9 Steps to Start a Reselling Business Online for Profit

Seller's Corner
9 Steps to Start a Reselling Business Online for Profit

Are you considering getting started as a reseller or turning hobby selling into a legitimate business? This article will help you get started!

Growing a small business is an endeavor which requires dedication, hard work and consistency. Nonetheless, anyone and everyone can become a six-figure online reseller! It is possible to start a reselling business without spending much money. I did it! I started selling online as a lucrative hobby to supplement my income.

My hard work, love of fashion and addiction to the flip-for-profit model turned my lucrative side-hustle into a legitimate corporation. Today I am a six-figure multi-platform e-commerce reseller, and I mentor resellers in their selling journey. E-Commerce reselling is an amazing and inclusive industry. Regardless of your demographic, socio-economic status, or education level, you have the potential to supplement your income, earn a living, or develop a multi-million-dollar company.

Whether you have never sold a single item online, or you are a seasoned reseller seeking to step up your game, here is how to utilize the goal-oriented profit-first business model!  


1. Just Start

If you have been thinking about getting started reselling for profit or scaling your existing operation- just do it! The sooner you get started, the sooner you will be successful. If you are not ready to totally dive in, start with tiny steps! You are ready to do some preliminary research, sign up for accounts on selling platforms, create social media accounts, and even to start posting a few items for sale on new platforms. Remember, a business takes time to grow and the smallest strides at inception will provide you with experience and exposure. Establishment, growth and success start with small activities in the right direction. Do not overwhelm yourself with a need for perfection or mastery.  What are you waiting for?

If you break it down to the core, reselling is as simple as purchase, clean, photograph, list, sell, package, and ship! You do not need fancy equipment, lighting systems, expensive supplies, software, or much of anything to get started today.  In fact, I recommend that you do not expend funds immediately; instead, reinvest your earnings into business and supplies. In most cases, all you need is a device with a camera, internet, natural lighting, a way to print shipping labels, and determination!


2. Decide What You Are Going to Sell.

First, decide what your inventory will be composed of. If you are a brand-new seller, start with items lying around your home. Then, seek free inventory from friends, relatives, and your community. Before you expend funds sourcing inventory, practice selling things with little-to-no cost. This will allow you to become comfortable with the reselling process -from acquisition to completion- and generate revenue for reinvestment.  If you are already a hobby-seller, evaluate where you are most profitable, and focus on those categories of inventory. It is best to start with a narrowly-tailored focus to stay on-track during start up. There is plenty of room for growth and expansion later!


3. Determine Where You Are Going to Sell Your Items

Do some research- the internet offers an infinite collection of marketplaces. Learn where your inventory sells and explore those platforms. Read their terms of service, seller requirements, fee and payment structures, shipping procedures, tax information, and tips for success. There are vast resources available to learn about specific platforms. Take advantage of Youtube videos and use Facebook groups to acquire knowledge, ask questions, and share ideas.

For clothing, Poshmark is perhaps the easiest platform to begin with, having a clean and user-friendly interface, a simplified shipping process, a clear payment structure, and a large and supportive community of seller-stylists!

Do not limit yourself to just one (or even just two) platforms. Cross-listing is one of the keys to success in e-commerce.  Using Vendoo to cross-list allows you to list your inventory across many platforms to maximize exposure and generate sales.  

Once you are relatively established, you may consider creating your own marketplace or website. However, it is best to get started on existing platforms as they handle the website development, advertising, credit-card processing fees, user agreements, and sales tax remission, among other considerations.


You might also like: 8 Great Marketplaces Every Reseller Should Consider


4. Establish Goals

Take the e-pencil to tablet and brainstorm as to your goals. Be specific. Is there an annual amount of profit you wish to earn? Do you want to operate business independently, or scale with employees? Do you wish to give a portion of your proceeds to a charitable cause? Do you seek to be sustainable and ecologically friendly? Goals should be fluid and establishing a general projection will help you to grow strategically. Ascertaining long-term and short-term goals will help you to stay motivated and concentrated.




5. Write Down Your Goals

Categorize your goals by: ongoing daily-goals, short-term, and long-term. Post them where they are regularly visible. Consider your goals when confronted with decisions, or when you are developing new ideas. Each day, you should be making small steps toward the realization of your goals. Regularly evaluate, brainstorm, and research ways to achieve your goals. Most importantly- get selling! Your long-term goals will require time and money.

Your daily goals should inspire your short-term goals to generate growth and revenue, which will help you to achieve your substantial long-term goals. Hard work and a Goal-Oriented Profit-First Mindset is the key to success.


6. Establish a Business Model

If your goal is to scale and grow a successful business, focus on profit and maintain organization by way of Cost of Goods (COG), Return on Investment (ROI), Inventory Management, and Book-Keeping practices.

COG refers to the price you spend on an item for resale. Return on Investment (ROI) refers to total profit; that is, revenue minus expenses- including COG, platform fees, taxes, supplies, dry-cleaning, repair, shipping costs, and anything else which you spend money on to effectuate the sale of that item. For business success (as well as tax-purposes), stay mindful of your expenses and earnings. There are many tools such as Vendoo which will help you to calculate these metrics. Similarly, Poshmark and eBay offer reports to assist sellers in administrative work. 

As your business grows, strategically make improvements to your Goal-Oriented Profit-First business model. Strive to save money and maximize efficiency in each step of the resale process. Research how to inexpensively source items for resale, and source strategically to maximize ROI. With growth and revenue, consider investment in supplies and software to streamline the photography and listing process. Conduct ongoing research about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and e-commerce selling. Consider enrolling in a course that will help you achieve greater revenue on various platforms. Organize your inventory management and book-keeping systems. Remember that time is money.   


7. Build a Brand, Network, and Advertise.

What is your handle or username across platforms? If it is Yourname1234xo, change it to something distinct and memorable.  

Branding yourself is crucial to maximize exposure and create traffic to your selling platforms. This includes providing stellar service, quickly responding to inquiries, and handling your business with professionalism and integrity. Making the customer experience memorable and seamless will generate return and exposure.  

With a vast and saturated market, it is vital to advertise! This is not a service you necessarily need to pay for.  Social media, when used consistently and strategically, is arguably the most effective form of modern advertising. Utilize social media networking to drive traffic to your platforms. Study hashtags and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Network and lend support to other resellers. You will make valuable connections, increase exposure, and acquire industry knowledge. 

It is never too soon to reserve your name on e-commerce and social media platforms, even if you are not ready to launch them today. If you are considering your own website, reserve the domain now in websites like GoDaddy or similar. Similarly, it is a good idea to print business cards and always carry them with you! Distribute them everywhere- when you are outsourcing, at social engagements, or when you receive a compliment on your #ootd. Post them on community cork boards and webpages! Stick one in your orders as you prepare items for shipment! This is simple, free, and organic advertising!


8. Keep It Legal

Reselling is not all fun- like any other business, it requires administrative regulation. Whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned reseller, it is important to keep your business legally sound. If you are selling items for a profit, you need to be sure you are adhering to all federal and state selling and tax requirements. Consult with a local financial advisor, tax specialist, or qualified professional to ensure compliance with legal regulations. It is crucial to establish business bank accounts and keep transactional records of expenses and earnings.

Depending on your profit and tax-bracket, you may benefit from establishing a corporation. While book-keeping and tax preparation can be daunting tasks, there are many programs such as Vendoo, Quickbooks, MileIQ, and Evernote, which offer inventory management and profit-calculation so you can spend more time on the fun components of reselling! 


You might also like: Reseller Taxes: How Vendoo Will Save You Weeks of Time Next Tax Season


9. Scale and Grow!

Maintain organization and consistency, and try to always be a Goal-Oriented Profit-First Reseller


What are the goals for your business? Tell us below!

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