Monday, August 30, 2010

Amazon 90-Day Experiment Nets $80 Per Hour

(Originally written August 2010 - guide updated June 2013)

I have been a casual seller on Amazon for almost a year selling my own items including books, DVDs, CDs, and a few toys I found at clearance sales. My selling experience on Amazon was really only an informal venture to understand how Amazon works so that I could teach others the basics of Amazon selling.

As I worked with my coaching clients, they began sharing their Amazon success stories with me. I was inspired by their success and the money they were generating with the Amazon business. Out of curiosity, I decided to take the plunge and try selling on Amazon using their techniques and selling strategies. I gave myself three months (90 days) to fine-tune the process just to see what one person could do with an Amazon business only devoting a few hours a week.

This experiment is based on what one person can do with the proper equipment, information, and devoting about 5 hours a week to the business. My Amazon business model takes into account that some eBay sellers want to expand into other online selling arenas and leverage the power of Amazon without having to set up or maintain their own website. The profit from this business model can multiplied exponentially fairly easily by adding more time, more equipment, and more people (employees or compensated helpers) to the plan.

No business is an exact science. This business takes physical work, dedication, and consistency to build and maintain. That being said, this report contains the results of my experiment. I still sell books on Amazon today. Download your free copy here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Get Ideas for eBay Niche Products from Teen Magazines

A challenge for eBay sellers is deciding what to sell or what the next hot item will be for a particular demographic group. This can take time to figure out and sometimes you might miss a selling opportunity but with a little research the information is literally, at your fingertips.

One particular group is our teenage population. They have money to spend from their parents, part time jobs and allowance. Without the financial responsibilities of most people such as health care payments, utilities, and a mortgage, they can use their funds buy “things”.

Are you an empty-nester with no teenagers around? The easiest way to find out what kids these days want is to pick up the magazines they are reading. Billions of dollars are spent by corporate America in selecting advertising for magazines. Put their money to use for your business.

Pick up an issue of CosmoGirl, Seventeen, or Teen People and see what is being advertised. If you find out what teens like for TV shows, movies, music and celebrities you will know where to focus your buying and selling energy. Also, don’t forget about their clothing, cosmetics and electronic needs. Many teens have these items in excess but still want more. You don’t even need to buy the magazines. You can look through them in the store, at the Drs. office or find them at your local library and check them out for a couple of weeks.

I have used this technique and it works. I got the idea for DuWop Lip Venom by flipping through a magazine at a grocery checkout. (Read the post about this product.) Niche product ideas are all around you. You just have to pay attention.

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

Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBay

Friday, August 27, 2010

Storage Unit Auctions

Finding items to sell on eBay can be challenging and sometimes sellers have to get creative. Another option for securing inventory is Storage Facility Auctions. Once a tenant has stopped paying rent for their unit the management auctions off the goods in eviction. These auctions are usually advertised in your local newspaper a week or two prior to the auction and are open to the public. Be prepared. In some areas these auctions draw a large crowd of eBay and Craigslist sellers in addition to regular folks just looking for a bargain.

Here are few suggestions for navigating this type of auction. Sometimes the auction requirements will be listed in the newspaper announcement. If not, be prepared to pay cash. It is normally the only accepted method of payment. Keep an open mind. You might get lucky and uncover something valuable but in most cases storage units will contain furniture, clothing, miscellaneous household goods, and office supplies.

These auctions are a cash and carry arrangement. The unit contents need to be off the property by the end of the day. Plan ahead. Bring a large vehicle and the appropriate tools—a hand truck, rope, blankets and an extra pair of strong arms. In case you need to make a couple of trips from the unit bring a lock to secure it while you are gone. It is your responsibility to haul away the all the goods. There will be unwanted items and trash. These items should be disposed of properly by donating the usable items to Goodwill or another organization and disposing of the trash. The storage facility will not let you use their dumpster.

Click here to find out more about making money on eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist with storage unit auctions.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vintage Mickey Mouse Watches

Mickey Mouse is one of the most recognized characters in the world - right up there with Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald. If you are lucky enough to score a vintage Mickey Mouse watch at a thrift store, estate sale, or through other means, you are looking at an easy sale on eBay.

A little history behind Mickey Mouse watches: Mickey made his first appearance on wrist watches back in pre-depression days in 1933. The company Ingersoll-Waterbury first created the watch. Over 11,000 of the famous Mickey watch were sold for only $3 at the New York Macy's on the very first day of its release. The sales of the Mickey watch actually helped save Ingersoll-Waterbury from having to file bankruptcy. Ingersoll is known as the Timex company today. The original Mickey Mouse wristwatch looked like this:

Ingersoll quickly introduced a pocket watch featuring Mickey Mouse and this version sold for $1.50. Over the last 77 years, various styles and versions of Mickey watches have been on the market. You can find everything from Bulgari watches with diamond accents to cheap plastic dollar store versions. There is a Mickey Mouse watch for all socioeconomic groups.

An authentic Ingersoll 1933 Mickey Mouse watch can sell for up to $1,000 or more on eBay. Other styles, including pocket watches and Seiko vintage can sell in the $200 range. Check eBay's completed listings for vintage Mickey Mouse watches to see a wide range of styles.

Maybe there is someone out there with a valuable vintage Mickey Mouse watch to sell and they need an eBay seller to do the work. Make sure you are listed in my eBay Seller's Consignment Directory so people with valuable collectibles can find you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Amazing eBay Story - Sue the Truck Driver

I received an email a few weeks ago from Sue regarding selling books on eBay and Amazon. You have to hear her story. Sue is quite a resourceful and shrewd business person. I am amazed at what people can do when they decide to do it.

I am a long haul truck driver, just me and my dog Kelly. I stay out from home about 4 weeks at a time. I have my net book computer and I use truck stop wifi to gain access to the internet. I have some books, cds and dvds in my truck cab and list them for sale online. I also have a printer and can print the shipping labels. When something sells, I can package it with my packaging materials that I keep in the cab too, and drop it in a mailbox at some truck stops.

And I also have many amazon affiliate links on my websites, as well as affiliates for other places. So if anyone buys from my sites, I get a commission. I am also going to sign up with and use their service to process ebooks and other electronic items that I can sell. I am a member of click-bank and they have a wide variety of items that I can sell on my websites or on amazon and eBay.

If I get to a yard sale or thrift store, I can scan bar codes with my i phone app and then determine by the price of the item whether or not to buy for resale in amazon or eBay.

This is a side hobby I do in my free time when I'm not driving. We get a 10hr break after every 14 hr work period. Sometimes we wait all weekend long at a truck stop to deliver on Monday, so we have a lot of time to do internet work.

My websites right now are and and I use for my sites as they are not too pricey and are very user friendly. I can build a website in a few hours. I then use with discount code "ron" (from harry potter) and get domain names. Then I forward those domain names to my websites.

I am slowly building my sites where I can do a shopping cart with ejunkie and when customer buys, they are taken to download the items they purchase. I don't have to stock anything. It's all automatic. I give the personal touch by sending them a email thanking them for their purchase. And I can and will set up nice coupons and discounts for customers as well. I do all this whenever I have free time.

I also enjoy making videos and have started a video series called "Ride Along with Trucker Sue" on YouTube. I check in from various places in the country & talk about anything exciting. I then always include some links to my sites in the videos. I have done podcasts too. But I don't have too much time for too much stuff!!

I am on facebook at I post on there probably more than anywhere else. It's a fun place to keep in touch with friends & family.

Susan Miller and my dog Kelly

Wow, a mobile eBay and Amazon business run from the cab of a truck. Very impressive! This just goes to show that you can do what you want to do and figure out a way to do it if you are persistent and determined to find a way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Selling Collectible Toys on eBay - Insider Secrets

Today's post is contributed by Hillary DePiano, an expert in the collectible toys niche.

Here's the top things I've learned from going on 14 years of watching, buying and selling collectible toys.

1.Value can be volatile. On the day after Steve Irwin died, his action figures were selling for thousands on eBay. Even one week later, you were hard pressed to sell one for over $10. Don't assume value will keep going up, sometimes you need to cash out while the getting is good. It's a gamble but you can't rely on the value always staying the same.

2. Little pieces get lost, easy to break parts break. This may seem like a very simple idea but most of the collectible toys that sell for the highest value do because A) they have hard to find little accessories or B) they're easy to break feature isn't broken. In many cases, the little accessories may be worth more than the item itself so consider selling separately (if possible) and highlighting little pieces in the listing as they always increase value. Most collectors are adults looking for that toy they trashed as a kid with all the little details they remember and they will pay extra for those details.

3. Failure to do the research means making less money. You're too lazy to research the names of all those My Little Pony toys so you just dump them in a lot. I buy your lot because I know that three of the ponies are worth more than what you were charging for the entire lot. As you watch me resell the ponies I just bought from you for hundred of dollars more, aren't you glad you saved yourself the time of looking them up first? I sure am! Knowing the lingo of the collectors of your item, finding out what makes your exact item worth more or less than similar items, or simply finding out the history of your item so that you can best list it all adds up to more bids and less pricing mistakes.

Hillary DePiano has been selling collectibles on eBay since 1997. She's the author of several books, fiction and non-fiction, and a collector of several toys including My Little Pony and She-Ra. She regularly blogs about e-commerce, buying and selling online (especially selling on eBay) on You can also follow Hillary on Twitter here.

Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBay

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vintage Sewing Patterns - eBay Success Story

Kristi sent in her success story:

While browsing at my local Goodwill, I noticed a HUGE bin of vintage sewing patterns. I had no idea whether they would sell or not, so I choose only a handful that were Vogue brand and looked like classic, timeless patterns. They were used patterns, fully cut and the bags were not in the best condition (but all pieces appeared to be present along with the printed pattern guide book). They were only .25 each, so a great deal even if they didn't sell for much. To my surprise, they did remarkably well. Here are three ending auctions:

Vintage Christian Dior Pattern - sold for $21.39

Vintage Vogue Pattern - sold for $22.50

Vintage Vogue Pattern - sold for $33

Kristi's investment = 75 cents
Selling price on eBay = $76.89
Profit before fees = $76.14

This is amazing! And these items were easy to list and ship. You could just lay the pattern envelopes on your scanner, scan the image, and not even have to take photos. Imagine a $76 profit on a few pieces of paper!

Visit Kristi's eBay store here, and check out her blog at Spend Less & Save More.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

eBay Strategy - Breaking a Sales Plateau

All eBay sellers go through slumps, hit a plateau, or sales just go stale. There are many ways to handle this situation. All of the strategies for business growth involve working outside your comfort zone. You can't keep doing the same things year after year and expect your business to continue to grow. According to Einstein, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Challenge yourself to work outside your comfort zone. Choose to be uncomfortable! Here are some suggestions.

Sell on a different sites in addition to eBay.
If you sell craft items, craft supplies, or vintage items consider selling on Etsy. If you sell books, media, or mostly anything with a UPC code, try selling on Amazon. Sell large items like furniture or anything too big to ship on Craigslist with local pickup. Check out Bonanzle, too.


Selling on Etsy
Selling on Amazon

Add new and different products to your eBay store.
If you sell mostly thrift store or garage sale finds, consider looking at online clearance or Daily Deal sites. Try flipping listings using misspelling tools and experiment with products you have never sold before. Become a Trading Assistant and sell things for other people to get free experience with new products - you might come across something you can sell on a regular basis.


Online Clearance
Daily Deals
Trading Assistant Program
eBay Niche Product Finder

Try virtual products.
Try selling products like eBooks (created from public domain materials) or a how-to video or DVD. Information products are one of the best sellers on eBay. Create the product once and sell it over an over again. This is a very effective eBay strategy if you wish to create passive streams of income.


Selling Public Domain Items

Create Your Own Information Product

Outsource parts of the business you don't like or aren't good at, or that take too much of your time.
At some point, you will encounter the Law of Diminishing Returns which states, " As more investment in an area is made, overall return on that investment increases at a declining rate, assuming that all variables remain fixed." In other words, you will see a decline in effectiveness after a certain level of result has been achieved. You have to do something different to achieve a higher return on your monetary and time investment to see a higher return.

Pay a college or high school student to iron clothes and / or take photos of your items. Train a stay at home mom in your neighborhood to do your shipping. Find parts of your business to outsource so you can spend your time sourcing and listing products.


Outsourcing 101

Don't be afraid to experiment - change your eBay strategy. Step outside your comfort zone. Do something different. Move into unfamiliar territory. Challenge yourself to grow!

Friday, August 13, 2010

eBay Niche Product - Plus Sized Women's Clothing

Today's post is contributed by my colleague, fellow eBay seller and Examiner columnist Kelli Shaw who is the owner of Dream Adventures Blog.

When you go into the thrift store, it can be overwhelming with the racks and racks of clothing! Have you tried shopping in the plus size clothing department? If you have not tried reselling plus size clothing, I’d encourage you to venture into this area! Nearly new items sell the best, and brand name is very, very important. I’d recommend not wasting your time with the low to mid range brand names & private labels (Lane Bryant, Torrid, etc)—they don’t tend to sell well and they may end up sitting in your stock room for a long time.

I’ve had great success with plus size clothing, and it’s been through trial and error that I’ve fine tuned what to look for. Brand name “scores”: Look for high end clothing brand names. Two of the best in my opinion are Ralph Lauren & Eileen Fisher. Ralph Lauren items with embroidered logos sell the best in our experience. We recently sold a pinstripe Ralph Lauren 3X shirt that we bought for $1.99 for $38! (You can link to item #330446864438 if you want Suzanne). Eileen Fisher sells very well; I’d say spend up to $10 per item on used Eileen Fisher without hesitation. Plus size contemporary brands like Ed Hardy, Baby Phat, Apple Bottoms, Bob Mackie, & J Jill can resell well too.

Types of clothing: I’d recommend plus size shirts; they are my favorite thrift store finds because they are easy to photograph and ship. I’d also recommend plus size sweaters and blazers too. I typically avoid plus size pants and skirts; most women prefer to try on these types of items and they don’t typically resell well for me. Fabric content can help boost a sale, so watch for items made of silk, wool, cashmere, organic cotton (Eileen Fisher does an entire line of organic cotton), and modal.

Condition: Use common sense & watch for wear. Check the seams to make sure they are not pulling and coming loose. Check under the arm area for pilling of the fabric and for staining. If you find a great item that needs laundering and dry cleaning is not required, I suggest buying it and laundering it at home before you list it.

Kelli & her husband Jim sell online full time on several venues including eBay and Amazon. Their business, Dream-Adventures, specializes in authentic womens designer clothing and accessories. They are Top Rated Sellers with nearly 20,000 feedback.

Learn how to make money selling women's clothing on eBay.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Selling Cell Phones on eBay - A Good or Bad Idea?

I received this email today from a reader:

I am interested in selling cell phones on eBay and wondered if you could give me some tips on getting started. Where do I get them for cheap enough to resell and what kind should I sell?

My question back was, "Why do you want to sell cell phones?"

The reader's answer, "Someone said they are a good seller and they sell for a lot of money so that seems like a good thing to sell."

I receive this question quite frequently about cell phones. Here are some things to consider.

1. Do a completed listing search on eBay and you will see over 422,000+ results for cell phone - in the cell phone category, not including accessories. Here is a screen shot:

Terapeak also identified 10,280 sellers offering "cell phones." Why would you want to sell something with that much competition?

2. Do a search for "cell phone" on Terapeak in the cell phone & pda category, excluding accessories. The sell through rate is only 35.65%. Here is the screen shot from Terapeak:

Why would you take a risk of selling a product with only a 35% chance of selling it?

And my point is...


(And don't listen to what other people say, do the research yourself!)

Most new sellers gravitate towards the hot products they see on TV, technical gadgets, or expensive items. Final selling price is NOT the same as profit. Just because an item sells for $600 does not mean the seller is making a huge profit, you have no idea what he paid to acquire the item. He may only be making $10 profit per sale.

There is much money to be made in less glamorous categories. Remember, the definition of a niche is a product for which there is a demand by a small segment of the market and little or no competition.

For example, martial arts uniforms have a sell through rate of 57.68%, 293 listings in the last 30 days, and only 100 sellers offering them:

So what if martial arts uniforms aren't a fun gadget - people need them and will pay for them. They are easy and cheap to ship (not fragile or breakable) and they never expire. The next step in the process would be to find a source for this product, such as a wholesaler or ordering direct from a manufacturer.

Use the Terapeak niche finder to uncover items like this. It is much easier to sell a product when you don't have much competition.

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

Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBay