On the face of it, making money on eBay is simple, all you need to do is find out what sells well, negotiate a deal with a wholesaler to obtain inventory, list it and collect your money!
Of course it isn’t quite this simple, if it was we’d all be selling high end electronic goods and be making tens of thousands of dollars profit!
The reason why it isn’t this simple can be summed up in one word ………..‘competition’.
Competition drives down the prices of these consumer goods meaning that unless you can negotiate the very best deals with the manufacturers it is impossible to make a profit.
Most of the top selling niches on eBay are dominated by a few big players who make a profit despite selling at rock bottom prices because they leverage their huge buying power to negotiate the best deals directly with the manufacturers.
It is impossible for the little guy to break into this business because even if he could obtain a supply of inventory (which often he cannot) he can’t hope to beat or even match the prices paid by the big players.
So do you join the masses trying to eek out a meager living as your profit margins are squeezed ever thinner or do you go against the herd and focus your efforts where you won’t be wiped out by the competition?
The answer for me is to focus on vintage collectible items, their rarity means that you don’t have the mass competition problem. Although there are hundreds of successful sellers on eBay selling vintage collectibles, it is extremely unlikely that the exact same item is being sold by more than one seller at any one time.
Since there is no mass competition, profit margins are a lot healthier –
I’m talking 200%, 300%, 400% and more!
But where to find an ongoing source of inventory?
You could spend all of your spare time visiting charity shops, thrift stores and boot sales but this strategy will waste many hours of your valuable time and is only likely to turn up the occasional profitable item.
No, to make a living on eBay your time needs to be focused on listing and selling not scavenging through piles of worthless rubbish.
I have created a short video to demonstrate how I obtain my eBay inventory:
How and why does this work?
Imagine you are a talented but hungry artist in the late nineteenth century, you need to sell as much of your work as possible to keep a roof over your head and put food on your table and one of the best ways to gain exposure for your artwork is to allow it to be reproduced and published in books.
Now fast forward to today and a century or so later those very same books are available to a whole new audience thanks to the magic of the internet.
Today’s book collector can search the inventory lists of thousands of individual booksellers from all over the world to find books to add to their collections.
Book collectors are very particular when it comes to the condition of the books they purchase and because of this the values of vintage books can vary widely. Books with broken, stained or damaged covers and bindings can often be obtained for a fraction of the prices commanded by copies in fine condition.
More often than not the contents of these damaged bindings are in good, clean condition which means that if we know where to look we can buy these broken old books containing many beautiful and sought after prints very cheaply.
All we have to do then is remove the prints from the old books, list them for sale on eBay and watch the profits roll in!
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Tom Daigle says
I’m confused about the word “Prints”. Are they loose pages that you buy and sell? Or do you get the actual book with the prints inside that would have to be seperated before selling?
Yes, I buy the old books and remove the prints for sale.
Check out this blog post from Deb Henry for further clarification: http://donebydeb.com/blog/reselling/a-print-is-still-an-original/
Dee Ann Rice@Online Marketing And Blogging Basics says
Wow, what a wealth of knowledge in one video.
I have never really used eBay for anything but to buy somethings that I can get cheap on there.
This looks fun though. Somehow I am not sure it is as easy as you make it look but would be worth trying.
Great video and excellent demonstration on how to find art to sell on eBay.
Dee Ann Rice
Hi Dee Ann
I promise you it is as easy as it looks to make money selling prints from old books!
This video only shows one example, in my eBook Prints Make Profits I show lots more examples plus I share the eBay ID’s of sellers who have feedback scores of several thousand who do exactly what I have shown you!
Craig Sowerby says
I have only really used ebay to get rid of old unwanted items around the house. A few kids toys and your usually bric a brac
So this idea of yours looks very promising. I have always told my grandparents they should add a few items on ebay. They have a few original paintings by an artist called Reuben Ward Binks
As my great grandfather won crufts with a pointer called Penine Prima Donna and he painted it and we have the painting and also the original crufts cup that the dog won. Maybe it would be best going on the antiques roadshow than ebay???
Thanks for your comment, Craig
You’ve raised a good point in that eBay isn’t always the best option for selling family heirlooms and antiques.
You may well achieve a higher value at a live auction that specializes in the type of items you are selling.
There are websites that provide online valuations of your antiques such as http://www.valuemystuff.com/
Might be worth a try with your stuff!
Loved the video, I don’t really ahve much of a clue about ebay although I’ve probably got enough stuff in the house to keep me going for about six months.
The website addall is a great resource for me as I love to read so anything that helps me find books at the best price is excellent. thanks for that.
To your success
Excellent, Stuart, very well explained, very easy to hear and understand, and a great system you’ve shared with us! You could use your graphic on the left of the header here as a lead in to the video and an exit, with your url on it, and it would brand your videos really well. You saw mine so you can see what I mean. I believe branding is really important for our visibility.
Enjoy the journey.
Nick Lawless@Instant profit people says
Wow this theme looks familiar – cuz as you would have seen I use the same one! good taste mate hahah! I like what you’ve done with it and its given me a few ideas!
Hey anyway – what we are here for… thanks for the video and well done. You articulated what was needed nicely! I haven’t really got into ebay for a living but I have a friend who is very interested. I’m going to send him the link to this video of yours!!
I read in the comments about selling useless stuff… I have used ebay to get rid of unwanted items and its worked well… I actually have a post on my blog about how to do this very easily and some tips to make the ‘sales page’ really easy!
Thanks for the video I look forward to seeing more of your stuff! I;m gunna add you to facebook too 🙂
Ian Ieba says
Loved the video very easy to follow and full of great content. I learnt a great deal from this video Stuart.
Great example of how to use eBay, I use to sell sporting memorabilia a few years ago.
Thank you for sharing the information.
Take care, catch up soon
Ed@ setting up an eBay business says
Great video…I too think it was an excellent idea of Barry’s to get this video challenge out there…I have created quite a few over the last year some good some what the hell did Ed say there one’s…but that’s the learning curve!
think the niche you sell into on eBay is ideal for people wanting a fast track way in with a solid start to success and of course as you know yourself the benefits and mark-ups you make from selling these prints is very good from the offset, when you think you can sell say ten prints for around $70 from a book that costs around maybe $100 in all MMM sounds like a fast return income to plough BACK into your eBay business to me so you can up the anty…
It’s a numbers game…simple as, great stuff Stuart….Ed.
Really good and very well illustrated video…I’m sure there’s plenty here would like to grab $120 profit and you’ve certainly showed them how.
I know you’ve been on eBay for quite some time and it shows. You also mentioned competition in your post, that’s the killer…the “big boys,” but you also pointed out the specific niches to drill down on and go after, which can be a winner 🙂
Great post and video,
Sarah Knight says
Loved the post,
thanks for sharing this info on ebay selling, this is really worth knowing for someone who is just starting out on their internet journey and using Ebay.
David DeWitt says
Stuart! I have been using your system for a month or so and have had success with it right from the start! I am finding that I can make money with my book prints very easily and combining shipping for buyers who purchase more than one print from me is an added incentive for making more purchases!
In the latest case, I even gave the buyer of four prints FREE SHIPPING since he was in the USA and so am I. It is not unusual to have one buyer buy several items at a time, I am discovering.
Most of my sales have been in the lower price range for items not always targeted at collectors. I know the real money is in the higher priced items collectors are looking for but it doesn’t hurt to know you can sell less collectible prints to somebody who just fancies them because they relate to a geographical location or subject that interests them!
My prints sell at auction for $7.99 or BIN for $9.00 which is proving to be a popular price point. Prints offered across a weekend seem to sell better, and I am waiting until this Friday to list more of the series of Gusaf Tenggren (Disney illustrator) prints I just sold this weekend. Remember, these prints cost me about twenty cents each!
I have a series of Edgar Allan Poe short story illustrations (wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg) that are 67 years old coming up, soon!
Cost of the source material? FREE! Someone gave this book knowing I am selling vintage prints!
Does it get better?
THANK YOU, STUART & Deb !!!
I’m delighted to hear you are having success following our methods!
As I said in my post the source material is often almost given away because it is old and a bit frayed at the edges but as you are proving it does have value when it is presented in the right way to the right buyer
Well done for taking action!
James@Chain Saw Reviews says
Seems to be a nice little business from whom you can make an extra cash. I really enjoyed reading this post and the video is well done also. I don’t use eBay but seems to be a great way to buy/sell stuff.
Craig Wilson says
I love eBay…Even though I’m big into Internet marketing products I’ve made more money with eBay than anything else. Too many marketers get wrapped up in trying to sell flavor of the day product launch stuff that they completely overlook the fact that millions of people are out there daily buying regular household items.
You make some good points on focusing on rare items as your competition is limited to a small niche. When I hop back into the game my brother and I might go for selling rare cars and car parts…As with anything, carving out your little niche and branding yourself as the go to guy for rare wheels or excercise equipment is the key.
Been missing eBay for a while now and when I came upon your post here it started getting my auction juices flowing again 🙂
You’ve hit on a good but often overlooked point here, Craig
eBay is exciting and FUN!!
Rob Corrigan says
Hi Stuart, great video and an absolute text book (no pun intended) example of how to perform research using eBay, far too many potential sellers perform even the barest research. A must watch for all eBayers in any niche.
You are right, Rob it is essential to do your research BEFORE you buy any item to resell on eBay
Hope today finds you well. I know that I’ve got a much better idea for an eBay business model today than ever before, thanks to you.
I really appreciate you sharing what has made you successful selling on eBay. I want to try selling on eBay and you’ve given me much needed food for thought.
Thanks for your comment, Kat!
My advice is to start by listing all of your own unwanted stuff, everybody has things they no longer need that others will pay for.
Research how other sellers list the same stuff and copy the most successful ones – the keywords they include in their titles, how they describe the item, how they photograph it etc.
You will be building up your confidence and reputation (feedback) and making some money as you go.
Good luck with it!
Jacinta D says
This sounds like a great little business. I definitly had some aha moments.
I used to study art during high school and remember a lot of the old art books we used to have to look through.
I can see how this industry could lead you down a garden path, especially sorcing artists from before the 20th century.
Thank you for the share!
At the moment I just have 2 sheds of junk to get rid of but this has definitly given me food for thought for the future!
Hope all is going well.
See you back here soon! 😎
Thanks for stopping by, Jacinta!
Listing your junk is a great way to learn the eBay ropes and bring in some extra cash at the same time!
You’ll be amazed by the prices some people will pay for the stuff you consider worthless, last year I sold a broken digital camera for $40!
This is my first time here and wanted to stop by because I knew you were going to participate in Barry’s video challenge.
First thing I have to say that I love your theme. Used this same one a long time ago and always thought it’s just really nice.
Second thing is I really enjoyed your post and your video tutorial. Great job and you made it very easy to understand how to get around in eBay and search for things we can start selling ourselves. Really great job, I don’t use eBay. I gave it a shot a long time ago and never had any luck with it myself. Tried to get rid of a few things that way but ended up just giving them away. Oh well.
Thanks again for this really great explanation. Hope you’ve been having a great day!
Thanks for your positive feedback, Adrienne!
Don’t give up on eBay, it really is a great way to bring in some extra cash and have some fun at the same time!
Keep visiting and I’ll keep sharing!
Once you know what you’re looking for and what your customers want, buying low and giving them quality and value for money, at the same time making a profit and undercutting your competitions’ price … wow – You’ve shown how easy it is to do in less than 10mins research. Nice one! Ebay marketers will be very thankful to you.
Thanks for your comment, Julie!
I’m glad you enjoyed my video!
Barry Wells says
Hi Stuart, wow mate am I pleased you took up my challenge.
This is an excellent example of how to make money on eBay and i know you’ve been doing this yourself for a few years now. So I have to thank you for allowing people inside your mind and showing them how it’s done.
I’m amazed at how much money can be made from following your system and think it’s really good that people can follow your example without needing a stack of cash to do so.
Excellent Stuart, thanks for adding your post and video to my challenge. I’ll now get the post logged on G+ and facebook, hopefully bringing you extra traffic.
Respect and regards,
Your video challenge is a great idea, Barry!
Thanks for inviting me to take part
Deb Henry says
GREAT overview of an excellent eBay business model!
One of THE toughest things about eBay is finding a steady, reliable, and PROFITABLE niche to sell in.
Once you have found a niche, rather than selling stuff from all over the place and hoping something will stick, you set yourself up for HUGE eBay success.
Not only have you made it easier on yourself to aquire inventory (remember you make your money in the buying, not the selling), but you have made listing and fulfillment much easier on yourself as well… no more running around trying to find the right size box to ship the item in, etc., etc.
Additionally, once you have a niche established, you will then have a base of potential REPEAT customers… this is where actually learning to capture your buyers in your OWN mailing list becomes not only necessary, but lucrative and worth your time & effort as well!
Happy eBaying to you all …
PS September is closing in fast… have you been preparing for the Fall? Make sure you start getting your act together NOW, so you are ready to hit the ground running!