Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Guest Post From...... My Cousin!

I have a very special guest today- my cousin.
And not the kind of cousin where your moms are sisters and you see each other once a year or so.
I'm talking about the cousin that grew up a mile away from me and,
we saw each other all. the. time.
The type of cousin along with her sister, I secretly always wished were my sisters!
Well, that's Mellissa Rose.
And she is super talented. And she sells on ebay.
And she's got some great advice to give. I thought you might be interested. So, here goes:

Ten years ago I was planning my wedding on a budget. When I couldn’t find the perfect veil, my husband suggested I try ebay. I had never heard about ebay and after viewing the site, I fell in love with it. I was able to find the perfect veil and I ordered it…from Russia! Since then I have sold thousands of items for a profit. These are items that I had around the house or I purchased for resale at thrift stores. In fact, I did so well that I quit my full-time job and sold on ebay full time for two years.

Selling on ebay is fun but it does take some work to get started. The first step is to get an ebay user ID. Once you get set up on ebay, you will also need to register for a paypal account. Paypal is the service that buyers will use to pay you.

If you have never used ebay, you will start with 0 feedback. Try buying a few items before selling so your feedback number is a bit higher. Buyers are sometimes hesitant about buying from someone with no feedback. Plus, you will learn from the buying process as well. How do you like to search? How do you like your items packaged as a buyer? This will help you know how to sell and package your items.

Ready to sell? Start with a few items from around the house. These should be items that may have some value but are easy to package. You don’t want your first item to be an antique guitar or a collectible set of dishes. (Funny story: I once asked my husband to package a plate that I had sold and he packaged it in a bag…without bubblewrap or padding. It broke into a thousand little pieces.)

To research asking prices for your item, type your item into an advanced ebay search and click “search completed”. This will show you how other items have done in the last two weeks. For example, perhaps you have a GI Joe action figure from when you were young. Type “1964 GI Joe action figure” into the ebay search and you will see these sell for $20-$30 without the box. This will help you correctly price your item.

Perhaps the search comes back that the item you have found only sells for a few dollars. It probably won’t be worth your time or energy to list that item.

Once you have found a few items to sell, take good photos. I recommend laying a white sheet or white poster board on the ground. You want your photo or photos to come out clear. Take a few detailed photographs. Photos will sell your product.

You can upload your photos into (which is free and easy to use) or you can pay ebay a small fee to upload your photos.

You are ready to list!

The description should be clear and to the point. Ebay gives 80 characters and you should use them to sell your product. I usually sell clothing and so the pattern I use is:

(Maker/Designer)(Size)(Color)(Print)(Type of Item)

For example, it would be something like:

Ann Taylor Size Large Black & White Polka Dot Dress

This would be easy to read for the buyer and those terms are searched. Think like a buyer. How would someone find your item?

When you move onto the description, you can be wordier. You do not need to know HTML (though it is helpful to make your descriptions more pretty). Just make sure your description is black font on a white background and that the font is a size that is readable.

I always put in my descriptions that my items come from a pet-free, smoke-free home and that there are no returns. You have to choose whether you will allow returns or not. If so, how long does the buyer have to return the item? Most ebay sellers choose 7-14 days if they allow returns.

Ebay does charge to list on their site. It is a flat fee to list items and then they will take a percentage if the item sells. For sellers that do not have stores on ebay (I do not), you will be able to list the first 50 items for free. This will help with costs.

I suggest listing only a few items. Go through the process of choosing items, taking photos, listing and packaging a few times before getting serious.

Ebay can be more profitable than a yard sale and it is fun to watch your items get bids and sell.

Thanks Mellissa!
Now get selling!
And check out Mellissa's awesome giveaway!

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  1. So Melissa is your cousin! Aha. I just recently discovered her blog via your site.

    To Melissa - I've considered trying to sell things on ebay and have always been unsure of how to even start. You did a great job of describing the start up process. My only question is about shipping. Do you charge a flat shipping rate for your items? How do you know how much to charge? Thanks for a great post!

  2. Hi Karen. I don't charge a flat rate but I know some sellers do. The USPS website ( allows you to order free priority supplies and they ship directly to your home.

    Ebay offers two different choices when selecting shipping prices. Flat rate and calculated shipping. I use calculated. This means the buyer puts in their zip code and ebay will calculate what the shipping will be. You can put in a handling fee (I charge just 20 cents but most people use $1.00).

    I hope that helps. Feel free to email me if you have any more questions. I am happy to help. fbc (at) inbox (dot) com.

  3. I've been selling some things around the house on Ebay since I need some extra money. I've been doing ok but it's just the time and effort it takes :(

    I'm your newest follower from Social Parade on Friday. :) Hopefully you can visit back and follow as well! Have a great weekend!

    Krissy @ Mommy Miscellaneous


Hey! Thanks for dropping by- I love comments and read them all!


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