Selling on eBay can spruce up your monthly budget and could perhaps even pay for your utilities or rent. Some serious individual eBay sellers even make a living out of it as a full-time business or career, but these are seasoned marketers who have been on eBay for a long time. You’d be shocked with what the most expensive item on ebay is. If you’re just starting out on eBay to supplement your monthly income, it’s better to get the hang of the business first before investing serious cash in it. You may also consider some ebay alternatives that we listed.
We listed five simple steps to jumpstart your eBay business without spending too much.
In short, sell what you already have. Search around the house—in the kitchen, living room, attic, garage, anywhere—for items that you don’t need, are willing to sell, or that you are planning to replace. These can range from big tickets like the furniture or bed, to trivial things like old vinyl records that you’ve inherited from your distant relative.
Other stuff that you can sell includes: power tools that you’re not using anymore; an old but still intact griller; holiday décor that you want to do away with this year; and the old ladder that you’ve replaced. The list goes on. The rule of thumb is to sell items in good shape and sell it at half or even a third of the original price depending on the item’s condition.
A growing kid is a good source of stuff to sell. You can sell his old textbooks that are still being used in schools; or clothes and toys that he’s outgrown. Apart from selling your own kid’s used items, you can buy other kid’s used stuff from friends, neighbors or officemates and sell them on eBay.
Likewise, you can visit thrift shops for pre-owned books, signature clothes and shoes. A good technique is to look for items that are rare or at least they don’t come in boxes. With rare items, you can charge a higher bid and enjoy less competition from other eBay sellers.
Name brand clothing is also hot on eBay. Instead of buying new generic clothes, it’s better to look for used or overrun branded clothes. Overrun means there is a slight mistake in the manufacture, like a missing button hole or a wrong stitch somewhere.
One advantage of selling your own work is that you can dictate your starting bid because it’s unique. You can align your work with one of the hot categories in eBay: collectibles. But instead of selling your painting of a sail or your quilted bed sheet being sold by a hundred other eBay sellers, create a story behind its making. The sail, perhaps, could be a memoire of your sailing trip, or the quilt is your family tradition that goes back to a century ago. Just make sure you can back your story with enough proof.
Give your work a personal touch like your signature or maybe mark it with your toddler’s footprint. Lend it a story like—who knows?—that item and your kid will find each other again. In short, by lending your work with an emotional value, you’re no longer selling the actual piece, but the perceived uniqueness of your work. You can use this technique no matter the hobby.
Aside from selling your actual work, you can sell other people’s works with an input from your knowledge bank. For instance, pig figurines and coffee mugs are hot in eBay. If you have skills or knowledge about pottery, you can shop around for mugs and figurines that pass your standard of craftsmanship.
Instead of selling them as they are, sell them under a theme of “quality” or “high-end” mugs or pig figurines, then explain point by point why. Also provide a short description of your expertise to reinforce the bidding. In short, you’re helping buyers how to shop for quality material. This way, you can attract higher bids amidst a sea of commodity mugs and figurines.
You can apply this approach for a diverse range of categories that you have a good knowledge about, such as: musical instruments (if you’re musically inclined), genuine collectibles (if you’re a professional collector), and cutlery (if you’re a chef).
Volume selling is a good way to move items fast. Find a way that you can lump and sell items as one. For example, instead of selling your old vinyl records per piece, why not put them in a box arranged by their genre, era or artist, and sell the whole box of vinyl records. You can even throw in a “free” record from another category if they buy the box just to entice buyers. Here’s a classic marketing secret: the free item is already included in the price of the whole box.
Another example of selling by volume is to arrange dinnerware by color. When visiting thrift stores, check for dinnerware collections that are incomplete but have similar color schemes. They can often be grouped by color—hues, shades, themes—and sold as a complete collection. Aside from color, you can group dinnerware by material or shape. Again, you can use this technique for other categories, such as antiques, linens, baby items, house décor, and more.
Always think creatively about how to sell by bulk to earn more with less effort.
You can start selling on eBay even with limited investment that you can source from your paycheck. Moreover, if you fail to get a bid at times (you will), the cost is minimal. The more important thing right now is that you’re learning the ropes of selling and how your customers behave.
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