What a story, this could have been an entire thread by itself!!By far and away the worst financial decision I ever made was relying on eBay as a selling platform. When I sold my auto repair and restoration business in 2004 I started selling vintage used car parts on eBay full time.
This was basically like printing money as everything I listed (it was auctions only in those days) got sold, usually on multiple bids, for top dollar. Keep in mind I had been in the vintage car business for 20 years at this point and was well versed on the value and target market for these items.
Fast forward a couple years and everything is going great, making excellent sales and very very profitable.
I decided I needed more inventory and I was able to buy a HUGE inventory (like a 30 year collection). This was a very expensive purchase and I borrowed the money for this.
I also had purchased over 100 vintage parts cars (on borrowed money) and had a small salvage yard to pull parts from.
I also added 2 people to the staff, including a person dedicated to making ebay listings and a dedicated packaging and shipping guy.
I was relying on eBay almost exclusively and this was a REALLY bad move. Only a couple months after I get this inventory eBay sales pretty much died. Also at pretty much the same time eBay made us take our phone number out of our listings and this greatly affected our sales. We went from the phone sales being 10 - 20 items per day to basically nothing.
I found out through the sellers forums and other blogs that eBay had changed their algorithm to basically hide small sellers favoring the big boys (Diamond Sellers). The combination of these 2 thing spelled disaster and I was forced to let everyone go and do everything myself as there just was not enough sales to have staff.
I am STILL paying for the huge loan I took out and figure this "adventure" cost me well in excess of 1.5M, including my lost time as I worked for basically free for years to just pay this loan.
I am just now starting to get back on my feet with another business but that eBay adventure was an absolute disaster financially.
The lesson is NEVER EVER give up control of your sales process (the commandment of control) to a 3rd party or you are just basically their employee and they can shut you down (fire you) on a whim.
I am now back to the business of restoring and repairing vintage musclecars and am SO GLAD to be done with eBay.
I must say I am very "happy" with this thread and all that I am learning.
I thought it was the end of the world when I lost in the stock market, but then when we put things in perspective.....
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