ebay 101 Prerequisites
This tutorial, ebay 101 Prerequisites, is the first in a series of articles addressing one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our home customers, which is: “How do you sell on ebay”? ebay is of course the vast online auction and marketplace website founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995. Unfortunately, there is an impression that only advanced computer users can navigate the technical aspects of selling on ebay. A reputation that is helped by information overload on the ebay webite. Well, get ready to walk among the elite because we are about to demystify ebay and teach you everything you need to start selling within a few days.
When you complete the ebay 101 Prerequisites tutorial, you will be armed with the essential knowledge it often takes newcomers weeks or even months to learn, bypassing a big impediment that many never overcome. Whether you want to make spare cash selling unneeded household items or you are a closet entrepreneur itching to start your first online business, ebay is an outstanding platform to test your capitalist chops.
I made about $2,500 in my first year from an investment of about two hours per week selling old computer-related items, unused stock, clothes (used and new), unwanted household appliances and some thrift store items I purchased to resell (as an experiment). This may not seem like a lot but all of those items would have ended up in the garbage otherwise. Instead, by redirecting some unproductive time and applying a little effort, they turned into a nice usable chunk of disposable income.
The five prerequisites to selling on ebay are:
- Assess Expectations
- Acquire a Digital Camera or Smartphone
- Acquire a Postal Scale
- Acquire Shipping Materials
- Setup Accounts with eBay and PayPal
Acquire a Digital Camera or Smartphone
A digital camera is essential for preparing photos of the items you want to sell. Clear, close-up, high resolution photos are your primary selling tool in the digital marketplace. Listings without photos or poorly prepared photos rarely sell. Luckily, almost any smartphone will get the job done.
Acquire a Postal Scale
A postal scale is necessary for calculating shipping costs. If you are selling lightweight items, you can use a kitchen scale in the short term. Otherwise, a good quality digital postal scale sufficient to weigh the range of items you intend to sell should be purchased as soon as possible. The cost for a scale that can weight items up to 35lbs (the one I use) costs about $35.
Acquire Shipping Supplies
A collection of boxes or other containers will be needed to ship the items you sell to your customers. The US postal service provides a class of shipping called Priority Mail, which offers free boxes in several sizes and either “flat rate” or “weight + distance” based pricing. You can pick-up an assortment of these boxes at any US post office or have them delivered to you free of charge. Just setup a free account at USPS. A roll of bubble wrap or other suitable cushioning material (old newspapers, packing peanuts etc…) and shipping tape will also be needed. If you intend to sell clothes, an excellent way to keep costs down is to ship in strong poly-mailer envelopes. Reusing materials is encouraged in the ebay community so recycle whenever practical. All of these items are available for sale on ebay from other entrepreneurs who are filling the niche of supplying other ebay sellers.
Setup Accounts with ebay and PayPal
Lastly, you need to establish accounts with ebay and PayPal. For those that are not familiar with the service, PayPal acts as a broker for your online transactions. There are no costs associated with setting up these accounts but you will need to link a checking account to PayPal from which you will pay your selling fees and receive payments from your customers.
Congratulations! You have successfully completed the reading assignment for ebay 101 Prerequisites. Most of these tasks can be completed within a few hours. If you are serious about selling on ebay, setup your accounts right now. There is no time like the present and the internet is always open. The links to the registration pages can be found above. Then, make a plan to acquire the few items you need (as outlined above) as soon as possible.
ebay 102 will be published in a few days. It will cover how to perform product research, provide pricing guidance, instructions on how to list items and best practices for successful selling.