Wednesday, January 11, 2017

5 New Things I Learned to Sell on eBay in 2016

Time for my annual post about what I learned this year! Here are some of my sales from 2016.  I am posting these to illustrate what is possible as well as emphasize that to keep your business growing, it is important to keep learning year after year. Building an eBay business isn't about the rare big scores, it is about consistency, commitment, and flexibility. 

1. Snow Globes
I never tried snow globes before, but saw many people posting their success with them on the Money Making Mondays threads in my Facebook group. I always avoided them because I thought the shipping would be a hassle. Boy was I missing out! Here are a few of my sales this year. I still have the highly coveted Little Mermaid Symphony Under the Sea snow globe that sells for $300 (found it at a yard sale, new in box for $30!) Had lots of low offers but the right buyer will come. I sold these snow globes this year:

 Little Mermaid Snow Globe $10 at yard sale, sold for $125

Hallmark Frosty Friends Snow Globe $3 at Goodwill, sold for $149

Shalom Snow Globe $2 at Goodwill, sold for $28 on BO

2. Rugs. This is another item I hadn't really looked at but they sell well and are easy to ship.

Found this Capel rug at a garage sale for $6. It was lying on the lady's driveway with a bunch of other rugs. Sold for full price of $124.97 and shipped to Montana, to a lovely log cabin.

$3 at Goodwill, sold for $29.97. Not huge, but plenty of sellers overlook these.

3. Kavu bags. I only found one of these but look for them everywhere. The killer is when you are in Goodwill and the shoppers are wearing them!

$3 at Goodwill, sold for $59.97. Check out my blog post about this brand.

4. Tennis dresses worn by famous athletes. I didn't realize there was a connection between a particular tennis dress worn in a tournament and eBay prices. But fans will pay big bucks for a specific dress that their favorite player wore in a tournament. I found these two:

Nike Maria Sharapova tennis dress, $6 at Goodwill, took Best Offer of $60.

Nike Maria Sharapova tennis dress, $6 at Goodwill, took Best Offer of $70. Learn more about selling expensive tennis dresses here.

5. Hats. The magic here is how cheap you can get them. Goodwill's prices on hats are not low enough to turn a profit, so I look for these at other thrift stores or garage sales. Just look for cool or interesting logos, they will sell. All of these cost $1 or less and sold for $20-$25. You can get a Styrofoam head at a beauty supply store or a craft store for about $4. Good margins on hats!

The key to a sustainable eBay business is continued education. Keep learning how to use the resources around you to make money from the comfort of home. I have been selling since 2003 and learn something new every day.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

How $20 Sales Can Add Up on eBay Over a Year

As eBay sellers, all of us wonder at some point if that item is worth listing. Since we factor our time into everything we do (and if you aren't, you should!), it can seem like a waste of time selling lower dollar items. Of course we all want consistent $50 -$100 sales, but that isn't realistic when you are selling a variety of items and striving to make your money on volume. 

As 2016 wraps up, I wanted to show you an example of how $10-$20 items can add up over a year on eBay. I do this every year - analyze what I have done and review the fruits of my labor on all my business ventures. I've gone back over my eBay sales records for this year and extracted this data. Excluding some auctions I ran Oct - Dec to liquidate sale inventory (which will be explained in a different blog post), and consignment sales for others, these numbers reflect sales and profit from items that sold for $10-$20. (I'll come back and update the December totals in early January.)

Keep in mind that you can access sales from your eBay Seller Hub, but only you will know the profit because eBay doesn't know what you paid for something, so you must track that on your own. (Use this spreadsheet if you aren't tracking profit).  I wanted to show you a month by month accounting of the actual items, sale price, and profit so you can see how do-able this is. For you analytical people, I removed the fees, shipping paid, and shipping cost columns of my spreadsheet so as not to overwhelm the less analytical people. This is a quick analysis of my cost, sale price, and profit after cost of goods sold per item.

The bottom line here is: My hard work and the eBay platform turned $634.55 into $3,641.97 over a year's time. All from the comfort of home and on my schedule. And these were just the $10 - $20 items, not everything. So even as my 13th year on eBay comes to a close, I still see the value of the platform and the viability of an eBay business. eBay works, is accessible to anyone, and is a relatively easy way to use the resources around you to make money all year long.


So there you have it. This also shows the value of record keeping. You can look at what you have accomplished and make better more informed decisions about your business for the coming year. 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How to Test Market Your Invention or New Product on eBay

I am a huge fan of the TV Show Shark Tank. When watching the show, I've noticed several products that hit big were tested on eBay. (My ears always perk up when eBay is mentioned.) Unfortunately, many inventors may shy away from the eBay test market because they don't know how eBay works or are intimidated by the process. So this article is for you budding inventors or anyone who wants to test their invention or new product on eBay. I addition to these tips, I have some connections that may help you get your product into retail - contact me here to chat.

Why Test Your Invention or New Product on eBay?
eBay is the world's largest online marketplace and perfect for test marketing products for these reasons:
  • Huge audience assembled in one place (165 million users)
  • Diverse audience with people from all walks of life, both genders, all ages, and in over 80 countries
  • It is cheap to test a product on eBay (and can even be free!)
  • You can get feedback from shoppers and buyers about your product
  • You can easily tweak the price to discover the right price point for your product 
Generally speaking, eBay is a wonderfully convenient and inexpensive exploratory marketing tool.  If you have invented a cool item or have a new product to sell, and want to test the consumer waters, here is how to do it on eBay.

Sell on an Established eBay Account
If you are brand new to eBay, and don't have an established history, your results selling an invention or new product could be skewed - or you may not get any sales at all. New accounts mean the seller isn't experienced and buyers may avoid buying from that seller - either consciously or unconsciously. Find someone who has an established account to sell the item from their account or store. You could ask a friend, co-worker, or hire a consignment seller.

Give the Item a Keyword Rich Title
Buyers find what they want on eBay by using search keywords, just like on Google. Make sure buyers can find your item by using synonyms in the title if it is a product that buyers won't know the name of. Let's use our old friend The Snuggie as an example. When the Snuggie came out, no one would have searched for Snuggie because the name, along with the product, had just been invented. Nobody knew what a Snuggie was. Keywords for the Snuggie could be travel blanket, blanket with sleeves, wearable blanket, or unique gift. The key to sales on eBay is appearing in searches. Think about what buyers might search for that will lead to your product.

Give the Item a Keyword Rich Description
Same philosophy as with the title, make sure your description has keywords your buyer will search for. Remember, people are looking for a solution to a problem. They will often search Google or eBay for the problem to see what search results are returned. What problem does your product solve? For example, Shark Tank Product ReaderRest is a magnetic eyeglass holder. It solves the problem of lost glasses, broken or damaged glasses, stretched glasses (from wearing them on your head). Include the problem your product solves in the description on eBay so the search engine can find it.

No Keyword Spamming!
If your item is like something else, you may not use that brand or copyrighted word in your title. For example, if your invention is like a Squatty Potty, don't put that in your title. Use words like plastic toilet stool, digestive aid, or potty stool. Don't use another item's name in the title to get traffic to your listing. That is called keyword spamming and your listing can be removed.

Use a Variety of Listing Types
Some folks new to eBay assume a 7 day auction is the way to go. Maybe yes, maybe no. The problem with auctions is that they have very little exposure. 7 days isn't very long to wait for your buyer to find the item. You are using eBay for exposure - so you will need to let your item sit for a while so it can be seen. The effective frequency of an ad is 12 times. This means a buyer needs to see your ad or product 12 times before deciding to buy. Don't be in a hurry. It will take some time to get traction before buyers find and buy your item.  Try different listing types and durations. The biggest mistake you can make is to give up after a week because nobody bought one - avoid the 7 day auction when testing products on eBay.

Try Different Price Points
You know what it costs to make your product and you know what profit margin you want, but will buyers pay the sales price you are asking? Jiggling the price around will help you discover what buyers will pay. Try fixed price for at least 30 days, and add Best Offer. Using Best Offer will enlighten you to what buyers are willing to pay for the item.

If you have a great invention or new product you are trying to get to market, contact me here. I have some connections in the direct marketing world who may be able to help you.

Related Articles:

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving: Count Your Blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone has a wonderful day with their families or doing whatever you choose to do. Remember there is always, always, always, something to be thankful for! I want to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for all of my readers and for you taking the time to come to my blog and spend a few  minutes here each week. In a world of high-tech, it is nice to know some people still take time to read. I know the internet is a big place, you have lots of choices, and I feel honored that you stop by and read what I write about here. So thank you!

I am also thankful for my family, friends, and colleagues who are always there to support me. I know I bounce a lot of ideas off you folks and I appreciate those of you who take the time to give me your honest input about my latest crazy idea.

If you are in a tough spot in your life, and I have been there on Thanksgiving Day over the years, try to focus on what you can be grateful for. I am so grateful for my good health. This year I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and it was so bad I was put on insulin injections immediately. I've been working hard to get my numbers right and get off the insulin. It has been a tough journey but I'm so grateful for good doctors and the medical technology we have access to. Just another twist in the road.

I'm so very thankful for my 2 great kids. These two kids were 6 and 8 when I started my eBay journey back in 2003, and have been the inspiration for  many blog posts and videos along the way. Melanie is 22 now and is about to move into her own place. This young lady is such a hard worker and was able to get into an apartment 100% on her own - no parent to co-sign with her. I am so proud of the beautiful ,smart, independent young woman she has become!

And my son Mitchell is a junior in college and is working as a cook to help pay his tuition. I couldn't ask for a better son. (Plus he's pretty darn handsome, too.)


Maybe some of you followed my journey last year moving to, and running my eBay business out of an apartment. Well, I've moved again, this time to a nice little cabin in the woods. It's the perfect place to work on my writing and to have my eBay business. Here are some photos:

 Nestled in the trees at the end of the street.

Nice front porch...

Complete with rocking chairs 
($10 each at a garage sale, the sun on the wall was $3 at GW)

Huge wooded lot

More trees

And more trees....

Patio in the back

Cozy fire pit area in back

Looks better at night 

Cozy inside, too (the rug was $25 on a FB group!)

What can I say, I like fires! 

The older you get, the more you realize what is really important.  So this year I am also very thankful for the place I get to live. It is small and cozy and manageable and perfect. And the very best part of where I live now is the person who is here with me - my fiance! Yes, I am engaged! 

More to come on that later, but this fine man and we have been friends for almost 20 years and it just recently became more than friendship. He is a kind, respectful, smart guy with the best sense of humor. We just laugh all the time. We have a wonderful time together and he loves going treasure hunting with me on the weekends. He even says stuff like, "Oh don't worry about the dishes, I'll get them. I know you have work to do." His momma raised him right! He actually works in the retail industry so it's great to be able to pick his brain about things related to the eBay market.

Some days I wonder what I did to deserve so many blessings in my life. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving and take some time away from your work to enjoy your family and friends.

Love and appreciate you all,


Monday, November 21, 2016

Cyber Monday is a Week Away - Are You Ready?

What Exactly is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving. The "cyber" part was created by marketers to refer to online shopping. The theory is that shoppers take advantage of online specials after the Black Friday weekend sales. This is a huge opportunity to take advantage of the presence of online shoppers, millions of whom will be on eBay. I'll make this Cyber Monday lesson easy for you with some cool infographics!

Consumers Like the Convenience of Shopping Online

Mobile Cyber Monday Sales Were Up 53% From 2014 - 2015

Women Out-Shop and Out-Spend Men 

Gen X is the Largest Segment of Buyers and Spends the Most as a Group

Consumers Shop from Work and Home

Average Order Value Holds Steady at $123

 eBay 3rd Most Visited Site in 2015

Are you ready for Cyber Monday? The #1 thing you can do to prepare is to list, list, list! A few tips to help you list faster:

Get off Facebook. It is a time suck.

Time block.  Plan when you will work, and make sure your family knows you are unavailable during those hours (if possible of course). Get your family on board with knowing you must get your work done.

Set realistic goals. Don't beat yourself up if you can't get it all done. You are only 1 person. Do the best you can.

Ask for help.  See who you can recruit around the house to help. It might be best to put kids in charge of chores or housework so you are freed up to work. Delegate and make it a team effort.

Hire help. My virtual eBay listers are available to help! We can list 7-10 items an hour. You just send us the photos and we do the rest after a few initial questions. Clients LOVE this service, it helps them make more money, and it is like multiplying yourself!

We are in the home stretch now - get those last items listed so you will be ready when millions of shoppers hit the internet on Monday. Get your piece of the Cyber Monday pie!

*Cyber Monday data provided by and