Tuesday, December 29, 2015

5 New Things I Learned to Sell on eBay in 2015

2015 has been a tough year with moving twice and starting a new full-time job. For the last 13 years, eBay has been a part of my life and this year was no different. I think is it important to keep challenging yourself to grow your knowledge base.

Here are some of my sales this year. 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. Anthropologie Brands. I really tried to dig in this year and learn the sub-brands. (Thanks to my friend Beth T. who introduced me to this brand.) Anthropologie is a "lifestyle brand that celebrates art, culture, design, and discovery." There are hundreds of sub-brands, each with its own logo and garment tag design. (See the list here.) Anthropologie brands hold their value and sell at high prices in used condition. You may think it is a disadvantage to have to learn the sub-brands, but one thing that works in an eBay seller's favor is that thrift store employees can't keep up. Unlike recognizable brands like Ralph Lauren and Nike, Anthropologie brands are sleepers hiding in plain sight in thrift stores and usually are not pulled aside and marked up to a higher price. There is just no way thrift store employees can learn about everything we can pick for profit. Here are a few of my sales this year:

 $4 at thrift store, took BO of $40

 $3 at thrift store, sold for $39.97

 $2 at thrift store, sold for $35 on BO.

 $6 at Goodwill, sold on BO for $50.

 $6 at thrift store, sold for $60 on BO.

2. Pens with no ink.  People collect fountain pens for various reasons - the advertising, the tips, the brands that no longer exist. Look for these at estate sales in the home office section. You can often negotiate a whole bunch of office stuff for a low price. 

$5 sold for $39.97

$5 for lot of pens, sold for $45 on BO
 $7 sold for $79.97

3. Michael Simon Brand. This is a designer brand and the sweaters are crazy like Storybook Knits and Design Options. I also found some crazy Santa Claus shoes.

 $2 at thrift store, sold for $39.97 (in June!)

 $2 at thrift, took BO of $35


$2 at thrift store, sold for $36

4. Lucky Brand. Most people know Lucky for its denim, but they also make sportswear, outerwear, and t shirts.

 $7 at Goodwill, sold for $40 on BO.

 $2 at thrift store, sold for $32.97.

 $2 at thrift store sold for $29.97

$2 at church sale, sold for $25 on BO.

5. Random stuff that just looked interesting. After you do this business for a while, you get a feel for what sells. Here are some random things I tried that worked out:

 $2 at estate sale, took BO of $33 + shipping to the US Virgin Islands.

 $1 at thrift store, sold for $34.97.

 $3 at thrift store, sold the week of Christmas for $44.97.

$1 at thrift store, sold for $19.97 on BO.

 $3 at thrift store, sold for $42.97

$2 at estate sale, sold for $24.97.

Make sure you follow the Money Making Mondays threads on my Facebook group. You can see thousands of other sellers posting their sales and learn what sells on eBay. 

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Related Articles:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advice for New eBay Sellers - eBay is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

I don't like to see people fail. eBay leaves a long line of disappointed sellers who don't succeed because their expectations are not realistic. I can see why. The internet is full of hype about get rick quick schemes promising fast cash for listing random items on eBay. Those of us in the trenches know eBay doesn't work that way.

I will be going into my 13th year of eBay selling in 2016. Since 2003, I have sold over 30,000 items, in a wide range of categories, to over 50 countries around the world. (My eBay store is here.) I can speak with authority when I say that if you are looking for a quick, dependable, easy way to make money, eBay is NOT it.

For new people coming to eBay, there is unlimited opportunity. eBay offers:

1. Connection with millions of buyers around the globe. You can't do that on Facebook groups or with a garage sale.

2.  High ranking on Google for your products. Do a search for any item you can think of, and odds are eBay is in the top 3 results. eBay handles the SEO (search engine optimization) to connect your products with potential buyers.

3. The eBay platform is open to just about anyone. There are no barriers to entry. Open eBay and Paypal accounts, and start selling.

4. The eBay platform is user friendly and robust. Photos are easily uploaded and edited right on eBay. You can print shipping labels directly from eBay. You can create watch lists, alerts for products you want to buy, and the mobile app is a fantastic research tool. You can keep tabs on your business via the mobile app 24/7 where ever you are.

5. eBay integrates seamlessly with Paypal so you can pay yourself every day if you want.

6. Unlimited opportunity.  Once you start selling, your limits will increase. The sky is the limit. Selling limits can go into the millions. You are only limited by your time and the amount of inventory you can afford to buy. If you build it, they will come.

These are the things that attract sellers to eBay. However, there are some drawbacks that new sellers should be aware of. Please keep in mind that eBay is NOT for everyone. And if it doesn't work for you, that is ok. New sellers need to understand:

1. eBay places limits on new accounts. You will need to accept these limits (sometimes as low as 10 items at a time for sale) and work within eBay's framework. (Here is why eBay imposes limits on new people.)

2. You may have holds placed on Paypal funds. This is a common industry practice until you have established your account. Don't take it personally. (Read more about the 21 Day Hold here.)

3. 7 Day auctions are an arbitrary number. Many new sellers are discouraged when their item doesn't sell within 7 days. The 7-day auction was established when eBay was created over 20 years ago. Your buyer probably won't show up within that time frame.

4. Watchers and views don't really mean anything. It only takes 1 person to purchase an item. Sellers become so obsessed with analyzing how many views and watchers it takes for an item to sell. You might as well try to figure out which came first - the chicken or the egg. This type of obsession with watchers and views is a pointless exercise that does nothing but waste time, create drama, and cause frustration. You can't force a sale. The buyer comes when the buyer comes. Keep listing.

5. You can't reduce eBay selling to a "formula." Again, sellers are constantly trying to figure out how many items they need to have for sale, using which listing type, at what time of day to produce $X. eBay doesn't work that way. There are too many variables to boil it down to any kind of "rule."

6. eBay is a marathon, not a sprint.  Sellers often give scenarios like this, "I've had 37 things listed for 20 days and nothing has sold yet, what am I doing wrong?" What you are doing wrong is being impatient. eBay is about delayed gratification. If you are in a hurry, eBay is not for you.

Building an eBay business is like getting a college degree. It takes a long time, dedication, and lots of learning along the way. I tell new sellers to give it at least a year of dedicated effort to build an eBay business that produces reliable income. It cannot be done in the short term.

If you are new to eBay, I strongly suggest you take my eBay Basics course to you can jump start your business by getting started on the right foot, avoiding common pitfalls, and succeed faster with fewer mistakes.  You wouldn't try to get a driver's license without taking a course to learn the material. You wouldn't try to get a real estate license without taking a course. So why would you try to start to build a home business without learning from someone who has already done it successfully?

If you are looking for a sure thing, for a way to make money and see predictable results and a reliable paycheck every week, you are better off flipping burgers or working at the mall. Sorry to be blunt, but I am being honest. eBay takes time, patience, and the willingness to experiment, fail, and experiment again. Every successful seller will tell you exactly the same thing.

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Christmas Gift to You!

Christmas is a season for not only rejoicing, but reflecting. As I reflect on this year, I can count many blessings that have come into my life. In the spirit of giving and appreciation, I am offering a special on all of the information products in my online store so that you can get the information you need to grow your business. You can choose from:

Women's Clothing Level 1

Women's Clothing Level 2

Selling Preowned Women's Shoes

Supplier eBooks

Selling Groceries on Amazon

eBay International Shipping

eBay Basics

Keep Your eBay Business Growing

The Golf Shirt Bible

What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Resell on eBay

72 Products that Sold Big in 2014

Etsy for Beginners

If you have been thinking about learning something new, take advantage of this special now. All items are instant downloads so you can start learning right away. Remember, thrift stores are packed full in January since people donate heavily at the end of December to get the tax write-off for donations. You can be ready to hit the ground running in January armed with new knowledge to explore new products you have been passing by, and grow your eBay business for 2016.

Use coupon code Christmas50SAW get the 50% discount. There is no limit on the number of items you can purchase and the discount applies to everything! Discount is for 3 days only - December 7,8, and 9.

Feel free to share this information and discount code in your groups and with anyone who wants to grow their eBay business. There is more than enough out there for all of us to prosper.

Remember, Einstein said, "If you always do what you have always done, you always get what you've always got." Today is a great day to learn something new!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2015

What to Sell on eBay 2015 Updated List

What should I sell on eBay? This is a question I see and heaer multiple times a day. Use this page as a resource if you are a new seller and not sure what sells, or a seasoned seller who wants to explore new product lines. Just click the link for more information about potential selling price, desirability, and a little interesting history about the product that will help you understand your buyer's motivation.

The items on this list were good sellers for me and others in my eBay Facebook Group of over 20,000 sellers in 2015. Some are items new on the market, some are reliable sellers that have been good flips for years. (I have an older list here, but it is time for an update as products and trends change!)

If you like this list, please share on social media - there is plenty of room on eBay for everyone.

Baby Items

Baby Clothes 


Phil and Teds Products


10 Women's Clothing Brands


Aran Crafts 



Cashmere Sweaters

Dale of Norway Sweaters 

Denim Modesty Skirts

Denim Trucker Jackets

Design Options Sweaters

Diane Gilman 

Embellished T-Shirts 

Fit and Flare Skirts 

Flying Tomato

Golf Shirts
(Learn about selling golf shirts here )

Jams World 


Lumberjack Chic



Mountain Hardwear 

Sorel Boots 

St. John

Storybook Knits Sweaters



Vineyard Vines 

Walmart Brands

Learn more about selling clothing here and here

Crafts and Sewing

Handmade Needlework Arts

Perler Beads 

Scrabble Tiles

Direct Sales / MLM Brands

Longaberger Baskets

Mary Kay 

Pampered Chef

Discontinued Items

Bounce Dryer Bar Fresh Linen Scent

Coconut M&Ms

Metamucil Clear and Natural

Redken Densify Shampoo

Retired Yankee Candles 

Revlon Colorsilk #72

Texas Pete Chili Sauce

Holiday Items

Christmas Ornaments

Hot Holiday Toys 2015 

Top 10 Christmas Decorations to Sell

Health and Beauty

Fragrance Samples and Trial Sizes


4 Home Office Flips

Empty Printer Cartridges 

Moomin Coffee Mugs

Targus Computer Bags


5 Brands of Preowned Shoes

Cougar Paws boots 



Learn more about selling shoes here 


Hidden Mickeys

Hot Holiday Toys 2015

Jigsaw Puzzles

Sock Monkey

Vintage Items


Belt Buckles 

Bilston & Battersea Enamel Boxes

Bottle Openers 


Car Magazines

Chenille Bedspreads

Children's Books

Citrus Reamers

Cookie Cutters

Couroc Barware


Enid Collins Handbags

Flip Clock Radios 

Girl Scout Pins

Granny Square Afghans 


Hot Rollers 

License Plates

Mason Pearson hairbrushes 

Matchbook Covers 

Maxi Pads

Owl Themed Items

Paint by Number Paintings


Road Maps

Rolodex Card Files

Sheet Music  



Monday, November 9, 2015

The Holiday Clock is Ticking - Let's Get Ready!

Can you believe it is already November 9th? If you haven't gotten your ducks in a row for the Christmas selling season on eBay, there is still time. 4th quarter is the busiest time of the year for retailers, and that includes us! Make sure you cash in on holiday selling this year, as business analysts project it's going to be busy:

Kiplinger reports, "Thanks to months of solid gains, retailers are poised for healthy sales growth through the end of the year. Increased consumer confidence and disposable income, a tightening labor market and low gasoline prices will help drive spending during the fourth quarter. Economic improvements will push holiday sales higher by 3.5% to 4% over 2014. Holiday transactions represent about one-fifth of all retail sales." (Kiplinger.com)

Inc says, "Latest retail holiday sales forecast is projecting as much as $965 billion in sales between November and January, a 4 percent increase over last year's shopping season (excluding motor vehicles and gas). Though more than 90 percent of retail sales occur in-store, nearly 80 percent of shoppers say they engage with brands and retailers through digital channels before they set foot inside a store." (Inc.com)

Did you hear that? 80% of shoppers check out what's online before going to a store - so make sure everything you are doing on eBay is optimized for the holiday buying season. Here are a few ways you can maximize your eBay sales over the next 7 weeks:

1. If it isn't listed, list it NOW. That means anything. Even if you don't think it would be a gift or it is out of season. When you don't list your items (you know, those piles that grow overnight) you are basically helping other sellers get sales because nobody can buy yours. Don't leave money on the table because you didn't get items listed.

2. If at all possible, change handling time to same day or 1 day. Procrastinators abound, especially during holiday season. Shoppers will be in a rush. They will be looking for sellers who ship quickly. And not just the week of Christmas. Shoppers may have to pack up for a trip, want to ship out care packages, or freak out if they aren't ready 2 weeks early. Everyone loves a quick shipper!

3. Stay educated on what toys and hot items are in short supply and can be sold on eBay for above retail prices. That's right, plenty of retail products go for a premium around this time of year because they are out of stock in stores. This happens every year. Some past hot toys and holiday items I have flipped on eBay or Amazon:

Zhu Zhu Pets (2009)

LaLa Loopsy Dolls (2010)

Canned pumpkin (2011)

Furbys (2013)

A current example, Lays  chocolate potato chips cost about $3 in stores and they sell on eBay for around $12 a bag.

To help you even more with your holiday selling, I am offering a special Holiday Help Hotline this week only, on Thursday - Saturday (Nov  12- 14). Book a 20 minute phone consultation for only $20.
We can chat about anything you choose:

How to research the hot toys and other items this holiday season - don't buy a list, learn how to do it yourself every year!

How to improve your store (I'll do a store review)

How to optimize your store for the holidays

Hiring help for the holidays - where to find help and what tasks they can do

Prioritizing unlisted inventory (I get it - you have so much stuff it would be impossible to list it all in time. I know it can be overwhelming. Let's talk about making the best choices of items to list for maximum return.)

Anything else - customer service issues, sourcing inventory, shipping, growing your business, time management, listing, organizing inventory, keeping records - anything!

Sign up for your 20 minute consultation here. I can't wait to chat with you and help you have the best holiday selling season yet!

Talk to you soon,


(Check out past client testimonials.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

eBay Shipping Tip - Frankenstein Boxes

 If you sell on eBay for any length of time, you will be faced with the dilemma of finding the right size box to ship a large or odd shaped item. It happens to everyone at some point.

Frankenstein boxes are the answer. Also known as Frankenboxes, these are created when taping 2 or more boxes together to create a larger box. This process is called telescoping when  2 or more boxes are taped together end to end to create a longer box - hence the "telescoping" effect.

Frankenboxes are shipping boxes you can make yourself to accommodate any size item. This technique comes in handy year round, but especially during 4th quarter when sales spike and you may be shipping items you don't normally work with. There are a few rules to be aware of so you don't get in trouble with the post office.

Flat Rate and Regional Rate boxes cannot be altered, telescoped, or Frankensteined.

The price for shipping these items has been configured based on size and maximum weight. They cannot be altered in any way.

It is ok to Frankenstein Priority boxes.

You are free to use regular (not flat rate or regional rate) boxes in any configuration you want to create as long as the item is shipped Priority. Turning the box inside out or covering it with brown paper or poly mailers then shipping Parcel Select is a big no-no. Priority boxes must be used for Priority Mail, period. No exceptions.

Plain or recycled boxes can be Frankensteined.

As long as you aren't using a flat rate or regional rate box from USPS, anything is fair game.

Use plenty of tape to secure edges.

The USPS requires that all edges are taped and any gaps or flaps are covered with tape. You don't want flaps or box edges getting caught in sorting machines or on conveyer belts. Make sure everything is tight and secure.

Be aware of oversize restrictions.

Boxes measuring over 12 x 12 x 12 may be subject to oversize charges. It depends on the distance the package will travel.

Don't "piggyback" boxes.

Piggybacking refers to taping 2 boxes together that are not the same size, the smaller on top of the larger. USPS won't accept these.

Consider a box resizer for cutting down larger boxes.

Sometimes you have a box that is too large for the item, and rather than fill it with packing material and increase the shipping weight and cost, cut down the box using a box resizer tool. This tool is very handy, easy to use, and creates clean looking packages. You can buy them at office supply stores, on eBay, or Amazon.

I actually did a survey on my Facebook group asking other sellers about their Frankenbox experiences, and here are some of the responses:

Joseph said, "We just took a package to the post office today that combined 5 priority shipping boxes (totaled over 12" x 12" x 40" long). The postal clerk actually complimented us on the creative construction."

Debbie said, "Tonight we bought a 3" PVC pipe for $8 to mail metal roof edge moldings for a 1957 Mercury. 67 x 3 x 3 girth 4.75 I think....price to mail just under $11. We Franken-pack all the time!"

Sarah said, "Monday I stacked & taped 6 large Priority boxes together. Total height 58" x 12 x 12. I was shipping a wakeboard. 17 pounds from Alabama to Oklahoma just under $11.00."

So there you have it. If you don't have the right size box,  get creative and make one. Just be sure to keep plenty of tape on hand at all times.

If you need more help with shipping, download my free eBay Shipping Flow Chart here.

Related Articles:

How to Charge for Shipping on eBay

Pros and Cons of eBay Global Shipping Program

Can it be Shipped Media Mail?

Friday, October 23, 2015

There are 1.8 Billion Millenials Around the Globe - Are You Marketing to Them?

Millenials are the largest generation in history and they are about to move into their prime spending years. Smart marketers look at what and how millenials buy consumer goods. The purchasing power of millenials is $170 billion per year, and we need to know what the heck they are buying so we can sell it to them! If you are not in touch with what millenials are buying, you are leaving money on the table.

I've had a secret weapon and millenial informant for the last few years - and now you can benefit from her knowledge, too. I am excited to announce that my daughter, Melanie Wells, is now offering eBay tutoring and consulting services to help other sellers grow their eBay businesses. Not only can she help you get in touch with the millenial consumer, but she can help you learn to be a better eBay seller.

Many of you have been following my daughter's eBay journey on my blog and my Facebook Group. Melanie started selling in 2012, at the age of 18. She has worked hard building her store - she has sold over 2,000 items in her eBay career, while working other full and part time jobs.

Training closely beside me every day for the last  3 1/2 years, eBay is a way of life for Melanie. If there was a Bachelor's Degree in eBay, she would have one. Melanie was industrious enough to work her eBay business and save enough money to pay cash for a car earlier this year. (Read her story here.) She has been a mentor and leader in the eBay community by helping other sellers and participating regularly in the Money Making Mondays threads on my Facebook Group. Here are some of her posts about her sales:

She is a smart cookie. As a 21 year old, she is in touch with what Gen Y / Millenials are up to and has taught me how to cash in on that market. She pays attention to what is posted on social media, what her friends are into, and what is new on the scene. She has helped me make a lot of money by mentioning brands that sell well, decorating trends, crafts, or repurposing ideas that I was clueless about. She also knows how to use technology and social media for sourcing inventory, such as her recent score on a Facebook Group that she flipped on eBay.

Melanie has also helped several local sellers with their eBay business by teaching them what to buy for resale, teaching them how to list, hhelping them learn how to ship, and serving in a listing and shipping assistant role. She was a big help to our dear friend Catherine - who will live in infamy for the funniest eBay fail ever, but also has an amazing boutique in her basement.

How can Melanie help you? She offers the following services:


Feel free to contact Melanie with any questions about her services. She is a delight to work with and you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Flipping Facebook Sale Items on eBay

Opportunities for making money are all around us. Most folks selling on eBay already know how to source from thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales. But have you tried using Facebook groups as a source of inventory? Lots of people don't want the hassle of figuring out how to sell on eBay or ship items. They just want to sell extra stuff around their house a little at a time to local people.

That's where eBay sellers can seize the opportunity. Scroll though the "For Sale" posts on local Facebook buy / sell groups and you can score some real deals. My daughter recently found this lot of 12 Mary Kay foundation makeup tubes for $15. (Pictured above.) She bought the lot on Friday, and by Sunday had already sold 2 tubes to different buyers. Here is the listing for the sold item:

If she sells all of these at this price, profit is around $128. Not bad for a few minutes time scrolling through Facebook group posts, meeting the seller about 5 miles from home, and listing the item.

The key is to use the resources around you to make money.  Opportunities are all around you - but you have to pay attention to them. Think about how many households are in a 5 mile radius of your home, and how much stuff is in all of those households. Those people may be posting things on Facebook that YOU can resell for a nice profit on eBay. Pay attention!

Related Articles:

What is Alpaca and Why Should eBay Sellers Care?

Here is What I Love About eBay

Atlanta eBay Sellers Do You Have Too Much Inventory?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What is Alpaca and Why Should eBay Sellers Care?

Time for an eBay vocabulary lesson! If you are not familiar with alpaca, it is time to add this to your vocabulary and your inventory. An alpaca belongs to the animal family Camelidae as a cousin to camels and llamas (and the lesser known vicuna and guanaco). Alpacas are native to South America. They grow long, soft, silky fleece which is made into wool. 

Alpaca wool is different than sheep's wool because it is warmer, not prickly like sheep's wool, and doesn't contain lanolin which makes it hypoallergenic. (Lanolin is a fatty substance and is extracted and used in ointments and moisturizing products.)  Alpaca is also water repellent and is hard to catch on fire - making is a safer textile than many other fabrics. 

Alpaca products are a major export of Peru - but don't be surprised if you sell a lot of it to Peruvian buyers. Products made from alpaca include sweaters, socks, gloves, ponchos, and blankets. And here is why you should learn about alpaca - it has a good resale value on eBay and sells well year round. Let's take a look at what the research shows:

eBay shows over 3,300 completed sold items in Clothing and Accessories in preowned condition.

eBay shows over 2.300 completed sold alpaca sweaters.

eBay shows over 2,700 completed sold listings for alpaca in the craft category (look for alpaca yarn at estate sales, thrift stores, and garage sales).

Alpaca isn't as plentiful as cashmere or regular wool, but keep your eyes open for it. Here is one of my best sales for an alpaca item - an Eileen Fisher cardigan that sold for $99 in August.

Happy hunting!

Related Articles:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

If You Are Earning Money on eBay - Listen Up!

This is not a "what to sell" post or a "hot discontinued item" post, but I recommend you read it anyway. It could save you a lot of time, money, frustration, and disappointment in the future.

If you are selling on eBay, and depend on the income, or ever want to rely on the income to prove you can afford a mortgage loan, start preparing now. If you have any plans to move, downsize, or rent, start getting your paperwork in order now. Even if you already have a CPA.

Here is the problem. If a CPA has been doing your taxes for you, that is great! A CPA is trained to make sure their clients pay the minimal amount of taxes. With self-employed people and entrepreneurs, their goal is to whittle down "adjusted gross income" so that taxes owed are minimized. This is what accountants are trained to do. Unfortunately, CPAs and mortgage lenders are looking at financial information from two different perspectives. The CPA is looking a how low he can get your income so taxes are minimized. The mortgage lender (or apartment leasing office) is looking at a person's income and ability to pay, which is the amount of income they have claimed and what they pay taxes on.  Usually, you can't have it both ways - if you are self-employed, you may have to strategically prepare tax returns so that you can qualify for a mortgage.

This is where worlds collide and it isn't pretty. Let's face it, self-employed people can look bad on paper. Because of all the deductions we can take, and how we pay expenses out of our business accounts, our taxable income is usually much lower than what we actually "take home." I have talked to several sellers lately who have run into the problem of not being able to prove their income to get a mortgage. They may be able to afford where they live now and have excellent credit. But after the housing crash in 2008, lenders look at self-employed people much differently - as a risker borrower. It is all about how the numbers line up on the Schedule K (if you are an S-Corp) and how much of a salary you take. Bottom line:

The mortgage process is designed for people with a regular W-2 income, not entrepreneurs. 

I am not a CPA or a tax professional, but I am telling you to consult one if you have any plans of moving in the next 12 months. Make sure your CPA knows your goal of getting a mortgage loan or renting a new place. If you aren't showing enough income on your tax returns, or taking an official salary, you may not be able to qualify for a mortgage or even a rental agreement. It is tough out there for single self-employed folks when eBay is the only source or income, or both spouses are self-employed. This post not meant to cause panic or alarm, but to inform so you can prepare.

Start looking into this now because you may have to make adjustments to show more income so you can qualify for what you want in the future. You may need to show fewer write-offs or take a larger salary to make the numbers work. Disbursements usually don't count - you need to show a salary.

If you don't have a CPA, now is the time to find one. Check around in your area for CPAs who offer free initial consultations.  Call the Chamber of Commerce or use our good friend, Google. This is a great time of year to start a relationship with a CPA - come January through April they will be slammed during tax season.

And if you aren't keeping records on your sales, you certainly should be. (I recommend this spreadsheet for eBay sellers.) Get your paperwork in order now. Taxes and accounting definitely aren't the fun part of eBay, but just grit your teeth and do it anyway. Your future self will thank you.

A few tips:

1. Keep good records. Record all inventory purchases, fees, and supply expenses. KNOW WHAT YOUR PROFIT IS AND HOW MUCH MONEY YOU ARE MAKING. (Yes, I am yelling!!)

2. Don't co-mingle personal and business money. Lenders don't like to see that.

3. Mortgage lenders will look at 2 years of tax returns - so make sure you have enough time to get the right documentation in order before you plan to move. (Talk to a CPA!)

4. Work on improving your credit score. Self-employed people have been stereo-typed to have lower credit scores than W-2 employees.

5. Start saving for your down payment. A larger down payment may help counterbalance any self-employment income issues.

6. Talk to a CPA and different mortgage lenders. Seek out lenders who work with entrepreneurs - they may have some workarounds or connections that will help you. Some lenders won't even work with self-employed people because of all the extra paperwork and hassle.

Here are some helpful resources if you are considering buying a house (that includes downsizing) if you are self-employed (even if one spouse is self-employed):

Self-Employed? Good Luck Getting a Mortgage

How to Qualify for a Mortgage When You are Self-Employed

Self-Employed? How to Get a Mortgage

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Here is What I Love About eBay

This is the kind of thing that keeps me selling on eBay for over a decade. After work one day in late August, I dropped by a thrift store who happened to be having a 50% off clothing sale. Of course I spent 2 1/2 hours in there stocking up for eBay. Now, not many people (other than resellers) are going to buy a wool coat in August in Georgia. I found the coat pictured above - a Banana Republic wool and cashmere full length winter coat - for $6.  It is missing the belt but still a beautiful coat with lots of wear left.

My first thought was, "An international customer will buy this." Just my experience selling high quality items with flaws. They tend to go out of the country.

Sure enough, I received and accepted an offer for $70 last night from a buyer in Japan:

So here is the part I love - I happened upon a nice item that nobody in my market wanted, took some pictures, posted it on eBay, and in less than a month it sold to someone on the other side of the world, 6,800 miles away. And I made $62 doing it.

Here is the completed listing so you can take a look.

eBay, thanks for providing a place for me to do this!

Related Articles:

Atlanta Sellers - Do You Have Too Much Unlisted Inventory?

Downsizing Your Life While Growing Your eBay Business  

eBay Sellers - This is Why You Want to Sell on Consignment

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Make Money Selling Taco Bell Diablo Sauce Packets on eBay

I've been selling on eBay since 2003 (almost 13 years now) and this business never gets boring. Something new to learn every day. I read on Money Making Mondays that people were successfully selling Taco Bell Diablo sauce packets on eBay. This "blistering hot" sauce was released on Cinco de Mayo this year. I could not verify that it has been officially discontinued, but there is definitely a shortage as it is showing up on eBay in lots and selling very well.

Prices aren't as high now as they were during the summer. Who knows what will happen once the supply gets really low and people are looking for unique ways to spice up their Thanksgiving turkeys or find that special stocking stuffer for their hard-to-buy-for hot-sauce-loving brother in law.

Prices are all over the place. I am suspicious that Taco Bell employees might be hoarding the stuff because really, who has 550 packets of sauce on hand? Something is amiss here...

Here are some completed listings on eBay for Taco Bell Diablo Sauce:

12 packs for $12 + free shipping (Sold on Sept 20)

60 packets for $24.99 (Sold on Sept 18)

The suspicious 550 packets for $69 (Sold on Sept 8)

So check out your pantry, office drawers, glove compartment, and down between the seats in your car - there could be Taco Bell cash hiding in there! And make sure to subscribe (upper right corner) so you can get more updates like this in your email.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Brand to Sell on eBay - Flying Tomato

Another great brand to sell on eBay is Flying Tomato. Yes, that is really the name.

Thanks to my friend Catherine for teaching me about this one.

Flying Tomato items are usually Bohemian style gauzy dresses or tops with beautiful geometric embroidery around the neckline, down the front, or on the sleeves. You can also find coats and jackets in this brand. Flying Tomato is definitely a niche brand with a following.

eBay shows 448 active listings for this brand in preowned condition.

eBay shows 732 completed sold listings for this brand in preowned condition.

Flying Tomato garment tags look like this:

I've sold 2 Flying Tomato items in the last month. The one pictured at the top of this post sold for $28 + shipping. This one sold for $25 plus shipping:

Both cost me $3 at thrift stores. Keep your eye out for this brand. Subscribe for more brand updates by filling out the box on the top right.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Atlanta eBay Sellers - Do You Have Too Much UNLISTED Inventory?

I keep reading and hearing that eBay sellers have hundreds of unlisted items on hand and they just can't find the time to get things listed. I have the opposite problem since starting a full time job - I have less time to find inventory during the day but plenty of time to list in the evening.  All I can think about is the sellable items in your homes that aren't being connected to buyers. So I wondered.....

If anyone in the Atlanta area is covered up with unlisted inventory and you want to liquidate, let me know. I would be glad to check out your stock and make you an offer on those items. Depending on what you have, this could be a way for you to recover your investment and free up some space. This can be a win for both of us!

If you are in the Metro Atlanta area, and have more than 30 items you want to offload, send me an email at suzanne@suzanneawells.com and let's have a discussion. I hope to hear from you!

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