Re-selling on eBay has been a hobby of mine now for the past 9 months.
I still work in an office setting full-time so I hear it a lot from co-workers about how it’s not worth their time to sell on eBay. I can’t think of a more inaccurate statement, especially coming from someone who doesn’t make a commission and has no way to get magic paychecks from PayPal!
This post is hopefully going to show you that it IS possible to make money on eBay and do it without any real investment!
What hobby have you ever had that has the following characteristics
- Very little to no money required to start, and then it begins to pay for itself
- Good exercise, especially in the summer months – walk around a huge fleamarket all day and tell me that you’re not tired!
- Learn business skills – Cash flow, advertising, buying low/selling high
- Learn the worth of valuables – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen something for $1 at a garage sale and thought “Oh man, I sold that for $20 last month!”
- Learn about collectibles and historical items
- The Rush! I haven’t done too many extreme sports, but when you’re out hunting for deals that you can flip, you get an adrenaline rush. And I hold myself to 1 cup of coffee per day so I know it’s not just caffeine-induced.
- Meet a lot of different/neat people
Here’s a general overview of my process for creating this side business:
- I literally bought my first item for $1, an original Hungry Hungry Hippos board. Buy 1 item for cheap.
- Create extra capital by selling stuff on eBay around your house – great ideas are sealed DVDs/Blu-Rays or some box sets which can still be very popular (C’mon, we know you were into Anime back in the day), kitchen items (Fiesta mug sets that you don’t use, anyone?), VIDEO GAMES (I also helped de-clutter the TV area by getting 30+ rarely played video games out of the house), textbooks (if your comfortable using Amazon)
- Go out and buy more stuff at the right prices
Can’t believe it’s only 3 steps!
People ask “what’s the point?” Well, I’m going to include my general #’s for the 2013 year. This includes April when I started up until December.
Crunching the Numbers
BAM! That’s $1500+ profit for a hobby! As noted above, that total profit includes a lot of different type of expenses, but here are the points I’d really like to drive home.
Notes about selling on eBay
- I’ve created a large amount of inventory – over 100 items currently listed (including at least 50 items that I still need to list) without having to add my own capital. I think this actually helped me in the beginning because I had to be very selective. If I’d started with more capital, I’d probably have made more mistakes.
- The Shipping Fees and eBay Fees don’t have to be paid UNTIL you’ve received your money! You get 50 free listings on eBay PER MONTH, so there’s no cost to you to start.
- As I’ve grown, I’ve gone from purchasing individual boxes at Office Max or Staples to getting them in bulk.
- The Blog has been completely paid for over the next few years. Who knows if this sucker will ever turn a profit. Either way, I get to use it as a creative outlet.
- Refunds – I don’t actually accept refunds, but there were a few items with issues and the like, so I did give some money back.
- Advertising – I bought some business cards (probably way too many) towards the end of the garage sale season. I’ll hopefully use more this coming year.
You might be wondering, “Dollar Flipper, what are you going to do with all that extra cash??” Don’t worry, I have plans for it. The first $300 of it is set aside for future purchases, even though I’m refusing to buy for the rest of the year so I can get through my backlog of items I still need to list.
The remaining $1200 has been invested into my Roth IRA! Woohoo! This also lets me set the stage for a goal of fully funding my Roth in 2014 using only income from my eBay business. The craziest thing for me is that my real limit here is time (and my wife would argue space, but I think the living room is a perfectly viable storage option). I’ve never had trouble finding new inventory.
Hopefully, as I continue selling and blogging, I’ll be able to shed some light on what I’m doing and help others get closer to a financial goal or two through!
Update: I’ve detailed how I plan to hit my 2014 goal of completely funding my Roth IRA through eBay and Amazon re-selling.