With the holiday’s fast approaching, in addition to shopping for bargains, a lot of people would like to earn extra income. For the next few posts, let’s look at some ways you can do this, easily and quickly.
First, let’s look at what I consider the easiest and fastest way to earn extra income. Yes, I am referring to ebay.com, the biggest shopping mall to ever come along.
Anyone can participate in the ebay game. Here’s how:
1. Find some stuff.
2. Sell it on ebay.com
Seriously, that’s the basis of this online merchandising phenomenon, which presently has 165,000 active users!
On ebay.com you will find everything from someone selling Aunt Mabel’s old posters, to giant corporations discounting their slow moving merchandise, and every- thing in between. There is new merchandise, used merchandise, collectable merchandise, etc.
There are so many different ways to make money on ebay and other similar sites like Yahoo and even Amazon Auctions, that entire books have been written about it and there are numerous programs to teach you step-by-step how to do it.
What I want to accomplish here is to give you some basic ideas and explain a few successful selling models that are being used, in the hope that I motivate you to start brainstorming with your friends or family, and look for ways for you to add to your household income using ebay.
One of the things that prevents many people from changing their money situation is the belief that they need to know everything before starting. Start first, refine later. Jump in and get your feet wet.
The way most people get started selling on ebay is by looking through their own house, garage and basement for merchandise that they no longer want.
Warning! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you no longer want something or that it’s kind of worn that there is not a buyer for it. We actually sold empty boxes on an ebay auction to a woman who was thrilled because they provided the missing pieces for decorating her daughter’s wedding.
Some people go around to yard sales looking for items that they can resell online. They will buy entire boxes of items just to pick out a few key things for resale.
The trick, if this appeals to you, is to get to the sales very early, usually before the published time. When we were moving and ran an ad for our yard sale from 8:00 AM, I had people in the garage at 6:30!
If you’re a craft person, artist or photographer, and your not selling on ebay, you’re losing out on sizable income. You can also sell your crafts on www.etsy.com and others, however, keep in mind the staggering number of potential customers looking on ebay.
One artist I met has what I consider a brilliant marketing model for his work. He sells 5” x 7” animal prints on ebay, framed and ready to hang, for about $25. I know this because one of them looked just like our Persian cat “Smokey” so Georgia bought it.
When the print arrived the package included a brochure for his original artwork and larger prints, which sold for hundreds and thousands of dollars. He was essentially using ebay to build a mailing list of people who buy animal art, while at the same time, selling smaller prints of his large pieces. He maintained his cash flow and built his database at the same time.
What about you?
If none of these examples appeal to you, fear not, you can still play on ebay. Find something you’re interested in. Something you know about.
A friend of Georgia’s is a lawyer who, after having a baby, wanted to stay home and raise her child. She started selling her good quality, but unwanted, clothes on ebay and after her initial success, expanded it into a business. This is basically an online version of the traditional consignment clothing shop.
Years ago, my wife Georgia, sold clothes on ebay and still uses it for items she no longer wants. One woman who bought some of Georgia’s things, was married to a man who would buy top quality designer suits, like Armani, on ebay.
He was an insurance salesman and wanted to project an affluent image without spending a fortune on clothing. He was able to buy a suit worth about $2,000 for $200, wear it a couple of times and then resell it for basically what he paid for it.
His clients would see him in a different designer suit every time they met. This was good for his business because people like to do business with successful people.
The secret is in the purchase price
Another ebay option is to sell a product that you can obtain at a good price. The “secret” here is being able to “source” the merchandise. There are people on ebay who, because of their low overhead, can sell expensive watches at a fraction of the retail price.
Some people in our area go to antique dealers put a $10 deposit on an item, take a photo of it, and then go and offer it on ebay for more than they are paying for it. If the item doesn’t sell, they just give up the $10 deposit, but they aren’t stuck with a white elephant.
The big one
Liquidations, outlet centers and close-outs. Again you must know what you are buying, but if you do, you can build a significant income from this. The key here is knowing enough about a product or item, to know what will, and more importantly what won’t sell easily and for what price.
In my seminars I tell the story about Georgia and her fur handbag.
Georgia had gone to the Neiman Marcus outlet center in Franklin Mills, Pennsylvania and bought a bunch of stuff to resell on ebay. Of course, she also bought some things to keep for herself:-)
One of the items was a fur handbag (a pocketbook for the men reading this). The original selling price was $5,000 (this is not a typo). I gasped, “how much?” I didn’t think there were such things as $5,000 pocketbooks.
Of course, I now know better. The French designer, Hermes “Birkin bag,” named for actress Jane Birkin, sells from between $11,550 to US$150,000.
Georgia informed me that she only paid $500 for the bag, which immediately made me feel better. The bag sold later that week on ebay for $1,250.
Let’s examine that transaction
- The buyer got a beautiful, brand new handbag worth $5,000 for 75% off the retail price. Happy buyer.
- Georgia received two and a half times her investment. Happy wife.
- Neiman Marcus moved the merchandise that they wanted to move. Happy Neiman’s.
This was a win, win, win. Everyone was happy.
This is good business. Whatever you do, in any transaction, make sure it’s a win for everyone. If it’s not, then it’s not a win for anyone. There are no exceptions to this. A good deal always benefits all parties.
You can use this basic model for any product, at any price point, at any time. In merchandising of any kind, profit is made on the buying side.
Whether its designer clothing and accessories, cars, or real estate, there is always a perceived value and price. If you can buy whatever it is, well below that – in Georgia’s case 90% off retail – you can make money on the resale.
If selling on ebay appeals to you as a way to add an additional source of income for your family, learn how to do it. There are tons of ebooks and programs to help you.