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.

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Auction set for contents of namesake for Shoreway's Westinghouse curve  Crain's Cleveland BusinessThe sale of the Westinghouse complex on West 58th Street in Cleveland may be looming closer as an auctioneer sells off the equipment of its longtime occupant ...
Kurt Cobain's pizza plate sold for $22400. Here's more celebrity garbage that sold for big money.  CNBCOne person's trash is another person's treasure, as the saying goes. This was proven on May 18, when a paper plate was sold by Julien's Auctions for $22,400.
‘Quadruple whammy’ boosts home sales  The AustralianReal estate markets across the country improved at the weekend, with a quadruple whammy of positive developments since the election credited with boosting ...
CarWave expands online auction platform beyond California  Automotive NewsCarWave may not be novel, but its apparent success in the online auction business shows there's a thirst for digital auctions.
National Auction Market Preview - 12 May  CoreLogic Property NewsMount Waverley in Melbourne is the busiest suburb for auctions this week, with 10 homes scheduled to go under the hammer. Following on from Mount ...
Harley-Davidson V-Rod, Mercedes, Volvo among vehicles up for auction  York Daily RecordThe York County Drug Task Force's semi-annual auction will be held Memorial Day, featuring numerous vehicles seized in drug investigations.
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Lawrence of Arabia gifts to family will be sold at auction  Oxford MailPRIZED personal belongings of Lawrence of Arabia are expected to fetch thousands of pounds at auction.
In post-auction regime, production in new mineral blocks fails to take off  Business StandardThe transparent allocation of mineral resources through auctions after the promulgation of the amended Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, ...
Collection of 3 Shelby Cobras sold for millions at auction  Fox NewsA trio of Shelby Cobras sold for a combined $7 million this past weekend. The cars were from the estate of noted collector Steven Juliano, who died from ...
A ‘Big Healey’ Launches Sotheby’s Online Collector Car Auction  Barron'sOnline auctions are an excellent way to sell classic collector cars, as demonstrated by eBay.com and the startup site BringATrailer.com, founded in 2007. EBay's ...
Kurt Cobain's Used Paper Plate Sold At California Auction  NPRThe Nirvana frontman was eating pizza before a 1990 show in Washington, D.C., and he needed to write down his set list on. He grabbed his plate and listed the ...
Huge Derbyshire home with over 30 bedrooms sells at auction - here’s how much for  Derbyshire LiveA former care home in Derbyshire that has been empty ever since it closed down three years ago has been sold at auction. The former Glebe Residential Home, ...
Rare Dodo Skeleton May Fetch Over $700K at Auction  Live ScienceYou may have heard of the hapless dodo — an endearingly squat, toddler-size flightless bird — that was driven to extinction in the late 1600s and hasn't been ...
Heritage Auctions – Seldom Seen Selections: Gem Proof 1837 No Stars Dime  CoinWeekChief Engraver William Kneass suffered a stroke before he could finalize the design for the Seated Liberty motif, which replaced the Capped Bust design on.
Annual Houston County surplus auction is coming up. Here’s what’s for sale.  Macon TelegraphWant a fire truck, a cheap ride or some oddity owned by Houston County? Check out the county's surplus auction June 6. A 1987 Ford Firetruck with 42,494 ...
Bring a Trailer Goes Posh as Auction Site Starts “White Glove” Service by Selling Its Own Mercedes Gullwing at No Reserve  Car and DriverPristine 1965 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing heads to auction to commemorate Bring a Trailer's new Plus and White Glove services.
Portugal to launch second 700 MW solar auction in January  pv magazine InternationalWhile preparing for the country's first, 1.35 GW solar tender in June, state secretary for energy João Galamba has revealed another procurement exercise will be ...
Tulsa cattle auction report | Markets  High Plains JournalThe Tulsa Livestock Auction, Tulsa, Oklahoma, reported 1939 head of cattle selling May 20, compared to 1549 head selling a week ago and 2317 a year ago, ...
Customs auctions vehicles to 'raise money for the state'  The Daily StarLebanese Customs held its second auction of abandoned goods at Beirut Port in an effort to “raise money for the state,” agency head Badri Daher said Sunday.
Spectrum auction, 5G trials top Telecom Ministry agenda for new government  LivemintNew Delhi: Preparing the Cabinet note for spectrum auction, rolling out of the new digital communications policy and establishing regulatory sandboxes, 5G ...

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