Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to make money with ebay

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Making money both before you travel and while you travel without a "real job", can be tricky.

I have already written on various ways you can do this, but I wanted to go into detail about ebay.

I have been a seller on ebay for 8 years.

I have shut down sites, opened other sites, and also run ebay as a business at My EBay Store
I have also had a personal site to sell my own items.

I have sold over 10,000 items, so I am not a "Guru" yet, but on the road to my "Guru-ness"!

So what makes a good seller?

1.  Have a good eye
You need to know fashion, if you are selling clothes.
You need to know style if you are selling accessories.
You need to be able to spot a bargain.

2.  Offer a good price
There is no point selling if your customers can get it cheaper.
So keep your prices realistic.
Mind you, if you are offering the only size and colour in that item, people may be prepared to pay more.

3.  Be a patient soul
Having owned retail and wholesale businesses in the past, I can tell you it is a rare day that you have customers lined out the door to buy your items as soon as you put them on the shelf.
It can take weeks or months for that person to come along.

4.  Use a good postal or delivery service
You MUST use a trackable system for sending items.
Therefore you need a number you can follow on-line, so you can see where the item is in transit, or if indeed it has been delivered.
Don't do this, and you will fast find Paypal robbing back your money from your sale - rightly or wrongly.
Also, if you are travelling, make sure you specify you can only post weekly.
And that posting is coming form "X" country and will take "X" weeks.

5.  Sell only items that you can pack easily
Avoid china, glass and fragile items that can break in the post.
Avoid items that need extra wrapping, as this is added expense and time.
Clothes and small items are great, as they are easy to pack and send.
Of course, ensure you use plastic satchels, not paper.
A soggy, wet item is going to leave you with a soggy, wet customer!

6.  Be 'fool proof' in your service
In the old days, I used to fight til the death for justice.
I have been ripped off and abused on ebay.
there are some real nutters out there!
I would lose sleep, and find ways to get back at the person if I felt they were ripping me off.
I have had people clearly wear items and try to return them or even keep the item and get a refund.
I had a lady cut a top, several weeks after she received it, and try to claim a refund.
So I sadly became a bit vindictive - no more!
There are bigger fish to fry and who needs the stress.
As long as I am honest, I am sure I can work it out with 99% of the customers, and I leave the rest to God now.
I admit, I may miss a fault.  I am human.
But I don't like people who scam the system, and folks - they are out there.
So be wise.
I take plenty of pics of each item.
If some-one claims there is a problem, and there well may be, they must provide evidence.
Mind you, this does not stop them doing something to the item once they have received it, so check you original photos.
Also, they have to pay to send an item back.
Stipulate this when you have typed your description.
Paypal won't refund a seller the cost (to reimburse any shipping fees) for the buyer to send something back.
So be up front.
Exchange is best.
Just like a retail store, the store does not pay your parking or petrol, so you can shoot on back into the city and swap something that has a fault or is packed or described as the wrong colour etc., so neither do you.
I always say "I am here to help".
I apologise if I make a mistake.
But I will not be bullied.
So if you are going to sell on ebay you need to get tough.
I do all I can to have a happy customer whenever I can!

7.  Have an organised system
You need to have stock that is kept 'insect and weather' proof, and be kept in an orderly fashion.
I keep mine in opaque plastic tubs, so I can see at a glance what is in them.
Blue tubs for men's clothes, pink tubs for ladies items, clear tubs for kids, and accessories.
These tubs were about $10 each at Bunnings.
And they stack and transport well.
When I am done, I will use them to pack up my house.

8.  Be a resourceful planner
I knew a married couple who brought Sports Trading Cards to Australia from USA.
They made a LOT of money, and had several stores in our city.
Flashy sports cars and high living just from bits of printed cardboard. 
But alas, they held on too long to their business and went bust.
Trends are trends - they die off as fast as they hit.

9.  Keep a balanced life
I also have friends overseas who find jewellery and small handicrafts and sell them.
One lady I know lives in Bali and used to own retail stores in Australia.
She has a great business and makes a good profit.
She lives the vacation - it has not consumed her.
There is a balance.

10.  Keep your eyes open when travelling
One of the great joys of travelling is you are exposed to new trends and items before they reach your country or city.
I had a friend who was in the UK when 3-D posters came out.
He shipped them to Australia and had a friend do a market stall here.
Good team-work.
You may well find a product, and be able to be the business person on that side of the world for a %.
You are not stuck with the product then if items do not sell.

Spices market at Naama bay near Sharm el Sheik  Stock Photo - 10900416 

11.  Have a passion
One of the biggest keys, is to love what you do.
Sell what you love.
I have some ideas on things I want to find and sell whilst abroad.
Wait and see what surprise is in store, and if this happens - I hope so!

12.  Enjoy the rewards
The great thing about listing on ebay is you can do it anywhere there is a computer and wifi.

A few other selling tips

Research selling and setting up ebay in another country
You might want to open up a new ebay store for the country you are selling from.
Check that out carefully first, as it might be worth doing months ahead of time.
You will need an international postal or residential address.
Paypal can be registered to your travel email.

How many items on a new ebay site you can list
Ebay now has a limit policy for new clients as to listing quantity.
You can yell, write, register an ABN etc., but they will not budge on limits of what you can sell at the start.
You have to up your track record slowly.
I think this is over 12 - 18 months too.
This was a nightmare when I started a registered business, and nearly sent me bust.

Sell only for yourself
I am a kind person.
I find it really hard when good friends, and folks who have been kind to me, ask me to sell their items on ebay.
I once spent hours helping some-one list items when they were renovating.
I was stuck with the listing fees.
And guess what, they pulled them ALL off and sold all the items to a friend.
I wasted time and money.
If you are in Australia, you will be required to pay tax if you sell over a certain quantity.
It will also effect your Centrelink.
If something goes wrong, you are the one out of pocket.
You are the one with the bad feedback.
Trust me, let them do it themselves.

Keeping your suppliers a secret
Folks - the trick to any good business is to keep the name of your suppliers hush-hush.
You have done all the hard work in finding this great supplier, so don't just tell the next person who asks you who they are.
If you are smart, you can always be a middle man and make a percentage cut.
When travelling, Paypal can block you if you do not update international address so I have read.
Yet to find out the truth of this.
The great thing is Paypal can still go to your home bank account, and you just transfer over.
Also if you transfer or hold over $1000 in Paypal, they can investigate you for money laundering internationally, so keep the funds low and moving.
They will want your passport number if it goes over their limits, and you can't close the account.

Donating on Paypal
We have set up a Paypal link( top right of the main BLOG page) , so that readers of our blog can donate to our Random Acts of Kindness when we travel.
If you do this, you can also send an email and specify areas you would like the funds used for in helping the poor etc.
We will then take a photograph, and show your funds are used.

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