If you are looking for a way to make money, but you have a limited budget, this tutorial will teach you step-by-step how to start a successful eBay shop with as little as $10.
In the digital era, there are many ways to make money online. E-Commerce is perhaps the best way to generate income because you can do it from home, and it only takes a few hours of your day… while wearing your PJs! (Amazing, isn’t it?)
There are multiple ways of starting an online shop. You can sell on Amazon, set up your own website store on Shopify or Etsy, or sell on eBay. Unfortunately, Amazon has a monthly cost and, unless you are selling a big quantity of the same item, it’s not ideal to start with. Shopify instead offers a 14-day trial but, you still have to invest in advertising campaigns to generate sales.
Thankfully, eBay charges you only after the product has been sold, and there is no monthly fee to pay. Therefore, it’s the best possible way to make money with a starting budget of 10$! Let me explain how I managed to become a top-rated seller in a matter of months in a few simple steps.
Know your expenses
First of all, you have to remember that $10 is not much, and you have to consider all the expenses at the end of the transaction. When you sell an item, eBay takes 10% of the final price if you are not a top-rated seller, and PayPal keeps 20p (26cents) plus 3.4%, at least here in the UK. If you have a seller account, eBay will charge you a small amount of money, 35p (45cents) here in the UK, to post the listing. Also, you need to consider postage fees as providing free postage makes your product rank higher on the research.
Find the right items to sell
The best thing to do to start is finding free items. The idea is to find something in good condition that can be sold for a few dollars or something that is not working properly but can be fixed with your $10 budget. In my case, I had found a printer for free that the owner was getting rid of because they said it stopped working. I took it home with me and found out that the black ink wasn’t compatible with the printer, hence why it wasn’t working. So I bought another cartridge for £3 ($3.89) and sold a perfectly working printer for £15 ($19.45). After that, my budget was £22 ($28.52)! You can find free items on Craigslist, Gumtree, or even Facebook Marketplace sometimes. My favorite one is Freecycle, a website where people give away stuff they don’t need anymore for free. You can find anything: furniture, books, musical instruments, bikes, TV, etc.… It’s just a game of patience, really. The good thing about freebies is that if they weren’t sold, you wouldn’t lose anything as they are free!
It’s worth noting that besides eBay, I was selling on Facebook Marketplace too, which is entirely free!
Once you have a bigger budget
Once you manage to raise some money by repeating the process, I would say around $60/70; you have 3 options:
- Start buying very small items like bracelets, rings, earrings, watches… wholesale
- Buying a Mystery Box and hope you hit the jackpot;
- Resell second-hand items like musical instruments, mugs, Hot Wheels, etc… for a
Among the options listed above, I would leave the Mystery Box behind. There is too much risk involved, and you most likely will lose some money (trust me, it happened to me, and luckily, it wasn’t at the beginning of my journey).
If you start importing, make sure you consider an import tax to add to the final cost for the parcel. You can use many platforms to buy wholesale items like Alibaba.com, DHGate.com, Aliexpress.com, and so on. I would suggest you buy from Alibaba once you have a bigger budget as it’s cheaper when you buy in bulk and has a wider selection.
Make sure to start with only one product at a time. If you go for more products, make sure that they are from the same supplier. By doing so, you can save money on shipping. When you search for products to sell, do some quick research and see if you can sell them 3 times the price you spent on every single item, delivery included. For example, if you buy 50 rings for a $30 plus $15 shipping price, the total price is $45, divided by 50, which equals $0.90 per piece. Therefore, you want to make sure that you can easily sell each piece for $2.70 (0.90×3=2.70). This should cover all the expenses listed above and leave you with some earnings.
You can find second-hand items to resell on websites like Craigslist, Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, or even eBay itself. It’s the same process as when you are searching for freebies. The only difference is that you want to make sure you can cash by flipping those items. My suggestion is to go for items you are familiar with and know you can resell at a higher price. Try to negotiate with the seller and see if they can lower the price. Sometimes they don’t know the real worth of the item; they want to get rid of it because they might need space or because that item brings back some negative memories. In these cases, all they want to do is to get rid of it so take advantage!
Post your listing on eBay effectively.
Now the fun part begins! If you haven’t done it yet, set up an eBay account. If you have an account you use to buy products already, that’s perfect; you can still use that one to sell.
I suggest you set up a seller account as there are quite a few benefits to having one, like listing different versions of the same product.
The first thing to do when you list a new item is to give it a good title. It should be designed around keywords. Try to use as many keywords as possible to fit all 80 characters. Be creative and do some research on which combination of words would work best for your product. D
Don’t use titles already used by other sellers, as it would lower your ranking.
Once you come up with a title, it’s time to upload your pictures. Make sure the first one is on a white background. You can also write some details that you want to highlight in the picture.
Upload at least 6 photos, show every angle and make sure they are clear and focused. Some people say that if you name every picture the same way as the title and give them an extension (i.e., toothbrush01, toothbrush02, etc.…), it helps you rank higher research.
Try to fill in as many items as possible and make sure you post the product in the right category.
The most overlooked part of your listing is the product description. Ensure you write all the details you need to write and state your customer’s benefits from the product. At the same time, remember to keep using keywords. It would be best to use the AIDA copywriting formula to ensure that your product description is thorough (to find out more about it, check this article by Kopywriting Kourse). Try to put yourself in the buyer’s mind.
Ask yourself why they should buy that product and give yourself the answers. Those answers should be in the product description.
State every detail possible, such as delivery cost (free of course), delivery method, payment methods, return policy, and so on.
The next step is the price. Unless you are selling a second-hand product, I will go for ‘Buy It Now. Do price research and try to stay at an average price. Keep it lower when you start, and you can slightly increase it the more you sell.
Keep the postage free. Consider it in the final price of the product. Do your research on which service would be cheaper to deliver a certain product and see if you are eligible for some deals. Guarantee a return policy of 60 days. In my experience, it hasn’t negatively affected me at all. It gives a customer an incentive to buy with you, and if they need the item, they won’t return it. Also, if they return it, the delivery cost is on them, unless it’s your fault.
The last thing you should consider before you post your listing is boosting it. If you boost your listing, eBay will advertise it on social media platforms for you. It also puts your product at the top of the research as a sponsored product. All you need to do is decide how much of the final price you want to invest. You should invest around 6-7% of the final product. It’s not mandatory, but I suggest you do this as there is a lot of competition on eBay.
Grow your shop and reap the rewards
Now all you have to do is wait until you sell your first item. It might take a few days, so don’t worry about it too much. Once that happens, make sure you dispatch it as quickly as possible and leave feedback to the buyer. Also, send a message to the buyer saying that the item has been posted and that you left positive feedback for the transaction. This would give them an incentive to give you positive feedback, too, and as soon as you get 100 positive feedback with over 95% positive feedback, you will become a top-seller. Be there for your customers and keep your communication standards high.
Once you raise enough capital, consider restocking your best-selling items and see if you can add some new items to your inventory. Patience is your friend, and if you follow these steps, you should be able to establish your eBay shop and make a living out of it.
For more information, get in touch with me if you would like to discuss this more in-depth.
Andrea Vozza, e-commerce specialist and marketer.