In the many years we've written about eBay and general e-commerce, we've met all sorts of interesting people. These are people who have forged their own paths, created the lives they wanted, and always marched to the beats of their own drums.
We're pretty sure, however, that we've never met anyone so enthusiastic about the eBay life that they actually changed their name! Well, until now.
I talked a friend into selling on eBay a year before I actually listed my first item. She was looking for a way to make money and stay home with her children
We'd like to introduce you to Cie-Bay. Born Carolyn, Cie-Bay started out with the nickname C in her teen years. To add a little splash to the single letter, she called herself Cie during her stint as a model. Much later, when she started her eBay business, it seemed like the perfect, natural next step in the evolution of her identity.
Cie-Bay has been selling on eBay for more than a decade now, but she started out by convincing her friend to take the leap.
"I talked a friend into selling on eBay a year before I actually listed my first item," she recalls. "She was looking for a way to make money and stay home with her children."
About a year later, Cie-Bay was cleaning out and planning to toss some of her stuff. Her friend protested that she should sell it on eBay instead. "Of course I told her that no one would want my stuff," Cie-Bay says, "but she made me promise to list two items, and if they didn't sell, she wouldn't hassle me about throwing my stuff away. I was totally shocked when my items sold! Hence my selling career was born!"
So far, Cie-Bay's story is a familiar e-commerce one, but that's just the beginning.
Both home business and home
"eBay has allowed me to be a professional business, not just a hobby or a place to sell stuff,” Cie-Bay tells us. She is very clear in her devotion to the marketplace that's made this lifestyle possible and to the people who populate it.
I have received an enormous amount of support, kindness and love from my eBay family
"I have received an enormous amount of support, kindness and love from my eBay family, and I wouldn't trade them for all the free listings on eBay!" she says.
During some difficult times in her personal life, Cie-Bay found she could turn to the eBay community for support, understanding and practical help.
"I have met many a wonderful person at eBay events, on the eBay forums on Facebook and at some of the eBay meet-ups," she says. "By nature, I'm a giver. I believe if your hand is open to give, then it's also open to receive. If you focus on what you can do to make someone's day brighter, that light is also going to shine bright for you. I try to be kind, for we never know the struggle someone is going through, and we never know how that kindness touches that person. Plus, it's easier to be kind!"
A lot of this is attitude
By now you can guess that Cie-Bay is all about being a positive force in life.
"I'm the glass-half-full girl, and when life give me lemons, I make strawberry lemonade, because it's so much tastier than regular lemonade," she chuckles. She's not too interested in complaining.
"I see many sellers complain about their buyers, and it never fails to amaze me the level of expectation we place on our buyer," Cie-Bay says. "The only thing my buyer has to do is pay me, period!”
Cie-Bay puts this philosophy to work every day. Long before eBay began encouraging sellers to loosen their return policies, Cie-Bay was already there. "I personally feel that until a buyer has my item in their hands, they haven't truly seen the item," she notes.
She doesn't stick strictly with her descriptions or pictures because sometimes, for the buyer, that's just not enough. "So, if they need to return it, I let them, no questions asked," she says. "While I don't get a lot of returns, I think my buyers see my generous policy and that puts them at ease."
Cie-Bay uses this same attitude in the listings themselves. "Because of all the enhancements eBay has done, no longer is it necessary to put what I call your list of demands in your listings," she adds. "I see so many sellers describing what they won't do for buyers in their listing, e.g., 'I won't ship international. I won't accept returns.' It's too negative and not necessary."
So many sellers say, 'I heard eBay won't do anything, so I won't call them. If you don't call them, they won't do anything about your situation
The little bumps
More than 10 years into her professional e-commerce life, Cie-Bay still gets surprised by some of the ways her peers degrade the marketplace that has made their businesses possible.
"Honestly, when I see some of the sellers complain, it amazes me how they are able to make it out of their beds in the morning!" she says.
Does that mean she's never frustrated or annoyed? Of course not! "When things irritate or annoy me about eBay, and at times they do," she admits, "I have my 'moment,' then I move on."
When it's a problem that needs to be addressed, she reaches out to eBay. "So many sellers say, 'I heard eBay won't do anything, so I won't call them,'" she recounts. "Well, you know what, you're right! If you don't call them, they won't do anything about your situation!"
Cie-Bay has found that once she makes an effort to reach out, the eBay staff will try to resolve her problem. "The positives of eBay far outweigh the negatives," she continues. "This platform has afforded me so many opportunities. So the little bumps on the road are just that: little bumps!"
Cie-Bay recommends that sellers stay connected. "I'm fortunate to belong to some really great groups on Facebook," she says. "The eBay for Business group is a great source of information because you are getting it straight from the source. I stay current, too, with the eBay announcement page and help section."
As you can see, Cie-Bay is a lot more interested in moving forward than she is in staying stuck in the status quo to complain and find fault. All of this positive energy has allowed her to establish and maintain a successful business and a successful presence in her professional life. In our next article, we'll look at some of the specific practices that have allowed Cie-Bay to build the life she has now, with just the meager two items for sale to begin with!