It’s finally that spring to summer transition period! Now is a great time to do some spring cleaning with your finances and your home. This week we will sharing stories about side hustles and we have some great interviews and ideas planned for the whole week, so check back often. Today, Michelle will be kicking off Side Hustle Week with How To Start Your eBay Business.
SIDE HUSTLE WEEK PRESENTS
How To Start Your eBay Business
It seems like everyone has a side hustle these days.
Tons of people are punching the clock at their “real job” and then coming home to do freelance writing, survey taking, or dog walking in order to make some extra scratch to put towards their dreams. Sometimes it’s about paying down credit card debt, sometimes it’s taking a dream vacation, and sometimes it’s just as simple as getting out of the vicious paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.
Whatever your reasons may be for having a side hustle, I’m willing to bet that you have one thing in common with all the other side-hustlers out there: you don’t want to waste your time. You want more bang for your buck, or in this case, buck for your bang. You want top dollar for the free time you’re sacrificing in order to keep your hustle alive.
I present to you: the eBay side hustle.
eBay is an awesome side hustle for the person willing to put in a little extra work for a lot of extra reward. Selling on eBay is going to net you far more per month than taking survey after survey for pennies, and there’s virtually no prior experience needed. Just about anyone can be successful selling on eBay–and here’s 5 good reasons to start your eBay side hustle today.
1. Declutter Your House
The whole reason I started selling on eBay is the first place was to declutter our house. I got sick of having stuff crammed in every crack and crevice of the place, and figured that I could make a couple bucks off all of it instead of just tossing it in the trash or donating it.
Not that I am against donating: we donate plenty of things that I don’t think will sell well on eBay, but are still in usable or good condition. That being said, I am seeking financial independence, after all. Every little bit of money I can make toward my goal gets me that much closer to the finish line.
Now, if you’re anything like me, clutter has a way of making you feel anxious. I can’t relax if I’m sitting next to a pile of magazines from five months ago that still need to be read. Even though magazines are a form of entertainment, and reading them is a way to relax, the over-abundance of them makes me feel all…unsettled.
This is probably something I should consider seeing a doctor about, but basically it all boils down to this: if my living space is out of control, I feel out of control.
eBay is a great place to regain control of your space (and your life) because you can sell nearly anything on there. People usually think of eBay as a place to find your unique, lesser known items like a rare collector’s edition Star Wars action figure, but you can find everyday items on there too–y’know, the stuff that always seems to make up the better part of the “clutter” in your house.
Here’s some ideas:
Did you start a new crocheting hobby 3 months ago, buying every color of yarn, every size crochet hook, and every cute pattern under the sun — only to find that you really, really hate crocheting?
Sell it all on eBay.
Have you recently taken up canning your own food, but accidentally bought way more mason jars that you’ll ever need in five of your lifetimes?
Sell ‘em on eBay.
Did you buy a bunch of seasoning packets on sale at your local supermarket, but tried only one and realized that you didn’t like the flavor?
You guessed it. eBay.
I think you probably get the drift–eBay isn’t just for rare or obscure items. If you have something, anything that’s in good condition that you just aren’t using anymore, you can probably sell it on eBay.
2. Earn Supplemental Income
I’ve tried a lot of different side hustles, including Amazon Mechanical Turk, direct sales, rebate apps and survey websites. eBay has, hands down, been the biggest moneymaker of them all. (More on this later.)
With that being said, it isn’t the easiest side hustle. If you don’t mind a little bit of elbow grease, then eBay could be your answer to a steady stream of extra income every month.
Last month I made about $337.00 from selling on eBay, and I wasn’t even actively listing items (which usually increases your sales). Not bad for a stay-at-home mom with very limited time on her hands.Last month I made about $337.00 from selling on eBay. Not bad for a stay-at-home mom with very limited time on her hands. Click To Tweet
Granted, I was running huge sales for the entirety of the month, but running huge sales all the time is a perfectly acceptable sales strategy on eBay. In fact some people swear by it, arguing that quantity of sales is better than quality of sales. I’d probably tend to agree, given that last month was my best month yet.
Take a second to think about it, and imagine it. What can an extra $337.00 a month do for you? That’s surely enough to cover a utility bill or two, or a car payment.
Then think about it in year’s time — that’s a whopping $4,044! You could take a pretty awesome vacation every year for that kind of money. Or how about slapping some of that money on a nagging credit card or student loan debt? Maybe you could toss it into a savings account earmarked for your very first home. The possibilities are endless!
For me, that’s another $4,000 that I can sink into an investment vehicle of my choosing so that I can claw my way toward early retirement just a little faster. If that’s not your goal, that’s ok. You worked for that money, you get to spend it however you like. (Hotel room for two and a babysitter? Dinner out? Possibilities are endless.)
3. Build Your Brand
If you create a product or a service, or offer curated collections, this option is more for you.
There’s two routes you can take when selling online–selling on an existing platform like eBay, or starting your own stand-alone store.
Selling on existing platforms is a good starting point so you can get an idea of what customers want and work on building yourself a loyal customer base. Once you know exactly what your customers are looking for and how to deliver it, you can eventually branch out to your own store.
Creating your own store has its advantages because you have the possibility to pay less fees and have more freedom over how your brand is marketed and how your store and customer service is structured. You also aren’t going to have to adjust your business plan every time your chosen platform decides to change their rules or how their website functions.
Understand that branching out is a lot harder. You don’t have the pre-existing traffic that you’ll see when selling on a platform like eBay, a company that is already well-known, and therefore does a lot of the marketing for you. Striking out on your own means that you are responsible for your own promotion, and getting potential buyers to notice your items is completely your problem. If things don’t work out, there’s going to be no one to blame but yourself–and that’s scary.
That’s why I recommend starting on a platform first. If you provide great products and service, you can develop a following and then hopefully move that following to your own store eventually.
If you are interested in selling at a smaller scale, and focusing on eliminating clutter from your home, the eBay platform is ideal for you in the meantime.
4. Work Your Way Into Wholesale
When I sell on eBay, I go out to stores and buy things at low prices and then resell them at higher prices on on eBay. I do this by shopping at thrift stores or in clearance sections at places like Target or Walmart. This practice is called retail arbitrage. I run my business this way because it’s just easier for me with my current situation and knowledge of the market.
However, another way to get materials to sell online is to buy things wholesale. This is a little less work, because the items are delivered right to your door and you don’t have to go out searching for them. You also stand to see much higher profit margins than with retail arbitrage. However, buying wholesale involves a lot more risk and more startup cash.
Most wholesale companies won’t sell to you unless you buy in large quantities. In order to buy successfully, you need to really have some experience in knowing your market, and knowing how to sell already.
You’ve seen it on TV–some poor schlub named Joe buys 5,000 mattress pad covers and then can’t find anyone to buy them. His wife calls him an idiot and leaves him. Next, we see him sitting on top of his mountain of inventory, swinging his legs and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because that’s all he can afford to eat after he spent his life savings on a failed business venture.
He should’ve known his market. Now he’s out the cost of the items, a wife, a slice of real estate in his basement or storage space, and an even bigger slice of his dignity. Never mind that he’s now buying budget peanut butter and jelly…!
Buying wholesale is also an easy way to get scammed if you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s many wholesale websites on the internet, some more savoury than others. If you don’t know where to look, and just order from the first website you see, you may end up paying a bunch of money for something that isn’t exactly what you ordered, is of poor quality, or worse: never shows up at all.
“This is great advice. Be carefull of who you trust online; not everyone has the experience they claim and not all advice will work for everyone.” – Michael Dinich
Once you get to know your market and are savvy enough to avoid getting scammed, wholesale is a great way to make money, especially if you couple buying wholesale with starting your very own stand-alone store. Be aware that easing your way in by starting small (usually with retail arbitrage or selling your own items) is smart and is going to greatly reduce the risk you would expose yourself to if you had just jumped straight into wholesale inventory sales with both feet.
5. Quit Your Day Job
Now, this is rare, but there are people who make a full time income selling on eBay. This requires a lot of work, time, and dedication, but it IS possible. If you’re looking for a way to replace your income from your regular job and own your time, eBay could be your answer.
Many of the people that do this also branch out into other selling platforms like Amazon, Poshmark, Offerup or Mercari, which may be something you could look into after you get the hang of eBay. I don’t recommend trying to learn them all at the same time, especially in addition to working a full time job, because eBay has a steep learning curve of its own. You run the risk of getting overwhelmed or burnt out if you try to do too much at once.
Another word to the wise is to not cross post your items, especially if you only have one or two of each item. You do not want to risk negative reviews because you have ran out of a product and forgot to cancel the auction or sale in one of the platforms.
One of the best resources for learning how to ramp up your eBay game to full-time level is going to be Youtube. There are several sellers who have channels where they post videos several times a week with tips for anyone selling online across a variety of platforms.
One of my favorite channels is Rockstar Flipper, run by a guy who is killing it in selling online and making over $100,000 a year. He posts frequently, and his videos are super educational. The topics are extremely informational and cover basics such as business accounting, where to find inventory, new eBay policy updates, and even simple things, like how to properly ship items.
Like I mentioned before, selling on eBay isn’t “easy money”, and doing it to replace your income entirely is going to be tons of work at best. However, if you’re willing to dedicate the necessary time and energy to really learning the business through and through–it is possible. Believe it or not.
Your New Favorite Side Hustle
I know I’m here talking a lot about how eBay is the best thing to ever hit side hustling–and that’s because it has been for me. Know that the nice thing about eBay is that there’s no commitments. You work for yourself, and eBay really doesn’t care whether you come or go.
While it may not sound ideal, or motivating, it’s actually kind of nice. It means that you have the freedom to give eBay the good ol’ college try and if you absolutely hate it, just quit and find a new hustle. Or try a different selling platform. Or just stop side hustling entirely and sit on your couch and eat Cheetos all day. Whatever floats your kayak.
If eBay sounds like something you may enjoy, give it a shot. The cost is minimal, and I urge you to sign up today and start selling by later today or tomorrow. There really doesn’t have to be a lot of risk involved if you don’t go buying up an entire pallet of useless mattress covers like our poor sucker Joe. If you can at least remember not to do that, then you’re already well on your way to eBay success!
And who knows? You may just find your new favorite side hustle.