A Beginner’s Guide To Ebay


In A Beginner’s Guide To eBay, we cover everything you need to know for opening up your own eBay shop!

Years ago, I listed one item on eBay. It was a pair of jeans, and it got no bids. I figured there must be some trick to getting things sold. maybe you had to be a marketin g whiz or something, I don’t know. but anyway, after that auction was over, I never thought about selling on eBay again…

… Until one day, not too long ago when I read an ebook on the subject (hey, it was a free download).

I decided to give eBay a second chance. It’s been a smashing success!

So if you’re interested in starting your own eBay business,  I can assure you, it’s really very easy. Here’s my version of a beginner’s guide to getting started:

The first step, of course is to create both an eBay, and a PayPal account.

After that, you’ll need merchandise. Time to clean out the attic!

A Beginner’s Guide To eBay

  • Start with stuff you already have. This is important because it allows you to get some selling experience, make a few mistakes, and get a feel for what sells well with no cash out of pocket.
  • Once you round up a few things you’d like to sell, go to ebay and do a search for that item. Check the box down on the left hand column of the page that says “sold listings”. Looking at the sold listings will give you an idea of how popular your item is, and how much it’s selling for.

I use ergos as an example because… well, I love them.

  • Once you find an item that’s the same, or very close to what you have, find the “sell one like this” button. It’ll be directly under the item picture. This button will save you a massive amount of time by not having to create listings from scratch. Many of the details and categories will already be filled in for you. Just be very sure to change pertinent details.

Ergos always get bids. Always.

  • Start your auctions at a price you’re happy with. eBay suggests starting at $0.99, and for some items – the ones you know will get a lot of bids – that’s okay. But you’re time is worth more than $0.99, and you want to make sure your getting some return on your time investment.
  • Don’t price gauge. While I’m not going to waste waste my time on $0.99 listings, I also don’t try to squeeze every penny I can out of an item. If something is going for say $5.00, I might list if for $4 or $4.50 I hopes that mine will sell instead of theirs. Certainly, you’re not going to get many bids I your stuff if higher than everybody else’s.
  • Be honest about the item condition. Make sure to point out any and all flaws in an item. Add pictures of the flaws, and point them out in the description. Obviously, you want the “flaw pictures” to be last on the list, but they need to be there. The buyer needs to know exactly what he’s getting, and if you should ver have a dispute with a buyer, eBay will be more likely to come down on your side if the flaws etc. were pointed out in the listing.

Always point out the flaws.

  • Calculate your shipping costs. Free shipping is attractive to many potential buyers. If you offer free shipping, make sure your starting bid reflects that. Otherwise, figure out what your item will weight, and/or what size box it needs, and find the best shipping option you can.One thing that used to detour me from selling online was the thought of making all those trips to the post office. Not so! You can package it up, print off a shipping label, hang it on your mailbox, and presto! Done!
  • Relist, relist, relist! Not every auction will sell the first week… Or even the second, third, or fourth. If you’re selling something a little obscure, it may take a while to get a bid on it. That doesn’t nessecarily mean you should come down on your price, it just means that a person interested in that particular item or topic hasn’t found you yet.

For instance, I had a book called Unassisted Homebirth. That’s not a very popular topic, but it’s also a hard to find book …which means that a person lookin for that book will be willing to pay for it. I think I relisted that thing for 9 weeks before it finally sold.

The thing is, there was only one person who bid on it. If I’d priced it for $0.99, that’s what they’d have laid for it. Great for them, no so great for me. I learned this the hard way.

Fortunately, two clicks of the mouse is all it takes to relist.

You will of course, come across things that are simply undesirable to anybody. How do you know when to give up listing something? I don’t really know. Are there other listings like it? Are they selling? If they are, are they selling at a worthwhile price? My general rule is that if I can’t get more than a dollar for it, I’m just not going to bother. Really, I prefer much higher ticket items. My last 5 sales totaled over $75 before shipping. They took longer to sell, sure, but it was a lot easier than listing 50 items to get that much.

Keeping the ball rolling.

Okay, so you’ve sold a few things, cut down on some of the clutter, and your excited about the number your Paypal account is showing. Don’t go blow it all on candy corn or… Whatever.

Use that money to restock your inventory! Thrift shops, yard sales, flea markets… These are all great places to find ebay-worthy treasures.

From past experience, you may have a good idea of what to look for, but even better, if you have a smart phone, you can look things up as you go.

(This strategy hasn’t been working very well for me lately, I admit. Balancing a smart phone, a glass figurine, and a baby who’s incredibly sick of shopping isn’t easy y’all. )

Anytime you go anywhere, be on the look out. Not long ago, Gabriel brought home a big bag of hand-me-downs for. Someone who was cleaning out there storage stuff. Up to that point, I’d never sold clothes, and didn’t think I ever would, but hey, the clothes were free, so I could sell ‘em cheap. Worth a try, right? Much to my surprise, the first skirt I listed sold right away.

You just never know when you (or your listing in this case) might be in The right place at the right time at the right price.

As a mom with two little ones living on a farm, time is at a premium, so one of the major benefits of eBaying for me, is that eBay does all of the marketing – all I have to do is list. Even so, I very rarely have a big enough block of time to devote to getting a listing done all at once.

The way I handle this is to grab odd moments throughout the day to work on it. Edit the title, walk away. upload a picture, walk away, etc. Withh this method, I may end up posting a listing at midnight, or 8:00 A.M., which isn’t ideal, but since eBay only charges for things that sell,
I figure if it doesn’t sell this week, I’ll hit the relist button at a more ideal time.

Whew! This thing got wordy, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. For further reading, I recommend How to eBay in Real Life (For a Living). It’s a relatively quick, easy read, with lots of information. Or if you feel like taking the plunge without more reading, hey, what’s stopping ya?


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