Monday, January 31, 2011

Did You Receive this FAKE Suspension Email from eBay?

I received this email from eBay today. (It only APPEARS to be from eBay.) It is a phishing scam to get my personal login and other information. Here is how you can tell that these emails are fake.

First of all, this email came to an address that is not even in the eBay system. I use a hotmail account for that. Second, look at the "from" address - it is obviously not from eBay.

Next, if you mouse over the link they provided, (don't EVER click these!!) and look at the bottom of the screen in the left corner, the url is a bunch of nonsense. It doesn't go to eBay.

When you get one of these, or suspect it is fake or a spoof, report it to eBay immediately. Click here for a tutorial on how to identify and handle these spoof emails. Trust your instincts and never, ever click the links in these emails.

If you want to check out your eBay account to see if there is really a problem, open another window in your browser and log into eBay the regular way. If you have been suspended, you will see a message there.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Niche eBay Product - Geocaching Supplies

Geocaching is a popular game that is played around the world. It’s pronounced geo-cashing, and is similar to a treasure hunt. The player (called a geocacher), hides something (called a geocache), and uses a GPS to determine its exact location. Then they post the location online for other people to search for. The player can also be the one searching – you can find locations online and use your GPS to search for the geocache.

Geocaching is a great sport/hobby/game for outdoorsy people. The great thing is that you don’t need a lot of equipment – just a GPS. Geocaching can be a really fun adventure!

A great niche for eBay is geocaching gear. The typical beginning retail price for a GPS (in the U.S.) is $80. However, it is possible to find a great deal that can then be resold. GPSs are like most technology – they can be simple or very complicated. The majority of geocachers just want a simple version. Some GPSs also have the ability to connect to a computer.

Trail equipment is good to sell as well. Geocachers need similar items to hikers or campers – flashlights, pocket knives, insulated water bottles, hiking boots, guide books, etc. Even a how-to guide for geocaching may do well.

And of course, don’t forget items to fill the cache. All caches have log books so that everyone who finds it can sign their name and leave a little bit of information. Any type of notebook can work for this. Geocachers also need items to leave in caches. It’s normal for players to take an item and leave one of their own when they find a cache. Items range from toys and dollar store items to a CD, book, or handmade item.

Click here for a list of 395 eBay friendly wholesalers along with 5 important facts for choosing profitable wholesale products to sell on eBay.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Changing Buyer Requirements on eBay

One of the major problems and frustrations on eBay is dealing with buyers who don't pay, or buyers who are slow to pay. Your eBay Selling Manager allows you to change buyer requirements. Here is how to access and change those settings:

For more tips on how to sell on eBay, download my free eBay Reference Guide.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vintage Fishing Lures

Many fishermen collect vintage fishing lures. Collecting lures is a hobby that has a lot of nostalgia and encourages appreciation of handcrafted work and creativity. A lot of fishermen enjoy collecting vintage lures because it helps them remember “the good old days” and learning to fish.

Lure collectors use various criteria for their collections – some focus on design, others on materials used or the company that produced the lures. Some even collect based on color. In some cases, collectors are able to find the lures in their original package.

Vintage fishing lures were made predominantly by small manufacturers. Because mass marketing didn’t really exist at that point in time, it was easy for the creator to design unique lures that smaller stores in the area would feature. This unique charm is a lot of the reason that vintage lures are a popular collectible for fishermen and others. The uniqueness of vintage lures has also impacted their value – because there is a limited supply, the value has stayed fairly consistent.

Because fishing technology was not very advanced, the majority of vintage lures are much larger than modern lures. If you’re looking for true vintage lures, keep an eye out for wooden plugs made by South Bend, Arbogast, Heddon, and Creek Chub. You can even sometimes find these lures in a family member’s old tackle box.

Fishing tackle may be shinier and more advanced now, but it can’t compete with the charm of vintage lures. Vintage lures are gaining value as collectibles, and will always be sought after.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Melaleuca Threatens eBay Seller

There was an interesting discussion on my Facebook group last week regarding selling Melaleuca products on eBay. One seller had listed some items for a consignment client on eBay and received the following email from eBay user 2010Melaleucacorporate1 (who by the way, has zero feedback):

"This email is to let you know that your auction violates Melaleuca’s policies against selling Melaleuca products on the Internet and may violate eBay’s listing policies and various laws. We realize you may not have known about the policies, but we must ask that you please remove this listing immediately, along with any other listings of Melaleuca products you may have on eBay or any other Internet locations. We understand you may not be constantly monitoring this listing but if, for some reason, it is not removed within the hour we will need to report this to eBay and to our Policy Administration Department so that they may follow up with you and take appropriate action if needed.

As a reminder, you may be able to return your products directly to Melaleuca for a refund. Please contact Policy Administration at 208-522-0700 or reply to this email to discuss this option.

Thank you for your cooperation."

Shocked and scared, the user removed the listing and asked for help regarding if Melaleuca products could actually be sold on eBay, as there are many listings for them. Group member Lisa C. so eloquently replied,

"This method of contacting directly you was entirely inappropriate; eBay has certain requirements (VERO program) for handling such "listing legality" issues.

Self-appointed policeman contacting eBay sellers directly willy-nilly like that, demanding removal of items, can lead to very capricious and arbitrary behavior. Any manufacturer who wants to control the market could make a practice of this even if they had no legal leg to stand on. And -- how do you know the member who contacted you is who s/he claims? With zero feedback, this eBay member could be a competitor trying to intimidate other sellers.

It's one thing for a company to regulate counterfeits in the market It's quite another to try to regulate how products legitimately obtained are resold. I would relist and let your listing stand. I would also forward that (and any subsequent) e-mails to eBay and let them deal with it."

In other words, it is understood by Melaleuca reps and distributors that they may not sell their products on eBay as an agreement between that individual and Melaleuca. This is a case where Melaleuca is using bullying tactics to try and control the secondary market. Anyone can sell Melaleuca products on eBay, even Melaleuca reps if they CHOOSE to do so, of course, at the risk of being dismissed by Melaleuca. Once a person has possession of the items, they are that person's personal property and can be used, given away, or sold if that person chooses to do so. Furthermore, Melaleuca is not on eBay's prohibited items list, so anyone is free to sell them.

(Conversation shared with permission given by all participants of original discussion.)

Need help with eBay questions or problems? Come join my Facebook group where over 2,400 sellers network to grow their eBay businesses.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

eBay Seller Success Story - Hot List Item

Ken sent in his success story:

"I just wanted to send you a quick note with a HUGE THANK YOU for your recent HOT LIST. You did it again, I only found one of the items on the list but found enough of it that it is going to pay my mortgage this month. I swear I am amazed how $200 worth of a discontinued drug store product can turn into over $1000. LOVE IT! Thank You."

This product was has also been mentioned in several national newspapers. There is a shortage in some areas. The company that makes the product claims that this is a "temporary supply interruption." Many stores are out of stock and consumers are turning to eBay and Amazon to purchase them. The product normally sells for around $9 in drug stores, Walmart, Target, and grocery stores, and is selling on eBay for up to $38 per item. The item sells on Amazon for $49 per item. The good news is that you may be able to find this item in your area and sell it on eBay for nice profit.

If you have not purchased your hot list yet, it is not too late!

If you have purchased the hot list, the product Ken is referring to is #2 on the list. Good luck!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How $5 Can Help Your eBay Business

Fiverr is a new website that brings together people looking for someone to do a simple task and people willing to work, with one requirement - it all has to cost $5. You can find people willing to do (and looking for!) a variety of different things, from silly to legitimate services. Fiverr can be a great place to find help with small things, or to post your own service. All you have to do is sign up for a free account and then search the site. Fiverr even offers the option to post a request if you can’t find anyone that can help you. If you’re offering a service, you can also post that for free. Fiverr will get $1 from each service that you’re paid for, so you’ll make $4.

Fiverr can be especially helpful if you’re starting a business. It can be expensive to hire someone to set up a website or teach you how to do various technological things. Using Fiverr, you can outsource tasks for only $5 each - saving you time and money.

Here are a few things that you can outsource through Fiverr:

•Tweet about an item in your eBay store to their massive following
•Add 500 more followers to your Twitter account
•Post a status update on their Facebook wall that includes a link to your store
•Write and post an article on an article website that links to your blog, eBay store, etc.
•Drive hundreds of fans to your Facebook page

There’s only one potential problem with Fiverr - there’s no way to know how good the person you’re hiring is. You can view ratings by other users, which will help in some cases. But even if you aren’t pleased, the good thing is you’re only out $5! Using Fiverr is definitely something to consider, and you may even be able to make a little money yourself!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Process for Listing, Relisting, and Marking Down eBay Items

It can be hard to know what method to use to list items on eBay and to know how long to list them. Plus, what are you supposed to do if your item doesn’t sell before your listing ends? Here is my personal process, that I have developed after 8 years of selling on eBay. It may not work for you, but this is a system I use that works. My sell through rate (on the Terapeak Seller Tab) is between 55% and 60%, so I must be doing something right.

Start by listing your item as an auction or for a fixed price for 7 days (use information from Terapeak to guide your decision). Terapeak has a chart that tells you the average price of the item on auction, or fixed price, so you can see historical data on which method brings a higher price. A 7 day listing helps you because it allows your item to come up higher in eBay searches - a lot of people sort by “ending soonest” on eBay. Also, that item has not been on eBay yet, so you may get a taker within the first week. But, don’t automatically relist your product for 7 days when the listing ends. This will only start the process of being found by search engines all over again.

If your item doesn’t sell after 7 days, try a 30 day fixed price listing for the same price. If someone is watching your item, eBay will send them an email informing them it’s been relisted. Plus, one of the benefits of a 30 days listing is that it gives search engines a chance to index your listing. There isn’t time for that when you use a 7 day listing. Don't assume your price is too high. There is nothing magical about a 7 day listing. If your item doesn't sell within 7 days, it just means the right buyer hasn't seen it yet. If you had your home on the market and didn't get an offer in 7 days, you wouldn't automatically drop the price would you? Of course not.

After your 30 day listing ends, try to list it one more time. You can also change it to “good till canceled” if you’re willing to just let it sit. If the item still hasn’t sold after 90 days, it’s time to add Best Offer to your listing. Because you’ve had the product for a while, you should consider negotiating in order to sell it. This should be your last resort though – after all, you want to make as much profit as possible.

How long should you leave an item on Good til Canceled? That is a personal decision. Much of this depends on how much profit you stand to make. Examine the number of page views on the item? Is it being looked at? If page views are very low, consider marking the item down to what you paid for it plus a small amount for fees, and move on. I personally don't like to accumulate too much inventory, especially if buyers aren't even looking at it.

Don't have Terapeak yet? Click here to get it now. A research tool is the best investment you can make in your eBay business!

Know when to sell on eBay

Friday, January 7, 2011

Craigslist SCORE! Pink Vintage Club Aluminum Cookware

I had to share my major score this week! I was on a call with a client last week (shout out to Mansoor!) showing him how to troll Craigslist for items to flip. I was looking through the Craigslist in my area and saw this ad (the original ad was removed right after I bought the item, but this is the cached ad on Google):

Now, you hardly EVER see the pink Club Cookware, so I already knew this was a pretty good find. I purchased the set for $40. And today, it sold for $177.39. Below is my listing.

Nothing like quadrupling your investment in 7 days! About $110 for 2 hours worth of work. This example shows you that Craigslist can definitely be a viable source for inventory. The trick is to check often, and act fast.

Need more creative sourcing ideas? Check these resources:

Flipping Craigslist Finds

Selling Household Trash

Flipping eBay Listings

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Small Business Networking - What it Means and How to do It

The nature of entrepreneurship means that networking is essential. Because people associate an entrepreneur’s business with the entrepreneurs themselves, it’s important to have many business relationships. That will help you develop contacts, and you can then develop those contacts into mutually beneficial relationships.

In order to network well, it’s important not to focus on selling yourself. The purpose is to build trust with other businesspeople and to help them. You also need to have a clear of idea of what you’re hoping to gain from the networking events that you attend. Different groups have different purposes, so make sure you choose groups that line up with your goals.

A great way to contribute to your business community is to volunteer with various groups. This will help you develop and maintain visibility and will also allow you to help those that have helped you.

An additional way to gain visibility is to make a name for yourself as source of information and help. If you’re known for your expertise and your willingness to help others, people will remember you and tell others about you.

It’s also important to know what sets you apart from other people that do the same thing that you do. You need to understand exactly what you offer, who you offer it to, and why your business is the best. You have to have a concrete understanding of and belief in your work before you can hope to convince others to choose you and refer others to you.

Bottom line: Networking is about meeting people, learning what they do, and letting them know what you do. Then, when your networking contacts hear someone talk about product XYZ that you sell, they can say, "Hey, I know someone who sells that on eBay. Let me give you their email." The more people you know, the further you will go.

You can find eBay / e commerce networking groups both online and locally. Here are a few:

eBay Meet Up Groups (Google for your city or town)
Facebook eBay Groups
Yahoo Groups
Wholesale Suppliers - WAHM Forum

Related articles:

Using Facebook for Business Networking

Network at Business Events

How to Network for Business Online

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Suz and Scott of Wisconsin for the winning sweater in our Facebook Ugly Sweater Party Contest. The above sweater sold for $149.87. Suz and Scott won a $50 Amazon gift card. I asked Suz a few questions about her wining entry. Her tips will help you make more money next year selling these creations!

"This was a sweater that I hand embellished. It was my personal sweater from years ago and found the tacky Santa and wreath at a thrift store for a few bucks.I put them all together with a little garland, tinsel, and other embellishments and voila!

I've sold a mix of Christmas sweaters the past two years as purchased. I am always looking for the ugliest and gaudiest along with selling ones that I embellished. My personal experience is the ones that have been made to be tacky, ugly, and outrageous sell far better and for more. What's great is that most of the embellishments I got on the cheap before and after Christmas at thrift stores and in bag lots that I purchased for other items of value. I also had good luck with kids sweaters as purchased; matching sweater sets and the Cousin Eddie outfits (polyester pants, white leather shoes and sweater & dickie combos) from the movie Christmas Vacation."

Suz and Scott are Top Rated eBay Sellers and have been selling since 2001. You can visit their store, Doxy Dog Enterprises here.

Click here
to view the winning entry on eBay!

Come join our eBay seller's Facebook group where we are 2,400 members strong - the largest eBay seller group on Facebook. Network with other sellers, get answers to your questions, and enjoy these fun contests.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Make 2011 Easier - Outsource It!

My goal for 2011 is to find balance. Enjoy the benefits of being an entrepreneur but also to focus on my personal life. Being an entrepreneur requires long hours, dedication, persistence, and delayed gratification. I have been working at this for 8 years now. When you feel like your business is running you, rather than you running your business, it is time to make some changes.

Now, when I say "outsource it," I don't mean give your business to someone else to run. Look at parts of your business that you can outsource or find a "helper" to do. And don't automatically assume that you can't afford it! You will be amazed at how inexpensively it is to get help. If you can free yourself up by paying someone $5 an hour to gain more time where you can use that hour to make $20 or more, the investment is worth it. By outsourcing a few things a week, you can find more time to spend doing more profitable tasks, or to accomplish personal goals or have downtime. Remember this rule:


Let me give you a few examples of tasks I have outsourced this year.

1. Book keeping. I am big on keeping detailed records but it is time consuming and I don't particularly like it. This year I hired an accountant to take care of my monthly Quickbooks, quarterly taxes, etc. The fee is $50 per month. This frees up at least an hour and a half a week for me. That's 6 hours a month that I can be doing what I do best - working with clients, writing, affiliate marketing, working with consignment clients, and sourcing products like books to sell on Amazon. The benefits far outweigh the cost, and this task is being done by a professional who can do it better and faster than I can.

2. Prepping and photographing items. I found someone local who has a much better camera than I do, and she is very creative. She comes over and preps my items (cleans them, irons clothes, takes stickers off, etc) and takes the pictures. There are lots of people out of work who will do this type of thing for $8 an hour or less. They think it is fun. And I can be working with clients, listing more items, or writing articles while my eBay items are magically prepared for me. 3 hours a week is a huge help to me. This allows me to get more items listed faster.

3. Inventory sourcing. I picked up a consignment client this year - a small charity thrift store. I guess you could say I outsourced "looking for inventory." This shop provides a steady stream of high dollar items that I sell for a commission. I choose what I want to work with. Most of the items sell for between $50 and $200. If you charge a 30% commission, you can make $20-$30 an hour doing this. The trick is to approach businesses, not just your friends and family. You want an ongoing relationship with businesses who depend on you for income. Click here for more information on consignment selling.

4. Article writing. I do quite a bit of writing online as a source of income. If you have a blog, write for The Examiner, do article marketing, or write for revenue share sites like Bukisa or HubPages, you can outsource some of this. You can find article writers for about a penny per word. (300 word article for $3.) You can go to the WAHM Writer's forum and place ads to find writers. For a very small investment, you can have income generating content created for you while you do other things. I may pay someone $3-$5 to write an article for me that will contain affiliate links and that article is on the internet forever and will become a passive income stream. (If you love eBay, you can get paid to write about it. Click here to find out how to write for The Examiner.)

5. Marketing. Do you use Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites to market your eBay items or your blog? Outsource it to internet marketers. They will work for $5 an hour. Have them do things like Facebook marketing - adding friends, participating in groups, commenting on photos and posts. It is all about having an internet presence. On Twitter, they can follow your target market, post tweets, and participate in discussions. Have someone do this for you 15 minutes a day. I pay someone $6.25 a week to do social media marketing for me.

6. Shipping. I switched over to the Amazon FBA program and they handle shipping everything I sell on Amazon. This saves me about 30 minutes per day. Click here to read about how the FBA program works and how I quadrupled my profit in just 2 weeks using it. Click here for more information on how to automate and grow your business using Amazon’s FBA program.

7. Personal tasks. Think about what tasks keep you from your work. Cleaning your house? Cooking meals? Running errands? Doing laundry? Grocery shopping? Same as item #2, people are looking for work. Maybe you have a friend who is out of work that can help you out a few hours a week. You don't have to hire a stranger. My photography girl also cooks dinner for us sometimes, either at her house or mine. (And she cleans up, which I love.) If she cooks at her house, I pay her for her time and the groceries, and she brings it over. This saves me time at the most hectic time of my day as a single mom.

Think about what tasks you can outsource to make your life run more smoothly and help your business grow. You are already outsourcing things in your life now if you pay a hairdresser, an exterminator, a baby sitter, a tutor, etc. The only way you can grow your business is to add more people. Try and outsource it!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011!