Tuesday, February 9, 2016

eBay Seller Success Story - A Letter to the Ill or Disabled

This post was recently shared on my eBay Sellers' Facebook Group. I have known Cindy for years and she is truly inspiring.

This post is about selling and I hope it will prove to be helpful for anyone who suffers from an illness, disability, or is a caregiver whose time is dedicated to a loved one. It's not meant to be about me but unfortunately I have to preface it with my story.

I was diagnosed at 20 with a chronic auto immune disease, Schleroderma.  Last year I turned 65, 40 years beyond my prognosis. I have always moved forward and worked until 12 years ago when my cardiologist said I should stop. Not working drove me crazy for awhile but life happens and my disease got worse.

Planning for retirement we started to look into downsizing. Our son in his own apartment, and our own 4 BR 3 BA home is full of antiques.  We also have four sheds full outside. I contacted an appraiser who gave us an exorbitant price quote. Dealers wouldn't give the price we asked, and estate sale groups were also expensive. Then, I checked out eBay.

eBay was the best decision I ever made. Like most beginners, I had to muster up the nerve to jump in. I read everything first and after my first ten listings,  the process was easy. I sold one of my 1st ten listings and within my second month I was a TRS and Power Seller on the same day. Easy process but hard work! I've spent 4 1/2 months of last year until this January 23rd in the hospital or a transitional care facility not counting doctor and ER visits and down bed time at home. This is not a pity post its a positive message.

Now to the point about my journey.  I do a lot of eBay arbitrage. Most of the items I purchase for resale are a name brand. When you can't thrift for weeks or months on end you have to get creative finding inventory.

eBay has a wealth of low priced items you can resell for a great profit. When I purchase for resale from another eBay seller, I look through their store for more potential items I can flip. I am always on the hunt. I buy shoes using this method. They are almost always new or like new unless they are vintage, then the bottoms being a little more scuffed - that is still acceptable.  I love purses and am extremely careful about the condition and making sure they aren't fake. I'm overly cautious mostly of Coach and Kate Spade. Clothes, antiques, vintage items and anything I can flip I'll buy. I do retail arbitrage as well, health permitting, but not as often.

My second comment is to all the rest of you who are temporarily or permanently ill or disabled or often bedridden from pain. I've read sellers comment about the difficulty of listing when ill or  in pain. Yes it is but if you're organized and have a positive attitude it can be done. I have gone from a desk top, to an iPhone, to a touch screen laptop and now to an iPad to find what works best. They all have advantages but I can tell you the iPad makes listing a whiz anywhere anytime. In all the time I'm sick I've never had a day I didn't get something listed. I list waiting to see the doctor, in the ER and anywhere else. I can slip my light iPad Air 2 in any purse.

I always have extra photos on my iPad. I'll take photos of 20 or more pairs of shoes, purses or glassware. Clothes take longer but it can be done. Then I write the description info on 4 x 6 index cards. I keep 100 to 200 index cards ready at all times. I list at least 10 or more everyday or have them scheduled to list. For example, listings were scheduled to post the day I had shoulder replacement surgery. I also scan through my active listings and choose those that have no watchers. I end them, leave them in the unsold folder, and relist using sell similar on days when you can't list.

My husband even brought my small female torso mannequin along with clothes, shoes and glassware to the transitional care facility the last time I was there for 2 months. I had an extra adjustable bed tray table set up and took photos there.

I have developed a system so listing goes extremely fast. My best tip is to list everyday even if it's only one item. My Christmas sales were up from last year and my January sales were only down 7.5% from December.

Check out Cindy's store here.

Cindy's story shows that if there is a will, there is a way. If you have an inspiring eBay story, please contact me at suzanne@suzanneawells.com so we can share it with others.

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