How One Seller Turned His Love of Cars Into a Business

Nicole Grant Kriege, eBay News Team

James Patrick tapped into car culture and community to rev up his shop on eBay.

Editor’s Note: This story first appeared on our Seller Community page.

James feels best when ripping his ride around a racetrack. After selling his get-around car on eBay, he bought a sports car and hit the junkyard as a hobby looking for spare parts. He now helps people take their builds across the finish line with eBay, sourcing parts strategically to maximize his margins. Motivated by car culture and community, selling fuels his passion for racing and puts him in the driver’s seat to grow his business.

Get to know James in his own words, and visit his shop Business Bushido:

A passion for cars from behind the wheel

My passion for autos started when I sold my everyday car on eBay. I used some of the money to buy my first sports car and went out to an Autocross event. I had an amazing time, met a great group of people and actually won the novice class for that particular day.

I discovered that the car community is its own special place. If you go out to the social meetup Cars & Coffee any weekend somewhere in America you'll find people with Japanese cars, tuner cars, muscle cars and vintage hot rods and everyone wants to talk about the build. It’s universal.

Over the years my passion has progressed. I’ve done track days and other driving events. I love every second that I'm behind the wheel of a car.

Seller Spotlight James Patrick
From accidental entrepreneur to car parts connoisseur

After I sold my car on eBay, I did a spring cleanout of my home and listed the items. I remember putting my phone on silent because I was getting notifications: item sold, item sold, question about an item. So that flipped on the light bulb about the potential of eBay.

I started selling more on eBay after being part of a layoff at a mortgage company. I ended up having a lot of free time on my hands, but it pushed me to add more listings looking for the next opportunity.

I was going to the junkyard often to look for parts for my own sports car. I'd come across things that I knew were valuable but I didn't personally need — like emblems, engine control units and wheels, things like that.

Now I list mostly auto parts, and I love to help people get their builds across the finish line, whether it's a street car or a race car. I use selling to fuel my own passion for driving.

Seller Spotlight James Patrick

Sourcing and growing from bookshelf to warehouse

Initially I was operating the business out of various bookshelves around the house. Then it took over our carport. We got a storage unit, and then a second storage unit. And now we have everything consolidated into one warehouse. Right now I’m clearing space to be able to break down whole vehicles.

I’m at the junkyard less often and instead source from online marketplaces and forums, and on rare occasions, eBay. Sometimes people sell items because they don't want to deal with breaking them down and inventorying them individually.


Seller Spotlight James Patrick

Advice for other sellers

My top advice for new sellers is to focus on an area in which you have interest or expertise. It differentiates you and better equips you to answer questions, market items and know what's on trend.

Secondly, take the time to properly photograph and market your items. Be sure to list your items in the Used category and take decent photos because there isn’t nearly as much competition for those top spots.

Lastly, don't be afraid to grow faster than what you think you're ready for. The saying goes “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.” Decide what you want and push for that. And figure out the ‘how’ along the way.

Seller Spotlight James Patrick

Sparking motivation and drive

I get my motivation from the local seller community, and having that accountability is great. I know that if I’m stagnant my seller friends are going to reach out.

I also have an internal code that helps me keep my passion and focus. The name of my eBay store, Business Bushido, reflects the “way of the ninja” and stands for Built Upon Superior Hustle Ingenuity Dedication and Originality. I incorporate that into everything I do.

Listening to the eBay for Business podcast gives me inspiration as well. It’s great for learning how to operate your store on eBay.

Seller Spotlight James Patrick

Reaching the finish line

The ultimate goal for my eBay store is to create a business that provides employment opportunities in the local community. The stretch goal is that I'd like to one day drive a race car with my business logo sponsoring the car.

At the end of the day, if you're in the driver's seat there's a lot of reward that comes with that. There are good times and there are bad times, but knowing that you have what you need to reach your goals — it feels great.

Explore our Seller Community page to read more stories about eBay businesses.