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I would say this is probably the most accessible and certainly easiest way to get started making money online. You can do this without a website, without having to buy anything and you can start getting your hands on some money to pay the bills, save up for a much needed holiday or maybe get a great present for someone you know or even yourself.
I am, of course, talking about eBay. You will probably be aware of eBay and might have even bought or sold something on there before. I am going to show you how to make money with eBay whether you’ve never heard of it before or even if you’ve been using it to earn some cash for a while now, I’m sure you will find some value.
What is eBay?
eBay is an online marketplace, where people like you and me buy and sell items. To be clear, you can buy and sell pretty much anything.
There are also tons of people who are making a full time living from it and running profitable businesses. This may give you a perspective on what can be achieved on eBay.
Aside from being a great place to sell, it is also a great place to buy things that you could use at home or maybe even for your business. You can find things that would be more expensive locally or even on other online shops.
So how do I get started making money with eBay?
Right, first things first. Go to your country’s eBay site (eBay.com, eBay.co.uk or whatever) and sign up for an account if you haven’t already. You will be asked to provide some pretty basic personal information, pretty much as if you were signing up for an account with a similar online retailer.
One thing that is different, is you will be asked to provide a Paypal account.
So… what is Paypal?
If you haven’t heard of Paypal before, it is a way of sending and receiving money online, a little bit like an online bank account. Paypal as a company was part of eBay, but is now separate, as far as I understand.
Paypal is a really safe and secure way to transfer money when you buy or sell things, so it is definitely worth signing up for an account.
Still, Paypal and eBay are closely linked and a Paypal account is a straightforward way for you to receive your money. It is easy enough to link your Paypal account to your bank account. It may sound like extra hassle having money transferred to your Paypal account instead of straight into your bank account.
However, I think it is really useful to separate your eBay earnings from your personal bank account and this keeps bookkeeping easier. You will also find that you can use your Paypal account to pay for things on other websites, which you may find convenient.
Great! I’ve got my eBay and Paypal accounts sorted, now what?
Time to start selling!
But what to sell I’m sure you’re asking…?
Just look around you. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you have all sorts of clutter knocking around your house or flat, or at the very least a few things you never use and I’m sure you could find someone to take them off your hands for some decent money on, guess what? eBay!
Here is a TV I wasn’t using and sold on eBay, which went a long way to pay for my Christmas presents!
If you’re struggling for ideas for things to sell try this list,
- Clothes in your wardrobe you haven’t worn for at least a year.
- Books you’ve finished reading – textbooks from college or university you’ve finished with would sell great!
- Those Christmas presents you got that you weren’t too thrilled about…
- Anything you may have replaced by a new purchase, like your old mobile phone, laptop, TV or bicycle.
- Sports and fitness equipment you don’t use any more – do you really need that rowing machine in your spare room to be there to gather dust?
- Any supplies and items for hobbies you don’t spend time on any more
- Raid your cellars, cupboards, garages and attics for anything in boxes that you never use!
If you have found nothing after going through this list, you need to try harder!
The reason I am suggesting selling off your own unwanted junk is it’s already readily available, costs nothing and it’ll probably help free up some space for you. So, win – win.
I’ve got my old bike/textbooks/smartphone, what now?
You have to create a listing describing what you are selling, how much for, with a few photos and some other details. It is your opportunity to provide someone with enough information that they would feel comfortable buying your item.
Whilst you may be keen to ‘sell’ your item, ensuring you are honest in your item listing is important, as is being honest in all your business dealings. Honesty is definitely the best policy and I will explain that in more detail later on.
Part of being honest is also providing as much information as possible. People are unsure of eBay listings with limited information as they are unsure of what they maybe getting for parting with their money.
One huge aspect I have yet to bring up about your listing is, of course, your photos. We are all very visual creatures and nothing tells the story of the item you are selling like a series of good photographs. Make sure you take lots of good photos that show your item in full, but also some of the details as well.
If you were selling a bike, you might want to have a photo showing the whole bike and then a series of photos showing close ups of the wheels, handlebars, brakes, gears, etc.
What else do I need to consider when listing my item?
I could go into loads of detail about this, but whilst we are just talking about selling our first item on eBay, I will keep this brief.
The most important thing is how much do you want to sell your item for and do you want to sell your item at a fixed price or as an auction. If you want a good price for your stuff, then go for a fixed price, it gives you a bit more control.
If you are more interested in making sure you sell your item, then go for an auction and put the starting price low to encourage potential buyers to start bidding.
There are fees involved with selling on eBay. eBay offers an amazing platform and exposure to sell your goods and so there is a fee for this service. There are also fees for Paypal as well.
These fees are quite small, but beware, as they can eat right into your profit margins. This is more important when you start buying goods just to sell on eBay for profit.
Postage and Shipping
You should consider the postage and packaging costs and also the methods of payment that you would accept. Some of these things depend on what you are selling.
If you are selling a bike, the cost and effort to send it by post might not seem worth it for the money you can sell it for. You might consider having local pick up instead and then your buyer may want to pay for the item when they pick it up.
If you were selling a smartphone, the cost to package it and send it in the post is going to be small compared to how much money you can sell it for. Then it would make sense to accept Paypal and debit/credit cards as payment and send the smartphone in the post once you have received payment.
It is my understanding that eBay places items with free postage and packaging higher up searches than those that do charge for postage and packaging. This is a bit of a balancing act, as offering free postage and packaging may eat into your profits too much for larger, heavier items or lower value items.
I’ve listed my item, what next?
Now you wait. Make a cup of coffee. Watch some Netflix.
You have done most of the work and now it is (hopefully) a matter of time before your item sells. This is one of the convenient aspects of selling goods on eBay – you can be quite flexible about when you work exactly.
If you’re interested in hustling a bit, then you could share your listing on your social media accounts, maybe email it to people you know and encourage them to share it with anyone they think might be interested. The more people who know about your listing the better.
I wouldn’t say this is necessary as eBay is a very popular site and well trusted, so plenty of people are likely to check out your listing.
I sold my bike/textbook/smartphone!
Congratulations! Hopefully your buyer has paid, you and then eBay will have provided you with your buyer’s address.
Now when you package up your item, make sure it is highly unlikely it is going to be damaged in the post, because, you know, these things happen…
A bit of effort upfront will mean you won’t have to refund your buyer for them receiving a damaged item and then you won’t have a damaged item that will be more difficult to sell.
Get positive feedback
Another very important part of being a seller on eBay, is your seller rating. Whenever you sell something, or buy as well, the other person involved in that transaction has the opportunity to give you feedback.
The vast majority of these interactions are positive for both sides and they give each other positive feedback, which is great.
For each positive feedback you get, you ‘1’ is added to your score. So if you had sold 10 DVD’s in 10 different item listings and you had received positive feedback from each of those 10 buyers, then your feedback score would be ‘10’.
So it is very much in your interest to make sure your buyer/customer had a positive experience buying from you, so being honest about what you are selling and adding a bit of care when interacting with the buyer and sending their item, can go a long way.
The higher the score, the more experienced and better seller, or just general eBay-er, you are, or so it is perceived at least.
I’ve sold all my unwanted junk, made some money and I want more! What else can I do?
Well obviously, you need to find some more stuff to sell!
I will go into more detail about how to do this more seriously another time, but for the time being here are some ways make some more money on eBay,
- Go to a car boot, garage sale or charity shops for more things you can sell.
- Take advantage of people not putting too much effort into their listings. This could be,
- Lumping together a number things under one listing.
- Incorrectly spelt words in item listing titles, i.e. Xboc or Playststion – a great tool for this is GoofBid.com.
- Buy job lots or recovered items from foreclosures and long term lost and found.
- Buy from wholesalers and suppliers.
I used Goofbid’s eBay misspelling search to Playstation 4 listings that had incorrectly spelling listing titles and are likely to receive much less interest – chance to find a bargain!
One thing you could try, and I have done this myself, is to buy Blu Rays or DVDs that are being sold as bundle by someone who is probably having a bit of a clear out. You can then sell those DVDs individually for a profit.
Obviously, this requires a bit of effort to make sure you are buying the DVDs at a price that will allow you to make a profit, so you need to get good at checking on the prices that items sell for on eBay.
When getting a bit more involved in selling on eBay there are a number of things that need to be considered, such as how much stock you may need to store, how to physically package and post all your sold items and knowing how much you can buy something for and be sure to make a profit. But that is for another day.
eBay can be used as a bit of a hobby or as a full time business. I would definitely recommend eBay as a great start to earn some cash by selling off your unwanted junk, before selling things on eBay for profit or moving on to another way to make money online.
I hope I have given you something to think about here and would really like to discuss this with you, so if you have a comment or a question then just leave it below and I will get back to you.