Are you a dabbler?

There are loads of people out there today, you may be one of them, who dabble at selling stuff online. They set up eBay shops or similar, and find a few bits and pieces to sell whenever the need arises. Some people take their online sales dabble a little further, and once they’ve exhausted their own ‘old possessions’, they start looking for cheap items at markets and the like, or things that their friends and family want them to sell.

But all they do is dabble. Don’t get me wrong here – I’ve been reselling second-hand goods for far too many years not to recognise the buzz of excitement at making a sale – I love to see reseller profit on any level. My only question or suggestions is – if you enjoy the buzz, why not turn it into a soar?

Thousands of people in the UK each year are taking reselling to a new level. For some, the extra income they generate has even outperformed their own working pounds-per-hour return and they have quit work to go at it full time. Many of our regular reseller stories include people who started off looking for a few bargain gifts for Christmas and now make money all year round.

What would it take to take you up a notch?

The secret is in research and planning. Firstly, I would encourage you not to give up the day job until you are making the sort of income you can depend on. It is so much easier if you can take a few calculated risks (to test the market) when you already know that you have enough money to put food on the table.

People research: make sure that you know how to find customers. Far too many businesses (and as a reseller you should definitely think of yourself as a business) dive straight into deciding what products to sell. You shouldn’t even think about stock, until you’ve worked out where you can get a list of people to sell to. It may be that you have contacts in a particular area (Mums, social groups, friends from the gym, etc) or that you are planning to sell from a stall in the market. Work out who your best customers are going to be and make sure you know how to get their attention.

Product research: next work out what your list of potential customers are likely to buy. It is so much easier to source stock ‘for’ a particular group of people who you already know, than to find people you don’t know for the stock that you have available. (Caveat: if you are 100% certain that there is a market for a particular item, still only buy it if you have a clear idea of ‘how’ you are going to be able to find customers).

Business planning: there have been volumes written about business planning. But in short, for a reseller business the rules are as follows: plan how you are going to find and win customers; research appropriate products and work out how much customers will pay; then source the stock at as low a price as you can to allow yourself to make a healthy margin. There is no point selling at a loss or too low a margin – that is not good business.

I know this sounds simple, but so many people miss the point when they decide to upscale their hobbyist reselling activities. On the other hand, I have seen loads of people turn a part-time dabble into a successful reseller business simply by making sure they think: customer, product, profitable sale (in that order).