22. Selling on eBay – Don’t believe everything you read or hear

Don't believe everything you read or hear about selling on eBay
Don’t believe everything you read or hear about selling on eBay

Don’t believe everything you read or hear

I am sure you have seen the clickbait titles on YouTube.

  • “How I made $100k my first year selling on eBay”
  • “I paid $2 for this shirt and they are listed (or have sold) for $29.99”
  • “How to make $400 a day selling on eBay”
  • “Earn a living on eBay”
  • “$30 into $2000 on eBay”
  • “10 tips to making money selling on eBay”

It has been about 7 months since I converted to an eBay store versus an individual sellers account.  In that time frame, I have have watched endless YouTube videos and ready many blog posts on selling on eBay.  There are lots of nuggets of information out there but you need to filter through the content to get to it.  Here I will touch through some of it and hopefully enlighten you with some information that will help you make this a successful income opportunity.

“How I made $100k my first year selling on eBay”

I have watched many of these videos and at first got into the hype.  You would think that $100k would would be able to provide means for small family to survive.  The more I follow some of these individuals I find this may not be the case.  The thing about YouTube?  You don’t see everything.  If you pay close attention as time goes by, you will see spouses going back to work and individuals getting other jobs.  You might also lines of credit taken out via PayPal.  This goes to show that these escalated earnings are not taking into account the cost of doing business.  Keep this in mind before jumping in and making eBay your full time gig.

“I paid $2 for this shirt and they are listed (or sold) for $29.99”

Keep in mind that “sold” and “list” prices are not profits.  You need to account for insertion fees, store subscriptions, PayPal fees, eBay final value fees and cost of acquisition.  There are other things you need to keep in mind as well.  Just because you have listed the item doesn’t mean it will sell quickly or at all at the price based on your “sold” investigation.  When first starting out, you are competing against seasoned sellers.  This doesn’t mean they are doing anything better than you.  It doesn’t mean you’re listing is aesthetically worse than theirs.  It means that you may fall lower in eBays search algorithm and your item may not be presented to a potential buyer in the same fashion.  It doesn’t mean it wont sell, it just means you may have to lower your price to get it to move from your inventory.  There are other factors that can assist in moving your items.  I will cover these in another post.

“How to make $400 a day selling on eBay”

Be weary of anyone that is going to tell you how much you can make selling per day on eBay.  Make sure you understand the difference in sales vs profit.  Many folks will get you hooked in with titles that seem too good to be true.  If it sounds that way, listen to your gut.  There are folks that make eBay a profitable business model but $400 a day equates to $165k a year.  This would not be norm.

$165k a year would be a challenge to the average person in even gross sales.  At best you need to take approximately 14% off for eBay/PayPal fees depending on what category you are selling from.  Next take cost of goods.  At best, lets figure 10% for cost of goods.  That $165k has now diluted to $109k.  That is still impressive right?  On average when first starting out, you are probably going to be picking up items that cost $1-3 and you will probably sell those on average between $15-20.  On the high side of $20 sale price per item, you need to sell approximately 7300 items. ($146k/$20 per item).  This equates to about 20 sells per day, every day of the year.  Now you can imagine how many items you would need to list daily to maintain that sale through rate (what percentage of listed items are selling).

“Earn a living selling on eBay”

I am not saying this can’t be done.  I am just recommending that you use caution before quitting your full time job to start selling on eBay.  Start small before making that jump.  When first starting out, you will be in a ‘probation’ period for lack of a better word.  This basically means you will not receive your funds for up to 21 days after your initial sale.  This is to ensure your validity as a seller to your buyers.  Funds are typically held until confirmation of delivery or until the buyer leaves feedback.  This probation usually last for 90 days.  Your “new seller” status can be lifted sooner but is left to the discretion of eBay.  Give them a call if you are impatient and ask about having that status lifted.

Until you establish yourself as good seller, you will find that no matter what you have listed, your listing will fall far from the top of eBay’s search algorithm.  Some things you can do to increase the chance of your item surfaces to the top of your competition

  • list daily. I recommend 5-10 items a day when starting out.  I find that doing this increases my sales.
  • You will also want to complete your listings as much as possible.  This includes as many photo’s as possible and as many of the the item specifics as you can.
  • One thing that is contrary to what you may here is “do not fill in the entire title”.  Some will tell you to use all of the provided characters eBay allows.  I personally spoke to an eBay representative that told me this will often confuse eBays search engine and may hinder your item from coming up on searches.  Consider “how would I search for this type of item if I was wanting to purchase it”

$30 into $2000 on eBay”

This is another catch phrase that is often used to bait you into watching someones video or reading their blog post.  This is pretty simple.  Most of these are showing you what the items are listed for or have sold for.  This is often not what they actually sold their $30 in items for on eBay.  I may have exaggerated this title but you know what I am talking about.  Play close attention to the differences between “what could be”, “what I have sold for” and “what my profits were”.

“10 tips to making money selling on eBay”

There are lost of folks giving information out there.  I am one of them.  I am a part time eBay seller with a full time job.  This allows me the opportunity to try strategies out on my store as I do not depend on this being my full time income.  I do recognize there are a lot of folks that do provide good information.  You do need to recognize who may be more valid than others.  Some are building marketing programs to sell information and are actually trying to make their income doing this.  I am not faulting content marketers.  I am faulting those that are selling information they are not doing themselves.  Here are some red flags that I would take note of when considering someones validity.

  • Is the individual actually selling?
  • When was the last time they put up a haul video?
  • When was the last time they put up a “what sold” video?
  • Does their content provide substance or just general statements?
  • Is there content regurgitated from their previous videos?
  • If they are on a panel, which panel members are speaking as though from RECENT experience?

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