Monday, May 19, 2014

6 Ways to Get Out of an eBay Rut

As we head into summer, many eBay sellers will feel the infamous summer slump. Depending on what you sell, you may or may not feel this. But for many, this can be a frustrating time because you are working just as hard as always, but sales slow down dramatically. Understand that eBay and ecommerce are cyclical and you will have months where sales are better than others. Don't take it personally and don't let the summer slump get the best of you. Keep your cool and keep moving forward.

Unfortunately, there is no magic answer, but there are things you can do to keep moving forward and keep cash coming in. Buying more inventory isn't always the answer - maybe because the cash flow isn't there or space doesn't allow. And making impulsive price reductions out of fear isn't a good idea either because once Back to School starts everything will pick up and you can get the original asking price. Don't panic and be a sell out!

Slow months are an excellent time to diversify, learn something new, or create new streams of income. Staying busy working on productive tasks will keep your mind off of the slow sales as well as empower you to learn new skills and build new streams of income that will serve you all year. Here are some suggestions for new streams of income to build during the slow months.

1. Learn to source in new ways. If you always go to thrift stores, you will most likely see the same types of things every time like clothing, kitchen items,or toys. Try estate sales where you might see vintage glass, mid-century collectibles, vintage license plates, or valuable Christmas ornaments. Or if you always go to yard sales, try live auctions. Shake things up. Exposing yourself to new ways of sourcing inventory will provide new opportunities and you will learn more about different kinds of items to sell. Get out of your comfort zone.

2. Learn to sell on another venue. Amazon and Etsy offer other opportunities that eBay doesn't. Learn what they are and if those sites will serve you. Download my free guide to getting started on Amazon, or check out my Etsy course for beginners.

3. Check out virtual work on sites like ODesk and Elance. You can do data entry, social media marketing, proofreading, copy editing, or other tasks not related to eBay. Or you could set up a profile as a Virtual Assistant for another eBay seller who has too much work. A Virtual eBay Assistant does things like edit photos, create listings using information provided by the seller, or social media marketing (like posting listings on Pinterest). Many sellers are looking this to hire this type of help and another eBay seller is perfect for the job.

4. Consider partnering with another business that has inventory.  Maybe you know of a small thrift store, church thrift store, consignment store, or small business that has inventory that could be sold online. You can approach them and either teach them how to sell, or sell their items for a commission. I partnered with a small Humane Society charity thrift store in 2011 and sold their better items on eBay and books on Amazon. I made $12,000 (not sales but my percentage) that year from this partnership, plus I learned a lot about items I had never been exposed to before. I simply walked in and asked if they sold any of their items on eBay. They said no, and a wonderful relationship was born. Find consignment clients - get listed in my eBay Seller Consignment Directory.

5. Write a Kindle book. Anyone can do this on any topic. Kindle books provide a nice stream of income all year and they are pretty much passive income once you get them written. Kindle books are actually short reports so if you were good at writing term papers or wrote for your high school newspaper, you can do this. I have three Kindle books that provide a nice check every month. This is also a great gig for teachers over the summer break.

6. Write articles for pay. You know I write for The Examiner and this is a good gig that pays well each month. You can write about any topic, so regardless if your passion is cooking, crafts, animals, the environment, exercise, collecting, designer clothing, or any other topic - there is a column for you. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, send me a message and I can send you some tips to help you submit your application.

The point here is that you don't have to sit around all summer worrying about why sales are slow or obsessing over what you are doing wrong on your eBay listings. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new during the slow time - something that will benefit you in the months and years to come. Remember, when we are uncomfortable we are growing. I have 11 income streams now, and if I can do this, you can, too. I'm just a stay-at-home mom with a passion for never working for someone else again!

As always, if you want some one-on-one help with eBay or any of the other income streams above, contact me for a private consulting session. I am glad to help you with your online journey and share what I have learned along mine.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

This is an excellent article. I found the part on writing Kindle books to be new and thus most helpful. I was completely unaware of this potential opportunity. Appreciated.