e-how (How to do just about everything) published an article "By ***amylaine" touting these 7 easy steps to fame and fortune as an eBay Trading Assistant.
Huh? Is it really this easy?
I can certainly attest that the process and the challenges facing eBay Trading Assistants are much more complicated and more labor intensive than this article suggests.
Lets review the e-How list...
- Sign up with eBay - OK Sounds Easy, until you actually read the accompanying agreement eBay makes you opt in to. The eBay Trading Assistant agreement transfers all legal liability to you and essentially makes the Trading Assistant become a legal shield for eBay. Beyond that, read my previous articles about the eBay Trading Assistant Agreement - It can be a challenge just to read, for an attorney even.
- Must have "Ten Sells" in the last three months to qualify (e-How's English, not mine) Sounds Easy and can be quite easy on eBay, but why is the figure so low? To Maintain a Successful eBay Trading Assistant business one will need to maintain a minimum of 30 sales per month at an ASP exceeding overhead after payout to the client and eBay and Paypal. 10 Sales in three months will not give anyone an inkling of an idea of the dedication needed to become a successful and profitable Trading Assistant.
- Create a Simple Brochure and Ask Businesses to display them for you. Wow , there is an advanced marketing strategy.
- Pass out fliers and business cards in your community - Must be a more advanced version of the marketing strategy. Sure word of mouth is a good way to add to business, but the marketing plans listed here will not provide anywhere near the volume of traffic needed to pay the bills as mentioned in #2.
- Post a classified ad and Post on Craigslist - Hilarious, I mean really, how long does anyone think an eBay Trading Assistant's advertisement will last on Craigslist? And even if it is not flagged & pulled, the people on Craigslist are there because they do not like paying eBay fees, much less commissions on the sale. Stay away from Craigslist to advertise your eBay TA business. Classifieds are a much safer, yet infinitely more expensive bet.
- Contact local businesses and offer their overstock via the Internet - This plan has a bit of merit, yet without a much more serious business plan I doubt any new Trading Assistant with only 10 sales in the last 3 months will get much face time in front of decision makers. Businesses hate to lose money and liquidating via a Trading Assistant means it will cost them more than if they simply did it themselves. I am not saying a Trading Assistant wouldn't do a better job, but small business seems to have a hard time seeing the value of eBay Trading Assistants without some sort of organized and efficient plan and usually a brick and mortar location to work from. Businesses want to know they will be handing over stock to a safe and reputable, insured concern. Starting out as a Trading Assistant from your home will not usually give them this impression. Make sure you have yourself established before knocking on too many business owners doors.
- Hand out Business Cards at Yard Sales and Flea Markets - Isn't this a return to #4? I guess this could have been a 6 step list.
Not That Easy
In reality becoming a Trading Assistant is much more complicated than most articles you find on the Internet will indicate. eBay itself tries to make it sound easy, yet they protect themselves with an agreement which a Harvard Law professor would have a hard time deciphering.
Trading Assistants work is not the path to independent wealth and security, it can provide a nice small amount of extra income for retirees and stay at home parents (if they have the time to do all the work involved).
Bigger is not always Better
Stepping up to a full size Trading Post (Now REDOL) has been proven across the land to be a very difficult business model to sustain. Overhead is too high and margins are too low in most cases. The successful REDOLs (Registered eBay Drop Off Locations) usually have very sophisticated systems of marketing and just plain good locations.
Even with a good location all is not assured because these businesses are rapidly finding the public has learned to sell on eBay for themselves.