You probably want to make a few thousand dollars extra each month right? We all do.
This post will teach you to fulfill this drive, and in a fun way. Your life will change if you start to sell stuff on eBay: you’ll make extra money, you’ll learn about what sells, and you’ll learn basic accounting, sales, and customer service skills- It’s a perfect way to gain exposure to business. There is also potential to make a lot of money on eBay. We’re talking upwards of 6 figures profit per year.
So how do you get started? First decide how much money you will give to the task of starting your eBay empire. As little as $20 a week can be an effective jump off point. The next logical decision is where you want to start sourcing your inventory- this is the fun part. Goodwills, thrift stores, garage sales (and dumpsters) all provide ample opportunities to find things to resell. If you’re fancy you could also get into things like private label, and wholesale, but considering that I’ve never done these things I’m going to focus on reselling.
My Quick Background
I started reselling on eBay about two and half years ago. At the time I just finished up my second year of college and was studying civil engineering (before I dropped out about a year ago). The previous summer I had an aerospace engineering internship at a Fortune 500 company and was going back to the same facility that summer. Although this internship paid about $28/ hour, I hated it. I had to wear a shirt and tie to work everyday, and I was analyzing data on spreadsheets about airplane parts that no one outside my supervisor would ever see. I was always fascinated with eBay for some reason and I really wanted to get into the online money game, but didn’t really know how. I decided to quit this internship the second day to resell things that summer.
For the past 2 years I have spent hundreds of hours in thrift stores and Goodwills learning about different items and I have finally reached the breaking point where I usually come out of a store with a least $50-100 profit of stuff, in a matter of an hour or less, and for the past three months my profits have hovered around $2,000/ month.
What to Look for?
The possibilities are quite literally endless when it comes to what sells on eBay- there is a market for pinecones and acorns for gods sake.
But let’s assume that you don’t want to go into the forest to look for stuff, so what else can you sell? I’m glad that you asked. The easiest thing to get started with is video games. Chances are you (or your children) played video games growing up and that you have a basic knowledge of different games. Video games from all different consoles sell well, but Nintendo games seem to be the easiest thing to flip- think of the classics like Mario Party, Super Smash Bros, Super Mario 64, etc. I’ll give you a quick and dirty tip: unless the disk is scratched or the cartridge is damaged I typically don’t test the video games. For one I only have a Gamecube and a Wii and I don’t want to invest in other consoles, so this limits my ability to test games. And second, I have yet to receive a return on a video game.
Another good thing to sell is printer ink and toner. In my experience printer ink is a common sight at Goodwills and garage sales. You don’t want to pick up used ink as it’s basically worthless. But new, packaged ink sells quite well. The nice thing about ink, as with video games, is that it is typically super light so you can offer free shipping and ship it ‘first class package’ for very little money. Even if the ink is expired it still sells well, assuming that it hasn’t been opened or used- I’ve sold ink that expired back in 2004 since it was new in the package!
Toner cartridges retail for a ridiculous amount of money- this gives us smaller sellers ample opportunity to undercut the big dogs and have our stuff sell within hours. Two weeks ago I went into my favorite dumpster to see if anything valuable had been thrown away. I found this toner cartridge with a stick note saying ‘put in overstock’. Putting it in the dumpster was less work, so it got thrown away instead. I’m glad that it did:
Clothes can also be a fun and profitable thing to sell. I’m blessed to live in a relatively affluent area, so people donate a lot of really nice clothing brands to the thrift stores. If you learn about which brands sell well, then you can make a ton of money. I’ve only dabbled in clothes, but plan to expand into more when I move out (hopefully in the next two weeks), and I’m excited to learn more about clothing. Here’s a Polo Ralph Lauren Sweater that I picked up at a garage sale for $5, which sold within 24 hours of me listing it:
How to Start a Store
I have about 400 things listed on eBay right now. If I didn’t live with my parents, who get angry when I bring stuff home, I would have double this amount listed.
Anyway this is what my bedroom looks like:
So do I have a system for my inventory? No I don’t. Do you need one? No you don’t. It may make it easier, and as I list more I may need to implement a system for inventory, but for right now throwing shit on a shelf (or the floor) works for me. As long as your space is clean, not moldy or damp, and doesn’t smell like mildew, then that is good enough.
I have a basic store subscription, which means I pay $25/ month and get to list 250 items. If you’re a newbie eBay’s free 50 listing/ month is more than ample opportunity to list stuff.
eBay is free to use, and a great way to get started selling stuff online to make some extra money. It can also lead to a potential career opportunity, which is what is happening for myself. Putting $20/ week to finding and sourcing some of the items that we talked about could lead you to big profits and it would only take a couple of hours per month to find stuff, list it, and pack it up to ship.
I am going to do more of these guides in the future, so if you enjoyed this one I would deeply appreciate feedback. Also you can buy my ebook which shows you 50 things that sell on eBay for $50 or more!