Love Your Job: Beer Money to Full Time Business

Categorized as Advice, Creative Business

As a part of this month’s “Love Your Life” theme, I wanted to incorporate stories from fellow entrepreneurs who have managed to take what they love and turn it into a career. Your job is extremely important in the quest to love your life, so I hope to shed some light on just how some business owners got started and allow them to share any advice they might have for others looking to turn their own hobby into a dream job.

I’ve known Marc for a number of years. He owns and operates an eBay store called Twenty Four Store which sells new and pre-owned designer clothing, shoes & accessories. He’s been running this store as an official business for just over 4 years now, after his gig at a wireless start-up company ended.

As a designer label enthusiast, Marc was successfully able to take one of his hobbies and turn it into a full time job. His days now consist of shopping for resale items (he is like a deal hunting King!), listing, and fulfilling orders for customers. I’ve watched him grow and expand to the point of needing more than his own two hands, which I think is a pretty great thing! His shop now consists of over 2,000 items and contains brands for both men and women like Lululemon, 7 For All Mankind, Rebecca Minkoff, and many more!

There are so many different avenues you can take if you’re thinking of starting your own online business. eBay is just one option, and one that has worked really well for him so far. What starts as a way to make a little extra income could always have the potential to grow into something greater if you are dedicated enough to make it happen. Here is Marc’s story:

What were you doing as a career before opening Twenty Four Store?

After I graduated college (2007) I landed an entry level position at a wireless/tech start-up company with the position of Marketing Coordinator.

When you started selling on eBay, did you have plans to turn it into a full time business, or did it just work out that way?

I started selling on eBay in college for “beer money”. The items I was selling at the time were my personal ones that I had no need for anymore. In the beginning, I never had plans to turn it into a business. When I started my post grad job I was still casually selling on eBay as a supplemental income. In 2010 the start-up I was working for folded and I lost my job. eBay is where my passion was so after a few months of searching for a new full time job (during the peak of the terrible job market) I decided to turn eBay into my career.

I love that you took the opportunity to turn your passion into a business during that time! What attracted you to selling on eBay?

I first started buying on eBay for myself. The items I was buying were designer labels at discounted prices (new & used). This was all before the explosion of discount stores and websites. I was buying items that were only available at retail prices or with small discounts from in-store sales. After some time I realized, if I’m buying this stuff, I could sell my own similar items to people just like me.  During this time eBay was the only platform to do so.

You could have sold anything, but you stuck with what you knew… smart! 

I’ve always had an interest in designer goods and because of the many years of buying & selling them, I’ve developed an expertise in various brands, pricing and trends. It’s just what I know well.

1. Vanessa Mooney Pyramid Ring Brass 2. Pendleton Hobo Bag 3. Lululemon Power Y Tank in Laceoflage Floral 4. Citizens of Humanity Faye Bermuda Shorts 5. Joe’s Jeans Star II Suede Boots

Did you have any experience with online retail sales prior to this? If not, how did you learn?

I had no experience with online retail and gradually learned on my own. I’m still learning every day as things evolve. eBay is a very different place today from what it was 10+ years ago.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I have two types of days. Both start off with processing orders and responding to customer service emails that came in since the previous day.

Operations Day: This is a day where products are photographed and listed on eBay. These days are where an employee would help out a lot as it’s very time consuming.

Hunting Day: This is a day where I physically leave my office to find and purchase product. I try to cover as many places as I can these days as it’s difficult to mix the two types of days in one. In a standard work week I will designate at least one day for a hunt day.

Overall, I do not have any set times for myself. Sometimes I start work at 7:00 AM and sometimes I stop working at time when everyone else is asleep. I look at this as a benefit of working for yourself.

That’s definitely a benefit of working for yourself! With a marketplace as large as eBay, do you do anything to stand out?

I’ve tried social media in the past but it’s not very effective for my business model. 95% of my inventory is made up of single pieces and sizes. My buyers find my products through Google (eBay gets great results!) and specific searches on eBay itself.

I’ve noticed eBay always pops up on the front page when I’m searching for an item on Google. I’m sure you’ve become a pro at titling your items by now too! Do you think there is anything you could be doing better?

Yes, as of right now I’m a one man show who has needed a larger work space & employees for quite some time now. The plan for 2015 is to fulfill those needs.

I think that’s a great idea and would take a lot of weight off of your shoulders. Do you have any advice for other individuals looking to open up an online, or in particular, eBay store?

Take it slow. First try selling your own personal items before you invest in inventory. You might find out eBay is not the route for you.

That’s great advice. So, I have to ask, what do you love most about your job?

As cliche as is it might sound, I love being my own boss with lots of flexibility.

I agree! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

If you want to check out Marc’s store, visit Twenty Four Store now and save it to your eBay favourites!

I’d also love to know what you think of this little series idea. Hopefully you can feel a little inspired to get out there and do your own thing, and of course, find a job you love.

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Dana Fox

By Dana Fox

Founder of Wonder Forest and bestselling author of the Watercolor With Me book series.