The Classifieds Entrepreneur

In this technological age, it’s easy to put in a day’s work without leaving the comfort of your computer chair, and that’s especially true for a new kind of businessperson, called the “classifieds entrepreneur.” With the right eye, proper knowledge, and a creative mindset, these enterprising individuals buy and sell products online via sites like eBay Classifieds – and make a good margin. Here’s a look at how they do it.

RECYCLING ITEMS

The primary way these entrepreneurs rake in the dough is by simply buying a product for what they deem as a reasonable or low price and then reselling the item – as is – at a higher price, thus earning a profit. Sounds easy enough, right? Well the key is finding the right product and the right seller at the right time.

Search for Items

One way that the classifieds entrepreneur benefits most is by buying from people in a pinch. Especially in this economy, it’s not hard to find sellers looking to unload valuable items – like jewelry and designer labels – for quick money. People having last-minute moving sales are also great resources for excellent deals.

Gain Product Expertise

It behooves the buyer to focus on one product area (jewelry, antiques, high-end clothing and accessories, etc.) so that they can acquire expertise and a keen eye for spotting deals. [1] In other words, if you can scroll through hundreds of watch listings on eBay and immediately pinpoint the one Rolex that’s selling for 50% of its value, then you may beat others to the punch. Those just getting into the business would be best served to contact an expert (such as an appraiser) or do a decent amount of research beforehand.

It behooves the buyer to focus on one product area (jewelry, antiques, high-end clothing and accessories, etc.) so that they can acquire expertise and a keen eye for spotting deals. [1] In other words, if you can scroll through hundreds of watch listings on eBay and immediately pinpoint the one Rolex that’s selling for 50% of its value, then you may beat others to the punch. Those just getting into the business would be best served to contact an expert (such as an appraiser) or do a decent amount of research beforehand.

Doing one’s homework can also give the buyer a leg up on the seller who is oblivious to the value of what he or she has. Online estate sales – in which the children, next of kin, or executor of the estate may be unaware of the origins and value of items like antiques or art – can be virtual treasure troves for the knowledgeable online shopper.

Photo Source: icanhasinternets.com

Crunch Some Numbers

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind the shipping and handling costs of these transactions to make sure you stay in the black. [2] If reselling that commemorative plate to a buyer in Alaska costs, say, half the value of the item itself, you may want to crunch some numbers and reconsider whether the transaction is worth it to you.

UPCYCLING ITEMS

A more creative class of entrepreneur buys an item, modifies it in some way, and then resells it for profit. This practice – turning one man’s trash into another man’s treasure ­– is often referred to as “upcycling.”

Fix It Up

Again, the proper knowledge is needed, as well as some skill, to restore used or damaged goods to working order. First, the online shopper needs to be able to recognize items that have the potential to be salvaged – say a bicycle with rusty gears but a good frame – and those that are beyond repair. The classifieds entrepreneur can then do some research to learn how to fix the item, rely on existing knowledge or expertise to readily do the job, or bring it to someone else to fix while staying on budget. This is a great way for people with particular trades or skills – ranging from cobbling to computer repair to silversmithing – to pick up some extra work and interact with a wider audience than at a brick-and-mortar store.

Photo source: blog.designsquish.com

Be Creative

Another kind of upcycling sees an item undergo a more radical change. Instead of just restoring an item to its previous condition, the crafty entrepreneur embellishes, improves or completely transforms it into another form or function altogether. Especially since the “shabby chic” aesthetic came into vogue and the DIY movement came to the fore, crafters across the country have been finding used furniture and home accessories and repainting, refinishing, reupholstering them into unrecognizable new creations. An old suitcase may become a coffee table, a set of vintage napkins may become a quilt, a former doorframe may become a room partition – the sky’s the limit.

Price Wisely

However, it is important here, too, to keep in mind one’s shipping and handling costs, as well as materials, to ensure that you’re not spending more than the item can bring in. In this realm, where an item is transformed creatively and takes on a new life, pricing becomes more subjective. Sellers are advised to use a light hand in pricing their items. While you should keep in mind the amount of hours put into the project, don’t fall into the trap of considering your repainted armoire a one-of-a-kind work of art. More often than not, those doing this type of upcycling take pleasure in the creative process and don’t seek to take in that much of a profit…perhaps just enough to fund the project itself.

Unlimited Potential

As you can see, there are many approaches one can take to being a classifieds entrepreneur online. Some take it very seriously – sometimes as a full-time job – and reap the profits. Others see it as an enjoyable hobby that can bring in a few extra bucks from time to time. Either way, the classifieds listings on sites like eBay are a lucrative online marketplace with potential as unlimited as the buyer’s imagination.

Sources:

1. http://www.skipmcgrath.com/auction_sr/77-tips-tools-selling-ebay.shtml
2. http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/onlinebusiness/a/ebaycasestudy_2.htm