During our first year on eBay, we had 1,048 sales. eBay quickly evolved from a way to get rid of a few things around the house to a part- time business which makes us more than my full time job. The road hasn't been smooth, however - during the past year we've had huge sales, slow times, some returns, and even a suspension. Through it all, we've learned from our mistakes and bounced back to push profits higher than ever! Here are the 5 most important lessons we've learned from selling on eBay:
For the past year or so, our blog post on How To Refresh Your RSS Feed on eBay has been one of our most popular articles. It was a super easy way to give your posts a quick boost in search results and increase your sales through exposure. That is, until the 24th of June 2018. We have known for awhile that the RSS Feed function was going to die "sometime in late June" since the release of the 2018 Seller's Update but it was still a blow when it finally disappeared. We say "disappeared", but the reality is, the only thing that disappeared is the ability of seller's to see and manually refresh their feed. According the the Seller Update, RSS Feeds are either outdated or will automatically be taken care of for sellers. So what to do? Our vote is to not worry about it! There are other things you can do that will have the same effect as refreshing your feed!
Why did refreshing your RSS Feed work?
If you have been around the business world for any length of time (or read many self help books), you've likely heard of the Pareto Principle. More commonly known as the 80/20 Principle (also, The Law of the Vital Few or the Principle of Factor Sparsity, depending on what circle you run in), the Pareto Principle started as a simple observation by a French Economist named (surprise!) Vilfredo Pareto. He noted that, in most situations, 80 percent of the effects were a result of only 20% of the causes - or, in other words, you get 80% of the output from only 20% of the input.
Now that you've heard of it, you'll start noticing the Pareto Principle in every facet of your life. (In other news, the experience of first learning a new word or some bit of information and then seeing it everywhere is called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon). For example, in a classroom or meeting, 20% of the people will give 80% of the comments. You can make your house look 80% cleaner by picking up 20% of the mess...etc. However, the most interesting observation for us comes from applying the Pareto Principle to finances and work, specifically reselling on eBay. In any given business, 80% of the profits come from only 20% of the products. This results in several fascinating bits of information that we can apply to make more money in less time.
To illustrate our points, we chose one of our medium-sized eBay accounts that is pretty close to what the average part-time or new full-time eBay seller is doing. Between 800 & 900 active listings (mostly clothes and shoes with a few hardgoods mixed in), 200-250 sales per month, around $8,000 in sales, and roughly a 40% profit margin. We input every single one of our sales for the past 90 days into a spreadsheet (yes, it was as tedious as it sounds...all in the name of providing helpful information!) and found the following:
Record Keeping and Tax Time for eBay Sellers (plus the best free eBay tracker spreadsheet for new eBay Sellers)
**Before you read, it has to be said that we at ResellingRevealed are not accountants, tax advisors, or anything of that sort. We're just sharing our experiences and you can take them for what you will. If you have questions regarding taxes, ask a professional.**
We regularly see the question posed in eBay seller groups, on facebook, and on instagram, "Do I need to report my reselling income to the IRS?" Yes, yes you do. In fact, if you sell on eBay for the purposes of making money, the IRS will classify your hobby as a business, no matter how you view it (also, if you buy with the intent to resell you need a business license, but that's a story for another time). Whether you make a single dollar or a whole lot (or even lose money), you run the risk of getting audited and owing the IRS if you fail to file.
Our first year as part time sellers led to an atrocious tax season for us. We had just acquired a business license after already selling for a few months, and had no idea that we needed to be keeping all our receipts (let alone tracking our driving miles, etc). After hours of digging crusty receipts out from underneath our car seats and combing through our bank statements, we were finally pretty confident that we got it right. However, the experience left me with two lasting impressions: If you have to pay taxes on something, you sure as heck better take it seriously if you want it to be worth it, and you also better keep meticulous records. The real reason that we encourage people to keep records is not simply to protect themselves from auditing, but to maximize their deductions. Most small business miss out on thousand of dollars worth of deductions because they are simply unaware and don't track them.
If you have been selling on eBay for any length of time, you'll know this feeling: ever piece of clothing starts looking and feeling the same and every time you look at your deathpile you die a little inside. Not only that, but you can't bring yourself to list things that you know are valuable because it's so boring! Now, we're all for pushing through the boredom and just getting stuff done, but when we get ultra tired of clothing it's always nice to know we can simply switch gears a little bit, avoid clothing for awhile, and make just as much money! Come and join us on a trip to the wonderful land of hardgoods!
So, the first question we have to ask ourselves is, what the heck are hardgoods?! Well, for our purposes here, hardgoods are any non-clothing items that can be sold on eBay. Backpacks, appliances, electronics, cookware, books, games, collectibles, and what have you. While clothing is a great way for people to start out with (since there's so much of it) it's worth noting that anyone who makes a lot of money reselling on eBay either switches predominantly to hardgoods or lists clothing in extremely high volumes (often with hired help). While it's not practical for most people to source only one or the other, we hate to see people limit themselves to clothing and miss out on all the hardgoods profits. If anyone sources their goods mainly from thrift stores and encourages sticking to one type of item (shoes for example) you can rest assured that they are leaving tons of money on the table. Choosing to stick with only one item is super great if you're lazy however as it assures that you can simply stagnate instead to learning and growing. Assuming that you're interested in kicking butt and taking names, let's continue!
Are thank you notes your best defense against negative feedback?
A few months ago, we received two negative feedback within a week's time. Since we aren't mega high volume sellers, this hugely affected our feedback and, frankly, scared the crap out of us. All of a sudden we had 99.5% positive feedback - not bad, but not what we wanted. What was really discouraging is that both negative feedback should have never happened (in my opinion, of course...). The first one came from a buyer who didn't read the description (the jacket was tailored) or look at the included measurements. Of course, the jacket didn't fit. Great. The second came from an honest oversight on our part. The jacket was missing a button, which was apparently very offensive to the buyer. A full refund didn't spare us from her feedback.
The truth is:
If you have 100% feedback, you are lucky enough to have not had any psychotic buyers.
So, what to do?
Well, we figured that reminding people that: 1. we're actually human and 2. that they have another recourse besides negative feedback, would get us what we were looking for (no negative feedback that we didn't deserve). So, after using the cards for 6 months or so, here are our thoughts:
`Like most everyone, Kirstie and I spend most of our unoccupied time on social media. If you're like us however (and we're guessing you're at least similar since you're here) then you don't spend your time on social media documenting your food choices for the day or ogling someone's latest plastic surgery. Ever since we started reselling, we have made it our purpose to hunt down and absorb every bit of information we can find. What better way to do this than by following the journeys of successful sellers...on their social media! Instead of mindless entertainment, we get motivation and information!
While we highly encourage you to document your hustles because it can keep you accountable, don't get so caught up documenting the journey that you forget the journey itself!
Oh and by the way, this article felt a bit odd to write because, while we know everyone's names and stories here, were pretty much just creepy stalkers and they don't know us from Adam! So if anyone on this list visits, feel free to give us a shout out!
Well. It was a crazy month. Kirstie and I have a ton of goals for these year and opportunities converged on us this month. On the highest of notes, we're finally moving out of our 700 square foot trailer where we've been living for 2.5 years, raising a baby for 7 months, and running 3 businesses. We've also been ramping up our eBay listings as I prepare to quit my "real job" and transition into managing another one of our businesses full time come May. But fear not, we'll still be eBay-ing at a full-time level no matter what else is going on! Sales-wise, March was an awesome month for us after a terrible February. We were so focused on other things that we ignored eBay for month of February and ended up reaping the (lack of) rewards. In fact, February was our 3rd lowest sales month on eBay (our first month was our lowest, followed by our second month....). It's a testament to the reselling business model however that as soon as we cam back and put in the work, our sales bounced right back up to their usual level.
So without further ado, here are some of our favorite sales of the month! As a reminder, these are not necessarily our most profitable sales but the ones we felt were different in some way or there is something that we can learn from them.
Item: Vintage Dale Of Norway Classic Sweater - 100% Wool - Red & Green - Men's Large
Paid Price: $4.99
Sale Price: $64.95
Shipping: Buyer Paid
Notes: Dale of Norway is a high end brand from (surprise!) Norway. Their sweaters are made of top quality wool and have intricate designs. No matter the age, sweaters in good shape will always sell. We have found half a dozen women's sweater but this was our first time finding the men's version. We must have walked in at just the right time because there were two right next to each other on the sweater rack! Spend 5 minutes on eBay looking at Dale of Norway patterns and you'll be able to pick them out just by walking down the sweater aisle. This sweater took about 2 weeks to sell on a BIN.
This January was an average one as far as Januarys go. Which means, it was a giant letdown after some really great end of pre-Christmas sales. On the listing front, it has been business as usual. Which means we have a gigantic pile of unlisted items sitting in our spare bedroom and didn't meet any of our listing goals. The great thing about eBay is that, since we've put in the hours consistently, we can slack off for a month and still enjoy some sales! So without further ado, here are some of our more interesting or unusual sales of January 2017!
Paid Price: $8-20
Sale Price: $69.50-99.95
Shipping: Buyers Paid
Notes: If January sales were good for anything, snowsuit sales was it. We sold half a dozen snowsuits the we had been sitting on all summer. If you see a snowsuit that is in good condition, grab it and price it high. Eventually you'll find someone eccentric who wants that exact color or style.
My wife and I are a young couple, still in school, and doing our best not only to make ends meet, but to excel! We feel like we have so much to offer and can kick this world's butt if we can just get on our feet. Join our journey!