My eBay Adventure

new-ebay-logo1What I learned about the good, the bad and the ugly of selling on eBay!

I have been looking for a home-based business for years. Everything that I have thought about only makes a little money and takes an investment. I have a full-time job already, so I need something that can be done completely on my own time. Like everyone else, I am extremely busy. On top of my full time job as a librarian, I am an aspiring writer. I have two teen-aged boys who are very active in school and sports, and a husband that I love to spend time with. However, like others, I would love to find something I could do from home and not have to continue at my job.

I had thought about selling some things on Ebay, but not as a second job. Then my brother called and told me about a mutual friend that had started awhile back. Like me, he is in education and has summers off. Last summer he made about $8000 on Ebay. That got my attention! I threw the idea around for awhile, but had no idea what type of things I could sell on there. The last thing I needed was to invest money in someone else’s junk. So, I decided to start with what I had.

I set up an account on eBay, which was surprisingly, very easy. I also had to create a paypal account because I didn’t have one. I told my boys if they would help me, I would split the money on anything I sold that belonged to them. I started out with three pairs of jeans. They were all name brand- two American Eagle and one BKE. EBay makes it very simple to list items. They have a template that you fill out, and most of my listings take less than ten minutes. It also shows you other items similar to yours and how much they are going for so you can price competitively. The most time consuming thing is taking quality pictures and loading them into the listing. At high traffic times, I couldn’t get my pictures to upload at all, but that only happened once or twice. The jeans were immediately being viewed and watched. I thought it was very cool that Ebay kept track of how many people were looking at my items.

I continued to list items my kids had out grown, then I moved to my own closet. It didn’t take long to figure out what items were good sellers. I knew I only had so much of my own stuff to sell, so I would need to find items from other places. I tried a couple of resale shops, and that could be a source, but the best place was garage sales. Resale shops are businesses that are trying to make money; garage sales are usually people just trying to get rid of stuff.

Garage Sale Day

I bought a local newspaper to see where the garage sales were, and discovered that people don’t list them in the paper anymore (at least not many). I went to a local website that has a classified section and found a good list. The most popular day for a garage sale is Saturday. I know enough about them to know that you have to get there early for the good stuff. So I headed out with ten dollars (in ones) and my thermos full of coffee. I only had one sale on my list, and I was hopeful it would be a good one!

I walked up with absolutely no idea what I was looking for. All I knew was that name brand clothes seem to sell well if they are in good condition, and you can get them for a good price. But I didn’t want to just buy clothes. A couple of plaques caught my eye. They were wooden so I wouldn’t have to worry about breakage during shipping. They had a distressed look and were small enough to ship. One had a scripture and the other said “And they lived happily ever after”. They were each marked two dollars. There was a good selection of clothes, but I still wasn’t confident in my ability to move the product so I picked out five things (two of which were for myself- job hazard!!). I found a Gap maternity top. I hadn’t tried maternity clothes, so I thought I would give it a shot. I was definitely over my limit, but I was hoping to talk them down. The last interesting thing I saw was a box of three hub caps. It looked like they had lost a hubcap off of a Toyota and instead of replacing the one with a factory they decided to buy a set of four inexpensive ones and replace them all. They were selling the three Toyota hubcaps in a box for $1.00. I don’t know a lot about cars, but I do know that anything you buy from the factory is expensive! It was only a dollar, so I took the gamble. I walked up with my eight items that totaled $15. I asked for her best price and she said $8. Yeah, I could definitely do that!

I went home and cleaned up my hubcaps and started looking on Ebay for prices. I decided to do $15 starting bid and $22 buy it now. I spent part of Saturday afternoon listing my items.

My First Sell

My first sale was a pair of American Eagle Jeans that I had listed as both auction and buy it now. Someone had bought them for $22. Now it was time to ship, and I was a little worried about doing it correctly. Ebay sent me an e-mail stating that my item had sold, and then sent me one when it had been paid for. At that point I could print a shipping label. I had chosen to let Ebay take care of the shipping for me. They look at the item and determine an approximate weight. They also look at where you are shipping it to. They completely figure shipping and all you have to do is print a label. I packaged up the jeans, put on the label and headed to the post office. I don’t know what I expected, but I guess I was waiting for something to go wrong. But it didn’t, the shipping was all correct and my package headed to the buyer.

I chose to charge for shipping- free shipping is an option- but I wasn’t sure if that was such a good idea. I would rather the buyer see how much the item is and how much shipping is rather than inflate the cost of the item to cover shipping. So far, that has worked well for me.

I continued to sell items and before I knew it, I had gotten up to about a hundred dollars in sales. One thing I didn’t know was that you don’t get your money immediately, and in the beginning, you don’t even get it quickly. It takes 2-3 weeks for the money to be put into your paypal account. Ebay wants to make sure you are a legitimate seller. So if you are looking for fast money, this may not be the way to go. After the first couple of weeks, it trickles in on a regular basis.

Limits

Another thing I didn’t know, is that Ebay has limits. As a new seller, you can list up to 100 items in a month or $5000. For me starting out, that was plenty! As I continued to list items, I also discovered that it only allows you to list so many items in a category. Needless to say, my clothes category played out after about 3 weeks. It states that they will increase limits after 90 days. I am probably going to call and talk to them so I can find out exactly what the limit is. For now, I am going to try to diversify what I sell. Trial and error has turned out to be the best way to determine what the better sellers are. Some things that I think will be a great seller turn out to be a dud. I put a women’s blinged out western belt on there for $12.99 auction starting price. I decided to not do a buy it now. The belt belonged to me until I, ummm, “outgrew” it. It has been hanging in my closet for a couple of years. It’s been on auction for 3 days and has had 34 views and 4 people watching it. That’s pretty good! I can’t wait for the end of the auction to see how high it goes. It has a bid for the $12.99, who knows, maybe it will hit $20!! We’ll find out in a couple of days. I never expected it to do that well. Since it belonged to me, I don’t really have any money tied up in it. I bought several years ago, and if I hadn’t put it on ebay, I would have just given it away. I also put a pair of my son’s Nike AirMax athletic shoes. He didn’t wear them but maybe ten times. I took pictures and stated that there was some scuffs along the sole. They have a day and a half left on them and they have 18 views and four watchers. That’s another one I’m excited about.

EBay has an option where you can chose to have an item relist up to three times, if it doesn’t sell. Some of my items didn’t sell until the third time. Amazingly, I’ve only had a few items that didn’t sell at all. I love checking my listings to check for views, watchers and bids. It is turning into a hobby that actually makes me money instead of costing me money!

Garage Sale Part Two

My fifteen year old son is getting into the EBay thing with me. We had planned to hit several sales this Saturday, but due to ice on the roads, we had to leave later than we wanted. We didn’t have any luck at the places we went. Our last stop was a flea market, where my son suggested we buy a couple of brand new reels a guy was selling. They were five dollars, which was more than I wanted to spend. But since we hadn’t bought anything to list, we decided to give them a try. So far we haven’t had any bites, but you never know. We may have better luck closer to spring. Hopefully, this weekend will be better conditions. I need to find a couple of resale shops that I can check with on days when there aren’t any sales.

Progress

So far, I am happy with my progress. I had set my goal at $200 for the first month. I have been selling for three weeks, and I am almost to $300. That is about $100 a week. My goal for the second month is $500. I think I am getting better at picking out items that will sale. I have not sold anything in three days, though, and that is a little discouraging. I received an invoice from eBay for the things I have sold. It was about 10% of my total sales. That would probably bother some people, but to me it’s worth it. Where else could you get that kind of exposure?

Three Week Mark

Today marks the end of my third week selling on EBay. The two hubcaps that I had listed both sold! One sold for $31 and the other for $15. That combined with the first one adds up to $68. So, I made a total of $67 profit. That was one gamble that definitely paid off. The same buyer bought both of them and asked if I could ship them together. I said sure, but then I wasn’t sure how to do that. Once again, EBay made it easy to find out how to that. I was able to send an invoice to the buyer so that she would only have to pay for shipping for one. The hubcaps are relatively light, so I am taking a chance that shipping them together will not cost more. If I am wrong, it will be a lesson learned and I do have a little room to move since I made a good profit.

The Nike Airmax athletic shoes have five hours left on the auction. So far, I’ve had 34 views and 5 are watching it. I am excited to see how much I’m able to sell them for. I need a good garage sale to go to this weekend to replace my stock a little bit. I’ve have also offered to put items on for a couple of family members. I’ll do all the work and split the selling price 50/50. It saves me the foot work of finding the items.

Wednesday

Well, the Nike Airmax shoes went off auction last night and only brought in $20.49. I shouldn’t complain because otherwise I would have given them away and gotten nothing. But there were so many people watching; I was hoping for a bidding war! My blinged out belt finished up this morning, with 18 minutes to go there were 83 views and 7 watchers, but the bid was only up to $13.49. It sounded like a repeat of last night to me! I try not to watch the end of the auction, but I think it’s exciting so I just can’t help it. My strategy with these two items had been that because similar items had gone for a good price to auction to the highest bidder and not undersell by doing a buy it now. Evidently, that strategy stunk! Even though there was a tremendous amount of interest in the items, it didn’t affect my selling price in a positive way. I think I will stick to always offering a buy it now. The belt sold for $13.99 L. That was quite a disappointment! On the brightside, it sold! That brought my total up to $350 for the month and I have 3 days left!

Thursday

Today I am listing some kid’s clothes to see how they do. I have a couple of little girl dresses and skirts. I decided to list two of the dresses as a set to cut down on work. I’d rather put two together for $10 than separately list them for $5. We’ll see how that works. I have five things that end today and three that I am shipping out. I only have 18 things listed and that is pretty low. Many of them are on their third round so if they don’t sell this time I’ll donate them to charity. I do have some garage sales planned for Saturday. I may even try to go to one before work tomorrow- I don’t know if that will happen or not. Two of the Saturday sales are about twenty miles away, but they look really promising so I’m going to give them a shot. One starts at 7am and the other at 7:30. Have I mentioned that I am not a morning person?? I see an early afternoon nap in my future for Saturday afternoon! Hopefully, one of my ending items will sell tonight.

Friday

I also went to one this morning before work. It was a huge disappointment! Most of the clothes were old and honestly, it was a bunch of junk. I did sell two pairs of my husband’s golf shorts so my total for the month ended up $381. I thought I might hit $400, but considering my original goal was $200 I almost doubled it!

I spent a couple of hours planning my garage sale route. I am going to try and hit as many as possible. I also printed maps to help me plan my route. I’ll need to leave about 6:30am to get to my first one when it starts.

Saturday (Garage Sale Day)

It was an early start for me this morning! I arrived at my first garage sale and it was small- mostly baby clothes. I picked out a pair of Osh Kosh overalls and matching shirt. The next one was the best of the day. I found several American Eagle items and a Vera Bradley handbag, and also a few Baby Gap and Gymboree items. All together I spent $15 for 12 pieces. I hit 4 more sales, but they didn’t have anything. At the last one there was a Louis Vuitton laptop bag. The owner wasn’t sure if it was real because it had been a gift. She didn’t have anything to prove it was so I decided to pass. If she couldn’t prove it was real to me then I couldn’t prove it was real to my buyer – and I didn’t want to take that chance. I also passed on a Calloway Big Berth Driver. I priced it on Ebay and there wasn’t much profit to be made. I had hoped to find more stuff, but at least I found something. I may have to start going through some more of my own stuff. I just want to branch out and sell in some different categories. My goal for February is $500. Hopefully, things will take off. I was able to get everything listed today- all that’s left to do is to wait.

The Lull

The last three weeks have been an exciting EBay journey. I was ready to quit my job to become an EBay entrepreneur. Then the bottom fell out. I haven’t sold anything in five days and traffic on my items seems kind of slow. About half my items are listing for the second or third time- but I have had some things sell the third time around.  A little self-doubt is setting in, but I try to remind myself that this is still a time of learning and experimenting. I am not so sure about the kid’s clothes because traffic seems to be low and nothing has sold. I am still looking to diversify and list in some different categories. The weather here has been atrocious, and I am afraid there will not be many garage sales this weekend. Another source I am considering is Goodwill. I am planning to visit two different stores in neighboring towns tomorrow. The cool thing about EBay is that you never know what is going to happen. I could sell five items today.

Reviews

EBay allows both buyers and sellers to rate their experiences. The scale is positive, neutral and negative. It is presented as a percentage, so if you assigned numbers positive would be a 100, neutral would be a 50 and negative would be 0. My first two reviews were stellar, but then my third review was negative and the comment was that the shirt was faded. I was a little perturbed because there were several pictures of the shirt, and I listed the item as pre-owned. If the seller wasn’t happy they could have returned the shirt. This plummeted my rating to 66%! Since then, I have been working to get my rating up, and slowly but surely it has risen. I received my tenth rating today and now I have nine positive and one negative so I am at 90%. Each person that rated me also left a comment so hopefully my buyers will see that everyone else has very positive things to say. It didn’t seem exactly fair that one person could screw up my rating that badly.

Drought

I have been in a drought! I haven’t sold anything in the last 10 days. Part of me is feeling a little discourage; I thought I was getting a handle on what kind of stuff sales. Now I am feeling like I’m completely missing the mark.

Saturday was garage sale day. I had planned to hit three. The first was at a private church school. I was hoping that there would be lots of young adult name brand clothes, as I have seen that those items get a lot of traffic. I arrived at seven when the sale started, and I was a little disappointed in the merchandise. I found a child’s microscope set in the box for $1 (however, once I got home, I realized there were parts missing L) an Ed Hardy t-shirt for $.50, a baby sling for $1.00 and a pair of kids camo insulated coveralls for $5.00. I was excited to discover the baby sling, which was still in the original wrapper retailed for $59.95 and was considered a “specialty” baby item.

I listed everything Saturday and also relisted a couple of old items. My attitude is, it can’t sale if I don’t list it. Perhaps the right person isn’t looking for it yet. But it doesn’t do me any good just sitting on a shelf without being listed.

Although, I would love to make about $1500 a month, I know there will be ups and downs. If I can at least make my money back during the slow times, I can deal with it. My last two garage sale trips have cost me $20.50. As of this morning, I have two bids (Finally!!) that combined are $16.00. I also have several items that are being watched. Considering there has been basically no activity on any of my items for the past ten days, this all looks very promising. I have almost sold enough to at least cover the last two garage sales.

I also hit two Goodwill stores. I didn’t really see a lot, and the prices weren’t as low as garage sales. I guess, it would work in a pinch, but I’d rather find my stuff at garage sales if possible because of the larger profit margin. I’m hoping there will be more garage sales in the spring. Most of the ones that I’ve been to are pretty low quality. One thing it has taught me is when you hit a good one- don’t be afraid to spend some money. I should have bought a lot more stuff at the first one I went to. I was trying to stay within a 20 mile radius.

Crawling out of the Desert

I would love to say that things have just taken off and the drought was only temporary- unfortunately, that is not the case. I have seen a slight increase in sales. The camo insulated coveralls did sell for $20 and the Ed Hardy shirt sold for $8. So far, that is $28 off a $7.50 investment. I have seen an increase in the amount of traffic on my items so maybe I am beginning to crawl out of the desert.

This week my routine for garage sales was shaken up a bit. I had one listing that started Friday morning and that you could call to come early. I sent a text and was able to go Thursday afternoon. There was a ton of stuff, but most of it was overpriced. The woman having the sale also owns a store and was selling a lot of new stuff for way too expensive. Other things were just junk. Friday morning, I went into work a little late and hit a sale that stated they had air soft guns. I have heard those can be big money makers. Unfortunately, there were no guns and a lot of junk. It also stated that she had Dallas Cowboy and Texas Longhorn memorabilia- it was only pennants and foam fingers. Needless to say, Saturday morning I was not optimistic. I couldn’t bring myself to climb out of bed at six, so I decided to just go to a couple of local sales that had promise.

At the first sale, I found a pair of women’s dirt bike pants. One of the tips that I have heard is that specialty items sell well, so I took a chance and invested $5. I also found a decorative piece that would look good in my house- job hazard! The next sale had a lot of men’s stuff especially the brand Affliction. He had several t-shirts but I didn’t think I could get much for those. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake. I decided to go with 2 Affliction swimsuits instead. He sold me the swimsuits, a Pop Icon shirt and a pair of Banana Republic shorts for $10. A word of advice…never be afraid to haggle! He was originally going to sell each piece for $5. I told him I had $10 how much of it could I get- and he gave me all four pieces!
Once I got home, I went ahead and started listing things. I put both swimsuits with a starting bid of $10 and within 24 hours, both had been bid on. The reason I considered the swimsuits a risk is because it is February and most people aren’t swimming! I priced the dirt bike pants and discovered that they are $120 new. Woo-hoo, that’s what I’m talking about! I started the bid at $30 and did a buy it now for $75. They are a specialty item- but you never know. If I don’t move them, I can always reduce the price.

I also relisted some things that haven’t sold. I lowered the price, and for a couple, I took new pictures. I am trying to keep at least thirty items posted at all times. But once again, EBay places limits on how much you can list in each category, so some things will have to wait. I had two items that were on their third round that sold. One for the buy it now price. It was the American Eagle shirt from a couple of weeks ago. I paid $1 and sold it for $15. That covered the whole shopping trip. Baby clothes seem to be a bust. I have only sold one piece for $8. It was on the same trip as the AE shirt. There are still some items that I think will sell, especially when spring break gets a little closer. It has been slow this month, but the past few days have been better- so maybe the drought is about over!

I still feel a little lost on what will and what won’t sell. Some things that seem like a guaranteed sell may sit for weeks without selling, and other things- like the Affliction swimsuits- completely surprise me. I have ten items that will end before morning, and one has a bid already . Many items are the baby clothes. I might take some of them off for a while and put them back on a later date. They are not only failing to sell, but there are very few people even looking at them. I don’t want to waste my limited amount of items I can list something that isn’t being looked at.

Monday

I think I might see a trend of Sunday as a good selling day for EBay. I’m going to continue to monitor it- it could have just been a fluke. Yesterday, I had ten items go off auction. One of them sold and the other nine didn’t- once again, the dang baby clothes! The Vera Bradley purse hasn’t sold yet, but there continues to be a lot of traffic so I am not going to lower the price yet. I think it is just a matter of time. I was excited to see that the baby sling has a bid for $15. I would love to have gotten more, but considering I spent $1- that is a pretty fair amount of profit. Who knows, maybe someone else will bid before it goes off tomorrow. Either way, I came out on top.

There hasn’t been much activity on the dirt bike pants, but they are a specialty item. I think those take a little longer. I do have a pretty high price on them so I could come down. But, I have noticed that only three people have looked at them. If twenty people had looked and no bids or watchers- I would think it was a pricing issue. But since only three have looked, I think it is more that we haven’t found our buyer yet. I think I will also check the category to make sure it is coming up where it should.

None of my auctions end today, so it should be a little slow. I have one item to ship and two that I am waiting for a payment. That would have to be one of my pet peaves- people buying an item and then not paying for it. If you change your mind or need more time just send me a message. Otherwise, EBay has all these procedures you have to go through. I thought when I got tired of waiting, I could just relist the item and say forget it. If I do that, I still get charged for the sale by EBay. I have to go through their channels and do it correctly so I don’t have to pay my percentage.

 

Middle of the Week Slump

I hate the middle of the week. Things slow down- there are no garage sales and I don’t have anything to list. Instead, I spend way too much time monitoring my EBay account. It’s addictive to keep checking. I try to hold myself to once an hour. I have several things going off auction today. Hopefully, there will be a couple of sales. The baby sling ends soon- so I’ll update on the final selling price. It has two watchers, so I’ll hope for a bidding war! Seriously, I am satisfied with the $15 bid. I did list some headbands that I make. I crochet them, and I thought it would be fun to see if they will sell- you never know!

Business Picks Up

I don’t know what happened on Thursday, but it turned into a great day. I sold both of the Affliction swimsuits. One went for $31 and the other for $20. Considering, I only invested $2.50 in each, that was a fair profit. I also sold the Banana Republic shorts for $8, which was a $5.50 profit. Then, completely unexpectedly I sold the Adidas jacket for $20. I had no idea it was going to turn out to be such a good day, but that’s how it seems to happen.

Things have continued to progress quite well this month, considering I had such a dismal start. Last Saturday I attended 4 garage sales. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much. I bought a DC Shoes hoodie for $5 and a Guide Series fishing vest for $5. I was a bit disappointed because I really needed a good run. I am going to be out of town this Saturday, so I won’t be able to hit any sales. My goal had been at least ten new items. I decided to go to a flea market. There I found a Mickey Mouse toaster. It toasts a Mickey Mouse head onto the bread and plays “It’s a Small World” when the toast pops up. I paid $5. I’ve heard that Mickey Mouse stuff sells well- I guess I will find out. I am 25 days into the month, and I have sold $220. My goal had been much higher, so I’m a little disappointed. I want to hit at least $500 in March.

I sold the Vera Bradley purse for $15 and a pair of the American Eagle shorts for $8.

  Back at It

I have been in a bit of a slow time. I have still gone to garage sales every Friday, but I am not finding much. I did sale the fishing vest, toaster and DC Hoodie. A note on the hoodie- the buyer was from Switzerland. EBay does offer the option of international shipping. It also has a shipping center in the US that will ship to numerous countries. However, Switzerland is not one of them. The buyer asked if I would ship to them. I checked with the post office for rates and emailed the buyer to give them an idea of how much it would cost. They still wanted the hoodie- even with a $24.50 shipping price tag. In order to make sure I had enough shipping on the item, I didn’t purchase the shipping through EBay, but instead took it to the post office. This meant I had to purchase the shipping out of pocket, instead of it coming out when the payment posted. That was kind of a pain since it was almost $25, and I had to wait three weeks before it posted.

I have been very disappointed in the recent sales, and haven’t found anything to buy. My listing has gotten down to 14 items, and they are all things that have been listed for several weeks. Spring break is coming, so I hope that will bring several good sales from people doing their spring cleaning.

Spring Break

There are so many reasons to be excited about spring break week. First, it’s spring break, and I don’t have to go to work! Also, I can go to garage sales on Friday, too. The website I use to find sales in my area usually has about fifty garage sales listed in about a fifty mile radius. Many areas I don’t go to because they are too far to run the risk of them not having anything and plus, I don’t know the area very well. That can make finding the houses very tricky. This week it had one hundred sales listed! I was able to hit some on Friday and Saturday. On Friday I found a couple of things. I found a chain saw and gas blower for $5 each. I thought it sounded like a good price, so I bought them. I hoped even if they didn’t run, that it would be easy fixes that my husband could do. I wasn’t sure if EBay was the right place to sell them, but we have some local on-line sales that I thought I could put them on. Once I got home with them, I realized I had made a mistake. Although, my husband is quite handy, this EBay thing is mine. I really don’t want to make him do extra work. So, we are going to take them to a guy in town that repairs them and see if he wants to buy them. If I can at least get my money back, then it won’t be a total loss. This has been my first purchase that I felt was a failure. I think I was just feeling desperate because I needed items, and I wasn’t finding anything. Plus, I am always looking for a way to expand what I sale. At another sale, I bought a pair of BKE shorts, American Eagle shorts and Roxy swimsuit bottom with the tags. This woman was not willing to negotiate, so I spent full price- which was $7.

Saturday morning I hit the road exceptionally early. The sale looked extremely promising, so I bit the bullet and headed out while it was dark to arrive by the 6:30 am start time. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my last Saturday of spring break. I couldn’t believe that when I pulled up there was already about ten cars there. What are these people thinking?? Part of the sale was in the garage, and the other part was outside. I had to use the light on my phone to go though boxes. There were several items that still had the tags on them. I know designer labels sell pretty well, so if I recognized a brand from JC Penney or some other department store- I don’t buy it. I saw some jeans that looked a lot like Miss Me jeans. On inspection, I found that they were Wrangler Rock 47- which is Wrangler’s cool brand. One pair still had the tags and they had been marked down twice and still cost $41.00. Another pair looked brand new, but didn’t have the tags on them. I bought them both for $3 apiece. I was a little overwhelmed by all the stuff, and I just wasn’t sure what to get. That is the worst thing- not knowing what will sell. So often, it is just trial and error. I hit another sale and found a couple of items there. One was a Texas A&M t-shirt that still had tags, and a pair of Buckle jeans. I have had really good luck with Buckle jeans- so I decided to give them a try.

After I got home, I started listing everything. Much to my surprise the Wrangler jeans turned out to be a great buy. The suggested price for the new ones was $40-$55. Now I am kicking myself for not looking for more. I get the jeans posted and the used pair has 140 views in less than 24 hours- JACKPOT! I love that! Evidently, these are a great seller. I guess I should have checked the prices on EBay while I was at the sale, but it was 6:30 in the morning and my brain wasn’t awake yet. I can’t wait to see what happens with them, but they were definitely worth the $3 investment. Each time I continue to learn what the good items are. I am starting to think I should stick with what I know- clothes and shoes. I am still under the selling limits, though. I think some of those will be lifted once I hit ninety days in April. That was the main reason I was looking to expand the items I sell. I would like to keep 30-40 items listed at all times and every month sell 100. That would guarantee at least $1000 each month, because I don’t sell anything for under $10 unless I have had it a long time. I can’t wait to see what the jeans do over the next couple of days. Out of the eight items I listed Saturday, seven have someone watching them. That makes me feel like it was a good weekend.

I have decided to raid my own closet this week. I don’t think I am going to be able to hit the sales this Saturday, and I still need to get my inventory up. I have several dresses that have hardly been worn, and Easter is in about a month. It might be a good time to try to sell them. I think I will set a goal of ten items to list in the next three days. March has still been an exceptionally slow month, but things could be looking up. I have noticed a lot more traffic. Once again, EBay isn’t a way to get rich quick, but it is a way to generate extra income with minimal investment. I bought an Ed Hardy shirt for $.50 that I know I could sell for $10. However, I really like it- and it IS in my size. I guess that is just a job hazard! I know that bothers some people, but I look at it as when I try on new clothes in the store I am probably not the first person to put them on my body. At least when I purchase it at a garage sale, I can wash it first. I have been amazed at the brand new items I find for $2-3. Home décor items usually just hang on the wall- how much wear and tear can there be on them? I found a metal piece that hangs on the wall to put mail in. It’s probably about 2- 2 ½ feet long. It still has the tags on it from the store. It was $30 and I bought it for $7. I love a good bargain!! So I feel like I am not making money from the items I sell on EBay, but I am also saving money from the things I buy. I needed a new coffee pot. I found one that looked new for $5. I would have spent at least $30 at the store. Don’t get me wrong- I am not looking to buy a bunch of junk or a bunch of stuff I don’t need. I am just being smart with my money.

Progress

Evidently, Wrangler Rock 47 jeans are a huge seller. I woke up this morning to find that the bid on the new pair had escalated from $29 to $46. My buy it now price was $50, and I still have about two days before the auction ends. The pre-owned pair also has a bid. There has been 165 people view the listing and eight people are watching them. At minimum, I have made $62 off a $6 investment. I wish I had known they would be such big sellers- I would have searched for more. I listed eight new items last Saturday, and seven of them have watchers. I feel pretty confident that at least four of them will sell. Considering my recent slump- that is exciting. When I have items that are getting a lot of views, I become addicted to checking eBay. I keep thinking I’ll just check it once or twice a day, and then I end up checking every hour.

Buyers and sellers are able to leave feedback on the experiences with each other. As a seller, I am giving a rating based on the feedback. It is important to me to that my rating is high. I feel like potential buyers look at the rating to decide if they want to do business with me or not. I never really considered that my rating of buyers is also important. Yesterday I received an email from a buyer stating, “I left positive feedback for you, why didn’t you leave any for me?” Honestly, because I didn’t realize it was that big of a deal. I have been leaving feedback on buyers- just not as quickly as I should. Sometimes it is a couple of weeks before I get to it. Now that I know that it is important, I will make a point to leave it sooner.

I have to say my overall experience selling on eBay has been positive. The site is very user friendly, and the staff has been helpful when I called with questions. I am learning new things constantly. Part of me wants to expand the items I sell. But the leaf blower and chainsaw from last Friday kind of feel like a bust. Having to depend on hubby to help was not something I wanted to do- not because he won’t, but because he has enough to deal with. This is my baby, and I want to take care of it on my own. Hopefully, he will take them to a potential buyer and get rid of them for me. If I can double what I paid, then I should feel successful. But because I am not the one finding the buyer, I feel like I didn’t close the deal. Anyway, I have a very good idea of what clothes sell, so maybe I should stick to that. I wish I had more time to devote to selling. I truly believe this is a business that the harder you work the more you make. I don’t know that I could ever replace my full time job, but since I’m out during the summer I could definitely make some extra spending money. I am glad I started in January because of the limits placed on new sellers. I am three weeks away from my ninety days which I think will lift some of the selling limits. Also, I have to wait 2-3 weeks for my money from paypal, and I think that is supposed to end also. By the time summer gets here, I should e able to sell as much as I want. I had hoped to hit at least $500 for March, and I just don’t see that happening. Hopefully, the warmer weather will bring more sales with better merchandise. My plan is to continue documenting my journey until the summer. I want this information to be helpful- not boring.

Seven Ending

I have seven items ending today. One has a bid and one has a watcher. Hopefully, three will sell. But, tomorrow is the big day. My jeans end tomorrow. So far, the new pair is hanging at $46. The pre-owned pair went up from$22 to $32. They both end tomorrow morning. Actually, I have ten items ending tomorrow, and seven have bids or watchers. Tomorrow could be a lucrative day. I’m already guaranteed to make $78- who knows, a big day could turn into $150. Considering the low sales I’ve had so far this month, I could definitely use a boost.

Well, checking back in and one of my seven items that ended actually sold. The month still has 12 days so there is potential to make money. I won’t hit $500, which is a little disappointing. I will take $300. I’m anxious to hit some more garage sales and see what I can find. I have been a little busy with my fulltime job and my mom/wife job so I haven’t had time to list anything else. Maybe this afternoon will give me time to put the five items out of my closet on. I’m feeling kinda lucky- so I want to strike while the iron is hot.

Big Day

This is a big day! Both the jeans go off this morning and several of the other items this afternoon. The new jeans went for $50 which was my buy it now price! That is very exciting. The pre-owned pair went for $40. WOW! I profited $84 off those two items. I will be searching for more of those at the garage sales. I learn something from every sale I make. I have a better idea of what to look for and what to avoid. Some things I thought would be big sellers aren’t. I thought maternity clothes and baby clothes would sale, and they didn’t. Eventually, I was able to move them. I think because most of those items are worn for such a short period of time and once you’re finished using them there is absolutely no reason to keep them. So people give those items away to people who need them. I have to say my best sellers have been brand name jeans. Not just because of my recent sale, but because anytime I have listed jeans, they sell the first time around. I definitely look for jeans at the garage sales. I am curious if that will continue through summer or if jeans will slow down and shorts will increase? I think if I keep doing this I will get a better feel for the best sellers and my sales should go up.

I have to say for me, this is a blast. I am having so much fun. It’s kind of like a gamble to put something and see if it sells. If it gets a lot of attention like the jeans, watching the bids come in is so exciting. Many of my items ending today have had a lot of traffic. Hopefully, it will be a good day! Well, a good day for me. Maybe not such a good day for my boss since I am spending a lot of time checking eBay.

BKE jeans had 52 views, eight watchers and no bids with 4 minutes to go. I couldn’t believe they might not sell with all that traffic. I made myself stop checking and wait for the text to come through on my phone. I hope it says “Congratulations, your eBay item has sold!”….and it did! Woo-hoo!! That’s what I’m talking about. So far, I’ve made over $100 today. Let’s see if it keeps going.

Riding the Wave

Wow! That was a great week. I had so many items sell! Now, I’ve sold almost $300 this month. I wish I had more stuff to list. But Saturday is coming, and I am hopeful the garage sales will be good. I don’t have much listed right now. I sold the BKE shorts, the American Eagle shorts and the Texas A&M t-shirt. I could use some extremely good sales this week, but unfortunately it’s always a crapshoot. Some that look so promising on the listing turnout to be a bust.

The Lull

I have been in a terrible lull. Garage sales last weekend turned out to be terrible. I honestly cannot believe some of the trash people will put out with a price tag on it. I hit seven sales and came back with one bag for myself. I am so disappointed. I have gone over a week without a sale. I am learning that although this is a good side job- it might not be something to depend on to pay the bills. I could have bought a few things last week, and maybe I was just selfish after the two big sales I had. I should have bought some shorts that I could have pulled a $5-$7 profit off of. I was just hoping to make a big haul. I have been planning out this week’s sales and was going to hit one before work on Friday. When I woke up Friday morning we were in the middle of a storm. I knew they wouldn’t be open in that- and I sure didn’t want to get out in it. So I missed it. Tomorrow has got to be good. I can’t go another week without some listings.

I haven’t mentioned it to anyone, but I am trying to use this money as a vacation fund. I would like to take the family to Colorado in July off of my eBay profits. So far, I couldn’t even pay for gas! I have April, May and June, but those would have to be $1000 months to pay for a good vacation. I don’t know- we’ll have to see how things work out. Maybe we could on a smaller vacation. I know the potential is there, but I need the time to work it. I am so excited for summer so I can hit all the sales I want to. I am setting my April goal for $500. I will meet my ninety day requirement on April 9th so hopefully some of the limits will be lifted. My mind set for tomorrow is at least ten items- even if they have a low profit margin. I need to get back in the game, and weeks like this just bring me down! I hope I have a great report for tomorrow.

Expect the Unexpected

An eBay business requires constant attention. If you leave it alone, it will dwindle down to nothing. Sometimes life throws you a curveball, and you just have to do the best you can. I had a couple of bad garage sale days. I hit over ten sales and walked away with three items. That is a frustrating day! Then my mom was put in the hospital. I couldn’t even make it to my full time job- so I sure couldn’t take care of a part time business. That caused me to miss the sales for a week. I found myself reduced to only 12 items on auction, and they had been on there a looooong time. Good Friday was my first opportunity to get any shopping done so I hit the three sales that were going on. I didn’t find a lot, but then I found out my sister in law was having a sale. Her daughter had a few pairs of jeans that I knew would sale. I bought a pair of Miss Me jeans that had the heels completely walked off- I wasn’t sure what I could get, but I figured it was worth a shot. They sold Buy it Now the second day for $30. It sure felt good to have a sale after the drought I’ve been in. It was also my first sale after my ninety day probationary period. The funds were available immediately- YEA!!

I also found a couple of western belts with a bunch of bling. The last one I sold had a lot of traffic and the other western items I’ve put on there have moved really well. I bought both belts and a couple of little boy TwentyX button down shirts. We’ll see how they move. I have a couple of women’s western shirts on there also. Hopefully, things will sale. I am looking forward to this weekend’s sales. I hope the better weather will encourage more people to have sales. I do need to hit Goodwill, but I have been so busy with life that I haven’t had time. I think things are beginning slow down, and I am ready to get my business back on track. The good things is that now I don’t have that waiting period for my funds- so I won’t have that two week wait before I start making money. As soon as it sales- the money is there.

Technology Upgrade

I’m not a technology whore- I don’t have to have the newest best phone out there. Matter of fact, I was much happier once I finally understood the way mine worked. However two and half years later- I can’t get any updates because my operating system is outdated. So I listed my items using my laptop, but checked status on my phone because I couldn’t get the eBay app. Last weekend I finally updated my phone and installed the eBay app on my new phone. Holy Moly! I just cut my listing time in half- at least. The app is soooo much easier. I can take the pictures with my phone and download them straight into the listing. It is freaking amazing! It is much easier than using my laptop. Once again, live and learn. My phone is so much faster and user friendly. If you have a choice, definitely use the app. If you are serious about your business and want it to grow- the phone app is a must. It is worth buying a phone that will allow you to install the app and list your items.

Unfortunately, I think we can kiss the $500 goal this month good bye. Once again, sometimes life throws you off track and there is really no way to guard against it. If I’d had a lot of items posted while my mom was hospitalized, it would have been one additional thing to worry about. That is the good and bad of this business. If I don’t work it, I can’t make any money. But I can step away for a while if necessary to take care of other things.

Signs of Improvement

With the sale of the Miss Me Jeans, I was able to cover almost all my expenses for the day. That means everything else is profit. For me, that is always a good feeling. It confirms that I am not losing money. Once I’ve hit the magic number from the investment of the day’s sales, I know I’ve done a good job. I still think the jewels that bring in the big money are rare. But that doesn’t mean that a good sound income can’t be made. It just means I have to lower my standard, and not expect that everything is going to make me $50 profit- but five items that make me $10 are basically the same. Sure, it takes a little more time investment, but it won’t all be easy money. I think that is somewhere I have gone wrong. I got a little spoiled by the high dollar items and found myself looking for the next big thing instead of the sure thing. I probably should have picked up some items that I knew could make a little money instead of waiting for something I thought would make a lot. Since I am working a full time job and taking care of a household and raising a family- I don’t have a lot of free time. But since, I work in education, I will start summer break in June. Then I hope to have more time to hit the garage sales and list more items- even for lower profit margins. If I list 100 items and average $10 profit off each- that’s $1000. There will always be the unexpected surprises they bring in more! One of the blinged out belts is auctioning for $23.50 right now. I paid $5 so that’s pretty good! And since that was the same day as the Miss Me jeans it’s almost all profit. Today, my plan is to go home and get the other items I purchased listed. I have a pair of BKE jeans and American Eagle jeans and the two little boys TwentyX shirts. This Saturday is looking pretty good for garage sales.

An Unusual Problem

My biggest fear when I first started my eBay business was that I would buy a bunch of stuff and not be able to sell it. Then I would be stuck with stuff I had no need for. That hasn’t been the case at all. Instead, my problem has been finding stuff to sell. Everything I have bought except for 1-2 items has sold. Monetarily, I have less than $10 worth of stuff that hasn’t sold yet. My profit has more than made up for the loss. My business is smaller than I want it to be, but that is because I can’t find stuff to sell. If I could find it- I could sell it. I have probably passed on purchasing some things because I felt the profit margin was too small- and before when I had to wait two weeks for my money- I was a little nervous about investing money for small profits. That is all a thing of the past. Now, my money goes straight into Paypal. I am ready to list items that may only profit $4-5.

I bought some dirt bike pants about two months ago. They are expensive pants and I got them for $5. But I haven’t sold them. I have marked them down to a starting price of $19.99. That is an excellent price for them, but it just takes finding the right buyer. A specialty item like that may take a little longer to sell. I bought some pillowcase that say Mr. and Mrs. on them. They were still in the original packaging. I paid $2 for them. I figured if I couldn’t sell them, they would make a great shower gift. I sold them in less than a week for $20. I have also found that western stuff continues to sell. I sold two shirts one with tags and one without for $18 and $15 respectively. I paid $2 for each of them.

My point is, there is money to be made. The longer you do it, the better you get at it. There are two things holding me back. First, myself- my fear of buying items and not being able to sell them- and secondly, time- garage sales usually happen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Due to my day job, I can only go on Saturday. The best stuff is gone after the first hour or so, but I can only hit so many sales in one hour so that limits how much stuff I can find. I have selling for about 4 ½ months, and I have sold $1022 worth of stuff.

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