A disappointing letter from a fan

I got a letter from a fan who read about me in this month’s issue of Entrepreneur Magazine, asking me for my advice on how to launch their new eBay business. Specifically, they wanted to know what distributor would give them the best deal on iPods.

This frustrates me….

I’m not frustrated with the person who wrote this, I’m frustrated with the perception generated by the media that all you need to do is slap up an eBay store selling any product (that countless others are selling) and expect the money to start pouring in.

iPods, electronics and media (ironic – I know, I’m a DVD seller…) are VERY tough categories to break into. In fact, trying to start a new business now specializing in selling iPods is almost business suicide in my opinion… There are too many people doing exactly the same thing, scrapping for every last sale by cutting prices again and again and again….

So why do I sell DVDs? If I were starting my eBay business now I certainly wouldn’t try to break into this category… but a few years ago when I started it was booming. There were some major players in the market already, but it wasn’t flooded, and the demand for stuff like this on eBay was growing like crazy. I had the right business, with the right product, and the ability to scale to large proportions quickly and cost efficiently, all at the right time.

The lesson: if you want to start a brand new eBay biz, you’re going to need something that is creative, something that hasn’t been done before. Think about it – isn’t that what REAL businesses have to do to succeed?

Why is the iPhone breaking records with sales of a $600 product!? There has never been anything like it, and anyone who tries to emulate the brilliance of the iPhone will always be a distant second (can you tell that I own an iPhone and LOVE IT!).

Anyway, I hope that what I’m saying will resonate with new startups and that I can save them many months of struggle and direct them toward something much more promising than breaking into the iPod business on eBay!

Corey Kossack is one of eBay’s “Top Sellers” through his eBay store, Koss DVD. He is also author of eBay Millionaire or Bust and creator of ProfitBuilderSoftware.com, an online software tool designed to reduce eBay fees and maximize profits for eBay sellers.

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