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Editor's Note - 09.09.02

Dear Readers,

Thousands of people around the world make their sole living from selling goods on eBay and other online auctions. Today’s article features the combined wisdom of four eBay professionals who donated their time to help you make an extra $1000 a month on eBay.

This issue opens with a success checklist – look it over to see if you have what it takes to add an extra thousand dollars a month to your income. After you’ve decided to become a seller, read about how the professionals started.

If you’re already an eBay seller, or you’re running an ecommerce site that you’d like to expand, read “The Auction Block Rocket: Taking Off with eBay.”

Best Wishes,

Garrett French

by Garrett French

You Will Make $1000 a Month in 3 Months if:

  • You have specialized knowledge of a particular collectible niche, and you maintain this focus in your auction listings.
  • In the words of E.S. James: “Sell what you know.”
  • You can spare around 4-6 hours a week.
  • You enjoy hunting yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, and auctions.
  • You start slowly by posting 2-3 items, and learn from your early mistakes.
  • You’re prepared to answer many bidder questions.
  • You become a master packer, insuring the wholeness of your shipped goods.
  • You’re prompt with all correspondence and deliveries.
  • You’re polite.
  • You study and
How the Professionals Started

Ever wondered what gets people started selling on eBay? These quotes will give you an idea of how you can get started yourself, and, more importantly, if you even want to.

“Oddly enough, my business started after a successful pitch to a newspaper editor. I pitched and wrote a story in 1998 about how eBay was revitalizing antique shops in New Jersey. I nosed around and found that local Mom-and-Pop shops were finding nationwide customers they'd never dreamed of having, all online. But after the newspaper was put to bed, I kept logging on to eBay time and time again, first to browse, bid and buy, then to list and sell - in order to feed the eBay habit!”

E.S. James – --

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“My wife and I were selling successfully on eBay for two years. We started out selling antiques and collectibles from our business. I kept noticing people selling CD's and eBooks purporting to tell people how to make a fortune on eBay. I bought a couple of them and they were pure nonsense. This led me to write my first book, The Basic Seller's Guide to eBay. Even in this digital world, people still want a hard copy book they can open next to their computer while they work. I continued to write books about eBay and went on to develop our web site and eventually we finished selling off our store stock and we have built the book business into a full-time endeavor.”

Skip McGrath

“For several years I had a space in a nice, shared antique mall and one day I was in my space when a customer, while buying a number of small items, said to his partner, "I just love whoever has this space because they always have really good stuff and I have made a bundle on it on eBay.” Two months after that meaningful eavesdrop I bought a good computer, set it up, got smart about using it (never used one before that), signed up for eBay and made tons more money.”

Frances Neale – eBay ID: JustOnce --

What Sells?

All the experts agreed that everything sells on eBay. Of course, the best-conditioned items, the rarest items, the most sought-after items sell the best. The best advice is to sell what you know.

Skip recommended that beginning sellers start with “used non-fiction books. There is a great market for books about sports, art, history, photography, crafts and so on. You can buy great books at garage sales for under a dollar and sell them on eBay from $5.00 and up.”

He went on to say that computers, software, and video games are huge, as are designer clothes, which you can buy from closeout dealers. If you want to sell new goods, he recommends low-cost jewelry and children’s toys and games.

The key, though, is knowing your niche. Since bidders can’t touch the items, they rely on your written descriptions to evaluate the goods. The more you can tell them, the more they will trust you and buy from you again in the future.

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Watching the Market

Dave Steiner started out selling collectibles in his spare time and, with the help of his wife, founded, a site that helps eBay sellers become more efficient at the online auction process.

He advised that new sellers monitor their market closely, at every stage of their business. He said that “if you’re selling something that takes off quickly and you’re realizing good profits, then in 2-3 weeks you’ll have copycat dealers.”

He also described the bottom dropping out of the Depression Glass market. EBay, he said, brought all the Depression glass out of the attics, driving once inflated prices down as supply eclipsed demand. That’s the way eBay works – if something sells, lots of people start selling it.

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Ramping UP Your Sales

Elise James, a freelance writer who has always had side ventures, described how she has grown her business: “For each large transaction, in which the profit exceeded my own set dollar amount, I would plow every penny back into the business by acquiring higher-end merchandise or making a capital purchase, such as a digital camera.

“The better merchandise yielded better profits. The digital camera, for example, increased productivity while yielding better pictures to lead to better sales.”

Skip recommends using auction automation software. “If you automate, using an auction management company such as, you could do $1,000 a month working just a few hours a week.”

One way to really maximize your sales is to build a site devoted solely to selling your goods. An ecommerce site is often the destination point for professional eBay sellers who want to maximize their take. Both Elise and Skip have their own ecommerce sites that allow eBay customers to find them outside eBay’s modest but pervasive fees.

Jim Crawford, of, has had a great deal of experience in setting up sites for eBay auctioneers.

Ready, Set, Sell!

If you’ve never been to eBay, make sure you visit before you spend a small fortune at your neighbor’s yard sale. Find out what’s selling, and how much it’s selling for. David assured me that “after time you gain a sense of what’s doing well on eBay.”

Once you’ve got your first items for sale, you’ll have to sign up. Once you’ve given them the information they need, you’ll have access to pages and pages of tutorial to help you get started, as well as live help via instant messaging.

I’ll leave you with Frances’s words: “My best advice about selling online is that it is not rocket science and, like much else in life, takes common sense, sticktoitiveness, honesty and sincerity.”

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