Friday, May 31, 2013

eBay Coach's Top 5 Thrift Store Tips

This video is a bit long (20 minutes) but gives you a head start if thrifting is new to you, or if you have been thrifting a while and still feel lost or overwhelmed. Top 5 categories discussed:

1. Sweaters
2. T-shirts
3. Athletic wear
4. Toys (plush, games, and puzzles)
5. Anything new in the package or new in the box

Want to learn more about selling thrift store finds on eBay and Amazon? Check out these resources designed to help you improve your online selling skills. Once you learn the types of items to sell and where to find them, you can make money from anywhere as long as you have a computer and the desire to succeed.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Make Money Writing and Selling Your Own Kindle Book

On my blog over the years, I have talked about a lot of different ways to make money from home. I wanted to share with you my journey of getting Kindle books published and the potential for passive income using this avenue. Now, before you click away thinking, "I'm not a writer, this doesn't apply to me," hear me out. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, as at least one Kindle book inside them waiting to be written. This process is fast, relatively easy, and the only cost is your time. (Unless you want to hire a writer, which I will explain in a minute.) There is virtually no overhead cost, no humiliation in begging a publisher to print your work, and you don't have to be a famous author or to have published anything before. Amazon does all the promotion for you once your book is loaded to the Kindle store. Anyone can do this, and set up a nice stream of income that lasts years.

Let's start with WHY getting some books on Kindle is a good move right now.

A few facts about Kindle books:

Sales of Kindle books are outpacing sales of printed books. As of this writing, there are 1.9 million ebooks for sale in the Kindle store.

The Kindle store is more than just books - you can also submit blog feeds, newsletters, magazines, and other material. You don't have to reinvent the wheel to write a Kindle book - you can re-purpose what you have already written. (So if you are a blogger, keep a journal, have started a short story on your laptop, have submitted material that was rejected by a magazine or publisher, you are already ahead of the game.)

Kindle and tablet device sales enjoy steady growth. Amazon reported 6.1 million Kindle Fires sold in the first 9 months of 2012. That's a lot of devices waiting for material to be downloaded by eager readers.

Finally, your Kindle ebook can be enjoyed by those who don't even have a Kindle. Amazon offers free Kindle reading apps for desktop and laptop computers (PC and MAC), most smartphones, and tablet devices. So just about anyone can access a Kindle book - even if they don't own a Kindle!

Last year, in September 2012, I published my first Kindle book. The material was taken from coaching reports to my clients, blog posts, and articles I had written over the last 6 years about buying used items from thrift stores to sell on eBay.  Fast forward to today, 8 months later, and I enjoy a passive income stream of between $300 - $400 a month for this one book. Here are my stats for sales and payouts from April 13 - May 18, 2013, for my Kindle book "What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay."

I'm working on my 3rd Kindle book now, and have helped some clients write theirs. The beauty of getting a book on Kindle is that Amazon does all the work for you. Once the book is in the Kindle Store, you are in the "system" and Amazon handles promoting your book, cross-selling it, collecting payment, delivering it wirelessly, answering customer questions, and handling the occasional refund. I really don't do much to promote my book, other than mentioning it on my blog in a few places. Amazon has access to millions of readers and they do the marketing to make sure my target reader sees my book - because when my book sells, Amazon makes money, too. They have a vested interest in making sure I am successful.

You are probably thinking, "But I don't have anything interesting to write about." And I'm going to be a little in your face here and say, "Yes you do!" There are currently 1.9 million ebooks in the Kindle Store. Here are a few books on Kindle to show you the variety of topics that people are writing about:


 Captain's Blog - The Story of my Afgan Vacation - Collection of entries from an online journal created by a soldier stationed in Afganistan.


Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture for Moms -  Parenting humor.

Crafts and DIY:

Stick It! 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects  -How to make things out of duct tape.


How to Host a Haunted Fundraiser - Fun way to make money for your organization.

Health and Nutrition:

Secrets of Juice Fasting - Recipes for fasting and cleanses.

You get the idea. The topic of a Kindle book can be just about anything - fiction, non-fiction, how-to, humor, poetry, etc. Do you know how to make something? Do you have your grandmother's old family recipes you can compile into a cookbook? Did you have an interesting trip at some point in your life, or a personal journey you can share? Did you or a loved one survive a serious illness and you can share that journey with others? Do you have a unique hobby you can share tips about? Are you good at saving money or living on a shoestring budget? Go check out the Kindle store and browse the categories. You'll see the huge variety of subject matter. The best way for someone to learn something new is from a real person, like you, who has really done it. And when people want information, they go to the internet. With a Kindle book, you can be there popping up on Google with the answers all neatly organized in a downloadable Kindle book.

If you aren't a writer, you can hire someone to write the book for you. Check sites like and to find ghostwriters. This is common practice for many books in print and on Kindle. (Come on, do you think every military hero or celebrity is also a writer? Of course not, they hire someone to do the actual writing.)

Once I wrote my first Kindle book, all I needed was somebody to lay out the road map about how to format, upload, price, and market my book. I was overwhelmed with information to say the least. On a writer's group, I found this downloadable course, Get Your Kindle Book Done! and within a couple of days my book was approved, uploaded, and I was seeing sales. Sometimes, when learning a new skill or process, it is just easier to have someone walk you through it the first time. And I am glad I did, because this course saved me a lot of time and frustration.

All this being said, I want to encourage you to get on the Kindle bandwagon and get moving on putting your ebook on Kindle. There are millions of Kindles, mobile phones, tablets, and computers out there downloading Kindle books every day. Why not put yourself in that pool of information products and make some money in the process? This is really too easy NOT to do. My goal is to publish a Kindle book every other month for the next two years so that I can enjoy a passive stream of income for many years to come.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Recognizing Spoof or Fake eMails from eBay

Even though I have been selling on eBay since 2003, I still get a little nervous when I receive emails that say my account has been suspended, or some other threatening message. Most of them are fake and should not cause any concern. Here is a quick video about how to recognize if the emails are really from eBay, and a few tips on how to handle them:


1. Never click on any links in these emails! If it is real, the email will be in your eBay My Messages folder. Go there and check.

2. The email usually has a return address with a slight variation of

3. The grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation will usually be poor.

4. The language will be threatening and call for immediate action on your part. The idea is to scare you into clicking on something so the unscrupulous person sending the email can gain access to your account.

5. If you get one, report it to 6. See the eBay Help page about this topic here.

I've been slack on my YouTube videos for the past year, however, I will be making more of these short tutorial-style videos on a regular basis. Click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can receive updates in your inbox as soon as they are posted.

Be safe online!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Podcast - Selling Coffee Related Items on eBay

New Entrepreneur Internet Radio with Online Selling with Suzanne Wells on BlogTalkRadio

Another episode of "You sold WHAT on eBay?" is live. This episode focuses on used coffee related items (other than the obvious mugs) that you can find used and cheap, then resell on eBay for profit. Did you know you can flip parts from used or broken coffee makers for a pretty nice profit? Some of these parts sell for up to $30. You might be able to buy a broken coffee maker at a garage sale and sell the parts and accessories for 3-4 times your investment.

Learn about other coffee related garage sale, estate sale, and thrift store finds that can be good sellers including thermal carafes, grinders, sugar and creamer sets, storage containers, and vintage items. Let's face it - eBay is already over-saturated enough with the obvious. Learn to find profitable items, hiding in plain sight, that other resellers might be passing by because they don't "look" valuable. Opportunities are everywhere - it just takes some education to learn what they are!

Listen to the podcast here.

Related articles:

Selling obsolete office and technology products on eBay

My Kindle book - What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Resell on eBay

Vintage Items to Sell on eBay

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yard Sale Meltdown!

Ever wish yard sales were open 24/7 so you could shop til you drop? Jamie from my Facebook group is an avid eBay seller and yard sale enthusiast. She shared this video of her daughter who is visibly upset that yard sales aren't at night! Bless her little heart. Thanks for sharing, Jamie, I hope she got to go to some sales this weekend!

Friday, May 10, 2013

New FREE eBay Calculator Reflects 2013 Fee Chages

Ina Steiner over on eCommerce Bytes shared a new eBay Fee Calculator which reflects the Spring 2013 fee changes. Bookmark this on your computer and mobile phone for accurate calculations when estimating fees on an item for resale. (Calculator for purposes of estimating, actual fees may be slightly different.)

(provided by eCommerce Bytes)

More useful FREE eBay business tools:

Yard Sale Treasure Map - scope out yard sales before making your trip to use your time most effectively.

Garage Sale Rover - free app for mobile phones - uses GPS to find garage sales, estate sales, and yard sales near your location. No matter where you are, this app shows you sales nearby. You can even sort by day.

FotoFuze - enhance photos and create solid backgrounds for professional looking photos.

Typohound - find misspelled eBay listings. Search for items with no bids, or very low BIN prices - due to misspellings they aren't coming up in search results. Tou can flip on eBay or Amazon. 

Gixen - free auction sniper to help you win auctions on eBay. Use to buy personal items, or merchandise to flip back on eBay or on Amazon.

Know of any other free cool eBay tools? Share them in the comment section below.

Happy Selling!

Monday, May 6, 2013

April Garage Sale Finds - Sold!

My daughter and I have been hitting garage sales hard for the last 3 weeks and I wanted to share some of our finds and sales with readers out there who may want to improve their "radar" at garage sales, yard sales, church rummage sales, and thrift stores. We do not usually find these items at thrift stores - books are usually priced much higher and are in pretty bad condition. Board games are usually taped up by thrift store employees so it is hard to see exactly what is inside - the condition and number of pieces. Other items don't even make it to the sales floor. I wanted to show you these items specifically because they are sourced at garage sales, and the choices are different than in thrift stores. Pricing is also different - you never know what you will find and how it will be priced. So, good finds are actually a "cocktail" of all the right ingredients including condition and the price you as the buyer must pay for the item.

Let me add this disclaimer that I don't know everything, and there are items I choose not to sell because either they are a pain to ship, have a high return rate, or are frequently counterfeited. Everyone in this business has different items on their radar and we can all learn from each other by sharing our successes.

This Donna Karan lotion was $25 at a garage sale held by a DKNY rep. It sold for $154.97. This size bottle of lotion is only sold at select department stores once a year on a DKNY promotion. I found 2 of them. The irony: this was shipped to a buyer 30 miles from me, 6.5 miles from the store that sells this item once a year.

Found this men's cologne set at a church rummage sale for $3. It sold on eBay for $44.97 in less than a week. I've never found fragrances new in the package in a thrift store - garage sales are great for finding things like this.

This Scrabble Onyx Limited Edition Game was $5 at a church rummage sale. It sold on auction on eBay for $34.97 in a week.

My daughter found this used iPhone rubber case cover for $2.50 at a garage sale, it sold for $12.50 on eBay within 2 weeks. Cell phone accessories are great sellers, even if used. Look for adapters, cords, cases, and belt clips. This is an area where someone else's trash is profitable treasure.

Found this book at a garage sale for $1 on April 5. It sold on Amazon (FBA) for $49.97 in about 3 weeks.I usually source text books at garage or church sales because, in my experience, they are cheaper and in better condition than in thrift stores or at library sales. I find a lot of brand new books at garage sales for 25 cents - $1.

This Abroad Travel Journal was $4, new in the package at a yard sale. Sold it for $25 on Amazon (FBA) in less than a week.

This Burt Bacharach sheet music was $1 at an estate sale. It sold for $12.50 on Amazon (FBA) in less than a week.

This book was 50 cents at a garage sale. Sold for $12.50 within a week on Amazon (FBA).

If you are not a member of my Facebook Group, I encourage you to join and read the following weekly threads, which can be very educational:

Money Making Mondays - members share their sales, posting links to items that actually sold so others can see the listings and selling prices.

Fabulous Finds Fridays - members post their weekly finds. Also a great way to learn about items that other sellers look for that have value.

After selling online since 2003, I still love this business! Every day is an adventure and I am always learning something new. If you want to take your eBay or Amazon business to the next level, here are some resources I have put together to help you enjoy the world of online selling, and enjoy the freedom of working at home on your own schedule:

Amazon 90 Day Experiment - Build an Amazon Book Business in 3 Months (free download)

Hot Brands to Sell on eBay - comprehensive list of brands that sell well on eBay (free download)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Specialty Monopoly Games and Pieces Hot Sellers on eBay

Thanks to the members of my Facebook Group, now 4,400 members strong, I have learned a lot about selling used board games on eBay. I always assumed the games had to be complete sets and in mint condition, but this is definitely not the case. I have been finding games at garage sales and thrift stores for less than $5, so hopefully you can find them at those prices, too.

The games themselves are good sellers, and the pieces and boards can be sold on their own either as replacement parts or as craft or decorative items. So if the game is cheap enough, but doesn't have all the parts, go ahead and buy it and start stockpiling the pieces to sell in a lot when you accumulate enough pieces. (Crafters buy the game tokens to make jewelry, clocks, and other cool items.) The game tokens sell on their own, but prices range from $2 - $5, so it may not be worth your time to list them individually, unless it is a rare or discontinued piece.

When it comes to board games, think special edition, collector's edition, or anniversary edition. The fewer there is of something, the more it will be worth in the eBay marketplace.

Here are a few examples of some completed listings of different Monopoly games to give you an idea of what to look for when you are out shopping at thrift stores, garage sales, or church rummage sales:

Garfield 25th Anniversary Monopoly game sold for $34.99 on April 29.

Pokemon Collector's Edition Monopoly sold for $34.95 on April 23.

Simpson's Monopoly game sold for $28.99 on March 14.

47 Monopoly game tokens sold for $41.00 on February 6.

Lord of the Rings Monopoly game board only sold for $12.99 on April 24.

So don't walk away from a special or collector's edition Monopoly game just because it isn't in pristine condition with all the parts. You can dissect it and sell the components if necessary. Make sure you are shipping these internationally! Collectible are wanted all around the world. (Not sure how to ship internationally? Check out my eBay International Shipping Tutorial.)

On a side note, I am always interested in hearing from guest bloggers. If you would like to contribute a guest post, just drop me an email at ebaycoach @ yahoo and share your idea. If published, your post will include a back link to your site or eBay store.

More Resources:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

eBay Consignment Selling Can Really Pay Off!

Lydia, one of my former coaching clients, sent in her amazing sale. She sold this item on consignment for one of her clients, who was a DJ and received several music sales awards during previous years. Lydia arranged to do a 50/50 split after expenses for this client. The item sold for $960, and total time invested in listing and shipping the item was 1 hour. So Lydia's commission on this sale was a whopping $480 for 1 hour worth of work!

Selling on consignment has several advantages. You get to learn about items that you never would have found on your own, such as the example above. As long as you choose carefully and focus on high dollar items, your hourly earning rate can be significant. Inventory comes to you, so you save time with your sourcing efforts. Also, selling items for others can help build your eBay feedback and sales numbers to help you reach Top Rated Seller.

There are a few downsides to consignment selling. The most frustrating is that people usually think their items are worth more than the market will bear. It can often be awkward to have to explain to a family member or friend that just because they bought that purple widget in 1970 for $400, it is only worth $25 on eBay today. Also, you can end up doing the work of listing the item and it doesn't sell.

After many years of selling on eBay, I will only sell items on consignment if their value is over $500 and I feel sure they will sell. Otherwise, I try to buy the item outright from the person and take full responsibility for reselling it on my own. This can eliminate a lot of drama and hurt feelings.

Get consignment clients by being listed in my eBay Seller's Consignment Directory.

Related articles:

How Local Attorneys Can Help You Make Money on eBay

How to Promote Your eBay Trading Assistant Business