On 5th August 2004, I registered on eBay.  I took the id “Asianmystiques”.  In connection, I registered on Paypal.  Then I opened by Andale account  I did all three in the same day.  I have to pass some linking and verification process on Paypal.  Since I cannot get verified yet with Paypal, I cannot list anything yet.  I felt tensed and excited.

 However, I downloaded my Andale desktop application and start off to produce listings offline.  I have to wait for full completion of Paypal verification process and then could give authority to Andale to list listings on eBay on my behalf.

 Creation of auction listings went well without any trouble.  I have ready pictures, description, inventory structure and concrete inventory logs.  I list the seven Buddhist statues as my first listings.  Then followed by Jade bangles and necklaces and Pearl necklaces.  I have some Thai Amulets in my hand but could not list because I could not write description for them. I need research to do on them.

 Finally on the third day, I received e-mail from Paypal over completion of verification process.  Then I log in into my eBay account and give authorization for Andale.  Then I check my Andale application, complete all necessary data and my listings were uploaded to Andale servers.  It was an exciting moments for me.  I was half joy and half in fears.  I could not clearly define my feelings.  I have big hope for the future and also accompanied by great fear of something unknown be larking in a corner.

 Then I login to eBay and have a review of my listings.  I tried my best to check all my listings for many times to find any error or mistakes.  There is nothing.  Many days of preparation had finally given me a smooth start.  Only thing left for me is to close my eyes, wish my best that someone be interested and buy my auctions.

 I followed the pricing structure of Eric.  All items are auctioned at US$0.01 and shipping fee is US$10.00.  Any one could bid; I would get US$10.01 minimum.  This is a sure business.  At that time, the mighty dollar was at its peak. 1 US$ could convert to 42 Bhts.  In my imagination, my excepted income of US$10.00 means 420Bhts for me.  The Buddha statue cost 85.00 Bht and the packing material cost around 10.00Bht.  Shipping is 130.00 Bht to USA.  For an investment of 225Bht, I would be getting 420Bht in return.  I am expecting the 98% profits by selling things on eBay.  It is the sweetest dream comes true.

 On the second day of my listing, one declining Buddha statue had the first bidder.  I was so excited and happy.  I thanked god many times.  I am in constant visualization of my happiest dreams.  Five days later, the first batch of auctions ends.  I have two buyers.  Each won their bids without any competition and both happily pay for the products.  I packed them as quickest as possible, give positive feedback and send them e-mails on date of the shipment.

 At around 12:00 AM, I came back from the post office excited and happy.  I visualized my big dreams.  Then I took a short rest after my lunch.  Around 1:30 PM, I access internet and went to Paypal to check my first income.  I was amazed, for the US$10.01 payment from each buyer; I receive only US$9.15 per payment record.  I realized the deductions as the Paypal transaction fees.  It is considerable high if the amount of each payment is low.  But I have no choice.

 Then I go to my eBay account and check my current invoice status. It takes around US$0.35 for insertion fees of my listings and the final value fee for the product sold was nothing. Because eBay did not charge final value fee on auction items sold at US$0.01.  But for that week, I list a total of 16 listings.  The eBay insertion fee for my first week cost me U$5.60.  When I found the detail costs of eBay and Paypal for this week, my sweet dream just evaporated. While helping Eric, I did not have access to these actual cost data.  This is the first time I am in the situation to analyze the income vs. expenses picture selling on eBay.  It is not very rosy 98% profit that I had dreamed before.  It is relatively high cost business.  I need rigid discipline, systematic inventory and cost control system to get along with selling on eBay.

 Working for Eric and having the chance to learn his errors saved me from many unseen risks.  The experience with him is something of a value which money could get.  Even on my first day of income, I now get the sense to control all cost to enable a long term sustainable business.  All roses come with thorns.

 Now I could see the exact position of Eric.  He is swimming in the deep sea full of sharks. He did not know himself how much he was bleeding by all those costs for Andale, eBay and Paypal.  Not to mention about an awful inventory that could not be traced.  Selling on eBay is not just listing and waits.  To make an income of US$10.00 in sale, I must find an interesting item that could be bought and shipped under US$5.00 in total.  If not all other combined costs from insertion fees for unsold items and Paypal transfer fees eats out all the income.

 Finally, I realized that my brass Buddhist statues are costing me too much to ship to USA, as they are quite heavy.  Despite being able to sell those statues, I must find something lighter to increase my profits.  I could not stick to an inventory item for ever even if I could sell.  I must try and change.  Then I realized Eric’s habit of buying various items.  At first I thought the way he varied the items caused us to list more and giving more work load.  Varying the product could research customer interest.

 Now each evening after my prayers and meditation, I thank Eric again and again for the insights I received only when I started the work for myself.  My little note book on gratitude now is full of praises and insights of him that were previously unnoticed while I was helping him and getting my experience.

 All my previous views on him as a shabby and careless seller were changed.  When I have to source and sell by myself, I realized and found his intelligence and sense of a good seller. Eric is very smart in finding things that intrigue customers’ interest.   What ever he sells there were many interested buyers.  He is a genius in finding the products that could sell well on eBay.

 When I started to list on eBay, I informed Eric about my first listings.  He was a bit annoyed because he realized that I am firmly on my own path and would not have time to spare for him anymore.  It was just humble 16 listings so it did not make a threat on his more than 200 items eBay store.  But I could sense his annoyance while he talked to me.  I just prayed and send love for him.  Now only thing I could do for him is having a good gratitude.  Time will cure his bad feelings.

 I thanked Eric greatly; he is my first teacher to eBay and my best friend.  Without his friendship and guidance I could not be here on eBay as a seller from a far away place called Thailand.  May God be providing love on his path to success, wealth and happiness.