A few months ago we shared the story of an eBay seller who went from zero to $250k in just three months, we saw the positive response to their success story.
Now we bring you Sophia Amaruso’s story, GIRLBOSS, who started her empire selling revamped vintage clothing on eBay.
In 2006, a 22 year old girl sold an eight dollar thrift store find on eBay and profited over 1,000 dollars. That one sale was the first of many that Sophia Amaruso would make on and off eBay. What started as a way to keep the lights on, would ultimately turn into a multi-million dollar fashion brand, and even land Amaruso on Forbes’ list of Richest Self-Made Women. What you see below are Sophia’s Top 10 Rules for Success. They are, in her opinion, the way she has made it as far as she has.
Make yourself memorable
What you sell and display for the world to see says something about yourself and your “brand.” Make it exciting, make it pop, make it unique. Create an atmosphere or lifestyle that are trying to convey for customers. Give them something they’ll remember next time they are shopping.
Create a feeling
Your store and style can be a feeling. It’s the attitude or time-period or life that you give the listing. Create the impression that what you offer is different from anything else a customer will find. People like to feel that they are a part of something. Give buyers a product which will make them feel like they are a part of an exclusive club.
Create a great atmosphere
Whether it is personally or professionally, surround yourself with people you don’t mind being around.
My take: This is the classic competitive advantage you should be looking for from day one to rise above the crowd. We found our competitive advantage by creating the perfect eBay listing which after a while became so dominant that most of our competitors tried desperately to copy.
Play to your strengths
“Everyone has things that they can improve upon. I think a world where everybody is more aware of that is a good one. A place where people can be empowered to make choices in their life, rather than throw themselves into places that they may not inherently be successful, because the world has sold them some story of what they should be doing. So, I guess a Girlboss is someone who is in choice.” -Sophia Amaruso
Take risks with yourself and your business. If it doesn’t work out, then try something different. The important thing is to remain loyal to your customers while also moving forward towards better and bigger things, because you’re not hurting your business by taking risks. You’re learning what works and what doesn’t.
My take: last week I shared the science behind offering something for free with the goal to open your mind to thinking about unordinary ways to increase your sales. They are riskier but the reward is higher in the chance they succeed which leads you to biggers things.
Grow with your customers
While staying true to your brand, it’s important to move in the direction that the times are going. Trust your instincts and be bold in your decisions.
Compete with yourself
Always strive to be better. Worry about your personal-expectations rather than everyone else’s. Aim for greatness, or whatever you perceive it to be. As long as you’re happy with what you are doing, your company should be positively impacted by it.
My take: eBay is a hyper-competitive market, almost any time I listed a product and it was selling well, I found that after a week or so several competitors popped up with lower prices and I had to either decrease my prices (which would lead to a price war – never a good idea) or start optimizing my listings to maintain that competitive advantage and keep sales from dropping. That always kept me on the edge, I knew that I could never stop searching for new products to sell because of the fierce competition. It always felt like a race, I found a profitable product, and then I had to race again for the next profitable product, again, and again. The mindset is to always think about things that might kill your business and act upon it to grow.
Stay on task. Keep looking forward towards what else you can do catapult your success. While you’re at it, drown out the white noise around you and stay focused on what deserves your focus.
Sophia started with a small eBay business selling the clothes she found in the thrift stores near where she lived. She would style, alter, display, and photograph her pieces herself. It was a one-woman show. What started there in her apartment grew past herself, into a business of over 300 employees.
My take: This reminds me of the lean startup approach which we implemented to grow our eBay sales without taking on things we could not really handle with the very limited experience we had at the time.
Do the job
It takes work. You have to put effort into making yourself a success, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
My take: A direct continuation to my take on point related to #7, at the end you have to continually work and think about ways to grow your business. The notion that you can make a lot of money online by spending 2 hours a day isn’t honest. I see a lot of advertisements on Facebook nowadays and it really bothers me that people are trying to sell the idea that “profiting from online sales is easy”. With my years of hard work and experience, I’ve learned that online businesses is a tough road to walk and on that road I made a lot of mistakes that nearly killed my business. I believe most people give up after being faced with the kind of hurdles I’ve dealt with. You really have to be willing to work hard and endure through the hard times. This is the only way you have a real chance at success.