Libraries Help You Sell on Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Craigslist
Those looking to step into the world of the gig economy can be reassured in knowing that there are helpful resources to walk them through this type of business. Libraries hold a wealth of information within their buildings. This knowledge comes in the form of print materials, internet and database resources, and well-trained librarians and the library’s connections to the communities. Libraries are here to serve the local public which means that these institutions are always looking for different materials to buy and classes to incorporate that may be of interest to patrons. Many are stepping into the roles of becoming their own businesses either through opening up a small business or through selling items on the internet. Platforms like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist are just a few of the many places where people head to begin their selling journey. The library is the perfect place for beginners to visit and in many cases will teach patrons how to sell on these platforms through step by step instruction. Here’s what you can look into at your local public library to start building your business acumen.
What Type of Gig are You Stepping Into?
There’s a variety of reasons why people decide to do jobs on the side in addition to their main roles. This could be to offload items they are no longer using, to make extra money to supplement their income, or to dive into a creative hobby of theirs, etc. Once you figure out your purpose for stepping into gig roles, you can begin building your knowledge from there. Many libraries are equipped with business librarians that can guide you through the process and help you research the facts you’ll need to know before going into online selling.
The New York Public Library offers services for business owners at all levels whether you are trying to build a brand for your crafting or just looking to open up a small shop on Amazon or Ebay. Business librarians at the New York Public Library hold video consultations for those that need it at various times of the month. These video calls last around half an hour and focus on helping you answer a question through research. What’s great about this service is that it is free to the public and the one-on-one session means that the time is used productively and tailored towards the needs of the patron.
One of the greatest resources available at the library is having librarians who are skilled at searching for the information you need. Whether you are an eBay (Amazon, Etsy, etc.) beginner or trying to figure out how to sell on these platforms successfully, a librarian will be a great first point of contact.
Library Courses for Buying, Selling, and Business
The local public library houses endless education materials for the public. These include a variety of classes that cater to the exact needs of the library patron. Other than classes related to technology and computers, many courses dive into the specifics of internet selling. The Saratoga Springs Public Library in Saratoga Springs, NY has year-round classes for those looking to learn. A few, in particular, that would be of interest to gig-economy sellers are “Buying & Selling on eBay,” “Craigslist Discussion,” and “Etsy Basics for Absolute Beginners”. Attached to the courses are files that cover the basics of selling. For eBay sellers, it includes tips for creating an auction-based item versus a buy-it-now item and continues into topics of image watermarks, sales tax, bid increments, etc. Etsy sellers are walked through the process of planning and creating an account and how this translates into their own shop on the site.
The Olathe Public Library has multiple learning platforms in place. Universal Class has over 500 courses for library patrons to choose from. Universal Class topics include arts, crafts, and hobbies as well as business and entrepreneurship. Those specifically looking into learning how create art to sell could look into a combination of courses listed for crafters and entrepreneurs. These classes are all self-paced and have an estimate of the number of hours it takes to complete each course. These classroom settings have assignments, tests, and grades built in to simulate a live course. These courses can also be used for professionals looking to earn Continuing Education Credits (CEU).
Udemy is also another platform offered by the library. Those with a library card have access to over 4,000 on-demand video courses and are divided by those that are self-paced and those that are instructor-led, giving learners different learning environments to choose from.
Events are another option for obtaining information on internet selling. Many libraries rotate different topics through their event calendar and programming that the public would have interest in.
The Darien Library hosted “Selling on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Other Mega-Retailers” where a nationally recognized small business and tax expert spoke to locals about selling on different platforms. This presentation touched on the differences between Amazon, Etsy, and eBay and introduced attendees to other online sites to use. People were able to learn how to get started with online selling, complying with platform rules, and also potential legal and tax issues they may face.
Librarians are also taking their knowledge to the internet through podcast making. Over half of the population in the United States has listened to a podcast before. This is a space where the public can go to learn about creating a business and selling on internet platforms. Two Librarians & a Microphone is a podcast series created by Ingram Library Services. The podcast series discusses a variety of trending topics and news related to the library world. A few of their previous podcasts have touched on subjects like innovative library programs and reading. One of the podcast episodes highlights the gig economy specifically and goes into how libraries can provide resources for patrons who are involved or interested in getting involved with a gig. Not only is this helpful for library patrons to listen to, it is also a good resource for other libraries who want to provide their own community with resources and build a collection of titles related to the gig economy.
Libraries Help Gig Workers and the Economy
Libraries have also been instrumental in mobilizing their communities and ensuring they have the support they need to thrive. Many libraries now have thousands of square feet along with professional staff dedicated to helping small business owners. In addition to offering research materials, dozens of library staff become a valuable resource for those looking to get started on a new project or gig. With endless numbers of databases, print and digital materials, workshops, and classes, the library is a new (or old) gig worker’s best and well-trusted helper.