Sunday, November 6, 2016

My $100 Ebay Challenge for 2017?

It's no secret that I absolutely LOVE selling on Ebay.  Sometimes I jokingly say that it reminds me of taking candy from a baby.  Did you know that there are people in this world that live off of their Ebay sales and quite comfortably I might add?  I personally don't because I haven't had time to give the account the attention that it requires to do that amount of volume over the past few months, but some people do.

The Ebay of 2016 is NOTHING like the Ebay of 1999.  I remember Ebay in 1999 very vividly and am so glad they have made the improvements that they have over the years to create the site that we all know today.  You will hear seasoned, crusty sellers bitch about how much Ebay has changed over the years but it's just like any other business out there.  You have to evolve or you will be killed by the competition.

I am what is called an Ebay Power Seller and I don't consider myself an expert but I do know what I'm doing on the site.  My listings do decent when I post them and I do have repeat customers.  I enjoy receiving notification that I've sold something and it really does make me happy when a customer lets me know how happy they are with something that they have purchased from me.

The most popular Halloween item in my store in
2016 were these whimsical frames.
Copyright 2016, RB50, not for reuse
The majority of what I sell on Ebay is brand new stuff.  Why?  The answer is simple and it is because that is the direction that Ebay has decided to take their site, so in order to succeed on the site, sellers have to adapt as well.  There are still occasions where a used item can be posted but it has to be something fantastic in excellent condition for me to even consider listing it, but that's just MY Ebay business and the way I've chosen to run it.

Another thing that you will constantly hear sellers complain about is the fees.  If you are going to venture into selling on Ebay, you need to be aware of what your fees are going to be when your item sells.  Not only the Ebay fees but the Paypal fees.  I always estimate around 18% for Ebay/Paypal combined fees on everything that I sell on the site.

Shipping cost is the last thing.  Are you going to offer free shipping?  I do.  My routine is to first of all make sure I have the shipping supplies for the item(s) I am selling BEFORE it is listed.  How much does the item weigh?  How much is it going to cost to ship it to the furthest destination from my location?  It may cost me $7 to ship something to the east coast but $12 to ship it to California or Hawaii.  If you are going to offer free shipping (and buyers LOVE the illusion of getting things shipped to them for "free") you will need to know your shipping cost.  Volume shipping discounts with UPS are out there, I have just been slacking too much on my Ebay business to justify it.  2017 will be another story with that, though.

Figuring out how much to start the item out if it is an auction, or how much to charge straight up if you are doing a buy it now is important.  I know that if I have an item that weighs 3 ounces, it is going to cost me $2.60 to ship it anywhere in the US.  If I post that item for $9.99, this is how I calculate what I will profit on it:

It took almost a year to sell this Barbie House.
NOT a good item for Ebay!
Copyright 2016, RB50, not for reuse.
$9.99 x .18 = $1.80  That is the Ebay/Paypal take on the sale.

$9.99 - $1.80 = $8.19  That is how much I get after the Ebay/Paypal Fees.

$8.19 - $2.60 = $5.59  That is how much I will make on that item for each sale.

Another option for anything that light is to ship it without delivery confirmation because it is considerably cheaper but the question is, are you willing to risk it?  I have in the past with no issues.  It depends on how many of that item I have and the category that it sells in.  If it is a clothing or accessory related item, no way.  If it is a craft related item, I'll chance it without the delivery confirmation.

Side note:  I HATE selling in the clothing category on Ebay and could tell you some serious horror stories about selling clothing on Ebay.  To me, it's just not worth it but then again, that's just my opinion based on my personal experience.

Speaking of how many...

That's where the money is made.  In volume.  If I have 50 of that $9.99 item in hand, once it sells out, I will have made $279.50 off of that listing.  Now I obviously have to take into consideration how much I paid for the item.  If I paid $1 for each of the 50 items (which is actually a high estimate), my total profit would be $229.50 off of that ONE listing.  Shipping supplies have to be deducted as well and that price varies.  I do have a few resources for shipping supplies that cost me ZERO but not everyone will be able to make those types of connections.

Photograph it once, list it once, ship it.  Right before it sells out, I order more.  When more inventory arrives, I simply hit the relist button.    Simplicity in one of my favorite forms.

Yes Lanie but how much time do you spend packing the item for shipping?  Time is money.

True.  Time IS money.  Years ago I would sell items that required a lot of time and supplies to package and ship.  Single items that could take up to 30 minutes to get ready to go out the door.  Now that is a thing of the past.  Unless there is a huge profit on that single item that will eat up a lot of my time, I won't post it and that item goes into flea market inventory for some other Ebay seller to buy it cheap (at a smaller profit for me but a profit none the less) and let them deal with it.  My items have to be easy to ship.  Drop into an envelope or box and slap the label on it easy.  Time is money.

Before I went to free shipping.
Copyright 2016, RB50, not for reuse
Selling on Ebay isn't going to be for everyone.  It can provide a nice little part time income if you do it correctly.  I am going to be making a few changes over the next couple of months to my Ebay business that will increase sales and that part of the income for 2017.   I will be posting more items than I've ever posted before.  2015/16 was spent experimenting and tweaking to come up with the model that I've decided on that will provide the largest profit with the smallest amount of time and money invested.  As a result, 2017 will be a fantastic year for me on Ebay.

Will it provide a triple digit income?  NO because I don't have the time that it would take to do that.  Will it provide profit in 2017 to shuffle into other areas to make even more money to invest into something else to grow that profit even more?  Ummm... YES, most definitely.

Could I take $100 in January and turn it into $10,000 or MORE on Ebay by December 31st?  I'm pretty sure I could.  Maybe I should do exactly that with a separate Ebay account and show you how it can be done on a part time basis.  Everything from buying/choosing the inventory to listing/packaging/mailing.  Reveal all of the financials for that Ebay account in detail to show you how it can be done.  Show you every problem that arises and how I handle it.  Hmmm...  Now there's an idea.  What do you think?  Should I take that challenge for 2017?  What would you do with that $10,000 or more at the end of the year?  I know exactly what I would do with it and I'd show you that when the challenge was complete at the end of December 2017.  

If you want to watch the current store evolve and change over the next 2 months, you can watch the activity on the current Ebay account here.  Meanwhile, let me know your thoughts on the challenge in the comments below.  Do you want to see how it can be done?

Happy Sunday my friends and happy Ebaying!