Are you wondering how to make money from eBay? Is there a way to make money from this auction website if you don’t have any products to put up for sale right now?
After getting laid off from my job unexpectedly, I needed a way to be able to earn money fast so I could make my mortgage payment. In the first 12 months I spent on eBay, I earned over $22,000 on the site using a combination of auctions and Buy It Now opportunities. If I could do it, then so can you!
Here’s how you get started.
You’ll Need an Initial Investment To Get Going
The beginning of my journey toward a profitable eBay business began thanks to a Christmas gift I received from my folks. As a kid, I loved trading cards, role playing games, Dungeons and Dragons, and anything fantasy related.
I stuck with it through college, but as I got married and moved into my career, there was less time that could be dedicated to this love.
After getting laid off, my folks as a joke sent me a package of Magic: The Gathering Cards. When I unwrapped it, there was a sticky note attached to it: Something to help you manage your time between jobs.
I shook my head, felt kind of insulted, but still opened up the cards anyway. As I slowly thumbed through them, a foil card marked as rare slid out from the center of the pile.
“It’s pretty!” my wife teased. I looked up the retail value of the card and the teasing stopped: it was worth over $200! I put it up on eBay as an auction to generate some cash since we needed to get some bills paid right away and I ended up selling the card for $250.
The bill we had to pay was $150, so I bought another $100 worth of MTG cards, sold the good ones, and that’s how in 12 months I sold more than $22,000 of items in just one year.
Pick something that you love. It must be a passion! It can be painting, artwork, or any tangible good that you can produce.
It can be what I did and you can sell back for a profit purchases that you make. Whatever the case may be, you’ll need an initial investment to make that happen.
Track Your Costs Down To the Very Last Penny
One of the primary reasons why eBay sellers come and go is because they don’t track their costs very well or include listing fees or PayPal credit card percentages into their sale prices.
Though auctions are less reliable for this than Buy It Now listings, you can set your auction start prices at a higher level to compensate for this. Just be aware that higher starting auction prices also have higher listing fees.
The best way to get started is to take advantage of the free lisitngs that eBay will give you each month so that you can test to see if your product is going to do well. Sometimes things do surprisingly well!
Other times the things you think will sell well just bomb out and won’t even get a pageview, much less a bid or a purchase. By using the free listings to test products, you’ll save on our upfront initial costs as you start earning revenue.
As sales begin to increase, remember that shipping costs must be tracked to the ounce as well. If you’re running on tight margins and you miscalculate the shipping weight of any item, you could actually lose money on a sale on eBay!
Before finalizing any listing, now what the shipping weight is including the shipping materials. A postage scale is good for smaller items, but you’ll need a scale for anything above 5 pounds.
Standardize Your Listings As Much As Possible
The good news is that search engines will crawl your eBay listings, giving you a lot of added exposure for your items. The bad news is that each listing is essentially a brand new web page that needs a relateable listing to generate interest in a sale.
To do this, you’ve got to create a relateable story, provide a level of scarcity, and ultimately provide a call to action that will cause people to purchase or bid on your item.
It must be a complete description that accurately portrays your item.
That’s why if you want to know how to make money from eBay, standardizing your listings is something that must be done. If you create a unique listing every time you sell a new item, you will lose money because of the time you’re investing into the listing itself.
Selling multiple items with a standardized listing that switches out product details, but incorporates a good sales pitch, might drive away some traffic… but you’ll generally get more incoming traffic than outgoing traffic.
The first month I listed items on eBay, I created a new listing every time. I spent 18 hours writing content! In the last month of my first year on eBay, I spent just 30 minutes writing content! I only had about 60 listings in the first month.
At the end of my first year, I had over 5,000 unique listings for products. Imagine writing 5,000 unique listings and how much time that would take… you’d never make money! You’d never even have any free time!
You’ll also want to standardize your titles as much as possible. Descriptive titles will also generate more pageviews, so find a format that works good for you and your niche and then stick with it. Here’s an example of what I used:
“MTG Magic the Gathering: Rare BLACK LOTUS Alpha Excellent Condition”
A Picture on eBay Is Worth a 1,000 Words – Literally!
One of the biggest mistakes made when figuring out how to earn money from eBay is a de-emphasis of the image that is associated with a listing. People aren’t just purchasing the item description that you’ve optimized. They’re also purchasing:
- the environment where your item is stored,
- the condition of the item that they see visually, and
- your reputation as an honest member of the eBay community.
The more expensive an item is, the better the quality of picture you’re going to need. If you want someone to drop $500 for an item, you’re asking them to make a major investment. That investment isn’t going to happen unless you provide a good quality set of pictures of what’s on offer.
Big ticket items are a good moneymaker, but a majority of the sales I had on eBay were less than $3. With the average sale being $12, these small items can add up quickly.
People flock to eBay because they’re looking for a great deal, an unusual item they can’t find anywhere else, or a combination of both desires. How do you drive these sales of small value items? By incorporating just as good of a picture of them as you do your big ticket items.
Plan Your Listings For Maximum Weekend Exposure
If you take anything from this article, then focus on this part alone: the more weekend exposure your listings get, the better your sales will be better. Why? Because people tend to look at auction listings more often during the weekend. They tend to look at Buy It Now listings during the week.
With a 10 day auction listing, if you plan it for a Thursday or Friday afternoon schedule, you’ll get two weekends of exposure.
You’ll also want some listings to expire during the weekend as well. I particularly made an effort to have an auctions end on Saturday mornings for my products because the games associated with the cartoons that my target market watched.
They’d watch the cartoons, search eBay for products, and find my listings! Coordinate your listings with max exposure times for your niche and you’ll create demand every single time.
Your competitors are also going to be doing the same thing, so you’ve got to make your listings stand out. Some sellers do this by purchasing listing upgrades, but that isn’t necessary.
I didn’t purchase a single upgrade and still was a top seller in my niche. People are more concerned about the speed in which you fulfill an order and the quality of the item they receive than they are in the upgrades you buy for a listing.
Focus on a quality product for a quality price and then rapidly ship your item. This will help make up for any mistakes you might make with your listing… and you’ll make some. Everyone does. Just make sure you take the information from that mistake and apply this new knowledge to your next listings.
Knowing how to make money from eBay can be a lot of work and it can take some work, but there is a reward at the end of the journey of good profitability.
Be patient with the process, follow these tips, and you’ll get there and sell thousands of dollars worth of product every month!
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