Meet Guusje Moore, a librarian since 1976 who turned her passion for books into a thriving home business by learning to sell on eBay and Amazon. I've had the pleasure of knowing Guusje (pronounced hoo-sha - it's Dutch) for a while on different Facebook groups. She is the go-to person for book questions and is always eager to share what she knows to help other sellers succeed.
Guusje has been selling on eBay since 2000 and has over 7,000 feedbacks. She started selling on eBay because her twin girls were accepted at colleges whose tuition was not affordable on a teacher’s salary. She needed to earn more money. She didn’t want to tutor or work at a department store and had a house full of extra books and along with two Bachelor’s degrees and a Masters. She decided to retire early to sell online on a full time basis.
Guusje sells on both Amazon and eBay. She started out and still considers herself a book seller and Amazon is her venue of choice for books. I enjoy watching Guusje post her book finds on Facebook, like these - what looks boring to the average person is really quite profitable.
She uses eBay for books and uses multiple pictures on those listings. When out thrifting for books, she will also pick up odds and ends to sell on eBay. In her eBay store she offers Vera Bradley, mugs, books, clothing, Starbucks memorabilia and kitchen items. She will sell just about anything that will reward her with a decent profit. She acquired some square-dancing dresses and bloomers a while back - now there is something you don't see every day! She paid $31 for 5 crinoline petticoats, 10 sets of bloomers, and 25 dresses. The petticoats sold for between $60 and $80 each. Below is a screenshot of a dress sale.
Guusje worked as a one-woman show until June of 2012. She was still working full-time as a librarian but made time to grow her on-line business. Once profits allowed she hired a twice-a-month housecleaning service. Once Amazon started filing a 1099 with the IRS, she hired a bookkeeper and a CPA. She feels that’s one of the best decisions she ever made. Guusje is like many at-home eBay sellers, she is not "a numbers person and I’m happy to pay someone who enjoys that sort of thing."
In June of 2013 she decided to ramp up eBay again and hired a couple of teenagers to help her create listings. This proved to be very effective and now a friend joins her for between 3 -8 hours a week in writing listings. She went from 0 eBay listings in June 2013 to 50, to a store, then graduated to a Premium Store. She now has about 425 active listings, most of which are fixed price with Best Offer. Guusje feels that "eBay 2013 is totally different from E-bay 2000." She recently hit $10,000 in sales for 120 days on her dashboard summary and was thrilled.
Guusje calls herself a "bottom feeder" and everything she sells comes from thrift stores, garage and estate sales. She loves the thrill of the hunt and has zero interest in wholesaling. Right now, she has 425 items on eBay, and about 800 on Amazon. She keeps "a lean and mean Amazon inventory."Her profit varies throughout the year, but is usually between $3,000 - $4,000 a month.
Her advice to newbies or those struggling:
Scout every day if you can or at least 4-5 times a week.
Don't waste time on things that sell for less than $8, even if you got the item for free. Your time is never free.
Be selective in what you buy and list, it's not about how many listings you have but how many good listings you have.
Guusje's final thoughts:
"For 12 years I worked full time and built my business. It was hard work, especially the last couple of years when I basically had 2 full time jobs. I didn’t want to retire from the day job till my on-line business plus my very small pension equaled my day job salary. I’d seen several people retire thinking they would build their business and then running into cash flow issues and not being able too. As hard as those last few years were I’m glad I chose that route"