If you’re reading this article its probably because you are struggling with your debts. For example, you could be like Veronica who was more than $100,000 in debt. However, she was able to pay off all her debts using nothing but eBay and garage sales.
Not hoarders but “flippers”
If you’re typical you’ve probably had at least one garage sale. When you hosted it did you notice people arriving like two hours early to look through what you figured was just your old junk? Did they seem particularly eager to buy some of that stuff you thought was practically garbage? Well, these people were not hoarders. They were flippers. And that old piece of china they bought from you for $.56 might have ended up on eBay and sold for enough to pay that person’s bills for a month.
Garage sale “flippers”
Veronica and her husband are both employed full-time as healthcare professionals but they are also garage sale “flippers”, bloggers and in search of financial independence. They have been able to pay their bills with the help of estate sales, auctions, garage sales and eBay and have put a very large dent in what was once a staggering amount of debt. In fact, to date they have actually paid off $96,500 in student loans as well as their $15,000 wedding, credit card debt of $5000, a $6500 car and half their mortgage and they are still counting. Their secret is simple. They live a very frugal lifestyle and supplement their earnings by reselling items on eBay. The secondhand items they sell come from weekly estate sales, garage sales and the auctions they attend. Most Saturdays they are up and at it at the break of dawn with a wallet full of cash in line with the other “flippers” to compete for treasures. So far in 2016 Veronica and her husband have made about $13,000 selling on eBay part-time. Their success comes from the fact that they have learned some important strategies and here are five of them.
You need to master your category
The first important thing is to master your category or categories. You need to identify those things that you want to sell on eBay whether it’s vinyl records, shoes, jewelry, glassware, toys, artwork or whatever. It’s best to choose things that match your interests and that you enjoy because you’ll probably know a lot about these things already. Plus, it won’t feel like so much of a job to read about those items and do some preliminary research. Once you have chosen a category that suits you, go out to garage sales and thrift stores or check Craigslist for free or cheap items in your niche to buy and begin researching.
The research you will need to do
If you cringed when you read the word “research” and immediately thought in terms of your local library, index cards and citations, take a deep breath and relax. This is research on eBay where there are no books required.
The first thing you’ll want to do with a new item is see if you can find what the exact same thing is listed for sale on eBay by searching using general descriptor words and then scrolling through the resulting pictures until you find something similar. Once you find an item comparable to the one you want to sell you will need to search again using only the title words of the item you found so as to get more targeted results. What will you learn from this research? You should learn two important things – what similar items are being listed for and how other people are describing the item. Since you will want to do this research sort of on-the-fly here’s where your smart phone comes in.
Download and install the eBay app on your smart phone and you will be able to quickly do research when you’re anywhere and you can do it very fast. You should be able to pick up an item at a sale and determine exactly it’s worth on eBay before you even put it down. Veronica and her husband have made a lot of money by using their phone’s capabilities and also have saved a lot of money by passing on items that were overpriced. In addition, they use their phones to post items on eBay directly taking all the requisite pictures with the phone’s camera and then uploading them using the app.
The importance of keywords
If you want to pay off your debts by selling on eBay keywords are critical in your listing. You need to use every descriptor word possible in the title of the listing. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Beginners tend to post cute titles instead of maximizing their keywords. As Veronica learned when they started using the same jumble keyword titles they got immediate results. With less fluff in the listings and more direct keywords more people viewed their items. They began receiving more bids on their items, which translated into increased sales.
Don’t be afraid to let people make money off you
This can be a hard lesson to learn but if you relinquish 10% to 15% of your potential profit and allow someone else to share that profit you will develop happy, repeat customers. Plus, you will turn your inventory over quickly and you can then buy new inventory with the profits and do it all over again. There is a basic principle at work here called the opportunity cost, which is when you have an item for such a long period of time the cost to inventory it becomes greater than the extra few percent of profit you would earn. Here’s an example of what this means. Suppose you find a designer bracelet at an estate sale for a few dollars and find that it’s selling on eBay for over $400. In this case if you posted the bracelet for $350 you would probably sell it within a few days. In comparison, other sellers might re-list the same bracelet at higher prices but end up sitting on it for weeks. The most difficult part of this strategy is letting go of the idea that you need to get the maximum value out of everything. Veronica’s advice is don’t be greedy. You’ll be a lot more successful over time if you allow others to share some of the profits.