There are so many people who would love to take their fun, part-time hobby of selling online to the next step. I mean, selling full-time and either quitting their day-job or at least cutting back their hours working out-of-home.
Just a little over a year ago, I had thought that I could do it myself. I was selling toys, jewelry supplies and other things on eBay and was doing very well. By no means a power seller but enough that I was making a tidy profit. Then, I went and invested in a major inventory purchase from a local business that was closing.
No longer was I going to be focused on selling NASA & International space program miniature toys, and tiny glass vials for jewelry. I was ready for something more, something bigger!
I bought a huge inventory of TY Beanie Babies, Pluffies, Baby TY, Buddies and Classics. I had also received RUSS Lil Peepers, and some Elby Gifts Garfield figurines. From another place I bought some Easter Bunny Family Babies and other miscellaneous items. Those with the WRIF 101 Bumper stickers my husband gave me and about 600 mint condition Beer Cans and Bottles I thought I was ready to rock n roll. This was in January of this year.
Then, the worst happened. I felt the bottom drop out of my dream. eBay was suddenly (for me) in the midst of an upheaval. People were leaving in droves over the major changes that seemed to occur overnight. I was devastated! “What am I going to do now?” I was literally crying to my husband that first night.
Luckily, I had the previous October (of 2007) signed up with a relatively unknown online site called onlineauction.com I decided to start moving all my inventory there, in the hopes that I could at least sell enough to make up for my investment.
While onlineauction.com is doing pretty well these days, and the sellers there are very friendly, it has not panned out the way I had hoped it would. I advertised through various means such as here in my blog, on various classified ads on the internet, passed out business cards and by word of mouth, it all has come to “not much business”. Others are doing quite well there, and some are very happy. I am sure that in time, it will get better. Onlineauction.com has come through with many of the promised changes such as one-page listing new item, better category-system, and they even added a kind of “sold item” feature. I do have hopes that things will continue to improve over time. If you would like to check out my shop there, it is http://www.onlineauction.com/store/jewelzodonnell
In the meantime, I am also trying out another site called iOffer. I have listed a small portion of my inventory there, and so far (in about one month) I have had a few views, but no sales or offers. Since it costs nothing to list, I will keep those up for awhile and see what happens. If you would like to check out my shop there, it is http://www.jewelzodonnell.ioffer.com
My favourite place to sell right now, and by far the most fun, is at Etsy.com It is mainly for artisans and crafters with some commercial suppliers. I love the ease of listings, and the people I have met there are extremely friendly and helpful. Since I love to play with fimo clay, and with paper, I fit right in. This part of my hobby business is just for fun for me right now. I have so much to learn and so many things to improve on in my crafts, but in the meantime I can have fun selling a few items. I have found quite a number of things that I have purchased for myself and for others for birthdays and Christmas.
Right now I am selling Fimo Clay full sculptures, Fimo clay Gift tag topper ornaments, Photo textured paper Greeting cards, mini note cards, gift tags and I have also made some Blank Greeting cards with layers of cardstock and other mixed medias. Feel free to stop by my shop there to see what I have available. My shop url is http://jewelzodonnell.etsy.com
Overall, I do have a few venues I am selling on right now. With today’s economic situation and the increasing costs of shipping, I am personally finding that sales have decreased. So, this combined with the decreasing amount of time that I have available to me is making it a bit more difficult for me to find time to promote, advertise, or even craft. I have set up a personal schedule that I try to stick to for the most part, so that I can spend a little time everyday doing what needs to be done. It is a little difficult with 2 part time jobs, and keeping up with “normal life” but I need to find a nice happy medium.
So, my question to all of you, my readers is….what is holding you back from selling online full time? Or even increasing your business? What do you do to ensure that you are promoting your shops, getting your own personal life responsibilites done, and in general, having a life? I am definately interested in hearing from all of you!