How To Make Money On eBay Cover Photo

How To Make Money On eBay: Get Started In 40 min (+ tips)

A while back, I made $1,000 selling an old broken laptop on eBay.

That got me thinking:

How can I show you how to make money on eBay too?

So I got the help of my friend and entrepreneur extraordinaire Susan Su for this guide. We surveyed readers who made more than $1,000 / month using eBay (including one who earned $50,000 in a year)

We also interviewed a senior executive at eBay to get insider tips on how to make money selling stuff on eBay.

6 steps to make money on eBay

Susan decided to put what we learned to the test. When she did, she was able to make money within 37 minutes after signing up for eBay.

Here are the six exact steps she used:

  1. Sign up for an eBay account (2 min)
  2. Find something to sell (2 min)
  3. Research the product and the price (5 min)
  4. Market your eBay listing (15 min)
  5. List your first item on eBay! (5 min)
  6. Fulfill your eBay sale (8 min)

Now, I’ll let her explain what she did in her own words. Take it away, Susan.

Step 1: Sign up for an eBay account

Time taken: 2 min

Ebay registration success page

This was very straightforward.

Go to the eBay website, click on the “My eBay” button at the top. From there you’ll have the option to register for a profile. Follow the instructions and sign up.

Step 2: Find something to sell

Time taken: 2 min

Red women's shoes Susan sold on eBay

Almost everyone has something lying around for eBay.

A while back, for example, Ramit sold his broken laptop (the one he ruined with a latte, of all things) for $661. He even used an assistant to do the market research, write the eBay page, and ship it. Now THAT’S a Rich Life.

Apparently, someone out there knew how to fix it though. 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.

Bonus: Ready to ditch debt, save money, and build real wealth? Download our FREE Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance.

Step 3: Research the product and the price

Time taken: 5 min

example of product research on eBay

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
  2. Looked at the top 5 e-commerce sites selling the product. This gave me the price, AND more importantly, 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.

Step 4: Market your eBay listing

Time taken: 15 min

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

When Ramit was trying to sell off his broken laptop, he used brand identification (Apple MacBook), photos of the actual item being sold, and added an honest, thorough description:
“This laptop has some damage, but it’s definitely repairable and it’s a steal if you know how.”

The brand name draws in many viewers, and the honest, thorough description targets the listing to just the right person who will love the purchase.

Bonus: Ready to start a business that boosts your income and flexibility, but not sure where to start? Download my Free List of 30 Proven Business Ideas to get started today.

Step 5: List your first item on eBay!

Time taken: 5 min

eBay listing success page screenshot

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.

Step 6: Fulfill your eBay sale

Time taken: 8 min

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

Total time taken: 37 min

screenshot of the red shoes listed on eBay

5 expert tips for selling on eBay

It’s easy to be skeptical about something like this — I know we were.

Susan and I are both fans of Big Wins. That means aggressively cutting costs, optimizing our spending, and earning more.

But does earning more apply to eBay?

How much can you really make on the site anyway? Isn’t this the same place where people regularly try and sell stuff like “the most expensive GIF”?

eBay listing of the world's most expensive GIF

Most importantly: Is it worth it … or am I just going to get screwed by selling all of my stuff way below market value.

That’s why Susan and I asked IWT readers who’ve made more than $1,000 on eBay to share how they did it. We took our learnings and distilled them down to five key insights that’ll help you earn thousands on the website.

Here are the 5 best tips to make money on eBay in order of importance:

  1. Use excellent pictures (and many of them)
  2. Write mouthwatering product descriptions
  3. Time your listing right
  4. Avoid reserve prices
  5. Find your niche and own it

Tip 1. Use excellent pictures (and many of them)

Like establishing a good relationship, first impressions are crucial.

That’s why you need to make sure your photos are great. Photos will be the first thing people look at when they click on your product listing. So make sure they look as good as possible.

When taking photos of your product, make sure you keep these two things in mind:

The best-sellers use really good pictures — not blurry and not like you’re selling from a house from the show Hoarders.

To do this, photograph your product on a flat neutral-colored surface and background (ideally white so your product will pop). Make sure it’s well-lit so you can actually see the product.

The photos don’t have to be perfect, but they should accurately reflect the quality of the item.

PRO TIP: You can build your own lightbox for cheap to really make your photos look professional.

As one reader put it, her secret was “LOTS of pictures.” As of writing this, eBay allows you to post 12 photos for free — so posting many photos might not be an issue for you.

However, you can leverage third-party tools to help if you want to add more.

“Use an outside app to manage listings and to upload photos to your own server so you don’t have to pay eBay’s prices for extra photos,” they said. “I use GarageSale myself.”

Bonus: Want to work from home, control your schedule, and make more money? Download my FREE Ultimate Guide to Working from Home.

Tip 2. Write mouthwatering product descriptions

A good product description is the perfect marriage of copywriting and selling.

Because it’s not enough to just describe your product (which you should also do), you need to sell the reader on why your product is perfect for your potential customer.

To do that, keep one thing in mind: Sell benefits, not features.

There’s an old marketing maxim that sums this up nicely:

“Buyers don’t want a new bed. Buyers want a good night’s sleep.”

The bed, springs, box frame — those are all just features. They’re not what the buyer’s looking for. The buyer wants comfort. They want a good night’s sleep.

Here are a few other examples:

Good eBay copy vs bad eBay copy examples

So ask yourself, “What is my buyer looking for? What are they struggling with? How does my product service those needs?”

A few other things to keep in mind:

  1. Completeness. Fill out all the fields in your listing, and ensure your textual description gives a LOT of information about the item. 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.
  2. Search optimization. Use targeted keywords in your item title and description. 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 (e.g., “Pottery Barn queen duvet” versus “queen duvet”).
bad listing title example with no bids
Bad eBay listing title – this is NOT how to make money on eBay.
good eBay listing title with bids
Good eBay listing title – THIS is how to make money on eBay!

Tip 3. Time your listing right

There are typically two schools of thought when it comes to your list timing:

  1. Shorter duration. A listing of three or five days provides a sense of urgency. This is why you’ll see a lot of businesses with sales “only lasting X days!!!”
  2. Longer duration. Logic is simple: The longer your listing is up, the more opportunities buyers will have to bid on it.

Our suggestion: Go for a longer duration. More specifically, choose a 10-day listing and optimize it for the most views.

“Use the 10-day listing starting on a Thursday,” suggests one reader. “That gives you two full weekends of eyeballs. Weekends typically have the highest traffic.”

Bonus: Ready to ditch debt, save money, and build real wealth? Download our FREE Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance.

Tip 4. Avoid reserve prices

This same seller told us even more about reserve pricing.

This is a price minimum a seller can set on their product. The seller doesn’t have to sell the product if an auction ends without any bids at that price or higher.

Here’s what they had to say on the topic:

“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 cost me money.”

Tip 5. Find your niche and own it

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 such as providing fantastic customer support.”

Many people think that choosing a niche limits the number of customers you have — which isn’t the case. Choosing a niche allows you to focus your offers on a specific group.

Let’s take fitness coaches for example. Who do you think will do better?

  1. The coach who promises everyone that working out will make them healthier.
  2. The coach who promises 30-something women they’ll get a flat stomach in three months?

The second one, of course. That’s the paradox of niching down your offering. The more specific your niche, the easier it is to sell and the more you can charge.

If you need help finding a target market and niching down your offerings, be sure to check out my best articles on the topic below:

Bonus: Ready to ditch debt, save money, and build real wealth? Download my FREE Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance.

Bonus: Susan’s interview with Jim Griffith, from eBay University

When I asked Griff for any secrets on the best items 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 from my interview with Jim Griffith

[ Running Time: 2:48 | Download File (Right-click, choose “Save as…”) ]

FAQs About How To Make Money On eBay

Can you make good money on eBay?

The average eBay seller earns about $35,000 per year. Many low-volume sellers earn just a few thousand dollars per year; however, some top earners make as much as $70,000 per year selling items on eBay. The amount of money you make all depends on how much inventory you can sell and at what price.

Is it possible to get scammed on eBay?

Scammers often request that you complete a transaction through a different website or payment system. They may insist that you pay via a wire transfer to an overseas account. Such scams are against eBay’s policy, and you can lose your money if you fall for them.

What sells well on eBay?

  • Clothing and Accessories
  • Health and Beauty
  • Fitness
  • Jewelry
  • Mobile Phones and Accessories
  • Pet Supplies
  • Cameras and Photos

Find out how in our MINI Course.


  • Alex K

    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.

    • sagar sahu

      Can i sell any thing...jst like hardware products and games??

    • Sam

      I made my first million using, best resource of what to sell online period, hope it helps :)

    • sam

      Hey, I use, tells you Exactly what sold most, million dollar sales, keyword searched most, inside data, this cheat sheet is simply amazing, hope it helps, know what to sell and get to the point :)

    • sam

      I have been very successful with, plain and simple actual data as to exactly what is selling the most, tripled my profits, and you'll be surprised at the items, just sharing the knowledge, hope it helps :)

    • Michael

      Hi alex can u teach me a little thing about selling on ebay

  • Baker

    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...

  • Scadman

    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?

    • Conner Nantz

      Im 15 you know my name ^, I just read all this and subscribed to the scrooge thing and everything. I am a soon to be "aspiring" millionaire. I agree apple is controlling and ridiculously over priced (only because they are smart marketers), but extremely simple. Its all you need if you just sell stuff on eBay, and have a email, and contact people. Microsoft is a lot more customizable, but harder and way more complicated and intricate. You sir though are a dick I met a great guy (hard working as well) the other day that drives a 2 door Beemer. I also don't like your smart ass (if your so smart) comment. That man may have had a Mac but he made a lot of his money back off of it I'm sure, and I'm sure he made more money from business things on his apple pc than you have made all your life (just a wild guess). Also you shouldn't comment complaints about stuff that doesn't change a thing (like I just did cause your a dick and I'm 15 with no job and you are a grown ass man that should be doing something better with his life than bitching at someone who wont even see your comment).

  • guinness416

    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?

  • April

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

  • Scott

    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.

  • ek

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

  • adam

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

  • Chad

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

  • Lenny

    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.

    • Ramit Sethi

      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.

  • adam

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

  • Evan

    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.

  • Kevin@OutOfYourRut

    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!

  • Stefanie

    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.

  • Scott

    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.

  • Susan Su

    @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 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.

  • Ben

    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 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.

    • Kaytee

      How do you transfer your pay pal money into another account ,,?? I just started selling on eBay

  • Kyle Parisi

    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.

  • Russ

    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.

  • GARY

    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.

    • Ramit Sethi

      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.

    • Khirod

      I am from India. I am ready to research and listing part to sell your product. I will very happy to work @10dollar per hour. If you have the requirement then mail me.

      • Gagan

        Cal me if u have knowledge to work and list things on eBay and Amazon

    • sagar ganatra

      It not just easy to just sell on eBay or outsource work to Indian freelancer. eBay SEO now a days sellers using. I'm having knowledge & 6 year + experience in it. Let me help you all in it.

  • April

    "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.

  • Duddes02

    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.

  • malia

    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 - 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.

  • Rosanne @ ComparedForMe

    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.

  • Joey

    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 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

  • Kristen from FiLife

    "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.

  • Lea

    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.

  • Brandon

    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.

  • Bill

    [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.

  • Farrell

    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!

  • Matt Dunlap

    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

  • Liz

    @ 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!

  • Jermaine Holmes

    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!

  • Kevin@OutOfYourRut

    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.

  • Credit Card Chaser

    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.

  • xmasy

    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.

  • JimE

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

  • Agustin

    I agree with JimE

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  • Omar

    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.

  • Nate

    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.


    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.

  • Checks

    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.

  • Dave

    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 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.

  • Vas

    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.

  • Axel (Germany)

    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.

  • Cassie

    Thanks for the tips. With regard to handmade items (such as pieces of art) what's the recommendation for versus

  • Deanna U

    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.

  • Rob

    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.

  • ryan

    Good advice but because ebay high fees and you get a double whammy with Paypal which is owned by Ebay it's just not feasible to sell on ebay any more. Craigslist is great but again there are some safety issues. I personally like Amazon but I guess you have to find what really works for you. Have a great week everybody.

  • Razi

    Great article. using tools that automates searches works, as well as Bid Snipers. I am using segbay and segbayxp APPs that automates my searches to run every 10 min or less (many items on ebay are Buy Now only) (saves search time) as well as the build in sniper

  • Joseph Chance Watkins

    Great info. Thanks for sharing; Jesus Christ Bless! :)

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  • Stephen

    I will do anything for quick money

  • Augusto

    Great tutorial, seems to be a lot of costs that the seller should have to cover. For example I have this Product "Led Floodlight cool white 20W". i receive this product from china, my cost is 10$. after i Research this product price on ebay, i Found up that the product sells on 17.5$ on ebay. When i calculate the cost i have to pay 10% to Ebay fees, 2.4% to paypal Fees. That makes me a 11.3$ but when i see the shippment price. The cheapest that i found was USPS on 7$. That makes me 18.3. And i havent put my profit yet. How is that some people sell things on ebay (Free shipping) cheaper that the shippment itrself??

    • Rob

      I think it has a lot to do with their sourcing and location.

  • supply chain fulfillment

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  • blaine

    As of yesterday I'm an official business seller on eBay so I'm really taking this journey into selling on eBay seriously. Thanks for the tips.

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  • andy

    FULL of Shit article obvious the author have never sold anything on ebay

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    Never Love to Miss this Opportunity! I Love it....

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  • Collin

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  • BPI

    Visit and , with hundreds of auctions every week , we sell bankrupt stock and liquidated stock , absolutely ideal for resale on amazon or ebay.

  • Karen Keeling

    Always good to learn new ways to make extra income. Definitely needed in this day and age.

  • Charles

    Its a lot of work for very little gain. Use your time wisely & forget about eBay it's a waste of time. eBay makes the money while you do all the work. It's Just Not Worth It. Trust Me, Ive been selling on eBay since 1998. Your Simply Wasting Time...

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    People that want to get rich with greedy intent are a dime a thousand. The world ifs full of bottom feeders that care only about themselves. They act like their purpose in life is to scam. These are the kind of people that will kill their family for an insurance policy and grin all the way to the bank. Nobody gets away with anything. Ultimately,everyone will stand in the presence of God and give an account of all the bad they have done unless they repent and receive Christ as their sin substitute.

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  • Jerzy

    The most important thing is to find your niche, something you are interested in, for me its antiques and collectibles. There is a huge profit margin on these items. We consistently buy items on craigslist/antique malls and shows that bring in great profit. To date we have 85k in sales this year on ebay alone. Recent Example is an c.1910, 90 drawer oak library cabinet which we bought for $900 at an auction and sold to a lady in California for $4500!

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  • Nidhi

    Which would be the best site to sell from India

  • Zeeshan

    Hi Ramit, great article. This is zeeshan from spain Today i decided to earn online & luckily i got ur blog. All read all understood The only confusion is about shipping If the buyer is enough far away that the shipping cost is more than the product price, what to do??? Kindly guide me about shipping issue Would love to read ur bookds if u send Thnx Ramit

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  • Luis

    Just made my first $10,000 💸

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  • zsolt

    Can I be a eBay seller anywhere in the wrold? I am from east of europe.

  • Rob

    Great post. Thanks for this!

  • Stan

    Hi, plz I would need to sell my late grandpa's bycicle which he bought 1955, and he used it to every where he went until the last day he died, and he died, late 2014. I live in Europe now but the bycicle is available if I can sell it and how much due o it's old age And also am interested in learning how to sell on ebay, thanks

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  • jakepapa

    The best way to start selling on eBay is to actually start selling on eBay. Yes, there are some things to learn, but take your time, look at the eBay help files (and these tips) and just start selling. You will make some mistakes—we all do. But don't get frustrated or give up. You will get better with experience.Also, selling will make you a better buyer. You will understand things from the seller's point of view and learn other ways to spot bargains. 1 The best types of products to sell on eBay 2 Master niche marketing and specialize for success 3 Become an expert in your field.

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