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Becoming a Powerseller -- How I Began Selling on eBay

Updated on September 23, 2014

Single Mom Needing Flexibility -- eBay was My Answer

I have sold on eBay off and on single items for many years. I never had more than one or two listed before and usually months in between. For me it used to be just to make a buck or two off something I wanted to get rid of from my house.

That all changed when I had to get a VERY flexible job in order to be there for my kids very unique schedules. No "real" job was going to put up with my availability, so, I began racking my brain as to what I was going to do for an income. I needed flexible hours, random days off, and sometime even a week off at short notice -- what could give me that???

My mom happened up on a book about selling on eBay for an actual income. I knew that there were sellers, but I had NO idea who they were or if they were just all huge companies. I learned and learned fast that being a Powerseller was within my grasp.

This is not to say that I just randomly listed items and they sold. There was a fairly steep learning curve on how and what to list and run an eBay store. I sought help anywhere I could find it and found absolutely great resources.

I also, went from selling 10 items in January of 2012 to now 500 items. My store is growing daily -- with a lot of hours of work, but they are MY hours of choice.

So, here is my story and as many pointers as I can give those of you considering starting selling on eBay for an added or sole income.

How I Got Started with NO Money

What & Where my first inventory came from

When I was just beginning on January 6th of 2012, I started with books that I had around the house. I just sat down and began since I had a somewhat working knowledge of how to put a listing up. With books, I didn't have to take a pic since eBay has stock photos of books. Once you enter the ISBN# from the book, a photo and title pop up.

As my books began to dwindle around the house, I turned to knick knack type things and some antiques that I had around the house. From there I dug in closets, the attic, storage shed out back --- any where I knew I had things that I didn't need, I listed on eBay.

After my house was picked over I had some sale money that I took and re-invested into garage sale items. I began going to all the garage sales that I could find. I would not spend more than a dollar for one item and tried to keep it even lower than that. The lower I kept the cost the more I could get and list. My listings very slowly grew, but they did grow.

Sales began and that was exciting. I was amazed that people wanted my unwanted items, but they did. Some things failed miserably, some did all right, and some did better than expected, but at least I began with "free" merchandise. I had NO money to begin, but this way I was able to reinvest what I made making me not have to go into debt to find merchandise -- to me that was a win-win!

The Books that Got Me STARTED -- Lifesavers! - Without these -- especially the eBay 101 I would not have even given eBay a shot -- So glad I read them!!!

eBay 101: Selling on eBay For Part-time or Full-time Income
eBay 101: Selling on eBay For Part-time or Full-time Income

This is THE BOOK that provided me the guts to jump off and start selling for my income! I am SO glad that I found this book when I did! Sounds cliche, but it changed my life!

 
eBay
eBay

Learning, Earning and Losing

Here are a few of my experiences beginning my eBay business

There has been a HUGE learning curve with selling on eBay for an actual income. I have faced many, many questions and I sometimes actually get the answers. lol No, really I floundered around doing this on my own for a year, then, I found some GREAT eBay groups on Facebook. They have been a lifesaver and an income booster. They don't actually promote my items, but they help me with questions about selling the right items, how to handle angry buyers, what to do when a package doesn't arrive... things like that.

Learning on eBay for me basically came from each experience, each sale. Looking back when I began selling, I sold some stuff REALLY cheap. I would start auctions at 99 cents and put free shipping -- that can work occasionally as promotional or if you have a really good item, but not with the simple books that I had. There were times that I literally paid someone to take the item, because of my bad shipping cost errors.

But then there were surprise items that I listed that took off. Those were the items that let me know, once I learn the ins and outs it can be a GREAT way to make a living. Now with much learning and a vast amount of varying experiences, I am a Powerseller on my way to 500 listings. I sell daily and love what I do. I still make mistakes, but they are much fewer and further in between, thankfully.

picture courtesy of EBay - POLITICO.

Have you ever sold ANYTHING at all on eBay?

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Here are some GREAT books to help get started

These are a pic of The Foxfire Books
These are a pic of The Foxfire Books

Some of my BIG Scores!

I have had some items that gave a HUGE profit!

The first item that I made a very good sized profit on was DMC embroidery thread. My mom had a bag full of new DMC thread. There was 35 of them. I decided to start them at, you guessed it, 99 cents. These were of no cost to me so, whatever I got was clear profit. I figured I would get a couple of bucks. The bid went up to $37. So, I invested $0 and made $37. I was hooked!!!

My next really good score was some vintage books, Foxfire. I was at a garage sale and saw a stack of books in, not that wonderful of condition. I barely looked at them noticing that they were $1 a piece. Well, the lady running the garage sale started talking to her friend about those Foxfire books. She said they were worth $100! So, I pulled out my iPhone and looked on eBay and sure enough those old paperback books were going anywhere from $40 - $100. I grabbed them up for $10. I put them on auction and they went up to $129. Someone in Australia got them and was so glad the had found them. The books were a "How-To" guide for pioneer living. It was a set of 10. I invested $10 and made $129.

Just recently I bought a Lily Pulitzer dress for 50 cents at a garage sale. It was piled in a cardboard box full of t-shirts and jeans. I grabbed it and put it on Buy it Now for $75 and it sold within a week!!! Invested 50 cents and sold for $75.

Now, I am always looking for the next big score!!! It is so addicting to find something for so little at a garage sale and then to watch it go for a much higher price to someone somewhere in the world looking for that exact thing. I am a picker. I pick and then deliver the items to homes where they are wanted. I LOVE it!!!

Me and My kids :)
Me and My kids :)

King's Kollectibles and my Family

It took awhile, but my store is active and flourishing

King's Kollectibles Store is the store that my listings grew into. I sell any and everything. Every week I go to garage sales and thrift stores to look for anything that I think will turn a profit. Garage Sales are the best because most things are under a buck, but thrift stores have some awesome things too.

After my shopping trips, I come home and get to work taking pics, cropping the pics, researching the item and then listing it. I have about 4 -5 Rubbermaid Bins of Items that I can put on. I work everyday listing, re-listing, and shipping.

It has taken a year and a half to get to where I am with the amount of product that I have. I want to grow my store and be able to have much more listed. eBay is a place that can have no limit on what you can make -- but you got to work at it. Ebay is not a get rich quick, but it has provided me with something priceless -- more time with my kids -- For that I am blessed!

Great Selling Video

Auction vs. Buy it Now

How do you prefer to buy?

Tell me your experiences with eBay

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    • josietook profile image

      josietook 4 years ago

      I love Ebay and have sold a few things. However, like you say it's easy to lose money if you don't do your homework when it comes to p&p.

    • oddobjective profile image

      oddobjective 4 years ago

      Great information. I have always wanted to sell on eBay but I am afraid it will be a nightmare with customer service.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      I sell on eBay but I'm nowhere near a power seller. I wonder what do you do when you want to go on vacation for a week or two? Would love to read more about the nuts and bolts of listing. Keep your great lenses coming!

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      I also sell on ebay, you have some great adivse here thanks for all the information and tips I'm really excited know to keep on selling. Continued Luck to you on ebay and in squidoo.

    • profile image

      Sundaycoffee 4 years ago

      Never bought or sold anything on e-bay, but your story sound quite encouraging. I should look into it.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I've been selling on eBay for about 2 years -- first just with 2-3 listings, now with much more. It started out gradual, but is now growing more every month. I really enjoy it. Continued success with your eBay shop and now with Squidoo. Nice to meet you.