Sell It Now — how to make hundreds of dollars on eBay in 37 minutes

65 Comments

Today, tips on how we’ve earned $1,000 over the last two months from selling things on eBay. Plus, we surveyed readers who make more than $1,000/month using eBay (including one who earned $50,000 over the last year), and we spoke to a senior executive at eBay to get insider tips.

Below, you’ll find:

  • Specific tactics on how to make a significant amount of money on eBay (with screenshots)
  • Tips from readers who make 4-5 figures from eBay every month: Why the same items can sell for dramatically different prices — and how to make sure your sale price tops the charts
  • Case study: We sell something on eBay
  • Expert interview (audio download below) with the dean of eBay University: Which items should you sell?

How to make money on eBay

Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a few projects with my friend Susan. (You’ll be seeing those projects soon.)

One day, I mentioned that I was going to be selling a few things on eBay and she looked at me skeptically. We’re both fans of Big Wins, so I understand the skepticism — can you really make a lot of money selling on eBay?

But it also surprised me how reluctant she was to try it, since she’s a master of earning more money (she negotiated thousands of dollars for a new job and routinely receives freelance offers).

We decided to spend some time creating a useful guide to show how you can earn significant amounts of money using eBay. I’ve earned over $1,000 in the last 2 months by selling stuff there.

Rather than just writing generic advice, Susan went to the source: a senior executive at eBay. We also asked I Will Teach You To Be Rich readers who’ve earned over $1,000 on eBay to share their specific tactics for selling at higher prices.

Here’s an excerpt of what she learned.

* * *

eBay: too much work, too little gain

True or false?

You’ve heard Ramit talk about the CEO model. Saving more money isn’t just about cutting spending, and your income ISN’T always fixed.

You probably already know that you can sell stuff on eBay, but, like me, you probably also haven’t gotten around to doing it. What’s the point of learning and getting involved in a whole new system if all you’ll get out of it is $15 for a pair of your Sevens jeans?

I was thinking the same thing you’re thinking:

Too much work, too little gain

Then recently, I ended up having a phone conversation with Jim Griffith, the dean of eBay University. Griff teaches thousands of people how to use eBay as a platform to build their businesses, was personally hired by Pierre Omidyar (one of the eBay co-founders) as one of their earliest community / customer focused employees (15 years ago), and has been an expert seller since eBay got started.

After Griff shared a few really good tricks and tips with me, I started to feel bad about being such a hypocrite about eBay.

“Your income’s not fixed, earn more don’t just save” … I’d say these things to my friends all the time, but I never lifted a single finger towards it.

So, I decided I’d list something to see exactly how much work and how little gain it would be.

We ask the experts

Before setting up my listing, Ramit and I asked a few IWillTeach readers who’ve made upwards of $1,000 on eBay to share their secrets.

Here’s how they optimize their eBay sales, in order of importance:

1. Pictures

  • Quality: They use really good pictures – not blurry and not old-looking. They don’t have to be perfect, but should show NOT ONLY the item BUT ALSO that the item lives in a nice environment. I don’t care how much of a deal it is – I’m not buying a designer sweater that’s being photographed in a coal plant.
  • Quantity: They use lots of pictures. If you’re buying something from an unknown eBay seller, your confidence goes up with the number of real photos of the item in question. One reader told us her secret was “LOTS of pictures. Use an outside app to manage listings (I use Garage Sale) and to upload photos to your own server so you don’t have to pay eBay’s prices for extra photos.”

2. Description

  • Completeness: Fill out all the fields in your listing, and make sure your textual description gives a LOT of information about the item. It’s just stupid not to, and yet SO many sellers don’t do this. Laziness I guess? Whatever the reason, don’t be like them.Think like your buyer – if I’m dropping $200 for a rare book on eBay, I want to know EVERY detail about it. I don’t care how mundane or even repetitive it is, I want every reason to have faith that my $200 will be well spent.
  • Search optimization: Use targeted keywords in your item title AND description. You don’t have to be a tech wizard for this. It’s as simple as asking yourself, what would a potential buyer for this item type into the search box? The more closely your description matches that search query, the more visible your products will be. If it’s a brand name thing, then people will probably be typing in the brand, not just the name of the item itself, so make sure to include the brand –eg. [pottery barn queen duvet] versus [queen duvet]. One reader told us “Don’t misspell brand names” – who’s searching for Calfin Kline, anyway? Yeah, it’s obvious. But people still get it wrong. Just make sure you differentiate yourself from this:BAD
    Bad eBay listing title - this is NOT how to make money on eBayto this:GOOD
    Good eBay listing title - THIS is how to make money on eBay!

3. Research

  • Is there a market for your item? Taking 5 minutes to Google your item and learn its true market value – on eBay AND on a bunch of other e-commerce sites – helps you to sell it more competitively because you’ll find out whether or not there’s a market for your item, you’ll see the right price, and you’ll figure out the right search keywords to write into your listing.

4. Timing + Reserves

  • One reader gave us a good tip for timing your listing: “Use the 10 day listing starting on a thursday, that gives you two full weekends of eyeballs. Weekends typically have the highest traffic.”
  • This same seller told us even more about reserve pricing: “99.999% of the time I never use a reserve price. My goal is to make as much money as I can, so I reduce the amount of upfront money I have to pay. I also do this by using a low starting price of $0.99. This keeps me competitive with everyone. I would rather get little for it than have it sit on my shelf and have it COSTING me money.”

5. What to sell

  • The survey respondent who made the most money off of eBay ($50k+ in the past 12 months) gave us an interesting tip on what to sell: “Find a niche market, and go deep (do you have a hobby – if so, can you sell supplies for it? If selling hobby supplies, make sure your customer has purchased everything necessary for a successful project (i.e. provide fantastic customer svc/support. Selling “irregulars/seconds” can be lucrative.”
  • This was also one of the key takeaways from my interview with eBay’s Jim Griffith. Keep reading for more on this point.

Case study: How to make money on eBay

With all these tips in mind, I decided to go for it myself.

Here’s exactly how I did it (with screenshots):

Step 1: Sign up for an eBay account

Sign up for an eBay account to make money on eBay

This was very straightforward. If you know how to use email and read this blog, then you don’t need additional explanation.

Total time: 2 min

Step 2: Find something to sell

Selling my Seychelles shoes on eBay

Almost everyone has something lying around for eBay. Last month, for example, Ramit sold his broken laptop (the one he ruined with a latte, of all things) for $661. (In fact, he used an assistant to do the market research, write the eBay page, and ship it, but that’s a story for another time).

Apparently, someone out there knew how to fix it. This highlights one of the greatest things about eBay – its wide reach means that you’re likely to find a buyer for almost anything that you have to sell. While most people don’t have tons of spare high-value electronics laying around, you probably do have something else. As for me, I had these too-big shoes in my closet that I’d never worn.

Remember, the point of this post to understand and optimize the process, so let’s use the shoes as an example.

Step 3: Research

Under Step 3 Research

I didn’t want to make the mistake of setting an arbitrary price based on emotions, or not knowing what the hot keywords are for describing these shoes.

Here’s how I researched:

  1. Searched for the product name with Google Product Search [ Seychelles Share the Wealth ]
  2. Looked at the top 5 ecommerce sites selling the product. This gave me the price AND, more important, lots of details about the shoe and the brand to put in the description to make it look super professional.
  3. Saw the item I have has one major distinction – a hard-to-find color. I’ll highlight this in the description.

Note: it’s hard to Google ‘value of broken laptop,’ but in this case, Ramit’s damaged computer was making $0 sitting on his shelf. Remember the tip about pricing at $0.99 we heard from our power seller-it’s always better to make some money from your item than to get all emotionally attached to it and not make any at all.

Time: 5 min

Step 4: Market it

Since I already did the research, this was the easy part. I took photos and then determined the title and description copy from the other sites I saw that were selling this product, making sure to highlight the major distinction (its color) along with the standard brand distinction.

I took the reader tip and decided to list on a Thursday, for a 10-day auction to get in two weekends’ worth of eyeballs.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Borrowed the title and best descriptions from the other sites I saw. (5 min)
  2. Took photos and did some minor editing. (10 min)

Note: when Ramit was trying to sell off his broken laptop, he used brand identification (it was an Apple Macbook), photos of the actual item being sold, and added an honest, thorough description – ‘this laptop has some damage, but it’s definitely reparable and it’s a steal if you know how.’ The brand name draws in lots of viewers, and the honest, thorough description targets the listing to just the right person who’ll end up loving the purchase.

Time: 15 min

Step 5: List it

Listing my first eBay item

eBay makes this really easy. I chose to offer free shipping because this attracts more buyers. I bundled the estimated shipping cost into the price of the item.

Time: 5 min

Step 6: Fulfillment

It’s really, really important to get those good seller ratings, even if you’re not quitting your day job. Fullfillment means being a reliable seller, packager, and shipper, and getting the item to your buyer ASAP.

Time: 10 min

Total time: 37 min

My completed eBay seller's listing

Bonus tip from my interview with Jim Griffith, from eBay University

When I asked Griff for any secrets on getting inventory to sell on eBay, he told me, “think local.”

Instead of thinking only about how to sell YOUR stuff on eBay (like your old stereo, computer, designer jeans), think about how to make a micro business selling OTHER stuff on eBay, that you obtain locally, such as….

  • Stuff that’s on major sale at retail discount stores (TJ Maxx, etc, may be selling stuff for really cheap that’s actually going for full price in other marketplaces, like eBay. Griff has a great, real-life example of this.)
  • Undervalued things you find at garage sales, swap meets, thrift stores
  • Brand name stuff or items with a certain following that are being discontinued
  • Items already listed on eBay that are undervalued (either badly marketed and not using any of the tactics discussed above, or just priced wrong). Ok this one is not local, but it’s a similar idea.

Audio excerpt

(Full interview is 23:01 — see below for instructions on getting it)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


[ Running Time: 2:48 | Download File (Right-click, choose "Save as...") ]

* * *

If you liked this tip, we’ve put together an even MORE detailed guide to earn money using eBay

Get more tips to earn money on eBay. We’ve put together an even more in-depth article on earning money using eBay on Scrooge Strategy.

Want to learn more about how the power sellers make money on eBay? You’ll get the full 23:01 recording of Susan’s interview with eBay University Dean Jim Griffith, more in-depth tactical tips to earn more using eBay, and a premium tip on saving and earning money every week by subscribing to The Scrooge Strategy.

* * *
This was a guest post by Susan Su. Susan is a writer, marketer, designer, Twitterer, and Stanford alum. She wants bloggers to make beautiful ebooks, startups to make it big, and you to make more money. She can help with all that.

If you want to learn more about making extra money, including materials, scripts, tactics, and techniques that you won’t see on the blog, join my private Earn1K insider’s list below.

 

(Can’t see the form? Click here.)

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65 Comments

 
  1. Great article!
    I sold about $100,000 on ebay in 2008.

    You can make money selling just about anything but you have to know your product. Otherwise you won’t be able to spot the great deal when it comes along (they always do).

    If you don’t know about anything in particular, just jump in selling something that interests you. You will make mistakes at first and possibly even lose some money but eventually you will be a pro as you learn from those mistakes.

  2. Very thorough article. This is the type of stuff that I crave.

    While we haven’t done a business buying & selling, etc… We did have plenty of success selling the majority of our possessions in the year leading up to moving overseas.

    The research part of this is important. It doesn’t take long, but you can quickly find which items sell better on Ebay and which are better to sell on other online vendors or even in person, newspapers, etc…

  3. For someone so smart I find it absolutely shocking that you use a Mac, especially after such a lovely insult to the a-holes who drive 2 door Beemers. Go read Steve Jobs Wiki for god sakes. How could anyone support that, not to mention the complete lack of functionality offered by a Mac Book. I thought you favored functionality over price?

  4. Really good article! And really, what people need to take away is that you can literally sell ANYTHING on ebay and make a few bucks – as long as you’re upfront about what the hell the item is. In fact the more obscure the item almost the better. As a few examples I sold a collection of scratched up CDs without covers/liners at one point and made good money; I sold a collection of beermats I’d accumulated in pubs a decade ago in my drinking/bartending student life in Ireland for several hundred dollars; and almost to my own disbelief I sold some newspaper clippings at one point too. (I also found that almost anything however ridiculous really Irish has serious cachet in the US which equates to dollars. I’m sure there are other examples).

    It occurs to me too that you could use the misspelling to score some great deals as a buyer – ie if you want calvin klein searching for calvin kline may mean you have no competition?

  5. This might be a dumb question, but how do you estimate shipping costs?

  6. I made a few hundred selling my old Lego sets. Some of them went for $80-100 for one complete set. I was really surprised at how much some of them went for. The only drawback was the time it took to build them up and photograph them completed, but it took me back to my childhood for a while.

    I’d say any older collectible item that you are knowledgeable about can make you money. Don’t forget about Craigslist ads. Post up a “want to buy” ad for any item that you want to sell. Most people don’t know the value of their old items and you will have people contacting you wanting to get rid of their stuff for cheap.

  7. This is great for ebay, but most of what I see are textbooks. Any specific strategies for half.com where marketing, etc are structured differently?

  8. I assume you will be emailing the full interview to scrooge strategy members? I don’t see it yet.

  9. Your shock headlines are getting a little OLD and STALE….

  10. Seriously, eBay? Why not use craigslist? We used to sell stuff on eBay. With the listing time, seller’s fees & shipping hassle, we started using craigslist. People will say that craigslist is local and you don’t get exposure outside your city. I saw baloney. We have sold stuff to people all over the US on craigslist. eBay is sooo 2000.

    • Craigslist is good too, but in my experience, CL people are largely looking for extreme deals (which is why I use it as a buyer, not a seller). As a seller, I’ve been able to sell things on eBay for a LOT, while people on CL laugh if you’re charging over something like $25.

      As always, I encourage you to experiment and use what works best for you.

  11. Glad to be getting two free books from you… so I hear ;)

  12. And avoid accepting paypal. They will freeze your money and you will never get it back. Paypal destroyed my first online business and stole over $2000 from me, which has not been recovered. I’ll start using ebay when they allow alternatives to accepting paypal.

  13. Ramit–”Craigslist is good too, but in my experience, CL people are largely looking for extreme deals (which is why I use it as a buyer, not a seller). As a seller, I’ve been able to sell things on eBay for a LOT, while people on CL laugh if you’re charging over something like $25.”

    An EXCELLENT example of the “buy low/sell high” theory put into practice! That was worth as much as anything else in the post!

  14. It may take 37 minutes to list that one item, then you must pay ebay’s fees, paypal fees, and if you are eating your shipping, you pay shipping fees. You also must package and ship the item, which could take at least the same amount of time, and you may need to take the package to the shipping location, adding it to a possibly huge to do list.
    If you are selling an item for $25, you’ve got $2.00 in ebay fees, $2.00 in paypal fees $6.00 in shipping, (we’re not even looking at the cost of the item you are selling) and you just spent 90 minutes of your life listing, packaging, and shipping something for $14.00 (and again, that’s before the cost of the item).

    Multiply that by 10 items an you might have $140.00, but you no longer have those items you probably spent $1400 on, god forbid they are still on your credit cars, you spent 15 hours photoing, listing, packging, shipping, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be more financially sound to just donate, spend that 10 minutes taking pictures (of a lot of items, no need to be pretty, and you can get in 10 things instead of 1), 1 minute per item listing it on a spreadsheet (for tax time), and then 30 minutes driving a large box of stuff to the Salvation Army?
    Then at tax time, spend an hour getting those donation slips in order and claiming your deduction. I’m going to say the tax time is moot, because if you are selling $1000 a month of stuff on ebay, you’ll have tax consequences to that as well, so you can just take another 30% off your $140.00.
    Don’t forget to let people know they must include all income on their taxes. A garage sale that lasts all year is considered a business.

  15. Always use Paypal. It’s worth the extra 2% selling fee to re-coup money from dishonest buyers.

    Even more worthwhile if you’re a buyer trying to recoup money from a dishonest seller.

  16. @Baker I find the research part to be the most fun of all. It makes me feel like a business owner (on a micro-scale), where you get to do the fun stuff without taking on all the risk.

    @ek That’s a great question. My favorite high school history teacher made hundreds of dollars a month selling books on Half.com. It’s a complex topic worth its own post, but in general, I’d say that people are looking for a certain set of quality criteria when purchasing text books, and that the best way to learn is research and trial. Look at the power sellers and really dig deep into what they’re doing. Then list your valuable text books and get the most for what you’ve got.

    RE: shipping: One thing that Jim mentions in the interview is that free shipping has become the standard, and that sellers need to factor this into their listing price.

    FINAL NOTE:

    Remember that selling items on eBay is not going to be like starting the next Google, Inc.

    It IS a way for you to get going on earning extra income IMMEDIATELY.

    The psychological benefit of earning money online – even if it’s just a few bucks – is extremely valuable in itself, and should be part of your long-term strategy to up the ante slowly, but surely. It’s empowering to be able to sell stagnating belongings for real money, right away. You’ll need that confidence when it’s time to launch into your big money-makers.

  17. There are a few easy ways that you can estimate shipping if you don’t want to offer free shipping.
    1. Ebay offers the option to enter the package size and weight. When people bid on your item, they enter their zip code which determines how much they will pay for shipping. That amount just gets added if they win the auction.
    2. You can go to UPS.com and use their estimate tool. I live in Wisconsin so I always just pretend I’m shipping to 90210 and use that as what I figure the max shipping will cost me. Then I round down and use that as my shipping cost.
    3. The USPS offers a flat rate box providing your item fits in it!

    I have heard many horror stories about buyers and sellers getting burned by Paypal. Some simple tips to avoid getting burned too bad are:
    Buyers: Never use the option to pay using your checking account. Paypal’s supposed buyers protection is a joke. Instead use your credit card so you have Visa’s protection. Note, if you use Visa to dispute a Paypal charge, there is a good chance Paypal will lock or cancel your Paypal account. In the end would you rather have a Paypal account or you money?
    Sellers: Always transfer money out of your Paypal account ASAP. Legally Paypal can not pull the money back out of your bank account without your permission. Again, Paypal will lock or cancel your Paypal account but at least you have your money.

  18. I’ve sold everything from VCRs to a full wakeboard beginner kit. I often use Ebay to supplement the cost of other things (i.e. new iphone).

    One thing that I didn’t see on this post was to use advanced search in Ebay. If you’re selling anything, I recommend you do an advanced search of “completed listings”. This way you’ll see how much other items sold for and how often. It will help you gage price and whether it is worth your time.

    You definitely need shipping for large items like wakeboards. I once posted a used 1st gen. ipod touch and after the buyout of $250 someone offered full price. I didn’t take it and just told them to buy a new one. Seemed sketchy or really dumb.

  19. Susan,

    In your final recap you gave a total time spent of 37 minutes, but you never tell how much the shoes sold for. I know that any amount over the listing fees is a gain for you in the form of more cash in your pocket as well as more closet space and that this was mostly an exercise to gain experience using ebay, but it would be nice to know what return you received for the 37 minutes you invested in this learning experience.

  20. Do a 4 hour work-week style thing and pay someone in India $10 an hour (max 2 hrs) to research all of your items at once for price and make you a spreadsheet on Wed. This is of course if you’re listing several things per week.

    I’m gonna sell all my CDs/DVDs/Comics/Baseball Cards and whatever other useless stuff I have laying around. Even if I make zero money, I free’d up some space finally for junk I don’t really need to keep.

    • Everyone read Gary’s comment. That’s what I did, and it worked insanely well. My assistant costs more than $10/hour but I was selling items that were high-priced enough to justify it. If you’re selling a punctured inner tube, this might not be the best move, though.

  21. “RE: shipping: One thing that Jim mentions in the interview is that free shipping has become the standard, and that sellers need to factor this into their listing price.”

    Yes, but how do you estimate what dollar amount to factor in? I don’t want to sell something only to lose money because I didn’t factor in enough shipping. It sounds like you need a scale if you need to enter the weight of the package to use eBay’s shipping calculator.

  22. I didn’t see where you mentioned how important your seller’s RATING is. It can make or break a sale if you do not have 100% positive rating. A negative comment can destroy your reputation.

    Make sure not to lie about the condition of the product. If the heel is worn, WRITE that in the listings AND post a picture of the “damage”. You’ll still get bids but the bidder will know what to expect.

    ALWAYS ship on time too. It really irks buyers when they paid you money for a pair of shoes that takes 3 weeks to get to them.

    Remember! Negative comments can ruin your entire eBay reputation.

  23. Aloha! Great tips here… I’d also like to add as part of the “research” process, it’s very helpful to use ebay’s “completed listings” option on the search feature. I normally do this before any sale to see what similar items have sold for recently, so I know how much I expect to get for my item. From there I can judge whether it’s worth my time or not, or if I’d have a better shot getting rid of it at a garage sale or craigslist or something where I don’t have to pay fees. Then price super low – I agree with using $0.99 as a starting bid. If you’ve looked at completed listings you have an idea of what you’ll get, and you have the benefit of having more people look at your item due to the lower price.

    Also, a great side for books, dvds, cds is half.com – it’s actually affiliated with ebay now, and its really user-friendly. Again, I’d recommend searching for the item first (as if you were buying it) to see what price its going for and not wasting your time if the price you’ll get isnt to your liking.

  24. [...] Will Teach you to be Rich: Some neat tips on actually making money on eBay.  Not the run-of-the-mill [...]

  25. [...] has a great article on how to finally start making money with eBay. (Read it at I Will Teach You To Be [...]

  26. Thanks for this very informative post. I used to think that no one can get rich from eBay anymore. This post just proved me wrong.

  27. Hi Ramit! I love your book and blog, found you through the blog of Mr. Tim Ferris and the 4HWW. You guys are doing awesome things…you saved my wife and I over $500/year by cutting down our car insurance, our cars were more insured than our own bodies!

    I’m a powerseller on eBay and one book that really helped my business was Tim Ferris’s recommendation on marketing and branding titled, “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,” by Al Ries & Jack Trout. It helps to examine your brand/would-be brand and attack a niche OR develop a new niche…I’m in the process of developing a new line of clothing that isn’t out there (yet;) thanks to your tips and Tim Ferris.

    YOU rock Ramit!
    Joey

  28. [...] how to make hundreds of dollars in 37 minutes [...]

  29. “Thinking local” and taking advantage of your location is huge.

    An old co-worker of mine took advantage of our office’s great shopping location in Chelsea, New York. He’d buy clothing items in the area’s shops when they went on sale and then would sell them for almost full price on Ebay. He found there was a big market for nice men’s shoes in large sizes. Most of the buyers came from the Mid-West.

    Basically he funneled deals happening in NYC to other parts of the country. He found his niche and his market and prospered.

  30. This article is great! Although if you are an occasional ebay seller or a full time one how to you go about paying taxes on what you make? or even what specific forms to fill out? Ive been trying to google this but cannot get one straight answer.

  31. I JUST completed my first sale on eBay yesterday, before I saw this article. I was a bit skeptical about actually selling what I had (a relatively new, irreparable laptop given to me in hopes of a repair) but it ended up going pretty decently. There were parts on it that worked perfectly, and I could have disassembled the computer and sold each part separately (and made more money), but I just didn’t have the time then.

    I DID do the research and put up a full description though, but as for the pictures I just used something I googled. I was pretty sure the buyer wouldn’t be concerned with the physical condition of the item being that it was already unusable, though it wasn’t bad at all. I only made a little over $100 but it felt good to actually stop putting that off and making something from it. Now I know to maybe take a bit more time if ever I’m in the same situation.

    But I got to really see that just putting time into something involved in making money like that can be really rewarding.

  32. [Edit from Ramit:] I deleted Bill’s comment. Totally cool with critical comments, but please leave a working email address so I can get in touch with you.

  33. [...] just published a post this week on making some side income with Ebay. He and his partner Susan Su interviewed professional sellers and received some handy tips. If [...]

  34. This makes me want to sign up for Scrooge.

    Question for members of Scrooge, or Ramit: If I sign up now, is there an archive of tips that I could search through?

    Thanks, and excellent post!

  35. Headline: Sell It Now — how to make hundreds of dollars in 37 minutes

    tag line: Today, tips on how we’ve earned $1,000 over the last two months from selling things on eBay

    making $1,000 over 2 months is not exciting… Your next post should be about the thousands of ways besides Ebay to make $1,000 over 2 months

  36. @ Matt Dunlap: As a ‘starving’ college student, I think that making $1000 over 2 months is awesome! I may not be able to sell as much since my apartment is smaller and I simply don’t own a lot, but for a young person (or even someone who’s making a good living for themselves) making an extra $500/mo can go a long way, from paying off your credit card bill faster to being able to go on that trip you’ve been planning for a while.

    Since I am still semi-dependent on my parents for financial support and in college, a lot of these posts simply don’t apply to my position, but I really liked this one because this is something that anyone can do at any time. Thanks Ramit!

  37. This brings me back memories. I used to be an occasional eBay seller. I went to garage sales and Craigslist to get inventory. I didn’t strike it rich but I did make decent money, had fun researching the items, and learned about international shipping. Only reason I stopped was because of all the travel by public transportation. Would like to get into it again (despite all the fees), but trying to decide which niche. Sure I’ll come into it one day!

  38. If you’ve never done the ebay thing, a good book on the subject is Marsha Colliers book “Starting a Business on Ebay for Dummies”. You have to get the latest edition since ebay is constantly changing.

    It answers a lot of the questions asked here, and I’ve used it to get into ebay sales. I’m no expert, nor am I a frequent seller, but I have made a small number of profitable sales just using the advice in that book.

  39. Great tips although the thing that has always bothered me about selling on eBay is that it seems hard to be able to find a strategy that can be scaled in any type of real way. Certainly scaling is easier when you have specialized knowledge about a certain product niche (i.e. basketball cards, pottery, etc.) and I guess most people if they think hard enough about it probably have some sort of specialized knowledge about a certain product niche but the trouble is just that those niches are not always in demand on eBay.

  40. I used to sell ‘aibos’ on ebay! Look it up
    As the article says, find a niche market. People are willing to pay crazy money in niche markets.

  41. This is the most functional post I’ve seen in a long time on this site. Good work, more please.

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  43. Have to look into this because I want to increase my income and I have a lot of unused books, clothes, etc. Thanks for the article.

  44. There will always be a “yeah but…” excuse out there, but I think this captures the essence of finding a market, and having a marketplace to sell without having to do extreme marketing. People COME to ebay and search there for a product first. You get listed by “ending first” not who has the most backlinks etc. If you have a product to sell or want to get into ecommerce, this is a great testbed to start….or a great platform to base your business on.

  45. [...] Will Teach you to be Rich: Some neat tips on actually making money on eBay. Not the run-of-the-mill [...]

  46. I think this was a great article. I did a write up about this article on my blog. I love your site. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Keep up the great work.

  47. Personally, I love eBay and the big variety of products you can purchase or sell. I’ve seen people purchase $2K in one day on eBay.

    Thanks for your article. It was very informative.

  48. I used to sell used and rare books on ebay. I was doing $300-$500 a week many years ago (pre-2000). Then after the dotcom bubble the used book biz got really slow. Back then I sold 80% of my auctions! Today the success rate I’ve heard is 40% or less. But I could never make big money on ebay. I heard about one guy doing $25k a month selling DVD videos about how to make better videos (LOL). I think ebay is becoming a desert though. I can’t see the potential anymore. I prefer to sell books on amazon and half.com. Amazon makes it really easy… type the isbn in and you’re done. If you wnat to sell books, dvd’s and cd’s amazon is great.

  49. Ebay is a fantastic platform to start a business and to test your market. You can start generating income from day one and have bugger all overheads. If you compare this to building a website:
    1. Build site = $
    2. SEO – content – back links = a lot of time and $

    And even after all this outlay it will probably take around 1.5 to 2 years before Google starts to rank you and before you start making some coin.

    Ebay has it’s place in the future – great company and has given many people opportunities to become rich.

  50. Great article, I always use ebay to sell my old stuff and even use old newspapers and boxes to make the parcel. So get some extra space in your home, make someone happy and even get some extra bucks! It’s the best of 2 Worlds.

  51. Thanks for the tips.

    With regard to handmade items (such as pieces of art) what’s the recommendation for Etsy.com versus Ebay.com?

  52. I am such an ebay fan! This post was great, I too often see terrible posts on ebay, but the items are great.

    Good guest post, I hope she will give me some insight on how I could write an ebook on my blog.

  53. [...] I wrote an ear­lier post on using copyw­ri­ter skills in your resume.   Ramit Sethi’s post on eBay sales tech­ni­ques made me think about how eBay tech­ni­ques could trans­fer to [...]

  54. [...] exchanged because it can be profitable and effective if you do it right. Check out this blog, “Sell it Now—how to make hundreds of dollars in 37 minutes,” and see how to make your mint-condition Beanie Babies collection can help make you a [...]

  55. [...] Sell It Now — how to make hundreds of dollars in 37 minutes | I … [...]

  56. [...] 4. Selling Belongings on Ebay- I love ebay.com. For the obvious reason that i can make money by taking a picture, writing a little bit about a product and then going back to playing Call of Duty:4. It is that easy. The key to selling something on ebay is making sure there is a demand for such a product. For example i sold a fairly new piece of technology recently and it did great. I got almost as much as it is worth. It was new in the box, and it was not doing me any good anyways. Trying to sell something that you made out of construction paper and macaroni noodles is probably not going to sell, unless it rivals Picasso. Ramit Sethi wrote an awesome blog about making money on Ebay recently. [...]

  57. I’m not an Ebay seller, but I know a couple of people that are. One of the strategies they use is to find local products that either don’t exist in other markets or may be much more expensive. For example, if you live in Portland (Nike headquarters), maybe you can find cheap Nike apparel and then sell it to buyers on the East coast at a price that would make you an nice profit but still be cheaper for the person on the east coast to purchase.

  58. [...] Sell it Now: How to Make Hundreds of Dollar in 37 Minutes — Yes, you will have to have something worthwhile to sell, and Ebay is the way you’ll get it done. That being said, these stellar tips for selling stuff on Ebay the RIGHT way are priceless. I Will Teach You To Be Rich [...]

  59. [...] Baker’s Note: Before we left for the trip, Courtney went insane on Ebay, Craiglist, and at local garage sales.  There are plenty of ‘advanced’ tips for maximizing these sites, but Jenny’s personal experience provides a create basic guide for those looking to get started.  For those wanting to jump in even deeper, check out this recent killer guest post featured by Ramit Sethi. [...]