Thursday, October 6, 2016

Top 5 - Advice for the eBay Beginner

When I first started this blog I was completely new to eBay selling. My goal when I started this blog was to write about my eBay learning experience. Almost three years into selling I still learn new stuff about eBay-but not daily like at first. I used to get excited or anxious when a potential buyer messaged me. Now I don't reply 25% of the time.

Questions that might be ignored go something like this: "Is this sweater brown or light brown, and I know it says medium, but does it fit like a medium?" At first I would have taken this question seriously. I can't miss out on this $12 sale! I'd think. But now I'd ignore this question for so many cynical reasons, like this buyer is annoying, this buyer will return the item, this buyer will complain that I said it was light brown, when she specifically asked what type of brown it was, and it's clearly medium brown, and you did not describe it correctly and she's returning it and will not pay return shipping because this item was INAD.

Certainly my overall experience with eBay and eBay buyers has been great. And I am not nearly as cynical as the above passage would make you assume. I've enjoyed 95% of my time selling on eBay and 100% of my time searching for items to sell on eBay. It's given me confidence, work experience, knowledge and "career" fulfillment. It's even given us some pocket money. But what I've gained from eBay has all been learned overtime, and maybe that remaining 5% would have been more enjoyable if I could go back in time and give my beginner self some advice.

If I could, the following would be my Top 5:

1. If you hate corduroys, don't buy 30 pairs at the Goodwill Outlet to sell.
Maybe a better way to put it is; sell what you know and love (at least to start out). Then if you think you'd like to sell corduroy pants, try one or two pairs first, that way you'll know quickly that the feel of them irks you and that what you really love to sell is flatware. Glorious, stainless flatware!

2. Plan your storage out (as least a little) beforehand
Storage is fun! You need a place for your eBay junk or it WILL takeover. Growing organically does not a storage solution make. My kids' toy area has grown organically, just like a zit and inevitably will explode when it's least convenient.

3. Have a designated shipping station from the get go
This can be anything from a box that you pull out filled with supplies, to an actual table in your garage. It should be well stocked with free USPS mailers and boxes, tape, an x-acto knife and a couple sharpie markers. Eventually you may want to purchase bubble wrap, newsprint or tissue paper, and poly-mailers, because if you expand quickly you may not be able to scavenge all your shipping supplies.

4. Buy a scale
Weigh your items before entering the weight for calculated shipping. Getting the weight wrong has been my number one most repeated mistake, and every time was borne of laziness.

5. Jump right in
There's no better way to learn than by doing. Doing includes reading blogs, listing a few items, making a few mistakes,  and most importantly feeling that excited flutter in your chest when you hear "cha-ching"

What advice would you go back and tell your eBay beginner self?


  1. I was just thinking about not replying to messages I had today asking me to lower my price. I rarely do make an offer and it really sort of gets on my nerves when people make me an offer, especially when it just ask me to lower the price and don't name a specific amount.

  2. You advice is dead on sister = all of it! For storage - I am the storage queen - I would say, have SHELVES put in before you start buying a thing. Otherwise, you'll start to buy and put the bags on the floor. And before you know it, you've fill out the floor space with junk. You won't know what you've got and you won't be able to walk in your storage. I'm insane because I keep doing this! I think I've used up every "free month" special with all the storage facilities in our area : )

    And yes, jump right in. It's scary and exciting! Don't "plan" yourself out of listing your first item. Just do it.

    Thank you for blogging and sharing your knowledge. I've learned so much from you!

  3. Absolutely have a designated shipping area. It will be the best thing you ever did.