One way a single mother can make money these days is by becoming sellers on eBay. There is a chance for you to venture on a part-time basis or as a full-time to generate a decent source of income. You may be wondering how you can start selling on eBay or where you can get a stock to sell or even how to excel on selling products. But, don’t worry because we are going to go step by step and explain it here.

There are two ways to make money with ebay.

1) You can join their affiliate program and promote products for sale on ebay through your own niche websites as an affiliate marketer. To do so requires you to have websites with traffic with that traffic that will be interested in buying products on ebay (you post links and ebay widgets on your site and collect commissions on ebay sales made from people clicking on those links). Read our niche website article. Also read our Amazon Affiliate article — both methods involve niche marketing and you can use Amazon or Ebay to make money.

2) The second way is more direct. Instead of creating niche websites and promoting ebay through affiliate products, you will DIRECTLY create an ebay selling account and post ebay products on your account to sell.

We are going to talk about the #2 method.

Starting point

The steps to start earning money are quite easy to follow. First, you will need to open a free account on eBay by filling the required information on the website. You can click here for more information on the registration process.

Your user name should be well thought out because it will be your identity in the market and it should not be offensive or weird but positive, professional and memorable. Another thing you should check is the fees charged when you conduct business on eBay.  A standard fee agreement will not charge you anything for posting items on eBay, it will give you 50 free listings and a fee of 10% of the item sold will be deducted from your sales. This is the best choice for you rather than the monthly subscription accounts.

If you don’t already have one, you should open a PayPal account because it is the most convenient way to conduct transactions on eBay and buyers use it to make payments for all of the listed items. It will also allow you to sell your items internationally.  eBay also gives buyers a chance to search for sellers who have PayPal, which is great if buyers don’t want to bother themselves with the hassles of mailing checks, or wire transfers to sellers.

How to gain experience in selling

You should start by selling some of your items that you no longer need to get experience selling items. There is an online tool on eBay called “Selling Inspiration home” which will help you to see a sample home with items. It allows you to click and see the amount of money you could make selling items such as shoes, furniture and computers. This experience will help you when you start to buy stock and resell it.

Explore the site to see what other sellers are selling and what their prices are. Check the popularity of the item by checking the “bids” placed on it. You should have all the necessary information on the items that you post on the site to write a detailed description and be able to answer any questions that may be asked by potential buyers about the item.

Research items that are in high demand and start sourcing them in an estate or garage sales in your neighborhood. Although you are aiming at becoming an online seller, you should start small by posting just a few items to familiarize yourself with the process.  Like any other business, you may experience some challenges and make some mistakes when starting.  Grow your selling business slowing by providing exceptional services to your buyers so that they will give you a positive feedback which will make you earn trust from other potential buyers.

Create a listing

Listing your items in an auction-style will require you to set an amount which will be the opening bid and hope the bids will rise with time so that your profit can increase.  You can place your item to auction for 3, 5, 7 or 10 days. The longer the better because some buyers take time observing the auction before they make a decision to bid on the item. Patience is vital because you should be able to wait for the item to sell and gain the best price possible.

This listing method can pay off well because buyers prefer buying items on auction. To ensure your item does not fall below your set price you can set a reserve price which is the minimum bid that must be made for you to sell the item. This will, however, cost an additional fee from eBay.

The other style you can list your item is Buy It Now (BIN) which lets you set the exact amount you want for your item. Buyers will see the item and the price required and they can buy it immediately. It helps you to sell your items in a quick way and have the time to move to the next item.  A Best Offer feature allows your buyers to offer you the amount they are willing to pay for your item listed on BIN. You can either accept or refuse the Best Offer submitted to you, as you wait to see if a buyer will offer the price that you set the BIN price.

Set your price

You can set the price of your items by comparing with other similar items listed on eBay by using the “Advanced Search”  with “Completed Listing” box checked which gives you the list of all items that have been sold in multiple categories. Check on how the items sold (auction, BIN, Reserve or Best Offer) and concentrate on the items that sold with the style you have chosen to use on your items.

Picture Requirements

Take photos of your items to be able to show the buyer the actual item he/she is buying. This is also a requirement on eBay and sellers need to display at least one photo of the item. They also need to be a minimum of 500 pixels in length, borderless and without any added drawing or text.

The background of the photo should be clean and as simple as possible, preferably neutral or white in color which can be achieved by pinning a white paper on the wall to be your background. Sparkling items such as jewelry should be placed on a black background. Avoid lighting that produces shadows, reflections or hot spots, but use soft, diffused or natural light.

Packing and mode of shipping

In order to determine the cost of shipping, you need to pack your item and weigh it. However; eBay gives you the option to offer free shipping that tends to attract more buyers. Display your shipping company so that the buyer can make any necessary arrangements.

The next step is to write the description of your item which is crucial to make your item sell. Provide enough information about your item that can be easily understood by buyers. The title should be clear and eye catching. Include the item’s size, color, serial number, accessories, age and any other crucial information. Make sure that you include the benefits of the item.

Making a Transaction

When you have identified a winning bid or your item has been bought, you should make contact with the buyer.  The online feature “Checkout” can send information directly to your buyer or you can use My eBay to send an invoice directly to your buyer.

Things to include:

  • Confirm the total price including tax
  • Mode of payment
  • The cost of shipping and the mode to use for shipping the item
  • The date that the item is expected to be delivered to the buyer
  • The number to track the item during the shipping process.
Receiving payment for the item

You must receive the payment for the item before shipping it to the buyer. Repeat, do NOT ship the item before the payment is in your account. If the buyer sends you echeck bank account payment in the form of an echeck, you will need to wait until the money clears and is deposited into your account before you ship.

Buyers are normally prompt on paying for the items because their rating depends on it.  Send a kind reminder to buyers who take time before paying. If a buyer does not pay you, try to solve it together, but if he proves difficult forward the “unpaid item case” to eBays Resolution Center.

Shipping the item 

When you have received the payment for the item, make a plan to ship the item to the buyer. Confirm that it’s in a secure wrapping and well cushioned to avoid damage. Ship the item on time to avoid the buyers losing patience and this will guarantee that they provide a positive feedback for you on eBay and give you a high rating. Don’t forget to give feedback to the buyer to establish a good reputation and relationship. Then pay your eBay fees as required in your terms and policy of your account.

Improving your business

In order to grow your business, you should be a good communicator who is always available to answer any buyer’s questions.  Venture into wholesale selling of many products that are in demand, this increases your income.  All of the above information will help you become a Power Seller, the elite 4% of eBay sellers who are trustworthy, offer fair deals and are honest. This will allow you to enjoy benefits such as priority customer, discounts from UPS, health insurance and technical support.