Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Selling on eBay

eBay has opened the doors for many of us stay at home moms, whether we use it exclusively or used it as a starting point for creating our own internet store. Where would we be without eBay?! Here is a great article from guest writer, Suzanne Wells. She has some great ideas about involving our children in the eBay process as well as tips for the new eBay seller. Enjoy!

Selling in eBay – Where do I start?

As an eBay Consultant, one question I get from a lot of people is, "How do I even start on eBay?"
First of all, start small. Set up an eBay account and buy a few things to learn the process and get a feel for how eBay works. eBay and working at home is not for everyone. And it is ok if it isn’t right for you. Sell some of your own things before you invest any money in other products to sell. Understand that eBay is more than taking pictures and working on the computer – you need to be familiar with how to edit photos, shipping, customer service, and Paypal. Take your time and learn about these things before you jump in and go for it full-time.

You can look for items to sell at thrift stores, garage sales, off-price stores like TJ Maxx and Ross, member’s clubs like Sam’s and Costco, salvage stores, flea markets, and consignment stores. To find out what an item sells for on eBay, do an advanced search for completed items matching the key words of your item. You will get a list of all the listings that have ended with those key words in the last 30 days. You can use that information to make educated decisions about pricing or if you even want to pursue selling a particular item.

Once you are comfortable with the whole process, don’t be afraid to take a risk every now and then. I am often asked, “But what if you buy an item and it doesn’t sell?” Well, that’s ok. You can always relist it. You can mark it down and sell it for what you paid for it and move on. You don’t want to buy a truckload of 1,000 items without having tested them out first, but you do want to experiment with different products – you may find something profitable to sell on a regular basis.

Make small investments and try new products to test them out and see what kind of results you’ll get. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new products and try new things. eBay is constantly evolving and no trend will last forever. Experience is the best teacher.

Read blogs, article sites, and eBooks on eBay selling. Be careful not to get duped into buying "Get Rich on eBay" kits. As a power seller with over 4 years experience, and 13,000 sales, I am here to tell you that you aren't going to get rich selling on eBay, very few actually do. I will tell you that eBay selling is fun, profitable, and a convenient way to make money from home. eBay is just like any other entrepreneurial adventure - it takes time, patience, dedication, and hard work.

eBay can be a great family project. I love getting my kids involved. They help sort, package, and weigh the items for shipping. We keep a big world map on the wall in my office so that every time we ship to a new country, we find it on the map and have a little lesson about that country’s culture, history, and of course food! We talk about why people in other countries buy on eBay – many countries just don’t have the resources and abundance we have in the United States.

I involve my kids when I am shipping packages and let them key in the weight, print the label, and stick it on the package. They understand that this is what a post office employee does all day – it is a real job. They also help do some basic data entry using Excel and we study my inventory and profit reports so that they understand that running a business involves expenses as well as profit. We all get excited about a big sale and I usually say, “Well, that one will pay for us to go out to dinner!”

Children can learn a lot about being an entrepreneur by watching their parents work and understanding that having your own business is work, but there are also many rewards. My kids know that I work after they go to bed at night, but they also know that I can take Tuesday morning off without a hassle to come to their schools and watch a performance or a play. If they are home sick, I don’t have to make special arrangements with my boss to miss work. We are an example of a family where eBay works!

Suzanne Wells is an eBay Power Seller, author of "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide to Successful eBay Selling," eBay Consultant, and mom of 2 in Atlanta, GA. You can visit her website at for free eBay selling resources and tips, such as podcasts and eBooks, and discussion forum.

No comments: