IT has provided a platform for many entrepreneurs.

The global reach sellers can gain marketing products through the internet marketplace eBay, and the convenience it provides - especially for those wanting to fit work around family life - has made it an appealing profession.

Joanne Richardson launched Airedale Yarns through eBay in 2015.

For Joanne and her husband, who is also involved in the business, it gave them the opportunity to get their business up and running while developing their company website.

Joanne recalls the ability to list products swiftly appealed to them to start selling through the internet marketplace - and they continue to do so.

“We sell yarn for knitters, weavers, embroiderers, threads and yarns and when we were setting up the business it was quite quick to get things on eBay,” Joanne explains.

She says for those wanting to develop a fledgling business, it’s certainly a great place to start selling - you just need to spend time setting it up, learning how it works and putting thought into how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.

* Descriptions should give the buyer all the information they need to know about items for sale. Joanne advises putting as many keywords you can into listings to help sellers find your products.

* Photography is another area to focus on - making sure the images of the products showcase what you are selling.

Selling online gives you immediate access to a global audience - you can be asleep and still be selling as the different time zones means buyers in other countries can still be shopping.

Joanne has sold products to customers in countries as far away as America and Australia.

Business growth has enabled them to run their business from Aire Valley Business Centre in Keighley.

This has also provided them with warehousing and a retail shop which they open once a month for seven days to allow customers to come in and make purchases.

“It could be quite easy to make a good living,” says Joanne, who acknowledges the flexibility selling online can bring for those seeking a career to fit around family life.

Linda Cresswell began her business LilianRuby’s Vintage Emporium - appropriately christened after her two Grandmothers - in 2001.

Before that Linda had worked in sales and ‘researched everything to death all my life’ she says - so when it came to combining her passion for sourcing collectables into a career she had already done her homework.

At that time her late husband was already running a business selling vintage and antique cameras on eBay. Conscious that she didn’t know much about that particular niche market, Linda began selling things she was familiar with- vintage and retro collectables such as toys.

For Linda, selling on eBay has provided her with the perfect profession, more importantly being home-based it afforded her the flexibility to fit around her family when her children were younger.

She also credits the internet marketplace with widening her customer base. “With eBay you can sell globally as well, you have no premises, no overheads and no staffing issues. I can pick my own hours but I have to be dedicated,” she explains.

Another benefit is she doesn’t have to shut up shop either - customers can still be browsing her buys late at night - and having an internet selling space gives her the opportunity to potentially trade 24/7.

In addition to her eBay shop, Linda also stands stalls in Skipton, Doncaster and Harrogate but online presence can certainly extend a trader’s reach.

Back in February the Press Association reported that more than 36,000 businesses started trading on eBay last year, the biggest rise since 2015, the online giant announced.

The company said it believed digital retail would play a key role in the success of small businesses this year through growth in online sales.

Rob Hattrell, vice-president of eBay in the UK said at the time: “Britain’s small business scene is booming, fuelled by a desire for greater flexibility, independence and empowerment.”

Helpful tips and advice to get you started selling online:-

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG the UK’s industry association for online retail, says trading online is more appealing than setting up shop - but it can be complex.

“If you are setting up a retail business today, it’s far more attractive to do so online rather than opening a shop. But doing so is complex – you have to deal with delivery, customer service, SEO etc.”

* Andy says retailing on marketplaces can be useful if you want to start selling swiftly.

“Selling on marketplaces can be a useful way to get up and running quickly for online businesses, as they often provide services that cover those complexities. It still requires a lot of hard work though, as there is a lot of other retailers competing for custom on there.”

* Online marketplaces can provide the ideal launch platform....

“The ideal route for anyone selling on marketplaces is to use them as a launchpad, with an eye on creating their own site and providing all associated services in the longer-term.

* It can also introduce your business to a global marketplace....

“Another use they can serve is targeting international markets, as they will provide translation services too,” adds Andy.