Online seller

online trader, eBay seller, Etsy seller, Amazon seller

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

£49,920

Currently employed in Scotland

11,400

Five year job forecast

+4.72%

"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

Advances in technology has changed everyday life for all of us. One of the biggest revelations is that we now no longer need to leave our homes to buy the things we need or want. Online shopping is now part of our everyday lives, so why not become an online seller? 

You might sell handmade goods on Etsy or second-hand clothing on eBay. You might also buy items in bulk and sell for profit on Amazon. No matter what it is, you’ll want to engage with customers for them to want to buy your products. 

You might set up your own website or social media account to use as a platform to showcase and sell your items. Or you could use one of the online selling services that’s already out there. A big part of the job is setting your own prices as well as packaging and posting them to your customers. 

In this type of job, you’re your own boss. You decide how much work you need to put in, how often you work and where you work from. It’s likely you’d work from your own home or a studio space, so self-motivation is key.  

What you might do 

  • Register as a business and set up an online service where you can sell your items
  • Create a business plan to work towards 
  • Price your items and deal with online cash transfers 
  • Keep tax records and make sure it’s paid on time 
  • Photograph the items you’re selling to advertise to customers 
  • Write copy for your items to describe what they are 
  • Advertise yourself on different social media platforms to attract customers 
  • Package and post items to make sure they reach customers safely 
  • Keep track of accounts to work out expenses, profits and other costs
  • Reply to customer queries and feedback, including processing returns if necessary 

Working conditions

Hours

The hours and days you work are up to you. You might base this on your availability or the demand for your items.

Environment

You can work remotely, which might be from your own home or a studio space.

UK employment status

Full-time

17%

Part-time

5%

Self employed

78%

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Positive attitude
  • Networking
  • Working with technology
  • Written communication
  • Evaluating
  • Working with numbers
  • Managing resources
  • Self esteem
  • Reliable
  • Taking responsibility

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

Even though there are no formal qualifications needed to enter this role, online sellers will normally be self-employed, so an understanding of business would be useful. A a general understanding of online retail and what drives internet traffic is also useful.

Useful subjects

Useful subjects when starting a business would be:

  • Business or Accounting
  • ICT focussed subjects
  • English and Maths

Many colleges and universities offer courses or modules that develop business skills.  Most institutions offer advice, support and funding to encourage enterprise. Look at individual institutions websites for specific information and entry information.

Helpful to have

To run your own business you will need to develop a wide range of skills, from digital marketing to understanding taxes. 

You might find it helpful to be in contact with other people who have started or are starting up their business. There are lots of programmes to help you find a business mentor or support group.