As we mentioned in the previous section, if you are approaching online auctions as a potential additional income source, then you need to start out from day one with a business mind frame. Just as with starting any business, to increase your chances of success, the first thing you need to do is your homework. That means sitting down well before you head to the computer and making a list of products that you are considering selling. The list should contain anything and everything that you think you can acquire to sell on the auction sites. The longer the list, the better, so spend some time concentrating on possible products you can sell.
In addition, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about products with which you are already quite familiar. Being an “expert” in a certain area and placing related products on auction will make it much easier to sell your goods and build a good customer base. It is also necessary to pick a product or service that you will enjoy selling. Just like with any other job, you will work much harder and be more successful if you enjoy what you’re selling rather than if you don’t. Taking the time to figure out how to turn your current hobbies and interests into an online auction business is one way to create a solid foundation from which to begin and improve your chances of making your online auction venture a success.
For example. if you collect trading cards as a hobby, selling trading cards would likely be an excellent fit for your auction business since you are interested in it already, you have a fair amount of knowledge on the subject and you are most likely familiar with the pricing. The same holds true with any items you may collect. Personal hobbies and interests can be an excellent starting point for your research.
Once you have your list, it’s time to visit the auction sites. You probably want to check out the big three (eBay – including sister site Half.com – Yahoo and Amazon) auction sites first. Once there, simply input the items on your list into the auction search engine and see what comes up.
Your search will probably bring up a lot of products in that category. The most important thing to remember is to look at what prices buyers are actually bidding for the items on auction. At first glance it may seem like absolutely anything is okay to put on an auction site, but a lot of those auctions don’t receive any bids. If nobody has bid for an item, it’s either listed at a price that’s too expensive, or there is not much interest in it. Finding items which people want to purchase at the right price is the hardest part. If the auction site offers an option to look at completed auctions, this is a great place to do your research since they are prices that buyers have paid in the past for the particular product.
Spending a full week or two just wandering around the sites looking for what items seem to sell well will pay off tremendously when you start to put your own product auctions up for bidding. It will also get you quite familiar with the way each site has auctions displayed and you will get a good sampling of the different ways that sellers list their auctions. Take notes of what you like and don’t like about the layout of the different listing you visit so that when it is time to list your own, you’ll have a fairly solid idea of how you want your listing to look.