When I first started selling on eBay I only expected to make a few dollars here and there, but after a little more than a year it has turned into a nice little side income that surprisingly doesn’t take too much time. It all started when I was putting together my Homemade Tiny Teddy Biscuits recipe. I needed to buy a tiny teddy cutter set to make the recipe ready for photographing, and then decided to order a few more to the sell on eBay, with a link from the recipe to the eBay listing. The teddy cutters sold almost instantly once the recipe went live on Bargain Mums, so I decided to place a larger wholesale order to once again list on eBay.
After my success with the cutters I decided to try the same thing with a few other products I used and loved, like the silicone mould I used to make my Chocolate Gems. Before I knew it, I had a steady side income. While it takes a little time to set up each listing, including taking photos, once set up the only effort involved is managing stock levels and posting orders. If you want to give part-time selling on eBay a try yourself, I have shared everything I have learnt below to help you get started with your own eBay business, including how I structure my eBay selling to take the least amount of time possible.
Set up an eBay store
When I first started selling on eBay I simply used an ordinary sellers account, but I quickly realised this wan’t suitable. I wanted my listings to keep automatically re-listing each month without losing my ranking in eBay search results. I also didn’t want to lose the number of ‘watchers’ of each listing, as well as the sold history that will show up as ‘400 sold’ in search results and within the listing itself. The only way to do this was to open a basic store. While it does cost $19.95 per month, I do get a small reduction in final value fees, but the largest value is in my listings rolling over indefinitely.
Do your research
Once you have decided on an item you want to sell, search that item in eBay and take note of the number of sellers selling the same item, how many and often they are selling the item, and the price. The goal of selling on eBay is to make money, so it’s worth seeking out items that both sell often, and don’t have too much competition from a large number of other sellers selling the exact same thing.
Take great photos
The best way to get your listing noticed among the sometimes hundreds of others is to take bright and colourful pictures that are sure to grab people’s attention. I always take my photos near a large window that let’s in plenty of natural light, which ensures my pictures are clear, focused and bright. I also like to use a few brightly coloured props if the photo subject is a little dark in colour. Great photos are essential to get your products noticed.
Price competitively, at least to begin with
While usually it wouldn’t be a great idea to compete with others based on price, in the eBay world it can be the only way to get your listing to the top of the search results, at least when the listing is new. Just like most social media sites, eBay uses it’s own type of algorithm to determine which listing are shown at the top of search results. If your listing isn’t popular, there are times when it may drop of search results all together, which can be incredibly frustrating.
I have noticed that the more sales you make, the higher your listing will be, so pricing your item at the same price as others or even just below is a great way to get those views and sales you need to get your listing to the top. Once your listing starts to get regular sales, you can then experiment with increasing your price.
Source easy to post items
This won’t necessarily be a tactic everyone wants to follow, but it works well for me. I’m a mum of two young children along with also running the Bargain Mums site, so I don’t have the time to be visiting the post office every day. For that reason, I only sell items that can easily fit in a regular red post box. That means that I can post items in any post box, at any time of the day or night.
Source items thinner than 2cm
Once again, this isn’t for everyone, but to keep my selling simple I only stock items that are less than 2cm thick, and fit in a large or small envelope. That way I can post my items as a large letter, which only costs me $2 in postage per item. This keeps the cost down for buyers, making my items popular and meaning I can offer free postage.
Offer free postage
Offering free postage on your items can increase their visibility in search results, and also gives your listing a ‘Fast and Free’ label. Just because you don’t charge your buyers separate postage, it doesn’t mean you have wear the postage cost yourself, after all that wouldn’t make much business sense. Instead, you simply build the postage cost into your selling price.
Be sure you are actually making a profit
I created a simple spreadsheet to help me calculate the profit of each item I sell. I list the amount the items costs me to buy, along with postage, eBay fees and PayPal fees, total this amount and then subtract it from the final sell price. It’s a great idea to work this out before you stock an item to sell, so that you are not spending time creating listings and posting orders only to make $0.10 per order.