So You Want to Start a Business

We’ve talked to several different people who are considering starting a business selling their stuff. Some are contemplating a booth in an existing mall, others are wanting to sell online. If you fall into either one of these categories, we thought we’d pass along some tips and things to consider before making a decision.

‘Brick & Mortar’ Store

Good if…. 

  • you have larger items to sell that would be difficult to ship
  • mall submits taxes on items that go through the front desk
  • you are paid regularly once or twice a month with no restrictions on total sales amount before check will be issued
  • you don’t have to work – and don’t want to, but can be there if you choose
  • mall has set business hours that are strictly adhered to
  • have access to bring in new merchandise whenever you like during business hours

 Consider …

  • type of security (guards or door monitors to check those entering and leaving, security cameras, night alarms, locked cases )
  • rental cost per month
  • can they increase rent without notice
  • must you sign a contract to stay a required number of months
  • how much notice must you give before leaving
  • are there advertising costs you may be required to contribute to
  • whether or not you are permitted to work your own booth and make direct sales, in this case you’d be responsible for paying sales taxes
  • if you want, can you re-locate to a better booth location at any time if space becomes available


Online Website/Store

Good if . . .

  • you already have existing websites/blog with traffic that you can use to sell items
  • you have smaller merchandise items (or limited items) you want to sell – maybe a collection, estate inheritance, or just cleaning out the house
  • you want to work from home and don’t mind shipping and costs associated with packing
  • you don’t have access to existing brick-and-mortar mall or don’t want to pay rent


  • type of method you will use to sell (eBay auction, eBay store, Amazon store, your own ecommerce store, existing online ‘mall’ site.)
  • do you have the knowledge to set up a website or blog if you do not already have one
  • do you have a digital camera for taking pictures and uploading them
  • if you choose an existing online selling site, can you work through set ups and registrations …some offer option to have your own logos, headers, etc.

Tip:   Make sure to review the guidelines associated with these online store sites, ie., monthly rental rates, tiered store levels usually based on monthly cost and number of items you can offer for sale, what is the length of time each item is available, are you required to add new items on a set schedule, what type of items can you sell and are some items constrained

 Permits, License, Etc.

In addition to deciding which direction to take for selling, you’ll also need to think about

  • Getting a Sales Tax Number from your state comptroller,
  • Opening a business bank account if you are using a DBA (doing business as),
  • Having a credit card account for charges or a PayPal account to accept charges.

Tip:  If you decide to use PayPal, we recommend setting up a separate bank account that is not tied to any of your personal accounts for transferring your PayPal monies into.


Lastly, there are many different types of existing online sites where you can sell. To get more information about each one of these – including a direct link to the site, please visit Power to Earn Money where we’ve gone into more depth about each one.



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