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Selling on eBay - 10 Steps to Success

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    Selling on eBay - 10 Steps to Success

    By Paul Hudson

    eBay has created a revolution in online trading, selling products and services is now feasible for everyone. Even many successful businesses, including mine are using eBay to promote their products and services and drive traffic to their site.

    Here are my top ten tips for successful selling on eBay.

    <b>Step 1: Identify your market</b>

    Watch some auctions and determine what is selling and what is not. You will soon find a few items than consistently sell for a good price. Find the right product/service and establish your price.

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    <b>Step 2: Watch the competition</b>

    If there is a particular trader that consistently sells their items for a good price then take a look at there ads. What are they doing that the others are not. Consider their titles, layout of the ad and the text and images that they use.

    <b>Step 3: Find a product</b>

    Having found your product, call as many suppliers as you can and try to beat them down on price. Remember ordering in bulk will normally secure a lower price but don't tie up too much capital in stock. Make sure that you make a decent margin, find something that you can sell for a lot more than you paid for it. This may seem obvious but a lot of people waste their time making pennies so it is worth reiterating, the bigger your margins are the less you have to worry.

    <b>Step 4: Start small</b>

    Don't throw money at bad ideas. Start playing around with different ad text and images. It doesn't cost a lot with eBay to try the most outrageous ideas, some will work and some won't. Best still you will know the results of your trials very quickly.

    <b>Step 5: Test and repeat</b>

    Once you have found a strategy that works keep doing it! But also keep testing new ideas the more strong sales strategies that your find the more reliable you sales will be.

    <b>Step 6: Work out a business plan</b>

    This doesn't have to be a professional document, just an outline of the market that you have broken into and possible opportunities. Identify your strategies that work and the items that are selling. Work out based on your current ROI (Return on Investment) what sort of budget you are prepared to risk. Remember with budgets it is all about risk assessment: what is the risk of losing everything weighed against the likely returns.

    <b>Step 7: Invest and expand</b>

    Introduce your money, investment means profit. Start buying inventory, but not more than you can sell in a reasonable amount of time. The last thing you want is unsold stock lying around because that is tied up capital that could be used for marketing. Make sure you get the lowest price possible. Buy in bulk and try to catch the supplier at opportune times such as the end of the month when they may be looking for the extra sales. Also try buying at the end of the day when they just want to get home and may be inclined to just close the deal. As you establish a relationship with your suppliers, secure further discounts on account of your continued custom and increasing quantities.

    <b>Step 8: Make it official</b>

    Once you have made a thousand pounds or so in sales, get your self registered as a business. Build a website and link your ads to the site. Visitors can then find out more about you and importantly find more of your products and services. Start to advertise in different places, on and offline, after all you should know what sells now and should be an expert of marketing your products and services.

    <b>Step 9: Automate</b>

    Create auto responders for emails to save you answering the same questions and to give quick responses to customers. This is the time to give up on the manual method and turn to automated software that can create listings for you, and respond to completed auctions and payments with whatever message you provide.

    <b>Step 10: Never give up</b>

    It is not just skill or knowledge that enables people to succeed. There are loads of skillful and knowledgeable people that are not working for them self; it is perseverance that wins the day. When it looks like it is all going wrong, chances are you are about to make a break through and when someone says it can't be done, you know that you are getting closer!

    If you really are trying to build a successful company, then go for it and work hard.

    Paul Hudson has more resources online at <a href=""></a>.

    Re: Selling on eBay - 10 Steps to Success

    I made about $600 over one summer by visiting garage sales and selling items on eBay, as well as weeding out some stuff I didn't need (and haven't missed). I really loved it because it was so much fun to get something that probably would have been thrown away or unappreciated to be in the hands of a loving collector!

    Sell something that you know. For me, it was books (mostly nonfiction) and video games. I had a pretty good idea of value but there was always some risk.

    My mom also made a killing selling old Halloween costumes she had made on eBay. At a garage sale we would have practically given them away.

    Before you go whole hog, try eBay out as a seller and get to know the process. is also good (not an auction site) - you don't pay a fee until an item sells. is now owned by eBay too.


      Re: Selling on eBay - 10 Steps to Success

      I would add to the above list: Keep good records

      Income (profit) from an eBay business (side-business or otherwise) is taxable, but its not necessarily simple. For instance, to determine profit you have to keep up with costs. Expenses such as eBay fees, etc. are deductible. And so on...

      Of course, the argument can be made that most people don't do this properly, however, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Also, the IRS has specifically stated that they are going to target eBay selling in the future because they know it is going unreported by many.

      (Note: If you sell an few personal items through eBay, that likely doesn't constitute a business. You probably don't make a profit and you don't meet the other marks of a 'business' so don't worry. However, if you are buying and selling, making a profit, etc., then you have a business. Fortunately, operating as a business has some benefits.)

      Here are some resources:

      TurboTax: Tax Center for eBay...

      MSNBC: Taxes... eBay


        Re: Selling on eBay - 10 Steps to Success

        Ebay gives you access to customers you just couldn't reach before.

        We've been experimenting with selling "Budgeting Made Simple - the secrets the Bank Manager forgot to tell you"

        We were told that you couldn't sell a budgeting book on eBay. Fortunately it turns out that eBay is like anything else... you can't sell rubbish, but people are looking for genuine breakthroughs.

        The pleasant surprise is that if you have an exceptional book like "Budgeting Made Simple" people will come and buy. On the other hand, eBay is overflowing with low quality, low value books and buyers are merciless in bagging sellers if they think they have been ripped off.

        So here's an encouragement... If you have something that is of genuine worth, there are people who visit eBay who could well be interested.

        The key is that there are enough people looking on eBay to make even the smallest niche worth trying.

        Enjoy Your Money
        The Budget Man
        The starting point for a budget that works


          I suggest selling something which others are not selling.
          For example, I was looking for touch up paint for car and there are only very few of them who are selling touch up paints. Now, if you start selling touch up paint then you will have better chance of making sales rather than with the normal products.


            I'm an eBay fanattic! I though I'd point out a fairly new service eBay offers that many people still don't know about. They now have a classified ads section. It costs $9.99 to list a 30 day ad.

            So why would you pay for an ad when you can put one on Craigslist for free? Exposure, that's why. Your classified ad appears right next to all the other auctions. With the right key words, you can get a ton of eyeballs on your ad.

            One caveat: You can only place an ad for things you can't sell on eBay. In other words, if you sold insurance, this is something you can do to pomote yourself.


              craigslist is better


                Ebay is good for auctions but some of the posters are posting fraud items so beware


                  Ebay is going down the tubes currently. If you want to sell on line, may I suggest a different place such as Free Online Marketplace & Free Ecommerce Website Builder - get a Free Online Store at



                    I'd love to see more tips on this. I have a couple of old computer parts that I could probably sell on Ebay but haven't taken the time to figure out how to sell them, what the costs are etc. I guess I just need to get busy.


                      successful tips cant really express this article these are extra ordinary fantastic tips that can lead a person beyond the limits of success. Thanks for sharing superb stuff.



                        I go to garage sales in upper class areas, and then sell them on different websites, a friend of mine buys strollers for $30-$40 and cleans them up and sells them for $150 every week


                          I like online shopping, and i have done several sites. But when i visit ebay, then i felt lil bit confusion. I have never read these tips before. I think these are solid tips. Now i 'll try to follow them. I am sure these can help me.
                          Last edited by Abiezer; 10-13-2012, 11:21 AM.


                            Originally posted by canada94 View Post
                            I go to garage sales in upper class areas, and then sell them on different websites, a friend of mine buys strollers for $30-$40 and cleans them up and sells them for $150 every week
                            Wow! I admire the determination of your friend! I know you can buy a lot of good items from garage sales, you just have to have the knowledge on how to pick the right one you can resell. Nice job!


                              you just have to have the knowledge on how to pick the right one you can resell.
                              Knowledge is powerful stuff, although on some places when I mention that people should do some research and reading to get up to speed knowledge wise and how to use any particular venue, I'm flamed. Oh well, you can either learn to do things the right way and save yourself time and agravation, or you can skip the research and knowledge gaining process and then wonder why no one buys your stuff.

                              That being said, I think one of the reasons I have fairly good success with selling on line is I selling within a niche that I know (others may sell in a niche that they didn't know but take the time to figure it out). I've been sewing since junior high, including hand embroidery, machine sewing, knitting and crochet. Although I'm no good at knitting and crochet isn't my favorite thing, I know enough about thos things that when I see books and instruction manuals on those things that are good quality with great designs and the price is cheap, I pick them up for resale. Yesterday I sold a crochet magazine that I had picked up for a quarter and turned it into $10. I mostly sell sewing patterns and since I sew myself, I know what sewers need to see when buying a pattern and what they want, I also know what are rare type patterns (not talking vintage, just harder to find). Between ecrater and Amazon I have almost 10K patterns up for sale. Since I don't have a lot of time for researching other things like say cameras, I don't bother trying to sell them, but bring me anything sewing related and I have a pretty good idea what it is worth. Since sewing is also my hobby, and I love to read, I combine reading sewing books and magazines, reviewing those same books, I learn new info and in turn use that newly gained info to be better at what I'm selling. It is a wonderful circle for me. Those sewing books and magazines are also tax deductible as research for my business!

                              But an example of how you can sell in a niche that you love. If you hate to read, no sense trying to be a book reseller, go with what you know. If you have trouble finidng parts for something, undoubtedly others do to. Once you find sources, then either get some to resell or have a blog and write about where to find them and other things about your niche/hobby. Include Adsense ads and make some money with the blog. It might take some time to build up a following but if you are consistent, they will come. You just might surprise yourself.

                              Just wanted to add ideas of things that work from someone that has done it, as I don't understand people listing things to do that have possibly never done it and don't have a clue how to be even thinking of how to make money on line. If I had more time, I would write sewing articles free lance, post sewing youtubes, etc. Like I tell my hubby, if I had the health, I could be making buckets of money online! Hope this post helps some get their thinking caps on to possiblities.