How I made $3,700.00 this Christmas using EBAY

Diversity your online income
December 30, 2014
Using Camouflage SEO to rank sites
February 9, 2015


F or starters please understand this will take some money and a lot of effort; it is also not earth shattering information but it can make a person money and is not some theory that someone is sharing. There is real work involved in the process but it can pay off… I’ll be a specific as I can so you can see the steps involved and replicate it if you want.

Also, I’ll never do this again as I did not care for the TYPE of work involved. I don’t mind work (heck, I out work most people) but I did not care for the KIND of work this required and I was unable to outsource anything but the product delivery end so if I did not do it there was no way it was going to get done. I’m not a store manager, don’t want to own or run a retail store not do I care for some of the hands on things that I had to do. My Father owned a sporting goods store as I was growing up and, after this experience, I now have an even higher level of respect for him than I previously had.

You will need the following to do something similar:

  • An eBay account with some feedback. I have a few different ones and built one up specifically to do this project. I sold some things, bought some things and built up my feedback so I looked like I was a regular decent eBayer.
  • A Paypal account. I’m pretty sure it would be hard to do any real selling on eBay without one. Again, I set one up specifically for this project. If you do not have one, or can’t get one in the normal manner, there are a few places to buy one if you search.
  • A way to get your products delivered. Sure you can use the mail, UPS, DHL etc but you may have to bring the packages somewhere to do that. I used the US Mail service and my wife was my packages to the Post Office person as I rarely drive as I suck at driving and space out when I do drive so it was either use a driver or ask my wife to handle it.
  • Cash to buy your inventory. I know there are drop shippers that some folks use to sell on eBay but that would not work with my method as you need to take physical possession of the products you are selling.

My method to be sure that there was no competition with the products I was selling is something I shared here. I tried it on a small scale and it worked so well I tried it on a larger scale for this project. That aspect of the project is work but not really that bad as you are able to do some thinking and be creative in that thought process… in fact I kind of liked that end of the work in this project.

I choose a niche, or industry, that I was familiar with… that is pretty important so you know what to buy at what price point that would allow you to re-sell at a competitive price and still make a buck. There are literally a zillion niches from which to choose where you could make money. I was not interested in the “hot” selling items (I’ve done that in the past) but rather in something that I knew a little about and would sell.

I also built my eBay profile up to have my profile show my products as well as some other products that were in the same niche but not really competitive. I wanted to look as though I was involved in that niche industry and that seemed to give me some more credibility when I was selling or answering questions of potential buyers (odds are you’ll get questions).

The other thing I did was to set up an eBay store… that helps cross sell and I think it gives you more credibility in the eyes of buyers… that is just speculation as I have never had a buyer email me and say, “I’m buying because you have a store and are more credible than others without a store”. I just know from when I am looking to purchase something there and some of others I have spoken with that have no clue as to online marketing think. For the small amount of money a store costs it is worth it for this kind of project in my opinion.

So, how much did I lay out in cash to sell on eBay?

The cash outlay was around $1,200.00 or so after all was said and done. That is not a lot of money but it sure can buy you a lot of products if you are a good shopper (another aspect I was not a fan of in this project). You could do this with less money on a smaller scale or ramp it up and do it with a bunch of cash if you wanted to. Like I said before, you want to take physical possession so having the money on hand is necessary. I assume you could use a credit card if things were tight but I would never do that as part of my business model.

Where did I find products to sell on eBay?

Finding things to sell is not all that hard; you just have to be fairly methodical and look under a lot of rocks. I found products on Aliexpress, DHgate, Big box store close outs, some of Dollar type brick and mortar stores and even the local online classifieds. You have to use your head and know that what you are buying is well below what you can sell it for and that takes some due diligence. I did get burned on a product I bought on DHGate but that was my fault as I was all giddy as it was cheap and did not do the proper checking to see what it was really worth. When you are making your living buying and selling, you make your money when you buy, not when you sell, so buy smart.

Dollar stores and big box close outs were real good to me as there were a lot of deals to be had there. You can find those deals online for those stores and they would drop ship it to the store for you to just pick up at your convenience. My wife handled that for me also and would just swing by the stores as she was out and about so there was limited to no extra expense there. I started buying products to sell back in July as I saw fit knowing that I was not going to sell them until there was a heavy demand.

I ended up with a spare bedroom we have with a bunch of stuff in there on a couple of folding tables… not the way we like to furnish a home but I needed to use an area that was not in use. I would lay out all the products and see what products would naturally go with with other products, price my cost out, figure in margins, take several pictures and post them in my store.

How did I advertise the products to sell on eBay?

Each product would have in the title “Christmas” or “Holiday Gift” or something along those lines. I would also use other keywords in the title to make the products show up in the eBay search bar. Great Christmas Gift for Weekend Golfer or Super Christmas Present for Any Teen Girl… I made sure I mentioned {gift|present|great gift|etc} in the title as well as the target {husband|daughter|child|wife|etc} and {Christmas|Holiday|Yuletide|etc}. I worked the title like you would in order to get good rankings for those chosen keywords.

Using the eBay Store to Rank Your Products

I used my store the same way… “contented” that puppy up as much as possible so that the keywords would be in there. Store name had the keywords in it, the opening paragraph had the keywords in it, the listing title had the keywords in it and the description would have the keywords in it. I felt like it it was 2007 all over again as I just stuffed the keywords in wherever I could and make it look natural. I also “sold” more in my copy than I would typically sell. I am not one to jam a product or service down a client or customer’s throat like you see in lots of online sales offers you see online. I think it is a poor business model but I think it was appropriate for this venue. Merely describing the product and hoping for the best was not going to work is what I thought and still think. Plus, I did not want to end up sitting on a bunch of pink shoelaces (not the actual product line but not far off) after this was all said and done and had to make sure they sold.

The entire sales process only about a month as I set the store up around Thanksgiving knowing that the majority of people start their Christmas shopping around that time. My personal sites do very poorly around that time of year so I thought this would be a good way to offset the lack of targeted traffic to those sites and thus maintain some of that revenue. It helped but did not nearly cover what I would typically make in that month period that was lost due to the lack of internet traffic.

Ranking Your Products and Store on eBay

Some off site that I did to help promote the store may have helped me show up in the eBay search bar but I can’t say for sure as I have not tested that enough to have any complete data to share so it would be speculation and I don’t do speculation when I am sharing a process. What I did was to build some parasite pages to the store and a massive amount of random backlinks to the actual pages where the items were listed as well as the parasite pages I created. For the massive links I use a tool that we have in house but the best one out there these days for that would be GSA I suppose. I’m pretty sure that those processes helped them show up when people searched but I can’t really say as this was only a one off and that is not a big enough pool to declare anything as good or bad.

What I did not care for was all the hands on with the products themselves… you have to handle the order, package the product and ship it out. That is a fair amount of work and you have to pay attention or you could end up sending pink shoe laces to someone that ordered purple shoe laces. You would end up losing all the way across the board then. I had no slip ups fortunately but I would think if you did not set it up as a legit operation with all your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted you would have inventory management issues.

Provide Quality Customer Service on eBay

Customer service is very important in eBay so I was quick to respond to any questions about the products as well as about the shipping. I have read enough in various places that you need to be spot on hard core and provide top notch customer service on eBay or they will slay you like a heathen. It seems I got a fair amount of them and I’m not sure if that is the nature of the beast on eBay or I just had some holes in what I was doing and how I was presenting and thus got more than usual. I do know this much; if a potential or current customer emails you through eBay you want to respond as quickly as you possibly can as that is real important to getting the sale or keeping the customer happy.

I’m sure that one could replicate this process easily and do it over and over again and perhaps even turn it into a long term all year round eBay money making method if they wanted to, and do it with very little cash outlay. It is a legitimate way to make a decent buck and was a nice little bump for me for this past Christmas and if I was not so lazy I could easily see it as a full time revenue stream.

It is a relatively simple method that requires attention to detail and a willingness to be tight when it comes to customer service and if I can do it and be successful, I know that almost anyone else can too.