Meet Jessica, Blogger And Ebay Extraordinaire!INTERVIEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | October 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm
Jessica, who blogs at The Unemployed Mom, holds a very dear place in my heart. When I decided to move my blog to its own domain and also into a commercial arena I barely knew anyone. I was nominated for a Nickelodeon Parent’s Pick Award and even though I had no illusions of winning, I was shocked by the support I received. It was during that time I got to learn about this amazing blogger, who keeps her act together and runs a blog that exudes honesty and smartness. I also began to learn about Ebay through her tweets and Facebook status updates. To me Ebay was always a place I just tried to but an item I was longing for, and though I experienced the rush of bidding never explored it further.
Being intrigued by this other world I asked Jessica to share it with my readers and she kindly agreed.
How did you get involved in eBay selling?
I initially used eBay for purchasing but with my entrepreneur spirit, I knew I could make money selling. I have always loved shopping and when I’d see a bargain, I’d become excited and tell my husband “I could resell this on eBay for a huge profit”.
I started out by selling used cds and books via eBay’s partner site, Half.com. I made money from junk I could barely give away at yard sales! That’s when it really clicked for me. From that point on, I didn’t hold back. I cleared out our closets and sold items collecting dust. Then, I moved forward with buying clearance merchandise and reselling for a profit. Here I am almost a decade later and the obsession is just as strong!
eBay feels dicey – gambling sort of. How safe is it?
I have an eBay store where I list new items for sale at a “Buy It Now” price. The advantage of this route is I know exactly what my profit margin will be. The disadvantage is I have no idea when the item will sell since store listings have no expiration. Another feature I use is requiring immediate payment via PayPal when someone commits to buying my item. This eliminates the headaches of dealing with non-paying buyers.
I sell used items via auction format. I typically start used merchandise at a low starting bid (99 cents) with no reserve and let bidders determine the final price. I use this route since the insertion fee is low. I am doing myself a favor by selling this stuff and getting it out of my home, so whatever it sells for is pure profit. I learned early on that people become obsessed with trying to snag a bargain, so I take risks with used merchandise auctions.
If sellers are afraid of gambling, they can set a reserve price. By doing this, their item will not sell if they do not receive a certain price. The other option would be to make your starting bid the price you’d be willing to sell the item for.
For buyers, eBay can be a gamble if you do not buy from a credible seller. ALWAYS review a seller’s feedback before placing a bid. See what others say about their experience.
It must take a lot of time to buy stuff to sell. Is it by chance that you have stuff to sell or do you buy it to sell?
It is time consuming so I do not want to give an illusion that eBay sellers do not work hard. I conduct a lot of research by looking at “completed listings” to see what is selling successfully before going merchandise shopping.
I dabbled with selling while working full-time so I already had a stash of merchandise that I picked up over the years. I currently have 200+ items in my store and at least that many more to list (no joke). I have become a smart shopper through the years and have developed an eye for the hot brands.
It wasn’t until I became a stay at home mom that I was able to take eBay to the next level. I shop at least once per week at our local outlets since they constantly receive new merchandise. I am also on store email lists and receive messages about upcoming sales and of course, coupons!
It sounds like there are levels in selling, can you explain them?
All sellers will have a number in parentheses next to their eBay id. This very important number is their feedback score. As far as levels go, eBay determines PowerSellers based on policy compliance, sales volume, customer service ratings, and feedback percentages. In order for a seller to achieve and maintain PowerSeller status, they must have a proven track record of both quality and quantity. There are five tiers of PowerSellers based on sales volume. Bronze is the lowest level, followed by Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium. You can learn more about PowerSellers requirements here .
The newest selling award is called “Top Rated Seller”. The Top Rated Seller status simply identifies sellers that consistently receives highest buyers’ ratings, ships items quickly and has earned a track record of excellent service.
Is eBay selling addictive?
Yes! I love finding a treasure and then making a profit. I am very passionate about the entire process and take pride in my current ratings (Silver Level PowerSeller and Top Rated Seller).
What is the first thing one should do to start selling?
First and foremost, it is important NOT to dive right into eBay. I cannot stress how critical it is to understand the selling process. I highly encourage those interested in having a successful experience to take the free tutorials and read the starting out information, which can be found here .
Establishing feedback is vital! A seller MUST have credibility in order to be successful in the eBay arena. My best advice for someone eager to sell is to establish feedback by selling items you no longer use around your home. It is also a great way to learn how the listing process works, which can be very confusing at first.
As I previously mentioned, another fantastic way to establish feedback is to sell books, dvds, cds and video games on eBay’s partner site, Half.com.
Can you make a living of selling on eBay?
You can, but it takes a lot of work and effort. Thanks to eBay, I am able to stay home and raise my child. With that said, it is nearly impossible to concentrate on eBay during the day since my focus is on my son. I use his naptime, evenings and weekends (when my husband can play the role of entertainer) to take photos, write accurate product descriptions, take approximate measurements and post my merchandise.
I think it is more realistic for new sellers to set small goals (e.g. I will use eBay profits to pay for my child’s birthday party or for an upcoming vacation). I personally think the sky is the limit and depending on how hard a seller is willing to work, they can achieve whatever they set their mind to. Also, finding the right merchandise to sell is key.
What is the one thing NEVER to do on eBay?
I could write a book on things that shouldn’t be done on eBay; however, being a PowerSeller and a full-time mom doesn’t allow me the time. Instead, I provide weekly eBay tips on my blog. I also encourage readers to email topics they’d like to learn more about.
For sellers NEVER ship a package without delivery confirmation or tracking capabilities. If for some reason you need to dispute a case with eBay or PayPal, this information is critical.
For buyers, read the entire auction description and NEVER make an assumption about an item. If you have questions, ask the seller before you commit to buying.