ever read an article about eBay, you will have seen the kinds
people make - it isn't unusual to hear of people making thousands
of dollars per
month on eBay.
you're on eBay, take a look at how many PowerSellers there are:
find quite a few. Now consider that every single one of one
of them must be
making at least $1,000
per month, as that's eBay's requirement for becoming a
PowerSellers make at least $3,000
Gold PowerSellers make more than $10,000,
Powersellers make more than $25,000,
Titanium PowerSellers make at least a whopping $150,000
fact that these people exist gives you some idea of the income
here. Most of them never set out to even set up a business on
eBay - they simply
started selling a few things, and then kept going. There are
plenty of people
whose full-time job is selling things on eBay, and some of them
have been doing
it for years now.
imagine that? Once they've bought the stock, everything else
much pure profit for these people - they don't need to pay for
premises, staff, or anything else. There are multi-million pound
making less in actual profit than eBay PowerSellers do.
you don't want to quit your job and really go for it, you can
still use eBay
to make a significant second income. You can pack up orders
during the week and
take them down to the post office for delivery each Saturday.
There are few other
things you could be doing with your spare time that have anywhere
near that kind
of earning potential.
eBay doesn't care who you are, where you live, or what you look
like: some PowerSellers are very old, or very young. Some live
out in the middle
of nowhere where selling on eBay is one of the few alternatives
to farming or
being very poor. eBay tears down the barriers to earning that
the real world
constantly puts up. There's no job interview and no commuting
involved - if you
can post things, you can do it.
it this way: if you know where to get something reasonably
cheaply that you
could sell, then you can sell it on eBay - and since you can
always get discounts
for bulk at wholesale, that's not exactly difficult. Buy a job
lot of something indemand
cheaply, sell it on eBay, and you're making money already, with
no setup costs.
If you want to dip your toe in the water before you commit to
anything, then you can just sell things that you've got lying
around in the house.
Search through that cupboard of stuff you never use, and you'll
you've got a few hundred dollars' worth of stuff lying around
in there! This is the
power of eBay: there is always someone who wants what you're
it might be, and since they've come looking for you, you don't
even need to do
anything to get them to buy it.
So you want to get started on eBay? Well, that's great! There
are only a few little
things you need to learn to get started. Read on!
You Need to Know Before Getting
So you've decided that you want to get started as a seller on
eBay. There are a few
things that you really need to know before you go and throw
yourself in at the
First off, you need to know what it is you're going to sell:
what's your speciality?
You'll do far better on eBay if you become a great source for
certain kind of
products, as people who are interested in those products will
come back to you
again and again. You won't get any loyalty or real reputation
if you just sell
rubbish at random.
think about what to sell, there are a few things to consider.
important of these is to always sell what you know. If you try
to sell something that you just don't know anything about then
you'll never write a good
description and sell it for a good price.
think you're not especially interested in anything, but if you
about what kind of things you usually buy and which websites
you go to most
often, I'm sure you'll discover some kind of interest. If all
else fails mention it to
your friends and family: they'll almost certainly say "Oh,
well why don't you
sell…" and you'll slap your forehead.
Out of the things you know enough about, you should then consider
you could actually get for a good enough price to resell, and
how suitable they
would be for posting. If you can think of something of that
about and it's small and light enough for postage to be relatively
Don't worry if you think the thing you're selling is too obscure
- it isn't. There's a
market for almost everything on eBay, even things that wouldn't
sell once in a
year if you stocked them in a shop. You'll probably do even
better if you fill a
niche than if you sell something common.
Tax and Legal Matters
If you earn enough money, you should be aware that you're going
to have to start
paying tax - this won't be done for you. If you decide to sell
on eBay on a full-time
basis, you should probably register as a business.
There are going to be ups and downs when you sell on eBay. Don't
pack it in if
something goes a little wrong in your first few sales: the sellers
who are successful
on eBay are the ones who enjoy it, and stick at it whatever
Anyone can sell on eBay, if they believe in themselves - and
if you do decide it's
not for you, then the start-up costs are so low that you won't
really have lost
If you're ready to start selling, then the next thing you need
to know is the
different auction types, so you can decide which ones you will
use to sell your
5 Easy Steps to Posting
Your First eBay
simple to get started posting your very first auction on eBay.
Here's what you need to do.
Step 1: Open an eBay seller's
If you've bought things on eBay, then you already have an account
- just log in
with it and click 'Sell' in the toolbar at the top of the page,
then click 'Create a
seller's account'. If you've never used eBay before, then you'll
need to open an
account first using the 'register' link underneath the toolbar,
and then click 'Sell'
and 'Create a seller's account'. The eBay site will then guide
you through the
process. For security, this may involve giving card details
and bank information.
Step 2: Decide what to sell.
For your first little experiment with eBay, it doesn't really
matter what you sell.
Take a look around the room you're in - I'm sure there's something
in there that
you're not all that attached to and could put in the post. Small
books and CDs are
ideal first items.
Step 3: Submit your item.
Click 'Sell', and you're on your way to listing
The first thing you need to do is choose a category - it's best
to just type in what
the item is and let eBay choose for you. Next, write a title
Include key words you think people will search for in the title
box, and all the
information you have about the item in the description box.
Now set a starting price. $0.01 is the best starting price,
as it draws people in to
bid who otherwise wouldn't, and items will almost never finish
at such a low
price. The next thing to set is the duration of the auction:
3, 5, 7 or 10 days. This
is up to you: longer sales will usually get more bids, but will
also seem to drag on
forever. If you've taken a picture, add it now - items with
pictures always sell for
more. Finally, tick the payment methods you will accept (just
PayPal is best for now), and where you will post to (limit yourself
to your own country to begin with). Submit and you're done!
Step 4: Wait for it to sell.
This is just a matter of sitting back and letting eBay do its
thing - buyers will find
your item and leave bids on it. Some bidders might email you
about the item, and you should do your best to answer these
questions as quickly
as you can.
** Remember that if your item doesn't sell then you
can list it again for free. **
Step 5: Collect payment and post
eBay will send your buyer emails guiding them through the process
of sending you
payment for the item. Make sure you have the money before you
Once you've got the payment, all you need to do is pack the
item for posting
(make sure to use some bubble wrap), take the buyer's address
confirmation email eBay sent you, and write it on the parcel.
Put some stamps on,
post it, and you're done!
eBay Seller's Checklist
Being a seller is a lot of responsibility, and sometimes you
might feel like you're
not doing everything you should be. This simple checklist will
help you keep on
top of things.
Have you found out everything you possibly
could about your items? Try typing
their names into a search engine - you might find out something
you didn't know.
If someone else is selling the same thing as you, then always
try to provide more
information about it than they do.
Do you monitor the competition? Always keep
an eye on how much other items
the same as or similar to yours are selling, and what prices
they're being offered
at. There's usually little point in starting a fixed price auction
for $100 when
someone else is selling the item for $90.
you got pictures of the items? It's worth taking the
time to photograph your
items, especially if you have a digital camera. If you get serious
about eBay but
don't have a camera, then you will probably want to invest in
one at some point.
Are you emailing your sellers? It's worth sending
a brief email when transactions
go through: something like a simple "Thank you for buying
my item, please let
me know when you have sent the payment". Follow this up
with "Thanks for your
payment, I have posted your [item name] today". You will
be surprised how many
problems you will avoid just by communicating this way.
Also, are you checking your emails? Remember
that potential buyers can send
you email about anything at any time, and not answering these
emails will just
make them go somewhere else instead of buying from you.
Do your item description pages have everything that buyers need
to know? If
you're planning to offer international delivery, then it's good
to make a list of the
charges to different counties and display it on each auction.
If you have any
special terms and conditions (for example, if you will give
a refund on any item as
long as it hasn't been opened), then you should make sure these
Have you been wrapping your items correctly?
Your wrapping should be
professional for the best impression: use appropriately sized
envelopes or parcels,
wrap the item in bubble wrap to stop it from getting damaged,
and print labels
instead of hand-writing addresses. Oh, and always use first
class post - don't be
Do you follow up? It is worth sending out an
email a few days after you post an
item, saying "Is everything alright with your purchase?
I hope you received it and
it was as you expected." This might sound like giving the
opportunity to complain, but you should be trying to help your
take their money and run.
Being a really good eBay seller, more than anything else, is
genuinely good and honest customer service. That's the only
foolproof way to
protect your reputation.
What's Your eBay Reputation Really Worth?
reputation is everything you are on eBay - without it, you're
Your reputation is worth as much as every sale you will ever
If you've ever bought anything on eBay (and the chances are
you have), then
think about your own behaviour. Buying from a seller with a
low feedback rating
makes you feel a little nervous and insecure, while buying from
with their reputation in the thousands doesn't require any thought
or fear - it
feels just like buying from a shop.
A Bad Reputation Will Lose You
In fact, a bad reputation will lose you almost all your sales.
If someone leaves you
negative feedback, you will feel the pain straight away, as
that rating will go right
at the top of your user page for everyone to see. Who's going
to want to do
business with you when they've just read that you "took
a month to deliver the
item", or that you had "bad communication and sent
a damaged item"? The
answer is no-one.
Your next few items will need to be very cheap things, just
to push that negative
down the page. You might have to spend days or even weeks selling
cheap stuff to
get enough positive feedback to make anyone deal with you again.
It's even worse if you consistently let buyers leave negative
feedback - once you
get below 90% positive ratings, you might as well be invisible.
You Can't Just Open a New Account.
Besides eBay's rules about only having one account, there are
far more downsides
than that to getting a new account. You literally have to start
all over again from
You won't be able to use all the different eBay features. Your
won't be able to find you any more. Your auctions will finish
at a lower price
because of your low feedback rating. Opening a new account is
like moving to a
new town to get away from a few people who are spreading rumours
it's throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
A Good Reputation Will Get You Sales.
PowerSeller tells me something, I tend to believe them. They
selling a pretty unlikely item, but if they guarantee it is
what they say it is, then I
trust them - they're not going to risk their reputation, after
all. This is the power
of a reputation: people know you want to keep it, and they know
you'll go to
almost any lengths to do so.
This is true even to the point that I would sooner buy something
for $20 from a
seller I know I can trust than for $15 from someone with average
worth the extra money to feel like the seller knows what they're
doing, has all
their systems in place and will get me the item quickly and
10 Steps to Successful
Selling on eBay
So you want to be a successful seller with your own eBay business,
do you? Here's
a simple, ten-step path to eBay enlightenment.
Step 1: Identify your market.
Take a while to sit and watch for what sells and what doesn't
out of the items
you're interested in. Any market research data you can collect
will be very useful
to you later on. You'll probably see the 'sweet spots' quite
quickly - those one or
two items that always seem to sell for a good price.
Step 2: Watch the competition.
Before you invest any money, see what the other sellers in your
category are up
to, and what their strategies are. Pay special attention to
any flaws their auctions
might have, because this is where you can move in and beat them
at their own
Step 3: Find a product.
Get hold of a supplier for whatever it is you want to sell,
and see what the best
rates you can get are - don't be afraid to ring round quite
a few to get the best
deal. If the eBay prices you've seen are higher than the supplier's,
then you're set.
Step 4: Start small.
thousands at your idea straight away - get started slowly, see
works and what doesn't, and learn as you go. Remember that it's
very cheap to try
out even the craziest ideas on eBay, and who knows, they might
Step 5: Test and repeat.
Keep trying different strategies until you find something that
works, and then
don't be ashamed to keep doing it, again and again. The chances
are that you've
just found a good niche.
Step 6: Work out a business plan.
A business plan doesn't need to be anything formal, just a few
pages that outline
the market opportunity you've spotted, your strategy, strengths
of the plan and a brief budget. This is more for you than it
is for anyone else.
Step 7: Invest and expand.
This is the time to throw money at the problem. Buy inventory,
spending more time on your business. Set a goal number of sales
increasing it each time.
Step 8: Make it official.
Once you've made a few thousand dollars worth of sales, you
register yourself as a business. Don't worry, it's not expensive
or hard to do - a
lawyer is the best person to help you through the process.
Step 9: Automate.
You'll probably find that you're writing the same things again
and again in emails
or item descriptions. This is the time to give up on the manual
method and turn
to automated software that can create listings for you, and
respond to completed
auctions and payments with whatever message you provide.
Step 10: Never give up.
Even when it looks like it's all going wrong, don't stop trying
until you succeed. If
you keep working at it then you'll almost always find that you
make a real
breakthrough just when things are starting to look desperate.
Once you get into the swing of things, you might start thinking
that you should
quit your job and take up eBay selling part time. But it's not
always as easy as that
- there are all sorts of factors that you need to consider.
The next email will weigh
up the case for and against taking up eBay full-time.
to Think Like an eBay PowerSeller
As explained earlier in this guide, PowerSellers are the people
on eBay who've
made it, recognisable by the little 'PowerSeller' badge next
to their name. You've
probably seen these people around - and to succeed on eBay,
you want to think
the way they do.
How do People Get the Right to Call Themselves PowerSellers?
eBay gets to decide who can be a PowerSeller and who can't,
and they have strict
requirements. To get in at the minimum PowerSeller level, you
must have a
feedback rating of at least 100 (minimum 98% positive) and sell
at least $1,000
worth of items every month for three months in a row. There
are different levels
of PowerSeller membership as you sell items of greater value:
$1,000 total is
bronze, $3,000 is silver, $10,000 is gold, $25,000 is platinum
and $125,000 is
If PowerSellers ever fail to meet the required amount of sales,
or their feedback
falls below 98% positive, then they lose their PowerSeller status.
In short, the
only people who get to be PowerSellers on eBay are the people
who have been
successful for a good while, and are on track to stay that way.
The Shop and the Marketplace
This is the most important part of understanding how PowerSellers
don't see what they're doing as being some random bazaar, or
a hobby - instead,
they see themselves as a business.
Put it like this. If you run a stall in a marketplace, the chances
are that you have a
general area of business, but you mostly just sell whatever
you can get your hands
on that week. If your dodgy buddy got his hands of a job lot
of something at a
discount, then that's what you'll be selling. This might be
fun - and when you - 15 -
have a good week, you'll have a really good week - but it's
no way to run a real
business in the long-term.
PowerSellers think far more like shops. They
sell the same things again and
again, every week - regular stock for regular customers. They
do 'boring' business
things like keep inventories and budgets. They know what they're
going to be
selling, how much they buy it for and how much they expect to
sell for. Just like a
real shop, there can be hard times sometimes, but their income
is stable and their
business can grow slowly.
The best advice I can give you on thinking like a PowerSeller
don't take long-term risks for short-term gain. Look after your
manage your selling properly, provide good customer service
and the rewards will
come to you in due course. And you'll get a little badge next
to your name that
makes people trust you more! One possibility that you might
have realised so far is what eBay can do for anyother businesses
you might have. Remember, millions of people visit eBay every
day - why keep everything separate when you're starting to
tap into that kind of power?
Choosing the Right eBay Product Category
Some people think it's easy to choose the right eBay category,
and often it is.
Sometimes, though, it might not be quite clear exactly what
to go for.
Why is it Even Important?
Plenty of people use the category system to find items, when
they're not looking
for something specific. If your item is listed in the wrong
category - or you've just
given up and listed it in 'Everything Else' - then these people
aren't going to find
Also, listing items in the wrong categories is against eBay's
rules, and eBay say
they will remove any auctions that are wrongly categorised.
They don't often
actually do this, but it's not worth the risk - especially since
breaking any rules
can cause them to penalise your account, including losing PowerSeller
you have it.
What Can You Do?
eBay will suggest categories for you when you sell your item,
if you type in a few
words to describe the item on the category selection page and
click 'search'. You
can make the best of this feature by typing in exactly what
your item is, with
brand name and model number (if any), so that eBay can find
the best category
If that doesn't work for you, then search yourself for items
like yours, and pay
attention to which category most of them seem to be in (you
can see this near the
top of each item's description page). Try different words and
see which ones come
back with the most results. You can also browse through all
categories from eBay's front page.
Remember that the more specific the category is, the better
- use as many
subcategories as are appropriate. Don't just list your HP laptop
'Computers' category, for example - list it in 'Computers >
Laptops > HP'. Don't
worry: your item will still appear in the 'Computers' category,
as well as
'Computers > Laptops', because items listed in subcategories
are always listed in
every category above.
Take some time to look through all the categories and get familiar
with the way
eBay as a whole is laid out. After all, that's better than getting
a few months down
the line and finding that you still think of eBay's category
system like it's some
kind of scary jungle.
What if More Than One
Don't worry, eBay have you covered. For a small extra fee, you
can list your item
in an extra category, to increase the number of potential buyers
who will see it.
This isn't always worth it, though - some items only really
fit properly in one
category, and listing them in extra categories is just a waste.
Once you know where to list your item, the next step is to write
title. The title is the most important thing about your auction
- the difference
between a good title and a bad title can be the difference between
$10 and $100.
To learn why this is the case…
on Writing Your eBay Title
Trying to be help your buyers find your auctions can be a truly
Most people only search eBay by title, not by description, and
that means that
you only have those 55 characters of the title to cover all
the possible search
terms. That's not easy. In this email, I'll give you a few pointers.
Don't bother with eBay clichés: There
are plenty of eBay auction titles that
say things like "Super rare camera wow look low price".
These are stupid things
to put in your title, as no-one is going to search for them.
Think like a buyer: If you were looking for
your item, then what exactly would
you type into that box? If you think it'd help, try searching
yourself to find
someone else selling your item. What were the first things you
thought of typing?
Think like other sellers: Keep an eye on which sellers are doing
items like yours, and try to copy their title styles - if it
works for them, it can work
Be specific: You should be sure to write the
item's brand and specific model
number in the title, as people will often search only for this
sure that you also say exactly what the item is.
A few examples:
"Dell Latitude Laptop P3 500mhz Notebook PC
If you know about computers, you'll know instantly what this
auction is selling. It
has manufacturer (Dell) and product line (Latitude), followed
by a few technical
specifications (P3 500mhz is the processor speed). Notice also
that the title
includes the four words 'laptop', 'notebook', 'PC' and 'computer',
as the seller
wants people looking for any of those words to see his auction.
"OASIS Don't Believe the Truth CD Album (New)"
This auction for a CD is well formatted: it gives the artist
name in capital letters,
followed by the album name. It then manages to include the two
key words 'CD'
and 'album', as well as the word 'new' - that means that anyone
searching for 'new
oasis cd', 'oasis new album' and so on will find this auction.
Penny Black stamp, certificate, four margins"
Here's a slightly more obscure one, from the exciting world
of stamp collecting. A
penny black is one of the oldest and most famous stamps. It
uses a few key words
that collectors will consider important: 'four margins' indicates
that the stamp
has been cut out with some margins around it and so isn't damaged,
'certificate' tells you that the item has a certificate of authenticity
- it's a real
penny black. Remember to use every bit of space to squeeze in
as much important
information as you can in the title.
So now that you've written a winning title, you need to start
on a great
Description Writing Tips
Once you've drawn the buyers in with your title, the next thing
to do is to tell
them all about your item with the description. But just what
should you write in
At its heart, your item description is an ad. Without making
it too obvious, you
should be writing sales copy. You're trying to get buyers excited
products, and that's usually hard - but on eBay, if you have
the right thing to sell
and give enough details, the buyers almost excite themselves.
Include every technical detail you know, including the item's
condition, how big it is, where and when it was made, its history,
else special about it. Don't be too boring, though: the best
written in friendly, conversational language, and show a real
knowledge of the
item. Whatever you do, make sure you tell the truth!
Remember that most of the people who'll be buying your item
will be just as
knowledgeable about it as you are, if not more - this is their
hobby, and they're
experts. Don't feel like you need to explain the basics of the
item: just go into as
much technical detail as you can. As a rule, don't write anything
description if you don't know what it means, as the chances
are someone will, and
if you've got it slightly wrong then you'll look like you don't
know what you're
You might find that
you enjoy writing a few things about how you got the item,
why you're selling it, and who you think might like it. This
isn't strictly necessary,
but it gives your auctions some character and a personal touch,
and can make
people more likely to trust you. People might wonder what you're
500 CDs all at once, and if you tell them the reason, then they'll
that nothing dodgy is going on. If you're selling them because
you're having a
baby and you need the space, just say so.
Write as Much as You
Leave nothing out of your description, even if that seems to
you like it makes it
cumbersomely long. There is no way you can be too thorough:
somewhere will appreciate that you took the time to write the
Don't assume that anyone who wants extra information
will email you to ask a
question: many buyers are shy and won't do it. Think of questions
might have and add the answers to your description, as people
generally tend to
ask the same questions over and over again.
Each time a buyer does email you with a question, you should
both answer their
question and update your description so that it will include
the answer next time.
If people ask questions that are answered in the description,
try putting these
parts of the auction on a line alone, or in bold, to make them
easier to notice.
10 Tips for Increasing Your eBay Response
So you've got the buyer in front of your auction, and they've
read the description.
They're must be interested, or they wouldn't be looking…
but just how can you
push them over that line and make them leave a bid? Read on
for some tips.
Improve your picture: In all that description
writing, you might have missed
the vital importance of your item's picture. A picture with
bad lighting or an
intrusive background looks amateurish and won't make anyone
want to buy from
Add an About
Me page: You'll be surprised how much you can reassure
bidders just by creating an About Me page and putting a little
bit about yourself
on your business on there. You can also have a few special offers
there for people
who bother to look at the page, and let people subscribe to
your mailing list so
that you can email them updates.
Use SquareTrade: Signing up at SquareTrade
and displaying their logo on your
auctions shows that you are committed to have them resolve any
arise. You always see this on PowerSellers auctions - it makes
you look more
Write terms and conditions: Have the 'small print'
clearly visible on all your
auctions, giving details of things like shipping times and prices,
policy, and any other business practices you might have. This
confidence with buyers.
Show off your feedback: Copy and paste a selection
of the feedback comments
you're most proud of to each item's description page, instead
of making bidders
go and look for it. If you have 100% positive feedback, be sure
to write that on
every auction too.
Add NR to your titles: If you have extra space
in a title, put 'NR' (no reserve)
on the end. Bidders prefer auctions that don't have a reserve
price, and doing this
lets them see that yours don't.
Benefits not features: Make sure your description
focuses on the benefits that
your item can give to the customer, not just its features. This
is a classic sales
technique. If you have trouble with this, remember: 'cheap'
is a feature, 'save
money' is a benefit.
List more items: If you want more people to
respond to your items, then list
more items! You might find you have better like listing items
at the same time,
instead of one-by-one. There's no need to use a Dutch auction
- you can just keep
two or three auctions going at once for an item you have more
than one of in
Accept unusual payment methods: To reach those last
few buyers, accept
payment methods that many sellers don't, like cheques.
upgrades: The best upgrade is the most expensive one,
your item appear first in search results. In crowded categories,
you might find
that this is worth the money.
Once you've got some buyers, you want to keep them coming back
As this guide draws to a near end, we’ll conclude this
awesome roller coaster
guide to eBay selling with a list of often-used terms and jargons
in one of the
world’s highly trafficked auction site!
All the best From Stairlift Trader Have fun! To becoming
the next PowerSeller!
Bid: telling eBay's system the maximum price
you are prepared to pay for
Dutch: an auction where more than one of an
item is available.
Feedback: positive or negative comments left
about other users on eBay.
Mint: in perfect condition.
Non-paying bidder: a bidder who wins an auction
but does not then go
on to buy the item.
PayPal: an electronic payment method accepted
by most sellers.
Rare: used and abused on eBay, now entirely
Reserve: the minimum price the seller will
accept for the item.
Shill bid: a fake bid placed by a seller trying
to drive up their auction's
Snail Mail: the post, which is obviously very
slow compared to email.
Sniping: bidding at the last second to win
the item before anyone else can
AUD: Australian Dollar Currency.
BIN: Buy it Now. A fixed price auction.
BNWT: Brand New With Tags. An item that has
never been used and still
has its original tags.
BW: Black and White. Used for films, photos
CONUS: Continental United States. Generally
used by sellers who don't
want to post things to Alaska or Hawaii.
EUR: Euro Currency.
FC: First Class. Type of postage.
GBP: Great British Pounds Currency.
HTF: Hard To Find. Not quite as abused as 'rare',
but getting there.
NIB: New in Box. Never opened, still in its
NR: No Reserve. An item where the seller has
not set a reserve price.
OB: Original Box. An item that has its original
box (but might have been
PM: Priority Mail.
PP: Parcel Post.
SH: Shipping and Handling. The fees the buyer
will pay you for postage.
USD: United States Dollars Currency.
VGC: Very Good Condition. Not mint, but close