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9 Reasons You Should be Selling on eBay

There are many ways to get started on ebay. Which will you choose?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Although many people start on eBay by clearing out their attics, garages and closets, or by selling all their spouse's items, there are many other reasons why 1.5 million people and businesses have flocked to use eBay as an additional source of revenue. Here are some of the most popular types of businesses on eBay:

  • Moving Excess Inventory: Many businesses start off by selling merchandise that is out of season, returns, or out-of-box. However, they quickly realize that by opening up their business to the global marketplace, some of their retail products also sell for higher prices on eBay.
  • Selling for Others: Love selling on eBay, but don't have the money to invest in tons of inventory? Become a Trading Assistant and sell inventory for others. Learn more at
  • Replacing or Supplementing Retirement Income: Rather than playing golf or going fishing in his retirement, Platinum PowerSeller Joe Marcinkowski, 64, of Metro Retro Furniture (eBay User ID: midcenturyguy) chose to do something he liked but never had time to do before. After working in a field that left him creatively unfulfilled, Joe and his wife, Laura, have gone on to create a successful midcentury furniture business on eBay. With projected revenue of $1.5 million this year, Joe tells other aspiring entrepreneurs on eBay, "Do what makes you happy. The resulting joy and confidence will make you successful."
  • Selling services on eBay: Are you a graphic designer, a masseuse, a tattoo artist or a professional organizer? Offer your services on eBay. Since eBay is a global marketplace, consider using gift certificates for your services to allow easy gift giving.
  • Using eBay for advertising: Where else, for an Insertion Fee of just 20 cents, could you reach a worldwide audience of 180 million people? Plus, upon setting up your eBay Store, you can appear in the search results of major search engines such as Google, MSN and Yahoo!, making your listing accessible to anyone in the world with a computer.
  • Nonprofit Fundraising: Since 2000, more than $54 million dollars has been raised for charity from listings in the Giving Works section of eBay. Anyone can list through eBay's charity tool, Mission Fish, and then donate a portion or all of the proceeds to the charity of their choice. Nonprofits can raise money for their groups in this manner as well.
  • Launching New Products: Have you just created the next "must have" product? Engage eBay's buying power to find out what the market has to say about your product before sending it through other more expensive, traditional sales channels.
  • Expanding into International Markets: Looking for a way to expand your current customer base? "Selling internationally should be an essential part of your growth strategy on eBay," says Tim Kunihiro, director of Cross Border Trade, International Operations, at eBay. "Not only do half of eBay users reside outside the U.S., but they also actively buy from U.S. sellers at higher prices. Items that are sold cross-border and paid for with PayPal fetch 16 percent higher prices, on average."
  • Buying Inventory on eBay to Start a Business: As with many new companies, Seattle-based Mpire, a listing management company, was on a budget. "Once we secured our funding and office space, our first act was to begin buying office equipment," says Gregory Harrison, chief technology officer and co-founder of Mpire Corp. "Because we wanted to make every cent count, we bought nearly all our first office's equipment through eBay, including a laser printer, Cisco switches, a firewall, six laptops and four PC workstations!"
Janelle Elms, eBay University instructor and online business consultant, specializes in coaching individuals and companies to build successful businesses on eBay. She is the bestselling co-author of Tax Loopholes for eBay Sellers.

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Janelle Elms eBay University instructor and dean of Online Business for LA College International, is creator of the eBay Stores Video Series.