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My First Three Months Selling Part Time on eBay

Updated on July 19, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

This was the first Barbie doll that I sold on eBay and she went for $24.99. It's a Julia Barbie doll. from the 1960s sitcom of the very same name, starring Diahnn Carroll.
This was the first Barbie doll that I sold on eBay and she went for $24.99. It's a Julia Barbie doll. from the 1960s sitcom of the very same name, starring Diahnn Carroll. | Source

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

This ash blonde barbie Doll sold for $27.99 on eBay.
This ash blonde barbie Doll sold for $27.99 on eBay. | Source
This blonde vintage Barbie doll from the 1960s sold for $20.49 on eBay.
This blonde vintage Barbie doll from the 1960s sold for $20.49 on eBay. | Source
This set of vintage Barbie doll clothes from the 1960s had a starting bid of $3.99 and when I went to bed on the last night of the auction, they were at a bid of $4.25 and when I woke up, they had sold for $22.72!
This set of vintage Barbie doll clothes from the 1960s had a starting bid of $3.99 and when I went to bed on the last night of the auction, they were at a bid of $4.25 and when I woke up, they had sold for $22.72! | Source
This brand new Pfalzgraff Christmas ornament was mine that I never used. It was given to me as a gift, and it sold on eBay for $15.71.
This brand new Pfalzgraff Christmas ornament was mine that I never used. It was given to me as a gift, and it sold on eBay for $15.71. | Source

eBay Poll

Have You Ever Sold Anything on eBay?

See results

© 2014 Karen Hellier


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    • Surfbay profile image


      2 years ago from Principality of Wales

      You are doing well on Ebay. As you pointed out, it is a fun experience to earn extra cash selling stuff.

      Barbie dolls and stuff are in constant demand, and things like Pokemon cards and Hot Wheel toy cars create great interest on Ebay.

      Buy low, sell high - that's the name of the game.

    • Jose99 profile image

      Jose Rehberg 

      3 years ago from Santa Barbara

      nicely written up. inspirations. i am still struggling in ebay. hope this will make me smile.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi Karen! I purchased some Beanie Babies at a yard sale last weekend. I've been checking out prices on Ebay but it doesn't look too hopeful. They aren't worth much but the good news is that I bought 10 of them for $5.oo and they're in excellent condition. I don't have an ebay account though and I'm not sure how to set one up. I guess my question is, have you ever sold any? You're experience is needed. lol

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years ago from North Texas

      Sounds good. I had a small business on eBay for a couple of years back in 2002-2003. Wish I would have stuck with it. I was only making $80 or so a month and didn't appreciate what a good start I had compared to other things one can do on the Net. So that would be my advice to you. Don't give up during the slow periods and when you can manage it, get yourself a store. Good luck!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      Anne Harrison

      Oh yes, selling extra items you no longer need on eBay is a great way to pare down and earn some extra money. Good luck and I hope you make lots of money!

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 

      4 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the tips - currently moving house so it can't hurt! Just have to get started now...

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, glad you liked it. I am going to write another one at some point about how I turned a few dollars into much more.

    • MHiggins profile image

      Michael Higgins 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Well done and thanks for the motivation! I've been procrastinating. Great info here. Voted up!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      5 years ago from Georgia


      That is what I was doing originally, but am now trying to make more earnings from it. I will have to update things at the end of the year. Sorry it didn't work out for your husband.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      5 years ago

      My husband was running a successful E-bay business, but things have deteriorated considerably in the last few months. There are so many Chinese sellers there selling stuff for a dollar and free shipping and the fees are also killers. After his latest calculation, it's not worth it for the type of merchandise he was selling. The Chinese sellers were even selling fake brand name items and people were falling for it and buying it versus buying from honest sellers based in the US. I think though that if you have stuff in your home you want to sell, it could be helpful to get rid of them and get some money.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      6 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

      This is a very interesting article, just as HO's E-Bay articles are. I have thought of selling on E-Bay, but keep putting it off. Thanks for sharing this input with us!

      Have a great day.

      ~ Kathryn

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Karen. I received your email today congratulating me on my 3 year anniversary date with HP. Thank you! I looked you up because I don't have your email address and wanted to let you know that you can use me as a referral on Bubblews. I joined a couple of days ago.

      I also want you to know that I've been thinking about selling to make extra money. Just thought it was a coincidence that you're doing just that on Ebay. I never use ebay but I may look into it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us! God bless, Susieq42

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Karen, well that is all so interesting, and I am happy that you have had the success you have with Ebay. I have only sold a very little bit on Ebay, but I wondered why I never put more time into it. It just is a time issue for me, is a lot of it. Thanks so much for sharing what you did and what worked, etc. That is awesome! Vote up , interesting and useful

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia


      Glad you enjoyed it. I need as much extra money as I can scrape up for my daughter's college tuition so you are right, every little bit helps.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia


      Yes, it can't hurt to just give it a try. If it doesn't work out, you can just stop listing items.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia


      It can't hurt to give it a try. A little extra money in your pocket never hurt anyone! Glad to inspire you!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I have been toying with the idea of selling on eBay. I have a few items that must go, but don't I would like to see if I can get a few dollars for them. Your tips are helpful and have me inspired.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I am so glad you wrote this hub. I use to sell some things on Ebay but that was a few years ago. It is amazing how $200 or $300 can help the budget. I would have had a hard time selling the antique Christmas ornaments as I love antiques, but I think you really have figured ot a great way for some extra income.

      Very interesting and useful hub.

    • BNadyn profile image


      6 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      I've thought about selling on ebay before because I have so much stuff I'm no longer using. I also like looking through thrift stores, yard sales and antique stores. I've thought about selling on etsy, too; just haven't looked into it enough yet. Maybe I'll give ebay a try to see how it goes! Thanks for sharing your experience with this, it's inspiring and helps to know when someone sees success with it!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Victoria Lynn,

      I just sold 1 Barbie doll coat tonight for $19.99!!! I say you should go for it. It can't hurt to give it a try.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I used to sell on ebay for a while--just things I wanted to get rid of. I made several hundred dollars in a few months. I've thought about doing it again, but it just takes so much time. I have a lot of my Barbie stuff from the 70s. Maybe I should try to at least sell some of the clothes. Or furniture! You got a great price for those clothing items you listed. I'm glad this is working out for you. It inspires me to maybe try it again!

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia


      Oh that's terrible. Doesn't it just stay in your Paypal account? Is it still there now? You can just have Paypal put it in your account, send you a check, or use it to buy online.

    • Karen Hellier profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Hellier 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks Bill. This is my first hub in awhile...too busy with eBay, and a few other things. I am glad to be back!

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      6 years ago from uk

      Good food for thought, thanks. I lost the money from my first ebay sale as I didn't know how to withdraw from paypal...sad, but true. It was a while ago!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well done, Karen. I'm glad you are enjoying the process. Tell Joe I said hello.


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