By Craig Beery
The pundits who tout the fact that 50 million people around the world buy and sell items on eBay don't let us in on a major secret-- only about 600,000 thousand of those people actually make a living buying and selling on eBay. The rest of us are just amateurs, content to buy used scuba gear, sell grandpa's baseball card collection, or use eBay to get rid of anything else we can find in the garage.
Those numbers could change though if more people read Bill Bishop's new book entitled "The eBay Revolution: How brilliant entrepreneurs are cashing in on eBay", (Legend Publishing, 2005).
Bishop's premise is simple; find some of the most successful eBay business people, interview them, and share their success secrets with people like you and me who approach eBay with as much business acumen as the kid with the corner lemonade stand.
The eBay Revolution offers insights and real-world experiences of 14 entrepreneurs from assorted types of businesses who sell a variety of products. For example, Mike Levinson markets die-cast models and uses eBay as his primary selling tool. Levinson started using eBay when he wanted to expand his personal collection of NASCAR models. He never really thought it would turn into a full-time business, but the Internet and eBay have made dramatic differences in the way that people find customers and customers find special-interest types of products.
In Levinson's first year of selling on eBay, he sold $330,000 dollars worth of goods. In year two, he sold $1.2 million dollars worth! Not bad for someone who was just trying to find a way to have a fun hobby.
When asked what motivated him to write this book, author Bill Bishop said, "I was fascinated with the concept of using eBay to buy and sell products without having to set up, operate and manage a website. eBay really allows anyone to operate a successful business without having to maintain a large infrastructure."
Bishop should know all about large corporations as his background as a marketing advisor to such companies as Mattel, Avery, Amtrak, Lawry's and Pentel gave him a thorough grounding in how big business operates.
"When I started interviewing these successful eBay entrepreneurs, I was struck by how much they were able to accomplish with so few resources and employees. It really opened my eyes to a new way of doing business on a global scale."
Bishop said he picked his interview subjects by looking for people with extensive eBay experience who were successfully selling a variety of products. The backgrounds of his eBay experts range the gamut from high-school graduates to holders of masters degrees, from experienced business people to full-time mom's who gave eBay a try.
A recurring theme in The eBay Revolution is the fact that all of the now-successful entrepreneurs started out not knowing much about buying and selling on the Internet. For example, Karen McMasters didn't even own a computer when she started using eBay to sell baby items and clothes that she found at garage sales. She now has three different Internet-based outlets that sell a variety of baby-related products.
Chuck Black had a unique guitar that he had tried unsuccessfully to sell for a few years using newspaper classified ads. When he sold it on eBay in a few hours for more money than he thought he would get for it, a light bulb went on. Black now operates an online business selling unique and hard-to-find items.
The eBay Revolution is not a book that touts a "get-rich-quick" type of mentality. The reality is that all of these interviewees became successful because they worked hard, learned from their mistakes, and were willing to make sacrifices to live out the American dream of being their own boss.
The success secrets, tips and advice offered in The eBay Revolution contain no shortcuts, no magic formulas and no earth-shattering revelations about how to be successful using eBay. But what is offered is solid advice from people who make a very good living in the trenches of the global marketplace that is eBay. One caveat that repeats over and over in The eBay Revolution is the basic requirement for providing great customer service and being scrupulously honest in all your Internet dealings. Your reputation on eBay will be established by how well or poorly you deal with the people who buy things from you, so you need to think long term to have a chance to let your good reputation grow.
Whether you have never used eBay, are an amateur dabbler, or are a seasoned veteran of the eBay wars, The eBay Revolution has solid information that can help anyone learn from people who have already overcome the common mistakes that anyone new to online buying and selling are bound to make.
All of the technical nuts and bolts of selling methods, auctions, shipping, pricing, strategies and more are covered in this book. The best thing about The eBay Revolution is the inspirational attitude of the interview subjects. After reading this book, just for fun, you may want to go into your garage and identify some items and see if you can sell them on eBay.
If the successful entrepreneurs interviewed in The eBay Revolution can do it, there is no reason the rest of us can't have some fun and maybe even make some money on eBay. After all, it looks like there is plenty of room at the top for more eBay power-sellers.
You may order the book online here.