The First Q&A with eBay Social Media Sellers #SMSellers

Richard Brewer-Hay

As you know we’ve been rolling out a new program here on eBay Ink focused on Social Media Sellers.

There are a number of special projects we’re working on behind the scenes and to kick things off, I thought I’d ask a couple of simple questions to each of our sellers and share their feedback with you folks here. I can’t thank our social media sellers enough for taking the time to think the questions through and provide insightful answers to us here.

I saw some trends right off the bat (you’ll see them below). Primarily, there is a definite focus on “the little things”; all the little details that can be easily overlooked and end up costing you time and, ultimately, money. Secondly, it takes a LOT of hard work, effort, commitment and determination to be successful.

Please let me know what you think. I’m obviously completely open to suggestions and recommendations. Video? Audio? Questions to ask? You name it, please let me know in the comments. For now, here is the first Q&A with our eBay #SMSellers.

What is the biggest misconception you think people have when starting their own online business?


“The biggest misconception is that people need a lot of money to get started.” – Kat Simpson

“Without a doubt, the biggest misconception is that, more than any other type of business, people go in expecting to become rich instantly while doing less work. The issue is two-fold. First, they hear that you can make money online and assume that means buckets and buckets of money which is something they’d be much less likely to assume if we were talking about opening a pizza parlor or other brick-and-mortar store. Second, the idea of starting a home-based business appeals to people because they think of working from home as sitting around doing nothing. Starting an online business has all the challenges and pitfalls of any brick and mortar business and is certainly not anymore of a goldmine than any other business you work and build on.” – Hillary DePiano

“Easy. People actually believe, and have been lead to think by many, that no work is required. They think online success is a slam dunk and that it’s guaranteed… NOT!” – John Lawson (aka ColderICE)

“Some people believe that the Internet is so populated that if they put their items on a site for sale, customers will beat a path to their door automatically without much further effort.” – Auction Wally

“I think people starting out come to think things will be both too easy and too hard all at once, easily leading to being overwhelmed either way. Usually the roadblocks along the way are numerous but easily enough to navigate. Take a deep breath, read any available documentation and plow forward. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, even if it costs you a little money, the lessons learned are usually worth the investment. Once your current mission is accomplished, feel good about it yes, but don’t get cocky – this game changes every day and there will always be new roadblocks and challenges.” – Cliff Aliperti

If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently about getting started on eBay?

“I would do more research and learn the difference between a fad and a trend (that lesson cost me about $6,000)” – Kat Simpson

“Having the basics down means saving a lot of time… and time is money. That said, the first thing I would do is start reviewing my ABCs. For example, I would have thoroughly read my digital camera manual to become more familiar with the settings. I would have set up a good staging area for pictures… I would have also started my customer email list much earlier and would have developed an organized system for shelf placement of listed/sold/unsold and “to be shipped” items. Again, back to basics. Save time. Save money.” – Auction Wally

“I would spend more time finding successful large sellers and listening and researching their business model. I also would spend more time educating myself on good business basics and accounting. I think I lost a lot of money on some products simply because I did not really know how to calculate a TRUE profit analysis.” – John Lawson (aka ColderICE)

“My only regret is that I didn’t start out on eBay earlier. I had the buying and selling lifestyle in my blood from my teen years on through trade shows and other outlets, but I was scared to death of getting on a computer throughout the 90’s and so I wasn’t online until I was forced by virtue of my employment in 2000. My eBay registration was an early stop on day 1 of that job! If I’d already been on eBay at that point I probably wouldn’t have even needed the job but it all worked out as I wound up leaving it to sell full-time by 2004 anyway.” – Cliff Aliperti

“To be honest, I wouldn’t change much. I think even my missteps got me where I am now. You can take a million classes, read blogs and books but, in the end, there is no better teacher than letting yourself make mistakes and learn from them.” – Hillary DePiano

You can follow all of our Social Media Sellers on Twitter by following the SMSeller Twitter List.