Your time and energy may be limited, but opportunities to learn more about eBay are in constant supply. As a part-time seller, you'll benefit by learning as much as you can about selling on eBay. After all, if you're going to manage your risk and maximize the return on your efforts, you need to know just as much as full-timers do.
Part-timers can help themselves a great deal by picking an area they already know a lot about. "You have to have an interest in it, and you have to have a feel for it," Ford-Freeman says. "And you have to be willing to educate yourself in the forums."
One such forum is the Part-Time eBay Sellers Discussion Board, a place for part-time sellers to share experiences and information. On the forums, sellers with lots of experience offer countless nuggets of advice to help newcomers. "I learned everything I know about selling on eBay from the forums," says Ford-Freeman.
The Part-Timer eBay Sellers Discussion Board isn't the only place part-timers can go for help. eBay has many tools that part-timers can use to reduce the amount of time they spend on listing and managing sales (see "Power Up: It's Tool Time" at right). And the huge amount of information and advice available from resources like Seller Central is also useful for many part-time and full-time sellers. The tools and resources available at Seller Central range from strategies for getting started to best practices of top sellers and e-mail newsletters with the latest tips on promotions and selling features.
Never Gonna Give It Up
Veteran part-timers like Ford-Freeman have great confidence that they're on top of their markets and have the skills to move their inventory. In the future, these part-timers intend to keep working at their businesses on eBay, not only because they enjoy the profits, but also because they gain a sense of fulfillment from their work.
Ford-Freeman, who is approaching retirement from her day job, plans to work a little harder at her business in order to pay for post-retirement activities. "I plan to indulge in all those things I can't [indulge in] right now, like researching, writing and traveling," she says. "I think supplementing [my income] with eBay is going to be the solution."
And Etter is confident that part-time sellers will continue to be an important part of eBay. "The future," he says, "will be full of opportunities for part-timers."
Mark Henricks writes on business and technology for leading publications and is author of Not Just a Living.