How I’ve Made an Extra $1,000 to $3,000 a Month for the Past 4 Years (How to Make Money with eBay)

Here are the exact steps I’ve taken over the past 4 years to consistently make an extra $1,000 to $3,000 a month on eBay.

My eBay Story

I first became interested in learning how to make money with eBay when I discovered the site in 1999. I set up my account and bought some things from other sellers. I’ve always loved scrapbooking and all types of paper crafting (including making cards and things with rubber stamps – I’ll get to the importance of this in a minute). I had some extra scrapbooking supplies lying around the house so I initially listed a few lots of scrapbooking paper, etc. in the auction format. Back then, it was less expensive and got you way more exposure on the platform to use auctions vs. the store feature.

My stuff sold and I made a few dollars. I even tried some retail arbitrage (retail arbitrage is the art & science of finding items locally on retail store shelves that you can flip and sell for a profit online) when I found scrapbooking supplies at the Dollar Store and resold the items on eBay for a small profit.

Even with my initial small amount of success, I was finding it a bit risky to buy things at thrift stores and yard sales (my true love) to resell because I basically had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know anything about antiques, or what items people wanted to buy. Research was tough and I often thought that someone needed to create some kind of database where you could look up the current value of an item you were considering purchasing while you were out shopping (this is something you can do right now on eBay in about 10 seconds flat).

I stopped selling for several years and just supported the site as a buyer while I focused on building my career in social services.

A couple of things happened a few years after I met my husband to get me thinking about trying out the whole selling stuff on EBay again. I had discovered American Girl dolls at the end of 2003 and randomly bought the girl of the year, Kailey one day. I’m not exactly sure why I bought her. I didn’t especially like dolls at the time, nor did I have children. I think it just spoke to my “but it’s a LIMITED EDITION” spot deep in my subconscious where things like beanie babies secretly lived back then. Kailey retired shortly after and I was curious one day and looked her up on EBay. She was now selling for $100 more then what I had bought her for, and I had just bought her a short time before, like a week earlier. When I met my husband in 2005, I told him about the Kailey doll and he immediately invested his money in 10 American Girl Marisol dolls and then 6 Jess dolls the following year. We held onto the dolls for many years; those dolls were basically a small piece of our retirement plan :). All the American Girl catalogs that come to our house have my husband’s name on them to this day. Ha! The next thing that happened was several rubber stamp companies went out of business along with the crumbling economy in 2008. Since around 1990, I had been buying inexpensive rubber stamps at yard sales and thrift stores and continued to grow and grow my collection.

My job hit a rough patch in 2004. My once small, family like company, had been purchased by an investment group, we had a new CEO who did not seem to share the same value of quality care over finances as the prior leadership team and most of the people who I had worked with since starting in 1998, the people I trusted and had grown to love and deeply respect, began to be systematically let go by the company. I wasn’t sure I could make it and started to review my options.

What were my options? Well, I had a stack of American Girl dolls hanging out in my basement that I knew had increased in value, and I had been amassing a large amount of other stuff over the years due to my love of thrifting and shopping at yard sales.. And I had a huge amount of rubber stamps. I mean HUGE. Like it would be an embarrassing amount to admit to owning. Rubber stamps are small…they are easy to list and they are easy to ship. I decided to look a few up.

And holy cow rubber stamps were selling for a ton of money! I listed five stamps, went to bed and had sold a single stamp, purchased for .25 cents at a yard sale, for $40.00 overnight. I was hooked! I decided then and there that I would hoard them no more and that I would SELL ALL THE STAMPS. **I think it’s important to note right now that rubber stamps have dropped in value a bit since that time, although there are still a few brands and single stamps that are selling for a good amount. The great thing is they are still cheap to buy so I will pick them up if I come across the right ones.**

How I Find Things to Sell on eBay

I love thrift stores and I love to shop, so the easiest things to sell on EBay for me are secondhand items that are all just waiting to be discovered at thrift stores, yard sales and estate sales. It’s truly a treasure hunt and nothing can beat that feeling of seeing an interesting item, looking up the completed/sold listings on eBay and finding out that someone else wants that item too and will pay a large sum for it.

So this is what I do; I go to thrift stores and I look things up on my phone. That’s it, that’s the secret. It’s so low risk this way. You should actually know if the item that you are looking at will sell at a profit prior to you ever purchasing the item. I have gotten better at identifying things that may sell on eBay with experience. The only shortcut to this step would be to watch videos on YouTube to find out what other people are having success selling, or to join Facebook groups where people discuss what they’ve sold and to get an idea of the value of certain classes of items. The Thrifting Board is a Facebook group that I can highly recommend. The community is super helpful and the moderators work hard to maintain a positive group.

How to Get Started Selling on eBay:

  1. You will first need to set up an eBay account if you don’t have one already. Click here to register for your free account. You will have to choose between a Personal or Business account to get started, however, if you select Personal account you can switch to a Business account at any time. Click here for more information on the difference between account types. I do recommend either starting with a business account or upgrading to a business account as soon as possible if you are serious about selling as there are benefits to a business account, including eligibility for eBay’s seller protection.
  2. As part of the registration process, you will be asked to select a user ID. Your user ID will be visible to those across the platform and can be an important part of building a brand as you move forward with your business. Don’t worry too much though about choosing the perfect name right away, it’s more important to get started and you can always change your user ID in the future.
  3. Set up a PayPal account (it’s free). PayPal will prompt you to choose either a Personal or Business account as well when you first sign up. You’re allowed two accounts, one personal and one business; but I do recommend linking your eBay account to a business PayPal account. You’ll be able to use your business name for sending invoices and you’ll qualify for lower fees if you ever want to accept offline credit card payments (such as selling at a flea market setting).
  4. Link your PayPal account to your eBay account. EBay makes this step super easy! Depending on whether you started with an eBay account or a PayPal account you have a couple of options on how to link your accounts. Here is a simple guide outlining the two options.
  5. Start selling. You can list items from your computer or from the eBay app that is available to download from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. I recommend finding something to sell that you already have sitting at home first. I find using the app to be very straightforward and easy to navigate. You can take photos and enter information about the item right from your phone. For future listings, I then find that starting with a current listing and clicking the sell similar option is the easiest way to get started, regardless of whether the item is actually similar to the one I’m listing. Just remember to check all the sections; particularly shipping and item quantity information before you post to avoid issues later on.
  6. Be prepared to ship items quickly. You can stock up with free shipping supplies for shipping priority by going to the USPS site here. USPS will even ship the boxes to you for free. I recommend getting a good starting supply of boxes and padded bubble mailers before you list your first item. You will set your own shipping timelines when you list your items so make sure that you pick a reasonable amount of time for you to ship the item, but I recommend shipping as quickly as you are able to do so in order to increase your positive feedback ratings.

Tips for Selling on eBay:

  • Stay off the negative eBay boards. This is my number one tip because nothing can douse your passion for something like going on an eBay board and reading posts from grouchy sellers who love to complain about everything from fees and eBay siding with the buyer to changes in how the platform works. The truth is that eBay makes it’s money off items being sold by people like you and I and they want to make it the best platform that it can be. I also believe that it’s hard to stay positive when surrounded by negativity so I choose to just stay off the boards period.
  • Set up 2 accounts – one for buying and one for selling. As a seller, there will be times when you will be doing research on eBay and will come upon an item or lot of items that are highly under priced. I like to bid on/make offers on items for resale under another account. While it’s not necessary, I feel it may make a difference if I make an offer on something that the seller isn’t able to see that I also sell the same items and may help increase my odds that I get an accepted offer. I don’t have proof but I do know that it would make me question more an offer from a buyer if they themselves were selling the item they were making an offer on.
  • Use the eBay app. Do this – go to the Apple app store or the Google play store and download the eBay app right now. It makes it super slick to list items right from your phone and makes the research process so much easier when you are standing in the thrift store wondering whether to buy an item.
  • Come up with a system for storing your listed items right away so you can easily find them later. I use the Custom Label feature under selling tools to make a note where all of my listed items are sold. I place each item in a labeled banker box after listing and then update the Custom Label section with the items location (this part must be done from a computer). I initially just put everything in a box and had to search through a bunch of boxes to find something after it sold. This worked okay, not great, when I had 100 items listed, but would not work with my current 1,500 item inventory.

Recommended Resources – Learn to Sell on eBay

Another thing that led to my initial success in making money with eBay was the invaluable information and inspiration shared every week by Jay and Ryanne on their incredible Scavenger Life podcast. I can’t recommend their podcast highly enough. Selling stuff online is fun and rewarding, but it can also be isolating. I find it so helpful to have a weekly place to go and listen to tips and gain inspiration from other people in the community who have a passion for finding hidden treasure and selling via the eBay platform.

As noted above, I also recommend joining eBay focused Facebook groups (sticking to those with a positive vibe only). My highest recommendation at this time is The Thrifting Board group. Popping in a few times a day will help start to train your eye to items of value that you later come across on your thrifting adventures.

In Conclusion:

The time is right to get started on your eBay adventure. List something, it’s super easy and you never know what it may lead to. Worse case scenario you can clean out your closet, best case scenario you may find a new passion and discover a fun way to supplement your income!

Comment below and let me know if you’ve ever taken the plunge to sell on eBay and if so, what are your best eBay tips?

My All Time Favorite Living In the Moment Quotes

Sometimes we all just need a good quote about living in the moment to make it through the day.

Here are my favorites:

“Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now.”

I like this quote because it reminds me to get off my behind and just do something.  Over the course of my life there have been times when I have gotten much too comfortable just allowing things to happen around me and not taking control of my actions.  Get out there and do it, even when it’s scary.  No regrets.

“I realize now how fragile life is and how important it is to live in the moment because we never know when that moment will be taken away from us.” – Diane Bykowski, Hospice Volunteer

This quote really hit me hard.  My mom died on Christmas Eve 1999.  Her and my dad had come to Spokane on 12/3/99 to watch the Little Mermaid on Ice the following day.  I had planned to stay with them at my grandma’s that night but got to the house pretty late because I had gotten a Sim City game in the mail earlier that day and prioritized playing the game over getting to my grandma’s house.  But I did end up going and got to spend that evening with my mom.

The house was all decorated for Christmas (my mom’s favorite time of year) and I remember her being just so happy.  We had planned to go to a 50% off sale at Value Village early the following morning and I wasn’t feeling well so I went to bed before everyone else.  And I didn’t tell my mom I love you before going to bed.  I thought about it though.  I laid in bed debating whether or not to get out of bed and say the words but chose not to.  It was cold, I was already in my pajamas, I would see her in just a few hours after all.

When I woke up the next morning my mom wouldn’t.  She was breathing, and I tried to wake her up but she wouldn’t wake up and my dad said that she was probably just tired, to let her sleep and just go to the store; he would let her know that I had left and she would meet me there.

I shopped, and she never came, and I went back to my grandma’s house.  My mom was still in bed and still breathing.  My dad told me to let her sleep but I knew something was wrong and so I got water and sprinkled it on her face.  When she still didn’t wake up I called 911.

My sister and almost 2-year-old nephew got to Spokane a little later and we went to the Little Mermaid while dad stayed with mom at the hospital.  It wasn’t until we got to the hospital a couple hours later that I learned that breathing does not always equal okay and that she had most likely stopped breathing at some point during the night for long enough to cause significant brain damage and then spontaneously started breathing again.

My mom was in a coma for the next 20 days.  We took her off life support on 12/19.  I am thankful that I had those 20 days with her in the hospital and believe that she could hear and understand me.  I spent the morning of Christmas Eve alone with her in the hospital room while my dad and sister and other family and friends met with the doctors.  It had taken me that long to get up the courage to say the hard things; to let my mom know that I would keep her memory alive for my nephew, that I would make sure that dad didn’t just throw her stuff away (she had asked me to make sure about this the month before when I was home for Thanksgiving), and how very much I loved her and would miss her.

She passed away a few minutes later right after my dad and sister came into the room while I was holding her hand.  I love you mom.  And I miss you very much.

We just never know what is going to happen in the next moment.  We must do what is right and what matters in this moment- it is all that we really have.    

“When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.”

This is the quote that I need to remember when things get super stressful and crazy at work.  I can’t control all the things.  I can only do my best and mentor those I work with so they can do their best.

“Live life for the moment because everything else is uncertain.”

See above…we only have right now, this very moment.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

I do think I get caught up at times with looking forward into the future and possibilities too much.  While it’s vitally important to set clear, strong goals, to plan and to have a vision for the future, it’s also important to not miss what is right in front of us with an illusion that the grass is greener someplace else.  I also think this is important in spiritual terms as well.  I don’t believe I have the answers to what awaits us after this life.  It may be something, it may be nothing.  All that I do know is that I’m here on this Earth right now and that my choices today matter for the life of the planet and for my grandchildren.  Since I don’t know, I feel I can’t rely on someone or something to save us from ourselves.

“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Yes!  I will strive to observe and be grateful.  To try to not wait until something is gone before fully appreciating it.

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake…” -Francis Bacon

I love this quote.  There is something about it that gives me all the feels.  When I first met my husband, I made it clear to him that while I’m happy that he is financially responsible and a saver, I am not willing to wait until retirement to get out there and see the world.  He was hesitant, but we’ve made travel a priority in our relationship and I believe that we and our kids are better off because of it.

“The biggest mistake I made as a parent is the one that most of us make, I did not live in the moment enough. this is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of my three children sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing; dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.” -Anna Quindlen

Speaking of the kids…I have three step-boys.  The youngest was three when his father and I met.  The boys came to live with us shortly after (the youngest is now 16 and has lived with us for the past 13 years).  And this quote hits me hard.  Does every parent feel this way?  I’m not sure but what I do know is that now that we have three grandkids I am doing things differently and making an effort moment to moment to both pay attention and to give my undivided attention to these little ones.

“Nothing is worth more than this day.” -Goethe

This was the saying I had stamped onto the bracelet I had made and wore while my best boss, then mentor, and finally one of the very best friends of my life was in the hospital fighting bone cancer.  We had traveled together for work often and had many philosophical conversations over the years.  He had always said that he didn’t want to be a burden on the medical system or on his family financially if anything ever happened to him.  When he was in the assisted living facility during his final days, he would often say to me, “Allison, what I now know more than anything else is that I want to live.  I understand now why people fight for this.”  What I know for certain is that my life was changed for the better because I knew this incredible person.

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” -Abraham Maslow

Safety isn’t necessarily bad, but in order to grow we have to take risks and do the scary things.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” -Oprah

This is another good quote for those work days when I’m not sure that I can take the stress for even one more minute.  I just need to breathe and remember that right now everything is okay.  Our pain comes from remembering painful moments in the past or from imaging how painful things could become in the future.  Right now we are okay.  Breathe and lean into that reality.

“As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.” -Gautama Buddha

I love planning and looking forward to what I’m going to do in the future.  The true risk to this is that I have a tendency to miss what is right in front of me while looking ahead.

How to Live Your Best Life Now

It is my hope that these quotes help you to come back to the present moment and recognize how amazing it is that we even have just this very second, right now, on this earth.  What an incredible gift we’ve been given!

Did I miss your favorite living in the moment quote?  Please comment below and share if so and let me know what living in the moment means to you.

<3 Allison

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wealthy Affiliate University Review – #1 Online Business in 2018

Read on for my Wealthy Affiliate University review and why I believe this is the #1 online business in 2018.

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