I am not what you would call a ‘Power Seller’ on eBay. And by ‘Power Seller’, I mean someone who sells daily or even a few times a week; someone who is making at least a partial income from the work and time they invest in selling on the site.
I know a few of these people. One of them is Tristen O’Brien… he has given me tips in the past intended not only to improve my selling, but also to allow me to share his knowledge with you. If you want to make money on eBay and you are willing to truly invest time and energy, Tristen is your guy.
But, here’s what I have learned during my time as a member of eBay’s Parent Panel…. eBay is different things to different people.
When I ask on Twitter or Facebook:
I’m inundated with people who say ‘YES!!’ But the largest percentage of them are BUYERS, not sellers.
They love not paying full price, discovering the ‘impossible-to-find’ items and having things sent right to their door.
When I follow up to ask about selling, I hear a familiar refrain.
Many aren’t selling at all. And for those who are, the complaints are the ones I heard as I sat having dinner with a good friend recently. It was that conversation that inspired this post. (As well as a conversation I had with myself when I stopped selling years ago)
Here’s the thing… this list of complaints is exactly what came from my mouth before I began to work with eBay. I could have been the one complaining to my friend instead of the other way around. So, I wanted to explain to you how I have overcome the biggest complaints about selling and actually made money (remember: not POWER SELLER money, but money to save for vacation, for kid’s sporting events, for the ‘extras’ in life.)
1) I don’t know what to sell.
Dim the lights – there is a confession coming. I initially had no idea what to sell either. But as it turns out, this is one of the easiest challenges to rectify. 1) eBay has created the Selling Inspiration House. You can virtually go room by room throughout your ‘home’ to see what the best selling items are – in the kitchen, the bedroom, the kid’s room and your office. It will get you started and provide some inspiration. Keep in mind, as well, if you are a buyer, what types of items do YOU look for? Let those be your guide? And finally, you can look up items on line that you are considering selling to see what current price they are fetching.
2) It is too much work to do it all.
This is, in part true. Initially, there is work. You do need to do some research. This was probably my biggest mistake. I didn’t spend enough time determining the best time or day to list, which items might really sell and which wouldn’t. I suggest you start working with the Quick Start Guide. This explains how you will list your item, sell it, ship it AND, get paid. You should start small – don’t choose the items you are most excited to sell – the one you hope will bring in the most money. Also, plan to sell a variety of items so you can see what works.
3) Shipping is Complicated.
Ultimately, this was the reason I stopped selling on eBay years ago, but so much has changed. There is actually a Seller Information Center on eBay and they have a section dedicated to Shipping. Now, I told you, I’m never going to be a Power Seller, which means I keep the shipping simple. I don’t ship huge items and I choose not to mess with anything internationally – it just feels too complicated to me (though I do know people who have had amazing success selling unusual items to overseas sellers – and these items weren’t big ‘selling’ items in the U.S.)
4) Sellers fees are expensive.
If you don’t read the rules of engagement, this will come as a shock to you. The very first time I sold an item, I was definitely surprised to see the fees pile up – from the sale itself, from the ‘business’ and, of course from shipping. I wil get to that in a moment. But it is important to understand WHAT you will be charged as well as understanding how to save. The first 50 auction items you list every month are free. Also, as of June, the first 12 pictures you list with an item are FREE. So much of this is about understanding the process.
And The truth is, I have found it to be a matter of ‘just getting started’. As with anything, the unknown can seem frightening – especially when you are concerned it may take up too much time and NOT make you monety. But the good news is, if you are willing to invest a little time – the time you need to FIND what you need to sell, some time to do a LITTLE research, and the time it takes you to upload it all – you should be on a roll! .
Disclosure: I am working with ebay on their ebay Parent Panel and am compensated as such. As you know by now…. all opinions shared by me on this site are my own.