How to Start a Reselling Business
Do you wish you could add a little extra to your funds each month? Want to move towards eliminating your debt or scale back your hours at your regular job so you can spend more quality time with your family?
I had some of those very same goals in mind several years ago when I began reselling following the end of my seasonal job that year. Not only was I able to achieve them, it’s enabled me to stay at home comfortably with my kids and really focus on family time without needing to work outside the home again! Want to know how it all works and if its right for you? This article will give you that insight as well as some tips I’ve personally picked up in my own business adventures.
Why Reselling might be for you:
- If you are someone who needs a lot of flexibility time wise. You can list as many or as few items as you are ready for (though typically it’s a low number to start as you establish yourself as a good seller)
- Reselling is for you if you have intermediate level internet research skills (for looking up products and researching competition) OR are willing to take a little time to learn where to research.
- If you are someone already working that wants a side gig or just another stream of revenue
$50+: you’ll want to budget for buying products, for listing fees, and packaging/shipping supplies
$0 – 2,000/ month – if you choose products that appeal to your audience and have good follow through you could definitely scale this business model into a full time income.
How to create a reselling business
If you don’t want to create your own website or spend time driving traffic to your store, you might consider becoming a seller on a platform such as eBay, Tophatter or Amazon. Determine which one is the best fit for you in terms of: cost of listing and selling, type of market as well as seller policies. Question to consider would be: Do you have money to spend on listing fees or do you prefer all costs of selling on that platform to come out of a sale once its ready to ship? Pro Tip: Don’t want to be held down by the limitations of selling on somebody else’s platform? Consider starting your own store (where you can maximize your chances of making a full time living or more), such as on Shopify (they even have a free trial). See my bio below for more information.
Once you’ve decided on one (or more!) platforms to sell on examine how well things are selling and decide what your niche will be/ what category you’ll start in. Pro tip: Different items sell well at certain times of year and sales may be cyclical/seasonal. For instance, selling things like sunglasses in summer and sweaters in winter might make more sense. Think about how people will use the items you are considering selling. When choosing items to sell, you’ll want to factor in things such as how much the item(s) will cost to obtain, how much it will cost to package and ship as well as how much you’ll be likely to make from each sale after all seller fees from the platform you’ve chosen.
- In seeking out the items you want to sell, try looking for it on eBay (such as from China) or on Alibaba. If you see that the wholesaler/seller has solid reviews ask these questions to help you choose products: Can you negotiate the price such as through Best offer? Do you have to buy the item in Bulk? Be sure to factor in the cost of shipping the item(s) to yourself and how long it will take to receive your new inventory as well. Pro tip: Receiving items from China tends to take a minimum of 3-6 weeks and closer to 8 in the month of December. Before purchasing, try emailing the vendor questions about the product. Note whether or not they respond and how quickly they do so. Great communication before a sale can indicate that they are a better person to do business with in the long run.
- Purchase a small number of items first so you can inspect them for quality and see how long that shipment took to get to you. Rate each supplier and vendor in your own personal file so you can keep track of them. Pro tip: the more organized you are at the start the easier it will be for you to scale your new business as you grow it.
- While you are awaiting the arrival of your inventory, set up a small space where you can take photos of your item(s), a place to securely store inventory and prepare the wording for your listings. In many cases such as with small items like jewelry or sunglasses you can set up a mini photo space using white poster board, a couple desk lights, and your cell phone! For determining what to write in your listings, look at the wording your competitors are using and see what really grabs your attention about it. Try to use that and come up with similar but distinct wording. Then, when your items arrive, see what else you can add to highlight your products features! Pro Tip: Resist the urge to borrow the photographs from your vendors unless you get written permission. Photographs used for commercial (business) purposes can create problems for you later.
- When your items come in, inspect them ensuring it is the kind of quality you’d want to receive yourself. Remember that if you sell items of questionable quality its highly likely your clientele will give you poor ratings and/or request refunds. What can yu do if you invest money in getting inventory that turns out to be bad? Be prepared to take pictures of what is wrong with your items, and be polite but firm in requesting either a full refund or a replacement of the damaged merchandise.
- List your items and track what goes well, and what about the experience doesn’t meet your expectations. Adjust your listings accordingly. Sometimes it can take a few months to get the hang of things. I always say “it’s all in the ebb and flow of business”. Enjoy the good times and learn from the not so good ones. Pro Tip: As previously mentioned, note that the category/ niche you are selling in many have a high and low selling season. Be sure to plan accordingly!
- Consider reinvesting a portion of your profits into your next round of inventory. In my experience reinvesting 60% of my profits kept my out of pocket lower the first year while I was still figuring out what sold well for me and what didn’t. I still maintain the practice of only using profits to buy my inventory (unless it’s a very rare opportunity).