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.

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