Here is a short interview with a brother of mine who has for years made significant extra money from a hobby that turned into something serious ……
Ben: When did you go to your first country auction?
Answer: Around 10 years ago. I went purely by chance and bought some rubbish, I don’t even remember what. The whole process was fascinating though, and I was captivated by it. The fact that English local auctions are full of Eizabethan furniture going for a song amazed me.
Ben: And how did it develop from there?
Answer: Well, I ended up registering on eBay and sold my first painting about six months later. I was an 18th Century English miniature and I went on from there.
Ben: You’ve worked all your life as a Heavy Electrical and Mechanical Engineer – how difficult was it to learn about your first specialisation, which was English and European miniature paintings?
Answer: Hard, but great fun. I bought some reference books and spent a lot of time researching. I bought from eBay and from country auctions, but only used eBay to sell.
Ben: And what’s the situation today?
Answer: I make around £2,000 Pounds a month profit from my eBay sales of paintings. I have two pictures being sold by London auctioneers this next couple of months. Both of them are expected to sell for at least £4,000 each. I’ve sold paintings to buyers all over the world – China, the USA, the Gulf and elsewhere. I do my day job but pay for extra things from my eBay work.
Ben: What’s your advice to anyone thinking of using eBay as a means of earning a living?
Answer: Make sure you retain a 100% Customer Satisfaction score. It’s essential. Send goods on time, make sure the packaging is good. Ensure you learn your subject and over time you can have great fun whilst making some serious money.
Ben: Do you think others could do what you’ve done?
Answer : Of course. Your American expat clients are all over the world, right? Say you have a guy in Thailand or in Oman. You have local markets, antique shops, the bazaars. There is always a source for things to sell online. But the key for anyone is to research and learn their subject.