ebay 101

Yeah!  Lots of fun and hopefully some great information at last night’s presentation of ebay 101.

I love online business and it was fun to share a lot of what I have learned over the years with people looking to sell on ebay.

Below are links to many of the things I talked about.  There are several more videos on listing and pricing items and also on FINDING items on my youtube channel for your learning pleasure.

How To Set Up An Ebay Account

How To Set Up a PayPal Account

Thanks for your support and please browse through this site for tons of eBay and online selling tips.




What To Sell For Christmas

Even the most casual online seller knows that Christmas is the busiest time of the year online.  Most new sellers, and many seasoned sellers, do not know exactly how to capitalize on the huge increase in qualified traffic that is searching–and most importantly buying–during the holiday season.

If you are well established in a niche and have been selling online for a while you are probably anticipating the season and figuring out exactly how to stock up and be ready.

If you are new or not sure how to best capitalize on the Christmas season, here are a few great ideas.


Toys are a HUGE seller (obviously!)  If you the time and inclination to watch eBay, Amazon, ToysRUs, Target, Walmart and the Disney store, you can profit–Big Time–by playing the retail arbitrage game.  The “hot” toys will sell out at one or more of these markets and immediate increase in value at one or more of the other markets.  The opportunities here are huge.  Manufacturers cannot guess exactly what toys will “take off” and often times they are just as surprised as us at the results of their marketing.  This leaves a shortage of supply.   You can capitalize on this shortage if you can purchase the wanted toys.  I have made thousands of dollars doing exactly this!  I am not a toy expert and every year I invest in Jenni Hunt’s Holiday Toy Guide to help me out.  She takes her years of toy-selling experience and spends hours each week analyzing the market and telling you exactly which toys are selling at above retail at which site.  Her Holiday Toy Guide is a small investment you can make to seriously capitalize on Christmas 2013.

Review Jenni’s Holiday Toy Guide


Browse Walmart or your local dollar store for ideas.  Fill a medium (or large) box with products all related to the same theme.  Theme ideas:

Sporting Goods related to your local team (Notre Dame or Boston Red Sox,)

A Gardening Basket

A College Student Basket

A Puzzle Basket

A Book Lover’s Basket

A Food Lover’s Basket

A Candy Lover’s Basket

A Basket for a little boy who loves trucks

A Basket for a little girl who loves dolls

An Artist’s Basket

A Crafter’s Basket

A Movie Night Basket

A Baker’s Basket

Mark the basket up $10-20 over what you pay.  Make sure to use the words gift and Christmas in your description.  Also make sure to use the words might describe the person the gift is for “candy lover,” “toddler.”  Thousands of people (I am one of them) search on “Christmas gift for toddler.” or “gift idea for puzzle lover.”  Make sure your description is broad enough for these folks to find your gift.  Remember, pictures and descriptions are very important here.  You want to make the photographed box pretty and full and look like a complete gift.  Your buyer wants to know you have just put together the perfect gift for their loved one.


I was completely surprised the first year I ran my online grocery store at the huge increase in volume I experienced starting in mid November.  I didn’t expect a big increase in grocery sales–after all, groceries are purchased and consumed year round.  I sold hundreds of extra items during the Christmas season, apparently people eat more at Christmas time!  Seriously, they buy every day groceries as gifts and often they splurge on luxury food items they wouldn’t buy everyday.  My business nearly doubled during the month of December.  So, even if you are not a regular grocery seller, list a few groceries and see how they do.


Look through your Sunday ads and determine what toys are popular and being promoted. Then search your stores for accessories related to these toys.  You can even group the accessories together and create a bundle.  Is Monster’s University the big thing?  Look for an alarm clock, a watch, some PJ’s.  The one-off items are often harder to locate in stores and sometimes the main gift is already purchased and grandparents or friends want to purchase a similar item.

Thanks and Happy Shopping!



Free Stuff To Sell on eBay

FREE Things You Can Sell on Ebay

There are a lot of things you can sell on Ebay for no monetary investment–just a little bit of your time and energy.SERVICES: There is a section in ebay titled “Specialty Services.” Browse through it to come up with ideas. Do you have skills that may be in demand? Do you do copywriting, edititing, proofreading? Perhaps you have great design or HTML skills. What do you (or have you in the past) gotten paid for and how could you incorporate that into something to sell? Perhaps you are a whiz with accounting or taxes, you could list your services for online sellers or small businesses. Every one has skills that are unique or worth paying for. Get creative here!

TICKETS: Look at Ebay’s section of tickets. Hundreds of tickets sell above face value every day on Ebay. You can buy tickets for a hot show or sporting event, it can be in any city, and resell them as the event gets closer. Watch what similar tickets end up going for and buy carefully. There is a lot of money to be made in ticket sales but make sure to study the market.

OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF: You can quite easily become a trading assistant officially through ebay and be listed to do consignment sales. You can also solicit consignment sales on your own. After approaching friends and relatives, get creative. Call people who have items listed in the classified or on Craig’s list. Many of these sellers want to unload their stuff but don’t have the patience or inclination to sell on ebay. Consider approaching small businesses in your area. Offer to list slower moving items and split the profit. There are hundreds of small shops in every metropolitian area, you might be able to get a nice source on unique inventory.

Keep your eyes open and your pocketbook closed when first selling on ebay. There is a lot of potential profit out there at NO COST to you!


Flea Marketing 201

Flea Marketing 201

EBay has earned its place in cyberspace as the world’s largest rummage sale. It is a great place to resell vintage and preowned items. The profit margin can be huge when you know what to buy.

Some great ideas for finding second hand inventory were given in earlier in Flea Marketing 101.

Here are some more things to look for when shopping for eBay inventory:

Scrapbooking Supplies (Creative Memories)
Stamping Supplies (Stampin’ Up)
Games for Wii, XBox, DS
Digital Cameras (even broken can be sold for $20-30)
Vintage Phones (color and style matter here)
Electric Rollers (Richard Caruso Brand or Remington certain colors)
Hooked on Phonics Sets/Learn to Read, Write or Do Math Sets
Unopened, unused makeup (Brand names)
Perfume (Brand Name, can be opened or used)
Dance and gymnastic costumes and shoes
Sport Shoes, Cleats (Brand Names)
Longaberger Baskets
Pier One Pottery and Dishes
Fishing Gear
Board Games (intact and complete with instructions)

Always get items as cheap as possible. If you are at a personal sale, strike up a bargain. If you are shopping the thrift markets, go on discount days or shop for items that are on sale.

Make sure to use Terapeak Price Report or do your own research on eBay to see what items are selling for.

A resource that will pay for itself over and over again is Garage Sale Goldmines.


Flea Marketing 101

Flea Marketing 101

Get there early and be ready to bargain. Scour through the entire sale, picking up your “maybes” as you go along. Use your phone’s ebay application for items you aren’t sure about. Keep the following list in your mind (or in your pocket) when looking for inventory to sell on ebay:

Anything with tags: If you can list an item on ebay as “new with tags,” the value increases. Name brands and trendy items will do best here.

Books: Focus on non fiction and “coffee table” books. Avoid fiction books unless you can get them super cheap (10-25 cents each.) Books are easy to sell on ebay, half.com or on amazon. Learn more about selling books with a great and reasonably priced ebook loaded with tried and true ideas for book sellers. I bought this ebook a few months ago and it has paid for iteself several times over.

Winter Coats: Children and Adult. Name brand and pristine condition coats sell well on ebay. Brands to watch for: Gap, Hollister, Abercrombie, Anne Klein, Roth’s Child, Gymboree.

Shoes: Name brand and in top notch condition. Depending on the brand, plan on getting $10-20 pair on ebay.

Dishes: Bought in a set (aim to spend $25-$35) and split into lots of 2 or 4, these can have an excellent profit margin.

Toys–current or vintage: Condition matters here, but there is a huge market for toys on ebay. Vintage toys can do quite well. I bought two “See and Say” plastic toys at a garage sale recently for $1 each and they each brought around $15. I also sold a lot of old Lincoln Logs for around $70.

Coffee Cups: Look for Starbucks or Trader Joe cups. Think trendy and nationally known. Coffee Cups do very well on ebay.

Lynne Dralle (the queen of auctions) has buying and selling second hand items down to a science. I’ve listened to several seminars with her and she is helpful, fun and willing to share her ebay secrets. She has been selling on ebay for over 10 years and makes a good full time living selling unique and antique items on ebay. She explains the particulars and gives great advice on exactly what to watch for when shopping to resell items on ebay. Check out her book:

Another resource that is highly recommended comes from an accomplished ebay seller. If you are looking to become an expert at flea bay marketing check out Garage Sale Goldmines to learn all of the tricks.


Ebays “About Me” Page

Ebay’s “About Me” Page

Ebay’s “about me” pages are a GREAT place to tell your buyers about you and your business. Buying online can be impersonal and faceless and this is one way to connect with the people you are selling to. Take a few minutes to let them know who you are and what your business is about.Your “about me” page is your chance to highlight your experience in your niche, your dedication to customer service and your selling policies. Make it personal and professional at the same time.

Buyers are probably not curious about your favorite TV shows or where you shop(unless it relates to your niche,) but they DO want to know when and why you are selling on ebay. Be honest–buyers don’t mind if this is a part time job you perform between diaper changes and carpool runs. Tell them about yourself and keep it positive.

You are allowed to tell buyers about your own website or encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, but make sure never to bash ebay or ebay policies.

Post a picture of your family or your pet. You will never meet your customers in person and most buyers like to know something about who they are buying from.

Jim Cochrum at My Silent Team has extremely creative ideas about how to use ebay’s “about me” pages to grow your sales and your customer base.


Using Your eBay Store

Using Your Ebay Store

Yeah! I love my ebay store.

No matter where this ebay journey takes me, there will always be time to scour garage sales and put treasures into my ebay store to wait for the right buyer. It seems like just as I tire of looking at them on my shelf, and wonder if they are ever going to find a home, someone comes along and snags them.

This weekend a buyer plucked a group of five coffee cups out of my ebay store. He paid $20 for them. They cost me a total of 50 cents. I LOVE that profit margin!

The math:

Sale Price $20.00
Handling Charge: $1.00
Inventory Cost: .50
Store Carrying Cost: .18 (six months in the store at .03/month)
FVF & PayPal 3.00
PROFIT: $17.32

Lynne Dralle, AKA the Queen of Auctions, clued me into the coffee cup idea. She is an expert at figuring out what to buy at local garage sales to sell on ebay. I have learned a lot from her and highly recommend her as a teacher if you want to sell collectables.

She has written many great books and has an entire “boot camp” dedicated to helping sellers learn how to find antiques and collectibles and sell them on ebay.


Ebay Pricing Strategies

pricing for eBay

The final selling price of your products has everything to do with how you price your item to get that first bid.

There are many ways to list products and many strategies on getting the highest possible final price. After reviewing dozens of successful selling strategies and selling thousands of items on eBay, the process of pricing can still be a matter of “gut” feeling, especially when I’m listing a product for the first time.

There are several things to look at as you develop your own pricing strategy.

Is the item a commodity or a unique, one of kind item? A commodity, for this purpose, is something that sells over and over on eBay for the about the same price. Look at final selling prices on eBay by checking the “completed listings” box under “advanced” search or use a research tool like Hammertap or Terapeak.

If your product is easy to find and sells often on eBay for around the same price, consider listing it in a fixed price format or putting it in your eBay store. Most easy to find products are not going to end higher in an auction than what they typically sell for. If it is not a commonly purchased product (i.e. there is a good chance a week or 10 days could pass without the right buyer searching for it), a fixed price or store listing is also a good idea.

If your product is unique or collectible (but not so unique that 7 or 10 days could pass without someone searching on it) or “hot”, an auction format will work quite well. There are many strategies when it comes to the starting price in auction formats, but generally the lower the starting price, the higher the ending value. Many auctions start at just .99 even when the expected closing fee is in the hundreds of dollars.

Use Terapeak or your own research to see how many items like yours have sold in the last week. If there are at least three or four closed sales in the previous week, you are probably pretty safe with starting your auction low.

It can be hard to follow this advice, but study after study has shown that low starting prices drive the most interest and end at the highest price. Use Terapeak and notice the opening bid and the ending price.

If there are only one or two closed sales in the previous week, you might want to consider listing it a the lowest possible price you will take. That way, if only one or two buyers are watching and bidding on your item, you don’t lose your shirt.

Remember to pay close attention to the day of the week and the time of the day auctions end in your research. Your auction will close exactly 3,7 or 10 days after you list it depending on how long your auction runs. Evenings are generally the best time to have an auction end (consider the time across the country–you don’t want potential bidders to be asleep when it ends) and Sunday evenings generally get the highest prices. The Sunday evening suggestion is general, however, you will find that different products do best on different days.

Even after you develop your strategy you will need to keep doing your research and testing your own methods. EBay is changing constantly and the best strategy for today may not be the best strategy in the future.


eBay Powerseller Essentials: Tools of the Trade

Ebay Powerseller Essentials–Tools of the Trade

Aiming to be a powerseller? Planning on building an ecommerce empire?

If your answer is yes, and I hope it is, you need to set up your home office. Even if your house is bursting at the seams, claim a corner for yourself and start gathering the tools you will need to succeed.

Ebay and Ecommerce Essentials:

1.) A digital camera. Pictures are essential to selling online. Your camera doesn’t have to be the latest or greatest, but it needs to be digital and reliable.

2.) A permanent workspace. Find a dedicated spot in your house and devote it to your business. The kitchen table is practical and works well between meals, but you are going to need a space you don’t need to set up and take down. Even if all you can manage at first is a small corner and a card table, set it up to stay.

3.) A good computer and printer. If your computer or printer is slow or out-of-date, make plans to get a new one. Your computer is a key element of your business.

4.) A dedicated shipping station and a good scale. Again, even if all you can squeeze out is a table, set up your packing supplies and scale and use the space just for shipping. Shipping will go much quicker and leave you time for selling.

5.) A standing order with the Post Office. Decide how often you are going to be shipping and arrange to have packages ready for the postman on certain days. Avoid the post office as much as possible. You are too busy to drive and wait in line.

5.) A support network. Get out there (in cyber space) and follow some blogs. Join a site for support and ideas. Make sure to follow the The Ecommerce Mom. I find Jim Cockrum’s My Silent Team to be an excellent resource. Another site definately worth its weight in gold is Lisa Suttora’s What Do I Sell.

6.) Feed your brain. Eat up books on selling, marketing and entrepreneurs. Read positive thinking material. Think like a winner and feed your brain winning thoughts!


Five Sizzling Ideas for eBay Sourcing at your Local Store

Sell on eBay

After clearing out your basement (and your parent’s basement and your neighbor’s basement) most eBay enthusiast’s have an “ah-ha” moment or, more accurately, an “uh-oh” moment.  The “uh-oh”  happens to us enthusiasts who have uncovered a passion for making money on the internet, acted on that passion by selling everything and anything and sometime thereafter realized WE ARE OUT OF THINGS TO SELL!

My “uh-oh” moment came in glimpses and pieces.  I saw it coming about the same time I could finally see the floor of the basement storage room.  My eBay inventory was getting thin.  It wouldn’t last forever.  What was I going to do?  I was hooked on the money–I loved watching the numbers climb every week in my seller account–but soon I would run out of cast-offs to sell.

I started staying up late at night and researching eBay and trying to figure out WHERE and HOW the other sellers were getting their inventory.  I was CONFUSED–many of these sellers were selling items CHEAPER than the stores!  How on earth could they source something and distribute it for less than Wal-Mart?  (I later learned that deep pockets and large storage facilities are part of that equation!)

I started buying things at Flea Markets and Thrift Stores to resell.  This was a pretty good idea and after a few weeks of studying and paying attention, I got pretty good at knowing how to hunt.  I enjoy selling in the unique and collectible category and still do.  The CHALLENGE with this category, however, is CONSISTENCY and TIME. I would find ONE great item and make GREAT money but finding that same item again would be a long shot.  Some days I would find several great deals and other days, nothing.  The challenge in this niche is you are always HUNTING for inventory.  It can be a fun, rewarding and profitable business, but it isn’t CONSISTENT and it can take up a lot of TIME.

About this time my husband noticed that our local grocery store was no longer carrying a particular brand of Hamburger Helper that Adrienne, my oldest daughter, really likes.  On a lark he decided to look on eBay.  He not only found the Hamburger Helper but he found many other food items as well.  I decided to check it out.

What I found was that not only Hamburger Helper was selling online, but a lot of other groceries were selling online also!  GROCERIES on eBay–I was incredulous!  I soon realized that certain items are hard to find worldwide (or even nationwide) and that some folks do not have the ability to get to a store that carries the items they want.

I started listing a variety of groceries and also listed a lot of health and beauty items.  All the details of my eBay niche are available in my book Grocery Store Goldmines.

This idea can be twisted and turned in a lot of different ways–just keep in mind when you are at any store that you are potentially around dozens of items that have a market on eBay!  Some ways I’ve twisted and turned this idea around during my eBay sourcing:

1.)   Investigate “new” products, especially in the health and beauty section.  I sold the Jenny Craig diet plan from Sam’s Club when it was first introduced.  I had no competition and was able to put a healthy mark up on it for several weeks.  Pay attention when there is a “new ” brand of tooth whitener or a “new” type of floss.

2.)  Look hard at unusual products–items that you don’t see everywhere but that you can get you hands on easily have potential.  We sold a lot of lemon flavored crystal light that we could only find in one store in town.  Apparently, that store was the exception and that flavor was very hard to find!  You can ask your grocer if he/she knows of any unique items in their store.

3.)  Look hard at trendy items–things that correspond to a just released movie or popular TV series.  We sold 25 Twilight board games that we got at Walmart for about a $15 markup on each one.  These games were only released to Walmart and only released in a limited quantity.  They sold like hotcakes right after Twilight was released!

4.)  Find discontinued products that are still in stock–you used to be able to search on “wanted to buy” on eBay, but I think that function has been discontinued.   A Google search, however, on discontinued products can lead you to lists that manufacturers provide.  You will find that buyers who really enjoy these products will often pay a healthy markup and usually will buy all that you have because the items can no longer be found in most places.

5.)  See what is already offered on eBay.

If you want to do a random search on which grocery items are currently listed on eBay go to your category options and select “Home and Garden” and then “Inside the Home” and then “Food and Wine” and you will eventually get to a list like this for your browsing pleasure-


Food & Wine
Coffee (22,006)
Condiments (1,053)
Desserts (6,544)
Fake Food (1,350)
Food Coupons (39,877)
Oils (558)
Recipes (5,280)
Sauces (4,746)
Tea (24,036)
Water (934)
Wine (2,225)
Other (13,766)

You can make a fortune bringing the everyday items at your local stores to buyers across the world.  Keep your eyes open and your mind open and see what you can create!