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Money is tight so what can you do to earn some extra income?

Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2012, at 10:01 PM

Most of those who know me, know where I am going with this but there are other options. This time of year many retailers are hiring seasonal workers, usually good until just after New Years or maybe even longer if they do inventory right after the holidays.

There are usually fast food jobs available because the nature of the industry is high turnover. Someone wants a particular day off and they don't get it, so they quit. It is often much harder than it seems and some folks just walk out, etc., etc. Restaurants are hungry (no pun intended) for good workers.

One of the companies that I represent is needing six employees right away, but the company president says he can't find people who want to work, nor any that can work and think at the same time.

My wife thought about working for someone else, but her mother is staying with us and we do not want her staying at home alone or feeling like she is holding us back. She also had the expense of traveling to and from work as well as needing to eat out and spiff up her wardrobe. We decided we had to be in business for ourselves.

We used to have a store in Bell Buckle, then moved it to Wartrace. When our daughter needed more chauffeuring we decided to close the store down since it was not making enough to warrant the time involved and expenses of building payments, utilities, labor, etc.

A few years later we "found" eBay and we have not looked back. We used to sell for others and are still listed as a Trading Assistant, but found that we had enough "inventory" to sell for a few years without needing to restock, so now we are VERY selective in what we sell for others.

Just this week, I had to turn down three requests to sell for others because we do not have the time. Things like this are a part-time job in the making but surprisingly, I cannot find anyone to whom I can pass these leads.

I am not going to recommend a newbie to anyone, since it would not be fair to either one and the ones already selling seem to be as busy as they wan to be. This is not just Shelbyville, but Tullahoma and Murfreesboro as well.

I often get questions from my prospective students about why they should sell on eBay. They have heard numerous negative comments and they are not sure if it is a good place to start.

Keep in mind negative seems to spread quickly and I do not deny that some folks just don't get along with the eBay business plan. Part of the reason for that is because that plan keeps changing.

Frustrating even to me, but I have tried numerous selling venues for the past 4-5 years and can count on my two hands the number of things sold from ALL of them. All the while we were selling 20+ items a week on eBay of the same thing.

eBay should not be your end-game if you are truly wanting to earn a full time living from internet sales, but it is probably the BEST place to start for all around products.

If you specialize in hand-made items you can try etsy or artfire. If high-end antiques are your passion, there is GoAntiques, stamps, comics,& postcards there are several but bidstart comes to mind.

You can easily take much of what you learn from selling on eBay and relate it to other sites when or if the time comes. There are also ways to use eBay to build momentum and awareness of your website.

BUT, you have to start somewhere and eBay is still the best. Amazon is good for some categories but I do not like the control they demand and their prices are no better if not higher than eBay.

Don't get me wrong, eBay makes their fair share of demands and I don't necessarily agree with all of them, but it is their "sandbox" and it is a profitable "sandbox", so we learn to adjust. (with only a little grumbling)

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The original post was getting a bit long, so I decided to cut it off for now. If anyone is interested, we can continue the discussion and hopefully some of our experienced area sellers will chime in.

I expect Philip Cohen to check in from Australia, so G'day mate. Hope you have some new stuff for us? (Philip is not a big fan of eBay or its' president) He checks back on his comments so don't hesitate to ask him questions. Of course, I reserve the right for rebuttal Philip. :-)

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 10:01 PM

The most money I ever made, with the least amount of effort, was in New York. I stood on a busy street off Wall Street with a bucket and sign that read "Please donate money for my ticket to go back to Tennessee". Those yankees were delighted to stuff money in my bucket to get rid of a stupid southern redneck. Collected $8,ooo in three days and got out of there laughing.

-- Posted by Grits on Thu, Nov 8, 2012, at 4:39 PM

My wife and I sell on Ebay, Amazon, etc. We have found we have to have a significant mark-up (50% or more on most items)to pay the Ebay, Paypal, Amazon fees and cover our shipping, labelling and packaging costs. Add to that the taxes, especially the state sales tax, and we hardly make enough to justify our time. We have had several people ask us to sell for them as well. We are just not willing to take on the extra work and headaches for so little reward. Too many hands taking too much of the pie drives the cost of the items beyond a reasonable expectation for our customers.

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Thu, Nov 8, 2012, at 6:49 PM

That is a big reason why I got into teaching eBay rather than selling for others, but many folks seem to think my time is paid for by eBay (which it isn't) and should be free, so there are challenges thee as well. If it is a collection or a large enough ticket item, I will be tempted, but.... I still try to stay away.

I used to wonder why Trading Assistants (TA's) would state that the item value needs to be at least $50, or $100 etc. I quickly learned why.

I do not sell on Amazon but our eBay and PayPal fees usually average about 20%, even with the charge on shipping. Most of our items are now Buy It Now from our store.

The lowest we sell for is 100% mark-up or 50% of the selling price but that is only on new things that we have to buy at a higher price. Since all of the other things are bought from auction or garage sales, the mark-up is much, much more.

As many know, a very significant aspect of buying to resell is to get the best price. Since buying new product to resell has such a small profit margin, one needs to go for volume.

We prefer to have less volume but higher profit, so we usually stay away from new, except for my wife's photo albums.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Nov 9, 2012, at 8:55 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.