Why and 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 what felt like pennies on the hour, I'd start my own business to pay for her college. I didn't want another hourly job, because there was something in me telling me that I could work harder and smarter for myself and make more money per hour, then I could make at some piddly job.

I wanted to do something where I was the boss, and I controlled my own destiny. I wanted to take this opportunity to do something that I always wanted to do, which was learn to run my own business. Over my life, I had a lot of jobs and a lot of supervisors, but I was done with that. I told myself "NO MORE".

Check out my blog post HERE to see the number of jobs I've had.

Check out my EBay store HERE

I haven't done it all, but by 2013, I felt like I had come close to doing it all. I was tired of the notion of having to get paid by somebody else to sit around for hour after hour and taking orders 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 risks 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. So I began watching YouTube videos about the topic and I literally learned a ton. The only think I need now was the courage to make it happen.

It was March 2013, and my daughter was graduating High School in May. Thank goodness, due to her own hard work, she was going to be working, and she had a few scholarships to help. But there was still a gap that we needed to fill, in order to ensure that she didn't have to get a loan. So as not to delay, I opened an ebay account, opened a Paypal account, linked the two, and BAM! I was literally in business just like that!

My goal was to have gotten over the learning curve before we needed money for her college in August 2013. I prayed, soaked up information like a sponge, and focused like a mad man on EBay. In fact, I started on Amazon first by selling a few books. The platform was slower, and most items were required to be new in order to sell on Amazon. EBay was different, because EBay allowed you to sell just about anything, new or used. So after trying Amazon, simultaneously with EBay for a month or two, I decided to focus 100% of my efforts only on one platform.

My thought process was to master 1 thing, instead of 2. I started with Ebay by simply selling things around the house. 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. I learned how to source items, how to photograph items, how to promote items, and how to set up efficient processes. Most of all, I learned that I liked being in control of my own destiny. The harder I worked, the more money I made. After spending the first 3 or 4 months just selling a hodge podge of different things to come up with the cash to pay for my daughters monthly tuition, I made a discovery that changed the trajectory of my business.

One day around August of 2013, I ran into a pair of shoes at a thrift store. I purchased them for $4 and they sold for $35. Another light bulb went off in my head. I thought, "what a great profit margin". If I could just do this about 50 times a month, I'd have plenty of money to pay for my daughters college. I remembered back in about 1999 or 2000, I actually spent a year working part time at Dillards as a men's shoe salesman. So, I thought to myself; what if I lean on those shoe selling skills from 13 years earlier and just focus on shoes? So bam!! I had a new niche.

I want to get into what evolved and happened in my shoe sells on Ebay in a future blog. Stay tuned for that one! Needless to say, my daughter graduated from college in 2017. How that happened, how I was able to pay for it, and what I learned in the process, is incredibly valuable information that I want to share with you all. Stay tuned......


Eric is a manager of federal government contracts by day, and a mentor, coach, blogger, voice over artist, top-rated power seller on Ebay, real estate investor and landlord, city planning & zoning commissioner, and author by night. From poverty and a negative net worth at 30 years old, to a multiple six figure net worth today, Eric has had to fight through mistakes to proactively learn about money. Eric's mission today is to reach back and help other ordinary people be empowered to be extraordinary with their money.

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