We’ve all been there – reading the stories of how some down and out good citizen pulled a Horatio Alger within a couple of weeks by getting started with selling goods on eBay. Now, they’re debt-free, have a new car, paid for their kids’ college tuition fees and are sitting on yachts with pretty women that aren’t their wives and so on and so forth.
How true are these stories? Can any of them be believed? Well, yes and no. Yes, people are creating incredible income streams by selling on eBay but many fail to play by the rules, get banned, and become bitter naysayers to the whole model.
The bottom line is if you are will to take the time to educate yourself on the right way of doing things, then your chances of succeeding on eBay are better than most.
Getting to Know You
The first thing to do is if you haven’t already, go ahead and register with eBay. Try and pick a good seller name. eBay’s search engine can find all of a single seller’s items so it’s best to pick something professional, memorable, and short.
The second is actually quite easy and something that I guarantee at least 85% of the people never do – take advantage of the tutorials and any downloads/eBooks that eBay offers for FREE.
Use the Force
For some unearthly reason, most people distrust that eBay doesn’t want you to make money and would rather pay $500 for how to make a killing than to just read the basics first (which is what 90% of all how-to books really are). How ridiculous is this? If you don’t make money, they don’t make money. It’s in their best interest to give you the best way to get started. It not only gives you the guidelines you need, it keeps you safe from violating their ToS which will also keep you from breaking the law so go ahead and check those out first. Don’t going buying into the, “gaming the system,” schemes that people are selling. The system they are really gaming is access to your bank account.
Now, find something around your home to set up for an auction. Pick some smaller items first – things that are easy to pack and ship.
Did you find something? No?
Secret to Finding Items to Sell on eBay
What should you sell? Okay, if you’re stuck picking out an item, here’s a little secret: There is no secret. It’s trial and error. What one person may be successful with could be a catastrophic investment for someone else but, like the old saying goes, success leaves clues, so let’s find some clues so we can hedge our bets.
The best place to find something to sell on eBay is to look at what is selling on eBay, so surf on over if you’re not there already. Once you find something that catches your eye, check the “Sold” listings at the bottom of the sidebar. THIS IS WHERE THE SUCCESSFUL EBAY SELLERS ARE. “Watchers” are just tire-kickers. A lot of times, they’re waiting for something to not sell so they can send a private message at the end of the auction and make a low-ball offer. Maybe an antique camera is listed for $10,000 but if you look at the “Sold” listings, you’ll see that a similar one actually sold for $150. The listing is the Dream. The sale is the Reality.
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the various categories. You can also take a look at the “Trending Collections.” While there is a tendency for the newer collections to be there, pay particular attention to the number of followers and items posted at the bottom of each listing.
More numbers means more popularity.
Also look at what eBay is promoting on its front page… Motors, Fashion, Electronics. You know these will be popular categories. You can also click on All Categories and drill down to something that either interests you or matches what you may already have to offer. From here, look on the left-hand side. You’ll see Popular Searches near the bottom. Between that and checking the “Sold Listings,” box, you’ll have a better idea of what is selling and how to price your item competitively.
The one thing not to do is go to an Estate sale, drop several hundred dollars on items and hope that you will succeed. This is the fast track to stress, not success. Maybe you can pick up one or two items at a garage sale but don’t buy anything else before you’ve sold what you already have, otherwise, your home will start to look like the next episode of, “Hoarders,” and tumbleweeds will start rolling through the room as you view your next bank statement. There are people now that are being called, “e-Hoarders,” in that they buy things with the intent of reselling them but they never get around to listing the items. In cases like that, “One man’s trash is another man’s trash.”
Don’t be that guy.
Don’t be that woman.
Did you find something to sell now? Good!
Did you put it up for auction? Why not?
Go ahead and do it. The world won’t come down on you like you’ve created a bad pizza (and that’s a unicorn – there is no such thing as a bad pizza). Just remember that there are over a billion web pages out there so while it’s possible you could do something dumb, chances are that very few people will notice. Allow yourself to fail. It’s okay. Everyone I know is either failing or has failed and will probably fail again in the future. It’s all good. Without failure, there is no such thing as success. Welcome to Earth. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Be Honest in Your Listing
If the item is used, be sure and point out any flaws – transparency is your best bet. It may not bring in as much money but as a reputable buyer, people will start looking for you on the Seller search and the key to making more money than the average seller is to be more trustworthy than the average seller.
Be sure and take a good picture of your item. Practice with different lighting. Lights are generally diffused and the object should be shown against a single background color. If it is an item that could be any size, such as a handbag, place a familiar object in the photo next to your item for scale. Be sure and mention that the scale item is not included in the purchase!!
Looking for good feedback? Start as a buyer. Purchase a couple of items and pay through PayPal. PayPal is the fastest way to get a seller their money (which means you’ll want to accept PayPal as well!) Happy sellers mean good feedback. PayPal is affiliated with eBay which means fewer complications with paying and getting paid. Checks and money orders delay transactions so think twice before accepting these forms of payment yourself.
Ninja Selling Trick: Invest in some cards – business cards. Just use your printer and some blank card stock from Walmart or wherever to start. What you’ll want to do is write something like, “I hope your purchase arrived safely. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me at (give an email account).
“If you are happy with your purchase, I would appreciate you leaving a positive feedback score at my eBay store(or seller account if that’s what you have).
[Put your signature including your web address here]
Including this simple little note in with your shipment will create trust with the buyer and also give them a physical item reinforcing your ID or your store’s URL. Gaining trust is key to gaining repeat customers and building your business. It also brings up a cardinal rule of selling – If you want a potential buyer to do something, TELL THEM TO DO IT. The common term for this is, “Call to Action.” and has proven time and again to be paramount when selling anything.
Of course, once they do this, be sure and leave good feedback on their account as well.
What do you do when you’ve cleaned out your home? Go ahead and offer to sell items for friends. You can collect a commission while continuing to build your reputation. Of course, you’ll eventually discover which items sell better than others and will want to gravitate towards those. As you narrow down your niche, buyers will starts to perceive you as an expert or specialist in a certain area. Capitalize on that!
Scaling up usually means setting up a store. You’ll want a reliable source of inventory if you’re going to go this route and some place to store that inventory as well. Plan ahead. Don’t order 200 boxes of handbags without warning your family or clearing a space for it.
Avoid Shiny Object Scams
Whatever you do, don’t fall for the Amazon/arbitrage scam. There’s a few videos out there that are of some webinar and the speaker shows, “this one guy got amazing results. I can’t promise you’ll make the same money he did, but…” Well, “this one guy,” is actually the speaker! He set the whole thing up, completely going against Amazon’s ToS just to sell his system because he knows the sales the webinar itself generates will more than make up for getting banned by eBay or Amazon. We’re talking usually $35,000 and up for a 2-hour webinar (which is why they do replays). That’s why they do it. The host hypes it up on his/her list and they split the evening’s revenue then the seller gets recurring monthly income. It’s a rehash of the time-sharing hard sell groups back in the ’80’s. If they give out $500 in “prize money”, it’s a drop in the bucket and a tax write off to boot.
This is pretty common, too. There are groups of marketers (you’ll see them referred to as, “my good friend,”) that will set up a series of products, each one leading you to think you need the next thing. Say someone shows you how to be an affiliate marketer and then tells you that you need a website so the next guy is selling a super-fast website creator. You just spent HOURS – maybe even days – trying to figure that out, so you buy into that so you don’t have to deal with that again.
How do you get traffic? The next guy sells a, “spy on your competitors and steal their traffic,” piece of software.
How do you build your list? Run PPC and CPA campaigns? Sell your own products? Oh, you’re not doing that great? JOIN MY AMAZON/EBAY MASTERMIND GROUP! That’s always at least 4 figures or recurring monthly $XXX and is usually the top of the food chain.
The problem isn’t that the techniques don’t work because they do. The problem is that they aren’t going to tell you the whole story about backlinks and keyword research, etc.. Probably because they don’t know it. In the end, you’ll see marginal results and your relationships will suffer from neglect before you can make it up to your family and friends.
To them, you’re just a human ATM they’re trying to seduce money from and the Amazon/ebay chain is one of the biggest cons they’ve developed. How is it that this guy is selling the same thing you are but vacationing for 11 months out of the year? It ain’t virtual assistants. It’s fraud.
Keep this old adage in the back of your mind and you won’t buy into these marketing systems:
“The best way to make money is to sell a book on making money that tells someone that they should write and sell a book on how to make money.”
Rehashing old content and selling it at premium prices is also the best way to get banned by PayPal and deindexed/banned by Google.
Several years ago, internet marketer Anthony Aires once released a recorded phone call he had with PayPal about how he was trying to get his money released after his account was shut down. He needed that money to pay his employees and his bills. PayPal didn’t care.
The man at PayPal said, “You’re all (internet marketers in the Make Money Online niche) just reselling the same stuff to new people and telling them to sell the same stuff. It’s a vicious circle.”
How much money was he trying to get released? Over $200,000.00! Kudos to him for the transparency and it shows that PayPal doesn’t care how much money you’re taking in. Even if you have a legitimate product, if it feels like fraud to them, they’ll end your account and you’re back on the wrong side of the cash register, upselling french fries.
Keep it real and not only will you sleep better at night for doing the right thing, you may find yourself earning honest money by selling on eBay.