consider the practice to be “limited,” if you follow their rules, you will have no problems selling a significant number of items this way each month. The usual threats to your status on eBay apply if you should fail to follow these basic rules. In short, they are: The item must be delivered within 30 days of the end of the auction You must clearly indicate in the item description that the item is being dropshipped to the customer Though not strictly required, items that have a longer ship time should be listed with a projected ship date in the auction text.

Setting Up Shop

Even before you find a company to do business with, you’ll want to put yourself in a position to begin doing business yourself. With yourself as the only employee, there is precious little that you are officially compelled to do in order to begin selling on eBay. Now That You’ve Decided To Jump Right In Given that over 40 million people worldwide have done so, it should come as no surprise that it’s not too hard to set up your new eBay account and get started. Of course, you will need a computer with constant reliable access to broad-band internet connectivity. Today, a great many people use a WiFi connection on their laptops. Whatever you feel comfortable typing on for several hours per day, will do.

Creating Business Specific Accounts

Even if you already have a personal eBay account, you should plan on starting from scratch and creating a totally separate business entity, both on eBay and with funds management. This allows you to better keep track of your business finances and sales by running separate reports at the end of each month.

Separate email

Since you’ll be using email as your primary means of communicating with your clients, it makes good sense to have a separate email address for your eBay store. This will be used with all your correspondence with both customers and suppliers. Once you have established a rapport with your suppliers, you may want to set up a separate email for such correspondence, too, but a single one will do fine for just starting up. Choose a business name and register an appropriate email address with one of the free web-based email services. Though most professionals recommend you avoid using free online resources such as gMail and Yahoo for your address, since you’re working with eBay and not on your own website, it is much more acceptable. Given your “no money down” paradigm, this option makes a lot of sense. Get this part out of the way early so you can have your chosen business email on all of your accounts.

Bank account

The best place to start putting your finances into a single business entity is at the bank. No, not for a loan, but to get ready to set up your online accounts. In fact, in order to set up your business account with PayPal (see below), you should set up a separate bank account so this money isn’t mixed up with your personal assets. It will make bookkeeping much easier later on.

In most cases, this won’t cost you anything, though most banks require you to start the account with at least $10-20. While you may want to upgrade to a business account at a later date to take advantage of some flexibility that some institutions offer (such as lines of credit and report generation), a separate personal account will do just fine when you’re starting out. It is to your advantage to use the same bank where your have your usual personal account (checking or savings) with to start a business-specific account. It can be a regular checking account, as this will almost always allow you to make instantaneous (or nearly so) transfers between accounts. There should be no charge to make such transfers. If there is, you might want to seriously consider changing banks for all your accounts. This may or may not come with a separate checkbook and ATM card. If your bank does offer an ATM card with your new account, it is very likely that it will be guaranteed by a credit agency such as Visa or Master Card. If this is the case, such a card is ideally suited to be used as the credit card you start up your PayPal account with.

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