Easy Money on Ebay?

Ebay was only two years old when I discovered it.

A friend I worked with was also starting to sell on Ebay at about the same time, and we exchanged ideas and experiences constantly. Since we were already working together on our Ebay ventures, we decided to combine our resources into one company and grow it while we were still both working our regular job. We found our niche selling technical books and manuals as our little company began to grow and prosper. Our co-workers at the company we worked at during the day came to consider us the "Ebay Experts". We were answering questions about online auctions on a daily basis, but one coworker had the same comment every day.

"Hey, show me how to make easy money on Ebay!" he would ask. It became a standing joke between My partner and I that usually came up around two or three in the morning during a marathon packing or email answering session. One of us would look at the other and mutter in a disgusted tone "Yea, Easy money on Ebay.."

In January of 2002, we had more sales, and more auctions running than ever before. We were looking at 100 to 150 auctions a day closing, and enjoying a sell-through rate of close to 75%. Our shelves were piled high with books and manuals, the shipping area was well stocked with supplies, and we were ready for long hours of fulfilling our orders.

Then, as if fate stepped in to see just what we were made of, a huge ice storm hit our part of Oklahoma taking out large sections the electrical grid. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that online businesses can do without many things, but electricity is NOT on that list! On the third day of the blackout, we were able to learn from the radio (battery powered) that it wasn't just our area, but over HALF the state of Oklahoma. Worse yet, the damage was so extensive it was going to be at least TWO WEEKS before power was restored! A quick calculation and we almost panicked. We would have over two THOUSAND AUCTIONS END, and no way to contact the bidders! If we didn't keep up with the sales, payments, and shipping on a daily basis, we were in deep trouble... We couldn't imagine what a mess it would be in TWO WEEKS!

The fourth day into the blackout, I made an executive decision. I grabbed the company checkbook, and headed for our closest Lowe's Home Improvement center (about 70 miles away..). The little roadtrip turned into quite the adventure. Strange thing about a massive blackout is gas stations can't pump gas without electricity, and you are burning gas while you are driving around looking for a gas station that was open for business. I was running on luck and fumes before I finally found a station and filled up. With a full tank of gas, I made it to Lowe's and purchased a generator. We assembled the generator in record time, put oil in the engine and then realized... Uh Oh, we need gas for the generator. No local gas stations were open for business, and we didn't want to risk another road trip. Using an old trick I hadn't used since I was growing up on a farm, we were able to get enough gas out of my pickup truck to fuel up the generator.

The little generator fired up on the first pull, and with the help of a few extension cords and power strips, we had a computer network up and running at My partners house. It was then we made another interesting discovery. Cable internet connections do not work without electricity. I had a DSL internet connection at my house, so off we go with a partially charged battery in my laptop to test my internet connection. SUCCESS! DSL works off the phone line power so it was still functional. We made a quick drive back to My partners house to tear down the computer network and load the generator, then back to my house to set it all up again. At 4:30 the next morning We had the network online and a couple of lamps for light. We were self-contained, and open for business. Now we could get to work, and so we did, for the next straight 48 hours. We had a pickup truck load of packages ready for the post office when it hit us, "Is the post office open?". A quick phone call ( by the way, cell phones and cordless phones are useless during a blackout. The simplest plug-it-in-the-wall phones work great.) found us with another problem. Our local post office was closed (no electricity there either.) They did tell us the regional USPS hub had power, and was open 24/7. The bad news is, the regional hub was 75 miles away in Oklahoma City!

Meanwhile, back at the fuel issue... We were relieved to discover that two local gas stations had rented generators and were open for business. We gassed up and headed for Oklahoma City. With the load of packages on the way to customers and most of the other urgent tasks completed, we took a much needed break. We shut down the network and use the generator to power an electric griddle and make a hot meal. The little generator wouldn't power both at the same time without throwing it's breaker.

For the next two weeks, that poor little generator ran constantly keeping the computers running and the shipments going out, the questions answered, and our customers happy. Every other day I would make the 150 mile round trip to the USPS hub in Oklahoma City, stopping on the way back to fill the gas containers for the generator, and fuel up the truck for the next trip.

One evening we took a short break, and stepped outside for a breath of fresh air. We noticed something different.... THE STREET LIGHTS WERE ON! I ran inside and tried the lights... ELECTRICITY!

I went next door and asked my neighbor how long the power had been back on. "Oh, about four or five hours..". We had been so wrapped up working in our self-contained office, we hadn't realized the power had come back on! With our ordeal behind us, we couldn't resist the temptation to elebrate with a cold beer and a toast...

"Here's to "easy money" on Ebay!"

KL Bohn is an Industrial Engineer with a passion for technology and especially Ebay.

Ebay was only two years old when I discovered it quite by accident. 7 1/2 years, and over 85,000 transactions later I'm still hooked on Ebay as a seller, buyer, and shareholder.

In The News:


Philly.com (blog)

Mecum Auction this weekend; the 'best car show' you'll attend
Patriot-News
"The variety of cars that's typical to Mecum Auctions spans the entire spectrum," Kraman said. "It really hits every collector car, year, model and price range. Cars have been around for over 100 years and we'll have cars from the mid 1910 to 1915 all ...
Rev up with antique car shows, cruises and auctionsPhilly.com (blog)

all 2 news articles »

Panther Racing auctions off cars, racing gear
WISH-TV
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Racing fans are buying up pieces of equipment that belong to the disbanded Panther Racing team. The auction started Wednesday morning at Panther's facility between Kentucky Avenue and Interstate 70 on the southwest side of ...

and more »

California drought: High-bidding farmers battle in water auctions
Milpitas Post
NEWMAN -- Rumors drifted across the parched Central Valley that a bidding war for water might push auction prices as high as $3,000 an acre-foot, up from $60 in a normal year. Yet, Ray Flanders needed water to keep his orchards alive. So this spring he ...

and more »

USDA Urged to Enforce Horse Protection Act at Horse and Livestock Auctions
HSUS News
(July 23, 2014)—The public sale of horses bearing evidence of soring is prohibited by federal law, but The Humane Society of the United States has found evidence that some horse and livestock auctions are not abiding. The HSUS urges the U.S ...


Wall Street Journal

US Court Blocks Bitcoin Domain Name Auction
Wall Street Journal
TOKYO—A planned auction of bitcoins.com, a domain name owned by the chief executive of defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, has been postponed after a U.S. court order temporarily blocked the company that operated the exchange from selling assets.
U.S. District Court Ruling May Derail 'Bitcoins.com' AuctionnewsBTC
Bitcoins.com Auction PostponedDomainInvesting.com (blog)
Auction of Bitcoins.com Domain Name Halted By US CourtCoinDesk
Ars Technica -PC Advisor
all 10 news articles »

Guardian Liberty Voice

Sotheby's High Priced Book Auctions
Guardian Liberty Voice
The London auction house Sotheby's often attracts attention for the high priced sale of artwork. But bibliophiles know Sotheby's was originally an auction house only for books. Founded in 1744 by the London bookseller Samuel Baker, Sotheby's first ...


Auctions rise as city cracks down on code violations
Baltimore Sun
In the mid-2000s, the organization appointed by the District Court to organize auctions of the forfeited properties handled about 60 each year, according to Grant Colledge, the former board president of One House at a Time. Last year, the Hampden-based ...

and more »

Hoping to Give Old Art New Life
New York Times
“If the auction houses pick their 50 or so best objects, then their top buyers don't have to sift through several sales,” said Stuart Lochhead, director of the London-based works of art dealers Daniel Katz Ltd. “People are less connoisseurial these ...


Obama Campaign Donor Wins FCC Waiver From Auction Rules
Bloomberg
A private-equity company owned by a campaign donor to U.S. President Barack Obama won a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission that may help it bid in airwaves auctions. Grain Management LLC may not have qualified for benefits ...
House Republicans: Something Smells Rotten at FCCBroadcasting & Cable

all 2 news articles »

Online auctions boosting Detroit commercial real estate
Detroit Free Press
More greater downtown Detroit buildings have been selling lately through what was once a nontraditional source, the online auction. It might be a sign of the times, or somehow specific to Detroit, but there have been some high-profile recent examples.

Google News

Can You Really Make Money Selling New Release CDs & DVDs On eBay?

Being an active eBayer, I am often being asked about... Read More

Drop Shipping Increases Profits

You would like to increase your income by selling other... Read More

A WIN-WIN Scenario On eBay For Buyer/Sellers: Tips For Hunting Want It Now Postings

"Ask And You Shall Receive" Policy Works!You're one-of-a-kind baby clothes... Read More

How To Sell On Ebay: The Money Is In The Back-End

Many people who sell on Ebay completely neglect the follow-up... Read More

8 Top Tips For Successful Art Auction Listings

Why is it that some artists seem to make easy... Read More

Mr. Rich vs. Mr. Job: How to Start a Dropship Business on eBay

Mr. Asset vs. Mr. Job....Discover the Secret Formula of the... Read More

How To Sell On Ebay: Using Store Policies To Cement Your Credibility

In your quest to build credibility as an Ebay seller,... Read More

Get Yourself A Piece of The eBay Pie

Ebay is without a doubt the greatest internet marketing phenomenon... Read More

How To Sell Santa?s Slip-Ups

Shoppers spent more than $15.5 billion this Christmas on gifts... Read More

Multiple Income Streams on eBay within 30 Minutes!

POWERSELL Status, the secrets revealed.If like thousands of people you... Read More

The Webs Best Online Auction Sites

The best online auction links for buyers and sellers are... Read More

6 Reasons Why an eBay Business is the Easiest and Safest Home Business to Start

Calling internet auctions an "Entrepreneur's Dream" isn't poetic license or... Read More

Your eBay Business - 8 Ways To Insure Its Success

I don't know if you've ever noticed, but it seems... Read More

Internet Auction Sites : Find Good Deals on Almost Anything

You can find good deals on almost everything you need... Read More

Using Paypal for eBay Purchases

Paypal is the preferred payment choice for many buyers because... Read More

Sell Your Items at Cost and Make a Fortune on eBay!

Like all ebay sellers I wanted to sell all of... Read More

USP on eBay

If you have dabbled at all in the world of... Read More

The International Affiliate Program of EBay

eBay trades in more than 33 international countries with over... Read More

How I Was Nearly Conned On Ebay

I am not sure how many people have had bad... Read More

Start an Easy Home Business: Become an Ebay Trading Assistant

EBay's online auctions have created business opportunities for thousands of... Read More

Do You Sell Tires By Mail? Maybe You Should eBay

I just received an interesting email from eBay and it... Read More

Photos on my eBay Auctions: How Do I Add Them?

On another forum I'm involved with, someone's asked a great... Read More

Taxing Your eBay Profits

As a small business person-slash-advice columnist I dread the first... Read More

How Drop Shipping Works

One of the most frequently asked questions on the Net... Read More

Negating Negative Feedback on eBay

Taking some pride in my one hundred percent positive feedback... Read More