My Youtube channel gives me the opportunity to interact with re-sellers from all over the country. I am often asked if I have any tips for a new re-seller. I do, lots of them, possibly hundreds of them but one tip that I stress more than most is to diversify your business. As the saying goes, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying your resale business helps insulate you from the factors that you can’t control. And in this business, their is a ton that you can’t control. Their are 3 basic ways you should be looking to diversify your business. You should consider diversifying where you sell, what you sell and where you source (buy) your products from. For example, lets say you exclusively sell clothing on eBay that you source from a local thrift store such as Goodwill. You may have a very profitable business today but what does tomorrow bring for your business and how much control do you have of your own business’ future? What if the clothing market gets flooded? Prices drop or trends change? Maybe you can’t get what you used to for your items, maybe you can’t give them away. What would happen to your business if you hit a rough patch of PITA (pain in the ass) buyers who left you a string of negative feedbacks and low DSR scores on eBay? You could be kicked off, you could essentially lose your entire business model. What if your local thrift store closes, changes their prices, or their is an increase in local competition? In this specific circumstance you have very little control over your business you are at the mercy of several volatile factors. The key to being successful is to diversify what you can and to be in control of your business.
One way to diversify your business is to diversify where you sell. If you currently only sell on eBay look into places like Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza and Ruby Lane. Their are many places you can sell your items. The more experience you can gain on other platforms the more you can weather the storms of what you cannot control. If you are selling your items in several places than you don’t have to worry so much about the latest eBay seller update or the overly picky, entitled Amazon buyer. Selling on multiple platforms allows you to roll with the punches, allows you to dictate how you run your business. You can also consider selling locally on websites such as Craigslist and Bookoo. These are free classified ad type sites that let you promote your products. You may also consider having your own booth at a flea market or antique mall. Even an annual garage sale is a great way to clear out old and stale inventory. Never stop thinking of new places to sell, the more eyes on your items the better!
It is great to have a niche in the resale world. A product or line of products that don’t have much competition but have enough buyers to sustain profit margins. The problem is eventually every market will bust. Nothing is immune to this economic factor. Some items are a fad, popular one day and worthless the next (Anyone need some beanie babies?) others can be hugely popular… that is until the next model comes out (I still have a computer with Windows 3.1 on it, maybe it has an antique value by now?). You don’t want your business to be at the mercy of some fad or dying technology. A niche can mean great profits but don’t be afraid to familiarize yourself with other potential products. Who knows you may stumble onto something even better than your current niche.
You should also consider expanding where you source your products from. You can’t control the prices of your various sources of inventory but you can expand your sources so you have options when the market changes. If you are currently only going to your local Goodwill, try expanding to other thrift stores in your area such as Salvation Army, Savers and local non-chain thrift stores. Also expand the area you purchase from don’t be afraid to venture out and take a little drive. Many of these thrift stores will have vastly different prices and sales from one location to the next. Learn these sales and prices and learn the best days to hit up different stores. Besides thrift stores, consider auctions in your area (find local auctions at auctionzip.com), garage sales, flea markets and even online. An example of this is I routinely check eBay for items that I can resell on Amazon, you would be amazed the price difference that can be found on some of these sites for the exact same items!
Its unfortunate when your business fails because of something you did. Its much worse to have your business fail because of something you didn’t do. It is of the utmost importance for anyone serious about this profession to diversify whenever and wherever you can.