My First Three Months Selling Part Time on eBay
Selling on eBay
For 15 years, I had a dream to start selling items on eBay to earn extra money. In the Fall of 2013, needing money to help pay for my daughter's college tuition, I finally decided to take the leap and give eBay a try. I have had a lot of fun, made some money, and discovered a few things about myself along the way.
I started out on my eBay journey by selling things I had in my possession already. I recently moved and found a lot of things in my house that I didn't need anymore. Once those started to sell, I quickly realized that I would run out of things and if I wanted to do this on a regular basis to make money, I needed to find more items to sell. I started selling on eBay in October 2013. Unfortunately, the time of year for great pickings at yard sales was over in New England, so I was limited to what I could pick up at local Goodwill and other second-hand stores. But going into the stores on a treasure hunt is half the fun. If you have ever watched and been enthralled by the show, "American Pickers" you will know what I mean. It's the same type of thrill but selling smaller items like vintage small antiques, electronics or clothing is what I have chosen to start selling on eBay. And those things are more along the lines of what you might find at a Goodwill store or a thrift store, instead of the large bikes and automobiles the pickers on the show find. I am excitedly looking forward to Spring and Summer when I can pick up more items at yard sales and estate sales at better prices.
I found that Fall is a great time to start selling on eBay because I lot of people are looking on eBay for special Christmas gifts. Now that the holiday season is over, my eBay sales have dropped quite a bit. But in checking with other people who sell on eBay, it's very typical for this time of year.
My eBay Niches:
I have made over $145 in selling just Barbie dolls and their clothes. That's approximately 1/2 of my earnings. Granted, these dolls were my old dolls that I had growing up in the 1960s, but those dolls were considered "vintage" in the world of Barbie doll collecting and are worth more than Barbie dolls from the last decade.
I also have done well with selling Christmas tree ornaments...not current day but ornaments from the 1980s and 1990s. And yes, I did sell these in the Fall, but they sold very well, so I will be looking for those two types of items when I head out treasure hunting for items to sell on eBay.
Tips I have learned:
*Selling on eBay in the months of October, November, and December is a good idea to help people find the perfect Christmas gift for loved ones.
* Selling Christmas items in the Fall, such as Christmas ornaments and holiday items to decorate the home with sell well on eBay.
* Finding a niche helps earn more money because you can become an expert in that one area and know how much you should be able to sell something for when you see it at a yard sale.
*Having a cell phone with you when you are treasure hunting at yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores for items to resell is very helpful. You can access the internet with the item right in front of you and figure out what the going price is for these items on eBay. Then you can determine if it's worth purchasing the item to resell.
*Listing items as a "buy it now" as well as auction style listing can help a seller earn more money when people don't want to have to wait until the end of the auction to purchase something.
* For people who are serious about selling on eBay, having an eBay store is a great way to earn more money, have items listed for a longer period, and also save on listing fees. eBay store owners are also able to put their store on vacation when they are away, and that is a wonderful perk.
*To keep your seller feedback high, ship items as soon as possible after receiving the email that the buyer has paid. I am working full time while doing eBay and I find I often can't get to the post office as quickly as I would like and it has affected my eBay score.
* Each eBay seller has to decide on their own how to price their items and to decide if earning 99 cents on an item that they have to spend time taking pictures of, listing, packing and bringing to the post office to ship is actually worth the time and effort on their own part. For me, it is not. I don't list anything for under $2.95, and that's when I know I can get more for it.
* I have found a few niches by trial and error and will stick with those as much as possible. But also going to antique shops helps to price out items I may find at yard sales and want to resell.
* It makes sense to go to Goodwill stores on Sundays and Mondays which is the beginning of the week for special colored tags. Each week items with a certain color are 50% off, and you will want to take advantage of those prices. There are also other discount days such as days for a senior discount, student discount, and a military discount. Find out what days there are weekly discounts at your local store and make sure to shop those days at Goodwill. There are also special sale days related to holidays that they have throughout the year. The store will have fliers posted before the holiday sale so pay attention to the fliers you see posted.
*Church rummage sales are also great opportunities to purchase items cheaply to resell.
*Estate sales are great places to find items inexpensively as they usually mean someone is moving, or unfortunately died, and the family members need to clear out the house. Some estate sales even do a markdown of 50% off everything on the last day of the sale.
*Talking to others who sell on eBay, whether you meet them online or in your personal life is a great way to learn expert selling tips.
*There are lots of expert eBay sellers who have videos on Youtube to watch and pick up some great tips on how to make good money on eBay, what items sell well, etc.
Breakdown of what I have earned so far, minus costs:
Amount Earned Through Gross Sales in Three Months: $509.44
Amount Subtracted From eBay percentage: $75.56
Amount subtracted for shipping supplies I bought: $19.92
Amount subtracted for shipping mistakes: $46.97
Amount subtracted from what I bought to resell:$20.02
Total amount that I netted in 3 months: $344.97
You might not think that approximately $350 is much money, but it was worth it to me. Selling mostly items I had around my house, and earning an extra $118 per month was a fun experience. Now that I have been on eBay longer and know what I am doing a bit better, I will not be losing as much money on postage. I am excited to see what the future holds for me and my eBay business.
This hub is dedicated to a fellow Hubpages writer, Hawaiian Odysseus who has been an eBay coach of sorts to me and has written many tips on how to become a top eBay seller both here on HubPages and also on Bubblews. Thanks so much HO for getting me motivated enough to follow my dream of selling on eBay to make extra money! Check out his hubs for more tips on how to do well on eBay!
Here's a great book I used when I first got started selling on eBay
Great YouTube Video by Raiken Profit about Mistakes he Made as a Beginner on eBay
Have You Ever Sold Anything on eBay?
© 2014 Karen Hellier