One of the most well-known ways to make a bit of money on the side is to sell things on eBay.
For many people, this just involves selling off old junk or things that they have that actually turn out to be worth money.
However, some people with a more entrepreneurial mindset have managed to change the game entirely and make money off eBay itself.
This can be through buying low and selling high, finding items that are worth money (such as at second-hand stores) or making things to sell.
Just how effective is it though?
Challenges of eBay
As a side business, selling on eBay can be profitable, but it is also a considerable amount of work.
No matter what approach you take you have to deal with physical items.
This means that you have to find places to store them, you have to deal with postage and you have to work with packaging.
To make matters worse, you have to deal with the people who actually buy your product.
Most of these are reasonable, but there are always some that present a major problem.
eBay also has a tendency to favor buyers over sellers, a stance that can sometimes leave the seller out of pocket and very annoyed.
This is actually something that has been getting worse in recent years, as eBay has been stepping up its customer protection, creating a situation where sellers have little to no protection.
Some of eBay’s customers have even worked out how to game the system, filing claims with eBay that are untrue or exaggerated.
This makes selling on eBay for profit much more difficult than it should be.
Don’t get me wrong, all of this is very doable, but it can be frustrating.
In fact, the Consumers Affairs site provides a pretty good indication that there are a lot of people unhappy with the company – and many of these people are sellers.
The other thing about selling over eBay is that you often face significant competition.
There are many different people selling similar products, all looking to undercut one another.
Keeping the competitive edge can be difficult, particularly when many buyers seem to favor price over just about anything else.
This has been majorly increasing in significance in recent years and even power sellers are having increasing difficulty actually getting their products sold.
Finding a product that you can sell competitively is often difficult and it’s likely that you will only stay on top of the competition for a short period of time.
This can make selling things difficult and it means you may end up with stock that you can’t see, or have to sell at a loss.
To make matters worse, you have to compete with eBay’s algorithm, which is what helps customers to find auctions based on what they search.
The algorithm is frequently inaccurate and it offer recommends products that are barely related to what the user searches.
Part of this comes from the fact that some eBay sellers add unrelated terms in their results to help them get picked out.
For example, I have seen cellphone chargers being tagged in a way that makes them come up under a cellphone search, no matter how specific the original search is.
All of this makes it much more difficult for people to actually find what you are selling, and this can decrease the potential for profit.
A final growing problem is sellers from China.
They are everywhere one eBay and they will often claim to be from the United States, frequently putting their shipping location as California.
Even though the long delivery times can frustrate buyers, sellers from China have a significant advantage as they can sell products at a much lower price.
There are also wholesalers and companies that use eBay directly to sell their products, and they also tend to have products at prices that you simply cannot compete with.
Personally, I think there are better ways of making money that are more reliable and put you at risk.
Alternatives to eBay
The most effective approach that I have found is affiliate marketing, which is a website-based approach.
Often, people get scared off by the concept because making a website seems difficult, but it is nowhere near as hard as it seems.
In fact, website creation has become progressively easier, and there are a lot of online tools that make the process much simpler.
One of the things that I love about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to manage any physical product, and you aren’t even the one responsible for any customer service.
This is the case because affiliate marketing involves promoting someone else’s product and believe me, there are a lot of different products out there that you can choose from.
In fact, the number of companies offering affiliate programs continues to grow, and many of the products are actually decent.
You may have heard of some of the scammy products that some people sell through affiliate marketing.
This includes things like eBooks containing bad dating advice and internet marketing products that don’t teach anyone anything.
There certainly are products like that out there, but there are also many companies that sell high-quality products that people actually want to buy.
With affiliate marketing, these are the products you want to try to promote.
The concept of affiliate marketing is that you promote the products of companies with affiliate programs then earn a percentage of the price for each sale you make.
Over time, this can end up highly profitable, particularly as the amount of sales you make can dramatically increase over time.
When you are selling through eBay, the amount of money you can make is really limited by what you are selling and how many different auctions you can put through.
This can be a major problem because from start to finish an auction takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
This means that to make more money, you have to put more effort in.
You can only do this to a certain extent.
Affiliate marketing works a bit differently.
Making a sale through affiliate marketing involves getting people to click on a link and make a purchase.
This gets easier over time, and it isn’t something you have to do manually for every buyer.
Instead, it is something that you set up and leave.
Because of this, the amount of sales you get can grow dramatically, and there isn’t really an upper limit to this amount.
Some affiliate marketers have effectively turned the technique into a full time business and some have even dropped any other form of earning entirely (including their traditional jobs).
Beyond all of that, one of the reasons that I like affiliate marketing so much is that it is something you can grow over time.
It is a business type that can also withstand significant changes in the economy.
For example, many of the products that affiliate marketers sell are ones that sell regardless of the economy, such as cosmetics, hobby equipment and personal care products.
If affiliate marketing is something that interests you, even slightly, then I really suggest doing some more reading into the industry.
It really is a fantastic way to make money, even for people who have absolutely no experience at building a website. A good way to learn more is to use an online training community, which can support you in your education in every way that you need.
You can learn more about affiliate marketing at a site called Wealthy Affiliate.
In fact, Wealthy Affiliate is actually a training site and teaches people how to develop their own website and make money from it. As such, Wealthy Affiliate is a powerful choice if you're considering affiliate marketing.