• Eric Bowie

How I Started an Ebay Business

In 2013, my daughter was headed to college, and I had no money saved for her. I decided that year that instead of taking on a side gig for pennies an hour, I'd start my own business to help pay for her college education. I didn't want another hourly job. I wanted to do something where I was the boss, and I controlled my own destiny. I wanted to learn to run my own business to help pay for her education. Over my life, I had a lot of jobs and a lot of supervisors. No more.

Here is a list of all of the jobs I've had:

Kentucky Fried Chicken Cook

Concession stand worker at the movies


Teller at the Dog Track

Teleworker at a Windows and Door Company

Teleworker at AT&T

Floor Technician at Wal Mart

Truck cleaner at U-Haul

Upper and Lower bay technician at Jiffy Lube


Cook at Wendy's

Men's shoe sales at Dillards

Customer Service (Floors) at Home Depot

Sales Rep in TV's and Audio at Circuit City



Government worker (2 different Government agencies)

I haven't done it all, but by 2013, I had come close. I was tired of the notion of having to get paid by somebody else to sit around for hour after hour, taking ordes from people that knew half as much as me. I knew I could make more money on my own, doing my own side gig, then somebody could pay me. Taking a risk was not new to me. In 2000, I had ventured out and started buying and investing in Real Estate and rental houses. So I knew that there was risk involved, but I also knew I could handle the risks. Enter the notion of Ebay. One day while listening to a Dave Ramsey radio show, I heard a caller say he had started selling things on ebay to pay off debt. The proverbial light bulb went off. I now had a plan.

It was March 2013, and my daughter was graduating in May. So as not to delay, I opened an ebay account, opened a Paypal account, and was in business. My goal was to have gotten over the learning curve before we needed money for her college in August 2013. I read information online, watched youtube videos, prayed a lot, and soaked up as much information as I could about ebay. I started by selling things around the house in April of 2013. I then started going to garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. I started slow. For the first 3 or 4 months, I only had about 30 items for sale on ebay at any given time. I wanted to learn, learn, learn. And I learned quickly. I learned what worked, and what didn't work.

One day, I ran into a pair of shoes at a thrift store. I placed them on ebay and bam!! They sold quick. I purchased them for $4 and they sold for $35. Great profit margin. Another light bulb went off in my head. If you go back to the list above of all of my jobs, I actually spent a year working part time at Dillards as a men's shoe salesman. I leaned on those skills and began sourcing shoes only. This was now my niche. My ebay store was born.

Since about May of 2013, about 95% of everything I've sold on ebay has been women's and men's shoes. In that 4+ years, I've sold nearly 2,800 pairs of shoes, with total sales of over $77,000. currently have about 300 pairs of shoes for sale on my ebay store.

There are tons of details, lessons learned, and super important caveats to this story. I will be sharing details in subsequent posts. If you need extra money, sell on ebay. There are other platforms you can sell on. Amazon, Etsy, etc. This is a great supplemental income. There is lots of work involved and a learning curve. But that's ok. Its very doable and it helped us pay cash for my daughters college degree. Much credit goes to her for working 3 jobs, but our portion was paid by our ebay store. All it takes is some time and effort, and some good old fashioned work.

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