Selling on eBay: The Perfect Side Hustle

Selling on eBay is the perfect side hustle.  I think so anyway.  It’s something anyone can do.  You can do it part-time and it doesn’t require much start-up capital.  There is a short learning curve and it’s quite perhaps the fastest way to make money online that I know of.

What I want to do in the paragraphs below is give you some tips to selling on eBay, so you can start right.  This is based upon my 14+ years of selling on eBay.

Selling on eBay: 7 Simple Steps to Get Started

Step # 1: Educate Yourself

The first step to selling on eBay is simply to educate yourself.  You’re not trying to earn a PhD on day one.  You don’t want information overload either.  Instead, I suggest you make it a point to watch five to ten YouTube videos, or simply spend a few hours on YouTube watching videos about the basics of selling on eBay.  This will answer most of your initial questions and teach you the ropes.  Of course, you’ll learn even more by actually applying what you learn. Once again, you’re just trying to get the basics.  Don’t make the mistake of trying to know every little detail or having analysis by paralysis.

Step # 2: Set Up Your Accounts

The next step to selling on eBay is to set up your eBay and PayPal accounts, assuming you don’t already have them.  Just go to eBay.com and register your account.  The sign-up process is very simple.  In addition, go to PayPal.com and create your account there as well.  PayPal is how you will get paid.  If you need help doing this, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube providing step-by-step instructions.

Step # 3: Get Your Office Equipment

At a minimum, you will want to have a digital scale, a printer, a computer, and a digital camera.  You may also want to invest in some packing supplies, such as packing tape and boxes.  You can get lots of boxes for free from your local Post Office.  They have Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes, which are great for heavier or bulky items.  You can get bubble envelopes, additional boxes, and packing tape right on eBay.  That is what I do.  I also suggest you set up a designated spot in your home to run your little eBay business.

Step # 4: Pick 20 Items from Your Home

The next step is to walk through your house or apartment and find 20 unwanted items.  Look for things you haven’t used in a long time that you aren’t attached to.  Just go through each room and consolidate everything you don’t want into one box.  These first 20 items will give you some experience at taking photos and listing items.  You’re bound to make a few mistakes in the beginning, so it’s best to start with inexpensive items, so if you do make a mistake it’s not a big deal.  By the time you’ve listed and sold 20 items, you should have a great understanding about how eBay works.

Step # 5: Pick a Niche

Once you’ve gone through your first 20 items, the best thing to do is pick a niche you want to focus on.  Ideally, it’s much better to specialize and sell one type of item. On the other hand, you can also be a generalist and sell a little bit of everything, like I do.  If I had to start over on eBay again, I would specialize in one or two things, such as clothing, electronics, watches, belt buckles or jewelry. If you don’t know what to specialize in, consider making a list of potential types of products that interest you and are in demand.  Spend some time viewing the completed listings and look for trends.  Ideally, you want to find a product you can make a fixed percentage on, or at least $10 to $20 profit per item, after all of your selling expenses.

Step # 6: Source Inventory

The next step is to source your inventory.  Depending on your niche, you will have different places to source your inventory.  Rachel and I simply visit local thrift stores, flea markets, auctions and yard sales to find inventory.  On the other hand, if you intend on selling new merchandise, you’ll probably want to find a wholesaler or drop shipper, so you can buy in bulk and get discounts.  If you decide to buy in bulk, start really small and slowly scale your way up.  Finally, be sure to check out the “wholesale lots” on eBay.  Lots of people source their inventory right on eBay and then resell it on eBay.

Step # 7: Start Selling

At this point, you are ready to start selling.  Depending on how much time you’re willing to invest, and how much money you want to make, will determine what you do with your business.  I suggest you determine how much profit you realistically want to make each month and then calculate how many items you will need to sell (on average) to reach that goal.  Once you know that number, add another 25 percent to it to help offset returns and fees.  In addition, remember that you aren’t locked into your chosen niche forever.  You can change it at any time or even add in other niches when you find a good deal.

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks.  These are some of my best tips for selling on eBay.  The real key to success is just to get started.  Realize ahead of time you will make some mistakes along the way.  Simply learn from each mistake, make the necessary adjustments as needed, and keep pressing on, and there is no doubt in my mind you can build a great little part-time income in no time.  It took me a year or two to really master eBay.  Even if it takes you that long, it’s still a great deal.

About the Author

Chuck Holmes has been selling on eBay for approximately 14 years.  He is a Power Seller and he normally sells about 300 to 500 items per month.  He specializes in belt buckles, used clothing, jewelry, and paper items.  You can visit his eBay store here.  Chuck is also a successful author and blogger.

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