The internet makes it possible reach far more customers than you would in your local area. From single auctions on eBay to large online stores shifting thousands of items each day, more and more people are selling via the web.
This way of selling has enormous advantages for mums and dads. You can run an online business from home. It is possible to work mostly by email, so no-one will hear the children in the background, and you can fit your work in at the time that suits you. You can sell online through other people’s websites, or set up your own site.
Everyone has heard of eBay, most people have bought something through the online auction site, but have you sold anything yet? It is simple to sell items, and many people just sell unwanted possessions. There are other online auction sites which work in similar ways to eBay with small variations, but eBay is by far the most popular and successful.
Nowadays it is relatively straightforward to get your own website, with a shopping cart to allow people to purchase from you. While many people just stick with selling on eBay, your own site can give you far more options, and people may perceive your operation as more professional.
You want to develop a ‘look’ for your online business. To start with, do a little research on the internet. Look at other websites and see what appeals to you. Which sites do you feel confidence in, and which would you not want to buy from? Look at business logos, and the different colours and styles used on various websites. This will help you develop the way your online store will look.
It is important to decide on a name for your business. When you have a few ideas, check with Companies House that there are no other companies with the same name operating in the same line of business. Visit Nominet online to ensure that the name you are after is available as a domain name. It is a bad idea to start a business without having registered the domain name. You may find someone else snaps up the name you want and you risk having to pay over the odds to get it back. Buy your domains through a domain name provider like 1 & 1 UK which has a useful guide to setting up your own website.
Have a think about whether you want to design the site yourself, or get a professional to do it for you. Do you have the time and skills to do it yourself? There are lots of resources to help you online, and you can read below about how some business owners have learnt to create and manage their own sites. If you want to find a designer, there are lots of business directories online.