eBay Listing Strategy: Work on One Task at a Time

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Most of the eBay sellers that I know are moms who work and sell on eBay, or moms who home school and sell on eBay, or dads who work all day and come home and sell on eBay.

Even Lizzie and I don’t sell on on eBay as our only source of income.  Both of us teach piano lessons, both of us have a child and responsibilities at our churches.  So, we know first hand the feeling of staring at a pile of inventory that needs to be listed and wondering “Where am I going to get the time or the energy to get it all done this week?”

Especially for newer sellers, the tasks can be daunting:

1) Finding inventory.
2) Cleaning it up.
3) Taking pictures.
4) Creating listings.
5)Answering questions/accepting offers
6) Shipping.

It all takes time, and until you really get a system down, sometimes it feels like it’s all more trouble than it’s worth.  I’ve been there.

I have been told on more than one occasion that I am the Energizer Bunny, but that’s really not true (you can ask Lizzie……when I’m at her house, I sleep in every morning :)   I blame it on jet lag, but she knows that’s not true…..sleeping is my favorite hobby.)

The only way I am able to get so much accomplished each day is that I am organized, I think ahead, am pro-active, and I do things one step at a time.

So, for example, today I’m teaching piano lessons all day, but I knew I’d have an hour break, so I brought some music with me that I need to work on and I brought my laptop so I could write a few posts during my break.

Every day when I get home and check the mail, I put the note in the mailbox and put the flag up for the mail carrier to come pick up my packages the next day.  I put everything I need to take with me in the car either the night before or have it sitting at the front door so I can have everything ready to go in the morning.  I don’t like to be rushed, or be behind, so I like to stay ahead.  That way, when something pops up in my day, it’s not a major crisis, I have time to stop and take care of it because I’m ahead on everything I’m working on.

As far as eBay goes, I rarely have a chunk of time big enough to sit down and do it all start to finish at one time, so what I do is stop at thrift stores between piano lessons, or while I’m running errands on Tuesdays. That evening, I take pics of my new inventory and upload them to my PC and then to photobucket.

Anything that needs to be cleaned up or fixed up before listing, I put to the side for now.

Due to my teaching schedule I don’t have time to list until Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday, so I have everything ready to go and on Thursday evening, I get the most important items listed (the ones that are the hottest sellers or the ones that I’m listing for higher amounts) then on Friday, I work on getting the rest of the inventory listed.

When I have time on Friday or Saturday, I clean up or repair the items that need a little TLC (although, I try to stay away from items that need TLC unless they’re going to bring a nice profit.  It’s not worth it to me to spend time cleaning up a $5 or $10 item.)  The items that I just cleaned up will go in the next batch of pictures that I take either over the weekend or on Tuesday.

I usually stop at a thriftstore either Friday or Saturday, take pics and then work on the listings on Monday.

This is what works best for me.  Everyone has to get into their own routine, but don’t pressure yourself into thinking that you have to take pictures, get items ready and list them all in the same day.  Divide your tasks up, do the prep work and then when you have time to list the items, it will go much faster for you.


Why Did I Ever Hold on to My Job For So Long?

This is a question I end up asking myself at least every week.   Sometimes daily.

I think back to when I was so nervous and scared to put in my notice. … “What if?”

What if I didn’t make enough money.  What if I didn’t get more piano students.  What if I couldn’t pay the bills?

I was holding onto my steady paycheck as a guarantee that I would be financially secure.

Now, just two years later, I make two and a half times more than I did working 60+ hours a week, and I have a lot less stress in my life :)

I’m not saying you should quit your job tomorrow.

I had a plan to pay off my car loan and save up enough money for us to live off of for 6 months to supplement the 7 piano students and $500.00 a month in eBay sales (that I was making at the time) before I quit my job.

I had also met with our local Small Business Association for advice.  I had marketing ideas and had already been networking with people to get my Piano teaching business off of the ground.

What I am saying is that it can be done and that I’m living proof of it. If I am honest with myself, I know I could have done it sooner.

I’m enjoying finding ways to improve my business and watching it grow…..most of all I enjoy doing what I love for a living and can’t believe how much easier it is working for myself.


What Can I Expect After I Open an eBay Store?

Many people start selling on eBay  to get rid of  things from around the house or to make some quick cash, so they start a selling account and list auctions.

After they get bit by the “eBay bug” they start listing more frequently and start thinking about opening an eBay store.

In my opinion, eBay stores are for the serious seller who is planning to sell on eBay long term.

If you know you’re going to sell on eBay long term, then a store is the way to go.

Please be aware though, that opening an eBay store is not the equivalent of sprinkling magic fairy dust on your eBay listings……just because you open a store, doesn’t mean you’ll be rolling in dough tomorrow morning.

Opening an eBay store is the same as opening a brick and mortar store in many ways.  It takes time to build a business, so be patient. The customers will come.  While you’re waiting for them to come, keep listing and organizing your store.

Your feedback score also plays a role in how quickly things  sell for you.

If you have a few hundred feedback when you open your store, chances are that sales will come to you faster than to the person who opens their store with a feedback score of zero.  (Although, that can be done too.)

When I opened my store, I had a feedback score of 60.  I started listing everything in my store and putting a few things on auction each week to give my store more exposure. In the old days, stores didn’t have the exposure on eBay that they do now, so putting items on auction was necessary to get  more exposure.

It was three weeks until I sold my very first item out of my store.  I remember thinking “What if I’m wasting my time and money on this?” but  Lizzie  was telling me that sales would come and my store would take off soon, and it did.

Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about investing in inventory, keywords, marketing, sales, and more.

One thing that helps your store “take off” is to keep listing new inventory.

Set goals, get the first page of your store filled up, then set a goal for 50 items, then 100, and keep setting goals.

For over a year, I kept my store between 300-400 items thinking that it was a good number of items to have in my inventory.  I didn’t want to pay a lot out in fees and I wanted it to be manageable, so I kept it in that range.  Then, I decided that I would just list anything I found that would sell on eBay and not pay attention to keeping my store inventory numbers in a certain range.

That’s when my sales took off. Within a few months, I had my inventory up to 550 items……..the sales started rolling in.  I started working diligently to fill my store up to the next 100 items.  Each time I reach another 100 items in my inventory, I see my sales increase.

The more you have listed, the more links there are to your items and the chances are higher that someone will buy an item from you.

I’ve found that when I don’t list items consistently, I don’t sell consistently.

At first, if I had a slow week of sales, I wasn’t motivated to list.  I found  that when I didn’t list during the slow times, it took longer for me to get out of the lull in sales, but if I kept listing, I would start selling. Now I focus on listing rather than selling.  The more I focus on listings, the more I sell.

So, please don’t open an eBay store with 30 items in your inventory and wonder why you’re not making thousands of dollars a month. Unless your items are high ticket items and you have multiple quantities available. Don’t expect to replace the income from your current job right away.

Selling on eBay is not (and I repeat NOT) a way to get rich quick.

It takes time, effort and money to make money.  There’s plenty of money to be made on eBay, but you have to be patient, build your business, and learn what works for you and your family.


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Should You Blog?

The short answer is yes of course you should.

The more lengthy answer is it depends.

Blogs are another tool in promoting your business and can be a great way to share your story.

The best blogs I’ve read from online sellers are a nice mix of personal life and business. I don’t care to read a blog that only posts items for sale.

I also don’t care for blogs that only post photos of their children. I know we all think our babies are the best and the cutest and the smartest (and they are!) but everyone else doesn’t want to see every thing your child does every day. Please don’t post photos of dirty food faces and tantrum throwing children all the time!

A well placed personal story or photo is appropriate although you may want to establish boundaries for what you will share online with your business contacts.

Feel free to share a tutorial, a recipe, a link to something you enjoyed, or your thoughts for the day. Mix in the items you are selling and information about your business and you’ve got an easy way to put a more personal spin on your business.

To Start a Blog:

1. Think of a name that represents you or your business well.

2. Sign up for a free account at orBoth of my happen to be domains that I paid for. I didn’t start out paying for a blog and it’s not necessary to buy a domain unless you have a specific need to do so.

3. Start posting and sharing your link.

4. Realize that building a blog takes time and promotion. Share your links, leave comments on other blogs, put a link in your email signature…

5. Choose how many times a week you will post and establish a routine.

6. Remember copyright rules. Don’t copy a post from someone else–instead post a link and send people to the author’s blog or article.

Stealing photos is a big no no too.

7. Find blogging help online. is one of my favorites.

If you already blog, please share your blog in a comment. If you decide to start one someday, please come back and leave a comment then.


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