Lisa has been awake in bed and thinking for two hours. She needed another hobby that was cost-effective. Making candles and making soap was getting expensive since she was not selling her crafts at the church bazaar. She needed to find something else that could produce income for what she wanted to do most: thrift store shopping.
While shopping at Goodwill one day, she found a book about making money online. She asked herself: Can I make money online with no experience in selling? If I can’t sell soap and candles locally, can I sell my collector’s plates online? Wouldn’t I have more customers that want the collector’s plates I have found thrift store shopping?
Before Making Money Online: Ask someone with internet experience.
As Lisa pondered about making money online, a thought came to mind. Louisa knows about the internet maybe she can help me. She called and asked what it would take to sell her collector plates online, especially on eBay.
Ebay searches about her collector’s plates is the most Lisa has done as far as research for selling her plates. She has some plates that she bought for $2 that she found asking prices that were over $30. If she sold her plates for half that price she would still be making a profit. The opportunity to sell her plates online excited her, but she had no idea on how to do it. Did I have any suggestions?
Selling Physical Products on eBay: What to expect if you have no experience.
I’ve sold on eBay before, but I was more a buyer than a seller. When I had my flea market booth, I would look for certain items online that were requested by some of my customers. Many of them didn’t know how to shop on eBay and were afraid to learn.
The flea market where I had a booth was a very competitive market like eBay. You have to find stuff to sell that people wanted but didn’t have. When you’re looking at the stuff that you do have, you have to look from the perspective of customers that want those things: Are they willing to pay for what you have at the price that you want to sell it? This is called finding your niche market.
Lisa’s niche had become collector’s plates. She needed to research her new niche market and provide products that people in that niche would buy. It is not hard to understand how the process works if you never sold anybody anything before. So I suggested that we rent a flea market booth in our town so we could experiment on trying to sell her collector’s plates.
Selling Physical Products Offline: Exploring the pitfalls of selling at local flea markets.
Lisa sold some plates but had to discount them in order to make a sale. Then she had to pay booth rent which cut into her profits. This was not an effective way to make money. However, she did learn how much people would pay to buy her plates. She considered that pricing with the shipping costs to calculate what she needed to make if she sold the plates online.
Another option was to widen the collectibles niche to include her collectibles from Vermont. Lisa had a lot of collectibles from her home state. They were popular in her area and she wanted to sell them to make money online.
Selling Physical Products Offline: Exploring the pitfalls of selling on LetGo.
An alternative to selling at flea market booth was to list her Vermont collectibles on LetGo. There she could experiment with pricing and not have shipping costs. However, her market would still be limited to Abilene.
Unfortunately in Abilene the market was low for what she wanted to sell. We finally did look on eBay to see which of her Vermont collectibles were selling on eBay. She noticed much of the items selling she already had in her house. We also came across some of her collector’s plates that she had bought for next to nothing.
Deciding to Make Money Online: Taking the leap to sell on eBay without experience.
After Lisa tried these options locally to sell in her niche market, she wanted to know how to start the process of listing her collector plates on eBay if she didn’t know how to use a computer.
I told her that she could list her items from her smart phone if she used the eBay app. She would have to get a Paypal account to accept payments and learn how to list her items. Lisa wasn’t willing to learn the process of listing her collectibles just yet. She just wanted to know if her items were marketable online.
I told here there were some eBay listing services that she could use where she could drop off her items at a place in town that could sell her items for a commission. Some antique shops in town provided that service if you had items that were marketable on eBay.
For Lisa that would be the easiest way for her to get started making money online. I encouraged her to investigate listing the items herself so that services wouldn’t cut into her commision. There were already fees associated to selling online in addition to a listing service charging their fees. In a future blog post we will look at what it takes to learn to sell online and make money without paying commissions to someone else.