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How setting up an eBusiness at home can net you a fortune

Online spending is expected to be in excess of £30 billion this year and internet shopping accounts for more than 10% of retail sales in the UK, according to research from the Interactive Media in Retail Group. Their figures show shoppers scuttling from the high street to the information highway in increasing numbers and in a move that presents opportunities for people thinking of starting a business at home.

Try before you buy

If you have always wanted to 'sell something' but did not want to take on the commitment of a shop front, the internet offers a cost-efficient and increasingly more effective route to market. For less than £500 - the cost of a laptop, broadband connection and basic website - you can get started and all in the comfort of your own home office/front room/shed.

Here are two steps you might want to follow.

Start by experimenting - sell something on eBay or maybe used books via Amazon. Selling within these monster marketplaces will help you pick up sales techniques and learn about online payment systems. You can also watch other more experienced traders, with plenty to choose from; eBay has revealed that nearly 70,000 people in the UK are making a living by selling goods on their site, with items worth more than £2bn having been sold in the last year alone.

Next, branch out and do your own thing - when you feel ready, start your own site to market and sell your products. The Yahoo shopbuilder offers a site set-up, hosting and online payment service for £35-£50 per month. Not bad if, setting aside time and materials, this is your biggest monthly overhead.

Put your best foot forward

Jewellers, artists and individuals who make things are piling online to sell their wares. But so also are those who spot a market opportunity. I particularly like the story of 15 year old Oliver Bridge who saw a gap in the market and launched www.biggerfeet.com to sell big shoes to people with big feet. He is doing so well that we recently had to lend advice on how he could carry on expanding the business within his home, without taking over the neighbourhood.

Quote In this online retail world, good deals are there to be had End Quote

As Oliver explains: "at Bigger Feet, because we are web-based, we keep our costs low. However, there is no compromise on quality and, basically, you just get a better deal."

In this online retail world, the good deals are there to be had, for you and the customer!

What next?

Read about running an eBay shop and get in on the action.

We've all heard horror stories of people being ripped off on eBay, so here's how to make the most of those eBay opportunities safely.

Keeping customers happy and coming back - free marketing training with Microsoft Small Business+. Sign up and try it now >

Try our free newsletters for more hints and tips to help you do business better.

Visit Enterprise Nation for more information on working from home.

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