Living Life To The Fullest, On A Budget

10 Step Guide: How To Start Selling On eBay With Zero Start Up Cost

I bet that almost everyone reading this article could use a little additional income in their lives. Whether it’s to buy something nice for yourself, get ahead on some bills, or take one extra vacation this year, every bit helps.

My husband and I started an eBay business from home to supplement our income so that we can afford the lifestyle that we want. We’re able to live a frugal lifestyle and reach for our savings goal at the same time.

We budget our income in three ways: Making sure our monthly bills are always met, having a set amount to put into our savings, and setting aside additional income for emergency purposes. But I’ll admit… we enjoy a lot of “fun” activities as well like eating out, taking weekend trips, visiting some local breweries, or even just to go shopping.

We were able to create additional income (right from home!) and with $0 start up cost. This way we were able to find a way to still use our original budgeting techniques, and also afford the FUN things in life.



Here’s how we got there:

  1. Create an eBay account. Easy enough right? When creating an account, make sure your account name or store name is something simple and not too specific. Something like “Great Deals For Everyone” won’t tie you down to just one niche and will allow you too branch out and sell anything you like. You will be able to list anything from clothes to empty toilet paper rolls if you want… and yes… that’s a real item that sells on Ebay. CHECK FOR YOURSELF
  2. Click to shop FREE shipping supplies from the USPS.

    Order FREE shipping supplies online. You want to do this first and foremost so that you have these supplies ready when an item is sold. You want to be able to ship your items right away as good feedback is key to a successful eBay business. The USPS offers free supplies on their website and they will ship to your house.

  3. Next you will need to designate two spots in your house to use for your eBay business. One to keep your business supplies and inventory, and another to take CLEAN and CLEAR photos of your items. Being organized will not only keep your sanity, but will allow you to list more items faster, and ship them faster, meaning more income! So pick a shelf or two in your office or basement and gather all your shipping supplies and items that are currently listed for sale. Having everything in one place will make it easier to keep track of what supplies you’re running low on, and it keeps items set aside and ready for shipping. For the second area, or your “photo shoot area”, try to find a place with lots of lighting and a clean backdrop. If you don’t have any good spots I would suggest using a white sheet or shower curtain to create a make shift back drop for your photos.
  4. Search your own home for items to sell and start listing! Look around your house, especially places like the garage and basement. Find anything that you want to get rid of, but remember that you need to ship these items. So start with things that are small and light weight. Some profitable items to sell on eBay include old video games, lightly worn clothing, even broken electronics!
  5. Now… do a little research! For this example, lets say that you have an old Coach purse that you want to sell. Go to eBay and do a search for that bag, and be as exact as possible. Once you have the search results up you will be able to filter your results to show the items like yours that have already sold. This will give you an idea of where to price your item. If you see that the same bag in the same condition has sold for $50, list it for $50. Makes sense right? This way you don’t over price your item and get stuck holding onto your item for longer than you want, and can take advantage of every dollar. You can also list it cheaper than that amount if its something you want to move very quickly, as lowering the price will attract more potential buyers. The point of all of this is to make money, so make as much as you can on each item!
  6. Click to shop for a beginner photo box.

    Next, it’s photo shoot time! Place your item in front of, or on something with a light background thats preferably white. We use a light box that we bought off of eBay. I suggest getting one after you have made some profit through your sales. Most people have cameras on their phones that are pretty good, but if your phone doesn’t take good pictures, try to borrow a friends. The point of these photos is for your item to look as clear as possible, and often times the items with the best pictures are the ones that are purchased. Take photos of every single angle you can of the item. If the item has any kind of scratch, mark, or sign of wear make sure to get a close up photo of it. You want to be very transparent and let the buyer know exactly what they are getting. Trying to hide something like that will only get you bad feedback, and bad feedback means no sales.

  7. eBay makes listing an item pretty easy, so I won’t go step by step through that, but here are a few tips. When creating a title make sure to use as many relative keywords as possible. Think about if others were searching for this item, what would they put in the search box? Try to use all of these words in your title. This makes sure that your post is seen by more people and more exposure means more sales! Also, make sure to be very honest in your description and include any photos of those marks or wear and include this disclosure in your item description. For example if your purse has a zipper that doesn’t work, take a photo of the zipper and write in your description that the zipper is not functional.
  8. Deciding how to ship your items is personal preference. I like to offer free shipping on my listings because it attracts more buyers, but make sure if you do this that you raise the price of your item the same amount that you will be spending on shipping. Remember, you are listing these items because you want to make a profit on these sales, and not spend all your profit on shipping it to your customer. This way, the customer is really paying the same price, but the FREE Shipping will have your post seen by more people (some buyers even filter results based on free shipping only). Understanding the cost to ship items is something that will take some time and experience. It is based on the dimensions and weights of your package.
  9. List your item!!!! Once your item is listed, you can keep an eye on how many people have seen it, how many people are  watching it, and if anyone bids on it. I suggest downloading the Ebay app because a notification chimes on your phone whenever an items sells. It’s fun to hear that noise and know that you just make some $$$! CHA-CHING!
  10. Once the item sells you want to ship it right away. Remember good feedback means more sales on eBay, so pack it, print the shipping label, and put it in the mail right away. This is where that organization comes in since the item should already be set aside, cleaned, and 100% ready to be shipped before it sells.

I still find things around the house to sell, but once you get more aquatinted with listing and selling you can start to buy items to sell. Read more about How to turn a Profit at a Thrift Store here. Good luck with your business, and let me know how it works out!!

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