how to sell on ebay

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Most people start by selling junk from their attic. Then they collect junk from friends and relatives. Then they buy junk from car boot sales and charity shops.

This is hard work as you have to photograph each item and upload your auction but it gets you started. You are certain to make a profit because the initial items were effectively free. This gets you practice in photographing objects and writing your sales pitch. And there's a subject that has filled several books!

Once you are into the swing of it you'll want to specialise. Richard Grady ("The Trader"), if I recall correctly, did this by buying Sinclair computers from auctions and wherever he could get them. My own neighbour goes to local auctions and buys pottery. We are close to Stoke-on-Trent so there are some bargains to be had. He targets his auctions at Japan and America.

This is where the skill comes in. You need to build up your knowledge of what things are worth and where/how to sell them for maximum profit. You need to set your shipping charges realistically so they cover your costs without appearing to be a rip-off.

So you need to check out some auctions and charity shops to see what is available that interests you and could be sold here or abroad. You might be able to tie this in with selling new products but the profit margin tends to be smaller and the competition fierce. Perhaps you have a local factory that sells sub-standard products cheaply. "Slight seconds" used to be common in the clothing and pottery industries.

The great "Mr Salesmanship" himself (Reginald Gee Senior from Huddersfield) started off by buying surplus cardboard boxes. These were "overruns" from the manufacturer. He then sold these at a huge profit. He ended up selling antique furniture to Japan and made millions. That was before the days of eBay of course, but the same principles apply. He also bought dead TV sets for £1 and radios; paid a repairman £10 each to fix them, then sold them for £30 each.

See the Mr Salesmanship web site at

Whatever you choose, the work will be hard, so it ought to be something for which you can develop a passion. There are millions of eBay sellers but there are still lots of possibilities that they haven't thought of yet!

Of course every good business idea gets copied so, when that happens, you write a book about it, sell that and move on to something new!

At the same time as selling on eBay you should create a simple web site. Create an eBay "about me" page and put a link to your web site from that page. (eBay does not allow you to put your web site link in your auction pages). On your web site you can put lots of information about you and about your products. This will attract visitors and you can either direct them to your eBay auctions or set up your own "shopping cart" on your web site. I can recommend the free shopping cart by Mal's E-commerce but this does require some basic understanding of HTML. However, Mal has a support forum where you can get help from other shopping cart users.

One more suggestion: make your auctions memorable! Take a look at this auction page. Click HERE. (It's a PDF document).