Alice from Farewell, Office. sent me this testimonial today and I thought you would enjoy reading it. EBay is truly something anyone can do, and I believe anyone can make money at it! Alice shares a recent ebay victory (and I promise I didn't pay her to write all these nice things about my blog, though I would have ha ha.)
Vintage Weekly Readers currently for sale on etsy right now.
From the time I was very young, I was taught to be thrity. My father gave us freedom to spend the money that he worked so hard to earn, but he always followed every "Yes" with "Once it's [the money] gone, it's gone." He rarely told us, "No;" however, we knew that if the money wasn't available for future purchases we were going to have to do without; there would be no flashy plastic to sweep in and "rescue" us. While thrifty, my father was never miserly. He would come home weekly with small gifts for me, mostly books, but they were always ones he'd picked up at the thrift store. I would gush, "Thank you," in that wildy happy childlike way, and he'd always reply, "I'm glad you like it; I thought is was worth 2 bits" (which I soon learned equaled a quarter). Some weeks he'd come home with a bag of candy, usually from the holiday that had just passed. I'd get Christmas candy on December 26 and Valentine's candy on February 15. From an early age my father taught me to enjoy the money we'd been blessed with, but he also taught me to spend it wisely because a blessing should always be treated responsibly, almost reverently.
When my son was born 7 years ago, I knew that thrift stores, consignment shops, garage sales and Ebay would be goldmines for toys and clothes, and I bought many of his best things there for a very small fraction of retail; however, I never thought of buying to resell. I only bought for our own personal use.
Several months ago after being an avid Ebay buyer, I decided to try selling some items I had around the house, mainly books, and I failed pretty miserably. I took pictures, calculated my shipping, determined my starting bid and posted. Many of the items did not sell and I was out my listing fee; the items that did sell only sold for my starting bid, barely covering my listing and Paypal fees. I had calculated shipping correctly so I did not lose any money there, but I lost a great deal of time for little to no profit. I considered myself done with selling on Ebay, until I found Yard Sale Mommy. Her blog gave me an Ebay education and gave me hope that I, too, could sell and make a profit worth my time.
First, I learned how to determine whether listing an item would be worth it. I had never heard of the Completed Listings filter, but using it told me whether an item had been profitable in the past and was likely to be again. Because I don't have a smart phone, I wasn't able to pull up the listings at each garage sale, but I chose carefully and only purchased items that we would be happy to use in our home if it turned out they weren't moneymakers. As predicted, the yard sale season is winding down and there weren't many on the day that I headed out, but armed with a list of previously profitable items (mostly items from Yard Sale Mommy), I scoured the few that were listed. I didn't find any of the items on my list, but I did find 8 Vintage Weekly Reader and Parents' Magazine books from the 1970's. They were in pristine, like-new condition and the price on each was only $0.10. I love vintage books and knew that even if they weren't worth anything on Ebay, we would surely get $0.10 worth of pleasure reading them ourselves, so I took the risk - the $0.80 risk! :) I rushed home and searched them on Ebay using the Completed Listings filter, and I was pleasantly surprised. Some of them were selling for $10.00, well worth the $0.10 investment!
Using Yard Sale Mommy's advice, I took good pictures, wrote a good title, and weighed my books using a postal scale to determine correct postage.I was also careful to use all the characters in my title box; I wrote the title and author first, and then listed any subject words that might increase my exposure, characters permitting. Seven days later my $0.80 investment turned into a selling total of $45.42. I know this isn't what some veteran Ebay sellers are used to making; however, considering my prior discouraging experience, I was ecstatic. Sure the big purchases are good, but even if I sell 10 items at $10.00 profit each/month, that's still $100.00 I didn't have before for relatively little effort.
I did make one error, however. I calculated my shipping weight, but did not account for packaging. I lost $4.50 on shipping once I factored in my supplies; however, in the future, I know what bubblewrap-lined envelopes cost and I will now include that in my shipping fee.
Although I am nowhere near an expert, I am optimistic that I can be successful selling on Ebay; this is not an optimism I would have had before becoming a follower of Yard Sale Mommy.
I think it is important to note that you may not succeed with your first or even your fifth ebay listing. But you learn every time, and eventually you won't ever find yourself on the "losing side" of a listing. Be encouraged by Alice's success...what a great profit from an eighty cent purchase!