Today I would like to share with you a story about my son, and how I’m using ebay to enhance his desire to make money.
My Entrepreneurial Son
James (randomly chosen name) started selling lemonade from a lemonade stand for 25 cents when he was almost six years old. I thought he wouldn’t last, and while he only did lasted an hour, it was thirty minutes more than I thought he would do.
On that particular day, he made $3.46. Since he was selling to young kids, there is always a kid or two that doesn’t have enough money, so he sometimes sells to them for less money, and that is why the money sometimes comes back with unusual amounts…
The following year, he sold lemonade too, but what caught my attention was when he decided to try to sell lemonade in late September. It was way to cold for a lemonade stand, but he wanted to try anyway.
At first, I was going to explain to him the principles of supply and demand, but then I decided it was better than he experienced “no sales” first hand. “Trying and failing” is sometimes a great opportunity for a life lesson!
So he went out to try to sell lemonade on a damp, chilly day.
After thirty minutes, I went out to check on him (at this point he was seven years old). And lo and behold, the lemonade stand was unoccupied. Then, I saw him riding his bike a few housed down yelling “Lemonade, get your lemonade here, refreshing lemonade“. I started to call out to him, intending to making him stop yelling, but then I let him go. I shook my head as I walked back into the house, slightly impressed with his clever advertising idea. I thought, not too shabby for a young seven-year old…
So another 50 minutes passes, he gives up and comes in, and I’m all ready to explain why my “supply and demand” lesson to him on “why he didn’t sell any lemonade“… but he had! Apparently, some of his neighborhood friends heard him yelling and bought some lemonade. And while his total sales only came to $1.75, it was $1.75 more than I thought he would sell! This is the time I decided to teach him about business, using eBay as a learning tool.
You might be thinking “Why eBay“? Here are the reasons:
- It’s a fairly simple business, that you can do mostly from your home.
- It has all the important elements of a business, such as:
- a product to prepare and sell, and possible a vendor
- an advertising element (the write-up for the auction).
- consideration of business operating expenses for:
- eBay listing fee
- eBay final sale fee
- buy it now fee
- Paypal fees (if you use Paypal)
- transportation (gas) expense
- packaging costs
- Postage expense
- Shipping Insurance expense
- Time and rate of pay calculation
- customer relations
- and so on…
So, while eBay is just a simple auction, it’s still a great place to start to learn about business! All of the bullet points above are excellent business functions to learn! The cost for the point of entry into this business is ridiculously low too!
Our Adventure as Sellers
Since my kids (I also have a daughter) were born, I’ve always tried to give them financial advantages. During my period of reading any financial book that I could get my hand on in the library, I read about a board game called “Cash Flow for Kids“. Intrigued, I started to try to find it online.
All of the sites that I came across online listed the product for $40.00 or more! Then I got lucky!!! I found a site that sells the product for $26.00, and if your orders total over $50.00, shipping is free! In addition, after you buy so much, you get a 40% discount on the next shipment!
I wanted the game, but I knew I had the eBay opportunity that I was looking for! Not only would I buy the game to teach my son about business and investments, I would also teach him by selling this production on eBay for profit. Surprisingly, on eBay, it was going for a higher price than what the online stores were listing it for… Although, some were out of stock of the products too.
This was great because after my son and I look the pictures (this was his contribution, with help from me of course), and developed the sales pitch (this was all me, but I reviewed it with him) our entire advertising and eBay listing phase was completed. All we needed to do was use the previous auction as for the basis for a current one!
Next, I created an auction watcher shortcut, and my son and I would check daily to see if our product sold or not. We only sold two at a time per week because we didn’t want to flood the market and drive the prices down. After all, it was a narrow niche!
A big bonus came in October and November! While the number of auctions for this product increased on eBay, demand still outstripped supply, so the price of the auctions went all the way up to the $90 and $95 dollar range! My son and I were ecstatic!
So we did this for about a year and a half, until the supplier discontinued carrying the product. I kept one of the games for the kids to play, and then discontinued the eBay business.
What is My Son Doing Today?
Well, he must have learned something about eBay and business because now he wants to sell some of his toys on eBay instead of in a garage sale. He has learned that the market is larger and pays more than the smaller garage sale crowd! So this October and November, I’m going to help him with his own eBay experience!